McCrab?

Well, not in Topeka, but you gotta start somewhere:

McDonald’s is planning to launch a crab sandwich in the San Francisco Bay area.

The fast food giant says the sandwich consists of snow crab meat mixed with mayonnaise and served with tomato and lettuce on a sourdough bun. It says it worked with San Francisco chef and former Top Chef contestant Ryan Scott to create the sandwich.

Current testing is taking place in four locations in San Jose; if things go well, McCrab (or whatever it’s called) will spread across the Bay area, and perhaps even beyond.

Best snark so far:

(Via Fark.)

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The ink conspiracy exposed

Everyone who’s ever owned an inkjet printer knows that the major expense is not the printer itself, but the ink it keeps demanding. Meh.com was frank about this day before yesterday:

The cheap-printer hustle is just a recent iteration of an age-old game. The manufacturer takes a loss to get you hooked with a cheap printer. They give you all this molded plastic and tooled metal, all this sophisticated circuitry, this array of precision sprayers, for less than it cost them to make.

Because they know that once you buy the printer, they can put the screws to you for years of overpriced ink. Only once you see the eye-watering prices of replacement ink do you realize you’ve been conned. You’ll be paying over and over for that “good deal” on the printer. But what are you gonna do? Go buy some other printer and start the dance all over again?

So we decided to stretch the absurdity. Heighten the contradiction. Bend this angle to its ultimate extreme. We found a good, cheap inkjet printer for an even cheaper price and slashed our margin to the cheapest possible point.

And so it came to pass that they would sell a Canon 2820 printer, with no ink cartridges and no USB cable, for the absurd sum of ten bucks. (Plus, of course, five bucks shipping.) Limit one per customer, and that’s what I bought.

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Unanticipated mail

Stuffed into my mailbox yesterday: the March ’17 issue of Reader’s Digest.

No, really. It’s a little smaller than I remember it in several dimensions — 136 pages this month — but otherwise it’s much the same as it used to be. (On page 131, for instance, there’s the old reliable “It Pays to Increase Your Word Power,” now being run by Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon, once the operators of The Atlantic Puzzler.) Single-copy price is now $3.99, and they offered me 10 issues (one year) for $10.

The corporation in charge is billed as “Trusted Media Brands, Inc.”, which sounds incredibly bland; it is, however, the same old Reader’s Digest Association under a new name, inasmuch as they’ve acquired some special-interest magazines.

And there’s this:

“The pen is mightier than the sword, if you shoot that pen out of a gun.”

So saith Stephen Colbert, in, yes, “Quotable Quotes.”

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A change of hands and feet

The late Aubrey McClendon’s last enterprise, American Energy Partners, decided last year to liquidate, which prompted this question from me: “What happens to that supercool fitness center the company owned?”

Now we know:

The intricate dance to allow professional dancers, young students and their parents to fit into Oklahoma City Ballet’s 8,000-square-foot building won’t be necessary much longer.

The nonprofit organization announced Wednesday that [it] is acquiring two facilities that will help it expand its mission of bringing high-quality classical and contemporary dance to Oklahoma City.

The organization is under contract to purchase the former American Energy Partners Fitness Center, 6800 N Classen Blvd., and convert it into the new home for the professional company, its administrative offices, and its school, The Dance Center of Oklahoma City Ballet.

In addition, Chesapeake Energy Corp. recently donated the current OKC Ballet building, 7421 N Classen Blvd., to the arts organization. It will become overflow for dance classes and house the company’s costume and prop shop.

Next production is The Sleeping Beauty, music by Tchaikovsky (via the OKC Philharmonic), beginning a week from today.

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When it rains, it pours

I get the impression that Samsung is somehow on the wrong side of the Wheel of Karma these days:

Just when you almost forgot about what a shitty time Samsung’s been having, a literal garbage fire broke out at the company’s battery supplier in Tianjin, China. The cause? Discarded faulty batteries.

Reuters reports that it was just a “minor fire,” but we all know that this is a major “fuck you” for the company that lost a reported $5.3 billion in profits due to exploding Galaxy Note 7 phones. That extended nightmare, of course, was also caused by faulty batteries that were made by Samsung SDI, the aforementioned victim of the garbage fire. It’s so far unclear if the discarded faulty batteries were related to the Note 7 debacle.

Some days it just doesn’t pay to gnaw through the straps.

(Via Jeff Faria.)

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Unpsyched

Tyronn Lue was trolling, evidently; all that pre-game talk about possibly sitting his stars on the second night of a back-to-back proved to be nothing more than talk. Lue’s Cavaliers, minus the walking-wounded Iman Shumpert, were close to full strength, and they pretty much played like it, with Kyrie Irving running the point to perfection and LeBron James being LeBron James. Add a Kevin Love double-double, and you have to wonder how the Thunder were going to respond. Answer: Strongly, and late. After plenty of time on the teeter-totter in the fourth quarter, the Thunder found themselves up 111-101 with two minutes left, still led by 10 after one minute more, and had thoroughly stymied the Cavs’ big three. Lue knew he was licked, the aforementioned big three withdrew, and OKC won it 118-109, their first win over Cleveland in over a year.

Lots of good numbers: Russell Westbrook was 29-12-11, Steven Adams scored 20 and retrieved 13 boards, Victor Oladipo knocked down 23. Perhaps the most remarkable was this: despite losing the shooting percentage battle by something like 0.9, the Thunder made tons of shots: 50 out of 106. (The Cavs were 38-79.) Cleveland made more trips to the stripe — the Cavs never, ever foul — but King James, who had a healthy 16-point first half, finished with, um, 18. Andre Roberson can so guard LeBron. Irving was the default sharpshooter, and he wound up with a respectable 28. The Cavs’ bench, however, was held to 20, or about what Enes Kanter gets on a good night. Despite Kanter’s absence, the Thunder reserves popped up 30, half of them from Cameron Payne.

Once you’ve beaten the champs — well, the runners-up are showing up Saturday night. Heaven knows how the Loud City crowd will respond to the appearance of Kevin Iscariot, and you can be absolutely certain Heaven will hear it. We won’t think about that for a while.

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Duly quarter-noted

The Oklahoma City Philharmonic stuck this up on their Facebook page with the promise that it would improve your dating life 110 percent:

S'up babe?

After that much sightreading, I could use a rest.

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Let there be torque

Erin Palette, celebrating her tenth anniversary here in blogdom, is still plenty fast with a quip:

On a related note, I’d like be the first to announce that the transgender version of Uncle Tom is an Aunt Dorothy, and the transgender version of “House Negro” is “Performance Tranny.” I figure that if I’m going to be called names for going off-narrative, I might as well pick those names myself.

Oh, and before you ask, I’m a 4:11 final drive, with a 6-speed double-overdrive and a competition clutch.

May her throwout bearing never need to be thrown out.

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V for Vanished

“Why just this year?” is my only comment to this proposal:

If I were an activist of any stripe, and someone who people actually listened to, instead of, you know, me … I’d put out a call to “cancel” Valentine’s Day this year.

Not for any reason about frustration with romantic love (though there is that, and I get tired of how V-Day is all about the romance, and so those of us who have none in our lives are left standing on the outside of the restaurant on a cold night, looking in at the happy couples eating good food in the warmth).

No. It’s because I see precious little love in the world: humanity, at least the US culture form of it I see, is becoming more separated and fractionated and I’ve said several times this week that maybe the future of humanity is for all of us to live solo, with as little contact with other humans as possible, because it seems we can’t do interpersonal stuff without it turning into either a fight or a virtue-signalling contest.

Nuke it from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

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Not so noble after all

The so-called “noble” gases occupy the right-hand column of the periodic table; their “nobility,” as it were, derives from their general disdain for forming compounds. Which doesn’t mean it can never happen: when I was still a lab rat, stuff like xenon hexafluoride (XeF6) was known to exist, and krypton was considered a reasonable shot for the occasional compound. But neon and especially helium? Not gonna happen.

Helium’s staunch stability is due to its closed-shell electronic configuration — its outer shell is complete, which means there’s no room for it to bond with other atoms by sharing electrons.

But that’s assuming the conditions are consistent with what we experience on Earth’s surface.

Ay, there’s the rub:

Being one of the most abundant elements in the Universe, responsible for forming stars and gas giant planets, helium could play by very different rules out in space and deep within our planet, and researchers have just found the first evidence yet of that weird behaviour.

“[E]xtremely high pressure, like that found at Earth’s core or giant neighbours, completely alters helium’s chemistry,” one of the team, Alex Boldyrev from Utah State, told Mary-Ann Muffoletto at Phys.org.

The researchers used a “crystal structure-predicting” computer model to predict that under extreme pressures, a stable helium-sodium compound could form.

They then physically created the never-before-seen compound, Na2He, in a diamond anvil cell experiment, which allowed them to subject helium and sodium atoms to pressures of around 1.1 million times Earth’s atmospheric pressure.

“These findings were so unexpected, Boldyrev says, that he and colleagues struggled for more than two years to convince science reviewers and editors to publish their results,” says Muffoletto.

Sodium, of course, is darn near hyperactive, as anyone who’s dropped it into water has found out terribly quickly; you’d need something that fierce to get helium out of its shell, so to speak. Still, these aren’t your standard chemical bonds; they’re Something Else Entirely.

(Via Glenn Reynolds.)

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I didn’t even notice

But Warren Meyer did:

For some reason, WordPress has removed the underline button in the editor. I can bold, and italicize, but not underline for some reason. I have zero idea why there was such a burning need to eliminate this pretty basic feature of an editor. I suppose I can go in and manually add in html codes, but why bother with an editor if I have to do that kind of cr*p.

Evidently it’s been so long since I felt the need to underline that the disappearance of the button didn’t draw my attention at all.

That said, almost any deficiency in WordPress can be addressed in some way or another, and usually it’s via plugin, which it is here.

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The ties that unbind

Roger explains the relative dearth of rail-based passenger service in the US:

Most of the greatest concentration of potential train use, because of population patterns, is in the Northeast corridor from Boston to DC, and California. And do you know who lives there? LIBERALS, those arrogant prigs who fuss about energy conservation and don’t REALLY share American values. So screw ’em. We have the fix for the problems of some of the recent rail crashes, but we’re not going to spend money for THAT.

OK, that was exaggerated, but only slightly. There are also pockets of density in the eastern Midwest, and in parts of Texas suitable for rail transportation. Still, fixing the rails, usually shared by freight, and needing to defer to cargo, is considered “subsidizing” Amtrak. Fixing the roads is … oh, never mind, we don’t do that either.

If you saw “Texas” and blinked, think “Texas Eagle,” which actually runs from Chicago to Los Angeles, entering Texas sort of parallel to Interstate 20 (west as far as Fort Worth, where it joins the Heartland Flyer to Oklahoma City), down Interstate 35 to San Antonio, and along Interstate 10 to El Paso and points west. Admittedly, density along I-10 is somewhere between zero and barely above, but I-35 is prodigiously busy and getting more so. (Fort Worth is the nation’s 16th largest city; San Antonio the 7th; in between is Austin, which is now 11th.)

And it must be conceded that we get farther behind on infrastructure repairs just about every single year.

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Answers to questions nobody ever asked

I mean, it’s not like I had a topic for Vent #1000.

Of course, if you really want to ask me something, there’s always ask.fm.

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This may mean nothing at all

The Web host I have used since 2001 offers some 350 different top-level domains, from ten bucks a year to several thousand. Pricing, one assumes, is at least somewhat based on demand, which may or may not explain this:

29.99 to register dot democrat

34.99 to register dot republican

For some reason, they don’t have .gop or .socialist.

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Not approved by most veterinarians

This is about as bad a packaging error as exists:

Evanger’s is voluntarily recalling some of its dog food after a drug that is used to anesthetize or put down pets was found in it.

Pentobarbital was found in one lot of the dog food; five dogs got sick and one died, according to the Wheeling, Ill.-based company.

Fifteen states are affected by the Hunk of Beef Au Jus recall. The 12-ounce cans were manufactured June 6-13 and sold in stores and online in Washington, California, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

Your dog wants table scraps — in preference to this stuff, anyway.

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It’s on your shoulder

The Beatles arrived in America in February 1964, and the earth twisted and shouted on its axis.

Now the Fab Four, their heirs and assigns, and whoever else might be involved, have somehow allowed a bunch of promotional videos out of the vault. This, for perhaps obvious reasons, is one of the longer ones.

I’m not absolutely certain, but I think they’re playing over a copy of the original master tape, minus the vocals. (With McCartney on piano and lead, there’s no place for a bass player, and indeed, the bass is mixed out of the master.)

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