An edgy sort of name

A plaintive cry from neo-neocon on the so-called “fiscal cliff”: “[C]an somebody please suggest a good alternative way to refer to that topic?”

On the other hand, I’ve found it useful in at least one instance:

Usually he didn’t venture into the bar on the ground floor, but that night he felt the need for something in convenient liquid form to unjangle his nerves. To his delight, the place was relatively empty when he arrived; to his dismay, it filled up rather quickly.

“Hey, buddy,” said a voice behind him. A grey pegasus with a shiny, somewhat oily black mane, whom he didn’t recognize. Out of force of habit, the old pony introduced himself: “Broken Spoke, Baltimare Carriages.”

“Fiscal Cliff, certified public accountant. What brings you to this part of the world?”

“A little unfinished business to take care of down in Ponyville.”

“Ponyville? Really? I’ve heard some really strange stories about that town.”

“Only been there once, so I can’t confirm them for you.”

Cliff took a swig of whatever brackish stuff he was drinking. “Probably a load of horsefeathers anyway. I’ve been in this business long enough to know that anypony will pull your leg if you give ’em half a chance.”

“You’re probably right about that,” said the old pony, wishing he’d stayed in his room.

Perhaps I should have resisted, but I didn’t.

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Consequences nonetheless

We talk about the Law of Unintended Consequences, and we make it sound like the proponents of whatever less-than-optimal scheme has just blown up, as such schemes will, had no idea that this sort of thing could possibly happen.

This stance, Mark Alger says, is probably too generous:

I’ve never seen one adduced that wasn’t actually — in truth — anticipated. It’s just that, at the time folks were — you know — anticipating, they were being called naysayers or sticks-in-the-mud or that sort of thing by proponents of the move which engendered the consequences. So, rather than accept the excuse and forgiveness implied in the “unanticipated” part, I’d call them “unacknowledged” consequences. Or “glossed over” consequences. Or “blithely whistled-past-the-graveyard” consequences.

Add to this modification the virtual certainty that the proponents have made sure that their proposal will have no negative impact on themselves, and you have … well, pretty much an entire session of Congress.

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A W grows in Brooklyn

I noticed only a couple of times when radio guy Matt Pinto uttered the dreaded words “New Jersey,” until the fourth quarter, when he did it about five times in a row. And it’s just as well, because the Nets in Brooklyn have been way better than the Nets in Joisey the last few years. What they have is resilience: down thirteen at the half and sixteen early in the third, Dem Nets turned on the long-ball machine and sank six treys to pull within four at the beginning of the fourth, despite being without both Reggie Evans and Brook Lopez. Several times the Nets closed to within two, but that’s as close at they’d get, Oklahoma City escaping with a 117-111 win.

Object lesson tonight in reading the whole box score: the Thunder had only two offensive rebounds, and only one of them produced second-chance points — but they hit 40 of 66 for 61 percent. The Nets went 39-91 for 43 percent; 34 of those 91 shots were from beyond the arc, fourteen of which went.

The absence of Lopez and Evans surely hurt, but Brooklyn demonstrated some serious depth, with Andray Blatche doing a persuasive job in the middle (19 points, 11 rebounds) and the other four starters doing double-figure work, led by Deron Williams with 33. Jerry Stackhouse contributed a couple of timely treys from the bench.

Kevin Martin had only seven points, but he finished +11 for the night, one behind The Other Kevin. (Durant dropped in 32.) Russell Westbrook, despite playing most of the fourth with five fouls, was good for 25, including four free throws in the waning moments to ice it away. But the Thunder were handily outrebounded by the Nets, 40-33, and Brooklyn landed 18 second-chance points. (As noted earlier, OKC had two.)

Back home Friday night, against the Lakers, who are playing incredibly average ball so far this season. Still, it’s the Lakers, so things will get louder than usual in Loud City.

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Not inspirational, or aspirational, but something a little less:

Lincoln would have you believe they make “the most individual motorcars on the planet.” Maybe on a planet where there are no Fords. Even my medium-size Japanese luxobarge is more Lincolnesque than current Lincolns.

And unfortunately for the marque, I saw that spot the same day I read this. John Phillips of Car and Driver was talking with Jim Farley, VP of Global Marketing for Ford, and he reports (January ’13):

Farley had me laughing — well, right up until I asked, “What’re you gonna do with Lincoln?” at which point he clenched up like a Clydesdale who’d just noticed the sign hanging on his stall had been changed from “Budweiser” to “Glue.”

Then again, Farley can take some solace in the fact that some people really prefer glue to Bud.

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The leaves are falling

Got one of these in the mail yesterday:

Bumper sticker from American Association for Nude Recreation

I must admit that until I remembered that AANR has some Canadian clubs on their membership rolls, I was wondering why a maple leaf and not a fig leaf. (And Canada has its own naturist group, anyway.)

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Worldwide octane

There’s a 2/3-page piece in the 1/13 Car and Driver, by Justin Berkowitz of their East Coast bureau, titled “Global Gouging,” a survey of world fuel prices based on the most popular motor fuel in each country:

… be it leaded crud in Ghana, sugar-derived ethanol in Brazil, or near avgas in Bahrain.

Magazine lead times of course make this subject to change, but at the time of writing, the priciest fuelstuffs on earth were being pumped in Norway, at $9.38 a gallon. This is about 150 times the six-cent price in Venezuela, but, says Berkowitz:

[W]e’d still rather empty our wallets at the pump here than live under Chávez over there.

I suspect that the magazine will get a lot of letters complaining about the Chávez remark, and I’d even bet some of them will mention that Venezuela is supposed to have “free” health care. Chávez himself, of course, goes to Cuba for his health care, which should probably tell you something. (Cuban gasoline, incidentally, is $4.54 a gallon.)

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Still kinda bedazzling

Facebook had the temerity to present me with this Sunday night:

Facebook friend recommendation for Raquel Welch

“People I may know”? Not a chance, Zuck. And what does Raquel Welch, now 72, look like, anyway?

Well, in February, she looked like this:

Raquel Welch February 2012

The occasion: a five-day event by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, titled Cinematic Goddess: American Sex Symbol, The Films of Raquel Welch, which featured screenings of ten such films plus several appearances by the actress herself. Unpaid Film Critic reports on one appearance:

On Saturday, February 11, before a screening of The Three Musketeers (1973), Welch was interviewed on stage, at the Walter Reade Theatre, by legendary talk show host Dick Cavett. Watching Cavett and Welch together was like being in a time warp. Neither had dropped a stitch. Cavett was still urbane and funny while Welch was beautiful, gracious and wonderfully candid. Cavett said, “It has been such a long time since we were together. Remember how young we were? Now only one of us is beautiful.” To which Welch replied, “Oh that’s not true.” To which Cavett said, “I didn’t mean me.”

You hadda be there, I suppose.

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A little tracking number

If you want your car to rat out your kids, Kia is showing off a whole new out-ratter:

Don’t want your kid driving to a certain part of town — say that sketchy neighborhood out west or the house of a friend that you’re not so keen on? In the near-future, your Kia could send you a text message if they go there… Besides the usual services — 9-1-1 assist and send-to-car Google Maps navigation in nav-equipped cars — UVO offers what Kia Forte product strategy manager Dan Tiet called “geo-fencing,” or the ability to draw zones on a map and receive alerts when your car goes there.

UVO — “Your Voice” (?) — will be rolled out in two 2014 models, including the Forte, and eventually to the rest of the line.

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Continued, the Format Wars have

Bill Quick finds out something you might want to know before you start loading up your Microsoft Surface tablet:

I backed up all my music files to my SDHC card from the iTunes library. I’d used iTunes to rip my CD collection, and it had automatically created the files in the .M4A format — which, as it turns out, Windows RT-8 doesn’t like at all. After a lot of headbanging, I discovered that Windows RT-8 likes MP3 files. As an experiment I converted a bunch of the M4As to MP3s, copied them to the SDHC chip, stuck it back in to the Surface and, presto! — both the Music Library and the Music App picked them right up. So right now, in the background, I’d converting 15GB or so of M4A files to MP3 — which I figure will take the rest of the day. It’s a one time deal, though, and since I’ll be doing any music buying through Amazon and not the damnable iTunes store, I’ll be getting my stuff in MP3 format anyway.

This is fairly typical of Microsoft. As a test, I hauled out an XPdient copy of Windows Media Player, threw one of Apple’s AAC files — these are the ones with the .m4a extension — at it, and watched it choke for lack of codec. Apple, in turn, doesn’t think much of Microsoft’s .wma format either.

Curiously, while messing with this I found half a dozen files with the .m4a extension which turned out not to be AAC at all; Winamp, which doesn’t flinch at AAC unless it’s DRMed (signaled by the .m4p extension), balked at playing them but would at least let me open the info panel. Turns out that they were actual Apple Lossless files from the How to Destroy Angels EP, which I’d evidently never gotten around to importing into iTunes.

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The act of estimating as worthless

A link from an ad on a friend’s Tumblr blog brought me to this January piece: “50 of the Most Overpaid Players and Coaches in Recent Sports History.”

This is on a 52-page slideshow. Whatever they paid the person who came up with that idea, it was far too much.

Incidentally, the title here is the way I remembered the definition of the word “floccinaucinihilipilification”; while second-sourcing that statement, I discovered that it’s also the name of a band, or a soon-to-be-ex-band anyway.

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Well, maybe Honolulu

New frontiers in what used to be called “medicine”:

Whether it’s rationing through death panels or shortage-causing price controls, the socialistic Unaffordable Care Act will bring murder to medicine just like all the rest of the countries that have gone down this road. I think that we need to be thinking of a name for this. The Brits have their Liverpool Care Pathway, Orwellian doublespeak on steroids. I like the “Kenya-Care Pathway,” named for the home country of this law’s main proponent and the current head of state.

Medical practitioners being fond of cutesy acronyms and such, I suggest something like Seems Nearly Unhealthy: Finalize (SNUF).

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Strange search-engine queries (357)

It wouldn’t be a Monday without a romp through last week’s search strings. (Hmmm. Does this mean if I quit doing these, we wouldn’t have any more Mondays? I’ll have to think about that.)

beware of righteous staff:  Fortunately, hardly anyone getting hired these days is anything close to righteous.

what functions does a Mazda 3 Auto Transmission Speed Sensor 2.3 4 cylinder do:  If you have to ask, you have no business trying to replace one yourself, you knucklehead.

did the conservative party just blame koallo:  The primary purpose of political parties in this century is to place blame, so the answer is probably Yes.

little fat yogurt girl shit outside street porn:  On the other hand, you can’t blame that on Koallo.

why do sneakers stick to floor:  You stepped in someone’s ABC gum and didn’t notice it.

mangoes taste like turpentine genetic cause:  That would be my guess, unless you just flat enjoy the taste of turps.

The unique Pier One smell:  It’s either mango or turpentine.

temblette:  A really small, kind of girly earthquake.

santa claus is a monopoly:  And you know what else? Every year a copy of the Naughty List goes to the IRS.

latina nudists who is a dead ringer of patty (the manager of the terra cotta inn:  Sorry, folks, I don’t know any Latina nudists. [sob]

maxims of methodical procedure beautiful to unbeautiful:  You’ll have to wait. I’m trying to locate some Latina nudists — methodically.

failer pay attention:  If attention had been paid, perhaps we wouldn’t have had so much fail.

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Candidates for exile

Earlier today, in a Yahoo! Answers piece, I justified my fondness for the ponyverse this way:

[T]he weather isn’t random, the leaders are actually benevolent, and evil is punishable by banishment.

With that in mind, Robert Stacy McCain offers a list of individuals who, if you ask me, ought to be imprisoned on some faraway planetoid. (Not the Moon; Luna would have no dealings with jerks like this.)

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The things we do for cute

There is a limit to how much a woman is willing to endure to “improve” her appearance:

We all have our Bridge Too Far, I think, that place we will not go, that discomfort we will not bear for the sake of conventional beauty.

I don’t own a single compression garment, for example. No control-top hose or Spanx or middle-slimmers. But I am pretty thin, so I realize I don’t have a dog in that fight. If I had a little more flesh on me, would I endure those squeezy things? Probably not; I usually tear off my regular tights, along with shoes, watch, earrings, belt, and rings within sixty seconds of walking through the door.

I have known women who discarded even more than that.

But clothing and accessories constitute only a single vector:

I’ll suffer other discomforts for “beauty”: I have bleached my teeth, plucked my brows, lasered some brown spots and (once upon a time) straightened my hair. For me, these completely unnecessary procedures seem/ed worth the pain and expense. So I clearly buy into the advertising-fueled belief that “natural” isn’t acceptable.

Advertising, after all, is intended to sell artifice.

And then there’s this:

“I never was all that interested in looks,” he said.

“That statement is almost never true. And it’s absolutely never a compliment. Think about it.”

And so it goes.

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Icing called

Brian J., as is his wont, brings a single stone to take care of two birds at once:

Problem: The continuing NHL labor dispute.

Problem: Hostess Brands, Inc., liquidating over a labor dispute.

Solution: Open the NHL with replacement players taken from the bakeries.

I’ve seen worse proposals, like, for instance, well, all of them.

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It’s all crab bucket down there

From The Oklahoman’s quickie Saturday editorials:

Many of the schools that comprise the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association have to be smiling this weekend. As the football finals and semifinals got under way, only one private school (Oklahoma Christian, in Class 2A) remained standing.

The OSSAA member schools voted a few years ago to punish private schools by requiring their teams to move up one class if they reach the final eight in any sport three out of five years. This stemmed largely from schools such as Heritage Hall and Bishop McGuinness in Oklahoma City winning state titles in football.

Proponents of the rule change said something needed to be done to counter the advantages private schools have by being able to control their enrollment. Those advantages never seemed to be an issue when those schools weren’t as successful.

I’m waiting to see what they do about 6A schools, the state title for which has gone to either Jenks or Union every year since 1996. (This year, it was Jenks, who beat Norman North, 55-20.) I’m pretty sure, though, that OSSAA Handicapper General Executive Director Ed Sheakley isn’t worried about that.

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