Non-D scripts

When I first had the unmitigated gall to stick Facebook share buttons on individual posts — I still haven’t done it on the front page, and likely won’t — I noted that the FB script merely displayed a logo, and I added the term “Share” to the template manually.

Facebook has since glued the word “Share” to the button, which meant that all 12,000-odd posts in this database had “Share” on either side of the logo. It didn’t take long to fix the template, so the posts will be corrected as the cached copies expire, but FB’s text size for “Share” is smaller than my default and therefore smaller than the “Tweet this” text next to the Twitter button on the next line, so I had to tweak that as well, but they still didn’t match exactly. Finally, I decided if we’re going to have dissimilar styles, we’re going to have completely dissimilar styles, and I installed the officially licensed Tweet Button. (Which is bigger, so nyah.)

I suppose there’s a way to do this for Google+, but Google prides itself on its incomprehensible documentation, so I’m not considering giving them a button any time soon.

Update: Got the Google+ to work. On the first try, even.

Further update: Also got the newer FB button, since the old one is facing extinction.

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Even more muffler stuff

Presuming you’ve read this already, I figure this is a reasonable companion piece thereto:

You’ve been using it for years and you realize it’s getting a little worn. It’s developed a few little quirks, but it still gets you where you want to go, so you keep driving it until one day a wheel falls off and you say “oh, poop”, or something similar and you finally break down and spend some money to get it fixed. And now after it’s been repaired you realize just how badly broken it was because your car drives like brand new now and you can’t believe how much smoother it is and you wonder why you didn’t get it fixed earlier.

The noise level in my car has been rising for about a year and a half, actually, though it didn’t occur to me that it might be exhaust-related until I came down the driveway too fast and heard the telltale sound of banging metal from somewhere behind the back seat. And I didn’t actually get around to having it fixed until the noise got really bad, and I mean slammed-Civic-with-fart-can bad.

Of course, in the afternoon I can’t enjoy the (relative) silence, because the A/C is trying desperately to deal with temperatures around 100, which means fan speed cranked to the max.

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Art as an organizing principle

Lileks writes from beautiful downtown Helsinki:

There’s a stylistic similarity to the other grand structures — they belong to Europe, the 18th and 19th and early 20th centuries; they speak of the old orders, the sustaining culture, the organizing principles and assumptions. This place above is the modern world, anywhere, rootless, vague, inert, remote. Oh, it’s interesting. But the heart doesn’t sing upon seeing it. The building on the right is the modern museum, and the tour guide said that when it opened most people were disinclined to like its contents, but Finns, being curious and interested in what’s new and wanting to talk about what everyone else is talking about, went there regularly. Not because they want to, but because there’s an assumption that this is what thinking people do. They go to art museums to see abstract things, “and if it makes you have a reaction,” she said, “then that is what art does.”

Actually, that would seem to depend on the nature of the reaction:

A bird flew into our veranda today, tried to get out, hit its head on the glass, defecated, and threw up a minnow. That was a reaction.

Even now, the Institute for Contemporary Postmodernism, or something like that, is trying to acquire the legal rights to that very ex-fish.

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Let them B

Last year I made some noise about customer-service surveys being susceptible to grade inflation. Someone who actually hands out grades amplifies the point:

A grade of C used to be passing. It meant the person had mastered the material, nothing more. B meant they did better than mastery; A was a rare grade, assigned only when the person went over and above and did more than was expected, and was outstanding in other ways. It used to be that a student started at C and worked their way up; now the expectation on many people’s part (not just students these days) is that they start at an A and that they go down from there (usually because the Mean Professor unfairly deducted points from them).

I wonder if this has something to do with numerical grades, which do start at 100 percent and work their way downward. (And where does a B start, anyway? 92? 90?)

In the specific case of auto dealerships, they know they’ll get dinged if the higher-ups on the chain hear about it, so they plead for your A, and God forbid you should give them a miserable B. Anything below C level, and they can expect to be stuffed into a sack and drowned.

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Continued Munsing

We have another 1950s Munsingwear ad, this time for “Orchard Colors”: Raisin Cane, Sweet Cider, Nectarin, Sugar Date, Nutmeg, Blue Plum.

Munsingwear Orchard Colors

Sixty-odd years later, at least half of those names could conceivably belong to background ponies on MLP:FiM.

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Kind of a Bluffview

I absolutely must pass on to the rest of you this TFG description of the mother of a surly teenager, purely for its lyrical qualities:

His mom was at least semi-good looking in that North Dallas bottle-blonde Wonderbra treadmill-butt kind of way. Dallas still churns those out by the thousands. Learn to be thankful for the small things, kids … sassy barmaids, N. Dallas blondies, a fresh can of snuff … they make your denouement bearable.

So noted for future reference.

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Happy rather than dignified

If you thought having Abraham Lincoln hunt vampires was the lowest form of literary revisionism, you ain’t seen nothing yet:

A publisher of adult fiction is giving literary classics such as Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice an erotic makeover.

The company said that it was “100% convinced” that there was a market for the racy versions of the 19th century novels by authors Charlotte Brontë and Jane Austen and that the spicing up of the much-loved books will introduce the classics to “a new generation of readers”.

Other titles to be published under the Clandestine Classics collection include Austen’s Northanger Abbey and Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories featuring Sherlock Holmes.

The luminous E. M. Zanotti, noting that it’s all the fault of Fifty Shades of Grey, comments:

I’m a little curious as to whether they’ll do Wuthering Heights. Because if there’s anything a book about creepy, incestuous baby-making needs, it’s graphic play-by-play.

I worry that if this sort of thing catches on, eventually the originals will be looked upon as the Expurgated Versions.

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No connection to Fox

We do love our News Babes here in the States. (Certainly there’s not all that much reason to watch our overly-excitable news channels otherwise.) However, it seems that the News Babe to end all News Babes is not American, but French:

Mélissa Theuriau

Don’t take my word for it: readers of Britain’s Daily Express in 2006 voted French newscaster Mélissa Theuriau the world’s most beautiful news reporter. (She declared the whole idea ridiculous.) Also in 2006, she was hired by French network M6 to anchor the long-running newsmagazine Zone interdite (“Forbidden Zone”). Coincidence? I have no idea.

Oh, and today is her birthday. She’s thirty-four.

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Sounds painful

The Bayou Renaissance Man declares that he’s “working his trousers to the bone”:

…sitting at my desk, writing several thousand words a day on a major project. It’s going well, following a burst of inspiration a couple of weeks ago. Since then I’ve edited about 40,000 words of a previous draft and added about 30,000 new words to it. Hard work and long hours, but mentally rewarding (and, I hope, financially rewarding some day as well!).

I of course wish him well, even as I threaten my own blank screen with all manner of implausible retribution for its continuing failure to fill itself up with some damned words already.

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Shet yor mouth

Actual screenshot from a fake PayPal letter, currently in my phishbowl:

Phishing email pretending to be from PayPal: Click here to confirm yor account

Now really, how stupid do you have to be to fall for something this farging inept?

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Macchiatomatic transmission

Fiat (who else?) will be offering — though apparently not in the States — an in-car espresso maker:

This fall, Fiat is expected to offer built-in espresso machines on the 500L crossover model that will launch in Europe.

“The 500L is the first standard-production car in the world to offer a true espresso coffee machine that utilises the technology of the ‘A Modo Mio’ pods,” the company said in a written release. “It is perfectly integrated in the car with a deck designed expressly by Fiat.”

As Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs remind us, espresso coffee tastes “mighty good.” Even in a Fiat, I suspect.

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World of minecraft

Denmark has found the last WWII-era mine on (or technically, under) its soil:

After being an active supporter of mine clearing activities abroad for years, Denmark itself can finally call itself mine-free… The country’s last mine field, on Skallingen peninsula, west of Esbjerg, was cleared in late June, and [on 5 July] the transport minister, Henrik Dam Kristensen, detonated the last remaining mine.

In 2006, the Kystdirektoratet began sweeping for mines on the peninsula; about 8,000 were found.

(Via Interested-Participant.)

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His horn went veep veep veep

And it had to be destroyed for that reason alone:

There is nothing — nothing — in politics that is less useful than pundits sitting around blathering about who the presidential nominee is going to choose as his running mate.

You might think that the sentence quoted above is, oh, about thirteen words too long. However, you are cautioned not to delve too deeply into these matters:

Reading “veepstakes” articles will destroy your soul. They are Satan’s snares, as are all cable-news veepstakes roundtable discussions, and the pundits who participate in them are all doomed to burn in the same circle of Hell as Tom Eagleton and Nelson Rockefeller.

Presumably the eighth.

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Properly muffled

On Friday the 13th, poor Gwendolyn was producing more exhaust noise than a brace of pony cars with side pipes. Infiniti wanted $700 or so to fix it, which seemed a trifle on the high side, so once my nerves de-jangled a bit, I dragged out the service information at hand, and apparently what they wanted to do was replace everything aft of the rear cat.

Unwilling to write a check this large, I sought out a second opinion — that of Steven at Muffler King, 89th and S. Shields. He smiled. “Infiniti, Nissan, this vintage, they all do this.” His recommended solution: replace the perforated pipe, then fabricate a new bracket that doesn’t have to sit flush against the muffler inlet.

Problem solved, many dollars saved. In view of this happy result, I must urge every last one of you who needs exhaust work to drop in at this Muffler King location. It’s hard to spot, since their sign blew down in the last batch of storms.

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Blast from the past

And still pretty darned pertinent. Here’s Doc Searls’ new intro:

The Web as we know it today was two years old in June 1997, when the page below went up. It lasted, according to, until October 2010.

It’s called “Attention, Fat Corporate Bastards!” I excerpt only half a paragraph here, hoping more than usual you’ll read the whole thing.

You almost certainly think of the Internet as an audience of some type — perhaps somewhat captive. If you actually had even the faintest glimmering of what reality on the net is like, you’d realize that the real unit of currency isn’t dollars, data, or digicash. It’s reputation and respect. Think about how that impacts your corporate strategy. Think about how you’d feel if a guy sat down at your lunch table one afternoon when you were interviewing an applicant for a vice-president’s position and tried to sell the two of you a car, and wouldn’t go away. Believe it or not, what you want to do with the Internet is very similar.

The original author, alas, has dropped out of sight.

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A sort of pulp friction

I mean, something has to keep those skates from sliding out from under her:

Naked on Roller Skates

Maxwell Bodenheim (1892-1954), now mostly forgotten, was lionized in the late 1920s and early 1930s, first as a poet, then as a somewhat licentious novelist, the latter reputation encouraged by the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, which objected strenuously to Bodenheim’s 1925 novel Replenishing Jessica, whose presumably depleted heroine found “the simple feat of keeping her legs crossed … a structural impossibility.” Naked on Roller Skates came out in 1930.

His poems? Here’s one:

Whenever a love dies within you,
Griefs, phosphorescent with unborn tears,
Cut the glowing hush of a meadow within you:
Griefs striking their pearl-voiced cymbals
And shaping the silences once held by your love.
Your new love blows a trumpet of sunlight
Into the meadow, and your griefs
Leap into the echo and return to you.

Damn those griefs, anyway.

(Book cover Found in Mom’s Basement.)

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