Archive for December 2015

Saddle be the day

If this description is anywhere near accurate, we need to turn all our Axe jokes up to eleven. In fact, make that thirteen:

Translated, literally, as “skin of the beast”, Peau De Bête aims to capture, of all things, the animalic smell of horse sweat. The press blurb, with descriptions of hands brushing against hot, still damp horse necks, is positively Equus. “A hot, enveloping and sensual fragrance through its fusion of animal and human,” it says. Imagine riding through the forest, bareback, possibly butt naked and you’re three quarters there.

It’s not all about horse though. If you’re wondering what the “human” bit of the fragrance is, well — and there’s no polite way to put this — it’s pretty much the unmistakable smell of man bits (“ball musk” if you will), an odour recognisable to all men (and plenty of women) and one whose “attractiveness” divides opinion even more than current series of the X Factor.

But you’re still not there yet:

If that wasn’t enough, it also features an ingredient called skatole. Don’t know skatole that is? Well, you’re probably more familiar with it than you realise because it’s the molecule which gives faeces its characteristic smell.

“What’s brown and sounds like a bell?”

They’re asking £230 for this, um, stuff. And I suppose it could be worse:

[I]f you’re not impressed by horse sweat and man-musk, there’s always the notorious Sécrétions Magnifiques by Etat Libre d’Orange: that smells of blood, sweat and semen. But that’s a whole different ball game.

Though possibly the same, um, ball.

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man, definitely not interested.)

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At least HAL has a job

Assuming, of course, that General Motors can build this particular structure:

General Motors this month filed a patent application for a navigation system that can gauge how effective it is in frustrating guiding drivers based on their eye movements and how well those drivers follow directions.

The patent application filed Dec. 3 details a navigation system that watches “visual focus, the driver vocalizations and the driver emotions, along with vehicle system parameters from a data bus … to evaluate driver satisfaction with navigation guidance and determine driver behavior.”

Ideally, this should improve the performance of the nav system. But what’s more likely to happen is this:

The patent application also details a location-based “promotional offers for businesses near a destination or route of the driver,” to offer you a cookie at a nearby Arby’s to forget that it ever got you lost in the first place.

You do this to me, OnStar, and you’ll get more than eye movements, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

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Do not feed the Bears

The Grizzlies had basically one thing going for them tonight: Mario Chalmers, who scored 29 the last time these two teams met and led Memphis this time with 19. Other than that, it was an all-Thunder display: up three after the first quarter, up 12 at the half, up 35 after three, and by then empty seats were appearing at the FedEx. Lest he be accused of running up the score, Billy Donovan then put Kyle Singler in. (Okay, I stole that from Clark Matthews.) That putative lapse aside, the Thunder could do no wrong: third-string point guard Cameron Payne, a Memphis hometown hero, came on halfway through the fourth quarter and promptly sank a trey. At the last timeout, inside the two-minute mark, it was still a 35-point lead, and the final was a sort of embarrassing 125-88.

Once again, OKC played mostly small ball: Steven Adams and Enes Kanter got fewer than 30 minutes between them. Batman and Robin retired gracefully after the third quarter, with Kevin Durant producing 32 points and 10 rebounds, and Russell Westbrook serving up 16 assists to go with 13 points. (Payne claimed a new career high, with, um, five, and Singler knocked down a bucket somewhere.) The Griz had a rough time of it generally, with Mike Conley scoreless and Marc Gasol appearing to mess up his left leg at least twice. Dave Joerger, understandably — this was the first half of a back-to-back for Memphis — put most of the burden on the reserves, and they collected 52 points for him.

For the Thunder, the schedule gets even weirder for a moment: home for a rematch with the Hawks on Thursday, off to Utah to play the Jazz on Friday, and then back home on Sunday against those same Jazz. (“That” same Jazz? Whatever.) Next week: the Trail Blazers, the Cavaliers (in Cleveland), and the Lakers.

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Turning a prophet

The editor/publisher of The Federalist gets an eyeful in his email:

There’s no reason on earth, of course, why the Messiah can’t be Canadian, but a trip through Moorman’s Facebook page turns up several iterations of this paragraph:

This is The Revelation of Jesus Christ 1:1. A masterpiece in symbolic writing about the birth of the Second Coming of Christ Luke Oviedo and his twin sister Katherine Moorman on June 22, 2006. The Revelation occurring 49 days after their 3rd birthdates on August 10, 2009 in Costa Rica and 8 days after the 2nd birthdate of Lucas Tse born August 2, 2007 who is John The Baptist. August, 10, 2009 the rape and murder of a woman at an event attended to by Jan Hommen and The Group. I am a 3 telepath, 6 6 6 a Walking with God human. 3+1 proves God exists.

The Vatican and Catholic Church are compromised in Revelation

Never you mind how Lindsay Lohan fits into this.

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Different angle of approach

Received in the mailbox yesterday:

Dear Customer

Your invoice appears below. Please remit payment at your earliest convenience.

Thank you for your business – we appreciate it very much.

Edith Dejesus Courier Service

By “below,” they mean “inside this ZIP file,” and when I looked inside that ZIP file I saw a lone .js file.

O disfrabjous day! Now they’re sending out JavaScripts to wreck your computers and your lives.

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Oh, sure, blame the booze

Several bad choices seem to have affected this outcome:

A naked man accused of driving 110 mph across Alligator Alley with three female passengers was arrested Saturday afternoon on a DUI charge, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.

Around 3 p.m., authorities began receiving calls of a Cadillac driving recklessly, on and off the road, near the middle of Alligator Alley, according to an arrest report. About 10 minutes later, an FHP trooper spotted the car as it traveled west toward the Naples area.

First problem: if you’re at the wheel and your clothing is somewhere else, your first order of business is to avoid attracting the attention of the police. Driving 110 in a 70 zone does not meet this standard.

The trooper stopped the car. He noticed the driver had no shirt on and an open 12-pack of Corona beer between the driver’s seat and the front passenger seat, reports said. He asked the driver, Noe Dejesus, 33, to step out of the car.

When Dejesus opened the door, the trooper saw he was naked, reports said.

Dejesus smelled of alcohol, slurred his speech and had bloodshot eyes, reports said. When he stepped out of the vehicle to put his pants on, he stumbled and nearly fell. Inside the car the trooper found several empty or nearly empty beer bottles and a nearly empty bottle of Crown Royal whiskey.

Second problem: if you absolutely, positively have to drive while half in the bag, you definitely don’t want to be toting around a large quantity of empty containers. It just looks bad.

Still, what I want to know is how this guy managed to get three female passengers, something I’ve never done even when clothed and/or sober.

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Seriously. Albatross:

The world’s oldest living tracked bird has been spotted back on American soil where she is expected to lay an egg at the ripe old age of 64.

Wisdom, a Laysan albatross [Phoebastria immutabilis], was seen at the Midway Atoll national wildlife refuge with a mate at the weekend following a year’s absence.

She was first tagged in 1956 and has raised at least 36 chicks since then.

If your next question is “How do they know how old she is?” this is your answer:

Wisdom was banded by a US Geological Survey researcher in 1956, and in February 2014 she was seen rearing a new chick on Midway Atoll. Because Laysan albatrosses can’t breed until they are five years old, as of 2014 Wisdom was estimated to be at least 63 years old.

As noted previously, you don’t get wafers with it.

(Via American Digest.)

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Manny, Moe, Jack and Carl

Feared investor Carl Icahn has offered $863 million for the Pep Boys auto-parts chain:

Icahn’s offer Tuesday of $15.50 per share is higher than Bridgestone’s offer of $15 per share in October for the chain of 800 stores. The Japanese tire giant offered to buy the chain to add to its 2,200 stores including Tires Plus, Firestone Complete Auto Care, Hibdon Tires Plus and Wheel Works to make one of the largest parts, tire and service chains in the U.S.

Before placing his bid, Icahn had acquired a 12-percent stake in Pep Boys. This is his second try at the whole ball of wax; he’d previously offered $13.50 a share.

Pep Boys has given Bridgestone until 5 pm Eastern on Friday to top this bid, or Icahn prevails.

(Title swiped from Fark.)

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The Draimanator

Once in a while, I’ll glare at the work box and wonder how the hell I got so many Disturbed tracks. Occasionally I’ll remember this:

Truth be told, I rather liked the Disturbed version of “Land of Confusion,” though this is not so much because it’s by Disturbed as it is the fact that Phil Collins doesn’t sing on it.

I think it’s mostly repeated exposure to David Draiman’s voice, both forceful and distinctive. And while the band writes most of its own stuff, their occasional cover demands my attention:

This band, apparently, is better than I’d been willing to admit.

(In regard to that Phil Collins dis, see also the Nonpoint cover of “In the Air Tonight.”)

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Blather, Reince, repeat

Another email from Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee:

You never activated your 2015 Official Republican Membership — and we’re one year out from the presidential election.

But I’m committed to bringing you on board, so here’s what I’ll do: If you register for 2016 Membership by TOMORROW AT 11:59 PM, you’ll get a $39.50 discount on the RNC Diamond Membership.

If ever there were a year to become a member of our Party — it’s 2016 — and you can do it right now.

I dunno, Reince. I mean, geez, I’ve been a registered Democrat for forty-odd years, and every time I think maybe I might be better off in the GOP — well, hell, you can read the news as well as I can. Yeah, I might have said something nice about Carly Fiorina. Hardly makes me a Republican, you know?

I will concede that your Democratic counterpart, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is slightly less clever than a bag of yak hair. But I’ll bet the DNC database kids didn’t generate any letters like this to my friends and neighbors in the GOP.

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Featured features are buggy

Back in the summertime, the icemaker in my aging refrigerator went troppo; I finally got around to getting it fixed last week. There was, in the interim, a sensible workaround: the ever-popular ice tray, four of which got filled up daily to meet my cold-beverage needs. Not everyone, however, can solve fridge problems this simply:

I have a Samsung RF4289HARS refrigerator. The Google calendar app on it has been working perfectly since I purchased the refrigerator August 2012. However, with the latest changes in Google Calendar API, I can no longer sign in to my calendar. I receive a message stating “Please check your email in Google Calendar website”. I can sign in fine on my home PC and have no problem seeing the calendar on my phone. Perhaps this is a Samsung issue, but I thought I would try here first. Has anyone else experienced this problem and what was the solution?

Now maybe it’s just me, but I have this weird notion that the function of that big box in the kitchen is to keep stuff cold, not to remind you of your comings and goings. Then again, I paid less than $700 for my fridge more than a decade ago. Clearly it’s not going to have the incredible array of functions on — wait, what?

As announced since July, an old version of the calendar API has been shut down. (version 3 has been announced then, and version 1 has now been deactivated)

This effected everything that relied on the old version of the calendar API (that was even deprecated back then as v2 was already around!) Not only fridges, but everything that relied on v1. Everything provided with updates by the manufacturer should be fine as Google even provided a migration guide for the software makers (it’s part of the doc for v3), and of course the stock android apps for calendar have been updated directly by Google.

But it’s up to the device manufacturers to push those updates out to your devices. Google can’t and wouldn’t push firmware updates to other companies devices.

This thread started over a year ago. Apparently there are a lot of people with this problem:

I called the tech guy and he said that this part number DA97-11828A is the new part number (sorry got it confused). Apparently, the panel, board and dispenser paddles were originally sold separately and had their own older part numbers (pre 2013). I guess the dispenser paddles can still be ordered separately (for $50). But this new $300-$400 part bundle replaces the previously separate parts. I guess as it’s aged they don’t ship it separately anymore. So the guy said if you get this new part number, you are getting new stock. But the realist in me (who was told everything under sun by Samsung Support) feels obliged to tell you that it could also have been luck that I got a new one (if the service guy doesn’t really know what he’s talking about). I did look on the old part and there were no distinguishable part numbers or version numbers that I could discern. So I hope I’ve helped. Like I said in my first post, I had a few hundred bucks in my pocket and while I was fixing the other problem, I took a chance. The service guy did say that new part actually came with 2.690 (which my old one had 2.550) and it updated just after the installer replaced it. So the software update did work to 2.750 on the new board. So fingers are crossed that if there are new updates in the future, they will download with the new board.

At one level, I want to see these folks get the services they paid for, because dammit, that’s the American Way. Still, a part of me wants to see their mayonnaise spoil, just because.

(Via Popular Mechanics.)

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Too many quarks for Muster Mark

You say you were reading one of those science-y web sites today? You say there was all this talk about protons and neutrons stuck together for dear life while electrons go whizzing around them at a zillion miles per hour? You say they told you that you were mostly empty space but you still feel like you swallowed an anvil? You say they told you all about strong and weak forces and you just know the weak force is gonna win and the electrons are all going to fall apart and crash into one another and knock your hat in the creek? Is that what’s troubling you, cousin?

Well, forget that:

Scientists at the Borexino detector in Italy experimented to see if they could detect electron decay and predict how long it would take for one to actually break down. Turns out a single electron would take 66,000 “yotta-years” to break down. This comes out to 660,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years, or five quintillion times the current age of the universe. In other words, we will probably never see even one electron break down anywhere in the universe for as long as beings exist to detect electrons and see if they are breaking down. So you may strike “death by unexpected subatomic decay” from your list of possible concerns, and Merry Christmas to you!

Phew. That’s a load off my mind.

(Particle Man was not available for comment. The opening paragraph, of course, was inspired by the late Eddie Lawrence; the title was adapted from a line in Joyce’s Finnegans Wake.)

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Sheer pluck

At one point in the second quarter, the Thunder had a 17-point lead over the Hawks, despite the Hawks shooting well over 50 percent. By halftime, that lead had been whittled to 11; in the third quarter, Atlanta pulled to within one more than once, largely powered by reserve swingman Kent Bazemore, who made his first seven shots. But Bazemore eventually cooled off, and at the 1:40 mark Mike Budenholzer pulled his starters. The final was 107-94, surely adequate revenge for OKC’s loss at Atlanta a few days back. And I have to figure that Bazemore wouldn’t have gotten all those shots if the Thunder hadn’t done a good job of bottling up Al Horford and Paul Millsap. (Horford, in fact, didn’t score at all until the second half, and the duo, normally good for 30 points or so between them, were held to 16.)

The Big News, though, was Kevin Durant, who bagged his 1,000th career 3-pointer early on, and logged his first triple-double of the season (25-12-10). Both Serge Ibaka and Russell Westbrook picked up double-doubles with 23 points each. (All three of these guys outscored Bazemore, who led the Hawks with 22.) OKC had no real answer for guard Jeff Teague, who scored 18, often untouched. Still, Atlanta wound up below 45 percent shooting, and did not look good from the stripe, missing nine of 23 free throws. And if the Thunder has finally learned to close out games, well, it’s not a moment too soon.

The scheduling weirdness continues: tomorrow night in Salt Lake City against the Jazz, then home Sunday against, um, the Jazz. And Rudy Gobert, Utah’s shot-blocker extraordinaire, has a bad sprain of the MCL in his left knee — it happened last week in practice, yet — and is not expected to play either of those games. Still, beating the Jazz in their house isn’t the easiest task in the world.

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No straps, Sherlock

The following two paragraphs have more in common than you might think. First, from Wikipedia:

The ability of geckos — which can hang on a glass surface using only one toe — to climb on sheer surfaces has been attributed to the van der Waals forces between these surfaces and the spatulae, or microscopic projections, which cover the hair-like setae found on their footpads.

And now, from HelloGiggles:

We have a love/hate relationship with strapless bras, for sure, and by love/hate, we mostly mean hate; strapless bras pinch, push, and fall down. Oh do they fall down. Especially if you’re, uh, more gifted in that department, you’ll find yourself pulling up your bra all night when no one is looking (curse you, perfect dress!). Not fun.

This is where they met:

Kellie K Apparel 2015 Kickstarter Campaign Video from Anthony Roy on Vimeo.

They raised $26,921 in that Kickstarter, and they’ll be offering two versions of this garment, with or without underwire.

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All becoming one

We are told that eventually all this Web stuff will be mobile, that desktops and laptops and tablets and phones will all handle the same material in exactly the same way.

That time has not come. American Express sent out a survey request to some of its customers (including me) that contained this warning:

Please note that this survey is best completed using a computer. You may experience some technical problems if you use a tablet or smartphone due to limitations with these devices and their software.

And the inequality goes in both directions. An editor at Merriam-Webster sent this up:

Happy convergence, I conclude, is a long way away.

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Road ending prematurely

Cars in the scrapyard often end up crushed. Some of them end up there because of crushing debt:

According to a recent PEW study [pdf], one out of every nine title loans results in a repossession, with the titled vehicle eventually heading to auction.

And after that, maybe the car finds a new home, but maybe not:

One vehicle, a 1995 Chevrolet Blazer, currently shows 271,285 miles. Pulling up its history, we see it shows up at auction in December 2011 with 199,683 miles, then it’s sold with a lien attached in February 2013. Since it had almost 200,000 miles at the time, it is highly unlikely any traditional lending institution would have written a loan for it, meaning this loan was almost certainly processed by a subprime lender. The February sale comes during one of the bigger months for subprime and “Buy Here Pay Here” dealers as many potential customers are receiving tax returns that can give them enough money for a down payment on a new-to-them car.

The Blazer’s owner was immediately in the hole since they were likely taking out a loan with an annual percentage rate of 30 percent for a vehicle that was only worth its weight in scrap. We see three more liens reported on the vehicle with the last one hitting in October of this year. The vehicle’s owner could have taken out multiple title loans or refinanced his loan, the last one being too expensive to cover. Since the vehicle was not worth more than $300 or $400, they would have only been able to get a loan for $150 or so, which would have cost them double or triple the original amount once interest was added. The owner may have been in a tight situation or the car could have broken down, making default a more affordable proposition. Due to the mileage and condition, [the] next stop for this Blazer is likely a salvage yard.

Five will get you ten the guy who bought this Blazer in 2013 went scurrying to Yahoo! Answers to see if there was a chance he could plunge himself further into debt to get himself something newer. Not that it matters what anyone actually told him. (I started suggesting that people start pricing bus passes, a practice some would dub cruel and insensitive.)

Most of the other cars I checked on the run list followed a similar path where they spent a few years in the mainstream market before ending up at a subprime dealer. Some of them experience accidents that should leave them with a branded title, but there are loopholes that allow the title to be washed. Others live a long life with their first owners before reaching the subprime market. The second and third owners of these vehicles are usually underwater as soon as they buy the vehicle and the title loans just put them further into debt.

That Blazer, says the intrepid reporter, was “not worth more than $300 or $400.” What would a BHPH dealer have sold it for? I’m guessing $1999.

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Nothing up my sleeve

Blood donation sticker from AANRThis is, of course, due to the fact that I have no actual sleeves at the moment.

I received the following this week in email from the American Association for Nude Recreation:

The AANR home office will be hosting a blood drive on January 29, 2016, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the AANR office in Kissimmee, Florida. AANR invites everyone in the area to stop by, donate, and meet its staff.

While January is National Blood Donor Month, you can support the thousands of people in need of blood daily, any time of the year. Let’s show AANRs support and help save a life one nudist at a time.

A nice, public-spirited thing to do, and it’s not like the staff goes to work in the nude. At least, I don’t think they do. I’ve never visited the home office, and you can’t assume anything from occasional pictures in AANR’s Bulletin.

That said, if you’d like to swap a pint for a rather unique sticker, it’s 1703 North Main Street, Suite E, Kissimmee, Florida 34744.

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Troll level: prodigious

It’s all a conspiracy, says this guy who definitely ought not to give his name:

Before anyone asks, I do believe that computers exist because I am currently using one. We are just being lied to about how they work. We are told that computers use quantum mechanics and the laws of electricity to work but those are all built on Newtonian laws which are wrong.

In a computer everything is connected to the magical and illusive “CPU”. Nobody can explain how it works and we are expected to believe that all computing is done in some magical silicon chip the size of a fingernail. Have you ever tried to break into a CPU? Even a hack saw can’t penetrate that case, it’s as if they are trying to hide something. These companies have a lot of secrecy surrounding them, which is definitely suspicious. I have looked it up and it turns out that Intel and other “tech” companies are censoring this stuff from the Internet because they don’t want us to know it.

Only living things can think and reason, inanimate objects like rocks cannot think and reason. So why is it that computers, which we are told are inanimate, can think and reason? It just doesn’t add up. If you ask a rock what 2+2 is then it wouldn’t do anything but if I hold the home button and ask Siri what 2+2 is IT will respond “4”. Aperently the Wizards at Intel can use fictional physics to defy nature and people actually buy into that crap.

Just wanted to note here that I have broken into CPUs, sometimes intentionally.

So how do computers work? It’s a lot simpler then the mess of wires and magical microscopic switches Intel wants you to think is there. They trap spirits and force them to do a bunch of logic. Have you ever wondered why programming is called “programming theory”? If people invented programming as we are lead to believe then why is it just a theory? Answer: because they didn’t invent programming and in reality it’s the language spirits speak. I still can’t believe that people don’t question it when Intel says that machines can read, understand what it read, and do what it’s told. They say that computers always do what they are told but inanimate objects don’t do that, if you don’t believe me then tell stick to throw it’s self to you and tell a gun to shoot you. They won’t do it because they are inanimate objects, but the little squares of silicon Intel makes aperently defy this and they will do your taxes and pay your bills for you if you want. What a joke.

Here is some more suspicious stuff about “computers” that prove that we are being lied to:

Every “CPU” is slightly different in speed and we are told that it’s because their precise and consistent manufacturing process is making little mistakes and that somehow effects the speed. They are using machines to precisely make new “machines”, so shouldn’t these CPU’s rolling off the assembly line all be identical? In a car assembly line you don’t see cars that can naturally go twice as fast as another for no apparent reason. Clearly this variation is coming from the diversity of spirits they are using.

Also, why would a computer need power if it does no physical work? It makes no sense. In reality they use the power to help contain spirits and punish insubordinate ones.

It would be nice, I suppose, if this blithering hosehead found a way to make his mysterious computer do spellcheck: “aperently” doesn’t work, though apparently he can spell “apparent.” I’d almost be tempted to sic @SwiftOnSecurity on him, but I’m sure she has better (and likely more remunerative) things to do with her time.

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The occasional dropped beat

After that first thrashing of the Jazz in November, you have to figure that Utah would be itching for revenge, and they darn near got it: after falling behind by a dozen or more several times, the Jazz went on a 9-2 run in the middle of the fourth quarter to pull within five. Then Kevin Durant, who hadn’t made a shot in the second half, suddenly made two of them. Utah kept coming. And, said radio guy Matt Pinto, the Thunder were coming apart at the seams. With 1:24 left, Trevor Booker got one of two free throws to tie it up; Durant promptly tossed in a trey from the top of the circle. The Thunder got a stop, Durant dropped another bucket, and OKC led by five with 12 seconds left. Trey Burke nailed a trey with 3.3 left; Durant came back with two free throws, the Jazz put up an air ball at the horn, and that was that, 94-90.

The biggest question going in, for me, was “How well can Derrick Favors, shoved into the middle, substitute for Rudy Gobert?” The answer, at least tonight, was “Well enough”; Favors scored 13, gathered seven rebounds and blocked three shots. The reliable Gordon Hayward led the Jazz shooters with 19. But said Jazz shooters did not shoot well: 42 percent, 8-28 from outside. The Thunder weren’t a whole lot better, 47 percent and 6-17, but there’s the mysterious KD Factor to contend with; you’ll note from the first paragraph that he got all 11 of OKC’s final points, finishing with 21. Russell Westbrook contributed 24 to the cause. And Enes Kanter, booed with vigor whenever he showed his face, knocked down 11 points and retrieved six boards from his former teammates. (The game sold out, which most Jazz games haven’t this year, perhaps because people wanted to boo Kanter.)

Both these teams, though, are in the same division (Northwest), so they’ll play twice more. The third game in the series is, um, day after tomorrow in OKC. (The fourth will be in March.) Next three after that: against Portland on Wednesday, at Cleveland on Thursday, and back home against the Lakers on Saturday.

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No, sign the other name

This is the lead single from Sananda Maitreya’s The Rise of the Zugebrian Time Lords, released this past October, and damned if it isn’t infectious:

It’s made no chart noise as yet, perhaps due to Who Is This Guy? Syndrome. And you have heard this voice before, back in the late 1980s. But that was then, and today he’s Sananda Maitreya, and you probably shouldn’t refer to him as The Artist Formerly Known As Terence Trent D’Arby.

What prompted this, exactly?

He was typically maximalist in his explanation of the change: “Terence Trent D’Arby was dead,” he said. “He watched his suffering as he died a noble death. After intense pain I meditated for a new spirit, a new will, a new identity.”

And, given his relations with Sony during that first segment of his career, a new label would be nice. Sensibly enough, he set up his own.

But what matters is this: he’s still great. Here’s an earlier, harder song:

“Because You’ve Changed” comes from Maitreya’s 2009 album Nigor Mortis. As is his wont these days, he plays everything on most every track.

And there’s one more credit I want to mention: in 1999, he appeared in a two-part drama on CBS-TV called Shake, Rattle and Roll: An American Love Story. Credited as D’Arby, he played Jackie Wilson. Of course. (Start at 4:35.)

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The maybe-fly list

I can’t say this is too awfully surprising:

It gets, if not better, at least a bit more complex:

That’s a whole lotta veggies, San Francisco to Amsterdam.

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Seoul sisters

Would you call this “LAX security”?

A pop group has flown back to South Korea after officials in Los Angeles thought they might be sex workers.

The eight members were travelling to America for an album cover shoot but were detained for 15 hours in customs.

A statement from the group’s record company, WM Entertainment, said authorities held them after going through their costumes and props.

Oh My Girl, who formed in March, are thought to be back in South Korean capital Seoul after being released by officials at Los Angeles International Airport.

Looking at the video for their second single, I can only conclude that the officials had some fairly warped ideas about Korean women under 21. This song is called “Closer,” and it in no way resembles a somewhat risqué tune of the same title recorded by Nine Inch Nails:

Okay, one of them actually is 21. Another is 16; the others fall between. And it’s not like the ROK encourages slutty behavior or anything:

In 2012, the government clamped down on over-sexualised performances by threatening to give higher age ratings to films, music videos and TV shows which exaggerated the sexuality of younger singers and bands.

(Via Shakila Karim.)

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Keeping the sun on the straight and narrow

A planned solar farm in rural North Carolina has been axed:

The Woodland Town Council rejected a proposal to rezone a section of land north of town to M2 (manufacturing) from RA (residential/agricultural), essentially denying approval of a solar farm.

The Planning Board had recommended the property be rezoned to allow Strata Solar Company to build a solar farm off U.S. Highway 258.

Citizens assembled took a dim view of the facility and its prospects:

Jane Mann said she is a local native and is concerned about the plants that make the community beautiful.

She is a retired Northampton science teacher and is concerned that photosynthesis, which depends upon sunlight, would not happen and would keep the plants from growing. She said she has observed areas near solar panels where the plants are brown and dead because they did not get enough sunlight.

She also questioned the high number of cancer deaths in the area, saying no one could tell her that solar panels didn’t cause cancer.

Apparently fear of diverting sunlight is a thing in this part of the Tar Heel State:

Bobby Mann said he watched communities dry up when I-95 came along and warned that would happen to Woodland because of the solar farms.

“You’re killing your town,” he said. “All the young people are going to move out.”

He said the solar farms would suck up all the energy from the sun and businesses would not come to Woodland.

The facility would be outside town limits, so there would be no particular gain to Woodland, though the town was offered $7000 a year to pay for fire-department training in solar-energy emergencies.

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Almost like real life

They’ve turned Carly Rae Jepsen into a Sim:

Which I find sort of amusing, since at times she actually looks like a Sim, as in this campaign a couple years back for Candie’s:

Carly Rae Jepsen for Candie's shoes

And I suppose that’s not a bad place to be after you’ve turned 30, which she did this year:

Carly Rae Jepsen in Entertainment Weekly 2015

Entertainment Weekly picked Carly Rae’s E·MO·TION album as second best of the year; I can’t imagine them being off by more than one.

Oh, and the upcoming Gimmie Love tour will not stop here in the Big Breezy, but she’ll be at Cain’s in Tulsa on the 7th of March. Hmmm…

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Make that to go

Once upon a time, the time being spring 2006, I took on one of those “Tell us about yourself” memes, and every single answer was a Frank Sinatra record.

For the Chairman’s 100th birthday, I shuffled through the archives, both mine and YouTube’s, in search of a song that nobody else will ever need to try to sing ever again. And this is the one I came up with:

Sinatra himself recorded this song six times, the latest in 1993, but this minimal live track seems to express the mood better than any of them. And if you do want to record this song, well, this is what you’re up against.

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I swear, this stuff is everywhere

There’s a Facebook page called Dihydrogen Monoxide Awareness, and this has something like 12,000 shares already, including one from me. I figured I’d drop a copy of it here, because why not?

Anti-DHMO poster based on pH

They noted helpfully that “Hydrochloric acid only has a pH of 2!”

Johannes Nicolaus Brønsted and Thomas Martin Lowry were not available for comment.

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The entrepreneurds

After installing WordPress 4.4, I encountered a minor anomaly. Short version: In posts included in two or more categories, the categories are now listed in the post heading, not in strict alphabetical order as they used to be, but in the order of their assigned ID numbers, whatever they may be. I left a note at the support forum, indicating what I thought might be the issue, and expressing some nominal amount of dismay.

On its heels came this email:

My name is Jane and I’m with WordPress support experts.

I saw your website on one of the forums online and that you are having an issue with your websites, We provide a professional WordPress support and maintenance service.

If you are currently experiencing any bug or need any immediate fix on your website we can help you fix it for a Flat rate of $49.

Please note that payment is not due until after we fix the issue. If we don’t fix it you don’t pay us.

There are, I imagine, circumstances under which I might find this service useful. But this isn’t one of them.

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Cruz controlled

In fact, I’d go so far to say as “measured” and “calm”:

Followed the next morning by:

Nicely done, Senator.

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Strong as a horse, so to speak

Daniel Ingram, who writes all those daffily infectious (or infectiously daffy) songs for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, has opened many career doors, and maybe blocked one:

I’ve been approached by some really unexpected clients as a result of MLP’s wide-reaching success. From large companies like Cirque du Soleil and Netflix to just unexpected people like Frank Zappa’s son, Ahmet, reaching out to congratulate me. I just finished a song for a hotel chain in Brazil because their marketing guy is a brony. MLP has opened up doors to write for some pretty cool celebrities too including “Weird Al” Yankovic and 2014 Tony Award winner Lena Hall. But the marketability is both a blessing and a curse. I’ve had a lot of success getting work writing music for children’s television, but I’ve struggled to find an agent that will take me seriously. I believe that will change in the next year or two. Anyone know a good songwriting agent?

By then, of course, he should have finished the MLP feature film, due fall 2017, which I suspect will mean the end of the TV series as well. In the meantime, though, he’s put some utterly fab stuff on his CV, including this Season Two delight that’s clearly not kid stuff:

Nonpareil, as the pony says. (Sam Vincent, who voiced either Flim or Flam — who can tell?¹ — was thinking of another animal: the song, he said, was an absolute bear to learn.)

¹ Just kidding. He was Flim. In some of the foreign versions, though, the same VA sang both Flim and Flam.

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Jazz drowned out

The first half of this game was a thing of ghastliness: the only amusing aspect of it happened in the very last second, when Russell Westbrook, looking like he was inbounding, actually bounced the ball off a Jazzman, retrieved it, and stuffed it into the net. As a result, the Thunder took a 13-point deficit into the locker room. The problem was identified quickly enough: the Jazz were playing at their preferred pace, on the slow side. Fix: speed it the hell up. In the first 5:16 of the third quarter, OKC went on a 25-7 run, going from down 13 to up five. After that, things got hairier. Utah regained a five-point lead at the the end of the third quarter. Just inside the 50-second mark, the Thunder tied it up; the ever-stalwart Gordon Hayward dropped in a jumper ten seconds later, and a seriously weird Thunder possession with all the WTF anyone could ask for ended in a timeout and finally a bucket. With one second left, Hayward made a wild pass, and OKC got the ball back; Kevin Durant got a clean look, but the ball refused to fall, and overtime ensued. And then stops ensued: OKC rolled up eight points, but the Jazz didn’t get a bucket until inside 10 seconds, and by then it was too late. Oklahoma City 104, Utah 98, and 3-0 over the Jazz this season.

Utah did a few things different this time, the most effective of which was starting Rodney Hood and Alec Burks on the wings. Hood swept to 23 points, Burks to 21, and Hayward added 22 from the frontcourt. If they’re missing Rudy Gobert, it’s not showing; they outrebounded OKC 44-42. But the Jazz were not effective from the stripe, missing eight of 20. (OKC hit 27 of 30.) The number that explains this game the best, though, is this one: 13 blocks by the Thunder, two by the Jazz. (Serge Ibaka had six of those swats.) And Durant, who had two points in the first half, wound up with 31; Russell Westbrook scored 25 and snagged 11 rebounds.

So it’s five in a row. The Trail Blazers, who have struggled a bit, will be here Wednesday night, after which it’s a quick jet to Cleveland. I think I speak for everyone here when I say “Whew.”

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Fifteen plus eleven

This, of course, implies that she didn’t freak over anything in her very first year. Which may or may not be true.

Anyway, this is Taylor Swift’s 26th birthday, and she spent much of it on a plane. Leaving Australia:

Taylor Swift at the airport in Sydney

And landing at LAX:

Taylor Swift at Los Angeles International

In terms of “freaking out,” I suspect rather a lot of Swifties responded badly to this incident back in the spring:

Taylor Swift from here down

To explain:

The 25-year-old singer released a photo Saturday [14 March] showing a nasty cut on her heavily insured left leg — a wound apparently inflicted by her feline Meredith.

“Great work Meredith,” quipped Swift. “I was just trying to love you and now you owe me 40 million dollars.”

Nine months later, she’s fine, so far as I can see, and believe me, I’ve looked.

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Strange search-engine queries (515)

If you’re new around here, this is something we do on Mondays: pick up the logs, shake them out, find the search strings, and scatter them about. If we find something marginally amusing, it lands here.

gonojagoron moncho lucky:  I’m assuming this isn’t a translation of that Daft Punk record.

babe spotting linear tv.ram:  Odd that a voyeur might actually want to use RealPlayer.

my litle porni:  I’d kind of hate to see their Duty Marks.

last supper fast food:  Judas must have been buying.

sawiro jacayl ah oo qurux badan:  Is this David Seville’s “Witch Doctor” translated into Dothraki?

i have no life yahoo answers:  That was our assumption all along.

jerking off made simple:  Oh, yeah, like you need instructions.

“for random sassy updates” 2003 spam:  Which you’re probably still getting today.

duck gonna whip somebody:  He was surprised at the size of his bill.

stupid bint:  For some reason, nobody ever seems to talk about smart bints.

can a vanishing twin reappear:  Sure. Wait until the last episode of the season.

“alderaan” “name” “email” “telephone” “comment” “contact”:  I’m afraid you’re just a little bit late, Mr. Binks.

dream girl 8 december 2015:  Just like all the other ones: gone before I woke up.

Oh, and Jack Baruth dug into his search strings this week.

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The money men are wide awake

Regular readers will by now have noted that I have occasional bouts of insomnia. Often they ask why I don’t try out the Latest Technology. And the answer, ever-so-slightly simplified, comes out this way:

If you use a CPAP machine to help you sleep, be aware that they’re hardly rocket science. It was developed by a man who tested it on his friends, with no medical monitoring whatsoever. Nevertheless, if you want one you’ll have to undergo a “sleep study” costing at least hundreds, if not thousands of dollars; get a prescription from a doctor; have it sold to you by a medical supply company that inflates the price dramatically; and have that company refuse to give you the instructions you need to reprogram the machine yourself in case of changes in your sleep pattern. No, you’ve got to go back to them, and perhaps get another “sleep study”, before they’ll condescend to do that for you — all at a cost to your pocket. None of these steps except the original diagnosis are actually medically necessary, and they often don’t apply overseas.

There may be better systems, but I suspect they are cunningly designed to cost even more. My current drug cocktail is not in the least appealing, but it’s under a dollar a day.

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Classic misunderestimation

By about 50 percent, if I’m counting canonically:

Sonic Drive-In sign: Two Words Spicy Popcorn Chicken

Or maybe you get to pick only two words: for instance, you can have popcorn chicken, but not particularly spicy; worse, you could have something spicy and popcorn-sized, but don’t count on it’s being actual chicken.

(From Bad Menu via Miss Cellania.)

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It’s all in the name

Hmmm. A “big philosophical hole in the Ponyverse”:

How do parents ponies pre-know the talent of their newborns? In many cases, the name seems to be very reflective of the talent, or of their eventual mark. I think if I were making up the universe I’d have the ponies be given one name at birth, and then take on another — kind of like how some Christian groups do baptismal names or confirmation names — when they do figure out their talent.

I, for one, would like to know Mrs Cake’s maiden name.

Actually, I’ve wrestled with this question before, outside the context of pony — how, exactly, did Thomas Crapper end up in the toilet business? — and there’s enough of this sort of thing to justify a philosophical discussion:

Also referred to as “aptronyms”, New Scientist journalist John Hoyland coined the term “nominative determinism” for these strange cases of people who seem inexorably drawn to their profession by virtue of their name.

He was led to the subject after a being alerted to a scientific paper by authors JW Splatt and D Weedon on the subject of incontinence, on the same day as seeing a book on the Arctic by a Mr Snowman.

The idea has something of a history, with psychologist Karl Jung suggesting in his 1952 book, Synchronicity, that there was a “sometimes quite grotesque coincidence between a man’s name and his peculiarities”.

And there exists an entire wiki of persons with aptronymic names.

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Stirring the alphabet soup

A couple of new programs coming to UCO:

Students at the University of Central Oklahoma will return to campus in January to find two new programs designed to supplement gender and sexuality studies on campus.

The Women’s Research Center will focus on the research, study, scholarly and activity programming that supports and supplements the intellectual growth and social development of women while the BGLTQ+ Student Center will supplement activities that enhance the campus and community life of bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender and queer students. The “+” represents letters not listed including questioning, intersexual, asexual and allies.

I admit to being slightly baffled by this string of initials: it’s not that I object to the subject matter or to the inclusion of all the variants, but I’d never seen them in that particular order before. (Harvard arranges them that way, minus the plus sign for now, but several pages of Bing results yielded up no other BGLTQ.)

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Well, he seems nice

You may remember Martin Shkreli from the Turing Pharmaceuticals dustup, in which he jacked up the price of a prescription drug he acquired from $13.50 to a whopping $750 per tab. Supposedly he was going to make some adjustments, but such adjustments have yet to materialize. In the meantime, he would have us believe the ladies are lined up at his front door:

So basically, Donald Trump without the humility.

(Via @inthefade.)

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Scalp burn

The argument against the automotive sunroof:

The car has a sunroof. I doubt I will ever use it. After my experience with the [Mitsubishi] Endeavor I am seriously considering disabling it. Actually, the car manufacturers should put in a switch that automatically closes the sunroof if you close the sunshade. What happens is that you’re driving along on a nice sunny day and you want to enjoy the sunshine, so you open the sunroof. After a while you start to get hot, so you close the sunshade, but you forget about the sunroof. Then you decide to go to the carwash and when water starts pouring into the passenger compartment you try and close the sunroof. Due to Murphy’s law, this usually happens just when the big overhead rotary brush is scrubbing the roof. The little wheels and levers that allow the sunroof to slide back and forth are relatively delicate and not up to repelling the big, strong brush, so they break and now the sunroof won’t properly close. The problem is worse with the Endeavor because it is tall enough that you can’t see the sunroof when you are standing next to the car.

Gwendolyn, who has lived in my garage for nine and a half years now, has a sunroof. I have never actually run into this problem myself.

Then again, the reason why I didn’t have one on my previous car is because it reduced headroom substantially: I banged my head on the sunshade during a test run, and wound up buying the same car in a lower trim level so I wouldn’t have to deal with that sort of thing. I don’t have this problem now, because the ceiling is actually recessed a bit, giving me an inch of headroom I wouldn’t have had otherwise. Why this is so, I do not know, unless it’s because they didn’t build any of this model without the sunroof; I’ve never seen one without it.

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We got your tintinnabulation right here

Does this name ring a bell?

Edgar Allan Poe, wide receiver for Army

And yes, his middle name is Allan. A snippet from the Army-Navy game this past weekend:

At one point during the game, announcer Verne Lundquist said that once this kid finishes his military commitment, he really needs to be signed by the Baltimore Ravens immediately.

This isn’t even the first Edgar Allan Poe to play college football; the first, a second cousin (twice removed) to the fellow with the dream within a dream, was the quarterback for the undefeated Princeton Tigers of 1889, and was named to the first-ever All-America team.

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How now, Dow Pont?

Dave Schuler doesn’t think much of the Dow Chemical/DuPont merger:

How do two poorly run companies justify their CEOs’ eight figure compensation plans?

Step 1: Merge

Step 2: Make the combined company look better on paper by firing a lot of people.

Step 3: Divvy the company into three components: the stable, profitable agricultural business (see here), the doomed commodity chemicals business, and the highly competitive “specialty chemicals” business

Step 4: Profit!

Not as efficient as the Underpants Gnomes, who might have been able to pull this off in three steps.

That plan is clearly trolling for speculators’ dollars. The WSJ calls it “a merger made in Washington”. I think it’s a B-school grad’s fantasy. My alternative plan would be no merger, divest some brands, cut top management’s compensation commensurate with performance, hire some researchers, and actually grow the companies the old-fashioned way. In the history of the world no company has ever cost-controlled its way to greatness.

(Emphasis added.)

And doesn’t this sound a lot like The Company Formerly Known As Hewlett-Packard?

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