The career path not taken

Reader Mark Eveleigh sent this along, and asked if by chance I might be going into the banking business:

JPMorgan Chase Bank sign

This is the branch at 6303 North Portland, which is supposedly important enough to house an actual JPMorgan facility, for the one-percenters who’d rather not deal with the peasants in the lobby.

But no, I don’t see myself as a banker, not even for a game of Monopoly®.

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And you are…?

Jack Baruth recalls his early days doing that Social Media thing:

Once upon a time, by which I mean the year 2010, I accepted every Facebook friend request I got and I kept my Twitter feed public. Then I was part of three separate incidents in which my social media “friends” pulled various details of my employment, my family life, and my most embarrassing photos (which is to say most of them, really) in a couple of attempts to get me fired from my job, affect my personal life, and/or incite people in my general neighborhood to vandalize my cars/house/already-questionable lawn.

And he did what you’d probably do: backed off and went private. But this, too, has its disadvantages:

It frustrates me to no end that I can’t use social media to connect with the people who legitimately enjoy my writing — or even the people who legitimately dislike it and want to share their concerns and/or criticisms. I’ve been told to convert my Facebook page to a “fan page”, which seems repugnant. I cannot imagine that I have any “fans”. By the same token, I’d like to make a comment on a movie on Twitter without being the target of a sack full of shrill invective from somebody who’s still angry about something I may or may not have done with the wife of somebody he doesn’t even really like. You get the idea. What’s the point of being on FB and Twitter if you’re just building the proverbial walled garden?

Emphasis added.

I am able to deal with this only because I lead a relatively uninteresting life and have accumulated few detractors. (Who was it who said “Friends come and friends go, but enemies accumulate”?)¹ And I’m still, I think, fairly compartmentalized: I tend to treat Twitter as general distribution and Facebook as friends only, though inevitably there is some overlap on both ends of the line.

¹ I’ve seen this quotation, or an approximation thereof, attributed to Thomas Jones, to Arthur Bloch, and to Jayne Ann Krentz.

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Some of the Turks’ business

I can personally vouch for this opening statement:

Spread across some of the most beautiful land in Europe and the Middle East, Turkey is a huge country with a jaw-dropping number of incredible sights. Visiting all its highlights would be a project that takes a lot longer than 91 days.

I admit I didn’t see even a third of them, and I was there for a whole year. Then again, I was, um, working.

And they hadn’t quite gotten around to this yet:

Opened in 2003, Miniaturk is a bizarre theme park that reproduces the wonders of Turkey in miniature. And it’s exactly as kitschy and fun as you might expect. Found at the end of the Golden Horn, across from Eyüp, the park is worth a visit if you’re in the mood for something totally different.

Miniaturk is split roughly half between the sights of Istanbul and the rest of Turkey. It was fun looking at detailed recreations of the mosques and monuments we’d spent the last couple months exploring. Even in miniature, the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque are impressive, and Miniaturk allows you to see them from a bird’s eye view. You can walk across a miniature version of the Bosphorus Bridge, listen to football chants at Atatürk Stadium, and even pay a lira to steer a model ferry across a mini-Golden Horn. Inside a darkened room, there’s a “Crystal Collection”, with holographic carvings of Istanbul’s monuments in big glass bricks. Weird? Yes. Cheesy? Maybe a little. Awesome? Definitely.

Lots of pictures at the link, of which I’m going to borrow just one: this sort-of-HO-scale version of the Sultan Ahmed (“Blue”) Mosque.

Replica of Blue Mosque in Miniaturk

(Photo by Juergen Horn of Istanbul for 91 Days; link via the Presurfer.)

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Exclusive of taste considerations

A friend of mine lost her dad over the weekend, which more than meets the criteria for “upsetting.” A thread grew on Facebook, to which we all added our condolences and such, and FB responded to mine — and, I assume to those written by others — with “Send [name redacted] a gift.”

Recommended gift: a pair of tickets to see Fast & Furious 6.

I suppose it could have been worse: the guy could have perished in a car wreck. But this is what happens when corporate philosophy boils down to “Monetize All The Things.”

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Water no longer standing

While the rivers east of here are gradually cresting, it appears that somebody got busy over the weekend and Shop-Vacced away whatever flood waters invaded 42nd and Treadmill: things are high and dry, though my rubber mat is out on the fence drying and one of the brace of dehumidifiers has a broken wheel. There is, of course, a pervasive scent of Stuff That’s Not Supposed To Get Wet. Then again, it could be worse. And I can easily recall several instances when it was.

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Strange search-engine queries (383)

Neither rain nor snow nor dark of night can forestall this Monday-morning feature, in which the weirdest search strings that landed at this site are detected, inspected, neglected, and eventually selected. (EF3 tornado? Maybe.)

“craft blogs” written “by men”:  Does that include craft beer?

transmission only works on hold:  Think of all the poor people whose transmissions don’t work at all. (And if they’re not poor yet, they’re about to be.)

Mazda Protege 5 transmission freezing between neutral and drive:  The Lord must love poor people; He makes so many of them.

dodge stratus sxt wont go faster than 20 mph why:  You can’t fix this on your own. Drive to a mechanic — slowly.

World penis lenth oil or creem by in pakistan with home delivery:  Because you wouldn’t want to be seen buying this in the public marketplace, would you?

large lint baskets:  Even small lint is discouraging, really.

how do you get the spark plugs out of a 2006 grand marques with 105,000 miles:  Very carefully. And next time don’t wait so long.

galactic graft:  What, has Zaphod Beeblebrox been hiring staffers from Chicago?

very very sexcy smooching lips ass video:  I can’t vouch for the sexiness, but every Sunday morning you can see politicians on TV planting a big wet one on the President’s hiney.

Your reputation for being a wound-tighter-than-a-chronometer neat freak utterly undersells your obsession:  Could you repeat that? I was in the middle of cleaning house.

rap song about welding:  Rollin down the street, smokin tailpipe, needin a brand new muff, weld in (my mind on my Caddy and my Caddy on my mind).

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One hole per pigeon

Robert Stacy McCain retells an old joke:

There is an old joke that all people can be divided into two broad categories, the largest of which is “Arrogant Assholes Who Think All People Can Be Divided Into Two Broad Categories.”

Actually, we’re happy to divide them into as many categories as we can: see, for instance, the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory (sixteen) or classical astrology (twelve). Regarding the latter:

“Hey, baby — let me guess: Scorpio, right?”

You’ve got about an 8% chance of being right on a hustle like that and if she says, “No, I’m a Leo,” your next line is obvious: “Really? But I’m guessing you’ve probably got a Scorpio moon, right?” Given that most people have never done a full chart, she’s got no idea, but if she is into astrology — and back in the ’70s, it was a big thing — she’s going to be intrigued by your pretended insight.

Of course, the whole point of that line is to find out if she’s into astrology, because chicks who are into astrology are easy.

For the record, I have had a full chart done, but being a Sagittarius with a Leo moon, I of course don’t believe a word of it.

Actually, that’s not quite true. Some of the gobbledygook presented is dead-on accurate. But the volume of it is so vast — there are so many angles and signs to be accounted for — that something in there pretty much has to be dead-on accurate. (This works well for our putatively professional prognosticational types, who issue scores and scores of predictions, and you end up remembering the three or four that were indeed spot on, and forget the eighty or ninety that missed by a mile.)

And then there’s that whole Uranus in Cancer thing, which just sounds painful.

Speaking of MBTI, I am, as should surprise no one, INTJ, just like Princess Celestia.

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A wrenching dilemma

Something to contemplate:

Do you think it's too ratchet if I painted a car all pink, very light pink or normal pink? border=0

Well, let’s see. I have a vague idea about “ratchet,” and it’s not the kind in my socket set.

Urban Dictionary for the definition:

A diva, mostly from urban cities and ghettos, that has reason to believe she is every mans eye candy. Unfortunately, she’s wrong.

See also this possibly apocryphal PS3 game.

And you know, I don’t have a problem with pink cars. (My whole house is sorta pink.) Although I’d be leery of, say, an ’02 Impala with 22-inch wheels and subwoofers capable of generating seismic readings, no matter what color it was.

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Weather as a spectator sport

One particularly telling graphic from Friday’s tornado outbreak, from

Graphic from 31 May 2013

Each of those little red dots represents a storm chaser. US 81 (the big vertical line) was just crawling with them.

Now in terms of sheer traffic levels, 81 south of I-40 doesn’t compare to regular rush-hour parking lots like the Broadway Distention; but if every third or fourth car is stopped to shoot video, things aren’t moving. Meanwhile, the sky closes in on you.

The first sign that things were getting dangerous was when a chaser vehicle from the Weather Channel was picked up by the wind, carried a couple hundred yards, and then unceremoniously dumped. They survived that one. Not so lucky: the crew from the former TV series Storm Chasers, all three of whom were tossed away.

Then again, the Storm Chasers guys, headed by Tim Samaras, were doing serious weather research, as they had been all along. And you can’t really complain about the TWC team; corporate, over the years, has done everything short of parachuting Jim Cantore onto an ice floe in the Arctic. But the volume of chasers this time around suggests a high volume of people who just want their footage on YouTube to go viral. I’m not sure I’d risk my butt for that.

It did not help matters in the least that one of the local television weather gods made noises to the effect that it might be possible to outrun the damned thing. (See the last 90 seconds or so.)

I definitely wouldn’t risk my butt for that.

(This takes place after the storm had turned away from my general direction. On the extended map, you can see the big bend in I-44 south of Nichols Hills and east of Warr Acres; I live just west of the middle of that curve. A lot of red and purple up there, but nothing actually rotating.)

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Behind the curves

E. Catherine Tobler, writer — and, since 2006, editor of Shimmer magazinebids farewell to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America:

It began with issue #200 of the [SFWA] Bulletin — all right, #199 if we want to get technical. It began with the Resnick and Malzberg Dialogues, a long-time feature of the publication. It began when two men sat down to have a dialogue about editors and writers of the female gender. How fantastic, I thought, because I, being a writer and an editor and female, had a keen interest in such things. I love reading anthologies such as Women of Wonder (and its sequel) and seeing how women impacted and contributed to this forward-looking and -thinking genre I love. I hoped they might include the women who inspired me and introduce me to many I hadn’t yet discovered.

That’s not what I found. I found a dialogue that seemed more focused on how these “lady editors” and “lady writers” looked in bathing suits, and that they were “beauty pageant beautiful” or a “knock out.” I am certain no condescension was intended with the use of “lady,” but as the dialogues went on, I felt the word carried a certain tone — perhaps that was a fiction of my own making. As I listened to these two men talk about lady editors and writers they had known, I grew uneasy. Something wasn’t right.

“Now mere appreciation of someone’s appearance does not imply anything,” said a guy who puts up two Rule 5 posts every week. I have reference to me.


Because we ask to be called “editors” and “writers” and not be singled out, determined, judged, praised, looked down on, or slighted because of what sexual characteristics our bodies may display does not mean we hate what we are. We are writers. Period.

This is one of several discussions that ensued outside SFWA, and Tobler herself commented on Reznick and Malzberg on her Twitter account. It was quite a bit later, though, that I came up with the one line that I thought summed up the whole semi-debacle: “James Tiptree, Jr. was unavailable for comment.”

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Meanwhile in West Yorkshire

Councillors in Richmond Hill, Leeds have decided that your street address cannot be 4 anything:

The Chinese word for death sounds similar to the number 4. This has led to superstitions surrounding that digit (known as tetraphobia). In China, for example, floor numbers often skip the number 4.

Under Richmond Hill’s street-naming and address guide, the number 13 — which some consider unlucky — is currently not used for street numbers and Ward 1 Councillor Greg Beros, who presented Monday night’s [13 May] motion, thinks similar steps should be taken for the number 4.

The vote of the Council was five to, um, four. Fortunately, all other problems in Richmond Hill have been solved.

(Via this @syaffolee tweet.)

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A personal connection

My father, had he lived, would have been 86 tomorrow. (He made it to the far side of 79, which is nothing to sneer at.) By all accounts, he’d had only two Great Loves: my mother, who died in 1977, and a woman whom he’d been working with for several years, whom he married a couple of years later. Fidelity notwithstanding, though, he’d admit, if you pushed him, to a Celebrity Crush: singer Joni James, three years his junior, who was a major force on the pre-rock pop charts in the early 1950s.

Joni James

There’s not a lot of Joni on YouTube, but this kinescope gets the gist of her appeal:

Also a fan: Snoopy, who once, after a kerfuffle with a neighborhood cat, told the interloper: “Just don’t ask to borrow my Joni James records again!”

Incidentally, I’m not giving away any family secrets here: all us kids, including Joni and James, knew about it.

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Standing water

Residents, you may be sure, can’t stand it, even with the storms gone and the sun shining. The North Canadian River’s best-known segment, through central Oklahoma City, used to be practically mowable in dry summers; reshaped and renamed the Oklahoma River, it now looks almost like a picture postcard of a river, except for the couple of days a year when they clean it out.

East of town, though, it’s a real river, and if you dump half a foot of rain on it in a short time, it’s going to act like a real river. There’s a flood gauge west of Harrah, on Luther Road north of 23rd Street. The water is typically about five to six feet deep. About 9 pm last night, it rose to 11 feet, the point at which the National Weather Service starts issuing bulletins. (The US Geological Survey actually maintains the gauges.) Flood stage is 14 feet. In a couple of hours, the river had risen to 18 feet, and was heading higher; it touched 21 feet briefly today, and is forecast to reach nearly 25 feet, about three feet higher than it’s been any time during the last quarter-century.

Now this area is almost entirely rural. Still, being under 11 feet of water is not good, and Harrah proper may be affected. Downstream, the city of Shawnee is about to get it in the neck: 24 feet forecast by tomorrow, six feet above flood stage. Says NWS:

Serious flooding will hit homes and require evacuation of the community east of Beard Bridge on the south side of the North Canadian River… the floodwaters will bring dangerous currents… and depths up to 6 feet… over agricultural lands and rural roads in Pottawatomie County near Shawnee.

There’s probably an inch and a half of water in my office right this minute — no way am I coming in on a Saturday just to look — but that seems pretty insignificant by comparison.

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Under pressure

It “splits a family in two, puts people on streets.” You don’t want to know what it does to me.

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Quote of the week

Daniel Greenfield (Sultan Knish) offers advice on repelling one of the scarier urban presences:

Reports that Bloomberg can be kept away by wearing cloves of garlic are untrue. Bloomberg can stand exposure to garlic and sunlight. However anything with a lot of calories will send him fleeing into the night. If you walk down the street wearing a string of ketchup packets around your neck, no Bloomberg can harm you. If you light up a cigarette while doing it and swig from an open bottle of liquor, you can hear his thin keening cries of pain drifting up or down all the way from 77th Street.

If you find yourself being chased by Bloomberg late at night, instead of trying to run, bend down and erase a bicycle lane. Bloomberg will compulsively redraw it, leaving you free to enjoy your evening.

Hmmm. I wonder if Jones Soda might be interested in producing a garlic-flavored soda? (Then again, we can always import some from Korea, though the 0.25-liter packaging won’t faze Bloomberg in the least.)

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Fark blurb of the week

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