A factor of two hundred

I read lots of articles on How To Blog — and, sensibly, How Not To Blog — mostly to see how I’ve survived without following anyone’s advice. The lovely and talented XO Sarah posted a list of 10 Things that shouldn’t be on your blog, and before reading, I guesstimated I’d have six of them.

Only three, as it turns out, but the sheer enormity of this violation deserves mention:

45 TAGS / LABELS / CATEGORIES

Readers aren’t going to wade through that many items and search engines don’t like it either. Pick your top five to 10 and feature those.

Forty-five? Forty-five?

I protested, mildly:

I swear, I could almost see her eyes rolling in disbelief.

(@ThoShesFierce is someone I met on Sunday-night #Blogchat.)

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Click here to agree to the divorce papers

PayPal and eBay, joined forever in 2002, are falling apart:

eBay and PayPal are going their separate ways, with the payments company moving out from under the eBay umbrella to form its own, publicly-traded company. The move follows a strategic review conducted by eBay, Inc. and its Board of Directors, and is intended to help both businesses grow faster in their respective markets.

The spin-out of PayPal is expected to be complete by the second half of 2015, provided all regulators sign-off on the agreement. As TechCrunch reported, both companies will get new CEOs as part of the deal, with eBay Marketplaces President Devin Wenig taking over at eBay, and PayPal President Dan Schulman presiding at PayPal.

While I’ve had no particular problems with either eBay or PayPal since the merger, I’ve often wondered if eBay sellers were chafing under the “suggestion” that they accept payments only through PayPal. And PayPal has been looking for partners far removed from the auction biz; about twice a month they send me email to tell me about a new one — as distinguished from the twenty times a month I get phishing email from parties pretending to be PayPal.

Note that word “spin-out,” in place of the more-usual “spin-off.” Is there a difference? Maybe it lies in the fact that PayPal is on its way to being a bigger business than eBay.

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Forth and back

Bark M. completes his first month on WordPress, and observes:

Let’s be honest — I’m a 36-year-old, middle-class, white male college dropout. I have a family with two kids, a picket fence, and a Mustang. In other words, I’m boring. I have literally no idea why anybody cares about anything that I have to say. Nevertheless, about 250 comments have been posted to this blog in the month or so that it’s been in existence (or less than the number of comments on one of my TTAC articles this month). Most of them have been pretty nice and respectful.

I’m about the same flavor of dull, considering I’m 60 and don’t drive a Mustang at all, let alone one of the latter day Boss models in Laboratory Sample Yellow. And I average about 370 comments a month, but then I’ve been here a lot longer than a month. And most of those comments are studiously polite.

Some haven’t been. That’s fine. I respect diversity of opinion and I think that the only way you often know if you’ve said something worthwhile is if somebody takes the time to create a login and type out a hundred or two words telling you what an idiot you are. After all, the antithesis of love isn’t hate — it’s apathy. If you take the time to respond, I get the impression that you care, which I deeply appreciate.

Geez, this guy is starting to sound like me. Maybe I ought to consider buying a Mustang. (It is, after all, the oldest surviving, um, pony car.)

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Such passé

If it appears that doge has let itself out and not come back, well, this is what happens to the meme of the moment: eventually the moment passes. But give Kyle Chayka credit for exploring the tail end, so to speak:

Curious about the lasting effects of Doge, I asked the National Shiba Club of America if the meme had spurred any sudden interest in the dogs. “Some Shiba people really seem to enjoy it, but we have not heard of an increase in popularity of the breed in general,” wrote back Lori Pendergast, the NSCA’s corresponding secretary.

But then:

Fittingly enough, Pendergast’s email was written in Comic Sans.

Wow. Much appropriate.

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Your 2014 State Questions

Only three this time around, and two of them are kissing cousins. (Okay, they’re not about cousins, or kissing either, but they did sort of grow up together.) As always, I have my own take on all the measures under consideration, and also the ones that aren’t.

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Obviously five believers

If I’m known for anything in blogdom — and who says I am? — it’s got to be my post-titling prowess, which is either a major accomplishment or a major embarrassment, depending on who’s doing the critique. I find it delightful that even real scientists doing serious research aren’t above this same sort of shenanigans:

Five Swedish scientists have confessed that they have been quoting Bob Dylan lyrics in research articles and are running a wager on who can squeeze the most in before retirement.

The game started seventeen years ago when two Professors from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, John Jundberg and Eddie Weitzberg, wrote a piece about gas passing through intestines, with the title “Nitric Oxide and inflammation: The answer is blowing in the wind”.

I don’t think I could have resisted that one myself.

Another competitor:

Kenneth Chien, Professor of Cardiovascular Research has also been quoting his idol for years and his fellow scientists recently got wind of his articles which include: “Tangled up in blue: Molecular cardiology in the postmolecular era”.

I have no idea how old these guys are, but surely there’s enough Dylan material to last them until that hard rain starts to fall.

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I’ll consider myself peered

I don’t know if this was translated from Urdu into Dutch, or what, but it showed up in the spam bucket last night:

I am really impressrd wit your writing tzlents as wekl as
witth thee strudture onn your weblog. Is this a paid subject orr did you mdify
it yiur self? Either way stay up the nice quality writing, itt
is uncommon to peer a niice bog like this one
today..

A niice bog indeed.

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A voice from days gone by

Timi Yuro died in the spring of 2004 — the cancer that took away her voice eventually took the rest of her — and I gave her a sendoff in these pages. I wasn’t doing pictures back then, or at least not many, and I didn’t give the matter much more thought until a new-release announcement came down the wire from one of those reissue labels: a two-CD set containing her first four albums plus bonus tracks. And they’d used a manually-colored version of this old Hollywood publicity photo:

Timi Yuro glamour shot

If you’re interested, here’s an Amazon link. “Hurt” was her biggest hit, but the one that’s stayed with me is “What’s A Matter Baby,” which I described this way:

Sung and recorded at the very edge of distortion, then remixed by Phil Spector, this may be Yuro’s best: the voice is just as big, and the finger she’s pointing is even bigger.

Especially since Spector apparently did this without the approval of either Clyde Otis, who produced the track and co-wrote the song, or Al Bennett, who was running Liberty Records, Timi’s label.

But the operative word is “big,” and, well, she wasn’t all that big in real life:

Timi Yuro seated

Five foot one, maybe. On the radio, you never noticed this sort of thing, and you wouldn’t have cared if you did.

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Beyond here lies nothing

A fairly neutral definition from Wikipedia:

A site map (or sitemap) is a list of pages of a web site accessible to crawlers or users. It can be either a document in any form used as a planning tool for Web design, or a Web page that lists the pages on a Web site, typically organized in hierarchical fashion.

Sometimes they’re complicated. (I’d hate to sit down and draw one for this place.) The consumer-information site MainStreet.com, however, seems to have boiled it down to the basics:

Sitemap for Mainstreet.com

“That is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know,” said John Keats, while not looking at this.

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Pootatively the best

Ellia Kassoff, proprietor of the new Leaf Brands, gets another feather, or maybe an air biscuit, in his cap:

Candy and snack manufacturer Leaf Brands LLC has won The Most Innovative Product Award at the 2014 Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago for its Sour Farts Flow Packs.

Ellia Kassoff, CEO of Leaf Brands, accepted the Most Innovative Product Award for Novelty candy after a rigorous vetting of more than 250 different new products unveiled at the show Wednesday.

“Flow Packs”? That seems ominous.

Leaf Brands developed Farts Candy, small pieces of candy that looks similar to a Nerd but chewy with more intense flavors, in partnership with Can You Imagine That!, a candy company owned by David Klein, the inventor of the Jelly Belly Jelly Bean.

“People often complained Nerds were too hard on your teeth, so we created our candy, which is soft, not hard, and has a better texture and taste,” Klein said.

Not all Farts are Sour; you can also get Fruity Farts.

Leaf Brands is also shepherding the return of Hydrox, due Real Soon Now.

(With thanks to Nancy Friedman, always a breath of fresh air.)

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Random afflictions

I worked, if not extraordinarily hard, at least hard enough today to push this old body into putting up some resistance; just short of the nine-hour mark I felt like someone had decided to shove a meat thermometer into my shoulder. It didn’t last long — a couple of seconds — but it apparently triggered every conceivable source of pain I have, and a few I didn’t comprehend at all. I’d had this happen once before without side effects, so this event was decidedly more disturbing, and my heart rate picked up markedly, especially after walking around distributing stuff. For a moment I contemplated not actually driving home, lest several systems fail at once, something that’s not good at rest, and even less so at 65 mph.

Symptoms continued to be wildly variable until dinnertime. It wasn’t that I was hungry, exactly, but climbing up on the stool at the breakfast bar got me off my feet for not quite half an hour. Still, I’m a bit woozy, and I still have shoulder pain, though it’s in the other shoulder. I did try one of my more recent mantras: “Outlive Zeke Emanuel.” It helped a little, but not enough.

I expect I’ll be back at work before sunrise: these things never last long — except, of course, for the last one.

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As long as you give us money

You’ll notice that no one actually wants this structure to be torn down or anything:

If you’ve walked past New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art lately, you’ll have noticed the brand-new plaza in front of the building with the Beaux-Arts façade that is home to America’s greatest art collection. Whenever alterations are made to a familiar structure, opinions usually vary widely and sharply. But one view is currently drowning out all others: Several art critics are miffed by the fact that golden letters emblazoned on the Met’s new twin fountains identify the site as the David H. Koch Plaza, in honor of the trustee who wrote the $65 million check that paid for it in full.

And it’s not like you haven’t seen this sort of thing before:

In our bipolar age, political purists are increasingly disposed to raise a stink whenever arts groups accept gifts from sources deemed by said purists to be unworthy. This tendency initially manifested itself in the case of tobacco companies like Philip Morris International that supported the arts. No doubt the company’s commitment to what it calls “corporate social responsibility” was in part an attempt to divert attention from its less-than-socially responsible products. Nevertheless, the fact of its generosity is not to be ignored — or despised.

If you think about it, the idea of a “political purist” is absurd on the face of it: nothing in politics is “pure,” or ever can be, and those who would pride themselves on their ideological purity tend to be delusional, or worse. If you object to Koch Brothers money, but happily tolerate dollars from George Soros — or, for that matter, the other way around — I, for one, am grateful that there isn’t a damned thing you can do about it.

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A fate marginally worse than death

Still, worse:

Being dead is bad enough, but being dead and having to pay a $200 fine? Geez.

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Defending the American knee

Not so long ago, I posted a shot from a Buick print ad showing a young lady busily tableting away in the back seat of an Encore, incorporating the following observations:

[T]he fact that Miss Tablet can actually cross her legs back there is reassuring, though I’m not sure how close her head is to the ceiling.

This latter point is seldom made by automakers; I can remember only once in recent years when it was blatant, and even then it was only a tweet.

Now comes this, to show you the space available in the long-wheelbase Infiniti Q70L, and once again legroom is a factor:

Rear sear of Infiniti Q70L, occupied by dreamy female

Of course, the great tragedy of my life is being unable to attract anyone like that to the front seat.

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Strange search-engine queries (452)

The seven-day cycle completes, and with the return of Monday — was anyone actually looking forward to the return of Monday? — comes a fresh(ish) batch of search strings that landed people somewhere in this domain.

Mean Dung Eon.com:  Yeah, this nasty crap has been going on for the longest time.

meatcam:  “Why, yes, this is aged beef. Wanna watch?”

pocket sized New Testaments sith forward by FDR:  It has not yet been proven that FDR was a Sith Lord.

xmen the last stand film actors full nudephotos navel:  Well, yeah, if they’re fully nude, you might expect them to have navels — except maybe Shadowcat, depending on her phase.

nudist publications:  Lot of those out there, though few star the X-Men.

meet depress:  We really need a Bad First Date emoji.

ford cd4e trans wont shift:  Have you done anything unusual lately, like, oh, writing a check to a Ford dealer?

ford probe pulse signal generator:  Have you done anything unusual lately, like, oh, writing a check to a Ford dealer?

why my 1995 mercury mesquite would not shift in overdrive:  Have you done anything unusual lately, like, oh, writing a check to a Lincoln-Mercury dealer? Oh, and it’s “Mystique,” unless you’ve been smoking ribs with it.

“forced labor” “yes master”:  Well, yeah, that’s kind of how it works.

hasselbeck tights sheer:  That’s it, be specific.

is the ong voluntary fixed price plan worth it:  If I could answer that, I’d never again have to post about it, would I?

old nude granny sunbathers on flickr:  Um, those aren’t tan lines.

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Fly me to the moon, it’s cheaper

For some time now, there have been airline fares, and there have been airline fees, and the combination of the two will drain one’s wallet in record time — though not enough to tie this record:

“I tried to book cheap flights for a weekend trip to stay with some good friends. I Googled ‘cheap flights to Faro’, found eDreams (‘Great Trips at Great Prices’ is their slogan) were offering the best, with Ryanair and Monarch Airlines, at a cost for the two of us of £164.07.”

Last time we checked in with Ryanair, they were installing pay toilets, so she might have expected to be nickeled-and-dimed, or the equivalent in sterling, to death. And the booking site was kind enough to show her the fees involved:

Screenshot from eDreams

One pair of fees proved to be weirdly asymmetrical: £17.50 to check the bag at departure, but £23 billion to check it on the return flight.

This wasn’t Ryanair’s fault, however:

“eDreams would like to apologise to Mrs Sessions for any inconvenience caused. We are continuing to investigate, however it appears to be an isolated incident that we have been unable to replicate. If it is a bug, we will find it and make every effort to fix it immediately. eDreams would like to re-iterate that at no point was there any attempt to make this purchase. We would also like to provide the added re-assurance that any attempt at a transaction of this size would automatically be rejected by our systems and unable to proceed.”

And probably rejected by Mrs Sessions’ bank, had they received a credit authorization for that sum.

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