Fast fixing

“Didn’t we just get 3.8.2?” I mused as the email notifiers came in last night to tell me that 3.8.3 had just arrived. There was, of course, a reason for that:

The “Quick Draft” tool on the dashboard screen was broken in the 3.8.2 update. If you tried to use it, your draft would disappear and it wouldn’t save. While we doubt anyone was writing a novella using this tool, any loss of content is unacceptable to us.

We recognize how much trust you place in us to safeguard your content, and we take this responsibility very seriously. We’re sorry we let you down.

Now what kind of nimrod writes novellas in the WordPress editor?

Oh, right. Never mind.

Comments (4)




Not a flower girl

Eliza Doolittle — this Eliza Doolittle, anyway — is twenty-six today. I think of her as Amy Winehouse without the pharma, Adele without the drama. And in this shot, she looks, well, maybe not twenty-six:

Eliza Doolittle on stage

“Walking on Water” is the third single from her 2013 album In Your Hands, and it goes like this:

Weirdly, her Twitter account appears under the name “Eliza Fancies You.” Not me, she doesn’t.

Comments (2)




Eternity isn’t what it used to be

I was looking at the Wikipedia page for April 15, and this line turned up in the midst of Births:

Birth and death of Kim Il-sung

Turns out the DPRK is serious:

As of 2014 there is no President of North Korea, as the office was left vacant from the death of Kim Il-sung in 1994, and was abolished with the 1998 constitutional changes. Instead, the functions and powers previously belonging to the President were divided between three officials: the head of government, the Premier of North Korea; the speaker of the legislature, the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly; and the head of the military, the Chairman of the National Defence Commission and Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army, currently held by Kim Il-sung’s grandson, Kim Jong-Un. The latter Kim is also the First Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, and is reckoned as “Supreme Leader” with absolute control over the country.

I always figured it would take three people to replace me, not that you could find three people to work that cheap.

Comments off




Welcome to Drosophiladelphia

It’s a place where the agriculture is booming, the produce is headed for your table, and the fruit flies are the best damn stunt flyers you ever did see:

Fruit flies could make some talented fighter pilots. Scientists who had the insects wing it through two laser beams watched the bugs make hairpin turns at blazing fast speeds, by banking in the same way that fighter jet planes do. The findings, published in the journal Science, shed light on these tiny critters’ remarkable ability to evade predators (and fly swatters).

Like there’s a chance you’re going to swat this guy:

When trying to escape from a threat, the Drosophila hydei flies turn at a speed that’s five times faster than their normal turning speed, according to researchers from the University of Washington. Instead of turning right or left on the “yaw” axis, like a boat in the water, the flies execute banked turns, by rolling and pitching their bodies at the same time, which supercharges their turns. They can execute one of these within less than one hundredth of a second after seeing a threat, the scientists said. That’s 50 times faster than the blink of an eye.

At this point, about all you can hope for is that they won’t be teaching these techniques to their slower friends among the common houseflies. Or you might invest in one of these.

(Via Consumerist.)

Comments (1)




Beak production

Didn’t we just dispose of this team a couple of days ago? But this was different: the Pelicans were at home, the Thunder were worn out yesterday by the Indiana Pacers, Russell Westbrook was resting, and Tyreke Evans, despite a bone bruise, was playing through it all. And from the How Is This Even Possible department: Nick Collison got broomed. Four minutes into the second quarter, he and Austin Rivers got into it; Rivers, by all appearances, was the major aggressor, but presumably in an effort to appear “fair,” the officials tossed them both. No matter. This was Tyreke’s night: whatever pain he might have been in, he ignored, while putting up a career-high 41 points. It was 75-75 with eight minutes left; New Orleans won it going away, 101-89, with Evans playing the entire second half.

But let’s face it: the Pelicans didn’t look all that depleted, even down to nine players after Rivers’ unexpected departure. And if Luke Babbitt was the only other Bird to score more than ten, well, New Orleans did shoot 44 percent, four percent better than the Thunder, and OKC was in one of its Desperation Trey modes. (Nine of 32? Sheesh. The Pelicans weren’t that much better, at 9-29, but still.) Serge Ibaka had some vim and/or vigor, producing 22 points while gathering 16 rebounds, and Caron Butler did serious sixth-man work with 19, but take those two out of the equation and you’re left with a team that went 18-55 from the floor. Reggie Jackson mustered only four points; Kevin Durant managed 25, but it took him 23 shots to do it.

So happy times in the Big Easy, which hasn’t seen a lot of them of late. Not only did the Thunder fail to clinch the #2 seed in the West, they also assured themselves of a poorer record than last year: assuming they beat Detroit Wednesday, they finish 59-23. (They won 60 games last season.) And if tonight is any indication, the Pistons might actually pull off the upset.

Comments off




They get lost so easily here

The wire-service story:

A California-bound Southwest Airlines flight was diverted to Omaha, Neb. on Sunday after witnesses said a passenger tried to open a door.

The captain of the Chicago-to-Sacramento flight landed on Eppley Airfield to “have an unruly passenger removed” before continuing on to Sacramento, the airlines said in a statement.

The flight with 5 crew members and 134 passengers arrived safely at its destination about two hours behind schedule.

And where is this mysterious place called “Omaha”? Don’t ask CBS News:

CBS This Morning screenshot placing Omaha in eastern Kansas

(Via this Blake Waggoner tweet. Waggoner hails from, yes, Nebraska.)

Comments (3)




Have you promoted a Ford lately?

Received from one of Ford’s social-media mavens:

We think 50 years of service warrants 50,000 best wishes, don’t you?

For half a century, Mustang has gifted drivers with a gracious mix of style, power and performance.

Now, as we greet the all-new 2015 Mustang, it’s time to say thanks.

Join us in celebrating this milestone by giving Mustang the biggest virtual party in history. That’s right — we’re aiming to crush the Guinness World Record for Most eCard Signatures by April 16.

In other news, there’s a Guinness World Record for Most eCard Signatures.

Still, half a century is several lifetimes for lesser vehicles, so:

Wish Mustang the best:

http://action.ford.com/mustang50signthecard

Yeah, I did. It’s a pony car, after all. I think I had #29,846. Besides, it enabled me to empty out the inbox without pressing the dreaded Delete key.

Comments (2)




Incumbency ho!

When people say they can’t stand the Legislature, what they really mean, often as not, is that they can’t stand your legislator; their legislator is just wonderful.

Which may explain why so many members of the Oklahoma legislature drew no opponents this fall. Half the Senate (24 of 48) and all of the House (101) must be picked, and these incumbents will be automagically returned to office:

  • S2: Morty L. Quinn (R) Claremore
  • S10: Eddie Fields (R) Wynona
  • S16: John Sparks (D) Norman
  • S24: Anthony Sykes (R) Moore
  • S30: David Holt (R) Oklahoma City
  • S34: Rick Brinkley (R) Owasso
  • S38: Mike Schulz (R) Altus
  • H2: John Bennett (R) Sallisaw
  • H4: Mike Brown (D) Fort Gibson
  • H8: Ben Sherrer (D) Chouteau
  • H11: Earl Sears (R) Bartlesville
  • H13: Jerry McPeak (D) Warner
  • H15: Ed Cannaday (D) Porum
  • H18: Donnie Condit (D) McAlester
  • H19: R. C. Pruett (D) Antlers
  • H21: Dustin Roberts (R) Durant
  • H22: Charles A. McCall (R) Atoka
  • H23: Terry O’Donnell (R) Catoosa
  • H24: Steve Koupien (D) Beggs
  • H25: Todd Thomsen (R) Ada
  • H30: Mark McCullough (R) Sapulpa
  • H33: Lee Denney (R) Cushing
  • H34: Cory T. Williams (D) Stillwater
  • H37: Steven E. Vaughan (R) Ponca City
  • H39: Marion Cooksey (R) Edmond
  • H42: Lisa J. Billy (R) Lindsay
  • H44: Emily Virgin (D) Norman
  • H47: Leslie Osborn (R) Mustang
  • H48: Pat Ownby (R) Ardmore
  • H50: Dennis Johnson (R) Duncan
  • H51: Scott R. Briggs (R) Chickasha
  • H52: Charles Ortega (R) Altus
  • H55: Todd Rush (R) Cordell
  • H57: Harold Wright (R) Weatherford
  • H58: Jeff Hickman (R) Fairview
  • H59: Mike Sanders (R) Kingfisher
  • H60: Dan Fisher (R) El Reno
  • H64: Ann Coudy (R) Lawton
  • H66: Jadine Nollan (R) Sand Springs
  • H67: Pam Peterson (R) Tulsa
  • H68: Glen Mulready (R) Tulsa
  • H70: Ken Walker (R) Tulsa
  • H71: Katie Henke (R) Tulsa
  • H72: Seneca Scott (D) Tulsa
  • H73: Kevin L. Matthews (D) Tulsa
  • H74: David Derby (R) Owasso
  • H75: Dan Kirby (R) Tulsa
  • H77: Eric Proctor (D) Tulsa
  • H78: Jeannie McDaniel (D) Tulsa
  • H80: Mike Ritze (R) Broken Arrow
  • H81: Randy Grau (R) Edmond
  • H84: Sally Kern (R) Oklahoma City
  • H90: Jon Echols (R) Oklahoma City
  • H92: Richard D. Morrissette (D) Oklahoma City
  • H94: Scott Inman (D) Oklahoma City

That’s 55 seats with no race, out of 125. For an angry electorate, we sure are complacent.

(A similar list from 2012.)

Comments (3)




See my wheels

Bark owns a Screaming Yellow Zonker Boss 302 Mustang — he describes it, more calmly, as “School Bus Yellow” — and he cares what you think about it:

“Who would buy a car based on what other people think?” is a refrain that is repeated again and again and again. Is it wise to buy a car based solely on the opinion of others, to opt for a model other than the one that you would personally prefer due to what amounts to grown-up peer pressure? Of course not. To do that would be to deny one’s own self worth.

But to pretend that we just don’t care? Come on. Be real. To act like we don’t care what the world thinks of our car is equivalent to walking out the door every day without making an attempt to match our shoes and our belts. Sure, kids and people who have no ambition do it, but grown-ups don’t. The vast majority of people in the business world dress in a way that signifies their position in life. I choose to wear Hart Schaffner Marx suits and sportscoats and Allen Edmonds shoes almost exclusively in the workplace. Why? Because it shows people around me that I am a (moderately) successful man with a sense of style. Why would I risk that professional image by walking out to the parking lot and getting into a 1996 Camry?

I’m not sure this works in reverse, though: I see plenty of Junior Samples lookalikes in Escalades.

For myself, I don’t think I really did give that much of a damn, until I paid however many extra bucks for a premium-brand badge — and then all of a sudden I had to determine if I was living up to the standard being set by my car. Truth be told, I found that wearying, especially for a guy who wears pocket Ts and khakis to work. Moreover, I’m not sure anyone cares all that much; I don’t have much of a reputation to uphold, and I presume no one has any serious expectations of me at this point. I don’t, however, feel compelled to bark at Bark: he’s made his calculations, and he’s acting in accordance with them, which, outside of politics anyway, is a laudable approach. Besides, it’s his dream car, and you don’t scream on someone’s dream car, especially if he knows how to drive it.

Comments (3)




Strange search-engine queries (428)

The Polar Vortex rears its ugly head, or heads its ugly rear, and once again we bring in the logs, not so much for warmth as for amusement value.

protege valve body:  Truth be told, I’m still snickering about the possibility of a protege valve: one can only take so many of them, I suppose.

thad balkman adultry case:  Never heard of it, though I will concede the possibility that Balkman is in fact an adult, and probably not a baseball mascot in the Sally League.

brown shoed square:  Make it a cube if he uses the word “cordovan.”

Brussel practice of kung fu Vedio:  Even if the Euroweenies are doing martial arts, I assure you, I don’t want to see it.

entirely symbolic:  For instance, the middle of the “wish sandwich” in “Rubber Biscuit.”

is 2000 mazda 626 v6 automatic a better trans than the 4 cylinder auto trans:  If you define “better” as “harder to fix,” then yes.

ARE WE HAVING FUNDS YET? Solution:  You solve this by, um, obtaining funds. I would think that would have been obvious.

many people hang up on telemarketers but other will listen politely to their pictures even though they are not interested in the product. know that any one who agrees:”  is probably silly enough to think pictures (except motion pictures) can be listened to, politely or otherwise.

I use the 5 speed gearbox Ford Escape for mazda tribute:  Yes, but do you wear sunglasses at night?

what is fair to all corncerd of the four way test:  If everybody gets 25 percent, but thinks he got 30.

what does the fax say:  Not much, though it screeches a helluva lot.

Comments (10)




How about in your face instead?

This was the title: “#1 Anti-Aging Tip As seen on CNN ABC — CBS”. Of course, that gave the game away right away: the only anti-aging tip CNN has given is “Don’t be on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370,” and who’s going to believe those other guys anyway? Not anyone who has successfully resisted aging, you damn betcha.

The scheme was, I concede, semi-clever: they sent you two broken-image links, followed by “If you cannot see the images below, click here,” which of course gives them confirmation that hey, we’ve got a live one here. (Clicking on the broken-image icon has the same effect.) There followed, hidden away, this piece of unrelated household information:

A serving of legumes a day may keep bad cholesterol at bay, a new study has found.

Researchers in the United States and Canada have found that daily consumption of non-oil-seed legumes — like chickpeas, lentils or peas — can significantly reduce “bad cholesterol” and cut the risk of heart disease.

And so on, for about ten paragraphs. I assume this is “unrelated” because of the sender’s claimed domain, which contains the word “phytoceramides.” Now a ceramide is a waxy lipid, and “phyto-” implies plant origins. At this point I felt, well, insulted: are there no vendors of snake oil who actually use proper snakes anymore?

Comments (3)




Where you used to be

You were here; and then you weren’t. But it didn’t happen overnight:

… an occurrence that took place over time, little by little, so I didn’t notice it was happening until someone asked me about you and it took me a minute to recall all the details necessary to answer the question.

Is this happening to me? I’m not entirely sure.

Comments off




Meanwhile in Circle City

Coming into this game, the Pacers and the Heat were tied at 54-26, though Indiana owned the tie-breaker. Still, nothing invigorates a team quite like beating the tar out of a really good opponent in the last home game of the season, and that’s precisely what the Pacers were planning today. They had all the ingredients: board dominance, shooting over 50 percent, and a capacity crowd. And up until the last five minutes, the formula was working nicely. Then the Thunder put together a 7-0 run — Russell Westbrook knocking down a trey and assisting on two more, to tie the game. Undeterred, the Pacers came back, and in the last minute held a three-point lead; a Lance Stephenson jumper put the game out of reach, and free throws — one from George Hill, three from David West, one from C. J. Watson — salted it away, 102-97, splitting the season series and sending the Thunder away still looking for a place to clinch the #2 seed in the West.

Nine Pacers hit the floor, and six of them made double figures; Stephenson rang up a triple-double on 17 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. West led the attack with 21 points, though Watson and Paul George were right behind with 20 each. Indiana shot 52 percent from the floor, 45 percent from outside, and, as mentioned, outrebounded OKC, 46-32. The Pacers are hard to beat when they’re playing their own game, and for the most part, the Thunder were unable to keep them from doing it.

Still, the Thunder generated spurts of offense, led by (of course) Kevin Durant with 38; Russell Westbrook added 21, and Serge Ibaka dropped in 11. Caron Butler came up with 13 from the bench; Reggie Jackson was rather badly pounded in what was deemed a sub-flagrant foul and was held to eight. OKC shot only 42 percent from the floor, 25 (7-28) from the outside, but somehow managed to hold on to the ball: consistent with recent trends, they committed only nine turnovers.

It’s tomorrow night in the Big Easy for another shot at clinching #2; after that, a lone home game with the Pistons, and the playoffs begin next weekend against [insert as-yet-undetermined team name here].

Comments off




A halal bark

This isn’t ha-ha funny, but sort of rueful funny:

I have a vision of what the suicide bomber’s version of Jumble would look like. It would look just like the regular version of Jumble, but the “SOLUTION” to the puzzle would always be “ALLAH AKBAR”.

Okay, maybe a little ha-ha.

Comments off




Mopzilla

October 2003, seeing the kitchen floor in this house for the first time: “Oh, what beautiful white tile!”

No later than December 2003: “What were they thinking?”

Keeping this floor clean is much more of a chore than I’d like, not that I particularly like any of my chores or anything. And mops tend to be either (1) ineffective or (2) made of cheap crap that breaks in no time flat.

I am here to tell you that the Libman Tornado Mop is not ineffective:

Many cleaning pros swear by cotton string mops for making short work of big spills, but then they have those clunky wringer pails to roll behind them. Who wants to unknot wet tangles and wring a dirty mop head by hand? The Tornado packs the power of traditional yarn-head mops, but its built-in wringer pulls the strings extra tight and twists them a full 360 degrees, meaning less excess gray water to muddy the task. It also spreads water evenly, so there are no puddles or dry spots. Three heavy-duty cloth bands stitched across the yarn bundle keep strands tangle-free.

As for (2), well, I’ve only had it a week.

The instructions are a bit obtuse; they should probably just provide this video link. And no, I have no idea if these Libmans are related to Andrea Libman, the voice of Fluttershy and (speaking only) Pinkie Pie.

Comments off




Saturday spottings (I am a Tour-ist)

The Central Oklahoma Chapter of the American Institute of Architects conducts Architecture Week every year about this time, and on Saturday it culminates with the Architecture Tour, a look at what’s being done around town, and occasionally a chance to talk to who’s doing it. I’ve attended every year since 2007, and plan to continue so long as I can still climb stairs. (Why haven’t I moved into one of those spiffy downtown lofts? Now you know.)

In the order visited:

1) 430 Northwest 12th Street

North side of 430

430 — that’s the name of it — was on last year’s Tour in the larval stage; it’s now complete and completely occupied. This former nondescript office block in the nascent Midtown area was turned into 26 residential units, none of which have windows to the west, important if you’ve ever endured an August afternoon in this town. Flats are at street level; upstairs you’ll find two-story units. I rather like the interplay of the diagonals and the trees. Brian Fitzsimmons was on hand to take questions, as he always is when one of his projects is on the Tour, as one seemingly always is.

2) 1117 North Robinson Avenue

Alley view from Guardian Lofts

Once upon a time, the Guardian was a warehouse; now it’s 37 apartments with that good old industrial feel and a fair amount of individual reconfigurability, by which is meant that, for instance, you can actually move the closets — they’re on wheels. If your lifestyle demands grittiness, and it would be great if there were a burgers-and-beer joint downstairs — this is where you might want to be. Brian Fitzsimmons (yes, him again) has an overview of the project for your inspection.

3) 300 North Walnut Avenue

Sanctuary of Calvary Baptist Church

Russell Benton Bingham’s Calvary Baptist Church has been a fixture in Deep Deuce since the 1920s; Martin Luther King Jr. came knocking on the door in 1954, looking for a preaching gig. (They sent him away: too young, they thought.) As Deep Deuce declined, so did Calvary; a couple of years ago, the building was acquired by Dan Davis, an attorney familiar to local TV viewers: he’s the one who has Robert Vaughn as a celebrity spokesface. Davis, however, did not plan to gut the place and turn it into a wonderland for lawyers in love: he wanted just enough room for his offices, and to leave the sanctuary more or less intact. MODA, architects on the project, are happy to show you more.

4) 726 West Sheridan Avenue

Signage at Hart Building

Many years ago, this was Hart Industrial Supply Company, vendor of, well, industrial supplies. I actually temped there, circa early 1990. Now part of the Film Row redevelopment, Hart houses several office tenants plus the Oklahoma City studio of KOSU-FM, the radio station of Oklahoma State University. I suspect that they know where this contraption came from:

Old RCA radio gear at Hart Building

5) 6219 Riviera Drive

Northeast corner of David Walters' house

David Walters, 24th governor of Oklahoma, lives here with his wife Rhonda and his memories. The 1963 house was originally the home of Robert A. Hefner III, founder of GHK Company and inventor of deep-gas exploration as we know it, and the courtyard shown here was intended to be its focal point. A fire in 2001 led to massive renovations and, in several rooms, ceilings raised to accommodate new skylights: the interior feels particularly airy despite the size and the convoluted floor plan. (And it’s for sale for $1.275 million, one of the pricier prices in my ZIP code.)

6) 108 South Broadway, Edmond

Conference table at Small Architects

“Mr. Small,” I said to the tour guide after looking at this conference table, “is obviously a whimsical sort of guy.” Thomas Small, AIA, seated off to the side, was amused by this remark. This old (1906) storefront in downtown Edmond, originally occupied by a jeweler and a funeral director — simultaneously, in fact — is in fact small, but it doesn’t seem so during a walk-through, and much of the original structure — tin ceiling, concrete foundation/floor — is still in place. As for whimsy, well, those are Matchbox cars embedded in that table. (If you’re interested, here are some other Small projects.)

7) 2801 Northeast 120th Street

Corner view of Kliewer home

Architect George Seminoff, back in the Sixties, built an 800-square-foot cabin out in the woods for himself; once married, he set about turning it into a suitable family residence, and there they remained — for a while, anyway. New owner Brent Kliewer, circa 2010, ordered renovations, and they wound up being substantial. (This is yet another reason to call Brian Fitzsimmons.) Oh, and there’s a cedar tree. Indoors. The old atrium had to be rebuilt, they planned to build around it, but instead incorporated it into the design. Seminoff died in 2013; I’m almost certain he would have approved.

8) 1721 Northeast 63rd Street

The edge of the Mass home

Up on Persimmon Hill you’ll find the National Cowboy Museum, Coles Garden, and this five-acre plot, which used to be occupied by a small 1920s cottage, expanded a few times, and then rebuilt following the December 2007 ice storm. Somehow the place looks both traditionally rural and up-to-date suburban, which I attribute to the fact that they didn’t raze the original storm-damaged structure, preferring to incorporate it into the new one. (Reuse, I always say.) Mass Architects have this to tell you.

This is the first Tour in several years I’ve had to undertake without Trini, who was busy with family matters; I missed her presence and her navigational skills. (Interestingly enough, at a couple of places on the Tour I was asked about her; apparently they’re used to seeing us as a unit.) And I think she would have appreciated the fact that this tour, unlike last year’s, fit into less than 55 miles.

(All pictures by me. Embiggened versions, plus some I didn’t include here, can be seen in this Flickr photoset.)

Comments (2)