Archive for August 2014

Gimme rewrite

Rachel Ann Nunes has written forty-six novels and published thirty-seven of them. I have to figure somebody thought ripping off just one of them would go unnoticed. Somebody was wrong:

[A]n anonymous author on the Internet, who is known only by a logo and a fake name, had plagiarized my novel, A Bid for Love (formerly entitled Love to the Highest Bidder), which is the first of a trilogy.

It has been verified by four separate readers that Sam Taylor Mullens did, indeed, add steamy scenes to The Auction Deal, her revised version of my Christian novel, and claimed it as her own. Her subsequent emails to different people and contradicting statements online while trying to cover her tracks has shown a definite intent to do fraud. This path she has followed is far more outlandish than any novel I’ve ever read.

Fiction will never be as strange as truth. (No, I didn’t just make that up.)

Oh, and the advance reader copies of Mullens’ book?

When Mullens heard of my contacting the reviewers directly, she immediately requested that all the reviewers delete the ARC.

This is not the action of a person proud to defend her own work, if you know what I mean.

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Vergrößerungen

I have no idea why this should be so, but evidently this is so:

Germany is the world’s leader in penis enlargements, with five times as many people in the country undergoing the procedure than anywhere else in the world…Figures released by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery showed Germany performed 2,786 of the 15,000 penis enlargements across the globe in 2013. The second highest country, Venezuela, performed 473.

Then again, the other half of the species, in their search for Teutonic firmness, ordered twenty times as many bewb jobs, and probably got 0.05 percent as much spam suggesting same.

Side note: Twelve Iranian men ordered wangoplasty, the lowest number in the Society’s tally. Write your own joke.

(Via Interested-Participant.)

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Dream yon, autocorrupt

As more and more mobile users enter the fray, you’re going to see stuff like this:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Where is the speed control sensor for a 2000 Nassau maximum?

At least, I think he means “speed control sensor.”

Still: “Nassau”? Could this actually be the bitchin’ Camaro his folks drove up from the Bahamas?

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LED astray

Last November:

I escalated to LightCon 3, installing a pair of funky-looking but still bulb-shaped LED lights, with approximately the same brightness — 800 lumens — and 12-watt power consumption. Color temperature, at 3000°K, is slightly higher (therefore less “warm” — go figure), and assuming three hours’ usage a day, these critters are supposed to last eight years. I’m not entirely sure I’m going to last eight years.

Admittedly, they got more than three hours’ usage a day — six was typical — and yet one of them has died at the pitiful age of nine months. It also made a weird blat and emitted a strange smell, like I don’t get enough of that in the kitchen already.

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Sentenced to retention

There is no way I could do this:

I was not even a retention specialist. Part of my job, though, was to prevent calls from having to go there. Which is to say that someone would call in wanting to either scale back or cancel service, and my job was to either (a) convince them not to or (b) wear them down to increase the chances that the retention specialist would succeed. As near as I could tell, if they wanted to cancel the account, I would present a whole bunch of reasons why they shouldn’t, and then if I failed they would go to a retention specialist who would then say all of the same things (maybe in a different order, maybe not).

It is generally believed that it costs less to retain a customer than to acquire one, which, if nothing else, makes me wonder how much it costs to acquire one.

I am temperamentally unsuited to this sort of job, and I am not alone:

There were a lot of things that I didn’t like about the job. I am not a phone person to begin with. I am not the most social or friendly person, and I was in a job where both were expected of me. Over the phone. I had angry customers, demanding customers. I was cursed and yelled at. Even one guy who liked me started cussing me out when he found out that he could not direct future customer service calls to me specifically.

Fortunately, no one calling the organization to complain has demanded an audience with me. The spectacle would not be pretty.

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The point being gotten to

Back in ought-seven, I did a brief writeup of something called Short Attention Span System Radio, which sought to compensate for listeners wandering away by cramming twice as much music into the same space. The results were curious:

I sampled some SASS, and I think I’d notice that they’d boiled down Manfred Mann’s take on Springsteen’s “Blinded by the Light,” which runs around 7:05 in its LP incarnation and 3:48 as a single, to a startling 1:45 — but it would take probably half a minute for it to sink in, and by then they’re a third of the way through the next song.

Truly revved up like a douche, as the kids used to say. I imagined there might be a place for such a format, but I couldn’t imagine where.

The answer, it turns out, is Calgary:

Top 40 station 90.3 Amp Radio has started to cut off the songs played on air halfway through, allowing for twice the number of songs to be played each hour in a bid to cater to their listeners’ ever-shortening attention spans.

“We’ve got so much more choice, we’ve got less time (and) our attention spans are shorter,” Amp Radio’s Paul Kaye told CTV Calgary. “We are observing people with their iPods, playing their favourite songs and skipping them before the end because they get bored.”

The station used to play about 12 songs an hour, but the new “QuickHitz” format allows for 24 songs each hour by re-editing the tracks.

It was a lot easier to do 24 songs an hour, I submit, when (1) songs were barely over two minutes and (2) you didn’t have to sell 15 minutes of ad space.

Still, having created what I think is the definitive two-minute edit of “In-a-Gadda-da-Vida,” which runs seventeen minutes if you don’t put your foot down, I’m probably the wrong person to complain about this.

Admittedly, I’ve gone the other direction as well. Once upon a time, after listening to the Gentrys’ 1965 version of “Keep On Dancing,” which came out of the studio running barely 90 seconds, prompting the producer to start the song over and run just enough of it to break the two-minute mark, I hacked up a 3:42 extended version in which I did the same thing the producer did, only twice. Amp Radio wouldn’t play it, of course, but at least they’d have an obvious place (or two) to edit it.

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You’re watching GOTV

Does the process of Getting Out The Vote require that you, you know, actually get out once in a while? I’m one of those weird people who thinks it does.

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Because terse

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Tanks for the mobility

So I’m sitting here, wondering if my knees are going to be acting up again next week, as they often do in the presence of serious damp, and it occurs to me: Why shouldn’t someone who uses a wheelchair be able to go way the hell off-road?

And this is why I’m thinking that:

The low-suds version — there are three in the line — packs a 16-hp electric motor. And it can take a 60-percent grade, something I can’t do walking these days. Yes, it’s expensive, and Medicare won’t pay for it. I don’t care. (Yet.)

(Via Autoblog.)

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Why is this month different from all other months?

By now you’ve seen this, probably stuck into your Facebook feed:

Claims about August 2014

Ancient Chinese secret, eh? I’ll have you know I’ve lived through half a dozen of these already, and I may well be around for another one in 2025.

You don’t have to believe me. But Cameron Miquelon has done the heavy lifting already.

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Fan disservice

Bayou Renaissance Man and Miss D. are once again Not Sweating:

To my surprise (and irritation), we learned that modern A/C motors are no longer the simple units of old. Apparently one has to tell the supplier the type of unit (manufacturer, model, etc.) in which it’ll be used, and it’s then “programmed” to work in that particular system. I can see how making a single motor that can be programmed to work in 20 or 30 different units is easier from the factory’s perspective, but it means one can’t just walk in, buy the motor one wants, and take it out the door. Now one has to provide the necessary information and wait two to three hours until the supplier can put it through the programming process — and pay rather more for the motor as a result. I’m not sure this is an improvement from the user point of view.

It’s not. Then again, the last motor I had to buy (back in 2009) was specifically designed for this oddball unit: there are others, much more common, with exactly the same specifications, but the output shafts are something like a quarter-inch too long, so they won’t actually fit. This could not possibly have been good for the price. (I asked an HVAC tech once if the shaft could be filed down a bit: he looked at me as though I’d asked him for a Federal unicorn license.)

The only time I’ve come close to this sort of predicament before was with my old Toyota Celica. Apparently at the beginning of model year 1975 they changed the starter design, and then midway through the year changed it again because the newer design sucked the Japanese equivalent of donkey balls. Replacements, therefore, were difficult to come by. In the twenty years between Off The Showroom Floor and Off My Hands Entirely, little Dymphna went through four starters, and judging by the scratches in the paint, her fourth one was her first one, rebuilt. Too bad they can’t rebuild air-conditioner motors — or at least they say they can’t.

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Super freekuency

This is worth the link just for the title — “On That List of Excuses for Not Having Sex Floating Around the Interweb” — but the discussion is not at all frivolous, and the last paragraph is highly quotable:

[A] mismatch must be seen as just that. There’s no right amount of sex to have, so someone agreeing to it three times a month must be accepted as much as someone wanting it several times a day or never at all. It just is what it is. A mismatch is a problem for both the person not getting as much as they desire, and for the person denying the request, but it’s only a problem at all if people hold sex in their relationship as more important than care, respect, and love. If you care enough, you can become attuned to one another’s needs. It might mean not asking even if you’re feeling it, and it might, for some people so inclined, mean doing things you’re not really into right now. Love isn’t about giving everything of ourselves to another person, though, or solving all their problems ourselves, it’s about caring about their issues enough to be there while they find their own way.

So there.

In fact, it’s not even necessary for the schedules to be out of sync for there to be a problem, as Woody Allen noted back in the day:

[Alvy and Annie are seeing their therapists at the same time on a split screen]

Alvy Singer’s Therapist: How often do you sleep together?

Annie Hall’s Therapist: Do you have sex often?

Alvy Singer: [lamenting] Hardly ever. Maybe three times a week.

Annie Hall: [annoyed] Constantly. I’d say three times a week.

Never you mind why I’d remember this after, oh, thirty-seven years.

Oh, this is the list being referenced.

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Strange search-engine queries (445)

Last week, a couple of thousand people wandered onto this Web site. But only a handful were looking for stuff like this:

generic limerick:  This is not the one that begins “There was an old hermit named Dave…”

girl drinks invisibility potion stories:  And she dies and the medical examiner just shakes his head.

96 mazda 626 transmission bands or plates:  [buzz] “Name two things I can’t possibly fix on my own.”

f3a transmission and tcm wiring:  [buzz] “Name two more things I can’t possibly fix on my own.”

brumstidk in sight:  Initiate evasive actions.

What is recombinant b n a:  The genetic code you must have to be able to change planes in Nashville.

brina flashong hold light on dadh:  You just let your mom worry about that, honeychild.

96 cougar od button:  That’s all we need: somebody OD’ing in a Cougar.

george washington’s axe for sale handle replaced:  Yes, but is it the original blade?

vo tech tanya tucker sussex vo tech nj:  Because if there’s one thing Tanya Tucker reminds you of, it’s vo-tech in New Jersey.

nokia komposer ambulan dan lowbat:  Because, as Weird Al says, “I paid good money for this ringtone.”

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A cellarful of noise

You may recall the Cavern Club, a music venue at 10 Mathew Street in Liverpool which lived up to Petula Clark’s description in “I Know a Place.” The Beatles played there upwards (or downwards, being in a basement and all) of 250 times.

The MonaLisa Twins, major Beatles fans from Austria, have now settled in Southport, a few minutes up the coast from Liverpool, and have begun a residency at that very same Cavern Club, playing a two-hour gig every Saturday afternoon. They’ll also be playing, with and without their backing band, at International Beatle Week, later this month.

Which is as good an excuse as any to trot out Mona and Lisa doing a Beatles track:

Unexpectedly, there are pronoun adjustments.

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Fark blurb of the week

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Lose that boy

Don’t wait for it to happen on its own, either:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: He's going to die, help?

Taste considerations require this go below the jump:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Brief exercise

Interstate 35 northeast of downtown, once it splits away from 40, is cursed for several miles with the penury-induced deficiency called Onrampus insufficienti, which imposes certain conditions on the driver wishing to climb on. Chief among these is “Accelerate like a sumbitch.” In the case of the US 62 onramp, this has a prerequisite: make the right turn onto the ramp and hope you can see what’s sliding down the hill at you.

I was transitioning between these two modes when I saw it. A minivan. Worse, a white minivan. The Anti-Destination League gives these out as longevity awards. And it wasn’t going to budge horizontally, what with an 18-wheeler in the fast — well, the less-slow lane. Okay, fine. I pushed the loud pedal once more, and Gwendolyn’s ill-bred four-speed slushbox, having just climbed all the way to fourth, was in no hurry to drop back to third.

So I readied myself for the Killing of Overdrive, which is faster than waiting for the machine to shift on its own, when a 2-series BMW rocketed toward the right and into the space I’d chosen for myself. Oh, great. The van, meanwhile, had managed to creep above the speed limit. I began calculating closing distances and where I’d end up in the breakdown lane, such as it is.

Fortunately, Bimmer Dude was paying attention after all, and he opened up more space, mostly by scaring the Mazda in front of him into cranking it up. I duly slid into the flow, reached for my hat to tip to the guy, realized I wasn’t wearing a hat, and staked out a place in front of the big rig. The van, down to 45 mph or so, departed at the next exit, short-circuiting any plans I may have had to curse its driver for staying in the lane.

This sort of thing is consistent with what I’ve been telling the road-building guys: we have enough highway capacity. What we don’t have is a way to sweep away the people who think the D on the shift lever stands for “Dawdle.”

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And then he wasn’t

“Tiburon,” he said of his home in Marin County. “From the Spanish tiburoni, meaning to overcharge for no reason.”

When word came down the line that Robin Williams had died, seemingly everyone in my tweetstream posted a favorite comedy or dramatic bit — and in a full hour, there were no duplicates. I couldn’t pick one of them to, you should pardon the expression, save my life.

So I’ll quote Sheila O’Malley, perennially wise, who offered up this personal recollection:

Robin Williams talked at my school. He was otherworldly in person, on some other plane of listening/humor. Also very caring. Sad… He was like a master chess player, 14, 20 moves ahead of everyone else. He felt the joke 20 minutes out. And he made sure it landed … and this was just chatting with the students. He wasn’t performing for us. He was just talking. But he heard shit on a higher frequency.

This is the kind of thing that can drive you to madness if you’re not careful. And Robin Williams, damn his brilliant hide, was never, ever careful.

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Reblogged down

Well, they’re doomed. People are actually starting to notice:

[S]ometimes I wonder if Tumblr is actually just eight or 10 blogs with original content, and all the other Tumblrs are just endlessly linked resharing of that content.

Oh, I’m sure there are at least twenty.

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Dissipated fizz

Last time this state scratched around for a new plate design, I proposed something like this:

Oklahoma Sonic plate, drawn by me, never used

It never occurred to me that Texas would actually do something like that:

Dr Pepper plate issued by Texas

And now they’re undoing it:

The Dallas Morning News broke the news over the weekend that the state of Texas is planning to kill off its least popular specialty license plates, and we couldn’t be more thrilled… We were, however, dismayed to notice that Dr Pepper is … on the chopping block.

How does this happen? How is it that the most Texan of non-alcoholic carbonated beverages, which, if it didn’t help sustain the last defenders of the Alamo then definitely should have, failed to meet the 200-plate threshold put in place by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles?

Did it ever occur to anyone in either state that there might simply be too damn many plate designs?

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When sphygs fly

This may mean nothing to you, but I assure you it means something to me:

The Eighth Joint National Committee (JNC 8) has released new guidelines on the management of adult hypertension.

The authors formed nine recommendations which are discussed in detail along with the supporting evidence. Evidence was taken from randomized controlled trials, the gold standard for establishing efficacy and effectiveness. Some of the new major recommendations include:

1. In patients aged ≥ 60 years, initiate pharmacologic treatment in systolic BP ≥ 150mmHg or diastolic BP ≥ 90mmHg and treat to a goal systolic BP < 150mmHg and goal diastolic BP < 90mmHg. (Strong Recommendation–Grade A)

The other recommendations didn’t come so highly, um, recommended. No matter. This is the one that pertains to me, inasmuch as I am indeed aged ≥ 60 years.

This also supports my ongoing hypothesis to the effect that any human-health risk factor supposedly graven in stone will eventually be eroded away and replaced by something else. In this case, the goal has been increased somewhat because the most recent numbers suggest a greater risk with lower blood pressure:

Patients with SBP between 120–129mmHg had a 10% greater risk of renal disease or mortality vs. those with SBP between 130–139mmHg; those with SBP from 140–149mmHg had a 40% greater risk. The lowest risk was seen at 137mmHg and 71mmHg.

Of course, this too is subject to change.

(Via Daily Pundit.)

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Double the licks

Electra and Elise Avellán are 28 today; you may have seen them in the Robert Rodriguez segment of Grindhouse or Rodriguez’ subsequent screamfests Machete and Machete Kills. Here they’re just a pair of twins selling sweet stuff:

Electra and Elise Avellan in Two Scoops

Except, of course, that they’re not. Rodriguez’ short Two Scoops — I’d embed it here, but it’s technically unlisted at YouTube, so I’m sending you to Miramax instead — reveals their True Identities and a great deal more. (It helps, if you’re looking for a role in a Rodriguez film, to be his niece; they’re actually related to Rodriguez’ ex-wife, Elizabeth Avellán, but she is still VP and co-owner of his production company, so they’re not entirely estranged.)

And here’s a shot out of costume, I think:

Elise and Electra Avellan at a press conference

Maybe I’ll rethink that vanilla.

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In the interests of civilization

Meaningless factoid: Lauren Bacall was a first cousin to Israeli president Shimon Peres.

Lauren Bacall and friend

Above, Bacall’s influence on a well-trained critter. Below, Bacall’s influence on a somewhat less well-trained critter:

Bugs Bunny and Lauren Bacall in 'Slick Hare', 1947

Meaningless factoid: Lauren Bacall is the only Oscar winner to have been married to two other Oscar winners: Humphrey Bogart (of course) and Jason Robards.

Something to track down: the dubbed English version of Ernest et Célestine, a French-Belgian animated film based on Gabrielle Vincent’s books, in which Bacall is the voice of The Grey One, caretaker at a mouse orphanage. Released early this year, it was her last film credit.

Not at all meaningless, an exchange between Bogie and Bacall from The Big Sleep:

Philip Marlowe: You wanna tell me now?

Vivian Rutledge: Tell you what?

Philip: What it is you’re trying to find out. You know, it’s a funny thing. You’re trying to find out what your father hired me to find out, and I’m trying to find out why you want to find out.

Vivian: You could go on forever, couldn’t you? Anyway it’ll give us something to talk about next time we meet.

Philip: Among other things.

The world seems a bit less civilized now.

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Hold your nose and dig in

Everyone, please welcome our new intern, Durian McFlurry.

No, wait, that’s wrong. This is a Durian McFlurry:

Durian McFlurry from McDonald's Singapore

The offering of this product indicates a certain gutsiness on the part of McDonald’s Singapore locations:

The fruit has a very distinct odor that is strong and penetrating even when the shell is intact. We have not tasted it yet, but we have come to recognize the smell. You can identify it a mile away. It truly is hard to describe … a sweet, gross, stinky smell like a very overripe piece of fruit or leaking gas.

Many people love it and say it has a smell similar to almonds. Other people would say it smells like rotten onions, turpentine, raw sewage, or smelly socks. I have seen the taste described as gasoline with bananas, vanilla pudding with onions, or something between a rotting carcass and blue cheese.

Do you think hedgehogs will eat it?

(Inspired by something Roger said.)

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You’re listening to Carrousel

“They said they liked the ‘young’ sound,” sang Harry Chapin in WOLD, “when they let me go.” And Harry wasn’t even working in India:

India’s national public radio broadcaster appears to have sacked around 100 presenters for being over its new age limit of 35.

All India Radio says it had to bring in the new age rules because the station needed to “infuse freshness in presentation of programmes”. The Kolkata-based broadcaster initially set the cut-off at 30 years — but then raised it to 35. The measure was then put on hold by an employment tribunal until 8 August — but the journalists in question were dropped the day after the freeze expired, the Hindu daily reports.

There is, however, a faint ray of hope for these senile, wizened over-35s:

All India Radio has responded by saying it will allow presenters to stay on if they pass a test to prove they don’t sound “too mature and boring”, according [to] the Kolkata paper The Telegraph.

(Via WFMU.)

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The tiger’s wide awake

So if you want a picture of yourself with the big cat in New York state, you’d better get it now:

[Yesterday,] the governor of New York State signed a bill banning the practice of paying to have your photo taken with a large cat. Yes, this will be commonly referred to as the “tiger selfie” ban.

As radio station WPDH in Poughkeepsie points out, businesses that let you pet and take a photo with tigers and other exotic animals have been popular attractions at county fairs, including the nearby Dutchess County Fair, in years past. You get a sticker that says “I touched a tiger,” and a photo perfect for your online dating profiles. Starting in 2015, exchanging money for tiger photos will now be illegal in New York state.

Governor Cuomo, you may be sure, is not overly concerned with your safety here:

Wildlife advocates say the trend is not only hazardous to humans but encourages mistreatment of endangered animals. The big cats are often taken from their mothers as cubs, poorly cared for and then neglected or discarded when they grow up.

“They breed the cubs, use them for photo-ops, and then when they can’t use them they breed more,” said Carole Baskin, founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue, a Tampa, Florida sanctuary that has more than 100 big cats.

Similar laws exist in Arizona, Kansas and Mississippi.

(Source of the title, in case you were wondering.)

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Orange you interested?

I can almost always find a reason not to watch Fox News, though I suspect I miss out on a whole lot of gratuitous eye candy that way.

Yesterday, Harris Faulkner, one of the four female panelists on the Fox series Outnumbered — there’s one token guy in the middle — sent up this little image:

This is double, and maybe quadruple, the number of orange shoes you’re likely to see on an ostensible news program, reason enough for me to mention it here. The shoes themselves are perhaps overly pointy, though not to Rosa Klebb levels, and somebody complained about Kennedy’s little tricolor. (Incidentally, that’s not Kennedy’s Twitter account: this is.) Imagine if she’d showed us her elephant.

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Today’s security tip

How to handle a certain delicate situation with one’s phone, explained by Jack Baruth:

Two years ago, I had the USB port on my Motorola Droid4 fail. That meant that once the battery died, I wouldn’t be able to use the phone at all, and since the battery in the Droid4 is installed with screws and a very delicate connector, I wouldn’t be able to easily change the battery for a charged one. The problem with this is that I didn’t know the USB port had failed until the phone died.

I had a $50 insurance plan that I could use to get a replacement phone. The problem was that I had a bunch of photos that a female friend had sent me on that phone. I’d been keeping them for reasons of sentimentality/laziness. Sending the phone into the insurance provider would hand over a dozen nude photos of a woman who had a professional image to protect. And since she was in my contacts, they’d have her name and contact information.

I sat down and thought about it for a while. Then I went out to my front porch and hit the phone with a Craftsman hammer until it was in little pieces. Then I went out and bought another phone.

Well done, sir. In the unlikely event that someone sends me such a photo, I will keep this available for reference.

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WISH for something new

Indianapolis’ WISH-TV, channel 8, is that market’s CBS affiliate — until the end of the year. Beginning in 2015, CBS will move to WTTV, channel 4, bumping WTTV’s current affiliation with the CW to a subchannel, leaving WISH-TV with, well, nothing actually.

Why would CBS do this?

SNL Kagan senior research analyst Justin Nielson notes that CBS’s new deal with the NFL for Thursday Night Football may have prompted more aggressive affiliate renewal talks.

“Fox and CBS were the first ones to start extracting [reverse retrans] money, primarily because they are spending a lot of money on sports rights,” says Nielson. “Thursday Night Football is quite costly for CBS. They want to make sure they’re getting compensated for that.”

Fox’s affiliate in Indy is WXIN, channel 59, owned by Tribune Media, which also owns, um, WTTV. No other changes have been announced for Indianapolis television — yet.

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The urge to wax has waned

Sometimes your first Brazilian wax is your last Brazilian wax:

[T]he awkward sexual innuendo and the pain are not the reasons I will no longer be getting Brazilians. No, I could deal with those again. There are three other reasons I will no longer be waxing the hooha.

We’ll just mention one of them here, since it’s one I wasn’t expecting:

After the technician left the room, I picked myself up off of the table. Actually I kind of slid off of the table in my own sweat. I walked over to the mirror to examine myself, and I was horrified. Not because I looked like a prepubescent girl (although that was slightly horrifying). I was horrified because it was at that moment that I realized that my pregnancy stretch marks went ALL THE WAY DOWN INTO MY TANTALIZING TRIANGLE. They look like grotesque, greedy little fingers pointing the way down. Or lightening bolts threatening to strike any who enter.

One of those “Abandon Hope” signs in post-topiary form. I don’t think that it necessarily discourages visitors, but anything that makes you doubt your curb appeal can kill the deal. Or that’s what they tell me, anyway.

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While sticking to the seat

Advice for the unclothed driver, aside from the obvious “Don’t get pulled over”:

If you can drive without air conditioning, good for you. It’s my preferred way to do it. But: on very hot days cool down your car (and your body) before you put on your clothes. Otherwise your natural body heat will be caught beneath your clothes and that can feel very bad/hot.

I admit to not having thought of that.

Incidentally, if you need gas, you should probably get dressed before swiping your MasterCard through the pump reader.

(Via Nudiarist. Neither link should be considered safe for work unless you are the sysadmin or you have something on him.)

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Digital squatters

The ultimate word on that “digital natives” crap, from Lynn:

I keep reading this stuff about how today’s kids, teens, and twenty-somethings are “digital natives” — that they have never known a world in which there were no computers or cell phones and therefore they are almost like a different species from us older folk who just don’t quite “get” all this new technology. The truth is that in all age groups there are both technophiles and technophobes, just as in every generation there are people who can work on cars and people to whom anything mechanical is mysterious and confusing.

People my age who grew up watching Star Trek have been waiting for these gadgets for over half our lives. I wanted a smart phone years before the things even existed. The smartest and most ambitious did not wait. They made it all happen. Digital natives? My generation created this digital world we live in now. What does that make us?

All else being equal, the person who gets credit for something these days is the person who, in the judgment of the individual writing the article about it, most resembles the individual writing the article about it. Who would have though there could be such a thing as shared narcissism?

I’ve never seen anyone my age who couldn’t learn this stuff, given time and a little bit of effort, and that remains true even as my age spirals out of sight. We may be mere digital immigrants, but I’m betting we take our citizenship more seriously, if only because we never took it for granted.

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The wonderfulness of me

Roberta X used to have a category called “the wonderfulness of me,” and the name was intended, I believe, neither as irony nor as humblebrag: it was simply handy. It’s not a term I’d use myself, though: my own shtick calls for somewhere below Whitmanian celebrations of myself but at least slightly above “wayward guttersnipe.”

From some gutter in a 107 IP comes this attempt to butter me up:

I’ve been browsing on-line more than 3 hours lately, yet I never found any fascinating article like yours. It is beautiful price enough for me. In my view, if all website owners and bloggers made excellent content as you probably did, the internet will probably be a lot more helpful than ever before.

I dunno how excellent the content is around here, but there certainly is a lot of it. And there’s a reason for that, for which I turn to Gagdad Bob:

“Only the unexpected fully satisfies. Nothing that satisfies our expectations fulfills our hopes.” This is why I so enjoy this medium of expression. If someone were to offer me money to write a commentary on Don Colacho’s Aphorisms, I would be miserable. Blogging is only fulfilling — and it is, very — because there is absolutely No Plan. Every morning, I can’t wait to wake up and accomplish nothing, only maybe a little more deeply this time!

Says it all, or at least rather a lot of it, as I probably did.

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Advance information

The beatings will continue, it appears, until the equine is no longer deceased:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: How many citizens have a problem of buying 'havinga new vehicle before the calendar year?

If that makes little sense, this won’t make much more:

I got this response that I didn’t expect from one of my other questions about model years. I think it is weird, but I still find it acceptable for cars because think if I wanted it to be strict, then it could mean that i would have less fun according to my guardian’s rules. Here is this response.

“Haven’t we had enough of this whinging about the discrepancy between model and calendar years? No one in the Real World has a problem with it.

“Role model: William Maxwell Gaines, founder of Mad magazine, who set it up with an 8-issues-per-year schedule that guaranteed that no issue was ever on sale during the month printed on its cover.”

I started to wonder who has a problem with it.

For school buses, I think a 2013 school bus was there in 2012 for school bus fleet reasoning like meeting emission standards for 2013 for this school bus.

I have a problem when transit buses often enter service before the calendar year (if there is no need to or no reason to) because fleet age is something very important.

I didn’t have the heart to tell him that emissions standards are set by model year, not by calendar year, therefore his concerns are somewhere between misplaced and pathological. Moreover, it’s hard not to wonder about the nature of his, um, “guardian.”

And besides, I’ve obviously told the little peckerhead enough already.

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Maybe not so much choice

This year’s Teen Choice Awards were marred by the suggestion that someone other than teens might be making the choice:

The annual awards show, which hands out gongs for the best teen movies, music and this year — web stars, enjoyed its 16th instalment on Sunday and it is usually fairly innocuous — bar one pole-dancing routine by Miley Cyrus in 2009.

Which, I submit, indeed should have been barred.

But the ceremony’s officials may be kicking themselves for including the new category this year, after impassioned fans of losing “Web Stars” nominees claimed that the whole thing is set-up…

The latest furore started when Cameron Dallas, an 18-year-old Californian with 5.5 million followers on Vine, publicly denounced the process.

He won the award for “Choice Viner”, but was so incensed that he didn’t get the presumably more prestigious award of “Choice Web Star: Male” that he took to Twitter to reveal how he had been made aware of his win days previously.

“It’s funny how they told me I won the Viner award 6 days before the voting ended and made the runners up still vote to tweet for them,” he said, before deleting the tweets.

Meanwhile, a check of the fine print reveals:

According to its voting rules, which are published in its website’s fine print, “Teenasaurus Rox reserves the right to choose the winner from the top four vote generators.”

In other news, someone or something is using the name “Teenasaurus Rox.”

2011 Choice Web Star (!) winner Rebecca Black got one-fifth of a nomination this year:

Web Collaboration nomination for Rebecca Black and others

They did not win. However, RB says, and I quote, that she’s “blessed to be back at it.” And since I have it, a photo from one of the pre-ceremony parties:

Rebecca Black before the Teen Choice Awards

We’re just glad to have you around, Bex.

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Impersonationalism

Jeff Jarvis (@jeffjarvis on Twitter) goes after a genuine fake:

I don’t want to give my minor tormentor, my idiot imposter, my personal troll any further attention but you probably already know who this is. This week, with shocking nastiness, he went after a prominent person I’ve met and I respect and with whom I share a number of friends. That person reacted appropriately — angrily — thinking I was the shithead going after him. I don’t follow my troll so I would not have seen this had it not reached some Twitter notoriety. That at least gave me the opportunity to tell the prominent person that his tormentor was my tormentor, not me.

What bothers me even more is the reaction of others who egg on the imposter trolls. One was a prominent columnist for a famous financial newspaper with funny colored paper who endorsed out loud the idea of trolling an important person whom he covers. That’s not what they taught me in journalism school. It’s sure as hell not what I teach there. Is this net we want to build? For that matter, is this the journalism we want to have? Is this our society?

Earlier this summer, a parody account mocking Salon, including their big S logo, was sufficiently persuasive that the real Salon complained to Twitter. (The wise guys have since resurfaced with a modified profile.) Jarvis has his reasons for not complaining to Twitter:

They might kill my troll-imposter’s account. But then I know what would happen: I’d be accused of being a humorless party-pooper because I don’t like being mocked every day or finding people thinking I’m a horrid shithead. And if I oppose Europe’s idiotic Right to be Forgotten fiasco, I could not stand for muting someone else. No win there. It’s obvious that a prominent person mistook my imposter for a real person because the user name gives no clue. But Twitter’s policy is that imposter accounts are OK. Now I don’t assume that anyone who’s being attacked should have to spend a damned second researching his tormentor. But that is Twitter’s policy.

It would be nice if Twitter could come up with a revised policy that doesn’t toss out genuinely great accounts like @SwiftOnSecurity.

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True (cheap) enlightenment

From Bill Quick’s Amazon recommendations, something unexpected: 48 100 Watt GE Soft White Incandescent Light Bulbs (Case of 48) – $39.00. With free shipping, yet.

You’d think Wicked Contraband like this would sell for more than $0.8125 per unit. Quips Bill: “So … apparently that ‘ban’ on 100 watt incandescents isn’t really all that much of a ban.”

At the bottom of the specifications is this curious item: “Lumen Maintenance Factor at the End of Life.” Amazon explains it this way:

The lumen maintenance factor at the end of the life is the percentage of original brightness, or luminous flux, given off by a light bulb at the end of its life.

This bulb’s LMF is given as “1690,” which doesn’t look like a percentage of original anything. But based on the old rule for incandescents — 16 lumens per watt — I presume that these stay nice and bright right up until the moment that the filament shatters.

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Meta beyond meta

I don’t know, I’ve never (been?) thrimbened:

As he strolled among the Kenthellians, through the wide parndamets along the River Elinionenin, thrimbening his tometoria and his Almagister’s scrollix, he thought to himself, “Wow, it is sure convenient there’s a glossary for made-up fantasy words on page 1048.”

This was the winner in the Fantasy category of the 2014 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, and you only hope that the second edition of this turgid tale by Stephen Young doesn’t change the pagination.

The overall winner, Elizabeth Dorfman, contributed this stirring opening:

When the dead moose floated into view the famished crew cheered — this had to mean land! — but Captain Walgrove, flinty-eyed and clear headed thanks to the starvation cleanse in progress, gave fateful orders to remain on the original course and await the appearance of a second and confirming moose.

Mynd you, møøse bites Kan be pretty nasti…

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Y? Because we have to

Oklahoma City lost its Radio Disney affiliate quite a while back. Now just about the entire radio network is going dark:

Disney has revealed plans to sell all but one of its remaining Radio Disney stations as it moves the brand to digital delivery. Broadcasting & Cable reports the stations will go dark around September 26 with the exception of 1110 KDIS Los Angeles, which will remain with the Disney brand.

The reason? Most listeners aren’t actually listening to those radio stations, but through other sources:

B&C’s report states that Disney’s internal research finds among Radio Disney listeners six years old and up, 37% of the their listeners listen via SiriusXM, 35% via desktop streaming, 31% via mobile streaming, and 18% via over-the-air broadcasts.

All the stations are on the AM band except WRDZ-FM Plainfield, Indiana.

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The quiet intruder

The hell of it is, you can always tell if there’s a mouse in the house — they tend to leave, um, calling cards in favored places — but ferreting (!) out their hiding places is difficult, and they’ve evolved responses to our feeble attempts to dispatch them to Mousedom Come.

I hadn’t heard (as opposed to “seen”) any indications of this little guy’s presence until Wednesday, when there was rustling along the wall opposite my desk. I wasn’t quick enough to spot him, but I figured I could do the old trap routine this weekend.

It may not be necessary. He left no pellets Thursday that I could find, and Friday afternoon, I found a mouse keeled over in the 96-degree garage. (Temperature outside the garage: 96 degrees.) He’d nearly made it to a gap in the garage-door weatherstripping before giving up the ghost. I almost felt sorry for the critter, even as I swept him out onto the lawn for the amusement of predators.

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