Sit there and take it

Like seemingly every other newspaper in the country, the Los Angeles Times is trying to shore up revenues from the online edition. Few, though, will go to these lengths:

The LA Times is a good newspaper and is currently doing the best political coverage in California. They are also the most aggressive ad shoveling website I have ever seen. Their ad blocker blocker and paywall works, preventing me from reading articles. I even tried installing an ad blocker blocker blocker which doesn’t work.

As a test, he opened up a single article and waited:

[T]he page requested 2000 resources totalling 5 megabytes in 30 seconds. It will keep making those requests as long as I leave the page open. 14 gigabytes a day.

Woe betide the man who reads the Times on his phone.

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Perhaps I talk too much

The WordPress admin, as modified locally, is set to display the number of comments by a commenter beside the comment listing itself. I happened to notice this yesterday:

10,000th comment

This is for the period beginning September 2006. If that sounds like a lot, well, there are 44,000 comments I didn’t make.

(The gizmo that does this counts up the iterations of an email address. If you’ve had several, you have several different totals.)

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Get rich slow

You really can’t do it any slower than this:

The Windy City Thunderbolts are an unaffiliated minor league baseball club located in Crestwood, Illinois, a southwest suburb of Chicago. Thunderbolts pitcher Clay Chapman has signed a $3.4 billion endorsement deal to be paid out over 10 million years.

Um … what?

That contract works out to $340 a year, thus further validating what you already assumed when you clicked over here — this deal is nothing more than an egregious publicity stunt (but a very clever one!).

Archer Men, a manufacturer of men’s home care products, has signed Chapman to the largest sports endorsement deal of all time; or so they claim.

Of course, they can afford it:

16 ounces of barrel-aged, whiskey-inspired sink soap. you know how cowboys used whiskey to clean their bullet wounds? same concept.

Sixteen bucks. Perhaps a lot of money for a dish soap, but hey, they have to pay this guy three billion dollars.

(Via Fark.)

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Leeza, Leeza

Leeza Gibbons has been on television almost as long as there’s been television to be on, or so it seems sometimes: in her 60 years (as of tomorrow) she’s hosted several hit shows, including one bearing her name. She even had a nice, long run on the radio, and she’s done dozens of informercials. Her latest gig: co-hosting the Rose Parade on New Year’s.

Leeza Gibbons, one shoe off, one shoe on

Leeza Gibbons, easily suede

Leeza Gibbons on a red carpet

And in 2015, she won Celebrity Apprentice:

The best part of that, perhaps, is that she defeated Geraldo Rivera.


This has to hurt

The Boston Celtics beat the Phoenix Suns Friday, 130-120, taking at least some of the starch out of an Historic Event:

Devin Booker scored 70 points, becoming the sixth player in NBA history to reach that total, but the Boston Celtics got 34 points from Isaiah Thomas and outlasted the Phoenix Suns 130-120 on Friday night.

Booker joined Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, David Thompson, David Robinson and Elgin Baylor as the NBA’s 70-point scorers. Baylor also held the previous record against the Celtics with 64 points in Minneapolis for the Lakers on Nov. 8, 1959.

Booker, who played all but three minutes, made 21 of 40 shots, including four of 11 from three-point distance, and 24 of 26 free throws. He also had eight rebounds and six assists. Despite that, he finished -6 for the night.

I will have to remember this for the next time someone tells me that Russell Westbrook takes too damn many shots.


The ever-popular Suck Up to the Webmaster trick

This landed in the spam bucket on One of Those Other Sites:

This design is spectacular! You obviously know how to keep a reader entertained.

Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost … HaHa!) Excellent job.

I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it.

Too cool!

This came from, and boasted a link to a Pharmacy of Dubious Credentials. There are times when I wonder if we’d have even half this much spam if — well, there’s this statistic:

Counterfeit Viagra, despite generally being cheaper, can contain harmful substances or substances that affect how Viagra works, such as blue printer ink, amphetamines, metronidazole, boric acid, and rat poison, as well as talcum powder and commercial paint. The annual counterfeit Viagra trade is worth an estimated $75 billion per year.

Viagra is one of the world’s most counterfeited medicines. According to a Pfizer study, around 80% of sites claiming to sell Viagra were selling counterfeits.

I doubt Pfizer has ever made $75 billion in a year off the stuff. And you’d think printer ink would make the fakes more expensive.


How you know it’s Costco

The price gives it away every time:

Your full-tilt-boogie Fine Jeweler — or worse, “Joaillier” — would have asked for the full $29,000 without even breathing hard.

(Actually, it’s $37,600 list. See? You can justify a Costco membership after all.)

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Other people’s readers

For almost a dozen years now, I’ve been vending this “strange search-engine queries” stuff, on the dubious basis that probably every site on the Internet receives similarly weird searches, and the least I can do is try to milk it for some yocks. Jack Baruth tried it once on the site he shares with brother Bark, and just when I thought he’d given up on the idea, he popped up a version based on searches at The Truth About Cars, and demonstrated once more that he grasps the Zeitgeist of the concept. One sample:

ford van boaterhome:  He was the fourteenth Baron of Saxony.

Okay, technically Saxony was a duchy — a TTAC commenter pointed that out — but still, it works.


Waste time with a wounded hand

As a public service, Sippican Cottage offers a rule of thumb for gauging future Internet success:

Twitter is really, really creepy. Uber was creepy long before you found out exactly how it was creepy. The only human thing about anyone who worked there was their hamhanded attempts to grope the help, now that I think of it. When that’s the top of your interpersonal heap, Dante Alighieri should write your yearly reports. Facebook, and the avaricious little twerp that runs it, is the creepiest thing I’ve ever encountered on this world, and I’ve renovated apartments that had a dead body in them. Google is creepy turtles, all the way down.

Snapchat prospers, if you define success as the ability to use up borrowed money for a longer period of time than your creep competitors before the laws of supply, demand, and plain old addition and subtraction start to apply. Snapchat gives their users the impression they can get away with being a creep on their service. Being creepy is the appeal. Google Glass failed because they lied, and said it wasn’t supposed to be creepy. Snapchat makes the same thing, and touts creepiness as a feature, not a bug. That’s how you do it fellows. You’ll be able to borrow another half-a-tril with that approach.

Then again, the baseline for creepiness creeps (of course) upward all the time. Twitter keeps looking for new ways to be creepy in a desperate attempt to keep the venture-capital wolves from the door. (See, for instance, their alleged “safety” squad, Marxist to the core, a blatant attempt by @jack to avoid doing his job.) Facebook has seemingly all the money in the world, and is willing to spend it on new ways to be assimilated by the Zuckerborg Collective. And I figure Snapchat, which boasted that one’s texts would disappear after a certain period, is working on a way to disable the ever-popular Print Screen function.

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Hum a tune, save a life

It’s the way CPR works:

Music can be a lifesaver — literally.

When first responders are being taught to perform hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation, known as CPR, on an adult whose heart has stopped beating, they’re told to administer 2-inch sternum compressions (between the nipples) at a rate of around 100 beats per minute (bpm). That’s a little less than twice a second, and can be hard to approximate. So thank goodness for pop music.

“Staying Alive” by the Bee Gees is a classic example of a song that hits that 100 bpm benchmark (and has obvious connotations to the task at hand). Ditto Gloria Gaynor’s breakup anthem, “I Will Survive.” Looking for something a little less on the nose? Try Hanson’s mega-hit “MMMBop.” All of those tracks appear on a 100-bpm playlist released this week by New York Presbyterian Hospital.

And if you dig reverse psychology, there’s Norman Greenbaum’s evergreen “Spirit in the Sky” — and Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust.”

(Via Fark.)

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Six weeks on

“The Great Divide” continues to unite us on the dance floor, up two spots from last week:

The Great Divide

And yet another cover served up, this one a duet with Drumaq. The original was recorded last year by Noah Cyrus, who is Miley’s younger sister. (“Lana Montana”?)

Warning: One brief untoward utterance at the end.



“Walk right in,” the song begins. “Sit right down:”

Oh, the song absolutely was a hit for the Rooftop Singers, two weeks at #1 in 1963, and they even get a little songwriting credit for their sparkling-clean version —

But the original was old even then: in 1929, Gus Cannon’s Jug Stompers recorded “Walk Right In” with considerably more complexity — and a kazoo solo!

Heaven knows we don’t get enough kazoo solos. Herewith, an attempt to redress that issue. First, Dion, despite the titling actually post-Belmonts, with “Little Diane” (1962):

Ginny Arnell, in a song they will never, ever play on the radio anymore, from the very end of 1963:

Even the Beatles — okay, one ex-Beatle — dug the buzz:

And speaking of buzz, a 1982 classic from the Temple City Kazoo Orchestra:

We may now put aside this keyword for a decade or two.

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Lawyer entangled by laws

I can’t help thinking this was a setup intended as public chastisement:

An offbeat Austin-area defense attorney who has built a practice representing clients accused of drunken driving and marijuana possession spent 11 days in an East Texas jail after federal authorities charged him with scamming $1.2 million from Colombian clients.

Jamie Balagia, who operates law firms in Manor and in San Antonio, was released on bond from the Fannin County Detention Center at 10:47 a.m. Monday, jail records show. Balagia, 56, agreed to stop practicing law until his case is resolved, according to court records that provide the conditions of his release.

The attorney who markets himself as the DWI Dude and the 420 Dude was arrested by the FBI on March 9 in McKinney near Dallas and charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and obstruction of justice. He was released on an unsecured $100,000 bond by U.S. Magistrate Judge Christine Nowak of the Eastern District in Sherman.

You should know that just about everyone named “Balagia” in central Texas is a relative of mine. (Jamie is in fact a first cousin.)

That said, he ran for Texas Attorney General in 2014 on the Libertarian ticket, promoting the legalization of marijuana. (The “420 Dude” is known for defending weed users.) He pulled about two percent of the vote.

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Saved a bundle on uniforms

I had no idea this existed at all:

A couple years ago I participated in and won the Tallahassee Naturally College Greek Athletic Meet. It was a small turnout, but very fun and a unique experience. After all, how often have you come across a competition involving javelin, sprinting, discuss, long-jump, and wrestling (in the event of a tie) that is conducted completely in the nude?

Tallahassee Naturally is a travel (“unlanded”) club — they don’t own permanent resort property — for family nude recreation. Which may explain this:

I’m sad to say that this year’s 22nd annual competition may be the last. I recently received an email stating that the woods in which the competition has been traditionally held will no longer be available to the organization in the future. While they intend to find a future home, I fear that the poor turnout in recent years will dampen their spirits and shake their resolve. So, if you’ve ever considered giving it your all while wearing nothing, make it now.

In the meantime, these are the house rules:

BRING: One clean birthday suit, beach towel or blanket, sunscreen, sack lunch, and plenty of drinking water.

CAMERAS: Not allowed! Exception: reporters from newspapers may make special arrangements.

NOTE: Anyone under 18 must bring signed parental permission.

Oh, and spectators ($20 per ticket) are advised that this is not a clothing-optional event: you do without, just as the participants do.

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Caddy remarks

General Motors has bestowed some of their finest engineering ever on Cadillac sedans, and yet sales continue to tank. Jack Baruth says that’s the whole problem:

Cadillac has been handed over to people who think you can engineer your way to excellence in the luxury-car market. You can’t. It has to be done with marketing.

And don’t you dare bring up Lexus as a counter-example. The original LS400 was a master class in cost-no-object engineering but nobody bought it for that reason. They bought it because it looked just like an S-Class, it based at $35,000 instead of $58,000, and the marketing emphasized that. Period, point blank. I want you to think back to the last time you saw the actual MSRP of a D-class luxury sedan in a television ad and I guarantee you it will be that first-gen LS400. The price was the whole point. The Infiniti Q45 was a better car to drive in day-to-day use — I know, I had access to both of them when they were brand new — and it didn’t sell worth a damn because the marketing was garbage. Instead of a picture of the car and the sticker price, they had rocks and trees. People already had rocks and trees. What they wanted was a discount S-Class.

Don Draper, line one, please:

So here’s my suggestion. Bring back the Mad Men. Find the most despicable, non-progressive, manipulative ad agency money can buy. Get the people who did the Lexus bows and tell them that the gloves are off. Starting tomorrow, everything will be done with marketing foremost in mind. No more Nürburgring times, no more class-leading lateral g. We’re gonna take the fight to Lexus with cars that are absurdly desirable. Cars that flaunt your prosperity to your neighbors. The Escalade is gonna be the bare minimum when it comes to excess displays of wealth. Buying a Cadillac should feel like putting on a red-velvet top hat and punching your boss in the face. It should be irrationally exuberant.

And it will have to be priced accordingly. A ’57 Eldorado Brougham with everything standard, including a set of matched tumblers (!), sold for the princely sum of $13,074, or about 4.9 Chevrolets. Inflation demands six-figure pricing today. And fercrissake, don’t do something stupid like call it “CT9.”

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Stop — hammer time

The Oklahoma House has passed a bill to make Good Friday a state holiday:

House Bill 1444 passed by a vote of 69-24 and was opposed by 22 Republicans and two Democrats, according to a spokesman for the House. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ.

Um, thank you for the explanation.

What gets me: only two Democrats in opposition? “Yeah, yeah, we know, separation of church and state and all that crap. But it’s a paid holiday, man!”

One of the GOP opposition offered a different pitch:

“I felt it was in bad judgment to add another holiday to the schedule, especially considering the various economic circumstances of the time,” said Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie.

(Via The Lost Ogle.)

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