Blog’s the word

November 30th, 2004

I did pretty good on my Merriam-Webster’s Words of the Year 2004 vocabulary test this year. I scored a 90% comprehension rate on the top requested words.

Based on your online lookups, the #1 Word of the Year for 2004 was
Blog noun [short for Weblog] (1999) : a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer

2. incumbent
3. electoral
4. insurgent
5. hurricane
6. cicada
7. peloton
8. partisan
9. sovereignty
10. defenestration (stumped me)

And what in the hell is defenestration doing on that list anyway?

OKC’s 175% tax increase

November 30th, 2004

OKC voters are being asked to authorize a tax increase of 175% in a couple weeks. That’s a hefty increase for any tax, but what’s good about this idea is that other suckers have to pay it. I predict it passes overwhelmingly.

The tax would increase from 2% to 5.5% if voters approve the proposal December 14th.

The increase would generate an estimated $4.5-million a year.

Mayor Mick Cornett says the renovations would help the city retain horse shows that bring in more than $180-million dollars.

This is the modern mindset of business leaders and their politicians. Shift any burden of doing business to others, preferably taxpayers. It doesn’t matter if you’re already making a profit. Today’s educated entrepreneurs seem to think increasing profits through innovation means finding new ways to obtain taxpayer subsidies. That is why we dutifully pay evermore taxes to keep jobs from dwindling in this “free market” economy.

If horse shows are already bringing in over $180 million dollars, why do the recipients of this windfall need tax increases to subsidize their gravy train? I would think they would see the opportunity and be happy to dedicate a small fraction of that $180 million to help bolster the venues that are responsible for this good fortune. And I’m not talking about a propaganda campaign to sway voters.

Even without knowing tourist statistics, I would still venture to say that only a small minority of OKC hotel guests ever utilize the State Fair horse barns. But if hotel owners support it, I say go for it. Hotel owners do support it don’t they? After all, it’s supposed to increase tourism. The World Travel & Tourism Tax Policy Center comes up with a slew of reasons against such increases based on this premise:

“All industries should be treated fairly in regards to taxation. Evenhanded treatment reduces imbalances that can result in political, social and economic difficulties.”

Yeah, yeah. And all men are created equal too.

The only thing to derail this tax increase would be an alternative ballot choice to legalize hotel slot machines.

November gloom

November 25th, 2004

One of the things I’m thankful for today is the sunshine, uh, actually the moonshine as I write this. Anyway, Nov. 2004 looks to set a record LOW for the amount of sunshine that actually got all the way through the clouds, or “gloominess”. Here’s some extremes in sun radiation values from the OCS Mesonet Ticker.

The ten sunniest and least sunny months in the Mesonet’s 11-year history are listed below.

“Gloomiest” Months              Sunniest Months

Oct 2002 38.3                            Aug 2000 66.4
Jan 1998 40.4                            Nov 1999 64.9
Feb 2001 41.4                            Sep 2000 64.7
Nov 2003 42.0                            Jul 1999 63.9
Nov 1996 42.9                            Jul 2001 63.2
Dec 1997 43.0                            Aug 1999 63.1
Feb 2003 43.2                            Jul 2003 63.0
Nov 1994 43.7                            Jul 1998 62.4
Nov 1998 43.8                            Jun 2001 62.2
Feb 1997 43.9                            Nov 1995 61.8

So far, November 2004 is running at about 32.8 percent, which would not only set a new low, but would do so decisively!

Here’s a statewide peek at this month’s gloominess.

Notice that November is the only month in both gloomiest and sunniest categories.

Microsoft outfoxing itself?

November 24th, 2004

Tulsa’s world class zoo wins, but Microsoft can’t seem to. Tulsa Linux users will get a kick out this story and the accompanying photo:Tulsa penguins

The Tulsa Zoo has won a prestigious honor as America’s Favorite Zoo in a contest sponsored by Microsoft

This inspite of the fact that the zoo website works great using the Firefox browser. But then again, even Microsoft uses Firefox to display its MSN Search engine.

Oddly enough, Microsoft is promoting Mozilla Firefox. The company recently provided the press with a screenshot of MSN Search displayed on the open source browser.

Or you can belive Microsoft’s PR department.

“None of our approved/distributed screen shots of MSN Search were made using a Mozilla Firefox browser. Moving forward, we will not be commenting on this issue”.

Recently, MSN.com’s Tech and Gadgets section’s “Today in Downloads” recommended software was Firefox. But that may not have been done by design, as the software recommendations originate in CNET’s Download.com. Microsoft declined to comment on this.

End of the trail for ol’ Trusty

November 24th, 2004

I guess they finally caught up with ol’ Trusty.

Trusty captured in Oklahoma

That guy was known to take advantage of just about anybody; except kids. Trusty really respected the kids.

A Sumner County jail trusty who walked away from a work site Thursday attempted to use his infant as a shield from law enforcement officials who arrested him in Oklahoma, officials said.

Oh, wrong Trusty. My mistake.

Marketing subtilty

November 24th, 2004

Wouldn’t you love a job naming consumer products? While shopping yesterday, I passed a product that caught my eye called Sweet Nothings. It was a padded bra.

Didn’t see any jock straps by that brand – not that I wanted one.
(Update: Hmm… now that I think about it.)

Charge it!

November 24th, 2004

Oklahoma’s Credit Princess at uberpink.net vows to overcome temptation.

Dear Ever So Generous Credit Card Companies,

I got my first credit cards when I was well past 18 years of age. And Some unfortunate events caused my credit history to go from virgin-like to whore-like in a matter of months. And unfortunately, some of you canceled my credit card and some of you chose to continue business with me because you saw potential profit in me.

So this is what I have to tell you credit companies: I will not fall victim to your evil plans. I will not over spend. I will not charge until my little heart is happy. I will use the card only when I can and I will come out the hero in the end. And you will not make a single ounce of profit from me. Nope. No APR, no finance charges, no late fees, no over limit charges, nothing! And we’ll see who comes out on top this time.

My first attempt to obtain a credit card was through Sears more than 30 years ago, and quickly rejected. We tried Montgomery Ward and were rewarded with $200 in trust. I never forgot it. Sears soon thereafter offered me a comparable line of credit, but it was too little too late. Montgomery Ward became our first choice for department store purchases and Sears turned into a last resort.

Not that we are good credit card customers. We pay off all balances each month, and I’ve used their services (always successfully I might add) more than a few times in settling contested product purchases. Nowadays we use one card extensively to gain a 1% rebate, purchasing everything from gas to groceries. I even got away with purchasing a new car with one. (When I tried again, the dealer set a card charge limit of $3,000).

With a little discipline, credit cards can be a great tool in managing expenditures. With a little less discipline, they can ruin your life.

Lone candidate comes in third

November 24th, 2004

Well, the votes were finally tallied in Prairie City, OR, and the only candidate on the ballot came in third.

The other two candidates received write-in votes.

And they tied!

Prairie City sees democracy in action as a coin toss breaks a 125-125 tie in its mayoral race

In Oklahoma, the third place candidate would be mayor, even if he didn’t get a single vote.

Blog for an OKC job

November 23rd, 2004

This is an unusual blogging concept.

Well lets see how this is going to work.

Why is it so wet in Washita?

November 23rd, 2004

Soon after the sky stopped rumbling this morning, the sun popped out for the first time in about a week and I ventured outside. Soogy Bottom would be a good name for the old homestead today, even though we live at the top of a hill. With so many of our fair weather plants covered with wet oak leaves and giving up their will to live, things look much worse than they are.

While the 4 inches collected in our rain gauge is less than half the November record in these parts (8.5 inches set in 1964), down yonder, SW Oklahoma has already put Nov. 2004 in the record books. Some areas are 3 inches over record levels with yet another week remaining in the month.

Deke Arndt comments on November abnormalities in the OCS/Mesonet Ticker newsletter.

Take a closer look at the first graphic – the one with the records. Notice the years in which those records were set? There are an awful lot of 1990s and 2000 records running around in that map! In fact, more than a third of the records came in the 1991-2000 years, which goes a long way toward explaining the large jump in “normal” November rainfall earlier this decade.

Of the twelve months on the calendar, November might be the one which is evolving the most rapidly, and the recent trend of high-end wet Novembers continues in 2004. The most intriguing question: “why?” remains to be answered.