The least possible thing

A chap on reddit reports that he got sacked for visibly being a fan of My Little Pony:

I’m a guy in his late 30s who works(or worked) a regular boring 9-5 Job. On my work computer I had decided to set a picture of Applejack as my desktop background, I figured it was no big deal, nobody would see it anyway and it was certainly no different than the other guys in my office using pics of their favorite sports teams or their cheerleading squads. Anyway a few weeks after having no issues with it I got called in by my boss who essentially tells me it’s weird and it makes people uncomfortable that I have a “tv show for little girls as a background” (how did he know about it?) but I acknowledge this, keep my head down and change it back to the standard default background.

The comfort of coworkers evidently was set on a downward spiral at that point:

Which brings us to this past week. On Wednesday, some of my co-workers were talking about it and Brony culture. I tried to talk with them about it and I subsequently got mocked. It was a few guys against me which I thought was weird as I don’t make fun of the stuff they like, but all the sudden it’s cool to make fun of a tv show I like? Then on Thursday somebody (or somebodies?) had told some more people in the office about it and people started making little jabs in the hallway about liking shows for girls and stuff, I did nothing to bring this shit on, but they were letting me have it. Then yesterday my boss called me into his office, told me people were uncomfortable working with me (I do nothing but sit in my little hell-cube and do work all day, I hardly interact with anybody) and that they were going to have to let me go. WTF? Can they even fire me for that?

In most states, they probably can, unless he can demonstrate that there was some form of proscribed discrimination involved, and so far as I know, pony fans are not a protected class under federal or state laws.

Of course, had he been, say, a Breaking Bad fan, I doubt if anyone would have said a word, unless he’d been keeping Walter White™ brand meth at his desk.

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Such language

After the fracas a few years back over a new expurgated version of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, we now have: backlash!

Instagram photo by Alfred Yankovic

“Weird Al” Yankovic posted this to his Instagram account, declaring: “I can’t believe they’re selling this. HIGHLY inappropriate.”

And they’re not. In the full-sized version (see Al’s link), or even from this one if you have better vision than I do (as who doesn’t?), you can read the ISBN number in the barcode, from which you can find the correct cover for this collection. Still, it proves once more that Al knows the Zeitgeist as well as anyone — and that there’s no chain he can’t successfully pull.

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There’s a club

And it’s being wielded by Universal Music Licensing Group, which objects to lyrics from songs by the Smiths being dropped into panels from Peanuts. So before the whole thing is hit by a double-decker bus full of lawyers, here’s a favorite panel:

Lucy van Pelt quotes Morrissey

Hang the DMCA, say I.

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A measure of one’s self-respect

So Buzzfeed had this list of “40 Things Every Self-Respecting Man Over 30 Should Own,” and the Instant Man allowed that he owned most of them.

Commenters were generally not impressed. Said someone with the subtle name “Stallion”:

There are a few items on that list that a genuine man would have. The rest are just for metrosexuals who want to pose as a man. In fact, the entire article reeks of metro-ness.

Example: Lee Marvin or Charles Bronson might have, at most, 5 of those items.

At this point, it became necessary for me to read the list, whereupon I discovered I had twenty-two out of forty. On the Charles Bronson scale, I suppose this puts me at Charles Nelson Reilly. Then again, CNR was a genuine badass.

Update: Bill Quick is 40 for 40.

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It’s the flop part that hurts

Reasons why — other than the fact that it’s darn near Octoberyou should spurn the lowly flip-flop:

I’ve said it before but allow me to remind you that I consider flip-flops hazardous footwear. Sure you all laugh when I suggest imposing a ban on the irritating, unsanitary and pointless shoes, that is of course assuming you are daring enough to categorize them as such. Ponder this: how can something that does not cover most of the foot be considered a shoe? They are nothing more than sheets of material attached to the foot by a flimsy strip of rubber wedged between two toes. Now that sure sounds comfortable. How the heck can anyone consider that suitable footwear for anywhere beyond the confines of the house?

Unfortunately, my mother quite literally fell victim to the hidden dangers of parading around while wearing footwear on par with bedroom slippers. Of course, she was quick add that it was never her intention to go outside wearing the flapping footwear, however, I know better. I’ve been warning her of the potential hazards associated with wearing flip-flops for years. Does she listen? No, and will she now? Doubtful.

I don’t actually own any flip-flops, but this is hardly a testament to my good judgment. Consider that I own one decent pair of slides, and I fall out of them all the time: apparently I go up and down about 1.3 shoe sizes during the day, and the slide actually fits for maybe twenty minutes. The flip-flop doesn’t have this issue, really, but if I’m this clumsy with a shoe that’s supposed to stay on, what’s going to happen with a shoe that doesn’t give a damn whether it stays on or not?

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Inferior toroids

According to Vi Hart, those would be any bagels other than New York bagels.

Well, I liked it.

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I’m being followed by a rose shadow

Gül Gölge is a Turkish model/actress/TV host, born on this date in 1981 in Izmir. Here we find her involved with Western culture, sort of:

Gul Golge in a Starbucks

At 5’11¾”, she is seriously tall. The Turkish edition of InStyle Home put her on the cover last spring:

Gul Golge on InStyle Home

There exists a brief backstage video made in connection with the magazine cover story. Again, she seems rather Westernized.

Then there’s that name: “gül gölge” means, more or less, “rose shadow.” (Google Translate suggests “pink shade.”) And no, she’s not actually “following” me in any sense: her Twitter account is private, and anyway she’s been married for six years.

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Quote of the week

Africa need not be a pestiferous hellhole — except that folks of the David Attenborough stripe seem to prefer it that way:

The dirty little secret of Africa is that if you got rid of the TseTse fly and allowed irrigation, that Africa could become another Kansas (an area that was once called the “great American desert”, and where there was once a severe famine … now with irrigation, and modern variations of wheat developed in the Ukraine, it can feed the world).

Of course, David wouldn’t like that: it would mean prosperous farmers where his beloved animals now live.

As for all those starving children: David has an opinion about them too: “And we are blinding ourselves. We say, get the United Nations to send them bags of flour. That’s barmy.”

yeah. It was similar British Malthusian thinking that led to the millions of dead Irish in the potato famines of the 1840’s, where grain was exported and locals starved to death or died trying to migrate to other lands on “coffin ships”.

Of course, mankind is a blight upon the landscape — well, some of mankind, anyway. And it’s always amusing to see people trying to explain how it is that they, personally, are not.

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Old-school illin’

This concerned me for a moment:

Not an existential crisis, no: she was just, um, unwell.

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Like a Bosphorus

Spam, one should assume, comes in every language known to man and a few others I don’t even want to think about. I don’t remember ever getting one from the Turks. But here ’tis:


Şirketimizin organizasyonunu üstlendiği 05-06 Ekim 2013 Tarihinde Titanic City Otel / Taksim de gerçekleştirmeyi planladığımız Alanında uzman konuşmacı sayın Tolga Sasık tarafından verilecek olan “Bayi / Franchise Ağı Kurulumu ve Yönetimi” Konulu seminer bilgisini sizinle paylaşmak isterim.

Seminerde ele alınacak konu başlıkları aşağıdaki gibidir. Seminerimiz iki gün sürecek olup detaylı bilgi almak için 0850 225 61 30 numaralı telefondan bize ulaşabilirsiniz.

More or less:

Hi all,

5 to 6 October 2013, at the Titanic City Hotel in Taksim Square, we plan to feature expert speaker Tolga Sasik in the “Dealer / Franchise Seminar on Network Setup and Management” seminar, should you like to share information.

Below are the topics to be discussed at the seminar. It is a two-day seminar; for more information contact us at 0850 225 61 30.

Followed by pretty much the expected list of topics. The mailing is signed by Selma Uyar of Yeditepe University; I have no idea if it’s this Selma Uyar. And this might be Mr Sasik.

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A little more traveling music

Earlier this week, Jeffro put up a stack of songs which he says make his right foot get heavy. I was at a loss how to respond, since I have never bothered to make up any automotive playlists, although I did once upon a time gather some anecdotal evidence:

“Kick Out the Jams”, MC5: 14 mph over speed limit
“Happenings Ten Years Time Ago”, Yardbirds: 10 mph over
“7 and 7 Is”, Love: 9 mph over
“Get Me to the World on Time”, Electric Prunes: 7 mph over
“Purple Haze”, Jimi Hendrix: 5 mph over
“Sugar and Spice”, Cryan’ Shames (control): 2 mph over

“Next road trip,” I said, “Enya stays home.”

The little Noise Cube, my reworked and jailbroken Sansa ClipZip, contains at this writing 4,907 songs, which are shuffled into no discernible order. I note purely for historical interest that the last two times I decided I was going too damn fast for conditions, I was playing “Any Way You Want It,” the noisiest Dave Clark Five record, and “If I Could Fly,” a Joe Satriani number that has perhaps inspired others.

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In search of justification

I think we can pretty well imagine the answer this guy wants:

Should I pirate adobe after effects and flash cs6?

He continues:

I refuse to pay the high prices, I can’t afford it!!!! So, do you think I’d get caught if I pirated them?

One can only hope.

After CS6, there is only CC — the cloud-subscription version, for which you pay an annual fee — so if he’s planning to steal it, he presumably should do it now.

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Fark blurb of the week

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Three fingers, no waiting

Mordecai Brown had a good year for the Chicago Cubs in 1908: he finished with a 27-9 record and an ERA of 1.47. He was not in the rotation for the most important game of the season, though: Jack Pfiester, who’d just come back from a tendon injury, was selected to face the New York Giants and Christy Mathewson. But Pfiester faltered early, and Brown came on to shut the Giants down and win the NL pennant; Fred “Bonehead” Merkle, who’d made that game necessary, was not available for comment, and the Cubs subsequently went on to their second consecutive World Series victory, 4-1 over the AL’s Detroit Tigers.

I have to wonder what Brown, nicknamed “Three Finger” for the most obvious of reasons, might have thought about the signature feature of Microsoft Windows. Bill Gates regrets it:

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has finally admitted that forcing users to press the Control-Alt-Delete key combination to log into a PC was a mistake. In an interview at a Harvard fundraising campaign, Gates discussed his early days building Microsoft and the all-important Control-Alt-Delete decision.

“It was a mistake,” Gates admits to an audience left laughing at his honesty. “We could have had a single button, but the guy who did the IBM keyboard design didn’t wanna give us our single button.” David Bradley, an engineer who worked on the original IBM PC, invented the combination which was originally designed to reboot a PC. “I may have invented it, but Bill made it famous,” Bradley said in an interview previously, leaving Bill Gates looking rather awkward.

Of course, no one ever has to reboot a PC anymore, right?

Still, Ctrl-Alt-Del persists into Windows 8. And the Cubs haven’t won a World Series since, um, 1908.

(Via this Adam Gurri tweet.)

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Frost in the air

Yesterday I picked up the new version of iTunes and sampled one of Apple’s preset stations on iTunes Radio: the one billed as Chill Out-Ambient. This is not a genre with which I have a great deal of expertise, but it’s one of which I’m growing increasingly fond.

The first time through, I decided I would stick around through the first three commercials. (I am not a subscriber — yet — to iTunes Match, so I get the occasional promotional message. I may yet spend the $30 a year.) The third commercial arrived after one hour, forty-two minutes, so it’s not like Apple is cramming them all together like auto dealers on a Saturday.

The stream sounds pretty darn good; I can’t be sure if it’s the same quality as the actual for-sale tracks (AAC 256), but it’s close. And Apple, of course, gives you a buy button on each track as it goes by, should you be so motivated.

The one advantage of iTunes Radio, apparently, is that anything in the Store can also come down the stream. That’s a whole lot of selection.

I’ll try some other stations, and maybe make up some, later on.

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Leaving the junkyard behind

They’re not out of the woods yet by any means, but one of the Big 3 ratings firms — Moody’s — has upgraded General Motors’ corporate debt from junk status to investment grade.

It’s the bottom rung of investment grade — Baa3, in Moody’s parlance — but it’s above the psychological barrier, and that’s almost certainly going to matter the next time GM needs to borrow a few bucks.

The other two ratings firms, S&P and Fitch, still rate GM as junk, but fairly high junk.

As for the rest of Detroit, Ford made it out of Moody’s junkyard in the spring of 2012; Chrysler is not traded on public exchanges, but has filed for an initial public offering, mostly at the behest of the Voluntary Employees Benefit Association of the United Auto Workers, which would like to turn some of its 41.5-percent ownership of Chrysler into actual cash. (Fiat owns the other 58.5 percent.)

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