Does Your Babyhole Need A Babypod?

Hey ladies. What if I told you that for 150 bucks you could buy a little speaker that goes into your vagina so you can play music to your unborn child?

Don’t all line up at once.

For $150, you can purchase your very own “Babypod”, a small speaker that can be plugged into any music-playing device of your choice and inserted into the vagina to gently play your favorite tunes into the womb. It also features earphones that hang out of the vagina so mothers and fathers can listen along too.

“Music [activates] language and communication stimulation centres, inducing a response of vocal movements. Babies learn to talk sticking out their tongues,” the Spanish company claims in a website blurb.
“With Babypod, babies begin to vocalize from the womb.”
It’s a popular belief that a fetus can benefit from listening to music while they’re developing in the womb. Most people achieve this playing some nice classical music on the radio while they’re pregnant, but Babypod claims that’s not enough. They cite research by Institut Marquès, a Spanish gynecological clinic, that claims “the foetus hears only the sounds that come directly from the vagina and barely hears the noises from the outside.”

No, nothing about any of this is weird whatsoever. Not at all.

But it is both award winning (2017 Ig Nobel Prize for Obstetrics) and FDA approved, so there’s that.

If Your Pool Wasn’t Hosed Already…

…It is now. Colorado Avalanche eliminate Calgary Flames from Stanley Cup playoffs

My memory for hockey trivia isn’t the best, so I thought maybe that was why I was having trouble thinking of another time when the league’s two best teams got massacred so badly that they could only manage a single playoff win between them. It was starting to bug me a little that I couldn’t come up with anything, but apparently I don’t have to worry about my forgetfulness, at least not right now. The reason I don’t remember this happening before is that there’s nothing to remember.

Since 1967-68, when six teams were added to make the NHL a 12-team league, there have been a number of playoff formats: division-based, conference-based, and for two seasons (1979-80, 1980-81) the top 16 teams were seeded by regular-season points.
In none of those instances had the top two teams in each division or conference, or the teams with the two best records, been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

Tampa Bay (62-16-4) tied the NHL record for wins in a season, set by the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings, and finished 21 points ahead of the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference.

Calgary (50-25-7) led the Western Conference by six points over the San Jose Sharks.
The Lightning lost four straight games to the Blue Jackets and were outscored 15-5 in the final three, including 7-3 in Game 4.

The Flames lost four straight games after winning Game 1. The Avalanche won Game 2 and Game 4 in overtime.

I wish I could tell you that Carin picked both Columbus and Colorado, but even she’s not that good. But of the two, picking against the Lightning is probably the weird pick that makes the most impact, so it’s still some pretty solid work.

Six Months Of Shmans

Tansy has been very much neglected up here, but I have once again amassed quite the list of updates, observations and acknowledgements of time.

Back in October, Tansy got out her barf bingo dabber and checked off that month. I think the little rip stole some dropped food at a social event at work, but even so, it’s another month where she has barfed. I wish she wasn’t so silent about it. I had no idea it happened until a colleague pointed it out. Hmmm, is that less or more disgusting than asking a colleague to graphically describe ooze coming from a cyst? Maybe it’s a toss-up. Har!

Shmans went through a phase of having little lumpy bumpy skin irritation things. The vets weren’t sure what they were, and we treated them with medicated pads and they went away. A few came back when I went home to mom and dad’s so I’m not sure if it’s an environmental allergy or what. Thank goodness they have stayed gone though. I kept having nightmares that one day I would rub her belly and a great hunk of skin would be covered in lines of unnoticed lumpy bumpies!

Then one day, when Brad was here, he commented that Tans’s underbelly looked all baggy and bunched up. His comment was “it looks like she’s going to have pups!” I had a few nightmares about discovering that Shmans wasn’t spayed after all and was about to have puppies. You can see it’s really easy to fuel my nightmares. The vet says that’s just the way she is and not to worry. It hasn’t changed, so I guess that’s just Shmans.

I also noticed one day that her neck felt flabbier than usual. For now I’m going to say I’m just paranoid. Her weight is mostly staying the same, but I can never predict when it will bump up or fall down.

She had another session of losing hair on her paws. This time, when it grew back, it came back white. We don’t know if it’s the boots, maybe this brand isn’t as uniformly made as the official Pawz ones, or they’re made out of a different kind of rubber, but once again she had rubbed patches. It’s always on different paws though. In previous years, it was on the rear paws, now this time it was on the front ones.

Speaking of boots, I had a new experience. I had to put boots on her while riding in a car. I would have never been able to pull this off with the other boots. But with difficulty, I got them on. When I left, I didn’t realize how much salt was out until she started hopping. The car was right there, so I had to put the boots on during the ride so when we got to where we were going, she would be protected. Add that to the list of things I’ve learned to do, right up there with relieving two dogs and having to find something else to serve as an emergency poop bag.

Poor Shmans has such a hard time finding dogs that can handle her level of energy but aren’t too rough. I saw a dog who actually scared poor Tansy. We went to visit a coworker, and she has two little dogs. The one was pretty calm, but the other one wanted to make sure that Tans knew she was on his property. The first thing he did was pee on his house. Then, he wouldn’t stop trying to dominate poor Shmans. Imagine a little Boston Tarrier-like dog trying to show Shmans who was boss. Not only that, but he kept trying to hump her head! He’s blind, so I guess he just aimed for some part of her and went to town. Tans was not sure what to make of this and just tried to stay out of his way. Tans, you have such a hard time.

She is getting older though. She has some grey that is visible, and some white on her paws in addition to the new white that came back after the hair loss. Someone described her as salt and pepper, and that she has a beard. Someone else said she looked wise, I’m not sure if it was her facial expression or what. I also notice that she seems more chilled out. Her moments of insanity are shorter and she takes longer to charge as I used to call it. She’s started lying down on the bus again, and she lies down in places where I wouldn’t expect it. Yes, this dog is mortal.

Our buddy J thinks she’s more chill too. While he was here, we were getting ready to leave but I had to head back for something, so Steve and J stepped outside and Tansy just wandered out with them and stood there. That would have never happened when she was younger, as history will attest. She would have been up and down the hall like a shot. But she just stood near J and waited for me.

But she is still full of beans. She still loves J a lot, and when I went to meet him at the station, Shmans jumped on him. Randomly, as he was sitting around, she would come running over and start bonking into him and being a total goofball. One morning, he tried to do some stretches and situps and things, and Tans got right in his way and thought he was on the floor to play with her. She has been known to give in to her impulsivity a little bit more. I can’t remember where I mentioned this, but during the fall semester, I had a co-op student working with me until January. Inexplicably, whenever her teacher would come to observe, Tansy would surprise me by leaping on her in harness! Just once, thankfully only once, she decided to suddenly increase her speed while on the stairs because she saw something that distracted her. That little lapse in impulse-control scared me. She absolutely adores the guy who sometimes brings a dog to work. I now have a picture of that dog!

Tansy standing with Charlie, one on each side of me.
Tansy and her new deskmate

Anyway, even if he doesn’t have that dog with him, Tans will exuberantly greet him. His desk is right next to her space and sometimes, when we’re coming back from somewhere, she’ll try to go visit him first. She also will forget her manners and run from our area to say hello to that one coworker with the super-dominant little dog I talked about earlier. Occasionally, if I’m working late and the cleaning lady comes around with the vacuum, Tansy has decided she’s a play toy too. I have sometimes heard a voice say “Go to mamma, go to mamma!” and I have to rescue this poor woman while hiding my embarrassed face. And of course, she has been known to lure other dogs into our area. I don’t know how she does it, but every now and then, some dog will break free of its owner and come bounding in here. So Tans keeps life interesting.

All these stories remind me of something I heard while passing by a kid and his mom. The mom was telling the kid that the doggy was working so he couldn’t pet the doggy, and the kid was trying to argue that no, the doggy doesn’t look like he’s working. Wanna bet, kid? If you’d seen the events above, you would know that yes, she is working sooooo hard not to be bouncing off the ceiling right now.

But she still can control those impulses. She was hilarious with my co-op student. She would be very reserved, then I would take the harness off and only if I brought her over to the student did she say hello. She would get up on her hind legs and give her a hug and some kisses. I wish I had a picture. It was like she knew the student wanted a guide dog and wanted to show her what it was all about.

Shmans was none too pleased with the last winter. Sometimes I think she wished she could hibernate. In the morning when it was almost time to go, she would get super quiet, as if I might forget her if she didn’t make any noise. Oh dog, I don’t like this winter either.

Something new she’s started doing is she won’t just celebrate after a meal, but she’ll celebrate while I’m getting it ready. Well, I’m glad she’s happy. She also chooses where she sleeps, and if she misjudges when it’s time to rise and shine, she’ll take the hint and either go back to bed or flop into the crate.

If I’m at the office late, even if I feed her, she will get so excited when I show signs that we are leaving. It’s like she’s saying “Good! I can go home and totally loop out and then relax. Finally!”

Let’s add some songs to the list of songs Tansy gets excited over. Oddly enough, she likes “Joshua Giraffe”, but only when it starts speeding up.

She has decided that River by Sarah McLachlan

is a good one, as well as “Is Anybody Home” by Our Lady Peace

and “On Top of the World” by the Carpenters.

Oddly enough, a song she has heard many times has recently joined the awesome list, and that’s “The Happy Song” by Imogen Heap.

Just a few weeks ago, she decided it was worth dancing to. It sometimes seems like she likes the theme from Dr. Demento,

but I’m not sure about that one. W’w’w’w’w’w’wind up your Shmandaloop!

We learned at Christmas that Shmans will not tolerate wearing things for fun. We tried to get a picture of her with a Santa hat on, and that Santa hat flew! We also tried to put bells on her, and that was not a good idea. I have never seen her work so fiercely to get something off. So, harness, jackets, boots and mut muffs are ok, but keep those bells and hats away. Ok then.

Another amusing part of Christmas festivities was when we started singing “If you’re happy and you know it.” Somehow, we ended up singing “If you’re happy and you know it, pat your leg,” and this drove Shmans nuts. Everybody was patting their leg! Were they all calling her? What was she to do? Poor, poor confused dog.

She got some toys at Christmas from my Secret Santa. We had a funny Aira moment. The agent was describing the package since I couldn’t find a braille note until we got to the bottom, and maybe the lighting wasn’t awesome. When we got to the toys, they were stuck together with Velcro, and the agent thought the big one was a kangaroo. So we thought the thing stuck to it must have been its baby, or Joey. Then we found the note and found out it was a squirrel and an acorn. So, they were nicknamed the squangaroo and the jacorn from then on. The squangaroo didn’t make it because Tans was trying to use it for rougher play than it was intended, and the poor thing ripped, but the jacorn is still with us. We also got some smaller stuffed toys in March, and sometimes she picks up the jacorn and one of those and brings them to us.

Sometimes when she’s playing, she will inexplicably let out these little yips. I was worried they were pain, but I’m not so sure anymore. It’s like she’s so happy she can’t contain herself. Of course, I’ll keep watching and we’ll see, but for now, I’ll say they’re happy.

I am sure there are things that we do that probably frustrate our guide dogs, like getting on different buses. I’m sure they’re thinking “You just got off that moving chair thing, why do you want to sit on another one?” But I can add shopping for a couch to the list. There are few times when I actually imagine what Tansy is thinking, but last Saturday as we shopped for couches, I heard her thought process loudly and clearly. It went a little something like “Woman, I just found you a seat. Why do you want to find another one? I just got nicely settled and you’re asking me to get up again. Did you not like this one? What’s so different about the one we moved to? It’s not that far from that other one! You’re weird!” Sometimes, on our way to the couch we were interested in, Tansy would just stop and try to direct me to a seat, any old seat. Poor baby, she had no idea.

Back in September, my grandma moved into an assisted living place. When I have had the chance to see her, Tansy has decided that random residents need some love. We’ll be trying to go by one of them and she’ll try and scooch over so she can nuzzle them. Even though I mind, thankfully they don’t. I wonder what she notices about them.

Can you believe that Trix has been gone for over a year? February 21 marked the anniversary of her death, and it is now April. We are chugging through all of her anniversaries too, and it blows my mind. I reached out to her raiser on what would have been her birthday and we both said we were thinking of her. It was really weird not to buy her Christmas presents this year.

One of the things Tans inherited from the Trix days finally bit the big one. Remember that no-spill water bowl I bought for Trix at work? It finally died. It started showing signs of wearing out with a wee crack, and then it just started coming apart. I ordered a new style of no-spill bowl, and after one bowl nearly got lost in the postal strike, it arrived from Amazon. It stores one heck of a lot of water. Even with two dogs drinking out of it whenever my nearby coworker brings in his dog, there is still lots left. It must seem magical to the dogs. It has this floating piece that only lets up so much water at a time, but as they push on it with their noses, more water comes up. It makes me think of a bottomless cup.

A couple of weeks ago, Tans and I celebrated 6 years as a guide dog team. Shmans has now worked the longest out of all 3 dogs, Trix being the only real close competition. But she has smashed all her records in age while working and time working together. On May 31, Tans will turn 8. To put it into perspective, when Trix turned 8, she had been retired for nearly 8 months, had been with Brad for almost 6 months, and Tans and I had just gotten home a couple days before. I’m not trying to call Trix a crappy guide dog or anything, I’m more saying I can sigh a sigh of relief that I am not a dog-breaker.

And those are the majority of the Shmans updates for now. I have a bit more news, but it needs to be in a post all on its own. Basically, Shmans got to see her raisers again, and I want to chronicle those adventures, complete with pictures! See you then.

Let’s Fix Security By Breaking It. That’ll Show ‘Em

Maybe PluginVulnerabilities.com runs a great service. I don’t know. But I also don’t care, because chances are solid that I’m never going to use it. Why? Well, because irresponsibly endangering the entire internet as a form of protest is an extremely dumb, unprofessional thing to do even if some of your gripes might be legitimate.

A security service called Plugin Vulnerabilities, founded by John Grillot, is taking a vigilante approach to addressing grievances against WordPress.org support forum moderators. The company is protesting the moderators’ actions by publishing zero-day vulnerabilities (those for which no patch has been issued) and then attempting to contact the plugin author via the WordPress.org support forums:

Grillot claims that moderators have deleted his comments, covered up security issues instead of trying to fix them, and promoted certain security companies for fixing hacked sites, among other complaints.
In response, Plugin Vulnerabilities has published a string of vulnerabilities with full disclosure since initiating the protest in September 2018. These posts detail the exact location of the vulnerabilities in the code, along with a proof of concept. The posts are followed up with an attempt to notify the developer through the WordPress.org support forum.

My God, Guelph And Columbus Actually Won

It’s not every day that a team I root for does something historic that doesn’t involve losing to death, so allow me a moment to gloat. The Guelph Storm complete their remarkable comeback against the London Knights, winning Game 7 by a 6-3 score

It will go down as one of the greatest comebacks in Guelph Storm history.
They trailed the series 3-0 and fought back to force a Game 7.
They trailed 3-1 in the second period of that Game 7.
Then they kicked some ass.
The Storm scored five unanswered goals to complete the miraculous comeback and down the regular-season champion London Knights 6-3 in Game 7 Tuesday night at Budweiser Gardens.
They now move on to meet the Saginaw Spirit in the Western Conference final. That series starts Thursday in Saginaw.
“The first thing that came out of my mouth was ‘we did it! We did it!'” said Storm captain Isaac Ratcliffe.
“It’s indescribable. The resilience this team has, the character, the skill that we have. You put all those things together and we’re unstoppable,” said Ratcliffe, who scored both the game-tying and game-winning goals in the third period.

The first thing I did when the horn sounded was jump up, yell “Wow!”, and then text “lol” to one of my Knights fan friends.

When they were down 3-0 in the series, I texted that same friend and asked “are you ready for the four straight comeback?” I always had some hope, but I sent that mostly as a joke because I thought that even though they might put up a good fight, they were probably toast. But hey, here we are! And we’re only the fifth team in OHL history to sweep a series after nearly being swept. That’s pretty cool. The others are Peterborough, Ottawa, and Windsor twice.

I’m still not sure if they’ll win the league, but it’s getting harder to doubt them after this. So bring on Saginaw and let’s see what happens.

In other hockey playoff news, holy shit, Columbus! Way to screw up everyone’s pool. Ok, everyone but Carin, who now looks like some sort of genius.

And since we’ve been talking history, with the loss, the Lightning have made some by becoming the first team since the NHL expanded beyond the original six in 1967 to have lead the league in points and then not won a single playoff game. Yay?

And back to the subject of screwed up pools, I knew I should have picked the damn Islanders. I was half a second away from doing just that when my stupid inner voice said “pssst, remember this is Pittsburgh.” Thanks, idiot.

But even though winning the pool is unlikely at this point, I’ll still call it a win if I manage to time the inevitable Sharks exit correctly. If all goes to plan, I should be throwing that victory party by Thursday.

I’ll Ask Again. Are We Ready To Sit Quietly And Work On Our Math Problems now?

Substitute teacher definitely isn’t the easiest job in the world, but have the kids really gotten so out of hand nowadays that you need to bring a knife and a gun?

According to an affidavit in the misdemeanor criminal cases against Weaver – reckless endangerment, third-degree aggravated assault and possession of a firearm on school grounds – this is what happened inside the elementary school classroom: Weaver had a Taurus .380 pistol and a knife in his front right pocket. He bent over to pick up an item off the floor and when he straightened back up, the knife, a clip-on, entered the trigger guard of the pistol and caused it to discharge into the floor.
A fragment struck a 7-year-old girl in the leg. There was a welt on the girl’s leg, records state, but the fragment did not penetrate the skin.
Weaver was taken into custody at the scene, interviewed and then booked into the Blount County Jail. He was released the same day on $3,000 bond and has a court date set for May.

How did he end up with a gun in his pocket, you ask?

He took a quick phone call as he was about to go into the school – he had to be there at 7:20 a.m. – and was running slightly behind schedule when he got out of the car. “I completely forgot about the pistol being in my pocket,’’ Weaver said.

I need to know more about this guy’s pants. If I have anything in my pocket more bulky than a bank card or a receipt, I’m aware of it. Meanwhile buddy here is waltzing around a public school with a mini arsenal, apparently unbeknownst to himself.

But even if he’s telling the god’s honest about the gun, what’s up with the knife?

This isn’t a very strong argument for that stupid let’s arm all the teachers idea, either.

We Acted In Good Faith. We Know We Did Because We Said So

I haven’t been sued once in my life let alone multiple times in under a year, but I want to think that if this were not the case, that I would, at some point, be wise enough to pause and reflect upon why this might be happening and what I might do to make things better. I would also like to think that what I would not do is interpret make things better to mean bury a measure in my budget implementation bill that would make it impractical or even impossible to sue me and then continue on with the usual business of acting like a complete arsehole. This thought process is just one more item on the list of the many things that separate me from Doug Ford, it turns out.

Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives are moving to make it harder to sue the Ontario government. 
The PCs plan to repeal and replace the long-standing Ontario Proceedings Against the Crown Act — legislation that, among other things, outlines government liability in cases of misfeasance and negligence.

The new law would increase the legal threshold necessary to proceed with civil litigation, including class action lawsuits, against the government. Further, it would considerably limit the instances in which the government could be on the hook for financial compensation to plaintiffs.

Perhaps the most significant element of the new legislation, according to Toronto human rights and refugee lawyer Kevin Wiener, is that it eliminates any potential financial liability in most cases where someone is harmed by government policy or regulatory decisions made in “good faith.”
“What it means is that the people who exercise power over you can exercise that power negligently and cause you damage and no one will have to pay,” said Wiener. 
Similarly, the province will not be liable for instances in which a person says there were harmed by the government exercising its authority.

While the act would not serve to “totally eradicate Crown liability,” Wiener said it amounts to the government arguing that “as long as people say they are acting in good faith, it doesn’t matter how incompetent they are.”
“One way to look at it is that the government is saying, ‘With great power should come no responsibility,'” he said.

Oh, and the plan is to apply these new rules retroactively, which means they’re hoping to be able to get rid of all of the current suits against them, not just drastically reduce the chances of new ones being brought in the future.

And then there’s this.

Meanwhile, the proposed Crown Liability and Proceedings Act will force plaintiffs to obtain permission from a court to move forward with suing the government in the first place.
Under current law, no such permission is required to file suit.
That means an applicant will have to prove to a judge that the province acted negligently or in bad faith before proceedings begin. The problem, however, is that usually requires access to government documents or other materials that the province will not be required to provide. 
Crown lawyers will also have the option to cross-examine whomever is trying to get permission to launch a suit.

The government is framing the changes as updates and clarifications to old regulations and as a way to prevent courts from becoming backlogged with unnecessary claims and save the province money. But when you look at this government’s track record, it becomes pretty obvious pretty quickly what’s actually going on here. There’s a lot more cruelty and thoughtlessness ahead, you guys. Hopefully those already lining up to challenge this can stop it before it’s too late.

As Opposed To What?

Not sure if this is a good question or if the car people are going to look at me like I’m some sort of idiot, but here goes.

Sometimes on car commercials they’ll say something like “get available features like heated seats or Apple CarPlay for only X dollars for a limited time.”

Yes, my question is the obvious one. What is an available feature? Aren’t all features available? Who are these people selling and more importantly buying the unavailable ones? Can you really go into a dealership and say “sir, this is a lovely Honda indeed, but if it doesn’t come with robot arms that will pick up vehicles in my traffic jam and deposit them over the rail for me I don’t think I can buy it”, and then have the dealer say “that’s not available, but that’ll be $200 now that you mention it” and then make the guy actually pay it without complaint?

Is available feature some kind of car jargon that sounds weird to regular people like me but makes sense if you’re in the business, or is available a fancy extra word used to help more easily part fools from their money?

“Honey, I had to take the furry antenna cover. It was an available feature, and deals like that don’t just grow on trees. It was either that or I hesitate and pay the imagination fee again, and at least now the aerial will be warm.”

Kill The Runner On Second Base In Extra Innings Experiment With Fire And A More Sensible Plan

Baseball’s pace of play people have had some well intentioned ideas (trying to cut down on the deliberate time waste between pitches), some ideas I don’t care for (I still think you need to earn your stupid intentional walk), and a few ideas that are downright terrible, like starting extra innings with a runner on second base.

Imagine overtime in hockey if nobody was allowed to touch or get in the way of anyone else until each team had taken at least two clear shots at the opposing net. That would be silly. Yet somehow, this foolishness got to the experimentation stage in the minors. I hadn’t heard much about how it was going until I found this, which leads me to surmise that it’s going about as well as anyone who thought about it for a minute would have guessed it would go.

The game was between the Phillies affiliate, the Clearwater Threshers, and the Yankees affiliate, the Tampa Tarpons of the Florida State League. It was only a scheduled seventh inning game, so the extra frame was the eighth inning.
The details: Tampa starter Deivi Garcia tossed seven perfect innings, but it was tied 0-0 at the end of seven. Clearwater began the top of the eighth with an automatic runner on second. He went to third on an error. Two batters later, he scored when a Thresher batter grounded out to first base. Tampa went down in order in the bottom of the eighth and that was the ballgame.

That’s garbage.

If you’re going to defense yourself out of a perfect game, a no-hitter and a win, that’s fine. Things happen sometimes. But giving the other team a giant head start feels both lame and unfair.

If you really want to do something about extra innings, I have an idea. Maybe somebody has already come up with it, but for now I’ll call it mine.

I mentioned overtime in hockey. Let’s treat extra innings that way. To be clear, I’m talking about overtime before they instituted the shootout, which is also bad. Hockey games should not be won and lost by skills competition. If shootouts were any good, we’d be using them in the playoffs. So no, I’m not suggesting that tie baseball games be settled by home run derby. What I am suggesting is that if extras are required, you play one inning. If nobody can win after that, the game ends in a tie and each team gets half a game in the standings. You know that no game is ever going to go on hours longer than it should and at the end everyone gets something useful for being equally good or bad at their jobs.

Problem solved.

You’re welcome.