All your bugs are belong to us

Spotted by Fightin’ Mad Mary in and around her Southern California neighborhood:

Government Insect Trap

California being a donor state, they’ll presumably get back fewer bugs than they contribute.

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No point

They say there’ll always be an England, though evidently the youngest subjects of the Crown are in grave danger these days:

The traditional children’s party game pin the tail on the donkey is under threat because parents consider it a health and safety risk.

The claim comes from retailers and parenting experts who say mothers and fathers are increasingly reluctant to put pins into the hands of youngsters.

Inexplicably, the new party favorite has far greater potential for damage to one’s person:

Tesco claims that sales of pin the tail on the donkey games have been outpaced by the piñata, an import from Mexico.

Nicole finds this risible:

Seriously? A game where a dizzy blindfolded child swings with a bat at a suspended object is safer than a potential tiny stick with a pin? Bats give longer reach to the potential beaning trauma.

Then again, perhaps we shouldn’t say these things out loud:

[B]efore we get all smug about it, remember, there but for the grace of obnoxious pushy individualists willing to holler go we.

Of course, should it happen here, eventually the name “piñata” will have to be replaced with something less ethnic-sounding, lest someone take offense.

Let’s see: a figure, made of decidedly non-durable material, that distributes goodies when pressure is applied…

Got it. “Come on, kids, we’re gonna beat on the Senator!”

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Higher reasoning power

The logic displayed here is utterly impeccable:

I stopped at the liquor store this afternoon to pick up a fresh bottle of vodka because, you know, it’s a day that ends with a y.

Could there possibly be a better reason? I suspect not.

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He’s gotta have it

Knicks fan Spike Lee has temporarily sublet his soul to the Boston Celtics:

“We need LeBron,” he said. “I feel we have a better chance to get LeBron James if Cleveland loses this series to the Celtics. The quicker Cleveland loses, the better our chances are of getting LeBron.”

There is, of course, a limit to Lee’s devotion:

“I’m not putting on any green and I’m not going to kiss the Blarney Stone or do the shamrock thing. I hate the Red Sox as much as I hate the Celtics and the ghost of Johnny Most and all those guys. This is the first and last time I root for Boston on anything, but for this one possible result it’s worth it.”

As always on this topic, King James had nothing to say, though the Cavs are down 3-2 to Boston at the moment.

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The wonderful one-hoss Ché

The world’s largest retailer is cordially hated by rather a lot of folks in its home country, a situation which Greg Hlatky proposes to solve with a bit of rebranding:

Stores in or near centers of enlightened thought should change their name to Wal-Martí. Instead of some little grey-haired grandma welcoming you there should be a bearded revolutionary in fatigues and beret (cigar acceptable). The face of management wouldn’t be some paunchy, middle-aged guy in shortsleeves but an Oriental in a Mao suit. This should send a thrill up the leg of every progressive customer. Nothing else need change.

Target practice, anyone?

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The David Brooks Brothers approach

The Republican party apparatus, suggests Stacy McCain, is a faux meritocracy:

When somebody’s college roommate doesn’t get the job, the next alternative is to hire “Joe Resume,” the immaculately groomed guy in the $700 suit who can deliver a persuasive 20-minute Powerpoint presentation. An ability to deliver the superficial appearance of competence, of course, is a poor substitute for actual competence, but Republicans place a lot of emphasis on looking good in a suit.

That the well-groomed Republicans got their asses kicked in 2008 by a campaign orchestrated by a slob like David Axelrod demonstrates the shortcomings of the Dress For Success school of political strategy. And before that, the polite Republicans got their asses kicked in 2006 by a campaign orchestrated by Rahm F***ing Emanuel.

To those of us for whom “persuasive 20-minute Powerpoint presentation” is a contradiction in terms, it’s yet another reason to resist the embrace of the GOP, though I suspect that Sarah Palin’s bullet points might actually have one redeeming social value: muzzle velocity.

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Where to take this leak

Roberta X, on the urgency of stanching the flow from that Gulf oil well:

I wish ‘em well in that effort. Darn it, I need that stuff for my car! Save the shrimp for cocktail sauce! Can’t we use a few of the zillions of Federal laws to stop up the leak? Surely the Congressional Record and the Code of Federal Regulations are printed on something fluffy and absorbent, aren’t they? They couldn’t be that blind and improvident, could they?

Unfortunately, they don’t think that far in advance, and I suspect I could have cut off this sentence a lot earlier.

So we fall back on pre-sliced, rustproof, easy-to-handle, low-calorie, Simpson’s Individual Emperor Stringettes, free from artificial coloring, as used in hospitals.

It’s either that or hair.

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New tests of sock retention

From Wikipedia’s article on the Yamaha Electone organ:

Playing the Electone is a physically engaging activity requiring considerable dexterity and coordination. The performer sits facing the console at a comfortable distance, with the lower manual at about elbow height and with their feet suspended slightly over the pedals. Their right hand typically plays the upper manual, while their left hand plays the lower manual, though in practice both hands may often play the same manual, especially if each mimics a different instrument or orchestral section. As they play, they may change registrations with conveniently-located finger controls located near the manuals. Their left foot plays the pedalboard with dancelike motions that can range from lively to languorous depending on the character of the music, Meanwhile, their outstretched right foot rests firmly on the expression pedal, which they pump gently in order to change the instrument’s overall volume or to accent their music dynamics. When they wish to make more pronounced dynamic changes, they simply use firmer heel or toe pressure on the pedal. They may also occasionally play the pedalboard briefly with both feet. (Many Electone performers play barefoot so as to achieve greater precision with the pedals.) Some Electone models also include a second expression pedal, known as an effects pedal, which can produce changes in pitch or other effects; toe switches on the main expression pedal with which the performer can change registration; and a knee lever, operated with the right knee, with which the performer can sustain notes (as with a piano’s sustain pedal) or produce other effects.

Which may or may not prepare you for the following:

(Seen at SF Signal.)

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Beyond Goldfinger

Emily Garber, who runs Stupid Nail Polish Names, is interviewed by Salon, and offers this observation:

I’m happy to see some flexibility in the connection between nail polish colors and their names. How dull would life be if you woke up in the morning and had to decide whether to put on “Light Baby Blue With Fine Silver Glitter” or “Moderate Cerulean With Matte Finish”? Knowing that I’m wearing #57FEFF on my toenails is not likely to make me smile. On the other extreme, it’s pretty silly to have a name with absolutely no connection to the color it represents. Naming a nail polish is like titling a painting. A good name is complementary, not redundant, to what it describes. Just because your painting is of a guy on a horse doesn’t mean you have to call it “Man Riding Stallion,” but nor should you call it “Octopus Strangling Banana.”

I’m hoping that the reason she doesn’t smile is because she knows that #57FEFF looks like…


What would you call that? “Cyanotic” seems a bit extreme.

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What’s at steak here?

Has this happened to you?

Let’s talk about steak for a moment. Was the last one you ate good? How about the one before that? Be honest.

The first bite, in all probability, was juicy and tender. Not bad. A brief hit of beefiness, enough to spur you on to bite No. 2. But by bite No. 4, there was a problem: grease. The tongue gets entirely coated in it. It is at this point that many hands reach for that terrible abomination called steak sauce. It’s acidic and zingy and cuts through grease, but it blots out the weak flavor of the steak.

Just incidentally, this weekend I noticed, right next to Heinz “57″ Sauce on the grocer’s shelf, a lower-priced store brand labeled “59.” Now “60″ would have been overdoing it: 59, after all, is prime.

Come to think of it, “prime” may be the problem:

In the 1960s, graders began cutting a side of beef and looking for the dots and swirls of fat within the exposed rib eye. This fat is called marbling. The more marbling in a rib eye, the higher the grade. Other than that, not much has changed at the USDA. What a beef grader prized in 1926 is the same thing a grader prizes today: fat.

And while fat is wondrous stuff, there’s a lot more to a steak than mere fat levels.

The government, of course, can’t give you anything resembling consistent information on the subject:

First, the government was pro-fat (to protect consumers against the scourge of lean beef) and then it was anti-fat (to protect consumers against capitalists responding to the earlier regulations) and now the pendulum is swinging to the fat end again (to protect the consumers against last decade’s government)…

I expect, though, that some misguided Federal loon will eventually come up with a new standard for steak — and, inevitably, for steak sauce, which, once adjusted for inflation, will be numbered something like 176.4.

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Some day all homes will be like this

Well, maybe not yours or mine, but we can dream, can’t we? I mean, a water slide from the master suite down to the pool?

Now this is living

What’s not to love?

Sure, it sounds fancy and bizarre, but think about it — a century ago if you told people that in the future we’d all be pooping in closets in our houses and liking it… wait. Let me start that over.

Take two: if you time traveled back a century and told people that in the year 2010 we all have indoor plumbing in the developed world, they’d be surprised, right? But it’s gone from being just for the rich to completely standard. (Note: I have done no research and this is all based on faint memories of The Great Brain books.) So why can’t indoor water slides be completely standard, too? And why can’t we not bother waiting until 2110, but get them now?

And is this an acceptable trade-off for the flying cars we didn’t get?

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The use of URL shorteners, argues Costa, has gotten totally out of line:

[Politico] Author Mike Allen seems to be a compulsive user; it looks like every hyperlink in every one of his posts is shortened. Another URL-shortening abuser I’ve noticed is the New York Times’ David Pogue, although his most recent articles seem to be free of the embedded links (I’m pretty sure they come up in his emailed HTML newsletters, though). There are probably plenty more examples out there. I’m guessing this is coming about out of lazy habit: Some folks send out so many short-form missives that they automatically pass their referencing URLs through a shortening service, and use them regardless of need.

All this might seem like splitting hairs, but it’s ultimately bad form. Shorteners have a host of shortcomings, including potential spam/hijacking uses through their blind links, quicker linkrot, and slower click-thrus.

To put the best possible face on it: does count the clicks to a URL it’s shortened, so someone curious to see what sort of out-click pattern prevails among his readers might well use it for that reason alone.

But I probably won’t be among the clickers; outside Twitter and other space-limited zones, I tend to assume a shortened URL is an attempt to Rickroll me, or worse.

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The next text-delivery system

Elisson gets an advance look at the label:

PORTABLE INFORMATION STORAGE SYSTEM requires no batteries, stores images or alphanumeric characters with equal ease. Data retrieval uses principle of SELECTIVE REFLECTION™ in conjunction with electromagnetic radiation source (not included). Access any part of your database with simple manual operation! Available pre-programmed with large variety of software.

Store below 451°F.


I like it already.

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No sun up in the sky

In memory of Lena Horne (1917-2010), this clip is from the 1943 film Stormy Weather.

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As tiers go by

People who book conventions talk about first tier, second tier, down to nth tier; there’s presumably no point in going to some place designated as n + 1. Oklahoma City is somewhere around the third tier, and at least some folks around here aspire to climbing up to the second; the whole “Big League City” promotion, devised to sell a MAPS-y tax to improve the Ford Center to full NBA standards, was the poster child for those aspirations. The first tier, where you find places like New York and Los Angeles, is of course out of reach: these are our world-class cities, and they’re not looking for competition.

What world-class cities are looking for, apparently, is homogenization:

The joy of great cities lies in their differences. What’s special about Stockholm is different from what makes London or Vienna attractive. The “world class city”, and its gormless sibling, the “world class place”, is a political slogan, conjured by globally minded, air-travel addicted wonks, that has been adopted, sadly and dimly, by politicians, quangos and planners around the world. I’ve even heard, much to my disbelief, Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson talking of London’s need to become a “world class city”. Blimey, mush, if London hasn’t been a top-drawer city for the past Gawd-knows-how-many centuries, I don’t know where between one and eight million Londoners have been living.

The dangers of the “world class” concept are particularly disturbing for cities smaller than London more readily harmed by globalised architecture and planning. The centre of Stockholm is under threat from a tide of thoughtless, shiny, air-conditioned architectural schlock, with politicians seduced by the idea that a “vibrant” city centre has to look like a computer-generated rendering of the most slickly dreadful and characterless place you can imagine, full of smiling people in casual clothes and with more witless shops dropped on them than the Luftwaffe dropped bombs on European cities a lifetime ago.

Remember this the next time someone tells you that what Bricktown needs most is more retail.

(Via Aaron Renn.)

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Strange search-engine queries (223)

In this weekly feature, we peer into the site logs, look for visitors from La Google or El Bing or some similar outpost, and attempt to justify their presence on the basis of snark potential.

david ruffin penis size:  This adds a whole new dimension to “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.”

shraga gafni danidin stories:  You got me. I’m guessing they start something like this: “Shraga, Gafni and Danidin walk into the Kaaba…”

goran dragic where is slovenia:  A long way from Arizona.

can floxstat be used for vaginal fishy smell:  For, or against?

greek boobs:  The new term is “drachma queens.”

bald shit gay dirty dick fudge:  I suppose this is what I get for complaining about “greek boobs.”

some men have Grape Nuts thrust upon them. quote:  Grape Nuts don’t have a whole lot of thrust, what with their irregular surfaces and generally non-aerodynamic shape, so at best they’re going to be poured over your head, which is no big deal unless they were sitting in milk at the time.

“whole foods” “6006 nw grand” oklahoma:  A reasonable assumption, though about a year early. Don’t forget the Grape Nuts.

sarah palin wears fake glasses:  The better to see through the likes of John McCain.

Science equations of how Violet Parr turns invisible:  You’re asking for the laws of physics to apply to a cartoon? Just get yourself some fake glasses.

Meredith Vieira orange dress:  I went through nearly 200 photos, and this is as close as I could get:

Meredith Vieira wearing something orange

Then again, as Duyen Ky reminds us: “Orange should be reserved for road-hazard cones by federal law.”

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I assume this is pre-launch

Apparently they’ve found a format for 99.7 KZLS: Scott Shannon’s True Oldies Channel, which plays a slightly wider mix of stuff than does 92.5 KOMA. Or so it seems. It’s hard to be sure, since the signal keeps dropping in and out, as though someone were panning the volume control from zero to 11 and back again on an irregular basis, even occasionally during the commercials. It’s better today, though, than it was yesterday. Actual sound quality is meh, but that’s to be expected around here. (Tulsa stations generally sound better than Oklahoma City stations.)

This is the second satellite format offered by Citadel Media, the delivery service once operated by ABC Radio, to go on-air in the Oklahoma City market. (The first is The Touch, an old-school R&B format carried on 1140 KRMP.)

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Kicked in the crotch? There’s an app for that

Further evidence that Mike Judge’s Idiocracy was, in fact, a documentary:

Ow My Balls app for iPhone

Aw, nuts. I’m gonna go pound some Brawndo.

(Via Ex-Genius.)

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I expect a Wings Tax will be next

Buffalo, New York, 1976. Stanley Makowski is the mayor. He hasn’t announced whether he’ll run for a second term. But the question is ultimately answered for him:

The occupancy tax, enacted in 1976, proved to be a major downfall of his. He enacted an $8 to $12 per year tax that was levied on occupants of commercial and residential buildings to help fund a $1.5 million Municipal Housing Authority deficit. At one meeting in 1977 he had to defend it before 500 jeering citizens. Most people complained that it wasn’t so much the tax, as what it was used for.

Makowski decided against running again, and the tax, though upheld as legal, was repealed in 1977.

Which doesn’t mean it was forgotten:

For three decades, the city opted not to send out collection notices, choosing instead to collect the tax as properties were sold to new owners or refinanced. The unpaid tax becomes a lien on properties that must be settled before a sale occurs or a new mortgage is approved.

But city officials said Friday that the tax office has been converting to a new computer system. Transferring thousands of delinquent accounts to the new system would have taken a lot of time and money, officials said. A decision was made to send out notices.

The notice sent to property owners reads as follows: “… You are hereby notified that the 1976 Occupancy Tax, as itemized herein, remains unpaid, and if not paid on or before May 31, 2010, will be added as a delinquent accounts receivable invoice and subject to additional collection fees.”

Approximately 3000 Buffalonians were billed for that one year’s worth of tax plus thirty-three years’ worth of accumulated interest at 1 percent per month. A spokesman for current Buffalo mayor Byron Brown says that “the mayor was not informed that the bills were being prepared and mailed.”

(Via Fark.)

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A thousand islands, perhaps

The American “melting pot” has apparently been supplanted by a salad bowl, much to McGehee’s annoyance:

If we’re a salad bowl, then we are not, nor ever can be, distinctly and irrevocably American; at some unforeseen future time, supposedly, we can each be sorted and separated once again into our original nationalities and sent back where our ancestors came from.

In short, “salad bowl” is a national suicide pact. And I say the hell with it.

The Canadian salad bowl is given a less-croutonous name: “cultural mosaic.” It’s a better metaphor, anyway: each of the several gazillion tesserae is firmly fastened in place, unlike those wet vegetables to the south, which can be given the appearance of unity only by pouring something over the top of them.

It would be well to remember that the current push toward multiculturalism is coming, not so much from immigrants, legal or otherwise, but from our homegrown class warriors: it’s an integral part of their divide-and-canker strategy.

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