Okay, you write this one

It’s an actual Open Thread. Try not to stir up any litigation, wouldja please?

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Hanging one way or the other

A few days back, I dropped a quote from some suit (so to speak) at the American Association for Nude Recreation:

“Polls regularly show that about one in five North Americans have skinny-dipped in mixed company.”

Which drew this bit of analysis:

Ironically, about the same number of people (20% of the population) is identified as politically liberal. Without a considerable amount of research, I think it would be irresponsible to claim liberals skinny-dip and conservatives keep their clothes on.

That said, it is curious that liberal groups are customarily recognized for using nudity in their protests. Examples are the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) who regularly parade naked women for the sake of animal rights and the Breasts Not Bombs crowd who protest for peace. And there are others, so maybe a direct correlation can be made between nudity and liberalism.

Maybe, but I don’t think there’s much of one. While individual nudists certainly can be, and occasionally are, politically active, the whole point of contemporary naturism is that going nude is no big deal; stripping off one’s kit for political purposes, to exploit the presumed shock value, is simply not on the agenda.

Besides, as I said about six years ago:

At best, a nude protest tends to trivialize the cause supposedly being advanced. And yes, I’m aware of the presumed body hangups of our ostensibly Puritan society and all that, and they don’t make the slightest bit of difference; unless nudity is actually germane to the issue — say, trying to get a section of public beach set aside for clothing-optional use — it reduces the credibility of the protest.

Of course, there are other reasons not to take the likes of PETA seriously.

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Below Maverage

Through three quarters, it looked like the Thunder were actually going to put away the visitors from Dallas, who had only just arrived from a narrow win over Detroit and who had given the impression of looking a bit tired in spots. Then came the fourth quarter, and the Mavericks shut down everything the Thunder threw at them: with about seven minutes left, Dallas went on a 10-0 run and then kept on running. The final at the Awfully Quiet Arena was 111-103.

You can probably expect the next two words: “Dirk Nowitzki.” He led all scorers with 34, including a Durantean 14 of 15 from the foul line. But just as hazardous to Oklahoma City was Tyson Chandler, who once came within a physical of joining the Thunder, with 17 points and 18 rebounds. And Caron Butler wasn’t much of a factor in the second half, but 15 points in the first kept Dallas in the game until they were ready to make the big run in the final frame.

OKC technically outshot the Mavs, 48.2 percent to 44.4, but Dallas owned the boards (49-36) and the charity stripe (30 of 34 versus 17 of 23), and a double-double from Kid Delicious (32 points, 11 rebounds) wasn’t enough to keep the Thunder in contention, despite double figures from Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green and, yes, Serge Ibaka. They didn’t play badly, exactly, but when you’re overrun 36-22 in the fourth quarter, Bad Things happen to you.

Now follow two road games, at Indiana (Friday) and Houston (Sunday), followed by a visit from the Hornets on Monday. It will take at least two out of three to stay up with the other contenders in the West.

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It will live and live, and so forth

What a surprise: the B. C. Clark Jingle has a Facebook page.

What I haven’t figured out yet is why I should follow it on Twitter.

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Pointed disclosure

Now it can be told: the secret of Google Maps. (Not a word to anyone, y’hear?)

Google Maps under construction

(An epic win from failblog.org.)

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What do you want to C4?

While you’re avoiding going to the airport, here’s a fresh idea on the Grope and Change front, this one from an old bud of Dick Stanley’s:

All we need to do is develop a booth that you can step into that will not X-ray you, but will detonate any explosive device you may have hidden on or in your body. The explosion will be contained within the sealed booth.

This would be a win-win for everyone. There would be none of this crap about racial profiling and the device would eliminate long and expensive trials.

I suspect this is probably easier said than done, but now at least it’s been said.

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Past dilute

At the heart of homeopathy, apparently, is the notion that as the amount of actual dissolved compound, whatever it is, approaches zero, the greater the potency.

Which leads to a question that Martin Robbins was willing to ask: “So can you overdose on the stuff?”

Landing in Robbins’ inbox shortly thereafter, the following advice:

  • Arsenicum Album 30C or up higher, try a 200C
  • Repeat dose 3 times daily until symptoms appear.
  • Stop them if you don’t want the damage to be permanant
  • but continue if you really want to be a believer in the power of homeopathy.
  • You should begin to feel a burning from your mouth to your anus, incredibly painful.

Well, let’s see. Production of arsenicum album is simple enough: separate the arsenic from a suitable mineral, such as arsenopyrite, by baking; grind to a powder and mix with lactose. A 30C preparation is a dilution to the 10-60 level, which means that there is one molecule of the compound for every 1060 molecules of water. To test this yourself, dump a teaspoon of the stuff into Lake Itasca, at the headwaters of the Mississippi River, and then wait for it to show up in New Orleans. This is actually far less than 30C, but you get the idea; 200C is 10-400, which requires you commandeer the entire known universe for your experiment.

Of course, if you actually drank that much water, you’d have problems far beyond Taco Bell-at-2-am levels of gastric discomfort.

(Via Fark.)

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Not so spendy

Will there be a lockout if there’s no new Collective Bargaining Agreement after the NBA season? Maybe, maybe not. But apparently some of the players are downsizing their blingage:

Brandon Jennings of the Milwaukee Bucks, who earned about $2.2 million last year in his first NBA season, is the proud owner of a Ford Edge, which cost $26,000.

New York Knicks guard Roger Mason Jr. said he recently traded in his Bentley convertible for a used Cadillac Escalade.

Last time this happened, twelve years ago:

Union executive director Billy Hunter had been at his post for less than two years and veteran players and agents said many of their clients and teammates didn’t seem to realize their multiple mortgages and car payments wouldn’t stop coming after their paychecks did. Because many NBA players come from families where living month-to-month is the norm, they said, few made contingency plans.

For now, Billy Hunter is sending out save-your-money messages, just in case.

(Via HoopsHype.)

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This is not a tailgate party

Sage reports that this guy has managed to total three cars so far, and it’s no surprise why:

“Move up right behind the car in front of you so nobody can pull in ahead of you.” He’s never heard of the 3-second rule.

Or of common courtesy, I surmise.

Unfortunately, kindred spirits to this doofus infest almost every mile of Interstate, or so it seems.

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Rough as a cob

Seemingly unlike any current officeholders, Al Gore’s apparently willing to admit having messed up once in a while:

“It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for first generation ethanol,” said Gore, speaking at a green energy business conference in Athens, Greece. “First generation ethanol I think was a mistake. The energy conversion ratios are at best very small,” he said, referring to how much energy is produced in the process.

He still has some enthusiasm for second-generation ethanol, produced not directly from food crops but from grasses or farm waste, where the yield is presumably better. Still, it’s not hard to see why he went full-tilt Children of the Corn on us:

Gore explained his own support for the original program on his presidential ambitions.

“One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president” in 2000.

Well, duh.

The cynical among us might think that Gore is positioning himself for the inevitable anti-ethanol backlash. At least, I hope it’s inevitable.

Michael Kinsley did not have to be available for comment.

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One of those California gurls

So I gave myself an assignment for Rule 5 this week: a picture of Katy Perry that does not remind me of Zooey Deschanel, since, you know, they look so much alike and all.

This seems to fill the bill quite nicely:

Katy Perry

Although if Zooey wants to wear something this short, I’ll be happy to post a correction.

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Activity behind the curtain

Sunday night I renewed the existing hosting deal for another year, so any of you who were hoping I’d do something unprecedented — like, say, getting a life — are going to be disappointed once more.

I also initiated the Sisyphean task of moving the domain registration, mostly out of irritation. When I registered this domain back around the turn of the century, I went to Network Solutions, because, well, who else was there? At the time, I was delighted to see that they’d cut the annual fee from $100 or so to a mere $35.

Eleven years later, I’m up for renewal, they have scores of competitors, and the fee has been slashed from $35 to … um … $34.99. Yes, they’d give me a third off for a five-year term, but that’s still twice what I’d be paying elsewhere.

So I get to shove this rock up the slope for the next week or two. It’s not exactly my first choice for where I’d like to see it shoved, and I’m giving up four months of my last term besides, but it’s hard to say “This will not stand” so long as anyone stands for it.

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Plus the advantages of a good rack

“Can Scrabble make or break a relationship?” After a curious game, Chele is wondering about some of us guys:

My girlfriend pulled me on the side and asked me to “please, please” not beat him in Scrabble. His mood and ability to deliver her cocoa correctly that evening depended on him winning this game. [Yes, I'm serious] When I continued to blink at her blankly she said, “I want him in a good mood and I need for everybody to get along. Haven’t you ever just let a man win? It’s a stroke for his ego which equals a stroke for me later. And really Chele, who cares who wins?” I had to think about this (and tweet it) … had I ever thrown a game for a man’s ego? Uh … no. As a matter of fact, hell to the no.

This led to a heavy discussion in the Twitterverse:

[D]o women do this? Lose games so their men feel big and strong? Do men want us to do this? Am I seriously emasculating a dude if I beat him at Wii Golf? Can a Scrabble game make or break a relationship? I gotta downgrade my vocabulary to “Cat in the Hat” levels to get a husband? For real tho? Is it really No Country For Smart Girls? Do we truly have to dumb down to catch and keep a man?

Gawd, I hope not. I cherish the really smart women, even though they usually turn out to be way out of my league.

I don’t think anyone’s ever thrown a game for the sake of my ego. Then again, as Sally might have pointed out to Harry, we can’t always tell when our chain is being pulled.

(Via a Dawn Summers retweet of Chele’s tweet. I am reasonably confident that Dawn could kick my ass at Scrabble, and probably so could Chele.)

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The growls were audible

First, a quote from Scott Brooks:

“Every minute he’s on the floor he’s going to give his best. But like all of our guys, it’s not going to always look great.”

Brooks was talking about Serge Ibaka, but he could have extended the description to the entire Thunder squad tonight: the allegedly-lowly Minnesota Timberwolves managed to have their way much of the evening before being dispatched from Insert Name Here Arena, 117-107, by the combination of a Jeff Green trey, two Ibaka free throws, four Kevin Durant free throws, two Russell Westbrook free throws, and two Green free throws in the last minute, during which time the Wolves got exactly one bucket.

Underestimating the opposition? Darko Miličić (21 points) and Kevin Love (24 points, 17 rebounds) did a tremendous amount of damage, and of four Minnesota reserves who saw playing time, three scored in double figures. The Wolves edged the Thunder on the boards, 39-38, and shot a respectable 50 percent; even scarier, they were able to get off 15 more shots than the home team.

But after two games without Green and Durant, a game with Green and Durant had to be won somehow. Durant had 28 points, Green 24, and Westbrook 20 (with 14 assists); Thabo Sefolosha had 13 points and 11 boards, and Ibaka, back on the bench, still scored 10.

So once again OKC gets the job done when they have to, and they’re now 10-4. Through 14 games last year they were 7-7. Extrapolation beyond that requires a braver soul than I, especially since the Mavericks are due in here Wednesday.

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Malevolent hardware

One of the more bizarre traits of the hoplophobe is his apparent belief that nothing horrible would ever happen if it weren’t for those pesky guns. Roberta X takes apart one such Scared Individual:

[H]e fears the machines. He thinks if all those malefactors had was a pack of sparklers and a few five-gallon cans of gasoline, or a double-bitted axe or a pitcher of koolaid and a can of drain cleaner, or even an SUV, nothing bad could possibly have happened. He believes objects have volition. Presumably, were he ever to go mad, possibly from crushing ennui or overwhelming existential angst, and murder 37 grade-school children with a 12″ #2 Philips screwdriver, it would be the “Craftsman assault driver” that did the killing while the man himself looked on in horror, a helpless tool of the tool. Mmm-hmm.

I’ve seen some pretty sophisticated machinery in my day, but I’m fairly certain I’ve never once seen a handgun that could pull its own trigger. And if I had, the first thing I’d have wanted to know is “Can it be taught to aim itself?”

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Okay, we did the math

I assure you, it disturbs me for far more substantive reasons:

ecard: I'm sorry your November birthday is a disturbing indication that your parents had sex on or around Valentine's Day

Hey, they got married on February 13th. Gimme a break.

(Via this Dodd Harris tweet.)

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