We are now in the post-preseason

You have to feel something for the beleaguered New Orleans Hornets, who had to finish up the preseason with a back-to-back on the road. Reasonably, they decided to rest Chris Paul and Emeka Okafor, and Peja Stojakovic was used sparingly. That pretty much left David West as the only Bee with extensive experience at the Frank Deford Center, and West scored seemingly at will, rolling up 24 points in 29 minutes. It didn’t help the Hornets, though, who were flattened by the Thunder, 101-86.

OKC finishes the preseason at 4-3. Still unseen: Nick Collison, who caught a bruise in training camp; major improvements at the post; whatever name is going to be pasted on the building, which the broadcast crew has been referring to as the Oklahoma City Arena.

The season opener is Wednesday, at home against the Chicago Bulls.

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Last time we checked in with Andrew Ian Dodge, he was CoTVing into New Vegas (between app crashes), his way of introducing the 396th Carnival of the Vanities, and also (I assume) Obsidian Entertainment’s Fallout: New Vegas.

Still in the Old Vegas: Local 396 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

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We are indeed blessed

Not a Zooeypalooza entry, but worth the effort, especially since the Twitterverse (and others) made a point of telling me about it.

Note: This was posted without the express written consent of Major League Baseball.

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Who could have foreseen this?

I mean, Ouija: The Movie:

While the Ouija movie could be a traditional horror picture (think pretty young things haunted by strange occurrences on a creepy sleepover), it’s actually being developed as an action-adventure in the vein of National Treasure. Michael Bay’s production company, Platinum Dunes, and several Lost writers are behind it.

Jeebus. If they can make a movie out of this, they can make a movie out of the Magic 8-Ball.

Steel yourselves for Uncle Wiggily 3-D.

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The most unexpected development I don’t even slightly expect? The entire Climate Worrier Industry recanting, admitting that they’d been had. Not gonna happen.

But this comes close. Apparently it is somehow possible to justify the Comic Sans font:

Dr [Daniel] Oppenheimer recruited 28 volunteers aged between 18 and 40 and asked them to learn, from written descriptions, about three “species” of extraterrestrial alien, each of which had seven features. This task was meant to be similar to learning about animal species in a biology lesson. It used aliens in place of actual species to be certain that the participants could not draw on prior knowledge.

Half of the volunteers were presented with the information in difficult-to-read fonts (12-point Comic Sans MS 75% greyscale and 12-point Bodoni MT 75% greyscale). The other half saw it in 16-point Arial pure-black font, which tests have shown is one of the easiest to read.

After studying the information, the subjects were turned loose for a while, and then brought back in to answer questions about the fake species. And here’s the punchline:

[T]hose reading the Arial font got the answers right 72.8% of the time, on average. Those forced to read the more difficult fonts answered correctly 86.5% of the time.

Moral of the story: you increase reading comprehension by making the reader work harder, though probably not so hard as demanding he read the material in Papyrus.

Dr Oppenheimer is a psychologist at Princeton; his research will be published in the journal Cognition.

(Via ESPN’s TrueHoop, and this is why.)

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Time on your hands

There’s a bit in the Association single “Six Man Band” about “the seventeen jewels that dictate the rules.” They weren’t worth much as actual jewelry — or were they?

Ring made from old watch body

This ring, derived from an old Baylor watch, adds just the slightest hint of steampunk to one’s hand.

Broke & Beautiful is showing off a whole array of Amazing Ring Designs, this one included. (Do take a look at the “inside-out” ring.)

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Dither and yon

For years, I have managed to sustain a running gag about how “Paper or plastic?” can keep me in suspense for several minutes, a metaphor for my lack of decisiveness. (At least, I think it’s a lack of decisiveness, but I’m not entirely sure.) Then again, the fear of buyer’s remorse can keep you, not only from buying, but from even showing up at the store:

It has taken me almost six years to pick out my “perfect” car because I cannot possibly decide between an SUV or a sedan with AWD. And what about the cup holders? Hmm? Decisions make me feel like things are final and once my mind has been made, I’m not allowed to go back. There’s no turning around because once something is done, it’s done. Right?

Well, it’s true of that particular decision, if only because the moment you sign the papers and drive off the lot, you’ve taken a major hit courtesy of the Gods of Depreciation, and the price of changing your mind at that point is excessively high.

Still, motor vehicles are not the only potential source of panic:

What if it doesn’t work out? I say. What if they don’t like it? What if I didn’t use the right words or this isn’t the right place or I didn’t do it right? They’ll hate it. This all comes before anything happens and so I spend much of my time gripped by fear by what “they” or even you might say.

I’d like to say that I’ve developed an immunity to that sort of thing, but no one would believe it. Especially me.

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The world’s sexiest shoe?

Well, somebody thinks so. Trade publication Footwear News nominated twenty-three designer shoes, and when the smoke had cleared and the mirrors were reoriented, only Christian Louboutin’s “Maralena” was still standing:

Maralena by Christian Louboutin

I do give it points for simplicity: it’s a mesh sling-back pump, about 5½ inches tall, and the design elements are embellished with crystals. Nothing particularly bizarre, unless you count the price ($2,445). Readers of the Huffington Post, at this writing, are not especially impressed.

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Time flies and other bugs

There’s an official definition of the second:

The second is the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the cesium 133 atom.

Provided, of course, that you’re at absolute zero (0 degrees Kelvin), which you’re not. Which probably doesn’t explain how it is that time, whether it’s expressed in seconds or decades or something in between, seems pretty elastic now and then:

The bizarre thing is that time goes by really fast, but there’s a lot of it. Or it goes further away faster. Or something.

So it seems amazing that we’ve lived here for 4 years already, but our arrival here also seems unfathomable eons ago. It seems like less than 4 years in its speed, but more in its length. A moment flits by and shoots away into the far distance.

Which reminds me, not too surprisingly, of this:

The late musicologist and audiophile Edward Tatnall Canby used to say that the length of your perceived memories is a constant, that as you get older the years get closer and closer together, like the calibrations on a VU meter as the volume — as your volume — diminishes into inaudibility.

It seems amazing to me that I’ve spent twelve percent of my entire life here at the palatial estate at Surlywood — hey, I just got here — but that’s what the calendar says.

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Press 4 to speak to someone very, very tired

I have no stomach for customer service. (In fact, I have a record of fleeing from positions of this sort.) Then again, it’s not just because I hate talking on the phone:

Customer service itself, and “customer service” as a job, are both miserable. The men who run things have set it up (via JIT, naive Taylorism, quotas, pressure, and under-staffing) so the rest of us are forced into adversarial roles. Flight attendants holler at passengers; customers holler at baristas; those responsible insulate themselves from the consequences.

That latter circumstance inspired the Consumerist, several years ago, to promote the Executive Email Carpet Bomb, “a classic tactic for rattling the corporate monkey tree to make sure your complaint gets shoved under the nose of someone with decision-making powers.”

For the record, I have never felt the need to yell at a barista. In fact, I haven’t gone into a full-tilt in-person rant in, um, hours.

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Green screen of death

Now that the first year’s Nissan Leaf production is pretty much spoken for, it’s apparently safe to let it be known that the electric car’s information center runs Windows:

[T]he 2011 Nissan LEAF touchscreen information hub is powered by Windows Embedded Automotive technology, providing drivers and passengers with a navigation system and electricity charging station locator. It also shares power consumption monitoring information with drivers, and enables easy in-car climate monitoring.

On the upside, it presumably reboots every time you push the Start button.

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The original Fujiyama Mama

It’s Wanda Jackson’s 73rd birthday, so let’s flash back to the days when she was building her reputation as the Queen of Rockabilly:

Wanda Jackson, late 1950s

Margaret Eby, taking note of a Jackson performance in Brooklyn, wrote in Interview early this year:

Jackson’s raucous voice, riotous performances, and pioneering look — short, tight fringe dresses and long sparkly earrings in an age when demure, button-down shirt-dresses were the norm — won her a place in the boys’ club and a die-hard international fan base, including Bob Dylan (who once described her as “an atomic bomb in lipstick.”) It also earned her a few nicknames. “In France they called me Hurricane Wanda,” Jackson says. “When I’d come to tour there they’d say ‘Hurricane Wanda has hit the West Coast!'”

You may remember that I nominated Jackson’s “Funnel of Love” for the state’s Official Rock Song.

And what did the Japanese think of her humongous hit “Fujiyama Mama”? They pushed it to #1 on their music chart. She’s never gonna give up singing it, either.

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One thing about the Nuggets: they let the ball do the talking. (As the phrase goes: Ball Don’t Lie.) And the ball had a lot to say at the Pepsi Center: it was Denver 130, OKC 115, in a preseason contest with unexpected lineups — neither Russell Westbrook nor Kevin Durant appeared for the Thunder, and Chris “Birdman” Andersen and Kenyon Martin failed to materialize for the Nuggets.

Your standard hoop pundit has probably already picked Denver to finish behind at least two teams in the Northwest during the regular season — Oklahoma City, probably, and either Utah or Portland — which seems to me to be a bit dismissive. Maybe they figure Carmelo Anthony will be dealt in a few days. I don’t know. I figure it will be like last year, with everyone but Minnesota in the mix, but I have no more credentials than your standard hoop pundit.

In the meantime, the Thunder have had more injuries in this preseason than they had all last season. Better now than during the regular 82, I suppose, especially since we have to play at the Pepsi Center for two of them. And let’s hope the Good Jeff Green, who had 29 tonight, shows up for both.

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Give us dirty laundry

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never felt particularly compelled to bash my ex. Then again, I’ve never had to sit next to her during a televised panel discussion, either.

I’ll have to agree with KingShamus that the spectacle was a bit “cringe-worthy,” but I came away with two halves of a single thought: it would be nice to find someone as apparently unflappable, and as comely, as Helen Rittelmeyer.

I will, however, put that thought out of my mind, and toss something else into the fray. A friend of mine snarfed this, she says, off Todd Seavey’s blog three years ago. (I checked the link: it came back 404ed.) It’s not by Seavey himself, but by a commenter identified as “Sean.” The advice, I think, is worthwhile, and not just to guys who act up on C-Span:

But having an ivy-league college degree puts you at distinct disadvantage. You’re a member of the human race, not the ideas and concepts race. Not the rumination and reflections and retroflections race. The blood, guts, steel, broken glass, limited warranty, the shit just hit the fan and good night sleep and hot meal race.

Unfortunately, after that it dissolves into an unreasonable facsimile of Roissyan gamesmanship. Still, I can’t argue with the last line:

Take your life with the two hands you’ve got and tear off what you want. That’s what everyone else around you is doing, and brother if you come to the barbecue and leave with clean hands, it’s nobody’s fault but yours.

Did anyone remember to bring napkins?

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Labors of love

Pertinent quote from a long-time quilter:

“We do a lot of quilting for other organizations,” [Laverne] Ray said. “So really, a lot of the quilts we do, we give most of them away. People try and buy our quilts, but if you think about it, they wouldn’t even be paying us minimum wage, hardly even 25 cents an hour for the time it takes to make one of these.”

Not that I have any experience as a quilter, really, but I did once contribute a square to a quilt, including a bit of decorative stitching (which involved some actual machinery and one of those wacky plastic cams) and one appliqued piece (which I did by hand), and it took me over an hour to get it to the point where I deemed it satisfactory.

You will not see me smirking at quilters.

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Meanwhile at Fourth and Boston

Stephen Green quotes some CNN drone who describes President Obama as “the most powerful Democrat in America,” and puts that description in its place:

These days, though, that’s hardly fit for bragging rights. Being the “most powerful Democrat in the country” is a bit like being the fourth tallest building in Tulsa.

Then again, the Mid-Continent Tower didn’t get to be the fourth tallest building in Tulsa by just standing there on the corner: it took some serious architectural trickery. The first 16 stories were completed in 1918; the upper 20 were completed in 1984, and since the original structure wouldn’t hold all that extra weight, the upper stories are supported by a cantilever and don’t actually touch the lower sections.

So maybe being the fourth-tallest building in Tulsa doesn’t have quite the sneer value Mr Green thinks it does. A better choice might be the fifth-ranked Bank of America Center at 15 West 6th Street, given B of A’s ostensible Too Big to Fail status, not far off from what the President might think of himself these days.

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