Archive for January 2017

GeezerCare

I have gradually gotten used to being in a demographic that is of no value to the music industry. What I can’t get used to is being written off by the rest of the species:

One good part of Obamacare is that we docs won’t be sued if we point out to families that sometimes minimum care is better than overtreatment using extraordinary treatment.

The flip side of this, however, is denying treatment to those who could benefit but are seen by society as “useless eaters” under QALY (quality of life years) protocols. So if you are handicapped or retarded, or elderly and could actually benefit from treatment you are out of luck.

At the same time, society is being shown propaganda to kill the handicapped and elderly: very subtle or not so subtle.

Some people have bought into this very early in their own lives:

This more than racism is the backstory of the story of how four teenagers tortured a mentally disabled man.

The Daily Caller’s Matt K. Lewis described the event as “evil.” “That’s what this is, it’s evil, it’s brutality, it’s man’s inhumanity to man.” At that, [Don] Lemon disagreed. “I don’t think it’s evil,” he said, repeating the point for emphasis. “I think these are young people and they have bad home training.” Then, he explained, “I have no idea who’s raising these young people, because no one I know on earth, 17 years old or 70 years old, would ever think of treating another person like this.”

In other words, to call it evil might suggest evil exists. And the adults who did this will be called “teenagers,” their crime minimized because they are from a protected minority group, and because the press is so involved in pushing Trump hatred that they can’t see an atrocity against a disabled man as evil.

Their inability to see this as evil has more backstory than the race of the victim. It shows prejudice of the MSM for those with disabilities.

Remember, the press was non judgmental about Holland killing their dying. Then they were cheerleaders to Dr Death killing the handicapped, insisting they were terminally ill. Nor was there much publicity when the architect of Obamacare admitted he hoped the aged should just die quickly.

Out of sight, out of mind; if this requires out of breath, so be it.

Secular Americans dare not even imply that there’s such a thing as “evil”; it conflicts with their adoration of the State. Instead, they snarl at whatever stupid thing Donald Trump has done, or said, lately, because whatever Trump does is, by their definition, the Worst. Possible. Thing. Their awakening will be slow and torturous; I don’t expect to be around to see it. But it’s coming, just the same.

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Strange search-engine queries (571)

This is not the longest-running feature on the Web. (Heck, it’s not even the longest-running feature on this site.) But after about 11 years of something resembling development, it’s reached its current state of whatever the heck it is. The search strings are real; only the IP addresses are masked to protect the searchers.

is 5’5 short for a guy yahoo answers:  Not for a guy on Y!A, no. They tend to be stunted.

“islurp.biz:”  A good name for a content scraper, anyway.

specto fork:  A short-lived utensil, used when dining on Space Food Sticks.

ban stories, mom’s overindulge deduct apropos:  That’s odd. Mom never overindulged before.

naturism today:  Today it’s 10 degrees. How about tomorrow?

nudist fiction:  Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl, both get naked. Nothing more to it than that.

shoes off at the door:  In nudist fiction, it’s pants off at the door.

tyrant series:  Renewed for another season, alas.

when alice needs to figure out how to host a work party for 100 employees with a modest $100.00 budget, she needs to be innovative and imaginative. in order for alice to host a successful work party she will need to use:  The assistant manager’s MasterCard.

if we use the analogy that some u.s. families have an income that could be represented by the height of mount everest, then the average american family has an income that is about:  Knee-high to a grasshopper.

zoie burgher 12 seconds of ecstacy:  That’s about a minute and a half in dog delight.

according to molly ivins, enjoying your work is important because:  One way or another it’s going to kill you.

angelica is an unpaid homemaker who works as a volunteer at the local red cross and is currently not looking for a paid job. the bureau of labor statistics counts angelica as:  Working, until the new administration comes in and it becomes necessary to fudge the results in the other direction.

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This is where you came in

In case cutting the cord wasn’t enough for you:

Back in October 2015 when they announced single-game and single-team League Pass streaming options, the NBA also floated the idea on social media to let fans buy just parts of games. Now, it sounds like NBA commissioner Adam Silver is working towards making that a reality. On a sports business innovation panel at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Silver said he thinks they’ll get to a point where there will be an option for fans to buy only the final five minutes of games.

However, this could backfire on the Association:

Silver’s suggestion might help reinforce the idea that the last five minutes of an average NBA game — which can last quite a bit longer than five minutes with time-outs, intentional fouls and TV commercial breaks — are the only five minutes of the game that matter. The league already has a problem drawing casual eyeballs during the pre-playoff season since so many of its teams make post-season play.

Sixteen of thirty, in fact.

Wait until people figure out that they can’t DVR these fractions of games: not only do you not know how long the last five minutes will run, you don’t know how long the first forty-three ran. And then there’s the dread spectre of overtime.

Back to the drawing board, Mr Silver, sir.

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Difficulties ensue

If you can’t fold a fitted sheet, you’re probably normal.

If you can’t fold a flat sheet, you’re probably me. Poor you.

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Still silken after all these years

The ads have changed, but the product hasn’t:

Advertisement for L'Eggs Silken Mist pantyhose

The price has probably risen, though.

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Butler didn’t

Chicago forward Jimmy Butler has not been well of late, but the Bulls organization decided he was probably good to go tonight. Well, maybe partially: he led the team with assists, with seven, but missed all six of his shots and one of two free throws, retiring for the night after 29 minutes and one point. If Butler, or for that matter Robin Lopez, had been up to speed, the Bulls might have made a game of it. As it stands, the Thunder’s 109-94 victory was nowhere near as close as it sounds: through three quarters, OKC was up 89-67, but they loosened up their grip in those final 12 minutes. Still, it’s a road win, something OKC has not had a lot of recently, enough to climb back into a tie with the Jazz for Northwest Division dominance.

The Chicago guards did what they could, with Michael Carter-Williams posting a season-high 15 points and Dwyane Wade looking something like the Dwyane Wade of old while picking up 22. The Bulls did gather rebounds, with reserve center Cristiano Felicio collecting 11 to go with 11 points, but a reasonably alert Thunder defense kept the Bulls from scoring much: Chicago shot a mere 41 percent from the field, while OKC was blithely pumping in 57. (Statistical oddity: both teams took 83 shots, but the Thunder hit 13 more.) Top scorer for the Thunder: Steven Adams, with 22. (Enes Kanter, your Sixth Man of the Year candidate, dropped in 20.) Russell Westbrook just barely missed another triple-double, recording 21-9-14. And in the Battle of the Grant Brothers, Jerian (CHI) scored 11, Jerami (OKC) seven.

Good news: the Thunder play next at home. Bad news: it’s against the Memphis Grizzlies, who have already walloped them once this year, albeit at the Fed Up Forum. Then on the road again, where the marquee game is the fourth of the trip: at Golden State, new home of some guy we used to mention a lot here.

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Somehow the eighth

I was mildly dismayed to learn that Octavia Spencer is just one of seven children; I was so hoping that there would be one more sibling, to make the name fit. Not that she’s concerned about such silly things: she’s very busy these days, what with the recent opening of Hidden Figures, now in theaters, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe.

Octavia Spencer at the HFAs

Octavia Spencer head shot

Octavia Spencer has just arrived

In the upcoming The Shack, she plays God, which bothers some people:

The Shack, a film based on a New York Times bestseller of the same name, is stirring controversy among evangelicals because a black woman — Octavia Spencer — is playing God.

Is this a major overreaction?

The fictional book written by William P. Young about a father who finds his way back to faith and healing after the brutal murder of his daughter, has drawn the ire of many Christians who have labeled it heresy.

I think the operative word here is “fictional.” Here’s the trailer:

It seems to me that if George Burns or Alanis Morissette can play God, so can Octavia Spencer.

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And Ken never knew

This Barbie typewriter has Hidden Talents:

Barbie typewriter with encryption

Slovenia’s Maheno corporation manufactured a series of Barbie-branded and white label typewriters for kids, with a hidden feature that allowed their owners to use them to produce messages encrypted with a simple substitution cipher.

That’s fairly sophisticated stuff for the presumed target market.

The devices came with four ciphers, and went through several iterations before being discontinued.

(Via @JenLucPiquant.)

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No fourth-graders were available

Had there been, we likely wouldn’t have seen this:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: I have used 0.01 GB out of 2 GB. How many GB do I have left?

I suppose she was told there would be no math.

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If you’ve had your fill of fillings

Perhaps they’re on the way out:

Researchers at King’s College London found that the drug Tideglusib stimulates the stem cells contained in the pulp of teeth so that they generate new dentine — the mineralised material under the enamel.

Teeth already have the capability of regenerating dentine if the pulp inside the tooth becomes exposed through a trauma or infection, but can only naturally make a very thin layer, and not enough to fill the deep cavities caused by tooth decay.

But Tideglusib switches off an enzyme called GSK-3 which prevents dentine from carrying on forming.

Scientists showed it is possible to soak a small biodegradable sponge with the drug and insert it into a cavity, where it triggers the growth of dentine and repairs the damage within six weeks.

The tiny sponges are made out of collagen so they melt away over time, leaving only the repaired tooth.

This wasn’t what they had in mind when Tideglusib was developed: it’s also been investigated as a treatment for Alzheimer’s. But hey, it’s not the first time a drug intended to treat A ended up treating B.

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man.)

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Several units of epicity

After running up $160,000 in health-care bills last year, I figure I deserve this particular accolade:

Epic Patient Refund

Apparently “Epic” is not actually an adjective, but the name of the hospital’s accounting system. Still, I needed a laugh, though not as much as I needed a hundred bucks.

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Prank level: expert

I have to admire the way this unfolded:

David Trott wrote about this in Creative Mischief.

Then there was the middle-management type I worked with who was visibly disturbed that maintenance had hung a ceiling fan directly over his desk: he just knew it was going to fall and decapitate him.

How would you exploit this fear?

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That whatever-it-is over there

Contemporary automobiles are largely indistinguishable, to the annoyance of the Z Man:

The root of this, I suspect, is the dominance of the Left in American culture. The neo-Puritan hags have been screeching at us about how form must always follow function for so long we have lost our sense of style. You see that in cars where the goal of designers is to make them more aerodynamic and pack them with useful functions. The result is a fleet of well-built cars that look like they came from East German film noir during the Cold War. Our cars are ugly because inside, we have become an ugly people.

If you doubt this, look at pics of parking lots from 40-50 years ago. They were a carnival of colors, shapes and sizes. A person’s taste in cars said something about him, a form of advertisement. A people embracing life and its potential were out buying all sorts of cars in all sorts of colors. We are now a people marching to the inevitable end of our miserable existences so we buy cars that are suited for the task. The top three car colors in America are black, grey and white, with dark gray the top interior choice.

Disclosure: My car is white, with a dark-grey interior.

And actually, I’m kind of used to this particular shade of cheese-mold grey, which I’ve had for two of my last three cars. (In between was a Mazda 626 in Mojave Beige Mica, a name I never quite understood; I’ve driven through the Mojave, and it ain’t beige. Its interior, rather than cheese-mold grey, was more of a butterscotch-pudding shade.) At least it’s relatively free of brightwork: there’s a chrome bezel on the clock at the top of the center stack, which occasionally passes on some glare, but that’s about it. The logo on the steering wheel is sort of intaglio; I suspect that in later models they cut out a chrome-y looking brand emblem and pressed it into the embossed shape.

Still, next time around, if there is a next time around, I’d like something a bit less funereal.

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Now, the gut news

The general opinion of the medical profession is that the appendix exists so that we can have appendicitis; it has no other function.

Then again, it might:

[T]he appendix has evolved independently in several mammal lineages, over 30 separate times, and almost never disappears from a lineage once it has appeared. This suggests that the appendix likely serves an adaptive purpose. Looking at ecological factors, such as diet, climate, how social a species is, and where it lives, they were able to reject several previously proposed hypotheses that have attempted to link the appendix to dietary or environmental factors. Instead, they found that species with an appendix have higher average concentrations of lymphoid (immune) tissue in the cecum. This finding suggests that the appendix may play an important role as a secondary immune organ. Lymphatic tissue can also stimulate growth of some types of beneficial gut bacteria, providing further evidence that the appendix may serve as a “safe house” for helpful gut bacteria.

Says Rand Simberg: “I’m always amazed at the hubris of people who think that, just because they can’t figure it out, something evolved in humans has no purpose.”

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At exactly the right time

She was in the right place, not once, but several times:

Clare Hollingworth, the veteran British war correspondent who broke the news of the Nazi invasion of Poland, has died in Hong Kong at the age of 105.

Hollingworth, who was born in Leicester in 1911, was the first to report on the invasion that triggered the outbreak of World War Two. She went on to report from Vietnam, Algeria and the Middle East.

A pretty full life for a newsperson.

Hollingworth was a rookie reporter for the Daily Telegraph when she fell upon “the scoop of the century”.

It was she who spotted German forces amassed on the Polish border while travelling from Poland to Germany in 1939.

The Daily Telegraph headline read: “1,000 tanks massed on Polish border. Ten divisions reported ready for swift strike” — but it did not carry her byline, a common practice for newspapers at the time.

She scored another scoop when the Nazis launched their invasion three days later.

A later exclusive, about the British spy Kim Philby, was spiked by The Guardian in 1963.

That figures. How did that happen, exactly?

In 1963 Hollingworth was working for the Guardian in Beirut when Kim Philby, a correspondent for the Observer, disappeared.

She was convinced that he was the fabled “third man” in a British spy ring that already included Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean.

After some detective work, she discovered that Philby had left on a Soviet ship bound for Odessa and filed copy to that effect with the Guardian.

But this second huge scoop was spiked by the paper’s editor, Alastair Hetherington, who feared a libel suit.

Three months later, the Guardian ran the story, tucked away on an inside page. The following day the Daily Express splashed it on the front page, prompting the government to admit that Philby had, indeed, defected to the Soviet Union.

Philby died in 1988 and was buried with honors in Moscow; nothing was said about Stalin’s suspicions that Philby was actually a triple agent, spying for MI6 while spying for the Soviets while working for MI6.

Hollingworth retired to Hong Kong at seventy, and was a regular at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club.

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Contentious to the last

The Memphis Grizzlies came to town, and they came to be as Grizzly as they possibly could, because that’s what they do; you have to wonder sometimes if maybe Quentin Tarantino is drawing up the plays. “An absolute grind,” muttered radio guy Matt Pinto during a fourth-quarter timeout, and he wasn’t kidding: to the extent possible, the Griz will simply wear you down. The Thunder know; they have to play these guys three or four times every season, and it almost always happens this way: up eleven at the half, they couldn’t find any way to create any serious distance between themselves and Memphis. (Last time they played was the exception that proves the rule: the Griz simply ground them into sausage and claimed an easy win.) OKC finally got a break with just over a minute left: Steven Adams delivered a fearsome swat, and Victor Oladipo turned it into three points, opening the Thunder lead to seven. Shortly thereafter, Jerami Grant saved a Russell Westbrook fumble and came up with an and-one, providing some breathing room, and the last 15 seconds took about 15 minutes to play, the Griz fighting on every single possession, because that’s what they do. Oklahoma City 103, Memphis 95 at the horn, evening up the season series at 1-1.

If anything stands out here, it was the Thunder’s ability to contain Marc Gasol, who was held to a mere nine points, around half his average. Then again, they couldn’t stop Mike Conley (22 points) or Chandler Parsons (14 points in 18 minutes). And Enes Kanter was Kanterlike in his insistence, conjuring up 19 points and retrieving 13 rebounds. For the “Did Westbrook get a triple-double?” fans, the answer is Yes: 24-13-12 despite shooting a sub-meh 6-19 from the floor. The Thunder shot only 45 percent overall, but the Griz were under 40 most of the night and finished at 41.

That long six-game road trip begins in Minnesota on Friday; I bet the Twin Cities have better weather than we do.

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Called for icing

They keep on ratcheting up the potential damage from the impending (Thursday night through Saturday afternoon) ice storm. The higher it gets, the greater my fright level. Last Big Ice Storm, I had to be rescued from a dark house, trapped behind stacks of broken tree branches. And I was in fairly good condition back then. Today, not so much. I am seriously worried about survival here.

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Someone really blue it

I remember griping about blue nail polish, particularly on one’s toes, thusly: “an enamel color more appropriate for minor trim pieces in a pediatrician’s office.” I think, though, that this is closer to the true demotivation:

[O]ne of my students (who worked as an orderly in an ER) talked about he could never get used to blue nail polish because … well, because of MORGUE reasons.

That would do it, yes.

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More mud pie, sir?

Newspaper clipping about Ryan DirteaterIn the Oklahoman’s seemingly interminable notes of everything conceivably connected to last night’s OKC Thunder/Memphis Grizzlies game, I found this little squib without the least bit of snark, which tells me that this is no laughing matter:

Seldom does a day pass when bull rider Ryan Dirteater isn’t asked if that’s his real last name.

“They think it’s fake,” he said. “It’s ironic that I’m a bull rider. You don’t want to eat dirt. But it is my real last name. I grew up with it.”

Dirteater might be a cool last name for a cowboy, but it was ripe for getting picked on when the Oklahoma native was a boy.

“I’ve heard it since I was a kid growing up, especially in high school,” said Dirteater, [27]. “Some of them made fun of my name back then, and now most of them want my autograph.”

The best revenge, as the phrase goes. To which I say: “See what the gentleman is drinking.”

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Unidentical twins

Received last night as comment spam:

On the other hand, a bad credit history won’t customize the rates much until you have high valued collateral to aid your buy (in the case of Secured Auto Loans). Such things as prepayment penalties, interest amounts and any other fee included will directly impact on your repayment ability. Of course, one must pay for that benefits of obtaining instant cash easily available as interest.

Seven minutes later, attached to the same post:

On the other hand, a bad credit standing won’t modify the rates much if you don’t have high valued collateral to help your buy (in the case of Secured Auto Loans). All you have to do is to fill a fairly easy application with all the details. Of course, you have to pay to the benefits of obtaining instant cash easily available as interest.

This bot apparently owns a thesaurus, but not a very good thesaurus. You can block it at 37.229.35.169.

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Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs

It had to happen eventually, I suppose:

Loren Ipsum was not available for comment.

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No mat left unchewed

It’s the perfect Oregon pastime:

Back in August, we discovered potentially the perfect Oregon pastime: goat yoga. Basically, goat yoga is yoga except instead of with no goats, goat yoga has goats.

Those goats walk through the class, blending farm animal with asana. In August, Lainey Morse, owner of No Regrets Farm in Albany where the class takes place, told us, “My goats are very social and friendly animals and love to interact with people.”

“Animals are known to have so many health benefits for humans as well,” she added, “so the mix of goats and yoga seemed to fit.”

Oh, and this is what you wear to participate. If you want to, anyway.

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Oh, Snap

The story sounded ominous enough: Snapchat deleted the account belonging to tween singer/ukulele virtuoso Grace VanderWaal. “Whatever for?” I wondered, and then it occurred to me. And really, it should have been obvious:

Having grown up right as the internet was really becoming a thing that people of all ages used all the time for entertainment, millennials know more than most how easy it is to tell websites that want you to be a certain age that you are, actually, that age, even if you’re not. We’d like to say we learned this from alcohol websites that require you to be twenty-one because we’re cool and edgy, but honestly we learned it from Neopets and Livejournal. We’re old, get off of our lawn, etc. America’s Got Talent star Grace VanderWaal found out being famous makes it hard to spoof your age when Snapchat deleted her account for a very simple reason: She’s not yet thirteen, and that’s their age requirement. Hey, them’s the rules!

I should have caught on, knowing that Facebook believes my 18-year-old grandson to be 24 or thereabouts.

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Boost your shelf-esteem

Fourteen “Weird Al” Yankovic albums in one humongous (and tuneful!) box set:

Yes, even UHF.

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Appropriate to the date

This won’t happen again until October, and possibly never again after that.

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Hungrier in the wintertime

“Sometimes you get the Wolf,” Judge Radar noted, “and sometimes the Wolf gets you.” It was cold in the Twin Cities tonight — single digits at gametime — and the young Wolves were hungry. During most of their recent history, that hunger would go unsated. But not tonight. Down five at halftime, Minnesota flattened the Thunder 29-18 in the third quarter, Russell Westbrook failing to score so much as a single point, and in the fourth quarter, the Wolves gradually pulled away, and His Zeroness was pulled with two minutes left, having managed only a single additional bucket. Minnesota 96, Oklahoma City 86, as this six-game road trip starts off on the wrong foot.

Lots of weak points for the Thunder tonight. For one, they gave up 33 points on 19 turnovers. (Does this count as a quadruple-double? Westbrook finished with 21 points, 11 rebounds, 12 assists — and 10 turnovers.) The Thunder shot just under 39 percent, dismal by any standard, and factoring out Westbrook’s dire 7-23 still leaves only 42 percent. OKC put up 20 treys; exactly three fell. (Minnesota made five of 18.) Enes Kanter did contribute 21 points to the cause, and Victor Oladipo managed 19, but nobody else made it to double digits.

Meanwhile, Karl-Anthony Towns cranked it up to the tune of 29 points and 17 rebounds, Andrew Wiggins added 19 points, and Ricky Rubio, having discovered he can handle the ball, produced 14 points and 14 assists. The Wolves shot a decent 45 percent and missed only one of 14 free throws.

And now it’s off to relatively balmier California, where over four days the Thunder will visit the Kings, the Clippers and the Warriors. It will take at least two wins for anyone to declare a moral victory.

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Bubbleheaded reasoning

As of the first of the year, Philadelphia has imposed a 1.5-cent per ounce tax on soft drinks. Inevitably, this has meant an increase in retail prices, much to the surprise of the Mayor:

Mayor Jim Kenney, who proposed the soda tax and championed its passage through city council last year, told reporters on Tuesday it’s not the new 1.5-cents-per-ounce tax that’s making it more expensive to buy a can of Coke in Philly. No, according to the mayor, those higher prices are caused by city businesses price gouging their customers in order to stir up opposition to the tax.

Is he kidding or what?

[T]he new tax technically is applied at the wholesale level. That is, the city is charging a tax on the transaction that takes place when a business, like a sandwich shop or grocery store, purchases soda (or the syrup used to make soda in a fountain) from a distributor. In the mayor’s mind, it seems, distributors and retailers are supposed to eat the cost of the tax and continue selling their products at the same price as before the tax went into effect.

In the real world, those sandwich shops and grocery stores, of course, are adjusting the retail price of sugary drinks to make up for the added cost imposed by the tax. Some of them have posted signs to inform customers why drink prices have skyrocketed.

Kenney doesn’t like that. He called those efforts “wrong” and “misleading” and suggested that it could be an extension of the expensive fight put up by soda companies, retailers, and even the city’s Teamsters Union in a failing effort to prevent the tax from passing in the first place.

How does someone this dumb-with-a-capital-D get elected, anyway?

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Joystick optional

Computer magazines of the 1980s, as I recall, occasionally had difficulty differentiating themselves from the competition, though I’m pretty sure no one went so far as the Yugoslavians who published this mag:

May '89 computer magazine from Yugoslavia

Definitely gets one’s attention. And it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a package of Xywrite.

At the link: a couple of dozen more covers with similar intent.

(Via Jeff Faria.)

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What work clothes?

There are, I suspect, rather a lot of people who do housework in their birthday suits — their own housework, anyway. I have no idea how many will do so in other people’s houses:

A London-based cleaning company moving into Wales is looking for female cleaners who are prepared to work completely naked.

Naturalist Cleaners is willing to pay their staff £45 an hour with the unusual job description reading: “We are looking for female naturist cleaners who can clean private houses nude.

“The job will require doing all general cleaning like dusting, tidying up, vacuuming, watering plants, making beds, using the washing machine, ironing clothes and cleaning windows.”

If staff are getting £45, what must the company be charging?

Prices for nude cleaning start at £65 for the first hour and £55 each hour thereafter… Fully-clothed cleaning is cheaper, at £25 for the first hour and £20 for additional hours.

Most of their clients, says the company, are nudists themselves.

(Via Breaking Shame.)

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Drugs R us, eh?

There was a time when “Canadian pharmacy” was nearly as much a guarantee of Questionable Spam as Nigerian, um, just about anything, and I remembered that time well enough to be bewildered when I received a brochure, in hard copy no less, from a Canadian pharmacy. Well, sort of. This is the opening sentence to the Patient Acknowledgement:

I appoint Global Pharmacy Plus to act as my agent for the sole purpose of conveying my order and prescriptions to a licensed pharmacy in India, Europe and/or Singapore.

No chance you’re getting anything from the Great White North, even though you’re sending your order to Vancouver.

The six-page booklet contains one FAQ page, on which I find:

My prescriptions are on file at my regular pharmacy. What should I do?

You can either make an appointment with your doctor to get new prescriptions, send us a copy/photo of your pill bottle’s label, or send us your detailed pharmacy receipt/invoice.

This is not exactly Prescriptions Filled Without A Prescription, but it’s close.

Though the price list gives brand names, most of the products offered are generic equivalents. One of the exceptions is Vesicare (solifenacin), which in 5-mg strength they sell for $200 for a 90-day supply, quoting a US list price of $580. To me this sounds a little low. A 90-day supply through CFI Care (not their real initials) runs me a $225 copay, so I’d save $13 — shipping is a flat $12 — were I to take them up on their offer. On the downside, they don’t take American Express.

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First-degree Bern

For the moment, Simonetta Sommaruga is head of the Swiss Federal Department of Justice and Police, a position she has held since 2010. In 2014, she served as Vice President of the Swiss Confederation; the following year, she ascended to the Presidency — which, under Swiss law, is something like being Mayor rather than a head of state — and resumed her previous duties a year later. Born in Zug in 1960, she’s a Social Democrat and a gardener.

Simonetta Sommaruga on the sofa

Simonetta Sommaruga in the garden

Simonetta Sommaruga in black

Switzerland has four official languages, and we know she speaks at least two of them. Here, on her first day as President, she gives basically the same interview in French and in German:

The French version, for some reason, runs twenty-two seconds longer.

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The last Big Top

It’s the end of the line for the Greatest Show on Earth:

After much evaluation and deliberation, my family and I have made the difficult business decision that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® will hold its final performances in May of this year. Ringling Bros. ticket sales have been declining, but following the transition of the elephants off the road, we saw an even more dramatic drop. This, coupled with high operating costs, made the circus an unsustainable business for the company.

Nearly 50 years ago, my father founded our company with the acquisition of Ringling Bros. The circus and its people have continually been a source of inspiration and joy to my family and me, which is why this was such a tough business decision to make. The decision was even more difficult because of the amazing fans that have become part of our extended circus family over the years, and we are extremely grateful to the millions of families who have made Ringling Bros. part of their lives for generations. We know Ringling Bros. isn’t only our family business, but also your family tradition.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents Circus XTREME will conclude its tour at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, R.I., on May 7, 2017, and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents Out Of This World will conclude its tour at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y., on May 21, 2017. We hope you will come to celebrate this American icon for one last time before our tours conclude.

Our company provides quality, live family entertainment, and we invite you to bring your family to one of our other events, including Marvel Universe LIVE!, Monster Jam, Monster Energy Supercross, AMSOIL Arenacross, Disney On Ice and Disney Live!, as well as future productions.

So says Kenneth Feld, head of Feld Entertainment, which bought the circus in 1967, continued to manage it after its acquisition by Mattel in 1971, and bought it back in 1982.

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Momentarily tasteful

Uma Thurman is here styling FitFlop’s F-Sporty sneakers ($125), and while they look pretty nice on her, I was (mostly) looking elsewhere, at that vintage Marantz receiver.

Uma Thurman shows you her stereo

You can always tell a vintage Marantz receiver: it has that horizontally-mounted tuning knob — “Gyro-Touch Tuning” — on the upper right.

It’s anybody’s guess which is older: the Marantz, or Uma. I’m thinking Uma, but not by much: she’s forty-six, and that looks like a middle-Seventies front panel.

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Quote of the week

Why the election came out the way it did, by Francis W. Porretto:

Americans have long cherished a view of political institutions as servants: agents charged with providing us certain services, rather than masters to which we are obligated regardless of any contrary inclination. The Left, of course, and much of the Establishment Right dislike that premise; they would prefer that we concede our subjugation to the State, that we might be more efficiently “managed.”

The 2016 election makes plain that a substantial fraction — probably a majority — of the people of this nation are unwilling to be managed. We defied the luminaries, the pundits, the bien-pensants, and in many cases our friends, relatives, and colleagues to elevate a Queens real-estate mogul to the highest executive office in the land … and it’s driving those aforementioned luminaries, pundits, bien-pensants, friends, relatives, and colleagues completely batshit.

“How could they have done this?” they wail. “We thought they understood!”

That’s their problem, you see. We did understand. We grasped, in sufficient numbers adequately distributed, what was being done to us. We decided we didn’t like it, wouldn’t have it, and reached for the sole available alternative. That alternative will be inaugurated this coming Friday.

I admit that it’s a lot of fun, watching our would-be overseers drowning in their own guanophenia. Unfortunately, they aren’t going to crawl into a hole and die, so they will have to be carefully watched for the next four years.

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At 5:00 it’s much too crowded

The music business, it seems, is drowning in irony. Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, one of the definitive soul-music production teams and the proprietors of the legendary Philadelphia International label, started out producing a bunch of white guys. Admittedly, they were white guys from Philadelphia, but on AM radio they sounded pretty darn black.

Gamble says he wrote the words to “Expressway to Your Heart” while on an actual expressway: the Schuylkill (“Sure-Kill”) Expressway through Philly. He had a date that night with Dee Dee Sharp (“Mashed Potato Time”), about whom I haven’t written nearly enough.

The passing of Soul Survivors vocalist Richie Ingui last Friday prompts the posting of this live track from 2011:

Contrary to the lyrics, there was always room for them.

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Jacking the Kings

The Golden 1 Center in downtown Sacramento cost something like $550 million to build, with 17,608 seats available for roundball. The place was quite full tonight, but the Kings weren’t quite at their best: they put together some stirring runs, but the Thunder were always able to swat them back, even without Steven Adams, who retired to the locker room with the dreaded Concussion-Like Symptoms, which means he may have to go through the standard NBA concussion protocol and perhaps won’t be available for tomorrow night’s game in Los Angeles. With time called at 5:32 left, the Thunder had just finished an 11-2 run to claim a 15-point lead over the Kings; within a minute, the Kings had (stirringly) scored six in a row. The OKC swat team promptly took hold of the situation, only to see Sacramento come alive in the last minute. With 47 seconds left, the Kings pulled to within seven; a Russell Westbrook dunk stanched that bleeding, DeMarcus Cousins dropped in a pair of free throws, and after a steal, Cousins nailed another one; at 26.5, Rudy Gay tossed up a trey to make it a three-point game. Alex Abrines delivered two free throws of his own, the Thunder fouled Cousins again, and this time he got three of ’em. The Kings promptly fouled Victor Oladipo, who swished two freebies to make it 120-116, and Westbrook, who apparently had had enough, swiped the ball from the Kings and stuffed it into the net. There would be a jumper from Darren Collison at the buzzer, but too late: Oklahoma City 122, Sacramento 118.

Four Kings starters rolled up double figures, and Garrett Temple just missed with eight; both Cousins and Gay made double-doubles, with Cousins knocking down a stirring (there it is again) 31. Sacramento actually outshot OKC, 46 to 44 percent, and tied them for rebounds at 44. The Kings also had the advantage in assists, 24-20. But what they didn’t have was, as radio guy Matt Pinto says, The Force. Westbrook’s 20th triple-double (36-11-10) was nearly matched by Enes Kanter’s 29-12 showing. For what it’s worth, Westbrook was -1 for the night despite all those digits.

Tomorrow night — late tomorrow night — it’s the Clippers at the Staples Center. I hope everyone’s Sort of Rested, because the Clips have won six in a row.

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Strange search-engine queries (572)

Time once again for our weekly plunge into the wacky world of search strings, hoping that at least a few people were looking for Weird Things on the intrawebs. (Not to worry.)

Jane’s Candy Shack was a quaint shop, in a small town, with high end items that never attracted many:  Once the locals found out that Jane was making them out of kale.

Pete’s disappointed with the projections of how much his cupcake cart will make in the first month:  Apparently the locals have found out that Pete is making them out of kale.

peed myself on purpose:  You sure it wasn’t the kale?

microsoft cannot verify the license for this product office 2010:  A polite way of saying “You stinking pirate, pay up.”

pretend you’re xyzzy noodle ninja:  Method acting has fallen so far these days.

stan and hilda can mow the lawn:  Fine. As long as I don’t have to.

the cramped quarters migrant boat:  Well, yeah. Most people don’t try to go it alone.

my parents didn steal an elephant by uriah c lasso:  Come to think of it, most parents haven’t stolen elephants. Yet.

is walmart open on christmas eve:  Better that you’re asking now, in January.

yogurt silly putty:  Does poorly at picking up the ink from the Sunday comics.

sawiro jacayl oo qurux badan:  Yeah, same to you, pal.

brandname parts, inc., makes and sells parts for the repair of major appliances. clarice suffers a loss when a defective brandname part in her freezer fails to keep the contents fresh. a statute restricts the time within which clarice may file a product liability suit once she has discovered:  That all her burritos have gone bad.

glyphosate in cheerios:  Brown sugar tastes better, believe me.

fox news shortest skirts:  As long as they’re not on Bill O’Reilly. Or Geraldo.

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Two wheels good, four wheels better?

A member of TTAC’s Best and Brightest comments on the all-wheel drive craze:

In my experience, some (not all) people — the ones who generally don’t try to understand technology/machinery, but just listen to the buzz — treat AWD like “Monster cables”. It’s magically better, and I don’t have to know anything about it. Like my acquaintance who I was told drove like a maniac in his ’92 Jetta because “it has ABS — we can’t crash”. Most of those AWD people in the ditch, I’m guessing, fall into these groups:

1) inexperienced drivers, especially in snow

2) thought that they didn’t need snow tires, because AWD, or rented an AWD car that came with all-seasons (I’ve been there!)

3) don’t know anything about how their AWD works, and expected it to save them from their own insanity

4) thought that AWD magically improved braking capability in the snow compared to regular cars

My own take on this: AWD may indeed get you going. It isn’t worth much of a damn at bringing you to a stop, though.

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Versus the Institution

Life on the funny farm, except that (1) it wasn’t actually a farm and (2) it wasn’t all that damn funny, really. An actual slice of my actual life.

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Hierarchy of knees

Yesterday I posed this slightly weird question to half of the Twitterverse:

What prompted this outburst? I had caught an episode of Henry Danger, a sort-of-superhero series on Nickelodeon, and there’s Ella Anderson, eleven, who plays Henry’s sister Piper, gliding onto the sofa like a foreshortened Claudia Cardinale. I couldn’t remember any eleven-year-old girls doing that during the period when I could legitimately be interested in eleven-year-old girls; for that matter, when I was eleven, the girls in closest proximity were fourteen or fifteen and that much closer to Grown Up, whatever that meant at the time.

Here follows a screencap of Ella as Piper, followed by a picture I found at IMDb, suggesting that this is nothing unusual for her:

Ella Anderson on and off set

Of course, I couldn’t justify bringing this up here without at least one more qualification. Apparently the young lady is a Russell Westbrook fan:

Ella Anderson in a Westbrook jersey

My pesky Inner Child, a nine-year-old girl, wants to know when she can have this much of my attention. I think I’ll just tell her to sit for awhile.

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