He ain’t no delinquent, he’s misunderstood

Evidently the British are haunted by the spectre of Officer Krupke:

People who break the law should no longer be branded offenders, a leading criminal justice campaigner has said.

Frances Crook, head of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said the “insulting” term demeans individuals and hinders their rehabilitation.

No, really:

She said: “Someone who commits an offence is not an offender, they are someone who has done something. The action does not define the whole person. They may also do good things and they will certainly fit into other categories that can offer a different definition like parent or friend. By insisting that the offence overcomes all other parts of the person we are condemning them to a sub-human category for whom there is no hope.”

I’m sure, somewhere in the world, there’s a serial killer who really kept up his lawn.

“Terrorists,” you’ll remember, has long since been supplanted by “those somewhat-touchy persons of indeterminate appearance,” so I can’t say I’m the least bit surprised by this sort of thing.

Still, if she gets her way, we’re going to need another word. In honor of this criminal-justice pioneer, I propose that all of Britain’s legally-challenged individuals be dubbed “Crooks.”

(Via Amy Alkon.)

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Swat mode

What we know: the Hornets are still in New Orleans, and they’re still tough. The Bees, in fact, were up 59-52 at the half, though the Thunder once again produced something resembling solid defense after that, holding New Orleans to a meager 12 points in the third quarter and posting a 97-92 road win.

The Hornets helped, though: after hitting a long string of free throws, they missed half a dozen of them in the fourth quarter. Still, David West was good for a double-double — 24 points, 13 rebounds — and Chris Paul came up with 18 points and five steals. No slouches, the Hornets outrebounded the Thunder, 37-24. (West had six off the offensive glass, one less than Oklahoma City in aggregate.)

Still, OKC got some numbers. Russell Westbrook put together a 29-point, 10-assist performance, and Kevin Durant, who played all but 3:16 of the game, scored 25. After some fairly rotten shooting early on, the Thunder finished at 50 percent and missed only three of 26 from the stripe. Serge Ibaka, starting in place of Nenad Krstić, rang up 18 points and grabbed nine boards. Still: twenty turnovers? (Westbrook had seven of them.)

And now, it’s back home to the We Need A Logo Here Arena for four games, starting Sunday against Cleveland.

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Save the males!

Fred First starts with this premise:

My wife is a pharmacist who finished her RPh in the early 70s. There were 5 females in a class of about 100. Today, the mix is overwhelmingly female, as is the case in many medical schools and other professions. Parity has not been reached on many fronts, but some female gains might be won not because males are marching in place, but actually losing ground in academics and other settings.

He’s working on a longer piece to illustrate this phenomenon, and he’d be most grateful if you could supply him with citations to support (or refute) his premise.

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Still sort of nine-ish

Bo Derek was twenty-two when she was frustrating Dudley Moore in 10. (Actually, the number used to describe her character in that film was eleven, which just goes to show you how women turn some of us into veritable Nigel Tufnels.)

But now Bo is fifty-four, and…

Bo Derek November 2010

“A stunning combination of good genes and good surgeons,” says one observer.

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Sugar, sugar

You could call this thinking outside the bottle:

Too often, good research about new medicines — research that shows unusually clear-cut results — goes unpublished, and thus unseen. The reason? Journal editors distrust any study in which the placebo effect is “too small.” The problem has a simple solution: re-run the experiment, but instead of giving standard placebos to the control group, instead give them double-strength placebos (DSPs).

Of course, those placebos will have to be evaluated to verify the “double-strength” claim, which means that another control group will have to be obtained, but nobody said clinical trials were supposed to be easy.

(Previous placebo coverage here.)

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$2 for the money

An operation called the World Reserve took out a full-page ad in the local paper yesterday to announce:

Valuable uncut sheets of never circulated $2 bills are actually being released to the first 7,127 callers who find their zip code on the distribution list below and beat the 48-hour deadline to get Vault Stacks of real money.

The sheets in question contain four bills, and they’re packed in a display folder which the Reserve dubs “Bankers’ Portfolios.” Each Portfolio will run you $48, but the minimum purchase is one Vault Stack, which consists of three Portfolios. So: $144 for $24 worth of deuces and some mock leatherette. Then again, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is asking $34.95 for two $2 bills and a better-looking display folder, so it’s not like you’re getting an Unusually Bad Deal here.

What grabbed me, though, is the Zip Code Distribution List, which takes up a third of the page, and which gives the impression that every single ZIP in the state is listed. Not so: new west-Edmond codes like 73025 are absent. (If anyone from that neck of the woods gets an order accepted, I’d like to hear about it.) On the other hand, several established Tulsa ZIPs, such as 74112 and 74114, are also scorned, though every Oklahoma City ZIP with actual street addresses is included.

And I, of course, am no expert on the value of currency, except to the extent that I spend it, which is sometimes far too much of an extent. So I defer to the wisdom of Rob Petrie and Buddy Sorrell:

Rob: We’d better get a numismatist.

Buddy: These are old coins. Get an oldmismatist.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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Quote of the week

Sissy Willis’ thoughtful “Sarah Palin and Elizabeth Edwards, sisters under the skin?” drew favorable response hither and yon, but the most quotable item on the page, I think, comes from commenter Don Meaker, who pointed out:

Marriage is like a deck of cards: When you are young you think all you need is two hearts and a diamond. After a few years you need the occasional resort to a club, and perhaps yearn for a spade.

Suits me.

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Exactly as described

Except for that easy-open tab, if you know what I mean:

Crushed pineapple for realz

(From the shelves of FAILBlog’s WIN!)

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It’s not an unreasonable question, and Andrew Ian Dodge affixes it to the 403rd Carnival of the Vanities: “Are the stars aligned yet?”

If your daily driver is a Peugeot 403, you might be hoping for something as cataclysmic as the alignment of the stars just to keep your ancient Frenchmobile running after all these years. (Not that Columbo ever had any problems with his.)

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Sympathetic vibration

I’m not too surprised that the UAW is picketing the Hyundai-Kia America Technology Center in Superior Township, Michigan — temporary workers at a Hyundai plant in South Korea have been on strike for a couple of months — but this was something of a jolt:

In addition to the gang of UAW members and officials, the Freep reported that two members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra — who [are] also on strike, by the way — were also on the sidewalk outside the Hyundai Technical Center yesterday, carrying photos that showed injured Koreans and holding signs with messages such as, “Justice for striking Hyundai workers.” WTF? We won’t go into the fact as to why the DSO is on strike — not now and not ever — but suffice to say after living off the cultural largesse of the auto companies for decades, Detroit’s cultural institutions are on the ropes because the free money spigot has basically run dry after the worst economic downturn in seven decades. And they have no clue how to fix it. But DSO members walking the picket line yesterday at Hyundai? Please. And we wonder why the state of Michigan has a corrosive reputation as a union-dominated state?

Here’s the DSO musicians’ site.

This is the fifth DSO strike in the last forty-one years, and these are the terms they wouldn’t accept:

[M]management immediately imposed its offered contract terms: a reduction in the number of guaranteed paid weeks in the season that would lead to a 33 percent cut in guaranteed base salaries in the first year followed by slight rises in the next two years. New players would start at 42 percent less than the current guaranteed base, $104,650. The offer also involves cutbacks in pension and health benefits.

The players had offered a 22 percent reduction in the first year, with raises bringing them in the third year to within 8 percent of where they are now. Many orchestra players’ associations have agreed to salary givebacks in recent years, but none at that level.

This sounds awfully draconian. Then again, two orchestras in my state have actually died within entirely-too-recent memory.

The Hyundai strike involves temporary contract workers who want to become permanent.

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Domain mastered

You may remember this from last month:

When I registered this domain back around the turn of the century, I went to Network Solutions, because, well, who else was there? At the time, I was delighted to see that they’d cut the annual fee from $100 or so to a mere $35.

Eleven years later, I’m up for renewal, they have scores of competitors, and the fee has been slashed from $35 to … um … $34.99. Yes, they’d give me a third off for a five-year term, but that’s still twice what I’d be paying elsewhere.

It took two tries — the first set of confirming emails got spam-trapped into oblivion — but I’ve now gotten the domain moved. Ten bucks a year.

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A bit short of confessional

But not entirely unheard-of:

I believe that I’m an artist and a genius, and it is intolerable to me that business majors and engineering majors build shopping centers that attracts lots of customers, and merely hire architects and graphic designers to do work for hire — in a better world, we artists and dilettantes would be rewarded by society for our supposed genius. Not those grubby little logic-based business guys.

Oh, wait. That’s not really what she said.

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Here at my website trendy

“Is it just me,” asked NoOneOfAnyImport, “or is the spam getting more comical lately?”

It’s not just her. Witness this item, plucked from the database by Akismet:

I give birth to be familiar with a only one of the articles on your website trendy, and I extremely like your tastefulness of blogging. I added it to my favorites net period muster and disposition be checking stand behind soon. Will repress into public notice my orientation as ok and vindicate me be familiar with what you think. Thanks.

Ah, now we see the orientation inherent in the system.

And if this clod really liked the “tastefulness of blogging” around here, it’s prima facie evidence that he didn’t read so much as one damned word.

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Putting the W in WTF

What the hell was going on at the Target Center? The Timberwolves led after the first quarter, 40-22? Kevin Durant actually fouled out?

What happened, apparently, was that at some point in the second quarter, someone, probably Scott Brooks, said the word “defense,” and the little light bulbs lit up over various Thunder heads. After 40 points in 12 minutes, the Timberwolves were held to 63 points in 36, as Oklahoma City pulled out a 111-103 win that no one had imagined an hour and a half before.

But actually, the answer may have been a different word: “Ibaka.” Captain Congo blocked eight shots, a record for the team since arriving in OKC, and committed only two fouls; Durant took up the hand-in-the-face slack, and exited in the waning moments, 30 points and 11 rebounds in hand. Heck, even Thabo Sefolosha (13 points) got a trey.

And they needed every bit of that defense to curb Michael Beasley (26 points) and Kevin Love (22 points, 21 boards), although the Wolves were Darko-less for the evening. Minnesota was hitting everything in the first quarter; thereafter, they were effectively shut down and wound up with only 41.9 percent shooting, 10 percent behind the Thunder.

The third game on this road trip is Friday night at New Orleans. The Hornets are streaky this year. Then again, so are the Thunder.

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Stuck in the middle with me

Cousins to the south of me, children to the north, here I am.

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Whippet good

This week, Diary of a Nudist has scans of early-1950s cover art from Sunshine & Health, a magazine published by the American Sunbathing Association, the predecessor to the present-day American Association for Nude Recreation.

Apart from the unattired folks in the photos, a couple of things caught my eye:

    Detail from Sunshine and Health Magazine logo
  • ASA sold S&H for fifty cents in these years. Around that same time, a less-controversial magazine like Life sold for only twenty cents. (The current AANR Bulletin, published in tabloid-newspaper format, is not sold on newsstands at all.)
  • At the top center of the S&H logo, there’s a woman with very long hair with a speedy-looking dog, possibly a whippet — too short to be a greyhound, I think — on a leash.

I puzzled over that for a moment, then decided it was an ASA bid for respectability: what could be more mainstream than a woman taking her dog out for a run? (Despite this, your work filters may go berserk if you follow the link.)

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