Eurozoning out

Matthew Feeney has a piece at Reason’s Hit & Run called “5 People You’ve Never Heard of Who Are Screwing Up Europe.” From a glance at the URL, you can tell that the title was changed somewhere along the way.

Not that it matters, but I’d actually heard of two of them: Sir Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England (#2), and Mario Draghi, former governor of the Bank of Italy, since last November President of the European Central Bank (#3). I envy neither man his position, and Draghi’s job, at least from this angle, looks like the functional equivalent of Mayor of Pompeii thirty minutes before Vesuvius lava’ed up the place.

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Yet another pony tale

The other day, at the request of @MyLittleDashie, I wrote up a paragraph for her Love and Acceptance blog, stating basically that despite my advanced age, I had no problem identifying with the brony community, most of whom seem to be one-third my age. (Not incidentally, this is a plot point, so to speak, in The Sparkle Chronicles.) MLD came up with the title, but the rest of the text was mine.

Corroboration of this statement came in a most unexpected fashion: the piece I’d written had been rendered into an image and posted on the MLP image board Derpibooru. Delight and amazement fought for first position on my face, especially when I read the comment thread attached thereto.

It helps, I think, that I’ve long since put away my Parental Card; with my own offspring well into their thirties, I’m way out of the habit of saying things like “Because I said so.” There’s nothing to be gained by treating adults like children, even if they watch a so-called “children’s” television show. The MLP universe has already grown far beyond its original marketing parameters, and while I haven’t had much to do with that growth myself, I’m still enjoying the ride.

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La la, how the white goes on

Brendan McAleer on the prevalence of cars in Betty Crocker Frosting White:

[W}hite is currently at the forefront of automotive purchases these days, with something like a quarter of all cars in North America being the colour of the Beatles’ ninth album. Obviously on some cars this colour doesn’t work (call me Ishmael…) but in most cases, it’s a nice safe bet.

White is the colour of a blender, or a microwave or — before stainless steel became de rigueur — a refrigerator. It’s an appliance’s colour; in the UK, the domestic machinery of a modern home is actually referred to as “white goods”. The inferential leap that sits out there tantalizingly, begging to be made, is that our colour choices are yet another barometer showing the car’s dwindling importance as a fashion statement, an emotional purchase, a vehicle not just for our persons but for our personalities.

The Tesla Roadster I saw at the supermarket last week was a particularly shiny shade of appliance white, which may be appropriate for a car that has to be plugged in on a regular basis. Then again, I’ve never seen a fridge that could do zero-to-sixty in the five-second range.

Disclosure: My blender, a vintage Seventies Osterizer, is some kind of godawful beige-y brown, or brown-y beige.

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Truly dedicated

For some reason, this amused me greatly. Rebecca Black’s weekly “Ask Rebecca” video was actually interrupted by a phone call from her manager; RB just kept right on recording.

Also, I had wanted to see an answer to this: “why do some girls wear uggs in August?” She got several responses from England and Ireland defending the practice. I am reasonably certain there is no one wearing Uggs in my town right this minute, inasmuch as the old Dust Bowl-era record for Highest Freaking Temperature Ever was tied today.

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Double O Rainbow

She has a license to be 20 percent cooler:

(Via BBC America’s Anglophenia. Please note that the trailer being ponified has been in official existence for less than two days. This could only happen with Twilight Sparkle as Q.)

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A most modest motor vehicle

This unassuming little Japanese people-mover is the Mitsubishi Chariot Grandis Super Exceed Limited:

Mitsubishi Chariot Grandis Super Exceed Limited

More about it here. It occurs to me that if what you desire is that your Chariot Exceed in a Super manner, you sure as hell don’t want it Limited at the far end. Then again, I drive an Infiniti.

(Suggested by this TTAC subthread.)

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It never hurts to ask

One of the staffers at Call Me Stormy had the bright idea of actually writing me and requesting addition to ye olde blogroll, a practice I thought had died with the last century.

On the basis of their About page:

Call Me Stormy was suckled by she-wolves on Monster Island after rising up, on a half-shell, from the radioactive surf. In the grand tradition of Gamera, Call Me Stormy is slow to anger, but will poke his head out of his shell and unleash flying fury when prodded and provoked.

As you’ll recall, Gamera is really neat, and, well, I figure if they can come up with that level of wack on a regular basis, they damned well deserve to be on ye olde blogroll.

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Shard done, eh?

The first thing any business owner must do is reach his customers. Hence:

Cops say the bust started with a flier they found in Seattle.

“CALL IF YOU NEED METH!” It also listed a phone number and the alleged dealer’s name.

So the cops called.

They had tracked the phone number and learned it belonged to a 20-year-old man who they say has a history of drug and fraud offenses. He also had two warrants — one for domestic violence, another for DUI.

And apparently he’d earned enough in his various endeavors to be able to afford a ’97 Chevy Cavalier.

(Via Fark.)

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If anyone was wondering

If you read this on Wednesday and were waiting for the moment when you could read that something-less-than-magnum opus for yourself, the answer is “As of about quarter past eight last night, it passed moderator scrutiny.”

Then again, it’s going up one chapter at a time. They’re giving me free space; the least I can do is give them some extra page views.

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You and your !!*@! ticket

Lovely Rita, meter maid, where would I be without you? Certainly not in front of the Michigan Supreme Court:

A former Michigan State University student who shouted at an MSU parking enforcement officer after he got a ticket cannot be criminally prosecuted because the university ordinance prohibiting such behavior is overly broad, a divided [5-2] Michigan Supreme Court has ruled.

The court, in an opinion released [Friday] afternoon, said the ordinance unconstitutionally impaired free speech rights because it could be applied “against anyone who disrupts in any way anyone carrying out any activity for or with MSU.”

Jared Rapp, now 29, was charged with a misdemeanor after he reacted to a parking ticket in Sept. 2008 by assailing the parking officer. According to court records, the officer retreated to his vehicle, called for help, then sat in his vehicle until police arrived.

This is apparently standard procedure for MSU parking officers faced with recalcitrant malparkers, though I suspect this is what annoyed him most:

While he was waiting, Rapp stood outside the vehicle and photographed him with his mobile phone.

They hate that.

This is the MSU ordinance in question:

No person shall disrupt the normal activity or molest the property of any person, firm, or agency while that person, firm, or agency is carrying out service, activity or agreement for or with the University.

Geez. If disrupting my normal activity were a civil offense… but no, never mind, let’s not go there.

Here’s the entire opinion in PDF format, should you be curious.

(Via Autoblog.)

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They love to watch her strut

Was there ever a better brand name for hosiery than Strutwear?

Strutwear ad featuring Ann Blyth

From Bosley Crowther’s 1949 New York Times review of Once More, My Darling, being cross-promoted here:

[Robert] Montgomery plays a former movie idol hired by the government to woo a young heiress (Ann Blyth). Someone had previously given the girl some jewelry stolen by the Nazis during the war, and the government wants to find out who that someone was. In the grand tradition, Montgomery pursues Blyth until she finally catches him.

Strutwear may be better known for its labor history than its legwear, however. In 1935-36, the company, then a staunch opponent of unionization, was struck for eight months; the hosiery workers’ union eventually prevailed.

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A cloud in my head

There is something of a downside to singing along with the music source in your office, reports the ever-trillworthy Francis W. Porretto:

[Y]ou must be aware of your surroundings; there are numerous environments in which singing or whistling will get you “looked at” or worse.

I was walked in on once while following Dee Clark’s 1961 magnum opus “Raindrops,” and seeing no way to conceal what I’d been doing, I restarted the song and sang it all the way through — including the scream at the end. This is no easy task, I assure you.

But I can’t sing that song anymore; the, um, local humidity is too high. Yeah. That’s the ticket.

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Sing it again, Tony

Tony Martin, who died this week at 98, pulled off what I consider two cultural coups: he was married (for sixty years!) to the improbably lovely Cyd Charisse, and he made a couple of spiffy vocal recordings in the middle Sixties for, um, Motown.

Seriously. Berry Gordy had established a small West Coast outpost in 1964, first signing Brenda Holloway (“Every Little Bit Hurts”). Martin cut two singles for Motown, “Talking To Your Picture” (Motown 1071) and “The Bigger Your Heart Is (The Harder You’ll Fall)” (Motown 1082). The latter, which I snagged on a 45, has long been a favorite around here. Hal Davis and Marc Gordon, Motown’s West Coast producers, made no effort to “update” Martin’s sound; the arrangement could work on a Dean Martin or a post-Capitol Sinatra single. No one has YouTubed it, but you can hear it on MySpace, these days as much of a cultural throwback as Martin himself.

(Thanks to Dave Schuler.)

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Quote of the week

The late Gore Vidal, interviewed by Playboy in 1969:

Politics today is big money. X can be stupid or a drunk or a religious maniac, but if he has the money for a major political career and enough political flair to make a good public impression, he will automatically attract to himself quite a number of political adventurers, some talented. With luck, he will become the nucleus of a political team that then creates his speeches, his positions, his deeds, if any — Presidential hopefuls seldom do anything — until, finally, X is entirely the team’s creation, manipulated… in much the same way that the queen bee is powerless in relation to the drones and workers.

And while we’re on the subject:

[O]nly in America do we pretend to worship the majority, reverently listening to the herd as it Gallups this way and that.

(I actually posted these quotes ten years ago, but Vidal’s perspicacity in these matters remains undiminished.)

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Rebrand new

Hotmail, owned by Microsoft since the Crimean War, is now mutating into Outlook. Will it be able to snarf up any additional market share? Giz has its doubts:

The Chernobyl Tourism Board has an easier task before it. Hotmail is a cursed word in tech, and, frankly Outlook is probably close behind it, a workplace nightmare most people associate with tedium. The sad fact is that most of us probably wouldn’t switch from Gmail to a better webmail service. Even if it were a much better webmail service. Many of us have been using the same Gmail account since the middle of the Bush administration, and that inertia, combined with the toxic connotations of Hotmail, will make any switch a huge psychological task. Why didn’t Microsoft call it Bing mail? People like Bing. Bing is a decent search engine, and Bing is fun to say.

Disclosure: I do in fact have a Hotmail account, acquired during the Clinton administration. It feeds into Windows Live Mail, which used to be Outlook Express.

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Cameos don’t cost a thing

For those of you who lament the fact that Jennifer Lopez is doing reality shows these days, well, here’s J. Lo doing a walk-on (although she’s not actually walking here, technically) on a reality show, albeit one you probably didn’t see: the Argentine series Soñando por Bailar, which means “Dreaming of Dancing.” I’m reasonably certain no further explanation is required.

Jennifer Lopez on Soñando por Bailar

Weirdly, a victory on Soñando por Bailar earns one a spot on Bailando por un Sueño, “Dancing for a Dream,” in which the stakes are higher. Says Wikipedia of the latter:

From the second season onwards, and unlike the international versions, Bailando por un Sueño has taken a controversial turn due to the constant bickering that often escalates to verbal bashing and personal attacks between the celebrities and the judges. This could be behind the high ratings of the show.

Bickering and verbal bashing? On a reality show? Who knew?

Note: If you thought the obvious title here was “There’s always room for J. Lo,” well, I used that ten years ago.

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