Also for use with ganders

Brianna Bailey of The Oklahoman turned up a bottle of this exotic elixir at GW Zoo in Wynnewood:

PETA BBQ sauce

No trademark lawyers on hand, so far as I know.

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Embrace the gaffe

Jessica Simpson, 2003, on Chicken of the Sea brand tuna: “Is this chicken, what I have, or is this fish?”

In 2016:

The owners of the Chicken of the Sea brand obviously aren’t taking umbrage.

Sidelight: In 1978, the Dacron Republican-Democrat (the National Lampoon Sunday Newspaper Parody) carried an ad for the Food Clown supermarket, which was offering canned chicken under the “Tuna of the Land” name.

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I blame the special sauce

The inventor of the Big Mac has crossed the bar, or maybe the bun, at the age of 98:

Michael “Jim” Delligatti came up with the iconic McDonald’s burger nearly 50 years ago.

The franchise owner from Uniontown, Pennsylvania put the stacked treat on sale at one of his restaurants in 1967.

Of course, it’s especially wonderful that someone named Michael would be called “Jim.” (Consider the case of my one surviving brother, James, who was named after our Uncle Pete.)

Delligatti’s creation irritated the McDonald’s brass, but it sold like the very dickens at all 48 of his stores, and McDonald’s eventually adopted it system-wide.

One thing has changed since I was manning Mickey D’s grill in 1970:

Big Mac Sauce is delivered to McDonald’s restaurants in sealed canisters designed by Sealright, from which it is meant to be directly dispensed using a special calibrated “sauce gun” that dispenses a specified amount of the sauce for each pull of the trigger. Its design is similar to a caulking gun.

That might have been almost fun for seventeen-year-old me, toiling in Greaseville for a buck ninety-five an hour.

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The one-time Minister of Munitions

The Friar, to commemorate the 142nd anniversary of the birth of Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill (1874-1965), brings back one of Sir Winston’s most famous quotes:

Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

Quips the Friar: “I mean, it’s no ‘Build a wall and make Mexico pay for it,’ but it did well enough for its time, right?”

Incidentally, Churchill did actually serve as Minister of Munitions — during what would be called the Great War, under Prime Minister David Lloyd George.

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Amid all the gloom

In case you were thinking that nothing on God’s green earth is working for me these days, I’m here to tell you that it ain’t necessarily so.

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Darkness every day

Bill Withers’ original version of “Ain’t No Sunshine” was amazing: as deep as the deepest Southern soul, it’s over in a mere 2:03, and Withers’ record company, Sussex, somehow managed to stick it on a B-side. It didn’t stay there, of course. As for Bill himself, he wound up in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted in 2015 with Stevie Wonder (!) speaking at the induction.

Better yet, despite, or perhaps because of, its skeletal structure, musicians will always want to try their hands at “Ain’t No Sunshine.” The results are often golden. Here are two covers I particularly admire: the MonaLisa Twins, then all of thirteen years old, with a dark jazz flavor, and a purely acoustic take from Hanson. Yes, that Hanson.

I know, I know.

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The return of Foreman Scotty

As I expected, former Thunder coach Scott Brooks got a tremendous ovation from the current Thunder fans. As I didn’t expect, the Washington Wizards came back from a double-digit deficit early on to tie the game after three quarters and take the lead early in the fourth. Eight minutes into the fourth quarter, the Wizards were up seven, 97-90, the Thunder having scored a mere six points in those eight minutes against Brooks’ small, smaller, smallest-ball deployment. And then OKC seemed to wake up. Just inside the 2:00 mark, the Thunder had pulled to within one at 101-100; OKC called a timeout with 17.6 left and the Wizards up three. Then Russell Westbrook, who hadn’t made a trey all night, made a trey. Washington had 8.5 seconds to respond. Otto Porter had a clean look as time expired, but the ball refused to go in. Something happened between the horn and the start of overtime, and I’m not sure what it is, but in a minute and a quarter, the Thunder had knocked down eight points to the Wizards’ zip. Brooks promptly brought back Marcin Gortat, who set up Bradley Beal for five consecutive points, shrinking the Thunder lead to six; in the last minute, two free throws from Westbrook, two from Jerami Grant, and two more from Westbrook iced the deal. Oklahoma City 126, Washington 115, Westbrook went over to congratulate Brooks, and that was that.

The Wizards sent up a lot of scorers: all five starters hit double digits, as did two reserves, and both Gortat (12 points, 11 rebounds) and John Wall (15 points, 15 assists) posted double-doubles. Beal ended up with 31 points. Washington did claim the rebounding advantage, by one (48-47), but was edged in most of the other statistical categories. Meanwhile, in the least surprising news of the day, Westbrook had a triple-double, 35-14-11, despite shooting 12-35 (!) from the floor. (Factor out Westbrook and the Thunder shot 57 percent.) And unusually for the Thunder, all five starters made it to double figures. Victor Oladipo, not unusually, came up with 25.

The Pelicans will arrive here from New Orleans on Sunday. After six games in nine days, I should think the Thunder can use the rest.

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Fallin into place

The AP put this out yesterday:

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has been added to President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team, it was announced Tuesday evening.

According to a statement from the Trump organization, Fallin is one of seven vice-chairs being added to the transition team. It was not clear what her duties will be.

If she’s a Vice Chair, I hope they put her in charge of some form of vice.

Fallin reportedly is under consideration for a post with the Department of the Interior and met with Trump at Trump Tower in New York City last week. She said afterward that she would consider a job in Trump’s administration if it were offered.

“He didn’t give me any timeline on anything,” Fallin said of Trump last week. “We just talked in general about a lot of different issues. We talked about different positions he had to fill.”

I’m torn on this matter. While I’m sure the Guv is simpatico with Trump’s idea of Interior, if she goes she leaves behind Todd Lamb as governor, and I’m not entirely sure I’m ready for Todd Lamb as governor.

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Not one cent for hackers

San Francisco’s Muni Metro got hit, but they didn’t stay hit:

For all Muni Metro passengers knew, the free rides they were getting Friday night and Saturday were a holiday gift from the transit system. Little did they know Muni was under attack from a hacker trying to squeeze $73,000 in ransom to unlock the agency’s computer systems.

Muni refused to pay up. Instead, officials shut down the system’s ticket machines, threw open the fare gates as a precautionary move, and contacted the Department of Homeland Security and their own technology division to contain the attack, they said.

“Considering paying that ransom was never an option,” said Paul Rose, an MTA spokesman.

I like the sound of that.

The anonymous hacker used a ransomware attack — malicious software sent via email — to lock up employee computers at 900 workstations, shut down Muni’s email system and knock out the time-tracking portion of its payroll system, Rose said.

The hacker displayed messages on otherwise dark computer screens declaring “You hacked,” and asking for 100 bitcoins, a digital currency, or about $73,000. Muni never communicated nor negotiated with the hacker, Rose said. Instead, Muni officials relied on advice from federal officials and a backup system to restore the network.

Apparently the attack didn’t reach the Muni control systems or customer records; the hacker supposedly announced that he had customer records, but Muni says no chance.

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Give me convenience

Actually, it’s not that we want convenience; it’s that we want to avoid inconvenience. Jack Baruth understands:

The always-changing Uber app, which never presents me with the same look, choices, or order flow twice in a row, told me that the ride to the airport would be $34 with UberX. Or it would be $77 with UberSelect. I considered this briefly, and thought about the last few UberX rides I’d taken. A lot of cramped, weary Toyotas, trunks and hatch areas full of grime that threatened to befoul my custom-color RedOxx bags, drivers whose command of English was both minimal and surprisingly malleable depending on how the conversation was going.

For an extra forty bucks, I could skip all that. I’m now at the age in life where I’m willing to spend money to avoid misery. I park at the $16/day garage that is connected to the airport instead of at the $6/day shuttle lot because I hate the uncertainty and the noise and the crowding of the shuttle. That’s where I am as a human being right now; willing to drop $10 a day so I don’t have to ride for 10 minutes in a bus. Thirty years ago I earned two and a half dollars an hour scrubbing pizza pans after midnight so I could pay six-dollar entry fees for Saturday morning BMX races. My childhood self doesn’t understand this extended dream I live now, an endless progression of travel and attractive women and Kimpton reservations and $50 filets. Certainly he wouldn’t have spent a month’s worth of pan-scrubbing income to ride in a different kind of car to the airport.

My childhood self just barely comprehends Uber.

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Presumably on channel fifteen

Taylor Swift TV? It could happen. In fact, it’s going to happen:

On Monday AT&T revealed that fans of the 1989 singer will soon have a “new destination for unique and never-seen videos” with the debut of Taylor Swift Now. The new channel will play footage of live performances, music videos, behind-the-scenes videos, and more as part of the company’s DirecTV Now streaming service launch, which takes place Nov. 30.

Truth be told, I could watch her just trying on Keds for hours at a clip, but that’s insufficiently ambitious, for Swift anyway.

Taylor Swift Now will become available via DirecTV, DirecTV Now, and U-verse “later this year,” per AT&T.

Should we read that as “next month”?

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Another insomnia update

Having once again brought my sleeplessness to the attention of the medical profession, I have been prescribed two new (to me, anyway) drugs: Elavil (amitriptyline), a tricyclic antidepressant which is occasionally prescribed off-label for insomnia, and Neurontin (gabapentin), an anti-seizure drug which has some unspecified effect on nerve pain. This is probably consistent with everyone else’s experiences: the Wonder Drug of the moment works for a while, right up until the moment when it doesn’t.

I will say that the Walgreens pill bottle, while unintuitive, is somewhat less excruciating to operate than the CVS equivalent. And speaking of CVS, CFI Care (not its real initials) is not the only insurance carrier to dump them; Tricare, provider of civilian health benefits to military and dependents, is also leaving the CVS fold.

I also discovered this evening that I am much less able to pump my own gas after a full day of work: I had to lean up against the car for almost the entirety of 13 gallons (at the scary price of $2.399). This does not happen when gassing up at noon on Saturday, as is my usual wont.

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Call her Ramya

Or don’t, if you’d rather not. Divya Spandana is her name; she was born 34 years ago in Bangalore and started acting at 21, sometimes as Ramya, sometimes as Divya. In 2013, she hinted that she might quit acting to go into politics.

Divya Spandana in blue

Divya Spandana in red

Divya Spandana in a white top

Indeed, in an August 2013 by-election, she ran for a seat in the Indian parliament from the Mandya constituency in Karnataka and won; she lost her reelection bid in the 2014 general election. She’s since appeared in one more film: Aryan, in which she plays a “sprint queen.” I guess that means she runs a lot.

In a recent visit to a Mandya market, she was booed and taunted:

What happened?

Ramya was taken to task by people here for her long absence from Mandya district. They alleged the sudden appearance in the district on the pretext of hearing people’s problems was opportunistic behaviour.

Ramya went to the Mandya city vegetable market to ask vendors if they were facing any hassles due to demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes but she didn’t realise she’d face the brunt of their anger.

She also caught some flak for saying not-nasty things about Pakistan:

Responding to a question asked at a programme in her former constituency Mandya about her recent visit to Pakistan as part of a South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) delegation of young lawmakers, Ramya had said that she doesn’t agree with [Defence Minister Manohar] Parikkar’s view that going to Pakistan is same as “going to hell.”

This met with a curiously American-sounding response:

Following her comments, a complaint has been filed against her for sedition by a Karnataka lawyer named K. Vittal Gowda, who has also called for boycott of her movies.

Oh, well.

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Death quarter-panels

The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia provides auto insurance for all comers in that westernmost province.

Or they did, anyway. Now they’re imposing something that looks like a means test:

British Columbia will no longer insure high-end luxury vehicles through its public auto insurance policies, says the province’s transportation minister.

The government is working on legislative changes to have the Insurance Corporation of B.C. no longer insure luxury vehicles worth $150,000 or more.

Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone says it’s expensive to repair high-end cars and creates “pressures” on basic rates for all drivers.

Owners of cars priced above $150,000 will have to buy private insurance instead.

The worst-case example provided:

The ministry said in a statement the cost for parts to repair the fender, grille, headlight and intercooler on a 2015 Bentley Flying Spur W12 was approximately $38,000.

“While the cost to repair this car is substantially more than the everyday car, the basic insurance rates of about $1,000 per car are about the same.”

Last year, the average repair cost for a high-value luxury car was about $13,000, compared to an average repair cost around $2,500 for what the province called a typical private vehicle.

A Spur starts at $200k in the States, probably 50k more than that in Canada.

(Via The Truth About Cars.)

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Hard to budget

I suspect this sums it up for a lot of folks around half my age or thereabouts:

Were I bringing in enough to cover those items, I could retire tomorrow.

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Mr. Hill goes to Washington

Meet Jackson:

Jackson Hill up a tree

Jackson is a fifth grader at Luff Elementary School in Independence, MO. He has been recognized as a student who has achieved academic excellence and possesses strong leadership potential and was nominated by his art teacher to attend the Junior National Young Leaders Conference (JrNYLC) to be held the summer of 2017 in Washington, DC.

Jackson is the older son of Russell Hill, the one and only son of, um, me.

This will cost close to $3000, so naturally, there’s a GoFundMe.

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