Physician, **** thyself

Prescriptions, so far anyway, are not actually mandatory, and Roberta X isn’t interested in the most recent one pushed in her direction:

… one of those stupid damn anti-depressants they hand out to fibromyalgia sufferers* and on the package insert, in at least 24-point type, it says, MAY MAKE YOU SUICIDAL. MAY WORSEN DEPRESSION. I’m not taking that stuff. I have, in the past, long ago, been almost that depressed and I’m not going back there. I’m not even taking a chance of going back there. Ibuprofen, acetaminophen and aspirin are sold at at every drug store, five-and-dime, grocery store, convenience store and corner gas station; it’s even free from the first-aid cabinet at work and if those drugs don’t make the pain go all the way away, they do well enough just about all of the time. And they don’t make you wake up wishing the planet could be improved by your absence.

I did my time on antidepressants. I still have one tablet on hand, probably expired, but it’s not here because I might need it; it’s here to remind me that I don’t.

Oh, that asterisk leads to a footnote in the original, and since her footnotes are always worth reading:

* I’m not saying that’s not a real thing — who am I to talk, after all, with my chronic pain with apparently no findable cause? — but people diagnosed with it are most certainly one of the favorite targets of those gawshawful drug-pushing ads on the TV, with twenty seconds of happy scenes and forty seconds of Dire Warnings read in a rapid monotone over still images of pastoral settings. Y’know, if the stuff was so wonderfully wonderful, M.D.s would be pushing it high, wide and mighty, ‘cos they are the kinds of people who are nagged by unsolved problems. Since they’re not — Ahem. The corollary should be obvious.

The most egregious failing of said drug-pushing ads, if you ask me, is this apparently invariable line: “Ask your doctor if [brand name of drug] is right for you.” If it then fails you, it’s your fault, because you asked for it. By name. Generics don’t advertise, which is one reason I got seven (!) prescriptions filled Friday afternoon for under $25. Meanwhile, the one brand-name drug I take is $2.50 per tab, $75 a month; the little puzzle box of Belsomra (suvorexant) is $99.99 for ten of ’em. You can buy a hell of a lot of Benadryl for a hundred bucks.

Some day, given the general trend of things, prescriptions likely will be mandatory. Remember THX 1138? The big crime was drug evasion, failing to take whatever meds were issued to you. I have to assume that Big Pharma is okay with this.

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So many years later

We know that Celestia and Luna are over a thousand years old: Luna spent a thousand years in exile, and she’s the younger sibling. What canon doesn’t say is how long they can live; fanfic writers generally work from the premise that there is no upper limit, but tend to shy away from the word “immortal.” Then again, some try to subvert the trope:

“Well, I was wondering. Just how immortal, if that’s the word, are you and your sister anyway?”

Celestia shook her mane, and he imagined he saw a map of the sky just beyond her head. “Having reached physical maturity, Luna and I do not age in the usual sense. But we know that there are forces in the Universe capable of taking us down.”

He nodded, remembering an incident at a previous Canterlot wedding.

“Which is why we shy away from the word ‘immortal’; it implies that we can survive anything, an implication that has some basis in reality, but one I would not like to put to the test.”

At the end of the third season, Twilight Sparkle ascended to alicornhood: she may not have the sheer size of the sisters, but she is presumed to have the same physical attributes, to include, though canon doesn’t say so, that indefinite lease on life.

Which creates a problem: what happens when she inevitably outlives all her friends?

I tucked a link to this in an earlier post, but inasmuch as this scenario is still haunting me, I’m going full Captain Obvious here:

I wept for rather a long time.

Eventually I did regain my composure. I sought out, and purchased, the two musical selections, both composed by Thomas J. Bergersen, before I realized that owning copies of these tracks meant I get to remind myself of this story, to relive my sorrow, that much more often.

In some ways, this is the most “me” thing I’ve ever done.

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There’s a browser called eFast, and basically, you don’t want any part of it:

… a hijacker that installs a new browser rather than hijacking an existing one. It even attempts to replace Chrome if that is already installed. To make sure that you will use your new browser, eFast makes itself the default browser and takes over some file-associations. File-associations are settings that determine which program will run when files with a certain extension are opened.

And they’re betting you won’t notice the difference:

The installer for eFast also deletes all the shortcuts to Google Chrome on your taskbar and desktop, most likely hoping to confuse the user with their very similar icons. And not just the icons look alike. The newly installed browser feels and looks very much like Chrome, no doubt because they used the Chromium open source Projects to build this browser. It isn’t until you look in the settings that you spot the “about eFast” entry in the menu (or if you type “chrome://chrome” in the address bar).

Why would they go to this much trouble to make a Chrome clone?

Given the similarity to Chrome it is very hard to tell why a user would choose this copy-cat over the real Chrome. Very likely not for the advertisements this hijacker shows them, especially seeing that they get nothing really worthwhile in return.


(Via @SwiftOnSecurity.)


Drubbed by cubs

This may or may not say something:

This shouldn’t have mattered, especially since Dave Joerger decided to rest most of his marquee names, but the second- and third-string Thunder offenses were utterly horrible against just about any member of the Griz, trailing 34-14 five minutes into the second quarter and never getting back to within single digits. Of course, it’s preseason and doesn’t mean anything, right? Still, the FedEx Forum in Memphis has long been a scary place for visiting teams, and this 94-78 thrashing of the Thunder, even the JV, will only reinforce that fear.


Stragglers in the night

A thing of beauty, created purely by algorithm:

If only it scanned.

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Let’s have leftovers

This little blurb came with the New and Improved — well, higher, anyway — city utility bill:

The Oklahoma City Council voted in September to devote an extra $8 million for street improvements, addressing OKC residents’ longtime top priority. The $8 million will be distributed equally among OKC’s eight wards. The money comes from a surplus in the General Fund’s fund balance, which has a target range of 8 to 15 percent for unbudgeted reserves.

This leaves said reserves at 13.5 percent, so it’s not like we’re digging deep. Or are we?

The extra $8 million will complement $47.5 million for street, traffic and drainage projects in this year’s budget and $497 million in ongoing streets projects from the 2007 General Obligation Bond.

Oh, and “top priority”? In the last Citizen Survey [pdf], 72 percent of us expressed dissatisfaction with road conditions; no other city services drew even half as many complaints. And hey, at least we’re not in the hole, budgetwise.


Skin in the game

Rebecca Black for Flaunt MagazineAn uncle of mine was fond of quoting the old adage — wait, aren’t all adages old by definition? — “If you got it, flaunt it,” which may be more than enough to explain the existence of Flaunt magazine, which, judging by this Instagrammed portrait, did a modest photoshoot with Rebecca Black. At least, I thought it was modest. One of the commenters on her Instagram account — click the picture and you can see the whole thread, if you’re so inclined — wasn’t having any of that:

“Just don’t get why musicians think it’s always a good idea to have bits showing off, women moan that they’re always sexualised and yet they walk around looking like that? Would you walk to the shops wearing only your bra? I doubt it. Would you go to a formal dinner in only your bra? I doubt it.”

“And yet women moan about being made into sex icons etc etc yet they still walk around with their tits hanging out moaning they only attract scumbag guys.”

Up to that point, I hadn’t noticed the way this outfit was cut. And RB’s done lots of fashion stuff of late — see, for instance, this quickie video for Twist magazine, one of several 16 replacements — and this is pretty much of a piece with her recent appearances at various openings: trendy without being particularly spendy. As for “hanging out,” well, she’s eighteen and nowhere near an A-cup, and I don’t think she needs to be, um, bound down.

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A bad sign up there

William Bell came up with the classic lyric:

Born under a bad sign, been down since I began to crawl
If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have no luck at all

The late Albert King cut it first, for Stax; it’s since become a blues standard. (The tune, by Booker T. Jones, is notable for, among other things, not being the standard twelve-bar blues.) Since we brought it up, here’s King with someone else very much missed, Stevie Ray Vaughan:

What triggered this thought? Yet another Jack Baruth musing:

I’m just unlucky, in tolerable but frustrating ways. In the past thirty years I’ve found a way to break about half the bones in my body and crash motorcycles and bend the unibody on a race car and blow a $14,600 Mugen-R engine and lose my chance at getting my doctorate and have someone knock my brand-new CB1100 over in the parking lot and drop things and lose amazingly valuable things and so on and so forth to the point where, whenever I find myself enjoying something too much, I feel compelled to ask of myself, “When will the bad thing happen?”

Been there, thought that. Constantly. The other day, I noted that for some inscrutable reason, the premium on my homeowner’s insurance went down a few percentage points; about half an hour after I posted that, I was poking around the County Assessor’s place trying to see how much the property tax would be going up, since usually the new tax rates come out in October. “November,” they’re saying. Somehow that sounds ominous.

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Meanwhile on 287

“Yep. That’s exactly how it is.” And by “that,” I mean this:

Miss D. and I arrived in Wichita Falls this afternoon after a pleasant drive from Amarillo. We were warned about the speed-trapping proclivities of various towns along the route, some of which appear to balance their budgets by means of tickets issued to those passing through. For that reason we kept our cruise control locked on to the speed limit, and took care to observe the progressively lower limits every time we entered a town.

This seemed to cause some … concern … to other motorists. You see, our rented car is a model used by a large number of police forces, and it’s painted black, and we were driving exactly at the speed limit. Almost every vehicle that came steaming up behind us (and there were many) slowed down and matched our speed for a while, drifting closer very carefully. It was clear the drivers thought we were an unmarked cop car. As soon as they got close enough to identify our Tennessee license plate, one could almost hear the exasperated exclamation from inside the cab as they put the pedal to the metal once more and rolled past us. It was rather amusing (at least from our perspective).

If rental agencies were in the habit of ordering dog-dish hubcaps — well, you can see how this would affect other occupants of the road.

Up here on the other side of the Red River, the unmarked cop cars tend to look like something other than cop cars, but every town has at least one decommissioned Crown Vic Police Interceptor somewhere. (We’ve had a rash of cases of impersonating the police of late, too.)

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Presumably no one will use jelly

And it won’t be happening in this town, you may be reasonably certain:

Miley Cyrus and the Flaming Lips are hitting the road next month and — according to an Instagram post by Lips frontman Wayne Coyne — they’re planning one show with the performers and audience appearing completely in the nude.

Doffing the duds is old news for both Cyrus and Coyne, but audience participation has been nonexistent so far.

And this appears to be Miley’s idea:

According to his post on Thursday, Cyrus is planning a show where she, the Flaming Lips and the audience are all completely naked and where “white stuff that looks like milk” will be “spewed” everywhere. The concept is for a video, he continued, for the song “Milky Milky Milk.”

Can I get an “Ew”?

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A lede beyond the others

If you saw a setup like this in a short story, you might reasonably suspect someone was readying an entry for the Bulwer-Lytton contest:

A former meerkat expert at London Zoo has been ordered to pay compensation to a monkey handler she attacked with a wine glass in a love spat over a llama-keeper.

But no, it’s real, or at least as real as we get from the AP these days:

A judge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court said Wednesday that Caroline Westlake must pay 800 pounds ($1,235) to Kate Sanders for assaulting her in a dispute over colleague Adam Davies, who had dated both women.

Of course, what I want to know is what it’s like to have women fighting over you.

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We have sunk to this

Somebody evidently thought that was clever. The horrible aspect of it, though, is that said somebody probably still has a job.

(Via @inthefade.)

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An Equestria Girl at heart

Lindsey Stirling IS Sunset Shimmer:

Comparison of Lindsey Stirling and Sunset Shimmer

Didn’t see a rainboom in the video, but what the heck.


One of your own

“How much does it cost to have a site like yours?” asked nobody, nowhere.

What they really want is to know about a really spiffy-looking site, and if they’re interested in running WordPress, this is the most pertinent information I’ve seen:

If you do it yourself (which you totally can if you know how to use the internet, can point and click, can follow instructions and have a little cash and a little patience), you are eventually going to become a WordPress Expert. Maybe not a ninja-level-can-work-on-any-site expert, but you’ll learn enough to know exactly how to maintain everything about your own site. To do it RIGHT and set yourself up for success and future growth, it’s going to cost you a few hundred dollars.

If you are going to hire someone, you either marry a unicorn OR you hire WordPress Expert AND a designer. Your WordPress expert sets up your site for you (and they should ask TONS of questions about your business so they build everything you don’t even know you need), and hire a graphic designer to create your brand for you, and your WordPress Expert will implement the brand on the site for you.

The unicorn of my dreams, of course, wouldn’t have me on a bet.

That said, I did DIY this place, and it didn’t cost a whole lot of actual cash, but headaches and sweat surely count for something on the ledger.

Still, an Expert with her shingle out might come in at any conceivable price point. There’s a local production house with a WP Expert and a graphic designer in-house, and they’re really, really good, but they ain’t exactly cheap, if you know what I mean, and they have enough experience to be able to charge you for it.


Random footwear

One of the side effects of writing about shoes is that people send me links to shoes, sometimes gorgeous, sometimes the very antithesis of gorgeous. I’ve received these this week, and I’m not quite sure what I think about them, so I’m turning them over to you guys:

Portuguese shoes supposedly characteristic of the nation's exports

Cover of Biker Babes

Not ugly, really; still, they don’t grab me. You?

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Decreasingly dear

Last year’s homeowner’s-insurance lament:

Obviously this downward trend could not be allowed to continue, so this year it’s going to nearly $3000. This, mind you, on a house insured for a mere $130,000. I can only conclude that they expect a visit from Godzilla, or that they’re wanting to get their hands on some of those sweet, sweet government bucks the way the health-insurance guys have.

Well, the escalator clause each year has two effects: it increases the total amount of coverage, and it jacks up the deductible for wind and hail, which is a percentage of the total amount of coverage. I’m thinking these two numbers don’t combine neatly, which may or may not explain the $170 decrease in the premium.