Bai now, enjoy the rush

The thing about Bai Ling, I think, is that she’s cheerfully exhibitionistic without being prurient about it: she may be trying to turn your head, but she doesn’t seem to be trying to turn you on. (At the ripe old age of 50, this is a perfectly reasonable stance to be taking.)

She’s also not much of a singer, but this hasn’t discouraged her in the slightest. From 2012, her single “Tuesday Night 8 PM”:

These photos are from the last 10 days or so of her Twitter feed.

Bai Ling as something of a Transformer

Bai Ling on the floor

This one is below the jump, in case your sensibilities are subject to outrage by such things:

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Revolt of the Underarm Gnomes

We have descended to this:

When we look back at the great social justice struggles of 2017, surely, neigh certainly, the cause of putting armpit hair on fictional women will top the list.

This week, Warner Bros. released the new trailer for Wonder Woman, and most problematically, the Amazonian warrior princess played by Gal Gadot did not have any armpit hair.

Twitter exploded at the revelation, claiming women of the fictional matriarchy Themyscira would probably not shave their armpits. Some speculated that Gadot’s armpits were photoshopped to show a sheen, immaculate visage, unattainable by real women.

Many woke, intersectional journalists were also angered by the lack of gross armpit hair.

I note for record that “fictional” appears in those four brief paragraphs twice. And who’s gonna tell Wonder Woman, of all people, how to take care of herself? Not I.

Besides which, you know what’s really gross? “Woke,” “intersectional” “journalists,” and I mean the scare quotes on all three. You were put on this earth to document life, not to remake it in thine own image, especially when thine own image is well-nigh puke-inducing.

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Rivaling anything on your audio rack

Murilee Martin, who shoots the Junkyard Finds feature for The Truth About Cars, happened upon a 1990 Mitsubishi Sigma, basically a prettied-up Galant sedan, and snagged this shot:

Cassette player from 1990 Mitsubishi Sigma photographed by Murilee Martin

“[R]equired in Japanese pseudo-luxury sedans of the era,” said Martin, is “a very complex tape deck with nine-band graphic equalizer.” What baffles me is that PRO/PLAY button: I’m guessing you can program a tape that you’ve just inserted, and this toggles the programming mode — but I could be wrong. Certainly nothing like that appears on my cassette gear, and it’s pretty high-end.

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Still better than store-bought

Live from Windows Live Mail, it’s a rather unfortunate email spam:

email subject: Can I ask you something?

I’m reasonably certain this is not an attempt to sell me truffles.

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Large and quite charged

And really, I’d chuckle at this myself:

This is the P100D. I wonder if it has the Ludicrous Speed option.

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And that was the end of that

This, I think, summed up the entire four-game series:

And this game was in doubt for maybe the first twelve minutes, but no longer: the Warriors doubled up on the Thunder 34-17 in the second quarter and kept a double-digit margin, usually a substantial one, until everything dissolved into the bleakness of a 111-95 final. The Thunder couldn’t hit the three-pointers, but then they could barely hit the two- pointers. Then again, OKC had five in double figures, led by, um, Victor Oladipo with 17; the Warriors had only three, but Klay Thompson hung around long enough to collect 34, and Steph Curry bagged 23. Both of those guys hit seven treys; the Thunder in aggregate made only four.

The game had its absurd moments, most notably a second-quarter dustup that resulted in quadruple technicals. (I am not making this up. Ticketed: Curry, allegedly the instigator; Russell Westbrook; Semaj Christon; Draymond Green.) Westbrook didn’t even come close to a double-double, let alone a triple. (Enes Kanter had the only double-double on either side: 15 points, 10 rebounds.) Golden State had a smallish 46-40 edge in rebounds, a bigger one — 28-18 — in assists, and were at least marginally acceptable at the free-throw line, collecting 16 of 21. The Thunder had no trouble getting to the line, the Warriors’ reputation for Never Ever Fouling notwithstanding, but it didn’t make much difference, as they missed 14 of 31.

Twelve games to go and 40-30. Now what? OKC probably can’t really aspire to a finish much higher than fifth or sixth. The Grizzlies, also 40-30, got to that point by winning four straight. It’s highly unlikely the Thunder will slump their way out of the playoffs entirely. The next game, against the 76ers, should come close to icing that playoff spot.

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No matter how many payers

By now no one should be surprised by this:

[A]ll systems of paying for and providing healthcare suck; all of them suck worse if you’re poor and none of them are especially bad if you’re rich. There is no happy, Disney-movie solution and on many levels, the more lawmakers mess with it, the worse it gets.

Before all this started, if you were poor and didn’t have insurance, you were perfectly free to die in a ditch; if you chose not to, showing up at a hospital emergency room would get you treatment (hospitals are generally not allowed to turn away anyone who is genuinely ill or injured) and a whopping huge bill. Under ACA, you could also die in a ditch or walk into a hospital uninsured, but you were going to be fined in addition to the big bill*; under ACHA, the uninsured get the same two choices and skip the fine, but if they choose the hospital and survive to buy insurance they will pay a 30% surcharge on their premiums — and so will you, if you go more than two months without insurance. This is all very interesting, but if the initial aim was to reduce the number of uninsured citizens who die in ditches, exactly how does either plan accomplish that goal? They don’t, no more than a low-flow showerhead in Seattle or Indianapolis helps droughts in California or a shrinking fossil aquifer in Arizona.

The line I keep hearing is that “everyone has to be insured so the risk pool is large enough,” which will come as a surprise to the statisticians and actuaries who work for insurance companies. It does not take a huge pool to make the risk usefully predictable and there’s a lower limit to the rule that adding more people makes the risk more predictable and therefore allows reducing the amount of “just in case” money the insurer needs to keep for off-the-prediction surprises: you do have to pay all those mathematicians, adjusters, attorneys, salesmen, managers, top brass and support staff — and the investors are hoping for a little profit on the money they have put up to get the whole thing rolling, too. The thing people seem to think they are saying boils down to “if everyone pitched in a dollar, we’d all be able to afford healthcare when we needed it,” a charming sentiment that skips blissfully over what right the rest of us have to demand a dollar from every random stranger.

As always, there’s a footnote:

* The fine is (if I remember correctly) under $2500, which is just about big enough to be insulting and for the the person without two dimes to rub together, might as well be $25,000 or $250,000.

I’m awaiting the first proposal that calls for filling in all the ditches, so no one can die therein.

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And then the cycle repeats

Most places, you have two service providers and no more, which leads to situations like this:

I told my internet/cable provider to stick it up their … on Friday. I’m sick of the constant outages and frequent price changes — like charging me at random for premium channels I never asked for and never wanted. I told them to shut it off. I called the other guys who will be here Monday. I have no illusions, the other guys will be just as bad. I will save about $50 bucks a month with the new customer discount. When the new guys raise their rates I will just go back to the current crappy provider at their lower introductory rates. Neither company understands the value of customer loyalty.

Nor will they ever. This is a world of quarterly reports, and the person who claims to see beyond a hundred days is derided for his folly.

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Bound to the blog

As this site comes up on its 21st birthday, I’ve happened upon an Elena Peters piece called “The Ugly Side of Blogging No One Talks About”, with, yes, 21 individual examples of the Ugly Side. And, well, we should talk about them, in the hopes of discouraging competitors.

No, wait. That’s wrong.

Anyway, several of the examples touch on the blog’s nearly unequaled capacity as a time suck. For instance:

18. Bloggers don’t bathe, get dressed or see sunlight … for days.

Straight up. I am pasty white from lack of sunshine, I smell cause I haven’t bathed and I am not sure how many days I have spent in my pajamas. Ah, the life of the self-employed.

Not quite Instagram worthy am I? Rest assured. I am not alone.

But I have to go get groceries occasionally and having to skype with clients or do a Facebook live once in awhile assures that I do put on fresh clothes and makeup once in a blue moon.

P.S. Obviously I could never be a fashion or beauty blogger. I don’t know how you guys do it!

For those of us who still have day jobs, this is not fully applicable: we may have eye-blinding albedo, but we do have to hit the showers on a regular basis, and, well, some of us own no pajamas. Still, if you’re trying to make a living on a screen full of ASCII, there are going to be points where dedication and drudgery meet and then refuse to go their separate ways.

That said, I dunno how the fashion/beauty bloggers do it, though I am at least reasonably conversant in the jargon.

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Strange search-engine queries (581)

Our hearts and our brackets equally broken, we return to what we do best: sift through the week’s search strings to see what the population really, truly wants to know.

keith olbermann the resistance:  Makes about as much sense as “Shelley Duvall the Linebacker.”

danny’s mother is even-tempered fair and tactful:  Unlike Danny himself, who is something of a douchecanoe.

radio stations near me:  Are probably playing “Takin’ Care of Business” by Bachman-Turner Overdrive.

russian refineries:  In case the Trump Organization decides to go into the gas-station business.

police license plate scanner blocker:  Or you could just wait for the state to come up with an unreadable plate design on their own.

a savings account compounds interest, at a rate of 25%, once a year. eve puts $500 in the account as the principal. how can eve set up a function to track the amount of money she has?  Never mind that. Where can I get 25 percent on my savings?

“selfdriving car” or “self-driving car” or “self driving car” or “driverless car” or “autonomous car” or “driverless vehicle” or “robotic car”:  Guy looking for a self-writing essay.

the law of demand​ implies, holding everything else​ constant, that as the price of yogurt:  Decreases, the number of hipsters increases.

premium jailbait:  Instead of five to ten years, you get 15 to 30.

which scenario best demonstrates the function of money as a measure of value? joel has been keeping his spare change in a jar for months. he decides to cash it in, so he takes it to the bank. he gets a crisp $20 bill in exchange for his collection of coins. lin has been saving $10 a week for college:  And will have enough to cover the costs of her Airing of Grievances degree by the year 2081.

it doesn’t taste like chicken:  Free-range crickets, among other things.

microwave oven custom kitchen delivery:  Shut up and get to moving those refrigerators.

marvin gaye kevin durant:  Name two guys who have declared “Ain’t that peculiar?”

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Sanitize that keyboard!

Key Source International builds computer keyboards for use in healthcare facilities. Their latest product is the KSI-1801 SX B, a hospital-grade,
disinfectable backlit keyboard. Features:

  • Backlit keys are easy to read in the dark
  • Quick USB detachment saves time
  • Sealed surface available in colors
  • LinkSmart™ locks keys for easy cleaning
  • San-a-Key® provides real-time analytics
  • Compact design fits most medical carts
  • Aids in control of cross contamination
  • Scrubbable, sprayable, disinfectable
  • Three levels of illumination

One rather expects this to be priced somewhere in the upper stratosphere, in the manner of the $15 Tylenol® tablet. It’s not; in fact, it’s priced right with premium keyboards that aren’t the least bit sprayable. And buying a keyboard that’s billed as “dishwasher-safe” will probably not save you:

Not only is removal of keyboards at hundreds of individual workstations a daunting task, but it’s also a costly endeavor that wastes hospital resources and precious man hours. More important, dishwasher-safe keyboards are, in reality, a detriment to good infection control practices. Why? Because most keyboards are never removed from service to be washed.

I can believe that.

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Smaller Blue

IBM today is a pale shadow of what it used to be:

When I was younger, IBM was the bee’s knees, tha shiznit. Fifteen years ago, I got a $5,000 check from IBM for some consulting work. I had it blown up and framed. Working with IBM meant that you were one of the best. They didn’t do anything by half measures. And they built stunning technological masterpieces from the ThinkPads to their xServers to the mighty copper-core z-mainframes.

What does IBM do now? Well, as far as I can tell they still have some impressive R&D. By and large. however, they sell “services.” Which means that they hire a bunch of know-nothings at the lowest rate possible, many of them H1-Bs fresh from six-month technical degrees at mystery-meat educational facilities of dubious standing, and they incompetently deliver on vaguely-scoped products for prices that are calculated to bleed the client just short of bankruptcy.

At least they’re still properly supporting their midrange hardware; if they weren’t, I’d probably be out of a job.

It’s pathetic, seeing the company that invented the Selectric and the Model M and the best mainframe computer in history turn into a services reseller. Think of Jaco Pastorius begging for spare change outside of Birdland, then make it fifty times worse. And then look at me typing this up on the descendant of IBM’s intellectual property, abandoned by a bunch of moronic market-watchers who didn’t understand that greatness only comes from creation, not sales or marketing.

He’s pounding away on a Lenovo. And if I ever need another Model M — my current keyboard dates to, um, 1990 — the guys who own that sliver of IBM intellectual property are here and ready to sell.

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Quote of the week

Andrew Heaton is ready for us to choose a King. Or a Queen, even:

We threw the baby out with the bathwater when we kicked the monarchy out of America, and we ought to bring it back. To be clear, I do not mean the sort of hereditary tyrants who rule North Korea, Saudi Arabia, or the New York Yankees. Rather, I’d like for us to get one of those cute, ornamental throne warmers the Europeans trot around to cut ribbons at events.

In America we’ve combined power and reverence in the office of the presidency, but legal authority and veneration complement each other about as well as Scotch and back-pain medication. It’s safer to ingest them separately.

How we got to this unhappy, um, state:

In America our head of government and head of state both problematically reside in the president. We can see that unholy union in full force during the spasm of pageantry which is the State of the Union address. President Jefferson rightly viewed the whole affair as pompous and monarchical, and sent Congress a letter instead.

Unfortunately the nimbus of deference surrounding the presidency has swelled with time. In 1956 a political scientist named Clinton Rossiter published The American Presidency, a tome sopping wet with sycophantic notions about the Oval Office. He described the commander-in-chief as “a combination of scoutmaster, Delphic oracle, hero of the silver screen, and father of the multitudes.”

Gag me. The president is the top bureaucrat, and there’s nothing more American than despising bureaucrats. The government is basically a giant Human Resources Department with tanks, and the president is in charge of it.

Of course, it would help if once in a great while the Congress would do something according to their job description, which surprisingly is not “trying to get reelected.”

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The need is great

“This is a shoe I need,” said a woman I follow on Twitter. (Her account is private, so I shan’t identify her further.) Here’s the shoe in question:

Bombay ankle-tie sandal by Badgley Mischka

“Very nice,” I said. “Who makes it, and where can it be had?”

(The things I go through for my readers.)

She identified it as a Badgley Mischka shoe, “at finer stores.” I poked around the Web a while and turned it up at Nordstrom Rack. It’s called “Bombay,” it’s four inches tall, and it can be had in black leather or in “sand” suede. And it’s apparently due for discontinuation: list price is $225, but Nordstrom is letting it go for $130.

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How the hell did that happen?

Oh, right. What was I thinking?

Rain causes wet roads, says WAFF in Huntsville, Alabama

WAFF is the NBC affiliate in Huntsville, Alabama.

(Via Joseph Pallotta.)

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The motor cooled down

Some thoughts on the life and times of Charles Edward Anderson Berry (1926-2017), the man who caught Maybellene at the top of the hill, and much, much more.

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