Archive for July 2013

Pollock exhibition

Recently seen on the frozen-fish shelf: Van de Kamp’s Sandwich Fillets, for those of us who never remember to order a Filet-O-Fish at Mickey D’s. (Then again, about the only time I duck under the Golden Arches is to snag a McRib, at which time I’m not even thinking fish.)

Of course, these are pricey: a box of six approaches $7. Still, how many can you eat at one sitting? I duly picked up a box, slid a couple of the little rectangles onto the cookie sheet, and baked for 29 minutes at 425°F. There was a sauce recipe on the box, which probably wasn’t as convenient as a little packet you can dribble onto the product, but I’d just as soon whip up my own anyway. (Try this, and remember you have to start it half an hour before baking.)

The result was surprisingly good, if a tad short of my gold standard for such things: the fishburger (or whatever it was called) on the kids’ menu at El Matamoros in Austin, which I remember vividly despite not having been there in fifty years.

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Another plug to be pulled

One of the more curious screen resolutions I’ve ever had to deal with is 544 x 376, which was the size of the original WebTV (later MSN TV) screen. Our decidedly low-tech customer base flocked to the service, and I learned quickly enough to keep the page width down to 540 or so.

Well, what’s left of that base is now being deflocked:

MSN TV closure announcement

WebTV was founded in 1996; Microsoft bought it the next year for $425 million, and turned a fair profit on the service for several years. But no platform can last forever, and this one dies at the end of September.

(Via this Steve Lackmeyer tweet.)

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Amphibian chaff

From Car and Driver‘s take (8/13) on the Nissan Juke NISMO:

There are no logical reasons for it to look the way it does, so clearly drawn without conventional aesthetic considerations in mind. And its 1.6-liter turbo four is an overachiever, imbuing this automotive non sequitur with the verve to match its shape. There’s not a cynical bolt or negative bead of adhesive in the Juke’s batrachian body.

The online version of this same half-paragraph is a lot less scintillating:

There are no logical reasons for it to look the way it does; its aesthetics are so clearly drawn without concern for what critics would think. Its 1.6-liter turbo four is an overachiever, imbuing this automotive non sequitur with the verve to match its shape. There’s not a cynical bolt or bead of adhesive in the Juke’s spunky, amphibian body.

I have to assume that someone in the Web department choked on “batrachian,” and that’s a shame, unless you’re Miss Piggy.

(Title from this recording, a copy of which I have owned for close to forty years.)

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Not on call

Last time I brought up Carly Rae Jepsen, it was in connection with a sermon. About a month later, someone snagged this photo of her wandering around Paris, and it’s been sitting here ever since.

Carly Rae Jepsen

Assuming you don’t want to hear That Song, here’s a clip of a Jepsen appearance on Canadian Idol, circa 2007, singing, of all things, “Killer Queen.”

No, this did not get her eliminated: she got all the way to the Top 3 before being voted off the stage.

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Gizmos available at extra cost

You know what’s wrong with those really expensive cars? All those really expensive doo-dads they tack on:

The problem with Cadillacs and all other big fancy cars is all the gimcrack gizmos they use. Nice thing about luxury cars is that they are bigger, faster and more comfortable than your ordinary car, and if that was all the difference, they would be just great. But someone has decided that big, powerful cars should also be fancy, and so they install all these gizmos that are fine and entertaining as long as they work, but eventually they fail, and they fail much sooner than any of the standard mechanical stuff, and they cost a fortune to fix, so nobody bothers to fix them and that leads to a cascade of failures that eventually make the car unusable, even though mechanically it is still very sound. I want to buy an older luxury car and rip out the dashboard and all the other whizbang gizmos and replace them with standard switches and dials, or a standard off-the-shelf computer if that would be simpler. I don’t want to have to learn a bunch of new stuff to work on a car. I invested a good part of my life boning up on all kinds of esoteric computer crap and it was mostly a waste of time because the stuff all went obsolete before I ever got a chance to use all my hard won knowledge.

Remind me not to mention my backlit fluorescent instrument panel and my A-pillar tweeters and my electronic engine mounts.

(Actually, I’ve had to replace one of those mounts, which of course costs twice as much as an ordinary non-electronic mount. Then again, it held up for about 140,000 miles.)

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I blame neutrons

The atomic weight of carbon is quoted as 12.011, not because there are any carbon atoms out there that actually measure 12.011, but because while most carbon is in fact C12, there’s a substantial amount of C13 and a smidgen of C14 out there. (Which latter variant, incidentally, is radioactive, which is why carbon dating works, just in case you’re a carbon-based life form needing a date.) These variants are called “isotopes,” like the Springfield Albuquerque baseball club.

Now the distribution of carbon atoms is pretty consistent. Some other elements, not so much:

The standard atomic weights of magnesium and bromine will now be expressed as intervals to more accurately convey this variation in atomic weight. For example, bromine commonly is considered to have a standard atomic weight of 79.904. However, its actual atomic weight can be anywhere between 79.901 and 79.907, depending on where the element is found.

This variation will not affect your late-night tumbler of Bromo-Seltzer, which hasn’t actually contained any bromine since 1975.

(The Friar caught this before I did.)

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Quibbling over genres

About half of my music acquisition these days has been by way of the ponyverse, which has a thriving music scene and hundreds of worthy composers; if they haven’t yet produced a John Williams or a Thelonious Monk or a Joni Mitchell, well, it’s not for lack of effort.

A lot of the items I check off for future investigation are labeled “trance,” “ambient” or “chill.” Now “trance” I understand, more or less: faster than house, strict adherence to 4/4, and the breakdown somewhere in the middle of the track. The other two are not quite so clearly defined, so I went to someone who has had more MP3 tags than I’ve had breaths, and he explains it thusly:

Basically, if it can’t ever wake me up, it’s Ambient. If it’s something I can see playing while I’m standing on the balcony of a ship, it’s Chill.

On the basis of the above, I think we can call this Chill:

Though that ship had better be well out of port, I think.

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And then there were fifty

Even Illinois, which arguably has been heading downhill since I left in late 1954, is capable of buying a clue:

[Tuesday] the Illinois legislature overrode Gov. Pat Quinn’s veto of a bill allowing state residents who comply with certain objective standards to carry concealed fireams. Illinois, the last state to impose a blanket ban on concealed carry, is complying with a December decision in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit said that policy violates the Second Amendment. Under the new policy, which will take effect in nine months or so, people 21 or older who have state-issued firearms owner identification cards can obtain licenses to carry concealed weapons provided that have clean records and complete 16 hours of training.

Why nine months?

The new law gives the Illinois State Police six months to make applications for concealed-carry licenses available. It has to issue a license within three months of receiving a valid application, so it could be nine months before the first Illinois gun owner is licensed to carry.

The key phrase there is “has to.”

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This post has been scheduled

The following was originally posted by Morgan:

My Mom saw a sultry and subtle evil behind passive-voice sentences. When she was still alive, I didn’t quite understand the rationale for this … it’s just a construct of the English language, which like any other, might make sense in some situations. With each year I see come and go, I get a little bit more wise to the true nature of her complaint. Verbs should be connected to subjects. Oops, uh, pardon me … writers should connect verbs to their subjects. The “who’s doing it” should, at the very least, exist as a common and successfully-communicated idea, between writer and reader, speaker and listener … whether or not it’s stated specifically, it should be spec’d out in some way. To fall short of that goal, is to deceive.

Perhaps the most blatant failure on this count is “Mistakes were made,” so common it now rates a Wikipedia article, tracing usage beyond Nixon’s henchpersons to Ulysses S. Grant, who tossed it into his 1876 State of the Union message — though Grant did finish off the phrase with “I admit it.”

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Some Edam want to get used by you

Behold the lyrical power of cheese:

Cheese by Eurythmics

(Harvested by Miss Cellania from Pleated-Jeans.)

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Nothing but the tooth

Is the dreaded root canal on the way out?

Scientists have made advances in treating tooth decay that they hope will let them restore tooth tissue — and avoid the painful dental procedure. Several recent studies have demonstrated in animals that procedures involving tooth stem cells appear to regrow the critical, living tooth tissue known as pulp.

It’s still experimental, but there is hope:

Dental stem cells can be harvested from the pulp tissue of the wisdom and other types of adult teeth, or baby teeth. They can produce both the hard tissues needed by the tooth, like bone, and soft tissues like the pulp, says Dr. [Rena] D’Souza, a former president of the American Association for Dental Research who will become the dean of the University of Utah’s School of Dental Medicine Aug. 1.

She and colleagues at Baylor and Rice University focused on regrowing pulp using a small protein hydrogel. The gelatin-like substance is injected into the tooth and serves as a base into which pulp cells, blood vessels and nerves grow.

I have sacrificed a couple of back teeth rather than enter the Torture Chamber, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.

(“Faster, please,” says Rand Simberg.)

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Minor site issues

Load times were creeping upward this weekend, then jumped into the stratosphere shortly thereafter. I have shuffled the plugins slightly and reworked the cache, which may have helped somewhat. Also, while perusing the logs, I discovered an anomaly: bots of some sort trying to leave spam on the old Movable Type blog, which hasn’t existed for nearly five years. About fifteen minutes later, I had what I think is a permanent solution for that, including a redirect to Sheol.

Please report any anomalies other than the usual ones.

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Something to agitate

The Consumerist suggests this feature on your next washing machine:

Auto-load sensing: Instead of guessing what is a “small” or “large” load and wasting water accordingly, the machine figures it out for you.

“There are small loads?” — Every Mother, Everywhere

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She’s got your number, son

If you come to see She & Him, you will quickly discover that She doesn’t want you taking pictures:

The American indie duo made up of Zooey [Deschanel] and M. Ward have been on tour with album, Volume 3, in the US since June.

But the stunning actress and singer/songwriter has been putting up signs to stop people from frantically snapping pictures and recording videos because she wanted her fans to enjoy the music.

So we will have none of this:

Zooey Deschanel at the piano

“Not much of this,” I suspect, is more likely.

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It’s probably about 666 now

Now the phishers are playing the credit-score angle:

This morning 07-10-2013 11:22:51, all 3 major credit bureaus approved an increase to your credit score.

However, the increase cannot take effect without your verification.

Please take the time to review this info for its accuracy —>

No need. Its accuracy is quite obvious: zero. None. Zip. Zilch. Bupkes.

Weirdly, this is alleged to be signed by one Vivian Jacobs at; the sneaky links in fact go to Amateur fraudsters, these. (And since Whois says this domain was created yesterdayrank amateur fraudsters.)

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Your home for classic gravel

From Mel Bracht’s straightforward Oklahoman story about the upcoming bloody dismemberment of KRXO in favor of yet another sports station:

Classic Rock KRXO, which had been at 107.7, will move to a new frequency at FM 104.5, the company announced. According to the news release, KRXO’s lineup of Bob and Tom, Cara Rice, Buddy Wiley, Kelso, Unkle Dave and Rick Caldwell are expected to move to a much smaller signal on 104.5.

How much smaller? A query to the FCC and a subsequent Google Maps overlay produced this map of the station’s “60 dBu Service Contour,” which defines the area in which a station is protected against interfering signals on the same frequency, and which is generally considered to be the station’s service area:

Service area for K283BW translator to carry KRXO programming

And there are stations on 104.5 at Pryor (this is Z104.5 the Edge in Tulsa), Mooreland, and eventually Wynnewood. I’m sort of amazed they could squeeze even a 250-watter (which is what this is) in the midst of all that.

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Needleless to say

Yet another advantage to all this “extra” carbon dioxide in the atmosphere:

[T]he chemical predecessor necessary for manufacturing heroin, morphine, increases in poppy plants when carbon dioxide goes up. In fact, since atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased from 300 ppm to 400 ppm over the past 100 years, morphine levels in poppy plants have followed suit. This trend will continue into the next century, as carbon dioxide levels continue to rise. Not only that, the higher carbon dioxide makes for larger plants with more and larger capsules (poppy straws) where the morphine is extracted from. So, like big-ass, potent poppy plants with loads of morphine.

The Wicked Witch of the West is probably cackling about it even as we speak.

(Via Tim Blair.)

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Quote of the week

There is ordinary butthurt, and there is Special Edition Butthurt:

[I]t’s a butthurt wrapped in an agenda shrouded in a vendetta drizzled with pettiness and rolled in a crunchy nougat of simple greed.

If you’re curious, and you probably should be, Tam was referring to this.

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An extra helping of phish

After all, I presumably will be able to afford it presently:

Dear Email Owner,

My name is Gloria C. Mackenzie, i am 84 years old, and I am from Zephyrhills, Florida.

On June 5, 2013, I was declared the winner of $590 Million Dollars, the largest Powerball jackpot in history.

After much consultations with my attorney, My Son and I have voluntarily decided to donate the sum of $1,500,000.00 USD to your email address, this being part of our 2013 Millionaire Donation Project to financially support seven(7) lucky people and ten(10) charity organisations from different parts of the world.

Your email was luckily selected via a Google & Facebook sponsored email-draws, and we decided to put this on the internet for the world to see in other to relinquish any doubts. Please follow the News Link below for more info.

The News Link goes to an actual ABC News story about the Powerball win, but that’s not part of the highly dubious form I’m supposed to fill out.

And I’ll believe dogs and cats living together before I believe Google and Facebook could be teaming up on anything.

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Not to mention various Yares

A piece about the Levin ZR variant of the Toyota Corolla, which apparently will not come to the States — those crazy Americans hate hatchbacks — drew this quasi-lexicographical comment:

  1. Could it be that Toyota wants to sell their Matrixes before introducing a car that would halt the sale of Matrixes.
  2. Shouldn’t the plural of Matrix be Matrices?
  3. Does Toyota name cars with the sole intent of subverting the English language when they pluralize the name?

As Troilus would tell you, there is only one Cressida, faithless though she be. (This remains my favorite model name ever.)

Then again, one must deal with Prii.

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With a gasp and a CHKDSK

So I arrived at the Sharknado Tank at my usual 6:30ish, clicked the Big Red Switch on the power strip, and watched the work box fail to boot.

Thirty-four times. (Normal is just short of 2.)

The New Hardware Kid stumbled onto the premises, popped open the box, and stared in disbelief as the CPU and the heat sink/fan combo finally got the separation they’d been yearning for, ever since the plastic bracket that used to hold them together started to disintegrate.

Fortunately for me, corporate policy has always been to buy a whole lot of mediocre commodity machines rather than a handful of good ones, so it was a matter of minutes before NHK turned up an identical-looking box with an identical-looking motherboard. Various components were swapped, and I was back up and running by noon. The alternative — take delivery of a newer box and start moving a quarter of a million files — was too horrible to contemplate, though it will be forced upon me when Microsoft finally declares Windows XP dead next spring. (How old are these boxen? We’re talking Socket 754 here.)

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Sometimes at sixteen you do this

Rebecca Black, apparently trying out the visage de canard, contemplates those mysterious creatures known as guys:

I am reasonably certain she will never be as confused about guys as I was about girls at that age.

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Warrens without rabbits

New Zealand, by and large, is not burdened with the sort of nouveau urbanists who clutter up the American cityscape: the Kiwis simply haven’t been properly indoctrinated into the Density Über Alles mindset. To address this deficiency, Auckland imported Harvard economist Edward Glaeser, with exactly the results you’d expect:

He says the Auckland Council’s unitary plan — outlining regional growth over the next 30 years, is not bold enough.

And residents also need to get real if they want the city to grow into an exciting place that continues to drive the national economy.

The quarter acre dream is simply not sustainable.

There’s that word “sustainable” again, tortured into its current definition of “fits into our idea of a master plan, and maybe we should capitalize the M in Master because it reflects the reality we propose to impose.”

Mr Glaeser urges the council to be more aggressive in upzoning core urban areas as its works to solve regional housing issues.

That means building multi-storied buildings to create an exciting, pedestrian based city centre and avoiding suburban areas of medium density that only contribute to wider traffic congestion.

With 20 to 30 storeys in central Auckland you can produce massive amounts of space, Mr Glaeser says.

The assumption made in all these cases is that if there are enough “amenities” stacked in corner lots like cordwood, people won’t ever want to leave the center of town — which is a good thing, because it’s hard to maintain surveillance on a population that won’t keep still.

Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse is not impressed with this pitch:

[S]he says it would be difficult to develop the central city to the same extent as others around the world, given Auckland’s unique geographical shape.

“We’re not exactly the same as Vancouver or Houston. By just shoving everything into the city centre is when you put the city most at risk.”

Disclosure: I own a quarter acre (actually 0.26) in Oklahoma City, which admittedly is not exactly the same as Vancouver or Houston.

Says Aaron Renn, the Urbanophile, from whom I swiped this story: “Ed Glaeser would have more credibility if he actually lived in the city instead of the suburbs himself.” Yep.

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No Schmitt, Sherlock

Jack Baruth has assumed the top spot at The Truth About Cars, replacing Bertel Schmitt, and I couldn’t be happier for him. Baruth occupies a singular spot in the motor-noter continuum, which I would approximate as follows:

[David E. Davis Jr.] + [track experience] – [tweed] – [discretion]

The new Editor-in-Chief would like to thank his believers, his fans, and yes, even his detractors:

Every Mom’s-basement loser who penned furious screeds against me with Cheetos-stained fingers. Every S2000-driving wannabe drifter who hid in the tower at Mid-Ohio when I showed up there. Every suck-ass club racer who was holding me up on-track and went crying to the Internet or the sanctioning bodies. Every angry husband or beta boyfriend or white-knight orbiter who found themselves on the losing end of the battle for a woman’s heart, soul, or other parts. You have no idea how many times I would have quit writing about cars if I hadn’t known it would gratify the legions of people who have done nothing with their lives but piss and moan about what I’m doing with mine. You’re the biggest motivation I have. Every time I meet a new fan at a new racetrack or slide my Amex through the machine for another custom-shop guitar I say a silent prayer of thanks that you’re still there egging me on. Keep it up.

In what surely must be an act of faith, I have actually registered as a user on TTAC, something I hadn’t done in its three previous incarnations.

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Imaginary haters gonna hate imaginarily

It’s been an unusually rich (and therefore unusually annoying) week for phishers. This one was titled “Got some bad news for you”:

YOUR NAME IS BEING TARNISHED by negative information online

What can you do to prevent this?

Give up the blog. Seriously. Nobody writes as much negative information about me as I do, and very likely nobody ever will.

Right now, view your current online record id #: HJUR843HI to see what damaging aspects of your life were posted Wednesday.

Wouldn’t it be terrible if your loving family, current boss, the people you live beside, or your close friends see this embarrassing and potentially career ending information?

DO SOMETHING NOW: Time is not on your side

Speaking of “wouldn’t it be terrible,” wouldn’t it be terrible if you were trying to pull off a scam like this and you left this as your go-to link?


Dishonest and stupid. I expect he’ll be on a ballot somewhere by 2018, if not sooner.

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A state of Jiflessness

I did not pick up a fresh jar of peanut butter today at the supermarket, and I didn’t even think about it until I got to reading the mail and found this recommendation by Jeffery Self on the back page of The Advocate:

One of the main reasons life is worth living. To those people who are allergic, I can only apologize: you are truly missing out on one of the world’s great pleasures — but honestly, it’s not my problem. I strongly advocate going into your kitchen right now and dipping your largest spoon in a jar of peanut butter, then slowly eating it. Did you do it? You’re welcome. Unless you’ve just realized you’re allergic to peanut butter, in which case call 9-1-1.

Alas, there is not enough left in the jar to fill my largest spoon, or either of the next two down.

By way of introduction, Mr. Self is the author of Straight People: A Spotter’s Guide to the Fascinating World of Heterosexuals (Philadelphia: Running Press, 2013).

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A modest claim

Then again, the French are the masters of understatement, are they not?

1967 advertisement for Exciting hosiery

“It’s not the first garterless stocking you’ll try,” says that last paragraph, assuming my French is up to snuff, “but it’s the first garterless stocking you can’t live without.”

The facility in Troyes, I understand, now manufactures underwear under the Petit Bateau name.

And I suspect that in 1967, when this advertisement appeared, no one was seriously concerned with thigh gap.

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Glass streaking

A couple of decades ago, Penn Jillette observed that “Shopping, sex and shopping for sex propel all new technology.” Can Google Glass be kept squeaky clean? Don’t bet on it:

[I]t’s no huge surprise that Google’s announcement that they wouldn’t allow any pornographic content on their new Google Glass platform (“We don’t allow Glassware content that contains nudity, graphic sex acts, or sexually explicit material”) has already been challenged. Muck-peddlers MiKandi have come up with a Google Glass offering. It’s a “Hot or Not” type photo app that allows users to submit photos that are then voted up or down by other app users.

Google don’t like it, and they’re taking steps to make sure it doesn’t reach the market. But as we’ve seen, pornographers are a resourceful bunch. Whether it requires “jailbreaking” technology or just old-fashioned sneakiness, Google Glass wearers will inevitably be able to have images of people who have neglected to put their pyjamas on beamed into their eyeballs.

I would argue that mere lack of nightwear doesn’t constitute smut — otherwise, an awful lot of us would be in deep doo-doo — but Rule 34 will simply not be flouted, by Google or by anyone else.

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Contributing to your McMuffin Top

There’s something new and horrifying under the Golden Arches:

McDonald’s has begun posting calorie counts on their menus. On the menu, that is, not buried in some you-gotta-ask-for-it literature. Getting a jump on Federal legislation, I’m betting. And the numbers are, in a word, horrifying. When you see a four-digit calorie count next to a frickin’ breakfast item (never mind the burgers, fries, and shakes!) it has a pronounced appetite-dulling effect. There’s no way I want to gobble up three quarters of my daily calorie allotment before nine in the morning… yeef!

Imagine the tumult when you can get those frickin’ breakfast items any time of the day or night.

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We got your destiny right here

How much of what we are is predetermined, and how much is actually up to us? Some pony-oriented speculation ensues.

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A tiding of magpies

The Eurasian magpie (Pica pica), by general agreement, is wicked smart, especially for a bird; its demonstrations of intelligence are legendary. I am not quite sure how “magpie” became a descriptor for humans who flit from topic to topic, unless it has to do with the bird’s tendency to be attracted to Shiny Things, but I’m pretty sure I fit that description, and I have several readers who seem to do likewise. For example, Roger explains how he got that way:

1) As a child, I had the foolish notion that should know all the knowable things in the universe.

2) To that end, I used to read encyclopedias — the Americana as a child — dictionaries, and especially the World Almanac, which I have received for Christmas almost every year since I was nine or ten.

3) Realizing at some point that “all the knowable things in the universe” a) was impossible to know and b) was not interesting to me, I tended to concentrate on things like sports (Willie Mays hit .211 in his last season, with the New York Mets), and American history and politics.

The World Almanac, interestingly, outlived its parent, the New York World newspaper, which merged with the crosstown Evening Telegram in 1931 and absorbed the Sun in 1950, only to be swallowed up in 1966 in a three-way merger that produced the short-lived World Journal Tribune, which died in 1967, aged eight months. (Oddly, the WJT has a surviving relative: New York magazine, which began as the Herald Tribune‘s Sunday supplement, was continued in the WJT, and eventually was salvaged as a monthly.) Of course, the fact that I’d bring this up at all speaks volumes about my own presumed magpiehood.

And just incidentally, while knowing all the knowable things in the universe may not be literally possible, it strikes me as a worthy goal. Beyond that, deponent saith not, what with that whole Tree of Knowledge thing.

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So basically, black and blue?

And here’s the dress code for our valued Associates:

Walmart dress code poster

(From FAIL Blog’s “Poorly Dressed” section.)

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Strange search-engine queries (389)

Oh, if you’ve forgotten 389, it was the size (in cubic inches) of the Pontiac V-8 described in “Little G.T.O.” by Ronny and the Daytonas. Said Pon-Pon was also equipped with three deuces and a four-speed. In the meantime, here’s this week’s trunkful of search strings:

You have received a new endorsement from elder parodi. Click here to see it! Your endorsements will appear on your profile after:  the seas begin to boil and the sunlight becomes unbearable. Or September, whichever comes first.

paywall “”:  Which you can avoid by having them drop the printed version somewhere in the vicinity of your driveway every morning.

welcome to teen porno pass mm berks area:  Oh, don’t you just wish.

“oklahoma county clerk” horrible:  Can’t tell if irritated by fees for document reproduction, or if turned down for a date.

seduceth means:  Thou art being led into a false sense of security by yon County Clerk.

what usually goes out after transmission mazda tribute:  Any hope of a family vacation that year.

monkey see money do one hears no evil one sees no evil one does no evil the other does them all stoopid monkey need to go to monkey ward get edumacated:  Get your hands off the phrasebook, you damn dirty ape.

why can’t i find the killing of a person by frank gann in sallisaw oklahoma in 1968:  Um, hello, McFly, nineteen sixty-eight? How much stuff do you think was being put up on the Web twenty-five years before it was opened to the public?

How sure am i that the foetus will not reform after taking arthrotec and after the abortion blood has stop flowing:  Obviously, not very.

bacon helper:  Bacon needs no help.

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That’s one funny-looking pizza

In the past five years, there have been a couple of Tomato Scares in the states, due to temporary shortages: I noted during World Tour ’08 that “Whataburger wouldn’t slap one on your burger no matter how much you asked,” and in early 2010 the Florida crop was trashed by bad weather, causing prices to triple.

Still, neither of those incidents called for National Action. Now Argentina, that’s a whole ‘nother matter:

Argentinian dishes, including pizza and pasta are strongly influenced by Italian cuisine and feature tomatoes. But families have been advised to make do without them until September, when a new harvest of the crop is expected.

“For seasonal reasons, involving crop rotations in the farms, the Central Market of Buenos Aires informs the public about a possible shortage of tomatoes,” read a statement from the government’s Office of Domestic Commerce. “For this reason, and for a period of approximately sixty days, we suggest the use of alternative products.”

Now what substitutes for a tomato? (Excuse me while I mix up a Bloody Mary.)

(Via Fausta.)

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We’ve all had mornings like this

Luna is best Daria.

(From an EqD Random Media roundup.)

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What language is your siren?

This caught my eye in the Sunday paper:

At least 42,000 Hispanic people in Oklahoma City do not speak English well, according to research from the Pew Hispanic Center, a branch of the nonpartisan Pew Research Center in Washington.

There being roughly 100,000 Hispanic folks in this town — well, the math is easy. But the results can be hard:

Nine of the 23 deaths in the May 31 disaster came from Oklahoma’s growing Guatemalan community, many unfamiliar with the fury of spring storms. Five of those were children, including a 17-day-old infant.

NewsOK posted a picture of a Guatemalan family killed in the storm to Facebook, and got several variations on the theme of “Well, it’s their own fault for not speaking English.” Which, actually, they did, though they were not exactly up on the latest local storm procedures. Still, that didn’t mollify the Defenders of the Language, one of whom declared:

[W]e should fine anyone who speaks another language. $50 every time you say something in another language. This is America, goddamnit, and we speak ENGLISH!

Clearly someone who does speak the local language has an advantage over someone who doesn’t; however, I can’t work up any enthusiasm for leaving seven percent of the population in the dark when the storm clouds build.

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Or so the research would indicate

I suspect this statement of being true:

“Among all respondents, 7.3% reported a pregnancy, although this was more common among females than males.” — Abstinence-Only and Comprehensive Sex Education and the Initiation of Sexual Activity and Teen Pregnancy

(This was Megan McArdle’s Fun Sentence of the Week last week.)

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Muffin to report

Derpy figure by FunkoShe’s one of the sweetest, kindest mares you could ever hope to know. Just the same, things can go horribly wrong:

I recently bought this vinyl figure put out by Funko. While Amazon reviews warned me of a chemical odor that lingered on in the figures of this line, I still wasn’t prepared for the dizzying wave that flooded my room when I removed the packaging. Although I’m not particularly sensitive to smells, it was enough to suggest to my paranoid mind the possibility of becoming a grotesque news item.

Such as, for instance, this one. (At least I resisted the presumably obvious “Funko” joke.)

Derpy then spent the next twelve hours or so alternately placed by an open window and shut up in a cupboard. Now that I’ve let her air out for a bit it’s not so bad.

I suspect she’s been hitting the ol’ Otis Spunkmeyer in her spare time.

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Just a Tad

For the last several years, Mad has been running a two-page feature written by Tim Carvell called “Planet TAD!!!!!” which purports to be the blog of a 14-year-old boy, and which, at least at first, looked like it had been designed 14 years before. It’s shown on a browser, of course, but you can’t go to a URL like “galaxyo’”, can you? (“I can’t,” said ICANN.)

So I’m checking out the current issue (#522), and holy veeblefetzer, Tad’s gotten himself a domain name! Or has he? I duly pulled up, and found this:

My son and I are fans of Planet Tad and MAD magazine. Wanting even more TAD, we typed in “” and were shocked to find the domain unregistered! I mean, the book is about a blog. A blog is a website. One can only assume that the domain name Tad would choose for his blog would be “”. Hmmm. Was there a major rift in space-time or could it just be a significant oversight?

In other news, there’s a Planet Tad book.

Off Tad’s current front page, a post dated the 10th:

From all the ads, it looks pretty clear that The Lone Ranger is about two guys.

I feel like someone needs to have the word “lone” explained to them.

Not that I know anyone who writes like that.

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Bess you’ve seen

It’s the 89th birthday of Miss America 1945, who, had pageant officials gotten their way, would have been introduced to you as Beth Merrick, which sounded a hair less Jewish than her real name.

Bess Myerson was having none of that. (The girl was born in the Bronx, ya know, and you don’t pull that kind of thing on a girl from the Bronx.) She tied for first in the talent competition (with Frances Ladell Dorn from Birmingham, Alabama, who wound up as second runner-up) and took the swimsuit competition outright, despite some logistical issues:

Bess Myerson, Miss America 1945

The swim suit provided to Myerson proved too tight. Rather than wear the ugly suit pageant officials provided as a backup, Myerson had her sister Sylvia sleep in the original suit to stretch it out. When that wasn’t enough, Sylvia altered the suit to improve the fit. The tailoring worked, but Sylvia had to sew Myerson into the bathing suit. That meant Myerson had to wear the suit under her evening gown and talent costume during the final night of competition. While undoubtedly uncomfortable, the plan did the trick.

Well, that and Myerson’s piano prowess, which was apparently substantial enough to get her a record deal. Released late in 1959:

Fashions in Music by Bess Myerson

Andrew Ackers conducts the orchestra behind Bess on a dozen familiar standards, as old as “Ain’t She Sweet” (once covered by the Beatles, kinda sorta), as new as “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing.” Oh, and she also sold bleach.

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