Meanwhile at Staples

Yeah, I know: the Thunder beat these Lakers just last Saturday, by forty freaking points. But Kobe was out. Tonight Kobe was in, and for a scary period in the second quarter, he was on: 17 points in the first half, more than anyone else on the court, pushing Los Angeles to a three-point lead in that quarter. But the Thunder were back up 11 at halftime, and then OKC opened the third quarter with a 22-0 run. Yeah, Durant and Westbrook, Westbrook and Durant. But at that point, when it was 79-46, the biggest plus on the plus/minus was Andre Roberson, then a startling +47, who’d had three assists, four rebounds, two steals and ten points. And then Kobe finally scored, 5:39 into the third quarter. By the time the horn sounded, it was 91-60; the fourth quarter was almost anticlimactic. Thunder 120, Lakers 85, and this brief California trip comes out 2-0.

The Lakers did have a few things to boast. With Lou Williams barely able to buy a bucket, rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell got extra minutes and double figures — 18 points, one short of Kobe Bryant — and occasional D-Leaguer Ryan Kelly came up with 12 points in 12 minutes. In fact, the bench produced 46 of the 79 Laker points. But the Thunder were dominant and then some: 54 percent shooting versus 36; 61 rebounds over 35; and the only double-double of the night, Enes Kanter’s, with 16 points and 11 boards. Robertson? Career-high 15 points, seven rebounds, four blocks, three assists, two steals. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, who spent the fourth quarter together on the bench, had 21 and 23 points respectively.

Next four Thunder games at home, starting Christmas Day, and I do mean day — tipoff is 1:30 — against Chicago, followed at two-day intervals by Denver, Milwaukee and Phoenix. (The Suns on New Year’s Eve. That sounds semi-portentous.) And who knows? Maybe the Warriors will lose one by then, though that’s probably not the way to bet.

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Around the Edge

NOW 92.9, née NOW 96.5, is now THEN 0.0; Tyler, having failed to make any headway with a CHR-ish format against iHeartMedia’s KJYO (KJ103), has reworked this translator into The Edge 92.9, billed as OKC’s Rock Alternative. As before, it’s a side-channel of a big station — KOMA-HD2 — running 200 watts, which isn’t enough to reach the entire metro, though you can always spend a few bucks for an HD Radio receiver, as have at least ten other people in this town, or pick up their audio stream.

KOMA-HD3, in case you were curious, is the Classic Hip-Hop outlet at 103.1, known as V103; I find it amusing that three stations image with 103 in this town, starting with KJ103, which is actually at 102.7; Perry’s KVSP, long the urban (read: “black”) station in town, continues to be “Power 103.5.”

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The direct approach

I have no doubt that this will work, but still:

All the fish in a lake in Bristol are to be removed and destroyed in a bid to discourage fishing.

Last year, the local Neighbourhood Partnership voted to ban fishing at St George’s Park lake to stop wildlife being harmed by fishing line and hooks.

It has now approved an option proposed by Bristol City Council to destroy the fish rather than relocate them.

Apparently the problem is twofold: there are a hell of a lot of fish, and it has been determined that some of them are downright sickly. Rob Acton-Campbell, chairman of the St George Neighbourhood Partnership, explains:

“We’ve tried over the last two years to have a permit scheme to try and manage the fishing, but unfortunately there’s still been injuries to the swans and the cygnets. We were hoping we’d be able to move them somewhere else but the council have had a health check done on the fish and they are very unhealthy. And there’s nowhere really local that we can move them to that would cope with the number of fish that we’ve got.”

And of course, nobody ever wants to move swans. Or cygnets. Which don’t generally eat fish, anyway.

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man.)

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Smaller warnings

Used to be, you’d hear the local sirens going off, and you’d wonder, just for a moment, how far away the threat might be: Oklahoma City spills into three counties — well, four, if you count that tiny sliver of Pottawatomie County — and if there’s an actual warning anywhere in your county, you’d get the Big Blaster. No more:

The important new policy change, adopted Tuesday by the City Council, divides OKC into zones. When the National Weather Service (NWS) issues a tornado warning, only the sirens in zones covered by the warning will sound.

Residents and visitors don’t need to know what zone they’re in, only to immediately take shelter and get more information if they hear a siren.

There are nine zones in the new scheme. It has to be a really farging big storm to hit more than four or five of them.

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The party may be over

This little number popped up on the shuffle yesterday:

Released the first week of 1964, “442 Glenwood Avenue” eventually charted at #56, its B-side (“Cold, Cold Winter”) a bit lower, but not enough to discourage Mercury from issuing Party with the Pixies Three, a sort of concept album about Friday and looking forward to the weekend.

I knew very little of Philadelphia, the Pixies’ home town, in those days; if you’d asked, I’d have said that they sounded sort of suburban, maybe somewhere out in Bucks County or thereabouts. And the one time I did go to Philly, it didn’t occur to me to look for Glenwood, though I did head out to Bristol on the off-chance that I’d find some kids sharp as a pistol.

Where I do not go, however, Google does. Welcome to present-day 442 [West] Glenwood Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:

442 Glenwood Avenue Philadelphia

Specifically, 442 is the pinkish-orange townhouse between the two red ones. Says Trulia:

442 W Glenwood Ave has 3 beds, 1 bath, and approximately 816 square feet. The property has a lot size of [720 sq ft] and was built in 1920. 442 W Glenwood Ave is in the Fairhill neighborhood in Philadelphia, PA. The average list price for Fairhill is $60,222.

Actually, looking at this place makes me think of the Drifters’ “Three Thirty Three,” recorded during Clyde McPhatter’s brief tenure as lead singer, a place where, um, more adult amusements are offered.

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Racking up the credits

Okay, I can deal with hand models and such. But this seems just a trifle weird:

Twenty-five to thirty. Picky much?

There are, of course, certain specifications that must be met:

There is a fair amount of grumbling about the objectification of women. Seldom, though, does it get to the level of actual objects.

(Via Felicity Jones.)

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Hounded into submission

Wait a minute. Those aren’t hounds:

Johnny Depp’s wife Amber Heard will face trial in Australia in April for allegedly smuggling two dogs into the country in a case dubbed the “war on terrier,” a court ruled Tuesday.

Heard is facing two counts of knowingly importing a prohibited product in breach of the Quarantine Act.

They’re serious, too:

The case sparked global attention after the terriers, Pistol and Boo, were threatened with death by Australia’s Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce unless they “buggered off back to the United States”.

The animals, which had allegedly travelled by private jet to Queensland, where Depp was filming Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, were quickly whisked out of the country as the story hit the headlines.

Under strict Australian laws designed to keep disease at bay, dogs entering from the United States must be declared and have to spend 10 days in quarantine.

I got this from Language Log, maybe a bit less serious than your average Australian authorities:

And there’s a Les Barker poetry-reading CD The War on Terrier from 2004. He’s also responsible for CDs Up the Creek Without a Poodle and Dogologues, and books of poetry with titles such as Alexander Greyhound Bell, Bark Odes, The Beagle Has Landed, Collieflowers, Corgi and Bess, Labrador Rigby, and The Borzoi’s Back in Town, suggesting a theme if not an obsession.

I recommend these to punsters in training, in case they need a few pointers.

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A clipping from the future

Or maybe the past. Who can be sure?

Out of only 40 women in the Senate, only two were female

Maybe I’ll just leave it alone and tiptoe away.

(From Bad Newspaper via the Presurfer.)

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Maloodicrous speed

GM’s British outpost is importing an Australian ute that looks for all the world like the 2016 El Camino Chevrolet would never, ever build:

Vauxhall Maloo LSA

The press release announcing it reads this way:

Vauxhall only sells one pick up vehicle these days, and while our rivals will wow you with improvements in emissions and fuel economy in a CV’s new model year, our offering — the new Maloo LSA — is more likely to impress with the arrival of its all-new, supercharged 6.2-litre, 536PS V8 engine.

So while it’s possibly not a contender for next year’s MPG Marathon, the Vauxhall Maloo LSA will haul … well, up to 540kgs from standstill to sixty in an unfeasibly short space of time, and do so with the utmost composure, despite the fact that it’s classed as a commercial vehicle (business users can even claim the VAT back from its very reasonable £54,500 on-the-road price).

For 2016, the new LSA engine brings maximum power up from 431PS for the outgoing LS3 V8 to 536PS, and an increase in torque from 570Nm to 671Nm. First seen in the current VXR8 GTS launched last year, the LSA is essentially the same unit fitted to the Camaro ZL1, albeit in a slightly re-tuned form. An Eaton 4-lobe supercharger, stand-alone water-to-air charge-air cooling system and high-flow exhaust system with bi-modal exhaust function turn the Maloo into the fastest production “ute” manufactured in Australia, and the fastest CV available in the UK.

Translations and conversions: CV = “commercial vehicle”; 431PS = 425 hp; 536PS = 528 hp; 570Nm = 420 ft-lb; 671Nm = 495 ft-lb; 540kg = 1190 lb; £54,500 = $81,150.

I am trying my very best to keep my index finger away from the “WANT” button.

(Via Autoblog.)

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A Faraday cage for your head

Foiled again, and again:

In detail:

Somebody might say that it’s a specially designed hat for bouncing electromagnetic waves and radiation. But is it really so? Yes, it reliably reflects signals from cell phones, wi-fi routers, microwaves and it generally blocks all waves transmitted from electric devices. Moreover, it looks really cool! It is the most comfortable and functional headwear you have ever worn… To achieve the signal proof quality we use unique fabric (pure silver) which is 100% antimicrobial, antiodor, washable and was originally produced for military purposes and we put it between the hat’s layers.

With 15 days to go, they’ve raised nearly 70 percent of their goal of $19,268.

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Program exit

I’m hoping this man had an orderly shutdown:

William Ralph “Bill” Fink, 46, of Belleville, Ill., born July 28, 1969, in Belleville, Ill., encountered an unhandled exception in his core operating system, which prematurely triggered a critical “STOP” condition on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015.

Bill was an avid technophile, program developer, and educator, whose master functions were harnessed by Microsoft Corp. as a technical evangelist. Some of Bill’s most impactful component subroutines centered around video games, coaching youth sports, building elaborate displays for Halloween, and spending time with family.

And because you need to know these things:

Diagnostics indicated multiple cascading hardware failures as the root problem. Though his hardware has been decommissioned, Bill’s application has been migrated to the Cloud and has been repurposed to run in a virtual machine on an infinite loop.

(Via Matt Prichard.)

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A little off the top

The Clippers have been erratic of late, but you have to figure that any time Chris Paul gets hot, things will happen for them. And CP3 was the hottest he’s been, posting a season-high 32 points with ten assists. Add to that a Los Angeles bench, lightly regarded and without both Paul Pierce and Austin Rivers, that had no trouble fending off the Oklahoma City reserves, and you have the makings of a debacle. With 4:40 left, though, it was tied at 89-all, and 2:20 later, it was still tied at 93; at the one-minute mark, the Clips were up 95-93. Coming off a timeout, Russell Westbrook nailed an all-too-rare trey; a Blake Griffin dunk made it 97-96 L.A. Westbrook went up over DeAndre Jordan to put OKC up 98-97, and with 14 seconds left, Westbrook pulled off his third steal of the night. But the inbound went awry, CP3 ran it down to the rim and made it 99-98 Los Angeles with 10.9 left. Finally Kevin Durant — remember him? — buried an 18-footer to go up 100-99 at 5.8. (Are we tired yet?) Paul put it up at the horn, Durant swatted it away, and that was the end of it.

How close was it? Clippers shot 47%, OKC 47%. Clippers got 45 rebounds, OKC 44. Assists were even at 21. And if Paul had a season-high 32, Westbrook finished with 33. If you’d plotted this for a TV drama, people would stare in disbelief: five lead changes in two and a half minutes? Really? And take note of this off night for KD: 24 points, nine rebounds, seven assists. You and I should have such off nights.

One more in L.A. this week: the Lakers, last thrashed in OKC last week. The Thunder will be home for Christmas, against the Chicago Bulls.

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Holiday unrushed

Thursday night, sensing that 8 GB wasn’t going to be enough for this new tablet of mine, I ordered a 64 GB microSD card from Amazon. Late Friday morning they acknowledged the order via email; about sunset they sent another email to advise that it had shipped, and that I should expect it on the 19th, which was Saturday. I duly called up the tracker, which declared an 8 pm arrival. This late in December? I though. From the Postal Service? Surely you jest.

It is now the 21st. Maybe, where it says “two-day shipping,” they should specify which two days.

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New New Hope

Sign at a church in Ottawa:

A long time ago in a Gaililee far far away

Score one for the Light Side.

(On several Facebook pages, most recently — from my vantage point, anyway — through Roger Green’s.)

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Again, close enough

Andrew Crossett has been collecting votes for the Best Celebrity Legs of the Year for nineteen years now, and this year, I figured, it was just a question of how far out in front that amazingly tall singer of country songs who no longer sings country songs would end up.

And the answer is not at all, because Crossett’s poll, for the second time ever, ended in a tie. (This was the first time.) Sharing this year’s title, singer Selena Gomez, another graduate of the Disney School of Pop Princesses, who has a pretty fair stage presence in her own right:

Selena Gomez on stage

Selena Gomez on stage

Before you ask: five-foot-five. And an offstage glimpse:

Selena Gomez street styling

“Good for You,” the big hit from her Revival album, sounds very much like — um, nothing she’d done previously. It was shortened a bit to make the video:

Seven writers (including Gomez) and five producers. I suppose that’s good for someone. And if you don’t quite get those visuals, there’s always Instagram:

Selena Gomez on Instagram

Seems understandable enough.

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They’re keeping close-mouthed about it

Perhaps no one anywhere is immune to the possibility of identity theft:

A database for, the official online community for Hello Kitty and other Sanrio characters, has been discovered online by researcher Chris Vickery. The database houses 3.3 million accounts and has ties to a number of other Hello Kitty portals.

The records exposed include first and last names, birthday (encoded, but easily reversible Vickery said), gender, country of origin, email addresses, unsalted SHA-1 password hashes, password hint questions, their corresponding answers, and other data points that appear to be website related.

The earliest logged exposure — the first time anyone accessed this data in the wild in a manner consistent with leaving log entries — was the 22nd of November.

Sanrio, as well as the ISP being used to host the database itself, have all been notified. An automated email from the ISP confirmed that the incident notification was logged, but no further details are available.

(Via @SwiftOnSecurity.)

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