The dial clicks once more

Until such time as I don’t, I have to assume that I’ll keep getting older; at least, that’s the one lesson I’ve learned from history, which puts me one up on rather a lot of people these days.

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It could have been a birthday gift

“And what would you like?”

Um, a new Rebecca Black record would be nice.

And so it is:

To me, it seems a little less restrained than Alessia Cara’s 2016 original.

Cara, incidentally, wrote some new words to Troye Sivan’s “Wild,” which Sivan liked enough to cut a new version with Cara’s voice and lyrics. It’s pretty spiffy, but I still like Rebecca Black’s cover better.

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Fists of furry

Legend of Kung Fu Rabbit is the English-language version of Legend of a Rabbit, the first-ever animated film from China to be exported to the rest of the world, possibly to try to earn back the CNY 100 million it lost in its domestic market.

One possibly intriguing character:

Penny from Legend of Kung Fu Rabbit

She’s named Mudan in the Chinese version, but for some reason they’ve called her “Penny” here. Yan Ni, fortysomething, was the original voice actor.

Yan Ni

In English, Penny’s voice was provided by a teenager: Rebecca Black.

Yes, that Rebecca Black. From the few bits I can catch from the trailer, she sounds every bit like the fourteen years old she was in 2013 when the DVD came out. Still, I should see this some day.

(Title in the trailer. I wish I’d thought of it.)

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Consider yourself warned

Do not even think about driving while inebriated in Wyoming, Minnesota:

I mean, they’re serious.

(Via @Wombat_Socho.)

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And it’s off to Voldemart

This showed up yesterday afternoon:

About half an hour later, I was pulling into the local Supercenter to pick up my groceries. All you need to know about that trip is this: the order was placed Monday, and 5 pm Wednesday was the earliest I could schedule a pickup that didn’t conflict with either work or sleeping. That said, I was out of there before 5:15, so I can’t really complain. Still, I can see a good reason to confining future grocery runs to Saturday afternoon, when there’s less of a crowd. (This particular Walmart store has six pickup points; this was the first time I’d ever seen all six in use.)

So I did not fail at Walmart the day before Thanksgiving, unlike some people.

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Troll level: average

Credit for keeping a straight face, though:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Why doesn't Elliot Rodger upload anymore?

Further:

I used to watch his videos but the supreme gentleman hasn’t uploaded since 2014! Has he quit YouTube?

Um, not exactly. The creepy little weirdo, in his one act of true selflessness, turned the gun on himself. So the guy with the first answer to this question was correct: “No wifi in hell.”

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Meanwhile in the Third World

Not so long ago, I was in Pay It Forward mode, and signed up for a couple of loans through Kiva.org. I am now informed that both recipients have begun paying back those loans more or less on schedule, which I consider a Good Sign. And while I’ll never make any serious coin in this way, hey, it beats stuffing myself on Thanksgiving and paying for it later with indigestion.

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Short thrift

From yesterday’s Oklahoman, business section:

Oklahoma City and Tulsa residents are expected to average $899 and $519 respectively on holiday spending, according to a report released last week by WalletHub personal finance website.

Among 570 U.S. cities, Oklahoma City ranks 116th and Tulsa, 399th. The predicted biggest spenders are Palo Alto, Calif., consumers at $2,281, and cheapest, Brockton, Mass., residents at $70.

Okay, Tulsa, what’s with the skinflintiness? (And geez, Brockton, how do you do it?)

WalletHub’s analysts based their ratings on cities’ incomes, ages, debt-to-income ratios, monthly income-to-monthly expenses ratios and savings-to-monthly expenses ratios. Among other metrics, Oklahoma City residents average 34.1 years of age, $5,583 in savings, and $4,228 and $3,313 in monthly income and expenses.

I’m guessing that $915 a month ($4228 less $3313) goes to the taxman.

Still, even at our lofty 116th, we’re not exactly big spenders:

Nationwide, the predicted holiday spending average is $935, up from $805 last year, according to the report. The National Retail Federation predicts the same average, which includes gifts for others, food, flowers, decorations, cards and some $139 consumers are expected to spend on themselves.

Not even going to jump on that last item.

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In the spirit of the season

The Oklahoma state whatever-it-is seems to be causing a dustup in South Carolina:

Implied Consent dishtowel

It pictures a sprig of festive mistletoe with the tagline “Implied consent.” Many people on Twitter and Facebook, where a picture of the dish towel has been widely shared, say it makes light of a serious societal problem and promotes rape culture. Others wrote it off as a simple joke, misinterpreted by political correctness.

It all started when College of Charleston student Caroline Connell, 21, noticed the dish towel on display at C’est La Vie on Market Street on Saturday. She snapped a picture of it and posted it online.

“literally WHO signed off on this???,” Connell wrote on Facebook. “why is this the first thing you see when you walk in c’est la vie on market st.???? wildly inappropriate.”

As always, the marketplace came up with the definitive answer:

Connell told The Post and Courier she went back to C’est La Vie on Monday and spoke to the store manager. She said she attempted to explain why some customers would be offended by the towel. She said he told her it was already sold out.

If you’d like to scare the dickens out of a coed, the towel comes from Jake Witzel Wooden Monograms in Fort Worth, Texas.

(Via someone I should have kissed at the time, but didn’t.)

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Are we there yet?

The new home for the Sacramento Kings is the Golden 1 Center, named for a credit union, located in the Downtown Commons. At some point in the second quarter tonight I got the feeling that the Thunder had somehow drifted back to the old Sleep Train Arena; both offense and defense seemed a bit sleepy at times. Down three at the half, Oklahoma City was outscored 36-27 in the third, and the Kings just kept on coming; halfway through the fourth Anthony Morrow, who hadn’t made a three-point shot all season, somehow made a three-point shot — and an and-one. This brought the Thunder back to within ten, but by then the game was essentially over, and when the horn sounded the Kings were 116-101 winners.

All the standard statistical categories favored Sacramento, though this one is the most dramatic: the Kings shot 47 percent (44-94), the Thunder 42 percent (32-76). The Purple Gang managed to take 18 more shots, a situation not at all alleviated by the Thunder’s 30-38 free-throw performance. (The Kings hit 16 of 17 from the line.) And the fiction that OKC is a good three-point team persists: seven of 25, 28 percent. (The Kings made 12 of 28.)

Faced with this debacle, the fan wants to know: “Well, how did Russell Westbrook do?” Just short of a triple-double: 31-11-9. But those 31 points include 16 free throws; he was 7-18 from the floor. And besides, DeMarcus Cousins’ own double-double was a bit more impressive: 36 points, 13 boards. (Okay, only two assists. Cousins is a big, okay?) Billy Donovan threw out some new lineups, but none of them seemed effective at the time.

So it’s back to .500, and one more out-West game this week: Friday night at Denver. After that, the Pistons come to OKC, having already thrashed the Thunder in Auburn Hills. Sixteen games in, it’s hard to see these guys as better than an 8 seed, if that.

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Harshing your melatonin

A “personalized” Bing search for “Dangers of Too Much Melatonin” brought up this item near the middle of page one:

How much melatonin is too much?

I don’t think I want to know what that connects to.

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The way we weren’t

Roberta X has a better eye for these things than I do:

[T]here was something else that bugged me about the reporter area and the “pit” where researchers toiled. Last night the light finally dawned: nearly everyone has their typewriter sitting front and center on their desk, just where you’d put a computer keyboard!

No, no, a thousand times no. Those desks have, I’ll bet, perfectly good pull-out or swing-out typewriter shelves, set lower than the desktop and with good reason: typewriters are way taller than computer keyboards. Many of the reporters have IBM Selectrics, the ne plus ultra of its day and still mighty desirable, if your desires turn that way. But the Selectric’s spacebar alone is a good three inches above the surface it sits on, if not more! Nobody who writes for a living (and most who do so for fun) can comfortably use one on top of a thirty-inch high office desk for long. And yet every foregrounded character in the series does just that, with Selectrics or full-sized manual typewriters, even researchers who can’t be more than five feet tall in high heels. So here’s this wonderful set dressed with new-appearing period pieces and filled with wonderful people in 1969-70 clothing, a past recreated with nearly otaku-level devotion on three levels plus staircases, and on every level, you will need to look carefully to find a typewriter in its proper place. You might not find even one.

My own desk, old enough to be in a series about the late Sixties, has two pull-out platforms, one on either side, probably intended to accommodate a typewriter, though they seem a bit small for a Selectric. (Not that it matters; my sole typewriter these days is a late-20th-century Brother electronic with a spellchecker that I toggle off first thing every time it starts.)

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Archive-diving

Apparently I’m not the only person who combs through the backstory on this site:

…searching my own comments in blogosphere, as a reminder to myself [“oh, where did I said something like this before?!”], I found this amusing exchange.

Things got a hair heated, but hey: three dozen comments. Rare in the context of this place.

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And yet they ask me

Morgan Freeberg has seen Quora, and he understands it slightly better than I do:

I think I’ve got a pretty good bead on the typical Quora respondent. In sum, these are young college-grads who feel like they’re in a class by themselves because they use the metric system. By which I mean, they want to become elitist snobs but they’re not entirely sure how yet, because they’re still prioritizing process over outcome. I can tell this by the questions as well as the answers. I see these questions scroll up like “how many monitors would a good programmer be using?” and, applying perhaps a bit more old-fashioned common sense than would be expected by the person posing the question, I come up with my own counter-question: How come you haven’t already figured it out for yourself? Try one, try two, try three, see what works…

It gets back to the plan that is scary because of what it leaves unplanned. How come everything’s got to be scripted?

I am often frustrated by the belief that if such-and-such works for A, it should therefore work for B through Z inclusive. Which, in turn, explains contemporary “diversity”: it looks exactly the same from any angle.

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Almost a TV theme

I was about to throw in something on Roger’s TV-theme roundup, went researching, and came up with something I hadn’t heard before.

“Out of Limits,” written by Michael Z. Gordon for the Marketts, is notable for cleverly incorporating a repeated four-note motif from Marius Constant’s theme for The Twilight Zone, and for being almost named after a TZ rival on another network: The Outer Limits. First pressings, in fact, did say “Outer Limits,” but the threat of litigation arose.

“Out of Limits” peaked at #3 in Billboard, a highly respectable showing, and still makes for soundtrack fare today. What I did not know was that Gordon had recut it many years later, over a rhythm bed provided by the Routers, another band founded by Gordon. Then this happened:

It was actually recorded with lyrics and the lead vocalist was Maggie Lee. However, Joe Saraceno, who had no rights to this recording, took the master recording and wiped out the vocals and illegally sold it as an instrumental. It has never been released as a single or on an album so there are no pressings of this song for sale anywhere in the world.

Saraceno, a West Coast music producer, had worked with Gordon on Marketts and Routers stuff early on. And I have to admit, this newer version has cool of its own:

You probably know the Routers from here.

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Closeout at Staples

This game, or at least the first three quarters of it, was rather easily summed up: the Lakers outshot the Thunder, and not by a little either. Los Angeles put a 29-16 hurt on Oklahoma City in the first quarter; OKC fought back to within one at the half, but the Lakers kept on putting up good shots and the Thunder kept on failing to defend at the periphery, with the result that L.A. opened the fourth quarter with a 17-9 run. The futility of it all seemed to come sharply into focus when the Thunder hit four treys in a row and somehow didn’t manage to gain any ground; with three minutes left OKC was still down six. Russell Westbrook bore down. Stops appeared as the Lakers missed six shots in a row. With 43 seconds left, Westbrook delivered to Steven Adams at the net, and suddenly it was a one-point game. One stop later, Adams came up with a stickback — this was his first 20-point game ever — and Oklahoma City was up 109-108. The Lakers got the ball back with 14 seconds left; Nick Young took nine of those seconds to knock down a 27-footer, and L.A. was back up two. Westbrook went for the win, the Thunder couldn’t retrieve the loose ball, and the Lakers won it, 111-109.

By the end of the game, the shooting percentages had converged: 51-49 Lakers. OKC, as usual, had the edge in rebounding (40-35). Of interest: the five L.A. reserves scored 55, leaving 56 for the starters. (OKC bench scored only 33, and Anthony Morrow has yet to hit a trey all season.) There was only one double-double to be seen, and yes, Westbrook’s name is on it: 34 points, 17 in the fourth quarter, and 13 assists.

Tomorrow things resume in Sacramento and will likely run past midnight Central, which matters only to early risers and the Oklahoman.

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