Everyman with a fightin’ side

A cousin of mine unearthed this clip after hearing about the passing of Merle Haggard. For a guy who worked awfully hard at developing his own sound, he was really good at duplicating other people’s:

More recently, “here’s one for all the ex-convicts in the house”:

Besides, he never got closer to Muskogee, Oklahoma than, oh, 19 miles or so, at least not until much, much later.

Okay, 2016. You can stop taking people away now.

Addendum: Here’s a typically thoughtful sendoff by Lisa.

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Hello, toaster, my old friend

I see we’re talking once again.

Sounds of Cylons by Simon and Garfunkel created by Ron Cole

And the vision of the lovely Number Six, still it sticks…

(From Ron Cole’s Facebook page.)

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Playing the Pathetic Card

Yet another bozo who thinks himself too clever by half:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: How do I bring up that dad has cancer in my next drivers test?

Apparently he’s perfectly serious:

I just failed my drivers test. Now, I am trying to make a new date in PA and if anyone has any advice on how to make an appointment as soon as possible, that would GREATLY help. Now also, my dad has cancer and is going through chemo (its not too too bad, just really sad), and i want to work in a sympathy angle where i subtly mention it, but I can’t just come right out and say it. So I need your help to transition my words into mentioning this. Like if I said “wow I’m really nervous, i just need to drive my dad to chemo.” Something like that, but with a smoother transition, my dad said if helps me pass, do it.

“If you really cared about the old man, you’d try harder.” Which is the kind response; I wouldn’t blame the examiner for failing the little twerp for trying to influence him.

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Spoiler alert

I suspect this isn’t going to do squat for the Civic’s aerodynamics:

(Via Jack Baruth.)

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Have one on us

Preview of the playoffs? Let’s hope not. Billy Donovan seems to be on a “Let’s see how many players we can rest” kick, and his current Magic Number is four: of the usual starting five, only Steven Adams actually played tonight. Some of this might have been justifiable if (1) the Trail Blazers had given any indication that they might do the same or (2) the Thunder actually had a point guard out there. (You know how they used to say that Russell Westbrook is not really a point guard? Randy Foye is not really a point guard like Michael J. Fox is not really a point guard.) Not that Cameron Payne, who is a point guard, had such a great night. (On the other hand, Payne served up six assists, Foye four, and Foye played five minutes more.) Then again, Enes Kanter starting next to Adams worked out to be a swell idea; in the absence of Kevin Durant, Kanter turned in a KD-like line and was instrumental in cutting a 23-point Portland lead down to ten. Still, the utter absence of perimeter defense — the Blazers knocked down ten treys in the first half — would prove to be the undoing of this version of the Thunder. And maybe it’s just me, but I’m not keen on simply handing a game to a team that needed a win just then to clinch a playoff slot. That said, no one pays me to make these fine judgment calls. For the record, the season series was split 2-2, each game won by the home team.

Oh, yeah, the score. Portland 120, Oklahoma City 115. And that Kanter line deserves more attention: 33 points, a career high, and a startling 20 rebounds. If that man could block shots he could be a demigod. Well, okay, a semidemigod. (Okay, he was credited with a block.) The Thunder next encounter the Kings, for the last game ever in the Sleep Train Arena, on what promises to be a raucous Saturday night, assuming the players actually play.

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The apocalypse is at hand

And apparently it’s going to be the left hand:

Some of these may be a little disquieting; some others may be more so.

(Via Miss Cellania.)

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Please don’t kill our bomber

There exists on change.org a petition to spare the life of Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, largely referencing the usual “Capital punishment is yucky” suspects. Most of it is fairly predictable — it’s not like we haven’t seen anything like this before — but this one paragraph toward the end is, well, striking:

Depriving Mr. Tsarnaev of his essential rights as a human being in response to his own disregard for human life is a senseless and counterproductive way of addressing the issues at hand.

Um, what issues might those be? Whether bombers should have their selfies on the cover of the Rolling Stone?

Last I looked, 34 people had their names affixed to this appeal.

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Muddle in the middle

“Moderate” is kind of a bad word around elections, especially this election. Chris Lawrence, who describes himself as “College professor and all-around troublemaker,” once said this:

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”).

There are only two types of true moderate: people who don’t care about politics, and centrist politicians (and this latter class of people generally care less about politics than they care about keeping their jobs — I defy you to explain the behavior of Arlen Specter or Olympia Snowe otherwise).

I aspire to be a person who does not care about politics, although politics, damn it, persists in caring about me, or at least in pretending to do so. Still, if there’s such baggage attached to “moderate,” maybe I need a new word. How about “centrist”? Does “centrist” work for me?

Hmmm. It has potential.

(Via Will Truman.)

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Discretion: minimal

I’m not saying I never did any of these things, but I haven’t had any visits from law enforcement either:

A rural Litchfield [Minnesota] man has been sentenced to two years of supervised probation and ordered to build a fence after neighbors say they saw him doing chores and sunbathing outdoors while nude.

According to court documents, from last May 25 to July 12, witnesses say they saw Larry Fiero, 59, sunbathing nude on his deck, picking up sticks while only wearing work boots, riding a lawn mower and bringing his garbage can to the road while completely nude. He was also charged again after washing his car naked in October.

His plea bargain, such as it is, also requires him to undergo psychological evaluation.

I do think he was wise to wear the work boots while picking up sticks; during an operation of that sort, you can’t always be sure what you’re stepping in.

(Via Breaking Shame.)

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Rocky Mountain hives

If I were running this team, I thought, I’d take out all my frustrations on the unsuspecting Nuggets. Well, I’m not running this team, and there are very good reasons why I’m not, but this advice seemed obvious enough, and the Thunder did exactly that to Denver tonight, getting a sweep of the four-game season series with the Nuggets to the tune of 124-102. It didn’t look like that in the first quarter, with Denver down only two thanks to a D. J. Augustin 70-foot (!) bank shot at the buzzer. The second, however, brought an 18-0 run, and the Thunder never looked back.

Still, any game in which both Billy Donovan and Nazr Mohammed are rung up for technical fouls is at least slightly weird. Mike Malone decided to hand out some DNP-CDs to starters and give the bench a chance, which probably didn’t help the Nuggets’ chances, and while it makes a certain amount of sense to rest the A-team before playing the Spurs, that Spurs game is three days away. But hey, it’s the end of the season, and for 14 of 30 teams, Denver included, it might as well be preseason, amirite? The Nuggets’ twin guards, Gary Harris and Emmanuel Mudiay, did pretty well, though Joffrey Lauvergne, the only non-minus on the Denver plus/minus card, squeaked out a double-double from the, um, bench. Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook was adding to his list of triple-doubles, this one a few degrees out of phase: 13-14-12. Yes, Kevin Durant got his 20, for the thousandth game in a row; yes, Enes Kanter led the reserves with another double-double. So maybe this game wasn’t so weird after all.

Third place in the West is now clinched. Had this been the season finale, the Thunder would be playing the sixth-place Trail Blazers in the first post-season round. As it happens, the Thunder are playing the sixth-place Trail Blazers in Game 79, tomorrow night. Really weird things can happen in Portland. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia 76ers have failed to make history by winning their 10th game out of 78, thereby insuring they will finish at least one game better than the 1972-73 Sixers, who went 9-73. (We won’t mention the Pelicans the team they beat.)

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Joi to the world

There has always been a certain demand for blonde bombshells, and Joi Lansing, born this week in 1928, was a good example of the supply:

Joi Lansing color portrait

Joi Lansing assuming the position, or at least a position

The movie roles started to fade in the late 1950s, and she made a pretty seamless transition to television, doing both drama and comedy. And she shot a couple of Scopitone proto-music videos which proved to be, not unlike present-day music videos, more about the performer than about the song. An example:

A whole lot of innuendo for the era, right? And perhaps doubly so for a serious Mormon who neither smoked nor drank.

In 1970, Joi was treated in standard 1970 fashion for breast cancer: they cut away what they could. The disease came back in 1972, and this time it killed her.

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When things get complicated

Middle of the morning, I got a note from a neighbor via Nextdoor: “I am going to close your garage door.” This, of course, leads to the obvious question: why in the fark is it open? I contemplated several possibilities, the most unnerving of which was the chance that someone might have figured out the Double Super Secret Code that runs the remote. This particular garage-door opener dates back to — well, not the Pleistocene, exactly, but it’s old enough to have its code set by a row of jumpers, the sort of thing we haven’t seen since we got rid of master and slave drives in PCs. I put in a call to William of Ockham, who noted that I happened to be carrying two remotes, one in the car, one on my person, and if I started the process with the former and inadvertently engaged the latter while turning away from the house, I could easily have created this situation myself. I argued that I didn’t think the secondary remote had that kind of range, but to no avail. I arrived back home about 11:30, and everything seemed to be in order.

And it is an election day, so I figured I’d take care of that detail on the way back to work. Turnout was expected to be light, given the single race on the ballot: finishing the unexpired term of Oklahoma County Court Clerk Tim Rhodes, who resigned last year to take a job at the Corp Comm. I did not, however, imagine it to be this light: at a quarter to twelve, four hours and forty-five minutes into the session, I was preceded by a mere 23 voters. There are more than 1500 registered voters in this precinct.

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Head ’em up

Fished out of the spam trap for some inexplicable reason:

However, there is another standpoint that only one single image gains market recognition is not enough because its figure is too stuffless. My favorite feature about the Weather Bug app is the temperature display in the notification bar which gives you the current conditions and can also notify you of severe weather.

All these would make excellent add ons to any Angry Birds themed favor box.

I focused on those two words “favor box,” and after a few seconds remembered Gil Favor, the trail boss on the old Rawhide series, played by Eric Fleming. (Rowdy Yates, the, um, rowdy fellow played by Clint Eastwood, didn’t become trail boss until the eighth and final season.) I’m pretty sure neither Gil nor Rowdy had much truck with angry birds.

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A Terrapin mistake

At least it wasn’t Missouri:

Or, for that matter, Mississippi.

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From the “It could be worse” files

You think Oklahoma’s budget woes are terrible? Well, yes, they are, no question about it. But we got nothing on the Sportsman’s Paradise:

Before the special session began, Louisiana had a 4-cent state sales tax, which, when combined with about 5 cents of local sales taxes, gave Louisiana the country’s third-highest overall average sales tax rate at 9 percent. At the same time, 196 separate transactions were exempt from being charged the 4-cent state sales tax.

Needing to raise money quickly to close a record budget gap, legislators and Gov. John Bel Edwards turned to sales taxes during the 25-day special session that ended March 9.

Beginning April 1, Act 26 [pdf] raised the state sales tax by a penny — giving Louisiana the highest combined local and state sales tax rate in the country — and provided a bewildering list of exemptions to paying that extra penny.

Beginning April 1, Act 25 [pdf] eliminated numerous exemptions to the existing 4 cents of sales tax for three months and then only for 2 cents for the next two years, in another bewildering list of exemptions.

For both acts, sales tax exemptions drop off or come back at different times, adding to the confusion.

Soonerland residents will note that the Oklahoma state sales tax is 4.5 percent, and that various city and county levies bring it up to 8 to 10 percent. (Perhaps the worst is the section of Clinton that lies in Washita County: 4.5 state + 2.0 county + 4.5 city = 11 percent.) And yes, we have a bewildering list of exemptions.

(Via Fark.)

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Now you’ve seen it all

Yesterday, Burton Cummings, long-time lead vocalist for the Guess Who, was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, which gives me the perfect excuse to bring up this bit.

After the band spent several years at the top of various North American charts, Randy Bachman left the Guess Who and eventually turned up in an aggregation called Bachman-Turner Overdrive, which did extremely well. Cummings continued with the Guess Who for several more years, after which he struck out for a solo career.

And this is where it got weird. The last track of the Burton Cummings solo album turned out to be a lounge-ish version of Bachman’s biggest BTO hit. Bachman wasn’t at all aware of this, and I have no idea what he thought about it in 1976 when it came out.

Thirty years later, though, we could safely say that Bachman was fine with it. (Sorry, they’ve disabled embedding on this one.)

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