And she prevailed

In 2010, Dr Rachel Tudor was recommended for tenure by her colleagues at Southeastern Oklahoma State down in Durant. The administration, she said, responded by “contact[ing] legal counsel to find out if they were required to honor the recommendation of the faculty committee.” Somebody there didn’t like her.

In the spring of 2011, Tudor won the Faculty Senate Recognition Award for Excellence in Scholarship, after which she was sent packing. It took a while for things to start happening, but they did:

After four years of getting nowhere — she’s currently teaching at a community college in north Texas — the Department of Justice has stepped in, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, charging the school and the State Regents with discrimination on the basis of sex.

Tudor apparently flourished at Collin College, where she earned a 4.7 (out of 5) at Rate My Professors. And after two and a half years, the DOJ suit has borne fruit:

On Monday, an eight-person jury voted in favor of Tudor on three counts: that she was “denied tenure in 2009-10 because of her gender,” that she was denied “the opportunity to apply for tenure in the 2010-11 cycle … because of her gender” and that the university retaliated against her after she complained about workplace discrimination. The jury then awarded her $1.165 million in damages.

Said a member of Tudor’s legal team:

Brittany Novotny, a member of Tudor’s local counsel trial team and herself a transgender woman, said the case is the first of its kind.

“This is the first one of these Title VII civil rights cases for a trans person based on sex discrimination to go to a jury trial,” Novotny told NBC News. “It is a pretty exciting day and a pretty big moment.”

I remember Brittany Novotny: she ran for a seat in the state House in 2010. Unfortunately, the seat was District 84, arguably the least trans-friendly zone in the state, occupied then by Sally Kern and before that Bill Graves. Eventually she moved out of the area, though she’s kept several ties to the state and she’s wearing a Russell Westbrook jersey on her Twitter profile page.

And the timing couldn’t have been much better: Monday was this year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance.


At too safe a distance

News Item: A strategically planned implosion brought down the Georgia Dome Monday morning at 7:30. More than 4,000 pounds of explosives and six miles of cables and wiring took down the 71,000-seat stadium in just 12 seconds, sending a plume of dust into the sky.

The Weather Channel sent a team to cover the demolition as it happened. The result was, shall we say, not predictable:

“Gimme a hurricane every time,” Jim Cantore might have muttered.

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As the eye gets lost

“Sensuality, elegance and creativity are the key words of the stiletto creator, whose objective is to highlight a silhouette, reveal a personality or a style, through shoes and accessories collections combining sophistication, seduction and innovation.”

This quote jumps out at you from the Web site of Charles Jourdan, shoemaker. M. Jourdan himself died in 1976, and the company continued to be operated by his family until 2002.

During his later years, Jourdan commissioned fashion artwork from surrealist photographer Guy Bourdin. If Bourdin did his job, you spent twice as much eyeball time on the Jourdan advertisements, which, were they released today, might be considered to have a high WTF factor.

This fall-1979 picture for a relatively conservative dark-green pump is a case in point:

Guy Bourdin for Charles Jourdan, 1979

The downside, of course, is that you spend most of those extra seconds not looking at the shoes, but wondering how the bloody heck Bourdin did that.


Pecked to death

The New Orleans Pelicans pay attention. Recent events would persuade even the casual viewer that the way to handle the Thunder is to let them run up a big lead early on and then watch them fritter it away, a little at a time, until it’s too late for the boys in blue to do anything about it. The big lead here, halfway through the first quarter, was 25-6. By the end of the first, Oklahoma City led by only 9; they stayed at about that distance for the next 12 minutes, and then totally fell apart. The Pelicans took the lead before the end of the third, and with 18.5 seconds left, the Bad Birds had themselves an unsurmountable lead. Yeah, I know: it was only six points. But in terms of sheer clutch, the Thunder seem to have burned up their pressure plate. And Anthony Davis, always a threat to OKC, was even more so than usual tonight, nailing 36 points and grabbing 15 rebounds as the Pelicans won by, um, seven: 114-107. And it might have been worse had not DeMarcus Cousins elbowed Russell Westbrook in the face midway through the third, earning a Flagrant Two and a free trip to the locker room.

That Davis line is instructive: 18 of 22 free throws, 9-19 from the floor, and only one futile trey attempt. The Pelicans shot 50 percent or better most of the night, finishing at 51. As is Alvin Gentry’s wont, the New Orleans reserves didn’t get much in the way of playing time, though Darius Miller’s 11 off the bench trumped any individual Thunder reserve. (Jerami Grant was the closest, with 10.) So dire was the situation that a Westbrook triple-double (22-16-12) wasn’t enough to save the day.

Were the Thunder thinking forward to the holidays? Not likely. Were they thinking forward to Wednesday and the Warriors? Possibly more likely. I suggest black ops: call up P. J. Dozier from the Sports Drink League. You’ll recognize him at once: he wears number 35.


A certain heaviness

You can’t really tell from this photo:

Judge Jeanine in blue shoes

And no information is available for the left, but apparently that right foot is solid lead:

Fox News host and TV judge Jeanine Pirro is heading to court herself after being ticketed for excessive speeding Sunday in upstate New York.

State Police say Pirro was clocked driving 119 mph in a 65 mph zone when she was stopped by a trooper at about 1:15 p.m. Sunday afternoon in the Town of Nichols in Tioga County.

A State Police spokesman said the only charge Pirro was hit with was speeding.

Forty over in New York State can get you 11 points, enough for a license suspension. And she sounds almost like she’s expecting it:

“I had been driving for hours to visit my ailing 89-year-old mom and didn’t realize how fast I was driving. I believe in the rule of law and I will pay the consequences,” Pirro said in a statement through Fox News Channel.

I just want to know what she’s driving in which you can’t tell you’re going a hundred nineteen.


Quote of the week

Nary a statesman in the bunch, says Mike Hendrix:

When was the last time you heard any of these contemptible cretins referred to as a “statesman”? The very idea of comparing any of the villainous poltroons currently in Congress to, say, James Madison, James Monroe, or, for that matter, Peter Muhlenberg of the first Federal Congress is risible on its face. The kind of people drawn these days to “serve” in Congress couldn’t be trusted to walk your damned dog. You certainly wouldn’t dream of hiring them to babysit your daughter, even for five minutes.

The profligate treachery and self-serving arrogance of John McCain; the addled witlessness of Maxine Waters; the complete mendacity and dishonesty of Nancy Pelosi; the smug double-dealing of Harry Reid; the slimy disingenuousness of Mitch “Yertle” McTurtle — these aren’t exactly ringing endorsements of the caliber of people in charge of government in the modern era. Some of them — most, probably — might be vain and presumptuous enough to think they’d fare well in a comparison to the true statesmen of an earlier age. But that only adds “delusional” to the litany of their inadequacy.

The character traits of those attracted to national elective office effectively guarantee that they’ll be the very type of person we wouldn’t want there. An overblown sense of self-importance; a desire to lord it over others, and an unswerving belief in their competence to do so; a monstrously and unjustly inflated ego; a mania for attention and affirmation; a near-sociopathic lack of interest in the needs or desires of other people; dishonesty and shamelessness; short-sightedness and disinterest in long-term consequences; basic fiscal greed — these pathologies, crippling disqualifications in just about any other field, are now requirements for success as an American career politician.

Nor are these traits reserved solely to persons named on ballots; the last few administrations have had an unerring knack for finding underlings at commensurate levels of fatuity. Deluged by smears and countersmears, those of us who have better things to do than play Fantasy Despots all week have a tendency to lose interest — which, of course, makes life easier for those who would rule us.


True gritters

A resident of Doncaster, in South Yorkshire, would like to say a few kind words about the local public-works department:

“As an avid user of roads, footpaths and public spaces and an avid fan of traction, I’ve come to really like not falling over. Gritters do a really important job.”

Doncaster Council has recently added two new gritters, to keep the roads clear when the weather is terrible, and they asked the community for names for the machines — with some ground rules to be honored:

Hey, I liked “Gary Gritter,” though its namesake seems to have come to a bad end.

Be that as it may, the Council was happy with the vote:

The woman who came up with Gritsy Bitsy is quoted at the top of this article.

And it’s not like this is unfamiliar territory to Doncaster Council:

The new gritters will now join the council’s fleet of eclectically-named vehicles, Brad Grit, Gritney Spears, The Subzero Hero, Mr Plow and Usain Salt.

That name again is Mr Plow.

(Via Fark.)

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Strange search-engine queries (616)

About 30 to 40 percent of my daily traffic is a small but apparently enthusiastic corps 0f regulars, some of whom have been coming by for more than a decade. Most of the rest got here via search engine; once a week I go through the logs to see what they were searching for. I’ve been doing this for, yes, more than a decade. Draw your own conclusions.

Bikini On Clothesline:  The nearest village to a naturist beach in the southwest of England.

@fmail:  The last step before Gmail. See also Preparation G and Formula 408.

ineffably:  Subsequently replaced by “ingeeably.”

define pmoys:  That was Hef’s job, and by all accounts he enjoyed it.

chepito car rental:  Oh. For a moment there I thought you’d said “Cheapo.”

sickness insurance:  Does not cover the sickness that overwhelms you when you get your insurance bill.

tighty whities men:  Underwear does not discriminate. If women want to wear the damn things it’s fine with me.

doxxed urban dictionary:  Did it not occur to you to actually go to Urban Dictionary?

santa ana winds allergies:  As though having the tip of your nose burned off wasn’t bad enough.

say less remix:  Not hardly. Cut down the remixes and a third of YouTube evaporates.

ontario assisted dying:  We’re guessing that the cost of assisted living was too much to bear.

according to all known laws of aviation copypasta:  No matter what happens, you will always have just enough fuel to get to the crash site.

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Return of the heart of zinc

From a couple of months ago, the beginning of an experiment:

Some people have gotten so serious about it that they are building a computer farm in Iceland for the specific purpose of mining Bitcoins. I gave them $100 to see if they can make any money for me.

Sixty-odd days and $120 later:

They seem to be a new outfit that is having normal start-up problems, so I cut them some slack, but like I said, it’s been a couple of months so I inquired, and now I have some numbers. Since they sat on my money for a month to ensure that it was legit and not some from some scammer, the money has only been at work for a month, but in a month it has produced $5.38. Theoretically speaking. To actually get the money, I have to transfer it to an electronic ‘wallet’, and from there I should be able to get actual moola.

I dutifully set up the wallet, but nothing had gotten transferred. Seems there are transaction fees, so Genesis doesn’t transfer any funds until you have at least $15 to transfer.

Anyway, $5 a month times 12 months is $60, so in two years I should double my money. Assuming of course that this whole thing doesn’t collapse like the house of cards it is.

There we go. A House of [IBM] Cards.


T’ain’t funny, McD

Debuting in 1948 at the eatery owned by Dick and Mac McDonald:

“The Speedee Service System applied the principles of production line manufacture to fast food, and formed the foundation of what Ray Kroc would later leverage to create the world’s largest food outlet chain, and epitomise the Business Format Franchise Model.”

What the System was like, two decades and change later:

Day 1: I started “dressing buns,” that is, applying mustard and ketchup and pickles to the hamburger buns and from there, every 6 weeks, I rotated to another department, french fries, grill, milk shakes, etc., and after I had mastered every one of them I reached the honorable and greatly sought position of working on the counter, taking orders, using the cash register. WOW! It was not until AFTER I learned the entire system was I allowed to step right up front and represent the whole company to the public at large. (now, they stick the ugliest and stupidest people on the counter and just taking your order, with every convenience in the world, is almost more than they can muster — true genetic defects — individual and corporate)

Yep, each order — and there were hundreds each day, was written down in detail in little “ticket books” and get this, less than 60 seconds later the customer received their HOT order. The cash register was the old skool type where you had to type in the prices of each item and then hit the “Total” button that then printed a small receipt. No colorful pictures on the screen, no automated anything, all of it done by hand, the long way, but very fast and very efficient.

In 1970 McDonald’s full menu consisted of: hamburger 19 cents, cheeseburger 24 cents, dbl hamburger 29 cents, dbl cheeseburger 34 cents, big mac 45 cents, fish sandwich 35 cents, french fries 19 cents, coke, root beer, orange, sprite 19 cents small and 24 cents large, milkshakes — choc, van, straw 35 cents, apple pie 19 cents. There ya go, McDonald’s circa 1970 entire menu, complete.

Meanehile, halfway across the country, I was working at a Mickey D’s, and the only thing I remember that was different was that we had even older old-skool registers: we took the orders with an actual pencil, and rang up only the total on the shiny stainless-steel machine.

Oh, and this:

Amazingly, very few people got fired from McDonald’s, everybody was glad to have the opportunity to work. Most that were in my age group simply moved on eventually. Me? After almost year at $1.15 an hour, I graduated from 2 different schools a couple weeks before my 17th birthday and received a job offer from the largest architectural firm in the county so I quit. My new job paid $1.45 to start.

Amazingly, I was getting paid a buck ninety-five to do the same things, mostly because I was able to work flexible schedules: I could close the store one night at 11 and open it the next morning at 9. (This was before McDonald’s reinvented breakfast.)

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Where has all the toner gone?

Not a very long time spilling:

Printer toner all over the goddamn place

In case of such a misadventure, some useful advice:

Don’t try to vacuum it up. Holes in most air filters are larger than particles of ink, so you’ll just launch them all up in the air.

Edit: also, that powder is very flammable. It’s static too, so electricity can build up in the tube, causing sparks. And it’s also cancerogenic. Fun combination!

Hazmat team to the server room, stat!


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No more telephone tag?

If you hate corporate telephone trees as much as I think you do, you might find this exchange useful:

This probably won’t work everywhere, but you’ll feel better every time it works once.

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Resetting the Scrutinizer

I almost called this “Totality Achieved,” since I wrecked my car this summer, and Unblinking Insurance declared the ancient Japanese sled a total loss. Unwilling to accept this verdict, I reacquired the vehicle from them and had the appropriate body repairs done.

I puzzled for a while as to what I should do with my existing insurance policy: obviously there’s no point in continuing to pay for collision coverage, but the other coverages are likely to cost more, because — duh! — I’d just had a wreck. And this week, when the renewal arrived, I judged it to be pretty much a wash: for the next six months I’ll pay an extra $60. If this sounds like a lot to you, you probably aren’t carrying the absurd level of coverage I do.

Usually this is the point where I detail how much each component of the policy went up or down. But inasmuch as this event constitutes a major change, the new numbers are, in my view, no longer statistically significant. So I’m declaring a new baseline, and we’ll see what happens in May. For the moment, I’m grateful for not having being dropped entirely.

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For all the milk tea in China

Zhang Zetian, twenty-four today, is the wealthiest woman in all of China, though you might not have guessed that from this early photo:

Zhang Zetian as the original Milk Tea Girl

The origin of this picture:

In 2009, Zhang Zetian was an ordinary high school student. One day, as she was leaving class, a friend snapped a photo of her with a Chinese milk tea drink in her hand, backpack slung over one shoulder. Zhang’s photo was then posted on, a popular social networking site. Complete strangers then forwarded the photo hundreds of thousands of times, proclaiming the “Milk Tea Girl” to be “adorable!” and “fresh faced!”

Zhang Zetian does a split

This is not, however, how she piled up $8 billion. That story starts in New York City in 2014, when Zhang spent a year as an exchange student at Barnard, and she met Liu Qiangdong, a fortyish entrepreneur (, China’s second-largest online retailer) who was studying at Columbia and hoping to arrange an IPO. They hit it off at once, rumors began to fly, and Liu’s IPO was successful; the following year they were wed in Sydney, Australia, and in 2016 Richard and Nancy (maybe you need an English-sounding name if you’re a Chinese billionaire) had a daughter. Their investments overlap to a certain extent, though apparently her 17 percent of Bubs, an Australian baby-food company, is through her company, not Liu’s.

Zhang Zetian crosses the ocean again

While she works diligently to promote JD’s line of luxe goods, she’d just as soon do the sneakers-and-jeans thing:

And yes, you can find her on Instagram.

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When a heart can be broken

This I was not expecting. Serbian “body illusionist” Mirjana Kika Milosevic, whom you’ve maybe seen before seemingly mutilating herself, was apparently commissioned to produce video footage for this song by singer Adil Maksutović:

“Ne kidaj mene od sebe” translates to “Do not bother me,” and there’s a definite Go Away feeling to Adil’s performance.

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On the Richter scale

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