The bloom is off

Ad for KVOS-TV featuring Jack Benny

This turned up at the International Jack Benny Fan Club, and yeah, that’s a great picture of Jack, but what puzzled me was the plug for KVOS-TV in “Canada’s Third Market.” Clearly not a Canadian call. I of course had to hunt this station down, and found it in Bellingham, Washington:

In 1955, [owner Rogan] Jones, realizing that most of his audience was across the border, incorporated KVOS in Canada, establishing a subsidiary company in Vancouver. The subsidiary, KVOS-TV Limited, brought in revenue for the station by allowing many Vancouver-area businesses to buy advertising time on the station, which is still the case today. KVOS-TV continued to broadcast from Bellingham, with much of its audience based in southwestern British Columbia.

Eventually, KVOS-TV gave up its CBS affiliation; it now carries MeTV. (Reruns of The Jack Benny Program air weekends on rival Antenna TV.)

Comments




Bern unfelt

And the Sanders phenomenon ends as quietly as it began:

Sarah Silverman all dressed up“You’re being ridiculous.” So said Sarah Silverman to her fellow Sanders delegates the other day and while I would probably agree with anything Sarah Silverman says — I will admit to a strong attraction to good-looking Jewish girls with potty mouths and big breasts (yes, I am that shallow) — in this case she is right: you are being ridiculous. I knew this months ago, when Bernie Sanders didn’t want to talk about Hillary’s damn emails. No serious candidate for any office throws away an important issue like that unless that candidate is not, in fact, serious. I hate to point this out to all of you Berniacs, but the only person in your crusade who wasn’t feeling the Bern was Bernie. He knew it was a con all along.

And we all know how this song ends:

I know it feels like a betrayal, largely because it is, and I must admit that I feel sorry for you guys, I really do. You are the poor misguided virgin who trusts her boyfriend to slip on a condom just before the cherryectomy, only to discover afterwards that the boyfriend lied about having one. So there you are without your pants on, with a cootch full of his baby batter and wondering, oh my God, what have I done? Now, you may or may not get pregnant from this great misadventure; chances are you probably won’t, but it does happen, which is why you should have made sure he was wearing the rubber before he got close to you; but what is also true is that from no matter what angle you choose to look at it, you’ve been screwed in more ways than one.

As have we all, as we will discover later this year.

Comments




It was 15 years ago today

From this very site, 8 August 2001:

Thumbs up to this moderately-newfangled chip-repair service for automotive windshields. As World Tour fans will recall, I caught a meteorite or something while passing between the Carolinas on I-95. A Charleston glass shop balked at repairing the hole, saying that it was too close to the line of sight; South Carolina law is apparently fairly finicky about repairable and non-repairable zones. I balked at replacing the windshield, reasoning that I had a couple thousand miles to go, and what’s to prevent me from catching another freaking projectile? There were no further falling rocks, and I resolved to ignore the little dent — until today, when I watched a repair job being performed on a coworker’s vehicle, and I was sufficiently impressed to ask the young lady doing the deed if she could make time for my car next. She could, and all that remains is a faint semicircle surrounding a tiny zit, low enough on the glass that I actually have to look for it to see it. A shorter driver might not be so lucky, but while I’ve lost an inch or two off my waist, I’m not likely to lose that much off my height, so that’s not my problem.

Thumbs down to whatever demons are automagically summoned when you have to install a HP DeskJet on an IBM ThinkPad, especially if it’s going to be running through a USB port. (No, it’s not a Windows 95 box, but thanks for asking.) I am sorely tempted to blow off this USB stuff and make the end user deal with a parallel port, the way God (or at least Centronics) intended.

I mention that because of this:

It’s kind of weird to think that the Web’s been around for just 25 years, and InstaPundit has been around for 15 of them.

And I’m glad for that, even as I muse that I’ve been around for 20 (and a fraction) of those years.

Comments




We will control the environmental

We told you you didn’t want your thermostat hooked up to the Internet:

One day, your thermostat will get hacked by some cybercriminal hundreds of miles away who will lock it with malware and demand a ransom to get it back to normal, leaving you literally in the cold until you pay up a few hundred dollars.

For example:

Pay 1 Bitcoin to get control back

This was not an actual attack, but a proof of concept:

Andrew Tierney and Ken Munro, the two security researchers who created the ransomware, actually have no ill intention. They just wanted to make a point: some Internet of Things devices fail to take simple security precautions, leaving users in danger.

“We don’t have any control over our devices, and don’t really know what they’re doing and how they’re doing it,” Tierney told Motherboard. “And if they start doing something you don’t understand, you don’t really have a way of dealing with it.”

They expect the manufacturer to implement a fix shortly.

Comments (3)




Trumping all the others

In a manner of speaking:

Subtlety is perhaps not this guy’s strong suit.

Comments (1)




Strange search-engine queries (549)

It’s time once more to take a peek at the search strings, stacked up like so much digital cordwood in the corner of the server room, and see what it is that people are wanting to find out about.

“Posterior Cortical Atrophy”:  Should be on the bottom of your list of Favorite Diseases.

shrinking paper:  Something government agencies can simply not do.

extended weather forecast for ketchikan alaska:  Wicked cold for a while, and then not so much.

woot beer:  It’s a different brew every day.

a town builds a new road north of the town to replace one that was in bad shape. the new road is wider, has smooth pavement, and flowering bushes have been planted along the roadside. compared to the road south of town, the new road gets very little use. this is because many of the residents work in:  One big brutalist building in the middle of town.

bikini wax to beaver lovin:  Is it just me, or does this seem sort of contradictory?

russell westbrook crossdresser:  You mock the way he dresses, and he will be cross. Count on it.

stacy is a director of a senior center. every week she leads a group where the elders discuss past activities and experiences. the members of the group are encouraged to share anecdotes, old pictures, and other family memorabilia that remind them of significant events in their past. stacy’s group is:  Not long for this world.

soggy cardboard rule 34:  Um, whatever floats your boat, though I guess that wouldn’t, would it?

oxpecker tupa:  Not the original name of Florida Georgia Line.

dongbats:  Past tense of “dingbats.” I hope.

naked bounce house:  Well, you could, I suppose, though you’ll want to go heavy on the Lysol before they come and pick it up.

cynthia tells daryl that she will deliver:  And Daryl, like a fool, believes her.

foreskin tumblr:  I hope they don’t have Infinite Scroll turned on.

Comments




Blake, move away from there!

Haven’t we seen something like this before?

Fox has given a pilot presentation order to Okies of Bel Air, an animated comedy executive produced by Los Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin. The project, written by writer-comedian Sean O’Connor (The Late Late Show), hails from Imagine TV and 20th Century Fox TV. It borrows some elements from Griffin’s life.

In the vein of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and The Beverly Hillbillies, Okies of Bel Air is the story of a family of humble Oklahoma catfish farmers who, after their basketball prodigy son is chosen first overall in the NBA draft, pack up and move to the tony enclave of Bel Air, where they’ll struggle to preserve their down-home sensibilities amidst a vast cultural wasteland where Kardashian reigns supreme and pressed juice is considered a viable alternative to childhood vaccinations.

Oklahoma native Griffin was selected as the first overall pick by the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2009 NBA draft, moving from his home state to LA.

Nice to know there’s still gold in them thar cultural stereotypes.

Comments (2)




No amplitude to modulate

Québec City has over half a million people, with a quarter-million more nearby. What it doesn’t have is any AM radio service:

Hit SCAN on your radio in the daytime and it’ll stroll nonstop while finding nothing. Hit it at night and it’ll stop at every channel, finding mostly skywave signals bouncing in from U.S. stations. The big ones on relatively clear channels — e.g. WFAN/660, WOR/710, WABC/770 and WCBS/880 from New York — come in like locals. From Canada the only two “clears” still left in Ontario or Quebec, CHWO/740 and CJBC/860 (former English and French CBC landmarks in Toronto) — come in too.

But Canada has pretty much abandoned the AM band. I’m a bit surprised, because only AM skywave can reach radios in Canada’s vast outlying rural and wilderness areas. Alas, the transmitter site for both the 740 and 860 signals turned out to be somewhat farther from Toronto than other AMs, with disadvantaged their signals in town, even though their night signals reached pretty much all of eastern Canada. So the CBC let them go.

When did all this happen? I found a pre-postmortem for the last AM station in the capital:

CHRC started in 1926, and spent most of its life as a talk station, notably the home of André Arthur (who expressed his thoughts to Radio-Canada). In 2005, it became Info 800, a sister station to Info 690 in Montreal. Then it was taken over by the Remparts and Patrick Roy. Its current format is mostly sports talk, with Quebec Remparts (QMHJL) and Laval Rouge et Or university football games (both of those will move to Cogeco’s FM93) and Quebec Capitales baseball games.

It’s not terribly surprising that such a station wouldn’t find a way to work, especially since there’s no other AM radio in the region and so little reason for anyone to even switch over to the AM band.

The last day was 30 September 2012.

Comments




The right thing eventually done

The business of baseball occasionally flubs it:

[A] special Hall of Fame committee set up in 2006 to take care of remaining Hall-worthy Negro Leagues players exhibited truly adamantine dumbitude by leaving out John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil, about two years before O’Neil’s death. The special committees had been necessary because the segregation of baseball by race had left too many great players shining on a less visible stage. Everybody knew how great Babe Ruth was. But not nearly so many knew how great Josh Gibson was, so extra effort was needed to research Gibson and top players like him so they could receive the recognition they deserved.

O’Neil himself didn’t consider his stats Hall-of-Fame worthy. As this otherwise kind of corny column in the Kansas City Star notes, he carried his list of Cooperstown-caliber-but-overlooked Negro Leagues players in his wallet. He didn’t list himself. But his contributions towards getting the biggest stars some of the attention they deserved and highlighting the untold story of Negro Leagues baseball are without peer. The committee that overlooked him did so to its eternal shame, especially since it was supposed to make the last recommendations from that era and then consider the case closed.

O’Neil was philosophical about the whole thing:

God’s been good to me. They didn’t think Buck was good enough to be in the Hall of Fame. That’s the way they thought about it and that’s the way it is, so we’re going to live with that. Now, if I’m a Hall of Famer for you, that’s all right with me. Just keep loving old Buck. Don’t weep for Buck. No, man, be happy, be thankful.

But now, the case is no longer closed:

But by including Negro Leagues players in its new “Early Committee,” the Hall now allows for the possibility that the face of Buck O’Neil could smile out at Cooperstown visitors sometime after 2020, when that committee first meets.

Don’t mess it up this time, guys.

Comments (3)




Wallet simplification

I used to have about twenty credit cards, which was way too many; most people seem to get by with about three. Still, if you know what you’re doing, you can pare it down even further:

I have started using a credit card for most purchases these days. I try to carry as few cards as possible, which means just one credit card, which happens to be my Costco card. Costco changed from American Express to VISA this year, which is what triggered the change in my buying habits. American Express is great if you are spending thousands of dollars on hotels, airline tickets and car rentals. Not so good for buying cheeseburgers (mmmm, cheeseburgers). So when I was carrying an American Express card, I was using cash for all the small stuff, and that worked pretty well. I’d go to the bank once a month and get a wad of cash and disperse it into the community five or ten dollars at a time. The big benefit was not having to keep track of all these chickenshit transactions. I bought, I paid for it, the money is gone, we’re done.

This is approximately what I did in the middle 1980s, when all I carried was Amex. (I have, um, three cards today.)

Comments (2)




Protein-deficient

Government, we have learned, is capable of vast acts of sheer stupidity; but for sheer crassness, you pretty much have to turn to nonprofits, especially nonprofits who really, really need publicity.

PETA thinks this nickname is just horrible:

Like many others, we’ve been enthusiastically following your career, and we thought we’d send you a gift of delicious vegan steaks and burgers in the hope that you’ll consider adopting a kinder, healthier vegan lifestyle, which would pave the way for a new nickname: Andrew “Tofu” Johnston.

Your new nickname would also raise awareness of the urgent need to move towards a cruelty-free lifestyle to offset the worst effects of climate change. According to the United Nations, animal agriculture is “one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.”

Persuaded as I am that one of the most serious environmental problems is the continued existence of the United Nations, I would turn them down for political reasons. Beef takes a simpler approach:

Besides, one of his sponsors is Arby’s, which isn’t telling you loudly “WE HAVE THE SALADS.”

(Via Legal Insurrection.)

Comments (5)




Perhaps it just seems longer

Spurning steak and sausage and Spam might add some time to your lifespan:

[A] new study just out — Association of Animal and Plant Protein Intake With All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality by Song et al. — also tells us that vegetarians live longer. Their data was from two high quality U.S. databases but they appear not to have bothered at all with controls.

And you can understand why. Vegetarians will mostly be health conscious people with strong will-power and such people will undoubtedly engage in a range of safer behaviors — smoking less, avoiding dangerous drugs, exercising more, driving more slowly, climbing fewer mountains etc, etc. And all those things could contribute to a longer lifespan. Vegetarianism may be only the indicator, not the cause.

From the conclusion:

Although higher intake of animal protein was associated with higher mortality and higher intake of plant protein was associated with lower mortality, these associations were confined to participants with at least 1 lifestyle risk factor.

You know anyone with no “lifestyle risk factors?”

(Source: doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.4182)

Comments (4)




Same pod, different peas

I am reminded of the days when Ford owned 33.4 percent of Mazda, and while Ford was in a position to call at least some of the shots, Mazda happily went its own way when it could. Now, Hyundai Motor Group owns 33.88 percent of Kia Motors, but no more than that, and the same sort of thing is happening:

According to the automaker’s performance development chief, Kia plans to offer a global GT line of its most popular vehicles, boosting the models’ performance and appearance.

“Kia is meant to be more emotional than Hyundai and we have to make cars that reflect that when you drive them,” [Albert] Biermann told Autocar. “Hyundai is the quieter brand, that’s why the N-Division was created, because the brand cannot stretch as far. Kia can stretch much further, and I think we will be able to do more aggressive cars.”

Then again, that N-Division, conceived in 2013, has yet to bear any fruit. And Hyundai is outselling Kia, but not by much: through the end of July, 449,063 Hyundais and 388,296 Kias were sold in the States.

Still, I keep coming back to that “more emotional” description. You wouldn’t have said that of, say, Dodge over Plymouth. And Pontiac, arguably GM’s most emotionally-charged car (no trucks and such) brand — “We Build Excitement,” after all — ultimately could not be saved.

Comments (1)




It’s not very mobile, but so what?

Actually, it’s about the size of a portable TV, and with good reason. Still, it’s a swell idea:

Namibian Grade 12 learner Simon Petrus is making waves after he invented a mobile phone, which uses radio signals and doesn’t require airtime to make calls.

According to New Era, Petrus, who is a learner at Abraham Iyambo Senior Secondary School, made the phone using parts from a telephone and television set, and his invention doesn’t even need a sim-card to make calls.

The mobile device took the whiz kid two years to complete, and it has not been plain sailing for the young inventor, who faced financial difficulties. The project was funded by Petrus’ unemployed parents, who had to sacrifice over N$2000 (US$146) to ensure that his project would be completed successfully.

This is not Petrus’ first bright idea, either:

Last year he won a gold medal at the NamPower schools’ competition, held at the national level, for inventing a two-in-one machine that works as a seed drier and cooler.

That, I’d like to see.

Comments (2)




Worst and worster

I take issue with this particular conclusion:

It’s been confirmed — Floridians are the worst drivers in the U.S.

SmartAsset, a personal finance company, conducted a study looking at the number of drivers in each state, DUI arrests, people killed, percentage of insured drivers, and Google trends for speeding tickets.

So what put Florida at the top of the ranking?

Floridians have the second lowest number of insured drivers in the nation at just 76.2 percent. We also Google about speeding and traffic tickets, a lot. In fact, we conduct more searches than any other state in the U.S.

Here’s where I demur. Number Three Oklahoma’s insured percentage is 74.1, worse than Florida’s. We have a 70-percent higher DUI-arrest rate, and a 60-percent higher death rate on the highways. What keeps us out of the Number One slot is, apparently, fewer Googlers. I suggest that there’s something a tad screwy about this methodology.

(In between Florida and Oklahoma: Mississippi. Well, yeah. Just look at the map.)

Comments (4)




Sweet bird of youth

Japanese model Risa Hirako, doing a commercial for Somewhere Else Entirely:

The industry is always looking for fresh faces, especially when they come attached to bodies like this:

Risa Hirako in a short dress

Risa Hirako in lingerie

Risa Hirako wearing nothing but shoes

If any of this rouses romantic notions, well, yes, as it happens, she was born on Valentine’s Day.

The 14th of February, 1971. She is forty-five years old.

She has over 100,000 followers on Instagram. I can’t for the life of me imagine why.

Comments