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Only 49 states left where I can do online dating

NEW YORK CITY, New York - All 50 states are still good for me, but I soon may have to cross New Jersey off the list. Ars Technica is reporting on a bill floating around the New Jersey Assembly that would require online dating sites to inform New Jersey members if they perform criminal background checks, and specifies additional disclosure requirements based on whether or not the site does in fact perform the checks.

Just in case dating sites were planning on complying via fine print, the bill specifies the screens and other communications on which the notifications must appear, and the minimum font size for the text:

Specifically, any online dating service would be required to present such notification upon the sending or reception of e-mail, on all New Jersey-based profiles, and on all web pages used to sign up a New Jersey member... all notification must be provided in bold capital letters and a font size of at least 12, because nothing says "I love you" like a giant disclaimer.

At least the authors of the bill know what a "font" is, although I'm sure this will have to be explained to some of the more dinosaur-ish members of the Assembly.

Ars notes that similar bills have failed to pass in several other states, so I'll predict a similar fate for this one.

Found via Slashdot


Entenmann's needs to stay in its lane

BRIGANTINE, New Jersey - There is a place in the supermarket and convenience store snack universe for Entenmann's. I know this.

However, this bakery has crossed the line when they are trying to peddle a small, butterscotch-iced cake in a Wawa. Pictured below. That particular cake is the exclusive domain of the Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpet, and anyone trying to invade that turf is a fool.


I've had to give Charbucks some action, with ugly consequences

MARGATE, New Jersey - I've had to hunt around South Jersey this week for wifi I could use while working. Tuesday I worked from a friend's house, but Monday and Wednesday I was left to scrounge about. South Jersey is not like Seattle, where wifi is easily found. I ended up at Charbucks some of the time, with less than happy results.

The espresso was bad, but I was expecting that. They had doughnuts from Top Pot, which is a good Seattle doughnut, but these did not taste the same. Either they jack them up with preservatives for national distribution, or they were just a bit too old.

I bought some T-Mobile HotSpot time and tried working from Charbucks. Today, the first two Charbucks I tried had music far too loud for working, or conversation, or anything. At the second, I tipped the barista and asked her to lower the volume; it would have take professional audio equipment to notice the volume drop she executed. This was the Charbucks in the pier that Caesars has swanked up, it had a great view of the ocean and city, it would have been nice to work there, but the music was loud to the point of contempt and hostility.

Their website store locator needs updating: it did not indicate that the Pier Charbucks had HotSpot, even though it does, and it had the phone number wrong for a second Charbucks.

I've since stumbled upon a Charbucks here that has secret, free, unauthorized (not T-Mobile) wifi; I won't reveal the location but it's quiet, and has free wifi, and I will have to haunt this Charbucks going forward.


Are the Sonics the new Seattle City Light or Puget Sound Energy?

VINELAND, New Jersey - I've seen the columns of Dave Zirin when they've made their occasional appearances on over the last few years. Zirin always takes a contemporary sports issue, and writes a column about it that reads like it was written by a Greenwich Village radical, circa 1910. He recently wrote on the potential move of the Seattle Supersonics basketball team to Oklahoma City.

Bennett, a man who has spent less time in Seattle than the sun, has made it clear that unless a deluxe, publicly funded arena is built, he will take "his team" and move it to his home base in Oklahoma City...

Has a columnist not based in Seattle ever written a column about Seattle without mentioning rain, clouds, or coffee?

Without shame, Bennett is holding economic hostage a city with serious education and health care shortfalls.

I'm not sure what shortfalls he's talking about - the main "education shortfall" in Seattle is that there are too many schools and not enough kids, and every school they try to close squeals to high heaven that they're the one school that absolutely cannot be closed.

But Zirin would probably say this about any city - it is core leftist ideology that every city has grave education and health care shortfalls, requiring massive additional taxation to fix.

Stern is siding with a man who has made it his intention from Day 1 to break Seattle's heart by any means necessary. Bennett hasn't acted in bad faith, he has acted in no faith.

That statement about Bennett is true enough; David Stern (the NBA commissioner) is an employee of the owners and must be expected to side with them.

It's time to get serious. It's time to talk municipalization... Municipalization means turning the Sonics into a public utility; call it a kind word for expropriation. Basketball fans should press the state of Washington to sue for the right to buy the team back from Clay and his cronies.

Should cities just try to buy every company that tries to leave? Boeing moved its headquarters from Seattle to Chicago a few years back; should the city have simply tried to buy them?

The Sonics should get their new arena, but instead of the proceeds going to build another wing on Bennett Manor, the funds would go to rebuilding the city's health care and educational infrastructure.

The first hunk of that passage is just run-of-the-mill leftism - someone's making money, and not spending it in a way that is deemed to be noble.

But beyond that - if professional sports teams generated such fantastic revenue that they could "rebuild a city's health care and educational infrastructure", then every city would own several. Zirin has been following sports long enough to know that many teams don't make a whole lot of money every year; the value comes in the appreciation of the team over time. Most professional teams have been sold at handsome profits, even if their annual profit/loss was unimpressive.

The Sonics, in particular, have been bleeding money for years; is that the kind of investment Zirin thinks cities should be making?


Imitation (butter) is the sincerest form of flattery

MAYS LANDING, New Jersey - It was not two weeks ago that I mentioned I Can't Believe It's Not Butter while noting the Fabio/Clooney dust-up.

Just in time, the Serious Eats blog hunted around and posted some examples from the universe of imitators of this august product, including Butter It's Not! and What, not butter!

Found via Boing Boing


I have something in common with Derek Jeter

SEATTLE, Washington - No, I don't have herpes. But Mr Jeter is currently battling New York State tax officials over his residency status. I have had similar skirmishes in the past.

Jeter is claiming that he is a resident of Florida (which, surprise surprise, has no state income tax.) New York State gets 6-7% and New York City whacks residents for another 4%.


Another state pondering unenforceable online gambling ban

SEATTLE, Washington - The great state of Washington was the first in the country to enact a ban on its residents engaging in poker or other gaming online. This was made a Class C Felony in Washington in 2006. (The severity of the penalty has subsequently been greatly reduced.) A cynic might observe that the attack on online gambling might have something to do with the large presence of Indian casinos in the state.

The federal government got into the act later in 2006, when the SAFE Port Act was signed into law, which prohibits US banks and credit card companies from transacting with online casinos.

No cynicism necessary to see the utter absurdity of the proposed law in Massachusetts that would license three meatspace casinos while banning online gambling for its residents. Do the politicians who propose these things (in this case, MA Governor Deval Patrick) have no shame?

Barney Frank didn't have much shame when it came to a male prostitute running an escort service out of his apartment, but I have to give him credit on this issue; he has been a vocal critic of both Patrick's proposals and the federal efforts to stop online gambling.

found via Reason Hit & Run


I think I'll head to Nordstrom tonight

SEATTLE, Washington - Prettier than Napoleon informs us of an interesting take on indecent exposure arrived at by the South Dakota Supreme Court.

First, some of the prurient details:

  • The name of the exposer in question is "Michael James Plenty Horse".
  • He had removed the high school band outfit from the mannequin with which he was having simulated intercourse.
  • He had a "wad of paper" in his hand.
  • The case was "Considered on Briefs" - there's a joke there, I think.

Mr Plenty Horse was convicted of indecent exposure because of the above incident, which happened in a public cultural center that did not have any other patrons in the area at the time of the intercourse.

The Supreme Court let him off the hook by focusing on the word intent in the relevant statute, which reads:

A person commits the crime of indecent exposure if, with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, the person exposes his or her genitals in a public place under circumstances in which that person knows that person's conduct is likely to annoy, offend, or alarm another person.

Per the court, an "intent" crime requires the prosecution to prove intent - in this case, intent to sexually gratify himself or others by exposing his genitals in public. There's no doubt that Mr Plenty Horse exposed himself, but since his intent appeared to be to gratify himself through contact with the mannequin, and not through sheer exhibitionist joy, that his act did not fall within the purview of indecent exposure.


We almost had fisticuffs between George Clooney and Fabio

SEATTLE, Washington - Celebslam breaks the news that George Clooney and Fabio got into a shoving match at a Los Angeles restaurant.

I want to personally thank Fabio for telling Clooney to "stop being a diva".

This post sponsored by I Can't Believe it's not Butter


Book Review - Down and Out in Paris and London

SEATTLE, Washington - Lately, I have been finding fascination in reading the details of poverty, indigence, and bohemianism in bygone eras. I just finished Down and Out in Paris and London, George Orwell's semi-autobiographical account of life at the bottom rungs of the ladder.

This book provides piles of the minutiae that I love. Orwell starts out in Paris, where he loses his (already meager) living of tutoring English and has to scrape about before finding two long-hours, low-pay plongeur (dishwasher and kitchen assistant) gigs, first in a swanky hotel, then in a small restaurant. Copious detail is given on various fleabag Paris lodging arrangements, scam-artists, and the gory details of hotel and restaurant operations at that time.

Eventually he heads back to England, where a friend has arranged work for him - to be the nursemaid for a "tame imbecile". Good work if you can get it, but the imbecile leaves the country for a month. The penniless Orwell has to fend for himself, crashing at spikes or free lodging houses, tramping about, living on bread & margarine, the whole nine yards. Couldn't he just have holed up for a month with the guy that arranged the job?

There is some unintentional humor in Chapter XXXII. Orwell devotes this chapter to a discussion of London slang and swear words. It may have been helpful as he originally wrote it, but it seems that when published, most of the expletives were removed. This is true in both my printed version, and at the link above (which contains the entire text of the book.) A discussion of profanity ends up reading like satire:

No born Londoner (it is different with people of Scotch or Irish origin) now says ‘bloody’, unless he is a man of some education... The current London adjective, now tacked on to every noun, is —. No doubt in time —, like ‘bloody’, will find its way into the drawing-room and be replaced by some other word....

A word becomes an oath because it means a certain thing, and, because it has become an oath, it ceases to mean that thing. For example—. The Londoners do not now use, or very seldom use, this word in its original meaning; it is on their lips from morning till night, but it is a mere expletive and means nothing. Similarly with —, which is rapidly losing its original sense. One can think of similar instances in French—for example —, which is now a quite meaningless expletive.

The word —, also, is still used occasionally in Paris, but the people who use it, or most of them, have no idea of what it once meant.

Orwell nods off into some tired socialist critiques of what he has seen in Chapters XXII and XXXVI. He feels the hard work of the plongeur and other hotel workers is all wasted labor, essentially because the wealthy that stay there are essentially being hoodwinked, spending money on fake luxury instead of genuine value - with all the profit, of course, going to the greedy proprietor. The tramps of London are characterized as simply needing work, can't some be provided?

Perhaps, if Orwell have lived much longer (he died in 1950) he would have seen that the cheery redistributionist socialism he favored, and the totalitarianism he skewered in Animal Farm and 1984, have more in common than not.


The nature of Grimace

SEATTLE, Washington - I may be including the McDonaldland character Grimace in a future painting, so I decided to do a bit of research on the big guy.

I don't know if everyone but me knows this, or nobody knows it, but according to Wikipedia Grimace is a taste bud.

You learn something every day.