A googol of Googles

It’s Spend-O-Rama time in Washington, as it has been for several decades now, and this is why it will continue:

We noticed from a report on the recent Japanese election that “Google” is now used as an accounting term. The company being currently valued at some par amount in trillions or quadrillions of yen, the degree of “quantitative easing” (i.e. money to be created ex nihilo) the Bank of Japan is now compelled to provide overnight against its own better judgement in light of the election result was expressed as, “six Googles.”

But why not eight? Or twelve? Why not create one hundred Googles of fresh, new, imaginary money? The people have spoken for more zeroes, & why are more zeroes being denied?

Which demonstrates, I suppose, that Mencken was right.

Comments off




Porpoisefully engineered

The late Douglas Adams on dolphins:

Man has always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much … the wheel, New York, wars and so on … while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man … for precisely the same reason.

Was this, perhaps, an intelligent design?

I got this idea in my head that this is exactly what dolphins were designed to do. That is, they are genetically engineered creatures. A long time ago (10,000 years? 100,000 years? A million years?) a previous civilization on this planet got involved in a conflict and decided they needed some underwater people (beings?) for some kind of work. Exploring maybe, or spying, or maybe even mine detection, and so they created dolphins.

On the other fin, it strikes me as equally plausible that the dolphins may have created us:

Yes, I know there isn’t any evidence of such a thing, but then we don’t have much evidence of anything from a million years ago. There may not have been any people like us, but that’s not to say there weren’t people of some kind out wandering around, picking fights with their neighbors, and cooking up elaborate schemes to do them in.

I’m starting to believe that this is a defining characteristic, once you get about this far [gesticulates] up the food chain.

Comments off




Lessons learned

Comments off




Off their feed

The death of Feedburner, hinted at a few months ago, can’t come too soon for Maggie:

I am beginning 2013 without a Feedburner account. My account was officially deleted this morning, January 1, 2013. A few days ago I explained in a post that an anti-virus program located in Moscow, Russia (Kaspersky) is telling readers that Maggie’s Notebook is a dangerous place to visit. Readers running Kaspersky on their computers received various messages from them, blaming some connection to Feedburner, my avatar (the Liberty Bell, no worries now a new version even though they look the same) and phishing (can you imagine my site a phishing site???). I know there were other concerned readers who abandoned ship and moved on. Some received a warning when visiting blogs which link to Maggie’s Notebook. Some took the time to tell the blog owner about it, and they alerted me.

This doesn’t seem to be Kaspersky’s fault. A comment by one of Maggie’s readers:

Kaspersky has a huge reputation in the AntiVirus market. They are at the top of the list for most geeks out there. I work as an IT person, and if I visit your [site] during the day, it has to go through not only a scan by our AntiVirus software (VIPRE), but also our firewall software (SonicWall) … neither has found anything. The firewall would have blocked the site totally if it found anything.

My guess is that it is pulling a false find. It does happen at one time or another … these companies are constantly updating their definitions, and sometimes they aren’t tested thoroughly.

We have installed SonicWall at 42nd and Treadmill, and among my regular reads, the site that it dislikes most is … um, mine. The firewall has since received slightly modified instructions.

The usual pattern has been that when Google buys a product line with the intention of killing it, they start upgrading their own competing product, and only then signal the demise of the product they acquired. I haven’t heard that any improvements have been made in Google Reader, so I’m guessing that they’re hoping that everyone will read feeds in Chrome. Good luck with that: at this writing, I have 206 subscribers using Safari (!), and 39 on Chrome.

Comments (4)




Hemidemisemipanic mode

You may remember this from the end of November, way back in 2012:

I discovered that every last post — 12,700 of them — had been sheared of its category and tag information. Worse yet, the View All Posts function in the WordPress admin showed no posts to view. Despite this, permalinks were working and comments were being posted.

When it happened again, I literally cut and pasted my first support ticket into a new one. The problem was readdressed, but the tech suggested that if it continued to recur, I should consider moving to a server with more space, inasmuch as I’m running six sites off this account. After thinking this over for about 3.5 CPU cycles, I requested such a move, which was completed that evening. I have no reason to think readers will be affected by this, but if you see something acting sillier than usual (besides me), please let me know.

Comments off




45-33-78

Well, no. Not in the least. What’s Jane Russell doing making a record album, anyway?

1947 record album by Jane Russell

LP Cover Lover explains:

While she was waiting around for her movie career to take off, she got an offer from bandleader Kay Kyser to appear on his radio show, and after hearing her he signed her to a 12-week contract and even took her with him to Columbia Records for a couple of sides. As The Outlaw finally neared a New York opening, Columbia signed Russell on her own for this album, originally released on four 78s in 1947.

Let’s Put Out the Lights did get reissued by Columbia in this century, with bonus tracks yet: two songs left in the can, and both sides of a single she’d cut with Kyser. Russell didn’t think much of it, denouncing the album as “horrible and boring to listen to.” Herewith, the title track, with Bob Lowery pretending to resist the whole idea:

Then again, it’s not like Howard Hughes hired her for her voice.

Comments (4)




Worst titles of 2012

Comments (4)




Ain’t no Sunshine

There was some talk earlier today about how this team, dating back to its days in the Pacific Northwest, was something like 99-0 on New Year’s Eve, which seems unlikely. However, I have to figure that this bit of artificial wisdom was offered in an effort to ward off the possibility that this matchup with Phoenix might have turned into a trap game. And at halftime, with the Thunder up by exactly one point and Russell Westbrook in the locker room with bits of Luis Scola’s elbow embedded in his face, I started looking around for Admiral Ackbar. Not to worry. Oklahoma City ran off twelve consecutive points to start the third quarter, and then Westbrook returned. The final was a not-even-close 114-96, as the Suns’ A-game dropped to about a C-minus.

Then again, the major factor may have been OKC’s unprecedented level of rock control: the Thunder gave up only five turnovers. There have been quarters in the past where five turnovers would have been an improvement. And while the opening moments were marked by balanced scoring, it wound up being a Kevin and Russell Show anyway, with Durant pocketing 30 and Westbrook, in six fewer minutes but with six stitches, finishing with 26. Nick Collison was all over the place, coming up with ten points and nine boards in less than 20 minutes. The only real off night was had by Kevin Martin, who shot a woeful 2-12, yet still ended up +4.

The only double-double of the night went to Marcin Gortat: the tall Sun reeled in ten rebounds while scoring 12. He may have thought he had had an off night. Scola, when he wasn’t throwing body parts around, was sinking lots of shots: he went 10-17 for an efficient 24 points. Jermaine O’Neal led the bench with 12 points in 17 minutes. The Suns fired a lot of blanks from beyond the arc, but truth be told, their 8-24 is no worse, percentagewise, than the Thunder’s 5-15.

Beasts from the East will be visiting this week: the Nets on Wednesday, the Sixers on Friday.

Comments (1)




Gets those dishes Pony Clean

That’s what I think it says, anyway:

My Little Pony Dishwashing Tabs

Actually, I always thought she made Spike do the dishes.

(Via the Military Bronies Facebook feed.)

Comments (1)




All the Friedman you could ever want

What’s that you say? You’d love to give up The New York Times altogether, but you’d miss the gentle reproofs of Thomas L. Friedman? (Work with me here and assume that such a thing is possible, okay?)

Your answer is here: the Thomas Friedman Op/Ed Generator. Just push the button, and in a second or so you’ll have a perfectly plausible Friedman op/ed, suitable for, well, whatever it is you’d do with a real Friedman op/ed from nytimes.com. Admittedly, the paper version of the Gray Lady is slightly more cost-effective, if your needs happen to include lining bird cages and/or wrapping fish, but if you read the Times on your desktop or your tablet, you can read your freshly generated Friedman column the same way. Sorry, no iPhone app yet.

Comments off




You’d think there was a drought or something

Hey, Mesonet, what are the chances of getting some rain today?

Screen shot from OKC West Mesonet

At least they’re trying to be positive about it.

Comments off




Wrong-wheel drive

Possible apostasy from Tam:

I’m seriously thinking about just buying something cheap, practical, and FWD and letting the Roadster Era draw to a close, and I don’t like thinking like that, because that’s when you start getting old.

I have my doubts. For one thing, she’s not getting old, and even if she were, she’s never once looked it.

More to the point, were I tooling about in a Z3, I’d sooner spend two grand on an extra set of wheels (I refuse to say “rims”) and a set of winter tires than hunt around for a thirteen-year-old Corolla with all the charm of a rectal thermometer.

Comments off




Strange search-engine queries (361)

Welcome to Monday. It’s time once more for a spirited romp through the system logs, in search of whatever it was you were searching for. We won’t ask why you wanted it. (Maybe.)

Bone Thugs n Harmony never won a grammy due to the judges being fairly matched against one another. No idea maybe the asker should provide a better question:  Sorry, Thugfans, but the Grammys haven’t meant squat for at least fifty years now.

whats going to replace the sears at quail springs mall:  I’m pretty sure it’s something bigger than a Sunglass Hut.

how often change a transmission fluid in a mazda 626:  If you have to ask, it’s probably already too late.

can I put type a transmission fluid in a mazda 626:  Didn’t you just ask about this?

black car tall spoilers:  Think of all that downforce you’ll be getting at 35 mph in your Mazda 626.

added too much saffron how to fix:  Have you looked at the price of saffron lately? You could have bought a Mazda 626 with that kind of money.

1963 song on radio with the line “and today is the 23rd of may”:  This was probably “Shticks of One and Half a Dozen of the Other,” which, if it was ever played on the radio at all, was played by Dr. Demento, which wouldn’t have been in 1963.

barbara carrera / great bum:  Well, yes. Did you have a question?

barbara feldon/bathing suit:  Also nice bum. Did you have a question?

oklahoma when must i get commercial tag:  Within 30 days of getting a commercial vehicle. If you ever actually bought one of these, you’d already know that.

tw4z t3h n1t3 b3f0r3 xm4z:  Nothing for you, you’re on the Pwned List.

Comments (7)




The further evolution of taste

A woman comes between a sick man and his beloved Twinkies. And that woman is Little Debbie:

As I unpacked the grocery bags he stood by — sniffing, hacking, and being pitiful because I wouldn’t let him help unload the car. I gingerly showed him the box and used my best Mom face. You know the face you activate when you’re trying to convince an 8 year old to try something new? He chuckled, which made him cough, as he closely surveyed the box. I opened it, handing him a Cloud Cake, hoping for the best. Opening the wrapper, he peeled it like a banana and sniffed the cake. Taking the tiniest bite, he shifted his eyes back and forth inquisitively, chewing ever so quickly. His eyes lifted to meet my hopeful gaze and he said “Hey, these aren’t bad.”

There you have it — an expert food review from the biggest Twinkie fan in the world. He decided that the Cloud Cakes aren’t as fluffy as his beloved cream filled sponge cake, but the taste is nice and the filling just right.

He’ll adjust — until the Hostess bankruptcy is over and done with, anyway.

Comments (2)




Perhaps lost in translation

That’s what Jessica Stone Levy thinks, anyway:

Winter sucks

Aw, come on. Have a bowl of soup. It’s for a good cause.

Comments off




This was the dawning

Cobb watches the American Tribal Love-Rock Musical so you don’t have to:

I cannot help but think that Hair signals the premise of the Age of Aquarius, completely and fully realized in youth culture and alternative culture in America. But there is absolutely no question in my mind that this rebellion occurred within the context of a privileged and spoiled social context, for blacks as much as for whites. All everyone wanted to do was stick their noses up at the wealthy, while appropriating their wealth whenever it seemed convenient to them.

Which is now, of course, a matter of public policy.

I remain a fan of Hair — I bought both original-cast albums, Broadway and off-, and yes, even the semi-sanitized Cowsills single — but at no time did I ever see it as a call to action.

Comments (2)




Opening a national dialog box

This picture has had about a thousand Facebook shares so far; I figured, given the staggering popularity of this institution, that it might play well here.

Delete Congress

One caution: most of the time, deleted items can be easily restored, so make sure you empty the Bin immediately.

Comments (5)




Down the tube

Yet another approach to getting personal information: a note from “YouTube Support” to tell me that my video has been approved.

At least they went to the trouble to putting up a valid fake YouTube URL. (It comes back “This video is unavailable.”) It might even have worked if they’d sent it to an address I actually use on YouTube, which they didn’t.

Comments (2)




Earth orbit not attained

The Houston Rockets, through last night, led the NBA in scoring, with an average per game on the far side of 105, and a big part of that offensive effort has been OKC expat James Harden. So it was a good time, evidently, for the Thunder to conduct a defensive clinic. Stare in disbelief at these numbers: fifty-three rebounds. Nine blocks. Sixteen steals. Twenty-four Houston turnovers. And the Beard went 6-17 from the floor, though he proved adept at garnering fouls; eleven of his 24 points were from the foul line. It was a two-point game with four minutes left in the first half, and then the Thunder went berserk, or something: a 16-0 run put them up 68-50, and things just got worse for the Rockets after that. We’re talking a 124-94 blowout, in Houston.

Which is not to say that the Rockets had nothing at all going for them. Second-year power forward Marcus Morris went 9-14 for 24 points, and Toney Douglas paced the bench with 17. (Unfortunately, Douglas’ effort left him -31 for the night.) Houston was held to just under 40 percent shooting, and of their 30 (!) attempted three-pointers, only eight paid off. Chandler Parsons (10 points) was 0-5 from outside. Heck, OKC seemingly tried to give it away — we’re talking 21 turnovers here — but no dice, son, you’re getting off work early.

Whatever it was that got Russell Westbrook going late in the Dallas game night before last, it was still doing the job tonight: he was 11-22 for 28 points with eight boards and eight dimes. (And, yes, five turnovers. You can’t have everything.) And something powered Thabo Sefolosha (15 points) to +39 for the night, one of the higher +/- figures I’ve seen. Kevin Durant deposited, quietly, 26 points; Kevin Martin added 19, 15 of them on 5-8 from beyond the arc. (The Thunder made 13 of 29, 45 percent; that’s a lot of Ka-Ching! from radio guy Matt Pinto.) And nobody had a double-double except Nick Collison. There’s a first.

New Year’s Eve, the woeful Phoenix Suns will pop into town, followed Wednesday by the Brooklyn Nets, who may or may not be coached by OKC expat P. J. Carlesimo, who assumed the position, so to speak, after Avery Johnson was sent packing.

Comments off




Bebe, it’s cold outside

This shot of Bebe Neuwirth comes from the 2005 International Emmy Awards, and while I haven’t been able to track down the dress, I did find some related snark.

First, the photo:

Bebe Neuwirth at the 2005 International Emmys

Now the snark, attached to another photo from the same event:

Okay, Bebe Neuwirth. You are a great dancer. You have great legs. You look much younger than you actually are. You’re very vital. We’re all very impressed.

PLEASE PUT ON SOME PANTS.

To address the “much younger” statement: she’ll be 54 on New Year’s Eve.

And it’s not like the world is running short of fabric, I suppose.

Comments (1)