Real cheezy there, Herb

Same great taste, now at three times the price!

Downside: Not as tasty as Fritos.

Upside: Probably tastier than kale.

(Via Felix Salmon.)

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Clearly misaddressed

In a spamlet received last night, “Carley” (not her real name) asks if I have any interest in a “sexy depraved pussycat.”

More deprived than depraved, I am, but that’s another matter. Anyway:

Hi stallion, this is your girl. I am Lakisha.

I want you to bonk me as a little bitch. I bleed juice with desire to feel such sex!

Don’t forget that I’m waiting with impatience for a depraved man on this site.

Again: more deprived than depraved, “Lakisha” (not your real name).

The only really amusing aspect of this item, really, was the domain name used, or feigned, by the sender: megabulkmessage207.com. Due to a most lamentable dearth of dubious sites — only one link offered, and it wasn’t even obscured — this thing failed to break 2.5 on Spam Score, where 5 is my normal threshold and 25-30 is entirely too common. To borrow a phrase, this thing doesn’t even leak juice, let alone bleed it.

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Dying off the vine

The era of the Lone Blogger, says once and possibly future Lone Blogger Arthur Chrenkoff, is over and done with:

In line with the trend towards “magazination” of blogging, one recent survey by Orbit Media Studios has found that “the typical length for a post is about 900 words, up 100 words from last year’s survey.” When you are competing with “normal” media outlets, you need to try matching both quality and quantity. Blogging used to be called citizen journalism, but citizen or not, it had to become a lot more professional.

(Via Glenn Reynolds, who notes: “InstaPundit turns 15 in two months.”) Then again, Reynolds has help these days; still, I’d bet he turns out more than 900 words a day, even if it’s spread over several posts.

Come to think of it, I generally turn out more than 900 words a day, albeit spread over several posts. And this place turns 15 on, um, 9 April 2011.

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The incredible shrinking paper

It wasn’t that long ago that the Oklahoman decided to leave the Black Tower on the Broadway Distention to the printers and move the actual news-gathering operations downtown.

Evidently the printers weren’t far enough away to suit the publisher:

The Oklahoman will outsource its printing and packaging operations to the Tulsa World beginning in September, announced Chris Reen, publisher of The Oklahoman and President of The Oklahoman Media Group. The Oklahoman will close its printing and packaging facility at Britton and Broadway.

“We’re fortunate to have newer and more modern presses as close as Tulsa with ownership like Berkshire Hathaway who has a great deal of experience with these sorts of arrangements around the country. The move will create significant cost savings while not sacrificing quality,” Reen said.

Except, of course, for adding a minimum of two hours’ worth of lead time:

Reen said in order to ensure the same timely morning delivery of the newspaper, there will be earlier press times which will impact some late-night news stories and sports scores.

“Timely” is in the eye of the beholder, or maybe the subscriber. I consider delivery after 6:30 am (as it was yesterday) to be excessively late. (I am an afternoon-paper kind of person, but not the sort of afternoon paper that’s spent 11 hours turning yellow in the summer sun.)

Not mentioned in that NewsOK reveal:

I note for reference that GateHouse, under its post-bankruptcy name New Media Investment Group, bought the Dolan Company at the end of 2015, which owned, among other things, the Journal Record.

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Get lost, but stylishly

There’s no argument about Florence’s claim to being the Cradle of the Renaissance, but God help you if you’re looking for something other than the standard tourist traps:

Finding an address in Florence can be confusing. It has a unique address system with two number systems running side by side. Generally speaking, residences have a number in black or blue, while businesses have numbers in red (rosso in Italian), which is usually written with a little ‘r’ following the number. This gets confusing not only when the same number appears twice on the street (in red or in black) but also when you are trying to find an address and the door numbers appear mixed up.

For example, the office address of Walkabout is Via dei Neri, 30/32r (red) to signify a business and it is next door to number 6 (in blue on a white background), which is a residence.

This is about to change for the better, or at least for the easier:

The red numbers were introduced to Florence in the early twentieth century to differentiate businesses from houses. To this day they have remained one of the city’s curiosities, although twenty or so ‘red numbers’ are removed every year.

In an article in Corriere Fiorentino, city councillor Andrea Vannucci commented, “The city administration would like to do away with the red numbers … which complicate life for postmen, delivery men and taxi drivers, with red numbers that are sometimes hundreds of metres away from their corresponding black number. When new businesses open we assign them a black number accompanied by a letter: a ‘5 rosso‘ will always be next to a ‘5 nero‘.”

Vannucci continued: “Anyone can ask to change their red number into a black one. All you need to do is apply at the Comune. And I invite everyone to do so in order to speed up the process towards a more continuous and linear numbering system.”

There are about 23,000 “red numbers” still in Florence.

(Via Nicola Williams.)

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Strayed away

And the owner, singer-songwriter SZA, was frantic:

My dog is my BEST friend in the WHOLE world. Please if anyone finds her PLEASE contact the Maplewood police dept.

Anyway, little Piglet was found within two hours:

Last I heard, Piglet was being fitted with a microchip for tracking purposes.

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And oh, what heights we’ll hit

What we have here is “a story about a pair of flats that wanted to be a heel”:

Kind of heartwarming, or at least footwarming. There’s even a video on how it was done.

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As the sand flows

Funny thing about that hourglass: if someone inverted it before the sand ran out, you’d never really know, would you?

I mean, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t.

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Beat the weevils

This AP story keeps a straight face for the most part:

Digging their way to the top, 18 two-man teams of Hungarian gravediggers displayed their skills Friday for a place in a regional championship to be held in Slovakia later this year.

Participants in the contest held in plot 37A of the public cemetery of the eastern Hungarian city of Debrecen were being judged on their speed but also getting points for style [for] the look of the finished grave mounds.

Janos Jonas, 63, who teamed with his son, Csaba, saw the competition run by the Hungarian Association of Cemetery Maintainers and Operators as a sort of last hurrah as he was just a few weeks from retirement.

“We didn’t have to prepare in any special way because we do this every day,” said Jonas, from the nearby village of Hosszupalyi. “This is good earth, quite soft and humid, just right for the event.”

There are, of course, drawbacks to such a competition:

“The hardest part of the job is to deal with the mourners,” said Debrecen gravedigger Laszlo Toth. “But it’s a good job, with good colleagues and a good environment.”

Toth, who won the event with teammate Janos Racz, will compete in a regional race planned to be held in November in Trencin, Slovakia.

This is not the same Laszlo Toth who took a hammer to Michelangelo’s Pietà in 1972 and was subsequently deported to Australia.

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With hair-shirt upholstery

Car and Driver’s comparo panels typically award a maximum of 240 points, though few cars come close to maxing out every single category. There’s a 25-point maximum for “Fun to Drive,” and once or twice a car (not a truck, to your undoubted amazement) has actually hit it. In the July test of compact sedans, won by the Mazda 3 — 203 points total, 23 for Fun to Drive — the hummer-than-humdrum Nissan Sentra, which amassed only 141 points in aggregate, had the embarrassing FtD score of six. A late bus full of catcallers on a rainy day would surely score more than 6; in fact, I think this is the lowest such score I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been reading this crazed mag since the late 1970s. The only thing that comes close is Jonathan Richman’s Dodge Veg-O-Matic, and it has worse acceleration than the Sentra. For that matter, it has worse acceleration than a garden slug.

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And yet it stays

Quoted without comment, because it really doesn’t need one:

Didn’t say a word.

(Via Ute Gerhardt, who did say a few.)

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Not at all dizzy

We might know Lizzy Caplan best from her role as Virginia Johnson on the Showtime series Masters of Sex, which got her an Emmy award nomination in 2014. Given the nature of the series, she does a lot of work in her birthday suit, but her birthday isn’t until the 30th, so we’re not going to go screencapping through Season Two or anything like that.

Then again, she is kind of a quirky dresser:

Lizzy Caplan in absurdly high shoes

Lizzy Caplan sitting not quite in the dark

This week marked the premiere of Now You See Me 2, which somehow seems to be a cross between Ocean’s 11 and Ghostbusters. Or something. Anyway, Lizzy wasn’t in the first NYSM, three years ago.

Lizzy Caplan at the premiere of Now You See Me 2

What sort of role is she playing? I’m not entirely sure:

Explains the collar on the cape, anyway. Sort of.

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Counsel from Troi

“I wish you were running for President,” said the lovelorn loon on Twitter to actress Marina Sirtis. She graciously declined:

Regrets? Perhaps she’s had a few. She told the BBC she was delighted at being put in a proper Starfleet uniform in season 6 of Star Trek: The Next Generation:

“It covered up my cleavage and, consequently, I got all my brains back, because when you have a cleavage you can’t have brains in Hollywood. So I got all my brains back and I was allowed to do things that I hadn’t been allowed to do for five or six years. I went on away teams, I was in charge of staff, I had my pips back, I had phasers, I had all the equipment again, and it was fabulous. I was absolutely thrilled.”

Not offered so far: a definition of “too many.”

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Cadillactivity in the bullpen

There are people who would rather have a body part gnawed off by a rat than set foot (or other part) in a car dealership, which may explain this near-future move by Cadillac:

Under Project Pinnacle — the brainchild of brand president Johan de Nysschen — U.S. dealers will be grouped into five tiers based on expected sales. When the operation kicks off on October 1, car shoppers can expect a higher-end experience at their local Caddy dealership. Get ready to be coddled.

How much coddling may I expect?

Under the plan, top dealers with annual sales of 700 or more will offer customers concierge pickup and drop-off for sales and service customers. Second-tier outfits will add a Cadillac greeter counter, while those on lower rungs will see the addition of a certified Cadillac technology expert, dedicated websites, and tablet use during service inspections.

Most of this stuff, you can get already by buying a Hyundai Equus, soon to be the Genesis G90.

Still, if the Johan is laying down the “We’re a luxury brand, goddammit, we’re going to have to act like one” law, I approve.

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Life along these lines

I know them well, and not just because I did even better on the math portion of the SAT than the verbal portion:

(I did, however, resist the effort to reply “Cosine.”)

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What to do about HB2

North Carolina’s HB2 has gotten to the point where it has its own Wikipedia page:

The Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, officially called An Act to Provide for Single-sex Multiple Occupancy Bathroom and Changing Facilities in Schools and Public Agencies and to Create Statewide Consistency in Regulation of Employment and Public Accommodations, but commonly known as House Bill 2 or HB2, is an act passed in the U.S. state of North Carolina in 2016. It has been described as the most anti-LGBT legislation in the United States, while proponents call it “common sense” legislation.

One contentious element of the law eliminates anti-discrimination protections for gay, bisexual, transgender, genderqueer, and intersex people, and legislates that in government buildings, individuals may only use restrooms and changing facilities that correspond to the sex on their birth certificates. This has been criticized because it prevents transgender people who do not or cannot alter their birth certificates from using the restroom consistent with their gender identity: in North Carolina, only people who undergo sex reassignment surgery can change the sex on their birth certificates, and outside jurisdictions have different rules, some more restrictive. The legislation changes the definition of sex in the state’s anti-discrimination law to “the physical condition of being male or female, which is stated on a person’s birth certificate.”

The act also prohibits municipalities in North Carolina from enacting anti-discrimination policies, setting a local minimum wage, regulating child labor, or making certain regulations for city workers. The legislation also removes the statutory and common-law private right of action to enforce state anti-discrimination statutes in state courts.

The most immediate result: performers are avoiding North Carolina the way they used to avoid Sun City. There has been backlash against backlash, of course. But there is one man who dares to take the middle path, and that man is “Weird Al” Yankovic:

Like many other entertainers on the road this summer, I wrestled with the decision about whether or not to cancel my North Carolina concert dates in protest of the controversial HB2 bill. It was definitely not an easy choice, but I have decided to honor the dates, as I don’t want to punish my fans (most of whom, I’d like to believe, also have a big problem with unfair, discriminatory legislation). I will be donating my personal fee from the June 18 Greensboro show to the Human Rights Campaign (www.hrc.org), America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.

When sensible compromises are found, Weird Al will find them.

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