Why is this month different from all other months?

By now you’ve seen this, probably stuck into your Facebook feed:

Claims about August 2014

Ancient Chinese secret, eh? I’ll have you know I’ve lived through half a dozen of these already, and I may well be around for another one in 2025.

You don’t have to believe me. But Cameron Miquelon has done the heavy lifting already.

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Tanks for the mobility

So I’m sitting here, wondering if my knees are going to be acting up again next week, as they often do in the presence of serious damp, and it occurs to me: Why shouldn’t someone who uses a wheelchair be able to go way the hell off-road?

And this is why I’m thinking that:

The low-suds version — there are three in the line — packs a 16-hp electric motor. And it can take a 60-percent grade, something I can’t do walking these days. Yes, it’s expensive, and Medicare won’t pay for it. I don’t care. (Yet.)

(Via Autoblog.)

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Because terse

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You’re watching GOTV

Does the process of Getting Out The Vote require that you, you know, actually get out once in a while? I’m one of those weird people who thinks it does.

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The point being gotten to

Back in ought-seven, I did a brief writeup of something called Short Attention Span System Radio, which sought to compensate for listeners wandering away by cramming twice as much music into the same space. The results were curious:

I sampled some SASS, and I think I’d notice that they’d boiled down Manfred Mann’s take on Springsteen’s “Blinded by the Light,” which runs around 7:05 in its LP incarnation and 3:48 as a single, to a startling 1:45 — but it would take probably half a minute for it to sink in, and by then they’re a third of the way through the next song.

Truly revved up like a douche, as the kids used to say. I imagined there might be a place for such a format, but I couldn’t imagine where.

The answer, it turns out, is Calgary:

Top 40 station 90.3 Amp Radio has started to cut off the songs played on air halfway through, allowing for twice the number of songs to be played each hour in a bid to cater to their listeners’ ever-shortening attention spans.

“We’ve got so much more choice, we’ve got less time (and) our attention spans are shorter,” Amp Radio’s Paul Kaye told CTV Calgary. “We are observing people with their iPods, playing their favourite songs and skipping them before the end because they get bored.”

The station used to play about 12 songs an hour, but the new “QuickHitz” format allows for 24 songs each hour by re-editing the tracks.

It was a lot easier to do 24 songs an hour, I submit, when (1) songs were barely over two minutes and (2) you didn’t have to sell 15 minutes of ad space.

Still, having created what I think is the definitive two-minute edit of “In-a-Gadda-da-Vida,” which runs seventeen minutes if you don’t put your foot down, I’m probably the wrong person to complain about this.

Admittedly, I’ve gone the other direction as well. Once upon a time, after listening to the Gentrys’ 1965 version of “Keep On Dancing,” which came out of the studio running barely 90 seconds, prompting the producer to start the song over and run just enough of it to break the two-minute mark, I hacked up a 3:42 extended version in which I did the same thing the producer did, only twice. Amp Radio wouldn’t play it, of course, but at least they’d have an obvious place (or two) to edit it.

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Sentenced to retention

There is no way I could do this:

I was not even a retention specialist. Part of my job, though, was to prevent calls from having to go there. Which is to say that someone would call in wanting to either scale back or cancel service, and my job was to either (a) convince them not to or (b) wear them down to increase the chances that the retention specialist would succeed. As near as I could tell, if they wanted to cancel the account, I would present a whole bunch of reasons why they shouldn’t, and then if I failed they would go to a retention specialist who would then say all of the same things (maybe in a different order, maybe not).

It is generally believed that it costs less to retain a customer than to acquire one, which, if nothing else, makes me wonder how much it costs to acquire one.

I am temperamentally unsuited to this sort of job, and I am not alone:

There were a lot of things that I didn’t like about the job. I am not a phone person to begin with. I am not the most social or friendly person, and I was in a job where both were expected of me. Over the phone. I had angry customers, demanding customers. I was cursed and yelled at. Even one guy who liked me started cussing me out when he found out that he could not direct future customer service calls to me specifically.

Fortunately, no one calling the organization to complain has demanded an audience with me. The spectacle would not be pretty.

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LED astray

Last November:

I escalated to LightCon 3, installing a pair of funky-looking but still bulb-shaped LED lights, with approximately the same brightness — 800 lumens — and 12-watt power consumption. Color temperature, at 3000°K, is slightly higher (therefore less “warm” — go figure), and assuming three hours’ usage a day, these critters are supposed to last eight years. I’m not entirely sure I’m going to last eight years.

Admittedly, they got more than three hours’ usage a day — six was typical — and yet one of them has died at the pitiful age of nine months. It also made a weird blat and emitted a strange smell, like I don’t get enough of that in the kitchen already.

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Dream yon, autocorrupt

As more and more mobile users enter the fray, you’re going to see stuff like this:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Where is the speed control sensor for a 2000 Nassau maximum?

At least, I think he means “speed control sensor.”

Still: “Nassau”? Could this actually be the bitchin’ Camaro his folks drove up from the Bahamas?

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Vergrößerungen

I have no idea why this should be so, but evidently this is so:

Germany is the world’s leader in penis enlargements, with five times as many people in the country undergoing the procedure than anywhere else in the world…Figures released by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery showed Germany performed 2,786 of the 15,000 penis enlargements across the globe in 2013. The second highest country, Venezuela, performed 473.

Then again, the other half of the species, in their search for Teutonic firmness, ordered twenty times as many bewb jobs, and probably got 0.05 percent as much spam suggesting same.

Side note: Twelve Iranian men ordered wangoplasty, the lowest number in the Society’s tally. Write your own joke.

(Via Interested-Participant.)

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Gimme rewrite

Rachel Ann Nunes has written forty-six novels and published thirty-seven of them. I have to figure somebody thought ripping off just one of them would go unnoticed. Somebody was wrong:

[A]n anonymous author on the Internet, who is known only by a logo and a fake name, had plagiarized my novel, A Bid for Love (formerly entitled Love to the Highest Bidder), which is the first of a trilogy.

It has been verified by four separate readers that Sam Taylor Mullens did, indeed, add steamy scenes to The Auction Deal, her revised version of my Christian novel, and claimed it as her own. Her subsequent emails to different people and contradicting statements online while trying to cover her tracks has shown a definite intent to do fraud. This path she has followed is far more outlandish than any novel I’ve ever read.

Fiction will never be as strange as truth. (No, I didn’t just make that up.)

Oh, and the advance reader copies of Mullens’ book?

When Mullens heard of my contacting the reviewers directly, she immediately requested that all the reviewers delete the ARC.

This is not the action of a person proud to defend her own work, if you know what I mean.

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A pretty good call

A vision of (some of) the future:

Unfortunately, morning email is still a chokepoint.

Well, at least he didn’t mention flying cars.

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Serving suggestion for March 15th

Caesar dressing by Kraft, stabbed in the back

(A reddit find from Miss Cellania.)

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A shortage of pixie dust

Is the economy well and truly dead? Well, no. But it’s fading. Think Tinker Bell, if Tink had to contend with the Federal Reserve:

The economy is an area in which belief equals reality or, at least, belief has an important effect on behavior which produces the reality. That’s what John Maynard Keynes referred to as “animal spirits”, an important force in pulling economies out of recessions.

Welcome to roadkill. Where did all the spirited critters go?

Whatever his failing, Bill Clinton was a relentless and indefatigable cheerleader for the economy. His confidence built confidence in others… George W. Bush didn’t have that same quality and neither does Barack Obama.

Of course, neither W. nor BHO had the benefit of various 90s booms, and neither of them could conceive of a budget that wasn’t deeply in the red. And Clinton had had hard-nosed Congressional Republicans of the Newt Gingrich stripe who kept the pressure on. Today’s GOP, by comparison, has a collective proboscis made of rubber baby buggy bumpers or something.

And whatever Bill did in the 90s won’t redound to Hillary’s credit in 2016, since nobody can imagine her as a cheerleader, for the economy or for anything else.

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A conspiracy of northpaws

This post by Robert Stacy McCain has drawn over five dozen comments so far, of which this one by TheOtherAndrewB is my favorite:

Since the annual Airing of Grievances has come early this year, why don’t we move on to the REALLY important stuff? Only 2% of Americans are gay, but fully 10% are left-handed. How DARE we assume that this constitutes a majority! Sure, 90% is bigger than 10% in your cis-handed world, but that is just oppressive dexteronormative thinking. We should allow (and by allow, I mean force) children to experience the rich diversity of left-handedness. Make all children wear an enormous iron mitten on their right hands until age 18. And, while we are at it, lets force every manufacturer of doorknobs, light bulbs, sporting equipment, cars, industrial machinery and computers to reverse everything they make. At no cost to the consumer and with no unintended consequences.

Ned Flanders was not availididdlyable for comment.

(Why, yes, I do seem to be mentioning light bulbs a lot these days.)

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No place to wear a star

Although I don’t believe that should disqualify him:

An 87-year old man is running for sheriff in Washington state because sometimes, as he says, letters seeking change are just not enough.

Dave Olinger of Oak Harbor, located about 90 miles northwest of Seattle, is a man of his word and convictions and, oh yeah, a nudist.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Heck, Joe Biden is alleged to be a skinnydipper.

Olinger’s problem with the incumbent?

Olinger, who has a political science degree from UC Berkeley, said the incumbent sheriff, Mark Brown, was running unopposed and as a Republican.

“It is a position that is not supposed to be associated with a political party,” Olinger said.

And so Sheriff Brown will be primaried. Washington State has an open primary, so Olinger’s political affiliation is not germane:

Olinger was first going to try and get on the ticket as a member of the nudist party, but later decided the Democratic Party worked just fine, he said.

“I would do a good job for the county,” he said. “I have a real chance of at least making the [general election] ticket.”

In other news, apparently there’s some sort of nudist party. I had no idea the Body Freedom Collaborative might actually hold political-party status.

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Does whatever he does

This, I think, was inevitable:

Similarly, Woody Allen in Without Feathers:

The great roe is a mythological beast with the head of a lion and the body of a lion, though not the same lion.

No doubt other semi-hybrid creatures exist, or can be presumed to exist.

Addendum: No way I could pass this up:

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