A line full of Q

The letter Q has traditionally — if a make existing for only twenty-odd years can be said to have any tradition — denoted the top-of-the-line Infiniti. As of model year 2014, though, every Infiniti will be a Q:

The premium automotive brand will see its model range simply prefixed either by Q — for sedans, coupes and convertibles, or QX, for crossover and SUV models. Each model will be further identified by a double digit representing hierarchy within the range.

Possible explanations for this inexplicable act:

  • Tired of being hassled by BMW over the M.
  • Too easy to tell the engine size with the current system. (The G37, for instance, has a 3.7-liter engine.)
  • Cheaper than developing a proper Q-level flagship.

I30 badgeThen again, the I30/I35 badge featured a cursive, if not exactly curlicued, letter I. So I’m thinking that once those new Q’s start hitting the streets next fall, maybe I should start telling people I have a Q30. It would clearly be the bottom of the line — the replacement for the G sedan, Infiniti’s volume model, will be designated Q50 — but hey, if BMW can sell a 1-series, I should be able to get away with this.

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Spurs rotated

I suppose the big question tonight was whether Gregg Popovich was going to pull the starters early, what with the Nuggets on the schedule for tomorrow night. And with the Spurs down 82-64 after three quarters, you could hardly blame Pop for saving those precious droplets of dinosaur DNA. But into the fray marched the San Antonio reserves, and even without Manu Ginobili, they more than held their own against anything Oklahoma City could throw at them — for a while, anyway. The Spurs cut the lead in half and then some, but by the 1:16 mark, when Scott Brooks called off the big dogs, matters were no longer in doubt, as the Thunder wrapped up a 5-0 homestand with a 107-93 win over Deep Grey.

The man of the 4/5 hour was undoubtedly Serge Ibaka, with a game-high 25 points and a game-higher 17 rebounds. (With Nick Collison grabbing 10 boards, OKC rather handily outrebounded San Antonio 49-37.) Russell Westbrook, despite indifferent shooting (6-18), piled up 22 points and served up nine assists, and when Westbrook wasn’t making plays, Kevin Durant was. KD finished with 19, one less than Sixth Man of This Year Kevin Martin.

The Spurs landed four players in double figures, but none of them broke 15. (The ageless Tony Parker and the youthful Nando De Colo each played about half the game and scored 14 points.) San Antonio’s three-point prowess was not in evidence: they went 6-20, marginally better than OKC’s 4-14. Even the return of Stephen Jackson (5 points) didn’t make much of a difference.

So: twenty and four. A happy place, the ‘Peake. But it’s time to hit the road, and the road has its way of hitting back. Wednesday: Atlanta. Thursday: Minnesota. Tuesday: Miami. Not a pushover in the bunch. (And the Hawks have already beaten the Thunder once, in the third game of the season.) Brace yourselves.

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Winter shorts

Winter shorts

I am told that this is the, or at least a, look nowadays:

In only a handful of seasons, Olivier Theyskens has successfully established Theory as a sought-after downtown label composed of cool items that girls really want to wear. A major highlight for Fall 12/13 are the WINTER SHORTS, ranging from trouser styles to even hot pants. And although they were spotted elsewhere this week [mid-February], pairing them back to sheer black hosiery is just the look that Theyskens’ girl will be spotted in 7 months out.

Um, thank you, Mr Theyskens. Your efforts are greatly appreciated. But that’s not at all what I was thinking when I said “winter shorts” — at least, not when I wrote this.

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Shouldn’t they have notified us?

(Note: This was written last night and scheduled for this time. While it was in the publish cycle, I tried to get into my own mailbox. It did connect, but nothing was in the inbox.)

Oh, right. They can’t:

Thousands of Cox Communications customers across Oklahoma were without email Sunday because of an outage, company officials said.

The email storage platform that supports residential customers failed sometime Friday evening, causing all residential customers in the state to lose access to their incoming email, spokeswoman Kristin Peck said.

The outage isn’t confined to this state, either, and several scattered Facebook friends have been grousing about it.

Cox, perhaps understandably, isn’t saying what happened, but they did say this:

Cox Communications Director of Public Affairs Gail Graeve released more information regarding the outage Sunday afternoon:

“First we want to acknowledge the impact of the residential email service outage on our customers. We know this experience is not consistent with our promise to deliver reliable products and services, and sincerely apologize for the frustration this has caused.”

Graeve said technicians have isolated the cause to an issue within the email storage platform that supports Cox Residential email in the midwest and on the east coast. Though crews are working around the clock to restore service, Graeve said Cox did not expect services to be restored Sunday.

I have a feeling the True Story will wind up on The Register, and it won’t be pretty.

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Cardiac style

No, you old geezer, you can’t dance like that:

The death of a father of three who collapsed while dancing to “Gangnam Style” has prompted a warning to middle-aged men not to attempt the vigorous dance from the hit video.

Eamonn Kilbride, 46, collapsed with chest pains at his office party in Blackburn last weekend after performing the dance moves made famous by the South Korean rapper Psy, who mimics riding a horse.

Professor Bernard Keavney, a consultant cardiologist at Newcastle University, has warned older men not to “stray outside your comfort zone” while dancing at their Christmas parties this year.

But will this advice be heeded?

I expect more men will heed that advice than men who pay attention to the “Ask your healthcare provider if your heart is healthy enough for you to have sexual activity” warning.

To say nothing of the infamous “four-hour” warning on various widely promoted wang pills. I can’t imagine anyone driving to the ER with Distended Boner Syndrome — unless, of course, he’s alone at the time. (Come to think of it, “Gangnam Style” runs only a hair over four minutes.)

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Strange search-engine queries (359)

“It knows when you are sleeping / It knows when you’re awake / It knows what you’ve been searching for / And it goes into this cake.”

What’s that? The cake is a lie? Okay, then.

SPAEDER+MAN+XXX:  Gained his powers after being bitter by a radioactive hoe.

extend range nissan leaf:  Drive downhill more.

what if marilyn monroe:  Then where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?

Where to buy shorts out of season:  Anywhere along the equator, where “seasons” are largely meaningless.

dc sneaker girl lick:  I don’t know any girls in D.C. who care to lick sneakers.

zebra cake indigestion:  This is what happens when you’ve been eating Twinkies all your life and then suddenly have to switch to Little Debbie.

“uneducated workforce” oklahoma:  It’s true. We have so few PhDs that we have to use them for important stuff instead of pressing them into service as baristas.

toothless meth heads whores from Tulsa:  And not a one of them with a PhD, I’d wager.

drug that is invisible and disappears there after:  I don’t mind telling you, this makes it awfully damn difficult to get the prescription refilled.

Pictures of abscesses from shooting up heroin:  I don’t mind telling you, this makes it awfully damn difficult to get the prescription refilled.

96 mazda 626 transmission fails when?  Saturday. However, since the world is ending on Friday, I wouldn’t worry about it.

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Sold out in ten seconds flat

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Either way, it’s swingin’

The 1960s incarnation of NBC’s quiz show The Match Game, which I watched occasionally after school for no good reason, was a bland sort of affair, as was most daytime television outside of American Bandstand, though it had arguably the spiffiest theme song of any game show, ever: a Bert Kaempfert tune called “A Swingin’ Safari.”

A Swingin' Safari LP by Bert KaempfertIn Europe, Kaempfert, then the A&R director for Polydor Records in Germany, earned lots of coin for his exquisitely-crafted instrumentals. But Polydor didn’t have a US outpost back then, and Kaempfert had only one Top Ten single in the States: the glorious “Wonderland by Night,” released here on Decca in late 1960, eventually landing at #1 for three weeks. Apart from Kaempfert, about the only Polydor product that showed up here was a single by one Tony Sheridan, who probably had no idea that his backup band of the moment would become legendary. And anyway, Kaempfert produced that session.

Dot Records, home of the cover version (see, for instance, Gale Storm or Pat Boone), duly issued a remake of “A Swingin’ Safari,” credited to Billy Vaughn and His Orchestra, which made it to #13 before Match Game premiered in December 1962. It is, however, Kaempfert’s original, not the Vaughn cover, that was actually used on the show. (It took me many years to figure this out. Listen to both and compare.)

Still, irrespective of who got the credit, “Safari” was arguably the second-greatest legacy of Match Game. The first? The send-off for host Gene Rayburn, who died in 1999, on Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update.” After announcing Rayburn’s passing, Colin Quinn solemnly intoned, “In lieu of flowers, the family requests that those who wish to remember him should send [blank].”

(Thanks to Michael Bates, who turned up the original ’62 Match Game pilot.)

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In search of rapport

We’re not going to see Stephen Colbert as the next Senator from South Carolina, and that’s a shame, since it would set such an appealing precedent:

[I]f Colbert were selected, that would be the end of his boring television show, because Comedy Central would have to report it as an in-kind campaign contribution and South Carolinians might expect their Senator to be somewhere near the Capitol building instead of in makeup getting ready to go on set.

That’s a temptation that could get out of hand, though. Governors everywhere might decide to help out the television viewing public by appointing the members of the all-heat, no-light brigade to serve out unfinished legislative terms. Senator O’Reilly. Representative Matthews. Representative Sharpton. Senator O’Donnell. Senator Hannity. Lieutenant Governor Olbermann (because seriously, there are some folks even the U.S. Senate shouldn’t take). Commissioner of Waste Disposal Behar (a lifetime appointment)! Insurance Commissioner Penn (because I think Spicoli was less of an act than he’d like us to believe and because it would be fun watching the numbers make his widdle eyes scrunch up in confusion).

A downside, you say?

You may say that this would create chaos in state and federal government as all of these underqualified dunderheads were put in positions for which they are in no way qualified and in which they are unlikely to succeed. To which I say, how would we notice?

So put me down in favor of Senator Colbert, despite the fact that he attended Porter-Gaud. Farging Cyclone.

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Get off my smaller lawn

“The suburbs are dead,” declares Eric Klinenberg in the Playboy Forum (1/2-13), offering several sets of statistics, including this one that caught me off-guard:

According to Christopher Leinberger, a Brookings Institution fellow and professor at the George Washington University business school, urban planners and real estate developers expect a huge surplus of large-lot houses (built on a sixth of an acre or more) in the coming decades. One expert predicts an oversupply of roughly 40 percent of these homes by 2025.

Wait a minute. A sixth of an acre — 7,260 square feet — is now a “large lot”?

I tracked down Leinberger’s article, which appeared in The Atlantic in 2008, and yes, that’s what he said about “large lots.” Which suggests that when I fake my death and go off to live with Twilight Sparkle, I should have the house torn down and the humongous quarter-acre lot subdivided into two 5500-square-foot sections. Yeah, the city will just love that.

Then again, from that same bit of fiction:

There had been something here once, he remembered: a little stone house and a gravel driveway. Five or six years ago, there was a sign on the corner, proclaiming a New Upscale Development, with a number to call and a Web site to visit. A year or two later, with gasoline pushing five dollars a gallon, no one wanted to live in the 31000 block of anything, and the development was abandoned.

And Leinberger, we should remember, also said this:

I doubt the swing toward urban living will ever proceed as far as the swing toward the suburbs did in the 20th century; many people will still prefer the bigger houses and car-based lifestyles of conventional suburbs. But there will almost certainly be more of a balance between walkable and drivable communities — allowing people in most areas a wider variety of choices.

Which contradicts Klinenberg almost entirely. Still, so long as they can sell living downtown as a premium experience — and in this town, they can — that’s probably the way to bet.

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Quote of the week

“We shall not be mocked,” you (for certain values of “you”) declare. But you are wrong, tribalism breath:

This is utter, craven bullshit of the highest order, and I have had enough. I personally reserve the right to mock anyone, on any issue I choose, and if you choose to take offense I truly do not care. I don’t care what your one-drop count is, or if you embrace anal sodomy, or if you worship a paedopheliac butcher. I’m going to mock you. Just as I mock my own cracker brethren. This is called humor, and it is the safety valve of over-pressurized societies.

You don’t get a pass from me. There is no Get Out of the Bath House Free card. There is no Fear of Fatwah card. There is no indolent reparations bullshit card that will ever sway me. You? You? You were born to be mocked. We all are. Get over yourselves. You are all Scut Farkus, long overdue for a punch in your damned noses.

And while you’re at it, let us know when you find the documentation — a phrase, or a penumbra, in the Constitution, perhaps? — that grants you the right not to be offended.

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A moment of silents

In my ongoing effort to bring you the oldest babes possible for Rule 5, I herewith present a vintage shot of actress Barbara Kent, born Barbara Cloutman in Gadsby, Alberta in 1907. (“Kent” was her mother’s maiden name.)

Barbara Kent publicity photo

Barbara Kent’s best-known role, perhaps, was as the young girl who pines for John Gilbert, though he only has eyes for Greta Garbo, in Clarence Brown’s Flesh and the Devil (1927). In the 1927 silent No Man’s Law, Kent takes second billing behind Rex the Wonder Horse, and Rex is quite good in his own way, but Kent is fetching as a young lady taking a swim in what appears to be her birthday suit. And the fellow with the eyepatch is Oliver Hardy, who at the time was a solo act.

Kent transitioned to talkies fairly well, playing Rose Maylie in a 1933 version of Oliver Twist, but her career nosedived shortly thereafter. Widowed at 41, she remarried five years later, and retired as far out of the spotlight as she could. Tomorrow would have been her 105th birthday, and she almost made it: she died last year at her home in the California Low Desert.

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Looking Beck

Beck’s sheet-music-only album, Beck Hansen’s Song Reader, dropped this past Tuesday, and if you want to hear any of these songs, you have to play them yourself, or wait for someone else to play them for you.

An example of the latter:

“Saint Dude” is track (?) 3; the outro music is a section of “The Last Polka,” track 19.

Beck was, in fact, available for comment; he approves.

(Originally posted on Studio 360’s blog.)

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The dreaded Petticoat Rule

A hundred-year-old flyer arguing that women ought not to vote:

Anti-Woman Suffrage Pamphlet

Article 3 of the original Oklahoma constitution defined electors as “male citizens over twenty-one years of age,” which would seem to suggest that we wouldn’t need an anti-suffrage association. Just the same, we got one:

After World War I suffragists accelerated their demand for the right to vote as a more receptive attitude toward women’s suffrage grew nationwide and in Oklahoma. The formation of additional antisuffrage state associations became necessary, and in 1918 the NAOWS sent Sarah C. White to Oklahoma to speak against suffrage and establish an organization. Oklahoma Anti-Suffrage Association officers included Sallie Sturgeon of Oklahoma City, president, Alice Robertson of Muskogee, vice president, and Maybelle Stuard of Oklahoma City, press chair and speaker. Meldia Constantin served as treasurer, and her husband’s business, the Constantin Refining Company in Tulsa, provided the association with unlimited funds. Other committee members included Laura Greer of Tulsa, Ruth Fluarty of Pawnee, and Jessie E. Moore of Oklahoma City.

The group, however, didn’t last long:

On November 5, 1918, the passage of State Question 97 franchising Oklahoma women brought defeat to the Oklahoma Anti-Suffrage Association, and the final death blow came when Oklahoma ratified the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on February 28, 1920.

(Photo Found in Mom’s Basement.)

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Bless you, Green Bay

I went to college in Texas, but unlike these folks, I am actually fairly proficient at pronouncing Wisconsin place names:

This is not because I’m smarter than the average Texan, or because I once spent an afternoon screwing around Kenosha back in the day, but because I was something of a showoff as a teenager, when I wasn’t cringing in a corner somewhere, and when I found out I was being recruited by Lawrence University — in the blissfully pronounceable city of Appleton — I figured it might be useful to appear to be able to deal with Cheese State placenames, and memorized a bunch.

Unfortunately, one I didn’t learn was “Outagamie,” which is the county of which Appleton is the seat.

(Via Troglopundit, who urges: “No more excuses, America. Learn to speak English.”)

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Advisory warning watch

If you pay enough attention to the National Weather Service forecasts, you eventually figure out the differences among advisories, watches and warnings. Not everyone pays that much attention, though, so the NWS is contemplating rewording these particular “products” and has announced that there will be trials of newer versions, issued alongside the traditional ones, during the winter months.

In case you have a 50-percent chance of haze on the subject, this is what we get now:

Forecasters issue a Watch when they believe there is the potential for a significant hazard to occur, but its occurrence, location, and/or timing is still uncertain. The term Advisory is used for imminent hazards that only merit caution, in other words, that are not implicitly dangerous, but could become dangerous if caution is not exercised. The term Warning is used when a dangerous hazard is imminent or already occurring.

This might be manageable were there only the three levels to deal with, but in fact, there are fourteen possible winter “products.”

The testing will take place in areas that usually get a lot of snow — and in Hawaii, where several mountains on the Big Island may end up with snow caps despite their tropical-ish location.

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