You may have already heard this

Dan Longerbone addresses the national media:

We don’t have anything distinctive like the Empire State Building or Independence Hall. No Gateway Arch, no Sears Tower (sorry, Willis Tower), a serious lack of beach and certainly no mountains. It’s easy to understand that someone who’s never been here might be at a loss to picture the place; rust belt, corn, something something football. That’s because people who come here aren’t after photographic memories and never have been. No, a lot of people who visit end up staying here because of quite another type of memory.

Sounds like something we’d say in the OKC, doesn’t it? (Except maybe for that stuff about corn.) Actually, it’s about Columbus, Ohio, a place with maybe a smidgen more of a national image, but which is earning respect.

And stop me if you’ve heard this one:

The public-private partnership is such that the rather conservative editorial page of our daily paper backed an income tax increase on people working in the city; that half-percent increase was approved by voters during the recent economic downturn.

The three and a half stages of MAPS were sales-tax increases — the city doesn’t have an income tax — but the rather conservative editorial page of The Oklahoman has been very supportive of MAPS over the past two decades.

And there’s this:

The construction of the interstate highway signaled the arrival of rapid suburb development in central Ohio. In order to protect the city’s tax base from this suburbanization, Columbus adopted a policy of linking sewer and water hookups to annexation to the city. By the early 1990s, Columbus had grown to become Ohio’s largest city in both land area and in population.

And now, it’s the 15th largest city in the nation. (We’re 27th, though we have almost triple the space.) They must be doing something right.

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Life without pockets

The American Association for Nude Recreation answers a critic who questions their overall strategy:

We have a clear view of the goal … acceptance of social nudism as a mainstream choice among ways to live in this country. This vision includes the ability to be nude in your home and on your property … even within view of others. It includes the ability to drive in your car nude, take your family to a nude beach or even to a grocery store nude. While everyone may have a different idea of what the future vision of nudism in America looks like we certainly want the “tent” to be large enough to include the full spectrum of living and recreating nude. The question of the strategy we use to get there is often the debate. Some accuse us of not moving fast enough, or of not recognizing that sensuality or sexuality are a part of nudism. Believe me, we recognize those realities. When and how we choose to overtly advocate for these elements to be accepted today by a public still largely unaware or understanding of our cause calls for intentionality and thoughtfulness.

Every time I think “Yeah, wouldn’t that be great?” I think about popping open the door of a frozen-food cabinet at the supermarket, which is likely to be kept around zero (-18°C). And then I think maybe I’m not quite ready for that step.

Disclosure: I have been an AANR member for nine years. I have never been to a nude beach, beaches being, shall we say, few and far between here on the prairie.

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Unfrosted Scandinavian

Let’s say you’re a single mom in her late twenties with a four-year-old boy. What are your dating prospects? If you’re Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby, evidently pretty good, because you met up with Crown Prince Haakon, next in line to the Norwegian throne, and now you’re the Crown Princess.

After writing that, I couldn’t resist passing this on:

Mette-Marit at church

Here, Mette-Marit is attending a service at the Norwegian Seamen’s Church of New York, on the upper West Side. Her Royal Highness is forty-one today; she and the Crown Prince have two children with titles. (Her son from her wild single days is acknowledged, but of course carries no title.)

One more for good measure:

Mette-Marit at the podium

Reportedly, HRH is subject to wild weight swings, and other rumors persist. Then again, what would royalty be without rumors?

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That’s all I can Stanley

From these pages eight years ago:

In the context of Oklahoma City, David Stanley Ford is an automobile dealership at 39th and May.

Elsewhere, David Stanley Ford is a playwright, who has written an American historical drama I’d love to see: The Interrogation of Nathan Hale, in which the man who regretted having but one life to lose for his country reveals the last secrets of that life.

Since then, David Stanley the Ford dealer has sold out and acquired a Chevy store across town; he has long owned the Dodge dealership in Midwest City, which now carries all four Chrysler Group brands. And, reports the Lost Ogle, he’s been in deep doo-doo of late:

David Stanley Chrysler Jeep Dodge agreed to pay a $350,000 fine in March of 2014 for allegedly violating eight state regulations designed to protect consumers from misleading advertising practices.

According to this document that is just hanging out on the server at BartlesvilleRadio.com, the violations include deceptive, inaccurate and bait-and-switch forms of advertising.

The commercials in question ran in January 2014 and offered eye rolling, too-good-to-be-true, only-Grant-Long-would-fall-for-this deals that offered to pay $18,000 in the car buyer’s credit card debt if they bought a car.

If you have $18,000 in credit-card debt, why are you even thinking of buying a new car? Not that anyone at the dealership is ever going to ask you such a question, of course.

This story got no local coverage until TLO broke it, which just goes to show you:

That’s actually some delicious irony right there. While our TV news channels send their “In Your Corners,” “I-Teams” and “Consumer Watchers” to track down the contractor who didn’t finish a flooring job and ran away with some old lady’s hard-earned $1,000, the car dealership that advertises during the commercial break is using bait-and-switch advertising gimmicks and other deceptive tactics to lure consumers into high interest, ripoff, life-ruining auto purchases and loans. I guess never forget who the for-profit media really serves.

If you’re the audience, you’re the product: the station sells you to an advertiser. Your role is to shut up and keep watching and keep buying.

Perhaps David Stanley Ford ought to write a play about that.

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By the yarbles, downwardly

No one, I assume, has ever ordered one of these in January:

The husband, who is pretty good with this sort of thing, checked out the air conditioner and discovered that it had a bad capacitor. Just so happened we had another one from an old air conditioner so he installed that one and it worked. Yay, we’re cool again. But, not knowing how long that old part would last he looked up a new one online and asked me to order it. The total, with standard shipping, came to $19 and change.

This seemed to me like something we might want in a hurry. If the air conditioner quit completely with temps in the upper 90s we might think an extra $30 or perhaps even an extra $50 would have been worth it.

Which makes sense to me — and dollars for the vendor:

There are not enough curse words in the world to express my feelings upon seeing the price for two day shipping. Keep in mind this part is slightly smaller than a 12 ounce soda can and not exceptionally heavy for an object of that size. Total cost for 2 day shipping: $276. Or something like that. It was definitely 3 digits starting with a “2” and I’m pretty sure there was a “7” and a “6” in some order. Sorry, I’m a bit traumatized by the experience. I mean, what the hell? Are they going to hire James Earl Jones to bring it in a limo and deliver it personally to my front door? (Yeah, I’d pay $276 for that.)

It works the other way, too. I bought my Big Nasty Snow Pusher from Amazon one summer for $50ish. Same device last December: $109. (Shipping, at least, was free.)

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Still Electric, not so General

GE still plans to bring good things to life, just not anything you’re likely to own:

“We are the largest and most profitable infrastructure company in the world,” GE chief executive Jeffrey Immelt said of the Fairfield, Conn.-based company’s identity in its 2013 annual report.

The company reinforced that message this week when it confirmed that it is in talks to sell its $2 billion appliances business to one of several possible bidders, including the appliance maker Electrolux. Several news outlets reported that Quirky, a New York-based startup that uses crowdsourcing to quickly develop its household products, is also interested in GE’s appliance business.

If a sale of the unit is completed, the company’s iconic toasters, refrigerators and washing machines may retain the GE brand name — but will no longer be made by the company. “Most U.S. consumers are not going to be touched day-to-day in a way that they know” by GE-made products, said Brian K. Langenberg, principal of Langenberg & Company.

Saturday night, I installed a GE-branded mouse on my desktop ($8.99, Target). It was of course made in China; the actual distributor is Oklahoma City-based Jasco Products, as revealed in the three-page (!) operations manual. (Actually, it was six pages, though 4 through 6 were basically 1 through 3 in Spanish.) It will be touched day-to-day, but GE didn’t have a thing to do with its production.

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Stronger than Trabants

I admit, I can’t read the model’s expression on this package:

Package of Enda brand pantyhose

It’s a look that definitely predates German reunification in 1990: these are East German tights, mit Gesäßerweiterung, which Google persists in altering just enough to mean “with vasodilation.” So: East German support hose, and why the heck not?

Back then Esda was using some mysterious fiber called “Dederon,” which turns out to be a version of Perlon/Nylon 6 that the DDR chose to name for itself. Esda’s plant in Auerbach, Saxony apparently still exists, though the company is now a part of Ergora Fashion GmbH in nearby Oberlungwitz.

Personal note: Back in the 1990s, I had a dental hygienist who looked almost exactly like this, minus the eyeroll, at least from here up: I never saw her in a dress. Which is probably just as well, since I’d probably have asked her to run away with me¹ to Germany or something.

¹ Yeah, right.

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Bored game

The world leadership in featherbedding is arguably up for grabs, but one can’t imagine the Top Ten without France:

In Cheminot Simulator (“Rail Worker Simulator”), unionised rail staff with cushy conditions seek to work as little as possible and make life hell for passengers in a variety of ways, from strike action and work stoppages, to snow on the line and assault.

The player who wreaks the longest delays wins the game — a concept that has created a buzz at a time when millions take to the railways during the holiday season.

How would a board game like this ever come about?

Jéréie Paret, 29, the game’s inventor and a frequent rail user, said the idea came to him “when there was an incident on one line and the drivers in mine (a different one) decided to stop working.”

“They caused so much hassle for so many people that I decided to laugh about it rather than cry,” he told Le Parisien.

He said the final decision to launch the game came after he missed his train because it was, for once, on time.

Funding, of course, was tricky:

[Paret] managed to raise 11,000 euros via a crowdfunding website and by partnering with another site called Un Train de Retard (A Train Late), which publishes the total number of train delays noted by passengers. It currently stands at 752 days, 19 hours and 49 minutes this year. He has since received 300 internet orders.

Meanwhile, Bayou Renaissance Man asks:

I wonder if someone in Detroit could come up with a similar game about the UAW?

Not without getting shot, I suspect.

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Putting the “glob” in “global”

You almost certainly remember this from your childhood: “Now eat your [unpalatable food item]. There are children starving in [random Third World hellhole].”

The proper response, of course, is to point to the alleged food item and ask “Why don’t we send them this?”

This spirit, and I use the term loosely, still exists today:

Yahoo! Answers screenshot: Wasting Water™: Why does Lou Gehrig hate clean drinking water?

Followed by this bit of harangue:

Every bucket dumped over the head of some self important celebrity is one less bucket of clean drinkable water when 780 MILLION people lack access to clean water and 3.4 MILLION people die each year from a water related disease.

Which, in turn, is followed by an infographic that repeats the same numbers:

water use infographic

If you’ve missed the meme, here’s the explanation.

Now what’ll you bet this person’s lawn is freshly watered?

Mr Gehrig, of course, is long gone, and since he doesn’t have to listen to this sort of thing anymore, he has to consider himself the luckiest man off (or under, depending on your cosmology) the face of this earth.

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Legends of Slobbovia

Not the classic postal game, but the mythical land of disorder and clutter:

I’ve decided I just have to accept the fact that I am a SLOB and own that. I’m a slob about my office; I get written up by Safety for having too many papers stacked up on my desk. I’m a slob about my yard; I can’t keep the flower beds weeded. And my house is a mess now too. And my hair is usually a mess and my makeup is never quite right and my shirts come untucked and and and. So I’m a quadruple slob and I feel like I fail at being an adult. Fat loser messy slob who probably should be sent to re-education to try to learn how not to be such a slob. Really, what it would take is giving up all my hobbies and staying over an extra hour per day in my office to sort and file, and taking an hour at home to clean or do yardwork. And devoting my entire weekends to cleaning and yardwork. I think the hair is a lost cause short of having a regular hairdresser.)

This self-criticism ignores one of the basic facts of life: people who routinely complain about one’s lack of neatness inevitably prove to be anal all the way to the peritoneum, and maybe beyond. These are not people you are bound to respect; the fact that they have been installed in the seats of power means nothing more than that the contemporary power structure, with its emphasis on collective “responsibility” at individual expense, needs to be burned to the ground and the ground subsequently covered with sodium chloride. But we already know that, right?

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Strange search-engine queries (446)

It was never our intention to make you cry on a Monday morning. The guys wielding the tear gas — well, that’s another matter entirely.

where is mazda protege 1987 speed sensor automatic:  A secret that will never be told.

novel about an invisible woman:  You might try Hillary’s Hard Choices. You can barely see her against the framework of excuses, passive-aggressiveness, and sheer downright FUD, and it’s nonfiction mostly because she says it is.

dong resin:  Something you will not find in Hillary’s book.

mx little pony banned From Equestria:  This is true. You want your email in Canterlot, you better have an A record rather than an MX.

instructions for making a magic antidote:  This is why we can’t have nice potions.

is going without hosiery considered gauche?  Only if your bare legs look like they’ve been overlaid with a map of the New York subway system.

cut out song king mack fowler:  Apparently someone was wondering what happened to those two million copies of the soundtrack album of the Sgt. Pepper’s movie.

major pain diaz:  I think I served under him during World War 2.5.

tonight you can do anything you want eharmony:  Not a chance. What if I have a date or something?

who make sifry fried onion at sam hoston pkwy:  Probably some Food Extrusion plant near Secaucus, New Jersey.

audeo vobis non me:  Not quite a double-dog dare, is it?

sextube meta search.app windowslive:  You’d think a Windows phone would have this sort of thing built in.

why is this happening the electronic shift solenoid 2001 mercury cougar all gears pull except drive no trouble codes come up help:  Should I tell him that he has five solenoids in that slushbox?

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Quote of the week

From a New York Times profile of Michele Roberts, the new executive director of the NBA Players Association, which includes this report from her appearance before actual players:

She said she was all too aware that if she was selected, she would represent several hundred male athletes in the N.B.A.; she would deal with league officials and agents who were nearly all men; she would negotiate with team owners who were almost all men; and she would stand before reporters who were predominantly men.

She did not flinch. “My past,” she told the room, “is littered with the bones of men who were foolish enough to think I was someone they could sleep on.”

Billy Hunter, her predecessor, never said anything that forceful — and he used to be an NFL wide receiver, fercrissake.

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Persistence of intrusion

If you look at anything anywhere on the Web, sooner or later you’ll see an ad for it — and sometimes much, much later:

I fervently wish that the advertising bots would realize that, once I’ve made an online purchase, I’m done. You can quit sending me info about wristwatches, I bought one. Don’t show me any other mattresses, I bought one (ask me how it was shipped, dayum I didn’t know you could do that). I bought a set of ATV tires, it’ll take years to wear them out, so leave me alone. I could continue, but I bet you know exactly what I’m talking about. You’re not really benefiting anyone by the deluge, so far as I see.

Then again, if the ad purveyors could actually know that you’d closed the deal, it’s also possible that certain individuals of dubious integrity also could know that, and could theoretically turn that knowledge to their advantage — though it’s probably more likely that their less technically-oriented peers would just break into the house.

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That’s one huge motherfocal

Seriously. This lens dwarfs any camera you’re likely to own:

The Canon 1200/5.6L USM … has been built on a special-order basis since 1993, and the ‘official word’ is there are “more than twelve, less than twenty” of them in existence. With a price tag equivalent to a pair of his-and-her sports coupes, they were produced at the rate of about 2-per-year and a delivery time of about 18 months. National Geographic magazine, Sports Illustrated, Canon Professional Services, and a few well-heeled enthusiasts are counted among the fortunate few who own these unique optics. A box of donuts says the Feds probably have a few squirreled away somewhere, but this is something we can neither confirm nor deny. What you get for your money is a monster lens with an angle of view of about 2° on a full-frame 35 mm camera.

The last of them is believed to have been produced in 2005. A couple of specs:

For the record, the Canon 1200/5.6L USM contains 13 elements (including 2 Fluorite) in 10 groups, stops down to f32, and has a minimum focus of 45.9′.

And there is actually one for sale, if you’re prepared to write a very large check:

It’s selling at MPB Photographic, which describes the second-hand lens as being in “virtually immaculate condition with barely a discernable mark anywhere on the barrel.”

They’re asking £99,000, which is about a one-third premium over Canon’s original selling price of, um, $120,000.

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Lightness of a sort

Tentative artwork for their first major-label album, Punching Bozo:

Fake album cover for Biogas Jackrabbit

(Suggested by Tamara K. Photo was cropped from this original by Michael Dorausch.)

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Semi-exclusive OR

In this town, you have Cox Cable, or you have whatever the heck it is AT&T is selling; if there are other options, they’ve been tucked away behind a Concealment Spell or something.

This past week, AT&T sent me a big bruiser of an envelope with the breathless announcement that “U-verse is now available for your home!” As expected, they had a deal to offer. Not as expected, they were making serious speed claims: “Now with blazing-fast speeds up to 45Mbps.” Of course, “up to” is the inevitable weasel word: not all locations can get this speed. Specifically:

In areas where AT&T deploys U-verse through FTTN, they use High-speed digital subscriber lines with ADSL2+ or VDSL technology. Service offerings depend on the customer’s distance to an available port in the distribution node, or the central office. To qualify for U-verse TV service (only available through VDSL2), the customer must be less than 1000 meters (3500 feet) from a VRAD, the VRAD must contain an available port, and the copper wire-loop must pass qualification. Where pair bonding is available, the maximum service distance can extend to 1600 meters (5500 feet). Pair bonding is also necessary for U–verse’s fastest internet tier (Power Tier 45 Mbit/s down).

If they’ve built a VRAD in this neighborhood, I haven’t seen it. Old-style DSL had to be piped in from the Windsor office at 23rd and Portland, which is a heck of a lot farther away than 1.6 km, the main reason I didn’t order it back when I moved in.

The punchline, of course, is that during this same week, Cox dispatched an email to tell me I was being upgraded from 25 to 50 Mbps — assuming, of course, I have a DOCSIS 3.0 modem. I’m assuming I don’t, even though they supplied this box in 2011, five years after the introduction of 3.0; and anyway, I get a fairly consistent 30 Mbps, which qualifies, I suppose, for “up to” 50 Mbps.

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