Law west of the Pecos

I am reasonably certain that this is not an actual Texas law-enforcement examination:

A young Texan grew up wanting to be a lawman. He grew up big, 6’2″, strong as a longhorn, and fast as a mustang. He could shoot a bottle cap tossed in the air at 40 paces.

When he finally came of age, he applied to where he had only dreamed of working: the West Texas Sheriff’s Department. After a series of tests and interviews, the Chief Deputy finally called him into his office for the young man’s last interview.

The Chief Deputy said, “You’re a big strong kid and you can really shoot. So far your qualifications all look good, but we have what you might call an ‘attitude suitability test’ that you must take before you can be accepted. We don’t just let anyone carry our badge, son.”

Then, sliding a service pistol and a box of ammo across the desk, the Chief said, “Take this pistol and shoot everything on this list”:

  • six illegal aliens,
  • six lawyers,
  • six meth dealers,
  • six Muslim extremists,
  • six Democrats,
  • and a rabbit.

“Why the rabbit?” queried the applicant.

“Great attitude. You pass.” said the Chief Deputy. “When can you start?”

I’m guessing this particular rabbit might have been on the endangered-species list.

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Drilling rights

France establishes a performance standard for marital sex, kinda sorta:

A Frenchman has been ordered to pay his ex-wife £8,500 in damages for failing to have enough sex with her during their marriage.

The 51-year-old man was fined under article 215 of France’s civil code, which states married couples must agree to a “shared communal life”.

The ex, 47, after filing for divorce, filed a second claim, complaining of “lack of sex over 21 years of marriage,” and asked €10,000 in damages. A judge in Aix-en-Provence ruled in her favor:

“A sexual relationship between husband and wife is the expression of affection they have for each other, and in this case it was absent. By getting married, couples agree to sharing their life and this clearly implies they will have sex with each other.”

Unanswered in this article is the question of how much sex they had before they got married.

(Via The PJ Tatler.)

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Abandoned then & there

Suppose — just suppose — that the AT&T takeover of T-Mobile USA doesn’t happen. It’s no particular secret that Deutsche Telekom has been anxious to get its American stepchild off its hands and its books, but if AT&T can’t take it, who will? Sascha Segan of PCMag.com has some ideas on the subject, and I’m thinking the one I’d like the best is this:

Why should the New York Times be the only American icon rescued by Carlos Slim? Owned by the richest man in the world, América Móvil is the world’s fourth-largest mobile operator and already has a foothold in the U.S. through its ownership of Tracfone/Net10/Straight Talk. If T-Mobile is indeed America’s value player, it could have some synergies with América Móvil’s existing offerings. Also, Slim loves telecom.

And he’s already got 15 million Stateside customers: add Tmo’s 30 million, and they won’t quite catch up to Sprint for third place, but they’d be a much-stronger fourth. Besides, if anyone is capable of staring down the Death Star, it’s got to be Carlos Slim.

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Round, round, get a round

Nothing, of course, will withstand everything. This we stipulate from the very beginning. That said:

Texas Armoring Corporation (TAC) is the leading worldwide manufacturer and supplier of lightweight armored cars and custom bulletproof vehicles. With roots dating back to the 1970s, TAC founders and key management personnel have nearly 200 years of combined armoring experience. Through focusing on engineering, innovation, protection, lightweight armor applications, and premium finishing, TAC engineers have literally produced and shipped thousands of armored cars & bulletproof vehicles for distinguished individuals throughout the world.

With that in mind, here come three rounds:

Don’t even think about trying this at home.

(Via Autoblog.)

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Hope and oil change

Charles Pergiel goes to the auto-parts store:

I pick up a Fram filter because it’s easy, they have one of those little electronic selection jobbies. They have some other brands, but nothing that looks like the discount generic, so the $4 Fram filter is fine.

I get to the checkout counter and guy tells me I can save $4 (FOUR DOLLARS!) by getting the Castrol oil instead of O’Reilly’s house brand. The Castrol five quart jug is normally $24, so they are knocking off $8. Castrol must really want to sell some oil.

Yesterday I drove by one of those quickie oil change places and they were advertising oil changes for $18. Times must be tough. They must be counting on selling you some windshield wipers.

My last oil change, incidentally, was $41.95, which included five quarts of Mobil Clean 5000, Nissan’s OEM oil filter, and a wash/vacuum job. The oil, presumably from a bulk source, was listed at $2.40 a quart and rounded up to the nearest quart, since actual capacity is four liters (4.23 qt). A set of wiper blades would have run the tab up to $80ish. Then again, I didn’t do any of the actual work.

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Maybe this will turn her on

Hey, it’s worth a try, isn’t it?

iNecklace

Here’s the pitch:

This is a new type of product from Adafruit, creating wearable electronics that are subtle, fun to wear and look classy.

The necklace pendant is CNC machined from the finest 6 series aluminum for durability and beauty. The iNecklace is a remarkable accessory. Machined with a “screw in backing” that allows easy access to the battery using a coin. Each iNecklace pendant contains a circuit board with pulsating LED and battery. The pendant comes strung on a 18″ long sterling silver 1.6mm diamond-cut curb chain that has been treated to inhibit tarnishing. The necklace is placed in a black velveteen box, ready to given as a gift!

And the glow isn’t a fixed quantity, either:

The “pulsing” is similar to the “breathing” LED pattern on many laptop and computer systems. The default pattern is reverse engineered from the Apple “breathing” LED on Macs, MacBooks, iMacs, etc.

Seventy-five bucks for the geek girl you adore. (You do adore a geek girl, don’t you?)

(Swiped from The Mary Sue.)

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Strange search-engine queries (292)

This feature, which collects the daffiest items from the site’s search logs, is scheduled for Monday mornings at a time when there’s nothing worth watching on television — which means, ultimately, that I can put these up any time I want to.

brian wilson hearing mono:  Yes, the Beach Boys’ leader’s hearing shut down many years ago, which was not fun, fun, fun for anyone, and God only knows how things might have turned out if it hadn’t — but wouldn’t it be nice to imagine?

bryn mawr college secret:  No guys. Simple as that.

american spammers that are women:  No girls. Simple as that.

ideas to redo converted garage tongue and groove vaulted ceiling previously painted white:  These days, utility is all the rage. Recall the room’s original function by spritzing the entire ceiling with truck-bed liner.

I have thought about approaching a sexy librarian:  Be careful. Not only is she probably brighter than you, she knows where to find out about the insane things you did after your last breakup.

ugly people unfair:  Actually, “non-fair” is closer to the mark, as yon fair maid at the Reference Desk will point out.

THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD RUN EVERYTHING:  Um, no, it shouldn’t, since it doesn’t have Constitutional authority, and anyway you don’t have to yell, Senator.

will renault return to the us:  Only if they do something absurd like buy Saab.

what will fix my tribute hard shifting?  Write a very large check to the transmission shop. Or try to find a nice new Renault.

Jill Biden nude stiletto heels:  I hate to disappoint you, but it’s the shoes that are considered nude, not Mrs Biden.

when are shorts out of season:  Far as I’m concerned, Jill Biden can wear ‘em any time she wants.

dustbury we got your earworm:  Yeah, right. Like another one won’t come along before the day is over.

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Quote of the week

Jill Filipovic at Feministe, on what seems to be a popular, um, misconception these days:

It turns out that whitening your teeth, dying your hair and using really good anti-wrinkle cream will not in fact extend your fertility. I KNOW. My biology class taught me that if you’re pretty you can have babies forever, so this really blew my mind. Super glad the Times regularly covers the “you think you’re young, ambitious, happy and responsible because you’re waiting until you’re ready to have kids, but you actually have the ovaries of a shriveled old hag so better get to procreating yesterday” beat. Without it, women who are under the impression that they can get pregnant at 86 as long as they look like they might still menstruate would probably never have the chance to be quoted in a reputable news publication.

Dorianne Gray, line two, please.

The only thing I’d criticize here is the characterization of the Times as a “reputable news publication,” though the piece linked therein does contain trace amounts of Actual Reality™, which I attribute to its being placed in Section E, a safe distance from either the front or the editorial page.

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But I know what I like

Several possible lessons can perhaps be derived from this single incident:

As the opening lot of the Deutscher and Hackett auction, a single wad of $20,000 cash — an artwork called Currency — was sold for $17,500. When the 22 per cent buyer’s premium is added, the total cost comes to $21,350.

The artwork? Two stacks of 100 $100 Australian banknotes. The auctioneers had projected a sale price between $15,000 and $25,000.

Artist Denis Beaubois said he had had no idea what to expect from the auction:

“I thought there was a strong chance it would go for below [$20,000] because there’s a lot of suspicion with the work, but it’s also interesting it went for above the financial worth.”

From the purely-mercenary standpoint, the maximum bid would have been $16,393, which would have left the high bidder, after compensating the auctioneers, with a 54-cent profit.

Viewed strictly as an objet d’art, a stack of banknotes is not exactly unique, since it’s essentially indistinguishable from any other stack of banknotes: you could use notes of lower value, thereby making a taller stack, but any other difference, I suspect, is trivial, though Beaubois said that all the serial numbers are recorded to insure authenticity.

What matters most here, though, is this:

The work … [was] brought to life with a $20,000 grant from the Australia Council.

After all, it’s always better to spend Other People’s Money.

(Via Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution.)

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Dodecalogue

Big 12? Big deal:

[M]y truck is older than the Big 12. There is no storied legacy. There are no traditions steeped in years of repetition, no bridges between the eras built when children of the digital age reignite flames first lit by children of the Great War, the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, the Summer of Love, the Disco Era, or even MTV. The lifetime of every single student on a Big 12 campus — barring the odd 6th-grade super-genius or two, and they’re probably at MIT — encompasses the entire history of the Big 12, whether you date from the 1996 start of competition or the official formation announcement in 1994.

Of course, the real issue here is something else entirely:

Meanwhile, at the various dogs all these tails are wagging, tuition rises faster than inflation, classes the size of some small towns are taught by adjuncts for whom English may be a third language or by some bored prof committing death by PowerPoint on a battlefield scale, young adults learn that they can act like animals as long as they commit no sins against diversity, graduates hock diploma frames to pay back student loans and seniors learn that employers don’t much care about uncovering the patriarchy-silenced voices of 13th century Lithuanian quilt makers, because your résumé lists your “previous experence.”

Which, if nothing else, suggests a replacement for one of the defectors: Rice University. The Krispies aren’t exactly a football power, but they are in Division I, and the scholastic average for the league, about which the NCAA claims to care once in a while, would lurch upward overnight.

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You can’t handle the tooth

Donald Douglas looks at an easily-avoidable tragedy:

A tooth extraction is not an expensive dental procedure. Indeed, as the ABC News report indicates, “a routine tooth extraction” costs about $80.00. And while it’s a horribly needless waste of life, it’s no one’s fault but the man’s himself, 24-year-old Kyle Willis, the father of a young girl. Willis decided to ride out the pain. When he was overcome by swelling he checked into the emergency room and the doctors gave him prescriptions for antibiotics and pain medication. Willis, apparently because he was “uninsured,” bought the pain killers and blew off the antibiotics. Big mistake. Rudimentary health knowledge says buy the antibiotics and take some (cheap) generic ibuprofen for the pain and inflammation.

Having had “a routine tooth extraction” earlier this year, after which I was prescribed fourteen amoxicillin (about $6) and twenty Lortab (about $6), I’m inclined to think that the motivation here might have had less to do with saving precious coin of the realm than with obtaining an actual opioid without having to go through, um, nonstandard channels. But then I’m cynical about such things.

And besides, “rudimentary health knowledge,” as imparted by too many schools, consists entirely of “Wear a condom,” which would not have helped poor Mr Willis with this particular plight.

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Other than that, how was the play?

There is one distinct disadvantage to crowdsourced opinion:

Yelp Review of Ford's Theatre in Washington

For some reason, this seems to have taken a long time between visit and post.

(Via FAIL Blog’s WIN!)

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Waterbored

Dick Cheney’s book has landed on Bride of Rove’s Kindle, and she is not what you’d call overly impressed:

His is, quite possibly, the least interesting, least engaging writing style I have ever seen in print. Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t vote for Bush, I voted for Cheney and Rove. I.am.a.fan. But holy hell he’s boring. I have almost made it through the chapters that serve the sole purpose of proving that he was indeed born here on earth to relatively normal parents and that he lived a fairly normal life, managed to finish college even though he flunked out of Yale — because he wanted to flunk out of Yale and not because Yale was too hard for him (heh) — married the Homecoming Queen, managed to reproduce and stuff and not in any romantic way, mind you even though Lynn is a PhD and a great gal, it’s just that she had babies and in some nebulous, undefined way he was involved somehow.

Things apparently level off after that.

Remind me never to write a memoir. (And if I already have, please accept my apologies.)

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Cummings and goings

The archetype of the Cute Smart-Alecky Girl played a major role in my early development, or lack thereof, and now that the Women Are Not Funny attitude has been (mostly) buried, we’re seeing more of them, which suits me just fine.

This is Whitney Cummings, twenty-nine this weekend, who is responsible for two television shows coming out this fall: 2 Broke Girls (CBS), which she and Michael Patrick King created, and Whitney (NBC), which she created for herself. In this picture, she’s promoting the latter for a Canadian network:

Whitney Cummings at a CTV press conference

Oh, and before you ask: She’s fine.

(Photo source.)

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Bright outlook

“Keep your face to the sunshine,” said Helen Keller, “and you cannot see the shadow. It’s what sunflowers do.”

No shadows today at the Sunflower Farmers Market, which opened this past Wednesday in Oklahoma City to what was reported to be just this side of a literal crush of shoppers. Certainly this afternoon they were bunched up tighter than retail asparagus.

It didn’t take too long, however, to see who their regular customers are going to be:

  1. People who resist the tyranny of brand names;
  2. People who like the idea of health-food stores but who want to pick up some BBQ fixin’s on the way;
  3. People who have been waiting all their lives for a Whole Foods and couldn’t wait any longer.

And with an actual Whole Foods opening later this year, it was imperative for Sunflower to strike first. With the local grocery market shifting a bit — Walmart, which has roughly half the volume, is not growing much, while people who wouldn’t be caught dead in a Walmart seem to be on the increase — I’m thinking that Sunflower’s odds are good. To see if their goods are odd, I bought fruit both fresh and dried, an item from the meat department (bone-in ribeye, if you must know), and a no-sugar-added pie from the bakery, on the basis that these might be the items over which the local store would have the most control.

But the most telling story right now is parking. (Store staff are being told to park across 63rd in French Market Mall to preserve customer spaces.) I had unusually good fortune today, in that I had almost no wait time for a space; as I took the first turn, there was a Mini backing up. And I don’t mean one of those pricey BMW-built creatures, either: I’m talking a real live British Morris Mini Minor, presumably not blessed by John Cooper. To the three basic types of Sunflower customers, add “3½. People who were retro long before retro was cool.”

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Post needs fresh wood

With sadness, we note the passing of a role model gone too soon:

Joseph Brendan Cunningham, a veteran New York Post copy editor whose sharp, caustic wit produced some of the paper’s most memorable front-page headlines in recent years, died Thursday of complications following a stroke. He was 43.

He joined the Post in 1997 as a city desk assistant. Before long, he began contributing articles to the paper, then was given a tryout as a copy editor.

Over the years, many of his suggestions for the “wood” — the paper’s celebrated lead headline — found their way onto Page One.

Among them: “Let’s Mecca Deal,” about financial questions surrounding the Ground Zero mosque; “Freakin” Flyer,” about the JetBlue attendant who went berserk at JFK; and “Screw U.,” about a professor caught pimping out girls on the Web.

Cunningham’s most famous headline, “Axis of Weasel,” appeared two days after this ScrappleFace piece.

I am reasonably certain Dawn Eden isn’t looking to get her old job back.

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