A 22 top and a 7 bottom

Well, not exactly:

[I dreamed] I was a designer. I was producing a line of tracksuits called “Pi Couture.” Featuring, as you might guess, the digits of pi printed on the backside. The number of digits varied with the size of the tracksuit bottoms … so the tiny little ones would be “3.14″ and the ones for someone like me would be “3.141592″ and then there would be some sizes that said “3.141592653589793″.

And of course, that’s a real design FAIL right there (at least in the real world) because (a) very few women are going to want to walk around with an irrational number on their bums and (b) no woman larger than a “3.14″ is going to want to advertise that fact.

Walking around with any number on your bum is irrational, whether or not it can be expressed as a fraction. (Maybe they’d prefer “transcendental.”)

There should, I think, be a companion line for e, and also for i if the Emperor wants to participate.

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Quote of the week

All we are saying, or at least what Robert Stacy McCain is saying, is give atavistic xenophobia a chance:

Except for straight, white, Protestant males, the only path to authentic identity under the multicultural regime is to separate yourself from the mainstream and strike a pose of alienated grievance. You’re only an authentic woman if you’re a militant feminist, and you’re only an authentic Latino if you’re marching with MALDEF.

Because such a posture only makes sense in the context of oppression and victimhood, everybody walks around with their insensitivity-detectors set to “stun,” prepared to blast anyone suspected of less-than-perfect tolerance. If it weren’t for racism, sexism and homophobia, the identity-politics lobbies wouldn’t have a fundraising raison d’etre, so they have a vested interest in magnifying every grievance.

“Tolerance,” incidentally, used to mean the ability to stand pain (from the Latin tolerare, to endure), or the range of acceptable deviation in a piece being machined. Its least-useful connotation, though, is not in this particular realm, but where it’s buckled behind the quantity “zero,” invariably found attached to an institution that honors buzzwords over brains.

This is, incidentally, not to deny the existence of actual grievances; were every last one of them immediately resolved, however, a lot of people would be out of work.

This mau-mau attitude actually causes more problems than it solves. The activist types who acquire money and influence by exaggerating evidence of “oppression” don’t really give a damn about the people they claim to represent. CAIR isn’t about the average Muslim any more than the National Council of Churches is about the average Methodist or the AFL-CIO is about the average blue-collar worker. The identity-politics professionals are merely exploiting the collective groups they claim to represent.

Not to mention the fact that anyone who tried to speak for the Syrian-Lebanese/Mexican/Scots-Irish likes of me would have to be wearing more hats than Bartholomew Cubbins.

And speaking of hats, a tip of the nearest one to Tom Wolfe, for putting “mau-mau” into the vernacular.

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As reported in a cephalopodcast

And to think I used to complain about fishnets:

Textured plus octopus

Then again, I suppose from certain angles they seem a tad Lovecraft-y.

(By way of TYWKIWDBI.)

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Troll mechanisms

Suzette is dealing with a particularly noxious comment troll, and Dogette explains the pathology involved:

I have theories as to why people do this. Let me list them.

1. They are sitting too close to their monitors. Seriously, this is probably the number one cause of troll-comment-leaving. People spend too much time on the computer but also they are just sitting too close to the monitor. After a while it makes them insane. All those little particles and shit. It’s brain damage.

This presumes the existence of a brain, but this isn’t too difficult a leap, so we will so stipulate. To continue:

2. They are repressing anger at some REAL issue(s) in their lives. Like, maybe they are really angry at their mailman. Or their trash guys. Instead of dealing with that anger through medication and therapy, which costs money, they troll blogs and get “upset” and leave these little comment turds. For a time, they feel better. But then the nagging thoughts, in the dark at night, alone: “I still hate my trash guys. I should go back to that Cripes Suzette site and spew at her some more. That felt good, I remember.”

Alternatively, we could charge people for commenting, which would make this maneuver something less than cost-effective, but so doing would drive away the non-trolls, and there are enough trolls who seem to be financed by [fill in name of shadowy rich guy who seems to have a thumb in all sorts of pies] — how else could they have so damn much free time? — to make such an action counterproductive in the extreme.

3. They have just lost touch with “reality.” “Reality” is this case must always be in quotation marks. “Reality” is pretty personal and customized in these cases. It’s not the same “reality” you and I might be in. It’s a “Special” reality. So I should have written “special” “reality” with both words in their own “separate” “special” “quotation marks.”

I suspect that “concern trolls,” of which there have been an abundance in blogdom generally of late, straddle the line between #2 and #3.

Personally, I think Dogette should formalize these subgroups and their definitions, and the rest of us should get used to the idea of referring to the troll in the previous comment as a “Type 1″ or a “Type 3″ or whatever. This would make, I think, a good Greasemonkey script, along the lines of Trollhammer. In fact, it could be incorporated into Trollhammer; in the process of eliminating the offending comment entirely in your browser, it would leave a reference to the troll type, for future reference.

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New and improved malevolent scum

You can’t even talk to these farging people:

Based on “a routine credit check due to increased usage of your cards”, they were chopping my credit line by ~25%.

Called them up and found out that the reason for this is that their “credit check” shows a $6,000 phantom; they’re claiming I owe them the balance transfer amount (correct) but also claiming I owe it to the two smaller cards that the transfer paid off (no longer correct). In other words, they claim I have roughly 40% more debt than I actually do. Not only that, but based on this erroneous information, they just damaged my credit score by reducing my available credit, making it that much more difficult for me to do other credit-related things. This actually took two calls; the first person, who I will refer to as “bubblegum-chewing blonde bimbo #1″, simply kept going round in circles saying “well if the computer program says this is what we should do this is what we do”, and hung up on me when I demanded to speak with a manager. The second person, who I will refer to as “Useless Tyrell #2″, basically repeated the same thing, then informed me that “all the supervisors are unavailable” and that he would “put a note in my file” and one of them should give me a return phone call in 48 hours or so.

I think I’ve actually talked to one of those, um, individuals myself. Not that it made the slightest bit of difference. Then again, you already know what I think of these practices.

Previous Malevolent Scum activity here.

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Little do they know

John Salmon will read anything on the Web — with one exception:

Recipes. Does anybody actually use them? Do we really need recipes for cold soups, ingenious uses of beets (yuk!), or yet another way to make cole slaw?

Post a recipe and you lose me forever as a reader. And there are millions like me!

Let’s just hope he doesn’t find this. Or, for that matter, this.

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The caliber of our reference material

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Dr. No is positive, maybe

The Smith Brothers, Trade and Mark (not their real names), might actually endorse this endeavor:

Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, aka Dr. No, has threatened the unthinkable. He has found the mother of all horror stories and is considering reading it in front of the Senate. Each and every tortured word. And it’s not even Halloween.

Actually, this is the part they’d endorse:

We should all send him cough drops to be sure he can make it through.

I get pretty good results from Ricola, but we have a balance-of-trade deficit to think about.

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Some Plain White T’s

Delilah is not mentioned, but you know she’s giving this song another listen.

(Via Pop Culture Junk Mail.)

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Close Clipping

This one had the potential to be very, very ugly, and at times it was “agonizing,” as Matt Pinto put it, to behold. But if the Thunder couldn’t shoot, they could (mostly) keep the Clippers from shooting, holding Los Angeles to 10 points in the final quarter to escape the Staples Center with an 83-79 win.

Then again, when Baron Davis had it working, he had it working nicely: the man knows how to work an offense. He dropped in 17 points and served up nine assists; Chris Kaman collected a double-double with 21 points and 11 boards. The Clips managed to hit a meager 35.9 percent from the floor, though they did manage seven treys in twenty attempts.

Speaking of working an offense, Russell Westbrook checked out from that function early, limping off to the locker room; he made it back to the bench, but no farther. This left Kevin Ollie to run the point, and the wily veteran picked up 11 points, as much as the entire L.A. bench. That other guy named Kevin pulled another double-double: Durant had 30 points and 10 rebounds. OKC had a slight edge on the boards, 46-43, and a difference of six personal fouls, by coincidence the number committed by Serge Ibaka in fifteen minutes of pestering the Clips. The Thunder shot only 42.2 percent, but for once that was enough.

So it’s an even split in California. The road trip ends in San Antonio Saturday night; these same Clippers will show up at the Ford on Sunday.

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Feed the hungry, just not here

And by “here,” the city of Phoenix, Arizona means anywhere in a neighborhood zoned residential, even if you’re a church:

A Phoenix ordinance banning charity dining halls in residential neighborhoods withstood a challenge by a north-central Phoenix church.

Retired Arizona Supreme Court Justice Robert Corcoran, serving as a hearing officer, ruled Monday that feeding the homeless at a place of worship can be banned by city ordinance. The decision affects all Phoenix churches with underlying residential zoning.

Over the summer, city officials maintained that CrossRoads United Methodist Church, 7901 N. Central Ave., violated Phoenix zoning code by feeding the poor and homeless on its property, a use that can only occur in commercial or industrial zones. City officials said the decision is effective immediately.

Oh, and this isn’t for the reason you think it is, we are assured:

Paul Barnes, a Phoenix neighborhood activist who spoke at last month’s zoning-adjustment hearing, said churches must be mindful that zoning rules and restrictions apply to everyone.

“It’s not a homeless issue, per se, it’s the fact that you need to have some control, and that’s what the zoning ordinance provides,” he said. “It’s not a problem with homeless people in wealthy neighborhoods. That would be a matter of prejudice. This issue would be setting churches up to avoid zoning ordinances.”

As if, says Coyote Blog:

[W]e all know what a problem it is when churches are organized solely to evade zoning regulations. Why, just last week the First Baptist Church and Gas Station as well as the United Methodist Church and Topless Bar opened right in my neighborhood.

Caesar, asked for comment, said that he was pleased with the rendering.

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Next: tornadoes banned

State Senator Jim Wilson (D-Tahlequah) has introduced a measure to make it a misdemeanor for anyone to intentionally lie or spread misinformation in a political campaign.

The sort of “misinformation” he means:

The penalty would specifically apply to materials that provide false information regarding the personal or political character of a candidate, voting records or the effect of legislation authored.

This should, in other words, eliminate just about everything but “I’m [fill in name of candidate] and I approve this message.”

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Creeping under the table

The reference comes from Dr. Johnson:

“Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier, or not having been at sea.” Boswell: “Lord Mansfield does not.” Johnson: “Sir, if Lord Mansfield were in a company of General Officers and Admirals who have been in service, he would shrink; he’d wish to creep under the table.”

DaTechguy expands on this idea:

I didn’t shrink but I felt the way a man feels when his work is being done by someone else, and that is I believe more than any other reason why Veterans Day and Memorial Day have basically become retail holidays.

When we see a serving soldier we are reminded that there are a small group of men and women who are doing our work for us. They are part of a community that if you are not a part of it you may not understand.

This has been the price of the all volunteer army that was born in the desperate attempts of college students to avoid service in the 60′s. For decades our popular culture looked down upon these men, our movies have and still paint them as “broken”. Even after Sept 11th our popular culture still never caught up with the average man who recognized that maybe just maybe there is something more to the soldier than someone who is looking to pay for college.

C.S. Lewis once wrote that a man in sin will avoid signs of God because it reminds him of his current state. I think a similar thing has happened to Veterans Day and Memorial Day. We don’t want to think about it, we don’t bother to attend. It is safer to simply shop, because if we look at Veterans Day and Memorial Day for who they honor and what they do we look at ourselves and remember what we have not done.

This is not, I hasten to add, a call for a return to conscription. But I remember draftees from the early 1970s, and while you could tell that they definitely wanted to be somewhere else, they weren’t about to let the rest of us down. When you’re called by something bigger than yourself — well, first you have to realize that it is bigger than yourself. Not everyone possesses this level of awareness: the newspapers are full of stories of people who couldn’t imagine anything more important than themselves.

And then I read about someone like, say, Tim James, and all the headlines melt away.

At the 2004 dedication of the National WWII Memorial, that old soldier Bob Dole said:

What we dedicate today is not a memorial to war. Rather, it is a tribute to the physical and moral courage that makes heroes out of farm and city boys and that inspired Americans in every generation to lay down their lives for people they will never meet, for ideals that make life itself worth living.

Mark that: every generation. Yesterday my oldest grandson turned ten. Will he someday put on the uniform, take up a weapon, as I once did? I don’t know. I’m not going to try to talk him into it. But I’m not going to try to talk him out of it, either. Not everyone is cut out for that kind of life, and that’s fine; I figure, so long as he’s not creeping under the table, it’s all good.

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Where it all goes (’09)

Last year I put up an itemized list of where my property-tax money was going, according to the County Assessor’s official breakdown, and I figured I’d do it again this year. Figures in [brackets] are for last year, and they’re of course lower.

  • City of Oklahoma City: $130.71 [$125.46]
  • Oklahoma City Public Schools: $517.11 [$439.83]
  • Metro Tech Center: $136.73 [$129.49]
  • Oklahoma County general: $113.81 [$94.29]
  • Countywide school levy: $36.64 [$34.70]
  • County Health Department: $22.92 [$21.71]
  • Metropolitan Library System: $46.02 [$43.58]
  • Total: $1003.94 [$889.06]

This is about as much as they could raise it without running afoul of either the cap law or the patience of the taxpayers, and I’m not so sure about the latter, especially since the notices haven’t gone out yet.

The actual rate chart is here. Many of the individual levies are actually the same as last year, though the OCPS levy is up 11.3 percent.

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Downtime to come

Oh, if only all of life were this predictable: there will be a scheduled period of downtime on this site around 10 pm due to a server relocation, by which is meant “take the machine out of the old rack and put it in the new one.”

I expect no problems, but you never know for sure.

Update: Move postponed. They didn’t say why.

Further update: 12 November, 8:30ish.

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On the eleventh

“It wasn’t me who started that ol’ crazy Asian war,” the song goes. “But I was proud to go and do my patriotic chore.”

And yes, I suppose it was a chore, in the strictest sense of the word: first we take care of business, then we can sit back and swap stories.

Some people will look at that word “proud” and grimace. “How can you possibly feel any pride in what you did?” Well, I did it well, and at the time, it seemed like exactly the right thing to do. Thirty years later, it still seems so.

No regrets from this former Army man; I wore the green, like so many others my age, and fortunately, most of us came back from where we’d been.

You don’t have to spend any time remembering me today, but please do think of your friends and mine, your relatives and mine, who took on this “patriotic chore” themselves. And say a prayer, if you would, for those who didn’t come back.

(Originally posted 11/11/2002.)

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KO’d in Arco

The Kings have their revenge. In the friendly confines of Arco Arena, the Kings put together a balanced, Kevin Martin-less attack — all the starters scored in double figures — to edge the Thunder, 101-98.

Jason Thompson did the most to pester the visitors, recording 21 points and 14 rebounds. Rookie Tyreke Evans earned his keep and then some, with 20 points, 8 boards and 8 assists. The Kings shot an indifferent 44.7 percent, and missed ten treys before finally making a couple of them late, but they were superb at the charity stripe, hitting 31 of 36. Where they really made the impact, though, was at the backboard: the Kings outrebounded the Thunder, 51-36.

Kevin Durant had another one of his patented surges, rolling up 37 points including 18 of 18 free throws, but it ended 3.5 seconds too early: that last trey try would have sent the game into overtime. It was not to be. Jeff Green was good for 19 points tonight, and Nenad Krstić dropped in 12. Serge Ibaka got to play two minutes, in which he got a rebound and hit two free throws, his first points in an NBA season game. The Thunder shot a blah 39.7 percent.

Sacramento is now 4-4, despite the absence of Martin; the Thunder drop to 3-4. Tomorrow, the Blakeless Clippers at the Staples Center. They’re tied for 11th in the West; the Thunder are tied for 9th. After last year, in which it took until the 82nd game to dispatch the Clippers, I am loath to predict anything about tomorrow.

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Barbara Carrera was not available for comment

Porsche is suing Crocs, the manufacturer of those (in)famous plastic shoes, for naming a sandal “Cayman.”

I await the inevitable suit against Rudy Giuliani, whose every sentence, according to Joe Biden, consists of “a noun, a verb, and 911.”

(Via Autoblog.)

Addendum: It occurs to me that if we’re going to use Barbara Carrera’s name in vain, we may as well go all-out:

Barbara Carrera

The question of whether she in any way resembles a Porsche, even this one, is left as an exercise for the student.

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Then she rose up, and rent her garments

What do you get when you cross Net-a-Porter with Netflix? It’s called Rent the Runway, and it goes like this:

Harvard Business School graduates Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Carter Fleiss have created Rent the Runway. The site allows users to rent that showstopping outfit for four days. The dress is delivered directly to your doorstep, just like a Netflix movie. And just like the movie site, when the four day rental period is over, simply place the dress in the included prepaid envelope and send it back. No muss or fuss.

Featuring a tagline of “love. wear. return.”, rentals run from $50-200, which includes dry cleaning fees. There’s an additional $5 for outfit insurance — just in case there’s staining or structural damage to the clothing. If you totally wreck the dress, however, you will be charged the full retail cost so you’ll have to be sure to handle the piece with serious kid gloves.

Which is important if you’re dealing with a $2000 frock. (Kid gloves not included.)

Rentals are nothing new in the evening-wear realm — ask any guy who went to the prom — but this is the first time I’ve seen a variation on the theme that included actual home delivery. Furthermore:

Your dream outfit arrives in a custom garment bag that includes double-sided tape, bra strap extenders and deodorant stain removers to prevent any embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions.

Now all you need is the right pair of shoes — or to be in Boise.

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A veritable Samuel L. Jackoff

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have had it with those [expletive deleted] snakes in the [same expletive] drain:

A man who caught a 14-foot python in a Florida drain pipe was charged with perpetrating a hoax after wildlife officers discovered he owned the snake and put it in the pipe in order to stage the capture.

Justin Matthews, a professional animal trapper, later admitted that he had “staged the event to call attention to a growing problem of irresponsible pet ownership,” the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said on Thursday.

Matthews was charged with misusing the 911 emergency system and maintaining captive wildlife in an unsafe manner.

I can only conclude that this guy couldn’t afford to send the snake up in a balloon.

(Via House of Eratosthenes.)

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