Quick, build a house!

That damn fire keeps getting closer all the time…

Screen shot from Fox 5: Fire Destroyed by Home

(From LAObserved via this Amy Alkon tweet.)

Comments (1)

A tweet of great social and political import

There is, of course, silliness in several thousand varieties on Twitter, but once in a while something like this comes along:

Tweet by saucybritches

And this is what happened, later that same day.

Comments (1)

Gently sipping

Demand for gasoline has been down of late, which hasn’t affected the price all that much for some reason. At least we know we can’t blame Amy Alkon:

I spent $153 on gas in 2010. In all of 2010. Don’t know what the 2011 tally was because I haven’t added it up yet, but it’s probably less. I work my life so I barely have to drive anywhere. Most people probably can’t do that. I also bought a Honda Insight hybrid in 2004, as the first new car I’ve ever had. I bought it so I wouldn’t pollute (it’s a SULEV — a Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle) but it’s turned out to be really amazing in savings on gas ever since.

A spin over to fueleconomy.gov shows the post-2008 figures for the ’04 Insight to be 45 city/49 highway. (Original sticker said 57/56.) I’m guessing she has the CVT version, because the stick-shift model just missed SULEV by a hair.

A hundred and fifty-three bucks would keep my car gassed up for, oh, seven weeks, maybe.

Comments (5)

Text only

Bailey Connell explains why she’s not doing a video blog:

[I]t’s in your best interest to keep my videos to performing pre-written music and lyrics, where I don’t have to speak off the top of my head. As much I wish I were, I am not quick-witted; when I try to be, I tend to … er … talk out of the wrong end. If I wanted you to hear word-diarrhea, I’d refer you to a recording of one of Ron Paul’s speeches.

There’s a lot to be said for knowing your limitations. (Assuming, of course, that those actually are her limitations.)

Comments off

Further distinction

A post last week about British MP Louise Mensch contained a peripheral remark about Home Secretary Theresa May’s “distinctive shoes,” illustrated with a pair perhaps not as distinctive as these:

Theresa May in leopard-print heels

Fleet Street, as is its wont, tends to go ballistic over women in UK politics for extraneous reasons like this, which suggests to me that there will be more material of this type during the next several months.


Comments off

A fountain troubled

Roxeanne de Luca contemplates her marital status, and reminds us that there are no guarantees in life:

[O]ne cannot always choose whether or not to find a great husband and to have a minivan full of children. We are not guaranteed such rewards, even if we choose the path that would likely lead us to such rewards. What we can do, however, is to be the type of woman whom a good man would want to marry, and would be proud to have as the mother of his children. If you do not end up with a huge, loving family (or a small, loving family, if two kids are about all you can handle), it shouldn’t be because you are a raging shrew whom men will sleep with but would never marry.

Perhaps fortunately for me, the vast majority of the unmarried women I know are not in fact raging shrews. Still, if you fancy yourself the very model of a modern-day Petruchio, be assured that Kate is out there:

I would (gently) suggest that Maureen Dowd is simply not the kind of person that any sane man would want to wake up next to every morning, and it’s not because she’s smart (which she may be, and can intimidate many men), or successful (ditto), but because she’s such a damn shrew.

So noted.

Comments (27)

Idol hands

Brian J. throws out a tricky question:

Justin Bieber: Is he more like Andy Gibb or Shaun Cassidy?

It’s tricky because there are so many available points of comparison. A few possibilities:

  • Still alive: Gibb, no; Cassidy, yes; Bieber, yes.
  • Owes much of his career to sibling(s): Gibb: yes; Cassidy, no; Bieber: no.
  • Owes much of his career to screaming teenage girls: Gibb: yes; Cassidy, yes; Bieber, yes.
  • Issues with voice changing: Gibb, no; Cassidy, no; Bieber, yes.
  • Godawful cover version: Gibb, “All I Have to Do Is Dream” (duet with Victoria Principal); Cassidy, “Da Doo Ron Ron”; Bieber, none yet, unless you want to count his Christmas album.
  • likelihood of flourishing post-musical career: Gibb, no (died); Cassidy, yes (established TV writer/producer); Bieber, too early to tell.

And I suppose I should mention this:

  • How many singles did I buy? Gibb, two; Cassidy, none; Bieber, one.

Admittedly, the Bieber song I bought, “Pray,” is his least successful: it didn’t even chart in his native Canada.

Comments (2)

Strange search-engine queries (310)

Once again it’s time to open up the logs and see if anything amusing has landed therein. Hey, it beats the hell out of golf, especially this time of day, when you can barely see the green, let alone the actual cup.

“got to meet zooey deschanel”:  Be warned: she’s probably not your type.

all girls have an inner slut:  With the possible exception of Zooey Deschanel.

shoe size bell curve:  Common sizes in the middle: at the left and right, they’re out of stock.

why isn’t darker than black on itunes?  The anime, or the Cage album?

80’s movie quote things have been going downhill for me ever since you borrowed my pants:  Sounds more like an anime than a Cage album.

job title general flunkie:  You probably shouldn’t get your hopes up this soon.

why do girls wear more than one bra:  They’re, um, putting up a front.

dinosaur trimmer:  You gonna tell T. rex he needs a trim? Because I’m not.

oatmealburgers:  I see Wilford Brimley’s back at the grill again.

I have nothing to have learned:  Might I suggest English?

old backwater:  Um, you’re soaking in it.

Comments (4)

Nice sweep

So far, every NBA team faced with a back-to-back-to-back has won the third game, and the Thunder weren’t at all inclined to break the string, handily dispatching the visiting Spurs, 108-96, giving OKC the distinction of being the first team this season to go 3-0 through the triple-dip.

The word at the beginning was “apprehension”: last night, Eric Maynor went down and didn’t come back. Today we found out why: torn ACL, which will require surgery, and Maynor will miss the rest of the season. We needn’t have worried. Rookie Reggie Jackson, moved up in the rotation, responded with 11 points and four assists in his first extended stint, one of six Thundermen in double figures. Both Kevin Durant (21 points/10 rebounds) and Nick Collison (12 points/10 rebounds) posted double-doubles, something we haven’t seen a lot of this season.

The San Antonio starters were reasonably effective, with Gary Neal pocketing 18 points and Richard Jefferson dangerous from beyond the arc, but in the third quarter, they were overwhelmed 37-21, and only Neal played any significant time in the fourth. Reserve forward Kawhi Leonard was the only player on either side to log more than 30 minutes of playing time; he had the only Spur double-double (13 points/10 rebounds) for the night. And there was an early fracas between DeJuan Blair and Kendrick Perkins that resulted in double technicals. (We really need a pool to guess when Perk goes over the technical limit of 13 — shortened for this abbreviated season — and gets suspended for a game.)

I suppose it’s considered a travel day tomorrow. Tuesday the Thunder are at Memphis, where the frontcourt isn’t what it used to be — Darrell Arthur is out for the season and Zach Randolph may miss a couple of months — and then Wednesday to New Orleans, where in the post-Chris Paul era nothing is what it used to be.

Comments (1)

The long-suffering mail

Why the Postal Service is in deep doo-doo. (And no, it’s not the fault of the Internet — not by a long shot.)

Comments (1)

Fine future fours

Sometimes it’s the little throwaway paragraphs that tell you the most. TTAC pounced on this one:

Renault-Nissan announced today in Detroit that its Decherd, Tenn., plant will build Mercedes-Benz 4-cylinder engines for Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz starting in 2014.

I’m not quite sure which is the more startling news: that Daimler is outsourcing engine production to the States — yes, they build Benzes in America, but we’re talking mostly the M-Class, which hardly seems suited to a four-banger — or that Infiniti, which hasn’t had a four in a car since the demise of the G20 a decade ago, has decided that they need one.

Deep speculation: Mercedes, for CAFE reasons, may want to bring the B-Class to the States for the first time. The current B-Class is offered with an optional CVT; your current go-to guys for CVT-related technology are Nissan and Audi, and Daimler would rather suck smart cars through a straw than buy anything from the VW Group. So when this new four comes out of Decherd, the engines bound for Benzland will be fitted with the appropriate hardware for a CVT, which might even be one of Nissan Jatco’s.

As for Infiniti, they presumably don’t need a four in the G: they’ve already conjured up an entry-level G25 with a small V6. The question then becomes “What would BMW do?” The Bavarians have already shown the way: they’ve brought out a 1-series just below the 3, and are reported to be working on a small FWD car. Besides the Mini, I mean. Since the Nissan Bluebird/Sylphy is about due for a rework … but maybe I’m getting ahead of myself here.

Comments off

Managing energy operations worldwide

The government, Melanie Sherman once said, is like a cat: “Sure it can be silky and cuddly and its purr can lull you into a feeling of contentment, but, like a cat, it can purr one moment, and draw blood the next.”

And this particular simile proves to be almost infinitely extensible — also like the government.

Comments (3)

Search pollution

However efficient Google’s Mystery Math may be at detecting dangerous or deceptive Web pages, it still can’t actually read, which explains why Bill Quick’s Daily Pundit associate Alfred Centauri got this authentic link-farm gibberish while looking for laptop reviews:

Man, possess Sony produce a single hell of an item using the Sony VAIO F2 Series VPCF232FX/B. This infant is one highly effective mom, and can perhaps you have storming via work and enjoy at the velocity of gentle!

And this, he said, was the #2 search result. Certainly reminds me of Number Two.

Update: Corrected name of contributor (see comments).

Comments (2)

Close quarters

Almost as long as I’ve been in this little house, I’ve made reference to “the palatial estate at Surlywood,” though pretty much everyone knows I live in a little thousand-square-foot house on a quarter of an acre. I’ve never had any particular desire to live in a really huge house — not alone, anyway — and apparently, with the housing market so soft you could impale it on a stick and roast it over a campfire, the demand for humongous faux châteaux is retreating a bit for all the reasons you might imagine.

Although I hadn’t thought of this one:

Dwellers of small homes know each other. They are more likely, in my unprofessional opinion, to learn to manage the petty slights and annoyances that are part of communal living.

Certainly my own neighborhood seems pretty cohesive. Perhaps it’s just a reflection of the image it conveys: you don’t live here because you have to, or because you think you ought to, but because you want to.

And there’s this:

The bloating of the American house at a time when family size has declined is a cause and result of spiritual shrinkage.

Well, yeah; if we buy lots of stuff to fill whatever emptiness we think we feel, we need a bigger place to put it. (For the first 50 years of my life, I plead guilty.) Eventually, some of us figure out that there are treasures that don’t require storage space.

Comments (5)

Considerably more red glare

Last night in OKC, Goran Dragić, filling in for the wounded Kyle Lowry, wasn’t a factor. Tonight in Houston, Dragić was a monster: 20 points on 7-10 shooting, plus eight assists. Add to this the perennial menace of Luis Scola, and it’s no wonder this one went down to the wire: the Rockets, down two at the half, rallied to a 12-point lead in the third quarter, and it took most of the rest of the game and some Kevin Durant sorcery for the Thunder to come back. Kid Delicious put OKC back on top with 22 seconds left; when the Rockets came up dry on the next possession, Durant got the rebound, drew an immediate foul, and swished two free throws. Down three, Houston had one last chance, but Dragić finally messed up with a bad pass, and that was it: Oklahoma City 98, Houston 95.

Kevin McHale, seeking a different result from last night, swapped around his starters tonight, inserting rookie Chandler Parsons and veteran Samuel Dalembert into the lineup. They got a mere four points between them, though Parsons had eight rebounds, and anyway, Scola had 28 and Kevin Martin 16, so it’s not like the Rockets lacked for firepower. (Parsons finished +14, highest of any Rocket tonight.) It was the first home loss for Houston this season, and you’d almost think it was expected: attendance was reported as 14,327, which is a lot for a half-full arena.

The Durant/Westbrook axis once again had the majority of OKC points — 52 between them — though the bench was forceful enough, with James Harden contributing 16 points and Nazr Mohammed coming up with 17, the most he’s scored since coming to the Thunder. On the downside, Eric Maynor went down four minutes into the fourth quarter and did not return; he’ll definitely miss tomorrow’s game with the Spurs, and probably several more.

Still, you have to figure that Scott Brooks is at least somewhat pleased with winning the first two of a back-to-back-to-back. We’ll have to see whether the absence of Maynor offsets San Antonio’s ongoing absence of Manu Ginobili. After that, it’s a Tuesday trip to Memphis, and while the Grizzlies are 3-4 at this writing, they’re still second in the Southwest, behind the Spurs and ahead of the Mavs.

Comments off

Paris after dark

I don’t suppose she’d ever “dress down” for something — it just seems out of character — but this is actually a pretty good look for her:

Paris Hilton as a temporary brunette

Still, Paris Hilton shunning the spotlight is about as plausible as Democrats demanding tax cuts, so we may as well enjoy it while we can.


Comments (9)