A formidable Scrabble player

Well, I don’t actually know that she’s a formidable Scrabble player, but she’s already demonstrated one of the core competencies for the game: she can spell.

Rachel Hamilton is a fourth-grader from Pauls Valley, an hour south of this desk. She attends Whitebead Elementary, a rural school about two miles out of town. (Whitebead is what we call a Dependent School District, mostly because it offers no high-school curriculum; the nearest high school is in Pauls Valley proper.) And she won the Central Oklahoma Spelling Bee on the 16th of March, beating out 25,000 competitors; she’ll go on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which begins on Memorial Day.

Spelling seems to run in the family: brother Luke placed second in 2016, and her dad won in 1978.

Comments (3)

Poor immigrant

This actually showed up on Quora yesterday: What are the things I need to get to have a 100% assurance that I’ll be given a visa to Oklahoma?

The proper way to handle this, I suggest, is complete and utter deadpan, and that’s what happened here:

The best thing to do would be to contact the Oklahoma embassy to request a visa be expedited. Include the arrival and departure dates and where you intend to stay during your visit. Applications for an Oklahoma visa may only be made in person, at the Oklahoma embassy in your country.

Be aware that Oklahoma only issues a limited number of visas every year so requesting your visa from the Oklahoma embassy should be done before third quarter of the year.

You’ll know the Oklahoma embassy when you see it: directly under the flag, there’s a second one, with a stylized chicken-fried steak.


Undressed for success

She’s 21, she’s dressed like she’s 21, and the airline simply will not have it:

Before you ask: she’s wearing a pair of tight-ish orange trousers. It’s not a swimsuit. An acquaintance of mine in London indicates that she’s traveled to and from the UK before, wearing a whole lot less than that. I’m not sure I want to nail that down any further.

Then again, Thomas Cook himself, back in 1841, started providing travel services to temperance-movement supporters in the Midlands, so perhaps there’s something in the company DNA that hasn’t changed much.


Strange search-engine queries (686)

Oh, come now. Your bracket can’t possibly be any worse than mine. And besides, I have to get to work.

austin power dildo experience:  I saw them open for the Playboys of Edinburgh at SXSW.

nagelandsex:  Where exactly is this Nageland, anyway?

the dirty vicar sketch:  Yeah, and it was goddamn funny, too.

“in color where available”:  Our children will not be able to comprehend black and white.

cooties urban dictionary:  What color are cooties, anyway?

lysol douche snopes:  There are plenty of douches connected to Snopes, but I have no idea what disinfectant they might use.

eyes glued to the screen:  Try Visine.

room temperature co2 reduction to solid carbon species on liquid metals featuring atomically thin ceria interfaces:  Hey, they’ll take anything if you call it “CO2 reduction.”

kirsten vangsness size:  She’s cuddly.

ford probe problems:  As if calling it “Probe” wasn’t bad enough.

judge jeanine cleavage:  Maybe, if Fox News decides to bring her back.

dustbury what does it do:  It’s brought you this for thirteen years, you farking ingrate.

Comments (2)

Don’t quit your day job

So you think you’d like to blog. Go ahead. Be my guest. Just don’t kid yourself that you’re ever going to make a living at it.


He can so do that

Is this the first mashup record? In 1967, Harry Nilsson tucked a cover of the Beatles’ “You Can’t Do That” into his Pandemonium Shadow Show LP, and in a mere 2:20 he managed to toss in references to about twenty other Beatles songs. It went like this:

Which explains how Nilsson got to be John Lennon’s favorite American group. McCartney’s, too.

Comments (2)

A bowl of chilly

Mathematician/actress Danica McKellar approaches the freezing point:

What this is supposed to do for you:


Comments (2)

The star-making machinery v2.0

An algorithm is now on the artist roster at a major label:

Warner Music has become the first major label to sign a record deal with an algorithm.

The German mood music app Endel has been signed to create 20 albums this year alone with five already released. The app creates personalised soundscapes for users depending on their requirements, whether it be to relax or to focus. The official site refers to it as “a cross-platform audio ecosystem.”

Well, um, okay, if you say so.

The app, currently available on smartphones and via the Amazon Echo, uses inputs such as the time of day and the weather to create certain sounds. So far, the five albums released have been called Clear Night, Rainy Night, Cloudy Afternoon, Cloudy Night and Foggy Morning, all based around different types of sleep.

I suppose “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” is out of the question.

Endel Techstars Music Demo Day Keynote from Endel on Vimeo.

Is this wonderful, creepy, or All Of The Above?

(Via Fark.)

Comments (1)

The height of discomfort

Some Japanese women have had it up to here with high heels:

Did you know that it is mandatory for women in Tokyo to wear high heels to work?

That’s right, a working woman’s dress code in Japan’s capital city necessitates them to wear heels. But no such absurd dress code demands are observed when it comes to the men. We can smell the inequality all the way from Tokyo!

To protest against this form of discrimination, women have launched an online movement called “#KuToo”. The #KuToo movement takes a leaf out of the #MeToo movement as women finally speak out
about the pain of having to work with heels.

Apparently “KuToo” is a fusion of the words for “shoe” and “pain,” which at least makes sense.

A lot of people are drawing parallels between having to wear heels at work with the discriminatory tradition of “foot binding.” While foot binding was a custom of applying tight binding to the feet of young girls to alter the shape and size of their foot, in some twisted way it is very similar in having to mandatorily wear heels to work.

You get old enough, high heels will alter the shape and size of your foot..

Comments (3)

Around 454 grams

Dripping Springs, Texas is apparently tired of those tired old jokes:

It sounds dirty, but we swear it’s not. A GoFundMe campaign seeking to change the name of Dripping Springs, TX, a tiny Hays County hamlet west of Austin, to Pound Town. Yes, we’re aware that’s what your uncle calls his bedroom, but the goal here isn’t to make Mom blush, but rather to honor town founders Dr. Joseph and Sarah Pound.

According to the GoFundMe, Dr. Pound was one of Hays County’s earliest doctors, and he and his wife’s home served as a “medical office and hospital, church, schoolhouse, post office and social gathering place for the fledgling community of Dripping Springs.” They also call out the respect with which Dr. Pound treated Native Americans. The campaign surpassed its financial goal of $1,854 on Friday—mainly thanks to a donation made by TV host (and serial philanderer) Jesse James, who has a history with the town—but you can still donate or scoop up some merchandise. All donations will go to Friends Of The Pound House, while merch sales will contribute to the ballot initiative to change the name.

And Pound Town serves as nice balance for Round Rock, over in Williamson County.


Looking at San Fran Nan

I had to think about this for a moment or three: still-decent curvature and nice legs, versus “She’s pushing eighty!” The decision: yeah, all of those are true, and so what? And so we have some recent photos of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, 78 years old and nowhere near retirement.

Nancy Pelosi resplendent in red

Nancy Pelosi visits SiriusXM

Oh, that bit about Nancy as Miss Lube Rack back in the Fifties? It ain’t necessarily so.

Nancy Pelosi resplendent in red on CNN

Nancy Pelosi in burnt orange

This two-minute clip, as of this writing, has 83 upvotes and 82 downvotes. Now there’s a delicate balance:

And I am bound to respect anyone who can give a speech for eight whole hours.


Not to be confused with BooBerry

Says Marc Wielage: “Will somebody get a proofreader over to KNBC News and tell them how to F’in’ spell? Especially a headline!”

Roberry caught on camera

“We can’t afford an editor. Do you know what it costs just to keep Kathy Vara in pantyhose?”

Comments (2)

Worst. Childhood. Ever.

I wouldn’t know where to begin to excerpt this, except to say that if it’s true, she would have lasted longer than I would have.

So start here.


Tongue preservation

There are somewhere around 100 native speakers of the Seneca language remaining, mostly in western New York. Persuaded as I am that these languages ought to be preserved, I applaud small gestures like this:

Interestingly, Seneca has only 14 letters, if you count the colon as a letter, as they do. Three of them can also appear with umlauts, so at least they can have metal bands.

Comments (1)

Stinkosaurus 2: Electric Boogaloo

It is never a good sign when Jerami Grant fouls out, even when he’s rolled up 19 points. And when he did, Kawhi Leonard, who never misses a foul shot, easily swished a pair, and the next five Raptors points as well. The difference from Wednesday night, though, was that the Thunder were actually ahead; they’d come back from 13 down in the third quarter to take a six-point lead with 53 seconds left. Thirty-four seconds later, Toronto had made up none of that deficit; a thirty-foot air ball was the Raptors’ last shot, and OKC escaped the Great White North with a seven-point win, 116-109, splitting the season series, all two days of it, and putting an end to the most recent four-game losing street. It doesn’t seem possible, but the Thunder have won their last four games in Ontario, a place where Western teams generally go to die.

Still, the Raptors had most of the numbers on their side: a solid 50-percent shooting, 52 percent on the long ball, and 46 over 39 in rebounding. But sometimes, as Mr Jagger would point out, you get what you need: 45 percent from the floor, 47 from beyond the arc — 20 out of 43, which is almost scary for this team — and OKC distributed 30 assists, compared to 20 for Toronto. And ultimately, what did in the Raptors was ball control, or lack thereof: they coughed up 22 turnovers. Kawhi was Kawhi, of course, finishing with 37; Pascal Siakam nailed 25, and Danny Green (6 of 11 treys!) had 19.

Russell Westbrook had one of those weird triple-doubles: he was a blah 6-20 from the floor for 18 points, but he collected 12 boards and served up 13 dimes for a +18, one tick above Dennis Schöder, who outscored the entire Toronto bench with a startling 26 points. Paul George, who had only three fouls all night, headed the OKC side of the box with 28.

One more stop before coming home: Memphis, on Monday night. Despite already having been wiped off the playoff chart, the Griz are 19-17 in their house. And, as seemingly always in the West, there’s a logjam or two: Golden State and Denver (each 49-22) are of course on top; Houston (45-27) has the slenderest possible lead over Portland (44-27). But where it gets really hairy is fifth through eighth: OKC (43-30), the Clippers (43-30), the Jazz and the Spurs (42-30). Of course, nobody wants fifth if fourth can be reached.


Legato be there

It’s not exactly Carpool Karaoke, but it’s still fun:

Eight years after the fact, “Friday” remains a cultural marker.