Archive for Dyssynergy

Fark blurb of the week

Purina. Dog? Ciao.

(Linked to this.)


Your Cake, and Edith too

The article is called “How your pretentious local record store asshole got that way,” and it’s a simple collection of incredibly dense questions, observations, and God knows what, posed by the customers to this very store. Some of them are just misreadings: “Do you guys have ‘If I Gotta Love Edith’ by Iron Butterfly?” Others are just a little more complex:

A grown man comes into the store pulling a little toy red wagon…”Do you guys have that movie Alive about a rugby team that crashes and they have to become CARNIVORES?”

At least you can see his interest, though the Radio Flyer is probably harder to explain. And then there’s this:

“You ever listen to the Yardbirds? … Oh man yeah, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Sammy Hagar!”

Regular infusions of this sort of thing would render me sphincteresque in no time.

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We gotta get out of this place

This is not the plaint of a (soon to be) former Radio Shack staffer, although I suppose it could be:

[T]hings have deteriorated enough that, hard as it may be to imagine, I haven’t been able to find any funny anywhere. Not just at work, but at home, and on the drive home, and in the mirror and trust me, that ALWAYS cracks me up. Decrepitude is hilarious.

CardHole has been sneakily slipping down the slippery slope of “yeah, it’s a crap place and a crap job but at least I get some post fodder, right?” through the puddles of “if I don’t get a day off I am going to rip someone’s head off, fill the stump with cheese dip, and make some tortilla chips my bitch” to “I wonder if I can get up on my porch roof so I can fling myself off and break a hip and thereby not have to go in to hell today?”

When a job gets to the point you will seriously consider breaking a bone or two so you don’t have to go, it’s time to go.

Such, I am told, is the nature of retail: the unholy combination of seriously deranged customers and utterly feckless management plays hell with one’s sense of values.

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Breaking transportation news

TTAC published this Department of Transportation graph yesterday as their Chart of the Day:

Comparative fuel economy of various transit methods

Note that “Buses have relatively low efficiency when ridership is low.”

Gee, ya think?

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In need of a lift

Two weeks after becoming, however briefly, the darling of the nation, James Robertson, the man who walked across Detroit every day for over a decade to get to his job in the next county, has been targeted by scum:

The story of the 56-year-old Detroit factory worker who walks 21 miles to and from work each day warmed the hearts of the nation after his tale of perseverance went viral. Some $350,000 was raised for Robertson — not to mention, a local Ford dealership gave him a brand-new 2015 Ford Taurus.

But shortly after the hype started to die down, Robertson told Vice News that he’d received death threats and that his fears increased when he learned that Arthur Neal, an 86-year-old who claimed he’d hit the lottery for $20,000, was found stabbed to death on Feb. 1 in a house not far from where Robertson was living.

According to Vice News, Robertson’s girlfriend, her adult son and her ex-husband — all of whom live in the boarding house where Robertson was paying $200 for rent — began pressuring Robertson, who hasn’t received any money yet, for a payday.

Detroit’s police have been helping Robertson out:

The Detroit police, who believed that Robertson’s car would be stolen, allowed Robertson to park in their lot and recently escorted Robertson back to the house to gather his belongings so that he could move.

“We had a meeting with him [and] he expressed interest that he did not feel safe,” Police Capt. Aric Tosqui told the Detroit Free Press.

File under “This is why we can’t have nice things.”

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Not approved by the American Phlegm Institute

After five days of antibiotics to aid my bladder issues, it seemed the perfect time for some rogue virus to wander by and torment me for a week or so. As is often the case with such infections, there was a lot of sneezing at sub-ludicrous speed:

The Guinness Book of Records has the record set at 115 m/ph.

Up to 40,000 droplets (particles) can be ejected from your nose and can travel a distance of 2 to 3 metres.

And from this chair, that’s quite enough to splatter the monitor with something vaguely reminiscent of greasy, grimy gopher guts.

Which inevitably led me to this perfectly deadpan description:

Dating back to at least the mid-20th century, the song is sung to the tune of “The Old Gray Mare”. The song, especially popular in school lunchrooms and at summer camps, presents macabre horrors through cheerful comedy while allowing children to explore taboo images and words especially as they relate to standards of cleanliness and dining. Many local and regional variations of the lyrics exist, but whatever variant, they always entail extensive use of the literary phonetic device known as an alliteration which helps to provide an amusing description of animal body parts and fluids not normally consumed by Americans.

At the bottom of the page was a reference to Loudon Wainwright III’s “Dead Skunk”, which seemed logical; however, I did not in any way expect to find this:

The song has replaced the traditional “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” as the 7th inning stretch song at Georgia Institute of Technology Russ Chandler Baseball Stadium.

Okay, you wouldn’t expect the Ramblin’ Wrecks to be droning “Sweet Caroline,” but geez.

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The value of snark

This is the first time I’ve seen anyone attempting to quantify it:

As a number of news sites eliminate their comments sections altogether, Tablet, a daily online magazine of Jewish news and culture, is introducing a new policy charging its readers to comment on articles.

As of today, a reader visiting the nonprofit site that is otherwise paywall-free will have to pay at least $2 to leave a comment at the foot of any story. The move is not part of a plan to generate any significant revenue, but rather to try and change the tone of its comments section.

There are quantity discounts of a sort:

Tablet has set up commenting charges of $2 a day, $18 a month and $180 a year, because “the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal — and, often, anonymous — minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse),” editor in chief Alana Newhouse wrote.

Let us hope that most trolls are broke.

(Via Steve Sailer.)

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Certification blues

I love this. Robert P. Murphy, on whether professionals really, truly need to be licensed by government:

It is a paradox of our age that the interventionists think the public is too stupid to consult Angie’s List before hiring a lawyer, and so they need politicians to weed out the really bad ones by requiring law licenses. Yet, who determines whether a person (often a lawyer!) is qualified to become a politician? Why, the same group of citizens who were too stupid to pick their own lawyers.

Then again, the amount of faith I have in the public of late — look at the yutzim they keep voting for! — suggests that we might not want to go totally laissez-faire all at once.

(Via Coyote Blog.)


Version 19.8.41

If you were already somewhat miffed by the blithe assumption by Samsung that you’d keep your mouth shut in front of their Smart TVs, miffage is now intensified:

After Samsung calmed us all down, users of smart TV app Plex noticed a Pepsi commercial playing in the middle of content streamed from their own media server within the house. Plex simplifies using your home computer as a media server for smart TVs, streaming devices, tablets, phones, and game consoles. It is not supposed to inject ads in the middle of the program you’re enjoying. Yet that’s what users report happening: Pepsi ads pop up during shows streamed to their sets using Plex.

A spokesperson for Plex told GigaOm that they weren’t adding ads to users’ video streams. Users reported Pepsi ads interjected in other programs while playing programs directly on the TV from their computer, so the app wasn’t serving up the ads. This was caused by the TV, and only users of Samsung smart TVs have reported it.

Q. E. Farking D.

Temperature of hell when you buy a Samsung Smart TV:

  1. 32 °F
  2. 0 °F
  3. -40 °F
  4. 0 °K

Surely no good can come of schemes like this, even if you like Pepsi.

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Yellow Peril 2.0

God help you if you void where prohibited:

A water manager is facing discipline after he was caught urinating in an empty reservoir that supplies drinking water for the San Francisco Bay Area.

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission spokesman Tyrone Jue said Monday that the agency confirmed anonymous complaints that maintenance planner Martin Sanchez had urinated in the 674-million-gallon reservoir in the Sierra Nevada foothills early last month.

Wait a minute. Did they say “empty”?

The reservoir had been drained for maintenance, and officials say public health wasn’t in danger.

Oh. Well, throw the book at him anyway. This is California, after all. Thinking about a crime is itself a crime.

Sanchez, who earns $111,000 annually, was in line for a promotion before the incident. He now faces a maximum penalty of a weeklong suspension without pay.

Some book, huh?

(Via Daily Pundit.)

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A post-mature market

Right up there with Kaiser-Frazer parts:

I was searching Walmart for some writable DVDs for a family project, and I found they still sell blank tapes.

Five tapes for $15.

While you can get 10 DVDs for $10.

It’s the way the cycle goes. Thirty years ago, you could get one tape for $15, or $14.99 anyway. (I bought a case of ten once at a video store — remember video stores? — for $149.90.) Inevitably, the price sank to commodity levels ($1.99, maybe less) before gradually starting back up again.

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Version 19.8.4

An excerpt from the Samsung Smart TV privacy policy:

Excerpt from Samsung Smart TV instructions

An excerpt from a popular novel:

Excerpt from George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four

There’s a lot to be said for “dumb” hardware.

(Compiled by Parker Higgins.)

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Please have a seat

Just don’t think about what you’re doing when you do:

Prototype Hello Kitty toilet seat

About all I can do here is repeat the Atlantic blurb:

An employee for Japanese character goods maker Sanrio displays a prototype model of a Hello Kitty branded toilet seat at Sanrio’s headquarters in Tokyo on February 2, 2015. The device has seat heating and warm water shower functions.

The sort of thing one purchases at the Home Depot — basically, an oval of compressed factory sweepings with a semi-regular hole in the middle — probably wouldn’t even be recognized in Japan.


Origaming the system

Another example of the method of protest being more entertaining than the actual circumstance being protested:

According to a report from the Times Record News, police say a Wichita Falls, TX man refused to leave the county courthouse while trying to pay his tax bill.

Paying your bill is totally legal, of course, but a county tax official accused him of disrupting the operation and efficiency of the tax office because he handed over his $600 payment with $1 bills folded so tightly, each one “required tax office personnel approximately six minutes to unfold each bill,” police say.

Staff attempted to eject him; when he wouldn’t go, they hauled him off to jail. They didn’t say what he used to post $500 bail. Me, I just want to know how someone in Texas has a property-tax bill of only $600.

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A whole new class of victims

There are apparently people who sit alone in the dark of night, muttering to themselves: “God damn it, I want to be a victim too!” Because, you know, sympathy. And federal programs that have dollars attached.

There can be no other explanation for this:

According to Bella DePaulo and Rachel Buddeberg, the singles activists and authors who wrote a piece titled “Do You, Married Person, Take These Unearned Privileges, for Better or for Better?” discrimination against single people is a problem so huge that it’s actually “jarring” that our culture doesn’t talk about it the way it talks about racism and sexism.

The piece defines “singlism” as “the stereotyping, stigmatizing and discrimination against people who are not married” and “marital privilege” as “the unearned advantages that benefit those who are married,” an “emotional privilege” where “other people express happiness for people who marry but pity for those who stay single.”

“Someone is happier than I am, and it can’t possibly be my fault.”

And apparently there are Jim and Sheryl Crow(e) laws thwarting their happiness:

One example: Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, married workers can take time off to care for their spouse, but single people can’t take time off to care for a person “just as important to them, such as a sibling or close friend.” Note that they did not just describe this as “unfair,” but specifically as “discrimination.”

I surmise that there is a world-wide shortage of big-girl and/or big-boy pants, as no one — no one in the spotlight, anyway — seems to be able to put them on anymore.

Lileks observes:

[E]veryone and every state and every condition needs to be celebrated, or it is not validated; if it is not validated, it is marginalized. If it is marginalized, it is oppressed. If it is oppressed, it is virtuous. Then again, if it’s celebrated, it is virtuous as well. So either way you’re covered.

I think we can just about retire the word “marginalized”: with everyone and his half-sister’s llama crowding into the margins in search of that sweet, sweet victimhood, those of us who stay the hell off the edge are slowly becoming official nonpersons. Obviously it’s discrimination.

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Sauron will be displeased

Threat assessment just ain’t what it used to be:

A Kermit [Texas] parent said his fourth-grade student was suspended Friday for allegedly making a terroristic threat.

His father, Jason Steward, said the family had been to see The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies last weekend. His son brought a ring to his class at Kermit Elementary School and told another boy his magic ring could make the boy disappear.

Steward said the principal said threats to another child’s safety would not be tolerated — whether magical or not. Principal Roxanne Greer declined to comment on the matter.

Kid clearly is lacking ambition. This is One Ring to Rule Them All, not just One Ring to Make The Classmate Vanish.

(Via io9.)

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About a year from now

Inevitably, this came up today:

Super Bowl 50 logoWell, actually, none of the above:

The NFL announced … that Super Bowl 50 will be graphically represented using standard Arabic numerals instead of Roman numerals, which the league has been using since Super Bowl V in 1971.

It’s a one-year break, said Jaime Weston, the league’s vice president of brand and creative, because the “L” isn’t as pleasing to the eye.

“When we developed the Super Bowl XL logo, that was the first time we looked at the letter L,” Weston said. “Up until that point, we had only worked with X’s, V’s and I’s. And, at that moment, that’s when we started to wonder: What will happen when we get to 50?”

The NFL assures us that this is not a permanent change or anything:

The NFL will go back to using Roman numerals for Super Bowl LI in Houston in 2017.

I’m not even going to think about Super Bowl C/100/whatever, presumably to be held in 2066.

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Telltale signs of junk

How many ways does this envelope front tell you the contents are totally worthless?

Here Is Your New Policy Kit: Junk mail from an insurance-sales operation

The experienced recipient of utter crap will be able to spot several right away, to include: the absence of a return address up front; the checked boxes, supposed to look handwritten, which don’t; the “Your application” statement, which pretty much says that you didn’t ask for anything like this in the first place; the “Deliver only to:” statement — why would they deliver it to someone else?

There are other hints. But the most egregious one really doesn’t show up on the scan: that green “sticker” up top isn’t a sticker at all, but is printed directly on the envelope. I find things like this so offensive that even in the unlikely event that there’s a good deal being offered, I’ll be double damned and pickled in brine before I’ll take it.

Oh, and at the bottom of that “Do Not Write In This Space” area, extending at least an inch below the address, is a fake rubber stamp that says “DO NOT BEND.” I am pleased to report that my postal carrier bent the hell out of it.


Wholly mackerel

Actually, most of the news these days is bad, but this really ought not to surprise anyone:

The reason is the increasing — today near to absolute — unwillingness of our political class to confront reality when doing so might make it look bad.

When reality slaps you across the face with a wet mackerel, the only imaginable evasion is rhetorical: “No, no! While it did look like a mackerel, it wasn’t an authentic mackerel, as these variances along the lateral fins and the belly scales should make obvious. Besides, I turned forty-five degrees in the instant of the first impact, so it didn’t get my right cheek, so I wasn’t really slapped across the face. Anyway, we’re still good friends.”

That ridiculous word “optics” gives the game away: the important thing is how you look, not what you said or what you’re going to do.

The marvel of political journalism in our time is that anyone still bothers to ask a politician a question, when we all know that the answer will be self-serving rather than honestly responsive.

There are, it seems to me, only two political questions still in use: the softball and the gotcha. Which is served up at any given moment is purely a function of whether the asker is politically aligned with the askee.

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Drive them into the sea

Whatzername in Card Services apparently still has a job, but some of her far-flung brethren have been cast aside:

This is a telemarketing fundraising operation: The people who call you up and will exchange decals for some charitable organization or association, and after they collect the proceeds, they give something like 15% to the organization on whose behalf they’re calling.

Believe me. I did this for the space of three weekends when I was twenty-two.

Hopefully, this is an indicator that the business model is collapsing and they’re all going out of business. More likely, though, it probably indicates they’re either moving these calls off shore or going to an automated system, which makes the whole thing even more annoying than it already is.

For what it’s worth, at least one government agency has had it up to here with those jerkenheimers:

[I]n late November … 39 states’ attorneys general basically said to the FCC: telemarketing and robocall telemarketing are giant pains in the butt for our citizens and everyone hates them. There are consumer-side workarounds, but your phone company can’t block a phone spammer from making outgoing calls to you. So why don’t phone companies just block the numbers to start with?

Phone companies, which have been busily not blocking any of these numbers ever, insist that it is the current law that stops them. AT&T [pdf], Verizon [pdf] and the CTIA [pdf] have all filed comments to the effect that the industry is already totally on it, but that existing tools are sufficient. Further, the FCC should stay away from this, since because phones are regulated as common carriers, all carriers have an obligation to move all phone traffic, period, with no exceptions.

The Federal Trade Commission, however, sides with the rest of us:

The FTC comment [pdf] does not actually call robocalls a plague upon humanity, but it does stress that they are in many cases illegal, and now being placed through internet services from foreign nations where the FTC can’t do much about it. Call-blocking technology is a-ok by them, since it would “make a significant dent in the problem of unwanted telephone calls,” even if, “to date [common] carriers have resisted offering call-blocking services to their large customer bases.”

Sainthood awaits the hardy soul who can get the FCC and the FTC onto the same page.

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Keeping the rot from the Apple

In the 1970s, says Tam, “New York was a dump and only getting dumpier,” but it wasn’t a permanent feature:

The turn-around of the city in the Nineties was nothing short of amazing. I may find the politics and personalities of the last three mayors despicable, but there’s no denying that they made the trains run on time. An inevitable side-effect of the city’s transformation is a skyrocketing cost of living, and class warfare is always a winning campaign platform in those conditions. The current mayor basically ran a campaign against golden eggs by promising everybody a slice of goose meat.

On the upside, at least this week’s paté patties got a proper chilling for a few hours.

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Un-representative behavior

Los Angeles is taking a harder look at talent agencies:

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer on Friday announced the launch of a new campaign aimed at warning aspiring actors and entertainers of scams in which managers and agents seek upfront payments and other fees for representation.

Feuer also announced that charges had been filed against a talent manager, Debra Baum, for allegedly charging more than $100,000 to a 19-year-old aspiring singer, Reed Isaac, and her sister, Veronica, an aspiring actress, for management fees and other expenses like vocal training, stylists and recordings.

According to Feuer, Baum allegedly solicited the 19-year-old singer in a hair salon and she signed a $10,000 per month contract to handle her career. Her sister paid $40,000 in management fees as well.

There’s a Reed Isaac video on YouTube, but I don’t think it’s the same Reed Isaac; that one appears to be from north Texas. Then again, she’s been to Los Angeles within the last few months.

Baum is scheduled to be arraigned on Feb. 5 and is charged with four counts of violating the Talent Scam Prevention Act, passed in 2010 and authored by then-Assemblyman Paul Krekorian, now a Los Angeles city councilman. It explicitly prohibits agents and managers from taking advance fees, and talent training and counseling firms from requiring customers to buy photo head shots or websites as a condition for using their service.

And Baum is no uninformed newbie: over the years, she’s managed Paula Abdul, Tears for Fears, and, um, Rebecca Black, although she and RB parted company in 2013.

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BlackBerry wants affirmative action

At least, that’s how this reads to me:

Unfortunately, not all content and applications providers have embraced openness and neutrality. Unlike BlackBerry, which allows iPhone users to download and use our BBM service, Apple does not allow BlackBerry or Android users to download Apple’s iMessage messaging service. Netflix, which has forcefully advocated for carrier neutrality, has discriminated against BlackBerry customers by refusing to make its streaming movie service available to them. Many other applications providers similarly offer service only to iPhone and Android users. This dynamic has created a two-tiered wireless broadband ecosystem, in which iPhone and Android users are able to access far more content and applications than customers using devices running other operating systems. These are precisely the sort of discriminatory practices that neutrality advocates have criticized at the carrier level.

Watch for the announcement of a Federal Bureau of Apps.

(Via Farhad Manjoo.)

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Meanwhile in the ladies’ room

No, I wasn’t there, but we have a reliable narrator:

Well, I push the door open and I hear someone talking. At first I think she’s talking to someone still in the stall (which is also a personal no-no to me: I do not like carrying on a conversation while in the loo).

Nope. She was on her cell phone. Standing in front of the sink, at the mirror, just talking.

I backed right back out of the room and waited until after my class — but to me, that’s like a who DOES that? situation.

At least she wasn’t eating — which happened in one of the rest rooms at the shop, though it wasn’t the one with WOMEN on the door.

And should we be grateful that she wasn’t taking a picture of herself?

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Poor me

Google deals me a solid:

Screenshot of Google preview

Oh, well. At least I have a job. (Of course, your mileage may vary, since Google tends to adjust these things from time to time and from user to user.) I assure you, I wasn’t looking for something particularly morose when I started.

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A neck for a neck

It’s gonna be hard to top this headline. Indiana Senate panel passes bill for harsher beheading penalties:

Decapitation soon could be punishable by death in Indiana. The state Senate criminal law committee unanimously passed a bill Tuesday that would allow prosecutors to seek the death penalty for beheadings.

Said penalty presumably will be lethal injection; I doubt these dead-serious Hoosiers are inclined to build a guillotine in Michigan City, although the idea has some marginal charm in terms of sheer symmetry.

Supporters of the bill cite an increase in beheadings including one last year in Oklahoma as a reason for the change.

So: one, then? Because what the Daesh-heads do doesn’t really count, except maybe as encouragement from afar.

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Defensive posture: supine

This will sell in huge quantities to the sort of doofus who puts up fake video cameras for “security” purposes:

Not really handguns

Erin Palette calls this a “dumb, useless thing,” which tells me that she was trying to be generous.

The manufacturer assures you that these gefälschte Gewehren “require no background check or permit.” Just like your rabbit ears don’t require cable.

Erin asks, reasonably enough:

What are you going to do when a criminal sees the fake pistol and decides that either you get shot first, or that he will take your weapon from you? (And believe me, if you aren’t mentally prepared to shoot someone for realsies, carrying a plastic totem is not going to give you confidence and an anti-crime aura. The most you will look like is an easy victim with a high-value item.)

And if there’s one thing the criminal element loves, it’s an easy victim with a high-value item. If you buy this thing, you might want to work on your Daffy Duck voice: “I demand that you shoot me now!”

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At least somewhat duh-worthy

Then again, that’s why they’re lawyers:

And there will be someone trying to sign a contract with one of these contraptions. Depend on it.

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Just don’t cross your legs

This is just vaguely disturbing, or maybe a little more than that:

Witness Elite advertisement from EAA

Mr Noggle has posted the full-size three-megabyte scan, and observes:

This being the Internet, undoubtedly there’s someone out there who’s into that thing. The ad designer was undoubtedly a fan of the film Grindhouse and the character Cherry Darling.

Me, I’m going to sleep with the night light on.

And Cherry Darling was pretty creepy. On the upside, at least someone’s ripping off Robert Rodriguez instead of Quentin Tarantino.

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This may not garner more dates

I do not understand this request in the slightest:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: How can I find a surgical body modification artist?

And this is the modification he desires:

I would like to ask a body modification artist if it would be possible to remove my testicles and use my scrotum to create a vagina below my penis. If it is possible, I’d ask if they have a rough guess as to cost. Any help in finding either the answers or an artist would be appreciated.

Please don’t tell me to think about it or give me alternative. I’ve thought about this and alternative for years and still have more time to think about it. Please only reply with answers, thank you.

Construction of the item desired is not, I am given to understand, overly difficult, though usually persons undergoing the procedure are having all the previous hardware — the exterior bits, anyway — removed. Last year I helped to fund one such procedure; the patient had asked for $6000, which she said was the amount not covered by health insurance. (In other news, some insurance policies apparently cover this sort of thing.) A subsequent patient without such coverage said that the price was closer to twenty grand, and was asking for fifteen.

While I can deal with those folks, I’m having trouble with the concept of Hermaphrodite After The Fact. British wiseguy Will Self wrote a couple of stories on the subject, neither of which could be said to end particularly happily. For now, I am working under the assumption that somebody told the questioner to go screw himself, and instead of taking umbrage he decided to fantasize about it.

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