Lost in trans-lation

Just what are they telling us in this TV listing?

I knew the birth rate in the EU was declining, but I had no idea it might be due to something like this.

(Via Will Truman.)

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For certain values of “year”

Not the ones with which you’re familiar, though:

An ill-bred and uninformed individual, blinded to their own ignorance by the Dunning-Kruger Effect, might foolishly conclude that purchasing a product that is good “All Year” would indicate that said product is implied to be good for between 365 and 366 days, or, alternatively, is valid for the rest of the calendar year.

Of course, a person of sophistication and nuance such as, say, an academic, understands that these two words are not so provincially constrained in certain contexts … such as the Old Dominion University Parking Services Department. As I’m sure you are aware Gentle Reader, a person of letters is astute enough to appreciate that an “All Year” parking pass is, in fact, not actually valid during the summer semester for reasons so obvious as to render any inquiry into the matter a troubling indicator of low intellect, as well as a degenerate worldview centered around the retrograde and problematic notion that words mean things.

Words mean what the authorities want them to mean. Everything else is doubleplusungoodthink.

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Getting snippy with the bucks

“Every man,” states Howe’s Law, “has a scheme that will not work.” Here’s one of many from Bill de Blasio:

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has proposed a solution to Staten Island’s burgeoning deer population. To keep numbers in check, de Blasio plans to authorize a three-year experiment in which all bucks are given vasectomies, then released back into their urban environment. Price tag: an estimated $2 million.

The logistics of this misguided form of wildlife management alone show the plan is doomed to fail. The number of deer in Staten Island has jumped from two dozen in 2008 to more than 700 in 2014 — certainly well north of that figure two years later. Capturing every buck is practically impossible, despite the intended use of air-dropped nets and tranquilizer darts.

And even if they could catch ’em all, it still wouldn’t work:

A researcher at The Deer Laboratory at the University of Georgia — because of course a university in the south is going to have at least one department connected to hunting — suggests that even if the city were able to trap and vasectomize all of the Staten Island male deer, the females would simply go back into heat once they proved to be not pregnant. At which point some non-Staten Island bucks would stroll in and say, “Hello, ladies,” cheap guitar music would begin playing and Staten Island bucks would all stand around and discuss how many painful deaths they could inflict on a certain group of veterinarians.

One per doctor, maximum. Trust me on this.

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Freedom within

Consider, if you will, the humble sewing machine:

A sewing machine, a pattern, a small degree of skill with them both, and personal fashion style is your oyster. One will never again be held hostage to the fashion trend of the moment, especially if said fashion trend is desperately unflattering, unfitted to make a good impression for the profession or occupation that you are in, otherwise unsuitable, and expensive. What brought this on was a discussion on another author website regarding certain fashion preferences, and a lamentation that it was so hard to find exactly what would be suitable, fitting, comfortable and all … and I am remembering how this was so not a problem for me, when I was working in an office and business professional was the order of my day and wardrobe. If I could not find exactly what I wanted — a black lightweight wool slightly-below-knee-length pencil skirt, to give one example — I could just buy a yard of suitable fabric and a seven-inch zipper, and go home and make it in an afternoon.

There’s an enormous freedom in being able to make exactly what I wanted, and make it to fit, and in a flattering color. Oh, usually it costs something to sew an outfit yourself, considering the costs for the pattern, the notions and the fabric — usually as much as just purchasing it off the rack on sale, but not near as much as full price from a quality outlet like Talbots or Neiman Marcus, and for a pittance in relation to having it tailored individually.

With fashion becoming ever more eccentric and sizing becoming ever more inconsistent, you might think more people would be persuaded to make their own. It doesn’t seem to be happening, though.

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Quote of the week

Roberta X notices the Senate wasting some time — specifically, a resolution to commemorate the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 — and suggests an upside to such waste:

The positive side is that every second the Senate spends — and I’ll be back to that word in a moment, “spends” — on frivolity of this sort, National Gardenia-Scent Aftershave Day, Hug A Scorpion Day, whatever, is one less second spent misappropriating funds and sodomizing pages. If, like me, you figure the fed.gov has all the laws they could possibly need for the next hundred years or more, such wheel-spinners do keep the empty suits from making it more illegal to serve guests milk from your own cow or making lists of approved pronouns (better write your Senator now, you frelks and throons!).

Which does not mean there isn’t a price to be paid for this wankery:

On the other hand, they’ve got the lights on and the air-conditioning running, coffeemakers gurgling and the vast presses of the Federal Register humming, world-famous Senatorial bean soup* glooping gently in the stewpots and filling every task, even the ones usually automated elsewhere, well-paid workers, hardworking (or heavy-sleeping, but I didn’t pay for a first-class flight of fancy ticket just to judge some low-level functionary) and ready to fulfill just about every whim … of the people in the big, fancy room, orating grandiloquently on the anniversary of an automobile race a third of a continent away: they’re spending my tax money at a nearly moonshot rate to perform self-important nonsense.

Mandatory footnote:

* Coals to Newcastle, beans to the legislatively flatulent. And nary a block of government cheese in sight!

And truth be told, some of those fart-ridden geezers couldn’t tell the Indy 500 from a Roman chariot race.

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Going back to Cali

For a Game Six, this was awfully Game Seven-y. “Dripping with drama,” said radio guy Matt Pinto, and right after he said that, Splash Brother Number One splashed a trey to tie it up at 99-all with 2:47 left. But it was Splash Brother Number Two who did the most damage tonight; after an exchange of buckets, Klay Thompson’s 11th trey opened up a three-point Warrior lead, Draymond Green banked one in with 15 seconds left, and Thompson finished the job with two free throws. Golden State 108, Oklahoma City 101, and there will be a real Game Seven Monday night in Oakland.

You know what’s scary? The Warriors came up with ten treys from people not named Klay Thompson. Twenty-one of forty-four, 48 percent, rather better than their percentage from inside. Thompson’s 41 points led everyone, of course, but Steph Curry came awfully close to a triple-double: 29 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists. Green, when he could keep both feet on the floor, delivered 14 points and collected 12 boards. The rest really didn’t matter.

And it’s hard to say that the Thunder took too many unnecessary treys, attempting only 23. Then again, they missed 20 of them. (Kevin Durant, Dion Waiters and Serge Ibaka each had one; Russell Westbrook didn’t get one at all.) There’s a lot to be said for reliance on points in the paint, where the Thunder were sort of dominant, but still: Durant was 10-31 for the night, Westbrook 10-27. Good looks, bad looks, sometimes no looks, it didn’t make any difference.

So it’s off to Oakland once more. And if at the end of the season, what you were hoping for was a shootout between either Steph or Klay versus Cleveland’s J. R. Smith, your wish may well be granted. I would consider that outcome suboptimal, but hey, I’d watch it. At least, I’d listen to it on the radio, assuming one of the spastic sports-radio stations around here deign to carry the freaking NBA Finals. Between now and then, though, it’s Do or Die time.

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Non-refillable, non-disposable

Oh, wait, you can refill it, provided you meet certain requirements:

One should not present me with temptations like this. Who knows what I might put into that bottle?

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The lease you can do

Leasing a car, say the experts, is a bad deal; you should always buy instead.

Bark M. says this is a load of dingo’s kidneys:

You’re seriously telling me that you’re not better off paying $189/month to lease your Accord than paying $583/month to buy it? That’s exactly what the difference would be if you financed a base Accord over 36 months at 1.9% versus a 36 month lease.

“Yeah, but at the end, I own it, dude.” Congrats! You own something that is absolutely, positively going to continue to depreciate, and you paid $20,000 to do it. Alternatively, you could have paid less than $7,000 to enjoy the same car for the same amount of time, and at the end, you can walk away from it, scot-free, into another new car with updated technology. So what if you don’t own it? Do you really want to own a three-year old car with 36,000 miles on it? Or would you rather bank that $400/month and get another new car?

I’m the wrong person to ask this, inasmuch as I own a 16-year-old car with 163,000 miles on it. And apparently I have finally worn out one of the fobs for the door locks: you have to push it twice to get the control module to acknowledge it even once. (And yes, I’ve changed the battery. I also have a spare fob which doesn’t do this. “Updated technology,” indeed.)

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A wiener is you

Yeah, I suppose this could have been worded better:

I mean, it’s not like the Assembly is known for not giving stuff away.

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No choke

If you’re choking on a chunk of food, this is where you want to be sitting:

The 96-year-old retired chest surgeon credited with developing the namesake Heimlich maneuver has used it to save a woman choking on food at his senior living center.

Dr. Henry Heimlich was in the dining room at the Deupree House in Cincinnati, where he lives, when an 87-year-old woman sitting next to him began choking Monday night.

The dining room maitre d’, Perry Gaines, told The Cincinnati Enquirer that Heimlich dislodged a piece of hamburger from the woman’s airway and she quickly recovered.

Heimlich said he was having dinner when he looked over at the woman sitting next to him and could see that her face was growing pink and she was obviously choking. He said he got up behind her and began the technique.

“As soon as I did the Heimlich maneuver, a piece of meat with a bone in it immediately popped out,” he said.

Rare company she’s in; very few people — two at the outside — can say that they’ve had the Heimlich manuever done on them by Heimlich himself. It’s probably even better than having Woz come by to clean up your MacBook.

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Edge of nineteen

Someone t’other day on Yahoo! was asking for one word — just one word — to describe Rebecca Black. I figured no one was going to buy the one word I thought of, which was “blossoming.”


I still have not seen Royal Crush, a Web series set on a cruise ship; she appears in Season Three. And I did not know that BrainyQuote had given her a page.

What’s more, apparently she’s struck a deal with Hollister Co. to provide her with some casual wear in return for letting herself be seen in it:

Very enterprising, she’s turned out to be.

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You can tell me when it’s over

Of all the songs on Taylor Swift’s 1989, none move me the way “Blank Space” does, not because I identify with either of its participants, the one who loves the players or the one who loves the game, but because it’s the logical successor to a hit from a quarter-century before:

Garnett, a New Zealander whose family relocated to Canada when she was 11, landed this slightly suggestive song at #4 in 1964. It’s highly proto-Swiftian, not just because it proposes a relationship outside the usual boundaries of love, but because it might have been written about an ex-boyfriend: in this case, Hoyt Axton. According to legend, she left Axton this song after their year, or however long it was that they were together, and he recorded it himself; but Garnett’s later waxing was the hit.

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One weird trick to ruin your day

I am slightly more resistant to the blandishments of these pitches, but only slightly:

If you’re like me, you keep getting spam emails with enticing come-ons like “Would you like to know the four subtle warning signs that you’re near death from [fill in the blank]?” Or, “Would you like to know how to look 30 years younger in 10 seconds?” or “…how to lose your belly fat?”

And why is it always four warning signs? Two or three wouldn’t impress us?

Have you ever fallen for it and clicked on the link? In moments of weakness, I have. The ensuing experience is always the same. Someone — a doctor, a spokesperson — appears in a video and tells you what he/she is going to tell you. “I’m going to tell you this heretofore secret information about how you can energize/smooth out/avoid…” and he or she goes on and on and on till you find yourself shrieking, “Don’t tell us what you’re going to tell us. Get on with telling us, already, you friggin’ torturer!!!”

The pitch is never over until they find some way to tap your wallet. I would sooner believe fleeing Nigerian officials than these Doctors of Skulduggery.

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Foot, meet bullet

A smile from last night:

They didn’t say “Delete your account,” but apparently the foul-mouthed slob did.

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You can’t use this

No, we don’t care who wrote it:

SoundCloud booted Chet Faker off the streaming platform today for copyright infringement … of one of his own tracks.

The Australian electronica megastar, real name Nick Murphy, tweeted that SoundCloud issued him with one of its infamous takedown notices for detecting that “one of his tracks may contain copyrighted content.”

This is the track in question:

Automated copyright-infringement detection. How does it work? (Answer: Not very well.)

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In case you thought this would be easy

“When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight,” observed Dr. Johnson, “it concentrates the mind wonderfully.” The Golden State Warriors, facing elimination not in two weeks but in four quarters, buckled down from the get-go and presented their hometown crowd with the hope of one more game, mostly by controlling the paint and keeping the Thunder from easy dashes to the rim. OKC led for 14 seconds in the third quarter, but that was it; when Andre Roberson fouled out inside the two-minute mark, you could see the game slipping away. Steph Curry (of course) picked up two free throws on that foul, giving the Warriors an eight-point lead, and then stole the ball on the next possession. A layup followed, and the last Thunder rally fell short. Golden State 120, Oklahoma City 111, forcing Game Six back in the Big Breezy on Saturday night.

To win actual games, you must score points. Kevin Durant scored 40, but it took him 31 shots. (He did hit all 13 of his free throws.) Russell Westbrook came up with 31 on 28 shots. Compare to the Splash Brothers, who scored less but with a lot less work: Curry 31 on 20 shots, Klay Thompson 27 on 21 shots. The Warriors, who shot around 50 percent most of the night, fell to 47, but the Thunder never broke above the middle 40s and finished at 43. Nor would rebounding save them; the boards were even at 45 each. And the X Factor might have been Andrew Bogut, who played an unprecedented (for him, anyway) 30 minutes in the middle, collecting 15 points and 14 boards while guarding the paint. But this is the line that bugs me the most: Enes Kanter was at 0 on the plus/minus scale while scoring one point. Evidently it wasn’t his night.

Dispatching the Warriors in Game 6 becomes a bit more urgent, because if the series goes to seven, it’s back to Oakland, and I have to assume that nobody wants to go back to Oakland. And some of our own fans are, um, excitable:

If things are done right, that won’t be necessary.

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