Archive for September 2016

Spicy sphincter

Of course, I could just be reading this wrong:

I mean, it’s only been half a century since I was twelve.

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Tebow still unbowed

I remember saying when Tim Tebow tried out for the baseball scouts:

He is, of course, aware that if he’s signed, he’ll be dropped into the lower (Class A or thereabouts) end of the farm system, with no guarantees that he’ll ever make it to The Show.

Not a difficult prediction, really. And this is exactly what is happening:

Tim Tebow will report to the Mets’ Spring Training complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla., alongside dozens of teenagers, hoping to make a career in professional baseball.

Tebow is not a teenager, but he is a professional baseball player, however unlikely that may once have seemed. The Mets on Thursday signed the 29-year-old former NFL quarterback and Heisman Trophy Award winner to a Minor League contract, the first step in what Tebow hopes will lead to a Major League career.

And the odds are against him:

That process begins Sept. 18 in instructional league, which is typically used for younger players to work on their skills prior to the offseason. If all goes well, Tebow could advance to the Arizona Fall League and winter ball, and eventually to a Minor League affiliate next April. But the Mets are keeping his timeline as fluid as possible, refusing to commit to any singular path.

As they should.

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The candy that zigs

No, wait. Every Zig was taken off for great flavor:

Brother Paul was particularly fond of Zagnut, mostly, I think, because he liked saying “Zagnut.”

Weirdly, both Zagnut and sibling Clark Bar are still in production, but today they have different owners.

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So much at steak

Most store brands speak meekly: we’re probably just as good as those Other Guys, but we perform less wallet drain.

Not so meek, I suggest, is this alternative to the justly famed Heinz “57” Sauce:

Best Choice 59 Sauce

Remind me to see if they offer a 1200 Island salad dressing.

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To ourselves and our progeny

This, of course, assumes that we actually have progeny:

Caring for our own flesh-and-blood offspring is both a matter of natural instinct and an entirely rational activity, once we understand the benefits of having babies, which no robotic doll can teach. You may not believe, as I do, that children are quite literally a blessing from God, yet the direct personal benefits of parenthood should be obvious to any young person who has the foresight to ask, “What will happen to me when I get old?” Do we want to be lonely, unloved and forgotten, or to be cherished, respected and cared for? This consideration alone should suffice as an incentive to have children, but beyond the purely selfish motives, having babies (and raising them with good values) also provides a benefit to society.

I will not, as a matter of principle, say anything against anyone who has already opted out of this routine. (This is at least partially a response to my own departure from that particular scene, which was more than half a lifetime ago.) Parenthood comes with lots of guidebooks, most of which are wrong to greater or lesser extent, but life itself is like that:

If you think there are “too many” people in the world, you are thinking of people too generally. Are there too many intelligent people in the world? Are there too many well-educated people, too many highly skilled people, too may hard-working people in the world? Are there too many kind people or too many honest people in the world? Most people who are literate enough to read this article probably think of themselves as above-average people, and rightly so. If you are a person of superior quality, doesn’t it make sense that you would have high-quality children? After all, a person as superior as yourself would be a very shrewd judge when it comes to selecting a spouse, so that your child would benefit from the superior qualities of both parents. And since you would instill excellent values in your children, teaching them to live according to the highest moral and ethical principles, the entire world will benefit from your decision to have a baby. Or six babies, as the case may be.

The author quoted here has, um, six children.

The poster child for “too many” people is Paul Ehrlich, who told us way back in 1968 that Malthus was right and famine would soon be upon us. History has made a fool of him, though “historians” dare not say so, lest they be cut off from a subculture that has willingly embraced folly and arrogantly attempted to inflict it on the rest of us.

As for what happens when we get old, well, I’m already there.

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Cut ’em off at the C-pillar

Maybe even the B-pillar:

2017 SOLO by Electra Meccanica

The wee beastie apparently emerging from another dimension is SOLO by Vancouver-based Electrica Meccanica; it’s a single-seat electric runabout with a 100-mile range and three wheels. TTAC reports thereupon:

Electra Meccanica spent years working on the diminutive EV, which it says can accelerate to 62 miles per hour in about eight seconds. Charging takes three hours from a 220-volt outlet, or six hours from a 110-volt household wall socket.

The SOLO’s main purpose is to shuttle people to and from their workplace, while being easy to own and operate. With a length 19 inches shorter than a Fiat 500, parking shouldn’t be an issue. Weighing about 1,000 pounds (thanks to a composite body and aluminum drivetrain), the vehicle sports a 0.24 drag coefficient and draws power from a 16.1 kWh lithium-ion battery.

Available only in Canada for now at around twenty thousand loonies, this little darb tops out at around 80 mph. I wouldn’t want to speculate as to what it’s like in crosswinds.

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Sound bite, rebitten

It’s 44 years old, more or less, but the memory of this one segue has stuck with me all the while.

Tech Hi-Fi, an electronics retailer that bought tons of radio advertising in those days, had this one spot, which I heard on then-tiny WAAF, stuck at the far end of the dial in Worcester, Massachusetts. I can’t for the life of me remember the words, but they were set to a shortened version (no more than one minute) of “When I Was a Lad” from HMS Pinafore.

They cut off the song with the last line from the chorus, and one of the greatest songs of 1878 was followed by one of the greatest songs of 1972:

To this day, if I hear “When I Was a Lad,” I’ll expect it to be followed by “I’ll Be Around.” And if more people remember Gilbert and Sullivan than Thom Bell, well, life is like that sometimes.

I am also indebted to WAAF for playing the original Move version of “Do Ya,” which charted at a meager #93 in those curious days of 1972. Jeff Lynne, who wrote it, recut it with Electric Light Orchestra in 1976, but as the man1 says, the original’s still the greatest.

Read the rest of this entry »

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It was always thus

And it will probably always remain so:

That said, rather a lot of people are hoping the intersections aren’t really that dire. And they will be disappointed, possibly even disgruntled. (In the case of people insisting on “FREE” stuff, this is a feature, not a bug.)

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I am not a lawyer

Nana Tanimura finished her pre-law coursework in the spring of 2010, but decided not to go further:

Tanimura told fans that she was pleased to have graduated, but “I want to concentrate on my music from now on.” She said she didn’t join in many activities while she was at university, “not even ‘gokon’ (matchmaking parties).”

Three years before, she’d begun recording for Japan’s Avex Group. I think my favorite Nana track is “If I’m Not the One,” recorded in 2008:

Nana Tanimura in a sailor suit

Nana Tanimura in the sink

Nana Tanimura doesn't look happy

If she doesn’t look too happy in that last shot, it may be a reflection of her dwindling music career: Avex put out a Greatest Hits compilation in 2011, and we really haven’t heard from her since, except via social media.

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Serious girl power

Hilde Lysiak writes in the September Orange Street News:

On July 28th, I met Malala Yousafzai. It was amazing getting to meet her! She used to live in a place where people thought girls can’t be educated. But she stood up to the government and got her education, anyway. One day, when she was on the way home from school, she was shot. After that, she moved to the U.K. and has not been able to go back to her home in Pakistan since.

“Without knowledge,” says Hilde, “people can’t be free.” After noting that some people objected to a newspaper run by a nine-year-old girl, she’s putting her money where her mouth is:

[T]his month, I am donating all the advertising money I collect to the Malala Fund which “works to secure girls’ rights to a minimum of 12 years of quality education, particularly in the Global South.”

This isn’t a huge sum — given her rate card, I figure it’s in the low- to mid-three figures — but I always take Hilde Lysiak seriously.

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Quote of the week

Many of the horrible things that happened to this country in recent years started at the nonexistent 704 Hauser Street in Queens:

For those too young to remember, or too old to remember, Rob Reiner is famous for having played the character “Meathead” on the popular 70’s TV show All In The Family. The show was supposed to mock traditional Americans, particularly blue collar Americans, but the public received it mostly as a celebration of normal people at a time when normals were under assault from liberals, hippies and various other degenerates. Rob Reiner’s character came to represent what had gone wrong with the country.

Meathead was a loudmouth know-it-all boomer, who enjoyed lecturing his father-in-law about the terribleness of America and the men that had made the country. The irony was that Meathead lived off the people he ridiculed. Archie, the patriarch, worked and paid the bills while his daughter and son-in-law lived in his house. It was a perfect metaphor for what was happening in the country. The parasites were determined to kill the host, but in the mean time they were perfectly willing to enjoy the fruits the host had accumulated.

Years ago, the great Paul Gottfried remarked that the country had long been taken over by the Meathead generation and their ethics. The Archie Bunkers were all gone. By that he meant traditional working and middle class America had been lost and the country was now run by fashionable liberals, who occupied the first ruling elite in history to be actively working to destroy the foundation on which it rests. Look around the culture and all the high ground is occupied by degenerate boomers, who carry on as if it is still 1968.

There is, as there almost always is, an upside:

That means if you are a young alt-right trouble maker, you only have another decade or so to put up with degenerates like Rob Reiner. This realization may be at the heart of the hysteria we see in the ruling class. Rasping geezers like Hillary Clinton look around and see their time is just about done. They also see that what is forming up behind them is a giant cultural eraser, ready to rub out any trace of what her cohort leaves behind. Her “Basket of Deplorables” are young dudes and dudettes in hazmat suits, ready for cleanup.

I will, however, insist that Reiner’s magnum opus, This Is Spinal Tap, be preserved for posterity. Nobody, with the possible exception of Paul Ehrlich, is wrong all the time.

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As seen on Vine

Skylar Grey, who as “Holly Brook” was the one sweet voice on Fort Minor’s “Where’d You Go,” still has a sweet voice, but this particular video is pushing the Creepiness Envelope.

(One of the co-writers/producers here was Slim Shady himself, Eminem. Make of that what you will.)

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The election in one sentence

Tam shoots and (as almost always) scores:

Both major parties are, ironically, in a place where the best thing that could happen to their electoral chances is for the headliner on their ticket to suffer a sudden heart attack.

One can only hope.

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Message, shmessage

Christopher Johnson on 9/11-related protests:

Look. I get the whole First Amendment free speech thing and I’m fine with it (although refuse to bake some gay guy some Pride Day cupcakes on account of your religious principles and see where that gets you). But to stage a protest on the anniversary of one of the most solemn days in this country’s history doesn’t seem like it will sway many people to your point of view.

If they wanted to get really creative, Kaepernick, the Seahawks, whoever that lesbian soccer player was that did this and whatever other pro sports crapweasels who ostentatiously tell the world how morally wonderful they are might as well fly to Normandy, France next June 6th, knock back a lot of great wine at Rouen, visit the graveyards at the battlefield and collectively piss on as many American graves as they possibly can.

After all, it’s important to send a message.

And it’s equally important to be able to disregard it.

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A reprehensible little twerp

Cue Phil Collins intoning “You’re no son of mine”:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: How to temporarily freeze the odometer on a 2000 dodge dakota

Odometer tampering is of course illegal. Is this nimrod trying to sell the truck? Nothing so normal:

I got into a bit of trouble (I’m 17), and my parents are taking my truck away for two weeks. My dad knows the exact mileage on the truck. I drive a 2000 dodge dakota sport, 2.2 liter engine, single cab, 5 speed transmission. The odometer is digital. How can I rig the truck so it shows the same amount of miles on the odometer, rather than just pulling the fuse to the cluster and it not showing anything. It needs to look like I haven’t driven it, if I decide to drive it. All help is appreciated!

And don’t try to talk him out of this scheme, either:

Ps: Please don’t tell me not to drive the truck against my parent’s will. It won’t stop me.

Little shit has a future as a political consultant, if he’s not beaten to death first.

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Strange search-engine queries (554)

A couple of thousand people wander through here every week. Some are regulars, but more are simply passing through in search of various things. (“Everybody’s looking for something” — Eurythmics) The latter provide the material for this weekly feature.

staying sharp 13.1 answers:  If we just give you the answers, you never will be sharp.

paul peddler wants to purchase a bicycle costing $775. if he chooses to make 12 equal payments, then in dollars and cents the average payment will be:  If we just give you the answers, you never will be able to buy your own damn bicycle.

what does 666 really mean yahoo answers:  I’ve always suspected that Beelzebub was trolling the place.

del gato clinic deposits all cash receipts on the day they are received and it makes all cash payments by check:  And then there’s the 98 percent of business that is filtered through insurance companies.

setterade:  The first sports drink for sporting dogs.

anon-v com/videos/93950/was-i-in-your-ass-i-think-so/:  I think we can safely assume that you’re not actually looking for a permanent relationship.

dorothy holds herself responsible for causing hurricane katrina that killed thousands of people in the u.s. identify the type of delusion afflicting dorothy:  It doesn’t matter, unless Dorothy is white.

which of the following best summarizes the main idea of this paragraph? most people steal money if it is left in an open basket. few people steal money from plywood boxes with slots in the top. most people are honest enough not to commit major theft. few people are aware when they commit crimes:   #ThievesLivesMatter

fred flintstone is single and earns $40,000 in taxable income. he uses the following tax rate schedule to calculate the taxes he owes:  Excise tax on automotive brake pads: $0.00.

texas asshole massacre:  Obviously they never finished.

how to age concrete statues with yogurt:  Greek statues, I assume.

romantic soles:  This is what you claim to have when you disclose that you can’t afford Louboutins.

ghostbusters fail:  It is not relevant, however, that these women have no dick.

will blog for food:  Hope you’re not counting on dessert.

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It’s not your book

Saturday night turned to Sunday morning, and sleep would not come, so I decided to read. I’d set the tablet screen for minimum blue light, and after the usual interminable bootup delay, I punched up a Kindle book.

And was met with this:

Invalid Item — This item is protected with DRM and cannot be read on your Fire. Please remove the item from your device and download it again or purchase a copy from the Kindle Store.

About two-thirds of my purchases were thus afflicted. I am currently theorizing that when all these things were moved off main storage and onto my 64 GB microSD card, Amazon’s clumsy DRM temporarily lost track of them. It was no particular trick to redownload the titles, but it was definitely annoying.

And it wasn’t the first time I’d had to fight with Amazon’s copyright cops, either. A friend sent me a novel he’d written in .epub format, and the tablet would not deign to display it unless I sneaked it in through a third-party file manager.

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Also melts the heart

“Decadent Fudge Tracks,” I read, and after satisfying myself that this was in fact a Walmart “Great Value”-branded ice cream and not some weirdly intersectional punk-rock compilation, I added it to my grocery order for the week.

And damn me if it isn’t just incredible:

My favorite ice cream used to be Ben & Jerry’s Brownie Fudge (or whatever … chocolate ice cream with brownies) … now, THIS Decadent Fudge Tracks from Great Value is the BEST chocolate ice cream EVER! If you love chocolate on chocolate on chocolate with peanut butter smidges in it, you will absolutely fall head over heels IN LOVE with this ice cream! I figured it’d be okay, and I was honestly expecting a little grain-ey texture like other cheap chocolate ice creams … NO WAY! This stuff is what dreams are made of! This product is, BY FAR, the BEST chocolate ice cream I’ve ever tasted! Rich, creamy, no chunky ice pieces, with a bulky ribbon of fudge (that I swear is like a brownie) and just brimming with those little peanut butter cups! And those are great, too! This will forever be my favorite chocolate ice cream!

This reviewer, unlike me, is a twenty-ish woman; however, my reaction was almost exactly the same.

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Vague holiday gestures

Girls, we all know, mature faster than boys, and it’s worse when the boy is much younger than his alleged peer group: the seventh-grade version of me, barely ten years old, was not at all able to deal with thirteen-year-old classmates in skirts. There’s a line in Bill Forsyth’s Gregory’s Girl in which some lad is extolling the virtues of Gregory’s younger sister Madeline: “She’s only ten,” he declared, “but she has the body of a woman of thirteen.” Fortunately for me, this film didn’t come out until I was nearly thirty.

That said, I once came up with the Dave Barry-esque idea of tacking up a pair of sheer stockings on the mantel, in the hope that Santa might see fit to, um, fill them up. The parental units did not approve, and the scheme was never implemented. And I’m not about to claim that I’m the only person who ever thought along these lines:

Sears Cling-alon hosiery ad

Actual Sears catalog displays were, if anything, even more endearing, which probably explains why I don’t have any of them anymore.

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It’s a rum go

This story had yet to hit Wikipedia when the Commonwealth of Virginia spilled the high-proof beans:

Bacardi USA announced that it is discontinuing Bacardi 151 rum in all markets. All Virginia ABC stores will stop selling Bacardi 151 rum when current inventories are depleted.

While they have it, it’s $32.49 a liter at the state’s Official Liquor Stores. I probably ought to call Byron’s and ask them if they have any. Given the speed with which inventory turns over at that place, I’d almost bet they’re out already.

Update: I did call Byron’s. They’re selling the one-liter bottle for $20.33, and they’re not out yet. What can we learn from this?

(A tip of le chapeau to @HeavyHokie.)

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And it will stay broken

I haven’t yet encountered anything quite this drastic yet, but I suppose it’s just a matter of time:

Paul Rubner thinks what’s happened to his Ford F-150 is criminal — and he should know, he’s a detective with the Calgary Police Service.

The heating system on his 2009 truck suddenly failed, blowing only extremely hot air on the passenger side — so hot, no one could sit in the passenger seat.

But the biggest problem? It can’t be fixed.

“It’s crazy,” says Rubner. “My truck is only seven years old.”

But there are no parts:

The part in question is the Dash Control Unit (9L3Z19980Y), which Ford Parts Canada lists as discontinued and unavailable. It was installed in V8-powered 2009 F-150s of various trim levels, equipped with dual-zone climate control, heated rear window, mirrors and seats, but with a seat cooler delete. That makes it a relatively low-volume item.

TTAC’s Bozi Tatarevic describes Rubner’s problem: “The issue that he is having is that the passenger side blend door actuator is shorting out. This causes the blend door to get stuck open when it should be closing. Since it is stuck open, the passenger side gets air that is flowing over the heater core. The shorting of the blend door actuator is caused by the HVAC module.”

Ford eventually saw a PR problem a-brewing:

The automaker has since agreed to have a supplier build a one-off module specially for Rubner’s truck. With stereotypical Canadian politeness, Rubner thanks the company for making his truck driveable during winter, though he wishes it hadn’t cast him aside the first time he appealed for help.

We have to wonder if this is the only time Ford builds a bespoke replacement part for an F-150 owner, or just the first.

I can’t imagine Nissan knocking out a part for me after 16 years. Regular visits to the dealer parts counter tell me that there are no more OEM wiper blades or rear brake rotors to be had. The aftermarket, in these cases, fills the bill adequately. But if my HVAC module ever craps out, I can probably safely assume I’m screwed — maybe. Then again, apart from those two exceptions, everything I’ve had to have ordered from Nissan USA actually showed up in a day or three.

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Beyond compare

One of the advantages of my job is that it borders on uniqueness: I have a singular skill set — too bad it isn’t plural — and the one person I felt could do it as well as I do, if not better, has decamped for quieter (and better-paying, it turns out) climes.

Any evaluation I get, therefore, will be from the upper levels of the corporation, who at least have an idea what I’m doing. So I need not fear this trauma:

I think, based on looking at the raw data and the variance that it was that I had two very disgruntled people in a class of about 30 — there were two people who consistently gave me the lowest score available. So I don’t know. I guess I didn’t reach them, or something.

I dunno. I tell myself not to let this bug me but it does. Part of this is just who I am: for one thing, I only value myself based on my last self-evaluation, whatever that may be, and I forget past things. So having successfully led a church service recedes in my mind, dwarfed by, “You had a couple students who apparently really hated how you taught.”

Of course, I have one other characteristic in my favor: I don’t have quite as good a grounding in statistics, so I’d probably never do the cogitation necessary to reach such a conclusion.

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All in one Accord

I’ve mentioned the Republican supermajorities in this state’s legislature before, but we’ve got nothing on Tennessee:

Everything flipped in 1994, the first mid-term election of Bill Clinton’s first term.

Tennessee elected a Republican governor, two Republican U.S. senators, a majority of the U.S. House delegation, and the process began by which Republicans rose to the point in the Tennessee state legislature at which they hold 73 seats in the 99-seat House of Representatives, and 28 seats in the Senate. Senate Democrats could hold a caucus meeting in a mid-sized sedan; there are only five in the 33-member body.

Current numbers in the Oklahoma Senate: 39 Republicans, 9 Democrats. Maybe the Democrats could hire a van.

(Via Instapundit.)

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Glancing skyward

Things are looking up, says Rosanne Cash:

All the more reason to give it another spin, say I:

The fact that Greenbaum was and is an observant Jew doesn’t at all enter into it, though it does make me wonder. Four years earlier, Greenbaum, as part of Dr. West’s Medicine Show and Junk Band, recorded a silly ditty called “The Eggplant That Ate Chicago”; is Chicago kosher, and would an eggplant care if it was?

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Deliciously tart

While I wasn’t looking, singer-songwriter Fiona Apple turned thirty-nine; it took me a moment to realize that it’s been twenty years since her debut album, Tidal.

Fiona Apple assuming a position

Fiona Apple hits her stride

I am rather fond of her late-1999 single “Fast As You Can”:

Apple’s erstwhile boyfriend Paul Thomas Anderson directed this video and two others, in support of her album When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks like a King What He Knows Throws the Blows When He Goes to the Fight and He’ll Win the Whole Thing ‘fore He Enters the Ring There’s No Body to Batter When Your Mind Is Your Might so When You Go Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand and Remember That Depth Is the Greatest of Heights and If You Know Where You Stand, Then You Know Where to Land and If You Fall It Won’t Matter, Cuz You’ll Know That You’re Right, which, last I looked, was the third-longest album title of all time. (It’s only about half as long as this.)

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Death Star etiquette

As always, corporate correspondence is just a hair off kilter:

AT&T Let's Stay In Touch

This would not have been at all objectionable were it not for the subject line: “CHARLES: Action required.”

Um, I pay you guys several hundred dollars a year. You don’t get to require any action from me other than sending the check.

(And by the way, the current email address has been current since, oh, 1999.)

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PR fail

Fashion blogger ML at Twenty York Street is dealing with a tone-deaf public-relations pitch:

You said: “Have you heard, we’ve opened! This fabulous property marks the brand’s entrance into Canada and this global chain’s first-ever location in Ottawa! Nestled in the heart of ByWard Market, which puts you right in my hood btw (you would know this if you’ve googled me a bit or just take a look at one of my social media accounts. Your property’s spectacular view of Ottawa’s skyline is the same damn view you can see from our balcony. Neighbours!), this incredible property aims to honour the very best of Canadian culture including the best products made in Canada.

So far, so good.

I kept reading … Helmed by some Executive Chef, the hotel’s signature restaurant will serve up New Canadian cuisine inspired by an ingredient-driven menu of local, organic and sustainable (not to mention delicious) items. To celebrate the arrival of Andaz Ottawa ByWard Market, I thought this signature cocktail recipe with you.

This is lovely, I get to come by and try this signature cocktail!

Made with gold and pearls and all premium ingredients from the finest places in the country, this signature drink embodies everything that makes Canada great.

Oh boy, now I really can’t wait!

Then you said: if you’d like to try this super marvelous signature drink, I would be happy to provide you with a step-by-step recipe.

Wait, what?

If it’s a signature drink, perhaps they don’t want the recipe all over Ontario.

As I sat there puzzled reading and re-reading your message (again) in case, for the 3rd time, I may have missed something. So, I e-mailed you back, attached my media kit because this seems like a simple oversight. You may have been too busy putting the photoshoot together for this drink that you may have not seen my media kit, therefore, it failed to dazzle you.

NO worries, I don’t mind re-sending it and clarifying the part where we should have outlined the section about this being MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL.

And this point cannot be overemphasized:

Everybody else who puts in the hard work gets paid and based on my extensive experience, bloggers are just as skilled, creative and they work bloody hard, if not harder than everybody else. They spend blood, sweat and tears and I mean that both literally and figuratively and sometimes, their life’s calling and savings into their blogging business.

These are not silly side projects or passion blogs, these are legitimate businesses and therefore, should be afforded the compensation and respect they deserve.

And no, payments cannot be in the form of cupcakes, face cream, a bar of chocolate or, as revolutionary as it may sound, step-by-step recipe! Taking advantage of bloggers and influencers are such a no-no. It’s 2016 for goodness sakes.

At the very least, they ought to buy her a drink. And if I ever meet up with her in beautiful downtown Canada, I will. Maybe we can try some of that New Canadian cuisine.

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Connecting Rodham

Let us, for the moment, entertain the idea that there is no Hillary Clinton:

I mean, we all know about Bill’s sexual proclivities. Why would he marry that? It’s much more likely that “Bill’s wife Hillary” has been played by a succession of B-list actresses. Actors, after all, must master the art of lying for money. Not to mention all the accents “Hillary” has tried to fake …

Of course, those actresses had to be carefully selected. Each one had to be a near-perfect fit to the prescribed pattern. Each one had to appear the right age under the klieg lights. Each one had to possess the ability to feign all the necessary emotions — and, of course, the erudition expected of a lawyer. And it was absolutely vital that none of these actresses become emotionally attached to “her husband.” That would have been disastrous.

It wouldn’t have taken much for the Governor of Arkansas, arguably the most inept, most corrupt government in the United States, to arrange for the required deceptions and concealments.

There is, of course, an alternative theory:

Why hasn’t anyone else deduced the implausibility of a real Hillary Rodham Clinton? Why is all the heavy lifting left to me? She’s an android, Gentle Reader. A certified golem! Body by Fisher, training by Stanislavski, scripts from whatever part of Hollywood produces B-movies and slasher flicks!

I suspect the Clinton machine, so to speak, has had difficulty obtaining replacement parts of late.

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Reach to exceed grasp

This spiffy little device from Ettore is called “Grip ‘n Grab”:

Grip 'n Grab Amazon photo

The physical-therapy folks hinted that they’d be ordering one for me, but I figured it wasn’t going to happen, until yesterday when one of them (the 32-inch version) showed up on my porch in an Amazon box.

It wasn’t from the therapists, though. It was an anonymous gift, with a brief paragraph from the unknown sender, including this:

This gift symbolizes what I would like to do: give you a hand in this difficult time.

I think I know who sent it, but I’m not going to nose around. And I’ve already paid this forward on behalf of an underemployed Twitter friend.

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But still dismal

The Z Man has his doubts about economics:

Economics, as I’m fond of saying, is the modern equivalent of astrology. Before a battle, Cyrus II of Persia would bring in his astrologers to advice him on the time and place to attack his enemy. The astrologers would figure out what he wanted to hear, consult their maps and then tell him what he wanted to hear. Cyrus was a badass dude who was rarely wrong, so it was a wise course by the astrologers to tell the boss what he already knew. When he won, they got some credit and they avoided contradicting the boss.

This old story about the eminent astrologer economist Joseph Stiglitz praising the economic polices of Venezuela ten years ago is a good example. Stiglitz was telling his hosts what they wanted to hear because they were paying him to endorse their brand of lunacy. Of course, Venezuela is now headed to total collapse because their economy has ground to a halt. In an age when Mexico’s poor people are obese, Venezuela has managed to have a food shortage. Maybe the rulers should not have listened to Joseph Stiglitz.

Rulers will listen to anyone who will say the things they want to hear. God knows our political class, if possible even worse than Venezuela’s, is desperate to dissemble, and as a result all manner of soothsayers are kept on retainer.

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Pop, pop, pop music

New York, London, Paris, Munich … Pyongyang?

South Korea is set to blare pop music across its border with North Korea as part of its latest attempt to breed discontent in Kim Jong-un’s hermit kingdom.

The bizarre tactic has been proposed in response to yet another nuclear test by the aggressive maverick state, which has put the world on red alert.

Korea pop music, nicknamed K-Pop, will be played from huge speakers positioned near the border, with officials claiming the catchy tunes will be audible from a distance of 20 miles.

South Korean and international news reports will also be broadcast across the border.

Billboard abandoned its K-pop Hot 100 in 2014. This was the last Number One:

How would the DPRK deal with that?

(Via Fark.)

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There was literally nothing in minor-league hockey anything like the old Oklahoma City Blazers of the Central Hockey League:

The last incarnation of the Blazers came into being in 1992 with the revival of the CHL. They were one of the most successful minor league hockey franchises of all time, averaging 9,128 fans a game over 17 seasons. The franchise led the CHL in attendance in each of its 17 seasons in the league; and all of North American minor pro hockey on five occasions. On ice, the Blazers excelled as well, winning an unprecedented nine regular season division championships (including seven straight, 1996–2003), five regular-season points titles and CHL championships in 1996 and 2001. The franchise’s two great stars, Joe Burton and Hardy Sauter, are the CHL’s first and third all-time career leading scorers, and Burton is the fourth leading goal scorer in minor league hockey history.

The CHL folded in 2014; the Blazers had departed five years earlier, on the pretext of not being able to negotiate a lease with the city. As it turned out, the ownership had bigger fish to fry: in 2010, a dormant American Hockey League franchise was awakened from the dead and moved out of deepest Canuckistan into Bricktown, and given the name “Oklahoma City Barons.” Lead-pipe cinch, right? Wrong: while the Barons played well most of the time, winning 202 of 384 games, their attendance was among the worst in the AHL, and in 2015 the team relocated to, um, Bakersfield, California, where they didn’t play as well but drew substantially (about 30 percent) more spectators.

And that would seem to be that, except that a local sports guy (NBC station) came up with this last night:

What do we want? “The Blazers!” When do we want them? “Next season!”

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It seems all too reasonable

Cristina asks herself: “Why, 6 years later, am I still blogging about shoes?”

[T]he simple answer is: even though I’ve deviated from the daily stiletto-wearing lifestyle and have zero time (or energy) for schmoozing at media events, I do love blogging and am still very much in love with shoes.

There are, I understand, women who wear stilettos every day, though I don’t know any.

Although, working at my desk all day, I usually remain shoe-less. No, the irony isn’t lost on me.

I admit to wondering on occasion if brand-name fashion bloggers like Chiara Ferragni or Wendy Nguyen ever sit around in a T-shirt and jeans.

Comments off

Your 2016 State Questions

I can stand two of them, maybe. The other five, I want nothing to do with.

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Checking in

Today was, apparently, the last follow-up by the surgical team following my back surgery in early July. I grumbled a bit, mostly because the robovoice calling me to remind me a couple of days ago made a point of telling me to bring a whole bunch of documentation that I knew damned well they already had. The receptionist said, yes, they did have it, but we do need you to fill out a third of a page on Current Conditions.

The doctor himself says that I probably have another month’s worth of work restrictions before they’ll be officially lifted. He did, however, seem impressed with spot-strength displays. (One such test: you raise the front of the foot, he forces it upward, and then you’re supposed to push it back to the floor. I may have scraped the guy’s knuckles.) Anyway, unless something dreadfully terrible happens fairly quickly, this book is now closed.

Downside: it was raining when I left the office, and I had to contort myself rather horribly to get into my car, something I don’t do well anyway, even when it’s dry. My right knee now hurts like a sonofabitch.

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No lesser evils here

You may not need this little cheat sheet, but just in case:

And thank you, Crawling Chaos.

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As inevitable as the holidays themselves

Due out this fall:

She and Him Christmas Party

And hey, it’s been five years since Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward put out a Christmas album. (Come to think of it, they’ve had only one non-Christmas album since then.)

Track 12, it says, is “Christmas Don’t Be Late.” Really? Zooey? Zooey? ZOOEY!

[awaiting response]

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Watch ’em putt

This is the location:

Our facility boasts four full 18 hole miniature golf courses, a 7000 square foot video game arcade, a full pizzeria and restaurant, go-karts, batting cages, and now, a full-time event staff ready to make your special event at Cool Crest a truly wonderful experience!

Hey, I know these kids:

Laney, Jackson and Gunner at Cool Crest in Independence, Missouri

And you’ll note they’re not at the “7000 square foot video game arcade.”

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Country for young women

This looks like a pretty interesting show:

Have you ever wondered the story behind “Live Like You Were Dying” for Tim McGraw? Did you know that the songwriter of “Friends in Low Places” actually traded his ownership of that song to pay off a hefty beer tab at a local bar in Nashville before it became a worldwide hit for Garth Brooks?

Introducing, “Nashville Unplugged: The Story behind the Song”, a songwriter in the round show that brings the most successful hit songwriters from Nashville right to you. The intimacy of this all acoustic, impromptu show makes for a highly interactive connection between the songwriters and the audience. No show is ever the same because there is no script or band; just some truth-telling troubadours with guitars in their hands, telling the stories behind some of the world’s greatest songs that they happen to have written.

Thursday in Pasadena. And I never would have guessed the opening act:

Then again, RB is working hard to hone her songwriting chops, so why not?

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Spoofer fail

I blew off the call from 405-511-2897, because scumbags, but this is both scummier and stupider than I’d anticipated:

Caller ID said XXXXXXXXXX OK. I never answer unidentified calls. Rang 3 times and then stopped. Funny thing is the same thing happened yesterday except it was XXXXXXXXXX GA from phone no. 404-511-2897. So I guess they can make it look like the call is from any state?

If you happen to be Googling this number, you may be absolutely certain that they’re Up to No Good and you have no reason at all to talk to them.

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