Dead man running

There’s really not much one can add to this:

Political opponents accuse each other of lying all the time, but one Oklahoma congressional candidate took his accusation to a new level this week when he claimed his opponent was actually dead and being represented by a body double.

KFOR in Oklahoma reports that Timothy Ray Murray believes Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), his opponent in the congressional Republican primary, was executed three years ago and is being represented by a look-alike. Because he believes Lucas is really dead, Murray said he will challenge the results of Tuesday’s Republican primary, in which Murray received 5.2 percent of the vote. Lucas won the primary with 82.8 percent of the vote.

“It is widely known Rep. Frank D. Lucas is no longer alive and has been displayed by a look alike. Rep. Lucas’ look alike was depicted as sentenced on a white stage in southern Ukraine on or about Jan. 11, 2011,” Murray said in a statement posted on his campaign website. The statement claimed Lucas and “a few other” members of Congress from Oklahoma and other states were shown on television being hanged by “The World Court.”

Not that I object to Congressmen being hanged or anything, but “The World Court”? What, did the Illuminati have the week off?

And we’ve had dead people on the ballot before, but you can usually assume that they were alive on the filing date.

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So-called “childish things”

“I won’t grow up,” says the Disneyfied version of Peter Pan. In real life, we do, even if others don’t think so:

I will admit, I wonder sometimes “how long can you keep this up? It’s already ridiculous for a 40-something to still keep stuffed toys on her bed.” And I still occasionally hear in my head the echo of the incredulous response of someone whose opinion I valued at the time: “You’re buying a watch with Eeyore on it? What are you, EIGHT? That’s not going to help you at all when you go for job interviews.”

Well, I don’t know. I got a job, and tenure, and made full professor, all while wearing an Eeyore watch. And maybe, I don’t know, maybe the rules of what’s appropriate are being rewritten and no one will think it a big deal in the future that someone in her, I don’t know, fifties, still likes to watch cartoons or wear t-shirts with Snoopy on them or things like that.

As is often the case, C. S. Lewis has anticipated the issue, and finds it no issue at all:

Critics who treat adult as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.

(From the essay “On Three Ways of Writing for Children,” 1952.)

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Dollars of darkness

A chap named “badanov,” and I presume he is, left this comment at The Other McCain, riffing off a Molly Ball piece for the Atlantic that McCain linked to for background:

T. W. Shannon may have received endorsements of Freedom Works, Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz, but what Miss Ball failed to note is that Shannon was supported by a galaxy of democrats as well as liberal republicans. No one in Oklahoma thought those endorsements were carefully considered; I certainly didn’t think so. Those endorsements were all head scratchers, endorsing a politician with such little experience.

So when the head of the PAC which was the first in line to give Shannon money was busted for drug possession, a pattern emerged that those endorsements were poorly considered. Despite the star power of all those endorsements, they couldn’t hide the stink, and so Shannon went down harder than an Obamacare website.

Shannon has a promising future if he carefully considers who [his] paymaster is, and he stops taking dark money without considering the source. This election cycle he didn’t and he thankfully got caught.

There are those who think all money in politics — except, of course, funding from their friends — qualifies as “dark,” but this is hardly their sole delusion.

Incidentally, this was Ball’s conclusion on l’affaire Shannon:

The race was expected to be close, but it was not. Lankford ran away with it, taking 57 percent of the vote, crushing Shannon by more than 20 points and avoiding a runoff. The very conservative voters of Oklahoma, a very conservative state, wanted the candidate with conservative positions but a responsible profile — someone who doesn’t want to burn Washington down and might see fit to vote some other way than “no” once in a while. What Republicans want isn’t more Thad Cochrans. It’s more James Lankfords.

She says “burn Washington down” like it’s a bad thing. Then again, I didn’t vote in that race, for the most obvious of reasons. (Hint: closed primary.)

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Hoosier spouse

Same-sex marriage comes to Indiana, and Roberta X gauges the response:

State GOP politicians are cheering on the appeal and seem to be implying there’s a circuit split (which would be an excellent reason to haul the mess up before the Supreme Court, who might even hear it — I wonder how many appeals are refused after a Justice has a nightmare about Dred Scott?). If there is a circuit split, I’m not finding it.

And predictions of what is to come, from the fervid imaginations of the General Public:

The next step, according to some, will be dogs and cats living together, followed by Nazis riding dinosaurs, people marrying houseplants and legalized polyamorous unions — I suspect the last strongly supported by the divorce attorney union in quivering anticipation of the financial resources of an 8-person marriage.* (Conversely, nobody older than age six really wants stormtroopers on T-Rexes goose-stepping down Main Street. Common ground at last!)

And you got this mainly because I wanted to reproduce the footnote:

* “Buy in bulk and save!” One would expect more huddling-up when times are difficult, especially in this age of extended families no longer living in the same neighborhood. This leads me to suspect the demand for more-formal polyamory is already well-matched to supply: pretty small. The “If they legalize it, everyone will want to do it,” argument is bilgewater: the people who want to already are. One might apply this principle more widely…

And should, if only because slopes are really hard to gauge for slipperiness until you actually lose your footing.

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Meanwhile at the Water Works

One of my two Laws of Travel, which I’m pretty sure I swiped from Caskie Stinnett, is “Never assume there’s another toilet nearby.” Which can be troublesome, since for some of us, there’s no more embarrassing question than “Um, could I use your bathroom?”

I hate using the restroom in the homes of other people! I know it can be a solstice, a place of peace, and secrecy for them. Not to mention, they may figure out that I actually use the restroom. I mean, yeah, it’s a fact, but for some reason asking permission to use a person’s bathroom is forever ingrained in my head as a fearful and embarrassing action. I may be sitting on your couch clenching every kegel muscle in my body and cursing myself for drinking that can of soda, but it takes a great amount of trust to use your restroom.

I haven’t quite gotten to this point yet, though I’ve had to cut back on my liquid consumption during road trips, having discovered in recent years that the rate of bladder fill and the rate of gasoline usage seldom coincide.

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On the streets of Laredo

I used to — repeat: used to — have family in Laredo, Texas, but I haven’t had a whole lot of reason to talk about the third-largest city on this side of the Mexican border, except for that time when the only full-line bookstore in town was closing.

This is not a selling point, so apparently now the city fathers are pushing another angle: it’s the 19th safest city in the US. This is perhaps not surprising, considering El Paso’s tiny but largely unnoticed crime rate.

But while looking that up, I found something else: El Metro Transit, the bus system in Laredo, serves 3.2 million passengers a year, in a metropolitan area of a quarter million, more than either Oklahoma City or Tulsa, who have four to five times the population. Each. The only reason I can think of, other than mere ethnicity, is that the Laredo system is privately owned.

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Warming just before the dawn

Said I on 12 August 2012, nine days after the Hottest Damn Day Ever in this town:

It’s not the 100-plus afternoons that bother me so much; it’s the 80-degree sunrises, with the neighborhood runners sweating at 0530 and wondering what they did to deserve this.

On said Hottest Damn Day, the high merely tied the 1936 record (113°F), but the low, if you can call it “low,” was a darkly scorching 84. If you’re in the habit of counting degree days — and why would you be? — the first thing you’d do is take the average of the high and the low, and you’d come up with, um, 99. This is almost Phoenix-level searing.

Aside: We have 123 years of records for Oklahoma City. On how many days did it fail to drop below 84 degrees Fahrenheit? Answer: one.

Now comes this disturbing bit of news:

[O]ne thing that is never, ever mentioned in the press but is generally true about temperature trends — almost all of the warming we have seen is in nighttime temperatures, rather than day time… This is one reason why, despite claims in the media, we are not hitting any more all time daytime highs than we would expect from a normal distribution. If you look at temperature stations for which we have 80+ years of data, fewer than 10% of the 100-year highs were set in the last 10 years. We are setting an unusual number of records for high low temperature, if that makes sense.

People wonder why I have so damned much foliage. I’m trying to maintain some shade in the face of hellish warmth — even when it’s dark.

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Not to mention the Greens

Once you’ve reached a Certain Age, you inevitably wonder about things like this:

If Democrats are liberals, and liberals are socialists, and socialists are blood-brothers of communists, how did the Democrats become associated with the color blue? I mean communists have been called Reds for forever, but in the modern USA, it is the Republicans, the staunch opponents of anything that even smells of cooperation, who are the Reds. Why is that?

As is the case with most modern idiosyncrasies, it’s a television thing. From the Washington Post, just before the 2004 elections:

The first reference to “red states” and “blue states,” according to a database search of newspapers, magazines and TV news transcripts since 1980, occurred on NBC’s Today show about a week before the 2000 election. Matt Lauer and Tim Russert discussed the projected alignment of the states, using a map and a color scheme that had first shown up a few days earlier on NBC’s sister cable network, MSNBC. “So how does [Bush] get those remaining 61 electoral red states, if you will?” Russert asked at one point.

In an interview yesterday, Russert disclaimed credit for coining the red-state, blue-state distinction. “I’m sure I wasn’t the first to come up with it,” he said. “But I will take credit for the white board,” Russert’s signature, hands-on electoral vote tracker.

But it may have been David Letterman at CBS who provided the cultural imprimatur:

As the 2000 election became a 36-day recount debacle, the commentariat magically reached consensus on the proper colors. Newspapers began discussing the race in the larger, abstract context of red vs. blue. The deal may have been sealed when Letterman suggested a week after the vote that a compromise would “make George W. Bush president of the red states and Al Gore head of the blue ones.”

Incidentally, Prince’s Purple Rain album was released 30 years ago this week.

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Horsing around with radar

“But, officer,” you plead, “it’s not my car you picked up on the radar.”

Sure it’s not,” he says, and keeps writing the ticket.

And once in a great while, it’s not:

At first glance it seemed as if the speed camera had caught a pony travelling at almost 40 mph in a 30 mile per hour zone.

But in fact according to police who had to analyse this snap, the radar zeroed in on a car behind the pony that it of breaking the speed limit, but unfortunately the pony was in the way just as the camera took the image of the speeding car.

With an incomplete image of the car — the pony apparently obscured the number plate — there was no way to ticket the driver.

And 40 mph is pretty darn fast for a pony, unless you’re Rainbow Dash, which I’m pretty sure you’re not.

(Via MandoPony’s mom.)

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Don’t even look in this direction

As mentioned a few weeks back, there are two videos for Sia’s hit single “Chandelier,” and she doesn’t appear in either of them; nor does she show her face in her live performances these days.

For the second year in a row, Sia’s won the APRA Songwriter of the Year award, and she sent a video to accept it. This is the video:

As with the videos, it’s Sia’s voice, but it’s emphatically not Sia.

This is consistent, at least, which what she’s been saying since the 1000 Forms of Fear album was announced:

I don’t want to be famous. If Amy Winehouse was a beehive then I guess I’m a blonde bob. I thought “well if that’s my brand, how can I avoid having to use my face to sell something,” so my intention was to create a blonde bob brand. Throughout this whole thing I’ll put a different person in a blonde bob and either they lip-synch while I’m doing a live performance or they perform a dance or do some sort of performance while I have my back to the audience, as with Ellen. I recently recorded a bunch of stuff for VH1 where a 78-year-old woman wears the blonde bob and is lip-synching on a treadmill. Then there’s a black boy that Ryan choreographed a dance for, who’s not a dancer, and he’s in the blonde bob.

You could say, I suppose, that she’s screwing with us; but that’s what we, or at least what I, signed up for.

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Die, nard, with a vengeance

Not even brass weighs this much:

A West Michigan man is hoping to get an embarrassing condition taken care of — with help from the public.

Dan Maurer, 39, has a nearly 100-pound, enlarged scrotum, which he wants removed.

“When I go out, people do look. They try to be polite, you can see when something’s not right,” he said.

Especially, you know, if it keeps you from walking.

Dan’s only hope is a doctor in California who will perform surgery to remove the growth.

Presumably that would be this guy. Dan’s hoping to crowdsource some funding; he’s raised about a third of the twenty grand the surgery will cost.

(Fark headline on this story: “Man with enormous sack really not happy about it.”)

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Ghosh of a chance

Payal Ghosh, twenty-four, has appeared in eight different films in five different languages, which seems almost reasonable for a young woman from Kolkata with a political-science degree from the Scottish Church College — which is also in Kolkata.

Payal Ghosh in a lawn chair

Her first appearance was in English, a small role in the BBC telefilm Sharpe’s Peril. She has since appeared in films in Telugu, Tamil and Kannada, and is now working in Hindi; her most recent work, in Vivek Agnihotri’s Freedom (in Hindi), is in post-production.

Payal Ghosh kicks back

And will she ever put that political stuff to work? “You never know where destiny will take you,” she says.

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Fiddy bits

Rapper 50 Cent’s new album Animal Ambition, released this month, can be paid for with cash, plastic, PayPal — or bitcoin, which his online store accepts and processes through service provider Bitpay.

This is the part I like:

According to the new media director for G-Unit Records, Corentin Villemeur, accepting bitcoin fits with [Curtis] Jackson’s narrative and history of being open to make money in as many ways as possible.

Which, of course, 50 acknowledges.

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Your basic tiny roadster returns

About seven years ago, I tried to talk up the Daihatsu Copen, a kei-class Japanese roadster that never appeared on these shores, and I noted with dismay later that the model was apparently being allowed to die without a replacement.

Behold, now, the replacement:

2014 Daihatsu Copen

The powerplant, such as it is, remains unchanged: 660-cc turbocharged inline four, 63 hp. Says Derek Kreindler at TTAC, and I have no reason to doubt him: “Seriously, this thing makes a Miata look like a Ford Galaxie 500 in comparison.” I still think it’s wonderful, even though there’s no chance in hell I could ever fit into it.

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Conceal of disapproval

Upon putting the new Windows 7 box into service, I announced that several pieces of software from the XP days would not run, including Adobe Photoshop Elements — “though this is my fault: I can’t find the original installation DVD.”

It’s no longer my fault. I finally found the original installation DVD; but it won’t install on a W7 box. (This is Home Premium, not the Professional version, so I don’t have the option of running it in a virtual XP machine.) Thanks, Adobe.

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Turned out like before

There wasn’t much on the Democratic ballot in today’s primary, rather a lot more for the GOP; in fact, signs were posted to the effect of “REPUBLICANS USE BOTH SIDES OF BALLOT.” I showed up at the two-precinct polling place at 4:52 pm and cast what appeared to be ballot #408. Behind me were two Republicans: a pretty young lady and a grizzled old man. (Now that’s a coalition.) I was back in the parking lot before 4:56. Overall, nothing seemed out of the ordinary; this is normally a semi-slack period, with things getting busy after 5:30 to 6 pm. (Polls close at 7; there’s also a rush first thing in the morning for the 7 am opening.)

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