The Ice House wasn’t having a very good day. The sun was out, and the temperature was on its way up to a high of 36 or so, and the roof was melting:
Apparently this has been a problem all along. The hipsters-in-charge weren’t too happy about the uncooperative weather. The bus and tarp were along the southern exposure, trying to block the sun from the very nice icicles. Otherwise, they were holding up OK:
I can never resist the Tri-X setting on the new camera for long:
Overall? Eh. It’s an interesting achievement, but ultimately — ice on a house. Perhaps I lack imagination.
Yeesh, what a week. You should not be surprised to hear that current events have schadenfreude thick in the air in Michigan. One of my Twitter follows is retweeting every Toyota joke that comes down the pike. My favorite is the new Toyota marketing slogan: “There’s no stopping us now!” They make good cars; they’ll pull through, but stuck accelerators are scary things, and handling a PR disaster like this is not for the weak of stomach. Ay yi yi, but being No. 1 is suddenly seeming a hollow victory.
They may think different in Silicon Valley, but manufacturing is not for the faint of heart. A million widgets that can fail you any number of ways, and now all this software. Alan was having a problem with the throttle on his Subaru a few months ago, and asked the dealer to check it out. The diagnosis? Some old code in the computer. No wonder the best mechanic I knew in Fort Wayne can’t work on his own car anymore.
I don’t want to bug out early, but I must. Another redonkulous day ahead, capped by yet another middle-school dance. I haven’t heard any Lady Gaga in a week — this’ll do me good. A little bloggage before I go:
A woman who collects Playboy magazines. Because why not?
Not everyone working at a newspaper is miserable. My old college classmate Mark just spent a month in Afghanistan for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and came back with one of those great old expensive series newspapers do so well. Part 1 commences here.
For you writer fans, a new interview with Martin Amis.
Christopher Beam looks at that weird sheep ad. EDIT: Bad link fixed. Sorry. And thanks for the heads-up.
And I’m off to the shower.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 5, 2010 at 9:20 am
Final link, I’m guessing – http://www.slate.com/id/2243729/
Jolene said on February 5, 2010 at 10:12 am
Part of the problem w/ the Ice House project is lack of architectural interest of the house. It’s just a bedraggled old box, unappealing under pretty much any circumstance, I’d think.
adrianne said on February 5, 2010 at 10:39 am
This just in, from Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota, grandson of the company founder: “I deeply regret that I have caused concern among so many people. We will do our utmost to regain the trust of our customers.”
Good luck with that!
moe99 said on February 5, 2010 at 11:02 am
A friend of mine, an attorney in CA wrote this about the Satan sheep ad:
The Firona commercial will test to what extent the 11th Commandment is finally dead. R’s attacking each other this viciously can only help the Dems.
I think Fiorina is going to play it coy with this ad and get away with it. She has to attack Campbell in the primary because he has the advantage of a long and fairly inoffensive history in CA. If Campbell buys some blue jeans and manages to come across as a reasonable “Scott Brown” type candidate** and more likely to beat Boxer, then he might be able to pull it off. If anything, though, he is too middle of the road for the folks in the Central Valley and behind the Orange Curtain, which are crucial to the Repub primary, so she has to run well to the right of him. Hence the commercial. Expect more, and soon, because she has to cripple him early.
Her weak points are that she was *not* loved at HP, and she comes across as a dilettante who is going into politics because no corporation its right mind would hire her now. In addition, she made some statements in support of overseas outsourcing that are sure to haunt her.
However, if Fiorina takes the primary, Boxer will have a lot to worry about. The higher the unemployment rate goes up, the better a non incumbent will look, even a dilettante.
** A bit of a stretch for him, but a lot easier for him than for Fiorina, who can come across as patrician.
I found it significant that we really don’t see Fiorina’s face at all in the ad. Understandable given its content.
coozledad said on February 5, 2010 at 11:08 am
I’m probably just jealous of Martin in some way, but he seems to be getting squickier in his old age. Is it a generational thing, or have guys always started to keep a nookie score when they’re starting to square off against oblivion? I suspect Martin’s current monogamy has a bit more to do with things “not going well with the girls for him” as opposed to him calling a unilateral ceasefire in the pussy wars.
One of the big reasons I think Hilary Mantel kicks his sad ass is she doesn’t have his self-awareness deficit.
Old-time Editor said on February 5, 2010 at 11:33 am
Ice House = scene from Dr. Zhivago.
Sue said on February 5, 2010 at 12:02 pm
Re the Demon Sheep ad: Tom Campbell needs to get Terry Gilliam on board, preferably with some John Cleese action as well.
moe99 said on February 5, 2010 at 12:13 pm
And now for something completely different:
I was in tears, but the good kind.
LAMary said on February 5, 2010 at 12:15 pm
coozledad said on February 5, 2010 at 12:16 pm
Moe: A guy whose dad wrote a couple of good books.
Jeff Borden said on February 5, 2010 at 12:24 pm
Thank you for that link. I’m also watering up. What a story. And what a dad.
moe99 said on February 5, 2010 at 12:37 pm
Ah, Martin AMIS! I am a bit slow today.
beb said on February 5, 2010 at 12:49 pm
When you have to take your shoes off to count the number of women you’ve slept with, perhaps its time to stop counting. And time to keep the pants zipped.
The “What kind of girl reads Playboy” was interesting. I wonder some times when did Playboy cease to be an American icon. In the 60s and 70s it was the Big Time. Big time authors wrote for it, all the best artist contributed to it, all the most famous people wanted to be interviewed by it. And being a Playmate was the gateway to all kinds of success for a lot of woman. Back them everyone talked about Playboy. Today, I’m not sure peple know that it still exists.
I picked up the Marge Simpson issue last fall and was surprised by how think it was compared to the 60s. That was the first issue I’d looked at in over a decade, maybe two. I hear at one time it was being run by Hefner’s daughter, which I thought was awkward all the way around.
Rana said on February 5, 2010 at 12:59 pm
Heh. I was expecting something more amazing than the Ice House turned out to be – something on a par with those ice castles that you can go in and explore. This… well, it looks remarkably like what a number of the houses in the adjacent neighborhood looked like last winter, including those crazy icicles.
Jeff Borden said on February 5, 2010 at 1:02 pm
I covered Playboy Enterprises Inc. for more than a decade, when Christie Hefner was running the company. She was a smart, capable executive, but PEI never really did much as a company. It is publicly traded, but Hef maintains the vast majority of the voting stock, so he has final say. (Ms. Hefner has since left the company.)
There were several salient issues confronting the company. The white bunny head on the black background is a very well-known, very recognizable logo, but it had been tarnished by over-licensing. The brand Hef had seen as the epitome of the swinging cool cat was now stamped on everything from car air fresheners to shot glasses. Meanwhile, the soft focus erotica that defined the brand was blown out of the water by the purveyors of hardcore pornography, which became ubiquitous with the arrival of the Internet and the anonymity it affords users.
Basically, Playboy is “too dirty” for many mainstream users, but “too clean” for those who like their erotica explicit. It doesn’t help that poor, aged Hef remains the face of the company. . .a sagging, elderly man juiced up on Viagra surrounded by pneumatic young women literally young enough to be his granddaughters. . .is more creepy than cool. Young men are far more likely to pick up an issue of Maxim or one of its rivals than Playboy.
I’d love to see a good business school use Playboy as a case study. Whatever you think about Hefner or the publication, it was a powerful, profitable brand for a good 20-plus years. But its inability to reinvent itself, driven by the decision to avoid the really hard-core stuff, has left it gasping and irrelevant.
MarkH said on February 5, 2010 at 1:03 pm
I wouldn’t make a bet, like your friend, on Fiorina, moe. Boxer is going to have a tough time, no doubt, but employment may be getting better (see today’s new 9.7% rate), and I lean more toward his description of her as a dilittante and unloved at HP. I don’t think she’ll even get through the primary as she reveals more of her true character. Here’s one of the best things I’ve read about her and what happened at HP, for those who want a brief history of LaCarla.
Also, after her fall from HP grace, she went on “60 Minutes” to tell her story and came off as teeth-grindingly bitter. I bet that segment is still in the archives on the CBS website for those interested.
MichaelG said on February 5, 2010 at 1:45 pm
“When you have to take your shoes off to count the number of women you’ve slept with, perhaps its time to stop counting. And time to keep the pants zipped.”
paddyo' said on February 5, 2010 at 2:38 pm
The ice house pic on Nance’s Tri-X setting DOES look like the wintry love nest in “Dr. Zhivago,” doesn’t it? But the rest, meh — it is an underwhelming installation.
I would, however, go to see an installation of two-wheelers done up that way. You could call it, oh, how about “B-icicles”?
Moving on . . .
Jeff B, another sign of Playboy’s morbidity is what they charge for a subscription now. I recall a snail-mail come-on sometime last year that offered a year’s subscription for 10 bucks. Clearly, Hef is now giving it away, so to speak.
Jeff Borden said on February 5, 2010 at 3:12 pm
Right you are. I don’t want to be quoted on this because I’ve been too lazy and/or busy to look it up, but I’m pretty sure circulation peaked at around 8 or 9 million. It was a real powerhouse. I’m sure the advertising rates have fallen in proportion to the steep decline in circulation.
BTW, does anyone else see the future of our Congress in the amazingly appalling actions by Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama? Here is a tough-talking conservative icon holding up every single appointment Obama is trying to make unless Airbus gets an Air Force contract over Boeing. Airbus, you see, has some suppliers in Alabama, which apparently is good enough reason for this combed-over patriot to hold critical appointments hostage unless a foreign company gets the deal.
Thanks to the Supremes, this is going to be a very common event, where multi-national conglomerates will drown favored candidates in money to achieve their aims. And if that means that jobs that might go to Americans are instead sent to France, well, fuck it. A redneck cracker senator has got to do what he’s got to do.
The U.S. Senate is a dysfunctional chamber of fools and charlatans. Amazingly, the House sounds like the voice of reason in our national debate these days.
MarkH said on February 5, 2010 at 3:26 pm
Not really that simple, paddyo’. Publications make their money from advertising,and rates and resulting volume in ad pages are directly tied to circulation. The most easily verifiable circulation numbers come from the Audit Bureau of Circulation, which is mostly from USPS mailing records. Since distribution costs are a balance sheet killer (about 70% of the cover price of a magazine is distribution costs), mail subs can be a bargain for the publisher in building circulation. I think you can still get Playboy for $10/year in the mail. I would think what Hef loses on bulk mail charges, he makes up in ad revenues. It’s been almost 30 years since I’ve been in the publishing business (Ohio/Living Single Magazines), so I may be off on some numbers. But I think you already knew most of this.
EDIT — Jeff Borden, what do you mean “the FUTURE of our congress”? Hasn’t it ever been thus?
Sue said on February 5, 2010 at 3:47 pm
Unfortunately, Jeff Borden, the Shelby tantrum is being compared to Nelson’s grab on health care reform in terms of selfishness. So the Dems’ expected “shocked, shocked” response will lose some of its punch.
I am wondering what the final straw will be, what the Senate Republicans’ version of an invasion of Poland will be. Because, really, at this point I am willing to believe that the Dems will accept any behavior from the 41-59 majority Republicans.
paddyo' said on February 5, 2010 at 3:48 pm
Sure, MarkH, you’re right — but I wasn’t arguing a point, I was just remarking on the sticker price. Ten bucks a year is a LOT less than Playboy used to charge. Contrast that with, say, People Mag, still one of the most successful in the business, which can still charge a premium rate (comparatively speaking) around $95-$100 a year. I know, that’s a weekly, but if you prorated Playboy to a weekly (now THERE’s a scary thought), it would still be about half that price. Time was, Hef could get that kind of price, too.
But then, it’s tough all over for slicks, isn’t it . . .
paddyo' said on February 5, 2010 at 3:54 pm
God knows if it will ever change, but did the F’-ing Founding Fathers really intend that so many presidential appointments required the Senate to advise and consent? I’m amazed at the number and level of positions that the Bozos on either side of the aisle get to lay their grubby little hands on. The dysfunctional thing in the Senate is its ridiculous set of “rules” — you know, the ones that require “supermajorities” and the ones, as Shelby is using, that allow any senator, for any reason, to put a hold on any appointment. Senate rules aren’t the only reason for gridlock, but they damned sure get in the way. And it’s needless.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 5, 2010 at 4:03 pm
Senator Robert Byrd once assured me that Senate rules are the only thing that separates American civilization from barbarity, and are a thing of complex beauty, fit to be wielded by artists of legislation but incomprehensible to the weary plebian.
Or something like that. His accent gets thicker as he gets excited.
Jeff Borden said on February 5, 2010 at 4:04 pm
Ben Nelson is not much different from Richard Shelby, but what sticks in my craw is that Shelby is a vintage flag-waving, tough-talking, self-styled conservative “patriot.” And at a time when the nation is dealing with high levels of unemployment, he’s more than happy to ensure that European workers get jobs that might go to Boeing workers.
If this goober ever talks about “national security,” I certainly hope a nearby senator will beat him about the head and face with a large polo mallet. He doesn’t give a shit. He wants more jobs in his godforsaken state.
Sue said on February 5, 2010 at 4:18 pm
From Ezra Klein:
“Republicans complain about all the czars, but they are obligating Obama to appoint more czars than any president in history, because they filibuster all his actual appointments. Czars route around the filibustering of appointments, and nothing more.
To put this another way, the executive branch needs a certain amount of staff. Some of that staff simply has to be confirmed by the Senate. The secretary of the Treasury, for instance. But some of that staff is in a gray area: It would be good to have them confirmed by the Senate, but if that’s too much of a pain in the neck, they can be named to positions — either existing ones or newly concocted ones — on the White House staff. Larry Summers is an example of this route.
If getting nominees through the Senate keeps getting harder, you’ll see the Senate consulted on fewer and fewer of these hires. In that way, this obstruction masquerading as scrutiny will make the government less accountable, not more.”
Jolene said on February 5, 2010 at 5:37 pm
After many years of being a big magazine subscriber, I’d let some subscriptions slip. Recently, though, I bought a couple of mags to read on an airplane and nearly choked on the price of a single issue. I think it was $6.99 for an issue of Newsweek and $7.99 for a copy of The Atlantic. Yikes! I’m renewing my subscriptions.
Re Shelby, yes, he is an asshole. I don’t think it’s too smart for them to compare this situation to Ben Nelson because that deal has brought Nelson nothing but bad news–even in his own state. If health care is ever passed, the Nelson deal will be undone, but he’ll be stuck w/ the effects of his backroom deal on his reputation.
Jolene said on February 5, 2010 at 5:41 pm
On another topic, I’m thinking about buying an immersion blender, but have found that they range in price from thirty bucks to more than $100. Any advice? Is there one you’d recommend? Particular features or attachments you’d recommend?
Dexter said on February 5, 2010 at 5:43 pm
The blizzard started a half hour ago. I gassed the car, bought the groceries, picked up a few Mega Millions tickets, and stopped into a little store to pick up the SuperBowl snacks, and they had some really neat-o cakes, so I bought a nice round cake, frosted in white and adorned with a large “Saints” logo. It was only eleven bucks.
As I was walking the dog in the cross-blowing stinging hard snow, I decided to venture out one more time. A strawberry sundae from DQ, and what a surprise—they used fresh sliced strawberries. “Schtrrawburrees…”—and the surprise was so nice I began rolling my steel marbles around in my hand.
By the way, did you know Bogart took the role of Queeg for a pittance, just because he had this obsession to play Queeg? ‘Tis true.
Jeff Borden said on February 5, 2010 at 5:54 pm
“The Caine Mutiny” is one of my favorite Bogart films. He gives a wonderful, meaty performance, particularly in that incredibly poignant scene where he meets with the other officers and more or less begs them for their support while they sit in silence. It’s a sequence in which the captain’s vulnerability is painfully revealed to the junior officers, who are too invested in mocking and undermining him to listen. Powerful stuff from an actor too frequently pigeon-holed for his tough guy parts. I can’t imagine anyone else in the part.
The supporting roles by Fred MacMurray, Van Johnson and the superb Jose Ferrer are also terrific. The romance angle of the young officer is out of place, but otherwise, it’s a damned good film.
moe99 said on February 5, 2010 at 6:14 pm
Word is there may be two Supreme Court vacancies soon: Stevens and Ginsberg. Reid better get some cojones or there won’t be appointments til there’s a new administration.
Dexter said on February 5, 2010 at 6:28 pm
controversy of the day: Lindsey Vonn, athlete or dirty girl?–your thoughts.
This S.I. cover has generated a lot of radio talk today. I heard the talk before I saw the picture-cover—it’s “dirty”…dirty young woman! No…it’s just a superb athlete perched to destroy her competition…no—it’s just a moral conundrum.
brian stouder said on February 5, 2010 at 6:41 pm
Reid better get some cojones or there won’t be appointments til there’s a new administration.
Moe – I disagree.
President Obama needs to STAY in the Harry Truman-mode he seems to be in now*, and in fact ramp it up. If Health Care Reform is dead now, as the president has said it could well be – then that’s all the MORE reason to turn the heat up to full-blast, and ride herd on the obstructionist ‘Party of No/Party of Dough’ – so that there can be no doubt about the do-nothing/know nothing loafers and cowards in congress – right up ’til election day.
I just read the Variety article Nance linked, about the Jon Stewart/O’Relly iterview – which was good enough; but then the comments section quickly took the shine off.
I hear the same (insert vulgar term here) every damned day, at work and on the local radio (and we’ll skip right past national radio); an “our team versus their team” sort of uninformed auto-pilot substitute for thinking. Today on Pat White’s local show, a caller complained that ‘all Obama ever does is blame President Bush for everything’ – and that Republicans NEVER do that sort of thing – Bush didn’t blame Clinton for causing 9/11, for example(!!), and ol’ Pat AGREED and agreed… so I called in and reminded him that Reagan/Bush-41/Dole ran against ‘the mess they inherited’ from Carter for TWENTY YEARS!! – and that, by the by, President Bush-43 inherited a $200 billion budget SURPLUS from Clinton (go ahead and blame his predecessor for that, eh?), and left a huge, spiraling debt for Obama – and a rapidly worsening economic crisis – to boot.
And Pat said “yup, that’s what politicians do” – and went to commercial.
(Insert long string of obscenities and curses here)
But indeed, at the end of the day, I DO believe that voters will do the right thing – provided that our president goes onto the offense and stays there.
*I think the return of Plouffe was the leading indicator that this IS the plan – but maybe that’s wishful thinking on my part
Jeff Borden said on February 5, 2010 at 7:05 pm
I bow to no one in my fervent belief that the national Republican Party is a corpse rotting from the head down and that the GOP is not far away from an enormous reckoning as the tides of change erode its aging, angry,entitled, race-baiting, homophobic, overwhelmingly white base. At some point, this party will need to confront all the boogeymen (and boogeywomen, I guess) it has created including immigrants, minorities and gays if it wants to be viable outside the old Confederacy.
But the victories in the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial races, and the special senate election in Massachutsetts, are muddying the waters. These results were not an Obama backlash, or a referendum on HRC, or torture. They were contests where attractive, hard-working Republican candidates defeated poor Democratic candidates, particularly in Virginia and Mass.
Yet these victories –and you will probably see a frigging Republican win Obama’s old seat this fall in Illinois because the Dem candidate who won the primary has some very heavy, very ugly baggage– supply just enough jolts of electricty for this corpse to remain animated and moving.
Obama, but more properly the Senate and House Dems, need to quit peeing their pants every time the GOP stamps its feet and go on the offensive. The GOP literally has no new ideas –I see even the idea of privatizing Social Security is being floated by some of the right-wing brainiacs– and is driven these days entirely by the three R’s: rage, resentment and racial fears.
Meanwhile, however, we need to admit that a substantial portion of our electorate. . .way more than we want to think about. . .wish we were back in the 1950s, when women were pregnant and barefoot, black people knew their place, immigrants were white Europeans and America was the only industrial power still standing. These people are not going to go away soon, but they and their sad, outdated beliefs eventually will fade from the scene. Until then, however, they can continue to do great damage to our republic. And they are doing it.
Jolene said on February 5, 2010 at 7:07 pm
HBO has a new biopic re Temple Grandin starring Claire Danes to appear tomorrow evening. Very good review in the NYT.
For other entertainment, check out Barack Obama’s Facebook page.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 5, 2010 at 7:18 pm
Jeff B., so data that contradicts your theory “muddies the water”?
And what do you have against Muddy Waters?
Thank you, thank you very much. Everybody have a quiet weekend with or without snowpocalypse.
Kirk said on February 5, 2010 at 8:22 pm
Looks to me like a picture of a skier who is posing as if she is skiing. It’s not as though she’s fellating a ski pole. Maybe they should have shot her skiing in a hoop skirt.
Dexter said on February 5, 2010 at 8:29 pm
yeah, Kirk…Mark Spitz is famous for a cheesecake shot with all his medals and junk dangling, but S.I. posed him like this—under water.
Remember how Spitz influenced us back then? I and every other guy grew mustaches , and they stayed with the culture / look for a long, long time. I didn’t shave mine until 1988.
I’m cooking roasted brussel sprouts from a memory of the recipes posted here at nn.c a while ago. This will be a great memory test. “LIZA! Where’s my blasted slippers!”
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 5, 2010 at 9:12 pm
350 oven, a drizzle of olive oil, 40-45 minutes — and someone suggested sprinkling pine nuts over ’em as they roast, which i haven’t tried yet.
Why trust memory when you have the frailties of the internet?
Y’know, I tried. I looked at the picture, twice, and she has admirably muscular thighs. I could develop an inappropriate interest in them if I really worked at it, but in general — she’s skiing downhill. And smiling. C’mon, guys. It’s called, as I recall from Swiss Valley’s patient ski patrol coaches, the tuck position.
Joe Kobiela said on February 5, 2010 at 11:07 pm
I get sports Ill,and the last thing I thought was that was a sex pose. Don’t the femanazi have anything better to do. Dexter, a bit dicey flying the midwest tonight, Clevland was a treat. Surprisingly smooth above 3,000 but really bumpy down low.
Dexter said on February 5, 2010 at 11:20 pm
Joe…at least you don’t have to go to DCA or BWI and be turned back because that town is shut down under a potential 30 inches of snow. My daughter just returned from 10 days at Long Island, Bahamas, Clarence Town…her man took a vacation from NetJets and flew a doctor down in the doc’s plane; she just said it was a “small jet” but didn’t say any more about it. Smooth skies.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I couldn’t remember, so I did indeed look up the recipe for brussel sprouts…and I added hot sauce, pre-roasting, and ruined them. Damn me.
Rana said on February 5, 2010 at 11:49 pm
The thing with the Lindsey Vonn picture isn’t that it’s hoochy, it’s that it’s a posed model shot that’s been tipped to make it look like she’s “skiing” (see the angle of her hair?) and she’s been all made up and fluffed and prettified… instead of acknowledging that she’s a phenomenal, tough athlete, who deserves coverage of her skills, not merely her looks.
I mean, check out this far more typical picture of the woman, doing what she’s rightly become famous for:
Why isn’t something like that on the cover instead? I mean, it is supposed to be Sports Illustrated, right? Not boobs, butt, and lipstick illustrated.
MarkH said on February 6, 2010 at 11:14 am
Ever hear of the Swimsuit Issue, Rana?
Rana said on February 6, 2010 at 2:20 pm
Heh. Of course. I never understood the logic of that one either.
(I suppose we should be grateful that Vonn wasn’t posed skiing in a bikini.)
MichaelG said on February 6, 2010 at 5:32 pm
I think suggesting there is something sexual about the SI cover says more about those making the suggestions than it does about the picture.
Rana, I can see your point but I still have no objection to the way SI posed the cover picture. It seems to me that the idea was to give the readers a good look at a star rather than to present a skiing picture.
One of the swimsuit issue stars is doing pretty well in the NASCAR ARCA race which is gracing my tube right now.
MichaelG said on February 6, 2010 at 5:35 pm
Jeff B, I’ve been saying for years just what you’ve pointed out about the Dems peeing their pants. The total lack of a spine anywhere in the Democratic party is one of the things that has me depressed about the state of the country.
nancy said on February 6, 2010 at 5:55 pm
I’m getting to the SI cover way, way late, but I don’t see anything hinky at all about that picture. That’s what ski racers do, and that’s how they dress, and the fact she’s turning her head to smile is about the only thing about it that’s even remotely sexual. Very remote. However, I get the idea people who would bring such a thing up don’t get smiled at during sex very often. Or any other time.