In search of rapport

We’re not going to see Stephen Colbert as the next Senator from South Carolina, and that’s a shame, since it would set such an appealing precedent:

[I]f Colbert were selected, that would be the end of his boring television show, because Comedy Central would have to report it as an in-kind campaign contribution and South Carolinians might expect their Senator to be somewhere near the Capitol building instead of in makeup getting ready to go on set.

That’s a temptation that could get out of hand, though. Governors everywhere might decide to help out the television viewing public by appointing the members of the all-heat, no-light brigade to serve out unfinished legislative terms. Senator O’Reilly. Representative Matthews. Representative Sharpton. Senator O’Donnell. Senator Hannity. Lieutenant Governor Olbermann (because seriously, there are some folks even the U.S. Senate shouldn’t take). Commissioner of Waste Disposal Behar (a lifetime appointment)! Insurance Commissioner Penn (because I think Spicoli was less of an act than he’d like us to believe and because it would be fun watching the numbers make his widdle eyes scrunch up in confusion).

A downside, you say?

You may say that this would create chaos in state and federal government as all of these underqualified dunderheads were put in positions for which they are in no way qualified and in which they are unlikely to succeed. To which I say, how would we notice?

So put me down in favor of Senator Colbert, despite the fact that he attended Porter-Gaud. Farging Cyclone.

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Get off my smaller lawn

“The suburbs are dead,” declares Eric Klinenberg in the Playboy Forum (1/2-13), offering several sets of statistics, including this one that caught me off-guard:

According to Christopher Leinberger, a Brookings Institution fellow and professor at the George Washington University business school, urban planners and real estate developers expect a huge surplus of large-lot houses (built on a sixth of an acre or more) in the coming decades. One expert predicts an oversupply of roughly 40 percent of these homes by 2025.

Wait a minute. A sixth of an acre — 7,260 square feet — is now a “large lot”?

I tracked down Leinberger’s article, which appeared in The Atlantic in 2008, and yes, that’s what he said about “large lots.” Which suggests that when I fake my death and go off to live with Twilight Sparkle, I should have the house torn down and the humongous quarter-acre lot subdivided into two 5500-square-foot sections. Yeah, the city will just love that.

Then again, from that same bit of fiction:

There had been something here once, he remembered: a little stone house and a gravel driveway. Five or six years ago, there was a sign on the corner, proclaiming a New Upscale Development, with a number to call and a Web site to visit. A year or two later, with gasoline pushing five dollars a gallon, no one wanted to live in the 31000 block of anything, and the development was abandoned.

And Leinberger, we should remember, also said this:

I doubt the swing toward urban living will ever proceed as far as the swing toward the suburbs did in the 20th century; many people will still prefer the bigger houses and car-based lifestyles of conventional suburbs. But there will almost certainly be more of a balance between walkable and drivable communities — allowing people in most areas a wider variety of choices.

Which contradicts Klinenberg almost entirely. Still, so long as they can sell living downtown as a premium experience — and in this town, they can — that’s probably the way to bet.

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Quote of the week

“We shall not be mocked,” you (for certain values of “you”) declare. But you are wrong, tribalism breath:

This is utter, craven bullshit of the highest order, and I have had enough. I personally reserve the right to mock anyone, on any issue I choose, and if you choose to take offense I truly do not care. I don’t care what your one-drop count is, or if you embrace anal sodomy, or if you worship a paedopheliac butcher. I’m going to mock you. Just as I mock my own cracker brethren. This is called humor, and it is the safety valve of over-pressurized societies.

You don’t get a pass from me. There is no Get Out of the Bath House Free card. There is no Fear of Fatwah card. There is no indolent reparations bullshit card that will ever sway me. You? You? You were born to be mocked. We all are. Get over yourselves. You are all Scut Farkus, long overdue for a punch in your damned noses.

And while you’re at it, let us know when you find the documentation — a phrase, or a penumbra, in the Constitution, perhaps? — that grants you the right not to be offended.

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A moment of silents

In my ongoing effort to bring you the oldest babes possible for Rule 5, I herewith present a vintage shot of actress Barbara Kent, born Barbara Cloutman in Gadsby, Alberta in 1907. (“Kent” was her mother’s maiden name.)

Barbara Kent publicity photo

Barbara Kent’s best-known role, perhaps, was as the young girl who pines for John Gilbert, though he only has eyes for Greta Garbo, in Clarence Brown’s Flesh and the Devil (1927). In the 1927 silent No Man’s Law, Kent takes second billing behind Rex the Wonder Horse, and Rex is quite good in his own way, but Kent is fetching as a young lady taking a swim in what appears to be her birthday suit. And the fellow with the eyepatch is Oliver Hardy, who at the time was a solo act.

Kent transitioned to talkies fairly well, playing Rose Maylie in a 1933 version of Oliver Twist, but her career nosedived shortly thereafter. Widowed at 41, she remarried five years later, and retired as far out of the spotlight as she could. Tomorrow would have been her 105th birthday, and she almost made it: she died last year at her home in the California Low Desert.

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Looking Beck

Beck’s sheet-music-only album, Beck Hansen’s Song Reader, dropped this past Tuesday, and if you want to hear any of these songs, you have to play them yourself, or wait for someone else to play them for you.

An example of the latter:

“Saint Dude” is track (?) 3; the outro music is a section of “The Last Polka,” track 19.

Beck was, in fact, available for comment; he approves.

(Originally posted on Studio 360’s blog.)

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The dreaded Petticoat Rule

A hundred-year-old flyer arguing that women ought not to vote:

Anti-Woman Suffrage Pamphlet

Article 3 of the original Oklahoma constitution defined electors as “male citizens over twenty-one years of age,” which would seem to suggest that we wouldn’t need an anti-suffrage association. Just the same, we got one:

After World War I suffragists accelerated their demand for the right to vote as a more receptive attitude toward women’s suffrage grew nationwide and in Oklahoma. The formation of additional antisuffrage state associations became necessary, and in 1918 the NAOWS sent Sarah C. White to Oklahoma to speak against suffrage and establish an organization. Oklahoma Anti-Suffrage Association officers included Sallie Sturgeon of Oklahoma City, president, Alice Robertson of Muskogee, vice president, and Maybelle Stuard of Oklahoma City, press chair and speaker. Meldia Constantin served as treasurer, and her husband’s business, the Constantin Refining Company in Tulsa, provided the association with unlimited funds. Other committee members included Laura Greer of Tulsa, Ruth Fluarty of Pawnee, and Jessie E. Moore of Oklahoma City.

The group, however, didn’t last long:

On November 5, 1918, the passage of State Question 97 franchising Oklahoma women brought defeat to the Oklahoma Anti-Suffrage Association, and the final death blow came when Oklahoma ratified the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on February 28, 1920.

(Photo Found in Mom’s Basement.)

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Bless you, Green Bay

I went to college in Texas, but unlike these folks, I am actually fairly proficient at pronouncing Wisconsin place names:

This is not because I’m smarter than the average Texan, or because I once spent an afternoon screwing around Kenosha back in the day, but because I was something of a showoff as a teenager, when I wasn’t cringing in a corner somewhere, and when I found out I was being recruited by Lawrence University — in the blissfully pronounceable city of Appleton — I figured it might be useful to appear to be able to deal with Cheese State placenames, and memorized a bunch.

Unfortunately, one I didn’t learn was “Outagamie,” which is the county of which Appleton is the seat.

(Via Troglopundit, who urges: “No more excuses, America. Learn to speak English.”)

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Advisory warning watch

If you pay enough attention to the National Weather Service forecasts, you eventually figure out the differences among advisories, watches and warnings. Not everyone pays that much attention, though, so the NWS is contemplating rewording these particular “products” and has announced that there will be trials of newer versions, issued alongside the traditional ones, during the winter months.

In case you have a 50-percent chance of haze on the subject, this is what we get now:

Forecasters issue a Watch when they believe there is the potential for a significant hazard to occur, but its occurrence, location, and/or timing is still uncertain. The term Advisory is used for imminent hazards that only merit caution, in other words, that are not implicitly dangerous, but could become dangerous if caution is not exercised. The term Warning is used when a dangerous hazard is imminent or already occurring.

This might be manageable were there only the three levels to deal with, but in fact, there are fourteen possible winter “products.”

The testing will take place in areas that usually get a lot of snow — and in Hawaii, where several mountains on the Big Island may end up with snow caps despite their tropical-ish location.

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Against the Hornets Wednesday, the Thunder were clumsy early on, but recovered. Against the Kings tonight, they were methodical, but fell to pieces in the second half; it got so bad that Scott Brooks, who’d pulled the starters when OKC was up by a couple of dozen, had to put three of them back in with four minutes left and the lead cut to single digits. The Kings closed to within five, but finally the Thunder put them away, 113-103.

What happened? Two words: “Isaiah Thomas.” The second-year Sacramento guard went on a shooting spree, knocking down 10 of 13 — four of seven from way outside — for a team-high 26 points, and he did it in less than 16 minutes. (Aaron Brooks, who started at the point, had 13 points in 23 minutes.) DeMarcus Cousins, who rattled down ten points in the first quarter, wasn’t a factor thereafter. The Kings shot decently, 45 percent overall, seven of 19 treys, but their rebounders didn’t show up, what with only 29 retrieved, and dimes, at 18, could fairly be characterized as “sparse.”

Especially, you know, when Russell Westbrook can serve up 13 assists by himself, which he did, to offset 4-13 shooting for 13 points. Kevin Durant took up the slack, as he often does, going 10-14 for 31. Serge Ibaka notched another double-double (18 points, 11 rebounds), and Reggie Jackson, the hero of the Hornets game Wednesday, scored — um, zip. Didn’t even take a shot in four minutes. Former King Kevin Martin, who led the bench with 18, was happy to dribble it out at the end.

I suspect that what Scott Brooks is going to want to know is “What happened to our blowout? Have we no defense?” Let’s hope he finds an answer before the Spurs show up on Monday.

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Fark blurb of the week

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Avoiding the fiscal cliff

The lovely and talented E. M. Zanotti, hoping to ward off Complete Financial Collapse, proposes several revenue-enhancement measures:

  • $10 tax everytime someone uses the phrase, “my bad.”
  • 20% penalty tax on anyone who ordered an apple martini after 1998.
  • 40% tax on anyone who buys World Series, Super Bowl, Stanley Cup winners’ merchandise post-facto. Double if Heat or Yankees win.
  • $100 penalty on anyone who uses a Bluetooth earpiece.
  • Tribal tattoo? $30 per year tax. Tramp Stamp? $50. Double if it’s a butterfly.
  • 50% additional income tax on anyone listing their primary occupation as “reality television star.”
  • $1000 penalty for every unnecessarily tinted car window.
  • Immediate institution of the Axe Body Spray Tax.

Read the whole list under the hashtag #emilysfiscalcliffsolutions.

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Your Rebecca Black news for this Friday:

During rehearsal, Rebecca will be doing a LIVE, behind the scenes, chat on her UStream channel. Join her Friday, December 14 at 3:30PM PST to hear all about the rehearsals, her band, her House of Blues Anaheim concert on Sunday, December 23, and up & coming news! She will also be answering your questions in real time.

This will be followed on Monday with:

On Monday, December 17 from 7:00-8:00 PM PST Rebecca will be acoustically performing her new hit single “In Your Words” on AXS TV.

Which my local cable company doesn’t carry. And anyway, the song runs only 3:08, so it shouldn’t take a whole hour, and it won’t: apparently it’s running during the break on AXS’ Inside MMA. (AXS is the channel founded by Mark Cuban, formerly known as HDNet.)

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Dedication to the cause

Nell Hansen, after eleven months without a post, puts up a post:

This is my fourth attempt at blogging. I’m leaving the third one up to serve as a bad example.

Extra points for Zeitgeist grasp.

About a year ago Hansen declared that the Bowl Championship Series is un-American, which strikes me as fairly inarguable.

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Down to thighs

Morgan Freeberg, at what he calls the Hello Kitty of Blogging, offers some advice to those who would entertain us skirtwatchers:

Curves, curves, curves. Visualize your own drumsticks as the article you’d find in a red & white box from KFC, original recipe. Would they have enough lean meat to hold some appeal in that setting? For Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren and Raquel Welch, that’d be a yea. Catherine Bach, back in the day, was right on the lower boundary. Any less curve than that, it’s still nice to see, but you’re not doing much to distinguish yourself.

Given KFC’s most distinctive achievement up to now — figuring out a way to carve nine pieces out of a chicken that everybody else sliced up into eight — I’m not entirely sure I’d trust their judgment in this matter.

My own definition of “right on the lower boundary” lands here:

Calvin Klein hosiery ad 2004

This comes perilously close to Extra Crispy.

Oh, and Joe Tex was not available for comment.

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Road-trip notes

For about half a second, I considered labeling this little three-day excursion “World Tour ’12,” but that doesn’t work: too little of the world was actually seen, and the total was a modest 740 miles. Still, a few things come to mind other than the actual purpose of the trip:

  • One of my ex’s besties is sorta hawt. (And definitely taken, but c’est la vie.)
  • Kansas is often mocked for the post-Mad Max terrain beyond the city limits. I demur. There’s a lot to be said for not having fifty gazillion things to look at besides the road.
  • And that goes double for the Flint Hills, which for some reason create the impression that ancient ruminants graze there yet.
  • Even when El Dorado Lake is full, which it isn’t due to the drought, you can still see the lines of trees, growing from the very bottom of the lake. On a sunshiny day like today, it acquires a sort of creepy vibe.
  • I have no idea what the post-ceremony banquet (four courses!) at Cafe Verona might have cost, but it can’t be cheap. It certainly didn’t taste cheap.
  • Never look at a tire when it’s 20 degrees outside.

For those who care: 26.7 mpg, $12 in tolls, 68 emails (49 dismissable). And given the mood of the moment, I felt justified in punctuating the trip home with a stop at Mickey D’s to procure a McRib. For a limited time only, as they say.

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Not that you wanted to know

But this is where the newlyweds ended up last night:

This is Kansas City’s most romantic hotel. Beyond a bed and breakfast, or an inn, each of the hotel’s 62 guest rooms and suites boasts an elaborately themed environment.

Though of course I wouldn’t know this, I am assured that some of these environments are more elaborately themed than others.

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