On a high note

Much was made before this game of the fact that the Thunder had played last night at Sacramento, while the Jazz had had two days of rest. To me, it didn’t look like either team was exactly sleeping on the job, though Raja Bell seemed to fall down a lot. And while Utah jumped out to an early lead, Oklahoma City remembered that word “execution,” which I infer means that they were supposed to run the plays properly, not that Scott Brooks was going to have one or several of them shot. (We won’t even mention here that a win tonight would propel Brooks into the All-Star Game as the West coach.) The five-game road swing ended 3-2 as the Jazz faded late; OKC, up by nine at the end of the third quarter, won it by 14, 101-87.

Interestingly, all five of the starting Jazzmen finished in double figures, led by Al Jefferson with 20. Jefferson and Paul Millsap got 17 rebounds between them, more than the rest of the team combined; OKC won the battle of the boards, 46-32. But give the Jazz credit for moving the ball: 27 assists, while the Thunder managed only 12.

It was not Daequan Cook’s night: he put up nine of his patented long-distance bombers, and only one dropped. (The Thunder went 4-20 from Way Out There; the Jazz were 3-9; both sides shot about 47 percent overall.) But if the long jumpers weren’t falling, running to the rim paid off: Russell Westbrook was good for 28 points, Kevin Durant 19, and the bigs (Kendrick Perkins, Serge Ibaka) both had double-doubles. Perk, in fact, seemed almost buoyant at times. Nobody tell LeBron, okay?

These two teams meet again Tuesday in Oklahoma City, though this time the Thunder will have rested up a bit and the Jazz will be finishing up a back-to-back-to-back. I don’t expect anyone to be sleepwalking through that game either.

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The twizzle, fo shizzle

Ira Glass is not particularly impressed with Twizzlers:

Chewing a Twizzler is like chewing wax in the shape of candy. Or the cartilage from inside your ear, if your ear was six inches long and shaped like a fusilli. When you eat the first one in the package, you think, That was ALMOST good; maybe the next one will give me the strawberry satisfaction I was hoping for. So you eat the next one and again, it reminds you of what a good candy would taste like, but it’s like you’re hearing music coming from another room that’s not quite loud enough. And so on until the package is done and you think, What was that about? Now I want some candy.

I wonder what he thinks of Red Vines.

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As the world turns Black

One year has gone by since “Friday” was first sneaked onto YouTube, eleven months since its transition from Just Another Video to cultural buzzword. Not the least bit in response to the chronology of it all, Virgin Mobile Live sent an interviewer to talk to Rebecca Black, and the following High Truths were revealed:

  • “Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal”: What cereal? She prefers Cocoa Pebbles;
  • She hopes to be in the studio in a couple of weeks to cut the next single.

And oh, she gets tongue-tied, even today, when you bring up the Biebs.

Meanwhile, this week’s nominee for The Next Rebecca Black is Lexi Sullivan, who’s recorded a track for Patrice Wilson, whose name you’ll remember from the credits for “Friday.” “Hot Stuff,” despite its so-Seventies title, isn’t particularly awful, and Lexi can sing, but I don’t see it becoming an anthem.

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And the badge is spiffy

It’s easy to be cynical about blog awards: imagine the Ouroboros gazing into his own navel. (For that matter, imagine the Ouroboros having a navel in the first place.) I’ve picked up a few over the years — some of them are hanging on the Backdrop — and some of them might even have been deserved.

The Versatile Blogger AwardCertainly Nancy Friedman, the second-smartest woman in the nation — admittedly I’ve never met the first, and I’d probably be afraid to — earned her Versatile Blogger Award, and she was kind enough to pay it forward in the general direction of Your Humble Narrator. Specifically, she said this:

In a typical week, the sole author, C. G. Hill, might cover social media, automobile tires, basketball, My Little Pony, print magazines, transportation in Oklahoma, women’s shoes, and Zooey Deschanel — all with enviable literary skill and brio.

Words like that from someone who makes a living from words — well, either I’m blushing or I’m having an amoxicillin reaction.

The rules of the game:

  • In a post on your blog, nominate 15 fellow bloggers for The Versatile Blogger Award.
  • In the same post, add the Versatile Blogger Award.
  • In the same post, thank the blogger who nominated you in a post with a link back to their blog.
  • In the same post, share 7 completely random pieces of information about yourself.
  • In the same post, include this set of rules.
  • Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs. (Or tweeting.)

Seven random factoids:

  1. The stack of magazines on my breakfast bar is as tall as I am — or would be, were it not subdivided into four substacks.
  2. Given my limited kitchen skills, it’s perhaps a surprise that I eat out maybe once a week at most.
  3. There are books in the back room that I have yet to unpack from the last move in 2003.
  4. I have never owned a television set larger than 20 inches.
  5. While I have made progress, I’m still entirely too susceptible to implausible impulse purchases.
  6. I have an amazing capacity for denial, although it usually takes 12 to 24 hours to kick in once the Bad News is received.
  7. They say the camera adds ten pounds. In that case, I’ve lost seven cameras in the past seven years.

Equally deserving, if not more so:

Notifications to follow.

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As though he’d dodged a bullet

Email received from Philipp Humm, Chief Executive Officer and President, T-Mobile USA:

This is a personal note of thanks for continuing to choose T-Mobile as your wireless provider! And in light of the way customers like you stood by us, we’re eager to continue serving you as T-Mobile. Your loyalty and the outpouring of messages in support of keeping us independent were both gratifying and humbling.

Um, Phil? It’s not so much that we wanted to keep you independent — although that’s nice — as it is that we wanted to avoid That Other Company at all (or at least “any reasonable”) cost.

With the uncertainty of the potential AT&T acquisition removed, we’re rapidly moving ahead with plans to ramp up investments in ways that will benefit YOU. We’re improving the coverage and speed of our 4G network, while bringing you the very latest selection of 4G devices and great 4G plans and services for every budget. We’re also adding convenient retail locations and modernizing our current stores.

What “uncertainty”? We knew what was going to happen: (1) engulf; (2) devour. In that order.

T-Mobile is here, in fighting shape, and we’ll compete aggressively to continue earning your business and meeting your expectations.

And give Carly Foulkes a raise, wouldja please?

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What’s this “uPad”?

CNN has a multi-page story up about counterfeit goods seized by US Customs and Border Protection, and the bulk of the bogus products are electronic gadgets:

When it comes to total dollar value, consumer electronics make up the bulk of counterfeit goods imported into the U.S., according to Customs and Border Protection. Among the hottest items: smart phones, tablet computers and DVD or music players.

The following numbers are cited:

Value of counterfeits seized: $39 million
Retail value: $101.2 million
Percentage of total seizures: 22%

So if $101.2 million worth of stuff was faked up, and the fakes are worth $39 million — well, if I peeled off more than a couple of Franklins for a Bloo-Rae™ player worth 101.2/39 = $2.59 38.5 cents on the dollar, I’d probably have a total seizure right then and there.

(Via the Consumerist.)

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Tilt that way

The building is called Power Balance Pavilion, and the balance of power was decidedly with the Kings: what they presumably lacked in clout, they made up for in volume and in execution. Sacramento, for instance, got off 99 shots; you have to figure that even 40 percent of that — which they hit — would produce some serious scoring. The eight-point Thunder lead from the middle of the fourth quarter evaporated in four minutes flat, and the Kings ran them out of the place, 106-101.

Maybe it was the crowd. In the Good Old Days, the old Arco Arena sold out just about every night, and legend has it that you could hear the noise on the far side of Stockton. The Kings were lightly regarded this year: this was the only national TV appearance for which they were scheduled, and attendance was not so great earlier in the season. Did Oklahoma City misunderestimate the one-time Purple Paupers? The Kings grabbed twenty-three Thunder turnovers, had a 46-40 advantage on the glass (17-12 offensive).

Telltale statistic: the Thunder blocked 17 shots — Serge Ibaka had 10 before fouling out — and yet Sacramento rolled up 60 points in the paint. Against something like that, 33 points from Russell Westbrook and 27 from Kevin Durant (which comes to, by coincidence, 60) doesn’t help.

Oh, you wanted to know about Tyreke the Freke? Evans was speedy as ever, thank you very much, and good for 22 points. The only double-double on either side was garnered by Jason Thompson, who had 11 points and 10 boards. And in the Ferocious Big competition, DeMarcus Cousins had it all over Kendrick Perkins, who played only 19 minutes.

So the Thunder have to beat the Jazz Friday night to come back 3-2 from this road trip. We shall see.

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Kontemporary klothes

So I’m thumbing through the new InStyle, and there’s a jeans ad featuring some familiar faces and, um, other body parts. It appears that Sears is now vending a line called the Kardashian Kollection. The jeans appear decent enough, and at $46.99 (marked down from $68) they aren’t horrendously expensive.

Still, somebody missed a good bet here. As I tweeted last night: “Um, shouldn’t this stuff be at K mart?”

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Teachers to be FCCed over

Arizona Senate Bill 1467, in full:

§15-108. Public classrooms; compliance with federal standards for media broadcasts concerning obscenity, indecency and profanity; violations; definition

A. If a person who provides classroom instruction in a public school engages in speech or conduct that would violate the standards adopted by the Federal Communications Commission concerning obscenity, indecency and profanity if that speech or conduct were broadcast on television or radio:

1. For the first occurrence, the school shall suspend the person, at a minimum, for one week of employment, and the person shall not receive any compensation for the duration of the suspension. This paragraph does not prohibit a school after the first occurrence from suspending the person for a longer duration or terminating the employment of that person.

2. For the second occurrence, the school shall suspend the person, at a minimum, for two weeks of employment, and the person shall not receive any compensation for the duration of the suspension. This paragraph does not prohibit a school after the second occurrence from suspending the person for a longer duration or terminating the employment of that person.

3. For the third occurrence, the school shall terminate the employment of the person. This paragraph does not prohibit a school after the first or second occurrence from terminating the employment of that person.

B. For the purposes of this section, “public school” means a public preschool program, a public elementary school, a public junior high school, a public middle school, a public high school, a public vocational education program, a public community college or a public university in this state.

They want to outsource state standards to the Federal Communications Commission? Are Mesa kindergartens roiling with wardrobe malfunctions? Are Flagstaff English classes being forced to read some contemporary F-bomb Fitzgerald?

Greg Lukianoff in HuffPo:

The law not only hobbles the ability to teach about sexuality and other non-Victorian topics, but it also puts teachers in jeopardy for teaching such mainstays as the Canterbury Tales, The Catcher in the Rye, certainly Ulysses, and probably every work by an obscure English writer named William Shakespeare. These days, such a law could certainly make any professor or teacher think twice about teaching Mark Twain or Kurt Vonnegut. And how on earth could you possibly teach a class about cinema studies without showing movies like The Godfather, The Graduate, Annie Hall, or for that matter, Pulp Fiction?

English, melonfarmers. Do you teach it?

I can only conclude that the Arizona pols heard about that semi-serious anti-onanism amendment in Oklahoma and thought they’d lose their place at the front of the Idjit Lejislators line.

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I just don’t know what went wrong

You can’t spell “fanatic” without “fan,” and you may be absolutely certain of this: whatever my enthusiasm for any given person, place, thing, or concept, there’s someone out there who makes me look almost indifferent by comparison.

Plush Derpy HoovesThis custom-crafted plush Derpy went on eBay this week, complete with all the pertinent accessories: mailbag, one piece of mail, and a muffin, the latter two items magnetized so she can be posed actually carrying them, upon hoof or in mouth. There’s even a little electronic voice box that plays back the closest thing she has to a catchphrase (see post title). About halfway through the description, I heard the little WANT buzzer going off in the back of my head, so I went off to the auction and crossed my fingers.

Perhaps this was not the best idea I’d ever had. I did, however, keep the Visa sheathed, inasmuch as the Derpster here is eventually going to sell for somewhere upwards of $700, or Luna knows how many pony dollars. Me, I’m just a fan.

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Meanwhile, Venus still needs fry cooks

I have to admit, I wouldn’t have come up with this:

Suppose Ferris Bueller never actually existed.

Most of your fictional characters didn’t, but okay, we’ll play along.

The parade float. That’s just silly. And Ferris never gets in trouble. He never has any actual plans for staying out of trouble, nor does he show good judgment or skill at staying out of trouble, but the boom is never lowered on him. The reason is, he isn’t there; he lives inside Cameron’s head. Cameron’s just a lonely bored guy with nothing going on, so he imagines everything.

I don’t want to talk about Fight Club here, but that sounds awfully Tyler Durdenesque: see, for instance, this MetaTalk thread.

(You’re still here? It’s over. Go home. Go.)

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This shot of Sarah Michelle Gellar on Bravo TV’s Watch What Happens Live earlier this week was, I deemed, worth further investigation:

Sarah Michelle Gellar on Bravo

Since it is no particular secret that I’m a sucker for the classic little black dress, even when half of it is actually sort of blue, I went scraping through several dozen sources trying to find a shot where she’s standing. I did find one, but apparently she wasn’t happy about something:

Sarah Michelle Gellar on Bravo

Come to think of it, the dress isn’t all that wonderful either. Maybe the person in the second shot is actually the evil twin from Ringer.

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Box, sweet box

A Tulsa-area couple is building their new home out of, among other things, old cargo containers:

Their two-story, 2,650-square-foot house will be constructed from almost entirely recycled materials, including five shipping containers — two on bottom and three on top, built upon a 40-by-40-foot slab facing southwest.

They are, of course, blogging the construction. Last week, the second container arrived on site:

The shipping list from its last voyage is still attached to the door. It hauled furniture, 22 chocolate brown sofas, 16 love-seats, 9 chairs, and 6 ottomans, to be exact. That’s more furniture than we will probably have in all five of our containers!

They’re hoping to have the housewarming, or at least the first-story-warming, in December.

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Still more items from my Wish List

A lot of wishin’ and hopin’, though perhaps not so much thinkin’ and prayin’.

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Someone to look up to

As I may have mentioned before, I used to date someone four foot nine, maybe a shade taller than that but well within the qualifications for the dwarves’ union. Then again, since I’m only a hair above six feet, and not much hair at that, there was only a 15-inch difference between us: noticeable, but not noteworthy.

Now this would be noteworthy:

Zooey Deschanel with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Behold Zooey Deschanel, five foot six, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, five foot twenty-six. Kareem uploaded this picture himself yesterday; Zooey noted that she was wearing four-inch heels at the time.

And you know, he looks pretty darn good for almost 65, if you ask me.

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Curses on thee, little man

Last year an Oklahoma legislator was pushing a bill to require an actual prescription for anything containing pseudoephedrine, insisting that somehow this would deliver us from the horrid scourge of meth. Which, of course, it wouldn’t; and at the time, I expressed my desire that the pol in question sneeze his goddamn head off.

Always more subtle than I, the Instant Man has his own recommendation for politicians of this mindset:

I think these people should be exposed to toddler snot, then locked in a freezing basement with a bag of ragweed pollen tied over their head until they develop a proper appreciation for the consequences of their policies.

Of course, once they start sneezing, I’m content. And let’s face it, we’re never going to run out of toddler snot.

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