And the Lakers win

Which is what the Lakers do: they’ve won 56 of 70 games, which is a hearty .800 percentage. They jumped on the Thunder early, taking a 37-20 lead after the first quarter, and it was never very close after that, though Oklahoma City did manage to keep Kobe Bryant under 20 points — barely. The final: 107-89.

Bryant finished with only 19, but he did work some serious defensive moves, scoring two blocks and four steals. (L.A. had 10 steals in all.) Six Lakers scored in double figures, and Pau Gasol got the game’s only double-double: 14 points, 14 boards. Los Angeles shot 50 percent and missed only one of 17 free throws.

OKC also had six in double figures, but they were all 10, 11 or 12 except for Kevin Durant, who collected 24 despite missing six of six from beyond the arc. The Thunder won the rebound battle, 45-41, but gave up 18 turnovers, five more than the Lakers.

So the Thunder may finish the year 0-7 against teams from Los Angeles: they lost three to the Lakers and three so far to the Clippers. (The Clippers have won only 17 games this year, three fewer than the Thunder — but clearly they had OKC’s number from the get-go.) And let’s not get too enthused about shutting Kobe down: he only played half an hour, and sat for the entire fourth quarter. When you have a bench like the Lakers do, you can do that sort of thing.

And now, off to the Great White North, where the Raptors await.

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Shock and awd

Gwendolyn had a spa day today, so I got some seat time in a 2008 G35x sedan, the all-wheel-drive version of the G, and, well, it seemed like any other G I’ve driven, though I’m not quite sure what I might have been expecting: I took some corners a little faster than I might have otherwise, just to see if it made any difference, and it didn’t seem to. And traffic being what it was, I kept the speed down, which I suppose depends on your definition of “down.” Let’s say I didn’t spend much time in the top half of the speedometer. The G is still a tad snug, although the seats and the wheel are accommodating; on the upside, the control panel is a couple of orders of magnitude more comprehensible than some others I’ve seen at this price point (lower 40s).

Incidentally, I took the opportunity to apply for Infiniti’s $50 service rebate, having run the tab all the way to $71 and change for a fresh fill of 5W30, a new oil filter, a few more psi of nitrogen, a tire rotation, and a less-perfunctory-than-usual wash. And this explains much about how I got seat time in the G35x in the first place: feeling that this was a quick once-over, I didn’t bother to reserve a loaner when I called in the appointment last week. When I arrived at the dealership, though, the usual pre-8 am crowd was conspicuous by its absence, and eight members of the loaner fleet sat quietly along the wall, evidently going nowhere. No wonder Nissan is paying people to get dealer service: nobody’s coming in. I just hope they have a similar offer when the hyperexpensive 120,000-mile service comes around.

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It wasn’t a feature

However, it wasn’t a bug either.

You may remember this from last summer:

WTF?

At the time, I blamed it on the then-new Firefox 3:

I’ve seen this happen on several sites. These are, so far as I can tell, ordinary FORM buttons; for some reason, they’re being rendered in the wrong character set. Neither reloading the page nor restarting the browser makes the slightest bit of difference, and there’s no corresponding entry in the Firefox Error Console. I didn’t find a reference to this phenomenon at Bugzilla, so I’m pretty well stumped for the moment.

For “for the moment,” read “for the next six freaking months.”

After looking at the same rubbish one more time, it finally dawned on me what the issue was: a corrupted file for the Geneva font. I duly went into the Control Panel applet, hit the font, and pushed the Delete key. “Access denied,” Windows snapped.

I snapped. I shut down every last application on the desktop, opened up a command prompt, and did it the old-fashioned way. Not a peep out of Windows.

My apologies to Mozilla.

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And she’ll need a chief of distaff

Near the end of a very long piece about whether Secretary of State Clinton will ever find her way to the Oval Office, the guys at Hillbuzz declare flatly:

Either the 45th or the 46th President of the United States will be a woman.

After that, we believe every other president or so will be female, from here on out.

Actually, that sounds about right to me, though I’ve already predicted the arrival of Ms. 45 (not to be confused with Ms. 45).

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Snip-a-dee doo-dah

My, oh my, what an infertile day:

Doctors around the United States are reporting a sharp increase in the number of vasectomies performed since the economy soured last year, with one noting that many of his clients are from the beleaguered financial industry.

Their best guess is that the trend is due both to a decreased desire to have children because of the expense involved, and an increased desire to get such medical procedures done before their jobs — and health insurance — disappear.

I note here for the record that I got mine just before the great Oklahoma oil bust of 1982.

(Seen at Hit & Run.)

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Run for your lives!

You no longer have to tell people “Be afraid. Be very afraid.” Nowadays, that’s the default:

A North Side high school has been evacuated as a precaution after a chemical was found in the school Monday morning.

A Level 1 HazMat situation was called about 10:45 a.m. at Senn High School at 5900 N. Glenwood Ave., according to Fire Media Affairs spokesman Quention Curtis.

The school was evacuated as a precaution after a chemical believed to be chlorine was found near the pool, Curtis said.

Chlorine? Near a pool? Jeebus. Next thing you know, they’ll be reporting fart noises from outside the Taco Bell.

I’m surprised no one panicked at the high concentration of dihydrogen monoxide at the scene.

(Via Liberty Girl.)

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The farce is strong with this one

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Y, o Y?

Yahoo! is, I assume, hard up for cash again. This time, the Big Y is apparently whoring itself out to promote Internet Explorer 8: Trini got a nastygram from them, recommending that she “upgrade to the new, safer Internet Explorer 8,” which is, you guessed it, “Optimized for Yahoo!”

Optimized for Yahoo!’s bank account, you damn betcha.

And while we’re on the subject: Is anyone else sick of every other application on the planet offering to install the Yahoo! Toolbar?

  1. Yes
  2. Hell, yes
  3. I never install anything so I wouldn’t know
  4. What’s a toolbar?

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Hemming without hawing

As a skirtwatcher of long standing, I just naturally noticed this Donald Pittenger piece on the correlation between hemlines and the Dow, which toward the end broadened its scope to ask the immortal question: “What is the ideal skirt length?”

Noting that Moira Breen had participated in the thread, I was tempted to say, “Whatever Moira is wearing,” but this answer would not have been useful unless you happen to be looking right at her, which I wasn’t and which you’re probably not.

And actually, I said this once:

[E]very woman has an ideal skirt length, and it’s usually not around mid-thigh. (And if it is, you know where to find me.)

This implies that there’s some variability, since no two women, not even Mary-Kate and Ashley, are exactly alike, and of course there is. To boil it down to a formula: a hemline should be low enough to conceal anything that might be better off concealed.

For example: I once had a girlfriend (amazing as that may seem) who stood all of four foot nine. This doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for long, lean expanses of thigh, so she generally set her hemline at about an inch above the knee, which gave her, in her inevitable high heels, enough length to create interest without revealing much thigh taper.

There is some grumbling in the thread about appropriate lengths for appropriate ages; I believe my formula supersedes these considerations. Quite the nicest pair of stems I have ever seen in Real Life belonged to someone who was about to turn fifty. If she had anything better off concealed, I didn’t see it. (Which, of course, demonstrates that she was aware of the formula, right?)

And while I may be betraying my half of the species by saying so, anything that might put you on display while getting out of the car is probably too short, unless you have mad exiting skillz.

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That’s not what we meant

It is the official policy of government and its lackeys, in their capacity as Enablers of the Nanny State, to pretend that there’s no such thing as the Law of Unintended Consequences. As an example: “Experts see hope in tobacco tax hike in Oklahoma,” says this headline. There will be fewer buyers, say those experts, which is clearly a Good Thing.

Or maybe not so much, according to a former buyer:

Naturally, this made my non-smoking friends turn Supportive with a capital S. “Congratulations!” they gushed. “Statistically speaking, you’ve just increased your lifespan by seven years!” Which, in turn, only intensifies the government’s budget woes.

The problem with increasing your lifespan by seven years is that those years are added to the wrong end of your life. I won’t get to spend seven extra years in my 30s; instead, I’ll spend additional time in the “retired old person collecting checks from the government” phase of my existence. I did a quick calculation on the back of an envelope: assuming Social Security and Medicaid still exist, then between lost cigarette tax revenues and increased old-age payouts, my decision to quit smoking will cost the state and federal government over 600,000 dollars, not counting inflation.

This is not to say that the government should be handing out Marlboros in high-school cafeterias, necessarily, but one does grow weary of the same old schemes wrapped in the same old do-gooderism, inevitably laced, whether by inattention or by design, with the same old swirls of fail.

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File under “As if”

If this actually were happening, I’m sure we would have heard about it by now:

Starting around April Fools Day, they’ll be wearing orange vests and nothing else at all, picking up litter along Georgia’s highways.

They are members of Georgia Nude, a nude rights organization that adopted a one-mile section along Georgia Highway 34 East in Coweta County under the Georgia Adopt-a-Highway program.

Georgia Nude’s community service is part of a new campaign to let the public know they’re just a group of “pretty decent guys and gals” who are continuing to champion for the right to fully express themselves.

The idea, as it happens, was to mock some other group:

This Georgia Nude column was inspired by Georgia Carry, a gun rights organization that recently adopted a one-mile section along Georgia Highway 34 East. Georgia Carry plans to pack sidearms when they go on trash duty to prove that they aren’t kooks, either.

Which suggests a plan of action to gun-grabbing wannabes: if you want to make sure no one’s packing concealed heat, don’t let anyone get dressed. Makes more sense than anything else they’re likely to come up with.

(Disclosure: Your Humble Narrator is a member of both the NRA and the AANR.)

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Strange search-engine queries (164)

This feature (well, it’s not a bug, anyway) began way back here, though the seed was planted a month earlier. It hasn’t changed much: I go through the search strings for the week, and I answer several of them in my own inimitable (fortunately) fashion.

Why don’t you give up?  Because I’m not running short of material.

Pissed off about VW timing belt settlement:  Why, was your timing off?

is miffed an offensive word:  It’s probably less offensive than “pissed off.”

businessmen depantsed:  Now you know what comes after confiscatory taxation of bonuses.

Ottumwa Iowa Sluts:  Begin their season in April against the Burlington Byotches.

pictures that help you masturbate:  I suggest pictures of Lily.

i still have sunburn after a month:  Have you considered staying inside for a couple of days?

don’t start sentences with “this”:  This is an example of an arbitrary rule.

Does M mean thousand:  Not since about Y2K.

bedbugs can hear 16000 hz:  Damn. I snore too low.

are white men the most datable:  I doubt it, but then I’m not helping the average.

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Faint heart ne’er won fair lady

But I had no idea this was brewing.

Fortunately, other folks are more observant than I.

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The runaway American dream

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Do not annoy the Wolves

Last time the Thunder were in Minneapolis, they got blown away to the tune of 129-87, and they remembered it; they came out swinging this time around, and in three quarters, ran up an 84-53 lead.

But the Wolves are dangerous when they’re backed against a wall, and they put together one of the best comebacks I’ve seen all year; Oklahoma City was lucky to escape with a 97-90 win.

And that late run was almost entirely the work of the Minnesota reserves: the starters scored only 35. Craig Smith had a double-double off the bench, with 19 points and 10 rebounds; Kevin Love was the only starter in double figures, with 10.

Telling statistic: the Thunder had one turnover in the first half, eight in the second. And things deteriorated so quickly in the fourth quarter that a couple of the starters had to be summoned from the bench to save the day. Neither team shot especially well, the Thunder 44.6 percent, the Wolves 43.0. Russell Westbrook was held to 7 points, though he did come up with eight boards and 10 assists; Kevin Durant finished with 30, five of them late in the fourth; Jeff Green got 17 points and a poke in the eye from Sebastian Telfair.

So the series ends in a 2-2 tie, and the Wolves and the Thunder are now in a tie for fourth in the Northwest at 20-50, and a tie for 11th in the West, with twelve games to go. Historians will note that last year’s Seattle SuperSonics won their twentieth game on the last day of the season. I don’t think it’s likely the Thunder will go 0-12 the rest of the way, but the next four are against the Lakers, the Raptors, the Celtics and the Spurs, and they’ll presumably be hard-pressed to break even.

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Speaking of inflation

First there was the Gold card, and it was good, but apparently not good enough, so the Platinum card was introduced. But eventually mere mortals were able to get Platinum cards, so something had to be done, and that something was this:

Eurasian Bank Visa Diamond

Issued by Eurasian Bank in Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, this “Infinite” Diamond Visa (Tim Geithner, call your service) is trimmed in gold leaf and bears an actual diamond — weight, 0.02 ct. Availability is limited to individuals who have enough disposable income to buy something as hideous as this.

Me, I carry a Zinc MasterCard.

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Computer whiz

It began with Milwaukee Bucks forward Charlie Villanueva, who posted to Twitter from the locker room during halftime of a Bucks-Celtics game. (Here’s the tweet.) Bucks coach Scott Skiles was not amused, and ordered CV31 to cease and desist, at least during actual game hours.

Not all the NBA brass are aware of this sort of thing, it appears. For example, here’s Timberwolves coach Kevin McHale:

“I heard someone say Charlie Villanueva was tweeting,” McHale said, “and I thought it meant he went in to take a leak at halftime. I guess that wasn’t it. I have no idea what they’re doing these days. I’m just glad I can get my computer to five or six sites, one political and four sports ones.”

McHale, for the record, is four years younger than I.

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Add air and whip into a froth

Adam Gurri parses the Fed’s figures, and calculates the bad news:

The Fed’s data on M1, the narrowest measure of money, and M2, is a very valuable point of reference. Between January of 2008 and January of 2009, M1 grew by 15% and M2 by 10%. As a point of reference, between January of 1977 and January of 1978 M1 grew by 8.47% and M2 grew by 9.83%. This was during the era of double digit inflation.

Stretch this to 1979, and you have M1 up another 7.24 percent and M2 up another 7.18 percent. By 2011, those figures will probably look like marvels of restraint.

(You want more comparisons? Try January 2006 to January 2008. For the two-year period, M2 went up 11.12 percent, while M1 actually dropped. We’re using the seasonally-adjusted figures throughout.)

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Today’s fashion benchmark

Jenny Coon Peterson, proprietor of the Gazette’s “Shopgirl” column, writes about Envy, a downtown clothing store:

Although Envy specializes in mostly high-end club wear, I did find pieces that fit my laid-back style. I especially liked the dresses by Young, Fabulous & Broke, which is a customer favorite. And the shoes — oh, the shoes.

On the men’s side, William Rast is the biggest seller. One huge plus: I didn’t spot a single Affliction T-shirt. I seriously can’t look at a guy wearing an Affliction monstrosity without laughing, which usually garners me the side-eye from said Affliction-wearer. Although, since they are wearing artfully distressed tees featuring scrollwork gone mad and super-tough eagle silhouettes, I’m fairly positive they don’t realize I’m not giggling nervously in their presence.

Geez, Jenny. Tell us what you really think of Affliction, why doncha?

Affliction is tied with Snuggies on the JCP Scale of Hatred and falls between my seventh-grade yearbook picture (Eternal Flame of Hatred) and Crocs being worn by adults who are not gardening (Hellfire of the Sun Hatred).

Oh. Never mind.

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He’s done on that side

I think we have a definition of a flaming metrosexual:

A man escaped from a tanning bed as it burst into flames, sparking a fire that evacuated a Lake Wylie [SC] shopping center and damaged several stores Monday, authorities said.

The man who escaped declined to give his name but said he was working on his tan when he heard a popping noise, then saw a flame at the corner of the tanning bed near his foot. He threw open the lid and jumped out, he said.

Amber Kasbon finds this whole story offputting:

I can’t decide which is more disturbing, the fact that a tanning bed caught fire or that there was a man in the tanning bed in the first place. I know that many men do it, but for the life of me, I cannot figure out why. I find it incredibly disturbing that men pamper themselves and put in substantial effort into making themselves “beautiful.”

I’ll hazard a guess. Exhibition of the Traditional Manly Virtues these days is considered at best declassé, at worst a manifestation of Oppression by the Evil Patriarchy; males of the species, anxious to attract females but perforce unable to act like men in this environment, choose instead to act like peacocks and other creatures lower on the food chain, hoping that might work.

It doesn’t help, of course, that said Traditional Manly Virtues are today most often seen in caricature: cf. the incessant references to George W. Bush, Cowboy. (“George W. Bush, Yalie” never got any traction for some reason.)

I should point out that the Virtues don’t necessarily require a Y chromosome, either; I’ve encountered the occasional woman who ultimately, Gunga Din-like, proved to be a better man than I am. And I should also point out that I get my tan the old-fashioned way.

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