Archive for Dyssynergy

Cold-shower time

The only thing worse that a cheap appliance breaking is an expensive appliance breaking:

Right now I am trying to figure out what to do about my stupid water heater. The water heater that came with house lasted for like 25 years before it sprung a leak and had to be replaced. I did it my self, it’s not terribly difficult. Once you drain the water out they are like an empty beer can. There are three pipes (hot water, cold water and the gas line) and the exhaust flue to connect and you are ready to go. Problems started showing up shortly thereafter and intermittently ever since. The old water heater was totally mechanical. The new one has a thin film of electronics applied over the mechanics and this is where the problem arises. Every once in a while, the tiny electronic brain would decide that one of the sensors was not operating properly and it would shut off the gas, the water would go cold and I when I discovered this betrayal I would fly into a rage. Turn the dial on the control box to Off and then wait a few minutes for the thermocouple to cool down and stop producing energetic electrons. When everything has died down, you can relight the pilot and you are back in business. So what’s wrong with the sensor? Who knows? The thing will run for another year or so before it flames out again.

Making appliances last for 25 years is clearly not in the best interest of the shareholders of appliance manufacturers. And much of the “thin film of electronics” is designed to save you about $10 worth of gas in a year, while costing you $600 when it breaks.

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And it’s amateur hour in Alaska

It was arguably the best thing Sean Penn ever did, and yet it turned out so wrong:

I’m just hoping this doesn’t turn into something like Everest, where all manner of losers are trying to earn some fame points by climbing the mountain.

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They must never know

An anecdote from Warren Meyer:

Not long after China was opened to the US for visitation, actress Shirley MacLaine made a visit to the country. As part of this visit she went to a rural agricultural commune where she met an ex-professor who had obviously been sent to the countryside during Mao’s cultural revolution. MacLaine thought it was wonderful that the professor expressed himself as so happy to have given up academics to do manual labor on the farm.

I don’t know if anyone in the US who had a firmer grasp of China’s history ever sought to correct MacLaine’s understanding of the conversation. The academic was very likely sent to the farm unwillingly, as were many other academics, as part of Mao’s virulent anti-intellectualism as well as the broader rustication movement that consigned a whole lost generation to dead-end lives in rural China.

But who could verify that?

In 1979, Deng Xiaoping was visiting the US for the first time and was seated near MacLaine at a dinner party. She retold her story about this wonderfully happy ex-academic she met on the farm. In response, Deng provided the honest response to her story that none of MacLaine’s American enablers seemed to be able to provide. Deng responded to her, referring to the ostensibly happy academic, “he was lying.”

Bless you, sir.

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Room and no board

It’s called a “lodging house,” and if you live in Portland, Maine, they’re coming your way:

Developers say the lodging houses are a response to Portland’s acute shortage of affordable places to live. But there is a financial angle, too — when you face construction prices at a 10-year high, a lodging house is cheaper to build than residences with individual plumbing, heating and electrical systems.

“You can’t build apartments; they are costing a fortune,” said Bill Simpson, owner of Class Acts Management.

Simpson wants to convert apartments at 1190 Forest Ave. into 20 single rooms. He has plans to put up a new four-story building with 88 rooms at 263 Cumberland Ave. to replace a boardinghouse he already owns there. He also owns another boardhouse next door, at 273 Cumberland Ave.

He plans clean, furnished, low-rent spaces that include utilities, WiFi and security systems. House rules require residents to check in, guests are not allowed after 9 p.m. and there is no drinking in the hallways or common areas.

I’ve been in dormitories like that. (Except Wi-Fi, which didn’t exist back then.)

Simpson thinks he can make lodging houses work financially with just a traditional bank loan and reliable rental income.

In contrast, developers building conventional residences “are having to charge $1,600 a month for a one-bedroom apartment,” he said.

“I don’t think people can afford it, I don’t think it is going to last,” Simpson added. “I think people can afford $800 a month.”

Cheaper than a bunk bed in San Francisco, anyway.

(Via Catherynne Valente.)

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Low aspirations

I would say that this does indeed qualify as distressing news:

It was this, in Ars Technica. Three times as many American children in a survey would rather be a YouTube content provider than an astronaut. In fact, video blogger was the number one profession chosen by the 3,000 kids in a survey commissioned by LEGO.

A lot of this, I suspect, is based on familiarity, and really, we haven’t done squat in space compared to the glory days of Apollo.

Barely 10 percent of the kids surveyed wanted to be astronauts — and yes, given the regular reports of other surveys that suggest not many more than that can find England on a map, maybe redirecting them from wanting to pilot multi-ton spacecraft over populated areas is a good idea. A third of them want to be video bloggers — and here’s the thing about that. It’s not a job.

Sure, video production is a job and a specialized skill. Writing interesting content to be recorded and broadcast is a specialized skill as well. But production and content creation are the jobs — not video blogging, and three minutes of skimming YouTube will offer dozens of examples of video blogs that have neither. I would be very surprised if a significant portion of the aspiring video bloggers had any idea of what kind of skills were needed to become successful in that field, or had spent any time developing them.

They see half an hour of Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, aka PewDiePie, and they read that he makes about $10 million a year from YouTube, and suddenly: “I can do that!” They would be most distressed to hear that to maintain his production level, Kjellberg routinely puts in 16-hour days. For our indolent youth who quail at the thought of an Actual Job, this is the sort of revelation that results in suicide on a Guyanese scale.

There are about 75 million people under 18 in the United States. If the Harris Poll commissioned by LEGO is accurate, twenty-five million of them want to be video bloggers. I’m not worried that all of those kids will actually become video bloggers — “what I wanna be when I grow up” is a malleable concept. I’m just stunned into a melancholic stupor that a third of America’s kids want to sit in front of their laptop cameras and say “um” for five minutes, and part of me now wishes I still drank.

And I was just getting ready to buy the next round, too.

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Resistance is feudal

Slavery, of course, is indefensible on moral grounds. But you can’t make a good economic case for it, either:

This notion that slavery somehow benefited the entire economy is a surprisingly common one and I want to briefly refute it. This is related to the ridiculously bad academic study (discussed here) that slave-harvested cotton accounted for nearly half of the US’s economic activity, when in fact the number was well under 10%. I assume that activists in support of reparations are using this argument to make the case that all Americans, not just slaveholders, benefited from slavery. But this simply is not the case.

At the end of the day, economies grow and become wealthier as labor and capital are employed more productively. Slavery does exactly the opposite.

Slaves are far less productive that free laborers. They have no incentive to do any more work than the absolute minimum to avoid punishment, and have zero incentive (and a number of disincentives) to use their brain to perform tasks more intelligently. So every slave is a potentially productive worker converted into an unproductive one. Thus, every dollar of capital invested in a slave was a dollar invested in reducing worker productivity.

Europe, whence came a heck of a lot of settlers, was a wholly different place:

As a bit of background, the US in the early 19th century had a resource profile opposite from the old country. In Europe, labor was over-abundant and land and resources like timber were scarce. In the US, land and resources were plentiful but labor was scarce. For landowners, it was really hard to get farm labor because everyone who came over here would quickly quit their job and headed out to the edge of settlement and grabbed some land to cultivate for themselves.

In this environment the market was sending pretty clear pricing signals — that it was simply not a good use of scarce labor resources to grow low margin crops on huge plantations requiring scores or hundreds of laborers. Slave-owners circumvented this pricing signal by finding workers they could force to work for free. Force was used to apply high-value labor to lower-value tasks. This does not create prosperity, it destroys it.

And when it was outlawed, it was replaced by something nearly as bad. Sharecropping earned little money for the workers, and did next to nothing for the Southern economy. Even those clueless Yankees could figure that out.

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A total blam-blam

David Bowie edition Barbie

The original mellow-thighed chick makes her way to Suffragette City:

Introducing Barbie® as David Bowie. In a definitive celebration of two pop culture icons, Barbie® honors the ultimate pop chameleon, English singer, songwriter and actor, David Bowie, whose dramatic musical transformations continue to influence and inspire. With a career spanning over five decades, David Bowie was at the vanguard of contemporary culture as a musician, artist, and icon. He was, and remains, a unique presence in contemporary culture. Dressed as Bowie’s fantastic sci-fi alter ego, Ziggy Stardust, in the iconic metallic “space suit,” this collectible Barbie® doll honors the cultural legacy of the musical genius who redefined rock and roll. Subject to availability. Colors and decorations may vary.

Fifty bucks, says Mattel. I am tempted, especially if she can actually be had at that price; a couple of eBay listings have her in triple digits.

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Situation wanted

It’s been a while since I had to go through something like this, but it definitely sucked:

The company lost a significant customer that comprised 90% of my territory. I guess after 2 years of negotiations the customer determined we were just too hard to work with (the negotiations predated my hire by more than 16 months) and found another supplier. The company decided there was no need for me if there was no business. Losing 16 million in sales is never a good thing, even if I take no responsibility. Negotiations were being done well above my pay grade and the company did not heed my advise to compromise.

I am again in the market for a job. The margin for error is low this time. I need something quick, fast, right now. At my ridiculously high previous salary.

Realistically, though, it’s difficult to address all these needs with a single job offer. And this is no secret:

But yeah, I will take anything in the short term.

After my untimely departure back in the 1980s, I was working again in the 1990s — for about half as much as before.

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No warranty, either

I think I’d still be shaking after something like this:

Some Delta Air Lines passengers were in for a shock on Monday’s DL1425 flight from Atlanta to Baltimore. According to the AvHerald, the pilots of the aircraft received a possible engine issue indication, prompting their diversion. A video was shared on social media, which appears to be from the incident in question, shows that a part of the engine came off and got stuck in the engine inlet.

The plane involved was a McDonnell-Douglas MD-88, which goes back a ways: Delta began using them in, yes, 1988. The last of the MD-88s were delivered in 1997 to a low-price Turkish airline; they retired them in 2011.

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Almost a shooting war

Roberta X unravels the recent travails of the National Rifle Association:

After eight years of President Obama’s support of antigunners, however hollow, NRA executives and their deeply-entwined ad agency were fat, happy and overly complacent. The fight was on! Until late 2016, when suddenly it wasn’t.

It is clear the rot had been building for awhile. Now the pool of dollars was shrinking and however you care to characterize the tussle between Wayne LaPierre, Oliver North, ad agency Ackerman-McQueen (to which PR had been hugely and expensively outsourced) and various factions of the Board of Directors, one thing stands out: they’re fighting over money.

Gun rights ain’t in it.

It’s not surprising that cash flow was drying up: issue-oriented operations flourish when they can point to visible threats. Eventually, if things are going your way, the famine lurks with intent to loom.

And it helps if everyone is on the same page:

Ack-Mac never gave a flip about the Second Amendment, and why should they? They’re an advertising agency; caring about anything but the bottom line is a huge drawback in that line of work and the way you keep an ad agency toeing the mark is to ensure that getting your message across is crucial to their income. Instead, Ack-Mac was given a great deal of freedom to determine what the message should be, and the end result was more than a little inward-looking and self-serving. And out of touch with a lot of the membership.

NRA’s executives, meanwhile, isolated from much of the hurly-burly of messaging and outreach, appear to have relied on what Ack-Mac was telling them, and on having a compliant, bloated Board of Directors that could be counted on to rubber-stamp whatever the leadership wanted.

A three-decade business relationship soured seemingly just like that; earlier this year the NRA accused Ack-Mac of overbilling and fired them. So we end up with the Warren Zevon trifecta: lawyers, guns and money, and indeed the shit has hit the fan.

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The number you have reached is being ignored

You’d have known that if you’d read the sign:

Ways to contact me

(Found at reddit by Miss Cellania.)

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Growth stunt

If this is your idea of a defect, you’ve got issues I don’t even want to know about:

To treat young healthy prepubescent girls with a known carcinogen to stunt their adult height sounds like a bizarre science fiction experiment, but it is unfortunately true. From 1959 through the 1970s physicians and researchers from the Royal Children’s Hospital and the University of Melbourne, gave adolescent girls of tall stature a powerful estrogenic hormone with a growing list of known side effects called diethylstilbestrol (stilboestrol) or DES.

DES had been used in obstetrics to prevent miscarriage, in farm animals to bulk up livestock before slaughter and to caponise (castrate) chickens from the 1940s through 1970s. Early on, the drug was found to be ineffective in preventing miscarriage and serious side effects including cancer were noted. Indeed, cancer in farm hands caring for animals treated with DES and concern about the effect DES infused meat might have on human health caused the FDA to ban its use in poultry farming in 1958, well before banning its use in human women. Despite the risks associated with this drug, clinicians and researchers in Victoria, Australia, funded by governmental agencies and throughout the US, Norway, and elsewhere, thought stunting the growth of tall girls, for purely psychosocial reasons, was a good idea.

The rationale behind treating tall girls was so they could do ballet, buy clothes more easily, and find boyfriends and husbands. DES was used on healthy girls for purely psychosocial reasons. Apparently, being a tall girl was reason enough to consider medical treatment with a powerful, largely untested, synthetic estrogen with mounting evidence of carcinogenicity.

How many of these researchers were men five-foot-six and under who couldn’t get laid to save their lives, we’ll never know.

And yes, I’ve been turned down for lack of height — and I was about 6’1″ back then. It would never have occurred to me to take it personally.

(With thanks to Fausta Wertz, who’s 5’10” and perfectly content with it, thank you very much.)

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Troll level: short

And destined to remain so:

If I injected myself with Botox on the sole of my feet, would I increase at least 1 inch in height?

Short answer: no.

Somewhat longer answer: “Jesus H. Tapdancing Christ, what the hell have you been smoking?”

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Skills forgotten

This is actually a couple of steps below the hoodlum who steals a car and then discovers he can’t drive a stick.

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Bad vibes

The epicenter was out in the desert, but it was more than enough to shake things up on the coast:

A 6.9 last night, in about the same place that had a 6.4 the night before.

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The ultimate Fold-In

Alfred E. Neuman is headed for the retirement home:

MAD Magazine will cease publication later this year, according to reports. Blogger Jedidiah Leland reportedly discovered the news after a MAD editor confessed to the magazine’s doom in a Facebook group, and shortly thereafter, cartoonist Ruben Bolling seemed to confirm the report on Twitter. Of course, Bolling is not a MAD cartoonist (although he did have work published in it in 2005), so he may have been simply responding to the growing volume of responses to the Leland report.

Per the report, “I just heard from a friend of mine who is in a Facebook group with MAD writer Stan Stinberg that, after the next two issues, MAD will no longer be publishing original material. Instead, it’ll publish reprinted material until its subscription responsibilities are fulfilled and then the magazine will cease publication.”

As Don Martin might have said, “SHTOINK!”

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But we’re so in love

That’s the claim, anyway:

More than you wanted to know:

This can’t possibly end well.

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Voyage to the bottom

This is probably even worse than it sounds:

The link goes to a Russian news site, and I don’t do Cyrillic very well, so here’s a rewrite, kinda sorta:

A fire aboard a Russian navy research submersible has killed 14 crew members, the Russian defence ministry says.

The crew was poisoned by fumes as the vessel was taking measurements in Russian territorial waters on Monday.

The ministry gave no details about the type of vessel. But Russian media reports say it was a nuclear mini-submarine used for special operations.

The fire was later put out and the vessel is now at Severomorsk, the main base of the Russian Northern Fleet.

And there’s this hanging off to the side:

We know one thing for sure: Vladimir Putin is not happy.

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They just won’t die

You’ll have to stomp them, because bug spray is becoming useless:

Cockroaches are quickly evolving to be resistant to pesticides and could soon be impossible to kill with chemicals alone, according to a new study.

Researchers from Purdue University found that some German roaches, which are one of the most common types of cockroach in the UK, could pass down their resistant genes to their offspring. The findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Evolution in action. (Dammit.)

During the study, the researchers tested three different types of insecticides on cockroach populations in apartment buildings across the US.

They did this for a six-month period and found that the number of cockroaches either remained stable or actually increased.

Cite: DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-44296-y.

And if you resort to stomping, here’s your theme music:

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Developing story

The trick here is to get this stuff developed properly:

Apparently there’s fake “Fujifilm” circulating out there. Worse, it’s a 35mm movie film stock that can’t be processed in C41 and could contaminate the chemistry if someone tried.

Wait a minute. Haven’t I been here before?

When I was still taking pictures (or “taking still pictures,” if you prefer) on 35mm film, I swore by Seattle FilmWorks, which had a proprietary film formulation — turned out to be repurposed motion-picture film, in fact — that worked exceptionally well on my little Minolta, at the cost of having to send in every roll to the Pacific Northwest for processing. Still, SFW did good work, and they sent back a fresh roll with every one they processed.

SFW film was processed in ECN-2 rather than C41. Inasmuch as SFW is long gone, I have to assume that this isn’t leftover SFW stock. Then again, just about all your 35mm movie film uses ECN-2, so sourcing the Fujifakes may be simply a case of being in the wrong place at the right time, or something like that.

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Uglification and derision

And apparently that’s if you’re lucky:

I used to be on a beautification group. We spent a lot of time drafting two things — first, guidelines about availability of public trash cans (as an attempt to fight litter — which, yes, is another ugly issue and I get so sick of picking people’s left over fast food wrappers out of my yard) and second, some recommending that new businesses being built leave some “greenspace” instead of totally paving over the whole area around the business. For that second one? One or two of the businesses moving in to town sent a lawyer to our next meeting to fundamentally tell us we weren’t allowed to do that … and it was after that that I kind of quit the committee, because what is the point of working to try to make some thoughtful suggestions if someone else is just gonna say “I’m gonna do what I want and here, screw you, I’m not even going to try to have a dialog or listen to your side.” That was also when I realized that my thought of maybe someday running for city council was an entirely stupid and misguided idea … and so now I just focus on keeping the trash picked up in my own yard, and planting pollinator-friendly plants there.

Up here in the Big Town, there are all manner of beautification efforts hither and yon, but you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and anyone coming in on any of the Interstates is likely to be grateful that visibility out of contemporary cars is on the scant side: they went to a lot of trouble to put down these roads in the scuzziest-looking spaces they could find, most likely because it was cheaper to acquire the right-of-way.

And again, I admit, I’m contemplating Ᾱ maybe when I retire, I just move away from here. If I can afford it, find some kind of artist’s-colony type of place, maybe even up in the mountains a little bit (so cooler in the summer), somewhere a little less … I don’t know. I keep hoping that things will improve here, that we’ll get some new businesses that I would actually use and enjoy, but I think the problem is we’re close to a state line, and so everything is engineered to get that sweet, sweet out-of-state money (casino, the “medical” MJ shops — which boast either doctors or “virtual doctors” onsite, so I am assuming the oversight into actual medical justification is kind of wobbly) and the people who actually live here … well, we don’t matter so much. Or at least that’s the sense I get.

Overheard one day: “If I ever move, it’s going to be some place with more climate and less weather.” At a Certain Age or slightly above it, it perhaps becomes harder to justify those roots you put down way back when.

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Like, seismic, man

And it turned out not to be an earthquake at all:

It was not immediately clear what caused a blast so powerful that it registered as a minor earthquake.

The blast, at 03:52 (01:52 GMT) on Sunday, startled residents near the central German town of Limburg, leaving a crater 10m (33ft) wide and four metres deep in a field.

A photo taken by a drone later revealed the impact of the night-time explosion.

Initially police said “no definitive indication” had been found of a suspected unexploded bomb.

But, on close inspection of the corn field in Ahlbach, bomb disposal experts decided it was “with almost absolute certainty” a World War Two bomb. They believed it was a 250kg (550lb) bomb dropped by a plane.

What set it off, anyway?

Officials say it is not unheard of for detonators to decompose to the extent that the bomb goes off by itself.

Residents said a nearby railway depot had become a target for Allied bombing in the dying days of the war, and unexploded bombs had been found in the area in the past.

And there are almost certainly more of them to be found.

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Capital goes to the front

The Ruling Class hath decreed that social and economic stratification shall be the order of the day:

If you have capital, you are safe; if you bought a row of apartment homes in San Francisco back in 1980 or if you happened to get stock options at Microsoft or if your father worked for Goldman Sachs. The value of your capital is increasing at an exhilarating rate. It would be very difficult for you to fall out of the #Blessed set. You don’t need to worry about being replaced, either, because every possible entrance to your social class has been carefully manipulated to make sure that some hillbilly from West Virginia who happens to be genetically identical to you and therefore capable of equal performance — well, that guy is being force-fed opioids and his Harvard application had been put under a pile of protected-class entrants with 1050 SATs who will never, ever, pose a problem for you. So you’re good.

The people on the other end of the spectrum, the street-shitting homeless and the undocumented healthcare recipients and the tough guys driving unmuffled ’98 Civics right past the LAPD headquarters? They’ve adapted to the system and it works for them. They can flash-mob a BART or drop trou in front of your $1.965 million residence, secure in the knowledge that it’s more hassle to arrest them than it’s worth. Most of them receive some sort of government assistance which incentivizes their behavior.

Think of these two groups, the angel investors and the public defecators, as a pair of jaws crushing the middle class. Only the poor strivers and wannabes like me and [brother] Bark and most of my readers really need to worry about the future. We’re the only ones who need to find work in an increasingly fallow ground of professional career opportunities, the only ones who need to squeeze out a mortgage payment in a real estate market inflated to insanity by Chinese money and NINJA loans, the unhappy few who are neither too big to fail nor too poor to sue. We pay most of the taxes, do most of the value-added work, suffer the most from capricious behavior on the part of lawmakers and warmongers.

Meanwhile, if you’re waiting for one of the Protected Classes to overreach just enough to upset this applecart, you probably don’t want to leave your engine running: even the most avid sidewalk crapper is disinclined to go through several levels of gate and fence to drop a deuce on Dianne Feinstein’s porch.

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Planely discriminated against

I use a walker. And as far as this airline goes, I probably should start walking:

The Equality Act as currently under consideration in the Senate does not have anything to say about this matter: it’s intended to stop discrimination against LGBTQ folks, and while that’s certainly a worthy goal, it’s irrelevant for the moment. Perhaps this is some other Equality Act.

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Dissociated press

I spend $20 a month on newspapers. Or rather, I spend $20 a month on papers: the presence of news is not guaranteed. And this is why:

Journalists don’t report the world you know. They don’t think the world you know is newsworthy. They report a skewed, wacked-out, perverse world that they used to think readers and viewers would recognize as consisting of the weird and crazy. The abnormal. These days, if you really pay attention to what they say, how they describe the world when they’re not merely reciting what happened (do they even still do that?), you can tell they don’t even think it’s weird or crazy anymore. They think reality begins and ends with what they report.

What bothers me most is that too many of the people who still pay attention to them agree, even if they wish it weren’t so. And they let that skewed, wacked-out, perverse vision of the world inform their expectations for the future.

I can live with the inmates running the asylum, maybe. But when those inmates start claiming that they’ve always run the asylum, they’re either dissembling or delusional, and today, it’s damned hard to tell them apart.

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The sky’s the limit, sort of

But the line has to be drawn somewhere:

“Airbeese,” apparently, is the plural form of Airbus. But that’s not the weird part:

A running gag that stretched over two days and almost $13 billion in airplane orders briefly cost a chief executive officer his platinum American Express card.

Air Lease Corp. kicked off the Paris Air Show with a 100-jet deal from Airbus SE and some banter from John Plueger, the lessor’s chief executive officer. He stopped the press conference just before the traditional contract signing, reaching into his pocket and interrupting Airbus’s chief salesman, Christian Scherer.

“Actually Christian, my CFO authorized me to give you the American Express,” Plueger said, pulling out his platinum card and triggering flashes of photographers and camera phones from the roomful of journalists.

“We had to increase the limits quite a bit,” he quipped, with Scherer holding up another corner of the card as they posed for a photo.

But the man’s aspirations went beyond Airbeese:

A day later in front of Boeing’s sales chief, Plueger was asked how he intended to finance the five Boeing Co. 787-9 Dreamliners that Air Lease had ordered minutes earlier. Alas, he said, he’d had to cancel his AmEx the day before because photos of his appearance with Scherer captured the card’s number.

And for all you desperate social climbers out there: thirteen billion dollars, and he still doesn’t have the Black Card.

(Via Fark.)

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Not sorry I missed it

Personally, I’d prefer a bar without so much rat in it:

How it went, as reported in the nation’s rat capital [warning: autostart video]:

New Yorkers: Ever wonder what you could do to increase the number of rats in your life? Are rat-infested city streets, apartments and parks NOT enough?

Well, since it’s illegal to drink alcohol in your favorite vermin-inundated subway stations, this San Francisco pop-up bar is made for those who feel the need to party with rats.

Our sister station KGO-TV visisted the rat-friendly pop-up bar, which is open at The San Francisco Dungeon June 13, 14, and 15.

Guests can hold, play, and cuddle with domesticated rats from Ratical Rodent Rescue in Vallejo.

And we tip our hat to the rodent rescuers, who by now have saved innumerable rats from the hellscape that is the San Francisco street grid.

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Check his teeth

And for God’s sake. don’t get near his nuts:

Now there’s a phrase to sum up this century so far: “There was no safe way to test the squirrel for meth.”

And inevitably, the squirrel now has a Twitter account.

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Damn this railroad

And there are those who claim that God already has:

One of the original leaders of the anti-light rail movement in south Phoenix claims God “judged” Congressman Ed Pastor for “bringing death” to the community by supporting light rail and punished him with a fatal heart attack.

At a City Council meeting last week, Celia Contreras told council members she was “coming in the name of Lord Jesus Christ” with a message: Stop the light rail or the “punishment” will continue.

Um, yeah. If nothing else, says Warren Meyer, this tells you what the Arizona Republic thinks:

[T]he presence of this story in the Republic is a tell as to which side the paper favors. I have been to public meetings on Phoenix light rail and I have personally seen a number of insane claims by light rail supporters (at lot of wrath of Gaia stuff, for example) that never gets featured in the paper.

Pastor died last November of, yes, a heart attack; he was seventy-five.

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Not the best part of town

If you ask me, that’s far too much shiny stuff to leave behind.

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