“While I suppose it’s still true that money cannot buy happiness, it does seem to be possible for money to buy electronics which dispense happiness.”

— Shamus Young goes Wii

Unasked questions…

It sounds like the editor-in-chief of Bon Appétit was an asshole, and his actual on-the-job behavior may well justify his sudden departure. But of course he was actually fired because someone dug through his social media accounts and found out that he once played dress-up for a party (“brownface”).

But that’s not important. The story leads off with complaints from his female person-of-color administrative assistant, a Stanford graduate who was being paid an annual salary of $35,300. She has held this position for more than two years, at Bon Appétit’s Manhattan headquarters. The focus of the lead anecdote is that just days after her boss wrote a recent “woke” piece for the magazine, he rebuffed his only Black subordinate’s request for a raise, despite knowing that she hadn’t been able to pay her rent for the past three months.

Not asked or answered are the questions of what her Stanford degree is in, how much student-loan debt she has, why she took a shitty admin job in the first place, and why she’s still staying in a job that pays shit money that won’t cover her rent.

Sure, her boss might be an asshole and hypocrite who considers her skillset so unexceptional that he’ll blow off her plea for something better than $17 an hour, but maybe he’s right. Maybe there are twenty other gullible young recent grads so eager to work in the publishing industry that they’ll pass over a lucrative career as a Walmart greeter in Montana to polish his golf clubs (not a euphemism, apparently).

(via Althouse)

(someone in the comments claims to have tracked down her social media presence and found that her degree is a BA in “African and African American Studies”; that and a quarter-million in student loans will buy you a job fetching coffee)


These are not the sweater puppies I was looking for.

Corona-chan wears mink

We now have two known cases of mink-to-human infection, leading to a massive cull of the mink population in the Netherlands. In the US, we have a lemming problem, but so far they’re penning themselves up in Seattle, asking for gluten-free soy-based food to replace what was looted from them by their feral comrades.


Not a “kept in the dark and fed bullshit” reference, just this week’s episode of Good Eats Reloaded. I don’t cook with mushrooms as much as I used to, because most of the people I’ve been cooking with the last 20-some years don’t like them. But since there’s nobody around…

Related, Alton Brown has a number of new videos on Youtube, in his new Pantry Raid and Quarantine Quitchen mini-shows, along with some extras from Reloaded, including a short video on knives.

Flying Pig Alert!

The New York Times suddenly has something nice to say about moving manufacturing back to the US, as New Yorkers are afflicted with a devastating kettlebell shortage.

I particularly love the bit where someone finally managed to order one, twice, and both times it was stolen off of his porch after being delivered. I’m guessing that had less to do with it being a kettlebell than with him being in New York City.

The story actually covers the fact that pretty much all fitness equipment is out of stock, but only makes the Chinese manufacturing connection for kettlebells, despite the fact that most of the stuff is made there, and even their knockoff products are hard to find right now.

Speaking of which, I enjoyed the Amazon review of a random-brand knockoff of the TRX Xmount, which said it was just as good as the much more expensive one, even with the poor welds. Yeah, “poor welds” is just what I’m looking for in a product designed to hold my bodyweight and keep me from smacking my head into the floor.

Forget 1984

This year’s playbook really is Demolition Man, where those calling to “defund the police” claim they just mean “reform and retask them for social justice”, but really mean get rid of cops, a policy leading to peaceful conflict resolution, as ably illustrated in this documentary clip.

PBS comedy hour

Actual headline, emphasis added:

San Francisco may stop hiring cops with records of misconduct

Neighbors Against Illegal Fireworks

With both wildfire and fireworks season coming on fast, I saw a bunch of signs from this group while I was out shopping today. Not looking up your acronym in a dictionary before ordering billboards makes you look a bit naïve…

Well, that was unexpected

My new Okabashi sandals, ordered Sunday with the promise of delivery sometime next week, arrived today. But what’s unexpected is that their new-rubber scent smells remarkably like pipe tobacco. Specifically, Captain Black.

Multitasking Considered Harmful

I was baking bread while chatting with an old friend and potential new co-worker, and when it came time to preheat the oven, I forgot that I’d stashed a package of Costco pastries in there a few hours earlier.

Surprisingly, twenty minutes of warming to 350°F had done them no serious harm, but since the clear plastic container had turned milk-white, I decided not to find out what sort of outgassing might have taken place.

Metaphor alert!

Porch cat has decided that even though it gets him shot in the face with water, jumping up onto the window/door screens and hanging from them by his claws is the most effective way to request a meal. He knows that even if I give him a time-out today, the handouts will arrive on schedule tomorrow.

Artificial Stupidity, getting worse

(J talking to himself, not saying anything similar to Al*xa)

FireTV: “Who did you want to call?”

J: “Nobody. I wasn’t speaking to you.”

FireTV: “I couldn’t find a contact matching ‘nobody i wasn’t speaking to you.’”

J: “I’m not trying to make a call.”

FireTV: “I couldn’t find a contact matching ‘i’m not trying to make a call.’ If you want to check your contacts list, please open the Al*xa app.”

J: “Al*xa, stop.”

I have never made a call using this or any Echo device. I have never allowed the app access to my contacts. Like many unwanted “features” Amazon has added (like looking up randomly overheard things in Wikipedia or auto-detecting “depression keywords”), there doesn’t seem to be any way to turn it off.

Hell, if there were any actual “AI” involved in the product, it would have learned by now that there is no internet-connected waterfall in my house, and started consistently parsing the words “water pump on”.

“You drive 15 miles, what do you get?”

“A haircut!” I gave up waiting for the local Sport Clips to reopen and went to their Marina location. 2-minute wait, minimal nuisance (just had to hold my mask while she trimmed around my ears). I tipped $20.

Speaking of masks, the WHO has finally gathered enough evidence to confess that there never was any real threat of asymptomatic transmission of Corona-chan. In a better world, I’d have been able to write “confess shamefully”, but nobody involved in The Great Lockdown is up to admitting error or taking blame.

Keep Calm And Carry

“Defund the police, but ban guns”

If we engrave the right slogans on our homes, businesses, cars, and foreheads, surely the mob will pass us by.


Parcel delivery services should have speakers that play a jaunty little tune, like ice cream trucks. That way you know when your package is getting close.

Chicago has new food deserts

Apparently looting and burning grocery stores makes it difficult for people to buy groceries. I’m sure home-delivery services will pick up the slack!

Dear Amazon,

WTF? I navigated to the “Exercise and Fitness” department, scrolled down to “shop popular brands”, and selected “Polar” (the maker of the heart-rate straps for my elliptical cross-trainer). The first page of results consists of several streaming movies and series, two stern lectures about white fragility (inexplicably marked “non-fiction”), the Minecraft app, a Washington Post subscription, a smart light switch, several albums, a running shoe, QuickBooks, and a pack of 50 face masks.

Why the totally random crap? The clue is in the header line above the results: “1-16 of over 1,000,000 results for”. Yup, the promotional link for Polar doesn’t actually go anywhere, so this was basically a “revelance” search through your entire catalog. Spoiler: I’m not interested in any of it.

The Quaker alternative

“Friend, I mean thee no harm, but thou art standing where I am about to shoot.”


Pacific Gas & Electric has announced the rules for this year’s Shutoff Roulette (officially, Public Safety Power Shutoff), in which they’re once again planning pre-emptive power outages to cover for the decades of poor maintenance that have significantly increased the dangers of wildfire season. They promise this year’s outages will affect one-third less customers for typically no more than 12 hours after a strong wind blows down their power lines.

On the bright side, because of the continuing shelter-at-home-unless-you’re-rioting orders, you can self-certify yourself for emergency power if your life depends on electricity for medical devices.

D is for Despicable

Anyone who compares the liberators of occupied Europe to the enforcement branch of the Communist Party is:

  • A: a Democrat

  • B: batshit crazy

  • C: evil

  • D: all of the above

3D cheesecake 31: room service

Hotel rooms are a very popular location for photo shoots in Japan for a number of reasons, including the popularity of “nanpa” pick-ups. There’s an entire genre of porn devoted to pretending that it’s really easy to pick up sweet and lovely young women/girls on the street and get them to pull a train for middle-aged salarymen. Pay no attention to their professionally-applied makeup and conspicuously-fresh fancy lingerie.

And of course, if you don’t have your own studio or can’t afford to rent one (or at least a nice suite), where else are you going to take your model?

For obvious reasons, this one’s pretty much all NSFW, so here’s some unrelated notes and images to pad it out:

Rewatch: The Witcher

Also The Umbrella Academy, and the thing they most have in common is that the more I learned about the source material, the less I was interested in reading it. IMHO, both Netflix series substantially improve on their sources as presented on their respective wikis, largely by throwing out convoluted baffling horseshit.

Seriously, it’s canon that Ciri is Snow White, complete with seven dwarfs, and everyone wants to knock her up to get a child of power, including her own father, who colluded with Vilgefortz to stage his death as “Duny” so he could overthrow the usurper and reclaim the throne of Nilfgaard. Meanwhile, in the UA graphic novels, dad was actually a poorly-disguised alien, which is not the biggest WTF.

Both also have some excellent performances by actors who work very well in their roles. UA’s first episode can be a bit of a chore, especially with the central character an emotionless zombie. That’s not really a flaw in the actress’ performance; she’s supposed to be that way. It just makes it difficult to get engaged in the story.

Oh, and don’t go anywhere near any Witcher fan discussions. When they’re not fantasizing improbable ships, they’re either ignoring what’s presented on the screen or arguing based on a canon that’s scattered across a bunch of inconsistent novels, comics, games, and previous movie/tv series.

Slow-playing the reopening

Turns out the local Sport Clips has not in fact reopened. The chain marked the store as re-opened in the app and people started booking haircuts, but when I went by at 10am Thursday, there were two disgruntled cleaning guys waiting for someone to show up and let them in. And a sign on the door said “check the app for our reopening date”. Sigh.

What could possibly go wrong?

Germany to require gas stations to also charge electric cars. Gosh, I’m old enough to remember when they told you not to use your cellphone at the gas pump because it might spark a fire. Imagine the fun when you’ve got to rebuild your station to handle a mix of people who load up on fossil fuels in five minutes and people who sit there for at least half an hour at a Van de Graaff generator.

Good Eats Reloaded

This week’s episode revised Flat Is Beautiful 2. I could have used that for a theme, but that’s another show.

On suppressing riots

Long ago, Colonel Cooper advocated identifying the cadre organizing the riot and reducing their enthusiam with a single subsonic .22LR to the lung from a suppressed rifle. Unlikely to be fatal, unlikely to start a stampede, just enough to take the wind out of their sails. No school like the old school, perhaps, but it could never happen here.

I’d like to at least see all the rioters forced to serve a few hundred hours of community service cleaning up inner-city neighborhoods. The survivors might even learn something.


Ally: Trying to be eaten last.

Woke: Trying to be beaten last.

This hurts to look at

Not the girl, the… “thing” in her right hand.

Dear spammer,

A for swiping American Express’ actual fraud-detection email template, saving yourself from the possibility of inept spelling and grammar.

B for using an almost believable .com domain name consisting of the real one with “exps” appended.

C for not including any personal information in the body of the email that would convince me that you knew anything about my account.

D for routing the “click here” links through a URL shortener.

F for sending it to the wrong email address.

All of the above combined to send it to my Junk folder, so there was no chance I’d fall for it.

On classic cheesecake

Whoever shot this set of Nana Ogura was definitely a fan of the golden age of Playboy magazine. (disable javascript before visiting this NSFW site!)


Good news, bad news…

Good: the local Sport Clips finally re-opened this morning!

Bad: the wait is already 146 minutes!

Good: the announced “peaceful” “protest” to loot and burn the strip mall it’s in never happened!

Bad: it’s already 84°F at 10:30 am!

Good: the high for Friday is supposed to be only 64°F!

Bad: with rain!

Since I expect to have video interviews next week, it’ll be nice to get a haircut this week. Also, if I start a new job soon, I could take advantage of the 0% financing deal Toyota’s offering until July 6th (or just pay cash, but for 0%, why not?). And my local dealer currently has one on the lot with exactly the options I want. It’s even the right color.

I still wouldn’t have anywhere to go in the short term, since that company will still be 100% remote for a while, but 240,000 miles is good enough for the old Camry Hybrid.

Well, that’s a new one

Just got email from Amazon offering me a $5 discount on Kindle books by John Varley, because I recently bought Irontown Blues (after the price finally dropped from over $10 to $6.99). Unfortunately, when I clicked through, the only book included in the offer was Millenium.

Yes, the basis for the Kris Kristofferson/Cheryl Ladd film that was memorably slammed in one of Scott Thompson’s Buddy Cole routines on The Kids In The Hall:

“You see, one day, some American thought, ‘hey, I want to make a terrible movie in Canada; everybody else has!’”

That’s a funny way to slay a demon…

The problem with fan art from shows you’ve never watched is that I can’t tell whether the artist has correctly drawn a character who strikes with the spine of her blade, or has incorrectly drawn the shape of both sword and scabbard.

That is, the placement of her right hand says that the side facing her body is the (missing) edge, but the scabbard says that’s clearly the inside of the curve, which would be the spine of a normal katana. Other fan drawings (1, 2) show the sword having a shape consistent with her hand placement, suggesting that the answer is #2: the artist blew the curve.

Corona-chan’s 2019 World Tour

Tentative evidence suggesting Corona-chan reached France in November. The pattern that’s emerging is good news for the world, bad news for politicians who couldn’t pass up the chance to remake the world to their liking.


There’s apparently a flier circulating for a planned protest Tuesday at the nearby shopping center that includes a Safeway, Walmart, Target, Olive Garden, Shell, and a bunch of still-mostly-closed small businesses. Setting aside the fact that they’re several days behind the riot curve, this is a terrible place to protest anything, because it’s a sprawling suburban strip mall with no real focus point, and also because the area is closer to La Raza than to BLM. They’re unlikely to draw a sympathetic crowd, and likely to draw an overwhelming response from law enforcement if anyone shows up ready to rumble.

Honestly, selecting a strip mall that’s far away from a government office or police station for their “peaceful” “protest” looks more like choosing the stores they plan to loot. What are they going to do, chant slogans while marching through the parking lot from the Pet Fun to the AutoZone, with a stop for lunch at Red Lobster?

“There’s a riot goin’ on…”

It’s almost like there are a bunch of perpetual losers out there with free-floating grudges against the world and no concept of a social contract or civil society, willing to pillage, loot, and burn at the slightest excuse. Seriously, just how do you go from “peacefully” “protesting” police brutality in Minneapolis to breaking into the statehouse and burning flags in Columbus, Ohio?

As usual, the Bee’s got it covered.

Kudos to the group whose organizer was bright enough to protest in front of the CNN building in Atlanta. Whether they were smart enough to look for their keys where the light is better or just clever enough to recognize the enemy, they were in a better position than the clowns looting Target and burning down affordable housing projects. Until they lost control of their angry mob, anyway.


Once you start the reign of terror, Madame La Guillotine is no longer your friend.

Master of the Secret of the Riddle of the Daughter of the Times

Somehow I missed it when Lyndon Hardy released Kindle versions of his X of the N Y fantasy trilogy, revised and updated. And then added two more books to the series, one just this year, which sadly break the naming pattern and the numbering sequence. Amazon finally got around to recommending them to me. Kind of odd that it took so long, given how many fantasy novels I’ve bought or rebought there over the years.

I also hadn’t noticed that Jessica Amanda Salmonson’s Tomoe Gozen trilogy is also available on Kindle. I could never find the first one back in the day, so I ended up reading her standalone novel The Swordswoman instead, which vaguely irritated me. When I went back to reread it for my occasional “forgotten SF novels” series, the handling of Japanese-style swords was actually more annoying than the original problems, which now just look like bleed-through from the author’s identity struggles.

Dennis Schmidt’s Kensho novels, however, have not been Kindled. This is another series where I could never find the first one (Way-farer), and didn’t want to start in the middle. There are plenty of battered old paperback copies out there, though, so I just bought the whole set, and I’ll read them after they all trickle in over the next few weeks.

According to ISFDB, Schmidt died in 2003, so I’m guessing his estate is either unwilling or unable to sort out the rights and put his work back in print.

The works of Kevin O’Donnell, Jr. are in the same state following his death in 2012. I’ve picked up a few battered old paperbacks of his, too.

Picture Is Unrelated


The State has magnanimously granted Monterey County the right to enter stage 2 of phase 2, restoring to the people the right to eat in restaurants, receive full-service car washes, enter retail stores not previously considered essential, pass (relatively) freely through outdoor museums and public spaces, summon maids and janitors to their homes and businesses, send their children to schools run like prisons (literally “schools with modifications”), and get haircuts.

Earlier this week, the governor, finally recognizing the reality that he was losing his grip on his subjects, reopened shopping malls and in-person religious services across the state.

Still a long way to go:

Travel for non-essential activities is still not allowed. Apart from worship services, gatherings of people not from your household are not permitted.