Unwillingness to claim us

“Be nice to your kids,” says the old joke. “They’ll pick your nursing home.”

Several quote collections credit this to Abraham Maslow, though none of them bothers to cite an actual source for it. Still, there’s serious truth to it, and Francis W. Porretto expands upon it:

The next generation will determine the value of our retirement funds. Not in the naive fiscal sense, but in this regard: Inasmuch as a dollar is only worth what it will buy in the marketplace, our progeny, which will control the levers of production when we retire, will determine what our retirement funds will be able to buy — by producing the goods and services available for our dollars. If they’re less innovative, less skillful, less knowledgeable, less quality oriented, or less inclined to work than are we, the bounties in our marketplace will descend from their current level to … less. So genuine concern for the next generation isn’t just a reflection of what degree of duty we feel for our children; it’s also a matter of self-interest.

I have long suspected that our self-proclaimed cultural arbiters really don’t like children: the little brats cut into one’s time for self-actualization, after all, and the most important, or at least loudest, issue of the moment is keeping those wombs empty by any means necessary. You’d think the little ones were forbidden by Vaal or something.

On the other hand, at least we’re still managing to reproduce at a respectable rate, cultural arbiters notwithstanding:

While almost all of the developed world, and many other nations, have seen plummeting fertility rates over the last twenty years, the United States’ rates have remained stable and even slightly increased. This is largely due to the high fertility rate among communities such as Hispanics, but it is also because the fertility rate among non-Hispanic whites in the US, after falling to about 1.6 in the 1970s and early 1980s, had increased and is now around 1.9-2.0, or slightly below replacement level, rather than collapsing to the 1.3-1.5 level common in Europe.

New England has a rate similar to most Western European countries, while the South, Midwest, and border states have fertility rates considerably higher than replacement. States where The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a strong presence, most notably Utah, also have higher-than-replacement fertility rates, especially among the LDS population.

Replacement level in the developed world is considered to be about 2.1. (Which suggests that around 4.4 grandchildren would be the bare minimum. I am running ahead of that statistic, thank you very much, though I’m far beyond the point where I can claim any credit for it.) Still, I look at the five grand a year with my name on it kicked into the Social Security system, and I have to figure that this might support one retiree for three or four months, max. We’re asking more and more of the youngsters, while doing as little as possible for them; worse, we’re doing as little as possible as expensively as possible. Sooner or later, this, like everything else that can’t go on, won’t.

(Title from the Replacements’ “Bastards of Young.” Because.)

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Pony potables

In the absence of Fillyjonk, who’s taking spring break, I have to assume that there’s a small chance that she missed this little bit of whimsy — unless, of course, it’s a repeat from last year, and I wouldn’t know about that — and therefore it is my responsibility to make sure she sees it. Then again, if I knew anything about responsibility, I would surely have noticed this on the appropriate day, right?

Equestria Daily, one of the earliest MLP:FIM fan sites, occasionally displays a custom banner to celebrate whatever might be going on, and for St Patrick’s Day they had a wild drawing of ponies soused on apple cider:

O'Questria Daily

Clearly Rarity and Fluttershy are not the type to get sozzled under such conditions. On the other hoof, The Great and Powerful Trixie seems to have hoisted more than a few. And I am not even going to speculate as to why Derpy’s in the tree.

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Strange search-engine queries (320)

If you’re new around here, this is a weekly (so far) feature in which we acknowledge the fact that a lot of our visitors come here, not to be entertained by our wit and wisdom or to torture themselves by exposure to the lack thereof, but because they typed something into the Google or Bing or even Yahoo! search box, and it somehow matched something in this domain. During any given week, those searches number easily in the hundreds; here, we present the silliest, and make fun of them, because what the heck else is there to do on a Monday morning?

fugmob:  Combination of “fugly” and “mob,” therefore somewhat superfluous, since all mobs tend to be fugly.

THE disc-break from the DOSUSER:  If you’re old enough to remember DOS, it’s likely you can remember breaking rather a lot of discs yourself, not to mention a CPU or two.

fly like a beagle:  I assure you, time hasn’t been slippin’ into the future that much. Yet.

hoopier:  On the frood scale, the Magratheans are hoopier than, say, the fifty-armed Jatravartids, the first sentient species to invent aerosol deodorant before the wheel.

GET YOUR PASS TO ORGY SEX PARTIES HERE:  Wait a minute, you need passes to those things? And STOP SHOUTING!

SCHMICP DISEASE:  It killed John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmicp, though it wasn’t named for him. One of the symptoms is a tendency to SHOUT!

lowered bra:  Lower it to the floor, and we’ll talk.

why are men unhandy:  Limited experience at lowering bras.

nude men 60-75 years old.com:  Certainly wouldn’t be a dot-org at that age, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

sleeping wife wakened by yobs who impregnate her:  I’m sorry, you want the Daily Mail, just along the corridor.

has someone patten blinker fluid:  It was a joint development with sealed, maintenance-free muffler bearings.

female jeans:  Depends on which side the zipper’s on. (Sometimes.)

zooey deschanel hosed:  Sometimes even when she wears jeans.

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Dampened blaze

Sometimes all it takes is a diligent application of the fundamentals. Still smarting from the drubbing they got from the Spurs, the Thunder buckled down early on, jumped out to a 16-point lead after the first quarter, and the Trail Blazers, the first team to beat the Thunder in OKC this season, were sent back to Portland with a loss. The Thunder won this one going away, 111-95 (note: 16-point difference), and now lead the season series 2-1, always useful against division rivals.

OKC actually shot their way to this win: 55 percent from the floor, 61 percent (11 of 18) from downtown, and we’ll tiptoe past the ten free throws (of 28) they missed. Rebounds: OKC, 43-35. Assists: OKC, 24-15. Turnovers: OKC, 15-12. (Well, you can’t have everything.) Once again, Russell Westbrook took more shots than Kevin Durant, but then he also scored more points (28 versus 26) and didn’t once give up the ball. James Harden was not so wonderful from the floor, but he drew fouls like crazy, and got 11 of his 14 from the stripe.

For the Blazers, sixth man Jamal Crawford scored the most points (23) and tied for most technicals (1, with Kurt Thomas). Portland shot a decent 46 percent, and Raymond Felton was effective, though Nicolas Batum was bottled up much of the night. And LaMarcus Aldridge, always a thorn in OKC’s side, was held to 15 points on 6-19 shooting; that may have been the difference right there, since Aldridge usually thinks nothing of dropping 20 or 30 on the Thunder.

Next: a one-game road swing, to Utah on Tuesday, followed by three at the ‘Peake: Clippers Wednesday, Timberwolves Friday, Heat Sunday. No one who can be taken lightly.

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You think you’re so damn smart

Well, actually, I don’t. And it’s probably a good thing I don’t, now that I think about it.

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Before you can walk

Roberta X has adjusted nicely to one of the newer features of urban living:

On the subject of ADA compliance, let me just say, as a somewhat clumsy person, that I like curb cuts — and they mean that every block, there are three squares of actual decent sidewalk, instead of tilted, battered slabs. (OTOH, around Roseholme Cottage, many of the curved curbs at the corners are large lengths of what appears to be cut stone! I’d miss them.) In Indianapolis, you’ve got to add, “…where there are sidewalks.” Outside of Downtown, they’re kind of optional.

She’d be amused, I think, to hear that while Oklahoma City has similar sidewalk density — which is to say, Not Much — we’ve been duly installing curb cuts, even in places where sidewalks don’t actually exist. I’m guessing this is a byproduct of having seen too many reruns of Field of Dreams.

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Horrible gases

Wired has a regular feature called “What’s Inside,” which runs down the ingredient list of something you probably didn’t want to see the ingredient list for, and tells you what you’re getting.

For April, it’s the ever-popular anti-flatulence tablet Beano, a large component of which is relatively inert:

Much like a Jennifer Aniston film, industrial-grade potato starch is a flavorless, odorless, colorless substance that exists mainly to take up space.

That’s going to leave a mark, though not a blatantly obvious one.

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Just above the killing floor

Contemporary cars have a panoply of warning lights, some pretty standard, some model-specific. My first Mazda 626, for instance, had a warning light to tell you if one of the exterior lights was burned out; this was apparently decontented away in the next generation. One I’ve never seen, though, was Nissan’s FLOOR TEMP warning, which is explained thusly:

The thing that really put the malaise into the Malaise Era was the inability of the automotive industry to meet US federal and (in the case of cars sold in California) state exhaust-emission regulations without crippling the vehicles (whether this inability was due to Naderite anti-progress bomb-throwers infesting the government or corporate mismanagement and the over-reliance on lobbying to fend off emissions regulations is your subject to debate). While Honda’s CVCC engines managed to beat the tailpipe test without the use of the early, incredibly inefficient catalytic converters, just about everybody else had to bolt a super-restrictive and surface-of-sun-temperature cat onto the exhaust. On low, sporty vehicles that didn’t have a good location for the catalytic converter, an overheating cat could set the car’s interior on fire. Nissan’s solution to this was the FLOOR TEMP indicator light, which used a temperature sensor near the catalytic converter to warn the driver to slow the hell down.

My primary Malaise Era ride was a ’75 Toyota Celica, which, in 49-state mode, lacked a cat altogether. (Despite the absence of the oft-derided device, minor tweaking of the rudimentary engine controls enabled this car to pass — barely — California emissions in 1988.) There was a lamp on the dash labeled EXH. TEMP, which I assume would have served the same purpose; I never saw it glowing.

The Italians, apparently, took a more direct approach:

Fiats, Ferraris, and (I’m pretty sure) Alfa Romeos of the late 1970s got this lovely and equally confusing “SLOW DOWN” idiot light to warn drivers of overheating catalytic converters; at least this light gave the driver some idea of the remedy for the problem. Some Fiats and British Leyland cars got a similarly cryptic (yet technically more accurate) “CATALYST” idiot light. Perhaps a really big idiot light reading “CATALYTIC CONVERTER OVERHEATING — SLOW YOUR ASS DOWN OR PERISH IN FLAMES!” would have been best.

They couldn’t do something like that today; why, that message is just as long as one of those wicked text messages and would thereby almost certainly constitute Deadly Distraction.

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Of course it’s premium

To some people, pretty much everything is an opportunity to accessorize. Hence this midweek paparazzo shot of Paris Hilton, who incorporates both the gas pump and the Ferrari into her look.

Paris Hilton at a Union 76 station

Besides, that’s a majorly cute dress, and I’d like to encourage wearers of hats.

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Playing the Hef card

Robert Stacy McCain notes in an addendum to a post about Gillian Anderson’s, um, interesting past:

It might be worth pointing out that I once got a lot of traffic for the headline: “Dana Loesch in Playboy?”

Which reminded me of this item from 2004:

File this under “Once in a Lifetime”: there’s an actual (albeit very small) picture of Michelle Malkin in Playboy.

No, not like that, ya perv. In the annual The Year in Sex roundup (January ’05), there is, not entirely unexpectedly, a marginally-raunchy picture of Jessica “Washingtonienne” Cutler, and to give credence to her particular transgressions, there’s a clip from the Post (which Post, I couldn’t say) with Ms Malkin’s column, complete with standard photo of the columnist.

Which Post, as it turned out, was the New York Post.

Malkin linked back to that, generating my single largest traffic day up to that point. Which suggests that even in the thinnest of posts, Hef adds heft.

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Colt in Manehattan

This PMV made the rounds of the pony-based community earlier in the week, and since that time it’s absolutely refused to get out of my head. One contributing factor, I suspect, is the fact that it’s the correct voice: Michelle Creber does the singing voice of Sweetie Belle on MLP:FIM, though obviously none of these clips were done with a Sixties soul classic in mind. I think. It’s hard to tell these days. A so-called show for kids that can do a visual homage to The Big Lebowski is capable of just about anything.

Michelle Creber, incidentally, is twelve years old. (She has one other commercially-available recording: a cover of Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive.” I am not making this up.) And you may remember MandoPony from “I’ll Be Waiting,” aka “Derpy’s Song,” a few weeks ago.

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Next time express yourself in American

Once in a while Windows Live Mail calls out an obvious phish, though it’s not unfailingly reliable at spotting the non-obvious ones. Still, this one, purporting to be from American Express, was rather easily detected:

Because of unusual number of invalid login attempts on you account, we had to believe that, their might be some security problem on you account.

So we have decided to put an extra verification process to ensure your identity and your account security.

Please click on continue to the verification process and ensure your account security. It is all about your security.

There’s even a (possibly unconscious) punchline:

Thank you. Open In Internet Explorer Only.

I have to figure that anyone who closes some other browser and then opens up IE as directed probably deserves to be phished. Because, you know, it’s all about your security.

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Decidedly unmatched

It’s spring-ish, and I’ve had a wealth of shoes shown me of late; these two have nothing more in common other than the fact that women to whom I pay attention have mentioned them this week.

Shoes by GOLC and Stella McCartney

On the left is “Samantha” by Mariana by GOLC. WTF is GOLC? According to the company:

The name GOLC is Clog spelled backwards. The first products developed were clogs and as the market needs changed new Brands were developed.

This etymology does not impress Nancy Friedman:

“Clog spelled backwards” is a terrible explanation for a company name. “Clog” sounds bad enough spelled the right way.

The shoe, however, seems to win her endorsement: “Pretty! No gag reflex at all.” Endless.com stocks more than a dozen colors of “Samantha,” at prices running from $70 to nearly twice that. (The green is among the less expensive variants.)

To the right is a shoe from Stella McCartney’s 2012 Resort collection, priced at $1025; a Facebook friend from NYC posted the photo and bewailed that price, which motivated me to ask if she’d buy them at $125. She replied, reasonably, that a $125 version would be complete and utter crap, and then listed the things she liked about the original, one of which was “Jetsons by way of the 1940s (Bladerunner aesthetic another personal favorite).” There’s no way I could avoid mentioning that here. (A look at the rest of the collection, if you’re curious.)

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It’s that spiky thing on a boot

Some of the discussion this week, with Thabo Sefolosha back in the lineup, was what Royal Ivey would do. Tonight we found out: stick to Tony Parker “like Velcro,” in the words of radio guy Matt Pinto. This is important, because as we all know, when Parker really gets going, he’s going to run up Chamberlain-like numbers. (We’re talking basketball here. Behave yourself.) You don’t want to know what the local Twitter stream looked like when the Spurs were up by 27 points. And you can’t imagine the noise level when the Thunder cut that lead to two early in the fourth. Comeback of the year? San Antonio wasn’t buying: the Spurs took the rubber game, 114-105, to pull within three games of OKC in the Western standings.

What made this work, of course, is the standard Spurs M.O.: they come at you from every direction, and everyone is a threat. All five starters posted double figures; Parker had 25, DeJuan Blair 22 (and 11 boards), Danny Green 21, Tim Duncan 16 (and 19 boards), Kawhi Leonard 15. The entire bench, however, kicked in only 15. The Spurs shot over 51 percent, and hit nine of 19 treys.

There was a brief period when I thought Russell Westbrook was going to go all “Screw this, I’m taking over.” He finished with 36 points, though it took him 29 shots and ten free throws to get them. Kevin Durant produced a Durantesque line with 25 and seven rebounds, while Serge Ibaka doubled up with 12 points and 12 boards. But here’s your telltale statistic: Lazar Hayward, who played eight minutes while Scott Brooks was trying to find something resembling matchups, went 0-3, fouled twice, and finished +10, the highest on the team. The Thunder were outrebounded 49-37, and shot 44 percent. They also got nine treys, albeit in 25 attempts. Fortunately — or it could have been a lot worse — the Spurs showed a talent for clanking free throws, missing ten of 25; OKC missed only two of 20. And this is the part that hurts: all this happened with an inactive Manu Ginobili.

At least we’re done with the Spurs until the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Nate McMillan-less Trail Blazers beat the Bulls tonight, and they’ll be in town Sunday. Probably too much to hope that they implode.

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Quote of the week

My current ride, when it was brand-new, was hyped as the most powerful in its class. Today, any number of workaday vehicles will blow its clearcoated doors off. Along these lines, Jack Baruth points out that you can’t rely solely on performance figures anymore:

Power and raw speed may have distinguished “enthusiast vehicles” in the past, but we live in an era where a Camry on DOT slicks can rip a thirteen-second quarter and your ex-wife’s SUV can bully the air at a buck-forty or above. Ford and Chevrolet both sell ponycars that would humiliate my old dream Ferrari 575, and they sell them brand new for half of what the Ferraris still cost on the used market. The Porsche PanArabia Turbo S Carrera GT2 Orthodontist Edition handily outpaces its own Cayman R on the racetrack. Numbers aren’t telling the story any more. In 2012, enthusiast vehicles are ones which whisper to the driver with steering feel and predictable trail-braking, not scream at him with six hundred horsepower and single-use ceramic brakes. Forget the numbers.

Which is not to say that you should turn up your nose at 600 ponies and such, but they shouldn’t be the overriding consideration. My own car, had it a little more steering feel and slightly less side-to-side bump, would be worthy of consideration despite less than half as much horsepressure.

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Maybe I shouldn’t have done this on Thursday

“Everybody in the world really hates my ringtone,” sang Weird Al, and I of course have no idea what that’s like.

Maybe. I was at Target last night picking up a couple of prescriptions — $4 generics plus cute pharmacists, so don’t judge me — and as I slid the trusty Amex through the reader, a random Seattle-area (maybe) cold-calling clod dialed in, and out pops, at 8 out of 10 volume, “It’s Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday…”

Now I’ve admitted to having this as a ringtone before, though I don’t get so many phone calls that it’s an issue or anything. Still, I wasn’t prepared for the stares of disbelief from behind the counter. Finally, someone broke through with a variation on Minnesota Nice: “Well, that’s certainly different.”

I probably ought to supplement it with some of the unearthly shrieks RB emits during this impromptu video. As for whoever that was from the 425, he/she/it left a blank voicemail.

Addendum: From the Rebecca Black Kitchens:

[M]y favorite burger is on a brioche bun with a beef patty, with 1000 island dressing, sauerkraut, grilled onion, and dill pickles.

Sounds plausible enough.

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