Frivoloties du Jour - 2014-12-31

Nothing serious for this last post of 2014.

  • You will of course want to stop by The Miami Herald for Dave Barry's Year in Review 2014. From June:

    In Washington scandal news, the Internal Revenue Service, responding to a subpoena, tells congressional investigators that it cannot produce 28 months of Lois Lerner’s emails because the hard drive they were stored on failed, and the hard drive was thrown away, and the backup tapes were erased, and no printed copies were saved — contrary to the IRS’s own record-keeping policy, which was eaten by the IRS’s dog. “It was just one crazy thing after another,” states the IRS, “and it got us to thinking: All these years we’ve been subjecting taxpayers to everything short of rectal probes if they can’t produce EVERY SINGLE DOCUMENT WE WANT, and here we lose YEARS worth of official records! So from now on, if taxpayers tell us they lost something, or just plain forgot to make a tax payment, we’ll be like, ‘Hey, whatever! Stuff happens!’ Because who are we to judge?”

    I will also mention that Dave is very generous about crediting the people who suggest items for his blog.

  • Answering a question that has bugged me ever since I realized that it was a question: "Why Do Brits Say Maths and Americans Say Math?". My theory ("some sort of speech impediment caused by bad teeth") turns out to be incorrect.

  • In higher education news:

    A for-profit Florida college used exotic dancers as admissions officers, falsified documents and coached students to lie on financial forms as it fraudulently obtained millions of dollars in federal money, according to a federal lawsuit filed in Miami.

    I'm not saying that administrators at the University Near Here are slapping their foreheads, wondering "Why didn't we think of that?" But I'm not saying they aren't, either.

  • One of the gifts from my generous kids this Christmas was WKRP In Cincinnati: The Complete Series on DVD. This was long-awaited.

    A previous Season-One-only release was widely held to be insultingly dreadful. (My 2007 blog post on the issue is here, and I'm still kind of fond of my punchline: "I mean, I can't believe, as God is my witness, how they thought this turkey would fly.")

    A major problem was the difficulty in negotiating the music rights. So the first thing I checked out was Season One, Episode Ten: "A Date with Jennifer". During the scene where Les Nessman is first trying on his wig from "Mr. Macho"…

    Yes! They restored the original music, Foreigner's "Hot Blooded", undoing the butchery introduced by the series' syndication. I am very encouraged.

  • But watching these old WKRP episodes raised another question for me: What the heck is that guy singing in the closing credits? A little Googling shows there are competing theories. One is at Wikipedia:

    The closing theme, "WKRP In Cincinnati End Credits", was a hard rock number composed and performed by Jim Ellis, an Atlanta musician who also recorded some of the incidental music for the show. According to people who attended the recording sessions, Ellis didn't yet have lyrics for the closing theme, so he improvised a semi-comprehensible story about a bartender to give an idea of how the finished theme would sound. Wilson decided to use the words anyway, since he felt that it would be funny to use lyrics that were deliberate gibberish, as a satire on the incomprehensibility of many rock songs. Also, because CBS always had an announcer talking over the closing credits, Wilson knew that no one would actually hear the closing theme lyrics anyway.[…]

    But this guy claims:

    Hearing it for the first time, the lyrics may indeed sound a bit like "gibberish and nonsense", but with a little careful listening, most of the words can be made out. (It only needed someone taking a little time to do it...

    I myself lean toward "gibberish and nonsense". But I encourage you to make your own call: