Just a hint of blow-by

Scott Brooks didn’t have a lot of reasons to be happy tonight: the Pistons jumped out to a four-point lead after one, and while the Thunder kept things under control for the next two quarters, opening up an 18-point lead in the fourth, Detroit took advantage of OKC lethargy, or something, to close that gap to six in the last minute. But the Pistons would get no closer, and when Russell Westbrook missed at the stripe and Serge Ibaka somehow managed a putback, the Thunder were up ten, and Ibaka swatted away Detroit’s last chance to seal the 104-94 win. So maybe Brooks did crack a smile at the very end.

Remarkably, the Thunder shot 50 percent from the floor including 50 percent of their treys (nine of 18). Kevin Durant, as usual, led with 24, but James Harden beat him for efficiency: seven of 11, four of six from Way Out There, for 22 points. Westbrook posted yet another double-double (13 points, 11 assists), and by gum, there’s Serge again with another Jeff Green-ish line: 16 points, eight boards, two blocks. Okay, maybe the blocks aren’t all that Uncle Jeff-y.

But the Pistons, their lowly record notwithstanding, still made a game of it. Rookie center Greg Monroe put together a double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds), and Tracy McGrady, recently promoted to starting at the point, came close to one himself, missing by a single dime. Richard Hamilton, who never saw himself as a sixth man, was a darned good one, scoring 20. And Detroit managed to outrebound Oklahoma City, 38-34.

The Thunder have five more games against the East before their next battle with a Western opponent: the Jazz, at home on the 23rd. The third of those five, against the Heat, will presumably be the most difficult, if not necessarily tearful.

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Attack cat is attacking

Some of you may remember that childhood classic Tiger’s Revenge by Claude Balz. (I figure sooner or later Mr Balz will show up in the end credits on Car Talk, alongside chief accountant Candice B. Rittenoff.)

Anyway, while Tiger’s Revenge is presumably fictional, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen.

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Just wedging in

About fifty seconds on the Zappos.com heat map yielded up this cute wedge, sold to someone presumably shoeless in Seattle:

Coretta by Naya

This is “Coretta” by Naya, with an actual hemp platform midsole for that espadrille look — well, an espadrille on a slant, anyway. The platform is an inch and a quarter, the heel 3¾ inches, and the lining is leather. And this part of the company pitch was sort of interesting:

The styles feature chrome-free or vegetable-tanned leathers, natural, organic or sustainable fabrics, heels made from sustainable bamboo, biodegradable latex foam cushioning, natural cork and rubber footbeds, outsoles made with recycled materials, nickel-free metal buckles, recycled paper boxes, and water soluble glues and cements.

I had to think about “chrome-free” for a moment, but then chemistry class from forty-odd years ago came back to me: chromium salts are often used in the tanning process, and they’re not something you particularly want seeping into your water supply.

“Coretta,” it turns out, has a vegetable-tanned upper. I’m thinking this might be a little too dark for a classic neutral — if that doesn’t bother you, there’s a version in navy — but hey, now you can bring out that peasant skirt you left in the back of the closet decades ago, right? Zappos will sell you this shoe for $145.

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Hotsy-totsy Notsy

The Manolo has dubbed ex-Dior designer John Galliano — “ex” because of some idiotic remark about Hitler — a “repulsive little fashion troll,” but asks:

[H]ow does one enjoy the transcendent clothing of John Galliano without feeling that one is somehow patronizing the bigot?

How to sanction the artist, while admitting that his art brings beauty and joy to the world?

The Manolo, who loves the poetry of Ezra Pound, the music of Wagner, and the clothing of John Galliano, has no easy answer to this question.

I remember my own send-off for the late Ike Turner, which mentioned, albeit obliquely, that he was a Horrible Person, but concentrated on matters more purely musical. At the time, nobody accused me of making excuses for Ike, which was something of a relief, especially when you consider what passes for making excuses these days:

In a phone interview this afternoon, [Patricia] Field described Galliano’s controversial videotaped behavior as “farce” and said she was bewildered that people in the fashion community have not recognized it as such.

“People in fashion all they do is go and see John Galliano theater every season. That’s what he gives them. To me, this was the same except it wasn’t in a theater or in a movie,” she said. “John lives in theater. It’s theater. It’s farce. But people in fashion don’t recognize the farce in it. All of a sudden they don’t know him. But it’s OK when it’s Mel Brooks’ The Producers singing ‘Springtime for Hitler’.”

The Ha Ha Only Kidding defense, often used by politicians (and people who think they’re politicians) confronted with the transcripts. It plays no better on the catwalk than it does on the nightly news.

And there’s this question, posed by La Petite Acadienne, one of the Manolo’s commenters:

What does it say about us, as a society, if we continue to pad the pockets of someone so hateful and abhorrent, just because he makes beautiful things? What message is that sending?

Frankly, why SHOULDN’T the uber-talented be held to the same standard as the rest of us? Permitting crap behaviour, on the grounds that the person is somehow more valuable to society, is the sort of mindset that leads the very rich or the very famous to think that they’re above the law and above society’s mores.

Roman Polanski, line one, please.

But there’s this:

Let the Gods forgive what I have made
Let those I love try to forgive what I have made.

From Ezra Pound’s Canto CXX, a title he himself never applied to it.

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Quote of the week

Robert Stacy McCain formulates what he calls the Existential Theory of Liberalism:

Everything that exists must be subsidized by the federal government; ergo, to argue against government subsidies for something is to advocate the abolition of that thing.

Examples thereof:

The Existential Theory of Liberalism can be seen in action whenever any conservative proposes reducing federal expenditures for, say, the National Endowment for the Arts, and is therefore accused by liberals of being “anti-art.” By the same token, if you criticize the federal Department of Education, you are “anti-education,” and if you oppose using taxpayer dollars to fund embryonic stem-cell research, you are “anti-science.”

On the other hand, I can legitimately be called “anti-ethanol,” except in shot-glass (or similar) quantities.

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It’s sleeting on Andrew Ian Dodge, judging by the “Sleeting to CoTV” title he’s affixed to the 415th Carnival of the Vanities.

For a couple of months after WWII, the 415th Tactical Fighter Squadron was temporarily assigned to the Alaska Air Command (now the Eleventh Air Force); however, those months were during the summer, so I’m pretty sure the squadron didn’t encounter any substantial sleet.

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The flowers of Mopar

Sit back and let Charles Baudelaire sell you a car:

The new Lancia Thema, of course, is a Chrysler 300 that speaks Italian, but nobody at either home office is even slightly bothered by that fact, and you’re not going to see me complain about it.

(Via Autoblog.)

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Entirely too mandible

“Some tortures are physical,” noted Ogden Nash, “and some are mental.” The one that’s both, though, is dental:

[I]t’s not like I’m the first person to play hurt; everyone has, or will have, periods of protracted discomfort. You could note that dental pain is unique, since it’s usually both sharp and throbbing and dull and uniquely electric and IN YOUR HEAD, which makes it particularly personal, but I don’t think we want to get into a contest of Pain Theaters to determine which is worse. Just know that everything on the site this week was done while a railroad spike was being hammered into the side of my jaw. And it’s still lite ‘n’ breezy! Ah, the indomitable human spirit.

Oh, and just one thing more:


I should note here that many years ago, this same chap refudiated that business about Procter & Gamble being in league with the Prince of Darkness, pointing out that their premier dental product was called Crest, and not Anti-Crest.

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Cheerios, old chap

OMG, what in the name of Horatio Magellan Crunch are they thinking?

There’s a new study out stating that children report liking a cereal better if it has a cartoon character on the box. Oddly, a lot of the online sources treat that like it’s a huge fail, like it’s all “LOOK HOW THEY BRAINWASH KIDS.” I see how it could be a way to promote healthful cereal: slap a fun character on the box!

You’ll notice they don’t put Charlie Sheen (Tigerblood is GRRRREAT!) on breakfast food. Then again, there’s a five-letter S word even worse than “Sheen,” and that’s “Sugar”: although Post hasn’t officially fired Sugar Bear, they don’t allow That Term in the name of the product. (Except, apparently, in Canada.)

But that’s kid stuff. How come we Bigger People don’t get cartoon mascots?

I think they need to repeat this study with the healthful cereals that many adults buy. They could have Bugs Bunny’s Bran Bits, and SpongeBob Seaweed Crunch (now with more crab chitin!). In fact, I think they must try that.

Me, I’m waiting for Michael Moore’s Breakfast Donuts® — or, better yet, a low-priced knockoff.

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Putting the bite on George

You won’t have George W. Bush to kick around chew on anymore, at least if you’re a terrier:

Up in Sonoma there are sticks and fence lizards and rotting deer carcasses and all manner of great things to play with. But Oscar has always been very clear about his preference for his Dubya Doll. Well, to be truthful, he’d trade Dubya for a squeeky ball, but Oscar is banned from any toy that squeeks. Squeeky things make him more batshit crazy than Charlie Sheen. (Believe me, you don’t want Charlie Sheen attitude in a terrier body.) So George W. Bush has remained the chew toy of choice for most of Oscar’s short life.

A squeeky W. would absolutely drive this poor dog bonkers. (Is there a Charlie Sheen chew toy?)

But apparently production has ended on the Bush 43 model:

I found the site for the manufacturer and was initially excited to see that the Dubya toy is marked down on most sites. Sadly, further reading and browsing found that the toy has been discontinued and is not available, except for a few models at ridiculous prices on eBay. In fact, it seems political chew toys have fallen out of favor altogether. In a fit of bi-partisanship, I briefly considered the “Bark” Obama toy, but it, too, is discontinued.

Where does that leave little Oscar? Any of you crafty people want to sew up a John Boehner or Michele Bachmann chew toy?

A Boehner chew toy, I suspect, would be like Jackie Wilson’s pillow in “Lonely Teardrops”: it never dries out.

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Screaming phonemes

Add this to the Things That Make You Go Hmmm…

Why all of a sudden… is the media spelling Kadaffi’s name “Gadaffi”? Couldn’t have anything to do with an attempt to blind search engines to older, now-inoperative stories about him?

Twenty-five years ago, I was spelling it “Khadafy,” as was the Associated Press. But apparently the G word is the Colonel’s preference:

Flash back to 1986, a year that started out with the AP (and many others) spelling the Libyan leader’s name Khadafy, based on the long-standing advice of Middle East experts. That changed when he sent letters to American schoolchildren, signed in Arabic script over his typed name: Colonel Moammar El-Gadhafi.

This is not, of course, to say that the self-appointed gatekeepers aren’t fudging the results elsewhere. And not everyone follows the AP stylebook: the New York Post, for instance, still calls him Khadafy.

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Getting a little behind

Which is damned hard to do if you started with a big one, believe me.

Below, an ode to one of your least-favorite medical procedures:

The main reason this is here, apart from the garnering of random laffs, is to call attention to the production work of B. J. Leiderman, who wrote the theme to NPR’s Morning Edition way back when, and who was quick to defend himself when I grumbled about its transmogrification into “gormless ‘smooth jazz’.” I think we can safely say that Mr Leiderman has plenty of gorm.

Before you ask: yes, I’ve had one. I am not looking forward to another.

(Via Miss Cellania.)

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Philly cheesed

You don’t argue with a team that starts the season 3-13 if, at the time you have to play them, they’re 33-30. The Sixers have been fairly hot of late, closing in on the Knicks for #6 in the East, and they gave the Thunder some seriously scary moments for forty-eight minutes. Then again, while OKC isn’t always at its best toward the end of regulation, they shine in overtime, and tonight in Philadelphia they held the Sixers to 2-9 shooting in those extra five minutes, escaping the Wells Fargo Foreclosure Forum with a 110-105 win.

Telltale statistic: Andre Iguodala rang up fourteen points in a mere 23 minutes, and then didn’t score for the rest of the game. Blame this on Durant, whom the Ig was supposed to be guarding, and on Nick Collison, the Thunder’s glue guy, who stuck to the Sixers like you know what. The Sixers weren’t short of offense — both Jrue Holiday and Lou Williams were good for 22, Jodie Meeks added 17, and wily veteran Eldon Brand picked up 13 points and 15 boards. The Sixers sent up a flurry of treys: seven of them connected in the first half, but only three in the second.

And you have to figure, when Collison posts a double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds), things ought to be going well, especially if there are two others in the box score — see Durant, K., 34 points/16 boards, and Westbrook, R., 27 points/12 dimes. OKC shot an even 50 percent, and if they weren’t quite as proficient as Philly at the long ball, and only hit 12 free throws all night, there’s a lot to be said for collecting 53 rebounds. (Offensive boards were even at 16; if you dream about second-chance points, this was your game.)

So in game 63, the Thunder collect win number 40. (It just dawned on me: only 19 left.) They’re going to see nothing but the East for the next week and a half: at home against the Pistons Friday, on the road to Cleveland, Washington and Miami, and back home for the Bobcats and the Raptors. OKC has done well against the East, posting a 17-6 record; unfortunately, all the playoff foes are in the West. One of them will not be the 15-50 Minnesota Timberwolves, who are the first team officially eliminated from the playoffs this season. We have to play them once more.

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She’s such a cut-up

What more need I say?

Hello Kitty chainsaw

(Filched from Must Have Cute; spotted first at Finestkind Clinic and fish market.)

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Imagery beyond your wildest imagination

While the rest of us stare in rapturous admiration, LeeAnn comes up with words worth more than pictures:

Ferrets, when properly raised and trained and had their scent-glands or whatever removed, are lovely, intelligent pets. This one was not. I named him Caviar because of the smell, and he constantly bit me. He’d run after me from room to room, biting my ankles. I looked like a shorts-wearing tourist at a Helen Keller weed-whacker convention.

The ferret, for his part, probably looked like one of these guys.

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Giant pygmies will love it

When you have only so much space to make a point, clarity sometimes falls by the wayside. An example, from the Consumer Reports Auto Issue (April 2011):

The new unibody [Ford] Explorer shares a platform with the Flex, but it’s taller and is shorter.

Evidently “not quite as long” wouldn’t have fit.

Addendum: You don’t like giant pygmies? How about fast zombies?

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