Nor was much popcorn sold

Once in a while, the Karma Police get one right on the first try:

FIFA, the world’s most powerful soccer organization, is embroiled in criminal accusations and charges against a number of senior executives. Longtime FIFA President Sepp Blatter (and owner of a name that bears repeating … Sepp Blatter) recently announced he was stepping down only days after being re-elected. Meanwhile, soccer fans around the world are in the throes of both the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2015 Copa América in Chile. In spite of all this in focus on FIFA and football right now, United Passions, the $30 million, FIFA-backed vanity film about the organization’s brilliant leadership has managed to bring in about as much money as a Kevin Federline concert.

If you are suffering from symptoms of Sepp Blatter, seek medical attention at once.

I’d say “Don’t go see United Passions,” but people are already staying away in droves:

The Hollywood Reporter says that United Passions has raked in a whopping $918 at the box office, making it the worst box office opening ever in the U.S.

Well, not exactly. If I read the THR piece correctly, it’s the worst box office opening ever in at least ten theaters. Below that threshold, there is … well, there’s Zyzzyx Road, which opened in a single theater and took in $30. (Technically, $20, since two patrons were given refunds.)


Hey, big spenders

According to HoopsHype, these are the final payroll numbers for the NBA season just ended:

Top ten NBA payroll numbers for 2014-15

Who’d have thought that the Thunder would be outspending the Lakers at this point?

About 60 percent of that vast sum goes to three players: Kevin Durant ($20 million), Russell Westbrook ($15.7 million), and Serge Ibaka ($12.2 million). About $1.3 million was paid to Sebastian Telfair, acquired by Oklahoma City last summer and then waived in November. The rest went to a lineup fairly described as “bargain-basement,” the priciest member of which was Enes Kanter, who earned $6 million this season and will presumably be offered $7.9 million to stay one more year.

The luxury-tax threshold this season was $76,829,000, so the Thunder organization will be paying the tax for the first time. The betting, though, is that next year’s cap will be substantially higher, in which case the team will likely avoid the harsher penalties for going over the threshold two years in a row.

(Since you asked: Kyle Singler was the lowest-paid member of the team, drawing $1.09 million for the season.)

Comments (2)

Because standards

I remember doing stuff like this in sixth grade:

We are well and truly boned.

Comments (2)

Your very best Bai

What always gets me about Bai Ling is that she’s a perfectly serious actress with a perfectly zany side. She’d been acting in Chinese films since the middle Eighties, but made a fearsome debut before US audiences in 1994 in The Crow, in which she played the half-sister and occasional lover of gang boss Top Dollar. She followed this with the female lead in Red Corner, opposite Richard Gere, a role that annoyed the Chinese government to the extent that they actually revoked her citizenship. (She has since become an American citizen.) She says that her scenes in Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith were cut because she’d done a pictorial for Playboy; George Lucas says no, the cut happened before the pictorial was announced.

Much of her online fame, though, is due to Wacky Costumery. Witness this shot from a waiting area in LAX, earlier this year:

Bai Ling at Los Angeles International Airport

This is perhaps less wacky, but since when does a Big International Star (sort of) drive a Volkswagen?

Bai Ling buys a Beetle convertible

She’s also a hoot on Twitter (@RealBaiLing), where she posts news and bits of philosophy and lots and lots of selfies, some in Wacky Costumery, a few in apparently nothing at all. For an example of the latter, look below the jump:

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (2)

Sharp and sweet

Last we heard from Evie Archer, she was telling us of the joys of a romance in France. As we know too well, things don’t always work out the way we think they will, but we must remember that Love Heals:

Again, her DIY ethic is on display, but I am struck mostly by how this same familiar chord progression produces so many wondrous songs.

Evie’s EP, due some time this summer, now has a title: Chocolate and Whiskey. Obviously she appreciates the Finer Things. I’m definitely putting it on my buy list.



For some reason, I seem to have been put on Carly Fiorina’s mailing list, and this is something her campaign sent out yesterday:

Fox News recently announced how they will select participants for the first presidential campaign debate.

I’ll skip straight to the point: I look forward to participating in the Fox News debate. I’ll make it clear that I’m ready to take on Hillary Clinton.

But I need your help to get on that debate stage. In order to secure an invitation, I need to grow my team of supporters. Will you make a donation of $13 today to help me get on that debate stage?

I’m not sure what the significance of 13 is, though given the enormous amount of superstition that pervades the American electorate, it’s bound to draw some sort of attention. (As it has, for instance, here.)

I am not, of course, voting in the Republican primary, for the most obvious of reasons. That said, Fiorina strikes me as the least annoying GOP candidate thus far: she avoids evasive answers, she’s generally prepared for the questions she’s asked, and she’s about half an order of magnitude tougher than the beta (sometimes gamma) males in the press pool.

At HP, I wasn’t afraid to shake up the status quo. My decisions didn’t always make me popular — but they would ultimately prove to be the right ones.

Real leadership means making tough choices and taking responsibility. Real leadership means standing by your principles and answering the difficult questions. Real leadership means standing by your record, not hiding from it.

I conclude from this that she’ll give short shrift to the “They took err jerbs!” people. And while I’m naturally suspicious of “Government ought to be run like a business” stuff, it’s got to be an improvement over the last couple of decades, in which it’s been run like a fraternity house with no adult supervision.

The skirtwatcher side of me gives her a solid B, not bad for sixty: ahead of Bachmann, behind Palin.

And there’s this:

In the business world, we don’t have the luxury of hiding from our problems until they go away, like Hillary does on the campaign trail. We have to actually accomplish something.

She’s not hiding. She’s simply refusing to acknowledge that such things exist. (And if the Democratic primary in this state comes down to Hillary vs. Bernie, as well it might, I pull the lever for Sanders and smile the whole time.)

I’d still like to know where Fiorina came up with the precise sum of $13.

Comments (8)

Fark blurb of the week

Comments (1)

Fake Bureau of Investigation

This FBI ALERT!!! is laughable, but then aren’t they all?

Customers Service Hours / Monday To Saturday:

Attention Dear Beneficiary,

We bring to your notice that your email address was randomly selected as email address of scammed victims who are to be compensated that is why we are in contact with you so take your time to read this information carefully.

Series of meetings have been held over the past 7 months with the secretary general of the United Nations Organization, this ended 3days ago. It is obvious that you have not received your funds valued at $3.5 Million us dollars due to past corrupt Governmental Officials who almost held the funds to themselves for their selfish reason and some individuals who have taken advantage of your funds all in an attempt to swindle your funds which has led to so many losses from your end and unnecessary delay in the receipt of your fund.

The National Central Bureau of Interpol enhanced by the United Nations and Federal Bureau of Investigation have successfully passed a mandate to the president of the United States Of America President Obama to boost the exercise of clearing all foreign debts owed to you and other individuals and organizations who have been found not to have receive their Contract Sum, Lottery/Gambling, Inheritance and the likes. Now how would you like to receive your payment? Because we have two method of payment which is by Check or by ATM card?

This is, I submit, the first time the UN has “enhanced” anything.

Now it goes off the deep end:

DO NOT SEND MONEY TO ANYONE UNTIL YOU READ THIS: The actual fees for shipping your ATM card is $420 but because UPS have temporarily discontinued the C.O.D which gives you the chance to pay when package is delivered for international shipping We had to sign contract with them for bulk shipping which makes the fees reduce from the actual fee of $420 to $380 nothing more and no hidden fees of any sort!

And then they list various individuals who “have received their payment successfully,” either through UPS or DHL, and the alleged tracking numbers for those shipments. For instance, in the UPS list, there is:

GARY METZGER ==============1Z2X59394195952759

In the DHL list:

GARY METZGER ============== 871363130860

Now who is this Metzger guy, and how does he rate two of these?

No links, surprisingly, except to, but there is a list of ten pieces of data you must supply by return email to their “agent,” one of which is “A Copy of Your Identity.” As if.

Oh, and just to make this interesting: character set used is Windows Cyrillic, which is, of course, the FBI standard.

Comments (1)

How can I make someone else pay?

This is, I am beginning to suspect, the defining question of our time: much of our alleged political discourse asks exactly that and nothing more.

More disturbingly, it extends beyond politics:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Would scraping the bottom of the front bumper due to a steep incline going into a parking lot be covered under a car's original warranty?

This mindset — that there are always pockets to pick — will be the death of us yet.

Comments (3)

Perhaps out of their league

It has come to this. The Mets, otherwise a few ticks over .500, lose to a hockey team?

I suspect high-sticking.

Actually, the Blue Jays beat the Mets 7-1, so I figure some lazy individual at this CBS station just grabbed the first Toronto logo he could find.

Comments (1)

Hey, it works in Nebraska

Gary Jones is pushing the notion of switching to a unicameral legislature:

The state auditor has a controversial plan to save millions of dollars by combining the Oklahoma House of Representatives and the Oklahoma Senate.

State Auditor Gary Jones says it may be time for a change.

“Just because we’ve done it that way doesn’t mean that’s the best way of doing it. If we believe in smaller, more efficient government, I think that government itself is what we need to look at,” Jones said.

Jones says each year, between offices, salaries and staff, the Oklahoma Senate alone costs the state between 15 and 20 million dollars.

This prompted some derision, mostly justified, from Patrick at The Lost Ogle:

I’ve asked Ogle Moles in the past why we have a bicameral legislature, and none of them really have a good answer. Even though it’s a dysfunctional mess, I can see why you’d want to have a Senate and House of Representatives for a Federal Government comprised of 50 states, but why does a state need one? It’s not like each county gets two state senators to balance out the population advantage of cities. Senate districts are determined by the same imaginary gerrymandered lines as the House of Representatives. It’s redundant. Right? Or am I totally wrong?

Well, no, he’s not totally wrong. As to those Senate districts, I refer you to a 2014 scheme specifically to abolish the Oklahoma House by Senator (of course) Patrick Anderson (R-Enid):

Anderson says he wants to save a few bucks, not the worst idea in the world, though it would have been nice if he’d said something about Reynolds v. Sims, in which the Supreme Court decided that legislative houses in the states had to be divided into equal population districts. (Before this 1964 decision, each county would have at least one House member, regardless of population.) In effect, this makes one chamber in each and every bicameral state legislature — all 49 of them — largely irrelevant. Then again, Reynolds was decided three years before Anderson was born, so it’s probably not uppermost in his mind.

And Patrick doesn’t think the Jones scheme has any future:

Obviously, our hypocritical small government state lawmakers want nothing to do with it, and I doubt the political parties want a unicameral legislature either, so this will need to be championed and passed by the people. Since the proposal has nothing to do with discriminating against gays or letting people bring guns to music festivals, I doubt anything will happen.

He’s probably not wrong about that either.

Comments (4)

Awash in backwash

We had rain out the wazoo last month, and after going a week and a half without any rain, the stuff has returned with a vengeance. Maybe more than vengeance, no thanks to slow-moving, tediously damp ex-Tropical Storm Bill, which visited about 11 inches on one hamlet down by the Red River. Still, this should not make us think that we’re never, ever going to have water issues again:

I learned that per capita, an average shower delivers 2-5 gallons of water A MINUTE. How many of us take 10, 15, even 20 minute showers, everyday? We use 25-40 gallons of water PER LOAD when we do the laundry. We are so ridiculously blessed to have clean water that appears at our command. For the past 24 hours, I’ve been obsessed with the following questions: Can you imagine hauling water from the creek like our ancestors did? What about third world countries in 2015, where women hike for MILES to deliver dirty water to their families … several times every day? I wonder how much water you could live on, if its price was comparable to gold?

My typical shower is down around three minutes. Then again, I do a lot more wash than some of you might imagine. Still, I keep the monthly usage down around 3,000 gallons, which is on the low side for Oklahoma City water customers but which nonetheless remains around 100 gallons a day.

Is it fair to mention that she thought of this while the plumbers were working on a broken water pipe?


Quote of the week

How will we fare under “fairness”? Hint: you have to define “fair” as the teachers used to, which is “not as good as good“:

Life is unequal and unfair but more equality and fairness came into the world because of people freely pursuing their self interest in free markets. Wise, loving, “enlightened” people had nothing to do with [it], unless it was those who created a legal structure of rationality, predictability, an even-handedness within which trial and error could slowly lead to amelioration of the harshness of life.

No attempt to cast aside workable legal restraints has led to anything more decent or more just. When was “revolutionary justice” anything but a satisfaction of individual revenge fantasies and bestial instincts that led straight to more slaughter? Handing more and more political power to what some like to think are the “right” kind of people has only led to horror in our times, not just mass killing but social decay that threatens civilization itself. Once-great American cities in our own time are being laid waste by uncivilized people and where is there a scintilla, a soupcon, or a smidgen of evidence that that will ever be turned around? Destruction of our cities is today the course that we pursue with determination. Each new fracturing draws not leaders but buffoons and other political jokes like vultures on the Ferlinghetti Plain.

Hmmm. Maybe “fair” is too good.


One very small step forward

What hurts, I think, is that it was a 3-2 vote:

You hate getting robocalls. The FCC knows you hate getting robocalls. And so [Thursday] the Commission voted to move forward with a proposal that would allow consumers to block all those annoying calls and texts.

The commissioners were agreed on one major theme: seriously, everyone hates getting calls from “Rachel at card services” during their family dinner hour. Outside of that, reactions were less universal, and individual commissioners each presented a mixed bag of affirmations and dissents.

FCC chair Tom Wheeler says that part of the problem is the Commission’s own rulemaking:

“Technology has made it cheaper, and as a result there’s been an explosion in the number of calls — an explosion which has been aided by exploiting the wording of our rules to claim a loophole. Clever lawyers have [spurred] the explosion in robocalls by claiming if the company substitutes software for hardware to drive the calls and/or does not call from a list, they are exempt from our rules.”

While I am moderately hopeful, I am fairly sure the FCC will not authorize the ritual disembowelment of offenders, as recommended by, um, me.

Comments (5)

You shall not Escape

Once again, Donald Trump is taking advice from the ferret occupying his scalp:

Republican presidential hopeful and billionaire Donald Trump wants to bring the pain via punitive tariffs to Ford for manufacturing vehicles in Mexico.

During his announcement of his 2016 campaign Tuesday, The Detroit News says Trump vowed he would levy a 35 percent tariff on Ford parts and vehicles imported from Mexico if the automaker presses forward with a $2.5 billion investment in the nation, claiming the move would “take away thousands” of jobs from American workers.

Ford, being Ford, shrugged; they’ve heard this sort of noise before. And besides:

Of course, Trump wouldn’t be legally able to punish Ford for building its plants wherever it wanted, let alone single out Ford with his plan without also doing the same to General Motors and FCA (how he would deal with Fiat owning Chrysler would be a whole other round of metaphors and hyperbole altogether).

Now if The Donald comes back and says he can so do this, via executive order — well, he’s cut his own throat, and we will definitely thank him for his quick disappearance from the campaign scene.

Comments (1)

Fulfilling time

A lot got done at Happy Acres this past week:

Gave daughter her first driving lesson. Consoled son after first serious heartbreak. Went to the gym everyday, and a 4 mile walk every evening. Worked on genealogy and uncle’s ebook. Hardened my passwords on two dozen sites. Made a will. Sprayed star thistle infestation. Had carpets cleaned. Building a pile of junk to take to the dump. Timing belts replaced on 2 cars. Pruned & weeded. Ordered gravel to line driveway.

Goodness, that’s quite a set of accomplishments. How in the world was this even possible?

The past week I went internet-dark.


Comments (3)