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For those of you who were wondering where the center of the universe actually resides you can finally rest in peace.  The Center of the Universe is in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Located on the Boston Ave pedestrian overpass between 1st and Archer street this is truly a treat for anyone who ventures to find it.  Coming from either side of this railroad overpass, you can follow a brick path that leads strait to a brick circle that is located directly over the tracks.  When standing on this spot you can make any sound that you like and it will echo in your ears.  What is so amazing is that no one outside the circle can hear it, no one outside the circle sounds like they are echoing to you in the circle and there are no serfaces near enough to the circle to produce an echo.  Fun stuff.  Its free and you can go there any time of day.

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Also, near the Center of the Universe are a wonderful statue called Artificial Cloud by Robert Haozous, the beautiful art deco (former) train station and the BOK Tower which is the tallest building, not only in Oklahoma, but “in any of the five ‘Plains States’: Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota, as well as the surrounding states of Missouri, Arkansas and New Mexico.” according to Wikipedia .  Though I can’t find any source, the BOK Tower is rumored to be a 52 floor scale replica of the late great World Trade Center (even though it is only one tower).  It was in fact designed by Minoru Yamasaki & Associates who also designed the Twin Towers.

Also, just on the other side of the Center of the Universe is one of Tulsa’s cultural districts called the Brady District which contains Tulsa’s two largest music venues (the famous Cain’s Ballroom and the Brady Theater), a sprinkeling of art galleries, and the only glass blowing studio in Tulsa (Tulsa Gathering Place).  You should maybe check it out.

O R They? I mean U

December 6, 2007

So I figure that since I am from Tulsa I should put something out there about the recent scandal befalling the ridiculous Oral Roberts University. Apparently, the now president, Richard Roberts (Oral’s son) isn’t the good shepherd he is supposed to be. Really, is it that surprising? Maybe I’m calloused to evangelical preaching from living where I did but these institutions always seethe corruption. I guess my shock would come from the extent of the damage Richard Roberts and his cronies (his wife and daughter) have brought upon ORU.

But first a small interlude on ORU. ORU was founded by Oral Roberts in ’63 (I think). It was made to look space age and subsequently looks like “Disney’s Tomorrowland” (USA Today). It features a 60 foot tall bronze statue of praying hands, the subject of many Tulsan jokes. The CityPlex Towers, formerly ORU’s City of Faith hospital, was so entirely based on the aesthetics from the outside, that it fails to be functional enough to last eight years, after loosing over $10 million a year. This structure came into being because Oral calmed that he saw a 900-foot-tall Jesus who told him to build it. Subsequently ORU used to give trolley tours that were narrated by God, sadly enough I did not get to experience one of these grand examples of Christian faith. Oh and if you hadn’t guessed, the photo in the header of this blog is the Prayer Tower at ORU.

So now back to more recent scandalous uses of money. According to the news, Richard was such a terrifying employer that if anyone questioned him they were let go immediately. Which is were the scandal comes to light. The lawsuit was brought up after three professors were fired when they voiced their concerns about the use of university money. Here is the list that USA today posted online:

• A longtime maintenance employee was fired so that an underage male friend of Mrs. Roberts could have his position.

• Mrs. Roberts — who is a member of the board of regents and is referred to as ORU’s “first lady” on the university’s website — frequently had cell-phone bills of more than $800 per month, with hundreds of text messages sent between 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. to “underage males who had been provided phones at university expense.”

• The university jet was used to take one daughter and several friends on a senior trip to Orlando, and the Bahamas. The $29,411 trip was billed to the ministry as an “evangelistic function of the president.”

• Mrs. Roberts spent more than $39,000 at one Chico’s clothing store alone in less than a year, and had other accounts in Texas and California. She also repeatedly said, “As long as I wear it once on TV, we can charge it off.” The document cites inconsistencies in clothing purchases and actual usage on TV.

• Mrs. Roberts was given a white Lexus SUV and a red Mercedes convertible by ministry donors.

• University and ministry employees are regularly summoned to the Roberts’ home to do the daughters’ homework.

• The university and ministry maintain a stable of horses for exclusive use by the Roberts’ children.

• The Roberts’ home has been remodeled 11 times in the past 14 years.

Well praise Jesus and paint me pink. It took this much before anything was done? That’s all, I have no more. I’m going to go home and eat ramen noodles for dinner.

p.s. my mom loves Chico’s too!