Fark blurb of the week

Comments (1)




Off to reform school with you

You may have heard the term “special snowflake” before. Here’s a particularly flaky example:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Parents won't buy me a nice car?

Speaking for the defense:

First, I am “spoiled” but if you’re going to comment that I am you’re wasting your time because believe me, I know I am.

Okay so I drive a 15 year old POS that doesn’t even start all the time. It’s a crappy Nissan SUV that’s in an ugly girly color. The inside is crappy and I feel embarrassed driving my gf or even my friends in there because it is so filthy. It’s almost disrespectful to my passengers and I try to clean it but you can’t get out decade old stains and smells. At my HS, kids drive NEW BMW 4 series coupes, Mercedes Benz, even Porsches I know 4 girls who drive 911s. Like everyone in my town, including my family, is very wealthy. We live in the wealthiest county in Florida. Kids get dropped off at school in Teslas, limos, and their nanny’s range rovers. And I don’t get why my parents can’t just buy me a 15k BMW!? Like my wrist watch is probably worth more than my car. It is so frustrating. My best friend drives a new Mercedes c250 and my other friend has a 2012 5 series. It is just annoying af and I feel self conscious because they have plenty of money to buy me a used car. That would be like your parents saying they don’t have $2 for a vending machine water when they obviously do. I have a job, but it’s an internship at a real estate office and there’s no way in hell I can afford a car making minimum wage. What should I do

This is how your parents got rich: not buying you crap.

Only one question left: does he run for Congress in ’26, or wait until ’28?

Comments (5)




Conference room A, one hour

The organization doesn’t exist that never holds meetings. But there is such a thing as overdoing it:

When I worked in the high-corp world, especially when I was the executive assistant to the vice-CEO of a NASA corporation, I learned the value of regularly held meetings. But my boss held back-to-back meetings all damned day, thus eating up my time with creating Excel spreadsheets, running upstairs to rip them off of the huge Calcomp printer, then running back downstairs to mount them on the wall of his conference room. Hour. After. Hour. Taking care of 12 departmental checkbooks, requisitioning tools and parts, and performing secretarial tasks for his departmental heads had to be sandwiched in between my jogs up and down stairs. It’s no wonder that I won an unofficial poll as “Best Legs in the Company” and that I brought home huge paychecks that included three or four hours of overtime every day. Those checks helped me pay for that penthouse with the view of the Pacific, which I seldom saw because I never came home until well after dark. That job taught me the frustration of redundancy and meeting overkill. I used to joke with my boss that he and his heads must be Baptists, who are famous for holding meetings to schedule meetings.

Grateful am I that I work on one floor and one floor only — though that floor has a single step that I must traverse dozens of times a day, playing hell with my knees. And none of my paychecks are huge enough to afford a penthouse, which may be just as well since the damned thing would perforce be upstairs.

Comments




Strange search-engine queries (450)

The number 450 hasn’t a great deal of applicability in real life: for me, it’s the temperature to which I should have preheated the oven instead of 400, but I didn’t notice until I’d already shoved in a full baking sheet. In Canada, it’s the score for a perfect game (twelve consecutive strikes) in five-pin bowling. Anyway, here are this week’s search strings:

“baby duck syndrome” asperger:  This perhaps explains more about the grown-up Donald than Disney had intended.

blurbese:  The language of marketing. Any similarity to English is coincidental and not intended.

scdo 07 latex corset ballet boots:  As seen on People of Wal-Mart.

the wonderful webers:  Not referring to grilles, either.

slightly skewed skateboards of oklahoma:  You know, we wouldn’t have this issue if we had some real sidewalks.

626 capella glx fuel consamptoin:  It’s like “consumption,” only faster.

celia ebert one buckhead loop condo association:  Never met Ms Ebert, but I’ve seen plenty of buckheads thrown for a loop.

the boston rag:  That would be the Globe. (The rival Herald is more of a dustcloth.)

elyse moore diaryland xanga:  Um, did you try Geocities?

martha lasley “clean language”:  Um, did you try Geocities?

cold calculating thinking:  Less common than it used to be, but so are other varieties of thinking.

Comments (3)




Several last things

The other day I got Twitterspammed — if that isn’t a word, it should be — by someone whose main interest in life, judging by that day’s tweet production, was promoting this song:

“Good theme that swings”? Okay, I’ll look.

This was the song, and I liked it enough to snag it from iTunes:

I know from nothing here, except that Aldrey is from Venezuela, and that this video was shot largely at a pediatric hospital in Maracaibo — which makes its bucket-list lyrics just a hair more poignant.

Comments




Hardly seems fair

Jennifer McClintock saw this being vended at the State Fair of Oklahoma this week, and decided “Pretty sure I’m going to pass on this one”:

Scorpion Pizza at State Fair of Oklahoma

Apparently it was a big hit in Calgary back in July:

The owner of the Pizza on a Stick stand says she’s the sole scorpion pizza vendor at Stampede, and confirmed slices are expected to return this week.

“I’m hoping Thursday, but definitely by Friday,” Percsilla Larue told the Herald. Her stand ran out of $10 scorpion pizza slices Monday after demand was higher than expected.

“People love it. I had one guy come back twice for more slices,” said Larue, who describes it as “crunchy.” She said staff were surprised by how many people came asking on last Thursday’s Sneak-a-Peek.

I dunno. You tell me that a pizza with scorpions on it is sixty bucks, and the first thing I’m going to ask is “How much is it without scorpions?”

Comments (7)




Old chum

This has nothing to do with Cabaret, or for that matter with cabaret — unless you were hoping someone would invite you.

Comments




Ferric oxide never sleeps

My car’s otherwise pristine flanks are marred by none-too-faint traces of the tinworm along the rear wheel wells, the right worse than the left. (There’s another outcropping along the radiator support, less visible but more worrisome.) I tend to think of it as a reminder that unto dust we shall return, and that goes for our toys as well. And at least it was a good paint job at one time, unlike some we’ve heard about:

I finally got around to putting a bunch of Zaino not-quite-wax on the thing last week and I noticed that Honda’s inability to paint cars properly in the United States has yet to be completely addressed. After 12,000 miles, the Accord has more rock chip damage and wear on the front than any of my Volkswagens, BMWs, or Porsches had after three times that much distance. No orange in history has ever had as much orange peel as this Honda and where the paint has chipped off you can see just how thin it is. Oh well. My 1986 Jaguar Vanden Plas had brilliant and flawless lacquer that was approximately as thick as a trauma-plated bulletproof vest but it also failed to make it to 75,000 miles without requiring the replacement of every rubber part in the suspension and body. Choose your battles.

Indeed. (Gwendolyn has a shade under 153,000 miles at this writing.)

Comments




The new automotive priorities

The big thing at General Motors this fall, apparently, is in-car Wi-Fi. A two-page Buick ad in the new InStyle (October) contains this image:

In the back seat of a Buick Regal

The young lady, resplendent in orange, is obviously making best use of her time in the back seat. (Of course it’s the back seat: you don’t want drivers doing this, the curve of the roofline gives it away, and anyway this is the view from outside the car.) Apart from telling you that you can get a mobile hotspot, though, this ad tucks in a couple of additional messages that aren’t spelled out:

  • The average age of Buick buyers has actually been declining, from recently deceased to somewhere in the fifties, but there’s really no percentage to marketing to us old codgers, set in our ways, so let’s show someone about half that age.
  • Fear of cramped back seats haunts us all, or at least those of us who occasionally might find occasion to carry someone in the back seat, so the fact that Miss Tablet can actually cross her legs back there is reassuring, though I’m not sure how close her head is to the ceiling.

This latter point is seldom made by automakers; I can remember only once in recent years when it was blatant, and even then it was only a tweet.

Comments




Flagging interest

The national flag should embody the values of the nation, or so I was told back in secondary school, before Mozambique gained independence from Portugal and adopted this nifty little banner:

Flag of Mozambique adopted 1983

Why, yes, that is an AK-47. Says Wikipedia:

Green stands for the riches of the land, the white fimbriations signify peace, black represents the African continent, yellow symbolizes the country’s minerals, and red represents the struggle for independence. The rifle stands for defence and vigilance, the open book symbolizes the importance of education, the hoe represents the country’s agriculture, and the star symbolizes Marxism and internationalism.

Yellow minerals? Well, yes, they do mine gold there, but the volume items seem to be aluminum and natural gas.

A 2005 proposal to remove the rifle from the flag was defeated on a party-line vote.

Comments




A two-octave range

I have always wondered — since the early 1970s or thereabouts, anyway — just how it was that Bernie Taupin could churn out the words first, and only then would Elton John come up with a melody to fit them.

I need no longer wonder:

(Via Maureen Johnson.)

Comments (1)




Where have all gozintas gone?

An interesting theory being put forth here: “Education reforms are driven mostly by what is fun for schoolteachers to teach.” Example:

After all, what is the standard rap against “traditional” math? The main complaint is that it’s “just” teaching “rote” memorization. But what’s wrong with rote memorization? Speaking as someone who got pretty far in math, I’d say that when it comes to the basic arithmetic kids are trying to absorb at the grade-school level, rote memorization is just fine. Arithmetic is one of those things that’s utterly boring once you know it, and once you absorb the patterns. But until that happens, “rotely memorizing” it is just as fine a method as any other. “Rote memorization” isn’t a bad way to teach, it’s just a dreary way to teach. So teachers refuse to do it, and will work up whatever education theories they need in order to not have to. Even if it works.

A lot of the pressure towards New, Fun Stuff originated with the fact that not everyone learns at the most effective rate in exactly the same way, but things just got out of hand after that:

It’s true that when it comes to a typical arithmetic problem, there are multiple ways to attack it, none of them “wrong.” If you get the right answer, using right logic, the method cannot have been “wrong.”

The problem is that this sort of observation — like the buzzword “STEM” — is dangerous. Once it trickles down into mainstream educational usage it becomes an elementary schoolteacher telling her class that this or that math problem “has no right answer.” Which is totally wrong! Of course there’s a right answer! There are even right and wrong (false logic/incorrectly-reasoned) methods! In the great game of telephone that is apparently schoolteacher theory, the (correct enough) view that “there’s no single correct algorithm, algorithms that use correct logic are all equivalent and must necessarily lead to the same right answer, so one should use whichever algorithm works for them” has gotten all garbled and reinterpreted to mean something like “all algorithms are equally ok and there’s no single right answer.”

Cue Professor Tom Lehrer: “But in the new approach, as you know, the important thing is to understand what you’re doing, rather than to get the right answer.”

Back in the Old Silurian times, we were told that 9 X 7 was 63 because if we had seven groups of nine items, or nine groups of seven items, we would perforce have 63 items, and we could test this on anything we had at least 63 of. Since counting items took up lots of time, it became easier just to memorize the tables up to 12 or so.

(You remember gozintas, right?)

Comments (7)




Too much legacy

@SwiftOnSecurity posted a screencap of this last night, then took it down within minutes for reasons unknown, but not before I’d gotten a screencap of my own, and I eventually turned up the source on reddit:

I tried to take care of a customer that has manufacturing equipment that required MSDOS on a 386. There’s no way it will run on anything newer because it was built with timing loops that expect a (33?)Mhz processor and the cards require an ISA bus.

It won’t run on a VM or on anything newer and I was unable to find hardware to run it and finally gave up and recommended they contact the original engineer for specs (custom built controllers, steppers, etc) and get ready for a rebuild and rewrite.

They never called back and I assume they’ll just run it until it dies, then close the doors.

I can’t help but think there’s someone out there with a twenty-year-old Packard Bell clunker who thinks he’ll get $100 for it in a yard sale.

Comments (3)




Definitely fishy

The local supermarkets seem to sell a ton of tilapia, probably because it’s relatively cheap. Fillyjonk, for one, won’t touch the stuff:

Actually, some of the Healthists claim that Tilapia really isn’t all that great for you after all — something to do with the balance of Omega 6 and Omega 3 acids. (The fact that it eats excrement apparently isn’t even a blip on the radar)

Me? I hate most fish and won’t eat it. I make an exception for freshly-caught panfish and the occasional wildcaught salmon.

This particular claim by “Healthists” (I gotta steal that term) drew this open letter from a consortium of scientific types:

US Department of Agriculture statistics indicate that farmed tilapia and catfish contain somewhat more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3. Most health experts (including organizations such as the American Heart Association and the American Dietetic Association) agree that omega-6 fatty acids are, like omega-3s, heart-healthy nutrients which should be a part of everyone’s diet. Omega-6 fatty acids are found primarily in vegetable oils (corn, soybean, safflower, etc) but also in salad dressings, nuts, whole-wheat bread, and chicken.

Replacing tilapia or catfish with “bacon, hamburgers or doughnuts” is absolutely not recommended.

And that would seem to be that — except for this:

While working in Mexico I found that some Beltrán-Leyva Cartel types were feeding people they killed to farmed tilapia in the Puerto Vallarta area to hide the bodies. Other disturbing reports indicated that the Arellano-Felix Cartel people were doing it in Northern Mexico as well to get rid of their rivals. Apparently tilapia enjoy the meal and grow even more rapidly with the steady supply of protein.

Most of these fish find their way to tables in Mexico and to tourist destinations along the Mexican Riviera, so buying and eating them in the US is likely cartel-influence free. Personally I’ve been put off on eating them.

Beltrán-Leyva has supposedly been inactive for several years, but yes, that sort of thing is off-putting: you generally don’t see this issue with bacon, hamburgers or doughnuts.

(That cartel link via Bayou Renaissance Man.)

Comments (6)




Crewe cuts

Bob Crewe made great records in the Fifties, the Sixties, and into the Seventies and Eighties. When word came down that he’d died in a Maine nursing home Thursday — complications from a fall, which is something you don’t want to have at eighty-three — I slapped a bunch of them on the stereo, and finally declared two personal favorites, both by the 4 Seasons, both produced by Crewe, both co-written by Crewe with 4 Seasons stalwart Bob Gaudio, released within ten weeks of one another in that magical year of 1964. Fifty years later, these tracks still make me smile, and sometimes a great deal more than that.

“Rag Doll” (Philips 40211) hit #1; “Save It For Me” (Philips 40225) made #10. And the triple threat — the unshakable romanticism, the pristine Crewe production, and the “sound” of Frankie Valli (so declared on the 45 label) — make these two tracks stand out in a year the historians have inexplicably ceded to Beatlemania.

Also worth tracking down: the Motor-Cycle LP (1969) by Lotti Golden, then a New York City teenager, as forceful as Janis Ian and as lyrical as Laura Nyro. The seven-minute epic “The Space Queens (Silky Is Sad),” leading off side two, is sliced into four movements, just like “MacArthur Park”; for the second, Crewe fashions a Wall of Sound worthy of Phil Spector — and apparently without any overdubs, either.

And just to top it off: “What Now My Love,” the French standard “Et Maintenant” with English lyrics by Carl Sigman, previously charted by Sonny & Cher and by Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass, cast by Crewe as a psychedelic torch song (!) starring Mitch Ryder, so far over the top you can barely see it from the ground, which managed #30 in Billboard for Crewe’s DynoVoice label, then just starting a distribution deal with Dot.

(Extreme trivia: During the days when we had both mono and stereo records to pick from the racks, there were different catalog numbers for each variety, sometimes changing just a prefix, sometimes adding a digit — usually 7 — to the front, sometimes doing, well, whatever the hell it was CBS was doing in those days. DynoVoice of this era was the only label I ever heard of that added a 3, a bit of weirdness for which I am grateful to Bob Crewe.)

Comments (3)




Give ’til it hurts

Okay, maybe you’ve overdone it a little:

If nothing else, this proves that there is no substitute for hands-on experience.

Comments (2)