Today is a good day to scan

The Klingon Empire now has access to proper antivirus tools:

Use Sophos’s Klingon Anti-Virus to quickly perform an on-demand scan and find viruses, spyware, adware, zero-day threats, Betazoid sub-ether porn diallers and Tribbles that your existing protection might have missed. The software can be run without deactivating your current anti-virus software. Phasers can be left set to stun.

It’s not perfect, of course. From the release notes:

Klingon Anti-Virus is unable to remove Rogue Nanites from the central core. To remove establish negotiation using Android or system running OS X 10.6 and deposit on nearest uninhabited moon.

Cardassians: you’re on your own.

(Via Debby the Odd Links Gal.)

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Fark blurb of the week

Group wants R-rating for any movie that has smoking in it and NC-17 for depiction of drinking, eating red meat, and driving without a seat belt on.

(Linked to this.)

Thread winner: “spasemunki,” for the following:

This will be really useful to kids trying to talk their clueless parents into letting them see rated R movies:

Dad: So why is Basic Instinct rated R?

Kid: Well, there’s this scene where Sharon Stone is being interrogated by the police and she’s sitting in a chair at the police station in this short dress, and you can see that she’s holding a cigarette.

Such wickedness.

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The triumph of Selma and Patty Bouvier

Well, what do you know: there’s a DMV office in the Springfield Mall. So this fanciful title actually makes sense:

Few places in Virginia are as draining to the soul and as numbing to the buttocks as the branch offices of the Department of Motor Vehicles. And yet, until recently, smiling was still permitted there.

No more. As part of the DMV’s effort to develop super-secure driver’s licenses and foolproof identification cards, the agency has issued a smile ban, directing customers to adopt a “neutral expression” in their portraits, thereby extinguishing whatever happiness comes with finally hearing one’s number called.

This particular practice has not spread to Oklahoma, and it may not, since most of our license renewals are done at independent tag agencies by actual private-sector persons. Waiting period depends on the time of the month — plates that expired in April will see a bumper crop of renewals today and tomorrow, before the penalties kick in — but I think the longest I’ve ever spent in line at a tag agency is 15 minutes.

(Via Daily Pundit.)

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The price of metaphor abuse

So someone asked what the heck that was I was driving these days, and after rattling off the Infiniti stuff, I added semi-helpfully, “Basically, it’s a Nissan Maxima in a prom dress.”

It occurred to me afterward: what the hell do I know from prom dresses? It’s been forty years since I got out of high school, and I didn’t even go to that one. (You don’t want to know the story. Trust me.)

Fortunately, there are always people ready to provide instruction to those of us whose rhetoric outshines our realities.

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Or we could just clone Steve Nash

“Not a chance in hell,” admits Clark Matthews, but this proposed NBA deal doesn’t seem quite as insane after a second look:

  • Clippers select Griffin
  • Memphis selects Rubio
  • Oklahoma City selects Thabeet
  • L.A. then ships Griffin to Oklahoma City with Baron Davis and his monster contract
  • Memphis ships Rubio to L.A. (and possibly Darko Milicic)
  • Oklahoma City ships Thabeet and the #25 pick to Memphis

In the end, Memphis gets an extra draft pick, possibly unloads the disappointing Milicic (saving them money immediately), and avoids the headache of trying to convince Rubio to spend $5MM of his own money to come play for a team he never wanted to be on in the first place.

As for the Clippers, they save a ton of money by exiling Baron Davis (who they signed last year assuming they would be able to compete immediately — Elton Brand then bolted ruining that idea). They’ll also get a potential superstar in Ricky Rubio, and if willing, get the expiring contract of Darko Milicic (the guy taken between LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony in the 2004 draft). Yes, this deal probably wouldn’t make the Clippers better (unless Rubio is better than even I think he is), but anyone who has read the Sterling piece in ESPN the Magazine can attest, the $54MM in savings probably means a lot more to him.

And Davis’ contract is a monster: $65 million over five years, one year of which has been completed.

Still, this trade would provide a response to the question “What the heck is Russell Westbrook doing at the point, anyway?” With Davis on hand and presumably starting — he started 60 games this past season despite back problems — the protean Westbrook would perforce mutate into a combo guard, which will add a tad more flexibility to the playbook. (Late in the season, you’d occasionally see both Westbrook and Earl Watson on the floor simultaneously, so this sort of thing is not exactly going to shock Scott Brooks.)

Then again, if we’re going to go hunting for a 30-year-old point guard, we ought to see if we can snag Jannero Pargo, who’s departing the Euroleague. He’s streaky, but so is Davis, and Mucho Jannero won’t cost so much dinero.

Finally, there’s this:

Most teams we’ve spoken to in Chicago are indicating that they believe Oklahoma City is indeed leaning towards picking [James] Harden. They also believe the Thunder are not enamored with Rubio at all, as they are committed to developing Russell Westbrook at his natural position — point guard.

Told ya so.

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The rest is Sawmill Gravy

Blythe warns of a potential threat:

When you venture out on a weekend morning, I suggest you steer (literally) clear of any Cracker Barrels in your area. They are dangerous places of death and destruction and I’m not just talking about cholesterol and race relations. The speed limit might say 40, but sure as shit every oldie wheeling their obsolete Buick into the parking lot will be racing along at 5, maybe 7. BEWARE.

I guess I was lucky that day in the summer of ought-seven: I pulled into a Cracker Barrel in Knoxville, America at a speed well into double digits, because I could, and Tam had already arrived, and she’s not even close to being a slouch behind the wheel.

Then again, that was a Wednesday. Maybe next time I’ll scan the horizons for obsolete Buicks. Or non-obsolete Buicks, if any exist.

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That endearing old Bugs

I never could play “Those Endearing Young Charms” worth a hoot, but since Fillyjonk was kind enough to bring it up:

(It’s funny, actually, a lot of the older songs I know from “classic” cartoons. Picking out the melody of “All those endearing young charms” reminded me of a Bugs Bunny cartoon where Yosemite Sam had set the piano with dynamite under one of the keys that you play in the song … and that Bugs kept “intentionally” making a mistake and missing that key — in fact, it’s a mistake that’s very easy to make when you’re trying to play the song, I made it myself)

Ballot Box Bunny, 1950. However, Warner Bros. wasn’t above recycling a gag:

You can do that when you’re working with public-domain material, I guess. (Thomas Moore’s original dates to 1808.)

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It’s the Nork Nuke CoTV, says Andrew Ian Dodge of the 336th Carnival of the Vanities.

I presume that the Norks have been accumulating Nukes because, among other reasons, the Dear Leader looks to the remainder of the Korean peninsula and dreams of forcibly reuniting North and South. Not that reconquest is exactly a new idea: Aurelian had abandoned Dacia, on the north bank of the Danube, reasoning that it was too difficult to defend, but nine decades later, Constantine I decided to retake the province, and did so in 336.

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Doors and revolvers

I can’t decide which of these two approaches to term limits I like better. First, from Francis W. Porretto:

Along with term limits as conventionally understood, I’d really like to see limits that confine an officeholder to a single branch of government. That is:

  • No one who’s ever been a legislator is permitted to serve in the executive or judicial branch;
  • No one who’s ever been an executive is permitted to serve in the legislative or judicial branches;
  • No one who’s ever been a jurist is permitted to serve in the executive or legislative branches;
  • And maybe for good measure, no one who’s ever been appointed to a position that requires confirmation by the Senate is permitted to serve in an elective office at all!

Alternatively, from P. J. O’Rourke:

Term limits aren’t enough. We need jail.

I have basically quit hoping for what’s behind Door Number 3.

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Out standing in someone else’s field

Back in February, I described the joy, such as it is, of taking a job that didn’t pay so well:

[I]t was something that paid about 40 percent as much as I’d made earlier, simply because it was an improvement over zero.

As the phrase goes, it’s a living. And along those lines, someone self-identified as “useless idiot” points out:

Do you really believe that most accountants just love accounting? If they got a check from the government for the same amount of money without having to work, how much of their time would they spend accounting?

What happens more often is that people get sucked into this or that field, then justify after-the-fact that they “like it” so they don’t have to admit to themselves that they spend half of their waking hours doing something they do not particularly enjoy. This is why welfare is such a dangerous concept for a society — most of the jobs that contribute to our well-being require someone to do something that they wouldn’t otherwise do.

Let the record show that some of those fields indeed suck.

And truth be told, every time I’m overtaken by the delusion that someone might actually pay me to blog, I remember that what I really want is someone to pay me not to blog.

It’s a Marxist point of view, of course:

Spaulding: This is better than exploring! What do you fellows get an hour?

Ravelli: Oh, for playing we get ten dollars an hour.

Spaulding: I see. What do you get for not playing?

Ravelli: Twelve dollars an hour.

Spaulding: Well, clip me off a piece of that.

Ravelli: Now, for rehearsing we make special rate. That’s fifteen dollars an hour.

Spaulding: That’s for rehearsing?

Ravelli: That’s for rehearsing.

Spaulding: And what do you get for not rehearsing?

Ravelli: You couldn’t afford it … you see, if we don’t rehearse, we don’t play, and, if we don’t play, that runs into money.

Hello, I must be going.

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Lessons from life (one in a series)

Advice to would-be money-launderers: if you absolutely must leave your wallet in your pants pocket when you do a load of wash, make sure you use the Delicate cycle.

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Tweaking the business plan

“What is a newspaper worth?” asks Managing Editor Patrick B. McGuigan on the front page of The City Sentinel, a weekly broadsheet published in and for central Oklahoma City. You can pretty much guess the content, but you might not have guessed this notice below the fold:

If you have paid for a mail subscription within the last 12 months, thank you! If your last payment came before June 30, 2008, or if you’re not certain but you want to keep getting the paper, send $5 along with your mail label to: The City Sentinel, PO Box 60876, Oklahoma City, OK 73146. To save mail and processing costs, this will be your only notice. Thank you!

Well, that’s one way to keep costs down: don’t send renewal notices.

(Cover price of the Sentinel is a dime.)

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Non sum dignus

Hey-la, hey-la, the sponge is back:

Once more women will be calculating whether the men in their lives are sponge-worthy because the Today contraceptive sponge has just returned to drugstore shelves.

The contraceptive sponge, once the most popular barrier method of birth control for women, is made of polyurethane covered with spermicide. No prescription needed. It has twice disappeared from the market, although not for safety reasons.

[Insert Bikini Bottom joke here.]

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Oh, I dunno, some clunker

The Brits have had their scrappage scheme going for a week now, offering £2000 for cars over the age of ten if you buy a new car. And you should see the things that are being turned in for Hyundais:

One Hyundai dealer was amazed to see a Jaguar XJ-S being sent to the scrapper in exchange for a new i10, while another crushed an XJ6 to make way for an i20. BMWs, Audis and Mercedes cars and vans were relatively common sights on their way to the automotive knacker’s yard (34, 22 and 32 respectively handled by Hyundai dealers this week) as were Mazda MX-5s (six in total), MGFs (seven) and several Saabs.

This is made more incredible by the fact that cars turned in for scrap must be more or less functional: they must have MOT (or SORN if used only off-road) declarations. Then again, some cars were closer to less functional:

Rovers with head gasket problems were the most common cars turning up at Hyundai dealers on the end of a tow rope, while one 94 year-old Ashford man was late picking up his new i10 because a wheel had fallen off his Citroën on the way to the showroom!

The UK scheme is the most flexible thus far proposed: it’s intended not as some fatuous carbon-conserving aid, but purely as a means of hyping new-car sales. It’ll never catch on here.

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Now there’s another juxtaposition

I have occasionally snickered at iTunes’ idea of “random,” but sometimes it produces pure comic gold.

Or maybe Acapulco gold. Yesterday’s twin-spin: the (post-Diana Ross) Supremes’ “Stoned Love,” followed immediately by “Earache My Eye,” by Cheech and Chong — it may not be love, but it’s definitely stoned.

(At least slightly funnier than this instance, anyway. Or this one.)

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At least I know where my towel is

I’ve eaten more than a few meals while wearing approximately nothing, which I consider no big deal — well, maybe if the soup is really, really hot — but it’s never occurred to me to do so outside the home, even though some people do so on a semi-regular basis. Nor could I see this sort of thing as a growth industry.

So maybe I’m lacking the vision thing, because apparently it’s becoming trendier: I knew about nude yoga, but now there is nude BBQ, even nude stand-up comedy. And a British newspaper claims that “according to a survey of 2,500 adults, more than a quarter of us eat breakfast naked.”

I still think hot soup is potentially worse than cold cereal, but I’m not exactly inclined to test this for myself.

(Seen here.)

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The great Chrysler purge

Apparently, among Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep dealers being given the axe, there are far more Republican contributors than Democratic contributors. Sample rhetoric:

What we ask is: does it seem odd that the list of closed dealerships appears to have contributed a grand total of $200 to Barack Obama and millions to GOP candidates/causes?

Sheesh. Auto dealers tend to be your basic pro-growth Chamber of Commerce types, and they tend to like cars. You’d expect them to donate to Republicans, or at least to decline to donate to Democrats, for precisely those reasons. Given the vast quantity of financial skulduggery behind the Chrysler debacle, which has aroused scarcely any outrage by comparison, I’m wondering if the Obots have sent GOP partisans on yet another snipe hunt.

(Via Nice Deb.)

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Certainly no one’s been on the lawn

One feature I always read in The Week is “Best properties on the market,” a two-page real-estate spread featuring (usually) half a dozen homes for sale in romantic locations.

Like, um, Coweta County, Georgia. Says the blurb:

[T]his 1840 four-bedroom Second Empire-style home sits on five acres, which include a three-bedroom carriage house, a pool, a gazebo, and a koi pond. $1,399,000.

That “1840″ jumped out at me, since eighteen-year-old Victoria ascended the throne only in 1837, and not so much architecture is inspired by women in their early twenties. Of course, most of your Queen Anne-style homes in no way resemble anything that Anne herself was likely to have seen, and there’s enough of a tower in the center to justify the Second Empire tag, but still this bugged me a bit.

So I looked up the place, and lo and behold:

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Cover photo for East Coast Victorians: Castles & Cottages and numerous other publications. Built in 1840, this home was Victorianized in 1885 as a wedding gift for one of the town’s key citizens.

It would be interesting to see what this place looked like before Vickification. Dave’s Victorian House Site clarifies the history a bit:

This spectacularly elaborate house was originally built in the 1840′s in the Greek Revival style, then massively renovated into a High Victorian beauty in the 1880′s. The house eventually fell into ruin but was re-renovated back to life in the 1980′s. It is now a private residence.

Which fuzzes the story further, since Dave characterizes the house as “Stick Style/Eastlake,” both of which are Queen Anne subtypes.

While pondering this mystery, I briefly entertained a wacky notion: what if this were the legendary Castle McGehee? What shot this idea down was the description of the location in The Week: “about a 45-minute drive from Atlanta.” Forty-five minutes? Yeah, right. No way would McGehee ever countenance that level of truthiness.

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A Nair-raising interchange

Trini mentioned today that she was going shopping for her favorite shorts: long shorts.

It’s a pretty ugly thing to admit, but my pulse quickly slowed.

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The L you say

Orin Kerr, for some reason, has been counting citations:

Number of times the phrase “pubic policy” has appeared in federal court decisions included in the Westlaw ALLFEDS database: 29. Number of times the phrase has appeared in law reviews included in the Westlaw JLR database: 129.

I blame spearchuckers spellcheckers.

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