Mirabile dictu

First, the bad news: the Thunder’s fourth quarter was about as lackluster as their last half-dozen fourth quarters. The good news: they absolutely ruled during the first 36 minutes, running up a lead (!) on the Warriors (!!) as high as 26 points, leading ESPN’s Royce Young to ask:

For the record, I said 29. After all, it wasn’t that long ago — two games, I think — that Golden State was down more than 20 at halftime and still pulled out a win.

[Two games it was. The 76ers were up 74-52 at halftime, but the Warriors blitzed them 47-15 in the third and won by eight.]

But when the Warriors were well into the fourth and still double digits out, Steve Kerr found a traveling-white flag to wave, the starters were pulled, and it ended Oklahoma City 108, Golden State 91. If you gotta break a losing streak, this is the way to do it, and the sideshows — Draymond Green collected a technical for his eternal scowl, and double Ts were levied against Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook — will put this one into the history books.

How was this even possible? Twenty-two Warrior turnovers, from which the Thunder wrung 34 points, and actual shooting from the Thunder shooters. Westbrook: 34-10-9 on 13-27. Carmelo Anthony: 22 points on 8-17. Paul George: 20 points, 11 rebounds, 8-19. Steven Adams: 14-12 on 4-8. (Yeah, the bench only scored 12, half of them from Raymond Felton. You’ll get over it.)

The two guys you’d expect to garner points for Golden State did so: KD and Steph Curry each picked up 24 points — and minus-17s for their trouble. Green didn’t make a shot until the third quarter, and Klay Thompson was an improbable 3 of 12, though he got 9 points for his trouble. A lot of it, though, was simply not having the ball. (See “turnovers,” supra.) The Warriors got ten fewer shots (and eight fewer makes), and rebounds, to the tune of 50-38, belonged to OKC.

Is this some sort of turning point for the Thunder? That 14-point fourth quarter says “Not necessarily.” We’ll know more Friday night, with Andre Drummond and the Pistons in town to try to clear those boards.

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Track three

Last year, for no particular reason, I showed you my absolute favorite Partridge Family record, one so certain of its place in the repertoire that David Cassidy cut it again for his Now and Then album in 2002.

Now with David gone (liver failure, at sixty-seven), I give you my second favorite Partridge Family record, produced and cowritten by savvy old Wes Farrell. And if it seems odd to you that the Partridge Family would be doing a sort of pre-Jeffersons pop tune, yearning for the time when you actually can move on up to the East Side, well, this works better than it has any right to:

Since you asked: “Bandala” is track 3 on The Partridge Family Album, from deepest 1970.


The coming normalization

Eventually, sexual harassment will complete its inevitable transit from Cardinal Sin to Maybe Bad Form to the least significant, um, peccadillo. The reason for this? Political expediency, of course, with a D in parentheses:

[T]he only way to stay viable as a political party, according to the rules they themselves created and have so vigorously enforced lo these many years, is to somehow make this stuff “ok.” Always believe the woman, right? No means no, right? “Affirmative consent,” for pete’s sake? One way or another, that stuff is going right out the window with the audition tapes from the Weinstein Company.

My (trite, obvious) guess is that the Left will craft themselves a victim narrative. Here in the next few months, we’ll hear calls for a “national conversation” on the pitfalls of power.

“National conversation,” you may have noticed, translates to “lecture with mandatory attendance.”

Nobody’s saying Al Franken should’ve done that — of course he shouldn’t! — but the poor dear, stressed out from his heroic defense of the Constitution, fell victim to the most insidious disease of all, the disease of being a member of the ruling body of the most powerful nation on Earth. Who wouldn’t grab a sleeping woman’s hooters under those conditions? He needs therapy. Fortunately, our friends in academia have come up with a kind of therapy he can do in his off hours, or even on his own, in his Senate office. Stepping down would, in fact, be counterproductive, as he needs to learn to channel those urges — normal, red-blooded heterosexual urges, there’s nothing wrong with those! — into more “appropriate” behaviors, and the only way he’s going to learn how to do that effectively in the corridors of power is to remain in the corridors of power.

In 2032, I fully expect General Motors to resurrect Oldsmobile (d. 2004) just long enough to produce a Ted Kennedy Centenary Edition.

[insert “airbag” joke here]

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Your dialect or mine

So I’m looking through a day’s worth of invoices for no good reason, and I found one from some presumably unfortunate fellow, from, according to the typist, “Broken, New York.”

Puzzled, I looked it over again. The order had been called in, and transcription errors are always possible, but surely the order-taker would have asked for clarification. Not to worry. I’ll look at the ZIP code, which turned out to be 11234.

“One-one-two … ” and the light went on.

Brooklyn, New York.

Never been to that borough, but I’m sure it’s not entirely broken.


Self-swearing drivers

After that tidbit about yelling at the robot voice on the phone, the following question was posed: “One wonders what systems like this will do when they replace human drivers in New York.”

Further contemplation yielded this:

Even though the car systems will be much more sophisticated than the phone answering ones, will they have the same feature of dumping to a human being on hearing certain profanities? Because if they do, then New York City is going to be a place where driverless cars will never work. The only thing that limits street swearing there now is that some attention has to be paid to the road; give NYC drivers the freedom to cuss out whoever they want in whatever direction they want whenever they want and Manhattan is going to be the FCC’s nightmare.

Provided, of course, the Net Neutrality proponents don’t throw Ajit Pai on a funeral pyre first.

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That’s how she spelled it, originally. “Delloreese Patricia Early,” says the Official Record. At 13, she got a gig with Mahalia Jackson’s gospel group, which was a big deal for a smallish young woman from Detroit. By 1950, she’d foreshortened her name to “Della Reese,” and she took up the fine art of jazz. And in 1957, she got a fair-sized pop hit with “And That Reminds Me,” an Italian instrumental with some post-hoc English lyrics:

Amazingly, the Four Seasons covered “And That Reminds Me” in 1969, reaching (barely) the Top 50.

A very young Della Reese

Della Reese waves

Della Reese with her book Angels Along the Way

Starting around 1970, she added “actress” to her CV; she did dozens of guest shots and in 1994 signed for a lightly regarded TV series called Touched By an Angel. It was canceled after 11 episodes; tons of letters from fans got it a reprieve, and it ran for 200 more episodes.

And I can’t let this go by without “Don’t You Know,” the adaptation of “Musetta’s Waltz” from act two of Puccini’s La Bohème that became Della’s biggest hit in 1959. This salvaged-from-somewhere recording features a latter-day Duke Ellington orchestra:

“The right height for you?” Well, she was only five foot two, but she never sounded small.

She retired from performing in 2014, and died this week at 86.

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Box whatever

My neighborhood dates to right after World War II, and mail, for now, is delivered to our front doors. (In my case, it’s delivered to the garage door, which saves the carrier a few steps, and the basket on the inside is not accessible from the outside.) We look down our noses at the cluster boxes inflicted on newer neighborhoods. You don’t want to know what we’d think of this:

Jackson, Wyoming is one of those rare places in the United States with no home delivery. Davidson, NC and Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA are two other places that come to mind where USPS does not deliver mail to home residences. Despite the best efforts of Postmaster General John Wanamaker, who served from 1889 to 1893, to spearhead RFD (Rural Free Delivery) ensuring even bumpkins in the middle of nowhere could get their mail, there still exist a few of these smaller communities where no mailman treads even today.

The Canadians are getting rid of door-to-door delivery, but they’ll still come to somewhere on your block, more or less, with your mail. Forget that in Jackson.

McG notes for record:

Maybe back in the olden days before the Harveywood elite discovered Jackson Hole, it was okay to use the post office for “community building,” but congestion on the street and in the lobby now get in the way of the postal employees doing their jobs efficiently — which is what those of us in the rest of the country want more than anything from our post offices.

“Harveywood”? That’s gonna leave a mark.

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And she prevailed

In 2010, Dr Rachel Tudor was recommended for tenure by her colleagues at Southeastern Oklahoma State down in Durant. The administration, she said, responded by “contact[ing] legal counsel to find out if they were required to honor the recommendation of the faculty committee.” Somebody there didn’t like her.

In the spring of 2011, Tudor won the Faculty Senate Recognition Award for Excellence in Scholarship, after which she was sent packing. It took a while for things to start happening, but they did:

After four years of getting nowhere — she’s currently teaching at a community college in north Texas — the Department of Justice has stepped in, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, charging the school and the State Regents with discrimination on the basis of sex.

Tudor apparently flourished at Collin College, where she earned a 4.7 (out of 5) at Rate My Professors. And after two and a half years, the DOJ suit has borne fruit:

On Monday, an eight-person jury voted in favor of Tudor on three counts: that she was “denied tenure in 2009-10 because of her gender,” that she was denied “the opportunity to apply for tenure in the 2010-11 cycle … because of her gender” and that the university retaliated against her after she complained about workplace discrimination. The jury then awarded her $1.165 million in damages.

Said a member of Tudor’s legal team:

Brittany Novotny, a member of Tudor’s local counsel trial team and herself a transgender woman, said the case is the first of its kind.

“This is the first one of these Title VII civil rights cases for a trans person based on sex discrimination to go to a jury trial,” Novotny told NBC News. “It is a pretty exciting day and a pretty big moment.”

I remember Brittany Novotny: she ran for a seat in the state House in 2010. Unfortunately, the seat was District 84, arguably the least trans-friendly zone in the state, occupied then by Sally Kern and before that Bill Graves. Eventually she moved out of the area, though she’s kept several ties to the state and she’s wearing a Russell Westbrook jersey on her Twitter profile page.

And the timing couldn’t have been much better: Monday was this year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance.

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At too safe a distance

News Item: A strategically planned implosion brought down the Georgia Dome Monday morning at 7:30. More than 4,000 pounds of explosives and six miles of cables and wiring took down the 71,000-seat stadium in just 12 seconds, sending a plume of dust into the sky.

The Weather Channel sent a team to cover the demolition as it happened. The result was, shall we say, not predictable:

“Gimme a hurricane every time,” Jim Cantore might have muttered.

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As the eye gets lost

“Sensuality, elegance and creativity are the key words of the stiletto creator, whose objective is to highlight a silhouette, reveal a personality or a style, through shoes and accessories collections combining sophistication, seduction and innovation.”

This quote jumps out at you from the Web site of Charles Jourdan, shoemaker. M. Jourdan himself died in 1976, and the company continued to be operated by his family until 2002.

During his later years, Jourdan commissioned fashion artwork from surrealist photographer Guy Bourdin. If Bourdin did his job, you spent twice as much eyeball time on the Jourdan advertisements, which, were they released today, might be considered to have a high WTF factor.

This fall-1979 picture for a relatively conservative dark-green pump is a case in point:

Guy Bourdin for Charles Jourdan, 1979

The downside, of course, is that you spend most of those extra seconds not looking at the shoes, but wondering how the bloody heck Bourdin did that.


Pecked to death

The New Orleans Pelicans pay attention. Recent events would persuade even the casual viewer that the way to handle the Thunder is to let them run up a big lead early on and then watch them fritter it away, a little at a time, until it’s too late for the boys in blue to do anything about it. The big lead here, halfway through the first quarter, was 25-6. By the end of the first, Oklahoma City led by only 9; they stayed at about that distance for the next 12 minutes, and then totally fell apart. The Pelicans took the lead before the end of the third, and with 18.5 seconds left, the Bad Birds had themselves an unsurmountable lead. Yeah, I know: it was only six points. But in terms of sheer clutch, the Thunder seem to have burned up their pressure plate. And Anthony Davis, always a threat to OKC, was even more so than usual tonight, nailing 36 points and grabbing 15 rebounds as the Pelicans won by, um, seven: 114-107. And it might have been worse had not DeMarcus Cousins elbowed Russell Westbrook in the face midway through the third, earning a Flagrant Two and a free trip to the locker room.

That Davis line is instructive: 18 of 22 free throws, 9-19 from the floor, and only one futile trey attempt. The Pelicans shot 50 percent or better most of the night, finishing at 51. As is Alvin Gentry’s wont, the New Orleans reserves didn’t get much in the way of playing time, though Darius Miller’s 11 off the bench trumped any individual Thunder reserve. (Jerami Grant was the closest, with 10.) So dire was the situation that a Westbrook triple-double (22-16-12) wasn’t enough to save the day.

Were the Thunder thinking forward to the holidays? Not likely. Were they thinking forward to Wednesday and the Warriors? Possibly more likely. I suggest black ops: call up P. J. Dozier from the Sports Drink League. You’ll recognize him at once: he wears number 35.


A certain heaviness

You can’t really tell from this photo:

Judge Jeanine in blue shoes

And no information is available for the left, but apparently that right foot is solid lead:

Fox News host and TV judge Jeanine Pirro is heading to court herself after being ticketed for excessive speeding Sunday in upstate New York.

State Police say Pirro was clocked driving 119 mph in a 65 mph zone when she was stopped by a trooper at about 1:15 p.m. Sunday afternoon in the Town of Nichols in Tioga County.

A State Police spokesman said the only charge Pirro was hit with was speeding.

Forty over in New York State can get you 11 points, enough for a license suspension. And she sounds almost like she’s expecting it:

“I had been driving for hours to visit my ailing 89-year-old mom and didn’t realize how fast I was driving. I believe in the rule of law and I will pay the consequences,” Pirro said in a statement through Fox News Channel.

I just want to know what she’s driving in which you can’t tell you’re going a hundred nineteen.

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Quote of the week

Nary a statesman in the bunch, says Mike Hendrix:

When was the last time you heard any of these contemptible cretins referred to as a “statesman”? The very idea of comparing any of the villainous poltroons currently in Congress to, say, James Madison, James Monroe, or, for that matter, Peter Muhlenberg of the first Federal Congress is risible on its face. The kind of people drawn these days to “serve” in Congress couldn’t be trusted to walk your damned dog. You certainly wouldn’t dream of hiring them to babysit your daughter, even for five minutes.

The profligate treachery and self-serving arrogance of John McCain; the addled witlessness of Maxine Waters; the complete mendacity and dishonesty of Nancy Pelosi; the smug double-dealing of Harry Reid; the slimy disingenuousness of Mitch “Yertle” McTurtle — these aren’t exactly ringing endorsements of the caliber of people in charge of government in the modern era. Some of them — most, probably — might be vain and presumptuous enough to think they’d fare well in a comparison to the true statesmen of an earlier age. But that only adds “delusional” to the litany of their inadequacy.

The character traits of those attracted to national elective office effectively guarantee that they’ll be the very type of person we wouldn’t want there. An overblown sense of self-importance; a desire to lord it over others, and an unswerving belief in their competence to do so; a monstrously and unjustly inflated ego; a mania for attention and affirmation; a near-sociopathic lack of interest in the needs or desires of other people; dishonesty and shamelessness; short-sightedness and disinterest in long-term consequences; basic fiscal greed — these pathologies, crippling disqualifications in just about any other field, are now requirements for success as an American career politician.

Nor are these traits reserved solely to persons named on ballots; the last few administrations have had an unerring knack for finding underlings at commensurate levels of fatuity. Deluged by smears and countersmears, those of us who have better things to do than play Fantasy Despots all week have a tendency to lose interest — which, of course, makes life easier for those who would rule us.


True gritters

A resident of Doncaster, in South Yorkshire, would like to say a few kind words about the local public-works department:

“As an avid user of roads, footpaths and public spaces and an avid fan of traction, I’ve come to really like not falling over. Gritters do a really important job.”

Doncaster Council has recently added two new gritters, to keep the roads clear when the weather is terrible, and they asked the community for names for the machines — with some ground rules to be honored:

Hey, I liked “Gary Gritter,” though its namesake seems to have come to a bad end.

Be that as it may, the Council was happy with the vote:

The woman who came up with Gritsy Bitsy is quoted at the top of this article.

And it’s not like this is unfamiliar territory to Doncaster Council:

The new gritters will now join the council’s fleet of eclectically-named vehicles, Brad Grit, Gritney Spears, The Subzero Hero, Mr Plow and Usain Salt.

That name again is Mr Plow.

(Via Fark.)

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Strange search-engine queries (616)

About 30 to 40 percent of my daily traffic is a small but apparently enthusiastic corps 0f regulars, some of whom have been coming by for more than a decade. Most of the rest got here via search engine; once a week I go through the logs to see what they were searching for. I’ve been doing this for, yes, more than a decade. Draw your own conclusions.

Bikini On Clothesline:  The nearest village to a naturist beach in the southwest of England.

@fmail:  The last step before Gmail. See also Preparation G and Formula 408.

ineffably:  Subsequently replaced by “ingeeably.”

define pmoys:  That was Hef’s job, and by all accounts he enjoyed it.

chepito car rental:  Oh. For a moment there I thought you’d said “Cheapo.”

sickness insurance:  Does not cover the sickness that overwhelms you when you get your insurance bill.

tighty whities men:  Underwear does not discriminate. If women want to wear the damn things it’s fine with me.

doxxed urban dictionary:  Did it not occur to you to actually go to Urban Dictionary?

santa ana winds allergies:  As though having the tip of your nose burned off wasn’t bad enough.

say less remix:  Not hardly. Cut down the remixes and a third of YouTube evaporates.

ontario assisted dying:  We’re guessing that the cost of assisted living was too much to bear.

according to all known laws of aviation copypasta:  No matter what happens, you will always have just enough fuel to get to the crash site.

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Return of the heart of zinc

From a couple of months ago, the beginning of an experiment:

Some people have gotten so serious about it that they are building a computer farm in Iceland for the specific purpose of mining Bitcoins. I gave them $100 to see if they can make any money for me.

Sixty-odd days and $120 later:

They seem to be a new outfit that is having normal start-up problems, so I cut them some slack, but like I said, it’s been a couple of months so I inquired, and now I have some numbers. Since they sat on my money for a month to ensure that it was legit and not some from some scammer, the money has only been at work for a month, but in a month it has produced $5.38. Theoretically speaking. To actually get the money, I have to transfer it to an electronic ‘wallet’, and from there I should be able to get actual moola.

I dutifully set up the wallet, but nothing had gotten transferred. Seems there are transaction fees, so Genesis doesn’t transfer any funds until you have at least $15 to transfer.

Anyway, $5 a month times 12 months is $60, so in two years I should double my money. Assuming of course that this whole thing doesn’t collapse like the house of cards it is.

There we go. A House of [IBM] Cards.