Archive for August 2013

An exhaust manifold of your own

If you’ve lived here for any length of time exceeding a year, you’re aware that Oklahoma summers are hot, except in years like 2011 and 2012, in which the sheer inadequacy of the word “hot” proved to be every bit as painful as the scorching of the top of your head within 45 seconds of opening the door. (Note to Muslims: This is the way you sell the head scarf.) Complicate said heat with something seemingly just as hot along a different vector, and, well, you get this:

Every time I’ve ever eaten at a food truck, it’s been a typical Oklahoma burning hot day. This makes a lot of sense, because events like concerts, festivals, and anything that draws a large crowd of people outdoors occurs well, during the Oklahoma burning hot summer. It wasn’t until I, dripping with sweat, bit into a damn ahi tuna taco dressed with wasabi-mayo, handed to me by a thickly bearded man, surrounded by griddles and deep fryers, enclosed in a 4 ft x 8 ft vehicle, realized that there could be a problem.

Things have clearly changed from the days of the Roach Coach, the truck that occasionally visited us hungry soldiers on post; not only were the facilities far more hygienic than our disparaging name (alternative: “Maggot Wagon”) might imply, most of the foodlike products thence dispensed were approximately 23.5 percent preservatives and therefore would not undergo unseemly decomposition until actually digested.

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Vault tolerant

For the love of God, Montresor whatever your name is:

In what sounds like the very worst case of “Get off my lawn!” syndrome, police say the owner of a Boston-area storage facility was so ticked off at a Verizon worker who had parked on his grass, he locked him [in] an underground vault. And if we know anything about sealed underground chambers, it’s that they usually don’t have a lot of air. You know, for breathing.

Cops say the worker was on the premises to do some work in this mysterious sounding chamber, but the 71-year-old suspect didn’t appreciate his Verizon van parked on the grass nearby, reports CBS Boston.

Officials claim he not only slammed the door behind the worker, but placed large rocks on it and removed the ladder necessary to get out of the vault, ostensibly to keep him in there.

I dunno. To me, this seems to be the very antithesis of “Get off my lawn,” if the guy is put in a position where he can’t very well get.

Still, this speaks well for Verizon wireless coverage: the worker, trapped in his concrete-and-steel cage somewhere beneath the surface of the earth, was able to get a 911 call through.

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Play something slow

The new Mazda6 has generally wowed the critics, who seem to enjoy its driving dynamics and its not-entirely-bizarre appearance. However, there’s apparently a drawback in the center stack:

The media interface is incredibly slow. I n c r e d i b l y s l o w. So slow that at first I assumed the head unit had frozen so I plugged, unplugged, plugged, unplugged to no avail. Then I gave up and listened to the radio. (Gasp!) A full 4 minutes later, the system switched to the iDevice and started to play my tunes. (Yes, I tested it with USB sticks and it did the same thing). If you think this is a momentary aberration, think again. The system has to fully index your entire USB/Android/iDevice music library before it starts playing. It does this whenever you unplug/plug or when you stop/start the car. Every. Single. Time. The larger your library, the longer it takes. Users on the Mazda forum reported a 10+ minute delay when playing larger devices while I averaged just over three minutes. Want tunes on a short journey? I hope you enjoy AM Gold.

Reminds me of my Sansa ClipZip, of which I once said:

[G]iven any really ginormous number of files, it chokes on the database refresh, which it never quite finishes. Meanwhile, your battery plummets.

I found a solution for the Sansa. Let’s hope Mazda finds one of their own before I have to start looking for new wheels.

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Teal, dear

I have no plans at this time to see Elysium, on the reasonable basis that if I want to see a screaming dystopia, I need only read the papers. (“This is today. This is now,” said writer/director Neill Blomkamp.)

Still, Jodie Foster, now a hair past fifty and clearly not giving a damn about it, plays the SecDef who has to stop Matt Damon, and really, who among us hasn’t wanted to stop Matt Damon? (Sarah Silverman aside, anyway.) At the premiere, Foster looked fab:

Jodie Foster at the Elysium premiere

Said Jessica of the Fug Girls: “This isn’t the most MIND-BLOWING outfit that ever happened. But she sure looks great in it.” Yea, verily.

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Quote of the week

There are somewhere around five million words on this site, and I suspect somewhere around a quarter of a million were expended on the tedious task of bewailing my Permanent Singleness. Then again, I am sufficiently self-aware to know why I’m in this state — should I need to identify the culprit, I need only pop open my wallet and look at my driver’s license — which perhaps makes me at least slightly better off than these characters described by Robert Stacy McCain:

[S]ome guys never quite figure this out, because they have never really evaluated themselves or women objectively. These guys psychologically separate women into two categories:

  1. Super-attractive women they really want to hump;
  2. Normal women they might actually have a chance with.

Unrealistic expectations — and particularly the Barbie-doll fixation — inevitably produce disappointment, and guys who fall into that pattern tend to end up pathetically alone.

Before proceeding to our example of this phenomenon, let me explain something basic: By the time you are 25 or so, you have probably already dated the best-looking person you’ll ever date. True, there are late bloomers, people who were high-school losers who get their act together by the time they graduate college and suddenly discover that they are more attractive than they were as teenagers, but this late-bloomer effect is very unlikely to occur after age 25. So by the time a guy is in his mid-20s, if he has never dated an 8+, he’s a damned fool to keep dreaming that Cinderella/Barbie/Playboy model will stumble into his life.

Ain’t gonna happen, Jack. Get over it. Life is not fair.

You really should read the whole thing, which includes a grade-A (or at least Type A) object lesson. I note for record that my own selection criteria are at least as implausible; the difference, of course, is that I know it.

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Discontent providers

The vast quantity of (relatively) low-priced downloadable music available these days is truly a boon to civilization.

Except, of course, when it sucks.

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We’ve been malled

Lynn visits the Mall of America, and finds it somewhat meh:

It has a total of four levels but the top floor is all movie theaters, so three levels of mall. Each of those three levels is as big as four average size shopping malls and there is an amusement park in the center of it all. However, otherwise it is like any other mall: 90 percent of the stores are full of nothing but ugly clothes and everything is over-priced.

Malls used to have a lot of interesting and fun stores. My mom and I used to love to spend a whole day at a mall but it seems like malls have changed. They have been taken over by The Gap and Abercrombie and Fitch and the like. I suppose those are the only kinds of stores that can afford to locate in a mall.

Last time (okay, the only time) I was up there was ten summers ago. Said I:

As enclosed retail compounds go, it’s pretty impressive, and not just because it’s huge; it’s downright intimidating at first glance. We spent little, walked a lot.

By “we,” I mean me and my two children, who did convincing impressions of ten-year-olds during the road trip, despite being 25 and 22. And I will long regret introducing them to Room Service at the Embassy Suites.

(Title from Larry Groce; this was a follow-up single to “Junk Food Junkie.”)

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At some point before closing

How many of you have gone through this?

ME: I like this house. I think I will buy it.

MORTGAGE LENDER: The house needs work before we’ll give you money.

ME, to sellers: The house needs work so that I can get money and not burn up in an electrical fire and stuff.

SELLERS: We know. We’ll fix some stuff.

ME: Great! I will make a list of the scariest stuff for you to fix.

SELLERS, post list: We changed our mind. We’re not fixing that stuff, so suck it.

ME: Dang.

“Dang,” perhaps, may be a placeholder for another word of comparable length.

Oh, when I bought the palatial estate at Surlywood, the princely sum of $500 was set aside for Necessary Work. About half of it was spent.

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Urban 2.0

The politicians have had their shot at the cities. Now it’s the coders’ turn:

The phenomenon of the software khans starting to deploy their vast oceans of capital into remaking the American public square is just beginning to grow. [Zappos’ Tony] Hsieh in Vegas, Quicken’s Dan Gilbert in Detroit, and others are beginning to take advantage of the devastation that the Blue State model has wreaked on America’s cities (and, not incidentally, at the same time lowering property acquisition costs dramatically) in order to build new visions of urban organization and structure.

The Millennials who will live and work in these new places are famously cooperative, collaborative, and group-think oriented. These new urban approaches will cater to those tendencies.

Here in the Big Breezy, where urban decay is (mostly) pushed off to the side, we’re not seeing exactly this sort of renaissance — after a couple of successful rounds of MAPS, the third is somehow provoking fractiousness — but we have those Millennials in place, so we may get similar results, if there are indeed any results to be had. And besides:

[T]his is the sort of change I would expect to see as the bankruptcy of the American political model becomes more apparent, and the wreckage created by it becomes more widespread.

And frankly I would much rather see this coming from the gazillionaires of tech than from the hapless, pathetic dinosaurs of Washington, D.C.

Silicon Valley is famously blue; replacing the old-think, Democratic Party version of blue with the high-tech New (Somewhat) Blue almost has to be an improvement.

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A different whiz

Received in the spam trap today:

You are required to radiate the exact same different whizzes キーケース キーホルダー desire to subscribe to. If you are not providing individual advantage vibrators i will recognize doing it most quite likely dodge you have.リュック In conclusion: リュック adult women ポーチ favor find boy who’s going to be firm. Piece of that which the woman find out certainty through is normally the work. ポーチ Nope, this doesn’t suggest plans to socialize the perfect rocket scientist.

Were I to meet the perfect rocket scientist while socialized, I might well be firm. Or maybe not.

Note: These characters will look funny in any encoding other than UTF-8. And originally, there were links under them, which I of course deleted.

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Girly in the morning

We’re a long way from getting past automotive sexism, it appears: I got my wife an Infiniti G37 because she really liked it and still loves it. I ride it in sometimes not a lot but from what I tell its just a car. The acceleration is better in it is better than my brothers crap Acura TL and feels and sounds better than an Acura. But I saw this new Infiniti I liked called the JX. It's big, sits high of the ground, and has some good looks to it. I'm about tired of my pilot and it has some problems I'm not in the mood for so I think it's time to replace it. Is this a good, reliable car and are Infiniti's for guys as well?

If you ask me, this guy should:

  1. Buy the biggest, baddest, pickup truck with as many option packages as he possibly can;
  2. Drive it into the farging sea.

It’s the only way to clean up the gene pool.

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The next Twinkie report

Yesterday’s trip to the supermarket yielded up no actual Hostess Twinkies, though there was a whole shelf of Donettes to be had.

Next to the vacancy where the Twinkies are supposed to live, there was something new: Sara Lee Golden Crème Cakes, billed as “Baked · fresh · to go!” And indeed, they’re delivered in a flat box that suggests actual baked goods, though the absence of a lift-off top spoils that illusion. The product itself is pretty good; they get the mouthfeel right, the aftertaste is correct, and the texture is a trifle airier — let’s call it spongier — than the competition.

The only disadvantage, if you ask me, is the suggested retail price, tucked away on the box edge: $3.99 for a box of eight. (Crest was asking 2/$5.)

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Tales from the Conversion Bureau

A survey of non-pony fans — I am assured that there are such — yielded these interesting conclusions:

1) Exposing people to episodes of MLP does NOT automatically turn them into Bronies or fans of MLP

2) People who MAY develop into fans DISPLAY a distinct set of characteristics that correspond to a curious, open and less traditional approach to life

To contribute a single data point: two weekends ago, I exposed someone — Future Daughter-in-Law — to an episode. (Specifically: “Call of the Cutie.”) I also pointed out where on Netflix the other 64 episodes could be found (in the obvious place), and noted that I’d actually written some fanfic.

Results: Not clear at this time, though somehow she read the entirety of The Sparkle Chronicles. Based on point 2, however, I am hopeful, if only because I’ve seen her bookshelves, and they rival mine for sheer variety.

(Almost a title explanation.)

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A minor miracle

I trust this requires no explanation:

Never could get the hang of this piece on the piano.

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The take-charge woman

Libby Gelman-Waxner, inventor of contemporary feminism — she says so in “Hooked on Heroines” in Entertainment Weekly‘s double Fall Movie issue — definitely is an advocate for female strength:

In Sheryl [Sandberg]’s book, she tells women to stop being so wishy-washy, and to demand leadership equality. I agree, and I once told my dear friend Stacy Schiff to march right into her boss’ office and say, “I may not be the best marketing analyst on the planet, but I’m still a whole bunch better than all of those drippy guys who work here.” I also suggested that whenever Stacy met a handsome, successful single man, she should tell him, “Look, buster, you’re obviously going to be threatened by the fact that I’m smarter and more capable than you, so unless you enjoy feeling emotionally castrated, get lost.” If a man is visibly aroused by this, he’s a keeper.

I admit to being amused, if not aroused, by this. Then again, I’ve been a Libby fan since — well, it’s been a long time:

Let’s face it, Jesus would have been the best husband of all time. He was gorgeous, he was incredibly compassionate, and he was a carpenter, so none of your cabinets would ever stick.

For sure.

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You really hate me

After a bunch of feigned-enthusiasm spams, it’s almost a relief to see something like this in the spam trap:

When I read your site, I hope that that doesnt dissatisfy me up to this one. I am talking about, I know it had been my replacement for read, but I actually imagined youd have something fascinating to say. Almost all I listen to is a lot of whining about something that you can fix should you werent too busy seeking attention.

I did, however, ban the IP whence it came. Because, you know, I can.

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Strange search-engine queries (393)

Time once more for another dip into the fetid pool of log data, hoping something funny, or at least snarkable, will float to the top.

can a bad censor cause the indacation light to come on alot:  A really bad censor would strike words like “indacation.”

lesley gore sometimes featuring the brothers johnson:  And sometimes not. (Historically, she has not had a great deal of use for johnsons.)

What percentage of mazdas have automatic transmissions?  Most of them, MX-5/Miatas excepted. Why do you ask?

is a mazda 626 16 valve engine a 4 cylinder?  I’d like to see you try to get 16 valves into, or out of, a V-6.

chrysler aspen vents smell like urine:  Well, it’s probably not the valves.

fifty first take of a miracle:  It’s like making a movie, only with fewer witnesses on set.

we built this city on basketball and kings:  Well, that lets out Sheboygan.

this time they were right:  Does this make up for all the times they were wrong?

what’s with the screaming round thing meme:  Even those without mouths occasionally must scream.

ryan braum penis size:  You know that round thing meme? He makes it scream.

boys permanently femmed:  And yet the girls still spurn them.

stilettos and stockings:  Permanently femmed boys should remember to order the appropriate women’s size.

flickr old layout:  Really most insincerely dead.

death to left lane bandits:  Now that seems sincere.

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Text CARBS to 511

With the guys over in Food and Medical issuing New Truths to replace the Old Truths on a regular basis, I can’t say I’m surprised to see this assertion being challenged:

For almost 20 years, it has been a wide-held belief that talking on a cellphone while driving is dangerous and leads to more accidents. However, new research from Carnegie Mellon University and the London School of Economics and Political Science suggests that talking on a cellphone while driving does not increase crash risk. Published in the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, the study uses data from a major cellphone provider and accident reports to contradict previous findings that connected cellphone use to increased crash risk. Such findings include the influential 1997 paper in the New England Journal of Medicine, which concluded that cellphone use by drivers increased crash risk by a factor of 4.3 — effectively equating its danger to that of illicit levels of alcohol. The findings also raise doubts about the traditional cost-benefit analyses used by states that have, or are, implementing cellphone-driving bans as a way to promote safety.

“Using a cellphone while driving may be distracting, but it does not lead to higher crash risk in the setting we examined,” said Saurabh Bhargava, assistant professor of social and decision sciences in CMU’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. “While our findings may strike many as counterintuitive, our results are precise enough to statistically call into question the effects typically found in the academic literature. Our study differs from most prior work in that it leverages a naturally occurring experiment in a real-world context.”

Keep in mind that this is just talking: stuff like texting or Google Maps or Facebook has not been shown to be anything but hazardous. And I consider just talking too much of a distraction for myself, so I seldom (as distinguished from “never”) pick up if someone calls while I’m on the road.

Meanwhile, Jack Baruth explains the furor:

This is government in the modern (and perhaps any) age: create a fear that shouldn’t really exist, manipulate the public into hysterics, extract cash from the public and divert it to the most favored recipients. It’s a tactic with an exceptional success rate and an appeal that spans the entire spectrum of political beliefs.

I mean, there were laws against distracted driving long before there were mobile phones, and the attention span of J. Random Driver has never been exemplary.

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Commemorating evil

Tulsa, says Michael Bates, is planning to rename Brady Street and the associated Brady District to something else starting with a B — why not “Bates”? — because of Tate Brady’s involvement with, among other things, the Ku Klux Klan. Certainly no one wants to honor those dumb Klux, but Bates says that the measure doesn’t go far enough to clean up the city map:

Rather than handle these renamings piecemeal, with the potential of a new renaming (and a four-hour long public hearing) at every week’s City Council meeting, the City Council should appoint a diverse commission of historically minded citizens to research the histories of all names under the control of the City of Tulsa and its boards and commissions.

This commission — perhaps to be called the Commission for the Sanitation of Politically Incorrect Names (C-SPIN) — would report back with a comprehensive recommendation to rename certain streets, an estimate of the cost to rename, and a revenue proposal (sales tax or general obligation bond issue) for funding the recommended renamings, including city expenses like street signage and grants to affected businesses and residents to cover signage, business cards, letterhead, and other street renaming expenses.

The commission would have to consider whether a person’s misdeeds rises to the level of deserving the removal of his or her name from a public place. They might wish to set criteria that would be applied consistently to decide thumbs up or down.

A commission like this would strike fear into the hearts of Oklahoma City historians, who have for years been sitting on stories like that one time Harvey Everest kicked a cat, or that Delos Walker actually sat on the school board, and we all know about school boards, don’t we?

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Even under the lights

When Karen Black lost her battle with cancer last week, what everyone wanted to talk about was either Five Easy Pieces or that damn Zuni doll. The last thing I remember seeing her in, circa 1988, was the low-budget comedy The Invisible Kid, playing said kid’s mom. But the one memory that stood out was this bit of Seventies advertising:

Karen Black for Hanes

Hanes ran, so to speak, with this campaign for a couple of years, with results I, at least, found memorable. If only I’d remembered that tagline before I dug around in the archives.

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Groovy glasses

In this case, literally so:

Vinylize began because we wanted to make eyewear on a recyclable basis. We experimented by making old vinyl records into frames. The process has been refined over a number of years into a stylish and sophisticated product. We have our own special method of joining vinyl with cellulose acetate which took many years of trial and error to perfect.

Oh, and they have their own record label, too. Though those records don’t get turned into glasses. (Not all of them, anyway.)

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Eyeballs are cheap

But television producers are cheaper:

When National Geographic was a magazine produced by the National Geographic Society, it was a valuable resource for people who wanted to learn about the world and see things in it that they might never see otherwise. Once it became a TV channel, it quickly turned into the same exploitative trash signaling our downward cultural spiral as every other piece of reality show ordure.

It occurs to me that we’re long overdue for the Scientific American channel.

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Rock erosion

The new, pitifully shrunken KRXO, sandwiched in at 104.5 between Magic 104.1 and Wild(ish) 104.9, is delivering, at least at my location, the sort of reception I’d expect. The Cambridge 88s have no problems pulling it in. The Big Receiver, now 39 years old, awards it a 4 on its arbitrarily calibrated signal-strength meter; the maximum realizable in practice is about 4.8. (Minimum bearable stereo signal is about 2, which is what I get from Power 103.5, a 100-kilowatt stick stuck out in Anadarko for the usual spacing reasons.) The little portable I keep on the fridge for emergency purposes couldn’t find it at all.

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Tech distort

I was working on a sound-card problem last night when I stumbled across this page, which offered me a “repair tool.”

I am deeply suspicious of the “tool” offered, since the nominal home page looks exactly the same, and since the site is running an old WordPress (3.5.1) with one obvious plug-in: one of those SEO things. No tech site worth a damn runs obsolete software unless it’s a custom job that would take a room full of coders to fix. I suspect that their major goal in life is to get you to download malware. Not that I’m going to try any of their links.

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One pill makes you [insert adjective here]

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t understand the motivation here:

Argentina has begun distributing a free state-produced version of the erection-boosting drug Viagra for the first time, in a move intended to curb its misuse, health authorities announced Thursday.

They said 200,000 doses of sildenafil, better known under the Viagra brand name, is to be distributed free of charge through the public health network of the province of Santa Fe.

The drug is being produced in Santa Fe by the state-owned pharmaceutical firm LIFSE, which plans to eventually distributed it nationally.

Drug can be misused. Solution: distribute free version. Why can’t they do this with meth? The tweakers will expire faster than a Pfizer patent, and we’ll be able to get proper cold medicine again.

If you’re thinking about flying down to Buenos Aires, though, Fausta has a word of caution:

Those of you interested in medical tourism will like to know that Santa Fe is 467 km from Buenos Aires.

If your trip exceeds four hours, consult a physician. Or a travel agent.

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Joe called it

And Steve Sailer reminds us of it:

I’m always fascinated by how often Stalin is vindicated in his observation that something bad happening to one person is a tragedy while it happening to a million is a statistic. For example, 500,000 black and Latin young men getting stopped and frisked annually for the last decade in New York City is a statistic that has mildly troubled some of the more sensitive souls in the New York elite, but hasn’t really been much of a story even locally, much less nationally, while Oprah not getting shown a $38,000 handbag is Breaking Global News. It’s like the vast outpouring of sympathy that greets the President of the United States whenever he recounts how his grandmother wanted a ride to work one day. You might think that being black in America has, on net, been good for Obama or Oprah, but that’s not a widespread impression.

More generally, human beings feel sorrier for immensely privileged people than they do for nobodies like shopgirls and grandmas.

Lest you think this phenomenon is somehow ethnic in origin, look who’s on the cover of Vanity Fair this month: Princess Diana. Sixteen years gone, and she still commands a magazine cover. It’s time for Playboy to haul out more Marilyn Monroe pictures, I suppose.

In the meantime: Boo. Frickin. Hoo.

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An idea whose time will never come

Endless scrolling. Facebook does it; it’s an option on many Tumblr themes.

Browsers don’t seem to like it; people whose business it is to count page views don’t like it. Who actually likes this, and why?

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Pettier avarice

Now any day can be Black Friday, and that’s not at all a good thing:

Twenty people were injured, with seven sent to hospital, when a promotional stunt in Seoul for LG’s G2 smartphone went wrong, the company has said.

LG has cancelled a series of events promoting the handset as a result of the incident in Seoul on Friday.

People arrived with BB guns and knives on sticks for a race to grab smartphone vouchers hanging from helium balloons.

Well, what did they expect?

Bayou Renaissance Man says this is not the way he was raised:

I was raised in an earlier, perhaps more civilized era, where such behavior would have earned me an instant thrashing from one or both parents, and where my peers were equally strictly disciplined by their parents. We’d never have dreamed of behaving like that! Scenes like this, or near-riots when new models of basketball shoes are released in the USA, would have had my parents snorting in disgusted disbelief, and reaching for horsewhips (or something stouter) to teach those involved a lesson!

Then again, he’s about my age.

You guys standing in line at Walmart at 9 pm on Thanksgiving? This is your legacy. Choke on it.

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Sort of neat

I recently replaced the Live Comment Preview, which wasn’t working, with a Not-So-Live Preview, which requires you to push a button. I watched it work on one of my own comments, and noticed that it faked up a URL using comment number 55000. Great, thought I, but what happens when I get to actual comment number 55000, which is due Any Day Now?

I observed last night, and by gum, the plugin was now using 56000. So it’s checking the data before it commits itself. Would that all plugins had that much insight.

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Bag all you like

Bill Quick will not support a ban on baggy pants, period. And it’s not because he thinks the “style” has some sort of sartorial validity, either:

If you’re the sort of idiot who idolized gang-banging thugs to the point of wanting to emulate the way they dress, then I want you out and proud about it.

Mostly so I can see you coming from a long way away, and make whatever preparations seem appropriate for the situation.

First person who yells “Profiling!” gets a Virtual Wedgie.

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Don’t even ask about Moscow

I’ve long suspected that Nancy Grace was out of her depth, and this tells me that there wasn’t that much depth to begin with:

Headline News screenshot placing Morehead Lake in Oklahoma

Geography. Look into it.

(Via this Wendy Suares tweet.)

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A metric for our times

Especially if our times are warm.

The Instant Man has acquired a Lexus RX450h hybrid, which, he says, gets “around 27 or 28 in FKMPG (‘Fred Krause Miles Per Gallon,’ a measurement invented by a college friend; it’s what the car gets while going 80 with the air conditioning on ‘Max’).”

This is close to what my distinctly nonhybrid ride can do under those specific conditions. On the other hand, I’ll never see the thirtyish figures in town that he does.

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Name that pill

One look in the average medicine cabinet, and you might reasonably conclude that drugs can be named just about any damned thing. You would, of course, be just slightly in error:

Is there anything preventing a company from calling its active ingredient supercurol? Well, yes. The U.S. Adopted Names Council. It has some rules, including the following:

“Prefixes that imply ‘better,’ ‘newer,’ or ‘more effective;’ prefixes that evoke the name of the sponsor, dosage form, duration of action or rate of drug release should not be used.”

“Prefixes that refer to an anatomical connotation or medical condition are not acceptable.”

Certain letters or sets of letters also aren’t allowed at the beginning of new generic names. These include me, str, x, and z.

Then again, coiners of new brand names would be utterly desolate if they couldn’t start names with Z — even double or triple Z.

There are also suffixes: for example, -vir is used for antivirals. I’m trying to figure what I should do with the one drug I take that ends in -lol.

(Via this @fussfactory tweet.)

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Decidedly unclear on the concept

Seems too dense to be actually trolling:

If you increase rim size do you have to change tires? I have tires with 18 inch rims on them, say I wanted to replace them with 20 or 22 inch rims. Do I also have to change the tires I have?

Ten-point IQ deduction for the unironic use of the term “rims.” They’re wheels, forddamnit.

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The audio squeeze

First, the sample wares:

Now the pitch:

The difference between rich, warm, densely processed audio versus digital thinly processed audio could be the difference between you getting a recording contract, radio dj position or any other job where superior audio makes your hard work stand out. Whether it’s your music project or an audition tape for a dj or any other type of audio, we can make your audio sound better, fatter, richer, warmer and denser by running it through our vintage 1960s 77 WABC, New York, audio chain. Today’s world of digital audio sounds thin and boring and that’s why many major artists buy and use vintage audio processing equipment to put back the punch that digital recording doesn’t have. Listen to the density and richness on this song.

Now I picked this one for a reason: it’s probably the worst of the samples they offer, simply because you can hear the variation in levels as the compressor kicks in and out. And their source material was a CD: you may be absolutely certain that the original Seville 45 was in mono. (If I remember correctly, Steve Hoffman remastered this in the 1990s for this very CD.)

Still, a good vintage Motown 45 — say, ’63 to ’69 — will often as not blow away the corresponding LP track. (Ask Martha if you don’t believe me.)

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Your team name is bad and you should be sad

The Crimson Reach obviously has a greater tolerance level for this sort of thing than I do:

What can I say, I’m a sucker for this genre. In fact there are few things I find more enjoyable than reading the musings of privileged pasty-white guys striking an over-the-top feigned vicarious offended pose on behalf of all Native Americans. It’s hilarious.

For example, a typical Drum beat.

I’m thinking we ought to hire the WNBA people for the inevitable (well, it is) team-name makeover: hardly any of their team names make a damn bit of sense, which means that hardly anyone is in a position to take umbrage. (Actually, I do think “Minnesota Lynx” is incredibly cool, since you can’t tell if it’s singular or plural.) But instead:

Look, I know that in the future all sports teams will just have nicknames based on cute animals and uniforms with muted nonthreatening pastels. We all know it. It’s part of the inevitable march of progress. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to stand athwart this history and/or yell stop.

Wait. Cute? Nonthreatening pastels? You mean … sorry, we’ve been overtaken by events.

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Closer to total recall

This, if you ask me, is long overdue:

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced new plans aimed at informing consumers of uncompleted recalls. From 2014 onwards, manufacturers will be required to provide vehicle owners with the ability to search for recall information by entering their car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) in an online tool.

The new policy won’t take effect until August 14, 2014, giving manufacturers a full year to set up their systems. According to NHTSA, several manufacturers already offer this free-of-charge service, while the new policy will make it mandatory.

You won’t have to go to the automaker’s Web site, either; NHTSA will provide a common front end from a single location (

Downside, and you know you’re going to hear it: “What’s a VIN, and where do I find it?”

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Also decidedly unclear on the concept

I mean, it’s not like he pre-ordered this from Amazon or anything:

If there is a price reduction after you purchased something such as car, how do you get that rebate? I just bought a 2013 Chevy Volt on July 3. Now, the manufacturer has dropped the price by $5000. How do I get the same deal as everyone is getting now?

The first two words I thought of were “As if,” though two different words may have occurred to you.

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Inn conceivable

I am normally not too fussy about lodging, so long as the room is clean and the Wi-Fi works. I figure this is a reasonable expectation at my preferred price point, which is around $100 or so before taxes, fees, and charges for accidentally breathing in the general vicinity of the mini-fridge. Then again, I generally don’t do reviews:

[L]ots of folks who review hotels online have this expectation that all hotels should be 4 star, have free breakfast with endless options for all lifestyles / palates / diets / health concerns and be as quiet as the grave for less than $100/night.

Probably the worst room I ever stayed in was in some nameless horror in Albuquerque, built in the Fifties and perhaps cleaned once or twice in the Seventies. On the upside, the bathroom floor tile was this amazing shade of cyan that made it ridiculously easy to see something that had just crawled in — and there was always something that just crawled in. (Price was $40ish, but then this was 1988.)

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You don’t watch this

“Lucy Goes to the Hospital,” the 1953 episode of I Love Lucy during which Little Ricky was born, drew 44 million viewers, a remarkable achievement considering there were barely 61 million viewers at the time. Of course, there were only three and a half networks in those days. (DuMont wasn’t dead, but it was coughing up blood, and it would go on the cart in 1956.) Today, there are more networks than you can count, or would care to count anyway, and really big audiences are not so big:

Read online entertainment news or even print entertainment magazines and you might think that HBO’s Game of Thrones and Girls were shows that most of the country was watching. But Thrones’ rating highs during season three were between 5.5 and 6 million viewers. The May 14th episode of NCIS (spoiler: Gibbs wins) racked up more than 18 million watchers. That same night, the shows Grimm, Body of Proof and Golden Boy all had as many or more people watching them as the Thrones high, and the latter two of those have been cancelled. Girls is even more of a niche item, with its high-water viewer mark around a million and usual audience about the size of Oklahoma City.

Consider, if you will, According to Jim, which ran eight seasons on ABC despite never getting mentioned by Big Media except in the context of “Is that still on?” At the end, it was drawing about three million.

Of course, HBO is happy to charge you a monthly fee for its services: the best ABC can do is make you pay through the nose for ESPN.

As for Girls and its OKC-sized audience, well, let it be known that the series in which I have the greatest interest — hint: largely female cast — pulls in Wichita-sized numbers most of the time.

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