Archive for February 2015

Version 19.8.4

An excerpt from the Samsung Smart TV privacy policy:

Excerpt from Samsung Smart TV instructions

An excerpt from a popular novel:

Excerpt from George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four

There’s a lot to be said for “dumb” hardware.

(Compiled by Parker Higgins.)

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Strange search-engine queries (471)

As Web features go, this one is relatively simple: peruse the logs, pull out the search strings where available, and snicker at the best (or worst) ones. We’ve been doing this for weeks now.

busty.mobi:  You’d hardly need Google to find something like that.

earning over 583 million dollars worldwide. At the 85th Academy Awards: Actually, that string of digits wasn’t an income statement: it was part of the credits to Life of Pi.

invisible femmes:  Sorry, haven’t seen ’em.

histori Skand chuck fabrics ab sweden:  When I was a youngster, Swedes, especially in movies I wasn’t allowed to see, were chucking fabric left and right.

vidéos seniors daddies gay:  I guess they were a bit straighter in their younger days.

youtube “bad a base no trouble”  And I thought I had trouble with misheard lyrics.

overdrive light off comes on on 1995 ford probe:  Not to worry. Before long, you’ll be surrounded by lights, probably at Mac’s Garage.

is a 2000 mazda 626 fwd:  Yes, unless the overdrive off light comes on, in which case it will become 0wd.

hindi youngastar mp3:  Said star apparently doesn’t have enough clout yet to call for an end to questionable downloading.

phil spector back to mono:  Is that before or after “back to jail”?

petticoat rule:  That’s probably Uncle Joe, especially if he’s moving kinda slow at the junction.

VW passat firing order 2.0turbo:  Where I come from, you show up with a 2.0 Passat, the order will come down for you to be fired.

Witness the funk (WTF) flank zone:  Doesn’t sound like a place I’d want to park my flank.

hard sex_which makes a woman cry_video:  No, woman, no cry. No video at all. Nobody see.

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A post-mature market

Right up there with Kaiser-Frazer parts:

I was searching Walmart for some writable DVDs for a family project, and I found they still sell blank tapes.

Five tapes for $15.

While you can get 10 DVDs for $10.

It’s the way the cycle goes. Thirty years ago, you could get one tape for $15, or $14.99 anyway. (I bought a case of ten once at a video store — remember video stores? — for $149.90.) Inevitably, the price sank to commodity levels ($1.99, maybe less) before gradually starting back up again.

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How are the aerodynamics?

Aaron Robinson, in the March Car and Driver, on the Chevrolet Trax, a “wee SUV”:

The optional four-wheel drive is an electronically controlled system that engages clutch plates to add torque to the rear. It is not driver-lockable, just an automatic all-weather axle, there to straighten your path when the barometer nose-dives.

Or, you know, not. The lowest barometer reading in this town since ever — meaning, most likely, “since 1890” — was 28.81 inches of mercury, on this very date in 1960. The high temperature that day was 75, which does not suggest a need for four-wheel drive. There were, however, F1-level tornadoes in the northeastern part of the state, and I don’t want to be driving in that kind of stuff no matter where the torque is allocated.

Maybe Robinson meant something other than “barometer.”

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The Weather Patrol reports in

Record heat yesterday: seventy-eight degrees Fahrenheit, 2° warmer than the old record, set in 1999. (Then again, it’s February; only last Thursday it dropped into the teens and barely made it above 40 that afternoon.) I got outside and trimmed a holly. Meanwhile, Michael Eberharter went to Quail Springs Mall, specifically to Candyopolis:

Rainbow Dash for Candyopolis

Can’t argue with that, Dashie.

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A high bill, but it’s clean

Last week, you may recall, I reported in to the family physician with a bladder complaint: it always seemed full no matter how long I spent in front of the porcelain facility. Said the doctor, it’s probably an infection of the prostate and/or just that it’s grown a bit, as it does in old geezers like you and me. (He’s about my age.) He prescribed a pair of drugs: an alpha blocker to reduce the pressure and maybe shrink the tissue a bit, and five days’ worth of almost industrial-strength antibiotic to clear up any lingering infection. “However,” he said, “I’m just old-school enough to order a PSA test.”

Said test was graded Friday, and the score reported back to me today. Evidently I passed, by which is meant that no further testing is anticipated. The Reaper, that scythe-wielding son of a bitch, is thwarted once more — for now.

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Peaks and valleys

It was 38-18 after twelve minutes, and we all assumed that the Nuggets were well and truly flushed, in the plumbing sense. Not so. Denver came back with 41 in the second quarter, leaving the Thunder up 73-59, and in the opening moments of the third pulled to within five, a run highlighted by Kevin Durant attempting to drop-kick Kenneth Faried to the Front Range. KD was rung up for a technical and a Flagrant One. This just made him mad, and if you’re the Nuggets, you won’t like him when he’s mad. He’d been dropping treys with alacrity, and went back to doing more of them. At the end of the third, Durant had 38 points on 12-16 shooting, 7-11 from way outside, and the Thunder led by 14, just as they had at halftime, though the Nuggets closed on a 7-0 run. That run grew to 11-0 early in the fourth. OKC’s reserves held serve through the halfway point of the quarter; when the starters returned, the Thunder were up nine, and at the horn, they were up ten, 124-114.

A few numbers were inked into the record book tonight. KD’s seven treys — he finished with 40 — tied a career high; Andre Roberson’s 12 points set a new career high; and Mitch McGary got his second double-double in two days, with 17 points and 10 rebounds. (At 25 minutes, he played more than a couple of the starters.) Russell Westbrook scored a handy 26 on 14 shots. (KD’s 40 came on 19, so the efficiency angle was working a bit better than usual.) In fact, the Thunder shot a laudable 54 percent, 50 percent (12-24) from beyond the circle, and had small leads in rebounds (40-38) and assists (24-20).

Denver posted a couple of double-doubles: Faried, with 22 points and 10 rebounds, and rookie center Jusuf Nurkić, with 16 points and 14 boards before fouling out. Wilson Chandler had a team-high 23; Ty Lawson collected 22. Through much of the night, the Nuggets were shooting 50 percent or better, falling to 48 at the end. It’s their sixth straight loss at the Pepsi Center, something that hasn’t happened in twelve years.

The Pelicans obligingly dropped one to the Jazz tonight, so right now it’s New Orleans and OKC with identical records — though the Pels own the tiebreaker, having won the season series 3-1. There remains that one game against the Griz on Wednesday, and then the All-Star break.

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Note to future husbands

Of all the red-carpet appearances on Sunday night’s Grammy Awards broadcast, it was Meghan Trainor’s that shook me up the most:

Meghan Trainor at the Grammys in Galia Lahav

This appears to have emerged from Galia Lahav’s MoonStruck collection, about which the designer says:

As the moon is the spotlight amongst the many stars in the night sky, so is the female’s body when reflected within layers of lace and silk. This collection is a black prism of black shades and shimmers of sheer textured fabric representing a midst summer nights dream. Moon Struck elegantly takes you away to a place of serenity where body silhouettes are revealed as a revolutionary era of evening gowns are born.

Rediscovering the mermaid shape as nymphs once roamed the oceans in Greek mythology, this is like a collection like never before, elegant with movement in the night. Each gown holds the shape to a figure of a goddess.

And then suddenly it made sense. Trainor, as she’s mentioned before, ain’t no size 2; but a goddess appears as she damned well pleases. If you have designs on her, so to speak, here are your marching orders. Keep in mind that she brought her dad to the Grammys.

(Via InStyle.com.)

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Sentimetal

STFU necklace by Wendy BrandesThis week being, well, the week it is, I am keeping a lower profile than usual — not that I want to discourage any potential girlfriends, of which there are exactly none on the horizon — but simply because one popular topic this time of year is the difficulty of communication between the sexes, a discussion I would just as soon avoid. I am delighted, therefore, to note that seriously stylish jewelry designer Wendy Brandes is offering this silver necklace which conveys a straightforward message without any possibility of misinterpretation, at least if everyone involved speaks English.

Also available: “GTFOH”; “IDGAF”; “SRSLY?”; and many others.

(Via Nancy Friedman.)

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Make mine Spunow

And look, it’s on sale:

Chocolate bars for sale

Miss Cellania explains: “Almojoy got nuts, Spunow don’t.” Still unexplained: the difference between Nickers and Sickers.

And where the heck are the W&Ws?

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All the cool kids are doing it

That’s the only possible explanation I can see for this:

A poll has just been released which shows that Oklahomans overwhelming favor electing the U.S. President by a national popular vote.

On January 19th and 20th, Public Policy Polling interviewed 893 Oklahomans across the state. The results show that 79% of Oklahomans favor a national popular vote over the current system that rewards the electors to the winner of each state.

Actually, the current system doesn’t do that at all. Voters select a slate of electors, each pledged (or, in some historical incidents, not pledged) to vote for the candidate named on the ballot. (In this state, we even list the actual electors.) But contemporary politicians are utterly desperate for uninformed voters, aren’t they, Robbie?

“It’s clear that the national popular vote is overwhelmingly supported by Oklahomans regardless of party affiliation,” said former State Senator Rob Johnson. Johnson has championed the national popular vote in the Oklahoma State Senate and was the principal author of the legislation in 2014.

It is not any such thing. Get a whiff of the actual poll question:

How do you think we should elect the President: should it be the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states, or the current electoral college system? If you think it should be the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states, press 1. If you think it should be the current electoral college system, press 2.

You do know what a leading question is, don’t you?

Of course, pollsters ask what they’re told to ask. I don’t know anyone who votes the way they’re told to vote, except maybe the anonymous object of Dylan’s scorn in “Positively 4th Street”: “You just want to be on the side that’s winning.” If that’s you, you got a lotta nerve.

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Decimalpractice

Yours truly, back in ’07, griping (with the help of WiseGeek) about that nine-tenths of a cent grafted onto the price of a gallon of gas:

They took it one step further: what if the price were jacked up, not by $0.009, but by $0.0099? Another $14 million for the month, another $170 million for the year, and besides contrarian cranks like me, hardly anyone would even notice.

What if, indeed?

Fractions of a penny aren’t a significant amount of money, so we don’t really pay attention to them. That might be what the dollar store chain 99 Cents Only is counting on. They don’t exactly hide that everything in their stores costs 99.99¢ rather than 99¢, putting that information on customer receipts and even on shelf tags. Does that make the store’s name misleading, or is it okay to round down?

One customer decided “misleading”:

One customer noticed and was annoyed enough to file a lawsuit against the company, which ended with them posting signs explaining the additional .99¢ price hike. The company blamed the need to raise their prices almost imperceptibly on inflation.

But of course.

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You’re on your own

Rather a lot of us live alone, not that there’s anything wrong with that:

Mic just gathered some scientific research that claims living alone boosts your social skills, chills out your overactive brain, and forces you to get in touch with yourself.

Yeah, I can see some of that:

Spending time by yourself helps you value time with friends. And the time you spend with other people is all by choice, not forced.

You’re becoming the chillest person that ever was: When you live with roommates or a significant other, there’s always some sort of clamor: your roommate’s Spotify playlist, your other roommate vacuuming his bedroom for the third time this week. Not so when you’re alone. (Well, assuming your apartment is blessed with thick walls.)

Which is why I live in the middle of a largish lot and share walls with no one.

Still, this poses some additional challenges:

It’s a weird thing, not having someone double-check that you’re legally prepared for the outside world. That is on you, when you live alone. Of course, you’re probably not going to forget to wear clothes, but the thought that you could tends to cross your mind for a second. Because, technically, you could walk out of the house wearing nothing but a headband, sipping a cup of coffee, and nobody would say anything until you left the house. It’s like a childhood nightmare come true.

Two words: car keys. Fumbling around for them will make me excruciatingly aware of my condition.

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Yellow Peril 2.0

God help you if you void where prohibited:

A water manager is facing discipline after he was caught urinating in an empty reservoir that supplies drinking water for the San Francisco Bay Area.

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission spokesman Tyrone Jue said Monday that the agency confirmed anonymous complaints that maintenance planner Martin Sanchez had urinated in the 674-million-gallon reservoir in the Sierra Nevada foothills early last month.

Wait a minute. Did they say “empty”?

The reservoir had been drained for maintenance, and officials say public health wasn’t in danger.

Oh. Well, throw the book at him anyway. This is California, after all. Thinking about a crime is itself a crime.

Sanchez, who earns $111,000 annually, was in line for a promotion before the incident. He now faces a maximum penalty of a weeklong suspension without pay.

Some book, huh?

(Via Daily Pundit.)

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Outward buckpass

Why, yes, your personal information was jeopardized. Want to know what we’re going to do about it? Take a guess:

[B]ecause I have BC/BS health insurance … well, I wasted a good part of Friday morning on the phone with the credit bureaus getting holds/fraud alerts placed on my accounts, because apparently our information was among that in the Anthem breach. Now someone is telling me I need to contact the IRS and tell them not to process any address changes put through in my name in the next x period of time … and I just can’t. I can’t call that awful phone-tree and try to figure out whom I need to talk to and get kicked out three separate times and have to go through it again like I did the last time I had a problem. I’d hope that Anthem would do something towards taking care of that for us, or if they won’t, I guess I just file as early as I can and hope no one is going to try to use my SSN for nefarious purposes.

It would be most unkind to point out that, no thanks to a far bigger scam than mere identity theft, the IRS and the health-insurance industry are now joined at the hip. This is like Cthulhu hiring an adjunct.

We’ve also been warned to watch out for e-mail scams offering us credit monitoring, supposedly in the name of Anthem. It’s like, “You ALREADY have my personal information, this just adds insult to injury.”

A two-for-one deal! Expect Leviathan to promote the hell out of it on social media.

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Late at nitrogen

You might remember this observation from last spring:

[T]echnically, the firing squad is still authorized in Oklahoma — if both lethal injection and the electric chair should be found to be Constitutionally impermissible. This was a semi-clever maneuver by the legislature to make sure they had something to fall back on if the courts took issue with the drug cocktail.

Add to these two options the possibility of a third:

With no debate, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 9-0 Tuesday to authorize “nitrogen hypoxia,” which depletes oxygen supply in the blood to cause death.

The bill’s author, Moore Republican Sen. Anthony Sykes, says it’s likely the bill will be amended before the session is over.

Three lethal injections remain on hold in Oklahoma while the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether Oklahoma’s three-drug method is constitutional.

At least they wouldn’t have to sweat supplies: half the tire shops in town have nitrogen-generating devices.

Last I looked, the title of SB 749 had been stricken, which requires some explanation:

Strike the Title: to change the title of a bill to a few words which are briefly descriptive but constitutionally unacceptable. The major intent of this action is to ensure that the bill will go to a conference committee. The same effect may be achieved by striking the enacting clause. Any Senate legislation being reported out of a Senate committee, with the exception of an appropriation bill, must have an enacting clause or resolving clause and a Senate and House author.

The opponents you might expect are, as expected, opposing:

Ryan Kiesel, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union argues there is no humane way to kill someone and a bigger question needs to be discussed.

“These types of bills really miss the point. They miss the opportunity for Oklahoma to have a much broader and deeper conversation about if we should be in the business of executing people at all,” Kiesel said.

Say “gas chamber” to me, and the first thing I think of is Susan Hayward as Barbara Graham.

That’s “gas chamber.” With an S:

You may track the bill here.

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Version 19.8.41

If you were already somewhat miffed by the blithe assumption by Samsung that you’d keep your mouth shut in front of their Smart TVs, miffage is now intensified:

After Samsung calmed us all down, users of smart TV app Plex noticed a Pepsi commercial playing in the middle of content streamed from their own media server within the house. Plex simplifies using your home computer as a media server for smart TVs, streaming devices, tablets, phones, and game consoles. It is not supposed to inject ads in the middle of the program you’re enjoying. Yet that’s what users report happening: Pepsi ads pop up during shows streamed to their sets using Plex.

A spokesperson for Plex told GigaOm that they weren’t adding ads to users’ video streams. Users reported Pepsi ads interjected in other programs while playing programs directly on the TV from their computer, so the app wasn’t serving up the ads. This was caused by the TV, and only users of Samsung smart TVs have reported it.

Q. E. Farking D.

Temperature of hell when you buy a Samsung Smart TV:

  1. 32 °F
  2. 0 °F
  3. -40 °F
  4. 0 °K

Surely no good can come of schemes like this, even if you like Pepsi.

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Care Bears scared

One weird little contretemps reflected the tone of the entire game: imagine, if you will, a jump ball between Zack Randolph and Russell Westbrook. Now imagine Westbrook winning the jump. It happened, and the mighty Grizzlies, the one team that can be counted on to try to grind the Thunder into multicolored paste, took one more of a seemingly endless series of body blows from an Oklahoma City team that damned well wanted to go into the All-Star break on a high note. The Thunder were up 18 at the half; the Griz fought back to within 11 halfway through the fourth; despite the sudden absences of Dion Waiters (who stepped on Tony Allen’s foot) and Kevin Durant (probably a precautionary measure), Memphis gained no more ground, and Dave Joerger finally cried Uncle. The final was 105-89, and the Griz are now up 2-1 for the season.

How decisive was this thrashing? Memphis shot 37 percent, missed 10 of 12 treys, and picked up four fast-break points. Still, this is the statistic that stings: 14 Thunder turnovers produced only two point for the Griz. Z-Bo, of course, led the squad with 16 points and 11 boards; Jeff Green picked up 11, nine in the second half; amazingly, Marc Gasol wasn’t much of a factor, 8 points on 2-10 shooting and five rebounds.

One reason Gasol wasn’t getting anywhere was total Thunder rebound dominance, 49-42. Everyone was snatching boards: Durant had 10 (with 26 points), Russell Westbrook nine (with 24 points and nine assists), Nick Collison nine (with 15 points). Mitch McGary, after two consecutive double-doubles, got a dose of suckage: the Griz keyed on him, and in 15 minutes he managed two boards and six fouls. The Dueling Sixth Men were fairly evenly matched, Waiters collecting 11 points before turning his ankle, Reggie Jackson cashing in eight.

The Pacers put the hurt on the Pelicans tonight, so the Thunder have sole possession of ninth place, and trail the eighth-place Suns by a mere half a game. Assuming we didn’t lose a couple of players tonight, this is a promising position to be in before the next 29 games.

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Retaking the pledge

In 2005, Patterico called for bloggers to take the same pledge he was taking:

If the FEC makes rules that limit my First Amendment right to express my opinion on core political issues, I will not obey those rules.

It took me a day or two, but I eventually saw the wisdom of his approach.

And the Federal Election Commission wisely kept its big yap shut about the matter, until now:

In October, then FEC Vice Chairwoman Ann M. Ravel promised that she would renew a push to regulate online political speech following a deadlocked commission vote that would have subjected political videos and blog posts to the reporting and disclosure requirements placed on political advertisers who broadcast on television. On Wednesday, she will begin to make good on that promise.

“Some of my colleagues seem to believe that the same political message that would require disclosure if run on television should be categorically exempt from the same requirements when placed in the Internet alone,” Ravel said in an October statement. “As a matter of policy, this simply does not make sense.”

Take your “policy” and shove it, Annie dear. In the best of all possible worlds, there would be no such thing as a Federal Election Commission, and the limit of your public utterances would be “You want fries with that?”

So Patterico is renewing the pledge, and so am I: “If the FEC makes rules that limit my First Amendment right to express my opinion on core political issues, I will not obey those rules.”

Period.

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Dreammobiles considered

Charles Pergiel drops by the auto shop, spies a ’94 Lamborghini with 26,000 miles on the clock, and muses on the possibilities:

What do you do with a supercar? It’s not something you want to fetch groceries in. The pain of just getting in and out of the car is going to discourage that. Commuting to work in bumper to bumper traffic? That doesn’t sound like much fun. The whole point is to go a thousand miles an hour around hairpin corners, and where can you do that? There are lots of back roads in Oregon and once you get a hundred or so miles away from Portland and the I-5 corridor, traffic drops to nil.

There are a few folks who actually have daily drivers in this class, but most supercars, it seems to me, get trotted out as weekend toys, and the most logical reason for this, I think, comes from a California owner of a ’96 Ferrari F355 Berlinetta, interviewed for a Car and Driver feature in the March issue:

Set aside $5000 a year for maintenance and you should be fine. Some years you’ll skate by with $1500; other years it’s $6500.

The Ferrari guy, incidentally, has 23,800 miles on his F355. A thousand miles a year, and five bucks a mile to take care of it. If you’re that bucks-up, more power to you. If you’re not — say, if you’re a 14-year-old with gauzy dreams of speed — you might want to adjust your aspirations downward.

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Either oar

Apocryphal picture of Shit CreekThe paddle dealer portrayed here is probably enhanced by Photoshop — what isn’t these days? — but there is, in fact, a television series called Schitt’s Creek:

The series stars Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara as Johnny and Moira Rose, a wealthy couple who are forced, after losing all their money, to rebuild their lives in their only remaining asset: the small town of Schitt’s Creek, which they once purchased as a joke.

Even more à propos, Chris Elliott is in this show, playing a descendant of the original Schitts.

And apparently the phrase “shit creek” is old enough to have this sort of history, as Nancy Friedman reports:

Shit creek or shit’s creek (“an unpleasant situation or awkward predicament”) is no shitty-come-lately, according to the OED. “Up shit creek” first appeared in print in 1868 in no less august a publication than the Annual Reports of the (U.S.) Secretary of War: “Our men put old Lincoln up Shit creek, and we’ll put old Dill up.”

Who knew? But this is the part that gets me. From that Wikipedia piece:

Schitt’s Creek is a Canadian television sitcom which premiered on CBC Television on January 13, 2015… On January 12, 2015, CBC renewed the show for a second season.

Renewed the day before first airing! Now that’s confidence. (In the States, Schitt’s Creek debuted Tuesday on Pop, which used to be TVGN.)

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Certification blues

I love this. Robert P. Murphy, on whether professionals really, truly need to be licensed by government:

It is a paradox of our age that the interventionists think the public is too stupid to consult Angie’s List before hiring a lawyer, and so they need politicians to weed out the really bad ones by requiring law licenses. Yet, who determines whether a person (often a lawyer!) is qualified to become a politician? Why, the same group of citizens who were too stupid to pick their own lawyers.

Then again, the amount of faith I have in the public of late — look at the yutzim they keep voting for! — suggests that we might not want to go totally laissez-faire all at once.

(Via Coyote Blog.)

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Bheer

When I was a bit younger and no less inclined to spout off, albeit at slower speeds — 300 bps sounds horrible, looks worse — I dealt with the concept of bheer, which was beer with a time value: it was actually present and therefore consumable. (“Beer here,” they explained.) Three decades or so later, while I’ve dealt with craft brews brewed by crafty individuals in places almost all over the map, I’ve still paid only one visit to an old-fashioned macrobrewer, and that was in 1972. You’re familiar with them, I’m sure:

In St. Louis, Anheuser-Busch was never Anheuser-Busch; it was always The Brewery. The Brewery was the reason why the Cardinals still play here. The previous ownership was all set to sell the team to a group which would have moved the Birds to Dallas until The Brewery bought the team, finally convincing owner Bill Veeck that his St. Louis Browns were doomed in this town.

When I played church softball, we took turns bringing the beer. And the only beer that we were allowed bring was AB; nothing else. Granted, none of us were beer konna-sewers back then. Post church-softball beer had one purpose, only one and taste didn’t figure in.

I had turned 18 in 1971, so I was legal in those days. And I figured, hell, if I’m in St. Louis, I might as well drop in on the monolith on Pestalozzi Street. In my capacity as a serviceman on a day pass, I thought this was a swell idea, and so did my traveling companions of the moment.

We were offered Actual Samples; I did not admit that I could not easily distinguish between Bud and Michelob. Then again, I was one of the few teenagers who hadn’t been sneaking drinks all those years. (I paid for that inexperience over the next couple of years, finding tables over my head after desperate attempts to drink someone under them.) And they handed out actual samples of beechwood, with which Bud was famously aged. (More surface area for the yeast, apparently.)

It’s probably not so special today, though:

AB beer really wasn’t that good.

The only difference between Bud Light and club soda is alcohol; if you drink enough of the former, you can get drunk. And when InBev bought AB, The Brewery became just another Big, Multinational Corporation.

Still, that’s a lot of damned beer, even if none of it, for the moment, qualifies as bheer. And as for the St. Louis Browns, you know them today as the, um, Baltimore Orioles.

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PDA

When I was in school, back in the Old Silurian times, they hadn’t come up with the term “Public Display of Affection,” probably because we wouldn’t dare do such things in class. I remember the siblings discussing it, so it apparently filtered in during the 1970s. Truth be told, I’m not sure if my own negative reaction to the concept is based on some sort of devotion to order — or on sour grapes, inasmuch as I was never in a position to engage in such a thing myself.

Aw, heck, let’s put it as flatly as possible:

I’m not the prudiest prude who ever pruded, but seriously, it’s GROSS to be trying to teach and out of the corner of your eye see two people practically feeling each other up.

Especially two people who, if pressed, will argue that they’re actual adults despite their teenage-crush mutual fondle session.

And while I’ve seen “prude” turned into an adjective before, this is the first time I can remember seeing it verbed.

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We imperialists

This glorious land yacht has been James Lileks’ Bleat banner for this past week:

1961 Chrysler Imperial

This is almost certainly a 1961 model: the headlights are mounted on little stalks, one of Virgil Exner’s more precious ideas, and the Forward Look fins were carried over from the previous generation. (Mopars were finless starting in ’62.)

Imperial, it always seemed to me, was Chrysler’s red-headed stepchild, albeit with a perfect coif. Some years, such as ’61, Imperial was a separate make; before 1955 and after 1990, it was simply the top-line Chrysler. It never came close to upsetting Cadillac’s hold on the American luxoboat market in any of those years, though once or twice it did approach Lincolnesque numbers. In 1993, the brand was put to sleep, though Chrysler did paste an Imperial badge onto a 2007 concept car based on the 300, with a bling-to-horsepower ratio you wouldn’t want to calculate.

I don’t think they could sell a car called Imperial anymore, for fear someone would take the name as passive microaggression. Heck, I don’t remember seeing Imperial margarine lately. But this ’61 tank, fortified with Mopar’s 413 wedgehead V8, one of very few engines ever mentioned in a song, still has The Look.

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Young blood

I’d be lying if I said I never had thoughts like this — and the least you can do is let me fib a bit, right?

You’re maybe twenty-seven years old now and you’ve done nothing worth remembering or noting in your life besides food and travel. Your opinions on everything, such as they are, are sourced directly from your friends and/or Jon Stewart. At an age when our ancestors had already conquered nations or produced great art or invented world-changing ideas, you’re still figuring out who you are and what you’re going to do. You live in an overpriced apartment, you go to LA Fitness, you’re out of money at the end of the month, you have no clear recollection of most of your days.

And yet, you’re so beautiful. You’re like the most gorgeous and alluring woman I ever loved in college, but turned up two more notches, an AMG Black Series version of my favorite physiological features, constructed from the unstable isotopes of my deepest fantasies and presented to me on a thoroughly steam-covered phone screen, your tongue poking flirty between your saucy lips. I want to put you in the passenger seat of a Ferrari 458 Speciale and take you around VIR Full Course for ten laps before dragging you into the women’s restroom and bruising the front of your hipbones on a sink. I want to run into the ocean holding your hand and float on the six-foot waves with you while we laugh like children sharing a secret. I want to wake up next to you twenty years from now, startled by our mutual favorite ringtone because our son is calling home from his first week at Yale.

Except that I know it wouldn’t be like that.

Of course it wouldn’t.

What’s most remarkable about this, I think, is the time it takes to concoct a fantasy at this level: 400, maybe 500 milliseconds for it to be conceived, and then a couple of seconds for the narrative to unspool before the whole thing unravels in a whirlwind of 70 percent lust, 30 percent self-loathing. (Your percentage may vary.)

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Apocalypse soonish

Um, okay:

Revelation 17:10 (New International Version):

They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for only a little while.

Unless we’re using Galactic Standard Time or something, this would seem to eliminate the President, who’s remained for six years already and surely isn’t going anywhere in the next two no matter what noises emanate from the GOP.

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The worst unlaid plans

It’s like, how much more blue could this guy’s nads be? And the answer is none. None more blue:

You all probably have a lot of questions and in an ideal world I would be able to answer them all. However the risks involved in providing a “Q&A session” before death is clearly too high as the medical profession always values “quantity of life” over “quality of life.” It appears that the prevailing ethos is to keep individuals in a state of continual suffering rather than allow an individual choose to die. Hence the huge resistance to euthanasia.

The reason for my death is simple. I have concluded that in the realm of dating and relationships the primary characteristics required for men are as follows.

  • Height: above 5ft10
  • Race: huge bias towards caucasian and black
  • Wealth: or other manifestation of power

From my observations and research it appears that you need two of the three criteria for success with very few exceptions. What does this mean it means that it’s “game over” for me. By choosing to depart early, all I am doing is to accelerate the process of natural selection whilst saving myself a great deal of long term pain in the process.

A single evolutionary dead end does not constitute an acceleration of natural selection.

Still, I’m a quarter-century older than this chap is was, I manage two of the three criteria with relative ease — and by now we all know how amazingly successful I am with the babes.

After reading some of his, um, research, I am forced to conclude that most of his problems stemmed from being totally full of crap, which in my experience is not often a selling point.

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Spot on

We’ve put up enough bizarre TV-news captioning errors over the years to make us wonder if anyone even bothered to get the darn things correct anymore.

Assuming the guest’s name is right, the BBC evidently does:

Doesn’t have that deer-in-the-headlights look that you see on so many TV interviews, either.

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Folks, we got a live one

I just wonder if he’s ever seen Pete’s Dragon:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: How to intercept texts

If your immediate response is “Say what?” be assured that he “knows” what he’s talking about:

I’ve seen it in movies and I know it’s a real thing. I Really want to know how to intercept texts. I know you can download stuff online for it but I have a chrome book so I cant. My do have Linux though so does anyone know how to intercept texts from an iPhone. Please make it step by step

Emphasis added, though really it was hardly necessary.

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Fifty strings of text

I am legendarily impatient with my own fiction, which always seems to need emergency rewrites, but I can’t much argue with this premise either:

Amid the Fifty Shades of Grey movie hooplah maybe you’ve found yourself grumbling, “I could’ve written that book.” Sure, maybe, but it’s not just you — there’s a text generator out there right now that does a pretty damn near perfect impersonation of the series.

This is the generator. How does it work so freaking well? The programmer explains:

Fifty Shades is especially good for the reasons it seems to be loathed: like most romance, it’s predictable and repetitive, especially the love scenes, and it has a lot of literary quirks that convey authenticity. For example, Ana’s tendency to say “Holy shit!” and “Jeez,” Christian’s grey eyes, and Ana’s “inner goddess.”

You could definitely portray another small scene like this — say Cinderella with her sisters — but nothing larger. The reason my code is able to generate fairly believable text is that it’s so limited in scope. I was able to hand-tune the adjectives and phrases until it felt just right. That’s not possible at scale.

On the upside, if literary quirks really do convey authenticity, I might be able to pass off some of my stuff as memoir.

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What’s going on here?

Well, I’ll be doggone. If any singer deserves to be a verb, it’s Marvin Gaye, right?

How sweet it is. And it ain’t that peculiar at all, really.

(Via PopCrush.)

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The value of snark

This is the first time I’ve seen anyone attempting to quantify it:

As a number of news sites eliminate their comments sections altogether, Tablet, a daily online magazine of Jewish news and culture, is introducing a new policy charging its readers to comment on articles.

As of today, a reader visiting the nonprofit site that is otherwise paywall-free will have to pay at least $2 to leave a comment at the foot of any story. The move is not part of a plan to generate any significant revenue, but rather to try and change the tone of its comments section.

There are quantity discounts of a sort:

Tablet has set up commenting charges of $2 a day, $18 a month and $180 a year, because “the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal — and, often, anonymous — minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse),” editor in chief Alana Newhouse wrote.

Let us hope that most trolls are broke.

(Via Steve Sailer.)

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You gotta have Heart

Actress Heart Evangelista stands five foot two. I mention this because she played a dwarf on a Filipino TV series titled Dwarfina back in 2011. A promotional photo from the show:

Heart Evangelista as Dwarfina, 2011

We concede that Heart, born Love Marie Payawal Ongpauco on this very date thirty years ago, is Not Particularly Tall.

Not that this matters, really:

Heart Evangelista's 2013 Esquire cover

Back in ought-three, she cut an album called, natch, Heart. This is a track therefrom:

Very Eighties-looking video for some reason.

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You’re doing it right

Maybe. I wouldn’t know.

Herein, number-one grandson — 15 last November, this tall for at least four years now — has approached his ladylove bearing gifts: brownies, and a bear.

Nick Havlik and his girlfriend

She seems pleased.

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Over easier

For at least half my life, the powers that be, or that imagine they be, have been warning me about cholesterol, coursing through my body like liquid plutonium or something. I am somewhat pleased, yet still somewhat annoyed, that they’ve now admitted that they were just kidding:

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has taken cholesterol off the list of things that are automatically bad for you if you are an otherwise healthy person. Cholesterol, like just about anything already in our bodies or in our food, can cause you problems if you have too much of it already or if you consume too much of it, but isn’t necessarily the One Ring of Dietary Substances.

This was probably inevitable once they figured out that “good” cholesterol wasn’t all that good and “bad” cholesterol wasn’t all particularly bad, and neither of them, from my point of view anyway, were as bad as statins, which overlaid my entire structure with random weakness. (On the upside, statins gave me a great excuse to not drink grapefruit juice, as though I needed one.)

Still, the exasperating aspect of this is that there continues to be a Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee at all. And given current trends in corruption, I suspect there will someday be a Recommended Daily Allowance of Pepsi, or something equally implausible, because dollars were spent to support it.

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A model response

This fits the definition of “well played”:

Facebook screenshot involving Quba Islamic Institute

And then this happened:

Arson investigators from the Houston Fire Department are probing a blaze that destroyed a building at an Islamic institute in the city on Friday, officials said.

There has been no official determination yet of what caused the fire at the Quba Islamic Institute in the pre-dawn hours of Friday, fire officials said, adding no one was injured.

I’d hate to have been the pork donor in that Facebook screenshot; perhaps he’s been suddenly overwhelmed by guilt — or he’s hunkering down in his parents’ basement until the statute of limitations expires.

(Via @ArabSecularist.)

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Fifty grains of salt

Violet Blue tells you the things that Fifty Shades of Grey isn’t:

It’s not a BDSM novel. It’s “The Ultimate Guide” to revoking all the hard work sex-positive sex educators have done over the past 30 years to create a culture of informed consent around kink and keep people from sticking household objects up their asses. It’s not a romance. It’s a book about a rapey douchebag with borderline personality disorder who obsesses over an invertebrate whose insecurity should win her a Darwin Award. Instead of reading Fetish Sex, people are reading 50 Shades and sticking dangerous things up their butts. Instead of a sexy, relevant, redeeming film version of the book directed by Erika Lust or Anna at FrolicMe, we got another reminder that Hollywood and the mass book market for sexual content hasn’t quite grasped this whole internet fad.

Rather a lot of those links should be considered NSFW.

(Via Nudiarist.)

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Double whammy at least

“I don’t like spiders and snakes,” said the girl in Jim Stafford’s 1974 hit, “and that ain’t what it takes to love me.” I suspect she’d be even less impressed by a snake with its very own spider, kinda sorta:

In western Iran there lives an endangered snake that preys on birds and carries its own lure at the end of its tail. The Spider-tailed Horned Viper (Pseudocerastes urarachnoides) has an appendage that looks just like a spider. The rest of its body is camouflage colored, particularly the thin end of its tail leading to the “spider.”

And better yet, it acts like a spider [warning: 1.5MB animated GIF], enabling the snake to attract its prey, birds who see spiders and think “Lunchtime!”

It does not, however, attract girls, so far as I can tell.

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Gilded junk

Advertisers want your attention, and they’re going to get it — any way they possibly can.

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