Why there is $7 beer

The pundits have compiled their best estimates of Major League Baseball salaries this season, and perhaps the most surprising item in the list is where you find the Yankees: second. Somehow, this year, the Dodgers — the Dodgers! — are outspending the Bronx Bombers to the tune of $30 million: the Chavez Ravine payroll is just this side of a quarter of a billion dollars. Evidently Guggenheim Baseball Management, which paid $2.3 billion in cash to buy the team out of bankruptcy two years ago, isn’t afraid of large checks. (Then again, Dodger Stadium was part of the deal.)

Of 30 MLB teams, 16 are spending over $100 million on players this year. The chintziest are the Marlins and the Astros, who fall below the $50 million level. That sort of parsimony would not be tolerated in the NBA, which this year has a minimum team payroll of $52,811.000. This is not to be confused with the team salary figures used to determine compliance with the league’s salary cap; this is the actual number of dollars that must be spent to avoid trouble with the front office in New York.

Then again, NBA teams have rosters of no more than 15 players. Even so, the Brooklyn Nets made it over the $100 million mark this year, with six players over $10 million each. And you know what? NBA beer costs even more than MLB beer.

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Still unstifled after all these years

It’s the meatheads who never catch on, really:

Funny thing about Archie Bunker. As I understand it, he was built to be the bad guy, but people related to him. He was a traditional, albeit crude and poorly spoken, member of the old generation that was out of touch with the modern, sixties person. But people related to his problems in understanding the changes going on in society and with those who would compel him to change. And somehow that gruff character carried a sitcom twelve seasons. Kind of like the modern day Ron Swanson of Parks and Recreation. Although this latter character was originally intended to be a foil for the star’s character, he was a man’s man Libertarian, and he’s the one from whom Internet memes are made. Because people even in the twenty-first century relate. And the sitcom writers and producers are shocked by what sells. Because they’re professionals or something.

These are the days, guys. Even if you’re still obsessed with the Summer of Love and all that horsepuckey.

And while we’re at it, can we declare a moratorium on that “right side of history” meadow muffin? History takes no sides, and wishful thinking won’t make it do so.

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It would be worse with a minibar

A possible disadvantage of vacationing in Vegas with an infant in tow:

[I]f you’re going to “rent” a crib at Mandalay Bay for more than a single day, it’s actually cheaper to buy one off Amazon and have it sent to the hotel than it is to actually rent theirs.

Wouldn’t want to look too family-friendly in America’s Gomorrah, would we?

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DOS right

You can look at this as “too little, too late,” or you can envision something growing from this old but compact kernel. Microsoft has released the first two versions of MS-DOS (1.1 and 2.0) to the open-source community:

On Tuesday, we dusted off the source code for early versions of MS-DOS and Word for Windows. With the help of the Computer History Museum, we are making this code available to the public for the first time.

The museum has done an excellent job of curating some of the most significant historical software programs in computing history. As part of this ongoing project, the museum will make available two of the most widely used software programs of the 1980’s, MS-DOS 1.1 and 2.0 and Microsoft Word for Windows 1.1a, to help future generations of technologists better understand the roots of personal computing.

The software — you get both source code and object code — is generally free from restrictions: you may not post copies elsewhere, but otherwise you can do pretty much what you want with it.

(Via this Costa Tsiokos tweet.)

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Razor canon

Advice Goddess Amy Alkon draws a plaintive wail from a chap whose girlfriend has forsworn the blade for, um, political reasons, and explains why this is mostly bogus:

As for your girlfriend’s notion that the defurred look traces to “anti-feminist propaganda,” way back before there was Cosmo, there was Ovid, the Roman poet, advising women looking for love: “Let no rude goat find his way beneath your arms” (don’t let your underarms get stanky like a goat), “and let not your legs be rough with bristling hair.” Archeological evidence (including hair-scraping stones and an impressive set of Bronze Age tweezers) suggests that women — and often men — have been shaving, depilating, and yanking out body hair since at least 7,000 B.C. In the early 1500s, Michelangelo sculpted David (who would have been a hairy Middle Eastern dude, looking more Borat than baby’s bottom), making him look like he was too busy spending three weeks at the waxer to slay Goliath. And these days, male bodybuilders also remove their body hair, lest their admirers have to peer through the hair sweater to find the pecs and abs.

For my part, I contributed a verse of this track by The Pursuit of Happiness to the discussion.

And for the record, I have known a few women who were similarly disinclined to defoliate themselves, for whatever reason: there were times when I couldn’t tell without close inspection, and there were times when entering the room was more than sufficient. Since I wasn’t actually dating any of them, I considered it none of my beeswax.

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In the year 5041

A new poem by Sarah de Nordwall recalls a time in the distant past when, believe it or not, life was passed down to new members of the species by a strange being now entirely forgotten.

There was a word used to describe this human;

‘She’

But that couldn’t be possible, could it?

(Retweeted from the poet’s original announcement by Dawn Eden.)

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Freddie’s still dead

Last week’s QOTW speculated that Fred Phelps might have had something of a change of heart before shuffling off this mortal coil.

In possible support of this premise:

Last week, Fred Phelps’ son posted on Facebook that his father, the longtime head of the notoriously venomous Westboro Baptist Church — famous for protesting military and other high-profile funerals and events with neon “God Hates Fags” signs — was “now on the edge of death at Midland Hospice house in Topeka.” Despite Drain’s attempts to downplay the severity of Phelps’s condition, it was reported Tuesday that the 84-year-old Phelps had passed away.

Most intriguing about Nate Phelps’s Facebook post was not the news that an octogenarian’s health was failing, but that Fred Phelps Sr., who founded the hatemongering church in 1955 and turned his progeny into some of the loudest and most despised people in America, had been excommunicated last summer.

“Drain” is Steve Drain, who may have orchestrated that excommunication and installed himself in Westboro’s seat of power.

Still, this might be the single most salient thing said about the demise of Mr Phelps:

(Via Miss Cellania.)

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Meanwhile, a long way from O’Malley’s

Marie’s ready to run her first full marathon, she says, but the first order of business is to find a place to train:

I have experienced one strange obstacle to logging those long runs, the ones greater than about 10 miles: It’s needing to tackle them somewhere other than the sandy back pasture of our farm. NOT finding a solution was beginning to feel like a reason to only run the half. And that would be a big disappointment for me, because I have been determined to run my first full marathon in my fortieth year. Personal goal.

The Mr., however, has found a solution:

Handsome found a park about fifteen minutes east of the farm that seems perfect. It is public but not too crowded; it is encircled by a paved one-mile track with some incline here and there; and most days a police officer watches nearby. So the problem has been solved, at least temporarily.

This is clearly a cause for celebration, and as part of the jubilee, she’s written some new words to an old song by Rupert Holmes. Do you like piña coladas?

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A standard deduction, perhaps

A tax-preparation package has a fan:

[O]nce again this year I used the online version of TurboTax and if I was female, unmarried, forty years younger, and a science fiction character, I’d have TurboTax’s children. I heart TurboTax.

I have no idea which science-fiction character, of course. (Maybe Tam’s “Podkayne of Des Moines”?)

This ointment, however, contains a very distinct fly:

But their service is obviously designed for people of all, um, levels of sentience.

No, I won’t spoil it for you.

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The usual two chances

Which, you’ll remember, are “slim” and “none”:

Yahoo! Answers screenshot: I want Ferrari and beautiful girl. What to do?

It’s a safe bet he can’t afford the maintenance — and the car is even worse.

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Dallasitude

One does not expect a titanic defensive struggle from Thunder/Mavs, and indeed we didn’t get one; the 13-3 run with which Dallas began the fourth quarter was due less to sparkling Maverick defense than to sputtering Thunder offense. Even then, OKC was still shooting about 50 percent; the problem was, so was Dallas, and the Thunder wasn’t putting up much resistance to the Mavs’ long-ball. (Late in the first half, the Mavs put up three treys in a row in less than a minute.) And then with a minute left, it was tied at 108 following one of those patented Derek Fisher treys from the corner; Russell Westbrook just walked up to Dirk Nowitzki and took the ball away from him, setting up a Kevin Durant trey. José Calderón replied with a three of his own to reknot the game with 1.8 seconds left in regulation. Dirk’s jumper over Westbrook at the buzzer fell short, and the Ghost of Overtimes Past was seen hovering over the arena.

A dilemma: At the horn, Westbrook had logged 31 minutes. Would he come back during the overtime, in violation of his time limit? He didn’t come out for the beginning — but with Dallas up seven with two minutes left, Westbrook was indeed brought back. It didn’t matter, really; Dallas filled up the period with free throws and claimed the season series, 2-1, with a 128-119 win.

Did I mention free throws? The Mavs hit 23 of 28, including seven in the overtime period. (OKC was 15-19.) Oh, and there were those 14 Dallas steals, a 48-37 advantage on the boards, and seven Mavs in double figures, led of course by Dirk with 32 and 10 rebounds. Calderón, the squad’s three-point specialist, knocked down six of nine from outside; Dallas finished with 15 of 38. (OKC was 12-33.) Vince Carter headed the reserves with 16 in 26 minutes.

It’s to the point now where you just want to know if Durant broke 30 or not. Well, yes, he did; in fact, he had 43, on 15-27 shooting including five from deepest Plano. Westbrook, in his slightly limited time, came up with 23; once again, Fisher led the bench with 13 (and the team with +13, all the starters being minus for the night). No sign of Lamb or PJIII.

Now if the season ends up with OKC 2nd and Dallas 7th, which it well may — let’s just hope we didn’t see a preview of the first round.

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I suppose I asked for this

Yesterday I answered another question at Yahoo!, this one having to do with continuously-variable transmissions, and somewhere therein I said this:

CVTs (such as the Jatcos used by Nissan, which owns most of the company) behave differently than ordinary slushboxes, and J. Random Goober, confronted with rising engine noise and a stock-still tach, goes completely to pieces.

This morning, having been notified that I’d been awarded Best Answer, I returned to the page and discovered that Yahoo! had stuck a link under “Random Goober.” Curiosity won out, and this is what I saw:

Random Goober images

Well, um, okay. Who’s that guy in the center?

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Dunces assembled

This is probably as accurate an assessment of corporate meetings as we can find:

I personally have always considered committees as proof that human beings evolved from animals that had tails and liked to chase them. Since the shrinkage of the tail into our stunted coccyx, we were not able to engage in this behavior anymore, and had to develop a new method of doing so. Being as we were a pretty cooperative species prior to the invention of reality television, we created a system whereby we could help one another engage in an activity that was just as useless as tail-chasing: The committee meeting.

And it’s probably just a bit less suggestive than Dave Barry’s:

Meetings are an addictive, highly self-indulgent activity that corporations and other large organizations habitually engage in only because they cannot masturbate.

Bunch of coccyx suckers, the lot of them.

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Traditional medicine, alternative currency

I have occasionally linked to G. Keith Smith, MD, who runs Surgery Center of Oklahoma, one of the few medical facilities that posts its prices for all to see, mostly because I like to encourage that sort of thing.

I knew that they were basically a cash-only operation, but apparently they’re now accepting bitcoin, and Dr Smith, as always, is unapologetic about it:

What underlies my willingness to accept methods of payment other than traditional methods of payment is my concept of exchange itself. Any exchange deemed to be mutually beneficial naturally tends to occur unless the state intervenes. This natural tendency for the exchange to occur prevails as both parties in a mutually beneficial exchange see themselves better off subsequent to the exchange and desire its occurrence, otherwise, one or both parties wouldn’t want to exchange their goods or services in the first place.

As for one particular objection that could be raised:

For those who say derisively, “…you never know what the value of the bitcoin is going to be from day to day,” I wonder why they don’t think the worst about the dollar’s value, given its history? After all, some 95% of the dollar’s value has been stolen since “managed” by the central bankers, so it seems clear regarding what results from the state “regulation” of any currency.

There’s always a chance that bitcoin will go up. The dollar? Don’t hold your breath.

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Purely as an experiment

I am something of a regular on Sunday night’s #blogchat on Twitter (8 Central; your timezone may vary), and so is Patrick Phillips, who about a month ago put up a post about closing comments after X number of days (in my case, X = 90). He’s against that sort of thing:

Since I know I have readers who’ll go back to get “caught up” with posts I’ve written over the past month or two, and since I intentionally direct them to older posts when the old posts contain relevant content to the new post, I’m against closing comments on old posts.

Here’s the culmination of the discussion we had:

I expected an immediate flood of spam, though it didn’t really start rolling in until Monday morning and the actual volume was only twice as much as usual. Still, if I’d gotten one comment on an old post, I’d have figured it was worth it.

I didn’t. So last night I reinstated the 90-day cutoff.

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Your mother should know

Fast-food joints are not out of ideas yet, but some of their ideas are not so hot:

Even before the first pie is delivered, a jalapeño-heavy pizza with a Mexican slang name has produced chuckles among Spanish speakers in U.S. border states and an advertising ban by broadcasters who say the moniker could get them fined.

The new dish called “La Chingona,” which can be translated most politely as “badass” but also interpreted as a more offensive profanity, has upset some franchise owners of the Pizza Patrón chain who refuse to put it on their menus.

Were I prone to digestive ailments, even “badass” is probably farther than I’d want to go.

National and local Spanish-language radio stations have refused to air the commercials, citing concerns about bad taste and potential fines by the Federal Communications Commission.

Univision Radio, the largest U.S. Hispanic radio network, said it will not run the ads because the name of the pizza is considered a profanity and violates FCC regulations.

Then again, this little teapot-scale tempest probably makes up for a whole lot of busted ad buys.

(Via Consumerist.)

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