Fair is foul, and fouls are fair

One does not expect flawless play action in the NBA preseason. The Nuggets, who’d already played one game, were a smidgen less sloppy, but only a smidgen. (And they’d lost that earlier game, to the Lakers in San Diego.) The Thunder started out minus four players due to injury — Jones, Ibaka, Collison and Perkins — so big guys were at a premium. Steven Adams, starting in the middle, knocked down seven of eight shots for 15 points to lead OKC; he also collected six fouls. We saw a lot of shots not going in: the Nuggets shot close to 60 percent, the Thunder less than 40. (You want to see a curious line? Jeremy Lamb was 9-10 from the foul line, 1-14 from anywhere else.) And the fouls! Fifty-eight of them, 32 by OKC. (Which means 26 from Denver.) The last OKC lead was four points, early in the fourth; Denver then ran off an 18-2 run to go up 12, and held on for a 114-101 win.

Timofey Mozgov led all the scorers with 20 points; Jusuf Nurkić demonstrated both rebounding (15 boards) and histrionic (quelle flop) talent. And since the Nuggets have only one preseason game at home — this one — it’s probably a good thing they got to show the home crowd some good stuff. As for the Thunder, well, if they’re back at full strength Friday at Dallas, maybe we can figure out something. I’m thinking, though, that the guys who came in for training camp — Lance Thomas, Michael Jenkins and Talib Zanna — really seem to be busting a nut for a roster spot, which is always a good sign.

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Iggnernt fahkeds

There was a time when misspelling an occasional word to get past a spam filter was just uncommon enough to make you giggle as you pressed the Del key. Then the focus shifted to random word salad. But there are traditionalists out there, and one of them sent me this offer, in which the occasional word is spelled correctly, undoubtedly due to an oversight:

gurnltvfjqvwcbqwulieiouuyjxb

Best Medications Onlinee

Best prrices in the world

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0,90$ Viggara
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0,79$ Piink Femaale Vigaaraa
2,02$ Viigaraa Soft Taabs

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Somee infoormation
a.. Top quality
b.. 100% Satiisffacttion Gurantee
c.. Loweest priices in thee universe!
d.. FDA approoved
e.. Offiiciial suppliiers
f.. Unmarkeed parceel
g.. Insuraancee deeliveeryy
h.. Worldwiidee trackablee shippiing
i.. Gifts and diiscoounts
j.. All kiind of products in one place
k.. Neext daay faast shipping foor Americaan cliients ^NEW!

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Now how the farking fark did they get A through K in the right order? (Singing, I’d guess.)

Of course, people should be discouraged from buying from operations like this, if only because the products will be used in connection with sexual activity, and if you answer ads like this, you are obviously too stupid to live.

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Too stupid to live

One of the reasons human evolution, as distinguished from the purely technological advances that either decorate or desecrate our lives these days, seems to have slowed to a crawl, if not actually stopped altogether, is that there is apparently no punishment for stupidity. You can imagine what I think of that.

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That telltale scent of citrus

Technically, we don’t have self-driving cars yet. Tell that to Stephanie:

Tuesday, as I backed down my driveway, the car went dark. The engine turned off, brakes failed, steering locked but the radio continued to play.

Not a good sign:

I was now heading into rush-hour traffic while being entertained by the best of the 70’s, courtesy of XM Radio. This was the first time I realized that the car does not come equipped with an easy-access emergency brake. Who in their right mind hides an emergency brake? How are drivers expected to bring a car to a stop, in a crisis, without a clearly visible emergency brake? This is how: open the door, drag your foot along the ground, and jam the semi-locked foot break to the floor as hard as you can. Trust me, it works. I did it.

Fred Flintstone, white courtesy phone, please.

And unfortunately, she’s heard this part before:

I received a call from the service manager who was overseeing the diagnostics on my car. He told me that, once again, they were unsure of the root cause but he said the car has what they categorize as, phantom issues. This means they know there are issues, however, they can neither replicate nor diagnose the problem.

Thirty-thousand-dollar paperweight. I wonder if it’s new enough to qualify under the lemon law.

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Hops right onto the toast

It’s newer than Nutella, and far more inexplicable, perhaps:

Beer lovers, rejoice! The world’s first spreadable beer — “Birra Spalmabile” — is a genius Italian invention that allows you to enjoy your favorite beverage early in the day, completely guilt-free. No one can judge you for indulging in this delectable beer-based breakfast spread — just slather the stuff on your toast and crepes, or stuff it in your pastry.

Made of 40 percent beer, Birra Spalmabile is predominantly sweet to taste. The spread comes in two flavors — one light and delicate, and the other with an intense aroma and stronger taste. Both flavors are available for purchase internationally at $51 for a 280-gram jar.

Ten ounces for $51 may seem a bit steep, but hey, at least it isn’t Country Crock.

(Via WFMU.)

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Approved for Room 101

Although presumably you’d need the optional Sharp Pain attachment (sold separately):

Self-hypnosis equipment by Schneider

Rumor has it this was actually more effective than watching VH1.

(Via Mostly Forbidden Zone.)

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Versus Tweedledullard

Dave Schuler finds it hard to pick the next Governor of Illinois, given the choices available:

I honestly don’t know who will prevail in the Illinois governor’s race, the incumbent Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn or the challenger, wealthy Republican businessman Bruce Rauner.

On the one hand I don’t see how the same policies that have dug Illinois into the hole in which we now find ourselves will eventually succeed if we just persist at them long enough. On the other hand Rauner’s proposals consist largely of Underpants Gnome schemes and the reality is that his campaign is predicated on his not being Pat Quinn.

Which latter is not an inconsiderable virtue; Joe Dornan will pick up a fair number of votes in Oklahoma by dint of not being Mary Fallin. This Illinois race may wind up like so many: it’s a damn shame someone had to win.

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Uncap my lens

For Toni Braxton’s birthday — she’s forty-seven today — we have a couple of shots, one carefully staged, one not so much. This is the cover art to her late-2009 single “Yesterday,” released before the Pulse album:

Toni Braxton on the Yesterday sleeve

And this is a less-than-entirely-graceful exit from the back seat, earlier this year:

Toni Braxton arrives for dinner

Oh, the heck with that. Let’s go back to “Yesterday”:

Does this really require an Underwear Warning?

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Held in place

This tidbit about Ford’s new one-liter three-cylinder EcoBoost engine, as fitted to the Fiesta, almost rated an Entirely Too Cool:

Vibration is inherent in three cylinder engines — an odd number of cylinders means there are no “equal but opposite” actions happening across the engine block to calm things down. Left to their own devices, triples tend to move around on their mounts and often make booming resonances. OEMs generally respond by adding counterrotating balance shafts. This minimizes vibration at the expense of fuel economy and power output, which isn’t much of a sales pitch.

Ford chose a different path. As seen in the video, fore-and-aft motion was dealt with by intentionally unbalancing the flywheel and accessory pulley. The increased lateral motion was then handled via careful tuning of the engine mounts and their placement. They aren’t active mounts like some publications have reported, but they generally do the job.

From my own experience with active mounts, I can testify that (1) they do work, and well, and (2) you don’t want to be the one writing the check when (not “if”) one fails. If Ford has actually come up with a standard mount that can match the actives’ performance level, they’ve pulled off a decently sized engineering coup.

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Save me a slice of cake

Applying for a marriage license

Facing the clerk are Sara Michelle Yarbrough and Lauren Marie Tidwell, the first same-sex couple to be issued a marriage license in Oklahoma County, after the Supreme Court let stand federal appeals-court rulings that struck down bans in several states, including Oklahoma.

I’m willing to bet they’re smiling.

SCOTUSblog reports:

With not a single dependable hint of its own constitutional view of same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court in one fell swoop on Monday cleared the way for gays and lesbians to wed in a batch of new states — starting first in five more states, and probably adding six more in the coming weeks. If that happens in all eleven, it will mean that same-sex marriages would then be legal in thirty states and Washington, D.C.

In seven one-line orders, released without explanation and with no report on how any Justice voted, the Court surprisingly refused to review any same-sex marriage case now before it and, in the process, prepared to lift a series of orders that had delayed such marriages while the issue remained in the Court. Almost no one had expected that to happen.

It may take a few weeks for the Court’s action to take effect in real-world terms, in the geographic areas where federal appeals courts have struck down bans in five states — the decisions that the Justices have now left intact.

For “a few weeks,” read “an hour or so,” at least in the case of Oklahoma.

(Photo by Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman.)

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You and your damn dubs

Jamie Kitman gets to drive a couple of high rollers — a Ferrari FF and a Bentley Continental GT Speed — through New York’s Hudson Valley, and sadly notes in the November Automobile that they don’t roll all that well:

Like their vaunted ancestors — say, the Ferrari 365GT 2+2 and the original, 1950s Bentley Continental R — they’re fast bruisers meant for eating highway miles. It is a disappointment, then, that both cars ride so poorly, courtesy of their 20-inch (Ferrari) and 21-inch (Bentley) tires with narrow sidewalls. As the tariff for marginally better performance on the track, the Ferrari exhibits a marked tendency to tramline on lesser quality roads (thank the cruel winter in the Northeast for their prevalence here), while the Bentley crashes randomly over bad surfaces in a most ungenteel way. Giant wheels and tires are now the rule in cars for rich and poor alike and will be until some brave company bucks the trend and sacrifices putatively stylish rim diameter for comfort, a component of luxury that should not be overlooked.

My fifteen-year-old throwback luxoboat glides on sixteen-inch wheels; 17s were optional. More than once I’ve had to deal with someone owning this model wanting to know if 22s would fit; more than once I’ve had to refrain from telling him “I hope it shoves your coccyx into the back of your throat.”

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A day never to remember

Mondays have a tendency to suck anyway, but this one was decidedly worse than usual, and far beyond my capacity to cope.

It started about an hour before sunrise, when I got approximately a quarter of a conversation emailed to me. What I needed to know, of course, was the other three-quarters, which was not forthcoming; I wound up going to a third party to get the scoop. Now I expect bad communication at this level, but usually not this bad.

First order of business when I got home was to replace a failed CFL in the garage. (It was one of my original six, so I am not even complaining about the lifespan.) I replaced it with an LED bulb I had sitting on the shelf, hung up the stepladder, brought the car into the garage, and pressed the little doohickey on the remote to close the door.

It wouldn’t. Nor would it work any of its other functions. I sought technical support: what used to take 45-60 seconds now requires 24 hours.

Oh, and while I was on the phone, I lost my Net connection, approximately the same way it dropped a dozen times last night. It took Cox 24 hours to respond to a pained tweet. Since I had to reset both modem and router, I’m guessing the problem could be in either, or in neither. Black bile just pours out of me at such moments.

And damn, but it seemed warm at dinnertime. The A/C — and why is it still on in farging October? — didn’t seem to help. This, at least, was fixable by a counterclockwise twist to the old Honeywell Eye. Still, they’re promising us 92°F tomorrow, a couple of degrees short of the record but ridiculously warm just the same.

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Appreciate the vision

If this doesn’t interest him in poetry, nothing will. It’s Emily Dickinson tights:

Tights with a poem by Emily Dickinson

For the record, it’s the same poem twice, so the poor reader won’t become befuddled if you cross your legs. Price from this Etsy seller is $24.90 in any of ten colors — not including this particular blue, which is out of stock for the moment.

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Warren Buffett wants to sell you a car

Right off the press-release wire:

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and Van Tuyl Group announced … that they have entered into a definitive agreement pursuant to which Berkshire Hathaway will acquire the Van Tuyl Group, the nation’s largest privately-owned auto dealership group and which ranks fifth among all U.S. auto dealership groups.

After becoming a part of the Berkshire Hathaway family of businesses, the company will be known as Berkshire Hathaway Automotive. Berkshire Hathaway Automotive will continue to be led by Larry Van Tuyl, who will become Chairman, and Jeff Rachor, who will assume the role of Chief Executive Officer, as well as its experienced senior management team. Berkshire Hathaway Automotive will be headquartered in Dallas, Texas and will continue to pursue its strategy of operational excellence and disciplined acquisition growth, which is no change to the business model the company has pursued for the last 62 years.

“The Van Tuyl Group fits perfectly into Berkshire Hathaway from both a financial and cultural viewpoint. Larry Van Tuyl along with his father, Cecil, spent decades building outstanding dealerships operated by local partners. In recent years, he has shared management with Jeff Rachor, a seasoned auto retailer who will retain a financial interest in all dealerships. The Van Tuyl Group enjoys excellent relations with the major auto manufacturers and delivers unusually high volumes at its 78 locations. This is just the beginning for Berkshire Hathaway Automotive,” said Berkshire Hathaway’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Warren Buffett.

I wonder if this is going to mean more cross-promotion. A recent ad for BH’s GEICO Insurance suggested, not the usual “up to 15 percent” savings, but enough, maybe, to buy her a ring — a ring from Helzberg Jewelers, another BH company.

The Van Tuyl Group operates in ten states: they own, for example, all the “Reliable” dealerships in Springfield, Missouri.

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One last ride at midnight

Paul Revere occupied the same relative position to the Raiders as did Harold Melvin to the Blue Notes: he was nominally the leader of the group, and hardly ever missed a show, but most of the time, the focus was on the lead singer — Mark Lindsay for the Raiders, Teddy Pendergrass for the Blue Notes.

The Raiders came out of Idaho around 1958, and scored an instrumental hit in 1961 with “Like, Long Hair,” a piano-boogie number that sounded nothing like anything they did afterwards. In 1963, they were caught up in the “Louie Louie” madness sparked by Rockin’ Robin Roberts; their own relatively polished version of the old Richard Berry semi-calypso song was well-received, but didn’t quite have the impact of the utterly insane Kingsmen version. Still, “Louie” got them a look from big-time Columbia Records, which put them to work grinding out mono singles, because it wasn’t worth the effort mixing that rock and/or roll stuff into stereo. Subsequently, the band wangled a gig with Dick Clark’s Where the Action Is series, and started wearing fanciful American Revolution-ish duds, as seen here on the Ed Sullivan show (Revere, as always, playing the Vox Continental organ):

“Kicks,” written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, was ostensibly addressed to an unnamed girl with problems who, we found out later, was not a girl at all.

In August of this year Revere, seventy-six, retired from the band; he died Saturday back home in Idaho. Oh, and “Paul Revere” was two-thirds of his real name; his family name was Dick. I do not know if he was related to Tim Allen, also a Dick.

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Strange search-engine queries (453)

It’s time once again for a sampling from this site’s search strings, further demonstrating the wisdom of the not-so-old adage that if something might exist on the Web, someone will be out there looking for it.

xxx video. inseam mobi:  I’m guessing this guy is trying to calibrate his smartphone for upskirt photos.

Does a ghost live on altus airforce base:  “Live” is probably not the correct verb here.

adjured thesaurus:  While you’re poking around in there, see if you can find a verb for the activities of ghosts.

what truth about grant shaud’s privates:  Not for you to know, unless you’re Candice Bergen.

2000 mazda 626 automatic how do you turn off fail safe mode:  You fix the problem that induced the mode in the first place. This should be obvious, even to Candice Bergen.

ford transmission FW5519090:  Will not fit in your damn Mazda. Now get to the shop, and bring your MasterCard.

what problems does 1992 mazda 626 have with automatic transmissions:   Well, among other things, being 22 years old is certainly an issue.

1993 mazda 626 tire size:  You have a ’93 626 with no tires from which you can read the size? (Asking for an ex-friend.)

mazda protege trans wont downshiftafter drriving:  If you’re finished driving (never could roll my Rs all that well), you don’t want it to shift at all.

ice yaris velvet chenille:  If Toyota can upgrade the Corolla, surely they can do the same with the Yaris, though this sounds a bit baroque.

Rebecca Romijn Body Painted:  It’s not like she needs any work done or anything.

what happenned to kali atrox?  Haven’t seen her around.

one is never too old to yearn meaning?  Go away, son. You’re too young to be getting into that sort of thing.

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