Check out that back wall

Just in case you thought Susan Richards (née Storm) was the only invisible female in the city of New York:

To assist me at the exam I had to select two Proctors; one of them was with me today. Not very diligent, as it turned out, didn’t read the Manual thoroughly as instructed, etc — but he’s a tall and imposing guy, and quite an extravert (works in PR). The exam location was in a big hotel; after today’s portion, when candidates left, hotel technician walks in to talk about audio equipment we need for tomorrow; in his hands he holds an invoice that lists me as a contact person — nevertheless, he addresses strictly and directly my Proctor. Several times I interjected a sentence in their dialog, trying to make him understand that C. is not the person to discuss it — but he ignored me completely!

Apparently he’s not prepared to deal with the notion that the woman might be the one in charge:

I’m standing right in front of the guy, look him in the eye, saying something about the timing of the equipment delivery — he listens — and then turns 90deg. towards a man and directs his answer to him!

And I thought I was an atavistic throwback to pre-Medieval times.

Now: would the technician have behaved differently had the proctor been not so “tall and imposing”?

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Quote of the week

The question comes from Human Events: “Do you think the member of Congress that serves your district is doing a better job than Congress as a whole?”

Jimmy Paul Lankford? Well, he has the advantage of not being Maxine Waters, but he’s hardly unique in that respect.

But Tam, as she often does, says it best:

[I]f there’s a lower bar than “better job than Congress as a whole”, it’s currently being used at a paramecium limbo contest. My previous representative was Andre Carson who, while a genial enough dude, I wouldn’t trust with a burnt-out match without adult supervision. His sole redeeming quality as a government official was that I got to vote against him with savage glee every two years.

A “paramecium limbo contest.” I am awed. (“How low can you go?” asked jesting Chubby.)

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Which stream can I take?

I continue to fool around with iTunes Radio, and at some point this week I got the idea of putting together a custom station, just to see what I’d get. So I scrolled through the song list, pushed the appropriate buttons, and voilà!

Thus was born Friday Radio, which began its operation, not actually with “Friday,” but with the second Rebecca Black single, “My Moment.” As expected, there’s a heck of a lot of teen pop, and since much of it is vended by Disney, there’s a heck of a lot of Disney-related material coming down the stream.

Here’s the first batch of tunes served up by Friday Radio:

  • Rebecca Black — My Moment
  • Meaghan Jette Martin — Too Cool
  • China Anne McClain — Calling All the Monsters
  • Aaron Carter — I Want Candy
  • Demi Lovato — Can’t Back Down
  • Bridgit Mendler — Turn the Music Up
  • Hannah Montana — Ice Cream Freeze (Let’s Chill)
  • The Chipettes — Hot N Cold (Katy Perry cover)
  • Keke Palmer — Bottoms Up
  • Tim James & Nevermind — Twist My Hips
  • Hannah Montana — I’m Still Good
  • Greyson Chance — Unfriend You
  • Meaghan Jette Martin — 2 Stars
  • Keke Palmer — It’s My Turn Now
  • Nick Jonas — Introducing Me
  • Jonas Bros. & China Anne McClain — Your Biggest Fan

Some observations:

Miley Cyrus was a lot easier to listen to when she was Hannah Montana.

Greyson Chance is that kid from Edmond who became a YouTube star by warbling a cover of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi”; he’s working on his third album.

Yes, the Chipettes are the Rule 63 version of the Chipmunks.

And viewed, or listened to, on its own terms, some of this stuff isn’t half bad.

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Kind of lachrymose

Earlier this week, you might have seen the #3 finalist from this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, and it occurred to me that you might actually be interested in Number One.

With that in mind, here’s Emmelie de Forest, twenty, who represented Denmark in 2013:

Emmelie de Forest

And here’s the song, “Only Teardrops”:

About six years ago, she briefly teamed up with folk musician Fraser Neill, who had relocated from Scotland to Denmark in search of better gigs: they recorded an album together, which, says Neill, sold about 100 copies.

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Already settled

I don’t know whether to chortle in my Schadenfreude or cry in my beer [warning: autostart video]:

[A] study conducted by Siemens Festival Nights found that as many as 73 percent of people surveyed say they are “making do” in their relationship because their true love got away.

“The ‘making do’ part is sad, in the sense of, we’re not really tapped into, ‘Why are we in this, what are we looking for long term, and what do I really desire?'” said relationship expert Kavita Patel.

Patel said people settle for many reasons from fear of being alone to wanting security and comfort with another person — anyone.

“Well, it’s better to be with somebody than nobody — I think that comes up for people,” Patel said.

What’s worse, 17 percent of respondents said they met their soul mates when it was too late — after they were already paired off or married.

That any-port-in-a-storm business holds true, I think, only if there’s an actual storm; turning a certain age [nsfw audio], for instance, is not necessarily sufficiently scary.

And besides, this is buried at the bottom of the story:

The study, of 2,000 people in London, also found that 75 percent of adults say their definition of love changes as they get older.

Well, no flipping wonder you’re dissatisfied.

(Via Fark.)

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A plank needs walking

A dubious phone call came in the other day; I ignored it on the basis of sheer dubiousness. (“Dubiosity”?) Someone a little more enterprising than I picked it up:

I didn’t answer but this comes up online as the FAX number for Atlantic monthly. We did get a another call a few days ago, claiming to be the billing dept. for Atlantic Monthly. I told her I did not buy this magazine (although I did have a subscription several years ago). She tried to get my credit card info but hung up on me when I insisted I did not purchase this magazine. Now, I get this call that shows up as a telephone number for Atlantic Monthly on the caller ID, but in reality, is a FAX number for that Magazine company…strange. I think this is a scam, posing as the magazine and somehow, they were able to show the FAX number on the caller ID.

The Atlantic informs me that it is indeed a scam:

[I]t has come to our attention that some of our subscribers have received phone calls from people posing as staff members of The Atlantic seeking subscribers’ billing information.

These individuals are not employed by The Atlantic and were not authorized to call subscribers on the magazine’s behalf. The Atlantic does not request subscribers’ billing information over the phone. If you receive such a phone call, please use ordinary caution and do not provide financial information in response.

We take financial security very seriously and do not have reason to believe any sensitive personal information has been exposed. If you suspect that you have received a fraudulent telephone call or subscription notice regarding The Atlantic subscription, please [email link] report the incident and confirm your subscription status with Subscriber Services.

Caller ID indeed says “Atlantic Media.” Yet another spoofer. And we’re going to keep seeing these until some of these people are actually dumped into the ocean. (Which ocean, I don’t care, as long as they’re a hell of a long way offshore.)

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Another politician in the making

Get a whiff of this:

Screenshot from Yahoo Answers: How long do I have after a Kickstarter project is funded to pay?

“When the project reaches its funding deadline,” says the FAQ. In my experience, if the funding period closes at 12 midnight, they will have tapped your funding source no later than 12:02 am.

But to continue:

Currently, I’m backing a few projects with money I won’t have til my next paycheck. Unfortunately, I get my paycheck two days after these projects end.

I’m just curious, how long do I have before I am no longer allowed to fund a project afterwards?

What’s wrong with this picture?

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Preservation of groove

Styli (“needles”) scrape. Lasers tend to generate heat. Another approach:

Incidentally, “scrape” is the kindliest word I could think of: a decent elliptical-stylus phono cartridge with a vertical tracking force of 1 gram exerts pressure on the record to the tune of 30,000 to 69,000 lb per square inch.

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You can own Ron Paul’s ‘Vette

It doesn’t, alas, come with a whole lot of freedom of movement, at least on the inside:

Former Congressman and presidential hopeful Ron Paul is holding an auction for his 1979 Chevrolet Chevette to benefit his non-profit Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

The otherwise-unremarkable econobox has just under 70,000 miles and comes with some history attached:

[T]his little Chevette is a part of congressional history. Paul bought it during his first term as a U.S. representative. That same year, then-Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill was advocating gasoline rationing while being chauffeured in a large Lincoln. According to Paul, [a] “cheeky photo” comparing his compact car and O’Neill’s massive Lincoln caused a blow-up between himself and O’Neill.

Ah, Tip. After the last couple of Speakers, I kinda miss the guy.

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For certain values of “no one”

Mashable has something up called “This Is Why No One Follows You on Twitter,” which gives ten possible reasons why no one follows you on Twitter. Last I looked, I had about 820 followers, which isn’t Bieberesque or anything, but it isn’t exactly “no one” either.

So what are we doing wrong? This item certainly does not apply:

4. Your following ratio is disproportionate.

It’s understandable — and expected — that you’ll follow more accounts than are following you, but a large disparity in these numbers makes your profile look suspicious.

I follow about 650. Go figure.

Then there’s this:

8. Robots craft your tweets.

If your recent tweets look like they were automatically generated, people aren’t going to follow you.

What people want on Twitter is to hear your genuine voice, in real time. They don’t want lofty quotes that you’ve scheduled to go live at strategic periods, stats from your latest workout or what your “top stories” are via a third-party curation service.

Well, I admit to about five auto-tweets a day — this post generated one, as does every post — but I also admit to twenty that are produced live.

Still: twenty-five tweets a day?

6. You tweet too much.

Twitter went live mid-2006. If you joined the microblogging site at launch and tweeted three times a day every day since then, you would have penned around 8,000 tweets.

Which was about 39,600 tweets ago.

(Via Donna Serdula, who has twelve thousand followers.)

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Addressing a Wang deficiency

This is, as the phrase goes, coming soon:

New album by Yuja Wang

Two of my favorite old warhorses.

And inevitably, after looking at the name of the orchestra, I am reminded of a Kinky Friedman observation: “Simón Bolívar is the only person in history to be exiled from a country named after him.”

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Funny business

The latest thing for “daily” newspapers is to deliver only three or four days a week, leaving you to find a newsstand the other four or three days, or to say “Screw it” and go to their Web site. The second option apparently has little to recommend it:

No paper this morning, so I thought I would try their online version. Jumble is no problem, I’ve used it before, but the comics page sucks. They have a list of several dozen comics, but if you want to actually see the comic, you have to follow the link and the pages take forever to load. Even after the page loads you still aren’t there, you have to scroll down to see the funny, which generally isn’t. There are a whole bunch of comics listed that weren’t on the comics page, but this business of having to click, wait, and scroll to see each one is a pain.

Not having been afflicted with this particular problem myself — the Oklahoman still throws seven days a week, and six out of seven actually land on my driveway — I hadn’t looked at the local online comic offering, which is said to have “nearly 65 comics.” As it happens, NewsOK.com has no obvious link to said online comic offering, so I had to go back to the actual paper to find the link, which turns out to be under the A&E heading. The pull-down list runs from The Amazing Spider-Man to Zits, as who wouldn’t? (Oh, and 9 to 5, which sorts before Spidey for, I suppose, ASCII-related reasons.) I admit to not expecting Rhymes with Orange or Bleeker the Rechargeable Dog.

And there are links to strips that the syndicator presumably wouldn’t allow them to host locally, even though they’re in the print version (for instance, B.C.) or strips they wouldn’t carry if their lives depended on it (for instance, Doonesbury).

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The Dismal Science is settled

Marcel tells one I hadn’t heard before:

An engineer and an economist were out walking and came to a narrow part of the road. The economist stepped forward, and the engineer walked on behind him. Suddenly the engineer spied a twenty dollar bill on the ground, and immediately bent down and took it.

“Didn’t you see that twenty?” he asked his companion. “Oh I saw it,” said the economist. “But I reasoned that if it were really there someone would already [have] picked it up.”

[insert “opportunity cost” reference here]

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Hyundai still has your back

Hyundai’s Assurance plan, which goes back several years, cuts installment buyers some slack during Hard Times. And they’ve now opened it up to include furloughed Federal workers during the current, um, financial unpleasantness:

Hyundai Motor America [1 October] announces the latest addition to its Assurance program with the launch of a new payment deferral program aimed at helping federal employees furloughed during the government shutdown. Under the plan, Hyundai will defer all auto loan and lease payments during the shutdown for current Hyundai owners who are furloughed.

“We recognize the impact on family budgets that the furlough will drive,” said John Krafcik, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America. “Like we did almost four years ago when we launched Hyundai Assurance, this is our way of saying ‘We’ve got your back’ during this uncertain time.”

Current owners in the Hyundai family will be provided relief from payments for as long as they are out of work. Furloughed employees who wish to buy a car in October will be offered a 90-day payment deferral.

Presumably the balance due will accrue interest during the deferral period, but this is still a seriously grand gesture.

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Marginal political content

The following rantlet was found in the spam vault last night:

McCain has gone off the deep end! Must be drinking the same crap Al Gore does. If he’s looking for a traitor all he has to do is look in the mirror!

I might have let it onto the site, had it not been for the following minor details:

So long, suckah.

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The parasites change course

It certainly seemed so, and now a study confirms it:

As email clients get better at detecting and filtering spam, spammers are moving to social networks, where they have better chances of going undetected. That’s why, on a typical social media account, spam has risen 355% in the first half of 2013, according to a new study.

Spam is spreading on social networks so much that 1 in 200 social media posts is spam, and 5% of all social media apps are spammy (meaning they promise a potentially useful service and then send spam updates instead). These are some of the numbers revealed by Nexgate’s State of Social Media Spam Report [pdf], which was released last week.

About one in every 60 or so items dropped into my Twitter Mentions turns out to be spam. Sometimes I report them; about half the time, Twitter responds to the effect that the user no longer exists, which means that someone else has filed a report already. And I see one or two spams a week on Facebook fan pages, only a few of which I actually read.

(Via Consumerist.)

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