The Orange Dreadful

Looks like candy corn to meA bag containing about seven pounds of candy corn — actually, 111 ounces, which is something like 6.94 lb — has arrived at my porch after a trip from Texas, and I’m pretty sure it would have been more sensible to have ordered it in a cold month, which August is most assuredly not, at least not in this hemisphere. (And I’m also pretty sure that this particular vendor doesn’t ship to Ecuador or to Tierra del Fuego.)

That said, the mandatory Nutrition Facts label promptly presented itself for inspection, and you’ll be pleased (or appalled) to hear that one serving = 19 pieces of the dreaded wedge = 140 calories. For your future reference or bar-bet use, this means that one piece of candy corn (Brach’s, if it matters to you) contains 7.4 calories.

And as long as we’re pretending this stuff has food value, here’s a recipe for deep-fried candy corn.

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More laurels yet

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Musical America Artist of the Year for 2017:

Yuja Wang before a concert in Munich 16 July 2017

She represents a new breed — the complete, thoroughly modern package. Wearing stunning gowns chosen specifically to match the repertoire she is playing, she has cultivated a persona of visual beauty as well as musical brilliance. And then there are those dynamite encores — wow!

In a recent video for Giorgio Armani, Musical America’s Artist of the Year, Yuja Wang, performs Liszt’s arrangement of Schubert’s Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel, the work’s dark, dulcet tones swirling against a dimly lit backdrop of piano and pianist as the music gently weaves a spell of soulful mystery. The performance, technically impeccable and full of subdued passion, is intercut with images of Yuja in a variety of tasteful fashion poses. There was a time when this would have raised eyebrows, along with protestations about classical music’s chaste role in a world full of commercial taint. Welcome to the 21st century, when women play the piano as well as men and feel free to flaunt their other gifts as well.

On the off-chance that you might have wanted to hear the entirety of Gretchen am Spinnrade:

She is, after all, only thirty, so I can believe this:

She has a keen interest in popular culture as well. Hence her attention to fashion, as well as her usual reported practice of listening to rock music before stepping out on stage. She uses Spotify to keep on top of new things, and goes to live concerts as often as possible. Though she values working with older masters, she loved performing with Gustavo Dudamel’s Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolivar (“What a crazy bunch of outrageous musicians!”) partly because they are mostly her age, and their youthful outlook matched her own. After the concert, she reports, they could all agree, “Let’s go to a bar and listen to electronic music.”

A party girl? Who knew?

Yuja Wang after a concert in Munich 16 July 2017

Here, she plays some fiendishly difficult Bartók, with Dudamel at the helm of the Los Angeles Philarmonic:

You’ve had a rough night, mademoiselle. Is there somewhere we can take you?

Yuja Wang gets a ride to somewhere 2017

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So, Doc, like, um, what’s up?

You do not see two trucks full of carrots:

US Customs and Border Patrol trucks filled with fake carrots

All these items share with carrots are the shape and a certain degree of orangeness. They’re really plastic wraps containing marijuana, and US Customs and Border Patrol finds them risible.

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Future orange

The Oklahoman’s Jenni Carlson engages in some uniform discussion:

Last week, a photo leaked showing what appears to be a sheet of all the NBA’s uniform changes for next season. The mock-ups haven’t been acknowledged by the league. The changes haven’t been verified by all the teams. But with some of the depictions fitting previously released designs, it sure seems legit.

Among the alternate jerseys — an all-orange look for The Thunder.

The top and the bottom are orange. They have blue trim and piping. They have old-style block blue letters outlined in white spelling OKC on the front. They are bold and striking and cool as heck.

I yield to no one in my defense of orange, but on an NBA uniform? It doesn’t even match the ball, fercrissake.

This is not to say that I’m taking up the position set out in these pages six years ago by Duyen Ky:

Nothing looks good in orange. No living creature, that is. Well, except for some cats.

Orange should be reserved for road-hazard cones by federal law.

Then again, since I generally listen to the games on the radio, I don’t actually have to look at this garb.

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We can dig it

There exists a strong possibility that you’ve done an impression of Telma Hopkins at least once.

Okay, you’re shaking your head. How does a background singer best known for being part of Tony Orlando and Dawn, later turned actress, fit into your repertoire? Repeat after me: “Shut yo’ mouth.” If this in any way sounds like you’re replying to Isaac Hayes intoning “You say this cat Shaft is a bad muthah,” you’ve just done an impression of Telma Hopkins, whose voice is out front on that line in Hayes’ original Theme from Shaft.

Before working with Hayes, Hopkins was based in Detroit, where she sang for Berry Gordy at Motown and for crosstown rival Eddie Wingate. After Orlando hit with “Candida” with two studio singers, management figured out that he’d need a touring group, and hired Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson.

This little orange number comes from the days of Half & Half, a successful (for UPN, anyway) comedy that didn’t get picked up when The CW was created:

Telma Hopkins at the 15th Annual Night of 100 Stars

And this is just a classic reaction shot:

Telma Hopkins on TV Land

And Telma’s still busy, with continuing gigs on Are We There Yet? (TBS), Lab Rats (Disney XD), and Partners (FX). In the latter, she plays Martin Lawrence’s mom. In real life, they’re 16 years apart. (Lawrence turned 50 this spring.)

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Oh, citrus

There are lights of various colors on Gwendolyn’s instrument panel, but the color I fear most is orange: the Low Fuel light is orange, the Service Engine Soon light is orange, and the light I saw yesterday for the first time is orange. I explained this thinking to Trini, and she identified the indicator: “You’re low on wiper fluid.”

I hit the lever to spritz the glass. “No, I’m not.”

The working theory, at least for now, is that a particularly bad pavement discontinuity — pothole season in Oklahoma City runs from April 1 through March 31 — had jarred the pertinent sensor. And the light turned off some time in the next half mile. I did, however, pop the hood when I got home, and the fluid level was about an inch below the top, which should have been insignificant considering the fluid reservoir is half a foot tall.

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S-ness

The May InStyle arrived last night, and when I finished my expected Reese Witherspoon-induced palpitations, I plunged further into the book, and found a brief fashion layout featuring a woman identified as SZA. These pix aren’t from that photoshoot, but they ring true:

SZA in orange

SZA headshot

First question answered: not related to Wu-Tang’s RZA, but she derives the name from the Supreme Alphabet. She’s twenty-four. She has freckles. And she’s had three EP-length releases: See.SZA.Run, S, and Z, though Z’s ten tracks run 41 minutes, decidedly long for an EP. (Up next: A.) “Julia” is a track from Z, which came out last year; “Tender” is a fragment from an as-yet-unreleased work that starts about 3:41.

To the iTunes Store I go.

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Very shiny indeed

The General Motors FastLane blog has a feature this month on the first batch of female auto designers in Detroit, hired by GM Chief of Design Harley Earl. In 1958, Earl put together something called “The Spring Fashion Festival of Women Designed Cars,” which featured some of the ideas these women had, which may or may not have been scheduled for production:

The female designers from the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Oldsmobile, Pontiac and Buick staffs modified two vehicles from each brand to demonstrate the female point of view. Vehicles displayed included six convertibles, a station wagon and three hardtops.

Not a sedan in the bunch. Then again, who remembers sedans from this era?

Along with stunningly detailed interiors and custom hardware, the designers proposed ideas that would lead to improved safety, including retractable seat belts and open door warning lights. The women also focused heavily on storage in the vehicles, and included a variety of compartments for umbrellas, maps, cameras and even picnic supplies.

In 1958, only one automaker had standard seat belts: Saab. And they were lap belts only; the three-point belt we see today was installed in every ’59 Volvo. GM and the rest of Detroit caught on eventually.

Just on the basis of sheer frippery, this might be my favorite of the bunch, designed by, and photographed with, Marjory Ford Pohlman:

1958 Buick Special Tampico

… the Buick Special Tampico convertible with an alabaster exterior and accents of flaming orange. The compartment between the bucket seats featured space for binoculars and a camera.

Obviously anticipating my needs half a century down the road. What’s more, no one does citrus-y interiors anymore, and besides, this is a ’58 Buick, which weighed something like 4000 lb, and about 400 lb of that was chrome.

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The new automotive priorities

The big thing at General Motors this fall, apparently, is in-car Wi-Fi. A two-page Buick ad in the new InStyle (October) contains this image:

In the back seat of a Buick Regal

The young lady, resplendent in orange, is obviously making best use of her time in the back seat. (Of course it’s the back seat: you don’t want drivers doing this, the curve of the roofline gives it away, and anyway this is the view from outside the car.) Apart from telling you that you can get a mobile hotspot, though, this ad tucks in a couple of additional messages that aren’t spelled out:

  • The average age of Buick buyers has actually been declining, from recently deceased to somewhere in the fifties, but there’s really no percentage to marketing to us old codgers, set in our ways, so let’s show someone about half that age.
  • Fear of cramped back seats haunts us all, or at least those of us who occasionally might find occasion to carry someone in the back seat, so the fact that Miss Tablet can actually cross her legs back there is reassuring, though I’m not sure how close her head is to the ceiling.

This latter point is seldom made by automakers; I can remember only once in recent years when it was blatant, and even then it was only a tweet.

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Orange you interested?

I can almost always find a reason not to watch Fox News, though I suspect I miss out on a whole lot of gratuitous eye candy that way.

Yesterday, Harris Faulkner, one of the four female panelists on the Fox series Outnumbered — there’s one token guy in the middle — sent up this little image:

This is double, and maybe quadruple, the number of orange shoes you’re likely to see on an ostensible news program, reason enough for me to mention it here. The shoes themselves are perhaps overly pointy, though not to Rosa Klebb levels, and somebody complained about Kennedy’s little tricolor. (Incidentally, that’s not Kennedy’s Twitter account: this is.) Imagine if she’d showed us her elephant.

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The Lively set

Robert Stacy McCain, having found her name in a fiskable article, wants to know: “Who is Blake Lively?”

Being the generous soul I am, I will tell him, and you, that Blake Lively is an actress (Gossip Girl, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) and occasional celebrity cook. She’s twenty-six. And he, and you, should know this up front:

Boobs Legsly: A nickname for Blake Lively, originating from the period of time when Blake would go out of the house wearing cleavtacular outfits that also showed a lot of leg, in opposition to the traditional advice to show either boobs or legs but not both. As of this writing, she seems to have reined in this habit, but she also proudly does not use a stylist, so anything could happen.

For instance, this happened at a Lady Gaga-related event in the spring of ’11:

Blake Lively at Gaga's Workshop in New York

Which takes care of the first name. Now the second:

Blake Lively at 12/12/12 Benefit

Last I looked, Lively was filming Adaline in Vancouver: she and Michiel Huisman play a Romantic Item.

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Birthday royal

All that, and an orange dress too! This is Queen Máxima, wife of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, who acceded to the throne in 2013 when his mother, Queen Beatrix, abdicated in his favor. At forty-seven, he’s the youngest monarch in Europe.

Queen Maxima of the Netherlands

Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti, forty-three today, was born in Buenos Aires; she has a degree in economics and has worked as an investment banker. Apparently at first she knew him only as Alexander, some guy she met in Spain; he did not mention that he was the Prince of Orange and heir to the Dutch throne. Even before Beatrix’s announcement of her abdication, the Dutch parliament was divided over whether Máxima should be given the title of Queen — typically, she would be given the title Princess of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau — and eventually decided that yes, she would be considered the queen consort. Her Majesty and her husband are bringing up three very lovely girls.

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Who’s that lady?

A lament by Samantha Escobar at The Gloss:

Sometimes, I wonder if the people editing these photos even know what the celebrities they are doing Photoshop work on actually look like. If they did, they would probably not remove all their facial texture or turn them into triple-jointed aliens.

She offers the example of Shailene Woodley (Divergent) on the cover of the April Marie Claire, which is category A: “remove all their facial texture.”

Shailene Woodley on the cover of Marie Claire

For reference, a red-carpet shot of Woodley:

Shailene Woodley at the Independent Spirit Awards

Now that’s probably closer to, if perhaps not entirely, “unfiltered.”

Woodley’s on the cover of InStyle for June, and I adored the Dolce & Gabbana dress and the orange Prada shoes, but something seems a bit off here too:

Shailene Woodley on the cover of InStyle

Is it my imagination, or is one arm distinctly thicker than the other?

Addendum: InStyle has released a Behind the Scenes video for this shoot. (Warning: brief commercial plus interstitial survey.)

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A private little mix

Rita Moreno is perhaps best known for playing Anita in the film version of West Side Story and dancing up a storm. (Her vocals on “America” were dubbed, but you’ll get over it.) This year, she’s been on a book tour to promote a memoir:

Rita Moreno and her book

Which may be the perfect picture: Then and Now in serious proximity, and that’s a nifty little orange dress. The photo source has a whole gallery from this March 2013 appearance in south Florida.

Oh, and she turns 82 today.

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And best of all, it’s orange

World's largest orange diamondAs a carbon-based life form, I have a peripheral interest in diamonds, which are, after all, a highly stylized form of carbon; I even bought one once. (It was stolen during a late-Seventies break-in.) I admit, though, I never have seen an orange diamond, let alone an orange diamond this size: 14.82 carats. (Picture is not necessarily actual size.) And this one’s going up for auction later this month:

The largest orange diamond to come to auction will go on sale next week in Switzerland, with the rare gem expected to fetch a record $17-20 million… It was found in South Africa, but the name of its seller has not been revealed by Christie’s.

This is perhaps the showcase item in Christie’s Magnificent Jewels collection, to be offered in Geneva. But fancy-schmancy auctions would be nothing without good old-fashioned oneupsmanship:

The following day, rival auctioneers Sotheby’s are to sell a flawless 59.60-carat pink diamond, which has an estimated price of $60 million.

[sigh] Cubic zirconia, anyone?

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Silverton in orange

From closing night at this year’s Festival de Télévision de Monte Carlo, we bring you Bitsie Tulloch, who plays Juliette Silverton in the NBC series Grimm. I haven’t gotten an ID on the dress yet, but boy, is it orange.

Bitsie Tulloch in Monte Carlo

Around the 22nd of November, you can see Bitsie in Parkland, a Peter Landesman film set in and around the Dallas hospital of that name shortly after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. She’s playing Abraham Zapruder’s receptionist, who helped him with his 8mm movie camera when the ill-fated motorcade came through Dealey Plaza, and who was later called as a witness during the investigation. Zapruder, you should know, is played by Paul Giamatti.

(With thanks to Go Fug Yourself.)

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Stirring up the citrus

One of the blessings of spring, apart from not freezing one’s backside off, is the reappearance of spring fashions, which you didn’t wear for several months because, well, you’d freeze your backside off.

Jennifer put together a suitable-for-spring casual ensemble, including yellow snakeskin stilettos and an orange skirt (which is, she admits, actually a skort, perhaps on the red side of orange), took a picture from here down [gestures] and posted it, and drew a hissy fit from someone who disliked the color combination. Being an eminently sensible person, she posted the entire thread for the amusement of her readers, and noted for posterity:

For the record, I don’t mind if you don’t like my outfits. You don’t have to. I dress for me.

Which tells me that were she so inclined, she could do that whole fashion-blogging thing with aplomb, since that’s the one attitude which must be conveyed.

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Royally orange

Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark, who turns 41 today, is nicely decked out in this orange Marc Jacobs number:

Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark

The occasion: the St. Petersburg Loye Prize and Medals ceremony at the Danish Museum of Art & Design in Copenhagen last summer.

Things you (by which I mean “I”) did not know about Mary:

  • She was born in Tasmania — her parents had emigrated from Scotland to Australia — and briefly attended grade school in Houston, Texas;
  • She was working for Microsoft in 2003 when Queen Margrethe II announced that she would consent to the wedding;
  • She and Crown Prince Frederik have four children: Christian, Isabella, and twins Vincent and Josephine.

And besides, it’s February. We need all the spring-ish looks we can get.

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The orange remains

Starting in 2009, the old-style license plates in this state were replaced with the new Sacred Rain Arrow design, though I was hoping for, um, something else.

Now Florida is about to toss its current plate design, but they have, um, other motivations:

Gone would be the county name designation and the “MyFlorida.com” motto. Also eliminated is raised lettering — deemed hard to read by electronic toll booths and red light cameras.

Gone too could be the state’s long use of prison labor to make the metal tags, as state highway department officials are proposing to put the plate contract out to bid for the first time in more than 30 years.

Julie Jones of the Highway Department figures this won’t cost much of anything:

Jones said the increased cost will be covered by millions of dollars the state expects to recoup from drivers now on the road with illegal or expired tags, who will have to pay up when they are forced to get the new plate.

In addition, from January to August, 2.8 million unreadable tags were reported by cities with red light cameras across Florida. At $150 per-ticket violation, a lot of cash potentially could flow into state and local government coffers, Jones said.

Vanity plates, which have their own separate revenue stream, will not be affected.

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What does “orange” mean?

Well, yeah, it’s the color of an orange; but if you’re in the business of putting together a dictionary, that definition might seem remarkably unspecific. For comparison, Kory Stamper of Merriam-Webster on “coral”:

[S]ense 3c yielded up the fresh wonder, “a strong pink that is yellower and stronger than carnation rose, bluer, stronger, and slightly lighter than rose d’Althaea, and lighter, stronger, and slightly yellower than sea pink.” Carnation rose was clearly the color of the pinkish flower on the tin of Carnation Evaporated Milk, and Rose d’Althaea was clearly Scarlett O’Hara’s flouncy cousin, but it was the last color that captivated me. “Sea pink,” I murmured, and incurred the harumphing wrath of my neighbor. As he stalked off to find a quieter corner, I wanted to stand up and shout, “I grew up 1500 miles from an ocean! I didn’t know the sea was pink!”

Depends on how early in the morning you see it, I suspect. (Then again, I live 1500 miles from an ocean, and I sleep late when I can.)

Oh, and “orange”?

“Orange” in our Learner’s Dictionary is not a color between red and yellow, as it is in the Collegiate. It is the color of fire or carrots.

Or, presumably, carrots on fire.

(Via this Nancy Friedman tweet.)

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