Take one tablet

One week and one day with one low-end tablet. How does it work? Pretty well, actually, but it’s not exactly the answer to anyone’s prayers.

Okay, maybe the prayers of Jeff Bezos.

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What goes around, and around

I’m betting you remember something like this:

Columbia House ad

It probably won’t be exactly like this, but it’s (almost) back:

Cue up the sound of a record rewinding: Columbia House, the once-famous mail-order business that sold CDs for a penny, is looking to relaunch by selling vinyl records.

John Lippman, who bought the brand out of bankruptcy this month, revealed the plan in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Citing millennials’ enthusiasm for vinyl, he said, “You can see a yearning and an interest to try a new format.”

Columbia House dates back to 1955, when Columbia Records, then a CBS subsidiary, saw an opportunity to market to customers who didn’t live near full-line record stores. The Columbia Record Club — RCA Victor and Capitol followed them quickly into the market — became the Columbia Record & Tape Club, and finally Columbia House. It somehow survived all manner of changes in the music industry, including the bloody dismemberment of both Columbia and RCA Records, but finally collapsed earlier this year.

(Via Fark, which notes: “This is not a repeat from 1979.”)

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Chicago-brand coal

It appears that the Thunder were actually on the Naughty List; the contents of the team stocking turned out to be bituminous and kind of crumbly. The visiting Bulls opened the game with an 11-point run. OKC came back, as OKC often does, coming within two at halftime. But Chicago outscored the Thunder 32-16 in a perfectly dreadful third quarter, and several subsequent comebacks stalled. The Bulls get the season sweep, 105-96, leaving Billy Donovan and 18,203 spectators to wonder what the heck they just saw.

Mostly, they saw inadequate execution. The Bulls were five percent better on their shooting, collected five more rebounds, and went 18-20 from the stripe. (Oklahoma City was 16-23; six of those seven misses were authored by Russell Westbrook in an evidently shaky hand.) Nor did it hurt the Bulls that slumping Derrick Rose looked a lot more like non-slumping Derrick Rose today, scoring 19 with little drama. (Okay, he fouled out in the last minute. It was over long before that.) And they did all this without either Mike Dunleavy or Joakim Noah.

Meanwhile, the Thunder pushed the limits of inefficiency. Westbrook’s 26 points took 23 shots and 13 free throws to make; he was 1-7 from outside. Kevin Durant’s long ball was similarly lacking (1-6), though KD ended up with 29 points. With offensive deficiencies all over the place — Anthony Morrow didn’t score until the fourth quarter, although admittedly he did hit two treys in succession — OKC was forced to go to lineups with no discernible defense, enabling the likes of Jimmy Butler to knock down 23 points without breaking a sweat. Enes Kanter got a double-double, because of course he did. But the Bulls had two: Taj Gibson and, of course, Pau Gasol.

The Nuggets will trudge through the snow and ice to play here Sunday night. Denver is just back of Utah for ninth place in the West; however, they are not known for playing like a ninth-place team, especially here.


Wild and wilder

In 2014, Time named Australian (via South Africa) singer Troye Sivan, then nineteen, as one of the year’s most influential teens, right up there with a couple of Jenners. I missed that, and also his spiffy single “Wild,” which briefly Bubbled Under the Billboard Hot 100 in the States. I mention him here because (1) that is a spiffy single and (2) because Rebecca Black — it is Friday, after all — has put out a cover of it:

RB’s version apparently isn’t out as a single, but it’s getting a fair number of upvotes at YouTube. There’s what I think is a clumsy edit near the end, and I am weary of that whole bee-stung lips thing, but I’ll take stuff like this wherever I can get it.


Still needs work

I have never actually had in-dash navigation in a car. Gwendolyn has a place for a nav screen, under a lid on top of the center stack, but it’s my understanding that they didn’t actually get any installed until the following model year, and while it could theoretically be retrofitted, assuming the parts could be found, the price would be somewhere between prohibitive and ridiculous.

And anyway, the concept is apparently a long way from being perfected. In the February Automobile, Ronald Ahrens discusses an issue with the nav system in the new Audi A3 e-tron:

The test car had voice-activated navigation, which worked well for one driver but evidently needed a stronger sarcasm detector for the other.

I figure fixing this will give VW Group something to do while they forget they ever built any diesels.

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Of hippos and homunculi

This song is as old as I am, but it (unlike me) never actually gets old:

She got one, too: a baby hippo named Matilda, who after the presentation went to live in the Oklahoma City Zoo, and made it to the ripe old age of 48; moving Matilda and her younger beau to Walt Disney World in Florida was apparently more than the old(ish) girl could take.

In 1960, Gayla Peevey, under the name “Jamie Horton,” cut this little ditty for a small New York label:

I don’t think she got one of those. (Peevey graduated from San Diego State, taught for several years, then ran an ad agency. She’s still around at 72.)


Happy something or other

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Gutless supreme

This “1975 Oldsmobile Donk on 28s Forgiatos” is offered on Craigslist:

1975 Oldsmobile for sale

Seller’s description, unedited:

Runs good music loud has matts competition speakers, was in rides magazine and Marreece Speights from the Nba golden states warrior owned it previously before me any more questions give me a cal

What is a donk, you ask? The person from Urban Dictionary:

Any POS late 80’s or early 90’s American heap (preferably an Impala) that has large enough wheels installed until it resembles (and rides and handles like) a Conestoga wagon. This is done so it sits up high enough so as to be at the same eye level as the Playas with real juice ridin in their Escalades. Adding in a bad candy paint job and Wal-Mart sub box completes the transformation. With no money left over for necessary suspension and brake upgrades, the lifespan is limited to a few drug runs or the first Police chase, whichever occurs first.

Twenty grand, and this donk can be your donk. And hey, he almost spelled “Marreese” correctly. (“Speights” is correct.) But no, it’s not actually a Cutlass; this is the larger Delta 88 Royale, offered with the Olds 350 (175 hp) or the big-block 455 (215), with catalytic converters and mandatory single exhausts. And Forgiato 28s on eBay run about $3000.

(Via Susannah Breslin.)


O go, O go, Emanuel

Meanwhile in Chicago:

A protest and march is planned for Christmas Eve, aiming to disrupt shopping on Michigan Avenue while calling for changes at City Hall.

Protesters are urging people to shop elsewhere as they try to get Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s attention and ultimately force him to resign. Protesters held a “die-in” Tuesday night outside [Emanuel’s] office … then they left City Hall and marched downtown.

Dave Schuler thinks this will not work:

Does Mayor Emanuel really care about the retailers? Are the retailers in a position to press him to resign?

If they really wanted to get rid of Rahm, they’d start demonstrating against Hillary Clinton. He’d be gone in 60 seconds.

Well, 90, anyway.


Surprising health-integrated technologies

After reading this, I suppose I should be grateful that my knees, rather than my ankles, are giving me grief:

One of the braces the nurse gave me was a simple ankle brace that anyone who has had a sprained ankle will be familiar with. The other brace looked like a bondage device for foot fetishists. The simple ankle brace came with a forty page pamphlet in twelve European languages (including Slovenian) and four Asian languages, two of them being Chinese in both simplified and traditional pictographs. The foot fetishist’s wet dream came with no instructions in any language at all (including Slovenian). The nurse quickly showed me how to put the thing on and then rushed off to see other patients. As you might imagine, I have worn the foot fetishist’s delight exactly once, because I cannot figure out how to fasten and secure the device to my ankle. In fact, I wear the brace for my left ankle on my right ankle; it seems to work, but there may be dangers here that I will comment on at a later date. As for the left ankle brace that I wear on my right ankle, it strikes me as decidedly odd that anyone would choose to print out, in twelve European languages (including Slovenian), four Asian languages, two of them being Chinese in both simplified and traditional pictographs, detailed instructions on how to put on a sock. I realize that the bureaucratic mind will seize at any opportunity to make itself annoying to the public it allegedly serves, but this seems to be unnecessarily annoying.

My familiarity with the foot-fetish subculture is probably less than you think it is; at any rate, I can imagine a device that would make putting on a sock problematic, but I’d rather not.

And at least nobody’s having to wear bondage sandals.


Not in the ingredients list

Boston Market Boneless Pork Rib mealWith the local Mickey D’s turning its back on the rare and precious McRib, desperate diners, such as Your Humble Narrator, have been forced to seek alternatives. And this is not a particularly bad alternative: the sauce, I reckon, is just a tad too sweet, and the potatoes have the general consistency of library paste, if not as much flavor, but they can be found in at least one local store for as little as $2.50, offsetting pretty much all the problems except, well, this one:

It’s a logical move for chain restaurants to expand into frozen meals. A brand like Boston Market already has recognition among consumers, who see the name and logo and think, “comfort food containing meat.” The boneless pork rib (shaped patty) from the Boston Market line of frozen meals is less comforting right now, though: it’s been recalled because there may be pieces of hard plastic or glass inside the meal.

The recall comes after multiple reports to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the government agency that regulates meals that contain meat. None of the customers were injured, but 326,016 meals have been recalled out of concern that more meals could be contaminated.

I had one in the freezer, which I had for lunch on Monday. I do believe I found one of those plastic shards, though the offending fragment never made it past my fork. The box is long gone, so I couldn’t tell you if this was one of the affected batches; I suppose I’ll know when I get to the store Saturday and find a blank space, baby, where this used to be.

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Meanwhile at Staples

Yeah, I know: the Thunder beat these Lakers just last Saturday, by forty freaking points. But Kobe was out. Tonight Kobe was in, and for a scary period in the second quarter, he was on: 17 points in the first half, more than anyone else on the court, pushing Los Angeles to a three-point lead in that quarter. But the Thunder were back up 11 at halftime, and then OKC opened the third quarter with a 22-0 run. Yeah, Durant and Westbrook, Westbrook and Durant. But at that point, when it was 79-46, the biggest plus on the plus/minus was Andre Roberson, then a startling +47, who’d had three assists, four rebounds, two steals and ten points. And then Kobe finally scored, 5:39 into the third quarter. By the time the horn sounded, it was 91-60; the fourth quarter was almost anticlimactic. Thunder 120, Lakers 85, and this brief California trip comes out 2-0.

The Lakers did have a few things to boast. With Lou Williams barely able to buy a bucket, rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell got extra minutes and double figures — 18 points, one short of Kobe Bryant — and occasional D-Leaguer Ryan Kelly came up with 12 points in 12 minutes. In fact, the bench produced 46 of the 79 Laker points. But the Thunder were dominant and then some: 54 percent shooting versus 36; 61 rebounds over 35; and the only double-double of the night, Enes Kanter’s, with 16 points and 11 boards. Robertson? Career-high 15 points, seven rebounds, four blocks, three assists, two steals. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, who spent the fourth quarter together on the bench, had 21 and 23 points respectively.

Next four Thunder games at home, starting Christmas Day, and I do mean day — tipoff is 1:30 — against Chicago, followed at two-day intervals by Denver, Milwaukee and Phoenix. (The Suns on New Year’s Eve. That sounds semi-portentous.) And who knows? Maybe the Warriors will lose one by then, though that’s probably not the way to bet.


Around the Edge

NOW 92.9, née NOW 96.5, is now THEN 0.0; Tyler, having failed to make any headway with a CHR-ish format against iHeartMedia’s KJYO (KJ103), has reworked this translator into The Edge 92.9, billed as OKC’s Rock Alternative. As before, it’s a side-channel of a big station — KOMA-HD2 — running 200 watts, which isn’t enough to reach the entire metro, though you can always spend a few bucks for an HD Radio receiver, as have at least ten other people in this town, or pick up their audio stream.

KOMA-HD3, in case you were curious, is the Classic Hip-Hop outlet at 103.1, known as V103; I find it amusing that three stations image with 103 in this town, starting with KJ103, which is actually at 102.7; Perry’s KVSP, long the urban (read: “black”) station in town, continues to be “Power 103.5.”

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The direct approach

I have no doubt that this will work, but still:

All the fish in a lake in Bristol are to be removed and destroyed in a bid to discourage fishing.

Last year, the local Neighbourhood Partnership voted to ban fishing at St George’s Park lake to stop wildlife being harmed by fishing line and hooks.

It has now approved an option proposed by Bristol City Council to destroy the fish rather than relocate them.

Apparently the problem is twofold: there are a hell of a lot of fish, and it has been determined that some of them are downright sickly. Rob Acton-Campbell, chairman of the St George Neighbourhood Partnership, explains:

“We’ve tried over the last two years to have a permit scheme to try and manage the fishing, but unfortunately there’s still been injuries to the swans and the cygnets. We were hoping we’d be able to move them somewhere else but the council have had a health check done on the fish and they are very unhealthy. And there’s nowhere really local that we can move them to that would cope with the number of fish that we’ve got.”

And of course, nobody ever wants to move swans. Or cygnets. Which don’t generally eat fish, anyway.

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man.)

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Smaller warnings

Used to be, you’d hear the local sirens going off, and you’d wonder, just for a moment, how far away the threat might be: Oklahoma City spills into three counties — well, four, if you count that tiny sliver of Pottawatomie County — and if there’s an actual warning anywhere in your county, you’d get the Big Blaster. No more:

The important new policy change, adopted Tuesday by the City Council, divides OKC into zones. When the National Weather Service (NWS) issues a tornado warning, only the sirens in zones covered by the warning will sound.

Residents and visitors don’t need to know what zone they’re in, only to immediately take shelter and get more information if they hear a siren.

There are nine zones in the new scheme. It has to be a really farging big storm to hit more than four or five of them.


The party may be over

This little number popped up on the shuffle yesterday:

Released the first week of 1964, “442 Glenwood Avenue” eventually charted at #56, its B-side (“Cold, Cold Winter”) a bit lower, but not enough to discourage Mercury from issuing Party with the Pixies Three, a sort of concept album about Friday and looking forward to the weekend.

I knew very little of Philadelphia, the Pixies’ home town, in those days; if you’d asked, I’d have said that they sounded sort of suburban, maybe somewhere out in Bucks County or thereabouts. And the one time I did go to Philly, it didn’t occur to me to look for Glenwood, though I did head out to Bristol on the off-chance that I’d find some kids sharp as a pistol.

Where I do not go, however, Google does. Welcome to present-day 442 [West] Glenwood Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:

442 Glenwood Avenue Philadelphia

Specifically, 442 is the pinkish-orange townhouse between the two red ones. Says Trulia:

442 W Glenwood Ave has 3 beds, 1 bath, and approximately 816 square feet. The property has a lot size of [720 sq ft] and was built in 1920. 442 W Glenwood Ave is in the Fairhill neighborhood in Philadelphia, PA. The average list price for Fairhill is $60,222.

Actually, looking at this place makes me think of the Drifters’ “Three Thirty Three,” recorded during Clyde McPhatter’s brief tenure as lead singer, a place where, um, more adult amusements are offered.

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