Archive for March 2007

High-five, hive mind

Just try to say that fast three times.

Normally I’d save this search-engine item for Monday’s roundup, but time is apparently of the essence:

The Borg are coming to assimilate us on March 10th:  Yeah, yeah, resistance is futile, yadda, yadda. Just give me Seven of Nine’s coordinates.

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4 on the floor

Found at Slashdot, a couple of years ago fercryingoutloud:

Just for giggles is anybody reading this currently using NT4?

Um, not anymore. (Giggle.)

Addendum: The city utility bill contains a blurb about a Special Collection of Household Hazardous Waste, to be held Saturday morning, 28 April, at State Fair Park. Near as I can tell, an old NT 4.0 box, though it’s not in the Household, certainly qualifies as both Waste and Hazardous.

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Contenders for Number One

Way too many years ago, I suffered a severe brain fart during a Spanish-language vocabulary test: the word “baño” had evidently escaped me entirely, which is not something to be desired when you have to label the rooms in the house. Desperate for another word for “bathroom,” I finally grat my teeth and penciled in “Juan.” I need hardly point out that Sister Alfonso Bedoya was not amused.

You’d think that after a debacle of this magnitude, I’d find myself in the business of naming portable-toilet vendors. No such luck. Besides, I’d be hard-pressed to surpass these.

(Via adfreak.)

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A whole new U

An idea from Kurt Hochenauer (bottom of item):

Oklahoma City and the state should consider creating a new university or a branch of an existing university in the Bricktown area.

This would be a great boost to Bricktown, and it would also give OKC residents a centralized, public university location for its area residents. I envision it as a primarily online college that would also offer hybrid and traditional courses. I see this future university as the most technologically advanced college in the state. It could also supplement curriculum at all the state’s other colleges and universities. This would support trends in current higher education in terms of online education.

Apparently some city leaders actually considered the idea, according to recent news reports, but found that it just wasn’t feasible because of its impact on area universities.

I hope this isn’t the end of the idea. By making the new university a branch of the University of Central Oklahoma, which is probably most suited to the task, or even the University of Oklahoma, the state’s most important research college, costs could be reduced. The college would not duplicate; it would supplement, create better access, and provide technological opportunities.

I like this idea, with one reservation: if you ask me, there’s really no reason to put it in Bricktown, where costs are high and space is more limited every day.

Assuming we’re going to do this from the ground up, the most sensible place, I think, would be just south of the “boulevard” that’s supposed to replace the Crosstown Expressway. It’s still central enough — it wouldn’t take much to get COTPA to run a shuttle line in and out — and there’s plenty of space down there just screaming for something that vaguely resembles the fabled Groves of Academe.

And the important thing, as Doc Hoc notes, is that it should not duplicate offerings elsewhere. We have rather a lot of four-year institutions already in this state, and there’s no point in cloning them.

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Ozymandias, line three, please

Dwayne wanders through the Great Banking Hall at the First National Center, and lives to tell.

It’s been over twenty years since the First National Bank and Trust Company of Oklahoma City failed. It wasn’t as spectacular a flameout as Penn Square Bank four years earlier, a crash which took down mighty $40-billion Continental Illinois, but in one way it was distinctly worse: FDIC actually had to pay Los Angeles-based First Interstate Bancorp some $72 million to take over the ruins. (First Interstate itself ran aground in the middle Nineties and was eventually absorbed by Wells Fargo.)

It’s been over thirty years since I had any reason to go to the First National Center (at one time I had an account at the First, mostly because my dad did), but the mental images are well-nigh indelible: it’s just so — so banky, if you will. (Hey, if Mr. Monday at the Oklahoman can describe Bricktown as “bricky,” I should be allowed “banky.”) There hasn’t been an actual bank there in ages — Bank of America, which acquired Boatmen’s Bank, which succeeded First Interstate at the First National Center, is a block away at Leadership Square, a classic middle-1980s Tallish Glass Box — and while many have had plans for the complex, hardly anything has actually been done. Perhaps this is a Good Thing, since the Great Banking Hall remains intact after all these years. What I’d hoped for, I suppose, was the possibility of one of the resurgent local banks taking over the place, but I suppose the overhead would cut down the resurgence.

And come to think of it, I seldom came in through the front door; I usually came in through the Conncourse Underground.

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Around lunchtime (Whataburger, thank you very much), it finally dawned on me, and while the Fates (Bob and Wendy Fate, of Great Neck, New York) weren’t addressing me directly, it sounded like their voices:

“Here’s the deal. You’ve got your own house, you’ve got better wheels than some billionaires, and your waistline is diminishing week by week. Be content with that.”

Which, when you get right down to it, is probably a hair kinder than “No, you can’t have a girlfriend.”

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You can’t spell “FUBAR” without U

A culprit confesses:

It appears that I, in a stroke of brilliance, mis-pasted the same IP addresses into both of our core routers. This caused an effective bridging loop as both of our routers fought for the IP address. This pegged their CPUs and the uplink between them.

Diane is gonna love this, I know.

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Sun burned

For a moment in the first quarter, it looked like Phoenix was going to run away with it; the Suns scored 34 points in 12 minutes, and 21 of them came from 3-balls. But the Hornets stuck close, trailing by one at the half and briefly taking the lead a couple of times after that. Finally, with 3.5 seconds to go, the Hornets, down one, got a stop, and after a timeout, the timing of which was questioned by the Suns, tried one last shot. Didn’t go, and that’s how it ended: Suns 104, Hornets 103.

This was one of those rare games where everybody who played scored, but nobody scored a whole lot. Leandro Barbosa, off the bench, was high man for the Suns with 19, and Amare Stoudemire picked up the double-double with 18 points and 11 boards. Captain America Steve Nash dropped in 15. For the night, the Suns tried 35 treys, and connected on 14; Raja Bell got five of them.

David West and Devin Brown had 19 points each to lead the Bees; Tyson Chandler got his 14th straight double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds). Weird statistic: both Hornets and Suns starters scored 70 points. (Jannero Pargo led the Hornet bench with 15.)

Minnesota obligingly lost tonight, so the Bees, 0-4 in March, remain in 10th place in the conference. The last meeting with the Jazz is tomorrow night.

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Even gets AM

Not everyone loves Bose audio: one common snort is “No highs, no lows: must be Bose.” And indeed you can find flatter and/or more extended frequency response elsewhere, probably for less money. (“Paper cones,” sniffs Trini, expressing a preference for Kevlar.) Still, Gwendolyn has a Bose system — head unit built by Clarion under license, so far as I can tell — and the impressive aspect of the sound is the space, if you will: it’s a highly-reflective ambient soundfield that is probably seriously sub-optimal for techno and such but works nicely on the classical stuff I’ve been known to listen to on the road, though I dialed the subwoofer back a couple of dB to keep it from rattling itself off the rear deck.

Whatever my reservations about Bose, though, I still covet this. To quote the guys at Autoblog:

The new Bose Media System features customized 5.1-channel surround sound, an AM/FM/XM satellite radio tuner that can be accessed by genre, a 200 hours hard drive, navigation system, Bluetooth, iPod connectivity with access through the system’s display and a USB 2.0 input.

Oh, and it has an industry-first multi-format disc player. It can read and play virtually any type of disc you feed into it: CDs, DVD audio discs, DVD video discs, Super Audio CDs, MP3s, AAC and practically every other format available on recordable CDs and DVDs. It even has the Bose uMusic intelligent playback system that uses tags to identify listener “moods” and calls up similar songs from the hard drive.

I bet I could screw up that “moods” business big time in a matter of miles.

Still, you won’t be seeing this in my car, unless someone bestows upon me the gift of a Ferrari Scaglietti 612, which costs €210,000. Besides, the Ferrari makes some grand sounds of its own without any audio system at all, and anyway Trini prefers Sirius to XM.

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Use with compact fluorescents only

It’s, well, um, it’s a chandelier made of Gummi Bears.

I wouldn’t sit under that,” insisted Damocles.

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Latham gets off, as it were

T Town Tommy follows up on the Lonnie Latham case, which ended this week with the Southern Baptist pastor’s acquittal on charges on offering to engage in an act of lewdness.

Earlier, Lachlan had observed:

[I]f no money was offered, and a simple proposition was made, then I fail to see how this case ever got to trial.

Which was at the core of Latham’s ultimately-successful defense. Tommy notes:

In an odd karma like paradox Pastor Latham’s arrest and subsequent trial has been beneficial in further establishing gay rights in Oklahoma against police harassment and unfair judicial actions.

Tommy also links to Latham’s Wikipedia page, which is mostly fairly sensible, though this howler got through:

This was not Latham’s first visit to the area. Public records show that on December 2, 1998, at about 11:30 p.m., Latham was issued a traffic ticket for “failure to stop for a stop sign” at NW 39th and Frankford. This intersection is only blocks from where Latham was arrested and serves as rear access to the Habanna [sic] Inn.”

“Rear access”? Real cute. And it’s wrong: 39th and Frankford is almost a mile west of the Habana. Besides, December 1998 was seven years before Latham’s arrest, and what’s more, the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma headquarters is on May between 37th and 38th; Frankford is the next street east of May. Admittedly, they usually don’t stay up until midnight, but this connection is tenuous at best.

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This doesn’t quite add up

From the Oklahoman’s Real Estate page this morning, this curious item announced by Price Edwards & Co.:

Whole Foods leased 3,553 square feet of retail space in Walnut Square Shopping Center, 7301 S Pennsylvania Ave. Susan Brinkley handled the transaction.

This makes one’s eyes bug out. Whole Foods? The Whole Foods? Doesn’t seem likely. For one thing, their average store is 31,000 square feet, and the company is working on 50,000-square-foot locations in the near future. And Walnut Square is okay, I guess, but hardly the place you’d put a Whole Foods — especially since the city has been trying to land a store like that for downtown.

Very, very curious.

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Anyone have Obi-Wan’s ZIP code?

Star Wars mailbox

“I’ve mailed information vital to the survival of the rebellion through this R2 unit.” Apparently these are legit: for the 30th anniversary of Star Wars, the US Postal Service has come up with a commemorative mailbox. This is a bit disturbing, I suppose, though no more than, say, if C-3PO were doing Old Navy ads. (Idea for a sure-fire hit: a piñata in the form of Jar Jar Binks.) What’s most likely to happen to one of these boxes: someone hauls it away from the Post Office in the dead of night, then (1) faces ten years for theft of government property and (2) ends up on Fark.

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Instant rematch

In Oklahoma City earlier this week, the Jazz easily dispatched the Hornets; tonight in Salt Lake City it wasn’t quite so easy, but the results were much the same, (no) thanks to the Third-Quarter Drought™, in which the Bees picked up a mere 16 points in 12 minutes, going from a two-point lead after two to a ten-point deficit after three. Final was 96-86, and the Hornets are now 0-5 in March.

Blame Mehmet Okur. The electric Turk hit five treys in seven tries, racking up 29 points. Carlos Boozer added 20 (and 13 boards), and Deron Williams dropped in 10 (with 13 assists). The Jazz outrebounded the Hornets 44-32; Boozer alone had seven offensive rebounds, more than the entire Hornet squad, which explains why the Bees got so few second-chance points.

Two double-doubles on the Hornet side: David West (13 points, 10 rebounds), Chris Paul (12 points, 11 assists). Jannero Pargo had 15 off the bench. Tyson Chandler had only six boards tonight, but he blocked six shots.

The Bees now have to finish 10-9 to come up to last year’s 38-44 record. March is going to be a long, long month.

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Latest. Sunrise. Ever.

Even in the dead of winter, we could count on the sun coming up no later than 7:40 am, and in late March when the semi-annual Screw-With-The-Clocks-Fest kicked in, we’d still have sunrise by 7:30 or so.

Not today. In the interest of saving some infinitesimal amount of energy — about as significant as, say, if Al Gore blew a circuit breaker — we get to sit in the dark until 7:48.

As someone who tends to get to work around 6:45, I can’t work up any enthusiasm for this maneuver at all.

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Micrometer of the beholder

I persist in believing that some things simply cannot be quantified — too many intangibles — but who listens to me? Not these folks:

The researchers, from the University of Gdansk in Poland, studied the vital statistics of 24 finalists in a national beauty competition, together with those of 115 other women. They said that while weight, height and hip ratio were normally used to assess female attractiveness, these might not throw up crucial differences between the super-attractive and others.

For men, scientists said height, BMI, waist-to-hip and waist-to-chest ratios were key measures.

Super-attractive women had a thigh-to-height ratio some 12 per cent lower than other women, giving them a more slender look. Skinfold tests on the calf showed 15mm of fat compared with 18mm in other women.

The study also showed that the average super-attractive height was 5ft 9in, with the waist 76 per cent of the size of the chest, and 70 per cent of the size of the hips. Models built like Naomi Campbell came closest to the ideal.

“Attractiveness of a woman’s body is one of the most important factors in mate selection, and the question what are the physical cues for the assessment of attractiveness is fundamental to evolutionary psychology,” said Leszek Pokrywka, who led the study.

Well, okay. I will stipulate, for the purpose of argument, that Naomi Campbell looks good. These are the criteria, say the researchers:

  • Body mass index 20.85
  • Bust girth to height 49.3%
  • Waist-chest ratio 1.4
  • Leg-to-body ratio 1.4
  • Calf girth to height 19.5%
  • Height 175cm
  • Thigh girth to height 29.7%

So: just under 5-foot-9, somewhere around 34-24-35, legs that go on for hours, if not necessarily days.

Not that I would look askance at someone meeting these criteria, but I’d like to think I am slightly less superficial than that, and unlike, say, your average Stuff reader, I do not presume that I am somehow entitled to someone with supermodel looks. Of course, if Naomi calls, all bets are off.

Your perfect guy is a Christian Bale type:

  • Body mass index 26.5
  • Waist-chest ratio 0.6
  • Leg-to-body ratio 1
  • Height 188cm

I match one of these, anyway.

(Via Fark.)

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Spreading a bad idea

I woke up this morning at a wretched hour, noted that there’d been about a quarter-inch of rain, and decided that this, by Freya’s bodice, would be the day I would get around to doing something about the front lawn. There had been no sign of greening, except where patches of horrid weedage were poking their way through, and, well, the first words on the back of a sack of Turf Teaser, or whatever the hell it’s called, are FOR BEST RESULTS APPLY TO WET LAWN.

So I went back to sleep for an hour or two, remembered my pledge, duly rolled out the El Cheapo spreader, which has two settings (Not Enough and Overkill), dumped about 10 kg of the mystery crystals into its box, and ventured forth.

Not a wise decision. For where there is neither grass nor weed, rather a lot of area inasmuch as the old elm out front tends to suck up all the available moisture and we’ve been running about an inch below normal rainfall this year, there is a phenomenon called Mud, and we’re talking industrial-strength, sink-up-to-here, spawn of Harcourt Fenton-type mud. Add to this one further brilliant idea — “It’s not cold out, and it will be easier to clean up if I wear the ol’ sport sandals” — and, well, were there any Bigfoot sightings in the neighborhood, ’twas probably I.

Had I bothered to go back to the weather statistics, I might actually have seen that that quarter-inch of rain had tripled between initial decision and actual action.

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A brave little toaster

Le grille pain-four

In point of fact, I can’t vouch for its courage, but it’s certainly intimidating at first glance. According to the blurb, you push a button and the little basket begins to spin, slowly but inexorably, while toaster-level heat is directed at your old stale croissants or muffins or whatever for up to 15 minutes. Of course, this will also warm up your kitchen; whether this be blessing or curse depends on the conditions prevailing right before you hit the button. I briefly entertained the idea of getting one of these, just to see what it would do with a blueberry (unfrosted) Pop-Tart, but sixty euros (including €0.25 to support some arcane European Union environmental mandate, and not including whatever horrid sum it would take to ship out here to the New World) seemed like an awfully high price to pay for a brief moment of amusement, though I’m sure there exist call girls whose profession demands that they disagree with this viewpoint. Still, this gizmo has high-enough WTF factor to justify its appearance here.

(With thanks to Emalyse, who saw it first.)

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The return of Circle K

A reader expressed some surprise that I hadn’t mentioned this:

The Canadian parent company of Circle K Stores Inc. announced today it has signed an agreement to acquire 53 Oklahoma City Star Fuel Marts Inc. stores.

Expected to close in April, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. said the convenience stores’ total 2006 sales amounted to about $215 million. The company did not disclose the purchase price.

I’d like to say that this was a desperate attempt to avoid Couche-Tard jokes, but actually, it’s simply that I spend next to no time on the inside of C-stores; I drive up, shove my card into the reader, fill up Gwendolyn’s tank, and vanish into traffic.

It seems remarkable, though, that these 53 stores grossed $215 million last year: that’s just over $4 million per store. I can see why the Canadians might be interested.

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We make it up in volume

Bill Belew has compiled a list of the 100 most prolific bloggers, and it contains exactly seven blogs with which I’m familiar.

Which is fair: hardly anyone reads me, and I’d fit into the number-four slot right now. Obviously there are people who have written far more than I have who should be on this list above me, but they’ll have to send in their credentials themselves.

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Strange search-engine queries (58)

Once again, we go poking through the referrer logs for the last week to see what’s snarkworthy.

relationships + what is the average length of time for a man to propose marriage:  Actual proposal (four words): six seconds. Time it takes to get him to utter those four words: could be years.

stylish gonad clothing:  Now there’s one runway you don’t want to see. *

why say when your cat die?  Aren’t you grief-stricken at the loss of your friend? Or at the very least, that you’ve got this one last bag of litter that you’ll never use up?

Why did women in world war II stop wearing panty hose?  Silk and nylon were deemed more essential for parachutes than for stockings. (And pantyhose weren’t invented until 1959.)

paranoia, sadness with lortab:  Maybe you’re not taking enough.

surgeon breast implant “reasonably competent”:  I should hope so.

nudist you have a penis:  Maybe half of them do.

lotus notes animated gif in signature:  Oh, please. Like Lotus Notes isn’t slow enough already.

“people who don’t date”:  They blog about it, ad nauseam.

do you take off your underwear when you get a bikini wax:  Look at it this way. Do you shave your underarms while wearing a T-shirt?

can you put aspirin on bikini wax:  Maybe if you keep your underwear on.

what do women think of autofellatio:  Probably that it saves them some work.

maureen dowd come-hither pumps:  To hear her talk, it takes more than that.

paranoid, overachiever, angry outbursts, narcissistic:  Who the hell’s been saying I was an overachiever?

* Addendum: Not related to this.

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Strings attached

Nice writeup in the San Fernando Valley Sun papers [link goes to PDF file] about classical guitar maker — and actual reader — Greg Brandt, who’s been doing this sort of thing for the last quarter-century or so and now has a colossal reputation among Los Angeles-area luthiers.

Brandt keeps no inventory: each instrument is custom-built, and he has some pretty respectable clients. (The name of the late Tommy Tedesco, who played on tons of L.A. sessions, including Phil Spector’s, and sustained a solo career as a jazz guitarist, was the first to jump out at me.) Just think: Greg’s doing something he finds endlessly fascinating, and he’s getting paid for it. Now that’s living.

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It’s alright Ma, I’m only tanning

Dylan once came up with a line about “Even the President of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked.” This hasn’t caught on in D.C., for reasons I’d just as soon not imagine, but Nudist Day reports that things may be different in Madrid:

Spanish President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, he of the socialist PSOE party, has purchased a 440 thousand Euro summer home located in Vera, Almeria. The house was purchased in his wife’s name, Sonsoles Espinosa, and is in a coastal area famous for its important naturist population.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that Zapatero himself is necessarily going to be getting his Vitamin D in this fashion, but how likely is it that he doesn’t know about the nude use along Vera Playa?

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Not the bonus essay question

Actually, this, in and of itself, doesn’t strike me as an unreasonable thing to ask a student:

Write a paragraph comparing two pieces of work in your portfolio that are alike in some way. For example, you can compare two labs or your solutions to two problems you solved. One piece should be new and one should be from the beginning of the year. Use these questions to help you write your paragraph:

Which two pieces did you choose to compare?

How are they alike? How are they different?

Do you see any improvement in the newest piece of work as compared to the older work? Explain.

If you could redo the older piece of work, how would you improve it?

How could you improve the newer piece of work?

But why would a student be asked this in a fifth-grade math textbook, of all places? Developing metacognition is wonderful, I suppose, but the first order of business at this level is to get to the point where you can balance a checkbook.

(Via Joanne Jacobs.)

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Let’s not get snippy here

File this under “Who knew?”

Arriving in Arkansas on I-40, one sees many billboards offering vasectomies. After Hope, Arkansas, home of Bill Clinton, the billboards turn to vasectomy reversals. Hmmm ….

Feel free to write your own joke.

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Life takes Visa

This tagline has been running in the print ads for some time now, but never quite so literally as here:

The latest edition of “THE GAME OF LIFE” will switch from paper currency to plastic this summer. VISA and game maker Hasbro have signed a deal to add VISA cards to the latest version of “THE GAME OF LIFE — Twists & Turns Edition.” Players of the new edition, due to be released in August, will receive a VISA card at the start of the game and will use an electronic banking unit to store each player’s financial data as well as their status in the game. The new electronic “LIFEPod” will replace the spin wheel from the classic game.

I’m waiting for a version of Candy Land with a glucose meter.

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Once again, trailing all the cool kids

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Fish enjoys bicycling, film at eleven

Let it be said at the top that I’m inclined to believe that there may be at least as many definitions of “feminism” as there are women, and I don’t feel qualified to cough up one of my own, what with (1) this Y chromosome of mine and (2) the fact that I have spent very little of my adult life in the company of women and therefore have scant experience upon which to draw.

That said, I’m wondering if there’s an answer for this:

Being in love is awesome. Being married is awesome. Sharing a bed with a man means cuddles, sex, backrubs, back scratches, someone to wake you from your nightmares, or commisserate when the alarm clock goes off. Being in a relationship means you have someone you can count on to hold you when you cry, take care of you when you’re sick, run errands and do chores with — and you enjoy doing the same for them. A husband is an ally to make long term plans with. Being coupled makes everything else in life better. It’s the frosting on the cupcake.

How does any of the above make me not a feminist? How does the desire for and enjoyment of male companionship somehow make me opposed to women’s equal legal rights, control of our own bodies, economic advancement, and general well-being?

Okay, it doesn’t sound, you know, independent, but how many of us are really in a position to provide for all of our own needs?

And no, I’m not upset with anyone; I’m just playing darts.

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Thought, word and deeds

Earlier this year, Francis W. Porretto caught some flak for suggesting that one’s home is not the gold-plated asset it’s made out to be, in terms as unambiguous as this:

[A] house must be regarded as a consumption expense, not an investment. For young persons overwhelmingly likely to need (or want) to move within a decade of the purchase, it’s a particularly bad deal.

The Wall Street Journal has now weighed in with a similar argument, plenty of which was quoted by, as follows:

For the grasshoppers, there’s nothing quite as stupid as paying off your 2002 trip to Orlando in 2032, when you finally settle up your refinanced “cash out” 30-year mortgage. And for the ants, economic studies have demonstrated over and over that houses (1) cost more than most people make when they sell and (2) rarely match the long-term returns of stocks or other investments.

It may be late for a lot of homeowners to read this, but here it goes anyway: It’s risky and bad planning to have too much of your net worth in your principal residence. No prudent stock-market player would put 60% or 70% of a portfolio in just one stock, but millions will hold that much or more of their total net worth in just one house.

(Disclosure: At the moment, I fall into this bracket. On the other hand, no one has accused me of being a prudent stock-market player, and anyway, the rest of the portfolio is going up faster.)

And, yes, there’s this:

When most homeowners figure their returns, they don’t do much more than subtract the price they paid from the price they received. Then they come up with a really big return because they paid only a 10% or 20% down payment. So they figure they made a huge “profit.”

But they didn’t. That’s because the costs of owning a home — buying it with a long-term mortgage and then paying taxes on it, insuring it, repairing it, renovating it — sap most of what most homeowners think they make in price appreciation.

And woe betide those who live in housing markets in decline.

Says the Burbed fellow, perhaps tongue-in-cheek:

If you don’t have a mortgage, you’re not driving up property prices. And if you’re not driving up property prices, you’re hurting your neighbors by preventing them from extracting equity to pay for college for their children.

Why do you hate our children, WSJ?

I’d call this “food for thought,” but I’d probably never get back the investment in the kitchen remodel.

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More tribulations, fewer trials

News Item: Court TV is changing its name, look and logo as part of a network overhaul planned for later this year. The network, acquired by Time Warner and folded into its Turner division during 2006, will no longer be called Court TV as of Jan. 1, 2008, and will revamp its daytime trial coverage and add in prime several new reality series (or, as the network and others, like A&E, prefer to call them, “real-life series”).

Top Ten Proposed New Names for Court TV:

  1. OJTV
  2. The Thug Channel
  3. Disembodied Headline News
  4. F!
  5. The Repellent Will Please Rise
  6. American Idolatry
  7. Xtreme News
  8. The Anna Nicole Memorial
  9. TCM (Turner Classic Madmen)
  10. Fox Family

(Seen at Gawker.)

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We got your dead zone right here

As of right now, they’re still looking things over, but apparently just before 4 pm, somebody crossed over the grass median in the middle of I-44 just east of Kelley and smashed into oncoming traffic: one person is reported dead, the number of those injured has not been released, and westbound lanes are closed at Martin Luther King. (Eastbound traffic is reportedly down to one lane; as I had to exit at MLK, I didn’t get to look at it, and frankly, I wasn’t inclined to double back and take a look.)

So I took 50th home, or at least as far as Western, and spotted something I wasn’t expecting: a car parked at Sleepy Hollow, which closed some months back. Dare I hope?

Update, 7 pm: The Oklahoman reports:

About 4 p.m. today, a sports car traveling eastbound on Interstate 44 crossed the median near Kelley Avenue and collided with a westbound pickup truck hauling a flatbed trailer, Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper Kera Phillipi said.

The car’s driver died at the scene. The victim’s name wasn’t immediately available. The truck’s driver was taken to a local hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries, Phillipi said.

That phrasing seems awkward: how do you threaten nonlife?

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The porpoise-filled life

With the Nets in town, I was looking for a fish-related title, but my big worry was that the Hornets, who have been floundering for five games, would put up minnowmum resistance in the presence of all those New Jersey mussels. (“Knock it off, you’re giving me a haddock.” — Ed.) Didn’t happen: the Bees put up some serious offense and outrebounded the Nets, tying the score at 104-104 with 1:04 to play. Buckets were exchanged. Then Tyson Chandler (6 points, 11 boards) fouled out with 22 seconds left; Vince Carter, who hadn’t been doing so well at the line, came up with two free throws, and the Nets never trailed again, winning 112-108.

Richard Jefferson, after an injury, is indeed back: he dropped in 26 points to lead all scorers. Vince Carter had 21; Jason Kidd scored 18 and dealt 12 assists; ex-Hornet Bostjan Nachbar hit up his old teammates for three treys and 12 points from the bench.

With the exception of Chandler, all the starting Hornets scored in double figures. Chris Paul had 25 and served up 12 dimes; David West had 24. Linton Johnson and Marc Jackson, former Nets, got 12 between them.

This weekend the Bees are on the road: Friday at New York, Saturday at Washington. Both of these, for the moment, are playoff teams, though the Knicks have only a one-game edge over New Jersey. Monday, it’s back to the Ford Center to play the Celtics.

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Roll out the blue carpet

From the very last issue of Premiere magazine — their Web site continues — the startling revelation that Marge Simpson sleeps in the nude:

According to Simpsons creator Matt Groening, the show’s animators will occasionally slip in nude drawings of Marge during a bed scene and cover her with a blanket animated cel. Groening admitted, “She is surprisingly voluptuous given the way she looks in that shapeless dress.”

“Mmmm … shapeless ….”

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Hang up and drive, dammit

There have been, I admit, times when I gazed longingly at another driver out here in the Teeming Milieu, but no way am I going to mess with this:

Delta Meridian Inc announced today it is now beta testing its new network called SameLane which enables riders in vehicles on any roadway to make social cell phone calls to riders in other vehicles by simply calling a premium charge phone line and entering the license plate of the vehicle in view they wish to contact.

A unique feature of the SameLane system is its ability to connect cell phone calls between vehicle riders without either party knowing the other’s cell phone number. In a social call environment on any roadway vehicle riders will now be able to chat to each other, much the same way they might do while sitting on a plane to pass the time of day, without having to reveal each other’s identity unless they choose to do so in conversation.

Then again, unless you’re the pilot, sitting on a plane doesn’t require the level of concentration demanded of a driver.

I suppose this might work if you’re stuck on an L.A. freeway for the better part of an afternoon, but here in the Okay City, where Mayor Cornett once bragged that it was possible to get a speeding ticket during rush hour, this is a Bad Idea.

(Via Lachlan, who doesn’t like it either.)

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Well, I’m sorry, but that’s how “Arkansas’s” looks like it ought to be pronounced.

Addendum, 18 March: Matt Barr advises: “When confused about style and grammar, I often consult people who ran for and got elected to state office.”

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The German submarine U-234 sailed from Kiel in March 1945, bound for Japan. Part of its cargo, interestingly enough, was U-235 — fissionable uranium, with which the Japanese hoped to build some nuclear weapons using German technology. The delivery was never made: U-234 surrendered on 9 May 1945, and two Japanese passengers aboard committed suicide rather than turn themselves over to the Allies. For them, it was personal.

What’s more, Carnival of the Vanities #234, says Kehaar, is personal, in that he’s tied his own commentary to some of the posts received. I recommend it to any persons reading.

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Besides, who needs all those trees?

The telephone-directory market around here has generally consisted of two players: AT&T SBC AT&T and Feist/Yellow Book. Today a third party landed a book somewhere near my porch, and I duly gave it the once-over.

The User-Friendly Phone Book, and that is its name, is not too dissimilar from competing products, but it does offer a smidgen larger print — useful for those of us with questionable vision — and the pages are cut to allow for seven tabs: business listings, “Easy Info,” community stuff, maps, menus, coupons, and finally Yellow Pages, which in turn have painted (not cut) tabs for each letter of the alphabet.

This is User-Friendly’s ninth year; they already have directories in Bartlesville and Tulsa. Some of their directories — Beaumont, Texas; Shreveport, Louisiana; and various areas in Northeast Ohio — are readable on the Web, and I hope they port over the Oklahoma City book eventually. (After all, Firefox already has tabs and resizable text.)

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Oh, come on, just a peak

Bruce Sterling, speaking at SXSW, says the days of blogs are numbered:

I don’t think there will be that many of them around in 10 years. I think they are a passing thing.

Ten years? Cool. Can I quit now?

(Eleventh anniversary coming up 9 April. Be there or be totally L7. Or B9. Or something.)

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I don’t think so

Someone left a spam comment here a few minutes ago, using the name “George Soros.” Whatever you may think of Mr Soros, you have no reason to think he’d resort to that sort of thing. The offending item has been deleted.

(The title should be spoken with inflections that convey a certain irritated disdain; I recommend the way LL Cool J says it in “Going Back to Cali.”)

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What? A beautiful drink?

New Coke did the Amazing El Foldo with such prodigious speed that you’d think the Coca-Cola Company would be reluctant to reposition any product line ever again.

Wrong-O, Buffalo Bob. (Hmmm. Seems like I’ve used this phrase before.) Tab (I refuse to render it as “TaB”), once a diet soda, is now, with minor changes, an “energy drink,” and Lawren seems to like it:

I’m on a Tab Energy drink kick. They are seriously amazing. They taste like a cherry Jolly Rancher (unlike Red Bull, which tastes like carbonated pixy stick water with a funktastic aftertaste). And, you really should try one w/ vodka the next time you’re out. I just wish bars would start carrying it — I’d never order a vodka and Red Bull again. Who knew a brand as vintage as Tab could come up with something new for the young hipsters?

I’m still reeling from the idea of carbonating Pixy Stix. But there’s something weirdly appealing about the idea of pouring a stream of Belvedere (“a lovely marriage of velvet and freon,” says Lileks) into a Tab. Maybe I’ll work up the nerve to request this at one of my semiannual bar stops. Not that anyone will accuse me of being a young hipster or anything.

(Title explained here.)

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