Move along, dammit

Yes, it’s called the Garden State Parkway, but no, that doesn’t mean you get to park there. A New Jersey legislator has sponsored a bill to jack up the penalties for left-lane banditry:

State Senator Donald Norcross (D-Camden) has sponsored a bill that would toughen the penalties for clogging the left lane.

“Being trapped behind a slower vehicle is one of the biggest triggers for road rage,” he told the Philadelphia Inquirer last week. “Some people have told me the fines we’re proposing are not high enough. They said, ‘It should be execution.'”

Norcross won’t go quite that far, but the fines will be boosted from the $50-100 range to $100-300. Last year, New Jersey police busted members of the Anti-Destination League 5,127 times, so this has the potential of dropping a quarter-million dollars or more into Trenton’s depleted coffers.

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LOL, cats

After the debacle last night, you had to figure the Thunder would take out their frustrations on Charlotte, and the Bobcats somehow stayed in contention for thirteen, fourteen minutes, before the hammer came down and the blowout began. OKC, up by a mere three after the first quarter, cranked up the tempo enough to take a 58-40 lead at the half — and then had the audacity to speed it up. Defense? How much do you need when you’re shooting 63 (!) percent? So the ‘Cats got a respectable 55 points in that second half and still lost ground, and all 13 active Thundermen got minutes. Yes, even Ryan Reid. It was 122-95, and even radio guy Matt Pinto seemed relieved when the shot clock was finally shut off.

Workhorse Corey Maggette, who never seems to age, was good for 21 points, and the two ex-Thunder players on the Charlotte roster acquitted themselves well: Byron Mullens had 12 points on 6-8 shooting, and D. J. White 10 on 4-7. In fact, when you add D. J. Augustin’s team-leading 22, you discover that more than a third of Charlotte’s offense was generated by guys named D. J. And when you realize this means nothing, you forget about it and go on to the one area where the Bobcats shone: offensive rebounds, of which they had 15. The Thunder had only six, but then how many offensive rebounds can you get when you shoot 63 percent?

James Harden, who’d gone one whole game without a new career high, made up for that tonight with a sparkling 33-point performance, hitting 11 of 16 from the floor and 4 of 9 for distance. And this on nights where Kevin Durant (26 on 8-12) and Russell Westbrook (23 on 10-14) were hitting on all cylinders, no less. In fact, everyone scored except Reid, who played only five minutes. Former Bobcat Nazr Mohammed — turnabout is fair play, y’know — manned the middle for 13 minutes and scored four, rebounded thrice, pulled off two steals and blocked two shots. The Thunder still put up a heck of a lot of three-balls, but they actually made ten of them (out of 23), so no one’s complaining.

The last game of the home stand is Tuesday, against the Rockets, after which it’s off to Denver. Already I miss the East.

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Deep dark desire

Or in Hindi, “Bipasha.” Last name is Basu. She’s been doing Bollywood for a decade, and will make her English-language film debut in Roland Joffé’s Singularity, set for release this year.

Bipasha Basu

Bipasha has Jism on her résumé, and not everyone can say that. Retitled Body: The Dark Side of Desire for English-language consumption, Jism seems to be homage to Double Indemnity with a side order of Body Heat.

This wasn’t at all what she’d planned to do with her life:

I actually wanted to be a doctor. But doing all those horrid rat dissections made me faint. I studied science till the 12th standard and later took up commerce. I was planning to do chartered accountancy, but fate had something else in store for me.

For “fate,” read “Ford,” the model agency, which declared her “Supermodel of the World” in 1996, when she was seventeen.

And Singularity looks, um, perplexing. The official synopsis:

After a dangerous dive to save his wife Laura trapped while exploring an colonial British merchant ship wreckage, Jay Fennel, a rugged and attractive marine archeologist lies brain dead in a Boston hospital. Fennel’s dream-like coma takes us back in time to Pune, India in 1778. The British East India Company is invading the palaces and a young captain named James Stewart, who bears a striking resemblance to Fennel, is about to embark on a dangerous mission. Along the way he encounters murder, deceit, betrayal and revenge. He falls deeply in love with an Indian She-warrior named Tulaja, an impossible love which he must fight for. Only the power of a ring can transcend time and save a life.

For “rugged and attractive,” read “Josh Hartnett.”

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Antelope Freeway, 1/262144th mile

Peter Bergman, founding member of the Firesign Theatre and one-time purchaser of a fabulous new car from Ralph Spoilsport Motors, has now reached infinity: he died Friday at a Santa Monica hospital following a battle with leukemia.

He might have smiled at the working title for this piece: “Why, he’s no fun, he fell right over.” I suspected, though, that nobody else would.

Nick Danger, uncharacteristically, was not available for comment.

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Quote of the week

Andrea Harris emerges from hiatus to remind us that America, no matter what you heard, is not any kind of patriarchy worthy of the name:

Oh no, it is not. A patriarchy would at least imply adulthood, and as usual there are no grownups to be seen, only sports fan clutching the various souvenirs of their favorite teams. The United States of America is not a patriarchy — it’s a Boy’s Own Clubhouse, full of overgrown adolescents vying among one another for the title of Most Obnoxious.

This describes just about every administration since Eisenhower’s; the Obama regime, despite being ostensibly liberally salted with humanoids identified as “women” — alternatively, “womyn” — and therefore theoretically an exception, nonetheless conforms in every way to the middle-school tantrum model.

One thing the Democrats do well, though, and that’s bring out the worst in the GOP:

So far they’ve played the right like a violin — they know that the right wing in this country is dominated by white male titty babies. It’s easy to start a tantrum among such: just try to take one, just one, of their toys away. Today’s toy is “women need to know their place.” I did at first think that Sandra Fluke should have responded to Limbaugh’s sub-Beavis-and-Butthead “hurr hurr she takes the Pill she must sleep with a lot of guys” prostitute allusions with “and your point is?”, but now I think she knew exactly what she was doing: getting the right wing to reveal itself once again as a gang of preteen boys who still think that their mom doesn’t know they stash copies of Playboy under their mattresses.

The wingnuts missed a good bet, I think, by not immediately agreeing with Fluke: “It’s worth some insignificant percentage of the Federal budget — or would be if we actually had a Federal budget — to help these folks with their goal of non-reproduction.” Demography being about 90 percent of destiny — well, the numbers speak for themselves. The Libertarians of course would be outraged; but that is, after all, their function in life, and surely they deserve a reason to live.

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For instance,

From the “Why didn’t I think of this?” files:

Equestria NIC (EqNIC for short) is a domain name registry which will soon permit Pony fans everywhere to host a domain of their choice in the magic land of Equestria, under the .eq country-code Top-Level Domain. Through a generous grant by Princess Celestia herself, domain names in .eq will be free of charge.

Regretfully, Equestria was denied acceptance into the ISO, which allocates country codes (we understand that the laughter at our letter was raucous and relentless); therefore, .eq is unable to be a part of the ICANN DNS root most users access already. Fortunately, we are applying to the OpenNIC alternate root, who are substantially more likely to accept our proposal. In order to access .eq sites, users will need to change the DNS resolvers their network devices use, which will allow them to access both ICANN domains — meaning that every site which worked before the change will work afterwards — and OpenNIC domains, of which .eq will be one. This will only need to be done once per device, and new programs are being developed to make this as easy as a point and a click.

The ISO 3166-1 list, if you ask me, already contains countries of arguable existence, and as Jon Postel noted in RFC 1591: “The IANA is not in the business of deciding what is and what is not a country.”

I’d bet several bits that the first actual domain will be DerpyHooves.eq.

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Who ordered the grinder?

It does not pay to misunderestimate 14-23 teams, especially on your own home court. Byron Scott has spent lots of time here — he was the coach of the Hornets during their two-year sojourn in the Big Breezy — and he arguably has a better feel for the place than most Eastern coaches, which may explain why the Thunder never could quite put this one out of reach. Then again, neither could the Cavs until the last couple of minutes, when Cleveland went on a 14-5 run to close out the Thunder 96-90, only the second OKC loss at the Downtown Roundhouse this season.

Or you might look at the night before last, when these same Cavaliers sneaked out of Denver with a 100-99 win over the Bumpy Lumps, and you might reasonably conclude that their prayers are being answered, and the answer is Kyrie — rookie guard Kyrie Irving, who got that dunk with four seconds left in Denver, and who made his mark in an arena he hadn’t seen before by rolling up nine points, 12 dimes, three steals, and only one turnover. With Irving doing the ball movement, Antawn Jamison was left to do the heavy lifting, which he did: 21 points and eight boards, though it must be said that A. J. put up rather a lot of bricks.

The Thunder, in fact, actually outshot the Cavs by seven percentage points, but Cleveland got 15 extra chances at the net, thanks to utter dominance on the boards: 51-40, 21-8 offensive. And the three guys who got 91 points against the Suns Wednesday — well, obviously, the whole team didn’t get 91 tonight. For the record: Kevin Durant 23, Russell Westbrook 19, James Harden 15. It was another case of too many tries from too far away: 24 treys attempted, six made, none in the second half. Everyone in Scott Brooks’ 10-man rotation showed up on the minus side, though the range was only -1 to -5. And not even another mighty Serge Ibaka performance — 13 points, seven boards, six blocks — was going to save the Thunder tonight.

The intangibles for tomorrow: it’s the second half of a back-to-back, where the Thunder have been doing well most of the season, and it’s against the Bobcats. Then again, look what happens when you take the likes of Cleveland, um, cavalierly.

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False wetness

Yes, it did rain all day yesterday; yes, we’re still in a drought. You live here long enough, you get used to that sort of thing.

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Muffin going on

This may be the only time in history I get to combine a Rebecca Black update with My Little Pony shtick, and I’m not about to pass up that opportunity:

Especially, you know, since it’s Derpy.

(Via Equestria Daily.)

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Cop shocks

A couple of years ago, I opined that while the upcoming Carbon Motors police car had its defenders, I’d just as soon the lawmen of America were driving Chevys — even Australian Chevys.

Now Carbon’s plans have gone pear-shaped, or perhaps Solyndrical:

[Wednesday] Carbon Motors said it was denied a $310 million DOE loan. Carbon Motors CEO William Santana Li says in a statement on the company’s website:

“We are outraged by the actions of the DOE and it is clear that this was a political decision in a highly-charged, election year environment. Since Solyndra became politicized last fall, the DOE has failed to make any other loans under the ATVM program, has pulled back one loan that it previously committed and, as of this month, the DOE has pushed aside the three remaining viable loans under active consideration.

“Each of these applicants has been caught for several years in a costly and extensive DOE due diligence process. Carbon Motors simply appears to be the last victim of this political gamesmanship.”

The thing about political gamesmanship, though, is that there’s never a “last” victim, so long as there’s someone wanting to game the system — and there’s always someone wanting to game the system.

And were there overwhelming public demand for the Carbon cop car, investors would be pouring in, wouldn’t they?

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A story you’ve heard before

Pretty much every fembot tale ever written has a passage like this. On the other hand, very few of them have ever been written to run on the PS3.

This is quite heartrending in its own way, but it still takes a back seat to Janelle Monáe’s Metropolis saga, which opens with the following cheery announcement:

I am happy to announce we have a star-crossed winner in today’s heartbreak sweepstakes. Android Number 57821, otherwise known as Cindi Mayweather, has fallen desperately in love with a human named Anthony Greendow. And you know the rules: she is now scheduled for immediate disassembly!

Bounty hunters, you can find her in the Neon Valley Street District on the 4th floor at the Leopard Plaza apartment complex.

Not to mention Helen O’Loy. (Which I did, once upon a time.)

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Going the extra kilometer

Tom Pease is talking specifically here about auto dealers in California, but these particular principles seem extensible, to me anyway, to almost any vendor of anything anywhere:

Much in the same way some manufacturers have realized that cutting corners, cheapening out and doing “just okay” isn’t going to cut it anymore, you have to drill into your retailers that the customers have to walk out feeling good about their purchase. All the wenge and granite interiors, Billy Haines furniture and hot and cold running frappuccino isn’t going to go you any good if the glad-handing meat-puppet representing your brand made a customer (even a potential one) feel like a trip to the free clinic might be in order.

The industry probably won’t have to replace more than, oh, 70 percent of its plaid-clad glad-handers.

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It being March and all

It’s once again time for Ogle Madness, and the matchups this year are, um, interesting. I mean, in the Midwest alone you have Blake Shelton (5) versus the Pioneer Woman (12), and Olivia Munn (2) versus Steve Lackmeyer (15).

(Historical note: I got bumped off in the very first round of the very first Ogle Madness, thus forever establishing my Lack of Game. Or something.)

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In which we will not use a certain S word

Darn those college girls, they just keep having sex (which isn’t the S word in question) all the time:

A New York woman has filed a lawsuit against her former Roman Catholic college in Boston, claiming administrators didn’t do enough to help her when she complained that her roommate was having too much sex in their dorm room.

Lindsay Blankmeyer said in a federal lawsuit that she suffered from depression and attention deficit disorder before she enrolled at Stonehill College, but was driven into a suicidal depression after school officials wouldn’t give her reasonable housing alternatives to get her away from her roommate at the school in Easton, Mass.

Blankmeyer said her roommate had sex with her boyfriend while she was trying to sleep just feet away and also participated in “sexually inappropriate video chatting” while Blankmeyer was in the dorm room.

The college, however, tells it differently:

Stonehill spokeswoman Kristen Magda said the college responded “swiftly and professionally” to Blankmeyer’s complaints about her roommate, first trying to resolve the dispute through mediation with a residence director, then by giving Blankmeyer “multiple options” for campus housing, including a private room.

“At no time did the student notify college staff that her concerns involved her roommate’s sexual activity,” Magda said [March 2].

I had a private room back in the day, but I was newly arrived from the Island of Misfit Toys and had a fresh coat of Girl Repellent, or something.

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Behold the power of cheesiness

“Did you know there was Velveeta fan fic?” asks Nancy Friedman.

As Johnny Carson was wont to say, “I did not know that.” And I must pass it on: yes, there is Velveeta fanfiction.

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Public relations, privatized

Well, I’m still on John Doak’s mailing list, which is no big deal. However, the last culprit I cited for emailfeasance is now apparently out of the loop: the Commissioner of Insurance, judging by the latest arrival, has outsourced his PR to something called, and they sent nothing more annoying than a PDF file. A step in the right direction, guys.

(“Emailfeasance”? I could grow to like that one.)

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