Somewhat artier

Two of my favorite shots from recent fashion bloggery. The first dates from December, and was found at Deep in Vogue:

Leaving on a jet plane

Titled “Leaving on a jet plane,” this picture practically demands some sort of short story. I’ve had a few go through my head, none of them worthy of mention here.

The second involves an encounter between the Style Rookie and a Jackson Pollock:

Style Rookie

Call it “dressing the part.”

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Clogging the Intertubes

And not just clogs, either; it’s also pumps, mules, sandals, and God knows what, under the collective title If Shoes Could Kill, from those wonderful folks who serve up the lolcats and various and sundry other cheap laffs.

Which means that those of you who send me Horrible Shoes now have a second outlet. (Frighteningly, one of their first dozen or so submissions also appeared here.)

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Beats the heck out of sticks

We learned otherwise as children, but is there hope for straw as a building material?

Straw may be an ideal building material for some types of buildings — it can be embedded with other materials to create adobe or stucco. It’s a great insulator. It’s often a waste material so [it] can be recycled for low-cost. Additionally, straw buildings are highly earthquake-resistant because the material is inherently flexible and absorbs seismic energy better than steel, brick or glass.

The Economist details the process:

Modern straw buildings start with a foundation of gravel held in the kind of plastic bags used for vegetables at a grocery store, and covered with a soil mortar. The walls are made of tightly packed straw bales held together with bamboo pins and lined with fishing nets. These are then coated with a clay-based plaster. Aesthetically, the final product is similar to stucco or adobe, but because its components — clay, gravel, straw and netting — are more flexible than brick, concrete or steel, it is much more ductile and thus able to absorb seismic energy.

But what about, you know, big bad wolves? Quips David Eisenberg, the chairman of the US Green Building Council’s code committee:

The lesson of the Three Little Pigs isn’t to avoid straw. It’s that you don’t let a pig build your house.

So there.

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Biden’s fate determined

Smitty envisions the scene. (Bogus fantasy detected? Well, maybe.)

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Aorta be a law

Swiped from Marko’s Search Term Safari:

libertarian heartless: “Heartless” is an accusation often hurled at Libertarians by left-leaning folks. In progressive parlance, “heartless” in this context means “insufficiently enthusiastic about spending other people’s money”.

Fortunately for said left-leaning folks, there appears to be no shortage of enthusiasm for spending, on either side of the aisle.

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I hear L.A. is nice this time of year

With about three minutes left, radio guy Matt Pinto described Andre Miller and Marcus Camby as “a two-man wrecking crew,” and indeed they laid waste to any plans the Thunder might have had for finishing anywhere higher than eighth seed. How did the Blazers do?

Item: Russell Westbrook didn’t serve up a single assist all night.

Item: Kevin Durant had 21 points in the first half, but only nine in the second.

Item: Serge Ibaka fouled out; Nick Collison finished with five, the last of which was a Flagrant 1.

So Portland goes up 3-1 in the season series with a 103-95 win. Miller and Camby got more than half those points; Camby also reeled in a dozen boards. The Blazers shot 50 percent, and perhaps more important in a Titanic Defensive Struggle, gave up only eight turnovers.

The Thunder did even up the numbers, reboundwise. Big deal. What matters here is that they were tied at 88, and scored only seven points the rest of the way.

The season finale is Wednesday, at the Ford against the Griz, and then it’s Hello Kobe.

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Too hackneyed; didn’t read

No, I don’t mean this site, although it fits. I mean the stuff cited here by The Rejectionist:

Do they, like, hand out a memo on your first day of your MFA program telling you that writing about alcoholic working-class men who cannot communicate with their sons/fathers/wives is the only way to convey Authenticity? Well, take it from the assistant: we never want to see another goddamn book about an alcoholic working-class man who cannot communicate with his son/father/wife ever, ever again, particularly if that story is written by a 22-year-old white kid from Westchester County. Other important things you should know: abortion does not always Tear Relationships Asunder, and anyway Ernest Hemingway already wrote that story in 1927; people from the South occasionally do things besides beat their children; it is possible for a character to have a Moment of Self-Actualization without killing an animal with his/her bare hands; FOR CHRISSAKES HOW MANY TIMES DO WE HAVE TO TELL YOU NOT TO OPEN YOUR STORY/NOVEL WITH A SNOWSTORM.

If this advice perhaps does not pertain to you, read the rest of the article.

(Via the Texas Scribbler.)

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You can’t spell “cup” without “c u”

First, a restatement of principles, previously codified as Lileks’ Law of Lingerie:

Let us be frank about the purpose of lingerie… It is not normal clothing. It exists for one purpose: to be, eventually, visible for a very short time. If it is visible for a very long time — and I am trying to be delicate about this — then it is not doing its job.

Fluorescent bra by Deborah MarquitThat said, it must be taken into account that some people do not necessarily endorse this particular worldview. For them, there is this lace underwire bra that comes in five fluorescent colors, which presumably will be worn under something relatively flimsy to a place where the lighting can make it visible for longer than a very short time.

This is, I hasten to add, not something I’ve encountered in real life myself. However, the Shoe Girl, a fashion designer herself, spotted this particular look on an A-list singer/fashionista and was sufficiently smitten by the concept to email the celeb in question and ask “Where did you get these?” Celeb responds, Shoe Girl puts up a blog post, I stare in disbelief for a couple of seconds, and then I put up a blog post. It’s amazing how efficiently this particular process works, even if occasionally it challenges my most cherished values.

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Out of practice

Buck looks for a physician who will accept Medicare patients:

So … there we were … making our inquiries. The kind administrative lady on the other end of the phone rattled off several names to me … two of which were female … asking if I had any preference. She also took the time to explain to me that the doctors with the Christian names of “Janet” and “Barbara” were women … and might I have a problem with that? Not really … both names were fine with me and who among us gets to choose their first name, anyway? (I didn’t really say that.) I answered in the negative and suggested she assign me to whichever doctor had the lightest patient load, which would only make sense from my point of view and that of the doctor, I’m sure. And so the deal was done.

Eminently sensible, appropriate for a man of these years. But there’s also this:

I’m off for my “get acquainted” appointment in about an hour and my new doctor is male, by the way. I might have made a mistake here now that I think about it. I’ve more than likely blown my only opportunity to get naked in front of a woman again, ever. Damn.

Which is also appropriate for a man of these years, or any years, but perhaps not entirely sensible. Not to say that I wouldn’t do exactly the same thing were I in his boots.

Disclosure: Both my optometrist and my dental hygienist are Major Babes. However, there are no plausible circumstances under which they’re going to see me unclad.

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Sisyphus breaks out the calipers

Mike McCarville summarizes a Rasmussen report:

When thinking about all the services provided by federal, state and local governments, 75% of voters nationwide say the average American should pay no more than 20% of their income in taxes. However, the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that most voters (55%) believe the average American actually pays 30% or more of their income in taxes.

The corporate income tax is passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices at retail, making it not so easy to calculate. Even before I got to that particular consideration, though, I’d already crashed through the 20-percent barrier with last year’s numbers. And if I count both halves of Social Security/Medicare, which is ostensibly paid half by me and half by my employer, and adjust my compensation figure accordingly, I wind up at, yes, 30 percent.

Taxes, after all, are everywhere. The $35 I spent at the gas pump this weekend included $4.35 in tax, though nowhere on the pump or on the purchase receipt will you see it mentioned. And that figure doesn’t include whatever the refiner or the retailer had to collect to cover their taxes.

Now how “average” I am is open to debate. The numbers, however, seem pretty inarguable.

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Strange search-engine queries (219)

Time for another round of “What’s lurking in the referrer logs?” (Disclosure: None of the funding for collecting this data was spent at strip clubs.)

g “not for use as pants”:  It’s the wrong shape, g is. Try a W.

waiting injection panties:  I suspect the injection may not go entirely smoothly, IYKWIMAITYD. (Notice: no g.)

where in the hell can i find power seat motor for 86 cutlass:  Have you tried the frickin’ junkyard?

child of dust bury microphones alive:  I’ve wanted to bury a few microphones in my day, and occasionally the persons behind them.

a year old expired yogurt as mask:  What is this, a community-theatre version of A Nightmare on Elm Street?

are new cars driver seat too small:  No. The driver himself has too big a seat.

I’m scared to try out for the Brandywiners:  What you need is some confidence — and a couple sips of brandy.

unclad greeters at MOMA:  They keep those museums pretty cold, too.

“Sophia Loren” “sneezing dress”:  A style for every purpose, and a purpose for every style, I always say.

lee’s summit dairy queen Klan:  No chocolate-dipped cone for you, Hoodsie.

“yogi bear is gay”:  Well, maybe gayer than the average bear.

need cock for my wife in sallisaw:  Not my idea of a great trade, but hey…

“aisha tyler” “well hung”  Either this guy has his terms confused, or this is the surprise of the decade. Your call:

Aisha Tyler

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Unfriendly fire

The Golden State Warriors have something like a hundred and forty-seven ways to score, and it seems like they deployed most of them tonight at Oracle Arena, erasing a twenty-point lead by Oklahoma City and then surprisingly coming up with defense in the last minute or so to edge the Thunder, 120-117.

Comparisons: the Thunder won the rebounding battle, 54-44, but Golden State was far more efficient at scoring: 50.6 percent versus 42.7. (The Thunder actually put up twenty-three more shots, a total of 104.) And the Warriors hit 57 percent of their treys (12 of 21), against 45 (9 of 20) for OKC. The 22 offensive rebounds reeled in by the Thunder produced 19 second-chance points, but it wasn’t enough to ward off the Warrior onslaught.

Monta Ellis (27 points), who’d missed several games with the flu, and Stephen Curry (24) led the Warriors; Reggie Williams added 20 from the bench. Anthony Tolliver, who logged the most minutes (nearly 44), had 14 points and 13 rebounds. The Warriors’ mostly-unheralded defense came up with eight blocks and six steals.

Against all this, another Kevin Durant 40-point performance seemed almost irrelevant, even with 10 rebounds thrown in. Nick Collison, starting in the middle, retrieved 12, as did Serge Ibaka from the bench. Scorers: Russell Westbrook 20, James Harden 18 (nice to see him hitting again), and Jeff Green 16.

This clouds the seeding even further. The Spurs, Trail Blazers and Thunder are all 49-31 now; OKC takes the 8th slot, since both San Antonio and Portland own the tiebreakers. Tomorrow night’s game in the Rose Garden will be pivotal and then some.

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Lightning and the single strike

Steph Mineart, operator of Commonplace Book, a site I’ve read for 15 years or so, has a letter in the current Entertainment Weekly (#1098) that’s worth mentioning here:

A mystery is a mystery because you don’t realize at first that’s what it is — you’re going along and you start noticing stuff that doesn’t make any sense. You pull the string and it unravels into a big pile. That’s what Lost has been like. But all these imitator shows come out of the gate saying, “Hey, look at this mystery!”

Which is why they tend to fail quickly, of course. (See also Pop Culture Crackdown for parallel observations.)

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Hawthorne updated

Novel-T

“Shouldn’t this be scarlet?” wonders Donna.

(Complete lineup here.)

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Sugar-free tablet

From my favorite novel, Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle, a bit of dinner conversation:

The Vicar was watching us across the table.

“When this house was built, people used daggers and their fingers,” he said. “And it’ll probably last until the days when men dine on capsules.”

“Fancy asking friends to come over for capsules,” I said.

“Oh, the capsules will be taken in private,” said father. “By then, eating will have become unmentionable. Pictures of food will be considered rare and curious, and only collected by rude old gentlemen.”

Miss Smith apparently was more prescient than she anticipated. From Wired, via Neatorama:

[T]here’s a certain cold comfort in knowing that if worse comes to worst, nanotechnology might give us a food pill that, taken every 10 years or so, would power our bodies if the planet loses the ability to do so.

This is not the direction we should be going, says Lynn:

I want something that will enable me to eat all the cake, pie, ice cream, pizza, tacos and big-a** burgers I want without gaining an ounce. I don’t care if it’s a pill or a nanobot or what as long as it works and is simple, painless and affordable. And I want it now.

I’ll have what she’s having.

Addendum: “Noshville Katz,” a parody of a certain John Sebastian tune recorded by “The Lovin’ Cohens,” contains this couplet:

Well, there’s 1352 different restaurants in Nashville,
And you can eat anything from a hominy grit to a Contac time pill.

Way too many people are thinking along these lines.

(Lyrics swiped from Blog d’Elisson.)

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Poles axed

Well, not yet, but the humble barber pole seems to be an endangered species:

William Marvy Company, the last known manufacturer in North America of the poles, typically sells 500 of them each year, down from 5,100 in the company’s late-1960s heyday.

What caused this decline? The company blames four people: John, Paul, George and Ringo.

No, really:

Bob Marvy, a second-generation owner of the St. Paul, Minn., company, dates the industry’s slowdown back to an unlikely source: The Beatles. The Fab Four and their trendy mop-tops ruined it for barbers, he thinks. Men who previously went to barber shops weekly for their clean-cut looks started waiting two or even three weeks between trims.

I hit the barber shop weekly when I was in the Army, pretty much because I was supposed to, but I’ve been on a four-week cycle ever since the hair started to go south. (By now, it’s made it to Uruguay.) And the unisex shop I patronize lacks a pole.

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