Screaming phonemes

Add this to the Things That Make You Go Hmmm…

Why all of a sudden… is the media spelling Kadaffi’s name “Gadaffi”? Couldn’t have anything to do with an attempt to blind search engines to older, now-inoperative stories about him?

Twenty-five years ago, I was spelling it “Khadafy,” as was the Associated Press. But apparently the G word is the Colonel’s preference:

Flash back to 1986, a year that started out with the AP (and many others) spelling the Libyan leader’s name Khadafy, based on the long-standing advice of Middle East experts. That changed when he sent letters to American schoolchildren, signed in Arabic script over his typed name: Colonel Moammar El-Gadhafi.

This is not, of course, to say that the self-appointed gatekeepers aren’t fudging the results elsewhere. And not everyone follows the AP stylebook: the New York Post, for instance, still calls him Khadafy.

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Getting a little behind

Which is damned hard to do if you started with a big one, believe me.

Below, an ode to one of your least-favorite medical procedures:

The main reason this is here, apart from the garnering of random laffs, is to call attention to the production work of B. J. Leiderman, who wrote the theme to NPR’s Morning Edition way back when, and who was quick to defend himself when I grumbled about its transmogrification into “gormless ‘smooth jazz’.” I think we can safely say that Mr Leiderman has plenty of gorm.

Before you ask: yes, I’ve had one. I am not looking forward to another.

(Via Miss Cellania.)

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Philly cheesed

You don’t argue with a team that starts the season 3-13 if, at the time you have to play them, they’re 33-30. The Sixers have been fairly hot of late, closing in on the Knicks for #6 in the East, and they gave the Thunder some seriously scary moments for forty-eight minutes. Then again, while OKC isn’t always at its best toward the end of regulation, they shine in overtime, and tonight in Philadelphia they held the Sixers to 2-9 shooting in those extra five minutes, escaping the Wells Fargo Foreclosure Forum with a 110-105 win.

Telltale statistic: Andre Iguodala rang up fourteen points in a mere 23 minutes, and then didn’t score for the rest of the game. Blame this on Durant, whom the Ig was supposed to be guarding, and on Nick Collison, the Thunder’s glue guy, who stuck to the Sixers like you know what. The Sixers weren’t short of offense — both Jrue Holiday and Lou Williams were good for 22, Jodie Meeks added 17, and wily veteran Eldon Brand picked up 13 points and 15 boards. The Sixers sent up a flurry of treys: seven of them connected in the first half, but only three in the second.

And you have to figure, when Collison posts a double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds), things ought to be going well, especially if there are two others in the box score — see Durant, K., 34 points/16 boards, and Westbrook, R., 27 points/12 dimes. OKC shot an even 50 percent, and if they weren’t quite as proficient as Philly at the long ball, and only hit 12 free throws all night, there’s a lot to be said for collecting 53 rebounds. (Offensive boards were even at 16; if you dream about second-chance points, this was your game.)

So in game 63, the Thunder collect win number 40. (It just dawned on me: only 19 left.) They’re going to see nothing but the East for the next week and a half: at home against the Pistons Friday, on the road to Cleveland, Washington and Miami, and back home for the Bobcats and the Raptors. OKC has done well against the East, posting a 17-6 record; unfortunately, all the playoff foes are in the West. One of them will not be the 15-50 Minnesota Timberwolves, who are the first team officially eliminated from the playoffs this season. We have to play them once more.

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She’s such a cut-up

What more need I say?

Hello Kitty chainsaw

(Filched from Must Have Cute; spotted first at Finestkind Clinic and fish market.)

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Imagery beyond your wildest imagination

While the rest of us stare in rapturous admiration, LeeAnn comes up with words worth more than pictures:

Ferrets, when properly raised and trained and had their scent-glands or whatever removed, are lovely, intelligent pets. This one was not. I named him Caviar because of the smell, and he constantly bit me. He’d run after me from room to room, biting my ankles. I looked like a shorts-wearing tourist at a Helen Keller weed-whacker convention.

The ferret, for his part, probably looked like one of these guys.

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Giant pygmies will love it

When you have only so much space to make a point, clarity sometimes falls by the wayside. An example, from the Consumer Reports Auto Issue (April 2011):

The new unibody [Ford] Explorer shares a platform with the Flex, but it’s taller and is shorter.

Evidently “not quite as long” wouldn’t have fit.

Addendum: You don’t like giant pygmies? How about fast zombies?

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What the hack?

The search box over in the sidebar might get some use from you guys, but it probably gets a lot more from me, as I try to see what else I might have said on a subject.

While doing that sort of research Monday, I found a couple of old posts which didn’t bring up the topic desired at all — but which, when served up by the Big G, contained extraneous information that happened to match the search. These were static pages; I sent up fresh copies, just in case. And then I went looking for a reason why.

Turns out that last week someone managed to drop a bogus redirect for search engines into .htaccess, and directed it to an encoded php command hiding in a little-used directory. I had WordPress pretty well locked down, but I’m thinking the problem was with FTP. It took me about two minutes to find the offending code and trash it. Passwords and such, of course, are being adjusted.

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The lessons of the past

The Consumerist has an item this week on the rising cost of US paper money, the largest single component of which is not paper at all, but cotton. And cotton prices, they say, are at a 140-year high.

Which prompted this bit of prime snark in the comments, from one Cheap Sniveler:

Cotton was cheap in the 1800’s. We should look into how they produced cotton so cheaply back then and do what they did. That ought to cut cotton costs.

Lack of expensive pesticides, right?

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Thread drift by proxy

In the course of explaining that a comment about the iPhone is irrelevant to a post about beauty products, Julie notes that she’s not in the least an Apple fangirl:

While I’m sure they have their benefits, I refuse to drink the Kool Aid and become yet another slavish devotee to a company that is so proprietary and restrictive and yet successful at creating minions willing to die for their techie products. Why no one has a fit about the restrictions, controls, pricing, and marketing voodoo used by Apple is beyond me. It’s a brand. Steve Jobs doesn’t look long in this world. Enjoy your iPad when Apple’s version of Michael Eisner takes over and destroys the company.

And she closes:

At the risk of generating off-topic comments (I know my readers), I click publish.

Now to see if she’s annoyed by this post, which will produce an off-topic pingback. I mean, I’m not trying to pick on her, but that Michael Eisner line really needs further propagation, so I click publish.

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GT-R done

You can’t go a single day in Yahoo! Answers’ Cars section without seeing some doofus wail about how he (it’s always a “he”) so wants a Nissan Skyline, preferably in GT-R trim, and what does he have to do to get one?

Of course, what makes him a doofus is not that he wants the Skyline, a legitimate halo (as distinguished from Halo) car, but the fact that he’s asking this question without running a simple search of the site to see if such a thing has been asked before. (Which it has; yesterday, in fact.) On the off-chance that any of them happen to wander over this way, I’ll point them to Tam’s:

I’ll sleep safer in my bed tonight, secure in the knowledge that rough men stand watch in the night, protecting me from cars that haven’t had the full battery of NHTSA frontal offset barrier impact tests.

Curiously, none of these guys seem to want the R35 version, which is actually available in the States, or the V36 Skyline, sold here as the Infiniti G. Maybe in twenty years, when the holographic version of The Fast and the Furious shows up.

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Blue-icon stepchild

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Block that beta!

I spent not quite half an hour yesterday morning wired to a laptop, and no, it wasn’t to improve the WiFi reception. Lucky me, I got to experience ANSAR, which is a test routine to evaluate my autonomic nervous system.

From the booklet they handed out:

There are two parts, or branches, to your ANS: the sympathetic branch and the parasympathetic branch. Generally, the sympathetic branch is more in control when you are stressed, nervous, or excited, while the parasympathetic branch is more in control when you are relaxing, sleeping, or recovering from an illness or injury.

A balance between the two branches of your ANS is essential for good health. In fact, most illnesses and injuries cause or result from an imbalance between these two branches.

Now “cause or result from” triggers the same flags as “jobs saved or created”: the WTF meter is almost pegged. Still, the discerning reader will presumably have already discerned that I have an imbalance, and a whopping one at that: the parasympathetic branch is apparently up to snuff, but the sympathetic branch is merely pathetic. (Video discussing for whom this test might be indicated.)

So it’s apparently time for a beta blocker, to keep away unworthy men address any potential cardiac issues, since I am a tad hypertensive, albeit reasonably well-controlled. (138/76 of late.) I am, of course, not looking forward to this, but the idea of losing a symptom or three has a genuine appeal.

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I remember Cyd

Cyd Charisse would have been 89 today, and regular readers will remember the send-off I gave her when she danced out of this world in 2008. I didn’t serve up any pictures at that time, though, so amends are made herewith.

You have to keep in mind, now, that the first time I saw her was in Brigadoon, an innocent Scottish lass who won over a surly New Yorker (Gene Kelly):

Cyd Charisse and Gene Kelly in Brigadoon

It did not occur to me at the time that a previous meeting with Gene was, um, perhaps a tad less wholesome:

Cyd Charisse and Gene Kelly in Brigadoon

Not everything she did, of course, involved Gene Kelly. From that earlier article:

Allow me to recommend the scene in Silk Stockings where she replaces her coarse Communist unmentionables with Parisian finery: the ratio of sheer eroticism to volume of actual exposed flesh is among the highest in motion-picture history.

Which you can see here. Mere stills would not do it justice.

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Care Bears scare

While no one was looking, the Memphis Grizzlies climbed their way into eighth place in the West. The Griz won 21 of their first 30 games in the FedUpForum, and last night, just for good measure, they slid past the Mavericks in Dallas. You have to assume, therefore, that the Thunder, who’d beaten Memphis only once in three tries this season, were aware what they were up against. But maybe it didn’t matter: the Griz were clicking on all cylinders tonight, and Yahoo! Sports had the final score posted about four minutes (real time, not game time) before the game actually ended. (I went back a few minutes later, and they’d fixed it.) Grizzlies 107, Thunder 101, and that finishes off the season series.

Oklahoma City managed to outshoot Memphis (52.5 percent!), but they fell down on the boards, especially offensive boards, which the Griz dominated, 15-8. And they did it without Rudy Gay, who’s been out since mid-February with a shoulder injury. All five Memphis starters scored in double figures, led by guards Mike Conley and Tony Allen, both of whom picked up an even 20.

And for some reason, the Thunder weren’t getting the free throws. (Radio guy Matt Pinto would say it was because the fouls weren’t being called.) They put up only 18; worse, they made just 11. Neither Russell Westbrook nor Kevin Durant got to be a Force of Nature tonight, though Westbrook came closer, picking up 27 points on 11-21 shooting. (Durant went 8-19, despite four second-half treys; the Griz gave him grief from the opening tipoff.)

The road trip continues at Philadelphia. Do not get your hopes up: the Sixers have won eight of their last ten. On the other hand, they have to play at Indiana Tuesday, and the Thunder show up in Philly on Wednesday.

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Turning with the world

Things you may not know — at least, things I did not know — about the first 125 years or so of Cosmopolitan.

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We want to be like Mick

You can tell things are getting bad in Tulsa when a Tulsa World columnist actually calls for Oklahoma City to be running things:

What we need to outsource is City Hall.

How much do you think Oklahoma City would charge us to take over governing Tulsa?

I don’t know. How much did Heracles get for beheading the Hydra? It’s a comparable task, and it’s probably easier than rerouting the Arkansas River through 2nd and Cincinnati. And I’m pretty sure OKC Mayor Mick Cornett isn’t champing at the bit to take over.

Actually, Tulsa is contemplating some charter changes, one of which might be the adoption of a council/manager form of government similar to Oklahoma City’s, which is occasionally slow and cumbersome but once in a while manages to do the Right Thing. With Tulsa’s existing strong-mayor system, you have to hope that you elected someone up to the task, which too often you didn’t, which explains why America’s Most Beautiful City (Time, 1950s) has basically turned into the White Detroit.

The ultimate solution may be to dissolve the government entirely and let Jenks annex the city. At least they seem to know how to run things.

It’s either that or turn it over to Charlie Sheen.

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