And no place to go

I’m not saying this is the #1 problem with public transit, but:

Public urination is a “daily problem” in some MARTA stations. “The smell [of urine] hits you so bad. You hold your breath just to hurry up and get off the elevator,” one rider told WSB-TV.

Possible solution:

The detector consists of 10 small sensors on each side of the elevator at its base. If a sensor is hit by urine splash, it immediately notifies MARTA police. In addition to sensors, the program also calls for better lighting and cameras in the elevators to document any urination violations.

The pilot program did yield up one success story:

… one successful instance during the pilot program which led to an arrest; police caught a violator “quite literally, with his pants down.”

This is, I suppose, a better solution than trying to keep hobos from buying diuretics.

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You will not drink it here or there

In fact, you will not drink it anywhere:

Sign posted in Marks & Spencer

Hardly seems worth buying, given those conditions.

(Via this Neil Killham tweet.)

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Back street luv

I bought a boatful of Curved Air tracks over the weekend — Repertoire’s 2010 compilation Retrospective, for which “boatful” = 28 — and it occurred to me that maybe I ought to say something about Sonja Kristina, the one constant member of the ever-reshuffling band.

Sonja Kristina Linwood, born in 1949, started out singing folk and doing stage work, the combination of which found her doing Hair in London. (She sang the role of Chrissy, the girl who met a boy called Frank Mills.) When Hair finally closed, she and the four stage musicians formed Curved Air, which carved out a small reputation as a progressive band. This vintage photo seems appropriate:

Sonja Kristina of Curved Air

Weirdly, my favorite Curved Air track turned out to be one from the band’s fourth album, in which all of the original members save Kristina had gone their separate ways. This 2012 live version of “Metamorphosis” features Kristina reunited with original drummer Florian Pilkington-Miksa, who didn’t play on the 1973 studio track, and with keyboardist Robert Norton, who ably reconstructs Eddie Jobson’s original piano bits.

“Back Street Luv” is the title of Curved Air’s only hit single, which reached #4 on the UK charts and nowhere anywhere else.

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A label without appeal

Although its accuracy is difficult to question:

Safeway banana label

(Tweeted by @_youhadonejob.)

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Iconically free, or something

In all probability, the Virginia Assembly will not enact this measure in 2014:

The English Language Integrity Act: Makes it a class 6 felony to do any of the following: (1) use the word “iconic” when what is meant is that something is “familiar”; (2) use the word “literally” to describe something figurative (“I was so mad my head literally exploded”; (3) use “as far as” when “as for” is needed (“as far as Miley Cyrus, I think she’s a tramp”); (4) advertise a product as “free” if the consumer must purchase another product to get it. Reference to a product as a “free gift” shall bring a minimum sentence of five years.

As far as this bill goes, I think it has literally no chance of passage.

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Strange search-engine queries (413)

For the last time in 2013, we pull up the logs and see what people were searching for — and if it has any amusement value, we stick it here.

the goads so excited:  You won’t be goading me into this no matter what the excitement value.

lateral ara:  I didn’t watch much Notre Dame football, but I don’t remember any instance in which Ara Parseghian called for a lateral.

Wet Bra Problem:  Damn things are hard enough to detach when they’re dry.

jennifer aniston synapse:  In fact, it could be said that she’s got a lotta nerve.

meaning rockin around the christmas tree new old fashioned way:  Every year I have to explain the same damn thing. Next year, Rocko, you’re staying in your room until farging Epiphany.

maintenance history 2002 mazda 626:  Did you ask the owner? Because there’s no chance in hell it’s on the Web.

i accidentally left illegal drugs in my room at hard rock casino in catoosa ok. in my hotel room? what will happen?  Hint: Nobody will turn them in to the Lost and Found.

sluts by mail:  Beware. The handling charge is outrageous.

are .m4a files playable on windows rt:  You’ll need a third-party application. I’d suggest iTunes, but that would be cruel.

Mercury Cougar blowing starter motor fuse when you let off the clutch:  I’m sorry, I sort of drifted off there after “cougar blowing.”

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Scrubbed early

Maybe the Rockets just weren’t ready to launch. I admit to having been a bit squeamish about this game, what with Russell Westbrook hors de combat for the moment and whatever might be going through James Harden’s head. Turns out, The Beard’s most likely reaction is “WTF?” It took half the first quarter for the Rockets to make a shot, and by then the pattern was set: the Thunder were going to preside over an old-fashioned thrashing. Kendrick Perkins took Dwight Howard out of the picture, Harden managed only eight points on 2-9 shooting, and Jeremy Lamb led the Thunder bench with a career-high 22 points as OKC blew Houston out of the building, 117-86.

Lamb’s achievement was startling: 8-10 from the floor (three of four treys), five assists, five rebounds, two steals. With the wingmen producing at a high level — Reggie Jackson knocked down 16 points, Thabo Sefolosha 13 — and Kevin Durant being Kevin Durant (33 points, 13 rebounds), there wasn’t anything much the Rockets could do. The Thunder shot 57 percent, 45 percent from distance, versus 36 and 25. And there’s even a Telltale Statistic: Jackson had eight assists and no turnovers. Westbrook had to be staring at that.

With the Houston starters stymied, the reserves did their best to keep up: Aaron Brooks wound up with a team-high 17 points, and Omri Casspi added 15. (Only one Rocket starter made double figures: Chandler Parsons, with 15.) Houston did collect eleven offensive rebounds, but, as I’ve mentioned before, this is easier to do when you’re missing shots.

New Year’s Eve is Opening Night in downtown Oklahoma City. Adding to the festivities: a visit by the Portland Trail Blazers, who own a 1-0 season lead over the Thunder. Payback may or may not be imminent; but if the Thunder execute the way they did tonight, the Blazers will be trailing all evening.

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From the Department of Large, Unwieldy Numbers

About five-thirty this morning, visitor number 2,500,000 came calling: chap on an iPad looking for information on record producer Noel Walker, who presided over a lot of British Invasion stuff for Decca Records (London Records over here). Perhaps Walker’s least-likely hit was “I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman” by the pseudonymous Whistling Jack Smith, about which I said too much here.

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Real-world shoes

Most of the time, a shoe report from these quarters will elicit a comment, perhaps submitted, perhaps just spoken out loud, to the effect that Normal Women couldn’t possibly be seen in those shoes because they cost too much or they look too implausible or they’re impossible to walk in.

With that in mind, here are three pairs of shoes known to be owned by a Normal Woman — just down the street, in fact — which she’s willing to sacrifice from the collection:

From the PippinPearl shoe offering 12/13

All the stuff she’s trying to move can be seen here. The shoes are size 8 or 8½.

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Endorsed by Buster Friendly

This is, as Karen Geier tweets, a question for the ages:

Back cover of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

Cindi Mayweather was not available for comment.

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Test deprive

I think we can safely assume that the questioner here is not living particularly large:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Why do some people have it all in life, and others have nothing?

This appears to be his description of having it all:

Being born with a huge penis, becoming filthy rich.. Driving rolls Royce’s and living in mansions on the beach. Married to beautiful women eating steak and drinking champagne every night. While some are born into hell.. Living in dirt huts with flys surrounding them.

I suspect there’s a middle ground somewhere: a smallish house, decidedly inland, with occasional flies on the outside. Then again, that’s my place, and you can’t have it. Nyah.

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Thou shalt pay here

Near the bottom of any conceivable automotive market is the buy-here-pay-here dealer: you know going in, or should know anyway, that the interest rate will be stratospheric, the vehicle’s condition will be questionable, and the terms will be unforgiving.

Now: is BHPH compatible with JHVH? The following flyer was stuck under a wiper while I was grocery-shopping:

If your family is like most, you are struggling between buying the kids some Christmas presents or getting the family that much needed newer car. We are here to help solve that problem. <><

Our cars, trucks, and vans start at $1,000 and go to $7,195 with down payments as low as $500 to $2,000 depending on your stability factors. All it takes is just a few minutes to drop by the lot to look at our selection of second generation cars, trucks, and vans. <><

So saith By Faith Auto Sales, 19th and MacArthur, including the little fish-y brackets. The flyer, it says, doubles as a $250 “gift certificate.” And it does say not to bring it out until they start the paperwork, which strikes me as a good sign, but I’m still a trifle suspicious of the whole thing: it’s like the Godfather suddenly resurfaced as the Archbishop.

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Quote of the week

Josh, who writes pony stories under a pseudonym, also occasionally comes up with more generalized commentary:

Those Greenpeace ‘activists’. You can’t believe how much of a show they’re making of it over here. They are viewed as heroes of some sort or something. Jesus Christ. Those five people don’t have a right to be called Britons. They are a plight of my nation. Instead of working and providing for their families, and contributing to the society they live in, they decided to focus their attention on some meaningless global issues, and all while invading another country’s ship, no less! That’s like Yankees deciding they have the right to meddle in other nations’ affairs. Jeez, we’re Brits. We need to remain moderate. Moderation is what makes our nation. Now that I see Brits marching on parades, and taking part in ridiculous acts like invading some ship for the sake of some Arctic whatever, I have a sour feeling that this nation’s decadence is reaching its peak. Ironically enough, Scots are mobilising in terms of national identity, something that the English have failed to do for a while already.

I wonder when people will stop chiming in other people’s affairs and just live their lives and focus on the small things. I don’t see people from, say, Switzerland, giving a damn about the global affairs. Way to go! I’m honest here. They are the nation to be taken as an example. Good job, Switzerland. Good job.

One point Josh didn’t make, but could have: were Vladimir Putin just slightly less concerned with Russia’s public image — the Olympics are coming up, after all — the activists would still be languishing in St. Petersburg’s jails.

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Never one to desert

We have here Swinging London icon Marianne Faithfull at her 60s, um, 60s-est:

Marianne Faithfull in the mid-1960s

In her 67 years (as of tomorrow) she’s seen several lifetime’s worth of experiences, including a liaison with Mick Jagger (which may or may not explain why she has a writing credit on “Sister Morphine”), a spate of drug abuse in the Seventies (which may or may not explain why she has a writing credit on “Sister Morphine”), a tremendous comeback album (Broken English, 1979), and recordings right up to the present day.

My favorite Faithfull recording was, and is, the 1965 single “Summer Nights,” heard here in an “alternate/rare version” which is actually the US 45. (All the greatest-hits packages have a stereo mix with a different vocal track.)

“Summer Nights” is sweet. My second-favorite Faithfull recording is “Why D’Ya Do It,” the ferocious last track of Broken English, heard here in a 1993 live recording that isn’t even slightly safe for work.

Oh, and she’s the current Baroness von Sacher-Masoch.

(Lots of photos, early and late, at Faithfull Forever.)

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Crazy from the (lack of) heat

Stumbled across this at Tatyana’s place, and decided to give it a signal boost:

Chicago versus Houston

For reference, the average January high in Oklahoma City is 50. In 2012, an unusually bad year, we had 99 homicides, which is about 15.5 per 100k population.

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The frognosticator

Vaguely amphibian political consultant Dick Morris is making predictions again:

Morris says Republicans will capture the Senate in 2014. “We need six seats to win the Senate,” he says. “Three of them, as I’ve said, are easy pickups: West Virginia, South Dakota and Montana. All three of them have retiring Democratic incumbents, very strong Republican candidates and very weak Democrats running for the seat.” Morris said the real test will come in four crucial states: Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana and North Carolina.

You may remember Morris’ last bold prediction: Romney 325, Obama 213.

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