Archive for June 2016

And oh, what heights we’ll hit

What we have here is “a story about a pair of flats that wanted to be a heel”:

Kind of heartwarming, or at least footwarming. There’s even a video on how it was done.

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Strayed away

And the owner, singer-songwriter SZA, was frantic:

My dog is my BEST friend in the WHOLE world. Please if anyone finds her PLEASE contact the Maplewood police dept.

Anyway, little Piglet was found within two hours:

Last I heard, Piglet was being fitted with a microchip for tracking purposes.

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Get lost, but stylishly

There’s no argument about Florence’s claim to being the Cradle of the Renaissance, but God help you if you’re looking for something other than the standard tourist traps:

Finding an address in Florence can be confusing. It has a unique address system with two number systems running side by side. Generally speaking, residences have a number in black or blue, while businesses have numbers in red (rosso in Italian), which is usually written with a little ‘r’ following the number. This gets confusing not only when the same number appears twice on the street (in red or in black) but also when you are trying to find an address and the door numbers appear mixed up.

For example, the office address of Walkabout is Via dei Neri, 30/32r (red) to signify a business and it is next door to number 6 (in blue on a white background), which is a residence.

This is about to change for the better, or at least for the easier:

The red numbers were introduced to Florence in the early twentieth century to differentiate businesses from houses. To this day they have remained one of the city’s curiosities, although twenty or so ‘red numbers’ are removed every year.

In an article in Corriere Fiorentino, city councillor Andrea Vannucci commented, “The city administration would like to do away with the red numbers … which complicate life for postmen, delivery men and taxi drivers, with red numbers that are sometimes hundreds of metres away from their corresponding black number. When new businesses open we assign them a black number accompanied by a letter: a ‘5 rosso‘ will always be next to a ‘5 nero‘.”

Vannucci continued: “Anyone can ask to change their red number into a black one. All you need to do is apply at the Comune. And I invite everyone to do so in order to speed up the process towards a more continuous and linear numbering system.”

There are about 23,000 “red numbers” still in Florence.

(Via Nicola Williams.)

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The incredible shrinking paper

It wasn’t that long ago that the Oklahoman decided to leave the Black Tower on the Broadway Distention to the printers and move the actual news-gathering operations downtown.

Evidently the printers weren’t far enough away to suit the publisher:

The Oklahoman will outsource its printing and packaging operations to the Tulsa World beginning in September, announced Chris Reen, publisher of The Oklahoman and President of The Oklahoman Media Group. The Oklahoman will close its printing and packaging facility at Britton and Broadway.

“We’re fortunate to have newer and more modern presses as close as Tulsa with ownership like Berkshire Hathaway who has a great deal of experience with these sorts of arrangements around the country. The move will create significant cost savings while not sacrificing quality,” Reen said.

Except, of course, for adding a minimum of two hours’ worth of lead time:

Reen said in order to ensure the same timely morning delivery of the newspaper, there will be earlier press times which will impact some late-night news stories and sports scores.

“Timely” is in the eye of the beholder, or maybe the subscriber. I consider delivery after 6:30 am (as it was yesterday) to be excessively late. (I am an afternoon-paper kind of person, but not the sort of afternoon paper that’s spent 11 hours turning yellow in the summer sun.)

Not mentioned in that NewsOK reveal:

I note for reference that GateHouse, under its post-bankruptcy name New Media Investment Group, bought the Dolan Company at the end of 2015, which owned, among other things, the Journal Record.

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Dying off the vine

The era of the Lone Blogger, says once and possibly future Lone Blogger Arthur Chrenkoff, is over and done with:

In line with the trend towards “magazination” of blogging, one recent survey by Orbit Media Studios has found that “the typical length for a post is about 900 words, up 100 words from last year’s survey.” When you are competing with “normal” media outlets, you need to try matching both quality and quantity. Blogging used to be called citizen journalism, but citizen or not, it had to become a lot more professional.

(Via Glenn Reynolds, who notes: “InstaPundit turns 15 in two months.”) Then again, Reynolds has help these days; still, I’d bet he turns out more than 900 words a day, even if it’s spread over several posts.

Come to think of it, I generally turn out more than 900 words a day, albeit spread over several posts. And this place turns 15 on, um, 9 April 2011.

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Clearly misaddressed

In a spamlet received last night, “Carley” (not her real name) asks if I have any interest in a “sexy depraved pussycat.”

More deprived than depraved, I am, but that’s another matter. Anyway:

Hi stallion, this is your girl. I am Lakisha.

I want you to bonk me as a little bitch. I bleed juice with desire to feel such sex!

Don’t forget that I’m waiting with impatience for a depraved man on this site.

Again: more deprived than depraved, “Lakisha” (not your real name).

The only really amusing aspect of this item, really, was the domain name used, or feigned, by the sender: megabulkmessage207.com. Due to a most lamentable dearth of dubious sites — only one link offered, and it wasn’t even obscured — this thing failed to break 2.5 on Spam Score, where 5 is my normal threshold and 25-30 is entirely too common. To borrow a phrase, this thing doesn’t even leak juice, let alone bleed it.

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Real cheezy there, Herb

Same great taste, now at three times the price!

Downside: Not as tasty as Fritos.

Upside: Probably tastier than kale.

(Via Felix Salmon.)

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And that’s just how they roll

I’ve never aspired to the life of an autojourno. Driving lots of cars might be a whole lot of fun, but that’s the part you hear about: all the little ancillary duties, I suspect, would turn things into work in a great big hurry.

That said, I get to envy Neal Pollack in the July Road & Track, partly because he gets some seat time in a Rolls-Royce Dawn, the new drophead (don’t call it a mere “convertible”) that costs only three and a half times as much as my house, but mostly because of the occupant of the Dawn’s second seat:

My drive companion for the day was a Spanish lifestyle journalist who is also an architect and a former ballerina. Done up in a headscarf and glamorous La Dolce Vita glasses, she sat beside me luxuriantly.

This sort of description, regardless of its level of accuracy, invariably drags my heart over to the nearest abandoned mineshaft, haunted by the ghost of Rick Springfield.

I’m allowing Jack Baruth 48 hours to tell me just how full of it I am.

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Presumably an unhappy ending

Paracanthurus hepatus, we hardly knew ye.

(Via Laura Northrup.)

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Score this as a W

A Swedish court has ruled that M&Ms have the wrong sort of M:

The Stockholm Court of Appeals has barred Mars from selling its candy-covered chocolates using the lower-case “m&m” name in the country, judging it resembled a local brand too closely.

If Mars doesn’t appeal the ruling granting exclusive rights to Marabou for its “m” chocolate-covered almonds and peanuts, it will have to use the capital M&M logo in Sweden starting in July, or face fines of up to $246,000.

The Marabou brand belongs to snacks giant Mondelēz, maker of Oreo cookies and Cadbury and Toblerone chocolates.

Said snacks giant defends itself well:

In January, Nestlé lost its case to trademark the finger shape of its KitKat bars as a British court ruled that a Norwegian bar, called Kvikk Lunsj — also owned by Mondelēz — was entitled to use the same shape.

(Via @fussfactory.)

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Realer than thou

Lyman Stone weighs 20 sets of numbers from the American Community Survey in an attempt to find Real America, or at least Non-Weird America. And guess who’s the least weird?

Oklahoma City is less than 1 standard deviation from the mean on every single variable. It is exactly the mean for the poverty rate, and almost exactly the mean for educational attainment. Its biggest oddity is housing costs compared to income, which are a bit high, and the percent of households with a car, which is also just a teentsy bit high. Other than that? If you’re looking for “Normal America” then look to Oklahoma City.

I might have guessed a bit higher on that “households with car” business. The housing-costs number might surprise some of you, until you remember that you’re already being paid less because you live here. Or, looking at it sideways, housing is going up a bit faster than income.

And the weirdest? Austin? Portland? Nope. But you do know the way there:

San Jose tops the list as the weirdest city in the nation. This is driven by a very high foreign-born share, high white collar and educated shares, high annual earnings, high workers-per-household, a very low white share, and a low rural population.

Followed by New York City, home of perhaps the least inadequate transit system in the country, which means a lot more households without a car.

(Via Don Mecoy.)

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Future pejorative

“You … you frozen Elsa head!”

What? You say I should let it go?

(Via James Del Rey.)

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There Armani here among us

Hillary Clinton's infamous jacket… who feel that this entire discussion of Hillary Clinton’s pricey Armani jacket is but a joke:

People are saying mean things about Hillary’s wardrobe, particularly the $12,000 coat she appeared in recently. I think that’s a cheap shot. The coat is not becoming — she can’t carry it off. She looks like she picked it up at some store that features garments for older women. I can just see some upper middle class woman wearing it to church or to a do at the Women’s Club, and looking better in it than Hillary.

No kidding, I think I would look better in that coat than she does; she is not interested in looking attractive, and I am. Surely the pantsuits she wore in office were dreadful, but so was everything she wore, including her ugly hairstyle, which made her look like someone who does not visit her stylist often enough, or maybe doesn’t even have a hairstylist. She does not place a high value on her appearance, having more worthwhile things to concern herself with, like how many bombs to drop on ISIS this week or what to do about hunger. I’m not saying she shouldn’t spend a lot of money on her clothes; no one expects a millionaire in public life to shop at JCPenney.

Best handwave I’ve seen so far: someone imported into my tweetstream who swears that this shapelessness of hers is caused by bulletproof vests.

There is, I suggest, no point in getting worked up over the price of Mrs Clinton’s garb; she’s a private citizen and can spend her money any damned way she wants, and those who feel like yelling “But inequality!” can go whiz up a rope. This is not Pat Nixon’s Republican cloth coat. And let’s face it, you’ve seen worse.

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Moore than almost anyone else

By the numbers: Maya Moore is twenty-seven today, and wears number 23; after four years of utterly stunning numbers at Connecticut, during which time the UConn women won 90 games in a row, she was drafted Number One (of course) by the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx.

Maya Moore in uniform

Before you ask: she’s reported to be six feet tall.

Maya Moore out of uniform

And come to think of it, she’s produced rather a lot of amazing numbers:

Last night in a 110-78 win against the Atlanta Dream, she scored 19, with five rebounds and four steals.

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Improving precision

I’m sure you can see the necessity for this Wikipedia correction:

They should be so careful with all their entries.

(This is the Talk Page in question. Via Holly Brockwell.)

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Buying American

A legendary “assault weapon,” often imported into the States, might some day be manufactured here:

AK-47s may soon be made in the United States, as the U.S. government is looking for sources of the ubiquitous assault rifle within the American manufacturing base.

The U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) announced in May it was conducting market research into making the Kalashnikov rifle on U.S. soil. In a notice placed on a federal opportunities website, SOCOM said it is soliciting manufacturers for the weapons or requesting proposals — which means it’s just looking, but not ready to buy.

The U.S. military does not regularly use AK-47s, but many of its allies and foreign partners rely on the weapon, along with similar arms developed by the Soviet-bloc.

“A U.S.-based source would be a good use of taxpayer funds, while also delivering the weapons our partners not only need to fight extremists, but also the ones they know how to use, know how to fix and have the supplies in their regions to maintain,” Lt. Cmdr. Matt Allen told the Tampa Bay Times Thursday.

The AK-47 is something less than a precision instrument: its 1940s Soviet design is the epitome of cheap and disposable. Probably explains why it’s still around after all these years.

(Via @Lee Harvey Griswold.)

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Many ticks of the clock

Growing older has its annoyances, particularly in the slow yet seemingly endless disintegration of one’s physical self. Still, there are things to celebrate about it, especially for women:

What about the benefits of finally not caring what other people think about you and how you do stuff? What about not giving a fig about dressing up for men but instead caring passionately about dressing up for yourself? What about those creative projects and business ventures that you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t had the time or the confidence to do? What about your deeply intimate and lasting friendships that you know will last you until you die? What about your gorgeous relationships with your children or other people’s children? What about the relaxation you feel about making love? Finally. what about discovering the value of the simple sides to life — gardens, nature, animals, meandering, holidays?

Still, there’s something that stings about this paragraph:

It was Marilyn Monroe’s birthday recently, and one of my Facebook friends wrote: “Marilyn would have been 90 today and everyone would have been complaining that she didn’t look 25.”

Yeah. The time to look twenty-five is when you’re seventeen.

(Just kidding. I think.)

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The small break gets slightly larger

From a couple of months ago:

[A]fter some third-grade arithmetic I determined that the escrow shortage would have been cleared with a mere $80 a month, but there’s no arguing with the bank on these matters. Perhaps, I figured, they will drop it next year after they’ve taken a few dives into the vault, à la Scrooge McDuck.

Comes the notification. Payment is dropping by $75 a month.

Further notification received. Payment is dropping by $12 more, and they sent me a check for $250.

I mean, I’m generally pretty happy with this bank, but there are times I wonder whether their fecal matter is properly aggregated.

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Quote of the week

Some nimrod paying attention to everything but the traffic flow stopped dead at the top of the onramp, and if ever I wanted to see that giant foot from Monty Python’s Flying Circus come down, it was right then, right on that Elantra with the Extra Window Tint. But, you know, it could have been a hell of a lot worse:

The plural of anecdote is not data, of course, but as it turns out there is plenty of data to show that “distracted drivers” drive more slowly, are less aggressive in traffic, and are far less interested in passing the cars around them. All that “road rage” that had the media up in arms a few years ago? Turns out you can solve it pretty easily by giving drivers something to watch when they are stopped, or crawling along, in traffic. It has the same pacifying effect that the widespread availability of WiFi on planes has had on annoying conversational sallies from the insurance salesman in the window seat next to you.

Speaking strictly as a motorcyclist who has to deal everyday with a plague of two-ton, seventy-inch-tall vehicles moving at 70 miles per hour around him, I’d much rather deal with distracted drivers than angry ones. I have plenty of strategies to keep from being killed by people who aren’t paying attention, from watching my mirrors and splitting the lane at stoplights to watching the shoulders of the driver in the lane next to me for the twitch that always precedes an un-signaled lane change. But I have much less ability to avoid people who are driving much faster than the flow of traffic and swerving around out of temper or impatience.

And so it came to pass that I came to pass the Elantra, which would be no trick at 45 mph but not particularly easy when you have to do it while surrounded by Friday-afternoon commuters trying their best to do sixty in a 60 zone. I glanced over at the driver’s window, and I saw nothing but the silhouette of a bowed head. At this point, I prefer to think there was prayer going on.

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34 points in its favor

I looked at “ixekizumab” and immediately thought: bad, make that really bad, Scrabble® rack. Well, no. For one thing, you’re only allowed seven letters. For another, this might be a serious medical breakthrough:

A new study has shown ixekizumab completely or almost completely cleared the disease in 80 per cent of patients with moderate to severe psoriasis.

Kim Kardashian West has spoken out in the past about her struggles with the condition, which causes red, itchy and painful patches, often on the star’s legs.

The new findings from three large, long-term clinical trials, are published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Well, okay, I’m not going to complain, even if it helps a Kardashian. But that name? Never, ever going to wash. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to, at least for now while the stuff is under patent. From the manufacturer’s site:

Taltz® is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis who may benefit from taking injections or pills (systemic therapy) or phototherapy (treatment using ultraviolet or UV light).

Five letters, 14 points. A decided improvement, if you ask me. Both the FDA and its European counterpart have approved the drug for this specific use (treating the heartbreak of psoriasis, not playing Scrabble).

(Via Interested-Participant.)

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Strange search-engine queries (541)

Well, if it’s Monday morning, it must be time for SSEQ. (It has been for the past decade, give or take a few weeks.) If you’ve somehow managed to miss this feature, it’s easily explained: a lot of traffic comes from the major search engines, a little bit more from the minor ones, and sometimes they’re looking for things which make perfect sense. Those aren’t the ones that appear here.

is pure nudism illegal:  I’m not even sure if it’s pure.

badge aztek hack:  You can hack the badge any way you like, but everyone will still know you’re driving an Aztek.

in the following scenario, which maxim is not being observed? david: so we climbed behind the waterfall, and there was this huge cave. it was amazing! zooey: that cloud looks like a bunny. david: what?  That’s funny, I don’t remember ever seeing Zooey in Maxim, and surely I’d remember something like that.

“high performance, delivery” “upskirt”:  Standards for wank material acquisition? Unpossible!

conjoined fanfiction:  Is this Rule 34 or 68?

why she stopped loving me:  She found out you were reading Siamese-twin porn.

pantyhose diaper tumblr:  Well, at least it isn’t Siamese-twin porn.

willie worker put in 42 hours last week at the widget factory. his base pay is $8.00 per hour and he gets time-and-a-half for any hours beyond 40:  And then they raised the minimum wage to $15 and replaced Willie with a Widgetization Module™.

achocolic:  Drunk surfing at its finest.

bite me urban dictionary:  And what did they ever do to you?

how much does berkelium cost:  Considering that world production in the last half-century is only a couple of grams, I think we can safely say that if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.

bialystock and bloom political consultants:  Best remembered for the song “Springtime for Donald.”

people who hate reality shows are really just old, humorless sourpusses. what propaganda technique does the writer employ in this statement?  Projection. Now get off my lawn.

who gets a 1099:  You get a 1099! And you get a 1099! Everybody gets a 1099!

swiftonsecurity doxxed:  Cortana, even as we speak, is dealing with the attempted “doxxer.” It will not be pretty when it’s over.

Addendum: I made reference to this last item yesterday, and got this for my trouble:

Hey, that’s what was asked for, and I gotta type ’em the way I see ’em. (The presumably pseudonymous Mr Kikesburg’s main purpose in life, judging by his timeline, is to object to that double X. Then again, I’ve seen worse.)

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With a single jerk

I’m not entirely sure this individual has a grip on the concept:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: How do I find uploads that have been deleted from the internet?

The operative word, apparently, is “loads”:

For the longest while I’ve been told that you can never delete something from the internet. I was browsing pornhub the other day with the intent to pump one out; I had intended to use reliable material to get the job done. To my dismay I found that the said material had been deleted from pornhub. So there you have it, I’m on a quest to find this video so I can get my rocks off.

Shake hands with a loser. Or, better yet, don’t.

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Some days life is like that

And this is definitely one of them. (You’ll need to look at each graphic separately.)

(Via Chris Lawrence.)

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I just canteloupe

Does one actually eat these?

Hello Kitty melon

The price is — well, you’ve seen worse:

[T]his year’s Hello Kitty Furano melons are an absolute steal at 5,500 yen (US$51.62) each. Grown in Furano, Hokkaido, one of the country’s best growing regions for the fruit, the special melon weighs roughly 1.8 kilograms (3.97 pounds), and stands out from its cheaper counterparts as the cutest in its field, with a distinctive Hello Kitty-shaped netting on its surface.

If this doesn’t sound inexpensive to you, do not read about the two non-Kitty melons auctioned off in Hokkaido last month for ¥3,000,000 the pair (US $27,240).

Only 300 will be available, and apparently they don’t ship outside Japan.

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You can’t spell “toilet” without “to let”

They say it’s purely voluntary, and maybe it is, for now. But I suspect this is the future of apartment hunting, like it or not:

The personal data you share with Facebook and other social platforms is a treasure trove of information that can, according to one UK startup, prove whether or not you would be a good tenant.

Score Assured wants to take the data you share privately and publicly with social media and sell it to individuals, employers, and landlords. Tenant Assured, the first tool in the company’s potential suite of data mining-and-selling resources, will connect with your social accounts and give landlords a report based on your data.

The company says it uses machine learning software to predict what your data means—from your personality to “financial stress.” It also rates the “risk” you would be as a tenant. Cofounder Steve Thornhill declined to tell me how exactly the company pulls private data from Facebook, claiming it was part of the company’s intellectual property.

Piece of cake. They went up to the Zuckerborg and said “Can we have a custom API? Here’s a whole bunch of sterling.”

In order to scrape your data and assess your worthiness, you have to give the company full access to your social accounts, from news feed posts to messages to tweets to employment data. You can pick which accounts you permit to be scraped, but if a landlord is asking for it and you’re desperately trying to find a new place to live, then you’re probably going to succumb to their requests, no matter how invasive.

“Users can feel reassured that this is not an invasion of privacy but always done with their explicit consent,” Thornhill said in an email. “We are empowering tenants to make a choice as to whether they would like to use their social media information to support their application for a rental property that they have got their eyes on.”

Another reason to justify why I’ve pretty much thrown the book open on everything I do: I figure I’m probably no worse off than anyone else, and data jackals aren’t getting paid for my life history.

(Via @SwiftOnSecurity.)

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It doesn’t tear me apart

So I was just sitting around, minding my own business, when this fell into my lap: a good old-fashioned fugue based on Adele’s “Hello.”

“I’ll be Bach,” she didn’t say.

(Via Classic FM.)

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The Dormouse had it right

After mentioning Jefferson Airplane’s relatively few forays into the Top Ten back in the day — yes, folks, it’s a Slick fixation we have here, or something — I figured it might be time to focus on the best of those tunes, “White Rabbit,” recorded in 1967 and included on their Surrealistic Pillow album. Everyone knows what it’s about, of course: all the Alice in Wonderland shtick is there, just like you remember it.

But there’s more going on here. This is, I would argue, the second-best homage to Ravel’s Boléro in all of pop/rock. (The best: Roy Orbison’s “Running Scared,” from 1961.) I admit, though, this didn’t become obvious to me until some enterprising soul kindly split up Grace Slick’s vocal track and the instrumental backing, in which things become so obvious even I can’t overlook them.

(With thanks to Tom Caswell.)

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Prepare to write checks

The YourMechanic operation has issued a list of the Most Expensive Cars to Maintain over a ten-year period. The worst of the lot: the Chrysler Sebring, which they calculate at $17,100.

In the number-twelve slot is the Nissan Maxima, estimated at $12,000. As it happens, Gwendolyn, my current traveling companion, is an Infiniti I30, which I’ve occasionally described as “a Maxima in a prom dress.” And as it happens, she will have been here ten years this week. Let’s add up the slips … hmmm … $12,325. I guess that’s a good call, guys. And actually, I can’t gripe that much, inasmuch as she arrived here, not as a hatchling, but as a willful six-year-old with more than 80,000 miles and a complete and utter lack of warranty coverage.

At the other extreme: the Toyota Prius, at $4,300, followed by the Kia Soul.

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Always a reason to Bai

Some celebrity types don’t make a point of showing themselves off, and therefore there aren’t that many semi-salacious photos of them for the weekly Rule 5 roundup. (If you’re not familiar with this particular Rule 5, not part of the Rules of the Internet compendium, here’s your introduction. Short version: clickbait with heels on.)

And at the other end of the spectrum, there’s Bai Ling, who will happily drop stuff like this into her Twitter feed on a regular basis:

Bai Ling Twitter pic from 13 June 2016

Bai Ling Twitter pic from 13 June 2016

Those two, in fact, came out within 24 hours of each other, this week.

Let’s have an oldie but goodie from, oh, five weeks ago:

Bai Ling Twitter pic from 7 May 2016

And as her 13,000 followers know, she’s a #true #hashtag #fiend.

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Private sedentary

In which I consider the possibility of spending the rest of my days in a seated position. Not that I want to or anything, you may be sure.

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From the Gimme Pages

Some species, we hear, eat their young. I wonder if this is why:

So I’m 19 now , and I’ve really been looking into getting a car. I’ve asked my parents one for Christmas and they said no cuz $. Its really annoying because all my friends have one and they ask girls out using them. Whenever I ask a girl out we have to arrange public transport and that usually turns them off. I know this sounds stupid but don’t worry I’m not just asking for a car to get the ladies. It’s mainly about getting to college. It takes me roughly 2 hours using public transport, meanwhile i checked how much time it would take me If i was using a car. And saw that it would only take me about 30-45 minutes. So I would be getting about 1h30-1hr15 minutes more sleep. Which is a lot.
Now my family isn’t very rich so I’ve narrowed down my options,
The one car I am looking at now is this one: https://www.teslamotors.com/models/design?redirect=no
So it wold be 844$ per month with 5000 $ in down payment.
Now, I want a Tesla because
1. It helps with the ladies
2. Its super quiet
3.Its environment friendly because it is electric/
So before you start yelling at me because the car is so expesive, I’ve done the Maths.
So my dad earns around 55k a year. Which is around 4583$ a month. Now Seeing as he must have 5000$ in his bake account ( I’m assuming) He can make the down payment. And if you substract the 1.5k he pays for rent and the 844$ each month for the car you get 2239$ EVERY MONTH! For you to buy, groceries or hose appliances whatever,
So you can see why I’m frustrated…

I want to know what his dad does that gets him out of paying taxes.

I’m sorry. A child like this, assuming this one actually exists — the trolls have been working overtime of late — is far too stupid to be in college.

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Hardly there at all

Once upon a time, I professed a fondness for “insubstantial” shoes, not for myself of course — I wear a freaking size 14 HyperWide, fercrissake — but as an occasional fashion choice for my fair lady. (At the time, I didn’t have a fair lady, and I have no reason to expect I will get one any time soon, but let that pass for the moment.)

In terms of substance, this shoe is an iceberg, with next to nothing above the surface:

Eva La Rue in Valentino heels

And I suppose it’s technically a peep-toe, but who’s gonna know?

When this picture showed up, I went combing through the Net for suitable red-carpet information, the carpet’s lack of redness notwithstanding. It took little effort to find out who this was — it’s Eva LaRue, at the second-season premiere for Showtime’s Ray Donovan — but this was evidently not enough of an event to warrant any fashion coverage. After too many searches, I have ascertained, I think, that this shoe must come from Valentino’s Spring 2013 collection, which also contains a Lucite-ish bag:

Plexiglas bag from Valentino, Spring 2013

Way to trompe the hell out of l’oeil, guys.

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Being for the benefit of Mr Clueless

It occurs to me that if you actually need this feature, you might be too stupid to be allowed on the road:

General Motors is introducing an industry-first rear seat reminder that warns drivers that they may have left someone behind.

The feature is standard on the 2017 GMC Acadia SUV.

The system monitors the rear doors. If either door is opened and closed within 10 minutes of the vehicle starting, or if they’re opened while it’s running, the Acadia will sound a chime when it’s turned off. It will also display a message reminding the driver to check the rear seats.

This is the situation the system is supposed to alleviate:

Janette Fennell, president of the advocacy group Kids and Cars, praised the system and said she hopes others adopt it. Fennell says at least 12 children have died so far this year after they were left in hot cars.

And it’s only mid-June.

Still, this seems inarguable to me:

I mean, this goes beyond “distracted.” Way beyond.

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I find your lack of fragrance disturbing

There is, of course, a solution:

[I]f you’ve ever thought to yourself, “How I long to smell like a Jedi,” here’s your chance. Lifetime Fragrances, a perfume manufacturer in Germany, now offers a line of Star Wars perfumes and colognes.

Eau de toilette Jedi is described as a woody-aromatic scent that “exudes positive energy.”

For those who’ve turned to the Dark Side, eau de toilette Empire has an oriental-woody scent.

The lone scent aimed at women, Amidala, is described as a fruity-oriental fragrance, mixing notes of green apple, patchouli, vanilla and musk, among others.

If the scents don’t sell you, perhaps the bottle design will do it. All three fragrances are sold in what look like lightsaber hilts — black and red for Empire, blue and silver for Jedi, and a very C-3P0 gold and silver for Amidala.

Bad news: They’re not selling these outside Germany yet, so you’ll have to make a small detour before setting off on the Kessel Run.

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A quiet, normal(ish) life

It seems unlikely, especially these days, but it’s more common than you think:

99.99% of all people (in the Western World anyway. I’m not going to speculate on the rest of the world) never shoot anybody. Because there is a certain random element to how people grow, there are always going to be some who are not well suited to life in our society. Among those is a small percentage who are going to lash out with varying degrees of effectiveness.

I don’t think any kind of mass palliative educational program is going to help. A program that identified individuals who might pose a possible threat, and tracked them might help. But such a program could easily be abused, and I’m not sure we have a reliable method of identifying a dangerous person before they start shooting.

Then again, we don’t track worth a damn. (Which, in the Surveillance State, might be a good thing.)

We could dope everyone up so they were nice obedient sheep, but even then things might not go so well. Get enough sheep going in one direction and any sheep in their way are liable to get trampled.

And heaven help us if those sheep learn to shoot.

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Should have called it “Oreoboros”

What we have here, if you remember your “Cookies and Creme” ice cream, is essentially Oreo-flavored Oreos:

Oreo Cookies & Creme

Available exclusively at Walmart stores during 2017.

Me, I think I’d have a few of these for dessert after a dinner of, say, Chicken-Fried Chicken.

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What a difference a half-century makes

1966:

Audience member: “Judas!”

Bob Dylan: “I don’t believe you! You’re a liar!”

2016:

Audience member: “Freebird!”

Bob Dylan:

The times, they have been a-changin’.

(Via Q104.3 New York.)

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Too much continuity

A theoretical I’d just as soon avoid:

There is some argument as to whether she could. See the 12th Amendment, last sentence:

But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

Once he completes his second term, Barack Obama would presumably be “constitutionally ineligible,” per the 22nd Amendment, and therefore could not serve as Vice President, though an amusing argument otherwise can be made.

And there’s a nightmare scenario: A Clinton/Obama ticket is elected, and some nimrod manages to penetrate security and ventilate Her Majesty’s jacket. She dies, the Supremes rule that Barack can’t come back to the White House, and the Presidency devolves upon — the Speaker of the House. What you think of this may depend on whether you think Paul Ryan will be replaced next year.

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Technical-ish difficulties

Yet another gambit in the ad-blocking war: pass it off as a technical issue.

Which is, of course, your fault:

Rendering Error which is actually a whine about ad blockers

Somewhere out there, I’m starting to think, is an Expedia-like compendium of bad ideas, specifically for those who want the rest of us to go on guilt trips.

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Good bone structure

In Our Bones by Against the Current cover artAfter three independently released EPs, the upstate-New York trio Against the Current signed to a sort-of-major label, Fueled By Ramen, distributed by the Atlantic Group. I’d reviewed the Infinity EP favorably, and I’d been following Chrissy Costanza’s Twitter feed, which is an intriguing mix of post-adolescent annoyance and road-inflicted world-weariness, so the band’s first full-length album, In Our Bones, was inevitably going to be on my must-buy list, especially considering what I’d said about Infinity:

In American Bandstand parlance, I’d give it an 88: it’s got plenty of beat, it’s highly danceable, and the songs aren’t instantly forgettable.

I’ll happily bump up In Our Bones to 90 or so: any of these twelve tracks could serve as an object lesson in Earworm Production, melding Pat Benatar-level ferocity with lyrical twists worthy of Taylor Swift. The consistency is startling: no song here is shorter than 2:59 or longer than 3:44, and every one of them incorporates a serious hook. (Okay, maybe “Demons,” the closer, is not quite so hook-y.) I think I might have wanted a little more guitar in some of the final mixes, and the way “Roses” sneaks up on you is cruel: it sounds so much like your Standard Break-Up Song, until you find out that it isn’t.

“Running With the Wild Things” was the lead single:

In Our Bones found its way to #2 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart, though progress up the 200, the all-inclusive chart, has been slow: last I looked it was perched at #181. Then again, ATC started out as a YouTube fave — 1.2 million subscribers — and toured the world before ever releasing this album, so I imagine they’re fairly happy, if maybe a little tired.

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