Archive for December 2012

Same old chestnuts to roast

The Christmas music on the radio starts in November, which means you have ample opportunity to get sick of it before the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. (Which, just incidentally, was today.)

And it’s pretty much the same old thing:

A friend noted on Facebook this evening the following: “Listening to christmas music on the radio I realized that every carol and song has been recorded in every style and genre possible.”

It got me thinking — why ARE there no new Christmas songs? Why am I listening to the exact same Christmas music that my dad (and probably my grandfather) listened to at my age, and much younger? I’m pushing 40 and I can definitely tell I haven’t heard any new songs since I was five.

As one of my favorite Jews once said: “Tradition!” The holidays are not a time for pushing the envelope; the holidays are a time for retreating to the safe and comfortable.

But yes, there’s one relatively recent Christmas song they probably won’t play on the radio, and that would be this one:

It’s the new reason for the season.

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No cents whatsoever

“All my life I wanted to be someone. I guess I should have been more specific.” — Jane Wagner

A more-specific example of this:

Many years ago (1,413 to be exact), I worked for a small plastics company. I was up in the office wasting time and told the lady doing payroll to see if she could add a couple of extra zeroes to my paycheck that week. She laughed at my poor joke. Friday came and there to the right of the decimal were two perfectly penned zeroes in the third and fourth decimal places.

As anyone who’s heard the old joke about the genie and the three wishes can tell you, be careful what you ask for.

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Letting things slide

Cue Jack Jones and “Wives and Lovers,” and hear the Hyacinth Girl:

I know a lot of girls who think that it is their right and prerogative to relax their standards a bit after they’ve “secured” a male, and they could not be more wrong. You don’t have to maintain your birth weight throughout your entire life, or even look as “good” as you did in high school (I am so much better looking in my thirties than I was in my teens), but acting like you give a shit whether your partner finds you attractive is imperative. It’s a matter of respect. It says, “I still care what you think.” But a lot of women don’t really care what their partner thinks after a certain point, because a lot of women in our society feel they are entitled to do whatever the hell they want, and that no one — not even their partner — can say otherwise.

Then again, one could invert the gender references without necessarily changing the validity of the observation: Mr Davenport J. Spud, clutching his beer and watching the Bengals, is surely no more appealing than the becurlered hausfrau in the flannel robe.

And I suspect that if I’d maintained my birth weight — around 4 kg — for longer than a few months, I’d never have seen my first birthday, let alone my fifty-ninth.

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Classic motor cars

Some of these chassis require ancient Greece:

I was chatting with our bloggeress who mentioned she had rented a Honda Odyssey, and I wondered aloud why Honda had not made the Honda Iliad while they were at it.

Wouldn’t they have had to do the Iliad first?

A few other cars were similarly motivated: the now-defunct Pontiac Patroclus, and of course the trusty old Toyota Priam.

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The tragedy of the Fourth Font

What’s tragic about it, of course, is that it never should have happened in the first place:

Using more than three fonts is not a sign of talent; using more than three fonts is a sign of laziness and a sign that you simply own a “1,000 Great Fonts” disc. Using so many fonts doesn’t create more visual interest in a website or in a publication; it causes your eye to flit from font to font, never giving the eye a chance to take in what any of it says. A good designer allows the eye to rest and a rested eye can read, can appreciate.

Who knew there were a thousand great fonts?

(Disclosure: I have at hand, counting each variant and weight as one, 751 fonts. In practice, I may dig out twenty in a year’s time. On this page, I use, um, three.)

Obviously, something set me off. It was a professional organization’s newsletter. Completely assembled by an “experienced graphic designer”. Said designer does not even have their own website to display their handiwork or I’d send you there so you could point and giggle or shriek in horror. Said designer has another website, though, but I refuse to link to it since it’s so poorly designed (with all sorts of embedded players that start at the same time) it’ll crash even the hardiest of computers. It frightens me to think someone somewhere is paying such a person good money for work that has not evolved since 1985.

Of course, anyone can hang out his shingle as a “designer.” Then again, anyone who’s ever eaten in an Army mess knows to be suspicious of shingles.

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Back to Circleville with you

You never know with these Indiana Pacers. They can’t score, supposedly; yet they shot a stirring 60 percent in the first half. Then you look at the Oklahoma City defense, and in those two quarters, you could see holes as bad as anything perforating May Avenue pavement. “Don’t do that,” Scott Brooks presumably said at the half, and for most of the second half, OKC didn’t do that, holding the Pacers to 37 points and nailing down a 104-93 win.

Despite the second-half defensive clampdown, all the Indiana starters made double figures, led by David West with 21. The bench, however, didn’t accomplish much, contributing only 20. Roy Hibbert, who isn’t having the kind of year you’d hope for from someone who expects to be the next Dwight Howard, had a ten-point night, right at his average, though he did make both his free throws, something Howard doesn’t always do.

To be fair, the Thunder didn’t shoot that much better: 49 versus 46 percent. But OKC spent a whole lot of time at the foul line, making 25 of 30. (The Pacers were 11-13.) And this season, you can generally assume that either Russell Westbrook or Kevin Durant is going to take over in the fourth quarter. Tonight it was Westbrook, who recorded 21 points, seven rebounds, six assists and only two turnovers. (Ball control was better than average on both sides: OKC coughed up the rock nine times, the Pacers only seven.) Durant, despite hitting 9-24, still finished with 27. And Kevin Martin, who was all over the place in the first half, cooled down a bit in the second but still collected 24 for the night.

Next matchup is Wednesday, with the Pelicans Hornets coming in, followed Friday by the Virginians Kings. I should be able to catch at least one of those.

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Strange search-engine queries (358)

Google has a function called SafeSearch, which supposedly removes from your results anything that might cause you to gasp in horror. Fortunately for me, they have yet to implement a SaneSearch, which would presumably filter out all the material that shows up here on Monday morning.

What book is Sela Ward reading or read leatle?  I have no idea. And stop calling me Leatle.

“hype is the death of all sub-culture”:  True. But it’s also the birth of all sub-culture. What goes around, comes around.

gillian anderson chin:  In compliance with the standard for humans, a few inches below her mouth. (Jay Leno has an exemption.)

nadja auermann gal:  Well, she’s certainly not a guy.

say you love me you don’t have to mean it:  Department of Heartaches. Please hold.

where can i find tweety bird air fresheners in saint louis:  What are the chances this guy has a Sylvester decal on his quarter-panel?

14ee bust:  Something just seems wrong about that.

she didn’t like it:  Yeah, that’s what she said.

626 transmission whine no movement:  That would certainly make me whine.

96 mazda 626 transmission fails when?  The moment it hears you whine.

what makes 82 cents:  You or I, after taxes.

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Role models?

There exists a site called I Write Like, which offers, in exchange for a brief commercial message about a software package, to read your text and compare its style, if any, to that of a Well-Known Author. I sent up three different chapters from three different stories and got three different results, which suggests, if nothing else, a general lack of stylistic consistency.

For the curious:

  • Chapter 6 of The Sparkle Chronicles: Dan Brown.
  • Chapter 1 of The way she used to be: Neil Gaiman.
  • Entirety of Dead Pony Flying: Anne Rice.

Then again, there are likely only a dozen or so possible responses by the algorithm: it’s unlikely that anyone using the site will be told that she writes like E. L. James or Sinclair Lewis or Laurence Sterne.

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Microevolution

This is a vintage photo of Yasmine Bleeth:

Yasmine Bleeth

And this is why.

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Textual obeisance

If you’re working on the backend of official North Korean Web sites — although if you can read this, you’re probably not — you already know this rule:

There’s a curious quirk on every official North Korean website. A piece of programming that must be included in each page’s code.

Its function is straightforward but important. Whenever leader Kim Jong-un is mentioned, his name is automatically displayed ever so slightly bigger than the text around it. Not by much, but just enough to make it stand out.

The US being more or less overrun with officials with similarly high opinions of themselves, I suspect this practice will become common on dot-gov sites in the near future.

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Those shadows aren’t so tall

Once again, it’s that time of year:

Classic rock radio stations — both on terrestrial and satellite radio — will present their “Greatest Rock Songs of All Time” list, also known as “Why Do We Even Have You Send In Your Votes When The List Is The Same Every New Year’s Eve?” holiday playlist. You know, the one where the listeners send in their top five or ten classic rock songs, the station tallies up the votes and you get a bunch of people rocking into New Year’s Eve to “Stairway to Heaven.” Sometimes a new song will poke its head into the list but more often than not it’s something like Nickelback, which tells you all you need to know about the people sending in their ballots.

Is there anyone over the age of twelve who does not already have a copy of “Stairway to Heaven”? The older ones probably ponied up for the fourth Zeppelin album, the younger ones probably heisted it from some Web site with “mp3” in its URL; but regardless of demographic, nobody can possibly have been waiting a whole year to hear this drippy Druid chestnut.

If I have to count down to the New Year with classic rock, I’m starting at 11:51:30 pm on the 31st, with a single song — which, albeit in butchered form, was actually issued as a single, which “Stairway” generally wasn’t, except for a handful of DJ promo 45s — that ends with a proper burst of noise instead of a plaintive solo voice lost in the dropping of the ball. Meet the new year, same as the old year.

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Perhaps you’d like one of these

Meryl Yourish researches a book, and all sorts of people are looking over her shoulder:

I was trying to find an Egyptian cat pendant in a museum or antiquities collection. I had to use advanced search methods and then some in order not to get results that showed cat pendants in museum stores (or not in museum stores — Google was trying desperately to get me to buy a cat pendant, it seemed).

And if not Google, then who? Amazon, that’s who:

Last night, I ordered a few things on Amazon. And in my “People who bought this would also like” list was — Egyptian cat pendants. The very same links that kept showing up in my search attempts. Clearly, Google and Amazon are trading information.

At least they didn’t get any revenue out of it — this time.

And oh, she was researching for her second book. Here’s the first.

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Decruiting station

Nudism, as an institution, perhaps has passed its shelf date:

[I]t only hinders progress. Because history has shown us that the original goal of nudism has run its course and has impacted society as much as it could. So let’s move on. Let’s not label ourselves with titles that shove us into boxes. Are you gay? Is your entire identity consumed with being attracted to people of the same gender? See? Labels are silly. The same is true with nudism.

In general, it’s not useful to define yourself in terms of any one single characteristic, unless said characteristic is actually how you make a living. But even then, one hopes for something more. An off the cuff, so to speak, interview with Susan Weaver, president of the American Association for Nude Recreation, basically tells me nothing other than that she’s in her early sixties and probably doesn’t have any clothes on right this minute. Of course, that’s all she wanted to say right then — business is business, after all — but it’s an awfully narrow portrait. And shouldn’t she be sitting on a towel? But I digress.

(Nudiarist relayed this without further comment.)

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A timely broom

NewsOK.com has revamped its comment system again, this time for quality-assurance purposes:

[F]ar too often in far too many stories, the comments contain vitriolic, hateful and attacking language. Far too often, those comments overwhelm those attempting to have constructive dialogue.

So beginning today, NewsOK is making changes designed to improve the nature and tone of the dialogue for its audience. We’re switching to Facebook commenting, requiring users to login with their Facebook account in order to make a comment on an article.

Facebook, in my experience, is a hair stricter than Disqus. (I’m quite used to both, and I have my real name tied to both, so this bothers me not in the least.)

The ultimate motivation, it appears, is to disperse the crowd of loudmouthed blithering idiots:

We care about the conversation. We care so much about the conversation that we are willing to give up quantity for quality. We expect this change to result in fewer comments on our site. But we also expect this change to encourage more users to participate. And we’re confident that we will see more constructive discourse about issues in Oklahoma.

Why? Because all the comments will be tied to a real person’s Facebook profile, making users accountable for what they post and eliminating the veil of anonymity.

There are, of course, reasons why one might want to remain anonymous on the Net. But commenting on a news site isn’t one of them. (If you aspire to be a whistleblower, you’re going to accomplish more by tweeting a reporter than you will by throwing up a comment.)

And besides, this is the way they do it on Oklahoman.com already, not that anyone ever comments there.

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12/12/12 open thread

I mean, it’s not like we’re going to have a day like this next year.

Possible objective: In the last five open threads, the largest number of comments received has been, um, 12.

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Little enough

Okay, they say “My Little Pony.” How little are we talking here?

How about three feet, eight inches?

The Great and Powerful and Life-Size Trixie

This is The Great and Powerful Trixie, as recently sculpted in plush by ~PatNintendoGuy on deviantArt, and it says here that she’s life-size.

In our world, a pony stands 14.2 hands — 58 inches — or less. So “little” would seem to be appropriate. I’m waiting for suitably scaled stallions, who tend to be taller than mares, or (dare I hope?) Princess Celestia or Luna.

Addendum: I seem to have (almost) anticipated this:

“Miss Sparkle, may I have the honor of this dance?”

I’d never seen a pony curtsy before. “Of course you may,” she said, and to my surprise, she planted both front hooves on my shoulders, putting her at an angle where she could look me straight in the eye.

It was a slow dance, okay?

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As the young folk say, THIS

And at this moment, in fact.

Rebecca Denise Hill + Robert Eugene Carson Jr

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49ers of a sort

Missouri State Missouri’s stretch of US 71 has been redesignated Interstate 49, and there’s a reason why it’s not a continuation of I-29:

The new I-49 was not called I-29 because interstate protocol requires that north-south routes increase in numerical designation from west to east.

“If it were to be named I-29, it would cross I-35 and that would be against the standard naming convention,” said Sean Matlock, transportation project manager in the Joplin office of MoDOT. “Where we are situated in Missouri, it has to be an odd number between I-35 on the west side of the state and I-55 on the east side.”

Remind me not to mention where I-40 and I-44 cross. For that matter, remind me not to mention I-99.

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Not even a driblet

What with my daughter getting married and all, I’m not even thinking about basketball tonight.

If I think of something to say about the Hornets/Thunder game, I’ll put it up tomorrow.

Update: OKC 92, New Orleans 88.

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Not that you wanted to know

But this is where the newlyweds ended up last night:

This is Kansas City’s most romantic hotel. Beyond a bed and breakfast, or an inn, each of the hotel’s 62 guest rooms and suites boasts an elaborately themed environment.

Though of course I wouldn’t know this, I am assured that some of these environments are more elaborately themed than others.

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Road-trip notes

For about half a second, I considered labeling this little three-day excursion “World Tour ’12,” but that doesn’t work: too little of the world was actually seen, and the total was a modest 740 miles. Still, a few things come to mind other than the actual purpose of the trip:

  • One of my ex’s besties is sorta hawt. (And definitely taken, but c’est la vie.)
  • Kansas is often mocked for the post-Mad Max terrain beyond the city limits. I demur. There’s a lot to be said for not having fifty gazillion things to look at besides the road.
  • And that goes double for the Flint Hills, which for some reason create the impression that ancient ruminants graze there yet.
  • Even when El Dorado Lake is full, which it isn’t due to the drought, you can still see the lines of trees, growing from the very bottom of the lake. On a sunshiny day like today, it acquires a sort of creepy vibe.
  • I have no idea what the post-ceremony banquet (four courses!) at Cafe Verona might have cost, but it can’t be cheap. It certainly didn’t taste cheap.
  • Never look at a tire when it’s 20 degrees outside.

For those who care: 26.7 mpg, $12 in tolls, 68 emails (49 dismissable). And given the mood of the moment, I felt justified in punctuating the trip home with a stop at Mickey D’s to procure a McRib. For a limited time only, as they say.

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Down to thighs

Morgan Freeberg, at what he calls the Hello Kitty of Blogging, offers some advice to those who would entertain us skirtwatchers:

Curves, curves, curves. Visualize your own drumsticks as the article you’d find in a red & white box from KFC, original recipe. Would they have enough lean meat to hold some appeal in that setting? For Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren and Raquel Welch, that’d be a yea. Catherine Bach, back in the day, was right on the lower boundary. Any less curve than that, it’s still nice to see, but you’re not doing much to distinguish yourself.

Given KFC’s most distinctive achievement up to now — figuring out a way to carve nine pieces out of a chicken that everybody else sliced up into eight — I’m not entirely sure I’d trust their judgment in this matter.

My own definition of “right on the lower boundary” lands here:

Calvin Klein hosiery ad 2004

This comes perilously close to Extra Crispy.

Oh, and Joe Tex was not available for comment.

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Dedication to the cause

Nell Hansen, after eleven months without a post, puts up a post:

This is my fourth attempt at blogging. I’m leaving the third one up to serve as a bad example.

Extra points for Zeitgeist grasp.

About a year ago Hansen declared that the Bowl Championship Series is un-American, which strikes me as fairly inarguable.

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Anticipation

Your Rebecca Black news for this Friday:

During rehearsal, Rebecca will be doing a LIVE, behind the scenes, chat on her UStream channel. Join her Friday, December 14 at 3:30PM PST to hear all about the rehearsals, her band, her House of Blues Anaheim concert on Sunday, December 23, and up & coming news! She will also be answering your questions in real time.

This will be followed on Monday with:

On Monday, December 17 from 7:00-8:00 PM PST Rebecca will be acoustically performing her new hit single “In Your Words” on AXS TV.

Which my local cable company doesn’t carry. And anyway, the song runs only 3:08, so it shouldn’t take a whole hour, and it won’t: apparently it’s running during the break on AXS’ Inside MMA. (AXS is the channel founded by Mark Cuban, formerly known as HDNet.)

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Avoiding the fiscal cliff

The lovely and talented E. M. Zanotti, hoping to ward off Complete Financial Collapse, proposes several revenue-enhancement measures:

  • $10 tax everytime someone uses the phrase, “my bad.”
  • 20% penalty tax on anyone who ordered an apple martini after 1998.
  • 40% tax on anyone who buys World Series, Super Bowl, Stanley Cup winners’ merchandise post-facto. Double if Heat or Yankees win.
  • $100 penalty on anyone who uses a Bluetooth earpiece.
  • Tribal tattoo? $30 per year tax. Tramp Stamp? $50. Double if it’s a butterfly.
  • 50% additional income tax on anyone listing their primary occupation as “reality television star.”
  • $1000 penalty for every unnecessarily tinted car window.
  • Immediate institution of the Axe Body Spray Tax.

Read the whole list under the hashtag #emilysfiscalcliffsolutions.

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Fark blurb of the week

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Misunderestimation

Against the Hornets Wednesday, the Thunder were clumsy early on, but recovered. Against the Kings tonight, they were methodical, but fell to pieces in the second half; it got so bad that Scott Brooks, who’d pulled the starters when OKC was up by a couple of dozen, had to put three of them back in with four minutes left and the lead cut to single digits. The Kings closed to within five, but finally the Thunder put them away, 113-103.

What happened? Two words: “Isaiah Thomas.” The second-year Sacramento guard went on a shooting spree, knocking down 10 of 13 — four of seven from way outside — for a team-high 26 points, and he did it in less than 16 minutes. (Aaron Brooks, who started at the point, had 13 points in 23 minutes.) DeMarcus Cousins, who rattled down ten points in the first quarter, wasn’t a factor thereafter. The Kings shot decently, 45 percent overall, seven of 19 treys, but their rebounders didn’t show up, what with only 29 retrieved, and dimes, at 18, could fairly be characterized as “sparse.”

Especially, you know, when Russell Westbrook can serve up 13 assists by himself, which he did, to offset 4-13 shooting for 13 points. Kevin Durant took up the slack, as he often does, going 10-14 for 31. Serge Ibaka notched another double-double (18 points, 11 rebounds), and Reggie Jackson, the hero of the Hornets game Wednesday, scored — um, zip. Didn’t even take a shot in four minutes. Former King Kevin Martin, who led the bench with 18, was happy to dribble it out at the end.

I suspect that what Scott Brooks is going to want to know is “What happened to our blowout? Have we no defense?” Let’s hope he finds an answer before the Spurs show up on Monday.

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Advisory warning watch

If you pay enough attention to the National Weather Service forecasts, you eventually figure out the differences among advisories, watches and warnings. Not everyone pays that much attention, though, so the NWS is contemplating rewording these particular “products” and has announced that there will be trials of newer versions, issued alongside the traditional ones, during the winter months.

In case you have a 50-percent chance of haze on the subject, this is what we get now:

Forecasters issue a Watch when they believe there is the potential for a significant hazard to occur, but its occurrence, location, and/or timing is still uncertain. The term Advisory is used for imminent hazards that only merit caution, in other words, that are not implicitly dangerous, but could become dangerous if caution is not exercised. The term Warning is used when a dangerous hazard is imminent or already occurring.

This might be manageable were there only the three levels to deal with, but in fact, there are fourteen possible winter “products.”

The testing will take place in areas that usually get a lot of snow — and in Hawaii, where several mountains on the Big Island may end up with snow caps despite their tropical-ish location.

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Bless you, Green Bay

I went to college in Texas, but unlike these folks, I am actually fairly proficient at pronouncing Wisconsin place names:

This is not because I’m smarter than the average Texan, or because I once spent an afternoon screwing around Kenosha back in the day, but because I was something of a showoff as a teenager, when I wasn’t cringing in a corner somewhere, and when I found out I was being recruited by Lawrence University — in the blissfully pronounceable city of Appleton — I figured it might be useful to appear to be able to deal with Cheese State placenames, and memorized a bunch.

Unfortunately, one I didn’t learn was “Outagamie,” which is the county of which Appleton is the seat.

(Via Troglopundit, who urges: “No more excuses, America. Learn to speak English.”)

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The dreaded Petticoat Rule

A hundred-year-old flyer arguing that women ought not to vote:

Anti-Woman Suffrage Pamphlet

Article 3 of the original Oklahoma constitution defined electors as “male citizens over twenty-one years of age,” which would seem to suggest that we wouldn’t need an anti-suffrage association. Just the same, we got one:

After World War I suffragists accelerated their demand for the right to vote as a more receptive attitude toward women’s suffrage grew nationwide and in Oklahoma. The formation of additional antisuffrage state associations became necessary, and in 1918 the NAOWS sent Sarah C. White to Oklahoma to speak against suffrage and establish an organization. Oklahoma Anti-Suffrage Association officers included Sallie Sturgeon of Oklahoma City, president, Alice Robertson of Muskogee, vice president, and Maybelle Stuard of Oklahoma City, press chair and speaker. Meldia Constantin served as treasurer, and her husband’s business, the Constantin Refining Company in Tulsa, provided the association with unlimited funds. Other committee members included Laura Greer of Tulsa, Ruth Fluarty of Pawnee, and Jessie E. Moore of Oklahoma City.

The group, however, didn’t last long:

On November 5, 1918, the passage of State Question 97 franchising Oklahoma women brought defeat to the Oklahoma Anti-Suffrage Association, and the final death blow came when Oklahoma ratified the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on February 28, 1920.

(Photo Found in Mom’s Basement.)

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Looking Beck

Beck’s sheet-music-only album, Beck Hansen’s Song Reader, dropped this past Tuesday, and if you want to hear any of these songs, you have to play them yourself, or wait for someone else to play them for you.

An example of the latter:

“Saint Dude” is track (?) 3; the outro music is a section of “The Last Polka,” track 19.

Beck was, in fact, available for comment; he approves.

(Originally posted on Studio 360’s blog.)

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A moment of silents

In my ongoing effort to bring you the oldest babes possible for Rule 5, I herewith present a vintage shot of actress Barbara Kent, born Barbara Cloutman in Gadsby, Alberta in 1907. (“Kent” was her mother’s maiden name.)

Barbara Kent publicity photo

Barbara Kent’s best-known role, perhaps, was as the young girl who pines for John Gilbert, though he only has eyes for Greta Garbo, in Clarence Brown’s Flesh and the Devil (1927). In the 1927 silent No Man’s Law, Kent takes second billing behind Rex the Wonder Horse, and Rex is quite good in his own way, but Kent is fetching as a young lady taking a swim in what appears to be her birthday suit. And the fellow with the eyepatch is Oliver Hardy, who at the time was a solo act.

Kent transitioned to talkies fairly well, playing Rose Maylie in a 1933 version of Oliver Twist, but her career nosedived shortly thereafter. Widowed at 41, she remarried five years later, and retired as far out of the spotlight as she could. Tomorrow would have been her 105th birthday, and she almost made it: she died last year at her home in the California Low Desert.

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Quote of the week

“We shall not be mocked,” you (for certain values of “you”) declare. But you are wrong, tribalism breath:

This is utter, craven bullshit of the highest order, and I have had enough. I personally reserve the right to mock anyone, on any issue I choose, and if you choose to take offense I truly do not care. I don’t care what your one-drop count is, or if you embrace anal sodomy, or if you worship a paedopheliac butcher. I’m going to mock you. Just as I mock my own cracker brethren. This is called humor, and it is the safety valve of over-pressurized societies.

You don’t get a pass from me. There is no Get Out of the Bath House Free card. There is no Fear of Fatwah card. There is no indolent reparations bullshit card that will ever sway me. You? You? You were born to be mocked. We all are. Get over yourselves. You are all Scut Farkus, long overdue for a punch in your damned noses.

And while you’re at it, let us know when you find the documentation — a phrase, or a penumbra, in the Constitution, perhaps? — that grants you the right not to be offended.

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Get off my smaller lawn

“The suburbs are dead,” declares Eric Klinenberg in the Playboy Forum (1/2-13), offering several sets of statistics, including this one that caught me off-guard:

According to Christopher Leinberger, a Brookings Institution fellow and professor at the George Washington University business school, urban planners and real estate developers expect a huge surplus of large-lot houses (built on a sixth of an acre or more) in the coming decades. One expert predicts an oversupply of roughly 40 percent of these homes by 2025.

Wait a minute. A sixth of an acre — 7,260 square feet — is now a “large lot”?

I tracked down Leinberger’s article, which appeared in The Atlantic in 2008, and yes, that’s what he said about “large lots.” Which suggests that when I fake my death and go off to live with Twilight Sparkle, I should have the house torn down and the humongous quarter-acre lot subdivided into two 5500-square-foot sections. Yeah, the city will just love that.

Then again, from that same bit of fiction:

There had been something here once, he remembered: a little stone house and a gravel driveway. Five or six years ago, there was a sign on the corner, proclaiming a New Upscale Development, with a number to call and a Web site to visit. A year or two later, with gasoline pushing five dollars a gallon, no one wanted to live in the 31000 block of anything, and the development was abandoned.

And Leinberger, we should remember, also said this:

I doubt the swing toward urban living will ever proceed as far as the swing toward the suburbs did in the 20th century; many people will still prefer the bigger houses and car-based lifestyles of conventional suburbs. But there will almost certainly be more of a balance between walkable and drivable communities — allowing people in most areas a wider variety of choices.

Which contradicts Klinenberg almost entirely. Still, so long as they can sell living downtown as a premium experience — and in this town, they can — that’s probably the way to bet.

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In search of rapport

We’re not going to see Stephen Colbert as the next Senator from South Carolina, and that’s a shame, since it would set such an appealing precedent:

[I]f Colbert were selected, that would be the end of his boring television show, because Comedy Central would have to report it as an in-kind campaign contribution and South Carolinians might expect their Senator to be somewhere near the Capitol building instead of in makeup getting ready to go on set.

That’s a temptation that could get out of hand, though. Governors everywhere might decide to help out the television viewing public by appointing the members of the all-heat, no-light brigade to serve out unfinished legislative terms. Senator O’Reilly. Representative Matthews. Representative Sharpton. Senator O’Donnell. Senator Hannity. Lieutenant Governor Olbermann (because seriously, there are some folks even the U.S. Senate shouldn’t take). Commissioner of Waste Disposal Behar (a lifetime appointment)! Insurance Commissioner Penn (because I think Spicoli was less of an act than he’d like us to believe and because it would be fun watching the numbers make his widdle eyes scrunch up in confusion).

A downside, you say?

You may say that this would create chaos in state and federal government as all of these underqualified dunderheads were put in positions for which they are in no way qualified and in which they are unlikely to succeed. To which I say, how would we notice?

So put me down in favor of Senator Colbert, despite the fact that he attended Porter-Gaud. Farging Cyclone.

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Either way, it’s swingin’

The 1960s incarnation of NBC’s quiz show The Match Game, which I watched occasionally after school for no good reason, was a bland sort of affair, as was most daytime television outside of American Bandstand, though it had arguably the spiffiest theme song of any game show, ever: a Bert Kaempfert tune called “A Swingin’ Safari.”

A Swingin' Safari LP by Bert KaempfertIn Europe, Kaempfert, then the A&R director for Polydor Records in Germany, earned lots of coin for his exquisitely-crafted instrumentals. But Polydor didn’t have a US outpost back then, and Kaempfert had only one Top Ten single in the States: the glorious “Wonderland by Night,” released here on Decca in late 1960, eventually landing at #1 for three weeks. Apart from Kaempfert, about the only Polydor product that showed up here was a single by one Tony Sheridan, who probably had no idea that his backup band of the moment would become legendary. And anyway, Kaempfert produced that session.

Dot Records, home of the cover version (see, for instance, Gale Storm or Pat Boone), duly issued a remake of “A Swingin’ Safari,” credited to Billy Vaughn and His Orchestra, which made it to #13 before Match Game premiered in December 1962. It is, however, Kaempfert’s original, not the Vaughn cover, that was actually used on the show. (It took me many years to figure this out. Listen to both and compare.)

Still, irrespective of who got the credit, “Safari” was arguably the second-greatest legacy of Match Game. The first? The send-off for host Gene Rayburn, who died in 1999, on Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update.” After announcing Rayburn’s passing, Colin Quinn solemnly intoned, “In lieu of flowers, the family requests that those who wish to remember him should send [blank].”

(Thanks to Michael Bates, who turned up the original ’62 Match Game pilot.)

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Sold out in ten seconds flat

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Strange search-engine queries (359)

“It knows when you are sleeping / It knows when you’re awake / It knows what you’ve been searching for / And it goes into this cake.”

What’s that? The cake is a lie? Okay, then.

SPAEDER+MAN+XXX:  Gained his powers after being bitter by a radioactive hoe.

extend range nissan leaf:  Drive downhill more.

what if marilyn monroe:  Then where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?

Where to buy shorts out of season:  Anywhere along the equator, where “seasons” are largely meaningless.

dc sneaker girl lick:  I don’t know any girls in D.C. who care to lick sneakers.

zebra cake indigestion:  This is what happens when you’ve been eating Twinkies all your life and then suddenly have to switch to Little Debbie.

“uneducated workforce” oklahoma:  It’s true. We have so few PhDs that we have to use them for important stuff instead of pressing them into service as baristas.

toothless meth heads whores from Tulsa:  And not a one of them with a PhD, I’d wager.

drug that is invisible and disappears there after:  I don’t mind telling you, this makes it awfully damn difficult to get the prescription refilled.

Pictures of abscesses from shooting up heroin:  I don’t mind telling you, this makes it awfully damn difficult to get the prescription refilled.

96 mazda 626 transmission fails when?  Saturday. However, since the world is ending on Friday, I wouldn’t worry about it.

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Cardiac style

No, you old geezer, you can’t dance like that:

The death of a father of three who collapsed while dancing to “Gangnam Style” has prompted a warning to middle-aged men not to attempt the vigorous dance from the hit video.

Eamonn Kilbride, 46, collapsed with chest pains at his office party in Blackburn last weekend after performing the dance moves made famous by the South Korean rapper Psy, who mimics riding a horse.

Professor Bernard Keavney, a consultant cardiologist at Newcastle University, has warned older men not to “stray outside your comfort zone” while dancing at their Christmas parties this year.

But will this advice be heeded?

I expect more men will heed that advice than men who pay attention to the “Ask your healthcare provider if your heart is healthy enough for you to have sexual activity” warning.

To say nothing of the infamous “four-hour” warning on various widely promoted wang pills. I can’t imagine anyone driving to the ER with Distended Boner Syndrome — unless, of course, he’s alone at the time. (Come to think of it, “Gangnam Style” runs only a hair over four minutes.)

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Shouldn’t they have notified us?

(Note: This was written last night and scheduled for this time. While it was in the publish cycle, I tried to get into my own mailbox. It did connect, but nothing was in the inbox.)

Oh, right. They can’t:

Thousands of Cox Communications customers across Oklahoma were without email Sunday because of an outage, company officials said.

The email storage platform that supports residential customers failed sometime Friday evening, causing all residential customers in the state to lose access to their incoming email, spokeswoman Kristin Peck said.

The outage isn’t confined to this state, either, and several scattered Facebook friends have been grousing about it.

Cox, perhaps understandably, isn’t saying what happened, but they did say this:

Cox Communications Director of Public Affairs Gail Graeve released more information regarding the outage Sunday afternoon:

“First we want to acknowledge the impact of the residential email service outage on our customers. We know this experience is not consistent with our promise to deliver reliable products and services, and sincerely apologize for the frustration this has caused.”

Graeve said technicians have isolated the cause to an issue within the email storage platform that supports Cox Residential email in the midwest and on the east coast. Though crews are working around the clock to restore service, Graeve said Cox did not expect services to be restored Sunday.

I have a feeling the True Story will wind up on The Register, and it won’t be pretty.

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