Among us grizzled old-timers

Mark Alger contemplates his decade at BabyTrollBlog:

[S]ometime around 9/11, I heard Rush Limbaugh talking about these things called blogs. He mentioned Andrew Sullivan and a few others. I started reading them. And, in seeming no time, got the bug myself.

Now I’ve heard plenty of tales in which Person A inspired Person B to take up the Orbital Keyboard Cannon, but this is the first one I’ve seen that cites El Rushbo. I suspect, though, there are many others.

I haven’t had an Instalanche, but I have had a couple of Kim-a-lanches and linky love from other Big Name Bloggers. I’ve been a Large Mammaried Individual in the TTLB Ecosystem, so BTB isn’t exactly chopped liver, albeit without the bag of chips. And I’ve been stalked for fifteen minutes by Media Matters, so I guess, in some small way, I arrived awhile back. And I’m content with the slow-and-steady approach to growth.

Of the nearly-a-thousand registered members (and even that is a modest number, I’m given to understand), there are more than a lot who are spammers, I’m sure, but also more than a mere handful who are faithful visitors and readers of varying intensity, and they are, I believe, gems beyond price, so represent some success, even if my own terminal laziness might hold me back from greater things.

It’s not laziness, I suspect. The time we have is finite, and we can’t possibly spend 100 percent of it on any one activity, especially if it’s some other activity that actually pays the bills. It would be nice to be able to sit here at the keyboard all day and watch the money roll in, but it would be just as nice, and nearly as likely, to have the Slurpee franchise for Hades.

I have about twenty registered members: after implementing a registration system in 2008, I rapidly grew weary of it, and threw the doors open, hoping the formidable array of WordPress spam tools would protect me. (Akismet has dealt with 25,000 comments since then; it missed just over 100 — though maybe one or two actually made it to the site — and false-alarmed on about 140. I should be this precise in my own work.)

The good news, of course, is that Mark and Dolly are going forward:

Once I get comfortable there (I’m practicing by helping my employer get set up in WordPress, as well as sandboxing new designs at markphilipalger dot dreamhosters dot com), this blog will move to the new system and host and become the center of a modest media empire centered around my writing and artwork. Stay tuned.

More than this, we cannot ask.

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Our gain

Robert Stacy McCain accepts the blame for Tina Korbe’s moving out of the dextrosphere and into the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (just down the road at 13th and Lincoln). Not that we consider this a problem here on the prairie, of course.

I might suggest, though, that Stacy might want to add Inter Alia, OCPA’s blog, to his Occasional Reads. I have to figure that sooner (sorry) or later, she’ll be posting stuff there.

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Daphne on Dell:

While I’m not at all happy with Dell’s hardware division today, I have to admit that their call centers in India employ some of the best customer service representatives I’ve ever encountered.

And it definitely helps if you only have to deal with one:

Pradeep had the ability and authority to resolve my problem all the way to the bitter end and did so by handily dispatching a full grace of precise skills wrapped around a warm measure of respectful politeness. I’m quite sure he was frustrated beyond belief with my technical ignorance, but I never once heard it betrayed in his patient voice giving endless instruction.

Patience is a virtue, especially if the poor fellow has to deal with someone like me who (1) can’t describe a problem in less than a screenful of text and (2) has already spent three hours failing to fix the matter and is therefore in Bad Humour.

(Speaking of Bad Humour, the working title for this was “Rolling in Pradeep.” Don’t judge me.)

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Zooeypalooza 15!

It’s been a pretty decent week — I’m mostly caught up at the office, a sudden flurry of yard work at midweek didn’t actually kill me, and there were a few extra coins in the ol’ pay packet — so why not celebrate?

Zooeypalooza 15!

Reduced photos may be rebigulated at the merest click.

That which hath Palooza’d before: ZP 1, ZP 2, ZP 3, ZP 4, ZP 5, ZP 6, ZP 7, ZP 8, ZP 9, ZP 10, ZP 11, ZP 12, ZP 13, ZP 14.

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Throne almost defended

For a team that’s supposed to be terrible — Basketbawful calls them the Purple Paupers, and that’s when they’re being nice to them — the Sacramento Kings are capable of some remarkable feats. Down 15 halfway through the fourth, they reeled off seven straight points in about a minute before the Oklahoma City defense could catch its breath. Respiration did return, however, and the Kings would gain no further ground, the Thunder pulling off a 103-92 win.

Sacramento did not shoot well: they were under 40 percent most of the night, finishing just under 41. However, they did spread the scoring around: four of five starters, plus rookie Jimmer Fredette, in double figures. DeMarcus Cousins led with 18 and nine rebounds, four of them off the offensive glass. (The Thunder had only six such all night.) If anyone seemed to be underachieving, it was Travis Outlaw, who missed all six of his shots and one of two free throws, though even Outlaw had four boards. In terms of Scary Young Guys, Isaiah Thomas (12) was the dominant one early on, Tyreke Evans (16) later on.

The Thunder, however, could shoot: 53 percent from the floor, 19 of 22 from the stripe. The usual suspects got fairly typical numbers: Kevin Durant 29 (14 boards, and seven assists), James Harden 20, Russell Westbrook 18, and Serge Ibaka logged eight blocks while tossing up 12 points. (This season he’s averaging better than 3.5 blocks per game; nobody else has even two and a quarter.)

Sunday might mark a milestone of sorts: if OKC can pull off a win, they’ll have swept the Lakers, 3-0. And they’ll need to, just to stay on San Antonio’s heels. (The Spurs wasted Kobe and company 121-97 tonight.) Two home games follow, and suddenly it’s playoff time. On the question of whether it’s better to be the #2 seed, all I’m going to say is that I’m grateful for any seed in which we don’t have to play the Grizzlies in the first round. And currently, Memphis is #5, which would pit them against the #4 Clippers. Given the trouble we’ve had with both those teams, the idea of losing one of them before the second round is awfully appealing.

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Besides, “My Little Penguin” sounded goofy

Dear Princess Celestia:

As you suggested, we are working up a properly pony-oriented Linux distro, which we are (sort of) naming after your faithful student:

Twili Linux

Hope all goes well at the Royal Wedding.

Your semi-reliable news gatherer, Dusty Sage (although Equestria Daily beat me to it).

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Would you look at that?

How to spot a denizen of Soonerland, according to a former resident: “he goes outside to watch for the funnel cloud.”

Which I have done. Then again, there’s a perfectly logical reason for that:

[Y]ou have to figure out if the tornado is near enough to go to the shelter … if you didn’t do this, you’d be spending half your time in the tornado shelter.

In April and May, perhaps 60 percent.

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We so silly

In the past few days, Rebecca Black has noted that going zip lining did not actually kill her, and displayed just a hint of hipsterism:

Tweet by Rebecca Black on the subject of bus stops

I can’t wait to see her reaction to this mess, about which a YouTube commenter said: “‘Friday’ by Rebecca Black sounds like Beethoven compared to this.” I posted it on Facebook yesterday and have already been defriended once.

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Quote of the week

While pointing out that the proposed Los Angeles-Las Vegas high-speed rail line can’t possibly draw as many customers as its proponents say, Coyote Blog’s Warren Meyer offers an offhand suggestion that might actually boost ridership:

If you really want to promote the train, forget shoveling tax money at it and pass a law that the TSA may not set up screening operations at its terminus.

Not that there’s a chance of this happening, but it’s advice more or less freely given.

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Not a small burro

Suzette tells the story:

I’m looking online for a pair of comfortable low-heeled pumps and I came across the Fitzwell Burrito. Doesn’t it sound like they are being sold by Mr. Haney?

Well, let’s see:

Burrito by Fitzwell

I don’t know. With that squared-off toe and two-inch heel, it seems more Pixley than Hooterville. Zappos doesn’t care: they’ll sell it to you for $79, and it won’t have to come by the Cannonball, either.

I can imagine, though, Mr Haney making a pitch like this:

Starting off the collection is a line of footwear designed with a gel insole that has been laboratory tested to withstand up to 1,000 lbs. of pressure to insure durability and that absorbs the shock from every step we take.

Prettier than a little red wagon going up a steep hill, it is.

Addendum: Because I felt like it, “A Day in the Life of Green Acres.”

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Purple update

Since arriving in this neighborhood in 2003, I have characterized its politics as purple: kinda red, but kinda blue, too. The Census introduced new precinct and legislative-district lines, and in anticipation of getting some fresh numbers this fall, I went out and gathered the precinct results in the Presidential primary, in which we had twelve candidates: seven Republicans, some of whom had “suspended” their candidacies before Super Tuesday, and five Democrats.

Not too surprisingly, Mitt “Mitt” Romney drew the largest number of votes, but at less than 37 percent, it’s not much of a mandate. Rick Santorum was a strong second; Newt Gingrich was third, Ron Paul fourth, and there was only one vote left for fifth.

Democratic turnout was a bit lower, perhaps because Democrats didn’t see much of a race going on. Barack Obama got just under three-fourths of the vote, which can be viewed as “Hey, darn near 75 percent,” or as “My gawd, who else was running?” Second place went to Jim Rogers, who also made a 2008 run for the Presidency, and third (by one vote) to Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, who apparently had been a Republican this time last year. Terry won 18 percent of the statewide Democratic vote, a couple of points ahead of Rogers, technically enough to qualify for convention delegates, though the state party declines to seat them on procedural grounds.

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I will of course give him a 98

Two things you need to know about the late Dick Clark:

  • When American Bandstand moved to the Left Coast in 1964, Clark hung out his shingle as an independent producer. Actually, that was technically a figure of speech for about a dozen years; eventually, he rented office space on Sunset Boulevard and did, in fact, hang out a shingle. And the wording on that shingle was simply “dick clark productions,” all lower-case. The name remains unchanged today, though Clark retired from production in 2007 and sold the firm.
  • The above bit of seeming modesty was very much in keeping with Clark’s nature; he told Rolling Stone in the late 1980s that the main thing he’d learned from the payola scandal, thirty years before, in which he had quietly divested himself of all his music-industry holdings before the trials began, was this: “Protect your ass at all times.”

Someone asked me who was the definitive American Bandstand act. No question in my mind: Freddy Cannon, who showed up more than 100 times, and who recorded the theme song for Clark’s mid-Sixties offshoot, Where the Action Is. (If I remember correctly, that’s Leon Russell playing that piano lick.) “Action” came out on Warner Bros., though Cannon’s early hits were on Swan, a Philadelphia label which was rumored to have some vague connection to Dick Clark before the aforementioned scandals.

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And this isn’t even a portal

Yesterday I was treated to a rare non-treat: SiteMeter running backwards. Apparently there was one hour yesterday when I had -16 visitors.

Fortunately, I’ve seen SM anomalies before — I’ve been on there for thirteen years, after all — so I knew what was going on. There are two machines involved in every account: the one that records the actual visits, and the one that updates the front-end. The latter had gone south, and somewhere around Macon they discovered the issue and backed it up to Chattanooga or thereabouts. Number of visitors actually lost: apparently zero. However, 116 of them have exactly the same time stamp, which will make the reports look screwy for a while.

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Don’t stop

It’s late 1969, all kinds of noises are pouring through the dorm, and I’m visiting a guy down the hall with a niftier-than-average stereo rig: we’re talking honest-to-Ampex tape reels, zipping along at seven and a half inches per second. (My own music source, a clumsy drop-down autochanger from Monkey Ward, wouldn’t even be allowed in such a place.) “Try this,” he said, and handed me a set of headphones with cups the size of saucers. I strapped in, he hit the transport keys, and Dionne Warwick began singing into the middle of my head, instruments seemingly somewhere off in the void.

This persuaded me that my 45s were inadequate, and when finances permitted, I went out and got both volumes of her Golden Hits, in stereo of course. I cherish them to this day, though admittedly the CDs get played more often. And once in a while, something like this lands in my Recommended queue:

(From earlier this year.)

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Suns Hardened

With Phoenix up a dozen halfway through the first quarter, Thunder fans were readying their OHNONOTAGAIN thought balloons. Oklahoma City then ran off 16 points in a row, and as the Suns fans slid into the shade, James Harden made a run for the record book. He made it, too: 40 points, a career high, on 12-17 shooting (5-8 for three) and 11-11 from the line. Plus 26, if you count stuff like that. The Thunder, though, will simply cite the W: 109-97, making a 3-0 sweep against the Suns.

Not that this was a one-man show: Kevin Durant turned in a double-double with 29 points and 11 rebounds, and Kendrick Perkins pulled down nine boards while keeping Marcin Gortat off-balance. (Gortat outrebounded everyone, with 12, but was held to nine points on 2-13 shooting.) OKC shot a tolerable 45 percent, 6-16 on treys; but take Harden’s line out, and they went 1-8 from distance.

For some reason, Grant Hill drew a DNP-CD tonight: perhaps the Suns are saving him for tomorrow night against the Clippers. Jared Dudley paced Phoenix with 21 points; Steve Nash was good for 12 and five dimes. Robin Lopez led the bench with 11. The Suns, however, left nine points at the line, while OKC was hitting 31 of 34. (Dudley, 5-10, was the worst.)

And there were a lot of technicals, four on the frustrated Suns (including one on coach Alvin Gentry), and one on, um, what a surprise, Perk. For about the sixth time, it’s his 12th. (The Oklahoman’s Darnell Mayberry says he expects this one to be rescinded.)

Two and one on the road trip, with two to go: next comes Sacramento on Friday night. Admiral Ackbar already has his seat reserved.

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Citified public accounting

According to the Bureau of the Census, more than 80 percent of us now live in urban areas, and by “us,” they apparently mean “people who don’t live in Oklahoma,” since more than half of Soonerland’s population is rural by this definition.

Then again, this definition specifies, to qualify for true urbanity, a population of only 2500 — “for statistical inflation purposes,” insists the intrepid Brian J., last seen researching the teeming metropolis of Aurora, Missouri, population 7406. This metropolis, in fact, is teeming even more than Metropolis: the seat of Massac County, Illinois, population 6500 or so, an actual stopping point during World Tour ’05. I blame Lois Lane.

Trivial sidelight: There is a Lois Lane in Metropolis, extending eastbound from North Avenue, opposite the Masonic Cemetery. I told you she was dangerous.

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