A Weiner of one’s own

The Saturday “ScissorTales” editorial from the Oklahoman contained this little jewel:

Democratic primaries in blue states rarely warrant local comment, but New York City voters’ praiseworthy rejection of former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner and former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer is an exception. Both scandal-plagued officials insisted they were new men worthy of new positions of power: Weiner (sexting) wanted to be New York City mayor; Spitzer (prostitutes) wanted to be Gotham comptroller. Weiner received just 5 percent of the vote; Spitzer lost narrowly. Oklahoma politicians with similarly indecent scandals have had the decency to disappear. In 2004, a state lawmaker was accused of drunkenly groping a woman (he was eventually convicted). He didn’t run for re-election. His legislative colleagues responded by proposing a constitutional amendment that prohibited paying incarcerated legislators. Voters approved it. If you’re like most Oklahomans, you can’t recall that lawmaker’s name today. Hopefully, New York voters can soon say the same thing about Weiner and Spitzer.

Not being like most Oklahomans, I can recall the guy’s name. (And for the record, he was a Republican, in case you’re an avid Spot the Party player.)

Oh, and not only did he not run for re-election, but he was sued by his victim:

Former state Rep. Mike O’Neal was sued … by a woman he groped at an Oklahoma City hotel.

The civil lawsuit was filed in Oklahoma County District Court by Ida Mae Chaplin of Tulsa. The lawsuit alleges O’Neal sexually assaulted Chaplin by making an inappropriate comment and also caused her to injure her leg when she fell trying to evade him.

Chaplin is seeking more than $100,000 in actual damages and an additional $100,000 in punitive damages.

They eventually settled. Over on the criminal side of things, O’Neal had plea-bargained himself down to a misdemeanor charge of outraging public decency; he drew five years’ probation.

Oh, and that constitutional amendment? It passed by nearly 8 to 1.

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An almost-new Leaf

You will now be able to get Certified Pre-Owned Nissan Leafs (Leaves?), assuming some are actually traded in:

Beginning in September, Certified Pre-Owned Nissan LEAF vehicles will be backed by the company to provide years of quality and performance at a great value.

In addition to the existing 8-year/100,000 mile battery warranty coverage protecting against defects in materials and workmanship, and 5 year/60,000 mile coverage for battery capacity loss below 9 bars of capacity as shown by the vehicle’s battery capacity level gauge, Nissan will extend the EV system and powertrain warranty coverage to 7 years or 100,000 miles.

All warranties, of course, are Whichever Comes First.

The battery gauge has 12 bars, but this does not necessarily mean that capacity eventually drops to 75 percent; if I’ve learned nothing else as the owner of a Nissan-built vehicle, it’s that the gauge calibrations, other than speedo/tach, are more arbitrary than linear.

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A kinder, gentler SUV

Of course, it comes from Honda:

I have a Acura MDX 2012 and while I was Driving it my dog pushed it out of drive and it went into Nurture

Mandatory dog seats are just a couple of sessions of Congress away.

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Strange search-engine queries (398)

Just another manic Monday, and just another panic-filled list of actual search strings from the past week or so. Pour your coffee first. This will wait.

Will a epson artitian 800 print us curency:  Not legally, no. And if you spell like that, they’ll laugh you all the way to the Big House.

heartless society:  Not here. Now if you were looking for a brainless society, all you need is a television and a few hours to kill.

lexus rx late led head light drl previous period of pre-diversion:  This must be that post-modern lamp display I keep hearing about.

How long should I wait to purchase 24 hr sudafed if I have reached my monthly limit in tulsa oklahoma:  Until the first of the month. Duh.

We are not exposed to proper music:  Have you tried 104.5 KRXO?

can’t receive 104.5 krxo:  You must be from way out of town — like, say, Harrah.

my 2001 contour switches gears on its.own at wrong speeds:  Would you rather it didn’t switch gears at all?

word salad dressing:  The chef recommends a light but satisfying vignette.

your younger brother just started using computers. he is trying to create a directory in windows 7 named lpt1 but windows does not allow him to. this:  is obviously not my younger brother, who would have shot the machine for its insolence.

Search kgb’s extensive database of human-researched answers sex aides like viagra etc:  Call NSA. By now they’ve copied every database on the planet.

what is hegemonic distortion:  If you have to ask, you must be one of the oppressors.

pantyhoseonyoutube:  Not a good idea. The picture’s blurry enough already.

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The cycles come around

You’re never going to get everyone in this town onto bicycles, but this is a heartening sight just the same:

It doesn’t hurt that it’s actually mid-September, which means the heat usually is not enough to blowtorch the tops of your arms. (I said “usually.”)

And it proves that the nascent bike-share service begun in the spring of ’12 has had a measure of staying power, despite an abundance of naysayers.

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My brane hurts

If you, like me, have long suspected that the “Universe” is merely one of several, or of several billion, this won’t change your mind in the least:

The standard Big Bang model tells us that the Universe exploded out of an infinitely dense point, or singularity. But nobody knows what would have triggered this outburst: the known laws of physics cannot tell us what happened at that moment.

“For all physicists know, dragons could have come flying out of the singularity,” says Niayesh Afshordi, an astrophysicist at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, [Ontario].

A possible explanation, based on a 2000 model:

In that model, our three-dimensional (3D) Universe is a membrane, or brane, that floats through a “bulk universe” that has four spatial dimensions.

Afshordi’s team realized that if the bulk universe contained its own four-dimensional (4D) stars, some of them could collapse, forming 4D black holes in the same way that massive stars in our Universe do: they explode as supernovae, violently ejecting their outer layers, while their inner layers collapse into a black hole.

In our Universe, a black hole is bounded by a spherical surface called an event horizon. Whereas in ordinary three-dimensional space it takes a two-dimensional object (a surface) to create a boundary inside a black hole, in the bulk universe the event horizon of a 4D black hole would be a 3D object — a shape called a hypersphere. When Afshordi’s team modelled the death of a 4D star, they found that the ejected material would form a 3D brane surrounding that 3D event horizon, and slowly expand.

The authors postulate that the 3D Universe we live in might be just such a brane — and that we detect the brane’s growth as cosmic expansion. “Astronomers measured that expansion and extrapolated back that the Universe must have begun with a Big Bang — but that is just a mirage,” says Afshordi.

Besides, you can never find a dragon when you need one.

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So superior

Is she too good for me? Perhaps she thinks she is.

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Piratas de radio

Doc Searls finds something unexpected, or at least unlicensed, on the radio in New York:

I went to RikaFM.com, where a graphic at the top of the page says “‘FCC Part 15 Radio Station’.” Part 15 is what those tiny transmitters for your mobile device have to obey. It’s an FCC rule on interference that limits the range of unlicensed transmissions to a few feet, not a few miles. So clearly this is a claim, not a fact. I’ve listened in the car as well, and the signal is pretty strong.

“A few feet” is putting it mildly: the rule specifies a maximum field strength of 250 microvolts per meter at a distance of 3 meters, down in the microwatt range. My wireless router has more coverage than that. Then again, it doesn’t operate on the FM band.

And they’re streaming live, albeit in mono, on their Web site. It’s a bit more interesting than the canned regional-Mexican stuff we get down here on the legit Spanish-language stations.

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You’ll note it’s not the Y-Trail

Doug DeMuro’s Frankfurt Auto Show recap for TTAC contained the following paragraph:

Nissan revealed the all-new X-Trail, which will be sold stateside as the Rogue. Female drivers rejoiced, while male car shoppers thought to themselves: Am I comfortable enough with my sexuality to like this?

No photo was offered, so I went out hunting, and came up with this rendering courtesy of Australia’s The Motor Report:

2014 Nissan X-Trail

It’s not as bizarre as the Juke, but scarcely anything is as bizarre as the Juke. Still, I continue to maintain that a Real Man™ drives what he damn well pleases. Were I buying in this class, I’d probably rather have a Mazda CX-5, which is similarly devoid of the sort of boy-racer styling cues that DeMuro suggests, possibly tongue-in-cheek, that the lads covet.

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Play or be played

Opening later this month is a film titled Runner, Runner, about which Vanity Fair interviewed female lead Gemma Arterton:

She plays Rebecca Shafran, the right-hand girl of nefarious poker-Web-site owner Ivan Block (played by Ben Affleck), who is forced to contend with Richie Furst (Justin Timberlake), a Princeton student who has lost his tuition money on the site. Embroiled in the billion-dollar online-gambling industry, Rebecca “finds herself trapped and in too deep in a world of crime she doesn’t really enjoy,” Arterton says of her character. “She is the only female in the movie, so I had to make her earthy and give her a lot of substance,” Arterton adds. “I made her a little more female — she was a man’s idea of a woman before I brought some of my ideas to the writers.” As for the plot, it’s when Block takes Furst on as an apprentice, and Furst and Shafran fall in love, that, she says, “it gets messy and complicated.”

We’ve seen that concept before: “a man’s idea of a woman.” Any similarity to an actual woman is a coincidence and not intended.

Then again, I seldom get to see actual women wearing Donna Karan New York in NYC townhomes, so:

Gemma Arterton in repose

Complicated, perhaps, but not the least bit messy.

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A generous hardware review

Testing this new notebook with Windows 8 is busy fashion designer and efficiency expert Rarity.

Well, at least it wasn’t the Worst Possible Thing.

(Plucked from an EqD Nightly Roundup.)

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And not a moment too soon

Respondents to Oklahoma City’s annual survey (you can see it as a PDF, if you’re so inclined) are generally pleased with city services with a couple of notable exceptions: the transit system is inadequate, and the streets are worse.

One of the worst streets, however, is about to become less so:

Look for the work to start in January on rebuilding four miles of May Avenue between NW 36 Street and Britton Road. Roadbed will be reconstructed, wheelchair ramps will go in at 14 intersections, and the street will be resurfaced with asphalt. Drainage will be improved on the west side of May between Summit Place and Britton.

Drainage would first have to exist in something other than Public Works’ imagination for it to be “improved.” I’ve always assumed that this was their way of telling southbound drivers that they’ve just left The Village.

Cost of the project: $3.8 million. That’s $950,000 a mile. And they’ll have to do it again before the decade is out. The Feds — meaning, of course, people from Fairbanks to Fargo to Philadelphia — will put up 80 percent of that.

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That’ll do, pigs

Bill Quick has changed his mind on term limits:

There was a time when I opposed term limits, on the theory that the right to vote guaranteed the application of term limits if constituencies desired to do so. In other words, while term limits might automatically remove “bad” legislators and executives, they might also force the removal of “good” ones against the wishes of their supporters.

I no longer feel this way.

We have created a political and cultural situation — or, rather, the progressive movement, expressed through both of our major parties, has created it — that more or less guarantees the impossibility of removing any legislator at the federal level, no matter how atrocious their record or behavior, by means of the ballot. Only in the smallest and most egregious instances do we ever see malefactors in high office removed by vote, and even when that happens, voting districts have been so gerrymandered that a more or less carbon copy is guaranteed to achieve succession. And in the end nothing ever changes, and the progressive project marches ever onward to greater and greater power, and greater and greater tyranny.

We’ve had term limits for a while here in Soonerland, and while they haven’t been an unalloyed joy — some of the replacement pols have been even more disappointing than their predecessors, and it sometimes seems that the revolving door between lobbyists and legislators is moving faster than ever — I still prefer them to the alternative. At least the replacement pols will be replaced themselves in due time.

Then again, P. J. O’Rourke might have been right all along: “Term limits aren’t enough. We need jail.”

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Take that, fanboys!

A fairly tepid review by Derek Kreindler at The Truth About Cars of Jeep’s new Cherokee drew a call from someone at Allpar.com, perhaps the largest Mopar fan site, to have TTAC barred from future Chrysler press events.

To which Jack Baruth, in his capacity as TTAC Editor-in-Chief pro tempore, replies:

When the administrator of a major Mopar fan site calls for Derek’s voice to be silenced because he doesn’t like the review, what he is in effect saying is this: “I value the sales success of a Chrysler product over the individual experience of Chrysler owners.” He’s siding with the corporation, not the driver. I suppose that’s fine for some people. It doesn’t wash here. The English car magazines used to whitewash the failings of cars like the Rover Metro and Jaguar XJ6. Today the companies that made those products are in non-British hands. Because you cannot lie and whitewash your way to success in the automotive business. In the long run, the customer will find out. Every cheat, every slip, every cut corner, will eventually show. You cannot wallpaper a bad product forever. Eventually, the truth will come out and the manufacturers will fail. If you love Chrysler, then you’d better hope that they make a good car. That’s all that can save them.

TTAC will continue to give positive reviews of Chrysler products — when the product is good. When that is not the case, we will continue to alert our readers to problems. We do not apologize for that, we will not walk that back, we will not change. If that means that we are no longer invited to evaluate Chrysler products, we will rent Chrysler products. If that means that we don’t get to party with the cool kids, we can live with that.

The Allpar poster, I am told, is not actually an admin on the forum.

And lest anyone think Kreindler is all ate up with Mopar hate, this is the end of that review:

The current Grand Cherokee is my favorite SUV at any price. All trim levels, from the lowliest Laredo to the insane SRT, shine with excellence. I wish I could say the same for its baby brother.

First few Google hits for “TTAC hates”: domestics generally, the Ford Focus dual-clutch automatic, the XAP Zebra (damn!), Lexus, the Ford Fusion, the Volkswagen Eos, VW TDI models generally — and we’re still on the first page. Evidently nobody’s happy.

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Maybe a little truth

But this time, it’s mostly dare, and as you’d expect, some of those dares are marginally disgusting, albeit still funny.

SDK, incidentally, stands for Settle Down Kids. I think.

I saw the original Little Brother Fake Tweet, although I didn’t recognize it as such. (And really, this one would have seemed more likely, but it happened after the fact.)

Also this week, since RB is back in school: essential school supplies.

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Quote of the week

Voyager 1 has left the solar system, and as major achievements go, this one has its drawbacks:

Anyone else bothered by the fact that we sent a thing into space that contains a map to its origin planet and an open invitation?

“Hi, we’re a barely space-faring civilization that you could probably conquer and subjugate with your equivalent of a Boy Scout troop! Here’s a map to our home planet. Stop by anytime!”

Oh, they will.

Read the rest of this entry »

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