All together now: “How hot is it?”

The National Weather Service has been showing us numbers like this today:

NWS screencap

If you look closely at that glowing gasbag in the orange sky, you might see something that looks vaguely like a cloud formation above it. Nope. After diligent research, Fillyjonk has discovered the Secret Message contained therein.

I admit, though, that given its resemblance to the Eye of Sauron, I was expecting, you know, something in Elvish.

(Previous “How hot is it?” japery here.)

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Truth in littering

“Do appliances know that they can make your life miserable if they shoot craps on a Sunday?” asked Nicole.

Fortunately, it’s possible in some instances for the punishment to fit the crime. Consider this broken stove, exiled from its former home:

Open Range

Even now, Suzette is backing up the truck.

(Via HackedIRL.com.)

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Hey, can we get these too?

Sounds like one of Mayor Quimby’s ideas:

Springfield spent $700,000 out of its capital improvement budget to put up signs with helpful arrows to Downtown, the Battlefield Retail District, Bass Pro Shops, and so on.

Granted, I can understand why you might need a sign to indicate downtown, since there are few buildings over four stories tall in Springfield and a visitor might not realize that this cluster of short buildings is downtown. But does it really need signs indicating the Battlefield Retail district? You’re on Battlefield Road and there are shops. I suppose if there are tourists who cannot figure that out, we do need to point them to the right places to part them from their money. And Bass Pro Shops? If you’re someone who’s going to Bass Pro Shops, you’re someone who knows where it is.

Here in the Somewhat Bigger Town, we confined ourselves to pointing to downtown stuff. I’m surprised there’s no pointer to Bass Pro Shops, inasmuch as they got a nice little subsidy to locate in Lower Bricktown, but then again, anyone likely to be going there already knows the way.

Did Springfield get this idea from us? Probably not, but this seems inarguable:

[T]he wayfinding signs are just a pretty way to spend money and to bow to peer pressure of other cities that have wasted money putting these things up. I can’t be the only one to notice that candidates for office often stress that they’ve lived in an area all their lives and know the solutions the region needs, and then they go on a junket — I mean fact-finding mission or conference trip — to some fabulous location and come back with a bunch of imported ways to spend money to make this city look like that city.

We have no shortage of would-be hipster urbanists who want this town to look exactly like [fill in name of municipal role model] — only completely different. Whatever the hell that means. And I admit to my own occasional bedazzlement with cool urban stuff: I think it’s really neat that we’re going to weave a streetcar line into the central-city fabric, even though I suspect that for the same $130 million or so we could buy something like a ’99 Ford Taurus for each and every person who currently rides the bus, and then get out of the transit business entirely. Then again, where are they going to park? Bass Pro Shops?

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I’m not dead yet

And this email isn’t going to make me want to go on the cart, either:

My name is Dr. Michael Grant from International Monetary Fund (IMF) Outstanding Remittance, London. I’m directed to contact you by the establishment to urgently confirm from you if actually you know one Mr. Paul Franklin who claim to be your business associate/partner here in London, UK.

The said Mr. Paul Franklin is claiming to us that you are dead and he will like to change all the Information that we have on you as the bona fide beneficiary. Below is the new banking information were he wish to have this funds transferred to:

Bank of America
Address: 6901 Northwest Expressway
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73132
Phone: 405-773-1683 Fax: 405-722-6005
ABA: 103000017 (all other)
ABA: 026009593 (International)
ACCT. #:003042656833
ACCT Name: FMS Investments Inc.
Signatory: Floyd M. Shealy

This development is coming now that the institution want to offset all your outstanding payments to all our legal foreign beneficiaries’ around the world in which your payment file was affected.

As you may know, the total amount in your favor is a total sum of $3.5 million U.S Dollars. We need to confirm from you if it’s really true that you are dead and If we did not hear from you it automatically means that you are actually dead and the information passed to us by Mr. Paul Franklin is correct.

At least somebody did some homework: there is indeed a B of A branch at 6901 Northwest Distressway, east of Rockwell, and that’s the correct phone number. And I’m pretty sure that’s the right routing code.

On the other hand, I tend to believe that if I had a business partner, he’d have had me killed by now.

Other than a mailto, there’s no link, questionable or otherwise, in the text; the alleged Dr. Grant wishes to be reached by email or telephone only. As for Floyd M. Shealy, a name I’ve never used — I did, for a while, style myself “Sharon Sheeley,” after the late songwriter, for purposes of online fiction — I’m guessing he’s probably not dead either.

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Lacking in bore

You’re looking at Celine, the Shoe Girl, and while I will, of course, mention the shoes — goofy little demi-bootlets from Gwen Stefani’s L.A.M.B. operation — what I really wanted you to see was the dress:

Betsey Johnson dress with a lot of guns on it

I heart this cobalt blue, especially with the black overlay, and what’s that pattern anyway? Right: handguns, with occasional rounds (which likely don’t fit) floating by. Betsey Johnson actually produced this dress, along with a similar “Gun Show Sweater”, and it’s just too bad they’re out of stock. As it happens, Celine actually designs shoes for Betsey Johnson, so she might have scored this dress for a tad less than the $268 list. Her own comment:

I love the gun print. Girly and badass at the same time. So Betsey.

What I really want to imagine, though, is the effect of this sweet little dress on your friendly neighborhood hoplophobe.

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Anthem of the sons

My own family tree has roots in some fairly disparate places — Syria, Mexico, and the not-necessarily-British Isles — so I’m not at all fazed by this Smitty hypothetical:

As Americans continue to reproduce across traditional ethnic lines, will we cross a ‘Heinz 57 Horizon’, after which the DNA is all so muddled as to render Affirmative Action as intelligible as a Grateful Dead cut (not that there is anything wrong with muddling or the GD).

Hey, at least we got rid of the one-drop rule, and not legislatively either.

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Has Beans

From Vent #493, exactly three years ago:

Peter K. Schaffer is an Oklahoma City attorney specializing in adoptions. That’s not why he’s being mentioned here. Mr Schaffer is the director of the Oklahoma Bean Project, which was originally modeled on a vegetable-packing cooperative in Colorado but which eventually became much, much more: one of maybe two non-profit restaurants in the nation, which provides jobs and job training for about a dozen folks, some found through agencies, some literally plucked off the street.

The Bean Project evolved into the Grateful Bean Cafe, at 10th and Walker in the old Kaiser’s Ice Cream building, which opened in 1994. Construction on the roundabout forced Schaffer to close in 2004; it was 2006 before the Bean was able to reopen.

And when July ends, the Bean ends. Says Schaffer: “It’s nothing dramatic. Expenses are too high in relation to income.” I know the feeling.

Kaiser’s ice cream and soda fountain will likely live on under new ownership. But is the Bean Project over? Schaffer isn’t sure. But, as he says, “nothing is permanent.” I’m hoping it can continue in some fashion, perhaps outside the all-too-problematic restaurant industry.

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The principal of the thing

Old lab partner Larry McInerny, now Rev. Msgr. Lawrence B. McInerny, JCL, has assumed (again) the top spot at Bishop England High School, from which he (and I) graduated in 1969.

McInerny served as Rector throughout the 1990s, and is returning to the front office temporarily while the search for a new principal continues. He will continue to serve as pastor of Stella Maris Church on Sullivan’s Island.

This one quote sticks with me:

I don’t consider myself a model student but I only had one demerit in school and that was because I didn’t have uniform socks on one day.

Apparently this horrible smirch on his Permanent Record wasn’t held against him. (I had three total, I think. Then again, look how I turned out.)

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Lockout mountain

The NBA still says it’s losing money:

League officials are projecting a net loss of $370 million for the just-completed season and are seeking a radical overhaul of the collective bargaining agreement. [Commissioner David] Stern reiterated those points in a news conference … Monday evening.

Billy Hunter, executive director of the Players’ Association, sees it a hair differently:

“The reality is, is that the current scenario in the N.B.A. community is rosy,” Hunter … said by phone. “You can’t deny it. The experience that we’re having is unprecedented.”

According to Hunter, basketball-related income last season was the highest in league history. At the same time, player earnings declined by about 1 percent because so many teams were saving for this summer’s marquee free-agent class, he said.

“Basketball-related income” is a term defined in previous collective bargaining agreements between the NBA and the players: it includes almost everything except fines, the “luxury tax” for exceeding the salary cap more than everyone else exceeds it, and receipts from expansion teams. Said salary cap, incidentally, has been set at 51 percent of BRI for several years now; after dropping slightly in 2009-10, it’s risen a smidgen for 2010-11.

Thunder forward Nick Collison tweeted yesterday:

Warriors sold 4record 450 million after being bought for119.if nba is “broken” why are teams always sold 4profit http://tinyurl.com/2f9pcw3

[Shortened link goes to cnbc.com.]

For that matter, Clay Bennett and friends arguably overpaid for the former Seattle SuperSonics: $350 million, for a franchise that Forbes, which guesstimates such things each year, might have been worth two-thirds that much. But the Sonics lost money the last couple of years; the Thunder are believed to be solidly profitable now. I have to figure that the new owners of the Warriors expect to make some money down the road.

I note that several high-buck free agents are getting bucks not quite so high this season: for example, the big move by Snap and CracklePop was already there — to Miami will cost each of them a couple million a year, partially offset by Florida’s lack of state income tax. On the other hand, a lot of people are getting overpaid.

Will there be a lockout? I doubt it, but the standard rule for union and management is for both to take a hard line long before the contract ends, and that’s what’s happening here.

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Service with a grimace

Nissan’s GT-R supercar is priced a bit lower than most supercars — base price is $90k or thereabouts — but the motor-noters who’ve been checking them out for long-term tests are finding out that the Monroney sticker is the only place they’re being cut any slack. Witness this tale of woe from Automobile:

Oh, sure, it started out acting very much like a Nissan, trouble-free and inexpensive to maintain, at least until the 18,000-mile service — the one that requires fluid changes for both differentials and the transmission, ballooning the tab to $1900. We had also by this time used up the brake pads (all four), which necessitated changing the rotors as well. Total cost: $7705.94.

So on this one trip to the Nissan store, they had to fork out nearly ten grand on the repair ticket. And it took them a few weeks to get the car back, though this was due to something else entirely:

Luckily, there was no charge to fix the driveline vibration that was occurring between 2200 and 2700 rpm; it was caused by an errant bearing inside the bellhousing, a known issue with some GT-Rs. The fix required removing the engine.

Had this car been out of warranty, God (or Carlos Ghosn) only knows what the cost to replace that bearing might be.

For comparison, I had Gwendolyn’s brakes similarly redone at about the 90k-mile point; the price at the local Infiniti store was not much under $1000, but it was under $1000.

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Fark blurb of the week

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Because we’re not scared enough

Omigod, it’s risk factors!

This morning, half listening to the news, I heard some story claiming, “Women with hip fat may be at greater risk for Alzheimer’s.” And first I wondered if I heard it right — after all, for years they said that women who were heavier in the hips were better off than apple-shapes, healthwise. And second, I thought, Well, if that’s true, then we’re all just screwed.

I looked it up online. Yeah, there’s some claim that being “hippy” makes you slightly more at risk for Alzheimer’s.

And I gave in to a moment (well, more than a few) of despair. I loathe the way health news gets reported, I loathe the constant doom-and-gloom and we-will-dance-on-your-graves, fatties attitude that seems to pervade a certain amount of it.

I’ve learned to tune this stuff out, based on the following not-too-arguable positions:

  • Everybody has risk factors of some sort. Anyone who claims otherwise is either severely deluded and/or is working for the government.
  • Everybody dies from something. Doesn’t necessarily have to be something for which there’s a risk factor, either; in my less-than-classic phrase, “somewhere out there is a bullet or a bacterium or a Buick with my name on it.”

And the Feds will fund all manner of studies to keep us on edge, because they have a clear financial interest in having us drop dead before we can start collecting the benefits they can’t possibly afford to pay.

So screw ‘em. I work semi-diligently to keep the amount CFI Care (not its real initials) spends on keeping me alive each year somewhere below the amount they get paid; more than this, I believe, they’re not entitled to ask, especially if when they’re subsumed by a pack of governmental mutts.

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Lucky the man with the ice-water concession

If there’s a rock and roll heaven, the Righteous Brothers assured us, you know they got a hell of a band. On t’other hand, you have to figure that the music is still pretty good on the wrong side of the Styx, simply based on the list of people you might suspect landed there.

This premise can be extended further. Consider the New Hades Yankees, who have been waiting all their afterlives for an owner like the late George Steinbrenner.

One inevitable starter in the outfield is Ty Cobb:

Cobb’s life consisted of two things at which he excelled: baseball and violence. He hit .320+ in 23 of his 24 seasons, and also fist-fought a fan in a wheelchair during a game. His career average of .367 is the highest ever, and he once drove to Princeton to beat his son with a whip for failing out of school.

Single-minded, he wasn’t.

(Via Fark.)

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Scene from a summer’s eve

Now this is pretty douche-y:

Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG malparkage

Malparkage at this level should be punishable by rocket launcher.

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And your mother lets you dress yourself funny

The possibly-pseudonymous Nati Hell has started Fashion Bloggers, Why? The idea, apparently, is to mock fashion bloggers unmercifully, which, as blogging goals go, falls squarely on the side of “laudable,” even though she picks on a couple of bloggers I actually read, and despite the fact that I have to dock her a point or two for overuse of the term “derp.” (On which scale, these guys finish in the minus column.)

A sample, from this post:

For me, she’s just another lame and pretentious rich girl, with a closet full of black H&M shirts, who isn’t aware that she looks like Gargamel.

I expect the response from actual fashion bloggers will be along these lines:

What the holy hell is this bullshit? What’s up with this blog, Fashion Bloggers Why? Are you serious?

That, I couldn’t tell you. Then again, I used to read Skullturf Q. Beavispants, back when he was updating more than once a season.

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Dialing douchery

Spoofing Caller ID has been routine for various thieves enterprises for several years now. One variation on this theme I’m seeing more often these days is the sending of the caller’s alleged location instead of their actual name: it might say, for instance, DENVER COLO, followed by a number in area code 303, which you presumably immediately recognize as Denver and therefore this is not, they conclude, a deceptive practice.

They conclude wrong. Be it noted that I am decidedly disinclined to answer any call in which this ploy is used, and if you’ve somehow persuaded yourself that this practice is okay, I consider it prima facie evidence that your ethics aren’t everything they could be.

Aside to the Senate: The House has already passed a measure to outlaw Caller ID spoofing generally; what’s slowing you down?

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