Fark blurb of the week

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Now that’s undead

Few bands were more appropriately named than the Zombies. After a few big hits in the middle 1960s, they broke up: a year after they broke up, their last LP (Odessey and Oracle) yielded up a major hit single which, three dozen years after the fact, sounds something like this:

Now touring again, the Zombies will be releasing a 50th Anniversary album next year. You can’t get much more undead than that.

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Where it all goes (’10)

For the last couple of years or so, I’ve been breaking down the property tax I pay by recipient. This year, no doubt inspired by my initiative, the County Treasurer is doing the math and enclosing the details with the annual tax statements, so here are his numbers for 2010, alongside my numbers [in brackets] for 2009:

  • City of Oklahoma City: $142.27 [$130.71]
  • Oklahoma City Public Schools: $524.90 [$517.11]
  • Metro Tech Center: $138.15 [$136.73]
  • Oklahoma County general: $110.34 [$113.81]
  • Countywide school levy: $37.02 [$36.64]
  • County Health Department: $23.17 [$22.92]
  • Metropolitan Library System: $46.50 [$46.02]
  • Total: $1022.34 [$1003.94]

The individual millages for each of these are listed here.

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In lieu of actual news

The 24-hour news cycle seldom contains anywhere near 24 hours of news. The purveyors of such things, therefore, have calculated that to retain as many eyeballs as possible, they have to resort to things which are technically not news. This includes the early-evening pontificating gasbags, the semi-cute morning shows, and, as Roberta X discovers, just a hint of fanservice:

I returned to full consciousness in time to have my eyeballs tugged out by a push-zoom from a handheld camera moving from the “anchor” (a leaden thing that was preventing motion) to a diminutive meteorologist; this move was followed up by the same handheld staggering across the set to end in a shot of the weatherlady from a vantage at least a foot and a half higher than the top of her head — a shot they held she proceeded to relate the weather with the usual Ritual Gesturing, accompanied by a disconcerting amount of cleavage. I’m not at all sure what the point was — drawing in the male viewership, perhaps? — but as the overture to a headache, it worked all too well.

Now that was worth quoting just for the definition of “anchor.” Still, weird camera angles are part of the Total News Experience these days. I never stay up late enough to see Fox’s Red Eye, for instance, but screenshots inevitably reveal a lowish camera placement — and an attractive female in what is known as the “leg chair.” Tamara Holder occupies that position in this shot:

Tamara Holder on Red Eye

Nor, as Jamie Colby illustrates, is this technique confined to fringe-time shows:

Jamie Colby on Fox News

Or, for that matter, to Fox. See, for instance, CNN’s Brianna Keiler and Jacqui Jeras:

Brianna Keiler and Jacqui Jeras on CNN

We may say that we’d rather get the news from some grizzled Chet Huntley type. In some cases, it might even be true. But cable news apparently can’t afford to take that chance.

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Not so fast

In 2006, Formula One barred all those nasty fuel-guzzling V-10 engines in favor of a 2.4-liter V-8.

Apparently this wasn’t enough, because in 2013 the F1-prescribed engine in 2013 will be a turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-four.

The fours also won’t rev so high: the limiters will kick in at 12,000 rpm. (In days gone by, F1 engines approached 20,000 rpm.) Fuel efficiency will be up by about a third; power outputs are expected to be in the 750-hp range, which ought to be plenty to push around a car that weighs less than 1400 lb.

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Live and let diet

Jeff Brokaw reminds us:

[E]mphatic declarative statement of the day: we do not understand diet and nutrition and motivation well enough to make general policy about it.

And by we, he means all of us: not you, not me, not Dr Hugo Hackenbush, not the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Everyone’s body is different. And to prove it:

Keith Richards lived on a diet of cocaine and heroin for like 30 years.

Then again, Keef has the best genes. Just look at him. Son of a gun will outlive us all.

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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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403

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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