Oh, come now, Emanuel

A possibly cynical segment from Gilbert Magazine’s News with Views (1-2/13):

As if one Chicago Democrat Machine stooge as President of the United States wasn’t enough, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is said to be considering running for President in 2016. The Daily Beast reports that Emanuel is “considering” running if Hillary Clinton decides not to run. Please. We get increasingly impatient with a media that insists on dancing this two-step with politicians. This is Chicago. This is the man affectionately known as the “Rahmfather.” If he is “considering” a run for President, he’s going to run for President. If he says he will run only if Hillary Clinton opts out, then a way will be found for Hillary Clinton to opt out. Maybe this is justice for Bill, who after all his extra-curricular activities, is getting run over again by the Chicago Machine, as his carefully laid plans to install his wife in the oval office crumble before his eyes. We have a suggestion for the Clintons: Hillary should switch parties and run as a Republican. As dysfunctional as the Republican Party is, she would at least give it a definite identity again, and might actually pull it Rightward.

I’m not even wanting to think about any plans of Bill Clinton’s being “carefully laid.”

But I have to admit, I like the idea of Hillary jumping to the Republican side. For one thing, it would destroy their “Who’s next?” order of precedence for Presidents. And I suspect both parties ultimately would benefit: the rank Democrat opportunists would be reduced in number, and not just by one — I have to figure Hillary would take lots of operatives with her — and the GOP could pitch that “big tent” business almost convincingly for once.

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Whose little pony?

Apparently Lynn was squicked out by the Herd Census after reading about it here:

I can sort of understand adult female Pony fandom but guys being interested in the activities of cute, pastel colored ponies… well, frankly, it’s just a wee bit creepy. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. You can be as creepy as you want as long as you’re not hurting anyone. Viva la diversity!

There is creepy, and there is creepy. This is creepy:

To you I’m sure Twilight Sparkle is just a cartoon character you think is really hot, so I imagine you wouldn’t think anything of having your friends draw sexually explicit art of her as birthday gifts for you. And hey, I think she’s really attractive too so I get where you’re coming from there. I often go on [redacted] and [also redacted] to see what new erotic art people have drawn of her. But to me she’s more than a cartoon character who’s sexually attractive, she’s my fiance whom I love with all my heart and soon to marry. So it’s been bothering me lately every time I go on these sites and see a dozen or so pieces of art people have drawn depicting my girl in various sexual situations with the same person over and over…

I must note here that I have written (marginally) popular fanfiction about the love between a human and a pony — yes, that pony — and in the fourth story in the trilogy (bless you, Douglas Adams) they will be wed. Then again, as of the second story, he’s no longer human. (Will explain if necessary.)

But the operative word here is “fiction”: it never happened, and if it had, well, you wouldn’t be reading this, would you? I suspect the irate groom-to-be to be trolling — for one thing, he calls her “Twiley,” which she would not tolerate from anypony other than big brother Shining Armor — and if he’s not, well, he’s been exposed to too much Rule 34 stuff anyway.

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Tough Nuggets

We start with a Telltale Statistic: the Thunder hit four of seven treys in the first quarter on the way to a 34-26 lead, and then missed the next eighteen. Denver wasn’t much better on the long ball, but the Nuggets dominated the stats — 72 points in the paint — and won their 13th straight, 114-104, taking the season series 3-1 and climbing to within 3½ games of OKC in the Northwest.

As usual, Denver posed multiple threats. Ty Lawson, not always a factor in previous matchups, went 8-13 for an efficient 25 points; Kenneth Faried put together a double-double, 13 points and 15 rebounds; Andre Miller, who came alive in the fourth quarter, led the bench with 20. George Karl played only nine tonight, but everyone scored, six were in double figures, and the Nuggets gleefully pulled down 52 rebounds, 17 from the offensive glass, while leaving the Thunder one-and-done for most of the second half.

The Durant/Westbrook combine did what it could — 34 from KD, 25 from Russell — and Kevin Martin was close to his usual home form, with 14, but that 16-point third quarter undid them all; the Nuggets, down one at the half, quickly pulled ahead and stayed there.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the following three words can be downright frightening: “Tomorrow in Memphis.” The Griz are 26-8 in the FedEx Forum, and it’s the rubber game: so far, the series is 1-1. Memphis at this writing is #4 in the West, but they’re only half a game behind the #3 Clippers. Things are getting crowded, and they’ll likely get more so.

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Nobody can hear you screen

I bought a fairly indifferent monitor about four years ago; it has worked, generally, but it’s had three stuck pixels since Unboxing Day, and of late it takes about nine minutes and several dozen button-pushes to warm up. Weirdly, we have several of this model, similar vintage, at work, and they work just fine. On t’other hand, after hearing me rave about the Toshiba laptop I bought on eBay, they bought several of them for the shop, and each and every one of them died within a year; mine continues to run, and it will be a teenager next summer.

Soyo, the distributor of this screen, has long since packed its bags and fled, so it’s pointless to ask them for help. (I couldn’t get parts from them when they were still in business.) So I have turned to these guys, and it turns out they have some sort of history: they’re a direct descendant of Admiral, which made TVs and appliances back in the day when TVs and appliances were a big deal. “AOC,” it seems, stands for Admiral Overseas Corporation, set up in Taiwan by the American company in the Sixties; when the mothership went down with the rest of the American TV industry, AOC kept going, but didn’t attempt to sell anything Stateside for twenty years.

Woot had a pair of AOC refurbs for the past couple of weeks: a 23-incher for $100, and a 22-incher for $90. (Yes, children, an extra inch is worth an extra ten bucks.) I ordered the smaller, mostly because the larger one was already out of stock.

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Live by the Golden Drool

Fingerprinting? Too much trouble. Retinal scan? Get that thing away from my face. Here’s the, or at least a, future of Positive ID:

We finally meet extraterrestrials and they’re friendly and want to do business with us. But they think our habit of signing everything is primitive and hilarious. They have devices that can instantly scan and identify DNA in saliva so they “sign” documents by spitting on them. Humans being the way we are, some people find this amusing, some people think it’s unsanitary, gross, and offensive, some people consider anything involving DNA a violation of their privacy, but about 80% of the people are just like, “Alright, whatever.”

Which is probably enough to get the other 20 percent in line, don’t you think?

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Queen Grimhilde will hear of this

Tina Fey takes a meeting with Snow White:

Tina Fey with Snow White at Walt Disney World

Determination of who’s the fairer of the two is left as an exercise for the student.

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Have you Herd?

Pony fans with double-digit ages graduated to Sociological Phenomenon some time ago, and the most recent Herd Census has turned up some numbers I found interesting:

The mean age of the fandom is 20.19 years. The median age is 19. The standard deviation is 5.36 years. 79% of bronies are between 15 and 25, 95% between 10 and 30.

I think this is the first time in my existence I’ve ever been seven standard deviations away from anything.

[N]early a quarter of bronies report[ed] that they had a significant relationship in the past year.

That many? I’m guessing this means “significant relationship with another of the same species.”

Nearly a third of respondents did not know their household income, and another 13% refused to answer, meaning that only 55% of respondents even tried to answer.

This is a function of median age, modified by “Who wants to know? We don’t give out that kind of information.”

In the most recent Gallup poll on the subject, 6.4% of Americans indicated LGBT status, as opposed to 17.7% of Bronies. The Gallup poll, unhelpfully, does not break down into individual categories.

Depends on your definition of “helpful.” That number surprises me very little, actually.

This one, however, does. Before respondents took the survey, they were asked their Myers-Briggs Type Indicator if known; if not known, they were offered the test, and as a result there is data for nearly 86 percent of respondents. The INTJ indicator is among the rarest, and in some populations the rarest. Not in bronyland, though:

INTJ (introversion, intuitive, thinking, judgment) is thought to occur in perhaps 1-­3 % of the population, while it seems to occur at something like 10‐20 times that rate in the Herd.

You already know where I stand, or fall.

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I suppose I should have mentioned this earlier

But, you know, things happen:

[T]hey say that the first serious work on the subject [dates from] 1992, when Noach Milgram wrote a piece titled Procrastination: A malady of modern times.

According to this link, the manuscript is still unpublished (This list was last updated August 1st, 2005).

Disclosure: This piece sat in Drafts for 22 hours or so before being given its release.

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The high-maintenance Senate

From the Things I’d Rather Not Think About file:

The ah-gust body of the U.S. Senate voted against privatizing their in-house barbershop where they have gotten free haircuts, shaves and shoe shines for decades, all the while running a deficit of $350,000 per year for the last 15 years ($5.25 million). To repeat, in the past, the Senate members have voted AGAINST paying for their own grooming. Do female Senators get haircuts, facial waxes and perms (cause Dianne Feinstein is definitely permed)? Do they use the same facility as the men use? Yes, they do. Do they get waxes? I don’t know.

I admit to a certain level of squeamishness with regard to that last point, having found out more than I really wanted to know about a couple of TV hosts this weekend.

The House, incidentally, outsourced its grooming facility nearly two decades ago.

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Another one rides the bus

Somehow I don’t see this fellow getting a ride anytime soon:

Yahoo! Answers screenshot

And I thought I was superficial.

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A brief pony reference

Fluttershy briefsIf you’re the size of a normal adult human — this would exclude Springfield’s Comic Book Guy and, um, me — and you feel compelled to plaster references to Ponyville’s Mane Six on your flank, this Indiegogo crowd-sourcer is for you:

Brony Briefs is the first ever line of underwear designed specifically for Bronies! Our brilliant and innovative new Brony apparel offers all Bronies the opportunity to wear their fandom everywhere! In order to get our initial batch of Brony Briefs out of production and into your hands, we need your help! We know that our friends in the Brony community will help us make Brony Briefs into a reality!

As always, the Cutie Mark Crusaders are left out in the cold.

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Strange search-engine queries (372)

Yes, it’s the weekly roundup of odd search strings and such, retrieved from our very own logs at no little expense, with 20 ounces of Royal Crown Cola at our side. (In a single tumbler, because this ain’t New York City.)

after wearing seat belts became mandatory drivers reacted by driving faster and less carefully. this is consistent with what principle of economics?   Obviously, the one you missed hearing about in class because you were texting under the desk.

where’s my electrical tape:  Over there in the tub, next to the rectifier.

andrej pejic wearing pantyhose stiletto heels:  Write him a check and he’ll be happy to model for you.

oldernaturists:  According to conventional wisdom, a significant deterrent to younger naturists.

testicle flapping:  Which might, in turn, be a deterrent to older naturists.

does american express capture ip address for account login attempts:  As does every other Web site on the face of the earth.

Nurse has enema and a dozen big ass toys in her butt torrent:  Actually, now that you mention it, “butt torrent” is a pretty good synonym for “enema,” or at least for the result thereof.

when will it be daylight until 7pm:  Some time around the equinox, I’d bet.

the lady prefers hanes radio:  Although if she puts it on backwards, people will think she’s talking out of her ass.

if someone screams at 840 hz and the other at 640 hz who’s heard first:  Whichever one gets the gig on Hanes Radio.

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Done to/with Dallas

This being the last game of the season series, Thunder fans were hoping for a sweep, and some of us were hoping for a big night for Derek Fisher, given Mark Cuban’s avowed butthurt over Fisher’s signing with OKC. As seemingly always with the Mavs, it was scary close most of the night — nobody at any point got close to a double-digit lead — and at the 1:20 mark it was tied 101-all. Twenty seconds later, Russell Westbrook hit a jumper from 17 feet; the Mavs burned up 24 seconds without so much as touching the rim; and then Thabo Sefolosha’s fadeaway over O. J. Mayo put the Thunder up four with 12.5 left. Another empty Dallas possession, and with 2.2 left, Kevin Durant swished two free throws to finish the job, 107-101. Sweep accomplished.

Dallas did what they could: they made all 16 of their free throws, executed a remarkable 13 steals, and did better from the three-point line than OKC. (The Mavs hit nine of 21, the Thunder only four of 21.) And Dirk, perhaps a little past his prime, is still Dirk: 8-10 shooting, seven rebounds, 23 points. The Dallas bench kicked in 40 points, and might have done more had they not lost Rodrigue Beaubois early to a finger issue, and no, Roddy wasn’t smarting off to the refs. Worse, Shawn Marion’s missed two games now with a calf problem.

But ultimately, the Thunder had the Mavs’ number yet again. Durant wound up with 31; Russell Westbrook, at his all-over-the-place best, nailed 35; Serge Ibaka had 18 points, 16 rebounds, and just for fun blocked three shots. Derek Fisher? Two points and three fouls in twelve and a half minutes, which goes to show you can’t have everything.

The good news: the Thunder are back home Tuesday night. The bad news: the Denver Nuggets, only five games back in the Northwest after winning 11 straight, will be dropping by.

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The happy sound of a carousel

The Drifters once sang of the joys to be found under the boardwalk on the Jersey shore. Of course, that was long before Hurricane Sandy turned the boardwalk into a very large pile of debris.

Now, Seaside Heights is rebuilding its premier attraction:

Mayor William Akers said the initial work — restoring the boardwalk so that it can be walked on safely — should be done by May 10. Railings, lighting and ramps will be part of a second contract that has yet to be awarded. The project is also likely to include a protective seawall, and cost between $6 million and $7 million, the mayor said.

“It’s a huge day for us, a new beginning for the town,” he said. “It’s the culmination of a lot of hard work, starting with the rescues, the cleanup, the planning, culminating in the actual rebuilding of Seaside Heights.”

Having once trodden those sacred boards myself — I pretty much had to, inasmuch as my entire prior knowledge of the boardwalk had been confined to that Drifters song and Monopoly — I’m looking forward to the opportunity to do it again some day.

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Roll it and throw it

That was how I, a carrier for the Charleston Evening Post, made money off newspapers in the 1960s. Simple, right? Let’s see how Warren Buffett makes money off newspapers (including his most recent acquisition, the Tulsa World) today.

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The bridge club adjourns

By the time Warner Bros. got around to cranking out cartoons, the selling of the Brooklyn Bridge — see, for instance, Bowery Bugs (1949) — had already been a cultural trope for decades, although it puzzled the kid version of me greatly: could the new owner actually move the bridge, or did he have to content himself with (probably increased) toll revenue?

And now that I’m thinking about it, if a bridge could be sold like any other property, could it be stolen? The answer is Yes:

The 22-ton bridge, which was 25 meters long, was in a village in Kocaeli’s Gölçük district and was regularly used by villagers to cross a creek to reach their orchards. The villagers were astonished to discover the disappearance of the bridge on Monday morning as they were making their way to the orchards and immediately alerted the police.

Police arrived at the scene and determined that the bridge had been cut apart and loaded onto a truck by the thieves. They believe the bridge was stolen for scrap metal. Its worth was an estimated TL 20,000.

One Turkish lira being worth around 55 cents these days — believe me, it’s been worse — this is about eleven grand worth of scrap, or $500 a ton. A better deal than they were likely to get for an ’84 Anadol, I suspect.

(Via Interested-Participant.)

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Hardware bleg

In the summer of ’11, I reported the death at age four of my old MP3 player, a 4 GB Sony that vaguely resembled a cuttlefish. I have not gotten around to finding a proper replacement; I did toss fifteen bucks on a below-Chinese-quality boxlet sold by Woot, which does in fact work, but its controls are utterly inscrutable, despite an uncharacteristically readable manual, and I suspect its internal battery to have been supplied by Mayfly Industries.

Desiderata for proper replacement:

  1. At least 8 GB, expandable via SD or microSD;
  2. A shuffle routine that will indiscriminately mingle files in base memory and files on the expansion card;
  3. A proper drag-and-drop loading system, which eliminates any iGadgets right off the bat.

Nice to have but not mandatory: a plethora of equalization curves; the ability to play un-DRMed AAC files (as vended by Apple); all that Bluetooth stuff. (My car, at its advanced age, is immune to the latter.)

Last one I looked at was this Creative ZEN, which meets 1 and 3 handily, though I’m not sure about 2. (I downloaded the manual, which suggests the shuffle is broad enough, but doesn’t make clear whether it includes all files on the player.)

Your suggestions are welcomed.

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Or you could just blame Mitt

There are probably as many explanations and/or excuses for why the GOP came a cropper last fall as there are Republicans. E. M. Zanotti attempted to explain the situation on Facebook:

The problem with 2012 was three-fold: (1) bad candidates, (2) bad staff, (3) bad marketing. We have bad candidates because the party doesn’t seem to want to undertake the responsibility of actually grooming them — they either pick the next in line, or they let the grassroots “tea party” out their candidates and then gripe when they can’t throw enough money at someone to win. There’s no candidate development at all at the party level. [Two] is also a party problem — the GOP doesn’t reward talent or ingenuity, they reward longevity. That’s why people who have been in the party ten years, who started when smart phones were just a novelty, are considered “digital gurus” — because they don’t know any different and don’t care to. and (3), the party AND the grassroots insist that if we just yell louder and act crazier eventually someone will notice. The Dems did something crazy in 2008: [they] empowered voters who were told to vote but not to research. The problem? No matter how energized your base is, low-information voters won’t respond to the base-energizing message, so you NEED to have both a communications strategy to your already-engaged public, AND a strategy that takes on people who aren’t going to do any investigation before casting your vote. You have to compete on the ground and the airwaves. As much as the GOP wants to believe things haven’t changed since the early 2000s, they have.

Speaking for the establishment, Byron York in a post-election post mortem in the Washington Examiner:

On one end of the spectrum are those who stress the GOP’s failure to appeal to Hispanics and other minorities, arguing that the party must make fundamental changes to broaden its appeal. On the other end are those who stress the GOP’s failure to master even the basics of voter turnout in the last election, along with the flawed candidacy of Mitt Romney, arguing that the party does not need to change its principles or message so much as learn the turnout and messaging techniques used so successfully by the competition.

At this point in its history, the GOP is not capable of grasping the idea that both sides might be correct. The Democrats clearly have it easier, having demonstrated that they can believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

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Totally roadrageous

It happened twice today, within seven minutes.

Incident 1: Driver of one of those pesky “crossover” beasts they sell in lieu of proper wagons dashed in front of me from off a side street so she’d still make the light. She wasn’t actually on a crash trajectory, and she didn’t keep me from getting through the light without having to dip into the yellow, so I thought nothing of it. We were both properly in the left lane; I slid over to the right, inasmuch as I was planning a right turn shortly. For no reason I can fathom, she darted that way herself, and this time we were headed for Sideswipe City. I did my best Fred Flintstone stop; she dropped back into her lane as though nothing had happened.

Incident 2: Green sedan and blue hatchback, side by side. I’m behind Green, anticipating a left turn. Both are going about five under the speed limit (posted 40). Suddenly, Green slides off to the right; Blue barely escapes being hit. Brakes were applied, windows were opened, words were exchanged. Meanwhile, traffic behind them has ground to a halt. After about thirty seconds, they proceed on their merry ways, Blue straight ahead, Green turning left. Why Green needed to be in the right lane to turn left is something known only to God and your nearest meth lab, neither of whom were available for comment.

Now I know from distracted driving: if I’d been paying better attention I’d have zero chargeable accidents in thirty-eight years instead of one. (Presumptuousness may well be the death of me yet.) I have no idea if any of the perpetrators today were actually texting, texting these days being to the Department of Public Safety what a Big Gulp is to Michael Bloomberg; but whatever it was they were doing, it barely qualifies as driving.

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Forget your 4×4

This might be 50 percent better:

Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6x6

It’s not a production vehicle yet, but inasmuch as they were showing it in Dubai, where they eat this stuff up, I’m thinking they’re eventually going to build it.

“They,” of course, are Mercedes-Benz, who added a whole extra ration of G to the venerable G-Wagen, with AMG power pieces and six-wheel drive via portal axles, giving the G63 AMG 6×6 more than 15 inches of ground clearance.

Of technical interest:

All told, there are five differential locks on this thing, all controlled by a special “locking logic” that provides the best traction possible for any given situation.

The controls offer up three stages of locking, which we can only assume range from JKLOL to OMGWTF.

I couldn’t even imagine the price tag on a production version. Even the meanest semi-stripped G-Class costs upward of $100k.

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