Traditional medicine, alternative currency

I have occasionally linked to G. Keith Smith, MD, who runs Surgery Center of Oklahoma, one of the few medical facilities that posts its prices for all to see, mostly because I like to encourage that sort of thing.

I knew that they were basically a cash-only operation, but apparently they’re now accepting bitcoin, and Dr Smith, as always, is unapologetic about it:

What underlies my willingness to accept methods of payment other than traditional methods of payment is my concept of exchange itself. Any exchange deemed to be mutually beneficial naturally tends to occur unless the state intervenes. This natural tendency for the exchange to occur prevails as both parties in a mutually beneficial exchange see themselves better off subsequent to the exchange and desire its occurrence, otherwise, one or both parties wouldn’t want to exchange their goods or services in the first place.

As for one particular objection that could be raised:

For those who say derisively, “…you never know what the value of the bitcoin is going to be from day to day,” I wonder why they don’t think the worst about the dollar’s value, given its history? After all, some 95% of the dollar’s value has been stolen since “managed” by the central bankers, so it seems clear regarding what results from the state “regulation” of any currency.

There’s always a chance that bitcoin will go up. The dollar? Don’t hold your breath.

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Purely as an experiment

I am something of a regular on Sunday night’s #blogchat on Twitter (8 Central; your timezone may vary), and so is Patrick Phillips, who about a month ago put up a post about closing comments after X number of days (in my case, X = 90). He’s against that sort of thing:

Since I know I have readers who’ll go back to get “caught up” with posts I’ve written over the past month or two, and since I intentionally direct them to older posts when the old posts contain relevant content to the new post, I’m against closing comments on old posts.

Here’s the culmination of the discussion we had:

I expected an immediate flood of spam, though it didn’t really start rolling in until Monday morning and the actual volume was only twice as much as usual. Still, if I’d gotten one comment on an old post, I’d have figured it was worth it.

I didn’t. So last night I reinstated the 90-day cutoff.

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Your mother should know

Fast-food joints are not out of ideas yet, but some of their ideas are not so hot:

Even before the first pie is delivered, a jalapeño-heavy pizza with a Mexican slang name has produced chuckles among Spanish speakers in U.S. border states and an advertising ban by broadcasters who say the moniker could get them fined.

The new dish called “La Chingona,” which can be translated most politely as “badass” but also interpreted as a more offensive profanity, has upset some franchise owners of the Pizza Patrón chain who refuse to put it on their menus.

Were I prone to digestive ailments, even “badass” is probably farther than I’d want to go.

National and local Spanish-language radio stations have refused to air the commercials, citing concerns about bad taste and potential fines by the Federal Communications Commission.

Univision Radio, the largest U.S. Hispanic radio network, said it will not run the ads because the name of the pizza is considered a profanity and violates FCC regulations.

Then again, this little teapot-scale tempest probably makes up for a whole lot of busted ad buys.

(Via Consumerist.)

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Back to the Front Range with thee

After a 41-24 first quarter, you might be forgiven if your mind wandered elsewhere, say, to “How is it that the 76ers have lost 24 in a row and still aren’t last in the league?” (The answer, of course, is that they were 15-31 when the streak began, not what anyone would call great, but not appreciably worse, percentage-wise, than the current Lakers.) Anyway, it was 72-58 at the half, and presumably at some point during the halftime show some mischievous imp nailed a lid on each rim: third quarter was OKC 18, Denver 15. Now how do you get 41 points in the first quarter and only 18 in the third? Don’t worry about it. The Thunder regained some mojo in the fourth quarter, and dispatched the depleted (and debatably demoralized) Denverites 117-96, taking the season series 3-1.

There was one thing the Nuggets did superbly well: accumulate free throws. This was accomplished by, well, drawing a lot of fouls from the Thunder: Andre Roberson had six (again), Derek Fisher and Nick Collison five each, Caron Butler and Steven Adams four. Denver took 40 shots from the stripe. And if they’d made more than 27 of them — but let’s not go there. What’s more, all five Denver starters hit double figures, though four of them were clustered at 11 and 12. Ty Lawson had 25, including 13-16 on free throws. For a forced nine-man rotation — that’s all he had, injuries having mounted in recent weeks — you have to figure that Brian Shaw did just about everything he could.

This was a Restbrook evening, so Reggie Jackson started at the point, and ran up 16 points and a career-high 11 assists. Kevin Durant, who exited after a mere 31 minutes — nobody from OKC played more than 33 or so — departed with 27 points in hand. Sidelights: Adams, playing more than usual due to the absence of Hasheem Thabeet, had six of the Thunder’s 13 steals; Jeremy Lamb got twenty minutes and two points. (Butler, widely seen as the reason why Lamb gets so few minutes, played 29 minutes and scored 23.) And any day Collison gets a trey is all right with me.

Tomorrow night in Dallas, presumably with Westbrook back and everyone reasonably well rested. Oh, and the Sixers lost again — this time to San Antonio, which means the Spurs stay two games ahead of the Thunder in the West. Philadelphia remains a game and a half in front of the Bucks.

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Almost wasp-y

Rihanna generally looks pretty darn good in Chanel, or indeed in almost anything, but I kept looking at this and going “Girl, what is the matter with your waistline?”

Rihanna in Chanel 2014

The answer, of course, is nothing. This is something Karl Lagerfeld pulled out of his magic hat for the Fall/Winter 2014-15 collection, and it’s all optical illusion: crop top and skirt fit rather loosely, and there’s a mild control panel around the midriff, to create the illusion of wasp-waistedness without having to hit the Industrial aisle at Corsets R Us.

Not everyone finds this appealing, however: neo-neocon says it looks like a lampshade.

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This is truly high weirdness. Alison Gold, you may remember — I’ve covered both “Chinese Food” and “ABCDEFG” — is a singer from Southern California who seems to have been the best chance so far for producer Patrice Wilson to create the same kind of buzz he did with “Friday” (yes, that “Friday”) in 2011.

The April Playboy has a half-page interview with Wilson, titled “Video Savant,” which opens with a description of Gold’s most recent video, “Shush Up”:

[It] begins with the pre-teen singer covered in gold glitter and wearing a gold lamé top and tiny shorts. She plays both a prison warden and a convict executed by electric chair before evaporating into a gold rain that falls on a dancing crowd as she shouts, “Crank it or just shush up” over a clubby house beat.

Was this “the most offensive music video of all time”? It’s been taken down from Wilson’s YouTube channel, though I found a copy on Vimeo, and it’s pretty dire. Attached to the Vimeo copy I found this:

[B]y God, it is truly the worst thing I have ever seen in my humble 20 years on this planet. Any hope I had for the redemption of whatever we’re calling the generation after gen Y was obliterated when I saw this video.

Oh, incidentally, the Playboy article notes that Wilson’s price for his prefab tune/video combo is now $6500.

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Manger contains 1 dog

“I can’t use it, but I don’t want anyone else to use it either”:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: My Domain name is expiring in 3 days, what should i do?

The scoop:

In 3 days my domain name will be expiring but i dont want to renew it as it costs too much. Any ideas what i can do with my domain name ? i dont want it to let it expire. As i cant sell it in 2days, if you have any ideas please tell me, if quick selling idea you have, then tell me. It is .me domain, but it is very good domain name (a top level)

About one out of every umpteen bazillion domains has a resale value higher than the cost of the original registration. Evidently this character thinks it’s worth more than that, but he says he can’t pony up for the renewal fee. (WordPress offers domains for something like $25 a year, so I’m betting this is not some enormous sum.) Cue the world’s smallest violin.

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Strange search-engine queries (425)

What’s that, friend? You say your bracket is busted and there’s no reason to go on? Allow me to show you this week’s wacky search strings. They won’t make you a million dollars or anything, but hey, it’s Monday; if they get even the most feeble grin out of you, they’ve done their job, and mine.

aux transmission cooler on ford escape 6 speed automatic:  Usually the time to shop for those is before you have an overheating problem.

what in a cd4e will cause it not to come out of first gear:  Any number of things. Has it been overheating?

passeys bronze horse statue stolen in benson:  What, did Iron Man ride it away or something?

how hard is it to rebuild gf4a-el:  You know, there’s a reason they charge you $2000 for that sort of thing.

maggie mayhem data base:  With a name like Maggie Mayhem, I suggest that not a whole lot of data is necessary.

pet sounds album which two songs are instrumental without vocals?  Actually, all the songs without vocals are instrumental. (But just for the record, “Pet Sounds” and “Let’s Go Away For Awhile.”)

which is the number one cylinder on a 1992 Mazda 626 with a 2.2:  Perhaps surprisingly, the first one.

in colorado does the property ownier have a right to have the interior easement surveyed if neighbor wants to use it:  I’m trying to imagine a situation in which a property owner would not have a right to have an easement surveyed.

sluts email:  Sluts don’t have time for email. They’re busy being slutty.

fuse for overdrive 1996 mercury mystique:  “Please, Lord, please, please, let it be a two-dollar fuse and not a thousand-dollar solenoid block!” And the Lord looked down, and saith: “Hey, I didn’t build this thing. Call Ford.”

what is opposite of nondescript?  Kerry Washington.

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This thing blows

A trial attorney in Texas gets an ignition interlock installed in her car as a test, and guess what? It works pretty much as advertised. I can’t persuade the video to embed here, so you get to watch it there.

Disclosures: Jamie Balagia, whose law offices produced this experiment, is a first cousin to me; he is a candidate for Attorney General of Texas, running as a Libertarian. (LP Texas convention is in April; Mr Balagia has one opponent.) The incumbent AG, Greg Abbott, a Republican, is vacating the position to run for Governor.

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Somewhere unintended

I had no idea I was even heading in this direction; I’m as surprised as you are. Maybe more so.

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Fark blurb of the week

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Meters unread

I’m going with the notion that no other explanation is needed:

Everywhere I’ve lived, paying the power bill was a relatively simple affair. You get a bill that included the amount of power you used in the previous month with a per-kilowatt charge and some basic flat monthly fee.

Here, however, they do not read the power meter every month. Instead, it’s every other month with some sort of estimate. These estimates tend to be wildly, wildly off. The end result of which is that our power bill ranges from one month to the next wildly. By a factor of two, in the most recent case. From $169 to $345. In this case, the estimate for February was low but in fact, the usage was abnormally high due to the weather. The end result was a low bill followed by a large bill.

Hmmm. Is this a private utility company, or a municipal power plant?

If they can’t actually send somebody to read the meter every month, they could do a lot worse than just saying $210 every month. Theoretically, they should have access to data that can more accurately guess how much we’re actually using. I assume that every month they’re reading houses, it’s just that they can only read half of them in any given month.

This is one of the better arguments for the so-called smart meter, which presumably can report in with its own reading when called upon. Both the electric and gas companies have installed them on my connections; I don’t think the city has, but then I haven’t opened up the meter, buried in the front yard, since about three plumbing repairs ago.

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Now I’ve heard everything

After yesterday’s errands, I retrieved the little Rockbox-equipped Sansa music player from the car, and noticed across the display screen: “4964 of 4979.” Evidently over the preceding weeks I’d gone through the entire playlist, except for 15 songs.

Which, of course, raised a question: “What happens after the playlist runs out?” I strapped on a headset and let the machine run for the next hour. The last five:

  • 4975: The Sound-Offs, “The Angry Desert”
  • 4976: Johnnie Taylor, “Who’s Making Love”
  • 4977: Jon and Robin and the In-Crowd, “Do It Again (A Little Bit Slower)”
  • 4978: Dion, “Abraham, Martin and John”
  • 4979: Smash Mouth, “Walkin’ on the Sun”

As that last song started, the “Next:” callout was ominously blank.

And then it reset to the top of the Main Menu, awaiting further instructions. (Pressing “Resume Playback” was met with “Nothing to resume”.) This was, I decided, the ideal time to rework the playlist. (Basically, I replaced a couple of tracks with better-quality versions.)

To restart was a simple (eventually) matter of going to Files/Playlists and clicking on whatever playlist was named. First song out of the box was “We Belong Together” by Robert and Johnny; I ordered a reshuffle starting at #2, just because.

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Wire is hell

Everything you always wanted to know about cable companies (and perhaps already suspected), by Roberta X:

Cable companies around here are egregious clods, who I would not let run a wire into my house if money came out it and won’t sell you the ‘net unless you sign up for cabledammiteevee, too, and on that there are really only three things: the local stations you can get over the air for free, on-demand stuff my Roku/Amazon combo delivers at least as well, and crap Hitler/Alien/Mermaids/Seance channels that used to run science and history programs but gave up after realizing rehashed tripe, cold readings and program-length commercials for claptrap and quackery made at least as much money if not more and cost less to produce. (The kicker for me was the leaked memo from one of the historical channels, exhorting producers for “less gray hair” in their choice of experts. Yeah, done.)

I’m down to two things myself — Thunder basketball and My Little Pony — but I know the feeling.

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Though Minitel is not coming back

Fleur Pellerin has the clunky title “Minister Delegate with responsibility for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Innovation and the Digital Economy” in the François Hollande cabinet. In that capacity:

“I would like to make France one of the top nations in terms of digital innovation,” Ms. Pellerin said during a recent interview in her office at the Finance Ministry, which juts out over the Seine in eastern Paris like a giant, modern version of a medieval river toll barrier. “If we don’t act in the next few years it will be too late.”

Pellerin, born and abandoned on the streets of Seoul in 1973, then adopted by a French family, is completing her second year in office.

Fleur Pellerin going to work

Minitel, which began operations in 1978, was a French videotex service that did a lot of things we think of as purely Web-based; it finally expired in 2012.

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Just below bronze

Insurance Commissioner John Doak’s Friday announcement, complete with vaguely petulant grumble:

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak announced Friday that health insurers may continue to renew policies not meeting Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements through 2016.

“The continued twists and turns related to Obamacare confuses consumers and frustrates businesses,” said Doak. “The extension is not a universal remedy for concerns about access and affordability. This change won’t prevent price increases, nor will it ensure that provider networks will stay the same for the next two years. We have decided to leave the renewal decision up to the insurers because of the difficulty they face in trying to adapt to these constantly changing market rules, which I’m sure we haven’t seen the end of.”

Not before January 2017, anyway.

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