Nice chassis

I never quite understood the process by which Harriette Lake became Ann Sothern. I mean, she was born in Valley City, North Dakota, and grew up in Minneapolis, but no one in Hollywood saw fit to dub her Ann “Northern.”

Then again, she made her mark in Tinseltown somewhere along the Smart/Funny axis, both characteristics very much on display here:

Ann Sothern in MGM publicity photo

Okay, maybe not. MGM, the third studio to give her a shot, cast her in Maisie (1939) as a showgirl in the Old West, and it did well enough to spawn nine sequels and a radio series. None of this explains how Sothern wound up on television playing a woman reincarnated as an automobile, but hardly anything would, right?

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That’s some fine police work there, Lou

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Well … interjection!

Adverbially speaking, I think this would make a heck of a T-shirt:

I'm so adjective I verb nouns

Fortunately, it already has.

(Filched from Deb S. on FB.)

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A mass of conflicting impulses

So said Nomad, although the little probe presumably hadn’t been given the results of this Star Trek fandom survey:

82% considered themselves to be average to below average in terms of involvement, while 18% went all out to go into elaborate detail about how extremely involved they were as fans.

Well, yeah. I know maybe two women with Trek uniforms. But guys? Not so much:

Females: 57% Males: 43%, primarily single, over 40, and fairly well educated — all results from some of the basic demographics.

As Picard said to Data: “I would be delighted to offer any advice I can on understanding women. When I have some, I’ll let you know.”

(Via Fark.)

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I don’t snooze, I lose

I’d blame it on DST, but that won’t fly. The night of the actual time change, I admittedly stayed up until midnight-really-eleven, and didn’t roll out of bed until what they laughingly call ten-thirty. But Sunday night is followed inexorably by Monday morning, so I really needed to get some shuteye.

And apparently I didn’t. If I got half an hour of sleep between 10:30 (bedtime) and 6:00 (alarm), I don’t remember it. What I do remember is back and forth from bedroom to medicine cabinet, wondering what else I could take without triggering some horrible drug reaction. I was, by 4:15 or so, desperate enough to take a whiff of Vicks VapoRub.

I managed to work through half past noon, at which point I sensed that my vision was blurry and becoming more so, in which case I’d better go home now. Which I did. I came home, took about a two-hour nap during which I didn’t sleep anywhere near two hours, and blew off the rest of the day.

I’m hoping this does not portend the return of the insomnia that drove me to despondency three years ago. Things did not go badly last night, so I am at least slightly hopeful.

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For Emily, wherever I may find her

The story of a reacquaintance with a woman I didn’t know quite so well. And no, we never met.

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Wizards spellbound

There isn’t a whole lot to say about the Thunder’s 116-89 blowout of the Wizards at Verizonland — it’s a blowout, okay? — but a few things will come to mind once I start typing.

I think I might have been able to predict the stat line for Kendrick Perkins’ debut for OKC: he played just a shade under 20 minutes, got six points and nine rebounds. This is consistent with Scott Brooks’ standard rotation: guy in the middle gets 16-20 minutes. It will, however, take a while to get used to the idea that the Thunder is, for the first time in recent memory, awash in quality bigs. Scorers, we got: 32 for Kevin Durant, 18 for Russell Westbrook (with 12 assists), 18 for Daequan Cook (six of nine treys). And while Serge Ibaka was scoring 10, he was blocking eight shots. Fifteen swats in 36 hours! (And let’s mention Eric Maynor, who scored only two but served up nine dimes.)

The Wiz did what they could: they got six players into double figures, but none of them managed more than 14 points. (Trevor Booker added 13 boards for the double-double, and JaVale McGee came close with 9.) Some Wizardry was evident on the boards, where Washington pulled in 49 rebounds, 23 off the offensive glass. But they shot only 39 percent, and all nine of their three-point attempts failed. One could argue that things might have gone better if Rashard Lewis or Andray Blatche had been ready to play, but how much better? The future of this team might be guys like Hamady N’diaye, the Senegalese center from Rutgers drafted 26th last year, who actually made both his shots in the four minutes he played, his first NBA buckets. (He’d scored before, but only from the foul line.)

The good news: the road trip ends Wednesday. The bad news: it ends at Miami. I point out here only that there is no crying in basketball.

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Following you back home

“Walk Away Renee” occupies such an iconic position in my life that I’m unwilling to listen to anyone other than original Left Banke vocalist Steve Martin-Caro singing it — except maybe for Levi Stubbs, who cut a stirring cover with the Four Tops. I mean, I actually worked up a post about the sign that points one way.

But maybe it’s time to modify that position. Holly Cara Price writes:

The last time the Left Banke stepped onto a stage to perform together as a band was 1969, so to say those in the audience at Joe’s Pub last weekend were breathless with anticipation would be an extreme understatement. Two shows had been scheduled — March 5 and 6 — and sold out in a bohemian fingersnap.

Michael Brown is long gone, of course, but two of the original Bankesters, Tom Finn and George Cameron, along with longtime associate Charly Cazalet, who played on the 1978 Strangers on a Train album, make this much more than just some old guys trading on a name. New vocalist Mike Fornatale, who sounds a lot like Steve, secured his connection to the Banke that was by reconstructing the original string charts. By hand, mind you.

Banke lyricist Tom Feher, who showed up at the March 6 performance, noted that the reconstituted band had had the guts to play “Desiree,” a song the original crew never once played in concert. And there’s this:

Also in attendance: Godz founder Paul Thornton, global rocker Alan Merrill and Mary Weiss, who once fell for the Leader of the Pack.

The first song on the only album by Montage, produced by Michael Brown, is “I Shall Call Her Mary,” which I described as “a charming paean to erstwhile Shangri-La Mary Weiss,” and which was written by Brown and, yes, Tom Feher. Tell me there isn’t some karma involved in bringing all this back home. All we need now is to find Renee herself.

Oh, wait:

Renee Fladen-Kamm is a West Coast-based singer and vocal coach, who has been a member of the Sherwood Consort. Born Renee Fladen in New York City in the late ’40s, she attended the High School of Music and Art (the predecessor to the High School for the Performing Arts, depicted in Fame). It was during that part of her life that Fladen served as the inspiration for Michael Brown to write the song “Walk Away Renee,” recorded by the Left Banke and later redone by numerous other artists across the ensuing decades.

If she could have made it to Joe’s Pub, that would have been perfect.

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This is not an app request

Women, one study says, use Facebook as a self-esteem booster:

University at Buffalo researcher Michael A. Stefanone and others found that not only do women share more photos on Facebook, but that they generally base their self-worth more strongly on their appearance. As a result, Stefanone believes that sharing photos on Facebook may be a way for women to try and boost their self-image.

“The results suggest persistent differences in the behavior of men and women that result from a cultural focus on female image and appearance,” he said in a video interview.

Ten-page PDF of the findings here. Men, in the meantime, apparently have no reason to do likewise:

We all know the real purpose of Facebook: a means for girls to whore themselves out and bask in the glow of male attention after uploading pictures of themselves in various states of undress. Any male on Facebook is at an immediate disadvantage as it honestly does nothing for him unless he documents his life to show his high value lifestyle.

On my own FB friends list, percentage of females: 53. Percentage of said females who have uploaded pictures of themselves in various states of undress: pretty close to 0, unless I’ve missed something somewhere. Then again, I’m not in the target demographic, which seems to be “18-34 with a trust fund,” and neither are they, generally.

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Almost totally tubular

Once upon a time, Francis W. Porretto vouchsafed the notion that Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells could be seen as a Mass.

I went a bit farther with this idea, and I call your attention here to one particular section therein:

Seventeen minutes in, there begins a repeated bass-plus-guitar figure, a creed if you will, which escalates with each new line, each new instrument, finally ending in the simple prayers of the faithful.

Of course, every Mass is slightly different. Here’s a take on that same passage, by the Brooklyn Organ Synth Orchestra:

Admittedly, Mrs Leverlilly might have objected to this sort of thing, but I found it fascinating in several senses of the word.

(First seen — by me, anyway — on Fark.)

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Strange search-engine queries (267)

A typical Monday morning around here calls for me to stare at the alarm clock in disbelief, stagger through the standard ablutions, drive through the darkness to work — it was almost light last week, but obviously that couldn’t be allowed to continue — and then release the latest batch of Google flotsam, which was actually compiled Sunday night because, well, what else am I gonna do on a Sunday night?

dustbury beyond faith:  Which is unusual, because I am more typically characterized as “beyond belief.”

viagra in spain:  Goes mainly down the drain.

220 lb kid tripping on diphenhydramine 300 mg:  I weigh a bit more than 220 these days, and twelve Benadryl will definitely not make me trip.

“before casey kasem”:  This is before the Rock Era, possibly even before the Mesozoic Era.

handy whiter tools:  Well, a snow shovel should be black, lest you lose sight of it. Otherwise, I suppose it doesn’t matter much what color they are.

dodgammed sassmole:  If you use this phrase to cover up a werty dird in a song in order to get it on the radio, please send a check to James Lileks, Star Tribune, Minnie Appleless.

root meaning of mcgehee:  Trust me, you don’t want to know what happens once McGehee gets root.

“native americans” “no butts”:  This dumb story started back in the 19th century, probably along the Trail of Rears.

“clothing optional neighborhood”:  Lots of butts. Yes, even on the Native Americans.

feel me touch me heal me:  Bite me.

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We haz it:

Yahoo story on spy satellite

Clink to embiggen. Fark blurb for this story:

Shhhh, don’t tell anyone, but the NRO announced that it had launched a secret SPY satellite today. It’s a secret, so the NRO refused to acknowledge what their SPY satellite will do in space. If I SPY any clues, well, it’s a secret.

Subtlety. We haz that too.

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Somewhere north of Laredo

In Ric Locke’s section of Texas, that old stereotype about “lazy Mexicans” simply doesn’t apply:

[T]he Mexican immigrants who come here are hustlers, in the best possible sense of the term. They find and get jobs, often in the informal, cash, under-the-table economy that is becoming ubiquitous, apply generations of experience in getting along with less to their new environment, and after a year or so the median immigrant has a better car and a nicer house than I do (which doesn’t take much, but still). Not uncommonly, the guy trimming shrubs or finishing concrete is a degreed engineer, accountant, or doctor who has more in common with the Greatest Generation, the Americans who lived through the Depression as adults, than with Boomers like me or our successors — work hard, save money, keep a low profile, and you can prosper in a modest way. He very likely has a lower opinion of the ignorant índios who come expecting streets of gold and the Big Rock Candy Mountain than the most bigoted Anglo.

Nor should the Mexican educational system be despised. My friend Arturo has two sons, and has often shown me their schoolwork. México is deeply racist, in the sense that social status is inversely related to melanin content, but has never had much in the way of institutional racism codified into Law; as a result of that their schools have not been modified by political correctness or the necessity to achieve equality of outcome despite aptitude and preparation (or lack thereof). The curriculum Arturo’s kids matriculate in has more in common with what I experienced half a century ago [than] with modern American pedagogy, and it’s sink or swim. Fifth-graders are doing algebra, learning English, and can find Botswana or Baluchistan on the map — and if they can’t, they don’t get “socially promoted”. The Mexican twelve-year-old following Papá and Mamán down the aisles of Wal*Mart almost certainly has a better grasp of math than the high-school senior coming the other way, and may very likely be able to name more States of the Estádos Unidos on an unlabeled map.

Said I, back in the fall of 2005:

My own thinking is admittedly somewhat murky on this issue. Clearly our borders are entirely too porous, and some people we’d rather not have (gang members, the occasional terrorist) take advantage of this fact. On the other hand, people who simply want to work aren’t my idea of a threat. And while rounding up seventy thousand people might have a certain visceral appeal, it’s not going to happen — at least, not on George W. Bush’s watch.

And inasmuch as ninety-something percent of Oklahomans have ancestors who were immigrants, I tend to think it’s just a bit unseemly to complain about all those damn furriners. When we, as a nation, look at the new arrivals, and our first thought is not what they might bring to the table, but what they might take from the Treasury, we’ve changed, and not for the better.

W. is out of the picture, and the numbers may have changed a bit, but otherwise, I’m standing by that, murkiness notwithstanding.

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Fewer swords than usual

When the final score looks like 95-75, you wonder if the Thunder were that good on defense or the Cavaliers were that woeful on offense. In fact, it was a little of both. Cleveland shot barely 33 percent; they gave up thirteen steals and saw eleven shots blocked. Still, this is a team that can execute more often than not: they outrebounded OKC, 54-44, including a whopping 18 offensive boards, which says pretty clearly that despite their depleted ranks — Baron Davis was away due to a death in the family, Anderson Varejao’s been out since January, and Antawn Jamison banged up a finger a couple weeks ago — the Cavs weren’t going to sleepwalk their way through this one.

And some of the Cavs came up with numbers. Daniel Gibson came off the bench for 13 points; rookie power forward Samardo Samuels, starting for once, had ten points and ten boards; J. J. Hickson had eight points and grabbed 15 rebounds. But maybe it is the defense: last time the Cavs were in OKC, they shot, yes, barely 33 percent.

The big scorers for OKC didn’t score so big, mostly because none of them played that many minutes. Russell Westbrook checked in with 20, Kevin Durant with 19 (and a rare technical), and James Harden led the bench with 16. Serge Ibaka was in good form: he didn’t shoot so well (3-12, 8 points), but he pulled down 14 boards and delivered his trademark swat seven times. And Nazr Mohammed, who typically has been getting 15-20 minutes in Scott Brooks’ rotation, got an extended outing (25:45) today, due at least in part to an ankle injury to Nick Collison, and responded with 11 points and a steal.

If you have to play a back-to-back, this is the schedule on which you want to do it: the Sunday matinee, over with before 3 pm, and then a standard Monday-night game. The Thunder are on the way to Washington to take on the Wizards, and yours truly will be late on the recap, inasmuch as I have a neighborhood-association meeting to attend during those hours. I really don’t expect anything remarkable to happen, but you never know with the Wizards.

Counterpoint: “Listless Cavs sleepwalk to another loss.”

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Dear Brigitte

A friend of mine suggested on Facebook that she could really rock this particular dress:

Bardot dress by Talbots

And I believe she can. Talbots — apparently it’s not “The” Talbots anymore, except in the legalese — vends this “Bardot” dress for $159, and I admit, I’d think it was fabulous even if she hadn’t pointed it out to me; I always was a sucker for nice, crisp linen.

Brigitte Bardot, incidentally, was maybe five-foot-seven at the outside, five inches shorter than my friend, but this is the merest quibble.

The title, incidentally, is ripped off from the 1965 film starring Jimmy Stewart and Billy (“Danger, Will Robinson!”) Mumy, which the parental units saw at a drive-in, assuming I was actually asleep in the back seat. I was not.

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High finance at the low post

Veteran Atlanta Hawks center Etan Thomas — he was on the Thunder roster last year, and may move a few more times before his career winds down — wonders what the NBA would think of a proposition like this:

No salary cap. Bringing split for BRI to 50/50 but we have no salary cap. Teams spend what they wish, the NBA is guaranteed a revenue certainty of 50 percent and everyone is happy. This would eliminate the overspending or teams being “held hostage” because they could sign anyone for as little (should please Donald Sterling) or as much (should please Mark Cuban) as they choose.

BRI — “Basketball-Related Income” — includes almost everything except receipts from franchise moves or the luxury tax. At the moment, player salaries and benefits are set at 57 percent of BRI, which may float upwards by a point or so if revenues permit. So a 50/50 split would presumably appeal to owners, who right now are getting at most 43 percent.

And there’s the example of Major League Baseball:

MLB has no salary cap and has virtually none of the restrictions on player contracts that the NBA has. For instance, there are no limits on the length of player contracts and no limits on the amount of annual increases in multi-year player deals. Yet MLB has had nine different World Series winners in the past 10 years. (Boston is the only repeat champ in 2004 and 2007.) During this year’s Texas-San Francisco World Series commissioner Bud Selig was quoted repeatedly stating that “competitive balance has never been as strong in MLB as it is right now.” Wouldn’t a similar system be successful for both players and the NBA?

Who won the NBA Championship in the Oughts? In order: Lakers, Lakers, Lakers, Spurs, Pistons, Spurs, Heat, Spurs, Celtics, Lakers, Lakers.

Would this system work in the NBA? Who knows? The owners have been crying poverty, even as they’ve been spending like crazy; when Thunder GM Sam Presti came up with schemes to retain players without jeopardizing future finances, it made news, because hardly anybody else was doing such a thing. Easier just to write a big check and hope for a lockout, I suppose.

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