Criteria established

A female friend of Neil Kramer’s offers some dating advice to us guys:

Think about her. What can you offer her? If she is a single mother, her children will come first. Can you be a good father figure? A role model? Can she look up to you as a man? Can you be patient and understanding, and appreciate her for her true self, and forgive her for any of her bad moods? Can you look into her eyes, and without words, tell her that she has someone she can always count on? Do you cuddle?

A male friend offers decidedly different advice, at the very same link.

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Truth spoken

An enigmatic statement from Tim Blair:

Full disclosure: I am an investor in the Alaskan Rock vodka company. Another full disclosure: Charlotte Crosby is made almost entirely out of legs.

I had to follow up on that second link, and this is what I found:

The “gshore” business refers to Charlotte’s leading role in MTV UK’s Geordie Shore, which I assume means to compare Newcastle to New Jersey. As a sort-of-manufactured celebrity, she of course makes the rounds:

Charlotte Crosby out and about

Charlotte Crosby out and about

Her latest accomplishment, though, is shedding 35 pounds, and not sterling either.

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Worldwide poultry

“Get ready for $10 oil,” says A. Gary Shilling at Bloomberg View, and he’s not kidding:

What is the price at which major producers chicken out and slash output? Whatever that price is, it is much lower than the $125 a barrel Venezuela needs to support its mismanaged economy. The same goes for Ecuador, Algeria, Nigeria, Iraq, Iran and Angola.

Saudi Arabia requires a price of more than $90 to fund its budget. But it has $726 billion in foreign currency reserves and is betting it can survive for two years with prices of less than $40 a barrel.

Furthermore, the price when producers chicken out isn’t necessarily the average cost of production, which for 80 percent of new U.S. shale oil production this year will be $50 to $69 a barrel, according to Daniel Yergin of energy consultant IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates. Instead, the chicken-out point is the marginal cost of production, or the additional costs after the wells are drilled and the pipes are laid. Another way to think of it: It’s the price at which cash flow for an additional barrel falls to zero.

Last month, Wood Mackenzie, an energy research organization, found that of 2,222 oil fields surveyed worldwide, only 1.6 percent would have negative cash flow at $40 a barrel. That suggests there won’t be a lot of chickening out at $40. Keep in mind that the marginal cost for efficient U.S. shale-oil producers is about $10 to $20 a barrel in the Permian Basin in Texas and about the same for oil produced in the Persian Gulf.

Which is not to say that there might not be creatures other than poultry in this farmyard: we still don’t know what effect ISIS will have on the Iraqi oil fields, and it’s been suggested more than once that ISIS’ major goal on the way to Caliphate is to knock out the Saudi royals. Not that we should be shedding any tears for Riyadh, of course.

(Via Fausta, who notes that Venezuela is already broke, and will be much, much broker with oil below $40.)

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There are no more

Not that you had all that much of a chance of getting one anyway, but Volkswagen’s Bugatti unit has sold the 450th and final Veyron 16-cylinder supercar to an unidentified buyer in the Middle East.

Around 100 Veyrons found their way to the States, at an average price of €2.3 million each; despite that lofty price tag, VW Group may have lost as much as €2 billion on the production run. Not to worry about Vee Dub, though: a few well-stuffed Porsche option packages would put a serious dent in any red ink from Bugatti.

The successor to the Veyron may appear as early as next year.

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Turn up the defroster

About a decade ago I issued this plaintive whine, or whining plaint:

Am I the only person in this city who ever buys Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts in the unfrosted-blueberry variety? Their status as one of the original flavors hasn’t done anything to insure their presence on the grocer’s shelf; they seem to show up in the stores about twice a year if I’m lucky. Meanwhile, the sickeningly-sweet frosted versions get more shelf space than ketchup, despite their lack of palatability and their incompatibility with my old-style, uncomplicated toaster. (Something in the frosting seems to melt down into a nasty brown slag; for all I know, there could be plutonium in there.)

I still have the same toaster, a bit more elderly and rachitic — the lever works, sort of, but it’s no longer a straight shot from top to bottom — and I’d pretty much abandoned the search for unfrosted blueberry.

But the last two times I’ve looked, I’ve found them. Now I don’t need to feed a Pop-Tart addiction, obviously, but a pair of them once a week isn’t the end of the world, and if the Food Police come calling, I’m going to point to the box, where an illustration of the frosting isn’t.

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Unpredictably so

First, it was one to three inches. Then it was a dusting to one inch. And finally, it was something like 3.4 inches. (I was able to drive up my steepish driveway; it becomes impossible to do that, at least in my existing car, at 3.5 or more.) On the basis that the promised 41 degrees for tomorrow isn’t going to happen either, I took off early, got home in 41 minutes (normal is 18), and ran The Pusher over most of the afflicted surface.

As I was putting away The Pusher, this came down the wire:

Personally, I never believe anything more than twelve hours out, and by “twelve” I mean two and a half, if things look bad.

Already the hype machine is cranking up for the next round, starting Thursday night (maybe) and running through Sunday morning (possibly). The latter is consistent with that old saw about March, carnivorous at the beginning, a gentle herbivore by the end. After forty years in this town, I figure either way it’s going to eat my lunch.

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You’re never supposed to hear this

“Tom’s Diner,” the a cappella song by Suzanne Vega, was used for testing the original MP3 encoding system. Says Dr. Karlheinz Brandenburg, whose idea it was:

I was ready to fine-tune my compression algorithm … somewhere down the corridor, a radio was playing “Tom’s Diner.” I was electrified. I knew it would be nearly impossible to compress this warm a cappella voice.

Brandenburg persisted. But in 2009, he reported:

I was finishing my PhD thesis, and then I was reading some hi-fi magazine and found that they had used this song to test loudspeakers. I said “OK, let’s test what this song does to my sound system, to mp3”. And the result was, at bit rates where everything else sounded quite nice, Suzanne Vega’s voice sounded horrible.

Now MP3 is a lossy compression scheme: to obtain the file-size shrinkage desired, the algorithm throws away some of the original sound, parts you presumably would not hear anyway.

So what happens if you invert the circuit, throw away the sections you’d ordinarily keep and retain the parts that would normally be thrown away? This happens. It’s fascinating — and it will make you wonder just how much you’re giving up by buying the download instead of the CD (or, heaven help us, the vinyl).

(Via Jesse Emspak.)

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Body shots

Dear teenage girl: No, you should not send nude photos of yourself to some boy you barely hardly know. Strange things happen when your clothes are off.

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Strange search-engine queries (473)

You think a visit from the Siberian Express is going to derail this regular-ish Monday-morning feature? Not on your tintype, Bunkevitch.

how u use oh yeah in a sentence:  I guess someone who uses “u” as a pronoun (Prince excepted) might have trouble with something as nuanced as “oh yeah.”

was new haven leader february 2003 new haven missouri girl 15 shot:  Seems like a desperate attempt to avoid a paywall.

compression mazda 626:  I saw one at a scrap-metal yard. Compressed to about 10 cubic feet, it was.

is mazda 626 front or real wheel drive:  Depends on the year. (Didn’t think of that, did you?)

tales of horny invisible woman:  You’re assuming that her partners actually lived to tell the tale.

she has a magical cloak that turns her invisible:  Yeah, but if she gets horny she has to take it off.

what is hardassery:  Normal behavior, as viewed by contemporary leftists.

if you go to your science drive in the u.s stats that rank 40th 41st 47th and 49th in population you will be unable to see something visible in all the other:  Well, actually, no, you won’t, because the fact that you pasted in all this crap from your homework rather than do the search tells me that you couldn’t find your butt with both hands.

cd4e diagnostics:  Anything to get out of going to an actual mechanic, eh?

Compare Lotus case to migingo island case:  “You can’t stop me, so nyah.”

krov 91.7 hd2 didn’t get on hd radio:  Such a shame. Did you tell the management? (Of course not. What was I thinking?)

gelar and boy hoad pechars:  This is not my field of expertise, but I’d bet that boy’s too young for that sort of thing.

sam nickle comments on grabbing 134th boobs very hard:  After about the 90th, they’re pretty much all alike.

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A band of Nugget crushers

One of the Thunder traditions is to come back a little stronger on the second night of a back-to-back. Then again, they pounded the Hornets yesterday; what could they possibly do to the Nuggets? It was OKC 36, Denver 18 after the first quarter, 98-69 after three, and the starters sat for the fourth. The thrashing, if not exactly epic, was convincing: 119-94, the Thunder’s sixth straight win, finishing the season series 3-1.

Lots of big numbers tonight for OKC: Serge Ibaka blocked eight shots, a season high — and collected 20 points; alongside, Enes Kanter had 20 points and 12 boards; Russell Westbrook picked up 21 points and delivered a career-high 17 assists; and not one of them played as much as 28 minutes. Off the bench, Dion Waiters scored 17 and Mitch McGary 10, and everyone active got to play. I paid a little closer attention to Kyle Singler tonight, and he’s ferocious, but tonight he was foul-prone, picking up five in 15 minutes. Then again, he made all three of his shots for 7 points. D. J. Augustin (8 points) was solid as a playmaker. We got our first look at Steve Novak in the fourth; he missed a couple of treys, but he moved around as well as anyone and contributed one assist to the Thunder’s season-high 31 dimes. Rebounds? OKC got ’em: 60-42. Steals? 18-10. Blocks? 10-5.

Ty Larson and Danilo Gallinari made as much offense as they could for Denver, with 17 and 16 points respectively; however, the Nuggets just weren’t hitting, 35 of 97 for 36 percent. (OKC had 13 more hits on five fewer shots.) Rookie big Joffrey Lauvergne got extended minutes tonight, going 3-6 for eight points, even with stalwart sixth man Randy Foye.

The Pacers, who thrashed Golden State in Indianapolis tonight, will be here Tuesday. They will not be pushovers.

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Couple of the year

From the Why Are They Together? files, this item from up the turnpike:

An Oklahoma man says he nearly lost his penis when he woke to find his girlfriend trying to bite it off.

A night of drinking and arguing led to the painful arousal when the victim said he found Amber Ellis “biting his (penis) off” as he slept on the couch Thursday, KJRH reported.

One may surmise that he was at a disadvantage during their, um, disagreement:

He told Tulsa police he fought the 31-year-old off but in the process she hit him in the head with a laptop computer.

Their earlier argument was over his accusing her of being too needy, he said.

Well, at least it wasn’t over whether she swallows or not.

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We gotta get out of this place

This is not the plaint of a (soon to be) former Radio Shack staffer, although I suppose it could be:

[T]hings have deteriorated enough that, hard as it may be to imagine, I haven’t been able to find any funny anywhere. Not just at work, but at home, and on the drive home, and in the mirror and trust me, that ALWAYS cracks me up. Decrepitude is hilarious.

CardHole has been sneakily slipping down the slippery slope of “yeah, it’s a crap place and a crap job but at least I get some post fodder, right?” through the puddles of “if I don’t get a day off I am going to rip someone’s head off, fill the stump with cheese dip, and make some tortilla chips my bitch” to “I wonder if I can get up on my porch roof so I can fling myself off and break a hip and thereby not have to go in to hell today?”

When a job gets to the point you will seriously consider breaking a bone or two so you don’t have to go, it’s time to go.

Such, I am told, is the nature of retail: the unholy combination of seriously deranged customers and utterly feckless management plays hell with one’s sense of values.

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If it’s sufficiently cold out, and the refrigerator is sufficiently close to full, it makes a certain amount of sense to leave the Pepsi out in the car, where it will be properly chilled without crowding out the asparagus.

Until, inevitably, this happens:

This week, I brought in one 12-pack from the cold. Except the Pepsi wasn’t just liquid — more like a slushy.

That’s a little too ice cold for my son’s taste.

The closest I’ve come to something comparable was watching someone parking a can of [name of drink] in the freezer on a Friday before a long weekend, presumably forgetting about it, and then retrieving it on Tuesday. By this time, the contents have frozen solid, and, being largely water, they have expanded, meaning the can itself has been deformed into something other than the neat cylinder it used to be. The eventual discovery of this phenomenon was greeted with some choice Anglo-Saxonisms by the owner of the [name of drink]sicle.

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Faint Saabing from the corner

Zombie Saab stirs a bit:

If we’ve learned one thing from watching The Walking Dead, it’s that the only way to terminate a walker is with a swift and brutal blow to the brain. Sadly, no one has come along that’s willing to do the gruesome deed to the stumbling shell that is Saab.

The company’s latest owner, National Electric Vehicle Sweden, is trying, yet again, to crawl its way out of bankruptcy with a “composition proposal in order to exit the reorganization.”

A bit from Nevs’ press release:

The current negotiations, together with two major OEMs, are mainly focused on two tracks that are complementing each other. One is to form a technical joint venture company in Trollhättan and the other is to introduce a new majority owner in Nevs, with the plan of making Saab cars a global premium product.

The weirdest thought occurred to me as I read those sentences, regarding that “new majority owner.” Could it possibly be … no, of course not, don’t be silly.

And then a commenter with the name Actionable Mango dared to utter it out loud: “Perhaps NEV Sweden is a front for Apple, lol.”

LOL, indeed.

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Stingers at the ready

Okay, the Hornets were 22-30 coming in, but you don’t underestimate an actual playoff team, and Charlotte was eighth in the East. The Thunder, lest we forget, were 29-25, but eighth in the West. So it might have been useful to anticipate, not the blowout some might have expected, but a Memphis-y sort of grind, especially with Steven Adams and Kevin Durant sidelined. And that’s what it was through 42 minutes and 94-94 on the scoreboard, before the Thunder defense stiffened; with 2:00 left, it was OKC by nine, and when the horn sounded, it was OKC by seven, 110-103.

What you want to know, perhaps, is how the new guys did. First, the highlights. Enes Kanter, starting in the middle, collected a double-double: 10 points, 13 rebounds. (He also exhibited some Adamsesque free-throw shooting, going 2 for 6.) D. J. Augustin, backing up — and sometimes playing alongside — Russell Westbrook, picked up 12 points, two assists, and no turnovers. Less illuminated: Kyle Singler, starting at the four in place of KD, scored six points in 18 minutes. Steve Novak was DNP-CD. The old guys did their bits, with Serge Ibaka showing off a 16-12 and Westbrook being Westbrook with 33 points and ten assists. And Dion Waiters got 10 points the hard way, having to take 15 shots. (Shooting percentages were about even: OKC 44, 5-18 on treys; Charlotte 43, 7-24 on treys.)

And the Hornets, too, had a new guy: Mo Williams, who stepped into the point with ease, knocking down 24 points and serving up 12 dimes. In the middle, stalwart Al Jefferson did Al Jefferson-like numbers, 20 points and 12 rebounds; Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who’s evidently found his range, was 8-14 for 20 points. The Hornets delivered on more assists than the Thunder, 28-21, but were badly outrebounded, 59-41. And the idle Brooklyn Nets slid into eighth place in the West.

Tomorrow night, the Thunder are at home against the suddenly Afflalo-less Nuggets, and Tuesday the Pacers will be in town. After that, three games out West: Phoenix, Portland, and the Lakers.

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Chill factor

Today’s New York Post front page:

Freezing his nuts off

Now that’s cold. The Oklahoma City record for the 20th of February is a sultry 9°F, set in 1918; the high that day was a steamy 25°. Then again, our coldest day ever (defining “ever” as “since records began, circa 1891”) was in February 1899; -12° on the 11th, followed by -17° on the 12th.

(Via Raju Narisetti.)

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