And it’s not even Wednesday

Christina Ricci is thirty years old today, which means that all that Addams Family stuff is more than half a lifetime ago.

Besides, she’s long since developed a look of her own, deployed here at the 2009 premiere of Brüno:

Christina Ricci at the Bruno premiere 2009

Still, some of that wicked ingenuity that served her well in the house of Gomez and Morticia was there from the very beginning:

When her elementary school held auditions for The Twelve Days of Christmas, Ricci was in danger of losing the lead to another kid. So she hatched a plot only slightly more diabolical than the one she would later act out in The Opposite of Sex. Ricci taunted her rival so much that he socked her. When she tattled, he lost the part.

Clearly this is a woman with whom one does not mess.

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Saturday spottings (get a whiff of this)

The city has not issued a formal estimate of how much this double-play Snow Monster has drained its coffers, but I’m going ahead with a Scientific Wild-Assed Guess of $15 million, as follows:

  • Overtime for sand truck and snowplow crews: $1,250,000.
  • Sand: $1,362.
  • Repairing 90 percent of the fresh potholes: $13,748,638.

I figure ten percent of the potholes will be missed entirely, or will have to be repaired yet again after a spring rain.

Speaking of snow, whoever first described something as “pure as the driven snow” had obviously never driven in any. Rather a lot of folks who found the stuff amazingly filthy were lined up at car washes today, which I didn’t find inexplicable, exactly, but it seemed like such a waste: you can’t go 500 yards without running into a puddle of something wet and splattery, and there goes the $2/$5/$40/whatever you paid for a few minutes of the pristine.

And then, having threaded my way through the running water at the supermarket parking lot, I began the day’s Shopping Adventure, which contained something perhaps a little more inexplicable: youngish couple (with smallish child) are positioned in the laundry-products aisle — no, not in the middle of it, thank heaven — and while she watches with what appears to be amused detachment, he opens up jugs of detergent at random and sniffs.

“There are times when I think they’re all pretty rancid,” I offered, to no discernible effect.

I didn’t hang around for an explanation — I grabbed a bottle of Era and moved on — but I’m guessing it’s something like this: family was visiting his mom and dad, they got stuck there when the snow came down, and now that they’re home, he wants that same smell he got when his mom did their wash for them.

This could easily be solved by a phone call (“Yeah, we were wondering what brand of detergent you use”), but guys don’t ask directions either.

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Deckly speaking

Oh, wait, that’s deck.ly, a facility built into the latest TweetDeck which enables you to sneer at the sacred 140-character limit.

Overly (note: not over.ly) long tweets have been possible before now, but I’ve never quite seen the need for them: I have, as the phrase goes, other avenues open to me.

I admit here that I’ve used it once, mostly to see if it worked. (It did.) But there’s a lot to be said for keeping it short and sweet: Motown, by and large, started to get less interesting once Berry Gordy decided it was okay to put out singles longer than three and a half minutes.

Besides, as Sissy Willis says:

We commend the Twitter staff for responding in record time with an option to disable the bug feature for us purists who share Thomas Jefferson’s view that “the most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.

Hear, hear. Or just: “hear.”

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No leprechauns involved

There is, however, Pot of Gold:

Pot of Gold by Seychelles

Seychelles’ Pot of Gold is a classic T-strap pump, leather and satin, with cutouts at presumed points of interest and a conical, stacked 3½-inch heel. Nordstrom sells it for a modest $89.95. I do know at least one woman who wants this shoe.

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Further out of stock

NASCAR is cutting carbs left and right:

What’s this newfangled techno-wizardry we’re talking about? Fuel injection.

For the first time since the series kicked off in 1947, the so-called stock cars that travel full-throttle around tracks all across America will abandon their carburetors in favor of an Engine Control Unit sourced from McLaren and a computer processor from Freescale. That tandem reportedly beat out eight rival bids.

Note: “an” ECU and “a” computer processor. This is, of course, consistent with recent NASCAR practice:

[O]nly approved software can be run and [NASCAR] will have special electronic tools at its disposal during every event to ensure the legality of all ECUs.

Any bets on when full Robo-Drivers® will be deployed?

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Not a pyramid scheme

I caught this thread on Fark earlier this week:

Ok. I’m an ass. But, I haven’t watched the news in about month. Who can summarize the Egypt thing in one paragraph?

The departure of Hosni Mubarak — not to be confused with “Hose me, Mubarak,” which really should have been a Falco song — would seem to necessitate a second paragraph. But I admit, I’m just as much overtaken by events. I put this up on Facebook Thursday night, and it’s already obsolete:

Hosni Mubarak, demotivationally

Still, three minutes in Microsoft Paint (!) for a brief jape? I’m okay with that.

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Quote of the week

Once in a while, I should probably point out that selection for QOTW doesn’t necessarily mean I endorse whatever it is I’m quoting: occasionally, though admittedly not that often, I’ll put up something with which I have a problem, which thereby gives me the excuse to kvetch about it.

That said, the Friar and I are very much in agreement on this one:

If we’re going to have this many snowstorms of the century during my lifetime, I expect to have at least that many centuries of actual lifetime. To whom do I address this request?

Along those lines, a story once — well, rather a lot more than once, actually — told by a family member:

So I loaded the truck bed with snow and started driving south. The first time someone yelled, “Hey, mister, what’s that white stuff in the back of your truck?” that’s where I settled down, and I’ve been here ever since.

Guess it’s time to move.

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The perils of single source, revisited

You may remember this from a couple months ago:

Since this machine and its support were spun off to Infoprint, the quality of OEM ribbons has dropped dramatically: they’re severely overinked and tend to leak onto the paper. Infoprint alleges that no one else is having a problem with these things, implying that it’s Somebody Else’s Problem. Yeah, right. If I call in a tech to examine the situation, about 15 seconds at most will elapse before he notices the droplets of ink oozing out of the fabric.

Sooner or later, excess ink will do pretty much what you think it will do, and I did indeed call in a tech from Infoprint. He stared at the machine in disbelief, as though I’d asked him to restore some hulking relic from a back-street bazaar in Mozambique. We’re talking filth flarn filth. [Not even slightly safe for work.]

Amazed that this could be caused by OEM ribbons, he dialed up Level 2 support, and they said, probably laconically, “Yeah, all the production run, June, July and September twenty ten, it’s overinked.”

So now I have to hunt down a box of ribbons with the Proper Date. I am, however, vindicated.

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Whir art thou

Brian J. Noggle is positioning himself as the Nigel Tufnel of baking:

The authors use the mandate tense and order me to do a lot of different things to the poor ingredients, but I am a simple man, with a simple Oster hand mixer that goes to six. As such, whatever the verb in the recipe, seriously, they can’t mean anything but “Mix at 6,” can they?

  • Cream the eggs and butter? Set the mixer to six.
  • Fold the nuts into the batter? Set the mixer to six.
  • Combine the flour and spices? Put on a dust mask and set the mixer to six.
  • Chop the walnuts? Set the mixer to six and chase them around the bowl until they’re small.

Alas, I can only aspire to this level of Tufnelity, though my five-speed mixer — unless OFF counts as a speed — has, yes, 11 little descriptive labels along its slide switch, although two of them are “WHIP,” which suggests an imperative of its own.

And contrary to popular belief, I did not select this model, which is almost exactly the same age as my toaster, on the basis of Lickable Beater Surface. Though, you know, I could have.

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What’s up, Doak?

Newly-hatched Commissioner of Insurance John Doak wants you to know that “Valentines Day’s Life-Changing Moments Prompt Several Insurance Questions.” At least, he wants me to know that: one of his underlings sent me an email to that effect, accompanied by a Microsoft Word file, two pages, over 600 kb.

Now few things on earth will get you into my spam filter faster than sending me a Word .doc, especially a copy of something that should be on your Web site at … no, wait, I’m not seeing it on the site at all.

But I am seeing this:

Attention Users: This site is best viewed in Internet Explorer 7 at 1024 by 768 resolution.

If you do not have Internet Explorer 7, you can download it here for free.

As though I wasn’t already irritated by the guy.

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411/412

Snow has a decidedly-unpleasant effect on me, as does winter generally; among other things, it causes me to turn inward, meaning I miss some of the things around me, such as last week’s Carnival of the Vanities, the 411th in the series, which was titled “CoTVing in 2 feet of snow.” Which is a figure you don’t see often in Oklahoma, except over the last ten days.

By the time this is up, #412 will likely be ready to go, so to cover both these numbers, here’s a Volkswagen Type 4, which first appeared in 1968 as the 411, replaced by the 412 in 1972. I assume that, like pretty much all rear-engined VeeDubs, it was good in the snow.

Volkswagen Type 4

(Photo from Wikimedia Commons.)

Update: And now, #412.

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Where is the love?

And how often do I get to do two Black Eyed Peas references in semi-rapid succession?

ESPN SportsNation screen shot

I gotta feeling New Mexico just doesn’t give a damn.

(Via FAIL Blog.)

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Al Sharif don’t like it

Apparently there is a protocol for assigning names to camels:

“Ibil” and “Hijen” are the most common names given to both genders and camels of all sizes. From these, new names branch out according to the size, development stage and characteristics of the camel.

Seems reasonable. More specifically:

“Al Mataya” or “Al Rahila” is a name given to a young camel that people can ride. “Al Shamlal” is for a camel that is light and fast, and “Al Sharif” is for a camel that is old, tired and slow.

Me, I’m just grateful that no one mentioned “My Humps.”

(Via Interested-Participant.)

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Why you don’t want a flying car

Or, at least, why he doesn’t want a flying car:

Lets say, I have a vehicle that is 20+ years old. Should I be driving it one day, and something happens to make it stop running, I simply pollute the air with some appropriate words, and coast off the side of the road.

If, however, my FLYING 20 year old car should stop working, it’s going to fall.

Actually, this would also happen were it 20 hours old, but the point is clear.

That said, some perfectly-wonderful people fly aircraft, and seem to survive.

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You could call it a spending reduction

The First Lady goes on NBC’s Today Show, and somehow it’s news-y:

The first lady donned a navy polka dot knee-length day dress with a ruffled collar by Swedish retail chain H&M. The dress is part of their current collection and retails for $34.95. She paired the dress with a thick red belt and yellow kitten heels. It appears she did not wear the red sash that accompanies the dress.

Let’s take a look:

Michelle Obama with Matt Lauer on the Today Show 2-9-11

Now there are those who think Mrs O should strictly Buy American, but this is a pretty good look for her, although the belt, seemingly as always, hits her at the wrong place — and hey, she saved a few bucks, which in contemporary Washington is something which should be encouraged.

(Found in the tweetstream.)

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Into the blend wall with you

I’m starting to think that education is the new ethanol: there’s always some legislative tool on hand to try to give the gravy train just a little bit more acceleration.

This year’s bludgeon is Senator Jim Wilson (D-Tahlequah), who ran against Dan Boren in the OK 2 primary last year, presumably outraged by Boren’s insufficient leftishness. His instructions this year: do something about those damned homeschoolers.

Both SB 393 and SB 394 are nominally about “school attendance,” though all 393 does is delete the existing homeschool exemption from truancy laws, and 394 requires that parents of homeschoolers report to their local districts, once at the beginning of the school year, and once every semester after that to report on “academic progress.” (Text in Rich Text Format for any Oklahoma senate bill can be had here.)

I must point out that this isn’t some nifty new idea cooked up in the back room of the OEA: last year Mary Easley (D-Tulsa) introduced a bill very much like Wilson’s SB 394, prompting Brandon Dutcher to respond:

I happened to notice some empty parking lots at an Edmond public school this morning as I was driving in to work. Apparently the public schools are closed today due to inclement weather. So I was thinking you might want to consider a friendly amendment to your bill: If ever the public schools would like to notify me that they are not educating children on a given day, they could contact me at my office. It’s best not to call our home phone, as my wife is busy teaching during the day and doesn’t like to answer the phone.

Nor is this restricted to Oklahoma, either: Senator Edward D. Maloney (D-Chicago) has introduced a bill in the Illinois legislature which would require all students not in the public-school systems to register with the State Board of Education.

And none of this is a surprise, after all: if government is willing to compel you to spend money for questionable schools, it’s certainly willing to compel you to spend money for questionable fuel and questionable health-care coverage.

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