He turned that corner all alone

About 1970, P. F. Sloan disappeared and was never heard from again.

Okay, not never, but certainly seldom. It was enough to motivate Jimmy Webb to write a song about him:

I have been seeking P. F. Sloan
But no one knows where he has gone
No one ever heard the song
That boy sent winging

A few hardy folks covered it, most notably Jennifer Warnes in 1972. I thought it was wonderful. Then again, I’d been following Sloan since I’d discovered that he, and not Dean Torrence, sang the falsetto part on Jan and Dean’s “The Little Old Lady from Pasadena,” who, you may remember, had a brand-new, shiny red, Super Stock Dodge in her rickety old garage. Sloan also wrote, usually in partnership with Steve Barri, and became a member of the Wrecking Crew, the Los Angeles studio pros who played on literally thousands of tracks back then. Although Sloan is probably best known now for “Eve of Destruction,” the terribly, terribly topical tune cut by ex-Christy Minstrel Barry McGuire in 1965, this 1967 Grass Roots single is, I think, more typical of what Sloan and Barri were doing:

Then: nothing. Sloan cut a solo album, from which one flop single was released, and he stayed gone until the turn of the century. In 2015, Sloan’s book What’s Exactly The Matter With Me? — almost the title of the B-side of “Eve of Destruction” — explained some of what had been the matter with him.

And all the while, people continued to seek P. F. Sloan. In 2014, singer Rumer, who had covered that Jimmy Webb song two years earlier, actually found him:

I’d like to think he continued singing right up to the end — which was, alas, just this month. Pancreatic cancer, which spares no one.

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A waste of water

This should be ice in my drinks, not ice all over the foliage:

The stubbornest rose of all

We were visited last night by the Ice Fairy, or some such nuisance like that: it will take a guy with a chainsaw (due tomorrow) to clear away enough of the mulberry to open up the driveway, which was utterly impassable this morning. I’ve seen worse, but this is bad enough.

(Embiggened version on Flickr. You know that one holdout rose from a couple weeks ago? It’s still there.)

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Sort of a moat

Since I installed WordPress in the fall of 2008, the Akismet plugin has thwarted just under 40,000 spams. To me, this seems like a lot; but to WordPress oldtimers, this is a rounding error. Then again, I have a second line of defense: a handy little device called WP-Ban, which does a pretty fair job of keeping out known offending IP ranges. Even after a recent update, though, it was taking a couple of minutes to add a single IP to the ban list, and after watching things unfold in realtime, I decided to reset its counter.

As of yesterday, WP-Ban had turned away 923,242 intrusions, some IPs with only one or two tries, some with several thousand. So maybe, instead of forty thousand spams, I’d have had close to a million by now. It’s a discouraging thought, to say the least; then again, picking them out by hand is no fun for anyone, unless they’re inadvertently amusing.

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I park, therefore I am

First things first:

See also Jerry Reed: “Well, if the Lord that made the moon and the stars / Woulda meant for you and me to have cars / He’d-a seen that we was all born with a parking space.”

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Something of a reach

Women with legs that go on for days aren’t exactly common, but when they go on into the middle of next week, there’s no way I’m not going to take notice.

Chase Kennedy on the couch

The latest contender for America’s pinniest pins:

It was only a month ago that we wrote about Holly Burt — a 20-year-old design student from Florida — and her 1.25 metre legs strolling into the record books.

But now Chase Kennedy — a 22-year-old model from California — is claiming she has the longest legs in America, saying they measure in at a whopping 1.29 metres.

We’re talking 51 inches here, an inseam that’s more of an outseam, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

Chase Kennedy gets vertical

There is, of course, video:

I think the startling aspect of all this is how Chase, at six foot five, towers over her 5’11” mom.

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Bearing up

Saddam Hussein never visited the Thunderdome, but if he had, he probably would have gotten a better reception than did Reggie Jackson, who received what must have been the loudest Loud City boos since the Ford Center opened back in ought-two. I admit to wincing a bit; not even James Harden gets that kind of negativity. Jackson shrugged and went to work, and promptly got into foul trouble. It was that kind of night for the Pistons: after falling behind 8-0 at the beginning, they poured it on, jumping to a 13-point lead in the second quarter, and then getting worn down as the evening wore on. Detroit did a pretty good job of keeping Russell Westbrook in check, largely thanks to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who apparently has hidden depths of Kentaviousness; Double Zero fouled out with 4:25 left with a subpar 14-point/11-turnover line. Still, they had Kevin Durant to contend with, and the Thunder reserves, who had gotten off to a slow start, kept speeding it up. Even more to the point, the Pistons’ superiority on the boards failed to manifest itself: OKC collected 58 rebounds, twenty more than Detroit, and the Pistons’ Andre Drummond, the NBA’s leading rebounder, was held to seven, less than half his average. The final was 103-87, the Pistons having scored only 16 points in each of the two final quarters. And Reggie went 4-16 and finished minus 20 for the night.

In other words, nothing really unexpected happened: the game was a sellout, as they always are, though getting out of downtown during an ice storm is about as pleasant as you think it is. (Okay, you might wish that on Saddam, except that his current place of residence is widely believed to be fairly warm.) Maybe this sums up the game: Marcus Morris, twin of the Suns’ Markieff and genuinely dejected since being traded away from Phoenix, was the Pistons’ leading scorer with 17. And we did learn one thing: Steve Blake is not too old to play point. He didn’t score like Jackson, but he still runs an offense as well as anyone close to his age. Maybe someday the Trail Blazers, for whom Blake has played in three different stints, will want him back.

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Movable Black

Rebecca Black is getting ready to go on tour, so she didn’t have a whole lot of news to spread last week, but she did show up at the American Music Awards looking the very picture of Teenage Conservative:

Rebecca Black at the American Music Awards

The actual red-carpet shoot got Vined, and, well, by now she knows this drill very, very well.

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A future without Bob

Monday, after playing “That’s All” by Genesis — in retrospect, an inspired choice — KQOB (96.9), the former Bob FM, earlier this year stripped of its Bob imaging, began stunting with Christmas music, and no, I don’t know what’s coming up. RadioInsight reports:

Jack Elliot and Ron Williams will slide from Hot AC “98.9 Kiss-FM” KYIS to 96.9 on Monday, December 3. The station will continue with Christmas music until after the holiday season when a new format will debut. Jack and Ron recently celebrated their 21st anniversary at Kiss. The opening at KYIS will be filled by Joey and Heather who are currently at sister CHR “Wild 104.9” KKWD.

The third of December is actually a Thursday, but most of this makes sense, especially since the local Cumulus cluster has been suffering mightily in the ratings of late. (KQOB didn’t even show up in the November numbers.) Jack and Ron didn’t give out any clues in their on-air announcement, but, said Jack, Cumulus is basically building this station around them.

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Quote of the week

Meh.com has something to sell you, because they always do, and something to tell you, because it’s That Day Again:

Black Friday is the worst. Take the worst spoiled milk you’ve ever smelled, spread its rancid curds over an entire continent for an entire day, blast its fumes through the tubes of the Internet, punch yourself in the throat eight times, and max out all your credit cards. That’s Black Friday. Black Friday is spiritual ebola. Don’t thank God for this Friday. Blame Satan.

Look at what Black Friday does to people. It’s not just the tramplings and the shootings. It’s the whining and the grasping and the disappointment, so much aggro and angst over such meager rewards. It’s like one of those diabolically constructed Stanford psych lab experiment from the ’60s that proves that people are, at heart, sociopathic fascist gorillas.

Look at what Black Friday does to us. We can’t just do what we do every day: sell stuff for less than anybody else. On this one day, that’s not good enough. We have to compete with unrealistic expectations that no discount, anywhere, could possibly meet. Because it’s not about the discount. It’s about filling some void in people’s souls, some ecstatic experience that’s always one more click, one more coupon code, one more turn of the sale paper away.

[After 11 pm Central, when the next item goes up, that link will no longer lead to this text.]

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Citation unneeded

There’s a practical limit to how much you can squeeze into 140 characters, and by now you’d think that everyone would know that. Apparently not:

I sometimes wonder how narcissists manage to get by in the world unless they’re wealthy or politically influential enough to attract a flock of sycophants eager to tell them that their egocentric Weltanschauung is correct. It must be crushing for them to be reminded on a daily basis that the universe absolutely does not give a shit about them, and that most of their fellow humans care hardly a particle more than that. Of course, I’m assuming that they aren’t completely delusional; perhaps they go about distorting everything they hear and experience until it supports their own grotesquely-inflated sense of self-importance. I can’t imagine any other way that some random tweeter with a couple of dozen followers could actually expect a positive response to his demands that I produce citations and links for statements made in 140-character tweets. Yet I encountered not one but several of these last week; these champions of Not Getting It apparently failed to grasp the difference between a tweet and an academic paper until I none-too-gently reminded them that a tweet looks like this and an academic paper like this.

I have seen activists tweet back at people to the effect of “Shouldn’t you be getting your own information?” At first this seemed a bit high-handed; but it eventually occurred to me that finding my own links to stuff would stick better than just having them give me a bunch of links to stuff, and besides, there’s a better chance I’d hear more than a single side to the story while doing my own searching. So no, I don’t consider anyone responsible for my continuing education, except for myself.

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Fewer occupants, more miles

The automated-automobile utopia some are expecting may turn out to be the exact opposite:

A suburban father rides his driverless car to work, maybe dropping his daughter off at school. But rather than park the car downtown, he simply tells it to drive back home to his house in the suburbs. During the day, it runs some other errands for his family. At 3 pm, it goes to the school to bring his daughter home or chauffeur her to after-school activities. Then it’s time for it to drive back into the city to pick up Dad from work. But then, on a lark, Dad decides to go shopping at a downtown department store after work, so he tells his car to just circle the block for an hour while he shops, before finally hailing it to go home.

This is really easy and obvious behavior for a driverless car owner. It reduces the number of cars someone needs to own, and reduces pressure on inner city parking, but would cause an explosive growth in vehicle trips, and thus in congestion (not to mention emissions and other impacts). Just the commute behavior doubles car volumes, because the car now makes a two-way trip for each direction of the commute, instead of just one. And if everyone shopping downtown has a car circling the block waiting for them, well, that level of congestion will far exceed what’s generated by cars circling for parking today. It could pretty well shut down the city.

This, of course, is consistent with the Law of Unintended Consequences. Since this is obvious enough for even bureaucrats to understand, expect there to be a bevy of regulations heaped onto future autobots, followed by some other nightmare scenario they failed to anticipate.

(Via Treehugger.)

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Oh, the tryptophanity

“As God is my witness,” said Mr Carlson as the credits started rolling, “I thought turkeys could fly.” It didn’t work any better on the fictional WKRP in Cincinnati than it did on the real WQXI in Atlanta:

The turkey drop was actually a real incident. It was at a shopping center in Atlanta; I think it was Broadview Plaza, which no longer exists. It was a Thanksgiving promotion. We thought that we could throw these live turkeys out into the crowd for their Thanksgiving dinners. All of us, naïve and uneducated, thought that turkeys could fly. Of course, they went just fuckin’ splat.

People were laughing at us, not with us. But it became a legend. There were other stories of this nature that were embellished [on WKRP]; that one was really not embellished that much. Although the turkeys were thrown off the back of a truck, as opposed to how it was depicted on the [show].

Memory jog:

“Like sacks of wet cement” seems accurate. Notice that no actual turkeys were harmed in the production of this show.

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All I have to do is drine

Fifty percent Dexedrine, fifty percent Benzedrine, according to this vintage promotion:

Amazingly, there seem to be four pieces of whatever left in that pan. More recently, the word “anoretic” seems to be been supplanted by “anorectic,” or, in case you didn’t get it, “anorexic.”

Speaking of Benzedrine, you might want to keep it out of your Ovaltine.

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This appears to be a pie chart

I mean, this wouldn’t make sense as a bar graph, am I right?

Had I my druthers, I’d snag what is no longer called “mincemeat,” owing to a general lack of meat, with cherry the second choice. What I’m actually having, though, is peach.

I here admit to having had a brief craving for Boston creme pie, which is technically not a pie.

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Protecting our native fabric

I mean, I guess that’s what all this is about, right?

There are three Lowndes Counties in the States: in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. All three are named for William Jones Lowndes (1782-1822), who represented a South Carolina district in Congress. The Alabama county has a particularly prickly history with regard to civil rights. Lowndes himself is perhaps best known for suggesting an alternate method of apportioning seats in the House of Representatives, which would have assigned more seats to smaller states; it did not catch on.

But perhaps this isn’t political at all. Maybe, just maybe, it’s the baneful influence of — dare we say it? — Satin?

(Via Dan Lovejoy.)

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Where it all goes (’15)

The county was a little late getting the property-tax bills out, though of course they’re not going to be cutting taxpayers any slack in getting those bills paid. The actual amount I get to pay is a smidgen higher than last year, due to a small increase in the assessed value and a fraction of a mill added to the actual tax rate. Here’s where all those dollars go, and in brackets, where they went last year:

  • City of Oklahoma City: $124.57 [$120.39]
  • Oklahoma City Public Schools: $476.19 [$462.53]
  • Metro Tech Center: $123.21 [$120.39]
  • Oklahoma County general: $94.03 [$90.78]
  • Countywide school levy: $33.02 [$32.26]
  • City/County Health Department: $20.66 [$20.18]
  • Metropolitan Library System: $41.47 [$40.52]
  • Total: $913.14 [$887.04]

This year’s millage is 114.50, up from last year’s 113.84. (Record millage: 117.58, 2011.) The bank presumably will cut them a check on Monday.

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