Frigid air

The Met Office in the UK reports:

As December draws to a close, early provisional figures from the Met Office suggest that this December is very likely to be the coldest across the UK since the national series began in 1910.

This December the average temperature for the UK has been -1.5 deg C, 5.7 deg C below the long-term average of 4.2 deg C.

The current coldest December was in 1981, with a mean temperature of 0.1 deg C.

That 1981 figure wouldn’t get you into the top (bottom?) five in Oklahoma City. And even -1.5° C is shruggable; the monthly record here (going back to 1891) is 25.8° F, which is -3.4° C. Which is pretty cold for a place at almost the same latitude as Crete, fercrissake.

But start heading north from here — Kansas, Nebraska, the Dakotas, Manitoba — and those Oklahoma City numbers, cold as they are, look increasingly laughable. So I suspect the Brits aren’t going to get a whole lot of commiseration from these parts, although I’m rude enough to suggest that they might consider looking into increasing their carbon footprints.

(Found at Steven Goddard’s Real Science.)

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A whole bunch of cookies

Lurking in the Oklahoman’s real-estate recap yesterday: Girl Scout-Western Oklahoma Inc. has bought an office building at 6100 North Robinson for the not-inconsiderable price of two million dollars, or about 816,000 boxes of Thin Mints. (Before you ask: I’m figuring $3.50 per box, of which 70 percent goes back to the local council.)

This building is over 20,000 square feet, more than five times bigger than the old GSHQ at 121 NE 50th, which was sold off for $330,000. I’m guessing that the Scouts don’t need all that space, and that some of the tenants currently leasing at 6100 will continue to do so.

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Let there be garbage time

And there was twelve minutes of garbage time, as San Antonio won its twelfth game in a row at home in the face of a massive display of what can only be called Thundersuck. In three of four quarters, Oklahoma City failed to come up with as many as twenty points — they did manage 21 in the fourth — losing to the Spurs to the tune of 101-74, the sort of tune you don’t want to hear too often against a conference rival. This one was in doubt for maybe three seconds after tipoff.

In the face of this level of futility, the Spurs didn’t have to do much more than show up, but they turned in a worthy performance, shooting an okay 47 percent and grabbing 52 rebounds. Tim Duncan was his usual solid self, dropping in 21 points; Tony Parker had 14 points and 10 assists. (Telltale statistic: The Thunder in aggregate came up with only 10 assists.) The Spurs weren’t too wonderful from beyond the arc, but they didn’t have to be.

When your most impressive line belongs to Serge Ibaka, you had a rough night. The OKC bench scored as much as the starters — 37 points each — which should tell you how badly the starters were doing. Ibaka, though, kept his chin up and his fouls down, recording 14 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks. Kevin Durant (remember him?) was held to 16; James Harden had 12, and that’s it for the double figures.

Mullens Report: Byron put in nearly eight minutes in the final frame, hitting one shot (of four) and one free throw (of two) while reeling in one offensive rebound.

Neither of the next two road games — at Memphis on Tuesday, at Dallas on Thursday — is exactly a gimme, and then the Grizzlies show up in OKC for a Saturday game. It’s going to be a long week, I suspect.

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We got your earworms right here

This is one of those tracks that’s been kicking around in the back of my head for several months now; I only just found the video last week.

This is from her 2008 album Hello…x, one of the more inscrutable titles I’ve seen lately. Also, she’s just now (as in the last week or so) engaged to Jason Mraz. (If you’d followed my Twitter stream, you’d have known that.)

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Hard to find, oh well, whatever, nevermind

You may recall that I actually moved the registration of this particular domain for reasons having to do with the desire to save a few bucks, and by “a few” I mean twenty-five over the course of a year.

Which doesn’t stop some enterprising operation with manifest contempt for its customers from offering me a far more expensive deal:

Domain Name Registration Price Term
DUSTBURY.COM Dec 20, 2010 – Dec 20, 2011 $75.00 1 Year

Say what?

Turns out that this really isn’t a domain-name registration at all. From the finer print down the page:

This letter is to inform you that it’s time to send in your search engine registration for DUSTBURY.COM.

Failure to complete your search engine registration by Jan 4, 2011 may result in the cancellation of this offer (making it difficult for your customers to locate you using search engines on the web).

Your registration includes search engine submission for DUSTBURY.COM for 1 year. You are under no obligation to pay the amount stated above unless you accept this offer by Jan 4, 2011. This notice is not an invoice. It is a courtesy reminder to register DUSTBURY.COM for search engine listing so that your customers can locate you on the web.

Their links go to something called, which evidently hoovers up email addresses from actual registry lists and then hopes to hit on someone who isn’t paying attention.

Incidentally, I’m probably easier to locate on the Web than they are. PageRanks, per Google:, 6;, zilch. I would get better results holding my wallet open over the toilet. (How do I know it’s better? The wallet contains only $51 at the moment.)

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IP unfreely

This showed up on Yahoo! Answers last night:

How can I ban liberals from my blog?

is this impossible. its through blogspot. would an htaccess file do the trick if blogspot allowed it

Well, it’s not like they’re cluttering up his comment section; as of the last time I looked, he had nine posts and no comments at all.

And no, you can’t do this in .htaccess. (What would the server look for to identify a liberal? Text styled as justified left?)

I am disinclined to give this guy a link, but if you read the question link and pull up his profile, you’ll get the URL.

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The shape I’m in

All things considered, I’d say it’s about average.

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Worst titles of 2010

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Hawked up

A cold night in the Big Breezy, and the Atlanta Hawks got a cold reception at the Roundish Building Downtown, although they seemed less bothered by that than by Russell Westbrook’s bid for a statistic: with seven seconds left, Westbrook, expected to dribble it out, instead dished the ball to an open Serge Ibaka, who dropped it through. It was Westbrook’s tenth assist, to go with ten rebounds and 23 points, giving him his third triple-double ever. Even radio guy Matt Pinto seemed surprised. Atlanta’s Al Horford came back with a mostly-unchallenged layup, and that was that; there were a few choice words exchanged after the horn, but nothing came of it, and the Thunder posted a 103-94 win.

Ibaka himself had a double-double: ten points, ten boards. What was most remarkable, though, was that the long ball was actually falling for the Thunder; Kevin Durant (33 points) hit five of nine, and the rest of the team also hit five of nine. Then there was the brief appearance of Jeff Green, who somehow rolled up six fouls in less than twenty minutes. (He still scored 10, and finished a game-high +13.)

Jamal Crawford, the Hawks’ sturdy sixth man, grabbed five steals and led Atlanta scorers with 26; Josh Smith added 23 points more, and Joe Johnson earned a double-double (16 points, 11 dimes). The Hawks, down nine after the first, gained ground in both the second and third quarters, but were held to 15 points in the fourth.

Coming up: three road games in six days, though the first one is tomorrow night at San Antonio. At least Uncle Jeff got some rest.

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The opposite of “joyride”

How big is “flyover country”? Mark Alger suggests that certain members of society haven’t a clue, and proposes a demonstration:

I maintain that you could induce a sort of a catatonia in your typical fashionable Upper East Side liberal by plunking him or her down in the front passenger seat of an SUV trekking across Montana on a bright spring day. The sky alone would oppress.

Oh, absolutely. Let ‘em do the entire 667 miles of US 2. Not only is it Wide Open in the best (and therefore least urban) sense, but parts of the road run parallel to the BNSF railroad, which means there’s a good chance they might see a couple hundred rail cars full of good old American coal. By the time they get to Havre, they’ll be wishing they’d been waterboarded instead.

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Quote of the week

A bit of wisdom from Jennifer:

For the love of John Moses Browning, don’t get your toys that go bang and toys you like to bang mixed up.

She was referring to, um, this.

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Down to Earth

Lynn overcomes her skepticism:

These are my first pair of Earth shoes. I’m always skeptical about gimmicky features and claims, like the toe being 3.7 degrees higher than the heel, which is a big deal with Earth shoes, but I was also curious and always wanted a pair. I really love the look of these and, like I said, it was a really good sale so they are now on my feet and they feel great.

It won’t be her last, either:

I was thinking about Birkenstocks, or the cheap knock-offs they sell at Walmart every summer, but now I’m hooked on Earth shoes.

Sounds like a pretty solid endorsement to me. (See the link for a picture.)

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Keeping it clean

Overly impressed by neatness as I am, I would probably throw myself at any or all of these women:

Not that I object to telekinesis or similarly advanced technologies, of course.

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“2011 beckons,” says Andrew Ian Dodge in the title of the 406th Carnival of the Vanities.

Years do that, especially around this date. I don’t remember anything in particular about the year 406, except that Attila the Hun was born right around then.

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Somewhere out there

Call it Lyndon, or call it Linden, but it’s still a pit:

It was the fourth habitable world found (at least by the NATO powers), the closest to Earth, the only planet “taken” by NATO during the Far Edge War and the third settled by USSF colonists. The climate’s pretty good, the local land life not especially varied or aggressive toward humans; “terraforming” has been no big deal, about like settling Ohio. Or more like Texas, minus the border issues: some challenges but the settlers rose to meet them. And had kids. A lot of kids. And indulged in various flavors of civic involvement most majorly.

Which was a bit of exposition from Roberta X’s I Work On A Starship, an actual dead-tree copy of which is on the way to my mailbox even as we speak. I’d downloaded an ebook version, which was less than $2, but I wanted something permanent for the library.

Maybe I’ll schlep it to the Hidden Frontier some year and get her to sign it.

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Speaking of Sasha

We mentioned Sasha Vujacic in a post about last night’s Nets-Thunder game; he was the only New Jersey player to score the long ball. Far be it from me to make some rude comment about scoring, but here’s a look at Sasha’s fiancée:

Maria Shaparova

You’re looking at tennis star Maria Sharapova, seen here in civilian wear at the 2007 ESPYs. She and Vujacic started dating in 2009, and, well, he is called “The Machine.”

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