We want to be like Mick

You can tell things are getting bad in Tulsa when a Tulsa World columnist actually calls for Oklahoma City to be running things:

What we need to outsource is City Hall.

How much do you think Oklahoma City would charge us to take over governing Tulsa?

I don’t know. How much did Heracles get for beheading the Hydra? It’s a comparable task, and it’s probably easier than rerouting the Arkansas River through 2nd and Cincinnati. And I’m pretty sure OKC Mayor Mick Cornett isn’t champing at the bit to take over.

Actually, Tulsa is contemplating some charter changes, one of which might be the adoption of a council/manager form of government similar to Oklahoma City’s, which is occasionally slow and cumbersome but once in a while manages to do the Right Thing. With Tulsa’s existing strong-mayor system, you have to hope that you elected someone up to the task, which too often you didn’t, which explains why America’s Most Beautiful City (Time, 1950s) has basically turned into the White Detroit.

The ultimate solution may be to dissolve the government entirely and let Jenks annex the city. At least they seem to know how to run things.

It’s either that or turn it over to Charlie Sheen.

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Some people have no business breeding

And near the top of that list, I’d put the proponents of this alleged research:

Are the long nights and financial burdens of parenting really worth the emotional benefits? New research is saying no: When confronted with the real economic costs of having children, most parents will exaggerate their happiness to validate their choice to have children.

“Many people believe that to be truly fulfilled in life, it is necessary to experience the joys of parenthood. Children are considered an essential source of happiness, satisfaction, and pride,” Richard Eibach and Steven Mock of the University of Waterloo, wrote of their study in the March 2 issue of the journal Psychological Science. “However, the idea that parenthood involves substantial emotional rewards appears to be something of a myth.”

Shorter version: “But what’s in it for me? I mean, I am the center of the known universe, after all.”

Which is not to say that they’d thought this all the way through or anything:

Do you reckon the authors of this research considered the personal implications? Even assuming they are all childless … they were all children, once. Horrible, expensive, and emotionally draining children. Do they believe that their own dear mothers were irrational, too? Do they believe that they weren’t worth the money and effort?

Of course not. They believe that they’re just hunky-dory. Exceptional, even. After all, look at this valuable research that they’re doing.

One nice thing about God is, while He can’t help but overhear chatter about “If we have a baby, we won’t be able to afford arugula with our salads anymore,” He doesn’t respond with a lightning bolt to the gonads.


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I should add this to the Legalese page

Woman with Mauser 96 pistol

(Courtesy of Oleg Volk.)

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Strange search-engine queries (266)

Rather a lot of people show up at Yahoo! Answers with desperate cries of “How do I clear my browser history?” It’s not that difficult, generally, but it ignores the other half of the equation: what happens to your server-side history? The answer: if it’s marginally amusing and it landed somewhere in this domain, it’s right here.

texico oil salesmen on t.v. said goaway kid you bother me:  What did you expect? They’re the men of Texaco; they’ll kick your ass to Mexico.

how sincere was karla faye tucker’s conversion:  The state of her heart is known only to God, and He’s under no obligation to reveal the details.

ethical violation in milligram:  Governmental ethical violations are measured in metric tons.

ready to skedaddle:  Make sure you fill out form 2395 (Federal Report of Proposed Skedaddlement) before you go.

fruit ninja slicesound gone:  Well, see, that’s the thing about ninjas: you never actually see them go.

do any original parts in the 2002 mazda 626 have a life time warrety:  No. And if one did, it wouldn’t be the one that broke just now.

U.S. to buy impotence:  Must be a State Department deal.

levittra and ovarian can:  Can what? Out with it, man!

mike rowe hatless:  Well, it’s a start. There are women out there who’d like to see him shirtless, maybe even pantless.

robin meade, blurred cleavage:  Maybe she’s moving too fast for you to freeze the frame.

how long can a man long sexually:  Some of us have been longing for a long time.

canada generic:  Saves you money on your health-care costs, or would if you had any.

what is the adverb form of criminal:  Congressionally.

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Suns dimmed, but slowly

For a moment there, it looked like the Thunder were going to close out the Suns in grand style: Phoenix started the fourth quarter with only six points in seven minutes. Funny thing about the Suns, though: when it’s darkest, they rise. With a minute and a half left, they’d cut the margin to a single point, and it was still a single point when the shot clock was shut off. Then with 11.6 seconds left, Russell Westbrook picked Steve Nash’s pocket, drew the foul, swished a pair of free throws; Phoenix spent less than three seconds setting up Vince Carter for a trey to tie it up, and Kevin Durant’s pullup jumper at the buzzer went awry. Five minutes of overtime followed, and the Thunder eventually won it at the charity stripe, 122-118. It didn’t hurt that Carter, missing a key trey but drawing a foul in the waning moments, bricked two of three freebies.

The Suns put up 101 shots — thirty-one from beyond the arc — and hit 47.5 percent of the twos and 45.2 percent of the threes. Carter finished with 29 points, with Mickael Pietrus and Marcin Gortat racking up twenty each from the bench; Nash (11 points, 14 assists) and Channing Frye (11 points, 15 rebounds) got double-doubles. But here’s your telltale statistic: Grant Hill, usually a thorn in the Thunder’s side, had five boards and five fouls in 41 points, but no points.

Phoenix also did a decent job of confining Durant, who ended up 3-14 with 18 points. Westbrook, however, was not so easily boxed out, rolling up 32 points and serving up 11 dimes. And James Harden had a season-high 26 points. OKC outrebounded PHX, 49-45, and outrejected them as well: Serge Ibaka blocked four shots, his teammates five more, while the Suns came up with only three blocks, all from Gortat.

From this point, though, things get hairy. A two-game road trip runs through Memphis and Philadelphia, both in position to be playoff teams this season; then back home against Detroit, then on the road for three more (Cleveland, Washington, Miami). It’s showtime, guys.

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Now that’s good camo

Although Claude Rains was not available for comment.

Really good camo

(Via FAIL Blog’s Win!)

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Fun, fun, fungibility

“Concerned,” after receiving an email forward, writes:

“Gosh, Mr. Answer Man, how can I make sure that my car isn’t being fueled by crude oil bought from the Enemies of Our Country, like all those horrible Middle Eastern places, or that nutcase from Venezuela?”

Dear Concerned:

Buy a Nissan Leaf or a Tesla Roadster; they use no gas at all. Otherwise, you haven’t a chance.

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The hazelnut is your friend

Getting nowhere with the ladies, guys? Develop a taste for Nutella.

Seriously. In six trips to the grocery store in three weeks, I’ve seen five jars coming off the shelf, and each of those five was being bought by a lovely young(ish) woman. (The suffix because, well, I’m a poor judge of age.) Voilà: Instant Topic of Conversation.

You’re welcome.

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Tweak sauce

Are there any lengths to which a government will not go to fight the scourge of methamphetamine? Not just no, but hell, no:

A bill is working its way through the Legislature that would require a doctor’s prescription to buy tablets that contain pseudoephedrine, which is a key ingredient in making methamphetamine.

Darrell Weaver, director of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control, said House Bill 1235 would be a major blow to meth manufacturers. He predicted the number of meth-related arrests would drop substantially if the measure designating pseudoephedrine as a prescription-only drug passes.

Rep. Ben Sherrer (D-Chouteau) is responsible for this hackery. I hope he sneezes his goddamn head off.

You may remember from back in 2009:

Legislation requiring consumers to obtain a prescription for cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine is the best way to crush illegal methamphetamine operations, which are reaching epidemic numbers in the Tulsa area, the state’s top drug enforcement officer told a legislative panel Thursday.

“The cornerstone is pseudoephedrine,” said Darrell Weaver, director of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control. “We’re constantly battling folks who want this product.”

No Sudafed, Sherlock. There’s a demand, and your band of merry enforcers hasn’t made a dent in the supply. Nor will they. Some Monday morning, you could lock up every gram of pseudoephedrine on the planet, load it aboard a rocket, and fire it into the sun, and there would be meth labs by the weekend. Count on it.

I figure the next step is to address the automotive death rate, which has been declining for many years but is still not zero, by cutting the speed limit to 5 mph. You listening, Ben?

What I said back in aught-nine:

[I]f this rule were to be enacted, and it should fail to eradicate the meth plague, as it almost certainly will, what’s the next step? You guessed it. The state would evidently prefer that you live with your misery — and spread it to others, because you can’t do a thing about the symptoms — so that Johnny Wayne Addlepate appears to have less of a chance of blowing himself to smithereens. Me, I look upon his timely demise as a boon to the gene pool.

All we are saying: give Darwin a chance.

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First I look at the nurse

As of this writing, the Collins-McCain Institute of Therapeutic Breast-Staring is conducting a full-frontal assault on the notion that one should not gaze at a woman’s rack; their theory, apparently, is that the salubrious health benefits of the stare outweigh the possibility of getting slapped upside the head.

Florence NightingaleCommenter Red, down in the Disqus thread, was mildly dismissive of the effort, saying: “So now maybe Christina Hendricks and Pamela Anderson can be likened to Florence Nightingale? Pshh.” In my capacity as Fringe Researcher, I set out to find a representative shot of a younger Florence Nightingale — she lived to be 90 — but cameras being in short supply in those days, I had to settle for this sketch [source], presumably made some time around 1840. They say the camera adds ten pounds, which may be true, but I don’t remember anyone saying that the pencil adds several inches. We’re not talking double D’s here by any stretch of the imagination, but let the record show that, contemporary fashions notwithstanding, Florence N. was at least somewhat curvy.

(Motivation: this King Shamus tweet, which described the Lee Remick shot from 1968, supra, as “Old Skool Hawtness.” Now this is Old Skool.)

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Stretching the point

The Dave Clark Five charted 27 songs in Billboard, and not one was over three minutes long: the longest, a cover of the R&B fave “You Got What It Takes,” checked in at 2:59. At the other extreme was “I Like It Like That,” the old Chris Kenner tune, which was over with in a mere 1:37.

One of the irreducible characteristics of the hit pop/rock record, it’s been said, is seeming to get “a little bit shorter every time you hear it,” which means that a shortish record like the DC5’s “Try Too Hard,” listed as 2:10 on the single (Epic 5-10004; my vinyl rip runs 2:08), will eventually fold down into nothing at all. To ward off this horrifying prospect, one enterprising soul has come up with a 3:05 edit, which doesn’t bother me quite as much as I thought it would.

Then again, I’m the guy who did the two-minute version of “In-a-Gadda-da-Vida,” so take anything I say with a grain of salt. Reduced salt, if you can get it.

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New format ginned up

After the Spy exited the FM band and became a Web-only station last year, a synthetic Spy has been running at 105.3, apparently just cycling through old stuff left on the station’s hard drive.

No more. Following up a not-too-cryptic statement on the Spy’s Facebook page yesterday, I dialed over to where the station used to be, and there was Dean Martin singing “That’s Amore.” The new format is called “The Martini,” and Oklahoma Rock reports:

Citadel’s antics included illegally using [Ferris] O’Brien’s copyrighted name “The Spy” and copyrighted specialty shows Juke Joint Revival and The Toaster Brunch… Now, all this childish behavior is done with and Citadel has put something their smoking-jacket-wearing dead grandfather can enjoy.

Well, I’m definitely old enough to be someone’s grandfather, though if I have a smoking jacket, it’s because I’ve accidentally set it on fire. And I admittedly have a taste for the old standards. Still: “The Martini”? Between that and Clear Channel’s “The Brew,” you’d think this town was full of lushes, and not just the ones working as program directors either.

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Eternal Lee

Lee Remick, they say, was supposed to have been America’s answer to Brigitte Bardot. In this shot, at least, she looks the part:

Lee Remick in 1968

From No Way to Treat a Lady, 1968. I have no idea what, if anything, she was saying. But I remember her, several years later, delivering this line:

“It costs extra to carve ‘schmuck’ on a tombstone, but you would definitely be worth the expense.”

Which you can hear for yourself in The Competition (1980), in which she plays a music teacher whose protégée (Amy Irving) is entered in a major piano competition in San Francisco; the barb is directed at the conductor, and it leaves no doubt that the two of them had some sort of a Past together.

Further: John Greco remembers Lee Remick at Twenty Four Frames.

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Arachnid pinion

A couple years’ worth of Mazda6 production — about 65,000 cars in all, four-cylinder models only — will be recalled because of, um, spiders.

Wait, what?

The recall of 2009 and 2010 Mazda6s is due to “a certain type of spider” that “may weave a web in the evaporative canister vent line and this may cause a restriction in the line,” the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says on its website.

The web may restrict the line and cause pressure problems in the fuel tank as the emission control system tries to purge vapors. The pressure could cause the fuel tank to eventually crack, resulting in spillage. Mazda has found 20 cases so far.

The “certain type of spider” is the Yellow Sac, genus Cheiracanthium, which is apparently small enough, and for some reason motivated enough, to find its way into the fuel system. Dealers will install a spring in the line to block its access.

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Plucking the Dirty Birds

The Atlanta Hawks, when they want to, can get seriously physical. For most of this game, they wanted to, and they had reason to: the Birds’ visit to OKC on New Year’s Eve ended with a bit of controversy. But the absence of enforcer Josh Smith made this trickier than they might have wanted, and the Thunder, despite being outrebounded by the Hawks, hightailed it out of the ATL with a 111-104 win.

The shuffled Hawks lineup put newly-acquired reserve guard Kirk Hinrich in a starting role, and he rose to the occasion with 21 points; sturdy sixth man Jamal Crawford added 19 off the bench, and Joe Johnson turned in a Joe Johnson-like performance, with 24 points, though 18 of those came in the first half. And Al Horford kept clearing the boards: he collected 12 rebounds to go with 15 points. The Birds shot a creditable 47.6 percent, and moved the ball around well — 23 assists — but they gave up 16 turnovers, handing the Thunder 27 points.

Russell Westbrook, who rolled up a triple double in that earlier game, was a little bit cooler this time: 28 points, three rebounds, nine assists. Kevin Durant, who was upgraded from “doubtful” to “game-time decision” this morning, wound up playing almost 40 minutes anyway, scoring 29. The Nazr Mohammed/Nick Collison combo in the middle seems to be working out pretty well: Collison gets more minutes, but Mohammed displays a shade more flash. And after faltering at the foul line of late, the Thunder returned to form, dropping 20 of 21 from the stripe. They even shot over 50 percent from the floor (gasp!).

So for the second year in a row, the Hawks are swept. Still, they’re a solid fifth in the East, and the Knicks don’t seem to be catching up. Meanwhile, the Thunder have five road games in the next seven, though first there’s a Sunday meeting with the Suns.

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Quote of the week

Ric Locke, on what he calls the Soviet Union’s Potemkin space program, and the American response thereto:

[I]t was important for international prestige that the United States establish that it could do it bigger, better, and with flashier paint jobs. This was duly accomplished, and although the budget for it was huge by any other standard, in comparison to the GDP or even the Government budget of the United States it was trivial. The United States could go to the Moon on pocket change and walking-around money; the USSR never got there at all, despite depriving its people of many comforts in order to try.

It might have been better if American politicians of the time had noted that Nikita Sergeyevich [Khrushchev] was being squired around in a ’57 Packard with Cyrillic badges. The Soviet Union, from inception to end, was like the Western towns in old movies — tall imposing front, little better than huts behind the façades. There is no doubt the space program was a magnificent achievement, but it came at a cost that wasn’t measured in money and hasn’t really been accounted for to this day.

What won QOTW status here was the reference to the ’57 Packard — which, as fans of lost automotive marques will recall, was a rebadged and retrimmed Studebaker, a desperate attempt at maintaining two brands by a company that at the time couldn’t even afford one. Come to think of it, they could have called it the Packard Potemkin.

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