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(The Web Site Formerly Known As Chez Chaz)

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Dustbury, Oklahoma, USA

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The Vent
#429: Notes from a darkened room
(Posted 16 March 2005)
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19 March 2005
By the numbers

Michele's been looking for songs with numbers in their titles.

Two years ago I put together a CD-R, a foreshortened version (with some songs shuffled) of an earlier mix tape. The track list follows:

  • One (Three Dog Night)
  • Two Divided by Love (The Grass Roots)
  • Knock Three Times (Dawn)
  • Let the Four Winds Blow (Fats Domino)
  • Five O'Clock World (The Vogues)
  • Six Man Band (The Association)
  • Seven Little Girls Sitting in the Back Seat (Paul Evans and the Curls)
  • Eight Days a Week (The Beatles)
  • Love Potion No. 9 (The Searchers)
  • Ten Commandments of Love (Harvey and the Moonglows)
  • Twelve Thirty (The Mamas and the Papas)
  • Only Sixteen (Sam Cooke)
  • At Seventeen (Janis Ian)
  • Eighteen with a Bullet (Pete Wingfield)
  • 19th Nervous Breakdown (The Rolling Stones)
  • Twenty Flight Rock (Eddie Cochran)
  • Twenty-Four Hours from Tulsa (Gene Pitney)
  • 25 or 6 to 4 (Chicago)
  • 26 Miles (The Four Preps)
  • Forty Days (Ronnie Hawkins)
  • Sixty Minute Man (Billy Ward and the Dominoes)
  • When I'm Sixty-Four (The Beatles)
  • Questions 67 and 68 (Chicago)
  • Rocket 88 (Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats)
  • 96 Tears (? and the Mysterians)
  • 98.6 (Keith)
  • A Hundred Pounds of Clay (Gene McDaniels)

Incidentally, "Forty Days" is the same song as Chuck Berry's "Thirty Days." The tape version substituted Boyd Bennett's "Seventeen" and Alice Cooper's "I'm Eighteen," the Clovers' version of "Love Potion No. 9," and added Nena's "99 Luftballons" and the Drifters' "Three Thirty Three."

Playing time: 79:30. Not available on Wendex Records (111077-2).

By the Numbers

9:31 AM | Tongue and Groove | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
Pesky lives

The Lonely Lib/Con reviews the case of Terri Schiavo, and sees another issue in its shadow:

It is indeed an echo of the abortion debate, where the issue is so fiercely polarized that pro-choice forces are finding themselves arguing that there's no moral difference between expelling a microscopic clump of cells and killing a viable infant in mid-birth, but that there is a difference between killing the infant during birth and killing it immediately afterward.

In service to their ideology they've entirely sacrificed both reason and humanity. Compared to that, a man who wants to kill his wife for money is easy to sympathize with.

There's no money in abortion, of course, unless you're the provider of same; what makes these issues run parallel to one another is the idea that a person should die for the convenience of another.

Should this notion prove defensible, I'll start working on a list.

8:55 AM | Almost Yogurt | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
18 March 2005
With right hand raised

Dear Patterico:

The events of this day perhaps have emboldened me, and it's about time.

I will not be silenced, no matter what the Federal Election Commission or any other government agency throws at me in an attempt to circumvent the First Amendment.

Thank you for sticking to your guns.

5:41 PM | Blogorrhea | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Callers from hell

Insufferable dillholes have been calling here for weeks now, most recently with a bogus Caller ID signature. (Area code "124," my ass.)

I don't really know whom they're looking for, and I don't really give a damn. I can, however, recommend that if anyone for any reason ever asks you to return their call at 866-877-0026, do so only long enough to tell them to perform an anatomical impossibility of your choice and then hang up with ferocity.

5:21 PM | Dyssynergy | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)
Redefining "majority"

This is what Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said:

Why would we give lifetime appointments to people who earn up to $200,000 a year, with absolutely a great retirement system, and all the things all Americans wish for, with absolutely no check and balance except that one confirmation vote. So we're saying we think you ought to get nine votes over the 51 required. That isn't too much to ask for such a super important position. There ought to be a super vote. Don't you think so? It's the only check and balance on these people. They're in for life. They don't stand for election like we do, which is scary.

What'll you bet that if the Democrats had thirty-five votes in the Senate, instead of forty-five, Boxer would be insisting on a two-thirds majority for confirmation?

Now if she wants to introduce a Constitutional amendment to require a three-fifths, or whatever, majority, that's just fine with me. Otherwise, she needs to find something else to piss and moan about. (And unfortunately, she almost certainly will.)

12:15 PM | Political Science Fiction | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
I think I will have fries with that

The Oklahoma House has passed, 93-7, a bill to insulate food producers from lawsuits by activists who seek to force their personal food choices on everyone.

House Bill 1554, by Dale DeWitt (R-Braman), protects food producers who meet existing state and Federal standards from civil liability for claims of weight gain or obesity. Said DeWitt:

Some individuals don't want to take responsibility for their own health and instead look to put the blame on food producers.

The Senate will consider this bill in due course. Similar measures have passed in sixteen states and are under consideration in twenty others.

9:02 AM | Soonerland | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Honest ingenuity

Drudge has this out — no other sources yet that I can see.

**Exclusive Fri Mar 18 2005 00:50:07 ET**
The Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) Committee, Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) has requested Terri Schiavo to testify before his congressional committee, the Drudge Report has learned. In so doing it triggers legal or statutory protections for the witness, among those protections is that nothing can be done to cause harm or death to this individual.

Members of Congress went to the U.S. Attorney in DC to ask for a temporary restraining order to be issued by a judge, which protects Terri Schiavo from having her life support, including her feeding and hydration tubes, removed.

As Drudge says, "Developing."

As McGehee says, "Dang! Dia-freakin'-bolical!"

(Update: A writ of habeas corpus [link requires Adobe Reader] has been filed by Terri's family.)

(Update, 11:20 am: Fox News reports the House Government Reform Committee has subpoenaed Terri, two attending physicians, the hospice administrator, and Michael Schiavo. They are to appear next Friday at 10 am. Via BlogsforTerri.)

(Update, 2 pm: Judge Greer tells them what they can do with their subpoena.)

7:11 AM | Almost Yogurt | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)
Fast asleep

I rolled out of bed at 5:45 yesterday morning and hit the freeway by 6:30. The tricky part was arriving at the 44/35 junction at exactly the same time as the 18-wheeler with only a few feet of ramp to work with.

The solution, as always, was simple enough: second gear, 5500 rpm, and gone. Still, this is not a road on which I'd like to be doing 80 mph at sunrise, so I gradually scaled myself back to something resembling the speed limit (60) over the next half-mile or so.

And I remembered something Mayor Cornett had said during his State of the City address:

You can get from one part of our City to another with incredible ease any time of day. In fact, we're one of the few cities where the police can actually watch for speeders during rush hour!

With timing that can only be described as impeccable, a police officer on a motorcycle appeared in the left lane. Didn't do much for my sense of incredible ease, but he wasn't looking my way, and by then I was pretty much synchronized with the traffic flow anyway.

I shall endeavor to keep it under 80 this morning.

(Update: Peaked at 74 mph.)

6:28 AM | General Disinterest | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
17 March 2005
Some day Ms Prince will come

Sometimes this is all you need to know:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel creator and Astonishing X-Men writer Joss Whedon will write and direct a big-screen, live-action Wonder Woman feature film for Warner Bros. with Joel Silver and Leonard Goldberg producing.

The right man for the job, clearly:

"Wonder Woman is the most iconic female heroine of our time, but in a way, no one has met her yet," Whedon said in a statement quoted by The Hollywood Reporter. "What I love most about icons is finding out what's behind them, exploring the price of their power. When Joel and I began discussing the character, I realized there is a woman behind the legend who is very fascinating, very uncompromising and in her own way almost vulnerable. She's someone who doesn't belong in this world, and since everyone I know feels that way about themselves, the character clicked for me."

You know Donna will be there opening night.

9:41 PM | Almost Yogurt | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
Your basic New York state of mind

Lesley anticipates the next move by New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer:

Eliot Spitzer announced, today, that he was opening an inquiry into the amount of dust in the universe. "New Yorkers live in the universe. Therefore, we consider it within the venue of the New York State Attorney General's office to investigate the amount of dust in the universe and the adverse impact it has on the health of New Yorkers. We hope the universe will cooperate with my office in reaching a reasonable settlement." When asked if he would consider filing a lawsuit if an amicable settlement could not be reached, Spitzer replied "We're not ruling out any options at this time."

The universe was unavailable for comment.

But had the universe answered its phone, I'm sure it would have said something to the effect of "Bwahahahaha!"

4:16 PM | Dyssynergy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Scalia on the New Judiciary

I suppose this will cement my reputation as some sort of right-wing reprobate: I'm about to quote approvingly from a speech by Justice Antonin Scalia.

I was confirmed, close to nineteen years ago now, by a vote of ninety-eight to nothing. The two missing were Barry Goldwater and Jake Garnes, so make it a hundred. I was known at that time to be, in my political and social views, fairly conservative. But still, I was known to be a good lawyer, an honest man, somebody who could read a text and give it its fair meaning, had judicial impartiality and so forth. And so I was unanimously confirmed.

Today, barely twenty years later, it is difficult to get someone confirmed to the Court of Appeals. What has happened? The American people have figured out what is going on. If we are selecting lawyers, if we are selecting people to read a text and give it the fair meaning it had when it was adopted, yes, the most important thing to do is to get a good lawyer. If on the other hand, we're picking people to draw out of their own conscience and experience, a new constitution, with all sorts of new values to govern our society, then we should not look principally for good lawyers. We should look principally for people who agree with us, the majority, as to whether there ought to be this right, that right, and the other right. We want to pick people that would write the new constitution that we would want.

And that is why you hear in the discourse on this subject, people talking about moderate, we want moderate judges. What is a moderate interpretation of the text? Halfway between what it really means and what you'd like it to mean? There is no such thing as a moderate interpretation of the text. Would you ask a lawyer, "Draw me a moderate contract"? The only way the word has any meaning is if you are looking for someone to write a law, to write a constitution, rather than to interpret one.

Which makes me wonder how much legislation is introduced on the basis of "Wouldn't this be nice?" instead of "Will this pass Constitutional muster?" And I suppose I'm conservative enough to think that if the answer to the latter is No, it doesn't much matter what the answer to the former might be.

(Found by way of Power Line.)

7:09 AM | Political Science Fiction | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)
Coming and going

The Ohio House had passed an amendment to the Buckeye State's transportation budget to get rid of the front license plate, saying it was an unnecessary expense, but the Senate version of the bill, which retains the front plate, prevailed in committee, arguing that displaying a front plate served the needs of law enforcement.

Before you ask, yes, Timothy McVeigh, on the way out of Oklahoma, was busted on a plate violation, but he didn't have any plates on the car. (Oklahoma has managed just fine for sixty-one years with only rear plates.)

6:25 AM | Driver's Seat | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
16 March 2005
They read me, they really read me

I've stayed out of the "Is blogging a boys' club?" discussion stirred up by Steven Levy and abetted largely by Jeff Jarvis, but this piece by Cobb got me thinking:

In the blogosphere there is a real contingency of patronage. I'm not sure that everyone is so eager to say so, but it's real. As real as is the term 'blogosphere' is the term 'blogfather'. Ask any blogger of substance, and if they're honest (and are abetted by a technical clue or two) they'll know which other blogs send them the most traffic. They will also almost surely know who gave them their big break and under which circumstances that occured. There is not a conspiracy of white male bloggers, and I'd guess all of them would be loath to admit any such clubbiness, but all popular bloggers belong to a club and none of them are about to delink anytime soon.

I am neither popular nor possessed of substance — bulk, perhaps — but I do know which other blogs send me the most traffic. Day in, day out, the following (listed alphabetically by first non-article word) show up most often in my referrer logs:

   The Dawn Patrol
   little green footballs
   A Small Victory
   Victory Soap (and previous names)
   Yippie-Ki-Yay! (and previous name)

Four men, four women. (My two largest traffic days ever came from a post by Michelle Malkin, but this was a fluke.) If there's really a "boys' club," no one's given me the Secret Handshake yet. And I don't really have a "blogfather," since I was out here before most of my regular reads; further, to my knowledge, no one sees me in this role.

I must point out that neither ScrappleFace nor LGF has ever linked to any individual article of mine, but I seem to rank somewhere above the middle of their blogrolls, and I have had some email correspondence with Scott Ott.

Oh, and I got pointed to the Cobb article by La Shawn Barber (in lieu of the usual "Via" tag).

8:49 PM | Blogorrhea | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)
See 130

Not C-130, which is the Air Force's Hercules aircraft.

Instead, you should see the 130th Carnival of the Vanities, hosted this week by Bird's Eye View, and once again bringing you high-quality bloggage in a single handy digest. As He Who Does Not Need The Linkage might say, you might find a blog you like better than this one.

1:58 PM | Blogorrhea | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
It shouldn't happen to a dog

Terri Schiavo has forty-eight hours [link requires Adobe Reader] to go. Andrea Harris sums it up:

I'm not Catholic. And I think what they are planning to do to Terri Schiavo Friday is murder. There's not a thing wrong with that woman except that she has a damaged brain, so she can't sign checks and cook meals for her needy hubby. But by playing on the "ew, ick, a drooler" factor that comes to play when people see a brain-damaged person (and the shame people feel when they have that reaction) Mr. Schiavo with the collusion of my state's court system has made it so a perfectly innocent woman can be put to death in a way that would get a jail sentence and many shrieking denunciations of the perpetrator if it were done to a dog. But well, dogs can fetch, so they're more important than a brain-damaged woman. As for me, I'm hoping to get out of this state in a few years; Florida's not a healthy place to get sick in.

If that doesn't make you squirm, consider this:

Oh dear Providence: please grant that I never have a spouse who has such great concern for me, especially when I have other family members who are willing to look after me. The spouse (who, in giving orders prohibiting rehabilitation, coincidentally guarantees she never presses charge against him, indeed never speaks at all) claims preserving his wife's life is against her wishes while noting the financial burden of her continued care; the family pleads that where there is life there is hope, and that the costs do not matter, that somehow they will find a way.

Please consider, Dear Reader: Which would you prefer? Love like Terri's spouse, or love like that of her parents?

The actions of the spouse would appear to be in conflict with a loving spouse, but not in conflict with a malevolent one. But that is merely circumstantial evidence. He cannot be prosecuted for speculative malevolence for his ailing spouse.

But a justice system that was not detached from its obligations under the social contract would clearly see the potential conflict and mercifully take the ailing daughter from the custody of the spouse and put her in the care of her parents who will look over her without financial gain.

And one thing more bothers me. American liberals, who fancy themselves the protectors of the downtrodden, have been utterly silent on this matter. Can it be because they don't, even for a moment, want to appear on the same side of an issue as those hated "pro-life" people?

9:02 AM | Almost Yogurt | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)
A spoonful of bombast

Something called "Star Wars and the Treble Invaders" is coming to the Civic under the auspices of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic this Sunday, and I am disinclined to snicker. Lileks knows why:

At one of the Minnesota Youth Symphony concerts I MCd last year, they performed "Duel of the Fates" from a Star Wars movie, complete with a huge chorus. Two hundred people on stage, sawing and belting with great gusto at Orchestra Hall. They enjoyed it. Because it was fun to perform. A guilty pleasure, but what counts more — the guilt or the pleasure? Look, I love Berlioz more than John Williams, because Symphonie fantastique is an incomparable work, and the Tuba Miram never fails to part my hair. But if I had to choose between the two, I might take Williams. He's produced 100X as much stuff, and listening to it does not feel as if I'm sitting in the Church of Classical Music in itchy church pants. I can skip around, whereas I always feel wrong if I FF through a Mahler adagio because I'm just not in the mood. Itís cheap popular program music, yes — but such large portions!

And one does not lure the kiddies into the classical camp with Das Lied von der Erde, for sure.

7:14 AM | Tongue and Groove | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
A house of fine repute

It's been gone for nine years now, and its owner died last month, but The Downtown Guy thinks it's time to resurrect Molly Murphy's — in Bricktown.

I'm thinking it's a hell of an idea. If they're going to pitch Bricktown as a place where Things Happen, well, things were always happening at Molly's. The Oklahoma Gazette once described it as "a mixture of 20s Art Deco and the Taj Mahal," and they weren't kidding. And if the environment was wacky, the staff was insane. The food was okay, maybe a little better than that, but you didn't go to Molly's because you were peckish; you went to Molly's because you wanted to see just what in the heck was going to happen next, and it didn't bother you that you had to wait an hour and twenty minutes to get in.

Yeah, I know: reviving the original Molly's would be right up there with building a shrine to That '70s Show. But everything old eventually is new again, and frankly, I think it's time I got a chance to embarrass my grandchildren, who sooner or later will have to go to the bathroom.

6:29 AM | City Scene | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)
15 March 2005
It's dead, Jim

I pulled into the Batteries Plus store on the way home today in search of a replacement 3.6-volt for my cell phone. As the guy was installing the new one, he offered this bit of pragmatism:

There's a one-year warranty on this, which is about as long as the ones that come in the phones will last.

He looked at the front of my phone, which dates back to the Old Silurian times, and added:

At least, in the new phones. They last just about as long as the contracts.

Now we all learned about planned obsolescence back in the 1950s, when Detroit figured out that annual automobile model changes were good for the bottom line. And really, I can't say I'm too surprised at this, since rather a lot of wireless customers say goodbye after their contracts are up and go to someone else who might have an entirely different technology and almost certainly has an entirely different phone to vend.

Just for the sake of argument, this is the first battery I've bought for this phone since it was new — in May 2001. And technically, the old battery wasn't quite dead; it just wouldn't hold a charge beyond the two-bar (of four) level.

5:35 PM | Family Joules | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
You, too, can write headlines


Gawker gives this the snark it deserves:

Hey, New York Post: We have limited headline space, too, but címon. This never would've happened under Dawn's watch.

In the spirit of innovation which has always characterized this site (okay, quit laughing, dammit), we now present what boils down to a caption contest with no picture. Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to produce a suitable headline for the New York Post story linked above that sounds as Dawn Eden-like as possible. Assuming I can talk her into it (and if I can't, I've got more worries than I thought I did), Dawn herself will pick the winner.

Post your entry as a comment below. I expect this will be open through Friday at least.

11:11 AM | Almost Yogurt | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)
Have it your way, somewhere else

A couple of weekends ago I noted the general disappearance of Burger King in the metro area.

They're not all gone — Burger King HQ says there are thirty-five locations remaining in central Oklahoma, though their definition of "central" extends as far as McAlester — but local franchiser Ken Knight, who at one time owned fourteen Burger Kings in the area, has shuttered all fourteen, and he and Burger King are going their separate ways due to what Burger King calls a "history of ... failure to meet Burger King operating standards".

(Yes, Burger King has operating standards. Knock it off.)

At least two of the closed Burger Kings had been sharing space with gas stations: a Shell at NE 23rd and I-35, and a Conoco at Pennsylvania and I-44.

10:24 AM | City Scene | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Topeka fight

TalkLeft's Jeralyn Merritt, guest-blogging at Vodkapundit, would like you to know that Kansas is dull:

Face it, Kansas is a plain-Jane. It's "I Like Ike" and Bob Dole country. It reminds me of my most hated food — mayonnaise — pale, bland, uniform in consistency and boring. There's no ocean, no mountains and its population is hardly a model of diversity. And it's always going to be that way. A simply mediocre, generic kind of place, totally devoid of bathos, highs or lows.

Of course — and she comes this close to admitting as much in the comments — her real objections to Kansas come straight out of Thomas Frank. Not that I mind; I liked Frank's book, which is nicely detailed and spiffily written. But Frank's assumption, that Kansans, culturally and economically, would logically be aligned with the Democrats had they not been somehow seduced in recent years by the GOP, ignores the simple fact that Kansans have almost always voted Republican. Seduction? More likely inertia. Whatever the GOP equivalent of the yellow-dog Democrat, Kansas has 'em.

And while I join Merritt in her dislike for mayonnaise, I can't bring myself to badmouth Kansas; oceans and mountains are wonderful things, but not essential things. Of course, if you want generic with diversity, you come to Oklahoma.

8:05 AM | Almost Yogurt | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack (3)
Tripping the lights fantastic

If it's dark enough outside and you get halfway from the driveway to my front door, the floodlights come on.

This is no big deal, but it got me wondering just how small an interloper can be spotted by the motion detector.

And while I was pondering this matter last night, the floodlights came on, and I got to the window in time to see one of the neighborhood cats at a slow, deliberate pace, as though he'd had nothing to do with it and just happened to be passing by.

Which could possibly be true — I mean, I didn't see the cat trip the beam. But he certainly wasn't startled by it.

6:22 AM | Surlywood | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
14 March 2005
Many crappy returns

One of the more persuasive arguments in favor of same-sex marriage is "Yeah, let them suffer like the rest of us."

Over at Wizbang, Jay Tea has a little ditty 'bout Jan and Diane, two American kids from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts who wound up having to work up four tax returns: two to the Feds, separately; a joint return to Massachusetts, which, unlike the IRS, considers them legally wed; and a simulated Federal return at the joint rates, because Massachusetts requires the numbers from such be carried over to the state return.

This sort of thing is old news to more, um, traditional couples who might live in State A and work in State B, but it serves as a reminder that everything isn't sweetness and light even if the government actually approves of one's marriage.

8:27 PM | Political Science Fiction | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Walking my own walk

MoiI must point out here, for the sake of propriety face-retention, that it has been suggested that I provide a shot of myself for the sake of perplexing Dr Hanson, and, well, I don't have any compelling reasons really good excuse to refuse, so, well, here's a relatively recent not all that old shot that I vaguely resemble in a fuzzy sort of way and have used in shrunken form elsewhere as a calling card marginally-convincing form of identification.

6:11 PM | Blogorrhea | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
Slow grind

The Freedom of Information Act requires that the agency receiving the FOIA request act upon it within twenty days.

Unless you're San Francisco Chronicle reporter Seth Rosenfeld, who has been waiting on a FOIA request from the FBI since 1981.

Rosenfeld, who has been researching Cold War activities by the FBI at the University of California-Berkeley, has received about 200,000 pages so far, but 17,000 are still not forthcoming. The FBI, ever-helpful, suggested that Rosenfeld file a request under FOIA to ask what's taking so long.

Now that's gridlock.

(Via Population Statistic.)

10:15 AM | Political Science Fiction | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (1)
A quick one while he's here

What makes the perfect song? Rich Appel, in his monthly newsletter Hz So Good, proposes criteria:

To me, the perfect song is about 2:30, has a beginning, middle and end, and is easy to sing along with.

Hard to argue with that, though I'd stretch it out a few more seconds; seemingly every Motown hit up through 1967 or so ran somewhere between 2:40 and 3:00.

And not every song that extends beyond the three-minute mark is flirting with tedium, but there was for quite some time an unwritten law that said Thou Shalt Shut Up Already: Phil Spector "accidentally" misprinted the first batch of labels for the 3:40ish "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" as 3:05, so as not to discourage DJs of that era with its sheer length. And Billy Joel got in a barb with "The Entertainer":

It was a beautiful song but it ran too long
If you're gonna have a hit, you gotta make it fit
So they cut it down to 3:05.

"The Entertainer" runs 3:38 on Streetlife Serenade; for the 45-rpm single, they cut it down to — oh, never mind.

I mention in passing that Dawn Eden's biggest hit, a cover of Kirsty MacColl's "They Don't Know About Us" (on The Stiff Generation, released by Groove Disques) on which she's backed by the Anderson Council, checks in at a brisk 2:53, six seconds faster than Tracey Ullman's version, which was a US Top Ten hit.

7:13 AM | Tongue and Groove | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
Cold, dead hands, you know the drill

Fusilier Pundit goes through the list of nominees for positions on the National Rifle Association's Board of Directors, and makes recommendations thereto. If you're a voting member of the NRA, do give Fûz a look; his priorities make a lot of sense, at least to me.

5:50 AM | Political Science Fiction | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
13 March 2005
How to annoy Christopher Hanson

A week ago Monday, the Baltimore Sun published an op-ed by Christopher Hanson, professor of journalism at the University of Maryland, which acknowledged the power of blogs but complained that they were no substitute for Big Media. A sample:

A great many bloggers are either too self-absorbed to focus on keeping the public informed or too skewed by ideology to put factual accuracy front and center.

Two words: Dan Rather.

But what really vexed me was his gripe about the seeming frivolity of some of us:

Case in point: "The Dawn Patrol," Manhattanite Dawn Eden's preening report on Dawn Eden, iconoclastic neoconservative "petite powerhouse," illustrated with Dawn Eden glamour photos.

Some of us like our iconoclasts to be sorta glamourous when they can. It's not essential or anything — nobody is on my blogroll on the basis of physical appearance — but what's the harm?

Since this sort of thing apparently disturbs Professor Hanson greatly, I'm collecting glamour shots of bloggers for The Annoy Christopher Hanson Campaign. If you'd like to participate and possibly be singled out for abuse in his next op-ed, feel free.

(Update, 15 March, 2:50 pm: Christopher Hanson responds via email: "I am trying to be annoyed but am actually flattered by the attention.")

9:19 PM | Blogorrhea | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)
Worst bill of 2005

The session isn't over yet, but I can't imagine anyone coming up with anything more asinine than this. Witness HR 1746, by Dan Sullivan (R-Tulsa):

SECTION 1. NEW LAW A new section of law to be codified in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 3119 of Title 74, unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:

Any agency or governmental entity of this state that develops and implements a nondiscriminatory policy based on sexual preference shall be null and void.

SECTION 2. This act shall become effective November 1, 2005.

Two possibilities:

1) Sullivan didn't realize that the text as written calls for the outright abolition of any such "agency or governmental entity";

2) He did realize that.

Either way, it's the sort of thing that makes you wonder if Sullivan was always this stupid, or if he had to train for it. No wonder the Tulsa World has such dripping contempt for the electorate: they vote for people like Sullivan.

Matt Deatherage has much, much more. Incidentally, this thing passed the House in its original form 65-28; there being only 57 Republicans in the House, somehow at least eight Democrats got sucked, so to speak, into voting for it. What were they thinking?

(With thanks to Matthew.)

8:00 PM | Soonerland | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
Weapons of crass extraction

Could there possibly be any catchphrase beaten to death more egregiously than the expansion of WMD?

No, there could not.

7:31 PM | Blogorrhea | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
It was right there under your nose

Nickelodeon used to run a strange little show called Roundhouse, which I watched faithfully every week during its four-year run, because it was utterly without shame, because Aaron Spelling once threatened a lawsuit after they made fun of Tori, and because there was a June Cleaver-level hottie in the cast named Shawn Daywalt, who drew the Mom assignments in the comedy sketches, and who since seems to have vanished from the face of the earth.

In its role as a sort of SNL for kids, Roundhouse was fond of fake ads, and didn't shy away from the tasteless. One particularly memorable combination of both involved a breakfast cereal for children who picked their noses: "New Booger Bran from Mucus Mills," declaimed Daywalt. "You'll know it's nutritious, but the kids will think it's snot."

Since then, scarcely a single hardy soul will say anything kind about the stuff, which is perhaps a shame, especially should it prove to have medicinal value.

12:03 PM | Almost Yogurt | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
That Online Coalition thing

About 2500 bloggers and readers of blogs have so far signed the Online Coalition's letter to FEC chair Scott Thomas requesting an exemption for blogs to the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, aka McCain-Feingold, aka The Incumbents' Preservation Act.

Patterico thinks this is the wrong approach:

[I]n my view, political speech is speech at the core of the First Amendment. Neither the FEC nor any other government agency has any right to regulate it in any way. When my right to engage in such speech is threatened, my impulse is not to seek out a law carving out some exception for my speech. My impulse is to tell those responsible that they can go to hell.

Look at the big picture, folks. This isn't about our precious Internet. It's about the very concept of free speech.

What we're seeing is not a crazy offshoot of campaign finance "reform" legislation. It's a logical consequence of it. Something this important can't be handled by legislation, and left to the whims of lawmakers and regulators. It is a constitutional issue, and affects all free speech.

Which, of course, is absolutely true. Still, there's little to no chance that this measure is going to be scrapped anytime soon, and until such time as it is, I'm thinking that I will have to content myself with wangling an exemption, with the hope that some future Supreme Court will choose to send this law to the dustbin, or that some day there will be more exemptions than provisions and the entire house of cards will come crashing down.

The perfect, as they say, is sometimes the enemy of the good. Right now, I'm settling for the good.

(Regular readers will note that this is the exact opposite of my stance on dating and relationships. The consistent, as they say, is sometimes the enemy of the flexible.)

(Update, 15 March, 3:30 pm: Dan Lovejoy is definitely in agreement with Patterico.)

11:02 AM | Political Science Fiction | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (1)
Playing the demographics

Women, according to the arbiters of political correctness, are an oppressed minority. I've always thought this was rather a bizarre notion, since women actually outnumber men nationwide, something "minorities" just don't do, and the term "oppression" is open to all manner of interpretations, not all of them consistent with history or with Webster's.

The only time you're likely to hear any mention of female numerical superiority, though, is in discussions of dating, where it is a common complaint that there aren't enough guys to go around. Men will look at this and sniff, "Yeah, right, so where are all the girls?" That's usually my cue to quote the late Jan Berry, who was bound for Surf City, where it's two to one.

There's no surfing to speak of in Bristol, Virginia, but it's almost two to one: 1.85 single women per single man, according to Census numbers and ePodunk. The flip-side is Crowley County, an outpost in the southeastern Colorado plains, where the men outnumber the women by slightly more than two to one.

In my own particular county, I'm facing a small numerical surplus of women, to the tune of twenty percent or so, but it's not a tune I know by heart, and picking it out, note by note, is a difficult task at best. Besides, narrowing the field to the one very specific subset required — "women who will actually put up with the likes of me" — is likely to produce an empty set, and a lot of other empty things besides.

(Suggested, quite inadvertently, by Michael Blowhard.)

9:31 AM | Table for One | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
Where the beaches are not so good

John Phillips, editor at large for Car and Driver, has a couple of things in common with me: we're both in our early 50s, and we've both been to the Oklahoma Panhandle once. The difference is that Phillips drove there (with a photographer) in a European-spec three-cylinder turbo Smart ForTwo, and his observations got into the magazine's April issue (not on their Web site as of this writing). I can't tell whether he actually liked the place or not. A sample or three:

For the first time in recent memory, I was driving daily on roads that were sometimes empty to the horizon. And there's precisely no one selling grande decaf frappuccinos, plus it's as quiet as a mausoleum, if you can imagine a mausoleum with a steady 30-knot wind and a herd of polled Herefords. Throughout history, the Panhandle has been a place that would either kill you or make a man of you, especially if you were a woman.

Scary prospect. And there's this:

We headed south to Wheeless, which certainly was. "Is it free of wheels," [photographer Greg] Jarem asked, "or free of whee?" In fact, we could locate no living soul to confirm that the town was uninhabited, yet it contained one firehouse, a white clapboard Baptist church, a red limestone garage, and a graveyard. We tried to walk to the cemetery but were stymied by six inches of mud. In the schoolyard lay toys that might have been dropped 30 years prior. Wheeless appeared to have been abandoned one day at about 2 p.m. and no one could think of a reason to return. As we departed, the Smart hit a tumbleweed the size of a dishwasher. "That really cheered me up," said Jarem.

There's a picture of said tumbleweed, too. Let's hope the C/D Web site picks up on it.

That night, at the Pop-A-Top Lounge in Guymon, the Panhandle's largest town, a bartender named Wendy Ward told us, "This is the most judgmental place in the U.S. We have harsh opinions of everyone." I asked her the Panhandle's population. "Don't know, don't care," she shot back.

Um, 28,478 (US Census Bureau estimate, 1 July 2003).

But I suspect he just might have enjoyed the trip:

It took three 10-hour days to hit every berg and hamlet in the Panhandle. It was never boring. We finished in Slapout, whose eight residents live opposite the town's only business, a gas station. Two cowboys ran out to greet us, eager to lay hands on the Smart. They grinned at first, then smiled, then laughed until they were emitting wet pig snorts and their faces turned red.

And you know, if I saw one of these up close and personal, I just might giggle myself.

7:59 AM | Soonerland | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)
12 March 2005
Saturday spottings (short form)

After last week's industrial-strength excursion, and what with the arrival of weather suitable for yard work, I didn't get around much today, but there were a few things worthy of note besides the wholesale destruction of weeds.

My big Midwestern bank has been absorbed into an even bigger East Coast bank, and they're saying they want all the signs changed over within the next six weeks. Given the amount of new signage I've seen at the local branches, which is to say none whatsoever, I'd say they have their work cut out for them.

About twenty-five years ago, I visited Memphis, and fortunately, it's easy to find Elvis Presley Boulevard on the maps; actual street signs are few and far between, and the only one I saw was mounted about two stories above the ground, presumably to discourage theft. (I'm sure this sort of thing didn't happen when it was merely Highway 51 South.) North of Britton Road in The Village is a noncontinuous residential street called Abbey Road. When I was househunting, one of the first notions I got was to go look on this street, for obvious Fab Four-related reasons, but houses on those few blocks seldom seemed to be for sale, and the neighborhood in question seemed to be out of what I thought to be my price range anyway, so I gave the matter no further thought — until today, when I was stuck in the usual May Avenue traffic, and ducked down a side road to evade it. A couple of turns, and there I was — except that, contrary to the standard prevailing on other Village street signs, the sign for Abbey Road (this one, anyway) merely says ABBEY, with no further designator; for all the casual visitor could tell, it could be Abbey Drive or Abbey Place or even Abbe Lane. Have people been stealing street signs from The Village? And should we blame Polythene Pam?

4:46 PM | City Scene | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)
The dimensions of celebrity

Just in the past twenty-four hours, people have wandered to this site inquiring about Pamela Anderson's bust size (which I understand is variable, but considerable), Debra Messing's bust size (which I understand is consistent, but not huge), and Ann Coulter's height (which probably doesn't matter, since she'll look you in the eye regardless).

In addition to these, there are the usual requests for photos of the following sans clothing: model Michelle Lombardo, KWTV news babe Amy McRee, and, most unexpectedly, Laura Ingraham. What's more, the number of Olsen-twin requests is up as well, though Teri Polo requests seem to be on the wane at last. There are, I'm starting to believe, people who think that there exist nude photos of everyone on earth, and that those photos can and will be found if you dig far enough into Google.

It is circumstances such as these which make me somewhat more grateful for my nonentity status: I would probably be horrified were someone searching for me with these specifications.

(For the record, I'm six feet tall, and if I ever run into Ann Coulter, I'll expect her to tower over me, but then I expect her to be wearing heels, and besides I slouch a bit; and only once, in 1984, before the era of digital cameras and readily-available scanners, have I ever posed for a photograph unclothed, not counting whatever baby pictures may have been shot back in the Eisenhower administration, which were presumably done without my consent anyway.)

1:50 PM | Blogorrhea | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0)
Never tell me the odds

Miss Black and White meets up with a friend, the subject turns to Star Wars, and the truth comes out:

He was surprised and asked me if I knew what this meant. I shrugged. He said, "You know you can have any man you want. It would be like a guy who loves to go shoe shopping. There are three girls on the planet who truly enjoy Sci Fi stuff."

From which proceeds the following:

  1. There are presumably three guys on the planet who enjoy shopping for shoes;

  2. Mere delight in the fact that the store actually has something in my size (I wear a 14 EE) probably doesn't count;

  3. My dance card isn't going to fill up any faster.

And you know, I probably could have cut the last couple of words.

12:01 PM | Table for One | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0)