Fast and furry-ish

Clawdeen Wolf by MattelThe young lady with the, um, slightly prominent ears is Clawdeen Wolf, and she’s part of an entire Monster High collection by Mattel. (Yes, she’s on the Fearleading squad.) The collection has its own Web site, its own Webisodes (gawd, I hate that word), and, you may be absolutely certain, its detractors:

Clawdeen Wolf comes complete with a thigh-skimming skirt, sky high boots and heavy makeup, and spends her days “waxing, plucking and shaving.”

“My hair is worthy of a shampoo commercial, and that’s just what grows on my legs. Plucking and shaving is definitely a full-time job but that’s a small price to pay for being scarily fabulous,” reads the character description of the teen werewolf doll, who also lists her favorite hobby as “flirting with boys.”

But the most frightful thing about Clawdeen, experts say, is the shocking impact she could have on girls aged 6 and up — the very demographic Mattel is targeting.

Suddenly Barbie looks less horrifying, or at least less hirsute.

The reactions boil down to “OMG body image!” And certainly you don’t want to see a seven-year-old girl hiding out in the bathroom, trying to shave away something that hardly exists. But “realistic” dolls are like sensible shoes: there are times when you appreciate them, but unwrapping them on your birthday is usually not one of them.

On the upside, you have to figure that Trader Vic’s is highly unlikely to serve the decidedly-underage Clawdeen a piña colada.

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Heat dissipated

So what happened when the revised and edited Thunder defense took its talents to South Beach? The Heat were able to connect on only 38.5 percent of their shots, only three of 17 from beyond the arc, and OKC outrebounded them 51-40 — all with Kendrick Perkins fouling out with a couple of minutes left. Up by a single point at halftime, the Thunder knocked off the Heat 96-85, and while the triumvirate of Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined for 61 points, the entire Miami starting lineup had … 62. (Erick Dampier made one of two foul shots.)

Admittedly, the Thunder didn’t shoot all that much better: 39.8 percent. But they sank nine of 20 treys. Who would have thought this team could shoot the long ball? Kevin Durant, who hit two of three, finished with 29 points; Russell Westbrook added 18, and James Harden led the bench with 12. (Which, yes, is only 59.) Serge Ibaka had 12 rebounds, and radio guy Matt Pinto swears the Serge Protector blocked more than the three shots recorded in the box score.

Scott Brooks seems to be getting used to a 10-man rotation now, with Nick Collison and Nazr Mohammed spelling Ibaka and Perkins, and spot shooting from ex-Heat Daequan Cook. (Cook hit two of four treys for six points in ten minutes.) Brooks tends to leave things alone once they seem to be working, and a 44-23 record seems to meet the definition of “working.”

To follow: six home games, starting with the Bobcats on Friday night and the Raptors on Sunday. And that’s the last we’ll see of the Eastern Conference until the season finale against the Bucks. Of course, if somehow the Thunder end up in the Finals, they’ll have to play some Eastern team, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

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Scents to spare

“Has any man,” asks Brian J. Noggle, “ever used a complete bottle of cologne?”

I ask this as a veteran of many annual Estate Saling campaigns. In the homes of older gentlemen, you would often find several half-empty bottles of cologne, which means that these fellows carried these bottles to the end of their retirements (or to their interments in assisted living facilities). The Avon collectible bottles, usually quarts or pints of cologne contained in cars, animals, or other cutesy decanters, were often empty, though — does that mean Avon is more popular? I would ask, but the bored people overpricing the “antiques” (anything not made of chipboard) don’t know.

I can offer only one anecdote, the subject of which is myself.

In 1978, as a newlywed, I was persuaded to switch to Ralph Lauren’s Polo, which was new that year. I got an eight-ounce bottle, which at the time, as I recall, was somewhere around $40, a price I thought was outrageous. (It’s now closer to $100.) The bottle is not yet empty. Then again, it gets brought out for use maybe twice a year, and I must concede, the stuff does seem to retain its potency, even at its advanced age. I’ve definitely gotten my money’s worth.

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By popular demand

Okay, they didn’t demand it of me, exactly, but Lynn started it:

These are pretty. I’d wear those. If it weren’t for that whole fear of falling down and making a fool of myself thing I’ve mentioned before.

When Nicole endorsed that same shoe in comments, I had to mention it here, even if it did show up on If Style Could Kill. I did, however, go hunt down a different photo:

Felicia by Betsey Johnson

This is, or was, Betsey Johnson’s “Felicia,” which dates to about three springtimes ago. It’s definitely on the whimsical side, and the inner arch is open, making this sort of a demi-D’Orsay. I like the little rhinestone cluster on the vamp. It’s a tall heel — four inches — but what the heck. I have no pricing on this shoe, since it’s long discontinued, but similarly-cutesy shoes from the current Betsey Johnson line run $200ish.

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Forget all that nuance stuff

This guy cuts to the chase:

Girls. What would you be more attracted to a guy with a sport bike or 350z?

Top answer so far: “Why would you want such a shallow girlfriend?”

Well, duh. He’s 19. Why do you think?

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Groovy girls

LPCover Lover has opened up a sidebar category called Chicks Dig Records, which is a collection of photographs of persons of the female persuasion interacting with, or just surrounded by, classic vinyl (and/or shellac, in the case of 78s). It’s a fairly huge (and, I warn you, not always safe for work) collection.

You will not be surprised to hear that the first thing I thought to myself was Wouldn’t it be cool if we could get Zooey D. into one of these shots? LPCL, however, was way ahead of me:

Zooey Deschanel spinning some tunes

Is that Hot Rocks I see?

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You are entering the Defamation Zone

Not a creation of Rod Serling, but it could have been. A Twin Cities blogger, says a jury, has to fork over $60k to someone mentioned on his blog, despite the fact that he reported the truth of the matter:

Though blogger John (Johnny Northside) Hoff told the truth when he linked ex-community leader Jerry Moore to a high-profile mortgage fraud, the scathing blog post that got Moore fired justifies $60,000 in damages, a Hennepin County jury decided Friday.

The jury awarded Moore $35,000 for lost wages and $25,000 for emotional distress. The civil verdict culminated a nearly two-year legal scuffle between John Hoff, whose blog, The Adventures of Johnny Northside, has 300 to 500 readers daily, and Moore, former director of the Jordan Area Community Council.

Counsel for the plaintiff didn’t dispute the facts of the matter, but:

The suit focused on five allegedly biased and defamatory statements on Hoff’s blog. Moore’s attorney argued that Hoff should be responsible for comments others made on his website because Hoff had created a “defamation zone.”

The judge tossed out four of the statements as being merely opinion. But the money quote — “Repeated and specific evidence in Hennepin County District Court shows Jerry Moore was involved with a high-profile fraudulent mortgage at 1564 Hillside Ave. N.” — did persuade the jury that Hoff had committed “tortious interference” with Moore’s employment, thereby somehow justifying damages.

I am generally not one to second-guess juries. However, I think it’s a pretty safe bet that Jerry Moore is about to get an object lesson in one of the multitudinous variations of the Streisand effect.

(Via the Consumerist.)

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Nice chassis

I never quite understood the process by which Harriette Lake became Ann Sothern. I mean, she was born in Valley City, North Dakota, and grew up in Minneapolis, but no one in Hollywood saw fit to dub her Ann “Northern.”

Then again, she made her mark in Tinseltown somewhere along the Smart/Funny axis, both characteristics very much on display here:

Ann Sothern in MGM publicity photo

Okay, maybe not. MGM, the third studio to give her a shot, cast her in Maisie (1939) as a showgirl in the Old West, and it did well enough to spawn nine sequels and a radio series. None of this explains how Sothern wound up on television playing a woman reincarnated as an automobile, but hardly anything would, right?

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That’s some fine police work there, Lou

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Well … interjection!

Adverbially speaking, I think this would make a heck of a T-shirt:

I'm so adjective I verb nouns

Fortunately, it already has.

(Filched from Deb S. on FB.)

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A mass of conflicting impulses

So said Nomad, although the little probe presumably hadn’t been given the results of this Star Trek fandom survey:

82% considered themselves to be average to below average in terms of involvement, while 18% went all out to go into elaborate detail about how extremely involved they were as fans.

Well, yeah. I know maybe two women with Trek uniforms. But guys? Not so much:

Females: 57% Males: 43%, primarily single, over 40, and fairly well educated — all results from some of the basic demographics.

As Picard said to Data: “I would be delighted to offer any advice I can on understanding women. When I have some, I’ll let you know.”

(Via Fark.)

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I don’t snooze, I lose

I’d blame it on DST, but that won’t fly. The night of the actual time change, I admittedly stayed up until midnight-really-eleven, and didn’t roll out of bed until what they laughingly call ten-thirty. But Sunday night is followed inexorably by Monday morning, so I really needed to get some shuteye.

And apparently I didn’t. If I got half an hour of sleep between 10:30 (bedtime) and 6:00 (alarm), I don’t remember it. What I do remember is back and forth from bedroom to medicine cabinet, wondering what else I could take without triggering some horrible drug reaction. I was, by 4:15 or so, desperate enough to take a whiff of Vicks VapoRub.

I managed to work through half past noon, at which point I sensed that my vision was blurry and becoming more so, in which case I’d better go home now. Which I did. I came home, took about a two-hour nap during which I didn’t sleep anywhere near two hours, and blew off the rest of the day.

I’m hoping this does not portend the return of the insomnia that drove me to despondency three years ago. Things did not go badly last night, so I am at least slightly hopeful.

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For Emily, wherever I may find her

The story of a reacquaintance with a woman I didn’t know quite so well. And no, we never met.

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Wizards spellbound

There isn’t a whole lot to say about the Thunder’s 116-89 blowout of the Wizards at Verizonland — it’s a blowout, okay? — but a few things will come to mind once I start typing.

I think I might have been able to predict the stat line for Kendrick Perkins’ debut for OKC: he played just a shade under 20 minutes, got six points and nine rebounds. This is consistent with Scott Brooks’ standard rotation: guy in the middle gets 16-20 minutes. It will, however, take a while to get used to the idea that the Thunder is, for the first time in recent memory, awash in quality bigs. Scorers, we got: 32 for Kevin Durant, 18 for Russell Westbrook (with 12 assists), 18 for Daequan Cook (six of nine treys). And while Serge Ibaka was scoring 10, he was blocking eight shots. Fifteen swats in 36 hours! (And let’s mention Eric Maynor, who scored only two but served up nine dimes.)

The Wiz did what they could: they got six players into double figures, but none of them managed more than 14 points. (Trevor Booker added 13 boards for the double-double, and JaVale McGee came close with 9.) Some Wizardry was evident on the boards, where Washington pulled in 49 rebounds, 23 off the offensive glass. But they shot only 39 percent, and all nine of their three-point attempts failed. One could argue that things might have gone better if Rashard Lewis or Andray Blatche had been ready to play, but how much better? The future of this team might be guys like Hamady N’diaye, the Senegalese center from Rutgers drafted 26th last year, who actually made both his shots in the four minutes he played, his first NBA buckets. (He’d scored before, but only from the foul line.)

The good news: the road trip ends Wednesday. The bad news: it ends at Miami. I point out here only that there is no crying in basketball.

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Following you back home

“Walk Away Renee” occupies such an iconic position in my life that I’m unwilling to listen to anyone other than original Left Banke vocalist Steve Martin-Caro singing it — except maybe for Levi Stubbs, who cut a stirring cover with the Four Tops. I mean, I actually worked up a post about the sign that points one way.

But maybe it’s time to modify that position. Holly Cara Price writes:

The last time the Left Banke stepped onto a stage to perform together as a band was 1969, so to say those in the audience at Joe’s Pub last weekend were breathless with anticipation would be an extreme understatement. Two shows had been scheduled — March 5 and 6 — and sold out in a bohemian fingersnap.

Michael Brown is long gone, of course, but two of the original Bankesters, Tom Finn and George Cameron, along with longtime associate Charly Cazalet, who played on the 1978 Strangers on a Train album, make this much more than just some old guys trading on a name. New vocalist Mike Fornatale, who sounds a lot like Steve, secured his connection to the Banke that was by reconstructing the original string charts. By hand, mind you.

Banke lyricist Tom Feher, who showed up at the March 6 performance, noted that the reconstituted band had had the guts to play “Desiree,” a song the original crew never once played in concert. And there’s this:

Also in attendance: Godz founder Paul Thornton, global rocker Alan Merrill and Mary Weiss, who once fell for the Leader of the Pack.

The first song on the only album by Montage, produced by Michael Brown, is “I Shall Call Her Mary,” which I described as “a charming paean to erstwhile Shangri-La Mary Weiss,” and which was written by Brown and, yes, Tom Feher. Tell me there isn’t some karma involved in bringing all this back home. All we need now is to find Renee herself.

Oh, wait:

Renee Fladen-Kamm is a West Coast-based singer and vocal coach, who has been a member of the Sherwood Consort. Born Renee Fladen in New York City in the late ’40s, she attended the High School of Music and Art (the predecessor to the High School for the Performing Arts, depicted in Fame). It was during that part of her life that Fladen served as the inspiration for Michael Brown to write the song “Walk Away Renee,” recorded by the Left Banke and later redone by numerous other artists across the ensuing decades.

If she could have made it to Joe’s Pub, that would have been perfect.

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This is not an app request

Women, one study says, use Facebook as a self-esteem booster:

University at Buffalo researcher Michael A. Stefanone and others found that not only do women share more photos on Facebook, but that they generally base their self-worth more strongly on their appearance. As a result, Stefanone believes that sharing photos on Facebook may be a way for women to try and boost their self-image.

“The results suggest persistent differences in the behavior of men and women that result from a cultural focus on female image and appearance,” he said in a video interview.

Ten-page PDF of the findings here. Men, in the meantime, apparently have no reason to do likewise:

We all know the real purpose of Facebook: a means for girls to whore themselves out and bask in the glow of male attention after uploading pictures of themselves in various states of undress. Any male on Facebook is at an immediate disadvantage as it honestly does nothing for him unless he documents his life to show his high value lifestyle.

On my own FB friends list, percentage of females: 53. Percentage of said females who have uploaded pictures of themselves in various states of undress: pretty close to 0, unless I’ve missed something somewhere. Then again, I’m not in the target demographic, which seems to be “18-34 with a trust fund,” and neither are they, generally.

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