Doesn’t She Have A Hemp Farm In Sausalito?

The online/print organica from Price Cutter Stores is entitled Liv Organically:

The Liv Organically Magazine

Sure, I know it’s harder to trademark something spelled correctly, but I hate to see expensive print publications spelled like they were created by 12-year-olds on a cell phone. Especially when they first bring to mind not produce but a slightly overweight woman in a frock with long, tangled hair.

Juxt Suppose

Two tabs in my browser today hold the following stories right next to each other.

Lingerie model runs one of world’s largest drug gangs, according to police:

An international arrest warrant has been issued for the 30-year-old, who is suspected of recruiting beautiful women and using them to move drugs to Europe and North America.

Many of these women are believed to be other lingerie and glamour models who compete in international beauty pageants, whom Valencia describes as “unsuspicious, beautiful angels”.

(Link courtesy of Dustbury.)

What’s really behind the departure of Desiree Rogers from Obama’s White House:

And today….

…the weeding began. Desiree Rogers, the White House Social Secretary who was such a close Chicago pal of both Obama and his wife Michelle, is gone as of next month.

(Link seen on Instapundit.)

No connection between the two stories, of course, except a sniggering conspiracy theory in the making. Or maybe a plot for a paperback novel.

Tilikum Is Chinook For “Amy Bishop”

A killer whale kills a trainer in Orlando, and all the quotes in the article are supportive of whales:

Killer whale expert Nancy Black said the whale could have been playing and the incident could have been an accident.

“They are very intelligent creatures. They have emotions, and feelings. Maybe it was unhappy in the situation, maybe it was bored,” Black said.

But this particular Orca has killed before:

Tilikum, the whale believed to be involved in Wednesday’s incident, was also involved in the death of a part-time trainer in Canada in 1991.

In 1999, a 27-year-old South Carolina man somehow entered a whale tank at SeaWorld Orlando after park hours and drowned. Daniel Dukes, who was carrying false identification, was found dead with a bite below his waist, according to autopsy results. He was bitten by Tilikum.

If we were a civilization on the upswing, Tilikum would be lighting lamps in Florida tomorrow night. But we’re not, so this beast will get passed along to another park and will lie low for a couple years before it snaps up another extra from the human race.

(Link seen on Althouse.)

Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others

The Canadian premier flies to Miami for a heart procedure and is unapologetic:

An unapologetic Danny Williams says he was aware his trip to the United States for heart surgery earlier this month would spark outcry, but he concluded his personal health trumped any public fallout over the controversial decision.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, Williams said he went to Miami to have a “minimally invasive” surgery for an ailment first detected nearly a year ago, based on the advice of his doctors.

“This was my heart, my choice and my health,” Williams said late Monday from his condominium in Sarasota, Fla.

“I did not sign away my right to get the best possible health care for myself when I entered politics.”

Unfortunately, the rest of the Canadian public did sign that away when they exited Canadian birth canals.

Sadly, check this out:

“I would’ve been criticized if I had stayed in Canada and had been perceived as jumping a line or a wait list. … I accept that. That’s public life,” he said.

He acknowledges there are waiting lists in Canada for the lesser procedure, and he also acknowledges he would have gone to the front of the line had he remained in Canada for it.

Equality of outcomes means equally bad outcomes for all. People who are so hungry for health care control have their hearts in the right places sometimes, but frankly, have no sense to speak of.

(Link seen on Troglopundit.)

Glenn Reynolds Boosts My Retirement Portfolio

In a post, he uses the Ren and Stimpy catchphrase, “Happy Happy Joy Joy.”

Thank you, Professor Reynolds, for boosting my retirement portfolio, which at this point includes some Ren & Stimpy #1 comic books.

You don’t expect Social Security to keep me in bon bons and Depends, do you?

UPDATE: Professor Reynolds also boost my traffic. Thanks, Professor. Hey, you, if you’re in IT, check out my web log QA Hates You. You want some cool t-shirts and paraphernalia? Check out these things. QA hate propaganda? Get that here.

Book Report: Designing Jewelry with Glass Beads by Stephanie Sersich (2008)

It took me quite some time to get through this book, as you can well tell. Its projects are very elaborate and detailed, with lots of shapes and textures working together. I’ll be honest: I don’t have an eye for these sorts of designs, so I wasn’t too engaged with it. That said, if you’re into that look, this book has a lot of ideas for you.

The projects include a number with stringwork, a multi-strand necklace, numerous earrings, and one using a fabric cord. The other features in the book include some good insights into design, including the use of textures and balance, as well as sidebars on lampwork beading and artist profiles.

I’d better find more books on stitches and woven patterns, since I think that’s my balliwick these days. Maybe I’ll come back to this book in the future, when I’m more advanced.

Books mentioned in this review:

Book Report: Adam-12: Dead on Arrival by Chris Stratton (1972)

I could say many of the same things as I could say about Adam-12: The Runaway for this book. The structure is the same: the Adam-12 car guys handle a couple days’ worth of investigating in Los Angeles, including: repeated calls to a mansion deep within a narrow canyon by the nervous sister of the owner; documentary filmmakers who say they want to do a movie about a solid black neighborhood but who really want to shoot a movie about tension and crime, even if they have to manufacture their own riot; an armed robber targets the neighborhood in the shadow of a concrete plant; and so on.

The book’s climax occurs in the aforementioned mansion during an earthquake that isolates 300 partygoers, the Adam-12 guys, and a murderer, so Reed and Malloy get to play English locked room detectives.

A quick enough read and apparently only half as valuable on the Internet as its predecessor. I do have to quibble with the title, though, since there’s no one actually Dead on Arrival in either of the main cases that thread their ways through the book.

Books mentioned in this review:

Book Report: A Heinlein Trio by Robert Heinlein

This book collects three Heinlein novels:

  • The Puppet Masters, a book in the near future that deals with an invasion from a species of mind-controlling parasites from Titan. A super agent in a unacknowledged government agency is taken over by one of these invaders and survives de-coupling. The agency tries to get the political arm of the government to take drastic measures to oust the invaders, but to no avail, until it is almost too late.

    A good piece of rocket jocketry, with a past future strangely in our past now, but it’s not too badly dated as long as you remember life before the Internet. It’s pulp fiction, but with bits of agreeable politics within it.

  • Double Star, a book about a down-on-his-luck actor selected by an expansionist faction to portray a missing politician for an important ceremony. The double has to avoid assassination attempts and gaffes as he finds himself growing into the role.
  • The Door Into Summer, a bizarre time-traveling novel about an inventor cheated out of the company he founded by his business partner and a woman who set herself up as the inventor’s fiancee and business secretary. The man takes the long sleep–an offering by insurance companies where they will take your money now and put you into cyrogenic sleep for decades so your money will grow and they will get their cut. The sleep goes well, but the inventor finds that the fiancee, bless her heart, has altered his investment election to make it worthless in the future. So the fellow needs to get that straight and to find a young woman he knew in the past. To do so, he travels to the past.

As I said, prime rocket jocketry. Published in the early 1950s, most are set in a future whose date has passed. For example, in The Door Into Summer, the first future setting is 1970, and the second future setting is thirty some years later. That is, both times have passed. If you can get your mind past that, and people born before 1980 probably can, you can really enjoy the books for what they are: simple adventure stories not relying too much on hard science (unlike the stories of today). Additionally, given Heinlein’s politics bent bends along with mine, you can read them without worrying that some smart comment will knock you out of the books.

Worth a read.

Books mentioned in this review:

Book Report: Adam-12: The Runaway by Chris Stratton (1972)

I bought this book for my sainted mother because I think she liked books tied into television shows she liked. Maybe I just made that up. But I got her a pair of Adam-12 books for a buck or something. Little did I realize that these listed on the Internet at $50.00 each. A lot of times, you can find old paperbacks, particularly series, listed on the Internet at bonzo bucks that you can find at book fairs cheap. I’d recommend you buy them if you like them; otherwise, you will buy them and list them on the Internet for bonzo bucks and have them listed there for a long, long time.

At any rate, this book is a hundred and fifty pages of lightweight crime drama. There’s a central case, the Runaway thing in the title, and a series of other incidents that occur to the patrolmen in the course of their rounds. I haven’t seen the show in 20+ years, so I can only assume that the book follows the pattern of the episodes.

It’s a good light quick read, not Ed McBain or John D. MacDonald by any means, but the writing is more pleasant and higher quality than bad pulp.

A couple salient facts:

  • It takes until page 47 for the word “groovy” to appear earnestly and unironically.
  • The climax of the book focuses on a dark mass, with upside down crosses! and dogs dressed as ghosts to keep those meddling kids away. I was going to mock that harder than I am because I realized that, 2 years later, Robert B. Parker’s The Godwulf Manuscript also featured a rescue of a runaway in a dark mass. And if Parker did it before 1990, I cannot mock it.

The cops are upstanding and good. Adam-12 was a Jack Webb program, after all.

Books mentioned in this review:

Light Posting

Sorry for the light posting the last couple of days, but I am sick like the dog, again. Having children is like managing a medieval urban rat rodeo with accompanying exotic coughing flea chorus. I’ve been sick more times this year than I have been in the past decade.

Now pardon me while I wrap a blanket around myself again and watch yet another piece of children’s programming.

Another Sign Unseen

Suspect in slays fan of ‘Dungeons’:

Accused campus killer Amy Bishop was a devotee of Dungeons & Dragons – just like Michael “Mucko” McDermott, the lone gunman behind the devastating workplace killings at Edgewater Technology in Wakefield in 2000.

Bishop, now a University of Alabama professor, and her husband James Anderson met and fell in love in a Dungeons & Dragons club while biology students at Northeastern University in the early 1980s, and were heavily into the fantasy role-playing board game, a source told the Herald.

“They even acted this crap out,” the source said.

Guns don’t kill people. Graph paper and strange dice kill people.

How big of a fan was the other guy?

Police seized two Dungeons & Dragons books from McDermott’s Haverhill apartment after he shot seven co-workers to death on Dec. 26, 2000.

That’s not a whole lot of fan.

(Link seen on Ace of Spades HQ.)

The Basic Misunderstanding

Sarah Silverman, apparently a comedienne of some sort, expresses a basic misunderstanding of marriage in an interview with USA Today Weekend:

Are you interested in ever getting married? [Her last relationship was with talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel.]

I’m interested in having and finding that person for life, but marriage is barbaric. I wouldn’t be a part of it, especially now. Why would anyone want government involved in their love? I think it’s a disgusting club to be in where people who love people of the same sex aren’t allowed.

That’s strange sentiment from someone who mentions her religion earlier in the interview. But perhaps, to the hippy dippy East Coast liberal Jews (her characterization of her household, not my anti-Semitism, thanks), it’s the government’s world and we’re just living in it.

I mean, marriage is a religious and traditional institution sanctioned by the government. Someone with a religious or traditional bent would probably think first of the sanctity of the ceremony, the relationship of the two people in the marriage and their deity, et cetera and et cetera.

Nah, it’s a government thing, and opposing it because the government doesn’t let gay people do it is the hippy dippy liberal thing to do. So Ms. Silverman won’t be crushing any wine glasses because 1)She protests and 2)She must think of marriage as a licensing thing and a JOP thing (Justice of the Peace thing, not misspelled JAP thing, come on).

I’m scoring a conservative trifecta here, I suspect. I’m talking about gay marriage and about a Jewish woman’s characterization thereof. It’s not often one can be homophobic, misogynist, and anti-semitic in one post. Ha! Just kidding. Conservatives do it all the time whenever they use any noun!

Statuses Re: Valentine’s Day

Some of you don’t have me on Facebook, and by “Some of you,” I mean those searching for newscasters’ legs, so you’ve missed a couple of my Valentine’s Day humor. Presented below is a dramatic recreation of the things my Facebook friends have enjoyed:

Brian J. Noggle has rhymed “shop light” with “Hoplite” in this Valentine’s Day sonnet, but it’s to Victor Davis Hanson, so it’s cool.

Brian J. Noggle is having the hardest time making the rat on his homemade “I’d Push The Button That Gave Me Pellets of You Until I Died” Valentine’s Day card look right.

Brian J. Noggle thinks his son does a pretty good Kim du Toit impression for a three-year-old.

I guess the last does not really apply to Valentine’s Day, and, frankly, it’s hard to capture a child doing a South African accent in mere words.

Community Improvement Districts Laid Bare

In the St. Louis area, municipalities throw around CIDs pretty easily. Downtown Webster Groves wants a parking garage? Increase sales taxes on the places where the people who would use that garage would shop. Downtown St. Louis wants to gentrify a couple blocks? Have property owners mail in ballots to increase taxes on those blocks. Suddenly, you have a patchwork of varied tax rates based on town and mall. Meanwhile, these extra taxes and their impact or purpose are muddied by impacted areas and goals.

Clever, Missouri, however, shows the community improvement district at its most bare:

A heated debate Monday night in Clever had city officials debating whether tax payers will pay a penny more for a Dollar General store. Three of the four Clever Board of Aldermen voted to tentatively support a “self tax.” Chris Montgomery, Brandon Gilmore and Jarred King voted to support a Community Improvement District, or C.I.D. Pattsy Bacon voted against it.

The Clever Highway 14 Community Improvement District would include 1.98 acres near Highway 14 and Highway P. Patrick and Jazell Smith of Republic filed a petition.

They want to spend $822,800 with an estimated $261,700 in public site improvements. The district would pay for all public infrastructure costs including utilities, streets and parking lots. In return they could recoup costs from a 1% sales tax and a property tax of up to $1 per $100 of assessed value.

“This is a self tax,” Clever Mayor Trisha Elam said. “It’s not going to affect every resident or every retail shop, just Dollar General”[sic]

It’s not self-tax, though, Mayor. It’s a tax on people who shop there.

Seems to me if Dollar General wanted it bad enough, it could spend the money for its parking lot and utilities. But it doesn’t have to in modern Missouri. It can get taxpayers to do it for them. And if Clever wanted a Dollar General badly enough, it could spend that money out of its annual budget.

But that’s not the way of the world. Now, governments don’t need to prioritize anything. They make a CID to extract a little more from citizens, or they put another .25% on the ballot dedicated to this essential function or that essential function. In the St. Louis area, they recently put a tax on the ballot to provide better radios for the police and fire departments. If that’s not an essential function of government spending, nothing is.

But it’s not to come from the general budget. No, no. You make the citizens pay for the essential services with the extra dedicated taxes and continue spending the general budget on things the citizens would not approve by majority vote if they had the chance.

Clever will probably get its Dollar General store. And if its experiment works, soon other communities in Southwest Missouri will fall prey to the poor governance that pervades St. Louis.

Wherein Noggle Bends the Law of Supply and Demand

Back in the olden days of the early 1990s, I used to spend a lot of time and a lot of my disposable income at the local Mainstream Records because I could walk to it and because I could afford a couple of cheap audiocassettes for our weekend late night cruising expeditions. I gathered a reputation for finding old hits–old being from the middle 1980s–for us to ride to nowhere while learning to sing along. Back in those days, they offered cassette singles that featured, instead of a current song and a piece of filler from the album or a soundtrack, two hits by the same artist. On one of those excursions, I found “Electric Blue” by Icehouse, the best Australian band whose name was not just letters ever. The back side featured “Crazy”, which was pretty much all of their hits on one single since the paean to Australia required of all Australian bands who chart in the United States by an actual Australian law “Great Southern Land” sort of killed their charting in the United States.

The Mainstream Records only had one in stock, and I snapped it up to share with Deb and Chris in the comfort of Chris’s old Cutlass Sierra. Of course, by “old,” I mean it was only as old as the songs, but when you’re <20, there's a lot of things that are "old." During our rides through the Wisconsin dark, I convinced Deb I was singing to her, and she thought I sounded an awful lot like Iva Davies although in retrospect, of course I know I did not. So when an employee came along with the stone tablets that they used for ordering in those days, children, and noticed that Icehouse had sold, Mainstream ordered another copy. When that other copy arrived, I bought it immediately, and by immediately, I mean within a day or so of its shelving. As I said, I spent a lot of time there. I probably gave that copy directly to Deb. So when the Mainstream employee came along the next time with the tablet and chisel, he or she noticed that Icehouse had sold out, again. So they hammered a bigger number into the stone. Within short order, two copies of the Icehouse single arrived. Of course, I bought them immediately as well. One for Chris and one for my brother. Perfect! Then the Mainstream employee came along and thought he was seeing some revival of Icehouse or some strange musical fad blip, but this proactive Mainstream employee ordered four copies.

Which sat on the Mainstream shelf probably until the record store went out of business in the middle 1990s. They had no way of knowing that I was only a small-time taste maker and that the sudden surge in Icehouse’s popularity in the northwest corner of Milwaukee was very limited in scope indeed.