Bankruptcy is an experience best shared

“It is a good day to roll the die,” says the ThinkGeek promo piece for a Klingon version of Monopoly, which admittedly is a pretty good quote under the circumstances. Of necessity, however, the standard Parker Brothers (later Hasbro) gameplay will fail to capture the true Klingon experience. The Friar to the rescue:

“I have a house on that property. You owe me rent.”

“I burned down your house and slaughtered all of its residents. I owe you nothing.”

Maybe they’ll follow with a Romulan version, in which case I have dibs on the cloaking device.

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Dress for obsess

This is what I’m wearing to work: “probably chinos, or somebody’s cheap imitation Dockers, and a pocket T.” Even imitation Dockers can be pricey these days. Then again, no one pays any attention to what I wear, and I’m not on display, exactly, at the workplace.

Meanwhile, today’s modern(ish) professional woman is expected to come up with any number of combinations:

average teaching day: dress or skirt and top, selected on the basis of (1) “how hot/cold is it likely to be outside vs. the rooms where I will be,” (2) “Do I particularly need pockets or will the little “sporran” I made to wear on days when I am pocketless suffice, and does it match with what I’m wearing? (3) “What color do I feel like wearing today?” (Monday I wore a bright turquoise-blue top, because I suspected I was going to be photographed, and I wanted something that wouldn’t make me look like a ghost on film) and sometimes (4) “Do I have any ‘weird starers’ in my class today, where that slightly more fitted knit dress would be a bad idea” (One semester, when I had a couple of the “new boys” from the “old boys club” major, I took a couple dresses out of the rotation because I suspected I was getting looked at differently in them. It sucks but that’s how it is sometimes when you’re a woman, especially a woman with, as they say in French, il y a du monde au balcon.)

There is, I am coming to believe, more demand for pockets than I thought: a Zappos search for “dress with pockets” and “women” — probably not too many men are looking for dresses with pockets — yielded up nearly 1100 results.

And Criterion 1 above is particularly problematic because (1) South Plains weather and (2) questionable building maintenance.

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Kiss your asteroid goodbye

On the off-chance that you don’t already have enough to worry about:


1. SMOD 2016, having let us down once already, is going to have to try that much harder;

2. And it won’t matter if the audience consists solely of cats.

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Contextually speaking

I hadn’t thought about this, but it’s undeniably true, for the most part anyway:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: everything, and I mean everything, is utterly and absolutely context-dependent. It’s literally true on the atomic level, where we cannot accurately measure both position and velocity at the same time. It’s true at the quantum level, where “quantum entanglement” governs behavior that is currently beyond our ability to understand. It’s even applicable in your dating life; the same size-six girl who feels insubstantial to you in the long evenings at home will acquire new heft after you spend a drunken weekend away with a size two.

Then again, as everyone I’ve ever dated says, after the manner of Meghan Trainor: “Yeah, it’s pretty clear, I ain’t no size two.

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She’s so Grizzly

Meet Becca Longo, 18, soon to graduate from Basha High School, Chandler, Arizona, where she’s been the kicker on the varsity football team. This fall she’ll be attending Adams State University, Alamosa, Colorado — on a football scholarship:

Becca Longo in uniform, fall 2016

She’s apparently the first female athlete to win an NCAA athletic scholarship for football at Division II or higher. And while she’s aware of the implications of that little chunk of history, she’s not worrying about them:

Long told ESPN, “I’m ready to compete. I don’t really have any expectations beyond that.”

Adams State, under Coach Timm Rosenbach, is in rebuilding mode of late: over the past two seasons they’re 5-16. They may seriously need Becca Longo.

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Let there be tears

Crocodile tears, that is:

Scott Van Zyl made his living taking wealthy clients on “safaris” for the sole purpose of bringing home trophies like leopards, zebras, wildebeests and even lions. Now, investigators in Zimbabwe believe that Van Zyl ended up on the wrong end of the predator-prey relationship, and DNA tests have confirmed that he was attacked, killed, and eaten by crocodiles while on a hunting trip.

Van Zyl, who ran SS Pro Safaris, offered specials for hunters to spend a week or more on his hunting lands which border nature preserves, with the promise of killing up to seven different species for $9,000. He also offered other hunting expeditions with targets like elephants and giraffes, though specifics for those, including prices, aren’t listed on the company’s site. Photos of clients holding the bodies of several rare species are posted on Van Zyl’s site, along with the motto “Stop whining, go hunting.”

Eventually, a search party had to go hunt for Van Zyl, and after they found his backpack:

Authorities killed the crocs after getting clearance to do so and subsequently discovered human remains inside the stomach of one of them. Tests of the remains matched Van Zyl.

And unto dung we shall return.

(With thanks to Steffanie Malan.)

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Now comes the journalistic hardcore

Hilde Lysiak, the ten-year-old publisher of the Orange Street News in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, is requesting some of Donald Trump’s time:

I hope she gets it.

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Apple wants you to know that they are totally emotionally committed to the idea of recycling. What they don’t want you to know is the depth of that commitment:

Apple’s new moonshot plan is to make iPhones and computers entirely out of recycled materials by putting pressure on the recycling industry to innovate. But documents obtained by Motherboard using Freedom of Information requests show that Apple’s current practices prevent recyclers from doing the most environmentally friendly thing they could do: Salvage phones and computers from the scrap heap.

Apple rejects current industry best practices by forcing the recyclers it works with to shred iPhones and MacBooks so they cannot be repaired or reused — instead, they are turned into tiny shards of metal and glass.

Glass, unless you swallow it, is fairly benign. Not so much some of these metals:

Kyle Wiens, the CEO of iFixit, notes that recycling “should be a last option” because unrecyclable rare earth metals are completely lost and melted down commodities are less valuable and of generally of a lower quality than freshly mined ones. Repair and reuse are much better ways to extend the value of the original mined materials.

But hey, that doesn’t encourage the guy who might be able to afford a secondhand iPhone to go out and buy the latest and greatest.

(Via Joanna Blackhart.)

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The squeeze is on


Wait, what?

[T]hey have this juice-press thing that sells for $400 and that takes $7 proprietary bags of fruit or vegetables or whatever that the machine squeezes into juice. Apparently, the scandal is that you can squeeze the bags just as well without the $400 juicer.

To which I answer: duh. I will bet my Harvard MBA that this company’s business model really does not anticipate making most of its money from the machine. The machine itself may actually not have any profit margin at all. The bags at $7 certainly do. The machine is the excuse for you to buy lots and lots of their high margin juice bags. If you buy one a day for a year, that is over $2500 of revenue at a high margin vs. the original equipment sale of $400 at a low or no margin. Telling this company their machine is not necessary is like telling Gillette you can use their $5 blades without having to use the razor that they pretty much give away anyway.

Actually, it’s worse than that. From a commenter to the original post:

Oh also the juice bags have QR codes so that the individual bag can be tracked. Which means that…

A) the device requires an internet connection to squeeze juice
B) so it can be hacked if the firmware isn’t secure, and either used as a spam rebroadcaster or just bricked
C) and it phones home with all that juicy, tasty personal data like what kind of juice you drink and how often and when
D) and they can force it to not squeeze juice bags that have been partially squeezed or have hit their expiration date

If I’m ever forced to buy a razor with an IP address, you’d be surprised how fast I can grow a beard.

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Thousands of Kids A

Radiohead have a new ant species named after them.

As reports, the “Sericomyrmex radioheadi” species was discovered in the Venezuelan Amazon by Ana Ješovnik and Ted R. Schultz of the Smithsonian Institution’s Ant Lab.

“We wanted to honor their music,” said Ješovnik. “But more importantly, we wanted to acknowledge the conservation efforts of the band members, especially in raising climate-change awareness.” The new ants are fungus farmers, and relatives of the better-known leaf-cutter ants.

And after all, they’re ants, so it’s not like they’re so effing special.

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Tools of the trade, so to speak

Presumably offered by someone with an .ru address, and duly dropped into the spam bucket:

Absolutely NEW update of SEO/SMM package “XRumer 16.0 + XEvil 3.0”: captchas regignizing of Google, Facebook, Bing, Hotmail, SolveMedia, Yandex, and more than 8400 another types of captchas, with highest precision (80..100%) and highest speed (100 img per second).

You can connect XEvil 3.0 with all most popular SEO/SMM programms: XRumer, GSA SER, ZennoPoster, Srapebox, Senuke, and more than 100 of other programms.

Interested? There are a lot of demo videos about XEvil in YouTube.

See you later!

There is white-hat SEO, and there is black-hat SEO. I suspect this is the blackest possible hat. (How much more black can this be? The answer is none. None more black.)

And I can’t find any references to “regignizing” except in copies of this blurb. Should it be “recognizing”? Bing, at least, thinks so, and Google appears to agree.

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Not so faded

You just saw me waxing semi-lyrical about a woman about my age who is forever out of my reach. The age varies from week to week; the reach does not. What’s going through my head at those times? Damned if I know.

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Silver standard

When you get as old as I am, you start snickering at the phrase “younger woman”: aren’t they all younger women? Of course not. But I’m long past the point where anyone over 29 seems to have gone to seed.

Of course, it helps if you’re in a position to take care of yourself, as is Christine Lagarde, sixty-one, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, now in her second term despite this little contretemps:

From 1993 to 2008 there was a long legal battle between [Bernard] Tapie and the Crédit Lyonnais bank (partly state-owned bank). Crédit Lyonnais had allegedly defrauded Tapie in 1993 and 1994 when it sold Adidas on his behalf to Robert Louis-Dreyfus, apparently by arranging a larger sale with Dreyfus without Tapie’s knowledge.

In 2008 a special judicial panel ruled that Tapie should receive compensation of €404 million from the French Ministry of Finance, headed by Christine Lagarde. She decided not to challenge the ruling. On December 3, 2015, a French court ruled that Tapie should return this compensation with interest. A few days later, the Court of Justice of the Republic ordered that Lagarde should stand trial for negligence. On December 19, 2016, Lagarde was convicted of negligence; however, the conviction was not deemed a criminal record and Lagarde was not sentenced to a punishment.

The US has been supportive of Lagarde, who has been something of a hardliner in office, but only to a point: for example, as Greece circled the drain in 2015, she called for massive debt relief, but when concrete plans for such relief were not forthcoming, she subsequently declined to assist the Eurozone.

Behold the hardliner:

Christine Lagarde on the rise

Christine Lagarde in silver

Christine Lagarde stretches out

Looking for brief samples of her voice, I stumbled across this AP squib from the IMF spring meetings — not quite a minute and a half — in which Trump administration Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin complains about the US tax code.

I think she just might be sympathetic to the cause.

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Do not taunt Happy Fun Lion

You will not like the payback:

Mashable has the story:

It’s probably not a good idea to tease things that are perfectly capable of eating you.

A man spotted an Asiatic lion in the Gir Forest National Park in India and got a little too wrapped up in watching the king of the jungle. In the clip, released in September of 2016, the man drives just a few feet away from a lion walking alongside the road. He’s filming the whole thing, with his window down, no less.

Fool probably thought the lion didn’t notice him. He, um, thought poorly.

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There is NO Game Six

How discombobulating a series? The Oklahoman ran this at the top of page 1A on Monday:

Game 4?

Of course, the team was headed for the Toyota Center for Game Five, and as previously noted, there is no Game Six. But you’ve seen all this before: the Thunder grab a first-quarter lead, the Rockets take over in the second, and OKC spends the rest of the game trying to play catch-up. In this game, however, the Thunder actually managed to regain the lead in the third, and went into the fourth up by five. But we all know what happens in the fourth, and sure enough, it happened again tonight. (tl;dr: OKC missed twelve shots in a row.) The Rockets, when the chips are down, simply have been executing with more sheer skill, and if there’s an iconic image from this series, it’s a scene from the last minute: Andre Roberson missing a free throw, looking like he was going to miss the second one, and somehow hitting it. Figures, doesn’t it? Houston 105, Oklahoma City 99, that’s all she wrote, and if you had “Rockets in five,” come up and claim your prize. (Not me; I figured it would go six.)

I would have bet, however, that the last couple of points would be from James Harden at the charity stripe, and that’s the way it fell. The Beard hit 16 of 17 on his way to 34 points, and it’s scant comfort that he was even worse than Russell Westbrook from the three-point line: two out of 13. Russ hit five of 18. Those of us who thought these teams were jacking up too many treys feel vaguely vindicated. And Westbrook had exactly the line you’d expect on a night when the season grinds to a halt: 47 points, 11 rebounds, 9 (of course not 10) assists.

Oh, well. For now, at least, we’re Spurs (or conceivably Grizzlies) fans, and not just to beat the East either, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

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Reaching skyward

New York-based designer Monika Chiang passed this picture around:

Stasia in Cloud Stingray by Monika Chiang

Let her tell you all about “Stasia”:

This style is twist on our classic, the Giulia. Expertly crafted from embossed leather stingray and designed to flatter with d’Orsay cutouts on the inside of the foot. Silver piercings add a touch of edge at the toe and heel. The thin leather strap wraps delicately around the ankle and is secured with a signature silver buckle. We have added a bit of height to the heel so this style is not for the faint of heart. We love wearing the Stasia with a knee length skirt — tight of flowing. We also love this style with white jeans.

I think it’s pretty sweet with ordinary blue jeans. (But then, I don’t want to contemplate it with those weird transparent jeans.) And maybe she means “tight or flowing.”

I admit that this line — “We have added a bit of height to the heel so this style is not for the faint of heart” — makes me grin to the point of giggling. I’m not sure why.

“Stasia” also comes in a black suede version, at the same price ($550).

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