Depth uncharged

Curious statistic: the five Orlando starters scored 98 points in this game. Curiouser statistic: the six Orlando reserves came up with six. Does the Magic have a weak bench? Who knows? They didn’t get much of a chance to play, because those starters were put to work whittling down what at one time was a 27-point Oklahoma City lead. They got it down to four in the last period before the Thunder closed the door. The final was OKC 117, Orlando 104, which sounds fairly impressive until you notice that the Weather Phenomena had 73 in the first half.

And the Magic were playing without Hedo Türkoğlu, who drew a 20-game suspension last month for using some mysterious pregnant-cat extract. Also not on hand: Glen “Big Baby” Davis, due to a foot fracture. No wonder the starters all played big minutes. The backcourt duo of Arron Afflalo and Jameer Nelson combined for 46 points, and Nikola Vučević did a worthy job in the middle, with 21 points and 14 rebounds. The Magic pulled off a creditable 12 steals, but blocked no shots.

The Oklahoma City bench, you should know, knocked down 38 points this time around, led as usual by Kevin Martin with a close to usual 15. The KD and Russell Show rang up 49 — 26 for Durant, 23 for Westbrook — and Serge Ibaka put up 20. At some point in the second quarter, the Thunder were shooting over 70 percent; this dropped to 55, but nobody will complain about 55. And OKC had a startling 52-33 advantage in rebounding despite Vučević’s 14; Kendrick Perkins collected 12 in ten fewer minutes.

A week from tonight, it’s these same two teams, in the shadow of the Mouse House. In between, there are trips to Dallas and Memphis, and in between a bout with the Denver Nuggets, who had won 10 straight through last night and are only 4½ games back in the Northwest.

Comments off

Born on the first of July

The reference to Canada Day in the previous piece got me wondering if there might be a big-name actress of Canadian origin who was actually born on Canada Day.

And so we have Geneviève Bujold, born 1 July 1942 in Montréal, in a scene from Charles Jarrot’s 1969 film Anne of the Thousand Days, based on the Maxwell Anderson play; she won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of Anne Boleyn.

Geneviève Bujold as Anne Boleyn

Yes, it’s a head shot. What did you expect?

Okay. I hear you. Scoot forward 15 years to Tightrope. (Yes, the Clint Eastwood movie.)

Geneviève Bujold as Beryl Thibodeaux

Bujold is brilliant here too, as a counselor to victims of sexual assault, helping Eastwood’s macho-man detective solve a serial-killer case in New Orleans.

Comments (4)

Quote of the week

Remember the melting pot? Works kind of like a fondue pot, only marginally less cheesy. Or, to borrow a better description from Roberta X:

[T]hat’s the U.S. for you: wherever you are from, if you move here you’re likely to find your holidays co-opted and whatever you grew up eating transformed into a fast (or at least middlin’-quick) food. Then we start doing mash-ups and before too long, you’re celebrating Canada Day by eating bratwurst tacos in a pita-bread shell at a faux-English pub in Nebraska. You want culture? We’re a heated cabinet fulla Petri dishes and they’re all kinda porous!

I know what I want to be doing the first of July.

Comments (1)

Cashing in, ever so slightly

I am of two minds about the not-all-that-hefty Senior Discount being offered at some places. On one level, I’d just as soon not be reminded of how many years have gone by; on the other, I could probably use the few extra cents for something.

Patti, a couple years younger than I, has less of a dilemma:

I am over 55, after all, although only two measly years. Sandy’s only 56. Is it that obvious? Have all my anti-aging secrets, my skinny jeans, artfully highlighted hair, not managed to shave a couple of years off my appearance? Yes and no.

I reminded myself that the cashier was about 19 years old, and anyone who was older than his parents had to be over 55. He’s also been taught to offer the discount to anyone he thinks may qualify. And I do! I do! I don’t lie about my age. I lie (to myself) about being my age, and looking my age.

In some circles, I have begun admitting to sixty already, though the motivation is simply to blur the actual date of my birth; I decline to celebrate my birthday on general principle, and I’d just as soon those people didn’t mention it.

Comments (3)

The world holds its breath

It’s been two years since “Friday” went viral, and, well, Rebecca Black has yet to become a superstar:

14 mars 2011 : le monde retient son souffle. C’est en effet en ce jour que le premier single d’une adolescente américaine dénommée Rebecca Black, “Friday”, est publié par Ark Music Factory. Depuis plusieurs jours, effectivement, Internet — et au-delà — ne parle quasiment que de ce clip. Rebecca Black, d’ailleurs, aura été la requête Google qui aura le plus progressé durant l’année 2011 !

50 millions de vues sur Youtube plus tard pour la vidéo officielle de “Friday” — à additionner aux 160 millions de la première vidéo, effacée en avril 2011, et que tout le monde s’était partagé — qu’est devenue l’adolescente, âgée de 14 ans lors de son explosion publique ?

A few minor emendations: “Friday” was actually first uploaded in the fall of 2010, and went largely ignored until it was picked up by Tosh.0 and The Daily What. And RB, thirteen at the time, will be sixteen this summer.

And “Whatever happened to…?” questions are inevitable, I suppose. That said, I continue to believe that she’s better off just above the radar, rather than making desperate grabs for the brass ring. What she has going now is reasonably sustainable and even somewhat lucrative.

Comments off

Turn around, and you’re old

In ’31, it was a race to see which would be put up faster: the Ramsey Tower or the First National Center.

In ’13, it’s a race to see which will be torn down faster: the Gold Dome or Stage Center.

There is creative destruction, and there is “We need a drug store on this corner.” You’d think it wouldn’t be so hard to tell the difference. Or, if you’ve been here long enough, maybe you wouldn’t.

Comments (1)

Fark blurb of the week

Comments off

Beer instead

KINB, the peashooter in Kingfisher that has yet to make hay with any of a dozen different formats, has given up standards (“The Martini 105.3”) in favor of CBS Sports Radio, there being an obvious dearth of sports on the air in this town (a mere three AMs and now two FMs).

What’s disheartening is not that the standards format failed, but that it was the only such station around, and this experience will tell all the programming types in town (who are mostly out of town anyway) that trying something different is simply Not Done.

Comments off

What’s more, there is no spoon

Is the chopstick ready for the woodpile? It might be:

With 1.4 billion people ploughing through 80 billion pairs of throwaway chopsticks each year, China has admitted its forests can no longer provide enough cutlery for its dinner tables.

“We must change our consumption habits and encourage people to carry their own tableware,” said Bo Guangxin, the chairman of Jilin Forestry Industry Group, to his fellow delegates at the National People’s Congress.

Cheap plastic, you think? Not even:

Pointing out that only 4,000 chopsticks can be carved from a 20-year-old tree, [Bo] even went so far as to suggest that restaurants offered metal knives and forks instead.

Well, if the chopstick is dead, let there be a tribute:

Recorded at the UCO Jazz Lab, Edmond, in 2008.

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man.)

Comments (3)


A few Northeastern types I met on the World Tours seemed to be surprised that I wasn’t tooling about the countryside in a proper truck like every other crimson-collared resident of the Flyover Zone. This can be explained by my failure to develop this particular syndrome:

[L]ike any guy, I hate borrowing or renting a truck when I need to move something big, such the pinball machines I collect. More importantly, the woman and I have a lot of hobbies that require hauling gear around. Packing her Mini Cooper Clubman with scuba gear for two is an advanced test of spatial reasoning skills, one which I usually flunk. That’s just an excuse, though. In truth I think I suffer from a suburban male’s mental malady, Vehicular Volumetric Capacity Anxiety. Reasonable or not, I don’t feel completely comfortable unless I have the ability to move giant things at a moment’s notice. You’ll find VVCA in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, listed with Electric Vehicle Range Anxiety and the horrifying disorder that makes people buy Land Rovers only to keep them free of mud.

Hmmm. Maybe I didn’t read DSM-IV as closely as I thought I did.

Comments (5)

Feeding tube pulled

It has been ordered that Google Reader will die on the first of July:

While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader. Users and developers interested in RSS alternatives can export their data, including their subscriptions, with Google Takeout over the course of the next four months.

Of the 400-odd feed subscribers here, maybe a tenth are actually using Google Reader.

Doug Mataconis is not at all happy about this:

Perhaps the reason that Reader didn’t gain more users is because Google didn’t spend much time promoting it and, quite honestly, never really bothered to update it much after its introduction in 2005. I’d also assume that the fact that it’s not exactly a money maker for them played a part in the decision. Nonetheless, I’m really disappointed.

Google boasts, if that’s the word, that some 70 products and services have been killed off in the last year and a half.

Meanwhile, Adam Gurri doesn’t see this as the Death of RSS:

Imagine all the time lost going to sites when they haven’t updated. This was the original argument for RSS readers, one that I’ve made throughout my usage of them. With RSS readers, that time is not wasted. You only interact with a site when it has updated.

I currently follow dozens of webcomics. The post rate for these varies from 5 times a week, to 3 times a week, to once a week, to once a month, to whenever the hell the artist feels like updating.

Hmmm. Now I wonder if my five-posts-per-day regimen is actually counterproductive.

Comments (5)

Uneasy listening

The Jazz scored nine points in the second quarter. Think about that for a moment. Nine points in twelve minutes. Reggie Miller once scored eight points in less than nine seconds. The only question at that point was how much the margin of loss would be. The Thunder were up 50-28 at the half; Utah managed 28 points more in the third quarter and 31 in the fourth, but by then it was too late. OKC stomps yet another Western opponent at home, 110-87.

Despite the seeming one-sidedness of it all, there was a lot going on, much of it unpleasant: five technicals were assessed, along with 52 “other” fouls, two of them deemed Flagrant. The Jazz went a creditable 27-33 from the stripe, the Thunder 29-33. Away from the stripe, though, Utah wasn’t hitting; they were below 30 percent at the half, and managed to improve only to 35. (The Jazz put up 11 more shots than the Thunder, but hit nine fewer.) Then again, Utah had “only” 18 turnovers; OKC coughed it up 24 times.

With stuff like that going on, actual scoring seems irrelevant. For the Jazz, Gordon Hayward and Enes Kanter, reserves who played more minutes than the starters, were the only two players in double figures, Hayward getting 20, nearly half again his average. Kevin Durant had 23 (and ten boards) to lead the Thunder; Russell Westbrook checked in with 19, and the bench put up good numbers, led by Kevin Martin with 15.

The none-too-tricky Magic will wander into the city on Friday night. At this point, the best thing you can say about Orlando is that they’re still three games ahead of Charlotte.

Comments off

Where have all the meth labs gone?

Evidently, they’re along Interstate 44:

Meth incidents in the US 2012

Oklahoma, ranked eighth highest in 2004, has now risen to sixth, despite a modest decline in the number of methamphetamine “incidents” recorded. The biggest drop seems to be along the Left Coast, for reasons I’m not entirely sure of. (Oregon, it appears, now requires prescriptions for all products containing pseudoephedrine, though the effect of this law is yet unclear.)

Still, Missouri remains your go-to state for illegally produced meth. I assume they’re not crazy about that distinction.

Comments (9)

My knees are up here

On the left: Svetlana Pankratova, assistant basketball coach (girls varsity) at George Mason High School in Falls Church, Virginia, reported, and apparently certified by Guinness in 2009, to have the longest legs of any woman on earth: fifty-two inches. (She stands 6’5″.)

Svetlana Pankratova and friend

On the right: I have no idea. The Falls Church News-Press, whence this photo came, didn’t bother to tell us.

Comments (3)

Way too much way too soon

I never expect to see supermodels in Target, but there she was: hair carefully arranged to look 10 percent tousled — 15 would have been overdoing it — eyes expertly lined and shadowed, hemline positioned exactly where it should have been.

She was maybe four feet, four inches tall, and almost certainly no older than ten or eleven.

This sort of thing has been bothering me since before she was born:

She might have been ten, she might have been twelve; it would never have occurred to me to ask. And she’d chosen the middle swing from the row of three, because there was much more room to swing, not only to and fro and up and down, but also side to side. I smiled at her as I stumbled down the hill towards the “cluster boxes” that the Postal Service finds so endearing and the postal patrons find so annoying.

“Whatever happened to my youthful exuberance?” I muttered to no one in particular while I pulled bill after bill out of its dingy receptacle. I mean, I don’t have the urge to clamber onto a swing and get myself airborne or anything; the cruelty of gravity is something I’d just as soon not face. But here she was, a pretty girl on her way to becoming a beautiful woman, seemingly paying no attention whatsoever to the unending pressures from a culture she barely knows. “Grow up! Find romance! Spend money!” Who needs this sort of foolishness? Let her fly while she can, and let her grow up when she’s ready.

Besides, heavy makeup is a serious drain on one’s allowance, even at Target prices.

Comments (6)

Double yellow swine

Eric Scheie contemplates the left-lane bandit (Decelerus scumbili):

What I would love to know is what it is that makes certain swinish people think that they have a God-given right to occupy the passing lane and refuse to move.

I suspect that, like so many others, they have remade God in their own image, and conflate His interests with theirs.

While I try to understand people by putting myself in their position, where it comes to this business, I’m stumped because I am in their position all the time. I have to drive in the left lane a lot, because here in Michigan, trucks are forced to stay in the right and follow the slower 60 m.p.h. speed limit, which means that cars that travel at their speed limit of 70 must either get in the left or be forced to slow down to 60. Under this system, naturally there are often people who driving faster coming up behind me. Sure, some of them are rude about it, but I always get over, just as I would expect the same from a driver in front of me going more slowly. It’s just one of the basic rules of driving on the highway, and I have been doing it for many decades. But it seems that there are more left lane road hogs than ever before, though. Is it because there are more drivers and they stand out more, or might the problem be that driving schools have stopped teaching that the left lane is for passing? Or are people just ruder?

The same two-tier speed limits prevail in Texas — on the fastest non-toll roads, cars go 80, trucks 70 — but Texas has some semblance of lane discipline, and similarly enlightened states, such as my own, will happily bust you for plodding along in the left lane.

Comments (7)