Quote of the week

Severian sees the problem in a post-scarcity world:

Time was, everybody was fairly “conservative,” as even the richest and most privileged Westerners experienced “tough shit” moments daily. Carriage crashes, polio, no climate control, no running water … unless you actually were the Queen of England, every day you saw some easy, obvious thing that would make your life better, and it was juuuuuuust out of reach … hell, even if you were the Queen — catch Victoria with a toothache, and she’ll make you Viceroy of India for some over-the-counter aspirin.

But now, a level of material comfort that would be literal heaven to 99.9% of the world’s population for 99.99% of human history — and for a great many people even now — is taken for granted. Our “poor” people are fat and have flat screen TVs. I doubt there are more than 1 in 1,000,000 Americans who have ever experienced actual hunger — that is, I need food and have only a very remote possibility of getting any. So why shouldn’t everyone get everything he wants, the second he wants it? It’s no faaaaaair if I don’t!

I’m not suggesting we turn the clock back to the Middle Ages — that’s a liberal preoccupation — but I am suggesting that perhaps the greatest gift you can give your children is enrolling them in Little League. Something, anything, that teaches them that no matter how strongly you feeeeel about it, some people are better at some things than others, and sometimes the ball takes a funny hop.

I’d question that hunger “statistic,” but I think it’s pretty obvious that we have the wealthiest poor people in recorded history.

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Quickly spotted

By gum, here’s another vintage item from The Fashion Capital of Delaware:

Chiffon dress with polka dots

I think you have to be exactly the right age to appreciate this sort of thing.

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A somewhat hairier version

It is common knowledge that I hang with the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fandom under the name of Dusty Sage, and about four years ago I used one of those cute online generators to produce a ponysona. That was good enough for a while; but I wearied of it, and when the noted artist LeekFish announced she was taking commissions, I asked her to knock out a sketch based on my original design but looking less artificial.

Which she did:

Dusty Sage as envisioned by LeekFish

I am quite pleased.

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The last dose

This seems like a legitimate problem to me:

[T]hen there is the “problem” with people accidentally committing suicide by taking too much of a prescription pain killer. If it’s a prescription painkiller, we know how much of the drug is in there. We aren’t talking about street corner heroin which have anywhere from zero to 100% active ingredients. If people are dying from taking too much Oxycodone, it’s either because they want to die, or they don’t know what a fatal dose is. And why is that? I’ll bet it’s because “nobody needs to know” that kind of information.

A lethal dose will probably vary from person to person. There is an FDA Black Box warning on Vicodin, but probably not the one you expect:

Acetaminophen has been associated with cases of acute liver failure, at times resulting in liver transplant and death. Most of the cases of liver injury are associated with the use of acetaminophen at doses that exceed 4000 milligrams per day, and often involve more than one acetaminophen-containing product.

They could slap that on Tylenol, and probably do.

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The stuff no one’s dreams are made of

When I was younger, I’d have jumped at the chance to spend some time in the broadcast booth at the ballpark; it’s a unique perspective, and the opportunity to meet guys like Vin Scully or the late Harry Caray was a powerful draw.

Perhaps it’s not so much in the minor leagues. OKC Dodgers radio guy and media-relations dude Alex Freedman mourns:

Now I’m sorry I missed the game.

(For the record: Dodgers 8, Chihuahuas 4. Out in the West Texas town of El Paso, there is a ball club named after a dog.)

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Little Guadalupe

It’s not too startling, perhaps, to discover that Lupita Nyong’o was the first, um, Mexican to win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress (for 12 Years a Slave): her parents are indeed Kenyan, but she was born in Mexico City. Being the superficial soul I am, I noticed something else: she’s absolutely fearless on the red carpet. I mean, she can wear anything, any style, any color. Examples:

Lupita Nyong'o in red

Lupita Nyong'o in a car

Lupita Nyong'o in a yellow bikini

Bonus points if you noticed that “Lupita” is, in fact, the diminutive of “Guadalupe.” Says Wikipedia on the subject: “It is a tradition of the Luo people to name a child after the events of the day, so her parents gave her a Spanish name.”

And I dearly loved her 73 Questions for Vogue:

This series is always good, but Nyong’o’s episode might be the best of them all.

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Vaporware condensing

Elio Motors, the company that’s been working on an 84-mpg three-wheeler all these years, has finally announced a price: $7300. And it might even be less than that, but there’s a twist:

Since Elio has yet to deliver a single one of its cars, it needs loans to stay afloat and build its creation. In order to prevent more fenders from falling off, a loan from the Department of Energy would offer them support, if the company can meet its guidelines.

The loan agreement specifies that non-binding (i.e. refundable) customer reservations are usually not sufficient, which means the 56,000 reservations the company currently has is not enough to satisfy the DoE.

To get the ever-important boost, Elio has gone ahead and announced official pricing so its potential customers know what they’ll have to pay: $7300. Additionally, Elio stated a number of just $7000 for anyone willing to lay down a full, non-refundable payment. That’s $200 more than previously stated, but still quite the deal for something resembling an actual car.

I don’t think anyone believed the original $6800 price.

Still, it requires a fair amount of faith to put up seven grand without any guarantee that a vehicle will be forthcoming.

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The bill will be exact

The diagnosis, maybe not so much:

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Otherwise known as “school supplies”

Rob O’Hara saves fifteen thousand dollars, maybe:

Below my desk is a plastic briefcase full of “blending” markers. A couple of years ago, I watched someone on YouTube draw using a set of blending markers. It fascinated me. The next day I went to Hobby Lobby and bought a wide assortment of blending markers. Good blending markers, like Copic brand, cost $6 each, and according to every thirteen-year-old girl on YouTube you need at least 2,583 markers to draw anything. I went the “cheap” route and bought a 32-pack of off-brand markers for around a hundred dollars. I came home and drew a picture of Malachai from Children of the Corn. Then I put the markers in a plastic briefcase and pushed it under my desk. My foot is resting on the briefcase under my desk right now, where it will remain until I die.

For what it’s worth, Vi Hart, my favorite disembodied hand, seems to get by just fine with Sharpies.

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Russian into things

War with Vladimir Putin’s boys? Bad idea, says Fred Reed:

Such a war would be yet another example of the utter control of America by rich insiders. No normal American has anything at all to gain by such a war. And no normal American has the slightest influence over whether such a war takes place, except by voting for Trump. The military has become entirely the plaything of unaccountable elites.

A martial principle of great wisdom says that military stupidity comes in three grades: Ordinarily stupid; really, really, really stupid; and fighting Russia. Think Charles XII at Poltava, Napoleon after Borodino, Adolf and Kursk.

Letting dilettantes, grifters, con men, pasty Neocons, bottle-blonde ruins, and corporations decide on war is insane. We have pseudo-masculine dwarves playing with things they do not understand. So far as I am aware, none of these fern-bar Clausewitzes has worn boots, been in a war, seen a war, or faces any chance of being in a war started by themselves. They brought us Iraq, Afghanistan, and Isis, and can’t win wars against goatherds with AKs. They are going to fight … Russia?

“It is an honor,” said Capulet’s daughter, “that I dream not of.”

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And surly to rise

Turns out that Grumpy Cat was right all along:

The truth is, pondering the worst has some clear advantages. Cranks may be superior negotiators, more discerning decision-makers and cut their risk of having a heart attack. Cynics can expect more stable marriages, higher earnings and longer lives — though, of course, they’ll anticipate the opposite.

Good moods on the other hand come with substantial risks — sapping your drive, dimming attention to detail and making you simultaneously gullible and selfish. Positivity is also known to encourage binge drinking, overeating and unsafe sex.

At the centre of it all is the notion our feelings are adaptive: anger, sadness and pessimism aren’t divine cruelty or sheer random bad luck — they evolved to serve useful functions and help us thrive.

And no, you should not suppress these things for the sake of camaraderie or whatever:

[I]n 2010 a team of scientists decided to take a look. They surveyed a group of 644 patients with coronary artery disease to determine their levels of anger, suppressed anger and tendency to experience distress, and followed them for between five and ten years to see what happened next.

Over the course of the study, 20% experienced a major cardiac event and 9% percent died. Initially it looked like both anger and suppressed anger increased the likelihood of having a heart attack. But after controlling for other factors, the researchers realised anger had no impact — while suppressing it increased the chances of having a heart attack by nearly three-fold.

I suspect this is why I am not a cardiac patient after all these years of surliness.

(Via Scott Kiekbusch.)

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Rodents of, um, unusual size

The guys in Rio running the Games are finding that yes, they do exist:

Wildlife is taking over the Olympic golf course just before the sport makes its official comeback to the Games after 112 years.

Capybaras have been seen exploring and settling in on the green, in sand traps and near water hazards, according to The National Post.

The animal, native to South America, is a semi-aquatic rodent that can weigh up to 100 pounds and can stand about 2 feet tall. It’s the largest rodent in the world.

Add this to the “What else can happen?” files.

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Retrieved from the vault

This story might have been interesting even if it didn’t involve Canadian garage rock:

A Grand Forks, B.C. man is living his rock and roll dream after a half-century on the shelf.

Danny Norton fronted a psychedelic rock band in the 1960’s in Winnipeg. He recorded a minor hit called Expedition to Earth, that small-towners grooved to back in the day.

That single was the end of his dream. The album was never cut.

But clearly the single was never entirely forgotten:

Norton’s wife went hunting on eBay for the vinyl and found out it had turned to gold.

The orange-labelled disc fetched $900 from collectors.

Another copy appeared three months later. Bidding for that ended at $1137.

Because obscurity, here are both sides of Franklin QC 618: “Expedition to Earth” b/w “Time Time Time,” by Danny Norton’s Expedition to Earth.

Norton’s now working on an album.

(With thanks to Roger Green.)

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Getting Ziggy with it

I’m kind of sorry I missed this:

Alternate uniforms for Bowie Baysox

The Bowie Baysox today announce that for one night only, the team has made the historic decision to change its name to the Bowie Baysox to honor legendary rock-star David Bowie, who passed away earlier this year. The Bowie Baysox David Bowie Tribute Event will be held Friday, July 22 as the team takes on the Erie SeaWolves at Prince George’s Stadium at 7:05 p.m.

The Bowie Baysox (pronounced Boo-ee) will make the ultimate dedication to the British musician who shares a heteronymous last name with the city by becoming the Bowie Baysox (pronounced Boh-ee) for this special night. The team will represent the star with Bowie music, contests and tributes throughout the event.

The Baysox are the Double-A affiliates of the Baltimore Orioles; they play in Bowie, Maryland.

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Seduced by the rings

Everything you hate about NBC’s fawning-yet-inept coverage of Those Games Down There is neatly encapsulated in this tweet from their San Jose affiliate, which they promptly deleted once the clues started arriving:

NBC Bay Area tweets about Katie Ledecky's nail polish

I mean, geez, guys.

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Last train to Doodyville

This sort of broke me up: the opening and closing of The Howdy Doody Show episode #2343, the very last episode, aired Saturday, 24 September 1960.

The following week, Howdy was replaced by The Shari Lewis Show, which ran for three seasons.

Bitter irony: Buffalo Bob Smith died the last week of July 1998. Shari Lewis died the first week of August 1998.

(Via Daily Pundit.)

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