Sunday, May 22, 2022

Starting this season, every MLB rosin bag is made by one man in San Francisco

SF Chronicle:

“A day after the collective bargaining agreement was reached, they called me and said, ‘How would you like to be the official rosin of Major League Baseball?’” Phillips said. “For a small business, a one-man operation in San Francisco, this was a pretty big deal for me.”


“Rosin has a lot of different characteristics to it,” Phillips said. “Our rosin works faster. It activates a bit quicker. I think MLB went with what I provide because it gets stickier quicker instead of having to doctor it up.”

Phillips gets his rosin from Honduras pine trees, the national tree of Honduras, where amber-colored sap is extracted in the spring by making cuts in the trees just below the lowest branches. Receptacles are wrapped below the cuts to collect the sap, a process similar to how maple syrup is harvested.

The sap then is boiled to distill out the turpentine, and what’s left is rosin that becomes hard and brittle. It’s packaged in 55-pound clumps and shipped to the East Coast, where it’s repackaged and sent to San Francisco. Phillips orders thousands of pounds at a time.


This all started as a hobby for Phillips, who in 2009 began playing in hardball leagues including the Bay Area Vintage Base Ball league, which reproduces the 1880s game including its uniforms, equipment and rules.

Remarkable thread about segregation in an area of Texas famous for producing top athletes

"The magic of all this segregation is that Highland Park residents pay a school property tax rate ~10% ***less*** than Dallas residents do — but their tax base means they still get to spend 78% ***more*** per student than Dallas schools can."

Today's funny posts

Picked up from my wishlist, " Then We Came to the End: A Novel" is $1.99 today at Amazon

at Amazon:

Winner of the Hemingway Foundation / PEN Award


One of the Best Books of the Year

Boston Globe * Christian Science Monitor * New York Magazine * New York Times Book Review * St. Louis Post-Dispatch * Time magazine * Salon

Shin Godzilla attraction in the rain; Disorienting views of Times Square, Hong Kong, and Macau

Saturday, May 21, 2022

There were several different delightful events in today's European Tramdriver Championship

A bunch of "exclusive" 3.75" G.I Joe figures available for preorder

Storm Shadow, Baroness, and more by Hasbro.

"Powerful judge in Texas' smallest county...charged with cattle theft"


Lawmen came to remote Loving County, Texas, on Friday to arrest the county judge, a former sheriff’s deputy and two ranch hands on one of Texas’ oldest crimes — cattle theft.


 the scion of a powerful ranching family


For decades, a handful of prominent families in Loving County have feuded bitterly for control of the local government, with the [judge's] finally largely coming out ahead. [He] has served as the judge for more than 15 years. His sister is the county clerk. His cousin’s husband is the county attorney. His nephew is the constable.


he presided over a period of unprecedented growth, as fracking boomed in the Permian Basin, feeding money into the county’s coffers

Amidst ongoing corruption investigation, "the Angels on Friday gave the Anaheim City Council 25 days to grant final approval to the deal"


On Tuesday, an Orange County Superior Court judge placed a hold on a proposed settlement between the city and state, considered the last major obstacle to finalizing the sale. The California attorney general requested the hold on Monday, disclosing the corruption investigation and saying the allegations “call into question” the validity of the settlement and perhaps of the sale itself.

New Humble Bundle features the Starfinder RPG books

$5 for the corebook and 10 add-ons.

Today's funny posts

This week's best Warhammer 40k miniatures and other hobby creations

Friday, May 20, 2022

Plush Tiamat by kidrobot available for preorder

"Behold the goddess Tiamat in all her... cuddly glory? From the lore of Dungeons and Dragons, the dragon goddess Tiamat takes the form of a 16-inch plush! The necks of all five heads, as well as the wings, are bendable."

Check out the James Bond-style gadgets on a car belonging to suspected burglars in Southern California


Officers found and stopped the vehicle in [Irvine, Southern California].

They discovered the car had a device that can flip the vehicle’s license plate with the push of a button.

It also had an elaborate gas siphoning device that transferred fuel directly into the vehicle’s gas tank, according to the department.


"In 19 years, I’ve never seen anything like this"

Last Exit to Nowhere's latest t-shirts are based on "Pumping Iron" and Empire Strikes Back"

"Arnold is numero uno" and Wampa containtment warning. (Haven't seen Pumping Iron in ages, but my recollection is it was practically a horror movie with Arnold terrorizing Lou and Franco.)

Today's funny posts

Lego sea monster vignette; Lego crocodile in a mech suit; Spilled ink Lego

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Champion racing trimaran attacked by pirates off the coast of Yemen


A Hong Kong-flagged racing sailboat that led its skippers to win multiple contests around the world came under attack Thursday off the coast of war-torn Yemen, with its crew reportedly targeted by militants who fired warning shots and threatened them with rocket-propelled grenade launchers.


One assailant boarded the Lakota as well, though he jumped overboard after realizing there was no money on the vessel and that he was far from his comrades’ ships

New Humble Bundle features "The Boys" comics

The Boys and other Dynamite comics starting at $1.

(I haven't tried the comics or Amazon series.)

New Marvel Legends figures available for preorder, including a charming Sentinel

Firelord, Toei Spider-Man and more new Marvel Legends available for preorder:

Today's funny posts

Living in a reverse terrarium


I live in a reverse terrarium? 😱😍 i could not have dreamed up a more perfect spot to observe wildlife from

♬ original sound - OBEEHAVE

The LA Times has more details about the corruption investigation into the alleged "cabal" controlling Anaheim politics


On one intercepted call, [one politician] and the political consultant discussed whether a council member identified in the affidavit as “Elected Official 7" could stomach joining the cabal. 


“I think this would be a lot for him to absorb in his first week [as an elected member of the Anaheim City Council],” [the politician] said. “It’s kind of like when S.O.A.R. took how the sausage was made to the S.O.A.R. Board to show them how polling works and how we manipulate it. That’s when half of S.O.A.R. kind of went off the deep end.”


Anaheim is also a city of stark divides between the business elites who have the ear of the city’s politicians, the wealthy residents who live in a heavily white and affluent neighborhood known as Anaheim Hills, and the city’s flatlands, where the city’s more working-class Latino population resides.


Much of the recent turmoil revolves around Angel Stadium. In the search warrant affidavit, [the FBI agent] alleged that [the Anaheim mayor] provided confidential information to the Angels on at least two occasions during the city’s negotiations with the team over the 150-acre stadium property and obstructed an Orange County Grand Jury investigation into the deal. The mayor, [the agent] wrote, hoped to solicit $1 million in campaign contributions from the Angels in exchange for his help. 

Gurihiru x Ultraman chibi minifigures available for preorder

Six figures plus chase figures, available for preoder at the BBTS and EE:

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Chibi Candyman vinyl figure?

There's dozens of new "Yootooz" vinyl figures available for preorder, including Candyman:

New Joy Toy Space Wolves look great, tons of new Super 7 figures, and a new Judge

Some good new toy preorders: Warhammer 40k Space Wolves; Judge Hershey by Hiya Toys; and a huge number of new Super 7 figures (including Victorian STNG, more G.I. Joe, and Corpse Bride). No photos for the Super 7 listings, but I think the Rza is roughly the figure below, one of their best Reaction figures.

Today's funny posts

Moving art exhibit dedicated to Christopher Pike; Cautionary X-Men tale by Alan Moore and Richard Corben; Greg Smallwood's scrapbook

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Anaheim corruption case expands with charges filed against the former head of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce

In a criminal complaint, the FBI accused the chamber’s former president and chief executive ...  of plotting with an unnamed political consultant to launder chamber money through the consultant’s public relations firm into [the former president's] personal bank account.

The money...was used to influence a financial institution’s decision to lend [him] money to buy a $1.5-million five-bedroom residence in Big Bear City, the complaint says.

The value of Luka Doncic cards is "in a downward spiral"

Action Network:

There have been 34,166 of those cards graded by PSA, according to GemRate. That makes it the fourth-most graded basketball card of all time.


It’s not just supply. It’s the times.

“People were home, sports weren’t being played, they couldn’t gamble and so the only thing people could do to get close to sports was to invest in a piece of cardboard”

"Masked suspects used chainsaw to break into gaming machines at a [Virginia] 7-Eleven"

Virginia Pilot:

Two masked suspects entered the 7-Eleven with a chainsaw and went “immediately” to the Queen of Virginia gaming machines at the front of the store, the sheriff’s office said in a statement issued Tuesday. The suspects used the chainsaw to cut open a section of two machines, stealing an undisclosed amount of cash before fleeing the store on a motorcycle.


one individual was wearing a yellow Dayglow sweatshirt and a chrome German-style helmet

From a few years ago:

They look like slot machines. Symbols spin around the screen like slot machines. And when everything lines up just right, they pay out $1,000-plus jackpots like slot machines.

But the manufacturers of these games – thousands of which have popped up in bars and convenience stores around Virginia despite a strict prohibition on most kinds of gambling – insist they are not, in fact, slot machines.


The industry prefers the term “skill games.” 

Today's funny posts

"Haunted Museum" may be the best arcade game of all time; SpelunkyRL box art; Evening coat for a convalescing soldier

Monday, May 16, 2022

California's "attorney general has asked a court to put the Angel Stadium land sale on hold because of a public corruption investigation"

The state attorney general has asked a court to put the Angel Stadium land sale on hold because of a public corruption investigation into Anaheim Mayor ... and into the potential illegality of the deal.

In an affidavit, an FBI agent specifically said [the mayor] “has attempted to obstruct an Orange County grand jury inquiry into the Angel Stadium deal.”
Previously: Angels owner no longer has to build vast majority of affordable housing units he agreed to build

Today's funny posts

A bear dressed as a knight at a renaissance fair, a Totoro warning sign and other DALL·E 2 creations

Clips from horror driving game "Beware"

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Transparent Mazinger Z figures

These are in stock, $26.99 each:

Charles Leclerc crashed a championship 70's race car when the brakes failed; Sergio Perez almost broke his neck exercising


Formula One championship leader Charles Leclerc crashed the 1974 Ferrari of three-time champion Niki Lauda after experiencing brake failure during a demonstration run at the Monaco Historic Grand Prix on Sunday.

The current Ferrari driver was at the wheel of the Ferrari 312 B3, which Lauda drove in period, for a handful of demonstration laps on his home circuit.

Quarantine desks at the office; Ten spectacular, newly-built stadiums that won't be used; Scarier than the silence of the lambs

Hugo Award Finalist "Light From Uncommon Stars" is $2.99 today

At Amazon (I picked it up from my wishlist):

Hugo Award Finalist

A National Bestseller

Indie Next Pick

New York Public Library Top 10 Book of 2021

A Kirkus Best Book of 2021

A Barnes & Noble Best Science Fiction Book of 2021

2022 Alex Award Winner

2022 Stonewall Book Award Winner

Today's funny posts

Custom extreme sports GI Joe figure; Custom Balrog and Gandalf; Custom Landspeeders

Saturday, May 14, 2022

A federal operation called "Silent Night" has seized over 40,000 illegal gun silencers smuggled from China

"links to websites that sell them circulate among gun enthusiasts who often meet through web forums and sites like Reddit."

New Humble Bundle features Heavy Metal comics

Six items for $1, 51 for $25. (Issues of Heavy Metal from the 70's to recent years, and various comics. I've never seen the digital versions on sale at Kindle/Comixology.)

Today's funny posts

This week's best Warhammer 40k miniatures and other hobby creations

Friday, May 13, 2022

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Episode 2 was also pretty good

Deeply forgettable plot and tedious spaceship flying, but the characters remain really likeable and interesting, and Pike's hair only gets taller.

Today's funny posts

The elevator fight from Remo Williams

Thursday, May 12, 2022

California Coastal Commission voted against permitting construction of a desalination plant that was first proposed more than two decades ago

Here's how the LAT characterizes it:

In denying Poseidon a permit, the commission demonstrated its independence from the Newsom administration and also sent the message that high costs, vocal opposition and hazards such as sea-level rise can present major hurdles for large desalination plants on the California coast.

The LAT a few weeks ago (same reporter):

Southern California officials on Tuesday took the unprecedented step of declaring a water shortage emergency and ordering outdoor usage be restricted to just one day a week for about 6 million people in parts of Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties.

The outdoor watering restrictions will take effect June 1 under the decision by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and will apply to areas that depend on water from the drought-ravaged State Water Project.

“We are seeing conditions unlike anything we have seen before,” said ... the district’s general manager. “We need serious demand reductions.”

The MWD’s board has never before taken such a step

El Salvador suspended civil liberties and has imprisoned more than 25,000 people in the last six weeks


Following a record-setting weekend of gang killings in March, the Salvadoran government declared a state of emergency and suspended civil liberties guaranteed in the constitution.


El Salvador’s president, Nayib Bukele, has conceded that innocents are being swept up in the crackdown, but insists they’re a small share of arrests. And the vast majority of Salvadorans — more than 80 percent, surveys show — support Mr. Bukele and approve of the government’s extreme measures.

Hatred of the gangs runs so deep in El Salvador that many want them subdued by any means necessary. 

Al Jazeera:

The government says it is arresting “terrorists” and gang members to take control of the streets after a spike in homicides from March 25 to 27 left more than 80 people dead.


But despite the criticism, members of President Nayib Bukele‘s Nuevas Ideas Party said they would continue the arrests during the state of exception until all the country’s gang members, estimated at 70,000 people, are detained.

From March:

Mr. Bukele, 40, campaigned on the promise of bringing law and order to El Salvador’s streets, some of the world’s most violent, and since taking office nearly three years ago he had seemed to be making good on that pledge.

However, the reduction in violence may not have been the fruit of Mr. Bukele’s security policies, but of a clandestine deal 


Under these secret negotiations, according to the Treasury Department, the government provided financial incentives to the gangs and preferential treatment for gang leaders in prison, such as access to mobile phones and prostitutes. In exchange, the gangs apparently promised to cut down on gang violence and homicides.


The [March] violence was random, not the result of spats between gang members or intimidation of vendors who refused to pay extortion fees, as is often the case. It ensnared anyone caught on the streets.

Two GOP staffers in Philadelphia fired after a possible ballot harvesting operation was exposed

Penn Live:

The news organization found that dozens of Republican mail ballots for the May 17 primary were being diverted to a P.O. Box registered to the Republican Registration Coalition. The committee’s chairman ... said he’d helped the voters fill out their ballot applications, inserting his P.O. box on the form where voters would typically write their home addresses.

Though [he] maintained he was doing this as a “service to the voters” and intended to hand deliver the ballots once they arrived, many of the affected voters said they did not remember applying to vote by mail and had no idea why their ballots were going to [him] instead of directly to them.  


Philadelphia’s fellow GOP ward leaders voted Saturday to oust [the staffer] from his position as the leader of South Philadelphia’s 39th Ward, calling the situation troubling at a time when Republican lawmakers and candidates have attacked mail voting and falsely characterized it as rife with abuse by their Democrat rivals.

New Humble Bundle features Transformers comics; Ten times the Marvel Transformers comic was shockingly violent; Custom damaged Galvatron figure

$1 for four volumes, 53 volumes for $20.

Coincidentally, I was in the process of posting this list of shockingly violent moments in Transformers history.

And this battle-damaged Galvatron figure:

A "boba tea shop in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood is suspected to be a front for an international fencing operation"

SF Chronicle goes into detail about how the alleged criminal operation operated, how the investigators built their case, and the politics surrounding the announcement:

The probe leading to [one man's] arrest, which is dubbed Operation Auto Pilot, included bait cars, GPS tracking devices and undercover surveillance, and led to the recovery of more than 1,000 laptops, phones, cameras and other devices from locations allegedly associated with Le, officials said.


The bust comes at a crucial time for [the District Attorney], who is facing down a recall election led by critics who say he’s too soft on crime.


The investigation and ... arrest appeared to rebut a recent pro-recall commercial in which ... a former assistant district attorney who prosecuted car break-ins, states that [the District Attorney] “dissolved that unit and prevented me from collaborating with the police.”

In a July 27 farewell email to her then-colleagues, [the former assistant district attorney] references Operation Auto Pilot specifically and said she had “no doubt I will be reading about the success of (it) in the news soon”


Sharky Laguana, president of both the American Rental Car Association and the San Francisco Small Business Commission, praised the operation, which had used rental cars as bait.

Here's a Reddit thread, which, for what it's worth, makes it sound like it was fairly obvious illegality of some type was going on. 

And here's that advertisement:

Today's funny posts

SDCC 2022 "exclusives" including Frog Thor battle diorama available for preorder

New preorders including this Judge Dredd/Judge Death action figure set by Hiya toys, and this Frog Thor vs. Alligator Loki diorama:

Wandering a locked down Shanghai

Lofi retro fixed camera psychological survival-horror