Has Beans

From Vent #493, exactly three years ago:

Peter K. Schaffer is an Oklahoma City attorney specializing in adoptions. That’s not why he’s being mentioned here. Mr Schaffer is the director of the Oklahoma Bean Project, which was originally modeled on a vegetable-packing cooperative in Colorado but which eventually became much, much more: one of maybe two non-profit restaurants in the nation, which provides jobs and job training for about a dozen folks, some found through agencies, some literally plucked off the street.

The Bean Project evolved into the Grateful Bean Cafe, at 10th and Walker in the old Kaiser’s Ice Cream building, which opened in 1994. Construction on the roundabout forced Schaffer to close in 2004; it was 2006 before the Bean was able to reopen.

And when July ends, the Bean ends. Says Schaffer: “It’s nothing dramatic. Expenses are too high in relation to income.” I know the feeling.

Kaiser’s ice cream and soda fountain will likely live on under new ownership. But is the Bean Project over? Schaffer isn’t sure. But, as he says, “nothing is permanent.” I’m hoping it can continue in some fashion, perhaps outside the all-too-problematic restaurant industry.

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The principal of the thing

Old lab partner Larry McInerny, now Rev. Msgr. Lawrence B. McInerny, JCL, has assumed (again) the top spot at Bishop England High School, from which he (and I) graduated in 1969.

McInerny served as Rector throughout the 1990s, and is returning to the front office temporarily while the search for a new principal continues. He will continue to serve as pastor of Stella Maris Church on Sullivan’s Island.

This one quote sticks with me:

I don’t consider myself a model student but I only had one demerit in school and that was because I didn’t have uniform socks on one day.

Apparently this horrible smirch on his Permanent Record wasn’t held against him. (I had three total, I think. Then again, look how I turned out.)

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Lockout mountain

The NBA still says it’s losing money:

League officials are projecting a net loss of $370 million for the just-completed season and are seeking a radical overhaul of the collective bargaining agreement. [Commissioner David] Stern reiterated those points in a news conference … Monday evening.

Billy Hunter, executive director of the Players’ Association, sees it a hair differently:

“The reality is, is that the current scenario in the N.B.A. community is rosy,” Hunter … said by phone. “You can’t deny it. The experience that we’re having is unprecedented.”

According to Hunter, basketball-related income last season was the highest in league history. At the same time, player earnings declined by about 1 percent because so many teams were saving for this summer’s marquee free-agent class, he said.

“Basketball-related income” is a term defined in previous collective bargaining agreements between the NBA and the players: it includes almost everything except fines, the “luxury tax” for exceeding the salary cap more than everyone else exceeds it, and receipts from expansion teams. Said salary cap, incidentally, has been set at 51 percent of BRI for several years now; after dropping slightly in 2009-10, it’s risen a smidgen for 2010-11.

Thunder forward Nick Collison tweeted yesterday:

Warriors sold 4record 450 million after being bought for119.if nba is “broken” why are teams always sold 4profit http://tinyurl.com/2f9pcw3

[Shortened link goes to cnbc.com.]

For that matter, Clay Bennett and friends arguably overpaid for the former Seattle SuperSonics: $350 million, for a franchise that Forbes, which guesstimates such things each year, might have been worth two-thirds that much. But the Sonics lost money the last couple of years; the Thunder are believed to be solidly profitable now. I have to figure that the new owners of the Warriors expect to make some money down the road.

I note that several high-buck free agents are getting bucks not quite so high this season: for example, the big move by Snap and CracklePop was already there — to Miami will cost each of them a couple million a year, partially offset by Florida’s lack of state income tax. On the other hand, a lot of people are getting overpaid.

Will there be a lockout? I doubt it, but the standard rule for union and management is for both to take a hard line long before the contract ends, and that’s what’s happening here.

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Service with a grimace

Nissan’s GT-R supercar is priced a bit lower than most supercars — base price is $90k or thereabouts — but the motor-noters who’ve been checking them out for long-term tests are finding out that the Monroney sticker is the only place they’re being cut any slack. Witness this tale of woe from Automobile:

Oh, sure, it started out acting very much like a Nissan, trouble-free and inexpensive to maintain, at least until the 18,000-mile service — the one that requires fluid changes for both differentials and the transmission, ballooning the tab to $1900. We had also by this time used up the brake pads (all four), which necessitated changing the rotors as well. Total cost: $7705.94.

So on this one trip to the Nissan store, they had to fork out nearly ten grand on the repair ticket. And it took them a few weeks to get the car back, though this was due to something else entirely:

Luckily, there was no charge to fix the driveline vibration that was occurring between 2200 and 2700 rpm; it was caused by an errant bearing inside the bellhousing, a known issue with some GT-Rs. The fix required removing the engine.

Had this car been out of warranty, God (or Carlos Ghosn) only knows what the cost to replace that bearing might be.

For comparison, I had Gwendolyn’s brakes similarly redone at about the 90k-mile point; the price at the local Infiniti store was not much under $1000, but it was under $1000.

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Fark blurb of the week

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Because we’re not scared enough

Omigod, it’s risk factors!

This morning, half listening to the news, I heard some story claiming, “Women with hip fat may be at greater risk for Alzheimer’s.” And first I wondered if I heard it right — after all, for years they said that women who were heavier in the hips were better off than apple-shapes, healthwise. And second, I thought, Well, if that’s true, then we’re all just screwed.

I looked it up online. Yeah, there’s some claim that being “hippy” makes you slightly more at risk for Alzheimer’s.

And I gave in to a moment (well, more than a few) of despair. I loathe the way health news gets reported, I loathe the constant doom-and-gloom and we-will-dance-on-your-graves, fatties attitude that seems to pervade a certain amount of it.

I’ve learned to tune this stuff out, based on the following not-too-arguable positions:

  • Everybody has risk factors of some sort. Anyone who claims otherwise is either severely deluded and/or is working for the government.
  • Everybody dies from something. Doesn’t necessarily have to be something for which there’s a risk factor, either; in my less-than-classic phrase, “somewhere out there is a bullet or a bacterium or a Buick with my name on it.”

And the Feds will fund all manner of studies to keep us on edge, because they have a clear financial interest in having us drop dead before we can start collecting the benefits they can’t possibly afford to pay.

So screw ‘em. I work semi-diligently to keep the amount CFI Care (not its real initials) spends on keeping me alive each year somewhere below the amount they get paid; more than this, I believe, they’re not entitled to ask, especially if when they’re subsumed by a pack of governmental mutts.

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Lucky the man with the ice-water concession

If there’s a rock and roll heaven, the Righteous Brothers assured us, you know they got a hell of a band. On t’other hand, you have to figure that the music is still pretty good on the wrong side of the Styx, simply based on the list of people you might suspect landed there.

This premise can be extended further. Consider the New Hades Yankees, who have been waiting all their afterlives for an owner like the late George Steinbrenner.

One inevitable starter in the outfield is Ty Cobb:

Cobb’s life consisted of two things at which he excelled: baseball and violence. He hit .320+ in 23 of his 24 seasons, and also fist-fought a fan in a wheelchair during a game. His career average of .367 is the highest ever, and he once drove to Princeton to beat his son with a whip for failing out of school.

Single-minded, he wasn’t.

(Via Fark.)

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Scene from a summer’s eve

Now this is pretty douche-y:

Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG malparkage

Malparkage at this level should be punishable by rocket launcher.

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And your mother lets you dress yourself funny

The possibly-pseudonymous Nati Hell has started Fashion Bloggers, Why? The idea, apparently, is to mock fashion bloggers unmercifully, which, as blogging goals go, falls squarely on the side of “laudable,” even though she picks on a couple of bloggers I actually read, and despite the fact that I have to dock her a point or two for overuse of the term “derp.” (On which scale, these guys finish in the minus column.)

A sample, from this post:

For me, she’s just another lame and pretentious rich girl, with a closet full of black H&M shirts, who isn’t aware that she looks like Gargamel.

I expect the response from actual fashion bloggers will be along these lines:

What the holy hell is this bullshit? What’s up with this blog, Fashion Bloggers Why? Are you serious?

That, I couldn’t tell you. Then again, I used to read Skullturf Q. Beavispants, back when he was updating more than once a season.

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Dialing douchery

Spoofing Caller ID has been routine for various thieves enterprises for several years now. One variation on this theme I’m seeing more often these days is the sending of the caller’s alleged location instead of their actual name: it might say, for instance, DENVER COLO, followed by a number in area code 303, which you presumably immediately recognize as Denver and therefore this is not, they conclude, a deceptive practice.

They conclude wrong. Be it noted that I am decidedly disinclined to answer any call in which this ploy is used, and if you’ve somehow persuaded yourself that this practice is okay, I consider it prima facie evidence that your ethics aren’t everything they could be.

Aside to the Senate: The House has already passed a measure to outlaw Caller ID spoofing generally; what’s slowing you down?

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A degree of freedom

With the possible exception of Victoria Beckham, who presumably isn’t allowed to, we’re all guilty of the occasional fashion faux pas. (I include myself, of course, though technically just about every pas I attempt turns out faux.) I have to admit, though, this is as good a rationalization as I expect to see:

Yes, I wear socks with my Birkenstocks in the winter sometimes. I figure that once you earn a Ph.D., you are permitted at least one thing that might be considered a fashion “violation” in some circles.

I think I’d feel better if this privilege were extended to people with just a master’s degree, though it still wouldn’t apply to me.

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Von Hammersmark of excellence

The 15th of July is Diane Kruger’s birthday, as I discovered about the same time I came up with this post, and all the pictures I had on hand were either too revealing or not revealing enough.

Fortunately, there are always sources, and in no time at all I scored a shot of DK in an LBD:

Diane Kruger

As LBDs go, this is one of the L-est.

(Found at Go Fug Yourself, which also has a higher-res version, should you decide that this just isn’t enough. Title explained here.)

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Which one’s Beavis?

Wikipedia normally excises listings for people who are not “notable” — I remember King Kaufman, then writing for Salon, discovering that (1) he had an entry and (2) it was pending deletion for lack of notability — but a lot of weird things can happen before someone notices.

I was looking up July 15 births, with the intent of finding someone I could propose for Rule 5, and found this at the bottom of the section:

Wikipedia screen cap

I suspect these last two guys aren’t too notable, inasmuch as they have no other links within Wikipedia.

King Kaufman, incidentally, is now considered notable enough for an entry.

Addendum: The real Beavis returneth.

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A museum, virtually

Opening tomorrow:

Retro Metro OKC is pending 501(c)(3) organization whose goal is to create an online exhibit of thousands of photos and documents relating to our city’s history, culture and heritage. The website debuts with more than 1,200 such materials, and thanks to a cooperative effort with the Oklahoma Historical Society and other area historical organizations, we hope to be adding many more historical Oklahoma City images in the near future.

Retro Metro OKC operates differently from other organizations in that we have no museum, we have no physical collections, and in most instances the materials we display remain in private ownership. In a typical situation our volunteer crews go to a home or business to scan an owner’s collection and the owner participates in the project by sharing information about the photos and documents as they are being scanned. The materials never have to leave an owner’s possession — the owner is simply asked to sign a release that allows for the materials to be displayed online.

The owner of such materials is given a disc of the digitized images and documents — and copies also will be given to the Oklahoma Historical Society and the Metropolitan Library System to ensure they will be preserved for future generations.

What’s the bane of the historian’s existence? Right: useful material forever locked away in someone’s vault. I have to figure the owners will happily share if they don’t actually have to give up physical possession.

Retro Metro OKC’s founding members include historians, authors, planners, a preservation architect, a retired Greater Oklahoma City Chamber executive, a city councilman, a city clerk, business owners, graphic designers and filmmakers. Our common history is Oklahoma City history. Our youngest member is 17; our oldest members are in their 70s.

Somewhere in the middle of that range is Oklahoman reporter and occasional dustbury.com reader Steve Lackmeyer, who is president of the new organization.

Nobody, not even Doug Loudenback or Pendleton Woods, knows everything about what’s happened in this town; I’m hoping the hive mind can fill in a lot of the blanks.

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And they are mild

All hybrids are not created equal, notes Ezra Dyer in Automobile (August):

The Chevy Malibu Hybrid, for instance, doesn’t deserve the label. Calling that car a hybrid is like calling a woman with Lee Press-On Nails a cyborg.

Ezra’s column, incidentally, is called “Dyer Consequences.”

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New York muse

Anyone want to take a shot at explaining this?

I am not sure I fully understand the logic behind driving a convertible with the top down, parking said vehicle, and then rolling up the windows without putting the top up. Rolling up the windows in such a vehicle will stop a potential car thief for less time than it takes a Democratic politician to propose a tax increase and thus has little or no deterrent effect on the criminal classes. Nor will rolling up the windows and keeping the top down prevent sun, rain, wind, or the occasional incontinent bird from soiling your nice new leather seats. There must be a point to performing such an action, but clearly I am not grasping the Aristotelian depths of the logic involved and no one wants to explain it to me. I also find it impossible to detect the difference between minutes in New York and minutes in any other state, but I usually ascribe my ignorance to my limited knowledge of Einstein’s theory of general relativity, which can, no doubt, explain all the mysteries of the universe, except, probably, why a man in a convertible would roll his windows up while leaving his top down.

Beyond speculating that the guy’s never had a car stolen before, I have no idea what might have been going through his head: force of habit makes sense if you believe that he didn’t realize he had the top down.

On the question of the New York minute, here’s a letter on the subject I received back in the summer of 2001:

“Funny how people say New York Minute, meaning a minute that is somehow shorter than a real minute. If you’ve ever been to NYC, the phrase to find out the time isn’t ‘What time is it?’ or even ‘Do you know what time it is?’ The phrase that pays is ‘Do you have the correct time?’ People in Manhattan are anal about this ‘correct time’ business… If anything, the 60 second New York minute is normal, and everyone else has 90 or 120 second minutes.”

So that’s how it works.

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