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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For instance, the Harold Tribune

Occasionally I’d find myself mentioned in something called, and I’d find a line or two of something I’ve written and a link to the rest of it, set on a screen that, were it not for its landscape orientation, would be a reasonable approximation of a news site seeking to look like a newspaper.

Late last night — I’d already gone to bed — the standard Twitter notification came out, and since I’m going to point you to the actual issue, I’ll use the actual tweet:

Diana’s Undead Daily is out! ▸ Top stories today via @jackjirou @vegaorion @scribe77 @raezorfxlauren @dustbury

The link lands here, and yes, there’s that zombie legal action I posted about yesterday, alongside more than a dozen pieces from other folks addressing the matter of undeadness. For people who are looking to become news aggregators on specific topics, this might be extremely handy. explains itself: is a content curation service. It enables people to publish newspapers based on topics they like and treat their readers to fresh news, daily.

We believe that people (and not machines) are the ones qualified to curate the content that matters most. We also think that these same people can greatly help their own communities to find their way through this “massive content world” we live in. We’re here to help!

Diana Trees, the publisher of Diana’s Undead Daily, also puts out a general-news edition called the Diana Trees Daily, plus editions devoted to vampires and “Violent & Powerful Females.”

This is, I note, the third different publisher (so far as I can tell) who has found something of mine worthy.

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Your basic tiny roadster departs

Not quite five years ago, I tried to argue a case for the Daihatsu Copen, a Japanese kei-class roadster which was getting some traction in the UK after the kei-standard 0.66-liter engine was upsized to twice that. The thrill, however, seems to be gone:

Daihatsu is reportedly discontinuing the line, with no apparent plans to replace it. Before it does, however, a 10th anniversary edition is reportedly in the works, with production limited to just 500 units.

I’d never have been able to shoehorn myself into a Copen, but I’ve always had a fondness for tiny cars, perhaps because I tend to think of them as crafted with jewel-like precision, even when they’re from a budget brand like Daihatsu.

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Narrower narrowcasting

Perennial D-Lister Kathy Griffin returns to Bravo this month with a primetime talk show called simply Kathy, and as you might expect, institutional print advertising for it contains Facebook and Twitter icons.

But the Twitter icon doesn’t mention a Twitter account for the show, or Kathy’s own account (@kathygriffin); it lists a hashtag — #kathy.

Given the growing tendency for hashtags to be hijacked, this may not be such a swift idea.

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Just watching the show

Here’s one of those “I ought to do something with this picture” pictures, from Sunday’s Academy of Country Music Awards show: Faith Hill and Carrie Underwood, (mostly) smiling for the camera.

Faith Hill and Carrie Underwood at the 2012 ACM Awards

I’m not quite sure what made me think of this, since at the time I wrote this up I was listening to Bach’s Mass in B Minor.

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Whippersnapper tax

The Germans, faced with a declining population and having already obliged themselves to pay humongous benefits for old people, now propose to tax younger people:

Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats have drafted proposals that, if law, would require all those over 25 to pay a proportion of their income to cushion Germany against a looming population crisis.

The German Chancellor’s ruling party is seeking extra sources of revenue to pay for soaring pensions and bills for social care costs as Germany’s “baby boomer” generation ages amid a decline in the birth rate.

In defense of the Germans, they’re at least admitting what they’re up to, which is more than American politicians would have the stones to do:

Instead we get more calls for taxing “the rich,” but there aren’t enough rich people to cover all of the promises the government is making.

The working Congressional definition for “the rich” seems to be “anyone who makes more money than a Congressman,” adjusted for graft.

(Seen at Daily Pundit.)

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For very special hooves

I didn’t have a shoe to feature this week until last night, when I happened upon this gladiator sandal from El Naturalista:

El Naturalista N403 gladiator sandal

And by “happened upon,” I mean “discovered that Tabitha St. Germain considers this her favorite shoe of the moment.” St. Germain — also known as Vancouver-based stage actress Paulina Gillis — is on my radar because she’s the speaking voice of this lovely lady:

Rarity is best pony

And for that matter, until Hasbro lapsed into Backlash Paranoia Mode, she was also the voice of Derpy.

Inexplicably, that sandal color, which to me looks red, is called “Tibet.” It’s also available in “Optical,” “Vaquero,” and “Black.”

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The undead are uneasy

Are you disturbed by the possibility of the Zombie Apocalypse? Trust me, your anxiety is as nothing compared to that of the “Haitian American Vodoo Association,” which reportedly sent a cease-and-desist letter to a gun-club site that was discussing the matter. Excerpts therefrom:

HAVA has become aware that you have engaged in spreading false, destructive, and defamatory rumors about Zombies. Your defamatory statements involved the article on the website ( dated 11/11/11 called “Zombie Apocalypse”. The article portrayed Undead Haitian Americans (A.K.A Zombies) as dangerous flesh eating monsters that pray on humans and other living creatures during the night. This image of a Zombie is completely inaccurate.

There is, of course, the slight chance that HAVA is engaged in the intra-Americas chain pull:

Modern Zombies are honest hard working undead people. They are just like the rest of Americans, but do not have any pulse nor brain activity. They are productive members of society and have been very successful in the local, state, and federal government. They have become model bureaucrats, and have continually worked toward building a positive reputation.

On the other (grey) hand, if they’re occupying the bureaucracy, that’s an even better reason to give them, um, ungrief.

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man, who finds it risible.)

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