Pole tax

The great American lap dance is neither a cultural event or an artistic performance. Says who? The Supreme Court Court of Appeals of the State of New York, that’s who:

Lap dances are taxable because they don’t promote culture in a community the way ballet or other artistic endeavors do, New York’s highest court concluded Tuesday in a sharply divided ruling.

The court split 4-3, with the dissenting judges saying there’s no distinction in state law between “highbrow dance and lowbrow dance,” so the case raises “significant constitutional problems.”

The lawsuit was filed by Nite Moves in suburban Albany, which was arguing fees for admission to the strip club and for private dances are exempt from sales taxes.

One of the dissents, by Judge Robert Smith:

The majority implies that since the Legislature did not exclude from the entertainment tax other lowbrow forms of entertainment, such as baseball games and animal acts … it would not have wanted to exclude pole dancing; but the issue is not what the Legislature would have wanted to do, but what it did.

Complete ruling here. You can bet they’re reading this in Valley Brook — those who can read, anyway.

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The undergraduate

Felicia Chin, twenty-eight today, started out as a softball player: she spent three years on the Singapore national team. Success on Star Search Singapore got her into acting; her desire to get a business degree got her halfway out of it.

This picture dates from somewhat before matriculation:

Felicia Chin

Currently on the table: a year of overseas study at Fudan University in Shanghai.

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What they really, really want

These days, the number of politicians without an agenda is right down there with the number of atheists in foxholes: there might actually be one now and then, but that’s not the way to bet.

Francis W. Porretto amplifies:

[A] candidate for public office wants that office and its powers, not the “good he could do with it.” Perhaps he’d use those powers to good effect, and perhaps he wouldn’t, but we must assume that the office, not his projected activities therein, is his true desire. From there it follows that his policy proposals, like his promises to various voting blocs and interest groups, are principally means to an end — and from there it follows that he’d never have articulated them, or the catchphrases with which he promotes them, if he thought they might cost him the election.

All political rhetoric must be viewed in this light, whether or not one approves of the people employing it or the policies they espouse.

It is well to remember that much raw power is wielded by the unelected, and the same rule can be assumed to apply: activists contrive to get themselves appointed to these positions, where they can inflict their wish lists on the rest of us.

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Da Bulls do it

Derrick Rose is still sidelined; Scott Brooks decided he’d rest both Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. But a Roseless Chicago is still pretty deep, and the Bulls, who never trailed by more than a bucket or so, won this one at home against the Thunder, 94-89.

Chicago won it with defense, especially defense against James Harden, who found himself starting at small forward: the Beard shot a woeful 2-17 for the night. OKC did manage some offense, especially from Serge Ibaka, who rolled up 24 points in 29 minutes, and from Perry Jones III, who led the bench with 14; but 39 percent shooting wins few games. (Factor out Harden, and it’s 46 percent.)

But the Bulls’ Boozer/Deng/Noah front line, all of whom put in heavy minutes, was impenetrable when it needed to be, pulling down 27 of Chicago’s 49 rebounds (OKC had 43); what’s more, they all scored in double figures, led by Carlos Boozer with 24.

Of course, this is still the preseason, which winds up tomorrow night in, um, Wichita, against the Mavs. (We are told they will be Dirkless.) We don’t have to see the Bulls again for at least a couple of weeks.

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Papa’s got a brand new bag limit

Mark Liberman clips this from the WaPo Afternoon Buzz:

Screenshot from Washington Post Afternoon Buzz

“The new hunting season opens today, with more hunters and more bears allowed to be killed.”

How many hunters were allowed to be killed before?

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Wear the rainbow

Onyx hosiery, a brand of Emery & Beers, can be traced back to the (very) late 19th century; a trademark registration dated 1899 is known to exist. I don’t have a date on this piece, but I can’t imagine it being much later than 1930, simply because the company had been sold off by then.

Advertisement for Onyx Hosiery

Onyx was acquired in the 1920s by rival Holeproof, which in turn was absorbed by Kayser in the 1950s, though the Holeproof brand name continues in Australia.

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Vaguely uneasy

Something’s bothering me, and I suspect it’s me.

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Rumbles more ominous

Remember this from about a year and a half ago?

Six Italian seismologists and one government official will be tried for the manslaughter of those who died in an earthquake that struck the city of L’Aquila on 6 April 2009.

The seven are accused of misinforming the population about seismic risk in the days before the earthquakes, indirectly causing the death of the citizens they had reassured.

(Original source.)

It’s six years for the seven:

A regional court found them guilty of multiple manslaughter.

Prosecutors said the defendants gave a falsely reassuring statement before the quake, while the defence maintained there was no way to predict major quakes.

This should be obvious:

Malcolm Sperrin, director of medical physics at the UK’s Royal Berkshire Hospital said that the sentence was surprising and could set a worrying precedent.

“If the scientific community is to be penalised for making predictions that turn out to be incorrect, or for not accurately predicting an event that subsequently occurs, then scientific endeavour will be restricted to certainties only and the benefits that are associated with findings from medicine to physics will be stalled.”

Please note: This happened in Italy, not in California.

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Reek, O suave

At least Axe Body Spray was not involved:

An Upper West Sider with heinous body odor claims the New York Public Library has unfairly washed its hands of him — booting him from one of the branches because of his olfactory offensiveness.

The situation smells of discrimination, claims 80-year-old George Stillman, who has filed a $5.5 million lawsuit against the library in Manhattan Supreme Court.

The loyal library user says he has gone to the St. Agnes branch on Amsterdam Avenue for 20 years without incident and was humiliated more than three years ago by a manager’s request that he leave.

Three years ago, and now he’s suing? The situation smells of opportunism, if you ask me.

Stillman thinks the library was just being snooty, since New York City was recently declared the “smelliest city in the country,” according to his court papers, which note that “individuals with different diets from different culture often emit an odor that is alien to others outside the group.”

Stillman is representing himself, so there’s a reasonable chance that his counsel will also stink.

(Via the Consumerist.)

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In celebration of a classic

Coco Chanel’s first Little Black Dress was introduced in the October 1926 Vogue, and this month Brown-Forman’s Little Black Dress vodka sponsored a Little Black Dress Day, celebrated last Friday in Brown-Forman’s longtime hometown of Louisville for a very specific reason:

That way women can wear their LBD’s to work and then dress them up for a night out. Given the versatility of the LBD, women often wear one to work and then accessorize it for after-work activities.

Of course, you didn’t have to be in Louisville to participate; nor do you have to wait until next October to do it again.

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Celling points

An operation called the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation suggests that current government attempts to spur the sales of electric vehicles are doomed to fail:

Past and present development of the electric vehicles (EV) industry has primarily been informed by dueling neoclassical and neo-Keynesian economic doctrines. This has resulted in vehicle subsidies and carbon taxes being the leading EV policies both at home and abroad. Such policies, however, have failed to adequately drive the development of EVs. Ultimately, EVs have serious cost and performance obstacles to overcome before they will be able to compete with conventional gas cars and only battery innovation can accomplish that goal.

In other words, forget bribing the customers, forget agonizing over carbon. You want to sell these things, you need to make them acceptable to Joe and Susan Sixpack, and apparently this is what they want [pdf]:

A 2010-2011 survey conducted by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu that interviewed more than 13,000 people in 17 countries in the Americas, Asia, Australia, and Europe, found a large gap between consumer expectations of electric vehicle capabilities and actual capabilities. In regard to vehicle range, while on average 80 percent of the drivers surveyed drove less than 50 miles on a typical day, more than half the respondents in all 17 countries would not even consider buying an electric vehicle with a per-charge-range of less than 200 miles. In the United States, 56 percent of respondents pegged 300 miles as the minimum range needed for them to consider buying an electric vehicle.

If I ever get back into World Tour mode, I’m going to need a 500-mile range, and there will have to be charging stations at every moderately-priced hotel along the way. I don’t anticipate this ever happening. Hybrids? No problem. But absent an amazing improvement in technology, I’m not even thinking of one of these battery-powered contraptions.

(Via Autoblog Green.)

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Some days life is like this

Mondays, for instance.

all-white jigsaw puzzle

I think I’m buying one of these for Sisyphus.

(Via FAIL Blog’s WIN!)

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Faster than a New York minute

It’s the Five-Second Rule, and apparently it doesn’t mean crap. Or, more precisely, it does:

Germs are speedy little things, says a new study co-funded by Clorox and conducted by researchers at San Diego State University. Scientists there found that germs can attach themselves to edible items within that amount of time, reports the McClatchy-Tribune News Service via KTVQ News.

Using baby carrots as germ bait, researchers dropped the food on things like a countertop, kitchen sink, a table and both carpeted and tiled flooring. They used a clean carrot as a constant, and found that germs stuck onto carrots within five seconds of contact on the different surfaces. Let’s not even get into what they would’ve found on a street corner.

Wonder what would happen if they dropped them onto a plate?

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Strange search-engine queries (351)

Before you ask: this is neither a 351 Cleveland nor a 351 Windsor. It’s simply the 351st installment of this weekly feature wherein we peek into the search logs for the week and hope something’s looking back at us.

beatles fanfiction “a hard day’s night of the living dead”:  Is this the one where they all end up in the Octopus’s Garden?

what should a fiftyish fashionista hipster wear in rome:  Fabric with some heft to it. You never know when one of the resident Casanovas will sidle up for a little pinch.

if you get multiple blood pressure readings averaging 160/98 what does this mean:  It means the first paper cut you get is going to look like an outtake from Carrie.

tammy wynette fell ill on oklahoma turnpike:  Which is not what she meant by “Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad.”

are avon collectible glass cars worth anything?  Probably not, but at least they smell good.

salty iguana weight watchers:  A tarantula is three points, though only two if it’s baked instead of fried.

vicky fairly odd parents impregnation story:  I suspect Jorgen von Strangle.

boys watch slutty petite teen bent perfect ass strips for party:  In their dreams, maybe.

mazda 626 how can i tell if i have a four or five speed auto transmission:  You have a four, no matter what the guy who sold it to you said.

is zooey deschanel teetotal?  I don’t think you can do that and still be considered adorkable.

is OG&E windpower legitimate:  The 600-kW block I buy seems real enough.

difficult spanish in beer commercial:  I don’t often review Spanish word usage; but when I do, it’s in beer commercials.

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Air power

Fifty-four three-point field goals were attempted in this game. Let me repeat that: fifty-four three-point field goals were attempted in this game. That’s a hell of a lot of long balls. And miraculously, nearly half of them went: the Nuggets went 10-22 from beyond the arc — Danilo Galinari was 6-13 all by himself — and the Thunder went 15-32, with Daequan Cook 4-9 from downtown. There were so many treys, in fact, that basically the game was one run after another, OKC dashing out to a 19-point lead in the second quarter, Denver tying after three and grabbing a brief 1-point lead in the fourth, before the Thunder put it away, 108-101, putting both Northwest rivals at 3-2 for the preseason.

Seeing (well, hearing: there was no TV) Andre Igoudala in a Denver uniform is startling, but the Ig fit into George Karl’s rotation nicely, picking up seven points and six assists while retrieving 10 rebounds. The new-look Nuggets had five players in double figures, unsurprisingly led by Galinari’s six treys and 26 points. And speaking of rotation, Karl ran this one as though it were a regular-season game, with the starters playing their usual complement of minutes. Odd for preseason, but then no one would be expecting it, would they?

Eric Maynor drew a DNP-CD tonight so Scott Brooks could get a better look at Reggie Jackson. On the depth chart, Jackson is behind both Maynor and Russell Westbrook; from the looks of things, Jackson is ready to fight for #2 at the one. Three Thundermen came up with 16 points: James Harden, Serge Ibaka (including 2-2 treys), and Kevin Durant, Interestingly, Durant earned a -8 for the night.

Next matchup: Tuesday at Chicago, though the Bulls are Rose-less for the time being. At least this one’s on TV.

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The tape tells the tale

The backup routine at the office is pretty simple: insert tape, invoke command, walk away. Each tape holds 800 GB — 1.6 TB with nominal 2:1 compression — so we’re not worried about running out of space just yet. Then again, I was here when we were lucky to have 100-megabyte tapes. (For my personal use, I had one of those ancient Colorado drives that hooked up to the floppy controller and used QIC-40 tapes.)

And of course, eventually we will run out of space, and we’ll have to look into something bigger:

Researchers at Fuji Film in Japan and IBM in Zurich, Switzerland, have already built prototypes that can store 35 terabytes of data — or about 35 million books’ worth of information — on a cartridge that measures just 10 centimetres by 10 cm by 2 cm. This is achieved using magnetic tape coated in particles of barium ferrite.

This cartridge is almost exactly the same physical size as the ones we’re using; it just happens to hold 40 times as much data.

(Via Fark.)

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