Non-current currency

Roberta X had a bill to pay, and apparently they only take Roman sestertii or something:

The savages! They have no way to pay it online! Dear merciful heavens, do I have to write and mail a check, like some kind of animal? I’ll call them, or — if they haven’t quite made it out of the 19th Century — telegraph. Gads.

Mind you, in the late 19th Century, the mail arrived — and went out — twice a day. Western Union wired cash anywhere, not just for scams; in fact, their system was foolproof for the time. I could probably have hired a boy on a bicycle to deliver a check in a sealed envelope and bring back a receipt.

Then again, a proper Web-based payment system may be beyond these folks:

I just called their office, at 8:06 am, only to have a much dumber robot tell me to call back later, between the hours of eight am and seven pm.

The most charitable assumption is that the person in charge of the answering machine was late. It gets worse quickly after that.

Comments (1)




The ultimate zombiemobile

Somehow, Saab remains sort of undead:

The resurrected Swedish automaker producing electric 9-3s with a Saab badge signed an agreement with Dongfeng Motor Corporation to help stay afloat, GoAuto in Australia is reporting.

National Electric Vehicle Sweden, the Chinese company that purchased the remains of Saab after its parent company Spyker went bankrupt, announced that it would distribute electric cars in China with automotive giant Dongfeng and add a production facility there, the report details.

In return, NEVS will supply Dongfeng with engineering standards to help it meet safety standards in Europe and North America.

“Dongfeng,” I am told, means “east wind” in Chinese. And in my part of the world, east winds usually mean storms are on their way — not that the Chinese need to worry about that.

Comments (2)




Dear Addyi

If you were waiting on, for lack of a better term, “Viagra for women,” well, here it comes, kinda sorta:

Sprout Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Sprout) announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted approval of Addyi™ (flibanserin 100 mg) (pronounced “add-ee”), a once-daily, non-hormonal pill for the treatment of acquired, generalized hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) in premenopausal women. Addyi is the first and only FDA-approved treatment for this condition, the most common form of female sexual dysfunction, affecting up to 1 in 10 women in the United States.

It has been a remarkable journey to get to this breakthrough moment. Today we celebrate what this approval means for all women who have long awaited a medical treatment option for this life impacting condition,” said Cindy Whitehead, chief executive officer of Sprout. “We applaud the FDA for putting the patient voice at the center of the conversation and for focusing on scientific evidence.”

The pink pill — Sprout’s toll-free number is 844-PINK-PILL — doesn’t precisely match up to its blue cousin:

Addyi is indicated for the treatment of premenopausal women with acquired, generalized hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) as characterized by low sexual desire that causes marked distress or interpersonal difficulty and is NOT due to:
– A co-existing medical or psychiatric condition,
– Problems within the relationship, or
– The effects of a medication or other drug substance.

You definitely don’t want to use it while drinking. And where did they get that name?

Update, 20 August: Nancy Friedman reports: “The FDA official who announced the approval of the female-libido drug Addyi is named Woodcock.” But of course.

Comments




Somewhere around the back end

One of my more faithful WordPress plugins is WP-Ban by Lester Chan, which allows me to block any IPv4 address — IPv6 isn’t covered yet — or any range thereof. It’s not 100% reliable, but it’s kept about 800,000 unworthy types out of this site over the past several years.

Then WP 4.3 arrived yesterday, and the plugin broke with the ever-popular Fatal Error string. I watched it happen, took the obvious action — rename the plugin directory so WordPress can’t find it — and went out to see if anyone else was having this same issue. They were. Almost identically, in fact. So I’m assuming this problem isn’t due to the weird configuration over here.

This is the first time I’ve seen anything of Chan’s actually break, so I have no idea how quickly he responds to issues like this, but I am hopeful.

Update: Well, looky here. A new version of WP-Ban already.

Comments




Depreciated frozen asset

Monday evening, I popped open the freezer to withdraw something for Tuesday’s dinner, and there was a quarter-inch-thick coating of ice on the bottom. Even more fun, the ice bucket, normally filled with proper cubes, contained one large rectangular block of ice.

Most logical assumption: icemaker malfunction. I filled up the ice mold from a coffee cup; two hours later it had produced the expected number of cubes, but the mold was empty. This tells me that the mechanism still works, but the water valve is toast. A parts operation offered to sell the valve separately, for about 60 percent of the price of an entire icemaker. (Lowe’s has a bolt-in replacement for about $100.)

Now the fridge, a just-above-bottom-of-the-line Whirlpool masquerading as a Sears Kenmore, is about to reach its 12th birthday. I see no reason to spend the better part of a grand replacing the whole thing if I can replace the icemaker without incident. Then again, I have very little faith in my appliance-repair skillz.

Comments (4)




Epitomized for your reading pleasure

This probably requires no introduction:

More details from KOTV Tulsa. Oktaha, in case you blinked and missed it, is about 14 miles south of Muskogee.

Comments (1)




All right, out of the gene pool

As asshats go, this guy qualifies at least as Sombrero of the Sphincter:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: How to make other drivers mad on the road?

Further evidence of dementia:

I need some ideas on how to make some drivers angry on the road tomorrow. I will be driving through county roads, one-lane. I love it when they flip me off, tailgate me and do those crazy hand gestures (trucks too).

I want to see how much he loves it when one of them points a shotgun at him.

Comments (4)




Classic Bouquet

Carole Bouquet, born on this date in 1957, has appeared in more than 40 movies, first drawing attention in Luis Buñuel’s That Obscure Object of Desire as half of a flamenco dancer. (For some reason, Buñuel alternated between two actresses playing the same role, the other being Angela Molina; the late Maria Schneider, originally cast, then cast aside, perhaps should have taken pride in the fact that it took two women to replace her.)

We may know Bouquet best in the States, though, for the role of Melina Havelock in For Your Eyes Only, far and away the most serious of the James Bond films starring Roger Moore. And we probably saw her most recently in an NBC four-hour miniseries based on Ira Levin’s Rosemary’s Baby, which aired in the spring of 2014.

Carole Bouquet closer to then

Carole Bouquet closer to now

Weirdly, while Binging about for pictures — I didn’t actually have any on hand — I was tossed the string “Carole Bouquet Is a Man.” Um, no. Not even close. Where this came from, evidently, was confusion with Caroline Cossey, a trans woman who played a small role in For Your Eyes Only, who got a lot of “Bond Girl Is a Boy” tabloid chatter in those days.

And besides, Bouquet dated Gérard Depardieu for about a decade. Had she had, um, nonstandard hardware, we’d almost certainly have heard about it from him.

Comments




A copywriter needs to be taken outback

This British pitch for Australian wines might be construed as a trifle, um, forward:

The simultaneous Twitter campaign is, if anything, even more blatant:

Emma Boyle is ever so slightly torqued off:

You could almost be fooled into thinking the mention of a woman having pubic hair in advertising was progressive, if it wasn’t for the actress’s reaction to her own statement. Why have her look embarrassed?

But my biggest question is this: why do you want to associate the taste of your wine with having tasteless wiry hair in your mouth? The advert isn’t clever, and if it is a laugh, it’s the cheap sniggering kind of laugh you hear from the mouths of boys hunched over sticky magazines at the back of the classroom.

Tasteless?

Oh, never mind.

Note: An earlier version of this piece misattributed the off-torquedness to Holly Brockwell.

Comments (6)




Downvotes galore

Author Elyse Salpeter grumbles about one-star book reviews on Amazon and such:

Most of the time if you see someone post a one star review they are either a troll (a person out to simply be vindictive to that author, or they just want to make a nasty statement to hurt someone). Why do I say this? Because if you READ the review, you’ll realize the reader many times NEVER even read the book, didn’t go more than two pages, reviews another book and mixed them up, or is upset that they thought they bought a romance and got a thriller. I kid you not. I’ve seen people give one star reviews because they bought a book in the wrong genre and are blaming the author. I saw another person give a book a one star review because they bought Book #5 or #6 in an epic series and were upset they didn’t know the history of the series because they never purchased the other previous novels.

Now, I’m not saying people aren’t entitled to say they hated a book, but make sure the review is solid. Is it poorly written? Filled with grammatical errors? Did they not like the plot or heroine? If there is a solid reason for that one star, okay, if not move on.

Some of these people have never even seen the book; they’re simply following instructions from whatever hive mind assimilated them.

I tend to be relatively forgiving myself — I’ve never given out a single-star review — but I’m also not convinced that I’m the final authority on such matters.

And anyway, it’s not just books:

People giving reviews for medications. The big thing I noticed is that most people claiming one star reviews over-medicated themselves each and every time and were trashing the products for the side effects. One medication said take 1-3 pills with lots of water. (and to START with one) These people went right ahead and claimed they took three pills and were upset they got very bad side effects like their insides were about to explode. Even when the packaging said that you should start with one, but you CAN take up to three if your symptoms keep persisting. I saw one star after one star review, all of these people took too much medication and then blamed the product. Others already have problems where they shouldn’t even take this product in the first place, others didn’t drink enough water, milk, food, with the medications and blamed the product. It’s odd to me that people will feel this need to post in this fashion. Where is their own responsibility in this? People must be participatory in their own healthcare issues. Be smart.

Which is odd, since a lot of those book reviewers, to me at least, seem insufficiently medicated.

You can imagine what sort of contumely (not to be confused with cilantro) is heaped upon recipes.

Comments (3)




Forget about sleeping

Some nights I have to, and apparently by so doing I am setting myself up for something much, much worse:

[F]indings just published in the Journal of Neuroscience reveal that there’s an optimal sleeping position for brain health — and the good news is that this position is incredibly common.

According to the study, sleeping on your side, rather than your back or stomach is the most efficient way to help the brain discard toxic waste. The study examined rodents in three sleeping positions: lateral (side), prone (stomach) and supine (back). The researchers concluded that:

“The major finding of our study was that waste … removal was most efficient in the lateral position (compared with the prone position), which mimics the natural resting/sleeping position of rodents.”

Side-sleeping is thought to be the most common position, preferred by an estimated two out of three Americans.

And undiscarded toxic waste, particularly the protein fragments known as beta-amyloid, turns out to be implicated in Alzheimer’s disease, something I fear greatly. But there are going to be nights when every other fear in the catalog is going to be bidding for space in my brain, and behaving sensibly is completely out of the question.

Comments (5)




Math continues to be hard

In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t even get taught this year:

Four quarters of schooling and for what?

(Found on reddit by Miss Cellania.)

Comments (8)




A thefty problem

Karma, you may be certain, operates on its own schedule, and sometimes it’s inconvenient in exactly the right way:

According to Michael Scott, deputy chief of Round Lake Beach [Illinois] police, officers responded at about 3 pm Tuesday to a report of a retail theft at the Wal-Mart store located at 2680 N. Route 83.

Upon arrival, Scott said, officers were informed that a man was observed loading electronics into a shopping basket and leaving the store. After employees confronted the suspect, he dropped the items and fled on foot, police said.

Hearn was later located walking by the side of the road, according to police. When asked why he was walking, he responded that his car had been repossessed while he was at the Wal-Mart, police said.

Investigators determined that the repossession company had followed Hearn to Wal-Mart, police said. The car was towed away when he entered the store, giving Hearn the only option of fleeing the scene on foot, police said.

Additional punchline: Hearn’s first name is Che, anent which Peter Green comments:

Given his namesake, I’d have expected him to use better tactics … but the archetypical Che ultimately came up short in that department in Bolivia, so I suppose it’s not surprising that his latter-day namesake did likewise in Chicago.

Not in the least.

Comments (2)




Papa’s got a brand new blind bag

The matter only came up once. The cashier rang up the other items, came upon a My Little Pony toy, and asked, “For the grandchild?”

“No, actually, it’s mine,” I replied. An eyebrow was raised to bangs level, maybe a smidgen higher; but nothing more was said, and nothing since has been said.

So I wasn’t too flabbergasted when Target announced they were moving away from “gender-based” signage:

Over the past year, guests have raised important questions about a handful of signs in our stores that offer product suggestions based on gender. In some cases, like apparel, where there are fit and sizing differences, it makes sense. In others, it may not. Historically, guests have told us that sometimes — for example, when shopping for someone they don’t know well — signs that sort by brand, age or gender help them get ideas and find things faster. But we know that shopping preferences and needs change and, as guests have pointed out, in some departments like Toys, Home or Entertainment, suggesting products by gender is unnecessary.

This may benefit the 13-year-old boy who shudders every time he enters the pink aisles full of Barbie and Dora. But that boy isn’t me, and I’m figuring Hasbro will take this in stride:

To stay alive in marketing is to stay ahead of the game. Target may not have shifted the game in any noticeable way, but it has definitely “planted the plunderseeds” for the future. It’s possible that Hasbro’s future toy designs will have a little less pink and white than today’s designs. It’s also possible that nothing is going to change, and Target might roll back their choice in the coming years if it makes shopping more confusing and unfavorable towards its customers. However I have faith that Target’s choice is the beginning of something huge. Whether it’s the discussion of the social stigmas surrounding children’s toys, or an outright challenge to those by one toy company at a time, I can’t wait for what happens next.

Trust me on this: if the kids are along for the shopping trip, they’ll find the toys they want, whether you want them to or not.

(If you’re not familiar with the concept of the blind bag, this will help.)

Comments (2)




Party dressed

An operation called ShePolitico has a YouTube channel containing brief reels (typically two to three minutes) of still pictures of women in world politics, preferably in skirts, set to moderately innocuous music. They’ve done four such of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, this being the most recent:

Having already seen the first three, I suspect they’re finding A-level material harder to find these days.

It was inevitable that they should put together a Carly Fiorina collection, and so they have:

As a skirtwatcher of long standing, I do appreciate this sort of thing, but the only conclusion I can draw from it at this time is that Fiorina’s taste in shoes is much more conservative than Palin’s — not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Comments (1)




Strange search-engine queries (498)

This is the usual Monday-morning romp through the thicket of search strings that’s grown up around this site. You may have seen it once or twice before. (To the handful of you who have seen all 498 of these: what should you have been doing instead?)

james bond nightflies highly compressed working game download:  I suspect when James Bond is working, the entire timeline is highly compressed.

a flower for everybody:  Covered with bees?

mesonet cool machine the joker yet babe youtube:  Maybe if we give everybody a flower.

Latina nudists:  We will have no jokes about brown people.

if bribes cost $1:  A lot of people would move out of Washington in search of a better place to earn a dishonest living.

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

pony in a car:  Let’s hope the seats are adjustable.

my child won’t stop talking:  Yet when said child is very quiet, you will immediately become suspicious.

justin bieber sagging:  He does seem to be aging a bit quicker than normal.

how to get lots of subscribers on youtube fast and free:  Improve the quality of the crap you’ve been posting.

guys comparing penis size:  They’re always doing that for some ungodly reason.

guy pout:  He came up short in the comparison.

Comments