There’s no face like Noam

The downside, of course, is having to explain him to visitors:

Though the descriptor sounds like something generated by a game of Mad Libs, Just Say Gnome is a purveyor of artisanal garden gnomes. Their flagship product, Just Say Gnome sculptor Steve Herrington explains, was first thought up over a decade ago but is newly getting attention online. Gnome Chomsky The Garden Noam, named, naturally, for linguist, philosopher, and political activist Noam Chomsky, runs between $75 and $195, plus shipping, depending on which of two versions a buyer wants and whether it’s ordered unpainted or painted. Gnome Chomsky sports its namesake’s appearance, but the proportions, cap, and boots of a standard-issue garden gnome.

You’ll have to wait, though:

Both versions are currently out of stock, though Herrington says on the Just Say Gnome website that interested buyers can e-mail him to see about getting one once he prepares more.

Buy one for your transformational grandma.

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Setting a fine example

Someone else is pleased to tell us we’re in deep doo-doo:

Billionaire Jeff Greene, who amassed a multibillion dollar fortune betting against subprime mortgage securities, says the U.S. faces a jobs crisis that will cause social unrest and radical politics.

“America’s lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence,” Greene said in an interview [Wednesday] at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “We need to reinvent our whole system of life.”

And by “we,” he means “you,” but not himself or the other jerks in the Davos circle:

Greene, who flew his wife, children and two nannies on a private jet plane to Davos for the week, said he’s planning a conference in Palm Beach, Florida, at the Tideline Hotel called “Closing the Gap.”

Perhaps “Closing the Yap” would be more apropos.

(Via Lachlan Markay.)

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Counterspells effective

When a team that’s been getting 70-point first halves gets a 38-point first half, you tend to suspect something is wrong. The Thunder shot just over 30 percent in those 24 minutes; the only reason they were trailing by a mere twelve is that the Wizards were nearly as awful, at 36 percent. And whoever suggested they try to make up the difference with the long ball was out of his gourd: OKC put up ten in that half, and not one of them made it into the net. The only saving grace for the Thunder was Steven Adams’ 13 rebounds.

In the second half, Oklahoma City got busy. With five minutes left, the Thunder were up 87-80; the Wizards, however, answered with a 9-0 run, and at :34, Washington led 92-90 on the strength of a Paul Pierce trey. Russell Westbrook tied it up with a quick bucket; John Wall burned up 24 seconds and tossed up an air ball, giving the Thunder one last chance with two seconds left; Kevin Durant’s trey did not fall, and overtime ensued. With :35 left, Kevin Durant’s trey did fall, and the Thunder were up 103-101; an Andre Roberson goaltend of a Nenê air ball tied it at 103 with :22 left. With Durant seemingly quadruple-teamed, Westbrook scooped up the rock and spun it in; the Wizards’ last salvo fell short. OKC 105, Washington 103, and something unheard of: a season sweep.

The numbers, as you might expect, are close all around: OKC shot 40-102 (39.2 percent), Washington 38-100 (38 percent). After majorly failing at the three-point circle, the Thunder eventually got six to fall out of 29; the Wiz sank seven of 30. Rebounds: Wizards 58, OKC 57. Turnovers: Wizards 12, OKC 10. Assists: Wizards 23, OKC 21.

All five starting Wizards collected double figures, led by Nenê with 24; Pierce had 14 points and 12 rebounds; Wall had 18 points and 13 assists. Bradley Beal, harassed by Roberson all night, went 5-21 but still ended up with 14 points. Marcin Gortat, anchoring the middle, produced 10 points and blocked three shots.

As usual, it was the Durant-Westbrook Show, KD coming up with 34 points in a whopping 44 minutes, and Westbrook knocking down 32 with eight rebounds and eight assists in 42 minutes. Only two sets of double figures otherwise: Anthony Morrow, with ten points, and remember Steven Adams’ 13 first-half rebounds? He finished with 20.

Having beaten the second-best team in the East, what do the Thunder do next? Why, they take on the best team in the East: Atlanta has won 14 straight. This epic clash will be Friday night.

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The spirit of 76 octane

Bill Quick saw this before I did, and asked: “Remember when filling stations actually filled your tank for you?”

Gas station in Lincoln 1933

For a few days in my adolescence, to help out a friend, I played pump jockey. I wasn’t especially good at it, though I was dead reliable at checking tire pressures.

And yes, E10 was around in those days. (Under that “10% Blend” verbiage: “Development Means Cornbelt Prosperity.”) It never really caught on, and purveyors of the stuff eventually sought antitrust action against Ethyl, manufacturer of another, far nastier, gasoline additive.

Interestingly, this photo was taken in Lincoln, Nebraska in April 1933, eight months before the end of Prohibition. I have to wonder how much of that ethanol was diverted before it got to the gas station.

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Meanwhile in the ladies’ room

No, I wasn’t there, but we have a reliable narrator:

Well, I push the door open and I hear someone talking. At first I think she’s talking to someone still in the stall (which is also a personal no-no to me: I do not like carrying on a conversation while in the loo).

Nope. She was on her cell phone. Standing in front of the sink, at the mirror, just talking.

I backed right back out of the room and waited until after my class — but to me, that’s like a who DOES that? situation.

At least she wasn’t eating — which happened in one of the rest rooms at the shop, though it wasn’t the one with WOMEN on the door.

And should we be grateful that she wasn’t taking a picture of herself?

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Everywhere appeal

My younger brother (48 today), perhaps half in jest, is trying to crowdfund a vacation. I thought the idea was nutty, but I threw in a few dollars, on the basis that it might be easier for someone else to do so if there’s already something in the kitty.

Now comes this chap who’d like you to pay for his dates:

My name is Tom and I’m a 26-year-old hopeless sarcastic romantic.

I like reading as much as going out with friends, I find thunderstorms relaxing to listen to and can easily lose myself in a good film. I like sitting in busy cafes writing poetry and people watching. The problem is I don’t have a lady/partner in crime/personal femme fatale to share all this with me, teach me new things and put me in my place every now and again.

Tom calculates that it will take 13 dates to find The One, and so he’s asking for £1300. At this writing, eight contributors have anted up £222.

Update, 26 January: Things are not going well for poor Tom.

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Tweetlessness

I wonder if their followers even notice:

Nearly 24 million out of 284 million Twitter users do not tweet at all, reveals the latest data filed by the micro-blogging site with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This means that nearly 8.5 percent of Twitter users could be robots who never use the service, ValueWalk reported.

Or non-robots who never use the service. I’ve seen lots of tweets from actual bots, usually retweets of something that matched a keyword or hashtag.

Twitter also concedes that a substantial number of “users” are fake:

“There are a number of false or spam accounts in existence on our platform. We estimate that false or spam accounts represent less than five percent of our Monthly Active Users (MAUs),” the SEC document read.

Similarly, the Food and Drug Administration will put up with bay leaves that are less than five percent moldy. You may wish to avoid that link around dinnertime.

(Via Heidi Richards Mooney.)

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A Trident through the chest

This poor girl never knew what hit her:

A western Pennsylvania university student and basketball player likely inhaled chewing gum into her lungs while asleep before being found dead in her dormitory over the weekend.

The Washington County coroner’s office said 21-year-old Shanice Clark of Toronto was found unresponsive at about 3 a.m. Sunday at California University of Pennsylvania.

And this, Junior, is why you can’t have any Juicy Fruit.

(Via Dawn Summers.)

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Chillaxity

Close quarters all night: I don’t recall a single double-digit lead by either side until the 1:19 mark in the fourth, when a Steven Adams stuff put the Thunder up 93-83, and Miami managed only one trey the rest of the way. Then again, the Thunder managed only one free throw the rest of the way, so the final was 94-86, the 21st Oklahoma City win in 41 games and the first step over the .500 line.

Luol Deng was unwell, and looked it; Dwyane Wade was unwell, but didn’t look like it (much). And starting center Hassan Whiteside, who’d gone 5-5 in a mere 11 minutes (four dunks!), sprained his right ankle and did not return. Besides Whiteside’s 10 and Wade’s 18, only Chris Bosh broke into double figures, with 16. Collecting neither fast-break points nor second-chance points in any quantity, the Heat were apparently waiting for the Thunder to mess up, and their patience was rewarded several times before the last OKC push.

The box score was just stuffed full of weirdness. The Thunder took 92 shots and made 41; the Heat took only 68 and made 32. Free throws were few and far between: OKC was 6-10 from the stripe, Miami 14-19. Miami turned the ball over 21 times, OKC only 11. OKC blocked three shots, two of them on the same possession; Miami had two swats. Count eleven steals by the Thunder — four by Russell Westbrook — and four by the Heat. But perhaps the oddest sight to see was Kevin Durant’s line: 19 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, 9-16 on two-point field goals — and 0-8 on treys, which latter figure contributed mightily, or weakly, to the dismal 6-26 longball figure for OKC. The Heat were 8-22 from outside, marginally less dismal.

Westbrook, meanwhile, landed a double-double with 19 points and ten rebounds, while managing only five assists. (Miami led this category, 20-15.) That final Adams bucket gave him ten; Anthony Morrow and Reggie Jackson, back in form, had 12 and 16 respectively. Meanwhile, bucket purchase was unavailable to Dion Waiters, a woeful 1-9.

Still, it’s a W, and it’s on the first half of a back-to-back. Tomorrow, though, the Wizards will be waiting, and the Wizards are 18-5 at home.

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Attendance will be taken

Tuesday, May 19: Brady Theater, Tulsa

Wednesday, May 20: Hudson Performance Hall, Oklahoma City

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With lots of Dash

Last time we checked in with Stacey Dash was, um, day before yesterday, in this Vent:

I would argue … that there are better ways to deal with unfriendly tweets than simply to exit the arena and be done with it. One of my favorites is the simple retweet by the attackee, a method that seems to be favored by individuals perceived as being on the right (as distinguished from “left”) side of the political spectrum. Actress and recent Fox News contributor Stacey Dash seems particularly fond of this routine, and she often has occasion to put it to use, since rather a lot of characters think her a traitor to her race, or some such nonsense.

I’ve never seen any of her Fox stuff, not being a regular viewer of the channel, but she definitely calls ‘em the way she sees ‘em on Twitter.

Today she turns 49, which seems improbable. I found this in the archives, from the summer of ’08:

Stacey Dash on the cover of Monarch magazine summer 2008

And from very recently, at the New York premiere of American Sniper:

Stacey Dash at the New York premiere of American Sniper December 2014

For the record, she’s never sniped at me.

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Downsize matters

This little blurb has shown up in sub-meme (so far) quantities:

No More Lies -- attempts to explain overseas movement of jobs

Just a note: if you have a 401(k), you’re a stockholder, Chuckie.

But this is as good a response as one can reasonably expect:

[T]hat third world guy would be MUCH better off doing seasonal work in a rice paddy somewhere exposed to malaria-ridden mosquitoes and foot fungus trying to scratch out a basic living for his family and maybe afford a used 1970’s transistor radio. Because YOU deserve a higher wage.

Provide more value to the world than you are paid, and the work will come to you. That is how wealth is generated, making the pie bigger for everyone.

Of course, the numbskulls who think all things bright and beautiful come from government will resent the heck out of this, especially when they’re replaced by third-world guys — or by machines assembled by third-world guys.

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Deform follows dysfunction

Or maybe it’s the other way around. A year or so ago, I tossed up some nonsense which was intended to verify that yes, the new Ford F-150 pickup has an aluminum body atop its steel frame, and down in the comments I noted:

In terms of automotive bodywork, steel is decidedly cheaper, if only because it’s easier to form — and, as the body shop will tell you, easier to repair.

You can work an F-150 up to about sixty grand if you try, a sum that will almost buy you the lowest-end Tesla Model S. How much does it cost to fix those little beauties? Let’s just say a helluva lot:

“Cost of repair crazy high” is how one Model S owner puts it in a thread on the Tesla Motor Club online owners forum.

He describes a minor front-end collision, from which he was able to drive away, that cost him $20,327 to repair.

Visible damage was limited to the front left fender, lights, and the corner of the hood. But the bill listed 92 hours of labor and almost $8,000 in parts, including a single self-piercing rivet billed at $35.

That $35 is about what you’d pay for a Tylenol at County Hospital.

Twenty thousand bucks will just about buy me a knee replacement, from which I won’t be able to walk away for some time.

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And the singer sang her song

Nu metal, perhaps?

Earth and the stillness broken by reply
Through the night tide I lie down in the sky
Beyond the waves wipe out the joyous light
And dancing in the power of the night
Want things to go before it is too late
Night tide I lie here in this world of hate
Away like the mist of the desolate
I’ll show you all the world is full of hate

Not the beginning or the end: that section came out of the middle. And I can see someone screaming this into a microphone, maybe, though whether I want to hear someone screaming this into a microphone is another matter entirely.

Anyway, the poet apparently did not intend this to be a song:

We’ve seen (and heard) worse, believe me.

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Seemingly made for each other

I remembered this passage by Cynthia Heimel yesterday, describing a female archetype she calls the Little Girl:

Pink is her wardrobe’s middle name. Too much pink, in fact, is not enough. She is inordinately fond of pinafores and puffy sleeves, and has several pairs of anklets, many of them embroidered with teensy, darling little cornflowers.

And on (and on) from there, until:

What the Little Girl is projecting is that she’s still in the sandbox and therefore not responsible for anything. She spends most of her time looking for someone to take care of her, and although she can usually change a fuse faster than any truck driver, she’s quick to disguise that knowledge.

Doesn’t sound like anyone I know. But she needn’t go unloved:

Her ardent admirer is the Little Boy. He’ll realize that at last he’s found his dream girl. They’ll go to the zoo and cry over the baby polar bear. They’ll write the New Wave version of Peter Pan. They’ll play hopscotch. As a couple, no one will be able to stand them.

I played a pretty mean game of hopscotch in my day, but a Little Boy I’m not.

Heimel wrote that — it’s in her book Sex Tips for Girls — around 30 years ago. Not quite 30 hours ago, this item appeared in my tweetstream (tweets are protected, so no ID):

Grown women who wear Hello Kitty should not be surprised if the men who pursue them still live at home & sleep on Spiderman sheets.

So little we’ve changed.

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Poor me

Google deals me a solid:

Screenshot of Google preview

Oh, well. At least I have a job. (Of course, your mileage may vary, since Google tends to adjust these things from time to time and from user to user.) I assure you, I wasn’t looking for something particularly morose when I started.

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