Quote of the week

Voyager 1 has left the solar system, and as major achievements go, this one has its drawbacks:

Anyone else bothered by the fact that we sent a thing into space that contains a map to its origin planet and an open invitation?

“Hi, we’re a barely space-faring civilization that you could probably conquer and subjugate with your equivalent of a Boy Scout troop! Here’s a map to our home planet. Stop by anytime!”

Oh, they will.

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Same old, only samer and older

Does this sound like you? Because it definitely sounds like me:

[T]here are a couple of blogs I’ve been checking in on periodically over the last couple of years. It doesn’t matter how long the span of time is between my visits because their latest post says exactly what they wrote three months ago. It’s a deafening and nauseating regurgitation of glowy self-effacement. Personal disclosures and shock-jock phrases are the de rigueur for bloggers.

They think if they abandon discretion they will prove how genuine they are. And, even if we’re not convinced, we might hang around long enough to observe the train wreck. For a blogger, that means traffic and we’ll do anything for hits, right? We’re constantly trying to figure out how to be awesome, how to go viral.

Let’s see. What was I talking about three months ago?

Dead to rights, folks; I haven’t changed a thing. The train wreck goes ever on.

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The short version

Does this meet the disclosure requirements of the Securities and Exchange Commission?

Then again, do disclosure requirements even mean anything anymore?

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Scrubbing the scribes

On the off-chance that some of you are curious about my none-too-secret side activity, here’s a look at where a lot of it happens:

I’ll vouch for, um, much of that.

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License with the plates

The first book of Nephi, which opens the Book of Mormon, as told by Will Truman:

God tells Lehi to get the heck out of Dodge (Jerusalem) because there is some bad stuff coming. Lehi tries to round up his family, but a couple of his sons (Laman and Lamuel) object. God picks Nephi, the youngest (at the time) son, as his favorite. This causes much trouble and murmuring with the other brothers. Laman and Lamuel are tagged as bad apples, though God (through Lehi and/or Nephi) alternates between telling them that they are bad apples and that they should behave. There is another son, Sam, who seems to be a swing vote between good (Nephi) and evil (the other two). God gives Nephi some shapechanging powers and gives them a magic compass. After some time in the wilderness, Nephi builds a boat and they sail off to America.

That murmuring can get you into a lot of trouble.

As I recall — one of my best buds in the Service was LDS — the descendants of his brothers, Nephi envisioned, would be a “dark, and loathsome, and a filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations.” Mind you, this was written before MTV.

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Neither shalt thou haze

Leipzig University issued this rule just in time for the fall semester, 1495:

Statute Forbidding Any One to Annoy or Unduly Injure the Freshmen. Each and every one attached to this university is forbidden to offend with insult, torment, harass, drench with water or urine, throw on or defile with dust or any filth, mock by whistling, cry at them with a terrifying voice, or dare to molest in any way whatsoever physically or severely, any, who are called freshmen, in the market, streets, courts, colleges and living houses, or any place whatsoever, and particularly in the present college, when they have entered in order to matriculate or are leaving after matriculation.

Senator John Blutarsky was not available for comment.

(Via Pejman Yousefzadeh.)

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Thanks to our BFF Vlad

A reasonable stance on the Syria deal, courtesy of the Crimson Reach:

1. We don’t attack Syria, which would be pointless, wasteful, kill innocent people, possibly unconstitutional (given what I assume would be a “no” House vote), risky, and of course — by design — accomplish nothing tangible.

2. Lefties get to go around pretending that the “deal” is real and the [chemical weapons] ban it imposes is meaningful, that the Russians are a trustworthy partner, and that this is a victory — in short that this outcome is what the Obama administration planned all along.

Which, in the final analysis, is fine with him:

I’ll do that trade all day long. I literally do not care about the politics or political-point-scoring angle of this. I do care about the not-using-our-military-to-engage-in-pointless-wasteful-attacks aspect.

I guess we’ll have to live with that.

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For future Pontifexcursions

I always thought it was a shame that the Pontiff never got to drive a Pontiac.

Pope Francis has already taken delivery of the official Popemobile, a modified Mercedes-Benz M-Class, but that’s really not his style, and he’s now gotten a personal vehicle more in tune with his tastes: a 29-year-old Renault 4 with a stick shift — I don’t think they made any with automatics — received as a gift from a parish priest in Verona.

To me, the niftiest aspect of the 4, which none of the wire services have mentioned, is that the wheelbase differs depending on which side of the car you’re measuring: the rear suspension consists of two full-width transverse torsion bars, and of necessity, one is mounted in front of the other. (The difference is 1.8 inches, the right side being the longer.) Since the 4 is front-wheel drive, this doesn’t matter a whole lot for handling, but it’s the sort of thing that sticks with you, and by “you” I mean “me.”

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The call of the Yankee dollar

The New York Mets are about to lose their radio flagship:

As reported by Neil Best of Newsday, the Yankees and CBS Radio are close to a deal that would put the Yankees on WFAN starting in 2014, a person familiar with the negotiations told Newsday.

The arrangement would bump the Mets off the station that has carried their games since WFAN’s inception in 1987.

Of course, it’s a matter of money:

The Yankees currently are carried by WCBS Radio, which like WFAN, is owned by CBS. The current one-year contract is believed to pay the team $13 to $14 million.

The Mets are believed to earn about half what the Yankees do in rights fees but have been a money-loser for WFAN, which inherited the team when it took over WHN’s 1050-AM signal in 1987. The Mets then moved down the dial with WFAN to 660-AM in 1988.

Where the Mets would end up is still unclear, though I’m betting on WEPN, the ESPN Radio outlet in New York at 98.7 FM.

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Technically, it’s raspberry

From this past Sunday, we have Christina Hendricks getting a front-row seat at Zac Posen’s show during New York Fashion Week:

Christina Hendricks at Zac Posen NYFW 2013

Whatever the color, I like it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t scroll down to see what sort of shoes she’d picked out. Then again, there is never Only One Picture at any given event:

Christina Hendricks at Zac Posen NYFW 2013

Joining her on the very antithesis of the Group W bench: Karen Elson, Molly Sims and Stacy Keibler.

And yes, that’s a subtle blonde wash worked into her hair.

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Legal cleanup

And another class-action suit settlement crosses my desk, though I stand to gain utterly nothing, instead of practically nothing, from it.

This lawsuit was brought by Plaintiffs Dawn Fairchild, Robert Nachshin, Brian Geers and Larry Gerrard (collectively “Plaintiffs” or “Settlement Class Representatives”) against Defendant AOL LLC, now known as AOL Inc (“AOL”). Plaintiffs allege that (1) the failure to inform them that AOL would insert e-mail footers in their sent e-mails and (2) the insertion of such footers, violate the law.

AOL denies Plaintiffs’ allegations and maintains that it acted in accordance with all laws and regulations.

The proposed Revised Settlement (“Settlement”) is on behalf of all AOL Members as of August 1, 2009 (“Settlement Class Members”). It resolves claims regarding advertising or promotional “footers” that may have been appended to the bottom of your e-mails by AOL.

This is the same case that you received a notice of in 2009. The Settlement was rejected on the ground that some of the selected charities receiving payments did not have a sufficient connection to the class and the subject matter of the lawsuit. The settlement has been revised to include charities that are connected to the class and the subject matter of the lawsuit.

AOL ceased its former practice of appending footers on or around August 1, 2009 and has not used them since that time. The proposed Settlement provides that if AOL re-establishes its former footer practice, it will provide notice to all Settlement Class Members of the footers and their ability to discontinue the footers via AOL Keyword: Footer and http://footer.aol.com and that, if AOL re-establishes appending footers to its Members’ e-mails, such notice will be provided to all new customers upon their registration of an AOL account.

The proposed Settlement provides that AOL shall make donations to several different charities totaling $110,000.

Mental note: Explain to these folks how to use a proper POP3 client with AOL Mail.

Anyway, Fairchild et al. v. AOL did in fact exist, and here’s the complete list of settlement-fund recipients:

Under the original Settlement approved by the Court, the Court awarded the lawyers for the Settlement Class $320,000 in fees and costs that they incurred over the course of this lawsuit. AOL has already paid these fees and costs, and the parties agree that no additional fees or costs will be sought in this case. In addition AOL will pay $110,000 in charitable donations and the costs of administering the Settlement, including the notice process. AOL’s payment of attorneys’ fees and litigation costs will not reduce any amounts paid or credited to the Charities.

Under the settlement, the Settlement Class Representatives do not receive any direct payment. Instead, AOL will donate money to the charity of each Settlement Class Representative’s choice. The relationships between the Settlement Class Representatives and their selected charities are as follows: (1) Dawn Fairchild is employed at her designated charity the New Roads School of Santa Monica; (2) Robert Nachshin’s wife is on the Board of Trustees of his designated charity the New Roads School of Santa Monica, (3) Brian Geers has previously personally supported his designated charity the Oklahoma Indian Legal Services; and (4) Lawrence Gerard has previously worked at his designated charity the Friars Foundation.

Mr. Geers’ charity of choice, as it happens, is right down the road a couple of miles.

A trip to AOLE-MailFooterSettlement.com will bring you a PDF version of the settlement, running 44 pages.

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Almost missed a stereotype there

Usually I screen-print Y!A stuff, but this is a bit long and I’d prefer the text to be searchable, Just In Case.

The question: “Is it weird to like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic?”

Short answer: Maybe. But here’s the rest of it:

I would prefer a woman to answer this.

I am a 21 year old male, but I am not overweight or jobless. I am worried however that it is weird for me to like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I don’t own toys or merchandise from the show. I take it as it is: an entertaining cartoon much like Bugs Bunny or Sponge-bob (before it started to suck). Will women think it’s weird if they find out? I try to hide that part of my life.

Let me make it perfectly clear that I do not obsess about the show or anything. If it is on, I watch it. But I don’t go out looking for a DVD collection.

Not being a woman, I’m not going to answer this poor fellow directly, but I’ll say this much:

(1) I can cite no instance where a woman who might have been interested in me suddenly lost interest after discovering my own involvement with pony — which, in most cases, takes about 45 seconds to a minute.

(2) Buy a plushie. It’s not a guaranteed key to her heart, but you might be able to wedge the door open.

Incidentally, one of the Office Babes (Senior Division) showed up yesterday in a pony T-shirt, and a Generation ThreeMLP:FiM is Generation Four — pony T-shirt, at that. There’s always the possibility that the object of your affections has already been assimilated into the herd.

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Last gasp of the phlopping phish

In about two weeks, Lloyds TSB, the retail bank formed by a 1995 merger of Lloyds Bank and Trustee Savings Bank, will cease to exist: the merger will be effectively undone, and Lloyds and TSB will go their separate ways. So this may be the last opportunity for this phish:

Dear Lloyds TSB valued customer,

You received this email as a notice for the database update for this month. This update is designed by our IT engineers to provide higher security to our customers online accounts, prevent unauthorized account access and other types of online fraud.

You are required to update your online profile by downloading the document attached to this e-mail.

“Required,” yet. Here’s a look at the document:

Phishing document received 10 September 2013

So much easier than picking pockets, am I right?

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California split

Not the Robert Altman film, but a tongue-in-cheek (I think) proposal by John Chase to split the Golden State in twain:

How to make California into two separate states

This is Chase’s Facebook page, where the map was originally posted. I really think they’d have to subdivide it into three segments, but then I haven’t been to California since my sojourn in Twerkywood a quarter-century ago, so my observations are likely dated, which is more than I can say for me.

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Why my host is adorable

I am told that some of the suits at DreamHost actually wear suits now, which makes me a little uneasy about continuing to refer to them as “surfer dudes,” but hey, they’re turning Sweet Sixteen this week, and since I’ve been one of their customers for roughly two-thirds of that time, I figure the least I can do is show them a little birthday love. Besides, they answer their tech requests pretty promptly, and while — like everyone else who’s ever had a hosting account — I’ve had occasional downtime, they’ve busted a nut (or other body part as appropriate) to take care of such matters pronto.

There is also, of course, a purely mercenary reason for posting this.

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Wronger wrongness

It would be difficult, I think, to get much wronger than this:

Jonathan Weil miscredited

This photo was duly pasted into a reprint from Bloomberg News: however, the article is credited to Jonathan Weil, and it’s pretty obviously Weil, not Virginia Postrel, in the picture.

I’m hearing laughter in the background:

I should say not.

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