We got scrutiny

The twice-yearly examination of the auto-insurance bill discloses a premium increase of $4.50, broken down as follows:

  • Liability (injury): up $1.60.
  • Liability (property): up $1.30.
  • Uninsured motorists: no change.
  • Comprehensive: no change.
  • Collision: up $1.60.
  • Road service: no change.
  • Rental reimbursement: no change.

Total discounts were up a buck.

Once again, the single largest item on the bill is the uninsured-motorist coverage, which approximately 75 percent of drivers in this state carry. (The other 25 percent don’t carry any coverage at all.)

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Eaker than thou

The City of Durant has been requesting proposals for runway improvements at Durant Regional Airport-Eaker Field, south of town. What they want is an overlay on the existing 17/35 runway, to improve its surface, and to extend it beyond its current 5,001 feet. Nothing is planned for the secondary runway, 3000 feet, oriented 12/30. Proposals are due in tomorrow.

Historical note: Ira Clarence Eaker, who attended what was then Southeastern State Teachers College in Durant, was commissioned in December 1917, and 24 years later got his first star and a job organizing the VIII Bomber Command in England, later the Eighth Air Force. As commander of the Eighth, he delivered an address to the British garrison, including this pithy sentence: “We won’t do much talking until we’ve done more fighting. After we’ve gone, we hope you’ll be glad we came.” The character of Major General Pat Pritchard in the 1949 film Twelve O’Clock High is based largely on General Eaker. He died in 1987, aged 91.

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Possibly freezing it off

The only time I’ve ever had a fuel line freeze, I was in KCTV’s home town of Kansas City, so I sort of understand the metric:

I didn’t have heated seats back then, either.

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Early turkey

Surely you knew this was coming:

Ah, domestic sub-bliss.

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Bebopped on the head

Seven minutes into the second quarter, the Thunder owned a 39-22 lead over the Jazz. It was all downhill after that: Utah finished the half with an 18-3 run, outscored OKC 32-17 in the third quarter, and opened the fourth with an 8-2 run. Faced with a 19-point deficit, the Thunder did what they’ve done most often this season: rallied to make up a fraction of it. The Jazz won it by 17, 98-81, with all five starters in double figures and a 55-44 rebounding edge. Not going to pieces when the going is rough is a decided advantage, wouldn’t you say?

For the victorious Jazz, Alec Burks posted a game-high 20 points, and while he was at it gathered 14 rebounds. Enes Kanter scored 16, retrieved 15; Trey Burke scored 17 and served up nine assists. No real monster numbers here: just attention to the fundamentals. Meanwhile, OKC shot a subpar 36 percent and bagged 35 percent of their treys, seven points behind the Jazz on both counts. (Neither side did very well at the stripe, just under 70 percent.) Jeremy Lamb had a respectable night with 19 points, Steven Adams slid by with 11, Reggie Jackson struggled to 10. But this was the night that Lance Thomas would outrebound Serge Ibaka, 8-6. (Both scored six points.) And only one player hit all his shots tonight: Kendrick Perkins, 4-4 for eight points. Were it not for Nick Collison’s newfound 3-point prowess — he hoisted five, actually made two — well, do the math.

And there are, I suppose, worse places to be than 13th in the West. (Under five feet of snow in Buffalo is one of them.) But there’s no point wasting time in contemplation: it’s off to Denver, where the Nuggets are enjoying similar levels of disappointment so far this season. Four home games follow, one of them against these same Jazz.

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Whatever suits him

I admit to laughing at this:

Angered by the sexism he saw being heaped upon his female colleagues — and attempts to downplay it — Australian news reader Karl Stefanovic decided to conduct an experiment.

He wore the same blue suit on air, two days in a row. Then three. A month ticked by without a ripple.

Now, a full year has passed — and he is still wearing the same cheap Burberry knock-off, every morning, on Channel Nine’s Today program.

Not a single audience member has asked about it, he says. Fashion commentators and other media also seem oblivious. Yet co-host Lisa Wilkinson still receives regular and unsolicited fashion appraisals.

My particular interest, however, is not so much in exposing sexism where I find it — and believe me, I find a lot of it — than in recalling a bit of ancient history.

Back when I was on an assembly line of sorts in the early 1980s, I had learned lots of snark, not quite so much discretion. There was this proto-metrosexual type who wandered into the work unit on a regular basis, said something we couldn’t hear over the racket, and wandered back out again. For four days running, he wore, yes, a blue suit. I’d noticed on day two; on day three, I was perplexed; and on day four, I vowed to do something.

On day five, he showed up in a brown suit, and I blurted out, “Hey, I see you dyed the blue suit!”

I have no idea where that line came from; I’m guessing some cable comedy series. But my timing was impeccable, and amazingly, I was still working there four years later.

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Her Majesty takes a spin

The idea of Royalty Having Fun might run counter to our expectations, perhaps because we’ve never had a royal family of our own, despite decades of media attempts to simulate one. For some reason, this pair of shots of Queen Máxima of the Netherlands gave me a silly grin, and I pass them on to you. The event is the 2013 opening of a park in Utrecht named for Her Majesty, last seen here resplendent in orange but on this date doing that color-block thing to considerable advantage:

Queen Maxima prepares to meet her subjects

And then this happened:

Queen Maxima on a bicycle

Be warned: the usual click-to-embiggen works here, but we’re talking 2 to 4 megabytes. Each.

Still awaiting final resolution: the question of cycling while wearing heels.

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The first thousand years are the hardest

And by “thousand,” I think I mean “eighty”:

Charles Paul Brown wasn’t supposed to die.

He was supposed to live forever, along with disciples in a half-dozen countries all over the world who embraced his philosophy of physical immortality.

But Brown died in October of complications from Parkinson’s and heart disease, according to the website for People Unlimited, the group he began in Scottsdale more than 30 years ago. He was 79.

The community of immortals he founded is left without its figurehead — and with an apparent contradiction to reconcile. Yet its leaders continue to conduct business as usual, collecting thousands of dollars per year in fees for monthly meetings, retreats and coaching that they say lead to the secret to unlimited life.

The secret, of course, is not dying. If you can pull that off — but that’s not happening. If you can stretch out your days, fine; I keep hearing that massive increases in human lifespan are imminent, and I’m betting that some of them actually show up the day after I’m gone. But unless the laws of physics are somehow screwed, entropy bats last.

Perhaps needless to say, the late Mr. Brown’s group isn’t the only one with an interest in the topic.

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This would seem to go without saying

Nonetheless, it was said:

Jonathan Gruber was not available for comment.

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Bring out the Musketeers

3 Musketeers barThe legendary 3 Musketeers bar, reconfigured and downsized many times since its humble beginnings in 1932 — hint: there’s a reason for the “3” other than the obvious literary reference — may be threatened, along with most of the rest of the candy bars on earth, for the simplest (and scariest) of all reasons. To put it bluntly, we may be running short of chocolate:

Two global chocolate giants, Mars, Inc. and Barry Callebaut, are warning that global demand for one of the world’s most popular commodities will outpace supply by one million metric tons by 2020, Bloomberg reports.

Is there growing demand? Yes, but there’s also a supply issue. More precisely, there’s another supply issue:

As CBS Moneywatch reported last month, Ebola has been the most recent culprit. West Africa produces nearly three-quarters of the world’s cocoa — with the nations of Ivory Coast and Ghana responsible for 60 percent of that supply. Those nations’ proximity to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone — the current epicenters of the Ebola outbreak — have fueled worries that the virus could ultimately stall production, and trigger another spike in world cocoa prices.

Meanwhile, the existing supply issues continue:

The lack of rain has continued to wreak havoc on crops in Ivory Coast and Ghana. That means smaller, lower-quality cocoa beans that must be processed more to produce the same amount of chocolate.

The International Cocoa Organization estimates that pests and diseases — with menacing names like Witches’ Broom and Frosty Pod Rot — have cut up to 40 percent of global cocoa production.

“Frosty pod rot” doesn’t sound that menacing. But both those ailments come from similarly destructive fungi: Moniliophthora roreri for a case of the frosties, and M. perniciosa for witches’ broom. And having looked at a list of diseases that attack cocoa, now I wonder how I ever managed to get a single Mr. Goodbar.

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If I may horn in for a moment

Miss Swift’s experience as a unicorn being somewhat limited, I must point out that it really depends on what you’re used to and what shape your head is in:

DJ Pon3 wearing a headset: I'm all about that bass cannon

(Original by ezoisum.)

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All about that guilt reflex

At least twice a day something like this comes up:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: 
Will my parents come to know about my net history from the MTS internet bill?

Oh, you poor, porn-obsessed adolescent!

Actually, they’ll probably figure it out the moment you come down with a malware infection from chasing down stuff you thought was “free.”

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The return of the winter blues

Does this time of year actually suck, or is it just me?

Addendum: A second opinion:

Snow and inclement conditions aside, I think winter gets a bad rap. Believe me, I’m the first to complain when I am forced to grab a plastic shovel and dig my way to freedom. However, if you take away the ice, snow, and slush, winter can be a lazy person’s ticket to paradise. Although it may appear that I am trying to find the silver lining, trust me when I say: I lean more towards lethargic than evolved.

I’m definitely down with that latter point.

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Somewhat pertinent today

This quote from Tina Fey’s Bossypants (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2011) has become somewhat timely again:

I think the first real change in women’s body image came when JLo turned it butt-style. That was the first time that having a large-scale situation in the back was part of mainstream American beauty. Girls wanted butts now. Men were free to admit that they had always enjoyed them. And then, what felt like moments later, boom — Beyoncé brought the leg meat. A back porch and thick muscular legs were now widely admired. And from that day forward, women embraced their diversity and realized that all shapes and sizes are beautiful.

Ah ha ha. No. I’m totally messing with you. All Beyoncé and JLo have done is add to the laundry list of attributes women must have to qualify as beautiful. Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits. The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes.

I can’t keep up.

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Strange search-engine queries (459)

We had snow this past weekend, and of course were lectured about it by the same buffoons who blamed us for the “hottest October on record.” Which is one reason I continue to do this series: at least it’s meaningful and verifiable.

www.sexy latrine kapok video com:  Clearly this guy doesn’t understand the implications of the term “latrine.” (Or worse, he does.)

john bair tulsa world hatchet man:  Replaced by a lobbyist, now that the Whirled is owned by Berkshire Hathaway.

xcx roman numerals:  Doesn’t mean a thing, unless your name is Charli.

1986 mazda 626 reliability:  Um, it’s 28 years old. Be grateful it starts.

mazda 626 1988 1992 tyres manual:  Of course they are. There aren’t any automatic tyres to be had anywhere.

green giant jingle source:  Did you check the valley?

bacon helper:  Harrumph. Bacon doesn’t need your help.

plus Matthew will make lives a little easier which includes everyone he challenged as this was the internal Matthew challenge fade which is came about Matthew was:  “Oh, no,” shouted Matthew, backing away. “You’re not gonna drag my name into this!”

justin hayward karaoke bar my funny valentine:  Tuesday afternoon, was it?

live large drive small:  And strive for mediocrity elsewhere.

before bedtime last night, four of veronica’s relatives (including her brother) helped her act out the story of the three bears. veronica played goldilocks and:  Was promptly eaten in the second act, because she was just right.

junk food last supper:  “Judas, did you order the onion rings?”

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Can’t anyone here play this game?

Houston came into the ‘Peake with Peak Swagger; not only were they 5-0 on the road, but James Harden was scoring something like a bazillion points a game. And indeed, they dominated the first half of the game, leading 42-33 after two. Then great strangeness manifested itself: the Thunder scored a lousy 18 points in the third quarter — and briefly took the lead. The two free throws Harden sank in the final moments of the third were Houston’s eighth and ninth points of the quarter. Stifling Oklahoma City defense did it: the Thunder had blocked 14 shots in the first 36 minutes. But they couldn’t make any shots on their own, either.

Three minutes into the fourth, there was a bizarre little incident in which Patrick Beverley was trashtalking one of the zebras. Scott Brooks took the opportunity to point this out to the crew; Kevin McHale jumped up because he’s Kevin McHale, and for a moment there, it looked like a hockey game was about to break out. After a lengthy discussion, a tech was called on Sebastian Telfair, which drew a muted “Wow” from radio guy Matt Pinto.

With 78 seconds left, a Harden trey put the Rockets up 68-65; Houston did their best to run some clock, the Thunder managed no further threats — Reggie Jackson sent up a 30-footer over Dwight Howard which went nowhere — and the Beard cashed in one of two free throws for the final four-point difference, 69-65. If that sounds like a high-school score, well, consider: neither side shot over 30 percent; fully 54 treys were attempted tonight, and 44 of them failed; Harden, who scored the last four points in the game, was -2 for the evening. If anyone on earth was thinking “Oh, Mama, I want to see the bricks tonight!” she should have been in downtown OKC.

Harden led all scorers with 19 despite going 5-17 from the floor; Dwight Howard (4-12) and Patrick Beverley (4-10) had 12 each; Trevor Ariza, who drew a tech for some unknown reason, got 11 points from 4-11. Reggie Jackson and Lance Thomas had 15 each for the Thunder, with the Reg hauling in 11 boards; Serge Ibaka had 10; Steven Adams scored one solitary foul shot, though he contributed six blocks to the cause. OKC at least remembered how to do foul shots, making 22 of 28. (The Rockets were 16-30, largely due to Howard, who is to free throws what Shaq was to, well, free throws.)

Seems like a good time to get out of town. So it’s a trip halfway out West, to meet the Jazz on Tuesday and the Nuggets on Wednesday. The Nets will be in OKC Friday night.

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