The price we pay for honesty

It is indeed stiff:

Meanwhile, you can get a whole can of biscuits of questionable uprightness for less than a dollar, and maybe they won’t explode in the trunk of your car.

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From the Manila folder

The Philippines hold a general election every six years, on the second Monday of May, and it looks like this one might be expensive:

Our cook announced the going rate to vote for the mayor is 2000 pesos … ditto for president.

Either I misunderstood her, or there has been inflation, since the going rate is traditionally 500 pesos (10 dollars).

Elections in America, of course, are different: instead of bestowing small sums on the many, we confer huge riches upon the few.

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Strange search-engine queries (529)

The premise here is pretty simple, really. A lot of people land here, not because they wanted to, but because their particular search strings happened to match up with something offered here. (With roughly six million words on the premises, it’s difficult not to land here.) Once a week, we look at those search strings, and pray for something amusing to be contained therein. Sometimes it even works.

catholicism and ursines:  In general, the Pope is Catholic, and a bear shits in the woods — never the other way around.

what should i do with my life:  Well, you have very little chance of becoming Pope, and essentially no chance of becoming a bear.

“roto-rooter” “slut”:  You like the drain auger, do you?

“special k” “incompetent”:  Then I guess it isn’t all that Special, is it?

robert stacy mccain twitter:  Not lately; they threw him off.

“ok time to stop those pesky spammers” ~oncological:  Spam, just like a cancer, grows.

russell westbrook suspension:  Judging by the way he moves, I suspect he’s strut-based.

meghan trainor tongue:  Because, you know, she’s all about that lick. (No sucking.)

hot pockets how to cook:  Did they stop printing the instructions on the box?

mr 18 inches and the first timers:  Eighteen inches? That’s remarkable. How big’s his wiener?

done in 60 seconds: That’s what they say about Mr 18 Inches.

batman bill:  Roughly 1.6 percent of the GDP of Gotham City is derived from repairing damage caused by Batman.

ted cruz brony:  In which case Donald Trump is clearly Discord.

the girl with the thorn in her side:  Working title for Megyn Kelly’s new book.

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Probably not a kale fan

Baby Kale by OrganicGirlAt least, that’s the most reasonable conclusion I reach from this:

Got some groceries. Also got some non-food items like this package of kale. I got the smallest package I could find because I really don’t like kale. I would say I hate it, but hate requires expending some energy, energy that you will never get from kale. This entire package of kale will only deliver 70 calories of energy. With a price of $4, that comes to almost 6 cents per calorie. 6 cents doesn’t sound like much, but if you need 2,000 calories a day, that comes to $120. For something that tastes like dirt.

Then again, I know no one who lives exclusively on kale, or at least no one who would admit to it. And there is more to nutrition than calories:

The standouts are the high content of calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), vitamin K, potassium, manganese, copper, and even the plant form of omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid). In addition to the carotenoid beta-carotene, kale contains other very important carotenoid molecules called lutein and zeaxanthin (both necessary for eye health) and numerous others (probably too many to count, and maybe even yet identified).

On the downside: as packaged above — 5-ounce container — it’s 80 cents an ounce, which is $12.80 a pound, about what I paid for my last New York strip. And that strip didn’t taste like dirt, either.

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Not ready for Schedule C

Siri, Apple’s digital assistant, can apparently comprehend algebra, but fergoshsakes, don’t expect her to understand the Federal tax system:

Tax help from Siri

To be fair, nobody, including entities like Siri with no body, can actually understand the Federal tax system.

(From reddit via Miss Cellania.)

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One step toward Utopia

On the face of it, this would seem to be a swell plan:

I think that every citizen should have a once-in-a-lifetime option to have the bureaucrat of his/her choice fired, whipped through the streets naked, and forbidden to hold public employment ever again. This in terrorem effect would significantly reduce government misbehavior. Sure, there will be the occasional injustice, but think of the overall social benefit.

What will happen, after the first couple of incidents: the bureaucracy will close ranks and conduct all its future business under assumed names. Richard Windsor can show them how it’s done.

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Just a hint of frivolity

The British Antarctic Survey is seeking a name for a new research vessel:

[Natural Environment Research Council] invites you to submit your suggestions for a name for the new polar research ship, currently under construction at Cammell Laird’s yard in Birkenhead. The closing date for entries is 16th April 2016.

Submit your suggestion online here and tell us why your idea is suitable for a polar ship. NERC will apply to register the new ship as a Royal Research Ship (RRS) so the name format is RRS NAME. An expert panel will review all suggestions before making the final decision.

Some sensible names have been proposed — among them, RRS Henry Worseley and RRS David Attenborough — but the current front-runner is, um, RRS Boaty McBoatface.

I’m sort of hoping British whimsy is honored here, no matter how ridiculous it sounds.

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You can look, but you better not touch

New York-based designer Monika Chiang has said that she only creates clothing that she would wear herself, and judging by her Instagram, I figure that (1) she’s not wearing these at the moment but (2) she almost certainly would, given an appropriate ensemble.

Model wearing Monika Chiang Barros sandals

“Barros” is not really barbed wire, of course:

This “barbed wire” lace thong sandal is carefully hand crafted with soft tan leather and fine burnished brass chains that effortlessly tie-up the leg. The “barbed wire” laces are entirely made out of leather and are soft to the touch. Gold zip along the back makes for easy fastening and removing. The 15mm inset heel is the perfect height for when you want to give your feet a break from your heels. Wear with a long flowing skirt or with shorts.

Still, it’s darn near impossible not to look at. Is that worth $575 to you?

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Same as it ever was

I may ask myself, “How do I work this thing without having to learn something new?” And, in fact, I do ask myself that on a regular basis.

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Breaking through in Circle City

Alex Roig predicted in the Pregame Primer: “This just feels like a game where [Paul] George will get hot from deep. Maybe 30+ points on 5+ 3’s.” Ask Roig whom he likes in the World Series, because Paul George got hot from everywhere through three quarters, right until the moment when Kevin Durant swatted away a sure thing, accompanied to the sound of the third-quarter buzzer. The Thunder were up one at that point, having frittered away a ten-point halftime lead, but a couple minutes into the fourth they suddenly seemed to remember that they could still play defense. With a minute left, OKC was up by eight; George, not dead yet, hit a wicked trey and got fouled, erasing half that lead, and with 13 seconds left, the Pacers were within three. George got a clean look, but backrimmed a trey, and Durant’s retrieval, followed by two free throws on the inevitable foul, made it a four-point game; Myles Turner came up with a dunk, but KD ended up back on the line; he missed the second foul shot, but he gathered the rebound, and the Thunder won over the Pacers 115-111, tying the season series.

Statistic of note: The Thunder bench scored 45 points. Paul George scored 45 points. (He was 4-10 on treys, just missing Roig’s prediction.) The Indiana bench managed only 14 points, one fewer than Enes Kanter, though you have to wonder how much that matters when all the Pacer starters hit double figures and, as noted, Paul George had 45 freaking points. Then again, Kevin Durant was doing Kevin Durant things all night, finishing with a 33-point, 13-rebound double-double. And only Russell Westbrook could collect a triple-double while shooting 4-17: he finished 14-11-14. You have to wonder how this would have looked with Kyle Singler in the rotation. (Singler apparently was a late scratch, after lower-back pain during workouts.) Or maybe you don’t. Saving Serge Ibaka for tonight didn’t prove miraculous; Ibaka logged only 24 minutes, scored eight, rebounded four.

So three in a row against the East, which was not something I would have predicted: the Thunder have lost 22 games this season, 11 against Western teams, 11 against Eastern teams — but they’ve played the East only 28 times, the West 42. Only two games remain against the East, both on the road: at Toronto a week from Monday, at Detroit the next night. Between now and then, three Western foes will keep OKC busy at home.

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alt.super.model

Carol Alt, fifty-five, is still among the super-est of supermodels: when she was 43, AskMen.com decided she was #5 of all time, and at 48 she did a pictorial for Playboy. We oblige with a couple of slides from the archives, starting with a shot from 1997, when she was appearing in Howard Stern’s movie Private Parts, playing a woman on a plane who was not overly anxious to hear Stern’s life story.

Carol Alt circa 1997

And this dates to 2013, when she was debuting a health-oriented TV program on the Fox News Channel. It ran for a year and a half.

Carol Alt circa 2013

Those of us who follow her on Twitter (@ModelCarolAlt) have been treated of late to glimpses of her shoe collection. This pair of Valentinos stood out:

Carol Alt wearing Valentino shoes in 2016

Although what I really wonder about is that helmet (?) sitting next to her.

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Two doors, no waiting

For Road & Track, Jack Baruth makes the case for a big Lincoln coupe to top off the line, picking a proper platform (same one as the current Mustang), a proper engine (the modular V10 given the Coyote treatment, buzzed up to 500 hp or so), and even a proper price point:

It should cost exactly $100,000. That price should be front and center in every advertisement. Your neighbors should know that your new Mark Nine cost $100,000. There should be no guessing. Think of all the free advertising Lincoln would get. “The Hundred Thousand Dollar Car.” Make the price part of the story. That’s the smart way to do it. Cadillac does the opposite with the Escalade; in my mind and the minds of my neighbors, an Escalade costs about 50 grand, but in fact they run well above 90 with the right equipment. The Mark Nine, by contrast, should embrace its six-figure price tag as a true exemplar of a revitalized American luxury aesthetic. The same person who spends $800 on cordovan Alden boots and $5500 on a Chicago-sewn Oxxford suit will sign right up. If 40 grand of the price is pure profit … well, then you only need to sell 25 thousand of them to recoup a billion dollars’ worth of development.

What’s neat about this, of course, is that if you look around, you can find domestics with even stiffer Monroney stickers: it’s no trick, for instance, to worry a Dodge Viper to well beyond $100k. But people are going to think that the Mark is the most expensive car in America — Dodge isn’t making a great deal of obvious effort to sell Vipers at all, let alone sell them on the basis of the price tag — and there are people who will respond to that. And Lincoln’s been there before: the Continental Mark II of 1956 was priced at $9995 — air conditioning was the only extra-cost option — at a time when you could get a heck of a lot of luxe for three grand. Then again, Ford somehow managed to lose money on every one they sold, and they almost certainly remember that.

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Among the OGs

Francis W. Porretto remembers Steven Den Beste:

One of the early pioneers of blogging, Steven Den Beste, became well known for a number of reasons. One of them was his dislike of any reader feedback, however delivered. His site didn’t permit comments, and he became famous for repeatedly pleading with his readers not to write to him. Those pleas weren’t always heeded.

Den Beste was/is — I have no idea whether he’s still on the sunny side of the sod — an intelligent and accomplished man. For some time he indulged in the expression of his opinions about a wide variety of things here on the Web, even though his ROI appeared to be decidedly negative. Moreover, he would occasionally take up cudgels with those who disagreed with him: a strenuous undertaking that’s seldom brought anyone any meaningful gain.

He quit this madness after a few years. There were several reasons, but one was undoubtedly that he was unable to express himself without getting feedback he didn’t want to cope with. Those of us who valued his thinking and writing mourned the loss.

I am pleased to report that SDB is still on this side of the grass, running something called chizumatic.mee.nu. It is decidedly less Calculated to Outrage than USS Clueless ever was — and comments are open!

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Desperate for amusement

This guy clearly has no idea about the size of the task he proposes:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: How do i make the steering wheel in my friends car turn the back tires instead of the front tires?

That said, someone willing to go to that much trouble and expense just to prank a friend should probably be exiled to Lower Slobbovia, just as a precautionary measure.

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What’s fappening now

The guy who stole all those nude photos of celebrities is pleading guilty:

Ryan Collins, a 36-year-old from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, will plead guilty in the theft of female celebrities’ nude photos.

Collins is charged with felony computer hacking and unauthorized access of a protected computer, which are illegal under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

From November 2012 to September 2014, Collins used a phishing scheme to collect personal account information. Collins sent emails imitating the help desks at Apple or Google and collected the victims’ usernames and passwords. From there, he accessed at least 72 email accounts and 50 iCloud accounts, where he stole personal information and photos.

The case drew wide attention in 2014 after nude photos of celebrities, including Lea Michele and Jennifer Lawrence, appeared on Reddit, 4chan and other online forums.

We know what J-Law thinks about this:

“It is not a scandal. It is a sex crime. It is a sexual violation. It’s disgusting. The law needs to be changed, and we need to change. That’s why these Web sites are responsible. Just the fact that somebody can be sexually exploited and violated, and the first thought that crosses somebody’s mind is to make a profit from it. It’s so beyond me. I just can’t imagine being that detached from humanity. I can’t imagine being that thoughtless and careless and so empty inside.”

Prosecutors have recommended 18 months in the slammer for Collins; nothing, of course, will happen to any of those Web sites.

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Tricky clinch

The math is settled: the Thunder will be in the playoffs, the third team in the West to clinch a postseason berth. God only knows when the 76ers were mathematically eliminated, but it must have been pretty early in the season, inasmuch as they lost their first 18 games and they’ve now lost 60 games out of 69. Still, Philly played it close in the first half, aided and abetted by a ridiculous number of Oklahoma City turnovers, and murmurs of “trap game” were heard in the Thunder fandom; there is, after all, a game against a really good team, the Indiana Pacers, tomorrow night. Up six at the half, the Thunder waxed Philly 32-21 in the third quarter, and there would be no more surprises: the final was 111-97, which fell into the category of “Hey, it’s a W, what do you want?”

Well, fewer turnovers would be nice: the Thunder coughed up the rock 20 times, the Sixers only eight. And Philly was far defter at forcing the turnovers, with 11 steals. What’s more, the Sixers drew lots of fouls: they earned 27 free throws, the Thunder only 18. But being the Sixers, they missed ten of those freebies, and fell short of 40-percent shooting from the floor. (Rebound count was absurd: OKC 63, Philly 36.) Still, reserve shooting guard Nik Stauskas outscored everyone on the floor except Kevin Durant, bagging a season-high 23 points; Durant had a fairly typical 26, and Russell Westbrook had yet another triple-double, 20-15-10.

Something we hadn’t seen from Billy Donovan this year: a player given a rest. Serge Ibaka did not play, presumably so he can be fresh for the Pacers; Nick Collison started in his place. We can call this, I suppose, Not a Scott Brooks Move.

After Indiana tomorrow, the Thunder come home to meet two, maybe three, playoff teams in a row: the Rockets, the Jazz (just barely behind the Mavs), and the Spurs. But after that, there are only two home games left, one against each of the Los Angeles clubs. File away under Scheduling Quirks, and go get your playoff-game tickets.

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