Fake tolls for thee

Something claiming to be from E-ZPass — it wasn’t, of course — sent along this phishy business:

Dear customer,
You have not paid for driving on a toll road. This invoice is sent repeatedly,
please service your debt in the shortest possible time.
The invoice can be downloaded

Hey, service this, pal.

The link (under “here”) goes to a .eu domain with a long Teutonic name out of a wp-content directory, which practically screams Malware!

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Standard issue

You can probably find a paragraph like this in almost any magazine on the stand:

Manuscripts, photographs, artwork, and other materials submitted must be accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

Although I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting to see it in Wired (August 2014 aka 22.08). Then again, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 102-page issue of Wired before, either. (Remember when it was this thick? No more.)

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The operative word is “funny”

The Daily Show’s bio of correspondent Jessica Williams:

Jessica Williams is an actress, writer, and all-around funny lady from Los Angeles, California. She credits her ability to be hilarious on her very large funny bone. No really, she has been six feet tall since she was in middle school. At first she was awkward and super weird. Then she became funny and still super weird.

They say “super weird” like it’s a bad thing.

She started on The Daily Show in 2012, reporting from the Republican primary in South Carolina, which gave her the perfect excuse to show up to the Comedy Awards:

Jessica Williams at the 2012 Comedy Awards

I do love that dress. (And I wonder how hard it was to find the shoes, since she admits to a size 11.) She turns 25 on Wednesday.

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The rest is cat videos

“It is estimated most human beings use only 10 percent of the brain’s capacity,” intones Morgan Freeman’s character, a neuroscientist in Luc Besson’s film Lucy. (Characters played by Morgan Freeman always intone. That’s why they hire him in the first place: Morgan Freeman intones better than anyone else.) “Imagine if we could access 100 percent.”

This is, says Christian Jarrett, author of Great Myths of the Brain (Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley-Blackwell, 2014), complete and utter balderdash:

Certainly there is no truth to the idea that we only use 10 percent of our neural matter. Modern brain scans show activity coursing through the entire organ, even when we’re resting. Minor brain damage can have devastating effects — not what you’d expect if we had 90 percent spare capacity. Also, consider the situation when neural tissue representing a limb is rendered redundant by the loss of that limb. Very quickly, neighbouring areas recruit that tissue into new functions, for example to represent other body regions. This shows how readily the brain utilises all available neural tissue.

On the other hand, I think you could make a good case that the act of voting uses only 10 percent of the brain’s capacity, based simply upon the results of recent elections.

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You hate me, you really hate me

Even a mere downturned thumb gives me a reaction something like this:

The beauty of the world is that we all have different personalities and tastes. It’s what makes us different, interesting. It’s what sets us apart from each other.

So why, then, does a bad review affect me like it does? I should appreciate the review for what it is, learn from it, grow from it, become a better person because of it. Instead, I take it to heart and then I go through what I like to call the “Five Phases of Bad Reviews”.

The influence of Kübler-Ross, I suspect: if it makes you feel like you just want to die, you get the same five stages of grief you’d have if you were dying, except that it’s at a lower level. At least, I hope it’s at a lower level.

And I admit up front that my usual order is 2, 3, 1, 4, 5. Go figure.

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Two-buck shuck

Two of the dollar-store chains are about to become one:

Chesapeake, VA-based Dollar Tree announced Monday that it would acquire Matthews, NC-based Family Dollar for a whopping $8.5 billion, CNNMoney reports.

Combined, Dollar Tree and Family Dollar have more than 13,000 stores and annual revenues of $18 billion, propelling the combined company ahead of current dollar store leader Dollar General which operates 11,000 stores and has $17.5 billion in revenue.

Wait a minute. Did I say “become one”?

Officials with Dollar Tree say in a news release that the company will continue to operate under both brands when the merger is completed in early 2015.

It’s a bit startling to discover that three “dollar store” chains sold 35 billion dollars worth of stuff last year, about 20 percent more than, say, Macy’s.

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Spent thinking

Above the fold in this morning’s Oklahoman:

Oklahoma taxpayers could get a small cut in their state income taxes beginning in 2016, but nobody can say whether that’s even likely to happen.

It’s all based on a complicated revenue-based “trigger” built in to the measure.

So complicated, in fact, that even state Treasurer Ken Miller, who holds a doctorate in economics, said it’s about as “clear as mud.”

“I just don’t understand the logic of a trigger,” he said Thursday. “There’s no economic reason to pass a measure today predicated on a future event, when one can simply wait for that event to occur and then preserve the flexibility. It’s difficult to explain the mechanics of the trigger and it’s certainly difficult to communicate to the taxpayers what their taxes are going to be.”

(NewsOK link once the paywall lets this through.)

But it was deemed necessary to pass the bill, because tax cuts, doncha know. Enough members of the Legislature are emotionally wedded to the concept that they’ll even pass an imaginary tax cut, just to say that they passed a tax cut. This is the next step before you get to Nancy Pelosi’s immortal utterance “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it,” which, if it isn’t the dumbest goddamn thing ever said by a legislator, is way ahead of whatever’s in third place.

Ken Miller’s a pretty bright guy. If he can’t defend this measure, it can’t be defended. Now situations like this can be avoided by the simple expedient of not passing crappy bills; however, for some reason the electorate, perhaps persuaded by the legislature — or maybe it’s the other way around? — seems to think that passing a bill is almost always better than not passing a bill, despite abundant evidence to the contrary.

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You’ll have a ball

And apparently you don’t need to hold it up, either:

1950s advertisement for NoMend hosiery

Mayer-Beaton Corporation of Wayne, New Jersey owned this brand, which was made in a mill in Philadelphia that closed around 1955. The company still owned several brands of unmentionables after that; trademarks owned by them started to show up as Cancelled Section 8 — no declaration of continued use — in the 1980s.

I also got a CD cover out of this.

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On finishing last

Top of Urban Dictionary for “Nice Guy Syndrome”:

A annoying mental condition in which a heterosexual man concocts over-simplified ideas why women aren’t flocking to him in droves. Typically this male will whine and complain about how women never want to date them because he is “too nice” or that he is average in appearance. He often targets a woman who is already in a relationship; misrepresenting his intentions of wanting to be her friend and having the expectation that he is owed more than friendship because he is such a good listener. He is prone to brooding over this and passive-aggressive behavior.

He is too stupid to realize the reason women don’t find him attractive is because he feels sorry for himself, he concludes that women like to be treated like shit.

I don’t suffer from this, because (1) I’m not all that nice and (2) “average” would be at least one rung beyond my reach. (On the classic 1-10 scale, I’ve always considered myself around a 3, though that stereotype about “distinguished” older men probably earns me close to 4-hood.) My dance card, however, is no busier.

Maybe it’s … docility?

It really is a cliché that “good girls like bad boys,” and has been as long as I’ve been alive.

But why?

I think it’s all tied up in what modern culture thinks is “good” in terms of masculinity. “Good” men are obedient, follow the rules, recognize authority, are non-violent, and, lately, acknowledge the innate superiority of women over them and their brutish, testosterone-fueled impulses.

In short, a “good” man is everything that would have gotten himself, his women, his family, and his tribe killed and eaten while the bulk of humanity’s genome was selecting for survival.

Something like the ’46 Giants, of whom Dodgers manager Leo Durocher scoffed: “The ‘nice guys’ are all over there, in seventh place.” And the fact that both the Giants and the Dodgers eventually fled to the Left Coast makes no difference, 68 years later.

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The Grey Lady has another hit

And apparently it hasn’t affected her sense of timing:

It’s almost like she knew what she was doing or something.

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Strange search-engine queries (443)

Monday morning brings lots of things, not all of which you may have wanted. Which is precisely why we present this brief summation of what sort of crap people were hoping to find at this site last week.

phil spector stereo:  It’s like Grumpy Cat’s holiday weekend. No matter how it turned out, it was awful.

biggify or biggerize:  Depends on the degree of expandage desired.

mazda 626 1987 yaha:  Not to mention whoop-de-doo.

how much carborator manfolt for 626 madza car:  And whoop-de-doo to you too.

naked andrea boehrer:  Who is she, and why is she naked?

how to jumpstart a puberty:  Ask Andrea Boehrer, whoever she is.

Andrea-and-Nolan.rsvpify.com:  And now there’s this Nolan guy? Sheesh.

softly whispering i love you david and jonathan:  Jonathan smiled and said nothing, while David tried to suppress the urge to deck the interloper.

katrena naive sexy ads pechar:  If she thinks sexy ads are going to help her career, she’s probably more naive than we thought.

turd world problems:  Among other things, the occupants are full of crap.

kali atrox:  Is this the woman who’s going to be the new Thor?

donwload dustury:  Bless you, Autocorrect.

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Personal logiene

Never let it be said that karma is a drab, dull, dispassionate sort of dispensation:

The 2009 “underpants bomb” plot failed because the terrorist had been wearing his explosive-laden undergarments for more than two weeks and soiled the explosives, a senior US official said.

Umar Abdulmutallab sent shockwaves through US intelligence when he successfully smuggled a bomb onto a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas day three years ago. The British-educated Nigerian was able to light the bomb but it failed to explode, causing minor burns to the would-be bomber but sparing his fellow passengers.

John Pistole, the head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), said on Thursday that the bomb did not detonate because Abdulmutallab had been wearing the same underwear for more than two weeks.

I am deeply impressed that Mr Pistole managed to say this without actual giggle fits:

Asked by his interviewer whether the bomb’s fuse had become “damp” from two weeks of wear, Mr Pistole said: “Let’s say it was degraded. We’re getting kind of personal now.”

Umar must be one of those “moderates” we’ve been hearing so much about.

(Via Tim Blair.)

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And yet he still breathes

File this under Unmitigatable Gall:

A man who’s in jail for several robberies including an attempted robbery at a pizza restaurant in Delaware is now suing police and several employees of that eatery for $260,000, claiming they were unnecessarily rough in subduing him.

Back in 2010, the then 19-year-old man forced his way into the restaurant through the back door with a gun. Several employees tussled with him as they tried to get the gun away from him, tackling him to the ground, reports The News Journal (warning: link has video that autoplays).

Punchline’s on the way, don’t worry.

According to his lawsuit, after he displayed a gun and a delivery driver handed him $140, he started to make his way forward into the restaurant. Another worker grabbed him from behind while someone else wrested the gun from him, which is when it went off.

“That is when the assault began,” he says in the lawsuit. “All of the [redacted] employees participated in punching, kicking and pouring hot soup over my body. I was unarmed and defenseless and had to suffer a brutal beating by all of the employees.”

“Unarmed and defenseless,” says the guy who brought a gun with him and couldn’t keep it. Then again, after pleading guilty, he also said this:

Shortly after entering his plea, [he] attempted to withdraw it claiming in a motion that he had not taken his medication that day… he should be allowed to take back his plea because, “I’m not good at making good choices.”

Dear Mr. Darwin: Couldn’t you have somehow contrived to have this bozo “accidentally” fall into a pizza oven?

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St. Jeff the Heretic

The following notice appeared on the back cover of Gilbert Magazine on behalf of its publisher, the American Chesterton Society:


“With Amazon Prime, I get free shipping” is what we sometimes hear from friends of G. K. Chesterton. Amazon.com can certainly get you that book or DVD you’ve wanted for less. But free shipping, believe it or not, is expensive. It’s expensive because Amazon never has, and never will, run an apostolate dedicated to the greatest mind of the 20th century.

Amazon’s lower prices cannot replace an apostolate that cares about the mind and soul of your family. Neither will Amazon pretend it has any stake in the restoration of sanity, common sense and education as investments for a society desperately in need of the love of Christ or the profound commitment society owes to family life.

I may as well mention here that I have ordered material from ACS, and that I didn’t price-check it with the Great Bezos Machine beforehand. (Turns out they didn’t actually have it.)

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To say the yeast

It didn’t happen this way, of course, but it’s wholly consistent with human nature:

Sometime after beer was invented, somebody figured out that just boiling water was enough to make it safe to drink, you didn’t actually have to make beer out of it. Since people no longer needed to start the day with a tankard of ale, productivity went way up. This was the start of the industrial revolution.

Things have been going downhill ever since.

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Seven miles apart

This comes from the “Why the hell didn’t I notice this?” file.

In 1967, Bert Berns met up again with soul singer Hoagy Lands, for whom he had written half a dozen songs in the early Sixties; Lands recorded Berns’ “32 Miles out of Waycross (Mojo Mamma),” which is presumably still sitting in the Bang Records vault, and with the title clipped to just “Mojo Mamma,” the song became an album track for Wilson Pickett. It goes like this:

If those verses remind you of Edwin Starr’s “Twenty-Five Miles,” well, you’re not the only one, and current copies of Starr’s record bear composer credits for Berns and occasional songwriting partner Jerry Ragovoy.

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