Not so much shade

Two things happened yesterday: I contracted to have dead tree stuff removed from the back yard, in the interest of making it a more pleasant place to soak up the sun once temperatures get less wintry, and the AANR Bulletin arrived in the mail, with a cover story about drones.

Drones? Drones:

Since [the] Supreme Court’s 1946 decision (United States v. Causby), it has been generally accepted that the property rights of a homeowner end 83 feet above the ground — the height of an eight-story building. In a world of drones with telephoto lenses, this ruling now seems useless for protecting our privacy rights.

This decision held:

Cujus est solum ejus est usque ad coelum et ad inferos (“Whoever owns the soil, it is theirs, all the way to Heaven and all the way to Hell”) has no legal authority in the United States when pertaining to the sky. A man does not have control and ownership over the airspace of their property except within reasonable limits to utilize their property. Airspace above a set minimum height is property of the Masses and no one man can accuse airplanes or other such craft within of trespassing on what they own.

Then again, Google Street View can catch you even without going airborne.

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Bring your own flux capacitor

Otherwise, it’s almost as it was before:

Thanks to the wonderful-but-flawed low-volume “Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act” (H.R. 2675) , it’s now legal for the company that bought all of the old leftover DeLorean parts to start putting them together to make new DMC-12s. And this time it seems like it’ll actually happen, starting early next year.

Stainless-steel body panels? Check. Doors that rise to meet the sky? Check. 2.8-liter Peugeot-Renault-Volvo V6? Not a chance:

They’re looking at three possible suppliers, two domestic, one foreign. There’s one favorite though, and the engine that’s the frontrunner is a normally-aspirated V6 making between 300-400 hp.

As opposed to 130 hp from that old European boat anchor. And really, this is to be expected, says the company:

The vehicles must meet current Clean Air Act standards for the model year in which they are produced. The new law allows the low volume vehicle manufacturer to meet the standards by installing an engine and emissions equipment produced by another automaker (GM, Ford, etc.) for a similar EPA-certified vehicle configuration or a create engine that has been granted a California Air Resources Board (CARB) Executive Order (EO). This reasonable regulatory reform will also spur innovation, including advances in alternative-fuel and green vehicle technologies.

Said boat anchor wouldn’t come close to meeting contemporary standards, for emissions or for anything else.

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Not the original recipe

At least, I assume it isn’t:

But can you see the Russian Tea Room from there?

Note: 0161, if I remember correctly, is around Manchester.

(Via Liz Mair.)

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Presumably at premium prices

Wefuel is an app (iOS only so far) that enables the stranded or lazy (or both) driver to have gasoline delivered to wherever his vehicle happens to be, assuming that it’s in their service area. For now, it’s strictly a San Francisco Bay area thing, but if it finds customers, it’s sure to expand.

I’m not quite sure what I think of this. I am far more often lazy than stranded, but I have a schedule structured enough to hit up a Shell every other week. (Road trips aside, I drive maybe 7,000 miles a year.) On the one hand, I have to agree with Pete Bigelow of Autoblog:

There are two kinds of people: those who like to save money and those who like to save time. Wefuel will appeal to the latter. The app lets workers fuel up while sitting at their desks rather than adding time to their commutes. It allows them to plan for the road trip without making a special trip to the gas station to fill up.

Then again, I can also see the point being made by Sebastian Blanco of Autoblog:

Wefuel is the epitome of Silicon Valley nonsense. No one needs this (emergencies excluded), but now some people will want it. Silicon Valley wants us to think that our phones will solve all of our problems, but when that “solution” means that you get lazier and someone else does your work for you while adding extra pollution to the air, that’s an easy pass. Still, it makes someone else do your work for you, so Wefuel will undoubtedly be a tremendous hit.

Wait a minute. Our phones won’t solve all of our problems?

I’m thinking, we don’t flinch at paying $3 (plus a tip) to have $30 worth of pizza delivered. I’m pretty sure we won’t flinch at paying something comparably nominal for $30 worth of gas. And now I wonder if they can do custom octane blends.

If this premise has any possibility of hitting it big, there should be a rival, right? Here it comes.

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You ain’t seen nothing yeti

The Jonathan Richman/Modern Lovers studio recording of “Abominable Snowman in the Market” turned up on the shuffle yesterday, and it was so exasperatingly catchy I simply had to pass along some version of it. Ultimately, I opted for this live take from that wondrous year of 1976:

I’m not sure if this or “Lonely Financial Zone” is the weirder song. Maybe it doesn’t matter.

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Marked for death by Information Services (12)

All CAPTCHAs are annoying, but some are more annoying than others, and the one with the four-by-three grid of thumbnails — “Select all photos containing X” — currently sets the curve for Maximum Farking Irritation, especially if you have to go through several cycles to persuade it to shut the fark up.

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Question of the ages

Ages over 21, anyway:

I imagine it’s about the same reason we non-celebrities are similarly plagued, with the additional proviso that celebrities who are not so plagued — see, for instance, Zooey Deschanel — are considered to have “fat knees.”

Zooey Deschanel slouches a bit

Doesn’t mean, of course, that ZD is always going to look like this. (If nothing else, it encourages saving pictures; this shot is probably two or three hairstyles ago.)

Angelina Jolie in an LBDReading the actual Scottish Daily Mail article, incidentally, cost me 99 cents through PressReader: the not-Scottish (and therefore crap) Daily Mail doesn’t provide a gateway to this edition. It quotes a physician who blames sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass that afflicts those of a Certain Age, and perhaps afflicts celebrities worse because they’re trying so hard to be thin and spindly. Included with the article was a shot of Angelina Jolie cranked down to Maximum Knob, as seen here, and examples which are, incredibly, even worse. (Do not go Googling any recent shots of, say, Catherine Zeta-Jones.) This is the sort of circumstance, I believe, that calls for a somewhat-lower hemline; however, Hollywood types are not known for taking my advice, and very likely never will. I do not know if high-heel abuse is a factor here, though it seems at least somewhat possible, given the distortions of the frame that seem inevitable with the elevation. The physician suggests that if you can’t rise from a seated position without using your hands, you’re already on the wrong side of the scale; for me, with my architecturally questionable knees, it depends on the height of the seat. Then again, no one, I’m quite certain, is wanting to see my legs, which, this being the dead of winter, are, in Johnny Carson’s phrase, “the color of a born gosling.”

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Fonts of non-wisdom

Typefaces in the news! (And how often do you see that?)

Font Brothers America has a perfectly dreadful set called Generation B, which has been used on almost everything Hasbro has issued from this generation of My Little Pony. Font Brothers is now suing Hasbro for, according to the legal filing [pdf], not less than $150,000 per infringement. This is a hell of a lot of money, especially considering that Font Brothers apparently was bragging about Hasbro’s use of the typeface before this legal farrago.

Meanwhile, the US Federal Highway Administration, which approved the use of the Clearview font on highway signs in place of the traditional Highway Gothic, has now rescinded that approval, pointing out that much of the improved legibility attributed to Clearview was actually due simply to having new signs made. Worse, on hazard signs, Clearview offers no improvement and may make matters worse. Fortunately, no one’s going to have to go back and retrofit the signs they’ve already replaced once.

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You again, again

The third Thunder-Timberwolves game of the month — they previously met on the 12th and the 15th, and it means absolutely nothing that 12 + 15 = 27 — offered not-even-slightly-mute testimony to the value of a strong bench, something the Thunder didn’t have last night in New York. OKC, trailing much of the night, came up with a nine-point lead midway through the fourth quarter, which the Wolves promptly gnawed down to two. But OKC did not quite yield, and when Zack LaVine, who’d made 12 of 14 at that point, put up a ball from two feet beyond the arc that fell three feet short of the rim, that was it for the Wolves: the roller-coaster continued for a bit over a minute, which took about 10 minutes to complete, and when things finally ground to a halt, it was Oklahoma City 126, Minnesota 123, 3-0 in the season series (the fourth game will be on the 11th of March), and 3-1 on this road trip.

Strong benches. That’s where you find LaVine, who finished with 35 points, a season high and two points his career high, on 14-17 shooting, 5-8 from outside. The Minnesota reserves cranked out 57 points. The Thunder managed 45, and might have had more had not Cameron Payne taken a head shot that wound up looking awfully concussion-y; he, of course, did not return. Enes Kanter delivered 23 of those 45. Among the starting Wolves, Gorgui Djeng led with 21, with super-rooks Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns claiming 20 and 19. Meanwhile, it’s another Russell Westbrook double-double (24 points, 15 dimes) and 27 from Kevin Durant. Still, towards the end I got to wondering how anyone was still standing after all these shots. The Wolves hit 50 of 90, the Thunder 48 of 91, both comfortably above 50 percent.

Back at home, albeit presumably without Payne and definitely without Roberson, the next foe will be the usually-deadly Houston Rockets, who at this writing are being spanked by the Spurs. Of course, that won’t matter the day after tomorrow.

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A hunny of a job

This has to be somebody’s dream job:

Exhibitions Research Assistant — Winnie-the-Pooh, Victoria & Albert Museum

Fixed term position (4 days per week) position until July 2017

The Victoria & Albert Museum is the world’s leading museum of art and design. We enrich people’s lives by promoting the practice of design and increasing knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of the designed world.

The V&A is seeking an Exhibition Research Assistant for a fixed term contract to July 2017 to be based within the Word & Image department.

A practically-minded person is required to assist in the development and delivery of the exhibition, in particular to assist with research on subject areas and object cataloguing, object moves and curatorial administration. The Research Assistant will also assist the Exhibition Curators to deliver the accompanying publication and events.

“What do you do?”

“Oh, I’m the Winnie-the-Pooh specialist at the Victoria and Albert Museum.”

The sheer delight of saying that might make up for the relative emptiness of one’s pay packet: museum positions are seldom well-paid.

(Via Fern Riddell.)

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Half-chewed bullet

The Attorney General offers to take one for the state, kinda sorta:

Attorney General Scott Pruitt sent a letter Monday to Gov. Mary Fallin and legislative leaders, asking that about $6 million in state appropriations for his office be withheld in the next budget in view of financial problems affecting the state.

A hole of about $900 million is expected in the next state budget as revenues have fallen because of a downturn in the oil industry.

Asking for a decrease in the budget? Unpossible!

But that’s not quite the whole picture:

The current fiscal year appropriation to the attorney general’s office is more than $13 million, but the office’s overall budget exceeds $40 million when federal grants, revolving funds, case settlements and legal counsel contracts are considered.

The money Pruitt asked to be withheld represents operations expenditures. This year, operations funds totaled $6.4 million in his budget.

“We’re able to absorb the loss of that appropriations through cost savings in the office,” said Aaron Cooper, a spokesman for Pruitt. He said no salaries would be cut.

The fun part of this, apart from the spectacle of an actual state official asking for less funding, something you don’t see too often, is imagining Mary Fallin’s reaction. I mean, what’s she gonna do, turn Pruitt down?

Note: This was in the Tuesday Oklahoman, page 3A, but I couldn’t find it on NewsOK, and while I am a subscriber and can get through the Oklahoman paywall, you probably aren’t.

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Careful with that revisionism, Eugene

This is one of the reasons why contemporary satirists simply can’t keep up anymore:

Student leaders at the University of Oregon debated removing a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. from its student center, arguing that the quote was not inclusive enough for modern understandings of diversity.

Oregon’s Erb Memorial Union, which is currently under renovation, had the following famous King quote on the wall: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream…”

But as renovation continues, the Oregon Student Union seriously considered replacing that quote. “The quote is not going to change,” reports student paper Oregon Daily Emerald, “but that decision was not made without some hard thought by the Student Union Board.”

It may have been hard, but it sure as hell wasn’t thought.

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Lowest possible priority

This arrived in the mail yesterday, and as Fake Priority Mail envelopes go, this is one of the fakest:

Bogus Priority Mail from a local auto dealer

The fine print off to the right is hilarious:

Package intended for NextDay Delivery shipments only. Contents should be packed securely to ensure safe and prompt delivery. Contents are tracked nationwide. No liquids allowed.

And then, in even finer print, an alleged form number: ND912-0623. I include this for the sake of Googlers and such who might have gotten this piece of utter crap and thought for a moment that it was legit. It is, of course, nothing of the sort: it’s a pitch from one of the shadier auto dealers in town, complete with a plastic disk about poker-chip size, to make you think someone might have actually sent you a coin.

Incidentally, no one ever loses at these fake games — you win the absolutely lowest possible prize — and there’s also a bogus “Instant Savings Voucher” from the crapweasels, designed to look like a check for $3,534.92.

“Tracked nationwide,” indeed. Hey, pal, track this.

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Start spreading the floor

It is said of New York, New York, that if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. The Thunder had to have been wondering if they could make it anywhere; after being drubbed by the Nets on Sunday, they were, I suspect, hoping for an easier time with the Carmelo Anthony-less Knicks. But there were obstacles. In the first place, the Knicks had Kristaps Porzingis, described by Kevin Durant as a “unicorn.” In the second place, to quote Royce Young, “The Thunder have been a trainwreck defensively in these two New York games.” After trailing through most of the middle quarters, OKC tied it up on a Kevin Durant jumper with 16 seconds left; a last-second Arron Afflalo turnaround jumper went halfway down and came back up, forcing overtime. And it took a series of free throws, four by Durant, two by Serge Ibaka, to subdue the Knickerbockers, 128-122, to earn a split of the season series.

What’s more, it took a season-high 44 points by Durant and a solid 30 from Russell Westbrook to make this work, because the bench fell apart: the OKC reserves came up with all of 19 points. Derrick Williams bagged that many himself for New York, and Langston Galloway hit 21, a season high, to lead all the Knicks. Porzingis the Unicorn played almost like a normal person, with 15 points but -16 for the night. The Thunder got most of the rebounds (59-42), but the Knicks got most of the blocks (7-2). In the absence of a good explanation, I’m going to suggest that the guys weren’t prepared for both Brook and Robin Lopez in the same week.

Upside: Cameron Payne hit four treys in five tries; the Thunder actually shot better from outside the arc (11-20, 55 percent) than from inside (46-99, 47 percent). Downside: all the starters (Andre Roberson is out for at least three weeks, so Dion Waiters got to play shooting guard) except Steven Adams played at least 40 minutes, and there’s a game tomorrow night in Minneapolis. Further upside: Well, at least it’s not in New York. Those guys are lethal.

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Tugging at the earstrings

Carol Burnett was on the cover of Parade this past weekend, and while surrounding her with kids is always a nice touch — you hope one (or more) of them will turn out to be the triple-threat star she’s always been — what grabbed me, given my age and predilections, was along the lines of “Damn, that’s a nice pair of stems for a woman of 82.”

Carol Burnett on the cover of Parade 22 January 2016

I duly dived into the archives, and found these:

Carol Burnett with a furry friend

Carol Burnett strikes a pose

Carol Burnett in Once Upon A Mattress

This last picture is from a revival of Once Upon a Mattress, a 1959 musical for which she won a Tony Award. There have been three television versions: I’m guessing this is the 2005 take, the one in which Burnett plays, not the hypersensitive princess, but the devious queen.

Addendum, 30 January: And apparently she has the temerity to show up at the SAG Awards in bedroom slippers, and fuzzy bedroom slippers at that.

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Which means, of course, “Don’t Do It Yourself.” If you ask questions like this, you will definitely qualify:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Where are the spark plugs located on a 2000 Mustang gt 4.6 motor?

Now what are the chances that a person who can’t find spark plugs on his own will be able to service said plugs?

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