News duly spread

I’m thinking they had 80 or 90 cents left over from that Kickstarter, and so:

I am sworn not to mention that the Del-Vikings actually came out of Pittsburgh.

Comments




And then something rises

Sometimes it’s the simplest things that keep you going:

I’ve had smaller, less intense dissociative episodes almost constantly, in addition to chest pains, anxiety attacks, and other symptoms. I have difficulty believing that I am really here, that my life is real, that the world around me isn’t a dream. I feel like I flicker in and out of reality.

But baking helps. Baking is something that knits my body and soul together, calming the mind that is so desperate to escape. My body becomes an anchor to the real world. Baking is tactile, purposeful, and produces a usable result (most of the time). Due to years of unemployment, under-employment, and abusive workplaces, food has not always been a guarantee. I’ve had to choose between keeping my phone connected, feeding my cat, or buying groceries for myself. Things are still tight. I have no hope of owning a car any time soon. I’ll never own a house or be able to retire. Some weeks, all I can afford to eat is cheap pasta. But as long as I have flour, water, yeast, and salt, I can make bread. Bread takes on a new importance when it is an essential part of a meal plan. It may not be exciting, but it’s always nourishing, always filling, always simply there. It’s not a feast, but it is food. It keeps me going.

I may tell myself that I reposted this here for you, but I suspect I reposted this here mostly for me.

Comments (1)




Like us or else

And they mean that “or else,” too:

Some tenants at a Salt Lake City apartment complex are fuming over a new lease agreement that requires tenants to “like” the complex on Facebook.

Tenants of the City Park Apartments told KSL that a “Facebook addendum” showed up taped to their doors Thursday night.

The contract requires tenants to friend the City Park Apartments on Facebook within five days, or be found in breach of the rental agreement, though some of the tenants already signed a lease agreement months ago.

The document also includes a release allowing the apartment to post pictures of tenants and their visitors on the page.

I’m assuming Utah law requires tenants to send two rejections of the contractual change, the second to go to “the horse you rode in on.”

(Via Keaton Fox.)

Comments (3)




On the off-chance that it might help

Microsoft has issued a paper on Password Guidance, and therein, these are considered the best practices:

  1. Maintain an 8-character minimum length requirement (and longer is not necessarily better).
  2. Eliminate character-composition requirements.
  3. Eliminate mandatory periodic password resets for user accounts.
  4. Ban common passwords, to keep the most vulnerable passwords out of your system.
  5. Educate your users not to re-use their password for non-work-related purposes.
  6. Enforce registration for multi-factor authentication.
  7. Enable risk based multi-factor authentication challenges.

I, for one, would not miss character-composition requirements: adding digits and shifted characters to the alphabet raises the number of available characters from 26 to about 72, meaning your average brute-force password guesser is going to take somewhere between two and three times as long to nail down your password. In the current state of the art, this delay is trivial.

Two-step — maybe three-step — authentication will eventually become the norm.

Comments (2)




For it was not to be

The third quarter said it all: Golden State 29, Oklahoma City 12. A six-point lead turned into an eleven-point deficit in twelve minutes. The Thunder managed enough of a response to cut the Warriors’ lead to four, but they would get no closer than that. And it’s not like you couldn’t see it coming, either: it’s apparently possible to block Klay Thompson or Steph Curry, but not both. And unlike the situation that prevailed in Game Six, Curry was also effective inside: if he couldn’t take the long ball, he’d smoothly shift his way into the paint and lay it up. Steve Kerr also left a surprise for the Thunder: instead of Harrison Barnes, he’d start Andre Iguodala and epoxy him to Kevin Durant. So Durant’s numbers looked better, if only because Iguodala did a good job of keeping KD bottled up. With the Warriors up 90-86, Serge Ibaka fouled Curry on a three-point play; Steph knocked out all three freebies, the Thunder came up empty on two possessions, Curry sank another long ball, and you can stick a fork in it, it’s done. Ibaka came back with a couple of free throws, but it didn’t matter: Golden State 96, Oklahoma City 88, and the Warriors will go on to face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Finals.

(Truth be told, I figured it was going to be something like 99-all in the waning moments, and then Curry would swish a trey at the buzzer. The result, however, was pretty much identical.)

With Thompson held to barely half of the 41 he got day before yesterday, Curry took up the slack and then some, scoring 36 on a highly respectable 13-24 from the floor, 7-12 from outside. (For comparison, KD was 10-19 for 27.) What undid the Thunder was not so much the inability to contain the Splashes as it was the inability to make seemingly easy shots themselves: I haven’t seen so many blown bunnies since Hugh Hefner still had good respiration.

But that is neither here nor there. All I want to know right now is whether we suddenly turn into a town full of Cavaliers fans.

Comments (2)




Shirley, she can be serious

I put nothing past singer/actress Shirley Manson, who once upon a time was a shop assistant at Miss Selfridge, but wound up assigned to the stockroom, lest she come into contact with actual customers. (This is almost exactly my attitude toward retail.) That voice, however, was meant to sing, and after about a decade of various English appearances, she wound up fronting a Madison, Wisconsin band called Garbage, which would put out four albums in ten years before going on hiatus. Their third album, beautifulgarbage, contained an extremely catchy song — “Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go)” — with an extremely sketchy video in which the band is faceless and then some.

Shirley Manson green-screened out of the frame

Manson does not remember this video fondly.

Garbage reunited in 2012, and Manson did her part to promote their efforts:

Shirley Manson on a carpet that isn't red

Shirley Manson in a publicity pose

In the interim, she had recorded, but ultimately shelved, a solo album. The sixth Garbage album, Strange Little Birds, will be out in June, and this is the lead single:

Later this summer, Shirley Manson turns 50. I don’t believe it either.

Comments (2)




Back from Clarksville

Good Times! by the MonkeesIn 1966, if you’d told me there would be a new Monkees album in 2016, I’d have gone into Full Guffaw; yeah, this band, to the extent it really was a band, may hang around for a while, but no way they’ll even be remembered half a century from now, let alone in the studio cutting new material, and hey, Don Kirshner will be — what, a hundred and thirty?

Shows you what I knew then. (Hey, I was thirteen. Gimme a break.) The three surviving Monkees — Davy Jones died in 2012 at sixty-six — with the able assistance of ace producer Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne), have reunited for a twelve-track popfest that ranks as the second best Monkees waxing ever, right after whichever Greatest Hits compilation you have. As always, there’s first-class outside material, plus contributions from the band themselves; the voices are a bit deeper than they were 50 years ago, but the singing is every bit as good. Do they play their own instruments? Depends on the track. On the closer, “I Was There (And I’m Told I Had A Good Time),” Micky Dolenz sings and plays drums; Schlesinger takes care of bass and piano, and genius guitarist and occasional Schlesinger associate Mike Viola does the six-string thing. One track here has sort of appeared before: “Love to Love,” a Neil Diamond (!) number sung by Davy, recorded for the Headquarters sessions but struck from the track list before release. It surfaced as a bonus track in a 2007 reissue; this version adds backing vocals from Peter Tork and Micky.

Perhaps the most Sixties track here is “Wasn’t Born to Follow,” a Carole King/Gerry Goffin number made famous by the Byrds, recorded in 1968 and given fresh Tork vocals here. The least? Maybe “I Know What I Know,” written and sung by Mike Nesmith, a piano-driven piece that would have fit in well with Nez’ First National Band material.

If you’ve been a fan all these years, congratulations: you’ve just been justified. And besides, Don Kirshner’s long gone.

(In case the FTC asks: I bought this.)

Comments (3)




Follow lying fallow

There’s always someone out there bewailing his meager Twitter following, and you can’t tell them that this is in fact the natural order of things:

[I]f you’ve noticed that you don’t have many Twitter followers of your own, it’s probably just due to the simple fact that you are following the people that everyone else in the world is following. The idea that your friends are (seemingly) more popular than you is known as the friendship paradox — a phenomenon observed by sociologist Scott L. Feld in the early ’90s — which claims that there is a greater chance that someone with more friends will be your friend than someone with fewer friends.

Similarly, the beach isn’t as crowded as you think it is.

A recent study published in the Plos One journal related this concept to social media and specifically Twitter followers, suggesting that the people you follow on Twitter are more likely to have more followers than you. This is because those people who you follow are socially active; their lives full of exciting activities that influence and inspire the general population.

And should you conclude that since you’re socially inactive, your life devoid of exciting activities that influence and inspire the general population — well, how surprised were you to hear that?

Still:

[I]t’s the real-life human interactions that truly count. Whether you have five friends or 50 or 500 is of little importance in the grand scheme of life.

And I am quite confident that my position in the 96th percentile of Twitter users is purely a factor of my spending entirely too much time on it.

Comments (1)




Strange search-engine queries (539)

And yet again, it’s time for a romp through the search strings that brought people to this site, possibly the very people with fake medical-alert bracelets that say “Delete My Browser History.” (Hey, you never know, right?)

cody buys a soda that offers another soda free if he is lucky. the cap reads ‘1 in 6 wins!’, meaning that each soda has a 1/6 probability of winning. cody sees this and buys six of these sodas, thinking he is guaranteed a seventh. what is the true probability he will win at least one more soda?  How long has this guy been in Congress?

what are transmission problems:  What you have when your car won’t shift gears and you can’t understand why, it’s always done them before.

when the floor rusted through on her old car:  And she said, “Geez, this is worse than transmission problems.”

chickens could not be taught to play baseball because they would chase the ball after it was batted, rather than run to first base. this was an example of:  Why you pay so much more for free-range birds.

oppression definition:  “They have it, and I want it, and they should be compelled to give it to me.”

i was batman:  Sure you were, old fellow. Sure you were. Now take two of these and call me in the morning.

curry airball:  It happens, but not often enough.

“roto rooter” “nude”:  I don’t think I’d want to risk getting any of that yucky stuff on me.

down at the heels:  Not the ideal place for your thong, at least on the street.

birthday nudist:  Hence the phrase “birthday suit.”

al gore keeping the dream alive:  Not a problem; the earth has never come close to running out of suckers.

dick owns a dog whose barking annoys dicks neighbor jane. suppose that the benefit of owning the dog is worth $700 to dick and that jane bears a cost of $500 from the barking. assuming dick has the legal right to keep the dog, a possible private solution to this problem is that:  Dogs should not be owned by dicks.

how early can i refill my klonopin:  This is what happens when you take three or four at a time.

canned hate:  Now largely supplanted in the marketplace by canned whoopass.

Comments (1)




A matter of remembrance

Jack Benny, signing off his radio show on 30 May 1943:

Today Valley Forge and Bull Run and Gettysburg and Château Thierry come marching out of the past and we see them clearly again … because marching at their side are the men of Bataan and Pearl Harbor and Corregidor and Wake.

Someday time will erase the pain of the memory of Bataan and Pearl Harbor as it once erased the pain of Verdun. But tonight the gold stars are too new and bright, the wounds in our hearts too fresh and the pain too sharp to forget. And thus Memorial Day becomes more than a roll call of our honored dead and a roll call more of the living. And the living must step forth and answer and they must say … “all these men from 1776 to 1943 — they died for me. So let me work and let me buy the bonds, and let me — with the helping hand of God — make the sacrifice that tells the soul of each one of these men, “You did not die in vain.”

(Complete episode via transcription here.)

Comments




Lost in trans-lation

Just what are they telling us in this TV listing?

I knew the birth rate in the EU was declining, but I had no idea it might be due to something like this.

(Via Will Truman.)

Comments (3)




For certain values of “year”

Not the ones with which you’re familiar, though:

An ill-bred and uninformed individual, blinded to their own ignorance by the Dunning-Kruger Effect, might foolishly conclude that purchasing a product that is good “All Year” would indicate that said product is implied to be good for between 365 and 366 days, or, alternatively, is valid for the rest of the calendar year.

Of course, a person of sophistication and nuance such as, say, an academic, understands that these two words are not so provincially constrained in certain contexts … such as the Old Dominion University Parking Services Department. As I’m sure you are aware Gentle Reader, a person of letters is astute enough to appreciate that an “All Year” parking pass is, in fact, not actually valid during the summer semester for reasons so obvious as to render any inquiry into the matter a troubling indicator of low intellect, as well as a degenerate worldview centered around the retrograde and problematic notion that words mean things.

Words mean what the authorities want them to mean. Everything else is doubleplusungoodthink.

Comments (1)




Getting snippy with the bucks

“Every man,” states Howe’s Law, “has a scheme that will not work.” Here’s one of many from Bill de Blasio:

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has proposed a solution to Staten Island’s burgeoning deer population. To keep numbers in check, de Blasio plans to authorize a three-year experiment in which all bucks are given vasectomies, then released back into their urban environment. Price tag: an estimated $2 million.

The logistics of this misguided form of wildlife management alone show the plan is doomed to fail. The number of deer in Staten Island has jumped from two dozen in 2008 to more than 700 in 2014 — certainly well north of that figure two years later. Capturing every buck is practically impossible, despite the intended use of air-dropped nets and tranquilizer darts.

And even if they could catch ’em all, it still wouldn’t work:

A researcher at The Deer Laboratory at the University of Georgia — because of course a university in the south is going to have at least one department connected to hunting — suggests that even if the city were able to trap and vasectomize all of the Staten Island male deer, the females would simply go back into heat once they proved to be not pregnant. At which point some non-Staten Island bucks would stroll in and say, “Hello, ladies,” cheap guitar music would begin playing and Staten Island bucks would all stand around and discuss how many painful deaths they could inflict on a certain group of veterinarians.

One per doctor, maximum. Trust me on this.

Comments (5)




Freedom within

Consider, if you will, the humble sewing machine:

A sewing machine, a pattern, a small degree of skill with them both, and personal fashion style is your oyster. One will never again be held hostage to the fashion trend of the moment, especially if said fashion trend is desperately unflattering, unfitted to make a good impression for the profession or occupation that you are in, otherwise unsuitable, and expensive. What brought this on was a discussion on another author website regarding certain fashion preferences, and a lamentation that it was so hard to find exactly what would be suitable, fitting, comfortable and all … and I am remembering how this was so not a problem for me, when I was working in an office and business professional was the order of my day and wardrobe. If I could not find exactly what I wanted — a black lightweight wool slightly-below-knee-length pencil skirt, to give one example — I could just buy a yard of suitable fabric and a seven-inch zipper, and go home and make it in an afternoon.

There’s an enormous freedom in being able to make exactly what I wanted, and make it to fit, and in a flattering color. Oh, usually it costs something to sew an outfit yourself, considering the costs for the pattern, the notions and the fabric — usually as much as just purchasing it off the rack on sale, but not near as much as full price from a quality outlet like Talbots or Neiman Marcus, and for a pittance in relation to having it tailored individually.

With fashion becoming ever more eccentric and sizing becoming ever more inconsistent, you might think more people would be persuaded to make their own. It doesn’t seem to be happening, though.

Comments (4)




Quote of the week

Roberta X notices the Senate wasting some time — specifically, a resolution to commemorate the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 — and suggests an upside to such waste:

The positive side is that every second the Senate spends — and I’ll be back to that word in a moment, “spends” — on frivolity of this sort, National Gardenia-Scent Aftershave Day, Hug A Scorpion Day, whatever, is one less second spent misappropriating funds and sodomizing pages. If, like me, you figure the fed.gov has all the laws they could possibly need for the next hundred years or more, such wheel-spinners do keep the empty suits from making it more illegal to serve guests milk from your own cow or making lists of approved pronouns (better write your Senator now, you frelks and throons!).

Which does not mean there isn’t a price to be paid for this wankery:

On the other hand, they’ve got the lights on and the air-conditioning running, coffeemakers gurgling and the vast presses of the Federal Register humming, world-famous Senatorial bean soup* glooping gently in the stewpots and filling every task, even the ones usually automated elsewhere, well-paid workers, hardworking (or heavy-sleeping, but I didn’t pay for a first-class flight of fancy ticket just to judge some low-level functionary) and ready to fulfill just about every whim … of the people in the big, fancy room, orating grandiloquently on the anniversary of an automobile race a third of a continent away: they’re spending my tax money at a nearly moonshot rate to perform self-important nonsense.

Mandatory footnote:

* Coals to Newcastle, beans to the legislatively flatulent. And nary a block of government cheese in sight!

And truth be told, some of those fart-ridden geezers couldn’t tell the Indy 500 from a Roman chariot race.

Comments (4)




Going back to Cali

For a Game Six, this was awfully Game Seven-y. “Dripping with drama,” said radio guy Matt Pinto, and right after he said that, Splash Brother Number One splashed a trey to tie it up at 99-all with 2:47 left. But it was Splash Brother Number Two who did the most damage tonight; after an exchange of buckets, Klay Thompson’s 11th trey opened up a three-point Warrior lead, Draymond Green banked one in with 15 seconds left, and Thompson finished the job with two free throws. Golden State 108, Oklahoma City 101, and there will be a real Game Seven Monday night in Oakland.

You know what’s scary? The Warriors came up with ten treys from people not named Klay Thompson. Twenty-one of forty-four, 48 percent, rather better than their percentage from inside. Thompson’s 41 points led everyone, of course, but Steph Curry came awfully close to a triple-double: 29 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists. Green, when he could keep both feet on the floor, delivered 14 points and collected 12 boards. The rest really didn’t matter.

And it’s hard to say that the Thunder took too many unnecessary treys, attempting only 23. Then again, they missed 20 of them. (Kevin Durant, Dion Waiters and Serge Ibaka each had one; Russell Westbrook didn’t get one at all.) There’s a lot to be said for reliance on points in the paint, where the Thunder were sort of dominant, but still: Durant was 10-31 for the night, Westbrook 10-27. Good looks, bad looks, sometimes no looks, it didn’t make any difference.

So it’s off to Oakland once more. And if at the end of the season, what you were hoping for was a shootout between either Steph or Klay versus Cleveland’s J. R. Smith, your wish may well be granted. I would consider that outcome suboptimal, but hey, I’d watch it. At least, I’d listen to it on the radio, assuming one of the spastic sports-radio stations around here deign to carry the freaking NBA Finals. Between now and then, though, it’s Do or Die time.

Comments (1)