And all that it entails

As the phrase goes, first you have to get their attention:

Project Mermaids was started in 2012 by celebrity fashion photographer Angelina Venturella and acclaimed underwater photographer Chiara Salomoni who share the same passion for photography and preserving the ocean. The goal of Project Mermaids is to bring awareness as to how precious the ocean and beaches are and to keep this beautiful environment healthy and clean. 50% of the proceeds are going to be addressed to the save our beach foundation.

To help raise awareness, Project Mermaids is capturing celebrities in mermaid form working with The Mertailor Eric from Florida, which is making and donating the tails for our models. The Foundation has gone viral with over 221,000 followers on Instagram and has continuous growing awareness of their efforts.

My attention was gotten Friday night, with the appearance on Instagram of actress Paris Berelc, top and tail intact:

Paris Berelc as a mermaid

Suddenly I feel I ought to reach out to Tom Hanks.

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Staggering about

After three days of doing a whole lot of nothing — nothing’s easy to do when you can barely walk — I decided to force myself to fill up the car and make a grocery run. Both these events were dispiriting. At the Shell station, regular had dropped a dime from last time, while premium hadn’t budged. And the trip to the supermarket ended, as it always does, with unloading a week’s worth of groceries, which took seven paper sacks at a time when I was barely able to carry two. (The arms are not weak, but the thighs buckle at every opportunity.) Add to that a Heat Advisory, and by the time it was all over I was wilted worse than last week’s lilies.

Still, if I can manage that, I suppose I can go back to work on Monday, provided I can foist off the heavy lifting on someone else. In the meantime, though, I feel like hell, and any medical resolution to this matter remains several weeks away.

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LaRue to you, too

The other day I did a piece on shoes that aren’t all there, illustrated with a picture of actress Eva LaRue from here down. It occurs to me that someone might want to see the outfit she was wearing with those shoes, so:

Eva LaRue at the second-season premiere of Ray Donovan

LaRue, forty-nine, first established herself on All My Children as Dr. Maria Santos Grey; she was nominated for two Emmys during her seven years on the show. Currently she’s working on Fuller House, a sequel to a show you may have seen before.

Eva LaRue at the L.A. Art Show 2013

Eva LaRue at the 2015 Golden Globes

She has one daughter, Kaya, whom we’ll meet here:

And Kaya has acted once: both she and Mom appeared in the video for Devon Gundry’s song “Armed” in 2008.

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The price of a fit of pique

After a frustrated Steph Curry fouled out Thursday night and hurled his mouthpiece into the crowd, the NBA decided they had to Do Something:

NBA star Steph Curry and Golden State Warriors Coach Steve Kerr were each fined $25,000 for their actions during Thursday’s Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Curry fouled out of the game — the first time he has done so in his professional career — and threw his mouthpiece into the stands, forcing the officials to eject him. His wife, Ayesha, tweeted after the game that it was “rigged” in order to force a Game 7 between the Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Kerr was slapped with a fine for criticizing the referees after Curry fouled out.

The projectile in question wasn’t aimed at anyone, but it did hit a fan; Curry duly apologized to the fan.

Still, 25 large isn’t going to hurt much. Said Gerard Van der Leun: “Curry makes that much during tip-off.”

Which is almost true. Steph Curry’s reported salary for this season was $11,370,786, which is far enough over $100k a game for him to consider this pocket change.

While looking up that number, I came across a startling fact: of the fifteen Warriors on salary, four are paid more than Curry. Splashmate Klay Thompson is the highest-paid, at $15,501,000. And both of them are already under contract for next season, so they’re not going to get huge raises. (Thompson gets 7.5 percent; Curry, 6.5.)

For the record, Golden State has the fourth-highest payroll in the league, with $93,631,286 in salaries. The highest? Cleveland, with $108,300,458. (LeBron gets about 21 percent of that.) In between, the Clippers and, yes, the Thunder.

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Where the feck is

Remember when reporters for New York papers were tough, street-smart, hard-bitten folks? The last vestiges of that image spiraled down the drain this week when some feckless wuss from the Daily News got some serious sand in his vajayjay from exposure to an AR-15.

To contrast with his total lack of sack, we present a seven-year-old girl:

I was heartened when Dad explained that “this is gonna be harder than your .22, okay?” And the very last line is pure gold.

(Via Steven Crowder.)

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Say yes to address

Spring 2015, on a practice at

One’s order “number” is not a number at all, but three random words. Harder to fake, I’m guessing.

Last week, on trying to make addresses in Florence make sense:

“It has a unique address system with two number systems running side by side. Generally speaking, residences have a number in black or blue, while businesses have numbers in red (rosso in Italian), which is usually written with a little ‘r’ following the number.”

Amazingly, there is a point of convergence for these two situations, and it’s in Mongolia, where something remarkable is happening:

Mongolia will become a global pioneer next month, when its national post office starts referring to locations by a series of three-word phrases instead of house numbers and street names.

The new system is devised by a British startup called What3Words, which has assigned a three-word phrase to every point on the globe. The system is designed to solve the an often-ignored problem of 75% of the earth’s population, an estimated 4 billion people, who have no address for mailing purposes, making it difficult to open a bank account, get a delivery, or be reached in an emergency. In What3Words’ system, the idea is that a series of words is easier to remember than the strings of number that make up GPS coordinates. Each unique phrase corresponds to a specific 9-square-meter spot on the map.

For example, the White House, at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, becomes sulk.held.raves; the Tokyo Tower is located at fans.helpless.collects; and the Stade de France is at reporter.smoked.received.

And nine square meters is pretty efficient at defining a point. Consider the palatial estate at Surlywood, which all by itself sprawls over a thousand square meters; I could theoretically have several different phrases for different parts of the house or the yard.

Some places around Oklahoma City on the What3Words system:

Kyle Singler used to play the modest onion flute in his spare time.

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Hey, (almost) nineteen

The 21st of this month is Rebecca Black’s 19th birthday, but I figured I’d mention it here today because it’s Friday and that should require no further explanation.

A couple of weeks ago she turned loose a video in which she’s talking music with the two brothers who make up funk-pop duo Fox Wilde, with whom she’s apparently working on some tunes. The main thing I gleaned from it, though, was a reminder of how great a simple t-shirt/jeans combo can be:

Rebecca Black as casual as she wants to be

Interestingly, there’s apparently only the single rip, over her left knee, so these jeans aren’t fully “distressed” in the contemporary sense.

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Bum steering

Last time Gwendolyn had a spa day, the dealership sent me off in a Q50, the first time I’d gotten any seat time in the official G37 replacement. It was, I determined early on, the bottom of the line, and last year’s line at that, so it probably wasn’t affected by this recall:

Nissan’s Infiniti luxury brand will recall roughly 60,000 vehicles globally, a spokesman for the brand said on Thursday, as the steering system key to the Q50 sedan’s autonomous driving capabilities could malfunction.

If this car could drive itself, I didn’t know about it. Certainly I didn’t try to persuade it to.

The Q50 is Infiniti’s first model that can drive itself on highways under certain conditions thanks to its direct adaptive steering system.

That system could malfunction “in certain rare circumstances, just after starting the vehicle” when a software glitch “can lead to a lack of steering responsiveness and change in turning radius.”

Well, isn’t that special?

Maybe this is just the Spirit of Get Off My Lawn talking: about half my 40 years on the road were spent with steering that not only didn’t have software, it didn’t even have power assist. Then again, that period ended with a steering gear (recirculating-ball type) actually grenading, leaving a car that could go straight or turn in one direction, but not the other. Downloading a software patch would not, alas, be the answer.

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A Bear of Very Little Vision

It wasn’t the bear’s idea, I’m pretty sure:

Bear with a coffee can on its head

Reporting from the scene:

A black bear that wandered onto the Alaska Highway near Tok with a coffee can stuck on its head Monday drew a helpful response from passers-by, with one even attempting to remove the container before state biologists arrived.

Randy Rallo, the owner and operator of Tok-based 40-Mile Air, said he was en route to Midway Lake to do maintenance work on one of the company’s floatplanes when he encountered a semitrailer stopped — its driver still in the cab, but not pulled to the side of the road — near Mile 1297 of the highway, about 15 miles from Tok.

“So I pulled up alongside him, and he said there was a black bear walking around with a can stuck on his head,” Rallo said.

The bear was shot with a tranq dart, and then the can was cut away:

Official statement from an official biologist:

[Jeff] Wells emphasized that anyone who encounters a wildlife issue should contact the nearest Fish and Game office rather than deal with it themselves.

“The bear may have looked small, but at the end of the day a 100-pound black bear can certainly do some damage,” Wells said. “If they had removed the can, the first thing they had seen would have been that person.”

Hence the tranq dart.

(Via Amy Alkon, who quipped: “I just want to say that it is totally rude to tweet this picture of me in the morning.” Not buying it. It’s a black bear, she’s a redhead. Although “100 pounds” sounds about right.)

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First time for everything

The Young Naturists of America have scheduled a weekend at Dyer Woods in Rhode Island, and since they’re young naturists, it’s not going to be a weekend of shuffleboard and dominoes:

Our planned activities for the weekend include body painting, nude yoga, 4th of July show, hiking, games and more. Plus, we will have our first ever naked BOUNCE HOUSE to enjoy all weekend long!

When Felicity tweeted about this, I had two thoughts in rapid succession:

  • Seriously? A bounce house?
  • Well, at least it’s not a ball pit.

And after all, most things you can do with your clothes on, you can do just as well with your clothes off. (There are exceptions, including: frying bacon; exploring the frozen tundra; anything involving a Weed Eater.)

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Seemingly authoritative

This was waiting for me the last time I signed into Quora:

You are now a Most Viewed Writer in Bronies

This despite obviously not having been on Quora in a couple of weeks.

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This story broke on Wenzdhi

There were 12 girls in this country, born between 1969 and 1972, named “Toosdhi.” Where the heck did this come from? Says the expert, it was the late-Sixties TV series It Takes a Thief:

In “To Catch a Roaring Lion,” which first aired on the very last day of 1968, main character Alexander Mundy (played by Robert Wagner) is sent to the fictional African country of Zambutiko to recover a set of ancient scrolls. In Zambutiko, Mundy meets Toosdhi Mboto (played by Denise Nicholas).

The following dialogue ensues:

“As with your name, it’s spelled differently. T-o-o-s-d-h-i. Toosdhi Mboto. My identification.”

“I don’t think I can read this out here, the sun is so bright. Why don’t we go to some dark spot, with rum in it.”

“I will be your personal guide while you’re here, Mr. Mundy.”

“You can call me Al.”

Paul Simon would have called her Betty.

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Sex and the ethnicity

Can’t get the babe you want? Let them build one for you:

I am a Hispanic guy but some people think I look Asian or at least part Asian. I am attracted to Latinas and white women but it seems that these women prefer other races of men. White women only date black men when dating interracially and the beautiful Latinas I like prefer white men. I feel like I would be swimming against the current trying to get these women to like me and honestly I don’t want to have to put in 3 times the effort as men of other races to get the women I like. Sex robots should become mainstream in the next decade and the technology for them seems to be improving. I am thinking that I should just stay single forever and get a sex robot. I can customize this sex robot to have the skin color and hair color I want. They could make it look like a beautiful light skinned Latina or white woman. I am tired of being racially inferior and not being able to get the women I like because of this.

Most guys who aren’t getting any usually find some excuse, and this guy’s excuse is, um, being “racially inferior.” I don’t think so. And while he bewails the “current,” he’s trapped in an undercurrent of sexism: it’s okay for him to have his preferences, but apparently not okay for the women to have what he imagines are theirs.

Furthermore, I have to wonder how he calculated “3 times the effort.” If he got turned down twice, he succeeded once, n’est-ce pas?

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Good bone structure

In Our Bones by Against the Current cover artAfter three independently released EPs, the upstate-New York trio Against the Current signed to a sort-of-major label, Fueled By Ramen, distributed by the Atlantic Group. I’d reviewed the Infinity EP favorably, and I’d been following Chrissy Costanza’s Twitter feed, which is an intriguing mix of post-adolescent annoyance and road-inflicted world-weariness, so the band’s first full-length album, In Our Bones, was inevitably going to be on my must-buy list, especially considering what I’d said about Infinity:

In American Bandstand parlance, I’d give it an 88: it’s got plenty of beat, it’s highly danceable, and the songs aren’t instantly forgettable.

I’ll happily bump up In Our Bones to 90 or so: any of these twelve tracks could serve as an object lesson in Earworm Production, melding Pat Benatar-level ferocity with lyrical twists worthy of Taylor Swift. The consistency is startling: no song here is shorter than 2:59 or longer than 3:44, and every one of them incorporates a serious hook. (Okay, maybe “Demons,” the closer, is not quite so hook-y.) I think I might have wanted a little more guitar in some of the final mixes, and the way “Roses” sneaks up on you is cruel: it sounds so much like your Standard Break-Up Song, until you find out that it isn’t.

“Running With the Wild Things” was the lead single:

In Our Bones found its way to #2 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart, though progress up the 200, the all-inclusive chart, has been slow: last I looked it was perched at #181. Then again, ATC started out as a YouTube fave — 1.2 million subscribers — and toured the world before ever releasing this album, so I imagine they’re fairly happy, if maybe a little tired.

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Technical-ish difficulties

Yet another gambit in the ad-blocking war: pass it off as a technical issue.

Which is, of course, your fault:

Rendering Error which is actually a whine about ad blockers

Somewhere out there, I’m starting to think, is an Expedia-like compendium of bad ideas, specifically for those who want the rest of us to go on guilt trips.

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Too much continuity

A theoretical I’d just as soon avoid:

There is some argument as to whether she could. See the 12th Amendment, last sentence:

But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

Once he completes his second term, Barack Obama would presumably be “constitutionally ineligible,” per the 22nd Amendment, and therefore could not serve as Vice President, though an amusing argument otherwise can be made.

And there’s a nightmare scenario: A Clinton/Obama ticket is elected, and some nimrod manages to penetrate security and ventilate Her Majesty’s jacket. She dies, the Supremes rule that Barack can’t come back to the White House, and the Presidency devolves upon — the Speaker of the House. What you think of this may depend on whether you think Paul Ryan will be replaced next year.

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