You got change for a nine?

Obama nine-dollar bill

The guys from HillBuzz report:

[W]hile scoping out the Southport, Clarke, and Belmont shops for the travel guides of Lincoln Park/Lakeview, we went into dozens of tee shirt, poster, novelty, and comic book shops all around town today.

The great majority of them had Dr. Utopia’s smiling face on a nine dollar bill taped to the registers.

These are those joke currencies that sometimes have the Statue of Liberty on a Million Dollar Bill. In the 80s, we saw Reagan on joke million dollar bills … and in the 90s, we often saw Hillary Clinton on joke Millions … in novelty shops (where they were probably meant to terrify Republicans) or in weird futuristic movies like Pluto Nash.

But we’ve never seen fake “nine dollar bills” before and have absolutely no idea if there’s a significance to that.

This is not, of course, counterfeiting: there is no real $9 bill, so making a fake one does not violate the counterfeiting statutes.

I’m not quite sure what to make of this. Nine, as I noted at HillBuzz, is three squared, but it’s not like we’re seeing, say, Rahm Emanuel on a three-spot.

Maybe this telegraphs Obama’s future intentions: the day before he leaves the White House, he nominates himself for the Supreme Court.

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Always choose pre-shrunk fabrics

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There’s a zombie on your log

I may have gotten plenty of mileage out of weird search strings, but I don’t think I’ve ever had any cemetery traffic:

Okay, I’m totally skeeved out to see a 30-second web hit from a cemetery PLOT in Los Angeles.

Which, from the proffered coordinates, turns out to be Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery, in the West Adams section of L.A., southwest of downtown, about three miles from MacArthur Park.

Questions to be asked:

  • Is this visitor actually dead?
  • If so, does this visitor have a blog?
  • If so, why is it on LiveJournal?

Actually, this isn’t as weird as it seems; a look through the spam trap shows zombie comments just about every day.

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And they’re back

Under license from the founder, the eminent Mike H., JenX67 is conducting the 2009 Okie Blog Awards. Nominations will be taken starting the first of January. I don’t see a “Least Improved” category, so I should escape this year without being nominated. (Jen is taking suggestions for new categories, but I doubt she’d buy that one.)

In case you’ve been living in one of the 56 other states all these years, this is the idea behind the OBAs:

The purpose of the awards is to recognize the hard work and talent of Oklahoma bloggers, as well as to raise awareness about the growing significance of blogs as important sources of news, information and entertainment, etc.

Disclosure: This very site won Best Overall Blog in 1912, beating out Birds on My Clothesline, The Lost Ogres and The McCarville Report.

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In at least three dimensions

Someone once asked me for an off-the-cuff description of Michelle Obama, figure-wise, and I said something to the effect of “She’s a big, healthy girl.” At the time, of course, I had no numbers to quote.

Now maybe I do. Newsbird has made an attempt to size up the First Lady, and reports as follows:

Shoulder width 18″

Waist 35″

Widest part of hips 46″

Her bust measurements are maybe 37″ to 39″. Her waist size has to be more than 29″.

She is size L at the top due to her broad shoulders even while her waist and bust measurements are small. That is why her cardigans are too small — she most likely buys them according to her bust size.

At the bottom she is at least misses size 18 or XL.

A classic pear shape, really: not particularly busty, a defined but not exaggerated waist, and a center of gravity about where you’d expect it to be. And it explains much about her fashion choices:

I guess Michelle thinks that wearing sleeveless tops which are as small as possible she will look slender because her upper torso is small compared to her shoulders and hips. And she is right. But she also looks good in smooth simple dresses with 4/5 sleeves as she wore at the DNC.

But when she wears a suit like she did for Congress last month, she looks matronly and heavy because her wide shoulders require a large size jacket or top. This was the worst type of suit for her figure.

[Links added by me.]

Generally, this fits with what I’ve been saying: sometimes Mrs O comes up with something really excellent, and sometimes I wonder what she was thinking. Then again, I’m no fashion consultant, and I suspect that the ones she has, she overrules from time to time. I mean, it’s not like you can make her wear what you want.

(Via Cripes Suzette.)

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The automobile as beat box

Not anymore, if a Florida state representative gets his way:

State Representative D. Alan Hays (R-Umatilla) last month introduced House Bill 137 which modifies an existing loud stereo statute to double the cost of fines and make the offense a moving violation.

Current Florida law makes it unlawful to drive with a stereo “plainly audible” from twenty-five feet away or that is “louder than necessary for the convenient hearing by persons inside the vehicle” when driving past a church, school or hospital. Law enforcement officers are exempt as are politicians who use loud soundmaking devices for “political purposes.” The typical fine is $78 with no points.

HB 137 would impose three license points and boost the fine to $180 for a third offense.

Of course, even $180 is trivial next to the insurance-premium jacking you’re going to get with three points. Not that the $16,000 Hays has received from insurance companies in the past five years has anything to do with this.

I expect this bill to be fought purely on racial-profiling grounds, inasmuch as no one is going to be busted for playing Ravel’s Pavane pour une infante défunte at high volume.

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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are babes

In this Danish Modern resetting of Hamlet, it makes a certain amount of sense:

I suppose this was to allow for more female roles in the play (some of the “lords” were also female). But it added an interesting extra layer of comic relief — they were dressed as very trashy women, in a sort of 1980s Madonna mode (Rosencrantz — or maybe it was Guildenstern — had high ratted blonde hair, tight jeans with a sparkly top, and high heels, and the other wore a short tight skirt and low blouse). And they flirted shamelessly with Hamlet while trying to get information from him.

Which, after all, was their assignment from the King. The getting of information, I mean.

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Bees find their sting

The Hornets dropped their first two preseason games, and with the possibility of a third looming, coach Byron Scott decided that the hometown crowd would rather see a win than a rehearsal for the Big Show, and brought back Chris Paul, who promptly took control of the situation. It didn’t hurt that the Thunder, who had been shooting indifferently, started shooting horribly at about that point, and the Traveling Oklahomans dropped their second preseason game, managing a feeble 10 points in the first seven minutes of the last quarter and nothing thereafter. New Orleans 88, Oklahoma City 79.

Potential worry: Last time out, the Thunder were up four after three quarters and lost. Today, the Thunder were up four after three quarters and lost. This is, I submit, not a good sign.

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Going up

The list of building permits in the Saturday Oklahoman is ordered by estimated cost, so inevitably this was the first item:

Devon World Headquarters LLC, 101 N. Harvey Ave., parking, add-on, $45,000,000.

This refers, of course, not to the big drill bit in the sky itself, but the neighboring parking garage. The Tower itself, slightly scaled down from the original plans — we’re now looking at 50 stories, 850 feet, 1.8 million square feet of space — will be completed in, they say, late 2012, at a cost somewhere in the vicinity of $750 million.

Still, the sheer size of this project dwarfs everything else in town. The second item on the building-permits list is a $500k house near Council and Memorial.

I’m still wondering if there’s a street address assigned to the Tower. Wikipedia says 280 West Sheridan, but that can’t be right: that would put it on top of the north end of the Myriad Botanical Gardens. 289 or 301 or 333, I’d believe.

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A Fair chance of survival

The Tulsa State Fair is continuing at this writing, and, public-spirited as always, the Irritated Tulsan has a list of safety tips, including this one I should immediately commit to memory and/or take to heart:

After you eat a deep-fried item, use the stick to poke a hole in your side. This will allow the oil to drain.

In fact, now I’m wondering if some of us couldn’t benefit by having a valve installed at an appropriate location.

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Canon fodder

A few days back, Fillyjonk was talking about the Harvard Classics:

Last night I was talking on Twitter about the Harvard Five-Foot Shelf. This was an “Everyman’s Library” like project — the editor of it actually said in his introduction that he planned the collection so that a person not able to go to college (for a Humanities degree; I think when this was developed in the early 1900s, that was what one mainly went to college for) could get the “best part” by reading the Five Foot Shelf.

Half a century later, there was a similarly-sized collection called Great Books of the Western World, first issued in 1952. Unlike the Harvard collection, it remains in print, albeit somewhat changed from the original.

Way back when, these were aspirational acquisitions for the American home, writes Susan Jacoby:

The Great Books — along with all those Time-Life series — were often “purchased on the installment plan by parents who had never owned a book but were willing to sacrifice to provide their children with information about the world that had been absent from their own upbringing,” Jacoby writes. They represented an old American belief — now endangered — that “anyone willing to invest time and energy in self-education might better himself.”

What has been lost, according to Jacoby, is a culture of intellectual effort. We are increasingly ignorant, but we do not know enough to be properly ashamed. If we are determined to get on in life, we believe it will not have anything to do with our ability to reference Machiavelli or Adam Smith at the office Christmas party. The rejection of the Great Books signifies a declining belief in the value of anything without a direct practical application, combined with the triumph of a passive entertainment — as anyone who teaches college students can probably affirm.

Certainly I’m not about to name-check Montesquieu at work. But the rejection of canon is also, I suggest, partly due to some people’s revulsion at the idea that after however many centuries the works of dead white European males still comprise most of it.

This, however, sounds more like me:

I do find that the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know, and I admit a certain distress that I probably don’t have as much time to rectify What I Don’t Know than I would like to have.

It’s not an attitude you have to be a Science Genius Girl to appreciate, either.

(With thanks to Joanne Jacobs.)

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Hearken unto us

There’s the Bataan Death March, and then there’s parking at the Harkins:

If I am going to let’s say, an eight o’clock movie, I need to arrive to the theater at six so that maybe I’ll have the chance to get a parking spot that’s within two miles of the front door. Look, I’m not parking in that damn lot that’s back behind Bass Pro. I’m just not. It’s the principle of the matter. What’s that? They have a shuttle I can ride? See, I drove a car so that I wouldn’t have to be shoved up against some slightly overweight guy that covered his entire body in Axe Body Spray, even if it’s just for three minutes. No thanks on the bus ride. And I’m not parking in the lot where you use your ticket to get out for free. I’m too dumb to remember to save my ticket and I’d have to pay the five anyway. So don’t even suggest that.

Actually, that latter lot, where you use your ticket to get out for free, is where I always park, and I never forget to get my ticket validated, because I am at heart a cheap essobee who is unwilling to kiss a five-spot goodbye.

I wonder what he’d say if the ceiling fell in on him.

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She and I

This doesn’t mean you, unless of course it does.

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The path of least assistance

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation has opened a Twitter account, which, says the AP, “plans to post traffic and construction updates,” which is theoretically handy if you’re traveling. Of course, if you get your updates sent to your cell phone, you might be the subject of one of those updates at some point, but that’s another matter entirely.

Then I took a look at their timeline, and they get major malus (opposite of “bonus”) points for using HootSuite and, which means any links they dish up are going to be framed. Worse, the traffic updates I checked were identified as, and indeed turned out to be, identical to the Traffax stuff they send out via fax, in the worst way: they’re PDFs of the original faxes, and if there’s one thing worse than a PDF file on a mobile, it’s a PDF file in a frame on a mobile.

But what am I thinking? This is ODOT. This is what they do. I just wonder how many computers they tore up during the development process.

(Suggested by Shawn Wright.)

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Nobody does more for Apple than Microsoft

The largest single group of Windows users today? XP users. Their upgrade path to the latest and greatest? Nonexistent:

They’ll have to wipe out their hard disks after backing up their files elsewhere, then install Windows 7, then restore their personal files, then re-install all their programs from the original CDs or downloaded installer files. Then, they have to install all the patches and upgrades to those programs from over the years.

Microsoft includes an Easy Transfer wizard to help with this, but it moves only personal files, not programs. This painful XP upgrade process is one of the worst things about Windows 7 and will likely drive many XP owners to either stick with what they’ve got or wait and buy a new one.

Steve Jobs, meanwhile, is laughing himself all the way to the grave.

(Via James Joyner, who is in no rush to upgrade.)

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Quote of the week

Much has been made in blogdom of that “Artificial Virginity Kit” being sold, and I was going to skip over the whole thing and pretend I never saw it.

Then Stacy McCain arrived with a fair measure of perspective:

Is not honesty a virtue equal or superior to chastity? And what virtue shall we praise more than mercy? For even if society condemns fornication — as well it should — it would be a most cruel thing to seek a woman’s hand in marriage under such terms as to require her to engage in a horrid deceit, lest she suffer death for being honest.

If this is genuinely the state of society in some places, then there is only one proper and honorable course of conduct for any woman who, for whatever reason, may have fear of this particular custom: Let her reject the proposed marriage. Her would-be husband, if he genuinely wants her, ought to be willing to accept her as she is, however she is.

Perhaps easier said than done in some societies, as noted by several of McCain’s commenters. But I continue to believe that if he isn’t willing to accept her, he doesn’t deserve her, and I don’t care what kind of doctrinal gloss is applied.

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State of the Ward

Last month I put up a perfectly lovely photo of Diane Lane, and drew this comment:

She and Sela Ward are the two most beautiful women in the biz. Hands down.

Fortunately for all concerned, last Sunday Parade did a feature on Sela Ward, from which I have swiped two photos by John Russo, on the basis that one just wasn’t enough.

Sela Ward in Parade magazine

I suppose we are now accepting nominations for Number Three.

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Disclosure eyes

What to do about those new FTC rules for bloggers? Jacqueline offers a suggestion:

Maybe as a society we should just change our assumptions? Perhaps our default assumption should be that all endorsements are paid endorsements unless the reviewer states that they were NOT compensated. Then instead of prosecuting people for committing lies of omission (forgetting or not knowing that they have to explicitly disclose when they’ve been compensated for a review) we only prosecute people for lies of commission (claiming that you were not paid when you really were).

Everyone knows that lying is wrong and almost everyone understands that you can get into trouble for lying about something related to money, but not everyone knows (or should be expected to know) the laws requiring disclosure about paid endorsements in publications or broadcasts. Most people don’t even realize that their personal blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc. is covered by the many of the same rules covering newspapers and TV channels. Now that technology has put the power to publish/broadcast into the hands of ordinary people, perhaps we should consider revising our expectations of publishers/broadcasters to be more in line with what ordinary people can reasonably be expected to understand and comply with.

Our expectations of publishers/broadcasters are fairly low, but this is due at least partially to the fact that those laws requiring disclosure actually exist: after you’ve seen one “compensated endorsement” after another, it’s reasonable to assume that everyone (excluding ourselves, of course) is on the take. But that being the case, the task of shifting the default assumption is actually greatly simplified, since we pretty much already believe it.

Still, we can’t expect the laws to be written this way: with any given regulation, all else being equal, government prefers to criminalize the largest number of persons possiblepour encourager les autres, one assumes.

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Cafe standards

Her Radishness encounters them at JFK:

After standing in line for five hours, I was able to drag my carcass into a chain restaurant for a burger and a beer.

It took me 15 minutes to figure out what all those three-digit integers on the beer list meant.

They put the freaking calorie counts on the BEER LIST.

And, having seen them, she did the only proper thing. She ignored them:

Obviously, this had no impact on my order. I would drink store brand beer from a can before I would order MGD64 (nasty AND weak), and diet soda is not beer. As it was, I had to settle for a Sam Adams, as the airport franchise did not have the bountiful taps of the standalone franchise I visit most frequently.

You can do worse than a Sam Adams, and I admit I often have. But that’s not the issue, really:

[T]his just means the anhedoniacs who demand everyone live as joylessly as they do are going to push government to restrict menus.

It’s just a matter of time, though I suspect it’s not anhedonia at work, but pure secularism: after all, beer, as Ben Franklin didn’t exactly say, is proof that God loves us, and such things must be expunged from the public sphere lest we develop unsocial habits like gratitude to the Almighty.

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With an 80 percent chance of heaviness

Off the National Weather Service wire this afternoon:


That’s the problem with heavy rain: it’s so heavy.

Along with this:


On days like this I wonder if we have any good drainage areas.

The drive home was entertaining, in a zombies-have-asked-you-to-lunch sort of way.

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