Buy Terran!

Michael Karesh, reviewing Chrysler’s 300C with the SRT8 package:

A sign of the times: the most American sedan you can buy is assembled in a Canadian plant with a Mexican engine and a German transmission by an Italian-controlled company.

Meanwhile, your American-controlled companies have seemed more interested in building Japanese sedans in, for instance, Mexico.

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Strange search-engine queries (318)

This weekly feature highlights the lowlights of last week’s server logs, and it comes to you free, out of the goodness of my heart and at my own expense, totally unlike all the “free” stuff people think they’re getting from the government.

mazda 626 transmission exploded view:  Keep forgetting to change the fluid, and you can see it happening live in your own driveway.

naked man sitting down position:  Some people will be disturbed if he’s, um, standing up.

german sewerage treatment rachmaninoff:  It’s amazing how microbes respond to blatant Romanticism.

gambar background power point romantic:  It’s amazing how PowerPoint viewers respond to blatant Romanticism.

“search pollution”:  When the pr0n links outnumber the links you actually wanted.

why does my mazda 3 need a new transmission:  Because life is unfair. Deal with it.

come to me softly with piano:  Trust me, it will be a lot easier to sneak up on you with a flute.

why is mid grade cheaper than regular in iowa:  It’s ten percent corn squeezings. Maybe more.

what is the distance between toilet area and the farthest point at the building per ibc:  Approximately the distance over which you can hold it in, plus thirty-five percent.

girls neon dc shoes:  But of course. If they ran on AC, they’d have to be plugged into the wall.

why is even in his youth not on nevermind:  Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?

“consumer reports” “best rated condoms”:  Nice to see you too, Ms Fluke.

is political blogging trustworthy:  As much so as politics itself.

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A fabric that stands up

Mr. Hicks Casuals would like you to know that these slacks are made with 50 percent Fortrel® polyester:

Glo-Tone slacks by Mr. Hicks

Ah, if only we could still buy slacks for nine bucks a pair.

(This was Found In Mom’s Basement.)

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Lizards in Texas

And you thought your state’s Congressional districts were strange-looking:

Proposed Travis County Congressional districts

You’re looking at the middle of Austin, Texas, under a recent redistricing proposal. Chris Bradford explains it all:

Downtown condo dwellers, UT students who live in West Campus, and South Austinites vote with Kerrville ranchers. UT students who live on campus, most of east Austin, Hyde Park and West Lake Hills vote, naturally, with the southern Fort Worth suburbs. The portion of east Austin that doesn’t vote with Fort Worth votes with central San Antonio. And the Triangle and north Austin vote with west Houston.

Elbridge Gerry, having died 198 years ago, was not available for comment, though I’m sure he’d have approved.

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Question of the ages, settled

“Only question I ever thought was hard,” said white’n’nerdy Weird Al, “was do I like Kirk or do I like Picard?”

Easy one, Alfred:

Remember when The Riddler took control of the USS Enterprise and started flying it in the wrong direction? It was the first appearance of the self-destruct routine in Star Trek. What did “need a wheelbarrow for my balls” Captain Kirk say about that? Huh? Anybody? Bueller? What was the famous line?

“I am captain of this ship, and it will follow whatever course I set for it, or … I will destroy it.”

In the Picard era, the self-destruct device was used to illustrate the willingness with which the individuals would sacrifice their lives for the greater good. See, this is why Kirk beats Picard. Kirk was all about the triumph of the human will, ultimately, the triumph of the individual against chaos, misery, strife, insurmountable situations and impossible odds; Picard was all about subordination of that individual to the nebulous calling of the greater good.

Picard, of course, was quick to point out the necessity of that presumed Greater Good:

“The Prime Directive is not just a set of rules. It is a philosophy, and a very correct one. History has proven again and again that whenever mankind interferes with a less developed civilization, no matter how well intentioned that interference may be, the results are invariably disastrous.”

Then again, Picard wasn’t exactly blind to the universe around him:

“Villains who twirl their mustaches are easy to spot. Those who clothe themselves in good deeds are well-camouflaged.”

And these days, the latter far outnumber the former.

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Splendor on the grass

Spring is darn near sprung, and Splendid, previously known more for its flirty shirts, has introduced a shoe line appropriate for the season.

Lustful by Splendid

Heirloom Shoe, their local retail outlet (NW 44th and Western), is promoting this particular style on their Facebook page, and a friend expressed some enthusiasm for it, which is more than enough reason for me to put it up here. This color is called River Rock; there’s also a Rainbow version, both sitting on this 4½-inch high woven-bamboo wedge. The price, at $109, is not eye-popping. And I swear, I’d already started on this post long before I discovered that Splendid calls this shoe “Lustful.”

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This has to be an early frontrunner for Sentence of the Year:

If anyone ever asks me who I am, all I need to say is: I am the type of person who did ecstasy once, and afterwards had to look up the word in the dictionary in order to verify the etymological roots of my experience.

More than usual, I urge you to read the whole thing.

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No shortage of talons

You might have thought the Atlanta Hawks, missing Joe Johnson for the week and Al Horford for the season, might have had some trouble tonight. You would have been wrong. For most of those 48 minutes, the Birds simply out-hustled the Thunder, and while OKC did manage to tie early in the fourth quarter, Atlanta ran off eight consecutive points and never trailed again, posting a 97-90 win.

“Three-point happy,” said radio guy Matt Pinto, and he wasn’t kidding: the Thunder tossed up twenty-three from downtown, and only six actually dropped in. What’s more, they turned the ball over 21 times, resulting in 22 points for the Hawks, and if someone tonight was supposed to be clutch, well, the disc was slipping or something. Russell Westbrook, for the most part, did not look like someone who’d suffered a sprain two days ago, and he did rack up 25 points, but he didn’t snag so much as a single rebound. Kendrick Perkins showed some ferocity, enough to get himself six fouls in barely 15 minutes; this opened some time for Cole Aldrich, who pulled down seven boards, five offensive. And, yes, Kevin Durant scored his usual 106 35.

But nobody seemed quite as motivated as Atlanta’s Josh Smith, who was playing as though he was assuming personal responsibility for blowing the Thunder off the court. And here’s your telltale statistic: Smith had 30 points, 12 rebounds — yet still wound up -2 for the night. This tells me that the other Hawks were feeding off Smith’s energy, and even the occasionally tough Thunder defense, which blocked ten shots, would not be getting them down. Four of five Atlanta starters got double figures, and Zaza Pachulia had a double-double (10 points, 14 rebounds). Off the bench, Jerry Stackhouse didn’t score, but he served up five dimes, more than any Thunder player. And both Jannero Pargo and Vladimir Radmanovic came up with timely treys.

So the road trip ends on a sour note, and there’ll be no coffee on the flight home. Not that anyone has time to think about that, with the Mavs coming to town on Monday.

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Upbeat, not uptight

Tomorrow is Patsy Kensit’s birthday — she’ll be 44 — and it occurred to me that I hadn’t seen her since Grace of My Heart, fifteen years ago, in which she played a songwriter trying to establish herself in the Brill Building pop-music factory of the early 1960s.

She dropped out of American sight shortly afterwards, but she’s been a regular on British television, and the following photo comes from the BBC series Strictly Come Dancing, season eight (2010), in which she was paired with dancer Robin Windsor:

Patsy Kensit on SCD

The Daily Mail places this shot in the first week of November, for which Kensit and Windsor did the cha-cha to Kylie Minogue’s “All the Lovers.” I’m trying not to imagine what they looked like the week before, doing the Monster Mash; they would survive for two more weeks, and at the time Kensit estimated she’d lost close to two stone — 28 lb — since she began training for the show.

The title here comes from Grace of My Heart: it’s what Kensit’s character wants from the girl group for whom she has written a song.

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Ole! data

I don’t often have occasion to go digging around in Microsoft’s Knowledge Base, since rebranded “Support” — despite my occasional frustration with Windows, my computers work more often than not — but here’s the bulk of article Q222330, for reasons which will be disclosed shortly:

When sending HTML messages with an attached Microsoft Office 2000 document, the message is sent as an Outlook HTML message, not an Office Envelope message. The Oledata.mso file contains necessary information to properly render the attachment in the message in its originating program. This is known as “round tripping.” There is no useful information for the user in this file and it is not editable. Do not delete this file; doing so could render the attached file unuseable.

If an HTML message is opened on a computer that does not have Outlook 2000 installed, you will see the Oledata.mso file as an additional attachment.

I mention this because Keith Kelley, of Insurance Commissioner John Doak’s office, dropped three such messages in my inbox yesterday, each containing a largish .docx file, a .wmz file (a zipped Windows Metafile), a couple of PNG graphics, and the aforementioned oledata.mso. This, of course, guarantees I won’t read the silly things. Considering the fact that Doak’s previous PR underling was sacked for a Pythonesque reference to bewbage, I’m almost starting to miss Carroll Fisher, and he was impeached fercrissake.

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They’re playing our song

When word got around that the city of Norman was seeking a Municipal Anthem of sorts — see, for instance, Mia Cantu’s writeup in last week’s Gazette — I, of course, wondered why they didn’t just hit up John D. Loudermilk, who’d already written a tune, sort of, on the subject.

But Norman’s ambitions were higher than that, as we can see from composer Libby Larsen’s notes:

Symphony: Forward was written to celebrate the inaugural concert of the Norman Philharmonic on January 15, 2012. Commissioned by the citizens of the city of Norman, the piece is a result of the long friendship between composer Libby Larsen and Richard Zielinski, director of the newly-formed ensemble. Taking inspiration from the city of Norman flag, the music reflects the artistic energy, enthusiasm, and culture of the people of Norman. The symphony is in three movements. The musical energy of the first movement, “Boundless,” surges upward and outward, unfettered by boundaries. The second movement, “Here,” is an aria for the heart, a musical depiction of home. “Forward,” the last movement, is an American ride into the future, incorporating the Norman Anthem into a fabric of symphonic grandeur combined with fiddling, jazz, and unquestionably American rhythms.

This is approximately the place where I’m supposed to throw in a remark like: “So, chicken-fried Copland, then?” But Larsen, and Norman, deserve better than that, so I’ll have to figure out some way to hear this piece without waiting for the 2086 Moore Winter Olympics.

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Yes, we have no mechanics

Aaron Robinson, in the April Car and Driver, on some seriously skewed priorities:

Somewhere along the line, America forgot that getting paid to replace a clutch, weld steel, or work a lathe is as respectable a pursuit for a 21-year-old as earning an English degree or carrying an M-16 in Afghanistan. Germany hasn’t forgotten. There, a bedrock system of trade schools preserves the nation’s historic excellence in technical arts. Meanwhile, the country whose welders once built the Saturn V rocket is having trouble finding people who can change an oil filter.

Perhaps they can rebrand the vocational option as “Physical Studies.”

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New cites to see

Paying attention to Twitter — or at least a tiny subsection of it — has provided me with rather a lot of material in the past couple of years, and I’ve cited rather a lot of tweets with the traditional blogoid “Via” line.

Doing it this way, however, falls well short of the style standards of the Modern Language Association, as updated for life (and research) in The Cloud. This is the preferred MLA structure:

Begin the entry in the works-cited list with the author’s real name and, in parentheses, user name, if both are known and they differ. If only the user name is known, give it alone.

Next provide the entire text of the tweet in quotation marks, without changing the capitalization. Conclude the entry with the date and time of the message and the medium of publication (Tweet). For example:

    Athar, Sohaib (ReallyVirtual). “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).” 1 May 2011, 3:58 p.m. Tweet.

If I ever again have to do any formal research, I’ll keep this in mind.

In the meantime, this is where I read about it.

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Holy Hannah!

How do we know we’re getting on in years? Dakota Fanning is now, um, legal:

Dakota Fanning in UK Elle

Eighteen as of the 23rd of February. The above shot from the UK edition of Elle, given magazine lead times, had to have been taken before that, but it’s clear they weren’t trying to make her look like a kid. Just the same, I’m not sending this up for Rule 5 consideration. I have some rules.

(Before you ask: Sister Elle is thirteen. I suspect she’s going to be the Zooey to Dakota’s Emily, but you didn’t hear it from me.)

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Totally out of sight

I suspect the, um, suspect gave them a blank look:

A 28-year-old Winder [GA] man called 911 on Feb. 17 and said he was invisible.

Which wasn’t the problem, exactly:

[W]hen the deputy arrived at the location he was advised by first responders that the caller did not need medical assistance and this was the fourth or fifth time paramedics had been to the residence in the past couple weeks.

The deputy was told the caller wanted a ride to the hospital “so he could get more medications” because he had taken all the medication he had received the night before.

But that’s not the punchline. This is:

According to Barrow County Detention Center records, the caller has prior arrests for criminal trespass and failure to appear.

“Failure to appear”? Ya think?

(Via Fark, which enjoyed this greatly.)

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Hey, kids, what day is it?

Well, it’s evidently not the best day to buy Swedish furniture.

We are apparently never going to run out of variations on “Friday.” A Pentecostal church in Texas has wrought the inevitable “Sunday” version, and while it’s not the first such, this is the first time I’ve ever seen Rebecca Black mentioned from the pulpit.

And you know, I’d almost be more likely to believe this fabricated Nintendo-related product announcement if it came out on the first of April:

Ubisoft has just announced a new addition for their “The Experience” line, centered around the unmistakable sounds of Rebecca Black! After the massive success of Michael Jackson The Experience, Ubisoft created The Black Eyed Peas Experience and are rumored to be making Lady Gaga The Experience. It only makes sense for them to continue the trend of huge artists and hit music with Rebecca Black The Experience!

Wii so excited, indeed.

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