On the regicide of the street

“If you try to kill the King, you better not miss,” said James Woods, and people who should have known better but weren’t allowed to — you know the type — ganged up on Woods for ripping off a character, and a black character at that, from The Wire. Which is all you can expect from people who think the world began five minutes before they were born:

“It’s a line that stands out because it sounds badass. But it’s also a reference to something less than totally badass, a response Ralph Waldo Emerson sent future Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes over a collegiate attempt to refute the supremacy of Plato’s classification of ideas. ‘When you strike at a king,’ Emerson, then a 60-year-old Unitarian minister, famously wrote, ‘you must kill him.'”

I’m fairly certain Emerson is not the original source for this thought, however. We see it in Shakespeare and in Greek tragedy. It is dangerous to challenge power and to fail in the attempt; ask anyone who observed the Year Of The Four Emperors. With that said, I object to the idea that ol’ Ralph Waldo was “less than totally badass”. He possessed a clarity of thought and expression long gone from the modern conversation. I enjoyed reading him for the same reason I enjoy reading Samuel Johnson — the sense of arguments mustered, marshaled, and marched into battle. Emerson had what we used to call a masculine mind, before that became a slur. He was Thoreau’s superior because he rarely allowed himself to argue from emotion. That’s why we still hear about Walden long after most schools have banished Emerson from the rolls; Henry David’s loosely-constructed, frequently hypocritical, hugely self-centric mode of thinking suits our current cadre of pseudo-intellectuals far better.

I wasn’t around for the Year of the Four Emperors, a mere 1,850 years ago, but considering its beginning — Nero, tried as a “public enemy,” in absentia no less, took his own life — you have to figure that times had to be seriously rough between the ascent of Galba and the arrival of Vespasian, and the two guys who attempted to play the part of the Emperor in between.

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Tyler, four

Once a week, all the Rule 5 stuff from all across the dextrosphere finds its way to Wombat-socho, who puts out a compilation on Sunday, for varying values of “Sunday.” Tyoically, he starts out with an offering of his own, and this past week it was someone you’ve seen here before:

So this weekend, I’ve been decompressing from tax season, doing some catching up with a sister-in-arms I hadn’t seen in 30 years, and watching a lot of TV while doing the first two things. Part of that TV has been the second season of Archer, which is quite possibly the best spoof of James Bond and other spy thrillers out there. One of the main characters of Archer is Lana Kane, super-competent and quite sexy spy who is Archer’s former (and still occasional) girlfriend and frequent mission partner. The voice of Lana is actress Aisha Tyler, who’s rather easy on the eyes herself.

Which, of course, triggered a memory:

[A]n exhibit on the subject of why I’ve got it bad for Aisha Tyler, from her book Swerve: Reckless Observations of a Postmodern Girl, on why doing charity work makes you more interesting:

“The next time you’re out with a bunch of people and they’re all babbling on about how their new SUV came with six cup holders instead of the standard factory-issue four, or how they’re pissed because they couldn’t find a pair of Super Humanity Force Five Superlow Cut Frayed Über-Denim jeans, you can talk about how you spent a weekend building a house for a low-income family and learned how to use a compound mitre saw. In metric. They will be cowed. But they will also be fascinated. Girls will think you’ve got balls, and boys will imagine you with a hammer in your hand, wearing nothing but a utility belt. Everybody wins.”

That was 2004. In the 15 years since, we’ve run a couple of pictures of Ms Tyler, but the last one was 2012. Why not renew an acquaintance?

Aisha Tyler, all dressed up

Aisha Tyler, not dressed at all

Aisha Tyler smiles in the direction of Stephen Colbert

And, from 2010, the last item in “Strange search-engine queries (219)“:

“aisha tyler” “well hung”:  Either this guy has his terms confused, or this is the surprise of the decade.

It’s pretty late in the decade, but I still think I’d be surprised.

Archer ran for seven seasons on FX, and then moved to FXX for two more. So far as I know, there are no plans for an FXXX network.


Rosetta Stone to the white courtesy phone, please

Not a repeat from the year 6565. Yet.

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I have three of these

Naybe four. At some point, the details start to blur:

I should point out here that I paid the long dollar for an Elton John box set, making it unnecessary to own any of the various Greatest Hits discs.

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Over at Harry’s place

This has been going on at the Truman Library tonight:

Dozens of middle school students will perform original and historical speeches Monday at the Truman Library and Museum — a Midwest regional event that’s part of the Ford’s Theatre National Oratory Fellowship.

“An Evening of Oratory” will be 6:30-8:30 p.m. Monday at the library, including more than 25 middle school students from Independence, Fort Osage and Raytown schools, as well as Wichita, Kansas who will perform in front of a public audience and a representative from Ford’s Theatre. A scheduling conflict will prevent students from Omaha, Nebraska from making the trip to participate.

Students from Bridger Middle School in Independence have been participating in this for several years, but this is the first time it includes students from other Midwest schools. Speeches will last about two minutes. An additional 25 students from Bridger will give speeches at a later event Wednesday evening.

Now, who do I know who attends Bridger?

Yep. Grandson Gunner, just turned twelve, is doing one of those speeches. And it makes sense that he should be the family member to take part in this thing, inasmuch as he’s now a fairly experienced thespian, having appeared in several local community-theatre productions. I am properly awed.

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Snark plug

Fifty-five years ago, the Ford Mustang was born. (And let no one shoot off his mouth about the alleged “1964½” models; every last one of them in that extended first model year was titled as a 1965.) Shall we celebrate that birthday? Chevrolet will:

Your turn, Dodge.

(Via The Truth About Cars.)

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It’s just a block away

We’re losing someone from the neighborhood, which is a shame; however, this house is now on the market.

One block over and one block south

Built in 1947, this 3-bedroom, 1½-bath home has 1386 square feet of living space and a single-car garage. They’re asking $170,000.


Speaking now

Most of the time, I can get through Quora with a sentence or two. Sometimes, however, I find myself more greatly motivated: What do you respect and admire most about Taylor Swift?


She’s somewhere between a very good and a superb lyricist; almost every song in the Swift catalog contains at least one passage that hits you square in the heart. And she’s by all available evidence a firm believer in the idea that those who have been given much are expected to give back. Perhaps most inspiring, though, is the fact that she’s negotiated her contracts with music distributors, not to her best advantage, but to the benefit of musicians who aren’t in a position to command the numbers she does. An example: The nascent Apple Music offered 90 days free to early subscribers, financed by the artists, who would draw no royalties during that period. Swift objected:

“This is not about me. Thankfully I am on my fifth album and can support myself, my band, crew, and entire management team by playing live shows. This is about the new artist or band that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success. This is about the young songwriter who just got his or her first cut and thought that the royalties from that would get them out of debt. This is about the producer who works tirelessly to innovate and create, just like the innovators and creators at Apple are pioneering in their field … but will not get paid for a quarter of a year’s worth of plays on his or her songs.

“These are not the complaints of a spoiled, petulant child. These are the echoed sentiments of every artist, writer and producer in my social circles who are afraid to speak up publicly because we admire and respect Apple so much. We simply do not respect this particular call.”

Apple backpedaled. Quickly.

Taylor Swift has her quirks — her legs are insured for $40 million, and after a long period of contemplation, I don’t see how they’re worth more than $35 million — but I will always wish her well.

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Strange search-engine queries (690)

Whose bright idea was it to have a Monday this week? Well, too late now, we’re stuck with it. And I have to see what’s kicking around in the logs.

southpole:  Not a whole lot warmer than the North.

invisible woman in pantyhose:  Wouldn’t that reduce her advantage over us ordinary folk?

desperate for recognition:  Oh, that’s her over there, the one who looks like an empty pair of tights.

captain we are being hailed:  Hold your course until it reaches the size of golf balls.

flute foosi:  The flat flute foosi? With the floy-floy?

donald duck ringtone play with my balls:  Hell, you don’t even have pants.

paul savage purchased a restaurant named burger haven from larry jones. the purchase would cause the number of reporting entities to:  Buy more French fries.

jasmine tridevil dead:  Little Miss Three Boobs is gone? I can’t believe it. (And neither can Snopes.)

sembling:  I don’t know, I’ve never sembled.

search engine colossus:  So, bigger than Bing, then?

assassination classroom:  Conveniently, next to the lunch room.

which paragraph summarizes julius caesar’s life best?  “Aw, is my back hurting your knife?”

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They came to play

“The Blazers,” said radio guy Matt Pinto with about 6:50 left, “own all the hustle numbers,” and you might have figured that just from the mournful sound of his voice. At some point, Portland had a 19-point lead, and it was 3:35 before the Thunder were able to clamber back to down ten. Two minutes later, that ten-point lead had shrunk all the way to, um, nine. From the virtual sidelines, Kendrick Perkins yelled: “Can’t get into a 3 point shootout with Portland! That’s what they do!” The final was Portland 111, Oklahoma City 98, and Thunder Twitter had a definite undertone of “Get it over with, and let’s find Donovan’s replacement.”

Tuesday at Rip City is the earliest it can be “over with,” and there will be, I suspect, some apocalyptic verbiage from Berry Tramel in the Oklahoman tomorrow. But what has to be done, first and foremost, is to keep the Blazers from scoring like the very dickens. Four of five Portland starters made double figures, and Enes Kanter had only eight points but ten rebounds. Also with ten rebounds: Moe Harkless, with 15 points. The twin-guard duo did the usual damage: C. J. McCollum had 27 points, Damian Lillard 24. And all five of those guys were +16 or better.

Paul George, idled early in the second quarter with three fouls, did come up with 32 points and ten boards for a -2. And Russell Westbrook’s 14-9-7 doesn’t tell you that 13 of those points came in the first half. The Thunder shot 38 percent, the Blazers 41, and you have to figure, if Portland can beat you by 13 while shooting 41 percent, there are problems afoot.

And I closed with this:

No one laughed.

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AOC, Jr.

This young lady definitely has a future:

(Via the New York Post.)

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Modestly wacky

This dates from a time when underwear was gradually ceasing to be, well, “under”:

Undies by Lycra

In 2003, Du Pont moved to spin off its textile-fibers division to Koch Industries, which combined it with its existing fiber operation to form Invista; the Lycra trademark is gradually fading away in favor of the generic “spandex.”

(With thanks to Amy Poindexter, whom I’ve never seen in anything like this.)

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Going like eighty

At least some of the time, anyway:

Don’t hold your breath waiting:

Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday signed a bill that would allow the governing bodies of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority and Oklahoma Department of Transportation to increase speeds on some roadways.

The Transportation Commission could increase maximum speeds to 75 mph from 70 mph after a traffic or engineering study, according to House Bill 1071, by Rep. Daniel Pae, R-Lawton. The measure applies to rural segments of the interstate highway system.

The measure would allow the Turnpike Authority to raise maximum speeds to 80 mph from 75 mph.

“No matter what, you are not going to see 80 mile per hour speed limit signs tomorrow,” said Jack Damrill, Turnpike Authority spokesman.

When the signs do go up, the motorists who were already doing 85 will start pushing 90.



My townspeople, beyond in the great world,
are many with whom it were far more
profitable for me to live than here with you.
These whirr about me calling, calling!
and for my own part I answer them, loud as I can,
but they, being free, pass!
I remain! Therefore, listen!
For you will not soon have another singer.

First I say this: you have seen
the strange birds, have you not, that sometimes
rest upon our river in winter?
Let them cause you to think well then of the storms
that drive many to shelter. These things
do not happen without reason.

And the next thing I say is this:
I saw an eagle once circling against the clouds
over one of our principal churches —
Easter, it was — a beautiful day!
three gulls came from above the river
and crossed slowly seaward!
Oh, I know you have your own hymns, I have heard them —
and because I knew they invoked some great protector
I could not be angry with you, no matter
how much they outraged true music —

You see, it is not necessary for us to leap at each other,
and, as I told you, in the end
the gulls moved seaward very quietly.

— Al Que Quiere! (1917)
William Carlos Williams, 1883-1963


My pride and joy, et cetera

Eleanore Whitney was born (as Eleanore Wittenberg) in 1917 in Cleveland, and spent her teenaged years studying dance and appearing in vaudeville. (She was serious about that dance stuff: one of her primary teachers was Bill “Bojangles” Robinson.) By the time she was eighteen, she was deemed ready for the silver screen.

Eleanore Whitney probably should not wear heels on a sled

Eleanore Whitney probably should not wear heels with snowshoes

Eleanore Whitney is just fine wearing heels under a beach umbrella

She did fifteen films in four years, and then abruptly left the industry in 1939 for personal reasons:

News clipping announcing Eleanore Whitney's marriage

And so far as is known, Mr and Mrs Backer lived happily ever after, or at least until death do them part; Eleanore passed away in 1983 at sixty-six.


Coming soon to a ballot near you

The Secretary of State has accepted for filing a ballot initiative which would expand Medicaid coverage in this state:

Attorneys with Crowe & Dunlevy today filed a Medicaid expansion ballot initiative Friday on behalf of two Oklahomans, one from Tulsa and one from Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma Secretary of State Michael Rogers’ office posted the seven-page filing online [pdf] and distinguished it as State Question 802. The ballot initiative would make a change to the Oklahoma Constitution, thus requiring 177,958 signatures for it to make the ballot. Signature collection would extend for 90 days after any challenges have been resolved or addressed.

The money quote:

This measure adds a new Article to the Oklahoma Constitution. The new Article would expand Oklahoma’s Medicaid program to include certain low-income adults between the ages of 18 and 65 whose income does not exceed 133 percent of the federal poverty level, as permitted under the federal Medicaid laws.

Several states have already done this in response to the ACA; Oklahoma balked because the potential costs seemed daunting. Jonathan Small of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, in an email received here:

Rather than spend Good Friday contemplating one of the most consequential events in history, as most Oklahomans did, expansion supporters engaged in a political stunt. The petition is meant to bluff state lawmakers into passing an expansion program they know is a bad idea. Lawmakers should stick with their gut and continue opposing this plan. The Obamacare Medicaid proposal is a massive expansion of welfare that will add 628,000 able-bodied adults to Oklahoma’s welfare rolls and could put working families on the hook for a state share of $374 million annually.

Make no mistake, expanding Obamacare in Oklahoma will result in the state seeing the same problems as every other state that has gone down this path. Enrollment levels will be far higher than what expansion supporters predict, at significantly higher costs, to achieve significantly lower outcomes than promised. If you doubt it, just look at states comparable to Oklahoma that expanded Medicaid. Cost overruns in Arkansas have topped $1.4 billion, and Kentucky’s ranking on health outcomes remains low, despite Kentucky spending far more taxpayer money on Medicaid.

Expensive stuff, health care. Still, I’ll probably sign the petition when it’s presented to me, simply because if we’re going to do something like this, it would be nice to have the electorate sign off on it.

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