Shipped plywood

We keep hearing that the music industry is in trouble, but it takes something like this to show you just how much:

The soundtrack for Disney Channel’s Descendants, directed by High School Musical mastermind Kenny Ortega, debuted in the Number One spot thanks to 42,000 total copies. If 42,000 units sounds like a small amount for a Number One album to sell, that’s because it is: Descendants, which only sold 30,000 copies in pure album sales — the additional 12,000 came from a la carte purchases and streams — became the lowest-selling Number One album in charts history, underselling Amos Lee’s LP Mission Bell, which sold 40,000 copies on its way to Number One in 2011.

“How about a song?” Okay:

I picked this one because it was written by the reliable Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne, who also concocted the Wonders’ wondrous “That Thing You Do!”

Still, this probably hits the hardest:

Thirty-six years after Led Zeppelin’s In Through the Out Door topped the Billboard 200, the band’s eighth studio album was back in the Top 10 this week as the LP’s new reissue reentered the charts at Number Nine. In Through the Out Door sold an additional 24,000 total units in its return to the Billboard 200, where it spent seven weeks at Number One in 1979, Billboard reports.

Not even Adam Schlesinger is gonna compete with Zeppelin, even second-rank Zeppelin like “Fool in the Rain.”

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Nor is it a dry heat

This apparently was the display for the Sunday-evening forecast. Hindsight being closer to 20/20, I think we can safely say that at least one of those numbers was way the hell off:

Weather screen from KFOR

(Snagged from Facebook, of course.)

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Spamming with faint praise

This badly tossed word salad showed up in the comment receptacle Sunday bearing a highly dubious Berkeley URL:

What i don’t understood is if truth be told how you’re no longer really much more neatly-favored than you may be right now. You are so intelligent. You know thus significantly with regards to this topic, produced me in my view imagine it from so many numerous angles. Its like men and women aren’t interested unless it is one thing to accomplish with Girl gaga! Your own stuffs excellent. All the time maintain it up!

Neatly favored as I am, I wish I could claim to be stuffing excellently, but maintaining it up is harder than it used to be.

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Presumably a Solo operation

That “really bad feeling” might be a case of the Kessel runs.

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Déjà chew

Did you ever wonder just what mysterious stuff is inside your half of a Kit Kat bar? It’s not exactly chocolate; it’s vaguely crunchy, which eliminates contenders like nougat; and it’s described nowhere in the advertising. And there’s a perfectly good, if perhaps off-putting, reason for that:

You see, not every chocolate bar is created perfectly. When they roll off the production line, Quality Assurance technicians remove the Kit Kats that have too many exterior air bubbles, or off-centre wafers, or any other imperfections right down to those that simply aren’t shiny enough. As far as the manufacturers are concerned, consumers don’t want imperfect chocolate bars.

But rather than being thrown away, those second-class bats are recycled back into the production process. After being ground up into a fine paste, they form the filling you find between the Kit Kat’s wafers. In many ways, it’s a stroke of genius — no edible Kit Kat is wasted!

Um, okay. But knowing this is a long way from answering these questions:

For example, how old is the oldest part of a Kit Kat? If all Kit Kats contain the remains of imperfect Kit Kats, and not all Kit Kats are perfect, then every Kit Kat that gets recycled contains the remains of older Kit Kats, which contained older Kit Kats, which contained older Kit Kats … so how far back does that actually go?!

Chicken and egg are still squabbling over this one.

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Paparazzo 101

One of the first things they teach you at Pesky Photographer School, I suspect, is candid shots taken at a time when the subject is actually busy doing something. This explains why we see Kylie Jenner — and happy 18th to you, K — fueling up in deepest, darkest Studio City:

Kylie Jenner fuels up her Mercedes-Benz G63

Wait a minute. What the heck is that she’s driving?

Kylie Jenner fuels up her Mercedes-Benz G63

Because, of course, one needs something like a Geländewagen to negotiate the tough terrain of the San Fernando Valley.

And haven’t I seen those shoes before? Let’s see:

Kylie Jenner in Stuart Weitzman Nudist shoes

Yep. This is Stuart Weitzman’s “Nudist” sandal in black. As shoes worn by this clan tend toward the ridiculously ornate, I’m sort of happy to see something simple — and, at under $400, not overly pricey, except perhaps by the pound — on the youngest of the crew.

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Irate, you rate

Lead story in the Oklahoman today begins with this anecdote:

When a passing motorist yelled “Road rage sucks” at Oklahoma City police Sgt. Matthew Downing during a January 2014 traffic stop, Downing chased the man down in a convenience store, wrestled him to the ground and arrested him.

A supervisor who soon arrived disagreed with Downing’s use of force and subsequent arrest and released the man.

Police Chief Bill Citty directed the department’s Office of Professional Standards to conduct a criminal investigation into the incident.

In February, Downing pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and battery and was sentenced to 90 days’ probation. That same day, he resigned from the department, where leaders say he was still under administrative investigation for the incident. Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said Downing’s guilty plea and resignation were part of his plea agreement, which is typical in criminal cases involving police officers.

Not that I at all object to keeping the police on a fairly tight leash — those rogue cops obsessed with their authority (“Trigger-happy policing,” said Marvin Gaye back in the day) need to be pulled back — but I have to wonder: is it the position of the City, or of the OCPD, that road rage does not suck?

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Land of perversity

A report that Tesla is losing about $4000 on each car it sells drew a dismissive comment to the effect that “people aren’t that stupid,” which prompted this eloquent response:

“Its just a car and people aren’t that stupid.”

THIS IS MURICA!!!

We put 30″ rims on a Chevy Snailblazer.

Our favorite topping for a burger is another burger.

We can’t name even 10 of the people running the country.

I resent your implication that this country is intelligent.

Valerie Jarrett is running the country. Next!

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In search of a deal

Having recently escaped the chains of utter penury, which left most of my workwear too close to threadbare for comfort, I wandered into a DXL store Saturday to pick up a couple of T-shirts. The pricing is astute: one of them will run you a stiff $30, but if you buy at least two, the tab for each drops to $19.99. I wound up buying five, and as it happens, this was the Sales Tax Holiday weekend, so the entire tab came to a not-especially-stiff $99.95.

Now you might wonder how anyone could pay $20 for a T-shirt and not flinch. Believe me, when the alternative is $30, $20 looks pretty good. And the best deal currently being offered in my size by the leading catalog vendor catering to such is $24 in quantities of five. (That size, you should know, is 4XL; it used to be 4XLT, but I no longer need the extra two inches of length to pull down over my newly shrunken gut, six inches smaller than it used to be.)

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Noise disabatement

This nimrod showed up yesterday exhibiting both a lack of taste and a lack of patience:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: five variations on I have a Dodge Ram 1500 2wd regular cab. What can I do to it to make it sound good and loud

If he comes back next week asking for stereo advice, well, God help him. Because I won’t.

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Strange search-engine queries (497)

Comes Monday, and comes once more this weekly feature of the wackiest search strings that got this site up in people’s browsers. We do this because (1) it’s weirdly popular and (2) it’s less effort than actually writing something.

sanrio lawsuits etsy:  Because Hello Kitty belongs to the world — except, of course, for you and your little online store.

explained the deviation from the life cycle model for an 40 year old married male,self employed with:  An active Tinder account and a suspicious spouse.

teen in thongs with cameltoe non nude:  Technically, if she’s wearing that much, she’d have to be “non nude,” doncha think?

knee appalling tan:  You know, you probably shouldn’t have had that stuff sprayed on while you were seated.

how to make viagra at home for men:  You’ll need a can of spray starch and a pair of forceps.

find a company that will deliver a storage unit to my door orinda ca:  Having a storage unit by the door probably violates a town ordinance.

rebecca black high school:  Who would have thought they’d ever name a high school after Rebecca Black?

is oklahoma on a fault line:  Naw. All these earthquakes are caused by guys in $500 cars with $1500 stereos.

jersey barrier mover:  Gonna take more than your feeble F-250 duallie, bucko.

would like to swing on a star:  Here’s a jar. Don’t come back until you’ve crammed it full of moonbeams.

jose had a small bag of marshmallows. the bag contained 5 pink:  Which for no apparent reason he ate last.

the endochronic properties of resublimated thiotimoline:  We already got to that next week.

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A vast waistline

“Who in the heck writes whole paragraphs and posts about highways?” asks Joe. “It’s a road.” Well, yeah. But before he said that, he said this:

Windshield time is not conducive to a positive outlook on life. I-70 in particular seems to wear me down and over the decades I have found this true of the roadway no matter what part of the country it traverses, perhaps because it is mostly a straight slash across the center of the nation. The highway seems to be a weird dividing line for weather; above gets snow, below does not or below sees rain, above the road none. It also seems to be an almost modern Mason-Dixon Line dividing cultures and dialects. I know this to be somewhat true in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. I am not sure if the pattern holds sway in other parts of the country. It is also quite likely the whole idea is a figment of my imagination. Anyway, from Harrisburg to Kansas City and beyond the road is boring unattractive and dull. How US 40, which covers pretty much the same exact ground can be so much more interesting is beyond me. Of course the old National Road will take you twice as long to get you where you are going.

I have the opposite view of windshield time, though this is probably because I don’t get enough of it — at least, not in a good way. (Being stuck behind dawdling members of the Anti-Destination League in the middle of the afternoon commute is not a good way.) Still, US 40 is to be preferred over I-70 at least as far west as Topeka, after which the two roads merge for most of the rest of Kansas. I admit to having less experience with the eastern stretch, which ends up in Atlantic City.

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The long, hot sideshow

How could this Presidential campaign possibly be any worse? Just try to imagine how dull it would be without Donald Trump.

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This much and no farther

From Indianapolis, a report that the NBA is considering a rule change:

Proposed changes that would let National Basketball Association teams substantially expand their marketing areas — to encompass their entire home states or television markets — could generate more than $1 million annually for the Indiana Pacers.

But the plans could also bring other teams — especially the Chicago Bulls — crashing into the central Indiana market hunting for fans and sponsors.

The proposals relate to a rule that bans teams from marketing outside a 75-mile radius of their home base — a limit that keeps the Pacers out of nearby cities like Fort Wayne, Louisville and Cincinnati.

If nothing else, this explains why the Thunder play in Tulsa and Wichita during the preseason: it’s the only chance they have to make a pitch to the locals. (The movement of the D-League 66ers Blue out of Tulsa surely didn’t help matters.)

A change requires a vote by the league’s 30 team owners. And while league sources say momentum is building for the proposals, they wouldn’t likely be enacted until the 2016-2017 season at the earliest.

The Oklahoma City TV market includes about half the state, with the rest belonging to Sherman/Denison/Ada/Ardmore, Amarillo, Tulsa, and Fort Smith.

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No judge of length

Most people, upon hearing what I do for a living, assume I sit in a cubicle all day. Not so. I have no cubicle, and I stand a hell of a lot. When last week my feet started complaining more loudly than usual, I dug into the closet and brought out my old but still new-looking New Balance 1122s, which are loud and clunky — which explains why they were far back in the closet — and contain an actual roll bar, useful for those of us with a tendency to pronate.

They’re also white, with trim bits in a couple shades of grey, and as any debutante can tell you, white shoes make your feet look bigger, especially after you’ve been wearing black ones for a while. “Geez,” said I. “Caitlyn freaking Jenner doesn’t have clodhoppers this big.”

I stewed over that for a while, then decided to fact-check my ass. Turns out that Caitlyn freaking Jenner truly doesn’t have clodhoppers this big: the fashion sites agree that she wears a 13, which, assuming this figure is up to date, means that Bruce — remember Bruce? — used to wear a 12.

I wear a 14. Which is a 15 in women’s sizes. (And several iterations of the letter E.)

My apologies to Ms Jenner, and to any wandering debutantes.

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Discouragingly stationary

The bank with which I do the vast majority of my business — not one of the big chains, but big enough — has been serving up a perfectly legible online-banking interface for the last five years, which fit nicely onto my screens. It apparently did not fit nicely onto people’s phones, though, so they’ve unveiled a new interface aimed directly at those who swipe rather than those who mouse around.

Well, no, I didn’t like it much. On the upside, it’s not so different from what American Express is showing me these days, so at least I didn’t have much of a learning curve, and I suppose eventually I’ll end up with a smartphone, or at least a not-quite-so-dumb phone. I’m not going to try it on my current phone; it will probably work, but carrier charges for Web access on an account with no data plan border on the absurd.

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