Swastacky

So apparently there are Grammar Nazis, after all:

Is trademark registration the next step?

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The opposite of nostalgia

James Lileks is looking for a name for it:

What’s the word for an exaggerated dislike of a particular time? I know I am nostalgic for things I did not experience, and only see through the pop-culture elements left behind, which communicate incomplete and occasionally misleading messages. But I have antipathy for things I experienced at the fringe of adolescence — not because it was a bad time, or I didn’t like them then, but because they seem now to be the products of a culture that was getting cheap and lazy; it was full of gimcrack baubles turned out by an exhausted system that tried to adapt to the times, but had no strength to put forth any ideas or uphold any ideas that went before. The period from 1967 to 1975, with some stellar exceptions, was just a horrible time for everything, and you can reduce it all down to one middle-aged balding dude with wet hair plastered over his head in brown polyester pants and a mustard-yellow shirt approving one thing after the other because the kids will go for it.

I suspect we can generalize further: if anything worthwhile happened during your bête noire period, it happened in spite of that middle-aged balding dude.

My own “Oooh, take it away!” era runs roughly 1989 through about 1994 or so: it is delineated by changes in my own life, which had only just bottomed out and was in a tediously slow recovery, and by the fact that Mariah Carey was getting massive hit records by sounding like her record producer — Tommy Mottola, you may remember, lives on the road — had stuffed a live ferret into her pants.

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Definitely in gear

Pop Gear/Go Go Mania (the latter being apparently a US-only title for no good reason other than the fact that it wasn’t British) was a brief (one hour, ten minutes) music revue on film, with various Big Beat acts generally faking their way through their 1964 recordings, interspersed with dance numbers. For lack of a better name, this is the Gold Pants Dance:

The song ending as the clip begins is “Tobacco Road,” a John D. Loudermilk tune recorded by the Nashville Teens, who of course were (1) not teens and (2) not from Nashville. The Teens’ second single, “Google Eye”, also a Loudermilk song, missed the bottom of the Billboard Hot 100; however, it does show up later in Pop Gear.

The vaguely oily host, Sir James Wilson Vincent “Jimmy” Savile, OBE, KCSG, died in 2011; a year later, a scandal broke, with Savile accused of multiple acts of sexual abuse. He is now on his way to becoming an unperson.

(Suggested by Peter J. Rudy.)

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Toward fatter and fatter cats

Dave Schuler reads that the formation of new businesses is definitely on the wane, and suggests a solution:

I think the solution to that problem is to lower the barriers to new business formation, to stop subsidizing large companies, and reduce the power and effectiveness of the tools, e.g. intellectual property law, that large companies exploit to beat down smaller upstarts. Unfortunately, I can’t see any enthusiasm for doing any of those things because all of them have powerful support constituencies.

Additionally, there used to be a dictum that big companies like to do business with big companies. I think that’s still true but I think it can be extended: big government likes to do business with big companies which prefer to do business with other big companies. In other words the larger and more powerful government becomes the more policy will tend to be oriented to favor large companies and the lower our rate of new business formation will become.

It might also help if big companies could get over their hormonal (or whatever) urge to get Even Bigger. Does anyone seriously believe that the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger — or the AT&T/DirecTV merger — will accomplish anything worthwhile? At best, some people will see paper gains on their stock holdings, and most of them won’t see that much. (I expect about $11, based on my own muddled portfolio.) Certainly there’s no reason to think actual service will improve.

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While she knocks you into the dust

The tallest woman I ever met — I mean, in person, face to, um, chin — was a hair over six foot two. She was perhaps not a great beauty, but it didn’t matter: were she anywhere in the room, she was the one you noticed, no matter who else managed to show up.

I’ve never met Gwendoline Christie, who plays Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones and who stands somewhere between half an inch and two inches taller than that, but I suspect she has the same sort of effect:

Gwendoline Christie in a limo

This week she was signed for the next Star Wars film, playing a Wookie who’d been dragged through the River Nair tall person.

Being incredibly tall, it would appear, might not confer upon a person the ability to make the finest judgment calls, fashionwise:

Gwendoline Christie at the Game of Thrones Premiere 2013

Said Fug Girl Jessica: “I love you, and I know you are like six foot four, but THIS IS TOO SHORT.”

At least she’s not sitting down in it.

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Damned with faint damns

This isn’t as funny as one Lynn got yesterday, which raises the bar for all such word salad, but by the standards of the stuff I’ve been getting lately, it’s not bad:

I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here.

The sketch is tasteful, your authored material stylish.
nonetheless, you command get bought an nervousness over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come further
formerly again since exactly the same nearly very often inside case you shield this hike.

This came from somewhere in 23.94.*.*, which entire range is now banned from the premises, since they produce the same sort of crap nearly very often.

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Hey, it’s just radiation

I have one smoke detector, located within spitting distance of the center of the house. This is sufficient, no matter what The Experts say:

I know the new “thing” is to push people to have smoke detectors in every room of the house. I will never do that. I live in a small house. I have one detector in the main hallway, which is centrally located and is 20 feet or less from every other room in the house. And I have one (which I really should replace, it’s more than 10 years old) in my bedroom. But it seems foolish to me to have one in the bathroom, which is three steps away from the main detector, and my experience with a smoke detector in the kitchen means you get a ton of “false positives” when you grill anything or broil anything. (If my house was more than one story, I’d have at least one on each story, but it isn’t.)

Two words: alpha particles. Admittedly, it’s not a whole lot of radiation, unless you actually swallow it, in which case you have issues beyond smoke detection, and besides, the half-life is a mere 432 years.

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Temporarily America’s Team

We open, because it fits, with a quote from Roger:

I GOT to root for the Spurs, especially against the HEAT.

He is not alone in his sentiments:

See what I mean?

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In which the government saves a pittance

Most organizations would have used up two rounds for this:

The story in semi-full:

Officials were called to the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s gun range training facility in the 4000 block of N. Air Depot Blvd. around 3:45 Monday afternoon to a report of two gunshot wounds.

According to Oklahoma Highway Patrol spokesperson Lt. Betsy Randolph, an OHP cadet and instructor were shot. Randolph said both were accidentally shot and it appears one bullet traveled through one of the officers and into the other.

Randolph said the cadet was shot in the leg and the instructor was shot in the arm.

And maybe “pittance” isn’t the word. Have you priced ammo lately?

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By no means testing

There may be a few young innocents — or old socialists — who believe that people will not game the system of government benefits. And I, cynic that I am, still insist that the majority of folks don’t deliberately abuse the system. But it is also true that any system that can be gamed, will be gamed to some extent, as Australian authorities were reminded recently:

Some public housing tenants have declared they have assets worth hundreds of thousands of dollars while happily enjoying cut-price rent at the expense of more needy recipients.

More than 500 tenants of public housing have admitted rorting the system. Of those, 141 declared combined assets worth more than $11 million while 456 declared extra income worth a combined $10 million a year.

One man had $450,000 cash and 20 others declared land and property ownership.

The state government put tenants on notice last month, giving them until May 31 to dob themselves in for undeclared income and assets.

The final tally:

The amnesty, revealed in The Daily Telegraph in April and which ended last week, has generated more than $2.5 million a year in extra rental income after those who used the amnesty to make declarations of assets and income had their rents lifted accordingly.

Of the worst offenders, more than 1000 tenants declared an average of $26,000 in undeclared income, and nearly 700 declared an average of $60,000 each in assets, family and community services minister Gabrielle Upton said.

“I congratulate the 2300 people who took advantage of the amnesty to declare extra income and assets,” Ms Upton said. “And I thank the 200 people who gave us information about tenants who, they suspected, had not declared income or assets to us.”

The actual qualifying criteria:

Public housing leases are two, five or 10 years. One person earning less than $395 a week is eligible to gain a lease but once that person earns $888 per week, they become ineligible. For a single parent with two kids, eligibility kicks in under $580 a week and ends at $1126 a week and for two parents and two children those figures are $665 and $1364.

The Australian dollar of late has been worth about 93 cents US.

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Spending above your weight

Message boards are full of people wanting to know how they can buy their Dream Car with the resources they claim to have, or expect to have. Invariably they can’t. This guy wanted a Ferrari 458 so bad:

Ok lets say I earn 80k a year Il wait a few years to actually buy the ferrari because I have to think about food clothes and stuff like that, how many years would it take to actully afford the car if I save some money to get it and would it be possible to actually get the car with 80k a year ?

Everyone told him no, it wasn’t happening, though some were more gentle than others.

This is what happens when you do overextend yourself in this realm. [Warning: some NSFW language.]

(Via Autoblog.)

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Casa del Frye sells

Cameron Frye, said Ferris Bueller once upon a time, is “so tight that if you stuck a lump of coal up his ass, in two weeks you’d have a diamond.”

I suspect that this “tightness” was a function of the house he lived in, which, just incidentally, was sold:

After five stop-start years on the market — anyone, Bueller, anyone? — the sleek, glassy, modernist house in Highland Park where the coddled Ferrari owned by the dad of Ferris Bueller’s tightly wound buddy, Cameron, met its cliffside demise has finally found a taker. Per Crain’s Chicago Business, it sold for $1.06 million, much less than its original asking price of $2.35 million.

What happened? Did they find some Ferrari-colored diapers clogging up the water lines?

Then again, it did need some work. Though the house was an architectural stunner by Mies van der Rohe protégé A. James Speyer, a 2013 Chicago Magazine article described it as “problematic,” with “dated kitchen and bath fixtures” and walls that “were thin, some were in disrepair, and some of the rooms they enclosed were awkward.” Also, the property was comprised of two buildings that weren’t physically adjoined (the main house, which had four bedrooms, plus the car pavilion, which also had a kitchen and a bedroom), a hard sell in a city known for frigid winters.

On the upside, at least no one had to barf up a lung.

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Strange search-engine queries (435)

On a Monday, anyway, the best part of waking up is burying your nose in a spreadsheet full of search strings, amirite?

scotapp system initilization:  Otherwise known as “Blue Screen of Produce.”

Chinese magical potion for invisibility:  Seriously, do you want to subject your body to the sort of stress caused by assembly-line apothecaries making $2.85 an hour?

how to fix Mazda tribute drive light:  The general procedure is this: (1) remove bad light; (2) install new one.

mazda 1983 truck cant find reverse:  Did you look in the back? Or was the light bad?

fetish having sex in the backseat of an acura mdx:  Now that’s so, so suburban. Next time, imagine you’re in an ’83 Mazda truck with no reverse gear.

did motown record in mono:  They acquired multitrack recording capabilities early on, but those capabilities were devoted to the best possible sound on a 45, which back then was in mono.

free pak ps2 pogrom:  If it’s actually free, it’s probably so old it runs on an IBM PS/2.

is there a fuse for the tranny on a 86 mercury mystique:  Considering there were no Mercury Mystiques until model year 1995, I think it’s safe to say that there isn’t.

fax say:  The ones I get say things like “You can get $500,000 term insurance NOW!”

automobile magazine jamie kitman fired:  Actually, given all those ancient British contraptions in his yard, “backfired” is probably closer to the mark.

busty jailbait:  Remember: fifteen can get you twenty.

“oh yeah” in a sentence:  Nice to hear from you again, Duff Man.

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The new one-drop rule

Whatever the opposite of “booster” is, that’s what I am towards gasoline adulterated with 15 percent ethanol. I tolerate E10, since it doesn’t seem to have had any negative effects on my car as yet, but E15 I just don’t trust.

I hadn’t seen any E15 around town yet, so I had no idea how to respond to this:

But being me, I am required to get the facts of the matter, and they go like this:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has mandated that all consumers in the United States must purchase at least 4 gallons of gasoline when they go to the gas station, if they are getting fuel from a pump that also offers a new E15 ethanol-gasoline blend.

The Obama administration wants consumers to use more of the E15 fuel — a blend that contains 15 percent ethanol — but the problem is that many gas stations use blender pumps, which offer several types of fuel and, after pumping, there always is a residual amount of fuel in the hose. E15 fuel can potentially damage engines made prior to 2000 and it cannot be used in motorcycles, ATVs, and many other engines, such as lawn mowers and boat engines.

So, to circumvent the potential problems, the EPA is requiring a 4-gallon minimum from blender pumps to ensure that any E15 fuel residue is diluted. (Stations that provide a completely separate, single hose for E15 only are exempt from the rule.)

The pump in the picture apparently vends both E10 and E15 — and possibly even E0.

My car, you’ll remember, was made in 2000. (Actually, it was made in September 1999, but it’s a 2000 model.)

The people most inconvenienced by this, I suspect, will be the ones who come up to you on the street and beg for gas money: they’re going to have to raise $15 or so to pay for four gallons’ worth.

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Quote of the week

David Warren’s conspectus — as distinguished from “prospectus” — for Canada’s Conservative Party:

If elected, we promise to do nothing. There will be no new initiative in any area of government. Should some foreign power threaten us, we shall smoosh them promptly. Should some other unforeseen event positively demand our attention, we shall respond in like spirit to make it go away. Such contingencies aside, we shall avoid enterprise of any sort. Instead, we shall devote our entire attention, not to doing, but to undoing things. And not just little things but big things; and not just a few notoriously rotten apples in the eyes of vested interests known to be unloved, but the whole apple pie, the whole bakery. We shall make the Tea Party in the United States look like a bunch of socialist whiners. We shall make the UKIP in Britain look like Europhiles. Our ambition, as we cling to power, shall be to undo every gratuitous Act of Parliament, or other superannuated government measure, going back to Confederation, if not to Champlain. We shall repeal legislation, erase regulations, close government departments, demolish the buildings, salt the earth on which they stood, fire and retire civil servants by the refugee shipload. We shall sack them on the beaches, we shall sack them on the landing grounds, we shall sack them in the fields and in the streets, we shall start with the CBC. Our motto shall be that of the Machine Gun Corps of the British Army in the Great War. (“Saul hath slain his thousands, but David his tens of thousands.”) We shall do this deliberately and persistently and remorselessly with no more attention to public opinion than will be necessary to lure our opponents into traps.

Inexplicably — or maybe not so inexplicably — the Conservatives chose not to adopt this as a platform.

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On the edge of the abyss

What can you say about a sixteen-year-old kid who may be dying? And what, as a 60-year-old in tolerable health, can I possibly say?

Update, 9 June: It appears that the kid’s lease on life is a lot less tenuous than he said it was.

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