It couldn’t be simpler

Marko, riffing on a search-engine query — apparently some people actually curate these things — explains how to write a military novel:

Just write whatever novel you want, and then make an editing pass and insert ranks in front of every character name. Presto!

“Corporal Bella woke to find Lieutenant Edward watching her from the foot of her bed…”

Twilight: Breaking Camp at Dawn? I would so read that.

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Straight outta Mumbai

Model Poonam Pandey, twenty-one this year, has enjoyed, or perhaps not enjoyed, the distinction of someone posing as her: apparently a fake showed up at a function in Ujjain, prompting this response:

“I’m aware of it and have already sent a legal notice to the event organisers. In fact, I was taken aback when the media of Ujjain informed me about this and soon after that I decided to take legal action against the organisers.”

The real Poonam Pandey looks something like this:

Poonam Pandey by the pool

Which is not to say she hasn’t invited controversy on her own. In 2011 she said she’d strip for the public if India won that year’s Cricket World Cup, drawing this response:

Speaking to The Hindu, Maharashtra BJP Mahila Morcha [women's group] chairperson Neeta Kelkar said: “I have written a complaint to the Sangli Superintendent of Police. He has forwarded it to the Mumbai Police Commissioner. We all know this is a cheap publicity gimmick. The honourable President is going to be present in the stadium tomorrow (Saturday) to watch the match, along with the Sri Lankan President and the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. What impression will they have of our country if something like this happens in front of the huge crowds there? Ultimately, it is for the police to take action against her. The responsibility of maintaining law and order lies with them.”

India did win, but Pandey kept her clothes on.

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Hence the term “cocksure”

Roosters, as a rule, are not easily cowed. (See, for instance, Lisa’s story of the Phantom Chicken of Sonoma, just about this time last year.)

Now comes this Tennessee-bred bird, who arrives every morning to hang with his breaded relatives:

A red rooster sauntered down South Street in Collierville three months ago and now makes daily visits to Gus’s Fried Chicken at 215 S. Center, cock-a-doodle-doodling to herald his arrival.

Can they get him to go? Not a chance:

Collierville Animal Services has tried for months to catch the rooster before he gets attacked by a raccoon or other predators the plucky, wily rooster may face. They want to take him to a farm where he can be with fowl that still have a pulse.

“I’ve tried reasoning with him,” said shelter manager John Robinson. “I told him it’s not good for him to be hanging around Gus’s and that he might get himself in trouble. He doesn’t listen. He fears no man or Gus.”

(Via Fark.)

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Clean as a whistle

Lubbock’s Fantasy Maid Service will clean your premises — $100 an hour for one staffer, $150 for two — dressed in as little as you desire. “There is nothing illegal going on,” says owner Melissa Borrett.

Sgt. Jonathan Stewart of the Lubbock PD says otherwise: it’s a sexually-oriented service, he says, and the maids don’t have the appropriate permit for such. Of course, he’ll have to see the operation for himself, and they will cut him some slack on the price:

We offer discounts to law enforcement and other public servants(heros), including but not limited to paramedics, fire fighters, and military (active and vets). We know how busy y’all are, so let us do your housework for you while you sit back, relax, and scope out the eye candy. :)

I would have to think long and hard before engaging such a service.

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Following the Trend

Edward Loh’s editorial in the May Motor Trend is called “#bravenewworld,” and I admit to not taking it particularly seriously — until I looked over at the editorial masthead, as Loh suggests, and discovered that at least half of the names thereupon are accompanied by Twitter IDs. (Loh is @EdLoh.) At the very least, they’re not going to hide from us wired folk, which has got to be worth something these days.

This is what made me smile, though: they’re also on Pinterest.

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Those were the days, my friend

McGehee, who’s been pounding a keyboard about as long as I have, wonders if it’s worth the effort anymore:

I really don’t think we’re making things happen anymore. Obviously I’m not, but the bigtime bloggers under their corporate umbrellas have become scared shitless of rocking the boat, lest the advertisers who fund their incomes become too jittery about the resulting controversy. And their worries are not altogether unfounded.

The early double-oughts were the Golden Age of new media. Ten years later it’s a Gilded Age where the former reformers are all smug, sluggish mugwumps.

Then again, I may retain just enough idealism to believe this still:

Few of us are big-time operators, and that’s not likely to change; but we’re right on the edge of the Era of Decentralization. Why else would the Bolshevik 2.0 crowd in Washington — which isn’t just government, by the way — be working so hard to build up their forces? Because they know they can be replaced. In such an environment as this, even the least of us matters more than he thinks.

Probably why I’m still here after sixteen years and a day.

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The man who would be Commodore

My favorite Jack Tramiel story, from 2007:

Doing business with [Bill] Gates was decent, Tramiel said. “He came to see me, tried to sell me Basic and told me that I didn’t have to give him any money; all I had to give him was $3 per unit. I told him I was already married,” Tramiel said.

Tramiel instead told Gates he’d pay a flat fee of $25,000, rejecting the idea of paying $3 for each Commodore sold. “In about six weeks, [Gates] came and took that $25,000. Since then, he did not speak to me,” Tramiel said.

Which is not a worldbeater, really, but I’d just as soon not go into his childhood in Auschwitz.

Jack Tramiel, born in Poland in 1928, died Sunday at eighty-three. Someone left this on Fark:

10 POKE 53280,0
20 POKE 53281,0
30 PRINT “BYE, JACK :(”

Written in that very Basic, of course.

Addendum: Thoughts from Rob O’Hara, author of Commodork.

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Much back packed

But OMG, Becky!

Baby Got Back as a dialogue box

This has been floating around Tumblr for a while (50,000 notes!); I snagged it from Rebecca Black.

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Deer cross

After the second game this season against the Golden State Warriors, I said something to this effect:

[H]aving beaten the Warriors in Oakland twice, there’s only one more game, and that in OKC. Still, one should not underestimate this team. You know Monta Ellis isn’t tired yet.

It did not occur to me that the Thunder would have to deal with Monta Ellis a fourth time: he was dealt to the Milwaukee Bucks in March, and we hadn’t seen the Deer all year. I can tell you that they weren’t in a good mood: seven technicals were called tonight, and the Bucks got five of them. (Larry Sanders got two, which earned him a free trip to the locker room; even Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles got one.) And after they’d fought their way back to .500, the Thunder waltz into Bradleyville and hand them a 109-89 loss. No wonder the Bucks were unhappy.

Ellis, for his part, did roll up more minutes than any other Buck — thirty-two — but he managed only nine points, though he dished up seven assists. Brandon Jennings, the Bucks’ other major offensive threat, was held to 13; Ersan İlyasova led Milwaukee with 18.

I think we can pronounce Thabo Sefolosha cured of his ills: he played thirty minutes and scored 14, fourth behind Russell Westbrook (26), Kevin Durant (19) and James Harden (16). OKC led the race for rebounds, 44-35, and while 17 turnovers won’t win bragging rights, the Bucks had just as many.

So much for the East. Nine games remain against the West: two at home, five on the road, and two at home. As the phrase goes, it could be worse.

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Click away

The Twisted Spinster doesn’t like your autoplay whatever it is, and will tell you so:

Really, this isn’t 2002, “OMG I can put sound on my websites that start right up!” isn’t interesting any more and it never was necessary. Get that stupid crap off your websites if you want me to visit them ever.

I admit that I used to have rotating MIDI files playing under the index page — but I got rid of them before 2000.

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Why your insurance is $13k

Things like this:

Picked up a plastic doo-dad from the pharmacy yesterday. It’s just a plastic tube that goes with an inhaler, makes it easier to get a full dose of medicine or something. Whatever. It’s just a piece of plastic, no drugs of any kind. Still, the pharmacy would not sell it to me without a prescription, probably because it’s a “medical device”, and insurance won’t pay for it unless a doctor specifically orders it, and because of all this administrative overhead what should cost a dollar ends up costing the insurance company a zillion bucks.

Which gives me an excuse to quote Dr G. Keith Smith of Surgery Center of Oklahoma:

Prior to Medicare, the cost of hospital care was affordable for all but the extremely poor. The hospital bill for my birth in 1961 was less than $100, a small amount even taking inflation into account. Retired orthopedic surgeons have told me that repair of hip fractures in the pre-Medicare days ran about $300.

What happened? Medicare happened. Physicians wanted nothing to do with this scheme in the early days of the program, so to sweeten the pot, the federal government offered to pay whatever the physicians wanted to charge.

Guess what happened to physician fees?

Yours truly pointed out in 2005:

In 1998, laser eye surgery cost more than $2200 per eye; today it’s about half that, though it’s not covered by insurance plans or by Medicare. Or maybe because it’s not covered by insurance plans or by Medicare, which have their own ideas about what medical procedures should cost.

Dr Smith, along these same lines:

If you walk in to an ophthalmologist’s office and ask them how much they will charge for your Lasik surgery, you will get an answer. An amount. No “ifs, ands or buts.” Try this at your local hospital. Ask them how much for your hernia surgery or your gallbladder removal. Good luck. You probably won’t get an answer, and if you do, the amount will shock you.

Then again, nothing about health-care costs shocks me anymore, except for the claims by various governmental types that they’re going to “control” those costs. Sure they are.

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Something I might know something about

Now here’s a question I couldn’t resist:

Can a blog be too random?

Someone voted this up for me:

As I have arguably one of the most random blogs on earth — more than sixty categories, nearly 10,000 tags — I have to say that it’s not been detrimental for me. I average a bit over five posts a day, and seldom will any two of those five be on the same topic.

Truth be told, I’d love to get those tags down to about 7500 or so, but there’s no really good way to update them in bulk.

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Strange search-engine queries (323)

This feature dates back to the fall of 2005, and will probably keep appearing so long as I’m still alive and people keep showing up in the server logs looking for weird stuff. So far, I’ve seen no indication that either of these conditions is about to change drastically.

Freak Scoring Machine FOR TRADE:  How are freaks scored, anyway? Does it require a blade? Or is this a quantitative thing, as with, say, Rick James’ “Super Freak”?

i feel damn badly:  No. You feel “damn bad.” If you actually felt “damn badly,” it would imply that your sensory apparatus (touch subsystem) was malfunctioning.

dash off: commentary pony:  Wouldn’t surprise me. Twilight Sparkle, voluble as she is, would be far more likely to offer commentary than Rainbow Dash.

how did infinti maintain its loyal customers:  By canny recognition of the fact that Infiniti owners don’t want to be treated like they’re running around in Nissans fercrissake.

too attractive work:  Never been accused of that before.

who goes first at a four way stop nc:  From what little driving I’ve done in North Carolina, I’d say it’s the other one.

does cuttlefish expire:  The fish expired long before you gave it to your parrot, which may also be pining for the fjords.

did anyone ever drive into tinker air force base, break through fences and get a dui:  If someone did, he’s lucky if all he got was a DUI.

i always blow all my winnings:  So you won’t mind if I bought a ticket on your behalf on this goat being raffled off?

spell feces:  Careful, now. Romanian witches know this spell, and they’ll cast it when provoked.

is pantyhose becommon for men:  I should behope not.

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Sixteen and counting

An open thread for the 16th anniversary of this here site on the Intarwebs, and a few historical references for the sake of, um, history.

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Frustrations vented

For a while, it was close. Late in the third quarter, it was OKC 58, Toronto 55, and Scott Brooks hadn’t quite figured out how to put away the Raptors. He needn’t have worried: the Thunder ran up 12 unanswered points to close the quarter, and twelve more to start the fourth. By then it was 82-55, and finally DeMar DeRozan stopped DeBleeding. The Raptors didn’t give up, but Brooks, noting that the 22-0 run was pulled off mostly by the second unit, opted to rest the starters, except for Thabo Sefolosha, in the fourth quarter, and the Thunder ultimately dispatched Toronto, 91-75.

Part of Toronto’s problem was losing Andrea Bargnani early to a calf strain; he’d gotten seven points and five rebounds in 13 minutes before exiting. However, José Calderón and Gary Forbes, both announced as day-to-day, were able to play. (Calderón led all Toronto scorers with 19; Forbes led the bench with eight.) And the Raptors outrebounded the Thunder 43-42, though offensive-glass grabs were even at 11.

With fewer minutes to work with — only Kevin Durant played even 30 — the big Thunder scorers did not score big: Durant had 23, James Harden 17, Russell Westbrook 15. You want numbers, look at Nick Collison: six points, three steals, nine rebounds (seven offensive). As glue guys go, he’s the real thing: 100 percent organic mucilage.

In this abbreviated season, we’re not seeing much of the East: this is the only matchup with Toronto this year. Tomorrow, a trip to Milwaukee to see if the Deer merit fear, and that’s it for cross-conference play: the last nine games will be against Western foes, including two against the Clippers and three against the Kings. (Season ends on the 25th with a visit from the Nuggets.)

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Starring Ward and Eldridge Cleaver

Back in 1998 I tossed up the notion of Convenient Fictions, “bits of silliness we cling to without any evidence that they represent anything that actually exists.” You might expect that things like this in aggregate would ultimately result in cognitive dissonance, or worse, and often as not you’d be correct: if two such fictions happen to conflict with one another, it’s as though you opened a box of antimatter in a room full of matter, and the destruction is practically instantaneous.

And so we are told that our nation is multicultural, that we benefit from a multiplicity of ethnicities with their variety of subcultures, and that we should glory in our diversity — yet every member of each of those ethnicities practicing said subcultures is exactly identical, perfectly interchangeable with one another, with no differences beyond the trivial. In mathematical terms, 1 equals 2, for certain specific values of 1.

So it was necessary to punish John Derbyshire for suggesting that this equation didn’t quite add up: forbidden arithmetic is forbidden for a reason, after all. Says Francis W. Porretto:

One cannot challenge the pieties of a society without provoking condemnation or ostracism. To question a piety, even along its margins, is to ask to be thrown out of the church. This is an absolute that applies to all peoples and times… If we are in thrall to a piety contrary to the actual facts of our society, we are in danger too. The question is only of degree.

Derb’s excommunication, you may be certain, was swift and merciless: if we say one doesn’t equal two, we’re questioning the very definition of equality, and how dare we do such a thing?

Not that I have any particular pity for Derb, who’s ticked me off before, but I was hoping this year for an improvement in the condition of the Emperor. We already knew about the transparency of his raiment, but now we see that he’s covered with boils.

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