Shut up and enjoy your swag

Wired’s Mr. Know-It-All fields the following question (June ’11, not yet on their Web site):

What’s the etiquette for hitting on booth babes at trade shows? Is it OK to ask one out if I feel a connection, or are they always off limits?

The women who don skintight dresses in the name of brand awareness are a special breed. They earn a pittance compared with their compatriots in Vogue, yet they’re expected to work 10 times harder…

Booth babes should thus be accorded the utmost respect. That doesn’t mean you’re forbidden from politely suggesting a post-show drink… but if the model declines — presumably with the ol’ “I have a boyfriend” line — don’t force the issue. You won’t prevail, and you could well wind up in the clutches of security.

I have to assume the same applies to product specialists at auto shows.

Still, this isn’t anything that a person with a keen grasp of common courtesy couldn’t figure out. Then again, there is no shortage of individuals who lack such grasp.

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He knew his life was incomplete

I bought this record when it came out, and it still gets played on a regular basis.

Strawbs, the title track from their 1974 album Hero and Heroine, recorded live in Japan the following year:

This suggested it to me; here are the lyrics.

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Not a Western movie

“I just got hit by a great big brick,” wails the poor fellow, but his girlfriend refuses to commiserate: “She says thanks for reminding me about that Maverick.”

The Thunder got more reminders than they wanted about several Mavericks tonight, and it doesn’t help that they put up lots of bricks themselves: they managed only 12 points in the first quarter, and wound up shooting a miserable 36.5 percent. You don’t want to know about their three-point prowess. (Okay, if you’re a glutton for punishment: they missed sixteen in a row before Russell Westbrook finally dropped one through. That’s 5.9 percent. I’ve had credit cards at that rate.) Dallas won Game 3, 93-87, and the Mavs now lead the series 2-1.

It wasn’t Dirk slipping them the dagger; although Nowitzki had ten in the fourth quarter, he managed only 18 total. Shawn Marion was the better marksman tonight, getting his 18 off 9-13 shooting. The Two Jasons added thirteen each; Tyson Chandler had 15 rebounds.

Meanwhile, Batman and Robin got little help from their fellow Gothamers. Westbrook had a game-high 30, but he was 8-20 from the floor; Kevin Durant had a double-double — 24 points, 12 boards — but shot 7-22. (Take out those eight missed treys and he’s at 50 percent.) Which leaves a mere 17 points for the other starters and 16 from the bench. At least the foul shooting was up to snuff: 32 of 36. And there’s this: late in the fourth, it was possible to hear a bar or two of that infamous Cee Lo Green song playing in the background. I’m sure it was the expurgated version, but the sentiment had to be something other than “Forget you.”

Game 4 is Monday at the Roundhouse, at which time we’ll see if the Thunder have any kick left.

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Saturday spottings (vision and revision)

The first place I hit this afternoon was the Belle Isle Library, which is getting a new roof. I’m guessing that it was damaged in the same hailstorm that took out chunks of my roof last June, and they’re just now getting around to fixing it. (Metro Library, unlike too many others, is not hurting for money, but they don’t move with incredible speed either.) Various bits of equipment took up about half of the west-side parking lot, which meant that parking near the north door was at a premium.

The second place I hit this afternoon was the Homeland store at May and Britton, which is being remodeled, perhaps in response to the impending arrival of Whole Foods (four miles away) and Sunflower Farmers Market (two miles away). They’d already redone the produce section; today, much of the flooring had been de-tiled in preparation for whatever new stuff is to be put down. Truth be told, what I want most from them is a reduction in scanning sensitivity on the self-checkout machines: about once a month the robotic voice goes into a spaz about an unexpected item in the bagging area. I have occasionally cussed at the damn thing: “Well, I expected it. What the hell is wrong with you?”

From the Department of Having Seen Too Many Movie Romances: I pulled into traffic behind this Fabulous Babe on a red Vespa. (Actually, I couldn’t tell much from her face except what I could see in her rear-view mirrors, but being on a red Vespa garners Fabulous Babe points all by itself, and, well, nice legs were in evidence.) She had her purse stuffed into a saddlebag, but one of the two buckles on the saddlebag was not cinched down. I started conjuring up a story about how the purse went flying, and how I amazingly managed to retrieve it without causing a wreck, and from this highly-unlikely Meet Cute, we lived happily ever after.

And speaking of unbelievable stories, at 6 pm, to greet the end of the world, I took off my clothes — no sense littering the place — and went out back to meet the Heavenly Host. (Hey, I came into this world that way, I can jolly well leave it under those circumstances.) I got two visitors, both birds, but no other aerial activity was manifest, so I went back inside and started typing.

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We did it anyway

[Note: The Curmudgeon Emeritus forwarded me an email that had been going around, with a request for verification of the claims made therein. I figured if he’d gotten it, so have several others in proximity to blogdom, and having already sent him my reply, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t mind if I reproduced it here.]

Oklahoma law passed, 37 to 9, had a few liberals in the mix, an amendment to place the Ten Commandments on the front entrance to the state capitol. The feds in D.C., along with the ACLU, said it would be a mistake. Hey this is a conservative state, based on Christian values…! HB 1330 Guess what… Oklahoma did it anyway.

HB 1330 did indeed pass both houses, and then-Governor Brad Henry did sign it. Rep. Mike Ritze (R-Broken Arrow) and his family paid for the marker; private funding is being raised to pay for its installation north of the Capitol on the grounds. (It’s not “over the front entrance”.) This one is a qualified True, pending the final installation.

Oklahoma recently passed a law in the state to incarcerate all illegal immigrants, and ship them back to where they came from unless they want to get a green card and become an American citizen. They all scattered. HB 1804. Hope we didn’t send any of them to your state. This was against the advice of the Federal Government, and the ACLU, they said it would be a mistake.

HB 1804 was passed, and signed by Governor Henry. It is not quite so draconian, but it does forbid state services to illegals, and requires police to check the status of anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. There exists an injunction against part of the bill, which deals with the requirement of employers to verify the work-authorization status of employees and independent contractors. The rest of it remains in place. Call this one Mostly True.

Recently we passed a law to include DNA samples from any and all illegal’s to the Oklahoma database, for criminal investigative purposes. Pelosi said it was unconstitutional. SB 1102

Technically, SB 1102 only calls for the collection of DNA samples from illegal immigrants if they are arrested for any reason, and for similar collection from anyone convicted of a felony or of certain violent misdemeanors. I hesitate to give this one a True because under HB 1804, the interlopers must first be suspected before they can be busted.

Addendum: Nancy Pelosi’s Constitutional knowledge, I suggest, falls short of, say, Britney Spears’ expertise in the field of semiconductor physics.

Several weeks ago, we passed a law, declaring Oklahoma as a Sovereign state, not under the Federal Government directives. Joining Texas, Montana and Utah as the only states to do so. More states are likely to follow: Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, the Carolina’s, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, West Virginia, Mississippi, Florida. Save your confederate money, it appears the South is about to rise up once again. HJR 1003

Author of HJR 1003, Rep. Charles Key (R-OKC), described it this way: “House Joint Resolution 1003 declares Oklahoma’s sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment in all matters not otherwise enumerated or granted to the federal government under the U.S. Constitution. The resolution also calls on the president and other agents of the federal government to ‘cease and desist’ mandates beyond the scope of ‘constitutionally delegated powers’ and repeal all compulsory federal legislation directing states to comply under threat of civil or criminal sanctions or in order to gain federal funding.”

There is, however, no real enforcement power behind it, though the state does have a record of rejecting Federal funds, most recently a $54 million handout to set up an Obamacare insurance exchange. House Speaker Kris Steele (R-Shawnee) said it shouldn’t cost that much money and that the state is better off going it alone. Make of that what you will.

The federal Government has made bold steps to take away our guns. Oklahoma, a week ago, passed a law confirming people in this state have the right to bear arms and transport them in their vehicles. I’m sure that was a set back for the criminals. The Liberals didn’t like it — But … Guess what… Oklahoma did it anyway.

Open carrying, unloaded, is legal and does not require a concealed-carry license when going to or from the person’s private residence or vehicle, to a gun shop, gun show, or for any form of hunting/sport activities. It is also legal to transport an unloaded weapon in a motor vehicle at any time. (True, mostly.)

Anything beyond that requires a concealed-carry license. New bills were
introduced this year to widen the areas where guns were permitted (vocational schools, some college campuses) and to allow open carry of loaded weapons, but none of them had made it through the Legislature before it adjourned Friday.

[Correction: The vocational-school (“CareerTech”) measure, which would have allowed guns inside locked cars on those campuses, did in fact pass both Houses, though Governor Fallin has yet to sign it.]

Just this month, the state has voted and passed a law that ALL driver’s license exams will be printed in English, and only English, and no other language. They have been called racist for doing this, but the fact is that ALL of the road signs are in English only. If you want to drive in Oklahoma, you must read and write English. Really simple.

This was part of State Question 751, which makes English the official language of the state; it was passed by voters in November 2010. A Tulsa law professor, last I looked, was working up a second challenge to the measure; his first was withdrawn for a procedural matter. USDOJ sent a nastygram to the state’s attorney general, hinting that it might cost the state federal funding; the state’s Congressional delegation wrote back, suggesting that Eric Holder had better things to do with his time. For the moment, this is True.

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The other elephant in the room

No, not the baby elephant born at the OKC Zoo last month. This one’s white, and it’s going to cost $280 million.

I mean, of course, the hotly-hyped All-New Convention Center of the Future, which, says the Oklahoman, is the “crown jewel” of MAPS 3. It is to laugh. Nick Roberts has already weighed in on this, pointing out one obvious fact:

The streetcar was by far the issue that carried the ballot, whereas voters generally reacted quite unfavorably to the convention center — it alone would have failed by a huge margin if it weren’t riding the streetcar to ballot victory.

Of course, Jim Lange’s John Q. Public might have gotten some actual, physical use out of the streetcar; as Roberts notes, he’d likely have no reason ever to go to the convention center.

What everyone is overlooking, though, is this: eventually nobody will have a reason ever to go to the convention center. Convention business isn’t exactly booming, and the grisly pas de deux of government policies and energy prices insures that the nation’s once-vaunted mobility is trampled underfoot: whether by design or merely by default, travel is rapidly becoming as inconvenient and as expensive as is humanly possible. There will always be some convention business, but it’s going to be confined to the handful of top-tier cities with which we already arguably fail to compete. If it is deemed necessary to remind the rest of the nation that Oklahoma City actually exists, a quarter of a billion dollars would buy a hell of a lot of Kevin Durant backpacks.

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Sharp, and not particularly flat

Charlotte Olympia offers not quite an octave and a half:

Piano by Charlotte Olympia

This is called, sensibly enough, “Piano,” and the keys are patent calfskin, the toe suede kidskin. It’s tall — a 30-mm platform not quite offsetting a 145-mm heel — and at £650, not much cheaper than a used piano. Then again, a real piano probably wouldn’t have those two extra white keys per octave.

And now that I look at it, apart from that slightly-anomalous keyboard design it’s not all that different from “Dolly,” worn here by Sarah Jessica Parker. Not that I care; this shoe is an attention-grabber from any part of the scale. Seriously-stylish jewelry designer Wendy Brandes says: “If I owned these shoes, I’d stand around midtown hoping that someone would ask me for directions to Carnegie Hall.” I’m not so sure they’d go with this dress, though.

Also available from Charlotte Olympia: the perfect shoe to go with your Carmen Miranda hat. There’s even a flat version.

(Tweeted in my general direction by Nancy Friedman, an invaluable source for shoe lore and proper word usage.)

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Quote of the week

Peter M. De Lorenzo, the Autoextremist, on that suspiciously-timed consumer survey that said Americans really, really want the government to crank up fuel-economy standards:

If you call up consumers at night after they just paid $4.25+ for regular on the way home of course they’re going to endorse a higher future fuel economy standard to a pollster asking leading questions.

They’d also say they’d want to eat a double cheeseburger and fries at Five Guys and not gain a pound, be able to go to a pro football game for $5.00 a ticket, buy a Savile Row suit for $100, have a cell phone bill that never goes over $25 a month, have lifetime access to a gym for nothing, gift a pair of Manolo Blahniks for $50, live in a 3,000-square-foot bungalow in Malibu for $1000 a month, drive a 911 Porsche Turbo for the price of a Sonata, fly to Europe in First Class for $500, never pay over $1.00 at Starbucks no matter what the drink, etc., etc., etc. This is groundbreaking research?

In fairness, I should point out that my cell phone bill never goes over, um, $26 a month. (Okay, it did once, when I was fighting with the Evil Death Star over their failure to process a simple land-line connection properly.)

Still, I can think of a few people I’d treat to Manolos if I could wangle them for fifty bucks. Oh, and they just opened a Five Guys down in Moore.

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If I had a hammer

We have here Rene Russo at the premiere of Thor, in which she plays Thor’s mom Frigga.

Rene Russo at Thor premiere

Sorry, no shots of Asgard.

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Overhead down there

Yours truly, earlier this week:

The Cult of Pedicure … I see as mostly an economic phenomenon, made possible largely by massive emigration from the Pacific Rim. With a nail salon in every strip mall, prices are, if not nil, certainly nominal.

The advantage of competition. Miriam knows:

Medicare pays podiatrists to cut the toenails of seniors. The last time I looked, the government paid Dr X $65 to cut Mr Charm’s toenails. To reach Dr X, we needed an appointment, and upon arrival, we had to walk down a long hall, Mr Charm had to climb up in a chair, and wait. And wait.

Doctors A through W inclusive probably get the same $65. The alternative:

So I am bypassing the government. I now take Mr Charm (and myself) to the Vietnamese nail salon. No appointment. We park in the handicapped parking spot, Mr Tran comes out with a chair and helps Mr Charm into it. He helps him climb into the pedicure chair. Then he washes his feet up to the knees, scrubs the bottoms of his feet and removes any rough skin, and gives his legs a nice, soothing massage. He also cuts Mr Charm’s fingernails. For this we pay $35, plus tip.

Scary thought: If Medicare is paying $65 for this procedure, how much would they bill someone without insurance?

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Which stance can I take?

Somehow this headline made me smirk: ‘Friday’ singer, 13, not pregnant.

And in other Rebecca Black news, they’ve begun casting the video for the new single, which allegedly is titled “LOL.” Whether this is pronounced “ell-oh-ell” or “lohl” or “lawl” is not yet known. It is not, however, going to be produced by Lol Creme.

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We don’t need no stinkin’ warrants

Now that the 4th Amendment isn’t worth squat, petty officious types will be looking to lord it over the rest of us, and nobody is more petty or officious than the Recording Industry Association of America:

The RIAA is always looking for ways to give law enforcement new powers to protect its business model, and new legislation being proposed in California goes so far as to suspend the 4th Amendment in this endeavor.

Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) submitted bill SB 550 earlier this month to give police the ability to conduct warrantless searches of the state’s commercial CD and DVD manufacturing facilities.

“The bill would authorize law enforcement officers to perform inspections, as specified, at commercial optical disc manufacturing facilities during regular business hours without a warrant for the purpose of verifying compliance with these provisions and would authorize law enforcement officers, in performing these investigations, to seize any optical disc or production part manufactured in violation of these provisions,” it reads.

Individual downloaders, presumably, will be sued first and inspected later.

I suspect it’s just a matter of time before the ketchup-fearing sociopaths of the Center for Science in the Public Interest are granted the right to look into your refrigerator.

(Via old pal/Facebook friend R. Francis Smith.)

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Absence of Dallas

Nick Collison was almost able to contain Dirk Nowitzki until the last minute, when his sixth foul took him out of the game with the Thunder up six. Dirk got three free throws, and inexplicably missed one; Oklahoma City ran 24 seconds of clock and drew a shot-clock violation; a Dallas trey went awry, Thabo Sefolosha sank two out of two from the line, and the Thunder wound up with a 106-100 win to even up the series.

Which is not to say that Dirk had problems. Okay, he missed one foul shot out of ten, which kept him to a mere 29 points. But the Dallas bench, so clearly superior Tuesday night, was seriously outplayed by the OKC reserves: sixth man James Harden rolled up 23 points on nine shots, while it was taking Kevin Durant 23 shots to get 24. In fact, Russell Westbrook got to ride the pine late in the game, because Eric Maynor was masterminding things so well.

The Mavs shot only 43.8 percent tonight, way below spec for a gang of sharpshooters. Telltale statistic: Jason Terry, who ran OKC ragged in Game 1, scored zip in the second half. Meanwhile, the Thunder was hitting 55.7 percent from the field, despite the best efforts of Tyson Chandler (15 points, 13 rebounds).

So it is apparently possible to beat the Mavs on their home court. (Lakers, take note.) The trick, of course, will be beating them three times more out of the next five. Then again, three of the next five will be in the Arena Waiting For A Name in downtown OKC, starting on Saturday night. Things are gonna get loud(er).

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The Cliché Repository

I bet you’ve heard this one before:

These guys had all been in prison together for a long time and a new inmate arrived.

When it was night and lights out, someone said, “16” and everyone cracked up. Someone else said “23” and people cracked up again. Someone else said “45” and everyone was rolling.

The new guy asked his cellmate what was going on and was told that they’d all been together so long, and knew all the jokes that instead of reciting the whole joke they’d numbered them.

Then someone yelled out “29” and nothing happened, no response. Again, “29” and no reaction. So the new guy asked his cellmate what was up and he said, “Well, you know, some people just can’t tell a joke.”

This is probably not the inspiration for Andrea Harris’ new Graveyard:

I finally started something I’ve been wanting to for a while: a page with all those overused, hackneyed (now) quotations that have been used and reused on the internet. If you feel compelled to use one of them, instead of infesting my website with yet another iteration of, say, that “Orwell” one about “rough men,” please just say “Graveyard, second item.” (I don’t actually have them numbered, though. I may do so if the list gets large enough.)

Hey, it’s her world; we just live in it.

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From ten years ago today

I figure, I have all these archives, the least I can do is recycle them once in a while.

From 19 May 2001:

The Cola Wars continue apace. As I was wheeling into the supermarket today, a giant inflatable Coca-Cola bottle proclaimed the appearance of a traveling lunch wagon at which said soft drink was the One True Beverage, while on the curb in front of the store, a visibly-fatigued figure started another lap of the premises with his Pepsi sign.

This is the sort of thing that drove me into the not-a-cola-or-a-root beer embrace of Dr Pepper. Temporarily, anyway.

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No longer under warranty

There’s an old joke about how drinking lots of water will keep you from getting stiff in the joints — although some of the joints don’t even serve water.

At the moment, merely bothersome joints would be an improvement: yesterday was punctuated by what seems to be Bursitis Resurgent, and just about everything south of the clavicle is sore in some way or other. This is, of course, one of the worst work weeks of the year, which doesn’t help. I have, however, started agitating for a ramp between the two office levels, since climbing and descending 150 times a day is aggravating all my existing conditions with the possible exception of the heartbreak of psoriasis. (And if things get much worse, I’ll be in a chair anyway.)

Not that I have any right to complain: also at the moment, my ex’s kid sister is having a not-so-easy time recovering from what appears to be a stroke. So I’ll have to try to keep the whining to a minimum.

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