Endless summer

You may have seen this in my tweetstream yesterday:

Actually, I can remember a September that started out worse than this one, and that was September 2000:

First: One hundred six! (Forty-one Celsius; it doesn’t help.) And it’s supposed to get warmer over the weekend. Water pressure isn’t suffering — yet.

Second: I quit counting at 108; if it got any warmer than that, I don’t want to know about it. [It didn’t.]

Third: What kind of bizarre recipe is Mother Nature following here? “Preheat to 100-plus, then bake for weeks at a time.” I suppose we should be grateful we aren’t being marinated. Meanwhile, all the moisture we’re supposed to be getting is falling on people who are already sick of it.

Fourth: The temperature dipped to a frosty 106 today, and there were actual signs of rain scattered around the eastern fringes, but nothing close to the Big Town. The worst, at least, seems to be over — until, of course, we start importing air from Canada’s Northwest Territories, which will start some time in the next sixty days.

Fifth: The temperature today inexplicably failed to make it into the triple digits today, and may fail to do so again tomorrow.

Sixth: As the weather shifts back into a more normal sort of pattern — it now feels like August in Oklahoma instead of July in Senegal — I can now concentrate on all the other things that annoy me no end.

No weather-related entry on the seventh.

And I was perhaps being unfair to Senegal, whose interior is the blast furnace; the coast, where most of the population lives, tends to be merely warm and rather moist in July. For comparison, the Tambacounda region, in eastern Senegal, once posted a high of 129°F.

For the record, there was no rain in Oklahoma City in September 2000 until the 22nd: 1.73 inches fell over the next two days. Daily highs: 22nd, 96; 23rd, 80; 24th, 56. Thank you, Canada. Said I on the 25th: “Life on the Lone Prairie has its drawbacks, especially if you have some notion that climate ought to be comfy.”

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A view from the horizontal

The title of this new blog minces no words: “Paraplegia Sucks.”

Just the one post for now, but it’s scary enough.

Update: A second post has arrived.

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Peremptory Claus

Fercryingoutloud, we only just got through with Labor Day, and already we got Christmas on the radio?

Clear Channel’s 100.9 K265CA Albuquerque is now “Santa 100.9” via 104.1 KTEG-HD2 Santa Fe. The translator recently completed its upgrade to 250 watts from Sandia Peak giving it a signal comparable to a Class A FM.

Stunting, perhaps? Probably not:

Normally we’d expect a Christmas microformat this early in the season to likely be a short-term deal, however when you add translators to what is already a market with more signals than normal we can easily see Clear Channel going for the publicity it will get by starting Christmas music before the Fall book even begins.

To which I have now contributed. I hereby denounce myself.

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Continuing education

For the last couple of years, Rebecca Black had been homeschooled. Not this year, though: she let it be known in this thread that she was back in a formal classroom, as a presumably ordinary high-school junior. (And that’s a nice pair of Chucks.)

Also, she got an impromptu voice lesson:

Which did, I admit, make me chuckle.

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They deliver

Miriam is happy to defend the Postal Service — they come to her house, after all — and suggests other targets for your anti-government wrath:

If you want to get rid of a government agency, here are a few suggestions: the IRS, the Education Department, the State Department — I could think of more if I had the time. How far would you carry a letter for 50 cents? Or even a dollar? Not bloody far, I’ll bet.

Perhaps we should ask the Canadians. Says Wikipedia:

In terms of area serviced, Canada Post delivers to a larger area than the postal service of any other nation, including Russia (where service in Siberia is limited largely to communities along the railway).

But they charge, for the moment, 63 cents for a letter up to 30g. And God only knows how much of an “emergency” increase the USPS wants.

Personally, I’d be fine with a buck: not only would it not raise my expenses too awfully much, but it would absolutely ruin AARP, which sends me crap just about every other week now. (Yes, I am that spiteful.)

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Why bring this up?

Morgan Freeberg has a neologism for us:

A regurgication is an education dealing entirely with either muscle-memory, memorized verbiage, memorized glossary entries, foreign language accents, or anything else that is entirely separated from command of the topical concepts. Accomplished scholars who have fulfilled all the requirements of their regurgication will be able to reliably pass entrance exams, questionnaires and interviews, so long as none of these challenges demand too much by way of what’s called “thinking on your feet.” But they won’t be able to detect contradictions in the material, nor will they be able to respond intelligently to someone else who has found such a contradiction.

Some things, of course, you have to memorize: think “multiplication tables.” (You can’t assume we’ll always have calculators handy.) But if I’ve escaped this particular form of miseducation, it’s simply because I have had the useful combination of decent recall and the ability to reword stuff more or less on the fly.

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And watch where you walk

This is just about wide enough for a spite fence:

Two Wall Street financiers locked horns and bid each other up in a face-to-face auction for an overgrown 1,885-foot-long strip of land, just 1 foot wide, running through the dunes to the sea, a local official on Long Island said Thursday.

The winning bid was $120,000.

Which is a bit over $2.7 million per acre, a ton of money even in the Hamptons. This is the part that gets me, though:

[T]he strip of land in Napeague, in East Hampton, had been acquired ten years ago by the county for non-payment of taxes by the owner.

The county decided to sell it off for just $10 and offered it to the owners of six adjoining properties. Four did not respond.

And the other two got into a bidding war. Sheesh.

I am forced to conclude that the winner, an investment banker, owns the distribution rights to pre-sliced, rustproof, easy to handle, low calorie Simpson’s Individual Emperor Stringettes, free from artificial coloring, as used in hospitals.

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man.)

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Surely this can’t be a feature

This is what happens when you reply to a tweet with a #reallylonghashtag with the New, Improved TweetDeck:

Screen shot from TweetDeck

Stop it from quoting the whole hashtag, you say? As if.

Project: Rollback begins this evening.

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A template in the wild

If you’ve ever wondered if maybe all the comment spam in the world is derived from a single template — well, this doesn’t prove anything, but it’s awfully curious. And it’s below the jump because it’s very, very (3000 words) long:

Read the rest of this entry »

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What the cat dragged in

Hello Kitty beerThat fruity-looking stuff in the can is, in fact, Hello Kitty beer, brewed in Taiwan and sold in China:

The Hello Kitty brew, licensed by the Shanghai KT trading company and made by Taiwanese beer maker Long Chuan, comes in at least six tropical flavors, from passion fruit to banana… the beers are only 2.3 percent alcohol by volume.

Two point three? That’s near near-beer.

Says Kotaku in a review:

[T]hese beers are dangerous. They’re so ridiculously smooth and tasty that one can barely tell they’re drinking beer. It’s almost like drinking fruit juice.

The guy in the corner nursing a Mike’s Hard Lemonade is laughing his face off.

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Call your own privates

My little call-interception device has logged several fresh numbers with the dubious notation “PRIVATE CALL.” This is not new, of course; it just means that a new boiler room full of grit-eating, scum-sucking, pencil neck geeks has sprung up. Most of the ones I’ve been getting, for some reason, have had Los Angeles (213) numbers affixed.

Technically, this is not Caller ID spoofing, unless the actual numbers are faked. And there are, theoretically anyway, reasons why this sort of thing should not be discouraged:

On my phone, the caller id turns up a “Private Call” using this method [*67]. Seems like a smart way to keep your number to yourself when you want to avoid making it known to the world. Of course, this is probably also the pervy stalkers single greatest weapon. Please use only for good.

And if you’re calling me with it, be advised that you’re wasting your time: I reject all such calls out of hand.

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I’ve seen enough hen tie

So apparently what happened was this: Marisa wrote up an article about Oklahomans’ search choices with SafeSearch turned off, and Patrick, for perfectly valid reasons, did the search-and-replace on some of the more questionable words.

Which, of course, made those suddenly less-questionable words look more questionable. For instance:

[W]hile we spend a lot of time in Oklahoma celebrating all the lists we end up on, this one is truly special. We have some of the longest visit durations to corn sites in the United States. That’s way better than being told how fat we are, right?

I’ll never be able to look high-fructose corn syrup in the eye, ever again.

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Flat wonderful?

Ann Althouse just bought a pair of these, and she’s quite pleased with them:

KEEN Sienna Mary Jane

This is Sienna, a sweet little Mary Jane by KEEN, in a color called “Gargoyle.” (Also available in tortoise-shell and black.)

What Althouse had to say about them:

I was able to walk out of the shoe store in the new shoes, walk a mile, ride a bike for 2 miles, and walk another mile — in brand new shoes — and arrive home without my feet hurting…

Then again, she probably wouldn’t have done that had she not broken a shoe — right outside a shoe store.

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Fark blurb of the week

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Code revealed

After about seventeen point something years of writing this screwy HTML junk, I’m almost out of practice on proper word processors. Which is just as well, since proper word processors blow chunks:

Word processors are aggravating as hell. They never get it right. You tell them to do something and they get it wrong. You tell them to do something the same way twice in a row and you get two different results. The rituals required to get ANY results are arcane and inconsistent. Asking for consistency is asking for the blood to go back in the moon. The documentation sucks. For example: In Open Office (version 4) — TRY to find a list of what all the special characters mean. Just TRY.

You already know what I think of OpenOffice 4.

I wonder if I can get this old version (5.1, 6 November 1989) of WordPerfect to load up.

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Persons of greater dedication

Compared to me, that could mean almost anyone, actually, but especially her:

Around 10 PM, I finished another short story. Which meant over Labor Day Weekend, I managed to rack up 32k words of fiction. So, I surpassed my goal of 30k for my unofficial participation in the 3-Day Novel Contest. I’m actually less impressed with the word count and more impressed that I actually finished two stories in three days. I think that has to be a record somewhere.

Over the same three days I came up with 696 words of actual fiction, and threw away about 100 more. I was hoping to have the story in question finished by late July, but now I’m thinking it will drag on into 2014.

Jealous? No, not really. Just measuring one of the vectors in between potential and productivity.

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