For your pleasure

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Everything put together falls apart

A lot of things that are supposed to be working here, aren’t. I’ll get to them eventually. (I hope.)

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Lads written off

Why are boys falling behind in school? It’s because they’re surrounded by girls.

And no, it’s neither hormones nor cooties causing the problem:

It is important to recognize that integration of the sexes is directly responsible for the slide by boys. Today’s schools are run by women for girls. Fine. Girls should be in schools run for girls. Boys should not. Female teachers want decorum and good behavior (not strong points for boys), dislike competitiveness, rambunctiousness and cutting up in class. Boys will engage in these unless heavily, and now chemically, restrained. Thus the drive to keep boys doped up.

Men as teachers can handle boys without having them led from class in handcuffs and subjected to psychotherapy because they drew a soldier with a rifle. Women cannot.

But men, of course, can’t even be in the same room with kids anymore, because Something Might Happen, something that never, ever happens with women.

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Urge overbite

“Sooner or later,” I said, “everything gets ponified.” And to support this premise:

Equestria: A place of safety, friendship, and love. It has faced many threats, ranging from Changelings, Dragons, Windigoes, tyrannical Unicorn dictators, and a particularly mischievous Draconequus, but managed to defeat them all. But now Equestria faces its greatest threat ever: A gigantic tornado filled with killer sharks.

“Hurricane Fluttershy” was never like this.

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Your dryness may vary

Oklahoma weather phenomena come in two thicknesses: All Over The Damn Place and Really Narrow Bands. You can see examples of both in this past week’s excerpt from the US Drought Monitor, as prepared by the Norman forecast office:

Areas of drought in the County Warning Area

Note that in southwest Canadian County, west of OKC, it’s only a few miles from No Drought to Abnormally Dry to Moderate Drought — but once you get to the Extreme Drought area, it goes on for miles and miles and miles. (There are spots of Exceptional Drought up in the Panhandle, which is in Amarillo’s domain.)

The Monitor is compiled on Tuesday morning and released the following Thursday, which is why none of the Thursday/Friday downpours will show up until next week.

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This is why I didn’t answer your mail/comment/tweet/whatever.

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Later that night

So basically, we have a song James Horner wrote for the Disney film Hocus Pocus, which film he didn’t actually score — he was hired, they’d finished this one song, and then apparently he was booted in favor of John Debney.

Oh, and since it’s a song, it has words, and for some reason, a lot of people think those words were written by Edgar Allan Poe. (They weren’t.)

How this particular mishmash ended up as the background for a particularly lovely My Little Pony video is something I can’t explain, except to the extent that sooner or later, everything gets ponified.

This was done outside Hasbro and is decidedly non-canon. I don’t care. I think it’s wonderful. And as I’ve said before, the fandom is getting to the point where they could sustain the series even if Hasbro junked it.

Speaking of the fandom, I’m pretty much immersed in it this weekend, so I may be filling up a lot of space here with pony. You have been warned.

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Now with distraction control

Porsche Platinum wheelThis image turned up in a Porsche Cayman review, and I couldn’t figure out why I liked this wheel color so much. I was then, of course, compelled to read the actual review, and discovered that there’s a functional reason for it:

Credit Stuttgart for not submitting to customer demand for less brake dust and thus, cleaner wheels. Fade-resistant stoppers produce a lot of dust; there is no way around it. If clean shoes are high on your OCD meter, Porsche will, for $845, paint your wheels the same as ours, in a near-brake-dust-matching shade it calls platinum. It’s a small price for wheels that thoroughly camouflage filth.

This shade would have been perfect for my second Mazda 626 in “Mojave Beige Mica,” which masked dirt better than any other car I’ve driven. Then again, I bought the stripper version with steelies and plastic covers.

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A slight Caribbean breeze

When green enterprises fail, it’s pretty much for the same reasons any other enterprises fail: insufficient planning up front, insufficient capital behind, or good old-fashioned incompetence. Acolytes of the Church of Environmentalism, of course, prefer to blame the Demon of the Day: the Koch brothers, J. Random Republican, ExxonMobil, or your brother-in-law with the Yukon Denali. It’s hard to see any particular demonic presence here, though, unless you want to count the personification of Bad Luck:

The Santa Isabel [Puerto Rico] wind farm was shut down for a month and a half due to equipment modifications Siemens Energy had to make following malfunctions in the B53 blades at wind farms in Iowa and California. The blades are 170 feet long and weigh 10 tons apiece. 36 out of 44 aerogenerators are now functional.

Pattern Energy, which owns the wind farm, loses $1.5 million each month it can not sell electricity to the local utility, Autoridad de Energía Eléctrica (AEE).

Well, yeah, I suppose there was some incompetence involved. This is the money quote:

[La] eficiencia del proyecto ha sido cuestionada, no por su tecnología, sino porque se instaló en un lugar que no produce el viento necesario para garantizar una generación sostenida.

“[The] efficiency of the project is questionable, not because of technology, but because it was installed in a location that does not produce the wind needed to ensure sustained generation.”

You’d think somebody would have thought of that beforehand.

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And that was the end of that story

Word got out Thursday night that Stage Center was doomed, and the death warrant was signed Friday:

The Oklahoma City skyline is set to grow again with plans set to build a high-rise tower topping 20 stories on the current site of the long-troubled Stage Center theater.

Rainey Williams, president of Kestrel Investments is set to buy the 3.15-acre property Friday morning from the Kirkpatrick Center Affiliated Fund of The Oklahoma City Community Foundation for $4.275 million.

The tower, which will front the Myriad Gardens to the east and the new John W. Rex Elementary to the west, will likely include retail on the ground floor and space for an anchor tenant and potentially other occupants on the remaining floors.

The one saving grace in all this is that an amazingly tedious 5400-post thread on OKCTalk that’s been grinding on for nearly a year and a half will finally screech to a halt.

From a different thread comes this observation:

Williams is a good guy and will do a good job, and prefers the background, but he’ll now forever be known as the guy who tore down Stage Center. Give him a chance.

Fair enough. Let’s see what happens.

Meanwhile, a friend of mine weighs in:

Design isn’t about appearance or beauty. If you want to create art, you can concern yourself solely with beauty or expression. If you want to design something, you need to solve a problem. In this, the designer of the Stage Center has failed. He has failed to solve the very first challenge of building — protecting the contents from the environment. He failed to design a building that could withstand the environment; he has failed to design a building that could be maintained by its owners.

It was a pretty good forty-year run, I think.

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Waiting at the gate

“Zombie fop” Terry McAuliffe is running for Governor of Virginia, and since his main talents are fund-raising and fund-shrinking, not necessarily in that order, Smitty doesn’t think he has much of a chance against Ken Cuccinelli.

Of course, I had this bozo’s number back in ought-four, and in a dream sequence no less:

Sunrise on the prairie. I’m awake for once, and I have time to kill, and as the fellow spins around with my breakfast, the little bell in the back of my head emits the faintest hint of a tinkle, reminding me that I shouldn’t have had the large orange juice.

And then it hits me: “Don’t I know you from somewhere?”

“I’m sure you don’t,” he says, and turns away.

The girl from the checkout counter catches him in mid-turn. “Terry, I can’t read this. Is this the short stack or the full stack? You didn’t write down the price.”

I looked at him again. “Aren’t you Terry McAuliffe?”

No response.

“I know I’ve seen you on the news. Terry McAuliffe. Head of the Democratic National Committee all those years. What in the world are you doing slinging hash in Snake’s Navel, Kansas, fercrissake?”

His voice dropped to a whisper. “Not so loud.”

“It is you, isn’t it?”

“That goddamn John Kerry,” he said. “I worked my ass off to keep him within reach for the whole year, and in the last week he pissed it all away. Didn’t get the electoral vote, didn’t get the popular vote, didn’t get squat. We damn near lost Connecticut. Somebody had to take the blame.”

He didn’t say anything more, and I wasn’t about to ask. Besides, the eggs were runny.

And no, I’m not expecting any invitations to breakfast in Richmond.

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Ten hands, no waiting

Have you ever been up all night to get Grieg?

You will now.

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Just in time for dinner

From Syaffolee’s travel notebook, somewhere in the Mekong Delta:

There was a lot of seafood, some of it live, still flopping about in narrow metal pans filled with water.

This doesn’t happen quite so often on Classen, if you know what I mean.

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A scare for you

Of the five Spice Girls, perhaps the least heard-from of late is Scary Spice, otherwise known as Melanie Brown, seen here partying only moderately hearty:

Melanie Brown summer of 2013

Where has she been? All over the map, but her current gig is the judging panel of America’s Got Talent, alongside Howard Stern, Howie Mandel, and Heidi Klum.

While poking around the stacks, I turned up something of which I was not aware: Mel had done an episode of Coronation Street. My first thought was “Big deal. Corrie’s been on for fifty-odd years. By now, everyone in Britain, plus a handful of Tunisians, must have done the show.” The whole pre-Spice story:

The intention of the writers was that Andy McDonald and Amy [Nelson] would marry in what would be the first mixed-race wedding of the programme but actress Louise Duprey found the pressures of fame too demanding and soon after the recording of Episode 3601 (1st October 1993) suffered a nervous breakdown. It became clear that she would not return and the next — and final — time that the character was seen was in Episode 3609 (20th October 1993) when she was played by Melanie Brown (later better known as “Scary Spice” of the Spice Girls pop group) although she was only seen in a short scene set in a darkened room in which the cameras concentrated on Nicholas Cochrane. Louise Duprey was found dead of a drugs overdose in Liverpool in 2000. Her body had lain undiscovered for several weeks.

Now that’s scary.

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Sluts by mail

Something billing itself as “pua4done” tagged this “urgent” and dropped it into the maelstrom that is my inbox:

whats up!

I am not going to sit here and waste your time..

If you have ever wished you could pick up any girl YES i mean any girl with just a few simple words or body gestures then your DREAM is now a reality!…

I’m guessing that “pua” is a reference to “pick-up artist,” a phrase recently in vogue. And I’m also guessing that the sender isn’t going to do me any favors if I click on his link, which is anchored to the following text:

watch my free video and you too can pick up any girl at your leasure.. Or how about make the next girl you see want to tear off your clothes and suck YOUR dick!

What I really question, though, is that emphasis on that final “YOUR,” as though … oh, never mind.

From a different email address, but addressed to the same mailing list — you guys don’t spoof very well, do you? — was something titled “Looking for NSA Hookup.” I assume, of course, that NSA has already read this.

Wait, what? Oh, really?

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You can tell the difference

I am of, or perhaps from, an age where learning to shine up one’s shoes was a routine ritual of boyhood. There were two competitors, I knew: Kiwi, which came in a flat can, and Griffin’s, which came in a tall bottle. (If I’d looked, I’d find bottles of Kiwi and cans of Griffin’s, but I never looked that hard.) There was, however, a third, which was well on its way to oblivion, colloquial speech having established, or at least claimed, that it was largely indistinguishable from fecal matter, at least to some of us.

The trademark fell into desuetude, as trademarks will; but this one was revived, for a line of wholly different products. From earlier this month, in beautiful downtown Detroit:

In all honesty, we had no idea how many people would turn out for the grand opening of the Shinola Detroit Flagship store (441 W. Canfield St.) last weekend. So you can imagine how pleasantly surprised we were to be greeted by a long line of beaming Detroiters.

We had our full assortment of American-made products on hand, including men’s and women’s watches, leather goods, bicycles, and journals. But I think we surprised some people with the array of collaboratively-produced and curated items we also have in our store, such as leather-covered bike locks (a collaboration with Map of Days), jeans by Detroit Denim, Shinola bike bells, ceramic vessels by Local Portion, and a curated newsstand.

The stuff is pricey — watches start around $400, bicycles at two grand. Still, I have to believe there exists a market for this kind of thing, and if the conversation must open with WWII-era snark, well, at least Shinola v2.0 has its shiny-shod foot in the door. Meanwhile, Griffin and Kiwi soldier on.

(With thanks to Nancy Friedman, who offers her own analysis of the name.)

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