Zooeypalooza 20!

It’s about time, right?

Zooeypalooza 20!

Embiggenment via the handy CLICK method.

Paloozas of the past: ZP 1, ZP 2, ZP 3, ZP 4, ZP 5, ZP 6, ZP 7, ZP 8, ZP 9, ZP 10, ZP 11, ZP 12, ZP 13, ZP 14, ZP 15, ZP 16, ZP 17, ZP 18, ZP 19.

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Lynn goes to the Tulsa Home and Garden Show, and finds it mostly meh:

There was very little that you couldn’t see any day at Lowe’s or Home Depot. Fifty flooring companies with the exact same hardwood flooring; fifty countertop companies with the exact same granite counter tops; fifty window and siding companies with essentially the same windows and siding; and 500,000,000 tornado shelter companies… Okay, I might be exaggerating a little bit on that last one.

Maybe a little bit. I think there were half a billion roofing companies out here answering the most recent Hailing Frequency.

They also had a few things that don’t have anything to do with “home and garden”, like vehicles, and, because this is Oklahoma, by “vehicles” I mean big-ass pickups that are big enough to live in and you’ll probably have to if you buy one because they cost as much as a decent house, which you won’t be able to afford and make payments on the pickup too.

Not to mention the question of parking the damn truck somewhere near the house — or somebody’s house, anyway.

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There’s been a murder

You may even have seen one:

In a Time Magazine article titled “The Mystery of Animal Grief” by Jeffrey Kluger, scientists explain that animals do grieve — and that they honor and mourn their dead with an intensity some people don’t even display.

For instance, researchers have observed how crows will gather around a departed crow and call and call until hundreds of flock mates arrive. They will then stand surrounding the dead crow and maintain total silence, broken only by occasional approaches to offer odds and ends to the corpse — for instance, pebbles or short sticks. After a period of time, they will depart, never to return.

More turnout than I could ever dare to expect, even allowing for the people who were just wanting to make sure I was dead.

(Plucked from Georganna Hancock’s writing research.)

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Let’s talk about a Rocket

No, not a Houston Rocket. Think Lansing, Michigan, home of Oldsmobile since Ransom E. Olds himself starting building cars in 1897.

Nineteen fifty-eight had not been a good year for General Motors: it was a down year for Detroit generally, and one brand — Packard — actually perished. (Nash and Hudson had expired after the 1957 model year; Ford had yet to learn the fate of its shiny new Edsel.) The General’s own ’58 models were mocked for their bloat and for their ridiculously overchromed flanks; the ’58 Olds perhaps got it the worst, with stylist Alex Tremulis, then best known for his work for Preston Tucker, satirizing it by drawing musical notes in that rear-panel staff. Worse yet, the daily driver of a Ford designer in the early 60s was a ’58 Olds with its nameplate letters shuffled: the Ford man tossed an I and rendered the name as “SLOBMODEL.”

By then, of course, Oldsmobile had moved on. At the time, the division’s big dealer promotion each year consisted of a small-scale Broadway-style musical, often based upon a large-scale Broadway musical. For 1959, Good News about Olds debuted with a catchy little number that demonstrates that Bill Hayes and Florence Henderson definitely knew the territory. Turned into a TV commercial, it looked like this (after the jump):

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Asymmetric intubation

The major obstacle to transparency in the health-care market — apart from the presence of government, which is an obstacle in its own right — is the fact that nobody knows how much anything costs:

One thing that might help is if people knew how much their health insurance company was paying for their drugs. I consume a handful of pills which costs me a dollar or two every day. I don’t really know because it’s always different, depending on whether I have satisfied my deductible or not, or maybe it’s by the phase of the moon. I gave up trying to fathom the workings of the insurance companies a long time ago. So I have to pay some money for these drugs, but I have no idea what the pharmacy is charging my insurance company. I’m pretty sure someone doesn’t want me to know, but they are cloaking this secrecy in the name of “you shouldn’t have to worry about the money when you’re sick, that’s what insurance is for”. Well, that’s BS.

CFI Care [not its real initials] is presumably not paying a whole hell of a lot for my daily dosages, inasmuch as my designated copays start at $15 for the lowest tier, yet most of these drugs run $10 or less for a 30-day supply. The pharmacy does supply an insert with “Retail Value,” but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything: you might perhaps assume that this is what the uninsured have to pay, but this particular chain offers lots of $4 generics, and nobody will put up with paying, say, $28.67 for a drug advertised at $4 — unless someone else is shelling out the $28.67.

There’s got to be a better way. I’ll continue to push for my single-payer scheme: everybody bundle up your medical bills and send them to George Soros.

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Time as a Veblen good

Jack Baruth lays down the smack on the ultra-expensive Swiss watch:

If you wear a Swiss “luxury watch”, you’re a douchebag. (Full disclosure: I have a few of them myself.) The bigger the watch is, and the more elaborate/flashy it is, the worse you are. The newer and more quick-bake the brand is, the more horrifying your personal presence is to people who weren’t raised in a trailer prior to the IPO/Goldman bonus/first-round draft pick/real-estate deal/personal-injury settlement. I’ve complained about this before, but wearing a watch that is unnecessarily complex and impossible to fix amounts to a Nero-esque destruction of capital without the attendant flair. This goes double if your watchmaker’s brand was “dormant” for fifty years or more before being pried out of the hands of someone’s step-great-grandchild by a venture-capital firm, triple if Nicholas Hayek imagined your brand while he was having a “speedball” medically administered by a twenty-two-year-old Italian nurse who does figure modeling in the evenings.

I’m pretty sure my watch, the very antithesis of Swiss craftsmanship, isn’t fixable, unless what ails it is a dearth of battery power, which can be replenished for $5. Then again, it only cost me $30 to begin with, thirty-odd years ago, and maintenance — it’s on its fourth band now — has run less than $100.

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Wouldn’t want to lose patients, either

In these grammar-challenged days, it took guts for the Oklahoman to put up a story with a title like this:

Oklahoma City treatment center neighbors lose patience over loose patients

The actual article in question deals with runaways — or, more commonly, walkaways — from a psychiatric treatment center located in a predominantly rural area of the city.

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Strange search-engine queries (423)

If you’re new here, and by “new” I mean within the last week, because otherwise you’d certainly have seen this before: this is a weekly compendium of odd search strings, actually used by real Web surfers, which may or may not have been supposed to land here, but did.

nothing up my sleeve striptease:  Eventually, of course, there is no sleeve.

sylvia label blind artest:  They say that if you lack one of the senses, the other four will compensate. People with no sense at all, however, run for political office.

97 ford thunderbird lx v6 67,000 miles o/d light blinking:  This phenomenon is described in your owner’s manual. If you do not have an owner’s manual, you have no business driving.

wheres the fuse for forth gear on a 2003 mazda:  Gears don’t have fuses. You obviously need an owner’s manual.

bread without no meat:  Modern-day equivalent: “We doubled your premium, but now your deductible is three times as high.”

where is “34th and vine” from the old song located:  Just outside the gypsy’s place. You can’t miss it.

bad mlp, no idicator light cd4e:  The only really bad MLP was Equestria Girls, where the girls didn’t seem to be getting much in the way of idication.

should i play mono remixes in mono:  If that’s the way they’re mixed, it’s the only way you can play them.

rape and torture of diana ross and the supremes:  Either somebody is spreading sick rumors, or somebody really, really didn’t like “Reflections.”

bess myerson wore a swim suit that was too small:  This is a hell of a time to start complaining, don’t you think?

sex women next door impugn:  Ha. Not with that impugny thing, Buster.

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Let us move you

Does this makes sense to you?

Reacting to criticism from customers that upgrading from Windows XP was “impossible,” Microsoft [last week] announced it would give away a limited migration tool to help people move to a newer operating system.

The tool, PCmover Express for Windows XP, is one of several migration utilities from Laplink, a Bellevue, Wash. company whose offices are near those of Microsoft.

I ask this because Microsoft already has a limited migration tool to help people move to a newer operating system; it’s called Microsoft Easy Transfer, and the price is the same: zilch, if you can find the download page. I used it myself to move 130 GB or so of data off my old home box to my new home box, which runs Win7 Home Premium. Someone wanting to move from 7 to Win8, assuming there exists someone who wants to move from 7 to Win8, doesn’t even need the download: the tool is built into 7.

But maybe there’s something else at work here:

The free PCmover Express transfers files and users’ settings only from an XP PC to one running Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1. It does not migrate any applications, just files and user settings, a ploy to prod people to pony up for PCmover Professional, which will transfer an unlimited number of applications from the old PC to the new machine, as well as migrate files and settings.

Several caveats apply: “Antivirus and Anti-Spyware programs will not be moved to your new PC,” noted Laplink as one.

Apparently people were scared stiff about reinstalling their applications — or perhaps those apps were obtained through, shall we say, non-standard provenance.

The Professional version of PCmover is $60; multiple license packs are available at a discount. Meanwhile, as I write this, Easy Transfer has finished up migrating my work box to the new work box (running Win7 Pro).

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Overcoming Meekness

The last-place Lakers are still depleted, missing Nash, Young, Crosby, Stills and Kobe, and a snapshot of this game halfway through the second quarter would show them getting themselves thrashed to the tune of 44-28. I imagine the Ghost of Phil Jackson, hovering over the Staples Center, spake an incantation unto them. (Only Phil Jackson could do this while he’s both still alive and considering a position with the Knicks.) By the end of the half, the Lakers were within five; L. A. outscored the Thunder 36-19 in the third quarter and opened up a lead as big as 18 in the fourth. Open looks began to appear for the Thunder. At the :54 mark, OKC had pulled to within three, but Kent Bazemore, on a personal 7-0 run, put the game out of reach, despite a nice 30-footer by Russell Westbrook: the Lakers won it 114-110 and took their first game in the season series, leaving the Thunder to wonder just what went wrong.

Two words: “Jodie Meeks.” Installed in the Kobe Bryant slot, Meeks put up a very Bryantoid 42 points, more than he’d ever scored before in the NBA, and while he wasn’t much of a factor in the fourth quarter (four points), he’d done all the damage he’d needed to do. Five other Lakers hit double figures: Pau Gasol with 20, and a smattering of 11s and 12s. And we must mention starting point guard Kendall Marshall, who didn’t score once — but dished up ten assists and nabbed five boards.

Still, it wasn’t just Jodie Meeks. The Thunder put up 100 shots in 48 minutes: only 42 of them fell. (From three-point distance, they were 12-35; the Lakers were a little better at 13-31.) And the Thunder enjoyed a whopping 59-36 advantage on the boards, 19-1 offensively. But read down the box, and you’ll see 14 made free throws out of 21 attempts. Seven points left at the stripe! (Again, L. A. was a little better, hitting 25 of 30, with two of them, a pair of Marshall bricks, coming very late.) We can point to a Kevin Durant triple-double (27 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds), a 21-point outing by Serge Ibaka (plus 15 rebounds and two blocks), 20 from Westbrook — but of the three, only Serge knocked down as many as half of his shots. (KD and Russ between them were 15-42.)

So the Spurs vault, or crawl, back into the Western lead, and guess who’s waiting for the Thunder when they get back home? The third-place Rockets. When you’ve just lost to #15, #3 looks all the more daunting.

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Fully locked and upright

You’re probably not going to see anything like this on our domestic carriers:

The meaning of “super mini” in this context is 15 cm (six inches) above the knee.

The Japanese government takes no official position on such matters, but:

There is no rule to regulate crew’s uniform under the aviation law, so the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism made a comment that they will keep their eyes on the campaign.

(Via Flight Club. Am I allowed to talk about Flight Club?)

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Sparkle deficiency

Sequin, n. A gold coin weighing 3.5 grams (0.12 oz) of .986 gold, minted by the Republic of Venice from the 13th century onwards.

That other definition came later, of course. But geez, how the mighty have fallen:

The modern sequin is half the size of the traditional one, is flat not faceted, has more hole than surface, is sparkle-deficient and is randomly glued onto things. I suspect some kind of air-blast method of application. They start out with less than full coverage — the background material is visible between sequins — and then as you use the item or even just touch it, they fall off.

There’s got to be a reason for this:

I blame China.

Remember when “Made In Japan” meant Complete and Utter Crap? The Japanese went to work on that, and in a couple of generations turned the label into very nearly a badge of honor. Beijing, I suspect, feels no such urgency, or at least is given no reason to.

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Simulated existence

Yours truly in Vent #318, 25 November 2002:

Some day, more likely some night, that “finite number of breaths” will be reached, everything will come to an end, and no one will know until two or three days later because some mundane task wasn’t performed on time, some phone call wasn’t returned, or, most absurdly, because this goddamn Web site wasn’t updated.

Glenn Reynolds, last night:

YEAH, SCHEDULED BLOG POSTS WOULD DO THE SAME FOR ME: Woman’s auto-payments hid her death for six years. But not for six years.

If there should prove to be a way to blog from beyond the grave, I’m in. Or I will be in, anyway.

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Toil and trouble

There was a time when people would think to themselves “You know, this job sucks,” but then pushed that thought out of their minds and finished the job, because that’s what you’re supposed to do.

That time was, um, earlier this week.

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The second time across

Yep, this describes me:

Some of you are old enough to remember the Cosmos 1.0 where Carl Sagan fawned at billllions and billlions of stars from the vantage point of what looked, for all the world, like a cathedral without the stained glass.

It was a fascinating series, revealing to the commoner what science had discovered about the greatest WHERE of them all — the universe in which we are embedded and “live and move and have our being.”

The universe, of course, is constantly changing, and the new Cosmos perhaps needs to be different too:

I hope, this time around, the pride of what we know with our science and can do with our technology will be balanced by humility. There is much we don’t know, and some would say much we cannot learn through science — one important way of knowing, but not the only way.

There is much we have failed to do on Earth to the least of our kind (not to mention those other kinds at the margins of our vision and care) even while we’ve sent our surrogate eyes unimaginably far, looking for the physics and chemistry of WHY, WHO and WHAT we are.

Members of this small-c cosmos have certain responsibilities, and while there’s room for debate on what those responsibilities should be, I believe that the moment you decide there are no more questions worth asking is the very moment you give up your soul to whatever lies beyond.

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Time took a faster flight

Did you notice that Dakota Fanning just turned 20 a couple of weeks ago? I didn’t.

Still, it’s not like the poor girl is aging or anything like that:

Dakota Fanning in March 2014 Jalouse

In between things like posing for the French mag Jalouse, she’s still doing film work: Every Secret Thing, based on the Laura Lippman novel, will debut at Tribeca next month. Fanning is billed third (tentatively), behind Diane Lane and Elizabeth Banks.

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