Meanwhile, behind the curtain

We’ve been down this yellow brick road before. In 1985, Disney put out a film called Return to Oz, based on the second and third Oz books by L. Frank Baum. (The first book, of course, was out of the question, having been used for the 1939 MGM Oz film.) There was only one intellectual-property skirmish, and ultimately Disney paid MGM for the right to give Dorothy a pair of ruby slippers.

Now Disney’s about to reboot the Oz series, and Warner Bros., which controls the MGM original, is wary, says The Hollywood Reporter:

In October, Warner Bros. very quietly filed a trademark registration on “The Great and Powerful Oz.”

Why is this newsworthy? Well, Disney’s coming reboot of the story, directed by Sam Raimi and starring James Franco, is titled Oz, the Great and Powerful. Warners filed its trademark registration only one week after Disney had filed its own.

Warners lost that battle, having been a week late, but they might ultimately win the war. Said the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals last year:

We agree with the district court’s conclusion that Dorothy, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, and Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz, Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler from Gone with the Wind, and Tom and Jerry each exhibit “consistent, widely identifiable traits” in the films that are sufficiently distinctive to merit character protection under the respective film copyrights…

I do believe in law, I do, I do, I do, I do…

(Via Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings.)

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The pluck of the Irish

Apparently the major topic of conversation before the game was the fact that the Celtics had never lost to the Thunder in Oklahoma City; the Thundermen had been pretty effective in Beantown, but they’d always folded at home. And before this had time to sink in, Boston was out to a ten-point lead. Then, eight and half minutes in, OKC went on a crushing 28-2 run, eventually jumping to a 72-49 halftime lead. The lead grew to 27 before the Celtics slowly started fighting back. And then it wasn’t so slowly: eventually that lead was whittled down to six. Fortunately, the Thunder suddenly remembered how to close out games, and bounced back to a 119-104 win.

In the absence of the suspended Rajon Rondo, Boston started Avery Bradley at the point; he was decently effective before fouling out late. All five starting Celtics wound up in double digits — Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen had 23, 23 and 21 respectively — but the Boston bench combined managed only nine.

Telltale statistic: the Thunder had only two turnovers in the first half, but twelve in the second. And then there were the fourth-quarter technicals: one on Kendrick Perkins as he fouled out — one can only imagine what he said — one on Serge Ibaka, and even one on Kevin Durant. Despite the miscues, the OKC numbers were pretty decent: 50 percent shooting, 9 of 19 treys, and plus-11 on the boards. Once again, Russell Westbrook took more shots than KD; once again, nobody cared. (Westbrook had 31 points, Durant 28, and both had six assists.) Still, any game in which Daequan Cook has to play 39 minutes has something askew, although DC14 did knock down 17 points. James Harden was back in charge of the second unit, and picked up 17 points and a +23 overall, best on the court.

The only question remaining now before the All-Star break is whether the Lakers will sleepwalk through tomorrow night or actually go through the motions.

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Everyone’s a critic

In case you were wondering “What’s the best way to process criticism?” here’s the answer, from a comic artist:

The funny thing about the internet is that it made everyone a critic, and it made everyone an expert. Amazing right!

The first time you see someone tear your comic apart it’s like a punch in the gut. The hundredth time you see it? No big deal. All the same, even when you know better, there are days when a load of people will say “good job!” and then one person says something shitty and you feel like garbage. Hey, it happens! Don’t worry about it. The bad things people have called my comics could fill the Salty Sailor’s Dictionary of Swear Phrases. Not a present I’d give to my mom. I said this before about online critics, I’ll say it again: remember that on the internet you can go to a place that reviews Citizen Kane and underneath it someone will have written “this is the most overrated piece of shit on planet Earth.” Then remember that whoever said that doesn’t matter.

(Via R. Francis Smith.)

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The opposite of specs

Corrective lenses? Well, yeah, but even if we make you wear them to drive, we don’t actually want to see them on your license:

Oklahoma now makes people who wear glasses take their glasses off for their drivers license or ID photo. I absolutely do not look like me without my glasses. I did wear makeup today so I wouldn’t look like I don’t have any eyelashes but the photo is hideous anyway. The good thing about it is that on the license it came out so washed out you can barely tell it’s a face. (They show you the photo on a screen before they print the license.) I know everyone’s DL photo is hideous but a a few years ago I actually had one that was pretty decent so now I have higher expectations.

At least they don’t object if you smile, unlike some places I could name.

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Unexpectedly Alevated

“Weird Al” Yankovic let it be known (via Twitpic) that he would be on 30 Rock, and, well, I was so moved that I left a question for him.

Which drew this response:

Screen shot from TweetDeck: A Fey accompli, is it?

I may never filter that TweetDeck column again.

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Dolled up, so to speak

The cosmetics industry apparently has only one hope of expansion, and the target is someone who never needed this stuff before:

The New York Times recently had an article about make-up for the “tweens” and their younger sisters.

Since tweens run generally 9 to 12, their younger sisters will be no older than 8.

The article talked about “the tween beauty sophisticate” to whom anti-aging [sic] products were being pitched. (What? They don’t want 7-year-olds to look like they’re 8? And yet they want them to wear makeup?!) Most cosmetic users start at age 10, it reported. A favorite item, “created” by the 15-year-old daughter of that master of good taste Madonna, is a package of four eye shadows and a black liner called “Smoky and Sexy.” (Yeah — how many of you moms and dads want your kids to look “sexy”?) A new Disney character-themed beauty line will be introduced by Target and Willa Cosmetics, “aimed at the 7 to 14 set,” was created by a mom “looking for beauty options for her 8-year-old daughter.” (Italics, mine.)

Apparently “presentable,” the standard for youngsters back in the Jurassic period when I was growing up, is no longer enough. There is, of course, an official justification for all this:

“Some girls are hitting puberty at 9 or 10 years old. They’re popping up with pimples. It makes them self-conscious. And that’s why we have a concealer that covers up acne,” says one marketing wizard. Whatever happened to Clearasil? And exactly where are those pimples? On the eyelids? The lips?

I dunno about the rest of you, but I am not prepared for fourth-graders wearing lip gloss, nor am I enthusiastic about the effect this sort of thing might have on J. Random Humbert.

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Oh, you guys

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Who Nose?

Karina Nose

Japanese actress Karina Nose, who quite understandably goes simply by “Karina,” is relatively unknown in these parts; the bio below comes from her Web site.

She debuted in 2000, serving as the top model for fashion magazine “Ray” (published by Shufunotomosha). She made the covers of all the magazines throughout the year. And also, got the position of the top model for fashion magazine “GINGER” (published by Gentosha) since 2009. At the same time, She debuted in the TV drama “KABACHITARE” in 2001 as an actress, also in 2004, Her first movie appearance was “SHINKOKYU NO HITSUYOU” as a leading role. After that, she appeared in numerous hit TV dramas series with a leading role, including “DAISUKI” (2008) and “Real Clothes” (2009). She has produced the wedding dress in 2007, was awarded a prize of the best leathernist 2008, and tried to do a character voice in the movie “DORAEMON”. She actives in the front lines in various fields.

Quite impressive for someone who just turned 27. I think. Long may she continue to active in those front lines.

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Are you Duff enough?

Last year I noted that Duff beer was actually available in several Latin American countries. It’s also in Europe, and there’s a UK distributor, describing the product thusly:

  • Premium 4.7% ABV
  • Pack contains 330ml Duff Beer
  • Light refreshing lager style
  • Available in the iconic 330ml bottle or can
  • Brewed by the highly acclaimed brewery — Eschweger Klosterbrauerei
  • Brewed to the German purity laws of 1864
  • Cult brand with iconic packaging that is fully trademarked

Note that this is 4.7 alcohol by volume; on the Oklahoma near-beer scale, it’s about 3.9.

And “fully trademarked”? Does Fox get a piece of the action? Apparently not.

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The bucks never stopped here

We can’t all be one of the so-called “1%,” and so what?

You know, I’m getting to that age where I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be mega-wealthy, and this realization comes with some sadness on my part, too. But I don’t actively resent people who do succeed or people who inherit wealth or a better position in life than I did. I mean, really. Let them have their fun. And if I strike the lottery, I’ll join them briefly until I blow all my winnings and declare bankruptcy.

Now that’s the spirit.

Sometimes I think this class warfare resentment is just a comfortable way to translate bitterness and disappointment into personal superiority.

But of course. People who think they’re entitled to more than they’ve earned will almost always resent people who actually work for it.

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Don’t know much about science books

This ran in a couple of state papers earlier this month:

In a state-by-state review, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a think tank based in Washington, D.C., found science education standards in most states are “mediocre to awful, placing America’s national competitiveness, technological prowess and scientific leadership in grave jeopardy.”

Oklahoma was one of 10 states that received an F, while 17 states received a D and 11 states got a C.

If Oklahoma gets an F, the federal government should get a whole F-load of F’s:

We have a real serious need for proper scientific education in the Western World. The lack of understanding goes all the way to the top, leading to such things as the banning of the harmless incandescent light bulb as a frankly superstitious gesture towards the problem of overuse of energy. Banning the light bulb does fuckall to save large amounts of energy — it’s like watering a petunia in your front yard while your house is burning. But the scientific ignoramuses we keep voting into the government were fooled into doing this and now if I want to buy 100-watt incandescent bulbs I have to order them over the internet from Germany.

And furthermore:

You can’t teach kids science without teaching them the scientific method and it seems as though both sides of the partisan divide are bound-and-determined to make sure their kids don’t learn it.

Which is, of course, job security for the ignoramuses.

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A lot of Dahomey

“Miss Jennifer Mouka” writes to several undisclosed recipients:

Dearest Friend.

I want to come to your country to stay with you,Dear,please dont be surprise,my parents died by food poison and my uncle sent me out from his house, he is wicked man i hate him and i can never stay with him anymore.

if you promised to send me letter of invitation and will not cheat me when i come to stay with you,i promised you will never regret meeting me, my late father has with his bank $4.860Million in HSBC Bank London-UK,i was his only daughter living nexk of kin,my uncle is wicked thats why i refused to give him my inheritance and he send me out from his house.I am 18 years old from Small country Republic of Benin,i want to be a nurse when i come to your country,the bank remittance director said i am too small to handle such money that i should look for foreign partner to stand for me for easy transfer and investment purposes,that is why i am seeking for your help if you wish. Ofcourse I have the deposit documents of this deposit, I have not travelled to London before, so your maximum assistance will do be a lot of favour.

Pls, Dear, tell me about you? and i want to see your picture how you look like? and also tell me if your ready to assist me so that i will send you further details on how we can go from here … Reply back to me with my private email address, OR

Warm Regards

Miss Jennifer Mouka

Evidently the Hotmail address stuck into the header is insufficiently private, or something. And apparently she’s changed addresses some time in the last three years.

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Pesky insects

There was some discussion earlier today as to whether the Thunder had anything left after last night’s epic clash with the Nuggets, and the answer seems to be “Enough, but just barely.” Missing two more players — James Harden and Nick Collison were sidelined with (let us hope) minor injuries — OKC ran out to a 60-38 halftime lead over New Orleans, only to see the Hornets, somewhat depleted themselves, battle back to within six with just under a minute left. The final was 101-93, meaning the Bees outscored the Thunder 55-41 in the second half; “We got a little complacent,” said Royal Ivey, and I have no reason to doubt him.

Telltale statistic: New Orleans had five players in double figures; OKC had, well, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. And the Hornets got off 11 more shots, though they shot a mere 36 percent. The Thunder blocked 13 shots — Kendrick Perkins had six, Serge Ibaka nine — and everyone but Perk had at least one steal; but still, the Hornets made seven of 14 treys and had six more offensive rebounds. Jarrett Jack, running the offense for the New Orleans second unit, led the Hornets with 18 points.

As for the Bobbsey Twins, they had similar-looking lines to go with their 31 points each, though Westbrook served up more assists and Durant snatched more rebounds. For some reason, the Thunder put up 26 treys, 18 of which failed to connect; Daequan Cook, who’s maintaining a second home in Slumpville, missed eight all by his lonesome. (Take the missed treys out of the equation, and the Thunder would have shot nearly 52 percent.) Only four bench players got minutes, and in aggregate they failed to outscore Jarrett Jack.

What the Thunder need right now is a day off and then a game against a team from the East. By coincidence, the Celtics will be here Wednesday, minus Rajon Rondo, who drew a two-game suspension for playing Dodge Ball with an official. Yeah, the Lakers follow on Thursday; but you know, that other L. A. team is a lot scarier these days.

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Nuesy Duesy

Want a vintage-appearing luxury car? Why not Duesenberg?

Duesenberg Motors Inc. has bought a building in Baldwin, Wis., and plans to begin producing its Duesenberg II automobile there this summer, said company president Dave Hartje.

“Visually, it’s the same as the original from the 1930s, but it’s on a modern Ford chassis,” said Hartje, adding the reproduction cars were previously built from 1978 to 2000.

Not that you’re likely to run into one: only about 100 of the repli-Js were made. (Then again, fewer than 500 original Duesenberg Js were built.)

Still, the company’s ambitions extend farther than that:

The company also will produce a motorcycle trike this summer and is developing a modern luxury car that Hartje said will be “a considerable step above a Rolls-Royce or a Bentley.”

The luxury car, which is still in the design phase, is the company’s real goal, Hartje added. He said the car is a couple of years from production.

I must say, their Web site does not yet look promising.

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With a capital P and that rhymes with C

And that stands for Cameroon:

Pool table as found in an African village

Photographed near Garoua in north Cameroon.

(From Rita Belle Mbangah via Hal Carim.)

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Yes, we have no pajamas

No Pajamas logoOther problems in Louisiana having presumably been solved, Caddo Parish Commissioner Michael Williams is seeking a ban on wearing pajamas in public:

Williams announced to fellow commissioners his plans to introduce an ordinance, and to start a letter-writing campaign.

“I’m going to do a national letter writing campaign to major department stores, to Targets, to Best Buys, to Wal-marts,” said Williams outside of Government Plaza in downtown Shreveport.

Williams, a self-described conservative in the dress code area, told other commissioners in a fiery speech that there should be respect for law and order, and asked them “Are we going to do let this generation tell us what to do, or are we going to be leaders and lead this community?”

I can assure Commissioner Williams that I don’t own any pajamas, and won’t be seen in them during my next trip to the Shreveport area.

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