Strange search-engine queries (249)

What we do here once a week is to sift through the server logs, pull out anything that looks like it came from a search tool, and then hope desperately that there’s a punchline or two to be found. Usually there is.

maureen dowd love life:  I’m sorry, you want the Science Fiction section, next aisle.

sexy legs crossing on c-span:  It just hasn’t been the same since Condoleezza Rice left Washington.

hello i wanted to bid on your item but i couldn’t as it isn’t opened to overseas. could you exempt me from any buyers requirements. Please see ebay’s help to do it. regards:  In fact, why don’t you just give me the damn item now and get it over with?

three deuces and a four speed 289:  No, no, no. A 389. A 289 is some sort of Ford, isn’t it?

I have the spirit of an explorer:  That’s some sort of Ford, isn’t it?

mr. clean sexist:  How do you figure? At least the guy’s doing housework.

nude boys playing air guitar:  They’re probably just warming up to do some housework.

chuck berry naked girl:  “C’est la vie,” say the old folks.

“a graft of politicians”:  This is, or ought to be, the standard collective noun. See also “a clutch of mechanics.”

how much do we hear:  Um, did you say something?

women’s reproductive health drug “add comments”:  Not a chance. There are times when it’s advisable to keep one’s mouth discreetly shut.

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Acting like the Celtics

That’s the main thing about an experienced team like Boston: they play their game, and it’s up to the opposition to adjust. Right now, the Thunder hasn’t quite figured out how to play their own game, and the Celtics left them befuddled for most of the evening, pinning a 92-83 loss on Kevin Durant and company at the Edsel Center.

The first few minutes suggested a half-court grindout, but the Celtics picked up some serious steam, running up a 58-37 lead by halftime. Durant and Russell Westbrook took over in the third, scoring 27 between them while holding the Celtics to 15, but Oklahoma City never got closer than six points. And then there’s the Jeff Green Factor: Uncle Jeff rolled his ankle in practice yesterday and didn’t play, Serge Ibaka getting the start at the four, and not even a worthy 34-point effort by Durant (Westbrook had 16) was enough to offset Green’s absence. The Thunder are shooting better, if you call 42.7 percent “better.”

Boston also displayed some serious depth: the Celtics’ bench contributed 33 points to the cause, even without Shaq, who saw no playing time. In the battle of the point guards, Westbrook (16 points/10 assists) beat out Rajon Rondo (10 points/10 assists), but you could argue that Rondo didn’t need to do much, what with the second unit doing so well and the Thunder giving up the ball 18 times in 48 minutes.

So the homestand starts out on a sour note. There’s a bit of a break before the 76ers arrive on Wednesday; Friday, it’s a rematch with Portland, and the Blazers will have vengeance on their minds.

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Last clog I had cost me $450

Then again, it was a plumbing issue, not a shoe.

A friend on Facebook (as distinguished from “a Facebook friend”) put up this picture and asked: “Would you pay $300.00 for this shoe?” I, of course, simply had to take a look:

Ode by Diane von Furstenberg

This is “Ode” by Diane von Furstenberg, which Nordstrom describes thusly:

Antiqued studs trim the beautiful cutout leather upper of a nature-inspired clog balanced on a tiered wooden wedge.

At 4½ inches high, less one inch for the platform, presumably “balanced” is the operative word here. I am not much of a clog fan, though I do like the design on the upper, and the vaguely-rustic look means no one’s going to try to match this up with gold lamé and shoulder pads. (I hope.) It would work, though, with a long-enough skirt in something resembling earth tones; I just hate the idea of encouraging longer skirts.

Is it worth $300? Maybe. At this writing, it’s on sale for 40% off, and I think it makes a better case for itself at $180.

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Some old settled science

The role model for contemporary extrapolation from scientific models is apparently Mark Twain, who wrote in Life on the Mississippi back in 1883:

The Mississippi between Cairo and New Orleans was twelve hundred and fifteen miles long one hundred and seventy-six years ago. It was eleven hundred and eighty after the cut-off of 1722. It was one thousand and forty after the American Bend cut-off. It has lost sixty-seven miles since. Consequently its length is only nine hundred and seventy-three miles at present.

Now, if I wanted to be one of those ponderous scientific people, and ‘let on’ to prove what had occurred in the remote past by what had occurred in a given time in the recent past, or what will occur in the far future by what has occurred in late years, what an opportunity is here! … Please observe:–

In the space of one hundred and seventy-six years, the Lower Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. This is an average of a trifle over one mile and a third per year. Therefore, any calm person, who is not blind or idiotic, can see that in the Old Oolitic Silurian Period, just a million years ago next November, the Lower Mississippi River was upwards of one million three hundred thousand miles long, and stuck out over the Gulf of Mexico like a fishing-rod. And by the same token any person can see that seven hundred and forty-two years from now the Lower Mississippi will be only a mile and three-quarters long, and Cairo and New Orleans will have joined their streets together, and be plodding comfortably along under a single mayor and a mutual board of aldermen.

Oddly enough, we covered this process in middle-school science: the formation of oxbow lakes.

(From Old Grouch, riffing off an observation by Roberta X.)

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Perhaps trying too hard

For years now, the Tampa Tribune has had a Web presence at TBO.com. As is apparently de rigueur these days, they’ve come up with a custom URL shortener: tbo.ly.

There has been some rumbling in the Twitterverse about why one shouldn’t use those wicked .ly domains, which are issued by the General Post and Telecommunication Company of Libya, a public firm chaired by Muhammad al-Gaddafi. (You probably know about his dad, the Colonel.) I’m not in a position to complain about this, since I have been known to squish down URLs through bit.ly, which is not owned by the Libyans but which pays the stiffish price for one of their domains. But tbo.ly bothers me for a different reason, the same one cited by Costa Tsiokos here:

Because, somehow, tbo.com is too damned long, with that extra letter “m”?

I guess “Hey, ain’t we cool? We have our own shortener!” is believed to be worth something in goodwill.

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It’s all about the Hamiltons

I pulled into the self-checkout line with a basket of twenty or so items. The guy at the nearest machine was just leaving, but the second-nearest machine was empty, so I headed in that general direction, pausing for him to pass by.

And then I saw it: a ten-spot, left in the currency bin. Evidently he’d bought nine dollars and odd worth of stuff, shoved a twenty into the slot, carefully retrieved the coins (which land elsewhere), but forgot about the tenner.

I grabbed it and shouted in his general direction, but he was gone. On the basis that maybe he’d come back, I handed it to the nearest clerk, who stuffed it back into the machine through the Coupons slot. Never seen that before.

Oh, well, thought I, and started scanning. The last item was a bunch of bananas. (I wanted it on top of the bag, for reasons which should be obvious.) I paid via check card, and as always, looked at the bottom of the receipt to verify the dollar amount. But I also saw this:

NUMBER OF ITEMS . . . . . 21

There is, as it happens, a sign at each terminal which says NO MORE THAN 20 ITEMS. Evidently the gizmo isn’t programmed to reject that twenty-first item. But I still felt weird: attempted good deed canceled out by apparent peccadillo. “Modern guilt,” as Beck says, “is all in our hands.”

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Cadillac plans

Funny thing: you don’t get them at Kia prices.

Friday night, this site had a few seconds of downtime because of network maintenance at the Web host. (I posted a warning at the backup site.) For some reason, when there’s any downtime at all, the host gets a flood of complaints, usually along the lines of “This is costing me lots and lots of money!”

I usually don’t respond to these things, but there are two factors which must be taken into account:

  1. Hardly anyone is actually making lots and lots of money off the Web, and
  2. Those who are, you can bet, are paying a lot more than ten bucks a month for their sites.

And then there’s this:

My google ranking has gone to hell this month. My website has been down for a total of seven times, more than an hour each time, this month alone.

Yeah? I checked our corporate site, which was down for the better part of two days this past month for maintenance. It’s still carrying the same old 4 out of 10. (It’s been as high as 5 on occasion, though not recently.) And you don’t want to know what it costs us for hardware and bandwidth.

I suppose it would be nice to have double and triple and fourple redundancy, but at this traffic level — 0.5 GB per day at most — it’s absurd.

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Adhesive thinking

In the process of defending the seemingly-ubiquitous “Coexist” bumper sticker, Dave contemplates the sticker and its sartorial cousin the T-shirt as cultural phenomena:

Some display simple messages that are seem to be designed to simply express an opinion (the “I Vote By the Book” and yellow equal sign stickers come to mind) and some seem to be designed to be antagonistic (like the old “Impeach Clinton and her Husband Too” sticker). I have a friend that used to have a sticker on her car that said “annoy a leftist.” Now she is a super nice and intelligent person and a staunch conservative (more so fiscally speaking than socially). Well one day she was starting a new job and got berated by some guy for being a “knuckle dragger” (among other things). He didn’t know her from Adam but made the assumption based on the sticker on her car. That sticker is one that I would call antagonistic. Sure it is funny but it is also meant to get under peoples skins more than express an opinion (at least that is my assumption since I don’t know what the person who made it was thinking). Sometime I wonder if these antagonistic stickers and t-shirts do more harm than good. They spread divisive messages into an already divided populace and do nothing more than dig people in and squash dialogue. Then again maybe I’m giving these things more power than they deserve.

I think he could be giving these things more power than they deserve. The populace would be divided even if everyone had unadorned bumpers and strictly solid-color Ts. I haven’t displayed a bumper sticker since 1995, not even the one AAA sends me every year. This doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions; it means I have an outlet for them other than the back of my car. (This site went up in 1996. Hmmm…)

But I’m inclined to believe that most people shrug off these little bits of free speech unless (1) their particular buttons are being pushed and (2) at that specific moment they’re in the mood to go off on somebody for something, relevant or not.

And I’m in the mood to point you to this parody of the “Coexist” sticker, because that’s just how I roll.

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From the Dead White Guys file

For some reason, I find this report to be highly disturbing:

When I quoted Ben Franklin’s “He who would sacrifice freedom for security deserves neither” adage on a friend’s FB page, a friend of hers responded with “Ben Franklin is irrelevant because he lived before the Great Depression.” Nice.

In which case, surely we can knock it off about the Peculiar Institution that was, or was not, the cause of the Civil War Between the States for Southern Independence, which also happened rather a long time before the Great Depression.

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Justice little as possible

The very word “justice,” says Tony Woodlief, has jumped the shark:

We already have economic justice, social justice, global justice, environmental justice, climate justice, housing justice, transportation justice, even — no kidding — judicial justice … the game seems to be that when you want to force other people to adjust their lives to better suit your preferences, you slap the word “justice” on the end of your slogan and it’s transformed into a golden ticket on the rail car running straight to the tippy top of Moral Mountain.

Most of these ostensible justices are invoked in the name of “fairness,” which gives me an excuse to trot out once more this observation from Marcus Cole:

You know, I used to think that it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn’t it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe.

Cole, it must be said, was an incurable romantic, which just goes to show you.

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Drama right here in iTunes

Another one of those odd juxtapositions that occasionally turn up on my sort-of-randomized playlist:

Screen shot from iTunes

Somewhere out there, one assumes, is the female equivalent of Cee Lo Green.

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Fake but effusive

This “comment” landed in the spam trap, probably for a high Insincerity Score:

Man, talk about a fantastic post! I?ve stumbled across your blog a few times within the past, but I usually forgot to bookmark it. But not again! Thanks for posting the way you do, I genuinely appreciate seeing someone who actually has a viewpoint and isn?t really just bringing back up crap like nearly all other writers today. Keep it up!

Question marks in place of apostrophes don’t delight me either. And I’m being sincere when I say so.

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All it needs is a hand crank

The Nissan Leaf is an electric vehicle; it has no pistons, no cylinders, no valves.

It does, however, have a valve cover:

Under the hood of the Nissan Leaf

David Vespremi sees a cultural precedent for this sort of atavistic throwback:

When the television was introduced, and for literally decades afterwards, it was not uncommon for them to be housed in wooden cabinets or, in later, years, to come with faux wood finishes. The thinking was, the TV was something new and alien. So, to integrate it with our lives and, indeed, the fabric of our society, it needed first and foremost to integrate with our living rooms. Ergo, the TV became a piece of wooden furniture.

So the Leaf, inevitably, is a bit closer to Studebaker than to Star Trek. I’m not quite sure how I feel about this. If this is the powerplant of the future, it seems like it ought to look futuristic, but I hate it every time I pop the hood of a car and nothing looks familiar. So maybe this is Nissan’s sop to saps like me.

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398

Judging by the title of the 398th Carnival of the Vanities, Andrew Ian Dodge is “back from DC.”

I’m pretty sure he had to travel more than 398 miles to get home, though within that distance you can find nifty spots like Oak Island, North Carolina. (From my house, 398 miles will land me in the parking lot at Waterloo Records.)

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Pedal closer to the metal?

Google’s been playing around with the Apache Web server, and they’ve announced a new module:

[W]e’re introducing a module for the Apache HTTP Server called mod_pagespeed to perform many speed optimizations automatically. We’re starting with more than 15 on-the-fly optimizations that address various aspects of web performance, including optimizing caching, minimizing client-server round trips and minimizing payload size. We’ve seen mod_pagespeed reduce page load times by up to 50% (an average across a rough sample of sites we tried) — in other words, essentially speeding up websites by about 2x, and sometimes even faster.

Well, we’ll just see about that. I actually installed it last night, and about half the time it sped up the load time considerably, and the rest of the time it refused to load at all. I’m still testing on some smaller sites, but I’ve pulled it from here for now.

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Handed to him on a paper platter

The next Oklahoma House of Representatives will have 70 Republicans and 31 Democrats. If this sounds like a rout to you, you ain’t heard nothing yet:

[Rusty] Farley ran for this seat in 2008, and lost to Democrat Dennis Bailey 56.7%-43.3%. House District 1 contains (and only contains) McCurtain County in far southeastern Oklahoma. A whopping 11.8% of voters are registered Republicans, and 5.2% are Independents. This time, Farley received 50.83% of the vote against Bailey.

Did I mention that Bailey spent over $20,000 on his reelection bid, while Farley spent … $100? Yes, Farley spent $100 and won the race.

In Little Dixie, yet, where “Republican” used to be a dirty word on the level of “grit-eating, scum-sucking, pencil-neck geek.”

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