Saturn alia (duo)

Yet another bid to save Saturn, this one with Oklahoma City roots:

An Oklahoma City private equity firm has teamed with a group of Saturn dealers in an effort to buy the money-losing brand from General Motors Corp.

The proposal from a group led by Black Oak Partners LLC is among several that GM has received for the brand, said GM spokesman Mike Morrissey.

“We are working with all those groups,” Morrissey said. “It’s too early to speculate as to what the ultimate outcome is going to be.”

Jennifer Threet, a spokeswoman for the Black Oak group, said it delivered a proposal to GM last week and is awaiting a formal meeting.

Unlike this earlier proposal, the Black Oak group would not hook up with one existing manufacturer as sole source: Saturn 2.0 would maintain a design team, which would then work with outside automakers to tailor appropriate models accordingly.

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Never, ever going back

On occasion, I take a peek at ApartmentRatings.com, not because I have any particular need for an apartment, but I’m curious to see what others might have to say about the CrappiFlats™ I lived in for too many years. And this week there’s a new post, which is, shall we say, somewhat critical of the place:

I have lived here almost 6 months. Thank God my lease is up in 2 weeks. I would not recommend this place to anyone. There is constant noise music bumping outside the windows, people fighting (they like to take their fights outside), the cops are always here and they do not fix ANYTHING! I have had a bad leak in the kitchen since I moved in. I get sick because I think there is mold since the leak is coming from our upstairs. The place seems decent enough when you go in. The people are nice initially and get you to move by their “if you sign the lease today you get your first month free!” Me and my roomate get harrassed constantly. We literally had a creepy ass dude yell at us through her window saying “Do you got a man up there’ Everyone needs a little wood in their life” People creep outside our door if we get home late and always try to get drugs from us. This place is aweful. DO NOT LIVE HERE!!!!!

I never had any encounters with creepy-ass dudes, but otherwise this seems spot-on.

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Neither England nor France to be seen

Someone in the rag trade reportedly has been floating a statement to the effect that “hosiery is for grannies and pin-up girls,” which prompted this response:

Well, I’m definitely not a granny … But I do wear hose, at least until it gets so unbearably hot here that it’s unpleasant. (And even then, if I’m wearing a shorter skirt, I still will wear them … it’s sort of a modesty thing, a throwback to the days when you wore shorts under your skirts on the playground so you could do “penny drops” on the monkey bars without people chanting that “I see London, I see France” rhyme).

So by someone’s strict logic, that means I’m in the same category as Betty Grable and Lili St. Cyr. (And even Sophia Loren, who, were I given the choice of any woman on this earth to look like, I would choose…)

Then again, there’s this:

Stockings aren’t popular anymore because most women learned how to dress in a social climate that encourages equality over coquetry and utility over aesthetic.

“Most women,” one assumes, might not include pin-up girls. Or grannies.

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And that’s a wrap

So finally we win one from the Clips. No-longer-interim coach Scott Brooks came up with the idea of starting Shaun Livingston at the two, just in case there was any lingering mental block about coming back to the place where poor Shaun shredded his knee. In his primarily-defensive role, Livingston came up with six points and seven rebounds. And if you thought the Thunder might want to go out with a bang, well, things were certainly incendiary at the Staples Center: Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy decided in the third quarter that he’d seen enough and rolled up two technicals, earning him a free pass to the locker room. Thunder 126, Clippers 85, a blowout by any definition of the word, and a hell of a way to cap off a season.

The Thunder were utterly dominant from start to finish: they shot 53.9 percent, 10 points better than the Clips, and reeled in 49 rebounds versus 31. Two from the OKC bench posted double-doubles: Earl Watson (16 points, 14 assists) and D. J. White (15 points, 11 boards). Nick Collison spent more time in the middle than starter Nenad Krstić and knocked down 17 points. The Big Three? Kevin Durant 26, Jeff Green 19, Russell Westbrook 14, and none of them played as many minutes as Livingston, who logged 33.

Bright spots for L.A. were few and far between, though Mike Taylor’s 60-foot buzzer beater at the end of the third quarter certainly got a rise out of the sellout crowd. And rookie Eric Gordon shot 10 for 15 for 22 points.

So: 23-59. Hollinger actually predicted that, I think. It’s about ten fewer wins than I was anticipating, but then I tend toward the goofily optimistic when it comes to hoops. There will be changes during the summer: two first-round draft picks, a few departing players, and a fair amount of actual cap space, should Sam Presti want a shot at a free agent. But right now, it’s late and it’s a school night.

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Tea for two thousand, or more

Maybe five thousand, depending on whose figures you believe; according to the writeup in the Oklahoman, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol estimated the crowd at between 4,000 and 5,000.

Arguably the funniest comment from the newspaper’s Web site:

Why are you 2000-5000 people not at work? You can’t be paying taxes if you’re taking off work. Where did you get these people? At the bus station? You are protesting today while living on govt programs, driving on federally funded roads, taking your kids to public schools and enjoying the life that America affords.

Don’t look at me. I work for a living.

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Promptly suspected

Apparently spurning a graphic user interface is considered suspicious activity these days:

On Friday, EFF and the law firm of Fish and Richardson filed an emergency motion to quash [link goes to PDF file] and for the return of seized property on behalf of a Boston College computer science student whose computers, cell phone, and other property were seized as part of an investigation into who sent an e-mail to a school mailing list identifying another student as gay. The problem? Not only is there no indication that any crime was committed, the investigating officer argued that the computer expertise of the student itself supported a finding of probable cause to seize the student’s property.

An example of the fellow’s grasp of Evil Science:

[name redacted] uses two different operating systems to hide his illegal activities. One is the regular B.C. operating system and the other is a black screen with a white font which he uses prompt commands on.

OMG, prompt commands! Obviously this man is up to no good and must be put away.

C prompt

They can’t take all of us.

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Just in time for the new Camaro

A brief history of the mullet, the only hairstyle versatile enough to accommodate both MacGyver and Sarah Palin.

(Via jenX67.)

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Crumpet catchers and other delights

Munich will tell you otherwise, but to hear some people talk, “BMW” is short for “Brings Me Women.”

I was reminded of this while reading this TTAC thread about product development at The Company Formerly Known As DaimlerChrysler, into which a commenter injected: “Chicks LOVE my 300.” Thread drift duly ensued, with the following posted a mere six minutes later:

Has ANY chick EVER really cared about what car a guy has? Didn’t that custom die out with the second generation Camaro? I mean, really? “Oh, that guy is so awesome! Look at those wheels! He must be a really great catch! What a guy!”

I have no personal experience with this phenomenon. In fact, I’ve seen the reverse: shortly after I got married, my wife requested, if that’s the word, that I get rid of Susannah, my aged (eleven and a half) Chevy Nova, ostensibly for aesthetic reasons. I have to assume that whatever mysterious, inexplicable factor drew us together, it wasn’t the car.

I am not persuaded that women give that much of a damn about what men drive, though I suspect they’ll make an exception for an obvious $500 beater with a $1000 stereo.

And Infiniti doesn’t even rate a catchy acronym.

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The ever-popular interface-palm

I’m debating whether I should feel any empathy for this situation:

Lacking a program manager, your garden-variety super-smart programmer is going to come up with a completely baffling user interface that makes perfect sense IF YOU’RE A VULCAN (cf. git). The best programmers are notoriously brilliant, and have some trouble imagining what it must be like not to be able to memorize 16 one-letter command line arguments. These programmers then have a tendency to get attached to their first ideas, especially when they’ve already written the code.

One of the best things a program manager can add to the software design process is a second opinion as to how things should be designed, hopefully one that is more empathetic to those RETARDED USERS with their pesky mental feebleness requiring that an application be usable without reading the man page, writing a custom emacs-lisp function, or translating numbers into octal in your head.

The over/under here, I think, depends on how closely the users come to being Actually Retarded. We have people on our storefront who can’t even get their names into the form correctly, and they’re not about to waste their valuable time reading anything so silly as mere documentation.

(Via TJIC.)

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Shoes for, um, charity

“We don’t want your money,” said the flyer taped to the door: “just your unwanted shoes.” What’s more, “all sizes and conditions needed.”

First time I’d seen this pitch, from a group called “Green Eyes in Africa,” but they’ve been through here before, and here’s what they do:

We seek to provide African orphans with adequate sanitation, protection, education, and love. We accomplish this mission through generous donations given in the United States. We only accept hand-to-mouth donations, so that no “overhead” costs or government corruption gets in the way of helping those who need it.

They left me a plastic bag, which now contains one slightly worn but undamaged pair of Reeboks, and one hardly-worn-at-all pair of tassel loafers. (I am now down to eight pairs of shoes.)

Joe Beets was unavailable for comment.

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The limits of the Knowledge Base

Windows just left me seven fresh program patches plus the ever-popular Malicious Software Removal Tool, which, I must remind you, does not uninstall Internet Explorer.

All of these patches have Knowledge Base identifiers like KB961373, which, given the speed with which Windows updates are generated, if not necessarily propagated, makes me wonder what happens after KB999999, which should appear Real Soon Now.

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Where have all the jumpsuits gone?

Inmates at Cleveland County jail, per order of Sheriff Joe Lester, are switching to pink tops with striped pants:

“Many of the inmates don’t care for it, but since they’re guests of ours and since they don’t get to choose the kind of clothes they wear for safety’s sake, everybody in the Cleveland county jail hopefully by the end of the month will be wearing this attire,” Undersheriff Rhett Burnett said.

Some studies suggest pink has a calming effect upon violent inmates.

District Attorney Greg Mashburn thinks once inmates wear the new garb, they’ll be reluctant to end up in jail again.

Oh, I don’t know. That new detention center is supposed to be a beaut.

And I don’t expect this to hold much beyond the summer: come Labor Day or so, fashion will demand something a bit more orange-y.

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Troll Handling 101

Current assignment:

  1. Study the taxonomy of blog trolls. (Instructor: Robert Stacy McCain.)
  2. Use this guide to identify the trollage being inflicted upon this Daily Pundit thread.
  3. Enjoy the righteous smackdown delivered unto the perpetrator.

Under the New Economics, this will count for 125 percent of your grade.

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An artifact from the last century

It says “1970s,” but 1969 seems to be more accurate:

I'm Glad I'm A _____

Writer/artist Whitney Darrow, Jr. had a day job as a cartoonist for The New Yorker, but it apparently never occurred to him to give one of these drawings the classic all-purpose New Yorker caption.

As for girls needing things fixed, well, where I work, should you need things fixed, you call — and sometimes beg, entreat and implore — the girl. (Even I do, and I’m pretty good at these things.)

(Via Syaffolee.)

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Where are you flockers?

“Recession-proof?” Not entirely, of course, but better off than most. Stable housing market? Pretty much, yeah. Next Big Thing? Not this town, says Walker, Downtown Ranger:

The thing that hurts OKC the most is the simple fact: People are not flocking there, and have not for a very long time. There will always be the unfair characterization that the culture is not known for opening up to diversity and the fair characterization that education attainment is lacking in Oklahoma due to the brain drain that sends our college graduates to Texas and New York, among other places.

These two factors, I believe, are intimately interlinked: J. Random Graduate, should he consider himself a member of, say, Richard Florida’s creative class, might well conclude that he’s tired of being the only bohemian on the block, and will therefore flee at the first opportunity. In so doing, he makes it that much less likely that we’ll reach a critical mass of like-minded souls, and we’ve got the very model of a modern self-fulfilling prophecy.

Which, of course, leads to the question: How do we get J. Random Graduate to stick around? (I’m assuming that we want him to stick around.) We’ve got a sizable contingent of bored twentysomethings in this town. Let us stipulate that their priorities don’t necessarily coincide with those of us elder folk.

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Points not taken

Dr. Weevil finds this depressing, and I don’t blame him:

The policeman who pulled me over for speeding last Tuesday asked me about my driving record and I told him, quite truthfully, that I’ve had four moving violations in nearly forty years of driving, the most recent a speeding ticket in another county last August. He said that not having had a ticket for eight whole months made me an excellent driver, and let me go with a warning. Apparently a significant percentage of local drivers get several tickets a year, which explains a lot about my insurance rates. I’ve had one ticket each in the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and ’00s, so I suppose I should be worried that the ’10s will arrive fairly soon.

Which means I’ve been wrong all along. I saw a sign out that way for “Five Points,” and assumed it was so named because of an intersection (cf. Corpus Christi’s Six Points). Apparently it was just the description of the average driver.

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Terror in the Rose Garden

The Thunder jumped out to a 2-0 lead, and that was that; the Trail Blazers managed to snuff out most of Oklahoma City’s offense thereafter, and had no problem putting up baskets of their own. It was 62-31 at the half, and the Thunder managed to shave one point off that margin before the buzzer, falling by a 113-83 count.

Portland played like a playoff team on their home court, which of course they are; Thunder shooting was sub-.400 most of the night, barely squeaking above that figure at the end, and the Blazers controlled the boards, 54-36. Five Blazers scored in double figures, led by Travis Outlaw with 21; three of those five were off the bench.

Meanwhile, OKC’s Big Three managed only 31 points among them, nearly half (15) going to Russell Westbrook. Kevin Durant and Jeff Green were bottled up most of the night. (Leading Thunder scorer was the Forgotten Man, Earl Watson, who rolled up 16 points.) Nick Collison was back, and provided some timely rebounds, but the way the team was playing, just about any rebound they got could be considered timely.

So Portland wins this series, 3-1. The wrapup is Wednesday in Clipperville; if we pull that one out, the Clippers will win that series, 3-1.

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Grim Spector

Left her in the hallway, while I watched, she died
Da doo ron ron ron, da doo ron ron
Hoping they were gonna rule it suicide
Da doo ron ron ron, da doo ron ron
Yeah, I watched, she died
No, it wasn’t suicide
And now I’m off to jail
Da doo ron ron ron, da doo ron ron

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All this crap looks the same

Oh, wait. No, it doesn’t.

Come to think of it, neither does this.

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Revolting door

From last summer, Renuka Vembu on the dodgy subject of personnel retention:

Salvaging the talent pool is a tough task for companies and HR departments alike. However, this is an inconvenient truth in the stark reality of attrition versus the desperate efforts of retention. Any organization suffers when the most efficient and valuable employee decides to part ways — be it the top notch or lower down the ranks, they create a vacuum — either for the company in large or in their immediate frame of surroundings.

Employees are said to be a company’s greatest asset. Attracting, safeguarding, nurturing and preserving them is a mission in itself, which takes total commitment and endorsement. While the middle management has a career chart well in place to take on the next position, the top hierarchy has a contingency plan laid firm. It is the group which is lower down the ranks for whom there is no succession planning strategy in place, and who comprise the volatile lot. They are easy targets of poaching in the competitive talent market.

Then again, that was last summer. An eternity ago. About the time of my last vacation, in fact.

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