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People are so accustomed to being misdirected by their GPS devices that one would hardly notice if it had been hacked to detour one into a gradually-narrowing dark lane for nefarious purposes.
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As a number of broadcasters have decided not to play "Baby, It's Cold Outside", I've been hearing a lot of "One song you're not going to hear much this Christmas is 'Baby, It's Cold Outside'" and clips from that song, on the news sources that I follow.

The other day, I heard a radio comedian wittering about "'Say, what's in this drink?' Well, they didn't have roofies back then." This is true. But they did have "putting several times more alcohol into a mixed drink than one would expect". Or whatever. Clearly, the woman is finding that her drink isn't what she's expecting, and finds it concerning.

Like "Have Some Madeira, M'Dear", this song hasn't aged well.

Though hearing it sung by Ricardo Montalban, my internal response to "what's in this drink?" involves Corinthian leather, coffee, and CREEETURES.
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2 deer decorations
This isn't a trick of perspective; that's the way they're set up.
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I firmly believe that at any institution that serves meals, all personnel should be required to eat that institution's food, for a full work day, at least once a month.

Under the same conditions that all the "regular" people get it. If you're working in the kitchen, you don't get your institutional meal fresh from the kitchen. You get it after it's been sitting in the delivery units in the hallways (or whatever), immediately after the meals have been served to all of the "regular" people. So you get the full experience.

Context: My father just left the hospital, earlier than the doctors and therapists thought was advisable. Part of that was the terrible, terrible food, that even the doctor thought was terrible and was entirely forthright about not wanting to offer excuses for.
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This trade war national-security thing has a simple solution.  We just craft a formal treaty, solemnly promising that Canada will not burn down the White House a second time.
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A guy just pulled up in my driveway and rang the doorbell, to thank me for putting up my signs.  "I totally agree with you.  Ford is."

I asked him if he'd like the links so he could make up his own copies.  He hesitated, then said, "No, I've already got signs up for Roberts."

That would be Jeremy Roberts.  Our Conservative candidate.

I really don't get it.  But if it makes the guy think about the issue, I may have done some good.

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I heard back from Elections Ontario regarding making my own lawn signs.
You can create and display your own lawn sign, however please note that all political advertising must name the entity/person authorizing the advertising. No specific language is required for the authorization but it must be apparent what person or entity has caused the advertisement to appear and any other person or entity that has sponsored or paid for it. An example of appropriate authorization wording is “Authorized by the XYZ entity”.

Every person or entity spending $500 or more on political advertising in either the six months before a fixed date general election (the non-election period) or during an election period and who is not a registered candidate, political party, or constituency association, must register with Elections Ontario. Registration is not required where the third party is spending less than $500 on political advertising in either the non-election period or the election period.

During the blackout period [includes the day before polling day and polling day for all elections], lawn signs displayed are not considered to be paid commercial third party political advertising and can appear at any time.


This is a link to a Google Docs document with the "Anyone But Ford" sign, letter-sized.  This is for 22"x17" ("C" paper) signs, and this is for 24"x18" ("Arch C") size.  The lawn signage that consists of a plastic sheath over a sturdy wire frame is usually 24"x18".  It's illegal to disturb (legal) election signage, but these signs are often used for illegal commercial advertising (AKA "street spam"), and repurposing some of those would be helping to keep your neighborhood tidy.  I'm hoping to get my signs up tomorrow once I've got them printed.

There will also be the matter of setting up a camera to watch them.  Might as well catch a few Ford Nation types vandalising them, while I'm at it.

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I'm looking into the legalities of making my own lawn signs...


There are a lot of blue (i.e., Conservative) lawn signs in my neighborhood.

A friend of mine chatted with our Conservative candidate at her door for a few minutes. The best thing that candidate was able to say about Rob Ford, his own party leader, was "He's not his brother." Well, yay for that.
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In 1993, my friend Alana started the "involuntary celibacy" / "incel" project as a website and mailing list. At the time, it was a mutual-support thing for people who were, for whatever reason, unable to find partners. (I was part of the group briefly, but found that it was much more about celibacy than about romantic partners, i.e. not really what I was looking for.) Though there was a lot of social cluelessness, there wasn't the bitterness, anger, and misogyny that are hallmarks of "incel" today.

After a couple of years, Alana handed control of the site and mailing list over to someone else, and moved on with her life.

A few years ago, when "incel" got into the news as a violently misogynist movement, she was shocked by the transformation of something good into something terrible. Every time another incident has come up, she's been smacked by it. And with the van attack on April 23rd in Toronto, where she lives, it's come home. She has been a "media darling" and is tired of it. Her Twitter feed is full of both hatred from men and hatred of all "incels". Some "incels" are merely socially awkward; even some of the misogynists could be educated.

So a couple of days ago, she set up a new site, "Love, Not Anger", to try to educate people. She's trying to get back to her original premise.
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King Baldric of Ealdormere: "How are you Evan Little?"

Me: "So my parents called me, Sir."

I don't really know where that came from. It just sort of rolled out of my mouth. My brain is weird.

I was given the Award of Orion — Ealdormere's mid-level award for the arts — this afternoon, for my contributions to the choir. It's quite a lovely scroll.

It does seem odd to me that that's the name for the arts award. It would be more appropriate for martial activities, I think.

Iron Argon

Dec. 4th, 2017 12:49 pm
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The other day, I ran across a lyric phrase that struck me as being infelicitous. I decided to look it up on line, and stumbled across a published work that I think gives the celebrated "Eye of Argon" a run for its money. Possibly leaving it in the dust (by which I mean the dust which racks the climes of the baren land which dominates large portions of the Norgolian empire, of course). The author of "Eye of Argon", Jim Theiss, had to look things up in a paper thesaurus and heck-and-punt on a manual typewriter. Dennis M. Barrer Jr., author of Templars and Pagans, had modern text-editing software, and could copy-and-haste from electronic reference sources.  Which presumably helped him to output some hundreds of pages, as compared to Theiss's mere 22-ish pages.  It's a remarkable piece of work, available for sale on Amazon and elsewhere.  Not to be missed by fans of the original EoA.

Rule 404

Nov. 28th, 2017 05:17 pm
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Rule 404: For any subject, there is a website that is supposed to contain porn about it, but which is not working.
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CBC Radio's national science show "Quirks and Quarks" usually ends with a question from a listener, answered by a specialist that the show has found. This weekend's question is from me:
Given all of the TV shows and movies about "mutants", I've been wondering: what proportion of humans are really mutants? That is, having at least one gene that's different from the genes of either parent? Or, depending on the genetic error/damage rates, how many "mutant" genes does a person have, on average?
I'm looking forward to hearing what they come up with.  I've been irritated by the repeated stuff about "we have this amazing machine that detects all of the mutants in the world".  Even if one goes with a stricter definition that the genetic change must have observable consequences.

I've sent them a couple of questions before, and no doubt will come up with others interesting enough for a national audience. Really, if one has a Ph.D. in science, if one can't come up with weird questions at the drop of a hat, something is very wrong.

The show is scheduled for broadcast on Saturday Oct. 21st from noon to 1 p.m., and will also be available as a podcast.

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The packet I received from TD with my new credit card is headed: "Thank you for consenting to your TD [blah blah] Card." Though I know that that's based on recent scandals involving people being signed up for bank services without their consent, it still seems like a remarkably negative way of putting it.

Also, I consented to receiving services from the bank. I haven't consented to the card itself. What does this card have in mind? Do I need a safe word? The PIN is probably not appropriate / sufficient for that purpose.
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There was a time when getting enthusiastic support from the far right would be political death for a candidate, anywhere the constituency was not itself strongly leaning right.

Bloom county radical right


Doctor 5Ws

Jun. 11th, 2017 10:36 pm
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Someday in the Whoniverse, an evil alien invading force will threaten to disable humanity's defensive capabilities by making humans remember all of the invasions that they've bizarrely forgotten about.  When people are forced to notice things like the gaping hole in Big Ben, the weird monuments, the work camps, the missing family members, the damage to personal property, etc., humanity will be reduced to quivering catatonia.
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I sometimes have trouble getting off my computer at night. Or, more to the point, staying off it.  There's always something I'll want to look up when I'm getting to bed.

I wrote a little program for my old machine that would fill its monitor with a full-screen window in obnoxious colours with a big message, telling me to go to bed. I made it as "stubborn" as I could, though there were still ways to minimize it. It was triggered as a scheduled task to go off every 10 minutes from 10 p.m. to 10:30, then every 5 minutes to midnight, then every 2 minutes until around 1 a.m.; every time it was triggered, it would stay up for a minute. The intention was to be annoying without making it completely impossible to look something up if it was really important.

It wasn't as effective as I'd have liked, because it was possible to make the nag go away -- too easy, really. And it didn't run under more recent versions of Windows.

So I've come up with a better version, which should run under any versions of Windows. It's a script using the AutoHotkey "language". One can change a variety of options: the message text, the colours, etc., as well as set whether it should be stubborn about keeping its windows in place.  The configurable options are at the top of the file.

Please feel free to try it, and let me know what you think. All you should need to do is install AutoHotkey, copy the following text into a file with the extension ".ahk", and run the script.

Here's the script... )

January 2019



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