At least it wasn’t a damn tie

Not the most orthodox of Father’s Day gifts, I submit:

Advertisement for Paradise Valley nudist resort

You may be absolutely certain that this wouldn’t have gone over with my parental units, who avoided disrobing so assiduously that no one is quite sure how they had five kids.

Next question: Did they use a similar pitch a month earlier for Mother’s Day?

(Via the always-modest Miss Cellania.)

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Small g

Gwendolyn went in for a spa day, and after I rattled off a list of Potential Concerns, the techs discovered that it’s even hotter (and noisier) than usual under the hood because one of the two cooling fans went south, and the other one was running flat out trying to compensate. Okay, fine, replace the fan. Except, of course, that there aren’t any in town, and so they’re having to airlift one from Izmir or some such place. In the meantime, I have the fob (no keys) to a freshly-squeezed 2011 G25 in Journey trim, and it’s a nifty piece of work.

One could grumble at Nissan, I suppose, for cutting out one-third of the horsepower and cutting the price by only a tenth. Still, I am not one to sneer at 218 ponies. And the smaller (by one-third, more or less) V6 has charms of its own: it’s a lot less grungy-sounding than its big brother, and it will just as happily rev to the top of the scale. Better yet, somebody had the bright idea of not installing the Biggest Damn Wheels they could fit under the fenders: the G25 has modest 17-inchers with 55-series rubber, and the ride, if not exactly cloud-like, isn’t denture-rattling either.

Otherwise, it’s a G, a bit snug in the cabin and a bit short of trunk space, but confident in its ability to get you to Point B, especially if you’re taking the long way around. Only once so far have I been able to befuddle the seven-speed automatic. (You want a stick, you have to buy the bigger engine.) I was bumfuzzled by the backup camera, which I wasn’t expecting; I noticed that the outside-temperature reading on the dash was off about five degrees. (This is a step backwards; Gwendolyn’s similar function is dead accurate, except when it’s four below zero. Do not ask why I know this.) At $34k with a moonroof, it’s on the high side for a base version, and they won’t let you spend the bucks for a nav system, but if you’re like me, you navigate by the seat of your pants, and the G treats that seat well.

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Making love in a Subaru

Dementians and Dementites will recognize this instantly as a classic from the Dr. Demento Show, recorded by the possibly-pseudonymous Damaskas (last name Hollodan, not that it matters) and first unleashed in late 1977:

And now let us lie between the sheets
and thank heaven for reclining bucket seats
Don’t touch that, for goodness sake
you’ll release the parking brake
We’ll both start to roll down the street (yipes)

Thirty-odd years and lots of all-wheel-drive later, the thrill is far from gone:

[T]he U.S. Sex Census national survey released … by condom maker Trojan found that 48% of Americans say “the most exciting place (they) have had sex” is in a car.

Vehicular sex easily beat the second most titillating location, which was (go figure) someone else’s bed (33%). The survey did not specify whether sex in the car was better in your own or someone else’s ride.

Evidently my life is even duller than I thought.

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Oh, to be a wardrobe assistant

Gothamist throws us a curve, so to speak:

In the past, Christina Hendricks has discussed her fantasy role of playing Wonder Woman, saying, “I’ve been wanting to wear that outfit my whole life … I had Underoos — I had Wonder Woman Underoos. I heard that rumor… I love it! I’d love to [do it]. That would be such fun! Let’s put it out there!”

As it happens, Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn is keen to do a WW film, and guess who’d star in it?

Refn told a crowd at the Los Angeles Film Festival that he has a “plan in mind” for a Wonder Woman feature, and has said of Hendricks, “If I ever get to do it, she’s going to be it.”

Now all of a sudden I’m thinking of Woody Allen’s nebbish character (there’s a redundancy there somewhere) in What’s New Pussycat?

Peter O’Toole: Did you find a job?
Woody: Yeah, I got something at the striptease. I help the girls dress and undress.
Peter: Nice job.
Woody: Twenty francs a week.
Peter: Not very much.
Woody: It’s all I can afford.

Imagine that.

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Paging Scheherazade

Arabian Tights from ModClothI normally don’t hang around ModCloth that much — which is not to say that I’ve never visited the site before, only that it’s not in my regular rotation — but I dropped in this weekend, mostly because Donna had bought one of their dresses, and after too long a period of musing over what she’d look like in that getup, I followed her link to the source. As is ModCloth’s wont, they had a line of “Recommendations” to go along with it, and what they recommended, at least to me anyway, based on God knows what, was the legwear you see here, billed as Arabian Tights.

Regular readers, if any are left in all this heat, will recall that I have some reservations about fishnets. What we have here, though, seems to go beyond mere fishnets; that’s an actual, or at least simulated, paisley design there. (“Paisley” itself is rather fascinating, a South Asian design named for a town in Scotland, but that’s another story.) The trouble I have with patterns of this complexity is that, well, the eye, or at least my eye, is inevitably drawn there, and I am not particularly adept when it comes to the “What are you staring at?” scenario.

And I wonder if maybe this is too much pattern to go with that already-lushly-patterned dress. Donna says it has a “50s feel” to it, which would seem to mandate some simple sheers, maybe with an actual seam up the back: overly-decorated hosiery was simply unheard of in those days unless you were starring in burlesque. So I’m declaring an open question: with what, if anything, would these Arabian tights be appropriate? (No burqas, please.)

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A groove, not a rut

The music industry isn’t quite so industrial anymore. First beneficiary: Sam Cooke, who would have been 80 this year.

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Sitting in a tree

The Oklahoman this morning featured an interview with Erica Logan, one of the founders of Finca Bellavista, a sort of planned community in the sky — as in treehouses. Fascinating stuff.

If this sounds vaguely familiar, I made some mention of it earlier this month. And yes, they have a Facebook page.

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Tiny roadkill

If I didn’t know better — and who says I do? — I’d swear that the guy who came up with this site is writing ads for Mothers car-care products. In the most recent, pictured is a Monarch butterfly, or maybe it’s a Viceroy, “of the insect order Ignoramus”:

You little technicolored nuisance. You flap around aimlessly doing your stupid butterfly stuff. Until you flutter right into our path, unleashing your splattery, yellow fury on our windshields, bumpers and grilles. Is the reality of being the go-to lower-back tattoo of sorority girls everywhere just too much to handle?

And you’ve only heard the half of it. Mothers has been running this series of ads for about a year now. Remember that guy who used to cringe if you leaned up against his door because your belt might scrape the paint? It’s that level of paranoia, writ large enough to fill a page of Motor Trend.

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To our children’s children

A small part of Steve Sailer’s data-collection routine:

I’ve noticed that when I read the obituaries of prominent people in the New York Times, I always check the last paragraph to see how many grandchildren they have. The replacement rate would be four, and lots of high-achieving people die without getting to that number.

I’ve noticed that I’ve gotten to the point where I’m making a conscious effort to avoid the obituaries altogether, lest I find my name therein.

Actually, I’m trying not to see the ages of the deceased. This, I suspect, is a form of denial: I know I’m living on borrowed time — who among us isn’t? — and I’d just as soon not spend any of that time in contemplation of the payback period, as it were.

Disclosure: I have five grandchildren. I leave to them and their peers the question of my, um, achievement level.

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Not in the middle of nowhere

But I suspect they can see it from there.

Once in a while, a photo utterly bereft of context comes sailing in over the transom. This was one such:

Taylor Swift and Shania Twain with handguns

Eventually I traced it back to the opening segment of this year’s CMT Music Awards. I leave to the more experienced gun owners the question of whether Taylor and Shania are handling these weapons properly, since at the moment I seem to be somewhat distracted.

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Strange search-engine queries (281)

What we do here is simple enough: we go through the logs and scissor out any search string that might garner a few cheap laffs, and then we publish what’s left — or something like that. (We have to keep changing the rules as we go along, lest someone complain that we’re not in compliance with the Blog Powers Resolution.)

embrace the many colored beast:  Does it, perchance, have two backs? unsubtle:  Were it subtle, no one would recognize it, and there goes the business model.

shoes not available in half sizes:  It’s a plot to get you to buy two pair.

safe friendly “stalker service”:  Because the best way to get close to someone is to keep your distance.

rack and opinion:  For instance: “Nice rack.”

“white trash” “shoes without socks”:  Not necessarily. Then again, I trashed some white socks once by failing to wear shoes.

nothing cameltoe:  Finally, an advantage to the burqa.

what is that sade song with the duh duh duh duhs:  Remember when people used to Google for lyrics?

train leaves NY at 60 mph at 8 am to chicago. another train leaves dallas bound for atlanta at 45 mph at 9 am. What time and where do they intersect?  Right in front of you, on your way home from work.

expensive sedans:  One recommended method of avoiding having to take that dog-ass-slow 45-mph Dallas-to-Atlanta train.

Bonus: One person requested from Babel Fish (remember it?) a German translation of one of the articles here. BF duly translated everything on the page, including the seemingly self-contradictory motto in the sidebar, which it rendered as follows: „Ich könnte nicht mit Ihnen weniger anderer Meinung sein vielleicht nicht können.“

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In case you’re over a barrel

According to MarketWatch, the most affordable homes in the US are to be found in Niagara Falls, New York, where the average four-bedroom, two-bathroom house lists for $60,820.

The 4/2 nearest to me that’s actually on sale at the moment, in the tiny (one block, more or less) Macon’s Place addition, has recently been reduced to $139,900.

Of course, if you are fortunate enough to have Big Bucks, you can step up to Newport Beach, California, where a 4/2 will run you $2.5 million.

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Cop shocks?

With Ford’s Crown Victoria, long the police car of choice, fading away, law enforcement is faced with some difficult choices. The Oklahoma County Sheriff has gone in a direction I might not have anticipated, though.

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Garnish with larks’ tongues

Imagine Martin Balsam saying this: “Well, if it doesn’t jell, it isn’t aspic, and this ain’t jellin’!”

Which, incidentally, he did, as the private dick in Hitchcock’s Psycho. At the time, I wasn’t quite sure what aspic was, and I wasn’t particularly thrilled when I found out. If you’re still vague on the subject, cue Julie & Julia:

An aspic is sort of a beef-flavored Jell-O mold. Doesn’t that sound delicious? I can’t imagine why no one makes them anymore. You begin with a calf’s foot, which I am in possession of thanks to my sainted husband, and you boil it until your kitchen smells like a tannery.

The whole process goes something like this.

Note: “Aspic” is not to be confused with anything sent by Anthony Weiner.

(Via this Carly Rose Jackson tweet. Vaguely Pythonesque title actually swiped from King Crimson.)

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Songs without words (the follow-up)

A few weeks ago, I mentioned an upcoming three-CD set, to contain every single instrumental track that made the Billboard charts in 1960. That set has now crossed my threshold, and here’s what you need to know.

Complete Pop Instrumental Hits of the Sixties 1960Said Billboard charts contained 100 songs, plus a handful “bubbling under”; more than a dozen of these 81 recordings never made it out of the 90s, and one of them — “Beachcomber,” a jazzy little piano tune (with strings attached) by Bobby Darin — peaked at #100. It is therefore reasonable to assume that you haven’t heard all of these. I hadn’t. I did, however, notice that two tracks are switched on the first disc: “Summer Set” (Monty Kelly) and “Chattanooga Choo Choo” (Ernie Fields). Then again, surely you’d recognize that Choo Choo. (Gracenote, feeding Winamp the titles, has it correct.)

Your next question, perhaps, is “Do I know any of these?” Well, yes. The Ventures’ first hit, a version of Johnny Smith’s “Walk — Don’t Run” that made #2, is here, as is Floyd Cramer’s “Last Date” (also #2), and the biggest record of the year, Percy Faith’s take on Max Steiner’s theme from A Summer Place, which sat at Number One for nine whole weeks. Some lower charters have had great influence, most notably Duane Eddy’s version of Henry Mancini’s theme for Peter Gunn, which you’ll instantly recall long before the third measure.

There was still in 1960 a tendency for cover versions to appear almost simultaneously with originals, so there are, for instance, two versions of “Smokie Part II” (Bill Black’s original, Bill Doggett’s remake — “Part I” never charted), two versions of “La Montana” (which, with English lyrics, became “If She Should Come to You”), and three versions of “Midnight Lace,” the theme from a Doris Day film. (None of the “Lace” versions made it past #84, even Ray Conniff’s, which spilled into a Part 2 on the B-side; interestingly, they sound nothing alike except for that melody line.)

As it turns out, seventy-one instrumentals charted in 1960, so to fill out that third disc, there are ten bonus tracks: late-1959 items, or things which might have too many words to be considered instrumentals — for instance, Al Brown’s “The Madison,” a song about a dance which requires the steps to be called off in sequence. Then again, Ray Bryant’s “Madison Time” is here, and it’s not banished to the back of disc three either.

The sound, breathed upon by the wizards of Eric Records, is generally quite good: most of these tracks are very clean, and none of them sound particularly overcleaned.

I suspect this set will appeal mostly to completists, which explains why I have it in its first month of release. The compilers plan a volume for each decade of the 1960s: next year’s 1961 set, which might fit on two discs — I’m counting 52 tracks that would qualify — should have nifty stuff like “Wonderland by Night,” “Calcutta” and “Apache” (Jørgen Ingmann’s imported-from-Denmark take, not the Shadows’ rowdier English version). About this time next year I expect to be reporting on it.

(Complete track list.)

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When I was fab

My one surviving brother has occasionally used this photo for his Facebook profile, and while he’s not actually in the photo, hey, it’s his dad too.

My father and I circa 1955

The short one with the bad hair? C’est moi. Either this photo has seen better days, or the termites were really bad that year.

I was not quite this bald at twenty-seven, but I was working on it. Dear Old Dad, somewhere around 1999, was told he had at most twelve months to live; he made it almost to the end of 2006, which probably explains much about my own attitudes, if not my hairline. He was seventy-nine, a number I’ll consider myself fortunate to match.

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