I’m sure someone can explain this

I’m pretty sure, though, that I can’t. A note affixed to my most recent (okay, only) Amazon PrimePantry order:

Frequently Bought With ZzzQuil Nighttime Sleep Aid

About the only thing these items would seem to have in common is that 4½-star rating.

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Advantage: cheapness

Out of yesterday’s tweetstream:

Which ends up here, and to these two paragraphs deemed relevant to my interests:

The blood pressure medication Dean had taken for 20 years was hydrochlorothiazide. It is the most commonly prescribed medication for blood pressure, not because it is safe or effective, but because it is the one insurance companies choose to pay for! Below is an eye-opening quote from an article sent to me by a reader. (Thanks, Joan.)

‘In an article published in Postgraduate Medicine, Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, leading cardiovascular research scientist, James J. DiNicolantonio, Pharm.D., and cardiologist James H. O’Keefe, M.D., examined some of the most commonly prescribed blood pressure medications and their effectiveness in reducing heart attacks and mortality versus a placebo. In many instances, the research revealed that often the most popular medications are not only not the best, in many instances they are not any more effective than a placebo or may actually cause harm… The most commonly prescribed thiazide diuretic in the United States is hydrochlorothiazide, with more than 1 million people receiving a prescription in 2008. However, this medication increased cardiovascular death and coronary heart disease compared to both the placebo and control in two clinical trials. Alternatively, only 25,000 people received a prescription for chlorthalidone in 2008, even though this medication consistently demonstrated significant reductions in heart attacks and strokes compared to placebo… Currently there is no universal rating system in the United States where medications can be selected by clinicians based upon their effectiveness. Rather, insurance companies ‘pay for performance’ or ‘pay for service,’ but this does not guarantee the selection of effective medications.”

Read the full article here: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/11/prweb12291899.htm.

I have always suspected that a drug manufacturer would rather sell you a hundred thousand pills over 25 years for $4500 than sell you a single treatment for $20,000. They evidently make it up in volume.

That said, I have been taking some form of HCTZ — generally in combination with, yes, potassium — for more than a decade. My heart’s fine, if a tad irregular; it’s everything else that’s messed up.

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Tuning forked

Some time during the last century, I was trying to create the illusion that I could play piano, and the poor woman tasked with Making It So immediately noticed that the family instrument was tuned a hair differently. “The current standard calls for the A above middle C to be tuned to 440 Hz.”

Compulsive math whiz that I was at the time, I immediately found something wrong with this, based on my devotion to C Major: should not middle C, the anchor of the entire keyboard, be a nice binary multiple like 256 Hz? Tune to A=440, and middle C becomes 261 point something, which seems inelegant. She reassured me that the Pitch Police were not on the way, and I went back to fumbling with scales.

And I didn’t think about it for at least fifty years, until an image was dropped into my Facebook timeline:

Conspiracy theory on musical tuning

I note for reference the following:

I decided to flush this from my mind with the playing of Deep Purple’s “A’ 200,” from the Burn album, but I could not find my cassette, and none of the proffered versions on YouTube would play at all.

I blame the Rothschilds.

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Imagine my lack of surprise

Last Thunder/Warriors clash, OKC went to pieces in the second quarter. It took a bit longer this time: after a 56-all tie at halftime, Golden State methodically rolled up 37 points in the third to go up 15 on the undermanned Thunder. In the absence of Steven Adams, Jerami Grant drew the Guard Number Thirty-Five assignment, and he was game, but, precisely as happened the first game in this series, Kevin Durant had an unusually good night, with 33 points and ten rebounds through three quarters. It didn’t even seem necessary to drag KD onto the court in the fourth, though Steve Kerr wasn’t taking any chances, and within a few seconds of Durant’s return, he’d already bagged another shot. KD’s previous season high was 39, against, um, guess who? Bench-emptying didn’t take too awfully long, Durant finished with 40 points and 12 rebounds, and yet another Russell Westbrook triple-double — 27-15-13, not to mention ten turnovers — will be overlooked in the wake of the giant-size L, 121-100.

Victor Oladipo scored 20 again, Enes Kanter scored 22 again, but no one else in Thunder blue was able to hit double digits. OKC shot a blah 42 percent, versus 54 for the Warriors. Treys, you ask? Golden State 10 of 21, OKC 8 of 28. And the Steph Curry/Klay Thompson axis of splashers produced 24 and 14 respectively.

Fortunately, there will be four days of wound-licking before the next game, at Utah, the current Northwest standard-bearers, and then the road trip ends at New Orleans. Nobody expected much from January, or at least that’s what punditry assembled will assert. But nobody also expected two consecutive blowouts. (If they did, they didn’t say so.)

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To do that doo-wop once more

Alan Freed’s colossal reputation is based largely on the fact that he invariably passed up seemingly antiseptic white cover versions in favor of the original recordings by black acts. And Freed’s aesthetic judgment was largely borne out; the number of white covers that surpassed the black originals was vanishingly small. I feel I can make a case for exactly two, one of which was Elvis’ take on “Hound Dog,” which leaves Big Mama Thornton’s blues shouter in its high-velocity dust.

This is the other.

What’s particularly cool about this Diamonds gig is that Maurice Williams, who wrote the darn thing and recorded it first with his Gladiolas, gets to sit in. I’d like to think Alan Freed would have enjoyed it.

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This is the year of the expanding bird

Well, a few specific birds, anyway:

According to University of Notre Dame researcher Professor Dylan Korczynskyj, the wings of Western Australian ringneck parrots have increased by four to five millimetres over the past 45 years.

And you know who’s to blame: us, and our indefensible planet-heating ways. Professor Korczynskyj believes this parrot wing growth could be due to climate change, pointing out that critter extremities in hotter climates tend to be longer.

Let us then project forward:

That’s just fine, naysayers may scoff. Nobody will have much of a problem with parrots that during the next half a century extend their wingspans from 17.5cm to 18.5cm. But consider how these beasts might evolve as climate change continues ruining our world.

Add another 45 years of warming and suddenly we’ve got parrots flapping all over the place with colossal 19.5cm wingspans. Throw in 90 more years on top of that and they’ll be up to an unimaginable 21.5cm.

Why, it’s only a matter of time before these warming-fuelled sky leviathans are the size of pterodactyls, sporting 12 metres of wing as they soar away with our screaming children clamped in their bloody talons. At a rate of one millimetre of growth per wing every nine years, or two millimetres in wingspan, the diminutive ringneck parrot will easily achieve pterodactyl dimensions within a mere 6000 years or so.

Hitchcock himself couldn’t imagine a scarier avian fantasy.

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Bolts for dolts

The Bolt is Chevrolet’s Pure Electric Car: no gas engine and an estimated range of 238 miles on a full charge. When can you get one? Where do you live?

The first deliveries of the Bolt began right before 2016 came to a close, with 579 vehicles delivered — primarily in California. Oregon dealerships should receive their remaining cars later this month and a quick inventory search shows that some dealerships have Bolts already.

Following the model’s western launch, the next states to see the rollout are Massachusetts, Maryland, and Virginia. Those states should have the EV by the end February. By March and April we should see the Bolt cropping up in New York, New Jersey, and Washington.

Don’t expect to see one in sunny Soonerland until September; for the moment, Chevy is happily sending us Silverados, which do more for their bottom line but don’t attract the attention of the Media Machine.

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For your consideration

For President in 2020, Lynn’s cat Dax:

She is, for the most part, quite honest. She has literally never told a lie. She has on a few occasions tried to steal the dog’s food and she has been seen licking her own butt but she has never tried to hide these habits and we do not think they will interfere with her ability to serve the nation as President, especially when you consider the habits of some former and soon to be Presidents.

She shoots, she scores.

Dax is a peace lover but she does believe in self-defense when necessary. She is in favor of universal health care and enough food for everyone (as long as she gets hers first) so, at heart, she’s a Democrat but, as her chief advisor has observed, labels are what is most important to people and since it has recently been demonstrated that Republican voters will vote for anyone as long as he or she is Republican, after much soul searching Dax has decided to run as a Republican.

Hey, it worked for Nanny Bloomberg, didn’t it? (It technically did not work for Donald Trump, who is no more Republican than I.)

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Louts and umlauts

This works pretty well when you think about it:

On ITFF (a group for academics on Ravelry), we got an idea rolling for a “fake” music festival, based on the band names that different people proposed “that would be a good band name.” It’s essentially a series of in-jokes, and I am so seldom “in” on “in jokes” that it pleases me to be in on this.

What pleases me even more? One of the bands I proposed (Rändöm Ümläuts — a Spinal Tap tribute band) got a plurality of votes and is therefore a “headliner.”

And we are definitely overdue for a Spinal Tap tribute band, even if they can only crank it up to 10 or even 9.5.

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Why there will be no TrumpCare

David Brooks came up with this howler:

The Republicans are going to try to introduce more normal market incentives into the process. They are probably going to rely on refundable tax credits and health savings accounts so everybody can afford to shop for their own insurance and care.

Nobody actually believes this, of course, least of all the Z Man:

As soon as the phrase “market incentives” comes up, you know that there is no existing market. This is a phrase cooked up by managerial class types so they can engage in central planning, but pretend they have respect for free markets. Incentives are synthetic creations to get people to do things they otherwise would not do. If you want a market, you don’t want central planners dreaming up incentives to warp the market. What would be the point? You want the buyers and sellers to sort things out among themselves.

Pseudo-intellectual posers like Brooks don’t understand this because he does not have the slightest idea how any of it works, but he is willing to expound on just about everything as if he is an expert. That’s a problem we have in the mass media age. The alleged experts that citizens rely on for opinions spend all their time filling the air with laughable nonsense. In health care, for example, most Americans not only think it is a right, they think it is a product that should never be rationed. This is complete lunacy, but you can’t blame people for thinking it. All the “smart” people say it on television.

All goods and services are rationed. The question with health care is how is it to be rationed. Will it be by price or by a monopoly of supply? Progressives want the latter so that their coreligionists on the health care boards can murder enemies of the faith by denying them health care. The alternative should be arguments in favor of free markets, but instead we get magical thinking from guys passed off to us as conservatives by the mass media. The result is an increasingly misinformed public.

Then again, this is a case where the public prefers to be misinformed, because they think it’s in their best interest, be it financial or philosophical. I suspect the one and only way to get rid of government distortion of the health-care marketplace is to entirely remove the government as a player, and this isn’t going to happen so long as someone’s Aunt Tessie needs to go on dialysis. Square One exists only in theory, and practice says that theory will never be tested. I suspect Donald Trump, who has endorsed single-payer in the past, will do so again — just so long as we don’t call it that.

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Roughly half of fifteen

Xia Vigor is Taylor Swift, half-sized:

Background, sort of:

Hailing from Exeter in England, Xia is a proper star in the Philippines, with a big social media following and a career in movies and TV. In fact, this isn’t her first turn on Your Face Sounds Familiar. Xia previously did a performance as Selena Gomez, covering the singer’s hit “Love You Like A Love Song.”

For some reason, this girl of seven makes me think of a Tom Lehrer pronouncement: “It’s people like that who make you realize how little you’ve accomplished. It is a sobering thought, for example, that when Mozart was my age, he had been dead for two years.”

Professor Lehrer was thirty-seven at the time.

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Zooeypalooza 25!

Let us celebrate the birthday girl on her, um, thirty-seventh.

Zooeypalooza 25!

Embiggenment doth follow clickage.

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, ZP 20, ZP 21, ZP 22, ZP 23, ZP 24.

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Perpetually in suspense

It was a week ago Saturday when the toilet backed up beyond my ability to repair things, and worse, right about the time the plumbers got here, a water line in the garage gave way. The end result, of course, was a large check I had to write.

It’s much warmer this week, and the lines in the garage seem to be fine, but the toilet is backed up once again, and worse, it spews into the bathtub.

I noticed this at 9:30 last night. A bored receptionist informed me that [no sense mentioning his name here] would be out in approximately 45 minutes.

Three hours later, he hadn’t shown up, and they’re no longer answering the phone. I left some vague contumely on some unidentified person’s voice mail.

What I’m thinking: call every five minutes starting about 7:55 am. And then reconsider why I’m paying these yutzes three hundred-odd dollars a year as a retainer so that they’ll actually come out at times like 10:15. Evidently I am too stupid to live.

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Shorn of dignity, among other things

The Clippers, as radio guy Matt Pinto is always reminding us, are kind of irritating to watch: the very idea that one of them might be charged with a foul is utterly unthinkable. Still, one should not let one’s irritation interfere with the fact that this is a very gifted team that works diligently to thrash its opponents. They certainly seem to have enjoyed having thrashed the Steven Adams-less Thunder tonight; L.A. shot well over 50 percent most of the night and dominated in all the ways a team can dominate. Admittedly, the Thunder were on the second night of a back-to-back, but the problem didn’t seem to be fatigue so much as simple discombobulation: OKC couldn’t do anything about dribble penetration, and once again they tossed up three-point shots instead of actually going for the rim now and then. The reserves finished up the demolition job, 120-98.

Jerami Grant, starting in the place of Adams, did yeoman work — nine points, eight rebounds — but Adams’ scoring touch was missed. So was Victor Oladipo’s, and he was there; the best he could manage was six points on 3-11. Russell Westbrook did bring 24 points to the arena, but he went 7-19. Surely it means something that the Clippers’ leading scorer was reserve Mareese Speights, who posted a season-high 23 with 10 rebounds. J. J. Redick, largely undefended, rang up 20. Blake Griffin wasn’t even missed, and Chris Paul, who sprained his wrist in the second quarter, didn’t create a big hole in the L. A. attack. The only oddity was the continuing futility of Jamal Crawford, who missed all five of his shots.

So the road trip starts 1-3 before it gets to Oakland and the Warriors. This can’t be good.

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Hierarchy of knees

Yesterday I posed this slightly weird question to half of the Twitterverse:

What prompted this outburst? I had caught an episode of Henry Danger, a sort-of-superhero series on Nickelodeon, and there’s Ella Anderson, eleven, who plays Henry’s sister Piper, gliding onto the sofa like a foreshortened Claudia Cardinale. I couldn’t remember any eleven-year-old girls doing that during the period when I could legitimately be interested in eleven-year-old girls; for that matter, when I was eleven, the girls in closest proximity were fourteen or fifteen and that much closer to Grown Up, whatever that meant at the time.

Here follows a screencap of Ella as Piper, followed by a picture I found at IMDb, suggesting that this is nothing unusual for her:

Ella Anderson on and off set

Of course, I couldn’t justify bringing this up here without at least one more qualification. Apparently the young lady is a Russell Westbrook fan:

Ella Anderson in a Westbrook jersey

My pesky Inner Child, a nine-year-old girl, wants to know when she can have this much of my attention. I think I’ll just tell her to sit for awhile.

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Versus the Institution

Life on the funny farm, except that (1) it wasn’t actually a farm and (2) it wasn’t all that damn funny, really. An actual slice of my actual life.

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