6 September 2006
Is this thing on?

The most maddening thing, of course, is that during the Quiet Times, my traffic went up about twelve percent. Obviously I should post less.

So why start again? Well, for one thing, the old database, with seven thousand and odd items, was getting cranky. For another, it's not like anything is missing: all the old posts are still archived and are available at their original URLs. And the last time I ran an export of said database, it clipped off at the 18-MB point for some reason, meaning that if I reimported it, I'd have to port over a couple months' worth of entries anyway, and I've already put enough work into this thing.

However, my string of consecutive days with posts remains intact. (It's at 2,266, if anyone cares, and why should you?)

Stuff from the old templates will be gradually reintroduced. Right now, I just want to get moving again.

My thanks to Liz Lubowitz, at whose designs I sneaked a peek, and to Melody, who held down the fort in my enforced absence.

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled bloggage.

207

The state of Maine is resisting efforts to give it a second area code, preferring to stick with 207.

TamsPalm, the Palm OS Blog, presents Carnival of the Vanities #207, and since there's only so much real estate on a Palm screen, the carnival is nicely divided up into sections, in case you're reading it on the go.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:52 PM to Blogorrhea )
Just a reminder

A couple weeks' worth of old posts in the archives still have comment windows, because I haven't yet gone in to edit them out; however, the windows don't work anymore, so if you're getting glared at by MT if you try, that's why.

Eventually I'll get around to cleaning that stuff up and putting up a page of archive links. (Update: You can now access all the old archives, by category or by month, here.)

In fact, I was seriously thinking of chunking this look entirely and going to a new one, but I figured I had enough people peeved at me already.

7 September 2006
A perspective on recent site events

I posted this at, um, a dating site:

"I just lost the database with 7200 blog posts."

Oh, that's bad.

"No, that's good. All the original posts are archived, and the site will run much more quickly now without all that dead weight."

Oh, that's good.

"No, that's bad. It plays hell with the continuity, especially if you have a regular audience."

Oh, that's bad.

"No, that's good. At least they can't take me for granted."

[this could go on for hours]

It is with great relief that I announce that it did not.

It's not easy selling green

Or is it? Hertz is offering something called the Green Collection, but it's vaguely chartreuse at best:

The company is touting models with EPA highway ratings of 28 or more miles per gallon, with models like Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Buick LaCrosse, and Hyundai Sonata on the list.

Where are the hybrids? Heck, where are the non-hybrid cars with really decent gas mileage, like a Honda Civic?

The Buick LaCrosse gets 19 mpg in the city, and 27 on the highway, according to the EPA's own site, FuelEconomy.gov. 19. Nine-frickin'-teen miles per gallon is not green.

Actually, none of the Hertz "Collections" qualify as entirely true to the adjective given. Their Fun Collection, inexplicably, includes things like the Chevrolet HHR, a PT Cruiser ripoff that resembles a '49 Suburban, and, well, the PT Cruiser.

Still, 28 mpg on the highway sounds impressive, especially for something that qualifies as a mid-sized sedan — if you haven't driven any recent mid-sized sedans.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 10:24 AM to Driver's Seat )
Feed me, see more

I think I have the RSS thingamajig working now. The URL has changed, however: it's now at http://www.dustbury.com/index.xml.

Is there any interest in an Atom feed? If so, I'll see if I can work one up.

(Title stolen from the Oklahoma Gazette.)

She did it right

File under "Terribly Catchy": from the Dawn Eden Archives, "You Did Me Wrong", written and sung by Dawn herself, circa 1990, in splendid medium-fi, worthy of your favorite girl-group mix.

You really should play it twice and let it sink in. It's that nifty, and it takes only 4:18 for the twin-spin.

A tip of the bonnet to Joe Ward, who plays all those instruments behind her.

We're so easily Gored

Rocket Jones actually has an apology for a post title, which happens to be "It's my party and I'll die if I want to":

Sorry for the mixed-up title. You see, my birthday is coming up, and this year my wife gifted me with several of those crappy horror movies that I love so much.

Which, of course, makes the title perfect, since, as anyone who's seen said crappy horror movies knows, you would die too, if it happened to you.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 8:28 PM to Blogorrhea )
8 September 2006
Recycled and then some

They're called TerraCycle, and they go one step beyond what most of us think of as recycling.

Really. TerraCycle sells an organic fertilizer which is basically, um, worm poop: they feed table scraps to earthworms, collect the residue, and — this is the neat part — they sell it in used beverage bottles.

[T]he entire product is made out of garbage — from the contents to the packaging. As a result, TerraCycle Plant Food is the first mass-produced consumer product to have a negative environmental footprint.

That wasn't quite the original plan, says Popgadget:

The company founders hit upon the idea of using discarded soda bottles out of necessity. It seems that they ran out of money when it came time to ship the first batch of product. Out of desperation they raided every dining hall trash can at Princeton, and decided to stick with the idea once they no longer had to.

File this under "I wish I'd thought of that."

Not our job, amigo

Reportedly, this comes from the Policy and Procedures Manual of the Tulsa Police:

Criminal violations of immigration law such as undocumented entry into the United States are appropiately dealt with at, or near the point of entry, or by a federal warrant. Other deplorable offenses, such as overstaying a work, educational, or special visa, are considered civil violations and not criminal offenses.

The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS) has the responsibility and authority to enforce federal immigration laws. Their officers are uniquely prepared for this law enforcement responsibility due to their special training in dealing with the complexities and fine distinctions of immigration laws.

Therefore, officers of the Tulsa Police Department will not stop, detain, question or arrest any person solely on the basis that the individual might have unlawfully entered this country or exceeded his/her authorization to remain in the United States. Furthermore, officers shall not enforce the provisions of federal immigration law either by arrest or by placing holds on persons suspected of being undocumented aliens. This policy applies to situations where immigration status is brought to an officerís attention either in the context of an arrest, during a criminal investigation, or otherwise.

If, during the course of an investigation, an officer obtains reasonable suspicion that an individual possesses, or should possess immigration credentials such as a visa, passport, alien registration card, or any other official documentation issued by the BCIS, the officer may request such documentation for identification purposes only.

I'm just cynical enough to wonder how much of this is wanting to avoid trespassing on BCIS' turf — these are Federal laws, after all — and how much of it is wanting to avoid confrontation with open-borders advocates.

On the upside, now we know that overstaying one's student visa is "deplorable."

(Via Meeciteewurkor.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 8:40 AM to Soonerland )
Bring on the nanoswatters

Programming is an unusual art form: it fights back. Part of the collateral damage is the bug. (If your immediate response is "That's actually a feature," you've been doing this too long.)

And the smaller it is, the harder it is to get a grip on. Terry found this anomaly in Firefox:

I was generating a monthly archive list from a database.... Simple, straight-forward. Until I added May. It viewed over the top of April. June did the same. July viewed normally, as did the rest of the months of the year. This only happened in Firefox. IE and Opera were fine. To make it weirder, it straightened right out if I made the date May 2006. Apparently only strings of 4 characters or less were affected. Bizarre.

So I went back over everything Iíd written. I stripped every div out of the file and reduced it to that one element, an unordered list. A piece at a time, I disassembled the li definition until only 2 things remained —

text-indent:-2em;
font-weight:strong

It didnít matter which of those 2 lines I took out — removing either one fixed it.

But combined, it blew up. CSS is not my strong point, as should be obvious, but I'm wondering if maybe those two parameters overlap slightly: bolding the text changes its size, after all. Still, two em is a fair amount of real estate on screen, and it's not like she was using Double Secret Ultra Bold or anything.

What a wonderful use of 4 hours. Now I have to decide if itís worth the hassle to file a report on it.

Just email them a copy of the article and let them figure it out.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 9:42 AM to PEBKAC )
So much for that engine growl

Hello Kitty exhaustFor some reason I can't imagine this on a German car: it's a Hello Kitty exhaust pipe. I don't know if it's a one-off or if it's actually in production, but the ad campaign, if the latter, would seem to be obvious: Puts the "cat" back in "catalytic converters"!

Permalink to this item ( posted at 11:15 AM to Driver's Seat )
Fake but actionable

James Frey, the Milli Vanilli of memoirists, and publisher Random House will settle various class-action lawsuits filed against them by aggrieved readers of Frey's A Million Little Pieces, which was billed as "nonfiction."

How readers will be compensated:

To receive refunds — $23.95 for the hardcover, $14.95 for paperback — consumers will have to submit a receipt or some other proof of purchase: for the hardcover, page 163; for the paperback, the front cover. They will also need to sign a sworn statement that they bought the book because they believed it was a memoir.

A word to librarians: lock up this title now, before the patrons start ripping up your circulating copies.

(Via The Consumerist.)

Update, 10 am, 9 September: Chase at Taste the World thinks this is a good enough idea to extend to other forms of deception.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 1:11 PM to Dyssynergy )
It's a small song after all

This can't be good:

The Walt Disney Company is experimenting with ways to communicate with its visitors by non-visual means in order to enhance visitors' experiences and protect the visual landscape. We have successfully created a technology for pavement "grooves and ridges" which cause tires literally to hum a tune as a vehicle passes over them! In the future, this non-visual "cue" to guests could let them know they are approaching a Disney property and bring smiles to their faces.

The House of Mouse is late again: we've had this sort of "technology" in Oklahoma City for years. If you take NW 36th westbound from Kelley to Lincoln at exactly 47 mph (which is a tad in excess of the speed limit, so don't do that), you get a pretty fair transcription of Ron Bushy's drum solo in Iron Butterfly's "In-a-Gadda-da-Vida".

John Owen Butler finds one saving grace in this scheme:

Maybe corporate sponsorship of stretches of highway might just get them fixed.

Think we could interest the makers of Accutane® in sponsoring the pockmarked surface of NW 50th between Pennsylvania and May?

Permalink to this item ( posted at 2:33 PM to Dyssynergy )
Quote of the week

From the "Monologue" section of the Oklahoman's editorial page today, attributed to www.inopinion.com:

In her first day as anchor of the CBS Evening News, Katie Couric broke the story that Vanity Fair would publish the first photos of Suri Cruise. Immediately after, Walter Cronkite made a note to himself to spin in his grave just as soon as he gets there.

These revolutions, incidentally, will not be televised.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 4:44 PM to QOTW )
Slow deflation

Zillow.com lets another $2819 out of the price tag here at the palatial Surlywood estate; the Zestimate, once pushing $120,000 for no discernible reason, is now down to $105,082.

At this rate, the numbers should be at least somewhat plausible in two or three weeks.

(Previous Zestimates recorded here.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:19 PM to Surlywood )
9 September 2006
He got a Frosty reception

Detroit Lions defensive-line coach Joe Cullen is under suspension for Sunday's game with the Seahawks, partially because he placed an order at a Wendy's drive-thru in Dearborn without any clothes on on the 24th of August.

As grievous offenses go, this one is pretty trivial compared to the other charge against Cullen: he was busted for DUI last week. The Lions, in a statement, called both incidents "alcohol-related misdemeanors."

Wendy's presumably didn't offer to Biggie-size anything for Cullen.

The Gas Game (September)

A year ago, Oklahoma Natural Gas Company offered what they called a Voluntary Fixed-Price Plan, under which you would pay $8.393 per dekatherm for the next twelve months, regardless of the actual price of natural gas. I passed, noting that gas, at the time, was about a buck and a half cheaper than that.

It didn't stay that way, though, as the numbers show:

  • November: 2.4 used at $11.044; total price $26.51; VFP price $20.14; loss of $6.37.

  • December: 4.4 used at $11.550; total price $50.82; VFP price $36.93; loss of $13.89.

  • January: 9.7 used at $12.012; total price $116.52; VFP price $81.41; loss of $35.11.

  • February: 6.4 used at $9.589; total price $61.37; VFP price $53.72; loss of $7.65.

  • March: 7.6 used at $8.455; total price $64.26; VFP price $63.79; loss of $0.47.

  • April: 4.6 used at $8.660; total price $39.83; VFP price $38.61; loss of $1.22.

  • May: 2.0 used at $8.781; total price $17.56; VFP price $16.79; loss of $0.77.

  • June: 1.2 used at $8.486; total price $10.19; VFP price $10.07; loss of $0.12.

  • July: 1.1 used at $7.520; total price $8.55; VFP price $9.53; gain of $0.98.

  • August: 1.0 used at $7.566; total price $7.82; VFP price $8.67; gain of $0.85.

  • September: 0.9 used at $7.577; total price $7.06; VFP price $7.82; gain of $0.76.

  • Cumulative: 41.3 used at $9.939; total price $410.49; VFP price $346.89; loss of $63.40.

(Rounding errors lurk.)

It's not on their Web site yet, but the flyer with the new bill contains the details of next year's VFP: it's $9.25 per dekatherm. I have until the 20th of October to either sign up or start whining for another year.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 9:55 AM to Family Joules )
Trunk show

Across the way"It was turning into a hazard," he said, and I suppose it was awfully close to the power lines at that. So last week he brought out the chainsaw, with the results you see. (Click to embiggen.) Yesterday most of the detritus was hauled off. Admittedly, I have something of a reputation as a treehugger, so I wasn't exactly overjoyed at seeing it come down, but hey, it's their tree, and for all I know, clearing this space might actually help with the process of selling the house, which is presumably uppermost in their agenda right about now. Still, when something you've seen every day for three years disappears, it takes a while for the image to right itself in the brain and the correction factors to be applied. In another three years, I might well forget about it — until, of course, I browse the archives for something or other.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 11:00 AM to Surlywood )
Pick a number

Say, from 1 to 100.

(Suggested by Venomous Kate.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 11:37 AM to Dyssynergy )
Fewer wins, more fans

On New Year's Day, I issued a batch of predictions. For the Oklahoma Redhawks of the Pacific Coast League, I projected the following:

Record: 81-63 (first in PCL American/Southern)
Attendance: 490,000 (average 6,800; 6th in PCL)

Actual results:

Record: 74-70 (second in PCL American/Southern)
Attendance: 526,932 (average 7,421; 6th in PCL)

Considering the fact that the 'Hawks got off to a 9-18 start, 74-70 doesn't sound all that bad, and nobody came close to Round Rock this season anyway. (The Express finished at 85-59, 11 games in front.)

Still, the 8-ball is a tad cloudier than I'd prefer.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 12:28 PM to Base Paths )
A bright golden haze on the meadow

Governor Henry introduces the Oklahoma Centennial Stamp, to be issued next January:

Oklahoma Centennial Stamp


(Photo by the Oklahoman's Nate Billings, from the AP wire. Inexplicably, this wasn't to be found at NewsOK.com.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 1:00 PM to Soonerland )
It's that whole toe-complexion thing

Forget these sandals, if you can. What catches my eye is this statement:

Nicole Richie has become the new face of Jimmy Choo, the hot Hollywood shoemaker.

Are shoemakers looking for faces now?

Then again, I don't suppose anyone is going to write "Nicole Richie has become the new foot of Jimmy Choo."

Permalink to this item ( posted at 1:25 PM to Rag Trade , Say What? )
Aerated, as it were

Amazingly, I have some new roses coming in, which reminds me that today is World Naked Gardening Day, a time to give the sunshine a chance to do for you what it does for your flowers. (Yeah, eventually they wilt, but they're outside 24/7 and you're not.)

Last year's commentary on WNGD proved to be surprisingly popular, and I need not repeat it here, except to echo one of the cautions: you might want to have something on when you bring out the Weed Wacker.

And someone asked if I'd ever been, um, damaged during activities of this sort. Well, not with the string trimmer; but once I dropped a rake on my foot, and one of the tines landed exactly between two sandal straps. Still, this is an instance where neither shirt nor pants would have saved me.

Update, 8 pm: This chap seems to be getting into the spirit of things.

Saturday spottings (full retail)

Generally, I avoid enclosed retail compounds, at least partly because of some as-yet-undiagnosed phobia, but mostly because what I'm looking for can usually be had elsewhere, perhaps at a slightly lower price. Still, I wound up at Penn Square today, mostly because the Foley's signs have come down and the Macy's signs have gone up, and I was curious to see if the store looked any different under its new branding.

The answer, apparently, is "Sort of." There seems to be slightly less clutter, fewer displays sticking into the aisles, and there are areas of the floor where you can tell something used to be there and was taken away. Still, the market positioning — upscale, but not that upscale — remains much as it was. And there is logic behind this, I suppose: on the lower level of the mall near the Macy's entrance, the local Mercedes store has parked a red C230, the bottom of the US Benz line, which practically defines that position, inasmuch as for about the same money you can pick up a top-line Hyundai with more space, more features, and a complete lack of gotta-have-it factor.

My actual shopping, I should note, was done in faraway Edmond, at another unlikely venue: Spring Creek Village, where I dropped in at the New Balance store, of which there are only two in the state. (The other is at Tulsa's Utica Square, which seeks similarly-bucks-up customers.) Being a Target kind of person at best, I don't normally feel 100 percent in venues like this, but I reasoned that I stood a better chance of finding what I wanted, which was a close approximation to my old-and-busted NB 572s, at an actual company store.

What I came away with was the 925, which seems to have been just discontinued in favor of the similar 926. It's much like the 572, with a better-grade upper and more of a support system below. And, mirabile dictu, they had it in a 14 wide. I will, of course, keep these guys in mind when it's time to replace my 587s. While I have a certain psychological resistance to paying a hundred bucks for a pair of shoes, the NBs I've bought have shown surprising durability, considering the minor detail that they have to haul me around, and I figure, for the 2½ years I expect these to last — I got nearly three out of the 572s — that's a fairly-insignificant three dollars and change a month. (I have one other pair of NBs, a semi-dressy loafer whose number I forget, but given the number of times I do things that demand dressiness, they will likely outlast me.)

Spring Creek Village, incidentally, is very nice, decidedly low-key, and for me anyway, a more pleasant experience than any of the Big Malls, despite its lower concentration of bored young women in abbreviated costumes. (Note to Oklahoma City movers and/or shakers: You need a cluster like this if you expect to continue to compete with the 'burbs for serious retail dollars, and slapping something down amid the clutter on Memorial Road isn't going to do the job.)

Lowest gas price seen today: $2.169 (!) for regular unleaded, at 63rd and Meridian.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:00 PM to City Scene )
10 September 2006
Five megs, no waiting

Way back in September 1956, IBM built a hard drive.

The IBM 350 Model 1 was huge: 68 inches tall, 60 inches wide, 29 inches front-to-back. The drive contained fifty metal platters, two feet across, each of which was subdivided into a thousand sectors storing 100 characters — bytes, more or less — each, for a total of 5 MB. The disks spun at 1200 rpm. By 1958, they'd built a 10-MB version in the same space.

Nowadays, of course, you'd wonder about a box the size of a Sub-Zero fridge that had the same capacity as a handful of floppies. But for the 1950s, this was space-age stuff, and a good thing too, since the actual space age was starting up right about then.

The 350 was produced through 1961; it was superseded by the 1301, which could store an astounding 25 MB.

Big Blue probably never imagined in those days that in a mere fifty years, it would be possible to store 250,000 MB — the size of the drive on my current primary PC — in a space smaller than an issue of TV Guide, and I mean the old TV Guide, and not the Fall Preview Issue either.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 12:06 AM to PEBKAC )
New periodical

Four Weeks Magazine is — well, let them tell you:

Four Weeks is a free, monthly online lifestyle magazine for women that introduces something new: it's the first magazine to be specifically tailored to each week of a woman's monthly hormone cycle.

This means we don't simply recommend the best undiscovered and quintessential products and travel destinations that help make a woman's life fuller, easier and more fun. We go one step further. We recommend only those products and places that a woman will enjoy and need most during each week of her monthly hormone cycle.

I suppose it would be difficult to make this a print publication, inasmuch as you'd have to send it to a quarter of the subscribers each week.

(Via All Things Jennifer, where this question is posed: "Why?")

Permalink to this item ( posted at 8:38 AM to Almost Yogurt )
The drive for improbability

"Mathematics," says Jason Rosenhouse of EvolutionBlog, "is unique in its ability to bamboozle lay audiences, which makes it well-suited to creationist ends."

Mathematician John Allen Paulos explains how this should be so.

Leaving aside the issue of independent events, which is too extensive to discuss here, I note that there are always a fantastically huge number of evolutionary paths that might be taken by an organism (or a process) over time. I also note that there is only one that actually will be taken.

So if, after the fact, we observe the particular evolutionary path actually taken and then calculate the a priori probability of its being taken, we will get the minuscule probability that creationists mistakenly attach to the process as a whole.

Misunderstanding this tiny probability, they reject outright the evolutionary process.

Not to mention the fact that when one path is taken, all the alternatives to that path are summarily erased and can't be counted in the aggregate. (If the first Powerball number is, say, 10, combinations that don't contain a 10 are out of contention for the Big Bucks; if you have a 10, your chances have just improved markedly.)

Besides, probabilities don't quite combine in the manner we tend to think. For instance, the chance of someone standing next to you having any particular day as a birthday is 4/1461 (which is easier to look at than 1/365.25), or 0.274 percent. The chance that two people in the room have the same birthday obviously increases with the number of people you have, but it becomes a better-than-even bet when the twenty-third person comes in. (Really.)

My own thinking here is that God understands the numbers better than we do.

(Via white pebble.)

Where the 'burbs begin

Oklahoma City has no Beltway to speak of, but it does have a loop of sorts: the not-really-circular area enclosed within Interstates 40, 44 and 235. (I, as it happens, am out of the loop.)

There's a sidebar to this Sunday Oklahoman story which defines the "inner city" as NW 63rd to SW 44th, Meridian to Martin Luther King/Eastern, a zone eight miles by seven with 160,000 of the city's 541,000 people.

A term like "inner city," of course, comes with all sorts of contemporary (or leftover-Sixties) connotations, not all of them necessarily pleasant. Still, this seems to be a reasonable approximation of what I'd consider the city core. I went back to the 1940 city limits, which are well within this zone: the northern boundary was around 36th, and the western edge of town was right around where I-44 runs today.

My preferred line of demarcation runs right along the original Grand Boulevard sort-of-circle, parts of which have been superseded by the present-day I-44. (The apparently-quiescent Criterion Group preservationists also used Grand as their boundary.) The disadvantage, of course, is that hardly anyone pays attention to Grand anymore; it's just one more road that's not on the grid.

That Oklahoman article itself, incidentally, deals with future development: at the present rate, the 600-square-mile expanse of the city will be pretty much filled up some time between 2050 and 2100. Population numbers are harder to quantify, but I think it's unlikely we'll end up with numbers like present-day Houston, slightly smaller at 580 square miles but already boasting two million residents.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 12:01 PM to City Scene )
Career progression

This is a ride worthy of an X Games event:

I started out as a high school teacher long ago. Then, I was a junior high assistant principal then middle school principal then executive director of curriculum and instruction then middle school principal (again) then high school principal then school superintendent then college professor then high school principal (again) and now elementary principal. My brother Chipper said that if I continue at my current rate of descent that I should be a bus driver by the time my career ends.

Yeah, but just imagine the sheer volume of her CV.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 2:10 PM to Dyssynergy )
Things I learned today (8)

Because, you know, it's important to get back into the swing of things.

Ask yourself: "Is our bloggers learning?" Some of us is.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 3:19 PM to Blogorrhea )
Extremely minor milestones

Well, we've gotten the actual content to the point where it's just as long as the sidebar (depending on screen width), for the benefit of those of you who just love to scroll.

Also, the 500th Vent went up this weekend. Seriously, you have to wonder about anyone who puts five hundred anything on the Web. (We will not mention the thousands of previous blog posts here, because — well, we just won't.)

11 September 2006
On 9/11

I had notes and outlines and text fragments and cross-references and all manner of stuff ready to go into a full-blown screed here, but to what purpose? This isn't a day to point fingers: this is a day to bow heads.

So I pray, and hope you will do the same, in memory of those who were taken away five years ago.

Each minute bursts in the burning room,
The great globe reels in the solar fire,
Spinning the trivial and unique away.
(How all things flash! How all things flare!)
What am I now that I was then?
May memory restore again and again
The smallest color of the smallest day:
Time is the school in which we learn,
Time is the fire in which we burn.

               — Delmore Schwartz

Strange search-engine queries (32)

Somewhere around 6000 people come here every week, and they're not necessarily coming specifically to hear me pontificate. Sometimes they're looking for stuff like this:

"over 30" "forget about sex":  About what?

classical music dreary mournful defeat:  Obviously not a Strauss waltz.

women judge mens penis size on nudist beach:  Like they don't check you out elsewhere?

how to make a girl blush:  Have her read the previous item out loud.

How to use the word Don't:  If you have to ask, you don't need to.

Snipe Shipping S.A. Panama:  Make your snipe hunt a success!

Laura Ingraham, Monica Crowley and Ann Coulter:  <carnac>Name three women who are less chirpy than Katie Couric.</carnac>

girls what do you like better cut or uncut guys?  I can see no reason to ask me this.

"Peter Noone" "misdemeanor":  Second verse wasn't same as the first.

what is crestfallen:  Tom's condition after he dropped the toothpaste.

boobiethon photos unedited:  They don't edit any of them. However, you have to donate more money to see the more explicit ones.

"happy thoughts and fuzzy bunnies":  It perplexes me no end that I am the only result for this search.

www.dustbury.com fame:  Um, what fame?

Permalink to this item ( posted at 6:01 AM to You Asked For It )
Idle good hands are the devil's playground

In the current Entertainment Weekly (#895/896), Allstate Insurance has an ad (page 119) which asks "What's your road sign?"

"The fact is," they say, "a Virgo is more likely to get into an auto accident than any other astrological sign." These are the overall rankings, "from best to 'maybe you should walk':"

  1. Aries
  2. Cancer
  3. Taurus
  4. Gemini
  5. Sagittarius
  6. Capricorn
  7. Pisces
  8. Scorpio
  9. Libra
  10. Aquarius
  11. Leo
  12. Virgo

I'd hate to be the actuarial type who has to corroborate this stuff.

And while looking for some sort of corroboration, I found this, dated 28 June 2005:

Shy and retiring sensitive Cancerians are renowned for being tough cookies behind their delicate exteriors and being at the wheel obviously brings them out of their shell — a third of people born under this sign have made an insurance claim.

Fast and furious Leos reported the highest number of accidental damage claims — in fact Leos and Cancers are more than twice as likely to submit claims as drivers born under the astrological signs of Gemini, Sagittarius or Pisces.

Despite being safe drivers, notoriously inconsistent Geminis are careless with security and make the most number of claims for theft. Aries, famous for putting themselves first, have turned this to everyone's advantage — with their excellent history of no claims they are helping to keep overall premiums low.

Frisky and critical Virgos are obviously too busy thinking, with a quarter admitting to being distracted while driving.

Contrariwise, this article, from 27 June 2005, claims that Geminis are the worst drivers, with Capricorns the best.

I am, of course, skeptical of all this stuff, but you should expect no less from a Sagittarius.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 8:16 AM to Driver's Seat )
Tough stuff, Bucky

On those not-quite-infrequent-enough occasions when I have to have automotive repairs done, I search for TSBs: Technical Service Bulletins, those handy addenda to the factory service manuals that cover the problems that weren't necessarily anticipated beforehand. (My subscription to Alldata's online manual includes all the latest TSB updates.) Sometimes — not always — they're the next-best thing to a recall, because they indicate that the automaker knows about this problem and has a fix that doesn't require hours upon hours of hyperexpensive diagnostics: if A and B, then perform C.

There exists, in fact, a TSB for Gwendolyn's minor indigestion: if code set=P0420 and drivability issues=none, then there are two choices for C: if the ECU is not at current release level, flash its little EPROMs; if the ECU is at current release level, replace one particular oxygen sensor (of four) and the front pipe assembly.

It was the latter in her case, so she's getting new hardware. The front pipe, I regret to say, contains all the pre-catalytic-converter stuff, and costs more than the actual cat. (And since it's not the actual cat, it's not covered under the Federal emissions warranty, and yes, I took this up with the service manager; force of habit, I suppose.) Still, I feel vaguely better paying for real live parts than I would paying for a lot of part-swapping and other guesswork.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 4:06 PM to Driver's Seat )
12 September 2006
Smut as a wedge issue

No, not wedgie issue. Pay attention.

Eric Sapp sees the potential:

When I talk about "wedge issues," I'm talking about issues that divide the Republican religious base from the Republican Party leadership and force Republican voters to face the hypocrisy of the overly-simplistic (but heretofore extremely effective) approach of Republican strategists to electoral mobilization and policy development.

And what issue might do that? Why, pr0n, of course:

One in eight Internet websites is pornographic, and the on-line porn industry generated $12 billion in largely untaxed revenues in 2004, which equals the revenue of ABC, NBC, and CBS combined. If ever there was a family-values issue that affects our children, it is this one. And believe it or not, Dems have a brilliantly-crafted legislative solution: S. 1507/H.R 3479, which require credit card age verification before anyone would be allowed to view any on-line pornographic content. What makes this bill a work of legislative art is that it would pay for the substantial costs of enforcing these regulations by imposing a 25% tax on the internet porn industry.

Anyone figured out why this is a winner for us yet? You've got it, the Republican leadership has been holding up this legislation because they don't like the tax on business! It's hard to imagine a stance more counter to family values and anathema to religious voters than not protecting our children from internet porn because we don't want to tax the on-line porn industry. But that's the position the Rs have taken so far. The White House has also sided with the telecommunication companies and turned a deaf ear to evangelical Christian leaders who have pleaded with them to regulate streaming video on cell phones to prevent our phones from being spammed with streaming pornography. We all know what Jesus said about where one's treasure is, and since the R political machine is run on big-business and lobbyist money, it's no surprise that's where their heart is.

I've regulated streaming video on my cell phone: I've got a phone that won't receive it.

But Sapp has a point: when the big-bucks and the Dr. Dobson segments of the GOP base are in conflict, bet on Mr. Moneybags to win out.

We'll keep you advised, kinda sorta

Frosty Troy (The Oklahoma Observer, 10 September) quotes an unnamed "former TV reporter":

To run a bulletin or even a crawl on a grass fire is sufficient. Instead, I stood out for three hours doing cut-ins for non-stop live coverage. God knows what the helicopter cost.

Frosty's been harping on this for at least twenty years; I sent him a particularly heinous example of non-news from Los Angeles back in 1988. Things have not improved a great deal.

And another thing:

KOSU-FM [at Oklahoma State University, Stillwater] and OKC's KTOK are the only radio stations with full-time Capitol correspondents.

That's scary, if nobody in Tulsa, where there's more serious news/talk competition than there is in Oklahoma City, bothers to position a reporter at the Capitol.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 8:14 AM to Overmodulation )
Such a caucus-teaser

This came in as a Google search last night: member of congress senile or sickness.

Nice to know we have a choice.

They've run out of metals

Once there were gold cards, then platinum, even occasionally titanium, and finally Visa and MasterCard opted for nonmetallic descriptions for their high-end cards, Visa issuing "Signature" cards and MasterCard offering a "World" card.

But, as James Bond might have said, the World is not enough. MasterCard now has a World Elite card, issued by HSBC on behalf of Saks Fifth Avenue. Benefits:

The new card offers up to 6% back on Saks Fifth Avenue purchases and 1% back on all other purchases. Customers' points will be converted automatically into Saks gift cards. The card also offers access to the Virtuoso travel network; complimentary companion tickets with the purchase of full fare "Business Class" tickets for international travel; tailored shore excursions and private cocktail receptions on four cruise lines; preferred rates at more than 650 hotels plus value-added amenities such as complimentary daily breakfast for two, room upgrades, late check-in, late check-out, hotel dining credits and customized offerings that are unique to the destination and VIP status; complimentary subscriptions to travel publications; special event access and tickets to performing arts and theater events; and airport lounge access for a nominal fee.

I don't expect to see many of these at the drive-thru at Church's Chicken.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 1:37 PM to Common Cents )
Props for the Mac daddy

It seems that Heather B. has it bad for Steve J.:

Michael Dell and I just had a terrible break up after his machine purged everything from my hard drive including over a year's worth of writing and fodder. So now Iím cheating on him with Steve Jobs. I've said it before; Steve just does it for me whereas Michael makes me want to pour boiling water over my head to forget the pain of losing dozens of documents.

I wonder if I should send this to confirmed Dellophobe Jeff Jarvis.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 6:44 PM to PEBKAC )
No Times left for you

The New York Times Company will sell its nine television stations and refocus on its print and Internet properties.

The official company statement:

"These are well-managed and profitable stations that generate substantial cash flows and are located in attractive markets," Janet L. Robinson, the companyís president and chief executive, said in a statement.

But, she added, "We believe a divestiture would allow us to sharpen our focus on developing our newspaper and rapidly growing digital businesses, and the synergies between them, thereby increasing the value of our company for our shareholders."

And they've been expressing concerns to investors:

Our network-affiliated broadcast stations face significant competition. Several developments could cause further fragmentation of the television viewing audience and therefore increase competition, including:
  • system upgrades and technological advances resulting in increased channel capacities on cable and direct broadcast satellite systems,
  • the entry of telephone companies into the video distribution market,
  • the emergence of new portable video distribution platforms, and
  • the availability of network programming on the Internet and through video-on-demand services.

This fragmentation may adversely affect our television stations' ability to sell advertising.

Even allowing for the fact that all such statements to investors are primarily intended as CYA devices, it's no particular secret that NYT Class A stock has been tanking for almost a year, and the divestiture would put some cash in the company coffers while investors are staying away.

NYT operates television stations in eight mostly middle-sized markets, all of them solo operations except in Oklahoma City, where the company owns KFOR-TV (an affiliate of NBC) and KAUT (an affiliate of MyNetworkTV). There is no indication so far as to whether the stations will be dealt as a group or sold off to individual buyers.

13 September 2006
You have no secrets

"Maintaining some intrigue," says the AskMen Web site, "keeps the spice in dating."

Neil Kramer's wang begs is determined to disagree:

If anything, today is the day of promotion, marketing, advertising. You WANT to have a video on YouTube of you screwing the entire womenís volleyball team. In fact, rather than keeping secrets on the first date, I suggest you hand over a document listing every woman you ever shagged. Even better, try to get testimonials of how good you were in bed. It is asinine to keep a woman guessing. Itís like a job interview. Sheíll just move on to the next candidate.

Geez, and I feel uneasy about padding out a mere résumé.

What I don't know for sure is whether the organ in question is serious about these suggestions or is simply dicking around.

(Via Michael Blowhard. Really.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 6:20 AM to Table for One )
Chafing the elephant

News item:

Sen. Lincoln Chafee snatched victory in the [Rhode Island] Republican primary Tuesday, giving hope to the GOP that it might be able to keep the seat — and the Senate — out of Democratic hands. With control of the Senate and President Bush's agenda at stake in the midterm elections, the National Republican Senatorial Committee poured more than $1 million into defending the mild-mannered, moderate Chafee against the conservative mayor of Cranston, Stephen Laffey. Committee officials said only Chafee could beat a Democrat in November and promised to abandon the state if Laffey were to secure the nomination.

Shorter National Republican Senatorial Committee: "If we're going to have a Democrat in this seat, we might as well have a Democrat who will caucus with us."

I'm waiting for a reaction from Joe Lieberman.

208

Marcus Claudius Marcellus, a Roman general during the Punic Wars, was a three-time winner of the spolia opima; he was ambushed and killed on a reconnaissance mission in 208 BC.

But this, of course, was Before Carnival. The Carnival of the Vanities is four years old — 208 weeks — and this week Zeuswood and Stingflower, the contemporary keepers of the flame, offer a diverse collection of hot stuff and a tribute to some of the folks who've been along for the ride since the early days.

Historical note: This was the very first post to the very first Carnival.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 8:17 AM to Blogorrhea )
Back from the drink

The not-entirely-ill-fated M/V Cougar Ace will be unloaded later this week in Portland, Oregon, and Mazda, as announced here, will see which of the 4700 or so vehicles on board is fit for sale.

Autoblog parses the Mazda press release:

Mazda has announced that none of the 4,700+ vehicles aboard the ill-fated cargo ship Cougar Ace will be sold as new vehicles. According to a press release issued by the automaker a short time ago, cars that are damaged beyond repair will be scrapped immediately. Cars that are deemed fixable and saleable, however, could be sold through Mazda's dealer network as used vehicles. Mazda stresses that no decision on saleability will be made until after the full load of vehicles is unloaded and inspected.

For its part, Mazda is being completely transparent about this and will publish the complete list of VIN numbers for every vehicle aboard the ship at MazdaUSA.com and their Canadian site, Mazda.ca. As has been stated before, the cargo consists mostly of Mazda3s and Mazda CX-7s.

I covet the CX-7, but maybe not so much that I'd take a chance on one that's been parking over by Davy Jones' locker.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 1:21 PM to Driver's Seat )
Mere Batmobiles tremble

Despite its Dr. Evil-esque price of one million euros, the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 isn't making any money for its manufacturer, Volkswagen: development of the 1001-hp, sixteen-cylinder supercar was frightfully expensive, and even if there were enough of them to go around, where are you going to find a place to drive one anywhere near its 253-mph top speed?

The finance angle, at least, has been addressed. Automobile Magazine (October) reports that Putnam Leasing is now offering a 60-month lease on the Veyron. Terms: $400,000 up front, $23,595 a month, maximum 2500 miles a year.

It would be, I think, unkind to mention that this comes to $1,815,700, rather a bit more than a million euros at the present exchange rate — or that it doesn't include tag, title or tax.

Still, if you've got to have a machine so fast, so profligate, that it can empty its 100-liter fuel tank (26.4 gallons) in twelve minutes flat, this is your ride, and please call me when you take delivery.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:05 PM to Driver's Seat )
14 September 2006
Or you can just call them "alternative"

Stories are circulating that leftish radio network Air America Radio is flirting (in a nonsexist manner, of course) with bankruptcy; if they do in fact go under, their affiliates might find themselves scrambling for new programming.

The following formats might draw comparable, or even higher, audience numbers:

  1. All Def Leppard, All The Time
  2. The British Invasion: Songs of the War of 1812
  3. American Idol Rejects
  4. Emergency Alert System tests
  5. Disco Karachi (live from Pakistan)
  6. The Expurgated Howard Stern *
  7. Radio NASCAR
  8. Pat Buchanan's All-American Radio Xenophobe
  9. The Golf Channel
  10. Paul Harvey saying "Good day!" every twenty seconds

* At an estimated fourteen minutes per day, this alone would not be sufficient to fill a daily schedule.

Wasted away again

Dear Sarah:

There is no guarantee that you will live longer if you avoid Sidecar, Marlboro Lights and Taco Bueno.

It will only seem longer.

And if it takes years off your life, so what? It's the last years, the ones where you spend half your time in the hospital and the other half trying to decipher that last letter from Medicare. How much do you think you're going to miss that?

There's nothing wrong with trying to lead a "sensible" existence. But fercrissake, don't beat yourself over the head for occasionally behaving like a real person once in a while.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:54 AM to Outgoing Mail )
Non-hazardous waste

Like toadstools after a rainstorm, the signs sprout before an election: plastic and wire, sometimes seemingly placed at random, sometimes positioned for maximum irritation value.

No, they're not going to be banned, but a change to the Municipal Code was taken up this week at Council and will be heard by the Planning Commission today.

From the Council agenda packet:

Currently, signs that are located in violation of the code (in the street right-of-way or sight triangle, unanchored signs, or signs that are damaged to a point that they are considered a safety hazard) may be impounded by the City. The signs are stored by the City for 30 days, in order for the sign owners to pay a designated fee and reclaim the signs.

The proposed ordinance will relieve the City of the obligation to store the signs, and eliminate the ability of the sign owners to reclaim the signs. All signs impounded under the terms of the ordinance will be disposed of by the City.

Which is less earth-shattering than it may seem:

There is no expected revenue impact since citizens rarely paid [the] fee and picked up their signs.

Now that's a shock.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 9:14 AM to City Scene )
City Ordinance #1

Something else I found in the Council packet: the very first bit of lawmaking by the nascent City of Oklahoma City — then legally a village — on 22 July 1890. The ordinance set up four wards, as follows:

First Ward. The First Ward shall consist of all that portion lying east of the middle of Robinson Street and north of the middle of the first alley south of Main Street.

Second Ward. The Second Ward shall consist of all that portion lying west of the middle of Robinson Street and north of the middle of the first alley south of Main Street.

Third Ward. The Third Ward shall consist of all that portion lying west of the middle of Robinson Street and south of the middle of the first alley south of Main Street.

Fourth Ward. And the Fourth Ward shall consist of all that portion lying east of the middle of Robinson Street and south of the middle of the first alley south of Main Street.

This was proclaimed Ordinance No. One.

Interestingly, the document to which this was attached as an exhibit hints that the eight-ward system, adopted in 1966, might not have been graven in stone:

In 1990 a committee was formed to research several options for a twelve (12)-ward system. As a result of the committee's work, an in-depth audit was conducted and possible boundaries were presented. The reasoning behind the study was to enable the council members to be more accessible to those they represent. The plan was not implemented at that time, and the issue has remained dormant.

Which, of course, leads to further questions: do we need twelve wards? Will Council Member So-and-so be "more accessible" if he has 45,000 constituents instead of 67,500? And how much gerrymandering can we expect if new lines are to be drawn?

My thinking, in order: not necessarily; not necessarily; probably a hell of a lot.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 11:31 AM to City Scene )
Quote of the week (revisited)

In July I bestowed QOTW honors on Automobile's Sam Smith, for his description of what happens when you hit the Sport button on the Audi RS4:

What was a subdued, guttural thrumming suddenly becomes a glorious crescendo. It sounds like an angry, drunken bear being shot from a cannon.

This description did not sit well with at least one reader of the magazine, who sent an email impugning, well, something:

Did the editors take the day off? Does Smith have compromising pictures of [Editor-in-Chief] Jean [Jennings]? What on earth is this supposed to mean?

"If you have to ask," as Satchmo once said, "you'll never know."

As for Smith, he's still working the intoxicated-mammals turf. On the early-Eighties Bentley Mulsanne Turbo, in the October issue:

[It] was itself little more than a frighteningly-fast Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit. (Frightening due to balance, not speed; suspension tuning was left virtually unchanged when the comfortable-at-all-costs Silver Spirit was given a Bentley badge and a blower, leaving the boosted Mulsanne with all the dynamic stability of a giraffe on mescaline.)

Not that I'd ever claim to be above such descriptions.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 6:11 PM to Driver's Seat , QOTW )
15 September 2006
Smoke 'em if you got 'em

And if you're in China, you've probably got 'em:

Cigarettes, according to China's tobacco authorities, are an excellent way to prevent ulcers. They also reduce the risk of Parkinson's disease, relieve schizophrenia, boost your brain cells, speed up your thinking, improve your reactions and increase your working efficiency.

Pay no attention to those lung cancer warnings — theyíre nonsense. Youíre more likely to get cancer from cooking smoke! Those are the words of wisdom from China's state-owned tobacco monopoly, the worldís most successful cigarette-marketing agency. With annual sales of 1.8 trillion cigarettes, the Chinese are responsible for nearly 1/3 of all cigarettes smoked on the whole planet.

The official website of the tobacco monopoly claims cigarettes are a kind of miracle drug: solving your health problems, helping your lifestyle, strengthening the equality of women, and even eliminating loneliness and depression. "Smoking removes your troubles and worries," says a 37-year-old female magazine editor, quoted approvingly on the website. "Holding a cigarette is like having a walking stick in your hand, giving you support." "Quitting smoking would bring you misery, shortening your life."

And to think we complained because our ads said they tasted good, like they should.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 6:14 AM to Dyssynergy )
Use the west entrance only

This fall Francis Tuttle Technology Center is offering a course in feng shui:

Feng Shui is the art of harmony and balance in your home and life. When the principles of Feng Shui are applied, a person will see dramatic change in their overall energy level and the quality of their life. By following the Feng Shui axiom a person can enhance their life, career and finances, along with better overall health. Bring a photo of the outside of your home, a basic floor plan and pencil and paper.

Okay, it may not be as immediately useful as, say, Spanish for Hotel & Restaurant Personnel, but I'm sure the demand is there.

Yet to be determined: if there's a demand for copywriters who don't use "their" as a singular pronoun.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:30 AM to Almost Yogurt )
Half-breed interference

Sean Gleeson searches for a word that fits people who don't identify as either liberal or conservative, and neither "centrist" nor "moderate" will do:

A true centrist would be one whose opinions fell in the middle on every issue. For instance, he would want a half-victory in the war; he would half-abort and half-euthanize innocent lives; and he would half-ban firearms and prayer. True centrists are a little weird, and more than a little scarce.

By contrast, an X21's policy preferences do fall on one or the other side of the spectrum, just not on the same side for each issue. He is Right on some, and Left on others. He might want legal abortion, but also victory in the current war. Or, he might be against abortion, but also advocate our abject surrender. In other words, the typical X21 is not in the middle; he's in a muddle.

The label we seek is obviously not 'moderate,' 'fence-sitter,' or any other word with a 'centrist' meaning.

"Moderate" never did impress Chris Lawrence much:

[N]obody with a well-developed political ideology is a moderate. By definition, if you are liberal, conservative, libertarian, socialist, communist, Enviro-wacko, batshit neocon, or whatever the hell Pat Buchanan and Bob Novak are (paleo-pseudo-con?), you cannot be moderate. George Bush isn't moderate. Nor is Colin Powell, Janet Reno, Howard Dean, Glenn Reynolds, Megan McArdle, or Kevin Drum. Nor am I.

Most Americans — and most people the world over, in fact — don't have consistent, ideological belief systems. The absence of those belief systems makes them moderate, because they just react to whatever's going on in the political ether; if you're lucky, you might be able to pin their beliefs to some overarching fundamental value ("hard work", "equality", "liberty").

I noted at that time that I was "definitely for liberty and equality, and violently opposed to hard work."

But this doesn't make the lexicographer's task any easier. Once again, Sean Gleeson shoulders the burden:

Any apposite label will be based on the notion that these folks have custom-mixed their own ideologies with selections from both sides.

I fired up the old thesaurus, and found some interesting synonyms for 'mixture,' including alloy, composite, fusion, goulash, hodgepodge, jumble, mash, medley, miscellany, mishmash, mosaic, mélange, pastiche, patchwork, potpourri, quilt, salmagundi, and union.

But since some of these seem to lack quantifiability or seriousness or curb appeal, here's the term of choice: Hybrid.

It reeks of scientific precision. It conveys the impression that we've borrowed material from two species to create a third one, that's better than either of its parents, an impression I think would flatter the X21s. 'Hybrid' may not be perfect, but it's as close as we'll get, so it must be the right answer.

Me, I think I like "goulash," but this may be because I skipped breakfast.

Balancing local and yokel

News Item:

The Federal Communications Commission ordered its staff to destroy all copies of a draft study that suggested greater concentration of media ownership would hurt local TV news coverage, a former lawyer at the agency says.

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) is "dismayed":

In a letter sent to [FCC Chairman Kevin] Martin Wednesday, Boxer said she was "dismayed that this report, which was done at taxpayer expense more than two years ago, and which concluded that localism is beneficial to the public, was shoved in a drawer."

Martin said he was not aware of the existence of the report, nor was his staff. His office indicated it had not received Boxer's letter as of midafternoon Thursday.

I can appreciate Boxer's dismay: whatever the alleged benefits of media consolidation, they are, I think, outweighed by the inevitably higher level of media homogenization that results.

The report claims that locally-owned stations put on more news:

The analysis showed local ownership of television stations adds almost five and one-half minutes of total news to broadcasts and more than three minutes of "on-location" news. The conclusion is at odds with FCC arguments made when it voted in 2003 to increase the number of television stations a company could own in a single market. It was part of a broader decision liberalizing ownership rules.

Of the major-network affiliates in Oklahoma City, only one can be construed as "local": KWTV, the CBS outlet, owned by Griffin Communications LLC, whose holdings include two other stations, both in Tulsa. I avoid watching TV news as a general rule — bad for my dyspepsia — but if there's any indication that News 9 (or Tulsa's The News on 6) actually put on more news than their competitors, I'd like to hear about it. (And if there isn't, I'd like to hear about that too.)

(Disclosure: Yours truly was once interviewed by News 9. Good thing it wasn't twice.)

Paper trails to you

Last year, Michael Clingman, secretary of the state's Election Board, expressed some interest in acquiring some touch-screen voting machines, apparently thumbing his nose at the ancient wisdom, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." At the time, I suggested that this was at least partially motivated by the desire to get the Feds to pay for the odious devices.

Steven Roemerman has now spoken with Clingman about the future of voting contraptions in Oklahoma, and I am somewhat reassured:

With regard to the actual voting process in Oklahoma, it ainít broke. I spoke with Michael Clingman, Oklahoma State Election Board Secretary, and he agrees with me. The paper based, optically scanning system, uniformly applied across Oklahoma, is one of the best in the country. Clingman told me, however, that our current system was purchased in 1990 and had an intended 10 year lifecycle. We are now 6 years past the shelf life of our current system and there are starting to be problems. It is becoming more and more difficult to find parts for maintenance. Clingman suggested that we might need to replace these machines as early as 2008. However, he assured me that Oklahoma has no desire to part with the basic system under which we currently operate. The paper trail that an actual paper ballot affords us is something that any new system will have to incorporate.

And with good reason, too, given the unreliability demonstrated by the most popular electronic voting machine.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 3:27 PM to Soonerland )
One step forward

I grumbled back in July that Dana Orwig, Democratic candidate for House District 87, didn't have a Web site, and when she dropped by the palatial Surlywood estate, I asked her about that.

Now she does, which puts her one up on her opponent this fall. (VoteWorthen.com comes up 404 at this writing.) Issues she's supporting are here.

Snap out of it

From WikiHow, How to Dissuade Yourself from Becoming a Blogger. It goes something like this:

Find five completely random blogs, and read them daily for a month. After thirty days, you will absolutely dread your self-imposed requirement to read all that dreck. Any blog you create will most likely be on par with what you've been reading.

Oh, it gets scarier:

Write on a regular basis in a text editor instead. If that doesn't satisfy your urge, and you feel that you must post your blog online, then you might just be craving attention and validation — which you'll never truly find in a blog.

I wrote on a regular basis in a text editor for six farging years, and still do the non-MT pages in (gasp!) WordPad.

Instead of writing about pretty much nothing, or whining about all the things you wish you were doing instead, start doing something that'd actually be worth writing about. And if it's really worth writing about, you'll be having too much fun doing it to tear yourself away from it.

Oh, yeah, like I'd actually have a date.

(Scene: The spectacular Master Bedroom at the palatial Surlywood estate. No lights, except for a dim rectangle near one corner of the room.)

She: Oh, that's — um, what are you doing?
Me: Approving a TrackBack.
She [disgusted]: As if.

(Found by Monty. Didn't discourage her either.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:39 PM to Blogorrhea )
16 September 2006
Jacking points

Now that I think about it, it's a perfectly legitimate question:

"Can they put Jack FM on AM?"

Apparently, they did, for a while anyway. Lou Pickney's VarietyHits.com, which tracks Jack and Bob and Sam and all those other characters, reports:

On August 1, 2004, Michael Radio Group's 870 KJMP (yes, an AM station) began simulcasting [KJAC Denver]. This was a surprising move, since KJMP was a 1,200 watt daytime/300 watt nighttime station in Ft. Collins which didn't cover any territory that KJAC didn't reach.

The Northeast Broadcasting Company acquired KJMP on February 15, 2006. On July 17, 2006, KJMP dropped its simulcast of Jack and become a simulcast of Oldies 104.9 KRRR in Cheyenne (also owned by Northeast.) Besides the notion of Jack FM on the AM dial being strange, KJMP fell entirely within the broadcast radius of KJAC, rendering it pointless except to those with AM-only radios.

I mention in passing that KJAC was the first Jack FM station in the US, following a successful launch in Canada.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:48 AM to Overmodulation )
Somewhere off Main Street

"One Gleeson Plaza" is the new designation for Sean and Phoebe's place, and it has a certain upscale sheen to it, which makes sense since it's only a stone's throw from the fabled Blog Building.

It's an American thing, I think, to want our surroundings to bear pleasant-sounding names, although The Onion is reporting that Chicago is running out:

"It was bound to happen sooner or later," Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley said at a Monday press conference in front of City Hall. "Oak Dale Springs, Whispering Pines, Stonewood Creek... We have used every tree, body of water, and living thing in the almanac. You don't have to drive all the way out to Kevin Acres to know we need a new naming system."

Oklahoma City is currently processing plats and such for Oakdale Valley, Quail Ridge Estates, Settler's Ridge, Silver Leaf East, Somers Pointe, Country Hollow, Marble Leaf, and Robin Ridge, among others.

Most of these are innocuous, but enough with the "Pointe" business already: "pointe" is a ballet position, not a term of location.

Which, in turn, reminds me of this from five years ago:

This afternoon, on the road to No Place In Particular, I traipsed through something called Danforth Farms, where every other street name has an equestrian origin — Oklahoma City insists upon the retention of numbers for east-west thoroughfares, lest the fire department get lost somewhere around 197th Street — and "Farms" notwithstanding, it's about as pastoral as a GMC dealership. Besides which, there's this unwritten Law of the Suburbs which mandates bigger boxes made of ticky-tacky, though they still all look just the same.

The city of Edmond, on the other hand, likes trees. Loves trees. The joke a few years ago was that there was a City Council motion to ban all further street or subdivision names that contained any mention of "oak", before the entire population wound up living on Something Oak Drive. At least, I think it was a joke.

Coming back down Covell Road, I happened upon a subdivision that probably should have been called Ashford Oaks, but was in fact called "Asheforde Oaks", with a double helping of that Olde Englishe Codswallope that presumably impels people with ancestors named Martinez (such as, well, yours truly) to look elsewhere for housing.

Include "Pointe" in said codswallop.

Of course, here at Surlywood, we pay attention, not only to this world, but the next:

Having been part of a few focus groups in my time, I rather expect that when the Final Judgment is read, I can count on an extended stay at One Brimstone Place.

Sounds almost like a trip to Vegas, doesn't it? (And what happens there, I understand, really stays there.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 9:31 AM to Almost Yogurt )
So, so true

No argument from me:

Kissing Balls represent romance, friendship and goodwill.

And they're floral-scented, too.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 10:47 AM to Table for One )
Saturday spottings (she said)

"What do women want?" asked Freud, and then proceeded not to answer his own question. Not that I have any answers. And American industry has not always responded well: for instance, the mid-1950s Dodge La Femme was as capable as any top-line Dodge of that era, but it was glitzed up with Detroit men's ideas of girliness, with "accessories" such as a rain hat, bag and umbrella, which stored behind the front seat. The La Femme moved a mere 2500 copies in two years, or about as many workaday Dodges as fell off the transporter on the way to the dealership.

On the presumption that putting women in charge makes a difference, I betook myself to 10909 NW 36th Terrace this afternoon, a featured home in this year's Parade of Homes, designed by a woman: Carolyn Schluter, head of Raywood Homes. Happily, she was on hand to take questions, and I took off my shoes — the place was apparently completed on Thursday and we didn't want to mess up the floors — and took the Grand Tour. (If she had shoes at all, I never saw them.)

And if there's anything especially feminine about this house, it's flexibility. Men, according to stereotype anyway, want things in their places and that's that. They, or at least I, didn't anticipate Schluter's "keeping room," which is just off the kitchen — entirely too handy for those of us who are subject to snack attacks — and which she envisions as an informal gathering place for the family. It also makes a heck of a theatre: she's built an HDTV into the wall above the fireplace, and you have to look to see the surround speakers. But I spent more time in the kitchen, largely because it's actually designed with some sense of utility: there's the ubiquitous island, yes, but it's positioned to create distinct yet easily-accessible workspaces, a necessity for those huge family gatherings with too many cooks. The sinks are deep enough to accommodate any cooking utensil I've ever seen; the microwave is built into the far side of the island, on the sensible basis that it's more likely to be used when there isn't a major production going on elsewhere in the kitchen; the barrier between the cooktop and the island disappears into the countertop at the flick of a switch in case you need something just beyond.

Okay, this is gee-whiz stuff, which naturally appeals to guys, right? Maybe, maybe not. In the utility room, there's a sink with a cabinet, and one drawer of that cabinet pulls out to reveal: a nearly-full-sized ironing board, which somehow was folded into half the space it ought to take up.

Out back, accessible from both the "keeping room" and the master bedroom (yes!), there's a decently-sized patio with a built-in fire pit. There's a smaller bedroom and a den/office up front; upstairs, two more bedrooms and an open area that could be a central playroom.

It is a measure of how well this floorplan works that I seriously underestimated the square footage, putting it around 2400. (The official number is 2859.) Too cozy to be that big, I misreasoned. The exterior is as pointy as the market demands, but the arch over the entrance is a nice touch, and the door is cut to match its curvature, which is even nicer. The price, $309,900, is a bit out of my reach, but I can't imagine this place sitting unsold for too long. (Mental note: Buy winning Powerball ticket, commission slightly-smaller version of this house.) There's an interview and a description of the home in the Real Estate section of the Oklahoman; you can read the text (no pictures, though) here.

And for the requisite Guy Thing for the week, if such this be: with the completion of a new facility for Firestone, their old service center, the last vestige of the old Atkinson Plaza, is finally coming down. (We do love us some wrecking balls.)

Lowest gas price seen: $2.039 for regular unleaded, at a 7-Eleven on NW 39th.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 6:29 PM to City Scene )
17 September 2006
In search of prime locations

One of the factors that drove Sean Gleeson to create the "One Gleeson Plaza" address extension (which I mentioned here) was, well, factors, and I mean that literally:

Just a numbered house on a numbered street. Nothing noteworthy about the number 3421. (Being divisible by 11, itís not even prime.)

Do any of you have a house number (or post-office box number) that is a prime? The house I reported on yesterday does; I don't, though there are two on my block.

And if you don't feel like doing the math, here's a list of the first thousand primes, from 2 to 7919.

But not too scentsible

Most of your high-zoot (even medium-zoot) fragrances have wispy yet evocative names: Femme Fatale, Winter Kiss, Midnight Rain. Viktor & Rolf, up there in Amsterdam, decided to keep the evocative and lose the wispy; their scent is called "Flowerbomb," of which Peppermint Patty says:

The Iron Maiden — goes on soft and floraly, but with the engine of a freight train. Sheíll befriend you, seduce your husband and then kick your dog when you arenít looking.

All that for a measly $95 for 50 ml, a buck ninety for one milliliter, which is only slightly more than ink for my HP DeskJet at work, which goes for $1.84/ml and presumably doesn't smell as good.

V&R now have a scent for men, which bears the curious name "Antidote." I admit to being at least slightly curious, especially since the ineffable Rufus Wainwright has penned a tune for it:

Even though you were never mine to start with
Even though one day the golden age will come
But until then, this bottle of perfume will have to do
Because the only antidote is you

And let's face it, nobody's going to write a song about Old Spice. (Carmina Burana doesn't count.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 8:48 AM to Almost Yogurt )
The last Carnival barking

There once was a time when it mattered:

Never underestimate the power of Silflay Hraka. My little outpost on the far fringes of the Blogosphere™ (and if you can explain how a sphere can have fringe, let alone far fringe, you're doing better than I am) scored about thirty percent more traffic than usual, courtesy of Bigwig's Carnival of the Vanities celebration.

In retrospect, given the explosive growth of blogdom and the proliferation of methods for getting noticed, it's perhaps remarkable that the "celebration" made it to its fourth birthday. Nothing in Bigwig's original manifesto suggested anything more than a temporary upheaval of the status quo:

If you'd like to have a link posted, just e-mail one to me, along with a category for it, like Family Life or Domestic Politics or alt.misc.fetishes and a teaser line, like the model BlogCritics uses on its front page. On the off chance you decide that all of your posts are deserving, try to winnow it down to one, ok? People who like your stuff are going to stay awhile, so you'll get more exposure for the rest of your blog, and you'll pick up permanent visitors at a faster pace.

Let me know what you think, and I'll adapt the whole thing as it goes along. I think it'll work well, and will shed some light on stuff that have been otherwise overlooked.I'm looking forward to linking to some of the best stuff in the blogosphere.

Of course, that's assuming someone reads this.

I did, and I sent this, and some discussion flared up, and Bigwig subsequently observed:

What I'm hoping for with the Carnival is kind of an hourglass effect, where one post pulls in a large number of visitors, and sends them right back out to through the links within it. I think it'll work, but it might not, and if it doesn't then it's at least sparked a couple of other ideas on how to find the quality in the blogosphere.

It worked for four whole years, in fact, and spawned so many sub-Carnivals that the original was eventually forgotten: who's gonna go to the Alamo when there's a party on the Riverwalk?

So #209 will be the last. Proposition 209, you may remember, was the controversial California Civil Rights Initiative, passed in 1996, which was controversial largely because its first section — "The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting" — didn't allow the Usual Suspects to stack the deck. One of the reasons the Carnival survived for so long was simply that it didn't stack the deck: if you sent something that you thought was your best work of the week, you got your link for it. (It is, of course, true that not every host was equally devoted to this egalitarian cause; the result was a series of "Avignon Editions".)

Zeuswood is philosophical about all this:

If a heavily promoted, major landmark in the life of a historic, hugely influential blogospheric institution canít get links or traffic — not to malign those who did come through for us, thanks! — and not even from many people with a stake, then there is no hope for it week to week. Itís just another way to get links; ironically, without having to write stuff so good or provocative it would have a better chance of generating links on its own. CotV was supposed to help ensure visibility of your best, since most of us have written great stuff that sunk into the blogosphere without so much as a ripple. And links arenít even the prestige thing they once were. Heck, itís the readership that matters more, and CotV doesnít bring that.

I am, to no one's surprise, not exactly happy with this development — I was all ready to go figure out just what it was that led Emperor Severus to travel from Rome to Scotland in 210 — but I understand why it's happening, and when the ride ends, you have to decide whether it was worth the trip.

Which, of course, it was.

Update, 19 September: Could it be that the reports of the Carnival's death were greatly exaggerated?

Permalink to this item ( posted at 11:13 AM to Blogorrhea )
Watch this space

When I was a kid, I thought the coolest thing in the world would be the ability to become invisible, and inevitably some things I have written over the years reflect this interest.

On the other hand, I never intended to be invisible only to Technorati.

Been there, hated that, says Diane.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 12:25 PM to Blogorrhea )
Macas can't get a break

Arvydas Macijauskas, who spent most of last season on the Hornets' bench and was cut loose this spring to sign with the Euroleague's Olympiacos basketball operation, has torn his Achilles' tendon in an exhibition game with Skafati, and will be out for two to three months, maybe more.

Macas, who earned $2.5 million a year in the NBA, is being paid €9 million (about $11.4 million) over his four-year contract with Olympiacos.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 3:56 PM to Net Proceeds )
Frozen shiddachery

It's called the Stable Marriage Problem, and it goes like this:

Imagine you are a matchmaker, with one hundred female clients, and one hundred male clients. Each of the women has given you a complete list of the hundred men, ordered by her preference: her first choice, second choice, and so on. Each of the men has given you a list of the women, ranked similarly. It is your job to arrange one hundred happy marriages.

It should be immediately apparent that everyone is not guaranteed to get their first choice: if a particular man is the first choice of more than one woman, only one can be matched with him, and the other women will have to make do with less. Rather than guarantee the purest of happiness to everyone — a promise that almost surely would subject you to eventual litigation — your challenge is to make the marriages stable. By this, we mean that once the matchmaker has arranged the marriages, there should be no man who says to another woman, "You know, I love you more than the woman I was matched with — let's run away together!" where the woman agrees, because she loves the man more than her husband. In the spirit of equality, no woman should make such a successful proposal to a man: should she so propose, we want the man to respond, "Madam, I am flattered by your attention, but I am married to someone I love more than you, so I am not interested.'' Is it always possible for a matchmaker to arrange such a group of marriages, regardless of the preference lists of the men and women?

It would appear that the answer, at least theoretically, is Yes:

The matchmaker arranges marriages in rounds, where in each round, he instructs certain men to propose marriage. In the initial round, he tells all the men to, quite sensibly, go out and propose marriage to their first-choice women. Each man then proposes to the woman he loves most.

Each of the women then receives either no proposal (if she was not the first choice of any man), one proposal (if she was the first choice of exactly one man), or more than one proposal (if many men find her to be their first choice). The matchmaker instructs the women to respond to the proposals according to the following rules. If no one proposed to you, don't worry, says the matchmaker, I promise someone will eventually. If exactly one man proposed to you, accept his proposal of marriage: the man and woman are then considered to be engaged. If more than one man proposed, respond affirmatively to the one you love most, and become engaged to him — and reject the proposals of the rest. Surely nothing could be more reasonable. This concludes what we'll call the first round.

After one round, certain contented men are engaged, and the other discontented men are unengaged. In round two, the matchmaker says to the unengaged men: Do not despair! Go out and propose again, to your second choice. While the engaged men do nothing, the unengaged men send out another round of proposals. This time, the matchmaker says to the women: use the same rules as before, with one important change — if you are currently engaged, and receive proposals of marriage from men that you love more than your fiancé, you may reject your current intended, and reengage yourself to the new suitor that you love most. Thus a man who is happily engaged at the end of the first round may find himself suddenly unengaged at the end of the second round.

After two rounds, once again the men are divided into the engaged and unengaged. In the next round, the matchmaker tells each unengaged man to propose to the woman he loves most, among those women to whom he has not yet proposed. Again, the matchmaker tells each woman that she can change her mate, if she instead prefers one of the new proposers. Each time a man proposes, it is with greater desperation, since he begins by proposing to his true love, then his second choice, third choice, and so on. Each time a woman changes her fiancé she becomes happier, because her new intended is someone she loves more! This continues in round after round, until finally there is no one left to propose, or be proposed to.

Suddenly I find myself, um, disengaged.

Here's a Java-based scenario to illustrate how this is supposed to work.

The online-dating service OkCupid has developed something called "The Stranger Arranger", which ostensibly works along these principles:

There's a famous math puzzle called the "Stable Marriage Problem"... It refers to the difficulties of pairing people up in a way that keeps everyone happy or at least trapped.

SO! We've written a program that every Sunday publicly matches people under the constraints that:

  • You're paired with exactly one person, and that person is also paired with you.
  • There's some REASON we think you should talk.
  • Every week, that reason will change, and the system will get smarter.
  • Only singles with pictures qualify, and only those who are seeking dating and/or sex, according to their profile. Even then, some weeks you might not make the list.

The list (which, I need hardly mention, never has included me) actually links to the methodology, based upon the number of questions they've answered and the conclusions that can be reached therefrom. (There are 2300 questions in the pool; I don't know if anyone has answered all of them. I've answered 190.) I suppose it's possible for people to fib, but they say it doesn't help to do so:

You could increase your average match score by picking answers that you think the average person wants to hear, but your matches won't like you as much. Look at it this way: Ok matching effectively sorts people by how much you'd like them and vice versa. Lying doesn't introduce you to better people; it screws the order up. By answering honestly, you'll find people who really like you best for who you are. Cheesy, but true.

And, well, at least it isn't government cheese.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:54 PM to Table for One )
18 September 2006
Strange search-engine queries (33)

Traffic was off a smidgen this week, but that didn't stop the hardy searchers from sending their requests down the line and into my referrer logs.

worlds sexiest female 10 year old:  It is highly improper to lust after ten-year-old girls unless you're about ten yourself. Maybe even then.

will there be any 103 Dalmatians?  Those puppies have jumped the shark by now.

What's in the sack?  If it's four in the morning, me.

what is the privates sector:  From about here down.

chaz republican:  Not.

what's the importance of the witnesses verifying the resurrection:  Would you believe it otherwise?

wife and i like being nude in our yard, neighbors complain:  Two words: higher fence.

single women cop flak for being attractive:  And quite unfairly, too, I think.

republican women in pantyhose:  Not a reliable indicator, in my experience.

humor and meanness:  Don't leave home without them.

3x5x4 fanfiction:  Short stories, I assume.

Where wise men never go:  Between Al Sharpton and a camera.

Stop fumbling with that bra strap. Secrets of the one handed bra strap release revealed by an expert:  I don't even want to know what he's doing with his other hand.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 6:11 AM to You Asked For It )
Think smallish

I like big developments as much as the next guy — unless, of course, the next guy is the one who plans to make his fortune on them — but for those of us who aren't in the real-estate game, it's the small stuff that makes an inner-city area more interesting and more livable.

Michael Bates offers a case in point: the Gypsy Coffee House in Tulsa's Oldtown. The name comes from the long-defunct Gypsy Oil Company, whose building was boarded up in the 1970s and more or less abandoned.

New owner Bradley René Garcia took over on the last day of 1998 and faced a massive task: there were interior walls to remove, leaks to fix, amenities to install. It took six months to get to the point where he could start building what he wanted.

Still, it's paying off. The second floor is now occupied by a salon; the coffee house is open weeknights until midnight, Friday and Saturday until 3 am. Says Garcia:

I am grateful to be given the chance, through hard work and sacrifice, to leave Tulsa a little bit better off, and to leave something better than it was before & that will be here, long after I am gone.

We do need the big guys with the vast visions; but we need folks like Mr Garcia, devoted to the smaller things, just as much.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:46 AM to Soonerland )
It's in the pantry with the cupcakes

You or I know the words to dozens, hundreds, maybe even thousands of songs, but they don't just spill out of us: if we're going to recite those words, first we have to sing them, if only in the back of the mind, to get them to come out. It helps, of course, if the actual song is playing, as DragonAttack notes:

As I drove along 94 the classic rock station decided to favor me with a play of Mrs. Robinson. Woo! Do-doo-doo-doo-dooo (chicka-boo, chicka-boo). I started to sing along when the verse began and as I was singing I was thinking about how I know all the words to the song and can't remember other things. It occurred to me that maybe I could remember the words because they were set to music and it was actually the music that caused a reflex action. In this case the reflex is being able to remember the words to the song.

A minute later I turned into the world's luckiest amateur scientist because I was able to instantly prove my hypothesis. Right as the where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? line started, I entered the Lowry Hill Tunnel and lost radio reception. I immediately forgot the words to the song and stumbled along as best I could. When I popped out of the tunnel barely twenty seconds later, not only was I still stumbling on the words, I had also lost the tempo and was half a line behind.

A-ha! I thought to myself, the music is the key to remembering the lyrics. That was an exciting conclusion, but I still have to figure out why I can remember songs and not shopping lists.

Would setting the shopping list to music perhaps help?

Permalink to this item ( posted at 10:00 AM to Tongue and Groove )
Tomorrow's sky: falling

WorldNetDaily is hyping this "exclusive" story about how Muslims are being warned to leave the US because an attack is imminent. I have my doubts. For one thing, it's in WND, which has a way to go before it can claim to be America's finest news source. For another, it's not like your friendly neighborhood Islamic terrorists pay a whole lot of attention to collateral damage: as long as they kill the ones they're supposed to kill, they've done their job, and anyone else in the vicinity — well, Allah will sort it out.

David Weigel smirks:

Stuff like this reminds me how the mainstream media doesn't quite get the way terrorism plays around the country. There's a reason why Food Lion shelf-stackers in Lincoln, Nebraska are even more worried about terrorism than Manhattanites.

Or would be, if there were any; there isn't a single Food Lion within fifty miles of Lincoln.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 1:17 PM to Say What? )
We take dollars or Kruegerrands

In Wes Craven's 1984 chiller A Nightmare on Elm Street, the part of Elm Street was played by Los Angeles' Genesee Avenue.

And now 1428 North Genesee, which you'll recognize the moment you see it, is for sale for $1,095,000.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the place needs "some work."

By comparison, Windows is ironclad

If you didn't trust Diebold voting machines before — I didn'tthis won't make you feel any better about them:

The access panel door on a Diebold AccuVote-TS voting machine — the door that protects the memory card that stores the votes, and is the main barrier to the injection of a virus — can be opened with a standard key that is widely available on the Internet.

Yes, really:

Chris Tengi, a technical staff member, asked to look at the key that came with the voting machine. He noticed an alphanumeric code printed on the key, and remarked that he had a key at home with the same code on it. The next day he brought in his key and sure enough it opened the voting machine.

This seemed like a freakish coincidence — until we learned how common these keys are.

Chrisís key was left over from a previous job, maybe fifteen years ago. He said the key had opened either a file cabinet or the access panel on an old VAX computer. A little research revealed that the exact same key is used widely in office furniture, electronic equipment, jukeboxes, and hotel minibars. Itís a standard part, and like most standard parts itís easily purchased on the Internet. We bought several keys from an office furniture key shop — they open the voting machine too. We ordered another key on eBay from a jukebox supply shop. The keys can be purchased from many online merchants.

This isn't quite as stupid as setting the default password to PASSWORD, but it's close.

These machines, and the people who tried to pass them off as secure, should be locked away — and the keys should be thrown away.

(Via E. M. Zanotti.)

Update, 19 September: Tim Blair sees an upside: "Presumably Diebold voting machine keys can open minibars. That was probably the plan all along."

Permalink to this item ( posted at 3:51 PM to Dyssynergy )
Strong to the finich

J. M. Branum on those spinach scare stories:

First we all need to learn a lot more where our food comes from, and seek to buy our food from sources that we can get to know (preferably locally).

Second, folks who want to enjoy spinach this fall and winter would be well served to plant some asap (spinach does great in Oklahoma in the fall and winter).

Third, donít believe what this story says about the use of manure as a fertilizer. The problem wasn't with manure, but rather with how it is used. Manure could be used safely if applied long before the growing season or it had been composted first.

Fourth, donít trust the "Organic" label on food products. Unfortunately, corporate America has ruined [it] to such an extent that [it] means almost nothing.

With regard to that fourth item, I suspect USDA has been a contributing villain. A recent proposal of theirs would redefine "grass-fed" beef to include the use of non-grass feedstock and doesn't insist on actual grazing on pasture lands, which makes me suspect that they come up with stuff like this on a regular basis. (Found here.)

And yes, you can still get spinach in a can, but it's kinda salty and definitely soggy and not all that helpful for beating up Bluto.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 8:17 PM to Worth a Fork )
19 September 2006
ESPN: The Visa

As though they haven't expanded the brand enough: ESPN now has a "Total Access" Visa card which pays extra rewards for buying network schwag and, assuming you have an NBA veteran's salary and can afford to accumulate the necessary points, will actually get you into some ESPN-specific events. Washington Mutual is issuing this Visa for ESPN; I'm waiting to see if Fox Sports comes up with a Best Damn MasterCard, Period.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 6:02 AM to Common Cents )
Yeah, but they all do that

I've never written any genre fiction, unless there's a genre called "sucky," but from what I've read, I have to believe that an essential component thereof is an adroit manipulation of cliché: if your characters are stock, they should be at least recognizable stock.

Or maybe not. Major romance fan Tara Marie has some serious questions:

Do all redheads have fiery tempers and green eyes? Are all Italians hotheads? Can you imagine what a red-headed Italianís temper must be like?

[shudder]

Why do 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Ö generation Hispanic, Italian and Cajun men all revert back to their grandparents' mother tongue while making love?

If they lapsed into Latin, you'd suspect them of having a surplice in the closet somewhere.

Should all vampires be tormented, wear black and speak without ever using a contraction?

I had an idea once for a vampire from Georgia (our Georgia, where Atlanta, not Tbilisi, is the capital), complete with (faint) accent, a disdain for monochrome garb, and a fondness for NASCAR. I could not, however, bring myself to call him "Count Dacula."

Does "feisty" in the back blurb mean the heroine will inevitably do something stupid enough to need rescuing by the hero?

"Feisty," in my experience, is a substitute for "short": regardless of whatever attitude she may be copping at any particular moment, no one will ever refer to Elle Macpherson as "feisty." In fact, people over five-eight in general are never described as "feisty" unless they play in the National Basketball Association, in which case the cutoff is six-one.

I need hardly point out that this does not at all preclude stupidity.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:35 AM to Almost Yogurt )
Uh-oh, the D word

Editorial comment by the Telegraph:

The Pope quotes a barbed medieval criticism of Islamic violence in the course of a scholarly discourse, and Muslims all over the world go into uproar; churches are firebombed. The Prime Minister's wife delivers a playful slap to a cheeky teenager, and six detectives rush to question her.

We are living in a world that has lost not only its sense of proportion but also its ability to discriminate.

And the enablers of this loss chant in unison: "But discrimination is wrong!" As, of course, they must; having misappropriated the word for their own purposes, they must now enforce their trademark.

We suspect that Western public opinion is not displeased that Benedict has said the unsayable. Now it is time for other churchmen to tell their Muslim counterparts that, in addition to dishing out criticism, they must learn how to take it.

Islam has swords; Scientology has lawyers. Deprived of these, neither of them would dare pose as a religion, let alone demand a role on the world stage.

Yes, I've heard about those "moderate" Muslims. I think I've even met one or two. Until they figure out some way to shut down — and shut up — the maniacs in their midst, they're the exceptions that prove the rule.

(Muchas gracias: Scribal Terror.)

Come over, Rover

Rover badgeWhen Ford bought Land Rover from BMW in 2000, the Germans retained the rights to the unlanded "Rover" name, though Ford was offered first place in line when and if BMW decided to let it go. And BMW didn't let it go, even though the Chinese automaker SAIC subsequently bought up the remnants of Rover's actual product line.

Now Ford has exercised its option and taken over rights to the Rover badge, reportedly for a payment of £6 million. Initial speculation was that Ford simply wanted to keep Rover and Land Rover together for trademark-protection purposes, but now a new notion is being floated: Ford might want to assign Rover to Mazda for use as a luxury marque.

Seeing the success of their Japanese competitors' high-end labels — Lexus, Acura, Infiniti — Mazda in the early 1990s sought to set up a brand of its own, and came up with both a name (Amati) and a car (the Millenia). Mazda's ongoing financial problems woes killed off the plan, though the Millenia was eventually offered with a Mazda badge for eight model years (1995-2002). But Mazda is on a roll, or a zoom, these days, and Ford, having financial problems of its own, knows perfectly well that the markup on luxury brands is way more than they can hope for on Fusions or Foci.

I have my doubts that this will ever come off. To me, it makes more sense to have Rover become to Jaguar what Mercury is to Lincoln: a way to catch people at the dealerships without forcing the fancier label downmarket. But given Lincoln's abandonment of the high-end car market — their flagship is now the Navigator, fercryingoutloud — it's hard to imagine Ford having this much sense.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 9:36 AM to Driver's Seat )
And then along came Jones

Charles Graham Jones, who served two terms as Mayor of Oklahoma City (1896-97, 1901-03), is honored as the Father of the Oklahoma State Fair in a Centennial retrospective by Doug Loudenback.

From the Daily Oklahoman, 6 January 1907, Jones makes his pitch:

"The establishment of a great state fair in Oklahoma is imperative and now is the opportune time," said C. G. Jones yesterday when asked as to the outlook for such an institution.

"A state fair is not a local affair, but is of interest to all people of the state. Oklahoma City is the logical selection on account of the location and the admirable railroad facilities to enable the patrons to reach the fair."

Asked if he would become a stockholder in an association if such were organized, Mr. Jones replied:

"Yes, I will take considerable stock if the business men of this city will get behind the proposition and push it to completion, for a fair is of vital importance, not only to the business interests but in a larger way to the agriculturists, horticulturists and stock raisers of the new state."

With the 100th State Fair of Oklahoma now underway, it's time to give Mr Jones his due:

I've not found anything calling Charles G. Jones the "founder", "benefactor", or other title of the Oklahoma State Fair in Oklahoma City. Yet, from what I've read in the Daily Oklahoman, it is safe to say that, today, when ... eating your corn dogs and/or going vertical on the space needle, it would do you no harm for you to say, "Thanks, C.G. Jones, to you and your associates, for making this fine day in State Fair Park, possible."

Indeed. I looked around my place for references to Mr Jones, and turned up this, from a fall 2004 Spottings:

The little westside Mexican restaurant called Zacatecas has been replaced by a little westside Mexican restaurant called Red Onion, whose owners are very likely unaware of a highly-dissimilar establishment with the same name that existed here in the 90s. The 1890s, that is; the Red Onion of the Oklahoma Territory days was a notorious "disorderly house," if you will, that was a primary target for the administration of Mayor Charles G. "Gristmill" Jones, who took office in 1896 pledging to clean up this wild and woolly town. (Among other things, Jones, who really did own a mill, was the president of the Oklahoma Territorial Fair Association, predecessor to the present-day Oklahoma State Fair; the city of Jones, northeast of town, is named for him.)

And this, in turn, gives me an opportunity to point to all of Doug Loudenback's historical material, which is an invaluable resource for those who'd like to know just how it is Oklahoma City has come so far — and where it came from in the first place.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 2:10 PM to City Scene )
Regular guys

One political pitch I'm seeing more of these days runs something like this:

I found this ad from Burrage particularly funny. On the front, in an obviously posed photo, he's sitting in a porch rocker reading a newspaper and the caption says, "What makes this guy different from you?" On the inside, in huge letters it says, "NOTHING," then below that, in smaller letters, "And That's The Reason He's Our Best Choice For State Senate."

Really!? Someone "just like me" is the best choice for State Senate? Maybe I should run. The really funny — and insulting — thing about this is that Sean Burrage is not just like me. This ad is not aimed only at me, of course; it's aimed at everyone in his district. So is he saying that we are all alike? I know a few people besides myself who would take exception to that assumption.

There's an unspoken assumption behind this to the effect that if you're not just like our candidate, well, you're weird, and we don't want your stinking vote anyway, you weirdo. (Well, actually, we do, but we'd prefer you didn't tell your wacky friends about it.)

Burrage is a Democrat, but this ploy can also be found in the Republicans' toolbox. I got one today from Trebor Worthen, House District 87 incumbent, with the following shibboleth: "He Shares Our Values." Some of them, maybe; some of us, maybe.

Do I want someone like me in the Legislature? Let's see: cheap so-and-so, check; principle before expediency, check; vicious, nasty demeanor, check and check again. Hmmm. When's the filing date for 2010?

20 September 2006
Trussrippers will be persecuted

A rule to live by: "If thy neighbor offend thee, give unto his child a drum set."

Here's the next best thing:

Warning

(Seen in a Las Cruces, New Mexico coffeehouse by Kathleen Fasanella.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 6:16 AM to Say What? )
Remind me to set up an autoresponder

Some people wind up in their dream jobs. I am not one of them. However, no matter how much I might be annoyed by what I have to do to earn my keep, and sometimes I wish they'd import a sackful of Iranian mullahs to work in there for a week — put the fear of God into them, it would — I am eternally grateful that I don't have to deal with jerks customer inquiries.

And maybe I can strike that <strike> tag:

it seems to me that the ability to be anonymous on the net has caused people to become much ruder. i work in customer service. most of my interaction is based via e-mail correspondence. people leave comments on our site when they like something, donít like something, or canít find something.

but instead of being specific about what they were doing or what they were trying to find, they say things like "you guys are idiots".

From there, it descends to "you suck," and farther.

what makes people think that this is okay? seriously? do they not think real people read these things? do they not care? how do they think this is going to help them get the answers they seek?

Mere answers won't give them the satisfaction they desire.

I didn't invent this technique, but I recommend it highly. Write back to the offender with the following piece of boilerplate:

Dear Sir or Madam:

I regret to inform you that you may have been a victim of identity theft. The following correspondence was received with your name attached:

[paste copy of offending email]

Identity theft is something we take very seriously today, and I wish you good luck in finding the dishonest, conniving asshole who sent that.

Sincerely, ...

Even if it doesn't work, you'll feel better.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:19 AM to Wastes of Oxygen )
Hey, scratch this

British scientists have determined that little $5 and $10 wins in the lotto won't do anything for your long-term happiness.

Get up into four figures, though, and you're getting somewhere:

Andrew Oswald, a professor of economics at the University of Warwick, and Jonathan Gardner of the financial management firm Watson Wyatt, say a major money prize isn't necessary. They determined medium-sized lottery wins ranging from about $2,000 to $225,000 had a long-term sustained impact in the overall happiness of the winners.

On average, two years after their win, medium-sized lottery winners had a mental well-being score 1.4 points better than previously — meaning, loosely, two years after their win they were slightly more than 10 percent happier than the average person without a win or only a tiny lottery win.

I'm hoping for $7,599.

Why, yes, I did get my Visa bill yesterday. Why do you ask?

(Via Fark.com.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 8:31 AM to Common Cents )
The Hag in the slammer

A brief rundown of Merle Haggard's involuntary commitments:

1946-1951: various stints in juvenile hall
1952: Fred C. Nelles School for Boys, Whittier, CA (ran away)
1952-1953: Preston School of Industry, Ione, CA (released, sent back after an assault charge)
1957-1960: San Quentin (sentenced to 15 years for robbery, subsequently paroled)

Haggard was pardoned in 1972 by then-Governor Ronald Reagan.

(Love ya, Diane.)

Illusions I recall

Victorino Matus wonders if the magic has gone out of magic:

[T]here is a pervading sense that magic is not what it used to be. The turn of the last century was considered the "golden age" of magic. It was a time when audiences around the world were left spellbound by the death-defying acts of Harry Houdini, who left such a magical impression that after he died some of his followers tried to contact him beyond the grave.

[Andy] Dallas, who presides over the oldest association of magicians [the Society of American Magicians], says that magic's image tends to change over time. "In the 1960s," he explains, "we had the Scientific Age and magic was at an all-time low. Then along comes Doug Henning in the 1970s with his long hair, the new face of magic, and it's back." (A flamboyant illusionist, Mr. Henning performed his hit "The Magic Show" for more than four years on Broadway.) Mr. Dallas says that we are currently experiencing a decline, but a temporary one.

Cyclical? Or something else at work?

There are a number of factors responsible for this. One is technology: With advances in computer-generated imagery, magic on TV has become suspect. (Would anyone be impressed today by David Copperfield's floating over the Grand Canyon, as he did in 1984?) There may also be an image problem too — magicians are, for lack of a better word, strange.

But that's only the front of the cabinet:

The greatest threat to magic, however, may come from within, when illusionists decide to reveal secrets of the trade. One tenet of the Society of American Magicians' "Framework for the 21st Century" reads, "We are opposed to the exposure of all magic whether by purposeful acts or through careless or ill-prepared performance."

In 1997, Fox aired "Magic Secrets Revealed," in which a masked magician showed the audience how certain tricks worked. Andy Dallas called the show "incredibly damaging." "We very much opposed it but there wasn't much we could legally do."

I sat through every installment of "...Revealed," somewhere between transfixed and awed. And pace Mr Dallas, I don't think my interest in magic was at all diminished by getting a look behind the scenes: if anything, I got to marvel at how everything had to come together just so to make the illusions work.

And what's more, illusions are constantly evolving: while the basics remain much the same, the execution changes constantly, and there's enough competition among magicians to ensure that there will be even spiffier tricks to come. I remember back in the 1980s watching a variation on the old sawing-a-woman-in-half theme on some cable show, and saying something to the effect that "You know what would jazz this up? If they sliced her lengthwise." Sure enough, a few years later, I was watching another magic show on cable, and the assistant was propped up perpendicular to the table, and a circular saw dropped from the ceiling to split her right down the middle. The next step? Earlier this year, Cris "Mindfreak" Angel ripped someone in half on a park bench with no equipment at all. (Oh, come on. It's a trick.)

Fred Casto, who heads up the International Brotherhood of Magicians, saw no lasting damage from Fox's brief foray into illusion exposure:

"[I]n the long run, I don't think it hurts. You could take the principles that were exposed on television last week and turn around and fool the person who watched that program today with those same principles. You might just have to dress it a little differently."

It will certainly work on me.

With the rise of blogdom, the next Grand Illusion should be obvious: set up a giant blender on stage and introduce a litter of puppies.

Oh, come on, it's a trick.

Quote of the week

Okiedoke's Mike Hermes, on the prospects for those of us who toil at the keyboard:

[P]eople like the idea of self-publishing, but it's a lot of work. Some people just get burned out real quick, thinking they're going to get famous or thinking they're going to make lots of money.

Let's see. I've been on this soapbox since the spring of '96.

  • Actual fame achieved: Zip
  • Actual money made: Somewhere in the minus triple digits

Your mileage, of course, may vary.

Incidentally, this is the last day to send your ballot for the 2006 Okie Blog Awards, which will be presented to a number of folks other than me on Saturday at the Round-up.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 6:31 PM to QOTW )
21 September 2006
I started out with this, I think

What do you give somebody who has everything?

Why, Nothing, of course.

The sales pitch is certainly encouraging:

This lovingly crafted vial of emptiness is filled to the brim with unfettered nothingness. Free from the burden of possessions, the weight of responsibility, Nothing is as idiotic as it is brilliant.

Indeed even old Macbeth, though mad as a kipper, realised that life, whilst full of sound and fury (and that was before iPods) is inherently daft and ultimately signifies Nothing. And let us not forget, that 'Nothing' is so important that most of our universe — and the contents of a lot of people's heads — appears to be made up of it.

Hard to tell from the packaging, but I don't believe this is actually vacuum-packed.

(Via Popgadget.)

209

If you remember RoboCop, you'll remember the high-tech yet low-reliability Enforcement Droid 209, which had trouble negotiating stairs — and that was one of its good points.

Make it a point to see Carnival of the Vanities #209, hosted by Lucy's Dilemma, which might not be the swan song for the oldest of the blog carnivals.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 6:23 AM to Blogorrhea )
Waiter, cancel my ham and eggs, please

After this, I don't think anyone has the moral authority to mock pork rinds.

(Lots of neat stuff at menosblog.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:16 AM to Worth a Fork )
Looking out for Number 2

A few eons ago, Sheri S. Tepper wrote of Mavin Manyshaped, one of a clan of shapeshifters, who, once her powers develop, flees from the family compound, lest she be abused like the other women in the clan. Mavin takes her younger brother with her; to speed the process along, she assumes the shape of a horse.

So far, this is a fairly routine fantasy concept, but Tepper is never routine. If you think about it — obviously she did — the Mavin/horse is going to have to eat, and eat a lot, during a long journey like this, and once she returns to human form, well, what's going to happen to all that bulk she was carrying as an equine?

Exactly. Tepper doesn't dwell on the point, but she doesn't evade it either.

Nor does Lileks sidestep the issue:

[L]ast yearís Magic of Pegasus ... was really the Phantom Menace of the Barbie movie genre. Not to give anything away, but it turned out that the talking Pegasus was actually Barbie's sister, which was rather creepy. I suppose they figured it was a little girl's dream — a flying horse who's also your bestest sister ever — but if you thought things through, flying horses would necessarily drop huge pies from great heights. Once your sister had retaken human form (and started borrowing your stuff without asking) she couldn't use the bathroom without making you wonder whether she'd taken out a cottage or two with a few high-velocity sky apples.

Do not expect this wisdom to be reflected in this year's My Little Pony® product line.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 9:02 AM to Almost Yogurt )
Boren says he's staying put

Rep. Dan Boren is the lone Democrat in the state's Congressional delegation, and his voting record is not exactly typical of Democrats in Congress; after speculation at The Hill that Boren might jump to the Republican side of the aisle, the Oklahoman revealed today Boren had told them last week he had no such plans.

"There's not a chance that I would ever change parties," said Boren, though he admitted that he had registered as an Independent during a period when he was working for Corporation Commissioner Denise Bode, a Republican who sought a Congressional seat of her own this year.

I feel for the guy. I twitch at some of the things national Democrats come up with, but I have no reason to think I'd feel any more comfortable were I to throw in my lot with the GOP.

When I think about you I retouch myself

Conventional wisdom says that the camera adds ten pounds. (Which, of course, makes me ask: "How do I get these nine or ten cameras off me?")

The standard solution, as Katie Couric knows, is good ol' Photoshop. But Photoshop is expensive — even Photoshop Elements, the stripped-down version with about four-fifths the functionality, isn't exactly cheap — and the learning curve for either is steep.

Hewlett-Packard has a workaround: cameras that can adjust the ratio between width and height to create a "slimming" effect which might, under certain conditions, be somewhat convincing.

Remember when photographs used to be good enough for evidence? Fuggeddaboudit.

(Via Salon.com's Broadsheet.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 3:15 PM to Dyssynergy )
Audio outreach

This morning I found a plastic bag by the front door. Being in a rush to get to work (yeah, right), I tossed it on the counter.

So the opening was left for this afternoon. Inside I found a 5.5-by-8.5 postcard and an audio CD, both bearing the indicia of Grace Covenant Church, about a mile from me on the other side of the Northwest Distressway.

The CD, which ran a little over eight minutes, featured a pitch by Pastor Lance Gutteridge and a couple of songs by Worship Pastor (I leave it to someone with more expertise than I have to explain this term) Kyle Cantrell. It was definitely a professional-sounding package, up to the last couple of seconds, where things cut off a bit abruptly; as outreach methods go, this strikes me as a pretty good one. Oh, and according to the card, they're having a Good Ole Tent Revival and Ice Cream Social this coming Sunday at 6 pm.

Amusingly, CDDB reads this CD as Barry White's Just for You.

Exercising the editorial license

A fairly typical Ann Coulter paragraph, as such things go, found at Townhall.com:

[Sen. John] McCain, along with Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. John Warner — or, as the Times now calls him, the "courtly Virginian" ("fag-hag by proxy to Elizabeth Taylor" being beneath his dignity these days) — want terrorists treated like Americans accused of crimes, with full access to classified information against them and a list of the undercover agents involved in their capture. Liberals' interest in protecting classified information started and ended with Valerie Plame.

Human Events Online ran the same Coulter column, with one notable excision. Here's the same paragraph:

McCain, along with Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. John Warner — or, as the Times now calls him, the "courtly Virginian" — want terrorists treated like Americans accused of crimes, with full access to classified information against them and a list of the undercover agents involved in their capture. Liberals' interest in protecting classified information started and ended with Valerie Plame.

Coulter's copy at her own site reads like the Townhall.com version, so it's probably safe to assume that Human Events Online excised the "fag-hag" reference. Not that the deletion bothers me particularly — I suspect most people who know John Warner know about Liz and don't really give a flip — but it is an indication that, to some editorial eyes anyway, some cheap shots might be too cheap after all.

A commenter named "carlitos" reported this discrepancy in a thread at Patterico's this morning.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:00 PM to Dyssynergy )
22 September 2006
Anybody headed up to Iowa?

Bring me back something in a 91-octane, wouldja please?

Gas prices

(Found at MSN Autos last night; reformatted for narrower screens.)

Update, 8:30 am: This shot was taken by Steve Gooch for the Oklahoman:

Gas prices

Dayum.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 6:02 AM to Family Joules )
Downright shifty

I learned to drive in a VW Microbus, which, if nothing else, instilled within me a level of respect for simple mechanical devices. And for twenty years I stirred my own gears. Even lost a gear once: one day I was pulling out of the parking lot, shoved the lever into first, pulled back into second, and then — "Hey, where the hell did third go?"

Actually, it was still there, but out of position, and I'd toasted the synchros somewhere along the way, which has something to do with how I learned to double-clutch. Not that I'm particularly good at it, especially now, having lived with automatics for a decade and bad knees for the last few of those years.

Still, I think I could get used to one of the newer manumatics. When Gwendolyn gets time off for maintenance, the shop sends me off in a G35 so equipped, and while it doesn't have quite the tactile thrill or the speed of a proper stick shift, having the right hand working something other than the radio buttons is good for the soul.

On the other hand, you can't do a 4-2 or 5-2 downshift with a manumatic to save your life: you have to go one step at a time. The same is true of the new sequentials, though they're decidedly faster. No trick with a stick, so long as you keep your revs within reason. (Dymphna, my ancient Toyota, had ratios spaced closely enough to enable a 5-2 at any speed up to 70 or so without hitting the redline. Before you ask, I replaced three clutches over 195,000 miles.) And even the lowly Ford CD4E slushbox in my most recent Mazda was amenable to 4-2 if you stomped the loud pedal hard enough without actually hitting the rev limiter.

Some hyperexpensive luxosleds come with automatics that supposedly do exactly the driver's bidding, due to really clever mapping or elaborate control systems or an enormous number of gears. (The new Lexus LS 460 has an eight-speed. Yikes.) I've never driven a CVT, so I have no idea what it's like to have infinite gears, but I suspect the driving feel might be a trifle off-putting. Maybe my best bet would be to save up for the G35 with the six-speed stick — and for a pair of knee replacements.

And it would probably help my state of mind if I quit coming across ridiculous Google searches like what does gear 2 and L do in auto transmission. For God's sake, man, RTFM.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:15 AM to Driver's Seat )
Pried loose from the bench

Maciej Lampe, nailed to the Hornets' bench for part of last season, then traded to Houston, where he was promptly epoxied to the Rockets' bench, will apparently get some serious minutes this season:

Lampe signed a one-year deal with Russian Dynamo St. Petersburg yesterday. Lampe, last season with NO Hornets (2 games) and Houston Rockets (4 games) is satisfied and wants to prove his basketball skills. "I'm very happy with the decision. I could also sign with Chicago Bulls, but I didn't want to be benched all season, I want to play! People from Russia confirmed that I will play 25-30 minutes per game — and this is good, very good option for me."

Lampe played two years in Spain before signing with the NBA in 2003.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 9:11 AM to Net Proceeds )
What the world needs now

Love, sweet love?

"More dried-up, bitter old post-menopausal hags," says Andrea Harris:

No one suffers fools less gladly than a tart, astringent crone who is no longer in thrall to her hormones and thus has gained mental strength to compensate handsomely for the wasted years she spent dripping and seeping. However, thanks to the miracles of modern medicine [/SARCASM ALERT], there are fewer of those every year. No, most women these days, far from being dried up, are far too moist for longer than God and nature intended them to be, in fact they are positively drenched with the stolen juices of other women's youths. Elizabeth Bathory used to bathe in the blood of young virgins in order to stay perpetually young — today's Modern Woman v. 2.0 soaks in a daily bath of the slaughtered innocence of society, where thanks to the zombie stinking of the grave of dead philosophies that is the contemporary "feminist" movement women are free to be sluts and nothing else. And paired with this evil liquid substance is the older, yet no less poisonous, potion that is traditional female morbidity. Too many women of my acquaintance (young and old) are addicted to those creepy medical shows that seem to only feature children with deforming diseases or people who have been in horrifying disfiguring accidents. They are also fond of those shows that feature another kind of deforming disease, the Jerry Springer-type trash talk show. And of course, there is that old standby, the soap opera. And these "likes" carry over into what they read; and that fact combined with the hold Zombie Feminism has on the literary world, has produced the Oprah-approved victim-novel.

Or, on occasion, the Oprah-approved bogus memoir.

I think, though, this "free to be sluts" business is as much a matter of politics as of philosophy: the only sort of freedom unequivocally endorsed by the left, and therefore by its client subcultures, is sexual freedom. (Which, of course, comes with chains of its own, but that's another issue.)

And I suspect that the endless parade of feebs and fools that crosses the television screen between Good Morning America and World News Tonight is intended, at some level, as a self-esteem booster for the customers, since there is nothing, after all, more important than self-esteem, and even the least-favored of us can feel superior to that sorry lot. It's Socrates updated: the unexamined life is a source of entertainment.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 10:51 AM to Almost Yogurt )
Bumper mulch

A Roseburg, Oregon woman was injured when she crashed her 1971 riding mower into a parked van this week.

In addition to suffering a broken leg, Kirstina Burkhart was written up by police for careless driving and driving without insurance.

Two questions:

  1. You need insurance for a riding mower (okay, it was in the street at the time) in Oregon?
  2. How the heck do you get one of these contraptions to last thirty-five years?

(Via Fark.com.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 11:21 AM to Wastes of Oxygen )
Step 2 is the hardest

Okay, one white iPod. Here's the pitch:

Remember that dude who gradually traded up from a red paper clip to a house? Well, I was thinking about that this morning and got to wondering: What if you took that scheme, but started with something of substantial value, something most people actually want, something like an iPod? Then I did some math:

1000 paper clips cost $5.48 at Staples which means a single red paper clip is worth 0.548 cents.

The average home price in Saskatchewan (where the dude finally traded up for a house) is C$134,000 which converts to about $119,000 in American money or approximately 21,715,328 times the value of the original paperclip.

So, I concluded that if I begin with a lightly-used 20gb iPod Photo, which appears to be worth about $150, I should be able to trade up to something valued at around $3,257,299,200. The only question left was what I wanted that costs around $3 billion.

What he decided he wanted: Dreamworks SKG, which was acquired by Viacom recently for $1.6 billion.

Me, I think he's gonna have to adjust his goal slightly to allow for the been-there-done-that factor. I hear Facebook's for sale.

(Via Defamer.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 3:03 PM to Almost Yogurt )
Tequila!

Danny Flores, saxman for the Champs who wrote the humongous 1958 hit "Tequila," died in Orange County, California this week at 77.

Flores, credited as "Chuck Rio," also contributed the vocal — all one word of it. "Tequila" is arguably the most popular rock instrumental of all time, with sales over six million worldwide. Flores left the band shortly thereafter; the Champs went on to chart eight singles, including "Too Much Tequila" (by guitarist Dave Burgess) and a B-side called "Tequila Twist," on which Jim Seals (later of Seals and Crofts) did the sax work. (Dash Crofts was also a latter-day Champ.)

A family friend said that they would indeed play "Tequila" at Flores' funeral, which seems only right.

Update, 24 September: Terry reports: "'Tequila' has been banned from high school pep band repertoires here since 1998. That old zero-tolerance thing, doncha know." Sheesh.

23 September 2006
Dogging Trebor

Last year I was the recipient of a flyer from the mysterious "Citizens Against Corporate Welfare," which took Rep. Trebor Worthen to task for supporting a couple of bills which they (and, for that matter, I) didn't much like.

The Citizens, whoever they may be, are now cranking out material as "Citizens for Corrupt-Free Government," which sounds a little awkward — "corrupt" works better as an adjective or a verb, I think, than as a noun — but while they may have changed their name, they haven't changed their target.

Worthen, says their new flyer, was one of 32 Republicans running for the Oklahoma House who got money from Ernest Istook's First Freedom Fund PAC; what's more, the first contribution to said PAC came from your friend and his, disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

I'm just jaded enough to wonder if this is a first: Istook bestowing funds on something actually in Oklahoma.

We're off to see the bloggers

Those wonderful bloggers of ours.


If you don't blog, but you think you might like to, come anyway: at 1 pm there will be a 90-minute Blogging 101 workshop, led by the eminent Sean Gleeson, which is free to the general public, though space is limited.

The bash is at the Bricktown Central Plaza Hotel, Reno at Martin Luther King, east of downtown — and no, not actually in Bricktown.

Update, 12:45 pm: The crowd is starting to filter in, and of course we prefer our crowds filtered.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 10:29 AM to Blogorrhea , Soonerland )
They gave me the bird

The 2006 Okie Blogger Bash continues, even as I type, and the Awards have been given. Very good turnout, and a lot of deserving winners.

Me? Um, I was the last one anybody mentioned.

Congratulations to all the nominees.

Update, 10:10 pm: Don Danz has all the details.

Oh, and Monty? Serious voluptuosity.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 8:10 PM to Blogorrhea , Soonerland )
Beyond the Handi-Van

My knees are bad with a small b, by which is meant that they didn't actually give out on me during an unexpected bout of exercise on a Saturday night. I don't think they're going to get so capital-B Bad that I'll give up the walking shoes in favor of wheels, but if it ever comes to that, I want a ride in one of these:

[The] Dignity Star wheelchair-accessible limo [is] believed to be the first of its kind in North America. Based on a 2006 Dodge High Roof Sprinter 2500, the Dignity Star's cargo hold has been converted into a limo with all the opulent trimmings one would expect in any stretch, including 15- and 20-inch LCD TVs, a DVD/CD player, five-speaker sound system with wireless headphones, and full dark window tint. There's also a curved leather couch inside that seats six and enough room for two wheelchairs to come aboard via the rear-mounted lift.

There's always the question of whether any overstuffed limousine should be tagged with a term like "Dignity," but what the heck: wheelchair users are just as entitled to bling as the rest of us.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 11:05 PM to Entirely Too Cool )
24 September 2006
Beyond dumbed down

Elton Gallegly represents California's 24th Congressional District, and if you're a constituent of his, here's how to reach him by email:

  1. Go to Write Your Representative at http://www.house.gov/writerep (or click on the Write Your Representative icon above).

  2. When the Write Your Representative page loads, on the right you will notice a drop-down box and two data boxes. The drop-down box is the one that states "State" next to it. With your mouse, click on the arrow to the right of the words "Choose one." A list of states will appear. Using your mouse, click on California. California should now appear alone in the drop-down box.

  3. Below the drop-down box is the word "ZIP." To the right of ZIP is a text box. Using your mouse, click inside the box and then type your 5-digit postal ZIP code using your keyboard. To the right of that are the words "+4 (if required)." Some Congressional Districts cross ZIP codes. If your ZIP code is in two or more Congressional Districts, you will need the extra four ZIP code digits to complete the process. If you do not know whether or not you need the "+4," use your mouse to click on the "Submit" button below the "ZIP" box. If you reach a page that says, inside a blue-bordered box at the top of the page, "You are represented by the Honorable Elton Gallegly," then you don't need the "+4" and can skip Step 4 and proceed to Step 5. If you reach a page that states "Finding Your 9-digit Zip Code — There are multiple Representatives who share your 5-digit ZIP code...." then go to Step 4.

  4. Using your mouse, click on the blue-highlighted words "ZIP+4 Lookup" in the red-bordered box with the heading "Finding Your 9-digit Zip Code." You will first go to a page that says you are leaving the U.S. House of Representatives and the House is not responsible for anything outside its domain. Wait a moment and the U.S. Postal ServiceĻs ZIP+4 Code Look-Up page will load. You only need to fill in four boxes. First, using your mouse, click inside the box to the right of the words "Delivery address (required)." Using your keyboard, type in your street address. Using your mouse again, click inside the box below that, to the right of "City*." Using your keyboard, type in your city. Using your mouse again, click inside the box below that, to the right of "State*." Using your keyboard, type in CA. Use your mouse to click in the box below that to the right of "ZIP." Using your keyboard, type in your 5-digit ZIP code. Using your mouse, click on the "Process" button below the "ZIP" box. You will come to a page that states "The standardized address is:" and then list your address with the ZIP+4 Code. Write down your ZIP+4 Code for future reference. At the top of the page, use your mouse to click on the "Back" button. Do it again. And again. One more time and you should be back at the main Write Your Representative page. Your state and ZIP should still be displayed. Using your mouse, click inside the box to the right of "+4 (if required)." Using your keyboard, type in the final four numbers of your ZIP+4 Code. Using your mouse, click on the "Submit" button below the "ZIP" box.

  5. You are now at the page that states inside a blue-bordered box at the top of the page "You are represented by The Honorable Elton Gallegly". Below the blue box and to the right are a series of text boxes with red words to their left, followed by some boxes with black words to their left. You are required to fill in the boxes to the right of the red words. The boxes to the right of the black words are optional, but would be helpful. First, using your mouse, click inside the box to the right of "Name*." Using your keyboard, type in your name. Using your mouse, click inside the box below that, to the right of the word "Address*." Using your keyboard, type in your street address. If your address — not counting your city, state and ZIP — uses more than one line, you can use your mouse to click inside the box below that and, using your keyboard, type in the second line to your address. If your address — not counting your city, state and ZIP — uses more than two lines, you can use your mouse to click inside the box below that and, using your keyboard, type in the third line to your address. Using your mouse, click inside the box to the right of the word "City*." Using your keyboard, type in your city. Your State, ZIP is already displayed. Using your mouse, click inside the box to the right of the words "Phone Number." Using your keyboard, type in your phone number. Using your mouse, click inside the box to the right of the words "E-mail Address." Using your keyboard, type in your e-mail address. Underneath that box is a button that states "Continue." Using your mouse, click on that button.

  6. You are now at the page where you can write your e-mail message and send it. At the top is a personalized message from Congressman Gallegly. Scroll down the page until you come to a text box below the words "To the Honorable Elton Gallegly." Using your mouse, click inside that box. Using your keyboard, write your e-mail message. Once you have finished composing your message, you will notice a button below the text box that states "Send your message." Using your mouse, click on that button.

  7. You should now be looking at a page that states: "Your message has been sent to your Representative. Thank you for writing." That completes the process.

I am, of course, gratified that he made sure you were supposed to write your e-mail message using your keyboard.

"Surely our Oklahoma Congressmen don't inflict this on us," I mused, and sure enough, they don't; at least our pack of pols assumes we can read actual forms and can fill them in without pages and pages of exposition. Lucas, Cole and Istook (3/4/5) send you through the ZIP+4 check, after which they have their own contact forms; Sullivan and Boren (1/2) take you right to their forms, although they will ask you for ZIP+4 thereupon. (The ZIP check, of course, is to make sure you really, truly live in their district.) Of course, if you have no idea who your Representative is, the generic "Write Your Representative" page to which Gallegly sends everyone is useful; if, however, you know you're in Gallegly's district — and why else would you be using an email contact form to reach him? — by the time you've completed all this you're going to wish he'd stuck with his decision to step down after this term.

(Via Doc Searls, who lives in California's 23rd District. "A pile of email instructions," he says of the Gallegly page, "that are only a little less complicated than those for, say, operating a zero-gravity toilet.")

Hybrid bicycle

Bicycles, of course, are, um, "people-powered." But some people provide more power than others. This Urban Terrain bike has electric-motor assist, just like a Honda Civic hybrid, to kick in when it sees a demand for its services: going uphill, for instance. (Downhill, the motor takes itself out of the loop entirely.)

The drawback, of course, is the extra 9 lb of battery pack, which takes about five hours to recharge and which brings the total weight of the bicycle up to almost 50 lb, on the high side for industrial-strength bikes. Still, if you're wanting a bicycle more for a commuting device — it folds up nicely — than for a workout machine, you might find this little darb endearing, and the $1199 price is not too daunting.

Descuentos originales

The Warehouse Market at 1 SE 59th has seemingly always been there: it opened in 1938, the Oklahoma City outpost of a Tulsa chain which still exists. This part of town is adjacent to the oil patch, and over the years it's transformed from a mostly-white working-class area to a mostly-Latino working-class area; as a business, the Warehouse Market knew it had to adapt to its new customer base.

And apparently they have. The Oklahoman has an occasional supplement called ¡Viva Oklahoma! which has the same articles in both English and Spanish; the ads are sometimes in English, sometimes in Spanish, and the Warehouse Market ad (page 5) is in Spanish, though it notes: "Se Habla Ingles." Just in case, you know.

Aside: The original Tulsa Warehouse Market was at 10th and Elgin; it closed in the 1970s, and twenty years later the Home Depot wanted to tear down the old Art Deco building to make room for one of its big boxes. Preservationists fought for the Market, and got some of what they wanted: the old façade was restored, and Home Depot built behind it. Michael Leland has photos.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 10:47 AM to City Scene )
With mallards toward none

Trophy duckWell, I suppose he is kinda cute, and if nothing else, I learned never to use the top of the range as a backdrop for a photo. (Note: I have replaced the original photo in this piece with Folger's Crystals a better one found at Okiedoke, shot by the intrepid Don Danz.) A dozen of these were handed out last night; I got the twelfth. (For the record, either three or four of my picks won their respective categories.) As for the rumors that I was seen on the actual dance floor, well, I plan to claim that all 15 or 20 people who have photographic evidence of the incident are buying material from AP and Reuters stringers and therefore you can't believe a word of it. (And anyway, Kurt Hochenauer is a better dancer.) I wonder if Dwight and Sarah have yet discovered that they're each entitled to 0.5 duck. And somewhere in the midst of it all, I asserted that this was my Best. Post. Ever. Nobody agreed.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 11:10 AM to Blogorrhea , Soonerland )
K. 2006

Composer Charles Gounod once said: "Mozart exists, and will exist, eternally; divine Mozart — less a name, more a soul descending to us from the heavens, who appeared on this earth, stayed for a little over thirty years, and left it all the more rejuvenated, richer and happier for his appearance."

If anything, Gounod was underestimating him. The independent film Mozartballs, named for the popular Salzburg confection, makes the case that Mozart's influence, the power of his music, the resilience of his spirit, is undiminished today, 250 years after his birth.

This film focuses on five individuals whose lives are literally transformed by that power: a retired schoolteacher in Switzerland, once despondent, now rescued; a composer who uses the original music to create new works in the same spirit (sort of "Amadeus ex machina," if you will); the first Austrian space traveler, for whom the music provided connections to both earth and sky; and a couple in Oklahoma who have found that spirit dwelling deep within themselves.

Or, in other words, Mozart lives! (Which, I discover, was a working title for the film.) If you've ever doubted it for a moment, Mozartballs will persuade you otherwise.

The US premiere was late last night at the Okie Blogger Roundup; being old and infirm, I was unable to attend — they buried poor Wolfgang at thirty-five, and I'm pushing fifty-three, fercryingoutloud — but Steph Waller was kind enough to set me up with a DVD of the current 56-minute version, for which I am grateful. This fall, an expanded cut (70 minutes or so) will be issued on DVD. It's worth your time just for the music — it's Mozart, after all — but the story is so compelling that you, too, may be touched by the spirit of the man from Salzburg.

(Playing while this post was written: Piano Concerto No. 17 in G major, K. 453, John O'Conor, Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Sir Charles Mackerras.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 4:21 PM to Almost Yogurt )
Virtual library index

If I ever have time to key in a thousand or so titles and authors, I, too, can be part of the LibraryThing. So far, they have 82,000 members and 5.9 million books, which is about six dozen books per member; while there are the usual vast numbers of extremely popular titles — some 6,000 folks report each of the Harry Potter books — over 1.2 million titles are listed as "unique." I'd be tempted to join just to see that list.

(With thanks to Jennifer, in whose Margin Notes I found the link, and David, who made the following rash statement: "The title of [this] post is pretty cool because it starts with the letter V and ends with the letter X. Tell me where you can find any other entry on any other blog with THAT spiffy feature! Uh-huh, I thought not.")

25 September 2006
Strange search-engine queries (34)

I was asked at the Blogger Roundup what percentage of my traffic came from search engines. The answer: forty to forty-five or so. However, very little of it is for stuff like this:

what color is an elephant?  Elephants? Red. Donkeys are blue. Questions are answered, though not more than two.

yarmulke foreskin:  Related, perhaps, but I suspect not the way you're thinking.

windshield arizona omaha steaks:  That glass gets hot in Phoenix, though probably not hot enough to grill a T-bone.

is it strange for men to want to wear women's lingerie:  Only if they want someone else to see them doing it.

gillette blades suck:  Well, actually, they scrape.

"some of them" asians "long legs":  Yes. The tall ones.

will gasoline take jewel glue off clothes:  Warm it up and let's see.

shots of girls in bikinis, bras, or nothing without penises:  Should I be grateful this isn't a request for shots of girls with penises?

oklahoma blog dust:  This is what happens when you don't post for two or three weeks.

why we should wear clothing suitable to our body figure:  Um, because otherwise we look like hell?

"itching powder" bra cups:  Here comes the next 40-year-old virgin.

what happened in the years 1995-2000:  Nothing whatsoever. The whole world went into suspended animation.

catalytic converters in the Oklahoman:  You should see the gases they'd emit otherwise.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 6:18 AM to You Asked For It )
The 720-degree eye roll

And let me tell you, it's tricky to get both 360s synchronized.

I mean, really. I look like Sir Thomas Beecham contemplating a Spın̈al Tap performance.

(Snitch, I believe this was something you were looking for.)

If the chairs become musical

Chris Casteel of the Oklahoman's Washington bureau (I mention this in case some of you had no idea the Oklahoman even had a Washington bureau) talked to the state's Congressional delegation about the possibility of a Democratic resurgence sufficient to regain the majority.

Dan Boren, the lone Democrat in the bunch, took a collective view:

Undoubtedly, as a delegation, we would lose some clout. But it also produces a unique opportunity for someone like myself who has been willing to work across the aisle and be bipartisan.

Those who consider Boren a DINO, I suspect, will continue to do so.

John Sullivan echoed Boren's concerns about clout, but was confident the Democrats would come up just short of winning control. Tom Cole worries about seniority: the average House member, he says, has 11 years in, and with Ernest Istook departing, only Frank Lucas comes even close to that.

And Lucas admits he enjoys his chairmanship of an Agriculture subcommittee:

It's a lot more fun to have your hand on the gavel — or at least be close enough to see the wood grain.

Meanwhile, in the Senate, Tom Coburn, Scourge of Pork, isn't worried about losing his subcommittee:

I'll have an extra three hours a week to use to make trouble on the [Senate] floor.

The Big Spenders are herewith put on notice.

Predictions from yours truly, as posted New Year's Day: Republicans lose 13 seats in the House, two in the Senate, but retain a (thinner) majority.

Champaign and sham commentary

The University of Illinois student newspaper, the Daily Illini, is dropping its editorial commentary:

The newspaper editorial is a sacred institution. It is supposed to offer insight on issues, events and problems relevant to the community and serve as a watchdog against institutions of power.

Unfortunately, several of our editorials, including one published Wednesday on Midnight Madness, have been based on faulty facts, providing nothing but misinformation and misrepresentation. This is unacceptable, considering that the purpose of our opinions page is to facilitate meaningful dialogue among the members of the campus community and beyond.

Yesterday's apology is something that we, as the editorial board of The Daily Illini, should have never had to do, but it is a position that we have put ourselves in numerous times throughout the last couple of semesters. For this reason, The Daily Illini Editorial Board has decided to stop publishing editorials until further notice.

Now if only [fill in name of paper] would take this advice and follow suit.

(Via Hit & Run.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 11:38 AM to Dyssynergy )
The Resistance, such as it is

Note to Mike H.: Next time we have a Blogger Round-Up, let's make sure we don't invite Jared Leto:

I think that blogs should die a sudden death. It's just ridiculous. It's like a playground for four-year-olds. People say and do things in the world of blogs that they would never do in real life, and I think it's a false experienceÖThe blog is yesterday's parachute pants. It's here now but it's gone tomorrow.

In the first place, anyone even admitting to the existence of parachute pants (with the exception, of course, of Dr. Pants, whose expertise is unquestioned) has zero credibility as an observer of the Zeitgeist.

In the second place... oh, why bother? Obviously somebody somewhere posted something which upset the poor boy and, well, Mommy isn't in a position to kiss it and make it better.

Now I'm wondering what Angela ever saw in Jordan in the first place.

(Via All Things Jennifer. And yes, I just admitted to having watched My So-Called Life.)

Addendum: I do, however, kinda like these shirts. (Spotted by Steph Mineart.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 1:46 PM to Blogorrhea )
Mower or less

Friday I said something about a riding-mower incident, and therein I marveled that someone had kept one of these things running for thirty-six years.

I marvel more today, inasmuch as my two-and-a-half-year-old mower is now semi-handle-less, the bolt which used to hold the left side of the handle in place having disappeared into the yard somewhere — and worse, somewhere far away from the knob, which I did manage to find within ten minutes. You'd think something metallic, therefore presumably shiny, would show up easily in the sunlight, but no such luck.

So I went to Sears' Web site, and they have the knob, but not the bolt. I uttered a few unpleasantries, then called Sears' 800 number. For some reason, they have the bolt.

(Aside: In AOL chatrooms, when one person is in charge of dispatching evildoers and otherwise controlling the content, said person's screen name is displayed in the room list with a lightning icon; this person is said to "have the bolt." If you are banned from the room by this individual, you have been "bolted." This is not to be confused with being "nailed" or "screwed," though I am told this also happens on AOL.)

Reviling Sears is a popular pastime — I turned up 963 Google hits for "sears sucks" — but I've always been able to get parts from them, which is one reason, perhaps the only significant reason, why I continue to buy their stuff.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 6:12 PM to Surlywood )
26 September 2006
Post-Frosty

Frosty Troy has been running the Oklahoma Observer for so long it's hard to remember when he wasn't. But Frosty is well into his seventies, and he announced a couple years ago that he was looking for someone to succeed him as editor.

Now he's found someone. The Dallas Morning News, in a cost-cutting move, is apparently shuttering its Oklahoma bureau, freeing up Arnold Hamilton to take over at the Observer.

Hamilton grew up in Midwest City, and got some of his earliest bylines at the late, lamented Oklahoma Journal. I remember him as a non-flashy, rock-solid reporter type, and I wasn't surprised to see his name in a Dallas paper after the Journal died. The News apparently is buying him out for about a year's salary; Troy says he'd been trying to talk Hamilton into the Observer position for a number of years.

On the masthead, Hamilton and his wife Beverly are now listed as editor and publisher respectively, Frosty and Helen Troy moving to "founding editor" and "founding publisher." This isn't strictly accurate — the first incarnation of the Observer was a church publication that was in danger of going under — but no one except the Troys would be likely to remember those days anyway, and certainly they deserve the credit for keeping the paper viable for thirty-odd years. Arnold Hamilton has a hard act to follow, but I'm sure he's up to the task.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 6:20 AM to Soonerland )
From the Department of Major Upgrades (2a)

Last fall I mentioned that Oklahoma City was looking for private-sector partners to create a Wi-Fi hot zone in the central city, stretching roughly from the Oklahoma Health Center to the Reno/Meridian corridor.

Wi-Fi map
[Location of the proposed Wi-Fi area. Click to enlarge. Map courtesy of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce.]

So far, not a lot has happened, and for pretty much the obvious reasons:

Roy Williams, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, said chamber officials are reviewing proposals submitted by several national wireless providers.

"We want someone who is in that business and understands that industry to tell us whether it is economically viable," Williams said. "The reason you don't see this everywhere is that it's still evolving. There are multiple ways to approach it. That's why we're anxious to see these business models."

After MAPS, you might think we'd have gotten over our "Let's Avoid Risk!" stance. Apparently not entirely, not yet. Williams, though, says he expects a decision by the end of the year.

Inasmuch as the city is building a wireless network to cover the entirety of the 620-square-mile corporate limits — for emergency purposes only, they tell us — I'm thinking they ought to figure out some way to offer free public access to that network at a lowish speed, and sell access at higher speeds, either through city utility billing or a third party to be named later. If the Chamber is wise, it will start looking for such a third party.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 8:00 AM to City Scene )
A familiar sort of place

Erica looks back at the last few years, and has good reasons to look forward:

At the moment I'm lamenting the fact that I can't seem to get everything going right all at once. Things are not where I'd like them to be socially, but overall things are as much in order as they have been otherwise. For the first time ever (excluding my sophomore year single dorm room), I have my own place. Financially things could be much better, but I'm far less stressed about it than I have been in years. That's huge. For once, I feel secure.

Oddly, I could write almost exactly that same paragraph. I have lived alone for the last quarter-century or so, but I never thought of myself as having "my own place" until I had my name on the deed. Outgo is just as fast as income, which is not comforting, but it's not keeping me up late at night either. And while I have about as much social life as I can handle, which is not much, I remind you that I have lived alone for the last quarter-century or so, which has one obvious drawback. (As Erica says: "It's that whole thing about feeling like I don't have enough to offer until I get my own stuff in order.")

And there's probably one other difference between us. If she got "everything going right at once," she'd likely be delighted. Were I to do so, I'd likely be suspicious.

Still, having a lot of things actually in order is a cause for celebration, or at least for some level of contentment; when things are good, reminding yourself that they're not yet perfect is an effective way to bring yourself down. And frankly, I have enough of those already. Let's enjoy the security we have, however tentative it may seem.

Truly they are Pepsi-challenged

MEMRI finds this little gem on Iranian television:

The Zionists are the largest shareholders in the world's drink manufacturers. They make hundreds of thousands of billions of dollars from this annually. This way, they export their colonialist schemes with this product, at no additional cost.

Take, for example, the Pepsi drink. Do you know what Pepsi stands for? 'Pay Each Penny Save Israel.'

And these people want nuclear power? They shouldn't even have Mountain Dew.

Inasmuch as the first bottles of Pepsi-Cola bearing that name were sold in 1898, fifty years before the founding of Israel, I think we can safely say that this claim is, um, a load of previously-digested high-fructose corn syrup.

(Via Scribal Terror; posted while enjoying a Coke.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 1:22 PM to Say What? )
Blogging throughout history

The redoubtable Sean Gleeson explains it all, complete with live giggles and snorts from the Okie Blogger Roundup audience.

Caution: Do not transcribe this and paste the resulting text into Wikipedia. They will be somewhat less amused than we were.

(That first Vent, complete with updated [in 2003] template, is here.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 4:38 PM to Blogorrhea )
Oh, look, here comes the starfish truck

When last we checked in with Rep. Humus B. Kyddenme, he was pitching a House bill to include all known creation stories in the state-mandated public-school curriculum; to his chagrin, the bill never emerged from committee.

For next year, he has a new idea. Noting that population growth has been consistent along America's coastlines, and that the demand for housing has kept property values sky-high in those areas, Kyddenme has decided that landlocked Oklahoma can't compete unless it has a serious shoreline.

Bricktown Beach, despite its name, will not actually be located in Bricktown; the massive artificial ocean, about 185 square miles, will be created by flooding the northeastern quarter of Oklahoma County, roughly everything east of Sooner Road and north of NE 36th Street. (The famed Round Barn in Arcadia, which would otherwise be sunk, will be trucked up Old 66 to a new location west of Chandler.) Tides will be created by wind turbines placed at regular intervals along Pottawatomie Road; as a bonus, they will generate electricity for 3,000 homes in Lincoln County. Kyddenme hasn't given a cost estimate, but he insists that the revenue from the hotels, casinos and restaurants located along the shore will easily cover the expense of digging a two-thousand-foot-deep hole thirteen and a half miles square. As for the 30,000 or so displaced residents, Kyddenme says there's no problem: "Who do you think is gonna buy all those beach houses?" It's no more implausible, he says, than building artificial islands in the middle of the Arkansas River.

27 September 2006
It's stolen, what more do you need to know?

You know, sometimes bait actually works:

Dallas police are investigating a glitch that resulted in the loss of one of their "bait" cars.

Sometime between Friday and Monday, a car outfitted with cameras, tracking capabilities and a remote engine-kill system designed to catch auto thieves was stolen somewhere in Dallas — police would not say where. They also would not identify the make and model of the car, so that if it is recovered, it can remain part of the undercover fleet.

(Via Autoblog.)

Approaching poverty

Zillow.com continues to tweak the database: the palatial estate at Surlywood now is just barely into six figures, at $100,221, down $4861 from the last report.

The likelihood that anyone is going to offer me a hundred grand for this place, of course, is extremely remote.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:41 AM to Surlywood )
The paper you don't cancel

I frankly do not understand the appeal of embossed toilet paper: it's not all that attractive, generally; I doubt seriously that the addition of textural elements substantially improves the surface area (and therefore the useful area) of an individual sheet; and inevitably, it makes the roll stick out farther from its cardboard tube.

Which latter explains this:

Consumers told us that they preferred our new embossed sheet. To add this feature, we need to choose to either reduce the number of sheets in the roll or decrease the size of each sheet to maintain the overall roll diameter. Consumers favored the smaller sheet to the count reduction.

Scott's sheet has shrunk from 4 inches to 3.7 inches; on a thousand-sheet roll, this is a reduction of 25 feet.

There are two ways to look at this. If you count off X number of sheets for the task, this won't affect you much, and indeed you're performing an exceedingly-tiny kindness on behalf of the environment, since you're using (and flushing) 7.5 percent less paper. If you grab a specific length, though, this is going to cost you, and you'll probably think the guys who run Scott Paper are a bunch of, um, asswipes.

(Via The Consumerist.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 9:23 AM to Dyssynergy )
"Macaca" was just the beginning

Slate presents: The George Allen Insult Generator!

And even better, Allen explains himself at the push of a button. It's like Real Life, only slightly less three-dimensional.

(Found at Wonkette.)

All in your head, it isn't

Rebecca Traister reports in Salon.com's Broadsheet:

[A]ccording to today's New York Times, doctors are once again looking for a medical basis for hysteria. And while the Times article works hard to distinguish between new medical research and the crackpot mysogyny of the past, no doubt some knuckleheads out there will take this news as license to sling this term with the same frequency as PMS jokes.

Wait a minute. PMS is a joke?

On the off-chance that they actually might find some medical basis for the term, it seems only fair that there be devised a term applicable to males exhibiting roughly-comparable symptoms, with the same suggestion of reproductive-system origin.

I vote for "testiness," which is a condition with which I am familiar; for instance, I attain a certain level of it when someone mysspells "misogyny."

Permalink to this item ( posted at 1:02 PM to Table for One )
210

The classic 1955-57 Chevrolet was offered in three trim lines: the fancy Bel Air, the plain One-Fifty, and in between, the Two-Ten.

The Carnival of the Vanities is in an in-between stage itself; its future is not yet completely nailed down, but its present is edition #210, available for reading at Silflay Hraka, where it all began four years ago.

While I'm at it, I'd like to quote Kehaar:

Whereas I value a good traffic spike as much as the next blogger, I realize that the value of those spikes is fleeting. Most of those readers will never visit your blog again. They aren't really fans of great writing as they are followers of fashion, following whatever link Instapundit might decide to throw up next. To me, those readers hold less value than the one that comes back every week or every day or even every hour. Those readers, the ones that are fans of your writing, will find you if you are patient and keep writing every day. If your vanity is well-founded and your writing actually does deserve the recognition you think it does, readers will come. It may not happen overnight and it may not be as rewarding as heavy volume, but the value is still there.

Yea, verily.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 2:10 PM to Blogorrhea )
Patches, I'm depending on you

I'm not quite sure what this is all about (cross-site scripting vulnerabilities?), though looking at the actual files involved does offer a clue or two. Apparently Kevin Aylward was one of the folks who spotted a security hole early on, and I thank him for his attention to the matter; I just finished installing this thing, which wasn't particularly difficult.

Of course, what they (meaning Six Apart) presumably really want me to do is upgrade to 3.33, and geez, I only just got around to putting in 3.2.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 6:31 PM to Blogorrhea )
28 September 2006
Look, Ma, hands!

Gwendolyn, like just about every other Infiniti — I'm told they left it off the 1997/98 Q45 — has an analog clock. In the I30, it's on top of the center stack, as though it were mounted on the mantel over the fireplace; the '04 G35 I've borrowed from the dealership has it at the middle of the stack, where it remains in the redesigned '07 G. (I have yet to get any seat time in an FX, QX or M.)

My daughter, when she saw it, pronounced it cool, with one reservation: "Does it agree with the clock in the stereo?" (Even if she didn't look sort of like me, you'd know she was my kid, just from questions like that.) Incidentally, there's no clock in the stereo.

Not everyone is so impressed. For instance:

My husband's Infiniti has an analog clock which isn't particularly easy to read in the dark and I hate it. Why does Infiniti think it's better or fancier or whatever to have an analog clock. I remember as a kid car clocks always stopped working long before you got rid of the car and it was too big a pain and expense to fix them.

Gwendolyn's clock keeps better time than my digital watch; I think I've adjusted it once in three thousand miles. Should it go, however, it will be a pain and expense to fix it: $212 plus labor.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 6:21 AM to Driver's Seat )
Fear at the top of the hour

Perhaps I'm too old to have been creeped out by the 1970s Screen Gems logo known familiarly as the S from Hell: it's an irritating little tune, but not particularly scary, though the Eye of Baal, or whatever the heck that is in the center, is genuinely off-putting.

The sound that freaked me as a kid, and still raises measurable amounts of gooseflesh, is Jack Webb's Mark VII Limited logo, the clang of the hammer so loud it actually hurt. (The link is to a more recent version, mostly because it sounds better, if "better" can apply here.) The one thing that saved me from certain aural trauma was the fact that they usually cut right away to the logo for Revue Studios and/or MCA Television Distribution, which provided an escape from the anvil chorus in my brain. (Sample here; this is at an odd bit rate and may not play on every machine known to man.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:36 AM to Almost Yogurt )
It's off to the Elephant Bar

Press release, Wednesday: The Republican National Committee today announced that its Site Selection Committee has voted to recommend Minneapolis-St. Paul to host the 2008 Republican National Convention.

The following somehow missed the cut:

The Democrats are reportedly split; their top choices include Caracas, the Gaza Strip, and Noam Chomsky's back yard.

Could I be swinging on a star?

Probably not. On the other hand, this is the closest thing yet to carrying moonbeams home in a jar:

While the Sun Jar appears to be an ordinary mason jar, it is really a solar powered lamp that charges during the day to be used at night. I really appreciate its eco-friendly approach, which doesn't feel too mechanical. Put it on your windowsill or in your sunroom, next to your jar of sun brewed tea.

Yeah, I know: this isn't exactly newtech. I have a couple of exterior lights that run off the same principle. But this thing, which looks like you captured the Mother of All Fireflies, has higher gotta-have-it factor, important to those who seek to be better off than they are.

Quantity is McJob 1

Now I know why I prefer the drive-thru:

MCDONALD'S HAS CREATED THEIR OWN RACE OF PEOPLE.

Think about it. You always hear people say, "I would never work in fast food," and yet McDonald's seems to have no problem in staffing their stores with these nondescript adult employees. There's no real egg in an Egg McMuffin, and they've always been dodgy about what kind of meat is in a Chicken McNugget. They have no doubt been serving synthesized and processed foods for years, and now, I suspect, they've begun creating synthesized and processed employees. There is absolutely no recognizable trait about these people — no jewelry, earrings, anything that might connect them to a specific group of people. They are completely generic, unoffensive, and artificial.

It makes sense to think about Mayor McCheese less like a mascot and more like a DNA crossbreeding experiment gone horribly wrong. It also explains the playgrounds, which must not be there for the children's enjoyment, but rather as a place where McScientists can study human interaction.

This is, I presume, a relatively recent development, as I worked for Mickey D's in the early 1970s, and I was just as far out on the weirdness asymptote then as I am now. (Aside: A Google search for weirdness asymptote puts me at #2. Also #3.) But there's definitely some sort of artificial-cheese-spread atmosphere in back of the counter these days: if they rendered this bunch at the processing facility, they'd wind up with Soylent Grey.

And when you get right down to it, I don't think I really want to know what goes into a McNugget.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:48 PM to Dyssynergy )
29 September 2006
The strong, silent types

Mister Snitch issues a warning (which was posted as a comment here):

If this blog ever becomes the sort that routinely gets 50 comments, I'll stop coming. That's all there is to it. As it is, me and McGehee get to stretch out in half the unreal estate 'round here. It's like a cafe no one's discovered. If it gets too popular, everyone will stop coming.

Never gonna happen. The old database (may it rest in peace) had sixteen thousand comments, yes, but they were distributed over seven thousand entries. In April 2004 I noted that I was getting just under two comments per post; the record for any single post is twenty-nine, which occurred here. I attribute the success of this particular post to the comparatively-unusual (for me, anyway) subject matter: the company of babes.

The average in the new database, which opened up on the sixth of this month, remains about two and a half comments per post. Some of my better material gets none at all; I'd like to think that people are simply left speechless by its brilliance, but I suspect it's more an unwillingness by the readership to demand "Exactly WTF are you talking about?" (I was really hoping for something on this.)

I suppose I could always borrow some sock puppets.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 5:59 AM to Blogorrhea )
We will, we will, rev you

I don't hear a lot of automobile engine noise these days: Gwendolyn carries around 50 kg or so of sound-deadening material, so that even sudden jumps to 5500 rpm, as I had to do yesterday afternoon to avoid being squashed like a bug on a too-short onramp, don't rattle my brain.

Racers, on the other hand, don't carry around 50 kg of anything superfluous, and as a result they tend to be Really. Damn. Loud. Still, noise is just unorganized sound, and there are things one can do to organize it — although a Renault Formula 1 V10 engine playing "God Save The Queen" probably qualifies as overkill. Also in this motor's repertoire: La Marcha Real, the Spanish national anthem; the Marseillaise; and, speaking of Queen, "We Are The Champions". Because, you know, "Another One Bites The Dust" simply would not do.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 7:06 AM to Driver's Seat )
It only comes out at night

Night baseball is played under the same rules as day baseball, but things are different somehow under the lights: the shadows don't move around quite so much, the beer seems colder, and the crowd, without the sun blasting away at the tops of their heads, might be a little more animated. (Of course, that could just be the beer.)

Does this work for night rowing? We're about to find out:

Oklahoma City University announced the Third Annual Head of the Oklahoma regatta will be held Sept. 30 to Oct. 1 on the Oklahoma River in Oklahoma City. "We have been overwhelmed by the response of the rowing community to our regatta and our commitment to continuing our mission of innovating the regatta experience, providing first class hospitality, and attracting world-class racing to the Oklahoma River," said Mike Knopp, OCU's head rowing coach and regatta director.

The Head of the Oklahoma Regatta will stage the first-ever, US-sanctioned night races at this year's event. US Rowing's Glen Merry confirmed that no other sanctioned US Rowing regatta has added this element to its racing lineup before now. "The chance to row at night, under the lights in Oklahoma City this autumn opens up many exciting possibilities for US Rowing, and the rowing community as a whole. It provides us with a unique opportunity to market our great sport and to introduce rowing to thousands of people who would not be exposed to it through a typical regatta. We are elated to be working with the leadership at OCU and the Chesapeake Boathouse, as they constantly impress us with their cutting-edge ideas. We look forward to having our national team athletes be a part of this year's historic event," Merry said.

Is this the Next Big Thing in rowing? OCU's Knopp says:

While night racing certainly requires the appropriate venue to work safely, we feel that many regattas could implement such components, and — if properly positioned — greatly expand the spectator and sponsor involvement that is lacking at many rowing events.

About 30,000 spectators are expected for the Friday-through-Sunday event. At 7 pm Saturday, OG&E will line up stadium-style light trucks along the banks of the Oklahoma and turn on the shimmer.

OCU won this regatta last year; this year they'll have to tangle with teams from OU, OSU, Tulsa, Texas, Navy and Harvard.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 9:03 AM to City Scene )
Retrocode

If you call Lynn these things, you may as well include me too:

Call me a dinosaur, call me a neanderthal, call me an old fuddy-duddy, call me a stick in the mud, whatever, but I think we could easily live without CSS. I used to have a stylesheet but every time I thought I had finally wrapped my brain around CSS something went wrong or I couldn't get the simplest little thing to work. I got sick of it so now I've got tables. Tables are great. They stay where you put them. Tables rule! Long live tables! Yay tables! BOO CSS!

I've made my peace with CSS — at least, the decorative aspects of it — but when it comes down to Where Things Go On The Damn Page, I have more faith in <TD> than in {position: absolute; left: 30px; top: 5px}. This is, incidentally, why I still have "4.0 Transitional" in ye olde DOCTYPE statement.

I suppose eventually all this will be "deprecated," a technical term meaning "I can't believe you're still using this crap"; Movable Type is already deprecating the comment-box popup, hinting that it will be gone in some future release (4.0?). At that time I'll probably switch to someone else's template and then spend the next few years making it unrecognizable.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 1:55 PM to PEBKAC )
A sign of creeping cynicism

The headline in the Mid-City Advocate read:

Reneau holds illegal immigration hearings

First thought: "Omigod, what's Brenda done now?"

(The Surly Grammarian suggests a hyphen between "illegal" and "immigration.")

Permalink to this item ( posted at 6:23 PM to Soonerland )
Time to stop looking

I think I've made something like this argument once or twice:

[L]et's be clear here. You are not going to marry a guy who looks like Colin Farrell, is tough but sensitive, smart, funny, charms every room he's in, and pulls in the big bucks. I know you really want to meet that guy. I wish you could find him. I really do. But there's only like 4 of those guys in the world, and they're already taken. I'm sorry to tell you this, but it's time to think about settling.

I hope he's more successful with it than I.

(WSJ via Pratie Place.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 8:17 PM to Table for One )
30 September 2006
From the very dawn of time

After I extolled the virtues of old-fashioned code ("old-fashioned," in this context, meaning "existing in the 20th century"), it was perhaps inevitable that I should come across something like this:

I smiled and explained to him that the "favorites" are individual to each computer; the "favorites" on the computer at school aren't the same as the "favorites" here at home. He sighed and rolled his eyes. "Guess I'll have to do this the old-fashioned way."

And I, thinking proudly for a moment that perhaps my child was going to ask for an encyclopedia, asked, "what do you mean?"

He said, "I guess I'll have to type the address in this little white bar myself."

Times are evidently tough all over.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 12:02 AM to PEBKAC )
It takes two

As Marvin and Kim (or a host of others) could tell you, sometimes it just takes two.

There was a time, for instance, when it took two hands to handle a Whopper.

And speaking of beef, it's probably going to take two of you to tip a cow.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 9:31 AM to Dyssynergy )
Keep running that play 'til you get it right

The Oklahoman arrives on my driveway (too close to the curb, but that's another issue) with its special sections wrapped around the outside, protecting the tender, fragile news in the middle. And given this packaging technique, I tend to glance at the wraparounds before I dig seriously into the news.

Today's Real Estate section had a profile of Kanela Huff, whose name appears on rather a lot of yard signs around town: she's the owner of Kanela & Co., a major player in the local real-estate market. (I remember her vaguely as Kanela Voegeli, when she was working for the old Zedlitz company, and, well, how many Kanelas can there be?) I thought this might be worth a browse, so I started out on the front page, duly turned to page 24 for the continuation — and there were the opening paragraphs again.

Sections of this sort tend to go to press a few days before the actual distribution date, so I'm guessing that the Real Estate tab got printed, and only then somebody noticed that the cover story was rather badly botched. So the entire story was picked up again, correctly this time, for the back page of the Business section, with the following Editor's Note:

Production problems caused irreparable errors and repetitions in the text of the cover story in today's Real Estate Magazine, distributed in some editions of The Oklahoman. The correct version is here.

Two items of interest, one of which is mentioned in the article:

  1. The company is relocating Pearl's from its 63rd Street location (which will be swallowed up by the Chesapeake Energy Acquisitions Blob) to a new development north of Belle Isle Station on Classen.

  2. "Kanela" is Greek for "cinnamon."

Still: "irreparable errors"? Naw. They theoretically could have fixed them, though it almost certainly would have cost far more money than it was worth. I just wonder what got scraped off page 6B to make room for the reprint.

(Link to an online version.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 10:28 AM to Dyssynergy )
The Magic stay put

Odds are pretty good that Oklahoma City will eventually get an NBA team on a permanent (in the NBA sense of the word, which translates to "so long as the money's good") basis. It probably won't be the Hornets; it might be, but doesn't have to be, the Sonics.

And it won't be the Magic:

Orange County and City of Orlando officials announced a deal Friday to construct a downtown arena for the Orlando Magic and a performing arts center and refurbish the dilapidated Citrus Bowl.

The deal was reached after the parties pushing for the three facilities and city and county officials agreed to dramatically pare down the requests for public funding.

The new arena is projected to cost $480 million, the performing arts center $389 million and the remodeled Citrus Bowl $175 million. The funds will come from a combination of public and private sources, including the Tourist Development Tax.

Another major factor in the deal getting done was the Magic's pledge to contribute $114 million to the project.

The Magic also agreed to cover any construction cost overruns at the new arena and guaranteed $100 million in bonds that will be floated to finance the project.

Team president Bob Vander Weide says this will keep the Magic in Mouseburg for the next 25 years.

Meanwhile, a new arena deal has been reached in Sacramento, though it's contingent on voter approval of a new quarter-cent sales-tax, and that approval may be difficult to come by.

Still theoretically in a moving mood: Portland, though the Blazers have a long lease at the Rose Garden yet, and what talk there was this summer had them moving to Seattle to replace the allegedly-departing Sonics.

Update, 1 October: The Grizzlies aren't leaving Memphis any time soon, either; according to the Commercial Appeal, the deal in which Michael Heisley sold his 70 percent of the team will not change the existing contract between the Griz and Memphis/Shelby County, which provides that the team must stay put for ten years — this season will be year 6 — and prescribes penalties if they leave after that. (To avoid the Commercial Appeal's registration, read this at HoopsHype for the first of October.)

Permalink to this item ( posted at 12:02 PM to Net Proceeds )
Way beyond compare

Number 3, Abbey Road, St John's Wood was originally a 16-room Georgian townhouse; EMI bought it in 1929 and spent two years turning it into a recording studio. By the time George Martin arrived in 1950, doing mostly comedy records for EMI's Parlophone label, it was already well established. But the Beatles, with Martin at the helm, made it a household word, enough to spur EMI to change the name of the facility officially to Abbey Road Studios.

If, like me, you bought everything the Beatles put out and wondered just how the hell they did it, bits and pieces of the story have been coming out for years, and some of the unreleased tapes surfaced on Anthology. But what I wanted was a frighteningly-detailed look at the band's modus operandi and how it intersected with Martin's own ideas on record production.

And now I'll get it. Recording the Beatles: The Studio Equipment and Techniques Used to Create Their Classic Albums, by Kevin Ryan and Brian Kehew, is out now, and it promises "a detailed look at every piece of studio gear used, full explanations of effects and recording processes, and an inside look at how specific songs were recorded." For someone like me who suspects that the Beatles would never have become icons of an age were it not for whatever alchemy was going on at Number 3, this book promises to be somewhere between guidebook and grimoire. At $100, it's pricey, but the best reference works always are, and as Paul used to say, money can't buy me love. (And yes, I know: the basic tracks for "Can't Buy Me Love" were laid down, not at Number 3, but at EMI's Pathé Marconi facility in Paris.)

But she's accurate

Caterina Fake is one of the co-founders of Flickr, which ought to have made her famous.

Instead, she can't even sign up for Facebook, and, she says, Northwest Airlines automatically deletes her ticket purchases.

What to do? Ordinarily I'd suggest the Hyacinth Bucket technique, but stretching "Fake" into "fah-KAY" seems a bit counterproductive, and it wouldn't fix her Facebook issue either.

Permalink to this item ( posted at 11:08 PM to Dyssynergy )
The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

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