A case of strap

Brenna by Type ZDuyen Ky is assembling a suitably-smashing Christmas outfit, and one significant component thereof is this towering (to me, anyway) red pump by Type Z, sporting no fewer than four straps per side.

And four buckles per side, which I presume are positioned once and then ignored thereafter; otherwise, well, that seems like a lot of work just to put on a shoe. (I don’t know anyone who would actually undo each and every one of those buckles every time she took off the shoe. Then again, since I am inevitably observing from afar and extrapolating accordingly, I could be totally wrong.)

The shoe itself, called “Brenna,” can also be had in black. The heel rises to 5½ inches, or as Duyen would say, “about average,” and there’s a 1¼-inch platform underneath. It is definitely an attention-getter; as one vendor says of the brand, “If you’re looking for an affordable way to look your best, Type Z brand shoes will give you more attention than a zebra with hot pink stripes.” Whether that’s hot pink with black, or hot pink with white, they didn’t say.

(Too many straps, you think? Get a load of this.)

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Whither thou goest, Bob will go

Citadel has been LMAing Champlin Broadcasting’s KQOB Enid for seven years now, imaging as Bob FM.

Earlier this year, Renda’s KBEZ Tulsa adopted the Bob monicker, which prompted Citadel to send a nastygram to Renda’s Pittsburgh HQ. Citadel has since followed up with a lawsuit.

What makes this interesting is that Tulsa’s Bob is actually closer to what’s generally thought of as the Bob format, described here by Lou Pickney:

[Winnipeg radio exec Howard] Kroeger began pouring through one of Joel Whitburn’s Billboard chart reference books and began compiling a list of songs from 1974 to present day that fit into the Rock/AC category but which weren’t receiving a great deal of airplay. The result was a list with a very deep and varied mix of songs.

Outside of Canada, however, there doesn’t seem to be specific licensing for the Bob FM trademark; rival Jack FM, by comparison, is pretty strict about what you can and can’t do to maintain your level of Jackness.

It seems to me, though, that this sort of thing matters mostly to lawyers; the only possible source of confusion between Bob and Bob would be in places like Stillwater where you can pick up stations from both the Oklahoma City and Tulsa markets. Personally, I think one of them should become “Bob 1″ and the other “Bob 2,” and they should play a lot more Devo.

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Unexpected linkage

I’ve been putting out these 250-word game recaps since the Hornets were using the Arena Formerly Known As The Ford Center for a temporary home base in the wake of Hurricane Katrina; so far as I know, no one pays much attention to them.

Well, there is one exception. ESPN’s TrueHoop Network comprises about three dozen blogs, one for each NBA team, plus several that deal with the league in general. The Thunder, for instance, is represented by Daily Thunder. The one TrueHoop blog that actually picks up on my stuff, though, is Toronto’s Raptors Republic, which today kindly excerpted some of my verbiage from last night’s win over Oklahoma City. This isn’t the first time RR has seen fit to link here, either. I suspect it’s because I spell “Air Canada Centre” correctly most of the time.

Meanwhile, Doug Loudenback covered the 2010 Paseo Arts Awards, with lots of pictures, including a small group of shots of female participants from here down [gestures], which he said was intended for me — “if he is watching.” Well, of course. I left him an explanation, to the effect that my formative years, a period of generally-rising hemlines, were spent in a Catholic school, clearly an indication that God had intended me to be a leg man. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

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Get those plates spinning

LeeAnn was kind enough to serve up a good object lesson in musical universality: classical themes in a metal mood, if you will.

Which reminded me of an old favorite I hadn’t spun in a while. Love Sculpture was a Welsh blues band (!) operating in the late 1960s. While most of their repertoire consisted of genre standards, they scored an unlikely UK #5 hit in 1968 with a power-trio version of the Sabre Dance from Khachaturian’s ballet Gayaneh. It wasn’t released in the States until 1970, and then only because leader Dave Edmunds had scored a solo hit with a cover of Smiley Lewis’ R&B shouter “I Hear You Knockin’,” prompting the usual Vault Raids. This isn’t technically metal — the guitar is way more Chuck Berry than Kirk Hammett — but it certainly passes the speed test. The video is billed as a live TV appearance; apart from the applause at the end, though, the sound is pretty much identical to what’s on my copy of the record.

The ending, of course, is more Puccini Rossini than Khachaturian, but what the hell.

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Yeah, like this matters

Just watch me shrug:

According to a survey conducted by Austrian research psychologist Tatjana Schnell, an unexpectedly large proportion of Westerners feel that their lives have little meaning, and they don’t really care, reports Miller-McCune. Sampling more than 600 Germans, Schneller’s research found that “35 percent [of the sample] were ‘existentially indifferent,’ those who ‘neither experience their lives as meaningful nor suffer from this lack of meaning’,” and only 10 percent of that group were bothered by their own existential apathy.

I don’t think I’d necessarily equate “Germans” with “Westerners,” but I can’t say I’m particularly surprised by this. Then again, it may depend on what the meaning of “meaning” is. If your particular definition of self demands a satisfying romantic relationship and the job of your dreams and getting paid something like NBA rookie scale, your life might seem less meaningful than a box full of old press releases — but I’d give odds that you’d be concerned about it.

Not that those are the only choices:

The academics identified 26 “sources of meaning” in their study, and noted that the indifferent lacked sources like love, social commitment and unison of nature. They were especially low in self-knowledge, spirituality, explicit religiosity and generativity, even compared to those in a crisis.

And, says Dr Schnell:

Without commitment to sources of meaning, life remains superficial. But superficiality is not necessarily a state of suffering.

Sometimes it’s a way to make a living.

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“The Raptors,” said Royce Young of Daily Thunder, “aren’t some pushover that you should be able to walk by,” and they impressed this fact on various Thunder backsides at Air Canada Centre, turning a seven-point halftime deficit into a nine-point lead in a mere twelve minutes. Radio guy Matt Pinto grumbled about some of the calls, or more precisely some of the non-calls, but even he’d concede that Toronto simply outplayed Oklahoma City tonight: they had more rebounds (42-34), more assists (29-22), a better shooting percentage (54.9-43.7), and where it matters most, more points (111-99).

The absence of Kevin Durant, which up to this point hadn’t been much of a problem, was keenly felt: apart from his scoring prowess, Kid Delicious has been a defensive stalwart of late, and in that deadly third quarter, the Thunder defense disintegrated. Scott Brooks went small, and when that failed, went smaller; the end result was giant Andrea Bargnani rolling up 26 points and 12 rebounds. Leandro Barbosa was fearsome off the bench with 22. And José Calderón, the only Toronto starter not to score in double figures, contributed 15 assists to go with his 8 points.

Offensively, the Thunder weren’t too awful, with both Russell Westbrook and James Harden scoring 20, plus 17 from Jeff Green, and one could argue that the defense wasn’t that bad, what with eleven steals and seven blocked shots. But stops, when needed, were few and far between, and nobody had an answer to Amir Johnson (14 points), who didn’t miss the bucket even once all night.

Or you could simply point out that the Raptors, after a 2-9 start, are now 8-11, and that there is such a thing as being on a roll.

I am not comforted by the fact that the next game (1) is at home (2) against the Warriors; it’s a Sunday, and the Thunder’s 0-4 record on Sunday indicates that somebody’s taking that “day of rest” business a bit too seriously. Besides, it’s the first half of a back-to-back. And beating the Bulls in Chicago on Monday doesn’t look at all like a sure thing.

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Never mind the balljoints

Murilee Martin, in his capacity as a judge for a 24 Hours of LeMons event, presents a Cavalcade of Crappy Cars, and I have to admit, I love the idea of a presumably-scruffy racing team called the Sex Pistons. They drive — what else? — a Triumph Spitfire.

Also on hand: a 1980 Maserati Quattroporte. (Only the Italians could make “four-door” sound seductive.) I have actually driven one of these, or maybe it was a ’79; it doesn’t much matter either way. What’s amazing to me is how this sensuous sedan has glided its way down Depreciation Row to qualify under the LeMons maximum-price rule of $500.

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As long as I’m whining

A couple of posts ago, I made some noise about 26-year-old women and how I couldn’t possibly be on their radar. There are, of course, very good reasons for that, and anyway Creepy Old Guy Mode is not really what I aspire to.

Just the same, I’m going to torture myself with a visual:

Mandy Moore on the Tonight Show

This is singer/actress Mandy Moore, born in, yes, 1984. (Judging by the Tonight Show set, this is a 2008 screen shot.) I have a duplicate of this file in C:\NOWAY\NOTEVER.

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Rejected by the Great White North

A bit from Wikipedia on Acura’s top-line sedan, the RL:

While critically acclaimed, sales have not met expectations. Regarding sales of Japanese luxury flagships during the first six months of 2010, Acura has sold only 872 RLs, compared to 5,650 Lexus LS and 6,602 Infiniti M sedans. Enthusiasts and dealers said that the RL was not competitive because it is smaller, uses front-wheel drive, and lacks a V8 option, compared to its larger rivals in the mid-luxury segment that are rear-wheel drive and have a V8 available.

The home office apparently hasn’t been too concerned:

As the new RL offered more features and performance than the base version of its luxury competition’s (i.e., the base six-cylinder BMW 5 Series), Honda Japan suggested that it could charge more, though Honda Canada disagreed. The RL’s initial MSRP was $69,500 CAD, more than the six-cylinder BMW 525i and close to that of the V8-powered BMW 545i. At the RL’s price point, most consumers expected a V8, furthermore they did not perceive Acura as being on par with its German rivals and expected more value from the Japanese marque.

And apparently the Canadian branch called it correctly: according to Wheels.ca, the Acura RL is now the worst-selling car in Canada, having moved a pitiful thirty-three units in ten months this year.

(Via Autoblog.)

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Yours sincerely, wasting away

From the “Let’s go out to the lobby” files, this was the top story in yesterday’s paper:

A state senator and lobbyist who are having a romantic affair worked together to steer a lucrative state contract toward a private company that had hired the lobbyist, an investigation by The Oklahoman has revealed.

The wife of Sen. Harry Coates said Monday her husband has told her he is having an affair with lobbyist Haley Atwood. Atwood, 29, who didn’t deny the affair with Coates, 60, also is married.

Legislators’ screwing around, of course, hardly approaches the rarity of Man Bites Dog. (This does, but don’t read it. Please.) What perplexes me is the May/December angle: how in the pluperfect hell does an old fart like that win the affections, however temporary, of a woman thirty-one years younger?

Yeah, yeah, I know: Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich. Another sort-of-alpha-male Old Pol. Then again, he’s a Democrat. (Coates, as per the fifth paragraph of the newspaper story, is a Republican.) As a practicing, even enthusiastic, non-pol, I can assure you that no 26-year-old woman is going to have any interest in 57-year-old me.

Then again, City Council elections are coming up, and Sam Bowman is retiring, and … ye gods, what am I saying?

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Quote of the week

Stephen Smith at Market Urbanism, on why conservatives and libertarians have little or no interest in urban planning:

Despite the free market aspects of modern-day urbanism, smart growth and new urbanism are not libertarian movements. Urban planning is dominated by liberals, and it shows — few even seem aware of the capitalist roots of their plans. The private corporations that built America’s great cities and mass transit systems are all but forgotten by modern-day progressives and planners, who view the private sector as a junior partner at best.

God forbid someone should actually turn a buck downtown.

These tendencies not only result in bizarre contortions of public policy, but they also blind planners to their own libertarian tendencies and history. Unable to communicate these commonalities to conservatives, it’s no wonder the Tea Party doesn’t see why eliminating parking minimums, allowing dense development, or raising tolls are good things. Urbanists have to overcome the urge to write more stories about yuppies riding bikes, and instead channel some of that energy towards issues of fiscal fairness and overregulation in land use. They have to recognize that arguments about social justice and the environment aren’t going to cut it if they want to unite both halves of America and reverse its sprawling ways.

Those of us to the right of center don’t necessarily reject urbanist proposals out of hand, either: witness this discussion of, yes, parking minimums. And I certainly don’t object to bike lanes.

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Unsilent night

The curse of Yuletide Radio is upon us, and so far I have worked diligently to avoid it: I’ve even taken to threading the MP3 Walkman into the car stereo via one of those fake-cassette gizmos.

So I’m taking Nicole’s word for the following:

The major beef I have with it is that when you play nothing but 24/7 Christmas music, you have to play EVERYTHING ever recorded. So along with good stuff, you get the poppy trash that comes out every year. And you never get to hear the more churchy songs since it is on the radio and we don’t want to offend anyone.

This would seem to fall a little short of EVERYTHING, but I know what she means. And this in particular rings true:

[N]ow I’ll have “Feliz Navidad” stuck in my head all day long…

The Doors should have covered that, as payback to José Feliciano for his take on “Light My Fire.”

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For the 402nd edition of Carnival of the Vanities, Andrew Ian Dodge asks the rhetorical question: “Newsweek moi?”

Actually, this year $402 would have bought Newsweek, one of those ubiquitous $399 TVs that show up during the holiday season, and most of a McRib. (Taxes and debt assumption not included.)

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Doctor Leaky, line one, please

Joan of Argghh! sums up the current Wikileaks imbroglio with disarming (but never disarmed) succinctity:

[I]t ends up affirming to anyone with any sense what could easily be guessed about our enemies and allies and our rogue State Department. You read the revelations and go, “well, duh.” It’s like a Friday installment of the television soaps where new gossipy secrets are outed and all the household doyennes go, “I knew it!”

The major difference: the soaps have professional direction.

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I spotted this over at TTAC, and I knew I had to put it up here: the last time I heard it was more than forty years ago, but I remembered the whole thing.

Nobody ever had this problem with Mutsangs or GOTs.

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Are X-Men necessary?

The Incredibly Fantastic Adventures of Maureen DowdFor many years, superheroines in comics have been drawn to a very specific type: long flingable hair, legs to die for, and a balcony from which you could presumably do Shakespeare. (Even Susan Storm conformed to this look, and she was just an outline much of the time, for Pete’s Reed’s sake.) They don’t tend to be fiftysomething, and they definitely don’t tend to be columnists for The New York Times.

Benjamin Marra, seeing a need no one else saw, has now come up with The Incredibly Fantastic Adventures of Maureen Dowd, subtitled A Work of Satire and Fiction just in case you didn’t get the point. In Issue #1, MoDo is about to blow the lid off the conspirators who exposed a CIA agent (yes, that CIA agent), but two individuals stand in her way: a masked marauder who stole her laptop, and, um, George Clooney.

I may have to get this — it’s three bucks from publisher Traditional Comics — just on general principle. Marra has drawn Dowd as, yes, pretty much the traditional superheroine, albeit a tad past her prime; I will not speculate as to whether she actually looks that good in lingerie. (At least, not here.)

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