This is the first Netflix-related phishing scheme I’ve seen.

Subject: We need your help #Netflix-8124-7364-8674:

Fake Netflix phishing

Since when does “information” get pluraled?

The link goes to some unspecified place shortened by The actual source seems to be, which has existed for about two weeks.

Incidentally,, asked about that domain, offered to sell me for $3,688.

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Christmas when it’s supposed to be

According to Taylor Marshall, it’s the 25th of December, and there’s Scriptural authority for it, based on the age of John the Baptist:

The second-century Protoevangelium of James also confirms a late September conception of the Baptist since the work depicts Saint Zacharias as High Priest and as entering the Holy of Holies — not merely the holy place with the altar of incense. This is a factual mistake because Zecharias was not the high priest, but one of the chief priests. Still, the Protoevangelium regards Zecharias as a high priest and this associates him with the Day of Atonement, which lands on the tenth day of the Hebrew month of Tishri (roughly the end of our September). Immediately after this entry into the temple and message of the angel Gabriel, Zacharias and Elizabeth conceive John the Baptist. Allowing for forty weeks of gestation, this places the birth of John the Baptist at the end of June — once again corresponding to the Catholic date for the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist on June 24.

The rest of the dating is rather simple. We read that just after the Immaculate Virgin Mary conceived Christ, she went to visit her cousin Elizabeth who was six months pregnant with John the Baptist. This means that John the Baptist was six months older that our Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 1:24-27, 36). Add six months to June 24 and it reveals December 24-25 as the birthday of Christ. Subtract nine months from December 25 and it reveals that the annunciation was March 25. All the dates match up perfectly.

So then, if John the Baptist was conceived shortly after the Jewish Day of the Atonement, then the traditional Catholic dates are essentially correct. The birth of Christ would be about or on December 25.

Of course, I am of the school of thought that believes Christmas should be moved to July, when the stores aren’t so crowded.

That said, I am suitably impressed. Now: December 25 of what year? Herod, a major player in Matthew’s gospel (chapter 2), died, so far as we know, in 4 BC.

(Via John Salmon.)

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Collateral damage of a sort

You may remember this from the last time I was carted off to the emergency room:

Finally, with one last tug, I sank to the floor, to the accompaniment of the dreaded Spew Noise that told me I’d just broken the toilet.

The plumber, arriving the next day because of course he did, took a Shop-Vac to the place to suck up as much water as he could, an example of the sort of thoroughness that (sometimes) justifies my overpaying these guys. I thought nothing more about it until Tuesday night, when I got down to two rolls of toilet paper (Scott, if you care), and dug down to the bottom of the linen closet to tap the reserve.

Which is, as it turns out, where a lot of that water went. I wound up tossing out six thoroughly sodden and faintly ill-smelling rolls.

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Feces in the news

The Orange Street News (December ’16 hard-copy edition) reports on Snyder County’s write-in votes. Donald Trump carried the county, 11,710 to 3,991 for Hillary Clinton, but there were single-digit totals for John Kasich (4), Ted Cruz (2) and Bernie Sanders (2).

Those, at least, are explainable. In the race for Attorney General, won by Democrat Josh Shapiro over Republican John Rafferty, one Snyder County voter wrote in “Turd Sandwich.”

That’s what it says. OSN publisher Hilde Lysiak printed a picture of the official Commonwealth of Pennsylvania form, completed by hand by Snyder County election officials, and that’s definitely what it says.

Said Lysiak: “Turd Sandwich was not available for comment.” Well played, Ms. L.

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Second string to the rescue

If your starters are just barely keeping ahead of things, what do you do? Tonight, Billy Donovan tried “Turn loose the reserves,” and the Thunder bench came up big, opening the fourth quarter with an 18-5 run and seemingly leaving the Pelicans in the dust. If so, it was kind of wet dust; New Orleans still had weaponry, including reliable Anthony Davis, and OKC’s double-digit lead began to evaporate. Still, with 3:30 left, the Thunder were up 110-101, and Donovan deployed three starters plus Enas Kanter and Alex Abrines, both of whom had scored in double figures; Russell Westbrook contributed his usual fourth-quarter magic, and the Pelicans were put away, 121-110.

The Birds of Prey were clicking pretty well. New Orleans shot 48 percent, won the assists battle 25-22, and three Pelicans scored twenty-plus: Davis, of course, with 34 (and 15 rebounds), Jrue Holiday with 23 (and 10 assists), and Terrence Jones, who led the bench with 21. The Thunder were making just enough more noise to drown them, with Westbrook coming up with 42-10-7, Abrines with a career-high 18 (6-12, including 5-11 on the long ball), and Kanter with 14 points and 14 boards. But here’s your Telltale Statistic: the plus/minus winner for the night was Joffrey Lauvergne, with 10 points, 6 rebounds, and a +20. In fact, all five OKC reserves were on the plus side of the ledger, while Westbrook, despite his wizardry, was -4.

There are only two home games in the next two weeks: Christmas Day against the Timberwolves, and New Year’s Eve against the Clippers. Everything else is on the road: Boston, Miami, Memphis, Milwaukee, Charlotte, Houston. (The Nuggets come to Oklahoma City on the 7th of January.) Things could, and probably will, get hairy.

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Go directly to jail

Apparently it’s come to this:

Nothing says “quality time with the family” like watching the kids throttle each other over an extra hotel on Marvin Gardens, while playing the contentious board game Monopoly this Christmas.

Hasbro is hoping to preserve some of the peace and goodwill over the holiday break (and potentially keep some people out of jail), with a hotline set up to address the rule disputes that inevitably emerge during a game of Monopoly. The hotline, which is slated to launch exclusively in the U.K. from Dec. 24-26, will allow callers to ring up a rulebook expert so they can iron out the intricacies of the game. That way you won’t have to take your older sibling’s word for it when they say the banker gets a $100 pay cheque every turn. The hotline number is (44) 0800 689 4903.

Which is toll-free in the United Kingdom, but a pricey call from the rest of the world. And why is Hasbro doing this, anyway?

Hasbro is launching the hotline based on the results of a survey of 2,000 adult Monopoly players, which identified some of the most frustrating behaviours that ruin a game. The survey found that 51 per cent of Monopoly games end in a verbal or physical dispute.

Yeah, you try putting a second hotel on Marvin Gardens and see what you get.

(Via @spydergrrl.)

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Express yourself

Well, actually, you can’t send yourself Express, but there was a time when you could send the little ones in the mail:

When Parcel Post Service first launched in America on January 1, 1913, there were few guidelines on what could be mailed. As a result, a handful of parents, spotting a bargain, began mailing their children. The first known case of this was the child of Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Beauge of Ohio only a few weeks after the launch of Parcel Post. They sent their son to his grandmother’s house for a fee of just 15 cents (about $3.72 today). On January 27, 1913, Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Savis of Pennsylvania mailed their daughter to relatives for a fee of 45 cents. More famously, 5 year old May Pierstorff of Idaho was mailed on February 19, 1914 73 miles to her grandmother’s house at a cost of just 53 cents (about $13.13 today). This was significantly cheaper than sending her on a passenger train, with the train ticket in question costing $1.55 according to the book, Mailing May. May’s case helped push forward an inquiry on the matter of mailing children and ultimately led to Postmaster General Albert Burleson declaring that, from that point forward, it was against the rules to mail human beings. Despite this, the practice continued for about two more years, finally stopping after an investigation into why three-year-old Maud Smith of Missouri was allowed to be mailed to her grandparents’ house in Kentucky.

Unlike today, there was no specification for packaging material:

While you might have visions of children being put in boxes with holes in the side for air, this was not how the children were mailed. The appropriate number of stamps were simply affixed to their clothing along with the address they were to be sent. From there, they accompanied postal workers on the trains along with normal packages and then were escorted to their destinations.

Those were the days.

(Via American Digest.)

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Have a PJ

The argument for pajamas as a Christmas gift:

People can always use them (provided they are someone who wears pajamas, but if it’s a family member, you probably know that already, and if it isn’t a close family member or close friend, why are you giving them pajamas?).

There are, or at least were, statistics on such things:

In 2004, ABC News conducted [pdf] a telephone poll of 1,501 American adults and found that, contrary to my theory, a nightgown or pajamas were the most common sleepwear option. But just a slight majority of women chose this option, and only 13 percent of men did.

Hardly any women slept in “underwear,” according to this survey, and given some women’s attitudes toward certain of their unmentionables — “off the moment I get home,” I’ve heard several times with regard to one particular garment — I can’t say as I blame them.

At the other end of the continuum, you have people like me who have owned no pajamas in half a century.

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Bye now

Things worth knowing about Phoenix band Farewell, My Love:

  • Yes, that comma belongs there, though one is tempted just to call them FML (and their Web site is
  • They went through two lead vocalists before drummer Chad Kowal took over the mic.
  • The lead guitarist is Röbby Creasey. With the umlaut and everything.
  • This video is very creepy:

Weirdly melodic, though. So is this, also from their Above It All album:

Yeah, it’s Goth, but it’s an accessible sort of Goth.

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It is, after all, the season

An unusual admission these days:

I like fruitcake. I am the only one in my family who does. The girls think it is gross. The boys don’t care because it isn’t pizza or beer. But I like it, so when we were at Costco yesterday I picked one up. $16, which is kind of a chunk of money, but each fruitcake contains about a zillion calories, so each calorie costs 16,000 zillionths of a cent, which means it’s like the cheapest food in the world. All you have to do is dole it out slowly.

It helps that eating it fast is sort of difficult.

An old friend of mine, long since moved away, was an expert at the fine art of fruitcakery. If Costco’s are worth five bucks a pound, hers were worth at least twenty.

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Yeah, good luck with that

A legislator in the Palmetto State doesn’t want you looking at those feelthy pictures on the Intarwebs:

People buying computers in South Carolina would be limited in their access to porn online under newly proposed legislation.

A bill pre-filed this month by state Rep. Bill Chumley would require sellers to install digital blocking capabilities on computers and other devices that access the internet to prevent the viewing of obscene content.

The proposal also would prohibit access to any online hub that facilities prostitution and would require manufacturers or sellers to block any websites that facilitate trafficking.

Chumley, a Spartanburg Republican, presumably did not offer a definition of “obscene.”

Both sellers and buyers could get around the limitation, for a fee. The bill would fine manufacturers that sell a device without the blocking system, but they could opt out by paying $20 per device sold. Buyers could also verify their age and pay $20 to remove the filter.

Money collected would go toward the Attorney General Office’s human trafficking task force.

“Step right up and get yer PORN LICENSE! Only twenty bucks!”

I have no idea how the South Carolina General Assembly, which is largely Republican, will vote on this thing, though undoubtedly there will be Republicans playing the Jesus card, and I can see several Democrats homing in on that twenty-dollar tax fee.

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Ring, meet hat

A friend of mine is seeking a spot on the Minneapolis City Council. From Erica Mauter’s campaign info:

I grew up in Detroit. My mom is a small business owner. My dad was an auto plant cafeteria manager while I was growing up. They worked really hard to send me and my sister to good schools, made sure we got good grades and participated in lots of activities, and sent us off to good colleges. With that foundation, as soon as I graduated from college, I moved here to the Twin Cities. I thought for many years after moving here that I would be leaving. And then I realized I like it here and I don’t want to leave!

My wife Missy and I live in the Tangletown neighborhood of Ward 11 with our two dogs, Peanut Louise and Florence. I’ve had so many wonderful opportunities to serve. I’ve given my support to a number of arts and social justice nonprofits, and issue and candidate campaigns. I have season tickets to the Minnesota Lynx. I serve on the City of Minneapolis Capital Long-Range Improvements Committee, the citizen committee that advises on the city’s capital budget. Having worked for over a decade as a chemical engineer, I know the importance of systems that work well and how they can be adapted for better results. As the leader of a small arts organization that primarily serves women, I see on a daily basis what people can do when they are empowered and affirmed, and when they come together around shared experience and common goals.

How far do we go back? When we met, she was still a resident of Detroit. And she drove a Jeep.

She was a director of Project 515, the Minnesota same-sex marriage initiative; it was a group for which I had considerable respect, especially since once the achievement was unlocked, they dissolved the group, which is unheard of in these days of the Perennially Overactive. (Disclosure: I donated a small sum to Project 515.) I can’t help but think she’ll do great things for Minneapolis.

Donations: Neighbors for Erica Mauter, 4631 Harriet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55419.

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Is anyone surprised by this?


Only 13% of the public say they blocked, unfriended, or stopped following someone on social media because of what they posted about politics. Again, sharp political divisions emerged in the tendency to remove people because of the political opinions they expressed.

Nearly one-quarter (24%) of Democrats say they blocked, unfriended, or stopped following someone on social media after the election because of their political posts on social media. Fewer than one in ten Republicans (9%) and independents (9%) report eliminating people from their social media circle.

Political liberals are also far more likely than conservatives to say they removed someone from their social media circle due to what they shared online (28% vs. 8%, respectively). Eleven percent of moderates say they blocked, unfollowed, or unfriended someone due to what they posted online.

Lesson to be learned: Different echo chambers have different volume-control settings.

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Waiting for Yaya

How does one become a professional cosplayer, anyway? Yaya Han describes how she got there:

The short answer is that I went to a con, saw cosplay in action, and got hooked. But to elaborate — I have been an anime/manga fan since childhood after watching “Saint Seiya”. By my teen years, I had read and watched tons of Japanimation and was an avid artist in Arizona. Through the local anime club I learned about Anime Expo and decided to attend the con to sell my artwork. I found the former website “A Fan’s View” and photos of the previous AX years, including pictures of people dressed up as these cool anime characters. Before knowing what this phenomenon was, I instantly became attracted to it — what better way to show my childhood love for the anime/manga fandom than to “become” my favorite characters?

Unfortunately I didn’t know how to sew back then, so I asked a kind friend to show me the basic use of a sewing machine and patterns. With her help I made my first (Asian inspired) garment and wore it to Anime Expo. Throughout the weekend I kept seeing more people dressed up and learned that this was called COSPLAY! It was all over from that point on.

A few samples:

It was this last appearance that drew my attention. (What, doesn’t everyone have a Google alert for Jessica Rabbit?) In the top photo, she’s Psylocke of the X-Men, or I guess “X-Persons” these days, and in the middle she’s done up in high Yakuza style.

Needless to say, a lot goes into these transformations:

Yaya Han is thirty-six and has been doing this for half her life. I think we can safely assume she’s awfully good at it.

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Reduced altitude

With Dwight Howard ailing, the Atlanta Hawks tried something new: small ball. Really small ball. And for much of the night, it utterly befuddled the Thunder, who couldn’t get inside and who still can’t shoot 3-pointers. In the second quarter, OKC stabilized a bit, and rolled up 37 points, more than twice what they’d garnered in the first and enough to take a five-point lead into the locker room. The Hawks stiffened further in the third, going up three; but then the Thunder caught fire, and not just Russell Westbrook either. Unfortunately, the Hawks were still doing land-office business, and with 1:20 to play, it was tied at 106. Atlanta struck first with a Dennis Schröder pull-up jumper; Westbrook came back with a jumper of his own. Paul Millsap then swished one through, Westbrook put up a trey that missed, Steven Adams stuck it back, but it was just a hair too late. Atlanta 110, Oklahoma City 108, and the season series ends 1-1.

And really, how could the Hawks lose, after shooting nearly 55 percent? With the small lineup, they didn’t get the rebounds — OKC dominated the boards to the tune of 43-35 — but they whipped the ball around like nobody’s business, 24 assists to only 13 for the Thunder. (It wasn’t that long ago that Westbrook alone could serve up 13 dimes.) With four of five starters in double figures, and Kyle Korver close behind, Atlanta had some serious offense, at least some of the time. Schröder knocked down 31 points, Millsap 30. What the Hawks didn’t have was bench scoring: only 14 points for the four reserves playing. Jerami Grant had more than that all by himself. But Westbrook’s 46-11-7 and Andre Roberson’s jewel-like 14 points weren’t quite enough, and Anthony Morrow, starting again in place of the wounded Victor Oladipo, had an off night (1-5, four points).

The Pelicans will be waiting in New Orleans on Wednesday; after that, it’s off to Boston. (The Sunday — Christmas — game will be against Minnesota at the ‘Peake.)

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Troll level: hitchhiker

This is just colossally dumb:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: I have a honda crx dohc zc1 engine is it okay to put half a quart less engine oil to save engine drag and get more horse power

This is not quite as intelligent, as, say, substituting Clorox for Metamucil. Still, I sort of want to encourage the guy so he’ll ruin his car faster.

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