Tales of the Blue Oval

Several times a week, I hear from people who would cut off one arm rather than visit an actual auto dealer. This is not one of them:

[T]he mechanics they have — or at least the “customer facing” guys — seem to be pretty good and pretty professional. (The guy I worked with was “Freddie” but I am guessing that wasn’t his actual given name but a name he adopted so Americans can pronounce it). But anyway: would definitely use again. They may be a bit more expensive than the budget places but based on some stuff people have said about the budget places in town, I don’t trust those, and I figure if these guys are at least operating under the Ford flag, if they donk something up, Ford will expect them to make it right.

Rather a lot of the dealerphobes don’t even trust the budget places in town; they throw themselves at the mercy of the message boards, pleading for assistance, and then hunt up YouTube for a how-to, as though they have the slightest idea what they’re watching. Alternatively, they run to AutoZone to get codes pulled for free, and then start stocking up on any parts mentioned or even suggested, because they’d rather throw $600 worth of parts at a problem than spend $125 on a proper diagnostic.

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Don’t call it a car

I have to admit, this contraption is sorta cute, in a too-many-LEGOs sort of way:

Steph Willems has the details:

The car vehicle urban mobility object, which borrows its name from a popular B-segment model built from 1961 to 1978, is Citroën’s idea of transportation for the masses. In a sense, it’s a new take on the people’s car — a latter-day 2CV, only slower. And smaller. And electric. And rentable for periods of anywhere from five minutes to five months, or maybe longer, should you sign a five-year lease.

Slower than a Deux Chevaux? Whoa.

Built frugally, the two-seat, closed-cabin vehicle is said to be capable of 100 km (62 miles) of emission-free driving on a single charge, at speeds of up to a blistering 45 km/h (28 mph). Barring a horrible navigation error, you and your passenger clearly won’t find yourself speeding down a European motorway in this rig. This is a city car designed for people who don’t feel like hailing a cab, taking transit, or hoofing it to their destination a few miles distant.

All of this service would be accessible to anyone with a smartphone, Citroën claims. Whip out your phone, open the mobile app, locate a car, unlock it, and drive away. Find charging facilities in the same manner. Paying for the service would be accomplished just like any other app-based short-term rental.

And it might be more desirable than taking your chances with some neckbearded wacko with an Uber. In Europe, if you’re at least 16, you wouldn’t even need a driver’s license, given the critter’s low top speed.

Still, it’s only a concept, and what works in Bratislava won’t necessarily work in Bakersfield.

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More dumb Klux

This guy wields a mighty lynch pen:

The editor and publisher of a local paper in Alabama is under fire for penning an editorial calling for mass lynchings by the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).

The opinion piece ran in his print-only newspaper, the Democrat-Reporter, last Thursday, Goodloe Sutton confirmed on Tuesday.

He said Democrats were going to raise taxes and that the KKK should hang them and raid Washington DC.

Alabama lawmakers have called for Sutton to resign.

Since Sutton owns the paper, resigning would be a bit more problematic than it would be for politicians who make similarly dumb statements.

And it’s not like he’s always been the villain:

The newspaper won national acclaim in the 1990s for its investigation of [Marengo] county sheriff Roger Davis for political corruption, despite his widespread popularity and death threats to editor Goodloe Sutton and his family. Davis and two deputies from the office were sentenced for misuse of public funds and other crimes, including intimidation tactics used against the Suttons.

Still, calling for the Klan to save the day is an amazingly tone-deaf and, yes, dumb idea, even if the Democrats are going to raise taxes, which they most certainly are.

Maybe this is just a reflection of growing up in Linden, Alabama, which before 1818 was known as Screamersville.

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Tilt that axis!

And this is what you, or we anyway, get:

Oklahoma 11-season climate

(Via Edmond Active.)

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With neither cheese nor cream

This is one of those times when you wish Harry Chapin could be here:

About 40,000 pounds of broccoli on the side of a metro Atlanta freeway Monday morning won’t ever make it to a dinner plate.

That’s good news for picky youngsters, but it caused trouble for drivers through Clayton County overnight. A tractor-trailer overturned on the ramp from I-285 to I-75, spilling the frozen vegetables all over the interstate.

In the absence of Mr Chapin, we bring you Russ Giguere and the Association:

(Via Fark.)

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Long before 4K

But not at all before JFK:

Said Miss Cellania:

From 1961. My parents held out for many years afterward, because they believed they already had a remote control — at least until the kids left home and stopped switching channels for them.

The brand — RCA Victor — isn’t mentioned until near the end, although you might have guessed from the reference to channel 4, which in those days was more often than not an NBC station, and RCA owned NBC back then. Perhaps more to the point, though, is a blatant case of Not Invented Here syndrome: Eugene Polley (1915-2012) built the first TV remote control in 1955 — for rival Zenith.

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The American tax

In that little piece about a Japanese luxury train, I suggested that such a conveyance would “never catch on here.” One reason it wouldn’t is simply that an American operation would have to charge several times as much, and it’s not hard to see why:

American infrastructure is this costly because of immense, endemic, universal public-private corruption — systems of both direct and financialized graft at every stage of infrastructure development, from the planning to the ribbon-cutting to the use of deferred maintenance to ransack public transportation budgets for cash, year after year, after which the responsible authorities claim that fixing the century-old signals is just too damn pricey. This system of legal fraud begins with the bevies of project consultants, continues through ludicrous private contractor and labor costs, and continues when, years later, high-paid administrative fixers and new armies of consultants and contractors arrive to fix what broke because it was never maintained. It is a system of tolerated kleptocracy that may be the only thing that America still does better than anyone else in the world. It is baked into every assumption about building for the public benefit.

To which Dave Schuler adds:

That isn’t true only of high-speed rail. It’s true of education, health care, the military, and every other action of government at any level in the United States. It will be true of a “Green New Deal” if such a thing were to be embarked upon. It is why we pay more for just about anything than anyone else in the world. Can we fix these things? Yes, we can. Will we? The smart money says “No.”

“Greed is good,” said Gordon Gekko, and legions enlisted under his banner; the fact that he was a fictional character made absolutely no difference.

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Tuck almost everlasting

Today Jessica Tuck is fifty-six, and she has enough screen credits, big screen or small, to make you wonder how she ever had time to do all that. To pick three not entirely at random: Megan Gordon Harrison, One Life to Live (1988-93, plus ghost guest appearances afterward); Gillian Gray, Judging Amy (1999-2005); Nan Flanagan, True Blood (2008-2011).

Jessica Tuck in a dark corner

Jessica Tuck near but not on the red carpet

Jessica Tuck charms a snake

From deepest 1988, here’s Jessica Tuck in Video Girlfriend, a very short short from 1988:

As Eighties stuff goes, you can’t get a whole lot Eightier than that.

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Up where you belong

Politicians are horrible, says Roberta X, but there’s a reason for their existence:

I can think of no group of persons who would more deserve to be saddled with the dull, boring, messy and imperfect process of running government. I don’t much trust them to do it well, or to stay inside the limits they are supposed to observe — but better them than some finer group of men and women, who would be taken away from doing useful and productive work in other fields of endeavor.

Think of a Congressbeing of whom you disapprove — would you want that person driving an 18-wheeler on the same highways you take? Designing a skyscraper or passenger aircraft? Doing brain surgery?

Hey, Alexandria Whatzername-Hyphenate was a pretty decent barista, or so I’ve heard.

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Stars from 45

And this is why you got no mail today:

Monday marks “Presidents Day,” which we in modern times have adjusted to be the date of many silly sales and honoring all of the men who have held the office whether they merit it or not. Of course, no one who hasn’t had to try to do the job really knows what it’s like. But if you try to tell me that one-monther William Henry Harrison, acme of incompetence James Buchanan or the vile Woodrow Wilson deserve the same recognition as the effective manager Eisenhower, let alone the greatness of Lincoln or Washington, I will say you’ve probably taken United States history sometime in the last 20 years.

I remember when American history books could be filed under “Nonfiction.” Hasn’t been the case in, oh, twenty years or so.

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Friends are clamoring to know

One of the innocents on Quora asks:

When people use the phrase “asking for a friend” on social media, about what percentage of the time is this untrue and they are really asking for themselves?

“Percentage” meaning literally “out of a hundred,” what you do is start at 100 and count backwards.

You will never reach 99.

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Some pal you are

This arrived in the mail yesterday:

As a result of a new regulation issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington, D.C. coming into effect on April 1, 2019, we are making some changes that will affect consumers who want to hold and use balance with PayPal.

When in doubt, blame Washington. Works for me.

If you want to hold and use balance, you will need a balance account which will be linked to your current PayPal account. PayPal will offer two balance accounts: PayPal Cash and PayPal Cash Plus. Information about both types of balance accounts can be found in the PayPal Cash and PayPal Cash Plus Terms and Conditions.

If you are an existing personal PayPal account holder and we have already verified your identity, we will establish and automatically link a PayPal Cash Plus account to your current PayPal account. Information about your PayPal Cash Plus account, including your balance amount, will be easily available using your existing PayPal login.

Whatever the hell that means.

For all other consumer PayPal account holders, if you want to hold and use balance, in addition to verifying your identity with PayPal, you will need [to] set up a balance account which will be linked to your current PayPal account.

I have in fact three putative balance accounts wired into PayPal. Does this mean I’m good to go, or do I have to lose two of them?

All this goes into effect on the 29th of March. Perhaps by then this will be de-jargonized.

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All I have to do

“Only trouble is, gee whiz,” the Bryants (Boudleaux, anyway) wrote and the Everlys sang, “I’m dreaming my life away.” This is perhaps the downside of recovering from insomnia. I’d certainly prefer it to insomnia. But it has a catch or two.

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Strange search-engine queries (681)

Forums are full of “How do I delete my browser history?” There are times when I think they should probably delete their search history as well. It won’t affect this feature, since the search strings are already recorded, but maybe it will calm down Mom when she sees what they’ve been up to.

government shutdown 2 elctric bogaloo:  Well, yeah, I said that, but I also spelled it correctly.

god burns down equestria for insurance money:  Are you in good hooves?

slowlyturningsissy:  It’s a standard model move, to give you a better look.

skivvies topeka:  Have you seen the weather report? Go put some more clothes on.

silly sod:  This is Major Tom to Ground Control. Isn’t someone supposed to be, um, controlling the ground?

softer worser slower weaker:  This is what you get when you play a Daft Punk record backwards.

farty tail rule 34:  Trust me, you don’t want to go there.

the carson family will purchase three used cars. there are two models of cars available, model a and model b, each of which is available in four colors: blue, black, red, and green. how many different combinations of three cars can the carsons select if all the cars are to be different colors?  You can tell these are used cars because new cars are always black, white or grey.

mayonnaise lice snopes:  You notice they never say anything about Miracle Whip, despite the fact that it tastes like Satan’s jizz.

mousley cereal:  I’ll have a bowl without so much rat in it.

bypass tumblr safe mode:  Hardly seems necessary, now that they’ve kicked out all the smutty pictures.

viagra spokesmodels:  If they’re cute enough, you won’t need Viagra,

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Says our favorite teenage drummer, who by now must be pushing 20:

I wrote this little tune with a little help from my dad and recorded all instruments I found in our basement, enjoy!

They had a lot of stuff down there.

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A shot to the exhaust port

It’s probably not a good idea to assume that Donald Trump will save the world:

Trump is old enough and patriotic enough that he still strongly, strongly believes in the American system of government. He believes not that it has been intentionally destroyed and rebuilt as a grotesque perversion of its former self, but that it has merely gone astray and can still be repaired. Worse yet, he believes that most of the elected officials in charge of the monstrosity share his ambition to put it back on the right track, needing only proper leadership to help steer things out of the ditch and back on the highway again.

None of that is true. The people he’s relying on to either be persuaded or respond positively to the will of the people they misrule are the ones who wrecked things in the first place — and, as I said, they did it on purpose. Even his own damned party is actively working to thwart his attempt to drain the Swamp; it couldn’t be more obvious by now that the Vichy GOPers don’t want the damned thing drained, despite years of promising to do exactly that. They’re all good with the dysfunctional and nonviable status quo, thanks, and are quite willing to fight vigorously to sustain it.

Yep. The G in GOP now stands for “Generals,” as in the Washington Generals, as in the designated loser to the Globetrotters. How often do the Generals actually win? Maybe three times out of every seventeen thousand.

Donald Trump isn’t exactly a quick study. But we really can’t wait for him to catch on.

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