Strange search-engine queries (524)

Valentine’s Day, or as I call it “Five Dozen Years of Solitude,” is finally over with, so now it’s time to get back to work on these search strings.

fiorina sucks:  Well, that explains that whole happy-marriage thing.

feminine pulchritude:  As does that.

newton’s second law of motion is expressed as f = ma. a lawn mower is pushed over a length of grass. if the pushing force suddenly doubles what will happen to the lawn mower’s rate of acceleration?  It will decrease markedly once you get to that thick patch of weeds over there where the sewer line is leaking.

alexis has multiple personality disorder. when one of her personalities: Comes up with the idea to destroy all the others, which can be hard on a person.

in kelo v. city of new london, conn., where the city forced people to sell their houses so there could be a new large project build, the supreme court held that the forced sale:  Would utterly delight Donald Trump.

“ways to” “persuasively” towel:  I don’t think I’ve ever been persuasively toweled, but I’m certainly willing to give it a chance.

reluctant naked:  Perhaps this towel will persuade you.

sultry normally:  This describes Lauren Bacall, and hardly anyone else.

quadruple anal:  Oh, like we didn’t have enough assholes around here already.

windows couldn’t finish installing updates:  Also known as “Tuesday.”

ted nugent cookbook:  Probably not your first choice for stir-fried veggies.

does mrs butterworth syrup go bad:  There was that one weekend in the Log Cabin, but she will not speak of it.

is dreamhost down:  If it is, how are you reading this?


Sounds of agitation

A new Matmos album is coming this week, and I can’t describe it any better than this Wikipedia stub:

Ultimate Care II will consist entirely of sounds produced by the musicians’ Whirlpool Ultimate Care II washing machine, recorded in their basement. It will feature guest contributors Dan Deacon, Jason Willett from Half Japanese, Max Eilbacher and Sam Haberman from Horse Lords, and Duncan Moore from Needle Gun. The album will consist of one 38-minute-long track, described in a press release as depicting “an exploded view of the machine, hearing it in normal operation, but also as an object being rubbed and stroked and drummed upon and prodded and sampled and sequenced and processed by the duo.”

One excerpt, about four minutes long, has been posted to Soundcloud, and it’s, um, more musical than you might think.

The only other washing machine-oriented music I know of is this track by Bonzo Dog/Rutles prankster Neil Innes, originally recorded for The Rutland Weekend Songbook in the middle Seventies and revived for this video:

Fortunately, I have a dryer sense of humor than most.

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DTs on aisle six

Somehow I have a feeling that this will not end well:

An expanding southeast Michigan grocery chain is looking to start a new concept in its stores by turning to by-the-glass beer and wine sales so that customers can drink during a shopping trip.

Busch’s Fresh Food Market is seeking a Class C liquor license for the store it plans to open in Canton Township, west of Detroit.

That store would mark Busch’s first foray into setting up an in-store ‘bistro’ with beer and wine sales for customers.

“It will allow guests to walk through the store and let them drink alcohol while they’re shopping,” said John Hunter, director of marketing for the Ann Arbor-based, 15-store chain.

The idea is not entirely unheard of — stores of the Whole Foods ilk occasionally have things like wine bars, though of course not here in sanitary Soonerland — but we’ve all seen shoppers who seemed like they were out on a day pass from the Home for the Bewildered, and somehow I don’t think their mien will be improved by on-site access to Michigan craft beers.

(Via Interested-Participant.)

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In perpetuity

Despite 170 percent of normal rainfall last year, my town remains under alternate-day watering restrictions, which are considered permanent. And since so far this year we’re running about 20 percent of normal, I’m not complaining. This stance, however, is anything but universal:

We can no longer burn yard debris in our backyard. Never mind that before THEY passed the new rule you couldn’t burn in the summertime because it was too dry and you were liable to burn the whole town to the ground, and it’s too wet the rest of year to start a fire. Now you cannot do it at all. Ever. Stupid rule. Really chafes my hide, I tell you. Never mind that I haven’t tried to burn anything for the last ten or fifteen years.

We seldom have formal burn bans, but the National Weather Service routinely posts Red Flag Alerts when it deems the risk of wildfires to be substantially greater than normal: all it takes is a combination of high winds and low humidity. We’ve had days of 20-mph winds and 15-degree dew points this month, in fact.

I just hope they don’t find something common in area back yards that contributes to earthquakes, or the whole state will go ballistic.

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The blank period

Picasa, born 14 years ago and adopted by Google as a toddler, is about to be taken behind the woodshed and shot:

It hasn’t made sense for Google to continue to invest in two separate photo storage and sharing applications, as it has been doing with the newer Google Photos and the dated software Picasa. And now the company is finally going to do something about that: Google announced [Friday] morning that it will no longer support the Picasa desktop application as of March 16, 2016. In addition, it will be archiving Picasa Web Albums data at a later date while encouraging those users to convert to Google Photos instead.

This does not necessarily mean that the Picasa application will no longer work; it does mean, however, that Google isn’t going to put any effort into maintaining it.

The app itself, though, may not be the problem for some users:

[T]here’s likely more concern from users about the data collected on Picasa Web Albums, which includes very specific metadata about their photos. Specifically, users may have tagged their photos for organizational purposes, as well as added captions. Friends and family may have commented on some photos, as well. It doesn’t sound like that metadata has made the transition to Google Photos, however.

I plan to use this event as my excuse for continuing to use Flickr, with the justification that Yahoo!, Flickr’s current owner, is in no position to develop a replacement for it.

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Undeliverable as addressed

There are, to be sure, certain expectations one must meet on the feast of St Valentine. And as always, I have failed to do so.

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Bluntly speaking

British-American actress Emily Blunt — she was born in London, but took US citizenship last year — turns 33 next week, and she’s been working almost constantly for over a decade, though I didn’t catch her until 2006, in The Devil Wears Prada. (Stanley Tucci, also in Devil, is in Real Life™ married to Emily’s sister Felicia.)

Emily Blunt on the red carpet

In 2010, she married John Krasinski; they have a daughter and are expecting a second child this year.

Emily Blunt on the floor

And this family stuff may have suggested to her a side career as a voice actress: she voiced Juliet in Gnomeo & Juliet (2010), she’ll be heard this year in something called Animal Crackers, no relation to the Marx brothers’ original, and next year we (at least I) will hear her as an as-yet-unidentified character, presumably equine, in an actual My Little Pony movie.


The opposite of unplugged

Two years ago, Sabrina Lentini decided to crowdsource a new EP:

I released my first independent EP “No Price For Love” in 2012. It has a very stripped down, intimate sound — just me and my guitar.

This time, I want to breathe even more life into my songs. I’m ready to be “AMPLIFIED!” I’m so excited to add amazing musicians, producers, and creativity. I have so many songs that I’ve written since the last EP, and I just cannot wait to share them with you all! I’m asking you all to please help me with this new project of mine. I need your help every step of the way.

Cover art for second EP by Sabrina LentiniShe asked for $7500, and raised a little more than that in 60 days. Those of us who actually signed up as backers — I’d bought that first EP and liked it enough to keep following her around — were (mostly) patient. But the five new tracks showed up this week, and I’m here to tell you it was worth the wait.

Sabrina is seventeen now, and her voice is ever so slightly lower; the songs, however, are just as catchy as ever, to the extent that I can’t pick an actual favorite. The songs hewing most closely to the Nashville-lite style she’d been honing are the opener, “Amplified,” and the closer, “Boy Next Door,” which sound kind of like bonus tracks from an early Taylor Swift album. But between those two, there’s pure pop for now people, somewhere on the continuum between Colbie Caillat and Skeeter Davis. The arrangements are clean and uncluttered, and the vocals, however many tracks she feels like taking at any given moment, sound utterly sweet. “Duo,” track two — it would have to be, wouldn’t it? — is the song I’d pick for a single, were she so inclined. And Miranda Lambert needs to cover “Bullseye,” pronto.

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Quote of the week

Once upon a time, we had contrarians, advocates for the Devil, the sort of people who would laboriously research a matter just to remind us that the conventional wisdom need not be either conventional or wise.

But that was then, when entrance into the common discourse required a measure of competency. Today we have trolls:

I posit that if there’s a story about a firefighter saving a cat from a tree, it’ll be attacked by trolls. Some will think government money shouldn’t be spent on such minor activity, someone else will suggest the tree was harmed, some dog owner will suggest preferential treatment for felines, a person will note that it was a white cat and ask whether a black cat would have gotten equal treatment, and yet another person will declare that there must have been a payoff by the evil cat lobby.

While all these, um, individuals differ in their pronouncements, they all suffer from the same ailment: they think themselves far more clever than they actually are.

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We’re gonna rock down to a greedy avenue

Apparently it is not wise to cross the President of the Borough of Staten Island:

A state Supreme Court judge has granted permission for Staten Island Borough President James Oddo to bestow unflattering street names spelling out greed and deceit on a private development he fought on the former Mt. Manresa site.

In a decision issued Thursday, Judge Philip Minardo ruled Oddo has the authority to pick street names of his choosing, despite a complaint from the developer, Savo Brothers, that the three he chose — Cupidity Drive, Fourberie Lane and Avidity Place — are “derogatory,” according to court papers.

Oddo didn’t like any of the nine names suggested by Savo, either, especially Timber Lane:

In December, DNAinfo quoted Oddo as having written on his Facebook page, “That’s right, ‘Timber’ Lane, as in the word of warning that is popularly known to be yelled out to warn folks that a tree is being cut down.”

The Mount Manresa property, home of a Jesuit retreat house dating to 1911, was sold by the Society of Jesus to Savo Brothers for $15 million in 2013.

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Bubbly breakup

“It’s not you, it’s me.” What does that mean, exactly?

Just what I needed on this Worst Possible Weekend.

Almost semi-personal note: Taylor Brogan, composer of the lovely “I Hate Lavender Brown” — her own version has been taken down — directed this.

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None of that wind-chill stuff

It’s weirdly warm in the Los Angeles area these days, prompting this outburst from an 18-year resident:

Members of the fan base in colder areas — this is freaking February, after all — sent their own, much chillier, screenshots in response.

Addendum: The coldest day ever recorded in this town was the 12th of February — in 1899, when the mercury hid in the bulb of the thermometer, unable to face 17 degrees below zero (-27°C).

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Amazon thinks ahead

It’s new, it’s spiffy, and it’s yet another step toward World Domination:

As the huge online retailer Amazon launches its first ever piece of development software, they made an unusual condition in their terms of service. They state that while the software is free for anyone to use, there are certain environments that should be avoided at all costs.

The new software is targeted at video game developers wishing to build titles for PCs, mobile phones, and consoles such as the PS4 or Xbox One. Titled Lumberyard, the software is on offer free of charge for a very good reason. It turns out the game engine offers support for Twitch, a game streaming service that Amazon owns.

As usual, the Terms of Service impose certain restrictions on users of Lumberyard. From the pertinent paragraph (Amazon Web Services Terms, paragraph 57.10):

Your use of the Lumberyard Materials must comply with the AWS Acceptable Use Policy. The Lumberyard Materials are not intended for use with life-critical or safety-critical systems, such as use in operation of medical equipment, automated transportation systems, autonomous vehicles, aircraft or air traffic control, nuclear facilities, manned spacecraft, or military use in connection with live combat.

None of these are exactly unusual. But there’s one notable exception:

However, this restriction will not apply in the event of the occurrence (certified by the United States Centers for Disease Control or successor body) of a widespread viral infection transmitted via bites or contact with bodily fluids that causes human corpses to reanimate and seek to consume living human flesh, blood, brain or nerve tissue and is likely to result in the fall of organized civilization.

Zombie Apocalypse? Amazon’s got you covered.

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Mustard out

These items were next to each other in my tweetstream last night, around a quarter to nine:

TweetDeck screenshot featuring mustard references

“Yeah, they were all yellow” — Coldplay


B-minus rations

When I was one of Uncle Sam’s grunts, the MRE — technically “Meal, Ready to Eat” but often disparaged as “Meal Rejected by Ethiopians” or worse — did not exist; we were still on the legendary (and not in a particularly good way) C-rations. I rather vividly remember a bivouac breakfast consisting of “Ham, Water Added, and Eggs, Chopped, Canned.” I am told the MRE is a decided improvement. Still, the MRE is expected to last for three years in storage, which would seem to limit the fare to Mickey D’s Happy Meals with the occasional Twinkie.

But now: pizza. Really:

“It’s a fully assembled and baked piece of pizza in one package,” Lauren Oleksyk, a food technologist at the US Army’s Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Center, told Tech Insider.

So what does it taste like? Think cafeteria pizza, or as Oleksyk describes it, like “day after pizza.” And while its square shape and bready crust can’t rival a New York slice, Olesky said soldiers give it the thumbs up.

I don’t know anyone who objects to day-old leftover pizza: it’s the delicious part of a marginally healthful breakfast.

Still, putting pizza into an MRE required some serious technology:

One hurdle to overcome was figuring out how to prevent mold from growing. For the dough, they used something called Hurdle technology that creates layers of protection from preventing bacteria forming. The tomato sauce has a higher pH and is more acidic to keep the critters away.

Well, technically there’s no one specific hurdle method: you use whatever’s appropriate for the contents to be stored. But I’m pretty sure this sort of thing didn’t exist in the days of the C-ration.

Meanwhile, Francis W. Porretto gets at the tactical details:

[C]an this fabled pizza survive a point-blank round from a Vulcan cannon? How about a Kalashnikov?

Most certainly, I’m not the guy to test this.

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Changing with the times

I really don’t have much of a counterargument for this:

I have a similar annual spend. Then again, I probably have more posts than most.

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