Stand up straight

Believe me, I’d love to.

Comments (1)

Strange search-engine queries (525)

For those just tuning in, this is a weekly exercise in which we go through the scores of search strings that brought users of Bing and Google and whatever to this site, and then try to find something amusing about them. Sometimes it even works.

what happens if you bite your tongue:  A brief period of pain, as distinguished from the extended period of sorrow that would have been caused by what you were thinking about saying.

what do you call a skydiver with the flu:  Um, a sick chuter?

would you like us to send you a daily digest about new articles every day offer:  Well, that is what “daily” means: every day.

governor: the bridge that spans the brookline and kings boroughs is in desperate need of repair with estimates in the range of $30 million. over one million vehicles cross the bridge each day. therefore:  Raise the toll to $30.

“ok time to stop those pesky spammers” ~oncological:  Too bad. I was looking forward to giving them cancer.

hen tie:  You hope your mom thinks of this when she hears you talking about Japanese porn.

tigerdirect out of business:  Well, the Web site is still up and running.

tigerdirect website down:  Perhaps I spoke too soon.

excessive generosity:  This is probably not what killed TigerDirect.

taylor swift armpit sweat:  Only $90 an ounce at better retailers.

yuja wang bikini:  I can’t imagine her playing the piano in a swimsuit; on the upside, it probably wouldn’t interfere with her movements.

gentlemen formerly dressed:  At some point, they decided it was no longer worth the bother.

not superman:  “What is the inscription on Clark Kent’s headstone?”

Comments (2)

Degrees of brilliance

While Gadgette editor Holly Brockwell fangirled all over the new Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge — and let’s face it, no one fangirls better or with more technological suss — she dropped this little tidbit of information that induced Severe Jaw Drop in yours truly:

Amazingly, the S7 and S7 Edge feature water cooling, something PC users have had for a long time. It’s essentially a way of using sealed containers of liquid to cool down the components of a phone during intensive activity, and while it’s not the first time it’s been seen in a smartphone, it’s still a very impressive feature to cram into such a slimline phone. Most people won’t care, but we think it’s cool.

In the literal sense, yet.

I had no idea they were even thinking about liquid-cooled smartphones, though of course the concept makes eminently good sense. This, of course, is why she’s among the best tech writers in the known universe, and I’m still sitting here fumbling with T9 texting.


Ghosts of the matinee

Earlier today, Yahoo! Sports had a slightly amusing bit of clickbait, purloined from Stack: “WATCH: LeBron James and His Teammates Go Completely Unnoticed as They Walk the Streets of Oklahoma City.”

It was, in its own way, prophetic: LeBron James and his teammates went completely unnoticed by the Thunder defense most of the afternoon. OKC managed a one-point lead after the first quarter, but after that it was all Cleveland: the Erie specters were able to make shots more or less at will, and while the Thunder closed to within four at one point early in the third quarter, the Cavs cranked that lead back up to twenty-six before the end of that period. And they did this without Kyrie Irving, who departed after nine minutes and two points, suffering from the dreaded flu-like symptoms, and without Mo Williams (available but feeling poorly) and Channing Frye (who hasn’t yet arrived from Orlando). The Thunder did play new arrival Randy Foye, to little avail. But the weakest link may have been ex-Cav Dion Waiters, who has never fared well against his former team: he got his first score today from the charity stripe in the last minute of the third quarter. Tyronn Lue, now 10-3 since replacing David Blatt at the helm, had to have been pleased as his Cavs methodically dispatched the Thunder, 115-92.

Let there be numbers: six Cavs finished in double figures, including two reserves. Three Thundermen finished in double figures, including no reserves. (The OKC bench could manage only 21 points, despite an extended period of garbage time.) And this means something: Cleveland took ten fewer shots, but made four more. Kevin Love got game-high honors with 29 and 11 rebounds; LeBron turned in 25 points and dished up 11 assists. Tristan Thompson, who seems to have displaced Timofey Mozgov in the middle, scored 14, but Mozgov collected 11 in relief. For the home team, there’s Kevin Durant with 26, Russell Westbrook just missing a triple-double (20-9-11), Serge Ibaka with 12, and that’s about it; Steven Adams picked up nine in the first quarter and wasn’t heard from the rest of the day.

It doesn’t get any easier after this: six of the next seven are on the road, starting at Dallas on Wednesday, and the one home game is against the Warriors. What’s David Blatt doing these days?


You are being followed

We all know about social media. This seems to be an early incarnation of antisocial media:

Do you want to be spied on by an unseen obsessive? I don’t but apparently some people do. If you’re one of them then today is your lucky day, assuming you live in New York (the service will expand to other cities). A new “social network” — I use the term sparingly — allows you to be stalked for a whole day. A follower isn’t just a number any more; it’s someone lurking in the shadows.

Follower is a service created by Lauren McCarthy, an artist and full-time faculty at NYU Interactive Telecommunications Program with computer science and art degrees from MIT. Envisioned as an art project but also a social experience, Follower lets you sign up to be followed for an entire day. You sign up on the website and select three preferred dates to be followed. You are sent a link to download the Follower app, which alerts you on the morning of the day you are to be followed. For the rest of the day, the app uses your GPS signal to notify your Follower of your location. You probably won’t see your Follower, though they intend to keep quite close. McCarthy claims that the goal is to be unseen but “in your awareness”, whatever that means.

I can see one very specific market for this service: people who are wondering if their anti-paranoia medication is working any better than placebo.

But this is the pitch:

Bottom line:

It’s creepy but at the end of the day at least it’s not LinkedIn.

A point I will happily concede.

Comments (7)

Runway blockage

Blake Lively at NY Fashion Week 2016A bit more than fifty years ago, it occurred to me — the actual circumstances under which this happened, I couldn’t tell you — that a female of the species with her legs crossed at the knee had about 150 percent greater distraction potential, at least from my insufficiently-vantaged vantage point. Years passed before it occurred to me that this action of theirs also took up extra space. At the time, I didn’t much care. Then again, I’m not the guy running a fashion show:

If you’re lucky enough to sit front row at a New York Fashion Week show, you can expect cameras in your face, celebrities by your side — and being told to uncross your legs.

At the Michael Kors show Wednesday, actress Blake Lively refused to comply with the photographers’ “crossed legs rule,” causing quite a stir.

Lively sat front row alongside her mother and friends Naomie Harris and Riley Keough. The group was personally told by company chairman John D. Idol to uncross their legs before the show began, but none of them listened, Zap2It reports.

Although Lively is justly renowned for her gams, this isn’t a distraction issue:

Front-row attendees are commonly asked to uncross their legs before shows begin to keep the runway clear for shots.

“It’s for the photographers,” a “fashionista” tells Page Six. “People’s legs get in the way … it messes up the shots.”

I pulled a few pages out of the archives, and either compliance with this rule is marginal at best, or the paparazzi are getting their celeb shots before the models come out.

Addendum: As long as we’re on the subject of Blake Lively’s legs:

Blake Lively kicks up her heels

Blake Lively takes a call

If you believe those hacks from the Daily Mail, the “perfect” female celebrity has exactly these legs.

Comments (1)

I blame Lord Byron

Now here’s a comparison I didn’t come up with, but probably should have. The Byronic hero as Sexy Douchecanoe:

Rochester is rich and arrogant and moody as hell, and he has peculiar ideas on how to court a woman, including disguising himself as a gypsy to try and uncover Jane’s secret feelings towards him, while also attempting to incite jealousy by lying to Jane about his supposed engagement with Blanche Ingram. He’s very secretive, too, as people tend to be when they’ve indefinitely imprisoned their mad wives upstairs in the attic.

Reading Jane Eyre wasn’t actually a tortuous affair, mostly because I rather liked Jane and, to my surprise, found that she displayed a surprising amount of power and agency in their relationship, despite the inequality of their social positions. (It also helps that Rochester is not quite as terrible to Jane on a day-to-day basis as some of the other men I’ll discuss today.) Yet I was still quite happy to see that, despite loving him, Jane leaves Mr. Rochester after finding out about Bertha, showing a welcome amount of self-respect that, unfortunately, goes by the wayside when she returns to our brooding hero at the end of the story. Rather conveniently, poor Bertha has died in Jane’s absence; meanwhile, according to every analysis I’ve ever read, Rochester is wholly redeemed of his faults and deeds when, during a fire, he loses his sight and one hand saving his servants’ lives, something that might mean more to me if his servants had been the people he’d wronged in the first place. Rochester does absolutely nothing to atone to Jane for how he treated her, and thus I find myself completely unmoved by their supposedly happy ending. He has done nothing to deserve her love, loyalty, or care.

Moving out on the “Worse than Rochester” axis, we find Maxim de Winter of Rebecca:

This novel was definitely a challenge to read, what with the way I had to keep taking breaks to hit my head against a desk as the second Mrs. de Winter trembles and quavers and continuously obsesses over whether her husband is still in love with his dead wife. I understand that Maxim saved our unnamed narrator from a lousy living situation with her former employer and all, but her complete lack of self-esteem and refusal to stand up for herself is just maddening. Still, you’d like to think if something will clue you into the fact that your husband doesn’t deserve you, it’s finding out that he shot and killed his first wife.

It’s almost enough to make you want to set fire to Manderley.

Comments (4)

The stylist of songs

In the summer of 1964, the peak of the British Invasion, there was still a place on the American charts for non-white non-English non-boys, and into that place, as smoothly as could be, slid Nancy Wilson, who made it to #11 with “(You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am.” It was a jazzier piece than its florid arrangement might have let you think; “I wish I were an artist,” she sings, and you think, “Oh, honey, you don’t have to worry about that.”

Nancy Wilson wire-service photo

She pulled off this not-quite-nerd-girl look quite effectively, leaving Capitol, her record label of the day, with the task of trying to glam her up without overdoing it. Sometimes they even succeeded:

Cover art, Nancy Wilson Today My Way

Cover art, Nancy Wilson Nancy Naturally

At the end of the Seventies, she cut an album called Life, Love and Harmony, which yielded “Sunshine,” an excursion into funk that today is highly prized in the Northern Soul scene in, um, England.

Still, her roots are in jazzy pop and/or poppy jazz, as we hear as she runs through “How Glad I Am” at Newport in 1987:

Still an artist, of course. She retired from live performance in 2011; today she turns seventy-nine.

Comments (4)

Traffic uncalmed

One might wonder why it’s there in the first place, but knowing why probably does not help the situation:

And were it not for the Internationally Approved Sign, I could imagine this somewhere in the American South.

Comments (3)


Provoked by that gratuitous pony reference in that Jack Baruth article I cited earlier, I waited until about 500 comments had accumulated, and then threw in this observation:

A friend insists that Twilight Sparkle would drive a Volvo; I see her as more of a Honda Civic (and not a Civic Si, either) type.

Applejack, however, is destined for an F-150.

The response I got was nowhere near what I was expecting:

I can’t believe I’m asking this, but what year F-150?

To which I replied:

2010. I figure AJ would be unimpressed by all that aluminum stuff, so she’d want the previous generation — but she’s also not the sort to buy a new model in its first year, either.

This is, of course, my headcanon. Your mileage may vary.

The last all-steel F-150 generation was introduced in, yes, 2009.

Comments (5)

Minions of the Ninny State

Robert Stacy McCain, in the same patented style that got him suspended from Twitter yesterday:

Dear God, the education system is turning kids into spineless cowards. My paratrooper son spends his days jumping out of C-130s and marching for miles with 70 pounds of gear on his back, but Rutgers students “broke down crying” and were “scared to walk around campus” because Milo [Yiannopoulos] gave a speech? Are there any sane students at Rutgers? Are there no responsible adults in the administration or faculty?

I admit to going on one crying jag in college. I am mortified anew every time I think of it. The fact that this generation isn’t mortified by such things does not make me feel better about turning over an entire society to them; hell, I’m not sure I want them running a taco truck.

Comments (8)

You still talk too much

This happened last night:

75000 tweets

Since the 26th of October, the date of my 70,000th tweet, I’ve picked up 94 followers and I’m following 64 more people.

Of course, the scary statistic is this one: 5000 tweets in 116 days. That’s forty-three a day.

Comments (2)

Slowish motion

You can hardly blame Pacers coach Frank Vogel, a genuine Smart Guy, for wanting to keep this game at a slow, um, pace; when the Thunder are running, they tend to run up the score. Indiana led early, and OKC caught them right before the end of the first quarter; the Thunder maintained a small lead — no more than ten — until the middle of the fourth, when the Pacers tied it up at 84. This prompted the Thunder to get moving, dammit, and they duly went on a 7-0 run; the Pacers eventually caught up on the first-ever Myles Turner trey at 0:55, and went ahead 98-95 on a Monta Ellis trey at 0:19. Paul George nailed one of two free throws to make it a four-point game. A Kevin Durant fadeaway trey brought OKC back to within one just inside the six-second mark; George, immediately fouled after the inbound, hit two more, and a Russell Westbrook airball at the buzzer proved, or at least supported, Vogel’s game plan. Pacers 101, Thunder 98, the first time Indiana’s won in OKC in seven years.

Neither side shot especially well, around 44 percent, though Indiana did manage to cash in with the long ball, making five of five in the fourth quarter. (OKC had only five all night, out of 26 tries.) And this was not a good night for watching bench players: Thunder reserves scored only 20 points — 13 by Enes Kanter, who also collected 10 rebounds — and the Pacer bench phoned it in with 17. Then again, this was a good night for double-doubles: in addition to Kanter, Serge Ibaka tossed up 12 points and retrieved 11 boards, and Russell Westbrook 23 points and a career-high 18 dimes. With four starting Pacers scoring in double figures (Paul George 22/10, Ian Mahinmi a career-high 19 points and 11 boards) and the fifth, George Hill, awfully close to a triple-double (9 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists), lots of lines looked good. On the other hand, how the Sam Hill does Indiana have three players — one-quarter of the active roster — named Hill? (You’ve heard from George; Jordan and Solomon also played.) And one thing I was expecting did happen: Monta Ellis, who’s played 48 minutes a game more than once, did in fact play the longest tonight, though not by much — 38:26, five seconds more than KD.

Still unexplained: how the Thunder can be so good against the West and so meh against the East? They’re 27-5 against Western rivals, only 13-10 against Eastern teams. And the next game will be no easier: against Eastern leader Cleveland, Sunday afternoon.


I’m so young and you’re so old

Paul Anka, maybe, could have gotten away with that line. I never could, and I certainly can’t now.

Still, imputed age can present some philosophical difficulties:

I’m throwing this open, mostly because I don’t have a satisfactory explanation other than “Love is eternally young,” which sounds more platitudinous than practical.

Comments (13)

Hope for the hopeless notebook

Toshi the Road Warrior, a sturdy Toshiba Satellite which has followed me around on road trips for a decade and a half, is woefully out of date. But now I’m wondering if maybe a solution just dropped into my lap:

Earlier today we published a story about Neverware, a New York City startup that is helping schools refurbish old Windows PCs and Macs that had been abandoned as unusable, converting them into “Chromebooks” students can actually work on. Neverware charges schools a licensing fee for every machine it enables this way, but it also offers the software for free to individual users. And starting today, you can set up most computers to dual boot into their original operating system or Chrome, meaning you don’t have to get rid of anything on your machine to give it a spin as a Chrome-capable laptop.

Now these aren’t technically “Chromebooks” because that name is a trademark reserved for the laptops created by Google and its hardware partners. A Google representative suggested we call them Chrome laptops, or Chromium laptops. I’m partial to Chromiumbook myself. In any case, you’ll find that the experience is mostly indistinguishable from Chrome, and that all the Google apps and services you expect work without a hitch.

Toshi’s lack of suds may not matter in the Chrome context:

I have been using a six-year-old Dell Latitude laptop running Neverware’s CloudReady software for a few weeks. In Chrome it boots in under 30 seconds and runs fast enough for me to use it as my only computer at work. In Windows, well, not so much. As we noted in our feature, an irony of the cloud computing era is that a lot of older machines discarded as obsolete actually have far more horsepower, in terms of pure hardware, than the latest Chromebooks coming to market.

Then again, that’s a six-year-old. Toshi is sixteen. Still, the idea is tempting, and it’s not like I’m going to miss Windows XP.


Physics wins again

Take a look at this shoe:

Dual-heeled shoe by Christopher Coy Dixon

Yep. You were right, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be:

This week, [Christopher Coy] Dixon is debuting the Christopher Coy Collection, his first original line of high-end high heels designed to be super-sleek while also being easy on the feet. The first thing you’ll notice about the shoes is their heel — er, heels. There are two of them on each shoe. That extra point of contact between ankle and cement actually makes the shoes easier to walk in by improving weight distribution and taking some of the pressure off the arch of the foot. As Dixon explains, “When you have one heel, when you walk, the heel shakes. We wanted to add more stability.” The rest of the shoe is designed for comfort as well. The midsole is filled with shock-absorbent material and memory foam, the same kind you’d find in a comfortable sneaker. On the inside, the shoes are lined with calfskin leather.

This style is called “Lacey”; there are half a dozen more.

Comments (2)