Celling points

Three years ago, Hyundai announced that they’d build a thousand Tucsons with fuel-cell propulsion, the first batch of which would be in place by 2015.

They will be profitable, perhaps, but not because of their pricing:

While the first hydrogen-powered Tucson FCVs left the docks in California in the last week of May, Hyundai knows the vehicles aren’t meant to add to the company’s bottom line, but are meant to garner credits for future use.

WardsAuto reports the Korean automaker will earn as much as 26 CARB credits for every Tucson FCV leased through 2017, each vehicle equal to $130,000 in credit. Fuel cell boss Byung Ki Ahn believes his company could then sell those credits to automakers in need of offsetting their carbon footprint, though Hyundai has no plans on the table to do so at this time, preferring to use the credits for themselves for less compliant vehicles of their own design.

Ahn, at the time of the announcement of the program, said that Hyundai hoped eventually to be able to sell the Tucson FCV for $50,000.

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Application for the Geezer Card

There is an essay required, but anyone close to meeting the qualifications almost certainly already has a story not unlike this:

Back in the day, when I was in middle school (11-13 years old), we had to walk over 3K to school in the rain and snow and sleet, and NOBODY CARED!! None of our parents rallied to have us bussed! None of them felt remotely bad for our plight! We trudged through adverse conditions for three whole kilometres in torrential downpours or baking sun, and not one of the parents in the area ever offered us a ride. I clearly remember a blizzard one year: snow was almost waist high and yet our troubles did nary make dinner table headlines. And I’m really short, so it was even higher on me!

I lived 8.7 miles (Google says so) from school. Getting there was no problem: a neighbor worked in the same general vicinity, so I rode with her. School days, however, were shorter than work days, so I had this complex scheme of walking down to the nearest city bus stop (four blocks), riding the bus to the end of its route (seven miles, 50 cents), and then walking the rest of the way (a mile and a half). This was in South Carolina, and on the coast at that, so snow and sleet were uncommon. Rain, however, was something I got to see on a fairly regular basis. I hasten to point out that the total distance walked each day fell short of 3 km.

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If I’m lying, I’m petrifying

Sony Pictures Animation has bought a project based on your favorite snake-haired female:

Antz writer Todd Alcott and producer Holly Golden sold the studio with a comedy pitch about a beautiful, young girl who transforms into Medusa, a gorgon whose gaze turns people to stone.

“I love the originality of it, the comedy take on Medusa,” Michelle Raimo-Kouyate, president of production at Sony Animation, told TheWrap. “The minute I heard it, it felt ingenious and clever and funny.”

The director attached to the project is Lauren Faust, developer of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, which suggests a decidedly different spin on the old story:

Faust told TheWrap the movie will portray Medusa as a decent girl who irks the wrong goddess. After turning into a monster, she learns to embrace what makes her different.

This surely will bring all the boys to her yard: who hasn’t irked the wrong goddess at one time or another?

And in MLP:FiM, come to think of it, turning individuals to stone is routine: cockatrices roam the Everfree, and Discord used to spend his odd (and even) hours as an item of statuary in Celestia’s garden.

(Via The Mary Sue.)

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I wasn’t ready for this

The “Ready for Hillary” campaign — “not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee,” as the fine print says — sent me a packet this week, and instead of sacrificing it to Weber, God of Charcoal, I actually opened the darn thing. As such things go, it was fairly innocuous, with a cover letter by Senior Adviser (huh?) Craig T. Smith, informal enough to open with the phrase “So here’s the deal.” The recommended donation is $35, and I suppose I’d feel better if the credit-card information included the CVV, but the trend in political campaigns — and not just Democratic political campaigns, either — is toward Minimum Security Possible.

Also included is a print of a 2009 photo of her taking the oath of office as Secretary of State, which looks something like this:

Hillary Clinton being sworn in as Secretary of State, January 2009

Of course, she was five years younger back then, but what perplexes me is that shadow in the shape of a chin strap. At least, I think it’s a shadow.

I did look for the obligatory Koch Brothers reference, and found only a hint in Smith’s letter, which refers to “billionaires with personal agendas.” As a thousandaire with a personal agenda, I automatically tune out this kind of class-warfare stuff.

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Vans are waiting

Oh, I’m sorry. Unless you’re British, it’s “Vans is waiting”:

The Hello Kitty x Vans summer 2014 collection has arrived! Vans.com says that this collection is:

“Inspired by Hello Kitty’s 40th Anniversary and graphics from the 70’s, the Vans x Hello Kitty Authentic is a simple low top, lace up with a durable printed canvas upper, metal eyelets, Vans flag label and Vans original Waffle Outsole.”

Of course, if you want something slightly less low and slightly less Authentic, we recommend the SK8-Hi Slim:

Vans SK8-Hi Slim Hello Kitty Edition

These will run you $70; the non-high-tops are about $15 less and are distinctly less subtle in appearance.

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On the upside, it’s nontoxic

Breathes there the man with soul so dead, who never to himself hath said, “Wouldn’t it be great if I had an extra inch or two?” Now I wouldn’t know, personally, but vendors of dingus-embiggenment stuff have reason to think there’s a customer born every minute:

A man who purchased a penis enlargement device online had a rude shock when he received a magnifying glass instead of the device he thought he had purchased.

MCA Public Service and Complaint Bureau chairman Datuk Seri Michael Chong said Tuesday that the disgruntled customer, known only as Ong from Seri Kembangan, had paid RM450 for the penis enlarger.

“When he received the package, he was shocked to find a magnifying glass inside. The instructions that came with the package merely read ‘Do not use in sunlight’,” he said.

Not that Ong is likely to get any satisfaction out of this incident:

Lawyer Alex Kok said that unsatisfied customers who wished to sue these scammers would find it difficult to do so due to the dubious nature of the business.

And you have to figure that it’s cheaper than putting a curved mirror on the ceiling and stenciling it with the legend ITEMS ARE LARGER THAN THEY APPEAR.

(Via Fark.)

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Somewhat newer Spice

At this level, I’m surprised it doesn’t have electrolytes:

I mean, whatever happened to good old aluminum chlorohydrate?

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Doo point

Under the circumstances, “windy” probably goes without saying:

Fartly cloudy and windy

Mama said there’d be days like this.

(Via Bad Newspaper. The paper in question is the News-Democrat & Leader of Russellville, Kentucky.)

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Twice upon a breeze

There are those who can’t stand the thought of wind turbines, especially after they’ve seen some up close. Tim Blair, on the other hand, has found at least two semi-salutary purposes for them:

Besides cleansing the skies of untidy birdlife, it emerges that wind turbines have one other useful purpose. They are a rich source of valuable copper for French metal thieves.

Le Figaro reports that a network of French metal bandits has recently harvested tonnes of copper from around 20 wind turbines. Apparently it’s a simple matter of breaking into the turbines, climbing internal stairs to the top, then using bolt cutters to remove all the copper wiring from the turbine’s generator.

Each tonne of copper — and a single wind turbine may yield that much by itself — is worth around $A6500 in Europe, so this is very profitable work for your entrepreneurial French turbine-wrecking community.

In other news, there are entrepreneurial French.

At least getting the wiring down from up there is relatively simple, what with gravity and all.

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She should not feel so all alone

Previously declared by Nicole (and mentioned here):

Kids might still pick some up and eat them anyway (kids with no taste) but if an adult is fed these unbeknownst to them they are simply a dunderhead who has no sensory awareness at all.

Maureen Dowd, thy head is made of dunder:

The caramel-chocolate flavored candy bar looked so innocent, like the Sky Bars I used to love as a child.

Sitting in my hotel room in Denver, I nibbled off the end and then, when nothing happened, nibbled some more. I figured if I was reporting on the social revolution rocking Colorado in January, the giddy culmination of pot Prohibition, I should try a taste of legal, edible pot from a local shop.

What could go wrong with a bite or two?

And then, of course, she found out:

As my paranoia deepened, I became convinced that I had died and no one was telling me.

It took all night before it began to wear off, distressingly slowly. The next day, a medical consultant at an edibles plant where I was conducting an interview mentioned that candy bars like that are supposed to be cut into 16 pieces for novices; but that recommendation hadn’t been on the label.

(Via this tweet by HuffPo’s Sam Stein. Originally scheduled for 4:20, but moved up.)

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Swastacky

So apparently there are Grammar Nazis, after all:

Is trademark registration the next step?

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The opposite of nostalgia

James Lileks is looking for a name for it:

What’s the word for an exaggerated dislike of a particular time? I know I am nostalgic for things I did not experience, and only see through the pop-culture elements left behind, which communicate incomplete and occasionally misleading messages. But I have antipathy for things I experienced at the fringe of adolescence — not because it was a bad time, or I didn’t like them then, but because they seem now to be the products of a culture that was getting cheap and lazy; it was full of gimcrack baubles turned out by an exhausted system that tried to adapt to the times, but had no strength to put forth any ideas or uphold any ideas that went before. The period from 1967 to 1975, with some stellar exceptions, was just a horrible time for everything, and you can reduce it all down to one middle-aged balding dude with wet hair plastered over his head in brown polyester pants and a mustard-yellow shirt approving one thing after the other because the kids will go for it.

I suspect we can generalize further: if anything worthwhile happened during your bête noire period, it happened in spite of that middle-aged balding dude.

My own “Oooh, take it away!” era runs roughly 1989 through about 1994 or so: it is delineated by changes in my own life, which had only just bottomed out and was in a tediously slow recovery, and by the fact that Mariah Carey was getting massive hit records by sounding like her record producer — Tommy Mottola, you may remember, lives on the road — had stuffed a live ferret into her pants.

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Definitely in gear

Pop Gear/Go Go Mania (the latter being apparently a US-only title for no good reason other than the fact that it wasn’t British) was a brief (one hour, ten minutes) music revue on film, with various Big Beat acts generally faking their way through their 1964 recordings, interspersed with dance numbers. For lack of a better name, this is the Gold Pants Dance:

The song ending as the clip begins is “Tobacco Road,” a John D. Loudermilk tune recorded by the Nashville Teens, who of course were (1) not teens and (2) not from Nashville. The Teens’ second single, “Google Eye”, also a Loudermilk song, missed the bottom of the Billboard Hot 100; however, it does show up later in Pop Gear.

The vaguely oily host, Sir James Wilson Vincent “Jimmy” Savile, OBE, KCSG, died in 2011; a year later, a scandal broke, with Savile accused of multiple acts of sexual abuse. He is now on his way to becoming an unperson.

(Suggested by Peter J. Rudy.)

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Toward fatter and fatter cats

Dave Schuler reads that the formation of new businesses is definitely on the wane, and suggests a solution:

I think the solution to that problem is to lower the barriers to new business formation, to stop subsidizing large companies, and reduce the power and effectiveness of the tools, e.g. intellectual property law, that large companies exploit to beat down smaller upstarts. Unfortunately, I can’t see any enthusiasm for doing any of those things because all of them have powerful support constituencies.

Additionally, there used to be a dictum that big companies like to do business with big companies. I think that’s still true but I think it can be extended: big government likes to do business with big companies which prefer to do business with other big companies. In other words the larger and more powerful government becomes the more policy will tend to be oriented to favor large companies and the lower our rate of new business formation will become.

It might also help if big companies could get over their hormonal (or whatever) urge to get Even Bigger. Does anyone seriously believe that the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger — or the AT&T/DirecTV merger — will accomplish anything worthwhile? At best, some people will see paper gains on their stock holdings, and most of them won’t see that much. (I expect about $11, based on my own muddled portfolio.) Certainly there’s no reason to think actual service will improve.

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While she knocks you into the dust

The tallest woman I ever met — I mean, in person, face to, um, chin — was a hair over six foot two. She was perhaps not a great beauty, but it didn’t matter: were she anywhere in the room, she was the one you noticed, no matter who else managed to show up.

I’ve never met Gwendoline Christie, who plays Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones and who stands somewhere between half an inch and two inches taller than that, but I suspect she has the same sort of effect:

Gwendoline Christie in a limo

This week she was signed for the next Star Wars film, playing a Wookie who’d been dragged through the River Nair tall person.

Being incredibly tall, it would appear, might not confer upon a person the ability to make the finest judgment calls, fashionwise:

Gwendoline Christie at the Game of Thrones Premiere 2013

Said Fug Girl Jessica: “I love you, and I know you are like six foot four, but THIS IS TOO SHORT.”

At least she’s not sitting down in it.

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Damned with faint damns

This isn’t as funny as one Lynn got yesterday, which raises the bar for all such word salad, but by the standards of the stuff I’ve been getting lately, it’s not bad:

I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here.

The sketch is tasteful, your authored material stylish.
nonetheless, you command get bought an nervousness over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come further
formerly again since exactly the same nearly very often inside case you shield this hike.

This came from somewhere in 23.94.*.*, which entire range is now banned from the premises, since they produce the same sort of crap nearly very often.

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