The spirit of 76 octane

Bill Quick saw this before I did, and asked: “Remember when filling stations actually filled your tank for you?”

Gas station in Lincoln 1933

For a few days in my adolescence, to help out a friend, I played pump jockey. I wasn’t especially good at it, though I was dead reliable at checking tire pressures.

And yes, E10 was around in those days. (Under that “10% Blend” verbiage: “Development Means Cornbelt Prosperity.”) It never really caught on, and purveyors of the stuff eventually sought antitrust action against Ethyl, manufacturer of another, far nastier, gasoline additive.

Interestingly, this photo was taken in Lincoln, Nebraska in April 1933, eight months before the end of Prohibition. I have to wonder how much of that ethanol was diverted before it got to the gas station.

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Meanwhile in the ladies’ room

No, I wasn’t there, but we have a reliable narrator:

Well, I push the door open and I hear someone talking. At first I think she’s talking to someone still in the stall (which is also a personal no-no to me: I do not like carrying on a conversation while in the loo).

Nope. She was on her cell phone. Standing in front of the sink, at the mirror, just talking.

I backed right back out of the room and waited until after my class — but to me, that’s like a who DOES that? situation.

At least she wasn’t eating — which happened in one of the rest rooms at the shop, though it wasn’t the one with WOMEN on the door.

And should we be grateful that she wasn’t taking a picture of herself?

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Everywhere appeal

My younger brother (48 today), perhaps half in jest, is trying to crowdfund a vacation. I thought the idea was nutty, but I threw in a few dollars, on the basis that it might be easier for someone else to do so if there’s already something in the kitty.

Now comes this chap who’d like you to pay for his dates:

My name is Tom and I’m a 26-year-old hopeless sarcastic romantic.

I like reading as much as going out with friends, I find thunderstorms relaxing to listen to and can easily lose myself in a good film. I like sitting in busy cafes writing poetry and people watching. The problem is I don’t have a lady/partner in crime/personal femme fatale to share all this with me, teach me new things and put me in my place every now and again.

Tom calculates that it will take 13 dates to find The One, and so he’s asking for £1300. At this writing, eight contributors have anted up £222.

Update, 26 January: Things are not going well for poor Tom.

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Tweetlessness

I wonder if their followers even notice:

Nearly 24 million out of 284 million Twitter users do not tweet at all, reveals the latest data filed by the micro-blogging site with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This means that nearly 8.5 percent of Twitter users could be robots who never use the service, ValueWalk reported.

Or non-robots who never use the service. I’ve seen lots of tweets from actual bots, usually retweets of something that matched a keyword or hashtag.

Twitter also concedes that a substantial number of “users” are fake:

“There are a number of false or spam accounts in existence on our platform. We estimate that false or spam accounts represent less than five percent of our Monthly Active Users (MAUs),” the SEC document read.

Similarly, the Food and Drug Administration will put up with bay leaves that are less than five percent moldy. You may wish to avoid that link around dinnertime.

(Via Heidi Richards Mooney.)

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A Trident through the chest

This poor girl never knew what hit her:

A western Pennsylvania university student and basketball player likely inhaled chewing gum into her lungs while asleep before being found dead in her dormitory over the weekend.

The Washington County coroner’s office said 21-year-old Shanice Clark of Toronto was found unresponsive at about 3 a.m. Sunday at California University of Pennsylvania.

And this, Junior, is why you can’t have any Juicy Fruit.

(Via Dawn Summers.)

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Chillaxity

Close quarters all night: I don’t recall a single double-digit lead by either side until the 1:19 mark in the fourth, when a Steven Adams stuff put the Thunder up 93-83, and Miami managed only one trey the rest of the way. Then again, the Thunder managed only one free throw the rest of the way, so the final was 94-86, the 21st Oklahoma City win in 41 games and the first step over the .500 line.

Luol Deng was unwell, and looked it; Dwyane Wade was unwell, but didn’t look like it (much). And starting center Hassan Whiteside, who’d gone 5-5 in a mere 11 minutes (four dunks!), sprained his right ankle and did not return. Besides Whiteside’s 10 and Wade’s 18, only Chris Bosh broke into double figures, with 16. Collecting neither fast-break points nor second-chance points in any quantity, the Heat were apparently waiting for the Thunder to mess up, and their patience was rewarded several times before the last OKC push.

The box score was just stuffed full of weirdness. The Thunder took 92 shots and made 41; the Heat took only 68 and made 32. Free throws were few and far between: OKC was 6-10 from the stripe, Miami 14-19. Miami turned the ball over 21 times, OKC only 11. OKC blocked three shots, two of them on the same possession; Miami had two swats. Count eleven steals by the Thunder — four by Russell Westbrook — and four by the Heat. But perhaps the oddest sight to see was Kevin Durant’s line: 19 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, 9-16 on two-point field goals — and 0-8 on treys, which latter figure contributed mightily, or weakly, to the dismal 6-26 longball figure for OKC. The Heat were 8-22 from outside, marginally less dismal.

Westbrook, meanwhile, landed a double-double with 19 points and ten rebounds, while managing only five assists. (Miami led this category, 20-15.) That final Adams bucket gave him ten; Anthony Morrow and Reggie Jackson, back in form, had 12 and 16 respectively. Meanwhile, bucket purchase was unavailable to Dion Waiters, a woeful 1-9.

Still, it’s a W, and it’s on the first half of a back-to-back. Tomorrow, though, the Wizards will be waiting, and the Wizards are 18-5 at home.

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Attendance will be taken

Tuesday, May 19: Brady Theater, Tulsa

Wednesday, May 20: Hudson Performance Hall, Oklahoma City

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With lots of Dash

Last time we checked in with Stacey Dash was, um, day before yesterday, in this Vent:

I would argue … that there are better ways to deal with unfriendly tweets than simply to exit the arena and be done with it. One of my favorites is the simple retweet by the attackee, a method that seems to be favored by individuals perceived as being on the right (as distinguished from “left”) side of the political spectrum. Actress and recent Fox News contributor Stacey Dash seems particularly fond of this routine, and she often has occasion to put it to use, since rather a lot of characters think her a traitor to her race, or some such nonsense.

I’ve never seen any of her Fox stuff, not being a regular viewer of the channel, but she definitely calls ’em the way she sees ’em on Twitter.

Today she turns 49, which seems improbable. I found this in the archives, from the summer of ’08:

Stacey Dash on the cover of Monarch magazine summer 2008

And from very recently, at the New York premiere of American Sniper:

Stacey Dash at the New York premiere of American Sniper December 2014

For the record, she’s never sniped at me.

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Downsize matters

This little blurb has shown up in sub-meme (so far) quantities:

No More Lies -- attempts to explain overseas movement of jobs

Just a note: if you have a 401(k), you’re a stockholder, Chuckie.

But this is as good a response as one can reasonably expect:

[T]hat third world guy would be MUCH better off doing seasonal work in a rice paddy somewhere exposed to malaria-ridden mosquitoes and foot fungus trying to scratch out a basic living for his family and maybe afford a used 1970’s transistor radio. Because YOU deserve a higher wage.

Provide more value to the world than you are paid, and the work will come to you. That is how wealth is generated, making the pie bigger for everyone.

Of course, the numbskulls who think all things bright and beautiful come from government will resent the heck out of this, especially when they’re replaced by third-world guys — or by machines assembled by third-world guys.

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Deform follows dysfunction

Or maybe it’s the other way around. A year or so ago, I tossed up some nonsense which was intended to verify that yes, the new Ford F-150 pickup has an aluminum body atop its steel frame, and down in the comments I noted:

In terms of automotive bodywork, steel is decidedly cheaper, if only because it’s easier to form — and, as the body shop will tell you, easier to repair.

You can work an F-150 up to about sixty grand if you try, a sum that will almost buy you the lowest-end Tesla Model S. How much does it cost to fix those little beauties? Let’s just say a helluva lot:

“Cost of repair crazy high” is how one Model S owner puts it in a thread on the Tesla Motor Club online owners forum.

He describes a minor front-end collision, from which he was able to drive away, that cost him $20,327 to repair.

Visible damage was limited to the front left fender, lights, and the corner of the hood. But the bill listed 92 hours of labor and almost $8,000 in parts, including a single self-piercing rivet billed at $35.

That $35 is about what you’d pay for a Tylenol at County Hospital.

Twenty thousand bucks will just about buy me a knee replacement, from which I won’t be able to walk away for some time.

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And the singer sang her song

Nu metal, perhaps?

Earth and the stillness broken by reply
Through the night tide I lie down in the sky
Beyond the waves wipe out the joyous light
And dancing in the power of the night
Want things to go before it is too late
Night tide I lie here in this world of hate
Away like the mist of the desolate
I’ll show you all the world is full of hate

Not the beginning or the end: that section came out of the middle. And I can see someone screaming this into a microphone, maybe, though whether I want to hear someone screaming this into a microphone is another matter entirely.

Anyway, the poet apparently did not intend this to be a song:

We’ve seen (and heard) worse, believe me.

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Seemingly made for each other

I remembered this passage by Cynthia Heimel yesterday, describing a female archetype she calls the Little Girl:

Pink is her wardrobe’s middle name. Too much pink, in fact, is not enough. She is inordinately fond of pinafores and puffy sleeves, and has several pairs of anklets, many of them embroidered with teensy, darling little cornflowers.

And on (and on) from there, until:

What the Little Girl is projecting is that she’s still in the sandbox and therefore not responsible for anything. She spends most of her time looking for someone to take care of her, and although she can usually change a fuse faster than any truck driver, she’s quick to disguise that knowledge.

Doesn’t sound like anyone I know. But she needn’t go unloved:

Her ardent admirer is the Little Boy. He’ll realize that at last he’s found his dream girl. They’ll go to the zoo and cry over the baby polar bear. They’ll write the New Wave version of Peter Pan. They’ll play hopscotch. As a couple, no one will be able to stand them.

I played a pretty mean game of hopscotch in my day, but a Little Boy I’m not.

Heimel wrote that — it’s in her book Sex Tips for Girls — around 30 years ago. Not quite 30 hours ago, this item appeared in my tweetstream (tweets are protected, so no ID):

Grown women who wear Hello Kitty should not be surprised if the men who pursue them still live at home & sleep on Spiderman sheets.

So little we’ve changed.

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Poor me

Google deals me a solid:

Screenshot of Google preview

Oh, well. At least I have a job. (Of course, your mileage may vary, since Google tends to adjust these things from time to time and from user to user.) I assure you, I wasn’t looking for something particularly morose when I started.

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Warmth vs. intercoolers

This guy thinks he has a dilemma:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: If I have to buy a sports or super car like Maseratis, Porsches, Ferraris or Lamborghinis, should I sacrifice dating/marriage?

He goes on:

I’ve always wanted a nice european car and its been my dream for quite a while. I was told the car is financially cheaper than the woman. So if I wanted a nice super car like a Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale, Porsche 911 Turbo S or a Audi R8 5.2 V10, maybe even a Lexus LFA. Should I sacrifice on women and children, get a good education and save as much as possible for 15 years before buying my dream car?

Not to worry. The process is automatic: once a woman finds out you’re more interested in a car than in her, she will scorch the pavement for a quarter-mile just to get away from you.

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My share of the debacle

In December, CFI Care [not its real initials] made a presentation at the office, presumably to sell everyone on the benefits of the new government-approved health-insurance policy being sold us. I missed it, as I was already ill, though it was whispered to me that the old $3000 deductible was being replaced with a new $5000 deductible. I suggested that this was scarcely an improvement, and got a half-hearted shrug in return, a shrug that said “Yes, yes, we know, but what can we do about it now?”

Back in the days before bronze and silver and gold, when they were talking about Cadillac policies, what we had was basically a five-year-old Pontiac with a leaky valve-cover gasket. The office picks up my premium expense. However, I estimate my additional out-of-pocket expense, based solely on the new copay specifications, at $800. God forbid something should actually happen to me in this ’96 Hyundai with bad brakes.

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Strange search-engine queries (468)

During the past week, nearly a thousand people visited this site who weren’t among the regular readers: they were Looking For Something. Sometimes the Something for which they’re Looking demands some kind of response, if only a wisecrack. The solution? You’re soaking in it.

nanoskirt femtoskirt:  For those of you who thought microskirts and miniskirts were insufficiently revealing.

hershey cadbury lawsuit 2015:  This is about those damn creme eggs, isn’t it?

latest sunrise ever:  It’s the one that never comes, because the sun has finally burned itself out.

check engine light off won’t come on on02 mazda 626:  Do you have any idea how many people would be freaking grateful for such an occurrence?

found female cat on N.w Sheridan Ave Okc:  Good for you. Now try putting this on Twitter, where it’s more likely to be read before the poor cat suffers further.

scrotum flapping around:  I suggest you throw something over it before it gets used as a cat toy.

inverse of gentrification:  Those of us who have lived there called ’em “the projects.”

626 y5 gearbox changing in hold only:  Pretty much all powertrain questions boil down to this: “What can I do that won’t cost me anything?” The answer, almost always, is Nothing.

Is Cerulean Studios profitable:  They’re not making a dime off me, anyway.

www.at what mileage should injectors for mazda cronos be changed:  One mile before they fail.

all cats are grey in the dark example ayuda:  First thing you need to do is turn out all the lights.

they expected the ocean something big something colossal but they were served instead with some agitated water in a saucer:  This is basically the first semester of Advertising and Marketing 101.

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