Stronger than Trabants

I admit, I can’t read the model’s expression on this package:

Package of Enda brand pantyhose

It’s a look that definitely predates German reunification in 1990: these are East German tights, mit Gesäßerweiterung, which Google persists in altering just enough to mean “with vasodilation.” So: East German support hose, and why the heck not?

Back then Esda was using some mysterious fiber called “Dederon,” which turns out to be a version of Perlon/Nylon 6 that the DDR chose to name for itself. Esda’s plant in Auerbach, Saxony apparently still exists, though the company is now a part of Ergora Fashion GmbH in nearby Oberlungwitz.

Personal note: Back in the 1990s, I had a dental hygienist who looked almost exactly like this, minus the eyeroll, at least from here up: I never saw her in a dress. Which is probably just as well, since I’d probably have asked her to run away with me¹ to Germany or something.

¹ Yeah, right.

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Bored game

The world leadership in featherbedding is arguably up for grabs, but one can’t imagine the Top Ten without France:

In Cheminot Simulator (“Rail Worker Simulator”), unionised rail staff with cushy conditions seek to work as little as possible and make life hell for passengers in a variety of ways, from strike action and work stoppages, to snow on the line and assault.

The player who wreaks the longest delays wins the game — a concept that has created a buzz at a time when millions take to the railways during the holiday season.

How would a board game like this ever come about?

Jéréie Paret, 29, the game’s inventor and a frequent rail user, said the idea came to him “when there was an incident on one line and the drivers in mine (a different one) decided to stop working.”

“They caused so much hassle for so many people that I decided to laugh about it rather than cry,” he told Le Parisien.

He said the final decision to launch the game came after he missed his train because it was, for once, on time.

Funding, of course, was tricky:

[Paret] managed to raise 11,000 euros via a crowdfunding website and by partnering with another site called Un Train de Retard (A Train Late), which publishes the total number of train delays noted by passengers. It currently stands at 752 days, 19 hours and 49 minutes this year. He has since received 300 internet orders.

Meanwhile, Bayou Renaissance Man asks:

I wonder if someone in Detroit could come up with a similar game about the UAW?

Not without getting shot, I suspect.

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Putting the “glob” in “global”

You almost certainly remember this from your childhood: “Now eat your [unpalatable food item]. There are children starving in [random Third World hellhole].”

The proper response, of course, is to point to the alleged food item and ask “Why don’t we send them this?”

This spirit, and I use the term loosely, still exists today:

Yahoo! Answers screenshot: Wasting Water™: Why does Lou Gehrig hate clean drinking water?

Followed by this bit of harangue:

Every bucket dumped over the head of some self important celebrity is one less bucket of clean drinkable water when 780 MILLION people lack access to clean water and 3.4 MILLION people die each year from a water related disease.

Which, in turn, is followed by an infographic that repeats the same numbers:

water use infographic

If you’ve missed the meme, here’s the explanation.

Now what’ll you bet this person’s lawn is freshly watered?

Mr Gehrig, of course, is long gone, and since he doesn’t have to listen to this sort of thing anymore, he has to consider himself the luckiest man off (or under, depending on your cosmology) the face of this earth.

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Legends of Slobbovia

Not the classic postal game, but the mythical land of disorder and clutter:

I’ve decided I just have to accept the fact that I am a SLOB and own that. I’m a slob about my office; I get written up by Safety for having too many papers stacked up on my desk. I’m a slob about my yard; I can’t keep the flower beds weeded. And my house is a mess now too. And my hair is usually a mess and my makeup is never quite right and my shirts come untucked and and and. So I’m a quadruple slob and I feel like I fail at being an adult. Fat loser messy slob who probably should be sent to re-education to try to learn how not to be such a slob. Really, what it would take is giving up all my hobbies and staying over an extra hour per day in my office to sort and file, and taking an hour at home to clean or do yardwork. And devoting my entire weekends to cleaning and yardwork. I think the hair is a lost cause short of having a regular hairdresser.)

This self-criticism ignores one of the basic facts of life: people who routinely complain about one’s lack of neatness inevitably prove to be anal all the way to the peritoneum, and maybe beyond. These are not people you are bound to respect; the fact that they have been installed in the seats of power means nothing more than that the contemporary power structure, with its emphasis on collective “responsibility” at individual expense, needs to be burned to the ground and the ground subsequently covered with sodium chloride. But we already know that, right?

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Strange search-engine queries (446)

It was never our intention to make you cry on a Monday morning. The guys wielding the tear gas — well, that’s another matter entirely.

where is mazda protege 1987 speed sensor automatic:  A secret that will never be told.

novel about an invisible woman:  You might try Hillary’s Hard Choices. You can barely see her against the framework of excuses, passive-aggressiveness, and sheer downright FUD, and it’s nonfiction mostly because she says it is.

dong resin:  Something you will not find in Hillary’s book.

mx little pony banned From Equestria:  This is true. You want your email in Canterlot, you better have an A record rather than an MX.

instructions for making a magic antidote:  This is why we can’t have nice potions.

is going without hosiery considered gauche?  Only if your bare legs look like they’ve been overlaid with a map of the New York subway system.

cut out song king mack fowler:  Apparently someone was wondering what happened to those two million copies of the soundtrack album of the Sgt. Pepper’s movie.

major pain diaz:  I think I served under him during World War 2.5.

tonight you can do anything you want eharmony:  Not a chance. What if I have a date or something?

who make sifry fried onion at sam hoston pkwy:  Probably some Food Extrusion plant near Secaucus, New Jersey.

audeo vobis non me:  Not quite a double-dog dare, is it?

sextube meta search.app windowslive:  You’d think a Windows phone would have this sort of thing built in.

why is this happening the electronic shift solenoid 2001 mercury cougar all gears pull except drive no trouble codes come up help:  Should I tell him that he has five solenoids in that slushbox?

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Quote of the week

From a New York Times profile of Michele Roberts, the new executive director of the NBA Players Association, which includes this report from her appearance before actual players:

She said she was all too aware that if she was selected, she would represent several hundred male athletes in the N.B.A.; she would deal with league officials and agents who were nearly all men; she would negotiate with team owners who were almost all men; and she would stand before reporters who were predominantly men.

She did not flinch. “My past,” she told the room, “is littered with the bones of men who were foolish enough to think I was someone they could sleep on.”

Billy Hunter, her predecessor, never said anything that forceful — and he used to be an NFL wide receiver, fercrissake.

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Persistence of intrusion

If you look at anything anywhere on the Web, sooner or later you’ll see an ad for it — and sometimes much, much later:

I fervently wish that the advertising bots would realize that, once I’ve made an online purchase, I’m done. You can quit sending me info about wristwatches, I bought one. Don’t show me any other mattresses, I bought one (ask me how it was shipped, dayum I didn’t know you could do that). I bought a set of ATV tires, it’ll take years to wear them out, so leave me alone. I could continue, but I bet you know exactly what I’m talking about. You’re not really benefiting anyone by the deluge, so far as I see.

Then again, if the ad purveyors could actually know that you’d closed the deal, it’s also possible that certain individuals of dubious integrity also could know that, and could theoretically turn that knowledge to their advantage — though it’s probably more likely that their less technically-oriented peers would just break into the house.

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That’s one huge motherfocal

Seriously. This lens dwarfs any camera you’re likely to own:

The Canon 1200/5.6L USM … has been built on a special-order basis since 1993, and the ‘official word’ is there are “more than twelve, less than twenty” of them in existence. With a price tag equivalent to a pair of his-and-her sports coupes, they were produced at the rate of about 2-per-year and a delivery time of about 18 months. National Geographic magazine, Sports Illustrated, Canon Professional Services, and a few well-heeled enthusiasts are counted among the fortunate few who own these unique optics. A box of donuts says the Feds probably have a few squirreled away somewhere, but this is something we can neither confirm nor deny. What you get for your money is a monster lens with an angle of view of about 2° on a full-frame 35 mm camera.

The last of them is believed to have been produced in 2005. A couple of specs:

For the record, the Canon 1200/5.6L USM contains 13 elements (including 2 Fluorite) in 10 groups, stops down to f32, and has a minimum focus of 45.9′.

And there is actually one for sale, if you’re prepared to write a very large check:

It’s selling at MPB Photographic, which describes the second-hand lens as being in “virtually immaculate condition with barely a discernable mark anywhere on the barrel.”

They’re asking £99,000, which is about a one-third premium over Canon’s original selling price of, um, $120,000.

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Lightness of a sort

Tentative artwork for their first major-label album, Punching Bozo:

Fake album cover for Biogas Jackrabbit

(Suggested by Tamara K. Photo was cropped from this original by Michael Dorausch.)

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Semi-exclusive OR

In this town, you have Cox Cable, or you have whatever the heck it is AT&T is selling; if there are other options, they’ve been tucked away behind a Concealment Spell or something.

This past week, AT&T sent me a big bruiser of an envelope with the breathless announcement that “U-verse is now available for your home!” As expected, they had a deal to offer. Not as expected, they were making serious speed claims: “Now with blazing-fast speeds up to 45Mbps.” Of course, “up to” is the inevitable weasel word: not all locations can get this speed. Specifically:

In areas where AT&T deploys U-verse through FTTN, they use High-speed digital subscriber lines with ADSL2+ or VDSL technology. Service offerings depend on the customer’s distance to an available port in the distribution node, or the central office. To qualify for U-verse TV service (only available through VDSL2), the customer must be less than 1000 meters (3500 feet) from a VRAD, the VRAD must contain an available port, and the copper wire-loop must pass qualification. Where pair bonding is available, the maximum service distance can extend to 1600 meters (5500 feet). Pair bonding is also necessary for U–verse’s fastest internet tier (Power Tier 45 Mbit/s down).

If they’ve built a VRAD in this neighborhood, I haven’t seen it. Old-style DSL had to be piped in from the Windsor office at 23rd and Portland, which is a heck of a lot farther away than 1.6 km, the main reason I didn’t order it back when I moved in.

The punchline, of course, is that during this same week, Cox dispatched an email to tell me I was being upgraded from 25 to 50 Mbps — assuming, of course, I have a DOCSIS 3.0 modem. I’m assuming I don’t, even though they supplied this box in 2011, five years after the introduction of 3.0; and anyway, I get a fairly consistent 30 Mbps, which qualifies, I suppose, for “up to” 50 Mbps.

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Itemized

Price increase, you say? Well, maybe, if you tell me where it’s going.

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No sign of the dollar

I admit to not having had much use for Ke$ha, as the singer used to spell it, even if she did move 14 million downloads of “Tik Tok.” Having reverted to simply “Kesha,” she’s pushed herself a little farther, and while looking for something else — isn’t that always the case? — I stumbled across this track from her 2012 album Warrior. It’s the last song in the collection, it’s the only one she wrote herself, and I think she’s won me over:

(If this vaguely reminds you of Sia’s “Chandelier,” a favorite in these parts, well, it’s the same producer: Greg Kurstin. And Kesha’s song came out first.)

And you know, I’m the last guy in the world to complain about blue and/or purple hair, even on the Tonight Show:

Kesha on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon July 2014

(Photo by Theo Wargo/NBC.)

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Immovable objects

I was still puzzling over this, four hours after the fact — it happened on the way home during Friday rush hour — and finally I decided to toss it up here.

Exiting I-44 westbound at Classen puts you on the Classen Circle, which is no longer even slightly circular, and gives you a quarter-mile of This Is Not A Ramp before you discover you’ve gotten yourself into the southeastern terminus of the Northwest Distressway. The light was yellow, and I chose not to floor it; after all, there’ll be another green in a couple of minutes.

There wasn’t. The usual pattern for this light ignored westbound traffic entirely for a minimum of three cycles. Something was apparently stuck. Off in the distance, I could see a fire truck, probably from Station 17, heading east; it turned in at 50 Penn Place. That’s odd, I thought; Station 11 is probably closer. Then again, Station 11 probably couldn’t get there because of this damn stuck light.

At which moment I looked towards the rear, and stuck about three car lengths behind me in the left lane — I was in the center — was another fire truck. Station 11, I reckoned.

Now the lights along the Distressway aren’t synchronized worth a damn, but I could swear I’ve seen one or two of them temporarily disabled to make way for emergency vehicles. Is it possible that both engines pushed the magic button, a third of a mile in advance, and their signals managed to screw with each other?

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The quiet intruder

The hell of it is, you can always tell if there’s a mouse in the house — they tend to leave, um, calling cards in favored places — but ferreting (!) out their hiding places is difficult, and they’ve evolved responses to our feeble attempts to dispatch them to Mousedom Come.

I hadn’t heard (as opposed to “seen”) any indications of this little guy’s presence until Wednesday, when there was rustling along the wall opposite my desk. I wasn’t quick enough to spot him, but I figured I could do the old trap routine this weekend.

It may not be necessary. He left no pellets Thursday that I could find, and Friday afternoon, I found a mouse keeled over in the 96-degree garage. (Temperature outside the garage: 96 degrees.) He’d nearly made it to a gap in the garage-door weatherstripping before giving up the ghost. I almost felt sorry for the critter, even as I swept him out onto the lawn for the amusement of predators.

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Y? Because we have to

Oklahoma City lost its Radio Disney affiliate quite a while back. Now just about the entire radio network is going dark:

Disney has revealed plans to sell all but one of its remaining Radio Disney stations as it moves the brand to digital delivery. Broadcasting & Cable reports the stations will go dark around September 26 with the exception of 1110 KDIS Los Angeles, which will remain with the Disney brand.

The reason? Most listeners aren’t actually listening to those radio stations, but through other sources:

B&C’s report states that Disney’s internal research finds among Radio Disney listeners six years old and up, 37% of the their listeners listen via SiriusXM, 35% via desktop streaming, 31% via mobile streaming, and 18% via over-the-air broadcasts.

All the stations are on the AM band except WRDZ-FM Plainfield, Indiana.

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Meta beyond meta

I don’t know, I’ve never (been?) thrimbened:

As he strolled among the Kenthellians, through the wide parndamets along the River Elinionenin, thrimbening his tometoria and his Almagister’s scrollix, he thought to himself, “Wow, it is sure convenient there’s a glossary for made-up fantasy words on page 1048.”

This was the winner in the Fantasy category of the 2014 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, and you only hope that the second edition of this turgid tale by Stephen Young doesn’t change the pagination.

The overall winner, Elizabeth Dorfman, contributed this stirring opening:

When the dead moose floated into view the famished crew cheered — this had to mean land! — but Captain Walgrove, flinty-eyed and clear headed thanks to the starvation cleanse in progress, gave fateful orders to remain on the original course and await the appearance of a second and confirming moose.

Mynd you, møøse bites Kan be pretty nasti…

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