Fark blurb of the week

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Pet project

It occurs to me that I ought to do something for Petula Clark, who turns 80 (!) next month. Despite being ten years older than everybody else in the British Invasion, she sold a whole lot of records here in the States, starting with “Downtown” in 1964, though she’d been recording for at least a decade before that. So between now and the 15th of November, I’ll be tossing in the occasional Petula classic for your dancing and dining pleasure.

In 1967, Charles (no longer “Charlie”) Chaplin directed his final film, A Countess from Hong Kong, starring Marlon Brando and Sophia Loren. (Chaplin’s own appearance was brief.) The film was intended as homage to the old shipboard romances of the 1930s, and Chaplin had written a theme song for it with the intention of having Al Jolson sing it. Jolson was not available, having died in 1950, and in the end, Chaplin cut the film with an instrumental version of the song.

Still wanting to hear his throwback lyrics actually sung, Chaplin sent a copy to Claud Wolff, Petula Clark’s husband and manager; Wolff liked it, but Clark’s regular collaborator, Tony Hatch, didn’t. For that matter, Clark didn’t much like Chaplin’s words, and she first recorded the song in French, with words by the reliable Pierre Delanoë, though session producer Sonny Burke talked her into doing an English version as well.

With the very-Thirties opening shaved off the single, “This Is My Song” went to #3 in the US. You may be sure, however, that it sounded great in French:

Of course, I bought the album, though I suspect the cover may have had something to do with that:

Petula Clark LP sleeve These Are My Songs

Well, that and an already-established desire not to sleep in the subway.

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The name has been doubled

Uma Thurman gave birth to a bouncing baby girl three months ago, but only now is the child’s name being revealed. And it’s a beaut: Rosalind Arusha Arkadina Altalune Florence Thurman-Busson.

Friends and family call her Luna.

It’s Thurman’s first child with Arpad Busson, to whom she’s been engaged since 2008, with a period of disengagement somewhere in the middle. Which does not at all explain this:

Born in New York, baby Luna joins a big extended family: Uma has kids Maya and Levon with her ex Ethan Hawke and Arpad has sons Flynn and Cy with his ex Elle MacPherson.

I can just hear Letterman intoning “Uma? Luna. Luna? Uma.”

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Pretty ugly

Rory Jurnecka of Motor Trend, noting that Lexus LS sales are down of late:

To make things worse, that segment has had an influx of new players — Porsche, Audi and Hyundai included — each wanting a slice of an increasingly smaller pie.

The smaller is getting bigger all the time.

That’s the way it appeared in the magazine (11/12). The Web version replaces that awkward — well, it is — construction with “an ever-smaller pie,” which at least doesn’t invite cognitive dissonance.

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Christine sixteen

Correction: This is Christine sixty. Actually, it’s Christine Baranski, and nobody seemed to like this odd-but-shiny Rubin Singer dress she wore to the Emmys.

Christine Baranski at 2012 Emmy Awards

Okay, Jessica of the Fug Girls gives it thumbs up:

This is surprisingly leggy for Christine. I kind of love it on her, just because it’s such a change. And because it makes her look like she’s about to burst into a vigorous tap routine, which I always appreciate.

And who doesn’t love a sexagenarian (sorry) tap dancer?

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Meanwhile in Foggy Bottom

Smitty, noting that he himself is not a presidential candidate, suggests a paragraph for Mitt Romney’s future use:

I’d like to congratulate the President on his choice of Secretary of State. After the better part of four years, somebody in the Administration finally took responsibility the way leaders do, on one of those hopefully rare occasions when it involves confessing a shortcoming. In this case, one that involved the butchery of four Americans. Hopefully this President isn’t too old to learn something from all this. Better leaders plan so as to minimize these sorts of tragedies. Lesser men play the Casablanca card and locate the usual suspects for a round-up. How is Nakoula doing these days, Mr. President?

Nakoula, since you asked, is awaiting an evidentiary hearing.

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Phrench phish

Today’s bogus PayPal email is in Gomez Addams’ favorite language:


Vous avez envoyé un paiement d’un montant de €250,00 EUR à info@tube8.com.

Ce paiement apparaîtra dans quelques instants dans votre Activité récente, sur l’Aperçu du compte.

Alleged point of origin:

PayPal (Europe) S.à r.l.et Cie, S.C.A.
Société en Commandite par Actions
Siège : 22-24 Boulevard Royal, L-2449 Luxembourg
RCS Luxembourg B 118 349

In case you need to juggle acronyms, the “Société à responsabilité limitée” is sort of the Euroversion of our LLC, though “Société en commandite par actions” is technically a publicly-traded partnership. Go figure. I can’t imagine why anybody would send me €250 anyway.

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Tacet approval

If you’ve ever wanted a copy of the sheet music to John Cage’s 4’33”, sheetmusicplus.com has it for $5.95.

Then again, a comment to the product page might conceivably undermine the deal:

[W]hy purchase it for probably a total sum of 15 bucks (currency exchange, shipping, taxes), when most people have it memorized already?

(Via this @syaffolee tweet.)

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Use your retrenching tools

LiveJournal has scaled back its US office and henceforth will run things from Russia:

LiveJournal U.S. has quietly downsized over the past few months, leaving the Internet’s oldest blogging platform almost entirely under Russian management.

When the Daily Dot visited LiveJournal’s San Francisco headquarters in February 2012, the company had about 10 U.S. employees.

Since then, five employees — including U.S. General Manager Anjelika Petrochenko — have left the company. LiveJournal has not announced Petrochenko’s departure in any statement or release, but Petrochenko confirmed her own departure to the Daily Dot.

Ekaterina Pahomchik, a LiveJournal spokesperson based in Moscow, told the Daily Dot Petrochenko and the other departed employees will not be replaced.

Still, this downward spiral isn’t as spectacular as Diaryland’s: a trip to Wikipedia will ask you if you meant “Dairyland” instead, and all that remains of the main site is the members area.

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Bringing it all back home

If you listened to (there was no television) the last two Thunder games, you might have had some small measure of concern. Not to worry, at least tonight. In the comforting and cacophonous embrace of Loud City, OKC disposed of the nowhere-near-as-hapless-as-last-year Charlotte Bobcats, 120-98, on 64-percent shooting. (We remember too many nights when they were lucky to shoot half that well.) They even made eight of 15 trey attempts.

At least one of the ideas behind preseason is to get a look at some of the guys invited to training camp. One of those guys was guard Andy Rautins, who played five minutes for the Knicks two years ago; tonight, he played the role of the hired gun, sinking seven of 10 shots (4-7 for three) for 20 points, leading the OKC bench. With James Harden hors de combat for the moment, Perry Jones III is the designated Sixth Man, and PJ3 turned in a Hardenesque performance: 17 points on 8-10 shooting. If he could hit a free throw now and then they’d let him grow his own beard.

Charlotte sixth man Ben Gordon tormented the Thunder for three of four quarters, scoring a game-high 21, though for some reason he seemed to fade into the background in the third. And OKC expat Byron Mullins, starting at the four, rained down treys on his former teammates, landing four of ten.

It’s worth noting that the starters, except for Cole Aldrich, knocked out 25 minutes or so tonight instead of the 20 they’d been getting. I consider this to be a form of fanservice. (And the big man always gets fewer minutes, at least in Scott Brooks-style rotations.)

Next game is Friday in the BOk Center in Tulsa, against the post-Nash Suns.

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Flavor of the hour

Blindbag Sweetcream ScoopsSweetcream Scoops, says the Tumblr blog that bears her name, is “a simple Fillydelphia resident who owns an ice cream shop and likes to sing.” I fished her out of a blindbag, and she’s very pretty; imagine Twilight Sparkle recolored as a Dreamsicle, and sure enough, that’s Sweetcream Scoops. (I always was a sucker for that, um, pagecolt cut.) The collector card, however, gives her a green (pistachio?) tint, faithfully reflected in this vector by ~Durpy on deviantArt.

Yes, there is a system for reading blindbag codes; no, I did not use it. And one Fuzzy Necromancer has written a neat story about Sweetcream Scoops that covers both her presumed activities, though in Fuzzy’s narrative her parents (Double Scoops and Vanilla Scoops) actually own the shop, and Sweetcream works up front, though she’d much rather be singing with the Trans Equestria Orchestra than serve up double dips of whatever.

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Because all must suffer

Meet James Farmer of WPMU.org, and listen to his tale of woe:

In case you don’t already know, we’re the folk not only behind this site and WPMU DEV, but also Edublogs … the oldest and second largest WordPress Multisite setup on the web, with, as of right now 1,451,943 teacher and student blogs hosted.

And today, our hosting company, ServerBeach, to whom we pay $6,954.37 every month to host Edublogs, turned off our webservers, without notice, less than 12 hours after issuing us with a DMCA email.

Because one of our teachers, in 2007, had shared a copy of Beck’s Hopelessness Scale with his class, a 20 question list, totalling some 279 words, published in 1974, that Pearson would like you to pay $120 for.

Which is, I mention in passing, two dollars and 32.5 cents per word.

TechDirt notes:

One of several problems in copyright law is the fact that what appears to be fair use to the layman is usually illegal. And the unintended consequences of actions taken in good faith tends to include a ton of collateral damage — damages which usually far outweigh any perceived losses from non-commercial infringement. Because of this, hosting companies tend to prefer harming a relationship with a paying customer to finding their safe harbors under attack. For the sake of a $120 paper, ServerBeach was more than willing to drop a $75,000/year customer. Despite all the whining, copyright still has plenty of power. Too bad it’s so easily abused.

Intellectual property: even when it’s “property,” it’s scarcely “intellectual.”

(Tweeted by @cgreen.)

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Preparing for our clown-car future

“Kickin’ in the front seat, sittin’ in the back seat” — how about we just wedge you all in sideways?

Melanie Minnie, a teacher at a South African nursery school, was fined by police for cramming 19 kids into her Renault Clio, a small hatchback roughly the size of a Ford Fiesta.

Minnie was pulled over after a concerned passerby noticed all of the children climbing into the car after an excursion to a local burger bar. When she was stopped by police, there were 6 kids in the trunk, at least 3 in the front seat and 10 in the back seat.

Which I think would answer this question pretty definitively:

It’s unknown if the children were wearing seat belts.

How about “no”? Does “no” work for you?

The fine was R 1500, about $175, or less than ten bucks per kid.

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Recycling of a sort

Sacramento Kings guard Jimmer Fredette describes a slightly weird incident:

“When I was in Salt Lake this summer, a boy asked me to sign a pair of shoes. When I saw the shoes, I realized they were mine from my freshman year of college and he had gotten them out of the dumpster outside my dorm where I had thrown them away.”

The only thing better than trash is authenticated trash.

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Meh-ness to society

Even mighty Prada, alas, can go wrong:

Prada Bicolor Rubber Oxford

Shoewawa’s Abi Silvester explains this better than I could:

Almost a blend of two shoes, it looks as though one perfectly attractive menswear-inspired shoe has been dropped in a large vat of molten candle wax — and pulled out just too late!

If that sort of thing floats your boat, it’s $950 at Nordstrom.

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Fleecing as white as snow

This is normally the day I get my online billing notification for the landline, and the amount thereof varies very little: the taxes creep up now and then, but that’s what taxes do. Today’s arrival was startling, but there is, of course, no way that I’d owe $2,328.05 on a landline, and the handy links for online payment go straight to a scammer.

Curiously, my homeowner’s insurance bill, which also arrived today, is for almost exactly the same amount, a 44-percent increase from last year, which in turn was a 35-percent increase from the year before. (Last time I switched carriers was 2009.)

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