In Snohomish County, Wash., 50 protested at a rally this month against electronic [voting] machines. County Auditor Bob Terwilliger accepted their petition of 20,000 names. But he said he couldn’t help chuckling as he perused it. The “signatures” were electronic and on a computer printout he couldn’t verify.

— Accountability for thee, but not for me...

Best Girl: Pinky or Froppy?

My Hero Academia didn’t sound like much when I first heard about it, so I kind of forgot it existed. Over the weekend, I was bored and it was available on Hulu, so I watched the first episode.

Then all the rest. It’s pretty good, well-drawn with some genuinely interesting characters, and despite the immensely tedious recaps that pad it out, the story doesn’t suck.

(tip: don’t marathon this show unless you have a convenient and reliable skip-forward button)

Dear Amazon Japan,

Classification errors galore.


Dear Playboy,

If the question is how to appeal to men, Mr. November is not the answer.

Warning Label: Yumi Nakano

As usual, the presence of the kanji 歳 preceded by a number serves as a warning that the young lady in question is on the dangerous side of cute. Healthy, though.


Separated at birth…


Dear Tor Books,

It’s been a while since I’ve bought anything you publish (your fault, not mine), but you still have Steven Brust, and despite how badly the “author connection” conceit intruded into Hawk, I’m still willing to buy the Vlad Taltos novels in hardback rather than your horribly overpriced ebooks. Vallista leans a bit too heavily on earlier, better novels in the series, but I did read it in one sitting, and while the claim that it answers Vlad’s long-asked questions is bullshit, it does address some things fans wanted to know about how his world works.

But, and I mean this advice constructively, please fire the fucking morons who write your blurbs. This little bit of prose from the book jacket is 300% bullshit: “full of swordplay, peril, and swashbuckling flair”. No, no it is not. Introspective gothic mystery set in a house on a hill, yes; swashbuckling and swordplay, not so much.

Admittedly, it’s not the worst I’ve seen from Tor. That distinction belongs to this ludicrous description of The Three-Body Problem:

“A covert military project. A secret war revealed as the worst fight that humanity has ever faced. Baffling mysteries. A series of ultra-science weapons, each more powerful and fantastic than the last, including one technology described as more important than nuclear bombs. Aliens that may be saviors, or invaders, or both.”

On Harveywood…

Once upon a time, there was a magazine called Perfect 10. The claim was that it offered high-quality nude photography of women who hadn’t been under the knife. The second part of that claim was mostly true.

I knew a number of Playboy models who’d been asked to appear in the magazine when it was getting started, and without exception they were creeped out by the founder and his auditions. Basically, he wanted a private show before he’d consider paying them to appear in his magazine, despite the fact that they were all experienced professional nude models with ample portfolios.

The one that sticks out in my memory was a Playmate from 1989 who was well-known for her lush natural figure, and was extremely popular in Playboy’s videos and special editions. He invited her in and asked her to show off the goods, then rejected her for “just not being pretty”.

Gosh, I wonder how he treated women who weren’t already successful models! (actually, I don’t, because I heard rumors about that, too…)

The consensus was that in his mind he was the next Hef, but in reality he was sleazier than Guccione.

My opinion of Hef is colored by my Playmate acquaintances as well, in a mostly positive way. Even decades after posing for the magazine, a lot of them retained affection for the man, often in a “god bless him” kind of way. There was a lot of bitterness about the company’s actions over the years, and there were plenty of less-affectionate stories, but for the most part, they still liked Hef.

Now, this was a self-selected subset of Playmates still willing to associate themselves with their centerfold and show up at autograph shows, but at the time that amounted to more than 1/3 of the women who’d ever had a staple through their navels, so if even half of them still liked him, he was no Harvey. A lot of former Bunnies had good things to say about him, too, and their experience working in the clubs.

The other comments that stick out in my memory were the ones that I started to hear after Hef moved his wife and kids into the mansion next door and restarted the partying. All his old pals from the glory days showed up and expected everything to be the same, and the result was that the younger Playmates stopped showing up unless they were still under contract, because being hit on by old men creeped them out.

One fresh young model who’d been getting popular in the newsstand specials found herself banned from the parties (and further work with the company) when she failed to return the affection of one of Hef’s Old Pals. And he made it clear to her that this would happen if she didn’t put out, because he knew people.

Not that it was all one-way. When Leonardo DiCaprio first showed up at a mansion party, he was so smothered in eager models that he could barely breathe through their titties. And this was no more surprising than the other stories…

Side note: the single most common story I’ve heard about mansion parties was not about anyone’s behavior, but about the fact that there was only one set of bathrooms available to the guests. Ask a Playmate about the mansion, and the first thing you’ll hear about is the long line to pee.

The Gifted, episodes 1 & 2

I hadn’t been planning to watch this, but Scott mentioned Amy Acker and Jamie Chung, and indicated that this was not the limit of its potential, hinting that it might not even suck as a show.

So far, it does not in fact suck, and the eye-candy department also includes 18-year-old Natalie Alyn Lind’s peaches-and-cream cutie Lauren Strucker and Emma Dumont’s hot/crazy Lorna Dane. And as I said to Scott after watching the two episodes back-to-back: “Whoever choreographs Lauren Strucker’s power poses is my new best friend.”

The odd thing for me, though, is the male cast. While watching the pilot, I kept thinking, “oh, it’s the guy from… wait, no, no it isn’t.” So, to be clear, this series does not star Robert Duncan McNeill, Corin Nemec, or Billy Zane.

“Need a clue, take a clue,
 got a clue, leave a clue”