Friday vindication

If you can’t quite bend your mind around the phrase “Headlining Artist: Rebecca Black,” perhaps you need to flex a bit: RB’s first-ever West Coast concert, at the House of Blues Anaheim, is the 23rd of December, and tickets ($17.50 advance, $20 at the door) go on sale today.

And because it’s Friday, let’s mention “Friday,” and cowriter/producer Patrice Wilson, who made all this possible in his own way. Wilson has now surfaced with a song about, of all things, next Thursday:

He may be a one-trick pony, but it’s a fun trick. (Thanks to Nancy Friedman, who was happy to pass it on to me.)

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Add some rigor to your mortis

A couple of items from a previously undisclosed list of Final Instructions, posted despite the fact that the writer is not actually dead:

Don’t jump to conclusions about the events leading up to my death. Just take the actual story and embellish it in a way that makes you look good. Make it about you. Don’t tell work I’m dead. Let them think I just stopped showing up. See how long it takes them to fire me. When they do, show them the obituary and yell PSYCH!

I should definitely swipe some of these in advance of my own demise.

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On her 80th

Petula Clark turned 80 today, and I must acknowledge Roger’s contribution to celebrating her birthday (which, he says, might have been my idea). I’ve done a few celebratory posts myself, and I need to do just one more.

First, a seriously cute shot from the British Invasion days:

Petula Clark on a piano

Given my complete and utter lack of musical talent, this to me seems to be the only justification for someday owning a piano.

And this is the one song of hers that is guaranteed to break me up, every single time:

This was Petula’s second visit to the Les Reed/Barry Mason catalog: she’d previously recorded “The Last Waltz,” a big hit for Engelbert Humperdinck. “Kiss Me Goodbye” came out in early 1968, with Reed himself on piano. It was nearly four minutes long at a time when so-called “middle-of-the-road” songs seldom touched three and a quarter, and it packs more heartbreak per minute than almost anything else from that era.

This was her last Top 20 hit in the States. (The British spurned it for some reason.) I wore out a copy of the Petula LP (Warner Bros. 1743), which included the follow-up (comparative) flop “Don’t Give Up.” According to the album’s uncharacteristically sparse liner notes, she’s “cheek soft, heart warm, and sassier than ever.” No argument from me.

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Recount, then recant

When last we heard from Darrell Sorrels, he was asking for a recount in the race for Oklahoma County Sheriff, which he lost by a mere, um, 74,000 votes.

Check the floor for stray fabric, because Sorrels has thrown in the towel:

Wednesday afternoon, the Oklahoma County Election Board announced that Sorrels’ attorney, Stephen Jones, stopped the recount.

That’s because across 14 precincts, Sorrels had a net gain of only one vote.

About 90 percent of the $25,800 recount cost paid by Sorrels — via check from something called Enterprise Investments, Inc. — will be refunded.

In other news, Stephen Jones apparently now has his own Wikipedia page, which needless to say does not link to this.

Update, 16 November: Sorrels is now being sued for some “defamatory” material on his Facebook page.

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Meet the New Right

Same as the old Right, says the Hyacinth Girl:

Having ceded the culture war decades ago, the right has continued to lose touch with popular culture, even while believing that because they watch Dancing with the Stars they are somehow still “hip.” Each generation brings its new “sexy” “young” conservatives who are generally younger versions of their elders. Maybe they’re thinner, or female, or have fake breasts and expensive highlights, but they’ve got the same degrees from the same schools and have had the same career trajectory as their predecessors. They’ve got law degrees or poli-sci degrees or whatever, and they sound the same as the old guys.

Now I happen to think that popular culture’s influence on contemporary politics suggests, um, a state of urinal poverty; but there are people who live, breathe and excrete this stuff. You’ve heard of “low-information voters”? Today we’re seeing the rise of no-information voters, and various campaign committees on both sides of the aisle have figured out that their votes count exactly the same as everyone else’s. (Truly we have enshrined the principle of One Douche, One Vote.) I await their discovery that the School of Hard Knox is the one and only institution guaranteed to have an open-admissions policy.

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Now that’s a cold-air intake

I’ve never really had the heart to tell those young whippersnappers on Yahoo! Answers that there might possibly be better ways to spend their hard-earned cash than trying to squeeze an extra 10 hp out of [car deemed inadequately speedy]. Perhaps it’s because I lack this level of eloquence:

When you modify your car, what you’re doing is trying to resolve a deep insecurity. This is what’s wrong with modifying your VW: what issue are you exactly resolving? Safety? Reliability? Lowering your cost of ownership? My answer: you’re just bored with your ride. If you acknowledge that to be the case, you now recognize that you’re living a boring K-selection lifestyle and now is your chance to move towards an r-selection lifestyle in the fast lane.

So start modding that car. Because cars are often the only thing that has meaning to a young guy. Then, when you’re looking at settling down in 10-15 years, feel free to discard it all and start over again. Meanwhile all those boring people you dusted with your hot car have done things like travel, paid off debt, or upgraded their skills so they can write their own ticket in a down economy.

That’s gonna leave a skid mark.

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Three-buck puck

Drew Magary’s “Hater’s Guide To The Williams-Sonoma Catalog” complains bitterly about a food item:

Item #02-741009 Callie’s Charleston Biscuits

Williams-Sonoma says: “Flaky, buttery, and made by hand by celebrated caterer Callie White.”

Price: $72 (set of 24)

Notes from Drew: That’s $72 for biscuits. At Popeye’s, the biscuit comes free with your order. At Williams-Sonoma, it costs you the rough equivalent of your phone bill. How good could these biscuits possibly be? There’s a threshold past which biscuits cannot improve. Even the best goddamn biscuit in the world isn’t $72 better than a Popeye’s biscuit. Unless that biscuit can make you teleport.

You may be assured, however, that if it can, I’m buying it — even if the only place it takes me is the nearest Popeye’s, which is less than half a mile away.

(Via this @syaffolee tweet.)

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Sunny unshare

Lynn is happy to inform you that she will not share this:

I guess Facebook is exactly what I knew it would be, or should have known, but I was hoping it would be a lot more of “This is what I’ve been doing,” and “This is what I’m thinking about,” and “Here are these pictures of my kids, grandkids, pets, house and garden,” and a lot less “Share this if you love your mother, father, brother, sister, husband, wife, Jesus or puppies”. After a few of those I decided that I will not share anything that says “Share this if…” It just seems so manipulative to me — like they’re saying “you have to share this.” So I don’t.

I’ve sent up a couple of those things, hinting at an ill-concealed tendency toward gooey sentimentality, but the rationale is more “I don’t have a damned thing to say” than “Oh, that’s so true.”

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It couldn’t be Grizzlier

Thirty-six to fifteen. Think about that for a moment. Oklahoma City led 30-20 after the first quarter, and then Memphis took command. Totally. The second quarter went to the Griz, 36-15. This was partially due to the Thunder’s second unit being seriously outplayed by the Memphis reserves; but when the starters returned, the Grizzlies remained in the driver’s seat, and stayed there the rest of the night, culminating with Kendrick Perkins and Zack Randolph trash-talking each other into the locker room with two minutes left. The Thunder would never close the gap, and Memphis got away with a 10-point win, 107-97.

And 36-15 isn’t even your telltale statistic. This is: despite a marginally smaller shooting percentage, the Griz got off 21 more shots. With that going for them, OKC’s otherwise-competitive numbers and double-doubles from both Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant (a season-high 34) didn’t mean a thing.

Speaking of double-doubles, Z-Bo had one before being thumbed. And Rudy Gay tossed in a season-high 28, second only to Durant’s 34. Five Grizzlies wound up in double figures, including two off the bench. (The OKC second unit barely got into double figures in aggregate.)

A word about Westbrook: Huh? He didn’t shoot that well — 6-19 — but he served up 13 dimes to go with those 17 points, grabbed six rebounds and turned it over just twice. (The turnover-prone Thunder gave it up 15 times, the stingier Griz only eight.) Whatever went wrong tonight, and what it appeared to be was a defense just slightly more porous than SpongeBob, it didn’t seem to be Russell’s fault.

This much for the Griz: if they can play three quarters like that every night from here on out, it’s good night, LeBron. Memphis, rot them, just might go all the way. Meanwhile, the Thunder will vent their frustrations on a fairly average Hornets squad in the Big Easy on Friday night.

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Terrible pony afflictions

Fillyjonk speculates on the possible chronic ailments of the Mane Six:

Twi would have to be hypertensive. And Pinkie Pie — too much sugar, type II diabetes. Or maybe ADHD … And Applejack would have some kind of RSI from bucking too many trees. And Rainbow Dash would either have concussions, or perhaps altitude sickness from flying too high. And Fluttershy, probably agoraphobia. And Rarity, I don’t know about Rarity … maybe she’d swallow a pin.

Pinkie Pie is unwellI would not at all be surprised to see Twilight Sparkle’s blood pressure off the charts. (Assuming Equestria uses the traditional sphygmomanometer, I’d expect the mercury to break through the top of the column, and maybe through the top of the tree that houses the library.)

I am less worried about Pinkie, despite her eating habits, since she seems to have a linear accelerator built into her metabolism. I fully expect her to keep a supply of Higgs bosons scattered around town in case of emergency.

Fanon has it that pegasi generally end up with lots of broken bones for pretty much the obvious reason. In a short story I wrote, Rainbow Dash is done in by pneumonia, a disease that seems to be more common among weather specialists, perhaps due to extended exposure to aerosols. And I’m thinking that sooner or later, Fluttershy is going to catch something from one of those motley critters she watches over at the edge of the Everfree.

RSI seems plausible for Applejack, though I suspect the entire Apple family has relatively high resistance to that sort of thing. As for Rarity, I see her as borderline bipolar, or maybe a bit over the line, given the contrast between her manifest joy in completing a task perfectly and her horror at the various and sundry events that qualify as the Worst Possible Thing. Not that swallowing a pin is anything to be joyous about.

(Picture: Pinkie Pie after a bad batch of muffins in “Applebuck Season,” from the first season of MLP:FiM.)

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You owe us two stars

Restaurant reviews in The New York Times, I am given to understand, run from zero to four stars. This place, apparently, ventures deep into the Negative Zone, judging by the questions they pose to the proprietor. For instance:

Hey, did you try that blue drink, the one that glows like nuclear waste? The watermelon margarita? Any idea why it tastes like some combination of radiator fluid and formaldehyde?

Or this:

How did nachos, one of the hardest dishes in the American canon to mess up, turn out so deeply unlovable? Why augment tortilla chips with fried lasagna noodles that taste like nothing except oil? Why not bury those chips under a properly hot and filling layer of melted cheese and jalapeños instead of dribbling them with thin needles of pepperoni and cold gray clots of ground turkey?

Or even this:

What accounts for the vast difference between the Donkey Sauce recipe you’ve published and the Donkey Sauce in your restaurant? Why has the hearty, rustic appeal of roasted-garlic mayonnaise been replaced by something that tastes like Miracle Whip with minced raw garlic?

And when we hear the words Donkey Sauce, which part of the donkey are we supposed to think about?

It is de rigueur to scoff at the Times these days; but you’ll never see anything half this harsh in the Oklahoma Gazette.

(Suggested by this @inthefade tweet.)

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Of late, there have been some weird delays in getting everything loaded up here, and while it’s easy, even instinctive, to blame SiteMeter, which has had several inexplicable outages of late, the real culprit most of the time is Twitter, whose widget I’d carefully rewritten to match the site design. They have announced that they’re dropping support for said widget Real Soon Now, and they’re pushing Embedded Timelines in its place. I have duly installed the contraption, and it does seem to load a little faster, which may be simply due to the fact that it’s less customizable. I do, however, find it disconcerting to see all these Mini-Me apparitions down the sidebar.

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Online-dating limbo

If you’re up on your Chubby Checker tunes, you know that the hook in “Limbo Rock” is “How low can you go?” A chap who faked up a female profile on one of those dating sites discovered that there’s no real bottom to this abyss:

I wanted to make [the bio] so idiotic and unappealing that no one in their right mind would show interest in this girl. If you are hitting on her after reading her profile you have no interest in anything intellectual whatsoever.

The results, alas, were predictable:

Within 6 hours my profile had been viewed over 400 times and 39 guys had messaged me.

Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and say they didn’t really read the bio. They just saw a cute girl and went for it. I’m not saying that’s smart but I’m just hoping for their sake they didn’t read that train wreck of a description and think “Ok yeah! This is what I’ve been searching for!”

You should probably read the whole thing, just to get an idea of how clueless this “girl” — and her would-be suitors — seem to be.

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Each and every day of the year

One of the blessings of later life is that you can sometimes persuade the older women to doff their duds for a good cause:

What would inspire 16 women in their 70s and 80s to get nearly naked for a photographer? Apparently, Helen Mirren.

In Mirren’s 2003 movie Calendar Girls, a refined women’s club decides to raise money by selling a risqué calendar. And so things went for the Riderwood retirement community in Silver Spring, Maryland, said Beth Gordon, 79, who is Miss November in the “Going Bare For Benevolent Care” 2013 calendar and organized the project.

Sixteen retired women — all in their 70s and 80s — appear naked in the 12-month calendar that is selling for $15.

Well, they’re only naked in the sense that they don’t have any clothes on. (I’ve used this excuse myself, in fact.)

Amazon says 3-5 weeks shipping, so if you want this by New Year’s, you’d better get on the stick.

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Their number-one tourist attraction

One might ask, legitimately, how many tourist attractions there actually are in Suwon, a city of 1.1 million twenty miles south of Seoul, and I’m thinking that it’s possible to top the legendary Hwaseong Fortress, but it takes something like this to do it:

The Restroom Cultural Park is billed as the world’s first toilet theme park. It’s a monument to the colorful former mayor of Suwon, a man known as Mr. Toilet.

The late Sim Jae-duck was himself born in a toilet and had an affection for loos throughout his life, rigorously promoting public facilities while mayor.

Sim also founded the World Toilet Association and wrote a book entitled Happy to Be With You, Toilet. He died of prostate cancer in 2009.

Al Bundy was not available for comment.

(Tweeted in my general direction by Ryan Baker.)

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They just shot her

Laura San Giacomo (Just Shoot Me!) turns 50 tomorrow, and since my few archive shots were from her late thirties, I had to go searching a bit. Curiously, one of Google Image’s recommendations was “laura san giacomo rack,” and I was sufficiently miffed by this to go hunt down a picture that wasn’t particularly rackalicious. Which explains why you get this shot from the ’12 GLAAD Awards, back in April:

Laura San Giacomo at the 23rd GLAAD Awards

And then I decided that this wasn’t very sporting of me, so you also get this shot from the Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards, in mid-June:

Laura San Giacomo at the Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards

Locals will remember San Giacomo as Rhetta Rodriguez, one of the few characters in Saving Grace with a sort of non-Oklahoman name, although the last year the phone company sent us white pages, we had several columns of Rodriguez.

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