We don’t read in this town

“This town” being Leawood, Kansas, hard by State Line Road and therefore practically in Missouri. The 30,000 or so residents are generally wealthy and possibly happy, and the authorities are decidedly anal:

Over the last year or so, Little Free Libraries have been sprouting up across the Kansas City metro. The idea is pretty simple: You construct a birdhouse-like box, paint it up, put it in your yard, and fill it with some books. Anybody who passes by is free to take a book, swap a book, or add a new book to the little library. It’s an informal thing that’s meant to promote literacy and community in a cute, friendly way.

Leawood ain’t about that life.

Brian Collins and his son, Spencer, built a Free Little Library as a Mother’s Day gift this year, at their home in north Leawood, near 89th Street and Ensley Lane. They went out of town for a few weeks and arrived home recently to find a letter from the city informing them that the structure ran against city codes. “Your take a book leave a book structure must be attached to the house,” the letter read.

Collins has since taken down the box, to the delight of at least one person:

KCTV 5 found a neighbor who is glad the city is forcing Collins to remove the library because it’s an “eyesore.” That person chose to speak anonymously, probably because he or she did not wish to be outed as the most boring/crotchety/joyless human in the metropolitan area.

If there’s a Homeowners’ Association in the neighborhood, this jerk(ette) is almost certainly on the board.

Note to Oklahoma City: Don’t even think of doing this. We’re doing fine.

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Quote of the week

Roberta X has had enough of our little pissing contests:

Once again, Larry Correia, John Scalzi and some nitwit I never heard of much are spatting. In a better world, I’d be able to say, “Boys! Go to your rooms,” but until I am elected Empress of All For Life, here’s a stopgap for the cheering hundreds, specifically those writing comments along the order of, “Yeah! $BAD _STUFF should happen to $GUY_I_DISAGREE_WITH! He’s bad and he should feel bad about it.”

Yeah, y’know what, Bucko? No. Not. This here is the United States of America and people are allowed to be right out there being WRONG, walking around and talking and spreading wrongness and bad advice everywhere. And dammit, that’s actually how most of us like it. Oh, we don’t want to sit next to ’em on the bus, those wrong people who disagree with us, but if it’s the last seat left, we will, and most of the time, they’ll even scooch over a bit.

And unfuck you Left, Right or Center if you don’t like that. No, seriously: that attitude is The Real Problem. It’s the very same exact damn thing that led to riots by chariot-team boosters in Byzantium. I don’t expect it will change, really.

You can read some of the spattage for yourself if you’re so inclined. In the meantime, I await the rise of her empire.

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But does it taste like chicken?

The Chinese division of Walmart is taking steps to improve packaged-food quality:

Wal-Mart plans to triple spending on food safety in China, where fox meat was found in packages labelled as “Five Spice” donkey meat in January.

The masquerading meat came from a local supplier. After the discovery, the company said it would increase checks on vendors to ensure they have the necessary permits and do DNA testing of meat sold in China.

I don’t know which possibility is more worrisome: that people can’t tell the difference between fox and donkey, or that they can.

(Via Interested-Participant.)

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Proper post-Soviet flats

A Russian lawmaker is pushing a measure which would ban high heels anywhere in the Russian Federation:

Oleg Mikheyev, a lawmaker with the pro-Kremlin A Just Russia party, says high heels, as well as trainers, ballet flats and men’s loafers, are bad for people’s health, and it’s time to take action, the Agence France-Presse reported.

“Footwear should have heels that are two to four centimeters high, five centimeters high at the most,” Mr. Mikheyev said in a proposal to the Customs Union, which also includes ex-Soviet states Belarus and Kazakhstan, AFP reported.

“The harmful effects of wearing extremely high heels and flat shoes have now been recognized by experts of the entire world,” it read. “It’s necessary to change this trend.”

Ninotchka, pick up on line two, please.

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Fark blurb of the week

Therapist arrestedafter reportof sexualassault.

(Linked to this [warning: irritating popup survey].)

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My tears are falling

And of course, you came in with ’cause you’ve taken her away, the opening to “Take Good Care of My Baby,” recorded by Bobby Vee in 1961, the second Number One hit for Brill Building stalwarts Carole King and Gerry Goffin. The first, you may remember, was the prodigiously influential “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” cut by the Shirelles in late 1960. Carole did the music, Gerry did the words; Eva Boyd, who did their baby-sitting, sang their third.

Goffin and King broke up in 1968; both stayed in the business and made lots of hits.

Then King tweeted today:

She was never the words person, but she came up with a few:

“Gerry Goffin was my first love. He had a profound impact on my life and the rest of the world. Gerry was a good man and a dynamic force, whose words and creative influence will resonate for generations to come. His legacy to me is our two daughters, four grandchildren, and our songs that have touched millions and millions of people, as well as a lifelong friendship. He will be missed by his wonderful wife Michele, his devoted manager, Christine Russell, his five children, and six grandchildren. His words expressed what so many people were feeling but didn’t know how to say.”

When they wed, Gerry was twenty; Carole was seventeen. He made it to seventy-five; she’s still working. And you know, she could knock out a lyric if she really wanted to.

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Baring up

From 1994, a Not Particularly Special Episode of Murphy Brown:

Accompanying Miles (Grant Shaud) on a shopping excursion, Murphy (Candice Bergen) inadvertently gets a glimpse of Miles’ “privates” as he tries on a new suit. News of this incident spreads like wildfire throughout the “FYI” office, subjecting poor Miles to a million-and-one bad jokes about his family jewels.

Twenty years later, Yahoo! Answers is awash in people all telling the same story: “OMG [individual(s)] saw me nude!” In vain will you, or will I anyway, tell them “No big deal”; they’re convinced that they are Forever Branded, and “What must they think of me?”

This fear extends even to people who routinely eschew clothing: for some — not all — there’s a compulsion to behave like choirboys, albeit sans robes, lest their reputations be shot. Even the American Association for Nude Recreation, itself occasionally viewed as hopelessly square, has acknowledged this:

[E]ven within the nudist lifestyle there are a lot of people who cannot separate the idea of being nude with the sexual act. Going from club to club, it’s truly amazing the different attitudes concerning what is sexual and what is not.

There are clubs that will not allow anyone to hold hands while being nude. There are clubs that will not allow tattoos or piercings for fear of being too sexual. At some clubs you cannot repeat an “off color” joke, no matter how funny it is. Then there are clubs that require clothing to be worn while dancing. And, of course, there are clubs that promote themselves as sexually open and have no problem with overt sexual activities. Yes, there is a third type of club that has found that balance between being overt sexually or scared to show any sexuality. The fact that you have these three different types of clubs makes it more confusing to separate the idea between being nude and having sex.

Talk to most anyone who is not a nudist and they will automatically assume that there are some sort of sexual implications associated with being a nudist. Some nudists go overboard trying to deny any sexuality with nudism.

It’s about time AANR admitted it, says Nudiarist:

AANR has stuck to their “family values” mantra, declaring that their clubs “foster a wholesome, nurturing environment for members and their families”. Certainly there are clubs that do indeed adhere to this strict definition, but there are many which cater to adults or couples only.

So this AANR blog post today is a first step in recognizing that the “one size fits all” idea is being consigned to the trash heap of history. Just the simple statement that some nudists “go overboard trying to deny any sexuality with nudism” is a clear indication that the days of the old guard are nearing an end.

I mean, wasn’t the whole idea of discarding your wardrobe to de-stress yourself?

Which is why the best line in that Murphy Brown episode was uttered by Corky Sherwood. Asked what was going on, she shrugged and said, “Oh, Murphy saw Miles’s wiener.” No big deal.

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Whose vault is this?

Part of the Coca-Cola legend is its quadruple-secret formula, allegedly known to only a few:

After Dr. John S. Pemberton invented Coca-Cola in 1886, the formula was kept a close secret, only shared with a small group and not written down. In 1891, Asa Candler became the sole proprietor of Coca-Cola after purchasing the rights to the business. Then, in 1919, Ernest Woodruff and a group of investors purchased the Company from Candler and his family. To finance the purchase Woodruff arranged a loan and as collateral he provided documentation of the formula by asking Candler’s son to commit the formula to paper. This was placed in a vault in the Guaranty Bank in New York until the loan was repaid in 1925. At that point, Woodruff reclaimed the secret formula and returned it to Atlanta and placed it in the Trust Company Bank, now SunTrust Bank, where it remained through 2011. On December 8, 2011, the Coca-Cola Company moved the secret formula to a purpose built vault in a permanent interactive exhibit at the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta.

Headquartered just up the road from Coca-Cola, in Sandy Springs, Georgia, is an eatery whose recipes, until this week, were owned by somebody else:

It might seem completely irrational for a fast-food company to not own the recipes that it uses every day, but that’s exactly what fried chicken place Popeyes has been doing for the last 23 years. The company has been paying an outside company $3.1 million per year in royalties for certain recipes that are crucial to its business, and recently paid $43 million for the rights to them.

If you’re wondering how this happens and how you can get into the rent-a-recipe business, it helps to know that the company that owned the recipes was started by the chain’s founder, Al Copeland, in 1984. Diversified Foods and Seasonings is a separate entity that sells most of the food that a Popeyes franchisee needs, from biscuit mixes to chicken batter to premade soups and macaroni and cheese.

In 1994, the company filed for bankruptcy and reorganized, and Copeland was ousted from the company he founded. He got to keep some Popeyes franchises … and DFS, the company with the contract to supply Popeyes restaurants with, well, food and seasonings.

Al Copeland didn’t live to see this development; he died in 2008 at sixty-four.

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There exists an app called Yo. What does it do, exactly?

Yo is the hottest new app that will leave you scratching your head. The entire premise of the app is to send other users a single word: Yo.

Yo currently has over 50,000 active users, after launching as a joke on April Fools’ Day. Users have sent over 4 million Yo’s to each other. Without ever having officially launched, co-founder and CEO Or Arbel managed to secure $1.2 million in funding from a list of unnamed investors, except for co-founder, angel, and Mobli CEO Moshe Hogeg, who participated in the round.

If you think you need this like the hole in the head you just scratched, well, the idea here is not so much the Yo, but the context of the Yo:

You’re at a bar with your best friend and a love interest. Both put a hand on your shoulder when they talk to you. From the outside, it all looks the same. But there’s a big difference between the comfortable touch of a close friend and the explorative graze of someone you may very well have sex with soon.

The next morning, your friend and your crush send you the exact same text. It says simply “Hey.” From your old pal, “hey” just means hey. But from your sexy friend, “hey” can mean anything from “last night was fun” to “I’m still thinking about you this morning.”

As with anything, a “Yo” can just be a yo. But you’ll feel a very real difference between a “Yo” you get in the morning from a friend and a “Yo” you get at 2 a.m. from a friend with benefits. Trust me.

Last night after I’d drafted this, I got a one-word spam, and that one word was “hey.” I have no idea what it means.

If we have to have a single syllable that’s fraught with meaning, I nominate a better one: “Dude.”

(Via this Nancy Friedman tweet. It should be noted here that the Knights Who Say “Ni” were not consulted.)

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Man, that’s deep

It is a measure of something, I am sure, that if you Google “deepak chopra quotes” you’ll definitely see this generator, which explains itself thusly:

It has been said by some that the thoughts and tweets of Deepak Chopra are indistinguishable from a set of profound sounding words put together in a random order, particularly the tweets tagged with “#cosmisconciousness”. This site aims to test that claim! Each “quote” is generated from a list of words that can be found in Deepak Chopra’s Twitter stream randomly stuck together in a sentence.

“Your desire reflects total acceptance of chaos,” it tells me.

(Snarfed from Erin Palette’s Facebook page. I have no doubt she enjoyed it greatly.)

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Still mounting up

April ’14, the White House:

President Barack Obama said the government will expand job-training and apprenticeship programs with a $600 million effort to equip workers with the skills sought by employers.

June ’14, Pawtucket:

The MY LITTLE PONY franchise remains a cherished brand worldwide by fans of all ages. Behind a successful global entertainment, licensing and retail strategy which re-launched the brand in 2010, MY LITTLE PONY has grown to represent approximately $650 million dollars at retail across all consumer products in 2013.

Not that I have a problem with spending more money on pony than on job training, mind you.

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Seams to me

Socks are not exactly mysterious — I put on a pair at least six days a week — but every now and then I notice that they’re not perfectly lined up. It doesn’t really matter, except for that little area between trouser hemline and shoe top, and probably not there either, but I do get exercised over such things.

Which makes me wonder how in the world women were able to put up with seamed stockings. One answer, circa 1953:

Larkwood hosiery ad from 1953

But seams were on the way out, what with the arrival of circular knitting machines, which had existed since the 1930s but were not perfected until after World War II.

Chadbourn, the Charlotte-based manufacturer of Larkwood, wound up also owning the Hudson brand.

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Or about $69 each

The Guinness people were called upon to certify it as The World’s Largest Videogame Collection — some 11,000 items — and it was auctioned off for $750,250.

The exact number of items is not clear:

The collection consists of all 10,607 games that were verified by The Guinness Book of World Records during the official count performed on December 3rd, 2012, as well as four hundred plus more games that I have acquired since. In total, OVER 11,000 GAMES!! Guinness did not count duplicates, so every game is unique with no repeats.

Ars Technica reports:

Seller Michael Thomasson has said in interviews that he set a “regimented budget” averaging about $3,000 a year for the past 20 years to build up his collection of more than 11,000 games and 100 consoles. That’s a pretty good return on investment for a part-time hobby and should hopefully go a long way toward helping Thomasson with the unspecified “family obligations” that led to the sale in the first place.

Apparently, though, he’s keeping all the consoles, in anticipation of a fresh start.

The buyer will pay a premium of 5% — $37,512.50 — to the auction house.

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Times is on my side

“Times New Roman is not a comedy font.”

It does, however, have the ability to get out of its own way:

Then again:

Two satirical readings were selected from the New York Times. These readings (one addressing government issues, the other education policy) were each printed in Times New Roman and Arial fonts of the same size and presented in randomized order to 102 university students, who ranked the readings on a number of adjective descriptors. Analysis showed that satirical readings in Times New Roman were perceived as more funny and angry than those in Arial, the combination of emotional perception which is congruent with the definition of satire.

As always, not to be confused with Times New Viking.

(Suggested by Laughing Squid.)

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Keeping the green in the greenhouse

A TTAC commenter, only slightly more caustic than average, on an inconvenient future:

The controversy will die instead, and people with a certain world view and agenda will invent another crisis, and deny they ever believed in catastrophic man-made global warming. Nothing effective is being done about carbon emissions, and, realistically, nothing can be done.

People do not want to be poor, so hydrocarbons are burned as fast as they can be pulled out of the ground. The more you burn, the wealthier you are. Al Gore burns a sh*t-ton. This will continue until hydrocarbons become scarce, which is not happening any time soon. Fracking is spreading across the world, and after fracking may come something else to get at even more hydrocarbons.

The apocalypse illusion is costly, because of the economic cost of farcical pinprick “carbon reduction” schemes, but ultimately moot. People will always burn as much hydrocarbon as they can get their hands on because they do not want to be cold and hungry. For the vast majority of applications, nothing else makes economic sense. The proof is in the numbers. Even the US partial conversion from coal to natural gas is meaningless. We just export the coal somewhere else, and they burn it. Debate all you want, climate religionists, you are p*ssing into the wind.

We will, of course, run out eventually. For the last hundred years or so, we’ve had maybe 10-15 years of the stuff left; I won’t be around for all of the next hundred, but I suspect the situation will be similarly dire. The supply of farcical pricks, however, will never, ever come close to being exhausted.

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Have you ever been spammed by an auto dealer? Rob O’Hara has, and he’s tired of it:

I’ve had a gmail address for a long time — I got it back when gmail was invite-only, in fact. Shortly after signing up for gmail I began getting spam e-mails from a Mini Cooper car dealership located in Peabody, Massachusetts named Mini of Peabody. Just to be clear: I have no interest in Mini Coopers, have never owned one, never plan to, and never signed up for Mini of Peabody’s e-mail newsletter.

The monthly e-mails from Mini of Peabody are big and colorful and hard to miss. I deleted the first one and the second one and the third one. The e-mails suggested that I add [address redacted] to my address book to ensure that I received their e-mails, but instead I did the opposite and added [same address still redacted] to my spam list. I also clicked on the “report this e-mail as spam” button in gmail. Still, somehow, the e-mails get through.

You don’t suppose this might be some of Google’s doing, do you? I mean, gmail is at least as important to their world-domination schemes as the tracking cookie.

Anyway, their ideas are not intriguing to him, and he does not wish to subscribe to their newsletter:

Back then I was naive enough to believe that clicking “unsubscribe from this newsletter” worked. It doesn’t, or at least didn’t in this case. I clicked their “unsubscribe” button, followed the weblink, entered my e-mail address to remove it from their mailing list … and still, the newsletters came. I have tried this multiple times.

And finally:

In October of 2013, a representative of Mini of Peabody contacted me personally and said they would remove my e-mail from their mailing list. They didn’t.

I wonder if escalation might be useful here. Anyone had any experience dealing with BMW of North America?

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