Worst titles of 2012

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Ain’t no Sunshine

There was some talk earlier today about how this team, dating back to its days in the Pacific Northwest, was something like 99-0 on New Year’s Eve, which seems unlikely. However, I have to figure that this bit of artificial wisdom was offered in an effort to ward off the possibility that this matchup with Phoenix might have turned into a trap game. And at halftime, with the Thunder up by exactly one point and Russell Westbrook in the locker room with bits of Luis Scola’s elbow embedded in his face, I started looking around for Admiral Ackbar. Not to worry. Oklahoma City ran off twelve consecutive points to start the third quarter, and then Westbrook returned. The final was a not-even-close 114-96, as the Suns’ A-game dropped to about a C-minus.

Then again, the major factor may have been OKC’s unprecedented level of rock control: the Thunder gave up only five turnovers. There have been quarters in the past where five turnovers would have been an improvement. And while the opening moments were marked by balanced scoring, it wound up being a Kevin and Russell Show anyway, with Durant pocketing 30 and Westbrook, in six fewer minutes but with six stitches, finishing with 26. Nick Collison was all over the place, coming up with ten points and nine boards in less than 20 minutes. The only real off night was had by Kevin Martin, who shot a woeful 2-12, yet still ended up +4.

The only double-double of the night went to Marcin Gortat: the tall Sun reeled in ten rebounds while scoring 12. He may have thought he had had an off night. Scola, when he wasn’t throwing body parts around, was sinking lots of shots: he went 10-17 for an efficient 24 points. Jermaine O’Neal led the bench with 12 points in 17 minutes. The Suns fired a lot of blanks from beyond the arc, but truth be told, their 8-24 is no worse, percentagewise, than the Thunder’s 5-15.

Beasts from the East will be visiting this week: the Nets on Wednesday, the Sixers on Friday.

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Gets those dishes Pony Clean

That’s what I think it says, anyway:

My Little Pony Dishwashing Tabs

Actually, I always thought she made Spike do the dishes.

(Via the Military Bronies Facebook feed.)

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All the Friedman you could ever want

What’s that you say? You’d love to give up The New York Times altogether, but you’d miss the gentle reproofs of Thomas L. Friedman? (Work with me here and assume that such a thing is possible, okay?)

Your answer is here: the Thomas Friedman Op/Ed Generator. Just push the button, and in a second or so you’ll have a perfectly plausible Friedman op/ed, suitable for, well, whatever it is you’d do with a real Friedman op/ed from nytimes.com. Admittedly, the paper version of the Gray Lady is slightly more cost-effective, if your needs happen to include lining bird cages and/or wrapping fish, but if you read the Times on your desktop or your tablet, you can read your freshly generated Friedman column the same way. Sorry, no iPhone app yet.

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You’d think there was a drought or something

Hey, Mesonet, what are the chances of getting some rain today?

Screen shot from OKC West Mesonet

At least they’re trying to be positive about it.

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Wrong-wheel drive

Possible apostasy from Tam:

I’m seriously thinking about just buying something cheap, practical, and FWD and letting the Roadster Era draw to a close, and I don’t like thinking like that, because that’s when you start getting old.

I have my doubts. For one thing, she’s not getting old, and even if she were, she’s never once looked it.

More to the point, were I tooling about in a Z3, I’d sooner spend two grand on an extra set of wheels (I refuse to say “rims”) and a set of winter tires than hunt around for a thirteen-year-old Corolla with all the charm of a rectal thermometer.

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Strange search-engine queries (361)

Welcome to Monday. It’s time once more for a spirited romp through the system logs, in search of whatever it was you were searching for. We won’t ask why you wanted it. (Maybe.)

Bone Thugs n Harmony never won a grammy due to the judges being fairly matched against one another. No idea maybe the asker should provide a better question:  Sorry, Thugfans, but the Grammys haven’t meant squat for at least fifty years now.

whats going to replace the sears at quail springs mall:  I’m pretty sure it’s something bigger than a Sunglass Hut.

how often change a transmission fluid in a mazda 626:  If you have to ask, it’s probably already too late.

can I put type a transmission fluid in a mazda 626:  Didn’t you just ask about this?

black car tall spoilers:  Think of all that downforce you’ll be getting at 35 mph in your Mazda 626.

added too much saffron how to fix:  Have you looked at the price of saffron lately? You could have bought a Mazda 626 with that kind of money.

1963 song on radio with the line “and today is the 23rd of may”:  This was probably “Shticks of One and Half a Dozen of the Other,” which, if it was ever played on the radio at all, was played by Dr. Demento, which wouldn’t have been in 1963.

barbara carrera / great bum:  Well, yes. Did you have a question?

barbara feldon/bathing suit:  Also nice bum. Did you have a question?

oklahoma when must i get commercial tag:  Within 30 days of getting a commercial vehicle. If you ever actually bought one of these, you’d already know that.

tw4z t3h n1t3 b3f0r3 xm4z:  Nothing for you, you’re on the Pwned List.

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The further evolution of taste

A woman comes between a sick man and his beloved Twinkies. And that woman is Little Debbie:

As I unpacked the grocery bags he stood by — sniffing, hacking, and being pitiful because I wouldn’t let him help unload the car. I gingerly showed him the box and used my best Mom face. You know the face you activate when you’re trying to convince an 8 year old to try something new? He chuckled, which made him cough, as he closely surveyed the box. I opened it, handing him a Cloud Cake, hoping for the best. Opening the wrapper, he peeled it like a banana and sniffed the cake. Taking the tiniest bite, he shifted his eyes back and forth inquisitively, chewing ever so quickly. His eyes lifted to meet my hopeful gaze and he said “Hey, these aren’t bad.”

There you have it — an expert food review from the biggest Twinkie fan in the world. He decided that the Cloud Cakes aren’t as fluffy as his beloved cream filled sponge cake, but the taste is nice and the filling just right.

He’ll adjust — until the Hostess bankruptcy is over and done with, anyway.

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Perhaps lost in translation

That’s what Jessica Stone Levy thinks, anyway:

Winter sucks

Aw, come on. Have a bowl of soup. It’s for a good cause.

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This was the dawning

Cobb watches the American Tribal Love-Rock Musical so you don’t have to:

I cannot help but think that Hair signals the premise of the Age of Aquarius, completely and fully realized in youth culture and alternative culture in America. But there is absolutely no question in my mind that this rebellion occurred within the context of a privileged and spoiled social context, for blacks as much as for whites. All everyone wanted to do was stick their noses up at the wealthy, while appropriating their wealth whenever it seemed convenient to them.

Which is now, of course, a matter of public policy.

I remain a fan of Hair — I bought both original-cast albums, Broadway and off-, and yes, even the semi-sanitized Cowsills single — but at no time did I ever see it as a call to action.

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Opening a national dialog box

This picture has had about a thousand Facebook shares so far; I figured, given the staggering popularity of this institution, that it might play well here.

Delete Congress

One caution: most of the time, deleted items can be easily restored, so make sure you empty the Bin immediately.

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Down the tube

Yet another approach to getting personal information: a note from “YouTube Support” to tell me that my video has been approved.

At least they went to the trouble to putting up a valid fake YouTube URL. (It comes back “This video is unavailable.”) It might even have worked if they’d sent it to an address I actually use on YouTube, which they didn’t.

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Earth orbit not attained

The Houston Rockets, through last night, led the NBA in scoring, with an average per game on the far side of 105, and a big part of that offensive effort has been OKC expat James Harden. So it was a good time, evidently, for the Thunder to conduct a defensive clinic. Stare in disbelief at these numbers: fifty-three rebounds. Nine blocks. Sixteen steals. Twenty-four Houston turnovers. And the Beard went 6-17 from the floor, though he proved adept at garnering fouls; eleven of his 24 points were from the foul line. It was a two-point game with four minutes left in the first half, and then the Thunder went berserk, or something: a 16-0 run put them up 68-50, and things just got worse for the Rockets after that. We’re talking a 124-94 blowout, in Houston.

Which is not to say that the Rockets had nothing at all going for them. Second-year power forward Marcus Morris went 9-14 for 24 points, and Toney Douglas paced the bench with 17. (Unfortunately, Douglas’ effort left him -31 for the night.) Houston was held to just under 40 percent shooting, and of their 30 (!) attempted three-pointers, only eight paid off. Chandler Parsons (10 points) was 0-5 from outside. Heck, OKC seemingly tried to give it away — we’re talking 21 turnovers here — but no dice, son, you’re getting off work early.

Whatever it was that got Russell Westbrook going late in the Dallas game night before last, it was still doing the job tonight: he was 11-22 for 28 points with eight boards and eight dimes. (And, yes, five turnovers. You can’t have everything.) And something powered Thabo Sefolosha (15 points) to +39 for the night, one of the higher +/- figures I’ve seen. Kevin Durant deposited, quietly, 26 points; Kevin Martin added 19, 15 of them on 5-8 from beyond the arc. (The Thunder made 13 of 29, 45 percent; that’s a lot of Ka-Ching! from radio guy Matt Pinto.) And nobody had a double-double except Nick Collison. There’s a first.

New Year’s Eve, the woeful Phoenix Suns will pop into town, followed Wednesday by the Brooklyn Nets, who may or may not be coached by OKC expat P. J. Carlesimo, who assumed the position, so to speak, after Avery Johnson was sent packing.

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Bebe, it’s cold outside

This shot of Bebe Neuwirth comes from the 2005 International Emmy Awards, and while I haven’t been able to track down the dress, I did find some related snark.

First, the photo:

Bebe Neuwirth at the 2005 International Emmys

Now the snark, attached to another photo from the same event:

Okay, Bebe Neuwirth. You are a great dancer. You have great legs. You look much younger than you actually are. You’re very vital. We’re all very impressed.

PLEASE PUT ON SOME PANTS.

To address the “much younger” statement: she’ll be 54 on New Year’s Eve.

And it’s not like the world is running short of fabric, I suppose.

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So much to say

This is maybe the simplest About page I’ve ever seen on a blog, but the possibilities are a little overwhelming:

My name is George White, I was born in Hunwick, a small village in the South West of County Durham, in the year 1920. I’m 92 years old.

I duly looked up Hunwick, wondering if it had been a mining town. It hadn’t:

Hunwick is an attractive, ancient village dating from Saxon times when it belonged to the Cathedral church of Durham. Hunwick stands between Bishop Auckland and Crook. It was later given to the Earls of Northumberland, but it returned to the ownership of the church when Henry VIII re-endowed Durham cathedral. The village itself was probably destroyed during the Harrying of the North in the late 11th century, and was rebuilt with two rows of houses arranged around the village green.

The remains of the medieval manor house of Hunwick is now a farmhouse; its former chapel is now used as a barn, though the medieval east window can still be seen. Outside the farm gate is the remains of a gin gang, an engine designed to operate farm machinery and worked by horses. Helmington Hall to the north is also a farm, all that remains of a large house dating to about 1686.

And why has Mr White taken keyboard in hand? This post, titled “Into the unknown,” explains it all.

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Also usable for left turns

I’ve pulled this stunt before, and I’m doing it again. The gimmick: bring up Mappos, the new name for the Zappos.com order map, and report on the first pair of shoes I see. These are on their way to Albuquerque:

Sizeup by Stuart Weitzman

This is “Sizeup” by Stuart Weitzman, intended to “inject a little fiery passion into your attire.” I dunno. I like the look, generally, but I don’t think of these as being particularly passionate, especially in “Slate Guinea Croco.” (There is also an “Espresso” variant, which I see as a little more emotional but a little harder to match with one’s wardrobe. Your mileage may vary.) And that wide heel doesn’t look as tall as it is (four inches). Zappos normally asks $385 for these, but our bargain hunter in New Mexico bagged ‘em for $249. The readership here is known to contain some non-fans of Weitzman, but that’s just the chance I have to take.

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Bricks passed

Everything you ever wanted to know about wombat dung:

Okay, maybe more than you wanted to know.

(Via Neatorama.)

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Renew Leaf

As anyone who has had a laptop for more than a few months knows, fully charged lithium-ion batteries aren’t quite so fully charged after multiple cycles; your usable time drops a little, then a little more, and then finally a lot. If this is bad in a computer, it’s horrendous in a car, and Nissan, which has come under some criticism for not being able to subdue the laws of physics, is adding a new provision to the warranty on their all-electric Leaf: if, in the first five years/60,000 miles, your battery pack can’t make it up to at least nine bars on the 12-bar dashboard display, they will replace it with one that can.

This warranty covers all Leafs sold thus far in the States, and these questions come up in Nissan’s press release:

Q. Why did you decide to enhance the warranty policy and implement this program now?

A. The expanded warranty is intended to put customers’ minds at ease concerning battery capacity loss, although it is expected that the great majority of LEAF owners will not have to use this enhanced warranty. Nissan’s decision is to demonstrate its confidence in the integrity and performance of its battery system.

Q. What is the status of the class-action lawsuit against Nissan related to battery capacity issues?

A. The lawsuit has been settled as part of our effort to address customer concerns including those expressed by the two customers who filed the class-action lawsuit.

The original eight-year/100,000-mile warranty on the battery pack covers only complete abject failure, not routine capacity loss, so as CYA maneuvers go, this is pretty thorough.

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Quote of the week

Remember that Pelosian nonsense about “we have to pass the bill to know what’s in it?” Well, the bill got passed, and we still don’t know what’s in it:

In America today you might be “legally” part-time even though you work fifty hours a week, or “legally” full-time even though you only work twenty-five hours a week. You might be a full-time employee for the purposes of one law, and unemployed for the purposes of another law. The law could say clearly and unambiguously that teachers are part-time, and the judge could rule that they work full time. What’s “legally” true is whatever the judge says; what’s “legally” true no longer has much connection with reality.

In which case, this is the next stage:

It seems like Congress would find it less painful simply to pass a bill that’s a collection of random words — or letters, if words are too constraining. Title it “An Act for Amelioration of Problems,” and fill it with greeking. The Republicans can say it’s a tax cut for all Americans. The Democrats can say it’s a tax increase on the rich. They can both say it balances the budget and eliminates the deficit. The courts will tell us what we must do to avoid a fine and prison.

On second thought, this might be the current stage.

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Meanwhile in the trench

“The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.” — Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

This strikes me as sort of negative:

Google recently stripped over two billion views away from videos uploaded by major labels RCA, Sony, and Universal. The embarrassing punishment comes after YouTube discovered the record companies had made arrangements with services like Fiverr that specialize in falsely boosting the popularity of content.

That practice runs directly against YouTube’s policies, which clearly state “the purchase or gaming of subscribers, views or any other channel feature” to be a violation of its terms of service. “If views from a video are considered artificially inflated — whether as a result of spam, malware bots and other suspicious or non-user initiated actions — the video and/or channel may be suspended,” it says. And inflated they were: Universal instantly lost over one billion views. Sony’s overall count plunged from 850 million all the way down to 2.3 million. RCA saw a less drastic (but equally humbling) fall from 159 million views to 120 million.

So far as I can tell, Fiverr does not actually specialize in this sort of thing, though it’s not inconceivable that there are Fiverr users who watch videos endlessly as part of their gigs. And I suspect that there are other factors involved:

In a strategic move, Universal, Sony and EMI in 2009 jointly put their music videos in the VEVO basket with the belief that by aggregating the videos, they could command better advertising rates as well as grow viewership.

That meant high-profile videos that once lived separately on the Universal and Sony YouTube channels have been relocated to VEVO. As a result, the views that those videos received during their time on the dedicated label channels were taken away in YouTube’s latest “clean up” effort.

So how many of those vanishing views are due to VEVO, and how many to finagling? YouTube, of course, isn’t talking.

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