Kitchen Sputter?

Okay, Amazon, ya got me on this one: Toribe Kitchen Sputter:

The box label does (fuzzily) actually say キッチンスパッター, implying a loanword sputter/spatter, and an Amazon Japan search for that string returns a mix of kitchen shears and fire blankets (“sputter sheets”), but a spot check of the shear listings doesn’t include the word スパッ ター anywhere, except for the exact same product.

Which leads me to think that the only reason other shears showed up in the results was because of this product. But why does Toribe call their scissors sputters?

And why does Amazon US include this in the listing?

(recommended because I recently bought a completely different brand of Japanese kitchen shears recently, naturally; scissors are like toaster ovens, apparently, in that you can’t have too many)


The air is rather chewy today. Thanks, Oregon; your forest management is as inept as California’s, although it looks like your fires are a more direct threat to major cities (leading to some suspicion as to how they started).

Of note to me is that the Mt. Hood Resort I spent a week at last year for a Kumihimo conference is in the “be ready to evacuate” zone, and so is the Timberline Lodge, along with a good chunk of Mt. Hood itself.

Losing Customers, Delivery Edition

Since it’s over 90 today and the smoke from the more distant fires is in the air, rather than firing up the oven or range, I ordered a pizza from Round Table, and accidentally failed to de-select the new default contactless delivery:


Step 1: Order online and select the Contactless Delivery option during checkout. Please pay with a credit card and tip online to complete your contactless order.

Step 2: Your pizza is removed from our 400+ degree oven, sliced, placed in the box and is never touched.

Step 3: The driver will let you know they have arrived by ringing the doorbell or knocking.

Step 4: The driver will leave your order on a protected barrier, step back to a safe distance and wait for you to pick up your pizza.


Step 3: The driver places the pizza on the ground in front of the door, ignoring both the side-table of the grill and the large wooden bench, both less than three feet away and in clear view.

Step 4: The driver rings the bell and pounds on the door, then flees before you can walk twenty feet. (seriously, he was already back in his car and putting it in gear)

Step 5: The manager faux-pologizes without any sign of giving a damn.

New California Republic?

Uranium Fever

Amazon is producing a Fallout series. If they follow the Bethesda model, it will be set 300 years after the bombs dropped, but the rubble and the people will make it look like it’s only been maybe 20 at most. The plot will involve cleansing the radiation from something that shouldn’t need cleansing, but never mind, because most of the episodes will focus on side quests and crafting, with a heavy dose of Daddy Issues.

Benito Newsom’s Strike Teams

No, seriously. What are the odds he’ll give up this newly-discovered power, ever?

Also, he just re-closed 19 counties for a minimum of three weeks, because fireworks apparently spread viruses now. Or something like that.

Ah, how quickly things change…

“Seriously people, stop obeying mandatory mask orders! And stop leaving the house so you don’t get arrested for disobeying the mandatory mask orders! And don’t buy food at stores that mandate masks! And tell that drug store to remove the giant display of individually-packaged disposable masks! And stop breathing!”

More, please!

19-year-old arsonist and looter facing 5-20 in federal prison. He was caught on video setting fire to a Sake House in Santa Monica. The same video shows him then moving his car about 500 feet and looting a nearby business.

R.I.P Aunt Jemima

Also Uncle Ben and Mrs. Butterworth. I imagine the last to go will be Colonel Sanders, Chef Boyardee, and the Quaker Oats guy, so I guess white privilege is good for something after all.

(never mind that both Sanders and Boyardee (Boiardi) were real people who really founded the brands that use their name and likeness; facts don’t matter to angry mobs or their appeasers)

Disclaimer: my great-great-great-great-grandmother was named Jemima. Probably not in the syrup business, though.

Update via Insty


Cream Of Wheat guy to be canceled for not staying in his lane. Someone’s probably upset that he’s happy and dressed like a successful professional.

Dear Amazon Japan,

Automatic machine translation is just wrong, okay?

Actual product name: “米とぎ棒 ホワイト KT-091”, which breaks down as “rice + polish/grind/sharpen + stick (white, model KT-091)”, but more correctly described as a “rice whisk” (to speed up the process of washing white rice before steaming); at least, that search string turns up several varieties of them on Amazon US.

(the “Akebono Industry” part of the product name doesn’t appear in the original at all, and seems to be hidden information; several items in the “people who looked at this also looked at” list are different models of rice whisk with, sure enough, 曙産業 in the name. My best guess for “pin” is that 棒 is used in the word for “rolling pin”, 麺棒, so it could have crept into their translation tables. No idea where the “clip” came from)

Translating the UI is good, because it’s a finite set of strings with only occasional updates, and can be QA’d. Auto-translating product names is just a mess, because to search, you have to guess what odd word choices it’s going to use. It would never have occurred to me to search for a “rice stick”, if only because that seems more likely to return links to rice paddles (which it does, as well as rice whisks and stick vacuums).

As it turns out, at least one manufacturer of a “rice sharpener” does use スティック (phonetic “stick”) instead of 棒 for their product name, and another uses 米とぎ for their rice strainer, leading to the following auto-translated product name:

Rice Sharpener All-Purpose Bowl, Highly Cooking Allie, German Developed High Quality, 5 in 1 Rice Sharpener, Wash, Relax, Smooth, Drainer, Bowl, Housewives Allied with Great Cooking, Time-saving, Household Work, Great Mass Shopping, Explosive Hit Product, Stainless Steel, 8.9 inches (22.5 cm)

Accompanied by the following descriptive text:

Please note: This product is for sale of S pearls. For that reason, we have attached a sales confirmation seal to the product; Product: This product can be used for rice sharpeners that have been troublesome until noodles can be used to create a variety of cooking chores that include time saving, housework, and light weight. You can also use it for dish drying pasta, kimono, and salads such as noodles.

It goes downhill from there.

When we were in the kitchen district in Osaka last Spring, I suddenly remembered my research into the name of the item used in the Konpira-fune-fune drinking game we played at the maiko dinner in Kyoto. So I walked into the next restaurant supply shop and asked for a beer hakama. My sister quickly realized what I was up to and got some for herself as well. And it goes like this.

I thought it was interesting that even though they had half a dozen on the shelf, they went in the back and got us fresh ones that were still wrapped up.

Unrelated: Life With A Porch Cat

With the brief heatwave broken, I had every window in the house open yesterday. Porch Cat saw me sitting at the kitchen table, came up to the screen, and loudly ordered lunch. I picked him up, carried him through the house to the front porch, fed him, and went back. Ten minutes later he came back and curled up outside the screen door. He didn’t want food or even cuddles, just some company.

That’s pretty much how I feel this week, too.


Reflowing a mixed-language paragraph in Emacs 26.2 breaks katakana words in the middle and inconsistently removes whitespace separating them from English words. (grumblegrumblegetoffmylawn)

Also unrelated

I really hate it when a UPS just decides to shut itself off and then complain. Fortunately I had a newer higher-capacity unit in the same room that I could move the cable modem, firewall router, and switch to. I had added the second one when I bought the Synology NAS, but hadn’t wanted to take the downtime from migrating the other stuff over, and the old UPS had a reasonably recent battery (which isn’t what failed; it’s like the damn thing just decided to stop drawing power from the perfectly-good circuit).

Safari hates Twitter

Since the lockdowns started, I have an off-and-on issue with loading Twitter pages (for the few people I still follow since I deleted my account). We’re talking minutes before it even displays the text content, and it may never get as far as loading images. Then an hour or two later, it’s lightning fast. I have no Safari extensions loaded at all. Other sites load without a problem while the Twitter tabs are spinning their gears.

Meanwhile, another browser on the same machine will load the exact same page, including all images, in a fraction of a second.

Unrelated to any of the above…

The installation instructions for the TRX Xmount tell you that you need a drill with a ¼-inch bit for the pilot hole, and a socket wrench to screw the 3/8-inch by 3-inch bolts into a stud. They fail to specify that the bolts require a 17mm metric socket. This is important when you’re going to be up on a ladder applying considerable leverage to secure the damn thing to the wall.

I find it interesting that the Amazon listing for this product completely disappeared recently, with only knock-off products showing up when you search for it. TRX seems to prefer direct sales through their own web site, to the point that the products they officially sell on Amazon and fulfill themselves are not directly comparable to the models sold on their site. Indeed, there isn’t even a comparison page showing the various generations of their product line, to allow you to make an informed purchasing decision.

They have a subscription-based workout app that I wouldn’t pay for after the free year runs out, but if you have the ability to download youtube videos and save them to your phone or tablet, they’ve been posting new ones every day during the lockdowns, including a series of live workouts with some viewer feedback.

So far, I find Niko Algieri and Jay Brockway to be the most reliable and relatable instructors (although someone really should tell Niko to remove the link to his old web site, since he let the domain registration lapse and it’s now redirected to a Chinese lottery site).

Dear Adobe,

What exactly did you add to an animation tool that allows a buffer-overflow error to lead to remote code execution?

I mean, even this month’s critical security holes in Acrobat are less severe than that, and Acrobat’s made PDF nearly the malware vector that Flash was in its prime.


Pro tip: if your delivery service does not accept cash at this time, update your web site so that customers cannot select it as a payment option.

Dear Bionic Body,

Nothing says “safe and comfortable” like exposed screw heads on exercise equipment, perfectly positioned to dig into your skin.

The person who designed this mutant offspring of a medicine ball and a kettlebell was clearly unfamiliar with “rack position”.

Sad thing is, this was sold out on Amazon along with pretty much all other exercise gear, which means a whole lot of people are going to be taping padding over those screws soon to protect their wrists.

How bored am I right now?

“Buying 40-year-old Japanese art books on Amazon” bored:

(they’re excellent books, by the way, with lots of quality photos and well-translated text)

Movie night

Reminded of it by the state of the state of California, I dug through my shelves to find my ancient DVD copy of Zorro: The Gay Blade. My Bluray player (a region-free Sony) needed a serious power-cycling before it would display anything via HDMI, but after a bit of coaxing I was able to watch this charming and quite quotable little film again for the first time in many years.

For some reason, it’s not available on any streaming service, or on Bluray, and of course the DVD has been out of print for many years. You’d think a story about a campy gay man freeing Californians from a tyrannical oppressor would resonate with the pipples.

Dear Amazon,

Q: What is 17x22x48 inches?

A: The box that two of these arrived in yesterday.

They were curled up in a corner like abandoned puppies. The box wasn’t terribly well-sealed, either, so I’m sure the UPS driver looked inside and had a good laugh about the giant box of air he carried up to my porch with one hand.

In other news, Los Angeles Target shoppers are less murder-y than Detroit Dollar General shoppers, but still pretty violent. Governors, if you want people to enforce mask orders, they’d better be on-duty cops. If you don’t have enough of those to go around, don’t criminalize breathing wrong and expect store clerks to risk their lives for you.

By the way, if they’re actually sick, shooting them is sure to spread the virus as it spatters their blood across the walls and floor…

Totally related, Corona-chan has been in Ohio since at least January. (and that site does something really evil, changing the contents of the URL bar as you scroll down, so that I almost posted a link to the story below it, which is bullshit)


The Dayton Daily News story has more details: onset of currently first known case was January 7 in Miami County, and January 13 in Montgomery County, both women in their seventies. Unless they were on a senior cruise together, this suggests it was spreading in the community in late December. In Ohio.

This upends all the hypotheses about “asymptomatic transmission” that have helped justify the massive shutdown of the country. The only support for the claim that you could spread it without symptoms was the now-proven-incorrect belief that it was newly-arrived and spreading only from people with recent foreign travel history, who were contagious without knowing they were sick.

The reality is that people were coughing and sneezing all winter, thinking they just had the flu or a bad cold, while actually spreading the joy of Corona-chan to family, friends, and holiday shoppers.

“Need a clue, take a clue,
 got a clue, leave a clue”