No place to wear a star

Although I don’t believe that should disqualify him:

An 87-year old man is running for sheriff in Washington state because sometimes, as he says, letters seeking change are just not enough.

Dave Olinger of Oak Harbor, located about 90 miles northwest of Seattle, is a man of his word and convictions and, oh yeah, a nudist.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Heck, Joe Biden is alleged to be a skinnydipper.

Olinger’s problem with the incumbent?

Olinger, who has a political science degree from UC Berkeley, said the incumbent sheriff, Mark Brown, was running unopposed and as a Republican.

“It is a position that is not supposed to be associated with a political party,” Olinger said.

And so Sheriff Brown will be primaried. Washington State has an open primary, so Olinger’s political affiliation is not germane:

Olinger was first going to try and get on the ticket as a member of the nudist party, but later decided the Democratic Party worked just fine, he said.

“I would do a good job for the county,” he said. “I have a real chance of at least making the [general election] ticket.”

In other news, apparently there’s some sort of nudist party. I had no idea the Body Freedom Collaborative might actually hold political-party status.

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Does whatever he does

This, I think, was inevitable:

Similarly, Woody Allen in Without Feathers:

The great roe is a mythological beast with the head of a lion and the body of a lion, though not the same lion.

No doubt other semi-hybrid creatures exist, or can be presumed to exist.

Addendum: No way I could pass this up:

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County of Kings

A Facebook friend in Brooklyn, looking for new digs, posted this image, perhaps to show us out here in the provinces what he’s up against:

Affordable Housing in NYC

For some of us, this is a definition of “affordable” with which we are not familiar. I’m sure it’s worse in Manhattan, assuming there are units like this to be had in Manhattan.

If you’re a sophisticated urbanite, by the definition used by sophisticated urbanites to separate themselves from those rubes out in the ‘burbs, this is what you get for that kind of money in the 405. (My little house on the edge of the Loop runs, um, rather a lot less.)

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Would you have any grey coupons?

“The bad news for news isn’t over,” says Jeff Jarvis:

The last best category of advertising in newspapers is the distribution of FSIs, free-standing inserts — circulars and coupons — which by one account adds up to 30-50 percent of newspapers’ retail advertising (though retail advertising continues to plummet). The last, best reason to keep printing and distributing a newspaper is FSIs. When you see papers cut frequency of printing or distribution to a few days a week, those are not hot news days; those are the days that bring FSIs and their revenue.

I’ve been saying here for some time that FSIs will go away. About two years ago, I asked a big-box retailer that makes much money from its circulars (from charging brands for presence in them) how long it would be before the circulation of print newspapers would fall below critical mass. The reply: 24-36 months. Note how long ago that was.

A typical Sunday Oklahoman has maybe 110 pages of actual broadsheet; all the rest (except for Parade, I suppose) is FSI. The classifieds, once 60-70 pages, are now down to 16. I’m not sure what mass is considered “critical,” but I do know that thirty years ago, they were moving twice as many papers, and those papers were 50 percent thicker.

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If only I knew

Usually I can snap off an answer to these Yahoo! questioners in nothing flat. This one left me baffled:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: What is Twilight Sparkle's cell phone number?

I mean, I figure she’d have enough trouble with a landline.

But no, there’s a reason for this:

you know how you can call a phone number and it will be an automated message? I wanted to call the number for my little sister cause she loves My Little Pony, its not half bad actually, so if anyone knows anything, please answer, thanks in advanced.

This I hadn’t heard. And all this time I’d believed her policy was “don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

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Non-returnable, non-disposable

This never, ever happened with a 59-cent GE SoftWhite 60-watt:

Fortunately, I still have a couple of dozen of those ancient devices.

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Mineral wrongs

This seems like it could be just a simple mixup, but nothing in the energy biz is simple anymore:

A Hancock County [WV] couple whose mineral rights were used without their knowledge as collateral for a $500 million loan have filed suit against Chesapeake Energy affiliates, claiming Chesapeake’s debt was improperly recorded as a lien against their property.

Homeowners John and Jacqueline Bird of New Manchester filed the suit in Hancock County Circuit Court, saying the enormous lien has imperiled their ability as property owners to buy, sell or borrow against their property, “thereby depreciating its market value, restricting plaintiffs’ full use and enjoyment of the property, and hindering plaintiffs’ rights …”

The suit, which seeks class action status, also claims the landsman who arranged the deal, Chris Turner, prepared, explained and modified legal documents, including leases, even though he was not an attorney.

Says counsel for the plaintiffs:

[T]he Birds signed “what they thought were leases, though there’s a question (now) whether it was a lease or an option. They signed it because they hoped to get some royalties… What they didn’t know or understand because it was never told to them was that their lease would become collateral for a $500 million loan, that there would be a lien on the property of every person who is in the class.”

Which could be as many as five hundred.

Chesapeake, perhaps not surprisingly, has petitioned to move the case to U.S. District Court.

(Via Cheri Campbell.)

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New morning at Dawn

Dawn Eden and I go back many years, and by “many years” I mean a duration long enough for us to have gotten out of touch for several, somewhere in the midst of it. I can tell you, based on personal experience, that she’s an inveterate punster and a wonderful dinner companion. But for the rest of what she’s been up to, you’re going to have to read this piece at GetReligion, which explains not only how she got it but what she did with it.

And this, she says, is the bottom line:

[H]aving put in years in New York City newsrooms, not to mention decades as a rock music historian, I know the value of a free press, and I want to see mainstream journalists produce accurate, fair, balanced reporting on faith issues. That’s why I am here at GetReligion.

Her blog continues at The Dawn Patrol.

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It crawled into my ear, honest

The Friar may be sticking his fingers in his ears about now:

Over at Today I Found Out, a writer explores some of the reasons that songs become earworms, and I imagine those same music folks have pored over these ideas to see what kind of combination of catchiness, repetition, hook and whatever else you can think of actually makes a song something that you can’t get out of your head.

The problem for them is that no two heads are alike (except maybe for Vice President Joe Biden and Peanut), so the triggers that will make a song stick in my head are not necessarily the triggers that will make one stick in your head. Even if the triggers are the same, the qualities that trip those triggers might not be. I may be an unreconstructed punk who will start bobbing my head and drumming out a rhythm on the armrest at “I Was Wrong” or “Bad Luck.” You may be a later music lover who has the same reaction to a Tony Bennett/Lady Gaga duet (in which case may the Lord and all of his angels help you before it’s too late). The point is that a record company that wants to find a formula for a hit can’t make a song that will cause both of us to click on iTunes and demand it take our money.

In my own defense, I do know my own weaknesses. I’m just … I mean, this is exhausting.

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With tremulous cadence slow

One regular feature in The Week is called Wit & Wisdom; it’s simply a small collection of Famous Quotes that have appeared recently in the media they mine for excerpts. I’ve swiped several of them for the sidebar, in fact.

What’s interesting is not so much the quotes themselves, many of which are overly familiar by now, but the description, or in some cases lack thereof, attached to the original speaker. In the current issue (8 August, #680), they assume you know Henry David Thoreau, Will Rogers, Andy Rooney, Groucho Marx, and Matthew Arnold, and don’t know Muriel Spark and Douglas Adams, who are identified as “novelists.”

In a better, or at least more literate, world, we’d recognize Spark and Adams right off the bat. But I admit to being somewhat relieved that it’s assumed we know Matthew Arnold, Victorian poet, who in this seemingly post-poetic world might be overlooked just for being a (1) Victorian (2) poet.

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I haz several sads

The function of sadtweets.com:

The website scans through your Twitter feed and then shows you, one by one, all the tweets that nobody favorited or retweeted, one tweet at a time. The tweets zoom toward you slowly, inescapable in their awfulness, one after another, ceaselessly. Prepare to shake your head at your repeated Twitter defeats and wonder where you went so, so wrong.

You can try out Sad Tweets here. Unfortunately, you can view only your own Twitter feed’s saddest tweets at the moment; hopefully soon you will be able to view the saddest tweets of your friends and colleagues, so that you can mock them and make yourself feel a little better about your own failures. (Or, you know, commiserate with them.)

I’d guess that somewhere around half my tweets received neither retweet nor favorite; this would mean that I’d have to sit through around 25,000 of the darn things. No thanks. They weren’t all that wonderful to begin with.

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Form perhaps following function

Nine West is offering a collection titled, perhaps tongue-in-cheek, “Starter Husband Hunting.” (Presumably, more advanced techniques, whatever they might be, call for different shoes.) This is part of something they call Shoe Occasions, and you’ll find this shoe in the page header:

Chillice by Nine West

This style is called “Chillice,” and it appears here in “Natural Black/Multi Pony.” I guess I’d notice that. (It’s ten bucks cheaper — $99 — in black.) The pitch:

A crisscross vamp and an adjustable ankle strap closure give our Chillice pointy toe pumps those inevitable double-takes. Padded footbed provides all-day, into-the-evening comfort. Leather or pony upper; simply mouse over your favorite color for upper information. Man-made lining and sole. Imported. 4″ high heels.

Incidentally, a member of the site staff opened up a chat window while I was snagging the picture. I should have told said staffer that it didn’t come in my size. (It does go up to 12.)

Addendum: Do you think maybe they need more than two Shoe Occasions?

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Spilled watts

If I draw 10 gallons of Shell V-Power out of the pump, I’m getting, give or take a tablespoon or two, 10 gallons; the Corporation Commission sees to that. After that, the laws of physics kick in, and internal-combustion engines are not exactly celebrated for their efficiency, which is one reason why electric-powered cars are selling in quantities no longer describable as miniscule.

Then again, if you draw 100 kilowatt-hours out of the line, how much of that is the car going to use? Here’s what one Tesla Model S owner found, after installing a digital submeter to determine exactly how much juice is leaving the outlet and going into the car:

[T]he Model S reported 728 kWh used during the period but the meter reported 894 kWh used. This means my charging efficiency is only about 82% and electric usage (and cost) is 18% higher than I may have expected based on the readings the Model S provides. For that month this is an extra $26 of charging cost which is a small number but a notable percentage of the total.

At his, um, current (sorry) electrical rate, he wound up using $143 worth of electricity for that month — to drive 2,417 miles. At my around-town figure of 21.5 mpg, this means I’d be buying 112.4 gallons of gas to drive that same distance, and at last weekend’s fillup price ($3.299), I’m looking at $370 in fuel costs. So even if Tesla doesn’t win by as much as he’d hoped — some electrics, he says, manage 90-percent charging efficiency — it’s still a pretty substantial win.

(Via Autoblog Green.)

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Zooeypalooza 21!

I can go on only so long without knocking out one of these. And it’s slightly bigger than usual: twelve pictures instead of nine, ten or eleven.

Zooeypalooza 21!

As usual, you may click to embiggen.

YesterPaloozas: ZP 1, ZP 2, ZP 3, ZP 4, ZP 5, ZP 6, ZP 7, ZP 8, ZP 9, ZP 10, ZP 11, ZP 12, ZP 13, ZP 14, ZP 15, ZP 16, ZP 17, ZP 18, ZP 19, ZP 20.

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Unpaid by the word

I fished this out of the spam trap yesterday. It’s clearly no good: it links to a nonexistent URL, and the email address smells funny. Still, it’s a question worth considering:

What is the difference between a Website Columnist and a blogger?

Immediate smart-ass remark: “Ten dollars a post.”

I thought about it a little longer. I spent some of that time speculating what I’d have done with $10 a post, which over the past 18 years would have brought in nearly a quarter of a million dollars — and which, if I broke it down by actual time spent, would probably not be a whole lot more than minimum wage.

And I tend to think of “columnist” according to the newspaper model: someone who turns out 750 words three times a week for a small (sometimes not so small) retainer, as distinguished from well, me, turning out 200 words thirty-five times a week simply for the satisfaction of having stirred up stuff.

Besides which, people who toil for big commercial sites earn somewhere between nothing (HuffPo) and damned little — maybe as little as, um, $10 a post.

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No countability

Article I, Section 2, of that document no one in Washington seems ever to have read:

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States … according to their respective Numbers … The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years.

This is the Constitutional mandate of the Bureau of the Census. All the rest of this stuff is extraneous:

Received an envelope with frightening-looking shields and seals, urging “the person who resides at this address, not you personally” go and participate in Census questionnaire on their website. If I don’t, they said citing ## XX Article of YY US Law, I’ll be thrown in jail or charged a hefty penalty. It’s all for the greater good, they said — to let the government know where, in which community little children cry from hunger and which ethnic group in particular these crying children belong to.

This is the sort of thing that raised the ire of our old friend Nunya Bidness, who probably would have responded almost exactly this way:

I bet some govmint clerk will be a bit surprised to find West-African Chinese man of 85 and income of 250K, living in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, badly in need of hearing aid, guide dog and a life-supply of Prozac.

The point is not so much to put one over on the Feds — though they richly deserve it — as it is to make their figures (more) unreliable, comparable with, for instance, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which over the past six years has been turned into a propaganda mill, and not a good propaganda mill at that.

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