Rain delay

About six this morning, I was dashing outside to retrieve the newspaper before the rain started. I looked over at the ginormous stack of Shingles ‘N Stuff over by the driveway, and thought, No way are they coming out today.

I’d left for work before the roofing company called me to advise me that no way are they coming out today, what with the storms all morning. It was nice and clear at noon, but of course the day was half gone by then.

Speaking of the newspaper, the Big Headline this morning was “Losses from Oklahoma’s May storms likely to top $1 billion.” At the time I saw it, I shrugged: what’s a billion these days? The Feds can spend that in a matter of minutes.

But eventually the math demanded to be done, and assuming that I have somewhere around the average amount of damage — just on the near side of $10,000 — then more than a hundred thousand people were hit by either the funnels on the 10th or the ice cannon on the 16th. Maybe both. Under the circumstances, I suppose I ought to be thankful I’m getting my stuff repaired during the first week of June — provided, of course, it doesn’t rain.

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Eat your archives

Really, all you need from this is the first sentence:

Two Australians are being sent to Bangladesh to teach slum dwellers how to blog.

Nice to know everyone’s priorities are in order.

(Via Tim Blair.)

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As excuses go, this one didn’t

“Well, I didn’t plagiarize. The student who wrote the assignment for me did.”

File under “unclear on the concept.”

(Via Fark, where it bears the DUMBASS tag.)

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Accounting for tastes

At some point this year, this site will record its two-millionth visitor, and inasmuch as several thousand folks came by to read the tale of a librarian at Harvard who claimed she was sacked for being too attractive, I’m not above working the same sort of story at a different institution.

Debbie Lorenzana

This is Debbie Lorenzana, who no longer works for Citigroup. Gothamist explains why:

Lorenzana says she was fired from Citigroup last summer after finally getting transferred out of the department where her troubles started. Her job title was business banker, providing services to small businesses. After some time on the job, the managers called her into a meeting and, according to her account, told her, “‘Your pants are too tight.’ I said, ‘I’m sorry, my pants are not too tight! If you want to talk about inappropriate clothes, go downstairs and look at some of the tellers! Some tellers would wear their pants so tight, it was like they had a permanent wedgie.’” But because she signed a mandatory-arbitration clause as a condition of her employment, her harassment case will be settled by an arbitrator, not a judge.

Her suit claims that, “as a result of her tall stature, coupled with her curvaceous figure, she should not wear classic high-heeled business shoes, as this purportedly drew attention to her body in a manner that was upsetting to her easily distracted male managers.”

Males “easily distracted?” Who knew?

As for our local tellers, I have no idea as to the state of their pants, since I only see them from here up. [gestures] Some of them are likely this attractive, but none of them are likely to cause rapid rotation of the ol’ Site Meter, if you know what I mean.

Update: The Other McCain offers a photo of Ms Lorenzana in a more form-fittting outfit.

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Virgin seeks first position

Emily Virgin, a clerk for a Norman law firm, has announced she plans to run for the House seat currently held by Rep. Bill Nations, who runs into the Wall of Term Limits this year.

Since March, I have walked the neighborhoods of House District 44, talking and listening to voters. They have voiced their thoughts, concerns, ideas and suggestions and I have learned much. Voters want quality jobs with better pay and better benefits, quality and affordable health care, an education system second to none, and to protect our children and seniors from abuse and neglect.

While searching for solutions to difficult and far-reaching issues, we must be keenly aware of the unprecedented economic circumstances which confront Norman, Oklahoma and the nation. I believe we can provide for our needs and also be realistic about our limited funds and resources. We clearly are in tough times, but we cannot afford to throw in the towel and abandon essential programs and services.

Virgin, a political newcomer, is 23. The official filing period begins next week; I suspect she’ll draw some Democratic opposition. The primary is July 27.

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Without undoing donuts

The police could be spending less on idling by the side of the road, simply by, well, not idling:

Anti-idling technology will save the Ottawa Police Service 1,764 litres of fuel a year per car — enough to drive across Canada four times.

The technology, which includes auxiliary batteries to run electronics, a small combustion motor to provide heat, automatic vehicle start up and shut off and idling monitoring and recording equipment, was installed in two patrol cars in 2009.

Before the technology was installed, an analysis showed that the average time the engine idled in a patrol car during a 10-hour patrol shift was 6.7 hours.

Fuel consumption being a major factor in any police budget, this is not an inconsiderable savings; payback period for the $2000 (CDN) equipment package, say the researchers, is a mere 18 months.

(Via AutoblogGreen.)

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In lieu of 5-mph bumpers

If you’re constantly banging your shins into the furniture — and only if you’re constantly banging your shins into the furniture — you might be able to get away with this:

Leg Fancies

Then again, a commenter at Rose-Kim Knits grasped a wholly-different concept for this, um, garment:

So if you’re costuming a production of Twelfth Night, you’ve got Malvolio’s cross-garters right here. Wear them over yellow tights, and he’s set to be the butt of ridicule.

(Fillyjonk sent me this link, knowing it would peg my WTF meter.)

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We will, we will, tax you

Mission, Kansas, a tiny sector of the massive Kansas City metro sprawl, has bad roads and not enough money to make them, um, less bad. The solution? A so-called “transportation utility fee,” which has been informally dubbed the “driveway tax”: the number of trips that begin or end on your little strip of concrete will be guesstimated, and you will write your check accordingly. It’s about as popular as you’d think it might be.

An unsigned editorial at KansasCity.com asks:

Should the fee be the same for big houses as well as small homes? And what of the wisdom of imposing a fee on trips, one that would rise with inflation. Would critics be right in branding it a freedom-of-movement tax?

Mission has been plotting this for about a year now. A pertinent passage from Council minutes:

Robert Hartman, Hartman Hardware, stated that he does not believe that a Transportation Utility Fee has been authorized in the State of Kansas. Mr. Scanlon [City Administrator] stated there is no legislation that currently prohibits the City from doing this so Home Rule may be exercised to establish the Transportation Utility.

Or, as suddenly-single Al Gore might say, there is no controlling legal authority. Once they invoke this sort of justification, you know they’re emotionally wedded to the concept, and if they don’t get what they want, there will be the local equivalent of threatening to shutter the Washington Monument.

Mr Hartman, from the hardware store, commented at the time that the city is “taxing him to death.” This is, after all, one of the things that governments do best.

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Sony says No

Scenario: I’m looking at the SonicStage “My Library” column, noting that it contains 770 songs, and that the actual folder from which I do the imports contains, um, 589 songs. Something is a trifle askew somewhere. No problem; I’ll clear the Library, dump the folder, copy all the files over from the Walkman, and everything will be nice and sync-y once more.

Or not. Actually, SonicStage refused to import even one track from the Walkman. I cranked open an Explorer window and headed for the dreaded OMGAUDIO folder, and somewhere under Sony’s crufty directory structure was a crapload of .oma files, which turn out to be unprotected ATRAC3 files. (Protected ATRAC3 files, which I’d have had I bought anything from Sony’s now-defunct online music store, apparently have the .omg extension, which if nothing else qualifies as keen editorial comment.) And SonicStage won’t import them from the player.

So: no backup, technically. I’m reasonably certain I have all these tracks stored elsewhere; for that matter, I think I’ve copied all of them to the iTunes install on the work box, which means they’re only a flash-drive session away, assuming I use the larger (8 GB) drive. (The Walkman holds only 4 GB.) Still, a company that goes to this much trouble to complicate my existence is going to get as few of my dollars as I can possibly manage.

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The smell of burning nut hair

I don’t dare quote any more of this; you must read the whole thing, preferably while no one else is around to hear your immediate response. And you will have an immediate response. Trust me.

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Top-rack sandals

Naples by OkabashiAfter the decidedly-mixed reviews on that $350 sandal last week, perhaps it’s time I went in the other direction. This is “Naples” from Okabashi, the leading casual-shoe manufacturer in all of Buford, Georgia, and it will run you $14.99 in any of three colors. What’s more, it’s dishwasher-safe:

Okabashi footwear is dishwasher-safe and machine washable. We recommend the dishwasher because it does a better job sanitizing. Just use a normal cycle, as the hi-temp settings could be a little too hot.

(Note: The following sentence may never be uttered again.) Even I might consider some of their shoes, if they had my size, and if I owned a dishwasher.

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When things get boysterous

The Booth Babe says she’s “often accused … of being completely self-involved, vain, shallow and full of myself,” and muses:

I have wondered more than once — pretty much every day, actually — if I would be accused of the same sins were I a male product specialist writing the exact same observations, replacing the male pervs with female.

I don’t think I would. In fact, I think the male readers who currently bemoan my attitude would be sending me internet high-fives.

I’m thinking this is a variation on the standard male dichotomy, though in this case the two incompatible characteristics are babeliciousness and brains: there are guys who are simply unprepared even to admit that the two can exist in the same space. Meanwhile, the very nature of the Babe’s job pretty much demands that they must coexist: she has to know her product material cold, including the stuff that isn’t in the brochure, and she has to meet a presumably-arbitrary standard for eye candy. Drop someone like that in front of those guys, and they’re compelled to shoot down one factor or the other. Perhaps both.

Which may explain some of this:

So I’m not sure where a lot of the vitriol comes from. Is it because I take the occasional shot that bruises the fragile male ego? Is it because a certain type of male can’t reconcile the idea of an attractive female who has no sexual interest in him actually being intelligent?

Some of them will never forgive her for describing herself as “attractive” and yet somehow managing to spurn them; if she’s actually hot, they “reason,” surely she must be hot to, um, trot.

And there’s that other atavistic crap: women drive girlmobiles and can’t possibly understand the finer points of direct injection or MacPherson struts. Having once observed a woman repairing an incapacitated Porsche, a task I couldn’t do if you spotted me three service manuals and a rack full of Snap-Ons, I know better than that.

Cynics might suggest that I’m jockeying for position in the hopes of winning the Babe’s favor. Not a chance. It’s extremely unlikely our paths will ever cross, and besides, I don’t do “hope” all that well.

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Now sit down and finish your letters

A proposal by Base for a new logo for NASA:

Proposed new NASA logo by Base

The logo for How To Destroy Angels, a musical project by Mr and Mrs Trent Reznor:

Logo for How To Destroy Angels

Is there a worldwide pixel shortage looming?

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It’s as easy as YYZ

Always Miller Time floats the idea of disaffected Raptors forward Hedo Türkoğlu in Oklahoma City:

Oklahoma City has some cap room and could get Hedo.

If Hedo Türkoğlu was smart, he would sign with the Thunder and play with Kevin Durant. Hedo would easily slide in at the power forward position.

Oklahoma City would have their own big 4. Hedo, Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, and Russell Westbrook would be hard to contain.

Of course, Jeff Green’s already playing at the four; unless it’s intended as the beginning of Uncle Jeff’s transition to Big-Time Sixth Man, I don’t see this happening. Türkoğlu, at 6-10, can certainly man the middle, but he’d cost more than Nenad Krstić and Serge Ibaka combined.

On the other hand, Toronto appears to be getting an Oklahoma City castoff:

P.J. Carlesimo has an agreement in principle to join the Toronto Raptors as an assistant coach under Jay Triano, according to league sources.

Carlesimo last served as a head coach with the Oklahoma City Thunder but was replaced by Scott Brooks midway through the 2008-09 season. Prior to that, Carlesimo served as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs under Gregg Popovich.

Carlesimo spent this season working for the Spurs as a color commentator on their radio broadcasts.

Nice to see the Peej getting back to the seats of power.

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Summer shorts

Not referring, in this case, to an article of clothing; rather, a collection of brief observations to fill up the space allotted.

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Climate change detected

Well, psychological climate, anyway:

First, there is certain alienation of individual bloggers accompanied by consolidation of various “party groups” and increased numbers of their commenters. Few years ago it was generally welcomed to use someone else’s blogroll as a walk into his inner circle, to put yourself into his shoes (or reading glasses) — not only to understand that person better, through his preferences, but as a means of widening your own perspectives without immediate commitment. Now this activity is tolerated, at best, and sometimes pointed out as impertinence or even considered suspicious. And when I go reading the “secondary” blogrolls (listed on the margins of the blogs on my own roll) I see changes, too: general-interest bloggers who in the past attracted lively discussions under almost every post, are now gathering, maybe, 1 or 3 responses — in a month. It’s not that their observations and interests became boring, it’s that life became more difficult for everyone, and there is not much point in endless chatting on topics one might live without. The general mood changed, too: we all are more pessimistic, gloomily focused on immediate tasks … teeth are clenched in perseverance while we put on a cheerful mask of camouflage de jour.

I’m willing to entertain the possibility that my own observations and interests became boring, but that implies a time when they weren’t.

I do see some of this activity, and some of the inactivity as well, though I’m not so sure it’s a result of some sort of cultural malaise. Certainly a lot of us don’t have as much time to devote to this sort of thing as we used to: I don’t, though I don’t seem to be turning out significantly less product. Yet. Shifting alliances and such, however, are a reality in blogdom. And if I’m part of anyone’s “inner circle,” I apologize for throwing off the center of gravity.

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