Disclose make the man

Thinking about running for office, Bunkie? How’d you like a nice background check?

The notion that government officials should have greater rights to privacy than private citizens is one of the reasons we have such lousy government officials. I’ve been saying for years that if you want to run for public office, you forfeit your right to any privacy. Voters have a right to know any and everything about you that might influence their voting decisions.

The key word here is “influence,” both verb and noun: not since Mr. Smith went to Washington has there been a tabula rasa of a politician, and I don’t expect to see another in my lifetime.

There will be, of course, some resistance to the idea:

The common objection to this is that it would prevent talented people from running for office. No, actually, it would prevent politicians whom their constituents would not cross the street to piss on from gaining the power to rule us.

Talented people are already prevented from running for office by the existing party machinery. Should one somehow sneak by, the mistake will almost certainly be corrected at the next election.

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Saturday spottings (we got your sprawl right here)

One hundred thirty-seven miles.

This year’s Architecture Tour started in far-northern Edmond and ended in far-eastern Norman, leaving me with a real concern as to whether we’d make it to all seven sites in time. I needn’t have worried. Trini takes her job as navigator very seriously, and by the time we first entered the Norman Traffic Death March, we were practically assured of our completion ribbons. (Okay, we don’t get ribbons, exactly, but they mark off each site you visit with a highlighter, and this year they used four different colors.)

Given the geography involved, we followed the ticket order exactly, and this is where we ended up:

1) 1701 Woodhill Road, Edmond

Hiltgen Home

The owners of this stone-over-wood-frame Colorado contemporary, circa 1976, started planning to remodel in early 2009; then a rare late-winter tornado took out 75 percent of the house, and they were more or less forced to update everything ahead of schedule. The exterior was pushed about one notch in the direction of Rustic, though the fittings are clearly contemporary. (Here’s how it looked before the reconstruction.) Positioned on top of a hill at the end of a twisty road, it’s the sort of house you hope your eccentric aunt leaves you in her will.

2) 1000 Northwest 37th Street

7 at Crown Heights

You saw 7 at Crown Heights, to give it its formal name, on last year’s tour; the exterior is much the same as it was then, but the interiors have been filled in nicely, and the courtyard and pool are now finished. The “7” designation comes from the fact that there are seven units, spread over two buildings at a right angle to one another. It still amazes me that the city ever wanted this torn down.

3) 430 Northwest 12th Street

430

It wouldn’t be an Architecture Tour without something from Brian Fitzsimmons. This year’s former sow’s ear is a Midtown two-story office building, dating to the 1950s, somewhere between retired and ruined. Fitzsimmons’ silk-pursification was audacious enough to add a third story and recasting the building into 26 apartments, not all of which are flats. We saw a unit facing downtown, and the view of course was fabulous. (Covered parking, we are told, is in the works.) As always with Fitzsimmons, natural light is a given; every angle is chosen to maximize the value of incoming sun without boiling you to death in the summer, which is why there is as little glass as possible on the east and west ends.

4) 123 Northwest 8th Street

Lingo Construction

Perhaps by coincidence, Lingo Construction, whose offices you see here, is doing the heavy lifting on 430 NW 12th, supra. This was a 1930 auto-supply operation — being around the corner from Automobile Alley made that almost a given — and its redesign is an ingenious combination of both vintage and vintage-looking structural components, either exposed or, as in this shot, covered with clear polycarbonate. On the east exterior wall is some sort of faded-beyond-recognition painted advertisement, presumably for something automotive, a reminder that this is downtown, dammit, and we don’t cover things up with EIFS if we can help it.

5) 1729 Northwest 3rd Street

WestTown Campus

I wrote about this neighborhood back in 2004: “Professional worriers, faced with a few blocks like this, would undoubtedly start screaming ‘Blight!’ and calling for intervention.” One of the problems is that gentrification of downtown has gradually pushed much of the city’s homeless contingent to the near west side. The Homeless Alliance operates WestTown Campus, which consists of two structures, a Resource Center (seen here) and a similarly designed Day Shelter. The idea was to make it look like less of a large impersonal institution, and I believe they succeeded.

6. 1009 Woodland Drive, Norman

Woodland Residence

Brent Swift, who owns 7 at Crown Heights, also owns this Mid-Century Modern house in near-west Norman, a lovely little L-shaped ranch (not entirely unlike my own) with a lot of improvements made and a lot of accumulated non-improvements removed. The west wall of the east wing is set off with a line of exterior windows each set at about a 25-degree angle, with concealed storage space along the entire hallway. Trini spotted a For Sale sign; I think she’d have bought it if she’d thought the check would have cleared.

7. 3200 Sexton Drive, Norman

Underground Loft

Just the idea of an Underground Loft is intriguing, and this home, built into the side of a hill off a gravel road south of Lake Thunderbird, is fascinating because of its origins — the original architect wanted the advantages of semi-buried construction, but he wanted the place to look absolutely ordinary otherwise. The current owners have redone it to look more like the concrete-and-steel “bunker” that it really is. (We looked at vintage photos on display, and the major virtue on display is innocuousness.) This old-construction look gives the interior the appearance of, yes, a loft. The owner told us that he bought the place more or less on sight, despite not at all being in the market at the time; he saw something in it that no one else had.

(Photo credits: 1, yours truly; 3, rendering by Brian Fitzsimmons; 5-6, Joseph Mills Photography; others furnished by Central Oklahoma Chapter, American Institute of Architects.)

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Reasonably discreditable

Recently arrived in the mail, allegedly from “Credit Updates 360®”:

There’s a 30-day delinquency added to your credit report recently.

We recommend you to check your credit report immediately & request for removal if you believe its an error.

If the 30-day delinquency is correct, it may remain on your report for seven years or more.

You can check your report at no cost by Visiting HERE.

I need hardly mention that HERE is no place you, or I, want to visit. Props, though, to whoever wrote the scheme to echo the email address of the recipient in the actual body text, thereby adding a (very) thin veneer of believability.

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Figures to keep in mind

File this under Things You Need To Know:

There are, it must be conceded, incidents in which calling 911 should be your first priority: a handgun can’t do much for your sudden myocardial infarction.

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Everything is the highest priority

I regret to inform you that this situation is a long way from being unique:

Several years ago, I worked a job where we had a queue of assignments and a pool of workers who would take the first item from the queue that was fed by various account managers. It was first-come-first-serve unless there was something in the “Rush” queue. Sometimes, when we were short-handed or had too much work to do, we would get backed up. It would take longer and longer for items to work there way through the queue. Except for the Rushes, which would initially be done right away. Of course, as time progressed, more and more would become listed as Rush jobs because, while they didn’t technically need it tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, they couldn’t wait the 6-8 weeks the normal pile was taking. There came a point where 80% of the items in the queue were labeled “Rush.”

Before long, we had a new stack: “Super Rush.” This, shockingly, didn’t actually solve the problem.

This may shock some middle-management types (and I thank whatever deities saw to it that I don’t have to deal with them), but everything you do can’t be the most important thing you do, not even if you’re running the Lake Wobegon branch.

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8 is enough

The traditional personal computer is being challenged by tablets and phones and various and sundry other devices. And for “traditional,” I tend to read “Windows-based,” since I don’t know anyone who’s actually retiring a Mac.

Into this maelstrom, Microsoft introduces another version of Windows. How is it being received? At my shop, it’s a lot like this:

Windows 8 was never, ever going to save the PC, because Windows 8 represents an abandonment of the traditional PC. It is essentially a touchscreen tablet OS forced onto the desktop. Like Windows Vista, it is an absolutely awful OS that our company has banned any employee from using on a company machine. Fortunately, we can still buy a few Dell computers with Windows 7, and when that is no longer possible, I will go back to building our company machines and putting Windows 7 on myself, the same thing I did to survive the Vista nightmare (hanging on to XP until Windows 7 came out).

And you know what I thought of Vista.

Microsoft will end support for XP in the spring of ’14. I suppose I’ll either have to hunt down a license for 7, or buy a Mac.

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Even fewer thorns

I was all ready to trot out a Frail Blazers joke, what with Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum and J. J. Hickson all ailing. Well, Hickson did show up, pulling down seven rebounds in 13 minutes, and right before the first-half horn, the Blazers were up by two. As the horn sounded, Thabo Sefolosha dropped in a trey, and that was pretty much it: Oklahoma City outscored Portland 26-7 in the third, and the Blazers never quite got back into it, the Thunder handing them a 106-90 thrashing.

And anyway, OKC was off two players also: Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Martin were both out, meaning that Hasheem Thabeet got the start at center and someone else would have to do the scoring for the bench. That someone else, mostly, was Reggie Jackson, who knocked down 17 points, alongside Derek Fisher with nine. And we got to see Ronnie Brewer for more than a second or two: he missed the two shots he took, but he gathered seven rebounds and executed two steals, just what a defense-minded swingman ought to be doing. We can probably count out Kevin Durant for the scoring title this year, unless he goes off for 50 against Sacramento next week: he had a modest 16 tonight, with Russell Westbrook doing the heavy lifting (33 points, three steals).

Weird but nonetheless Telltale Statistic: last time OKC came to Portland, rookie guard Damian Lillard scored nine points on 3-14 shooting. This time, Lillard bagged ten points — on 3-14 shooting. Will Barton, starting in place of Batum, had a team-high 18; LaMarcus Aldridge was held to 12, seemingly about one-sixteenth of his average. On the upside, the Blazers coaxed 40 points out of their reserves, led by OKC expat Eric Maynor with 11. At least he’s getting some playing time in Portland: you, or at least I, hated to see him riding the pine.

And that’s the last road game of the regular season. The traveling Thunder went a highly respectable 26-15; they’re 33-6 at home with two games left. (Denver obligingly lost tonight, so OKC clinches the Northwest.) San Antonio, half a game back, has three games left, two on the road. I’m starting to like OKC’s chances for the #1 seed, especially since #8 is going to be either the Lakers or the Jazz; I just don’t see Houston dropping their last three, and truth be told, I’d rather they had to play the Spurs in the first round.

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Woofers and tweeters, living together

Becoming a fan of BT of course meant I had to pick up his Twitter feed, and yesterday he was thinking out loud, starting here:

I’ve just come up with a theory. I’ve noticed women are more sensitive to high frequency information and men to low frequency information… And in fact I bet on average, women have a higher range of hearing than men. (anyone can corroborate this awesome). Okay that’s idea one…

Next thought, I believe this is why girls are nearly always aware of lyric and meaning whereas guys focus on rhythm and harmonic structures… It’s funny to hear a couple discuss a song. Guy “Hey sweetheart you know the song that goes baah baah bash boom!” Girl “You mean Forget Me?”

Overheard this convo a million times. So, it hit me the “why”. I believe our hearing has evolved (as other traits) to sustain our species… I’m sure most would agree with this. So I believe men focus bass and sub information as they represented things like earthquakes & predators… Things that were a threat to survival and would provoke fight or flight response in men. I also believe women hear mid and high frequency… information more clearly as the tone of the human voice falls in this range (especially children) & without mom 1000 years ago, you’d die.

Someone (not I) sent him this in support of his notion.

And I’d point out, as though you didn’t already know it, that 99 percent of the time, the $500 car with the $1000 stereo that’s rattling your windows from two lanes over is not being driven by a female.

On the other hand, I’ve observed Trini’s ability to identify a record, even one that’s older than she is, just from the bass line, and I’m pretty sure she didn’t pick that up from me.

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News you can’t use

The problem with national media, apart from the fact that television looks pretty much identical whether you’re in Concord or Capistrano, is that they make for national causes and national haranguing on behalf of same. You could ignore the lot of them, I suppose — apart from the random afflictions on the set in the office breakroom, I watch basically nothing anymore except basketball and ponies — but the tube has insinuated itself so far into the culture that for all I know, I may be the last remaining outlier. (We all know people who say they “never” watch television; want to guess what’s in their Netflix queues?)

There’s probably no cure for this, either:

I could suggest that we start more locally-oriented papers, radio, and television stations, but such things have been made into guaranteed losing propositions: acts of civic charity that few persons will bother to read, listen to, or watch. Similarly, I could suggest that the civic-minded resolve to ignore the nationalized media, but in our era that’s like asking a man to hold his breath for a week. Now that all politics is national — sorry, Tip ol’ buddy — inattention to the national news would be catastrophic for such freedom-loving Americans as still remain. For now, all I can do is point at the cancer; I know of no tool capable of excising it.

The FCC destroyed “locally-oriented,” at least the over-the-air type. Consider these rules, in effect through the 1970s:

  • No entity could exceed the rules known familiarly as “7-7-7″: seven AM stations, seven FM stations, and seven TV stations (no more than five of which could be VHF — channels 2 through 13);
  • No owner of three VHF stations in the top 50 TV markets could purchase other such stations without a showing of compelling public interest;
  • Newspaper owners could not acquire radio or television stations in the same market;
  • No owner could operate more than one station of the same service in the same market.

“VHF,” of course, is meaningless today: the vast majority of stations claiming a channel between 2 and 13 are actually out in the same UHF cloud as their no-longer-lesser brethren. And the chances that these rules will be reinstated are essentially nil. But other than doing my part to encourage the wielding of the sword of bankruptcy, I don’t see any way to untie this particular knot.

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General Lee was not available for comment

This is, the government of Dubai informs us, a legitimate police vehicle:

Lamborghini Aventador police car

To explain:

The 700-horsepower [Lamborghini] Aventador has a starting price in the US of nearly $400,000 and can reach speeds up to 217 miles per hour. Reports, however, say that the Dubai police force won’t be using the car’s 0-60 performance of 3.9 seconds to catch any crooks, but rather that the supercar will be used in tourist areas to impress foreign travelers.

And there’s no back seat to accommodate the perps, anyway.

Still, given Dubai’s urge to splurge, this is probably a bit easier to justify than, say, faking the appearance of economy by rebadging a Mercedes as a Honda.

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Quote of the week

Jimmie Bise thinks it’s time we invested in stocks.

No, not those stocks. These stocks:

Once upon a time, we had a way to punish miscreants who broke minor laws or did something so amazingly stupid that the community felt a need to make a public example of them so that others would be less inclined to break the law or be quite so dumb.

Pillories. The stocks. Public shame for a short period of time, occasionally punctuated with the application of rotten fruit to or about the face of the shamed, and sanctioned by the community. Ruthless public mockery of the sort seen in Billy Madison, where the person being mocked has to stand there and take it.

Appropriately, he has several individuals deemed worthy of this treatment. And the advantage of so doing, apart from getting your vegetable crisper cleaned out, is simply this:

We wouldn’t put it on someone’s permanent record as we do a criminal conviction. After a few days, we’d largely forget it happened. But — and this is the important thing — the person who spent those hours with rotten tomato juice dripping from their forehead would not forget. They’d try very hard not to end up there again. We’d move on to the next person and do what we could to make sure we didn’t end up there one day.

Well, maybe there should be some permanent record — say, excerpts on YouTube.

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Peaceful upheaval

The last thing I would have predicted in a Thunder-Warriors game is garbage time, and even if I’d imagined it, I never would have figured on nearly six minutes of it. But OKC, up six at the half, ran that lead to nineteen after three, and they were still up nineteen six minutes later. (That 36-23 third quarter was almost — not quite — a thing of beauty.) Almost as unlikely: holding the Warriors under 110. But it happened: the Thunder got their 58th win, 116-97. and a half-game edge over the Spurs, and the Warriors dropped to half a game in front of the seventh-seeded (so far) Rockets.

It was not a good night for starting big men, with both Kendrick Perkins and Andrew Bogut exiting early. And Golden State’s two-guard knockout punch was running at barely 50-percent efficiency: Stephen Curry came up with a better-than-decent 22, but Klay Thompson was bottled up all night and went 2-10 for six points. David Lee struggled a bit at times, though not enough to keep him out of a double-double (18 points, 11 rebounds), and both Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry hit double figures in reserve.

Still, there’s a Telltale Statistic. The Warriors went 7-16 from deep space, which isn’t bad percentagewise, but you tend to expect them to put up twenty or thirty. Maybe forty. (OKC went 12-27 from out there.) Kevin Durant once again finished just shy of a triple-double, bagging 31 points, ten boards and eight assists; just as exciting, Kevin Martin was on the beam, 8-10 for 23. Russell Westbrook fumbled the rock rather a lot in the first half, only once in the second, and finished at 18. I did lose a side bet, predicting that Hasheem Thabeet would foul out in 18 minutes. (Got the minutes right, but The Dream kept his fouls down to five.)

Tomorrow night: last road game of the regular season, against the Trail Blazers. Will they be swept? One can only hope. Weird things have happened before in the Rose Garden, although the Blazers losing their tenth in a row seems unlikely. Then again, I also thought the Warriors would score about 110 tonight.

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Something besides 206th Street

The city of Edmond is getting a new subdivision called Thunder Canyon, which I suspect is probably about 50 percent accurate — I’m pretty sure you can hear thunder up there now and then. This is, of course, in character for this part of the world:

In the 1970s a subdivision went in west of Ski Island called “Canyon North,” and threading down the middle of it is something called Basswood Canyon Road. Quite apart from the fact that we’re not exactly overrun (underrun?) with canyons in that part of town, basswood doesn’t grow here: it tends to show up in the Midwest and points east, also places not known for canyons.

More surprising is that it’s in Edmond and no trees are mentioned:

The city of Edmond, on the other hand, likes trees. Loves trees. The joke a few years ago was that there was a City Council motion to ban all further street or subdivision names that contained any mention of “oak”, before the entire population wound up living on Something Oak Drive. At least, I think it was a joke.

Coming back down Covell Road, I happened upon a subdivision that probably should have been called Ashford Oaks, but was in fact called “Asheforde Oaks”, with a double helping of that Olde Englishe Codswallope that presumably impels people with ancestors named Martinez (such as, well, yours truly) to look elsewhere for housing.

But give them this. At least they’re not being blatant about that “Thunder” business:

There will be no Durant Drive, Rumble Lane, Westbrook Pass or Collison Court in Thunder Canyon, Edmond’s new housing development on the east side of the city.

The project with 188 lots near Covell Road and Midwest Boulevard will not have any ties to Oklahoma City’s professional basketball team.

There’s a Harden Drive just south of Nichols Hills, but I’m not going there either.

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What’s that hitting the fan?

It was 80-ish a couple of days ago, and we had a freeze warning this morning, so obviously one of you has been screwing with the Global Thermostat again:

I guess there is not much in Science that is fixed in stone.

Except the temperature. The only thing that Science knows for sure is that the temperature was exactly right about 100 years ago. Now of course, the temperature is almost a little hotter and we’re all going to die. But thank goodness civilization lived long enough to find that one exactly right temperature. I hope Mr Obama chisels the number into some sort of monument so that, should humans evolve again from the wreckage, they won’t have to waste their energy determining The Proper Temperature and they can get right down to blaming each other about just who is responsible for ruining everything this time.

Fortunately, Mr Obama has at his disposal an entire battalion of chiselers.

(Via Monday Evening.)

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Even finer print

Bill Quick proposes a Constitutional amendment:

Anything we have to pass in order to find out what it is … should not be passed.

I’d like to see a constitutional amendment mandating that every bill except for declarations of war must undergo a waiting period of at least one day for every page of the bill prior to any final vote on it.

There’s something vaguely karmic here: all the lunkheads who used every typographical trick in the book to make a “five-page paper” out of maybe 2.3 pages of text all of a sudden would be calling for six-point type and margins no wider than a gnat’s ass.

The sideways approach — elect a President who will veto anything it takes longer than fifteen minutes to read — is probably not going to happen either.

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Taller than a kitten heel

It’s a poodle heel:

Poodle heel platform sandal by Charlotte Olympia

This sandal by Charlotte Olympia is guaranteed to be noticed, not just for its vaguely canine underpinnings, but for the little charm that hangs over the top of your foot. (It’s a golden heart that says LA VIE EN ROSE.)

The ever-tasteful Nancy Friedman, who tweeted the existence of this shoe in my general direction, says: “Maybe at 50% off…” At Neiman’s, that would be $847.50.

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