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 off

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 off

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 off

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)

Everything converges at once

And this is what happens when it does:

Just imagining the events that led up to it makes my head hurt.

Comments (1)

Not even the chair

“L.A.’s fine, but it ain’t home,” sang Neil Diamond; “New York’s home, but it ain’t mine no more.” Francis W. Porretto will have none of that nonsense:

I’ve been advised to move out of New York, and I’ve contemplated it more than once. Other parts of the country are warmer, drier, less hagridden by welfare-state programs and their cost, and are friendlier to firearms and conservative convictions. All well and good. But they aren’t New York. They don’t have our conveniences, our facilities, our beauties, our up-and-at-’em work ethic, or our generally good humored “we’ll pick ourselves up by our own goddamn bootstraps” response to calamity. And they don’t — and won’t — have me.

The C.S.O. and I have been over this together. Yes, we agreed that this locale is expensive and has its trying aspects. But we have a saying around here: You get what you pay for. And we’ve decided that as long as our money holds out, so will we.

Uprooting yourself is something you do when you don’t really have that much of a connection. I tried that once. I won’t do that again.

Comments off

So doggone cute

Not to get into that whole kawaii business, which requires a more practiced eye than my own, but some people are the very personification of “cute,” and Yuri Ebihara has long been one of them:

Yuri Ebihara in flight-attendant hosiery

A 2006 wire story from Tokyo reflects Yuri’s, um, standards:

Model-cum-actress Yuri Ebihara, 26, widely viewed here as the personification of cute, commands such influence the clothes she sports in a fashion magazine, such as lacy pastel skirts, are instant sellouts.

“I make it a point never to forget to smile,” said Ebihara, often seen in TV ads and on billboards. “If someone doesn’t find me cute, I want to know why because then I’ll work on it to get better at being cute.”

And hey, I can’t argue with that.

Yuri Ebihara is almost looking at you

But she was twenty-six then. Today, she’s thirty-five. Can she still pull it off?

Yuri Ebihara on the cover of AneCan, March 2014

On the evidence of this 2014 magazine cover, I’d say yes.

Comments off

Gumming up the works

When I saw these posted, I left the following comment:

With that color and that much height, you put these on and you look like you have three kilograms of Already Been Chewed Dubble Bubble stuck to your soles. Somebody might look good in that, but nobody I know.

Here’s where we find out if I know you:

Nightcall shoes by Zooloo

Says Cristina, who posted about it:

In my old-er age, I’m going to presume that this is something only the raver kids would wear? (I mean, ravers still exist, right?) or possibly to add some flair to a Robot Barbie halloween costume?! I love pink shoes, I really do, but when it comes to a sandal that looks a little like a TEVA on crack, I have no say #thanksbutnothanks. I have a way of mentally sifting through the hideous & the trendy by visualizing whether a particular shoe, such as this Pink Panther-pink ridiculousness would jive on the concrete runways of say, Milan, London or New York. This style would definitely not.

In New York, anyway, you can find stuff this color stuck to the concrete on just about any sidewalk. And I strongly suspect it loses its flavor at the bedside overnight.

Zooloo calls this “Nightcall” and sells it for $112 — if you wear a size 8. (They seem to be out of stock on other sizes at the moment.) If you don’t, thank your lucky stars.

Comments off

Grow up already

There’s always been a lot of yammering about “separating the men from the boys,” but few ever get around to specifying the location of the line of demarcation. This is about as good a map as I’m likely to find:

I’ve never dealt with real gender-related ugliness (some women have gotten death threats online and such), but I’ve had a little frustration with it in real life. The stupid thing is, every MAN I’ve ever worked with has recognized I have a brain and know how to use it, and he has respected me for it. And I have worked with a lot of men in my life, both as colleagues and as students. I’m not quite sure how to approach — even if I need to — BOYS who can’t get that fact.

Perhaps it was just that simple, all along.

Comments off

Tricky handling

Hyundai has been showing off something they call the Vision G Concept, and while it’s not specifically slated for production itself, we can probably expect some of its features to show up on actual cars before too awfully long.

Hyundai Vision G Concept

Concept cars, of course, are almost always two-door coupes; no one goes to an auto show to see a four-door sedan. Then again, it would presumably be interesting to see a four-door version of this thing, since apparently it doesn’t have any door handles.

Wait, what?

We pick up the story from Jonny Lieberman in Motor Trend (November):

[T]he door handles … are not in fact on the doors. I asked, and the reason why is that when you have doors more than 3 feet in length, you have to take a few steps back while opening them in a conventional fashion. With the handle on the body panel behind the door, you simply push (or in this case swipe), wait as the automatic door opens, and then step inside.

Lieberman thinks this is not a great idea:

Call me old-fashioned, but it seems to me that if you’re a door handle, job one is to be on the door.

If this, um, feature shows up on a production Hyundai, I will be surprised, and not necessarily pleasantly so. That said, for all I know it might be the biggest hit since the fake hood scoop.

(Photo via NetCarShow.com.)

Comments (1)