Quote of the week

Richey Piiparinen on one of the uncelebrated advantages of the Rust Belt:

[B]eing born into post-industry is a good first lesson. Life is an obstacle. Cleveland prepares you.

For what?

Bullshit, or at least the proclivity of it.

Aspirations abound now. If you were only creative enough, rich enough, worldly and knowledgeable enough, then: you can become something, a star — evolved from your basic beginnings. Fine. But it’s this ambition-before-all-else mindset that has also extended our eyes from our feet, or our aspirations from our selves, and so for long the country has left its principles behind to build castles in the air with no foundation. Consequently, our culture — our sense of being from somewhere, of bleeding the aesthetic of someplace — has taken a hit. It’s no surprise, then, that our castles keep falling down into a pile of broken promises that never seem to be able to feed, clothe, or employ us properly.

To hell with it. Time to be proud in the gift of being grounded. It is the only way up.

Note that phrase “ambition before all else.” It’s killed this town once before, and it may do it again, as we try to graft A-level amenities onto a solid B-list community. It’s why we’re going to put roughly a third of a billion dollars into a convention center just in time to watch the industry’s death throes. It’s why we’re going to scrape our one legitimate architectural landmark off the ground entirely and replace it with God knows what. And it’s why we’re desperate for more skyscrapers when what we really need around here is more pedestrians.

Kevin Durant gets this town better than the movers and shakers do. I’m starting to think it’s because (1) he’s only 24 and (2) he wasn’t born here. KD is grounded in a way that I wish I was, that the Chamber of Commerce never will be.

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Semipanic mode

It was a busy morning at the shop yesterday, so I barely had enough time for a myocardial infarction when I discovered that every last post — 12,700 of them — had been sheared of its category and tag information. Worse yet, the View All Posts function in the WordPress admin showed no posts to view. Despite this, permalinks were working and comments were being posted.

Okay, fine. I’ll bring up phpMyAdmin and look at the database. “Like hell you will,” said the application. (Well, technically, what it said was “#1030 – Got error 28 from storage engine.”) A bit of poking around MySQL stuff, and I discovered a likely explanation: the /tmp directory on the server had so much crap in it that writes were being refused for lack of disk space.

Okay, fine, part deux. I’ll — um, no, I won’t, I don’t have a proper SSH client on this box. In the time it would take me to install (and recall how to use) PuTTY, I could turn in a trouble ticket, and so I did. Things were back to normal in about 45 minutes.

As it happens, the 29th of November is normally the day I renew the hosting deal for another year, so the first thing I thought, actually, was “Holy flurking schnitt, they’re taking me down.” Not so.

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Zoom 2.0

It’s out of my price range for the immediate future, but this definitely goes on the Automotive Wish List:

[T]he 2.2L Skyactiv diesel engine will power the 2014 Mazda6. With 173 horsepower and 310 lb-ft, the oil burning Mazda should be an interesting alternative to the VW Passat TDI.

Not an enormous number of ponies, but 310 lb-ft? An Infiniti G37 has 270 at the outside.

And apparently it doesn’t require a tank of blue goo every 10k miles, either.

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Dysconnected

A favorite from the “It is written” file, by Alice Kahn: “For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press 3.”

Morgan Freeberg explores similar turf on your desktop:

I’m seeing a lot of job postings for programmers in C#, .NET, Java. So … web development. And when I consume the web, what new technology do I see being developed, you know, on the web? Advertisements. Popup windows. Videos that auto-play, with sound and music. Little applets and widgets that wait until you’ve managed to call up the article you wanted to read … and then explode in your face with useless bits of nonsense. Refinance your house, pull in those chicks with some testosterone, make your dick bigger. Obama wants to send you back to school, find out if you qualify.

Which goes back to an earlier statement of his:

I swear, if we could leverage technology to actually do productive things, as efficiently as we can leverage technology to go bothering each other, by this time we would have journeyed off to the brightest star in the Sirius constellation, dragged it back here in a great big net, and ground it up in a giant food processor to make a delightful sweetening powder for our corn flakes.

Actually, Sirius is the star, Canis Major the constellation, but I get the idea.

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The argument against heels

We open with a quote from Lynn:

[T]hings I’ve done and been into most of my life are now “old lady things” and that people will see them as evidence that I am over the hill. Like sensible shoes. I have worn high heels but mostly I have always worn flats or low, wedge heels. Always. Even when I was in my 20’s. That’s always made me feel a wee bit superior because I was smart enough to be kind to my feet instead of being a slave to fashion. Now I’m just like the rest of the old ladies.

For a look at the alternative — being unkind to one’s feet — we have a Shoebunny special: the not-even-old Jennifer Aniston, at her Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony early this year, in a lovely Tom Ford print dress and nicely insubstantial Bally sandals, showing signs of possible damage. Then again, Jennifer hasn’t worn flats since she was nine.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Queen of noise

It’s a measure of something, I suppose, that it startled me to find out that Cherie Currie, lead vocalist for the legendary Runaways, is only six years younger than I am. (Then again, in 1975, when their first album appeared, I felt a lot older than 22.)

And this is such a great picture:

Cherie Currie with a chainsaw

That instrument, incidentally, is how she makes her living these days.

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Fark blurb of the week

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DisHardening

You knew which way this was going to go when James Harden missed eight shots in the first half. Out of eight, yet. And it wasn’t even the Finals.

No, that was unkind. Back up. The Beard finished with 17 points in just under 40 minutes, albeit on 3-16 shooting. (He was a creditable 9-11 from the stripe, but he didn’t have Thabo Sefolosha harassing him on the freebies.) I am more amused, frankly, by the fact that Daequan Cook, who went to Houston with Harden, outscored him, with 18 points on 7-17. Patrick Patterson had his best game ever, with 27 points. And with all this going on, the Rockets were crushed 120-98. What a homecoming.

Then again, what would you expect in a game where Hasheem Thabeet is thumbed — and then un-thumbed? The Thunder just kept rolling. Kevin Durant dropped in 37, tying his season high; Serge Ibaka knocked down 11 of 13 for 23 points, missing a double-double by one rebound; Russell Westbrook appeared in the role of the Playmaker tonight and scored 14, missing a double-double by one assist. Kevin Martin led the bench with 17. OKC shot a stirring 54 percent, owned the boards 46-38, pulled off ten steals and 11 blocks (six by Ibaka).

Okay, one more shot at Harden: six of those 11 Thunder blocks were at his expense. “The Rockets offered only intermittent resistance,” said radio guy Matt Pinto. And the Battle of the Jeremys was a draw: Lin 6, Lamb 6. We will not mention that Lin played 41 minutes, Lamb two and a half.

The Jazz will be here Friday, ending the homestand; first road stop is New Orleans on Saturday.

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One foot in the tweetstream

For some reason, Twitter offered me a deal on ad space:

In support of the Shop Small initiative this holiday season, Twitter is giving away up to $1MM in free advertising to businesses, and you’ve been selected to receive $100 in Twitter ad credits. In order to redeem the credit, you must enter valid billing information and begin advertising on Twitter by December 31. Any charges you incur for advertising over the $100 offer will be charged to the payment method entered at the time you set up your Twitter ad campaign.

Other than toss up thirty thousand tweets, I have no idea what I did to deserve this. I know people with greater volume and far more of a following who didn’t receive such an offer.

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Moon over cars

You may remember this from a couple of years ago:

The current official DPRK automaker, Pyeonghwa Motors, is actually partially owned by the Unification Church, from those uncharted lands south of the 38th parallel, and they produce two rebadged Fiats and assemble some Chinese trucks from kits.

North Korea being what it is, things haven’t changed much — except for this:

“Pyeonghwa Motors’ South Korean side is planning to pull out from the joint automaker and donate its 70 percent stake to the North,” said a source familiar with the transaction, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue.

This apparently was a provision in the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s will.

In the footer of the company’s Web site, their address in Seoul is given as “Gangnam-Gu Dosandaero 235 Pyeongwha Building.” Even a North Korean enterprise can lay claim to a sliver of Gangnam Style.

(Via The Truth About Cars.)

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Prevent a non-event

This isn’t a double negative, technically, but still:

Is there a way to stop the images from not appearing on Invisionfree forums?

Apparently he does want the images to appear. Maybe. To borrow a phrase, I couldn’t possibly fail to disagree with him less.

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Another voice

The previous post (about the MechBass) wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t been reading 33 avenue Miquelon on a regular basis.

And now Cameron Miquelon has a dream, and I want to help:

I have no idea how GoFundMe compares with Kickstarter, the usual vector for this sort of thing: they seem more “social,” in the sense that they connect to the social networks. I am, however, a firm believer in crowdsourcing, and maybe I can bring in a crowd once in a while.

Cameron runs both 33 avenue Miquelon and a Tumblr edition, and contributes to Louisville.com.

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Bass-O-Matic

Not the famed SNL gag, but a device called MechBass by James McVay, which works like this:

Here it is, playing over the entire song:

And if it misses two rehearsals in a row, who cares?

(With thanks to Cameron Miquelon, who featured the full track earlier this week.)

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Something specail

Now this is a pitch worth repeating:

Your faviorite reporters are they taking the plunge at the Great Falls Christmas storll on December 7th to help raise money for Montana Special Olympics.

We have set a goal to raise over a $1,000 for the Montana Specail Olympics and we cant do it with out your help! All procedds go to the Montana Specail Olympics.

Donate to the Montana Specail Olympics and come cheer on your faviorite reporters as they take the plunge.

It was pretty damned difficult to reproduce that: you have to work really hard to spell that badly.

Good ol’ Dynamo Dave put up a screencap on Flickr, in case you thought I was pulling your chain.

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The cure for the distracted driver

Its name is Porsche, and Jack Baruth explains:

The millions of deaths which occur every year due to the iPhone’s ability to stream the Kim K/Ray-J video in 4G could all be avoided, every last one of them, if the government issued everyone a Seventies 911 and made sure they always left the house five minutes later than they’d wanted to. It would help if it could be made to rain as well. Full attention on the road. Guaranteed. Nothing could go wrong, because in the era before texting and driving the highways of the American continent were a virtual paradise where children could chase errant soccer balls right onto the Chicago freeways at rush hour knowing that alert, aware drivers were standing ready to execute precise avoidance maneuvers with no advance warning whatsoever.

There probably aren’t enough Seventies 911s left, but I am happy to endorse this proposal.

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Fruit trace

About five years ago, I started buying organic bananas, which seemed to keep a lot better, though I never keep them more than five or six days.

The latest batch has a label I hadn’t noticed before. Apparently Dole, who buys these up from Central and South America, is now labeling the product with a three-digit code to indicate a specific source, and this is the source: Asociación Bananeros Orgánicos Señor de Chocán San Vicente Piedra Rodada, on Peru’s northwestern plain. Planting began in 2007; export began in 2009.

This, of course, flies in the face of our current (and mostly laudable) tendency toward locavoraciousness, but it’s going to be 26 degrees tonight. Nobody is going to grow bananas anywhere nearby.

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