Another Question of the Ages answered

It appears that yes, Hello Kitty can has cheezburger:

Hello Kitty bags a snack

(Raked up from the fires of Hello Kitty Hell.)

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You can’t raise the Keynes back up

Not when it’s in defeat like this, one hopes:

If there’s one positive to come out of the Great Recession, it should be the end of Keynesian economics as a serious policy choice. The notion you can grow the economy via North Korea-style command economics should have been long-dead even before [Christina] Romer’s 1992 paper, but Obama’s miserable failure may finally drive a stake through this productivity-sucking, economy-killing meme.

We should be so lucky. To get that way, though, we’ll have to acknowledge this:

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AGGREGATE DEMAND.

Government spending is not demand, it is command spending. To “aggregate” it with private sector demand is like counting your dog’s ringworm as a “pet” on a census form, at least for purposes of stimulating the economy. It does not follow the same rules as private sector spending, as it is always seized and distributed according to law/fiat by bureaucrats indifferent to costs and benefits, not exchanged consensually between self-interested private parties seeking to maximize their utility. That’s why Keynesianism is “unexpectedly” falling flat on its face before our eyes: it relies on a fallacious aggregation.

People who understood Keynes, as distinguished from those who merely embraced Keynes, didn’t find any of this “unexpected” in the least.

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Sublime, yet mighty

Twitter, I have to figure, was a harder sell fifty years ago:

Twitter ad, circa 1960

I have to admit, the chap with the handlebar mustache does appear to be a truly magnificent tool.

(Swiped from here. Also: more of the same.)

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I, dropout

In purely chronological terms, I spent less time in school than anyone I know who’s old enough to vote. Which may or may not have something to do with why I somehow managed never to develop this particular habit:

All a person has to do is go around talking about how he’s an “intellectual” and that he prefers reading to almost anything and drops random “erudite” (which really means “trivial bullshit no one cares about”) bits of wisdom and nine times out of ten he gets treated with a respect he probably didn’t earn. Since when did we become a nation of egghead-worshiping proles like some Third World country where hardly anyone except upper-caste children get to go to school? I’ll tell you when — when we stopped being a WASP-influenced culture and started pushing “multiculturalism” (which is just another word for “all those bad customs that everyone came to the US to get away from”) in everything. WASPs admired smart people, it is true — after all, we produced so many of them — but we also knew that they needed to be kept in their place. Sure, Professor Absentmind, you might have a lot of book-learning, but can you gut a deer or rivet a girder? But now we’ve outsourced anything sweaty to places like Thailand, and now everyone thinks they’re Ashley Wilkes.

With one minor difference: Major Wilkes had said, “If Georgia fights, I go with her.” His heart may have not been in it, but he went. Your contemporary eggheads won’t go anywhere more frightening than Crate and Barrel.

Disclosure: If there are any WASPs on my family tree, they’re at a safe distance from the rest of us.

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Tag, you’re late

Last year, the state quadrupled the penalties for late vehicle registration, bringing in an additional $26 million in revenue.

I’m guessing this guy, commenting on the NewsOK article reporting the “windfall,” contributed to that $26 million:

Hmmm … A fine is nothing more than a tax in disguise. A fee is nothing more than a tax in disguise. So raising the late registration penalty by 75% is OK with the Republican controlled Legislature and Senate. So much for their “lower tax” mantra. And, yes I know they lowered the income tax, but what good did it do when the make up shortfalls by increasing fees (tax) and penalties (tax)? Like hunting and fishing? Like boating or watercraft? Maybe not so much when these licenses go up by 75%. Hope you’re not working class. Funny how the “well to do” in this state pile it on the working class.

I’ll grant him his definitions of “fine” and “fee,” but that’s all he gets. The penalty went from 25 cents a day to $1, which is not 75 percent. And the penalty is imposed only on people who are more than 30 days late on their vehicle registration: if your tag expires at the end of August, you don’t get into the penalty phase until the first of October. I haven’t gone through all the umpteen bazillion lines of text in the state Constitution lately, but I’m pretty sure there’s no enshrined right to be as late as you goddamn please.

Bottom line: To avoid late fees, pay stuff on time. It’s not rocket science; it’s not class warfare.

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It’s dead, Brad

Brad Henry’s scheme to use traffic cameras to catch insurance scofflaws? Not going to happen, at least not this year:

Lawmakers failed to authorize the money collected from uninsured motorist fines to go to the state’s general fund, the principal funding source for state government, state Treasurer Scott Meacham said Tuesday. Without that provision, the money would go to the state’s court systems, he said.

That’s easily changed. This, not so much:

There is no one company that has all the vehicle insurance verification data of all 50 states, Meacham said.

In the meantime, more mundane means of enforcement will be employed:

Effective Nov. 1, law officers will have the authority to tow vehicles of drivers who do not have insurance and are driving with a suspended driver’s license. Law officers also will be required to run insurance verification checks on all traffic stops.

By Thanksgiving, expect a dustup or two as police discover that some folks who paid no attention to the border crossing also paid no money to the insurance company.

(Via Mike McCarville. Previous coverage here and here.)

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The booty’s on duty

In the City of Angels, they say that the true comic sense is passed down from one generation to the next, not by word of mouth, but by contact in a different place altogether.

In which case, Sandra Bullock should be telling some hellacious jokes in the years to come:

Sandra Bullock and Betty White

Well, okay, that’s not exactly how it happened. Maybe it’s just the desire to touch the Queen’s, um, raiment. Either way, it’s one more story added to the Legend of Betty White.

(Bounced this way by Smitty.)

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Spam fail

This is the next step beyond “Your comment is being held for moderation”:

Comment moderation was enabled so that you can’t post comments on the blog. Yes, you specifically. Your comments will not show up. Not now, not ever. No one will ever see your links through this blog. No one will ever click on them from here. No one will see whatever kind of spammish website it is that you want them to see. You may post infrequently or frequently, weekly or daily or annually. You may try to sneak them in by including a vague phrase in English that, if I were very stupid, could be considered a comment on a blog post. Usually, betting I’m stupid wins you money, but not this time. I know it’s wrong and I will need to ask forgiveness for doing so, but I pray you develop carpal tunnel syndrome from all your typing. In the meantime, you may waste a fraction less time than you do now by not attempting to comment anymore. Persistence is futile. You will be ignored.

Some of us could use this as a macro.

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You just can’t rouse good rabble these days

You know, maybe Cloward and Piven weren’t so damn smart after all.

A quote from Donkey Cons, by Lynn Vincent and Robert Stacy McCain, reproduced on McCain’s Web site:

The welfare explosion of the 1960s was the brainchild of a group of Columbia University professors, including Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward and crusading New York anti-poverty lawyer Edward Sparer. They saw welfare as a means to shatter “patterns of servile conformity” among the poor, transforming them into a force for revolution.

Yeah, right. Mikey NTH, in comments:

Boy, did they ever get that wrong! Revolutionaries have to have some self-discipline; putting people on welfare just results in drugged out drunk petty thieves who watch daytime television.

Somewhere there’s a guy with a $500 car with a $1000 stereo system and a bumper sticker that says I’M A DRUGGED OUT DRUNK PETTY THIEF AND I VOTE.

On the other hand, servile conformity is rather easily observed at a lot of levels besides the Permanent Underclass. And you can see some of it on daytime television, assuming you get C-Span.

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W. Thomas Forrester has his doubts

And so will you, perhaps:

One’s attitude about oneself, and the treatment one receives from others, might be affected, in some small but measurable way, by stigmatic or salutary labeling due to one’s name. If names affect attitudes and attitudes affect longevity, then individuals with “positive” initials (e.g., A.C.E., V.I.P.) might live longer than those with “negative” initials (e.g., P.I.G., D.I.E.). Using California death certificates, 1969-1995, we isolated 2287 male decedents with “negative” initials and 1200 with “positive” initials. Males with positive initials live 4.48 years longer (p<0.0001), whereas males with negative initials die 2.80 years younger (p<0.0001) than matched controls. The longevity effects are smaller for females, with an increase of 3.36 years for the positive group (p<0.0001) and no decrease for the negative. Positive initials are associated with shifts away from causes of death with obvious psychological components (such as suicides and accidents), whereas negative initials are associated with shifts toward these causes. However, nearly all disease categories display an increase in longevity for the positive group and a decrease for the negative group. These findings cannot be explained by the effects of death cohort artifacts, gender, race, year of death, socioeconomic status, or parental neglect.

These conclusions were subsequently refudiated by two individuals without middle names.

(Via Francis A. R. Krebs.)

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Charge that up for you, ma’am?

Actually, it appears to be self-serve, but no matter, maybe; the parking garage at Portland, Oregon’s World Trade Center now has its own electric-vehicle quick-charger, which, if you have lithium-ion batteries, can boost you to 80 percent of full charge in 20 to 30 minutes.

This strikes me as a sensible location, since (1) Portland has a solid core of greenish individuals who might be on the waiting list for, say, the Nissan Leaf — there might even be a Tesla or two around town — and (2) a parking garage is a likely location for these things, since presumably you’re going somewhere and might be gone for 20 or 30 minutes. (Then again, there’s the question of whether Oregon drivers can be taught to fuel up their own cars.)

This may not be the first public-charging station in the States — there’s a different-looking sort of device in Vacaville, California — but I figure that if EVs are going to be anything more than the nichiest of niche vehicles, there will need to be charging stations in both metropolises and cowtowns.

Portland’s charger is free, but then you’ve already paid $3.00 to get into the garage.

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Creepy Old Guy mode

Stacy McCain has the video of David Letterman’s apparent first encounter with Zooey Deschanel, and regarding Dave’s tendency to perv on the female guests, he remarks:

The thing is, before the sexual harassment stuff made headlines, I’d always thought of Letterman’s hubba-hubba routine with female guests (e.g., famously, Drew Barrymore) as a sort of ironic sarcasm thing. But the geezerly nudge-wink ceased to be funny after we discoverd that Letterman’s been shagging the office help since … well, forever.

Then again, Drew was up to the task of taking matters into her own hands.

Extra bonus perviance: In McCain’s comment section, the topic briefly turns to, um, me.

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Hey la, hey la, my boyfriend’s Beck

This is actress/fashion designer Marissa Ribisi, whose twin brother (yes!) is actor Giovanni Ribisi.

Marissa Ribisi

And actually, she and Beck were married in 2004; they have two children.

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Proposal for a new heat index

What we have evidently isn’t descriptive enough. From Educated & Poor:

Current conditions in Small Town, Georgia, as of 11:00am (and I quote): Sunny, 85°. Humidity: 80%. Feels like: 102°. Oppressive humidity.

Well, “oppressive” is a nice try, but I don’t think it’s a strong enough adjective. Maybe they should reword it: Feels like: 102°. Humidity: Saddam Hussein.

As LeeAnn might say, “hotter than Satan’s nutsack.” And really, it fits into the scheme, especially if you saw that South Park movie.

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For all you overachievers out there

Joan of Argghh! comes up with the definitive Not-Even-Biased Culturally-Sensitive Standardized-Test Question:

“Which macrame knot is best used in an all-natural hemp 3-d wall sculpture that seeks to depict the glories of Socialism and the privilege of serving the State while underscoring the despair of false meritocracies that discriminate against child pornographers and fail to promote a sense of universal acceptance for any and all life decisions?”

I love that. “Glories of Socialism.” Knot.

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Eventually Hartless

Last week, Mary Hart, a fixture at Entertainment Tonight, announced that she’d be retiring from the series after one more season, about the same time word got out that she’d be taking a 50-percent pay cut, what with declining show revenues and all. (Which should surprise no one: these days just about everything on television is either ET or CSI: Anywhere.) Around here, some of us tend to think of her as the Local Girl Who Made Good, her South Dakota origins notwithstanding, since the major item on her CV when she arrived in Hollywood was a three-year stint as Danny Williams’ sidekick on Dannysday, a local talk show on KTVY (previously WKY-TV, now KFOR-TV).

Mary Hart from here downI bring this up because Hart’s retirement stories seem to have rekindled an interest in an early 1980s legend: her legs, pretty much constantly on display on the ET set, were allegedly insured for $2 million. As it happens, manager Jay Bernstein (a Local Boy Who Made Good; he was born here) took out the policy for $1 million for each leg. This particular scheme dates back at least as far as cross-eyed comedian Ben Turpin, who stood to collect $25,000 from Lloyd’s of London if his eyes ever uncrossed.

Hart’s legs, however, were famously not uncrossed. The photo here is from the cover of the first issue of Egg, a hipster magazine created by Malcolm Forbes in 1990 after he failed to acquire Interview from the estate of Andy Warhol. The cover story was in fact titled “On Golden Calves: Whose legs are worth $2 million?” Egg didn’t last too long, though one of its features — Jim Mullen’s “Hot Sheet” — moved over to Entertainment Weekly, where it survived until 2006.

The actual Egg article contained, among other things, instructions on how you, too, can sit like that, and a lament from co-host John Tesh, who at six-foot-six was required to sit practically on the floor to balance out both sides of the anchor desk and provide adequate, um, viewing area for Hart’s gams. In 2000, an otherwise-unknown blogger swiped the “golden calves” line for a title.

And I may as well admit this as well: I always preferred Dixie Whatley, who had preceded Hart on ET and was last seen opposite Rex Reed on the post-Siskel and Ebert version of At the Movies. Today, she’s a sculptor of renown.

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Strange search-engine queries (236)

Another week, another batch of “You’re looking for what?” from the logs of this very site, a little something we do when we’re not hobnobbing with three dozen of our closest friends on the Spanish coast.

poem girl gruntled ane ept:  Actually, it’s here, and it’s downright feckful.

free enema girl shit spray tubes:  Are you kidding me? People are willing to pay for such things.

you broke my heart into 8 bits:  Actually, seven; the eighth is strictly for parity.

sweetly and softly you come to me:  Is this before or after I break your heart?

what do you rebuild when you rebuild a cd4e:  If you have to ask, you have no business screwing around inside a transmission.

service transmission what does it mean:  Same thing goes for you, Chuckie.

how many cylinder are in the 2001 626 DOHC?  Four, unless there’s six. Did it occur to you to pop open the goddamn engine compartment?

Electronic sighs Ordinances:  And to think we used to get by with just three laws of robotics.

can you be hypnotised to like wearing pantyhose?  On this 100-degree August day, it requires at the very least a substantial cash bribe.

hipsters oklahoma city:  On this 100-degree August day, it requires at the very least an Edna’s Lunchbox.

“clothing optional neighborhood”:  On this 100-degree August day … oh, never mind.

what is intellectual inflexibility:  Doing the same shtick every week for several years.

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It’s 50 calories just to look at it

I am not at all prepared for this: the Cherpumple, which is a three-layer cake (yellow, white and spice), each layer of which contains a pie (cherry, pumpkin and apple, hence the name).

There’s a recipe, and there’s a preparation video. Any similarity to the turducken is not even slightly coincidental.

(Via Pop Culture Junk Mail.)

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Hardly any static at all

Michael Bates spotted this, and I couldn’t pass it by: the Radio Annual and Television Yearbook for 1949, part of the extensive collection at AmericanRadioHistory.com. This one annual is more than 1200 pages. Just having one around is pretty amazing to me, but proprietor David Gleason has all but a handful of them, from 1938 until the Annual was discontinued in the mid-1960s.

Back then, radio was AM: FM existed, but it was relegated to the back pages, and stations got only one line worth of data. Not that this was a problem, really, since there were few FM stations — Oklahoma had twelve in 1949 — and they tended to be owned by operators of AM stations, who were listed in the front of the book anyway. Of those twelve, four were in Oklahoma City, two in Muskogee and in Tulsa, one each in Ardmore, Durant, Enid and Stillwater. What strikes me as slightly weird is that so many of the frequencies have been changed over the years: ignoring call-letter changes, which are trivial by comparison, half of those twelve frequencies have been moved elsewhere in the last 61 years. I’m not sure what this means. My first exposure to FM was in Charleston, South Carolina, which had two FM stations in 1949; by the time I left in 1969, those two were still there, unchanged except for format, and a third had been added. I checked two other places I had lived, but apparently neither Austin nor Corpus Christi had FM service in 1949. (Nor was this particularly odd; North Dakota had exactly one FM station at the time, and South Dakota didn’t have any.)

The AMs didn’t move so much, except for studio locations. KTOK was still on 1400 KHz with 250 watts in 1949, though they had a construction permit to move to 1000 and go to 5000 watts day/1000 watts night. The Chicago Federation of Labor had had a 50,000-watt blowtorch on 1000 for twenty-odd years by then, so KTOK went to a directional array to avoid interference with WCFL. I suspect it’s the same wacky pattern they use today. Most Oklahoma AMs were either daytimers or operated on 6 am-to-midnight schedules; a few, though, were listed as “Unlimited.” I really wasn’t aware that 24-hour radio existed back then. (Then again, I didn’t exist back then.)

A few names I remembered, mostly in management: Matthew Bonebrake at KOCY, Frank J. Lynch at KBYE (and later at KFJL-FM), John T. Griffin of KOMA and Tulsa’s KTUL. And there was Wakefield Holley, chief announcer at WKY, who was still around in the Seventies doing TV spots.

Anent something related, the Old Grouch thinks we may regret getting away from the system we had:

I fear that someday we may get a surprise, and discover that high-power Ancient Modulation still has a place in national security. Question is, between the clueless FCC and the equally clueless consolidators, will it still be there?

Sad recent experience when driving past Lexington, Kentucky one evening: Tuned the car radio to 770, and heard not WABC, but some daytimer religious dropin.

If I ruled the world, we’d get rid of NRSC-2 (so AM could start sounding good again) and bump our blowtorches to 500KW.

Not going to happen. If anything, the FCC will probably commandeer this spectrum space and sell it off, and God knows what damnfool use will be made of the proceeds.

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Some other time

I’ve been known to gripe about anachronisms in period pieces, which are probably impossible to avoid completely but which still constitute highly-pickable nits.

Bill Buster caught one in a Mad Men rerun:

As regular fans know, this is a show that prides itself on getting everything about the period correct (1964 in this case). Anachronisms are a big no-no. So I was understandably amazed that the second 45rpm selected was an ERIC reissue by the Marcels. Right record for this period (it’s from 1961), but WRONG LABEL (the original was gold Colpix). I guess the set designer isn’t old enough to know that Eric is a reissue label, although all the other 45s shown in this short scene are correct. For those who also know their record sleeves, you can spot an anachronistic RCA 45rpm sleeve from the 70s, but that’s getting very picky.

Since Bill Buster owns Eric Records, I’m pretty sure he knows what he’s talking about.

This is probably not in the same league as say, Joe Biden reminding us that “when this country entered the Great Depression, our president, Franklin Roosevelt, went on television and spoke of how to get this country out of it,” but one expects a higher standard from real fiction. And if you haven’t heard the Marcels lately, here’s their take on “Blue Moon.”

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