But don’t even think about looking

Brooke Ventura, editor of Modern Reformation, on beauty as a commodity in this secular-ish age:

Beauty has a hard time in confessional Protestant circles, and it’s easy to understand why. In our sex-saturated society, this powerful and elevating value has been exploited and degraded to the level of commercial property. Once ranked as the necessary companion to truth and goodness, it’s devolved into little more than the ultimate selling point for everything from smartphones and cars to Hollywood starlets and politicians. As heirs to a historically iconoclastic church, we’re not sure what to do with it. Scripture at once gives us Solomon and his bride’s ecstatic rejoicings at one another’s beauty, and Peter’s admonition that women ought not to let their adorning be with “the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry.” If we’re honest, the simplicity (we won’t call it ugliness) of the church buildings we worship in today has more to do with primarily pragmatic considerations than scriptural principle.

I’ve seen the first half of this paragraph pasted onto various Tumblr nudist posts. Go figure.


Tragedy Central

Always a good thing, say I:

Look at the movie The Sound of Music, which I absolutely do NOT have in my collection and I don’t want it, I have normal plumbing and it won’t go down no matter how long you flush. Let’s imagine a multiplex. In one theater, there is Julie Andrews shrieking melodiously. In the other, there’s Fight Club, a movie based entirely on despair so deep and empty that the hero becomes two people. Now, do I want to be Maria or Marla? Which movie are people lining up with pockets full of smuggled snacks to see?

Your entire membership depends on this, so answer carefully.

The answer is, of course, the third theater, which is showing Deadpool and honestly, if you didn’t guess that, you have to buy lobby popcorn.

There is, of course, a point to this:

The point is, as much as I have one, is that sad beats glad. Mostly.

The other point is, everyone has a different idea of sad. And in entertainment, sad often equals glad.

Especially if you’re having to choose between The Lost Weekend and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

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Florrie of activity

Florence Ellen Arnold took up the drums at age six, and when she was twenty, she landed a gig with the Xenomania production house in Kent, having foreshortened her name to simply “Florrie.” She’s twenty-nine now, and her solo career has produced four EPs and not a single album — yet.

Florrie has descended the stairs

Florrie has ascended to the stage

Florrie has taken a selfie

Florrie signed to Sony Music in 2014 and turned loose “Little White Lies”:

She describes her oeuvre as “a big mixture: kind of a sixties, organic feel merged with modern pop beats and electronics.”

Her most recent solo release is the single “Real Love,” not related to the Doobie Brothers’ song of the same name:

I assume she’ll turn loose a full-length album eventually.


A room where the light won’t find you

An unexpected artifact from late 2017: a new Tears for Fears song, dropped into a 35th-anniversary Greatest Hits set with the perhaps-predictable title Rule the World. (Everybody wants to, doncha know.) Herewith, “I Love You But I’m Lost”:

Last week, the album was released as a two-LP set, which is fine with me, since all my previous TFF stuff is on vinyl.

A second previously-unreleased song called “Stay,” also on Rule the World, was written by Tears’ Curt Smith and independent producer Charlton Pettus, which I mention here because Pettus also co-wrote Rebecca Black’s “Person of Interest” in late 2011.

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Just like it says

Still, it’s startling to see it in print on an actual product label:

Coprophagia remedy for dogs

And I suppose you really don’t want the dog in the picture to be grinning.

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A royal farkup

What happened to the Kings in the third quarter, when their six-point halftime lead suddenly turned into a nine-point deficit twelve minutes later? Then again, Sacramento had led by as many as 15 before halftime. At least some of this was due to Carmelo Anthony, who scored 15 in the quarter, while the Kings in aggregate came up with 16. Think “defense.” Then again again, sudden changes were the order of the day: with 2:51 to go, a couple of Kings banged Russell Westbrook in the face, no foul was called — but Westbrook was charged with a travel. Westbrook objected strenuously, to the point of a technical, and then to the point of another, which earned him a trip to the locker room. (Inexplicably, Buddy Hield was awarded three free throws.) He left with a 19-16-9 line, one dime short of a triple-double, which probably means nothing in the grand scheme of things. At the time, the Thunder were up eleven; the Kings would not make any substantial progress in those waning moments, and OKC gets to send Sacramento home with a 95-88 loss and a 1-1 record in the season series.

The other weird contretemps involved the general terribleness from the foul line. Hield, Sacramento’s high scorer with 16, went 4-4, but otherwise the Kings were a pitiful 11-21. The Thunder, at 14-29, were worse, mostly due to Westbrook and Steven Adams; the Zero Man was 3-7 and the Kiwi a subrespectable 3-11. At least the Thunder could rebound: 58-37, which qualifies as dominance.

But otherwise, this was a fairly fugly experience, and we’ll just say it’s a W and leave it at that. The Lakers will be here Wednesday, by which time it should be, um, somewhat less cold outside.


A tornado with no rotation?

Occasionally the Weather Guys say something about “damaging straight-line winds.”

Looks like Enid is getting some serious damage:

KFOR-TV weather map 15 January 2018

And I’m not about to sit down and calculate the wind-chill factor.

(With thanks to Jeff Thompson.)

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Somewhat fractured fairy tales

Title to remember: The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, written by Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith, adapted for the stage by William Massolia. City Theatre in Blue Springs, Missouri is putting it on in March.

Enter Gunner. He’s the youngest of my son’s three kids, and after doing a school play and stuff like that, he went up and auditioned for the show.

And got in.

I’m just tickled at the idea of Kids Being Really Good At Things, especially since I myself never was.

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The view from 87

House District 87, where I’ve lived since 2003, has been getting bluer all the time; after a long line of Republicans, the district elected Democrat Collin Walke in 2016.

Walke didn’t raise a great deal of fuss during last year’s session. This year he has bigger plans:

State Rep. Collin Walke was among the first representatives out of the gate with new legislation. This session he will push to raise Oklahoma’s minimum wage to $11 per hour. The current state minimum wage is tied to the federal wage of $7.25.

Pretty much de rigueur for Democrats nationally. But this other measure is distinctly different:

Walke, D-Oklahoma City, also wants to alter the process for introducing bills. House Bill 2535 would require legislators to disclose the source for legislative language, whether it be a state official, agency or organization. Lawmakers commonly use language borrowed from other state statutes or build their own proposals from model legislation endorsed by national policy groups.

Would this law also reveal non-governmental sources? If Larry Nichols of Devon Energy dictated a bill to a House staffer, would we know?

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Strange search-engine queries (624)

How this works: You go to your favorite search engine and type in a search string. At some point, they’ll stop sending you results, but inasmuch as there are over seven million words on this site, there’s a good chance you’d see something here that might be pertinent. We normally don’t pay attention, though, unless you asked for something that for some reason strikes us as a few degrees off plumb, and if you did, you’ll eventually see it here.

nonvertical:  Generally, my orientation at 6:24 am.

living stainless steel cake slice with 6 forks:  Stainless steel is generally not what you’d call “living,” though Tony Stark may have something to say about that.

horrid henry rule34:  Now to me, that sounds, well, horrid.

jailbait crossdresser:  Now to me, that sounds, well, horrid.

bill gaines don martin mad facebook:  Use the password “potrzebie.”

profile previous federal home loan bank of atlanta “stewart patterson”:  Well, there goes your chance to refinance.

abortion simulator:  Ask someone to shove a pair of pinking shears into your face.

which paragraph summarizes julius caesar’s life best?  The one that ends in mid-March.

“awash”:  Followed shortly by adry.

oracull:  The process by which Sun Microsystems employees were let go.

porn binaural:  Who the hell wants to listen to that crap with both ears?

gfy meaning impractical jokers:  Pretty much the same thing it means to everyone else. Now GFY.

inforadio 1222:  Simulcast on 98.6 FM.

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Living on a beat

I think my favorite song of 2017 might have been Jain’s “Dynabeat,” which I characterized as “unbelievably catchy.” This opinion received essentially no assent from the readership, but that’s hardly a new experience for me. (And here’s a live version, just to rub it in.)

At the time, I mentioned that “Dynabeat” was also the name of a line of electronic wristwatches by Timex, popular in the 1970s. I did not, however, go any farther back, or I would have discovered this:

That contraption, which you could build yourself if you were handy with a soldering gun and possessed of a whole lot of free time, was offered by the Schober Organ folks as a add-on rhythm machine for their Theatre Organ, an amazing piece of 1960s electronica sold as a kit for about two thousand 1960s dollars. By today’s synth standards, it’s positively prehistoric; but half a century ago, it was darn near miraculous.

Interesting bit of history:

The Schober Organ Corporation was formed in 1954 by C.G. McProud, then editor of the magazine Audio, Henry Schober, the magazine’s business manager, and Richard H. Dorf, engineering consultant and writer, recognized throughout the English-speaking world as an authority on electronic musical instruments. Never guessing that any substantial number of people would want to build so elaborate series of kits, the three conceived (and Mr. Dorf designed) the Schober organ as a spare-time venture. (Mr. Schober’s name seemed to give the authentic Teutonic touch to a classic organ.)

Dorf was the technical wizard of the three, having patented a proto-synthesizer called “Thyratone” in the late 1940s. The Dynabeat, sold separately from the Schober Organ, sold for $150. A portable Dynabeat was also offered as a kit for $139.50, or as a completed unit for $30 more. (Dorf, I suspect, figured that if you’d already built the Organ, you wouldn’t shy away from a little extra work to build the rhythm box.)

Let’s flip that demonstration record over:

Audio magazine, incidentally, died in 2000, the year Jain turned eight.


Can you dig them?

Holes are in the news these days for some inscrutable reason:

How about the countries maligned by Trump — El Salvador, Haiti, and countries in Africa? In El Salvador, La Prensa Gráfica renders it as agujeros de mierda, “holes of shit” (or “shit holes”), but in the headline made it agujeros de mier.., which is like putting shi…holes. I’m sure their consideration for the delicate eyes of their readers was appreciated; they could all pretend he said Wednesday holes (agujeros de miércoles) and imagine the accent on the e. (There’s really no other Spanish word that mier… could stand for.)

In Haiti, of course, the description would be in French:

In Haiti, if you look in Le Nouvelliste, you will find it rendered as trou de merde, which is literal. But the French word trou is a more all-purpose word than Spanish agujero; it can also mean “pit”, “grave”, “mouth”, and — yes — “insignificant town”. (As it happens, though, trou de merde can be found in French literature — all the way back in Rabelais — meaning “asshole”.)

Curiously, the niftiest variation on this theme comes from a non-maligned country:

[N]o one can quite top the Croatians for this. It’s not that their best word translates exactly to shithole or Bumfuck nowhere. It almost does it better (although Google Translate does render it as “shithole”). It’s vukojebina, and it means “the place wolves fuck” — or, if we were to make a real equivalent English place name, something like Wolffuckington or Wolf-fuck-ville. (Birds may not lay eggs there and dogs may not shit there, but the wolves? They get busy.)

Which should insure a steady supply of wolves for the next millennium or so. And if nothing else, this is a dandy illustration of how Donald Trump, whether he wants to be or not, is a source of inspiration to us all.

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In the absence of Home Ec

Bob is past eighty and runs a YouTube channel devoted to classic country and Western swing. I caught this anecdote from him on a message board:

When I was in Junior High School, 8th grade, I took a class in typing. I was not able to learn music (they gave me a cello!), so I wanted a manual skill. So I signed up.

When the other guys found out, they started teasing me for taking a girl’s class.

I told them, “You’re right. It’s just me and twenty girls all to myself.”

Their jaw dropped. They had not thought about that aspect.

Did he become a good typist after all that? Yes, he did.

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Feed deep, they’re gathering food

Just let this one slide by:

(Thanks to Jeff Faria.)

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Does this door revolve?

Ben Cardin, senior Senator from Maryland since 2007, has been just what you’d have expected from the senior Senator from Maryland: he departs from present-day Democratic orthodoxy only on special occasions. Environmentalists complained when Cardin, then working on a bill to clean up Chesapeake Bay, reached across the aisle to work with James Inhofe (R-OK), whom they consider an enemy. And whatever Middle Eastern distraction the rest of his party might be fidget-spinning, Cardin has generally stuck by Israel.

But Cardin will be seventy-five this fall, and his term is up. Will he retire?

“Everything that I am planning to do would indicate that I am, but I’m not gonna make any announcements yet,” said Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.)… “I’m gonna campaign based upon what I think is consistent with my record and a strategy to win elections.”

That said, there’s already a candidate to fill Cardin’s seat, and I’d expect her to be at least as far to the left as Cardin:

Manning has plenty of name recognition, but not all of it is positive name recognition. If Ben Cardin decides not to run for another term, this race will be worth watching simply to see what sort of arguments opponents will trot out against her. I have to figure, though, that in blue-to-ultraviolet Maryland, violations of the Espionage Act aren’t any big deal, so long as they’re not committed by Republicans.

Addendum: Manning’s first campaign video:

Now I’m wondering if Ben Cardin will stay in just to thwart her.

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Funambulist cat

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a normal cat, a member of the family Felidae, will not grow up to be one of the Flying Wallendas.

That knowledge does not prepare you for this:

No drunk in a midnight choir ever tried this. I hope.