Blog tune up

November 21st, 2006

I’m going to take a short break in blogging this holiday season to step back and reexamine my objectives and processes for maintaining the Okiedoke site. It will be the third “blog review” since purchasing the domain in 2002.

My first such review was in Nov. 2003. That resulted in abandoning attempts at using bloated do-it-all Content Management System software and thus began blogging with real blog software, b2, which drives Ye old Okiedoke.

The second review came about seven months later when I changed the blog’s scope, software, and URL. WordPress was a natural progression from b2 and I never looked back. (b2 is a lean weblog tool that is pretty much extinct. You can still download it, but b2evolution is preferred by those not moving to WordPress.)

While I don’t plan to change blog software again this time, I am debating on whether to upgrade my outdated version of WordPress or just revamp what I have. There are a lot of advantages in upgrading and only one in not doing so; that is that things work pretty darn well now.

One thing that will change is a site upgrade to a newer server with more capacity. Other than that, I make no promises.

This is a time of brainstorming for me. I’ve been retired six months now, and though I’ve had no withdrawals and enjoy every minute of it, I’m ready to engage in some form of public service work. Utilizing Okiedoke for that purpose would be nice.

In other words, if you get an error visiting Okiedoke or some strange looking web page pops up, please don’t use it as an excuse to immediately remove all traces of from your hard drive.

Happy Thanksgiving

Fighting over Christmas

November 16th, 2006

This morning, Norman residents awoke to the news that the annual Holiday Parade was all but cancelled.

The 10 volunteer members of the Norman Holiday Parade Committee resigned Wednesday, leaving the parade’s future in jeopardy.

“The community volunteers that comprise the Norman Holiday Parade Committee regretfully decline to organize and facilitate the parade previously set to take place at 10 a.m. on Dec. 9, 2006, in downtown Norman,”

One former committee member explains:

… the problem stemmed from the fact that the parade was referred to as the “Holiday Parade,” as opposed to the “Christmas Parade.”

Evidently, some citizens feel strongly about the name of the parade. Normanite Bob Cleveland is one such person.

… the suggestion was made to call it the “Christmas/Holiday Parade,” but this idea was rejected.

“The committee basically said they would rather call off the parade than include the name ‘Christmas,’” Cleveland said. “Last year, we went through the same thing. Our deal was that we wanted the name ‘Christmas’ in there, we didn’t want it called off.”

But that was hours ago. Now:

Under new direction and with a new name, the Norman parade is back on for the holidays.

[Ed] Copelin, owner of Copelin’s Office Center and new chair of the parade committee, said the parade will move forward as the “Main Street Christmas Holiday Parade.”

Which is probably better than my suggestion of “Norman Xmas Parade”.

And non-Christians shouldn’t fret about attending. Just remember to say “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holiday”.

Lifting the fog

November 16th, 2006

Best Oklahoma press release of the day.

Saying Oklahomans have the right to know exactly how their tax dollars are spent, state Rep. Paul Wesselhöft and state Sen. Randy Brogdon want to create an online database that will reveal exactly how the state government is spending money.

Wesselhöft and Brogdon’s “Oklahoma Accountability and Transparency Act” will require the Office of State Finance to maintain a searchable Web site where citizens can investigate how their tax dollars are spent.

The program will be modeled on a new federal law authored by U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Muskogee) that was recently signed into law. The federal program will allow citizens to “Google government” and type the name of any company, association, or state or locality to gain a listing of all grants and contracts awarded to that entity and how the money is being used.

The Oklahoma database championed by Wesselhöft and Brogdon will allow citizens to monitor the state budget, which totaled more than $7 billion this year, and will show how state money has been spent over the past 10 years.

Prediction: Legislators vote this in overwhelming, but swallow hard while doing so.

Istook for Senate

November 16th, 2006

I’m all for it! I can see it now… Henry vs. Istook.

What’s that? You think Sen. Inhofe has a lock? Think again. According to a recent Survey USA poll conducted for OKC TV station KFOR, Inhofe has the 6th lowest approval rating of all 100 senators.

40% – Approval
49% – Disapproval

600 Oklahomans age 18+ were interviewed by SurveyUSA 10/12/06 to 10/15/06.

Inhofe’s disapproval rating among Oklahomans has jumped nine percentage points since August.

Jones robbed at Alva playoff game

November 16th, 2006

The visiting Longhorns from Jones really got stung by the Goldbugs.

Two males, a juvenile whose name is not being released, and his brother, 30 year old Curtis Wade Smith, have been arrested in the theft of items belonging to the Jones High School football team during the playoff game Friday night in Alva.

As you can imagine, Jones school principal, Carl Johnson, had something to say about his students being both beaten and robbed by Alvainians.

I am proud to be an Oklahoman for many reasons. The Alva community’s response to an unfortunate incident last Friday is my new favorite example.

Your community has quickly and definitively asserted your strong Christian values. Steve Parkhurst and the rest of the administration responded expeditiously in their pursuit of accountability.

This process alone is impressive; however, Mr. Parkhurst informed me this morning that the community has come together to make restitution of the missing money. This should serve as an example for every community in the country.

The citizenry of Alva refused to be defined by the misguided actions of a few youth. I am sure these young people will learn from the example of their community.

If they don’t learn from this, jail time won’t do them any good either.

No Oklahoma idol

November 16th, 2006

An Okie selected as alternate to the popular talent show “American Idol” is singing the blues today in McAlester.

Cletis Don Lowe Jr. was arrested for embezzlement from his job at the Wal-Mart Supercenter, booked into the jail and released on a $200 cash bond.

To not make it as an “American Idol” contestant must be disappointing, but even worse…

Lowe is no longer employed by Wal-Mart.

Productivity down at newspaper

November 16th, 2006

Visiting the Guymon Daily Hearld website this morning, I got an interesting status report:

BusyWorkers 18
IdleWorkers 78

It’s enough to almost make me want to get a job.



Business incentives very complex

November 16th, 2006

Some folks in Broken Arrow are feeling like fish that took the bait after hearing the amount of lease payments generated from the city subsidized Bass Pro Shop.

In fact, the store’s latest payment, which amounted to $49,602, is a decline of $9,247 from the previous month and $29 below August’s total.

Lease payments are based on a percentage of sales at the
city-owned facility.

Debt service on the $20 million city-owned outlet is approximately $1.9 million a year.

In the past 10 months, Bass Pro has made lease payments of only $498,822. However, Broken Arrow taxpayers do have two things going for them:
1) Local CPA, Archer Honea, reminds residents that things can change because “Corporate accounting can be very complex…”, and
2) Broken Arrow can always claim to be an “at-risk” community and ask for money from the state’s Rainy Day Fund to pay for Bass Pro’s building, because corporate welfare accounting can be very complex….

Key financials for Bass Pro Shops, Inc.

Company Type: Private
Fiscal Year-End: December
2005 Sales (mil.): $1,915.0 (est.)
1-Year Sales Growth: (6.6%) (est.)

If sales growth was projected at 8%, you can see the bind Bass Pro is in.

Just a little Web porn

November 15th, 2006

I would have thought it was more.

About 1 percent of Web sites indexed by Google and Microsoft are sexually explicit, according to a U.S. government-commissioned study.

In 2000, Congress also passed a law requiring schools and libraries to block porn using software filters if they receive certain federal funds. The high court upheld that law in 2003.

The debate is still out on the effectiveness of those filters, with success rates estimated between 40 and 91%.

Okiedoke still gets plenty of visitors originating from schools and libraries, even though containing these titillating graphics from this 2005 post.

What’s interesting is that the image on the left was taken from a cover shot from the Oklahoma Gazette depicting two male sumo wrestlers. The image on the right is of a real female breast, and the one that consistently gets the greatest amount of hits is the male breast.

It’s easy to be humble when you’re a blogger

November 15th, 2006

Two days ago I wrote this:

I’d be surprised to read a bad review of last night’s performance of the Blue Man Group at OKC’s Ford Center.

Color me surprised.

They’re a little too, I dunno, post-modern or something for me.

OK, Rachel has a right to her opinion. And then again, she did see the Tulsa performance.

But at least we agreed on one thing. My take:

I dare say that their version of Teenage Wasteland, with Tracy Bonham vocals, was better than I remember the Who do it.

And Rachel’s:

One of the closing songs was a familiar melody…

Me: [to Josh] Hey, they’re playing a cover of Teenage Wasteland, right?

Josh: Yeah, DuhDuh….O’….ley.

Me: Nuh-uh. That’s totally Teenage Wasteland.

Josh: It says teenage wasteland in the song, but it’s called Baba O’Riley.

Baba O’Riley” (often mislabeled as “Teenage Wasteland”)

I dont need to fight
To prove I’m right
I dont need to be forgiven

And to think I wasn’t even wasted.