Forever and a day

This forgotten (though not by me) Lesley Gore track from the middle 1970s is perfect for the subject at hand:

Our days are numbered. Must they be?

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You shouldn’t be out in this mess

But since you are, you might as well try to save your neck, or at least the other guy’s:

[P]ull off the road already and wait it out if the weather scares you so badly. No, not on the side of the road, dummy — someone will come along and rear end you, and you might get hurt as well. Nope, find a driveway or a side road and get the f&(k outta the way. If you are on an interstate or some such, do not pull under an overpass and park on the side of the road. For the same reason. Exit the damn road, stupid.

I admit to having breached this protocol once: on I-75 in north-central Florida, where the traffic was moving at a brisk 80 mph despite the fact that you couldn’t see as far as the trailing edge of your wipers. I found the very edge of the pavement — the breakdown lane was nice and wide — and sat there until the storm had passed. There was a little Mazda3 about 100 feet in front of me; I’d been following it since Georgia, but hadn’t been able to see it at all for the past twenty miles, and never saw it pull off.

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Cabinet repairs

Penny Pritzker has been nominated to head the Department of Commerce, presumably on the basis of her cash-bundling abilities. She would replace Rebecca Blank, interim Secretary since John Bryson took ill last year. (That’s “Blank.” With an N.)

Is this worth three hundred words? Perhaps not:

It’s clear that presidents need the Department of Commerce, so they have a place to stash their friends who’ve brought in the cash. But it’s not clear that the rest of us need a Department of Commerce. A bit of research shows Americans were engaged in commerce even before we became a country. Colonists farmed, fished and traded like crazy. And that was more than a century before the Department of Commerce was formed in 1903. Amazing!

Everyone’s supposedly looking for places to cut wasteful government spending. Instead of laying off air traffic controllers, we could turn the knife toward Commerce. Don’t just leave it without a leader, go ahead and shut down the while thing and let’s see what happens. Probably nobody’ll even notice, as is the case with most of the sequester cuts.

Both Rick Perry and Ron Paul, during their 2012 Presidential campaigns, proposed the abolition of Commerce. And so did Barack Obama, kinda sorta:

Mr. Obama called on lawmakers to grant him broad new powers to propose mergers of agencies, which Congress would then have to approve or reject in an up-or-down vote. If granted the authority, he said, he would begin pruning by folding the Small Business Administration and five other trade and business agencies into a single agency that would replace the Commerce Department.

The White House estimated that the consolidation would save $3 billion over 10 years and result in reductions of 1,000 to 2,000 jobs.

Now $3 billion is to the Feds what the change under your sofa cushions is to you; still, the idea of anything in Washington being shrunk has a certain visceral appeal.

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Unkerncerned

You all remember Sally Kern: mid-60s, drives a minivan, represents House District 84 on the west side of Oklahoma County, agonizes constantly over LGBT matters but has presumably learned a modicum of discretion in such matters. Husband Steve has decided to take a few days away from his pulpit to run for Senate District 40 next year, what with Cliff Branan being term-limited out of the office.

Truth be told, I don’t think Reverend Steve ought to give up his day job: District 40 is decidedly bluer than Sally’s turf, extending as it does into old-money Democrat territories south of Nichols Hills. (I’ve lived here ten years; I keep track.) And there are two other Republicans in the race: deputy County Commissioner Michael Taylor and property-management magnate Brian Winslow. Both these guys come from the fiscal-conservative side of the aisle, and surely one of them could force Kern into a runoff. If there are any Democrats in the race, they haven’t filed campaign reports yet.

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Definitely pinworthy

Source: secret-stockings.com via Raquel on Pinterest


I have no shortage of female acquaintances, mirabile dictu, but maybe half a dozen of them at most could pull off this look.

Feel free to lecture me for looking fondly at this while spurning fishnets.

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She has a snack for you

Just for the fun of it, here’s a photo from the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame, at the College of Business at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. From left to right: Rusty McKee, Ellsworth McKee, Debbie McKee-Fowler, and Senator Bob Corker.

Various McKees at UTC

All those McKees are connected to privately held McKee Foods in nearby Collegedale: Debbie, 57-ish, is an executive vice president. Here’s a newly stylized rendering of how she looked at four:

Little Debbie logo

Uh-huh. And how did this happen, anyway?

Inspired by a picture of his four-year-old granddaughter in her favorite battered straw hat, O.D. [McKee] decided to name the new cakes after her — Little Debbies. Neither Debbie nor her parents knew that she was the new face of the brand until after the first package came off the assembly line.

And I’m out of Swiss Rolls, dagnabbit.

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A load of sheet

Another one of those remarkable Karl Denninger comparisons:

The so-called “increase” in your wages are an intentional chimera which is thrown to you to make you “feel good” about your earnings “going up.” But in point of fact they’re not going up at all, they are going down because the divisor, the total number of dollars in the system that are available to buy the goods and services are rising much faster than your earnings are.

The fraud you’re being sold is exactly identical to going into a bakery and ordering a sheet cake. The baker asks you how many pieces you would like the cake cut into; your options are 2, 4, 8, 16 or 32. He then tells you that if you’re really hungry you should choose 32, because that way you can eat more pieces.

You’d either laugh at the baker or string him up by his necktie were he to pull that crap, yet this is exactly what Ben Bernanke along with all the politicians have been selling you for the last 30 years.

When I was in fourth grade, I read Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, which makes similar economic points. It’s stuck with me for half a century. No wonder students don’t read it anymore.

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man.)

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Shop accordingly

There are times I don’t want to be caught dead in a grocery store: when there’s a tornado watch, right before an OU football game, or right after the first of the month. To explain the latter:

It’s not just food stamps. It’s social security and disability checks as well. I see it when I shop at Costco. I’ve learned to avoid the place like the plague right after the first of the month, when a huge percentage of government checks get rolled out, and the place is jammed.

I admittedly haven’t always had the option of going the day before, or the day after, but now that I do, I take advantage of it whenever necessary.

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Ongoing deZooeyfication

Last week I pointed out that Hannah Simone of New Girl was starting to look like Zooey Deschanel. This is perhaps a Good Thing, since based on the evidence presented at the Met Ball, Zooey Deschanel doesn’t want to look like Zooey Deschanel anymore:

Zooey Deschanel at the Met Ball

The only visible trace of ZD’s patented quirkiness is the fact that she wore seersucker — and a sort of lavender seersucker at that — to a gathering where the prescribed dress was “PUNK: From Chaos to Couture.” (Now Madonna, she’s clearer on the concept.)

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The Alfa male

Joe Sherlock — who, incidentally, owns a ’39 Plymouth — is not at all sanguine about Fiat’s absorption of most of Chrysler:

AutoExtremist Peter De Lorenzo has written that the Fiat-Chrysler “merger” — more like a twisted-up Gordian knot of perverted capitalism — was “never about saving Chrysler or rescuing its poor, downtrodden minions. And it was never about doing good for the perennially mocked City of Detroit or the domestic automobile industry for that matter, either. For Marchionne it was about taking over Chrysler, sucking every last dime out of it and using those profits to bolster Fiat, the Italian automaker whose reign as a perennial joke in this business goes back multiple decades.”

Well, yeah. Marchionne talks PR with the best of them. Then again, anyone who saw Daimler’s “merger of equals” with Chrysler in 1998 got to see exactly the same scenario: there was cash in Auburn Hills, and the Europeans planned to get it any way they could. And once they got it, they tossed the forlorn husk to a band of vulture capitalists. Would Marchionne do the same? I’m not quite sure. I suspect that for right now, wearing those two CEO hats suits his style — sort of Carlos Ghosn with pesto — but things can change at the drop of either hat.

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They like Mike

You had to wonder what might happen if Mike Conley really managed to get loose. Now we know. Conley’s clutch trey inside the two-minute mark put the Grizzlies up for good, and he wasn’t through yet; he finished just short of a triple-double, with 26 points, ten rebounds and nine assists. The Griz don’t often dominate the raw numbers, but they did tonight: 16 additional shots from the field, a 43-35 rebounding advantage (16-8 off the offensive glass), 22 assists versus 17. This would have been a nine-point win had not Derek Fisher tossed up a trey — his fourth! — at the horn, but 99-93 is quite sufficient, thank you very much.

But it wasn’t just Mike. We didn’t see much of Tony Allen in Game 1, and we thought maybe we wouldn’t in Game 2. How wrong we were. Allen was practically epoxied to Kevin Durant. (Durant still got 36 points, 11 boards and nine dimes, but imagine what he might have done without Allen in the way.) Other than miss a lot of treys, there’s not much Memphis did wrong tonight.

What the Thunder haven’t figured out, apparently, is how to make a rip-roaring start to a game. Once again, they fell behind early, though they stayed close most of the night and held a five-point lead after three. As hoped for, Serge Ibaka stepped up his offensive production; unfortunately, it happened on the same night that Kevin Martin (six points) rediscovered meekness. And here’s your Telltale Statistic: OKC had three steals tonight. Tony Allen, all by his lonesome, had five, mostly at Durant’s expense; the Griz had 13 thefts in all.

Game 3 is Saturday afternoon in Memphis. Bring Band-Aids.

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Where have all the tech jobs gone?

To the guy (or the girl) with an H1-B, says Jack Baruth:

[T]he fact that you helped design the Cisco PIX or build the first generation of AT&T’s prepaid-phone infrastructure counts for precisely nothing. All the tough jobs in technology have, by and large, been done. Everything from TCP/IP to SSL has been invented, refined, put into stasis. The hockey-stick acceleration of technology has become a featureless plain where processors from a decade ago work just about as well as the new stuff and the Web browser is the sole interface to everything. The Chinese do the hardware work. Google and Microsoft do the software two thousand miles away. What’s left is mostly janitorial: Windows server maintenance. Coding applications that are designed to be disposable and forgettable. Third-level support that used to be considered first-level support before the first two levels were sent overseas to be operated by people who had never owned a computer themselves and rely on a script to tell someone how to put a new hard drive in a PC.

Our own home-grown applications at the shop may indeed be forgettable, but this is due mainly to the fact that most of them were first coded in the 1980s and updating them to this century will actually take until next century, so I’m not worried. Much.

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For your dubious edification

This, of course, is indisputable:

Blogging has gone from being the new, exciting method for sharing the significant events of one’s day with a circle of intimates, to a proven technology by which total nonentities can vent their spleen onto the World Wide Web for the dubious edification of others, and finally to a hoary old fetish for sexagenarians — get your mind out of the gutter; that means sixty-year-olds — who haven’t the agility to keep up with Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. Surely once the sexagenarians become septuagenarians unable to find their glasses without their minders’ help, and presently deteriorate to octogenarians whose walkers prevent them from reaching the keyboard, blogging will cease to command an audience.

I was chuckling at the description, total nonentity that I am, when it occurred to me to Do The Math. Not the best idea I’d ever had.

Let’s say I can somehow keep this little dogless pony show going until my 80th birthday. And let us define T as the time elapsed between its beginning and that assumed end point. When do I reach the beginning of the downhill slope, the midpoint of this uncareer, the time of T/2?

Answer: February 2015. Twenty-one months from now.

Gad.

Disclosure: I make no attempt to keep up with Tumblr.

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High earworm potential

Once again, I’m behind the musical curve. This tune came out in Australia a couple months ago; it won’t get out of my head, so I figure the least I can do is pass it on.

(Recommended by Peter’s Power Pop.)

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Oh, we also make cars

Tesla might actually be earning a fair chunk of change on the Model S sedan, most versions of which go out the door for close to $100K, but that’s not necessarily where the money is:

When Tesla Motors reports its first-ever profit Wednesday, much of the money will come courtesy of the state of California.

In its zeal to push electric cars into the market, the state has created a system in which Tesla can make as much as $35,000 extra on each sale of its luxury Model S electric sports sedans. That’s because the Palo Alto company qualifies for coveted state environmental credits that it can turn into cash.

These Zero Emission Vehicle credits could put as much as $250 million in Tesla’s coffers this year, according to one Wall Street analyst, and they are a key reason the 10-year-old automaker has survived this long. Tesla gets to sell the credits to other automakers that need them to satisfy tough California regulations.

Remember when they said General Motors was basically a health-care outfit that sold cars on the side?

This is, however, California policy. They want electrics, they don’t care how they get them, and the auto industry simply can’t afford to blow off fifteen percent of the US car market at one fell swoop. And you have to figure Sacramento will get plenty of that quarter-billion back.

Update: In its 1Q report, Tesla says 12% of its revenue came from credits, about $68 million.

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All ham should be this way

Skankless ham

(Another newspaper oddity from the vast archives of Criggo.com.)

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