Special snowflake alert

Once they start getting into “rights,” my eyes glaze over:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Do I have the right to play music out loud in my dorm?

Justification offered:

I like to play music out loud in my dorm,but my roomate say its annoying and noisy,and he want me to put on earphones.What i always play are my favorate songs, definitely not noise,and i always play them when he is not sleeping,how can that annoy him?Everyone knows listening music through earphones is bad for hearing ability,how dare he ask me to do that?

I think what he has done is a violation to my right! But he deny my right!

Evidently someone has denied him access to a Remedial English class.

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You might consider sticking around a bit

Dusty Springfield was still technically a member of the Springfields in late 1963 when producer Ivor Raymonde suggested she try a song he’d composed, with lyrics by Mike Hawker. This turned into “I Only Want to Be With You,” a major hit for Dusty, which hastened her departure to the solo spotlight; Raymonde and Hawker quickly hatched “Stay Awhile” as a follow-up.

Lots of acts have covered “I Only Want to Be With You” over the years, my favorite perhaps being the inexplicable 1965 French-language cover by Uruguayan band Los Shakers. Fewer have attempted “Stay Awhile,” though a new version waits in the wings:

The background, of course, is “Oh No Not My Baby,” a Goffin/King hit for Maxine Brown, but “Stay Awhile” is on the track list, and for a while, anyway, you can hear it in full by dialing in to the She & Him Web site, turning ON the radio, and then twidding the tuning knob a bit. Hint: Classics drops 12/2, so start at 1200 and move upwards.

(Via Pitchfork.)

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Strange search-engine queries (456)

Hundreds of people drop by this site every week. Sometimes they’re actually looking for something I had to say. And sometimes they’re looking for something else entirely, which may or may not be explainable. Guess which ones land in this space?

explanation of signts on mazda 626 speedometer:  If something’s glowing, you’ve got problems.

faster then my balloot:  I dunno. Some of those balloots are pretty speedy.

china Bus sexymobi:  Doesn’t sound like any Chinese bus I’ve ever heard of.

“with frenulums like these”:  Who needs enemas?

The stoplight had just changed and a 2200kg Cadillac had entered the intersection:  Nice of you to get the curb weight of the vehicle before it hit you.

if you were designing a new luxury car, how would you:  I’d stencil the curb weight on the side, for the benefit of jaywalkers.

actress karina nose is bad at english:  And this is a problem — why, exactly?

Once I Had A Sweetheart Maria Kohnke:  Really? How was her English?

drox cookies:  Either you’re missing part of the name, or you’re stoned out of your gourd.

stamos swim image 1980:  That’s a long time to carry a crush.

tremulous cadence slow:  You might consider throwing her from the balcony.

can a person with a 59 IQ get a drivers license in Oklahoma?  Of course, Senator, but you’ll need the Majority Leader’s signature on your application.

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So come around already

Sometimes you wonder if karma is really keeping up:

A convicted rapist who won almost £5 million on the Lottery is planning to build a 30-bedroom hotel next to one of Britain’s busiest motorways.

Edward Putman, 47, who was jailed for breaking into a house and twice raping a 17-year-old girl, submitted an official planning notice for a budget motel at the site in Kings Langley, Hertfordshire.

His plans, which were refused by Three Rivers Council last month, include demolishing the £600,000 house and outbuildings he bought with his lottery winnings and converting them into a hotel off the M25.

This is not to say, mind you, that his newfound wealth has made him a Better Man. Quite the contrary:

He had intended to keep his win a secret by requesting anonymity from National Lottery operators Camelot, who were unaware of his previous convictions.

But his past came to light when it was revealed that he had carried on claiming £15,000 in income support and housing benefits following the win… He admitted two counts of benefit fraud and was sentenced to nine months in prison in 2012.

The Fark headline on this story: “You know what’s worse than a convicted sex offender who just won $10 million in the lottery? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.”

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This will end in tears and/or bankruptcy

I mean, just look at it:

Long before Apple Pay, big brick-and-mortar retail chains were conspiring to sidestep the typical 2% to 3% fees they’re charged by credit card companies when consumers pay with credit. A company called MCX (Merchant Customer Exchange), spearheaded by Walmart, was started to build a mobile payment solution that would become an app called CurrentC that’s preparing to launch, but is already in the app stores.

Rather than NFC, CurrentC uses QR codes displayed on a cashier’s screen and scanned by the consumer’s phone or vice versa to initiate and verify the transaction. The system is also designed to automatically apply discounts, use loyalty programs, and charge purchases to a variety of payment methods without passing sensitive financial data to the merchant.

“Dead on arrival,” says Bill Quick:

It was designed not to benefit the consumer, but enrich the merchant. The result of that calculation is usually an awful failure.

Especially if the consumer is paying attention:

Legal protections for debit transactions being decidedly limited compared to legal protections for credit transactions, Swift’s nailed it.

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Never look at the statistics

Rather a lot of us on this side of the screen have been through this, sometimes more than once:

A long time ago, this blog was what I considered a huge success, at least in my view. One day I had over 300 page views, which spun me up into a frenzy of joy the likes of which no one has ever seen, except for that time Sally Fields got the Oscar. Nowadays it’s around 50 to 75 views and I’m happy to get that, because I realize I shot myself in the foot when I had my little depressive episode and just couldn’t bring myself to update. So a lot, well, most, of my “readership” wandered off to greener, recent-er pastures, and that’s what they should have done. No one lingers by a dry well thinking it’s going to suddenly spring forth with new crystalline-clear water.

This aquifer of mine has been played out for rather a long time. About ten years ago, I was pulling something like a thousand page views — call it 800 visitors at around 1.3 pages per visit — every single day. This couldn’t last, and it didn’t: today I’m pulling 500 page views a day, but it’s 250 visitors at 2 pages per visit. (The increase in pages per visit is solely attributable, I think, to the fact that I no longer have the pop-up comment box, which counted as 0.) Feed subscribers are a bigger component of the audience these days, but they fluctuate wildly: the gizmo on the sidebar, which counts the number of subscriptions held for at least two weeks, has seesawed between 180 and 1100 this year. And feed subscribers don’t figure into this graph:

SiteMeter numbers from 10/13 to present

That November 2013 burst, curiously, is entirely due to this one post.

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The fifteenth man

Historically, the Thunder have played with 14 men on the roster, keeping the 15th spot open for, um, flexibility. Yeah. That’s the ticket. In previous seasons, though, they didn’t start out with a starter and three reserves benched with injuries, so one of the four training-camp invitees actually got signed to a contract: forward Lance Thomas, who floated between New Orleans and the D-League’s Austin Toros before fleeing to China last season. (I had thought they might pick up Talib Zanna; Sam, I am disappoint.) Thomas, says HoopsHype, is being paid a modest salary of $948,163, or about one-twentieth what Kevin Durant gets. Then again, KD is out for six weeks or so with a Jones fracture, which I surmise is probably not as severe as a fracture of one’s Johnson.

Where Thomas fits on the depth chart is not clear, given Scott Brooks’ devotion to the One True Rotation, but I figure he spells Perry Jones III at the three, at least until KD is back.

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A certain lyrical economy

Silver Convention, a couple of West German guys, first hit the Eurodisco scene in 1975 with “Save Me,” which contained the following lyrics: “Baby, save me, save me, I am falling in love.” That was it, except for a few scattered incidences of “woo-hoo.”

For the next two singles, they hired some full-time singers and cut two songs with exactly six different words each: “Fly, Robin, Fly” (“Fly, robin, fly, up, up to the sky”) and “Get Up and Boogie,” which, in its 4:05 single edit and 2:45 radio edit anyway, began “That’s right!” before actually saying “Get up and boogie.”

My late brother Paul objected most strenuously to that configuration. “What’s right?” he’d yell at the turntable. “You haven’t said anything we can test for rightness!” On that basis, I conclude, he’d have hated Meghan Trainor’s big hit, which begins “Because I’m all about that bass”: how dare she dangle a phrase like that! Then again, I think I could have sold him the Siren’s Crush cover, maybe: he did have a certain respect for a cappella. (I owe Roger for that link.)

Random stuff picked up during research:

One of my favorite late-Nineties dance numbers was “Better Off Alone” by Alice Deejay, which contains ten words: “Do you think you’re better off alone? Talk to me.” But long before that, “Weird Al” Yankovic had done the definitive six-word song.

The very first Silver Convention album, Save Me, was released in several countries, including the States, with a vaguely risqué cover — and in others with a really risqué cover. (The latter might not please your boss.)

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Treadmill extensions

On the off-chance that automakers are going to push self-driving cars with the idea that “Look how much work you can get done during your daily commute!” — well, thanks, but no thanks.

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The amazing Snyderman

NBC medical editor Nancy Snyderman (MD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 1977) is probably better known these days for blowing off an Ebola quarantine than for her frequent TV appearances or her actual work as a physician. Those of us who believe that one learns more from television news by turning the sound down, however, focus elsewhere:

Dr Nancy Snyderman on the Today Show

Dr Nancy Snyderman on the Today Show

Dr Nancy Snyderman on the Today Show

The shoes, of course, are just for show:

At this writing, she’s been banished off-camera for the next month, presumably so NBC can hack up something resembling damage control.

(Note: Sometimes you have the title long before you have the post, and by “you” I mean me.)

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The keys to the executive washroom

Embedded in a largish Bookworm omnibus post is this item:

While it’s quite possible that the CEO of a big American company gets paid 331 times as much as the part-time janitor working weekends (especially the part-time janitor working weekends in the company’s Delhi office), it’s not true that, on average, American CEOs make 331 times more than ordinary employees.

Selective sampling, of course. From WSJ:

The AFL-CIO calculated a pay gap based on a very small sample — 350 CEOs from the S&P 500. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 248,760 chief executives in the U.S. in 2013.

The BLS reports that the average annual salary for these chief executives is $178,400, which we can compare to the $35,239-per-year salary the AFL-CIO uses for the average American worker. That shrinks the executive pay gap from 331-to-1 down to a far less newsworthy number of roughly five-to-one.

I have no idea how much the CEO for whom I work is paid, but I’m pretty sure it’s less than five times what I get, and he puts in at least as many hours as I do, if not more.

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Doctor’s ordure

First, the setup:

Let’s make no mistake: the current Ebola epidemic is a terrible humanitarian disaster in Africa. We should be doing everything we can to help alleviate the suffering on the ground there. As a parent, it’s hard to bear images of children orphaned and parents bereaved. As a physician, I would hop on a jet and lend my hand — if I wasn’t such an insufferable, pampered wuss.

Feel free to sing along with the punchline.

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It’s a proper noun

Derpy HoovesPejman Yousefzadeh performs the useful task of ragging on Paul Krugman, as raggable an egghead as exists in our time, and while I applaud such activity in general, Yousefzadeh chose to close the raggage with this observation:

Nota bene: If the word “derpy” could be excised from our vocabulary, no one would be more pleased than me.

I would be somewhat distraught at the loss, if only because “Nameless Pegasus No. [whatever]” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. If Krugman happens to misuse it on occasion, well, this is almost certainly true of several other words he uses, including “of,” “several” and “other”: one does not rise to such heady heights without risking oxygen deficiency — or maybe just strabismus.

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The thirteenth is due

Because look what happened to the twelfth:

Doctor Who with ebola?

To quote Doug Mataconis: “Doctor Who has Ebola? Now we’re really screwed.”

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It Fappened just that way

Francis W. Porretto gets in the final word — well, it ought to be final — on that celebrity-nude-photo business:

The “she ought to have known better” crap is exactly that: crap. The companies that promote the use of their “cloud” services are forever telling us about the depth and power of their security measures. Is a very young professional actress, highly unlikely to have been schooled in the technologies and their vulnerabilities, supposed to be more aware of the risks than the average non-technical American? If the same thing were to happen to any of her detractors, would they enjoy the degree of opprobrium that they’ve heaped upon Jennifer Lawrence? Would they feel their naivety had earned it?

And the cloud doesn’t care what its proponents say about it, either:

Besides, there are non-technical issues to be dealt with:

Let’s not neglect the other aspect of the matter: that Lawrence photographed herself in the nude so her boyfriend would have a sensuous reminder of her when the two of them were far from one another. There are “conservatives” reproaching her for that, too. Apparently that Lawrence would permit someone — someone other than themselves, that is — to see her in all her unclothed glory grates unbearably across their neo-Grundyish sensibilities.

This is approximately where someone comes in and completes the circle by saying “But she should have considered the risks involved.” Well, yeah. But life itself is a prolonged exercise in risk management. If you haven’t noticed this by now, you’re either 8 years old or you’ve been appointed to a high government post.

And the little dweebs who spent their data allotments for the month begging for download links for these pictures? Morally indistinguishable from the little dweebs who spent their data allotments for the month pirating software.

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Monetizing the egregiousness

Lynn has an idea for dealing with comment spam, and like most such ideas, it springs from frustration:

Comment spam has been really horrendous lately. I used to get, usually, no more than 20 a day. Since last Saturday it’s been 300 – 500 a day! The first time comment moderation is stopping it all but I still have to take the time to delete all of them.

That certainly qualifies as “horrendous.” (I’ve had just over 600 this month. Then again, I have several thousand IPs blocked on general principle.)

Someone once said that spammers should be crucified alongside the highways. Right now that seems like a pretty good idea.

That someone was Eric Scheie of Classical Values, about 11 years ago. The original post has vanished from Blogspot, as posts will sometimes do, but I excerpted the money quote here.

But then I think, why litter the countryside with so much garbage. Let’s just publish their real names and addresses. But then I think, no I have a better idea. Let’s make them pay. Literally. Someone needs to come up with a system to automatically charge spammers by the minute, with the proceeds going to the website owner, minus a small percentage to maintain the system. Five cents for each minute until the spam comment is deleted, even if it is held in the moderation queue for that time. I would be wealthy!

Hmmm. If this ever comes to pass, I’m going to have to unblock several thousand IPs on general principle.

Note: The wp-ban plugin, used here, has turned away approximately 530,000 attempts to dump stuff here before it ever gets to Akismet, which has rejected 36,000 on its own. It is not infallible — no software is — but I’m not getting 300-500 spams a day either.

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