You don’t know jacked

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau — what, are they in charge of insurance crime? — Fresno, California is the place you want to be if you need your car stolen in a hurry: in 2011 the Fresno metro area recorded 808 auto thefts per 100,000 population, soundly beating both Modesto and Bakersfield.

Not that we’re in any position to brag here on the prairie; Oklahoma City’s 410-per-100k rate ranked 17th highest, and I have the insurance bills to prove it. We don’t have chop shops listed in the Yellow Pages or anything like that, but if we did, absolutely no one would bat an eye.

Besides, car thieves are a generally reprehensible lot.

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More whimper than bang

And just like that, it was over. If life in South Beach is a cabaret, the Thunder were definitely old chum tonight, chewed up and spit out and left to dry until next year. Down ten at the half, it was manageable; down twenty-four after three, it was well-nigh impossible. The white flag went up with 4:44 left, and the Heat won the whole ball of wax in decisive fashion, 121-106. And just to underscore the point, LeBron James posted a triple-double: 26 points, 13 assists, 11 rebounds.

Not that King James had to do it alone. Three teammates broke the 20-point mark, and two others logged double figures. (Scariest: Mike Miller, who hit 7 of 8 from beyond the arc and two free throws for 23, though he inexplicably missed all three of his shorter shots.) The vaunted Big Three, with 70 points among them, justified their vaunt. Miami shot 52 percent, 54 percent on treys. And if you want a telltale statistic, here’s one: the Thunder blocked only three shots all night. Dwyane Wade did that much by himself.

And when OKC wasn’t failing to defend, they were failing to make shots. The Heat weren’t allowing points in the paint, and shots from the periphery weren’t falling. (Twenty-eight tries for three points, eleven successes, and almost half of them came when it didn’t matter anymore.) Russell Westbrook, scourge of defenders and critics two nights ago, put up a meek 4-20, though he did drop in 11 free throws. Kevin Durant outscored everyone with 32 points, and still finished -23 for the night. James Harden came to life, which made people ask where he’d been. It was that kind of evening.

Then again, if you were here when this team was going 3-29 — well, as the Academy Award losers say, it’s an honor just to be here. And it is. Now to figure out a way to get back.

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Still pretty

It seems we haven’t checked in with the aptly-named Tristan Prettyman lately. (In case you’ve forgotten, she’s the one who recorded that highly delectable breakup song “Madly,” and she looks good on a bicycle.) It’s been four years since her last full album (Hello…x), so I’m looking forward to Cedar & Gold, due later this summer.

In the meantime, there’s a single, “My Oh My,” which Entertainment Weekly’s EW.com has as an exclusive for the moment. Apart from a dollop of studio polish, though, it’s not so different from this live version from last year, captured on a camcorder from far away:

There are a couple of moments when I think she’s been listening to Adele, but then almost everyone has been listening to Adele.

A still from that performance:

Tristan Prettyman at Life Is Good Festival

The name still fits.

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Your dog wants beer

And now there’s a brewski just for your pooch:

A Seattle company is brewing beer for dogs, which is a non-carbonated mixture of meat-broth and malt barley, with glucosamine added for joint health.

Still sounds better than Bud Light with [anything]. How did this come about?

Bowser Beer’s creator Jenny Brown said that she got the idea of the non-alcoholic drink, at a holiday farmer’s market in 2007 for which she had made spicy pretzels and, at the urging of customers, a peanut-butter alternative for their dogs.

Thinking to herself, “What goes better with pretzels than beer?” Brown devised four beer recipes for her three dogs to taste-test. One recipe was the clear winner, and the beer for dogs was born.

Says the Fark submitter: “New beer designed for dogs has meat broth, malt barley and contains no alcohol. Or, as beer drinkers call it, ‘New Coors Light’.

Your pony, on the other hoof, wants cider.

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The highest form of journalism

Inasmuch as she may be looking for a new gig soon, here’s a reminder of how NBC’s Ann Curry did the work that other reporters just won’t do:

Ann Curry on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno

And by “other journalists,” I mean “Matt Lauer.”

(From 13 May 2011, I think. Maybe Steve Lackmeyer will know for sure.)

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Fark blurb of the week

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From the Bureau of Love and Tolerance

Dean Esmay watches My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic so you don’t have to, though you probably should anyway:

After having watched the first five episodes I was not sure what anyone saw in this show other than the pretty art. I recently got as far as episode 7 and I’m starting to actually like it. It’s still very much a kid’s show, but it’s showing some real humor and also some healthy, functional values, so I’m kinda digging it. All the male characters are kind of dumb and clueless, but what the heck, it’s a girl’s show so why not?

Do not underestimate Big Macintosh. He may not say much, but he’s one pony you want on your side when the chips are down. (Snips and/or Snails, maybe not so much.)

In the realm of “not intended as MLP-related, but just you wait,” I bring you Tam’s transcript of a discussion with her roomie:

Me: “Oh, poor Bobbi! How are you feeling?”

RX: “Not what I should be.”

Me: “What should you be? Ooh! I know! A magical flying unicorn pony!”

I duly wrote Princess Celestia, who is, after all, a magical flying unicorn pony, and sent her the link. (She replied.)

And, just to fill out this scenario, here’s a link to “The Roommate,” a 24,000-word fanfic about a college student whose new roommate is Rainbow Dash, a pony who does fly, but who is not a unicorn. And just where is this college? Um, in Indiana.

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That old Grecian formula

The new governing coalition in Greece is described by Sonic Charmer as “pro-bailout,” which he says is a “big victory for Europe”:

Greece’s willingness to take more money they will never pay back … is, in turn, a big victory for Europe, because, by pouring more bad money after bad into Greece, they will get to keep on pretending to be solvent and viable. This may appear on the surface to make no sense whatsoever, but that’s only because you aren’t a master of high finance like those old French multimillionaire socialist types who will undoubtedly cheer on this news.

Not to mention their American acolytes, of which we seem to have an inexplicable abundance.

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Locked groove

Roger L. Simon, on the lack of progress among “progressives” of a certain age:

How could a generation that has not changed its worldview one jot since 1968 be considered cool? That’s 44 years dancing to the same DJ with no alteration of rhythm or style or even a change of venue. Since the sixties, it’s been one long variation on The Twist — and Chubby Checker did it so much better in the first place.

Actually, the second place: “The Twist” began as a Hank Ballard B-side in 1959, a year before Chubby tried his hand, or waist, at it.

And as long as we’re playing Determined Revisionist, here’s Chubby’s first hit: “The Class,” also from 1959, in which several earlier recordings and artists are gently mocked. It made #38 in Billboard, though admittedly not a patch on “The Twist,” still the only record ever to make #1, fall all the way off the chart, and then over a year later reach #1 again. (We will discuss “Pony Time” some other time.)

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Visualize whirled pieces

The latest word from space:

The Mars Odyssey spacecraft uses three spinning reaction wheels to control its orientation in space. But on June 8, one of those reaction wheels jammed temporarily and sent the orbiter into a safe mode to await directions from mission controllers on Earth.

As part of the repair process, mission engineers activated Mars Odyssey’s spare reaction wheel on June 12, spinning it up to a mindboggling 5,000 rotations per minute in both the forward and reverse directions.

Hmmm. I quite often rev Gwendolyn’s little V6 up to 5000 rpm, and neither her mind nor mine ends up boggled. (There’s another 1600 before the redline.) And this is nothing compared to, say, a Dremel tool that starts at 10,000 rpm.

(Via the similarly-unboggled Alfred Centauri.)

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To be quickly red

Corvettes and Ferraris are supposed to be red, and not just red: it’s a red that sears the eyeballs even at twilight, a red that invites the attention of armed authority. Hence “Arrest Me Red,” not so named in any official color palette but easily recognized at a distance. Even my lowish-suds Toyota Celica was painted in this shade, though surely it’s a coincidence that I’ve never been pulled over in any of my other, non-red cars, right?

And now Lynn is wondering if just wearing a red dress is enough to draw unexpected attention:

I was at the post office a little while ago and a neatly dressed and coiffed old woman came over to me and told me, “Be careful when you leave here. Don’t speed. There’s a cop sitting right over there.” And it wasn’t like we just happened to cross paths. She obviously spotted me from halfway across the parking lot and purposely came to me to tell me that.

Possibly supporting this conjecture:

I probably wouldn’t even have thought of that if I hadn’t watched an episode of Brain Games last night that included testing the hypothesis that a woman in a red dress can talk a man into doing just about anything.

Assuming, of course, you want him to do something. And she assures us that what she was wearing was indeed red, but not the least bit racy — which leaves her with a quandary:

I suppose the color red means “fast” to a lot of people. So should I avoid red or wear it more often to show the world I’ve still got it?

This is the sort of fine judgment call that brings out the wrinkles in the brow. There’s nothing wrong with showing the world you’ve still got it, but there are going to be circumstances when the background is a better place to be. (One of those, I submit, is zipping down the Interstate.)

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The unreal McCoy

George Takei, who in his post-Star Trek years has developed seriously deep pockets full of wry, posted this convention name tag to his Facebook page:

Dammit Jim

We remember it this way, though Dr. McCoy never actually said it that way: we can’t see DeForrest for the trees.

(Via Arnold Zwicky, thanks to this Nancy Friedman tweet.)

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The word is “execution”

There were moments tonight when I thought the Thunder might be expecting to be shot at dawn: tentativeness reared its ugly head through much of the second quarter, and worse, the last four minutes of the fourth. Considering OKC had a 17-point lead late in the first — but never mind. We won’t go there. With 13 seconds left, Russell Westbrook, who had been sporadically brilliant this evening, inexplicably fouled Mario Chalmers as the shot clock wound down, and Super Mario sank both of those plus one more on the next possession to put it out of reach. It was Miami 104, Oklahoma City 98, and the Heat are one away from putting it away entirely.

Chalmers did more damage in that last frame, in fact, than did LeBron James, who had a team-high 26 but departed a couple minutes early, apparently suffering from a bad cramp. Mario, who rolled up 13 points in the fourth, finished with 25, same as Dwyane Wade. But let us not minimize King James’ contributions: he hauled in nine rebounds, tied with Chris Bosh, and served up 12 assists, one fewer than the entire Thunder team.

Westbrook, I think, was wanting to prove something to his detractors: he put up 32 of OKC’s 82 shots, and made twenty of them. Forty-three points. (Kevin Durant went 9-19 for 28.) But James Harden is still struggling: he was 2-10 from the floor — 1-5 for two, 1-5 for three — although he did bring down 10 rebounds, more than anyone else. Still, the Heat had the rebounding edge (40-35), and perhaps more important, they had the intangibles edge: even when trailing by 14 after the first quarter, they were purposeful and focused. And in a matter of not very many minutes, they weren’t trailing at all.

So it’s down to Thursday night. And you know, if you’re gonna lose, you might as well do it on the road: you hate to disappoint the hometown fans. At least, you’re supposed to hate to.

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Family resemblance

While Phylicia Rashad, whose birthday this is, most likely is best known for her years as Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show, she paid plenty of dues on Broadway both before and after, including a stint as Sheryl Lee Ralph’s understudy in the original production of Dreamgirls.

Like mother, like daughter, perhaps: Condola Rashad, Phylicia’s daughter, is starting to make a name for herself in the theatre, earning praise for her role in Lydia R. Diamond’s Stick Fly, which ran for ninety-odd performances on Broadway this past winter. It was only her second role after finishing college.

Condola Rashad in Flaunt Magazine

And Condola apparently shares her mother’s work ethic as well:

“She knows it’s the work that matters,” Phylicia Rashad said. “If not for the work, no one would be a celebrity, except for the Kardashians.”

(Picture snagged from Complexitii…)

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No password required, either

Yorkshire Building Society — over here we used to call such organizations “savings and loan associations” back when people actually did some saving — reinstituted the old-style passbook savings account last year, and it’s been a smash hit:

Yorkshire Building Society’s “back to the future” passbook account has become its most popular savings offering since its launch twelve months ago, despite offering no internet access and requiring people to bank in their local branches.

Almost three times as many people are opening these accounts, which pay 2.25 percent, than any other Yorkshire Account, the mutual said, proving that the old-fashioned passbook is still popular in today’s world.

“So is getting a yield recognizable as a yield,” says the guy over here earning a whole six bucks a year in interest.

Oh, and there’s a formal name for this account, just in case McFly shows up with a team of lawyers:

Yorkshire Building Society’s Triple Access Account, which allows three withdrawals a year without penalty, can be opened and operated at branches of Yorkshire, Chelsea or Barnsley building societies, and the Yorkshire’s agencies. The minimum opening balance is £100.

Were it not so darn far … no, never mind, I’m just asking for trouble that way.

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man.)

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And there was light

Leah Libresco, a fixture at the Patheos portal for atheists, is leaving that spot, on the basis that she’s no longer qualified:

I’ve heard some explanations that try to bake morality into the natural world by reaching for evolutionary psychology. They argue that moral dispositions are evolutionarily triumphant over selfishness, or they talk about group selection, or something else. Usually, these proposed solutions radically misunderstand a) evolution b) moral philosophy or c) both. I didn’t think the answer was there.

And thinking it over further, she decided that the question wasn’t “Where?” but “Who?”

I believed that the Moral Law wasn’t just a Platonic truth, abstract and distant. It turns out I actually believed it was some kind of Person, as well as Truth. And there was one religion that seemed like the most promising way to reach back to that living Truth. I asked my friend what he suggest we do now, and we prayed the night office of the Liturgy of the Hours together (I’ve kept up with that since). Then I suggested hugs and playing Mumford and Sons really, really loudly.

Her blog continues, on the Patheos Catholic channel.

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