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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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Blofeld never had to deal with this

International supervillains have it so much easier than the rest of us, notes Catherine:

I set up the international bank transfer to pay the rent deposit on our apartment in Paris. It wasn’t super-difficult, but there are a dozen steps and boxes to fill in, so I wonder how evil megalomaniacal movie villains manage to transfer funds so easily on screen. They must all be bankers in their spare time.

(Eventually, the permalink for the above quote will be here, but not until the first of December or thereabouts. You read someone for a decade, sooner or later you figure out [some of] her routines.)

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You won’t see me

For some reason, “missed connections” has always been my favorite section of the craigslist personals.

This one from Chicago dealt me a solid:

As we both entered an ATM at Division and Milwaukee, you were momentarily distracted by a sleek 20-something brunette. Your eyes followed her until she was out of sight. Me, you looked right through. It’s hard to believe I have another 20-30 years of being ignored.

It’s hard to believe that somebody would be that easily distracted by — wait a minute, was that Zooey Deschanel?

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We will control the vertical

ECCO Bouillon flat

This ballet flat — I figured that I probably should do some sort of flat, after this little outburst — is Bouillon by ECCO in Ascot Suede, one of eight variations on this theme. The button doesn’t really button, of course, but it’s sorta cute, and the shoe isn’t really flat: there’s about one inch of rise, front to back. Endless.com has this for $119.95, which is also a little taller than you’d think.

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Fender skirts, or something

However much I rail about this whole “girl-car” thing, I have to assume it’s not going away any time soon. I’d been going through Motor Trend’s Sport/Utility of the Year article, and the Chevrolet Equinox, while it didn’t win, garnered praise from the MT editors who served as judges, with this notable exception:

While most of us thought the Chevy was rather fetching, [Edward] Loh perceived a distinct femininity about it: “They’ll need to macho it up to grab men.”

On the very next page, they evaluated GMC’s Terrain, with the sub-headline: MANLY ENOUGH TO WIN? It’s the same damn truck; they’ve squared it off a trifle and glued on what appears to be a set of shoulder pads, but underneath it all, they’re twins, or at least Patty Duke-esque “identical cousins.”

A friend of mine is on her third pickup truck, and I once said something to her to the effect that truck manufacturers seem desperate these days to make their vehicles appear as burly as possible. She shrugged. “If I have to,” she said, “I’ll stick a big pink bow up on the roof.”

It would serve them right. (And the Terrain didn’t win, either.)

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Let’s get a sports team!

One of those things that Everybody Knows is that public expenditure for professional sports is a crummy deal, that whatever money comes in — and it’s always less than projections — ends up by design in the pockets of movers and/or shakers.

Just the same, the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets are circulating a study which asserts that the development of the city’s Arena District — the Jackets play in Nationwide Arena, the centerpiece of the District — has put $2 billion into the local economy since 2000. Maybe, maybe not. The Urbanophile, for one, is skeptical. But he’s prepared to argue that the traditional return-on-investment model is not really applicable in these instances:

[W]e should look at it as a marketing and branding expense. In effect, when cities pay hundreds of millions of dollars to team owners to put a franchise in their town, what they are really buying is naming rights to the team.

Consider, for instance, the cost of advertising:

How much money do advertisers pay to get their names on TV? A 30 second Super Bowl ad is $2.7 million or so. That’s what Budweiser pays to get 30 seconds of air time. But when the Colts were in the Super Bowl, the name “Indianapolis” appeared for a heckuva lot longer than 30 seconds. Think about what you would have to pay the TV networks to put your name on the screen and on the lips of the commentators (even that jerk Chris Collinsworth, who has always hated the Colts) as often as “Indianapolis” appears. The price tag would be staggering.

And you have to figure Columbus would like to get a piece of that kind of action. The Blue Jackets actually made it to the post-season in 2008-09; playing for the Stanley Cup doesn’t score anywhere near as many impressions as playing in the Super Bowl, but what’s a small city to do?

This also helps explain why small cities subsidize sports so much more than big ones. It’s not just about big market vs. small market revenues. Bigger cities aren’t as dependent on pro sports to get their brand message out.

Columbus, as it happens, is a hair bigger than Oklahoma City. Then again, the MAPS projects in this town, it is claimed, have brought in $5 billion, and while a goodly portion of that showed up before we ever got an NBA team to call our own, cakes do need icing, and maybe an occasional Bud to wash them down.

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More of these

The 2009 Weblog Awards

Few things inflame my sense of déjà vu quite as much as a blog-award announcement; in this decade, I’ve had more award nominations than I’ve had girlfriends. (Make of that what you will.) Kevin Aylward put together the Weblog Awards back in 2003, and at the time, some of the categories were based on TTLB Ecosystem standings. Technorati Authority is now a criterion, though since no one, Technorati included, seemed to comprehend the current incarnation of Technorati Authority at first, it took a little while to roll out the divisions. (Apparently this here blog is Very Large, which is news to me.)

Not that it matters to anyone at this point, but I actually made it to the finals of this particular competition twice: in 2003 and in 2005. So I still pay attention to it, if only to reassure myself that I don’t have to play this time around. Nominations are being taken in about 50 categories until the 20th.

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The height retort

Real women, Linda Grant insists, wear flats:

It is perfectly all right to wear ugly, clumpy clothes when you are 16, but if you wear them when you are 50 it might look as if you never understood style in the first place, or have given up, ­surrendering to the idea that you can wear a red hat with a purple dress, on the spurious grounds that you are old and what does it matter because no one wants to look at you anyway.

But my God, those shoes were comfortable. It was like wearing slippers. I gave in and bought two pairs: patent T-bars with a spongy wedge, and black leather Mary Janes. Experimentally trying the Mary Janes out on a day when a friend wanted me to accompany her to the flagship Marks & Spencer at Marble Arch, so she could examine every single item of stock, I kept interrogating my feet: “OK down there? Still holding up?” But my feet were doing the job of carrying me around without complaint; they had fallen into silence. By the end of the day I had totally forgotten about them.

Try that with a five-inch heel. Apparently it’s all a con by the fashion industry:

Every woman is supposed to adore gorgeous shoes. Of course it is absolutely correct that they make your legs look longer and your hips slimmer, but if your legs can only be elongated while you’re standing or sitting down, there doesn’t seem much point to them. I love the extra height heels give me. I like being able to look men in the eye. I like the look of beautiful shoes, but until the manufacturers start including a sedan chair and two attendants with each purchase, I shall wear ugly shoes.

Of course, I only put this up to inflame tensions between fanciers of flats and defenders of the lofty. As to what I prefer, well, that depends on what else you’re wearing, doesn’t it?

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That night in Berlin

In November 1989, I was running a FidoNet echo and reading a lot of others. And a chap named Wolfram Sperber dropped into INTERUSER, and we dropped everything, because he was there, man. I saved his story, and it’s followed me through half a dozen computers since then, which is a neat trick considering I was running a Commodore 128 at the time.

Twenty years after the fact, live from the Berlin Wall, via dozens of dial-ups from all over the world, you get to read a little piece of history here.

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Strange search-engine queries (197)

This presentation is a bipartisan effort, in the sense that a small percentage of these might not have actually come from Google, but from some other vendor of basically the same sort of search stuff.

fastest profit.com:  Affiliated with quickest disillusionment.org.

“political breakdown” “independent voters”:  I suspect that if we do have a breakdown, it won’t be because of the independents.

no boyfriend, sick of nsa sex, not meeting anyone, celibacy seems like a punishment, help?  If you’re truly sick of NSA sex, celibacy might actually be an improvement; if nothing else, you’d stand a better chance of landing an actual boyfriend instead of just someone to take up half the bed. Not that I’d know anything about that.

why don’t we feel the earth moving?  Too much NSA sex, maybe.

i do not wear socks:  Are you bragging or complaining?

why textbooks suck:  Ask any student.

glenn danzig doing yardwork:  I wonder if he’s going to move that circle of snakes.

stinky cocaine:  You might want to keep it away from your nose, then.

America’s most rat-infested city is Baltimore:  It depends on what your definition of “rat” is. I think you could make a pretty good case for Washington, D.C.

undergarments for unshapely body parts:  Well, I should hope so.

what does amazingly fugly mean:  Do you, perchance, own a mirror?

dustbury post office fremont ca:  This must be around that marshland on the east side where hardly anyone lives.

Obligatory Rule 34 item: Biped Robot Kit Newt.

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Bink mode

Early in Piers Anthony’s Xanth series, there was a character named Bink who turned out to be resistant to magic. The Thunder evidently took some inspiration from Bink tonight, thrashing the Orlando Magic, 102-74.

Admittedly the visiting Floridians weren’t at full strength — Rashard Lewis was still on suspension, Vince Carter was ailing, and Stan Van Gundy suited up only nine players — but Orlando was leading 25-23 after the first quarter. Then the bottom fell out. Dwight Howard, as always, was several kinds of awesome, but he had to earn half of his 20 points at the foul line, and it took him 17 tries to bag them. The Magic shot a mere 36.8 percent from the floor and hit only three of 13 3-point attempts.

Meanwhile, the Thunder owned the boards, 45-30, and shot 57.1 percent, including 9 of 16 treys. They weren’t at the stripe very much at all — 15 free throws, fewer than Dwight Howard — but they hit 13 of them. Kevin Durant turned in a 28-point night; both Thabo Sefolosha and Russell Westbrook recorded double-doubles; and things were moving so fast almost nobody noticed when Jeff Green fouled out, by which time Van Gundy had basically called it a night anyway.

Now beginneth the road trip: Tuesday at Sacramento, Wednesday at Los Angeles against the Clippers, and Saturday at San Antonio, before returning Sunday night to see the Clippers again. For the moment, and we all know how long those last, the Thunder is ahead of all three of those teams in the Western Conference standings.

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Not quite going with the flow

The city assures us that there will be enough water around here for the next 50 years, and maybe there will, but I’m not the sort of person who really wants to put such a claim to the test, especially since I’m paying for some of that water and using somewhere around 25,000 gallons a year myself.

I concede, though, that worrying about the water table in 2060 wasn’t my main concern when I started working on the toilet this week: it seemed to me that it was running a little longer than it needed to be, and such a situation can’t possibly save me money, so I opened up the mysterious porcelain tank and started screwing with stuff.

Apart from one brief spritzing in the face from an accidental disconnection without the shutoff completely shut off — don’t even ask — things went fairly well, and in the process of checking for leaks, I tweaked the refill-height adjustment to the tune of about ½ inch, which seems to reduce the fill time by several seconds and the water consumption by some fraction of a percentage point. I don’t expect this to make much of a difference in my utility bill, but I’d just as soon not be wasting the stuff, on the off-chance that I might want a drink on my 107th birthday.

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