Warlocked and loaded

Several hours before the game, Alex Roig predicted the Thunder killer: Victor Oladipo. Not the most difficult prediction, perhaps, but Oladipo pretty much had his way with any deployment of Thunder defense — rather the way he did the last Thunder-Magic clash, in which he knocked down a triple-double. Into the final minute of the game, Oladipo had 37 points, one short of his career high, and the Magic were up two. “Killer,” for the moment, looked literal. Then at :30, Russell Westbrook came up with a layup to tie, and with half a second left, Kevin Durant splashed a 28-footer. Oladipo’s desperation shot at the horn did not go, and it was Oklahoma City 117, Orlando 114, wild and woolly, though only one actual W word counts for anything in the grand scheme of things.

Still, it took some serious heroics to get past those shots of V.O. That last trey gave KD 37 points, and Westbrook, who’d worked up a triple-double in a mere 22 minutes, had 19 rebounds, a career high, in the middle of it. (Otherwise: 22 points, 14 assists.) And the Magic were shooting 50 percent or better almost all night, finishing at 49.5. Serge Ibaka wasn’t scoring much, but he did block six shots, one more than the entire Orlando squad. Still, the guy who scared me as much as Oladipo did was Mario Hezonja, the #5 draft pick in 2015, who scored 16, one short of his career high, and who beat two buzzers. (There are only four buzzers to beat in regulation.)

All eyes, inevitably, now turn to Saturday night’s clash with the mighty Golden State Warriors, who have yet to lose one at home this season. (Then again, neither have the Spurs, who have played more home games.) I’d like to be hopeful, really I would. But then the Thunder just beat a team that had lost nine of its last ten by three points. The Warriors haven’t lost nine since the French and Indian War.

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I’m guessing Malone died

For those keeping score, Dublin’s Samuel Beckett Bridge is downstream from the James Joyce Bridge.

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Coming infractions

On Valentine’s Day, the last thing I want or need to hear is — well, anything from this list, though this specific example is perhaps the most galling:

“You should try to find a date! You know, so you’re not alone.”

Because, you know, it would never occur to someone to try to find a date any other time of the year.

The one saving grace in all this is that the 14th this year falls on a Sunday, so those fortunate enough to be able to partake of late-night debauchery will pay for it dearly Monday morning.

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No bargain

Walt Hickey has one of the funnier statistics from the Iowa clusterfark:

Jeb Bush and his super PAC spent $14.1 million in Iowa and obtained 2.8 percent of the vote. That’s about $2,800 per vote. Jeb Bush is that friend you have who is totally a Hufflepuff but believes he can buy his way into Gryffindor.

Bush ran sixth, and collected one actual delegate to take to the convention in Cleveland. The wisest shopper of the bunch, apparently, was Donald Trump. Compared to Jeb’s spending:

That’s about 18 times as much money as first-place winner Ted Cruz spent for each vote he received. It’s also 34 times as much as silver medalist Donald Trump spent, and 10 times the amount spent by third-place winner Marco Rubio.

“Third-place winner”? Must be someone from off-planet editing these things.

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Or so they decided

Via Arthur Stock and Language Log, what might be a curious headline:

Front page of Philadelphia Inquirer 30 January 2016

Although the one that gets me is lower down on the page: “Pope’s Fiat sold for $82,000.” If a mere fiat brings that kind of money, what would someone pay for a nihil obstat?

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Wet but not hot

When I feel like pretending I’m a Mad Scientist, I tell people I have a closet totally devoted to the distribution of hot, maybe even scalding dihydrogen monoxide. Of course, if they pop open the door and see this perfectly ordinary water heater, they’re going to be disappointed, but such is life.

I got my own disappointment over the weekend, when “hot” was displaced by “tepid, if you’re lucky.” I am not lucky, at least in this regard. There are several cheap parts that go into one of these devices, and all of them were intact. However, the gas valve itself, which costs about half as much as the entire tank array, was kaput, and was replaced in a surprisingly brief session this afternoon, accompanied by the sound of money disappearing in the distance.

Upside, such as it is: while the standard “These things don’t last as long as they used to” disclaimer was issued, no indication was given that this particular thing was on its last legs. And frankly, next time around, I’m considering buying smaller, on the basis that a device of this sort ought to fit into its space, and this one, installed some time last decade, was put in sideways, with the control gizmos facing the side wall. Had I screaming kids lined up to bathe, of course, I might see things differently. Downside, apart from the expense: the unwritten law says that you set the thermostat to 120°F for Safety Reasons. I strongly suspect that no two thermostats agree on where exactly 120°F should be.

Update, next morning: The fix didn’t take, or something. I am currently in the mode best described as “You will fix this, and you will fix this now, or I will kill you and tell God you died.” Okay, maybe not quite that harsh.

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He’s earned your vote

Even Glenn Reynolds says so.

Vote for Rick Astley

And a coda:

This is Rick Astley’s last single to date, released in 2010, which he cowrote with Andrew Frampton. (Astley’s 50th birthday is Saturday the 6th.)

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Hutton around

After shooting off my mouth about the beauties of Chucktown, I figured the least I could do would be to provide an example thereof. The name that immediately came to mind was Lauren Hutton, born in Charleston in 1943, though she grew up in Florida and graduated from Tulane.

Lauren Hutton signs in

Never married, Hutton is still considered a brand-name model in her seventies. I suggest it’s because she never addressed her alleged deficiencies, detailed in a Harper’s Bazaar profile when she was thirty:

Lauren is anything but a classical beauty. Her nose flies west, her mouth flies north, she can cross her left eye at will. She made herself beautiful by learning, watching, willing — not by surgically altering her defects.

Lauren Hutton on the front row

And when she got to be my age, well, she looked like this:

Lauren Hutton needs no top

That Letterman-ish tooth gap was something she was advised to conceal early in her career. After a few unlovely efforts, she decided the hell with it. Very wise, I think.

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The competition is fierce

Fauxcountry News, which is to Charleston (South Carolina) what The Lost Ogle is to Oklahoma City, recently ran this piece which I believe to be at least somewhat satirical:

Charleston is well-known for winning best city awards from various travel and tourism magazines, but now Charleston has earned a new honor. Stylish Woman Magazine has selected Charleston as the #1 city with the most beautiful women who must settle for complete douchebags.

Editor-in-Chief of Stylish Woman Corrin Mason said it was an easy choice when all was said and done. “We visited a lot of cities,” said Mason. “But within one hour of touring Charleston, it became abundantly clear this city was the winner. I’ve never seen so many hot women paired with such arrogant asswipes.”

It’s purely a matter of demographics:

Charleston is well-known for having a 2-to-1 female-to-male population ratio. The gender discrepancy leads to the phenomenon known as The Musical Chairs Effect on the dating scene. In your early 20’s, the music starts and all the decent, good-looking guys are immediately snatched up. As the music continues playing into your late 20’s, the remaining population of single men are claimed and married in progressive order from “he’s okay” to “meh.” When women hit their early 30’s, they’re forced to date one of the leftover douchebags before the music stops and they become a crazy cat lady.

It’s been 47 years since I was a resident of the Holy City, but even back then, there was feminine pulchritude in dazzling profusion. I didn’t reach full douchery, however, until long after I’d left.

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Orange Crush, but crushier

Apparently the latest thing in soft drinks is, um, hardness:

Recently MillerCoors released their newest product called “Henry’s Hard Soda,” an alcoholic soda sweetened with cane sugar in orange and ginger flavors. This release manifests MillerCoors desire to hop onboard the explosive craft beer and more recently the hard cider movement.

Um, okay. Who’s supposed to drink this stuff?

In their first major advertising push on TV and digital marketing, MillerCoors is targeting Generation Xers, those aged 34-54, encouraging them to live “Hard-ish.” Conceptually, the ads feature young suburbanites who have grown up but are not yet ready to commit to being “grownups.”

At fifty-four, it’s probably too late to start thinking about grownup stuff.

Here’s a 15-second spot:

You know, this could have been a whole lot worse. (“Worse-ish”?)

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Nearly spellbound

One thing about the Washington Wizards: they’ll shoot if there’s an opportunity, and sometimes if there isn’t. This works about half the time, or at least it did earlier in the game; the Wizards dropped to 47 percent shooting, and second-chance points were few and far between. (One set of numbers screams this at you: the Thunder outrebounded the Wiz, 53-27, and only two of those Washington retrievals were off the offensive glass.) Still, a high-velocity offense will not save you against one that’s running at an even higher speed, and tonight Oklahoma City was cranking it up, at least when they weren’t coughing it up, hitting 52 percent on the way to a 114-98 win and a 2-0 season sweep of the Pirates of the Potomac.

As usual, the big-number grabbers grabbed big numbers: Kevin Durant glided to 28 points, Serge Ibaka pounded home 19 with ten rebounds, and there’s Yet Another Russell Westbrook triple-double, 17-13-11. And everyone was delighted to see the return of Cameron Payne, sidelined for a couple of games due to concussion-like symptoms; he sprang for eight points in 12 minutes. Wizards sixth man Bradley Beal, from Florida in the Billy Donovan days, paced Washington with 18, mostly in the second half; John Wall, who played all but seven minutes, followed with 17.

The homestand ends Wednesday, with the arrival of the Magic from Orlando. (Well, actually, they’re arriving from San Antonio, where the Spurs at the writing are drubbing them.) Then comes Saturday, and the first visit to the Golden Gate. The Warriors, who have won like a bazillion in a row, haven’t lost on their home floor all year, and Steph Curry has already guaranteed a Warriors win. (He later did the Ha Ha Only Kidding backpedal, but he meant it. Steph always means it.) If the Thunder can pull that one out — but that’s a pretty fair-sized if, even for a team with the fourth-best record in the league.

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A place one could live

It sounds rather appealing to me, but then I’m already where I need to be:

[I]t’s a quiet, and affordable neighborhood, close to schools, markets, gainful employment and military bases. Again, the affordable part; someone working a moderately well-paid job in this part of San Antonio would be able to purchase a house here without going broke on it or having to live on Top Ramen for thirty years. I managed the mortgage easily on an E-6 salary, and subsequently on the pension for same, although sometimes there were some dicey months. Some residents have amazing small gardens, kids play in front and back yards, people walk their dogs or run at all hours, decorate for holidays, know each other by sight well enough to wave. Nothing that will ever be on the Parade of Homes, in Architectural Digest or Country Living, or even, God help us, run the risk of becoming a historical district, unless in a hundred years, “late 20th century residential developer” becomes a significant aesthetic marker. (Although, seeing as the great and the good seem to prefer us all living in bare concrete stack-a-prole high-rises, perhaps a neighborhood like ours might very well become a suburban treasure. After all, Levittown has, in some appreciative circles.)

Having been to one of the Levittowns to see for myself — the one in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, northeast of Philadelphia — I’m happy to count myself among the appreciative. And my own neighborhood, a transitional zone between Foursquare and Mid-Century Modern, is one step short of being zoned as historic.

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Buying the Water Works

This one might actually make you weep. The Piano Guys almost seamlessly blend Mozart’s “Lacrimosa” (from the Requiem, K. 626) with Adele’s “Hello”:

This was not easy, but there was common ground:

Both tunes’ divergent traits presented challenges. One wallows in a wide, painstakingly minor 12/8 time and the other drives a poignant bi-polar major/minor common time. One draws its power from the fullness of a grand chorus and orchestra, the other from the isolation of a lone voice and piano. One conforms to age-old counterpart canon and musical theory, while the other is conveyed via verse/chorus pop song parlance. However, they share the same fundamental feeling — “Lacrimosa” (meaning “weeping” or “tearful”) mournfully bemoans spiritual death, while “Hello” gripes about relationship regrets. Different centuries. Different realms. Same emotion. Perhaps we aren’t as far from our predecessors as we think we are.

We never have been.

(Via HelloGiggles.)

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Specialty headgear by Alcoa

Usually we make fun of the questions at Yahoo! Answers. But this answer was so utterly mockable, it deserves attention of its own. Get a whiff of this:

Russia will destroy Turkey and America. Move to Ural. (666 times 3)+(6 times 3) = 2016. Jews want war between Russia and Germany from June to October. Tube people = demons. Clones = demons. Human costumes that demons wear = demons. Dinosaurs and 666ed people have triple stranded DNA. Demons live inside clones. Bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin (who discovered Bubonic plague) is depicted on the Shroud of Turin. There is another shroud on which blasphemer Yosef (who was crucified on a pole in 1066 AD) is depicted. WW3 happens; 7% of people will be left; after people are tired of war, they will elect the antichrist as one world leader; don’t vote. ISIS stands for Israeli Secret Intelligence Service. Next false flag: Statue of Liberty. Move away from coasts as nukes will go off in the ocean (at where tectonic plates meet; result: megatsunamis 1km high). Earth is flat; stands on 3 pillars (the Most Holy Trinity); pillars stand on water at zero Kelvin. Zodiac is planetary prison of demons; don’t believe in horoscopes or you’ll exhibit the traits of the trapped demons. Most thoughts and dreams are from demons; demons never do good. Sleep fully clothed; pray the Jesus prayer. Pray to your guardian angel to have normal sleep. Vyacheslav Krasheninnikov was the last prophet before Enoch and Elijah return to preach against the antichrist. According to Ruski Orthodox Christian Vyacheslav Krasheninnikov: Humans were created about 7525 years ago.

Birds participate in time creation. It’s a sin to kill birds. Dinosaurs live under our level. They will get out through sinkholes and lakes. To kill them, go for their nerves. Save the birds; but kill the dinosaurs. First dinosaur will come out of Volga River in Russia. Demons grow human skin (from a sample taken during abduction) and put it on so as to look like us. Demons will invite people to be healed inside their UFOs; those who go will be like zombies after. Gov’t provides demons with diamonds and allows demons to abduct people. If you’re being abducted, slowly pray the Jesus prayer.

Don’t panic. Demons use diamonds and souls to power their UFO craft. The bigger the diamond, the more it lasts. Demons have 4 UFO bases: 1)Moon 2)Inside fake mountain Kailash in Tibet 3)In lake Baikal in Russia 4)In Atlantis which is underneath the Mariana Trench in Pacific Ocean. There are no aliens. Nobody lives on other planets. Airplanes that go down are hit by demons because they need the airspace to fight Jesus. Antichrist is pale with red eyes. He’s possessed by Satan since he’s 12 years old. He flies. He wears gloves to hide long nails. He’s surrounded by demons who appear as angels of light.

Don’t go into a UFO to be healed by demons. 666 is given by isotope rays on wrist or forehead when people stretch hands to receive small plastic grey card with no name on it (World Passport). Police will microchip and isotope ray people on highways. Food stores will isotope ray people too. Antichrist will also release prisoners to mark people. Reject 666 at all cost. If you’re about to be marked, pray the Jesus prayer. Hide with Orthodox Christians to escape 666; leave all electronics behind so that antichrist’s minions can’t track you. Give to charity in the name of Archangel Michael; he rescues people from hell twice a year (or brings them up a level, that is, to a level with less punishment; eventually, people are freed). Feed the pigeons; when pigeons bow down, people are saved from hell. Forgive me.

How do we know this is a freaking nutcase? Because the question was “What Were Some Of Your Top Favourite Albums of 2015?”

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The wrong angle

An unfortunate incident on a Friday in the dead of winter.

(Yes, Friday. No, it’s not about whatshername.)

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Strange search-engine queries (522)

After months of foreplay, the actual political season begins this week, and it has the word “anticlimax” written all over it. So I’m just going to go about my business, part of which involves sorting through recent search strings. No contributions are solicited.

“feminist airplanes” “feminist engineers”:  The latter, at least, are known to exist.

why do feminist hate guys yahoo:  Damn guys won’t let them fly.

this question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions canton flannel:  After “submissions,” I think we can safely rule that this was automated.

would you like us to send you a daily digest about new articles every day heracles:  It would give him something to do while mucking out the stables.

assume that wal-mart stores:  No, don’t. We assume too much about them already.

96 ways to say i love you:  Which is 46 more than the ways to leave.

invisible clothes for women:  Alterations, regrettably, are exceedingly difficult.

by publishing information packed articles, you’ll soon enjoy visceroptosis:  Well, you may experience it, but you probably won’t enjoy it.

kermit the frog no mascara:  I wonder if this is what triggered the breakup with Miss Piggy.

thomas has routinely declined invitations to go bar-hopping from kathy, his boss. during his performance review, kathy mentions that even though the quality of his work is satisfactory, he isn’t much of a “team player.” at the end of the review, kathy invites him out for drinks again. how would this:  If Thomas is wise, he will start updating his résumé.

did shakespeare write with a quill:  Well, it wasn’t a Sharpie.

walking down the street something caught my eye:  How it did that while walking, I’ll never know.

craigslist narration needed:  Over here are the scamsters, and off to the right you can see the pervs.

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