Getting procedural

Ever been fired and then rehired? AJ Cook has:

After a week of negotiations, AJ Cook just closed a two-year deal to return to CBS’ drama Criminal Minds as a regular. She will guest star in the series’ sixth season finale on May 18 before re-joining the show full-time in the fall.

Cook departed Criminal Minds after the end of last season when her option was not picked up, stirring outcry among fans of the show. She appeared in the first two episodes of this season to wrap the storyline of her character JJ, who was transferred from the BAU to a job at the Pentagon.

She wasn’t a proper profiler, but was serving as the BAU’s media liaison; when she returned in season seven, she’d apparently been trained as a profiler.

Then again, that two-year deal was signed in 2011. Two years later, here she is doing an upfront at CTV:

AJ Cook at CTV

Criminal Minds finished its ninth season this spring, and will be back this fall; everything I’ve seen says that AJ will be back with it.

From the massive collection of Things I Didn’t Know: As a child, AJ was legally blind, and wasn’t much better than that as an adult. Severe astigmatism, they said:

“I was that little kid with Coke bottle glasses,” she recalls. “I started wearing contacts at a really young age because I was a dancer and I couldn’t dance on stage with glasses on.”

Even laser eye surgery wasn’t an option because, as the actress explains, “They’d have to take away too much of my eye. It’s way too dangerous.”

Then a new procedure emerged called Visian ICL, a lens implant that corrects the impairment. So [in 2007] Cook had the surgery done.

Incidentally, this is the second character on Criminal Minds who’s gotten a mention here, the first being Kirsten Vangsness, who plays Penelope Garcia.

Comments (1)




Of course you can eat that

One of a series of Public Lecture Podcasts from the University of Bath is titled “Say it with poison”:

In this lecture, Mr Russell Bowes, a freelance garden historian, will be sharing mysterious tales of how people have died in the garden, and how you can protect yourself against herbaceous murderers.

Of all things veddy, veddy British, this sounds like one of the veddiest.

(Via Finestkind Clinic and fish market.)

Comments (4)




To be a Rick, and not to roll

I sense a disturbance in the Humor Force:

YouTube has restricted access to a seven-year-old video upload that spawned the still-popular RickRoll meme, in which people trick others into watching [Rick] Astley shimmy in his cheesy “Never Gonna Give You Up” clip.

Simply titled “RickRoll’D,” the video was uploaded by YouTube user cotter548 and has amassed nearly 71 million views. It has been blocked by YouTube in several countries, including the United States.

The video-sharing giant did not immediately respond to request for comment on the takedown, which happened once before, albeit briefly, in 2012.

I have to believe this is a temporary measure, and that Rick has not in fact deserted us.

Comments (4)




Since it’s Tuesday and all

Hey, Windows Update, do you think you’re up to this kind of dialogue?

Then again, why am I asking you?

(Retweeted in my general direction by Annemarie Dooling.)

Comments (2)




Thorina, Thorina

So Marvel wants Thor to be female? I’m fine with that. But the way they did it is a slap in two different faces:

As I understand it, and these are from the words of the creative team, Thor is not turning into a woman. If Thor were turning into a woman, I’d be more OK with this, as he’s a demigod. The rules are, always have been, and always should be, unclear on what limitations that can be placed on a demigod’s physiology. No, this is a character that is in Thor’s life, idolizes him, looks up to him, and when Thor is judged unworthy, he is stripped of his power, his hammer, and his name, and it is given to her instead. In my eyes, this is a total disrespect to both characters. You’re taking a character’s very birth name from him, the name given him by his mother and father (coincidentally, demigods themselves), and you’re giving it to someone else. Not even Loki, who slept with a horse, gave birth to a baby horse, and brought about Ragnarok, ever had his own name taken from him. You’re literally taking his identity away.

Then again, who else but Loki would want it?

And here’s the part where I don’t understand why more people concerned with diversity are upset. Why Joss Whedon and TheMarySue and all the other female-centric-viewpoint-friendly outlets aren’t rioting. You’re taking a woman, erasing her previous identity, and giving her a new one, based on an existing character. There was speculation for a bit that a previously existing female character, likely one of Marvel’s super-powered blondes, would take over. Honestly, being a fan of both Valkyrie and Ms/Captain Marvel (likely candidates to stand in for Thor, based on appearance and power levels), I am certainly hoping that is not the case. Both of these characters have a pretty rich history and stand on their own merits, and to have all of that taken away from them and just have “THOR” pasted over it would be pretty insulting. There’s a lot of really awesome pre-existing female characters in the Marvel U that I’m now worried about, because I want them to keep existing as who they are, and not having the identity of Thor pasted over theirs.

This, however, should be considered a warning:

[W]hy was this announced on The View? Since when was The View considered a source of comic book news?

At best, The View is a source of news that fails to reach the level of comic books, which is not the same thing. This tells me that Marvel doesn’t really give a crap about this; they just want Aggrieved Women to shut up, and they’re fool enough to think that this will do the trick.

Comments (2)




Checking for flattenability

Seven years ago, OG&E sent me a promotional piece for something they called the Guaranteed Flat Bill program. My reaction to GFB was basically, um, GMAFB:

It is, however, 16.7 percent above my actual bills for the last twelve months, which came to $728.52. I’m having a little trouble seeing how this is any advantage over the existing Average Monthly Billing plan.

And in the fine print in the back, it says this: “Customers who participate in the GFB rate plan are not eligible for OG&E’s wind power program.”

And maybe that’s the whole idea: those of us who signed up for wind power, who realize a price break every time fuel costs go up, need to be pried out of that subscription and into something that won’t cost them money.

This year, they quote me an actual Average Monthly Amount of $90.95 and a GFB figure of $82.96, which sounds a bit less daunting — the tariff has apparently been revised in the interim — though I figure the major coup here was sending it right on the heels of a regular monthly bill for around $125. And wind-power subscribers are no longer excluded.

I still have my doubts about this thing, though.

Comments off




Came in like a Veecking ball

In 1979, Bill Veeck (as in “wreck”) came up with a wild promotion for his Chicago White Sox: “Disco Demolition Night,” in which fans were invited to bring their disco records to a massive bonfire to be held between the first and second halves of a doubleheader. Things got out of hand, and the Sox had to forfeit the nightcap to the visiting Detroit Tigers.

You might not think that this concept was ripe for a revival, but to borrow a phrase, you better belieb it:

“Like so many, we have taken special exception to Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus’s music along with his numerous run-ins with the law and her controversial performances,” said [Charleston] RiverDogs General Manager Dave Echols. “‘Disco Demolition 2′ is dedicated to the eradication of their dread musical disease, like the original Disco Demolition attempted to do. We are going to take Bieber and Cyrus’s merchandise and memorabilia, put it in a giant box, and blow it to smithereens. It is all in good fun, and we guarantee there won’t be a forfeit of a game.”

Fans that bring Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus items to the game will receive a $1 ticket. Video montages throughout the game will pump up the fans prior to the dramatic postgame demolition. In addition, the RiverDogs will no longer play Bieber and Cyrus music at Riley Park.

The Dogs sold out all 6000 seats, and while the fans were waiting to trash the pop starts, their team was edging past the Augusta Green Jackets, 9-7.

A group headed by Marvin Goldklang owns five teams in Minor League Baseball, including the Class A RiverDogs; Mike Veeck, son of Bill, is a partner. Mike’s son William “Night Train” Veeck is working in the White Sox organization.

(With thanks to Fishersville Mike.)

Comments off




Keep it to yourself

No further explanation was offered:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: How can I blacklist someone from buying a car?

I suspect middle-school-level drama somewhere between here and the background.

Comments (4)




Strange search-engine queries (442)

The 4-4-2 combination looms large in Oldsmobile history. Originally it meant a four-barrel carb, a four-speed stick, and dual exhaust, though time and “improvements” gradually eroded away its significance. Not unlike this weekly feature, in fact.

gao yuanyuan diet:  Just gao ahead and eat whatever yuan damn please.

local girl sex vedio with her name in 1mb or 600kb:  That’s either a very short “vedio” or a very long name.

compilation album Neil young big yellow taxi Joni Mitchell groundhog:  Keep me waiting for this heart of rodent, leave me the birds and the bees.

how do transmission coolers work:  Asks the guy who doesn’t know yet that he needs one.

slightly skewed skateboards of oklahoma:  I blame the sidewalks, or the lack thereof.

Borat and gary jones:  One of the great bromances in the history of the U. S. and A.

aggravated mopery:  See also Robbie Robertson’s plaint: “I’ve just spent sixty days in the jailhouse for the crime of having no dough.”

1996 MAZDA 626 SHIFTING ROUGH:  It’s almost 19 years old. You should be surprised it shifts at all.

what does the automatic transmission linkage clip look like for a 1996 mazda 626:  Why, is it shifting rough or something?

cash for gold 39th may okc:  You can’t miss it, even if you want to.

I have a drainage ditch in my yard whixh is strictly for neighbors water to drain, shouldn’t he be responsible for upkeep?  It’s your yard, Bunkie. Either grant an easement or STFU.

femmes are invisible:  You’re not looking hard enough.

Comments (4)




Quote of the week

Forty-five years ago, there seemed to be no limits:

I watched with my grandmother’s second husband, a tall, thin, spare man born in 1900. He’d seen air travel when it meant doped canvas and spruce wood and gasoline engines that may or may not continue running and now he was sitting and watching a man land on the moon. When we heard “The Eagle has landed” that old man clapped me on the back and said that he envied me and what I was going to see, and that he wished he was going to be alive to know … what? … what would we discover … what wonderful things would we learn?

We never contemplated that the future doesn’t always bring progress. That knowledge is power and that power corrupts and that the glory of Rome was followed by the Dark Ages and the Library of Alexandria was burned by ignorant barbarians who, barbarians they may have been but they were victorious barbarians and if you can’t create then you destroy and loot the creation of others.

But boys and girls let me tell you one thing … it was a glorious day, back in ’69. Right there on live TV, out in public where the whole world could see.

Oh look, the Kardashians are on.

And that’s the way it is, Sunday, July 20th, two thousand fourteen. How far we have fallen.

Comments (2)




Like this stuff grows on trees or something

After World War II, DuPont, inventor of nylon, went back to vending it as a silk substitute, but a lot of wholly unrelated requests came in over the transom, and the versatile polymer was pressed (or extruded, or whatever) into service in many different forms. One of the least likely, perhaps, was Remington’s Nylon 66 rifle, with nylon stock and receiver; they sold a million of them, and heaven knows how much .22LR, in thirty years.

But in the 1950s, DuPont’s bread and butter for nylon was still the garment industry, and when they came up with new dyed versions of the fiber, well, this was the result:

DuPont institutional ad for stockings in color

(Note: This embiggens to over 1.2 MB.)

Hosiery manufacturers rushed to take advantage of the new colors, just in time for the Sixties.

Comments off




You can’t fool Jim Rockford

Who knew? James Garner, who died last night of presumed “natural causes” at 86, apparently anticipated our current police state way back in 1978:

Oh, hello, NSA.

(Via Steve Lackmeyer.)

Comments (1)




Get it while it’s last

Brook Benton, dealing with a man with a long cigar in “Hit Record,” in 1962: “Well, he made me sign the paper for twenty years.” And Benton wasn’t kidding: Rick Nelson’s contract with Decca, starting in 1963, was originally for twenty years, though MCA, successor to Decca, dropped him after thirteen.

Mandatory Fun by Weird Al YankovicI mention this because “Weird Al” Yankovic signed a record contract in 1982 which only just now, 32 years later, has been completed. This does not mean he’s through with recording, but Mandatory Fun may be the last full-length Al album ever: the man’s at his best with topical material, and it’s hard to be topical with two or three years between album releases. So the coming scarcity of Yankovic long-players would be reason enough to snap it up, I think; fortunately, there’s enough good stuff here to justify your ten-buck outlay (or your eighteen-buck outlay for the vinyl version, which comes out next month).

Yankovic’s promotional campaign was unusual: no single, but eight videos to be released over the first week of release, each of which was put together with a Web partner because Sony wasn’t about to fork over a ton of money for someone who hadn’t put out an album in three years and who had had only one Top Ten single ever (“White & Nerdy,” 2006, which made #9). Everybody loved “Word Crimes,” a reworking of Robin Thicke’s utterly awful “Blurred Lines,” partly because of the brilliant kinetic-typography video, partly because everyone loves to play the More Grammatical Than Thou card, but mostly, I think, because the rewrite was so much better than the original. And “Foil,” a parody of Lorde’s “Royals” with aluminum at its heart, was downright weird, which never hurts.

Deserving of more note: “Mission Statement,” which is what Crosby, Stills and Nash, with or without Young, would sound like if they were present-day buzzword-driven corporate consultants, and “First World Problems,” a Pixies sendup with Al doing his best (and not at all bad) Black Francis and Amanda Palmer in the role of Kim Deal. The polka medley, as always, is delightful, with wholly unexpected transitions and no bleep in “Thrift Shop.” And you won’t miss much by ripping just the first 11 songs: the 12th, “Jackson Park Express,” is a pretty acoustical tune, à la early-Seventies Cat Stevens, over which is laid a genuinely creepy boy-meets-girl story that takes nine minutes to go nowhere.

Note: Amazon.com put this out as a download, just for this weekend, for $5.99. If you find Mandatory Fun compelling and don’t object to the sheer intangibility of downloads, you’ll find it more so at four dollars off.

Comments (6)




She’d be fine in this town

In the US, it seems like if you can count the sides on a STOP sign and promise to learn how to parallel-park some day, you can get a driver’s license: we don’t even care if you’re an actual citizen. It appears, though, that things are a little tougher in Jolly Old:

A 28-year-old woman has spent £3,410 on driving theory tests and still not passed, data has revealed.

The woman, from Southwark, south east London, has sat the test a record 110 times, according to results of a Freedom of Information request published in the MailOnline.

And they won’t let her behind the wheel until she passes the written test, which I have to assume isn’t the easiest thing on earth:

The driving theory tests costs learners £31 a time to take and is made up of multiple choice questions and a hazard perception test. The national pass rate is 65.4 per cent.

The fee for the actual behind-the-wheel test is £62 on weekdays, £75 evenings, weekends or bank holidays. (American DMVs please copy. It is not necessary that everyone in the farging office be home in time to watch Jeopardy!) A chap from Stoke-on-Trent finally passed it on his 37th try; there’s one woman from Horsforth who has yet to pass after 32 attempts.

(Via Autoblog.)

Comments (3)




A hint of thirst

First she was Agnes Monica Muljoto, which was quickly shortened to simply “Agnes Monica,” under which name the Indonesian singer released several albums, the last of which was a best-of package called Agnes Is My Name. And then, suddenly, it wasn’t; she resurfaced as “Agnez Mo,” perhaps in the interest of getting some recognition in the States. I think I’d recognize someone like this:

Agnez Mo in 12/13 Regard Magazine

That business about “Coke Bottle” in the text refers to this:

Something of a departure, I think, from her earlier image:

Agnez Mo

Of course, I’m old enough to remember when “Coke Bottle” described cars:

Chevrolet Camaro

And it’s not like Agnez is some sort of throwback, either. In a weird sort of marketing innovation, the aforementioned Agnes Is My Name compilation was distributed through KFC locations in Indonesia: you could buy it separately, or it could be thrown in with the purchase of a combo meal. The album moved about a million copies.

(Now that I think about it, though, it’s probably a good thing that the album came out before the “Coke Bottle” single, inasmuch as the 400-odd KFC stores in Indonesia sell Pepsi.)

Comments off




Meanwhile in the background

Now I feel like I’ve been caught out:

Many older women complain about feeling invisible — no one turns a head when we walk into a room. As Linda Grant writes in The Thoughtful Dresser, “I have watched the eyes of men sweep a room and find that apart from the girl crossing her legs, over there, it is empty. After a certain age, women are invisible. Without a sexual stimulus, many men cannot process in the visual/conceptual portion of their brains that a woman is present.”

There is, I suspect, a reasonable chance that if the guy who just entered the room is actively searching for sexual stimuli, most of the women would just as soon not be noticed at all, at least by the likes of him. Then again, there are those who would argue that any man entering the room will first scan for eye candy before getting down to business, and I’m not in a position to offer myself as a counterexample, at least not honestly.

There exists a subversion of this trope in fiction, the most recent example I’ve seen being Jeanne Ray’s Calling Invisible Women (New York: Crown Publishers, 2012). In this novel, a fiftysomething woman literally vanishes, first piecemeal, then completely; but the men in her life — her husband, her son, the guys in the neighborhood — don’t even notice.

Comments (6)