Archive for September 2017

A bear of very little history

“And furthermore,” I said, “how come Winnie the Pooh has a girl’s name?”

This is the kind of argumentative brat I was circa 1960. Long after the fact, the worst that could happen has happened: not only was she a female, but she was black:

Canadian author Lindsay Mattick has a brand new picture book out called Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear. In it, Mattick tells the story of her great-grandfather, Harry Colebourn, who was a WWI veterinarian on his way to London to treat battlefield horses. Just before getting on a train, he happened to spot a li’l bear cub tied to a pole, and “followed his heart and rescued [the] baby bear.” Colebourn named the bear Winnie, after his native home, Winnipeg, Canada.

What kind of lowlife ties a bear cub to a pole?

And apparently the book is not quite as brand-new as our source says, but I hadn’t heard of it. (Maybe if it had come out circa 1960.)

Colebourn and Winnie became fast BFFs, and the two stayed together until Colebourn had to deploy to France. He knew Winnie couldn’t travel with him, so he took her to the London Zoo and asked if they could look after his cub. The London Zoo said yes, of course, and the two went their separate ways. Pause to cry a little bit.

Now dry those tears, because this story has a happy ending. Even though Colebourn left Winnie behind, she wasn’t alone for long. A little boy named Christopher Robin loved to visit Winnie at the zoo. Christopher Robin even re-named his own stuffed bear, “Edward,” to “Winnie.” And Christopher Robin’s dad? Writer A. A. Milne, who clearly took a liking to Winnie as well, because soon children everywhere were reading about the adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin in the Hundred Acre Wood.

And at that stage of my existence, I was telling jokes on the level of “What do Winnie the Pooh and Popeye the Sailor have in common?”

One last bit of Canadian content: this lovely, if sappy, tune by the Toronto band Edward Bear.

(Previous Canadian-content reference.)

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Your eyes should not be here

The word to be heard from Coffs Coast:

Ask any woman for the top 10 banes of her life and I swear she’ll say “bras”.

For such an insignificant — though often pricey — piece of upholstery, bras routinely fail at their key performance indicators — namely to support, be comfortable and look reasonably attractive.

Too much lace and you look like there’s an echidna scrambling around under your T-shirt.

Too padded and you’re sure to let someone down. Too wired and the damn thing will twist out of shape in the washing machine and torment you for the rest of its viable life.

Which is why the new bra advertisement from Berlei is so spot on it made me laugh out loud.

This is the ad. It’s here because social media had a hissy fit about it.

Why on earth are Facebook and Instagram banning it on the spurious grounds that it’s “offensive”? Offensive to who?

Surely not to the half of the population who endure bra contortion every day of their lives. Surely not to the other half who could do with a reality check on what it’s like to live with a pair of, at times, pesky mammaries.

For a site that’s been accused of imperialism in India, live streaming of human rights violations, propagating fake news and spying on users, it’s laughable that the social media giant has come over all prissy when it comes to breasts.

Berlei, founded in Australia 100 years ago, has expanded only to New Zealand and the United Kingdom. I suspect they know what kind of response they could expect, were they to run ads like this in the State.

(Via Breaking Shame [NSFW].)

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How fabulous is it?

We’ll just have to ask Tom Ford about this:

Explicit. Exclusive. Fabulous. A decadent Oriental leather with an intoxicating grip captures a rarified air. Evoking the private exchanges and insider moments where fantasies come true, the scent can only be described in one way.

Things you should know:

  • This stuff is only just now making it to retail channels: as of last night on, they’re taking pre-orders only.
  • And you’ll pay $310 for 50 ml, which is $6200 a liter, or just under $25,000 a gallon, even more than HP asks for printer ink.

Reviewer Tiff Benson reports:

Fragrance Family:

Key Notes:
almond bitter oil, tonka resinoid, orris accord, cashmeran, leather accord, and clary sage oil

I don’t deny being intrigued. But this is what Tom Ford does: hit you in a place you didn’t expect to be hit.

(Via Nancy Friedman. You probably don’t want to play the audio where your Aunt Tillie can hear it.)

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Still Sharp after all these years

The motivation here:

[Kenny] Gamble says he wrote the words to “Expressway to Your Heart” while on an actual expressway: the Schuylkill (“Sure-Kill”) Expressway through Philly. He had a date that night with Dee Dee Sharp (“Mashed Potato Time”), about whom I haven’t written nearly enough.

So let us address this deficiency. Sixteen-year-old Dione LaRue was working on a budding career as a background singer when Cameo-Parkway Records, arguably the biggest label in Philadelphia in 1962, brought her in to play off their biggest star, Chubby Checker, on yet another Twist record:

You’ll note that this was on Parkway, where Chubby ruled the world, and Dee Dee Sharp, as she was now known, was uncredited on the label. But the company hedged its bet and put out an actual Dee Dee single on Cameo:

“Slow Twistin'” and “Mashed Potato Time” hit the charts at the same time; Dee Dee alone outpointed Dee Dee and Chubby by one position: Number Two versus Number Three. (Jon Sheldon, with a writer credit on both, was actually label founder Kal Mann.) The genius of “Mashed Potato Time” is that everybody who was doing the song “looked for records they could do it to,” and verses followed quoting “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” “Please, Mr. Postman,” and “Dear Lady Twist.” Whether the “Postman” reference was intended to obscure the similarities between Dee Dee’s song and the Motown smash, it’s hard to say. Motown certainly thought it was.

Dee Dee Sharp shakes that thing

Dee Dee Sharp smiles for the camera

Dee Dee Sharp just kept on making records

In 1967, she and Kenny Gamble were wed — they split in 1980 — and after the expiration of her Cameo contract and a brief stint with Atco, she signed with Gamble-Huff’s Philadelphia International/TSOP operation. One track from the 1975 Happy ‘Bout the Whole Thing album made the R&B charts: a cover of 10cc’s “I’m Not in Love.” Yes, really:

Dee Dee Sharp is seventy-two today, and not officially retired yet.

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Borrowed bliss

While my own perhaps-stupidly-expensive car sits in the shop, I’ve been tooling about in a newer perhaps-stupidly-expensive car. And it’s not easy making the adjustment, either.

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The definitive explanation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals mess:

In our government, the president is charged with executing the laws of our nation. Congress passes those laws. Mr. Obama used his authority to decide not to enforce certain immigration laws against a specific set of people — children brought here illegally who are now grown. They were thus safe from prosecution while he was president, and would have remained so until a successor decided to enforce those laws. Which is what we have happening now.

My friend may or may not be right that ending DACA is evil and cruel, but because DACA came into being as a presidential whim it can depart in the same way. Mr. Obama probably was and is concerned with how the people affected by DACA are treated and about the problems their situations create for them. But he was not concerned enough to try to get a law enacted that would have made that concern outlast his term. You might say that the timing of the DACA policy, five months before a presidential election, means that it was at its core a cynical grab at Hispanic voters. This would make you more cynical than me, but not very much, because I’m pretty sure that possibility motivated some of the folks in the White House even if not Mr. Obama himself.

Whatever the cause, though, the reality is that from January 20, 2009 to January 5, 2011, Mr. Obama’s party controlled the White House and both branches of Congress. Had something like DACA been a high priority, it could have been made into law at any time during those two years. Persons now upset by the end of DACA may blame Mr. Trump for ending it, but they should also blame Mr. Obama for half-assing it in the first place and giving the current president the opening.

Half-assing it seems to be more the rule than the exception in Washington these days. In fact, there are times when they can’t even be bothered to quarter-ass it.

Addendum: Spellchecker is unnerved by “half-assing,” but pays no attention to “quarter-ass.”

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Reach out and charge someone

Well, that was nice of them:

Tesla used to offer the option to buy a Model S or Model X with a 75-kWh battery pack software-locked at a capacity of 60 kWh. The option would result in a less expensive vehicle with a shorter range, but the option to pay to remotely enable the longer range at a later stage.

Some of those owners reported this morning having more range than usual in their vehicles.

A Tesla Model S 60 owner in Florida reached out to us with almost 40 more miles than in his usual full charge and a new “75” badge in his car software.

While he didn’t ask for it nor knew why it changed, Tesla had temporarily unlocked the remaining 15 kWh of the car’s software-limited battery pack option to facilitate the owner’s evacuation.

We reached to Tesla and a representative confirmed that the company has put in place the emergency measure to temporarily extend the range of the vehicles of Tesla owners in the path of Hurricane Irma.

Unfortunately, Tesla likely isn’t in a position to upgrade everyone’s battery packs. And I’d hate to be looking at the touchscreen if (when?) they roll back the upgrade.

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Shat yourself

There’s always one, right?

Quickly followed by:

You. Do Not. Mess With. The Shat.

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No wonder it’s taking so long

I mean, really:

Configuring Windows Updates, 3065% complete

I just hope it’s not running off battery power.

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Subprime specimens

There are times when jail time just doesn’t seem like enough:

Sometimes I think the brutal tar and feathers practice of our forebears should be brought back into fashion. If anyone needed a ride on a rail it is the top executives of Equifax. Not for the massive security breach, but that they took the time to sell off some stock before they announced the breach, knowing the value of the company would take a deserving hit. These executives make capitalists everywhere look bad. I’m not advocating brutal mob violence, but I would give a small cheer of approbation in this case.

And should they survive this journey out of town, their credit scores should be permanently fixed at 499.

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Strange search-engine queries (606)

First order of business on this Monday morning is to shake the logs and see if anything even slightly amusing falls out.

hugh hefner death date:  Far as I know, no one’s died while going out with Hef.

decisive moments youtube moment bite this:  Yeah, that sounds pretty decisive to me.

yougore:  Featuring a collection of decisive biting moments from YouTube.

sister incest blog:  This has gotta be on Tumblr.

bat blog hoosier taxpayer:  So does this.

closest thing to cialis over the counter:  For you, probably Mucinex.

dorothy’s gnawing dark souls 3:  The closest thing to Mucinex over the counter.

valvoline rookwood:  She opened for Dorothy the year of the Gnawing Dark Souls 3 tour.

feral from the mortuary:  Growing up around dead things will do that to you.

audi from hell:  Oddly, it was sold at a Volkswagen dealer.

when the automobile manufacturer releases a new model in its wow series, it promises that drivers can expect to get mileage that varies by no more than 6.5 miles per gallon from its field-tested average of 28.4 miles per gallon. which solution represents the range of mileage you can expect from this:  They’re all 21.9 mpg, just like the Audi from Hell.

burp collaborator server:  God help you if you can’t burp on your own.

wank material:  For instance, anything referencing Rule 34.

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Smug idiots

They’re everywhere:

I have seen a couple of instances on social media of people pointing out, “See, all this is happening right after the U.S. withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement!”

Sure, but even if you believe the Agreement is funding some sort of Captain Planet-type corps of superheroes pushing back against the cruel thermometer of Wicked Industrial Mankind (it isn’t), there’s one tiny problem: “The Paris Agreement (French: Accord de Paris), Paris climate accord or Paris climate agreement, is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020.”

Catch that last? Twenty-twenty. So far, Paris hasn’t produced anything but fancy talk and high-falutin’ plans.

In fact, though President Trump most certainly has announced the U. S. would withdraw from the Agreement, it works out that the very earliest date by which this country could be out would be 4 November 2020, which just happens to be the day after the next Presidential elections, making this one of those safest of Presidential promises, slated to occur after the promiser’s term of office has ended.*

“But … but … CLIMATE CHANGE! Look at all these hurricanes!”

Um, no:

Looking back, the short-term “noise” of weather is huge compared to the long-term trendlines of climate: there’s a lot of jitter. On the scale of geologic time, the climate shows lovely rising and falling curves, Ice Age to Warm Period and back again, a bit sawtooth-y; zoom in to the span of a single human lifetime and the big curve vanishes under warm spells and cold snaps, floods and droughts. At no time has the planet been entirely Edenic: it’s a tough place for individual naked apes and it’s not all that great for the other critters, either: mortality is 100%.

I am persuaded that the single factor leading most people down the rabbit hole of “climate change” these days is the presence of a Ford F-250 truck with a Trump sticker on 35-inch wheels, two doors down.

The person who’s going to take this worst, you may be sure, is the guy who insists “See! It’s already proven!” Were that so, there’d be no reason to spend another 50 cents on research. So they’ll wait for the UN to fluff up some new way to pry dollars or euros out of working economies and then lavish them on Third World hellholes. It never takes long.

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On the ballot tomorrow

They’re asking for a whole lot of money, as usual:

  • Ordinance No. 25,750: A new quarter-cent sales tax, effective Jan. 1, 2018.
  • Ordinance No. 25,751: A temporary, 1-cent sales tax to begin Jan. 1, 2018, and expiring April 1, 2020, to fund capital improvement projects.
  • Proposition 1: A $490.56 million bond issue for street construction and repair projects.
  • Proposition 2: A $26.795 million bond issue for bridge construction, repair and rehabilitation projects.
  • Proposition 3: A $27.585 million bond issue for the construction, repair and maintenance of traffic control equipment.
  • Proposition 4: A $60 million bond issue for economic and community development, including job creation programs.
  • Proposition 5: A $137.72 million bond issue for construction, expansion and improvement of city parks.
  • Proposition 6: A $23.91 million bond issue for the construction of a new library and remodeling, equipping and improvements at existing libraries.
  • Proposition 7: A $20.185 million bond issue for renovations, furnishings and improvements at buildings in the Civic Center Complex.
  • Proposition 8: A $20.395 million bond issue for upgrades to the city’s transit system, including the purchase of buses and improvements to bus stops.
  • Proposition 9: A $13.085 million bond issue for expanding, renovating and improving the city’s Central Maintenance Facilities Complex at SW 15 and S Portland Avenue.
  • Proposition 10: A $62.17 million bond issue for improving and equipping the city’s drainage control system.
  • Proposition 11: An $8.865 million bond issue for repairs, renovations and improvements at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
  • Proposition 12: A $30.84 million bond issue for the construction of a new Police Training Center, to be a part of a new combined Police-Fire Training Center.
  • Proposition 13: A $45.35 million bond issue for the construction of a new Fire Training Center, to be a part of a new combined Police-Fire Training Center.

I expect all the bond issues to pass, since nobody will notice how they’re paid: through a small levy as part of the property tax. Over the years, the city has made an effort to keep that levy at or below 16 mills; it is currently 14.81 mills.

The MAPS 3 sales tax ends 31 December 2017; this new penny would kick in the next day. So the only “new” tax is that quarter-cent, which is intended to pay for more firefighters and police officers. This is over and above the 0.75 cent currently levied for public safety. Should both sales-tax measures pass, the combined state and city sales tax will rise to 8.625 percent.

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Now fictionalized

Most issues of Hilde Lysiak’s Orange Street News carry a short story. Now, though, she’s writing at book length:

Her new book, Hero Dog!, co-written with her father, Matthew Lysiak, a former New York Daily News reporter, is the first in the new Hilde Cracks the Case series from Scholastic, which is currently being developed into a TV show. This book, like others planned in the series, follows the mostly fictional exploits of real-life reporter Hilde, who made headlines herself last year when she scooped every other media outlet and was the first to report on an alleged murder in her hometown.

I hope she has time for all this and can still maintain the News back home in Selinsgrove.

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George of the Palace, young as he can be

This week Prince George, having turned four this summer, started primary school at Thomas’s in Battersea. To the school, he’s just another student; there will be none of that His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge stuff. Nor will he be listed as George Alexander Louis Mountbatten-Windsor or anything that complicated.

What to do, then? Scarcely any American publication is more royals-obsessed than People, so People gets hit with the question:

Prince George's official school bag

[T]hough that is technically the royal family’s last name, it’s rarely the one members of the family use in day-to-day life. For example, Prince William and Prince Harry went by William Wales and Harry Wales during their own school days, as well as their years in the armed forces. Why? Because their father, Prince Charles, is the Prince of Wales. It’s an homage to their father’s title, for occasions when “Prince” just feels a bit too formal.

So what will George do? “Wales” might make sense, as that’s what his dad did — especially because, most likely, George’s own father will be the Prince of Wales himself one day. But William now has a title of his own: Duke of Cambridge. So just as William took his own last name from his father’s title, so will George — and he’ll be George Cambridge in his school records and to his peers and teachers.

And that teensy little tag on George’s school bag indeed says “George Cambridge.”

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Greens gone wild

Received yesterday: a spam offering a “New Wild Lettuce Video.”

I guess this had to be somewhere between romaine and Romulan. It goes on: “Similar to Morphine: The Best Natural Painkiller that Grows in Your Backyard.”

The rest of it is poorly disguised filler ripped off from some medieval-history article.

And I don’t get this URL: Plus a whole bunch of random spew. It’s a real top-level domain, but I wouldn’t trust it on general principle.

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Grounds for expulsion

This gall admits of no mitigation:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Does anyone know how to wipe an iPad?

And why, you ask, would he want to do that?

My school issued me an iPad and I want to make it so that this iPad isn’t on their server. They block everything and I want to use an iPad that works with every site/app. Thanks.

In my idea of a perfect world, this jerk wouldn’t have been born, but I’m not in a position to be that picky. So let the school throw his butt on the street and send him a bill for $900 or so to cover the equipment he’s so eager to ruin.

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Chiron high

“My name is Juan Pablo Montoya. I drive Bugatti. Prepare for speed.”

Juan Pablo Montoya at the wheel of a Bugatti Chiron

Deadpan howler from Wikipedia:

The Chiron’s top speed is electronically limited to 420 km/h (261 mph) for safety reasons.

Meanwhile, do not assume that this is the outer limit of the car’s velocity. Our driver here doesn’t:

[T]he company will disengage the limiter for all record attempts — just like it did with the Veyron. The problem is that nobody knows exactly how fast it will be until drivers start pushing the envelope. Assumedly, it will be faster than its predecessor. Bugatti upgraded the vehicle’s turbocharged 8.0-liter W16 to 1,500 horsepower and 1,180 pound-feet of torque, whereas the Veyron Super Sport only had 1,200 hp and 1,106 foot-pounds. On the downside, the new car is about 330 pounds heavier.

Realistically, we don’t see Bugatti encountering much trouble as it tries for speed records. The automaker is already promising a 0-to-124 mph time of 6.5 seconds and 0-to-186 in under 13.6 seconds — the latter of which is about a second quicker than the old Veyron’s best. But there is a big difference between paper and practice.

For this run, veteran racing driver Juan Pablo Montoya hustled the vehicle up to 400 kph (249 mph) in a scant 32.6 seconds before swapping throttle for brake. Slowing to a halt took another 9.3 seconds, which isn’t bad for about one-third the speed of sound. Montoya also bested his own personal speed, set behind the wheel of an Indy car, with the Chiron and says he’s looking forward to next year’s world speed record attempt.

“I think I’m probably too old for 300 horsepower.” — Me, after returning a borrowed Infiniti Q50 with a turbo V6.

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Turning up for turnout

There is, I decided, not a whole lot of emotional gratification in the absentee ballot; mostly, it reminds me that I am old and infirm. And frankly, passing in front of a mirror tells me that every stinking day.

So I betook myself to the actual polling place and hiked (well, with the walker) about 50 feet uphill. A guy in a Cox truck stared at me in disbelief. “Where’d you park?”

I pointed to my car, six spaces away.

“You want me to move your car up here?” “Up here” was along the side of the building, adjacent to the one officially marked handicap space.

“I’ll be all right,” I said.

He nodded — this is not something anyone wants to argue about — and grabbed the door for me.

And at about 5:03 pm, I started on the three pages of ballot. I’d pretty much made up my mind beforehand, so I really didn’t need to read all that legal verbiage. And the machine responded with 1024, 1025 and 1026; assuming everyone filled out all three pages — there’s no reason to assume otherwise, since there’s one poll worker dedicated to the task of handing you all three of them — I was the 324th voter.

Incidentally, the person in front of me was a long-legged young woman in a short leg cast; as I was leaving, a gentleman about my age arrived in a wheelchair. Had I had any doubts about what I was doing, I would have felt vindicated right about then.

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As real as it may seem

People who have known me for a quarter-century or so tend not to forget the things I’ve said and done. The substitute receptionist — not the usual one, mind you, but the substitute — hailed me as I passed the desk with “You did know Debbie Gibson was on Dancing with the Stars, didn’t you?” Well, of course; as a Debhead of long standing, I have to keep up with these developments. The teen queen is now forty-seven? Well, of course; these things happen.

Debbie Gibson for Hallmark

Debbie Gibson in a swimsuit

Debbie Gibson up against the wall

And this is where it started, way back in 1986:

Deb’s partner on DWTS is Alan Bersten, a four-year veteran who was promoted to Professional this season.

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Meanwhile at the Summit

Now kicking for the Lee’s Summit North Broncos, number 95, Nick Havlik:

Nick Havlik prepares to split the uprights

Mr. Havlik is the son of this righteous babe. Lee’s Summit is southeast of Kansas City, Missouri. It is not actually named after Robert E. Lee.

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Almost certainly true

I would not expect to find one speck of fish in this can:

Caroline's Fishless Tuna (ha!) does carry this product, with a slightly different label, for $2.29 a can. Customer reviews have been pretty favorable, though I’m waiting to hear from Jessica Simpson.

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Still the water comes in

Debt ceiling? What a joke:

This whole debt ceiling business is a gigantic scam.

It comes up every several months, and when it does, politicians on both sides of the aisle spend a few weeks hyperventilating about it, with the GOP yammering that they will not approve a debt hike without some minor (and meaningless) Democrat concession of some sort, while the Democrats squeal that the GOP is playing fast and loose with the financial status of the US government and economy, and we’re all gonna die.

Pure theater, and not very exciting, or even amusing, theater at that.

Here’s the truth: the debt ceiling is always going to be hiked, no matter what. By the time it reaches a hundred trillion dollars (and a hundred trillion dollars will buy you a one- pound bag of rice), it will still be raised.

This is a non-issue, and Trump is absolutely correct to treat it as one. The GOP is just pissed because he’s taking one of their most prized hobby horses off the table and they lose one of their favorite venues for political posturing.

The GOP holds 52 (of 100) Senate seats. What do you think they’d be doing differently if they held 62 or 72?

Based on what I’ve seen, the answer is “Not a damn thing.”

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I don’t want to work

I just want to bang on the drum all day:

Oh, and if you came in looking for Todd Rundgren:

Someone really needs to teach that bird how to play this.

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I believe he can be saved

Note: It’s only September, fercryingoutloud. Don’t go smashing any pumpkins.

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Not even 27 yet

About 9:30 last night, my trusty IBM Model M keyboard started coughing up Questionable Characters. I’m not at all sure why, but I’m guessing its internals got slightly damp during area cleanup. Of course, I have a spare keyboard, but it’s a fairly recent clunker with weird feel and all the lovely Windows buttons I have so far been happy to avoid.

The only liquid near the desk at the time was water. It will dry overnight. I’ll put it back on the desk tomorrow or the next day to see if it has healed itself. (Somehow, this worked once before.)

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Technical distort

It began with an email:

We would like to purchase this plugin from you and take complete owner ship [sic] of it and take away the stress from you.

We are trying to build one of the largest wordpress plugin companies and in doing this we are trying to purchase some rather large plugins like yours.

I am wondering if me and my team would be able to purchase this plugin from you and then take over the complete development of it and push out a new update to make it work better with the latest wordpress.

The author of that plugin thought about it; in the end, she said Yes, and the buyer sent $15,000 via PayPal.

And then this happened:

On June 21st, the first release of Display Widgets under the new author went out. Then on June 30th there was a second release, version 2.6.1, which included malicious code … which allowed the new plugin author — Mason Soiza, in this case — to publish spam content on any site running Display Widgets. There were approximately 200,000 sites using Display Widgets at the time.

Mr Soiza apparently did acquire other plugins for nefarious purposes. Some of those purposes:

Our team has assembled a lot of data on Mason Soiza from public sources. He has interests in a wide range of online business that include payday loans, gambling and “escort” services, among others.

He has been active on black hat forums and has been banned from “Black Hat World” (username LinkRocket) and from (username MasonSoiza). Soiza is active on Reddit as IIRR and moderates a subreddit called /r/paydayloansnowcouk.

Oh, and the current version of Display Widgets (2.7.0) has been thoroughly disinfected.

(Via Dan Gillmor.)

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Really unclear on the concept

If I’m reading this correctly, this doofus fears his car will fail state inspection and wants to know if he can bring a ringer in its place:

I need to take my car in for inspection … the problem is recently the check engine sign popped up.which sucked because i just invested around 800$ in repairs and a wreck i had pryer.from what auto zone told me its a problem with the exaust n while the car is driveable … i cant pass inspection now .. without whippin out another 500 on repairs..

If i was too use another vehicle for just the inspection is there a chance i can use that paper work at thr place u get registration stickers for my own car..

HOW exactly does it work..because i really want too try this rather then trying too spend 500$ right now!!!

Didn’t do so well on his placement exam for English as a First Language, either.

And I assure you, having recently spent $3,700 on repairs and a wreck I had “pryer,” that I’m not about to call that little expenditure an investment.

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Not a Jerry Springer Spaniel

“Well, then, what sort of mutt is this?”

This is an Akitapoo Terriebrador

(From Married to the Sea via Miss Cellania.)


Mustang excepted

A TTAC Question of the Day — The Worst Model Names of Them All? — drew this response:

I sometimes wonder if a 13yr old boy in charge of naming Fords and he just finds things that sound funny when preceded by “anal”.

probe, ranger, escape, expedition, excursion, flex, freestyle, focus, festiva, fiesta…

then I wonder if that job is available.

I just wonder how he managed to forget “Explorer.”

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Let me hear you Brightroar


And the best possible, not to mention satisfactorily quick, response:

It’s either that or Peugeot put up the bucks for the naming rights.

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He’s already had the BS

So let’s proceed to the next step. He’s demonstrably gullible:

Erwin Sniedzins doesn’t trust traditional universities.

So when the Toronto business management consultant found one offering a master’s degree requiring no studying, exams, or academic work — for just $8,100 — Sniedzins thought it was a school sharing his unconventional approach to education.

“I don’t necessarily like to pay $30,000 to get a master’s when I feel I already have the knowledge,” Sniedzins said in an interview with CBC Toronto.

And what was this “degree” worth? Including some really spiffy calligraphy, maybe $81.00:

Sniedzins told CBC Toronto that in 2014, he communicated with someone at Kings Lake University over the phone and, after sending proof of his professional and life experience, quickly qualified for a degree.

“To me that’s the direction that things are going. So I figured these guys were the vanguard of that type of stuff.”

In reality, Kings Lake University is little more than a website, run by the Pakistan-based fake degree mill Axact, uncovered by a recent CBC Marketplace investigation.

They may be in Pakistan, but they have a US lawyer, who denies everything:

In a written response to CBC Marketplace, Axact’s U.S. lawyer, Todd A. Holleman, said the company “does not own or operate any online education websites or schools, and there has never been any evidence produced to show that Axact owns or operates any such websites or schools.”

Holleman indicated that the diploma mills were created by clients of Axact and that it “does not condone or support any alleged wrongful or fraudulent conduct by its clients, who are independent businesses.”

And they have the certificates, complete with about eighty bucks’ worth of calligraphy, to prove it.

(Via Tanisha Taitt.)

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The songs retain the name

These two tracks wound up next to each other on my ever-changing iTunes playlist:

My Guy and also My Guy

What’s odd here, but perhaps not that odd, is that the sort is alphabetical by artist. (Yes, Mary Wells is sorted as “Wells M.”) If you’re not familiar with Wendy and the Schoolgirls, well, I know next to nothing about them except that they put this out in 1957 on Golden Crest 502 b/w “Merry Go Round”; it did not chart.

For the triple play, we go to Warpaint’s ineffable “Billie Holiday” (2009), which won’t make any sense to you for the first couple of minutes.

And possibly later.

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A miner for a heart of zinc

Step right up and take a chance:

Some people have gotten so serious about it that they are building a computer farm in Iceland for the specific purpose of mining Bitcoins. I gave them $100 to see if they can make any money for me. Some people might want to call it an investment, but to me it’s more like gambling. It’s just enough money that I should remember to check on it occasionally to see if it is producing any results. It’s entirely possible they have faked the video and have taken my money and spent it [on] lattes for all their friends. We shall see.

This is the video of which he speaks. The actual value of bitcoin varies, like every other currency, “real” or crypto. (Possible exception: the Venezuelan bolívar, which has been worth pretty much nothing for some time.)

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Behind the scene

Two weeks ago, I tossed out the following thoughts regarding Rebecca Black’s Not Then But Actually By God Now Out EP RE/BL:

Of course, the selling point for the EP is that it’s an actual EP, a proper CD with five tracks on it and some sort of case. Very few of these are likely to be pressed; she’s never sold anything but downloads before, and her youngish audience may not be able to come up with the premium price.

I’m assuming the last two singles, “The Great Divide” and “Foolish,” will be on the disc. That means two new tracks. And no, I don’t think “Friday” will be on there as a bonus track.

Spot on, with one exception: there are six tracks, with both original and extra crispy Crash Cove remix of “The Great Divide” on hand. (Can’t blame her for that: it’s the remix that got into the top half of Billboard’s Dance Club chart.) The two new songs are pretty decent: I liked “Satellite” better than “Wasted Youth.”

Those who pre-ordered through Pledge Music, as I did, have already received the downloadable version; I was delighted to see that FLAC copies were available.

And to justify the “Behind the scene” title, here’s an outtake from the RE/BL photo shoot:

Outtake from the photo shoot for Rebecca Black's EP RE/BL

I’ll report in when the actual disc hits my mailbox. In the meantime, the iTunes Store AAC version is $6.99; each individual track goes for $1.29, an unusually high price point for Rebecca Black.


Score one for the Timese machine

I mean, she’s just not the fellow we used to know:

(Via David Edward. That “Timese machine” stuff was ripped off from Joan Baez.)

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Nunavut works

Auto repairs can be problematic, even if the automaker is footing the bill because of a recall:

When John Fawcett and his wife, Sandra, learned that they were pregnant, he got down to work. He had never owned a car before. In Iqaluit, Nunavut, where the Newfoundland transplant had lived for 12 years, and where a cab any which way costs $7 per trip, owning a car never seemed essential.

But now the 33-year-old was going to be a father.

Fawcett settled on a red 2014 Jeep Cherokee with about 22,000 km on it, and went to the bank to negotiate a $22,000 loan to pay for it. The car was serviced. It was clean, and its new owner was thrilled, until mid-August, when the four-wheel drive with the grey interior abruptly shifted into neutral while he was driving home from work.

This is what your dealership service department would delicately refer to as a “known issue”:

[The Jeep was] under a manufacturer’s recall for four different issues, including what Transport Canada describes on its website as “an unexpected shift to neutral which could result in a loss of motive power, which in conjunction with traffic and road conditions, and the driver’s reactions may increase the risk of a crash.”

Unfortunately, there is no Fiat Chrysler dealership anywhere near Iqaluit: the nearest is in Ottawa. He might as well go to Greenland, which is closer.

The cost of a return flight was $24,000 for a car that cost $22,000. The cost to ship the vehicle, by ship, was closer to $8,000, but came with the caveat that if Fawcett shipped in August he wouldn’t see the Jeep again until the ice broke next spring.

What would you do? This is what Fawcett did:

Iqaluit may not have much in the way of roads or foliage, but it does have wireless. Sick of paying for pricey taxis and left with few good options, Fawcett took to harassing the automaker on Twitter, then formed a petition calling on all northerners to boycott FCA products. What followed was a “promising” phone call from a sympathetic-sounding FCA representative named Jessica.

The National Post confirmed Thursday that FCA, Fawcett, and his local garage have struck an agreement. The automaker will fly a certified mechanic to Iqaluit, where winter is closing in fast, to fix that wiring harness and get Fawcett’s life back in gear.

Not that September is all that warm: the average daily high is 41°F and the low is just below freezing.

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I imagine it’s kinda chewy

My Saturday-night scraping through the Walmart grocery-shopping site yielded up this surprise:

Goodyear F70-14

Definitely cheap, even for a non-radial, but I shudder at the thought of the taste, not to mention the idea of having to look for a four-foot-wide slow cooker.

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Yes, Ketevan:

Cover art for Ketevan by Katie Melua

As it turns out, Katie Melua’s birth name was “Ketevan,” a perfectly reasonable name for a female of Georgian descent, and I don’t mean Macon. The last time she hit these pages, a couple of years ago, was due to a small controversy regarding her enormous hit “Nine Million Bicycles.” We’re bringing her back because it’s her birthday. (She’s thirty-three.)

Katie Melua joins the discussion

Katie Melua is all kinetic

Katie Melua on the couch

Ketevan, the album, came out in 2013; instead of the usual music video, the lead single, “I Will Be There,” written by her then-producer Mike Batt, came out with this full concert version.

Speaking of concerts — well, you must see this 2004 live set. She doesn’t come in until about 3:15, and this is arguably the most eccentric version of the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins original:

(That’s Mike Batt on the piano; I suspect that he came up with this arrangement.)


Not at all down at the heels

They’re slick enough to make finding an exact match out there trickier than I expected. The shoe this most resembles is “Skipper,” which is pretty sharp for $119.

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