Just in case you missed this little interchange:
Marcel: “I thought the Eyjafjallajokull glacier was in Kyrgyzstan. The -jokull ending (pronounced kuh-duhl) should have tipped me off.”
Me: “The trouble with that linguistic analysis is that -jokull contains two vowels out of six letters. Does anything in Kyrgyzstan have that many vowels to spare?”
Marcel: “Stalin took the Kyrgyz’ vowels and gave them to Nikolai Yezhov. After Yezhov vanished, nobody could find the vowels. Kyrgyzstan is seeking reparations for the stolen vowels from the US, but Republican filibustering has prevented President Obama from acting. Until the American people send the Republicans packing, the people of Kyrgyzstan have to get by the best they can. The Bush administration’s lack of sympathy for the legitimate grievances of the Kyrgyz people left the problem festering for years. Now the burden falls to overworked reporters to sort out words like ‘Eyjafjallajokull’.”
I blame Hasbro, Inc., publisher of Scrabble®.
If you’ve noticed the tendency for machinery to quit acting up the moment you call for service, you need to take heed: just dialing the 800 number is not enough. You must actually make arrangements for a visit by a technician for the offending device to suddenly clean up its act.
Once, they say, is a fluke; twice is a coincidence. The third time, it’s a pattern, dammit.
Chrysler is considering bringing a Fiat-engineered subcompact sedan from Serbia to North America under the Chrysler brand. The Chrysler brand product plan, unveiled in November, called for a Fiat-derived subcompact sedan to be imported in 2013. The vehicle would be built in Kragujevac, Serbia, where Serbian automaker Zastava Automobili once made the Yugo.
And by “once,” they mean “until November 2008,” when Fiat, now 70-percent owner of Zastava, finally killed it off. Last I heard, the only car being built in Yugoville was the Fiat Punto Classic, a 2003 design elsewhere superseded by the current Grande Punto, which I might have thought was a better bet for the States.
Still, if Fiat has any intention of taking Chrysler upmarket, this might backfire as badly as an original 1980s Yugo.
A long-suppressed report blows the lid off the carnal cornucopia that is the American library:
A 1992 survey of 5,000 U.S. librarians, long withheld by a professional journal, found one in five respondents had engaged in sexual trysts among the stacks.
Will Manley, who said the New York-based Wilson Library Bulletin withheld the results of his survey in 1992, published results recently on his Web site indicating 51 percent of librarians in the early 90s were willing to pose nude for money and 61 percent of respondents admitting to renting an X-rated film, the New York Daily News reported Monday.
In fact, the WLB, says Manley, fired him, and while they printed the survey questions, they never got around to publishing the answers, which probably had nothing to do with the folding of the WLB itself in 1995.
Marian Paroo was not available for comment.
Okay, what we have here is an industrial(ish) noise-reduction headset — with AM/FM radio and an MP3
player jack built in. Huh?
Is this worth fifty bucks? You make the call.
Somewhere on staff there’s a friend
’Cause the Monday op-ed
Points to something I said
And I wonder when all this will end.
Otherwise known as “No, that’s their issue”:
We have a color laser printer set up to be shared on our home LAN. When I upgraded Bugbox to Win7, the driver for the shared printer went away because of the roundabout way I had to go to get there from XP.
So today I’m trying to re-establish the connection so I can send print jobs to the shared printer, but there’s a problem. The drivers on the disc that came with the printer don’t recognize Windows 7. When I go to the Hewlett-Packard website for an up-to-date printer [driver], they tell me the driver is included in Windows 7.
But Windows can’t find it, and when I try to get it from Microsoft they tell me I need to get it from HP.
Hmmm. Being the temporizing soul I am, I’d go look for a Vista driver and see if that works.
Suggestions are of course welcomed. (No, he’s not going to buy a Mac.)
At the drop of a hat, your friendly neighborhood Government Über Alles type will happily explain to you that one advantage of putting the bureaucracy in charge of things is that there are no possible conflicts of interest: Washington’s motives are pure, and its methods are unassailable.
In a testy exchange with senators Friday, the former head of the Office of Thrift Supervision denied that his agency fostered a cozy relationship with Washington Mutual that tempered oversight of the Seattle thrift and ultimately resulted in the largest bank failure in U.S. history.
A year-long Senate probe presented at a hearing Friday concluded that the OTS had identified a pattern of errors, poor risk management and even fraud at Washington Mutual. Yet it took no action to stop the bank from dumping toxic mortgages into the financial system because the bank was a huge moneymaker that paid fees amounting to 15 percent of the agency’s budget, the panel said.
“But these were Federal regulators!” he spews. “This can’t possibly happen!”
We can generate new regulations designed to prevent a repeat of the WaMu collapse, but those new regulations — like the old regulations — will only be as good as the officials who enforce them. New regulations will inspire new evasion techniques, equally risky new ventures will attract investors with an appetite for lucrative risks, and the next “bubble” boom-and-bust will occur in some as-yet-unsuspected market sector.
Regulation cannot eliminate all risks, and unbounded faith in financial regulation creates a false sense of security — “Hey, what can go wrong? They’ve got federal regulators on the job!” — which actually makes things worse.
The pocketbook’s first line of defense is, indeed must be, the owner of that pocketbook. Washington has about the same chance of eliminating investment risk as it does of eliminating atmospheric carbon dioxide. Not that they’re at all averse to throwing money down those particular ratholes, or any of a thousand others. Me, I just try to avoid dropping a hat.
Say it again: Murrah.
It’s a mere slip of a word, a syllable and a half, barely enough for a murmur.
And on an April morning in 1995, its innocuousness was forever laced with toxins: number-two diesel fuel, ammonium nitrate, shrapnel, the very smell of death.
It is still not entirely certain whether the Oklahoma City bombing was a purely domestic operation, or if there might have been a foreign component to the conspiracy. But either way, the results were the same, and a hundred sixty-eight empty chairs stand downtown to give mute testimony to those results.
Spring in Oklahoma often brings us disasters. On this very date in 1970, the Chikaskia River, after three days of rain, rose three to six feet from its banks and washed away much of the town of Jefferson. In May 1999, tornadoes pushing the limits of the Fujita scale rolled through the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. The response is always the same: we take care of business, we mourn, we clean up, and we go on, because — well, because that’s what we do.
I don’t know if this is the stuff of which movies are made, but inevitably someone will try, and chances are there will be a title like Terror in the Heartland attached to it, a title that might attract attention on the bottom shelf at Blockbuster but which ultimately says nothing at all. Besides, if you were here on the 19th of April, 1995, as I was, as Jan was, you already have a name for it.
Now playing in the hearts and minds of a community that will always remember, and will always go on.
Because that’s what we do.
What better way to start a workweek than with a fistful of excerpts from this site’s actual logs? It’s a swell way to kill a few minutes if, for instance, you’ve been sitting in a European airport for several days waiting for the volcanic ash to clear.
Women wearing seamed pantyhose and farting: I doubt that the presence of the seam makes any difference, but whatever inflates your garments.
dostoevsky handwriting font: You’ll probably have to find the original manuscript of A Writer’s Diary. Good luck with that.
perhaps contraption sludge and tripe: Just what the world have been waiting for: the Rube Goldberg diet.
cardiac simolea elephant: Nice Googlewhack, anyway.
iowa crossdressers: Always tasteful, but perhaps a tad corny.
Use yeah in a Sentence: ”I hereby sentence you to twenty years. Yeah.”
meredith vieira sexy legs in heels steping on men: This explains more about Matt Lauer than I wanted to know.
did montgomery wards sell enema like sears: With rivals like these, who needs enemas?
“clam” “gonad”: Careful, they might be bivalves.
why so many transmission replacements: Because so few transmission fluid replacements.
Morgan Freeberg extends the classic wrestling-with-a-pig metaphor down the food chain a bit, all the way to mollusks, and this bit of derision is included:
The approval of gastropods like these, is the payoff for gerbil-faced men who pretend to like women who despise them? Membership in their little clique, is the payoff for pretending Queen Latifah is just as sexy as Beyonce?
Maybe it’s just me, but if I were going to come up with a comparison like that, I’d have gone to the trouble of coming up with someone truly hideous, or at least certifiably unattractive, for the role of the Anti-Beyoncé. Queen Latifah, I submit, ain’t it:
And you know, it’s never bothered me to find out that someone was a bivalve.
Well, if anyone was counting on the Lakers being as lackadaisical in the playoffs as they were in the last couple of weeks of the regular season, they counted wrong: while they didn’t come up with a whole lot of offense, they did a decent job of keeping focused and keeping the Thunder out of the lane, posting an 87-79 win to go up 1-0 in the best-of-seven series.
I have to figure that the game plan was to make life miserable for Kevin Durant and let everything else fall where it may, and it appears the Phil Jackson hex may have worked: Durant managed 24 points, but it took him 24 shots and nine free throws to collect them. Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook glided to 23 points on 10-16 shooting. The Thunder shot only 40.3 percent, but then the Lakers hit only 41 percent.
L.A. never trailed in this one, so there really wasn’t much opportunity for Kobe Bryant to fire off his patented game-changing shot; still, he did bag 21 points to lead the Lakers, with double-doubles from Pau Gasol and the apparently-healed Andrew Bynum to seal the deal. And the Lakers weren’t afraid to get physical: they accumulated 27 fouls (six by Lamar Odom in a mere 26 minutes), and that’s just the ones that got called.
Game 2 is Tuesday night; the series moves to Oklahoma City on Thursday. If it’s going to come back to L.A. for Game 5, the Thunder are going to have to give off more Sultans of Swat vibe; this deer-in-headlights stuff isn’t going to work.
I arrived on OKC’s Park Avenue yesterday and parked my large automobile in a space with one of those newfangled computerized meters. Payment options: the usual coins of the realm, Visa/MasterCard, or cell phone. Option 1 was ruled out, as I was out of actual coins. But Option 3 looked interesting: the little LCD screen gave an 888 number, which I duly dialed. What I got didn’t seem to have anything to do with parking, so I wound up resorting to Option 2 with my debit card. ($1 for one hour.)
I’m sure that these gizmos exist elsewhere on the planet, so I’m asking: how is this terminal supposed to work with a phone? Were I having a frustrating day, I’d have wanted to rip out the little electrobox and bury it in the water at the bottom of the ocean.
The damned thing was big enough to fill an entire building, but we rarely ventured there. It was said that a mysterious squad of Geek-Acolytes lived in the Computer Center, where virgins (thin on the ground in those heady days) would be sacrificed, on occasion, to the Calculational Gods. And so we would go to Fine Hall, where there was a convenient Hollerith card-reading station and a printer. You’d stick your deck of punch-cards in the reader, then wait for your job to run. As soon as the printer (a humongous affair the size of a Mini Cooper) would poop out your output, you would collect it, curse at the (inevitable) belatedly-discovered errors, then start all over again with a corrected card deck.
By the time I got to work on one of these Wee Beasties, the System/370 had taken over; there were fewer punch cards to be mangled (though I shredded a few in my days at the punch), and we had printers both subcompact and Monster Truck-ish — although even the small printers rivaled a gas range for size, if not for simplicity.
In the very late 1980s, I found myself working on midranges, and that’s where I’ve stayed. And I don’t really miss the mainframes, the humongous reels of tape that held a meager 100 mb, or the boa constrictors they used for power cords. But damn, back then the Geek-Acolyte was someone to be feared, and much to my dismay, I’ve never been able to engender a whole lot of fear.
Every year, the Central Oklahoma chapter of the American Institute of Architects celebrates Architecture Week, and it finishes off with a tour through a number of Notable Structures, one of the events I do my darnedest not to miss, and the more-or-less constant drizzle today managed not to cast a pallor over the proceedings. Mostly. The starting point was a tour stop last year in its larval stage, but now it’s a highly-contemporary butterfly.
1) 3940 East Wilshire Boulevard
What I said last year: “Worth Ross and Jim Roth are having their dream home built on the city’s heavily-forested northeast side, in an elevated location that provides for both excellent drainage (just in case) and a formidable view of the city. Roth, who served on the state Corporation Commission, called for maximum green wherever possible, and he got it: the walls are Insulating Concrete Forms — R-50, they estimated — the countertops are recycled glass, and the heating and air-conditioning are geothermal. The location allows for only minimal landscaping, which is just fine: what’s already there is lovely enough.”
Well, the bathroom countertops, anyway. The kitchen surfaces are done up in recycled concrete in an I Can’t Believe It’s Not Marble mode, and they’re impressive. And yes, so is the view from the far side of the pool.
2) 4224 North Lincoln Boulevard
The nonprofit Infant Crisis Services is a last resort for families with very young children “until they are back on their feet or until they become qualified for government programs.” The new facility was made possible by a grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. It’s lovely, but mostly it’s functional, and I admit I spent most of my time in the stockroom, surrounded by racks of clothing and diapers and formula and whatnot, where it dawned on me that I’d actually contributed to ICS before, in response to an emergency social-media campaign. (Imagine that.)
3) 1228 Northwest 36th Street
A 1916 modified-Craftsman house updated for the 21st century, this is the home of architect Kenneth Fitzsimmons. Perhaps surprisingly, little reconfiguration was required, though the kitchen was reoriented and the passage to the dining room was enlarged; to the maximum extent possible, the original woodwork and masonry has been preserved, so that there’s still a 100-year-old feel to the place, despite the presence of modern-day amenities. There’s a second building on the back of the lot, which is being converted into a work room/studio.
4) 1444 Northwest 28th Street
Originally built in 1911, this was a church for most of its existence, most recently the Temple of Faith; it’s now the home of United Way of Central Oklahoma, which has kept most of the exterior intact while dividing the sanctuary into office space and community rooms. Nothing fancy, but everything in its place, and a quiet place at that. Then again, you’d expect a moment of silence from a church, right?
6) 825 Northwest 7th Street
Last time I was here was mid-November, apparently before the house, designed by Brian Fitzsimmons, had been dubbed the Oklahoma Case Study Home, after the famed series of Case Study Houses built mostly in the Los Angeles area after World War II. “Modernism for the masses” was the idea, and this house, which scowls down over the rest of 7th — the lot slopes 16 feet back to front — is a high point (sorry) in the reclamation of this part of town. Since I took this shot last fall, progress has been made, and the channel that runs alongside that endless staircase is now packed with stones.
7) 125 Park Avenue #200
I remember that I was somewhat skeptical when this building opened as office condominiums a few years back; how many people will want to buy into a smallish (for downtown, anyway) five-story tower? Under the general heading of “Shows you how much I know” you’ll find Visual Image Advertising, which took two floors. Suite 200 actually is the Account Service area; the Creative Level is upstairs in 300, and it’s described as “a place of media consulting magic.” At the very least, it kicks the standard cubicle farm’s mass-produced behind.
You may have noticed the absence of 5), which was the center of the Wayne Coyne/Flaming Lips compound in the Classen-Ten-Penn area, but as Trini noted after about fifteen minutes of standing in the rain, the line just seemed to be getting longer, so with the expectation that Coyne’s not going anywhere and there’ll be another time eventually, we moved on to the next stop.
The Portland Mercury, a weekly culture/entertainment/whatever paper, asked its readers to come up with a cover design, and what they wanted, apparently, was Betty White in a metal bikini wielding a flaming chainsaw while riding John Ritter.
You can’t argue with a mandate like that, so Andrew Zubko delivered:
Oh, in case you hadn’t heard, there’s a Census going on:
Is it just me or does anybody else seem something … unseemly in the let’s-all-divvy-up-the-loot theme to the Census’s TV ads urging compliance? Not one I’ve seen yet mentions the actual, constitutional reason for the Census — to apportion representatives to Congress. Instead, it’s all about “one for you, two for me” with stolen goods.
Since when does the government pretend to be concerned with the Constitution?
Still, human nature will out:
My only reason for hope for the American people is that large numbers of us have always been greedy parasites. That never changes. Which makes me think the patriotic individualists can prevail once more.
Standing in the way of this dénouement is the prevailing delusion that greedy parasites among the have-nots are somehow morally superior to greedy parasites among the haves. The latter, at least, occasionally create jobs.
A 20-year-old Worcestershire woman has been banned from every drinking establishment in England (and Wales).
After a series of booze-connected offenses, Laura Hall was served a Drinking Banning Order, which demands that she stay off the stuff and complete a government-approved alcohol-abuse course. A £2500 fine awaits should she backslide.
This is the interesting aspect, though:
Since their introduction in September, police and local authorities can ask magistrates to impose the orders on anyone responsible for alcohol-fuelled crime or anti- social behaviour to stop them drinking or entering licensed premises.
They cannot be issued to anyone with mental health problems or alcoholics.
Well, of course not. That would be judgmental.