Tulsa: July 2009 Archives

There's an effort underway to try to land a Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) franchise for Tulsa. The president of the league is in Tulsa today for a reception to which BOK Center premium seat holders have been invited, with a message from Mayor Kathy Taylor urging them to turn out and support this "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our city."

The e-mail has the over-the-top language we expect to hear from Taylor: "Bringing the WNBA to Tulsa is a civic investment that will add to the quality of life and benefit the growth and revitalization of downtown. It will provide positive encouragement and influence to young women, men and aspiring athletes."

Tulsa World Sports Editor Mike Strain has his doubts about a Tulsa WNBA team's chances:

The league has been unstable, with seven teams either folding, suspending operations or relocating since 2002.

And investors in this venture face a question: Is there demand for women's professional basketball in Tulsa?

That's a tough one to answer, but some evidence doesn't look good. Women's college games draw poorly in Tulsa. And the Tulsa 66ers' men's professional basketball team -- albeit a minor league club -- also has attendance that routinely falls under 2,000.

He quotes several reader comments, including this one:

DrewTU: This will have lower attendance than 10 AM movies on a Tuesday.

If private investors want to bring a team as one entertainment option among many for Tulsans, let it succeed or fail based on whether Tulsans want to spend their money to see the games. But this doesn't warrant the attention of elected officials or the waving of the "civic pride" flag to manipulate people into attending the games or sponsoring the team. We've already given them a $200 million subsidy for a place to play. They will qualify for the same Quality Jobs Act incentives that the Oklahoma City Thunder receives. That should be enough.

Some quick links to local bloggers and other local news:

Tulsa Boy Singers will hold tryouts for new singers this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 6th & Cincinnati in downtown Tulsa. Boys from 8 to 18, in all vocal ranges, are welcome to try out. Just come prepared to sing a simple song like "Happy Birthday" or "My Country 'Tis of Thee."

(Somewhat related news: Mark Evanier links to a fascinating obituary for Bob Mitchell. Mitchell, who died at the age of 96, founded a boys choir in 1934 which he oversaw for 66 years. The Robert Mitchell Boys Choir performed in Hollywood hits like Going My Way and The Bishop's Wife. "Alumni include members of the Lettermen, the Modernaires and the Sandpipers...." Mitchell was an organist who played for silent movies in his teens and was organist at Dodger Stadium from 1962 to 1965. He began playing for silent films once again at age 79.)

Erin Fore has a cover story about "unschooling" in this week's Urban Tulsa Weekly, in which she talks to parents and children in several Tulsa families that take an unstructured but highly motivated approach to home-based learning.

Steven Roemerman has a couple of new posts:

The Tulsa Police Department warns of a phony phone campaign soliciting funds in the name of Chief Ron Palmer. TPD Blog reminds readers never to give out your credit card number, bank account info, or any other personal information to an unsolicited caller.

Irritated Tulsan has some ideas on how to deal with the people holding those big "Shame on _____" banners around town on behalf of the carpenters' union.

Lynn Sislo reports great satisfaction using Tulsa's Apertures Photo for a digital photo enlargement:

Remember this? [A photo of a fawn.] I like it so well I got an (approximately 16″ X 20″) enlargement of it. This was a real "I LOVE modern technology" moment. I emailed the digital photo to Apertures Photo in Tulsa and a few days later the print was delivered to my house. It turned out fantastic and I didn't have to drive to Tulsa to get it. Besides the convenience it is a much higher quality enlargement than anything I ever got with film. Even the 5″ X 7″ enlargements I got from 35mm negatives were unacceptably poor but I have this huge print made from a digital image and it looks absolutely professional.

Jeff Shaw supplies some timely quotes from the Founding Fathers on the importance of honesty and virtue in government. Jeff has also posted a slide show of recent photos taken with 15-year-old Kodak 35mm film and an interesting entry on the April 1932 issue of the Etude Music Magazine. This particular issue featured interviews with Sergei Rachmaninoff and John Philip Sousa. The issue also contained sheet music, and the front cover is a Rockwellesque painting by Charles O. Golden of a boy conducting his friends in a little band, imagining that he is conducting a symphony orchestra. (More about Etude here.)

Dave the Oklahomilist has been blogging about a variety of important national issues, including Justice Ginsburg's comments about Roe v. Wade and "growth in populations that we don't want to have too many of" and the provisions in the Cap and Trade bill (Waxman-Markey) that will require intrusive energy efficiency inspections of your home.

Wendell Cox at New Geography blog remembers the original Dust Bowl and takes note of its reversal, as Californians move to Oklahoma for affordable housing and "hassle-free commuting."

Several videos of the mishap at Tulsa's July 4, 2009, fireworks show have been uploaded to YouTube; I've posted three of them after the jump. Here's KOTV's story on what happened:

"What happened was a mortar that went off - exploded either really close to its container, or inside its container, and caused a fire on the trailer, burning over into another trailer nearby," said Captain Michael Baker of the Tulsa Fire Department.

The blaze melted the electronics needed to control the fireworks show. No one was injured as a result of the explosion.

An entire trailer devoted to the grand finale, filled with 1,000 shells, had to be dismantled.

(Here's a link to Irritated Tulsan's incisive analysis of the fiasco and his "mommy-blog quality" photos of the sunset earlier that evening.)

Click through to see those videos.

The morning began with the patter of a steady drizzle on the roof as I snoozed in bed. It was a good soaking rain, much appreciated by my lawn.

As tempting as it was to stay in bed listening to the rain, I decided to bestir myself and head out to the taxpayers' "tea party" at Haikey Creek Park. I arrived about half way through the festivities. The rain continued, off and on, but there was a good crowd (300 is my guess), I saw a lot of familiar faces, listened to a few speeches, and had a Nathan's hot dog.

Shortly after I got home, the power went out, affecting several blocks, including the grocery store. It came back on, but I didn't trust it to stay on, so instead of working on the computer, I left it off and worked on laundry and housecleaning. There was another short outage about 3. I took a nap while the clothes were drying.

The power seemed stable, so I went back to work on my computer project -- upgrading the hard drive on the kitchen computer. My attempt to do a direct disk-to-disk transfer using Clonezilla Live had failed once the night before, so I tried it again, and again it failed. (It failed on the final fsync call.)

About 8 I decided to go try to see some fireworks. My family was visiting my in-laws in Arkansas, and I didn't have an invite anywhere, so I drove around to see what was open (Blue Dome district was completely shut down), wound up at 16th and Boston, and started walking towards the 21st Street bridge. As I got close to the bridge, someone called my name. It was Maria Barnes, the once and possibly future District 4 councilor. She waved me over, and I sat down to chat with Maria and her family as we waited for the show to begin.

The fireworks began at 9, before the sky had turned completely dark. Word was that the early start was to try to beat the storms that were on the way. About 15 minutes later, we saw a whole bunch of fireworks go off near the deck of the bridge and more shoot up and explode. End of show. Maria's husband James said he saw a fire truck headed toward the launch site. Turns out a mortar misfired and the electronics for the remaining fireworks were destroyed.

Heading back to the house, I saw thousands of people in lawn chairs in the parking lots on the east side of Yale between 15th and 21st, as if they were expecting a fireworks show. But the Drillers were out of town and Bell's, which always had a great display, has been gone for three years. As I walked down to the store to pick up a few items, I saw a few rogue rockets here and there, accompanied by lightning in the clouds, but no show.

I brought back a free Red Box video rental (thanks 918 Coupon Queen!) -- Gran Torino, starring and directed by Clint Eastwood -- and watched it as I folded laundry and Clonezilla did its work. It's a wonderfully multifaceted story. You can read it as a meditation on the meaning of manhood. We're presented with several models to consider: Walt Kowalski (the main character, a Korean war vet and retired auto worker), his sons, the Hmong, Latino, and black gang members, the young priest, and the young Hmong man that Kowalski reluctantly takes under his wing. There's another angle dealing with the clash of cultures. The corrosive spread of gangbanger culture beyond its ghetto roots is another recurring theme. I think at some point I need to watch Gran Torino with my oldest son, followed by a long discussion. (The language is a deterrent to doing that anytime soon.) The movie reinforces my growing conviction that enculturation -- attachment to a healthy culture -- is more important than education in preventing crime and poverty.

Elsewhere in the Oklahoma blogosphere:

Nothing worked out quite as David Schuttler had hoped, but he did catch video of the final barrage of the River Parks fireworks display.

Irritated Tulsan has posted a collection of memories of Bell's Amusement Park. Shadow6's first date story is my favorite.

Tasha Does Tulsa took advantage of the long weekend to catch up on her blog-stalking. (And many thanks for the kind words, Natasha.)

Laurel Kane had plenty of visitors at Afton Station, despite the rain, and she made it down to Tulsa to see a parade of Gold Wing motorcycles on their way to watch fireworks at the river.

Brandon Dutcher links to a paper by Neil McCluskey of the Cato Institute. Far from being the bedrock of American liberty, public education often been used to oppress local autonomy and individual freedom:

Today, following decades of district consolidation, the imposition of statewide curricula, and threats of national standards, all religious, ideological, and ethnic groups are forced to fight, unable to escape even into the relative peace of truly local districts. The result is seemingly constant warfare over issues such as intelligent design, abstinence education, multiculturalism, school prayer, offensive library books, and so on. When diverse people are forced to support a single system of public schools, they don't come together, they fight to make theirs the values that are taught.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa category from July 2009.

Tulsa: June 2009 is the previous archive.

Tulsa: August 2009 is the next archive.

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