Not quite so easy

“One thing you never want with Dallas,” said Alex Roig in the Pregame Primer, “is a close game with Dirk Nowitzki on the floor.” Unfortunately, that’s what the Thunder got for Game 2: nothing at all like the laughable blowout Saturday night, though Dirk wasn’t that much of a factor. It turned out that he wouldn’t have to be. This time around, the Mavs were ready to roll, and they rolled to an eight-point lead early while the Thunder seemed to be napping. The wakeup call came soon enough, but Dallas, after falling behind by seven halfway through the fourth quarter, went off for an 8-0 run to take a one-point lead. You’d figure that this would be the sort of thing that would spur Kevin Durant to going All KD. This was, however, not the night for All KD. With just under ten seconds left, Durant finally nailed a trey, his second in 11 tries; unfortunately, the Mavs had been up four. Raymond Felton obligingly missed a pair of free throws, but neither Durant nor Serge Ibaka could score on the last Thunder possession, and a Steven Adams stickback was just a fraction of a second too late. Dallas 85, Oklahoma City 84, and the series goes to Dallas even up.

It’s rare you see the Thunder shooting under 34 percent. But that’s what happened tonight, with Durant going an absolutely abominable 7-33 for his 21 points. (Felton, who picked up 21 for the Mavs, did so on 16 shots.) Even with KD’s numbers factored out, the Thunder was shooting only 40 percent for the night, with only Ibaka and Russell Westbrook in double figures. Statistically, the Mavs were not a great deal better; but they were better the one place where it mattered. If they had a secret weapon tonight, it was Salah Mejri, who turned in a plus-18 with 5-7 shooting (12 points) and three blocks.

The Loud City crowd, of course, was stunned after that Adams putback was negated. I’m just trying to imagine how much worse it could have been if Deron Williams had been able to stay in the game, or if J. J. Barea had been well.

Game 3 in Dallas on Thursday. Durant should be awake by then, right?

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No further explanation needed

In 2002, Melissa Joan Hart, then twenty-six, was asked if she might be up for a Clarissa Explains It All reunion. She might not: “Shirley Temple taught me one thing. And that was once you finish a career, you move on.” At the time, she’d not only finished Clarissa, but was just about to wrap up Sabrina the Teenage Witch as well; her most recent series, Melissa and Joey, ran for four seasons on ABC Family (now “Freeform”), finishing in 2015. She keeps busy, though: she has a husband and three kids, a fashion line (“King of Harts”), and a tremendous social-media following, to whom this revelation was doled out:

That was perhaps somewhat more risqué than usual for MJH, who showed up for the premiere this month of God’s Not Dead 2 in this:

Melissa Joan Hart at the opening of God's Not Dead 2, 2016

Which is not to say she’s keeping her not-so-wild side under wraps, exactly:

Melissa Joan Hart, much younger and redder

Today, the former Teenage Witch is 40.

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And the phish keep right on coming

Something (mis)identified as “PPL Safety Check” dropped this little deuce into the punchbowl of my mail client:

Fake PayPal message

OMG, Pakistan!

As a practical matter, so far as potential identity theft goes, there’s little difference between Pakistan and Punxsutawney.

The bogus link goes to something called supportticketmanage.com, whose primary business, we may safely assume, is something other than managing support tickets. They’re also not so hot at spelling: “access” has two C’s.

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Oh, Rochester!

This clipping was going around the Jack Benny Fan Club Facebook page this past weekend:

1939 clipping from a Hollywood trade paper reviewing a show by Eddie Anderson

It surely is a measure of something that Mr. Anderson, who had started playing Rochester on the Jack Benny program only two years before, was so totally identified with that role, despite having appeared in at least two dozen films by 1939. (Then again, he was uncredited in most of them.)

And if “Negro comic” doesn’t make your eyes roll, consider the term “sepians.”

Many years later, “Rochester” was apparently still widely believed to be a real person:

Among the most highly paid performers of his time, Anderson invested wisely and became extremely wealthy. Until the 1950s, Anderson was the highest paid African-American actor, receiving an annual salary of $100,000. In 1962, Anderson was on Ebony magazine’s list of the 100 wealthiest African-Americans. Despite this, he was so strongly identified with the “Rochester” role that many listeners of the radio program mistakenly persisted in the belief that he was Benny’s actual valet. One such listener drove Benny to distraction when he sent him a scolding letter concerning Rochester’s alleged pay, and then sent another letter to Anderson, which urged him to sue Benny. In reality, Anderson did well enough to have his own valet.

Jack Benny, for what it’s worth, was never a cheapskate; that was just part of the character he played.

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Strange search-engine queries (533)

It is often (for various definitions of “often”) asked, “What would Monday be like without strange search-engine queries?” The answer, of course, is “It’s Monday; it’s going to suck, because that’s what Mondays do.” Hasn’t stopped us from compiling the queries, though, nor will it.

list of animals with fraudulent degrees:  I never could understand how Wile E. Coyote became an official Super Genius.

itunes skips to next song halfway through:  Maybe it couldn’t stand listening to that first song.

walmart tunnels snopes:  Hadn’t heard that one, though I dream of some day seeing a Sam’s Club built atop an active volcano.

ivan just spent an evening watching:  And if Svetlana ever found out, she would have him reported to the secret police.

during her speech on creating a healthier environment, maureen stated that more laws should be in effect to protect the environment because her town had a littering problem. which fallacy was maureen demonstrating?  The one that supports the idea that covering the countryside with signage will somehow motivate people to stop throwing their burger wrappers out of the car window.

used kia optima chesterton:  Somehow I can’t see Chesterton driving a Korean automobile; he always struck me as the Ford Popular type.

georgian politicians private life (sex, oral, anal, orgy total of 12:42 minutes): Tblisi. (Which is Georgian for “Giggity.”)

why did kevin klutz give up tap dancing answers:  He fell down a lot?

microwaveable pork rinds where to buy:  I’m guessing this request didn’t come from the United Arab Emirates.

hot water heaters:  If you already have hot water, why would you need to heat it?

rah rah ree kick em in the knee origin:  Chaucer, from The Cheerleader’s Tale.

almost me:  If this is you, you have a problem.

schoolmarmish dress:  “What is not being worn by Lady Gaga?”

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The late residents of Venezuela

They’re late because their government is hell-bent on screwing up standard time:

Venezuela’s government is changing the clock again as part of its efforts to stave off an electricity crisis.

The move comes nine years after former President Hugo Chávez created Venezuela’s own, unique time zone in a stroke of anti-imperialist independence.

The current Venezuelan Standard Time is UTC-4:30, a time zone used by absolutely no one else on the planet, though I’m willing to believe that Chávez came up with this scheme after having a stroke.

President Nicolas Maduro said Thursday that the new change will take effect May 1. He didn’t provide details about how much or in what direction the clocks would move, saying only that it’s an additional emergency measure to prevent power outages as a severe drought reduces power output by lowering water levels at hydroelectric dams. As part of the energy-saving drive, he also declared Monday a public holiday.

“It’s a very simple measure that represents an important savings,” Maduro said about the shift in the time zone.

If you’ve lived for any substantial length of time under the strictures of American Daylight Saving Time, you might well believe that President Maduro is full of crap. And he’s not going to give you any reason to think otherwise:

The move follows Maduro’s decision requiring cinemas to close early and shopping centers to generate their own electricity and his call for women to ease up on hair blowers in a bid to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent.

See what I mean?

(Via Fark, which tags this story “Strange.”)

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This doesn’t look like a primary

The last two elections, we had more than 50 (!) legislative incumbents returned to office because they didn’t draw any opposition. This year, not so much. There are no unchallenged Senators, and only a handful of House members got a free pass:

  • H22: Charles A. McCall (R-Atoka)
  • H24: Steve Kouplen (D-Beggs)
  • H34: Cory T. Williams (D-Stillwater)
  • H35: Dennis Casey (R-Morrison)
  • H37: Steven E. Vaughan (R-Ponca City)
  • H38: John Pfeiffer (R-Orlando)
  • H48: Pat Ownbey (R-Ardmore)
  • H57: Harold Wright (R-Weatherford)
  • H59: Mike Sanders (R-Kingfisher)
  • H68: Glen Mulready (R-Tulsa)
  • H77: Eric Proctor (D-Tulsa)
  • H88: Jason Dunnington (D-Oklahoma City)
  • H90: John Echols (R-Oklahoma City)

Of these thirteen, nine appeared on the 2014 list.

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It’s starting to look like a primary

Collin Walke, who ran for House District 87 two years ago and was beaten by incumbent Jason Nelson, is trying again, now that Nelson’s out of the running. (He left a small flyer on my door some time between 11:30 and 1 yesterday.) He’s the second Democrat I’ve heard from, following the opening salvo last week by Kelly Meredith. And there won’t be any more: no other Democrats filed before the end of the official filing period Friday.

Meanwhile, four Republicans have signed up to take a stab at it, and with this year’s actual recognition of the party, there’s a Libertarian; in fact, the LP has sixteen candidates for 2016, and there will be an actual Libertarian primary, there being two candidates for Senator James Lankford’s seat.

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Cultural artifact

There’s always going to be something to make me grin on the Architecture Tour. Often as not it’s something Trini says, inasmuch as she has a sense of humor warped in the same general directions as mine. But sometimes it’s something I see on a wall:

Come on, get happy

Somehow suitable for the 1920s, this is in fact a message from the 1970s. Then again, what does it say that I recognized it immediately?

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The book of (smaller) numbers

I’ve heard this particular plaint before, but seldom as eloquently:

When I started blogging, The Truth Laid Bear blogging ecosystem was kind of fading; Technorati was a going enterprise and Sitemeter was hot. Over the years, Technorati turned its attention elsewhere, or maybe just off, and Sitemeter eventually decided that loading obtrusive adware was the way to monetize. Tam moved to StatCounter and I followed soon after.

At one time, I looked at the numbers daily. Any more, every few weeks is often enough.

There’s a definite downward trend. I don’t pay the five bucks a month to save stats forever, so I only have about a year, but it’s got a slope. Eventually, it’ll be like it was back in the beginning, just me and some web-crawlers from search engines, maybe a friend stopping by every so often.

I will never understand what happened to Technorati, but I figure any operation that can say something like this with a straight face is doomed:

Within our network, we help website publishers maximize their advertising revenue without having to worry about the complications of the ever-shifting advertising marketplace so they can get back to making the awesome content that we all consume every day.

This, even more than an executive search, proves that Dave Sifry is gone. And I object in principle to the idea that what I do here is produce “content” for “consumption,” like I’m some extruded-food distributor in Secaucus, New Jersey.

I admit that my numbers, like everyone else’s numbers, are down: 800 a day a decade ago, 300 a day today. Then again, I had about 50 people taking some form of feed, usually RSS, back then. Today it’s over a thousand, and has been as high as 1400. Yeah, it fluctuates. What in nature doesn’t? And if I’m no longer a TTLB Large Mammal, I’m happy with my state of cellular development.

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Debacle starts with a D

The Dallas Mavericks will vouch for that, having scored a mere eleven points in the first quarter of this playoff game. Amazingly, things got worse for the Mavs after that: they lost J. J. Barea to a groin strain after sixteen minutes and two points, they scored only 33 in the first half, and only 37 in the second. “Blowout” doesn’t even begin to describe the Thunder’s 108-70 win.

And if that’s not enough, try this: Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavs’ leading scorer, went 7-15 for 18 points. He finished -28 for the night. Which wasn’t the worst on the team, either. I’m not quite sure what happened to Dallas, although I’m inclined to think they were a trifle spooked after having dropped four games to OKC during the regular season. The Mavs shot less than 30 percent — 25-84, 29.8 percent — missed ten of 26 free throws, collected only 33 rebounds, and blocked no shots. Meanwhile, the Thunder were turning in numbers that look like Thunder wins by considerably smaller margins: double-doubles for Russell Westbrook (24/11 assists) and Enes Kanter (16/13 rebounds), and 23 from Kevin Durant in 27 minutes. Then again, Serge Ibaka was ultra-fierce: 7-8 from the floor — good on all three of his treys — and three blocks.

What does all this mean for Game 2 on Monday? Not a blessed thing. (Radio guy Matt Pinto was insistent on that very point: past performance is no guarantee of future results.) But I mean, we expected to see the Warriors pound the living stuffing out of the Rockets, which they did, 104-78. Nobody expected the Spanish Inquisition the total collapse of the Mavericks. Still, Monday is another day.

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Saturday spottings (knees up)

At various times through the week, the probability of precipitation on this spring Saturday has been quoted at anywhere from 20 to 60 percent, motivating Trini, once again accompanying me on the Architecture Tour, to bring along an umbrella and an extra jacket. This worked really well to keep the rain away for the entire five-hour duration, during which we hit nine locations of interest and used less (but not much less) than a quarter-tank of gas.

1) 3209 Robin Ridge Road

Krogstad House in Quail Creek

Behind Krogstad House in Quail Creek

Bud Krogstad, one of the original developers of Quail Creek, ordered up the 1.0 version of this house in 1964 from architect Robert Reed; it’s been enlarged twice since, most recently this past year. It’s one of the niftier variations on the Mid-Century Modern theme, and it sits right on the edge of the golf course.

2) 1171 Northwest 56th Street

1169 and 1171 NW 56th St

Billed as “SideXSide,” this is actually two residences on a single lot, 1171 being the one on the west side and the one we saw. (1169 is on the east.) Its relentlessly modern footprint doesn’t seem to fit all that well with the rest of Meadowbrook Acres, a traditional prewar suburb, but this is the going thing: dragging a sleepy subdivision into the 21st century. And it’s really quite appealing on the inside, with all mod cons and not so much as a square inch of clutter in its 1544 square feet.

3) 1161 Northwest 57th Street

1161 NW 57th St

Forget what I just said about Meadowbrook Acres. This is what you find one block north, and if anything, it’s twice as much: four homes — two mirror images — on a double lot. Same architect (Geoff Parker, 405 Architecture), same lack of clutter. (And actually, this shot is of one of the homes on the back of the lot.)

4) 911 Northwest 67th Street

American Energy Partners Fitness Center

When Aubrey McClendon bade goodbye to Chesapeake Energy in 2013, he set up shop as American Energy Partners almost literally just down the street; AELP’s fitness center, an ultra-modern facility about four blocks from the Chesapeake campus, looks as little like a Chesapeake facility as possible, with no nods to 19th-century small-college design whatsoever. The place is utterly bathed in natural light; the racquetball courts look so shiny I’d be afraid to sweat on them. “You should see it at night,” we were told. I believe it.

5) 616 Northwest 21st Street

The ARC

Conference room at The ARC

Once upon a time, this was Sunbeam Family Services, which dates to 1964; fifty years later they moved to bigger quarters north of downtown, and new owner Marva Ellard repurposed it as a group of office suites for lease. The conference room shown is downstairs, as viewed from an upstairs corridor.

6) 322 Northeast 15th Street

322 NE 15th St

Billed as “Positively Paseo,” this baffled me for a moment, since this house, in the 1920s neighborhood Classen’s North Highland Parked, south of the Capitol, is nowhere near the Paseo. Positively Paseo, it turns out, is a nonprofit organization that buys up decrepit homes — or, in this case, a actual vacant lot — and replaces those spaces with new homes that look like they belong there. Sales are then made to folks of low-to-moderate income. This is the first PP completion in this neighborhood, with three more planned. And yes, they’ve done several homes in the Paseo area.

7) 126 Harrison Avenue

PLICO Building

Harrison Avenue is a diagonal through the east side of downtown, leaving some triangular blocks filled with flatiron-shaped buildings. This one, originally built as a hotel in 1924, was boarded up in 1988, reopened last year after Rand Elliott breathed upon it and gave it new life. It’s full of Twenties atmosphere and modern amenities that somehow manage not to clash. Owner PLICO, a healthcare-liability insurer, was recently acquired by Berkshire Hathaway’s MedPro Group, though BH says the operation will remain in the flatiron.

8) 1101 North Broadway Avenue

Buick Building

Interior of Buick Building

Original staircase from Buick Building

Only one actual dealership (Mercedes-Benz/Jaguar/Volvo) remains on Oklahoma City’s Automobile Alley, but some of the old dealer buildings have been lovingly repurposed. This Buick store, built in 1924, became a project for Brian Fitzsimmons and his crew in 2012; each of the four floors is a single office space, with a ground-floor frontage on Broadway that’s been given over to the tony Broadway 10 Bar and Chophouse. The weird curvy thing is an original spiral staircase, now hung outside near the entrance; upstairs, in the REHCO/Midtown Renaissance Group office, is a Buick straight-eight with, yes, valve in head. (The rest of the slogan: “Ahead in Value.”)

8) 36 Northeast 10th Street

Interior of Jesus Saves

There’s a sign out front that says “Jesus Saves,” hence the name. This Thirties building, once a leather bindery, was basically down to just four brick walls and tons of pigeon poop before being reclaimed and turned into a residence. Or, more precisely, two residences, a larger one upstairs, a small one on the ground floor. You’re looking at the upstairs kitchen.

Photo credits: 2) 405 Architecture; 6) Positively Paseo; 8) (rooftop shot) Brian Fitzsimmons; others by me (embiggened on Flickr should you so desire).

We’re already planning next year.

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Motivation for all

One thing Ming-Na Wen does very well is get your attention, or at least mine:

This, um, motivated me to dig out some red-carpet shots for contrast, and boy, are they contrasty:

Ming-Na Wen at the premiere of Captain America: Civil Wars

I think she looks a bit younger in that shot, with that abbreviated hemline and Paris Berelc-ish pout, than she does in this one:

Ming-Na Wen at the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards 2016

(Not that you asked, but she’s 52.)

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Greater Scott

Scott Inman is the Minority Leader in the Oklahoma House, charged with keeping the Democrats more or less in line. He has a short bio in Wikipedia, which used to be a lot longer before this section was excised:

Bogus biographical details about Scott Inman

Okay, we get it: Scott Inman is not Aquaman.

Inman’s comment upon reading this:

[M]y friends have a unique and clever sense of humor. And apparently they have a lot of time on their hands too.

(Via Phil Cross at Fox 25. He didn’t do it, I’m pretty sure.)

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Slower time

Apple’s QuickTime was an early acquisition when I clambered aboard the great ship Windows: it was necessary to play clips in the .mov format, and iTunes wouldn’t run on Wintel boxes (or their AMD cousins) without it. In fact, I ponied up $29.95 for the Pro version, which is now for all intents and purposes, or for Apple’s intents and purposes anyway, dead in the water:

Apple has announced that they’re no longer supporting QuickTime on the Windows platform. That means there won’t be any new updates coming, which is especially bad news since two fresh QuickTime vulnerabilities have just been discovered.

Trend Micro published details of the vulnerabilities in a pair of security alerts this week, ZDI-16-241 and ZDI-16-242. They actually reported them both to Apple all the way back in November. By the end of February, Trend still hadn’t gotten much more back from Apple than a read receipt for their original report.

In March, Trend checked in again and Apple responded by inviting them to a conference call. That’s when they announced that QuickTime for Windows was being deprecated. Two weeks after the call, Trend pinged Apple one more time to say they’d be publishing the vulnerability. Apple responded by saying “go for it,” and pointing them toward this handy article that helps Windows users uninstall QuickTime.

Curiously, Apple seems to be recommending that those hardy few of us with QT Pro registration keys hold on to them, for whatever reason. Or maybe that’s just something they haven’t edited out yet.

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Artificial tweetener

As of yesterday, the Windows version of TweetDeck is dead, dead, dead; I reluctantly switched over to the Web version, which I deemed marginally acceptable at best. If I find a reasonable workalike, I vowed, that’s where I’m going.

This is where I wound up:

Tweeten is available for Windows 10, 8, and 7. Our Windows app is currently in beta, and you can download it from the links below.

There followed links; there are OSX and Chrome versions as well. I jumped. It looks about as much like TweetDeck as is algorithmically possible without being actionable, and it doesn’t eat a browser tab while so doing. According to Tweeten’s profile, it was “Developed by @mehedih_ and @gus33000” in England and France. The first of those chaps is Mehedi Hassan, deputy editor of MSPowerUser.com. If he sees me with a hat, I will take it off the moment I recognize him.

There are, inevitably, some things that scream “Beta!” The Light theme is indistinguishable from the Dark theme, and column widths don’t seem to be adjustable despite a toggle. On the upside, it doesn’t scroll stupidly the way TweetDeck always did, which is reason enough to keep it right there.

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