I’d call this a pro tip

I hadn’t seen it before. It’s a restaurant ticket, pretty much like any other, except that at the bottom it calculates the “suggested gratuity” for you at three fairly standard rates: 15 percent, 18 percent (“GREAT!”) and 20 percent (“WOW!!”) On the $43.50 check used as illustration, 20 percent is given as $7.99; since 20 percent of $43.50 is in fact $8.70, I’m assuming they’re figuring it before taxes. Me, I’d probably round it up to $9, because that’s just how I roll.

The chap who actually got this particular check, however, left quite a bit more:

It’s common to leave a nice tip for restaurant waitstaff who do a good job. But one man went above and beyond with his restaurant gratuity, leaving behind a $3,000 tip on a $43.50 check for a struggling waitress.

Mike, a resident in New York City, left the massive tip for a waitress who was facing some hard times. “This woman had been serving us for almost a year now. She’s a lovely individual, and she talked about how she was served an eviction notice last month,” Mike told ABC News.

Mike, who asked to remain anonymous, made the tip as part of the ReesSpecht Life foundation, a pay-it-forward movement started by teacher Ray Specht after the tragic death of his 22-month-old son. Mike asked the waitress to not “let ‘Pay it Forward’ end with you.”

Not all of us can afford to part with three grand on just such an occasion, but it’s heartening when someone can, and does.

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Turn that noise down

This describes me to the proverbial T:

If you’re worried about losing your love of new music, your fears are justified. That’s according to new research that finds listeners reach “maturity” around age 33. In other words, you’re done with discovering new music when you reach your mid-thirties.

The study compared multiple sets of data, including the age and gender of Spotify users, their parental status, and the overall popularity of artists. The study found that teenagers listen almost exclusively to the most popular artists, but their tastes evolve steeply into their mid-twenties, and then slowly until they level off in their mid-thirties.

I was 33 in 1986, and sure enough, the collection begins to tail off a year or two later: there is very little 1990s stuff on my shelves.

However, the trend reversed about ten years ago, basically for these two reasons:

  • I signed up for the iTunes Store, mostly because it had some odd tunes I’d never bothered to get on vinyl, and if there’s one thing the iTunes Store does well, it’s shove new stuff out there where you can see it;
  • I met Trini, who was not quite half my age, and she was happy to fill me in on newer stuff that I might like.

Whether this portends anything happening at age 66, I do not know.

(Hat tip: Erica Mauter.)

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He gotta go

The single greatest vocal performance in the history of rock and roll? Maybe not. But it’s right up there with the least forgettable, and it is right and proper that we not forget the man who did it:

Jack Ely, the lead singer of the Kingsmen who was best known for 1960s hit “Louie Louie,” has died aged 71.

His son Sean Ely said the singer died at home in Redmond, Oregon after a long battle with an illness.

Ely’s incoherent singing on “Louie Louie” led the FBI to investigate the famous track on the grounds that it might be obscene.

Ely had a falling out with the band shortly after the song was recorded and later trained horses in Oregon.

There are literally hundreds, possibly thousands, of recorded versions of “Louie Louie,” half a dozen of which made the pop charts, and none of which made any money, at least at first, for composer Richard Berry, who came up with this tune of tunes way back in 1957; he sold the rights for $750 a couple of years later so he could get married. The key, though, is “at first”:

Some time in the mid-Eighties, it seems, California Wine Cooler decided more young people could be induced to try the drink if “Louie Louie” were used on their commercial. On applying for permission to use the song, they found they needed Berry’s signature and asked Artists Rights, the American equivalent of the Performing Rights Society, to trace him. A smart lawyer from Artists Rights discovered Berry in the slums of south central LA, and mentioned the possibility of taking action to win back his song. The publishers settled meekly out of court, and have now been taken over by Windswept Music in a deal that makes Berry a millionaire. He thinks.

And none of those versions did more business than the Kingsmen’s, recorded a week before Paul Revere and the Raiders cut theirs, in the same Portland, Oregon studio. Jack Ely’s departure from the Kingsmen proved one thing: Lynn Easton, who controlled the band and the name, couldn’t come close to duplicating Ely’s sound. At some point, Easton quit trying and just lip-synced to Ely. A version of the Kingsmen still exists, with original member Mike Mitchell, and Dick Peterson, who came on board in 1963; I have no idea who’s singing it now.


How big an Apple?

At $130+ a share, Apple’s market capitalization is on the far side of $750 billion. Is it possible that the company could make it up to a trillion? Bill Quick says yes, but:

I think Apple — barring some sort of economic collapse — will be the first trillion dollar US company. That said, the time to start looking around for alternatives will be when the market consensus believes that Apple will remain on top forever.

Yep. Things that can’t last forever — which includes pretty much everything, really — won’t. Still, it will take a lot to dislodge a company that’s sitting on nearly $200 billion in cash.

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And me without a hat

Spotted this on Twitter, had to grab it:

3 piece swimsuits only: hat, sunglasses, sandals

There was one instance in my life when I was given a hat. I was buying Rhythm of Youth, an LP by the Canadian outfit Men Without Hats, at a Sound Warehouse store in 1982, and the clerk handed me a plastic hat.

“Wait a minute,” I said. “These are Men Without Hats. Shouldn’t you be taking a hat away from me?”

I caught a glimpse of the classic “Are you freaking kidding me?” look, and departed, hat in hand, humming this little ditty:

Addendum: The last Men Without Hats album, released in 2003, was called No Hats Beyond This Point.


Forged from the cheapest available bits

Bring on the asteroid, the planet is through:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: How do I create a fake email conversation?

By that she means this:

My English teacher wasnt going to accept my project after a certain date and long story short, I fell asleep typing it and wasn’t able to turn it in that night. So the next day I woke up early and finished it, printed it off and turned it in and told her I tried to email it to her, but my internet wasn’t working so I had to print it. She told me for her to be able to put the grade in she would need to see proof I tried to send it that night, but I didn’t send it. How do I create a fake email to make it look like I sent my project on the specific date?

You’ll need a time machine, because otherwise the message headers will give you away. We’ve had customers at work who tried to pull that sort of stunt, and it never, ever succeeded.

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L’Wren as she was

This unassuming clockface, shot by David Bailey for the British hosiery brand Pretty Polly, was essentially the beginning of L’Wren Scott’s career as a major model:

L'Wren Scott, about half past six

Perhaps not the most obvious debut for a rangy Utah girl raised in a devout Mormon household. Or maybe it was inevitable: at twelve she was already six feet tall — she had three inches yet to grow — and as a teenager, she made most of her own clothes. Fashion was a logical destination, and she launched her first collection, based on the classic Little Black Dress, in 2006. Sarah Jessica Parker was one of her clients:

L'Wren Scott with Sarah Jessica Parker

SJP is, yes, about a foot shorter.

After two brief failed marriages, she took up with 5’10” Mick Jagger about 2001; they were together, or at least appeared to be together, for the rest of her life.

L'Wren Scott in a pensive mode

That life ended, by her own hand, in March 2014, just short of her 50th birthday. (She’d have turned 51 today.) What happened? All we have is speculation, and it goes something like this:

A quick gloss is that L’Wren Scott fell off some impossibly tall ladder to self-acceptance. The longer version is that she was caught in a perfect storm of perimenopause, lack of children, infidelities, abandonment issues, the fickle factory owners of Italy. Unremitting frustration over who owned what. Her birthday. Her sinuses. King Tut’s curse.

The Web site of her design house remains, each of her recent collections represented by a woman wearing a dress therefrom — but the woman herself is not to be seen. It’s hard to imagine L’Wren Scott wasn’t saying something in those representations.

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A noticeable warming trend

And after Sunday was so nice, too:

On the next screen, someone scrawls a Q in front of “AccuWeather.”

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Is there no more room?

The Kraft-Heinz merger, I figured, was no big deal, other than creating a combined company with a name that sounded like a Seventies German band. But this alarms me:

A financial analyst has suggested that Jell-O may not survive the new merger between Kraft Food Group Inc. (which makes it) and H. J. Heinz Co. and “could be axed.”

Cue a shiver of despair.

It’s hard to remember a time before Jell-O. (On the other hand, perhaps it’s almost as hard to remember the last time you made it.)

“Hard” doesn’t even begin to describe it; Jell-O goes back to 1897.

Over the years, it has been served in thousands of church basements, enabled millions of liquor-laced shots at college parties, provided the concoction in which bikini-clad women wrestle.

Actually, Jell-O wrestling doesn’t involve Jell-O, but a similar product designed specifically for the ring; but don’t tell your friends that.

And the Jell-O name will survive, even if the gelatin dessert itself doesn’t: by now, there are more flavors of Jell-O Pudding than there are of Jell-O itself.

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Where we’re coming from

The Z Man on immigration:

I kind of dig the fact that my country welcomes those who can’t seem to get along with the folks back in the old country. I love thinking about what the rest of the world thinks when all those mutts wrapped in Old Glory march into the Olympic stadium. You just know a lot of them are thinking, “I wish that was me.”

In my mind, I see that as a big old middle finger to the rest of the world. I get that from my grandfather … He came here, learned perfect English and made a life for himself as an American. As far as he was concerned, the folks back in the old country were losers.

This, incidentally, is the true source of American exceptionalism: not some appeal to $DEITY, who might well be neutral on such matters, but the idea that we’ve made this place special, whether we were here from the beginning or we just arrived.

And specialness is, after all, part of the plan:

That bit of sentimentality is not intended to get your patriotism up. I’m just stating my bias. I have an unreasonable bias toward immigrants, at least the ones trying to be Americans. But, that only works if citizenship has any value. If anyone can wander over the border and get all the same rights and privileges as me, the citizenship has no value.

It probably wouldn’t hurt if we made it a little bit easier for people to attain that citizenship; but erasing all the distinctions between citizens and noncitizens is the sign of a state that wishes to commit suicide, and I am generally not in favor of states committing suicide, though I can think of a few I would miss less than others.

On the other hand, if people acting, or acting like they’re acting, in the name of the state — you know who you are — should wish to terminate their pitiful existences because of some weird culturally implanted guilt, I know exactly where you can find cottonwood trees. And rope.


N₂ darkness

Attorney General Scott Pruitt remains convinced that midazolam is the sedative of choice for executions:

Pruitt’s office will argue to the Supreme Court justices on Wednesday that the drugs Oklahoma used in Clayton Lockett’s execution in April 2014 met the test established when the high court upheld Kentucky’s lethal injection method in 2008.

There is not, the state contends, an “objectively intolerable risk of harm” when midazolam is used as a sedative, even though the drug does not have the same properties as the barbiturates that have been administered previously.

And, Pruitt said, inmates challenging the state’s use of midazolam must show there is a “widely available alternative” that would pose less risk of harm.

Speaking for myself, I’ve had exactly one dose of midazolam, and I’d say it was a pretty darn good sedative, but that’s just a single data point, and besides, they weren’t putting me to death, or at least they said they weren’t.

Then again: “widely available”? How about “all over the place”?

Before the first Shuttle launch, some ground crew died in the engine compartment of the orbiter, because they were in there during a nitrogen purge. They apparently never knew they had a problem, but simply passed out. If there’s a CO₂ buildup, the body knows it’s asphyxiating, and tries to do something about it, but no such warning mechanism has ever developed for a pure nitrogen atmosphere, because no animal would have ever encountered such an environment in nature.

So why not simply bring back the gas chamber, but instead of a toxin, simply remove the air and replace it with nitrogen? I’m sure there are other examples, but I fail to understand why this is such a difficult problem.

Governor Fallin has signed a bill to do essentially that as the state’s official backup execution protocol. I suspect the only reason it’s not moved to the head of the list is the fear of legal challenges — as though there weren’t legal challenges by the score already.

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Chronological Klonopin

You think maybe he’s been doubling up the doses?

Yahoo Answers screenshot: How early can i refill my clonazepam in west virginia?

I figure the guy’s having deep benzo reactions, inasmuch as (1) there seems to be a certain urgency to his query and (2) he posted it in the Cars & Transportation section.

For what it’s worth, my current pharmacy will not refill a Schedule IV drug on a 30-day prescription until day 25.

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Quote of the week

Doug Mataconis, on why the 2016 presidential election is an exercise in futility:

Even if you’re not much of a “horse race” person, though, the 2016 election doesn’t give you much to look forward to. More so [than] ever in the past, we are going to see candidates and their supporters pushing out tightly crafted messages designed largely to appeal pander to the worst aspects of their base supporters Joining them will be the SuperPACs that will be pushing messages different from those of the campaigns themselves, and far more negative. This guarantees that there will be little serious discussion of the issues facing the nation, whether we’re talking about the economy, immigration, entitlements, tax policy, federal spending, the relationship between Washington, D.C. and the states, social issues, and foreign policy. Instead, we’ll get prepackaged slogans, exaggerated claims, over-the-top attacks on opponents, and of course stump speech after stump speech of meaningless flowery rhetoric. Both sides will argue that this is “the most important election ever” and that their opponent will bring doom and gloom to the nation. All of this will be covered breathlessly by the always-on political media, which now exists both on cable news networks and the Internet, to the point where it will be impossible for anyone to get away from it. It is enough to make one want to completely unplug, or perhaps retreat to a desert island.

Vanuatu, anyone?

Then again, this is inevitable in our current hyperpolitical culture:

To a significant degree, we live in a nation that is almost equally divided between Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives. One of the things this means is that even the most trivial differences between the two sides become exaggerated to the point where compromise becomes nearly impossible. Additionally, the fact that both sides generally spend most of their time sending messages to their own bases means that they feed into the hyperpartisanship that has been created by cable news, talk radio, and the Internet to the point where it all becomes a horrible, soul-sucking, self-sustaining entity. As long as that’s the case, it hardly matters who wins one election or the other, or which party controls Congress by a handful of seats, because the way the system works guarantees that the battle will continue until … well, that’s really the point. The way we fight political battles today, the only way either side can be happy is if the other side is utterly destroyed. That’s never going to happen, though. There will always be Republicans, Democrats, liberals, and conservatives. They used to be able to talk to each other, but now all they seem to do is yell at each other, and as a result we have a political system that is frustrating, annoying, tiresome, and so predictable that is utterly boring.

Some folks, largely Democrats, whine about “getting the money out of politics.” I’d be happy if they got the frigging politics out of politics.

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Strange search-engine queries (482)

How this works: Every week, several hundred people arrive at this site from various search engines. Most of them are looking for fairly ordinary stuff. The rest are scrutinized by our voracious staff, and selections are made, based purely on the basis of snark potential. It’s funny when it works.

song “sweet violets” sweeter than all the roses from Fritz among the gypsies:  And ever since that time, something substantially screwed has been described as “on the Fritz.”

what fuse number for overdrive for 1996 mercury mystic:  I’ll bet you donuts to dog turds it’s not the fuse that’s on the fritz.

1995 ford probe overdrive light flashing:  Hint: it’s not the fuse.

paypal overpayment by quadrillions:  Not to worry. They’ll reclaim the funds, a few trillion at a time.

On the following map, identify these city elements: original city center, older auto suburbs, newer auto suburbs, streetcar suburbs:  I’m betting this is not a map of Snake’s Navel, Nebraska, and that the whining little putz looking for this does all his homework this way.

tyronza ark.nude local girls:  I don’t think girls are even allowed to be nude in Arkansas. And how many could there be in Tyronza, population 762?

exhibitionist nude in public on library pubic and.walking fully nude on nude vista:  So we know that this guy (1) has a fixation and (2) isn’t very good at this, since, per the string, he’s looking for Web pages and not images.

2002 mazda mpv harsh shiffting repairs:  You know, if I could collect a dime from every loser out there praying for an easy fix to his slushbox woes, I could probably get out of debt in a week.

90 model mazda 626 o/d off:  That’ll be 10 cents.

1999 mazda 626 shifting erratic:  Make that 20 cents.

credit card company fico score bank of america providian:  Of course, Providian doesn’t exist any more; it was taken over by Washington Mutual, which doesn’t exist anymore. At no point, though, does this chain lead to Bank of America.

www.which tyre sizes are recommended for mazda cronos 1990-1997 model 2 l 4 cyl sedan:  Did it ever occur to you to look at the sidewall of your actual tyres, Nigel?

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I was here first

Pink rose and orange iris battle for the sunlight. So far, it seems to be a draw:

Rose and iris living together

Then again, there are dozens of roses nearby, and barely half a dozen irises, so you know which way to bet.

(Blown up to ridiculous size at Flickr.)


Stepping outré

I still think there’s a greater need for variable heel heights, but maybe that comes later. In the meantime, we’re on the verge of variable trim colors:

I do hope there’s enough security built into this system to keep other people from changing your shoes with their apps.

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