Now they’ve gone too far

Or … have they?

Pumpkin spiced salmon

Says Miss Cellania:

This picture of pumpkin spice salmon was posted as an example of the trend taken too far. Then in the discussion at reddit, salmon lovers said this sounds pretty good, if you don’t put any sugar in the spices. Then there are those who say a sugar rub on salmon is actually delicious. I’m not much of a fish eater, especially at $12.99 a pound, so what do I know?

On this matter, I’m with Sergeant Schultz: I know nothing.

Comments (6)




This is not a manifesto

Robert Stacy McCain has already indicated that he intends to advise his six kids that they should never, ever write a manifesto.

And nobody’s manifesto ever needs to be longer than this:

My parents didn’t raise me to believe I was helpless, and certainly I would never want my children to believe their lives are a random accident. Our lives have meaning and purpose. The choices we make — our actions as individuals — have consequences for our own lives and for the lives of others. Having lived quite carelessly in my youth, I consider my rather miraculous survival must have served a purpose, if only to equip me to warn young people against careless living.

And this, essentially, is the bottom line:

Winners find a way to win, whatever the challenges may be.

Enduring hardship, overcoming obstacles, the survivor survives, and every day of survival is a victory unto itself. Today I have survived 56 years, and have already lived to see two grandsons born. My children are miracles, not accidents, and today when my daughter Reagan was leaving for school I told her, “Be excellent all day long.”

Don’t just be good. Be excellent. Excellence is expected.

Today is a very happy birthday. Hit the freaking tip jar.

With 62 coming up (next month!) and six grandchildren already out and about, I nod in agreement.

Comments




Swiftly across the land

So far as I can see, Taylor Swift doesn’t fuss too much about unauthorized pictures from her 1989 tour, so long as they’re not hi-res or anything: the fansite TSwiftDaily has lots of them, all just about wide enough to fit into their Tumblr theme and reasonably compatible with what I’m doing over here on WordPress. With that in mind, here’s what your ticket price has allowed you to see in Toronto and St. Louis over the past few days:

Taylor Swift in Toronto 2015

Taylor Swift in Toronto 2015

Taylor Swift in St Louis 2015

There is talk that 1989, the best-selling album of 2014, might also be the best-selling album of 2015 as well. It is not, however, close to catching up with Pink Floyd’s chart perennial The Dark Side of the Moon. Yet.

Comments (5)




Don’t just do something, sit there

Persuading the general public to accept self-driving cars will require an awful lot of demonstration along these lines:

Then again: Volvo, right? They’re not going to let you plunge into the abyss.

Now if someone can give me the tester’s phone number, that would be really great.

(Via The Truth About Cars.)

Comments




Drop ’em at the door

I can go along with most of this:

I love being naked. If I’m home and no one is over, chances are I’m naked or wearing one of my fabulous robes (I have five!). I sleep naked every night and practice yoga naked every morning. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not practicing Rockette high kicks naked in the living room or sitting my bare butt on all the surfaces in the house or anything. I really just feel 100 percent more free when I am naked or in a sassy robe.

When I get home I like to drop my clothes immediately. Sometimes I wonder if my neighbors know that five seconds after I close my door I transform into a naked wood nymph. (Don’t Google that in a coffee shop, trust me on this one.) When I get home and undress it feels like I am shedding the entire day. I get to let go of the highs and the lows and just breathe in the moment. I’m able to cast off all the pressure to be someone I’m not to please others. I’m just left with my thoughts, my feelings, my body and my breath.

I’d bet she has towels scattered about the house to park said bare butt upon. It’s a lot easier to wash a load of towels than to spot-clean the upholstery on a regular basis.

I have, alas, only two robes, one of which is destined for ragdom and neither of which are exactly fabulous. I held onto the former long past its expiration date, simply because once upon a time my ex said something moderately risqué about it, the sort of thing I’d never heard her say before, and haven’t since. The other is what I will have on when I greet you at the door, unless, um, other arrangements have been made.

I sent “naked wood nymph” through Bing, on which I have the security set at “Westboro Baptist,” and got some highly amusing pixellated pictures, some of which link to things I’d just as soon not link to. Then again, I never was particularly into wood nymphs no matter what their, um, bark.

Tangential: While trying to find an alternative to “bark” in the preceding sentence, I struck this bit of gold on Wikipedia: “Although the bark functions as a protective barrier, it is itself attacked by boring insects such as beetles.” I imagined a semi-anthropomorphized beetle, standing on its hind legs, wagging one of the front ones at me: “I am not boring!” Perhaps I don’t drink enough.

Comments (5)




Flow gauge?

One of the more exasperating aspects of the Internet of Things is that nobody is seriously asking “Why this Thing?” And maybe you can justify this, but I can’t, and neither can Gadgette:

Don’t get us wrong, we’ve nothing against menstrual cups — lots of women find them useful and planet-friendly — but why on earth would you want to link that to the internet?

Are you hoping for stats like “so far this year, you’ve bled enough to recreate the Huey Lewis scene in American Psycho“? Or perhaps you’d like to gamify your menses: “Kate shed 10ml more than you this month! Up your game, girlfriend.”

We’re kidding, of course, but that’s actually not far off what the Looncup is offering.

Perhaps I’m not the one to pass judgment on this contraption. So I’ll continue to quote the woman who wrote that piece:

Does this mean we’re going to get a notification in the middle of a meeting saying “Your cup runneth over”? Is the colour represented on a Pantone chart of vermilion hues? “Last month you were Pepperoni but this month you’re a bit more Lobster”? What happens if the app gets hacked and someone puts our periods on PasteBin?!?

I’m guessing this is intended as a marker, so something like the fridge that emails you to tell you you’re out of eggs will seem normal by comparison. (Now beer, that I can understand.)

Comments (5)




When we was glib

While poking around in the archives, I found this paragraph from December ’04 that technically doesn’t require an update, but perhaps deserves to be spread further:

The Mandatory Serenity Amendment — “The right of the peoples of the United States to be free from any ideas or materials or products, which they may find offensive, shall not be infringed” — has so far been ratified by 0 states.

We owe it to ourselves to keep it that way.

Comments (1)




Quote of the week

Severian, over at Freeberg’s place, on the contradiction inherent in the word “progressive”:

There seems to be a certain type of human — and how this comes about in an evolutionary framework escapes me — who longs for stasis above all things.

Sometimes it’s easier to see than others. Medieval philosophers, for instance, had a beef with motion. “Motion” entails “moving towards” or “moving away,” which means that a moving thing lacks some perfection — if it were perfect, it wouldn’t need what it was moving towards, or need to avoid that from which it was moving away. The ideal was an utterly static universe.

Our modern liberals, as you say, are always redefining things. They seem to be defined by frantic motion; they even call themselves “Progressives.” But: what are they progressing towards? Their ideal world, too, is completely static. They trend autistic, so they can’t read social cues very well — thus, the idea that someone can be one way today, and through his own effort be something different tomorrow, stresses them out. They’re not very bright, so they need everything precisely defined. Because of this, they can’t handle nuance — witness their zeal for coming up with ever more elaborate micro-identities.

Follow that “logic” out, and you see that their ideal world is a giant cubicle farm — everyone in his box, doing (being) one thing and one thing only, forever, world without end amen. Government is simply the most efficient way to achieve this objective. If you load the ambitious up with enough red tape, they’ll stop innovating. Laws can silence the cantankerous, and as soon as we get those census forms juuuuuuust right, we’ll have a check box for every conceivable race/gender/orientation.

And then we can freeze the whole thing in carbonite and hang it on the wall, forever. And then we shall have utopia.

I need hardly point out that this explains Climate Change Fever better than anything else; what they ultimately desire is an Official Thermostat and a designated setting thereupon, after which no changes are allowed or even allowed to be contemplated.

Comments (1)




Existence on the margins

A gas station in northern Virginia explains how that $2.85 for a gallon of unleaded breaks down:

My one surviving brother, who runs a convenience store in the Texas Hill Country, has confirmed the profit margin, such as it is, on several occasions.

I’d like to see more of these around the country. The numbers will change slightly — except for the Federal excise tax, which is a constant 18.4 cents per gallon for now — but the overall breakdown would be about the same.

(Via Lisa De Pasquale.)

Comments (2)




A cupful of misery

First, an informal statistic:

34B is one of the most popular bra sizes in the country. “That size is always the first to sell out,” the Aerie saleswoman said as she checked for the size among the dozen or so lightly lined options in the store — the only ones left were in beige and black. “I swear, half the people who come in here say they are a 34B,” said a saleswoman at Victoria’s Secret, “and they buy that size whether it fits or not.”

A subsequent test with nine women reporting themselves to be 34Bs suggests that “not” is the most common result:

Some of the women had been professionally sized previously. Some had not. Some were wearing bras that were only a few months old, while others had been wearing the same bra for years, despite the fact that most bras lose their elasticity after six months to a year of regular wear. No one fit every bra. Some people didn’t really fit any of the bras. Bra sizing is so weird.

And that’s just one size. Imagine how complicated this gets when you get beyond 34B.

Comments (4)




Strange search-engine queries (505)

Cold and rainy on the West Coast; rainy and cold and really rainy on the East Coast. In between, maybe not so bad. We might even be able to go raiding the logs for funny stuff.

what character in mystery stories became invisable by touching her wrist:   That was probably Scarlet O’Neil, though I have to admit I never actually saw her do it.

british diplomats tropical duty pay:  One extra cup of tea, tepid.

you probably believe that the earth is spherical:  What’s more, I probably think this song is about me.

a classmate leaves a message on your voice mail betting that you cannot throw a stone high enough so it lands on the roof of a 20 m high building. as you stare out of your window pondering whether to accept the challenge:  A stone comes from out of nowhere and knocks you to the floor.

natasha wagner butt:  Not one of the Butt Sisters.

theocracy flag:  A white field with an image of the deity and the motto “DON’T SCREW WITH ME.”

grackle control:  It’s over there on the right, right below the tuning knob.

philadelphia experiment sailors fused to ship:  Only the first time; subsequent experiments were met with refusal.

judge jeanine pirro cleavage:  Why didn’t you say so? All this time she’s been sending shoefies.

has morgan fairchild ever been nude:  Not once. She was born wrapped in swaddling clothes, and bathes by driving through the car wash with the top down.

how to make viagra at home for men:  This is a complicated drug; it’s not like throwing eleven herbs and spices into the mix and pronouncing it KFC.

dishardening:  The inevitable result of trying to make Viagra at home.

phil spector’s wife adam carolla:  Far as I know, Phil Spector was never married to Adam Carolla.

Comments (1)




Chipping away at your PIN

As of October first, there’s a liability shift:

Under the newly implemented regulations, if a business does not switch its credit card processing machines over to the new EMV cards or if a credit card issuer does not provide new EMV chip cards to its customers, in the event of credit card fraud, the responsibility for loss will be on either the credit card issuer or the retailer, whichever has not complied with the new law.

Scammers, of course, have seen an opportunity:

Ingenious scam artists, the only criminals we refer to as artists, are taking advantage of the situation by contacting people by email posing as their credit card company informing them that in order to issue a new EMV chip card, they need them to either update their account by confirming some personal information or click on a link to continue the process. This is a case of you are in trouble with either option.

Which is, of course, a new way to fry the Same Old Phish.

Comments




Zero Fuchs given

This is, I think, one of the few times when Comic Sans would have been a palpable improvement:

Then again, given Indiana’s record at the time, perhaps this was deliberate after all.

Comments




We got your polystyrene right here

Every chunk of Styrofoam that’s ever been made is still around, cluttering up landfills or floating on top of the ocean, and will always be there.

Or so says conventional wisdom, which, as usual, turns out to be wrong:

Now, for the first time, researchers have found detailed evidence that bacteria in an animal’s gut can safely biodegrade plastic and potentially help reduce the environmental impact of plastic in landfill and elsewhere. The animal in question? The humble mealworm — which turns out to be not so humble after all.

Researchers led by Stanford University in US and Beihang University in China found that the mealworm — the larval form of the darkling beetle (Tenebrio molitor) — can safely subsist on a diet of Styrofoam and other kinds of polystyrene, with bacteria in the worm’s gut biodegrading the plastic as part of its digestive process. The findings are significant because it was previously thought that these substances were non-biodegradable — meaning they ended up in landfill (or worse, our oceans, where they’d accumulate for decades).

Not that they’re making a dent in the current plastics inventory yet, but this seems more than just promising:

In the study, 100 mealworms ate between 34 and 39 milligrams of Styrofoam each day, converting about half into carbon dioxide and the other excreting the bulk of the rest as biodegraded droppings. They remained healthy on the plastic diet, and their droppings appeared to be safe for use as soil for crops.

If you gasped at that phrase “carbon dioxide,” your very gasp emitted some of it, so shuddup.

Publication data: here and here in Environmental Science & Technology.

(Via Interested-Participant.)

Comments (1)




Maximum dapper

Number One grandson, now a sturdy six foot two, all turned out for Homecoming 2015 in James Bond mode:

Nick Havlik and date

The young lady at his side seems more stirred than shaken.

(Darling Daughter texted this to me last night.)

Comments




Gimme back my gears

Nissan is busily bolting continuously-variable transmissions into almost everything it sells, though it should be noted that the only Infiniti that gets a CVT, the QX60, is the only one that’s also sold for a few dollars less as a Nissan (the Pathfinder). That said, the upcoming Q30/QX30 will presumably be fitted with the Mercedes-Benz 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, because people will avoid it in droves if it has the rubber-band box — and because its engine, albeit built by Nissan in the States, is a Mercedes design. There has been no suggestion that any other Infiniti will be saddled with a CVT, which is a good thing, given Dale Franks’ opinion of the CVT inflicted on every Nissan Altima:

Some people, of course, will find the Continuously Variable Transmission perfectly acceptable, but for me, it’s a hump I can’t get over. Which, I must say, biases me against Nissan in general, because the CVT powertrain is their bread and butter, and it appears in nearly all of the cars in their lineup. Nissan, as I’ve mentioned before, is fully invested in the CVT, and they’ve done everything they can to make as good a CVT as possible. Yet, the end result is like a gourmet pastry, baked by Paul Bocuse, and made from the finest flour, the richest chocolate, the purest cane sugar, the freshest heavy cream, and bat guano.

But is it the highest-quality bat guano? Not at the Altima’s price point, I suspect.

Comments (6)