As though there were any doubt

Um, no. I am not smart enough, not beautiful enough, not focused enough, and incidentally not female enough, to be Twilight Sparkle.

That said, she does mean a lot to me.

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Lessons from life (one in a series)

(Medical facility) + (new computer system) = two-hour delay, minimum.

In this specific instance, the new appointment handler overbooked by a factor of 1.5, maybe worse.

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It was never F plus three

Persistent stories to the contrary, no English swear words come from acronyms, and there are good reasons for that:

Acronyms are intrinsically euphemistic. They are used to camouflage rude, offensive, or otherwise unendurable things (often just unendurably long).

And if you plan to be rude and offensive, camouflage is more or less beside the point.

Besides:

Acronyms have only really been used to generate words since the mid-20th century.

Most of our serious swears, including George Carlin’s Heavy Seven, date back many centuries.

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Out of the mass market

Mercury sold nearly 66,000 cars with a Monterey badge in 1966. Most of them are gone. Not that the remaining owners necessarily understand that:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Where can I find a good Radiator for a 1966 Mercury Monterey without paying big bucks!?? I've searched almost every parts site, but no luck

I will never understand these folks who think all auto parts, even for 50-year-old models, should be right there at the corner parts store and should sell for no more than $19.99.

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And then there were, well, none actually

Earlier this week, Roger gave us a history of the rise and fall of Betamax, the Sony home-video format that eventually fell before the mighty VHS machine. (The professional Betacam news-gathering version lasted longer.)

But now VHS itself is coughing up blood:

Funai Electric, the last remaining Japanese company to make the units, has announced that the company will cease production on its VCR units, due to declining sales and difficulty acquiring parts.

Their VCRs are made in China and sold in many territories, including North America, under brand names like Sanyo, but last year’s figures reported just 750,000 sales worldwide.

And that would seem to be the end of that. Amazon still carries blank VHS tapes for $4-5 each in package deals; a single Sony Betamax tape will run almost $9, and last I looked they had only one left.

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One way only

From the “We Will Not Forget” files:

Maybe the part that leads out of town.

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A song of japes and mocks

Blatantly stolen from LeeAnn:

Why do the Lannisters have such big beds?

Still to come: how to keep Cersei and Jaime off each other, once and for all.

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For example, batting practice

As always, no law can anticipate all situations:

A change in federal overtime rules this December is expected to affect millions of workers nationwide. But one group might be missing out: players on minor league [baseball] teams.

Under the new rule, employers will soon have to either pay workers for overtime, or boost their salaries above about $48,000.

However, Vincent Candiello, a labor lawyer at Post and Schell in Harrisburg, is skeptical minor leaguers will be able to cash in.

“Are they entitled to overtime? Probably not because of the overall hours. So these new changes, these new regulations are going to have minimal impact, but if we get into some of the other offshoots about how do you count hours,” says Cardiello.

Candiello says if players are interested in overtime pay, they could argue their work day starts long before first pitch.

And how much do they get, anyway?

Most earn between $3,000 and $7,500 for a five-month season. As a point of comparison, fast food workers typically earn between $15,000 and $18,000 a year, or about two or three times what minor league players make. Some minor leaguers, particularly those with families, hold other jobs during the offseason and occasionally during the season. While the minimum salary in Major League Baseball is $500,000, many minor league players earn less than the federal poverty level, which is $11,490 for a single person and $23,550 for a family of four.

Sheesh. Gotta be love of the game.

(Via Ben Allen.)

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Besides themselves

“Full Measure” is an oddity, even by the standards of the Lovin’ Spoonful catalog: a John Sebastian/Steve Boone composition somehow banished to the B-side of “Nashville Cats,” on which neither Sebastian nor Boone sang the lead. In its incarnation as a B-side, it matches up with Dave Marsh’s definition: “music too strange and majestic for Top 40 but so powerful that it wipes out the ostensible hit on the flip.” Then again, Marsh was talking about “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

“Full Measure” managed #87 in Billboard and is still a part of the Spoonful’s setlist. Joe Butler, who sang on the 45, sings it here:

Never get tired of that.

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The big board in the outfield

The Dodgers bring it home:

New scoreboard at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark

Mandatory hype:

The Oklahoma City Dodgers will install a brand new, state-of-the art center field digital video board at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.

The new video board will utilize the existing structure and layout of the current scoreboard and video board. The entire structure will be approximately 32 feet tall by 56 feet wide, housing over twice the video display area of the existing center field video board at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. The new high definition screen, designed by Daktronics, will be nearly 1,600 square feet, placing it among the top 10 largest in any Minor League Baseball stadium, as well as the fifth-largest in Triple-A baseball.

The board will feature a 15 mm display, making it two times brighter than the previous video board, which will improve fans’ ability to view the board in sunlight and bring a noticeable enhancement during day games.

The new video board will include variable content zoning, which will allow it to show one large image encompassing the entire screen, or be segmented into multiple zones for flexibility to highlight any combination of live video, instant replays, scoring information, up-to-the-minutes statistics, graphics and animations, and sponsor messaging. It will also incorporate industry-leading environmental protection and wide-angle visibility to appeal to every seat in the stadium.

Hope I get a chance to see it this year. The Dodgers say it should be ready by the third of August, when the Round Rock Express blows through.

Number 35 (ouch!) is right-handed pitcher Jacob Rhame, twenty-three, who pitched for the Oklahoma Sooners for one year, got drafted by the Dodgers organization in 2013, and arrived in Oklahoma City for 2016.

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Compatibility ho!

Yes, of course, let’s do this:

And why not make 802.11 work with something that existed two decades before 802.11 itself?

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Checking one’s hindsight (2)

Note: The following originally appeared in Vent #14, from this week in 1996.

According to the packet of information dispatched to me by the Reform Party, about half the Democrats (about 15 percent of the electorate) and about half the Republicans (about 15 percent of the electorate) would prefer a third party if one existed. Of course, there have been third parties since the days of powdered Whigs; the Perot crowd believes that in 1996 a third party could actually elect a President.

Well, it could happen. Ross Perot himself, despite the swiftest descent into self-parody since Joe Piscopo, drew nearly one-fifth of the popular vote in 1992 against two fairly blah major-party candidates. This year, “fairly blah” is far too kind for either Bill Clinton or Bob Dole; you’d almost think the party faithful had decided that going through the motions wasn’t worth it anymore, and that we might as well replace Executive, Legislative and Judiciary with Time Warner, Philip Morris and Wal-Mart and get it over with.

From the vantage point of today, that might have been an improvement.

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Quote of the week

Twilight Sparkle, in “Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?” (My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, season five, episode 13):

This is your dream! Anything you can do in your dreams, you can do now!

Now endorsed by the Republican National Committee, kinda sorta.

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The Fortress is still Super

Between 1943 and 1946, 3,888 B-29 Superfortress aircraft were built. Two are now considered airworthy, including this big fellow:

B29 in 2016

At approximately 8:30 AM CDT on Sunday morning, the worldwide fleet of flyable B-29s doubled when Doc lifted off from McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas culminating a restoration project that began sixteen years ago at the factory where the airplane was built initially in 1944. Piloted by the Commemorative Air Force’s (CAF) Charlie Tillman and co-pilot David Oliver, Doc joined the CAF’s Fifi as the only two Superfortresses of the 3,888 produced between 1943 and 1946 which are airworthy. Doc returned to the air 60 years after its last flight in 1956 when it was ferried to China Lake in California, decommissioned and hauled into the desert where it was used as a target for Naval bomber training until 1987 when Cleveland, Ohio printing executive Tony Mazzolini discovered it, largely intact, acquired it and moved it to Wichita.

It was a short flight — about 15 minutes before the first warning light — but it’s nice to know that the old stuff still has the right stuff.

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Borrow happily

And if it’s political, do it shamelessly:

Melania Trump, wife of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, made headlines on the first night of the 2016 Republican National Convention when she delivered a speech that included portions plagiarized from a speech given by Michelle Obama in 2008.

But she might have also rickrolled everyone:

In which case, all is presumably forgiven.

Addendum: I think this says it well:

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It had to be you, so to speak

This seems both way cool and somewhat scary:

Soon anybody with a high-resolution camera and the right software will be able to determine your identity. That’s because several technologies are converging to make this accessible. Recognition algorithms have become far more accurate, the devices we carry can process huge amounts of data, and there’s massive databases of faces now available on social media that are tied to our real names. As facial recognition enters the mainstream, it will have serious implications for your privacy.

A new app called FindFace, recently released in Russia, gives us a glimpse into what this future might look like. Made by two 20-something entrepreneurs, FindFace allows anybody to snap a photo of a passerby and discover their real name — already with 70% reliability. The app allows people to upload photos and compare faces to user profiles from the popular social network Vkontakte, returning a result in a matter of seconds. According to an interview in the Guardian, the founders claim to already have 500,000 users and have processed over 3 million searches in the two months since they’ve launched.

As one might expect, benign uses can be easily outnumbered:

FindFace is already being deployed in questionable ways. Some users have tried to identify fellow riders on the subway, while others are using the app to reveal the real names of porn actresses against their will. Powerful facial recognition technology is now in the hands of consumers to use how they please.

Still, it’s (almost) here, and we’re probably stuck with it.

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