A largish complaint

The plus-sized woman, says Fern Olivia, gets short shrift, when she gets any shrift at all:

Why the hell are the biggest clothes in just one little corner of any shop nowadays, surrounded by gorgeous pictures of plus sized models? I feel like 1. this is so embarrassing, especially if people are self conscious about their size, and 2. I felt like I was being shoved to one side away from all of the pretty clothes in to a selection of ugly maternity looking old women clothes. I found a few sized 16 things in the “normal” section, let’s say, because that’s basically how it made me feel, and they were skin tight and definitely not a size 16 at all.

The word that seems to stand out here is “few”:

Even looking through the sized 6-14 selection of clothes, everything was like a size 6/8. I know a lot of girls are this size, but if larger sizes are the ones that are selling more, why not restock quicker or at least order more just in case? There is nothing more disappointing than finding something you really like and not being able to pick out your size. I also guarantee that if you go on online websites you’ll see about 2000 pieces of clothing, if you then refine it by size to 16, 18 etc, you’ll see about 10 different items.

Were I of a conspiratorial mindset, I might think that this was a plot by the sixes and eights to discourage traffic by those Larger Folk, whom they would rather not see if they can help it.

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Scam via scum

Remember this number: 917-675-3332. Two calls from them today in relatively rapid succession. The people behind it need to die a horrible death, live on YouTube.

Apparently they’ve been active for only a couple of days, but already they’ve justified their termination with extreme prejudice. Says Ragator, who heard from them Monday:

Received a partial voice mail about calling in reference to a lawsuit and provided a phone number of 917 675-3332. I called the number and reached a gentleman stating to be “David Frost”. When I asked what company he was with he stated the IRS. I challenged him several times and he continued to claim he is with the IRS and contacting me in reference to a lawsuit. After I continued to challenge his affiliation with the IRS and I vehemently declared that I did not believe he was an employee Internal Revenue Service and pushed him even harder to reveal the company he actually works for he said he can not say and hung up.

The lawsuit claim is, of course, horseshit of the highest (or lowest) order. “Mr. Frost” is obviously a scamster out to make a fast buck off fearful people. Whoever is behind him needs to be named, exposed, and then culled from the species. It doesn’t even have to be in that order.

Remember that number: 917-675-3332.

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Mow it alone

Remember that town in West Virginia where no cell phones or Wi-Fi signals or even radios are allowed? Robotic lawn mowers are right out:

The saga started in February, when iRobot filed a waiver request with the FCC seeking approval to use a portion of the radio spectrum to help guide its robomower. The problem with grass-cutting bots, according to iRobot’s filing, is the only way to get them to work is to dig a trench along the perimeter of a lawn and install a wire that creates the electronic fence needed to ensure the automatons don’t wander beyond the property line.

The iRobot people also produce the Roomba, a robotic vacuum cleaner, and the Scooba, which maintains hardwood floors. (I covet the Scooba.)

As a less arduous solution, iRobot proposes using stakes, driven into the ground, to act as beacons. The beacons will talk to the lawnbot, helping it map the area and stay within the designated boundaries. A typical user with a typical lawn (a quarter to a third of an acre) might need between four and nine beacons.

But the system requires special permission from the FCC due to its restrictions on fixed outdoor infrastructure. In a nutshell, the FCC doesn’t want people creating ad hoc networks of transmitters, which could interfere with existing authorized services like cellular and GPS systems. In its filings, iRobot says it should be exempt because it doesn’t set out to establish a broad communications network — its lawnbot networks would be tightly contained.

The problem, though, isn’t the network, but the frequency on which it operates so wirelessly:

Astronomers say that’s not good enough. The frequency band proposed for the lawnbot (6240-6740 MHz) is the very same one several enormous radio telescopes operate on.

And they don’t want that sort of interference, in West Virginia or anywhere else they may happen to operate.

(Via Hit Coffee.)

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Ongoing Rachel issues

You remember I. P. Freely, don’t you? Of course you do. Allan Sherman did, and in The Rape of the A*P*E* he mentioned several other punridden types, such as the author of The African Princess, Erasmus B. Black.

Except that this particular joke no longer makes sense in the post-Rachel Dolezal era, and Jack Baruth contends that poor Rachel could only pull off that masquerade of hers by dint of being Less Than Gorgeous. (5/10 max, he says.)

No, really, he’s serious, and not even all that flippant:

Had she been attractive, she could not have passed as black. And what does that say about how we view black women in this society? Why are black women always portrayed as in media as either crack whores or state court justices or elementary-school principals? How much of the crisis currently facing black women can be laid at the feet of a media that promotes the black-guy-with-white-woman idea all day, everyday but can’t be bothered to show images that reinforce the idea of black female beauty?

When we, as a society, relentlessly pound home the idea that white women are the only legitimate objects of desire for black or white men, why should we be surprised when black women feel unwanted? When we turn black women into stereotypes and caricatures, both negative and positive, why be surprised when they feel like outcasts in the culture and country that is supposed to be both my land and their land? And why, then, be surprised when, after we spend all this effort turning black women into outcasts, an outcast like Rachel Dolezal feels more comfortable among their numbers?

At least this gives me part of an explanation for why I was loath to condemn the poor woman. If anything, my reaction to the incident boils down to “Well played,” packaged with a reminder to myself that my ability to spot this sort of thing at a distance is decidedly limited.

Yes, yes, I know: she doesn’t have the “authentic black experience.” But she tried awfully damned hard to get it.

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A great deal of nothing

Think of it as a loss leader, at least at first:

Apple’s streaming music service is coming to a device near you at the end of this month, since it’s likely that there’s some kind of device with iTunes on it near you right now. Yet while Apple is promising musicians over 70% of the revenue from the service as royalties, that also means musicians will get around 70% of nothing for the first three months of Apple Music, since the service will be free to users.

I’m pretty sure Taylor Swift, for one, has done the math.

Still, it’s not like recording artists will receive all that moolah even on Day 91:

Those totals include payments to the people who own the sound recordings Apple Music will play, as well as the people who own the publishing rights to songs’ underlying compositions. That doesn’t mean the money will necessarily go to the musicians who recorded or wrote the songs, since their payouts are governed by often-byzantine contracts with music labels and publishers.

I pulled out my copy of 1989, and it says pretty clearly: “Ⓟ©2013 Big Machine Records, LLC.” Big Machine, therefore, owns the actual recordings. (It is said that Swift and/or her family own a piece of Big Machine.) Swift’s songs are published by Sony/ATV Music, so they too get a cut. Exactly who gets what is established by contracts I will likely never see.

Update, 19 June: Big Machine will not be streaming 1989 through Apple Music, though Swift’s earlier material will be available.

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Zett zwei: nein

There will be no Z2 roadster, BMW declares:

The Z2 would have gone toe-to-toe with the Mazda MX-5 Miata and Fiat’s Spyder beginning in 2016, Car reports, but was deemed “inessential” in the face of both booming SUV sales and a sluggish sports car market by chairman Harald Krüger and R&D boss Klaus Fröhlich, a move in line with sales boss Ian Robertson’s belief the sports car market may never recover.

The roadster would have slotted under the Z4, come with a £20,000 ($31,000 USD) starting price tag, and been limited to three- and four-cylinder engine options delivering their power to the front wheels.

Now I’m imagining a Z2M with an inline six and a price tag closer to 50k. But that’s the existing Z4, except for wrong-wheel drive.

And truth be told, I wonder how many people are going to choose the Fiat Spyder over its Japanese cousin. (Then again, Mazda isn’t sending us the new 2, but it will show up as a Scion. It’s all a mess.)

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Well, ****

Just watch your mouth when you’re in Arlington, Virginia, okay?

Uttering some of the more expressive words in the English language will cost you up to $250 if you say them in Arlington, now that county officials have upped their fines on public uses of profanity. The Arlington County Board just approved a measure increasing penalties for public intoxication and blue language from $100 to $250.

Odd that those two offenses should be paired — or maybe not:

Even if Arlington is sacrificing its reputation as an urbanist’s dream community, its leaders have not given up their mission to clean up its residents’ sometimes-naughty antics. The code change adopted during Saturday’s board meeting came after the Arlington Police Department reported making 664 arrests for public inebriation and foul-mouthed talk in 2014.

About 230,000 people live in Arlington’s 26 square miles, and it’s not like they can’t go somewhere else to cuss:

While the District [of Columbia] bans abusive language designed to provoke a physical response from another individual, it does not prohibit casual profanity. Maryland also offers safe harbor to the salty-tongued, except for Rockville, where the city charter reads, “person may not profanely curse and swear or use obscene language upon or near any street, sidewalk or highway within the hearing of persons passing by, upon or along such street, sidewalk or highway.”

Still, for the sake of traffic, let’s hope the [redacted] don’t all go at once.

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That legendary New York toughness

I do understand what this fellow is saying:

And he’s not kidding, either. Look at this:

NWS screen print for NYC 6/16/15

Then again:

NWS screen print for OKC 6/16/15

Don’t even try to breathe this, sir.

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Rhymes with “duckie”

Nancy Friedman introduces us to the Yuccie:

Yuccie: A Young Urban Creative, as defined and described by David Infante, “a 26-year-old writer who lives in a gentrifying neighborhood in Brooklyn,” in an article for Mashable published on June 10. Infante calls yuccies “a slice of Generation Y, borne [sic] of suburban comfort, indoctrinated with the transcendent power of education, and infected by the conviction that not only do we deserve to pursue our dreams; we should profit from them.”

There’s just this one problem:

“I am the yuccie,” Infante writes. “And it sounds sort of, well, yucky.”

Perhaps not everyone’s education has been equally transcendent.

“Yuppie,” the antecedent to “yuccie,” was occasionally truncated to “yup.” Let’s hope this doesn’t happen to “yuccie.”

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Full circle, by degrees

Warren Meyer recalls the Texas of his youth:

I grew up in the Deep South (in Houston — for outsiders, Texas acts like the South when one is east of I-35 and then is more like the West).

This explains Dallas/Fort Worth — I-35 splits into two separate highways in the Metroplex — almost perfectly.

Though my immediate family was fairly open-minded, I was surround by a scolding Southern Baptist culture that seemed deeply offended by everything — dancing, drugs, drinking, youth behavior — you name it. I remember visiting aunts and uncles and cousins who were in a perpetual state of being offended. And it carried over into the whole political culture of the place — it seemed there was always some debate about book or textbook passage that needed to be banned to save the delicate eyes and impressionable brains of the children.

So Meyer was happy to escape to the Ivy League. But now, the tables have turned:

[C]ollege students today now sound exactly like my Southern Baptist aunt. They are humorless and scolding and offended by virtually everything. Many of the same pieces of literature those good Texas Baptists were trying to censor from school curricula in my day because they conflicted with religious doctrine are now being censored by good campus Progressives because they might be triggering. What a bizarre turn of events.

At least Texans, a few Austinites aside, know a trigger when they see one: it’s right there on the weapon.

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What a re-Leaf it is

A spent battery pack from a Nissan Leaf isn’t dead: while it may not have enough juice left to move a ton and a half of electric car, it’s still a viable storage device, which explains this scheme:

Instead of building fresh batteries for commercial stationary applications, Nissan will instead reuse lithium-ion batteries from the LEAF with partner Green Charge Networks.

The first application “will be installed at a Nissan facility this summer, where multiple Nissan LEAF batteries will be configured to offset peak electricity demand,” said Nissan.

Your air conditioner is already smiling, right?

“A lithium-ion battery from a Nissan LEAF still holds a great deal of value as energy storage, even after it is removed from the vehicle, so Nissan expects to be able to reuse a majority of LEAF battery packs in non-automotive applications,” said Brad Smith, director of Nissan’s 4R Energy business.

Which is better than pitching them into whatever other post-automotive hell exists.

The battery pack, new, is good for 24 kWh; Nissan considers it usable for automotive purposes if 75 percent is available. So recently-culled battery packs should be just below 18 kWh or so, which is a fair amount of juice.

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Inflation gone undetected

About 2006, the woman who’d been doing my hair for the past several years took off for points unknown, and inasmuch as it was a ten-mile-plus drive to the shop where she was working — for a while she’d had her own shop — I started looking for a new shop, and eventually found myself going to a unisex shop on the northwest side. By no coincidence, this was the same shop Trini was using. The tab was $14; I handed the guy a twenty and said “Swap you one of these for a one.”

Eventually, reasoning that the price had surely gone up, I simply handed him a twenty and let it go at that. And this worked just fine until this past weekend, when I popped open the billfold and said, “You know, I have no idea what this actually costs anymore.”

“Eighteen dollars,” he said.

I reached for another bill, but he bade me close up the wallet. “You’re fine,” he said. “See you in a few weeks.”

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The main disdain falls plainly on the mane

So this was a thing:

And this was the context which goes with that thing.

I decided to go in a different direction:

You’ll note that at no time did I have to explain it, of course.

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From the very depths

After several years of wry but (mostly) cheerful breakup songs from tall blondes, I suppose it was time I went as far in the other direction as is humanly possible:

For lack of a better description, this is grief personified. And towards the end, she does what she must: she puts herself as far away from the source as possible.

If I’ve ever done this to you, can you ever forgive me? (The answer, of course, is No.)

(Via Sheila O’Malley.)

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Not ready for fringe time

Bill Quick has been dealing with the pre-release versions of Windows 10, and if you ask him, they aren’t ready for mass distribution yet:

Currently, on the [MS Surface Pro 3], I’ve got a “hardware update” that constantly installs itself “successfully,” then forgets that it has done so, and reinstalls itself, requiring a reboot each time. This is a bug known for more than three weeks, but it remains unfixed.

Several Metro Apps (apps designed for Windows tablets in the same way that iOS apps are designed to run on Apple tablets) either don’t run at all, or open in broken condition — including the People app, which is home base for contacts, and linkage to various address books, and messages from Twitter, FB, and so on.

The current build, released several weeks ago, wouldn’t install on SP3 at all until they fixed a bug it took them two more weeks to exterminate.

And the list goes on and on. Quick remains undaunted, though:

I’m able to use both machines as production machines, and I’ve been doing so. And I do really like Windows 10 overall, especially the Continuum feature, and the consistency across all platforms from phones to desktop machines.

But is it going to be ready for release to people who want an OS that “just works?”

Not a hope in hell, is what I think.

It’s not like Microsoft has never, ever missed a ship date. If it takes longer than six weeks more to swat the known bugs, then it takes longer. The world will go on turning.

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Little Jimmy Brown

It had to be, of course:

Fifty-six years after “The Three Bells,” Jim Ed Brown passed away. He was 81.

Sisters Bonnie and Maxine — Jim was the middle child — are still living but have long since retired. The Browns are being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame this fall, but Hall officers visited Jim Ed in the hospital earlier this month to let him know and to present him with a medallion.

This was Jim Ed’s last single, recorded in 2013:

Produced by Bobby Bare, himself a Hall of Fame member.

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