Captain Obvious checks in

Diana was still alive hours before she died

Gee, ya think?

(Original Twitpic by @_RosieT. Spotted by the Advice Goddess.)

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D. C. hustlers

No, not those guys. I mean the Washington Wizards, who simply outhustled the Thunder tonight en route to a 105-102 win that nobody except Kevin Durant imagined. (Durant, always the realist, pointed out before the game that however woeful the Wiz might be, “we’re 2-2 against them.”) And now 2-3.

How did this happen? The Wiz went after every ball that went by, outrebounding OKC 52-43, including 19 off the offensive glass: Washington earned 59 second-chance points. John Wall worked his tail off, scoring 25; Nick Young got 22 of his 24 in the second half, and the on-again-off-again Andray Blatche was definitely on, picking up 12 points and picking off 10 boards.

The Durant-Westbrook Axis of Scoring was busy most of the night — 69 points between them — but they didn’t get much help from elsewhere, nor did the long ball fall. (Only four of 19 treys all night; Nick Young had five all by himself.) Worse (worse?), the Thunder stumbled their way to 21 turnovers, and you can’t do that against West Sheepskin Middle School, let alone an actual NBA team, even one that was 1-12 coming in.

Hubris? Maybe. Scott Brooks is probably wondering why he can’t look up “Nemesis” on Wikipedia right now. And if the Wizards can beat the Thunder, what’s going to happen against the somewhat less horrible New Jersey Nets Friday Saturday night? The fly on the wall at the next practice will be getting an earful, you may be sure.

Addendum: Royce Young hits on the same bit of shtick I did:

Nineteen offensive rebounds to go with 21 Thunder turnovers. You give Edmond North’s middle school team that many extra looks at the basket and you play with fire.

Yep.

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Are you listening, Miuccia?

Jennifer, in her not-so-secret identity as Stiletto Girl, explains why Prada should send her their 2012 shoe collection “inspired by American classic cars”:

I like cars. I can drive a standard in 4 inch stilettos… I took a home defense shotgun class in 3 inch heels.

Pretty persuasive. But what about the shoes? Here’s one of them:

2012 Prada heels

The ’59 Caddy tailfin notwithstanding, that’s kind of a cute shoe. Then again, being Prada, it probably costs as much as a transmission rebuild.

And how many women do you know who can work all three pedals in four-inch heels? (My own answer: “Not enough.”)

(Original photo via AutoGuide.com.)

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Oral D+

The entirety of a spam comment, left at another site I run:

Electric toothbrushes vibrate at a very high speed.

Next time someone tells me truth is its own defense, I’ll just show them this.

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Singularly unilluminating

I’ve been kvetching about the Malfunction Indicator Light — sometimes called the “Check Engine Light” — for quite some time now. In fact, I once devoted an entire Vent to the accursed thing:

[T]he warning system is designed to give the motorist as little information as possible: you get a light on the dash, with two levels of severity — either it’s blinking or it’s not — and nothing more. The idea, of course, is that you’ll take the vehicle to a Qualified Service Technician, who will then plug in the appropriate black box, decipher what’s stored in the car’s computer, and make the judgment call. After all, mere drivers can’t be expected to know how these things work.

And as a shade-tree mechanic, I’m somewhere on the poor-to-fair continuum. I admit it. But I always resent the sort of thinking that says that people need to be protected from information. What would it cost to get a five-character readout on the dash that shows the actual code involved? Six, seven dollars? It’s a thirty-thousand-dollar car, fercrissake. At least I’d have some idea whether I’m facing a $100 repair or a $1000 repair, a matter of great interest when I don’t have $1000 to spare, which I don’t.

Jalopnik’s Jason Torchinsky attacks from the same angle, though much more forcefully:

You’d have to guess, either ignoring it and hoping it’s nothing, or taking it to a shop and hoping you’ll be able to pay for whatever the repair turns out to be, a repair performed by a for-profit enterprise based on information you as an owner have never seen. Making valuable information about a person’s own property inaccessible only enables uninformed judgment and the possibility of fraud.

Says Torchinsky, if they can mandate stuff like tire-pressure sensors, they can damned well mandate something like this:

[W]e need a federal mandate that bans the generic “check engine” light in new cars and instead requires, on dash, OBD-II codes and a basic description. The only rational reasons it hasn’t happened yet range from a best-case scenario of simple manufacturer desire to build as cheaply as possible, to an actual deliberate campaign of forced ignorance in order to keep dealer network profit streams. Neither of those reasons — or any in between them — are valid or acceptable.

There’s also a petition, though I really don’t expect anything to come of it, Congress being obsessed for the moment with their new Copyright Police Kit. Any hell that doesn’t immediately swallow up Lamar Smith (R-Disney) isn’t worthy of the name.

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Culture-free zone

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Zooeypalooza 14!

Last time we had a Zooeypalooza it was my birthday. Today it’s her birthday. (She’s mumbly-hum years old.)

Zooeypalooza 14!

Click ye, and thou shalt embiggen.

Previous Paloozas: 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.

And if that isn’t enough, here’s Life’s gallery of ZD at her cutest. (Via Jeff Brokaw.)

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Splash shield

I think I’m going to have to reroute my grocery-shopping trips so I don’t pass any other place I might spend money, what with my high susceptibility to incidents like this:

I needed a shower curtain liner, we were passing Lowe’s. I told hubby it wasn’t a financially sound idea to stop and go in and perhaps we should just hit the 99c store instead.

You can imagine what happened after that.

(And you don’t want to think about how much I paid for the last liner I bought.)

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Based on the old Roman chariot tax

Will Truman peels off $325 to register his car, which sounds to me like a stiff sum for a second-year tag. Herewith his explanation:

It turns out that the state is engaging in affluence-discrimination. A form of progressive taxation under the idea that if you can afford a newish car (less than five years old) you must be fishin’ loaded. My inner conservative is outraged as this is yet another way our increased income is being chipped away at. My inner liberal points out that my paying $225 to the state ($100 is local) allows someone barely getting by on a clunker to pay $30 (and less on the county, though I can’t find the exact number). Intellectually, the liberal wins. The conservative hasn’t calmed down yet.

These are numbers worthy of Oklahoma circa 1999, though Soonerland has since (somewhat) mended its ways: yearly registration for years 1 through 4 runs a mere $91 today, dropping as low as $21 for a 17th-year renewal. On the other hand, you still have to hand over the excise tax at purchase, which remains at 3.25 percent, though it’s certainly better than having to pay the sales-tax rate, which is 4.5 percent and up, and up.

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Temporary sanity

Pejman Yousefzadeh contemplates the Spitting On the Public Act:

[I]t was scary to see just how close SOPA — or its sister bill, the Protect IP Act — were to being passed by Congress, but it is reassuring to see just how fervent, organized, and motivated the opposition was to this kind of legislation.

Let’s not celebrate too soon. I wouldn’t put it past these schmucks to deem it passed, just so they can continue to cash those checks.

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This Mustang runs 20 percent cooler

1985 Mustang with rainbow theme

(Found on the 24 Hours of LeMons forum. I’m pretty sure Rainbow Dash approves.)

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Brambles in the Garden

You could look at the Celtics’ record through eleven games — 4-7 — and bet accordingly, assuming you’re a betting man. I’m not. I am, however, a firm believer in intangibles, and few teams work the X factor as efficiently as Boston at home. Did the Irishmen look lethargic in the first half? Not a problem: they’ll come alive in the second. Down seven, then ten, they fought back to a tie, and were down only three with 2:20 left. And then the Thunder tossed up one, two, three, four consecutive treys, two by Thabo Sefolosha, two by Russell Westbrook, and goodnight, Boston, 97-88.

The bitter pill for the Garden crowd — apart, of course, from seeing Kendrick Perkins in blue — was that those OKC characters had missed 12 of 15 previous attempts from distance, and suddenly four in a row? Things didn’t seem to add up. The Celtics, by any definition of the term, owned the boards (48-40); Kevin Garnett had 12 of them, Jermaine O’Neal 11. Reserve swingman Mickael Pietrus (14 points) had the hot hand in the final frame, and, well, Paul Pierce (24 points) was busy being Paul Pierce all night.

Still, OKC is working that whole Hard to Kill thing as well as anyone this season. With the bench largely bottled up — James Harden was held to five points — the starters gutted it out. Kevin Durant checked in with 28 points, Westbrook with 26, and what’s this? Thabo with 19?

Last season the Thunder went 22-8 against teams from the East. There won’t be thirty non-conference games this year, but 2-0 is a pretty decent start. And the semi-hapless Wizards come up next.

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In the interest of saving a few bucks

The California high-speed rail system may end up costing $120 billion, which prompts NRO commenter “VenturaCapitalist” to propose an alternative:

How about this: We buy TEN MILLION round trip plane tickets from San Diego to SFO and give one to everyone who wants to make the trip. At 400 bucks apiece that’s $4 Billion.

There you go. I just saved the taxpayers 116 Billion dollars.

To say nothing of what it might have done for an airline suffering the heartbreak of penury.

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Presenting Samuel L. Ducreux

You may have already seen this scene:

Joseph Ducreux in a scene from Pulp Fiction

(Obtained surreptitiously from Historic LOLs.)

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Why we keep electing men

A new study by Jennifer Lawless (American University) and Richard Fox (Loyola Marymount University) is called “Men Rule: The Continued Under-Representation of Women in U. S. Politics,” and while that title may suggest yet another broadside at the Evil Patriarchy, the actual study says no such thing, other than to suggest that a nation half female probably ought to have more than 19 percent of its electoral offices filled with women.

From the first paragraph of the Executive Summary:

Study after study finds that, when women run for office, they perform just as well as their male counterparts. No differences emerge in women and men’s fundraising receipts, vote totals, or electoral success. Yet women remain severely under-represented in U.S. political institutions. We argue that the fundamental reason for women’s under-representation is that they do not run for office. There is a substantial gender gap in political ambition; men tend to have it, and women don’t.

A number of factors contribute to this situation, one of which is simply that women, for no substantive reason, tend to think themselves less qualified than men:

[M]en remain almost 60 percent more likely than women to assess themselves as “very qualified” to run for office. Women in the sample are more than twice as likely as men to rate themselves as “not at all qualified.”

Similarly, 100 percent of members of Congress rate themselves as “qualified” or “very qualified,” and we know that can’t be true.

Certainly, because women are more likely than men to view the electoral process as biased against them, self-doubt regarding their qualifications and more pessimistic perceptions of the likelihood of winning may simply be a rational response to what women perceive as a more challenging political context. But the overwhelming majority of people — women and men — do not run for office unless they believe that they have a chance of winning.

That perception of bias was aggravated by 2008 experiences with Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin: roughly two-thirds of “potential women candidates” said that Clinton and Palin were subjected to sexist media coverage, and that both of them, though Clinton more than Palin, were on the receiving end of voter gender bias as well. (I demur on the latter point: the bias that afflicted Senator Clinton was, I believe, as least as much a function of Democratic voters’ desire to be seen as non-racist, and poor Hillary was just too white.)

And there’s that whole housework thing, but it’s not as much of a factor as you might think:

[S]urprisingly, women’s disproportionate familial responsibilities do not dramatically affect whether they have considered running for office or express interest in running for office in the future. Forty-eight percent of women who are responsible for the majority of the household tasks and childcare, for instance, have considered running for office. Forty-five percent of women who shoulder no such burdens have thought about a candidacy. In another example, 43 percent of women with children at home have considered a candidacy, compared to 46 percent of women without children at home. Neither of these small differences approaches conventional levels of statistical significance.

The entire report is available in PDF format.

(Via Kevin Drum.)

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Strange search-engine queries (311)

If you’re new around here, this is the first piece that comes out on Monday morning, in which search strings are extracted from the site logs and then evaluated for cheap laff potential. (Of course, if you’re not new around here, this is still the first piece that comes out on Monday morning, in which search strings are extracted from the site logs and then evaluated for cheap laff potential.)

hate “dallas style homes”:  They’re especially sick of them in Fort Worth.

“common cents” law suit:  Commonly, the plaintiff gets the cents, counsel the dollars.

wank avoid filter:  Watch 24 hours of C-Span. It should eliminate even the slightest thought of wankage.

bacon helper:  Since when does bacon need any help?

where’s my electrical tape:  You probably left it in the garage again.

plagiarism 2.1:  It’s already up to 3.0, incorporating all the previously-stolen text.

hitting me where i live:  Hitting you where you work is considered unsporting.

oklahoma private land taken for private use:  Shh. We can’t talk about that here. It’s private.

natural warm wax nads big packets from distributor:  Shh. We can’t talk about that here. It’s privates.

how looks an ordinary girl in victoria’s secrets lingerie:  Like anyone else who overpaid for underwear.

too old for hello kitty:  Hint: it has nothing to do with whether you buy your lingerie at Victoria’s Secret.

anvil falling on obama:  Well, there goes Acme’s Obamacare waiver.

infiniti m37x viper blade vs nissan maxima:  They don’t have quite the same size vindshield, so the vipers might be different.

being unobservant:  The secret of my success, such as it is.

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