Appropriate to the date

This won’t happen again until October, and possibly never again after that.

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Boost your shelf-esteem

Fourteen “Weird Al” Yankovic albums in one humongous (and tuneful!) box set:

Yes, even UHF.

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Oh, Snap

The story sounded ominous enough: Snapchat deleted the account belonging to tween singer/ukulele virtuoso Grace VanderWaal. “Whatever for?” I wondered, and then it occurred to me. And really, it should have been obvious:

Having grown up right as the internet was really becoming a thing that people of all ages used all the time for entertainment, millennials know more than most how easy it is to tell websites that want you to be a certain age that you are, actually, that age, even if you’re not. We’d like to say we learned this from alcohol websites that require you to be twenty-one because we’re cool and edgy, but honestly we learned it from Neopets and Livejournal. We’re old, get off of our lawn, etc. America’s Got Talent star Grace VanderWaal found out being famous makes it hard to spoof your age when Snapchat deleted her account for a very simple reason: She’s not yet thirteen, and that’s their age requirement. Hey, them’s the rules!

I should have caught on, knowing that Facebook believes my 18-year-old grandson to be 24 or thereabouts.

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No mat left unchewed

It’s the perfect Oregon pastime:

Back in August, we discovered potentially the perfect Oregon pastime: goat yoga. Basically, goat yoga is yoga except instead of with no goats, goat yoga has goats.

Those goats walk through the class, blending farm animal with asana. In August, Lainey Morse, owner of No Regrets Farm in Albany where the class takes place, told us, “My goats are very social and friendly animals and love to interact with people.”

“Animals are known to have so many health benefits for humans as well,” she added, “so the mix of goats and yoga seemed to fit.”

Oh, and this is what you wear to participate. If you want to, anyway.

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Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs

It had to happen eventually, I suppose:

Loren Ipsum was not available for comment.

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Unidentical twins

Received last night as comment spam:

On the other hand, a bad credit history won’t customize the rates much until you have high valued collateral to aid your buy (in the case of Secured Auto Loans). Such things as prepayment penalties, interest amounts and any other fee included will directly impact on your repayment ability. Of course, one must pay for that benefits of obtaining instant cash easily available as interest.

Seven minutes later, attached to the same post:

On the other hand, a bad credit standing won’t modify the rates much if you don’t have high valued collateral to help your buy (in the case of Secured Auto Loans). All you have to do is to fill a fairly easy application with all the details. Of course, you have to pay to the benefits of obtaining instant cash easily available as interest.

This bot apparently owns a thesaurus, but not a very good thesaurus. You can block it at 37.229.35.169.

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More mud pie, sir?

Newspaper clipping about Ryan DirteaterIn the Oklahoman’s seemingly interminable notes of everything conceivably connected to last night’s OKC Thunder/Memphis Grizzlies game, I found this little squib without the least bit of snark, which tells me that this is no laughing matter:

Seldom does a day pass when bull rider Ryan Dirteater isn’t asked if that’s his real last name.

“They think it’s fake,” he said. “It’s ironic that I’m a bull rider. You don’t want to eat dirt. But it is my real last name. I grew up with it.”

Dirteater might be a cool last name for a cowboy, but it was ripe for getting picked on when the Oklahoma native was a boy.

“I’ve heard it since I was a kid growing up, especially in high school,” said Dirteater, [27]. “Some of them made fun of my name back then, and now most of them want my autograph.”

The best revenge, as the phrase goes. To which I say: “See what the gentleman is drinking.”

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Someone really blue it

I remember griping about blue nail polish, particularly on one’s toes, thusly: “an enamel color more appropriate for minor trim pieces in a pediatrician’s office.” I think, though, that this is closer to the true demotivation:

[O]ne of my students (who worked as an orderly in an ER) talked about he could never get used to blue nail polish because … well, because of MORGUE reasons.

That would do it, yes.

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Called for icing

They keep on ratcheting up the potential damage from the impending (Thursday night through Saturday afternoon) ice storm. The higher it gets, the greater my fright level. Last Big Ice Storm, I had to be rescued from a dark house, trapped behind stacks of broken tree branches. And I was in fairly good condition back then. Today, not so much. I am seriously worried about survival here.

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Contentious to the last

The Memphis Grizzlies came to town, and they came to be as Grizzly as they possibly could, because that’s what they do; you have to wonder sometimes if maybe Quentin Tarantino is drawing up the plays. “An absolute grind,” muttered radio guy Matt Pinto during a fourth-quarter timeout, and he wasn’t kidding: to the extent possible, the Griz will simply wear you down. The Thunder know; they have to play these guys three or four times every season, and it almost always happens this way: up eleven at the half, they couldn’t find any way to create any serious distance between themselves and Memphis. (Last time they played was the exception that proves the rule: the Griz simply ground them into sausage and claimed an easy win.) OKC finally got a break with just over a minute left: Steven Adams delivered a fearsome swat, and Victor Oladipo turned it into three points, opening the Thunder lead to seven. Shortly thereafter, Jerami Grant saved a Russell Westbrook fumble and came up with an and-one, providing some breathing room, and the last 15 seconds took about 15 minutes to play, the Griz fighting on every single possession, because that’s what they do. Oklahoma City 103, Memphis 95 at the horn, evening up the season series at 1-1.

If anything stands out here, it was the Thunder’s ability to contain Marc Gasol, who was held to a mere nine points, around half his average. Then again, they couldn’t stop Mike Conley (22 points) or Chandler Parsons (14 points in 18 minutes). And Enes Kanter was Kanterlike in his insistence, conjuring up 19 points and retrieving 13 rebounds. For the “Did Westbrook get a triple-double?” fans, the answer is Yes: 24-13-12 despite shooting a sub-meh 6-19 from the floor. The Thunder shot only 45 percent overall, but the Griz were under 40 most of the night and finished at 41.

That long six-game road trip begins in Minnesota on Friday; I bet the Twin Cities have better weather than we do.

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At exactly the right time

She was in the right place, not once, but several times:

Clare Hollingworth, the veteran British war correspondent who broke the news of the Nazi invasion of Poland, has died in Hong Kong at the age of 105.

Hollingworth, who was born in Leicester in 1911, was the first to report on the invasion that triggered the outbreak of World War Two. She went on to report from Vietnam, Algeria and the Middle East.

A pretty full life for a newsperson.

Hollingworth was a rookie reporter for the Daily Telegraph when she fell upon “the scoop of the century”.

It was she who spotted German forces amassed on the Polish border while travelling from Poland to Germany in 1939.

The Daily Telegraph headline read: “1,000 tanks massed on Polish border. Ten divisions reported ready for swift strike” — but it did not carry her byline, a common practice for newspapers at the time.

She scored another scoop when the Nazis launched their invasion three days later.

A later exclusive, about the British spy Kim Philby, was spiked by The Guardian in 1963.

That figures. How did that happen, exactly?

In 1963 Hollingworth was working for the Guardian in Beirut when Kim Philby, a correspondent for the Observer, disappeared.

She was convinced that he was the fabled “third man” in a British spy ring that already included Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean.

After some detective work, she discovered that Philby had left on a Soviet ship bound for Odessa and filed copy to that effect with the Guardian.

But this second huge scoop was spiked by the paper’s editor, Alastair Hetherington, who feared a libel suit.

Three months later, the Guardian ran the story, tucked away on an inside page. The following day the Daily Express splashed it on the front page, prompting the government to admit that Philby had, indeed, defected to the Soviet Union.

Philby died in 1988 and was buried with honors in Moscow; nothing was said about Stalin’s suspicions that Philby was actually a triple agent, spying for MI6 while spying for the Soviets while working for MI6.

Hollingworth retired to Hong Kong at seventy, and was a regular at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club.

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Now, the gut news

The general opinion of the medical profession is that the appendix exists so that we can have appendicitis; it has no other function.

Then again, it might:

[T]he appendix has evolved independently in several mammal lineages, over 30 separate times, and almost never disappears from a lineage once it has appeared. This suggests that the appendix likely serves an adaptive purpose. Looking at ecological factors, such as diet, climate, how social a species is, and where it lives, they were able to reject several previously proposed hypotheses that have attempted to link the appendix to dietary or environmental factors. Instead, they found that species with an appendix have higher average concentrations of lymphoid (immune) tissue in the cecum. This finding suggests that the appendix may play an important role as a secondary immune organ. Lymphatic tissue can also stimulate growth of some types of beneficial gut bacteria, providing further evidence that the appendix may serve as a “safe house” for helpful gut bacteria.

Says Rand Simberg: “I’m always amazed at the hubris of people who think that, just because they can’t figure it out, something evolved in humans has no purpose.”

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That whatever-it-is over there

Contemporary automobiles are largely indistinguishable, to the annoyance of the Z Man:

The root of this, I suspect, is the dominance of the Left in American culture. The neo-Puritan hags have been screeching at us about how form must always follow function for so long we have lost our sense of style. You see that in cars where the goal of designers is to make them more aerodynamic and pack them with useful functions. The result is a fleet of well-built cars that look like they came from East German film noir during the Cold War. Our cars are ugly because inside, we have become an ugly people.

If you doubt this, look at pics of parking lots from 40-50 years ago. They were a carnival of colors, shapes and sizes. A person’s taste in cars said something about him, a form of advertisement. A people embracing life and its potential were out buying all sorts of cars in all sorts of colors. We are now a people marching to the inevitable end of our miserable existences so we buy cars that are suited for the task. The top three car colors in America are black, grey and white, with dark gray the top interior choice.

Disclosure: My car is white, with a dark-grey interior.

And actually, I’m kind of used to this particular shade of cheese-mold grey, which I’ve had for two of my last three cars. (In between was a Mazda 626 in Mojave Beige Mica, a name I never quite understood; I’ve driven through the Mojave, and it ain’t beige. Its interior, rather than cheese-mold grey, was more of a butterscotch-pudding shade.) At least it’s relatively free of brightwork: there’s a chrome bezel on the clock at the top of the center stack, which occasionally passes on some glare, but that’s about it. The logo on the steering wheel is sort of intaglio; I suspect that in later models they cut out a chrome-y looking brand emblem and pressed it into the embossed shape.

Still, next time around, if there is a next time around, I’d like something a bit less funereal.

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Prank level: expert

I have to admire the way this unfolded:

David Trott wrote about this in Creative Mischief.

Then there was the middle-management type I worked with who was visibly disturbed that maintenance had hung a ceiling fan directly over his desk: he just knew it was going to fall and decapitate him.

How would you exploit this fear?

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Several units of epicity

After running up $160,000 in health-care bills last year, I figure I deserve this particular accolade:

Epic Patient Refund

Apparently “Epic” is not actually an adjective, but the name of the hospital’s accounting system. Still, I needed a laugh, though not as much as I needed a hundred bucks.

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If you’ve had your fill of fillings

Perhaps they’re on the way out:

Researchers at King’s College London found that the drug Tideglusib stimulates the stem cells contained in the pulp of teeth so that they generate new dentine — the mineralised material under the enamel.

Teeth already have the capability of regenerating dentine if the pulp inside the tooth becomes exposed through a trauma or infection, but can only naturally make a very thin layer, and not enough to fill the deep cavities caused by tooth decay.

But Tideglusib switches off an enzyme called GSK-3 which prevents dentine from carrying on forming.

Scientists showed it is possible to soak a small biodegradable sponge with the drug and insert it into a cavity, where it triggers the growth of dentine and repairs the damage within six weeks.

The tiny sponges are made out of collagen so they melt away over time, leaving only the repaired tooth.

This wasn’t what they had in mind when Tideglusib was developed: it’s also been investigated as a treatment for Alzheimer’s. But hey, it’s not the first time a drug intended to treat A ended up treating B.

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man.)

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