1 October 2005
The white flag is up

Michael Bates reports that the last Casa Bonita in Oklahoma, at 21st and Sheridan in Tulsa, closed last night when their lease was not renewed.

Casa Bonita used to have locations in Oklahoma City — in fact, the chain's first locations were here in OKC — but they've long since gone away, and in fact the only remaining Casa Bonita is on the west side of Denver, Colorado, presumably still within a reasonable distance from South Park.

The stepchild of the Casa Bonita operation, Taco Bueno, continues to flourish.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 8:44 AM to Soonerland )
One last eye-opener

As the Shorts Season draws to a close and all those glorious legs (some of them actually walking about 42nd and Treadmill) go back into hiding for the winter, I am bemused to report that Angela McNeany of the Chicago 'burbs has, we are told, the best legs in America.

My immediate reactions are three:

  1. Well, someone had to;
  2. At least it wasn't Katie Couric;
  3. If said gams are truly that incredible, it's probably a good thing I'll never see them.

(Via Fark)

Family Fun Fellowship foofaraw

A local public school — I'm guessing in Mid-Del — apparently has been soliciting student participation in activities at a local church, which prompted a debate on a local message board. (I am fairly confident I know which church is involved.)

The principal of the school says he's looking into how the church flyer got into school distribution in the first place.

And that's the problem here: that the school was actually distributing a church flyer, which appears to step over the line drawn by the Establishment Clause. I'm thinking that if they had simply parked a box of flyers in the hallway with a Take One sign, they might have been able to slide, but apparently they sent them home with the individual students, a distribution vector which always suggests Official School Business. ("Make sure you give this to your parents.") I have no problem with churches doing outreach to public-school students, but they can't use those schools as their agents.

(Update, Sunday: It ain't necessarily so. Read this.)

Quote of the week

Found at Ravenwood's Universe:

I wonder if shooting a 20 year old mugger is considered a 63rd trimester abortion.

I suspect it depends on when his birthday falls.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 10:25 AM to QOTW )
At least it wouldn't be Gonzales

Miriam's idea for filling that Supreme Court vacancy:

Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter, who I believe is named Mary, although possibly not. The Democratic candidates for president and vice president mentioned her often and approvingly, but not by name. They just called her Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter, but you could tell their wells of compassion were overflowing for her. In fact, she seemed to be the only Republican of any sexual orientation the Democrats truly liked — notice the way they kept dragging her into the debates, even when she had nothing to do with the matter at hand.

So I think we can all agree that DCLD would be the perfect candidate: female, lesbian, and if she takes after her parents, bright. She has no baggage, so no one can criticize her stand on abortion, the poor, children, Halliburton, etc. The fact that she is not a lawyer is also in her favor.

Democrats, here's a Supreme Court nomination we can all get behind!

Except to note that her name is indeed Mary, I think I'm going to leave it at that.

Fatuous Flashback 1

As this site approaches the ten-year mark, I have decided to fill up space commemorate its history with excerpts from its semi-glorious past, in a sort of "This Week in Blogorrhea" mode. For example:

Life out here in the Wintel Wonderland has its peculiar aspects, and few are quite as odd as Microsoft's ongoing desire to be all things to all computer owners.

Of course, this isn't something new for Microsoft. Within about thirty seconds of nailing down the contract to produce PC-DOS for IBM back in the Pleistocene era, Microsoft made known its intentions to provide versions of DOS under its own label to anyone with suitable hardware, thereby giving birth — or at least inducing labor — to the PC clone industry.

We are now up to DOS 7 and Windows 95, and Microsoft, even while basking in its position as undisputed ruler of the desktop, must still be wondering how long a wait it's going to be before it's safe to refuse to support cranky pieces of antediluvian junk like my late-Eighties pre-HP Colorado QIC-40 tape drive, or any program that requires an entry in the SETVER table. (If anyone was wondering, the Jumbo 120 does work under Win95, with the current version of Colorado Backup, but don't even think about doing a full system backup with 40-megabyte tapes.) Being out on the cutting edge is wonderful, but having to deal with us throwbacks on the dull side must give Redmond's programmers fits.

(From Vent #71, 1 October 1997.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 2:54 PM to Greatest Hits )
Waste not, or at least not much

The Seventh Generation company, based in Burlington, Vermont, derives its name from a precept of the Haudenosaunee, otherwise known as the Iroquois Confederacy, to the effect that decisions must be informed by their potential impact on the seventh generation to follow.

The company sells a variety of paper and plastic products and household chemicals, and earlier this year I decided to give some of their product lines a try, on the reasonable basis that paying a little more for a little less overall waste and/or toxicity can be justified.

After a couple of months, I've appointed Seventh Generation to be the official Surlywood supplier of paper towels and bathroom tissue. They are not, however, getting the contract for trash bags: in two successive boxes, the little plastic welds, which are supposed to keep the drawstrings in place, didn't.

It wasn't that long ago that recycled-material products weren't even slightly competitive, so, applying the principle of "When in doubt, predict that the trend will continue," I assume that this stuff will get better as time goes on.

Protect yourself

The following public-service announcement is brought to you by The Daily Bitch:

Police today warned all men who frequent yacht clubs and dock parties to stay cautious when offered drinks by women.

Females are using a date rape drug called "beer" to target unsuspecting men.

This drug comes in liquid form and is available nearly everywhere.

"Beer" is used by female predators to persuade hapless male victims to go home with them.

Women need only persuade a man to consume a few of these "beers" and then ask him home for no-strings-attached sex, a simple approach that renders most men helpless.

After several "beers," men will have sex with even unattractive women.

Often men awaken with only hazy memories of the night before, a horrible headache, and a vague feeling that something bad happened.

Some really unfortunate men are even separated from their life's savings in a scam called "a relationship."

In extreme cases, females have entrapped unsuspecting males into long-term servitude through a punishment called "marriage."

Apparently, men are much more susceptible to this scam once "beer" is administered.

If you, or some man you know, have fallen victim to this insidious "beer" and the predatory women who administer it, rest assured: male support groups exist in every major city where you can discuss the ugly details of your encounter in an open and frank manner with similarly affected, like-minded guys.

For the support group nearest you, look in the Yellow Pages under "GolfCourses."

You have been warned.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 6:13 PM to Table for One )
That "temporary" arrangement

Don Mecoy of the Oklahoman interviews Hornets owner George Shinn in tomorrow's edition, and, well, judge for yourself:

Q: Do you think there's a chance that your team may never go back to New Orleans?

A: I can't go there. You understand? I just can't go there. We'll just have a wait-and-see attitude because legally, technically, we are a New Orleans team and the NBA has to vote on any moving. They had to vote on us coming here and approve it. They wouldn't have approved us to just tell them to stick it in their ear, we're going to move on. You can't do that.

My feeling is that if we do what I think we're going to do and we sell out all these games, and New Orleans completely recovers and all the people go back, the economy starts going up and everything looks great, then we'll probably have to go back. We won't have a choice.

(Emphasis added.)

I may be wrong, but it sounds to me like already Shinn wants to stay.

(Update: The Oklahoman has now posted the interview.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:48 PM to Net Proceeds )
2 October 2005
Hysterical note

It was buried way down in the paragraph, but Google didn't seem to mind:

[B]ack in the Eighties, a bunch of us BBS freaks put together an online soap opera called Brentwood Bay, set in a small Florida Gulf Coast town dominated by a family in the news business; one of the characters I portrayed was crusading reporter (and Major Babe) Sharon Sheeley of the rival Sunova Beach Sentinel.

Not to be confused with the real Sharon Sheeley, a songwriter of considerable prowess, alone or (usually) paired with Jackie DeShannon; Sheeley passed away in 2002.

Our Googler, as it happens, was looking for the original Brentwood Bay soap; turns out he was a participant (he played Rev. Bernard Bradshaw). [Insert "small world" reference here.]

Just for the hell of it, here's an actual excerpt: a phone conversation between the fictional Ms Sheeley, then still working in local radio news, and the Brentwood Bugle's Bill Badderley.

"City desk. Badderley."

"Hello, Bill. This is Sharon. What's the deal with your boss?"

"Mrs. Brentwood? Far as I know, she's going on a trip. My guess is, she's having a nervous breakdown and doesn't want it to get out."

"Don't kid me, Bill. Blanche Brentwood hasn't taken a vacation since I don't know how long."

"Thirty-one years, to be exact. She spent almost the whole year in Europe, and believe me, everyone at the Bugle had to listen to her endless tales. I'm just grateful she didn't have slides."

"What happened in 1955, that she'd want to be gone a whole year?"

"Beats me, Shar. That was the year Benjamin was born, and you'd think she'd want at least one of her kids born in the U.S.A."

"What do you mean?"

"Oh, that's right, you're new here. All the Brentwood kids were born in Bougainville, France, at some villa that Mr. Byron Senior used to own. Mrs. B sold it after he died. Uh, Sharon, maybe I shouldn't be telling you these things...."

"Perhaps you shouldn't. Well, don't worry about it, Bill. I certainly won't."

"That's okay. I just get a little jumpy when I talk to the competition, you know?"

I still don't know Badderley's agenda, though I suspect he was basically biding his time until he could retire and was close to the NGAS point by then. (NG = "Not Giving"; you can figure the rest.) And this was before Sheeley was hired away from the radio station by the paper in the next town.

Further Family Fun Fellowship foofaraw

When last we left this story, I had suggested that there were Constitutional issues involved.

Sean Gleeson reports on what those issues are:

[A]s the law stands now, it would have been illegal and unconstitutional for the school to refuse to distribute the Pumpkin Festival flier!

In 1993, the Supreme Court decided Lamb's Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free School District, holding that it is a violation of the First Amendment for a public school to "discriminate on the basis of viewpoint." In other words, the school must treat religious persons and organizations no differently than non-religious ones. This legal doctrine was strengthened and reaffirmed with Good News Club v. Milford Central School in 2001. In both cases, the court forced the schools to allow religious groups to use their facilities.

These cases were not specifically about distributing fliers, but in 2003 the U.S. District Court in San Diego ruled against the San Diego Unified School District in a case involving fliers advertising free lectures at a Lutheran church. The school district was ordered to post and distribute the church's fliers. The school district was ordered in a summary judgment to post the church's fliers. A summary judgment is one in which one party's case is so weak that the court can rule without hearing any testimony. After this, the school district settled out of court and agreed to distribute the church's fliers to students as well.

Which would indicate that if the school is handing out promotional material for non-religious organizations — been a while since I've had any dealings with grade schools, but I rather suspect that they might be — they have no basis on which to refuse material from religious organizations.

And that would seem to settle that.

Addendum: The Subjective Scribe says it's okay with him if they send home no materials at all:

[O]utside groups, religious and otherwise, have other avenues for reaching their target market. An involuntary, captive audience should not be subject to outside marketing.

Time to fake the donuts

Krispy Kreme's largest single franchise operator is suing Krispy Kreme, charging that executives at the home office misappropriated funds designated for marketing and billed their franchise for bogus charges.

The partners of Los Angeles-based Great Circle Family Foods LLC contend that Krispy Kreme is seeking to drive them into bankruptcy.

Krispy Kreme has been under considerable fire recently: a New York State inquiry and an SEC probe have questioned the company's finances, and a previous lawsuit claims that KK management manipulated the balance sheets to conceal deficiencies in the company's pension program.

The company spokesperson would not comment, but given the shellacking Krispy Kreme has been getting in the press of late, I surmise that her eyes glazed over when she was questioned.

(Via McGehee.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 9:27 AM to Dyssynergy )
That pesky Bill of Rights

Motivated by the cause of Truth in Advertising, Tamara K. suggests the original 18th-century text be updated as follows:

You have the right to freedom of certain approved speech, at certain times that aren't too near elections. There is freedom of the press, as long as certain things aren't printed, and the internet is understood to not be "the press." And please understand that you are being monitored so that certain things you say or print may be being gathered as evidence just in case you are ever charged with anything down the road.

You have the right to keep some arms, as long as they are a flavor the government approves of, and in some places you may not keep arms of any kind. You may bear these arms in the field and forest if you have paid money to the government. You may bear them on a licensed shooting range. You may bear them in public in some locales only if you have been photographed, fingerprinted, investigated and taxed. In many locales you may not bear arms even then.

You have the right to be secure in your person, house, papers, and effects unless a paid informant has suggested that you may have something the government doesn't want you to have, or Fluffy the Uberhund alerts on your luggage, or you fit a certain profile, or a policeman asks you.

You cannot be forced to be a witness against yourself, except with recordings of your voice, and various samples of your breath, bodily fluids, and small bits of flesh.

Your property cannot be taken for public use without just compensation, unless it'd be a swell place for a strip mall, or the cops need a new armoured car.

Cruel and unusual punishments shall not be inflicted, unless one considers being GPS/radio-tagged like a migrating seal to be cruel and unusual.

Any rights not specifically enumerated above presumably devolve upon the Senate Judiciary Committee / local county commissioners / Halliburton [choose one].

Bombs away, dream babies

Lan Lamphere, whose Overnight AM radio show used to be carried here on KOKC, questions the official story about the explosion on the OU campus yesterday:

What I find amazing is that the press release that [OU President David] Boren's office has released to the public stated that "Prior to the game, the entire stadium was swept by the expert bomb teams with the help of dogs." Was there a bomb threat that OU didn't take seriously? Is that why the stadium was swept with "expert bomb teams with the help of dogs"?

Logic dictates that two "devices" suggest that two people were involved. A terrorist cell? Why would someone committing suicide using a large bomb to kill themselves just keep another bombing laying around? You know, just in case the first one didn't click off? It’s all premeditated in the first place. That means conspiracy to kill at least themselves if not someone else in the process. But then there's that whole "large bomb" thing we're left to contend with? Why would someone use such a large "device" to take himself or herself out if they were not targeting others to go with them? And when I say a "large bomb" that's exactly what I mean.

My family and I were sitting at home, roughly one mile away from the stadium as a bird flies, when we heard and felt an earth shattering explosion. I was monitoring my hand held amateur radio when the local repeater erupted with chatter about a explosion. It was so loud that people wanted to know if others had heard it. I called the Police who advised me that officers were on the scene and that a explosion had occurred but they would not give any other details. Our house literally shook. The ground vibrated with a deep rolling growling sound. This was a large explosion. Not some mere Pipe bomb put together by a pissed off student. But when I arrived at the stadium to shoot video for a local news station I regularly freelance for, already this was the spin on the story. This was serious business. This bomb was meant to kill not one person, but as many as could be reached in a crowd based on the size and power of the "device" alone.

The explosion apparently took place in the courtyard of George Lynn Cross Hall, across Asp Avenue from the stadium; Boren says [link requires Adobe Reader] there really wasn't a second device.

(Submitted to the Outside the Beltway Sunday Drive.)

Update: The Oklahoma Daily has a roundup of announcements and findings and statements and whatnot here.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 2:51 PM to Soonerland )
We got your platform right here

Mike at Okiedoke is, he says, "trying to imagine a dustbury party platform."

It might be something like this 1986 scrawl from P. J. O'Rourke:

We are opposed to: government spending, Kennedy kids, seat-belt laws, being a pussy about nuclear power, busing our children anywhere but Yale, trailer courts near our vacation homes, Gary Hart, all tiny Third World countries that don't have banking secrecy laws, aerobics, the U. N., taxation without tax loopholes, and jewelry on men.

We are in favor of: guns, drugs, fast cars, free love (if our wives don't find out), a sound dollar, cleaner environment (poor people should cut it out with the graffiti), a strong military with spiffy uniforms, Nastassia Kinski, Star Wars (and anything else that scares the Russkis), and a firm stand on the Middle East (raze buildings, burn crops, plow the earth with salt, and sell the population into bondage).

Actually, this is something of an exaggeration: I don't give a damn about banking-secrecy laws, and Nastassia Kinski doesn't do a thing (well, okay, she does one thing) for me.

(Update, 8 October, 4:40 pm: An actual endorsement from Ian Hamet. I'll have to get his opinion of Ms Kinski.)

What I get for watching the floor

I hadn't seen this before, and I'm not sure why I'm seeing it now, but toe rings under hosiery? Seems to me it would be (1) uncomfortable and (2) an invitation to snags, but then this isn't an area where I have any noticeable expertise.

One of those alternamantive thingamubobs

So how much gasoline does George W. Bush's pickup truck actually burn?

None, apparently.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 6:54 PM to Family Joules )
Glenn or Glennda?

Harvey imagines, with entirely too much detail if you ask me, how blogdom would change with the arrival — via surgery, one assumes — of the Instapundette.

(Hey, it could be worse. At least he didn't suggest bleaching Oliver Willis. Yet.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:26 PM to Blogorrhea )
3 October 2005
The grammar blows, too

An email that made the rounds:

There are many individual Bloggers earning over $100k per year we can show you how to possibly achieve this through your own personal blog.

Um, no, you can't.

(Via Doc Searls.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 6:18 AM to Scams and Spams )
Technically, she's not a minority

U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit,
appointed by Reagan, born 1949
A Texan! Nearly nominated to Souter's seat by
G.H.W. Bush. You're hoping the son follows through!
Jones is considered radioactive by
Democrats, which you (and the administration)
might consider a plus!

New World Man presents: My favorite candidate for the Supreme Court
brought to you by Quizilla

Not that it matters, at this point.

I do not choose to run

This thread at Okiedoke is highly worrisome. Mike started it out sensibly enough:

If you are…
  • a Democrat/liberal — What Republican could best lead the country now?
  • a Republican/conservative — What Democrat could best lead the country now?
  • a third party/Independent — What Republican or Democrat could best lead the country now?

The idea was to gauge the depth of the divide, which is a perfectly reasonable question. What's perturbing, though, is that as of this morning (subsequent postings might, and probably should, change things), I am outpolling everyone except John McCain. This is simply unbelievable, at least to me: who knew there was that much support for McCain?

And anyway, while I've already put out a sort of platform, I really don't have any political ambitions per se: the one job to have, I think, is Karl Rove's, and I don't quite meet the evil-genius specification called for by that position.

Besides, announcing plans to run for office is the surest way I know to unearth previously-buried copies of that calendar I posed for in the middle 1980s, and no one should have to see that on Drudge.

Harriet the Justice

Tom Goldstein at SCOTUSblog predicts that the Harriet Miers nomination will be rejected:

The nomination obviously will be vigorously supported by groups created for the purpose of pressing the President's nominees, and vigorously opposed by groups on the other side. But within the conservative wing of the Republican party, there is thus far (very early in the process) only great disappointment, not enthusiasm. They would prefer Miers to be rejected in the hope — misguided, I think — that the President would then nominate, for example, Janice Rogers Brown. Moderate Republicans have no substantial incentive to support Miers, and the President seems to have somewhat less capital to invest here. On the Democratic side, there will be inevitable — perhaps knee-jerk — opposition. Nor does Miers have a built in "fan base" of people in Washington, in contrast to the people (Democratic and Republican) who knew and respected John Roberts. Even if Democrats aren't truly gravely concerned, they will see this as an opportunity to damage the President. The themes of the opposition will be cronyism and inexperience. Democratic questioning at the hearings will be an onslaught of questions about federal constitutional law that Miers in all likelihood won't want to, or won't be able to (because her jobs haven't called on her to study the issues), answer. I have no view on whether she should be confirmed (it's simply too early to say), but will go out on a limb and predict that she will be rejected by the Senate.

I don't know. It's been reported (this morning on NPR, for instance) that some members of Congress had suggested to the President that he nominate someone without extensive judicial experience, and Miers certainly meets that criterion. The nomination does suggest, however, that Bush wasn't in any mood for a knock-down, drag-out confirmation fight, to the presumed disappointment of the (more) conservative wing of the GOP.

I don't think this nomination is doomed, but it's surely not going to sail through the Judiciary Committee in a matter of minutes either.

Render unto Sears the things that are Sears'

If you work for Sears, says Sears Holdings chairman Aylwin Lewis, you do not carry a competing store's shopping bag onto a flight for which Sears is paying.

Sears has been running a shuttle between Detroit and Chicago for employees at the old K mart headquarters at Troy, Michigan, which is being phased out as a cost-savings measure in the wake of the K mart/Sears merger.

Lewis also asked employees to get Sears credit cards if they don't have them, to visit Sears-owned stores "three to four times a month," and to make friends and relatives and neighbors more Sears-conscious.

In the wake of the Sears announcements, and any rumors to the contrary notwithstanding, Sonic chairman Cliff Hudson has not actually ordered that any Sonic employee seen in a Braum's parking lot is to be shot on sight.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 1:06 PM to Dyssynergy )
One-line reaction to Istook's announcement

Finally, a good reason to vote for Brad Henry.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 2:00 PM to Soonerland )
Gimme back my bullets

Remember these?

  •   <———  This is a bullet.
  •   <———  So is this.
  •   <———  This, too.

That is, unless you're teaching in the City of New York:

Today in our weekly PD it was mentioned that the region doesn't want us to use the term "bullet points" anymore because it has a negative connotation.

If I had a dollar for every idiotic complaint about "negative connotations," I could retire and have plenty left over for ammo.

(Via Ravenwood's Universe.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 4:07 PM to Say What? )
The Ambassador needs a new suit

The Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau has, shall we say, a serviceable Web site; it's not particularly cluttered, which is good, but it reeks of 1999. (Which is to say, there's nothing on it that I, with my decidedly-limited portfolio of mad Web skillz, couldn't have done.)

Others take a dimmer view of it. This letter was sent by the techier-than-I Gerard Morentzy to the OKCCVB, and is reprinted with his permission.

Dear Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau, I was shocked to go to Oklahoma City's Visitors website at www.okccvb.org and see the site that promotes your growing city. I simply couldn't believe this is your introduction to your town. I was told I need to visit Oklahoma, and Oklahoma City in particular. I went to the site and saw this distorted picture of your city at the top of the page. What's that about? The picture size doesn't fit the space. The Oklahoma City 'logo'?? My god! That looks like something from 1975 — it's horrible! Bottom line: I was surprised at all the good things I am hearing about Okla. City and then see this horrible website. I travel often and visit many Visitors Center sites. I wonder if you realize how awful your site really is? For comparison in your region, I visited — and you should too:

I would hope that all the progressive things that I hear are happening in your city will eventually make its way to the Internet gateway to your city — the Convention and Visitors pages on the web are considered just that. You have much work to do.

Gerard Morentzy

And while we're on the subject, a URL that might actually stick in the mind would be a useful thing to have. (They own visitokc.com, but I don't remember seeing it promoted anywhere.)

Why Topeka rates a (!), I don't know, unless it's because of that CSI episode.

4 October 2005
It could have been

Greg Hlatky is contemplating changing the name of A Dog's Life, a step that one does not take lightly.

I myself have been through this once already: this site was established as Chez Chaz in 1996, and retained that name until the dustbury.com domain was acquired in early 1999. I'd been using "Dustbury, Oklahoma" as a pseudonymous location practically from Day One, and it seemed logical that I should adopt some version of it as a domain.

But you should have seen some of the names I threw away:

  • Girthwatch
  • Fnord Fnocus
  • Instaputz
  • Site Unseen
  • Ghoti
  • Deeply Superficial
  • Henry Fondue
  • 163,216
  • Odi et Amo
  • Fdisk

And some were actually worse.

Addendum: I found my Site Unseen logo buried in the archives.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 6:21 AM to Blogorrhea )
A complete unknown

The big question about Harriet Miers seems to be "Does Bush know something that the rest of us don't?"

Well, duh. (Caution: Not safe for work.)

(Via Lindsay Beyerstein.)

Tell Kofi to bite a root

The United Nations is persuaded that it, and not those awful Americans, ought to have control of the Internet. Aside from being totally unfair to Al Gore, this is a generally bad idea, but it really can't be implemented:

ICANN, the corporation that distributes IP addresses and domain names, doesn't own the Internet, nor does the United States government. The Internet is a standard; anyone who's willing to communicate in conformance with that standard can come aboard. No one can own a standard, though persons can squabble, as the UN has been doing, over whose proposed alterations to it should be respected.

Imagine for a moment that the UN were to put itself forward as an alternative to ICANN, and were to designate its own collection of root servers and domains. Would that have any particular bearing on what standards we in the United States might choose to observe in our digital communications? Only this: it would compel us to choose between the root servers and domains that have been nominated by ICANN, and those put forward in their place by the United Nations Committee Overseeing Overall Linkage (UNCOOL). Inasmuch as the overwhelmingly greater part of Internet activity, particularly commercial Internet activity, is based in these United States, we would hold the whip hand regardless of any and all UN assertions or maneuverings to the contrary. It would simply be about which set of standards users would choose to employ.

See Beta vs. VHS for comparison.

John F. (comment to previous link) explans how UNCOOL would work:

The Security Council would require that posts critical of the UN or constituent government members be restricted in the interests of "amity".

UNCOOL would levy a "small" use tax to defray "administrative costs" necessary to support their "management conferences" in such internet hotspots as Tahiti.

Users would be required to register with UNCOOL in order to ensure that only "responsible" people had access to the internet. Registration approval could be expected (by snail mail) only a year after the necessary registration fees were paid (and paid, and paid).

UNCOOL would be forced to establish the Internet Police (UNIP) in order to ensure that internet regulations (UNIR) were complied with. Spamming would become a capital offense unless conducted within a certified third world country by an oppressed minority. Hackers would be shot on sight by UNIP thus saving the costs of unnecessary trials.

We could get the same results by turning the whole shebang over to the Mafia, and probably a hell of a lot cheaper to boot.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:43 AM to PEBKAC )
Take it out on the templates

What do you do when the pace of life is accelerating faster than you can?

Why, work on the blog, of course:

Because things have been careening down the mountain at such a pace, my brain is dead empty of anything of substance to talk about. At this juncture, it's too delirious from just trying to keeping up to have an independent interesting thought.

In lieu of content, and in need of a procrastination project, I tinkered with the site last night. Wasted three hours or so in a world of my own, oblivious to the various masses clamoring for my attention via to-do lists.

I note that I still haven't begun the Version 9 upgrade. Hmmm....

Permalink to this item ( posted at 9:36 AM to Blogorrhea )
Forget "Unsealed with a Kiss"

Dawn Eden has announced that she's taking a break from blogging to work on her book The Thrill of the Chaste.

Gawker suggests some alternate titles that presumably wouldn't have made it past the editors at Dawn's Christian-oriented publisher:

Chaste Manhattan
Abort, Retry, Ignore
Repressed For Success
You're Going To Hell, Slut

Actually, I kind of like a couple of those.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 12:25 PM to Almost Yogurt )
The first volley of 2008?

Something styling itself "Citizens Against Corporate Welfare" slipped a flyer onto my door today which castigated Rep. Trebor Worthen of District 87, where I live, for voting for two bills they considered particularly heinous.

Chesapeake Energy spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in the last election buying elected officials. They gave Trebor Worthen $3,000. Once the election was over, it was payback time! Representative Worthen paid back. He voted for legislation that would give over $100 million of your tax dollars in Corporate Welfare to Chesapeake at a time when their profits are obscene. Since 2003, CEO salaries at oil companies have increased by 109%.

With the possible exception of 42nd and Treadmill, CEO salaries are bloated just about everywhere in the nation. I'm assuming (since CACW didn't bother to spell it out) that this was HB 1588, which provided exemptions from the state Gross Production Tax for really deep drilling (12,500 feet and beyond). (Text of the enrolled version in RTF format here.) This bill passed the House 79-19 on its way to being approved by the Governor; I don't remember taking a position on it myself, but historically there are only two occasions when oil and gas producers are looking for incentives:

  1. When prices are low;
  2. When prices are high.

Then there's SB 484 (enrolled version in RTF format here), of which CACW said:

SB 484 was a bill that prevents counties and cities from regulating the over application of animal waste (they call it fertilizer) to land. Why would [Worthen] take away the ability of cities and counties to protect us from chicken waste in our water?

Well, actually, what 484 does is to take away the ability of cities and counties to regulate any fertilizer products of any sort. I complained about it myself in Vent #434:

Senate Bill 484, by Daisy Lawler (D-Comanche), would (what a surprise) give the Legislature more turf: it puts fertilizer under state, rather than local, regulations. The Oklahoma Municipal League opposed it for that reason alone, and sought amendments.

Says lobbyist Keith Smith: "Our fertilizer laws in Oklahoma are so weak that just about anything can be defined as fertilizer if it contains enough Nitrogen, Phosphorus or Potassium to qualify as beneficial to plants. There is no required labeling for heavy metals (lead, arsenic, etc.), dioxin or pathogens. By our law's definition, a "guaranteed analysis" of fertilizer only discloses its N-P-K content."

Emphasis in the original. I looked at the actual bill, and Smith's right: so long as you specify N-P-K correctly, you can dump just about anything else in the mix and still call it "fertilizer" under SB 484. At the very least, the bill should be amended to require more comprehensive labeling.

Today's Legislative Lesson: A chickenshit bill doesn't necessarily have anything to do with literal chicken shit.

If anyone outside District 87 got a flyer from "Citizens Against Corporate Welfare," I'd like to hear about it.

Notes on Camp

Actor and occasional singer Hamilton Camp once sang (on Warner Bros. single 7309, never issued on an LP):

I've got to be more than just two lines
In the Oklahoma City Times.

Camp outlived the Times by more than twenty years; he died Sunday in Los Angeles at the age of 70.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 8:32 PM to Almost Yogurt )
5 October 2005
And we'll never be lonely anymore

Wouldn't you love to hear the Dixie Cups again?

Sure you would.

(Via Oddfellows Rest.)

Dubious collectible

The issue of TV Guide shipping this week is the last issue in the magazine's traditional digest-size format; next week it grows to "regular" size and sheds all those pesky local TV listings.

For the occasion, they've issued nine alternate covers, each an update of a cover used once before. (On my subscription copy, it's Reba McEntire stomping grapes à la Lucille Ball.)

Inasmuch as there are probably going to be a brazillion copies of this issue out there, I'm thinking maybe I won't put this one aside for safekeeping. And considering the fact that the other day, while looking for something else, I found a 1988 issue of TV Guide which, so far as I can tell, is distinguished only by a leg shot of Rita Braver, this must be considered Unusual Thinking for me.

Dead trees strike back!

This being National Newspaper Week — is there a parade? — there is the requisite quantity of promotional materials to remind us of just how essential the daily paper truly is.

Eric Siegmund happened upon one of them and happily mocks it. Here's the text from the original (which you can see at the above link, or here in PDF format):

Letters to the editor: the Original Web Blog
Every day all across America citizens participate in their community's public discussions and debates by writing a letter to the editor of the local newspaper. Letters to the editor in the newspaper provide an ideal forum for citizens to exchange ideas and opinions. A way to interact with fellow citizens about the issues of the day.

Eric finds this pitch risible:

[T]he idea that printed letters to the editor "provide an ideal forum for citizens to exchange ideas and opinions" is laughable, especially in comparison to comments-enabled blogs. The editorial control over those printed letters and the absence of real-time dialog makes them far from ideal. (Granted, the same kind of editorial control is theoretically possible in blogs, but the blogospheric feedback mechanism is swift and without pity. Blogs that engage in significant editing of comments will likely find themselves without commenters or readers.)

I am reminded of something Michael Bates said last year about the Tulsa World:

The Whirled, for whatever reason, won't publish letters until the relevant story is good and cold — at least two weeks after the event or story that the letter addresses, long after the story has migrated from their website to their website's archives or from your coffee table to the recycling bin.

As forums (fora?) go, this strikes me as being well short of the "ideal."

One impertinent statistic: Most days that I see it, the Oklahoman runs four or five letters to the editor. Assuming that this is a standard practice at the Black Tower, this means that since August of 2002, they have run about 5,700 letters. During the same period, I have accumulated 11,000 comments.

Now I have to assume that their market share has to be a lot higher than mine; they're the only general-interest daily in town, and I run just one blog among dozens, maybe hundreds. Besides, my comment-to-post ratio, slightly above 2, is distinctly lower than average for this traffic level; there's far more actual dialogue at other blogs.

Besides, "Web Blog" is at least slightly redundant.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 8:03 AM to Blogorrhea )
Boomer Sooner, so to speak

The father of the "Sooner bomber" is disputing claims that his son was a budding jihadi:

[He] would have become a Muslim fanatic when pigs fly.

The FBI says they have found no connection between Joel Henry Hinrichs III and any known extremist groups. (Full text of FBI statement in PDF format here.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 11:00 AM to Soonerland )
All generalizations are false

Including, of course, that one.

One item within the 75k or so of rotating boilerplate that appears in the "It Is Written" section reads: "Man loves little and often, woman much and rarely."

Girlfriday finds this statement questionable, and it might well be. For myself, I can say only that my experience in that baffling man/woman stuff is not likely to produce any words of wisdom.

(Who said it originally? I don't know. It's on a few quotation sites, always credited to that legendary deep-thinker Anonymous.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 1:26 PM to Table for One )
High impact

From Double Take in the current Urban Tulsa Weekly:

How they know this already is beyond us, but a study released by Oklahoma City officials indicated that the relocation of the New Orleans Hornets to the Ford Center will generate an additional $57 million to the state's economy.

If that seems a little high, it is.

Consider that the Hornets will play 35 games in OKC this season.

Last year, the team's average attendance was 14,421 per game in New Orleans, or about 505,000 total.

Figure the same number come to the Ford Center, and that means to reach the $57 million figure, each one of those 505,000 will have [to] spend the equivalent of $113 each game.

To put it another way, to accept the estimates, you'd have to believe that a family of four is going to spend almost $500 for, say, a Hornets-Clippers match-up on a Tuesday night in March.

Just how expensive are hamburgers in Bricktown?

Actually, it's the parking that gets you, not the burgers.

Here's where the numbers come from, for the curious.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 2:36 PM to Net Proceeds )

Howard Stern no doubt knows this number: FCC Form 159 must accompany all administrative payments to the Federal Communications Commission, which includes fines.

If you'd rather not FCC around, there's the Carnival of the Vanities #159, the latest edition of the soi-disant Best of the Blogs, hosted this week by Technogypsy.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 3:50 PM to Blogorrhea )
Selling the story

The online poll at NewsOK.com as of this writing:

Two to one believe it's a suicide

I draw no conclusions. Yet.

(Update, 7 am, 6 October: It's down from 2-1 to 3-2.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 8:43 PM to Soonerland )
6 October 2005
Carry on 'til tomorrow

Chris at PhilDennison.net has a tribute to Badfinger drummer Mike Gibbins, who died Tuesday at 56.

Of the original foursome, only Joey Molland remains; Pete Ham and Tom Evans are long gone.

Where angels feel the tread

If you made a list of everything you'd consider buying over the Net, automobile tires are probably way down there, perhaps above cheeseburgers but well below books and music and tchotchkes.

It's a fairly busy time at work these days, and I said to myself, "Self, do you really want to go buzzing all over town looking for P205/60R-15s?"

I didn't. Enter the Tire Rack, a major dealer (lots of big brands) with a Web storefront and the ability to drop-ship a quartet of donuts to a nearby tire shop for installation.

I knew about these guys because they sponsor One Lap of America, one of the more amusing racing events around, and because they have five or six pages in almost every major auto mag every month.

And while I figure I'd have no problem finding the low-end Bridgestone Turanzas I've been driving on for 50,000 miles, I didn't much like them; while dry grip is decent, they let go way too easily in the wet, and they're noisy to boot. (There is a Turanza series above this one, but the price differential struck me as excessive.) I'd had Michelin X-Ones on my previous car, which I really liked, but which are amazingly pricey when you can find them.

In the end, I called upon Dunlop, who had made the OEM tires for my old Toyota Celica back in the immediate post-Fred Flintstone era, and who offered the SP Sport A2 Plus in the size I needed and with an appropriate speed rating: H. (My car won't do 130 mph, but the tires could take it if it could.) If you pay attention to UTQR ratings: treadwear 460, traction AA, temperature A. Four of these came to a stirringly-negligible $224, plus forty bucks to UPS them out of Indiana and whatever (I'm guessing $100) I get charged by A to Z Tire Warehouse over on NW 10th, who will be doing the install.

If the $370-ish tab seems high to you, keep in mind that it's worth something simply to avoid going to Pep Boys.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:00 AM to Driver's Seat )
Personally, I blame the Penguin

The stately 16,000-square-foot Tudor house on South San Rafael Avenue in Pasadena, California which was used for exterior shots of Bruce Wayne's place in the Sixties Batman series has fallen victim, not to a supervillain, but to something much more mundane: a fire, which essentially gutted the place.

The owners were in the process of remodeling, but this is surely more than they had in mind.

(Via Fark)

(Update, 7 October, 7:20 pm: Would you believe it was the wrong house after all?)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:42 AM to Dyssynergy )
Not the usual political bologna

I do not believe this phrase means what he thinks it means:

"...I think with a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, you can't play, you know, hide the salami, or whatever it's called. He's got to go out there and say something about this woman [Harriet Miers] who's going to a 20 or 30-year appointment, a 20 or 30-year appointment to influence America. We deserve to know something about her."

So speaks Howard Dean, Democratic Party chair, on Hardball with Chris Matthews.

One word of advice, Dr. Dean: Don't buy the liverwurst.

(Seen by Baldilocks while perusing Wizbang.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 3:20 PM to Say What? )
How desperate are they?

A few weeks back I muttered something incoherent about "Desperate Librarians", partly because I'm a sucker for goofy calendars featuring individuals in varying degrees of undress, and partly because I wanted to see if "Weyauwega" is really spelled like that. (It is.)

As for the calendar itself, which bears the cutesy tag "The Book Stops Here," it's quite a bit more modest than the usual run of such things, and each of the staffers is hiding behind a book with a work-related "title" Photoshopped thereupon. The librarian inclined to reveal the least is Miss June, whose large-format volume is emblazoned "librarians definitely should wear clothes." Certainly at work: it's probably cold in there.

I suspect this particular cultural artifact is on a vertical trajectory, the shark waiting below; whether the vector is upward or downward remains to be seen.

7 October 2005
Trust us

Car and Driver editor Csaba Csere has heard the same stories you have about so-called "plug-in" hybrids that get triple-digit gas mileage. In his November column, he reveals that he dispatched editor-at-large Barry Winfield to get some seat time in one of these cars if at all possible.

It wasn't. Writes Winfield: "The developers of plug-in hybrids are extremely unwilling to have their babies tested by any means right now." Some things are known: with the gasoline engine disconnected, the Toyota Prius, the usual test bed for plug-ins, is limited to 28 bhp running on batteries only, and tops out at around 34 mph.

Winfield's conclusion after trying to get a grip on the state of this particular art:

[T]he plug-in hybrid developers are happy to have the uncritical support of various newspaper journalists who blithely reprint the claims of 250 mpg, but as soon as you say fuel consumption or performance test, they're not having any of it.

C/D, whatever their degree of cynicism, actually did test a Honda FCX fuel-cell vehicle this year, and they reported that apart from a different portfolio of noises, it was pretty much like driving a Civic — assuming you could fatten a Civic up to 3700 lb. Of course, there is as yet no hydrogen-refueling infrastructure to speak of, but the FCX seems much closer to being a Real Car than any of these electrified buggies.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 6:21 AM to Driver's Seat )
Where are all these people coming from?

Traffic has picked up markedly this week, and I can't think of any good reason why. The usual 800-a-day average, after sliding into the middle 700s during the summer, has somehow jumped over 1,000; even Sunday drew 916. I'm not getting any extra linkage that I know about: I'm still ranked just above 3,000th in Technorati, and still in the middle of the TTLB Large Mammal phylum. And while I've had a couple pieces on the Norman splodeydope, arguably the biggest non-basketball story in these parts, I'm hardly leading the way on any of this stuff.

No, I'm not crowding my bandwidth limit or anything. (My host is projecting 8 GB for the month, which is a lot by the standards I'm used to but far from getting into the dreaded Extra-Cost Zone.) But if by some fluke I'm actually doing something right, I'd like to know just what the heck it is.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:00 AM to Blogorrhea )
The last of Pratt's

You have to wonder if maybe J. B. Pratt was too far ahead of his time.

In his thirty years in the grocery business, he came up with some ideas that sounded distinctly odd: he had sections devoted to products actually grown or made in Oklahoma, and he put the organically-grown produce right up front where you couldn't miss it.

This would have worked wonderfully in, say, 2003 or 2004, but it didn't play well in the 1980s and 1990s, and the last outpost of Pratt's modest empire, Shawnee Community Foods, which closed this summer, is about to be auctioned off, part of his company's Chapter 7 liquidation.

Smaller grocery stores survive: Kamp's continues to anchor the Asian District, and Crescent Market, literally as old as the city itself, is still hidden away in Nichols Hills. Braum's has added small grocery sections to some of its dairy stores. But the big story, not unexpectedly, is Wal-Mart, which garners about half the local sales.

The sad thing, I think, is that it would probably take a J. B. Pratt to create the sort of niche market that is needed downtown: his stores were always just enough off-kilter to shake off the stigma of the suburban Big Box. (His Wellmarket in Edmond, opened in 2001, had the right idea, but it closed after half a year.) And Pratt, in Chapter 7 himself separately from the company, is in no position to do so.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:45 AM to Soonerland )
Because you really want to know

Sean Gleeson presents: Ask Harriet!

(McGehee is gonna love this.)

Ahead of my time

I note that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has recently added an online reader forum, which is called The Vent.

It's a pretty good name, if I say so myself.

Spiced up a bit

Erica's Audience Participation regimen:

Give a shout in the comments and...

1. I'll respond with something random about you.
2. I'll tell you what song/movie reminds me of you.
3. I'll pick a flavor of jello to wrestle with you in.
4. I'll try to say something that only makes sense to you and me.
5. I'll tell you my first/clearest memory of you.
6. I'll tell you what animal you remind me of.
7. I'll ask you something that I've always wondered about you.
8. If I do this for you, you must post this on your journal. You MUST.

I duly shouted out, and this is what came back:

1. I love the nickname "Chaz." It's sassy.
2. Standards. Or that classic old stuff that's a little older than "Oldies."
3. As we can see, I've moved on from Jello wrestling to drinks. I'm thinking whiskey. Something sophisticated.
4. I've never seen anyone but Dean actually spew beer through their nose.
5. I'm seeing you sitting in a lawn chair in Dean's front yard. I was all, "Who is this guy?" Hadn't heard you were coming, see. And I've been reading ever since.
6. Goldfish.
7. How did the whole World Tour thing get started?

In answer to #7, it was a combination of three factors: accumulated Wanderlust, which I hadn't been able to work on because of ongoing motor-vehicle issues and low cash flow; scoring a third vacation week at 42nd and Treadmill; and finally, my acquisition in the fall of 2000 of my first new car, ever, which made for even less cash flow but eliminated the vehicle issues.

So, after a decent break-in period, I hit the road. Running.

(I posted this as a comment to her original thread, and decided that it wouldn't hurt to take advantage of #8, even if she did cross it out. Oh, and it's this Dean.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 11:27 AM to Screaming Memes )
Clamming up

Whatever is going on down there in Norman, they don't want to talk about it:

The warrant used to execute a search of Oklahoma University bomber Joel Henry Hinrichs III's apartment, where an undetermined amount of explosives were found, has been sealed by a federal court at the request of the Justice Department.

Hinrichs blew himself up yards from Oklahoma Memorial Stadium Saturday night while tens of thousands of fans watched an OU-Kansas State football game.

Bob Troester, first asst. U.S. attorney in Oklahoma City, said the department requested the warrant be sealed, but declined to elaborate when asked why it was necessary to do so given previous media reports that a depressed Hinrichs acted alone and on a whim.

"You can draw whatever assumption you like," he said. "We don't comment on any sealed indictments."

Which, of course, is exactly why those documents get sealed: to eliminate possible comments and/or potential tip-offs.

Beneath the surface, the iceberg continues to grow.

(Via A Blog For All.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 3:58 PM to Soonerland )
Themes like old times

Now this is scary:

  1. Pick one of your favorite blogs (not including your own; we'll get to that), and suggest a theme song for it. Explain.

  2. If your blog (see, I told you) had a theme song, what would it be? Explain.

  3. If your blogging career suddenly collapsed into a steaming mass of putrid refuse because of your inability to cope with its worldwide popularity, and your friends decided to try to revive your spirits by putting on a benefit concert, which musical artist(s) would you hope that they would invite? Explain.

I am nothing if not incredibly foolhardy gutsy.

1.  For Jay and Deb of Accidental Verbosity, the Beatles' "Two of Us," from Let It Be:

You and I have memories
longer than that road
that stretches out ahead

Two of us wearing raincoats standing solo
in the sun
you and me chasing paper
getting nowhere
on our way back home

2.  Sam Cooke speaks for me:

Don't know much about history
Don't know much biology
Don't know much about a science book
Don't know much about the French I took
But I do know that I love you
And I know that if you love me too
What a wonderful world this would be

3.  You mean it's not already a steaming mass of putrid refuse?

Go rent Tom Hanks' That Thing You Do! One of the Wonders' Play-Tone labelmates is a girl group called the Chantrellines, who do a lovely little pseudo-Spector number called "Hold My Hand, Hold My Heart." Acting credits go to Darlene Dillinger, Julie L. Harkness and Kennya J. Ramsey, who probably didn't actually sing on the song, but I'd love to see who did.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 8:29 PM to Screaming Memes )
8 October 2005
Fatuous Flashback 2

From back when "MoveOn" actually meant something:

[M]ass-market Schadenfreude has given us such ineffable delights as Monster Truck competitions, the Jerry Springer show, and, you guessed it, the House impeachment hearings. Of course, the putative gravity of the situation doesn't make it any less of a farce; the spectacle of the Keystone Kongress scurrying about pretending to be statesmen is far more embarrassing to the rest of the world than anything "inappropriate" the President admits to having done. Still, the news vendors dare not turn their attention elsewhere; while the public piously claims not to be interested in the sordid details, the moment your favorite news source switches to something comparatively important, the public responds by switching to the Olsen Twins. Rubbernecking by remote control! Only in America.

(From Vent #120, 9 October 1998.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 8:33 AM to Greatest Hits )
Assembling the pieces

As evidence goes, there is circumstantial, and there is really circumstantial.

This paragraph in an Oklahoman story is instructive:

Hinrichs lived near [an] Islamic mosque, had a roommate from Pakistan, had other explosives in his apartment and had tried to buy ammonium nitrate two days before the attack. Those circumstances as well as some news reports have fueled public concern that the bomb was part of a larger plot.

The reporters have arranged these, it appears, in increasing order of relevance.

Living "near" the mosque, for instance, is no big deal: it's located fairly close to the University (on George Avenue), so lots of students are in the vicinity, and no one seems to recall ever seeing him there anyway.

In my experience, finance types (like Hinrichs' roommate) tend to be fairly apolitical, but none of the finance types in said experience were Pakistani (like Hinrichs' roommate), so score this as a slight possibility, but no more than that.

There's still the question of what he wanted with this humongous cache of explosives, and anyone who knows anything about the Oklahoma City bombing knows about ammonium nitrate. Unfortunately, for the moment, the answer to this question was washed off the side of a bus with a hose.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 9:06 AM to Soonerland )
Wretches without ink stains

The News-Journal sort of endorses the Delaware Supreme Court's decision not to force an ISP to reveal the identity of a blog commenter:

Smyrna Councilman Patrick Cahill and his wife, Julia, wanted the court to force Comcast to release the unique Internet identifier of the person who posted criticism on the Delaware State News' weblog. The Cahills claimed the remarks were defamatory, and they wanted the blogger's name in order to pursue a libel lawsuit.

We understand their concern. The remarks were scurrilous. By hiding behind the Internet's anonymity, the author showed an utter lack of backbone.

But freedom of speech would not amount to much if it were only guaranteed for pleasant, flattering talk. The rights of the unsympathetic pamphleteer must be guarded as well, so that everyone's rights will be preserved.

Fritz Schranck points out that the News-Journal editorial is itself unsigned, and adds:

In that respect, perhaps the Supreme Court was also quietly making a point to the state's newspapers, who are sometimes quick to take issue with the court's decisions in other cases.

After all, the old adage that one shouldn’t pick a fight with folks who buy their ink by the ton doesn't quite ring so true anymore — not when one can respond quite effectively with just a few thousand pixels.

Text of the ruling in PDF format here.

(Prompted by Lynn S.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 9:42 AM to Blogorrhea )
Burqa's law

Traffic percentagesAbout five years ago, there was a little Web toy to generate "glam names"; the name of a friend of mine, fed into the form, was rendered "Nova Hotsex", and that was the name I used for her on this site in those days. Generally speaking, this falls under the heading of No Big Deal. But today, I was looking at the site stats via Analog, which produced the table to your right (which has been edited to remove IPs not pertinent to this piece), and you'll notice an awful lot of IPs in the 212.138 range. A call to a Whois produced the following notation: Part of this IP block has been used for proxy/cache service at the National level in Saudi Arabia. All Saudi Arabia web traffic will come from this IP block. If you experience high volume of traffic from IP in this block it is because your site is very popular/famous of Saudi Arabia community.

This, of course, seemed implausible: what would the Saudis want with this site? So I went back and matched up IPs with referrals, and every last one of them was Googling for "hotsex" and was fed the link to Nova. Perhaps Riyadh has decided that this search string is sinful and is duly punishing the searchers by referring them to me.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 1:34 PM to Blogorrhea )
The acrid smell of brake material

Not to mention flat-spotting the tires, which are about to be replaced anyway.

The story is hard to figure from two positions back, but so far as I can tell, the doofus in the aged Infiniti got about a car length and a half beyond the intersection and stopped cold, prompting the Cadillac right behind to do likewise. I was barely underway, so the pedal got only a slight tap.

A few seconds passed, the Infiniti moved on, and then stopped again. This time both the Caddy and I were moving at a decent clip and had to burn it off in a hurry. M. de Ville did a very quick 90 and got the hell out of the way; I dropped back until the doofus had picked up about three or four car lengths before hitting the gas again, and then took the next turn off.

"If you don't know where the hell you're going, don't go there on Saturday afternoon" is always good advice, and doubly so on May Avenue.

Then again, about three hours earlier, somebody of similar smarts, westbound on Britton, decided that it wasn't worth waiting for the left-turn signal at May to come around again and followed the last car through despite a total lack of yellow — and totally not noticing the presence of a Village police officer, pointed southbound on May and in position to give chase. Easier busts than this you will seldom find.

Compared to those frugal SUVs

I continue to get search queries for the gas mileage on the Bugatti Veyron 16.4, which is currently in production, which costs, as Dr. Evil might say, one MILLION euros, and which apparently can actually reach its top speed of 400 km/hr, a couple of ticks over 250 mph.

At this price, what could you possibly care about fuel consumption? Still, Wolfgang Schreiber, head of Bugatti engineering, assures you (in Automobile, 11/05) that it's "acceptable":

In normal use, the Bugatti typically betters 12 mpg. At full throttle in top gear, however, you are looking more at something like 4 mpg.

This is pretty close to what my sister got out of her Dodge Li'l Red Express Truck, which wasn't nearly as fast. Or as expensive.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 10:16 PM to Driver's Seat )
9 October 2005
Squirrels on crack

That's right, squirrels on crack.

I have been accused from time to time of coming up with an article just because it fits a title that's been kicking around in the back of my head. Occasionally this is even true. But never before have I even contemplated the idea of squirrels on crack.

Although Rita has.

(Via Jacqueline Passey.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 5:31 AM to Dyssynergy )
Porpoiseful travel

Technically, it's a Variable Attitude Submersible Hydrofoil©, a fully-enclosed watercraft that can operate on the surface or dive for short periods.

More familiarly, it's known as the Bionic Dolphin™, and what amazes me about it is that it's controllable over the same three axes as aircraft (pitch, roll and yaw), something you find in submarines but not in surface watercraft.

I don't even want to know how much it costs.


It's way late at night, I'm sitting here looking at Michele's boobs, and she says:

Aren't all bloggers exhibitionists at heart, anyhow?

And I suppose we are: it's not a function of clothing, or the occasional lack thereof, but the willingness to put ourselves on display, as Cromwell is supposed to have instructed the artist doing his portrait, "warts and everything."

Some blogs deal with the most intensely personal topics you can imagine; others don't come close. I think we set a boundary for ourselves in advance and seldom if ever venture beyond it, though where that boundary actually lies is going to be different for each of us, and what's more, our individual comfort zones seem to be subject to occasional variation. (Once in a while I go back and reread some of my stuff, and "What was I thinking?" isn't at all an uncommon reaction on second sight.)

There's potential for conflict as the boundary comes closer: "Do I cut off the story here, or do I bring in all the gory details?" I usually compromise and bring in some of the gory details, on the dubious basis that if I had cut off the story, I really had no reason to post it, and then I'd be scratching around for something else to write about. (The price I pay to maintain the fiction that I am some sort of prolific writer.)

Still, there's at least a hint of "Look at me!" in almost every post, personal or not, if only because we'd like to think that someone is in fact looking: this is why God, or Dave Smith anyway, invented Site Meter. And I'm not above wording something to make it look like more is going on than there really is.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 10:46 AM to Blogorrhea )
Oh, and bring your own chalk

Our man with the high explosives in Norman presumably violated the majority of these helpful rules for Philadelphia suicides:

1. Make sure you're dressed. Mom always said to wear clean underwear — and a pair of pants wouldn't be a bad idea, either.

2. While you're at it, take a thorough shower. Even fresh corpses tend to give off an unpleasant odor.

3. Use the restroom beforehand. Otherwise, Mother Nature will do it for you — usually at the exact moment the officer picks up your body.

4. Lie down, legs straight, and arms at your side. Body bags and stretchers don't accommodate people with legs akimbo. Rigor mortis is a helluva thing.

5. Try and be tidy. If you're going to use a gun to end it all — especially via the melon — wrap the back of your head in towels and blankets. Ever try to get blood out of shag carpet? It's a bear.

Other than suggesting that you take your shower before you get dressed, I wouldn't change a thing. Those of you inclined to off yourselves, please consider the impact of your act — if not upon your immediate family, then certainly upon the investigating officers.

Justice much as ever

Matt Barr reads John Tierney so you don't have to:

To choose a nominee, we should do more than rely on the president's word or on a confirmation hearing in which [Harriet] Miers will be determined to say nothing of interest. We need the best process available today to determine the nominee's real-world credentials.

That, of course, would be a reality TV show. Pit Miers against other would-be justices in "Road Rulings," which would test their real-worldliness as they traveled the hinterland in an RV. They'd cope with the arcana of daily life. Do they know what a gallon of milk costs? Can they pump their own gas?

They'd emerge in small towns and large malls to test their legal skills. Can they help someone beat a speeding ticket? Can they arbitrate a divorce settlement? How will they apply the Supreme Court's definition of obscenity when they hear a case by a church group demanding that a newsstand stop selling Hustler and Barely Legal? Can they explain to a family why it would be a "public use" for the government to take its home to make room for Costco?

Of course, should this turn out to be a ratings hit, they'll drag it out for as long as possible, but Tierney's thought of that too:

If this competition seems too time-consuming — I realize we have a vacancy to fill — then we could instead quickly replace Miers with a nominee who already has the perfect credentials, starting with her sex. She's an experienced judge yet hasn't ruffled feathers with rulings on constitutional law, and no one can accuse her of living in a judicial monastery.

Just this week she has dispensed justice to a tenant accused of making $3,000 in 900-number calls, a woman battling with her nanny over a loan for back surgery, and a 9-year-old girl accused of popping wheelies and wrecking a motorized minibike at a birthday party. If real-world experience is what the Supreme Court requires, all rise for Justice Judy.

I like. But how does Judy rate on the mysterious Poindexter factor?

Quote of the week

By Lindsay Beyerstein:

Hillary Clinton reminds me why Chuck Schumer is my second-least favorite New York senator.

I couldn't possibly fail to disagree with her less.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:49 PM to QOTW )
10 October 2005
Tripoli recommended

A better Nobel laureate than IAEA and Mohamed El-Baradei? Debbye Stratigacos makes the case for an alternative Peace Prize winner:

[T]hey should have given the award to Libyan Head of State Omar Muammar al-Ghaddafi. It was through him (albeit indirectly) that the black market of nuclear weapons technology and Dr. Khan were exposed. At least one source was actually shut down, which is more than the IAEA has accomplished.

Me, I'm just grateful they didn't cobble up another award for the late, unlamented Yassir Arafat.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 6:01 AM to Almost Yogurt )
Escape from Malibu

Found on the local craigslist:

I'm a script writer and thinking about moving to OK ... because I can sell my house here and get one hell of a cool one in your country!

Politically, I'm in the center. Left on social issues; and I'm a "soft and cuddly" atheist: I'm not an enemy of religion, I just don't believe.

My friends say I'm CRAZY for even thinking about a move to OK ... they say the religious right will "kill" me; and, there is no "culture."

I don't believe it! Should I consider a move? What do you think? Does OK want a happy open-minded atheist in their midst. Hey, I always tell my religious friends that they just could be right ... I'm always ready to change my mind.

I've been here thirty-odd years, and the number of people actually killed by the religious right during that period seems fairly minimal. There is plenty of proselytizing, to be sure, but everyone reacts to it differently; the sort of person who takes the slightest mention of any deity as a threat is probably not well-suited to life on the Windy Plains. Me, I consider it to be just like telemarketing: it can be an irritant, but nowhere does it say that I have to pick up the phone.

Our writer says he's "happy," which is a plus, and when he finds out how much of a house he can get here for, say, a quarter-million, he might well be ecstatic, though probably not inclined to attribute said ecstasy to divine intervention.

And I am not inclined to discourage someone just because he's "left on social issues"; it's a minority viewpoint around here, to be sure, but active crushing of dissent is conspicuous by its comparative absence. A lot depends on how insistent he is on being surrounded by like-minded souls.

A reply to the fellow asserted baldly that "coming here will murder your muse," which is maybe a half-truth: frustration plays hell with the creative process, to be sure, but no muse I know of takes it as anything more than a challenge.

Of course, in my idea of the best of all possible worlds, he arrives the same day as Steve H.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:07 AM to Soonerland )
In the dark all cats are grey

Benjamin Franklin, tongue perhaps in cheek (though we'll never know for sure), once explained why younger men should seek out older women, and this is the sentence that always struck me the hardest:

The having made a young Girl miserable may give you frequent bitter Reflections; none of which can attend making an old Woman happy.

Not that I have an