Don’t rub it in

We trudge down the aisle, our eyes downcast, our hopes long since forgotten:

At this stage, the wine doesn’t actually help.

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Twing toustlers

Roger Green reports from a Capitol Steps live performance:

Among other things in their rapid-fire presentation, they addressed the Greek financial crisis with songs from the musical Grease. It ends with one male cast member reciting a talk in which he reverses a couple consonants regularly; Borge W. Gush, e.g. it’s not only funny, it’s difficult to do.

Extremely so, I’d say. This is one of the few records from 1962 to which I could never, ever learn the words:

Jack Ross (1916-1982) also recorded the easier-to-sing “Happy José (Ching Ching).” Incredibly, both of these were released by big-name Dot Records.


Turning Siamese

Early in the fourth quarter, there had been thirty lead changes, and there would be more. Double-digit leads? Not tonight. Long unanswered runs? Forget it. This game could only be closer if the players were joined at the hip. With two minutes left, Miami was up 93-92; Kevin Durant splashed a trey to put the Thunder up by two. It took a while, but Dwyane Wade answered with a bucket to tie it at 95 just inside the 30-second mark. Another KD trey went awry, and with 1.5 seconds left, Wade dropped in two free throws to put Miami up 97-95. There would be no further lead changes. (The record for lead changes in a single game: 40; tonight we saw a mere 38.)

Both sides played a lot of small ball: Hassan Whiteside played just 28 minutes, Steven Adams only 20. The stats were back and forth: Miami shot 49.4 percent, OKC 44.9; OKC gathered more rebounds, 44-35; but Miami did more assisting, 25-15. Wade led all scorers with 28; Durant and Russell Westbrook knocked down 25 each. I was hoping at some point that the Miami PA would have found some time for Archie Bell and the Drells doing the Tighten Up, because, let’s face it, it’s hard to get much tighter than this.

So the two-game road trip ends 0-2, and it’s back to the in-out-in-out that prevailed earlier in the season. Sunday the Kings come to town; it’s off to Memphis on Tuesday, followed by a Thursday/Friday back-to-back, at home against Atlanta and then off to Utah. I’m not sure what Billy Donovan is thinking, but I’m betting some of it is along the lines of “How come Dion Waiters is so jive for three quarters and then suddenly gets hot in the fourth?” Then again, given the way the last few games have gone, getting hot in the fourth is something the Thunder need a whole lot more of.


If I only had a piano

I have managed to get about 200 actual posts, and God knows how many tweets, out of Yahoo! Answers. But I never got anything like this:

Well played (and sung), guys.

(Via HelloGiggles.)

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Convergence of discombobulation

One of the errands I’d been putting off was returning a couple of retired cable modems to the cable company, on the basis that they’d been sitting in a box on the floor for close to a year, and besides, they’re too slow to support my current service tier.

The first thing I discovered was that their retail operation wasn’t where it used to be: they’d moved a couple of miles east, because — well, actually, I have no idea why. One thing they didn’t have in this non-suburban zone was parking up front, so I parked on a side street about a block away.

The next thing I discovered was that there was no point in my returning the modems to them, since they’d never owned them in the first place: as far as they were concerned, the devices belonged to me. I gave the chap a look like “I have to haul these damn things back?” He offered to have them recycled, whatever that may mean in the current vernacular. About a quarter-century ago, I had had a temp job “recycling” cable boxes, which consisted of destroying them by setting them inside cars that were about to be crushed and sent away to be reprocessed into non-automotive uses; I figured this story was probably not something he needed to hear.

And then he offered me 30 percent off my TV service, because — well, actually, I have no idea why, although he did note that I’d been a customer for twelve years. It’s a promotional deal only, of course, but he added, almost conspiratorily, “Come back in six months and see what else we can do for you.” The most rational explanation for this is that with a $20 drop in the monthly bill, I could presumably add another tier of channels or something. Then again, the one channel I could use has only one show I need to watch, and it’s completed its current season and has gone on indefinite hiatus.

Still, this one little trip down to Uptown made me about $120 and got two superfluous pieces of hardware out of the way. A win all around, even if it was a bit discombobulating.

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Actual perceived paper savings

I ran a few errands yesterday, culminating in a trip to Sprouts Farmers Market, which carries a supplement I like at a price that doesn’t make my nose bleed. They checked out my four items, and handed me the shortest piece of register tape I’d seen since I’d worked at Mickey D’s forty-five years ago.

I didn’t notice until I unbagged my stuff — five cents discount for bringing my own bag — but they’d actually used both sides of the tape. No random advertising, no enormous length of paper to stuff in my desk until the statement shows up. About the only downside, and it may be specific to purchases of this size, is that the two sales-tax statements (“Tax 1” is state tax, “Tax 2” is local) ended up on opposite sides of the tape. I have no idea what it cost them to buy printers that would do this, but I’m grateful for having that much less junk to send to the shredder.

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The lure of the older woman

As it turns out, older cars — and we do, after all, tend to name our cars after women, or at least I do — may have the same sort of pull on us as does the woman of a certain age:

I’ve been married to my [Citroën] SM for nearly eight years, with an initial purchase price of $20,000. She had 52,000 miles. I’ve spent approximately $8,000 on maintenance, and $14,000 on an engine rebuild. She runs perfectly. So, for $42,000, with approximately $1,000 per year for maintenance, I have finally found the perfect long-term relationship with a gorgeous French woman. A woman about whom I know virtually everything necessary to keep her happy, who is always ready to go to dinner or on vacation. OK, maybe not always, and maybe not far, but such relationships aren’t supposed to be easy, and long-term relationships less so.

If fourteen grand sounds high for an engine rebuild, well, this engine comes from Maserati, with whom Citroën was in a marriage of inconvenience when the SM was developed. So the elegant French lady has more than a trace of Italian fire, and already I’m thinking, um, fairly suggestive thoughts.

That said, Gwendolyn, my Japanese ice princess, cost me $12,400 nine years ago. She had 88,000 miles. I’ve spent about $12,000 on maintenance and repairs. So for a hair less than $25,000, I have a worthy travel companion, albeit one who never, ever shows her feelings. The respect is there, but nothing beyond that. Still, were I to draw up a map for a nice long 4,000-mile road trip, I’d have no qualms, no worries about something horrible happening along the way.

Then again:

I’m happy, and so is she. True love is out there, waiting, from Alfa, Porsche, Tatra and dozens of other parents whose older models are still waiting to meet the right person, but the hour is drawing near.

At this stage of my development, I question my ability to sustain my end of the commitment.

And there’s this observation from Jack Baruth: “For the record, dating a flesh and blood woman older than yourself is a fate worse than death.” At 40ish, he can say that. At 60ish, I can’t. (The Citroën SM is in its middle forties.)

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Takes more than a pocket protector

This bit of whimsy landed at a site I run on the side:

Also, they offer you their services at the time when you have a tenant moving out and need to have the locks changed before the new one cann [sic] arrive. One well equipped peen — which certainly needs a pocket protector before I carry it around — can function as a grenade. In this case, make some research early on even before the actual unfortunate incident can happen.

Mostly, this is a test to see if “well equipped peen” shows up in the search logs. And come to think of it, how would you determine if some random peen was, in fact, “well equipped”? Most descriptions of such objects are, um, sort of one-dimensional. (Two, if the word “girth” appears anywhere in the same paragraph.)

Disclosure: Yes, I own a ball-peen hammer.


Donkey in the back seat

Copper in the front seat. This picture went viral about as quickly as it’s possible to go viral:

(Background, in case you missed it.)

Across town, the Oklahoma Daily, the OU student newspaper, covered it this way:

Well, um, no, I suppose not.

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Excessive generosity

The Feds do not approve:

I was making a large order of Amazon gift cards for a Christmas bonus for employees when I got this email from Amazon:

We’re contacting you regarding your recent order xxxxxxxxx, which included one or more gift cards. To comply with the U.S. federal regulations, purchases of gift cards from and its affiliated websites are limited to up to $10,000 for any customer in a single day. Because this order contained gift card purchases in excess of this limit, it has been cancelled and you won’t be charged for any items in this order.

You know, Feds, you wouldn’t have this problem if (1) you weren’t so desperate to look tough on drugs and (2) you hadn’t been steadily devaluing the freaking currency for the last hundred years.

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Now imagine something hitting it

Electric fans in South Korea, photo by Na-Rae Han

This picture from Wikipedia bears the following caption:

Electric fans sold in South Korea are equipped with a “timer knob” switch that turns them off after a set number of minutes. This is perceived as a life-saving function, particularly essential for bedtime use.

The reason for this? Electric fans are dangerous:

[F]ears about electric fans date almost to their introduction to Korea, with stories dating to the 1920s and 1930s warning of the risks of nausea, asphyxiation, and facial paralysis from the new technology.

One conspiracy theory is that the South Korean government created or perpetuated the myth as propaganda to curb the energy consumption of South Korean households during the 1970s energy crisis, but reports that the myth is much older than that — dating almost as far back as the introduction of electric fans in Korea, and cites a 1927 article about “Strange Harm from Electric Fans.”

The Korean Consumer Protection Board has promoted this belief:

If bodies are exposed to electric fans or air conditioners for too long, it causes bodies to lose water and hypothermia. If directly in contact with a fan, this could lead to death from increase of carbon dioxide saturation concentration and decrease of oxygen concentration. The risks are higher for the elderly and patients with respiratory problems.

From 2003-2005, a total of 20 cases were reported through the CISS involving asphyxiations caused by leaving electric fans and air conditioners on while sleeping. To prevent asphyxiation, timers should be set, wind direction should be rotated and doors should be left open.

I suspect this belief to be less prevalent in North Korea, where there are only eight electric fans and they all belong to Kim Jong-un. Then again, possessing one under those circumstances might be hazardous to your health should the Dear Leader find out.

(Via @SwiftOnSecurity.)


This may very well happen to you

And given the near-exhaustion of IPv4 addresses, it probably will at some point:

(Via Lesley Carhart, who suggests burning down the bar.)

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Not quite off the grid

Old friend Dan Lovejoy (see this, for example) explains why distributed generation isn’t the cure-all everyone says it is:

People are going to be putting in their own solar panels left and right, which will definitely cut their power bills. But it won’t necessarily help with reliability. While photovoltaic (PV) solar power is getting cheaper and cheaper, battery prices are falling more slowly. And you really need a battery, a smart inverter which functions as a voltage source (if your battery does not) and solar PV to weather even a short outage. That’s right, solar panels on your house don’t work during a power outage. Crazy, I know, but you need all of the equipment I listed above to island from the grid in the event of an outage. (Actually, you don’t need solar at all if you have charged batteries during a short outage. But it makes sense to couple batteries with solar.)

(Emphasis added.) This is the first use I’ve seen of “island” as a verb.

Now in our latest Oklahoma ice storm, you wouldn’t have fared very well, even with a great solar/battery/inverter system because the days are short and it was mostly raining. But, you ask, what about wind power? Residential scale wind produces very little power, so that wouldn’t power much more than your TV. Also, it wasn’t windy over Thanksgiving.

Hardly renewable if it isn’t newable in the first place, am I right?

Still, in the absence of Cool New Stuff, people are screaming for all the power lines to be buried. I’m guessing I could get my line relocated underground for about $1000. The local utility has 800,000 customers, probably not all of whom can get their lines relocated underground for about $1000.

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Behold the Scream Queen

She looks sort of benign to me, but that’s the way these things work:

Jessica Stroup portrait

Jessica Stroup has done several scarefest films, including Vampire Bats, Left in Darkness, The Hills Have Eyes 2, and the 2008 remake of Prom Night.

Jessica Stroup reading

Even scarier, she was part of the 90210 reboot, playing Silver. (Silver’s first name was Erin, but she didn’t use it; she was just “Silver.”) And there’s something vaguely disquieting about seeing her reading Dylan Thomas in a West Hollywood salon which subsequently moved to, um, Melrose Place.

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Which should save on vestments

A new Bishop in the Church of England is, among other things, an advocate for naturism:

The Church of England has appointed as Bishop of Sherborne a leading advocate of Christian nudism. On 26 Nov 2015 the Prime Minister’s Office announced the The Queen had approved the nomination of the Ven[erable] Karen Gorham, the Archdeacon of Buckingham, to the Suffragan See of Sherborne in the diocese of Salisbury in succession to the Rt Rev. Graham Kings.

The new Bishop of Sherborne, who will be consecrated in February at Westminster Abbey, has urged churches to educate their members on naturism, or nudism. “There is need for much education and openness to talk about issues of sexuality, to remove false taboos which we tend to have about our own bodies, and to define the differences between what is impure and what is godly and properly natural to us,” she wrote in Naturism and Christianity: Are they compatible?

Although there may be a hint of “Do as I say, not as I do”:

The back cover of the 2000 pamphlet on Christian Naturism released by Grove Books she co-authored with David Leal notes Miss Gorham was not a practicing naturist at the time of publication, but “Karen knows and supports many naturists.”

Fortunately, one doesn’t need much practice for this, um, practice.


That long, slow slide

Just to the west, in the town of Mustang:

After a sizzling 42°F yesterday, there’s no ice left; most of what remains turns out to be the remains of destroyed Bradford pear (Pyrus calleryana) trees.

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