Shearers, maybe

The Clippers, going into this game, had the best record (7-1) in the NBA, and the first quarter might have made you wonder why: they were down eight. But they followed that 16-point frame with a 34-pointer, and things were 50-50 at the half; by the end of the third, the Clips were up eight. Inside the six-minute mark, the Thunder were trying to hack DeAndre Jordan; Jordan made the first of six, but no more, and the strategy eventually unraveled when Blake Griffin tried to disassemble Victor Oladipo and collected a trey while Oladipo was crumpling in a heap. (One could argue that VO was shrinking away anyway; he was 4-7 in the first quarter, and then up to this point 1-10.) Doc Rivers decided he would not be cowed by the anti-Jordan efforts; neither would Jordan, who promptly made five more free throws (out of six). Finally Billy Donovan gave up on hacking Jordan, and almost magically, Oladipo squeezed out five consecutive points. Karma? You decide. A Russell Westbrook trey brought the Thunder into a tie, but five Clipper points in 45 seconds put L. A. up 109-104; Westbrook responded with a shot plus two freebies to make it 109-108. Unfortunately, the last foul was inflicted on Jamal Crawford, who never misses a free throw; somehow Crawford missed one, but the Thunder had no response, and the Clippers, beaten by the Thunder by two points in L. A., wound up beating the Thunder by two points (110-108) in OKC.

If things sound awfully close, try on this statistic: both teams had four of five starters in double figures. Both teams shot an indifferent mid-40s. And both teams had two players with double-doubles: for the Clippers, Jordan (12 points, 13 rebounds) and Chris Paul (17 points, 10 assists); for the Thunder, Westbrook (28 points, 14 rebounds, 9 assists) and Enes Kanter (13 points, 11 rebounds). And both teams put up 27 three-point shots; L. A. got ten, OKC got 16, which latter ties a franchise record.

Next Thunderation: the end of the homestand, with the Magic coming to town Sunday, after which the Thunder hit the road for Detroit.

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Instant heels

Or instant flats, if that’s what you need — or somewhere in between. Yes, really:

Meet German shoe retailer Mime et Moi! Back in April, the brand started a Kickstarter campaign to create one shoe that has five different heel heights! (We will give you a second to bask in that awesomeness.) High heels really do complete certain outfits! So say goodbye to painful feet, and HELLO to blissful fashion. The heel options range from stilettos to flats. With a quick snap on/off option so you will be able to change your look in 1,2,3!

Mime et Moi shoe with switchable heels

The Kickstarter raised nearly €20,000 from European Union countries; I don’t know if they’ve started retail sales in the States yet. Price is probably on the far side of $200, though you’re sort of getting five pairs, right?

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Quote of the week

Smitty, never exactly in the Trump camp, reports on what he thought he saw:

Possibly I’m over-reading all this, but I think that a lot of the Trumpology in circulation is still mis-underestimating something. Part of my early disdain for Trump was rooted in the fact that, when the Tea Party uprising occurred in 2009/10, he was not marching with the Tea Party. It seemed a crass appropriation of sincere patriotism to have this Yankee with a Tribble on his head demand my support.

Looking over the 2015/16 sequence of events, one wonders if he had not been, rather, taking notes. Plotting. Biding his time. Seeing Romney’s high-mindedness amount to a fart in a thunderstorm in 2012. Possibly even having a verbal agreement with Clinton to throw the match though Bill denies it. Whatever.

As time pulls these details into focus, and heals the wounds, it seems clear that Tribble-head’s whole loose-cannon thing is substantially disinformatzya. This Administration promises not to be boring.

And if you need drama for now, just watch the opposition, which will probably stop crying some time in mid-January. Maybe.

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No smack to the gob

On the 2016 Consumer Reports Buying Guide Issue:

Last year they claimed to have “1,999+” product ratings. This year, “2,000+.” I promise to be properly gobsmacked if the hitherto-unimagined 2017 edition contains “2,001+” of them.

“Hitherto-unimagined” references an old prediction of mine to the effect that the Buying Guide would be Web-only after 2015. Said prediction was, um, wrong.

Still “2,000+” rated products, and still 224 pages. The magazine’s new Colored Dots, however, don’t work so well in black and white.

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After a hot morning mess

Nineteen seventy-three. I’m wearing khakis because while I thought I looked better in fatigues, which isn’t saying much, the crusty warrant officer (then again, aren’t all warrant officers crusty?) who ran our shop insisted, and I wasn’t one to bend rules — at least, not his rules. Our little subcommand had lots of duty stations worldwide, some of them desirable, some of them less so. There was one post, though, that nobody ever seemed to want, and given the fact that transfer orders for enlisted personnel had to get past my desk, rather a lot of individuals who outranked me — I was a lowly Specialist Four at the time — seemed willing to do me favors to get them out of that assignment if at all possible. I never promised anything, and I never tried to collect on any of those markers, but sure enough, disposition forms materialized, signed by the correct officers, changing their destinations to some preferred location.

This could not possibly last forever, and of course it didn’t. Eventually they decided to fill one particular billet with me. It was a short tour — 12 months — and it came with a stripe. I shrugged. “I’m twenty years old,” I said, “and I’ve never been east of Boston or west of Amarillo. Maybe I should quit bitching.”

And so I was packed off to the Middle East, which was quieter than it is today and much quieter than some Southeast Asian locations at the time. It was, first and foremost, a duty station, so duty came first; but I did manage to spend some free time wandering about this crazed place without working up too much of a sweat. (Really. Typical middle-of-summer high temperature: 80° F. What was I worried about?) Of course, things can and do happen without notice, and as the phrase goes, everyone’s secondary MOS is Eleven Bravo.

That post has long since been closed, its need for it having largely evaporated and its host country having grown restive, even surly, over the years. Still, a lot of us passed through its gates over the years, and some of us are still around, even though we’re no longer wearing fatigues. Or khakis.

(Reposted from 2014.)

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A bit of the ultra-violets

I’ve long characterized my neck of the woods as neither fully red nor blue, but somewhere in between. This year’s precinct numbers suggest it’s getting slightly bluer:

President: Hillary Clinton (D) 687, Donald Trump (R) 519, Gary Johnson (L) 137.

Senate: James Lankford (R) 624, Mike Workman (D) 559, Robert Murphy (L) 69; independents 102.

Congress: Al McAffrey (D) 658, Steve Russell (R) 586, Zachary Knight (L) 97.

HD87: Collin Walke (D) 715, Bruce Lee Smith (R) 506, Elle Collins (L) 117.

Only one state question garnered 1000 Yes votes: 780, the simplification of drug penalties.

Previous red/blue balances: 2012; 2010.

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The aftermath

Yeah, I know, all the TV coverage dealt with who’s winning. Me, I wanted to know who’s losing, and I don’t mind telling you why.

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Burn it to the ground

My younger offspring (old enough to be President himself) analyzes the events of the week:

All of this presidential stuff reminds me of Nickelback.

If you ask people if they enjoy Nickelback they will unabashedly tell you no they do not. They might even go so far as to say they hate them. But Nickelback has sold 50 million albums.

Someone is lying here. Either we are buying these albums and supporting the band or Chad Kroeger figured out a way to buy 50 million of his own albums with the proceeds of selling his albums to himself.

So, did you vote for Trump? Nope, nuh uh, sure didn’t, no way José, no ma’am, I would never vote for that monster! But he got the popular vote and the electoral vote. And surprisingly, he got more female representation than Hillary did. America means progress …

Someone is lying here.

Actually, HRC wound up with about 100k more popular votes than Trump, which of course counts for nothing in the grand scheme of things.

As I noted earlier, I did not vote for Trump/Pence; for that matter, you will find that I own no Nickelback recordings, though I did score a few tracks from Kroeger’s ex-wife.

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Also meanwhile in the Wiregrass

An organization is born:

The Good Vibe Tribe began from a conversation between Mayor Mike Schmitz and Melody Hicks at a non-profit event one evening in June, 2016. The Mayor was discussing all of the negativity we hear every day on local, state and national levels, and he then began sharing unbelievable stories about so many individuals in our town that do kind and generous things without the expectation of recognition or reward. He asked, “Why can’t we hear more stories about these kind of people? The ones that give every day. The ones that often go unnoticed.” While the Good Vibe Tribe was born from the Mayor’s desire to recognize the compassion of so many of our residents, the Tribe will hopefully evolve into a community-wide effort to transform the City of Dothan through one random act of kindness at a time.

The Tribe is currently passing along this poster:

Poster by Good Vibe Tribe, Dothan, Alabama

Doesn’t seem all that difficult.

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Investing a little green

The outgoing First Lady wants her vegetable garden to be preserved:

The first lady has already taken steps to preserve her fruitful green space, purchasing a stone plaque for it with the inscription, “WHITE HOUSE KITCHEN GARDEN established in 2009 by First Lady Michelle Obama with the hope of growing a healthier nation for our children.”

But she’s not stopping there — wielding the power she has over the president to ensure the Kitchen Garden is a permanent part of the White House.

“She is pressing him to pass an executive order to maintain the garden after they leave the White House,” a source told The Post.

Surely there must be some way to do this that doesn’t involve executive orders, especially with The Donald supposedly looking for executive orders to undo. Heck, I wouldn’t mind if President Trump ordered this himself; whatever the motivations of FLOTUS, this garden qualifies as some sort of historical display, and I see no good reason to tear it down.

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Darn Canadians

The Raptors, be they great or be they terrible, always find a way to get under the Thunder’s aggregate skin, and they did so tonight despite not scoring in the first six minutes of the game. Down 27-20 after twelve minutes, they knocked out 42 points in the second quarter to go up seven at the half, and Toronto didn’t even try to look back: OKC pulled to within four late in the fourth, but the Raptors finished off the Thunder with relative ease, 112-102.

Kyle Lowry was much peskier than usual — 19 points, 13 assists — but the big problem was trying to DeTer DeMar DeRozan, 37 points on 22 shots despite missing both his attempts at 3-pointers. Superior shooting did most of the damage: the Raptors, once they got going, hit 52 percent from the floor, about 10 points better than the Thunder could manage. It might have helped if Russell Westbrook could have banged out a few more; as it stands, he did collect 36 points, but it took him 26 shots to do it. Steven Adams, who apparently didn’t mess up his hand last time out, reeled in 14 points and 12 boards; notably, he hit all eight of his free throws, something that never would have happened, say, a season ago.

And Toronto did all this without Jonas Valanciunas, a game-time decision, out with a knee contusion. You might want to credit backup center Lucas Nogueira, who made all five of his shots in 29 minutes and claimed a +31 for the night, even better than DeRozan. The Raptors, now 5-2, have seven road games in the next nine, but if they keep up the pressure the way they did tonight, they won’t have a thing in the world to worry about.

Meanwhile, the Thunder waits anxiously for the Clippers, who will be here Friday night with revenge, or something, on their minds.

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Speed demon

The days of Really Great Writing in car mags have probably long since expired, but every now and then someone — I’m looking at you, Jack Baruth — comes up with a true zinger. This one is from Aaron Robinson in the December Car and Driver:

Mario Fasanetto goes shrieking through the forests of the Eifel Mountains in a Lamborghini Aventador SV, a car that seemingly came about when Clark Kent and the devil had a baby. The Lambo’s body is slashed with cuts and gouged with holes and tattooed with black blades that order the wind to either go through it or go around it. The four pipes under the rear origami “bumper” gushes flame — flame! — a good six inches when the whip comes down on the 6.5-liter, 8500-rpm V-12. This is the car that appears when you call for an Uber in Mordor.

That last line just tickles the heck out of me.

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Meanwhile in the Wiregrass

You may remember this from last month:

Relating to Henry County, proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to provide that a person who is not over the age of 72 at the time of qualifying or appointment may be elected or appointed to the office of Judge of Probate of Henry County.

The Amendment passed with about 60 percent of the vote, meaning if Judge David Money wants to run for another term in 2018, he can.

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An unrecycled sentiment

I admit to not getting this at first:

Infiniti is famous, of course, for inscrutable advertising. Go back a couple of decades:

Then again, Brubeck speaks to us all. I had to get an explanation of that tree thing from Matt Polsky:

Eager to cash in on the warm fuzziness of the seasonal aesthetic, Infiniti has partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant 35,000 new trees on behalf of drivers, and came up with a corresponding television commercial and digital campaign.

Oh. Okay.

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Tweeting up a storm

I promised myself I wouldn’t get bogged down on Twitter during the election returns.

As I probably should have expected, I failed miserably:

Your Tweets earned 7,374 impressions over the last 24 hours

Although this doesn’t compare with the 22nd of October, during which I picked up 19,738 impressions with a lot less controversy.

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It’s just a substitute

But it may be cute, now that I think about it.

One of my regular items on the Walmart grocery run is a cheap cooked-ham product supplied by Hormel, deli sliced, for about four bucks a pound, there being some days in the week when nothing but a Dagwoodesque sandwich will do. This past weekend they apparently were out of the stuff, and requested (at curbside) permission to substitute, describing the suggested replacement as “Hormel Boneless Half Ham, Deli Sliced.” I was fine with that, since the price, as per Walmart policy, was the same $3.93.

And then I got it home. It was an actual half ham. By Hormel. A Cure 81 half ham. Worth about $13 at retail.

Maybe I should forget the sandwiches and just glaze the darn thing.

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