Archive for February 2013

Featuring TepidMail

Microsoft, which terminated Outlook Express with extreme prejudice some years back, replacing it with something called Windows Live Mail, is also keen to rid itself of Hotmail, replacing it with something called, um, Outlook.

Janie is not impressed:

They dumped me into the Outlook format. This was totally unacceptable, and as I use my email for the bulk of my communication I lost no time fixing the format back to Hotmail. However, even still they’ve changed Hotmail so that it shows all the emails in a particular thread. I find this terribly irritating. But, I haven’t yet had time to try and see if there’s a way to un-do that too.

Which is why I’ve stayed with WLM: it picks up all five of my usual email addresses, one of which is Hotmail, and doesn’t fuss about any of them, even (gasp!) AOL.

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Near-total eclipse

You have to figure that any night Nick Collison serves up five assists is somewhat atypical. The Suns were in this one for the first 24 minutes, but the Thunder put together a 21-0 run in the third quarter, and the rest of the game was just mopping up: the final was 127-96.

The phrase “balanced attack” actually meant something tonight: the Thunder had five in double figures, all within five points of one another. (For the record: Kevin Durant 21, Thabo Sefolosha 18, Russell Westbrook and Kendrick Perkins 17, Kevin Martin 16.) Everybody got to play, even Daniel Orton, who bagged three rebounds and four points in the last five minutes. But here’s the key number: OKC made 50 shots from the floor (out of 87, for 57.5 percent), and 14 out of 21 treys. You do that and it doesn’t matter if you outrebound the Suns only 40-39.

What happened to Phoenix? Take your pick. Goran Dragić was formidable in the first quarter — 16 points — but only three thereafter. Marcin Gortat didn’t make a bucket until the fourth quarter, and he wouldn’t get another. The Suns bench outscored the starters 66-30; Michael Beasley led all scorers with 25. But even Beasley was -10 for the night; Markieff Morris was the only Sun to creep onto the positive side of the ledger.

Maybe they were saving it for later, and not much later at that: the fourth and last game of the series will be Sunday in Phoenix. Maybe Gortat will have recovered his mojo by then. In the meantime, let’s send a thank-you note to the Pistons, who whacked the Spurs tonight.

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Self-answering questions

I caught these right next to each other in Yahoo! Answers:

Screenshot from Yahoo! Answers

I suppose I should have come up with some self-questioning answers, but hey, I can’t do everything for these folks.

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Quote of the week

A helpful note from Jennifer:

Dear LAPD,

Recoil therapy is a great stress reliever. Next time, try it without the innocent bystanders down range.


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Blow softened ever so slightly

Something called “City News,” put out by the Public Information and Marketing Office, is sent with the local utility bill each month, to keep us humble citizens aware of what’s going on without delving too deeply into City Hall intrigues and whatnot.

A headline this month reads “Outdoor watering program implemented,” and in the context of “City News,” which is routinely loaded with new programs and beautification schemes, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the city had come up with a new plan to help poorer people keep their yards up or something. (Imagine what P. J. O’Rourke would have said about that.) But no, it’s a recap of the watering-restriction rules enacted in mid-January after the city noticed that rainfall has run about a third below normal the last two years.

I’m waiting for someone to protest that the odd/even system is inherently unfair, since there are more odd days than even. (Between March 30 and April 2, for instance, there are two consecutive odd days.) And the sort of person who objects to it is likely not going to accept the most rational response: “Move across the street.”

Disclosure: My block has nine even addresses and four odd.

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But oh, so Swede

Anna Svensson is a noted Swedish equestrian who in her younger days was a competition show jumper, and who still loves to ride.

Only “Anna Svensson” is not her real name:

Princess Madeleine of Sweden

This is in fact Madeleine Thérèse Amelie Josephine, Her Royal Highness Princess Madeleine, Duchess of Hälsingland and Gästrikland, youngest child of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, currently fourth in line of succession to the Swedish throne. This shot was taken on a suitably royal occasion: the 2011 wedding of Albert II, Prince of Monaco, to former South African Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock.

Madeleine herself has a royal wedding coming up in June, to Christopher O’Neill, head of research at London hedge fund Noster Capital, a name I recognize only because their managing partner sent a nastygram last summer to the board of Chesapeake Energy here in Oklahoma City which called for the ouster of then-chairman Aubrey McClendon.

That’s two princesses this week. (The first, if you’ve forgotten.) I suspect I have now outed myself as a monarchist.

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Impractical hearts

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Your slash ain’t nothing but trash

There’s a button in the WordPress editor that says “close tags,” which, conveniently enough, closes all open tags in the document, because Horrible Things can happen when you don’t.

Behold: not a WordPress product, but still Exhibit A H.

(Via this @tjic tweet.)

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No, it doesn’t wind up

Bose and Nissan have been working together for some time; Gwendolyn, at the advanced age of thirteen, sports a Bose-designed system (built by Clarion in Japan) with a speaker in each door, tweeters in the A-pillars, and a subwoofer dangling from the rear deck. Power is ostensibly 200 watts, though as a hi-fi buff for most of my adult life I have learned to treat amplifier power figures with the same mistrust with which I regard fuel-economy numbers.

The laws of physics being what they are, it takes some serious current draw to run these puppies at gut-thumping levels, and it is always better to have more amplifier power, not just for reasons that Tim Allen might endorse, but also because a high-powered amp that isn’t running flat out doesn’t produce as much in the way of distorion as a lower-powered amp that’s constantly bumping up against its limits. “Serious current draw” would seem to eliminate this sort of thing for electric cars, in which every extra watt cuts into your driving range.

Just the same, Bose is coming to the Nissan Leaf, with a similar speaker deployment but a head unit that uses half the juice. The press release doesn’t say, but I’m betting they’ve also removed the CD player, reasoning that the motor has a current draw of its own and that your average Leaf buyer is going to rely on his iPod to supply tunes anyway.

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First round at Bataan

A final score of 104-101 suggests a Clippers/Thunder game: these are teams that score quite a bit and tend not to run away from each other. You don’t expect totals like that from the college game.

Unless the college game runs 65 minutes, as did last night’s Louisville/Notre Dame clash, in which the Irish finally emerged with the win after five overtimes, the longest game ever played in the Big East. Not that this was entirely unexpected — only two of the last eight Cardinals/Irish matchups ended in the regulation 40 minutes — but how can you possibly prepare for five overtimes? That’s a third half and then some.

First thing that came to my mind: did anyone foul out? NCAA allows five fouls (the NBA limit is six) before you’re disqualified, and four players on each team were gone before it ended. (Only nine players were listed for Notre Dame; did they have anyone left in case Pat Connaughton got his fifth foul?)

And where there are a lot of fouls, there are a lot of foul shots: from the charity stripe, Louisville made 30 of 48, Notre Dame 33 of 49.

I think we can safely conclude that everyone was tired when this one was all over.

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What retirement income?

Perhaps some comfort may be derived from seeing a species that considers itself superior doing basically the same thoughtless things we do:

Note the fine print, which declares that this can’t actually happen.

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man.)

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There’s no days like snow days

A teacher surrounded by snow offers a suggestion:

Here’s a thought on a trapped-inside day: when school is cancelled, why do we make it up? Shouldn’t it be “postponed?” When you cancel something it’s gone forever. So maybe the terminology needs to change. “School postponed until a later date when you can suffer an arduously painful day in sweltering humidity and heat.” Pick your poison.

Schools generally are not designed for comfort, though the three years I spent in class at the Brokaw Mansion in Summerville were arguably less painful than most.

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Near-total eclipse II

Night before last, I suggested: “Maybe [Marcin] Gortat will have recovered his mojo by then.” Or, you know, not. Mojo was definitely not in evidence in Phoenix tonight: only one of the Suns — Markieff Morris — even managed double figures tonight, as the Thunder coasted to a 97-69 win, sweeping the season series.

Once again, it was the Suns bench who did all the heavy lifting: the starters came up with a total of 26 points, or two more than Russell Westbrook. Unlike last time, though, the bleeding started early: OKC was up 27-16 after the first quarter and looked back only to see who was still breathing dust. The Suns didn’t exactly lie down and die — they pulled in a remarkable 53 rebounds, way ahead of the Thunder’s 40 — but they couldn’t manage the ball-to-rim interface with any degree of efficiency: we’re talking 30-91 from the floor for 33 percent. (OKC made four more shots while taking 15 fewer.) Phoenix was dead solid perfect from the foul line, but they took only five foul shots. (Only Kendrick Perkins and Reggie Jackson had as many as two fouls; Perk earned a tech, but Goran Dragić got one simultaneously, so no trip to the line.) The Thunder had only five offensive rebounds all night, though Phoenix did hardly anything with the 17 they got.

And the man with the biggest minutes for the night was Thabo Sefolosha, who played 34 and scored a season-high 20, right behind Westbrook and ahead of Kevin Durant, who put up 18. Kevin Martin had the night off with the classic “flu-like symptoms,” which made more time for Jackson and DeAndre Liggins. Perk, who had 17 Friday night, didn’t score tonight, but he was busy blocking shots (three) and stealing the ball (also three).

Tuesday night, the Thunder will be in Utah; Thursday, they’ll be home to greet the Heat.

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Strange search-engine queries (367)

This weekly feature contains the best, or perhaps the worst, of the search strings by which people arrived at this site during the last few days. No drones were used to collect this information.

the firefly platform:  Used by Joss Whedon for development ever since Serenity.

vent to suck in pant:  Pants with vents almost always suck.

“tennessee prison for women” “deborah gibson”:  Now that’s a foolish beat.

who is Matt Pinto from Thunder dating?  I have no idea, but it’s probably not Debbie Gibson.

mariska hargitay has a quote inside a heart:  Matt Pinto, you might want to take notice.

is christine baranski double jointed:  I have no way of knowing. Should I ask Matt Pinto?

enlarge penis upto 40% china capsoal:  You just keep right on believing that, child. The Chinese are counting on you to support their economy.

okc to get rail transit:  If it’s anything like the bus system, it will run 20 hours a week, 15 of which will be used in getting you to work late.

i have a mazda 626 and i need to know is the engine a 4 cylinder or a 6 cylinder:  Yes. Definitely.

if a value exists copy to another worksheet:  If no value exists, tell Ben Bernanke to print some money to compensate.

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Like snow business I know

And the Lord spake thusly unto Noah:

And I will establish my covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.

He didn’t say a damned thing, however, about snow:

[W]hen something like this blizzard falls upon my neighborhood, I don’t wait for some hireling to come to clear my driveway; I don my cold-weather togs and attack it myself.

But strength isn’t everything. There are other considerations to be respected in addressing an onerous task like clearing several tons of snow from an oversized driveway. One of them is endurance. Another is pulmonary capacity. Another is pain.

Yes indamndeedy. I have sort of learned to pace myself, but impatience shows up rather rapidly when I look to see how much is still left. To cite the most recent Major Winter Event at the palatial estate at Surlywood, thirty-five feet of driveway times a 12-inch depth times seven feet wide is 225 cubic feet of the stuff, not counting the sidewalk; it does not relocate willingly without help from the sun, which of course takes the day off because of bad weather.

And God, in His mercy, has spared me since then:

In that horrible month of February ’11, I broke my snow shovel; after waiting for the spring price break, I bought one of those not quite industrial-strength, but still formidable-looking, pushers, and dared the stuff to occupy my driveway. Total snowfall for the winter of ’11-’12: 1.8 inches. The thing is standing in the garage, still wrapped. If I thought for a moment this would work again, I’d buy another one.

Total snowfall for the winter of ’12-’13 through today: 1.4 inches. (Seasonal normal is around 8-9 inches.) I have yet to unwrap the Mystery Device. And yes, this is a dare, since they’re predicting widespread misery for tomorrow.

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Come for the bargains

Stay for the freshness, especially the pineapple:

Sparkle food ad from

Sparkle Markets operate in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

(Found at, which has lots of similarly inexplicable newspaper clippings.)

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No dollars left behind

A statement by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi:

Nothing brings more money to the Treasury of the United States than investment in education of the American people, so we have to recognize that.

And Federal spending on education, by all the available evidence, has been utterly futile. So perhaps we should do it her way: instead of “investment in education,” we should do “nothing,” which brings in more money, or at least depletes the Treasury less.

What? You’re sure that’s not what she said? Well, she give her a break: she had to say it to know what was in it.

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Let’s do the Dash Warp again

When I got my first car, a 1966 Chevy II with a Nova badge, approximately the third thing I did with it was update the sound system from good ol’ mono AM to something resembling stereo FM. (We won’t discuss the issues with the cassette player.)

Of course, if I could have held out for several decades, I could have had something like this:

RetroSound Model 2

This is RetroSound’s Model 2 head unit with a custom bezel for this particular series of Chevy. It puts out 25 watts x 4, has one USB and two auxiliary ports, and is fully Bluetooth-enabled, including streaming.

The $400 price tag is about twice what I had to pay to get the Powerglide two-speed automatic rebuilt. Then again, one must have one’s priorities, and inflation screws up all these comparisons anyway.

(Via Engadget.)

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With friends like these

Keep your politics to yourself? Bad idea, says Tat:

It will hurt you more at the end when you find out your jogging buddy is a statist. It will bring you more heartbreak when you learn a person you shared same hobby is someone who supports re-distribution of wealth. It will make you feel betrayed when your pal with whom you have common taste in jazz and, like, totally connect — voted for a current nuisance in the Oval Office, on principle. It will make your life at the office an everyday torture if your boss will sing praises for “heroic Palestinians freedom-fighting against blood-thirsty Israelis”.

On one level, this is fairly indisputable: you seldom see people on opposite sides of the aisle connecting at heart-to-heart level. (There’s Carville and Matalin, I suppose, but she was the brains of the operation, while he worked in, um, some other region.)

Then again, everyone on earth who agrees with me on everything would probably fit in this one room, and possibly in this one chair.

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Perennially hormonal

Oh, those randy, indefatigable, elderly Brits:

Youth is wasted on the young — so the saying goes — and doing their best to prove it are the over-50s.

They are more sexually active than six years ago, according to a survey which also found that a third of the age group enjoy sex more than in their youth. Four in five of those in their early 50s make love regularly, with a quarter enjoying a romantic episode under the sheets at least once a week.

For some reason this reminds me of those old commercial pitches involving four out of five doctors.

(Aside: There was a perfectly lovely power-pop band from D.C., circa 1980, called 4 Out Of 5 Doctors. I bought their first LP. They didn’t sound much different in 2008.)

Who were the respondents to this survey, anyway?

Nearly 9,000 people aged 50 or more were questioned about their sex lives by Populus on behalf of Saga Magazine for the survey.

This makes more sense if you remember that “Saga” was originally an acronym: “Social Amenities for the Golden Age.” Sort of a British AARP, without the annoying self-righteousness. I attribute this to Saga’s not being a non-profit.

And this little squib at the bottom of the article demands inclusion because … well, just because:

The Women’s Institute — better known for jam-making tips — released a sex guide in 2008.

Topics included the best positions for women to try if their partners had previously had heart attacks.

I am so not going there.

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A model for the rest of you

The Speaker of the Oklahoma House used to have essentially absolute power over bills introduced in the House.

Repeat: “used to.” Rep. Jason Murphey (R-Guthrie) explains:

Over the past few weeks, I have enjoyed serving on a committee tasked with reforming House rules. I observed as Speaker of the House T. W. Shannon commissioned the committee’s work and seeded the idea for dissolving absolute power from the Speaker to the members of the Legislature.

Under the leadership of Speaker Pro Tempore Mike Jackson, the committee worked out a process for commissioning a House calendar committee with the responsibility of determining which bills are scheduled for a vote of the House. The committee contains House members from both political parties and holds public meetings where the members must hold a recorded vote on the slate of bills to go before the House.

These decisions are no longer behind closed doors, nor are they made by one man.

The GOP holds a 72-29 majority in the House. Speaker Shannon could easily have told the remaining Democrats to go pound sand. But that’s apparently not the sort of guy he is.

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Cloudy turnout report

Much of the heightened interest in this year’s school-board election was negated by Old Man Winter, who presumably felt sorry for us in our drought and sent us some snow. And for once, there was some actual liquid to be had, unlike blizzards of recent years, which contained so little water they might have just as well dropped cornstarch on us. (If you follow me on Twitter you’ve already seen that comparison.)

Be that as it may, I reported in at 5:05 pm, and deposited ballot #95. Not what I’d call a big crowd. I’m thinking whoever wins these things will be agonizing over how many dollars per vote they actually spent.

(The report from the 2009 election, for comparison.)

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Broken chords

Six and a half minutes into the fourth quarter, Scott Brooks threw in the towel. Down only seven after three, the Thunder managed to score only four points in those six minutes, and it was apparently obvious to the OKC brain trust that things weren’t going to get any better. Then again, it’s hard to imagine how they’d have gotten worse: two Flagrant 1 fouls (one on Kendrick Perkins, one on Kevin Durant), no second-chance points in the entire first half, and, as the radio team kept mentioning, trailing badly in offensive rebounds, which would account for the dearth of second-chance points. I’d note that the Jazz outrebounded the Thunder on both flavors of glass (38-26), and that OKC uncharacteristically left ten points at the foul line — but had they sank them all, it wouldn’t have made any difference, as Utah administered a methodical 109-94 thrashing of the Northwest leader.

Lots of statistics to point to, notably that OKC shot nearly 56 percent and still lost, but this is the one that grabs me: Hasheem Thabeet had a block, a steal, and a rebound, didn’t take a shot, but wound up with a team-high +7. (KD and Russell Westbrook, by comparison, had 33 and 22 points, but neither broke -10.) Or look at Serge Ibaka: ten points, seven blocks, minus 28. If nothing else, this shows how dominant the Jazz starters — Al Jefferson (23 points, seven rebounds) and Paul Millsap (18 points, ten boards) especially — really were. And Utah’s next three highest scorers were from the bench. Somewhere Jerry Sloan is smiling.

Only that rematch with the Heat remains until the All-Star break. I suspect there won’t be much vacation time to be had.

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Never heard it before

From Monday night’s tweetstream:

Tweet by Dan McLaughlin

As it happens, the installation of iTunes 11 reset some of the play counts on some of my purchased tracks, and it appears I’m not alone.

Many of the thread participants blamed the crossfade feature; I’m not using it, so that can’t be the only issue.

And it hasn’t really affected my Randomator playlist, which shuffles the 700 tracks least recently played, because the last-played date is still correct, even if the play count is blacked out. (Regular readers will note that this is yet another increase in the playlist size, which I try to keep at around one-tenth of the total library.)

Curiously, the reset seemed to affect only tracks purchased from iTunes; it did not affect tracks bought elsewhere, or material I ripped at home.

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Fix it again, Tadeusz

Have you gotten used to the idea of an Italian car sold in North America, built in Mexico? If so, get un-used to it, because that’s all about to change:

The next generation Fiat 500 will no longer be hecho en Mexico for the North American market. Faced with a modern plant and unused capacity, Fiat will consolidate all of its 500 production to its site in Tychy, Poland, in 2015.

The Mexican plant, in Toluca, also builds the Dodge Journey crossover; odds are, another Chrysler product will be moved in to keep the production lines busy.

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Today would have been the 81st birthday of Susan Oliver, actress and director, who died in 1990. If you don’t recognize her in B&W, the color shot should ring a bell:

Susan Oliver publicity photo

Susan Oliver in Star Trek

Yep. That’s Vina from “The Cage,” the original Star Trek pilot, much of which was incorporated into the episode “The Menagerie.” (Of course, she didn’t really look like that.)

Perhaps more interesting than her middling Hollywood career, though, was her life in the sky, which began with, of all things, a turbulent flight. From her Wikipedia bio:

She was a passenger aboard the Clipper Washington, a Boeing 707 on a transatlantic flight from Paris to New York City when it dropped from 35,000 feet to 6000 feet. It was February 3, 1959, the same day Buddy Holly died in an airplane crash. These events caused her to avoid flying for the next year, even turning down job offers (with the exception of auditioning for BUtterfield 8) if they were so short notice she could only travel by air. She eventually underwent hypnosis to overcome her fear of flying.

The fear eventually gave way to sheer delight:

In 1968 she was contacted by Learjet to see if she was interested in getting a type rating in one of their jets with the intent to set record flights for them. She earned the rating and even flew some charters (having by that time acquired a commercial pilot certificate in single and multiengine land airplanes).

Lest Susan Oliver be forgotten, filmmaker George Pappy has launched a Kickstarter for a biopic, to be titled The Green Girl. I’m in.

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As he throws his pants into the ring

Mark Sanford, South Carolina politician and philanderer, not necessarily in that order, is running for the Congressional seat he held for three terms. You might remember that he’d once pledged to serve only three terms, but apparently all that hiking on the Appalachian trail has affected his memory.

Politico reports:

“I’m not in any way unaware of how I’ve let you down. I’m not in any way unaware of my well-chronicled failings as a human being,” Sanford told a Hilton Head Island Republican group last week, in the first public speech of his campaign. “But I am equally aware that God forgives people who are imperfect.”

Then again, God, from what I’m given to understand, expects some sort of contrition. And judgment from the heavenly host could scarcely be harsher than this:

Thankfully, Sanford is at least not running as a “family values” candidate, though it could be said that he was so committed to families that he tried to have two of them at once.

I’ve lived in SC 1, though not since the Mendel Rivers days. What I learned, way back then, was that if you transgress, you do a careful fade into the background and never trouble anyone again. (Southern honor, doncha know.) Apparently things have changed.

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Or I could just blame the daisies

I admit to admiring this particular methodology:

Then again, last time I tried something like this, I wound up, not with 871, not even with one, but with 0.008.

Neither method, however, allows for the timeline-displacement factor:

I’m a rather practical (and cynical) sort of person so my view on the subject matter is that there are several people compatible with you, considering the billions of people who have lived on or are on this planet. The only problem may be that it may be difficult to impossible** to meet them — they’re living in an inconvenient place, the wrong age, haven’t been born yet, or are already dead.

**Depending on the case, you might need a time machine.

Which explanation I’m willing to accept, for now, since I often feel that my membership in this particular population is purely accidental.

(Via Brain Pickings.)

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Open thread for That Day

Meanwhile, I won’t be going home to this:

Twilight Sparkle on the sofa

(First seen here; I haven’t tracked down the original source or artist.)

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Rock you like a post-FEMA hurricane

Shamefully, there are still individuals bitterly clinging to the idea of “The meteor, the better.” Will those fanatics never learn?

A small … but still potentially destructive object will pass near Earth this coming Friday. I’m afraid that’s just not acceptable. Something must be done to protect people. We should make our Earth-Moon system an asteroid-free zone right now, or at least ban asteroids more than 10 meters in diameter.

Signs. We need signs. We need signs that can be easily seen from geosynchronous orbit. We need … Bruce Willis!

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We’re suing your dog for eating your homework

Intellectual property? In a school? What sort of madness is this?

There is little in this world worth copyrighting less than my fifth grade homework. Those stories about princesses and mangled long division could only be precious to a parent. This is why it’s strange to conceive of why Maryland’s Prince George’s County Board of Education released a proposal suggesting that they own the work produced by students in their schools.

“Works created by employees and/or students specifically for use by the Prince George’s County Public Schools or a specific school or department within PGCPS, are properties of the Board of Education even if created on the employee’s or student’s time and with the use of their materials. Further, works created during school/work hours, with the use of school system materials, and within the scope of an employee’s position or student’s classroom work assignment(s) are the properties of the Board of Education.”

Asked for comment, Prince George replied, “Oh, Christ, what is it now? Can’t you get my name off that hellhole after all these years? You know what I think about hellholes.”

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Now get out there and cell

The White House has backpedaled just a bit from that “one million electric vehicles” goal, having figured out that, well, it’s not going to happen any time soon. I still think it will happen, but probably not in the next four years. Meanwhile, we’re up to our anodes in batteries:

The lack of acceptance by consumers is creating a glut of batteries. LG Chem Michigan, a unit of the Korean conglomerate LG, for example, was awarded more than $150 million in funding by the U.S. Department of Energy under the 2009 Recovery Act to help construct a $304 million lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing plant in Michigan. It was supposed to create 440 jobs. But the company is still supplying batteries for the Chevy Volt from its Korean plant, and fewer than half the jobs in Michigan have been realized. Why? Lack of demand. LG Chem and the DOE have just been reprimanded by the DOE Inspector General for misusing taxpayer funds and not delivering on stated goals.

Emphasis added, because it seems so improbable that a government agency might complain about taxpayer funds being misused — even to itself, by itself.

Perhaps the upcoming Cadillac ELR, a Volt in a three-piece suit, will use up some of that battery capacity.

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Quote of the week

Severian, commenting at Morgan’s place:

If Puritanism is the haunting fear that someone somewhere may be having a good time, then liberalism is the haunting fear that all the cool kids back in high school might have been right.

Liberals drank deeply from the well of “self-esteem” back in grade school. They are convinced they’re exceedingly special. Problem is, the world doesn’t agree. Kim Kardashian has a million Twitter followers, and they have three, because being good-looking trumps a perfect score on the SAT verbals every time. Statism is one life-long act of revenge for this sad state of affairs — they can’t keep the quarterback from dating the head cheerleader, but they can make them both ride the subway to get to the prom.

Disclosure: My Twitter follower count and my score on the SAT verbal are surprisingly close — for now.

And Kim Kardashian, in fact, has over seventeen million followers, more than all but a handful of tweeters.

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King James reversion

The idea, perhaps, was to let LeBron have his way and key in on everyone else. (Jenni Carlson recommended exactly that.) Well, LeBron had his way, but so did everyone else, as the Heat jumped out to a 32-17 lead after the first quarter and kept the Thunder at bay the rest of the way, taking a 110-100 victory back to South Beach.

Both King James and Chris Bosh had double-doubles, though LeBron’s seemed so much, um, doubler: 39 points, 12 rebounds for James, 20/12 for Bosh. Dwyane Wade racked up 13 before fouling out. But singling out the stars is unfair to the Heat, since everyone — possibly excepting Joel Anthony, who played only a couple of minutes — played seriously hard and executed extremely well. Miami even gathered the majority of the rebounds (46-35), which is not ordinarily their strong point. And while the Heat’s 11-29 mark from beyond the arc is iffy percentage-wise, it’s still 33 points. (OKC went 3-13 from downtown.)

This hardly seems like the sort of situation in which Kevin Durant would go off for 40, but he did exactly that, playing 47:32 out of a possible 48, leaving after his sixth foul. Russell Westbrook was up to snuff and then some, scoring 26 and serving up ten assists. But nobody else made double figures, and the entire OKC bench managed only 16 points. Worse, Serge Ibaka blocked no shots. (The Thunder had only five blocks, three by Durant.) OKC went 33-34 from the foul line — in case you were wondering, James had three fouls, and was rung up for a technical after complaining about one of them — but they only made 32 shots from the field.

One likes to hate the Heat with the same passion with which one despises, say, the Dallas Cowboys or the New York Yankees; but tonight, the hate is displaced by awe. And it’s the All-Star break, so I’m going to bed early.

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Some sort of G thing

I once described Kenny G as a purveyor of “strangled-duck noises.” I’m reasonably certain that this description didn’t discourage any of the man’s fans.

And besides, there’s this going on tonight:

Hollywood celebrities will sneak out of Tinseltown Friday, February 15, to attend a special musical event in the heart of Orange County. Saxophone legend Kenny G will make his debut with Pacific Symphony at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. “Valentine’s Day With Kenny G” promises to be a romantic and soul-moving experience for the anticipated packed house.

Of course, my interest lies elsewhere:

A number of celebrities are expected to walk the red carpet, including Rebecca Black, who starred alongside Katy Perry and Kenny G in Perry’s newest music video, Iqbal Theba (GLEE), Gretchen Rossi and Slade Smiley (The Real Housewives of Orange County), Principal Pops Conductor Richard Kaufman, international model Beril Akçay, with more celebrities to be announced.

It is a measure of something, surely, that Rebecca Black gets top billing. Although I will have something to say about Beril Akçay later.

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Not just a silicate mineral

About, oh, one post ago I dropped the name of Beril Akçay, described in a press release as an “international model,” which is true enough, I suppose, though I suspect that she does rather a lot more than just standing and posing:

Beril Akçay on Hollywood Boulevard

Not that I can read all that Turkish. Beril’s major gig seems to be a segment on Best of SoCal TV, reporting on all things luxurious. And she makes a pretty decent fashion blogger, minor language difficulties notwithstanding.

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We can work it out

Let’s talk jobs. Better yet, let’s not talk jobs:

Jobs are nice, but what people really need is something to do. If they don’t have enough to do, they are susceptible to being recruited into a campaign to DO SOMETHING, like get out the vote, or march on Washington for some cause or other, or in much of the world, go to war against your neighbors. After all, providing a third world peasant with an AK-47, a case of ammo and a fifty pound bag of dried beans can’t cost more than a few hundred dollars, and look how much havoc you can cause, and the glorious ransoms you can collect.

The trick, of course, is to keep that stuff away from first-world peasants.

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Royal Timese Machine to be overhauled

U.S. News gave up on that old-fashioned print stuff years ago. Newsweek has now killed its last tree. But Time Warner isn’t actually euthanizing Time just yet:

These days nobody seems to pay it much attention and with subscriptions flat and ad revenue down it is increasingly difficult to see what the publication is for. In [Henry] Luce’s day the magazine was a kind of pre-internet news aggregator… The brutal economics of publishing in the age of the internet haven’t been kind to this legacy title. Despite years of cuts its cost structure reflects the entitled media culture of past decades. Without a clear mission and without a revenue base, it is hard to see why anybody would want it.

Still, Time Warner will probably retain Time, along with Fortune and Sports Illustrated, the surviving Time Inc. core publications. (Life has had several deaths already.)

Disclosure: The two Time Inc. magazines I actually buy — Entertainment Weekly and InStyle — will presumably be dealt.

(Title inspired by Joan Baez.)

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Yankees without number

Actually, they all have numbers, but some of them are duplicates:

The Yankees may not be short on cash, Alex Rodriguez distractions or veteran players, but the Bronx Bombers are finally out of something: Numbers.

With 83 players invited to spring training in Tampa, Fla., not to mention team coaches, the squad in pinstripes is out of double-digit numbers.

“Double-digit” matters because the Yankees have retired all single-digit numbers except #2, which is worn by Derek Jeter, and #6, which has not been issued since the departure of Joe Torre after the 2007 season. In all, the Yanks have taken 16 numbers out of circulation.

A side note, happened upon while looking up those retired numbers: in 1997, when MLB officially retired #42 as a tribute to Jackie Robinson, the players who wore it at that time were allowed to keep it so long as they remained with that team. Mariano Rivera, who debuted with New York in ’95, still wears #42, and they’ll certainly retire it for both him and Robinson when the time comes.

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Updated to “Posthumous”

Twitter, which bought mobile-blog service Posterous last year for some preposterous sum, is now taking it behind the woodshed and shooting it:

On April 30th, we will turn off and our mobile apps in order to focus 100% of our efforts on Twitter. This means that as of April 30, Posterous Spaces will no longer be available either to view or to edit.

If you have stuff there, you have until the day before to retrieve it.

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