Quote of the week

What the hell is wrong with Europe these days? A lack of adult supervision, says the Z Man:

For close to fifty years, Western Europe was America’s daycare center. Americans did all the heavy lifting with regard to the defense of Western Civilization both militarily and economically. European elites were allowed to play dress up and pretend to be in charge, but everyone knew the Americans were in charge. If something broke, America fixed it. If someone got an ouchy, America would salve their boo-boo. The Pax Americana allowed the West to remain in a state of perpetual adolescence.

The result was at least one generation of leaders lacking any training in responsible government. They dress up like proper rulers, but they have no idea what it means to defend their people. In fact, they don’t even think about the hoi polloi as their people. They are just the great unwashed, an undifferentiated mass of greedy mouths and grasping hands. They were free to evolve this way because the Americans were always there to make sure nothing bad happened. As the protective bubble is removed, all of this being exposed.

At some point, people get tired of being murdered. The young German with a taste for politics is going to start to question why he is loyal to people, who show more concern for foreigners than they do for him. A lesson of the French Revolution is that once people begin to question the legitimacy of the system, everything is soon up for grabs. The reckless disregard for their duties, by people like Merkel, is planting the seeds for something much worse than the monthly Exploding Mohamed we see in the news.

What he doesn’t say, but probably doesn’t have to, is that the Americans don’t even bother with overseeing America these days; they’re busy with their tedious little cultural proscriptions and other trivia.

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Baggage in Boston

This year’s Celtics are pretty formidable, and you have to figure they’re more so at home at the TD Garden; coming in, both Boston and Oklahoma City had 17-12 records. And the Greenies led early on, though the Thunder caught up and passed them in the second quarter and remained ahead halfway through the fourth. What happened, of course, was Isaiah Thomas, the five-foot-nine fireplug who scored 15 of the Celtics’ 17 points in those six minutes, enough to put Boston back in the lead. The Thunder crawled back despite three fouls on Andre Roberson, who managed only one of six free throws; what Roberson did accomplish was to put the brakes on Thomas long enough to regain that lead. Thomas, of course, wouldn’t stay down forever, and an and-one just before the one-minute mark brought the Celtics back to within three, but Russell Westbrook wasn’t having any of that. At :30, OKC was up eight; Al Horford delivered a timely trey, but Westbrook put it away at the foul line. The final was 117-112, and while radio guy Matt Pinto will tell you it wasn’t the Thunder’s finest hour defensively, there’s a lot to be said for neutralizing Thomas, even if it made Dre’s free-throw record look even worse than it was.

Then again, can someone with 34 points and 10 assists, as Thomas was, be legitimately described as “neutralized”? Maybe not. Horford kicked in 23 more. However, the Boston reserves came up with only 19 points, one less than Thunder bench leader Enes Kanter. And if it wasn’t Anthony Morrow’s night (1-5, two points), Domantas Sabonis came up with a career-high 20, including three treys. And then there’s Westbrook, who seems to operate on another plane of existence, turning in a 45-11-11 line, including 20 points in the fourth quarter. (Slight offset: the rest of the team scored 9.)

The Thunder is at home for Christmas, to play the Timberwolves, before going back on the road to take on the Heat and the Grizzlies.

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Fake like Drake

So far, Rebecca Black’s supply of cover versions seems inexhaustible, and that’s fine with me. Here she and Josh Levi take on Drake’s “Fake Love,” apparently in one take:

I went looking for more of Josh, and found a nifty cover of The Weeknd’s “Starboy.”

Meanwhile, HelloGiggles talks about RB and “The Great Divide”:

Her brand new song is a bit more mature, and her vocals are totally top notch.

It just proves that anyone can stand up, brush themselves off, and continue on. Black, who was 13 going on 14 when “Friday” was released in 2011 and is 19 now, never stopped singing — even though the internet was buzzing with negativity over her music video.

Does negative buzz actually count as buzz?

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The appearance of growth

From an earlier report on Walmart’s grocery-pickup service:

This particular Walmart store has six pickup points; this was the first time I’d ever seen all six in use.

That was a month ago. Some time in the last week they added four more spaces for the pickup crowd. (Although at 6:30 on a Thursday, there were only two in use, and a third was occupied by an indoor shopper who can’t or won’t read.)

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No accounting for counting

In which we find out what Bill Gates and Darth Vader have in common:

Windows versions vs. Star Wars episodes

(Found at reddit by Miss Cellania.)

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Wrong button

At least, that’s the story given by a Louisiana woman:

The director of the Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau accidentally posted nude video of herself on the bureau’s Instagram page.

According to a report from The Minden Press-Herald, Lynn Dorsey used the new Instagram live feature to share sexy video with her husband for 30 minutes, not realizing she was doing so on the convention bureau’s Instagram account and not her personal account.

Said the paper:

CVB Executive Director Lynn Dorsey, 61, was unaware the video was being fed live to the Instagram account until she was notified by the Press-Herald just after 10:30 p.m.

“It was a horrible, honest mistake,” Dorsey said. “I am mortified. I would never send that type of content out intentionally. It was a very private message for my husband; it was a brand new phone and a new Instagram feature. I am a new Instagram user, and unfortunately I pressed the wrong button.”

Hey, at least she gave you a scoop.

Anyway, the video presumably wouldn’t have hung around long:

Instagram Live is a new feature, similar to that of Facebook Live, which allows users to stream live video footage via the social media platform. When a user “goes live,” the followers of the account may receive a push notification announcing the live feed, according to the Instagram website. Once a live video has ended, it is no longer visible on the platform.

(Via @SoCalNaturist.)

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Yeah, it’s a wild hurricane

Sometimes you need something like this to clear your head:

Not quite the way I remember “Highway Star,” but worth noting on its own, and Emily Hastings’ YouTube channel is full of comparable noises.

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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 bit.ly. The actual source seems to be jesusjobsy.com, which has existed for about two weeks.

Incidentally, whois.net, asked about that domain, offered to sell me jesuschristsaviour.com 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 FMLOfficial.com).
  • 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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