Jersey ripped

The game plan, apparently, was to keep Devin Harris and Brook Lopez under control, and it worked fairly well, though New Jersey came back with Plan Yi: Yi Jianlian, who rolled up 18 points in the first half. The Nets, in fact, managed to take the lead halfway through the third quarter, 72-70, at which time the Thunder remembered that they, unlike the Nets, have a D in their name, and proceeded to shut down what was left of the Jersey offense, holding the Nets to 13 points in the final frame. Oklahoma City 105, New Jersey 89, as the Nets fall to 2-29, a record familiar to Thunder fans from this time last year.

Interestingly, all five Nets starters finished in double figures, Yi coming up with 29, but the bench was held to eight. New Jersey shot an okay 45.3 percent from the floor, though they made only one of nine treys.

Then again, the Thunder failed to connect on any of 12 attempted three-pointers; they shot 47.4 percent. They made lots of trips to the stripe, though: 40 free throws, making 33. Oklahoma City outrebounded New Jersey, 43-33. Two double-doubles for the Zombie Sonics: Russell Westbrook had 16 points and 10 dimes (and only two turnovers), and Nick Collison had 11 points and 10 rebounds. Nenad Krstić, who spent four years with the Nets, was happy to knock down 19 points, and that Durant guy, who’d been doing all those consecutive 30-point games, broke the string, sort of, with a 40-point game.

This is only the second three-game winning streak for the Thunder since pitching their tent in OKC last season, and like the first, it involved the team’s 14th, 15th and 16th wins. The difference, of course, is that last year they’d lost 45 at that point. This year’s Thunder is now two games above .500, and the Wizards await in DC tomorrow night.

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And dammit, we mean equal

At Berkeley High School, there is seen to exist a “racial achievement gap,” where white students are doing far better than the state average while black and Latino students are doing worse.

The school’s Governance Council has decided to address this problem by eliminating five science teachers and their labs.

How will this work?

Paul Gibson, an alternate parent representative on the School Governance Council, said that information presented at council meetings suggests that the science labs were largely classes for white students. He said the decision to consider cutting the labs in order to redirect resources to underperforming students was virtually unanimous.

Not everyone thinks this is a swell idea:

Mardi Sincular-Mertens, who has taught science at BHS for 24 years, said the possible cuts will impact her black students as well. She says there are twelve African-American males in her AP classes and that her four environmental science classes are 17.5 percent African American and 13.9 percent Latino.

“As in any war,” says John Rosenberg, “there will be collateral damage:”

[W]ar is hell, and one can easily understand why the Berkeley High School Governance Council would conclude that depriving a few minority students of science labs and advanced placement courses is a small price to pay for the advantage of depriving a larger number of whites and Asians (who presumably are not a minority) of those classes.

Because it’s all about the inequality. Whether anybody actually learns
anything is a peripheral issue at best.

These people are educators, in exactly the same sense that tapeworms are dietitians.

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Glorious bustard

Houbara bustard

This is Chlamydotis undulata, the Houbara Bustard, and it stirred up an imbroglio between Riyadh and Islamabad:

The Saudi government is reported to have protested to Pakistan at the highest level against denial of permission to hunt the houbara bustard in areas of their choice, casting a shadow on prospects of warming of relations affected in the recent past because of similar disputes.

Riyadh conveyed its resentment through a letter to President Asif Zardari, demanding restoration of the areas traditionally allocated to Saudi Arabia but given to the United Arab Emirates last year and to a large extent this year as well.

Pakistan subsequently backed down:

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has given permission to 27 dignitaries of the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to set up hunting camps in 63 districts of all four provinces and hunt the protected and endangered bird, the houbara bustard.

Wait a minute. Did they say “protected and endangered”?

Even though the bird is protected under various international and national nature conservation organisations, the Pakistani government has granted permission to the Arab dignitaries. Even the national or international conservation organisations have not protested over the issue so far. “Personally I think houbara bustard is not endangered and it does not come under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals,” an IUCN Pakistan official told this scribe on condition of anonymity, leaving this scribe surprised over the official’s lack of knowledge.

This bird is listed as “Vulnerable,” which is slightly worse off than “Threatened” but a step below “Tastes like Chicken” “Endangered.”

(Via Interested-Participant.)

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GoDaddy, Jr.

The desire to get stuff over the Internet without paying for it is exceeded, I believe, only by the desire to see humanoids without clothing, which at least partially explains why about every other month or so, somebody on Yahoo! Answers wants to know why he can’t get his very own domain without going through an existing registrar and paying some actual money.

I have had a stock response for this: “Apply to ICANN to be a registrar, and you can have all the domain names you can stand.” Still, they persist, and I got to wondering: what does it cost?

This is what it costs:

  • US$2,500 non-refundable application fee, to be submitted with application.
  • US$4,000 yearly accreditation fee due upon approval and each year thereafter.
  • Variable fee (quarterly) billed once you begin registering domain names or the first full quarter following your accreditation approval, whichever occurs first. This fee represents a portion of ICANN’s operating costs and, because it is divided among all registrars, the amount varies from quarter to quarter. Recently this fee has ranged from US$1,200 to US$2,000 per quarter.
  • Transaction-based gTLD fee (quarterly). This fee is a flat fee (currently $0.20) charged for each new registration, renewal or transfer. This fee can be billed by the registrar separately on its invoice to the registrant, but is paid by the registrar to ICANN.

I suspect this discouraged the last questioner: he’s deleted his inquiry entirely.

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Our girl, Bill

Gradual Dazzle whips up a batch of Aunt Bill’s Brown Candy, and before you ask, well, she already did:

Dunno who Aunt Bill was. No relation to us, as far as we know. It was just a recipe used by Mama Alice, who was my great-grandmother, and she had clipped it out of the Daily Oklahoman a zillion years ago.

For “a zillion,” read “seventy-seven”:

The recipe made its debut during the Oklahoman and Times-WKY Cooking School held in October 1932. The recipe has literally been stirred, handed down and shared across Oklahoma and the country ever since.

The cooking school was the second in an 11-year series in Oklahoma City. Susan Adams, the newspaper’s food columnist, was known as Aunt Susan. She presented the recipe to about 5,000 people each day at the school. It was printed in a 24-page souvenir pamphlet handed out during the five-day event.

Aunt Susan credited the recipe to “Aunt Bill,” whoever she may be:

Now the real secret of mixing these ingredients is to pour a very fine stream from the skillet into the pan. Aunt Bill always said to pour a stream no larger than a knitting needle while stirring across the bottom of the kettle at the same time.

The result is some sort of fudge/praline hybrid that you should probably not attempt to make yourself, because (1) it’s really easier to do with two people and (2) you’ll end up eating half the finished product anyway.

(Actual recipe may be found at the above links; I left it off here so as not to perplex John Salmon.)

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Strange search-engine queries (204)

On the continuum of laffs, this weekly feature generally falls somewhere above “nervous chuckle” but well below “explosion in one’s shorts.”

punished butts & bulb enema:  Don’t give the Transportation Security Agency any ideas.

pretty girl broke my heart:  Yeah. Take a number, pal.

nineinchpenis:  Perhaps that’s the truth behind “I will make you hurt.”

Is anybody annoyed by KOCO’s overkill of the weather?  I’m more annoyed when the weather starts to overkill us.

worst snowstorm in oklahoma history:  As covered, for instance, by KOCO.

if she doesn’t want to sleep with you she’s just not into you:  It’s always about you, isn’t it?

doge trucks for sale:  Hardly used, there being no streets in Venice.

i am a guy who likes wearing women’s wedge sandals in public. anyone else:  Aren’t you the guy who did the faceplant into the fountain last week?

christmas howitzer:  It’s all fun and games until someone loses a shed.

Was Nancy Pelosi in the movie “It’s A Bikini World”?  No. That was Bobby “Boris” Pickett of “Monster Mash” fame. The resemblance is startling, though.

Obligatory Rule 34 item: monica crowley penis size.

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Such a buy

A Best Buy, in fact: buy one of these CDs and get the TweetDeck app for iPhone absolutely free.

Of course, if you don’t want one of those CDs, you can get the TweetDeck app for iPhone absolutely free.

(Via Consumerist.)

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Kailua brouhaha

I’m one of those people who believes that you spend as much as you damn well please on your vacation, so I’m not going to get too bent out of shape at the idea that the President and his family are spending some ginormous sum for a trip to Hawaii. It’s December, fercrissake; Hawaii can ask that kind of money this time of year, and there aren’t any beach houses that I know of in, say, Minot, North Dakota.

Hell, even Alaskans visit Hawaii in December:

Sarah Palin in Hawaii

Probably didn’t spend quite so much, but so what?

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Now that’s a Gold Card

In fact, you can’t even get it unless you actually have some gold, or are willing to buy some:

The Gold Bullion Card™ is a credit card that operates based on the value of gold. It looks the same and can be used the same as a traditional credit card. The underlying value is gold rather than cash.

It is for people who own gold bullion coins and wish to build a credit line without relinquishing ownership.

The Gold Bullion Card™ is also great for people who want to start buying gold coin without losing the ability to use the value of the gold coins on a day-to-day basis.

Getting started apparently is simplicity itself: you stuff your precious metal into an envelope, ship it up to their storage facility, and they determine its value, which in turn determines your credit line (per their quick-and-dirty calculator, 75 cents for each $1 worth).

Apparently there are multiple banks handling this card; the online application is forwarded to the one closest by. If you’re closest to the Ferengi Alliance, you’ll presumably be expected to provide gold-pressed latinum as collateral.

(Via CardTrak.)

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Yet another thing I didn’t notice

A warning label on a pack of paper napkins.

It goes like this:

CAUTION: USING PAPER PRODUCTS IMPROPERLY IN A MICROWAVE OR CONVENTIONAL OVEN COULD CAUSE THE PAPER TO BURN.

Paper napkins are not recommended for use in microwaves, conventional ovens or on stove tops. Follow precautions in Microwave Owner’s Manual. If fire starts, turn microwave off and leave door closed.

This is the brand in question, though I suspect that some variation on this theme appears on every brand nowadays.

But does anyone actually know where the manual for the microwave oven is?

Addendum: In lieu of said manual, try Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.

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2010

That’s pronounced “Twenty-Ten”:

Until the turn of the millennium got us all confused, we had an easy familiarity with each year:

When did William the Conqueror invade England? Ten Sixty-Six.

When did Christopher Columbus cross the Atlantic? Fourteen Ninety-Two.

When was the Declaration of Independence signed? Seventeen Seventy-Six.

And that Tchaikovsky piece? The Eighteen Twelve Overture.

Pearl Harbor? Nineteen Forty-One.

How did Prince want us to party? Like it’s Nineteen Ninety-Nine.

Two thousand? Party over. And we’ve been choking on “two thousand whatever” ever since. (Although Bonne Bell never had any trouble with “Ten O Six.”)

Fortunately, none of us have to go through that again, except maybe Phillip J. Fry.

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As opposed to the Dollar Menu

The art of the restaurateur, it appears, extends to the preparation of the menu as well:

Unless a restaurant wants to frighten its customers, the price should always be at the very end of a menu description and should not be in any way highlighted.

A study published in the spring by Dr. [Sheryl E.] Kimes and other researchers at Cornell found that when the prices were given with dollar signs, customers — the research subjects dined at St. Andrew’s Cafe at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. — spent less than when no dollar signs appeared. The study, published in the Cornell Hospitality Report, also found that customers spent significantly more when the price was listed in numerals without dollar signs, as in “14.00″ or “14,” than when it included the word “dollar,” as in “Fourteen dollars.” Apparently even the word “dollar” can trigger what is known as “the pain of paying.”

Not having eaten out lately, I went hunting for menus, and OPUS Prime Steakhouse up on Memorial does exactly this: all menu items, excluding seafood priced at market rates, are listed in numerals without dollar signs.

Although restaurateur Danny Meyer says the cents are better left off:

Mr. Meyer said that in his view, adding zeros to the price, as in 14.00, is not a good idea because “there’s no reason to have pennies if you’re not using pennies, and it takes the price from being two digits into four digits, even if the two last digits are zeros. It’s irrelevant, and the number could feel more important, which is not a menu writer’s goal.”

But does it make the price look larger? Does “14.00″ look more expensive than “14.-” or simply “14″? (Incidentally, $14 won’t buy you an entree at OPUS.)

And if you for some reason are using pennies? Says menu consultant Gregg Rapp:

[I]f a restaurant wants to use prices that include cents, like $9.99 or $9.95 (without the dollar sign, of course), he strongly recommends .95, which he said “is a friendlier price,” whereas .99 is “cornier.”

Suddenly I’m starting to appreciate Arby’s five-for-5.55 special.

(Seen at Pratie Place.)

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Upward shacking

The split between Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins gave me only the briefest glance at “OMG she’s available again!” before reality snapped that particular window shut. Besides, the unfortunate interaction of my sporadic fondness for insane redheads and the all-too-persistent impairment of my libido means I’m far better suited to the likes of Maureen Dowd, and despite her manifest charms I really don’t need to be associated with someone so easily fisked.

But this observation from Dave on the Sarandon/Robbins rift keeps coming back to me:

One has to wonder if any couple from Hollywood can survive.

Well, Tim and Susan did stay together for 21 years, which is far longer than any of my liaisons lasted, but still a bit short of “till death us do part.” Of course, they never took the vows, in deference to that old platitude of how it’s just a piece of paper, y’know, and how does that count for anything?

So I contemplated my own perhaps-stereotypical view of the Hollywood mindset, which goes something like this: “Does showbiz turn people into asshats, or do asshats naturally gravitate toward showbiz?” The contemporary fusion of celebrity and politics would seem to suggest the latter: Hollywood has only so many job openings, but there’s a growing surplus of buttock berets, and they have to go somewhere. And really, if you have two practicing hemorrhoidal Homburgs in one household, the potential for conflict is doubled, maybe even quadrupled.

Still, Tinseltown’s breakup rate doesn’t seem all that different from Tulsa’s, so there’s got to be some other factor at work besides mere rectal millinery, and I suspect it’s simply this: we’ve gotten used to the idea of No Consequences, that commitments can be exited as easily as they are entered, that anything making us unhappy must be discarded at once for the sake of our self-esteem. Discomfort is to be avoided at all cost. Cue Woody Allen:

Annie Hall: Sometimes I ask myself how I’d stand up under torture.

Alvy Singer: You? You kiddin’? If the Gestapo would take away your Bloomingdale’s charge card, you’d tell ‘em everything.

Not that this gives me any leave to pretend to be superior.

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Apparently it wasn’t Caturday

This one didn’t figure to be all that physical, I was thinking. And I was wrong: Stephen Jackson and Serge Ibaka nearly came to blows in the second half — double technicals were assessed, and it took rather a while for things to calm down — and even more weirdly, Bobcats assistant coach Dave Hanners was shaken up when Russell Westbrook, going out to save a pass, stumbled into one end of the Charlotte bench. But this merely means that emotions were running high. And the ‘Cats put up quite a fight, answering every Oklahoma City run with one of their own, but the Thunder ultimately prevailed, 98-91.

Jackson, in particular, was persistent: he put up 26 shots to get his 24 points. And the absence of Tyson Chandler wasn’t particularly noticeable: Nazr Mohammed was both fierce and accurate, hitting seven of 10 shots and reeling in eight boards in a mere 26 minutes. But overall, the Bobcats shot 43.2 percent, not too inspiring.

The Thunder shot a slightly-better 47 percent, but dominated the boards, 48-36. Kevin Durant turned in yet another 30-point night, and Nenad Krstić earned his first double-double of the season, 13 points and ten rebounds. Out at the point, Russell Westbrook shone: 22 points, six assists, and not one turnover. (Backup point guard Eric Maynor turned it over only once, scoring seven.)

Snowstorm of the Century notwithstanding, 17,961 tickets were sold for this game, 98.7 percent of capacity. Cabin fever? No matter. The crowd was good and, as they say upstairs, Loud.

Now follows a quickie two-game stretch on the East Coast, against two teams who have struggled of late: the Nets and the Wizards. Next time at the Ford: the Jazz, on Thursday. They aren’t struggling so much.

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Haze-compatible

From Chanel Spring '10 collectionSo I’m looking at Chanel’s Spring 2010 collection, about which the correspondent for style.com reports:

[T]he Chanel country coquettes managed to flirt their way around every rustic reference in Karl Lagerfeld’s extensive repertoire of craft-y couture skills, from hopsack to basket weave and cane work to aprons, dirndls, peasant-y poppy prints, and fantastic wooden double-C clogs. It was a bumper harvest of everything that is chicly tattered, beribboned, and gloriously made about Chanel, as well as the season’s sole experience to make the anxiety and earnestness around fashion evaporate, to make it seem like fantastic fun again.

Mostly, though, they looked appallingly young, although I suspect this is de rigueur for the contemporary runway, which seems to demand an endless supply of twelve-year-olds of all ages.

If twelve seems awfully Nabokovian to you, you’re not alone:

What I found remarkable was how successful the collection was in merging the extreme frothiness of Lolita with signature Chanel textured bouclés. It really does add an unexpected youthfulness to otherwise conservative materials.

But no, this is not Humbert’s Lo. Not precisely, anyway:

Although “Lolita” is a reference to Vladimir Nabokov’s famous novel, and Lolita fashion is often worn by teens, most followers of the style do not consider it overtly sexual. Adherents present themselves as Victorian children or baby dolls and prefer to look “cute” rather than “sexy”. Many Lolitas claim that the term “Lolita” doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with sex at all.

And besides, this particular, um, school seems to have originated in Japan, where there’s a premium on looking like you’re nowhere near ready for Lastday in Logan’s Run.

Still, I admit I found the name a trifle offputting when I first heard it. I blame Clare Quilty.

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Crap for the holidays

You just can’t beat it.

And yes, I scored some of my own.

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It’s not even medieval

“Ooh, new nail polish! What’s that color called?”

“Dickweed.”

“Well, screw you too. Now what’s the name of that color?”

“Like I said: Dickweed.”

(Developed by Bleach Black.)

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Away from the Poor Farm

Jeffro was in town yesterday, and otherwise might have dropped by, but the powers that be were still discouraging travel, probably because they hadn’t cleared all the wreckage resulting from Friday’s blizzard, so we had to confine ourselves to swapping stories over the phone. Fortunately, the man tells some good stories, and I’m not so bad at it myself, and next time maybe the roads will be some semblance of passable. We can hope, anyway.

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You’re not the only one

From the Harold Arlen-Truman Capote (!) musical House of Flowers, set in some idealized West Indies, this is Ivette Oliveras singing “I Never Has Seen Snow.”

Somehow it seems appropriate this weekend.

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Carbon dating?

If you’re handing out carbon-reduction certificates as gifts this year, Jenn will pass, thank you very much:

The only type of carbon reduction I am interested in comes about through heat and pressure and looks good set in a ring.

“If you liked it,” notes Beyoncé, “then you shoulda put a ring on it.”

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