Horton hears a Boo Fricking Hoo

After Snowmageddon 2015 slid past New York City and made a beeline for Boston, there was wailing and gnashing of teeth and cursing of forecasters; one of them even issued an apology. Bad move, says Lisa:

I think the forecasters who are apologizing are doing a huge disservice to their audiences. No matter how sophisticated our weather tracking systems, a storm can veer off unpredictably as this one did slamming Boston instead of New York City. If your city prepares and dodges a bullet, that’s a win. Certainly better than the other scenario: not being prepared.

We’ve dodged a few here over the years; in fact, we can count on at least one overwrought forecast fizzling out per season. Which is not to say that we behave any more sensibly:

From years of working as a journalist in New England, I learned that people who live in cities — even supposedly weather-savvy cities like Boston and Portland, Maine — are very disconnected from the weather. They simply refuse to believe that weather almost on any given day is probably the most dangerous thing they will ever face. Every time a snow storm was predicted to hit the Portland area, we at the TV station knew where the stories would be. Some bozo would ignore the warnings, get in some ill-equipped little Japanese car without chains and make a completely unnecessary trip such as trying to drive up to the ski resorts to get a jump on the lift lines, or even just driving through deserted streets looking for an open corner store to get cigs. Actually, usually there would be dozens of such dummies. While on the road, some would get stuck, skid out diverting emergency vehicles and police attention from more pressing matters like keeping lanes to hospitals cleared. I remember one such case where an idiot skidded out his car, and blocked an area where an ambulance was trying to get through. Took several diverted snowplows, tow trucks and a critical hour to get that car out of the path and the ambulance with a patient into the hospital.

“Travel is strongly discouraged,” which is usually the worst it gets down here, doesn’t contain any qualifiers; they don’t say it’s discouraged for everyone but you. An outright ban, as enacted by NYC, is the same but more so. Says Norman-based comedian Amanda Kerri:

Is it so hard to make a PBJ sandwich for a day or two? Oh my god, you might not have Pad Thai delivered at three in the morning… This is why the rest of America hates you.

And truth be told, if some of my neighbors wander out on a night that would challenge a Zamboni, well, they better have platinum-plated reasons.

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They wish to register a complaint

The following item, claimed to be from complaints@irs.gov — oddly, it seems to have originated in Italy — landed in my email box, though it had been addressed to someone entirely different:

Dear business owner,

A criminal complaint has been filled against your company.

Your company is being accused of trying to commit tax evasion schemes.

The full text of the complaint file ( .DOC type ) can be viewed in your Microsoft Word, complaint is attached.

AN official response from your part is required, in order to take further action.

Please review the charges brought forward in the complaint file, and contact us as soon as possible by:

Telephone Assistance for Businesses: Toll-Free, 1-800-829-4933
Email: complaints@irs.gov

Thank you,
Internal Revenue Service Fraud Prevention Department

I need hardly point out that were this an actual criminal complaint, you’d get something a lot more emphatic than a badly worded email with a spam score over 5.

I did not, of course, look at the Word document, which presumably carries the payload.

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Offensive, you say?

Two of my least-favorite words, in a headline for the ages:

We’re talking the Moro Islamic Liberation Front; I have no idea what FAP is supposed to be in this context, though MILF, I presume, would regularly be engaged by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), suggesting (as does the slightly out-of-whack background) a bit of Photoshoppery.

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Keeping the rot from the Apple

In the 1970s, says Tam, “New York was a dump and only getting dumpier,” but it wasn’t a permanent feature:

The turn-around of the city in the Nineties was nothing short of amazing. I may find the politics and personalities of the last three mayors despicable, but there’s no denying that they made the trains run on time. An inevitable side-effect of the city’s transformation is a skyrocketing cost of living, and class warfare is always a winning campaign platform in those conditions. The current mayor basically ran a campaign against golden eggs by promising everybody a slice of goose meat.

On the upside, at least this week’s paté patties got a proper chilling for a few hours.

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Size approximate

What is a size 16, anyway? No two manufacturers seem to agree:

[S]itting in my closet are clothes — including jeans — ranging from sizes 14 to 20. Just like no two bodies are ever the same, it would seem no two pairs of jeans are ever the same, either.

So because I’m into fashion/beauty experiments (like finding out how photo editors around the world manipulate my features or gauging reactions to my low-rise bikini), I decided to use my median size of a “16” — which is what I find myself purchasing most often — to investigate what different brands and designers think that number actually means.

Even better, she distinguishes between stretchy and non-stretchy jeans: either “Lycra” or “No Lycra.”

Interestingly, I’d read her Photoshop Me! article when it went viral, so I was ready to take a look at the swimsuit shot. Not half bad, if you ask me.

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If you see this person, block him

He’s the one asking questions like this:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Why is Twitter saying this?

And by “this,” he means this:

I literally just went to log in my Twitter account. When I logged in it said:

“Something is technically wrong.

Thanks for noticing — we’re going to fix it up and have things back to normal soon.”

Why is it saying that?

Because something was technically wrong.

I guess he was afraid to take it, um, literally.

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Hunan event

Liu Wen, born this date in 1988 in Yongzhou, Hunan, was the first Chinese woman ever to walk the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, which surprised her, she said, because the VS people usually prefer women with, um, “big boobs.” But VS also likes towering height, and at five-foot-ten, she’s got that:

Liu Wen through a doorway

In 2013, H&M, acknowledging her casual-but-not-sloppy street style, featured her in their New Icons promotion, and shot her in some of their modestly-priced stuff:

Liu Wen for H&M

Thirty bucks for those jeans.

Last fall, she wrote a piece for Vogue:

Growing up in southern China, people in my hometown seldom called me piao liang (“beautiful,” informally) because my smaller eyes were a far cry from the wide irises of the most beloved television actresses. Further, I was tall and awkward and tended to dress more androgynously as comfort was always my priority. Towering over classmates, I developed a habit of bending down when speaking to others, as if my back was permanently hunched. Many called me “Mulan,” since I always blended in with the male students much more easily than the female students. Since she was such an honorable and respected character in our culture, I accepted the association quite happily — even if being outwardly “beautiful” was never in my destiny, I at least wanted to personify her confidence.

She describes her personal style as “tomboyish, vintage, and comfortable — with the world.”

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None of that tedious scoring business

Halfway through the first quarter, the Timberwolves took an 8-4 lead. It wasn’t a titanic defensive struggle or anything like that; it was a comedy of errors with elements of farce. (One particularly questionable call on Minnesota’s Andrew Wiggins drew loud complaints from radio guy Matt Pinto, which cost nothing, and from Wolves coach Flip Saunders, which cost a technical.) After three quarters, it was Thunder 65, Wolves 56, at which time Royce Young opined that it was “the worst basketball game you’ve ever seen.” There was a bit more scoring in the fourth, but not enough to impress anyone or to change the outcome: OKC won it, 92-84, to go up 2-0 in the season series.

Kevin Durant, who had the night off after banging up a toe against Cleveland last night, might have been bemused by it all. He wasn’t saying. However, his absence was felt on the box score, where no one in Thunder white broke 20: Russell Westbrook came closest, with 18, though it took him 22 shots to get there. And the bench provided 45 points, to 47 for the starters, with both Anthony Morrow and Reggie Jackson knocking down 14 and Dion Waiters adding 10. (Which leaves seven for Nick Collison, who with Waiters had the highest plus/minus of the night, at +16.) Serge Ibaka had 13 points and 19 rebounds, one short of his career high.

Then again, there were a lot of rebounds to be had, the Thunder collecting 52, the Wolves 50, so you shouldn’t be surprised that Gorgui Dieng, a center playing the four to make room for Nikola Peković was able to haul in 18 of them. (Peković himself had seven.) Scoring honors went to Wiggins, with 23, and Thaddeus Young, with 22. If the Wolves had shot more than 34 percent, they could have made a run at this thing, with the Thunder mired at 42 percent. And treys were hard to come by either way, Minnesota hitting two of 13, OKC four of 20.

The Wednesday-night game with the Knicks may not happen due to #Snowmageddon2015; Sacramento-New York and Portland-Brooklyn, scheduled for tonight, were postponed, and conditions are predicted to go from bad to worse. If there’s no trip to MSG, then the next game is Saturday night in Memphis.

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Un-representative behavior

Los Angeles is taking a harder look at talent agencies:

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer on Friday announced the launch of a new campaign aimed at warning aspiring actors and entertainers of scams in which managers and agents seek upfront payments and other fees for representation.

Feuer also announced that charges had been filed against a talent manager, Debra Baum, for allegedly charging more than $100,000 to a 19-year-old aspiring singer, Reed Isaac, and her sister, Veronica, an aspiring actress, for management fees and other expenses like vocal training, stylists and recordings.

According to Feuer, Baum allegedly solicited the 19-year-old singer in a hair salon and she signed a $10,000 per month contract to handle her career. Her sister paid $40,000 in management fees as well.

There’s a Reed Isaac video on YouTube, but I don’t think it’s the same Reed Isaac; that one appears to be from north Texas. Then again, she’s been to Los Angeles within the last few months.

Baum is scheduled to be arraigned on Feb. 5 and is charged with four counts of violating the Talent Scam Prevention Act, passed in 2010 and authored by then-Assemblyman Paul Krekorian, now a Los Angeles city councilman. It explicitly prohibits agents and managers from taking advance fees, and talent training and counseling firms from requiring customers to buy photo head shots or websites as a condition for using their service.

And Baum is no uninformed newbie: over the years, she’s managed Paula Abdul, Tears for Fears, and, um, Rebecca Black, although she and RB parted company in 2013.

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A saucy query

Challenging the atheist:

Campbell Soup withdrew this pretty quickly, perhaps fearing negative response; last I looked, the account had actually been suspended. Before Dawkins, or someone else, sticks his foot in it, allow me (and some anonymous Wikipedian) to explain:

The flavors of the original sauces were created with the help of Howard Moskowitz, a practitioner in the field of psychophysics. The process involved the development of systematic variations of specific ingredients in the formula which then were tried by voluntary subjects. After placing numeric values to each tester’s perception on each of the variants, a mathematical model was created to develop the final recipe, which maximized the perceived taste while minimizing the cost of the ingredients needed to produce it.

Still better than Ragù.

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Don’t let the stars get in your thighs

Hikaru SkirtThe young lady on the escalator is wearing the Hikaru Skirt — “hikaru” translates to “shining,” which sort of makes sense in this context — and, says Neatorama, it was “designed to illuminate the thighs of anyone certifiably insane brave enough to wear it.”

Of course, this could only happen in Japan, and here’s how it did:

The brainchild of Japanese designer Kiyoyuki Amano, the skirt is lit from underneath with LED lights equipped with gyro sensors, so that the light colors and patterns change with the movement of the model.

Amano said that he was simply experimenting with lights on skirts when he discovered that they shone a spotlight on the wearer’s thighs, which he found enlightening.

There is, so far, no indication that the Hikaru Skirt will be produced in commercial quantities. There is, however, a Tumblr.

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Strange search-engine queries (469)

Monday always (well, almost always) brings a fresh set of search strings, which we’ve examined for snark potential. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which is funnier: the string from the person who knows how to search efficiently, or the string from the person who doesn’t. We, of course, don’t care.

what’s the purpose of hold in mazda 626:  You’d think possession of an owner’s manual was a felony or something.

98 Mazda 626 4 cylinder automatic erratic shifting and blinking overdrive light:  While you’re being towed to the mechanic’s for a rebuild, give thanks that you no longer have to deal with “hold.”

ford telstar cuts out when shift to drive or reverse:  While you’re being towed to the mechanic’s for a rebuild, give thanks that at least it wasn’t a Mazda 626.

anti-destination:  So you’re the one sabotaging all these people’s cars.

master tape Sally Goes Round The Roses:  Saddest thing on the Internet / People wanting stuff they cannot get.

parella lewis nipples:  And the number of the items shall be two.

ununquaternium:  Now really, Mr. Freberg, that’s a double negative.

is oklahoma city traffic commission broadcast:  Not at this time. I suspect one of the commissioners is stuck on I-44 near I-40.

woolery avant garde fly with me:  Chuck would be happy to fly, but right now he’s stuck on I-44 near I-40.

first thousand years is the hardest:  Yeah, that’s what they said back in 3004 BC.

After wearing seat belts became mandatory, drivers reacted by driving faster and less carefully. This is consistent with what Principle of Economics?  In this case, it’s the one that says I can charge you $100 an hour to do your homework, with a two-hour minimum.

derpy thelonious monk:  Straight, no muffin.

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Fan may have been struck

Saturday afternoon in Portland, Oregon:

TV screenshot: Shits Fired at Lloyd Center

Please tell me that someone saw this and thought “Hell, why don’t they fire some of those shits down in Salem?”

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And you are…?

If your memory serves you well
We were going to meet again and wait
So I’m going to unpack all my things
And sit before it gets too late

Bob Dylan/Rick Danko, “This Wheel’s On Fire,” as recorded by Brian Auger and the Trinity with Julie Driscoll on vocals.

My memory does not serve me well.

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That Erie feeling

They booed Dion Waiters in Cleveland, as might have been expected, but then they pretty much left him alone. Unfortunately, Waiters was suffering the same disease as the rest of his new teammates: inability to put the ball into the net, pretty much regardless of distance. The Thunder fell short of 40-percent shooting, and they put up 30 treys, making a mere 10. (The Cavs cashed in 16 of 36.) Add to this some superior Cleveland rebounding (48-42), the absence of Steven Adams (migraine, they said), and the looming presence of LeBron (34 points), and perhaps the Thunder were lucky to be beaten by only ten points, 108-98.

Among the OKC shooters, the least bad was Kevin Durant: 12-23 for 32 points, though he missed four of five long-balls. Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka each collected double-doubles, though neither shot well: Westbrook (22 points, 11 assists) was 7-26, and Ibaka (15 points, 10 rebounds) was 6-16. The aforementioned Dion Waiters scored 14 on 5-15. And with Adams out, Kendrick Perkins got to start again; he was his usual fierce self, but extended minutes provided him more opportunities to foul, and he did so three times in the fourth quarter, the last earning a disqualification.

Against this offensive sub-barrage, basically all the Cavs had to do was not screw up, and for the most part, they did not screw up. Timofey Mozgov, in the middle, was not a factor; but Kyrie Irving (21 points) ran a decent offense, J. R. Smith (14) provided spot scoring and perhaps spotty defense; Kevin Love put together another double-double (19 points, 13 boards); and old reliable Tristan Thompson snagged 16 rebounds and 10 points to lead the bench. (For what it’s worth, OKC reserves outscored Cleveland’s, 23-20.) And always, always, there is LeBron.

Then again, I don’t think anyone expected the Thunder to do better than 3-2 on this road trip, and 3-2 is what they got. Perhaps they will vent their frustrations on the hapless Timberwolves when they get home Monday night.

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You’re new around here, aren’t you?

Our reporter is a transplant from California to eastern Washington state, which might as well be Idaho for all she knows:

Mark this down as a learning experience, and go on.

(Via Autoblog.)

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