Speed demon

The days of Really Great Writing in car mags have probably long since expired, but every now and then someone — I’m looking at you, Jack Baruth — comes up with a true zinger. This one is from Aaron Robinson in the December Car and Driver:

Mario Fasanetto goes shrieking through the forests of the Eifel Mountains in a Lamborghini Aventador SV, a car that seemingly came about when Clark Kent and the devil had a baby. The Lambo’s body is slashed with cuts and gouged with holes and tattooed with black blades that order the wind to either go through it or go around it. The four pipes under the rear origami “bumper” gushes flame — flame! — a good six inches when the whip comes down on the 6.5-liter, 8500-rpm V-12. This is the car that appears when you call for an Uber in Mordor.

That last line just tickles the heck out of me.

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Meanwhile in the Wiregrass

You may remember this from last month:

Relating to Henry County, proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to provide that a person who is not over the age of 72 at the time of qualifying or appointment may be elected or appointed to the office of Judge of Probate of Henry County.

The Amendment passed with about 60 percent of the vote, meaning if Judge David Money wants to run for another term in 2018, he can.

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An unrecycled sentiment

I admit to not getting this at first:

Infiniti is famous, of course, for inscrutable advertising. Go back a couple of decades:

Then again, Brubeck speaks to us all. I had to get an explanation of that tree thing from Matt Polsky:

Eager to cash in on the warm fuzziness of the seasonal aesthetic, Infiniti has partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant 35,000 new trees on behalf of drivers, and came up with a corresponding television commercial and digital campaign.

Oh. Okay.

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Tweeting up a storm

I promised myself I wouldn’t get bogged down on Twitter during the election returns.

As I probably should have expected, I failed miserably:

Your Tweets earned 7,374 impressions over the last 24 hours

Although this doesn’t compare with the 22nd of October, during which I picked up 19,738 impressions with a lot less controversy.

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It’s just a substitute

But it may be cute, now that I think about it.

One of my regular items on the Walmart grocery run is a cheap cooked-ham product supplied by Hormel, deli sliced, for about four bucks a pound, there being some days in the week when nothing but a Dagwoodesque sandwich will do. This past weekend they apparently were out of the stuff, and requested (at curbside) permission to substitute, describing the suggested replacement as “Hormel Boneless Half Ham, Deli Sliced.” I was fine with that, since the price, as per Walmart policy, was the same $3.93.

And then I got it home. It was an actual half ham. By Hormel. A Cure 81 half ham. Worth about $13 at retail.

Maybe I should forget the sandwiches and just glaze the darn thing.

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And lo, the daylight was saved

Although it appears here to have been largely subsumed by mist:

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man.)

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Not just for kids

Not that anyone of a certain age needs such a thing, but here’s a perfectly good justification of Joan Aiken’s The Wolves of Willoughby Chase:

I like a lot of these “kid’s books” because of the clear moral arc: there is good and there is evil (or perhaps, in milder books, “bad,” rather than true evil) and good wins over evil in the end because good is persistent and honest and has kind people to help it. (Simon, the goose-boy, helps Bonnie and Sylvia; there are one or two girls at the orphan’s asylum who risk severe punishment to help them, partly because Bonnie has been so kind to the other girls … and yes, there’s also that idea of “you get back what you put out into the world” — that if you are a kind and good person it eventually comes back to you). Real life isn’t so clear cut, and that’s one of the great tragedies (for me at least) of adulthood: that you can be kind and good and still not prosper, and it can look like people who break every rule in the book get ahead, and the reason I keep coming back to these “children’s chapter books” is because they give me hope that what I see as an adult is wrong, and that there WILL be a reward to being a decent person (beyond merely being able to live more comfortably with your conscience) and more importantly, the bad people thwarting those who would do good (or even who would just live their lives unmolested) will wind up paying for it in the end.

“Evil will always triumph,” said Dark Helmet, “because good is dumb.” Of course, he said this to Lone Starr, and Dark Helmet is Lone Starr’s “father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate,” or some such business.

I persist in believing that what goes around does indeed come around, though I am forced to admit that it’s not very satisfying unless you actually get to watch the revolution in progress.

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Maybe they have a carbon-dating app

A bit of consolidation you probably wouldn’t have noticed (I barely did):

Internet provider Windstream today announced that it will buy EarthLink for $673 million in an all-stock transaction. The merger is focused on creating a stronger network operator for business customers, but it also provides a reminder that after all these years, dial-up Internet is still being sold.

EarthLink was founded in 1994 to provide dial-up Internet service and had more than 1 million customers by the late 1990s. But while dial-up has long been overtaken by DSL, cable, and fiber network technologies, EarthLink is still offering its original Internet service and boasts, “We’re the dial-up Internet experts. It’s what we’ve been doing best since 1994.”

EarthLink dial-up costs $9.95 a month for the first three months and $24.95 a month thereafter (or $14.50 a month if you prepay for a year). For that price, you’ll get “Unlimited 56K dial-up access,” e-mail, and “10MB of webspace for your own website,” the company says. EarthLink also advertises DSL, cable, and satellite service through reseller agreements that allow EarthLink to sell the services without building the networks itself.

And, since you’re going to ask, they’re one of the few ISPs who will let you keep an email address after you’ve terminated other services from them — for a price, of course. I kept an EarthLink dialup until about 2009, just in case.

(Via @JenLucPiquant. No, EarthLink has not sent me a notification.)

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Running Deepika

It was expected that Deepika Padukone would become a professional badminton player, as her father was. But being a fashion model paid better, and eventually, she meandered into film, becoming one of the highest-paid actors on the Indian subcontinent. She won her second of three Filmfare awards for Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela, a 2013 take on the old Romeo and Juliet story.

Deepika Padukone in shorts

Deepika Padukone promoting shaving cream

She does promote a lot of products, yes.

Deepika Padukone at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2016

This latter is from this past weekend at the MTV Europe Music Awards.

Deepika has been very out front about her battle with depression:

She’ll be thirty-one in early January.

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Grinding Heat

It didn’t take too long to figure out the new, temporarily Boshless, permanently deWaded Miami Heat: they’re last year’s Memphis Grizzlies, albeit without being as doggone old as last year’s Memphis Grizzlies. Their game plan was simple enough: slow things down, keep the Thunder at about 60-percent speed. The Thunder declined, rolling up 39 points in the first quarter. Miami was a bit more successful in the second, holding Oklahoma City to a mere 16, though the Heat scored only 19 themselves. Still, the Heat kept creeping up, until a couple of minutes into the third, when OKC ran off 20 points in a row in less than six minutes and never allowed the Heat to make up the difference until the very end. The final was 97-85, and the Thunder are 6-1, 4-0 at home.

It wasn’t all horrible for Miami; OKC expat Dion Waiters, starting on the wing, got a pretty enthusiastic greeting from Loud City that I suspect will not be duplicated when the Warriors show up. (Then again, Waiters went 1-9 for two points.) And it didn’t hurt to have two Johnsons on the bench: James and Tyler came up with 28 points between them. But I have to figure that Erik Spoelstra will be tinkering with things even further in an effort to get this team into respectability. Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook had a fairly terrible night, 14 points and 11 assists in 26 minutes; he didn’t play in the fourth quarter at all. It was left to Enes Kanter to roll up the score, and Kanter did not disappoint, collecting 10 rebounds to go with 24 points. Domantas Sabonis nailed a double-double of his own, his first in the league, with 15 points and ten boards.

Perhaps Westbrook is being rested for Wednesday, when the Raptors arrive from Toronto; he’ll need to be at full strength to counter the DeStructive powers of DeMar DeRozan, currently leading the league in scoring with 33.7 points per game. (Westbrook has a modest 33.2.) And the Raptors, even when they weren’t a major power in the East, had a pretty good record against OKC in recent years; there’s no compelling reason to think this will change.

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Nobody told you to shut up

And you’re not obliged to do so even if they do:

I gave an opinion that was, for me, uncensored. From the heart and heartfelt and, let me assure you, not given in cruel or hateful way. See, usually I am woefully chameleon in my dealings with people. I try, when asked the dreaded “So what do YOU think about that?” to tailor my answer to either vaguely enhance the asker’s already-formed stance or failing that, to turn the conversation aside to more neutral targets, like “Nice weather we’re having” or “What kind of lube do you like best?”

Luckily, due to years of subtle indoctrination toward all I encounter, most people don’t ask my opinion because they think I’m about as dumb as a box of hair. This suits me fine, and in fact enhances my calm.

Still don’t know what the three seashells are for.

The result of this honesty was an abrupt and complete shutting out. Bang. Social media door slammed in my face and block, block, block around the clock on all other fronts.

Okay then.

Now this is the surprising part. I’m not dead. It didn’t kill me. It didn’t even really inflict a lot of damage — emotional, psychic, mental, metaphysical, existential, or oatmeal. (Just testing to see if you’re paying attention and gods love ya if you are.)

So I’ve decided that while my opinion might not be popular, or accepted, or even couched in terms the receiver can dig, I’m still going to give it.

Like Alice says, no more Mister Nice Guy.

Number of people I have stricken from my social-media connections this year for having Improper Opinions: zero. Because that’s the way I am. I don’t want a freaking echo chamber; I don’t want a procession of parrots telling me I’m so right.

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Eventual backfire

Guys of the era, I’m pretty sure, surrendered pretty easily:

Vintage Cannon hosiery ad

Cannon made its fame making sheets and towels and bedspreads; they came late to the hosiery game, but they did manage to get a seat at the table. This particular ad — they repeated it with variations for years — dates to 1964.

Fieldcrest-Cannon made it into the 1990s before the inevitable death spiral:

In September, 1997, Fieldcrest-Cannon was sold to the Pillowtex Corporation for $700,000,000. Sales slid, and problems began to appear as Pillowtex lost money. According to a former CEO of Pillowtex, its largest product buyer, Wal-Mart, encouraged the company to move production overseas [to remain competitive] but Pillowtex refused. It was undercut by competitors (producing overseas at lower prices) and when its prices were no longer competitive stopped (or lost) its opportunity to supplying Wal-Mart.

The Cannon brand still exists, should anyone wish to license it from its current owners.

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Movement out of sync

In a dark room in central Texas in early 1970, I learned two things: that I greatly admired the seemingly random movements that were being presented in those days as modern dance, and that I would never, ever be able to participate. (Yes, they brought me up on stage; no, I wasn’t any good.)

My regard for dancers has remained undiminished after all these years, and may perhaps grow as I become increasingly immobile myself. Disonante, choreographed by Ana Elena Brito, seems to speak to me specifically: every movement seems to be planned, yet many of them go utterly wrong.

Venezuelan dancer Vanessa Vargas, on her own, has recently completed Becoming invisible, of which she says:

My project stands on the notions of rootlessness and exile, which I present as the by-products of migration, not only as an internal journey, but also as a social phenomenon. My aesthetic proposal, which stands in the crossroads of dance, performance and visual art, pretends to break down the mainly urban considerations of cartography and topography on stage.

To be honest, I figured out about five-eighths of that watching her dance but before reading her description, which suggests that whatever rarefied mental space it takes to come up with an abstraction that can be made concrete in a mere ten minutes, it’s a space I probably have been to without even realizing it.

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Strange search-engine queries (562)

Strangely light this morning for some reason. But no matter: it doesn’t take a whole lot of illumination to go through the week’s search strings.

wile e. coyote breakaway mug:  I suggest that pretty much everything Wile E. Coyote is breakaway in some fashion or other.

what is french moss:  One of the varieties that will not collect on a rolling stone.

sarah has just received her driver’s license and is now ready to drive to school. although she’s never driven to her school before, sarah knows the way. the fact that sarah can drive herself to school suggests that:  She wasn’t sleeping on the bus all those years.

lara croft x male reader lemon:  Wouldn’t ship it. Lara has no patience for such.

which best describes the “man” thoreau refers to in the excerpt? he expects others to attend to his needs when he wakes up. he is under constant protection by soldiers. he naps often and is always sleepy. he must have the most up-to-date news at all times:  And tomorrow, said “man” may well be replaced by a woman.

gop scrambles to salvage election after donald trump’s latest imbroglio:  Yeah, good luck with that.

dimeking pesticide rainbow:  Opened for Bad Brains during a brief 2014 tour.

my shadow weighs 42 pounds:  And when you get your shoes shined, you have to take their word, right?

steely dan torture device:  Side Two of Katy Lied.

dundant:  Doesn’t count until it’s dundant twice.

during the two hours before their 7:30 p.m. appointments on wednesday evenings, the operations team had a weekly gripe session during which everyone gleefully unloaded on the powers that controlled their miserable lives. this session was valuable since it:  Was over in two hours, unlike every other corporate meeting.

renee ross sweater expander:  Probably comes in pairs, just like everyone else’s.

how can sports marketers cater to their female fan base without resorting to stereotypes and overgeneralizations?  But take away stereotypes and overgeneralization, and what’s left of sports marketing?

100000 leagues under my nutsack:  Sports marketing at its finest.

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And the earth tries to swallow once more

Five point three.

If that magnitude holds up, it will be the fourth largest earthquake in state history.

That in itself is sort of newsy, but this is worse. Adam Wilmoth reports energy stuff for the Oklahoman:

I mean, we’re talking pipelines in every direction except straight up.

The sensation was weird: I heard what I thought was wind over the back fence, and the rumble moved forward, clearing the house in about 35 seconds. No damage here that I can tell, but then I’m pretty far away.

Update, 8:40 pm: Downgraded to 5.0. Now #5 on the all-time list.

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Lackluster video

[Note: This originally appeared on 11 January 2006 and was subsequently deleted; I’m bringing it back here.]

I haven’t set foot in a Cropduster Blockbuster Video store in about a decade, and apparently I haven’t missed much:

Blockbuster has always charged as much as it imagines the traffic can bear. Its late fees were brutally high, and it raised the price of rentals substantially when it removed the fees. Did it think we wouldn’t notice?

Blockbuster employees hereabouts are teenagers who don’t give a damn. There is no avenue whatever for customer feedback to get to anybody who cares. If, in fact, there IS anybody who cares.

Worst of all, Blockbuster drove out the independent video stores in our area — stores which had knowledgeable and entertaining movie buffs behind the counter and which carried lots of old movies, foreign movies, documentaries, and other things I actually wanted to see.

Blockbuster has instead arrogantly stocked its stores with hundreds of copies of the most idiotic current releases, ignoring “long tail” customers altogether. It followed the old Henry Ford business model: “You can paint it any color, so long as it’s black.”

I made my first forays into home video in 1981, buying a Beta VCR and a CED videodisc player; I followed with a LaserDisc player in 1982. I split my business between Buttons, a video cousin to the Sound Warehouse chain, which was quick to get hardware goodies, and Kaleidoscope Video, a local store with two locations and enormous quantities of nonhits on tape.

But that was then. Now I rent nothing; if I want to see it badly enough, I’ll actually catch it in a theater, or if it doesn’t play here — too common an occurrence, alas — I’ll figure out some way to get the DVD. (And I’m not above writing to the producer if I have to.)

And should I have actual time for rentals at some point, I’ll probably sign up for something like Netflix. Less hassle, better selection.

Update: And now I’m signed for Amazon Prime, but I don’t think I’ve watched a single video from them. No actual time, perhaps.

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