Labors of love

Pertinent quote from a long-time quilter:

“We do a lot of quilting for other organizations,” [Laverne] Ray said. “So really, a lot of the quilts we do, we give most of them away. People try and buy our quilts, but if you think about it, they wouldn’t even be paying us minimum wage, hardly even 25 cents an hour for the time it takes to make one of these.”

Not that I have any experience as a quilter, really, but I did once contribute a square to a quilt, including a bit of decorative stitching (which involved some actual machinery and one of those wacky plastic cams) and one appliqued piece (which I did by hand), and it took me over an hour to get it to the point where I deemed it satisfactory.

You will not see me smirking at quilters.

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Meanwhile at Fourth and Boston

Stephen Green quotes some CNN drone who describes President Obama as “the most powerful Democrat in America,” and puts that description in its place:

These days, though, that’s hardly fit for bragging rights. Being the “most powerful Democrat in the country” is a bit like being the fourth tallest building in Tulsa.

Then again, the Mid-Continent Tower didn’t get to be the fourth tallest building in Tulsa by just standing there on the corner: it took some serious architectural trickery. The first 16 stories were completed in 1918; the upper 20 were completed in 1984, and since the original structure wouldn’t hold all that extra weight, the upper stories are supported by a cantilever and don’t actually touch the lower sections.

So maybe being the fourth-tallest building in Tulsa doesn’t have quite the sneer value Mr Green thinks it does. A better choice might be the fifth-ranked Bank of America Center at 15 West 6th Street, given B of A’s ostensible Too Big to Fail status, not far off from what the President might think of himself these days.

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To E or not to E

I’ve never been quite sure whether the “up to 10%” statements on gas pumps really mean something like 9.95-percent ethanol. And I really haven’t cared so much, since I’m not really seeing any particular downside to E10 in my own car, except for the fact that corn on the cob has gotten really freaking expensive of late.

Still, where you go determines whether you get any corn squeezin’s in your tank or not: stations around here either have ethanol, or they don’t.

Or maybe not. I was on the southside yesterday and passed a station that, assuming I was reading its electrozoomy sign correctly, could pump your 87-octane fuel with or without the Green Giant additive; doing without would cost you an extra nickel a gallon.

Multiple pumps like this will likely be the only way the Renewable Fuels dorks will get their precious E15, especially since the EPA has thus far declined to approve E15 for anything older than model year 2007. I am, of course, hoping that they don’t go any further, but until some politician’s actual ride is destroyed by an overdose of ethanol, I have to assume that they’re going to try their damnedest to inflict this stuff on the rest of us.

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What’s Manu with you?

The Thunder squeezed out a 111-102 win against the San Antonio Spurs, though it’s pretty sure that they have no answer for Manu Ginobili, who took only nine shots in 26 minutes and wound up with 17 points, including five of seven treys. And the starters did all the heavy lifting: Scott Brooks played only nine men, as he usually does during the actual season, and the bench contributed a mere eight points.

Still, we got to see the Good Jeff Green tonight, the one who got 27 points and nine rebounds. Kevin Durant dropped in 29. Serge Ibaka got the start in the middle, and responded with 12 points and six boards — and five fouls. Then again, San Antonio has no answer for James Harden, who took only six shots in 33 minutes and wound up with 18 points, including three of three treys.

And the Spurs, supposedly riven with Methuselah’s college teammates, managed to get all their starters into double figures, plus sixth man George Hill. Had they left them in as long as the Thunder did theirs, it might have been a different game. But tomorrow at Denver, we’re not likely to see either Durant or Russell Westbrook, so things could get scary. Damn preseason.

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I suspect a Wyrd Sister was involved

Behold, the Discworld Cake:

Discworld Cake

And here’s how to do it.

(Via CalvinsMom, possibly an Unseen Academical.)

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Literally, in this case: the Navy dispatched a detail so that my brother could go out with the proper military fanfare.

Turnout was actually pretty good. Some of his old school buds flew in for the occasion. My kids and their mom came down from Kansas City; a nephew arrived from Dallas. I was gratified to see that (1) one particular amazingly-hideous tie will never be seen above ground again, and that (2) whoever decided that we needed to hear “Let It Be” picked the proper 45 version rather than the overwrought Spectorized album track.

I didn’t actually come close to losing it, though, until after the bugler had finished and the two other sailors were folding the flag that had covered the coffin. I mean, I know this ritual, having worn the uniform myself, and it packs a serious emotional wallop.

But I think he’d have been pleased, and while I’m still mystified at the fact that he’s gone and I’m still here, “gone,” I believe, is a term whose precision is very much overestimated.

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This seems fairly inarguable

“Why should men cook?” Among other reasons:

  1. Women think men who cook are sexy.
  2. It involves fire, sharp instruments, and meat.
  3. Women think men who cook are sexy, and it involves fire, sharp instruments, and meat.

There are more reasons, on the off-chance that you need more reasons.

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Where have all the tickets gone?

Not to me, thank heaven. I have, for the last fifteen years or so, driven cars that tend to blend into the background, blandmobiles (irrespective of performance potential) which don’t attract the attention of law enforcement.

But somebody must be getting those Notices of Violation. An operation called Quality Planning, which does statistical analysis for auto-insurance firms, has identified ten vehicles that are far more likely than average to be ticketed, three of which exceed that average by a factor of three or more. The perps: Mercedes-Benz SL; Toyota Solara; Scion tC. I am at a loss to explain why this terrible threesome is so vulnerable, as the only thing they seem to have in common is that they’re driven primarily by women (around 60 percent for each), and I’m not buying the idea that, well, women are just sucky drivers. (Besides, I have a known weakness for women in SLs.)

At the other end of the spectrum, getting maybe 40 percent of the average number of tickets, are presumably-mundane trundlers like the Buick Rainier and the Mazda Tribute.

(Complete press release in PDF format here.)

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The return of the Stubborn Rose

It was hot this summer, and it’s been on the dry side for rather a long time. As of the 10th of October, the rosebushes were pretty much bare.

But then:

Fall rose

This is an unusually-good flower for the waning days of the growing season, and there are a few more buds behind it, though you can’t see them from this angle. Last year, I had roses as late as Thanksgiving; with the first winter freeze still some time away, I might be able to pull that off again, and with better blooms too.

(Embiggened version on Flickr.)

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Strange search-engine queries (246)

A simple scheme, yes, but one which occasionally produces actual results: we sift through the week’s logs, identify the search strings, and then convert them to comedy gold, or at least some pyrite derivative.

“basket of goodies” innuendo:  Those of us who were fans of Little Red Riding Hood will not stand for this blaming-the-victim business.

transit “creeps & weirdos”:  “And another gets on, and another gets on, another one rides the bus.” — Alfred Yankovic, 1980

Never trust ale from a god-fearing people:  Surprisingly, this is not a Ferengi Rule of Acquisition.

angry scotsman ringtone:  Unless the phone bounces out of your hand and onto a nearby rock, it’s not angry enough.

Evermore supplant prosaic lexemes with heteromorphic cognitions:  Unless the phone bounces out of your hand and onto a nearby rock, it’s not heteromorphic enough.

where do fasolt and fasner live:  They towed a double-wide onto the ruins of Valhalla.

does a mazda car have a solenoid manifest valve:  Right next to the receptacle for the blinker fluid.

tulsa thinks it’s a big city:  Well, maybe not compared to Shanghai, but it’s not exactly Hooterville either.

womens pole vault panty pics:  This is not what Casey Kasem meant by “keep reaching for the stars.”

seeking women naturist sci fi geek:  I suspect there are maybe two dozen such, and perhaps 5,000 guys after them.

marmoset knock you out:  The biggest hit by LL Callitrichidae J.

nude women with anvil:  Another glimpse into the dreams of Elmer J. Fudd, millionaire, who has a mansion and a yacht.

god drives a turbo buick sign:  Well, God has been around since the Old Testament days, so I figure He’s in Buick’s target demographic.

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The millionaires and me

Clement Wan picks up on some points from Thomas J. Stanley’s Stop Acting Rich:

  • Eighty-six percent of all prestige or luxury makes of motor vehicles are driven by people who are not millionaires.
  • Typically, millionaires pay about $16 (including tip) for a haircut.
  • Nearly four in 10 millionaires buy wine that costs about $10.
  • In the United States, there are nearly three times as many millionaires living in homes with a market value of less than $300,000 than there are living in homes valued at $1 million or more.
  • Forget the Manolo Blahnik high-priced shoes. The No. 1 shoe brand worn by millionaire women is Nine West. Their favorite clothing store is Ann Taylor.

The first item there reminds me of something once said by the Booth Babe:

We can tell in an instant if you’re really a baller or if you’re a $30,000 “millionaire” that rented a car for the night to try to score some chicks. Pretending to be someone you’re not will get you no love.

That said, I admit to owning a so-called “luxury” car; in my defense, I bought it used.

Apparently I overpay for my haircuts — $18 — though my house is worth maybe $100,000 at the most, and it’s been rather a long time since I bought a bottle of wine.

And given my desire to avoid Penn Square Mall, especially between November and January, it would not have occurred to me to go looking for well-heeled babes at the Ann Taylor and Nine West stores therein. Then again, I tend to buy my own shoes at New Balance, and their outlet in Edmond is adjacent to an Ann Taylor Loft.

(Via TJIC.)

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The man moves on

In which I attempt to sum up the life of my dearly-departed brother in somewhere around 900 words, not all of which are mine.

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Electrically rechanneled

The announcement by Los Angeles’ KCET that they will drop their affiliation with PBS as of the first of the year prompts this prediction by Doc Searls:

[T]he real story here is the death of TV as we knew it, and the birth of whatever follows.

Relatively few people actually watch TV from antennas any more. KCET, KOCE and KLCS are cable stations now. That means they’re just data streams with channel numbers, arriving at flat screens served by cable systems required to carry them.

And those channel numbers may or may not correspond to their actual television channels. (I checked: KCET’s does, the others don’t.) But those numbers are rapidly approaching irrelevancy anyway:

What makes a TV station local is now content and culture, not transmitter location and power. In fact, a station won’t even need a “channel” or “channels” after the next digital transition is done. That’s the transition from cable to Internet, at the end of which all video will be either a data stream or a file transfer, as with a podcast.

All that keeps cable coherent today is the continuing perception, substantiated only by combination of regulation and set-top box design, that “TV” still exists, and choices there are limited to “channels” and program schedules. All of those are anachronisms. Living fossils. And very doomed.

As always with profitable fossils, you can expect desperate attempts to prolong their lifespans, with the usual argument that “Our business model is clearly in the public service and must be preserved.” Members of the actual public prefer to vote with their pocketbooks, but it’s clearly in the fossils’ interest to limit the available choices.

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Somewhere it’s always June

Barbara Billingsley magazine spread

In memory of Barbara Billingsley, TV mom par excellence and legendary English-to-Jive translator, who died Saturday at ninety-four, definitely hard on the Beaver.

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The GOP seeks to GOTV

The Oklahoma Republican Party, at least in my county, has sent out a flyer to registered party members containing, in addition to the expected political boilerplate, two copies of the state absentee-voter application, which must be received by the appropriate County Election Board no later than the 27th of October.

Getting out the vote is an imperative for any political party, and this particular scheme looks pretty astute: it doesn’t cost the GOP any more than the usual flyer, and I have to figure that there are at least some area Republicans who might have thought of passing up going to the polls themselves, for whatever reason, who will take the party up on this deal. Then again, it’s a safe bet that a few of these flyers will fall into the hands of Democrats, but that’s the price to be paid for inattention to one’s voter database. (How do you think I got one?)

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The pentacle of success

From Marios Schwab’s spring collection:

Shoes by Marios Schwab

Tavi describes these astutely as “super average leather brown clunkers, but with pentacle-esque stitching. Like the Christine O’Donnell witch malarky, in shoe form.”

In fact, Schwab’s model seems to look a tad unearthly, which perhaps adds to the stereotypical witchyness. (And I’m thinking that O’Donnell should have exploited it to the hilt, by, say, threatening to turn opponent Chris Coons into Newt Gingrich, but that’s another matter entirely.)

If you ask me, I say it’s a fun and funky shoe, but it will probably cost as much as a storm shelter. And if you noticed that hemline, well, the economy is down.

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