Sixty-fifth seed

In 2001, the NCAA introduced the play-in game to the Men’s Division I basketball tournament, in which two also-rans would compete for the 64th and last seed, 16th in whatever regional. Though there were now 65 teams involved, there was never an officially designated 65th seed, which is kind of a shame, since “65th seed” packs even more of a rhetorical wallop than “fifth wheel,” my accustomed location in the dating game.

And it’s not like it would hurt the NCAA tournament, which now involves 68 teams.


The lid gets hammered down

Tumblr’s explicit-content rule, as revised last summer:

I marked my blog as explicit. What happens now?

Now you can be sure that only suitable audiences are seeing your content. Blogs that are marked explicit are kept out of search results for people in Safe Mode. Anyone viewing your blog on the web will have to be logged in (with safe mode off) to see it.

Not sure enough, apparently. Beginning too soon, Safe Mode will be the default:

Tumblr sent an email to all users over 18 years of age who hadn’t already turned safe mode on, reminding them that the feature exists. The message doesn’t explicitly state that the setting is turning on by default; only that Tumblr wants to “make sure everyone has the chance to try it out.”

This is, of course, disingenuous as hell.

The site’s been a “complete loss” for adult content creators, Bacchus said, ever since Tumblr made it so that blogs flagged as NSFW were no longer indexed by search engines or Tumblr search anymore. “All this [Safe Mode update] does is make adult content even less visible INSIDE the walled garden that adult Tumblr has already become … Tumblr is dead media as far as I’m concerned, from an adult-industry perspective.”

Robert Stacy McCain, chronicler of the Tumblrinas, must be notified at once.


Gayageum band

Zither, except not so zithery:

The gayageum or kayagum is a traditional Korean zither-like string instrument, with 12 strings, though some more recent variants have 21 or other number of strings. It is probably the best known traditional Korean musical instrument. It is related to other Asian instruments, including the Chinese guzheng, the Japanese koto, the Mongolian yatga, and the Vietnamese đàn tranh. When played, the sound varies between traditional Eurasian stringed instruments and the Appalachian banjo.

Here, Luna Lee, at the 21-string (I think) gayageum, performs a classic folk song from the faraway land of Tejas:

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No magic wands here

It takes about three minutes on social media, maximum, to find people who are deathly afraid of firearms. Unfortunately, it also takes about the same amount of time to find people to whom the weapon is a talisman. I suspect this bothers Tam even more than it bothers me:

Your open-carried gun is not an empowerment tool, it’s just a gun. It doesn’t tell everyone you are strong and determined, it just tells them you have a gun. It’s not a deterrent, it’s just a gun. People get to decide if they feel deterred or not.

It’s like a torque wrench: it has a limited range of uses, but sometimes nothing else will do. Remember poor Irving, the 142nd fastest gun in the West:

Well, finally Irving got three slugs in the belly
It was right outside the Frontier Deli
He was sittin’ there twirlin’ his gun around
And butterfingers Irving gunned himself down

Damned fool thought it was an empowerment tool or something.

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Down the hall at the Department of Duh

Unfortunately, this chap is in a hurry to get on the road: If I get pulled over without having my license yet, and I get a ticket, do I have to pay it if I get my license?

In some jurisdictions, that ticket may actually delay issuance of a license, in which case this clod is destined for the Group W bench.

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Department of Duh

I dialed over to Amazon to grumble about a shipment which is now two weeks late, and this advice was proffered:

If it hasn’t arrived by the end of the day, most late packages are delivered shortly after the estimated delivery date.

Tautological statement is tautological.

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We still need her

Heck, I’d even feed her; Rene Russo is sixty-four today, which means that any day now, she’s going to start looking fifty or so. A model in her late teens, she backed away from modeling in her early thirties and signed up for acting lessons; her first feature film was Major League in 1989.

Rene Russo in her younger days

Rene Russo stretches out a bit

Rene Russo at the Independent Spirit Awards, 2015

After a flop or three, she avoided the camera for six years or so before resurfacing; in 2014, she resurfaced in Nightcrawler, written and directed by her husband Dan Gilroy, which got her plenty of acclaim. She also went public with her bipolar disorder:

The chap at her side is her Nightcrawler costar Jake Gyllenhaal.


Progress by inches

Fortunately for me, we have had a total of 0.1 inch of snow this winter. (I’m not really in shape to deal with more than that, and I don’t happen to have a four-year-old girl handy.)

About three seconds into the song, I muttered: “That ain’t 2Pac.” And it ain’t.


Seems like it ought to work

Everyone has a solution to the problem of school shootings. Not everyone, however, is Francis W. Porretto:

School shootings, the most swiftly politicized events in contemporary American life, all take place … at schools. Places where the young are gathered, more or less against their will, and compelled to remain for several hours, five days per week, lacking all recourse for concealment or defense. Let’s leave aside for the moment that most schools are “gun-free zones.” Let’s focus instead on the vulnerability of minors concentrated in an easily identified locale. What comes to mind at once? What’s the easiest and most straightforward way to prevent a school shooting from happening, ever again?

That’s right: Ban schools. Eliminate these concentration camps for helpless victims. Imagine the improvement in the morale of our youth at being freed from compulsory vulnerability to any maniac with a gun! Imagine the savings to parents at not having to buy school supplies! And imagine the savings to taxpayers at not having to pay for these juvenile day prisons! Do it for the children!

I’ve heard worse ideas, and so have you, and that’s just this past week.

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Maroon 2

The next time you start worrying about how the Chinese are leaving us all behind, just remember that they aren’t all brilliant:

(Via @Smatt.)

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And a pinked crustacean

Walmart makes a lot of noise about “rollbacks,” prices that used to be higher. This is apparently not a rollback:

Lobster tail at Walmart for slightly under fourteen dollars

Roll side, maybe?

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Admirably tooled

There exists something called LMMS, and this is its core functionality:

  • Compose music on Windows, Linux and macOS
  • Sequence, compose, mix and automate songs in one simple interface
  • Note playback via MIDI or typing keyboard
  • Consolidate instrument tracks using Beat+Bassline Editor
  • Fine tune patterns, notes, chords and melodies using Piano Roll Editor
  • Full user-defined track-based automation and computer-controlled automation sources
  • Import of MIDI files and Hydrogen project files

I understood about half of that, maybe. And it doesn’t do a thing for the visuals if you’re uploading it to YouTube or some such place. Still, someone with actual talent — not me — can make wondrous noises with it.

I found this one last night:

This chap might be a third my age; most of the 40 or so tracks I’ve acquired from him qualify as good “production music,” the sort of stuff you find in your better movie trailers before the actual musical score is completed. “Denouement” here is totally different, and totally, well, wondrous.


There is only Zuul

Now suppose Zuul likes cheese:

I mean, who’s gonna tell him he doesn’t?

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I don’t want this car anymore

So, says this feeb, I’m getting rid of it in the least-efficient way possible:

I took my 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee in because it wasn’t starting turning on anymore so I took it to them they did a diagnostic on it and they quoted me $600 for the starter and $800 for the fuse box so about $1,500 in repairs I’m not going to pay that because first of all they started throwing Parts at the card I didn’t even fix the problem so days go on, they asked me today what I wanted to do either make payments on the repair cost or just give them the car and I said I’ll give you the car because the repairs cost more than the car is worth and who knows what else is wrong with the car when they turn it back on so everybody on Facebook think I got scammed I don’t look at it that way I look at it as they spent their money to buy the starter and I refuse the pay so that kind of were in the air with the whole thing so if I let them appraise my truck which they end up saying no give me $500 for it which they said they’re going to keep the $500 to satisfy the maintenance cost really it was a catch-22 they bought the starter and pay me $500 to give back to the parts department so they really did not win anything the paid off Jeep is out of my name now the Jeep is now in their name my headache is there new headache would you say I got scammed for a car and a few hundred dollars worth of parts

In this neck of the woods, the cheapest ’04 Grand Cherokee to be had is offered for $3499; others are closer to $5000. So yeah, by the standards (or complete lack thereof) of people who are motivated largely by pique, or by the opinions of randos on Facebook, he did really well.

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But they’re classics!

At least, that’s what we’re told:

Let me get it out of the way. I may well be an uncouth, uncultured, redneck from a backwater, flyover state. Guilty, guilty, maybe, and yes. Despite these serious cultural deficiencies I am not necessarily uneducated. My Alma Mater is consistently ranked fairly high in the various rankings published every year of colleges and universities. In addition, I have always read — a lot. If you take the various lists of 100 books you should read, I have read most of them, including War and Peace.

To the meat of the matter: Catch-22 is drivel; unreadable schmaltz. So is From Here to Eternity. In fact, many of the so-called classics are crap, Moby Dick first and foremost. Joyce, Cervantes, and Milton all are impossible to read. Hawthorne I can manage, but why would I want to? Bunyan, blah. I will take bawdy Moll Flanders over The Vicar of Wakefield any day.

I’ll defend the Vicar should it become necessary. Still:

I wonder how many people who tout Proust as a genius ever tried to read his work? How many finished it? That, my friends, is the point of this post. Do not let anyone tell you what to like or what is good.

I’ve known people who started À la recherche du temps perdu; I’m not sure if I know anyone who finished it.

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Sit still, Starving Eagle

Not a Native name; this eagle was literally starving:

There’s a lot to be said for showing up at the right time.

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