No Rice for you

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will apparently not be giving the commencement speech at Rutgers after all, leaving the New Jersey school with a time slot to fill. What to do?

The university will now tap someone as its commencement speaker who is probably lower profile, less controversial, and OK with the idea that the only reason he or she is speaking is because the original selection bowed out. My suggestion is that commencement ceremony organizers do not select a substitute, ask Rice about how long her speech would have been and simply have everyone in attendance sit there for that length of time.

Did I mention that Rutgers is in New Jersey?

Oh, and there’s this:

Rutgers, of course, is also the university that paid Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi $32,000 to tell its students to “study hard, but party harder” in the same year that it paid commencement speaker (and Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winning author) Toni Morrison $30,000. This suggests to me that the Rutgers community is ignorant not only of the value of free speech, but of worthless speech as well.

Let’s not be unkind here. Snooki has written four books.

Update: Rutgers went with paralyzed football player Eric LeGrand — then disinvited him in favor of ex-Governor Thomas Kean.

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Showing people how little we care

“This man” is photographer Simon Runting, already on Rihanna’s shitlist. “AKL” is the airport code for Auckland, Lorde’s hometown.

Yeah, yeah, another pop star’s life. But:

No, you shouldn’t.

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Imitation Chrome

Says Mozilla of Firefox 29:

We reimagined and redesigned Firefox to reflect how you use the Web today and we are excited to introduce many features including an elegant and fun design, new menu, customization mode and an enhanced Firefox Sync service powered by Firefox Accounts.

Says Tatyana of Firefox 29:

The whole interface now looks awful: tabs are not just slim slots, but take double vertical space in on my laptop screen; things I previously had in the top menu are now hidden under “open menu-3-horisontal-lines” button, instead icons I DON’T need now take up prominent real estate. In short, the screen now looks just like a hateful Chrome browser. Hey, Mozilla! There was a reason we chose to be your customers instead of Google Chrome’s!

“Oh, boy, a whole new interface!” said no one ever.

Another customer for Pale Moon? We shall see.

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Out, damned Griz

Admiral Ackbar’s attention would have been drawn early this afternoon: Zach Randolph drew a one-game suspension for trying to punch out Steven Adams in Game 6, Mike Conley was still hurting a bit after a hamstring issue dating to late in Game 5, and Tony Allen had eye issues. This is, of course, precisely the sort of disadvantage that tends to lure the Thunder into a false sense of security. At tip-off, Z-Bo was indeed gone, and Dave Joerger decided to shuffle his rotation even further, starting Allen instead of Tayshaun Prince and Mike Miller in place of Randolph. The Thunder made no adjustments beyond starting Caron Butler again; there were the usual distressing defensive lapses, enabling the Griz to take a double-digit lead early on, but the answer this time was to crank up offense far beyond Memphis’ ability to foil. Oklahoma City 120, Memphis 109, and the Thunder go on to the semifinals against some West Coast team.

How cranked, you ask, was this offense? OKC hit 42-69, 61 percent. Even less likely: 11-19 from the Twilight Zone, 58 percent. Old unreliable Kevin Durant was 12-18 from the floor, 5-5 from outside, for 33 points. Erratic Russell Westbrook had a triple-double: 27 points on 10-16 from the floor, 10 rebounds, 16 assists. (The TNT audience was informed that no, they don’t have quadruple-doubles.) Serge Ibaka, Reggie Jackson and, yes, Caron Butler all ended up in double figures, Jackson leading the bench with 16.

And you have to wonder what Memphis could have done to win this one. They collected 13 steals; they forced 20 Thunder turnovers; they made 30 out of 34 foul shots. Marc Gasol, despite playing with four, then five, fouls, had a solid-gold 24-point outing; Conley, hamstring or no, made 20; Courtney Lee, the Griz’ most effective long-distance shooter, had 16. Then again, 2-5 was as “effective” as Memphis would get tonight: the long ball failed the Griz time and time again, with five makes in 17 tries. Still, on the whole, they did the right things; they just couldn’t do enough of them in 48 minutes.

Meanwhile at the Staples Center, the Warriors and the Clippers are going at it in their Game 7. Whichever one of them survives will show up here Monday night.

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Strange hardware bleg

Yeah, I know: I have strange hardware. Work with me, wouldja please?

I have this little card reader bolted into the front panel of the desktop. It has no trouble reading SD cards at bootup. But once the system is running, you can shove as many cards into it as you can find slots for, and it won’t read a one of them.

I haven’t figured out whether this is a hardware issue or a Windows 7 issue; chatter on the interwebs seems to blame both equally.

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The Hendricks effect

This might seem an odd pose for Christina Hendricks, whose birthday is today (she’s thirty-nine), but it’s consistent with her recent irritation with people who obsess over her because of her shape, though there are more, um, traditional shots in the photoshoot.

Christina Hendricks in The Edit magazine 3-14

In the accompanying article (in The Edit, March 2014), she reveals how she’d like Mad Men, or at least her role in it, to end:

“I want Joan to do the Thelma & Louise thing. Just go out with a bang.”

The last season was split into two sections, so we won’t know for sure until next spring.

(Photo by Yelena Yemchuk.)

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The editing dead

Weirdly, a “You have a new message” banner popped up for me — just me — on a Wikipedia page last night, and apparently my current IP address, which I’ve had since, oh, Thursday, caused some grief eight years ago:

This IP address has been blocked because it is believed to be an open proxy or zombie computer. To prevent abuse, editing from these proxies is currently prohibited. For more information about open proxies and what you can do, please see the WikiProject on open proxies.

The message was dated 30 May 2006. I got this IP on 1 May 2014.

There is a process, sort of, by which I could request that this IP be unblocked, but I figure by the time it could be acted upon, I’d have a whole new IP. (The ISP seems to swap them out every four to eight days.)

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System of a John

A mashup of “Chop Suey!” and “Crocodile Rock” simply should not work.

And yet:

I watched this three times in succession, and somehow survived.

(Via Baeble.)

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Insulinsulting

Last few days, I’ve seen a curious sign planted at various places along Classen: “CASH FOR DIABETIC TEST STRIPS,” followed by a phone number. This made little sense to me until I hit the search engines and came up with this story from a few years back:

To people with diabetes the little strips are certainly worth something. They cost only a few cents to make, but sell for $1 or more each.

With a markup of up to 95 percent it’s not difficult to understand why a black market of sorts has sprouted up for the strips. On eBay [there were] hundreds of offers for diabetic test strips starting at a fraction of the retail cost — and on Craigslist as well.

Apparently they’ll even take — and subsequently resell — expired strips.

If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s that a scam that makes money at Point A will be replicated at Points B through Z inclusive.

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If you see these records on the road, buy them

Nancy Friedman has several contemporary examples of “Branding with Buddha,” which, by the current standards of advertising, might conceivably be considered the Middle Way. If we go back half a century or so, though, we find this:

Yummy Yummy Yummy on Buddah 38Buddah Records was born of corporate necessity. Partners Hy Mizrahi, Phil Steinberg and Artie Ripp had expanded their Kama Sutra Productions into a full-fledged record label in 1965 with distribution and financial assistance from MGM Records. By 1966, the fate of Kama Sutra Records was a bone of contention between its founding triumvirate and its major-label benefactor. At this point, Art Kass, MGM’s financial liaison to Kama Sutra, left the former to become the latter’s comptroller and help establish a fully-independent label.

In early 1967, Buddah Records took out a full-page trade ad to announce “its first #1 Record,” “Yes, We Have No Bananas” by The Mulberry Fruit Band.

So saith Bill Pitzonka in the notes to the 1996 CD reissue The Complete Buddah Chart Singles Volume One. And “Bananas” did not chart, but it was, technically, #1: the catalog number was BDA 1. Still unexplained: why this Shiva-like figure was appearing on Buddah’s label. (A more appropriate image was adopted for a 1972 label redesign; in 1988, RCA, custodian of the label, corrected the spelling to Buddha.) Much of Buddah’s Sixties material was purest bubblegum, though they always had a soul-music presence, and by the mid-Seventies their biggest act was Gladys Knight and the Pips.

Buddah/Buddha is inactive presently; the late record producer/archivist Bob Hyde wrote a more-than-you-needed-to-know history of the label that touches on just about every hit they ever had.

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Hemployment compensation

Overdid it on the marijuana-laced baked goods, did you? You’re getting no sympathy here:

“The packages of edibles are labeled that they contain marijuana, but once they’re out of the package, they’re indistinguishable from a brownie or lollipop bought at a grocery store,” he said.

Having been to Amsterdam last year, I’m gonna call bullshit on that. I had never had pot before in my life and I knew good and well that what I might or might not have eaten was not a normal brownie. It stinks. And it doesn’t taste good. So I’ve heard, anyway. I will assume that a lollipop also stinks and tastes nasty. Pot edibles are not eaten because they are yummy. Kids might still pick some up and eat them anyway (kids with no taste) but if an adult is fed these unbeknownst to them they are simply a dunderhead who has no sensory awareness at all. And the state should have zero responsibility to protect dunderheads or people who don’t follow instructions.

The problem with that, of course, is that we keep electing dunderheads, and they have a tendency to protect their own.

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Darth Vader’s swamp cooler

Movincool Classic PlusThis vaguely robotic-looking device is the replacement for the original server farm air conditioner, which was booted by persons unknown before dawn on Tuesday, prompting this burst of umbrage. Other offices in the complex had their old boxen replaced by similar new boxen, but I somehow rated Special Treatment, which, as none of you will be surprised to hear, always pushes my suspicion button.

It turns out that the thing has much to recommend it besides its retro-science-fiction (or perhaps carnival peep-show, if you have humongous anime eyes) appearance: it doesn’t require a 220 (or worse) line, it’s movable to a certain extent, and, says the blurb, it “handles temperatures up to 113°F.” The record high for this town is, um, 113°F, and I’ve lived to see it.

There’s a footnote which says: “Exhaust duct required in most cases.” In this particular case, it’s God’s own dryer vent, one of those accordion-pleated tubes, fully 12 inches across and 10 feet long. A former central-air duct was pressed into service as an exhaust port, and the distance from the ceiling to the top of the unit was maybe six feet. Tentatively, we hit the power button, and watched in horrified fascination as four feet of tube spewed forth. “Danger, Will Robinson!” quipped the sysadmin.

I didn’t hang around for extensive testing, but the temperature dropped a degree and a half in nine minutes flat, which is fine with me. (This room is not heated; even in the dead of winter, the machinery keeps the temperature in the upper 60s.)

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We’re so tired

I must point out that I get a lot less done than I let on:

I suspect the reason some people are so much more productive than others is that they have spouses who don’t work so long outside the house (if they do at all) and those spouses take care of them. Yes, I’m saying I’d like to go back and somehow be a stereotypical 1950s husband. But really: work is a full-time job, taking care of the house, laundry, cooking, and marketing is a full-time job, and during the warm months here, taking care of the yard is a full-time job. That’s three full-time jobs. And that’s terrible. I probably need to break down and hire a lawn service, I don’t know.

I’m toying with the idea of getting someone to mow; I’ve already (as of the beginning of 2013) signed with a weed/feed specialist. In combination, this would run close to $1000 a year. On the other hand, it would free up some time I can obtain no other way, with the possible exception of Not Sleeping, which is not an acceptable option.

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Tighter than Jack Benny’s banker

Page 1 from Thunder Extra in the Oklahoman 5-1-14“That’s what they’re supposed to write,” said Kevin Durant blandly. “I didn’t come through for the team. So they got to write that type of stuff.” Now whether or not this egregious nonsense was intended to motivate KD — the newspaper issued an official apology after, shall we say, largely negative response from the readership — clearly something got into him: Kid Delicious knocked down 36 points and retrieved ten rebounds before the onset of blessed garbage time at 2:46. Nor was this the only Thunder adjustment, either: Scott Brooks, caution apparently thrown to the winds, started Caron Butler in place of Thabo Sefolosha. Forget overtime: OKC 104, Memphis 84, and Game 7, always referred to as “if necessary,” will be necessary.

The Griz had a few problems tonight. For one thing, they couldn’t knock down shots: they shot only 37 percent and missed a third of their free throws. Mike Conley, who’s had moments in this series when he seemingly scored at will, was held to five points (2-10). Marc Gasol had a team-high 17, and often-overlooked reserve forward James Johnson led the reserves with 15. But here’s the Telltale Statistic: the Grizzlies, as physical as any team in the Association, recorded exactly one block, courtesy of Courtney Lee. Serge Ibaka had four all by himself. Steven Adams had five.

And maybe that was the difference tonight: the willingness to mix it up with those brutes from Beale Street. The Thunder owned the boards, to the tune of 47-36. There was that 11-1 block differential. And if OKC was horrible from the three-point circle — it was Durant’s fault for missing six while the rest of the team was 7-15 — the Griz were worse at 3-14. As for Russell Westbrook, he took fewer but marginally better shots, 9-21 for 25 points. Butler, in his unaccustomed role as a starter, played 29 minutes and scored 7; more to the point, he provided defense that was roughly comparable to, but different from, what could be expected from Sefolosha, and that may have befuddled the Griz just a hair.

So we’re back to square one: 48 minutes for all the marbles. Or maybe 53 minutes. Or however long it takes.

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Utter twaddle

Seriously: how much does it matter if someone is wrong on the Internet?

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Poster boy for mansplaining

“How dare a mere girl drive something I want?”

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Why do women buy the most expensive model of cars?

To elaborate:

I just saw a girl in an SRT-8 Jeep, I do a lot of driving for work and notice women never seem to buy base models of cars. Guys tend to get what they can afford. Is it because women have other people making their payments or do they just not mind making a $1,000 a month payment for every option available?

Green’s obviously his color.

For ten points, what is the probability that this guy has ever had a second date?

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