They Had 15 Minutes to Kill 

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

Before Google+ shuts down permanently on April 2nd, its content is being preserved. I know what you’re thinking: “Google+ was still around?”. It was indeed.

Their Time Has Come 

Monday, March 18th, 2019

Andrew Mearns is making a case for a beautiful future of bat dogs in the major leagues

People Who Like Brian Regan Also Bought Tickets To See Brian Regan

Friday, March 15th, 2019

I’m on the mailing list for a few Boston-area entertainment venues, which sometimes provides early access to shows and concerts. Last fall, I used this perk to purchase tickets for a show by comedian Brian Regan. While I’ve seen his stand-up specials on TV, I should note that I’ve never actually seen him live at a ticketed event.

And yet, on September 20th, the very day after I purchased tickets to see Brian Regan, I received this email:

In my best Brian Regan “Dumb Guy” voice

“HEY! HEY, YOU! We’ve got Brian Regan tickets on sale tomorrow! Open this email to learn more!”

“Hey, there’s a show we think you might be interested in! Perhaps you’ve heard of…Brian Regan?”

“We actually know you’ve heard of him, because yesterday, you bought tickets to see him. And when you did, we added you to our Brian Regan mailing list!

Hey, look at that! You actually bought tickets to see this very show!”

“Well anyway, we just wanted to let you know that tickets for this show go on sale tomorrow! So if you want to buy tickets to that show you already bought tickets for, they go on sale in the morning.”

“We figured you wouldn’t want to miss it, since you’re such a big fan of Brian Regan!”

Get your shit together, Ticketmaster.

The Once and Future Mayor

Thursday, March 14th, 2019

In 2015, Jasiel Correia was elected mayor of Fall River, Massachusetts at the tender age of 23. He earned a second term in 2017, garnering 61% of the vote. However, in the fall of 2018, Correia was arrested on charges of wire fraud and filing false tax returns. Fall River’s City Council urged him to resign, and when he failed to do so, they called a recall election.

So far, this reads as the relatively straight-forward story of a politician who may be guilty of some crimes. It’s unpleasant, but not altogether uncommon. However, the results of Tuesday’s election are really something to see. Here’s how it worked out:

Should Jasiel Correia be recalled from the office of mayor?

Yes: 7,829 (61.5%)
No: 4,911 (38.5%)

Assuming the mayor is recalled, who should be elected mayor?

Jasiel Correia: 4,808 (35.5%)
Paul Coogan: 4,567 (33.7%)
Joseph D. Camara: 1,971 (14.6%)
Kyle Riley: 1,460 (10.8%)
Erica Scott-Pacheco: 740 (5.5%)

In a single election, Jasiel Correia was both recalled from office, and then re-elected to that same office. There are many questions here, like “Why is a mayor facing recall also allowed to run on the new ballot?” and “Did 103 voters feel Correia should not be recalled, but then also go on to vote for someone else?”.1 Correia will face another election in the fall against a single opponent, and it seems probable he’ll lose that contest. Worse, he may well find himself in prison before then as well. For the moment, however, a great deal of time, energy, and money was spent on this election, and the only change is that Fall River now looks rather foolish.

To close on a serious note, this is a prime example of why ranked-choice voting is a superior system for elections. Almost two-thirds of voters wanted someone other than Correia to be mayor, and yet he won. That is a very flawed system, and ranked-choice voting is one very powerful fix for it. Learn the basics with this helpful video. If you’re in Massachusetts, check out Voter Choice MA for more information.


Footnotes:

  1. The tallies show that the new election had 806 more voters than the recall itself, and it’s impossible to know exactly what any voters were thinking. What is clear is that more people voted for the current mayor to stay in office/against the recall than voted for him to be chosen mayor. Perhaps some of the 4911 “No” votes in question #1 were protest votes against the recall process itself, rather than in support of the mayor.↩︎

Not A Cheeseburger Predator 

Wednesday, March 13th, 2019

Annotating or translating the statements corporations put out is often amusing, and this review of a recent statement from LaCroix CEO Nick Caporella is no exception.

KFC Is Really Weird, Y’all 

Tuesday, March 12th, 2019

For someone who’s been a vegetarian for over two decades, I’ve written about Kentucky Fried Chicken rather a lot. But this is the kind of fast food chain that hires Robocop to portray its founder, so I think it’s justified.

Pete Souza’s Best Photograph 

Monday, March 11th, 2019

Pete Souza served as White House photographer under Presidents Reagan and Obama. Recently, he spoke to the Guardian and discussed what he believes is his best shot of President Obama, and much more.

Water, Water, Everywhere 

Friday, March 8th, 2019

Speaking of dogs in the snow, an Oregon dog and her owner recently found themselves trapped in a snowbound SUV. CNN’s article on the incident has a few problems, however. It opens thusly:

The snow trapped Jeremy R. Taylor, but taco sauce saved his life.

And yet later, it correctly notes:

A person can live five days without water and six weeks without food, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The taco sauce may have provided marginal assistance, but ultimately, it was largely irrelevant to survival in question here. However, the line that really gets me is this one:

It is not clear how he, or the dog, got water.

Yes, sitting in a vehicle surrounded by snow as far as the eye could see, where on earth might they have found any source of water? Where oh where?

I’d Really Like To See A Picture of the Complainant 

Thursday, March 7th, 2019

Well, this story of an angry hipster who apparently misidentified himself is pretty much perfect.

They Will See Her Wagging From Such Great Heights 

Wednesday, March 6th, 2019

Late last year, a 45-pound Nepalese mutt named Mera climbed Baruntse, a 23,389-foot peak located near Mt. Everest. In the process, she likely reached the highest elevation a canine has ever climbed to.

Mera declined to comment for this piece, preferring instead that her accomplishment speak for itself. And to be clear, no one forced Mera to climb this mountain. In fact, Mera’s feat made the climbers very anxious.

Along the way, Mera braved two nights exposed to the cold, chewed through a rope intended to keep her from climbing, and sped up passes more than three times faster than her human companions. Amazing.