With friends like these

Keep your politics to yourself? Bad idea, says Tat:

It will hurt you more at the end when you find out your jogging buddy is a statist. It will bring you more heartbreak when you learn a person you shared same hobby is someone who supports re-distribution of wealth. It will make you feel betrayed when your pal with whom you have common taste in jazz and, like, totally connect — voted for a current nuisance in the Oval Office, on principle. It will make your life at the office an everyday torture if your boss will sing praises for “heroic Palestinians freedom-fighting against blood-thirsty Israelis”.

On one level, this is fairly indisputable: you seldom see people on opposite sides of the aisle connecting at heart-to-heart level. (There’s Carville and Matalin, I suppose, but she was the brains of the operation, while he worked in, um, some other region.)

Then again, everyone on earth who agrees with me on everything would probably fit in this one room, and possibly in this one chair.

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Let’s do the Dash Warp again

When I got my first car, a 1966 Chevy II with a Nova badge, approximately the third thing I did with it was update the sound system from good ol’ mono AM to something resembling stereo FM. (We won’t discuss the issues with the cassette player.)

Of course, if I could have held out for several decades, I could have had something like this:

RetroSound Model 2

This is RetroSound’s Model 2 head unit with a custom bezel for this particular series of Chevy. It puts out 25 watts x 4, has one USB and two auxiliary ports, and is fully Bluetooth-enabled, including streaming.

The $400 price tag is about twice what I had to pay to get the Powerglide two-speed automatic rebuilt. Then again, one must have one’s priorities, and inflation screws up all these comparisons anyway.

(Via Engadget.)

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No dollars left behind

A statement by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi:

Nothing brings more money to the Treasury of the United States than investment in education of the American people, so we have to recognize that.

And Federal spending on education, by all the available evidence, has been utterly futile. So perhaps we should do it her way: instead of “investment in education,” we should do “nothing,” which brings in more money, or at least depletes the Treasury less.

What? You’re sure that’s not what she said? Well, she give her a break: she had to say it to know what was in it.

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Come for the bargains

Stay for the freshness, especially the pineapple:

Sparkle food ad from Criggo.com

Sparkle Markets operate in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

(Found at Criggo.com, which has lots of similarly inexplicable newspaper clippings.)

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Like snow business I know

And the Lord spake thusly unto Noah:

And I will establish my covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.

He didn’t say a damned thing, however, about snow:

[W]hen something like this blizzard falls upon my neighborhood, I don’t wait for some hireling to come to clear my driveway; I don my cold-weather togs and attack it myself.

But strength isn’t everything. There are other considerations to be respected in addressing an onerous task like clearing several tons of snow from an oversized driveway. One of them is endurance. Another is pulmonary capacity. Another is pain.

Yes indamndeedy. I have sort of learned to pace myself, but impatience shows up rather rapidly when I look to see how much is still left. To cite the most recent Major Winter Event at the palatial estate at Surlywood, thirty-five feet of driveway times a 12-inch depth times seven feet wide is 225 cubic feet of the stuff, not counting the sidewalk; it does not relocate willingly without help from the sun, which of course takes the day off because of bad weather.

And God, in His mercy, has spared me since then:

In that horrible month of February ’11, I broke my snow shovel; after waiting for the spring price break, I bought one of those not quite industrial-strength, but still formidable-looking, pushers, and dared the stuff to occupy my driveway. Total snowfall for the winter of ’11-’12: 1.8 inches. The thing is standing in the garage, still wrapped. If I thought for a moment this would work again, I’d buy another one.

Total snowfall for the winter of ’12-’13 through today: 1.4 inches. (Seasonal normal is around 8-9 inches.) I have yet to unwrap the Mystery Device. And yes, this is a dare, since they’re predicting widespread misery for tomorrow.

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Strange search-engine queries (367)

This weekly feature contains the best, or perhaps the worst, of the search strings by which people arrived at this site during the last few days. No drones were used to collect this information.

the firefly platform:  Used by Joss Whedon for development ever since Serenity.

vent to suck in pant:  Pants with vents almost always suck.

“tennessee prison for women” “deborah gibson”:  Now that’s a foolish beat.

who is Matt Pinto from Thunder dating?  I have no idea, but it’s probably not Debbie Gibson.

mariska hargitay has a quote inside a heart:  Matt Pinto, you might want to take notice.

is christine baranski double jointed:  I have no way of knowing. Should I ask Matt Pinto?

enlarge penis upto 40% china capsoal:  You just keep right on believing that, child. The Chinese are counting on you to support their economy.

okc to get rail transit:  If it’s anything like the bus system, it will run 20 hours a week, 15 of which will be used in getting you to work late.

i have a mazda 626 and i need to know is the engine a 4 cylinder or a 6 cylinder:  Yes. Definitely.

if a value exists copy to another worksheet:  If no value exists, tell Ben Bernanke to print some money to compensate.

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Near-total eclipse II

Night before last, I suggested: “Maybe [Marcin] Gortat will have recovered his mojo by then.” Or, you know, not. Mojo was definitely not in evidence in Phoenix tonight: only one of the Suns — Markieff Morris — even managed double figures tonight, as the Thunder coasted to a 97-69 win, sweeping the season series.

Once again, it was the Suns bench who did all the heavy lifting: the starters came up with a total of 26 points, or two more than Russell Westbrook. Unlike last time, though, the bleeding started early: OKC was up 27-16 after the first quarter and looked back only to see who was still breathing dust. The Suns didn’t exactly lie down and die — they pulled in a remarkable 53 rebounds, way ahead of the Thunder’s 40 — but they couldn’t manage the ball-to-rim interface with any degree of efficiency: we’re talking 30-91 from the floor for 33 percent. (OKC made four more shots while taking 15 fewer.) Phoenix was dead solid perfect from the foul line, but they took only five foul shots. (Only Kendrick Perkins and Reggie Jackson had as many as two fouls; Perk earned a tech, but Goran Dragić got one simultaneously, so no trip to the line.) The Thunder had only five offensive rebounds all night, though Phoenix did hardly anything with the 17 they got.

And the man with the biggest minutes for the night was Thabo Sefolosha, who played 34 and scored a season-high 20, right behind Westbrook and ahead of Kevin Durant, who put up 18. Kevin Martin had the night off with the classic “flu-like symptoms,” which made more time for Jackson and DeAndre Liggins. Perk, who had 17 Friday night, didn’t score tonight, but he was busy blocking shots (three) and stealing the ball (also three).

Tuesday night, the Thunder will be in Utah; Thursday, they’ll be home to greet the Heat.

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There’s no days like snow days

A teacher surrounded by snow offers a suggestion:

Here’s a thought on a trapped-inside day: when school is cancelled, why do we make it up? Shouldn’t it be “postponed?” When you cancel something it’s gone forever. So maybe the terminology needs to change. “School postponed until a later date when you can suffer an arduously painful day in sweltering humidity and heat.” Pick your poison.

Schools generally are not designed for comfort, though the three years I spent in class at the Brokaw Mansion in Summerville were arguably less painful than most.

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What retirement income?

Perhaps some comfort may be derived from seeing a species that considers itself superior doing basically the same thoughtless things we do:

Note the fine print, which declares that this can’t actually happen.

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man.)

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First round at Bataan

A final score of 104-101 suggests a Clippers/Thunder game: these are teams that score quite a bit and tend not to run away from each other. You don’t expect totals like that from the college game.

Unless the college game runs 65 minutes, as did last night’s Louisville/Notre Dame clash, in which the Irish finally emerged with the win after five overtimes, the longest game ever played in the Big East. Not that this was entirely unexpected — only two of the last eight Cardinals/Irish matchups ended in the regulation 40 minutes — but how can you possibly prepare for five overtimes? That’s a third half and then some.

First thing that came to my mind: did anyone foul out? NCAA allows five fouls (the NBA limit is six) before you’re disqualified, and four players on each team were gone before it ended. (Only nine players were listed for Notre Dame; did they have anyone left in case Pat Connaughton got his fifth foul?)

And where there are a lot of fouls, there are a lot of foul shots: from the charity stripe, Louisville made 30 of 48, Notre Dame 33 of 49.

I think we can safely conclude that everyone was tired when this one was all over.

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No, it doesn’t wind up

Bose and Nissan have been working together for some time; Gwendolyn, at the advanced age of thirteen, sports a Bose-designed system (built by Clarion in Japan) with a speaker in each door, tweeters in the A-pillars, and a subwoofer dangling from the rear deck. Power is ostensibly 200 watts, though as a hi-fi buff for most of my adult life I have learned to treat amplifier power figures with the same mistrust with which I regard fuel-economy numbers.

The laws of physics being what they are, it takes some serious current draw to run these puppies at gut-thumping levels, and it is always better to have more amplifier power, not just for reasons that Tim Allen might endorse, but also because a high-powered amp that isn’t running flat out doesn’t produce as much in the way of distorion as a lower-powered amp that’s constantly bumping up against its limits. “Serious current draw” would seem to eliminate this sort of thing for electric cars, in which every extra watt cuts into your driving range.

Just the same, Bose is coming to the Nissan Leaf, with a similar speaker deployment but a head unit that uses half the juice. The press release doesn’t say, but I’m betting they’ve also removed the CD player, reasoning that the motor has a current draw of its own and that your average Leaf buyer is going to rely on his iPod to supply tunes anyway.

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Your slash ain’t nothing but trash

There’s a button in the WordPress editor that says “close tags,” which, conveniently enough, closes all open tags in the document, because Horrible Things can happen when you don’t.

Behold: not a WordPress product, but still Exhibit A H.

(Via this @tjic tweet.)

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Impractical hearts

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But oh, so Swede

Anna Svensson is a noted Swedish equestrian who in her younger days was a competition show jumper, and who still loves to ride.

Only “Anna Svensson” is not her real name:

Princess Madeleine of Sweden

This is in fact Madeleine Thérèse Amelie Josephine, Her Royal Highness Princess Madeleine, Duchess of Hälsingland and Gästrikland, youngest child of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, currently fourth in line of succession to the Swedish throne. This shot was taken on a suitably royal occasion: the 2011 wedding of Albert II, Prince of Monaco, to former South African Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock.

Madeleine herself has a royal wedding coming up in June, to Christopher O’Neill, head of research at London hedge fund Noster Capital, a name I recognize only because their managing partner sent a nastygram last summer to the board of Chesapeake Energy here in Oklahoma City which called for the ouster of then-chairman Aubrey McClendon.

That’s two princesses this week. (The first, if you’ve forgotten.) I suspect I have now outed myself as a monarchist.

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Blow softened ever so slightly

Something called “City News,” put out by the Public Information and Marketing Office, is sent with the local utility bill each month, to keep us humble citizens aware of what’s going on without delving too deeply into City Hall intrigues and whatnot.

A headline this month reads “Outdoor watering program implemented,” and in the context of “City News,” which is routinely loaded with new programs and beautification schemes, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the city had come up with a new plan to help poorer people keep their yards up or something. (Imagine what P. J. O’Rourke would have said about that.) But no, it’s a recap of the watering-restriction rules enacted in mid-January after the city noticed that rainfall has run about a third below normal the last two years.

I’m waiting for someone to protest that the odd/even system is inherently unfair, since there are more odd days than even. (Between March 30 and April 2, for instance, there are two consecutive odd days.) And the sort of person who objects to it is likely not going to accept the most rational response: “Move across the street.”

Disclosure: My block has nine even addresses and four odd.

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Quote of the week

A helpful note from Jennifer:

Dear LAPD,

Recoil therapy is a great stress reliever. Next time, try it without the innocent bystanders down range.

(Context.)

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Self-answering questions

I caught these right next to each other in Yahoo! Answers:

Screenshot from Yahoo! Answers

I suppose I should have come up with some self-questioning answers, but hey, I can’t do everything for these folks.

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Near-total eclipse

You have to figure that any night Nick Collison serves up five assists is somewhat atypical. The Suns were in this one for the first 24 minutes, but the Thunder put together a 21-0 run in the third quarter, and the rest of the game was just mopping up: the final was 127-96.

The phrase “balanced attack” actually meant something tonight: the Thunder had five in double figures, all within five points of one another. (For the record: Kevin Durant 21, Thabo Sefolosha 18, Russell Westbrook and Kendrick Perkins 17, Kevin Martin 16.) Everybody got to play, even Daniel Orton, who bagged three rebounds and four points in the last five minutes. But here’s the key number: OKC made 50 shots from the floor (out of 87, for 57.5 percent), and 14 out of 21 treys. You do that and it doesn’t matter if you outrebound the Suns only 40-39.

What happened to Phoenix? Take your pick. Goran Dragić was formidable in the first quarter — 16 points — but only three thereafter. Marcin Gortat didn’t make a bucket until the fourth quarter, and he wouldn’t get another. The Suns bench outscored the starters 66-30; Michael Beasley led all scorers with 25. But even Beasley was -10 for the night; Markieff Morris was the only Sun to creep onto the positive side of the ledger.

Maybe they were saving it for later, and not much later at that: the fourth and last game of the series will be Sunday in Phoenix. Maybe Gortat will have recovered his mojo by then. In the meantime, let’s send a thank-you note to the Pistons, who whacked the Spurs tonight.

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Featuring TepidMail

Microsoft, which terminated Outlook Express with extreme prejudice some years back, replacing it with something called Windows Live Mail, is also keen to rid itself of Hotmail, replacing it with something called, um, Outlook.

Janie is not impressed:

They dumped me into the Outlook format. This was totally unacceptable, and as I use my email for the bulk of my communication I lost no time fixing the format back to Hotmail. However, even still they’ve changed Hotmail so that it shows all the emails in a particular thread. I find this terribly irritating. But, I haven’t yet had time to try and see if there’s a way to un-do that too.

Which is why I’ve stayed with WLM: it picks up all five of my usual email addresses, one of which is Hotmail, and doesn’t fuss about any of them, even (gasp!) AOL.

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Quasi-automotive imagery

Mark Stevenson, contributing half of an Infiniti JX35 QX60 review to The Truth About Cars:

The JX seems to be able to hit that middle ground sweet spot: not terribly forgettable like the Audi Q7 but it won’t make your kids lose their government approved school lunches when you pull up to the front door at the end of the day like the Lincoln MKT. While I would be remiss to call the JX sexy, it definitely has the right curves in the proper places, like an over-sexed female biology teacher with a strict workout regimen and a winky eye. You know it is wrong to like her, but you still do, even 15 years after she taught you the reproductive rituals of chimpanzees.

For the record, I took my high-school biology classes from a nun — a Sister of Saints Cyril and Methodius, if I remember correctly. She looked like she might have worked out, to the extent that you could tell, but you may be assured that her eye wasn’t the least bit winky.

The other half of this review, incidentally, contains this remark by Matthew Guy: “I think it looks like a Murano with breasts, and well developed co-ed ones at that.” I guess a two-person review is easier when both persons are single-minded.

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