Archive for October 2016

Ambiguity to die for

Or maybe to live for, when you get right down to it:

Okay, it’s not Turrets Syndrome, but it’s funny.

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Far from downtown

Cover art, Petula Clark From Now On 2016Next month, Petula Clark will be 84 years old. Now forget that number. She’s touring the UK to support a new album, which might be her sixtieth; I lost count a long time ago.

And From Now On, I have to admit, is a title that somewhat reminds me of the corporate-finance term “forward-looking information”; looking backward is not on the agenda. The lead single, “Sacrifice My Heart,” is pure British synthpop, almost Tears for Fears-y, and if maybe they’ve tweaked her voice a little bit here and there, you might not care.

The program on offer is mostly Clark originals, with several shrewdly chosen covers: a minimalist “Blackbird” that McCartney surely approves, a quavery but sincere “While You See a Chance” (yes, the Steve Winwood song), and a version of “Fever” that I think owes just as much to the McCoys’ 1965 garage-rock version as it does to Peggy Lee’s drum-and-bass opus. The title song speaks strongly to me: everything that happened before you and me, well, that doesn’t count. (Looking backward is not on the agenda.) And fond as I am of Pet’s French recordings, I was delighted to hear “Pour être aimée de toi,” a song she’s sung in concert in recent years, her own melody with words by Charles Aznavour, spare and unadorned and intimate in the way of the French. The closer, “Happiness,” is Petula on piano, one verse in English, one in French. “That sweet and fleeting feeling / We all need to know / Is waiting here inside us.” If only … but never mind. We’ll save that for her next collection.

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I, microfinancier

Were I to make a list of all the things I imagined doing in a lifetime, helping to build a toilet in the Philippines would probably be somewhere near the bottom. And yet it’s happening just the same.

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Ex-ex libris

Richard Mize, Real Estate Editor of The Oklahoman, explained in the Saturday print edition why he’s not a candidate for one of those tiny houses, and the operative word is “books”:

People say I should start with my books. Crazy people. I just laugh. They can’t be serious. If they are, they’re leisure readers, not consumers of books like me. I mean, when I’m reading seriously you can hear me. I’m serious.

Not because I read aloud, but because I argue with books — as I’m scribbling in the margins, taking issue with this point or that one, underlining parts I like and writing uncharitable remarks over parts I don’t, and running to get other books by other authors and scholars to bolster my own points.

I don’t read books. I consume them. Not even fiction gets a break. You either get that or you don’t. And there’s no way what I do with books can be done with digital “books.” They say there are comparable ways to read digital books. I hear them. That’s like saying watching football on TV is the same as being at a game.

So, books are out as candidates for possessions I could do without in order to fit my life into a tiny house. I literally own enough books to fill a tiny house.

Until they figure out a way to get my bed, my recliner, the couch, stove, side-by-side, a couple of TVs, my desk and the ratty Route 66-themed futon in the Room of Man in the cloud, I’ll be staying in my regular old not-that-tiny house, thanks.

I figure, if you think you can fit your life into the cloud, I’m going to assume you’re Rainbow Dash. (Hint: you very likely aren’t.)

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A letter from the newspaper

From today’s email, slightly after noon:

Today, Sunday, October 9th, our team experienced delays in delivering your newspaper. You may be aware that as of Monday our production and manufacturing of the newspaper is now being completed in Tulsa.

Last night we experienced some unusual system and equipment issues that delayed the newspaper from arriving in the OKC Metro area. Let me assure you, this was not an individual carrier issue. As a result of the issues experienced today, our call volume has been unusually high and many of our subscribers have experienced issues in getting through to us via our call center.

Late delivery of your newspaper is never acceptable. We are subscribers, too and it is important to us that a quality product is consistently received in a timely manner. While we are doing everything in our power to ensure that your delivery is not affected, this is change and change can be difficult. We sincerely apologize for the disruption that this late delivery may have caused you and your family. We ask that you would extend us your patience as we work through this transitional process.

We appreciate you being a loyal subscriber, and thank you for being a part of The Oklahoman family.

Please know that we are working diligently to ensure that this transition is completed as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Sincerely,

Eric Wynn
VP of Circulation
The Oklahoman Media Company

A few notes:

  • When I became relatively incapacitated, I gave up the hard-copy version of the paper in favor of a purely digital subscription. As of last week, they’re now sending me a notification when the Print Replica version is available.
  • Since the Tulsa World is now doing production for both papers, I have to wonder if any World subscribers had similar issues today.
  • Is it my imagination, or did the price of the dead-tree version just go up?

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Strange search-engine queries (558)

About this, I submit, there can be no debate: a lot of people are looking for a lot of weird things on the World Wide Web. It is the function of this long-running Monday-morning feature to single some of them out.

nylon stockings on sarah palin legs more:  Well, I certainly approve.

it’s me:  You sure about that?

crap diem:  Give us this day our daily fecal matter.

what’s the phone number:  Probably something like 1-800-4-CRAP.

bikini wax to beaver lovin:  There’s a lot to be said for keeping your options open.

skintrovert:  Yeah, right. Now put some pants on.

take me to sonic:  You buying?

navigate me to the closest mcdonald’s:  You buying?

while listening to a sociology lecture, you mentally rearrange the ideas being presented, summarize the information, and repeat key points you want to remember. you are considered:  Potentially unemployable.

roger and adair are in an intercultural marriage. they have both agreed to give up certain aspects of their culture, but now adair is starting to resent giving up some of the things she grew up with:  Worse, the sociology student across the street is accusing both of them of cultural appropriation.

accursed crawling cape:  I keep telling you: No capes!

redneck nazgul:  And you thought Trump had no organization.

sherman oaks young chang dealer:  I won’t ask what he deals in.

unbaked lies:  These days, they’re more likely to be half-baked.

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Quote of the week

Severian says it’s a learning process:

You know, this election has taught me a lot. For instance, I believe that women are just people, no better or worse than anyone else. That makes me a “sexist.”

I believe that people should be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. That makes me a “racist.”

I believe that governments exist to protect their citizens against foreigners. That makes me a “fascist.”

I believe that my fellow citizens have the right to want what they want, and like what they like, whether or not it’s “good for them,” as defined by idiots who racked up $100,000 in student loan debt getting a Gender Studies degree. That makes me a “populist.”

I believe that people are unique individuals, not interchangeable widgets or cells on a spreadsheet. That makes me … I don’t even know what anymore, but it sure isn’t a “conservative,” the definition of which now appears to be “trying to beggar myself and my children so that GOP donors can have cheap Mexican labor on their fourth yacht.”

The political culture values labels far more than it values performance, ideas, or for that matter voters.

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I swear

Probably, so do you. And if you’re in the United Kingdom, Her Majesty’s Government has actually quantified your swearing:

Every swear word in the English language has been ranked in order of offensiveness.

The UK’s communications regulator, Ofcom, interviewed more than 200 people across the UK on how offensive they find a vast array of rude and offensive words and insults.

People were asked their opinion on 150 words in total. These included general swear words, words linked to race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, body parts and health conditions, religious insults and sexual references, as well as certain hand gestures.

They were asked to rate words as mild, medium, strong or strongest.

Bloody crap. Sod off. (Mild, mild, and mild.)

(With thanks to Lynn S., who doesn’t talk like this. Much.)

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When your appliances know too much

Eventually, everything in the doggone house will be electrified and given additional functionality, whether you want it or not:

Although I admit I do sort of like that non-television television set.

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Expected item

Apparently this happens to everyone at the self-checkout counter:

I get ALMOST DONE when the machine says that I didn’t bag the item — or maybe it said there was something in the bag that didn’t belong, I don’t recall. The point here is that I had been doing everything properly, with everything that ought to have been in the bag actually in the bag, and nothing in the bag that shouldn’t have been in it.

So the machine doesn’t like my arrangement, fine. I take the item out and put it back in to make it happy. It still doesn’t like it. Okay, fine, I will take out ALL THE ITEMS, cancel the entire transaction, and do it all again but slower because apparently this machine is special needs.

I try to cancel out, and the machine basically throws a fit by saying that it requires an associate to void the transaction. In other words, now am I not only going to have to deal with a human, I get the added pleasure of looking like either an idiot who doesn’t know how to self-checkout, or some shady bitch who’s trying to scam the Mart of Walls.

At this point, I just threw my hands up and walked the fuck away. Yes, I abandoned all my items; there weren’t that many and an associate was going to come over anyway, and frankly I was tired of the whole thing. All I wanted was to buy my crap and leave, and instead I was dealing with technology which couldn’t understand that I had indeed properly scanned and bagged my crap.

I think it’s a safe bet she’s not the only woman who’s done the same.

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And the Diamonds

How Marina Diamandis became “Marina and the Diamonds”:

“I created the name ‘Marina and the Diamonds’ [in 2005] and I never envisaged a character, pop project, band or solo artist. I saw a simple group made up of many people who had the same hearts. A space for people with similar ideals who could not fit in to life’s pre-made mold. I was terribly awkward for a long time! I really craved to be part of one thing because I never felt too connected to anybody and now I feel I have that all around me.”

Appropriate, I guess, for a singer/songwriter with a strong DIY ethos.

Marina and the Diamonds in pink

Marina and the Diamonds on the Froot tour

Marina and the Diamonds spinning about

Thirty-one this week, Marina has recorded three albums, the most recent 2015’s Froot. I first noticed her in “Oh No!,” back in 2010.

Hard not to notice under those conditions, know what I mean?

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Keep your snoopy eyes on the road ahead

From Chris Walton’s interim report on the Chevrolet Camaro in Motor Trend’s long-term test fleet:

[W]e wonder if other 2016 Camaro owners have been treated to a reflection of the passenger’s seat when peering at the sizable color touchscreen. We love the proximity, its quick responses, the crisp graphics, and Apple CarPlay, but we wish we could somehow alter the angle of the screen or change its reflectivity. Front-seat passengers wearing miniskirts be warned.

Me, I just wonder where all these front-seat passengers wearing miniskirts might be.

(Title courtesy of Paul Evans.)

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Hellcat up in Harlem

Okay, not necessarily in Harlem, but this chap in New York City has a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, and with it he has stories to tell:

Here in NYC, the label “SRT” is unaffordable by most, but when you have it, people ogle your car and ask questions about it. Regularly, I am followed by other drivers in “lesser” performance cars — who will pull up to me and give me a thumbs up. Regularly, people will fight with others in traffic to get into a position where they can be side-by-side with me so they can roll their window down and ask me to “rev it”. And the police love me. When they see me pass by, they’ll often follow me — waiting for me to do something wrong — so they can pull me over. A Black guy in a ruby red car with three times the engine power of the majority of cars on the road must be up to no good — right? A short burnout resulted in me being swarmed by NYPD plain-clothes (White males) who were busy taking in the measurements of my tires and the details on my spoilers and heat extractors while I calmly kept my hands on the wheel waiting for commands to follow. “Is this thing like a Nascar?” asked one officer. “Yes sir” I replied: “seven-hundred-and-seven horses.” They all took a gasp with a “holy shit”…

Speeding while black! And apparently you don’t have to be speeding at all.

Oh, and there’s at least one other downside:

My Dodge Charger Hellcat’s 6.2-Liter Supercharged HEMI average less than 9.8 MPG.

My car gets twice the mileage, but then it has less than one-third the horsepower.

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Several tongues

In retrospect, it seems so simple:

My wife is a teacher of English as a New Language (ENL). It has also been called English as a Second Language (ESL), but the NEW designation is more accurate because, for some of these students, English is their third or fourth language.

Of course.

And now I look at my less-than-polyglot self and curse, quietly; I took three different “foreign” languages in secondary school, and my fluency in any of them is arguable at best. Admittedly, this was nearly half a century ago, but I suspect I should have retained more than I actually have. Middle-school kid learning English as your third language? My hat’s definitely off to you.

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Without the brand names

When it was announced that the Mavericks would be starting the five guys you could expect to see starting in the actual season, I sighed a bit; I figured Billy Donovan’s rotation technique, the basketball equivalent of throwing stuff against the wall to see if it sticks, would put the Thunder behind the 8-ball early on. And indeed, OKC fell behind by 20 at one point. Rick Carlisle, however, was anxious to see some of his reserve troops in action, and the Thunder gradually pulled back into contention, even tying the Mavs several times and taking a three-point lead with 5:24 left. It didn’t last long — Dallas promptly went on an 8-0 run — but it made several of us feel better. And so did Kyle Singler, starting at the three after Andre Roberson turned up bruised; he led all the starters with 17, and when’s the last time you heard that? The Mavs prevailed, 114-109, but hey, it’s only the preseason. Still, this is the first time Dallas has beaten Oklahoma City in the preseason, and this is not the sort of precedent one wants to set.

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Just gimme the answer

A subtle question, made less so by its conditions:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: When do you become an adult? This is a topic for my University essay and i want to know the answer from that point of view?

In other words, he wants the answer they’re presumably looking for.

And just in case you were in doubt about that:

Pls dont use google for answering it since my teachers will check if i used google or not i need creative ideas

At the very least, this would seem to constitute an admission that his own ideas are not creative, though I suspect “He’s a lazy pillock” would probably be accepted as an alternative explanation.

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On being too old for this

On the ballot this fall in Henry County, Alabama:

Proposed Local Amendment Number One (1)

Relating to Henry County, proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to provide that a person who is not over the age of 72 at the time of qualifying or appointment may be elected or appointed to the office of Judge of Probate of Henry County.

This would apply to — how many people, exactly? You got it. One:

Judge [David] Money is currently in the 4th year of his first term as Probate Judge. He’s 68, but is already looking to the future.

“It gives us an opportunity that if you want to pursue another term, you can, it doesn’t necessarily say that I will, or the next one will, but it’s there if we should wish to do that,” said Judge Money.

This office has a six-year term; Judge Money’s term expires in 2018.

I’m wondering why Alabama would have a maximum age on any elective office. But clearly they do:

“Probate judge” in the AL judiciary is kind of like justice of the peace elsewhere: it’s not a lawyerly job. Here are the requirements of the office, per the AL Secy. of State:

Must have resided in the district which candidate seeks to represent for one year prior to election. No one may be elected or appointed to a judicial office after reaching the age of 70.

State legislators, I note, have no such age restriction.

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I suppose this was inevitable

It’s still, however, a bit disquieting:

But maybe that’s just me and my aversion to things hanging out of one’s nose.

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Myopes are better than your opes

Dorothy Parker certainly didn’t say so; but what if the alleged male aversion to women who wear glasses was due, not to the glasses themselves, but to those women’s mental superiority?

Glasses-wearers are smarter than those with perfect vision, according to researchers at Mainz University in Germany.

According to The Times, scientists in the department of ophthalmology at the German university found that short-sighted people were more likely to be brighter and better educated than people who don’t need glasses.

Researchers were investigating the increase in myopia across Europe, which is as high as 50 per cent in groups of professionals over the age of 40. The study looked at 3,452 people, giving them eye examinations and intelligence tests and recorded their age and level of investigation. The research paper said: “A higher cognitive ability was identified in myopes compared with non-myopes.”

Then again, crummy vision doesn’t necessarily make you a visionary:

But the experts said there was a closer link between intelligence levels and length of time spent in education.

Duration of education is also linked with near-work, where proximity to books and screens can have an impact on eye health.

I note that my own vision deteriorated to mandatory lensing level once I started believing all that crap about how smart I was supposed to be.

(Via Interested-Participant.)

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0 for 3

Tim Tebow’s debut for the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League was, we may say, inauspicious: in three trips to the plate, he grounded out three times, though one of those times he did manage to advance a runner. What’s more, there was this:

If anyone is curious, Tebow, who started in left field, batted seventh.

Still, the Scorps won that game, 9-6 over Glendale, before 912 presumably paying fans. (Scottsdale Stadium seats 12,000.) And this happened:

Tebow’s interaction with the fans continued after the game. While he was signing autographs, a fan collapsed and appeared to suffer a seizure, and Tebow stayed by the man’s side, providing comfort until the paramedics came.

According to the Arizona Republic, the man remembered falling, but then nothing until he woke up to Tebow and another fan praying over him.

Some things will never, ever change.

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Bobtail nagging at me

This is how I know I’m running a sleep deficit.

I’m reading a pill bottle, for a pill I’ve been taking for several years, and suddenly I begin to emit strange noises:

Hydrochlorothiazide
Doo-dah, doo-dah
Hydrochlorothiazide
All the doo-dah day.”

Now I’ve lapsed into this before, most notably during the heyday of Sally Jessy Raphael; I suspect I picked up the habit from Foghorn Leghorn, who often just hummed for seven beats before lapsing into “Doo-dah.”

Or maybe it was Liberace:

I really miss that guy, you know?

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Sort of covered

I am generally distrustful of extended warranties on automobiles, which I have characterized in the past along the lines of “paying $3000 in advance so you don’t have to pay $3000 later.” Jack Baruth is a bit more forgiving:

As has been the case since time immemorial, and discounting various stunts by people who purchase warranties on hood-rich shitty used exotics with questionable or nonexistent histories, these extended agreements/service contracts/whatevers are best considered as a way to fix certain costs ahead of time, with the understanding that in doing so one stands a very good chance of spending more money than one would have otherwise. It’s possible to swap a junkyard V6 into an eight-year-old Accord for about $4,000. If you want to spend $2,400 against the chance of that $4,000, then I don’t think I would call you a fool for doing so.

As a Ford salesman, I rarely pushed the Ford ESP plan, even though it’s actually very good and it will dramatically reduce your cost of ownership for an even moderately troublesome car. The exception to this rule of mine was when I had customers who were clearly at the very edge of their financial ability to own the car they were purchasing. I explained to them that if they were struggling to make a $475 payment (or whatever) right now on a car with no problems, they’d have a much harder time making that payment and replacing a transmission at the same time. Few of them took my advice. Human beings are always unreasonably optimistic about the future. Were that not the case, nobody would ride a motorcycle or date Taylor Swift.

I bought two of these over the years. One of them was sufficiently restrictive in its terms to insure that it would seldom if ever have to pay off anything; the second, I canceled in the first year. I am not what anyone would call unreasonably optimistic. That said, I’m also not sitting by the phone waiting for Taylor Swift to call.

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Don’t buy that

I have come to the conclusion that most of the savings advice I get from the bank or from the people who laugh at service my 401(k) is just barely above the level of concern trolling.

Nor am I alone in this conclusion:

I get economizing. I was taking my lunch to work loooooong before “The New Frugality.” (Though in my case, it was more a combo platter of “ugh, I hate fast food” / “I’d rather use that time to sit at my desk and surf Ravelry while I eat” / “I have some very specific health and dietary concerns that are better served by my having strict controls on what goes into my food”.) But the endless drumbeat of having fewer and fewer little pleasures in life to save all your money for some nebulous future-time … no.

What’s more, it gets worse the farther down the income ladder you go:

Also, something I read recently that struck me: some of the “Why don’t ‘poor folks’ save more money? Why do they spend their money on junk like lottery tickets and fast food and cigarettes?” is answerable by the fact that people who live in an uncertain and insecure world, who have always only known budget insecurity, are less prone to planning for a future that may never arrive — that people live in the moment because the future is hard to imagine, or something. And I can kind of see that. I think a similar thing was in play when someone I know who worked for a doctor’s office said that shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, they saw LOTS of people going off of diets (whether weight-loss or things like low-salt) because they figured, “The world’s ending, so what does it matter now?”

There’s a meme which obliquely addresses the “Why don’t” types: “Explain, then, why a burger is $1 and a salad is $7.”

And it goes even farther:

There are people like that: “Oh, spending on and having EXPERIENCES is great and wonderful and enriches your life! But spending on THINGS is a waste and just ties you more to material possessions.”

I have to wonder if any of them ever bought, say, a book.

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Putting the “trophy” in “atrophy”

A bit from Steve Sailer while he was watching the debate (so I didn’t have to):

Hillary’s answer on how she’s shocked, shocked by Trump’s 2005 lewd comments would be pretty good except for the fact that the only reason she ever got higher in life than, say, a Congressman’s chief of staff is because she is married to Bill Clinton.

But you are supposed to vote for Hillary because she is a self-made woman. Or something.

That’s one of the weirdest things about this election: it’s obvious that Hillary’s main reason for being the Democratic nominee is that her husband is term limited out of a third term, the way Lurleen Wallace was elected governor of Georgia when George Wallace got term limited out of running. But we’re all supposed to act like Hillary has taken on the entire male sex by running for President, rather than coasting on her husband’s slipstream.

Consistent with this viewpoint, Lurleen’s 1966 general-election opponent, Congressman James D. Martin (R-Gadsden), claimed that she was merely a “proxy” candidate, a manifestation of her husband’s “insatiable appetite for power.” But truth be told, I’m pretty well convinced that Bill Clinton, at least these days, is indifferent to power, so long as he can exercise the perks; I have no doubt that were it not for the optics, Hillary would have hung him out to dry years ago.

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Only slightly less Grizzly

The key to Memphis this year was supposed to be that the veterans were older, the newbies were newer, and the coach (David Fizdale) is in his first year in the top slot. (The Fizmeister was previously an assistant at Miami.) If the combination of these factors was supposed to mean that the Grizzlies were going to be easy, or at least easier, well, it didn’t happen that way in Tulsa, where the Thunder fouled all over the place, and when they weren’t fouling, they were turning the ball over. All the Griz had to do was not mess up, and for the most part, that’s exactly what they did; after falling behind 31-17 in the first quarter, Memphis buckled down and dispatched the Thunder, 110-94. It’s hard to imagine how OKC came up with 94 points after 35 personal fouls (the Griz took 44 free throws, making 34) and 28 turnovers. Then again, the Thunder roster is in decided flux, what with injuries all over the place. But it’s preseason, right? None of that stuff matters. Nor will it matter Sunday night, when the Timberwolves show up in Oklahoma City. I plan to keep telling myself that until the Real Season begins.

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Accentuate the negative

An Amazon reviewer described this shoe as “the most badly designed piece of footwear I have ever come across in my entire life,” and how could I not read that?

When I read that they have long straps that don’t tighten enough, I thought maybe I’d be OK since I have quite a high instep. In fact my feet are pretty chunky and wide too (I’m between a 4E and a 6E). But at their tightest pull, the straps on these STILL leave a noticeable gap above my foot, enough to stop them being secure when I walk. In fact the only way to get them anywhere near tight enough is to pull some of the velcro through the eye. And by that point, as people have pointed out, you have an absolutely ridiculous amount of excess strap to the point of it looking stupid.

So here am I, with quite a high instep, chunky and wide feet, a problem with swelling — and at least once a day, a strap pops out of position because there’s not enough of it. I ordered a pair. Problem solved. And yes, I gave him a “Yes, I found this review helpful,” because I did find it useful, even if my reaction is the exact opposite of his.

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Low lights, big city

Holly Brockwell goes one up on Paul Simon:

Besides, she’s prettier than that Disturbed guy.

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Twice as decadent

A Web site that endures for twenty years is something unusual, inasmuch as the Web has been in common use for only about twenty-three. I’m not entirely sure why I’ve been on here for two decades. Then again, Warner Bros. has kept the 1996 site for Space Jam alive all these years, and no one was entirely sure why.

Maybe this is the reason:

Everybody get up, it’s time to slam now. Space Jam is returning to theaters for TWO WHOLE DAYS in honor of the film’s upcoming twentieth anniversary, brought to you by Fathom Events and Warner Brothers. You’re going to want to click that link right away to find out your nearest location and buy tickets before they sell out, because NOBODY doesn’t love Space Jam.

It gets better, slightly:

To compound on the nostalgia factor, the nationwide screenings will also be accompanied by even more Looney Tunes merriment: a rare big-screen presentation of the cartoon short, “I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat,” prior to the feature film.

If this sounds unbelievably vintage, you should know that “I Tawt…” is a mere child of five years, with Sylvester and Tweety dialogue scissored out of Mel Blanc’s 1950 single. (Granny, however, was voiced by the always-fresh June Foray, a mere 94 years old in 2011.)

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Let’s get buzzy

Rebecca Black for BuzzFeed Music“Take a #BuzzFeedMusicBreak with Rebecca Black,” they said, and it proved to be more substantial than one might have thought, considering, well, Buzzfeed: for one thing, the “break” ran a solid 18 minutes, and for a more important thing, the two opening numbers were songs we haven’t heard before, songs we may see released one of those days. The first of them, an apparent ode to nighttime, is cheerfully catchy; she followed it with an ambiguous love song. The closer, inevitably, was “The Great Divide.” Did she work “Friday” into the program? Well, kinda sorta.

In other RB news, she’s doing a short show/meet-n-greet in Brooklyn on the 21st.

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Everything in balance

And that’s the important thing, right?

(Via Steve Lackmeyer.)

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Aren’t you glad you use bile?

I suspect that not every evocation of the four Greek temperaments matches up on every minor detail. Then again, this (originally posted 15 March 2003) does sound rather like me:

Your dominant humour is CholerYour humor is: yellow bile
Your personality is: choleric
Your season is: summer
Your element is: fire
Your qualities are: hot and dry
Your color is: yellow
Your organ is: the liver
Your lunar phase is: the full moon
Your opposing humor is: phlegm

When yellow bile dominates, an individual is quick to anger. Choleric personalities (cholera meaning yellow as in yellow fever) are often violent and vengeful.

Black Hellebore, which is known for its laxative properties, purges lower tracts of phlegm and choleric humors.

Avoid herbs with a bitter taste, as they are most likely to promote yellow bile.

Let the record show, however, that 13 years later I took the same test Fillyjonk did, and it scores me as 4.3 melancholic, 4.1 choleric, 2.7 sanguine and 2.1 phlegmatic. Obviously I need to work on my phlegm.

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Quote of the week

The Russians have always had a funny way about elections:

Russia promises nuclear war if Hillary Clinton is elected. And that’s from NBC, “America’s Network Of (broken) Record,” so you know it must be true — or at least as true [as] any of Brian Williams’s tales of derring-do in dire and desperate, er, derpumstances.

Bite me, Russian government. I decided on Gary Johnson early, when neither party had anything even close to an acceptable candidate and that has not changed. Point an H-bomb at me? You did that already! Naval Avionics has been in Indianapolis since before the Cold War and the Army has been writing paychecks for every soldier in this town for almost as long: I’m already a casualty of WW III. I was born dead. Every town I have ever lived in was a target.

So this response is perfectly understandable:

Bring it, Vlad. Let’s make the rubble bounce and we’ll see which side bred the best cockroaches afterwards. Are you so stupid that you really think we have any reason not to?

Putin is counting on American, um, flexibility.

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Requiem for none

This is Harris Faulkner, a minor character in the fourth generation of Littlest Pet Shop toys by Hasbro:

Harris Faulkner on LPS

And this is Harris Faulkner, Fox News Channel reporter and anchor for the last decade or so:

Harris Faulkner on Fox News

Now if you ask me, which the United States District Court for the State of New Jersey did not, there’s not a whole lot in the way of resemblance here. That said, after initially denying a Hasbro motion to dismiss, the court has dismissed Fox’s Faulkner’s lawsuit “with prejudice”: it cannot be refiled. Did the warring parties settle? We’ll probably never know.

That said, Harris Faulkner the newsperson does well with simple colors:

Harris Faulkner on the Fox Report

Harris Faulkner on the sofa

But never, ever cartoonish, am I right?

(Via Nancy Friedman.)

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Cash-based solutions

When I ditched Windows XP in favor of 7, I ran into a couple of software issues, and the solutions turned out to be essentially identical: present plastic. Herewith, the original problems, and how they were subsequently solved.

Problem: Adobe Photoshop Essentials, though this is my fault: I can’t find the original installation DVD.

Solution: I eventually found the install disk, but it would not, you know, install. By 2014, Adobe apparently reasoned, I should be using a version newer than version 4. A reader offered me a legit copy of a newer edition, which was greatly appreciated; however, the ultimate solution came from Woot, which yesterday was offering the Photoshop/Premiere Elements bundle, version 13, for $49.99 (plus the de rigueur $5 shipping charge). This is slightly less than half what I paid for version 4 at CompUSA back in the Pleistocene era. Clearly I haven’t installed this yet, but I have no reason to think it won’t work.

Problem: Nero Burning ROM, which flatly refused my reinstall: “This serial number has expired.” This was a version-7 install; they’re up to something like 12 now. And I never could deal with the increasing bloat.

Solution: Apparently the Germans never throw away an email address. With Nero 17 on the way, they sent me a note to the effect that they were willing to cut a deal for a downloadable version of version 16, for $29.95. (Full package price is, and always has been, around $75.) The interface is much simplified, for which I am grateful.

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Symbolism in the on-deck circle

Something I didn’t notice, but probably should have:

The Cubs will battle the Dodgers for the National League championship. MLB has scheduled the Games in Chicago to start at 7:08 local time. That is 1908 for those who use military time. 1908 was the last time the Cubs won a World Series. Cue Twilight Zone music.

Hmmm. The Dodgers last won the Series in, um, 1988. Doesn’t translate well to clocks. Perhaps more insidious: the Boys in Blue have won the NL West title eight times since then, including four in a row since 2013, but haven’t gotten a single National League pennant for their trouble, let alone a World Series.

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As the escrow flies

I have received the renewal for my homeowner’s insurance, and the premium is dropping from stupidly high to somewhat less stupidly high: the annual savings will be just over $100. (Still, unless you live in some place like San Simeon, my premium is probably higher than yours.) At least part of the expense is due to my having specified some comparatively pricey options over and above the standard package, including an escalator clause that adjusts the amount of the policy upward when the value of the property increases. Still, Oklahoma has some of the highest insurance costs in the land, and this isn’t going to change so long as we have some of the most perverse weather this side of Baffin Bay.

Which means, I have to figure, that unless the county seriously jacks up the property tax rate, I will not be running an escrow shortage in 2017, inasmuch as the actual value of this property, as determined by the County Assessor, has risen by less than two percentage points.

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Send in the clowns, if any

Creepy clowns in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania? “People need to chill,” says Hilde Lysiak of the Orange Street News:

Everyone in Selinsgrove has been freaking out over people dressing up like clowns. How ridiculous! What are they going to do? Squirt people with their flower?

This is what happens when people start reporting things without knowing the facts. I’ve investigated every one of these claims and couldn’t find any actual evidence of people dressing up like clowns going around scaring anyone!

That’s the editorial in the print edition. Online, we find this:

Among all the creepy clown rumors in Selinsgrove, Sara Moore, director of the Clown Conservatory in San Francisco, CA, is standing up for real clowns.

People wearing creepy clown masks do not deserve to call themselves clowns, according to Moore.

“Bad individuals wearing masks who are scaring people. Those individuals are not clowns just like someone wearing a scary nurse costume is not a real nurse,” Sara Moore told the OSN.

And that would seem to be that.

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Vertical hold

I try awfully hard to remain upright, even though I’m starting to think that it may not be worth the bother.

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Variations on a theme

However many it takes to tango, the subsequent record album is expected to look pretty much the same. From 2003:

The Best Tango Album in the World Ever, 2003

From 2008:

Jan Vogler Tango, 2008

And new, from 2016:

Let's Dance Tango 2016 from Le Chant du Monde

You’d almost think they were trying to get my attention or something.

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Young and hungry-ish

Tom Thibodeau is running the Timberwolves this year, and we can expect more ferocity, more often, from the team that’s been the Northwest Division doormat for so long. We didn’t get to see a while lot of that tonight at the ‘Peake, inasmuch as the Wolves played last night and, well, whoever heard of a back-to-back in the preseason? So Thibodeau let his reserves play all night, and they made a decent showing against a nearly full-strength Thunder deployment. Then again, OKC, 1-3 in the preseason so far, was presumably loath to lose in front of the home crowd, so methodically putting away the young Wolves might have been higher on Billy Donovan’s to-do list than we’d come to expect from the four preceding games. Still, while the Thunder kept the Wolves more or less at bay during the fourth quarter, the Wolves kept messing with Thunder sets and forcing turnovers. The score at the horn was 112-94, and, as always this time of year, it’s the preseason and therefore doesn’t mean a thing. The Wolves will be back, though, and they will bite, or at least scratch.

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