Too much, perhaps too soon

After last night’s simulation of the Bataan Death March, won by the Thunder in double overtime, I wondered if, as Prince once said, “have you got enough gas?” OKC trailed most of the game, and didn’t climb back into contention until late in the fourth. Just inside the 30-second mark, Terrance Ferguson reached in on De’Andre Fox; Fox connected on both free throws, and the Kings went up by two. Russell Westbrook tossed up a bucket, but it was negated by a charge call; with 11 seconds left, Sacramento got the ball back, and eventually Harrison Barnes drew a foul; Barnes knocked down one of two, and the Thunder had 4.2 seconds to find three points. Those points failed to materialize, and for the third time in four tries, the Kings march away with a win, 119-116.

There was a time when Buddy Hield looked like he was going to improve on his 37-point career high, recorded in a previous Thunder game. He didn’t quite make it, but 34 was quite enough, and both Foc and Marvin Bagley III posted 19s, Bagley adding ten boards. In the middle, Willie Cawley-Stein collected another double-double, 10 points and 11 rebounds.

For OKC, Westbrook carried much of the load, 41-10-4. Paul George, who’d worked wonders last night, dropped back into the realm of the mundane, with a 14-13 double-double. Markieff Morris, playing his second game for OKC, showed up with 10 points and eight rebounds, a line not unlike Steven Adams’s 11-9. Dennis Schröder shot better than last night, scoring 14. What the Thunder did not do well was shoot: 38 percent, versus 46. Oh, and there were 44 attempts to bang home three-pointers; 14 went. (The Kings only made seven, but then they tried only 19.)

Things don’t get any easier. The Nuggets are second only to the Warriors in the West, they’ve beaten the Thunder twice this year, and they meet again on Tuesday in Denver.


The sound of Uranus

No fart jokes, please. We’re talking the actual planet here:

Okay, it is a gas giant. Have it your way.

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At least he tried

But we are not always successful, are we?

(Via Miss Cellania.)

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This would never have happened to Hera

She’d have planted a sandal right in this guy’s face:

The attorney for a 29-year-old homeless California man has stated that his client thought he was the Greek god Zeus when he sneaked into a woman’s home and sucked on her toes as she slept.

The defense lawyer said, according to court documents, that Richard Parkhurst “developed a delusion that he was a Zeus-like god who was sent down from the stars to seduce women.”

“It was his destiny to seduce women and they would willingly have his children. Mr. Parkhurst believes that his progeny will create a super race that will save the planet,” the attorney added.

Entirely too many wackos claim to have planet-saving on the brain. And this chap’s brain has seen better days:

The attorney said that Parkhurst’s life was turned upside-down when a girlfriend died and he stopped taking medicine for schizophrenia, resulting in the delusions described. At one point, he was hospitalized. He said that his client thought voices coming from his television were “telling him to do things.”

The “things” apparently included flashing a woman who was walking her dog on Oct. 15, 2017. He claimed he was walking his dog, too. Later that day, Parkhurst broke into a woman’s home and sucked on her toes. She said she woke up when she noticed what was happening.

Dick Morris was not available for comment.

(Via Lindsay Beyerstein.)


Toys and terriers only

One of your tall sighthounds, like a Borzoi, will run out of room very quickly:

At the moment, I find myself wishing I could run that far.


Vaguely discordant

Thunder-Jazz games tend to be ferocious, maybe a little more than that, and it doesn’t really matter whose court it is: these teams genuinely seem to dislike one another, and whoever makes the last mistake will pull out the victory. With 1:20 left, the Thunder forced a tie at 124; at :48, a two-foot jumper by Donovan Mitchell put the Jazz up two; Rudy Gobert then fouled Russell Westbrook, who sank both free throws; Ricky Rubio tossed in a trey; Jerami Grant came back with a bucket and an And One to tie it again; Grant nailed a block and Westbrook charged at the rim, but no soap. So overtime ensued, and Utah knocked down the first four points; Paul George drew first blood for the Thunder, during which, said radio guy Matt Pinto, “Gobert crumpled like a lawn chair.” Also, neatly enough, second. Then Terrance Ferguson fouled out; Mitchell nailed two free throws, then fouled Westbrook, who missed the second free throw. Steven Adams hammered back a later Westbrook miss to put OKC up 136-135. The Jazz responded; Westbrook fouled out; Abdel Nader, called off the bench, tossed up a trey, Gobert came back with a bucket, and we’re down to :17 with the score tied once more. OKC took their last timeout, got nowhere, Mitchell got nowhere in return, and suddenly it’s double overtime.

And that second overtime was just as wild and woolly as the first. Three minutes in, it’s still tied, at 142. Grant fouled Gobert, who managed one free throw. Dennis Schröder, who’d had trouble shooting all night, came up with a bucket; Grant fouled Gobert again, and this time he got both the freebies. Jazz up by one; matching empty possessions, and finally at :008, PG-13 lofted one over the lofty Gobert. And that, as the children used to say, was all she wrote: Oklahoma City 148, Utah 147, 3-0 in the season series, and geez, we’re tired, and the Kings are coming to town.

This is the first game I recall in which all ten starters wound up in double figures. Mitchell led the Jazz with 38; double-doubles from both Gobert (26-16) and Derrick Favors (24-11). PG-13 led everyone with 45; double-doubles from Westbrook (43-15) and Adams (16-10). And we got to see Markieff Morris for the first time in Thunder blue; he made no shots, but wangled two assists and a steal. Does anyone care that Westbrook’s triple-double string is over? I didn’t think so.


It’s gotta go somewhere

Yesterday the office got a small check from a local paper recycler. We don’t know what they’re doing with all that shredded-tree extract, but we hope it isn’t this:

The conscientious citizens of Philadelphia continue to put their pizza boxes, plastic bottles, yogurt containers and other items into recycling bins.

But in the past three months, half of these recyclables have been loaded on to trucks, taken to a hulking incineration facility and burned, according to the city’s government.

It’s a situation being replicated across the US as cities struggle to adapt to a recent ban by China on the import of items intended for reuse.

The loss of this overseas dumping ground means that plastics, paper and glass set aside for recycling by Americans is being stuffed into domestic landfills or is simply burned in vast volumes. This new reality risks an increase of plumes of toxic pollution that threaten the largely black and Latino communities who live near heavy industry and dumping sites in the US.

Greeniacs around this town insist that you not throw pizza boxes in the green bin, presumably for grease-related reasons.

Wait a minute. Grease is flammable, is it not?

(With thanks to regular reader Holly H.)

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Dumbass wants more speed

Someone using the name “Chris” popped up with this: Can you change a cars “redline”? Alleged justification:

Okay so I used to have an 07 maxima and am thinking about getting an 8th gen maxima, However, the max horsepower is at 6400 rpm where as redline is at 6,600 rpm from my experience with my last maxima its hard to get the gas pedal at the proper rpm for the best acceleration. This leads me to the question can the computer in the car be programed to think redline is at 6400 rather than 6,600 rpm for optimal acceleration?

As the owner of the equivalent of a fifth-generation Maxima, allow me to point out the following, which was undoubtedly obvious to everyone else: “Why in the flying fark are you looking at the gauges instead of at the road?”

An actual tech who knows this engine noted:

The redline rpm is the speed of the motor right before the valves float and engine damage can occur. If you want higher rpms you need a different camshaft and heavier duty valve springs, high flow fuel pump and bigger injectors. Then the valves can mushroom against he valve seats and you’ll need to buy competition cylinder heads.

There’s a couple of grand right there, and for what? A tenth of a second faster to 60, maybe, if you’re lucky? I’d suggest that this is so he won’t get beaten by his girlfriend again, but what are the chances this clodhopper actually knows any girls?


Racked with indecision

I think we can safely say that Meg Myles knew what she had and knew how to use it.

Meg Myles on the edge of her seat

Meg Myles with a broken bat

Meg Myles in fishnets

Meg’s Wikipedia page neglects to mention that she recorded three LPs, one of which contains “Phenix City Blues,” which she sang in the 1955 film The Phenix City Story:

She’s long since retired, but she’s still around at age 84.

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You got a lot of nerves

To me, the amazing thing about hand transplants is not that they work fairly well, but that they work at all: all those nerves have to be positioned just so. Anyone whose nerves have gone to hell will recognize this pattern:

When I read about these things, it takes me back to the decade in which I had nerve injuries in both my arms and suffered constant and often substantial neuropathic pain (I’ve described it here and elsewhere). I’m not comparing myself to these patients (thank goodness). Nevertheless, I have had a fairly lengthy experience of nerve injury, and then a lengthy convalescence (a couple of years, actually) and rehab from nerve surgery, and am well aware of the dangers and difficulties inherent in rehabbing any nerve problem. Hand transplants involve a great deal more, of course. But they also involve the reconnection and growth of many nerves, and that takes a long long time.

In particular, the article recalled a dream I had a night or two after surgery on my right arm. I dreamed that my arm had been amputated and I’d been given another arm that was attached at the shoulder with clumsy, Frankensteinish stitches. At the time, my right arm was essentially unusable, and in tremendous pain. The rehab ended up being fraught with problems — I changed physical therapists about four times before I found one who knew how to help me — and my recovery took two to three years. It’s been about twenty years and I’m now about 85% to 90% better than I was before the surgery, which is practically miraculous and for which I’m very grateful. But a person doesn’t forget an experience like that.

Two and a half years following all that spinal stuff, I have to wonder if “recovery” means anything in my case. Pain has been mostly quieted, and I am grateful for that, but I still can’t walk more than a couple of steps. Since I tend to be a bit wobbly when standing still, I’m thinking that somewhere along the way I misplaced my equilibrium. At least I don’t dream about it.


And this is the way they’ll get here

I’m not saying it’s aliens, but …

Whoever they are, they’re probably working for Warren Buffett now.


Must have been a party line

Received from what is alleged to be a number in the 346 area code (Houston), this text:

Hi Anna. The divorce is finalized and I can get on the dating scene again. If you have a good friend, please let me know. :) Dinner tonight? — Lena

Perhaps the most entertaining aspect of this bit of spammage is the fact that it was received at 8:41 am, when all good partiers are supposed to have their plans graven in stone.



I knew this was going to happen, and so did you:

If a personalised number plate simply isn’t enough to express your complex personality, worry not — soon you will be able to add an emoji to the mix.

OK, you’ll have to move to Queensland, Australia — but once that’s sorted, you can get your own little smiley starting next month.

The emojis will cost you some extra of course, and are only for decoration.

Queensland license plate with emoji

Oh. Decoration. I thought they said “desecration.”

Wonder what they mean by “some extra”?

Since the plates have a price point of 475AUD (£260, $340), some commenters pointed out that it’s a nifty way for authorities to make yet more money from personalised plates.


For that kind of money, they should be offering the cartoon poop.

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And all that jazz

From sixty years ago, a prime example of Ken Nordine’s Word Jazz, spoken words that can be danced to:

And from even before that, he narrated this wild desert tale:

Nordine died this week, just short of his 99th birthday.


Hem but no haw

If at times it seems that girl groups in the K-pop universe are competing to see how much thigh can be revealed in a short time, well, I am not one to complain about such things, and YouTube is cooperating by recommending videos that conform to this stereotype. AOA, which seems to be an abbreviation for “Ace of Angels,” whatever that may mean, put out this jaunty little number in 2014:

Although at the very end, kitteh reminds you what really matters.

“Miniskirt” is just a hair closer to R&B than most K-pop, which I attribute to the presence of composer/producer Brave Brothers (Kang Dong-chul), who is pushing 40 and has had far more musical influences along the way than have the usual aggregations of a half-dozen post-adolescent singers.

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I can too be a chooser

I was turning onto my street when I saw her, trudging along at maybe half speed. Be nice if I could move that fast, I thought.

I went through the usual gymnastics it takes to get me out of the car, and there she was at the top of my driveway. “I’m four months pregnant,” she said, “and I’m awfully hungry.”

Well, yeah, she looked about four months pregnant. I thought for a moment, then peeled off a five-spot. “Maybe this will help.”

She didn’t even bat an eye. “You can’t get anything to eat around here for less than eight.”

The audacity of “Help!” Never heard that pitch delivered quite that way before.

I handed her another fiver and went inside, on the sensible basis that I probably didn’t want her to see me unloading a trunkful of groceries.

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