Thursday, September 13, 2007

My Take on Tulsa's Plan to Develop the Arkansas

With a vote quickly approaching to determine if people in Tulsa county want to tax themselves to develop the Arkansas River, I thought I'd better educate myself on just exactly what Tulsa county is planning to build. If you are interested, the master plan can be found here. Now, I think developing the river is a great idea, whether it comes from private funding or from taxes (although I think Tulsan's money could be better spent on things like street improvements). So you can imagine, I was leaning toward voting for it. But after looking at the master plan, I will be voting no.

From what I saw, there are seven major areas of improvement. Each of these is spread out really far. There are areas in Sand Springs, Tulsa, Jenks, Broken Arrow, and Bixby. In my opinion, it's too spread out. Take Oklahoma City, for instance. When they renovated Bricktown and built the canal, all of the improvements were essentially concentrated in one area. It has wow factor. The improvements Tulsa county want to make are all too small to have a similar impact. I think the proposed Channels project had more wow to it--it was focused in one area and could have turned out really cool.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

A Dirty Secret

After cell phone companies, credit card companies are probably my least favorite corporate entities to deal with. I think they all need to be sent back to ethics school.

Almost all credit card companies allow you to post a payment on their website. It's fast and it's extremely convenient. Or at least it was--that is, until some greedy sonofabitch in accounting decided they could make a few extra bucks by tricking their customers. Allow me to explain. A lot of people are procrastinators, especially when it comes to money issues. If you don't believe me, go to the post office on the night of April 15th, and see how many people waited until the last minute to send in their tax returns. Recently, I've noticed the credit card companies are taking advantage of this behavior.

Here's how the scam works. Take the day that your payment is due and subtract a day. This will be the last day you can make an online payment without incurring a late fee. So if your payment is due on the 31st, you cannot log in on the 31st and make your online payment anymore. That day will now be blacked out, and the soonest you can make your payment will be the following day, or the 1st, at which point you payment is considered late and you will likely incur a late fee. To avoid the fee, you must now log in the day before your payment is actually due. Otherwise, your payment will not officially post in time. This is total bullshit, of course. It has not always been this way. Just a few months ago, I was able to log in on the day the payment was due and make a payment with no problems. But this way makes the credit card companies more money.

So if your credit card company is not doing it yet, keep an eye on them. They will eventually.

The Tulsa Zoo

I haven't blogged in a long time. I've just not been in the mood. That has changed.

Over the weekend, I went to the Tulsa Zoo. I've gone many times before, and one thing has always bothered me about this zoo and a lot of other zoos. Some of the exhibits are way to small for the animals they house.

For instance, all of the big cats are in small exhibits. The cheetahs have the largest area to roam, but it is still not that much. The lions, tigers, and leopards have the smallest areas to roam around in. I looked this up on Wikipedia, and a tigress may need around 65,000 square feet to move around in. A male tiger may need as much as 328,000 square feet. The tigers at the Tulsa Zoo have maybe 50 square feet to roam in. The other cats have approximately the same amount of territory to live in. A few years ago one of the tigers died. I'm not sure the cause was every determined, but I have my theories--lack of purpose.

The bears are also is similarly small cages. Maybe I'm applying some anthropomorphism to the situation, but when I look at these animals, they all look deeply depressed and bored.

What really angers me is that Mohawk Park (where the Tulsa Zoo is located) is huge. Wikipedia claims it is the third-largest municipal park in the country. So, it's not like there isn't room available.

I can't stand the organization known as PETA (People for the Ethical Treatement of Animals). I think a lot of their stances are ridiculous. However, I have seriously considered writing them a letter to see if they could apply some political pressure on Tulsa to try to do something to help these animals out.