There’s a zombie on my brain

Back in the fall of ought-nine, I identified the theme music from the videogame Plants vs. Zombies as the Catchiest Tune of the Week; it’s been on my various playlists ever since. And composer Laura Shigihara was kind enough to post the theme in actual stereo, which was even more fun — except that the roar of the undead, a truncated post-Vader “NOOOOO!” at approximately 0:47, was apparently mixed only into the monophonic game version; it did not appear in the stereo mix. Anyone who’s collected records for a ridiculous length of time has encountered this phenomenon before: there’s stuff in the 45 that wasn’t on the LP version. Poster child: “Creeque Alley” by the Mamas and the Papas, the stereo version of which is missing a hell of a lot of overdubs.

I put up with this for about a year and a half, then took action: I took the stereo version of “Zombies on Your Lawn,” then flew in that little section from the mono version and mixed it in, a bit left of center. This will be my official version hereafter. (And for “Creeque Alley,” I play a dub of the 45.)

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Exit 150 at Cornett Place

Mayor Mick Cornett, speaking from the brand-spanking-new Mick Cornett Pavilion on the grounds of Cornett Hall, noted that he had, as Steve Lackmeyer puts it, “a lot of experience on branding,” and after “years of experience and expertise on branding and observing that the city doesn’t do a great job at branding itself,” has decided that the so-far-mostly-theoretical boulevard intended to lead into downtown Oklahoma City ought to be called Mick Cornett Oklahoma City Boulevard.

Former Mayor Ron Norick declined to turn over in his grave, pointing out that he wasn’t actually dead yet and therefore any such action would be premature.

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Moore than we bargained for

Peter Morgan’s 2006 play Frost/Nixon — and, for that matter, the 2008 film version, directed by Ron Howard — starred Michael Sheen, who didn’t look much like David Frost, and Frank Langella, who didn’t look even slightly like Richard Nixon.

So I’m not too concerned that HBO has signed Julianne Moore to play Sarah Palin in a film adaptation of Game Change. Moore doesn’t look too much like Palin, but she does look like this:

Julianne Moore in InStyle UK

And far be it from me to complain. (However, see the POH Diaries for an alternative choice.)

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PL/P fiction

Before you can describe what Marsellus Wallace looks like, you’ve got to declare some goddamn variables.

(Via QA Hates Your Ass.)

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Are you sure Abe done it this way?

“Dammit,” says Ford to its remaining Lincoln dealers, “this is a luxury brand, and it’s time we acted like it.” To wit:

According to Automotive News [behind paywall], Ford has issued an ultimatum to its Lincoln dealers: either they agree to meet minimum brand requirements by September 1, or they face losing their franchise. Ford’s demands include that dealers

  • Offer perks such as a free car wash and a Lincoln loaner vehicle to Lincoln service customers
  • Have a dedicated service manager and dedicated sales staff for Lincoln, if the dealership is paired with a Ford store
  • Have only the word “Lincoln,” without “Mercury,” appear on all franchise signage
  • Have at least 30% of used-Lincoln inventory be certified pre-owned

Geez. The local Infiniti store manages three out of four, and they’re paired with Porsche-Audi fercrissake. And Lincoln does about the same annual volume as Infiniti: 100k or thereabouts.

This particular objection, which I find risible, was raised:

[W]hat if a customer wants a full-sized loaner replacement for a vehicle that’s been turned in for service, but the dealer only has MKZs on the lot?

It is bad form, I think, to complain about freebies. The cheapest thing on the Infiniti lot, until recently, was the G35 sedan, and that’s mostly what they lent out; once they sent me off in an FX, probably because that was all they had left. It’s not like they were stashing Nissan Versas on the premises.

(Title swiped from the late Waylon Jennings.)

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Rabbit decline

Hard times, as it were, for Hugh Hefner:

Certainly there is an irony that while pornography is now more plentiful than ever in world history, the rise of the Internet has destroyed Playboy’s profitability. The company lost $48.5 million last year. Hefner recently took Playboy Enterprises off the stock market, offering $6.15 a share for outstanding shares. Exactly what he’ll do with the Playboy “brand” (it’s not just a magazine) remains to be seen. Hef has recently gone back to the idea of “Playboy Clubs,” opening one in Vegas and announcing two others in Sydney and London. But these are not really “clubs,” just Playboy-themed casino/bar/restaurants, a sort of chain operation like the Hard Rock Cafe.

The not-so-big bucks these days come from playboy.com, which has a fairly active pay section — there’s also a Somewhat Safe For Work site which scares up some ad dollars — and from licensing the Rabbit Head symbol, which still has some commercial value. Still:

The value of the Playboy brand isn’t likely long to outlive the man who created the myth on which the brand depends, and of which he is the absurd elderly symbol.

There is, I think, one other contributing factor: Adobe. With Photoshop on every other desktop on the planet, nobody has any faith in anybody’s photographs anymore. The “girl next door” in the centerfold? Not next door to me, you damn betcha. There isn’t a wisp of hair out of place, and often as not there isn’t a wisp of hair in place, so to speak. Furthermore, they’re all apparently nineteen years old these days, and to get me to take up with someone one-third my age would require a hell of a lot of tequila and probably something more.

And anyway, it’s not like Hef and I have similar tastes.

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Good old American oatmeal burgers

The Little Village Academy on the west side of Chicago no longer allows students to bring their own lunches: you eat what they serve, or you do without. E. M. Zanotti finds this curious at best:

This is problematic for a number of reasons, least of which is probably that a one-size-fits all government brainchild is destined to fail at solving a complicated problem. Anyone who’s ever met a kid knows that kids are weird. It’s a full time job, sometimes, for parents, to figure out how to ensure a child gets necessary nutrition while skirting a number of irrational food phobias. My brother once ate nothing but baked potatoes for six months.

And there’s precedent for that failure, too:

The King of replacing school lunches with healthy food, TV chef Jamie Oliver, has seen his health-i-fying plans meet with disaster. Oliver, who claimed to change the eating habits of an entire British town by forcing the local elementary school to adopt a million-dollar school lunch program, actually managed to ensure students received higher-calorie, higher-fat meals than before (most of which were worse than McDonald’s Happy Meals), and having a heavily negative impact on students scores, especially among low-income students. Turns out when kids didn’t like the food they received, they didn’t eat it.

Finding audio to accompany this story was a (probably forbidden) piece of cake. From the Conception Corporation’s infamous “Rock and Roll Classroom,” a 24-second ad [mp3, 567kb] touting the wonders of the school’s in-house eatery; you’ll hear the title of this piece therein.

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The grandeur that once was Arco

If the Kings had been getting crowds like this all year, nobody would have mentioned the dreaded word “Anaheim.” And nobody, lately, seems to be speaking the dreaded word “Tyreke”; Sacramento’s hummingbird of a point guard is still ailing, but Beno Udrih and Marcus Thornton handled the wings nicely in his absence. And DeMarcus Cousins, when he wasn’t having a hissy fit — he drew a technical for one of them — was getting to the line on a regular basis, and by “regular” we mean he hit 18 of 21. (Radio guy Matt Pinto will swear that he was getting help by three guys with whistles.) Cousins wound up with 30 points, as many as Russell Westbrook and almost as many as Kevin Durant, but the Kings, who had a six-point lead at the half, weren’t able to sustain it, and the Thunder posted their 25th road win, 120-112.

Still, nobody will accuse these Kings of rolling over and dying. Offsetting their indifferent 41-percent shooting was a mass of free throws: 38 of 42. (The Thunder, which normally dominate at the stripe, went 32-37.) But OKC shot 57 percent, and somehow managed to survive giving up 18 turnovers. (Rebounds were dead even at 40 apiece, but the Kings grabbed more off the offensive glass.)

The season ends back at home, with the Milwaukee Bucks perhaps in the headlights. We can think about the playoffs later.

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O pioneers!

I was, of course, grateful for the Tamalanche that brought several hundred extra visitors this weekend, but the discussion of matters at her end has led her to wax philosophical, à la Mike Godwin:

I’m trying to formulate some theorem that states that “Any mention in an internet post of a piece of computing equipment older than X years will, within Z comments, degenerate into a discussion about which slide-rule jockey slung punch cards first.”

Which is, of course, absolutely true; those of us who are seldom out of range of a keyboard are no less susceptible to “Can you top this?” than the rest of the species, although some of us spell better.

And her example is exactly spot-on:

“Hey, the other day I found 2600 in perfect shape at a garage sale for $5, and it came with a copy of Space Invaders! We took it home and played all afternoon!”

… will, within an hour, result in someone posting that they were writing code on an IBM 360 before some other participant in the discussion was born.

Given enough thread length, eventually you’ll hear from someone who claimed he once bought Charles Babbage a beer or looked up Ada Lovelace’s skirt.

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Pre-dawn shenanigans

My son lives in Missouri, so he presumably wouldn’t be directly affected by Texas speed limits, but I imagine he didn’t want to show this to a uniformed representative of the Show-Me State:

Dashboard readout 133 miles per hour

“This,” he explained, “is why walking is for losers.”

“You are an idiot,” said his loving wife. “You are going to make the damn engine explode.”

I dunno. Looks to me like he was a tick or two below the redline. On the other hand, if I’m driving that fast, and as a general rule I’m not, I’m also not simultaneously grappling with a frigging camera.

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Texans wasting no time

The Texas Legislature is contemplating a world, or at least a state, where it’s possible to have an 85-mph speed limit:

The House on Thursday passed Brenham state Rep. Lois Kolkhorst’s HB 1201 on final reading. A similar bill has been introduced in the Senate by Katy Republican Glenn Hegar.

HB 1201’s primary goal is to drive a legislative stake into the heart of the controversial but already-dead Trans-Texas Corridor, a network of toll roads and rail and utility lines that would have slashed across rural Texas. The bill preserves one aspect of the TTC: the speed limit.

This bill would not, in and of itself, raise existing speed limits:

The 85 mph speed limit would apply only to specially built roads and only after the Texas Department of Transportation performs engineering and traffic studies.

And at the moment, TxDOT has no such roads under construction.

The usual Dire Warnings were aired:

“People already drive 5-to-10 mph over the limit,” [Sheriff’s Capt. Reno Lewis in West Texas’ Reeves County] said. “Eighty is fast enough. You put it up to 85, and they drive 5-to-10 mph faster, they’ll be going close to 100 mph.”

I’m sure Capt. Lewis spends more time in Reeves County than I do, but this is what it was like when I was driving 80 in west Texas:

This speed limit, I suspect, reflects the reality of this road: I punched up Gwendolyn’s cruise to an indicated 81 mph, and scarcely anyone bothered to pass me. The Texas Highway Patrol, meanwhile, is ready to make sure you don’t abuse the privilege.

There is, of course, no privilege that can’t be abused by someone.

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No figuring these goddesses

Lee Thompson Young plays Detective Barry Frost on Rizzoli & Isles, the current day job for perennial heartthrob Angie Harmon. According to Ms Harmon, the following conversation (edited somewhat for Twitter considerations) took place on the set:

LTY: “ang, can I say something to you?”

AH: “of course, anything.”

LTY: “you’re what would happen [if] aphrodite & yosemite sam got 2gether & had a daughter.”

“Best compliment ever,” she said.

And it makes sense that Aphrodite, rather than being drawn to some scwewy Elmer Fudd type, would take on the biggest ego north, south, east, and west of the Pecos.

Besides, it gives me a chance to put up this photo, presumably from R&I, in which we get to critique Rizzoli’s weapons-maintenance technique:

Angie Harmon as Rizzoli

At the very least, it seems like she could use better light.

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Strange search-engine queries (271)

Late Friday, it looked as though this long-running series might have to be shut down for lack of an agreement over just how much material was available for the upcoming week. Cooler, or at least tireder, heads prevailed, and here we are on Monday, just as though nothing had ever happened.

Chicken evisceration fork Picture:  Now that takes guts.

why did joan blondell’s breasts wobble when she walked:  If they’d wobbled when she was standing still, she’d have had a problem.

whole wheat pork rinds:  You don’t want to know how long it took to produce this genetically-modified hog, believe me.

Stanley peener:  If this is perennial kid favorite Flat Stanley, I don’t think anyone has ever mentioned his peener.

sedans for the rich:  This is a tradition dating back to the old sedan chair, though steel-belted radials have long since replaced long-suffering lackeys.

“bands with seven members”:  For instance, the original Three Dog Night.

grasping lower orders:  That would be you and I, according to our self-described betters in the Political Class.

guy throwing bibles from moving car:  Nobody noticed until the next weekend, when the litter crew found a Qu’ran among the Bibles, today generally acknowledged as the beginning of World War III.

I was shopping at Kmart and I got delusional and was charge with shoplifting:  Did your defense include the fact that you were shopping at K mart in the first place?

it’s what’s up front boobs:  Well, duh.

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Just to prove it could be done

The early-on Telltale Statistic was easy: the Lakers had turned the ball over exactly once in 36 minutes. Despite that, the defending champs trailed through the first half and much of the third quarter; they fought back to a small lead. But the Thunder weren’t having any: they forced Los Angeles into nine turnovers in that fourth quarter, regained the lead within the three-mark, and closed out the Lakers on a 17-2 run. The final was a startling 120-106, with OKC holding L. A. to 16 points in that final frame. It was the Thunder’s first win ever on the Lakers’ home court.

There was only one double-double all night, and Andrew Bynum got it: 12 points, 13 rebounds. Kobe Bryant was up to speed, with 31 points, and Pau Gasol had 26 more; but at the end, none of those guys were able to get through a stifling Thunder defense.

Besides, Kevin Durant had 31 tonight, and it took him only 15 shots to get it. (Bryant took 19.) Russell Westbrook amped up the ferocity tonight and finished with 26. Both Serge Ibaka and James Harden landed in double figures. And here’s a couple of remarkable numbers: 55.6 percent from the floor, 91.4 percent from the stripe.

The main value of this game, though, is psychological: a barrier broken through once and for all. There was a tendency to see the Lakers as somehow otherworldly, always somehow destined to prevail. But the Lakers had lost four in a row coming in, and while a 55-25 record is certainly nothing to sneer at, the Thunder are now 54-26 and demonstrably capable of knocking on their door. Hard.

Will there be a letdown tomorrow night against the Almost-Out-Of-Sacramento Kings? Ask me in 25 hours.

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Flatter you

Christina Hendricks“Unsightly bra bulge,” says the Daily Mail correspondent, “could become a thing of the past with the introduction of the first four-way brassiere — which promises to slim, push up, plunge and even allow you to go strapless.”

The £25 bra, liberally festooned with boning and cantilevers and multilinks and sway bars and, for all I know, MacPherson struts (and where is Elle these days?), was ostensibly designed with the likes of curvy Mad Men star Christina Hendricks in mind, and is called “Flatter Me,” which, if you think about it, makes no sense: anything that makes you look like Christina Hendricks is not likely to make you flatter. Kathy Shaidle, not surprisingly, wonders what they were thinking.

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Fig leaves for all

Some Christian naturists in Britain say that Manchester Cathedral is bringing them down:

A Church of England cathedral is at the centre of a row after promoting nudism as ‘wholesome’ and ‘liberating’ on its website.

The item was posted by Manchester Cathedral several weeks ago on its ‘Spirit of Life’ site, which has been advertising a Mind, Body, Spirit fair planned for next month.

The C of E’s General Synod was apparently embarrassed by all this New Age-y stuff, and after a bit of upper-hierarchy churn, Manchester quietly sent that particular reference down the memory hole, to the annoyance of some:

Christian Naturist Fellowship chairman the Rev Bob Horrocks complained on his group’s Facebook site: ‘We’ve had our link about Christian naturism censored from a Diocesan-sponsored website.’ One supporter commented: ‘What happened to freedom of speech?’, while another asked: ‘What is wrong with simply not wearing clothes?’

I admit to being fuddier and/or duddier than most other folks who leave their clothing in the closet, but I tend to think that one’s Sunday best probably should not be hand-me-downs from the Emperor. But maybe that’s just me.

(Via this nudiarist tweet.)

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