Quote of the week

The future of the sports car, says Jack Baruth, looks bleak indeed:

Of all the objects we use in our daily lives, only the automobile is truly expected to suffer in perpetuity for its ecological doubleplusungoodcrimethink. My God, for three dollars I can buy a bag of razors and use each one of them like four times and just pitch it in the trash when I’m done. Why it is that I can buy twenty pounds of plastic razors a year but Porsche has to geld the 911 in order to satisfy the unelected bureaucrats of the European Union? What if I could arrange to shave with a straight razor and sharpen it myself and keep it for like ten years? Could I, at that point, have a 2017 Carrera GTS that is just like the 2015 Carrera GTS, only maybe with more logical satellite-radio controls?

Here’s the worst part, and I swear to you that I will be proven right on this: it will all be for naught, in the long run. You cannot successfully appease the tyranny of the environmentalists any more than Neville Chamberlain could wheedle and kneel his way out of the Anschluss. More concessions will be necessary, and the pace at which the goalposts are moved — the rate of change, the acceleration of aggression towards our beloved internal combustion — will increase until it cannot be satisfied. In the long run, we will be confined to vomit-colored plastic transportation modules and if your behavior is exceptionally deferential towards your betters you may be granted a transparent roof so you can watch them fly overhead.

In the longer-than-long run — well, you have to Read The Whole Thing. I hope he’s right about that, because he’s almost certainly right about the near term.

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So much for Extra Lean

Vegans may want to click on something other than thisanything other than this — right about now:

Location based dating apps like Tinder are great for assessing prospective dates based purely on their looks and proximity, but sometimes you can’t help but feel like it would be nice to know a little bit more about this person before you swipe them into your life. Sometimes you have want the answer to some deeper questions, like “do you prefer turkey bacon or pork bacon?” If the answer to this question is make or break in your prospective relationships, you might be interested in Oscar Mayer’s new bacon-based dating app called Sizzl.

Possibly the most ridiculous but admirable marketing product of all time, Sizzl will allow you access to a network of bacon lovers, which makes your chances of finding that perfect someone look pretty good.

There are people who love bacon even more than I do, but they’re probably wearing the stuff already; it hardly seems necessary to develop an app to find them.

There is, of course, a subtle form of discrimination afoot:

Right now Sizzl is available exclusively on the apple store for free on versions iOS 8 and later, so sorry Android users, it looks like you’ll have to eat your bacon alone this evening. We feel a bit left out.

It’s always something, isn’t it?

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An enterprising young ghoul

Anyone who has more than a smidgen of archives — well, anyone who has more than a smidgen of archives and is goofy enough to disclose an email address — gets the occasional letter from someone more than happy to point out a broken link and suggest a replacement. Sometimes the replacement is relevant. Then there’s this earnest letter from one “Marlene” in Britain:

Good afternoon, I have found a broken resource on your site, I have listed all the details below so that you can find it and fix it easily. I have also included a link to an article that I wrote and as you will be fixing the broken link anyway, I thought you may like to add a link to my article about “The definitive guide to funeral flowers”.

What was fun about this was the nature of the rotted link: it connected to an old story about disgraced forensic chemist Joyce Gilchrist, who passed away earlier this year. Some of Gilchrist’s more dubious findings resulted in having to obtain funeral flowers, but somehow jamming Marlene’s article into the piece seemed just a hair inappropriate.

That said, however, it’s a very nice article, so should you be interested in funeral flowers — keep in mind, I am very old — this is the piece she offered. Meanwhile, I replaced the old Gilchrist link with a new Gilchrist link.

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Assign it to my holding company

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me, um, how about this?

From the story:

The famous psychedelic Porsche convertible driven by late singing legend Janis Joplin is going up for sale.

Auction house RM Sotheby’s said the Porsche 356C 1600 Cabriolet would go on the block on December 10 in New York and estimated the sale would generate more than $US400,000.

Joplin’s family, after lending it to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland for the last couple of decades, has decided for some reason to sell the car. A ’65, this was one of the last 356 models to be produced, after which Porsche moved on to the 911. Presumably, her friends all drove these.

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With the wind in your hair and everything

Turns 8 and 8A at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca are referred to as the Corkscrew, because — well, try to watch the background here while this five-year-old gets the ride of her life:

Now technically, that’s a half-bike; it’s connected to her dad’s two-wheeler up front, where the camera is. So she wasn’t going anywhere for those few seconds she let go of the handlebars. But damn if that doesn’t look like fun.

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For those who think dung

Okay, it may look funny, but it makes a certain amount of sense:

The OCWC Manure Share is a free manure exchange program for Arizona Residents and Business Owners that brings gardeners and landscapers searching for organic materials for use in composting or field applications in contact with farmers and livestock owners who have excess manure.

This benefits the water quality of the Oak Creek Watershed by removing excess nutrients from farms and ranches and by lowering the amount of commercial fertilizer used by gardeners and landscapers.

The more I think about the idea, the more I like it. (Let’s face it: the material in question is seldom distributed optimally.)

Still, there’s always going to be a punchline quality to it.

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On time and moving along

The yutzim of Yahoo! Answers fear timing belts the way political operatives fear subpoenas: how could anything good come from them?

This ought to exasperate a few of them:

I just realized our Mitsubishi Endeavor was overdue for a timing belt. The factory maintenance schedule calls for replacement at 105,000 miles and we are at 113,000. Not something you want to stall on as failure of this $2 part will destroy your $5,000 engine, so belly up to the bar and flex your credit card or prepare for two days of hard labor.

It probably costs more than $2, but it doesn’t really matter how much it costs because the big pain is the time and effort needed to do the work. The Endeavor, like most modern cars has the engine mounted transversely, which means the front of the engine (where all the belts are) is pushed up against the right front fender. A whole boat load of stuff has to come off before you can even see the timing belt, much less get to it. A shop will charge 5 or $600 just for the labor.

For what it’s worth, several Ferraris require that the engine actually be removed to change out the belt, which if you’re really lucky will not run you more than four figures.

“Lucky you,” they say to me. “You have a chain.” Yeah, but chains have tensioners too, and tensioners are no more reliable in this application, and if the chain goes, about the top 40 percent of the engine goes with it. (Part price: $121. Book labor: 12.8 hours. So in the unlikely event that nothing else broke, a bad chain is $1500 to start.)

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Slightly less nude

We are fans of Stuart Weitzman’s deliciously insubstantial “Nudist” shoes, though admittedly we’re not likely to see them often in the circles in which we usually travel. This year there’s a variation on the theme with the name “Nudistsong”, sporting a couple new colors and a slightly lower heel (3¾ inches).

Nudistsong by Stuart Weitzman

The price is not even slightly lower, at $398. If you want this look but want to hold on to more of your hard-earned cash, listen up to Cristina:

Although there have been a vast array of less expensive “nudist” copycats around, the knock-off sandal style that comes the absolute closest to Weitzman’s more expensive version, is Steve Madden’s “Stecy”. Not surprising, really, as Madden could easily be crowned King of designer shoe knock-offs (well, maybe? possibly? second to Jeffrey Campbell?). The Madden brand is really, really good at their unrelentless copying (see its take on Brian Atwood here!), which is more than evident with the outcome of the “Stecy”. Online reviews of Madden’s $80, more affordable shoe version have been mixed, as it seems to fit a slimmer foot & ankle, which from what I understand is a close fit to the actual Nudist itself.

Differences? She found a few, and really not too few to mention:

[T]he Madden version has a slightly lower heel & padded insole (which can be considered added value, allowing for greater comfort!). It has a synthetic lining & outsole vs. leather ones. The toe strap is slightly thicker. But all in all, it’s an aesthetically pleasing duplicate & if the fit of the shoe works well for your foot, it’s definitely a bargain at 1/5 of Weitzman’s original. Definitely a great look for less! Unless, of course, you’ve seen The Wolf of Wall Street & have a developed a deep-seeded issue with Madden’s shady past.

My seeds are shallow as can be.

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The Gas Game (rebooted)

Last year about this time, I signed up for Oklahoma Natural Gas’s Voluntary Fixed-Price Plan, which guaranteed me a price of $5.349 per dekatherm no matter what the spot price might be. Since I pay only cursory attention to the spot price — and since ONG’s gas contracts can date to pretty much anywhere in the calendar — I have no good way of knowing how the Plan is going to work out a year in advance, so it’s pretty much a crapshoot based on a gut instinct, and let us not mix that metaphor further.

Spot price, as it happens, is hovering around $3. This means that at any given moment, ONG’s gas supply can be billed at anywhere from $2.99 to about twice that. This year’s Fixed Price offering is $3.751 for twelve months, which I’m going to take, based on last year’s experience:

Last winter [2013-14], which was a sumbitch by any standards, my worst-case consumption was 12.3 Dth over 32 days, including several days which dipped well below 10°F. At $5.349, including all the taxes and charges and fees and whatnot, this volume works out to about $110, which I consider in the bearable range.

Exclusive of all those taxes and charges and fees, 12.3 Dth would be $15-20 cheaper still. And spending less, I submit, has a great deal to recommend it.

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Porked over

The eternal struggle to obtain the McRib just got more complicated:

The McRib is back on the McDonald’s menu (McYaaaay), but this year, only around 8,000 of the roughly 14,000 restaurants will be serving the cult-classic sandwich (McNoooo).

CNBC reports that McDonald’s gave franchisees the option to decide whether they want to carry the McRib or not, and only a little over half of them said yes (McWhyyyy).

What were the other ones thinking?

As of today, there is no McRib to be had within a couple hundred miles. This cannot be allowed to stand.

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Purell you say

Ramones Leave Home is one of those albums that got edited shortly after the original release, owing to serious pearl-clutching over track 5, “Carbona Not Glue,” the lyrics of which expressed a definite preference among major juvenile huffing substances. Certainly, though, none of these young punks would actually drink carbon tetrachloride.

But hand sanitizer? That’s different:

A new report is cautioning parents about the risks of seemingly harmless liquid hand sanitizer, after an increase in calls to poison control centers about children who’ve ingested enough of substance to make them dangerously drunk.

Since 2010, poison control center hotlines in the United States have seen almost a 400% increase in calls related to kids under 12 consuming hand sanitizer, CNN reports, citing new analysis by the Georgia Poison Center.

The high alcohol content in liquid hand sanitizer — ranging anywhere from 45% to 95% alcohol, compared to wine and beer at 12% and 5% alcohol — can easily cause alcohol poisoning with just two or three squirts, experts say. Children may become confused, vomit or experience drowsiness, and in extreme cases, a child might stop breathing.

Obviously the kids would be better off buying beer — even Oklahoma 3.2-percent quasi-near-beer. And it wasn’t that long ago I, a person of Obvious Age, got carded for purchasing a can of Krylon spray paint.

There needs to be a central database for all the stuff kids will attempt to ingest in a desperate attempt to get a buzz. I suggest they call it the Huffing (Some) Post.

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Iron Man, Jr.

First name is “Soldering.”

Actually, if it had been, the poor kid might have gotten off easier:

Ahmed Mohamed — who makes his own radios and repairs his own go-kart — hoped to impress his teachers when he brought a homemade clock to MacArthur High on Monday.

Instead, the school phoned police about Ahmed’s circuit-stuffed pencil case.

So the 14-year-old missed the student council meeting and took a trip in handcuffs to juvenile detention. His clock now sits in an evidence room. Police say they may yet charge him with making a hoax bomb — though they acknowledge he told everyone who would listen that it’s a clock.

In the meantime, Ahmed’s been suspended, his father is upset and the Council on American-Islamic Relations is once again eyeing claims of Islamophobia in Irving [Texas].

This would never, I suspect, have happened to Joe Sixpack’s kid Ethan. Meanwhile, school officials have already sent their CYA letter [pdf] to district parents.

Inevitably, POTUS has weighed in.

I think I need more clocks around here.

Updates in the comments.

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So young, she was

Memory Alpha reports:

Over the years, some had found a way to circumvent the energy barrier and reach the surface. They were part of a rebellious minority who wanted to explore other possibilities, and no longer wished to remain dependent on the Caretaker. Among them was Kes. She was frustrated that the Ocampa had been dependent on the Caretaker for so long that they couldn’t even think for themselves anymore. She knew that before they had given up their independence for comfort and security, they had been a people with full command of their minds’ abilities, abilities they had lost because they stopped using them and began to just take what they were given. Kes did not want to walk the path the Caretaker had set for her and other Ocampa anymore; she believed her people needed to evolve, and that they could only do so by learning to survive on their own and on their own terms.

Evolution evidently doesn’t work consistently throughout the known universe:

Jennifer Lien, who played “Kes” the Ocampa medical assistant in the first three seasons of “Star Trek: Voyager” was arrested on September 3 for indecent exposure.

Lien, who recently turned 41, was arrested at her home in Harriman, Tennessee on September 3. According to deputies, Lien had an active warrant in Roane County on two counts of exposing herself to a child under the age of 13.

In a strange twist to an already unsettling story, while delivering a Detainer Summons, Lien allegedly yelled to the deputies to come in after they arrived at her residence. Deputies said Lien was on a couch only covered by a blanket. When they told her about the warrant, Lien is said to have told the deputies that they needed to leave her alone. After repeatedly asking her to put on clothes, Lien is said to have them she would have all of them shot and killed, according to the police report.

Never got over the loss of Neelix, I suspect.

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Beyond any possible quantity of Kool-Aid

Whatever this nimrod has been drinking, it’s done hellacious damage:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Reasons why the rich and famous won't leave earth due to a supposed asteroid. Also reasons why the world WON'T end in Sept 2015 please read

If you insist on reading:

So many celebrities are my role models like Patricia Hodge and Ashleigh Ball (‘Littlest Pet Shop’), and you have no idea how hurtful it is that they use all their hard work to keep a secret with the government and leave earth. I feel betrayed! I hope to heaven it’s not true! Also, I need scientific reasons why the world won’t end this month. Scientific and mature reasons for why the world isn’t going to end. Thank you for your time adressing this.

Were there true balance in the universe, this kid would be stumbling in front of a speeding bus on the first of October.

And even the Sweet Meteor O’Death isn’t due until after the first of the year.

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Otherwise occupied

I’m taking this at face value, so to speak:

New York Fashion Week is a busy time for models, and Kendall Jenner is proving just how hectic it can be. On Sunday, the model of the moment took to Instagram to share a video of herself shaving her legs, which she captioned: “so much fashion, not enough week #YouGottaDoWhatYouGottaDo.” And while the fact that the reality star was performing this mundane personal hygiene task wasn’t all that surprising, it was where she was doing it that had us doing a double take: in a car. That’s right — Jenner was shaving her legs in the back of a car, presumably en route to a show. Talk about a multi-tasker.

On the upside, at least she wasn’t driving.

(Know Your Jenners: Kendall is a year and a quarter, more or less, older than Kylie.)

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Choosy beggars

As long as we’re talking about panhandlers, and we were, not so long ago, here is the encapsulated experience of our man on the downtown streets:

He continues:

I do think our society does way too little and has a poor understanding of issues involving poverty, mental illness and substance abuse. And I will acknowledge that some panhandlers are either poor or struggling with illness or abuse — but I believe they are the minority.

I used to carry a packet of free bus ride tickets, etc. to give to panhandlers who claimed they needed money for transportation, food… The passes, etc., were turned down all but one time — and the guy who took the pass still wanted money.

I have long suspected that some variation on Gresham’s Law was taking place: the truly needy are being crowded out by the scamsters. Not that this would be entirely unpredictable, of course: there is, as I always say, no system that can’t be gamed. Still, a few hardy souls persist:

A year ago today, Calvin was sleeping outside in a tent. TODAY Calvin is sleeping in his very own apartment! Congratulations, Calvin! We are so proud of your hard work! Calvin uses the income he earns from selling Curbside to afford all of his rent and expenses. Thank you Journey Home OKC and OKC Housing Authority for helping Calvin find affordable housing and making this possible. And thank YOU for helping Calvin achieve his financial goals by supporting him through sales. Calvin has worked extremely hard to reach this goal. You can find him selling at NW Expressway and Classen on the daily.

I’ve bought from Calvin before, in fact. And I’d just as soon not see him put out of a job, however tenuous it may seem, just because some people find it easier to beg than to work.

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