Archive for Dyssynergy

In Uther news

It may take Sir Lancelot to straighten this mess out:

A druid who believes he is a reincarnation of King Arthur is to take court action against what he considers an “illegal charge”. King Arthur Pendragon is suing Wiltshire Council, English Heritage, and Wiltshire Police for having to “pay to pray” at Stonehenge. This involved a £15 charge, which he refused to pay, leading to his ban from the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

You mean there was a case when it wasn’t good to be the king?

He decided to challenge the “authorities” because of what he said was an “affront against my and many people’s religion, that is paganism”. King Arthur said: “I am banned from the site because I refuse to pay what I consider to be an illegal charge. Because of this I will be suing Wiltshire Council, English Heritage and Wiltshire Police under articles 9, 10, 11 and 14 of the European Convention of Human Rights.”

Remember when kings used to do things like, oh, defeat the Saxons? No more, apparently.

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It’s all about the synergy

The Z Man explains the meteoric rise in corporate horse hockey:

Orwell’s Newspeak was a part of an overall program of the state to oppress the masses. The proliferation of jargon we are seeing does not strike me as such. Instead, it is closer to what you see with small children on a playground. They have a limited vocabulary and lots of free time so they make up silly words and word games that sound pleasing, but mean nothing.

That’s what the boys and girls in the managerial state are doing when they cook up neologisms. It’s nursery rhymes for adults, who live and work in what often resemble daycare centers for adults. Instead of wrestling with the Legos to build a house, they spend their days wrestling with Excel to make a cool looking pivot table. Instead of memorizing rhymes, they invent bizarre word combinations like “monotonectally transform multimedia based channels” and put them into PowerPoint presentations.

It is another example, I think, of how Huxley got it right and Orwell got it wrong. The authoritarian model imagined in Nineteen Eighty-Four could never last because it had to rely on force and the math always works against such a system. The violence required to hold it together eventually exceeds the systems capacity for violence. The Huxley model of a world populated by infantilized adults, cheerfully engaged in busy work, requires much less coercion from the state and it has a higher carrying capacity.

And it results in more amusing parodies, too:

It turns out that the future is not “a boot stamping on a human face — forever.” The future is a conference call on which a cheery 30-something says things like “progressively coordinate functional strategic theme areas” — forever.

What’s more, it seems like forever.

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Coming soon: the mug selfie

Florida? Oklahoma? Actually, China:

Just before midnight one night last week, a young woman was pulled over by police in Xinjiang. Police asked her for her license. She didn’t have it, and instead tried to flirt her way out of the ticket.

Instead, police asked her to perform a breathalyzer test to see if she had been drinking. At first, she used the old don’t exhale into the breathalyzer trick, before an officer impatiently informed her that they would gladly drive her to the hospital and have a blood test performed, Sina reports.

After that, the breathalyzer confirmed what everyone already knew, the woman had in fact been drinking. Police then began taking pictures for evidence. When they were taking pictures of her, she demanded that the officers use Meitu, a popular photo editing app, to make her look better.

If there’s anything worse than a drunk, it’s a picky drunk. There are pictures at the first link, though I couldn’t tell you if they were Meitu’d.

(Via Fark.)


Sheriff goes unshot

The deputy, however…

Authorities say a federal agent accidentally shot a deputy’s leg at the sheriff’s station in Lemon Grove [California] while unloading a handgun that was seized by a joint task force Monday.

The deputy’s injury was not considered life-threatening, sheriff’s spokeswoman Jan Caldwell said. The names of the deputy and the federal agent were not released.

Reflexes, I suspect, had not gotten the better of him.

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man.)


Living up to the names

This struck me as a pretty interesting idea:

But suddenly I don’t ever want to see a Browns/Packers game.

(Speaking of Nu Shooz, their 2016 album Bagtown is worth your attention.)

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A Lidl more competition

The Germans were already here: Aldi and Trader Joe’s. Here come some more:

A new wave of European grocery stores is about to invade the US.

The German supermarket chain Lidl is gearing up to open stores in dozens of cities along the East Coast spanning from New Jersey to Georgia, the company told Business Insider.

Lidl wouldn’t reveal how many stores it’s planning to open, but sources told the commercial real estate firm CoStar that the company will open as many as 150 US stores by 2018. The company currently has 10,000 stores in 26 European countries.

As of the end of July, there were 11,539 Walmart (or related) stores.

(Via Ellen Cagnassola.)

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But still dismal

The Z Man has his doubts about economics:

Economics, as I’m fond of saying, is the modern equivalent of astrology. Before a battle, Cyrus II of Persia would bring in his astrologers to advice him on the time and place to attack his enemy. The astrologers would figure out what he wanted to hear, consult their maps and then tell him what he wanted to hear. Cyrus was a badass dude who was rarely wrong, so it was a wise course by the astrologers to tell the boss what he already knew. When he won, they got some credit and they avoided contradicting the boss.

This old story about the eminent astrologer economist Joseph Stiglitz praising the economic polices of Venezuela ten years ago is a good example. Stiglitz was telling his hosts what they wanted to hear because they were paying him to endorse their brand of lunacy. Of course, Venezuela is now headed to total collapse because their economy has ground to a halt. In an age when Mexico’s poor people are obese, Venezuela has managed to have a food shortage. Maybe the rulers should not have listened to Joseph Stiglitz.

Rulers will listen to anyone who will say the things they want to hear. God knows our political class, if possible even worse than Venezuela’s, is desperate to dissemble, and as a result all manner of soothsayers are kept on retainer.

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PR fail

Fashion blogger ML at Twenty York Street is dealing with a tone-deaf public-relations pitch:

You said: “Have you heard, we’ve opened! This fabulous property marks the brand’s entrance into Canada and this global chain’s first-ever location in Ottawa! Nestled in the heart of ByWard Market, which puts you right in my hood btw (you would know this if you’ve googled me a bit or just take a look at one of my social media accounts. Your property’s spectacular view of Ottawa’s skyline is the same damn view you can see from our balcony. Neighbours!), this incredible property aims to honour the very best of Canadian culture including the best products made in Canada.

So far, so good.

I kept reading … Helmed by some Executive Chef, the hotel’s signature restaurant will serve up New Canadian cuisine inspired by an ingredient-driven menu of local, organic and sustainable (not to mention delicious) items. To celebrate the arrival of Andaz Ottawa ByWard Market, I thought this signature cocktail recipe with you.

This is lovely, I get to come by and try this signature cocktail!

Made with gold and pearls and all premium ingredients from the finest places in the country, this signature drink embodies everything that makes Canada great.

Oh boy, now I really can’t wait!

Then you said: if you’d like to try this super marvelous signature drink, I would be happy to provide you with a step-by-step recipe.

Wait, what?

If it’s a signature drink, perhaps they don’t want the recipe all over Ontario.

As I sat there puzzled reading and re-reading your message (again) in case, for the 3rd time, I may have missed something. So, I e-mailed you back, attached my media kit because this seems like a simple oversight. You may have been too busy putting the photoshoot together for this drink that you may have not seen my media kit, therefore, it failed to dazzle you.

NO worries, I don’t mind re-sending it and clarifying the part where we should have outlined the section about this being MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL.

And this point cannot be overemphasized:

Everybody else who puts in the hard work gets paid and based on my extensive experience, bloggers are just as skilled, creative and they work bloody hard, if not harder than everybody else. They spend blood, sweat and tears and I mean that both literally and figuratively and sometimes, their life’s calling and savings into their blogging business.

These are not silly side projects or passion blogs, these are legitimate businesses and therefore, should be afforded the compensation and respect they deserve.

And no, payments cannot be in the form of cupcakes, face cream, a bar of chocolate or, as revolutionary as it may sound, step-by-step recipe! Taking advantage of bloggers and influencers are such a no-no. It’s 2016 for goodness sakes.

At the very least, they ought to buy her a drink. And if I ever meet up with her in beautiful downtown Canada, I will. Maybe we can try some of that New Canadian cuisine.

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Death Star etiquette

As always, corporate correspondence is just a hair off kilter:

AT&T Let's Stay In Touch

This would not have been at all objectionable were it not for the subject line: “CHARLES: Action required.”

Um, I pay you guys several hundred dollars a year. You don’t get to require any action from me other than sending the check.

(And by the way, the current email address has been current since, oh, 1999.)

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Beyond compare

One of the advantages of my job is that it borders on uniqueness: I have a singular skill set — too bad it isn’t plural — and the one person I felt could do it as well as I do, if not better, has decamped for quieter (and better-paying, it turns out) climes.

Any evaluation I get, therefore, will be from the upper levels of the corporation, who at least have an idea what I’m doing. So I need not fear this trauma:

I think, based on looking at the raw data and the variance that it was that I had two very disgruntled people in a class of about 30 — there were two people who consistently gave me the lowest score available. So I don’t know. I guess I didn’t reach them, or something.

I dunno. I tell myself not to let this bug me but it does. Part of this is just who I am: for one thing, I only value myself based on my last self-evaluation, whatever that may be, and I forget past things. So having successfully led a church service recedes in my mind, dwarfed by, “You had a couple students who apparently really hated how you taught.”

Of course, I have one other characteristic in my favor: I don’t have quite as good a grounding in statistics, so I’d probably never do the cogitation necessary to reach such a conclusion.


Message, shmessage

Christopher Johnson on 9/11-related protests:

Look. I get the whole First Amendment free speech thing and I’m fine with it (although refuse to bake some gay guy some Pride Day cupcakes on account of your religious principles and see where that gets you). But to stage a protest on the anniversary of one of the most solemn days in this country’s history doesn’t seem like it will sway many people to your point of view.

If they wanted to get really creative, Kaepernick, the Seahawks, whoever that lesbian soccer player was that did this and whatever other pro sports crapweasels who ostentatiously tell the world how morally wonderful they are might as well fly to Normandy, France next June 6th, knock back a lot of great wine at Rouen, visit the graveyards at the battlefield and collectively piss on as many American graves as they possibly can.

After all, it’s important to send a message.

And it’s equally important to be able to disregard it.

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It was always thus

And it will probably always remain so:

That said, rather a lot of people are hoping the intersections aren’t really that dire. And they will be disappointed, possibly even disgruntled. (In the case of people insisting on “FREE” stuff, this is a feature, not a bug.)

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Panned Am

Bill Quick comes up with a great title (“Fly the Friendly Sties”) for a highly appropriate denunciation:

I loathe people who, on the one hand, pound ceaselessly at the practices of the airlines, but will flock to one over all the others, no matter how rude its employees, no matter how obnoxious its amenities (hah!), no matter how much it obviously regards its customers as stuffing for their flying cattle chutes, because they are able to “save” thirty-seven cents on a round-trip fare to Chicago.

Here’s a clue, bitch-queens: They wouldn’t be competing on price if that wasn’t the most effective arena of competition.

When bragging rights are important, people will go out of their way to get them. Yahoo! Answers is full of people who will jump through innumerable hoops just to be able to claim the lowest possible expense on [you name it].

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Sinned against

Imagine the outrage:

Film studio Warner Brothers has asked Google to remove its own website from search results, saying it violates copyright laws.

It also asked the search giant to remove links to legitimate movie streaming websites run by Amazon and Sky, as well as the film database IMDB.

The request was submitted on behalf of Warner Brothers by Vobile, a company that files hundreds of thousands of takedown requests every month.

Warner Brothers has yet to comment.

The self-censorship was first spotted by news blog Torrent Freak, which said Vobile had made some “glaring errors”.

In one request, Google was asked to remove links to the official websites for films such as Batman: The Dark Knight and The Matrix.

Excuse me while I laugh my head off.

(Via Aram Sinnreich.)

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Ain’t no sunshine when it’s dark

I get the feeling that they’d have been happier if the Mayflower had landed in Jacksonville:

Of all the major cities on America’s eastern seaboard, none is as far north or east as Boston. Which creates a slight problem in winter: The sun sets really early. As in, for most of December, well before happy hour.

The state, it appears, might do something about that. Governor Charles Baker recently signed a bill ordering a study of the wisdom of moving its 10,555 square miles into a time zone that would brighten the end of the day in the months the Northern Hemisphere tilts away from the sun. The idea came from Quincy resident Tom Emswiler, who worries Massachusetts is losing college grads to sunnier climes. On Dec. 9 last year, the sun went down in Boston at 4:11 p.m., only 22 minutes later than in the Yukon.

I assure you, 5:17 pm (typical Way-Early Sunset here on the South Plains) is no picnic either.

Emswiler says Massachusetts should throw in with those who live in the Atlantic Time Zone, which covers eastern Canada, the Caribbean and parts of South America, and do away with changing the clocks in spring and summer. From November through March, the sun would set an hour later than it does now, and those brutish winter days would lose some of their sting.

The sun would rise an hour later too, but the thinking is that darkness in the morning is less depressing than darkness at the end of the day.

My commute for the last decade or so has been in darkness nine months out of every twelve. It gets old very quickly.

Still, I feel I ought to support anything that weakens the deadly grip of Daylight Saving Time.

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It’s been that kind of year

No argument here.

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Still here today

A 1947 advertisement for Simmons’ Beautyrest mattress line:

Maureen O'Hara for Simmons Beautyrest

[By Simmons Bedding Company (Life time: August 17, 1920 to Now)
Original publication: Simmons Bedding Company
Immediate source: Simmons Bedding Company, PD-US,]

Ninety-nine bucks for the mattress/box-spring pair in those halcyon postwar days. As it happens, I just discarded a Simmons box spring, bearing a $76.50 price tag; I assume late Sixties or early Seventies.

And of course, I checked via the BLS to determine this: ninety-nine bucks in 1947, adjusted for inflation, is $1,068.34 today. Now I feel (marginally) better about spending $850 (marked down from $900).

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Shut up and give us what we want

Which for some people is Everything. Severian relates a tale from grad school:

The chicks in our department — who were the clear majority of our department — started bitching that women didn’t have enough leadership positions. So, as always, the PTB convened a blue-ribbon commission, staffed by these chicks themselves…

… which found out that not only did women hold the majority of leadership positions in the department, they held every single blessed one of them. The report stated this…

… and in the very next sentence started bitching about how the disproportionate burden of occupying all these leadership roles was keeping them from pursuing their training, thus holding them back from completing their degrees.

There was a time in academia when coming up with something this stupid was anathema. Now it’s mandatory.

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With the new Anti-Thrash mechanism

Actually, Simmons has been using pocketed coils in this line for over 90 years, but hey, I don’t argue with something that works:

I take delivery of one of these today. No bowling equipment, though.

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For Friday night lights to come

Ron Poe was the football coach at McKinney High School in northern Texas; in thirty years he amassed a record of 221-106-4, which is nothing to sneer at. The McKinney Independent School District now has three high schools, and they’re building a new stadium in honor of Coach Poe, but sneers are forthcoming hither and yon:

At $62.8 million, McKinney ISD’s new high school stadium was already considered among the most expensive in the country.

Now, it might be No. 1 after school board trustees learned last week that higher building costs have pushed the price tag to $69.9 million — $7.1 million more than what voters approved in May.

The new price of the 12,000-seat stadium, which includes an attached events center, shocked some trustees.

Seventy million dollars for high-school sports!

I mention purely in passing that the original version of the Ford Center Chesapeake Energy Arena, before all the NBA-inspired improvements, cost less than $90 million.

The District, however, will not retreat:

McKinney school officials decided not to scale back or postpone the project. Nor will they go back to voters for more money. Instead, they are tapping into about $8 million in undesignated 2011 and 2016 bond funds to make up the cost difference.

“What we told the voters we’d build, we need to build that,” board trustee Amy Dankel said, adding that the unforeseen price hike is concerning.

Well, yeah, there’s that.

(Via Midwest Conservative Journal.)

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Because convenience

At least, that’s what they tell me:

I think I need to lie down.

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We don’t need no stupid icons

We need steel-belted radials:

Charcoal Oven signA tire company has entered into contract to buy the Charcoal Oven property at 2701 NW Expressway and build a new facility on that site.

The historic structure and charming grounds and drive-through will be completely demolished to make room for the new use. It had been actively for sale for several months.

This is the original and also the last of the remaining Charcoal Ovens, with the previous locations in Edmond and at Northwest Expressway and MacArthur having been sold off some time ago.

At the time it was built in 1958, it was one of the first drive-through restaurants and has remained in continuous operation since that time by the Wilson family.

Its 52-foot high neon sign has been an Oklahoma City landmark for decades.

Which is something you’ll never say of a Discount Tire sign.

(Via Judge Radar.)

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Turd world problems

For now, anyway, there’s only so much you can do to automate cleaning house without having to maintain eternal vigilance:

If you have a Roomba, please rid yourself of all distractions and absorb everything I’m about to tell you.

Do not, under any circumstances, let your Roomba run over dog poop. If the unthinkable does happen, and your Roomba runs over dog poop, stop it immediately and do not let it continue the cleaning cycle. Because if that happens, it will spread the dog poop over every conceivable surface within its reach, resulting in a home that closely resembles a Jackson Pollock poop painting.

It will be on your floorboards. It will be on your furniture legs. It will be on your carpets. It will be on your rugs. It will be on your kids’ toy boxes. If it’s near the floor, it will have poop on it. Those awesome wheels, which have a checkered surface for better traction, left 25-foot poop trails all over the house. Our lovable Roomba, who gets a careful cleaning every night, looked like it had been mudding. Yes, mudding — like what you do with a Jeep on a pipeline road. But in poop.

So if your Roomba runs at 1:30 in the morning, well, make sure your puppy isn’t, um, running about the same time.

(Via Midwest Conservative Journal.)

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From the “Screw you, pay us” files

I think we can take it as a given today that a sole-source vendor, given an opportunity, is going to stick it to its customers and then some:

The cost of saving your child’s life has gotten a lot more expensive.

Parents getting ready for back to school season have another item to toss in the basket along with Trapper Keepers and boxes of pencils and they’re facing sticker shock at the latest price increase.

Doctors and patients say the Mylan pharmaceutical company has jacked up the prices for an EpiPen — the portable device that can stop a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction — from around $100 in 2008 to $500 and up today.

That’s a hike of over 400 percent.

And it’s not because the drug itself is so gosh-darn expensive, either:

The wholesale cost in the developing world is between US$0.10 and US$0.95 a vial.

I tell you what, that little injector gizmo containing a buck’s worth of medicine had better be able to survive a freaking zombie apocalypse.

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Gratification still delayed

Around the first of the year, the deal was offered: you can have the Playboy Mansion for a mere $200 million, provided you put up with the presence of Hugh Hefner for the remainder of his pajama-clad days.

This being August already, you might have guessed that the price had sagged a bit, and you would be correct:

The deal is done, and the Playboy Mansion has a new owner. Daren Metropoulos, who lives next door, said Tuesday that escrow has closed on his $100 million purchase of Hugh Hefner’s man cave.

The 33-year-old principal in the investment firm Metropoulos & Co. won’t necessarily be moving in any time soon. Under the terms of the deal, Playboy’s 90-year-old founder may stay there for the rest of his life.

After Hefner leaves, Metropoulos plans to connect the 5-acre Playboy estate to his 2-acre digs next door.

Which makes sense, since apparently it was all one big estate to begin with. And one probably shouldn’t bet againt Metropoulos, who wheels and deals with the best: he bought Pabst Brewing in 2010 for $250 million and sold it four years later for around $700 million, and he is one of the principals in Hostess Brands, the Twinkie folks, who just did an IPO last month.

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Thereby causing a brouhaha

This is perplexing:

I suspect that this is a regional phenomenon, and that this product can be purchased elsewhere as “Healthy Hoo-Ha.”

Wait, twat?

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A long way from Neptune, New Jersey

Also from Jupiter, Florida:

Actually, it’s not technically a town:

Uranus Missouri, often called simply “Uranus,” is a tourist attraction located in the rural area of Pulaski County, Missouri along Route 66. It is a shopping mall consisting of a Fudge Factory and General Store, a sports bar, a nightclub, a tattoo shop, a festival food truck lot, and an outdoor store with a gun range and pro-shop. All the business owned by a single individual, Louie Keen, who proclaims himself the “Mayor of Uranus”. While Uranus Missouri is marketed as a city or town, the commercial development is unincorporated and even proclaims on the entrance sign, “It’s Not a Town, It’s a Destination.”

If you’re looking, it’s near St. Robert, Missouri.

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Otherwise known as “school supplies”

Rob O’Hara saves fifteen thousand dollars, maybe:

Below my desk is a plastic briefcase full of “blending” markers. A couple of years ago, I watched someone on YouTube draw using a set of blending markers. It fascinated me. The next day I went to Hobby Lobby and bought a wide assortment of blending markers. Good blending markers, like Copic brand, cost $6 each, and according to every thirteen-year-old girl on YouTube you need at least 2,583 markers to draw anything. I went the “cheap” route and bought a 32-pack of off-brand markers for around a hundred dollars. I came home and drew a picture of Malachai from Children of the Corn. Then I put the markers in a plastic briefcase and pushed it under my desk. My foot is resting on the briefcase under my desk right now, where it will remain until I die.

For what it’s worth, Vi Hart, my favorite disembodied hand, seems to get by just fine with Sharpies.

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Rodents of, um, unusual size

The guys in Rio running the Games are finding that yes, they do exist:

Wildlife is taking over the Olympic golf course just before the sport makes its official comeback to the Games after 112 years.

Capybaras have been seen exploring and settling in on the green, in sand traps and near water hazards, according to The National Post.

The animal, native to South America, is a semi-aquatic rodent that can weigh up to 100 pounds and can stand about 2 feet tall. It’s the largest rodent in the world.

Add this to the “What else can happen?” files.

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Seduced by the rings

Everything you hate about NBC’s fawning-yet-inept coverage of Those Games Down There is neatly encapsulated in this tweet from their San Jose affiliate, which they promptly deleted once the clues started arriving:

NBC Bay Area tweets about Katie Ledecky's nail polish

I mean, geez, guys.

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