Temporary to permanent

Though the “permanent” you might not actually want:

Satanic ritual advertised on Craigslist

It is a measure of my own level of dementia, I suppose, that my first thought was “Migod, and people want to buy cars off this site?”

(Via Jeff Thompson on Facebook.)

Comments (5)

It’s just grass

I was delighted to see a fifth of an inch of rain two days after the first lawn treatment of the season — I bought a package of eight — and said so; and then by the sheerest of coincidences, Dan B, a regular in these parts, told this story on Facebook:

The home was bought from an older couple, and he was METICULOUS about his lawn, including yelling at kids to get off of it. He always had the best lawn in the neighborhood, and he made sure EVERYONE knew he worked hard for that perfect lawn.

The older couple sells the house to a family with a 5 year old boy, who has many of the toys typical to a suburban/exurban 21st-Century Lonely Only, including a battery-powered mini-truck that destroyed the old man’s 3 DECADES of effort in less than 6 months.

A hit, a palpable hit.

That said, I note for the record that I have never once told a kid to get off this lawn, not even on the day when several of them were lined up to run through the sprinkler.

And I do have one rule: never have the best lawn — or the worst lawn — on the block. I do believe I have been at least somewhat successful.

Comments (1)

Strange search-engine queries (371)

What would Monday be without these semi-charming little excursions into deepest Web effluvia? (Answer: Still Monday. Can’t live with ’em, can’t sleep through ’em.)

Servicing Big Daddy torrent:  I’m willing to bet this is not included in the service contract.

“replaced german as the language of science”:  “What is jargon?”

Stranded: I’ve Come from a Plane That Crashed on the Mountains:  Look at it this way: you had just enough fuel to make it to the crash site.

bikini hypnosis:  “Hey, my mesmerize are up here.”

happier endings to romeo and juliet:  Almost anything would have been happier than “both of them die,” don’t you think?

the tale of fialuridine:  Remember, you can’t spell “fialuridine” without “lurid.”

scam “windows technical support”:  $400 to reinstall Win98SE? Coming right up.

what the fuck is wrong with itunes skipping songs win7 itunes 10.7  It’s the deadly combination of iTunes and Win7. (Otherwise known as “Buy a Mac and shuddup.”)

sorry disease:  I’ve had a few of those. “I wish to hell I could get rid of this sorry disease once and for all.”

on cklw mike & lisa played a guy singing in a low voice. what did he swallow as a kd:  Maybe he had some sorry disease.

did mayor mick cornett say epic fail in 2013 state of the city address?  If he did, it was off the cuff: it’s not in the transcript.

what unexpected pop culture word did mick cornett use in the state of the city address:  Well, it certainly wasn’t “epic fail.”

Comments off

I hate to see him go

Francis W. Porretto, who’s been a forceful voice for freedom and against stupidity for many years, has withdrawn from the scene:

I’ve been harassed, slandered, insulted, derided, and demeaned. I’ve had my intelligence, my erudition, my sincerity, my faith, my morals, and my ethics questioned by persons who haven’t even had enough courage to use their right names. A typical day brings me dozens, sometimes hundreds, of obscene, insulting, juvenile emails. Even flushing them out of my computer leaves me feeling soiled. And that’s not the worst of it. Both I and my wife have been threatened, and more than once at that.

So I’m calling it quits. I’m an old man, and not a well one. I’d like some peace for the conclusion of my life. I’d also like to be free of the jackasses who’ve awarded me the various crowns of thorns mentioned above. It appears that the only way I can acquire those things is to cease to write these op-eds.

Which sounds like an odd statement, coming from the most heavily-armed man on Lawn Guyland, but I can see his point: some of these people simply aren’t worth the waste of a round, when there are greater threats on the horizon.

I suppose I have been fortunate, inasmuch as I have largely been spared the sort of contumely visited on FWP. Then again, he was always more willing to engage drive-by vilifiers, while I’ve tended to ignore them.

As a send-off of sorts, a few FWP quotations that made it into the random-quote thing on the sidebar:

“Nothing reveals low character quite as well as the proximity of high character.”

“Tyranny flows from the top down. Freedom swells from the bottom up.”

“In the absence of a competing claim of rights, a man is unconstrained by anything other than the laws of physics.”

Even if you’d rather not remember him for some reason or other, do remember his words.

Comments (5)

Behind the quill

On this, the shortest day of the year — a mere twenty-three hours, going faster than they have any right to — I find the story of an erstwhile kindred spirit, shifting regularly between formal seriousness (serious formality?) and sheer fun.

Comments (1)

Green in the spring

Jeff Green, dealt to Boston so long ago, finally returned to OKC today, and the crowd greeted him warmly. The Celtics had been doing well of late, posting a five-game winning streak despite the absence of Rajon Rondo, and Green had been a major factor in a couple of those wins. Not today, though: the Celtics did a good job of keeping the Thunder out of the cylinder, not such a good job of getting in there themselves, and OKC bagged a 91-79 win on a windy Sunday.

Due to that patented Boston defense, Oklahoma City had rather a lot of one-and-done situations — OKC snagged only three offensive rebounds all day — and shot a mediocre 44 percent. Nor was the Thunder effective on the long ball: they missed 16 of 20. Both the Thunder and the Celtics missed six free throws, though Boston only got 20 shots from the stripe, while OKC took 33.

In a low-scoring grind of a game, you don’t expect much in the way of double figures, though the Celtics did have three starters pull it off, led by Paul Pierce with 20 — and Brandon Bass had a game-high 13 rebounds. Green managed eight despite shooting 2-11. The Thunder also had only three in double figures, led by Kevin Durant with 23. Russell Westbrook added a quiet 15, and Kevin Martin managed to make his shorter shots fall while his long ones failed, leading the bench with 12.

Of course, all the talk was Spur-related, San Antonio having been trounced last night at home by Portland, and the Spurs/Thunder gap is now down to a single game (48-15 vs 47-16). Tomorrow night in Alamo City promises to be ferocious, especially with Tony Parker down for the count.

Comments (1)

Meanwhile, far from Wasilla

From the last time I had anything to say on this particular subject:

The very first post I did about Sarah Palin was in early 2007, when she was so far under the radar she’d practically have to wear ridiculous shoes to be seen.

I gather she’s probably enjoying her less-than-household-word status these days, and on the basis of current evidence, I’m pretty sure her tastes in Wacky Footwear have changed not a whit. From a Friday appearance at a forum at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida:

Sarah Palin at Southeastern University

Now historically, I’ve argued that if you have legs like that you should be able to wear any damn shoes you want, and I’m sure that this bondage boot, or whatever it is, is not often seen on college campuses affiliated with the Assemblies of God; but after keeping a close eye on Sarah for six years, I’m thinking that she got into the habit of wearing things like this specifically because it annoyed the hell out of John McCain, and really, who hasn’t wanted to annoy the hell out of John McCain?

(With thanks to The Ledger.)

Comments (6)

Decidedly mixed signals

In the days of Ralph Spoilsport Motors, having both AM and FM in your car was not only optional at extra cost, but damned well worth it. Now, maybe not so much:

A Mark Kassof & Co. survey of radio station owners, general managers and group executives finds that 41% of them identify internet access in cars as the biggest “threat” to AM/FM radio. Following in descending order were: Pandora 18%; Sirius/XM Satellite Radio 13%; iPods/mp3 players 13%; podcasts 8%; iHeartRadio 7%; and YouTube 6%.

YouTube? Really?

The most discouraging aspect of this, perhaps, is that iHeartRadio, which actually aggregates content from major radio stations, is considered an actual threat to them.

Meanwhile, minor radio stations continue on the path to extinction, or at least format changes. The new owner at KKNG — Tyler had to sell it off to meet the government’s laughable ownership limits after buying Renda’s Oklahoma City cluster (KOMA/KOKC/KRXO/KMGL) — has dropped the classic-country twang in favor of religious programming. Atypically for this part of the world, though, it’s Catholic religious programming.

Comments (1)

Unwanted momentum

What’s the difference between turning 50 and turning 60? More than just 10 years, says Roger:

When I turned 50, I could think, “Maybe I still have another half a lifetime left.” After all, the number of centenarians in the United States has been growing… Now that I am 60, though, I have to acknowledge that I’m not going to live another 60 years, even if I move to Azerbaijan and start eating yogurt soup. (And if I’m wrong, which one of you is going to write to correct me?)

The trouble with the phrase “over the hill” is that it reminds you of the downward slope, which in turn, the laws of physics being what they are, implies picking up speed, precisely what you don’t want to do unless your life is as miserable as, oh, let’s say, mine when I was thirty-five. (It was not a very good year.) Still, in the event that someone doesn’t catch my last name, I will invariably say “As in ‘Over The’.” Dismayingly, it always works.

Comments (2)

How it’s done

At the higher levels of government, the people handing out tax breaks and similar largesse to their friends and relatives are required to appear at least marginally discreet: it would never do, for instance, for the House to pass a continuing resolution containing something like “[dollar amount] for [giant corporation] in exchange for services to be rendered,” or for the Senate, were it capable of writing a budget, to set aside [dollar amount] in such a budget specifically to hand out to groups raising money to fight [giant corporation].

Maryland, which surrounds the District of Columbia like a frightened, mentally retarded amoeba, has learned much from D.C. For example:

The Maryland Senate advanced a bill Friday that would exempt Lockheed Martin from paying about $450,000 a year in hotel taxes to Montgomery County related to a training center that the giant defense contractor operates in Bethesda.

As written, the bill applies to any company that operates a lodging facility in Maryland solely to support a training or conference facility that is not open to the general public. Sen. Nancy J. King (D-Montgomery), the bill’s chief sponsor, acknowledged that no company but Lockheed Martin currently qualifies for the exemption.

Oklahoma, perhaps due to its considerable distance (in several senses) from Washington, is slightly less adept at this scheme. This is the statute (68 O.S. Supp. 2005, §1356) that exempts Thunder tickets from sales tax:

58. [Exempt:] Sales of tickets made on or after September 21, 2005, and complimentary or free tickets for admission issued on or after September 21, 2005, which have a value equivalent to the charge that would have otherwise been made, for admission to a professional athletic event in which a team in the National Basketball Association is a participant, which is held in a facility owned or operated by a municipality, a county or a public trust of which a municipality or a county is the sole beneficiary, and sales of tickets made on or after the effective date of this act, and complimentary or free tickets for admission issued on or after the effective date of this act, which have a value equivalent to the charge that would have otherwise been made, for admission to a professional athletic event in which a team in the National Hockey League is a participant, which is held in a facility owned or operated by a municipality, a county or a public trust of which a municipality or a county is the sole beneficiary.

Note that there are two possibilities here, inasmuch as both NBA or NHL teams were being sought at the time. The facility currently known as Chesapeake Energy Arena is in fact owned by the city of Oklahoma City. And the statute would apply equally well to Tulsa, which owns the BOK Center, were they to get a team; since Tulsa wasn’t on the major-league radar at the time, it may be presumed that the wording was designed to ensure at least some support from hopeful and/or dreaming Tulsa legislators.

Still, what’s most alarming about that measure is not the fact that it’s yet another tax break on behalf of someone other than the grandly general “We the People,” but that by 2005 Title 68 had at least 1,356 sections. This is micromanagement on a megascale.

Comments (5)

Readers wanted

This unsourced quote has been making the rounds, and a friend on Facebook — as distinguished from “a Facebook friend” — posted it. I figure the least I can do is pass it on.

There are two people you’ll meet in your life. One will run a finger down the index of who you are and jump straight to the parts of you that peak their interest. The other will take his or her time reading through every one of your chapters and maybe fold corners of you that inspired them most.

You will meet these two people; it is a given. It is the third that you’ll never see coming. That one person who not only finishes your sentences, but keeps the book.

Maybe the reason this isn’t sourced is that no one will admit to using “peak” instead of “pique.”

Still, my own life is based on the library model: I am occasionally checked out, but never for more than two weeks.

Comments (3)

Quote of the week

Jack Baruth really doesn’t regret not going to the Geneva auto show:

[T]he people who went weren’t excited about the product either. Sure, they took Facebook pictures of their triple-seven sleeping pods and eighty-euro mystery dinners, but when it came to the actual rolling stock, the lack of enthusiasm among the professional enthusiasts could be viewed from space. Assuming, of course, you have an Internet connection in space and are willing to use it to read auto blogs. The closest thing to a universally acclaimed car at the show was a diesel version of a sporty hatchback. That’s like getting worked up over Diet Dr Pepper.

The responsibility for this dismal state of affairs can be clearly laid at the feet of three companies. Porsche, Ferrari, and Lamborghini were given a chance to render automotive equivalents of Miss Alex Morgan in steel, aluminum, and carbon fiber. Instead, they chose to give us Honey Boo-Boo’s mother, Snooki, and Janet Reno in a Predator mask, respectively.

Bonus snark, on what has been dubbed the “LaFerrari,” aka Snooki:

It’s far from beautiful but it isn’t beautiful from far.

File under “Damn, I wish I’d said that.”

Comments (2)

But it says you’re calling from Saskatchewan

Area codes just don’t mean that much anymore. Trini, who lives about ten miles from me, is in a wholly different area code, not because we’re on opposite sides of a boundary, or because there’s supposed to be an overlay (572?) coming to the 405 in the near future, but because she doesn’t have a land line, and she obtained her wireless service out of state. And if you feel compelled to fax me for some reason, there’s yet another code involved.

The FCC, not normally attuned to market reality, might conceivably scrap the whole idea of area codes attached to geographical areas:

[FCC chair Julius] Genachowski began circulating a series of proposals among fellow commissioners Wednesday that could make it easier for VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) providers to tap the national telephone numbers pool and eventually sever the relationship between an area code and an actual geographic area… [the] plan includes a notice of proposed rule-making that seeks comment on new rules governing the way VoIP providers get access to the pool of phone numbers. It also seeks to establish a pilot program to test direct numbers access and launches an inquiry into the way numbers are managed, including their relationship to a geographic area.

One of the stumbling blocks, I suspect, will be long-distance vendors, who already don’t make a dime if I call Trini on my cell phone, and who will resist any effort to make their business model look any more ludicrous than it already is.

(Via Outside the Beltway.)

Comments (7)

Kittehs tortured

Rumor has it that Charlotte may try to reclaim the Hornets name after New Orleans becomes the Boisterous Sea Birds during the off-season. I’d be in favor of this nomenclature adjustment, if only because the current CLT roundballers are, let’s face it, lacking in ferocity. (We won’t discuss their D-League affiliate, the Mad Ants of Fort Wayne.) In defense of the ‘Cats, they did have the lead after the first quarter, 29-28, but the Thunder were in the midst of what became a 21-0 run, and it was pretty much over after that. And while 116-94 qualifies as a rout, it was kinder than the thwacking the Bobcats got in Oklahoma City in November.

It didn’t help that Ramon Sessions was hors de combat with a sprained knee, but there were a few bright spots for Charlotte: Gerald Henderson’s game-high 21 points; Kemba Walker’s perceived adequacy as a stand-in for Sessions; Ben Gordon’s 19 to lead the bench; a mere eight turnovers all night; and Byron Mullens’ development into a plausible starting power forward. Still, the ‘Cats were clearly outclassed.

With the starters being pulled early, OKC had plenty of points to distribute evenly, what with 56.8 percent shooting and 12 of 24 treys going in. As usual, Kevin Durant led the parade, but playing less than half the game, he finished with a mere 19. And of the three point guards, Derek Fisher produced the most scoring: 13, versus 11 for Russell Westbrook and 9 for Reggie Jackson. I’m sure this means something to someone.

After this, things get a little more complicated for the Thunder. The Celtics will be in OKC Sunday afternoon; then a quick trip to San Antonio (Monday) before returning home to meet the Jazz (Wednesday) and the Magic (Friday). The crunch is on.

Comments off

Two wheels good

Most newfangled automotive options are intended to keep you from running into things. Running into people, well, that’s another matter.

This obviously cannot stand. So now we have a bicycle-friendly Volvo, sort of:

Volvo has just announced Cyclist Detection with full auto brake — a technology that detects and automatically applies a vehicle’s brakes when a cyclist swerves in front of a moving car. The basic components of the system include a radar unit integrated into the front grille, a camera fitted in front of the interior rear-view mirror and a central control unit. The radar is tasked with seeing obstacles in front of the vehicle and calculating distance, while the camera is responsible to determine what the object is. The central control unit, with rapid processing capabilities, monitors and evaluates the situation.

There’s a downside, but a logical one: to get this option, you must also get the related (and presumably using some of the same hardware) Pedestrian Detection technology. Production begins this spring.

Comments (1)

With the obligatory Big Voice

Little Peggy March rolled up five Hot 100 singles in eleven months, starting with “I Will Follow Him” in March 1963, an English-language remake of a French hit by Petula Clark. And she wasn’t that little: four foot nine. She was, however, well up to the music industry’s standard for Cute Girl Singers, and age didn’t dull her much:

Little Peggy March

“Every Little Move You Make” died at #84, and after RCA Victor set her free, she relocated to Germany, where she continued to have hits until 1980. (One curiosity from those years: the 1978 single “Oklahoma Bay,” a tribute to Soonerland’s endless shorelines. Or something like that.) Sixty-five today, she’s not even close to retired; her last album in English (Always and Forever) came out in 2010. The German version, however, had a bonus track: a duet with Dutch singer José Hoebee.

This song, you have to believe, is her destiny, even if John Waters did work “I Wish I Were a Princess” into Hairspray.

Comments (4)