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Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...

That abbreviation was famously used by Yankee broadcaster Phil Rizzuto on his scorecards of games, to mark the plays where he "wasn't watching."  I never much cared for him, his team or his HolyCowieness, but I'll borrow the trope for this report on what we have and haven't been paying attention to recently.

Not quite a week ago, our Amazon Exclusive DVD set of Agent Carter Series One arrived.  We're a bit more than halfway through it, and are mostly enjoying it- although it suffers from a few too many subplots and red herrings going on.  Some of that, no doubt, is to make up for the limitations of the prequel genre: we KNOW Peggy isn't going to die, and we KNOW Steve ain't coming back for quite a long time.  There's also the occasional goof of either anachronism or just place (an apartment building at Lex and 63rd is NOT going to show a panoramic view of Central Park between it and the Empire State Building).  Of course, my mother would have just explained that away as "camera tricks."

Long before the end of the first disc, we realized that Cap's backstory from the earlier films would be useful, so we watched the first of those last night and tonight.  It wasn't quite as fun or as well-worded as the Avengers films to follow, although the then-teaser for the first of those, in the obligatory After All The Credits scene, has some cute intercuts of the then-unseen members of the team interspersed with the tag line:

Next up: Winter Soldier.  Maybe in this one, the bad guys will finally stop homaging Star Wars and train a bunch of identical helmeted stormtroopers to be able to hit the broad side of a barn and not die just by being looked at.


Then there's what I Wasn't Watching for.

A couple of weekends ago, our joint-account bank for most day-to-day stuff sent out the new chipped card.  This should've gotten here before October 1 when rules changed, but banks and retailers have been falling over themselves not to comply with the new regulations.  For our convenience ::cough::, the card number and PIN were the same as they had been- but the expiry date and the extra code on the back were not. So once again, I had to go through the mental process of remembering all the places that auto-debit that account before the next charge came through.

Most were easy: Netflix? Check.  The newspaper subscription? Gotcha.  Gym memberships, EZ-Pass, even those pesky one-clicky options on Amazon and Apple- all done....

except here:(

This paid account used to renew in December, but after the DDOS attacks of a few years back, they wound up passing out enough free time for paid members to push mine into this week.  And there it died- no advance warning of the upcoming expiry, just a terse "you have expired" notification. And LJ doesn't just hold your place in line for you to just provide the new number; after providing it, you have to manually turn autopay back on for everything you had it for.

I haven't gotten round to it yet, and I may hold off-  because our beloved bank, already four institutions removed from the good ol' Hard Working Dollar of Rochester's First Federal Savings*- is about to be merged into yet another behemoth institution, which will result in all new cards and all new expiry dates and all new doing this all over again.


* Odd thing about that link. First Federal merged into the morass of what is now HSBC sometime in the 90s; its name strangely lives on in only one place- as the continued name of the 21-story office tower the bank built for itself in the 70s (and in which I worked for ten years). The "HWD" cariacature hasn't been used in decades and was, I thought, lost to history. Except it isn't: that link is to a trademark site, which shows that a computer repair shop in a Rochester suburb registered it in 2012, claiming it as a mark for IT diagnostics, development and consulting. And it got a Reg. U.S. Pat. Off. out of it- for using a long-deceased bank's name and an anthropomorphized 1947 coin to stand for those services.

I can hardly wait for the trolls to come after me for mentioning it here.

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We didn't watch a moment of the Super Bowl.  A few commercials have trickled over into our consciousness, but there were no major game changers.

Still. The Internet got way too involved with some of it all:

Abortion rights activists were upset that a stupid commercial showed a pregnant woman getting an ultrasound-  because it was perceived as "humanizing fetuses." Puhl-eeze. I'm as pro-choice as anyone, but having an ultrasound when you choose a child is an important step.  Stop with looking for hidden agendas in bowls of Doritos.

On the other end of the speculum spectrum, rightwingers are upset that another stupid commercial, for Colonial Williamsburg of all things, emphasizing its place in history, showed a second or two of the 9/11 plane crashes.  Again, puhl-eeze. The families doth protest too much, methinks.

The remaining critiques were mainly pointed at embracing or attacking Beyonce's halftime performance, or overanalyzing Cam Newton or Eli Manning's brief television non-statements.  Puh-leeze, puh-leeze.  All you're doing by protesting or commenting is giving these moments more weight than they deserve.

The final game of the NFL season should be about our common celebration of American sports culture, and finding the common ground that exists in this event that brings us all together.  So put all these differences aside and embrace the unanimous consensus that Coldplay sucks.

Now bring on baseball spring training.

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Once in a while, my favorite friendly atheist bill_sheehan does a Sunday post that strikes me down on the Road to Ennui and makes me want to expound thereon.  Today's is Brother William's secondish in a seriesish about the importance, to various Holy Mother Churches, of beginning the indoctrination early.  His previous one was inspired by his

former Vicar’s posting a link to a Christian essay on the importance of dragging your children to church every Sunday. Some folks criticized my apparent belief that religion is passed on by mere early training.

I'll leave you, and he, to work out the sacred math on that one generally, but it did get me thinking about the doctrinal aspect of this longtime trend, at least among those of us who enter houses of worship with large symbols of public execution visible from the front.  We've taken what was a fairly minor Leviticus purification ritual, and then glommed on to one short passage about it (one appearing in only three of the gospels and without a word from JC himself in the oldest version), and turned it into one of the only two church rituals considered by Protestants to be a sacrament.

Baptism is an outward and visible sign of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. I know that sentence by heart from having heard it hundreds of times in United Methodist christenings in three different places over 50-odd years. Not only is it separated in non-Catholic doctrine from such other rituals as marriage, penance and ordination- it is the only sacrament which all mainline denominations consider to be unrepeatable.  One dip per customer please, no seconds.  (There are exceptions, thereby proving this rule. Mormon baptisms are generally non-reciprocal, and some of the Fundier Baptists refuse to acknowledge anything not done with a wet adult subjected to full immersion, but those are essentially objections to the form of the ceremony rather than denying the inherent voodoo in a properly-conducted one.)

And then there's that "adult" versus "infant" thing. For most of the church attaches such significance to the act of dedication and repentance by a candidate who will not remember a minute of the event and, in most cases, spends the entire ceremony in some combination of sleeping, crying or pooping on the minister's stole.  To get around this illogic, Christian theologians import another scriptural event, having nothing to do with anyone's baptism, and remind us of the Lord Jesus, how he said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."

Again, the kid has no idea what that means- if anything, if he's a he, he's thinking well, shit, at least this is better than a bris- but the parents and godparents/sponsors/other members of the congregation are more than just spectators. For they are about to be front and center on the demanded indoctrination.  The mumbo-jumbo varies from year to year and brand to brand, but these are the parental vows in the Last Not Yet United Methodist Hymnal that were still in effect and used for Emily's baptism in 1992:

*Do you accept as your duty and privilege to live before this child a life that becomes the Gospel; to exercise all godly care that she be brought up in the Christian faith, that she be taught the Holy Scriptures, and that she learns to give reverent attendance upon the private and public worship of God?

* Will you endeavor to keep this child under the ministry and guidance of the Church until she by the power of God shall accept for herself the gift of salvation and be confirmed as a full and responsible member of Christ’s Holy Church?

I have never heard one of these questions answered "no" in the speaking, but close to half of those speakers, I never see again. They've got their biddy-knitted blankie, and their sacramental candle, and their copy of the home game, and they made Poppa and Meemaw happy for a few minutes, even knowing that their once-baptized child is never to return.  Among the remainder, it's few who take those promises seriously.  When our minister suggests that the family use the altar candle as part of an annual celebration of their child's baptism day, I have to suppress giggles.  I couldn't tell you the anniversary of mine, or Emily's, or anyone's without peeking.

Yet my parents (especially my mother) took that shiz way more seriously back in the day. I was the smart kid in Sunday School who knew the Bible verses better than the teachers did. I did the cherub choir and the Ute Grupe and all the things; and in my case, I did make my own decision to be confirmed and then to remain, in varying quantities to this day, a full and responsible member.

One problem- from when I was a youngun, to when Emily was, to even now- is that the indoctrination methods haven't changed in that half-century and probably not from the centuries before. It's all bible verses and busywork- FIND ZACCHEUS IN THE TREE, COLOR THAT MEAN OL' PHARISEE.  Meanwhile, most of these kids are the boys beating up the nerds, or are the mean girls shunning the slightly less thin-and-beautiful ones during the rest of the week at school- and at least some of them are doing it literally under the Sunday School teacher's nose.  Nobody's listening to what the kids' questions are- and if they are, and they're asking the ones that seem the most relevant, like, Is this all relevant?, or even, shudder, So there really is a Magic Sky God up there who likes fathers sacrificing their firstborn sons to make a point?, they're likely to be sent to the superintendent's office- and in many less liberal denominations, probably beaten or caned.

I'm cool with my vows when it comes to Emily. She learned enough, in enough ways.  She did her Sunday School busybooks and chose confirmation, but we also taught her plenty of things about other religions and the seamy side of our own (she watched Dogma with us long before she was confirmed).  She is as full and responsible a Christian as I am, even without a building particularly associated with either of us at this moment.

One last Sacramental Thing: that One Per Customer rule on baptisms has an unfortunate side effect for the T's in the LGBT world, none of whose letters are getting full acceptance from at least my denomination at the moment.  But one of the outward and visible signs of a Trans-cencion is the rededication of that person using the gender, and the new name, they've chosen to go forward with.  And at least one UK church- surprise, surprise, Unitarian- is going the extra mile for those members with that need:

A Manchester pastor is offering a special service for transgender Christians – allowing them to get baptised again after changing their gender.

The New Chapel (Unitarian and Free Christian) in Greater Manchester passed proposals at its general meeting that will allow the new ceremonies to go ahead.

They will allow trans people to be baptised in their new identity after transitioning, after Pastor Jean Clements met a family who were dismayed there was no such procedure for their transgender daughter.

She told the BBC: “I felt saddened by the fact that this family were being shunned by many mainstream churches.

“However, when the family came to New Chapel, the congregation welcomed them with open arms.”

The pastor said the service would be “very similar” to a standard adult baptism, adding that her church serves a “multi-generational community who are very willing to accept change and progress”.

However, Pastor Clements said the move will not yet be rolled out across all Unitarian Chapels – it will be for Churches “to decide for themselves whether they wish to offer similar services”.

They will also have very good music and awesome coffee. Which is more than I can say about gluten-free loaves of Jesus when we tried THAT a couple of months ago:P

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They're everywhere except where you want them to be.

Deposit a check at a bank, or buy a case of cat fud at Tarjay, and there's the survey link right on the receipt.  Also, anytime you interact with online customer service. Yet in the one case where I would want to provide some feedback, there's silence- and I'm rather offput by it.

I began a meaningful effort to get fitter not quite five years ago. Until last summer, it was with one trainer.  I stuck with her through thick, and thin, and slightly less thin- through hissies that moved our sessions from gym to gym to, finally, one and then another she and her husband built and rented.  But about a year ago, I started to hit the proverbial wall.

There were fewer class options- and what there was, often, was rescheduled for her convenience rather than with input from me or anyone else.  Many of the original gym rats stopped coming as the classes moved in both time and place. (Local insurers offer wellness benefits for programs such as this, but once she struck out on her own, she never even tried to sign up to participate in them. Some left on that account; I simply paid out of pocket to keep going.) The other clients who remained were, largely, work colleagues from her dayjob, and the between-set chatter was increasingly shop talk about that part of her life.

I was getting little personal attention, and there was little in the program itself to self-motivate.  By this past summer, I'd lost patience with it, and moved my biweekly sessions to a new-concept program (where several others had gone). The cost is about the same- if anything, slightly higher- but the trainers are enthusiastic and focused, the program has built-in and measurable goals, and I come out each time sweating like a pig.

Oh- and Previous Trainer goes to these sessions herself at least a few times a week, usually right before one of the classes she still apparently runs a few miles away.  We were in the same class last Sunday morning; she wasn't unpleasant when I said hi, but it was clear that she wasn't interested in anything about me or my progress, either.

Soon after the hour was up (and she'd shot out to get to her other thing), I realized I hadn't seen any recent posts from or about her or her husband for a few weeks.  A quick check revealed they'd both defriended me on the Bookface.

Wow. A year short of my 40th high school reunion and people near my age are going full High School on me.

Then, yesterday, one of my favorites from her classes messaged me- wanting to know where I was going now. This friend was also having issues with how things had gone over there.  I had nothing bad to say about the experience- I learned a lot of invaluable stuff about how to do various exercises and get my stamina to the point where I can keep up with a room full of mostly 20-and-30-somethings- but I felt validated in wondering how petty it was to unfriend someone just because your specific program isn't what they need.

If I did get a survey about my four-plus years about the trainer's various incarnations and locations, I'd give it a "good." It got me out of a doldrummy place, taught me a lot about technique, and, to a point, inspired me to keep going.  I'd encourage her to pay more attention to what everyone was doing or not doing, rather than working out herself or just chatting with the other clients about their dayjobs.  And if I had a sense that she had any interest in my feedback, I'd give it- or even go back.  But in this case, I am too proud to beg.  And if yet another of her former clients winds up doing what I'm doing now (or finds something completely different), and that leads to even harder feelings? Sorry.  I got no referral fees or swag bags when another friend from another circle of my life joined up last month, and I won't even ask for any now.

That's all I got. Isn't there a code I'm supposed to enter for a coupon or someshit?
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I am a man who looks after the pigs
Usually I get along okay.
I am man who reveals all he digs,
Should be more careful what I say.

For more than 30 years now, I've been doing this bankruptcy thing for a living, and yet it finally occurred to me in a verbal way only yesterday:

You're the guy nobody wants to come back to.

I'm the undertaker. The proctologist. The oral surgeon numbing you before your root canal. It's important; it's pain relieving; and yet, who wants to go through it twice?

I had two bankruptcy hearings, yesterday morning and this morning.  Yesterday's was under Buffalo Rules- Be kind. Don't assume the debtor is a lying sack of shit. Their hearing was over 30 seconds before it was officially scheduled to begin, and the clients were thrilled it had gone so quickly and easily.  As we left the court building, I made the usual noise to them about please remember me if you need anything else, but I knew, before the syllables left my larynx, that they wouldn't want to.  They might need wills; they might someday buy a house (and yesterday's hearing helped them get there in the long run).  But they won't want to resurrect bad memories of that day's hearing by calling me.

(There are exceptions.  One onetime BK client contacted me yesterday about doing some corporate work. But it's outside my wheelhouse and I had to refer it.)


I am a man who drives a local bus
I take miners to work, but the pits all closed today.
It's easy to see that you are one of us.
Ain't it funny how we all seem to look the same?

Then, today: Rochester Rules are different- Scare them. Get mad at their lawyers for showing up only five minutes early, not the 15 minutes early that would make it easier to move your calendar.  Cherrypick the low-hanging fruit.


My karma tells me
You've been screwed again.
If you let them do it to you
You've got yourself to blame.
It's you who feels the pain
It's you that feels ashamed.

I am a young man
I ain't done very much,
You men should remember how you used to fight.
Just like a child, I've been seeing only dreams,
I'm all mixed up but I know what's right.

I'm not that young anymore, and I've done quite a bit.  And I do know what's right. In the right mood, I may complain to today's trustee's boss, about the way U.S. citizens are treated just because they exercise their statutory right to be relieved of their debts.  And on the whole, I'd rather be under Buffalo Rules most of the time- as I am.

This client did okay, as well, but left with a much sourer taste in the mouth. I doubt I'll be getting any more business from this source, either.

Current Mood: cynical cynical
Current Music: The Who's Quadrophenia, The Dirty Jobs

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1960s. Think Mad Men:

Hey, baby, wanna come up and see my etchings?

1980s. Think Manhattan:

Dinner and a movie?

The growth medium differs from generation to generation, but the pickup lines, and their lecherous intents, are from age to age the same.

The kids, these days, have their own lingo, which you can't hear because they mumble and all:

Netflix and Chill?

Get as far as the "t" in googling that and that three-word phrase comes up as the second top search suggestion behind Netflix itself.  I first heard it a couple of months ago, on some clickbaity site that warned about all the lingo your kids are using to hide their sinfulness.  Not this one, but it'll do to explain it:


Netflix and Chill, often seen written as “I thought you said Netflix and Chill!” or “20 Minutes into Netflix and Chill”, is Internet slang for inviting someone over to one’s home for sexual purposes. The phrase is often used in image macros and as a hashtag on social media.


The phrase first started appearing online in late 2014, mostly through Black Twitter. On October 8th, 2014, Twitter user @itsIsaaaaaaac posted the tweet “Netflix and chill never means Netflix and chill now a days lol” (shown below).


On November 14th, 2014, Twitter user Start3rPack posted a “the Netflix and Chill Starter Pack” featuring four photographs indicating the pack would contain comfortable socks, pajamas, and a Trojan magnum condom. The tweet received 44 retweets and 56 favorites.

It took a year after that for an old fart like me to catch on- so of course the term is no longer cool, reserved mostly for ironic uses-

- and for mocking those who still Don't Get It.  A cohort which apparently still includes Netflix itself.


We still rely on DVD's for most of our home entertainment; streams are too choppy, don't have special features, and of course there's no remote.  They come from Netflix, but they've been branding the actual envelopes lately as "DVD.com"- a backdoor homage to their brief failed effort a few years back to separate their streaming services from their sending physical disks completely, spinning off the latter into an instantly mocked Thing called Qwikster- one that, within a week, was relegated to the hatepile of New Coke. So we still have an integrated account, but the envelopes still try to preserve some separation of identity.  Which is a good thing in this case, because here's what our Valentine-ish red envelopes are suggesting for the upcoming holiday:

They have to know, right?  But they can't admit they know.

Neither do the operators of the closest Home of the Mets to my home town. Their AA affiliate in Binghamton, two rungs from the majors, announced this promotion for an early April homestand, when in most years, the last thing you'd want to be doing outside in Upstate New York is makin' the bleachers rockin' when the beer vendors come-a-knockin':

Minor league teams are always looking to come up with fun and exciting promotions to get fans to the ballpark. The Binghamton Mets have either come up with an all-time great promotion, or they don't know what "Netflix and chill" means. My money's on the latter.

Check out their scheduled promotion for April 12:

For those unaware, Netflix and chill is what the young people call getting, uh, intimate with their partner with Netflix playing in the background.

I, for one, don't like the look in the eye of that bee.

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I'm nearing the end of my first month with a new laptop, and today, finally, I fixed the last piece of the Intergalactic Captainsblog Technology Network™: getting my online music collection (a) more or less in one place and (b) synced to my phone.

For all the Appl(e)ove that's out there, you have to admit that they really make every piece of their empire into an impenetrable fortress.  Although there's an iCloud, I have never learned how to navigate into it, out of it, or most importantly among devices connected to it.  Plus, as I've mentioned here previously, my attempts at clouding my music library into a competing cloud was completely useless.  I did get just about all of my music back, using the reverse-engineering process I'll mention in a moment, but as soon as I started making the songs sync-able, I ran into my first problem:

As soon as I installed iTunes on Twobor, the new laptop, I got a message: Apple only allows five computers to be "authorized" to play content you've purchased from Apple.  Now, that's a relatively small portion of what I/we listen to, but there were enough gaps for me to want to deauthorize my now-dead-and-gone laptop Tobor (as well as several previous and now-dead laptops, including the brief predecessor to Eleanor's current one) and authorize the new one.

That, unfortunately, is easier said than done.  It is easy to authorize or deauthorize "this computer" as long as you've got it in front of you, but remote deactivation requires you to access your iAccount through the iStore- and, then, you must deauthorize all of your devices and reauthorize them one by one with each in front of you- and then-then, you can only do this once every twelve months. That restriction, they tell us, is to "avoid abuse."

Avoid it? It seems to be actively encouraging the abuse of the end-user:P


Anyway.  My music was in a host of Places, primarily on my current and previous iPhones.  "Sync" in Appleland is designed as a one-way street running from computer to phone- again, likely, to cut down on those pesky unauthorized transfers of pretty-sounding 1's and 0's between devices.  But there are tricks.  The one I became familiar with is called, no lie, iFunbox.   It drills down into the Enigma code of Apple-y innards, finds the files with strange names that contain the songs, and let you copy them onto a PC from where you can import them back into iTunes.  On your computer's file system, they will continue to have those strange names- here's what part of a single music subfolder has for a sampling of the restored-by-Funbox tracks-

-yet in iTunes itself, their display, album covers and all, is as stunningly beautiful as it ever was.

I did most of the importing a couple of weeks ago, yet did not sync anything to the new phone until today.  And that's due to two other annoyances of the Appleverse.  One: any attempt to sync an iPhone with a new host PC erases the entire music library on the phone.  I avoided this by turning off music sync until today.  Since I'd gotten most if not all of the tracks back onto the PC, it should've been a simple enough sync....

No, everything in iTunes needs to be made part of a "playlist" in order to do anything with it besides press play. And Ye Olde Funboxxe no se habla playlist. So I spent the better part of an afternoon manually recreating every playlist that I could see in my phone, just so I could have it sync back as soon as iTunes erased every trace of those playlists.

In the end, though, it worked out. Except for two little things.


Thing One: Apple chose this very moment to ram the latest iOS update down my phone's throat.  That took at least half an hour and killed off my wifi access for a time.  It also, I thought, resulted in Thing Two: my personal ringtone was gone.

I've had it for over a year.  Everyone knows it's mine, because who else would pick such a thing? You'll hear it, a few seconds into this clip-

- which is from Comfort and Joy, the wonderful and sadly inaccessible (but we got it) Bill Forsyth film about ice cream van wars in 1980s Scotland. After we bought the DVD from Amazon Australia, I went through the steps to voice-record the jingle, save it as an .m4r file, and pop it into the "tones" section of iTunes. It was my tone on my old phone until late last year, and at the time it restored just fine from the zero-day backup I'd made of it when I got the current one....

until today, when I discovered that the "sync erases phone content" thing also erases custom ringtones.

Fortunately, it was still on the old phone- now the home of our longtime landline number, that basically sits in the corner as a just-in-case backup and to take calls from doctors, dentists and scammers. And once I got it recharged, it was back to the Funbox, the tone exported, and now back where I want it.

But shit. Now I want ice cream. And fritters. Hmmmmm.....
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Just two days in, and this month keeps getting curiouser and curiouser.

I had court at 9 this morning downtown.  Bankruptcy Court here is not in the big fancy new federal courthouse, nor did it move back (as some suspected it would) to its former home in the old one, now vacant and being considered for various retrofits.  It's in the shorter of two Towers in a private office building a few blocks away.  Much of the rest of the building has also been home to gummint, including the local FDA as a longtime tenant.  Today, though I saw that the Judges have a new neighbor on the ground floor:

An attorney's lounge? Some sort of massage place?  Or is it an incarnation of one of the latest Geek Things Going?

Like this?!?

Real-life room escape games are a type of physical adventure game in which people are locked in a room with other participants and have to use elements of the room to solve a series of puzzles, find clues, and escape the room within a set time limit. Some games include sub-plots. The games are based on "escape the room" video games in which the player is locked inside a room and must explore their surroundings in order to escape. Players must be observant and use their critical thinking skills to escape the room. Other inspirations include adventure board games and movies.

Weekend or day event escape games have been held in the United States, Europe, Australia and a number of Asian countries. In the 2010s, real-life room escape games became popular in the United States, Japan, Taiwan and mainland China. Each game integrates local concepts or original themes to settings. For example, some games require you to escape prison cells, space stations or werewolf villages. Some games may contain special sounds, lighting or other effects.

Why, yes, that's exactly what it is. From last month's fishwrap:

Another escape room game company is coming to Western New York next month.

The Great Escape Room, an entertainment chain that originated in Florida, will open a location in the Olympic Towers building at 300 Pearl St., Suite 125. It will consist of two interactive escape rooms that can accommodate up to 12 people each. It also will host birthday parties.

Teams have 60 minutes to find clues in the room, solve puzzles and escape. Less than a quarter of participants find their way out within the allotted time, according to the company.

It has other locations in Rochester as well as in Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

The games are aimed at teens and adults, and are often used for corporate team building.

The Great Escape Room will join Lock & Key Escape Room on Elmwood Avenue, Trapped on Sheridan Drive in the Town of Tonawanda, Perplexity Escape Room on Main Street in Williamsville and Escape Room Buffalo on Oliver Street in North Tonawanda.

All of which is lovely, but I do have to question throwing this into the tenant mix in this particular building. People going to Bankruptcy Court are nervous, scared, subject to full-body searches and barked orders and made to feel like criminals- and that's the lawyers.  I somehow doubt there will be parties of debtors and their attorneys running around in dark rooms after their hearings are done.

A Portland friend of ours saw my post from yesterday about the hipster backlash on Portlandia, and wished all the show's publicity on someone else's home town. I told her that Buffalo is starting to get a bit of a fedora-and-free-range-chicken rep itself, between all the local food trucks, craft beers, statues of mermaids lying in canals, and now, this.

The good news is, we'll be able to put a bird on it.  The bad news is, it's likely to just be a common tern.


Court went well, I escaped the buiding without incident, and headed back to the office for more weirdness.

Last Friday, I successfully settled a case against a former client of one of my offices.  He claimed a loss of some money which he thought should have been deducted from his bill; he was wrong and admitted it.  But he did ask if we'd look into whether he still had a chance at getting that money back.  By the end of Friday, I found out, no: Dude had hired a separate lawyer to do that without telling us, and they lost the case at three different levels.  I did get the name of the lawyer who handled it for him, so he could find out what happened and why.

I googled the lawyer.  He came up on the website of a local firm best known for its DWI defense practice.  On his own page on the site, I saw just two things: the briefest of bios (schools attended and former job with the DA), and this quote:

Everyone I've shown that to, including co-workers (several) and spouse (just the one:), broke out in a collective WTF.  The only thing that makes sense is that a web developer just stuck that line there as a placeholder until he came up with something better; the other lawyers I checked on the site have much more extensive and conventional bios.

Still. If you're going to push "publish" on something like that (and, as greenquotebook pointed out, not even get the song lyrics right;), who knows what he's doing when he's pushing the "send" button on cases?


Come back tomorrow, when we're likely to encounter our first rabid groundhog of the new month.

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There's trouble in the Pacific Northwest.

The Seahawks aren't in the Super Bowl, no NBA or NHL team is coming to the 206 anytime soon, and it's rainy. But at least Seattle has marijuana dispensaries, so they've got that going for them.

Down south of there, though? Another season of Portlandia has begun, and while we found it funny and well-done, there's a backlash.

Presenting: White Glove.

The mocking is being mocked. These two legends of the PDX are being shamed for, wait for it, causing the gentrification that's ruining the very things the show so lovingly pokes fun at:

Portlanders have mixed emotions about "Portlandia." Some locals think Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein are just having a laugh with Stumptown quirks. Others think "Portlandia" is a craven attack on our fair city. Another contingent blames "Portlandia" and the attention it's brought to the Rose City for Portland's population boom and affordable-housing crisis.

In addition to the above are the people who don't watch "Portlandia," don't have cable, don't have a TV, and look down on anybody who does watch "Portlandia," does have cable, and does have a TV.

The not-digging-"Portlandia" perspective now has a music video, thanks to Portland band White Glove. In a music video for their song, "Fred and Carrie," the band blames Armisen, Brownstein and "Portlandia" for attracting affluent idiots from elsewhere to Portland.

In the video, actors costumed to look like Armisen and Brownstein walk around Portland neighborhoods, taking notes on weirdness.

The song's lyrics say, "We don't think that you're funny/In fact, we don't want you around/We're tired of the folks who laugh at your stupid jokes/We wish you'd never exploited this town."

The song goes on to say, "All the things that you liked here have all but disappeared," as rents have gone up, and funky Portland has been replaced with sleek new apartment buildings, becoming "just another yuppie town."

I see the point, to an extent- but I don't think the Pickle-that/Pickathon duo is to blame.

For one thing, Portlandia isn't exactly a household name.  It's on IFC, a cable channel few have (including us not having it). That means Buying the Thing through those capitalist tool outfits from the north or south on I-5. Which means receipts, which have to be printed for your records. With printers! So I suspect many of the protesters are going on hearsay, or posters glued to utility poles.

I also don't think the typical IFC viewer is either as stupid or as shallow as this depiction requires you to assume.  Most of all, if there's any evil corporatist to blame here, I have no quarrel with Carrie or Fred- but I do have a bone to pick with their capo di tutt'i capi, and Fred's former SNL boss, Lorne Michaels.  Lorne is legendary for guarding his shows' intellectual property with the fierceness of a rabid junkyard dog.  And he's notorious for his control of the show's guest list, giving cred to the likes of Trump and Palin while dropping long-term or even permanent banhammers on those who get on his bad side.  Early in Saturday Night's days, Elvis Costello and the Attractions filled in on very short notice for an episode's musical guest.  Their first album was out, and the label wanted them to promote a song from it.  The video of that performance, which amazingly is viewable on the Internet (but only in still shots), shows how Declan dissed the producer:

Those few minutes led to a Hissy Night Fit that lasted well over a decade:

They were supposed to play his single “Less Than Zero,” a catchy tune about a loathsome politician in England. But only a few bars into the song, Costello put a stop to it. “I’m sorry, ladies and gentlemen,” he said, “but there’s no reason to do this song here.” At that point he and the band launched into “Radio Radio,” a song that takes a jab at corporate-controlled broadcasting. Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels was furious. According to some reports, he raised his middle finger at Costello and kept it up until the unapproved song was over. Costello was banned from the show for nearly 12 years.

So if anyone is supporting the elite trust fund babies, I think it's far more likely him than Fred or Carrie.  I hereby sentence him to 30 days of hard labor outside Women and Women First, where he will not be allowed to use the restroom even if he does buy a membership.
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We're in the waning hours of January, and I gotta tell you, New Year: you're on double-secret probation.  I can't say for certain that you've already failed, but you're in some significant need of extra help here.

Not all has been bad, but plenty has, and plenty more has been weird.

On the good sides:

Work's been okay for both of us. Not great, not bad. Plus, at least for me, some seeds got planted that could turn around the rest of your first quarter grade. But watch it- no slacking.

Earlier today, I got Cameron's taxes unofficially done, with a decent refund, a couple weeks after doing Emily's with similar results.  Now all you need to do is make his W-2 materialize so I can make his official.

John Scott takes the NHL All-Star ice within the hour.  Although the league idiots finally caved to public pressure, he revealed late last week just how hard they worked him to bow out- at one point, an unnamed suit asking him, "Do you think this is something your kids would be proud of?"  At least the asshat was smart enough to ask that over the phone- he likely would've had his lights punched out (dim though they may be) if he'd pulled that remark in person. ETA: John Scott scored two goals in his semifinal game, and after his team won the 1-0 final, they named him the All-Star MVP and awarded him a car.  The NHL commish was roundly booed for being a jerk. Bettman, lifetime suspension, being a jerk.

We've been well entertained, largely without leaving the house.  I finished exactly one read for the month after starting January BBC-bingeing, but I have the second loaded and ready to start tomorrow. The Sherlock one-off, and the foursome of Endeavours, were well done, as were the two very different films from 1997 and 2014 that marked the beginning and end of Alan Rickman's directing career.

Yes, 2016, I'm getting to my biggest problem.  You worked double-overtime shifts taking good and talented and beloved people from us.

Not just Rickman, of course. Bowie. Monte Irvin (a Hall of Famer from 50s baseball and the third to follow Jackie Robinson across the color barrier). Jim Simpson, who along with Sandy Koufax broadcast the first World Series I ever watched on television in 1967.  Ted Marchibroda, who essentially designed the offense that put the Bills in four straight Super Bowls.  In the music world, Bowie was followed by local country legend "Ramblin Lou" Schriver, Glenn Frey, and just the other day, the heart and soul of Jefferson Everything, Paul Kantner.

Oh, and Brian Bedford. A friend from near Stratford, Ontario mentioned his passing at 80, for he'd been a longtime actor and director in its Shakespeare festivals.  He also voiced Robin Hood in the 70s Disney version shown in the icon.

Christ, you even took Abe Vigoda. Have you no decency?

Then there's the weird, which can be summed up in two words: Weather and Republicans.

We've had one significant snowfall here all month, after having none in December (or earlier). It's virtually all melted as we look toward another 40F-ish week here.  Meanwhile, unsnowy places spent days of discomfort and danger about a week ago.  Not only is this weird, but it just gives climate-change-deniers some ammunition to throw at their stupid supporters. Stop it.

While you're at it, stop them.  Iowa kicks off tomorrow, and by the end of next month we'll likely have putative winners on both sides being pundited.  I can't say I'm thrilled with anyone on either side, although most of the GOP field scares me to death.

Best I can recommend for now, though, is a vote for Bernie:

So that's your early report card.  Don't make me have to call home on you:

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Just one more aminal update; no pictures this time, because it's pretty grody.

Zoey, she in the icon, is our youngest, and the feistiest of the bunch when she's in the right mood. Mostly, she's very sweet with everyone, but she has her moments.

Last Sunday: Eleanor was down towards the bedrooms, and I was on the living room sofa, clipping coupons.  Suddenly, Tazzer (the oldest, the only boy, and as recently as November on his seeming deathbed) let out a yowl.  Someone had picked a fight with him; my natural suspicion was of Michelle, the middle child and the evil kitty in the house- but as Eleanor came down the hall to check it out, the trail of blood pointed directly to the Zoester.

Taz, our white-with-a-little-gray boy, had a hunk of black, not-his, fur on one of his front paws.  Zoey, in turn, was bleeding from one of her front paws.  I don't think anybody meant to hurt anybody beyond playfighting (the two of them are assuming the same positions as I write this, and they're just as likely to be grooming each other five minutes from now), but we think her "secret weapon" claw got stuck on him as one or the other of them flailed away.

We were pretty worried, and ready to make a vet appointment Monday morning, if not an emergency vet visit that afternoon. We treated the claw with wound cleanser, stanched the bleeding, and watched and waited.

Zoey seemed fine within an hour: purring, running, eating and everything seeming normal.  And she was grooming him within the next 24 hours.

A few times during the week, Eleanor tried to get a look at the monkey's paw. Zoey resisted. Finally, this afternoon, we two got a look, or rather, a non-look:

It's healed. But there appears to be no there there. Whether it will grow back or not, remains to be seen. She seems fine in all respects, and it clearly hasn't stopped her from any of her usual activities, including, but not limited to, trying to duplicate the same damn incident.

The dog, meanwhile, just wants to mooch for extra treats. Go figure.
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Just a few images from the past few days.


Ebony had her annual heartworm blood test. It was also a followup visit of sorts from when she came up lame a few months ago.  All in all, she checked out well for an old broad; they also switched her heartworm med from a monthly pill (Sentinel when it's sunny, Interceptor when it's icy), which Daddy more than occasionally forgot, to a semiannual shot for the main parasite with a few additional pills every alternate three months or so.  All was well except her overall attitude; the last few times she's been to the vet, she's had a few behavioral issues.  For one, she now considers the waiting room part of the yard and makes #1 and #2 deposits accordingly; for another, she positively panics when she's in the examining room without being examined, pawing at the door and yowling to be let out:

They're now just used to me hauling her out to the hall until the Doctor comes in, at which point she's perfectly fine. Those rooms must just be smaller than they look on the inside.



I didn't have court or early appointments, so I more-or-less slept in until 8ish, but when I did rise, there was a note, Fill the bird feeder.

Apparently there had been complaints:

Between Rocky and Friends (above) during the day and the deer that empty the feeder at night and fill the walkway below with pellets, the birdfeeder occasionally manages the actual feeding of birds.


Then, today:

We're down to the one dog, and are not actively seeking a second.  I'd describe my attitude, at least, as, I'll probably say no, but I'll never say never.

This morning presented such.  A Rochester friend linked to a photo from a friend who I thought was also from there:

I was smitten. I planned to contact Jane to contact Anna to see if I could see the adoptee.  I even threw extra clothes in the car this morning (I had Rochester appointments all day) so I could stay over if necessary.  Alas, Layla passed from parvo a week ago, and Anna wasn't the Anna I thought she was but lives in either North Carolina or California.

So it's back to "no," but it will never be "never."
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* Do not wear a red shirt.

* Make sure the rock you're standing on is not alive.

* Try not to be a blue whale or a bowl of petunias.

And above all,

* Avoid launch dates during the last week of January.

Two historical reasons for that advice were commemorated today and yesterday, on the 30th and 49th anniversaries of their tragic occurrences. Both have Buffalo connections, however tenuous.

January 27, 1967 was the dress rehearsal for the launch of Apollo 1. The three astronauts inside- Virgil "Gus" Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee- never made it into orbit or out alive.  Grissom was one of the Original Seven and a veteran of one of the two-man Gemini missions. White had also flown a Gemini craft, becoming the first American to walk in space while Jim McDivitt, later to command Apollo 9, minded their rather small store.  Chaffee had never gone up before.

The tragedy delayed further manned Apollo missions for almost two years before Apollo 7 launched successfully in the fall of 1968. The rest you more-or-less know.  The three deceased astronauts were memorialized all over the nation, although not given Congressional medals until Jimmy Carter awarded one to Grissom in 1978. The other two had to wait for Bill Clinton to do it in 1997.  Yet among the components of their legacy are a strange set of streets about five miles from here.  Every time I take Niagara Falls Boulevard north to its eponymous northern terminus city, I pass two of them:

Indeed, there's a story behind those signs:

About five years after the tragedy in the early 1970s, Dick Brox and some members of the Amherst planning department were sitting around having lunch one day and, given Western New York's great aviation history, they thought about naming some streets in the town's new industrial parks after some pioneers of flight.

Dick Brox: "We named John Glenn, we named Amelia Earhart, and we named Curtis Wright and one of the guys said maybe we should name streets for the three astronauts who died in the fire."

But rather than honor the astronauts with signs in an industrial park, they decided instead to pick streets off of Niagara Falls Boulevard.

Dick Brox: "So by putting the three names on the Boulevard, people driving by everyday would see the astronauts names, they might wonder why, who were these guys?"

The men then took the idea to the town planning board.

Dick Brox: "They thought it was a good idea, honoring the various aviation pioneers and then the astronauts who had died in the Apollo One mishap."

And so that's how three consecutive streets off of Niagara Falls Boulevard just north of the 290, came to be named for Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffee, and Edward White.

Yet Virgil had no Aenid to connect to the Boulevard- it's Draden Lane to the south of the two, and the tackily named Classics V Boulevard (after the banquet joint of that name) to the north.  Gus, sadly, got stuck in the back:

But then in 1991, the town abandoned the street when no homes were built on it, and the Grissom sign was taken down.

It's a homeless stub street, dead-ending behind the barrier keeping Home Depot traffic out of the neighborhood.  Although map software will still find it if you enter Grissom's name, it appears to the naked eye as a continuation of a longer street in this 20th Century Dead Guys subdivision:

That's not named for the Senator With No Decency, but for an even older Joe, a former Buffalo Bison ballplayer, who managed the Yankees in the 30s and 40s, and who somehow lived until 1978, the same year Gus got his Congressional medal.

Tailgunner Joe, presumably, is on a list of names someplace.


That was 1967. I vaguely remember the disaster; it didn't have the crepe-hanging national impact of John F. Kennedy's death a few years earlier or those of the ones to come in '68, and it's amazing that we met JFK's ambitious "before this deCADE is out" challenge despite the 20-month delay.

Ah, Challenges.

Fast-forward to the last week of January, 1986.  This one, I know exactly where I was: in Nate Relin's former office (the then-recently deceased co-founder of the original firm I'd joined a little over a year before), watching a very small black-and-white set, showing something very small, tracking across a very big sky.

Shuttle flights had become largely meh by then. Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, launch, rinse, repeat. Oh, what, there's an Atlantis now? That's nice. When are they going to send Enterprise up? We have MOVIES to script, dammit!

And then, this.  With the Teacher in Space and Resnick the real woman astronaut and, shitshitshitshit....

More sadness. More delays. And yet, somehow, a flag:

Gregory Jarvis was supposed to come back to campus – along with the flag.

When the payload specialist lifted off on board the Challenger, 30 years ago on Thursday, the 1967 University of Buffalo graduate took with him a UB flag.

The Challenger’s fate – the space shuttle exploded slightly more than a minute after takeoff, killing Jarvis and six other crew members – remains etched in the nation’s history.

His death meant he would not return to UB to present the school flag he took on the mission.

Now, the flag – its cobalt and white colors still vibrant, its gold fringe intact – rests in the archives at UB’s North Campus in Amherst.

Here's where I did my first HUH?!?  We saw that ship explode. Nothing but a white trail across the sky. Right?

Wrong.  But it took commenters on the story (yes, I'm breaking my Don't Read Them resolution here) to clear it up, linking to the Wiki on the disaster:

The crew cabin, made of reinforced aluminum, was a particularly robust section of the shuttle. During vehicle breakup, it detached in one piece and slowly tumbled into a ballistic arc. NASA estimated the load factor at separation to be between 12 and 20 g; within two seconds it had already dropped to below 4 g and within 10 seconds the cabin was in free fall. The forces involved at this stage were likely insufficient to cause major injury.

The later stages, obviously, were; you can read the Wikipiece if you want the gruesome details.  But it explains why things like the UB flag were ultimately recovered:

Marcia Jarvis returned the flag from the shuttle flight to UB in October 1987.

An academic building on the North Campus, used by engineering students, was renamed Jarvis Hall at the time.

The flag rests in protective storage in the University Archives in Capen Hall.

The flag bears a UB insignia, with a buffalo, the letters “UB” and the date 1846.

The flag is kept in the archives instead of on public display for preservation purposes, said William Offhaus, senior staff assistant at the University Archives.

Before the program ended, Columbia joined the parade of tragedy; that was another second-half-of-January launch. We now may have been set back past the point of no takeoff, never mind return; Zephram Cochrane's due to be born in a mere fourteen years, and Captain Archer's Enterprise had damn better get out of spacedock on schedule in 2151.

But not until April, thank gods.

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We're switching cars tomorrow. Eleanor has a doctor's appointment beyond Iggy's reliable range, so I made sure she has a full tank of gas (even though it's well under 106 miles and it won't be dark).  While I was filling up, the guy on the other side of the island was having a lit-tle problem.  His Hyundai Sonata was brand new, or a rental, or a borrow- and he had no idea how to get the gas tank lid to unlock.

I've had a few cars over the years with this "feature," and the intuitive places for the lid release seemed to be on or around the driver's side door.  No such luck with this guy's.  I felt his pain: years ago, I rented a car from a fairly remote location to drive from the Hudson Valley out to Long Island, and I discovered, just as the road was getting wind-y and the skies were getting dark, that I had no idea how to turn the headlights on.  I had to pull off the Taconic in bare-twilight, into a driveway, and somehow figured it out.  This guy did get his open, but that took as long as it took me to run my card, prepay, and fill my whole (unlocked) tank.

It got me thinking how dependent we've become on Smart People to do thinking for us. Whether it's designing our cars, or appliances, or computers, or programming things for them, we're increasingly forgetting how to become, much less remain, self-reliant if these things are taken from us, even for mere moments.

We were spared the effects of the winter storm that paralyzed much of the eastern US starting last weekend, but the biggest fear I saw among people, early in the event, was that they would lose power.  Twice in our marriage, we've endured extended periods of powerlessness from natural dropkicks at us.  We hated it both times, but we lived through them, with candles, outdoor grills, and plenty of ingenuity.  Yet the last of those events was in late 2006- when we weren't nearly as dependent on "paperless billing" and social media connections (including, yes, this site) to keep in touch with people as we are now.  This time round, one friend speculated at how totally fucked we would be if a terrorist chose a nationwide series of electromagnetic pulses rather than Ye Olde Fashioned Bombbes.  Fortunately, these sorts of wingnuts (foreign and domestic) tend toward the testosterone and prefer to see stuff blowed up real good.

Within moments of that friend's post, another, somewhere in the storm zone, quoted this 1973 line from sci-fi author Robert Heinlein:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

Between us, we could probably account for a bit more than half that list- and I'd be lost without Eleanor pulling well more than half of that halfish-weight.  I doubt if many around us could even crack the surface of it without computerized help.

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As I've mentioned here before, I don't do much work with the recently deceased.  It's largely the province of old-boy practitioners with drawers full of wills that fund their retirements.  The courts are specialized, have their own picayune rules, and when I do appear on even routine matters, I feel out of my element.

So naturally I now have a couple of wills and some estate issues to usher in the New Year.

One of the estate matters is fairly straightforward, will cost the client all of one dollar to file, and can be submitted electronically and possibly without anyone ever having to show up in court.  I've sent the preliminary paperwork to my sister (who has the friend who has the daughter who has the need) and should get it under way pretty soon.

The other should be simpler, but of course it's not.  A friend and lawyer in New Jersey (motto: "I got your estate right heah!") had a well-meaning colleague take on an estate of someone who resided and died there, only to find out that there's also some real estate in New York.  That means arranging for something called "ancillary administration," which is not the name of a band but of a simple concept: that a deceased resident of State X, who had property in State Y, should be able to bring a simple proceeding to clear title to the Y stuff without having to start an entirely new estate.

In this case, we're Y. As in, "Y do they make it so complicated?"  I knew the concept better than the actual procedure, so I googled it, and sent her the Official New York Ancillary Administration Checklist. It's four pages long, has eight numbered and sub-numbered sections to flow-chart your way through, and makes clear at the end (this being New York) that you're almost certainly going to pay between $215 and $1,250 (depending on the real estate gross value) just to clear title to this one piece of property.  It's in a county which does not yet have electronic filing of documents, so either an appearance or a messenger of some sort will be needed to file the thing, and possibly another one will be needed once the chart has completely flowed.

No wonder Abe Vigoda lasted so long. He just wanted to save Bernice all the bother.
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We're in big trouble, Comrades.

Our Great White Pantsuited Hope to retain the White House (never mind that Bernie distraction, that's just to puff up our radical cred at the Convention) is about to be indicted for Benghazi. Or Emailgate. Or deflating "The Football" while she was First Lady. Or something.

I heard it on Hannity, so it must be true.   Google "Hillary indictment" and you'll see it on all the reputable media sources: Newsmax, Breitbart, Townhall, the Daily Caller.  Plus Twitchy, that 140-lack-of-character cesspool populated by fans of Ann "My Name Anagrams to A Loner _ _ _ _" Coulter.

Also, the substitute nutjob shill on the local noise machine this afternoon.  Here's his theory: a Texas grand jury, tasked with finding criminal conduct in the Planned Parenthood eBaby body parts scandal, actually found some: not on the part of the agency, but on the part of the anti-abortion activists who doctored the videos. They're going down, because the investigation

did find that laws were broken — just not by the clinic itself.

Instead, the grand jury indicted two anti-abortion activists behind the videos, David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, for tampering with government evidence, which is a felony offense. Daleiden was also indicted for the illegal purchase and sale of human organs, which is a misdemeanor.

So, our local pundit posits: if a couple of right-to-life-until-birth extremists can be indicted for tampering with government evidence, Hils is dead meat because of all the tampering she did.

Not that the Republican House actually got her to admit anything in eleven hours of testimony, but they haven't brought out the thumbscrews yet.

Best of all, this is all Obama's doing, because he hates the Clintons so much.  So much that he named the Missus to the highest office in his cabinet, accepted their endorsements and support, and secretly wants Trump to win because that'll bring out the proletarian revolt during the centennial of 1917!  It's his Justice Department that's gonna do the indicting, and that'll clear the way for Biden, or Bloomberg, or Beelzebub, or maybe for Barry himself to just refuse to leave next January.

If you can't tell from the sarcasm dripping over the margins, I'm not believing a word of this- but I do see an out in the event the spin gets out of hand.  After seven-plus years of demonization by the right and even much of his own party, and with not much to stop him from doing just about anything now, I could easily see Obama getting just pissed off enough to do the one thing that is guaranteed to piss off every single political apparatchik in both parties:

He could pardon Hillary.

As we know from The Book of Nixon, you don't have to be convicted, or even indicted or charged, for a presidential pardon to stop the criminal justice wheels in their tracks:

In 1866, the Supreme Court ruled in Ex parte Garland that the pardon power "extends to every offence known to the law, and may be exercised at any time after its commission, either before legal proceedings are taken, or during their pendency, or after conviction and judgment." (In that case, a former Confederate senator successfully petitioned the court to uphold a pardon that prevented him from being disbarred.) Generally speaking, once an act has been committed, the president can issue a pardon at any time—regardless of whether charges have even been filed.

Can't you just see the talking heads exploding?  Sure, they'd try to make political hay out of it, but if phrased the right way- ending this political witchhuntery, looking ahead rather than back, saving the nation the expense of more trials and tribunals- Obama could probably sell it.

If he wanted to seem really magnanimous, and piss off his both bases even more, he could simultaneously issue pardons to Bush, Cheney and Rumfeld for their Iraq-era war crimes.

It'll never happen. But wouldn't you like to have the U.S. Capitol popcorn franchise if it did?

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Perhaps you heard about the 'Noreaster that's been dumping foot upon foot of snow on a bit more than the 'Noreast.  As far south as Georgia, and as far inland as Tennessee, my Facebook page is a wall of white.  New York City and environs are effectively shut down except for entirely enclosed subway service.  Long Island has problems of its own:

(That may have been photoshopped;)

Meanwhile, here at the North Pole of New York, it's been cold, but I haven't seen a flake in two days. (Well, other than Sarah Palin.) After a number of dum-dum-DUNNNNN! threats of Northtown lake-effect storms last weekend, we got maybe a couple of inches, then a general snowfall added several more early in the week. It's plowed, and piled.

Yet we're missing out on more than the accumulation.  Despite not having the inconveniences, and the runs on bread shelves, and the occasional danger, winter around here hasn't been inherently fun even when it has snowed.  I don't see kids in the neighborhood running out to build forts, or make snow angels, or decorate cars with motivational smileys-

-or go running out into it in shorts, as a blogger friend of mine did, just because the Mets just unexpectedly re-signed their best offensive player-

Even in a winter where we haven't had to "get used to this," we still are used to this. We plod, we plow, we put it in the background.  And maybe we don't appreciate enough of the natural beauty, and natural power, of it all.  It shouldn't take a Storm of the Century to do that.

Maybe I'll feel differently after my next drive stuck behind a tanker truck flinging snow turds at my windshield for 30 miles. But for right now, it's my story and I'm sticking with it
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So. 5:30something this morning, feeding animals, trying to keep the dog from barging in where Emily was sleeping, no caffeine.

Twobor turns on. Asks for my PIN (this is a new-to-10 security Thing they tried to explain as being more secure than a password). Sits with an empty black screen for what seemed to be several minutes.

Then, Words. Looking like 10 when it said "Hi" about a week ago, saying on a grey-black screen, "We've installed updates to your PC."

Mmmkay. But then the screen turns blue on the back and this shows up:


Huh?!?  This is looking more like a spoofed ransom demand (and I'm not the only one who thought that).

Next, this:

Sounds more legit.  And after a few screens of scare, the desktop appears, with relatively few seeming changes.

Yet there were.  It tells me that the start menu now "occasionally" serves up adverts; I find the setting to stop that.  Twobor began asking for PINnage every time I wake him from Sleep; fixed THAT.  At least I didn't lose any actual programs, which, word is, 10 will do to you, along with it changing back some default privacy settings that everyone with a brain opted out of.

I know, First World Problems. And on a $600 computer I basically bought for 20 bucks. But you have to watch these guys like hawks, or they'll control every decision, add every add-on, and delete the Technologically Immoral without you even knowing.
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Word came today that Steven Moffat will be departing the TARDIS after Series 10 airs in the spring of 2017.  All we will have until more than a year from now is a Christmas episode.  After that series, Broadchurch showrunner Chris Chibnall will take over.

All signs point to Capaldi's continuation as the Twelfth Doctor in the role- although Moff did atone for some of his past sexism by commenting that Thirteen could, and likely would, be female.  It remains to be seen whether the new Companion will be cast by next Christmas.

I find it interesting that the BBC cited this year's season of sport as a reason for the year-plus delay in returning the Doctor to its airwaves:

Explaining the decision to hold Moffat’s last series until next year, BBC1 controller Charlotte Moore said: “I have decided to schedule Steven’s big finale series in Spring 2017 to bring the nation together for what will be a huge event on the channel.   2016 is spoilt with national moments including the Euros and Olympics and I want to hold something big back for 2017 - I promise it will be worth the wait!”

There was a similar explanation for the relatively long delay in ITV's returning Endeavour for its third series: that World Cup fever in 2014 left no time on its shedule for the current crop of four episodes.


In other British media news, we watched the Shaun the Sheep movie last night and tonight, and enjoyed a number of special features on the DVD about the animation, modelmaking and  other fiddlybits.  We'll send it home with Emily, because the she and Cameron are here tonight:  his half bro is in his middle school production of Lion King Junior, one of the bowdlerized Broadway scripts MTI cleans up and sends out to kids to put on. (They even offer a sanitized production called Avenue Q School Edition, if you can believe that, replacing "The Internet is for Porn" with "My Social Life Is Online." Gack.) I told the kids they'd really enjoy the opening number, "The Semicircle of Life."

Thanks. I'm here for half the week. Try the small portion of veal.
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I spent the largest quantity of today driving- from home to court in Niagara Falls; from there to Rochester; and from Rochester home.The middle stretch was the longest in time and danger, at least 30 miles of which were spent on a snowy two-lane Route 31 behind a gasoline tanker truck.

So I got to listen to a lot of radio. There was the good, including my introduction to this Mexican guitar duo doing a song you probably know-

- but also plenty. good and bad, about a breakthrough in machismo professional sports coming out of our own back yard.

The Bills announced yesterday that they were hiring the first-ever coach-level female for an NFL coaching staff- a former administrative assistant for the team's head coach, here last season and previously serving with him with the New York Jets, who will now serve as a quality control coach for special teams.

The Internet reaction was a mix. Most local reporters and air personalities reported it as a good thing, but there were plenty of comments echoing this dude, a Cleveland radio host who almost played in the NFL in the 70s, whose knuckles could be heard scraping the ground as he protesteth too much:

Kevin Kiley, a morning drive radio host on CBS Cleveland’s 92.3 The Fan, has a problem with women working in professional sports. Kiley made some very stupid comments about the NFL’s first female official in April, saying the job “calls for a lot of ‘man traits,'” and he got even worse Thursday following the Buffalo Bills’ hire of Kathryn Smith as the NFL’s first full-time female assistant coach. Kiley included “There’s no place for a woman in professional sports, in football, coaching men,” and many, many more Neanderthalic hot takes in his rant....

Kiley’s take on how this applies to Hall of Fame voting’s particularly funny, and hypocritical:

This is the old conversation we had about having a woman vote for the Hall of Fame in football. It’s absurd. I mean do you really want your determination, whether you make the Hall of Fame in football, do you want a woman to have a vote on that, who’s never played the game and doesn’t understand the intensity of the game?

Let’s examine just how good Kiley’s own football career was, shall we? From Wikipedia:

Kiley played college football at the University of Wyoming, was cut by the NFL’s New York Jets before the 1974 season without ever playing, and then played one season with the World Football League’s Chicago Fire.

But hey, he says his genitalia make him qualified to evaluate excellence! Because he’s a big, tough man who can physically “impose his will” on others!

When you stand next to a woman are you bigger and stronger? Do you have the ability to impose your will physically on most people? Women don’t have that.

Kiley goes on to say he doesn’t mind equality outside of football, though, which is the equivalent of “I’m not racist, I have many black friends.”

Football is about physical advantage. [Women] are at a loss when it comes to the reference points of football. This is not discrimination against women. I don’t care if a woman is President, that’d be great. I don’t care if a woman runs a corporation, that’d be great. But don’t set people up to fail. …She couldn’t possibly be qualified to the same level that a man could be qualified to do that.

My immediate thought was this: most obstetricians, and until a generation ago almost all of them, were male.  The incidence of live births emanating from the vaginas of male MDs has historically been consistent at zero (0%) percent. And yet somehow, there are virtually no reported cases of births being messed up because the male OB "couldn’t possibly be qualified to the same level."

There are plenty of trogolodytes in and around this zip code; more than one of them called in to the local sports talk show expressing similar sentiments about female football coaches (and soldiers, and firefighters, and police officers). Yet they all support a team which,not only has just hired the first female assistant coach, but was also the first to hire a female scout (admittedly, the former owner Ralph Wilson's daughter).  We are also one of only five out of the 32 teams in the league currently owned, wholly or in 50% part, by a female owner.

These are among the few facts about this team that really DO make me want to SHOUT!
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