Had I a clue

I mentioned yesterday that the dealership had lent me a G37 for the duration while my own ride awaits a new and sorta-pricey part ($200+, plus God knows what to install); inasmuch as I have no idea of the duration of “the duration,” I figured that it would be at least two days and therefore I ought to spring for a couple of gallons of gas. Shortly after figuring this, I stumbled upon the Question of the Day: “On which side is the fuel filler?”

Conventional wisdom says that you follow the little arrow inside the gauge. I looked at it, and it looked like the one in my car: pointing to the right. Except that the filler on my car is on the left. Being distrustful of Nissan fuel gauges anyway, I decided I’d wait for the next G37 to come along and take notes. As it happens, the little C-store/Shell station around the corner from me had a G37 at the pump, and it was filling from the right side, so I manuevered into the nearest appropriate position and felt around for the remote fuel-door release on the underside of the driver’s side armrest.

I found nothing there.

Okay, fine, said I, and walked around to the other side of the car, where the glovebox is, with the express intent of consulting the manual.

Which wasn’t there.

My second Mazda had the release on the floor by the seat controls. Not there, either. After about seven minutes of looking just as stupid as possible, I noticed an asymmetry to the door opening. I pushed the side nearest the narrower edge, and yes! There’s the cap. And a tether to keep it from migrating, and a rack to keep it in rather than letting it dangle by the tether.

The clerk, when I presented her a ten-spot, was most amused. I was perhaps a tad less so when I discovered that the difference between regular and premium, recently jacked up to 32 cents at most Shells I see and 46 cents at one I’d passed earlier, was 60 cents. So “a couple of gallons” says it straight: ten bucks bought me just under two and a third gallons at $4.299. I hope they’re grateful at the dealership.

Addendum: The part will apparently arrive today.

Further addendum: Make that a part. Someone at Nissan Double Secret HQ dropped the ball.

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Paying it backward

The wheel of karma is downright speedy at times:

The author of the critically acclaimed graphic novel Fun Home was so horrified by the actions of South Carolina lawmakers and College of Charleston officials that she quickly joined an effort to bring the off-Broadway show based on her book to campus, according to local organizers.

Alison Bechdel and the cast of the New York City show are volunteering to present a concert version of the musical in Charleston. Two performances will be offered, at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Monday, at Memminger Auditorium, 56 Beaufain St.

Origin of the flap:

Fun Home was the selected title for the College Reads! program and made available to all incoming students in the fall of 2013. It recounts Bechdel’s upbringing and explores themes of sexual identity.

In February, some lawmakers took issue with the book, and the S.C. House budget-writing committee moved to withdraw $52,000 of school funding, the cost of the summer reading program.

The censorship controversy flared, prompting acrimony on both sides and concern from supporters of academic freedom.

Next year’s selection, David Finkel’s The Good Soldiers, may be controversial for a different reason: Chelsea (then Bradley) Manning has contradicted some of Finkel’s narrative.

(Via this Will Creeley tweet. Creeley is Director of Legal and Public Advocacy for FIRE.)

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On (almost) all cylinders

If you had told me three hours ago that four Detroit starters would pick up 20 points or more, and that one of their rookies would soar to a career high, I’d have assumed you were on some kind of high yourself. Shows you what I know. The Pistons have been out of playoff contention for some time now, and there’s nothing a lottery team likes better than thrashing one of their betters. There ought to be a word for that, and the word ought to be “Kentavious,” after Detroit rookie guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who, in addition to having one of the truly great names in NBA history, rolled up 30 points tonight after never having seen even 20 before. The Pistons led by as many as 11 tonight, though the Thunder clambered back to within one with just over a minute left, and at the :16 mark Kevin Durant threw it down to put OKC up 112-111. Then came an absurd little contretemps in which neither team seemed to be able to claim possession, ending with a jump between Durant and Greg Monroe, and then Brandon Jennings’ Hail Mary trey fell short at the horn. Fully half of Durant’s 42 points came in that fourth quarter, and as Kendrick Perkins says: “That’s what he do.”

It’s a good thing he do that, because the Thunder did not shoot particularly well: 44 percent, and a woeful 5-23 from three-point distance. They did, however, collect free throws: 41 of them, of which they made 31. (Durant had 13; Russell Westbrook had 12 among his 22 points.) And then there were those ten steals, six of them executed by Westbrook.

But the Pistons shot 50 percent or better just about all night, which explains four starters over 20. (Jennings wound up with six, more assists than points, and more turnovers than either.) Monroe scored 22, as did Andre Drummond before fouling out; Drummond also reeled in 13 rebounds, second only to, um, Serge Ibaka.) This didn’t leave much for the bench, which is perhaps as well: only Jonas Jerebko got more than 20 minutes, and he collected only five points for his trouble.

So the battle for the #2 seed is over. Who’s #7? The Mavs and the Grizzlies, competing for that very spot, tied at 93 after 48 minutes in Memphis, and with 1.1 left, a pair of Mike Conley free throws gave it to the Griz, 106-105, Dallas burning up three timeouts in those waning moments in a desperate attempt to get off a play. (Monta Ellis finally managed an unsuccessful 20-foot jumper, and that was that.) So Dallas gets to play the Spurs in the first round, and it’s Thunder vs. Grizzlies. Groan.

Oh, and Durant won the scoring title again. Is anyone surprised?

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Fark blurb of the week

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Out there in the audio radiance

KCSC, the classical-music station at the University of Central Oklahoma, changed its call letters to KUCO a couple of weeks ago; I’m frankly surprised they’d stuck with the old calls for so long, inasmuch as the school hasn’t actually been Central State College since the early 1970s. However, the RDS display still reads “KCSC@UCO.”

This should tell you that Gwendolyn had a spa day today — the dreaded MIL, attention to which has never, ever cost me less than $600 — and that they turned me loose in a ’13 G37, a competent handler with a fairly dumb seven-speed automatic and, yes, an RDS display. And I had plenty of time to enjoy the radio, since traffic on the Lake Hefner Parkway was moving at around 15-20 mph. Southbound. This, of course, is impossible, since the Hef’s main purpose in life is to provide an alternative to the Broadway Distention, three miles east, which funnels people out of downtown and into Edmond at that time of day; hardly anyone ever goes south on the Hef during the evening rush.

Near Britton Road — I’d come on at 122nd — I saw the issue. A flat slab of yellow plastic, maybe the size of the similarly colored rack where my dishes dry by evaporation, had been dropped on the line between the center and right lanes. Every swinging Ricardito for two miles had slowed down to get a good look at it. This, I decided, was the first really good argument for self-driving cars, which can’t engage in rubbernecking unless it’s part of their program. (What’s the over/under on them programming them to do exactly that?)

Spa day continues until Nissan can find an EGR valve.

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Maybe she lost count

Whatever the reason, this is a spiffy, if depressing, lede:

Cristal Paulette Richardson told jurors at her murder trial that she doesn’t recall everything that happened when she stabbed Cedric Lamont Owens 130 times and castrated him inside a Far East Dallas motel room.

Of course, lots of factors can contribute to memory loss:

Richardson, 29, testified Friday in a Dallas County courtroom that she acted in self-defense because, she said, Owens attacked and raped her. She said the two, who had known each other less than 12 hours, had spent part of the night together and she used cocaine, PCP, marijuana and alcohol. She said she blacked out so she doesn’t remember all the details of what happened the rest of the night but testified that she was not high at the time of the slayings.

If you ask me, that would have been the ideal time to have blacked out, but then I have no personal experience with stabbiness.

(Via Interested-Participant.)

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Wag tales

When I saw the hilarious mockumentary Best in Show back in 2000, my second thought — had to get all the guffaws and spit takes out of the way first — was “Dear God, what are actual dog-show people going to think about this?”

On the evidence of this, clipped from a summer-show premium list, they love it:

Best In Show at Pocatello Kennel Club

“Take the Lead” is a charity that “provides direct services, support and care for people in the sport of purebred dogs who suffer the devastation of life-threatening or terminal illness.”

(Source.)

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Here comes the grump

Right on schedule, too:

The approximate moment when grumpiness kicks in for men, according to a recently released report, is around age 70.

Then you’d better get off his lawn.

At a mere sixty, I’m not seeing this on the horizon just yet. Then again, at a mere sixty, I’m busy denying there’s a horizon at all.

Researchers found that as men grow older — from, say, 50 on — they have fewer obstacles and annoyances to worry about in life and, furthermore, they are more equipped to deal with adversity. But around age 70, life — or at least the perception of happiness — begins to go downhill.

The study, published in the March 2014 issue of Psychology and Aging, examined 1,315 men — mostly military veterans who participated in a 15-year survey — between the ages of 53 and 85. Some 80 percent said that at age 50, life became easier. About 20 percent said they were happier after they retired.

Both groups, however, agreed that good feelings about life began to decline at age 70 — for myriad reasons, including health problems, cognitive slide and the losses of loved ones.

I should point out that rather a large percentage of us in the 53-85 bracket are military veterans: there was a war on when we were what we now quaintly call “draft age.”

I’m not sure what to expect at 70, or even if there’s a 70 I can expect to expect. I do know that Zooey Deschanel will be 44.

(Via Fark. And this is where I remembered the title.)

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Bon^2

In the foreground here is the pony commonly known as Bon Bon. The fans gave her that name, based on her cutie mark, but Hasbro prefers that you refer to her as Sweetie Drops:

MLP screenshot featuring Bon Bon

Viktor & Rolf, who in 2006 gave us a fragrance called “Flowerbomb,” have just introduced this:

New ad for Bonbon by Viktor & Rolf

Now obviously this concept predates both V&R and MLP:FiM; still, you should have seen the spit take I did when I found that advertisement on the back cover of Vanity Fair.

And now I need to write up a background pony and call her Flowerbomb. Because silly.

Addendum: Maybe we can talk this model into some of that Twilight Sparkle eyeliner.

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Fast fixing

“Didn’t we just get 3.8.2?” I mused as the email notifiers came in last night to tell me that 3.8.3 had just arrived. There was, of course, a reason for that:

The “Quick Draft” tool on the dashboard screen was broken in the 3.8.2 update. If you tried to use it, your draft would disappear and it wouldn’t save. While we doubt anyone was writing a novella using this tool, any loss of content is unacceptable to us.

We recognize how much trust you place in us to safeguard your content, and we take this responsibility very seriously. We’re sorry we let you down.

Now what kind of nimrod writes novellas in the WordPress editor?

Oh, right. Never mind.

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Not a flower girl

Eliza Doolittle — this Eliza Doolittle, anyway — is twenty-six today. I think of her as Amy Winehouse without the pharma, Adele without the drama. And in this shot, she looks, well, maybe not twenty-six:

Eliza Doolittle on stage

“Walking on Water” is the third single from her 2013 album In Your Hands, and it goes like this:

Weirdly, her Twitter account appears under the name “Eliza Fancies You.” Not me, she doesn’t.

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Eternity isn’t what it used to be

I was looking at the Wikipedia page for April 15, and this line turned up in the midst of Births:

Birth and death of Kim Il-sung

Turns out the DPRK is serious:

As of 2014 there is no President of North Korea, as the office was left vacant from the death of Kim Il-sung in 1994, and was abolished with the 1998 constitutional changes. Instead, the functions and powers previously belonging to the President were divided between three officials: the head of government, the Premier of North Korea; the speaker of the legislature, the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly; and the head of the military, the Chairman of the National Defence Commission and Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army, currently held by Kim Il-sung’s grandson, Kim Jong-Un. The latter Kim is also the First Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, and is reckoned as “Supreme Leader” with absolute control over the country.

I always figured it would take three people to replace me, not that you could find three people to work that cheap.

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Welcome to Drosophiladelphia

It’s a place where the agriculture is booming, the produce is headed for your table, and the fruit flies are the best damn stunt flyers you ever did see:

Fruit flies could make some talented fighter pilots. Scientists who had the insects wing it through two laser beams watched the bugs make hairpin turns at blazing fast speeds, by banking in the same way that fighter jet planes do. The findings, published in the journal Science, shed light on these tiny critters’ remarkable ability to evade predators (and fly swatters).

Like there’s a chance you’re going to swat this guy:

When trying to escape from a threat, the Drosophila hydei flies turn at a speed that’s five times faster than their normal turning speed, according to researchers from the University of Washington. Instead of turning right or left on the “yaw” axis, like a boat in the water, the flies execute banked turns, by rolling and pitching their bodies at the same time, which supercharges their turns. They can execute one of these within less than one hundredth of a second after seeing a threat, the scientists said. That’s 50 times faster than the blink of an eye.

At this point, about all you can hope for is that they won’t be teaching these techniques to their slower friends among the common houseflies. Or you might invest in one of these.

(Via Consumerist.)

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Beak production

Didn’t we just dispose of this team a couple of days ago? But this was different: the Pelicans were at home, the Thunder were worn out yesterday by the Indiana Pacers, Russell Westbrook was resting, and Tyreke Evans, despite a bone bruise, was playing through it all. And from the How Is This Even Possible department: Nick Collison got broomed. Four minutes into the second quarter, he and Austin Rivers got into it; Rivers, by all appearances, was the major aggressor, but presumably in an effort to appear “fair,” the officials tossed them both. No matter. This was Tyreke’s night: whatever pain he might have been in, he ignored, while putting up a career-high 41 points. It was 75-75 with eight minutes left; New Orleans won it going away, 101-89, with Evans playing the entire second half.

But let’s face it: the Pelicans didn’t look all that depleted, even down to nine players after Rivers’ unexpected departure. And if Luke Babbitt was the only other Bird to score more than ten, well, New Orleans did shoot 44 percent, four percent better than the Thunder, and OKC was in one of its Desperation Trey modes. (Nine of 32? Sheesh. The Pelicans weren’t that much better, at 9-29, but still.) Serge Ibaka had some vim and/or vigor, producing 22 points while gathering 16 rebounds, and Caron Butler did serious sixth-man work with 19, but take those two out of the equation and you’re left with a team that went 18-55 from the floor. Reggie Jackson mustered only four points; Kevin Durant managed 25, but it took him 23 shots to do it.

So happy times in the Big Easy, which hasn’t seen a lot of them of late. Not only did the Thunder fail to clinch the #2 seed in the West, they also assured themselves of a poorer record than last year: assuming they beat Detroit Wednesday, they finish 59-23. (They won 60 games last season.) And if tonight is any indication, the Pistons might actually pull off the upset.

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They get lost so easily here

The wire-service story:

A California-bound Southwest Airlines flight was diverted to Omaha, Neb. on Sunday after witnesses said a passenger tried to open a door.

The captain of the Chicago-to-Sacramento flight landed on Eppley Airfield to “have an unruly passenger removed” before continuing on to Sacramento, the airlines said in a statement.

The flight with 5 crew members and 134 passengers arrived safely at its destination about two hours behind schedule.

And where is this mysterious place called “Omaha”? Don’t ask CBS News:

CBS This Morning screenshot placing Omaha in eastern Kansas

(Via this Blake Waggoner tweet. Waggoner hails from, yes, Nebraska.)

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Have you promoted a Ford lately?

Received from one of Ford’s social-media mavens:

We think 50 years of service warrants 50,000 best wishes, don’t you?

For half a century, Mustang has gifted drivers with a gracious mix of style, power and performance.

Now, as we greet the all-new 2015 Mustang, it’s time to say thanks.

Join us in celebrating this milestone by giving Mustang the biggest virtual party in history. That’s right — we’re aiming to crush the Guinness World Record for Most eCard Signatures by April 16.

In other news, there’s a Guinness World Record for Most eCard Signatures.

Still, half a century is several lifetimes for lesser vehicles, so:

Wish Mustang the best:

http://action.ford.com/mustang50signthecard

Yeah, I did. It’s a pony car, after all. I think I had #29,846. Besides, it enabled me to empty out the inbox without pressing the dreaded Delete key.

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