Archive for Dyssynergy

Slightly incendiary remarks

This may be the best line ever delivered by a customer to a supplier:

We are all in the big conference room. The heavies from the plant were present — plant manager, department heads, production control, and little insignificant me. Mr. VP ranted and cursed. The team from our side told how we have striven to fix the various problems in procurement, production, and quality. We described our heroic efforts in spite of nearly insurmountable issues to get the big customer his product.

“I get it,” he said. “You guys are great firefighters. The only problem is it looks like every single damn employee here is a fucking arsonist.”

It was harsh, but apparently it broke the ice.

Certainly none of our customers ever came up with anything quite that pointed, but then we’re in an industry that would pat itself on its back for its passive-aggressiveness if it could do so without disturbing the knife repository.

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This month has gone on too long

Personally, I tend to believe twenty-eight days is too long for a month like February, so you can imagine what I think on those quadrennial occasions when it has twenty-nine. I’m not as vexed as this guy was, though:

In February 1997, John Melo was convicted of home invasion and sentenced to ten years and one day in prison. Seven years later, he filed a motion complaining that the [Massachusetts] Department of Correction had miscalculated the length of his sentence. Why? Because it had failed to credit him for the additional days he had to serve on account of the February 29’s during leap years.

Melo’s motion was allowed, but he didn’t win the case. In 2006 the Superior Court ruled (Commonwealth v. John Melo) that not only did his case have no merit, but it had been a mistake to ever allow it to proceed in the first place, noting that he had clearly been sentenced to a term of years, no matter how long each year may be.

And besides, we’re talking two whole days here, 2/29/2000 and 2/29/2004. He probably spent more time than that in the prison library, looking for loopholes like that.

Melo may not have had a compelling case. However, it is true that the extra day in February can be somewhat unfair. For instance, if you’re a salaried employee you essentially have to work an extra day for free during a leap year, whereas hourly employees get an extra payday. Similarly, banks often don’t include February 29 when they calculate the interest they owe their customers, thereby giving themselves an extra bonus day of profit at everyone else’s expense.

At 42nd and Treadmill, at least, we don’t have the payday issue: both hourly and salaried employees are paid biweekly. And my bank account earned a whole six cents in interest last time around; it’s hard to imagine one day more or less would make much difference.

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You’ve got (marginally cheaper) mail

The price of a first-class stamp is about to drop two cents, and the Postal Service is not happy about it:

Absent Congressional or court action to extend or make permanent an existing exigent surcharge for mailing products and services — including the Forever stamp — the Postal Service will be required to reduce certain prices on Sunday, April 10, 2016. This mandatory action will worsen the Postal Service’s financial condition by reducing revenue and increasing its net losses by approximately $2 billion per year.

“The exigent surcharge granted to the Postal Service last year only partially alleviated our extreme multi-year revenue declines resulting from the Great Recession, which exceeded $7 billion in 2009 alone,” said Postmaster General and CEO Megan J. Brennan. “Removing the surcharge and reducing our prices is an irrational outcome considering the Postal Service’s precarious financial condition.”

An order from the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) requires the 4.3 percent exigent surcharge to be reversed after the Postal Service has collected surcharges totaling $4.6 billion. As outlined in a notice filed with the PRC [Thursday], that amount is expected to be reached by April 10th.

She keeps using that word. I do not believe it means what she thinks it means:

ex·i·gent, adj. 1. requiring immediate action or aid; urgent; pressing. 2. requiring a great deal, or more than is reasonable.

Decide which of those you like better, and compare to this:

Postal Service prices for Mailing Services are capped by law at the rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers (CPI-U). However, the law does allow for exigent pricing (price increases beyond the CPI-U cap) due to extraordinary or exceptional circumstances.

On the upside, this is the second time I’ve had reason to mention the Postmaster General, Megan Brennan, in a mere two weeks.

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Song of the sewer

About a decade ago, the city opted to replace the sewer line that runs along the west side of my property. I made a point of not watching the operation in progress, mostly because I have a certain familiarity with the concept:

The slogan at the base of the Sewer Statue of Liberty reads: Give us your pooped, your piss poor, your tangled masses of toilet paper yearning to swim free, the wretched refuse of your Happy Meal, but stop dumping grease down the drain you jerk.

The typical grease trap in a McPtomaine’s is maybe a couple of feet wide, a couple of feet deep, and perhaps four feet long. The top of it is flat, and it’s set just above the level of the concrete slab. When tile is laid atop the concrete, the top of the trap is level with the finished floor. It’s got a diamond-plate lid that’s bolted down hard — for a good reason. Its contents are the foulest smelling thing in the world.

It’s hard to describe the smell of a rancid grease trap to a civilian. Opening up a neglected grease trap is like sorting out corpses after a mustard gas attack on a Passchendaele trench. That was my grandfather’s job, by the way. The trench sorting, not cleaning out grease traps. So anyway, a little poop never hurt anyone. The sewer you send it down can kill you, however.

This is, not incidentally, why you never neglect a grease trap. I spent the better part of two years toiling behind Mickey D’s grill, and if it was any less lethal four and a half decades ago, it was only because the volume of business was lower in those days.

(Title in fond memory of Ed Norton, who, you may remember, was a “sub-supervisor in the sub-division of the department of subterranean sanitation” in the City of New York.)

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You are being followed

We all know about social media. This seems to be an early incarnation of antisocial media:

Do you want to be spied on by an unseen obsessive? I don’t but apparently some people do. If you’re one of them then today is your lucky day, assuming you live in New York (the service will expand to other cities). A new “social network” — I use the term sparingly — allows you to be stalked for a whole day. A follower isn’t just a number any more; it’s someone lurking in the shadows.

Follower is a service created by Lauren McCarthy, an artist and full-time faculty at NYU Interactive Telecommunications Program with computer science and art degrees from MIT. Envisioned as an art project but also a social experience, Follower lets you sign up to be followed for an entire day. You sign up on the website and select three preferred dates to be followed. You are sent a link to download the Follower app, which alerts you on the morning of the day you are to be followed. For the rest of the day, the app uses your GPS signal to notify your Follower of your location. You probably won’t see your Follower, though they intend to keep quite close. McCarthy claims that the goal is to be unseen but “in your awareness”, whatever that means.

I can see one very specific market for this service: people who are wondering if their anti-paranoia medication is working any better than placebo.

But this is the pitch:

Bottom line:

It’s creepy but at the end of the day at least it’s not LinkedIn.

A point I will happily concede.

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Corporate insecurity

It has long been my contention that surveys suck, though I regret to report that complaining about this level of suckage has not been enough to deter the pollsters. Bad enough that it’s an election year, but even the most routine contact with Corporate America these days seems to require a questionnaire the size of the decennial Census.

It wasn’t that long ago that my bank noticed I’d been on their Web site. Now I do this rather a lot, partly because I like to keep an eye on my finances, and partly because I know rather a lot of our customers at 42nd and Treadmill can’t be bothered to see if they have any money before trying to spend it, and it’s important to me not to be like them. In and out in 45 seconds, and that’s not even using their new smartphone app. And Gallup, freaking Gallup, sent me a stack of multiple-choice questions that took 15 minutes to answer. “Yes, I checked my balance. Yes, I was happy with the way it displayed, and the speed of the display.”

Now a second one has arrived. I’m not even going to look to see if it’s identical to the first.

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The stuff of nightmares

I’ve already gone into entirely too much detail regarding my Valentine’s Day-connected trauma, and it’s comparatively trivial compared to some. In fact, I’d say that if you dream of things like this, at the very least you should probably lay off the early-evening cocktails:

The octopus at the Seattle Aquarium won’t be getting any love this Valentine’s Day.

Each Valentine’s Day the Aquarium invites people to watch the sea creatures mate, but this year the chance to watch some 8-armed nooky has been called off.

Aquarium staff say they’re afraid that their male octopus — a 70-pound cephalopod named Kong — is too big for the females who are 30 to 40 pounds, and he may eat them.

And so Kong, faced with rejection by forces beyond his control, will return to Puget Sound, where his life will dissolve into bitterness and/or loneliness:

Octopuses only live about three or four years and mate once at the end of their lives.

Then they die.

Just in case you thought your life was depressing. And no, the Pacific Northwest tree octopus cannot serve as a substitute.

(Via Neal Stephenson.)

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DTs on aisle six

Somehow I have a feeling that this will not end well:

An expanding southeast Michigan grocery chain is looking to start a new concept in its stores by turning to by-the-glass beer and wine sales so that customers can drink during a shopping trip.

Busch’s Fresh Food Market is seeking a Class C liquor license for the store it plans to open in Canton Township, west of Detroit.

That store would mark Busch’s first foray into setting up an in-store ‘bistro’ with beer and wine sales for customers.

“It will allow guests to walk through the store and let them drink alcohol while they’re shopping,” said John Hunter, director of marketing for the Ann Arbor-based, 15-store chain.

The idea is not entirely unheard of — stores of the Whole Foods ilk occasionally have things like wine bars, though of course not here in sanitary Soonerland — but we’ve all seen shoppers who seemed like they were out on a day pass from the Home for the Bewildered, and somehow I don’t think their mien will be improved by on-site access to Michigan craft beers.

(Via Interested-Participant.)

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In perpetuity

Despite 170 percent of normal rainfall last year, my town remains under alternate-day watering restrictions, which are considered permanent. And since so far this year we’re running about 20 percent of normal, I’m not complaining. This stance, however, is anything but universal:

We can no longer burn yard debris in our backyard. Never mind that before THEY passed the new rule you couldn’t burn in the summertime because it was too dry and you were liable to burn the whole town to the ground, and it’s too wet the rest of year to start a fire. Now you cannot do it at all. Ever. Stupid rule. Really chafes my hide, I tell you. Never mind that I haven’t tried to burn anything for the last ten or fifteen years.

We seldom have formal burn bans, but the National Weather Service routinely posts Red Flag Alerts when it deems the risk of wildfires to be substantially greater than normal: all it takes is a combination of high winds and low humidity. We’ve had days of 20-mph winds and 15-degree dew points this month, in fact.

I just hope they don’t find something common in area back yards that contributes to earthquakes, or the whole state will go ballistic.

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We’re gonna rock down to a greedy avenue

Apparently it is not wise to cross the President of the Borough of Staten Island:

A state Supreme Court judge has granted permission for Staten Island Borough President James Oddo to bestow unflattering street names spelling out greed and deceit on a private development he fought on the former Mt. Manresa site.

In a decision issued Thursday, Judge Philip Minardo ruled Oddo has the authority to pick street names of his choosing, despite a complaint from the developer, Savo Brothers, that the three he chose — Cupidity Drive, Fourberie Lane and Avidity Place — are “derogatory,” according to court papers.

Oddo didn’t like any of the nine names suggested by Savo, either, especially Timber Lane:

In December, DNAinfo quoted Oddo as having written on his Facebook page, “That’s right, ‘Timber’ Lane, as in the word of warning that is popularly known to be yelled out to warn folks that a tree is being cut down.”

The Mount Manresa property, home of a Jesuit retreat house dating to 1911, was sold by the Society of Jesus to Savo Brothers for $15 million in 2013.

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A Blossoming controversy

So Susan Sarandon showed a bit of flesh, and British toothache Piers Morgan took exception to it — not for the flesh itself, he insisted, but for the context in which it was revealed.

Mayim Bialik wasn’t buying it.

On the upside, it’s about time The Late Late Show with James Corden attracted some kind of attention.

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One step up from litter

Call it “time confetti,” as the cool kids are doing now:

I saw that phrase in an article — it was about “Time is a Feminist Issue” though I would argue that time is really a human issue, and it seems as many of the men I know as the women have their free time “contaminated” by various concerns ranging from caretaking to having to be “more available” at work. The idea of “time confetti” is that for a lot of us, our free time has been effectively put through a shredder and we get 10 or 20 minutes here and there rather than big blocks, and I can really feel that on weeks with evening meetings: I come home but can’t fully relax because I will have to go back out, and moreover, I will have to be sure my preparatory needs for the next day are done before I go out…

I work diligently to have as much uninterrupted leisure time as I can get, and sometimes — not always — I succeed. Fortunately, the office has (mostly) figured out that once I’m outside visual range, there’s no point in trying to talk to me until I return, whenever that may be.


Poor but dishonest

Every barrel, it seems, contains a few bad apples:

GRACE Marketplace thinks of itself as being the Walmart of homeless centers.

In one centralized location in Gainesville, Florida, it offers end to end services: substance abuse counseling, help with signing up for public benefits such as food stamps, showers, restrooms, meals, a place to store personal belongings, an adjacent tent village called Dignity Village, and more.

Unfortunately, it just lost one crucial service: namely, the free Wi-Fi that could have helped Dignity Village residents to find or apply for jobs.

And how did this happen? Pretty much the same way a lot of people with roofs over their heads lose their service:

“We would love to be able to provide Wi-Fi out here, but we don’t have any IT support,” said Jonathan DeCarmine, GRACE Marketplace operations director. “We were notified by our Internet service provider that there were people downloading things illegally, and if we didn’t put an end to that, they would turn off Internet to the entire property, which would keep us from being able to do business and provide services.”

Meanwhile, at the next level up:

Theresa Lowe, executive director of the North Central Florida Coalition for the Homeless and Hungry, said she has no plans to turn the Wi-Fi back on. They had some security restrictions in place already, but people found ways around them. She said there can be hefty fees for illegal downloads, and that’s something the center can’t afford.

“We had a couple complaints from our provider and notified everyone, ‘please don’t do this, we’ll end up losing the service,” and it happened again, so our decision was to disable the Wi-Fi because we would be charged,” Lowe said.

Those whose business model depends on depicting the homeless as saintly and utterly without blame will be crying into their kale smoothies; as with any other community, any other demographic, “good” and “not so good” live cheek by jowl.

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Proto-Superb Owl

The flap over the First AFL-NFL World Championship Game, later retconned into Super Bowl I, is simple enough: one guy in North Carolina has an almost-complete tape of the game, and the NFL declined to buy it from him. While looking around for supplemental materials, I happened upon this little contretemps:

Super Bowl I was the only Super Bowl in history that was not a sellout in terms of attendance, despite a TV blackout in the Los Angeles area (at the time, NFL games were required to be blacked out in the market of origin, even if it was a neutral site game and if it sold out). Of the 94,000-seat capacity in the Coliseum, 33,000 went unsold. Days before the game, local newspapers printed editorials about what they viewed as a then-exorbitant $12 price for tickets, and wrote stories about how viewers could pull in the game from stations in distant markets such as Bakersfield, Santa Barbara and San Diego.

The blackout is weird enough, as it always was; but focus, if you will, on that twelve-buck ticket price. At Super Bowl 50, $12 won’t even buy you a Bud Light.

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Specialty headgear by Alcoa

Usually we make fun of the questions at Yahoo! Answers. But this answer was so utterly mockable, it deserves attention of its own. Get a whiff of this:

Russia will destroy Turkey and America. Move to Ural. (666 times 3)+(6 times 3) = 2016. Jews want war between Russia and Germany from June to October. Tube people = demons. Clones = demons. Human costumes that demons wear = demons. Dinosaurs and 666ed people have triple stranded DNA. Demons live inside clones. Bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin (who discovered Bubonic plague) is depicted on the Shroud of Turin. There is another shroud on which blasphemer Yosef (who was crucified on a pole in 1066 AD) is depicted. WW3 happens; 7% of people will be left; after people are tired of war, they will elect the antichrist as one world leader; don’t vote. ISIS stands for Israeli Secret Intelligence Service. Next false flag: Statue of Liberty. Move away from coasts as nukes will go off in the ocean (at where tectonic plates meet; result: megatsunamis 1km high). Earth is flat; stands on 3 pillars (the Most Holy Trinity); pillars stand on water at zero Kelvin. Zodiac is planetary prison of demons; don’t believe in horoscopes or you’ll exhibit the traits of the trapped demons. Most thoughts and dreams are from demons; demons never do good. Sleep fully clothed; pray the Jesus prayer. Pray to your guardian angel to have normal sleep. Vyacheslav Krasheninnikov was the last prophet before Enoch and Elijah return to preach against the antichrist. According to Ruski Orthodox Christian Vyacheslav Krasheninnikov: Humans were created about 7525 years ago.

Birds participate in time creation. It’s a sin to kill birds. Dinosaurs live under our level. They will get out through sinkholes and lakes. To kill them, go for their nerves. Save the birds; but kill the dinosaurs. First dinosaur will come out of Volga River in Russia. Demons grow human skin (from a sample taken during abduction) and put it on so as to look like us. Demons will invite people to be healed inside their UFOs; those who go will be like zombies after. Gov’t provides demons with diamonds and allows demons to abduct people. If you’re being abducted, slowly pray the Jesus prayer.

Don’t panic. Demons use diamonds and souls to power their UFO craft. The bigger the diamond, the more it lasts. Demons have 4 UFO bases: 1)Moon 2)Inside fake mountain Kailash in Tibet 3)In lake Baikal in Russia 4)In Atlantis which is underneath the Mariana Trench in Pacific Ocean. There are no aliens. Nobody lives on other planets. Airplanes that go down are hit by demons because they need the airspace to fight Jesus. Antichrist is pale with red eyes. He’s possessed by Satan since he’s 12 years old. He flies. He wears gloves to hide long nails. He’s surrounded by demons who appear as angels of light.

Don’t go into a UFO to be healed by demons. 666 is given by isotope rays on wrist or forehead when people stretch hands to receive small plastic grey card with no name on it (World Passport). Police will microchip and isotope ray people on highways. Food stores will isotope ray people too. Antichrist will also release prisoners to mark people. Reject 666 at all cost. If you’re about to be marked, pray the Jesus prayer. Hide with Orthodox Christians to escape 666; leave all electronics behind so that antichrist’s minions can’t track you. Give to charity in the name of Archangel Michael; he rescues people from hell twice a year (or brings them up a level, that is, to a level with less punishment; eventually, people are freed). Feed the pigeons; when pigeons bow down, people are saved from hell. Forgive me.

How do we know this is a freaking nutcase? Because the question was “What Were Some Of Your Top Favourite Albums of 2015?”

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To the nines, or at least the sevens

Samantha Brick, four years ago, stirred the pot with the suggestion that women resented her because she was pretty, and that, well, they are wrong and they ought not to do that.

Today, she has more advice for women, and it’s decidedly harsher:

My, my how I chortled into my café au lait this week when I read that British mothers had plummeted to yet another all time low.

Yes, I’m talking about wearing pyjamas, which have become such common clobber at the school gate that a headteacher at a school in Darlington this week was forced to ban them. More worryingly, she caused such uproar for doing so one mother turned up wearing her nightclothes in protest.

Women what on earth are you thinking? The first crime you have committed is wearing clothes that should be left relegated to your childhood. Second of all, you’re wearing said saggy-bottomed, elastic-waisted, passion-killers in public.

She probably could have stopped there, but she didn’t:

Is it any wonder that your other half is sneakily logging on to Facebook in search of another lover, constantly volunteering to go overseas on “essential” work trips, and going to bed much later than you in a bid to avoid your could-try-harder, overweight self, encased in a sweaty man-made fibre outfit.

Samantha herself would never, ever do such a thing, but then she’s currently living in France, where such a thing is Simply Not Done.

Let me tell you, no French mother in possession of all her senses would ever dream of lounging around at home in a pair of pyjamas or even putting a pair on in order to go to bed (that’s what negligees are for).

As for sporting bedwear to the school gate? It would never ever happen in France.

Let us hope no one ever sends her a link to People Of Walmart.

And for the sake of completeness, here’s what she looks like today.

(Via Fark.)

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New anchor at the Zombie Mall

Old trademarks must be going for peanuts these days:

Back in 2009, the medium-box consumer electronics chain Circuit City closed. Systemax, the owner of TigerDirect, acquired the brand’s website and customer list, and kept it going until 2012. Late last year, Systemax decided to shut down its technology business, and that included selling the twice-defunct Circuit City brand. Now yet another company has acquired the brand and wants to make a go of it as physical retail stores.

They are doing one thing differently this time:

Their launch plan, as described to TWICE, the publication that broke this story, will begin this summer with a website and one location in Dallas, and as many as 100 stores across the country in major yet affordable metropolitan areas over the next year.

I’m reading this as San Antonio, probably; San Francisco, probably not so much. And hey, at least they’re not subletting Radio Shack stores.

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Fonts of non-wisdom

Typefaces in the news! (And how often do you see that?)

Font Brothers America has a perfectly dreadful set called Generation B, which has been used on almost everything Hasbro has issued from this generation of My Little Pony. Font Brothers is now suing Hasbro for, according to the legal filing [pdf], not less than $150,000 per infringement. This is a hell of a lot of money, especially considering that Font Brothers apparently was bragging about Hasbro’s use of the typeface before this legal farrago.

Meanwhile, the US Federal Highway Administration, which approved the use of the Clearview font on highway signs in place of the traditional Highway Gothic, has now rescinded that approval, pointing out that much of the improved legibility attributed to Clearview was actually due simply to having new signs made. Worse, on hazard signs, Clearview offers no improvement and may make matters worse. Fortunately, no one’s going to have to go back and retrofit the signs they’ve already replaced once.

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Decorum in Topeka

From this moment on, ladies, if you’re going to testify before the Kansas Senate, you will be properly dressed:

A dress code imposed by a Kansas Senate committee chairman that prohibits women testifying on bills from wearing low-cut necklines and miniskirts is drawing bipartisan ridicule from female legislators.

Wait, what?

[Mitch] Holmes, a 53-year-old Republican from St John who is chairman of the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee, said he wrote the instruction because provocatively dressed women are a distraction. The guidelines don’t detail a minimum skirt length or a permissible neckline for blouses.

“It’s one of those things that’s hard to define,” Holmes said. “Put it out there and let people know we’re really looking for you to be addressing the issue rather than trying to distract or bring eyes to yourself.”

Of course, there’s a punchline:

Holmes said he considered requiring men to wear suits and ties during testimony but decided males didn’t need any guidance.

I once had a longish talk with a lovely woman of a Certain Age who (1) had quite the nicest legs I’d ever seen up to that point and (2) damned well knew it; at no point during the proceedings did I find myself breaking either my non-furtive gaze nor my rhetorical stride.

So my sentiments here echo those of Senator Laura Kelly (D-Topeka): “Oh, for crying out loud, what century is this?”

(Via Rita Meade.)

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You live here too

Call this the Generic Judgmental Map:

Numbers 8 and 16 have particular resonance where I live.

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Arbitrary levels

Bozi Tatarevic complains about the audio system in the Subaru WRX:

The volume control starts at 0 things and ends at 40 things (take that, Spinal Tap), but it needs to be turned up to 25 things before you can figure out if its playing anything at all. Passing anything over 34 units of thing will cause the speakers to emit horrendous crackly tones.

It would be nice if they standardized these things, but that’s not going to happen.

I have two different audio devices with numerical readouts for volume: the ancient (1999) JBL Harmony, which sits beside my work box, and a brace of Cambridge Soundworks Model 88 radios. The JBL’s volume control runs 0 to 40; typical office volume, with the computer’s sound card set at three-fourths of maximum, is about 25. I’m assuming the 88s will go to 99; the loudest I’ve ever tried was 97, and that was on FM interchannel noise. (Fear of something, either damage or deafness, had set in by then.) Typical radio volume is 35.

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So judgmental of them

We’ve talked about Judgmental Maps before, and most of the time, the residents of the areas mapped seem to take them in stride.

But God forbid they should ever show up at City Hall, at least in sanitized-for-your-oppression Austin, Texas:

City officials in Austin have launched an internal investigation, and placed one staffer on leave, after a satirical map was used as part of a formal presentation.

The map labels Austin neighborhoods, describing East Austin, for instance, as “Blacks Resisting Gentrification” and gays who live in North Austin as “boring.”

City transportation officials used the map as part of a presentation Tuesday to the zoning and platting commission. City Manager Marc Ott learned about it afterward and took immediate action.

Here’s the full map. I’ve posted the Oklahoma City equivalent, which if nothing else suggests that we sprawl even more than Austin does.


Smut by the smattering

I’m not claiming that I’ve never looked at a Feelthy Peecture, but there are times when I fail to understand the appeal:

The world’s largest porn website, Pornhub, just released its annual review of country-by-country data on porn searches and consumption. By percentage of traffic, the United States was Pornhub’s biggest 2015 consumer, followed by the U.K., India, Canada, and Germany. The most-searched term on Pornhub last year was lesbian, followed by teen, stepmom, cartoon, and milf.

Getting all five of those into a single work would be — um, never mind, let’s not go there.

And there are the, um, national preferences:

The Italians are the only consumers for whom footjob and feet make it into the most-searched. In Brazil, some of the fastest-gaining search terms include Pokemon and Scooby Doo. In Russia, my little pony was the 7th most searched term last year.

Somewhere in that paragraph is something to make almost anyone go “Ewww…”

But this is the part I really appreciated:

Canada, notes Pornhub, “is one of the few countries that does not feature its own nationality as a top searched term.”

Oh, those [insert adjective here] Canadians!

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Dial 0 for nothing

AT&T has asked for permission to dispose of what few operators remain:

AT&T Inc. has applied for an approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to drop its operator assisted services like collect calling, person-to-person calling, billed to third party, Busy Line Verification (BLV), Busy Line Interruption (BLI), and International Directory Assistance from its operational portfolio. The company, which is the second largest U.S. wireless carrier in terms of subscriber count, cites steady decline in usage of these services due to obsolescence as the main reason behind the move. AT&T seeks to terminate these services in the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

How steady a decline, you ask?

AT&T highlighted that its operator-assisted calls have declined annually at a rate of 18% over the last five years. Moreover, its total operator assisted service traffic plunged 93% from the 2004 levels, with the last two years witnessing around 19% fall.

This doesn’t affect me on a technical basis: I don’t think I’ve used any of these services in a decade or more. But I was once married to an operator, and while this won’t affect her either — she’s long since retired — it’s just another reminder of a world that used to be, and never will be again.

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Limited memory

Something else I need to think about:

Imagine that you lost your cellphone with its built-in address book. How many phone numbers you remember and can dial by yourself, no cheat-sheet involved?

I have actual data, or at least an anecdote, on this, from the time my original phone from the days of VoiceStream (!) went south and no new model would accept its ancient SIM card. Of 24 numbers in storage, I was able to remember exactly nine.

Fortunately, I heard from enough of the missing over the next few days to (mostly) replenish the contact directory.

(Current contact list: 28, though one I deem expendable and will delete one of these days.)

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Lead to this conclusion

Another classic Roberta X footnote, appended to a piece about an Indianapolis gun show:

ATF-looking d00ds and even mopier sorts are always generally hanging around Indy 1500 shows. With my round eyeglasses and Bettie Page bangs, I don’t look like a “typical” gun-show attendee and sometimes they’ll chat me up. This can be great fun — for me. “And how long have you been with the Agency?” is usually good for a sharp look and an abrupt departure.

She can probably outshoot them, too, but nobody wants to go there (I hope).


And then you wane

Or perhaps you whine. I’m just going to put this up and pretend I never, ever saw it:

If your daily life is riddled with manspreaders, consider showing them this article. They will clasp their knees together with the sort of speed you would normally associate with Star Trek.

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Let’s get rude

It’ll take about four minutes:

Note: This song is not approved by the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association.

(Fishersville Mike will explain.)

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No Arial photography available

However, an emergency call was placed to the serif’s office:

(Via Dodd.)

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Rams to roam

The Cleveland/Los Angeles/St Louis Rams are the Los Angeles Rams once more [warning: autostart video];

NFL owners in Houston voted 30-2 to ratify the Rams’ relocation application for an immediate move to L.A., where the team will eventually begin play at owner Stan Kroenke’s proposed stadium site in Inglewood in 2019. It’s a seismic decision that returns the highest level of professional football to the country’s second-largest media market after a 21-year absence.

The Rams could be joined by the Chargers, who have a one-year option to decide if they want to relocate and join the Rams in Inglewood. The window creates the possibility — however slight — that the Chargers could remain in San Diego. The city is hosting a June vote for $350 million in public funding toward a new facility to replace Qualcomm Stadium. It is possible the Chargers put off a final decision until that vote takes place.

Naw. They’re outta there. (Unless, of course, they accept Roger Goodell’s offer of $100 million to stay put.)

The Raiders, however, will stay in Oakland; they withdrew their application for relocation. And they will cash a check from Goodell.

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