Personalized boilerplate

Six years into the post-Derek Sivers era, CD Baby still retains one of Sivers’ trademarks: the chatty New Release announcement, tailored to your previous purchases. Unfortunately, only so much tailoring can be applied in some cases. This was received yesterday:

We here at CD Baby have got pretty good memories. And we just remembered that at some point in the not-too-distant past you purchased music by Various Artists.

We commend your impeccable musical taste and wanted to let you know that Various Artists has a brand new release out now. It just went live on our website for sale. And we just had to let you know FIRST since you’re one of the few hip and wise people who “knew them way back when.”

At Home cover artThat’s me: the Tastemaker™. If you actually go out to CD Baby, you will eventually find the actual description of the release, which at the moment is download-only — though past performance suggests that a physical disc may eventually be forthcoming. If you’re disinclined to hit the link, well, these are the Various Artists in question:

A relaxing unplugged collection of originals and covers with four great singers (Michelle Creber, Gabriel Brown, Monique Creber & Andrea Libman) performing solos and beautiful harmonies, accompanied by Grammy-nominated pianist, Michael Creber.

Michelle Creber, if you follow these things, is the voice of Apple Bloom on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic; those other Crebers are her parents. Andrea Libman voices both Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie on MLP:FiM, though she sings only for Fluttershy: Pinkie’s out of her singing range. Gabriel Brown is the famed brony musician (and skydiver!) Black Gryph0n. The original “I Will Fight For You” was released as a single, which I bought, which explains why CD Baby suspects I might be interested in the whole album; they’ve just turned loose (on YouTube) a cover of the old Jackson 5 favorite “I’ll Be There.” I will eventually get this, of course, but my want list is at the moment overflowing, while my wallet isn’t.


Quote of the week

Jack Baruth, on the Wednesday following the first Tuesday in November:

I have to confess that I was entirely apathetic about the midterm election, insofar as I believe both parties are pawns of moneyed interests with plans to turn the nation into an economic facsimile of Brazil where drugged-out proles play Centrifugal Bumble-Puppy all day and mobility between the classes is murdered with extreme prejudice. Mr. Obama’s milquetoast pretensions to watered-down pseudo-populism have proven to be completely ephemeral and under his supposedly Democratic administrations the holders of capital in this country have experienced a new Gilded Age while the government openly fiddles the numbers in order to turn the tens of millions of healthy and competent but utterly unemployable men in this country into nonpersons.

Still, I was pleased to wake up this morning and see that American voters had delivered a hammer to the back of Mr. Obama’s head with a staggering repudiation of his administration and his nonexistent accomplishments. It cannot be helped that most of the politicians who benefited from this ballots-not-bullets revolution are scarcely any different from the ones they replaced. What is important is that the country reaffirmed its willingness to eject major percentages of sitting elected officials for low performance.

The metaphor that works for me here is the doofus who’s gone 120,000 miles on the same automatic transmission fluid: eventually, he has to do something about the stuff, which by now looks more like Nesquik than like Fanta Strawberry, but everybody screamed “DON’T FLUSH IT!” So he had someone drop the pan and refill the unit. This improved things a bit, but it eventually dawned on him that the fluid that was in the torque converter at the time he had it serviced is still sloshing around inside there, so he takes it back to the shop, parts with another $150, and repeats the process. Eventually the fluid looks like, and smells like, what it’s supposed to be. Of course, had he flushed it, it would have failed before he got it home from the shop the first time, or so everybody says. I’ve always suspected that this was confusing correlation with causation: the trans was already about to fail, and fail it did.

(Personal note: I once bought a car that pretty much demanded the flush: the pan was vertically oriented, and the filter was internal and couldn’t be reached for cleaning. It did not fail me. Then again, I didn’t leave the same ATF in it for 120,000 miles, either.)

Which is by way of saying that if things don’t look better in a couple of years — well, a third of the Senate will be replaced in 2016.

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The need for feigned speed

If you’ve never believed computer benchmarks in your life, well, there were very good reasons not to:

Intel has agreed to settle a class action lawsuit that claims the company “manipulated” benchmark scores in the early 2000s to make its new Pentium 4 chip seem faster than AMD’s Athlon. Intel will pay affected consumers $15 if they purchased a Pentium 4 system between November 20, 2000 and June 30, 2002. Affected systems include all systems with a Pentium 4 CPU purchased between November 20, 2000 and December 31, 2001 — and all systems with a first-gen Willamette P4 or all P4s clocked below 2GHz, between January and June 2002. The exception is Illinois — if you live in Illinois and bought a P4, too bad for you.

Is this the same AMD that invented the “Performance Rating” that they hoped you believed was the chip speed? My work box used to be a Sempron 2800+, which despite that number ambled along at a mere 2.0 GHz.

I did own a P4 for many years, though it was not purchased during the time frame involved, and it involved a slightly faster CPU — not the Willamette, but the subsequent Northwood. (I am now running an AMD chipset instead. Go figure.)

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Go thou and don’t do likewise

Acts 5:12 (KJV):

And by the hands of the Apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; and they were all with one Accord in Solomon’s porch.

If you’re not an apostle — there were only twelve, after all — or anywhere near Solomon’s porch (Solomon’s Porsche, maybe?), you probably should not try this yourself:

A Catoosa teacher has been suspended with pay after she was accused of piling kids into her [Honda Accord] and putting two kids in the trunk to run an errand.

The school board set a hearing for the teacher to fight a possible firing.

Parents claim Heather Cagle left Wells Middle School with 11 kids and drove to Wal-Mart to get snacks.

The Lord, who driveth a Plymouth, would not approve:

Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my Fury.

(Via Fark.)

Update, 23 December: She’s been sacked.


Unsweet ’16

One can only hope:

[M]y hope is just for a stretch of peace before the presidential campaigning begins. We can already see how viciously contested that race will be. We can already estimate the density of the ads, the contribution drives, and the phone calls. And I don’t know about you, Bubba, but I’m putting out claymores to deal with the next batch of door-to-door pollsters and campaign workers. (Remember to put the side that says “Front Toward Enemy” facing the street.)

The posturing, I’m thinking, is already underway; we’ll be lucky if we get to the 26th of December before the Big Noise begins.

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Until it’s time for you to go

It’s too late now, but you might want to remember Tam’s advice a couple of years from now:

This may sound funny having just voted for a couple tepid incumbents over their likely worse challengers, but I voted “no” on all judicial retention questions. Because any time a ballot straight up asks you “Should we fire this incumbent?” without tacking on the qualifier “…and give his job to this other wrong lizard right here,” it should be a no-brainer. I don’t care how good a job he’s doing; I’m all for dragging Cincinnatus back to his plow kicking and screaming if he doesn’t have the grace to do it himself.

This is, you should know, a question with which I’ve wrestled before.


It’s a Mansfield

In 1953, Jayne Mansfield, only twenty and hardly a household word yet, was doing live theatre in Dallas, and at some point posed for a Fourth of July-themed photoshoot. A couple of shots therefrom:

Jayne Mansfield 1953

Jayne Mansfield 1953

Mansfield once claimed that she had an IQ of 163, though it wasn’t really a factor in her career: “They’re more interested in 40–21–35,” she said. That said, she studied at least three languages besides English, plus piano and violin. Singing, maybe not so much, though she cut this single in 1965:

One of the sidemen on this track (and on its B-side, “Suey”) was a chap named James Marshall Hendrix.


Beyond decimation

Technically, if your forces are decimated, they’ve been reduced by 10 percent, though contemporary usage suggests something much worse — say, 53.3 percent, which is where you are when you have 15 players and only seven are able to play. The Thunder have reached that unhappy point, losing Perry Jones to a knee contusion early in the second half, and their one-point lead at halftime turned into a 14-point deficit halfway through the fourth quarter. Toronto’s Raptors are nothing if not opportunistic — it’s no accident they get to the foul line more than any other team in the league — and they had plenty of opportunities tonight. The Thunder managed to cut that lead to seven a couple of times, and then wound up with six players when Sebastian Telfair drew a flagrant-two at the expense of Tyler Hansbrough’s face. What’s the next step beyond decimated? Toronto 100, Oklahoma City 88, and if the Thunder isn’t exactly on pace for 3-29 by New Year’s Eve, they’re getting closer every game.

And this, mind you, despite shooting well from the floor: 52 percent — the Raptors managed 40 — and while 6-21 from outside isn’t great, the Raps were 8-31, which is worse. You can account for most of the 12-point loss, though, by looking at the foul line, where OKC missed 11 of 25 shots. (Toronto flubbed only four out of 33.) There were even double-doubles: Reggie Jackson had 13 points and 14 assists, while Serge Ibaka had 25 points and 11 rebounds. In fact, everybody scored except Perk; but “everybody” doesn’t mean what it used to mean.

The Raptors spread the scoring around with five in double figures — one less than OKC — led by DeMar DeRozen, who punched in 16. And they gave up ten turnovers, which is a lot for them. Then again, the Thunder coughed it up 21 times, which unfortunately isn’t a lot for them these days.

Three days until the Grizzlies come to town. I’m not taking any bets on how many players will actually be able to suit up for that massacre. (The Griz have won four straight.) At the present rate, Ibaka, who played almost 46 minutes tonight, will probably have to fill at least three positions by himself.


Report from the polling place

In the 2012 election, I wandered in at the usual time — just before 5 pm, two hours before the polls close — and got out in half an hour with ballot #1211 for the precinct. For a mid-termer, I figured half the time and half the turnout would be more than acceptable.

And it was a little busier than that: I cast #783 at 5:07 pm. There was no line, really, but there was only one booth when I signed in, and fortunately, I’d already made up my mind on most of the races. (I admit, I totally forgot Lieutenant Governor.)

A few folks had address or identification issues, but so far as I could tell, no one at the time was being turned away: provisional ballots are not exactly routine, but everyone on site knew the procedure, which is always a good thing.

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A sort of hairy discussion

Tam reports on a dog sighting:

RX: “Look! A… regular poodle? Large poodle?”

Me:Standard poodle.”

RX: “Is there a Non-standard poodle? A Sub-standard poodle? The Sub-standard poodle is made by children in Third World sweatshops and it has those puffs of fur in the wrong places, like on its neck or at odd intervals on its legs…”

Me: “…and it goes ‘fooW!’

Not that anyone cares, but the American Kennel Club recognizes three sizes of poodle, the largest of which is the Standard, over 15 inches tall at the withers. The smallest is the Toy, under 10 inches. In between is the Miniature. Similar standards exist in other countries.

Their formal appearance notwithstanding, the poodle is useful in field work. Wikipedia notes:

[I]n the past 20 years in North America … Standard Poodles have begun to be put back to their original purpose as duck and game bird hunters. The more commonly acceptable clips seen in the show ring and the local groomer’s have proven extremely impractical in action. In the US and Canada, most hunters are male, lower to upper middle class, and strongly dislike being seen with a dog that has had an effete reputation. Dyeing a white Standard Poodle’s hair flamboyant colours and putting bows in their hair has been a habit since the days well-to-do French ladies got their hands on them and circus acts made huge profits on them, but is unnecessary in the field for hiding in blinds.

It may also be counterproductive to try to make them look like ponies.


Sports shortage alleviated

RadioInsight reports on recent sales:

Fred & Evelyn Morton sell 96.5 K243BJ Oklahoma City to Tyler Media for $100. The translator is currently operated by Tyler as CHR “Now 96.5” rebroadcasting 107.7 KRXO-HD2, however the application states Sports “The Franchise 2” 1560 KEBC Del City will be the originating station.

Because, you know, there just aren’t enough spots on the dial where you can get sports in this town.

The Now 96.5 programming seems to have landed on K225BN, at 92.9, where it will at least have 200 watts to play with instead of 120. It won’t be interfering with KBEZ Tulsa, also on 92.9, though it’s going to be a mess where fringe-reception areas meet.

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It’s a floor wax and a credit card

Top Ten reasons to choose the NBC Saturday Night Live MasterCard:

  1. It’s usable at thousands of locations, and you’re not
  2. Endorsed by Morgan Fairchild, your wife, whom you’ve slept with
  3. Terms and Conditions require you to party on, Garth
  4. It’s cheap enough, it’s pretty enough, and doggone, people like it
  5. Provides standard services at enclosed retail compounds
  6. Samurai payments!
  7. Who’s in your wallet? Could it be … SATAN?
  8. Honored by Da Bears
  9. Double rewards for ignorant sluts
  10. If you ever want to cancel, Sinead O’Connor will come to your house and rip it in half

(Prompted by Costa Tsiokos.)

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No endorsements

Not this year, anyway; this year’s ballot is unrelievedly meh. (At least in the Second Congressional District, you have the option of voting for a dead guy.) The only local candidate I view with anything resembling enthusiasm is Forrest “Butch” Freeman, who’s done a heck of a job as the country treasurer. At least county-level offices aren’t an embarrassment these days; the three commissioners seem to be busting a nut to get things done without breaking us. (I will definitely be voting for incumbent Willa Johnson for District 1, who is not messing up; there have been years when this was too much to expect from a commissioner.)

Otherwise, I am motivated these days mostly by the possibility of disposing of incumbents. Most incumbents in this state being Republican, this means I’ll have to pull the virtual lever for some Democrats. Fortunately, in this state Democrats tend to be Democrats as I remember them from my younger days, instead of the neo-Stalinists that get all the national press coverage.

If you’re still contemplating the race for governor, Joe Dorman answered some questions from The Lost Ogle, and Mary Fallin didn’t. Hard to tell which of the two is less persuasive.

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Blasted in Brooklyn

After that semi-miraculous outing at home with a mere eight players, the thought of having nine players must have seemed a delightful prospect. It was not. While Reggie Jackson’s presence was welcome, and while he did score a game-high 23 points, the Nets were still able to blow the Thunder out of the Barclay Center, shooting over 50 percent all night, just slightly under 50 from beyond the arc, and turning the ball over a mere eight times. (Jackson had seven turnovers all by himself.) It was 32-19 at the end of the first quarter, and things only got worse after that; the final shot, a trey by Sebastian Telfair, brought the Thunder to within, um, thirty-one. Final: Brooklyn 116, Oklahoma City 85.

Brooklyn presented the dreaded Balanced Offense, with six players in double figures, led by Brook Lopez and Alan Anderson with 18 each. Deron Williams, the only Net to hang around for more than 30 minutes, scored 17 in 36:46 and racked up a +29 for the night. (Meanwhile, Reggie Jackson played 41:45 and ended up -28.) The Nets took only 19 foul shots all night, but they made 17 of them.

Meanwhile, OKC was putting up 21 from the stripe and hitting only 13, and shooting a below-par 39 percent from the field. Telfair, who legendarily can’t shoot, shot well: 5-10, 3-7 from outside, 16 points. But the big guys put up small lines, Steven Adams with a mere 9, Nick Collison 3, Lance Thomas 2, and Kendrick Perkins saw nothing go in at all. The Thunder did have the edge (15-9) in offensive rebounds, though that edge was made possible largely by not hitting the first shot in the possession.

And, oh yes, it’s back to eight players again: Andre Roberson came up sprained after eleven minutes and a single point, and did not return. I suspect he won’t be back for tomorrow night in Toronto, anent which Darnell Mayberry quipped: “DeMar DeRozan and Terrence Ross probably can’t wait until tomorrow night.” Oh, good lord, no: were there a bit involved, the Raptors would be champing at it.

Update, 9:09: Roberson is out tomorrow, says Scott Brooks.


After which you vanish into thin air

The purveyors of Pricey Beauty Stuff have mapped it all out:

This summer I was in a department store looking for moisturizer. I was in London, in search of Boots No. 7, which came highly recommended. Standing in front over an overwhelming product assortment I asked the well made up sales clerk for help. She explained the brand came in 3 versions (I paraphrase):

1. Dewey new skin ages up to 25

2. Slightly older skin that needs some TLC from 25-35

3. Mature skin which encompasses everyone over 35

Subtle differences, one surmises, between 25 and 35. After that, though?

I fell into the last category. As do many, if not most women. I wondered how the vast majority of women, from 35 to as long as someone is willing and able to purchase moisturizer, could possibly be clumped together.

Some time after 35, I’m guessing, is when you realize you can get the same results, or lack thereof, from a product that sells for $5 as you can from a product that sells for $25. Or for $125.

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Hairs split upon request

“Tanj on your silly game,” said Louis Wu. He wasn’t talking about California and Federal regulations, but he could have been:

I watched them brag for half an hour about spending tons of extra money on … LEED certified buildings. As written here any number of times, most LEED savings come through BS gaming of the rules, like putting in dedicated electric vehicle parking sites (that do not even need a charger to get credit). In a brief moment of honesty, the architect presenting admitted that most of the LEED score for one building came from using used rather than new furniture in the building.

It’s okay. Getting the points, and the credits accrued therefrom, is far more important than the ostensible goals of the regulators; it was always thus, and always thus it shall remain.