Knegative results

Before tipoff, this one looked pretty simple. Contain both Carmelo Anthony and J. R. Smith, and the Knicks fall. Contain neither of them, and the Knicks win easily. That leaves an intermediate position, and that’s the way it was looking with a minute and a half left, with ‘Melo at 31 and Smith at a modest 17 and OKC, having grabbed a brief one-point lead shortly before, was down only two. Then Smith rattled off five points in two shots in 31 seconds, and that was pretty much it: in the next 31 seconds, New York was up by eight, and the Thunder never got to within a single possession again. The Knicks go away with their twelfth straight win, 125-120, and perhaps good wishes from Loud City: can New York actually beat the hated Heat?

They did a pretty decent job of thrashing the Thunder, who shot nearly 58 percent and made nine of 17 treys; New York didn’t match those percentages, but they made it up in volume, getting 15 more shots, 17 more from outside. (Telltale statistic: Fifty-one three-pointers were attempted in this game, and the Knicks bagged two-thirds of them.) And New York had the rebounding advantage, 41-37 and 19-10 offensive. Did they get second-chance points? They were getting third-chance points.

Smith finished with 22, Anthony with 36 (and 12 rebounds), Tyson (we coulda had him) Chandler with 15. Pablo Prigioni started at the two in place of the ailing Amar’e Stoudemire, but it was the ultra-deep New York bench — Smith, Jason Kidd, Chris Copeland — that did the heavy lifting.

And it was another time for the Thunder to get numbers, but not much else. Russell Westbrook’s last-second trey, useless as it was, gave him a game-high 37; he finished two assists short of a triple-double. Kevin Durant finished with a reasonably Durantean 27. The reserves did their part, both Kevin Martin and Reggie Jackson collecting double figures. But some days you win with 95, some days you lose with 120.

The last road trip of the season approaches, and there’s not a patsy in the bunch: the Jazz, the Warriors and the Trail Blazers, three games over four nights. Nobody said this was going to be easy.

Comments (1)

A new New Yorker

Six months ago, Adam Gurri and his wife left the District of Columbia and moved to New York’s Upper West Side, and of course it’s a whole different world in the Apple:

I sold my car before coming here and commute entirely by subway. The Metro in DC is just incomparable to the subway system here. You can get almost anywhere in Manhattan so quickly from anywhere else there. In DC, ten minute waits are not uncommon, even at rush hour. In Manhattan, when you see that there is a four minute wait it often means that you only just missed a train. You also get the life experience of more than occasionally being packed into sardine can-like subway cars during rush hour, something you do not really experience in DC.

By which I assume he means that the Metro’s offerings do not compare to those of the MTA.

Of course, a ten-minute trip delay out where I live means that some idiot just discovered he was in the wrong lane and managed to block two, maybe three, lanes at once.

Nearly everywhere I’ve been in Manhattan has so many amenities within a couple of blocks. Our apartment is two short blocks away from a ton of stores — including a grocery store — for instance; there wasn’t anything that close to us in DC, and we were in a fairly dense neighborhood. There are an enormous number of lunch options literally on the same block as the Medialets office.

Amenities near where I work are nonexistent, unless you consider a by-the-hour place of lodging to be an amenity.

The level of intensity is several notches up across the board. People here will run you over on the road and walk over you on the sidewalk if you do not get with the program and move your ass.

Which is something I learned about a decade ago, although I was actually at the wheel at the time.

Still, Gurri makes the place sound exciting. Then again, he’s not the sort of person who swills Pepsi a liter at a time.

Comments (12)


Ken at Popehat thwarts one of those “guest blogger” types in his own inimitable fashion.

Disclosure: Ponies are involved.

Further disclosure: No, not those ponies.

Comments off

It starts with a soapbox

Fausta didn’t mention it on her blog, but she did send out a tweet, so I’m assuming it’s okay to mention it here. The Patch story:

Three candidates — two incumbents and a newcomer — have filed papers announcing their intention to seek a seat on Princeton Council in January, 2014.

Jenny Crumiller and Patrick Simon, both Democrats currently serving one-year terms, are seeking reelection.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz is a Republican newcomer to politics. A native speaker of both English and Spanish, she works as a freelance translator and blogs about Latin American issues.

“My campaign is about participating and integrating people from all parts of New Jersey, the U.S. and the world who come to live in our community and have their voices heard,” Wertz said.

All three candidates will appear on the November 2013 ballot. I’m guessing they’re seeking three-year terms, though things may have changed since January, when the Township and Borough of Princeton were consolidated into a single municipality. (They had separated in 1894 after a dispute over school taxes; three previous merger attempts had failed.) All the Council seats are at-large, so no redistricting is required.

Comments (1)

Stirring up the citrus

One of the blessings of spring, apart from not freezing one’s backside off, is the reappearance of spring fashions, which you didn’t wear for several months because, well, you’d freeze your backside off.

Jennifer put together a suitable-for-spring casual ensemble, including yellow snakeskin stilettos and an orange skirt (which is, she admits, actually a skort, perhaps on the red side of orange), took a picture from here down [gestures] and posted it, and drew a hissy fit from someone who disliked the color combination. Being an eminently sensible person, she posted the entire thread for the amusement of her readers, and noted for posterity:

For the record, I don’t mind if you don’t like my outfits. You don’t have to. I dress for me.

Which tells me that were she so inclined, she could do that whole fashion-blogging thing with aplomb, since that’s the one attitude which must be conveyed.

Comments (1)

The wonderful one-hoss cliché

I’m the last person who needs to be arguing against the judicious — hell, the injudicious — use of shtick. There are, however, plenty of folks who’ve decided that they’ve seen entirely too much already, and are compelled to respond with lists of horribly overused tropes.

Checking my own piddling fictional output — nonfiction is obviously off the scale — against this list, I see quite a bit of #4, not so much of #2 and #8, and hardly any of the others. And to be up front about it, the title here, an Oliver Wendell Holmes reference, is a blatant #4.

(Via Bill Peschel.)

Comments off

And I wonder, still I wonder, who’ll tax the rain?

The answer is Maryland:

Chesapeake Bay faces a serious pollution problem. The Environmental Protection Agency decreed in 2010 that Maryland had to stop so much stormwater runoff from draining into the Bay, a project that would cost $14.8 billion. To pay for that, authorities decided to tax “impervious surfaces” — in the words of The Gazette, “anything that prevents rainwater from seeping into the earth (roofs, driveways, patios, sidewalks, etc.) thereby causing stormwater runoff.”

This solution is being called — with the combined goodwill these two concepts evoke — a rain tax.

Faced with the EPA’s orders, the state has required its 10 largest counties — Montgomery, Prince George’s, Howard, Anne Arundel, Carroll, Harford, Charles, Frederick, Baltimore counties and Baltimore city — to raise the revenue. Rain taxes are to take effect in these areas by July 1.

And just how are they going to calculate this tax?

“Satellite imagery and geographic information systems” will be used to measure the area of roofs and driveways.

Governmental structures, of course, are exempt.

(Via Fark: “Residents wonder what precipitated the decision.”)

Comments (2)

Defective rate

I did the tax returns last night, and 20 percent of what I made last year went straight into federal or state coffers, there to be used or misused, and I’m betting more of the latter than the former. (This does not include the 8.375-percent sales tax around here, 4.5 of which goes to the state, or the property tax on the palatial estate at Surlywood, or various and sundry imposts on things like utility franchises and fuel. Add somewhere around 5 percent for those.)

Last year I talked with a candidate for the state House, and let it be known that I was less interested in seeing the income-tax rate cut than I was in seeing the brackets broadened: I’m not so damnably wealthy, yet I’m always at the top marginal rate. (That rate, for 2012, was 5.25 percent; it kicks in at — get this — $8700.)

I will, of course, postpone writing the checks for a day or two, just because.

Comments (4)

Quote of the week

In Virginia, where radar detectors are contraband, “distracted driving” is apparently becoming a primary offense. One could assume that Richmond needs, or thinks it needs, the money from fines, but Jack Baruth will tell you that there’s something more visceral to it:

I would suggest that the texting-and-driving hysteria we’re seeing now as a society is as outsized as it is for one simple reason: people just love to be Puritans about something and we live in a world now where it’s no longer acceptable to have any public views about sexual behavior or common decency besides those once held by Ol’ Little Roman Boots. Since the Puritanical impulse is likely genetic in nature and it is one of the reasons your Cro-Magnon ancestor survived while his neighbor died in an ill-fated attempt to reproduce with a tribe of bonobos, it’s hard to completely suppress it. Instead, we swallow those feelings and let them fester until one day we are busy nonjudgmentally watching Glee and we see a public-service ad about texting and driving and it erupts from our stomachs in a bile-covered, steel-toothed xenomorphic presence OMG SOMETHING MUST BE DONE BLEEEEARRRRRRGH.

Think of it as another baby step toward Utopia:

An exceptionally paranoid individual, which I am emphatically not or at least emphatically not really, might also wonder if the Illuminati think this: By removing all sorts of potential distractions from driving and forcing us to stare straight ahead at the stopped bumper of the Escalade in front of us, possibly with the aid of those hold-the-eyelids-open apparatus they used on Malcolm McDowell, the misery of operating a privately-owned vehicle might possibly be ratcheted up to the point where we will cheerfully accept being herded onto filthy cattle cars and shipped to our destinations in the most climate-friendly way possible. Just forget I said anything about it, though, because I’m not paranoid.

Then again, the events of this century have persuaded me that the pale has been relocated to a position where nothing is beyond it anymore.

Comments (8)

Squaring Circle City

Once again, the Thunder bring out the Enhanced Defense in the fourth quarter: nine minutes into the final frame in Indianapolis, the Pacers had produced exactly seven points on 2-14 shooting. Frank Vogel, no fool, found the nearest towel and threw it in; Indiana managed one more point before the horn, and the Thunder, thought to be dead tired from last night’s late game against the Spurs, knocked out the Pacers 97-75.

Signs of Total Domination: (1) Every Pacer finished on the minus side of the scale; (2) OKC owned the boards, 53-31; (3) Indiana put up 21 three-pointers, of which only two actually dropped into the cylinder. The Pacers’ mainstays, Roy Hibbert and David West, made a reasonable showing — both scored in double figures while making half their shots — but anyone named George (that would be Paul George and George Hill) found the going rough, and nobody on the bench managed more than four.

It’s difficult to find new ways to say “Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook took over the place,” simply because that’s what they do. KD cashed in 34 points, Russ 24 with nine assists and only two turnovers, and everyone else did just enough to remind you that hey, they’re here too. Daniel Orton (!) got an offensive rebound in garbage time, and who was predicting that?

So the good news: OKC 56-20, San Antonio 56-20. The bad news: the Knicks come to the ‘Peake on Sunday afternoon, and they’ve won 11 straight. Then again, the Pacers had won five straight, and the Thunder beat ’em in Indy. So maybe there’s no need to get, um, Melo-dramatic here.

Comments off

Longer form

Rock Forever Magazine spends eleven minutes talking with Rebecca Black:

Actual revelations: new single under way, still no release date for the album.

And since Playlist LIVE was mentioned, here’s RB at Playlist with guitarist Dave Days, doing Rihanna’s “Stay”:

It’s so much easier to do these when there’s actual material.

Comments off

As the balcony closes

Why, yes, I have kept this for twenty years:

A friend of mine likes to say, “When I have lots of free time, I feel wealthy.”

Roger Ebert, in an email to yours truly, 17 October 1993. (Before you ask: we were on CompuServe.) And I’d bet anything Gene Siskel is waiting with tickets to a premiere.

Addendum: A favorite Ebert story, from 2005.

Comments (2)

Zooeypalooza 18!

How long has it been since you had a big, heaping bowl of Deschanelity?

Well, that’s too long.

Zooeypalooza 18!

As per usual Palooza practice, click = embiggen.

Paloozas of yore: ZP 1, ZP 2, ZP 3, ZP 4, ZP 5, ZP 6, ZP 7, ZP 8, ZP 9, ZP 10, ZP 11, ZP 12, ZP 13, ZP 14, ZP 15, ZP 16, ZP 17.

Comments (1)

Battleaxes for peace

Severian has noticed what he calls “a curious fact”:

The “Sarah Palin must go away / Hillary Clinton is so wonderful” crowd are, themselves, almost invariably married.

These are women who, sometime in their early twenties, embraced politics as a religion. Then they hit their late twenties and, as women do, they wanted to get married and start families. But they had to obey the tenets of their faith, and so they went out and found the kind of skinny-yet-pudgy androgynous betaboy chump who does his shopping at Whole Foods and embraces, in all apparent sincerity, a nontraditional gender-neutral civil commitment ceremony with a Wiccan shaman as officiant and donations to “marriage equality” organizations in lieu of gifts.

Now they’re in their thirties, and stuck with these wusses forever.

I quoted this mostly because “skinny-yet-pudgy” sounds like random empty abuse until you actually see someone meeting that description. In this neck of the woods on any given Saturday it takes about forty-five seconds, except in Edmond, not because it has fewer such, but because you’re stuck in traffic.

Disclosures: I have donated to a “marriage equality” organization. I am not, however, skinny, and while I’m perfectly willing to shop at Sprouts, I draw the line at Whole Foods, mostly as an act of budget preservation, and besides, John Mackey has dropped out of sight.

Comments (3)

Jingle jangled

“Who are you, and what have you done with Tony Parker?” I mean, two points in 25 minutes, and not a trace of him in the fourth quarter. Which isn’t why the Spurs, after pulling to within three with four minutes left, wound up losing by 12 to the Thunder — that was OKC hustle, pure and simple — but apparently this was a night for short rotations: Scott Brooks played only nine guys, Gregg Popovich just eight. (Manu Ginobili was out, but Pop still issued five DNP-CDs.) And the 100-88 win puts OKC only half a game back of the wicked Texans.

Fearless forwards Kawhi Leonard and Tim Duncan — I swear, Duncan is getting younger despite being older than God, if not older than Derek Fisher — turned in stellar performances anyway: both bagged 24 points and double-digit rebounds. However, Tiago Splitter, previously a thorn in the Thunder’s side, was more of a vague, inchoate itch tonight, held to four points and six boards.

Speaking of Fisher, he got his usual 15 minutes; however, he got a highly unusual 17 points, including five of seven from the Crystal Bridge. (I’m waiting for Brooks to issue a single-word statement: “Nyah.”) And it’s a good thing Fisher did that, because Kevin Martin disappeared nearly as thoroughly as Tony Parker. Which means most of the rest of the offense, as usual, was Russell Westbrook (27) and Kevin Durant (25). The Thunder shot a nothing-special 46 percent, but with the Spurs failing to break 40, it was good enough. (How can the Spurs fail to break 40? Might be those thirteen OKC blocks.)

So the season series is split 2-2, but the bigger news is the in-conference record. A team plays 52 games against members of its own conference. The Thunder are 35-13; the Spurs are 32-15. If these two teams finish with an identical overall record, OKC gets the nod. But first, there’s a little obstacle called the Indiana Pacers, who have won five straight and will be happy to start off the Thunder’s weekend with a loss tomorrow night. The Pacers are, um, 29-8 at home.

Comments off

This one doesn’t count

SiteMeter still counts the visitors to this site, as it has for 14 years now, with occasional interruptions and a disparity of 40,000 or so between the two databases it maintains for me. This, however, is a whole new level of fail:

SiteMeter domain expiration

I’m guessing the guy in charge of keeping track of the domain is the same guy who doesn’t answer your tech-support questions.

Addendum: Robert Stacy McCain considers the possibility that it was suicide.

Further addendum: The reports of its death may be greatly exaggerated.

Comments (4)