Archive for Entirely Too Cool

After coffee, no doubt

(Title inspired by Prince. From Everlasting Blort via Miss Cellania.)

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It’s a stretch

I grumble a lot about my reduced physical capabilities these days, and usually, right about the time I do, I end up with a video of someone with no arms who types faster than I do. For example:

On one level, I figure anyone over the age of four and a half is probably a better gamer than I am. Then again, I suppose I should feel better, knowing that current-day packaging is as much of a pain for her as it is for the rest of us.

Scratch that. I once had one of those fancy Razer meece; I actually bricked it trying to install a firmware update. Surely she’s never done that.

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For our future ink-stained wretches

If you were about to graduate from the Reed School of Media at West Virginia University, you might have been worried if maybe you’d signed up for a one-way trip to the downward spiral. Newspapers, after all, are under a lot of stress these days.

To persuade you otherwise, here’s Hilde Lysiak of the Orange Street News:

Yes, she’s serious. But then, she is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. And yes, she’s twelve years old.

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No need to thread

Long before there were cassettes, RCA caused this thing to be built:

For 1960, this was the bee’s knees. Or something. But gradually, things went from small to smaller to actually invisible. (See that MP3 over there? I didn’t think so.)

Warning: Running time > 20 minutes.

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Get ’em while they’re young

Being awed at Symphony Hall is not uncommon, but this exuberance was extraordinary:

The Handel and Haydn Society, one of America’s oldest performing arts groups, had just finished performing Mozart’s Masonic Funeral at Boston’s Symphony Hall, when a young child broke the silence with an exuberant “Wow!”

The awe in the child’s voice is so palpable and genuine that it won laughter and applause from the audience, and deeply touched the musicians.

The president of the Society wants to meet the kid and present her (or him; I can’t tell) with some goodies, including a recording of that very concert.

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Toward a higher purpose

Something about this is stirring:

From Wikipedia:

The Katskhi pillar is a natural limestone monolith located at the village of Katskhi in western Georgian region of Imereti, near the town of Chiatura. It is approximately 40 metres (130 ft) high, and overlooks the small river valley of Katskhura, a right affluent of the Q’virila.

The rock, with visible church ruins on a top surface measuring c. 150 square metres, has been venerated by locals as the Pillar of Life and a symbol of the True Cross, and has become surrounded by legends. It remained unclimbed by researchers and unsurveyed until 1944 and was more systematically studied from 1999 to 2009. These studies determined the ruins were of an early medieval hermitage dating from the 9th or 10th century. A Georgian inscription paleographically dated to the 13th century suggests that the hermitage was still extant at that time. Religious activity associated with the pillar was revived in the 1990s and the monastery building had been restored within the framework of a state-funded program by 2009.

And is the place unoccupied? Not even:

A stylite (from Greek στυλίτης, stylitēs, “pillar dweller” or pillar-saint is a type of Christian ascetic who lives on pillars, preaching, fasting and praying. Stylites believe that the mortification of their bodies would help ensure the salvation of their souls. Stylites were common in the early days of the Byzantine Empire. The first known stylite was Simeon Stylites the Elder who climbed a pillar in Syria in 423 and remained there until his death 37 years later.

In recent centuries this form of monastic asceticism has become virtually extinct. However, in modern-day Georgia, Maxime Qavtaradze, a monk of the Orthodox Church, has lived on top of Katskhi Pillar for 20 years, coming down only twice a week. This pillar is a natural rock formation jutting upward from the ground to a height of approximately one hundred and forty feet. Evidence of use by stylites as late as the 13th century has been found on the top of the rock. With the aid of local villagers and the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia, Qavtaradze restored the 1200-year-old monastic chapel on the top of the rock.

Bless you, sir.

(Via American Digest.)

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My God, it’s full of data

What’s going on here:

Astronomers have put together the largest and most comprehensive “history book” of galaxies into one single image, using 16 years’ worth of observations from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

The deep-sky mosaic, created from nearly 7,500 individual exposures, provides a wide portrait of the distant universe, containing 265,000 galaxies that stretch back through 13.3 billion years of time to just 500 million years after the big bang. The faintest and farthest galaxies are just one ten-billionth the brightness of what the human eye can see. The universe’s evolutionary history is also chronicled in this one sweeping view. The portrait shows how galaxies change over time, building themselves up to become the giant galaxies seen in the nearby universe. This ambitious endeavor, called the Hubble Legacy Field, also combines observations taken by several Hubble deep-field surveys, including the eXtreme Deep Field (XDF), the deepest view of the universe. The wavelength range stretches from ultraviolet to near-infrared light, capturing the key features of galaxy assembly over time. The video begins with a view of the thousands of galaxies in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field and slowly zooms out to reveal the larger Hubble Legacy Field, containing 265,000 galaxies.

And how much of this universe have we seen? One percent? 0.1 percent? 0.000000001 percent? God only knows.

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Always sane

An old friend has turned one more page, and understandably, she feels great about it:

Schooled in music, Carolyne Mas skipped college to travel the world pursuing her musical passions. A triple threat; singer, songwriter and guitar player, Mas was living her dream.

In 2002, after decades in the industry and years on the road, Mas found herself needed at home. She would first become her aunt’s caregiver then later her mother’s, both were living with Alzheimer’s Disease.

During her musical hiatus, Mas said she developed pain in her hands.

“I started having problems with arthritis and went on disability and was very unhappy because I’m not one to sit idly by and let time just roll on,” Mas said.

Hoping to help her get out of her funk, Mas’s husband suggested she “go to college.” By this point, they were living in Pearce, Arizona. So she started looking into programs and came across the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation’s Bachelor of Science in integrative health.

Monday, Arizona State will present her with her diploma — summa cum laude, yet. What’s more, they’ve asked her to speak at the convocation. All of us unrepentant rock-and-rollers should have done so well.

One of her signature songs, recorded live in Paris. (The Europeans always appreciated her more.)

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One of us

Peter Grant has taken the pledge:

I became a US citizen [Monday] morning, as mentioned earlier. I found it very moving and awesome, in the true sense of that word: awe-some. I’ve regarded myself as American in spirit for years, but this put the official seal on the process of becoming one, along with new citizens from 40 other nations, including, sitting next to me, a woman from Zimbabwe, who formerly lived in Bulawayo, a city I knew from previous visits. We exchanged congratulations and memories of our former homes.) As we shared the national anthem for the first time, I couldn’t hold back a tear. It’s my anthem, too, now; and even though I’ve sung it innumerable times before, somehow this time was very special.

I was astonished at how many emotions and memories rolled through my mind during the ceremony. In my previous post, I said that I thought many memories of my deceased friends and colleagues from South Africa would be with me when I took the oath. That was an understatement. The emotions were very powerful indeed. Miss D. says she’s heard others say something similar, if they came out of backgrounds of oppression and struggle, so I’m glad to know I’m not alone in feeling like that at a time like this. I was truly surprised at how real my late friends seemed — not just memories, but almost tangible in their presence. I hope they’re as happy as I am at present.

To borrow a segment of Glenn Reynolds’ shtick: “More like this, please.”

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This way up

Found in a Tumblr somewhere:

Amphibian ladder

To explain:

A common frog climbing out of a drain using an “amphibian ladder” designed by the British Herpetological Society to help frogs, toads, salamanders and newts escape roadside gully pots.

Says the BHS, the ladder is 90 percent effective. Prices start at £15.

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Before the generic appears

I take one brand-name drug, for which no generics have yet materialized. And it occurs to me that Big Pharma LLC might want to keep its customers asking for the brand-name version, even if it means taking a haircut on the retail price.

Actually, this didn’t occur to me until yesterday at Walgreens, where I duly dropped my ID and my American Express card into the drive-in drawer, to cover both Schedule IV controls and the $150 copay for 90 days of the brand-name stuff. The pharmacy tech did warn me that yes, it’s $150. But then she said: “Would you be interested if the manufacturer was offering a discount coupon?”

Um, yeah, I think I might. “Give me a few minutes,” she said, and started clicking away on a keyboard. No one was behind me in line, so a few minutes — turned out to be about five and a half — elapsed before she returned to the window. “We’ve attached a copy of this to your record,” she said, “so you can use it again.”

Net price on that pricey drug, once couponned into submission: five bucks. Ninety tabs, $5.00 total. I made sure I looked properly grateful as I pulled out of the lane. And I spent $31 of that $145 saved on dinner, because reasons.

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Crate expectations

As of 4/26. this big bruiser is added to the catalog:

Appropriately, Fiat Chrysler waited for choose this calendar date to open pre-orders for its monstrous “Hellephant” 426 crate engine, a 1,000-horsepower, 950 lb-ft beast of an powerplant designed to turn your pre-1976 Mopar into an object of fear and testosterone-fueled lust. It now has a price tag.

Officially named the Mopar “Hellephant” 426 Supercharged Crate HEMI Engine, the retro-themed tribute mill can be had for $29,995, which happens to be just five dollars more than the pre-destination price of an electric Nissan Leaf S.

Oddly, just last night a friend was mulling the feasibility of shoehorning an 8.0-liter Magnum V10 into a Leaf out of spite for the green crowd.

And for the time being, purchase of a Leaf may qualify for a Federal tax credit. You drop this beast into your old Plymouth, and Scott Pruitt will call you and ask you for a ride.

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Still a daily single

I’ll take Cute Girl Singers for $2000, Alex:

Oh, all right, if you insist:

Rebecca Black at Nylon's It Girl Party, October 2018

Happy now?

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Buy this man a beer

Any beer he wants. Several of them, in fact:

So I’m in the process of transitioning computers, which means I have to again set my Web browser to stop bothering me when every last Web site wants to send me notifications.

This is a simple config change, but I did a quick Web search to ensure I set the correct preference name to false.

Which search led him to r/Firefox on Reddit, which then threw up the very “Allow notifications” box he, and I, find objectionable.

Not everyone, of course, uses Firefox. I am a convert to the Pale Moon browser, a fork from Mozilla from right before the time when feeping creaturism entirely devoured Firefox.

And it works there, too. From about:config:

Note to self: It’s dom.webnotifications.enabled.

Do the Boolean toggle, and buy a beer for Noggle.

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We should all be so resourceful

Especially when we’re dealing with this mindset:

Cheese sticks on the thermostat

(From Pleated Jeans via Miss Cellania.)

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Already Czeched

And as always, it’s a good thing to be where your customers are:

CZ-USA, the U.S.-based affiliate of Czech firearms manufacturer Česká zbrojovka a.s. Uherský Brod (CZUB), announced today plans to locate their North American Headquarters and build a new manufacturing facility on approximately 73 acres at the Port of Little Rock. CZ-USA plans to implement a two-phase approach with an investment of up to $90 million and create some 565 jobs over a six-year period. CZ products are considered some of the highest-quality firearms in defense, competition and sport shooting around the world.

“As CZ looked to increase our presence in North America, it engaged in a multi-state search for the ideal location,” said Bogdan Heczko, CZ-USA chairman of the board. “The Arkansas workforce, culture, business climate and industry support cleared the way for us to choose Little Rock as our new home.”

CZ-USA has been the exclusive importer of CZ products since 1997; up to now they’ve been working out of Kansas City, Kansas.

(Via Tamara Keel.)

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Over at Harry’s place

This has been going on at the Truman Library tonight:

Dozens of middle school students will perform original and historical speeches Monday at the Truman Library and Museum — a Midwest regional event that’s part of the Ford’s Theatre National Oratory Fellowship.

“An Evening of Oratory” will be 6:30-8:30 p.m. Monday at the library, including more than 25 middle school students from Independence, Fort Osage and Raytown schools, as well as Wichita, Kansas who will perform in front of a public audience and a representative from Ford’s Theatre. A scheduling conflict will prevent students from Omaha, Nebraska from making the trip to participate.

Students from Bridger Middle School in Independence have been participating in this for several years, but this is the first time it includes students from other Midwest schools. Speeches will last about two minutes. An additional 25 students from Bridger will give speeches at a later event Wednesday evening.

Now, who do I know who attends Bridger?

Yep. Grandson Gunner, just turned twelve, is doing one of those speeches. And it makes sense that he should be the family member to take part in this thing, inasmuch as he’s now a fairly experienced thespian, having appeared in several local community-theatre productions. I am properly awed.

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AOC, Jr.

This young lady definitely has a future:

(Via the New York Post.)

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You should be pondering this

And by “this,” I mean:

The stroke of brilliance, of course, was bringing in the two guys who actually do the voices of Pinky and the Brain.

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People who need peepholes

They’re the luckiest people in the world:

(Via Miss Cellania.)

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That’s what I like about the South Pole

Ariel Waldman heads for Antarctica:

Adjustments were definitely in order.

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Take that, Mortimer Snerd

Female ventriloquists have always been fairly uncommon. Female ventriloquists who sing opera …?

I don’t think Edgar Bergen (or Charlie McCarthy) ever once tried to sing Puccini.

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Capping off a lifetime

Now this is a proper sendoff:

Fare thee well, Mr Wade. Sir.

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We miss him already

I didn’t even know the guy, but I have to figure, if his obituary starts off like this, it would have been worth it and then some:

Tim Schrandt (Lynyrd) made his last inappropriate comment on March 29, 2019. If you are wondering if you may have ever met him, you didn’t — because you WOULD remember. For those of you that did meet him, we apologize, as we’re sure he probably offended you. He was world renowned for not holding back and telling it like it is.

Tim was born to William (Bill) Schrandt and Mary (Schrandt) Manning on June 11, 1955 — 100 years too late. Given Tim’s demeanor he would have been the perfect weathered cowboy in the old west or rough and tough pioneer, or maybe he just should have been Amish.

Tim was the 4th of 8 kids, the bottom rung of the top tier (the big kids). Instead of taking his place on that rung, listening to the older kids and doing as he was told by his older siblings, he decided to anoint himself “king” of the 4 little kids. Tim spent his childhood and early adulthood ordering them around and in general, tormenting them. He was a great orator (not like Shakespeare, but more like Yogi Berra), as he always had something to say, and always had to get in the last word.

(Via Joy McCann.)

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Butterfly bleu

You don’t, or at least I don’t, see something this small and awesome very often:

Inevitably, this called to mind Iron Butterfly’s “Butterfly Bleu,” from their third album; it’s not as iconic as “In-a-Gadda-da-Vida,” but it’s a bit more adventurous.

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They’re just kids

And, as we shall see, they’re great kids:

We should all be so blessed.

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For you, Mom

When the man of the house is just thirteen:

Krystal Preston, the single mother, lives in Fernley [Nevada] with her three kids and three dogs and is trying to make ends meet with no means of transportation.

“At my low point, here comes my son,” Krystal Preston says. “Everybody goes through rough patches in their life, but there’s good that can come from any situation as long as somebody with a heart does it.”

Her oldest son, William Preston, 13, does yard and house work for people in his community to make a little extra money. Being the oldest man in the house, he knew he wanted to help provide for his family.

“I saw on YouTube where people get their mom a car and then surprise her with it,” William said. “I wanted to do that.”

William was scrolling on Facebook and saw a woman selling a 1999 white Chevrolet Metro.

“It was really cheap so I asked her if I could trade it or earn it, and at first she said no and after she thought about it, then she said yes,” William said.

William Preston with the new Family Truckster

Okay, a ’99 Chevy Metro isn’t exactly an automotive prize, but when you got nothing, The Car Formerly Known As Geo is something special.

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Here a light, there a light

The shoe vlogger known as Bupshi tours the Crystal Worlds museum run by Swarovski in Austria:

There is a Part One, but it’s all daytime: not so exciting. And if anyone cares, she’s wearing “Daisie” by Steve Madden.

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You can’t do this with Velcro

(Via Miss Cellania. The song is “Feels Like Home” by Jonny Houlihan.)

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A formidable Scrabble player

Well, I don’t actually know that she’s a formidable Scrabble player, but she’s already demonstrated one of the core competencies for the game: she can spell.

Rachel Hamilton is a fourth-grader from Pauls Valley, an hour south of this desk. She attends Whitebead Elementary, a rural school about two miles out of town. (Whitebead is what we call a Dependent School District, mostly because it offers no high-school curriculum; the nearest high school is in Pauls Valley proper.) And she won the Central Oklahoma Spelling Bee on the 16th of March, beating out 25,000 competitors; she’ll go on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which begins on Memorial Day.

Spelling seems to run in the family: brother Luke placed second in 2016, and her dad won in 1978.

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