The story so far

Australian model Nicole Trunfio, thirty-two last week, has managed to pull off the following:

1. Cheesed off Naomi Campbell;

2. Appeared on the cover of a magazine feeding her baby;

Dinner for Nicole Trunfio's youngest

3. Auditioned for a part as a Bond Girl.

And she did all these things without ever once showing up on my radar, which is why she’s here today.

Nicole Trunfio in the shortest possible dress

Nicole Trunfio in the second-shortest possible dress

And oh, yes, she does some model-type stuff now and then:

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Apocalypse soon

Francis W. Porretto confers with a friend on the unpleasant prospects of the end of the world as we know it:

A dear friend has often speculated about “what will happen after the crash.” He’s convinced that an event of some sort will strip us of all the technology we’ve developed over the past century or so: what we have and our ability to make more of it. Though those technologies have become self-sustaining, they were bootstrapped from far more basic knowledge, skills, and tools: pencils, slide rules, soldering irons, and extensive knowledge of the sciences. Many of those who were part of the bootstrapping are gone now; the rest will disappear in a generation or two. Should our progeny lose what we’ve bequeathed them after we’ve vanished, would the kiddies be able to recreate it?

My friend is of the opinion that they won’t — that there will come a long Dark Age during which our posterity will have to clamber slowly up from the mud, much as the Cro-Magnons did. He has a good case for it. By indulging our children in the “right” to be ignorant of anything except how to use their smartphones and Google, we’ve denied them the bootstrapping competences that were required to produced our current technologies. Never mind that it was with the kiddies’ willing cooperation; the effect will be no less crippling for that.

A substantial number of alleged “grown-ups” involved in this conspiracy, or collusion, or whatever, did so because they valued their present-day comforts above all else. This describes a number of people you know, rather a lot of people you’ve seen on television, and pretty much everyone elected to Congress in the last decade or so. The sheer mass of their madness makes it a lot easier to tip the scales the wrong way.


In the days of British birds

Before I learned about Olsen’s Standard Book of British Birds, I operated under the assumption that British “birds” were in fact humans of the female persuasion, unburdened by excess avoirdupois. An example from that era:

A British bird in Kayser tights

One must be relatively devoid of curvature to pull off this Twiggyesque look. And there’s always the question of whether “one size fits all” truly means “one size fits scarcely any at all.” Still, I really like those shoes, with the block heel and the squared-off throat, and I suppose we should thank the merchant who sold these for a flat nine shillings and not, as one might expect in the late predecimal days, for eight shillings and eleven pence. (For those of you stuck in this century: 9/- equals £0.45.)


Especially this year

No argument from me:

Surely someone must have had Maryland-Baltimore County over Virginia.

(Via @Turing Girl.)

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Unaccented robot

The National Weather Service in Norman supports several VHF radio signals, generally between 162.40 and 162.55 MHz, which provide fast forecasts and such for the service area (central and western Oklahoma, minus the Panhandle, plus several northern Texas counties in the general vicinity of Wichita Falls). In recent years a robotic voice has recited the text products; the first one I remember sounded vaguely, sometimes not so vaguely, like Arnold Schwarzenegger. They phased out Arnold in favor of a more modern voice box with more of a North American Television Newscaster timbre, and it’s easier to endure, but it has its quirks.

The first is the unavoidable word “winds,” which is usually, but not always, rendered the way you or I would say “winds” with regard to the meteorological phenomenon. But once in a while it comes out as “winds,” as in “Grandpa takes a few moments every afternoon and winds his pocket watch.” Sometimes you get both in the same forecast. And is it “WRECK-ord” or “re-CORD”?

With the return of storm season I’ve picked up another word with which it seems unfamiliar: “supercells.” You or I would divide it in the middle as though it were two words: “super,” then “cells.” The robot invariably renders it with the second syllable accented: “soo-PURR-sells.” It may be a while before I get used to that.

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Perhaps not an actual troll

Then again, it’s sort of tricky to tell. Get a load of this:

Sleeping under a bridge tonight and need help connecting to wifi at a coffee shop above?

No, really:

Hi so I’m visiting a friend what I do to save money is just sleep under a bridge with a friend. Anyway I was able to connect to the wifi from the shop above for about 10 mins and now I lost the connection and it won’t come back I had 2 bars so it wasn’t the best but stable enough worked with my tablet and phone…

I had to go back in for now to ask this please help I can’t sit here they close soon. Thanks

It is perhaps worthy of note that the earliest commenters, rather than commiserate with him, denounced him for stealing Wi-Fi.


Strange search-engine queries (633)

I don’t know about the rest of you, but my bracket was broken on the very first night. Fortunately, I always have my search strings to keep me company during these lonely days.

today,a civil engineering sign a contract to sell a capital for #900,000 and receive payment in 5:  Years, if they’re lucky.

sextube small girl:  18 years, if you’re lucky.

barges to use as temporary housing owners:  My biggest problem with temporary housing is people barging in.

hott pechar holye whod:  This isn’t one of those Shitty Men Stories, is it?

tell my regrandings:  You can’t tell them from the original grand.

suppose you are about to graduate from high school and your generous aunt scharf makes you an offer. she will give you $2000 today or she will give you $2500 in four years when you graduate from college. assume no inflation or taxes:  A lot to assume. And what the hell kind of name is “Scharf,” anyway?

why does my hold light on auto transmision flash on and off:  If I were you, I think I’d hit up Aunt Scharf for a couple of grand.

mark twain dog pearly gates:  What Bill and Miranda Gates were originally going to call their first child.

mazda 626 engine order of valve adjustment:  Do the first one first, the last one last, and all the others in between.

banker ours:  You’ll have to ask during banker hours.

rebecca black person of interest mp3 audio song download song lover and full album for rebecca black:  Your enthusiasm is appreciated, but “Person of Interest” has never been on an album.

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The way they do the things they do

Under no circumstances was I expecting a new single by the Temptations, this being 2018 and all. Yet here it is:

Baritone Otis Williams has been with the group since Day One; tenor Ron Dyson has been on hand since the 1980s; the rest could be called the New Guys. And this live track from early this year makes it clear that not a heck of a lot has changed over the years:

I’m guessing they can go on so long as Williams can, since he owns the rights to the Temptations name. (He’s 76.)

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Way cool, Ferg-face

I am totally up for this:

Melissa Joan Hart, who starred in the hit Nickelodeon series Clarissa Explains It All is reportedly starring in and executive producing a reboot of the popular 90s show. Hart will reprise her role as Clarissa Darling, a teenager who broke down the fourth wall to talk to viewers about adolescent issues like boys and family.

The series ran from 1991 to 1994. Although the premise of the reboot is unknown, Hart will reportedly play the matriarch of the family, according to The Hollywood Reporter, who was first to publish news of the reboot.

Mitchell Kriegman, who created the original series, is in talks to return as both a writer and producer.

This would seem to be something of a reversal of Hart’s previous position, circa 2002: “Shirley Temple taught me one thing. And that was once you finish a career, you move on.”

Now if someone at Nick feels like bringing back You Can’t Do That on Television or, even better, Roundhouse, I am so ready.

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A veritable clinch of death

It was 40-34 after the first quarter, and long-suffering Thunder fans knew what was about to happen: their team would go strangely inert during the second, and the Raptors would pounce. And that’s exactly what happened, with an unexpected twist: OKC got going before halftime and took a 66-64 lead. After that, things got seriously knotted, tied at 116 with five minutes left, and the seesaw kept going. Then the Raptors totally lost their composure, capped off with a couple of technicals and a trip by DeMar DeRozan to DeLockerRoom, after which it was 132-125 OKC, and with eight seconds left, Billy Donovan sent in the reserves to dribble it out and claim the season sweep. Fred Katz of the Transcript summed it up nicely:

Or so it seemed. It didn’t hurt that the Thunder had a 39-31 rebounding lead, a 31-27 edge in assists. But still: 25 lead changes in 48 minutes. And with Kyle Lowry (22 points) on the bench with six fouls and DeRozan (24 points) um, elsewhere, the Thunder ended that game on a 7-0 burst. Weirdly, the bottom of the plus/minus chart was occupied by Serge Ibaka, who was 2-11 for seven points, a -23 for the day, and a technical late in the fourth during the whatever-the-hell it was that happened to the Raptors as time wound down.

Still, this isn’t going to knock the Raptors out of first in the East; they still own a four-game edge over the Celtics, who tonight play at New Orleans before returning home for a Tuesday match with, um, Oklahoma City. Meanwhile out West, the Trail Blazers are on a 12-game winning streak to cement their hold on third, with the Thunder fourth at 43-29. The logjam continues, though: San Antonio, Minnesota and Utah are all 43-30, and the Pelicans are 39-30. This must be what they mean by “down to the wire.”


It’s going to Katmandu

What is “it”? It’s tons and tons of garbage cluttering up Mount Everest:

A clean-up campaign has begun at Mount Everest, aiming to airlift 100 tonnes of rubbish left behind by tourists and climbers of the world’s highest mountain.

On its first day, 1,200kg (2,600lbs) of waste was flown from Lukla airport to Kathmandu for recycling.

Mountaineers are required to bring back whatever waste they generate on their climb.

But every year, local guides gather hundreds of kilograms of rubbish.

Ye gods! What sort of rubbish is it?

Most of the waste left on the mountain is empty beer bottles and cans, empty food tins, and discarded mountaineering and trekking equipment.

That can include oxygen bottles, which are essential for climbing at the highest altitudes.

One wonders if you see this much crap on K2, on the Chinese/Pakistani border.

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Whatever that may mean

In my secondary-school days, I took one year of French, two years of Spanish, and three years of mostly ecclesiastical Latin. And I swear, I don’t understand women in any of them.

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Making a career of it

The story so far:

2005: YouTube is created.

2006: YouTube is bought by Google.

2007: Sabrina Lentini, nine years old, gets a YouTube channel, and posts a clip of herself singing a song from Annie.

She managed to escape my notice until 2013, by which time she’d released an EP (No Price for Love) and decided to try out for American Idol. She made it to the Top 48 before being culled.

This week, Sabrina’s in Austin for her second SXSW, and it occurs to me that now she’s old enough for Rule 5 consideration. These photos came from her Facebook account this year:

Sabrina Lentini and her guitar

Sabrina Lentini rocks the boots

Sabrina Lentini in the flesh

“Bullseye” was on her second EP (Sabrina Lentini, 2016), and appears here in unplugged fashion:

In her native Orange County, California, she’s doing some sort of show seemingly every week, because hey, that’s what she does.


Old weird heraldry

Okay, maybe not so old. Peter Grant has the story:

An e-mail from a list of which I’m a member alerted me to the coat of arms of Sir Christopher Frayling, British writer on popular culture, who’s particularly well known for his study of the so-called “spaghetti westerns” of Sergio Leone, and similar movies. That led to an interesting discussion with the College of Arms, as Wikipedia reports: “In 2001, he was awarded a knighthood for “Services to Art and Design Education” and chose as his motto “PERGE SCELUS MIHI DIEM PERFICIAS.”

Just like this:

Coat of arms of Sir Christopher Frayling

Translation of that Latinate stuff: “Proceed, varlet, and let the day be rendered perfect for my benefit.”

Shorter version: “Go ahead, punk. Make my day.”


That thing will get you in trouble

A brief moment of flow has earned a Newcastle resident 23 years in the Big House:

A rapist who evaded capture for more than 30 years until he urinated in a neighbour’s plant pot — leading to a DNA match — has been jailed.

Eric McKenna, 59, raped two women in separate attacks in the North East in 1983 and 1988.

Police had not linked the assaults until they were called to the neighbour dispute in 2016 and took swabs from McKenna which matched the cold cases.

Once a prick, always a prick.

Oh, and this happened also:

The force apologised to the two women after admitting they did not receive the support they should have when they reported the attacks.

Which hardly seems unique.


Drones before they were drones

Either way, the operative word is “drones”:

Like an episode out of Black Mirror, Walmart has filed a patent [pdf] for autonomous robotic bees, technically called pollination drones, that could potentially pollinate crops just like real bees.

The drones would carry pollen from one plant to another, using sensors and cameras to detect the locations of the crops.

First spotted by CB Insights, the robot bee patent appears along five other patents for farming drones, including one that would identify pests and another that would monitor crop health.

I wonder what it would be like to have a robotic bee. Or half a bee.

While Walmart’s exact goal for these patents is unclear, they may signal that the company hopes to venture into agriculture and gain more control over its food supply chain.

And if there’s one thing important to major corporations, it’s gaining more control.

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