Archive for June 2015

Flexless

I once described a zoning ordinance in Tulsa as “a plastic latch: it’s there, and it makes a satisfying click sound, but sooner or later you know it’s going to break.”

Nine years later, the plastic latch that opens and closes the sunglasses case on Gwendolyn’s headliner broke. It wasn’t fixable, of course, but amazingly, the entire case was available through Nissan’s parts bazaar for under $100, though not much under $100. The whole thing is held down by two bolts, or at least two things that look like bolts, but which have wide, shallow heads turnable by no tool I own: I’d have to hope Bruce Banner was in a bad mood, and then borrow his Allen wrench. “Screw this,” said I, and had the dealer deal with it at the next oil change.

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Never truly a blank space

Five years ago, there was already a Facebook page titled “All Taylor Swift Songs Sound The Same.” As I drift further into Swiftiedom, I am forced to confront the reality of this assertion, and sometimes the confrontation is seriously dramatic.

Behold, then, “We Are Never Ever Getting Bad Blood”:

There exists a “Back to December Fifteen,” but it’s not so great.

(Via HelloGiggles.)

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What’s more, he’s never rained out

If you were ever impressed by mere switch-hitters, this should absolutely astound you:

The uniform design used by the A’s evidently conceals his gills.

(Via Darleen Click.)

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Endured, the browser wars have

And there is no peace on the horizon:

I just encountered my second major piece of software used by Bank of America for my business accounts that will only work with Internet Explorer and most definitely will not work with Chrome. Their ACH/Treasury/Direct Payments system has to run on Internet Explorer (only) and now I find their secure email system that sends me all my merchant account notices does not work on Chrome and only works on IE.

To say nothing of Firefox. (Come to think of it, he did say nothing of Firefox.)

Then again, it could be worse:

I am just waiting for the moment that a Bank of America tech support person tells me I have to use Netscape.

The most recent stable release of Netscape was 4.8, appearing in the summer of 2002. Probably too cutting-edge for the likes of BofA.

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No future for you: priceless

WFMU headlined it this way, and I can’t possibly top that:

But why? The bank’s director of cards explains:

“In launching these cards, we wanted to celebrate Virgin’s heritage and difference. The Sex Pistols challenged convention and the established ways of thinking — just as we are doing today in our quest to shake up UK banking.”

Not too anarchist, one assumes: the cards carry an interest rate of 18.9 percent.

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The usual gang of gearheads

Mad magazine has always poked fun at other periodicals, though issue #534 (August) contains, if I’ve counted correctly, the first — and second! — shots at Car and Driver.

Seriously. In the Fundalini Pages, up front, Jeff Kruse lists five phrases you’ll never see in a C/D review; five pages later, in a parody of the Showtime TV series Ray Donovan, Ray’s “difficult, premium-cable-channel wife” Crabby is reading a copy of Cah and Drivah (Bahsten Edition). (Which now makes me wonder how Beantown ever dealt with former C/D eminence Csaba Csere, who got his engineering degree from MIT.)

Still, I figure in a couple of months, there will be some C/D review which contains the phrase “It hugs the road like a deranged pervert who gets turned on by asphalt,” and there will be no explanation — in which case, I told you so.

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Somewhere between Bel Air and Fairlane

One day in the early 1990s, I was standing in a shopping-mall parking lot, failing to get Deirdre, my ’84 Mercury Cougar, started. As I glared at the vast underhood space only marginally filled by the crummy Ford Essex V6 of the era — “central fuel injection” (meaning they stuck a single injector in the same old carburetor-era intake) and a pathetic 120 hp — a couple of Chevrolet fans yelled a few mocking phrases at me. I shrugged and went back to persuading Deirdre to stir, which she eventually did.

So I’m at least somewhat sensitive to this issue:

As a child, I was told that it was impolite to mention religion or politics at the dinner table, because such discussions tended to elicit irreconcilable differences between guests who would otherwise be perfectly compatible. Many years later, as an itinerant observer of the Midwestern street racing scene, I learned that there was a dinner topic that combined the worst aspects of religiosity and partisanship in its prospective combatants, and that topic was known to all and sundry as “Ford vs. Chevy.” It’s the third rail of car-guy discourse, and you’ll touch it at your peril. People take this stuff seriously; the bowtie and the blue oval were common tattoos back in the days before every size-12 Millennial female womens-studies graduate and her bewildered, low-testosterone life partner routinely got full ink sleeves as a way to ensure that they were exactly as different as everyone else.

Did you ever notice that all those non-conformists look alike?

For what it’s worth, while I was married, we bought one car: a Chevrolet. Once we split up, she became an ardent Ford fan. (Drives a Five Hundred these days.) Me, I’m in some overwrought Nissan. And for the benefit of any Coke vs. Pepsi warriors: I have five liters (about 302 cubic inches) of Royal Crown Cola in the fridge.

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Well, it wasn’t ME

If you’ve ever suspected that “infotainment” systems for your car were lagging a bit behind the stuff on your desktop or on your phone, your suspicions have just been justified:

This would be amusing if (1) Oldsmobile still existed and (2) they were still building Vista Cruiser wagons.

Now: is this a reflection of how the actual hardware works, or did this guy format that USB stick on a Vista machine back in the Pleistocene era?

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Another rainfall record has fallen

And this one was pretty dramatic, maybe:

It didn’t take much rain to set a record in Phoenix.

The National Weather Service said Friday the 0.03 inch of rain recorded at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport by 4 p.m. was the largest amount for June 5.

This breaks the old record of, well, nothing:

Meteorologist Chris Kuhlman said that it had never officially rained in the desert city on this date.

“So far we had not anticipated that June would be a wet month, it almost never rains in the month of June in Phoenix,” Kuhlman said.

June average, says Wikipedia, is a feeble 0.02 inch. For the whole month. In July and August, it jumps to just over an inch per month, as monsoon season kicks in.

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Fees less simple

About five years ago, American Express, about the last people on earth you’d expect to do such a thing, introduced a refillable debit card with no monthly fee. I saw this as a reasonable way to stash away a few bucks, and got one.

More recently, Amex introduced a new card with just about all the bennies of a “real” Amex card, called Serve. Users of the old card have not migrated en masse to the new one, perhaps because it costs a buck a month, unless you load it via direct deposit or otherwise stash $500 in your account. (The $1 fee does not apply in three states.) So Amex stopped accepting applications for the old card last year. I decided I’d switch, but only when the time was right.

Well, the time is now right: Amex is imposing a $4.95 monthly fee on the old card, starting this fall. I’ve ordered the Serve, and I’ll report on anything weird that happens.

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March’s child is weak of heart

Or so this study would have you believe:

A new algorithm developed by scientists at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) supports previously reported associations between a person’s birth month and overall disease risk, including 16 new links that include nine types of heart disease. The study was published in the Journal of American Medical Informatics Association.

Prior studies have suggested a relationship between individual diseases (such as asthma and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD]) and birth season, but this is the first large-scale study to compare rates of 1,688 diseases and the birth dates and medical histories of 1.7 million patients treated at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/CUMC from 1985–2013. More than 1,600 associations were eliminated and 39 previously reported links were confirmed, along with 16 new associations that included nine types of heart disease; risk of atrial fibrillation, congestive heart failure, and mitrial valve disorder was highest in those born in March. Previously, a study on Austrian and Danish patient records found that those born in months with higher heart disease rates (March through June) had earlier mortality rates.

You don’t think conception in the summertime (June through September) might have had something to do with it, do you?

Asthma risk was greatest among those born in July and October babies; this is consistent with an earlier Danish study in which the peak risk was in the months when Denmark’s sunlight levels are similar to New York’s in the July and October period (May and August). Data on ADHD matched those from a Swedish study suggesting that one in 675 ADHD diagnoses are for those born in November.

And if November children were more susceptible to ADHD, wouldn’t you expect at least one, or more, in twelve diagnoses? (Hey, look, a squirrel!)

Just the sheer number of potential ailments is enough to give Bill Quick reason to question the results:

The first red flag is the number of diseases used in the study — 1,688. I suspect that some correlations are inevitable with that large a number, whether there is any actual causal connection at all.

There’s always the astrological connection, and we all know how well that works.

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Maybe they’ll give him a pen

Fiat Chrysler chair Sergio Marchionne is keen to find a merger partner, even if it’s General Motors:

The search, which is coming up blank thus far, is the latest in the CEO’s attempt to find a happy ending for his increasingly desperate romantic tragicomedy film, fearing excess production and duplicate costs in engineering, R&D et al threaten future profitability of the overall industry.

For now, though, FCA’s low profit margins do not make for a good partner with stronger players, while Marchionne’s dealings with GM leave much to be desired. In 2005, he convinced the Detroit automaker to pay $2 billion to not buy Fiat — in hospice care by then — a move which also dissolved a five-year-old partnership to produce engines and transmissions together.

If it’s worth $2 billion not to buy Fiat, what’s it worth not to buy Fiat and Chrysler as a unit?

More recently, Marchionne attempted to woo GM back with an email to CEO Mary Barra suggesting as much. The automaker is transitioning its lineup to global architectures and can build said lineup on a broader scale than FCA. GM is also undergoing an internal consolidation to further boost profits, a plan Barra and others in management won’t allow to be derailed by outside distractions like Marchionne holding up a boombox in front of the RenCen playing Peter Gabriel, hoping GM will say anything but no.

Sooner or later the accountants are going to come for Sergio and ask why he stayed so long with an operation that is clearly not a growth enterprise.

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Suddenly we love them

Neatorama had a piece on Largely Forgotten British Invasion acts, and while I recall them all, some of them have done more, in my humble opinion, to earn a space on my record shelf than others. Here’s a story of one such:

On January 1, 1962, Decca Records auditioned two similar bands: the Tremeloes and the Beatles. Decca signed the Tremeloes, mainly because they were from London (unlike the Liverpudlian Beatles), which would make it easier to book them for concerts and TV appearances, all of which taped in London. The band couldn’t gain much of a toehold and would forever be compared to the Beatles, in part because one of their first singles was a cover version of the Isley Brothers’ “Twist and Shout,” which the Beatles had covered a few months earlier.

On the other hand, “Twist and Shout” wasn’t scheduled as a single release, so the Trems got on the British charts first. Other covers followed, and eventually lead singer Brian Poole decided to go solo. The Trems switched from Decca to CBS and started scoring American hits, including this hyper-bouncy Cat Stevens cover:

This might have been the most upbeat song about depression ever recorded; there’s almost enough percussion here for Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich. (This is not quite the 45 version, which fades later and lacks the extended intro — but it’s the same length.)

“Here Comes My Baby” made it to #13 in Billboard. (None of the Brian Poole tracks made it beyond #97.) The next waxing, a cover of the 4 Seasons’ “Silence Is Golden,” just missed the Top Ten. The goofy “Even the Bad Times Are Good” crept into the Top 40, and that was it for 1967. There was one last gasp before oblivion set in, the first of three consecutive Riccardo Del Turco covers:

(Oh, and DDBM&T? They once worked a bullwhip into an arrangment.)

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Haunted, dead or alive

The problem with sticking to a format:

I guess it’s important to know that Sir Christopher died in real time.

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Earth-shattering news

Six Democrats and a single Republican hope to become mayor of Akron, Ohio. The office has been in turmoil of late — two mayors have resigned in the past two weeks — so it seems that this fellow would be the obvious choice:

Natural Hunka Kaboom, an activist who lives in North Hill, was the first Democratic candidate to officially file. He told WAKR radio that, through dreams, a spiritual body told him that he was going to be the next mayor.

A regular speaker at council meetings, Kaboom made national news a few years ago when he left his duct-tape wrapped walking stick on the third floor of the city’s municipal building with his name, Kaboom, written on the side. The building was evacuated and a bomb squad was called.

What? Oh, no. Like it says, he’s not the Republican.

(Via Nancy Friedman.)

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Shining through

Even the deadest product is subject to reanimation at any time:

Note that Pepsi’s arch-rival did its own exhumation, however briefly:

Last year, Coke produced a small amount of its Surge soda exclusively for Amazon and the product sold out almost right away.

Had her budget permitted, Trini might have bought the entire shipment herself.

And you’ll notice Coca-Cola didn’t bother to revive Tab Clear, the official drink of bloggers.

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Sub-mechanical Turks

So this pops into the spam bin:

çok yakında sizlerle olmayı umut ediyoruz

It’s not often I get spam in Turkish. The URL being hawked is some security company, and God knows we get lots of spam from security companies of late, speaking all manner of languages, some of which vaguely resemble English. And this Turkish phrase translates as “We hope to be with you very soon” — maybe; since that was the whole of the message, I have no idea what the context would be except for the obvious one, which is “Try our service.”

Note: I have never claimed to be actually fluent in Turkish; historically, I admit to knowing no more than how to count to ten, and how to ask “Where is the toilet?”

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The truth is even farther out there

What would you call an X-Files/My Little Pony crossover?

Yeah, I thought so.

(Via The Daily Dot.)

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Ground control

“My neighborhood,” says Quinn Cummings on Instagram, “virtually defies satire”:

Earthing poster in Los Angeles County

Electrons as antioxidants. I don’t remember that from sophomore chemistry. (I did remember that when stuff is oxidized, it loses electrons, but you can’t just shove electrons back at it.) Maybe these free radicals are freer — or more radical — than usual.

Now I wonder if tinfoil is used.

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Defending the dumbphone

In my new post-austerity budget, I could very likely afford one of those fancy plastic slabs with a more-than-minimal data plan, maybe, but it’s not happening. I hasten to note that this non-event is hardly specific to me. Consider the case of Elisson’s dad:

It was difficult enough to convince him to get a cellphone for emergencies. He and his wife would make the round-trip drive to Florida every year, and eventually they allowed that yes, it would be prudent to be able to get in touch with someone just in case THEIR CAR, GAWD FORBID, WERE TO BREAK DOWN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FUCKING OKEFENOKEE SWAMP. So there was that.

But a smartphone? You know, like all the Kool Kidz are carrying around these days?

No Frickin’ Way.

Motivation for my first cell phone: emergency comms, if needed, along World Tour ’01.

But I haven’t gotten much beyond that yet:

What was it that made smartphones and computers such objects of Fear and Loathing?

I mean, aside from the fact that they suck all the data out of your house and bank account and feed it into giant enterprises run by the government, the Russian Mafia, and Amazon?

And if you work for the feds, add “and Chinese hackers” to the list.

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Hardware issues

This chap, I think, is perilously close to Unclear on the Concept:

A Kelowna, B.C. man is facing the possibility of two criminal charges for sunbathing naked at a city beach.

It all began a couple of weeks ago when Paul Moran was at Mushroom Beach with some friends.

After that, the explanation gets a bit, um, strange:

“As you know Mushroom Beach is quite a liberal beach in Kelowna and for men and women it’s more than acceptable to be topless.

“I saw the women going topless and I was inspired by the liberation that was being seen and felt as though I would love to take off my shorts, but too bad that’s not accepted.”

This implies that he was already topless himself — in which case he’d reached the same degree of liberation as had the women on the beach, right?

But “That’s Not Accepted” was on the way:

“One [officer] says ‘It’s time to put some shorts on. It’s against the law, you can’t do that here. We have to enforce the law and if you can’t cover yourself up then you have to come to the station with us.'”

The Fark headline on this story: Moran arrested for nude sunbathing. Amazing how that looks like, um, something else.

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Asphalty towers

The folks at Land Rover are seeking to establish the exact number of holes in Blackburn, Lancashire, or something:

Jaguar Land Rover is building an experimental Range Rover which can automatically spot and report potholes. The system is akin to one Volvo and Ericsson have been working on to spot icy patches on roads.

The Jaguar Land Rover system uses the MagneRide suspension already offered on the Evoque and Discovery Sport.

It records the severity of potholes, broken drains and manhole covers, and then writes a letter in green ink to the local council sends this data in real-time via a server to other vehicles and road authorities to help them prioritise repairs.

If it records said irregularities fast enough, it might even be able to tweak the vehicle’s suspension settings before hitting the hole. (A suitably equipped Mercedes-Benz can do this, but it can’t share the information. Yet.) And God forbid they should turn this sort of thing loose on Oklahoma City’s cracked-crockery corridors.

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Three so excited

High-school graduate Rebecca Black with a couple of besties:

Rebecca Black in cap and gown

She turns eighteen a week from Sunday. What happens now? Probably something like this.

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Pictures to burn

Within a few minutes of each other, these Twitter notifications appeared:

Taylor Swift wannabes

As Swift herself might have said: “Fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake.”

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Two bucks chucked

I am seldom happy to see something from the Oklahoma Tax Commission in the day’s mail, especially since the one thing I can expect from them in June — the card for this year’s vehicle registration — showed up promptly on the first.

I slit open the envelope. and there it was: the green debit MasterCard the state uses to dispense income-tax refunds. Well, okay, fine, but I wasn’t anticipating a tax refund; in fact, I sent them a check for a sum in three figures back in the spring.

Perplexed, I dialed up the inevitable 800 number and went through the entire activation sequence. Apparently on Monday the state decided to credit me with $2.00. I don’t know why; I didn’t make any computational errors on my return. The Tax Commission’s Web page was down yesterday for maintenance and supposedly hasn’t been modified since late May, so I’m betting a finger on some unsteady hand pressed the wrong button and sent out several thousand of these to unsuspecting taxpayers, and no one has figured it out yet.

In the meantime, I have $2 on this card. I think maybe I’ll buy a couple of non-current MP3s with it.

Update, 21 June: I spent it on this eight-minute track:

I’m thinking a companion piece to FGTH’s Two Tribes.

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The price of speed

I was going back through that 60th Anniversary issue of Car and DriverTam’s been reading it as long as I have, and probably with better comprehension — when I lasered in on the data sheet from a 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing. Some of the important stuff:

Engine: SOHC 12-valve inline-six, 183 cu in (2996 cc)
Power: 220 hp @ 6100 rpm
Torque: 203 lb-ft @ 4600 rpm
0-60 mph: 7.7 seconds
Quarter mile: 15.9 seconds (no trap speed given)

Damned impressive for the times. I then dialed forward 43 years and change for this data sheet:

Engine: DOHC 24-valve V6, 182 cu in (2988 cc)
Power: 227 hp @ 6400 rpm
Torque: 217 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
0-60 mph: 8.3 seconds
Quarter mile: 16.4 seconds @ 87 mph

This latter buggy, of course, is my current daily driver, now about to turn Sweet Sixteen. The numbers are not so different, though C/D complained at the time that in their opinion, their tester with 890 miles on the clock was not making full power. Having done zero-to-sixty in the high sevens with a lot more miles, I tend to agree. (This chap did it in 7.1 with the malf light on, which is perhaps more impressive.)

If you’re wondering how much progress had been made in lo, those many years, consider the following. The sticker on the Benz was $8897, or about four Chevrolets of the time; Infiniti asked $31,700 for my car, about two ’00 Chevy Impalas after the usual incentives. And in the decade and a half since my I30 left Japan, those specs have become, well, mundane: today’s V6 Accord will roast my chestnuts without even breathing hard. I conclude that we have some truly marvelous machines to come, assuming the government doesn’t fark things up any worse than they already have.

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Away from the news cycle

Fox News Channel has a series called Outnumbered, in which some poor male shlub is parked on the middle of a very long sofa and bombarded with questions by four News Babes with legs to die for. I submit that this has some entertainment value even with the sound off, which I have long contended is the only way to watch cable news channels anyway.

One of the Outnumbered regulars is Jedediah Bila, and while she’s, um, highly presentable on that show — I know this because someone tweets a picture from the show every day it airs — I’m getting to where I prefer her offstage work, a lot of which she sends up through her Instagram account. A few samples:

Jedediah Bila reads

Jedediah Bila at the gym

Jedediah Bila takes it easy

She also is willing to engage on Twitter, unlike some sorta-celebrity types.

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Pining for the Zambezi

The Zimbabwean dollar is dead. Not resting, dead:

Zimbabwe is phasing out its local currency, the central bank says, formalising a multi-currency system introduced during hyper-inflation.

Foreign currencies like the US dollar and South African rand have been used for most transactions since 2009.

Local dollars are not used except high-denomination notes sold as souvenirs.

And this is the final exchange rate before it rings down the curtain and joins the Choir Invisible:

From Monday, Zimbabweans can exchange bank accounts of up to 175 quadrillion (175,000,000,000,000,000) Zimbabwean dollars for five US dollars.

Higher balances will be exchanged at a rate of Z$35 quadrillion to US$1.

This is still chump change — or, I guess, the inverse of chump change — next to the post-World War II megahypersuperinflation of the Hungarian pengő, which was killed off in 1946 and replaced with the forint, deemed to be worth 460 octillion pengő.

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While reservoirs go bare

One of the weirder outcroppings of the California drought:

The owners of a Bay Area nudist resort have been charged with stealing water during the state’s historic drought.

Seventy-seven-year old Glyn Stout and his wife 53-year-old Lori Kay Stout, co-owners of Lupin Lodge, were charged Friday with felony conspiracy to commit trespassing for the purpose of injuring a property right. Officials say they repeatedly diverted water from a section of a local creek that they did not own, according to a statement from the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office.

The creek apparently is under the jurisdiction of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District.

The resort’s owners have said they are entitled to use the waterfall, which they need to keep their water tank full in case of a fire and to top off their pool for both skinny-dipping and as a backup water source for a fire.

There are also a number of misdemeanor charges pending against the Stouts and two of their employees.

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Misperception

At times, mine eyes, and maybe other organs as well, doth deceive me, and I have to assume it’s my own damn fault.

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Beyond the window of acceptability

Somewhere there must exist a correspondence course which local officials must pass in order to get certified as — well, hell, when things like this happen you figure they’re all certifiable anyway:

A police officer in Overton, Texas, told two elementary-aged sisters that they couldn’t sell lemonade without a permit. The police chief is very clear: The police officer did not shut down the girls’ lemonade stand, which they were using to make money to buy passes to a splash park for themselves and their dad for Father’s Day. The officer only told them that they couldn’t sell the lemonade unless they got what the city of Overton calls a “peddlers’ permit.”

Which invites several questions, mostly along these lines:

My question to the Overton law enforcement representative who acquainted the girls with the wonders of the modern regulatory state is to describe exactly what circumstances he envisioned that would make this move look good in the eyes of everyone who learned about it. Seriously, dude. What alternative world did you dream up in which a police department that makes little kids get permits to sell lemonade comes out on top? Were the kids named Lecter? Were they chanting Latin in reverse and laughing maniacally as they hand-squeezed the lemons and promised customers, “You’re next, human scum!” Did they intone, “Winter is coming!” and chop the head from a Sean Bean doll?

And once you learned they were raising money to buy passes to a splash park for a trip with their dad for Father’s Day? Their father who’s an oil field worker and who’s away from home for a few weeks at a time? What happened to the part of your brain that should have told you, “STOP DIGGING! BUY A GLASS AND GET IN YOUR SQUAD CAR AND ZOOM OFF!”

That part, you have to assume, has long since been pushed to the sidelines — assuming it was ever on the playing field to begin with.

And it can’t be public-health considerations, because Overton doesn’t have any problem with giving the stuff away.

Oh, well. The two girls learned a valuable lesson here: government is just another word for people who want to do things to you.

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Outta there

The Lion of the Blogosphere predicts doom for his former employer:

There is absolutely no one there who can adequately replace what I was doing, and this is a combination of the fact that I’ve been there for eight years and know more about the expected behavior of the website front-end I worked on than anyone else in the company, plus the fact that the business unit I worked in (which is not IT, although I started there in IT) is really bad at hiring smart people.

Of course the company is not going to go out of business without me. They are a monopoly, and a website that gradually becomes crappier over time is not going to change that. After a time, they will probably bring in an expensive consulting firm and spend two or three million dollars to fix the problems created by my absence.

Wait, what? No. Of course not. The only Web site front-ends I work on are those I own.

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Lost count

Monica Lewis was thirty when she did this number for an indifferent MGM musical in 1952. There are three things you ought to know about her:

  • For a couple of years she was married to record producer Bob Thiele, who at the time was running the Signature Records label.
  • She was the voice of the animated Chiquita Banana, who warned you not to put bananas in the fridge. (I never have.)
  • She did advertising for Burlington, a major hosiery manufacturer, and justifiably so.

Monica Lewis shows some gam

And you may not need to know this: Monica Lewis, who died Friday at her home in Woodland Hills, California, was my oldest Twitter follower. She was 93.

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Strange search-engine queries (489)

If you’re just joining us — which is not entirely impossible, since we’ve had a smidgen of traffic growth of late — this weekly feature is intended to illustrate a range of search strings received at this site, from weird to really weird.

what kind of sexualized:  I dunno. What’ve ya got?

mia has lived in new york city all her life. she has noticed that people from upper manhattan walk really fast:  They’re afraid they’ll miss the train.

a young woman who formerly had a fairly high sex drive:  Look, I said I was sorry. What more do you want?

adam wrote a check for $38 to pay his monthly gas bill:  Must have been summer.

whats third base with a guy:  Having the gas bill paid.

jane says her cousin is “big boned” instead of saying she’s overweight:   Never mind that. What does Jane say about Rachel Dolezal?

white dora the explorer:  Doesn’t sell as well as more vibrant varieties.

last supper beer:  Peter insisted on Rolling Rock for some reason.

wrong turn 3:  The first one was interesting, the second one a little more focused; but in this third outing director Alan Smithee is clearly off his game.

sophia is in the fifth grade and lives in one of the most impoverished areas in the state. she has a history of academic failure:  But she will rise above these obstacles and take her place among the legions of mid-level bureaucrats who take two hours for lunch.

11 year old bra:  It still fits!

real women don’t date arsenal fans:  We’re sorry. This is the United States of America. We pay no attention to that soccer stuff.

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Little Jimmy Brown

It had to be, of course:

Fifty-six years after “The Three Bells,” Jim Ed Brown passed away. He was 81.

Sisters Bonnie and Maxine — Jim was the middle child — are still living but have long since retired. The Browns are being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame this fall, but Hall officers visited Jim Ed in the hospital earlier this month to let him know and to present him with a medallion.

This was Jim Ed’s last single, recorded in 2013:

Produced by Bobby Bare, himself a Hall of Fame member.

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Not ready for fringe time

Bill Quick has been dealing with the pre-release versions of Windows 10, and if you ask him, they aren’t ready for mass distribution yet:

Currently, on the [MS Surface Pro 3], I’ve got a “hardware update” that constantly installs itself “successfully,” then forgets that it has done so, and reinstalls itself, requiring a reboot each time. This is a bug known for more than three weeks, but it remains unfixed.

Several Metro Apps (apps designed for Windows tablets in the same way that iOS apps are designed to run on Apple tablets) either don’t run at all, or open in broken condition — including the People app, which is home base for contacts, and linkage to various address books, and messages from Twitter, FB, and so on.

The current build, released several weeks ago, wouldn’t install on SP3 at all until they fixed a bug it took them two more weeks to exterminate.

And the list goes on and on. Quick remains undaunted, though:

I’m able to use both machines as production machines, and I’ve been doing so. And I do really like Windows 10 overall, especially the Continuum feature, and the consistency across all platforms from phones to desktop machines.

But is it going to be ready for release to people who want an OS that “just works?”

Not a hope in hell, is what I think.

It’s not like Microsoft has never, ever missed a ship date. If it takes longer than six weeks more to swat the known bugs, then it takes longer. The world will go on turning.

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From the very depths

After several years of wry but (mostly) cheerful breakup songs from tall blondes, I suppose it was time I went as far in the other direction as is humanly possible:

For lack of a better description, this is grief personified. And towards the end, she does what she must: she puts herself as far away from the source as possible.

If I’ve ever done this to you, can you ever forgive me? (The answer, of course, is No.)

(Via Sheila O’Malley.)

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The main disdain falls plainly on the mane

So this was a thing:

And this was the context which goes with that thing.

I decided to go in a different direction:

You’ll note that at no time did I have to explain it, of course.

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Inflation gone undetected

About 2006, the woman who’d been doing my hair for the past several years took off for points unknown, and inasmuch as it was a ten-mile-plus drive to the shop where she was working — for a while she’d had her own shop — I started looking for a new shop, and eventually found myself going to a unisex shop on the northwest side. By no coincidence, this was the same shop Trini was using. The tab was $14; I handed the guy a twenty and said “Swap you one of these for a one.”

Eventually, reasoning that the price had surely gone up, I simply handed him a twenty and let it go at that. And this worked just fine until this past weekend, when I popped open the billfold and said, “You know, I have no idea what this actually costs anymore.”

“Eighteen dollars,” he said.

I reached for another bill, but he bade me close up the wallet. “You’re fine,” he said. “See you in a few weeks.”

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What a re-Leaf it is

A spent battery pack from a Nissan Leaf isn’t dead: while it may not have enough juice left to move a ton and a half of electric car, it’s still a viable storage device, which explains this scheme:

Instead of building fresh batteries for commercial stationary applications, Nissan will instead reuse lithium-ion batteries from the LEAF with partner Green Charge Networks.

The first application “will be installed at a Nissan facility this summer, where multiple Nissan LEAF batteries will be configured to offset peak electricity demand,” said Nissan.

Your air conditioner is already smiling, right?

“A lithium-ion battery from a Nissan LEAF still holds a great deal of value as energy storage, even after it is removed from the vehicle, so Nissan expects to be able to reuse a majority of LEAF battery packs in non-automotive applications,” said Brad Smith, director of Nissan’s 4R Energy business.

Which is better than pitching them into whatever other post-automotive hell exists.

The battery pack, new, is good for 24 kWh; Nissan considers it usable for automotive purposes if 75 percent is available. So recently-culled battery packs should be just below 18 kWh or so, which is a fair amount of juice.

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