1 October 2003
Whatever you do, don't eat it fast

And now, the recipe for Honey Pecan Ice Cream, the very recipe that won the blue ribbon at the Oklahoma State Fair this past month:

HONEY ROASTED PECANS:
1½ cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons honey

ICE CREAM:
6 tablespoons butter
2 cups brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon salt
1 quart half and half
5 egg yolks, beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon caramel extract
3 cups heavy cream

Whole milk, to fill ice cream canister ¾ full or to fill line

To prepare Honey Roasted Pecans, mix together pecans, butter and honey. Place on nonstick aluminum foil-lined pan and bake in 350-degree oven for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool.

In saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and corn syrup. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the sugar dissolves, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.

Add the half and half and salt. Stir in egg yolks. Slowly bring to boil, stirring often.

Add vanilla, honey and caramel extract. Stir, strain, cover and chill.

Pour ice cream mixture and heavy cream into freezer canister and add enough whole milk to fill ¾ full or to fill line. Freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.

When ice cream is frozen, remove dasher, add Honey Roasted Pecans and mix into ice cream. Replace cover on canister, cover with ice and let ripen at least 1 hour before serving. Makes 1 gallon.

Winning recipe by Rosalie Seebeck, Bethany, Oklahoma.

And here's what she beat to get that blue ribbon.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:54 AM to Soonerland )
Mine eyes glazeth over

The cop in the donut shop is perhaps as indelible an image of America as exists today.

But how about a cop on a donut shop?

Friday morning, 17 October, an Oklahoma City policeman will park himself on the roof of the Krispy Kreme shop at Pennsylvania and Memorial, and will remain there three days. Meanwhile, other members of the force will be on the grounds, collecting money for the state's Special Olympics. The scene will be duplicated at other Krispy Kreme locations in Oklahoma.

Hey, whatever works.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 5:23 PM to City Scene )
The insufficiently-beaten path

Poor Kelley, she's been some of the places I've been:

Some items in my personal history reach out and slap me in the face from time to time, reminding me that I am an idiot and that I really, really need to question my own decisions before I run off and do something stupid. I can be exceptionally impulsive, especially when I'm really, really bored. When I was younger and my ideals were higher, purer, and less realistic than they are today, I was prone to do some really silly stuff. And when every decision can change your life, doing silly stuff can be dangerous.

For sheer impulsiveness, I'm not in her league — boredom, maybe — but I've got no shortage of memories I might want to erase, and it's all due to, yes, doing silly stuff.

Lately, I've turned overcautious, the result of having been burned too many times flirting with the flames, and though I wouldn't have thought it possible a few (well, 15 or so) years ago, I seem to be embracing boredom. Maybe it's good for my blood pressure; it certainly doesn't do anything for my sense of — well, I can hardly call it adventure, can I?

It's got to be the control-freak side of me, always lurking in the background, finally assuming dominance. I don't like it much, but I've had so much Thou Shalt Not Be Vulnerable drilled into me over the years that I don't know if there's any possibility of shaking it off. And if there's one thing that's common to all control freaks, it's the fact that sooner or later, they're going to be out of control.

Life, said Damon Runyon, is six to five against: "just enough to keep it interesting." Maybe. Or maybe it's just this:

That's life, that's the linear nature of time at work. It can be scary. It can be exciting. It is never certain, despite our protestations to the contrary.

Not to mention the New Orleans Sinners

A federal judge has decided that there is insufficient evidence to demonstrate that the Washington Redskins disparage Native Americans, and therefore the trademark on their name remains valid, despite a move to revoke it.

I'm waiting for someone to file suit against the New York Giants, claiming that despite the name, they aren't in fact any taller than anyone else in the NFC East.

(Muchas gracias: Phillip Coons.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 9:22 PM to Dyssynergy )
2 October 2003
Lake-effect snow job

What with my side careers in wholesale soft drinks and well thermometers going nowhere, it's probably time for me to get out of Cleveland once and for all.

No, I didn't know I was there either.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 6:29 AM to Blogorrhea )
Party line? What party line?

R. Scott Moxley, writing in the leftish Orange County Weekly, says that liberals should embrace the candidacy of Tom McClintock:

Unlike his top competition — [Gray] Davis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Cruz Bustamante — McClintock does not lie, duck debates, accept illegal contributions, hide from reporters, flip-flop positions, defend crooks, pander to special interests, place party loyalty over principles, rely on one-liners, award no-bid contracts, surround himself with sleazy advisors or pretend good government is as simple as marketing a movie.

Issues of character aside, the biggest issue facing California isn't an item in McClintock's litany of standard social-conservative gripes; it's the financial bungling of Davis & Co. Precisely why, says Moxley, it's the perfect time for McClintock:

[T]he Democrats firmly control both the state Assembly and Senate. A governor can only sign a bill into law after it has been approved by the legislature, a legislature that is, in this case, as Democratic as a meeting of the ACLU.

An upset McClintock victory on Oct. 7 could give us the following scenario: Democrats in the state Legislature won’t get most of their Volvo spending programs and special-interest payouts. The Republican governor won't be able to enact any of his 1950s-era social initiatives. And because of McClintock's hard-wired stinginess, the rest of us — Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Greens and Libertarians — can finally see some financial sanity returned to Sacramento.

For those of us for whom it's more important to stop the patient's bleeding than to arrange for his facelift, this makes a fair amount of sense. And a successful McClintock term might actually sweep some of the moonbats in Sacramento out of their Assembly seats next time around.

(Via Matt Welch)

Got milf?

Traffic has been up substantially lately, and of course, it's not due to the scintillating quality of anything I've written; it's the incessant Googling for the video of "Stacy's Mom" by Fountains of Wayne, which was mentioned in passing here.

As of the last time I looked, I was #14 among 4990 hits, and since all the places that are actually streaming this video are ranked higher, I have to assume that the searchers are looking for a slightly-illicit non-streamed version to add to their collections.

In case this doesn't describe you, dear visitor, the pertinent official FoW/S-Curve Records site is here.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 10:12 AM to Blogorrhea )
1921 and all that

I reported here in June about a lawsuit filed against two Tulsa newspapers, one of which is defunct, which claimed that The Tulsa Tribune had published inflammatory material which incited the 1921 riot on Tulsa's largely-black north side.

The suit, filed by two survivors of the riot, has now been dropped; the plaintiffs gave no reason for requesting the dismissal.

Meanwhile, an unrelated suit filed in February against the state of Oklahoma and the city of Tulsa is pending in federal court, charging conspiracy to incite the riot.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 1:38 PM to Soonerland )
Unvectored cogitations

No way am I going to argue with Wendy M.:

I really think it's high time we purged the following words from blog titles, subtitles, tag lines and slogans: "musings," "rantings," "blatherings," "meanderings," "ponderings," "thoughts" (when "random"), "snippets," and, for Christ's sake, "tidbits."

Maybe a title filter inside Movable Type: "Are you sure you want to use this description? It is already in use on [insert random number here] blogs." Or maybe weblogs.com can search for the string and refuse a ping from an offending blog.

This is too meta for me, I think.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 4:17 PM to Blogorrhea )
3 October 2003
Seeking a grand jury

A petition has been approved to initiate a grand jury investigation of Commissioner of Labor Brenda Reneau Wynn and Oklahoma County District Attorney Wes Lane; supporters of the investigation must now obtain 5000 signatures of residents to have the jury officially empaneled.

The petition charges that Reneau Wynn circumvented the state's competitive-bidding process, advised others how to get around the state's campaign laws, and conducted campaign affairs on state time. Lane is accused of taking a campaign contribution from Reneau Wynn under dubious circumstances, and of fudging evidence in the infamous Donald Pete case.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:32 AM to Soonerland )
As opposed to "Uncle" Tom

Wake Forest University is wondering what to do about Doctor Tom.

Doctor Tom wasn't a real doctor; he didn't even play one on TV. In fact, inasmuch as he died in 1927, he never saw a TV at all.

Tom Jeffries was the maintenance man for the Demon Deacons for forty years, and a plaque to his memory was raised by alumni in 1933. When the new Wake Forest campus was built, a replica of the plaque was created.

None of this would be controversial except that (1) Doctor Tom, as he was known to everyone, administration, faculty and students alike, was of African-American descent, and (2) some in the university community have decided that the plaque "is a daily insult to Mr. Jeffries and every other person of African descent who walks onto this campus," in the words of Rev. Carlson Eversley, an adjunct professor at Wake Forest's school of divinity.

What should the university do? Eversley wants the plaque amended to show Tom's last name and an explanation on another plaque of why and how the omission of same is dehumanizing, complete with references to the practice as it existed in the antebellum South. Oh, and an apology from the administration.

It is, of course, fascinating how unpleasant memories from the pre-Civil War era are so easily evoked in people who weren't born until a century afterwards.

(Via Tongue Tied)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 12:12 PM to Almost Yogurt )
VeriSign gets a dope slap

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has ordered VeriSign to shut down its controversial (and, to some of us, incredibly stupid) SiteFinder facility. SiteFinder, which VeriSign designed to intercept requests for misspelled or otherwise defective .com and .net domains, has been accused of "breaking" various spam filters and other Internet systems.

VeriSign said they would comply with the ICANN request temporarily. Said VeriSign's Russell Lewis:

During the more than two weeks that SiteFinder has been operational, there is no data to indicate that the core operation of the Domain Name System or stability of the Internet has been adversely affected. ICANN is using anecdotal and isolated issues to attempt to regulate nonregistry services.

Inasmuch as SiteFinder must consult the VeriSign registry to be able to intercept requests for domains not registered, it's difficult to see how anyone can seriously consider the facility to be a "nonregistry" service.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 6:09 PM to PEBKAC )
For a limited time only

If you, like me, suspected that Strain was capable of more than Sketches, here's a short story that he's going to leave posted for, he says, "24 hours or so."

You're done here anyway. Go read David. He's worth it.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 10:06 PM to Blogorrhea )
4 October 2003
When mere magic fails

For a while, anyway, it's just going to be Siegfried and, while Roy remains on the critical list after one of their famed white tigers turned on him during a performance.

It's a reminder that no matter how many precautions are taken beforehand, the art of illusion is very nearly as dangerous as it looks, and we probably wouldn't pay any attention to it if it didn't look dangerous. (The same is true of auto racing, only more so.) Still, that's not any kind of argument for abandoning the spectacle; it's just the way it is, and Roy knows this as well as anyone. He'll be back soon enough.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 8:38 AM to Dyssynergy )
The new alphabetical order

As an actual registered Democrat with a current subscription to Mother Jones — yes, really — I get regular mailings from the activist Left. One operation with which I was unfamiliar is Syracuse Cultural Workers, which bills itself as a "Peace and Justice Publisher Since 1982", and whose catalog arrived here yesterday.

Most of the contents were pretty predictable — T-shirts, posters, buttons, books like How Wal-Mart Is Destroying the World — but one particular poster caught my eye. It's called The Alternative Alphabet Poster For Little And Big People, it appears to be an SCW exclusive, and here's the pitch:

Features words ranging from basic elements of a child's life to concepts likely to be met with puzzlement. It reflects respect for the Earth and all its creatures; for its variety of cultures, histories and peoples; for principals [sic] of justice and freedom; for wonder in the sky above and the soil below.

A is for Africa, B is for Bicycle, and so forth. Twenty-five of the twenty-six entries seem at least defensible, and they did come up with a reasonable X word (Xylem), but I'm puzzled by E: Echinacea?

Permalink to this item ( posted at 9:34 AM to Almost Yogurt )
And high time, too

KTOK, the dominant news/talk outlet in this part of the world, has finally figured out how to stream audio. (Okay, they hired a third party to do the scutwork. Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

You probably don't need this 24/7 — finding local outlets for Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity or even Glenn Beck is a fairly simple task, unless you live thirty thousand feet under Berkeley — but you'll definitely need it for First News with Cam Edwards. (In fact, given KTOK's incredibly-weird antenna pattern, some of us locals need the audio stream sometimes.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 4:46 PM to Overmodulation )
These fuelish things

In days of old when knights were bold and blogging not invented, people would speak of carrying coals to Newcastle, a task not exactly Sisyphean but not particularly useful, either, since Newcastle-upon-Tyne, at least at the time, was up to its presumably-dusty lungs in coal.

Were it not for its war-ravaged infrastructure, shipping oil to Iraq might be considered similarly useless, but until production resumes on something resembling a reasonable scale, petroleum will have to be imported, and Dick Cheney's old friends at Halliburton have drawn this assignment.

And forget about conservation measures: they're regarded with even more suspicion in Baghdad than they are in Amarillo. Cut-rate gas, courtesy of the Oil Ministry, is a tradition that Iraqis aren't anxious to give up. The Coalition Provisional Authority says, perhaps optimistically, that oil production in Iraq will reach three million barrels per day, close to pre-Gulf War levels, by next summer. In the meantime, you and I will contribute a few cents to somebody's Friday drive in the desert.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 8:04 PM to Family Joules )
Build a better mousetrap

The world may not beat a pathway to your door, but you'll earn the gratitude of Dr. Weevil, and surely that's worth something.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 10:40 PM to Dyssynergy )
Got to roll me

By any reasonable estimation, this is one of the less-important outposts in blogdom, so no one is exactly champing at the bit to get onto my blogroll, which is notable for its high level of diversity and its low level of consistency. This is, I reckon, a Good Thing, since I don't have to write blistering articles about people clamoring to get in or sort-of-patient explanations of the rules of inclusion.

Still, self-referential navel-gazing is at the very heart (well, actually, somewhat below) of blogging, so I may as well reveal just how it is that people get on the left side (formerly the right side, and it may be again next time I redesign) of the front page.

There aren't any hard and fast rules, really. I do try to reciprocate when I catch an incoming link, but I always seem to be a couple of months behind in catching them, and besides, it's not like there's some Meta-Law of Symmetry governing blogroll links. Many of the sites listed, I was reading before I went to a daily blog format in the summer of '00; they're carried over from the old now-defunct separate links page. In general, if you're listed, it means only that I make a conscious effort to read your stuff once in a while; if not, it doesn't necessarily mean anything at all.

Exceedingly minor preference points are given to:

  • Persons based in Oklahoma
  • Persons I actually know
    (this overlaps slightly with the above)
  • Persons of the female persuasion who are beautiful, smart, sarcastic and/or funny
    (2 out of 4 impresses; 3 out of 4 dazzles; 4 out of 4 means I'm in deep trouble)
    (this overlaps even more slightly with the above)

I have little faith in the power of email; so far, the main benefit it has brought me is the World's Smallest Instalanche™. This doesn't mean you shouldn't send me things; this does mean that you shouldn't expect anything from so doing.

Beyond that, all you really have to do is be more brilliant than I am — which shouldn't take much effort at all.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 11:00 PM to Blogorrhea )
5 October 2003
We can be bought

The Democratic Party of South Carolina has been experiencing financial problems of late, and party chairman Joe Erwin, a marketroid by trade, proposes to take up the slack by selling corporate sponsorships.

By imprinting campaign materials — even primary-election ballots — with corporate logos, Erwin hopes to cover the half-million-dollar cost of the Presidential primary next February. (In South Carolina, the parties pay for their own primaries; the state kicks in no funding.)

And it might even work. It seems to me that if, say, Charmin has no trouble showing a bear using its product in the woods, they shouldn't shy away from buying ad space on a reprint of the party platform.

It's all in the title

Actually, it's probably not all in the title, but watching me muddle through in French is something I recommend only to the deeply sadistic among you.

Still, it's a great title for a blog: Mes amis, mes amours, mes emmerdes...

Covers all the bases, you might say. And besides, I'm predisposed to like anything that seems to be based on a song by Charles Aznavour.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 4:34 AM to Blogorrhea )
Racked with indecision

The first Boobiethon was last year, and I ignored it, thinking it was silly. And maybe it was. Yet it raised over a thousand dollars for breast-cancer research — perhaps not an enormous sum considering all the work that needs to be done, but if you check any bucket, you'll realize that it's filled with individual drops.

So I resolved to pay attention to version 2.0 this year, and as of this morning donations were over four grand. Which, of course, begs the question: how many of those donations would have come in were the site not, um, busting out with photos?

Given what I've seen of the Blogathons and other charity projects, I think most of them probably would have come in anyway; bloggers, when they can afford to be, are a generous bunch. Still, the incentives provided may have tilted a few people into kicking in a few extra bucks, and the tantalizing prospect of hotter photos for higher donations....

I agonized over that for a few minutes while checking my PayPal balance, and in the end, it was Johnny Carson who made the decision for me. One evening, Dolly Parton, bless her, was on the show, and in the midst of something unrelated, Carson quipped, "I'd give a year's pay for a peek under there." Dolly laughed as only a Southern girl can, and I was reminded that there have been many times during my life when I've thought things like this, and the rest was easy.

But when someone organizes a similar benefit for prostate-cancer research — well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 10:43 AM to Blogorrhea )
A sort of Sunday drive

Just some of the things I read this weekend:

There otter be a law:
If you're thinking about bringing home Ring of Bright Water for the kids with the expectation that it will be sweet and innocuous — well, Surlybird suggests you think again.

Stealth linkage:
Rammer infers the existence of a new breed of popup ad that is launched when you click a link in the window in front of it, and blames lax IE security defaults for its proliferation.

Too sweet and innocent:
Donna remembers Donny Osmond fondly. Maybe too fondly.

Where have all the readers gone?
At Fresh Bilge, Alan ponders whether 'tis better to plug away at a single topic, to wander all over the place, or to aim Somewhere In Between.

Whizzing in the revenue stream:
Ravenwood reports on a Nashville man who was busted for flashing his lights to warn approaching traffic of a speed trap.

What are under the bridge?
"Why can't I get any intelligent trolls?" wonders Geoffrey.

This is not necessarily going to be a regular feature — at least, not one that's regularly scheduled.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 8:31 PM to Blogorrhea )
Themes with variations

In 1957, MGM's musicals unit remade the 1939 Ernst Lubitsch classic Ninotchka with a Cole Porter score. In Silk Stockings, directed by Rouben Mamoulian, Soviet composer Peter Ilyich Boroff (Wim Sonneveld) is hanging out in Paris with an American film producer (Fred Astaire), who plans to rework Boroff's socialistically-realistic Ode to a Tractor into a song for a Hollywood picture; the Kremlin dispatches three knuckleheads to retrieve Boroff from the the evil capitalists, and when the operatives, too, seem to have been seduced by the City of Lights, the deadly serious Nina Yoshenko — Cyd Charisse, with a Russian accent indistinguishable from her Scottish burr in Brigadoon, three years earlier, and who cares? — must salvage both the mission and the pride of the Soviet Union.

Boroff, once he heard the Hollywood version — with lyrics, yet! — was appalled, one reason why reworkings of these themes usually involve pieces by dead composers. (The other reason, very much related, is that if they've been dead long enough, the original work is out of copyright and therefore in the public domain.) The possibly-pseudonymous Ostin Allegro was no doubt aware of this when he put together Pop Meets the Classics, a guide to British hits (many also charting in North America) which draw from classical sources. Most of these I knew, and there are a couple which were not hits in the UK which I also know — one that comes to mind is "For Elise", a discofied Beethoven number played by "The Philharmonics" which occupied the bottom of Billboard's Hot 100 for one week in 1977 — but it's still startling to see how often composers of popular music have turned to the classics for themes, even today.

Scarily, I now have to track down a copy of S Club 7's "Natural", which, says Ostin, is based on Gabriel Fauré's Pavane, if only to see how it differs from the jazzy reworking of the same piece on Befour, a much-cherished (by me, anyway) early-Seventies album by Brian Auger and the Trinity.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 10:35 PM to Tongue and Groove )
6 October 2003
Damned lies and statistics

The research company Perseus has gazed upon the face of the blogosphere, and likes it not much.

The Perseus report, as described in The Register, says that over 90 percent of bloggers are under thirty, and more than half are teenagers. Which means the typical blog — well, read it yourself:

[It] is written by a teenage girl who uses it twice a month to update her friends and classmates on happenings in her life.

On reflection, apart from the update schedule, this sounds rather more like my site than I'd care to admit.

Of 2.7 million blogs surveyed, one million had but a single post and then were presumably abandoned; the average blog is updated every two weeks.

I have to wonder, though: if Perseus actually looked at 2.7 million blogs, and one of those blogs was InstaPundit, which is updated approximately every 53.6 seconds, the vast majority of personal sites must be even worse than they report.

Of course, no report from Perseus is complete without commentary from Medusa, but that will have to wait.

(Update, 2 pm: A summary of the Perseus report is available here. It states up front that the blogs evaluated were all hosted by services specializing in same — specifically, Blog-City, BlogSpot, Diaryland, LiveJournal, Pitas, TypePad, Weblogger and Xanga — which means that no blog on its own domain was included in the survey. No wonder the results seem skewed. See also Xrlq's comments below.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:49 AM to Blogorrhea )
Even more Schwarzenegger stories

Just when you thought there couldn't possibly be any more last-minute revelations about the Running Man, Xrlq (pronounced "Xrlq") delivers the goods.

O little ton of bogus smarm

100000watts.com is reporting that WKXP radio in Kingston, New York has switched to an all-Christmas format.

The station recently had a call-letter change (it was previously WBPM), so this could be just a programming stunt in anticipation of a new format, but it's the first week of October, dammit.

(Update, 8 October, 8:40 pm: It was indeed a stunt.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 11:06 AM to Overmodulation )
To no one's amazement

This Big Five Personality Test is currently making the rounds, and, well, how am I going to resist a deal like that?

The Big Five Personality Test
Extroverted|||||||||| 36%
Introverted |||||||||||||||| 64%
Friendly |||||||||| 40%
Aggressive |||||||||||||| 60%
Orderly |||||||||||||||| 70%
Disorderly |||||| 30%
Relaxed |||| 16%
Emotional||||||||||||||||||||84%
Intellectual |||||||||||||||| 70%
Practical |||||| 30%
Take Free Big 5 Personality Test

Now go away before I have a panic attack.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 11:36 AM to Screaming Memes )
A lot of nerve

Lesley goes all Positively 4th Street on those males (we won't dignify them by calling them "men") who have given her the treatment recently attributed to Mr. Schwarzenegger:

I wish that men magically became women for one week and had to put up with the shit that we put up with on a regular basis. Then maybe some wouldn’t so offhandedly dismiss the reports. Maybe they'd realize that it is demeaning and humiliating to have some guy grope you without your consent, and that it's not a sign of manliness. Maybe they'd realize that women actually can tell the difference between a man who is just saying he finds her attractive and one who is trying to intimidate her.

Bottom line: She'd rather see you paralyzed.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 10:01 PM to Table for One )
7 October 2003
The empire strikes back

VeriSign has issued a flurry of defenses of its temporarily-sidelined SiteFinder service, criticized in some quarters as being inimical to the proper operation of the Net.

While part of VeriSign's argument is technical — SiteFinder, they insist, has minimal impact on the rest of the Net — at the heart of the matter is not bits, but bucks:

If operators and businesses are discouraged from exploring the bounds of the Internet, it will mean less research and development and less investment into the network infrastructure.

So saith VeriSign senior VP Mark McLaughlin. And he doesn't stop there, either:

ICANN caved under the pressure from some in the Internet community for whom this is a technology-religion issue about whether the Internet should be used for these purposes. For this vocal minority, resentment lingers at the very fact that the Internet is used for commercial purpose, which ignores the fact that it's a critical part of our economy.

Which leads to the obvious question: Who should be pulling the strings, the techies or the money men? VeriSign obviously has decided on their answer.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:48 AM to Dyssynergy )
Gray future

Charles Austin may not be feeling well, but he can still squeeze off a barb with the best of them.

The polls close at 8 pm California time. What happens after that?

Between guessing when the election results will finally be certified and when all the legal challenges by "friends" of the electorate will finally be thrown out of court, my guess is that Gray Davis is going to be around until at least February. Oh, and I imagine we'll be hearing for a long time from the same people who still can't quite figure out the US Constitution works when it comes to the electoral college about how Gray got more votes to stay in office than Arnold did to replace him.

Count on it.

Nickles calls it a day

There have been rumors floating around, but today Senator Don Nickles made it official: his fourth term will be his last.

"Knowing when to leave," said Burt Bacharach and/or Hal David, "may be the smartest thing anyone can learn." Nickles is a smart fellow; I don't know what, if any, handwriting he may have seen on the wall, but I'm betting he's figured this one out to the last detail.

And now with a Senate seat opening up in 2004 — we're in for some bumpy times, folks.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 12:01 PM to Soonerland )
Dyslexia warns without striking

Jonah Goldberg reports:

Over the weekend I caught a CNN factoid thing on the bottom of the screen. It read: Schwarzenegger Accused of being a "Hitler Loving Serial Groper." Give the man this: few other politicians could win a race with that label following them around (even though I think the first part is outrageously unfair and the second part sounds awfully close to the truth).

It could be worse. Given CNN's tendency to come up with hopelessly mangled captions, they might just as easily have tarred Arnold as a "Hitler Groping Serial Lover".

They can always blame San Andreas

It is, of course, a foregone conclusion that should the Democrats not like the election results — and they won't — there will be delaying tactics not seen since the introduction of the shot clock. (Or, as McGehee puts it, the "flying monkeys have already descended on The Fugue State to try to keep Gray Davis in office as Governor for an additional three or four minutes.")

In anticipation of this event, Cold Fury has already ginned up a suitable poster, which you will undoubtedly see on sites full of FOG (Friends of Gray).

And probably uncredited, too.

8 October 2003
Coming distractions

It is a measure of something, surely, that in a 178-page issue of Harper's Bazaar — November '03, to be exact — an issue with both a feature on Meg Ryan and a pictorial with Gisele Bündchen, the only photograph that got more than perfunctory attention from me was a shot of Christine Todd Whitman.

Well, yes, she's expensively-dressed, but everyone in Bazaar is expensively-dressed; it's their raison d'être. So it's probably not the $2680 Carolina Herrera jacket/skirt combo or even the $1100 Salvatore Ferragamo pumps; what I'm seeing, I think, is a woman who is absolutely thrilled to have a private life again, and I do believe it shows.

Not that I have extensive experience observing women being thrilled, mind you.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 4:06 AM to Almost Yogurt )
Flow control

Today the Department of Justice is seeking an injunction against Tulsa-based Rx Depot, a company used by thousands of consumers to import prescription drugs from Canada and elsewhere. Rx Depot's Oklahoma locations were closed by an earlier action; DOJ wants the remaining 77 stores in 26 states to shut down.

Inasmuch as the FDA does not inspect Canadian drugs, the DOJ's request is likely to rely heavily on safety concerns. Rx Depot counsel Fred Stoops scoffs: "It's not like we're buying these drugs from Afghanistan."

Even if the DOJ prevails, there will still be sources for Canadian drugs. Can the process be stopped at all? Robert Prather takes the long view:

I'm somewhat surprised — and pleased — to see drug companies such as GlaxoSmithKline hold their drugs off the Canadian market rather than see their U.S. market get lacerated. This behavior may help put an end to the free-rider problem that's caused Americans to pay inflated prices for drugs.

It proves that the drug companies do have some pricing power and it also, regrettably, proves that reimportation is a threat to R&D. If it were not they would go ahead and sell in these countries just to get the marginal profit from the sale of additional pills. It bodes ill for the long-term prospects of other countries that have benefitted from high American drug prices because the companies have shown they are capable of holding the drugs off the market. This may force other countries to drop price controls or risk losing the newest medicines until patent protection expires.

The best possible outcome?

The silver lining in this cloud would be if other countries actually begin to pick up a fair share of the R&D cost of drugs. They've been free-riders too long.

A push toward freer markets in those other countries? Certainly a boon, but probably not a likely prospect.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 8:07 AM to Soonerland )
Maybe it's in the job description

One of our language mavens — probably Edwin Newman, author of Strictly Speaking — once commented on the tendency of American news media to refer to Salvador Allende as the Marxist president of Chile: "You would almost think that 'Marxist President' had been the name of the office to which Allende had been elected."

Similar notions went through my head during NPR's Morning Edition today, about the third time Bob Edwards and friends described Arnold Schwarzenegger's new job as "Republican Governor of California."

Brad's in

The Hill (no relation) is reporting that Rep. Brad Carson, of Oklahoma's 2nd Congressional District, will seek the Senate seat to be vacated by Don Nickles, who has announced he will not run for a fifth term. Carson, a Democrat, is serving his second term in the House.

One likely Republican opponent, though he hasn't declared his candidacy yet, is Rep. Ernest Istook of the 5th District. Others reputedly waiting in the wings are Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphreys, a Republican serving in a nonpartisan office, and Attorney General Drew Edmondson, a Democrat.

For the GOP, this means a change from a seat that was safe to a seat that is...um, less safe. Were I a Democratic party operative, I wouldn't be ordering any champagne just yet.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 10:51 AM to Soonerland )
Stunted

Well, apparently it was a stunt; WKXP radio in Kingston, New York has now booted the Christmas cheer in favor of a conventional country format. Call them "Kicks 94.3" — unless, of course, you were thinking of calling them something else entirely.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 1:29 PM to Overmodulation )
It's double-nickel time

Shanti's got Carnival of the Vanities #55 at Dancing with Dogs, and you're welcome to partake of all the goodies therein.

Yes, even you, Sammy.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 1:30 PM to Blogorrhea )
It can't happen here

No way anyone will recall Oklahoma's governor, Brad Henry:

Oklahoma law doesn't allow for the recall of elected state officials. He could be "ousted", a procedure the Attorney General handles for neglect of duty, public intoxication or a criminal conviction. On the city level — recalls are possible, for all elected officials — including the mayor and city council.

Mike from OkieDoke, from whom I pilfered this story, comments:

Ousted for public intoxication? I hope that doesn't apply to all our elected officials. Enforcing that could get to be quite expensive.

They'd have to hire someone just to follow Carroll Fisher around.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 8:53 PM to Soonerland )
9 October 2003
Marching to Shibboleth

New slogan at news/talk KOMA:

More talk. No rock.

(Dear Cam: It was on a billboard. It's not like I was actually listening to them.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 3:57 AM to Overmodulation )
We gotta get out of this place

Some lowlife shot up a convenience store on a strip of US 62 just outside the city limits, wounding the owner and killing his wife.

I don't think I'm going to miss this neighborhood at all.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:45 AM to City Scene )
What he said

Frank (not to be confused with Frank J. or Dr. Frank or TV's Frank) considers yours truly to be an activist.

Activist? Moi? Do I look opinionated? The color scheme of this blog is beige on beige, fercrissake.

On the other hand, I have to give the guy credit for pointing me towards the most gorgeous picture extant of Emmylou Harris.

Call it a wash. (You want hot wax, it's a dollar extra.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 3:51 PM to Blogorrhea )
More than I can Bayer

Your health-insurance plan — even one as blinkered and philistine as CFI Care (not its real initials), which pays a smidgen of our medical bills at 42nd and Treadmill — will probably cover some measurable fraction of your expenses when you're suffering from a broken arm. It is less likely that they will cut a check when you're suffering from a broken heart. (If they actually did such things, I probably wouldn't have needed to spend an hour and a half importuning a loan officer this week; I could have bought a house out of pocket change.)

"But," says researcher Matthew Lieberman at UCLA, "the human brain sounds the same alarm system for emotional and physical distress." There may be no superficial resemblance between road rash and rejection, but the same two brain regions respond to both, and in very similar ways.

I'm not sure what the ultimate meaning of this may be, but I have noticed that I always have about a two-year supply of painkillers on the shelf. And that doesn't even include Jack Daniel's.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 6:59 PM to Table for One )
And we'll have funds, funds, funds

Vice President Dick Cheney is just now wrapping up his fundraiser at Civic Center Music Hall in Oklahoma City.

Now let's see: if Cheney sold out the place at $1000 a head — not at all unthinkable — that's $2.5 million before expenses.

Not a bad haul for a day's work, if I do say so myself.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 9:59 PM to Soonerland )
10 October 2003
Rx Depot gets some time

On Day Two of the hearing in federal court in Tulsa, Judge Claire Eagan did not issue the injunction against Rx Depot requested by the Department of Justice, leaving the pharmaceutical importer free to operate through the end of the month. Judge Eagan said that on the 31st, she will receive supporting evidence from both DOJ and Rx Depot president Carl Moore.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:45 AM to Soonerland )
Resisting the technological tide

The late Neil Postman was not a Luddite; while he decried the encroachment of technology, particularly media technology, he believed strongly in the ability of the human mind to deal with the sort of sensory overload which defined the last half-century or so.

Among observers of the media, Postman generally took second place behind Marshall McLuhan. But while McLuhan tended to stay on message (and therefore on the medium), Postman was all over the map. An educator by trade, his first shot across society's bow was Teaching as a Subversive Activity, written with frequent collaborator Charles Weingarten and published in 1969, a book which asks the ultimate question about education: "What's worth knowing?" (An excerpt is posted here.) The Disappearance of Childhood (1982) suggested that mass media were blurring the lines between children and adults, to the benefit of neither; Amusing Ourselves to Death (1985) blasted Hollywood for trivializing the human experience.

Former student Jay Rosen remembers Neil Postman in Salon this morning. It's worth some of your time.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 8:12 AM to Almost Yogurt )
We is well edumacated

Best of the Web (scroll down to the bottom of "The cognitive elite") is reprinting this paragraph found at DemocraticUnderground.com:

I would dare to assume that most of us here are in the upper 1%-20% of the population intelligence-wise. We must come to the realization that the majority of the population is in the lower 80% to 99% percent of the bell-curve. WE are not the norm. The Republicans understand that the average American is not very bright. They cater and pander to the masses. The Democratic Party tries to appeal to the population about "issues" that these people just don't understand.

Says James Taranto at BoW of this:

If it comes as a revelation to the Democratic Undergrounders that 20% is less than a majority, they're not exactly rocket scientists, are they?

What I find amusing is that these are generally the same sort of people who routinely castigate the GOP for its presumed lapses into voodoo economics. In their world, it's Lake Wobegon in reverse: most everyone is below average.

(Muchas gracias: Kimberly Swygert.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:29 PM to Almost Yogurt )
Make that an extra-thick crust

From the Government Is Your Friend files, courtesy of South Africa's News24:

Before you order your next pizza, think twice. It's now illegal to have a pizza delivered in South Africa.

This is just one of the bizarre effects of the new Post Office Amendment Bill, which was presented to parliament by the communications minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri and passed on September 11.

It gives the post office and its subsidiaries — Speed Services and XPS — the sole right to transport parcels that weigh under 1kg and leaves no room for any other delivery services to apply for a license to do so.

Disturbing visual: US Postmaster General John E. Potter giving himself a mock dope-slap and saying, "Why the hell didn't we think of that?"

You will, John, you will.

(Inspired by Jerry Scharf)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 9:23 PM to Dyssynergy )
11 October 2003
The magnificent seven

Actually, I don't know how many, if any, of the houses I'm supposed to look at today are going to be magnificent; in this price range, it's more realistic to expect, well, seven dwarfs.

Still, my needs are modest — never you mind about my desires — and almost anything is likely to be an improvement over what I have now.

Heigh-ho.

(Vent #360 has some backstory, if you're curious.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 8:39 AM to Surlywood )
More sunshine, less Gray

From her perch in Toronto, Debbye's sized up the California results very well:

The American media tried their best to portray the recall as a circus and thus not serious; California voters knew better. This was a opportunity which could not be manipulated by the Party Machines however hard they might try. On a national level, the Republican party wisely stayed out of the fray and the state Republican party endorsed Arnold only in the final weeks of the campaign. The Democrat Party brought in Clinton, Jackson, Dean and Clark, among others, to raise the Democrat profile of Davis and try to play the campaign with an "us vs. them" strategy (props to me for predicting that bringing in Clinton would hurt Davis' chances) and cynical moves to postpone the recall only further infuriated voters who correctly perceived that, after complying with all the requirements for a recall, they were being railroaded by the Party Machine in ACLU clothing.

Of course, there are those who remain convinced that it was all part of an Evil GOP Scheme. For example:

Gray Davis may have been a poor governor and a lackluster leader, but the Republicans should have defeated him when they had the chance in a scheduled election. If Schwartzenegger wanted to be governor, there was clearly nothing that could have kept him from victory in 2002, sparing the state a costly and disruptive process, and keeping the extreme measure of the recall on a high shelf, away from the hands of any ambitious politician or party (and please, spare me the pious lies about this being some kind of citizen initiative — it was clearly bought and paid-for by Republican insiders and stage-managed from the White House, and to suggest otherwise deeply offends the intelligence of anyone who was paying attention).

If the Republicans had had any sense, they would have come up with someone other than Bill Simon, a right-wing Walter Mondale minus the charisma, to run against the Gray Eminence in 2002; they would never, ever have turned to the likes of the Terminator. The initial recall push was indeed the brainchild of an actual Republican, but nobody is arguing with a straight face that there weren't Democrats anxious to see Davis given the boot, and considering the sheer number of wicked plots attributed to the Republicans in recent years, it's amazing how few of them have actually worked: were the GOP truly in thrall to Satan, I'd be forced to conclude that the Prince of Darkness was way past his prime and should probably be replaced. Or recalled, even.

Now when you see recall movements catching fire in other places that have been run as badly as California — say, Zimbabwe — then you can start to think of it as a trend.

Stranger than truth

And they say chemotherapy sucks.

(Via Cruel Site of the Day)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 2:24 PM to Almost Yogurt )
That thing they do

One Hit Wonder Central would like to be your one-stop reference point for those musical acts who scored once on Billboard's Top 40 and were never heard from again. It's still under construction — most of the promised Artist Profiles aren't in place yet — but it's a reasonable sort of database, and there's a message board where inquiries can be posted. And, of course, I have a quibble or two: most egregiously, the Viscounts' version of "Harlem Nocturne" charted twice, in 1960 and in 1966, but the reissue made the Top 40 while the original didn't, so they've listed it as a 1966 song. Still, it definitely beats waiting around for me to get off my B-side to write a hundred or so new entries for Single File.

Househunting (part 1)

Well, The Expert and I started with a list of seven, but three were eliminated at the very beginning: under contract already or otherwise pulled from the market.

That leaves four, which we will cover in the order visited, followed by an Entertainment Weekly-style letter grade.

1. A cute little stone bungalow on a