Moore or less

Real-estate site has rated America’s Small Cities — by “small” they apparently mean “just under 60,000 population” — and based on their criteria, Moore, Oklahoma slides just into the Top Ten:

While the 57,810 residents of Moore have to contend with tornadoes, the people who live in this Oklahoma City, OK suburb also have to be a bit more concerned with crime. That’s because the city has the only above average crime rate in our top 10 at 45 percent above the national average. Fortunately, some other factors help even things out.

For one, the cost of living in Moore is 10 points below the national average, and the median household income, at $55,710, is 5.6 percent above. The median home price is 37 percent below average at 128,000 but there are 169 residents per home for sale.

A real positive standout for Moore is its unemployment rate, which at 4.3 percent is an impressive 40 percent below the national average.

The only other city in Oklahoma meeting their population criterion was Midwest City, which is tied for thirty-first out of 50. At the very top of the rankings is Rowlett, Texas, in a far corner of Dallas County. (The eastern edge slides over into Rockwall County.) Rock bottom: Ocala, Florida.

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Click here for Communism

To you, it’s a $20 ticket for not buckling your seat belt. To Mark French, it’s much, much more:

He says it’s about government overreach, and he says that leads to such things as Obamacare, gun control and government deciding how large a soda pop you can purchase.

“Where does it end?” French asks. “It doesn’t, there’s no end to it.”

Americans have to draw a line in the sand at some point, French says, and the seat belt ticket gave him his line.

“Why is a seat belt required to be worn to keep us safe in a car, but not on a bus?” French wrote in an email encouraging local residents to show up in the courtroom to support his cause. “Why are we allowed to rock climb, snow ski, water ski, hang glide, hunt and eat candy bars? Why is it not unlawful to refuse medical advice? Are we ready to be told by government that we cannot drink an extra large pop?”

I was more or less sympathetic toward the guy until I read this:

Traveling in the opposite direction from the east, Montana Highway Patrolman Steve Spurr testified he observed a white car with no front license plate pass him. The rear plate, Spurr said, had a protective cover that made it difficult to see the plate number. Both are traffic violations.

There’s a lot to be said in favor of subverting the system — but being clumsily obvious about it will not help.

(Via Fark.)

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Logistical issues

Dr. B writes from the Philippines:

The storm surge was 20 plus feet in Tacloban. That would mean you could drown on the second floor.

As for the usual complaints by western press:

Before you send in aid, you need for the winds to stop (which would be Saturday afternoon) and repairing the roads etc. Then you need to get there. Airplanes are fast, but limited. Roads are blocked. The sea has to be calm and the port needs to be open, and the roads from the ports/airports need to be cleared.

That takes time. So the country folks will get help from each other, or will die. Luckily, these things happen all too frequently, so they help each other.

See also this Belmont Club report.

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Candidate for replacement

Opportunity: Gorgeous actress on red carpet. In Italy, no less, and wearing Balenciaga. Difficulty: Utterly preposterous outfit.

Solution: Set it up correctly, and then find a snarky quote about it.

With that in mind, here’s the Wikipedia synopsis for the Spike Jonze film Her, opening Real Soon Now:

Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) is a complex, soulful man who makes his living writing touching, personal letters for other people. Heartbroken after the end of a long relationship, he becomes intrigued with a new, advanced operating system, which promises to be an intuitive entity in its own right, individual to each user. Upon initiating it, he is delighted to meet “Samantha” (Scarlett Johansson), a bright, female voice, who is insightful, sensitive and surprisingly funny. As her needs and desires grow, in tandem with his own, their friendship deepens into an eventual love for each other.

I am required, of course, to see that, if only because I wrote this.

And then you wonder: whom did Twombly give up for this disembodied voice? It was his wife Catherine, played by Rooney Mara, and if she was wearing this, he might actually be better off:

Rooney Mara in Balenciaga at the premiere of Her

Oddly, Mara’s attending a screening of Her, in, yes, Italy. For the snark, I turn to the lovely and talented Fug Girl Heather:

There is a hideousness to this which defies description. It looks like a bad joke: “A Gap t-shirt, a Vegas wedding dress, and a pair of L’Eggs from Planet Gargantua walked into a bar. The bartender said, ‘What can I get you?’ And they said, ‘A concussion.'”

Still, she’s a material girl, which the Scarlet Johansson character isn’t. I have yet to decide for myself whether that’s a problem.

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Suck will be embraced

Michael Bates has made his official disendorsement for Mayor of Tulsa:

Both the Taylor and Bartlett campaigns have spent piles of money pushing their preferred memes — positive memes about their own candidates and negative memes about the opposition. Because I wish they could both lose on Tuesday, I’ve spent my limited blogging time during this campaign trying to debunk the nonsense from each side. No, Kathy Taylor did not bring us to the brink of bankruptcy, and Dewey Bartlett Jr didn’t rescue us from bankruptcy. Dewey has been as big a spender as Kathy. You can’t push all the blame for the trash mess onto Bartlett Jr; Taylor deserves a big share of the blame, too. Neither candidate is visionary or competent or bold. Both backed the Great Plains Airlines bailout. Both have had problems working respectfully with those who disagree with them, particularly their fellow elected officials.

Tulsa voters have made a mess. Maybe if their noses are rubbed in it they won’t do it again.

I hear it’s really nice in Bixby these days.

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But privacy!

Like the Postal Service is going to deliver to someone named, oh, how about “herbtarlekxoxo11″:

I recently bought something off eBay. Will the package have my name (on my account) or my eBay username? Does the buyer have access to my real name?

Um, aren’t you the buyer?

If you insist on leaving no trail, go to the farking thrift shop like everyone else. And pay cash.

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Cookie sales in China aren’t zooming upward the way they used to be:

At Mondelēz distributors in China, there are piles of unsold Oreo and Chips Ahoy cookies. Why? China is in an economic slump. The brand is used to 25% sales increases every year, and increases are down to only 3% in the first quarter of 2013.

Aw. Quelle fromage.

Now if we find out they’ve been hoarding Mallomars — well, perhaps we should not go there.

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Ermahgerd! Studernts!

Says so right here:

Cranberry School Geography Bee

The Cranbury School is located in Cranbury, New Jersey (Exit 8A), in case you need to brush up for the next Geograohy Bee.

(One of many inscrutable offerings at

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Sun returning

It was de rigueur at one time to mock that silly Greenwich Village fellow John B. Sebastian for this infamous lyric: “The record man said every one is a yellow Sun record from Nashville / And up North here ain’t nobody buys ‘em, and I said ‘But I will’.”

Sun Records, of course, was from Memphis; Sam Phillips was never one of those Nashville cats. Then in 1969 Shelby Singleton bought Sun from Sam Phillips, and eventually moved Sun headquarters to, um, Nashville. So Sebastian got the last laugh, and he is welcome to it. Sun wasn’t recording any new material, anyway: Singleton was content to maintain the Sun catalog as it was.

Then Singleton died in 2009, and Collin Brace, who’d only just started at the label, saw his chance. The first act signed by Sun in forty years is Julie Roberts, who’d done two albums for Mercury and a third on her own Ain’t Skeerd imprint.

Roberts’ first Sun release is Good Wine and Bad Decisions, and if that’s not a classic country title, I’ve never heard one. There exists a lyrics-only video of the title track. Chuck Dauphin of Music News Nashville notes:

What is so captivating about this disc is that she couldn’t have recorded it during her days on Mercury a few years back. Sometimes, survival is one of the most attractive trait of all, and over the past few years Roberts has survived losing her home in the 2010 Nashville flood, a battle with MS, and more than a few nights with decisions that she might have regretted. Knowing where you have fallen, and not killing yourself over it is something that Roberts can sing and write very ably about.

Something for the wish list, you may be sure.

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He’s not the girl you thought he was

A Canadian chap has been ordered off Twitter for a year for pretending to be someone else:

A [Sault Ste. Marie] man is banned from Twitter for 12 months for creating accounts in a young woman’s name on the online social networking service and posting explicit photographs of her.

David Pajunen, 41, pleaded guilty to personation when he appeared in court Wednesday on charges from February.

At the request of the Crown attorney, Judge Nathalie Gregson dismissed a charge of criminal harassment.

So we have “personation” and “impersonation.” Kind of like “flammable” and “inflammable,” I guess.

As part of Pajunen’s probation, he can have no access to a Twitter account and can’t communicate with the victim.

“You can’t reference her name anywhere on the Internet,” Gregson warned him.

Pajunen, being Canadian and all, will probably comply with these restrictions, unlike some Americans you could name.

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Not yet faded away

There are fewer of us every year: the oldest pass on to a different plane of existence entirely, and not so many of the youngest are putting in their time anymore.

I used to wish for the day when we’d no longer be needed. But this wish was in vain: the delusions of our current batch of policy wonks and rank amateurs notwithstanding, it takes ordnance to do what ordinances cannot. So now I wish for the day when we can complete a proper mission and then go home, the way God and General Patton intended. Is that so much to ask?

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Strange search-engine queries (406)

Yes, it’s Veterans Day, and no, this feature is not taking the day off. I was a soldier once, and I knew that at any moment it could become a 24/7 job.

List The homesex hungry roman emperers in ancient rome:  This is what porn does to you. A year ago, this guy was looking for Hungry Hungry Hippos.

taripal sax xxx pechar:  Well, if you ask me, your spelling is taripal.

quasi-automotive:  About half of the Car Talk Puzzlers are so described.

2001 mercury mystice transmission wont go intodrive:  I do hope your checkbook is primed.

shiri zinn for baci minx:  Sounds like a fair trade to me.

disney’s first law:  “When you wish upon a star…” (You know the rest.)

Company that deals on refurbished Mazda 626 brainbox:  Since the last 626 was made 11 years ago, just finding one should be considered a deal.

where is my 401k money from metris companies:  They borrowed it to rent programmers for

Great mens lives begin at forty where the mediocre man’s life ends.The genius remains an ever-flowing fountain of creative achievement, until the very last breath he draws. -Glenn Clarke:  Hmmm. I’ve already beaten the spread by two decades. Who knew?

lmiss you Ø­18:  I miss you too, R2.

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Have you seen these Wizards?

Washington hadn’t won a game here in several years. Then again, they’d had a series of losing teams, barely on par with the infamous Generals; it was late last season before they started to show some life.

They showed a lot more of it at the ‘Peake tonight: the Thunder, after a horrid ten-point second quarter, had trouble regaining their composure, and the Wizards calmly, to the extent that anything involving Nenê can be called “calmly,” took the Thunder apart. The greatest damage was done by Bradley Beal, who racked up 34 points on 13-23 shooting, a Durant-ish line that included six treys. Trevor Ariza added 15 despite missing every one of his five free throws; Nenê had 14 before being ejected for a second technical, despite missing six of his ten free throws. He got those T’s by getting up, or down, in Russell Westbrook’s face. Westbrook wasn’t going to take that sort of thing, and he responded both times; he, too, was thumbed. And then the Thunder began to take it personally. Down ten at the time of the ejections, they ran off nine straight, and with 13.6 seconds left, OKC, via a KD trey, forged a 96-all tie. Overtime, as it will, ensued. With four seconds left and the Thunder up 106-105, a Jeremy Lamb shot bounced back out of the rim; John Wall’s layup lay down, Thabo Sefolosha took the ball away, and that’s how it ended.

Did I mention Durant’s line? Thirty-three points on 12-23 shooting. How Bealesque. Now add 13 rebounds to that. In the absence of Westbrook, Reggie Jackson and Serge Ibaka had to kick in some offense; Jackson led all reserves with 12, and Ibaka posted a season-high 25 points with 12 rebounds. And we didn’t see Nick Collison all night; he was scratched after a contusion.

Still, the Wizards are fearable: all five starters (plus Al Harrington) in double figures, and their We Quit never, ever showed up at all.

Off to the West Coast we go.

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Over by the waste gate

The last page of Car and Driver these days is titled “What I’d Do Differently”; it’s an interview with someone who has earned a measure of fame somewhere in the automotive world. In December ’13, it’s specialty builder Reeves Callaway, who, says the intro, “has blanketed America with 1800 modified Corvettes and more than a few peculiar engines.”

Regarding the latter, this Q/A exchange reflects the intractability of the laws of physics:

Q: You’ve turbocharged Alfas, Holdens, and Land Rovers. Is there a marque that proved to be a big mistake?

A: Oh, sure, the turbo system we made for the VW Vanagon. Never turbocharge anything that will be driven all day long at wide-open throttle. Never.

About 1983, the successor to the Microbus was the recipient of a new Wasserboxer engine, water-cooled and blessed with Bosch digital engine management. Then again, we’re still talking 95 hp pushing around a box with the general aerodynamic profile of, well, a box; I learned to drive in a second-generation Microbus, which had half the ponies and 90 percent of the mass, and I drove that thing flat-out mostly to avoid becoming a very tall speed bump. Vanagon drivers, moving up from the Microbus, no doubt had developed similar habits.

And longevity in a turbo systems is at least partially dependent on how often the blower is having to blow. If it’s blowing all the time, as it would do in a vehicle constantly at WOT — well, you can see Callaway’s problem here, since his reputation was built on cars that didn’t grenade their engines.

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Mrs. Paul was never this finicky

Having once — way back in, oh, the 1980s — demonstrated my ability to produce a pie crust that didn’t end up with the general texture of a bicycle inner tube, I decided I would rely on simpler means thereafter. (There’s a reason for that word “once.”) Usually this requires a trip to the local market or to a separate bakery, but for some reason (I’m guessing a sale price) I plucked one of Mrs. Smith’s frozen concoctions out of the supermarket and schlepped it home.

The instructions on these, it seems to me, have gotten somewhat anal. Six steps now, of which the first, not unreasonably, is “Place oven rack into center position. Preheat oven to 400°.”

The second is a little snippier: “Remove frozen pie from box, and remove plastic overwrap from pie. Do not remove pie from original foil pan. Leave pan on counter while oven is preheating. After 10 minutes on counter, cut 4-6 slits in top crust.”

Emphasis added. Apparently Mrs. Smith, or one of her lackeys, believes that it takes 11 minutes or more to preheat an oven to 400°. I am here to tell you that my own 11-year-old Kenmore can do the job in 8:25. Moral: Render unto Sears the things that are Sears’.

The rest is fairly typical, though the juxtaposition of KEEP FROZEN and BAKE BEFORE SERVING on the front of the box suggests the potential for cognitive dissonance for the buyer who doesn’t quite understand the dynamics of frozen pie, and for the lawyer who’ll take his case after an unsatisfactory experience therewith.

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Hey, at least they asked

Apple delivered iTunes 11.1.3 this past week, and as usual, the Standard Sources kicked up all manner of information about what’s new in the Mac OS version, most of which doesn’t apply to us poor Windows heathen.

That said, while the install was as tedious as ever, I caught one little bit of phraseology whipping by above the status bar: “Checking to see if system restart is necessary.”

Would that actual Windows applications had that much courtesy.

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