Another question of Priority

About three years ago, we’d pretty much settled the idea that the proper Latin plural of “Prius” should be “Priora,” though Toyota, citing an online poll, eventually decided on “Prii.”

Which, of course, is their right, as owner of the trademark. Still, I was a bit befuddled by this, until The Truth About Cars ran a piece about the Russian auto market, and the second most popular nameplate in the land, moving 125,000 units last year, was a Priora: a Lada Priora, produced by Russia’s AvtoVAZ.

This Lada is a FWD compact dating to 2007, though it’s mostly a facelifted 110, which goes back to the middle 1990s. Looks pretty good, if you ask me; the interior is plain but unfussy. At option, you can get some of the stuff that’s being demanded in the rest of the world: A/C, Bluetooth, heated seats. On the other hand, you can’t get an automatic transmission at any price.

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Cloud micturation

I have to assume that it’s coming eventually:

Borders entrance in Chicago

Technically, that’s an upload, right?

(From someecards via Deb S. on Facebook.)

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Meanwhile, just off Central Park

In the preceding post, I pointed out one advantage of the mostly-horizontal layout of towns like mine, though clearly it would never work in Manhattan: the island is home to 1.6 million people in a mere 23 square miles, about the size of Midwest City, Oklahoma (population 57,000). I’m sure I’d go claustrophobic in a hurry. Others, perhaps better adjusted, maybe not so much:

Two things I noticed:

  • My bathroom is very nearly as small as hers. I have a full-sized tub, but it takes up almost half the available space, and the area reserved for the toilet is, shall we say, not expansive.
  • The clock-radio up in the sleeping zone appears to be from Cambridge Soundworks, a sign of good judgment. (I have two of their radios.)

Obviously I have no idea what living in this space might be like. The smallest flat I’ve ever had was about 500 square feet. (We will not consider things like, um, Army barracks.) For that matter, I have no idea what living in New York might be like. (I dropped in at a walk-up just on the other side of the Hudson several road trips ago.) But I do understand, to a certain extent, the law of supply and demand, and I understand that if I want a thousand square feet on the Upper West Side, it’s going to cost me several times what I’m paying here on the prairie. For that matter, a house like mine a mere six miles south of me would likely bring half what mine would. Location, location, location, as the agents say.

(Via Fark.)

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You can’t put a taco truck in a high-rise

A recent survey by Wendell Cox and Erika Ozuna lists the Oklahoma City metro area as 6th in the nation in terms of opportunity for minority entrepreneurs. (Greater Atlanta took first.) One reason for this, much to the dismay of urban-planning types, is good old urban sprawl:

[W]ith [the] exception of the Washington and Baltimore areas, the fast-growing minority regions, and rapidly growing self-employed populations, are regions with diffuse, multi-polar and heavily suburbanized land patterns.

The strip mall, much detested among urban aesthetes and planners, often serves as “the immigrants’ friend,” says Houston architect Tim Cisneros. In places like Houston, Cisneros points out, Colombians, Nigerians, Mexicans, Indian and Vietnamese businesses usually cluster not in downtown centers or fancy high-end malls, but in makeshift auto-oriented strip centers, where prices are low, parking ample and the location within easy driving distance of various ethnic populations. You want a good Indian meal in Houston, you don’t need to head downtown, but to the outer suburbs of Fort Bend County.

See, for instance, OKC’s Asian District, or any number of locations on the largely-Spanish-speaking inner southside.

Then again, urban planning is getting to be mostly a SWPL activity anyway, and while it’s no longer officially used as a tool of Jim Crow, one of the presumably-desirable side effects — keeping property values up — just incidentally tends to discourage the new folks. Not that this is necessarily deliberate, of course, but not everyone has figured out this whole Law of Unintended Consequences business.

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You don’t snooze, you lose

Over the past decade I have had occasional bouts of insomnia, and while it seems for the moment to be treatable by the right chemical mix, there’s something a bit disconcerting about having to rely on that mix, not to mention the fact that by the time the stuff wears off, I’ve already been at work for several hours.

Of course, I can always wait for the government to hector me about it:

More than one-third of Americans routinely sleep fewer than seven hours a night, which affects their concentration and general health, new government research shows.

Insufficient sleep also impairs work performance and the ability to drive safely, found researchers for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which published two sleep studies March 4 in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In other news, weeds grow faster than grass, and you will probably not outrun a Ferrari with that new Nissan Versa.

Moreover, the Hyacinth Girl has noticed:

Even those of us who get “enough” sleep rarely get quality sleep. I’m not certain I should be ingesting as much coffee as I have been lately, but I need to get stuff done.

This is when I call the Dr — Dr Pepper, that is.

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Friday on my mind

Words one can hardly imagine in any context, let alone this one:

Stephen Colbert swung by Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to perform Rebecca Black’s “Friday,” following through on a bargain he struck with Fallon earlier in the week. (Fallon had held up his end by successfully raising $26,000 for Donors Choose. Which, when you think about it, means that Rebecca Black has evolved in the span of a fortnight from “adorable national punchline” to “legitimate force for good in the world.” Hey, what did you do with your last fortnight?)

I suppose I derived some peripheral joy from seeing various New York hipsters who no doubt would rather have heard a dirge about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire — a lot less mainstream, doncha know — getting caught up in the fun, fun, fun, fun of it all. But mostly, I feel somewhat vindicated: separated from the dime-store video and given a proper arrangement, this is actually not a bad little song, and if the lyrics occasionally veer off the edge, they couldn’t possibly be any dumber than, say, “Wild Thing,” and you know that one already, if only by osmosis.

And you can learn this one yourself: as the phrase goes, four chords, no waiting.

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Strange search-engine queries (270)

If you’re new around here — and all of us were at one time or another — this is a weekly feature wherein the logs are gone through with a fine-toothed comb, and then anything which causes an individual tooth to quiver with delight (or with pain, the difference being insignificant with mere combs, fercryingoutloud) gets stuck here for public consumption. It beats actually having to write stuff.

graphic novel women stripped and raped by invisible ghosts:  Starring Charlie Sheen in Two and a Half Menaces.

99 cougar hard shift blinking light:  Believe me, you don’t need a blinking light to tell you when you’ve had a hard shift.

States that make allowance for the pharmacist’s “moral concerns”:  No Lipitor for you, chubbo. Try Kansas.

when was daylight savings time adopted in oklahoma:  At two in the morning. Except that all of a sudden it was three in the morning. Farmers just shrugged.

a woman’s salad days are shorter than a man’s:  Provided, of course, you can get a man to eat salad at all.

the boondocks oklahoma city:  Did you mean “the boatdocks oklahoma city”?

too attractive for work:  If this describes you, see me for an application.

rich capitalysts enjoy driving:  Then they become government consultants and enjoy being driven.

deathwish slacks:  And you thought Sansabelt was weird.

“people who don’t date”:  Easy to spot. They’ve spent the last fifteen years online.

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Application data

Seen, one assumes, at the Department of Redundancy Department:

Now hiring

(Via FAIL Blog.)

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Why can’t this be fast?

Murilee Martin has been paging through Sammy Hagar’s memoir RED: My Uncensored Life in Rock, and he found the very sort of thing that I must mention here: when Hagar drew his first sort-of-rockstar paycheck, he went out and bought a car.

A Citroën 2CV.

“The most uncool car on the planet,” said Hagar: “a French car that looks like a sardine can. I thought it had class.”

Which explains much, since in the absence of a tailwind or a steep downward slope, he’d have had a devil of a time trying to drive 55 in that little boîte.

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418

The 31 March edition of Carnival of the Vanities, the 418th, was delayed until today because of Comcast, says Andrew Ian Dodge.

I have no dealings with Comcast myself, but at least one of their customers has had good luck with this RF Remote Control Extender, which operates on 418 MHz.

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Double-precision six-pack

Arnold Schwarzenegger, interviewed by Entertainment Weekly (#1149, 4/8), on how action heroes have changed in the last quarter-century or so:

The ’80s were a unique era — the hero had to have muscles or he was not believable. But things change. Heroes still have muscles, but it’s all CGI. Look at the movie 300. I mean, that guy was ripped. I said to [300 producer] Mark Canton, “You have got to get ahold of this guy. I want to know what his training regimen is.” Canton said, “What are you talking about? [Those muscles] cost me a lot of money.”

For some reason, the phrase “stunt abs” just popped into my mind.

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Applying for a wallet-depletion allowance

I’d done a preliminary run-through of my 2010 tax return in late January, inasmuch as I’d received all the pertinent forms to be included therein, and the results were sufficiently deflating to the pocketbook that I resolved to stall as long as possible. Nothing had changed between then and now, of course, but I still had to print out all that paperwork, review it for internal consistency — by which I mean “if you use the middle initial on the 1040, don’t spell out the full name on Schedule A, you knucklehead” — and then write a large check. So that was yesterday’s project, between dinner (combo #2 at Popeye’s) and the basketball game, motivated at least slightly by the desire to get this damn thing out of the house so I don’t obsess over it any further.

And no, I didn’t consider farming out the task to one of the professionals, such as they are; I used to be one of the professionals, such as I was, and I’m pretty good at keeping up with things.

Still, every year I start the form, I ask “Why the hell doesn’t Congress do anything about this?” The answer, unsurprisingly, is always “Why should they care? It’s not like they have to do this themselves.” Which suggests a piece of Fantasy Legislation: all 535 of them have to complete their returns, on camera, live on C-Span, on April 14th. If that doesn’t give them some motivation to clean up this misbegotten system, nothing will.

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Just another night in L.A.

Rather a lot of WTF moments at the Staples Center tonight, starting with a fistful of technicals, including a pair of offsetting Ts (Blake Griffin and Nick Collison) and one to each coach. Of course, one could also ask how it is that the Thunder were up twelve at the half and were down two fourteen minutes later, but that’s a bit more easily explainable: at least once in every game, everything just jells for the Clippers and they put together a seriously impressive run. If they could do that on a consistent basis, they wouldn’t be flirting with the 50-loss mark. Griffin, as almost always, was the top scorer, but Eric Gordon fired a trey with 43 seconds left to break a tie, and after Russell Westbrook fouled out — Serge Ibaka was already gone — Randy Foye iced the game with three out of four from the stripe. It was Clippers 98, Thunder 92, the Other L. A. Team’s second win in three tries over OKC.

In some ways, this game replicated the debacle in Portland the night before: first half good, second half crapola. The Clips outshot the Thunder by three percentage points and got a couple more rebounds, but the X factor here was the general failure of the Thunder starters to execute up to spec. Westbrook hit only one from the floor all night, though he did deliver the ball well (9 dimes); Ibaka scored in double figures, but collected only four boards; Kevin Durant was 10 for 24 and missed all four attempts from beyond the arc.

Meanwhile, Griffin had about his twelve thousandth double-double, and DeAndre Jordan got one too. Moreover, the Clippers put up 38 foul shots and collected on 27 of them. (Griffin went 12-18 from the stripe.) The Thunder, which usually can cash in at the foul line, only got 24 shots, 20 of which went. Add to this a six-point advantage in points in the paint, and you start to wonder how come the Clippers didn’t actually turn this into a blowout.

Six games to go, and the first four will be hairy: at Denver, back home the next night against the Clippers, followed two nights later by the Nuggets, and then off to the Left Coast again, to face the Lakers on Sunday and the Kings on Monday. There’s one last home game — against Milwaukee — but right now, Oklahoma City has more to fear than the Deer.

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Whole lotta bouncing going on

This may be the first time I’ve ever been envious of Tigger:

Zooey Deschanel with Tigger

Turns out, She & Him — which, you may remember, is the duo of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward — will be recording some songs for Disney’s reboot of Winnie the Pooh, due in theaters this July, and this is the song you’ll hear over the end credits:

Yeah, I know, I could be saving these up for a Zooeypalooza, but it’s not like I’m having trouble accumulating photographs or anything.

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Meanwhile in Ward 2

The Ward 2 runoff is Tuesday, and I can hardly wait: it will mean an end, at least for the moment, to some of the nastiest politicking in the history of the state, and if you’re familiar with the history of the state, the bar for Nasty has been set pretty high.

If you’ve missed any of the Monster Mud Rallies, Doug Loudenback’s place is your one-stop resource for everything Ward 2-related, and at the very least we all ought to buy him a beer, or something, since he’s done a satisfyingly-thorough job of documenting things, and he doesn’t even live in Ward 2. Maybe it’s easier to do this if your own vote isn’t on the line.

I haven’t said a whole lot myself, perhaps because I made up my mind a month ago:

The [Ward 2] race quickly narrowed down to two, and the Oklahoman prefers banker Charlie Swinton. I like the guy, but he’s not my first choice for a couple of reasons: in a meeting with our Neighborhood Association, he seemed to be unable to grasp the MAPS 3 Zeitgeist — almost two-thirds of Ward 2 voters favored MAPS 3, the whole package, and we expect him to share in our enthusiasm for same — and besides, is anyone seriously worried that the interests of bankers and such are not going to get any traction in the Council?

Given the hundreds of thousands of dollars being poured into the Swinton campaign, the answer to that question appears to be Yes. It’s dispiriting, really.

As a sidelight, some of us are getting what might be our first full immersion in 26 USC 527, which authorizes political action committees outside the jurisdiction of the Federal Election Commission. Most of the time, one’s reaction to 527 organizations seems to be whether the goring is being administered to one’s own ox or to the opposition’s. I don’t have a particular problem with 527s generally — they’re deployed all over the political spectrum, so it’s not like they tend toward any specific ideology — but one line in a poll conducted by Bloomberg before the 2010 elections [pdf] suggests that participation by 527 groups is viewed at least slightly negatively by the electorate: forty-seven percent of respondents said they would be less likely to support a candidate if his “campaign was aided by advertising by anonymous business groups.” (Forty-one percent said it didn’t matter.) Since I consider the private sector and the nonprofits to be essentially equivalent in terms of lobbying, or the noxiousness thereof, I’d count myself among those 47 percent. At least we know where Ed Shadid’s money is coming from: out of Ed Shadid’s pocket.

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These boots aren’t made for gawking

Morgan Freeberg contemplates Wonder Woman’s new garb (see, for instance, here), and decides that it’s yet another failure of the system:

The new Wonder Woman movie is going to be a financial Japanese-Tsunami-Reactor. And it’s not because Wonder Woman is covering up her legs; it’s because, since she is, we know the makers of the movie have all their priorities cockeyed. They’re focused on the wrong things. They won’t work hard to entertain the audience. They’d rather be politically correct than deliver the entertainment value to the audience, that the audience was promised.

What’s the problem with female legs, anyway? Where’d this come from? We’re a year and a half away from electing a female President with an awesome looking pair of legs. Isn’t it time we got past this?

I’m guessing he’s not referring to Michele Bachmann.

Seriously, if you can lay eyes on a Wonder Woman costume and your first instinct is “those two need to get covered up” … and you’re not talking about the breasts … you are way, way off base and there is something wrong with you.

Commenter Severian added:

Contrary to popular (read: feminist) belief, guys do not have a problem with gorgeous women kicking ass. Or un-gorgeous women kicking ass. So long as said ass-kicking is epic, total, sustained, and even quasi-plausible, guys are there … because we’re simple creatures who enjoy few things more than a bout of old-fashioned butt-whoopery.

As Dodge might say, “Car chases make movies better.” And I speak as someone who actually enjoyed both Jean de Florette and Manon of the Spring, despite a total absence of hoonage in either.

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