Archive for Dyssynergy

But it’s easy to mow

And of course all sales are final:

This Florida man thought he bought a villa for $9,100 in an online auction, but in reality he just won the patch of grass between two of them.

And it turns out the 100-foot-by-1-foot strip of land Kerville Holness purchased is valued at only $50.

His new property starts at the curb where two mailboxes sit, goes under a wall separating the garages of two adjoining villas and goes through the back lot — and officials said there’s no way he’s getting a refund.

Holness claims photos linked to the auction site showed the villa as being what he was bidding on, but the appraiser’s site and county’s tax site shows the negligible value of the property, no building value and that the land is only 100 square feet, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.

North of Miami, $3.9 million per acre really doesn’t seem out of line. And there’s something schadenfreudelicious about the whole story: you can practically hear him say “I know what I’m doing” before the festivities begin.

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Long before Bluetooth

There was a time when background music at the beach used to be a bit more complicated than it is today:

Portable-ish studio by Stephens

This 40-track (!) beastie dates to about 1974, and if it doesn’t weigh a ton, it’s probably close enough.

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Tiananmen 2

Just because it happened thirty years ago doesn’t mean it can’t happen again:

At last report there were a million people marching to protest an extradition law that probably represents the final nail in the coffin of the “One Country, Two Systems” lie. Mayor Lam has betrayed her people, though it looks likely from her body language and facial twitch that this was not without considerable behind the scenes CCP pressure.

These people, many of them college educated, have guts. They know there is little hope of winning when the Mayor has sold them out. They know that every one of them that is in this protest is being filmed and their faces logged. But freedom, to them, is not a irritant but a beautiful and fragile gift to be prized. Free speech to these people is not a canard, but something that they fully grasp the importance of because they have so little of it.They know full well what is happening across the Pearl river and over a million of them have the guts to stand up to censorious authoritarians, who, 30 years and four days ago ground 10,000 of their ethnic brethren into hamburger for the crime of crying out for freedom. They know that, and yet they still are willing to march. Contrast this to those here who are so used to and ensconced our freedoms that they have no appreciation for how precious it is. Like a fish who does not know it’s wet, and will have no appreciation of water until it finds itself suddenly in the Sahara.

Meanwhile. half a world away, Ingsoc Deux is busy enforcing complacency.

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The Wawa pedal

The best we can aspire to is QuikTrip:

And we’d have to leave town to do that much.

If I remember correctly, Tim Blair is traveling with the Burgemeister this time through.

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B9 K9s

Dogs are sweet, kind and gentle, except of course when they aren’t:

[S]ometimes you can judge a dog’s behavior by its name, because the owner usually bestows the name, and if it’s a silly/pleasant name like Flapjack, you can kind of assume that the dog is very unlikely to be a biter. (And no, you can’t judge by breed. I’ve known very sweet [if gassy] Dobermans in my life, and I also knew a Chihuahua who took off the tip of his owner’s pinky finger. German Shepherds I’ve known have been the most variable —from my uncle’s sweet and well-trained dogs who will come huffing up to you and lie down with their head on your knee, to other people’s dogs who bark and lunge and seem violent.)

The one breed to which I give a wide berth is the Dalmatian; the spotty little bastiges brood. And they hold grudges better than you’d think possible; you tread on his tail when he’s 12 months old, and he’ll continue to scorn you at 12 years. Attempts at Disneyfication over the years have resulted in some very unhappy, disappointed children.

Back in the Nineties, a house a few blocks from me was occupied by a middle-aged British woman who owned a brace of Keeshonden, a generally agreeable Dutch breed; they acknowledged as their alpha a domineering little Pomeranian, who would go so far as to interrupt their brushings, essential for the Keeshond, to claim what he saw as his share of attention. It’s my understanding that the Pom originated as a much larger breed, but over the years has been shrunk to toy size; if you looked at this Pom and either of the Kees, you’d see the common Spitz-type ancestors.

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There must be something we can blame

This is what happens when you think you’ve solved the mystery just like that:

Further evidence that those who effing love science generally don’t know a damn thing about it:

Try forcing several zillion gallons of water down below the water table, a stunt tried on several occasions out here in Soonerland, and we’ll talk.

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How did any of us survive our school days?

A group of researchers in Canada says the game “dodgeball” shouldn’t be played in schools, arguing that it’s not only “oppressive,” but also “miseducative.”

The researchers discussed their findings, saying some students use dodgeball to dehumanize and harm their peers, in a recent presentation at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Vancouver, Canada.

“When you’re setting up the environment for students to learn, and you introduce the idea that it’s OK to slam the ball at whomever you like, even if it’s with a soft ball, the intention is there,” University of British Columbia professor Joy Butler told The Washington Post. “[Physical education class] should be an arena where teachers are helping [students] control their aggression and move on instead of expressing themselves through anger.”

The researchers interviewed middle school-aged students broader questions about physical education class. Researchers repeatedly heard that certain students hated dodgeball, The Post reported.

The fact that some kids enjoy dodgeball doesn’t save it, according to an abstract for the presentation. Dodgeball is “miseducative” because it “reinforces the five faces of oppression,” which are exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism and violence, the abstract said.

And of course students are never, ever going to experience these things in Real Life. The wussification of the population continues apace.

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Really unclear on the concept

“Moron” seems awfully kind for this bozo: How would humanity recover if population dropped to zero?

Then again, humanity would not recover if we had millions, if they’re all this clueless.

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Entertainment, weakly

The magazine that was born in 1990 as Entertainment Weekly has abandoned at least one part of that name:

Entertainment Weekly will no longer be a weekly magazine starting in August, when it starts publishing monthly as part of a larger “reimagining” of the brand.

The July 5 issue will be the last weekly offering.

J.D. Heyman, who has served as deputy editor, will take on the top editorial job as part of the transition, parent company Meredith announced Thursday.

You can’t even call it a magazine anymore: it’s a brand.

Well, maybe you can:

The magazine was a part of the $2.8 billion sale of Time Inc. to Meredith in 2017. Since that time Meredith has sold Time, Fortune and Sports Illustrated but has kept People and Entertainment Weekly in its stable of lifestyle publications.

The SI deal is weird; the book now belongs to Authentic Brands (!) Group, but Meredith will continue to be responsible for editorial operations until at least 2021. So there’s still a chance we’ll get a Swimsuit Edition of Better Homes and Gardens.

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Do not mess with this cat

You will pay dearly:

(Via American Digest.)

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Democracy dies in dorkness

How do these people get A-list, or even C-list, media jobs?

(Via Daily Pundit.)

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Rock around the block

No, this isn’t from Boulder, Colorado, but it’s probably too close for comfort:

One of two stones that fell on Colorado Route 145

The scary part is that this one had a sister:

A road in Colorado is closed indefinitely due to a massive rock slide that produced two boulders large enough to wipe out a significant portion of the pavement.

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, the boulders struck Colorado 145 on Friday [5/24] between Cortez and Telluride. The slide included dirt and other rocks. The two huge boulders destroyed the full width of the highway pavement, leaving a trench about 8 feet deep across both lanes. The road is impassable, the department said.

The smaller rock was moved. This one, not so much: the state says it will have to be blown to bits before they can get it out of the road — and then, of course, they’ll have to fix the road.

(Via Pergelator.)

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It’s not just for sex offenders anymore

But hey, maybe this will work on a different level:

In what could be a major step toward curbing animal cruelty, Rhode Island just passed a bill requiring convicted abusers to be placed on a statewide registry. The objective? To make sure they don’t adopt another animal.

According to KUTV, the bill was approved by the Rhode Island House of Representatives on Thursday and is awaiting Senate approval. Under the law, anyone convicted of abusing an animal would be required to pay a $125 fee and register with the database. The collection of names will be made available to animal shelters and adoption agencies, which will be required to check the registry before adopting out any pets. If the prospective owner’s name appears, they will not be permitted to adopt the animal.

The fee is presumably over and above whatever penalties were assessed the abuser.

Convicted abusers have five days to register, either from the time of their conviction if no jail time is mandated or from the time of their release. The prohibition on owning another animal lasts 15 years. If they’re convicted a second time, they would be banned for life.

The ASPCA, however, is critical of such legislation:

The group’s policy statement argues that registries are costly to maintain, not often utilized by adoption centers, and don’t address the potential for abusers to find animals in other ways. The group also asserts that registries may influence potential convictions, as defendants and their legal representation might plead to lesser charges to avoid being placed in the database. The ASPCA instead recommends court-mandated no-contact orders for convicted animal abusers.

I’m not sure how I’d prefer this to end up, except to say that either alternative is probably better than nothing.

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And he shall be Elon, and he shall be a good man

Tesla fanboys think the world of Elon Musk. Not everyone, however, is a Tesla fanboy:

Name a wealthy millennial supporter of Elon Musk and Tesla and I can bet you any amount of money they have not looked at Tesla’s balance sheet or cash flow or the details of its global demand trends. They have not thought about its dealership strategy or manufacturing strategy and the cash flow implications of these. They just like what Elon says. It sounds big and visionary. They buy into Elon’s formulation that he is saving the environment and everyone opposed to him is in a cabal with big oil (ignoring the fact that Elon routinely uses his Gulfstream VI to commute distances less than 60 miles). So saying that rich millenials adore Elon is effectively saying that they want to be associated with the same things Elon says he is for — the environment and space travel et al.

Elon Musk is Ferdinand DeLesseps. He is P.T. Barnum. He is Elizabeth Holmes. He is the pied piper. He is fabulous at spinning visions and making them sound science-y. But he is not Tony Stark. There is a phenomenon with Elon Musk that everyone thinks he is brilliant until they hear him speak about something about which they have domain knowledge, and then they realize he is full of sh*t. For example, no one who knows anything about transportation or physics or basic engineering has thought his Boring Company and Hyperloop make any sense at all. His ideas would have been great cover stories for Popular Mechanics in the 1970’s, wowing 13-year-old boys like me with pictures of mile-long cargo blimps and flying RV’s. He is like a Marvel movie that spouts science that is just believable-enough sounding that it moves the plot along but does not stand up to any scrutiny.

Now there’s an image: a mile-long cargo blimp.

Speaking of blimps, I was driving southward from central Los Angeles one day half a lifetime ago when I saw what looked like the Goodyear Blimp, except at ground level. A little closer, and — well, whaddaya know, it was the Goodyear Blimp, mostly deflated. Goodyear currently has three bases for blimpage, one of which is, and was, Carson, California.

And to tie all this together: some Tesla fanboy on Quora was asking if he had to order special Tesla tires for his Model X, or if he could just go down to Goodyear. (The latter, in fact.)

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Give it up, melon farmer

It’s apparently very, very important to some people to appear to be transgressive in their behavior:

Is it normal that I want to marry my mother? She’s such a great and beautiful woman. I see her naked all the time, and my heart starts racing. Do I need help?

If I thought for a moment there was any truth to this, I’d report the silly twit to whatever authorities were not likely to burst into guffaws.

And if there is any truth to this, I blame meth.

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Right, what’s an ark?

It’s rather hard to look at this and not laugh:

The owners of a replica of Noah’s Ark featured at the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Ky., sued its insurers [pdf] who refused to cover rain damage.

The ark’s owner said heavy rains in 2017 and 2018 caused a landslide on its property and its five insurance carriers refused to cover damages totaling nearly $1 million. The ark itself was reportedly undamaged in the rains.

Ark Encounter is asking for compensatory and punitive damages and a jury trial in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court. The suit names Swiss-based Allied World Assurance Co. Holdings, its use company and three other carriers.

A decision is expected within forty days and forty nights.

Okay, maybe not.

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We don’t want to talk to you

The message on the Web site was clear enough: this prescription order is delayed, please call us at [the usual number].

Well, apparently you can’t do that anymore. Through last month, if you dialed up Walgreens, you got five choices, and just about anything you’d want to talk to them about fit neatly into one of those five. Not anymore. They’ve gone to one of those nauseatingly chirpy conversational speech boxes that automatically assumes you’re in the fourth grade — but which can’t comprehend anything that doesn’t match up with its prepared scripts.

I fought with this thing for a while, and finally filed this:

@WAGSocialCare was happy to commiserate with your humble narrator, but didn’t go much beyond that. So the next day, I went back to the Web site and engaged the Live Chat person, who couldn’t find any record of that order.

One hand, it’s clear, can’t tell what the other is doing.

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War on wages

There may be loads of good economic news out there, but almost none of it indicates that your basic wage-earner types — I have reference to, among others, me — are benefiting from it. Dave Schuler offers a couple of reasons why:

The first is fear. People are afraid to ask for a raise for fear of being replaced by someone from a temp firm or placement company who’ll work for lower pay and no benefits. Additionally, people find it hard to leave their present jobs to find better-paying ones. There are multiple reasons for that. Multiple-job households are one reason. I could also go into a diatribe on how resume-screening software provides an advantage to people who look good on paper but in practice are incapable of doing the job.

In a slight digression I heard recently from an excellent source that the IT operations of a major financial services company were shut down for a week due to malware, resulting in the loss of at least a week’s work. That would never have happened, say, twenty years ago. Their present operations are being run by temps and placements. There’s a different ethos at work.

Another prospective explanation is that the job reports aren’t telling the whole story. The jobs that are being created don’t pay better than the ones that are being lost. The jobs being created in health care aren’t jobs for physicians or the highest-paid technicians. They’re jobs for bedpan emptiers that pay minimum wage. People earning $25 an hour are still getting fired and the best jobs they can find pay $15 an hour. That depresses the wage figures.

It also depresses the wage earners, I suggest.

For the record, I have no idea what they’re paying my replacement when he — I assume it’s a he, because reasons — but I suspect it’s less than what I get. Of course, I have something like three decades’ worth of experience in a highly specialized field, but that and $6.99 will get you a combo meal at your favorite junk-food emporium.

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Remember shopping?

Yeah, I used to do some of that:

I have been a little disturbed the way shopping malls seem to be dying. I personally don’t have much use for them. My wife can spend hours shopping there. Busy, well kept malls are a pretty good indicator of a healthy economy, which means people are working which should mean they are earning enough money to take care of themselves. When I see vacant store fronts and trash blowing around in the parking lot I take it as a sign that things aren’t going so well. Washington Square Mall is a big local mall and it seems to be doing well, except there was a big Sears store there and now it is closed.

So I have been wondering what was going to happen with these dinosaurs and now we know. I don’t buy much these days, I pretty much have everything I need, but occasionally I will buy something from Amazon, usually a book, and I won’t have to pay for it because I have enough points on my credit card to cover a $10 purchase. I used to be a big fan of cash, but now I use a credit card for almost everything. I can’t really explain why I made the change, except perhaps because I carry my cash in my wallet which I carry in my hip pocket and getting it out when I am sitting in the car (buying gasoline or going through a fast food drive through) requires contorting my body enough to get my behind off of the seat so I can get my wallet out. I carry my credit card in sleeve I keep in my front pocket and getting the card out of there isn’t such an ordeal. Or maybe all the credit card advertisements convinced my subconscious that my world would be filled with light and happiness if I used a credit card for everything.

It could be worse. Writing a check is, if not quite infinitely slower, certainly the sort of thing that detracts from one’s speed.

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Stanch that flow

A precautionary measure, and a serious one:

If you carry a gun, and you’re not carrying a tourniquet or two, you’re either LARPing, or you’re a fucking idiot. The fact is, a “gunfight” implies bilateral ballistics, and the enemy gets a vote. If you assume your one box of ammo a month “practice” regimen means you’re automatically a far better marksman than the bad guy you are going to end up in a gunfight with, well, I’ve got an 8 ounce jar of fairy dust I’ll sell you cheap, and it’s guaranteed to make you stronger, faster, higher flying, and generally more attractive to members of your preferred sex.

“LARPing” is taking part in a live-action role-playing game, and you’re not supposed to bleed during them.

And regrettably, we probably all know someone who thinks that fairy dust is one hell of a deal.

(Via Tamara Keel.)

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Use and reuse

Sensible advice from Brian J.:

When lining your household garbage cans with used plastic grocery bags, place the bags inside the garbage can inside-out so your guests don’t have to think before judging you based on where you shop!

For example:

Reused plastic bag, courtesy of Brian J. Noggle

I don’t think there are any premium-priced supermarkets whose name begins with the word “price.”

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Twice the suckage

The man owns two, count ’em, two vacuum cleaners:

I am, however, a bit sketchy on floors. This is not to say you couldn’t eat off my floors. You could because you’d find a host of food shreds there on any given afternoon. This is not because I like floors configured as mouse buffets but only because, being 6’1″, the floors are so far away I don’t really focus on them. My solution? The world’s most rapacious vacuum cleaner, “The Kirby.”

Actually, I have 2 (two!) solutions since I own 2 (two!) vacuum cleaners. The first is a kind of cheap, plastic metrosexual’s vacuum bought at some box store because it was cheap. Like all metrosexual items, it performs in a manner that lets you know all cheap things are worth much less than you spent on them. It sucks by not sucking as a sucker of floor dirt should. Very sucky. It is, at the best, back-up. Bags and parts for it are sold everywhere.

Then there’s “The 2004 Kirby Diamond” weighing in are over twenty-three pounds of solid chromed steel, titanium bristles that can skin a black rhino, and a woven cloth bag wrapped around the vacuum bag that could be made into an outdoor area rug. The motor in this bad boy is so powerful it can suck kittens out of my basement through the floorboards in the living room. It is the chopped Harley Hog of vacuums.

One does not argue with a Kirby; even if it’s 75 years old, you can still get factory parts. The price, however, will make your nose bleed.

I own two vacuums, after a fashion: a middle-70s Hoover upright, now on its fourth drive belt and God knows how many bags, and a hand-held Black and Decker that collects the grime and such in a plastic cup that spills no matter how you open it.

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Is that a gas leak?

It should only be so simple:

Last week, the library at Australia’s University of Canberra was evacuated due to fears that a funky smell was being caused by a gas leak. Firefighters were called to the scene and hazmat crews conducted atmospheric monitoring of the building. Fortunately, as Michael McGowan reports for the Guardian, the source of the stench was found to be a benign (if very stinky) durian — the divisive fruit with a smell so pungent it is banned in some southeast Asian hotels, transport systems and public places.

“Thanks to everyone for evacuating so quickly and safely — about 550 people left the building in under six minutes,” the library posted on its Facebook page. “Fortunately the suspected gas leak turned out to be a part of a durian — the offending fruit has now been removed.”

The durian had reportedly been left near an air vent, though there’s no word on who did it. The incident marks the second time in recent months that the fruit has disrupted the peace at an Australian library.

That’s a pretty decent time for an evacuation. Still, you have to wonder what penalties could be inflicted, should they find the person with the malodorous fruit.

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The post-Gaylord era

E. K. Gaylord thought it was important for you to know what he thought about things, so the editorial page of the Oklahoman was kept sprucely maintained, even if some of the attitudes seemed to date to the 19th century or before. (Edward King Gaylord was born in 1873, and while he wasn’t the guy who actually founded the paper, he was the guy who kept it coming to your porch every day until 1974, on a day when he went to work and never made it home again.)

But those days are pretty much gone. Kelly Dyer Fry told us after the GateHouse takeover that cutbacks were inevitable, and she wasn’t kidding; I didn’t actually go out and find a newsstand copy to verify, but both Print Replica and PDF versions today were utterly devoid of editorials. The Opinion page was more conspicuous than usual, simply by its absence.

The Opinion page on was at its usual level of activity. There is, though, a column of Featured Links off to the side, and the first item in that column is “THE OKLAHOMAN: See all recent editorials.” I hit it, and got 404ed. I’d estimate that 404 is also the rotational speed of Ed Gaylord, six feet beneath the surface of the planet.

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Shut up, Elon

Some people need more of a filter than others:

Elon Musk must defend himself in court after calling a diver who helped save Thai schoolboys trapped in a cave a pedophile, a Los Angeles judge says.

The federal court judge set a 22 October trial date.

Mr Musk is being sued by Vern Unsworth, who helped rescue the 12 boys from Thailand’s Tham Luang caves.

The Tesla boss called Mr Unsworth a “pedo” in a Twitter post after the Briton said Mr Musk’s attempt to help in the rescue was a “PR stunt”.

Along the way, Musk violated the First Rule of Holes:

Mr Musk soon apologised and deleted the offending tweets, saying he had acted “in anger”.

But he reignited the row in September. In an email to a Buzzfeed reporter, he implored the journalist to “find out what’s actually going on” and suggested the diver had taken no part in the cave rescue.

Unsworth is asking $75,000 plus punitive damages.

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Another Pleasant Valley Sunday

Well, actually, it was Saturday, and this isn’t Pleasant Valley, but Status-Symbol Land remains what it always was:

runaway drone

Lil Red Drone disregarded control commands and flew away. Last seen heading south on NW 66th and Independence at approximately 100 feet altitude. May run out of juice around 50th and May, Maybe even 39th. Please share.

Well, it didn’t land here.

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50 percent more socks

We tend to think of Procter & Gamble as staid, set in their ways, and otherwise uncreative. And they don’t always do weird well: witness, for instance, that whole collection of Charmin toilet-paper ads featuring, um, bears in the woods, and sometimes even bears out of the woods. But this non-US laundry-detergent ad is both weird and done well:

Rindex ad featuring girl with three legs

Somewhere there’s a programmer on staff at P&G’s ad agency.

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No collusion or coordination


Russian President Vladimir Putin took a tumble on ice on Friday while waving to adoring fans after playing in an ice hockey game in Sochi.

Putin was participating in the annual exhibition hockey game with former NHL players, playing alongside Russian hockey stars Slava Fetisov and Pavel Bure as well as several Russian governors.

Although his coordination was questionable, his scoring skills were on point as he boasted 8 points for his team.

Still waiting for a Donald Trump tweet.

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Come in out of the scold

What did we do to deserve this? Almost certainly nothing:

One of the things making the rounds (and predictably getting dumped on both by people to the right of me and people to the left of me) is this infographic USA Today put out talking about “what all people spend money ‘unnecessarily’ on” and they claim the “average” American spends about $1500 a month “unnecessarily.” (the story is here but because they want you to either pay for a subscription (heh) or allow whatever ads their adserver serves up, I haven’t read the full story)

It wasm’t so long ago that my entire budget for a month was $1500.

I dislike scolds, and there was an undercurrent really of “Look, if you gave up every small pleasure in life and washed your entire body and hair and clothes with Super-Cheap-Industrial-Strength-Trust-Us-It’s-Walmart brand soap, you could have some more money for retirement!” and I get that underfunded retirements are a big problem but … I’ve been in a place (a few times) where I had to give up all “nonessential” spending, and it’s a miserable way to live.

(Also, the whole “$1500 a month” thing does make me think it’s strongly influenced by people far wealthier than I am, and that somehow USA Today is using that to shame us ordinary schlubs about “OMG, you bought MOVIE TICKETS for your family last month? How terrible!”)

But really: suggesting people give up the little things that make life in the here-and-now better is … not good. Yes, I hear the standard “blame poor people” argument of “if they only ate beans and rice every single day instead of getting fast food all the time” (presupposing the time, energy, and kitchen facilities to cook dry beans … I don’t make beans “from scratch” very often myself despite having a good kitchen, because of the time factor) or yelling at people for buying some new toy … or paying for Netflix or engaging in some form of not-free entertainment.

There has always been a strong puritanical streak in this land, at least partially because actual Puritans played a small but well-publicized role in the national history. And Washington is absolutely infested with such creatures. I plan to ignore them until such time as they learn how to balance a budget.

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Two points on his license

Now, who exactly licenses pigeons?

It was a quiet afternoon in Bocholt in western Germany when a pigeon broke the calm and the speed limit, flying down a residential street at 45km/h (28mph) in a 30km/h zone.

A mobile speed camera flashed as soon as the pigeon flew past.

Authorities in the town, a short distance from the Dutch border, published the picture last week, and it has since gone viral.

Under normal circumstances the penalty for speeding would be €25 (£21;$28).

Pigeon caught by a German speed camera

And you don’t want to know what’s going to happen to his insurance.

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