Can this be the shoe for you?

There’s at least a reasonable chance that it will fit:

Madison by Pixie Cove

Pixie Cove on sizing:

It is well recognised that there is no single measurement in footwear sizing, there is a range, a small range but nevertheless, a range. Our sizes are true to size American sizes and we provide the exact measurements on the product page. We do advise all customers to double check their foot length against the measurements provided.

All widths are standard medium (B, M). This is based on the American medium footwear sizing. The width of any piece of footwear depends on the shoe length.

“Madison,” shown above in pink (black and white variants are available), can be had in that magical B width in sizes 4 through 16 (no half sizes) for $43.99; through Wednesday you can knock $11 off.


Only a minor exaggeration

Jupiter, we have learned, has storms big enough to encompass the entire land mass (and, for that matter, the oceans) of the Earth.

Not too far, therefore, from an Oklahoma spring:

“The National Weather Service has issued a severe storm warning for the entire surface of the Earth. There is a 100% chance of poisonous hail the size of Buicks and wind that will literally rip your face off. We advise you forget about survival and start getting hammered like we are.”

Moving down to the lowest level of the house won’t save you, unless your house goes as far down as the CN Tower goes up.


The password is “beans”

Public-service announcement from Jeff Faria on Facebook:

PSA: Wikipedia sez don’t stuff beans up your nose.

Remarkably, they do sez that:

In our zeal to head off others’ unwise action, we may put forth ideas they have not entertained before. It may be wise not to caution against such possibilities. Prophylactic admonition may trigger novel mischief. As the popular saying goes, “don’t give ’em any ideas”. In other words, don’t give examples of how to cause disruption (e.g., don’t click on this link or you’ll crash Wikipedia) because this may will actually tempt people to do it.

This principle even works with no nose at all:

This was the second hit by the Singers, who’d charted earlier in 1964 with “Don’t Let the Rain Come Down (Crooked Little Man).” It made Top 30, barely.

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You got your kale in my chocolate

Somehow that just seems unforgivable:

We’re all for exotic food mashups. And when you combine two things so far apart in the food world, it’s really exciting. The California-based chocolatier Compartés has created a kale chocolate bar that combines your favorite super-foods, and we’re practically swooning.

The kale and dark chocolate bar is “Filled by hand with a mouthwatering combination of kale crisps, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds. This healthy chocolate bar has no added sugars, just delicious fresh seeds and crispy kale chips covered in Compartés famous chocolate,” according to Compartés’ website.

Compartés kale & chocolate bar

I don’t know. It might not be half bad, even if it looks like scrapings from the world’s filthiest petri dish.

If this is a bit much for you, they also have a white chocolate/avocado bar. Each of these will run you $9.95.

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Strange search-engine queries (591)

Monday morning has come, as it does seemingly every darn week, and that means it’s time for another traipse through the search strings that bring people to this site. Most of them are fairly unremarkable, so the trick here is to find those that aren’t.

cruex staffing:  I know from Cruex, and all else being equal, I’d just as soon not have it near my staff, if you know what I mean.

upskirts vaccine:  I don’t think there’s a shot that can prevent upskirts, and if there were, several hundred YouTubers would have to get real jobs.

during a long drive tony counted:  And then he arrived at his destination, and he didn’t count anymore.

lara and her friends visit a new restaurant in town called betelgeuse. they just happen to notice it while on a long drive. lara and her friends like the ambience, décor, as well as the food. lara is surprised when she finds out that the restaurant has been open for two years and neither her friends:  Nor Lara herself ever mentioned it more than three times in succession.

worst ransomware ever:  It installs Windows Vista and expects you to pay the cost of a Windows 10 license to get your system back.

@fmail:  A late larval stage of Gmail.

woody got wood pastebin:  I’d hate to see what Dickie gets.

keith olbermann the resistance:  Had I a cable network, I’m pretty sure I could resist Keith Olbermann.

distracking:  A much-desired browser feature that would screw up Big Data’s demands for all your personal information.

they went to jared:  And Jared offered them Vladimir Putin’s private phone number.

strange family:  It was strange before Jared became a member.

elevated perspective meaning:  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has it; Mickey Rooney, not so much.

jenny scordamaglia hosts nightclub in nothing but body paint:  And you’ve got a problem with that?


Of remembrance and forgetting

It gets a little harder each year.

I am the son of a sailor and a sailor who had been a soldier. I had a brother who was a sailor, and a sister who was a soldier’s wife. By the mercy of God or an accident of timing — we’ll never, of course, know for sure — none of them were taken as a direct result of enemy action. But they were taken just the same, as all of us some day must be.

Memorial Day, it occurs to me, is the most solemn holiday of the American civic religion, unconnected to any organized denomination, with its own rituals and myths:

What we have, then, from the earliest years of the republic is a collection of beliefs, symbols, and rituals with respect to sacred things and institutionalized in a collectivity. This religion — there seems no other word for it — while not antithetical to and indeed sharing much in common with Christianity, was neither sectarian nor in any specific sense Christian. At a time when the society was overwhelmingly Christian, it seems unlikely that this lack of Christian reference was meant to spare the feelings of the tiny non-Christian minority. Rather, the civil religion expressed what those who set the precedents felt was appropriate under the circumstances. It reflected their private as well as public views. Nor was the civil religion simply “religion in general.” While generality was undoubtedly seen as a virtue by some … the civil religion was specific enough when it came to the topic of America. Precisely because of this specificity, the civil religion was saved from empty formalism and served as a genuine vehicle of national religious self-understanding.

Which is not to say that everyone embraces it; there are those who are content with empty formalism, and those who might dismiss even that as a “fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” And for some, Memorial Day is simply the beginning of summer, nothing more.

Perhaps this is one of those times when, as the phrase goes, you had to be there, and human nature being what it is, a lot of us eventually will be. Much as I would like to endorse the idea that man can be educated out of his warlike tendencies, evidence to support such a notion is conspicuous by its absence; a perfunctory glance at the news is enough to show how easily we fall back into tribalism and other traits we fancy ourselves to have outgrown.

This old soldier will fade away in time, remembered by a few, forgotten by others, never known at all by most. So far as I can tell, this puts me more or less even with most of the human race. I can live with that.

(Reprinted from 2011.)


Meanwhile in the Eastern League

Friday in Binghamton, New York, where the Rumble Ponies (!) are at home against the Hartford Yard Goats (!!) (Double-A farm clubs of the Mets and the Rockies respectively). Top of the eighth with two out, and the Ponies are up 5-4. Then this happened:

Deadspin’s Timothy Burke explains what that was:

Rockies prospect Josh Fuentes at the bat for his AA Hartford Yard Goats team, facing Binghamton Rumble Ponies hurler Cory Burns. Burns slips in his delivery, but throws the ball anyway — making it about 15 feet before bouncing and rolling well up the first base line. Fuentes jokingly “swings” at the rolling baseball — and got called out on strikes by home plate ump Patrick Sharshel after being put out by Rumble Ponies catcher Colton Plaia.

Well, it was a live ball. And that’s how the game ended: Ponies 5, Goats 4.

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Not putting up a front

A Los Angeles makeup artist wishes to have his (we’ll say “his” for the moment) junk sheared off and not replaced:

A make-up artist wants to remove his genitals to achieve his dream of looking like an alien — but plastic surgeons have said it may be impossible.

LA-based Vinny Ohh, 23, has already spent $60,000 transforming himself into a “genderless alien.”

However, the surgery he wants next is his most extreme yet — getting his genitalia removed entirely so he is neither male nor female.

Will someone kindly explain to me — there’s apparently no point asking that guy — how he knows what “alien” genitalia look like? Has he met an alien? (Did he answer an ad in L.A. Weekly?)

Doctors have raised the fact that the surgery would leave Vinny unable to father children of his own, but Vinny says his plan has always been to adopt.

He said: “When I was younger I identified as a gay man and I had already planned to adopt three kids. My mindset hasn’t really changed. Just because I remove my genitals I will still be adopting children.”

I’m sure this will go over famously well with the adoption agency.

The only thing I can figure is that he covets a small role in the next remake of Ghostbusters.

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Loosening up a bit

An Ohio hospital has rethought its dress code:

Summa Health’s female employees can toss their pantyhose and set their toes free in open-toed shoes at work.

And all employees can uncover tattoos, except facial tattoos or those containing profanity or other offensive images.

The health system on Wednesday issued a memo relaxing several parts of a controversial dress code imposed nearly two years ago by the previous hospital administration.

At the time, Summa officials said the dress code was updated to boost professionalism and safety. Then Summa President and CEO Dr. Tom Malone also got himself into hot water when he knocked Walmart shoppers in front of a large Akron Roundtable crowd when asked why a stricter dress code was needed.

“Must be a generational thing,” remarked Sister Toldjah.

One particular provision, however, will remain intact:

Registered nurses wear black scrub tops and bottoms; non-RN/LPNs wear solid color Caribbean blue. Some nurses and patients said they didn’t like the black scrub color choice in particular, feeling that nurses could look like “angels of death.”

The policy, which also started in 2015 under Malone, was reviewed at the time by the Summa Health Nurse Practice Council and the council “agreed that consistent colored scrubs is good for patients and co-workers to identify nurses.” No re-evaluation of the practice is being planned.

And I suspect there was no demand by nurses to wear tall, strappy sandals.


Now get typing

The moment you go past half an hour, it’s going to cost you more:

This is actually a late-Twenties Remington Standard, refitted with a coin mechanism by a San Francisco company. One such machine was located in the basement of Powell Library at UCLA; Ray Bradbury typed the novella The Fireman (1951) on it, and two years later expanded the story into the novel Fahrenheit 451.


Drowning in utility bills

And always remember, kids, the city is never wrong:

Unless you have a blue whale hanging out in a tank in your backyard, it’s pretty difficult to use $300,000 worth of water. So imagine the surprise of two brothers whose new restaurant was slammed with a bill for $308,000 before it even served a single customer.

The brothers had operated a different restaurant on the same site but had closed it for remodeling, with a plan to reopen under a new name, reports the Charlotte Observer.

The monthly water bill at their previous restaurant was usually about $1,000, so they were shocked to receive a statement from the city in March claiming they owed $308,000 — for a 13-day period. The city then shut off their water.

The problem was resolved on the 25th of May, two months after it began.

On Thursday, the city said the issue was resolved, and told the brothers that someone had apparently misread the meter. While declining to address specifics of customers’ bills, a spokesman for Charlotte Water told the Observer that it took so long to resolve the issue because sometimes it takes multiple visits and discussions in a process that can take weeks or months.

How long would it take you to read a water meter? You got five minutes to spend with YouTube?

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One way out

The legend has already begun: Twitter was overrun with the idea that the last song Gregg Allman played on stage was, yes, “One Way Out,” a couple of years back. He’d had to pull back from touring after he was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation; he’d sworn off meats and gluten. He’d had hepatitis C; he’d had a liver transplant. Had I had to deal with all these things, I’d never make it to 69, as Gregg did.

Still, his place in the Pantheon is assured; there essentially is no Southern Rock without the Allman Brothers Band, and while there are stacks of Allman vinyl everywhere down south, there are plenty of them up around the Canadian border as well. The band, for their part, didn’t much like the strictures suggested by the “Southern” tag, pointing to some of the cultural baggage thereof, but there’s little question that they did as much as anyone, and more than most, to create the genre. And like the best Southern rock, the Allmans’ music was firmly rooted in the blues.

This is the 1995 version of the band; Butch Trucks, Jaimoe Johanson and Dickey Betts were still around to make the trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. The song, by then, was more than thirty years old, and had originated with Elmore James circa 1961. The message, however, remains the same: whatever predicament you may have gotten yourself into — the specific narrative involves a bit of upstairs cheating while the actual husband has just arrived downstairs — ultimately you don’t have a Plan B to fall back on.

The band dissolved after their last show in 2014. (The last song they played was Muddy Waters’ “Trouble No More,” which makes perfect sense.) The legacy they leave behind is deep and wide. And Gregg, though he never considered himself the frontman — brother Duane, later Dickey Betts, were the nominal leaders of the band — was there for all of it. I hope he’s ready to jam among the clouds.

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Sweet jazz lady

Dee Dee Bridgewater has been singing for half a century, mostly jazz, some show tunes, but always, always singing. On her 67th birthday, we owe her a look and a listen.

She spent 23 of those years as host of NPR’s Jazz Set, whence comes this first image.

Dee Dee Bridgewater from her Jazz Set days

Dee Dee Bridgewater at Echo Jazz

Cover of Dee Dee Bridgewater's Feathers album

This latter shot appears on the front cover of Dee Dee’s Feathers, a 2015 album with Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. A track therefrom, with deep New Orleans roots:

Dee Dee has been nominated for nine Grammy Awards; she’s won three — so far.

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Texas will not be messed with

The Lone Star State has about seven feral pigs per square mile, and Texans aren’t about to put up with that sort of thing:

Texas lawmakers have approved the hunting of feral hogs and coyotes from hot air balloons.

Texas’ growing hog population causes millions of dollars’ worth of damage to crops every year. Texas has an estimated two million feral hogs. Their high breeding rate and lack of natural predators has seen their population explode.

The state already allows the shooting of feral hogs from helicopters, but that is expensive and has not been very unsuccessful because the aircraft often scare the animals away. Hot air balloons are quieter and offer a more stable shooting platform.

Assuming Governor Abbott signs this measure, which cleared both houses of the Texas Legislature this week, it will go into effect on the first of September.

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They think they’re so clever

Bill Clinton made a big fuss over the definition of “is.” I have to believe that the Republican National Committee yearned for a lexicographical insult of their own, and this may be it:

[T]here’s possibly a new way to annoy us being reviewed by the FCC. The Republican National Committee is pushing the agency to adopt a new technology that would allow telemarketers to leave prerecorded messages on our voicemail without the phone ever ringing, Recode reports. We would simply get a notification that a voicemail was received, mixed in, of course, with more important voicemails.

Current laws prohibit calls by telemarketers if the recipient has signed up on the do not call registry. While many ignore it, most reputable organizations and companies abide by the rules. But, apparently, they feel left out from the right to annoy us. So they want to use this new technology that avoids ringing. Their logic is that this should be legal because if the phone never rings, it’s not a call. As a result, they are now petitioning the FCC to allow this new form of messaging. They argue that they shouldn’t need our permission to auto-dial our mobile voicemail inboxes directly to leave an advertising message.

The rationale for this? Highly dubious, of course:

In a comment filed with the FCC on Friday, the RNC said it felt the telecom agency should clear the way for organizations — including, apparently, itself — to auto-dial directly to voicemail inboxes with prerecorded pitches. Failing to permit the practice, the RNC warned, could threaten the First Amendment rights of political groups.

If this thing actually becomes A Thing, the Democrats would be wise to hang it on the GOP. The electorate will never forgive them.

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I will close four hundred stores

And then I’ll close four hundred more.

Last month, Payless ShoeSource filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and immediately announced a list of 400 stores on the chopping block, including the one closest to me.

But that was last month. Now the company has asked the court for permission to shut down 408 more.

The first round included 12 Oklahoma stores; the second adds (or, technically, subtracts) six more. Will we lose all eighteen? Maybe, maybe not:

Keep in mind that this isn’t a final list of stores that will be closing. It’s a list of stores where the company hasn’t been able to negotiate a good enough rent concession, and it’s asking for permission to close these stores if the retailer and its landlords can’t negotiate a rent that both parties are happy with. There will be a hearing on this motion, among others, on June 8.

Payless has just over 4000 stores — for the moment.

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