Ed Kelley moves on

Will the Black Tower ever be the same again?

Ed Kelley, a veteran journalist and award-winning editor and reporter, has been named the new editor of The Washington Times.

Mr. Kelley, who is leaving his post as editor of The Oklahoman in Oklahoma City, will oversee both news and opinion content for Washington Times Media, a multi-platform news organization focused on exclusive reporting and compelling conservative opinion. He assumes his duties July 1.

I tweeted the Oklahoman article on Kelley’s impending departure to Robert Stacy McCain, who spent about a decade at the Times; McCain deemed it “a good ‘heartland’ choice,” presumably suggesting that the last thing the #2 D.C. daily needed was Yet Another Beltway Insider in charge of the newsroom.

What I’m not clear on is what the #1 OKC daily needs. My initial thought was “Where is Stan Tiner when you need him?” (Answer: He’s running the Sun Herald down in Biloxi.) Tiner was named Executive Editor of the Oklahoman in 1999, prompting this remark from me:

From the looks of things, Tiner has issued two commands: “Make this paper look less like a throwback to the 1950s,” and “Get this paper’s perceived politics out of the 1850s.”

Those things eventually became the rule, but not on Tiner’s watch; Edward L. Gaylord, after all, was still alive. And maybe that was the problem: for most of its existence, the Oklahoman has been run by someone named Ed, and Stan Tiner, through no fault of his own, was not named Ed.

So OPUBCO can’t fill this slot in-house, unless Mike Shannon changes his name by deed poll. I’m pretty sure Ed Driscoll isn’t interested in the position, though it’s an even safer bet he won’t be asked.

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It gets me every time

I might adore this dress even if it were being worn by someone other than Shania Twain, but this image, to borrow a phrase, impresses me much:

Shania Twain at 2011 Juno Awards

Though I must include this quip by Heather of the Fug Girls:

This looks a bit like it rained caviar on her. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Especially, you know, if she were going to be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Which she was.

For those who keep track of that sort of thing, the dress is by Zuhair Murad, the jewels by Mark Lash.

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It’s the Flashing Sky Carnival of the Vanities, the 425th in the series.

I couldn’t tell you about the atmospheric conditions when Raban Gamliel VI, the last head of the Sanhedrin, shuffled off this mortal coil in AD 425, but given the nature of their contribution to Biblical history, a flashing sky might not be all that inappropriate.

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I’m not gonna crack

And don’t credit the drinking water for that, either:

Researchers from the Medical University of Vienna compared the suicide rates in different regions of Austria with the natural lithium concentrations in the drinking water.

The study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, analysed a sample of 6,460 lithium measurements and then compared suicide rates across 99 districts. In the 10 most lithium-depleted regions in Austria, the suicide rate was 16 per 100,000, but in the 10 most lithium-rich regions the suicide rate was just 11 per 100,000.

Not such a huge difference, really. It would be easier, I suspect, to bring back Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda, a drink sold in the US from 1929 through the 1940s, at which time the government ordered the removal of lithium from soft drinks. By then, though, the name of the product had been changed to the less-unwieldy “7Up.”

(Via Hit Coffee.)

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I am only an egg

Donna has sworn off online dating and such:

The one thing I need to determine is where do healthy, well-adjusted, single men in the 38-42 age range, who are not afraid of commitment, congregate? Grief Counseling for Widowers? Single Father Support Groups?

This was always my problem in the past. They are out there … but where? And before anyone suggests it, I am going to hold off on online dating until I have to do it. The men on those sites are jerks and if there is a good one in their midst, I don’t have the patience to sift through the garbage. Besides, I am questioning my ability to tell good eggs from bad eggs.

Before you ask: when I met her, I was coming up on 52. And there’s that whole thousand-miles-apart thing, not to mention my occasional tendencies toward jerkitude.

Still, I continue to ask: “Why aren’t the guys lined up at her door yea deep? Did beautiful, smart and funny suddenly become disqualifiers?”

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Faster than unleaded

It seems to me that a lot of the so-called “range anxiety” associated with electric cars might be due to the fact that it takes so long to recharge them: There’s a quick (30-minute) charger for Leafs (Leaves?) at Nissan dealerships in Japan, but it costs a dealer upward of $15,000, so it’s not really an investment for civilians. Besides, at the slowest gas station I know, I can fill up my current car in nine minutes or so.

Which statistic, if this pans out, won’t impress (or depress) anyone with an electric car anymore:

Mr. Kanno of the Japanese company Energy Use Technology Research K.K. has reportedly received a patent for a system that can charge a typical electric vehicle in about five minutes. Five minutes, you ask? Yes. Five minutes.

Mr. Kanno’s breakthrough idea … came when he realized recharging was ultimately limited by the capacity of the electrical cables. Therefore, Mr. Kanno’s patented technology constantly collects electrical power from the grid and delivers it to plug-in vehicles in a five-minute burst.

Must be some humongous capacitors in there somewhere. (Or not; “electrical engineer” is yet another position for which I am not qualified.)

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Quote of the week

We’re just totally bifurcated this week, so we’re nominating two pieces, one of which was short enough to be a tweet.

In the longer item, Sonic Charmer predicts the Presidential election:

I fully expect President Obama to still be President Obama in 2013 and will be surprised by any other outcome. In fact the thought of him losing re-election is almost (not quite, but almost) inconceivable to me. Why would he lose? Economy etc. aside, President Obama is doing precisely what the country elected him to do, which is to be President while being a slick, photogenic, skinny guy with a darkish skin hue. That is the only reason he was elected and therefore, empirically, that is what the country wanted him to do. And in no way shape or form has he fallen short of that mandate, nor does he threaten to any time in the foreseeable future.

And in a related issue, Dan McLaughlin, @baseballcrank, offered the following wisdom:

I do not believe today’s news changes the odds that Newt Gingrich will be the next President of the United States.

You heard it here — well, twenty-ninth or thirtieth, actually, but certainly not first.

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It’s not Friday without R.B.

Katy Perry knows the importance of Friday; in an April concert, she broke into an acoustic version of Rebecca Black’s hit song, and to my knowledge didn’t get a single death threat from the audience.

Rebecca Black in Last Friday NightWhich doesn’t mean that it was inevitable, exactly, that Katy, in her guise as unblissfully geeked-out “Kathy Beth Terry” — remind me to ask Chris Gaines how that works out — would put out a song called “Last Friday Night,” but you have to figure that she could hardly resist the idea of giving America’s second-favorite thirteen-year-old girl a cameo in the teaser video.

Then again, said teaser video contains both a barf scene and a digitally-blurred wardrobe malfunction, because, after all, this is Katy Perry, who was last seen shooting whipped cream from her bazoomage. You could call it PG-13 — parental guidance suggested for viewers the age of Rebecca Black — and maybe you’d be right.

Meanwhile in Durant, Oklahoma, the local Walmart set up an endcap display of cereal and cereal bowls. Gotta have ‘em.

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Fark blurb of the week

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In a desperate attempt to sell some books

Adèle Geras detects a disconnect between actual book content and jacket art:

I can’t count the number of times I’ve read a book and found the cover completely at odds with the content. The inappropriateness of covers is something every writer knows about. Sometimes you can object but most often you can’t.

As an example, Geras cites this edition of Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. Olive, the heroine, is “a tall, rather ungainly and getting-on-for-elderly retired Mathematics teacher in a small US town.” Somehow that translated into this:

Cover of Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

“Olive wouldn’t be seen dead” in that dress, says Geras.

And if you think that’s bad, you should see what was done to one of her own books.

This sort of thing apparently has been going on for decades. I have spoken here often of Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle, a book which has meant a lot to me over the years. Most recent covers, if they’re not recreating the original postwar art, have been at least vaguely pastoral, which makes sense in the context of the book; however, the late-Sixties paperback which was my first copy was apparently aimed at the horny-teenager market, what with its barely-readable font and its image of a nymphet evidently too poor to own a blouse. Admittedly, the Mortmains didn’t have a whole lot of wardrobe items from which to choose, and there were scenes in which none were chosen, but in retrospect (and after dozens of readings) this simply seems silly. And a book you’re going to care about ought never to seem silly.

(Via normblog.)

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Your 28th Amendment, right here

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Dummy up

We’re definitely not going to make a bridge player out of this fellow:

A couple of months ago I was looking for a new card game and I thought of bridge, so I started looking into it. It seems to suffer from the same problem. The game has been analyzed down to the molecular level and everything there is to know has been discovered, so there is a rule for every situation. “Correct” play is similar to differential equations in that involves recognizing the situation and then picking out correct rule to follow. No real critical thinking involved.

Except for one minor detail: apart from the handful of people who write the newspaper columns and the books, nobody knows every last rule, and that goes double (maybe even redouble) for the players in your neighborhood game. And even the ones they know, they forget: statistically, if you have seven trumps, the six remaining are more likely to be split 4-2 than 3-3, but who remembers to play the suit that way?

In the one tournament I entered, I brought a complete novice — well, he could play spades — to be my partner. He wouldn’t try anything fancy, I reasoned, because he didn’t know anything fancy, and therefore he’d throw the opposition for a loop. We took third out of eight, which, all things considered, was deeply satisfying.

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Stable conditions

I’m still a bit bumfuzzled by Dan Boren’s Tuesday announcement that he’d had enough of the every-other-year campaign slog and wasn’t going to run for a fifth term in 2012. Boren being the only Democrat in the entire seven-man Congressional delegation, the GOP is, shall we say, psyched up to fill this seat with one of their own. The Democrats, of course, aren’t going to let it go without a fight.

All the usual suspects are being trotted out: Brad Carson, who had this seat before Boren but gave it up to try for the Senate; third-term District 14 Rep. George Faught; Kenneth Corn, term-limited out of the Legislature, who ran for Lieutenant Governor last year. I’m thinking, though, that there’s a dark horse yet to be seen, and I don’t even know which party he belongs to; OK-2 is largely rural, which suggests to me that the kingmakers in Tulsa and Oklahoma City will have less influence than they think they have, and while Democrats usually win this seat, CPVI rates the district R+14, which calls to mind the old phrase “independent as a hog on ice.” Or a colt struggling to his feet, maybe.

But Mike McCarville is surely right when he says:

[T]he race for the 2nd District seat, just [now 48] hours ago perceived as a ho-hummer with another Boren win, now promises to be the hottest, and most closely-watched, race of the 2012 election year.

Me, I’ll be amused to see all the hotshot national political writers fighting over the last bottle of Dasani in the Holiday Inn Express in Tahlequah.

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Meanwhile in a parallel universe

At their 2011 Palm Beach auction in April, Barrett-Jackson sold a 1974 Ford Bronco for $33,000.

Dave Kinney noted in the July Automobile:

Early Broncos have become very collectible. Their straightforward looks and easy usability combine to make them cool across generations.

“Now you tell me,” snorts McGehee.

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Eno.ugh already

David Friedman proposes a new top-level domain:

How about a TLD for websites that can only be parody, complainy, or snarky? If you want to know about Lady Gaga’s next album, you can go to ladygaga.com, but if you’re really sick of her and want a community of like-minded haters, you can visit ladygaga.ugh and get it out of your system.

And if your first thought is “What’s to stop Gaga from registering it herself?” he’s thought of that too.

Me, I’d settle for a .tax domain to mirror damned near everything dot-gov.

(Via this Nancy Friedman tweet, and no, I don’t know.)

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Das Weingeld

Daily Pundit commenter “martinra,” on the question of what to do with an overexposed Weiner:

If I thought that there was a snowball’s chance in hell of a decent person succeeding the pervert in NY-9, then I’d push for him to resign. Unfortunately, this is the district that also brought us Chuckie “Cheese” Schumer, and Geraldine Ferraro, RIP. No Democrat in that district has won less than 65% of the vote in decades, and no non-Democrat has carried it since 1921. It’s a pure NYC Dem machine district, and like all such, in the event of its vacancy, it will be grabbed by the sleaziest, most ruthless apparatchik looking to claw his or her way up from a colocated state or city position. Only the name on the stationery would change. That being so, I’d rather leave Mr. Show ‘Em The (Damaged) Goods in place, as a figuratively emasculated laughingstock. IMO he’s worth more to the GOP as a pervert punchingbag than he is as a scalp over Breitbart’s mantel.

A note on Ferraro, who never struck me as much of an apparatchik: her major primary opponent in 1978 was Thomas J. Manton, a genuine NYC machine candidate, and when she decided to sign on with Fritz Mondale, the machine decided it was Manton’s turn. After the 1990 Census, Manton eased on over to NY-7 without so much as breaking a sweat.

(Title inspired by this Wagnerian effort by Robert Stacy McCain.)

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You are not expected to know this, either

However, this little site now has a big IPv6 address:


If it doesn’t work for you today on World IPv6 Day, it may not have propagated to your nearest IPv6-enabled DNS server just yet.

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Today’s shopping tip

Retail expert Steve Sailer explains the, or at least a, difference between Target and Costco:

Target might carry 100 different varieties of shampoo, while Costco carries about three. Thus, Target has lots of pretty girls shopping there, people to whom choosing the perfect shampoo is an important gambit in the mating game, worth expending scarce mental energy upon.

Costco, in contrast, has very few pretty girls among its customers. Most shoppers look like they have kids and are shopping for 3 to 5 people, and thus they aren’t willing to finetune their purchases to meet individual idiosyncrasies: just give us something cheap and respectable.

We don’t have a Costco nearby — I suspect the establishment of the very first Sam’s Club, out on SE 29th Street, may have discouraged them — but I get better results scoping out the babes at higher-end grocers than I do at Tar-ZHAY.

On the other hand, Costco and Target aren’t polar opposites either:

The opposite of the Costco shopping experience is car shopping. Dealers work very hard to make to make buying a car a stressful experience that preys upon your class insecurities. Their ultimate goal is to make you want to impress the salesman by overpaying for the car.

And doesn’t everyone want to impress a guy in a plaid jacket? No? Surely the dealership can find some freshly-shampooed young woman at a Target store somewhere and teach her to sell cars.

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Have a Shetty day

Today Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty turns 36, and you don’t know how long I’ve been waiting to use that title.

Shilpa Shetty

You’re looking at a still from her 2006 film Shaadi Karke Phas Gaya Yaar [Trapped in a Marriage]. It was, by all accounts, a fairly non-controversial film for a distinctly controversial actress.

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Panic on the streets of Anytown

As I might have mentioned before, I don’t spend valuable driving time wondering about gas mileage; after gathering five years of data on this car, I know how much I’m supposed to be getting, and I’m pretty much always getting it. (Revised EPA is 17 city/25 highway; original sticker was 20/28; I average 21/28.)

Besides, I don’t want to be this guy:

My gas mileage reader goes down every time I step on brakes. If I am in park for a while it goes all they way down to 0. Does this mean there is something wrong with my car or that my gas is burning too fast???

Do the math, Binky. If you’re not moving, you’re traveling zero miles, and zero miles divided by any amount of fuel is 0 mpg.

If you’re going to obsess over fuel consumption, you have basically two choices:

  • Buy a farging Prius already. It will get better mileage than anything else you’ve ever owned before, including your dad’s ancient moped.
  • Take the bus and STFU.

Disclosure: My dad did once have a moped. It was a sad little two-wheeler, but it went faster than I could pedal, therefore I was envious. I got over it.

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