Platform amended

The downside of driving a so-called luxoboat is the fact that ownership of same is presumed to mean that you can afford parts and service even dearer than the usual; as a result, I have become acutely sensitive to the slightest changes in vehicle behavior.

Maybe. Out of the driveway to run yesterday’s errands, and damn, these brakes are grabby. Something left on the rotor from this week’s (sort of) snowstorm? Greater warpage than I’d thought? I changed my modulation technique — basically, I backed off on the pedal pressure — and the grabbiness went away. Okay, what’s different between yesterday and the day before?

The answer is “shoes,” but not brake shoes. Friday night I had noticed that the insole in one of my favorite pair of walkers — the very one I was going to wear Saturday — was looking rather thin, and I’d snapped in an aftermarket replacement I’d bought some months back but hadn’t yet installed. The new insole is about three sixteenths of an inch thicker than the old one. Did this result in three sixteenths of an inch deeper pedal application, and therefore more abrupt braking? It would so seem.

I wound up the trip marveling that women seem to have no problems like this no matter what shoes they wear. Presumably they get used to it.

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It was a thousand years ago today

And the research, as it must, goes on:

Before you ask: no, they did not evolve from Monkees.

(Thanks to HCShannon for that last quip.)

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Hang on, swoopy

Suzette wonders if white cars are especially likely to draw unwelcome attention from our fine feathered friends:

Do birds have some kind of fatal attraction that compels them to fling themselves at their own peril towards white cars? Does this happen with all white cars? Does it happen to you?

I’ve encountered only two suicidal avians in the past six and a half years of driving a vanillamobile, and one of them was a pigeon, perhaps more likely to be deranged than despondent.

What birds do fling at this car, however, is usually vaguely whitish, though obviously no attempt is made at color-matching.

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A buck extra for cheese

And then another buck to take it off again:

Food blogger José Ralat-Maldonado tweeted during his first visit to the Outpost American Tavern in Dallas: “A fee for leaving cheese off a burger?”

Aside to Ronald McDonald: You did not see this.

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Hang them up

How do you handle a persistent telemarketer? Have you tried verbal abuse?

Press 2 to be taken off the list, and I wasn’t taken off the list. Press 1 to talk to a representative and ask to be taken off the list, and I wasn’t taken off the list. I’m not proud to admit what I did that finally worked: I started harassing them. Rather, I started berating the person behind Press 1. I don’t like being anything but nice to working schlubs. But these people do work for a disreputable company (or series of companies) offering bogus deals on auto reinsurance.

Berating them worked. It was the only thing that did.

Much as I enjoy berating people, it’s a fact that the recipients in this case are merely cogs; the big wheels never suffer any inconvenience at all. And ultimately, we’re never going to get rid of these jerks until there’s an understanding by the general public that everything is a scam until proven otherwise.

The recent trend away from landlines will help, I think; it’s a lot easier to tell someone to go fart up a flagpole if you’re having to pay for those wasted minutes.

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First, delete system32

If this isn’t trollage, the person posting it needs to be kept away from anything with an IP address indefinitely:

Screenshot from Yahoo Answers: When I right click on the image and click print, it does, but when it is done printing and on paper the image doesn't move.

And if it is trollage, the person posting it needs to be kept away from anything with an IP address indefinitely.

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Wooden you like it

In the current My Little Pony universe, the dreaded Timberwolf is made of actual timber:

[They] can be destroyed by having rocks thrown at them, being flattened under boulders, or otherwise colliding with solid objects or walls. This, however, does not kill them outright, as they can reassemble themselves, or even form a much larger Timberwolf, from their own broken body parts and nearby trees.

Sort of a rustic Transformer. And tonight, Minnesota’s NBA Timberwolves, already reeling from injuries, kept getting the worst of it, and still kept coming back. The Thunder hit the century mark before the third quarter ended; the Wolves pulled to within nine at the two-minute mark, but they were flattened under the very solid OKC offense, which finally put them away, 127-111.

You want to see resilience? The Minnesota bench scored 59 points, seven more than the starters; in fact, the Wolves had seven players in double figures, led by rookie guard Alexey Shved with 17. Ricky Rubio and Luke Ridnour delivered good one-two punches; reserve center Greg Stiemsma blocked four shots. Minnesota shot better than 50 percent most of the game, winding up at 48. And J. J. Barea, no matter what colors he wears, always gives OKC a hard time; he was 6-10 for 14 points tonight.

But resilience can take you only so far, especially on a night when Russell Westbrook knocks down 37 points and nobody from OKC misses a single foul shot. (Westbrook had nine; Kevin Durant had eight, on his way to 27 points.) The Thunder even managed to edge Minnesota in the assist count, 28-26. (Westbrook had nine of those, too.) And 58 percent shooting never hurts. (OKC went 9-14 from Bricktown, a startling 64 percent.) You, or at least I, have to wonder where all this artillery was hiding during the last three games.

The Bulls will be here Sunday, and no way will 238 points be scored. Ronnie Brewer may be here; we don’t know about Derrick Rose just yet.

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Sequester this, pal

In law parlance, “sequestration” is the seizure of property by an agent of the court, pending the resolution of a dispute regarding same. The current Congressional definition seems to be something of a distortion of the term, but then it’s Congressional: the only seizure involved is the one you get when you hear what they’re up to.

And by “they,” I do mean all of them:

When it comes to the military, Republicans use the same “closing the Washington Monument” tactics that Democrats use for social programs, essentially claiming that a 5% (or 1%) spending cut will result in the cessation of whatever activity taxpayers most want to see continue. This process of offering up the most, rather than the least, important uses of money when spending cuts are proposed as a tactic to avoid spending cuts is one of the most corrupt practices imaginable. No corporate CEO would tolerate it of his managers for a micro-second.

The Washington Monument is a shade over 555 feet tall. It would therefore be essentially impossible to impale all 535 members of Congress upon it simultaneously. I suppose they’ll have to take turns.

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Hey, idiot!

You’ve always suspected it, and now there’s evidence to support it. Most traffic jams are caused by a mere handful of jerks:

In a study conducted by MIT and Berkeley, 680,000 Boston commuters were tracked along their commutes — anonymously — as their cellphones jumped from tower to tower. The resulting data gave a better picture of commuter habits than any old-fashioned survey had in the past. During rush hour, a massive 98 percent of roads were below peak capacity. But the two percent that were over capacity were enough to cause traffic jams that spiraled out into the less crowded roads. Granted, not all cities are the same, but it goes to show the potential power of just a few crowded streets.

We can only hope that drone strikes will be called in against the offenders. Traffic will be worse for the moment, but removing these individuals from the gene pool surely should prove a boon.

(Via Outside the Beltway.)

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A movable feast

I’m pretty sure I can endorse this proposition:

I’ve decided that this weekend is going to be My Birthday (Observed). My birthday is actually this coming Wednesday, but I have to teach all day that day (I wonder if, along with the petitions promoting the day after Super Bowl as a federal holiday, and Election Day as a federal holiday (both of which I think are bad ideas for different reasons), if anyone has proposed a You Should Not Have To Work On Your Birthday petition…)

There’s at least some sentiment in favor of the idea, though I haven’t seen anything resembling an organized effort yet.

Disclosure: In any given year, there’s about a 57-percent chance that I won’t have to work on my birthday. (The last time I did, in fact, was 2009.)

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Words like silent raindrops fell

Last time I had issues with Gwendolyn’s Bose audio system, I might have been asking for them: the KLF is, let us say, not known for its kindness to loudspeakers, and the operative word here is “loud.”

We don’t know what caused the failure of the audio system in the Ford Fiesta Jack Baruth rented the other day in Los Angeles; it was like that when he got it. Not that the car-rental company believed him or anything:

I reported the stereo system’s failure to the young lady at the rental counter. She regarded me suspiciously. “What music were you playing when it happened?”

Cage’s four-thirty-three. Had it cranked.” Even in hijab she was remarkably attractive but there was no humor in the way she faithfully recorded the incident for the massive corporation whose logo stood higher than the American flags at the airport entrance.

Hear his words, that he might teach you.

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Peacock blocked

Watching NBC is bad enough, but visiting That’s an infection:

[T]he NBC site is currently compromised and blacklisted by Google. Anyone that visits the site (which includes any sub page) will have malicious iframes loaded as well redirecting the user to exploit kits (Redkit).

Worse, you’ll also get actual NBC content.

Addendum: Doug Ross comments: “If it turns out the Red Chinese hacked NBC’s computers, one obvious question comes to mind: How would we know?”

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Quote of the week

Advice Goddess Amy Alkon draws this question:

Why are women so worked up about hearing “those three little words,” and why must they turn them into such a minefield? If a man says “I love you” too soon, he gets dumped because he’s a clingy, needy Nice Guy. If he waits too long, he gets dumped as a suspected commitment-phobe.

The Goddess recommends a phrase less fraught with peril:

Early on in dating, should you find yourself brimming with emotion and unable to hold back, “I love bacon!” is a safer thing to blurt out. When somebody says that, even on the first or second date, nobody suspects he’s just hoping to use bacon to patch some gaping emotional void. This is probably why, no matter how soon or how fiercely you express your love for bacon, bacon will never respond by running away. To be fair, bacon also lacks feet.

Those of us who might use bacon to patch some gaping emotional void, of course, have an entirely different set of issues.

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Does X mark the spot?

Smitty has written off the generation before, and has little faith in the one after:

Moses had to write off two generations in Sinai before the Israelites were ready. We have, at the high end, a bunch of deadbeat Boomers who’d beggar any number of generations in the name of me, me, me, and I. At the low end, the non-approach to societal continuity has stunted the growth of the Millennials. I’m not of the notion that, once raised in moochery, the human mind is incapable of growth. But we need to admit that the yield of mature, liberty-loving Americans from this bunch is going to be low.

That leaves Gen X to mop up the mess. And I can’t say I’d blame them if they said it was spinach, and the hell with it.

Still, the Xers are more likely to own big-person pants than their parents, who too often resist the very idea of pants.

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By request, kinda sorta

This began with a KingShamus tweet:

Tweet by KingShamus: #WeDemandAVote Morena Baccarin is: A-Hot. B-Really Hot. C-Insanely Hot.

This is the picture he linked.

Dumbfounded that no one responded to his quiz in a reasonable time — the answer, incidentally, is “Yes” — he sent a second tweet with another photo.

On the basis that the third time may be the charm, I decided to go track down a somewhat-unposed picture of the lady in question, and came up with this:

Morena Baccarin

This was taken in July 2012 at the Homeland discussion panel during the Showtime portion of the Summer Television Critics Association tour, before the show’s second season. (The third season begins this fall.) Baccarin got her start in TV on Firefly, playing a, um, Companion.

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Better halves

The Lonely Person Abroad has been a staple of email spam almost as long as there’s been email spam, which is almost as long as there’s been email. I don’t get too many of these, and the few that get past the spam filter are quickly offloaded into the bit bucket, but for some reason, this one stayed my deletion finger for a few moments:

You know, they are so many people in the world, but some of them are alone, because they didn’t find their halfs yet, as it is so hard. If you are alone and want to find your love, you can write me and we’ll start communicating. I’m alone and looking for a good man, who will give me his love and care. Who knows, maybe we can fill up our lonely hearts with love.

This is signed by “Tanya L.” at a Russian domain you might recognize, though an inspection of the message header indicates it was sent from Turkey. And there remains a mystique about the Russian would-be bride, which I blame on Lara Antipova, who, to some of us anyway, bears a startling resemblance to Julie Christie.

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