Tugs on the wheel

Dave Schuler is skeptical about self-driving cars, and he has plenty of good reasons why. I’ll just cite the last two:

  • Big, rich companies with deep pockets will be irresistible targets for liability suits.
  • The first liability suit could deep-six the move to autonomous vehicles for the foreseeable future.

I don’t see any way around these. If you thought people were litigious before, just wait until one of them gets a fender bent, or worse, by an automaton.


They feel your pain

And no, we don’t want them to do that:

I think the demand that presidents should show up to a disaster to “feel people’s pain” is emotional and stupid. It’s not part of a president’s job description, and like many terrible traditions, it was started by Bill Clinton, after the idiotic media outrage over the GHWB response to Andrew. But I just wish that the media would be consistent, and not hypocritical, in modulating their outrage depending on which political party is in the White House.

Actually, they’re always consistent: they defend Democrats.

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Very Italian

Sylva Koscina will always be remembered as an Italian actress; a few wise guys might point out along the way that she was born on the Dalmatian coast of what used to be Yugoslavia, but nobody listens to them.

As is essential for an Italian actress of this vintage, she rocks the Little Black Dress:

Sylva Koscina sitting there

Sylva Koscina has finished her drink

Or, should the situation demand, even less:

Sylva Koscina standing there

In 1968, she did a segment of the anthology film Vedo Nudo (“I See Naked”), playing a woman identified as The Diva. She is not actually naked in this clip:

She does, however, get to drive an Italian sports car. You don’t usually get this kind of deal in Yugoslavia.

Sylva Koscina would have been 83 today; she was struck down by breast cancer in her early 60s.

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Turning aukward

This has its disquieting aspects, but it still sounds like a neat idea:

It was last seen on British shores 200 years ago — but the great auk could soon return.

An international team of scientists has met to discuss reintroducing the flightless marine birds onto the Farne islands off the north-east coast of England.

Of course, they’re extinct, so this will take some serious DNA work. Fortunately, there is auk material to work with:

There are a number of Great Auk museum specimens to work with — 71 skins, 24 skeletons, 75 eggs, and even some preserved internal organs and ancient fossil remains.

And there’s some enthusiasm for the project:

Matt Ridley, a science writer who chaired a recent meeting where the plans were discussed, told the Telegraph: “Effectively the great auk is the only European breading bird to go extinct in the last 500 years.

“It’s one of the very few flightless birds of the northern hemisphere and it obviously played a very important part in the ecosystem of the North Atlantic. It would be rather wonderful to feel that we could bring it back.”

Just … be careful.

(Via Interested-Participant.)

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Because convenience

At least, that’s what they tell me:

I think I need to lie down.


Strange search-engine queries (551)

Surely by now you’ve seen this before: we look at the search strings attached to various visits — yes, Virginia, your browser sends such things, although Google tends to encrypt them — and pick a few to mock on Monday morning.

open season mascots:  That explains the guys in costume running all over the place.

sofia still lives at home, but helps with the rent paying $200 per month. she has a job that pays about $700 per month after taxes. she has to pay for her own personal items such as clothing and toiletries spending about $120 per month. going out with friends is important to her, but she also wants:  A brand-new Mini Cooper, because they’re just so gosh-darn cute.

joanna plans on hanging 3 pictures of different sizes on the wall of her staircase. she thinks it will look best if all 3 rectangular pictures are similar. the two sizes she has already are 25 in. by 35 in.and 35 in. by 49 in. which of the following is a possible size of the third picture?  Sofia used to search these things instead of doing her homework, which is why she makes only $700 a month.

during a long drive tony counted:  But sadly, he didn’t count for much.

how to hack somebodys tinder:  I hope someone swipes you off the face of the earth.

“bandwidth” -“amd” -“ghz” -“$” -“gpu”:  Sorry, your ping still sucks.

at sanger’s auto garage, 40% of the cars brought in for service need an oil change. of the cars that need oil changes, 30% also need a tire rotation. find the probability that a car that comes into the auto garage needs both an oil change and a tire rotation:  All of them. Sanger has a boat payment due.

my life is ruined yahoo answers:  Yep. That’ll do it every time.

taylor has had two experiences with two christian-based institutions: the oral roberts university infomercial and jesus is lord used tires. these two institutions are different because:  The tire store has a 10-day warranty.

ex-yankee milf ~pounding the hell out of friend’s mom~:  Doesn’t sound like Jeter.

conjoined fanfiction:  Too many characters.

obama ineligible:  After 2016, anyway.

i want to book a hotel at universal orlando 10 april for one night plus two day park tickets:  Um, you’re doing it wrong.

drip advisor:  Is this pre- or post-nasal?

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Quote of the week

Baton Rouge attorney Heather Cross, in a blistering Open Letter to the media:

First — as previously stated. There was a Noah’s Ark Level Flood. It affected all of us. Black, white, dog, cat, man, woman, child, transsexual.

While it was still raining, a spontaneous, private, and well-meaning navy of ordinary people assembled themselves. They were black, white, Asian and otherwise. They weren’t protesting anything. They got into their own boats, spent their own money, spent their own time, risked their own lives. Black people saved white people. White people saved black people. Nobody asked what color you were before knocking on your door. These are not first responders on some list somewhere. These are a bunch of guys who like to hunt and fish and as a result own flat bottom boats and they assumed that the actual police and other first responders, not to mention their fellow citizens — could use a little help. So they just showed up. Nobody told them to. They wanted to.

Meanwhile, across town, a spontaneous, private and well-meaning army of ordinary people assembled themselves in a 7 warehouse, un-airconditioned sound stage. (And FYI, it’s REALLY hot in August in Louisiana). They found some fans. And they had plenty of room. They gathered canned goods, bottled water, Gatorade, Neosporin, Band-Aids, toothbrushes, deodorant, hairspray, sleeping bags, chairs and pillows. They set up kitchens with their tailgating party supplies. Nobody told them to. They just did it. Why? All because people who just lost everything about a half hour ago, got plucked off of their rooftops in helicopters and this army knew that they needed somewhere to go, and something to eat. Pretty much instinctively.

Meanwhile, across town, people who usually lived as one family unit in well-kept homes slept on air mattresses in friends’ homes watching flood waters threaten every memory, every belonging, every photograph, everything they spent their whole lives building, every spot their child took their first step become over-run with ruin, knowing it would be months, if not years before they clean up the mess. People who lost homes in Katrina, went through the same thing again. People who don’t own much to speak of, have nowhere to return to. All of these people woke up in a place where they have nowhere to send their kids to school. Indefinitely. All of these people I’ve seen, are sad, they are tired — but they are resilient — they are smiling.

I wish I had that level of resilience.

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It’s almost a truck

Those of us who have fond memories of such automotive follies as the Chevrolet El Camino or the Ford Ranchero or even the Subaru BRAT will gaze longingly on this up-and-comer:

Hyundai Santa Cruz concept

Hyundai has been showing the Santa Cruz concept for more than a year now, though they’re only just now admitting that they’re going to build it, or a reasonable facsimile thereof, for model year 2019.

I am, shall we say, at least slightly tempted.

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It’s bad for you

Dear Granny of KTRK-TV Houston weighs in on a question close to my heart:

Note: 30-second ad before content; other stories follow.

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A pause to remember

It was a single paragraph in the midst of several others:

Thomas Copenhaver is selling his two stations in Marion VA to CDM Broadcasting. Classic Rock 102.5 WOLD-FM and CHR “Z103.5” WZVA go from TEC2 Broadcasting and TECO Broadcasting respectively to CDM for $651,039. CDM began operating the two stations via Time Brokerage Agreement on August 1.

Wait a minute. WOLD?

Yep. Actually, that call predates the late Harry Chapin’s song by six years; they were a country station at the time and didn’t play it.

From a 1987 tribute to Harry, featuring brothers Tom and Steve, here’s Richie Havens with this song of the DJ who is no longer young:

I was suspecting, though, that like Harry and Richie, WOLD might be dead: their livestream produced nothing, and their Web site had been taken over. Nothing at WZVA either. I left a query at the WOLD Facebook page; they say they’re still around and that the new owners are implementing new Web stuff.

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The final frontier

Who knew there was so much space in one of those wheeled carry-on bags?

Me either. But watch:

Just the same, I don’t think I want to be there when she opens it back up.

(Via HelloGiggles.)

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Buckets o’ fun

So what would you do if a Secret Recipe came over the transom?

Our mission: find out if 11 ingredients handwritten on a piece of paper could be the secret blend of 11 herbs and spices that go into Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Original Recipe — a closely guarded formula that remains one of the world’s biggest culinary mysteries.

The recipe came to us by way of Colonel Harland Sanders’ nephew, Joe Ledington of Kentucky. He says he found it in a scrapbook belonging to his late Aunt Claudia, Sanders’ second wife. Ledington, 67, says he used to blend the spices that went into his uncle’s world-famous fried chicken, and the recipe in question is the real deal.

We wanted to see — make that taste — for ourselves. So we put it to the test.

I won’t spoil it for you, except to suggest that there might be a twelfth ingredient.



Taiwanese actress Annie Wu came to prominence in Jackie Chan’s Police Story 4: First Strike in 1996; Chan had said, perhaps tongue-in-cheek, that her Cantonese was terrible, and whether it was true or not, all of her lines were dubbed for the final release.

Annie Wu in black

Annie Wu in white

Still, Wu, thirty-eight tomorrow, has sustained a career, mostly in Chinese TV, occasionally in a feature film like From Vegas to Macau:

Not that she has a whole heck of a lot to do in those films.

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Groceries 2.0

For the first time in two months, I had to restock groceries today, a task I was not at all feeling up to, what with this whole not-walking scheme. A friend suggested yesterday that I should try the Walmart Online Grocery system, and while I am not overly fond of Walmart, I am less fond of traipsing through a store when my traipsing equipment is below par.

So last night I went to the Web site they’d set up just for this function: grocery.walmart.com. Apparently it gives you the option to order online if it detects your IP address as being near one of their participating stores. (I am not quite two miles from the Belle Isle Supercenter.) The user interface was fairly intuitive, bumping up quantities was simple, and I rang up 18 items in short order. What’s more, since I’m a new customer and all, they knocked $10 off my initial over-$50 order.

I set pickup for today at 1 pm. At precisely a quarter to one, they called me to remind me. The instructions: call when you’re within 10 minutes of arrival. There are dedicated parking spaces on the side of the store. I called in, described my car (nothing you don’t already know), and took a space in the middle. Within about a minute they’d brought out a cart with all my goodies and loaded up the trunk. (Well, almost all my goodies; they’d substituted A&W root beer for Mug. I was fine with that.) Standard rule: “chemicals” (dish soap, for instance) are stashed on the right side. I was home before 1:30, though it took me three trips across the garage to move a dozen plastic bags of stuff out of the trunk. And apparently I got a price break on one item between last night and today.

Would I recommend this? If you have no emotional objections to all things Walmart, then certainly. The selections are somewhat limited compared to what’s in the store, but I noticed no items that were conspicuous by their utter absence. They did give me a small bag of samples I might want to try. And yes, there’s the inevitable survey: but it has only one line.

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Perv doing pervy things

I’m sure you can find someone to justify roadside masturbators, but I decline to provide assistance:

Police arrested a man at an Oklahoma City park after he was found with drug paraphernalia, a penis pump, binoculars inside his vehicle.

The Oklahoma City Police Department arrested Michael Eugene Spence, 50, Aug. 1 on complaints of possession of a controlled dangerous substance and drug paraphernalia.

Officers were called to Memorial Park, NW 36 and Military, after a witness observed Spence sitting in his vehicle in the parking lot allegedly looking at children through binoculars.

From the Department of Lame Alibis:

Spence allegedly told police he was sitting in the parking lot because he was working as a tree trimmer at a home across the street from the park and had just gotten into a fight with his girlfriend. Spence said he came to the parking lot to cry because of the argument.

Nice try.

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We don’t need no stupid icons

We need steel-belted radials:

Charcoal Oven signA tire company has entered into contract to buy the Charcoal Oven property at 2701 NW Expressway and build a new facility on that site.

The historic structure and charming grounds and drive-through will be completely demolished to make room for the new use. It had been actively for sale for several months.

This is the original and also the last of the remaining Charcoal Ovens, with the previous locations in Edmond and at Northwest Expressway and MacArthur having been sold off some time ago.

At the time it was built in 1958, it was one of the first drive-through restaurants and has remained in continuous operation since that time by the Wilson family.

Its 52-foot high neon sign has been an Oklahoma City landmark for decades.

Which is something you’ll never say of a Discount Tire sign.

(Via Judge Radar.)

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