All sorts of records

In fact, this may be a record in itself: since 1993, when it was purchased by Saul Levine, radio station KMZT (previously KGIL and several other calls), 1260 AM in and around Los Angeles — the city of license, currently, is Beverly Hills — has undergone no fewer than thirteen format changes, including a six-month stint playing all Beatles, all the time.

Today they play classical music. I’m not even going to guess what may happen next year.

(Here’s the complete list.)

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Admirably centered

It is a measure of something — I’m guessing it’s my failure to be au courant with contemporary babedom — that when the Maxim Hot 100 issue came in, I didn’t recognize #100 (Melanie Iglesias), and so I turned to #1, and I didn’t recognize her either. (This was Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who is apparently playing what used to be the Megan Fox role in the next Transformers, and who sets off this Classic Liberal article nicely.)

Despairing, I turned to the middle, and at #50 there’s the spark of recognition: Selita Ebanks, twenty-eight, from Grand Cayman, who showed up in one Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue wearing rather less than this:

Selita Ebanks

A self-described “tough cookie,” Selita did yeoman (yeowoman?) work for Victoria’s Secret while retaining her fondness for Popeye’s Chicken. If that combination doesn’t get her above #50 next time, nothing will.

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Used to be, you gave her flowers

In today’s movies, what she gets is a faceplant:

(Original source.)

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OMG we’re down!

“It was instructive,” says Fillyjonk, “to see people’s responses (and continuing responses) to the Blogger outage,” and adds, “[M]aybe I’d feel differently if it were part of my business.”

I admit to getting occasionally annoyed with people on my own host who complain about how much money they’re losing during a system outage: if this is your freaking livelihood, why are you entrusting it to a ten-buck-a-month shared server? So imagine my sympathy for someone who’s missing out on his AdSense revenues from a freebie. (Hint: it involves an extremely small violin.)

And there’s this:

[A]ll that aside, I was blown away by the DEMANDS — the “why won’t you TELL ME what is wrong and when you’re going to fix it?!?!?!” Many, many messages to that regard. Also many messages on how terrible blogger was for this downtime. (Uh, yeah. Do they use Twitter? That service is lousy with downtime, it seems.)

And I find myself puzzled by that — after all, Blogger had posted some information (maybe not as much as I’d have liked, but whatever) and they had an announcement saying essentially, “We know there is a problem, we are working on it.” It was almost as if the individuals writing the posts were personally offended that Blogger was down, and it was as if they felt it had been done specifically to inconvenience them.

Some of them, I’d wager, were personally offended: when your self and your universe share exactly the same center, that’s the inevitable result.

I’ve had this particular hosting account for nearly ten years. Only twice have I had to take extraordinary measures to keep going: September ’06, when I had to restart the database due to server problems — though all the posts were saved as static pages, therefore none were lost — and September ’08, when my previous platform became slow and unreliable, at which time I moved two years’ worth of posts to WordPress and continued from that point. (The non-blog stuff, of course, has never been affected by database issues.) I may have uttered an occasional imprecation in the general direction of technical support, but I don’t remember being affected by the usual Charlie Brownian motion: “Why’s everybody always picking on me?”

While I do possess a smattering (albeit nowhere as much as I’d like, or as much as I might need) of technical smarts, I suspect that tech credentials under such circumstances matter less than simply keeping one’s head.

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The over-umbrage

This neck of the woods once had an inferiority complex, and not just any inferiority complex either; by God, it was the biggest damn inferiority complex in the entire flyover zone. I was here for some of the making of that complex — the destruction of downtown, the oil bust of the early 1980s, the hiring of John Blake as OU football coach — and no one was happier than I to see it finally vaporize.

Except, of course, that it hasn’t. Not by a long shot.

David Roth (no connection to anyone named Van Halen) came up with a bit for GQ called “Profiles in NBA Obscurity,” the ostensible first edition of which was devoted to Thunder third-string point guard Royal Ivey. I normally don’t pay much attention to GQ, but Royce Young of Daily Thunder included it in one day’s Bolts, so I gave it a read. In the middle of the piece, Roth snarked:

Like Ivey, OKC is something of an afterthought — a city that was never supposed to have a NBA team, a city whose best restaurant is generally agreed to be a Golden Corral and whose zoo’s prime attraction, a chimp named Mwami, keeps escaping his enclosure, as if even he would rather be in Tulsa.

I grinned a bit. This town has always had the reputation of being more white-bread than Mrs Baird and decidedly lacking in ghetto fabulousness, something presumably desired by your average melanin-rich NBA team. “Golden Corral”? Well, at least he didn’t say it was the farging Olive Garden.

Then there surfaced this local message-board thread, in which several participants are having a fit hissier than the steam table at your favorite buffet over these “blatant lies.” Some of them even jumped down Roth’s throat on the Twitter. It’s like a whole platoon of “Psycho” Soyers needing to be told to lighten up.

Then again, Roth is from New Jersey, a place which even people from Oklahoma mock. At least he’s sporting admirable thickness of skin, something that too often seems lacking here in the City of Multicolored Buffalo.

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Cheap shot peened

Ford’s new SVT Raptor Supercrew is twelve inches longer than its immediate predecessor, leading Motor Trend’s Frank Markus, previously seen lapsing into political cliché, down the primrose path to Unfortunate Comparisons:

Our cold-weather shakedown of the newly stretched Raptor suggests that among the target audience of outdoorsy extreme sportsmen, this more capable Raptor’s extra foot may prove as enticing as the bonus body part involved in diphallia.

Stacy Brown was not available for comment.

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And then there were seven

Zach Randolph, said radio guy Matt Pinto, had “that look.” No way were the Grizzlies going down if Z-Bo had anything to do with it, and of course he did: we’re talking 30 points and 13 rebounds. Thirty points, incidentally, is one more than the Thunder got in the second half, as Memphis bought itself a seventh game in the series with a 95-83 drubbing of Oklahoma City.

It wasn’t all Randolph, of course. For this game, O. J. Mayo started at the two and Sam Young came off the bench; Mayo wound up with 16 points and four steals, and Mike Conley, beside him on the wing, came up with a double-double (11 points, 12 assists). The Griz shot 43.4 percent, not great, but better than they had been.

Not that it made much difference: the Thunder were sending bricks into the air, and not particularly quick bricks at that. Russell Westbrook was reasonably effective, rolling up 27 points on 11-22 shooting, but Kevin Durant got into foul trouble early and never established any rhythm, unless you consider 3-14 for 11 points some rarefied form of syncopation. Outside shots were simply not falling: only four of 25 treys dropped. And if OKC was hapless from beyond the arc, they were not much better at the foul line, missing seven of 24. Besides which, Serge Ibaka had as many fouls as rebounds — five — and only a single block.

So it’s 48 minutes for all the marbles, Sunday afternoon. Unless it’s 53. It’s been as many as 63 in this series. Historically, the home team tends to win Game 7, but I suspect Zach Randolph may have something to say about that too.

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Gotta get down to the bus stop

Public transit nationwide, says the Brookings Institution, is by and large a “missed opportunity,” and few metropolitan areas miss it by as much as Oklahoma City, which they rank 84th among 100 major metros. Coverage is below average — only 42 percent of working adults live near a transit stop — and waiting time is about double the study average.

Rick Cain, director of COTPA, isn’t too surprised by the findings:

“When you have to wait an hour for the bus, and you have a car option, you are going to choose the car,” Cain said. “The problem our board faces is do you try to cover a large area and not do it very well, or do you cover a small area and do it very well? That decision was made a long time ago and now it is very difficult to change.”

One problem that exists in most metros, not just here, is adherence to the old hub-and-spoke model:

Most transit systems still have a design that brings suburban workers into downtowns for higher-skill jobs in industries such as finance and health care, but fails to connect them to growing suburban employment centers.

For myself, I’m probably in the 90th percentile locally in terms of Low Walking Distance to Transit: I’d have to walk at most three blocks a day. But I live on one spoke and work on another, meaning I’d have to travel to the hub and make connections every time. This is a tedious process, and if I can drive the whole route, out and back, in 35 minutes for $4 worth of gas, the bus doesn’t look all that welcoming. (There are, of course, other costs involved with driving, but that’s the most visible at the moment, inasmuch as the car is paid for and the insurance bill is still a couple weeks away.)

Note: Despite the title, this is not the Rebecca Black update. This is.

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Ticking on and on

It’s Friday, Friday, gotta get to that Rebecca Black update.

Two items of note:

Oh, and Glee has done a typically Glee-ful version of “Friday.”

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Not to mention fire ants

If you came here from MSNBC or (via this item by Laura T. Coffey), this is the original post she’s quoting.

Which, incidentally, doesn’t mention fire ants — at least, not directly.

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Life imitates Disney

Yeah, right, so what else is new?

Royal Weddings then and now

I vaguely remember some slightly-different colors in the feature film, but maybe that’s just me. (Or maybe that’s just Adobe.)

(Via Nikki McLeod’s Facebook wall.)

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DOS 4, you old-timers will remember, sucked rocks, and not pretty rocks at that; it’s no accident that Digital Research, then selling a DOSalike called DR DOS, went straight from 3.x to 5.0.

Ever since that debacle, I’ve been leery of Version 4 of anything, and that includes Firefox. Eric Scheie says there’s a very good reason for that particular aversion:

A few days ago I downloaded Firefox 4, and ever since, it has been a nightmare of constant freezes and endless glitches.

“Support” says that Google is making it freeze. Others say Firefox needs to be uninstalled and redownloaded and reinstalled. (I did the latter and it made very little difference.)

Well, there’s always something making it freeze; this is the Standard Operating Disclaimer. If, for instance, somehow WordPress gets hosed, the dehosing instructions start with “Remove all plugins, in reverse order of activation.”

Still, Mozilla has been offering me 4 for some time; I finally checked the “Go away” box. Eventually, I suppose, they’ll force it on me, just as Adobe keeps threatening me with Adobe Reader 10. At that time, I’ll just switch to Safari, which is well into the 5s.

Incidentally, DR DOS is at version 8 7:

In October 2005, it was discovered that DR-DOS 8.1 included several utilities from FreeDOS and other sources and that the kernel was an outdated version of the Enhanced DR-DOS kernel. DR DOS Inc. failed to comply with the GNU General Public License (GPL) by not crediting the FreeDOS utilities to their authors and including the source code. After complaints from FreeDOS developers (including the suggestion to provide the source code, and hence comply with the GPL), DR DOS Inc. instead pulled all 8.x versions (including the unaffected DR-DOS 8.0) from their website.

In this case, 8 was twice as bad as 4.

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All FUDsy

An excerpt from a letter to an unspecified magazine for women:

Most of the women, and certainly most of the adolescent girls in the United States, do not feel completely secure with their appearance; is insecurity something you want to advocate?

Well, Mrs Gibbard, it’s not that they want their readers to be upset or anything; it’s just that much of their business model depends on the sale of beauty products, and M. Random Cutie, were she perfectly happy with her appearance, might not feel compelled to buy any. You, of all people, should know that.

Nor, I might add, is this sort of thing restricted to women, as anyone who’s seen a guy distracted by something shiny and/or noisy at the Home Depot can tell you.

Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt: these are the building blocks of our economy. For now, while we still have some semblance of an economy, anyway.

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And they say print is dead

Broke & Beautiful — a concept I simply have to endorse — has a list of 20 summery printed dresses, of which this was my favorite:

Delia*s Tropical Feather Print Dress

“Feathers,” says Jennifer Nicole, are “a great way to do animal print without ‘doing’ animal print.” They found this one at dELiA*s, which generally markets to the under-21 crowd — hence the weird typesetting — but I’m thinking this might be too good for teenagers, and it’s only $39.50, which at first I thought was a typo. Nope. (Nothing over $140 in the entire list, in fact.) This isn’t the sort of classic you’ll cherish forever, but cheerfully cheap can be a pretty good recommendation.

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Thrash collection

I think this can be answered “No”:

Is there anything worse than having pain when you’re trying to sleep? Especially pain where you can find NO sleep position that remains comfortable and have to wake up and move every couple hours.

For about two years, there’s been a bottle of something or other sitting in the medicine cabinet, claimed to be intended for “pain with sleeplessness.” The reason it’s been sitting there so long is simply that it doesn’t work worth a hoot, at least for me. (If you’re curious, it’s a knockoff of Excedrin PM: I have to take four to get any results at all, and that’s a lot more acetaminophen than I want to deal with, and besides, that much diphenhydramine will turn my airway into a Krazy Straw.)

The knees, they vibrate, or so it seems. It’s an osteoarthritis thing: the joints are just this side of shot. Six years ago, I had arthroscopic surgery on one of them; at the time, the surgeon told me, “You’ll have to have it replaced. I’d rather replace it when you’re 60, though, than when you’re 50.” Fifty-eight is staring me in the face, which somehow doesn’t distract me from the handwriting on the wall.

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Seemingly eternal obtuseness

Web sites operated by newspapers are occasionally put behind paywalls, which almost everyone decries, and for which almost no one volunteers to write a check. Having never been on the far side of a paywall myself, I’m really not in a position to speculate as to what it’s like for the online staff, but I imagine that if your customers are actually paying for the product, there’s less pressure to gin up the maximum number of eyeballs, and therefore less reason to listen to people like this:

At the national College Media Advisers conference, students attend sessions like “SEO 101 for Journalists,” where they are told not to be “tempted” (the word used by one session leader) to write funny headlines.

“People are flat-out less likely to read funny headlines,” says session leader Aram Zucker-Scharff, an SEO consultant who works as the community manager at George Mason University’s office of student media. “You have to be transparent.”

Maybe (maybe?) I’m a grizzled old mossback, but I think stained glass is a lot more interesting than flat panes. And if I can stain it effectively myself, so much the better — though I’m not above borrowing someone else’s pigments.

Admittedly, I don’t have to compete for those eyeballs to support my business model; in fact, should someone ask, I’ll deny even having a business model. I do this because, well, this is what I do. And while I hate to agree with someone at Slate, I find this well-nigh indisputable:

“There are headlines you can write which, because they’re so clear and have so much of the subject in them, you will get a little bit more SEO,” [editor David] Plotz says. “But if you write a really clever headline that your most Slate-like readers love, and they think, ‘I’m so in on this joke,’ you will deepen that relationship with them.”

No consultant can teach you that.

(Via this Nancy Friedman tweet.)

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Open the garage door first

The next-generation Prius is due somewhere around 2014. What I expect: 55 mpg, maybe even 60. What I didn’t expect: handy disaster capability. TTAC’s Bertel Schmitt explains:

The March 11 earthquake and tsunami will get Toyota customers a unique feature: A genset, free with purchase of a hybrid. Toyota was moved by the fact that people who had not electricity, but who had gasoline, rigged their hybrid to produce at least a little power. Akio Toyoda announced that “all Toyota hybrids will receive a new function that allows them to be used as emergency generators.”

One guy who’s tried something similar with a current model:

I hook up a few inverters to my Prius, and it runs maybe 5 minutes every four hours or so to keep the battery charged. Was very handy last week when the power was out for 3 days when the tornadoes ripped through.

Estimated gasoline use for the period: around half a gallon.

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Just don’t take a Pomeranian bowling

The Dude, as we all know, abides. Apparently so does his sweater:

Since it debuted in 1998, Joel and Ethan Coen’s movie has built a fervent cult of followers who have seen it a zillion times, can recite dialogue from memory, and worship the Dude, the slacker character played with shaggy aplomb by Jeff Bridges.

But even the most diehard Lebowski scholars may not know that the Dude’s cardigan was made by Oregon’s Pendleton Woolen Mills. Or that the original sweater worn by Bridges in the movie is going to be auctioned off May 14-15 in Beverly Hills.

This particular vintage cardigan — three copies were made for the film, but Bridges wore only the original — will likely go for four figures, if not more. If you’re more the type to end this thing cheap, Pendleton’s revival of this style comes out this fall at a relatively modest $188.

(Via the Consumerist.)

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Pretty much drowned out

The Grizzlies got out of Memphis before the muddy Mississippi came close to escaping its banks; perhaps the inch and a half of rain today perplexed them a bit. The broadcast team, for its part, figured it was fatigue. Whatever the reason, the Griz were adrift most of the evening, and the Thunder rolled up a surprisingly-easy 99-72 win in front of a damp but happy home crowd.

It was 17-17 after the first quarter, and things remained close for about six minutes after that. Then Memphis began to implode: easy shots were missed, silly fouls were charged. The Griz wouldn’t get 20 points in any quarter but the fourth. They shot less than 36 percent, collected only 33 rebounds, and gave up an uncharacteristic 14 turnovers.

Radio guy Matt Pinto says the difference was in the bench personnel: OKC reserves scored 53, versus 27 for Memphis. (Or you could look at it as 46 for the Thunder starters, 45 for the Griz.) Nobody hit even 20 points, though Kevin Durant managed 19, and Daequan Cook shot 6-7 for 18. And no double-doubles, though Nick Collison pulled down 10 boards to go with nine points.

So it’s 3-2 Thunder going into Game 6, back in Memphis Friday night. Me, I’m just grateful that this game ran about 100 minutes shorter than Game 4.

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Back to the future, sort of

In an effort to boost its economy, Samoa is jumping forward in time by one day. And no, it’s not an effort to beat the stock market:

Samoa will do this by switching to the west side of the international date line, which it says will make it easier for it to do business with Australia and New Zealand.

In 1884, when the Date Line was drawn, Samoa was on the west side; eight years later, the country, which already had signed an alliance with what was then the kingdom of Hawaii, decided the take from foreign trade would be better if they were on something resembling American time, and the line was duly moved.

But alliances — and trade partners — change. Said Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi: “We’re losing out on two working days a week. While it’s Friday here, it’s Saturday in New Zealand and when we’re at church Sunday, they’re already conducting business in Sydney and Brisbane.”

The change will go into effect on the 30th of December, previously known as the 29th of December.

(Via Sunday Monday Evening.)

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