“Maybe directors like dictators because they understand the desire to have final cut.”

— James Lileks, on the Hollywood Left

Lockdown Hut


Just got the weekly ads in my mailbox, and after throwing 90% of them directly into the recycling bin, the big news at Pizza Hut is:

  • New lower regular prices!

  • No service fee!

  • Lower delivery charge!

Given that non-pizza food deliveries are notoriously unprofitable for the restaurants and the delivery companies (which are burning through VC cash like there’s no tomorrow), this is an interesting development. Unlike many retailers, pizza stores can make it up in volume; one really good rush (“high-school team wins big”) can cover the fixed costs for an entire week.

I’m not a fan of the current “contactless delivery” methods, though, because the last time I had a pizza delivered, the food arrived in a sealed, unventilated plastic bag. Opening the bag released the smell of soggy cardboard, which is just not as appetizing as fresh, hot pizza.

Also, any place outside my house that’s safe to put down containers of hot food is also available as a cat perch, so I end up face-to-face with the driver anyway.

I haven’t yet tested the partially-reopened restaurant dining rules, or gone to the mostly-reopened mall to evaluate the masked and distant shopping experience. Safeway, Costco, and Lowes are pretty much the only places I have any interest in going this week, and the only reason I need to go to Costco is because they were out of Diet Pepsi the last time I was there. Everything else is pretty much back in stock, including yeast.

The remaining closed stores in the mall are either still banned by executive order, or likely going out of business. Monterey County is in “early stage 3”, which includes cardrooms, gyms, massage parlors, and movie theaters, but the local theaters are more likely to go bankrupt than reopen any time soon.

Full-Contact Delivery

Random Thoughts, Apolitical Edition


7 is the new 5

Perl 6 is dead, long live Perl 7. Because it’s just going to be Perl 5 with sane modern defaults, rather than an entire new language that libraries won’t ever be ported to. Call it Perl 5++++.

Although it sounds like it still might not default to Unicode.

I confess that I’ll miss bareword filehandles; my fingers have been automatically typing those out since Perl 1.16. Can’t say that I’ll miss the old $; method of faking multi-dimensional arrays, though; can’t even remember the last time I used that one.

I’m not terribly fond of OO programming, and while Perl’s crude approximation to it works, the way it was shoe-horned into the language is, well, nasty, especially when people who know how to muck with package internals get involved. It sounds like the actually-designed Cor system is planned for Perl 7 core.

(technically Perl 6 was already renamed Raku (derived from the Japanese rakuda-dō 駱駝道 “the way of the camel”) and officially declared a sibling rather than a successor to Perl 5, but it is dead, as far as ever getting any real traction among Perl users)

Out with the Krups…

…in with the DeLonghi. My convection toaster oven died last week. At least, the convection part did, which meant that the heat distribution became sufficiently uneven that it could no longer accomplish its most important task: quickly and reliably cooking single-serving frozen pizzas.

It had a good run. It was the Cook’s Illustrated recommended model, so long ago that the model that replaced it was discontinued a few years back. Also, the rubber buttons on the front had been degrading for years, becoming tacky.

So I went looking at the current recommendations, and while the Breville Smart Oven was king of the mountain until recently, the new Pro version is apparently a bit of a downgrade. The Air version is reportedly excellent, adding a higher-speed fan mode to work as an “air fryer”, but it’s a bit pricy. So I went with the next option on the list, the DeLonghi Livenza.

So far, so good. At least, for single-serving frozen pizzas…

Pokémon cash-grab MOBA?

Yet Another Pokégame announcement this morning, this time a 5-on-5 multiplayer battle game for Switch/iOS/Android, with in-app purchases, developed by an outside studio. I’m guessing it won’t have support for typical “your mother fucked a Tentacruel” in-game chat.

In case you missed it, the previous announcement included the tooth-brushing game Pokémon Smile. Yeah, we’re all turning handsprings down here, I tell you.

Farmer’s Harbinger

My daily 60-yard farmer’s walk with a pair of 80-pound kettlebells is a great way to get the blood circulating, but my gloves weren’t good enough to prevent significant callusing at the base of my middle finger. Rogue Fitness had a sale on Harbinger Lifting Grips that brought them down to the same price as Amazon, so I added them to my recent order (the rest of which arrived today, for another 30 pounds of UPS boxes). The M/L size fits my hands perfectly, and the “advanced” grip style reduces the stress on my hands enough that I could add another 20-yard lap around the house while I wait for heavier weights to come back into stock.

I’ve been thinking of getting a set of PowerBlock 90-pound adjustable dumbbells, but their US-made model is selling out as fast as they can make them, and the rest of their line is probably stuck somewhere in the Pacific. Ditto for Rogue’s kettlebells, although they’ve added a new US-made line manufactured in Cadillac, Michigan, a town I haven’t been to in about forty years.

Amusingly, the new Cadillac model is a significant upgrade over the foreign bells, although I still wish they had a wider handle on the heavier ones, for more comfortable two-handed swings.

Okay, I said apolitical, but…

“Math is hard for me, let’s go virtue-signalling”: Irrational number of mathematicians hate cops. Seriously:

“Really any collaboration between mathematics, which is something that I love and that I find extremely beautiful, and the institution of policing shouldn’t happen.”

Proof that you don’t need brains to write proofs.

Random Thoughts, Occupied Edition


Pro Tip: Occupy The Restrooms First

Protestors at the University of Chicago were allowed to stage a sit-in inside the campus police headquarters, but once the building closed for the night, they couldn’t get pizza delivered or go to the bathroom.

Back in my pizza delivery days, there were small no-go zones in every neighborhood, which often included areas near college campuses but not the student housing; we were worried about the people who preyed on the students. The kids wouldn’t even tip a nickel, but the store made it up in volume. Any manager I ever worked for would have made “protests” a no-go zone.

A Modest Proposal

The only lasting solution to police brutality and lack of accountability is to change police culture. Entrenched unions prevent simply firing or replacing them, so clearly the solution is to triple the number of cops in every major city, but recruit only people who are committed to social justice, like gender/race studies majors and journalism students. Once they’re the majority, they can effect real lasting change of the type they demand.

Or you could just outlaw all public-sector unions and stop voting for the Democrats that run all those cities, but that’s crazy talk.

Good Eats Reloaded this week

Chicken stock in a pressure cooker, for homemade chicken soup. That’s actually one thing I haven’t used mine for yet. I did think it was interesting that he only cooked the chicken breasts to 150°F (not under pressure), and didn’t say anything about carryover heat getting them to the usual “safe” 165°F.

This Will Not End Well

The state of MaineRhode Island is officially changing it’s name because the full name of the state includes the word “plantations”, which triggers white people who think it triggers black people.

Next up, Indiana! I suppose Ohio might survive by claiming they’ve actually appropriated the Japanese word for “good morning”, but some other states might have to be more creative…

3D cheesecake 32: smiles


With California under mandatory masking, it’s hard to tell what kind of mood people are in when you’re in public. So here’s some cheerful cheesecake.

I want to see an inverted harem comedy where each of the girls gives up and finds a guy who’s into her and willing to commit to a real relationship, leaving Our Hero progressively more alone until in the final episode, he ends up the Best Man at their mass wedding. Call it Shoumi Kigen! (賞味期限, “sell-by date”). The beach/hot-springs episode would come at the beginning.

Unrelated, Singin’ “Bye, bye, canceled Eskimo Pie”

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen the “Eskimo Pie” brand of ice cream sandwich in a store, but now I never will. Honestly, I can’t see them introducing a replacement product at all; you can’t keep brand loyalty if you don’t keep the brand. Without the name, logo, or mascot, they’d just be another new product in a crowded market. I nominate “Effrontery Bar” as the new name, with an angry middle-class white woman as mascot.

Still Unrelated, Dear Delonghi,

Hire a proofreader for your next small-appliance manual:

Back to the cheesecake…

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Random Thoughts, Pokémon DLC edition


Mustard is cut

Spoiler alert! If you were wondering what a hot MILF like Honey sees in the ancient master Mustard, you find out when you fight him for the first time.

(quick take: the DLC doesn’t add a whole lot to the game except more raids and more mons, and you can pretty much faceroll through the brief story; there’s no standout feature, and the difficulty scales exactly like the original Wild Area, with only a few things gated by your progress in the main story; pretty typical DLC, in other words)

Scooter Science!

Researchers paid by Lime say using Lime is safer than using Lime’s competitors. Well, higher chance of escaping Corona-chan, perhaps, but lower chance of escaping riots. Or carrying packages. Or staying out of the weather. Or travelling non-trivial distances.

Mask Harder, Peasant!

CA governor Benito Newsom has issued a new statewide wear-the-fucking-mask order, to make your hot summer-y days as unpleasant as possible. I continue to be glad that it’s generally 10-15 degrees cooler at my house than up in Silicon Valley.

Unintended consequences?

If they keep canceling all the brand-spokespersons-of-color, doesn’t that mean that soon the only faces you’ll see on boxes will be white? Certainly no corporation is going to take the risk of creating new brand mascots that incorporate appropriate any identifiable “ethnic” features, for fear of being canceled when the ground shifts again.

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

Update

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.

Random Thought Autonomous Zone


Janky Panki

At the temporary low price (it’s back to $9.99 when I look on Amazon, logged in or not), I read The Pursuit of the Pankera, the abandoned draft of The Number of the Beast resurrected as a posthumous Heinlein novel. It was not a waste of my time, but it gradually fell apart until it ended in abruptly disconnected scenes. I was correct to wait for the price drop; half of it is a novel I’ve already read, and the other half is Heinlein writing fanfic.

Corona-chan by the numbers

According to the CDC (preliminary numbers), from February 1 to June 6, 1,091,256 people died in the US, 95,608 of them from COVID-19. 81% of COVID-19 deaths were age 65 or older, compared to 75% of all deaths. Deaths from any combination of pneumonia, flu, and/or COVID-19 added up to 166,265, of which 80% were age 65 or older.

I assert that the only reason to pursue Stacy’s Mom is for the chance to become Stacy’s Daddy. This is related to COVID-19 statistics for the sad reason that one of the songwriters died of it.

Unrelated assertion

According To Experts, the risk of spreading COVID-19 in a public gathering is inversely proportional to the risk of spreading FAHRENHEIT-451.

The “anti” in Antifa is precisely equivalent to the “in” in Inflammable. Ditto “anti-racist”.

Good Eats Reloaded

It’s probably for the best that the chocolate éclair and pastry cream episode didn’t air earlier in lockdown season.

Completely Unrelated To Anything Else

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that Nanami Sena’s swimsuit is not available at JC Penney:

Ice? Ice, baby!

The ice-maker in my Samsung fridge is, well, frozen. I can’t tell for sure because I can’t get it open, and while it was willing to dispense some ice, the stuff that’s jamming it shut is apparently out of range of the corkscrew.

So I need to go buy a bunch of ice, unpack the fridge and freezer, and unplug the silly thing until the offending chunks melt. I have the cooler capacity to do this; I just don’t want to.

Pixiv Champloo 12


I was going to do something with a theme today, but then the software update on my Synology NAS failed, a reboot got stuck at a blinking blue light for more than 20 minutes, and I feared it would need major surgery. A hard power-cycle didn’t produce any change, so I was prepping to follow the “blinking blue light of death” FAQ (which involves pulling all the drives, reinstalling onto a scratch drive, then reinserting all but one disk of the first volume and doing a repair), when it suddenly came back to life. The only thing I’d changed was disconnecting the USB cable leading to the UPS, so I’m guessing there was some disagreement between the two.

Glass TTYs Hardest Hit

The Lurn2Codh Police are busily extracting all “offensive” terminology from computing: male/female, master/slave, blacklist/whitelist, peek/poke, parent/child, fork/exec, kill/killall, dump/restore, finger/man, nice/renice, strip/tail, true/false, zip/unzip, etc, etc. This isn’t new so much as it is becoming more visible as part of signaling to the mob that you don’t want to get burned, metaphorically or literally. I find it completely hilarious that GitHub is going so far as to rename the default branch in software projects from “master” to something not-currently-protested like “main”.

Of course, promoting one branch over another is inherently problematic; all branches are equally important.

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