December 2008 Archives

2008 was twice a leap year. Not only did we have our quadrennial bissextile day, we had an extra second there, just before 6 p.m. Tulsa time. I hope you used it well.

Both leap days and leap seconds serve the same purpose -- keeping the clock and calendar in line with the movement of the earth. This BBC news item explains how this happens, and we get to see the innards of Big Ben and how they slow the pendulum down (using pre-decimalisation pennies for weight) just enough to allow for that extra second before the clock strikes 12.

(If you're a Spinal Tap fan, you'll be tickled by the volume control on the BBC video player.)

Tulsa Food Blog has a list of New Year's Eve dining and entertainment possibilities.

David Schuttler is keeping an eye on a self-described community center on N. Sheridan Rd. that sure looks like a nightclub. He also has video of a helicopter lifting new air conditioning units to the roof of the Mayo Hotel.

OK1 News has video from the November meeting of the Governor's Ethnic American Advisory Council, an official state organization we've written about previously. State Rep. Mike Reynolds was one of the observers in attendance. (Found on Okie Campaigns.) Commenter zTruth notes that the GEAAC no longer posts its agendas or minutes on the web.

Jeff Shaw ponders his son's frequent "what's your favorite" questions. I remember my oldest going through that phase. Jeff is right: Some day the questions will cease and along with it one opportunity to connect with your child. Like Jeff, I found it hard to answer that sort of question without qualification.

Bobby of Tulsa Topics explains why the Russians haven't had Christmas yet. And he chimes in with his list of jobs.

The daily paper has a map showing the most frequent places for city-issued traffic tickets and a link to a list of all tickets issued.

Via Lost Tulsa here are a set of photos of the late lamented Williams Center Forum ice rink. My first date with my wife in Tulsa was at this rink.

An e-mail from Tulsa baseball history expert Wayne McCombs led me to this Digital Ballparks feature on Oiler Park, home of Tulsa minor league baseball from 1934 to 1976. It's a sequence of historic photographs accompanied by text setting out the history and highlights of the park and the players who called it home.

Wayne has published two books about Tulsa baseball history: Let's Goooooooo, Tulsa, and Baseball in Tulsa, one of Arcadia Publishing's books of historic photographs. That last link leads to a Google Books preview, where you can digitally rifle through the pages.

On the Digital Ballparks website, I found this feature about Ray Winder Field in Little Rock, which was home to the Arkansas Travelers through 2006. It was a wonderful place to watch a ballgame, as was Durham Athletic Park, former home to the Bulls.

You don't need much to make a classic minor league ballpark. A framework of steel beams, a canopy over the stands, a canopy over the concourse where the concession stands are. It doesn't have to be complicated or expensive.

If you want to be fancier, put a brick or concrete facade around the stands, something like Greensboro's War Memorial Stadium, New Haven's Yale Field, or Savannah's Grayson Stadium. (More here about Grayson and talk of replacing it.)

In a Friday editorial, the Oklahoman took the Tulsa school board to task for continuing its lawsuit against the state's charter school law. The TPS board claims the law is unconstitutional because it limits charter schools to certain parts of the state based on population and district size.

Charter schools exist because many parents and educators aren't happy with what they see at traditional schools. Some are in direct competition with traditional public schools; others have programs that serve students who have struggled in a traditional education setting. That's not to say all charter schools are perfect and a great fit for every student. But we believe the marketplace will sort the good from the bad, and parents ultimately will vote with their children's feet.

Charter schools were designed to be incubators for new ideas that could be replicated. Instead, we tend to hear excuses on why some of their innovations won't work in regular schools. Even Oklahoma City, which has been a more welcoming environment for charter schools than Tulsa, has had tense and sometimes hostile relationships with charter schools.

We said when the lawsuit was filed that it was a waste of money. It still is. Schools -- and school boards -- would do better to embrace the competition as an opportunity for students to receive a better education and a challenge to do better. That's not too much to ask.

The editorial refers to a December 15 attempt by TPS board members Brian Hunt and Lana Turner-Addison to drop the lawsuit. The motion failed by a 4-2 vote.

(Crossposted at Choice Remarks.)

The jobs meme

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My paying gigs, in roughly chronological order:

  • Programming financial applications in BASIC for TRS-80 and Wang 2200 computers
  • Inserting security strips in book spines for the MIT library system
  • Selling souvenirs in a shop on the Atlantic City boardwalk
  • Tutoring high school students in math and Latin
  • Interviewing municipal officials in Worcester and Amesbury, Mass., about the impact of the Prop 2 1/2 property tax limitation
  • Flipping burgers and running a register at the (then brand new) Catoosa McDonald's
  • MIT Language Lab assistant: Cleaning cassette players, copying tapes from reel to cassette, checking materials in and out
  • Programming telemetry simulations in Fortran
  • Flight simulation software engineer
  • Parsing and processing mailing lists for political candidates
  • Blogger
  • Columnist for Urban Tulsa Weekly
  • Election night radio commentator

By way of Dustbury and the Happy Homemaker.

The rules of the meme, from its originator:

Just list all the jobs you've had in your life, in order. Don't bust your brain: no durations or details are necessary, and feel free to omit anything that you feel might tend to incriminate you. I'm just curious. And when you're done, tag another five bloggers you're curious about.

Consider yourself tagged, if you want to be.

Christmas 2008

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Christmas 2008 so far:

On the way to work the morning of the 24th, I spotted water flowing out from our street onto the nearest arterial. I doubled back and saw that the source a couple of springs emerging from cracks in the concrete. I called my wife, who called the Mayor's Action Center. She had everyone get an early bath, washed dishes, stockpiled water in pitchers and bathtubs, figuring we'd be without water for a day or so while the city fixed the leak. In fact, we never lost water -- upstream from the leak, evidently. When I returned from shopping, they were excavating across nearly the full width of the street. By the time we got back from church, the leak was nearly repaired. By the time the children were in bed, they had temporarily filled in the hole with mud and gravel, and it was open to traffic. Kudos to the city workers who got the job done quickly and with as little disruption as possible.

I left work early that day and did some last-minute shopping. I needed to go to Best Buy for a camcorder battery and a couple of other things. Rather than head to 71st and US 169, the nearest store to the office, I opted to visit the newest Best Buy in the new Tulsa Hills shopping center. It was a longer drive, but the traffic wasn't as bad and the stores, while busy, weren't absolutely packed. While there, I stopped at Lowe's for a couple of gift cards, at Radio Shack, and at Books-A-Million. Books-A-Million is new to the Tulsa market, well-organized, open late, and has an in-store coffee shop. I picked up a book for each of the kids, as well as a cool world map puzzle which has separate pieces for each country.

We went to the 6 pm service at Christ Presbyterian Church. Scripture readings were interspersed with carols. Carols were accompanied by our orchestral ensemble; my wife was the lone violin. The pastor offered a brief Christmas eve meditation. After the service we chatted with friends before heading home.

The kids opened their Christmas pajamas and robes -- it was a Christmas tradition when I was a kid to get new PJs on Christmas Eve. After getting dressed in them, they finished hanging ornaments on the Christmas tree and helped tidy up the living room. Just before bed our 12-year-old read the Christmas story from The Advent Book, a beautifully illustrated book with a page for each day, showing a door. Open the door, and you see a part of the text of the Christmas story, with pictures. It was a gift from my parents a few years ago, and it's now a part of our family tradition.

Little Brother and Big Sister serenaded us, too:

Our almost-three-year-old left some sugar cookies on a plate for Santa, which we placed on the hearth. (He made the sugar cookies with grandma at her house a couple of days earlier.) The kids were finally in bed at about 10:45, with the understanding that they couldn't come into the living room until 9 the next morning. The two younger ones went to sleep to Vince Guaraldi's A Charlie Brown Christmas album.

And so to bed... for the children anyway.

The next morning at 9 or so, the kids came in to see what Santa Claus had left in their stockings. Rather than making them wait until after breakfast, we let them go ahead and open the gifts under the tree, too.

We spent the afternoon at my parents' house, where we had Christmas dinner (ham and sweet potatoes) and opened more presents. Little Brother got Grandpa to read him his Cars book.


Our almost-three-year-old is good at expressing gratitude. Several times, unbidden and unprompted, he said, "I always wanted a [whatever he'd just opened]," followed by a kiss on the cheek to the giver.


Before we left, Dad showed us a gift from his brother: A DVD transfer of 8mm home movies from the late '50s and early '60s. Although most of the film was shot before I was born, the people and places and activities hadn't changed that much by the time of my earliest memories a few years later. My grandmother (she wasn't in many shots, so I assume she was running the camera) captured a lot of family times together: Playing croquet in the yard, eating homemade ice cream on the patio under the shade of the pecan trees, celebrating birthdays, Christmas, and Easter, watching parades in downtown Nowata. Of course, there were plenty of shots of Dad, then a skinny 20-something, clean-shaven and with a crew cut. Quite a contrast with the guy who can today pass for a certain right jolly old elf.

Next stop was my sister's house and a chance for my kids and hers to spend some time together. It was exciting to see my dad in a photo on the front page of the daily paper. A story about him was in last week's Urban Tulsa Weekly, and he had been on KVOO Tuesday morning, hearing what listeners wanted for Christmas. The story in the Tulsa World was about generous giving to the Neediest Families Fund -- a program started by the late, lamented Tulsa Tribune -- and how donors had helped meet specific needs.

Earlier in the month, there was a story about Margie Edwards, an 11-year-old girl who used to receive visits from Santa every year, but her Santa, her stepfather, had been shot and killed this summer. A Santa in California had gotten wind of the story and contacted my dad to see if he could visit Margie this year.

The story about Santa's visit to Margie, written by Jarrel Wade, was well done and accurate. Wade wrote: "After reading about the family's struggles in the Tulsa World, an anonymous donor made sure Santa knew to visit Margie this Christmas to bring her presents." But the caption under the photo read: "A concerned donor from California called and paid Santa to show up at the Reeds' house."

While Dad is compensated for his work at private parties and public events, he would never accept pay for humanitarian appearances such as this one or his visits to the children's ward at the hospital. He sent a polite e-mail to the reporter to let him know about the inaccuracy and received a reply that the a correction would run, which happened the next day. Dad wasn't too bothered by it, but at least one employee of the paper was rather troubled by the mistake. Understandably so: One inaccuracy of that sort by a line editor erodes the credibility that other employees are working hard to rebuild. It wasn't just an error.

Even if Santa had been paid to appear (which is not the case), it's unnecessarily ugly to say so bluntly. Saying that the donor "arranged for Santa to show up" acknowledges the donor's thoughtfulness without raising questions in young minds about Santa's financial dealings.

But the matter was quickly passed over, as the kids went upstairs to play the new edition of Guitar Hero. My sister and I got roped in to do vocals with the band. The vocalist has to match the pitch of the original (although they seem to be ok with raising or lowering it an octave). She did a creditable job on "Beat It." I got 93% on "La Bamba" (the Los Lobos version), but didn't do quite as well on "On the Road Again" and "Ramblin' Man." I considered trying The Doors' "Love Me Two Times" -- I thought I could match Jim Morrison's croony baritone -- but I thought the lyrics might be too suggestive for the audience. I tried my hand at drumming on "Sweet Home Alabama" but stunk.

We had a great time playing a game called "Bananagram." Like Scrabble, it involves letter tiles and building crosswords, but there's no board. You work independently, arranging and rearranging your letters to use them all up in a connected set of valid crossword words. I ruled at this, winning most of the hands, but I had tough competition. I was especially proud of using "oxcart," "goiter," and "quince" in various puzzles. (The word "quince" was acquired from a Reader Rabbit game -- they used it in a game as a food that started with the letter "Q". "Quince -- it's a fruit.")

More later. Hope your Christmas was merry, too.

I was at Tulsa Promenade with my family over the weekend and had taken the 12-year-old son to the food court for a late lunch, when I saw this ad for the Tulsa Zoo:


It's a spoof of the famous Che Guevara poster, depicting a lion as Che, wearing a beret, with the Tulsa Zoo logo in place of the Communist star.

Since when, I wondered, is it OK to use an image honoring a murderous, totalitarian thug to advertise a city-owned, family-oriented tourist attraction?

Perhaps I'm overreacting. Perhaps not. The surest way to tell is to substitute Communist imagery with that of a different totalitarian movement. Would the image below have been approved by Tulsa Zoo management for use in an ad?

This is what Tulsa will do to City Hall in a year or two and in 20 years or so to the BOK Center and to the new downtown ballpark as well, assuming the current design concept is used:

RCA Dome, 1984-2008, rest in pieces.

Meanwhile, Wrigley Field, age 94, and Fenway Park, age 96, continue to delight fans and players alike.

In this week's issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly I wrote about the proposed look for the new downtown ballpark, and I mentioned the location's connection with two railroads and the Greenwood district:

From the 1910s until sometime in the 1990s, the site was bisected by the M. K. & T. railroad tracks. For the first 50 years of that period, the interurban from Sand Springs ran down the center of Archer until about a half-block east of Elgin, where the tracks curved northward, running roughly where the ballpark's outfield fence will be. The trolley tracks then ran down the middle of Greenwood Ave. from Brady St. to Haskell St., before veering off to the east to connect to the Santa Fe tracks to the north.

You can still see some old bits of the track behind the commercial buildings on the west side of Greenwood. The triangular shape of that block of buildings marks where the Sand Springs and Katy railroads crossed paths. If you look closely, you can see where the middle of Archer and the sidewalk on its north side were patched when the interurban tracks were removed.

In the Tulsa Library's online archive of the Beryl Ford Collection of historic Tulsa photos, I found a series of photos showing the Sand Springs line in Greenwood in what appears to be the late 1940s and early 1950s. Not all of the photos were taken at the same time, but I've put them in order starting near the corner of Greenwood Ave. and Brady St. and moving north to where the tracks leave Greenwood Ave. at Haskell Ave. and head north-northeast along a road called Greenwood Pl. toward a junction with the Midland Valley and Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad tracks north of Independence St. Each photo and caption is linked to a slightly larger version on the library's website. Someday I hope to see a full resolution version of each these pictures, which would make it possible to pin down details like years on license plates, street signs, and names and numbers on buildings.

The Sand Springs Railroad's waiting room at the Tulsa end of the line was on the northwest corner of Archer and Boston. I do not know whether or not passengers were carried all the way to Greenwood Ave.

(UPDATE 2015/02/07: In an interview for the Voices of Oklahoma Series, Marques Haynes, basketball hall-of-famer and Sand Springs native, confirms that the streetcar had a stop on Greenwood. He mentions that because he couldn't go to the whites-only movie theater in Sand Springs, he and his friends would ride the Sand Springs interurban into Tulsa; the trolley stopped on Greenwood, right across from the Dreamland Theater. That stop was probably in front of the building on the left of the first photo below, on the NW corner of Greenwood and Brady.)

Sand Springs Railroad interurban tracks, looking north toward Brady St. & Greenwood Ave., Busy Bee Lunch, and Vernon AME Church.

Sand Springs Railroad interurban tracks, looking north toward Brady St. & Greenwood Ave., Busy Bee Lunch (in the Center Hotel building), and Vernon AME Church. While the Vernon Church is still there, as is the building in the foreground, in between is now the route of I-244.

The December 18-24, 2008, issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly includes a feature story about Santa David Bates by managing editor Katie Sullivan. Some clips:

Bates is in his fourth year as one of Tulsa's many Santas that grace the city's holiday surroundings and events. After retiring four years ago from St. Francis hospital, Bates decided to kick off his boots, relax and let his hair down -- or, in this case, his beard grow out.

Bates' friends and family members then began to notice his strong resemblance to Santa Claus, and this compelled Bates to dress as Santa for Halloween one year. In his full garb on Halloween night, Bates thoroughly enjoyed each and every time he heard the doorbell ring. The neighborhood trick-or-treaters shared his joy. Their faces changed instantly when Bates opened the door. Some kids froze with astonished looks on their faces, wondering if Bates was crazy and had mistaken which holiday it was. Others immediately lit up and yelled, "Santa!" Naturally, Bates handed out candy canes, which he said "are extremely hard to find in October." It was in the reactions from the kids that Bates reveled. "Where's Rudolph? and "Why are you here?" were some of the children's inquiries.

After that night, Bates knew this would be one Halloween costume worth resurrecting. Shortly after, he heard Philbrook needed a replacement Santa to fill in for the season. "That's when I fell in love with doing it," Bates said. "I don't do malls or shopping centers. Those are too strenuous." He keeps his holiday season schedule full of small individual gatherings, private parties, nursing homes, museum and library trips and hospital visits....

The gentle giant mentality comes naturally to Bates, a loving father and grandfather who boasted of his own kids' and grandkids' achievements. "You couldn't do this job without having the joy and pleasure of children. That's the best part." Bates also likes to hand out a card to the children he sees that explains God's love for them and that the greatest gift of all was Jesus Christ. For Bates, the legacy and tradition hold the utmost value.

Tulsa Santa David Bates is on the web at I'm very proud of my dad and happy that he's found such a fun and rewarding role in his retirement.

UPDATE: The Tulsa Boy Singers will be performing on Six in the Morning on Thursday, December 18. The brief segments with TBS will air at 7:50 a.m. on KOTV (Channel 6), and at 8:10 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. on KQCW (UHF Channel 19 / Cox Cable Channel 12).

The Tulsa Boy Singers will present their annual Christmas concert this Friday and Saturday night, December 19 and 20, 2008, at Trinity Episcopal Church, 5th & Cincinnati in downtown Tulsa. The program begins each night at 7:30. Admission is by donation. The program will include a variety of sacred and secular Christmas favorites.

Following each concert, TBS staff will be available to conduct a brief audition for boys who are interested in joining the choir. If you know a boy age 8 through 18 who would like to sing, come to one of the concerts. The choir includes both trebles (boy sopranos) and boys whose voices have changed and sing alto, tenor, and bass parts. My 12-year-old son is in his fourth year with TBS and continues to enjoy both the music and the camaraderie with his fellow singers. (Feel free to email me at the address on the sidebar if you'd like the perspective of a TBS parent.)

There are over a million orphaned children in Russia. One of them is named Losha Sokolov. He is 12 years old, and he lives in an orphanage in Chuvashia. As a 10 year old, he came on his own to the orphanage, where he hoped to have clothing and food.

A Pawhuska family hosted Losha early in November for 10 days as part of a program of the Russian Orphan Lighthouse Project. Jacky and Marie Payton had two boys of their own, then six years ago they adopted two brothers and a sister, all under the age of three. They had no intention of adding to their family when they agreed to host Losha, but the whole family fell in love with him and are seeking to bring him back to Pawhuska for good.

There's a catch: $45,000 in adoption-related fees and another $15,000 in travel expenses.

They raised over a thousand dollars at a fundraiser over the weekend. Their oldest boy, Garrett, is willing to sell his palomino horse and auction off the '65 Mustang that his father has been saving for him in order to reach the goal.

You can learn more about the Paytons and how you can help them bring Losha home on their website, There's a blog where you can follow their progress.

MORE: The Paytons and Losha were featured in this story in the Bigheart Times and in this article in the Tulsa World.

Several Russian orphans will be coming to Tulsa for a 10-day visit in January. If you'd like to host one of them, contact the Russian Orphan Lighthouse Project for details.

UPDATE: Robert Carpenter was found shortly after midnight, Dec. 16, near 81st and Mingo. At 3 pm, TPD reported that Joe Kelley III had been found.

The Tulsa Police Department is requesting help in locating two missing persons, one old and one young. (Translated from police-ese to English.)

Carpenter.jpgThe Tulsa Police Department is asking for assistance with locating a missing elderly male. Missing is Robert Carpenter, black male, date of birth 05-05-32, 5'09" & 165 lbs with black hair and brown eyes. Carpenter was last seen at about 4:00 p.m. [December 15], in the area of 3900 N. Elgin Avenue. Carpenter walked away from this residence. Due to the extreme cold and Mr. Carpenter's age officers believe that he could be in danger. Carpenter was last seen wearing blue coveralls and a dark hat.
kelley.jpgThe Tulsa Police Department is seeking assistance with locating Joe Kelley III, Indian male, date of birth 01-23-05, 3'01" & 60 lbs. The child's mother told detectives that Kelly was last seen on 12-14-08 at 8:30 p.m., with his step-father in the area of 1800 S. Sheridan Road. Detectives have spoken with the step-father, who denies that the child was in his custody. At this time detectives believe that the child could be in danger. See attached photo. Last seen wearing gray sweatpants and a white long sleeve shirt.

If you have any information about either of these missing persons, contact the Tulsa Police Department via 911. The non-emergency number for TPD is 918-596-9222.

(As a side note, I'm not sure why TPD doesn't post these notices to its blog as well as sending them out to media, and I'm not sure why they don't include direct phone contact info with these notices.)

I was looking for the remaining schedule for Tulsa Ballet's presentation of The Nutcracker, and saw this on the Google search results:

Tulsa Performing Arts Center

This site may harm your computer.

The Nutcracker (Tulsa Ballet-Tulsa). The well-known holiday fairy tale springs to life through the dreams of a child as The Nutcracker and Mouse King battle ... - Similar pages -

Google's Safe Browsing diagnostic site gives the following explanation for the Tulsa PAC website:

What is the current listing status for

Site is listed as suspicious - visiting this web site may harm your computer.

Part of this site was listed for suspicious activity 1 time(s) over the past 90 days.

What happened when Google visited this site?

Of the 26 pages we tested on the site over the past 90 days, 2 page(s) resulted in malicious software being downloaded and installed without user consent. The last time Google visited this site was on 2008-12-15, and the last time suspicious content was found on this site was on 2008-12-13.

Malicious software includes 2 scripting exploit(s), 1 trojan(s). Successful infection resulted in an average of 4 new processes on the target machine.

Malicious software is hosted on 4 domain(s), including,,

1 domain(s) appear to be functioning as intermediaries for distributing malware to visitors of this site, including

This site was hosted on 1 network(s) including AS40139 (JACKSON).

Has this site acted as an intermediary resulting in further distribution of malware?

Over the past 90 days, did not appear to function as an intermediary for the infection of any sites.

Has this site hosted malware?

No, this site has not hosted malicious software over the past 90 days.

How did this happen?

In some cases, third parties can add malicious code to legitimate sites, which would cause us to show the warning message.

Google advises, "If you are the owner of this web site, you can request a review of your site using Google Webmaster Tools. More information about the review process is available in Google's Webmaster Help Center."

(BatesLine is clean, by the way.)

Saturday shopportunities

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If you're looking for out-of-the-ordinary Christmas gifts, here are a couple of special shopping opportunities around Tulsa for tomorrow, Saturday, December 13, 2008:

From 4 pm to 6 pm, Jack Frank will be signing his latest Tulsa Films DVD release, Tulsa Deco, as well as the two volumes of Fantastic Tulsa Films. The signing will be at the midtown Borders, 21st and the Broken Arrow Expressway. The hour-long Tulsa Deco show is a great gift for the longtime Tulsan with a love for local history and architecture or for the newcomer who's heard about Tulsa art deco and wonders what all the fuss is about.

And from 3 pm to 11 pm, Ida Red, at 3346 S. Peoria in Brookside, will be the site of the Handmade Holiday Market, featuring the work of The Knit Owl, Such Pretty Things, Blue Turtle Soap, Holly Rocks, and Clover Studios. There will be live music from Joy and Day, Fiawna Forté, and Erin Austin.

Both events are great opportunities to support local artists and artisans.

Earlier today Sen. Tom Coburn spoke to a blogger conference call in connection with the release of his 2008: Worst Waste of the Year" report. It was a wide-ranging, on-the-record discussion. Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has a good synopsis.

Toward the end of the call, Dan Riehl asked about getting Coburn more allies for his efforts. Coburn said that, "We need a different farm team, and I'm working hard on that." He didn't offer any specifics, but he said that we need to "recruit people who get it, not just people who say they get it." He said that we need to elect officials who will be willing to sacrifice position for principle and asked, "How do you call people to service?"

I'm happy to see that Coburn is focusing on this challenge. Our primary safeguard against excessive and unconstitutional spending are the people who make the decisions about spending. But I wonder if it's possible for us to create the kind of "farm team" Coburn wants. To elect a principled fiscal conservative to office, you have to fight against two powerful forces -- entrenched special interests that want access to public money, aided by their allies who run the mainstream media, and a voting public with a low level of understanding about economics, the proper role of government in general and the proper roles of each level of government.

There is this idea that every problem is one that government can fix. Voters want to believe it because it relieves them of personal responsibility. Politicians are happy to promote the idea because they then get credit for doling out the goodies to favored groups and businesses, and that translates to longevity in office and a golden parachute in the form of a lobbying job with the favored groups and businesses they helped while in office.

Here in Oklahoma, at least, we have enough voters who don't buy into that idea that we can elect principled officials like Tom Coburn, Randy Brogdon, Dana Murphy, Pam Peterson, and John Eagleton (to name just a few among many). But even here, good men and women get blocked from climbing the political ladder by a hostile media and a well-financed opposition.

Recruiting good men and women is only half the battle. You need to give them the financial and logistical support they need to get elected and to advance their legislative agenda once in office.

A pair of 16-year-old boys were caught shortly after mugging and stabbing a man in the parking lot of the Sand Dollar Apartments on 61st west of Riverside. An alert security officer at a nearby apartment complex saw the two boys come in their gate and called police. From the Tulsa Police Department daily activity report:

Armed Robbery/Stabbing:

On December 10, 2008 at 10:30 p.m., officers were assigned to 934 E. 61st Street to investigate an Armed Robbery. Upon arrival officers found the victim, Kyle Stange, 20 yoa, who had been robbed and stabbed in the right leg. The victim was in the parking lot of the Sand Dollar Apartments when he was approached by two juvenile males. One of the suspects grabbed the victim as the other suspect stabbed him. The suspects took the victim's wallet and fled. The victim was transported to a local hospital and taken into surgery. At this time his condition is not known.

While officers were at the crime scene they were contacted by security at the Fairmont Terrace Apartments. Security had observed two juvenile males enter through the front gate shortly after the robbery. Officers located one of the suspects outside his apartment. The suspect implicated himself in the robbery. The suspect then gave officers information about the second suspect. Officers located the other juvenile at his residence, which was also at this complex. Both 16 yoa, males were taken into custody for Armed Robbery. One of the juveniles was also arrested for Assault with a Dangerous Weapon. During subsequent interviews the suspects admitted to three additional robberies. These robberies occurred on December 3rd, 4th and 7th.

*Note: The information in this report is preliminary information and is subject to change as the investigation continues.

It's amazing to think that 20 years ago, Sand Dollar was one of my stops on the apartment search. It wasn't a bad area then. Mondo's (remember Mondo's?) was just down the street. Taco Mayo, KFC, Sonic and Lot-A-Burger were on Peoria.

MORE: TPD's blog says that the victim, Kyle Stange, is a member of the Oklahoma National Guard, scheduled to be deployed to Iraq in a few months. An updated story on KOTV's website has more information, with photos of the alleged perps:

Police say two teens attacked Stange as he was getting out of his car.

They say Patrick Johnson held Stange from behind, while Ishmael Williams stabbed Stange in the right leg with, what's being described as, a large folder-type knife.

The 16-year-olds, according to police, then took Stange's wallet, eventually throwing it into the bushes.

They were arrested less than a quarter of a mile away at Fairmont Terrace Apartments.

Investigators say Johnson and Williams have been wreaking havoc at the Sand Dollar for the last two weeks. They say they've confessed to three robberies and they're suspects in a fourth.

Police say the teens admitted to robbing two pizza delivery drivers, as well as another man in the Sand Dollar parking lot.

Investigators tell The News On 6 Johnson and Williams would lie in wait for an unsuspecting victim and both admitted using knives for all of the robberies.

Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor has included the controversial proposed bridge across the Arkansas River at Yale Ave. in a laundry list of city infrastructure projects that Taylor says are ready for immediate funding. Taylor's wish list is part of a collection of over 11,000 projects compiled by the U. S. Conference of Mayors in an effort to get a share of federal stimulus money. 1170 KFAQ had the story earlier today.

The USCM report, released on Monday, is called "Ready to Go" Jobs and Infrastructure Projects (click this link to download the report as a 4 MB PDF) From the introduction to the report:

Today The U.S. Conference of Mayors releases the second in its series of reports on infrastructure projects that are "ready to go" in cities across the nation - projects that can be started quickly after funding is received and generate the significant numbers of jobs that are needed to strengthen the economies of our metro areas and our nation as a whole.

Today we are reporting that in 427 cities of all sizes in all regions of the country, a total of 11,391 infrastructure projects are "ready to go." These projects represent an infrastructure investment of $73,163,299,303 that would be capable of producing an estimated 847,641 jobs in 2009 and 2010.

The Conference of Mayors MainStreet Economic Recovery plan, developed under the leadership of Miami Mayor Manual A. (Manny) Diaz, the President of the Conference, calls for federal investments in 10 sectors that will quickly create jobs in metro areas, improve the infrastructure that the private sector needs to succeed, help the small businesses of Main Street America, and produce lasting economic and environmental benefits for the nation....

In early November, cities across the nation provided the Conference of Mayors with examples of needed infrastructure projects that could be started quickly and completed in 2009 if additional federal funding were made available for them in any of the 10 MainStreet infrastructure investment sectors. For these projects, the cities gave us their estimates of the amount of funding that would be needed and the number of jobs that would be created.

A report describing more than 4,600 projects in 154 cities capable of creating well over a quarter-million jobs was released by the Conference in Washington on November 13.

A week after the release of this first report, President-elect Obama stated a goal of creating 2.5 million jobs in America by 2011 - a goal strongly supported by the nation's mayors. The President-elect described a two-year initiative to rebuild the nation's crumbling infrastructure. In response, the Conference invited cities to again submit information on infrastructure projects, this time on projects that could start quickly in 2009 and be completed by
the end of 2010.

Many of the cities included in the Conference's first report submitted additional projects, and many other cities submitted their projects, greatly increasing our total estimates of federal infrastructure funding that could be used and jobs that could be created.

This report combines the information on projects included in the first report and projects submitted in response to the Conference's second request.

Here are the two biggest items on Tulsa's list of 50 projects:

South Yale Avenue Bridge‐Construct bridge over Arkansas River at 121st and Yale Ave., $115,000,000; 600 jobs.

Roadway Improvements‐Improve 74 roadway segments thru pavement rehabilitation and lane widening to reduce congestion, and improve public safety; $200,731,000; 1,200 jobs.

Since the quoted cost of the bridge in the past has been far, far below $115 million, I would hope that that number includes the cost of needed improvements to the streets connecting to the bridge. Perhaps some of the $200 million for pavement rehab and widening would cover those areas as well.

The key thing to understand is that projects are on this list because the city believes they can be completed within the next two years if only the money were in hand. The point of this list is to say to the federal government, "give us the money and we can put hundreds of thousands of people to work right away." The list of projects implies that Tulsa could put nearly 4,000 people to work on construction over the next two years.

Other big-ticket items on the list:

Downtown Housing (on‐going stimulus package; Downtown Tulsa Master Plan Update; current C.I.P. funding list); $20,000,000; 200 jobs.

Property Acquisitions ‐ Federal Building and Post Office‐Strategic Property Acquisitions ‐ Federal Building and Post Office ( Downtown Master Plan Update; ongoing program & redevelopment efforts of Convention & BOK Centers; current C.I.P. funding); $54,000,000; 324 jobs.

Regional Training Center‐A regional fire training center to provide fire and homeland security training for Tulsa and surrounding communities. The center will also be used to train Tulsa Community College students in hospitality for hotel, motel operation; $40,000,000; 100 jobs

Facilities Improvement Projects‐Construct and rehabilitate 14 City of Tulsa facilities
improving Public Safety thru the elimination of safety and code voliations and to provide enhanced facilities which would allow for improved service delivery to the public; $34,376,000; 204 jobs.

Public Safety Information Technology Improvements‐Implement 20 information technology projects to improve the City of Tulsa's computer aided dispatch system, provide for backup 911 service, public safety automatic vehicle location, enhanced radio communications; $109,504,200; 318 jobs.

UPDATE 2008/12/11: Mayor says she's pulling the bridge from the list. And here's an easier way to look at the list of Tulsa's requests on the US Conference of Mayors website.

From today's Tulsa Police Department Daily Activity report, a tale of a horrific carjacking:

On December 9, 2008 at 10:22 p.m., officers were assigned to an Armed Robbery at 1100 N. Madison Avenue.... When [the victims] arrived in the area they found two black males standing in front of an abandoned house on the corner of Latimer and Madison. The two black males approached them, pointed handguns at both of them and told them to get out of their truck. Both victims were placed on the ground by the suspects. The suspects took the victim's wallets, cellular telephones and shoes. The suspects also took a 2000 Toyota pickup belonging to one of the victims. The victims were unable to give a better description of the suspects.

Why might that be? From earlier in the report:

The victims initially gave officers different versions of the robbery. The victims later admitted that they were in the area looking to buy illegal narcotics.

I get these reports on a daily basis. I'm not sure why TPD doesn't post them on their own blog, but since they don't. I'm going to start posting them here.

It happened on September 5, but only recently did it make the news.

Last Thursday, Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Sheldon Robinson was honored by the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority as Trooper of the Month for his quick thinking and action in subduing a man in who had come into the Burger King at 41st and Memorial in Tulsa with the apparent intent of shooting the place up.

On Sept. 5, Robinson dropped his wife and two children off at the Burger King restaurant at 41st Street and Memorial Drive and was pulling into an auto dealership across the street for an oil change when his cell phone rang.

"My spouse told me there was a man inside with a gun, saying he was going to kill everybody," said Robinson, an 11-year veteran of the highway patrol who is assigned to the Creek and Muskogee turnpikes.

Robinson turned around in time to see people fleeing the building, including his wife, who grabbed the couple's two children and hid in a nearby trash container area, closing the doors behind her.

Robinson went in, saw the man with a .40 caliber Glock and a box of ammo beside him, and blindsided him while the man's hand was off his gun, wrestling him to the ground to try to cuff him.

Pay close attention to this next sentence (emphasis added):

"It was one of those deals of being in the right place at the right time," Robinson said. "I believe he would have loaded up that gun and gone to town because he was praying for Allah to help him carry out his mission."

The man with the Glock was Jerome Norvell Denson, described in the jail population report as a 24-year-old black male, 5'11", 230 lbs. Court records give an address in the Normandy Apartments, a Section 8 complex just west of Sheridan on 36th St. He was booked into jail by Tulsa Police on Nov. 24 at 5:25 pm. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 24. He has been charged with planning, attempting, or conspiring to perform act of violence, and possession of a firearm while in the commission of a felony.

Given Trooper Robinson's report that Denson invoked Allah, it's worth mentioning for the benefit of non-Tulsans that Denson's place of residence is a little over a mile north from the Islamic Society of Tulsa mosque. The Burger King where the incident occurred is a half-mile south and a mile east of Denson's address.

So what happened between the incident on Sept. 5 and when he was booked into jail on Nov. 24? Court records show that he was originally charged with the two felony counts on Sept. 11.

There's an interesting note in the docket report for Oct. 6:


I'm wondering what is meant here by "state declines" and "program."

The original charges were dismissed at the state's request on Oct. 29, and then he was charged again on November 7 and back in custody on the 24th. Here's the OCIS docket report on the new charges.

The only other time Jerome Denson shows up in court records is for failure to pay an ambulance bill four years ago. He doesn't turn up on Google, except in reference to this incident.

The incident didn't make the news when it happened in September. TPD public affairs office sends a daily e-mail update to the press with information on significant occurrences in the previous 24 hours. I don't seem to have received a Sept. 6th report, but there were numerous e-mails on Sept. 5, all pertaining to Neal Richard Sweeney, who had been shot the day before and had died that morning. That probably explains why TPD didn't mention Denson's arrest in their news releases: An actual murder trumps a prevented murder, although the situation at the Burger King was certainly dramatic enough.

We'll keep an eye on this case. I'd welcome any information you may have on Jerome Norvell Denson or this case.

(Via Jihad Watch.)

UPDATE: On June 15, 2009, Denson pled nolo contendere on two counts, PLAN/ATTEMPT/CONSPIRE TO PERFORM ACT OF VIOLENCE and POSSESSION OF A FIREARM WHILE IN THE COMMISSION OF A FELONY. He was sentenced by Judge Clancy Smith to five years in prison with credit for time served.

The first two of several small-area workshops for PLANiTULSA, the City of Tulsa initiative to produce our first comprehensive land-use plan in a generation, are being held tonight -- one on the northside and one on the eastside.

These workshops are a smaller-scale version of the citywide workshops, with groups putting stickers representing different kinds of development on a map of the target area. In this case, however, the target area is at most a square mile. One workshop will focus on the undeveloped area on 21st St east of the old Eastland Mall. The other will, if I recall correctly, involve the area either side of Peoria between Pine St. and Mohawk Blvd, roughly between the Midland Valley trail and US 75.

The workshops will be held at Booker T. Washington High School (northside) and East Central High School (eastside). Registration begins at 5:30 and the workshops will run from 6 to 9 pm.

These workshops are intended to produce prototypes of small-area plans, and so planners are trying to pick a representative assortment of existing conditions to study. Another set of workshops will be held in January.

For more information contact the City planning department at 576-5684.

MORE: In the comments, Paul has a report from the East Tulsa workshop and a comment about the importance of respecting private property:

I haven't seen all of the proposed guiding principles, goals, and objectives of the new comp plan, but if protecting private ownership and use of real estate is important to a majority of Tulsans, then I think this can be written into the plan.

In my opinion, it will be more effective to create a new comp plan and zoning code which are understandable, fair, and PREDICTABLE. And despite the US Supreme Court's regrettable Kelo v. City of New London decision, I think it would wonderful if the State of Oklahoma, the City of Tulsa, and the Tulsa Development Authority all adopted policy that private land ought not and will not be taken by coercion for private developments.

There's no place for "plaice" in this dictionary. Words about Christianity (vicar, sin, parish), Christmas (carol, mistletoe), the monarchy (coronation, duke, monarch), seafood (lobster, mussel), pets (corgi, goldfish, hamster), fairy tales (elf, goblin), woodland flora (tulip, sycamore, pasture), and fauna (doe, starling, terrapin) are gone, too, from a popular children's dictionary:

Oxford University Press has removed words like 'aisle', 'bishop', 'chapel', 'empire' and 'monarch' from its Junior Dictionary and replaced them with words like 'blog', 'broadband' and 'celebrity'. Dozens of words related to the countryside have also been culled.

How can you read Winnie the Pooh or The Wind in the Willows without words like stoat, beaver, gorse, or (oh, bother!) piglet? And what fiend would flush "budgerigar" down the lexicographical loo? As one commenter on the linked story wrote:

What a pity! Future generations will not be able to understand Monty Python until they've studied it at university.

(This isn't necessarily a new phenomenon: Some advanced individuals in previous generations used comedy and comic strips as a personal curriculum in cultural literacy.)

Another commenter writes:

I've got to 62 and have survived life still not quite knowing what a trapezium is. But the same could not be said had I not known the meaning of buttercup, fern and hazelnut. Our children's lives are being impoverished by this kind of misguided editorial policy.

As a teacher for 30 years, I was saddened by the increasing disappearance of basic idioms from children's language; the Oxford Dictionary policy is symptomatic of the cultural impoverishing of children's vocabulary, language and its use.

And another:

Take away our language and who are we? Our beautiful words, many of which date from Anglo-Saxon times, are now taken from us and generations of future children. They are more than words, they are the golden threads that bind together the rich tapestry of our country's story.

Reading the words taken out is absolutely heartbreaking. They read like the roll call of honour for a country that is dying.

This seems to put it all in a nutshell, referring to the sets of words deleted from and words added to the dictionary:

It would be interesting to try to write two poems: one with the first set of words, the other with the second.

The list of removed words brings to mind "Last of the Summer Wine," "The Archers," and All Creatures Great and Small. The list of added words brings to mind "Only Fools and Horses" and "The Office."

This sentence from the Telegraph story suggests that the shift away from church and countryside has already taken place in children's literature:

Oxford University Press, which produces the junior edition, selects words with the aid of the Children's Corpus, a list of about 50 million words made up of general language, words from children's books and terms related to the school curriculum. Lexicographers consider word frequency when making additions and deletions.

This defense of OUP's omission of these words didn't give me any comfort:

Critics tend to assume that children either read dictionaries for fun to learn new words (which they probably don't) or look up words that they meet in reading or in everyday life. In fact, it's older children who use dictionaries to look up the meanings of words; children aged 7-9 tend to use dictionaries to help them with spelling when they are writing out what they did at the weekend, or keeping a diary - typical school writing tasks. Therefore the contents of the dictionary need to reflect children's actual lifestyles, not an idealised picture of how we would all like childhood to be.

This suggests that children 7-9 aren't reading good books in school, where they might encounter unfamiliar words.

Read the full list here.

(Via Roger Kimball, via NRO's Corner.)

Two Tulsa teams competed tonight for the Class 6A football championship. Union beat Jenks 34-20 at Lewis* Field in Stillwater, their first time ever to beat Jenks twice in the same season. I was surprised they didn't play the championship at Skelly* Stadium, but I suppose they needed to get Skelly ready for tomorrow's Conference USA championship game between TU and East Carolina.

Tomorrow there will be three state championship games played in metropolitan Tulsa, all kicking off at 1:30: Carl Albert vs. Booker T. Washington in Sand Springs (5A), Glenpool vs. OKC Bishop McGuinness in Broken Arrow (4A), and Cascia Hall vs. Claremore Sequoyah in Bixby (3A). Tulsa's Lincoln Christian plays in Ponca City at the same time against Oklahoma City's Heritage Hall, as two private schools compete for a slot in the Class 2A final against either Chandler or Kingfisher.

(Carl Albert vs. Booker T. Washington is not a Pythonesque battle of historical re-enactors, but a football game between the high school of the Mid-Del school district -- Midwest City and Del City -- and one of Tulsa's high schools.)

And if all that isn't enough sports action for one Saturday, the TulsaNow Spontaneous Softball Invitational will take place on the future location of Driller Stadium -- near Archer and Greenwood downtown -- tomorrow morning at 10:30 am. This may be the first outdoor ballgame of any sort downtown since the days of McNulty Park. You're welcome to come and play, or just cheer the players on.

Inside baseball

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A surprising item in today's Whirled:

The Tulsa Stadium Trust received only one bid Monday to construct a nearly $40 million downtown baseball stadium and no bids to finance $25 million of its cost.

The construction bid came from Tulsa Stadium Construction Co. LLC, which guarantees that it will build the ballpark for no more than $39.2 million at specifications outlined by the trust.

Phil Lakin, the construction company's manager, submitted the bid.

Lakin also is executive director of the Tulsa Community Foundation, a tax-exempt, public charity created by George Kaiser and other philanthropists in 1998 to receive, protect and distribute gifts from individuals and organizations for the improvement of Tulsa and eastern Oklahoma. Kaiser is not a foundation board member.

The bid also included a statement that no conflicts of interest exist between the construction company and the stadium trust that would interfere in any way with fair competition in the bid- selection process.

The Bank of Oklahoma is a major donor of private funds to the project. Kaiser is chairman of the BOK Financial Corp., and Stan Lybarger, president of Bank of Oklahoma, is the stadium trust's chairman.

The trust is overseeing a $60 million project that includes construction of a 6,200-seat stadium to house the city's Double-A baseball team, the Tulsa Drillers, and the acquisition of adjacent properties for mixed-use development.

Fascinating. I knew Phil Lakin was an accomplished gentleman, but I never knew he was in construction. Here's what Guidestar says about Phil Lakin, on its page about Tulsa Community Foundation:

Phil Lakin, Jr., is the first executive director of TCF. He returned to his hometown with eight years of development experience from his alma mater, Baylor University, where he served as regional director of development and managed the Dallas/Ft. Worth office. Earlier, he had worked as a consultant with Andersen Consulting. Phil earned his BBA and MBA from Baylor, and is a Certified Fund Raising Executive. He is married and has three sons.

The Whirled story leaves out some information about TCF that might have undermined the claim that no conflict of interest exists. There is certainly the appearance of a conflict. While George Kaiser is not on the board of TCF, Ken Levit, the executive director of the George Kaiser Family Foundation, is. More significantly, Stan Lybarger, CEO and President of the Bank of Oklahoma, and Steve Bradshaw, Sr. Executive VP of the Bank of Oklahoma, are both board members of TCF. Lybarger, as the story notes, is also the chairman of the Tulsa Stadium Trust.

Several questions spring to mind:

1. When was the Request for Proposals (RFP) issued?

2. Where was the RFP posted? On the internet? On the City Hall bulletin board? Hermetically sealed in a mayonnaise jar on the porch of Funk and Wagnalls?

3. How was the RFP advertised? Were ads placed in national publications and websites that are used to advertise municipal construction projects to prospective contractors? Were contractors for recent ballpark construction in other cities contacted and encouraged to submit bids? Was an active effort made to solicit the best possible deal for Tulsa?

4. Even if the RFP was widely advertised, were prospective bidders deterred by the appearance of a conflict of interest, that Mr. Lakin's firm was almost certain to get the job because of his connections with Tulsa Stadium Trust members and donors? Putting together a proposal can be very pricey, and a company will no-bid a job if it sees little chance of recouping its investment in developing a proposal.

5. Who are the principals and members of Tulsa Stadium Construction Co. LLC?

This is a public project, and most of the funding is being extracted from downtown property owners by force of law. It's called an assessment, but for all practical purposes, it's a tax, and the tax revenue is being handled by a public trust of the City of Tulsa. The public deserves full and open competition, with not even the appearance of a conflict of interest, for such an important civic asset. The people of Tulsa, especially the downtown property owners, deserve answers to these questions.

Vinyl appeal

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This is a "bleg" -- begging on a blog. I need some advice and assistance.

I recently came across and purchased a copy of the Johnnie Lee Wills "Reunion" LP, recorded on April 3rd and 4th, 1978 at Tulsa Studios, released on the Flying Fish label, and featuring an amazing lineup of western swing all-stars: Johnny Gimble, Joe Holley, and Curly Lewis on fiddle, Eldon Shamblin, Don Tolle, and Roy Ferguson on guitar, Alex Brashear on trumpet, Gene Crownover on steel, Wayne Johnson on sax and clarinet, Clarence Cagle on piano, Glenn "Blub" Rhees on sax, Ted Adams on bass, Claude Clemmons and Tom Montgomery on drums, John Thomas Wills (Johnnie Lee's son), and a cameo by O. W. Mayo, Johnnie Lee's manager and announcer and long-time owner of Cain's Ballroom. Steve Ripley produced the album, Jim Halsey was executive producer, and Bob Burwell was creative director.

The track list:

Side One: Silver Bells; Rag Mop; Memories of You, Dear; I Wish That Your Picture Was You; Four or Five Times; La Golondrina; Rosetta.

Side Two: South; If I Had Another Chance; In a Spanish Mission; Talkin' 'bout You; Whose Heart Are You breaking Now?; Milk Cow Blues; Goodnight Little Sweetheart.

(This album is part of my long-term aim to own every recording on which Eldon Shamblin performed. I would love to hear the albums made by the reunited Original Texas Playboys in the late '70s and early '80s.)

I haven't listened to the album yet. While I have a couple of turntables, one is older than this album and the other is nearly as old, and I haven't used either in over a decade -- probably closer to two. I have no idea if the belts or needles are any good, or where I'd get replacements if I needed them. I don't want to use this album as a guinea pig.

I remember that in college I had a Discwasher kit, which I used religiously before putting an album on the turntable. I have no idea if that product is still around or if it's even recommended anymore.

While I appreciate the special qualities of vinyl recordings, I'd really like to get this album into a digital format, so I can enjoy it on my MP3 player and in the car. My wife and I have other recordings that we'd like to hear again as well. Some of them, recordings of school orchestras and church choirs, are never going to be available from another source.

So I'd welcome advice, particularly from those of you in Tulsa, about sources for testing and reconditioning turntables, needles, cleaning methods and supplies, and digitizing vinyl records.

Please note that while I am a music lover, I am not an audiophile, so I don't demand an acoustically perfect experience. I have a high tolerance for scratches, warbles, and other artifacts of age and wear. I just want to hear the music.


Some time not too long ago, I watched The Blues Brothers. The movie is remarkable for bringing together great musicians from a wide variety of genres with some connection to the blues, including R&B, Soul, Big Band.

There's the scene early in the movie where the band plays the first gig after their reunion at Bob's Country Bunker, where they have both kinds of music -- country and western. The band soothes the savage country music fans in the bar by playing "Rawhide" and "Stand By Your Man."

During my recent viewing, it hit me what a wasted opportunity this was. Instead of introducing the Good Ol' Boys and adding them to the list of people who wanted Jake and Elwood dead, the scene might have highlighted the western side of the blues by bringing the Blues Brothers together with the Original Texas Playboys for a down-and-dirty rendition of "Blackout Blues," "Trouble in Mind," "Sittin' on Top of the World," or "Milk Cow Blues."

The Original Texas Playboys were actively touring and recording in the late '70s and early '80s, including several albums on Capitol. The Blues Brothers was released in 1980, so it could have happened, but for a lack of awareness of the blues roots of Western Swing.

But as an intriguing western swing what-if, it pales in comparison to "Can't Buy Me Faded Love."

UPDATE: Thanks to all who commented and e-mailed with helpful advice. Several of you pointed me to the many USB-capable turntables on the market. And then David Sims mentioned this CNET guide to turning vinyl LPs into CDs.

UPDATE: Tulsa Deco will re-air on Sunday, December 7, at noon on KTUL channel 8.

If you love Tulsa's beautiful Art Deco architecture, if you're fascinated by our rich history, you're going to want to own a copy of Jack Frank's newest DVD in his Tulsa History Series: Tulsa Deco.

The quality of this production fits its subject: Everything about it is a delight to the eye, from the Deco-inspired fonts used in the titles and captions to the menu graphic -- a juxtaposition of representatives of the three main types of Deco: streamline (the 32nd and Utica all-electric house), zigzag (Boston Ave. Methodist), and PWA (Union Depot), against a background of rotating beams of light and floating clouds.

Jack Frank's camera lets you look up close at the wonderful detail on some of our most famous buildings. You get a tour of the inside of the Adah Robinson House at 11th Pl. and Owasso Ave., and the history of the Riverside Studio (aka the Spotlight Theater), both Bruce Goff designs. Deco churches are represented by Boston Ave. Methodist and Christ the King Catholic Parish. You'll see the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Westhope, and you'll hear some stories about the house from Florence Barnett, who grew up in the home.

The other featured buildings: The ONG Building at 7th and Boston, Philcade, Gillette-Tyrrell (Pythian) Building, Warehouse Market, Union Depot, the Fire Alarm Building, Will Rogers High School, Fairgrounds Pavilion, Tulsa Monument Co., City Veterinary, the Brook, Boulder on the Park (once home to Holland Hall and then KTUL radio), and several streamline residences, including the aforementioned home at 32nd and Utica.

There are fleeting glimpses of many other, more modest Art Deco buildings, and you begin to appreciate what a wealth of deco we enjoy in Tulsa.

Mixed in with modern footage of these Art Deco treasures are historic films related to these buildings from the period when they were built.

The show not only spotlights the buildings but the people who care for them: homeowners, business owners, restorers, preservationists, and even tourists. I enjoyed the interview with a couple from near Boston who were touring Route 66 and set aside extra time to tour Art Deco buildings in Tulsa. They downloaded a list of buildings from the Tulsa Preservation Commission website, then programmed the addresses into their GPS. It's a great example of how cultural heritage tourism can bring people to our city, if we're wise enough to preserve the artifacts of that heritage and to help visitors find and engage them.

(The only false note was an attempt at the end of the show to link the BOK Center to Art Deco. It's understandable, however, given that the video was sponsored by the Bank of Oklahoma and Matrix, which was part of the team that designed and engineered the BOKarena.)

KTUL channel 8 will show an abridged 30-minute preview of the DVD on Tuesday, December 2, at 7 p.m., but you will want to own the full hour-long DVD.

Here's the trailer:

The DVD includes nearly another half-hour of extras:

There are lengthy excerpts from a 1995 interview with historian Robert Powers, who passed away earlier this year. In addition to an extensive discussion of the Pythian Building, he explains why two of Tulsa's favorite "Art Deco" buildings -- the Adams Hotel and the Midcontinent Tower -- aren't really Art Deco at all.

There's a fascinating look at and inside J. Paul Getty's bunker/home on Virgin St. east of Sheridan. I'd heard about this poured concrete and glass block structure, built near Getty's Spartan Aircraft factory, and designed to protect him from storms and air raids, but I'd never seen what the inside looked like.

Another extra features the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture and TFA's collection of historic architectural drawings, along with more apt comments from the architects, historians, and Art Deco lovers who were interviewed for the video.

You can buy Tulsa Deco at Steve's Sundries, BOK branches, Walgreens, QuikTrip, and online at

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