The bargain hunter brings home a trophy

During my days in New England, I discovered something called Filene’s Basement, oddly enough underneath a Filene’s store. Items relegated to the Basement were marked down some startling amount, and further markdowns were taken if they survived ten, then twenty, days. After 30 days, anything left was donated to charity. I learned to keep well back as shoppers fought each other for items on Day 29.

Then again, I’m a guy. I don’t have the killer shopping gene. I’d never survive this sort of thing:

Got a Lord&Taylor end-of-season coupon in the mail (something useful in USPS pulp download, for a change) and went to get my “20% of our sale items” bargain. Naturally, same idea occurred to other 759 women, all wandering in pandem0nium around same 4 1/2 stands with all left-shoe sale merchandise and then shuffling among settees with boxes and single shoes strewn all over them in insane hope to find something wearable AND moderately priced — unlike a pair of some-designer-I-never-heard-of podium-rough creation which was generously discounted from “suggested” $1,400 to mere $850. And who, incidentally, are those crazies who’d suggest such a thing? I want to look into their shameless eyes.

She did, however, score:

Quilt by Franco Sarto

Marked down from $69 to $55 at Zappos, our heroine snagged a pair of these for a mere $30 (marked down from $125 because it’s Lord & Taylor fercrissake). For absolutely no reason I can see, Franco Sarto calls this shoe “Quilt.” I definitely like the look of it: it seems more insubstantial than it really is, though it’s hardly gossamer.

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Toward hoopier (and more hygienic) froods

Inevitably, we must bow to the wisdom of Douglas Adams:

A towel … is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value — you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindboggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you — daft as a bush, but very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

In fact, the towel will serve some of us well in seemingly-mundane places like San Francisco:

The legislation will address two issues. First, it will require people who are nude in public to place an item — for example, a towel — underneath them when they sit down. This will avoid situations, as currently occurs, where nudists sit down on public seating without placing anything between their body and the seat. Second, the legislation will require nudists to don clothing before they enter a restaurant.

“San Francisco is a liberal and tolerant city, and we pride ourselves on that fact. Yet, while we have a variety of views about public nudity, we can all agree that when you sit down naked, you should cover the seat, and that you should cover up when you go into a food establishment.”

The quote comes from the man who proposed the measure, Supervisor Scott Wiener.

(Scraped from Lisa Paul’s Facebook wall.)

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Sick, sick, sick, all of you

Europe, according to this Reuters report, is a hotbed of mental illness:

Europeans are plagued by mental and neurological illnesses, with almost 165 million people or 38 percent of the population suffering each year from a brain disorder such as depression, anxiety, insomnia or dementia, according to a large new study.

With only about a third of cases receiving the therapy or medication needed, mental illnesses cause a huge economic and social burden — measured in the hundreds of billions of euros — as sufferers become too unwell to work and personal relationships break down.

Whatever can they mean, listing insomnia and dementia right next to each other? Are they somehow comparable? Or do they need insomnia to pad the numbers?

And no, I’m not mocking insomnia. I’ve had it, and had it bad. I’ve also spent days on suicide watch. Trust me, insomnia is trivial by comparison.

Peter, more cynical than I, detects the hand of the Almighty State:

With almost four out of every ten Europeans ‘suffering’ from what the survey defines as a ‘mental illness’ (many of which I would dispute are mental illnesses at all), European psychologists and their allies can now argue for massive increases in their State funding.

That phrase “social burden” gives it away, doesn’t it?

(The preceding has been brought to you by the Ministry of Love.)

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Not so mean, girls

In its (so far) two days of operation, Tavi Gevinson’s Rookie, an online magazine for teenage girls actually operated and overseen by a teenage girl, has produced all manner of quotable stuff, though this item, by Tavi herself, is the one that I decided to toss into the stew here. The subject is Getting Over Girl Hate, and here’s the reason why you should:

I want everyone to be confident and like themselves! Sincerely. People not liking themselves seems to be where their hating other people begins, and that’s when you get a world full of hatred and spite and darkness, and that is why we have to sing awful songs in music class about loving children and trees and shit. These songs must be stopped.

Anything that curbs “Kumbaya” is fine with me.

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Misery compromise

Kim Reynolds drove a Chevrolet Volt from Detroit to Los Angeles for the October issue of Motor Trend, and the general dearth of charging stations along the way prompted this tongue-in-cheek observation:

Nissan Leaf drivers attempting to cross the country might be the solution to our nation’s dwindling rural population. Eventually, they’ll become stranded far from the coast’s handy plugs, and be forced to find an apartment and a job.

At least, I think it was tongue-in-cheek.

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Advanced European thought

My German is just this side of nonexistent, so while you get the original link, the blockquote comes from a translation posted at Gates of Vienna:

At the instigation of a mentally unbalanced bee-keeper, the similarly unbalanced European Court (EuGH), the highest court in the EUSSR, is considering whether honeybees are allowed to approach genetically modified plants and take their pollen. If they are not, then, first, the resultant honey must be removed from supermarket shelves and burned in a carbon-neutral fashion. Second, bees will be forbidden to approach inappropriate blossoms.

Meanwhile in Sacramento, an Assembly member is asking herself: “Why didn’t we think of that?”

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Who goes there?

Eric Fanner, writing in the International Herald Tribune, notes that some people would like you to use your real name on the Internet, if you please:

Online anonymity is essential for political dissidents, whose role has been highlighted in the uprisings in the Arab world, and for corporate whistle-blowers. In the United States, the Supreme Court has found a constitutional basis for protecting anonymity.

Why, then, are the calls for restrictions on Internet anonymity growing?

Last month, Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich of Germany said bloggers should disclose their true identities, citing the case of the Norwegian terrorist suspect Anders Behring Breivik, who had blogged under the pseudonym “Fjordman.”

Um, no. Breivik actually blogged under the name “Andrew Berwick.” He did, however, make numerous references to the work of Fjordman, whose name is Peder Jensen. (I’m not revealing any secrets here: Jensen outed himself last month.) Friedrich did not confuse Breivik and Fjordman, so this error is clearly Fanner’s.

Still, if anything, the error reinforces Fanner’s point: if the media can screw up your identity, it’s probably just as well that they don’t know you.

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O cursed bewbage!

Jessica Simpson is, perhaps unexpectedly, contemplating plastic surgery:

The singer-and-actress — who is engaged to former NFL player Eric Johnson — is reportedly unhappy with her large boobs and believes downsizing her assets before tying the knot will help her to look better in her wedding dress.

A source told In Touch Weekly magazine: “She thinks if she downsizes her breasts, she will look smaller. She’s never loved having a huge chest.”

Traditional fashion advice calls for a bit of misdirection: draw the eye to some place other than the perceived figure flaw.

Jessica Simpson not wearing a whole lot

Hmmm. Doesn’t seem to work so well. And that will almost certainly not pass for a wedding dress.

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Dust can’t kill me

Is it time for Dust Bowl 2: Electric Boogaloo? Go ahead and breathe a sigh of relief.

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Ladies, he’s single

Simon Bleecker (that’s his mother’s maiden name) concocts an online dating profile:

My hateful patriarchal name, which I have totally repudiated, is Urquhart. I’m in the process of legally changing my name to Unkwaayumet-Nenachuk, a double-barrelled Nez Perce and Tibetan name meaning (roughly, since English is such a non-spiritual language) “Rainbow Wisdom Person”. The Nez Perce part is to atone for the fact that there were probably some people in the past named Urquhart who might have oppressed the Nez Perce. It seems like the sort of thing evil white people named Urquhart would do, which is one reason why I now reject the name. Anyway, I’m not like that at all. Nor, despite my hateful male genitalia, do I harbor any disrespect or insensitivity to womyn, who are all equally beautiful Earth Goddesses in my eyes. If only men would realize just how much innate wisdom each womyn possesses and if only men would heed that womynly wisdom, then the world would finally be at peace. I promise I will heed your wisdom without question. I also wish to apologize in advance for any sexual longing I might experience when I finally get to meet you. Rest assured that it is only the Universal Goddesshead in you that I am appreciating and I will be sure to get advance permission for each step of the lovemaking process, if that’s all right with you. Is it all right with you? Again, I don’t want to impose, so I will wait for you to initiate every move. Just tell me what you want me to do. Thank you again.

The underlying principle here, I suspect, is “Hippie chicks are easy.” If you borrow this template, you can expect to find out otherwise.

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That’s not a crossover

This is a crossover:

1959 Jaguar Foxbat

The owner of this Jaguar XK150 wanted to haul more than just ass; he had a couple of Labradors to schlep around. So he replaced the Jag’s curvy but small rear with the back end of a Morris Minor Traveler, and declared the resulting, um, hybrid to be the “Foxbat,” a wicked-fast shooting brake long before Audi or Mercedes or Cadillac picked up on the idea.

The Foxbat, powered by Jaguar’s 3.4-litre twincam six, will be auctioned off at Goodwood later this month by Bonhams, where it’s expected to bring somewhere over £30,000.

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Law west of the Pecos

I am reasonably certain that this is not an actual Texas law-enforcement examination:

A young Texan grew up wanting to be a lawman. He grew up big, 6’2″, strong as a longhorn, and fast as a mustang. He could shoot a bottle cap tossed in the air at 40 paces.

When he finally came of age, he applied to where he had only dreamed of working: the West Texas Sheriff’s Department. After a series of tests and interviews, the Chief Deputy finally called him into his office for the young man’s last interview.

The Chief Deputy said, “You’re a big strong kid and you can really shoot. So far your qualifications all look good, but we have what you might call an ‘attitude suitability test’ that you must take before you can be accepted. We don’t just let anyone carry our badge, son.”

Then, sliding a service pistol and a box of ammo across the desk, the Chief said, “Take this pistol and shoot everything on this list”:

  • six illegal aliens,
  • six lawyers,
  • six meth dealers,
  • six Muslim extremists,
  • six Democrats,
  • and a rabbit.

“Why the rabbit?” queried the applicant.

“Great attitude. You pass.” said the Chief Deputy. “When can you start?”

I’m guessing this particular rabbit might have been on the endangered-species list.

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Drilling rights

France establishes a performance standard for marital sex, kinda sorta:

A Frenchman has been ordered to pay his ex-wife £8,500 in damages for failing to have enough sex with her during their marriage.

The 51-year-old man was fined under article 215 of France’s civil code, which states married couples must agree to a “shared communal life”.

The ex, 47, after filing for divorce, filed a second claim, complaining of “lack of sex over 21 years of marriage,” and asked €10,000 in damages. A judge in Aix-en-Provence ruled in her favor:

“A sexual relationship between husband and wife is the expression of affection they have for each other, and in this case it was absent. By getting married, couples agree to sharing their life and this clearly implies they will have sex with each other.”

Unanswered in this article is the question of how much sex they had before they got married.

(Via The PJ Tatler.)

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Abandoned then & there

Suppose — just suppose — that the AT&T takeover of T-Mobile USA doesn’t happen. It’s no particular secret that Deutsche Telekom has been anxious to get its American stepchild off its hands and its books, but if AT&T can’t take it, who will? Sascha Segan of has some ideas on the subject, and I’m thinking the one I’d like the best is this:

Why should the New York Times be the only American icon rescued by Carlos Slim? Owned by the richest man in the world, América Móvil is the world’s fourth-largest mobile operator and already has a foothold in the U.S. through its ownership of Tracfone/Net10/Straight Talk. If T-Mobile is indeed America’s value player, it could have some synergies with América Móvil’s existing offerings. Also, Slim loves telecom.

And he’s already got 15 million Stateside customers: add Tmo’s 30 million, and they won’t quite catch up to Sprint for third place, but they’d be a much-stronger fourth. Besides, if anyone is capable of staring down the Death Star, it’s got to be Carlos Slim.

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Round, round, get a round

Nothing, of course, will withstand everything. This we stipulate from the very beginning. That said:

Texas Armoring Corporation (TAC) is the leading worldwide manufacturer and supplier of lightweight armored cars and custom bulletproof vehicles. With roots dating back to the 1970s, TAC founders and key management personnel have nearly 200 years of combined armoring experience. Through focusing on engineering, innovation, protection, lightweight armor applications, and premium finishing, TAC engineers have literally produced and shipped thousands of armored cars & bulletproof vehicles for distinguished individuals throughout the world.

With that in mind, here come three rounds:

Don’t even think about trying this at home.

(Via Autoblog.)

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Hope and oil change

Charles Pergiel goes to the auto-parts store:

I pick up a Fram filter because it’s easy, they have one of those little electronic selection jobbies. They have some other brands, but nothing that looks like the discount generic, so the $4 Fram filter is fine.

I get to the checkout counter and guy tells me I can save $4 (FOUR DOLLARS!) by getting the Castrol oil instead of O’Reilly’s house brand. The Castrol five quart jug is normally $24, so they are knocking off $8. Castrol must really want to sell some oil.

Yesterday I drove by one of those quickie oil change places and they were advertising oil changes for $18. Times must be tough. They must be counting on selling you some windshield wipers.

My last oil change, incidentally, was $41.95, which included five quarts of Mobil Clean 5000, Nissan’s OEM oil filter, and a wash/vacuum job. The oil, presumably from a bulk source, was listed at $2.40 a quart and rounded up to the nearest quart, since actual capacity is four liters (4.23 qt). A set of wiper blades would have run the tab up to $80ish. Then again, I didn’t do any of the actual work.

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