Amendment to be proposed

That so-called “Repeal Amendment” has its charms, but, says Ric Locke, it’s unlikely to work:

[T]he very idea of getting 67 or 68 State Legislatures (depending on whether or not Nebraska is involved) to agree on anything makes herding cats look simple, so the likelihood of its being actually implemented is vanishingly small. It might be useful as symbolism, but symbolism, while important, is not enough.

What needs to be addressed, says Locke, is, well, basically everything since Wickard v. Filburn, which would take something like this:

The power of the Congress to regulate commerce among the several States is hereby revoked, and neither the States nor the Congress shall regulate, tax, or otherwise burden commerce among or within the States.

The Commerce Clause, in other words, has got to go, since it’s being used to justify all manner of egregious Congressional actions, the vast majority of which, irrespective of their alleged intent, have had the effect of enriching the few at the expense of the many.

I don’t know whether this has any better chance of being passed than does the Repeal Amendment, but I am reasonably certain that the current system is about to run headlong into Stein’s Law: things that can’t go on forever, won’t.

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Vicarious forward

We are living, says True Ancestor, in the Age of the Death of Experience:

Within the past two decades, every action and interaction has begun to be submitted to the mediation of the experience and perspective of others, at greater speeds and depths, so that now, unmediated, uncontemplated experience — a shock to the system, a real live threat or opportunity, the sensory thrill of the immediate and unexpected that even the angels cannot know — is something for which younger generations are becoming thoroughly unequipped. The idea that you lean into the world with your physical being is vanishing. You now deputize technology to lean for you. Search engines, touchscreens and digital hieroglyphics cease to be tools, and become replacements for experience.

This is not to say that we never did this before. Consider the seemingly-ancient TripTik, which someone down at the Triple-A office would draw for us before we left on our Epic Journey to Shelbyville or wherever. They knew the roads, and we didn’t, so we had no problem accepting their advice. (Now, of course, there’s an app for that.)

Experience has until now begun with contact. Now it begins with a Google search. What’s lost is the ability to improvise one’s way through upheaval. We have, in varying degrees, the necessary sensory and mental equipment to improvise through upheaval, but that requires instinct and improvisation. When everything is ordered and rehearsed, packaged and delivered, instinct and improvisation become quaint.

There are times when I’m tempted to blame television. The programs are scripted; the news is scripted; even the so-called “reality shows” are scripted. If we want our problems neatly tied up before the top of the hour, shouldn’t we do a little scripting ourselves? But this phenomenon seems to be accelerating, even as the Internet displaces television, so there’s got to be some other factor at work.

I wonder how much of this is the simple desire to duck responsibility. If we work up all those searches, check out all those destinations, do all that due diligence, and yet somehow things still go wrong, we will not note ruefully that there is but one God, and Murphy is His prophet; we will instead blame those cruel, heartless individuals who posted all those good reviews specifically to cause our experience to fail, because, well, why else would they do such a thing?

Or maybe it’s a bit more elemental. Feces, as the bumper sticker doesn’t quite say, transpire; I suspect most of us will go to a lot of trouble to make sure we don’t have to deal with the stuff up close and in person. Which is all very well and good, until the fan is struck by it.

(Via this Annie Gottleib tweet.)

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Strange search-engine queries (253)

It’s time once more to pry open the door to the server and see what sort of nonsense can be found in the logs. As of this writing, the disclosure of this previously-unseen material, unbeknownst to the persons who produced it, has been a major topic of discussion in zero countries worldwide.

how to write a check for 475:  It helps if you have 475 to start with, which rather a lot of people don’t.

cheep working transmitions for a mazda 626 year 1999:  It helps if you have 2475 to start with, which rather a lot of people don’t.

calvin and hobbes “maybe you’re just stupid”:  You’re sure you’re not New Wave?

Rift and Separate:  See, for instance, the Praytex Riving Bla.

lack of bread:  Your punishment for the sin of gluteny.

mean heartless society?  I suspect median heartless society is probably a closer approximation.

ford bringing back the probe:  They’d have to get permission from the TSA.

“modern Country Music” “unlistenable”:  That’s what they were saying back when Patsy Cline was on the radio.

transvestites wearing kotex:  Now how did this story leak out?

do mothers make their sons wear pantyhose for punishment:  Right before throwing them into the briar patch, Br’er Rabbit.

Sextillion masturbation:  About a week and a half at most boys’ schools.

is Paul Anka legally separated from that Swedish witch Anna:  “I’m so old and you’re so young / Please die, Anna, burst a lung…”

I have a general disinterest in things. What should I do?  Who gives a shit?

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Warriors at work

There is no such thing as a safe lead against the Golden State Warriors. The Thunder were up 20 points after three quarters; with 23 seconds left, that lead had shrunk to three. It didn’t help that Serge Ibaka (19 points, 8 rebounds) had long since fouled out. So once again it took free throws to salt it away, and Oklahoma City finally won a game on a Sunday, 114-109.

You have to figure that Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis would get theirs, and boy, did they: Curry had 39 points, Ellis 29. The game plan, therefore, would have to be making sure the rest of the team didn’t get theirs, and it was not particularly successful: Dorell Wright and sixth man Reggie Williams both scored in double figures, and the Warriors racked up 18 offensive rebounds. (As did the Thunder, but Golden State got off eight more shots and had a slight edge in shooting percentage.)

The Thunder might have curbed some of that activity, but Scott Brooks opted to give Nick Collison the night off, presumably expecting he’ll be working very hard tomorrow against the Bulls. And the starters probably played longer than Brooks had hoped, what with that fourth-quarter semi-collapse: after making 29 consecutive free throws, the Thunder promptly missed three of the next six. Fortunately, the last four, two by Jeff Green, two by Kevin Durant, connected. Durant had a fairly-average night, with 28 points, as did Green, with 17; Russell Westbrook, despite some twinges late in the game, put together a double-double, 19 points and 13 dimes.

The Bulls, 10-8, had the night off, so they’ll be rested and ready for the Thunder tomorrow. We’ve beaten them once already, but that was at the Somewhere On Reno Arena; they’ll almost certainly be feistier on their home court. Then follows a Wednesday at Minnesota and a Friday at New Orleans. Next home game is on, um, Sunday, against the Cavs.

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Still gauging that moon height

PBS is circulating this clip to promote a tribute to the late Les Paul, who would have been 95 this year, and I’m happy to pass it on, since (1) the ever-tasteful Jeff Beck is standing in for Les and (2) the lovely Imelda May, whose band this is, does a really good Mary Ford.

It’s 1951 all over again.

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Who framed Jolly Roger?

EMI, being among other things a record company, objects most strenuously to file-sharing sites like Rapidshare, and if you post some of their material to such a site — what? They posted their own material to a file-sharing site?

Michael Robertson, founder of MP3Tunes, has apparently found them out:

They say we link to Rapidshare which they called a known haven of piracy.

However we uncovered internal emails where EMI themselves put songs on Rapidshare and sent email to others instructing them to download them from Rapidshare.

With EMI spreading files far and wide, their experts grudgingly admit that it’s impossible to tell which links are authorized and which are not.

In depositions, says Robertson, EMI admitted that they were spreading around some tuneage in the hopes of getting it to go viral.

And links are at the very heart of file-sharing services, because generally they don’t have directories: you can’t go browsing through their offerings, because they’re not telling you what they have. If you have no link, you have nothing.

Now: can J. Random Downloader tell the difference between a URL produced by the upload of a file by one of his neighbors and a URL produced by the upload of a file by some EMI suit? (Hint: No.)

And, since imitation is the sincerest form of 21st-century commerce, what are the chances that the other Big Four music operations have been pirating their own properties?

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Pigskin notwithstanding

Dear Mr. Ochocinco:

A regulation NFL football is made out of leather.

Just in case they didn’t tell you that before the photo session.

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Back out in the cold

The most startling aspect of Ferris O’Brien’s purchase of KINB this year, I believe, was the purchase price itself: “Two million American dollars for a 900-watt rimshooter.”

That price proved to be the undoing of the Spy:

According to O’Brien, the purchase fell through when the station did not appraise for [seller] Last Bastion Trust’s asking price.

“When it comes back at nowhere near that number, it just doesn’t make sense,” O’Brien said.

The FCC didn’t have any problem with it; they’d granted the assignment of the license in November, pending the tying up of all the loose ends.

And it’s hard to fault Eliot Evers, operator of Last Bastion, for asking that kind of money, since that’s basically why the trust, which assumed ownership of a bunch of Citadel stations after the ABC merger, existed in the first place: to extract maximum value from the leftover properties. Still, somebody should have done due diligence.

In the meantime, if you haven’t heard the Spy lately, they’re at

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A case of strap

Brenna by Type ZDuyen Ky is assembling a suitably-smashing Christmas outfit, and one significant component thereof is this towering (to me, anyway) red pump by Type Z, sporting no fewer than four straps per side.

And four buckles per side, which I presume are positioned once and then ignored thereafter; otherwise, well, that seems like a lot of work just to put on a shoe. (I don’t know anyone who would actually undo each and every one of those buckles every time she took off the shoe. Then again, since I am inevitably observing from afar and extrapolating accordingly, I could be totally wrong.)

The shoe itself, called “Brenna,” can also be had in black. The heel rises to 5½ inches, or as Duyen would say, “about average,” and there’s a 1¼-inch platform underneath. It is definitely an attention-getter; as one vendor says of the brand, “If you’re looking for an affordable way to look your best, Type Z brand shoes will give you more attention than a zebra with hot pink stripes.” Whether that’s hot pink with black, or hot pink with white, they didn’t say.

(Too many straps, you think? Get a load of this.)

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Whither thou goest, Bob will go

Citadel has been LMAing Champlin Broadcasting’s KQOB Enid for seven years now, imaging as Bob FM.

Earlier this year, Renda’s KBEZ Tulsa adopted the Bob monicker, which prompted Citadel to send a nastygram to Renda’s Pittsburgh HQ. Citadel has since followed up with a lawsuit.

What makes this interesting is that Tulsa’s Bob is actually closer to what’s generally thought of as the Bob format, described here by Lou Pickney:

[Winnipeg radio exec Howard] Kroeger began pouring through one of Joel Whitburn’s Billboard chart reference books and began compiling a list of songs from 1974 to present day that fit into the Rock/AC category but which weren’t receiving a great deal of airplay. The result was a list with a very deep and varied mix of songs.

Outside of Canada, however, there doesn’t seem to be specific licensing for the Bob FM trademark; rival Jack FM, by comparison, is pretty strict about what you can and can’t do to maintain your level of Jackness.

It seems to me, though, that this sort of thing matters mostly to lawyers; the only possible source of confusion between Bob and Bob would be in places like Stillwater where you can pick up stations from both the Oklahoma City and Tulsa markets. Personally, I think one of them should become “Bob 1″ and the other “Bob 2,” and they should play a lot more Devo.

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Unexpected linkage

I’ve been putting out these 250-word game recaps since the Hornets were using the Arena Formerly Known As The Ford Center for a temporary home base in the wake of Hurricane Katrina; so far as I know, no one pays much attention to them.

Well, there is one exception. ESPN’s TrueHoop Network comprises about three dozen blogs, one for each NBA team, plus several that deal with the league in general. The Thunder, for instance, is represented by Daily Thunder. The one TrueHoop blog that actually picks up on my stuff, though, is Toronto’s Raptors Republic, which today kindly excerpted some of my verbiage from last night’s win over Oklahoma City. This isn’t the first time RR has seen fit to link here, either. I suspect it’s because I spell “Air Canada Centre” correctly most of the time.

Meanwhile, Doug Loudenback covered the 2010 Paseo Arts Awards, with lots of pictures, including a small group of shots of female participants from here down [gestures], which he said was intended for me — “if he is watching.” Well, of course. I left him an explanation, to the effect that my formative years, a period of generally-rising hemlines, were spent in a Catholic school, clearly an indication that God had intended me to be a leg man. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

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Get those plates spinning

LeeAnn was kind enough to serve up a good object lesson in musical universality: classical themes in a metal mood, if you will.

Which reminded me of an old favorite I hadn’t spun in a while. Love Sculpture was a Welsh blues band (!) operating in the late 1960s. While most of their repertoire consisted of genre standards, they scored an unlikely UK #5 hit in 1968 with a power-trio version of the Sabre Dance from Khachaturian’s ballet Gayaneh. It wasn’t released in the States until 1970, and then only because leader Dave Edmunds had scored a solo hit with a cover of Smiley Lewis’ R&B shouter “I Hear You Knockin’,” prompting the usual Vault Raids. This isn’t technically metal — the guitar is way more Chuck Berry than Kirk Hammett — but it certainly passes the speed test. The video is billed as a live TV appearance; apart from the applause at the end, though, the sound is pretty much identical to what’s on my copy of the record.

The ending, of course, is more Puccini Rossini than Khachaturian, but what the hell.

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Yeah, like this matters

Just watch me shrug:

According to a survey conducted by Austrian research psychologist Tatjana Schnell, an unexpectedly large proportion of Westerners feel that their lives have little meaning, and they don’t really care, reports Miller-McCune. Sampling more than 600 Germans, Schneller’s research found that “35 percent [of the sample] were ‘existentially indifferent,’ those who ‘neither experience their lives as meaningful nor suffer from this lack of meaning’,” and only 10 percent of that group were bothered by their own existential apathy.

I don’t think I’d necessarily equate “Germans” with “Westerners,” but I can’t say I’m particularly surprised by this. Then again, it may depend on what the meaning of “meaning” is. If your particular definition of self demands a satisfying romantic relationship and the job of your dreams and getting paid something like NBA rookie scale, your life might seem less meaningful than a box full of old press releases — but I’d give odds that you’d be concerned about it.

Not that those are the only choices:

The academics identified 26 “sources of meaning” in their study, and noted that the indifferent lacked sources like love, social commitment and unison of nature. They were especially low in self-knowledge, spirituality, explicit religiosity and generativity, even compared to those in a crisis.

And, says Dr Schnell:

Without commitment to sources of meaning, life remains superficial. But superficiality is not necessarily a state of suffering.

Sometimes it’s a way to make a living.

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“The Raptors,” said Royce Young of Daily Thunder, “aren’t some pushover that you should be able to walk by,” and they impressed this fact on various Thunder backsides at Air Canada Centre, turning a seven-point halftime deficit into a nine-point lead in a mere twelve minutes. Radio guy Matt Pinto grumbled about some of the calls, or more precisely some of the non-calls, but even he’d concede that Toronto simply outplayed Oklahoma City tonight: they had more rebounds (42-34), more assists (29-22), a better shooting percentage (54.9-43.7), and where it matters most, more points (111-99).

The absence of Kevin Durant, which up to this point hadn’t been much of a problem, was keenly felt: apart from his scoring prowess, Kid Delicious has been a defensive stalwart of late, and in that deadly third quarter, the Thunder defense disintegrated. Scott Brooks went small, and when that failed, went smaller; the end result was giant Andrea Bargnani rolling up 26 points and 12 rebounds. Leandro Barbosa was fearsome off the bench with 22. And José Calderón, the only Toronto starter not to score in double figures, contributed 15 assists to go with his 8 points.

Offensively, the Thunder weren’t too awful, with both Russell Westbrook and James Harden scoring 20, plus 17 from Jeff Green, and one could argue that the defense wasn’t that bad, what with eleven steals and seven blocked shots. But stops, when needed, were few and far between, and nobody had an answer to Amir Johnson (14 points), who didn’t miss the bucket even once all night.

Or you could simply point out that the Raptors, after a 2-9 start, are now 8-11, and that there is such a thing as being on a roll.

I am not comforted by the fact that the next game (1) is at home (2) against the Warriors; it’s a Sunday, and the Thunder’s 0-4 record on Sunday indicates that somebody’s taking that “day of rest” business a bit too seriously. Besides, it’s the first half of a back-to-back. And beating the Bulls in Chicago on Monday doesn’t look at all like a sure thing.

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Never mind the balljoints

Murilee Martin, in his capacity as a judge for a 24 Hours of LeMons event, presents a Cavalcade of Crappy Cars, and I have to admit, I love the idea of a presumably-scruffy racing team called the Sex Pistons. They drive — what else? — a Triumph Spitfire.

Also on hand: a 1980 Maserati Quattroporte. (Only the Italians could make “four-door” sound seductive.) I have actually driven one of these, or maybe it was a ’79; it doesn’t much matter either way. What’s amazing to me is how this sensuous sedan has glided its way down Depreciation Row to qualify under the LeMons maximum-price rule of $500.

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As long as I’m whining

A couple of posts ago, I made some noise about 26-year-old women and how I couldn’t possibly be on their radar. There are, of course, very good reasons for that, and anyway Creepy Old Guy Mode is not really what I aspire to.

Just the same, I’m going to torture myself with a visual:

Mandy Moore on the Tonight Show

This is singer/actress Mandy Moore, born in, yes, 1984. (Judging by the Tonight Show set, this is a 2008 screen shot.) I have a duplicate of this file in C:\NOWAY\NOTEVER.

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