Kind of a floaty ride

I’ve seen exactly one of these in my life. The Tupelo Automobile Museum has another one, in decidedly better shape:

Amphicar at Tupelo Automobile Museum

About 3500 Amphicars were produced between 1960 and 1968, priced starting at $3395. One of those coffee-table collector’s books describes it thusly:

Superb neither on water or land, but nonetheless the world’s only amphibious passenger car. Designed by Hans Trippel and powered by a Triumph Herald four-cylinder engine, it did what its maker claimed: run on the road (68 mph tops), sail on water (7 knots maximum) without sinking (rubber gaskets seal the doors; a bilge pump is available if the scupper-level rises). A transfer case handles the drive to twin props, and water navigation is via the steering wheel (the front wheels act as rudders). The sure cure for marina fees, yacht club sharks, and people who want to borrow your boat.

The Museum itself contains about 150 cars from the collection of the late Frank K. Spain, founder of WTWV (now WTVA) in Tupelo, a character in his own right:

Spain hoped to parlay his good relations with NBC officials into getting his new station an affiliation with the network. However, several NBC executives believed Tupelo was not a desirable place for a local station because of its rural location, even though most viewers in northern Mississippi could only get NBC via grade B coverage from WMC-TV in Memphis, Tennessee and WAPI-TV (now WVTM-TV) in Birmingham, Alabama). Nonetheless, they told Spain that if he could figure out a way to obtain a network signal, he could carry it.

Spain allegedly negotiated under-the-table deals with WMC-TV and set up a network of microwave relays and repeater systems to carry the WMC-TV signal to Tupelo. Station engineers then switched to and from the signal when network programming aired. This setup, necessary in the days before satellites, enabled WTWV to bring NBC programming to northeastern Mississippi and northwestern Alabama.

You got to figure a guy like that would appreciate a car that floats.

Comments off




Persistence is further rewarded

About a year ago, I finally picked up a clue about a record I once owned and largely forgot, and duly posted the research I’d done so far. The conclusion:

Wingate, it appeared, owned a piece of this independent-ish label called Volkano, with a K, which would issue four singles during its short lifespan, including one by a fellow named Bob Santa Maria. (It is suspected that Bob’s real last name was Seger.) The first issue on Volkano was “The Beginning of the End,” by Little John and Tony; “Tony” was Pete Saputo, also known as Anthony Raye — the more pseudonyms, the better, am I right? — and “John” was producer John Rhys, who co-wrote the song with longtime Detroit bassist Dennis Coffey. Coffey also arranged the record, and, most important from my point of view, still had a copy of it.

Now if I could just find a copy on YouTube — or, better yet, iTunes.

Well, looky here:

While this track definitely meets the description of “60s Garage USA,” the Tombstone Records compilation Die Today, per this listing on RYM, does not contain this track. It does, however, contain a track called “I Love Her So,” by Moby Dick and the Whalers, from legendary seaport Midwest City, Oklahoma.

Comments (2)




It’s not even Scottish

The nation is awash in sports radio stations with silly names. In this market alone, we have to deal with the Sports Animal, the Ref, the Game, the Franchise, and the Pro. I assure you, this sort of naming is not required:

There are lots of sports stations called The Fan, The Ticket, The Score, and tons of those ESPN stations, but there’s only one station that’s Talking Sports KRAP 24 hours a day. It’s Sports KRAP.

Yeah, we know what you’re saying. “Dude, is this for real? A radio station named KRAP? You’re probably some internet-only station broadcasting from the basement of some guy’s Mom’s house.”

No, we’re for real. We’re an FCC licensed radio station broadcasting at 1350 Kilohertz pounding out a whopping 500,000 milliwatts. But we do realize that we’re KRAP. In fact, our transmitter is KRAP. Our signal is KRAP. Our studios are KRAP. Even our staff is KRAP.

KRAP is in Washington, Missouri, the Corncob Pipe Capital of the World, about halfway between St. Louis and Jefferson City. Those 500 watts (yes, we do the math around here) reach to within about ten miles of each, suggesting that the FCC knew what it was doing when it approved this facility. (At night, they drop to 84 watts, which barely gets out of town.)

Station owner Brad Hildebrand speaks:

Hildebrand tells the Post-Dispatch that it’s a set of call letters he’s wanted since he was 12 years old. But to get KRAP he first needed to wait until the call sign was released from an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. “When I tell people my call letters are KRAP, nobody forgets that,” he says.

Twelve. Yeah. Sounds about right. (He’s pushing 60 now.)

Comments (7)




Strange search-engine queries (460)

And here we are again, with another set of Actual Search Strings that brought people to this very site. We do this once a week because frankly it pains us to look through the tediousness of quotidian log entries.

“rob lincoln” “5 cents a song” tongue and groove:  Lincoln’s on the penny, so we’re actually robbing him five times as much.

crackhead hooker in chucktown:  Right now, she’s busy robbing Lincoln.

mangu shep boobs image:  I’m guessing this probably isn’t Old Shep.

penthouse letters pony tales:  Oh, dear, Blueblood’s been writing to Bob Guccione again.

xxx little dashie brothers Sister:  Sorry, we’re not doing pony pr0n here.

favorate hebephilia pictures:  That either.

Sexy Village Girl Very Excited on her First:  Amazing how people can have such specific fantasies and yet are so tediously generic in Real Life.

joanne crawford charged sapulpa:  In a better economy, she could charge as much as Jenks.

mazda fn4a-el how many miles:  How about 300? Is 300 good for you?

old ilfs:  No ilfs of that ilk, sorry.

there was speculation leading up to the november election that some city council members called “Courageous” such as the street user fee:  Nothing of the kind: it requires no courage to invent new taxes.

will a CD4E fit in a 1999 cougar:  Probably, if you can find one that isn’t totally crap.

opposite of nostalgia:  TV Land.

Comments (2)




A colder war than usual

During a second-quarter lull, radio guy Matt Pinto ventured the opinion that if these Warriors played their cards right, they could wind up in the Finals. They didn’t have a particularly hot hand tonight — Golden State’s shooting prowess seemed to fail them from time to time — but they cashed enough aces to slide by the Thunder, 91-86, the Warriors’ tenth win and the Thunder’s twelfth loss.

Still, the Warriors are nothing if not persistent, and when Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson cooled off, reserve forward Marreese Speights took over, hitting 11-28 on the way to a game-high 28 points. (Thompson finished with 20, Curry 15.) Yet the mind boggles at a Golden State team shooting a mere 35.5 percent. (The Thunder were, um, 35.6.) And two other Warrior mainstays — Andre Igoudala and Andrew Bogut — retired early with physical damage.

And there’s that dreaded Consistency Factor that continues to elude Oklahoma City. Serge Ibaka, for instance, checked in with 16 points, but he shot a dim 5-17 from the floor. Jeremy Lamb hit all his foul shots (five), none of his field goals (six). The Thunder did haul in the bulk of the rebounds tonight (58-51), 12 by Anthony Morrow and 11 by Reggie Jackson, but the Warriors had all the dimes (26 versus 13). Jackson’s 22 for the night was respectable; but 26 shots to get it, not so much. OKC was never really out of it, but you have to wonder how much they were really in it.

The homestand continues Wednesday with a visit from the Jazz, a day off for Turkey Day, and a Friday-night clash with the Knicks. Visions of 3-29, alas, are still dancing in my head.

Comments off




Broke into the wrong database, didn’t you?

This isn’t technically funny, yet the laughs will not subside:

Hackers seized a database from the City of Detroit earlier this year before unsuccessfully demanding $800,000 in Bitcoin.

The failed extortion attempt back in April was disclosed by Detroit mayor Mike Duggan at the North American International Cyber Summit conference on Monday.

The stolen database wasn’t needed by the cash-strapped city so the ransom was never paid, according to local reports.

I mean, really. Extorting money from Detroit, of all places? You’d have better luck trying to sell snow shovels in San Diego.

(Via @SwiftOnSecurity. Of course.)

Comments (1)




Funky kicks going down in the city

Last week, Jeanine Pirro sent up a shoefie — a more-or-less spontaneous photo of her shoes of the moment — to Instagram. (You may have seen it here.) Apparently this is something she does on a regular basis, and these heels appeared Saturday night:

Jeanine Pirro's Nicholas Kirkwood heels

She didn’t say whether she’d walked to work in them.

This appears to be Nicholas Kirkwood’s “Ava” sandal with a 105mm heel. Kirkwood sells these from his UK Web storefront for £616.67, which might as well be a thousand dollars.

I just wish she’d sent up a picture of the white dress she wore for her TV show that night.

Comments off




From the Department of Earworms

Obsessed with doomed romances as I am, I was inevitably drawn to Richard Donner’s film Ladyhawke, in which Matthew Broderick Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer play a couple living under a curse: “always together; eternally apart.” I wasn’t quite sure what New Zealand musician Phillipa Margaret “Pip” Brown was thinking when she adopted “Ladyhawke” as a stage name, but she does put out some cursedly listenable tunes, such as this 2008 number, which somehow did not chart in the States:

And I have to admit, I wonder what all those cars are doing at the end of the video.

Comments (3)




Quote of the week

Terry Teachout, in his obituary for Mike Nichols:

Nichols made his name in the Fifties by improvising supremely sharp-witted comedy routines with Elaine May. The lightning-quick timing that he cultivated on nightclub stages served him well when he took up directing in 1963. During a rehearsal for the Broadway premiere of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple, he got into a shouting match with Walter Matthau. “You’re emasculating me!” the actor shouted. “Give me back my balls!” “Certainly,” Nichols replied, then snapped his fingers to summon the stage manager. “Props!”

Oh, Matthau got over it; he won a Tony Award for playing Oscar Madison, balls and all. (And Nichols got one for his direction.)

Comments off




Let’s all get bewbs for the holidays

I’m obviously not a board-certified plastic surgeon, so don’t ask me how the frack these are supposed to work:

Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Norman Rowe is the brain behind 24-hour “try before you buy” saline injections known as the “Insta Breast,” which made news in late August. Now, according to ABC News, he’s come up with a new injection that will let you live your life with breasts one to one-and-a-half cup sizes bigger for up to three weeks, helping solidify whether or not you really want implants full time. “You can use 3D imaging and put implants in bras,” he told ABC, “but it’s another thing to see what the weight will actually feel like and what it will be like to live with the new breasts.” The name “vacation breasts” comes from Rowe’s vision that women will want to try out a fuller look for special occasions, like weddings, anniversaries or that beach getaway where you’ll be in a swimsuit the whole time.

I want to know what happens after those three weeks are up. Does the mysterious stuff just drain away? And, perhaps more important, is there any warning when it does? You’d hate like hell to be out somewhere in a strapless and then suddenly become strapless-less.

Comments (2)




H2 = 0

Drivers of Hyundai’s Tucson Fuel Cell and Toyota’s Mirai fuel-cell buggy will be getting actual hydrogen without having to pay for it, at least at first. This is not, you should know, a manufacturer incentive:

According to Autoblog, a seminar held at the Mirai launch regarding hydrogen revealed the fueling stations currently in place in the United States aren’t able to accurately measure how much hydrogen is pumped into a given vehicle. Without that accuracy, no FCV owner can be charged for the fuel, a problem the California Air Resources Board is working to fix. Deputy Executive Officer Alberto Ayala explains:

“If you think about it, it’s a real simple yet real practical challenge. If you’re going to pay for X amount of hydrogen, you’re actually getting that amount of hydrogen… We are at a point where we are solving multiple remaining questions [with hydrogen infrastructure], and that just happens to be one of them.”

Cynics suggest that it really doesn’t matter, since these cars exist solely to collect ZEV credits from CARB. The chemistry student I used to be notes simply that there’s more hydrogen in the universe than anything else, with the possible exception of bad ideas for reality shows: the tricky part, of course, is that none of that hydrogen is sitting around uncombined, waiting to be pumped into your fuel cell.

Comments off




Give a little whistle

In case you were wondering, Irish funerals aren’t all “Danny Boy” these days:

Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” has been replaced by Monty Python’s “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life” as the most popular song played at funerals, new research has found.

A study by The Co-operative Funeralcare showed that traditional hymns, football anthems and classic pop songs top the list of the “funeral music chart.”

As funeral music goes, the BBC’s theme from “Match of the Day” is pretty, um, perky. Then again, it is a legitimate football anthem, though I admit I’m waiting for someone to go out to the accompaniment of “Weird Al” Yankovic’s “Sports Song.”

David Collingwood, operations director of The Co-operative Funeralcare, said: “We think we may be seeing a generational shift in attitudes towards funerals, and the choice of music being requested.

“Music plays such an important part in people’s lives that it now acts as the theme tune to their passing. Modern funerals are very much about personal choice, which can be reflected in the choice of music, dress, coffin, flowers, hearses or memorials.”

Which may explain why my brother departed to the strains of “Let It Be” — and why I won’t.

Comments (4)




Discreet petite

This wandered into my email box:

The #1 rule if you’re having an affair

Never do it with a single woman. Instead, date a married woman who has just as much reason to keep it a secret as you do.

(“Me and Mrs. Jones,” explained Billy Paul.)

Why did I get this?

You are receiving this message because you opted in to *insert web address of list*

Apparently Cyprus, whence this came, is not up on the latest deceptive techniques — which can’t possibly help them selling a “service” like this.

Comments (2)




Befouled

Arriving at my decidedly non-reserved slot in the company parking lot after 4:30, I noticed that creatures unknown had taken a dump on Gwendolyn’s hood. (The British term “bonnet” seems even worse here.) The stuff was just slightly darker than burnt sienna, which told me that it likely wasn’t a bird; any bird passing something that color, and in that volume, would very likely be found dead a few yards away. So: some sort of humanoid, perhaps in prankster mode. I swore vengeance, vowing that if I ever caught the perp messing around my motor vehicle again, I would kill him, and tell God he died.

This sounded even sillier after a couple of iterations, so I tried to come up with another explanation. Could something have slopped onto me during the morning commute? And why didn’t I notice it, if it had? The latter question, at least, was easier to answer: I leave for work in the first half of the six o’clock hour. Sunrise that morning: 7:12.

I grabbed a paper towel from my in-car stash and pinched off the bulk of the, um, loaf. This time I had an ID: old-style axle grease. Now I can always think of a good reason not to go to the car wash, especially when there’s a 70-percent chance of rain in the next 24 hours, so I decided I would address this mess at home. As it turned out, I had the solution right at the kitchen sink: I covered the stuff with a thin layer of Dawn dishwashing liquid, squeezed a sponge or two worth of water on the blob, waited a little while, and whisked about 75 percent of it away on the first swipe. Probably damaged the sponge beyond repair — the Law of Conservation of Filth, which states that to get something clean, you must also get something dirty, is inflexible and adamantine — but hey, I got that crap off my car without messing up the clearcoat.

Later, I contemplated the source once more. If something going down the road is sloughing off grease in such quantities, I reasoned, very soon it will not be going down the road at all, because a bearing will be baked to a crackly crunch.

Comments (5)




Men in black

About the only thing that was discussed in advance of this game is that somebody’s losing streak would have to end: the Thunder had lost four straight coming in, the Nets five straight. (Well, there was the absence of Andrei Kirilenko, who didn’t travel with the team; there is reasonable speculation that he never will again.) And OKC played it close for three quarters, only to watch the Nets go on a 10-0 run in the middle of the fourth. With a minute left, the badass black-clad Nets were up five; the lead shrank to three, then to one, then went back to two with 4.6 left. Reggie Jackson had a decent look for a last-second trey to win, but the ball refused to cooperate, and Brooklyn, on the high side of a 94-92 score, is now on a one-game winning streak, having swept the Thunder for the season.

Scott Brooks started Andre Roberson in place of Jeremy Lamb; it didn’t seem to make any difference, as the two of them together managed only nine points, though Roberson, the superior defenseman, did block four shots. The usual suspects got the scoring: Jackson with 21, Serge Ibaka with 16 (and ten rebounds), Anthony Morrow with 11, Steven Adams with 10. Adams, I must note, was 2-5 from the foul line, which reflects a growing problem: when your best foul shooters are Kendrick Perkins and Sebastian Telfair, each of who went 2-2 from the stripe, there’s something horribly wrong somewhere. OKC put up 19 freebies, sank only 12. By contrast, the Nets wangled 30 shots and hit 27 of them.

Reserve guard Jarrett Jack was the big scorer for Brooklyn, with a game-high 23; of the starters, Deron Williams had 17 points, and Brook Lopez 16 (and ten rebounds). Shooting percentages were pretty close — 46-45 — though the Nets were substantially more efficient, bagging 31 of 67, while the Thunder put up 85 and saw only 38 go through.

Three more games on this homestand: Golden State Sunday, Utah on Wednesday, New York on Friday. The Jazz have already shown they can beat OKC; the Warriors, 8-2 going into tonight’s game with those same Jazz, can probably beat anyone. We’re forced to hope against hope that the Knickerbockers are terrible. Then again, their crosstown rivals had dropped five in a row before arriving here, so the Knicks have to be worse than that. I’m not counting on it.

Comments (1)




Fluff in their ears

Winnie the Pooh may be a Bear of Very Little Brain, but don’t hold that against him. In that regard he differs little from some humans out there:

Winnie the Pooh has been banned from a Polish playground because of his “dubious sexuality” and “inappropriate” dress.

The much-loved animated bear was suggested at a local council meeting to decide which famous character should become the face of the play area in the small town of Tuszyn.

But the idea soon sparked outrage among more conservative members, with one councillor even denouncing poor Pooh as a “hermaphrodite”.

“The problem with that bear is it doesn’t have a complete wardrobe,” said Ryszard Cichy during the discussion. “It is half naked which is wholly inappropriate for children.”

How long did it take them to think this under?

Maybe the world is just anti-bear in general. Look what’s happening to poor Paddington:

The British Board of Film Classification gave Paddington a parental guidance rating, saying it contains “dangerous behavior, mild threat, mild sex references and mild bad language.” The rating means the film is suitable for general viewing but some scenes may be unsuitable for children under 8 years old.

The board said the film’s scenes of dangerous behavior include Paddington hiding inside a refrigerator.

BBFC later revised the description, dropping “sex references” in favor of “innuendo” and pointing out only a single expletive which wouldn’t be an expletive anywhere else but Britain. They’re not kidding me. Paddington Bear wears a duffle coat — and no pants.

Addendum: Donald Duck was not available for comment.

Comments (3)