Thur. Jan. 6, 2022 – working today, because money can’t buy love, but it can buy stuff.

Warmer and sunny, clear. Yesterday was nice, if a bit humid. Sunny for a couple more days too.

Spent yesterday doing a bunch of local errands, then went to my client’s house to do some work notes. The programmer had an issue on another job and couldn’t make it, so he’s coming today. I spent some time troubleshooting, and determined that a home theatre receiver needs to be replaced. It’s the oldest gear in the rack, and doesn’t support 4K resolution, so its time was limited. My business partner was very skeptical that we’d be able to find a reasonable replacement due to supply issues. And indeed, directly comparable gear is months backordered and expensive. I was able to find something that will work at BestBuy. They have one per store in stock, and I can pick it up today. I also found 1 on amazon with 2 day delivery. It was cheaper, but the programmer is here today. Worth the extra $100 to have it in the rack so he can integrate it with the control system.

VERY few AV receivers are available anywhere, what is available is either very low end, or very high end. Too cheap to use, or too dear for most people. We’ve had other supply issues on this job. We had to upgrade the in room control touch panels because the cheaper button panels were not available. I’ve talked before about buying every IR emitter in the store and every mono 1/8″ plug, and them not being restocked in weeks…

I stopped at lowes for headlight bulbs for my wife’s minivan. Over the weekend I noticed they had bins of them on closeout, huge price reductions, and I just noticed her headlight was out. That’s how my life works. I got a set for her minivan, and a set for each of my trucks. $5 a pair was too cheap to resist. While I was there I confirmed that they don’t have a seed display up. They had one small rotating display of a couple dozen seed packets for “organic” seeds, but it had mostly herbs left. NO big burpee display. No Martha Stewart or other cheaper seeds. There were large empty areas in the store too. Whole pallet racks filled with individual empty bins so they weren’t actually empty.

And we’ve talked about grocery and retail stores re-organizing the stores to hide shortages. Well what I saw at Costco yesterday left me quite disturbed. Costco has leased ships to try to shortcut some of the supply chain issues. They are very good about getting product in the stores. And yet. Yesterday I realized that they had removed an entire aisle of cold food display coolers. They moved the remaining aisles farther apart and REALLY opened up the space in cold meat and prepared foods… They went to smaller coolers too. I confirmed with the employee at the door checking receipts that they had removed the coolers and reconfigured the remaining coolers. He said “they’re having trouble getting what they need, and had to disguise the missing product.” The medicine and supplement section had also gotten wider aisles and less product. In fact the whole store was feeling weirdly open. All the displays were shorter. I could easily see across the store. They even had a shelf of marked down Christmas gifts in the back corner of the store. Costco NEVER has markdowns or shelves with a couple of out of season items on it.

Think about this for a minute. Costco, despite their market power, despite leasing their own ships to help bypass supply chain issues, decided to reconfigure the store with FEWER coolers, and smaller displays. They spent money to move electrical, drains, chiller lines, and get new coolers. You don’t DO that if you think the shortages are temporary. You don’t move utilities if you think things will be better in a month or two. They are betting real money that they’ll be dealing with reduced inventory for a long time. If that isn’t your wake up call, what will it take?

Take a serious look at what you need for the next couple of years. Start looking for it now, and buy it if you see it. Be flexible with what you want, and start learning about other places to look where you might find it. I would prefer to get pro gear for my client. I had to get consumer product, and I had to look outside my normal suppliers. I also had to pay more than I would have a year ago when we were discussing the project. Start looking around for the secondary markets near you. Auctions, thrift and outlet stores, estate and yard sales, fleamarkets, bodegas, ethnic stores, mom and pop storefronts, street vendors… my partner recommended looking on ebay for a replacement receiver, used and likely priced as new, because his distributors had nothing. For the model we wanted there was ONE for sale, and 4 had recently sold for more than new. Recognize that there might be opportunities for YOU in this new normal if you have access to stuff people want, or can fix the stuff they can’t replace.

Keep stacking it guys and gals. It isn’t getting better soon. The big boys looked at it and spent the money. You need to too.

nick

69 Comments and discussion on "Thur. Jan. 6, 2022 – working today, because money can’t buy love, but it can buy stuff."

  1. Nick Flandrey says:

    64F and 97%RH this morning. 

    Tired still.

    n

  2. drwilliams says:

    I was in both Sams and Costco last week, one after another. I was really struck by how they look almost identical.

    Sams Club's January deals ad came out yesterday. Notable in that aside from snack chips food deals were almost absent.

    News reports earlier this week hyping 800,000 jobs created last month. Lower down, they tallied 4.5 million people quitting their jobs. We don't have a safety net, we have a freaking hammock on the beach.

    Mayo fired 700 people in Rochester (1% of work force) for being unvaxxed. In the middle of a major staffing shortage, they canned people over a procedural rule that does nothing to enhance patient safety.

    Passed on a very large A/V receiver at a thrift last week. Oh, well. I didn't want to lift the darn thing anyway.

    Need to get some spare toys of my own sold while the suckers still feel flush with cash.

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  3. Greg Norton says:

    Think about this for a minute. Costco, despite their market power, despite leasing their own ships to help bypass supply chain issues, decided to reconfigure the store with FEWER coolers, and smaller displays. They spent money to move electrical, drains, chiller lines, and get new coolers. You don’t DO that if you think the shortages are temporary. You don’t move utilities if you think things will be better in a month or two. They are betting real money that they’ll be dealing with reduced inventory for a long time. If that isn’t your wake up call, what will it take?

    A possible explanation is that your Costco is planning for a big commercial grade coffee roaster long term. I saw that happen in a couple of stores in the Northwest when we lived there.

    One store would get the roaster and serve as a processing/distribution center for the surrounding stores. The roaster was always next to the beginning of the refrigerator/freezer cases.

    With all of the Northwest transplants pouring into Texas, it wouldn't surprise me. I haven't seen a roaster at any store in Austin, but plans are underway to put a location in Pflugerville.

    Please, God, not in the retail area of Pflugerville which is nearly impossible to reach without paying tolls. That nightmare inspired the new Texas law that requires tollways to have free access roads on either side.

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  4. Nick Flandrey says:

    possible explanation is that your Costco is planning for a big commercial grade coffee roaster

    –except that the employee confirmed it was to hide the reduced stocking levels.  Ditto for the 'health' area.

    n

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  5. Pecancorner says:

    This is interesting. I'd never heard of it before. 

    Barbed Wire Telephone: Joined by a Fence

  6. Greg Norton says:

    VERY few AV receivers are available anywhere, what is available is either very low end, or very high end. Too cheap to use, or too dear for most people. We’ve had other supply issues on this job. We had to upgrade the in room control touch panels because the cheaper button panels were not available. I’ve talked before about buying every IR emitter in the store and every mono 1/8″ plug, and them not being restocked in weeks…

    The middle class isn't interested in a "stereo" anymore, and, up until 20 years ago, a component system was what Pournelle termed "a good of fortune" that many homes had… in moderation. Well, for the most part.

    Vinyl has come back in a big way, requiring a player and amp at a minimum, but it is still a niche thing.

    And vinyl's shortcomings are still there compared to CDs, which don’t require a “system”.

    (Please don't argue the "warmth" like a coked up Sound Advice salesman. That chain was founded to launder drug running profits, and when CDs hit they found they could make *more* money pushing consumers into $3000 A/V setups on credit at 22%, all legal.)

    The last piece I have left of my component system is a pair of Baby II Advent speakers I bought decades ago. At some point, I will either sell them or hook them up to a $30 T-class amp.

    I have one of the legendary Tripath chip amps on my primary desktop PC. $25. The speakers were another $30. Good enough.

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  7. Nick Flandrey says:

    The middle class isn't interested in a "stereo" anymore

    they are very much interested in 'home theater' though.  There are a huge number of receivers for sale, just most of them are sold out or months from delivery.   The pro market is even more sold out than the consumer market.

    Everyone with a big screen – proj or tv – wants 7 or more speakers to shake the house, and that means a big receiver.  

    Collectors and enthusiasts want vintage, silver faced electronics from the japanese in the 70's and early 80s. added– if they can’t afford tube gear—  Or a new rig to listen to vinyl.  Denon makes and sells pure stereo two channel receivers still (or again), and they have slightly more availability.  I'm sure other brands do too, but didn't look because I didn't need to spend the time.

    The nostalgia for vinyl is hitting my age group (80s kid).  I know because all the vinyl I see in the auctions that I'd want to buy is going for crazy money – $10-20 or more depending on artist.  And I suddenly want to buy the stuff I was listening to in high school…

    n

  8. Nick Flandrey says:

    Not surprisingly, cassette players are not bringing big money.   They are still being used, as there are belt kits widely available, but unless they were something crazy cool or crazy high end when they came out, they are not worth much compared to amps, receivers, or turntables.

    Iconic 80s names do bring some money, like Nakamishi, or B&O… but they had complex robot mechanisms, or ring the "I couldn't afford it when it was new" bell.

    n

  9. Greg Norton says:

    High fidelity component stereos are pointless when music collections are 128 kbps MP3 files or the Apple equivalent.

    The $20 Reebok dream dies hard in my generation.

  10. Nick Flandrey says:

     @pecancorner,   we used to joke that we loved RS-232 for serial comms with machines and computers because it was so robust you could run it on barbed wire….

    And "consider that what started as a fence system on the XIT evolved into what is XIT Communications, a co-op that provides phone service and high-speed internet to rural communities—some in the footprint of the original ranch."

    Or like Qwest, what started as a railroad ended up as a nationwide fiber backbone provider.    FWIW, I watched a crew pulling cable underground along one of the rail rights of way in Houston yesterday… which is Qwest's claim to fame.

    n

  11. Greg Norton says:

    Not surprisingly, cassette players are not bringing big money.   They are still being used, as there are belt kits widely available, but unless they were something crazy cool or crazy high end when they came out, they are not worth much compared to amps, receivers, or turntables.

    Philips standard analog cassette was a cr*p way to distribute music but it was cheap.

    The tapes have been surprisingly durable so if someone still has a bunch in a collection, they will need a player.

  12. Greg Norton says:

    Or like Qwest, what started as a railroad ended up as a nationwide fiber backbone provider.    FWIW, I watched a crew pulling cable underground along one of the rail rights of way in Houston yesterday… which is Qwest's claim to fame.

    SPRINT – Southern Pacific Railroad INTernal communications.

    Qwest was part of the mountain state Baby Bell based in Denver (?) after the questionably hostile takeover 2000, enabled by the 1996 “reform”. They're part of CenturyLink now.

    When I worked at GTE, CenturyLink was "the old plantation". I would have loved to be in the room when the folks from Monroe showed up in Denver and Seattle.

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  13. Greg Norton says:

     @pecancorner,   we used to joke that we loved RS-232 for serial comms with machines and computers because it was so robust you could run it on barbed wire….

    RS232 is still around. Most cheap USB GPS units are simply USB-RS232 bridge chips mated to GPS receivers with serial output. Someone made a *lot* of cheap GPS chips back in the day.

    I've seen some horrible tech rigged cables for RS232 which worked … for the most part.

    A lot of electronics test equipment still talks RS232, and the survey transit stations at the previous previous job had the capability to output data across a link.

    I always meant to look at capturing the survey data with a tablet, but I was doomed on that job from Day One so I didn’t see the point in bothering to save them a bunch of money/time. I’ll retire before I accept another gig where I’m yelled at *during the interview process*.

    The new new job definitely doesn’t have yelling.

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  14. Nick Flandrey says:

    High fidelity component stereos are pointless

    big speakers moving a lot of air still make a difference, even when the source is degraded mp3s.    And even small speakers (like headphones) make a huge difference in sound quality.   I was testing some I picked up at goodwill for my daughter- and they sounded ok.  They were insignia, small drivers, over the ear.  They were a bit boomy, and when listening closely they were muffled.

    Since my hearing losses are in the range that a lot of stuff sounds 'muffled' I decided to compare to a decent set of Sennheisers that I have on the desk.   The Sennheisers are mid sized drivers in  full sized ear cups, over the ear.  They are a mid range pair.  SO MUCH BETTER.  Less bass, but clear, "open", "airy", and with plenty of 10Khz so I can hear how bad cymbals sound in mp3s.

    Source material was mp3 and youtube.

    I mentioned recently that I was shocked to listen to a cheap walkman cd player directly with the Sennheisers and to realize how good the CD sounds compared to the mp3.

    The biggest issue isn't the fidelity of the gear, or the compression artifacts, but the degradation of peoples' hearing.

    Freaking airpods are going to destroy ANOTHER generation's hearing.   D1 already has some tinnitus because you can't really tell how loud the in ear, "noise blocking"-ie tightly sealed, 'phones are.  Hence me looking for over the ear 'phones for her.

    n

  15. Nick Flandrey says:

    @greg, didn't realize that about sprint… I knew they got their start in push to talk trunked radio…  or at least that's where the general public first met them…

    n

  16. Nick Flandrey says:

    @greg, all of the survey equipment makers have handheld devices for capturing the survey data, either dedicated devices, or pocket pcs.   new ones are probably bluetooth to a smartphone app.

    Will it surprise you to know I own a digital theodolite?   Or that I've got a couple of the data collection handhelds in my ebay pile?

    I still am looking for a decent Total Station to upgrade the theodolite.  I want the laser distance measurement built in.  Old Sokkia and Trimble devices are finally dropping to prices where I can pick one up, I just need to be patient.   I did get one cheap a couple of years ago but they were still bringing good money so I flipped it in a week.

    I haven't USED my theodolite in years, but it's still there in the cabinet when I want it. 

    n

  17. Nick Flandrey says:

    Watching the stream from the White House.   Kamel is a terrible reader and speaker.  And I'm surprised she isn't struck down by lightning every time she opens her lying mouth…

    Everything she's described as a threat to the country and democracy is something the democrat party has done…

    She has equated Jan6 with Pearl Harbor and 9-11.  Sweet jebus what a despicable being.

    n

    https://www.zerohedge.com/political/biden-plans-searing-critique-trump-and-gop-dems-make-jan-6-all-about-democracy

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  18. Nick Flandrey says:

    Biddn has managed to hold it together for 20 minutes but he's had to stifle coughing, and he's slurred words.

    It's an astounding collection of half truths, narrow statements, and implications. 

    "fear over hope, personal gain over public benefit" 

    "inflection point in history"

    "autocracy vs democracy"

    That's what he's accusing Trump of, he actually implied he's a "strongman".

    Oops, slurred again.

    And now he's stumbling over words and not making sense.

    More coughing.   Just called Jan6 "the end of democracy".  "We will make sure…. that the battle prevails, not violence."  wtf?

    "My God, stand watch over those that defend democracy"   and then he turns and walks away.

    25 minutes, deteriorating the whole time.

    we are so fucked.

    n

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  19. Greg Norton says:

    I still am looking for a decent Total Station to upgrade the theodolite.  I want the laser distance measurement built in.  Old Sokkia and Trimble devices are finally dropping to prices where I can pick one up, I just need to be patient.   I did get one cheap a couple of years ago but they were still bringing good money so I flipped it in a week.

    Once you get the Total Station then you have to buy the tripod.

    I meant Total Station when I typed "transit station".

  20. Nick Flandrey says:

    And I'm off to work.   Watch the whole stream.   Remember that progressives and the left  always project, it's a pretty safe bet that what they accuse someone of, they are doing themselves. 

    Because they can't believe that anyone else ISN"T just like them.

    n

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  21. Greg Norton says:

    She has equated Jan6 with Pearl Harbor and 9-11.  Sweet jebus what a despicable being.

    No matter what gets said today, if Trump keeps his mouth shut through the end of the news cycle on Sunday morning, he wins.

    The Dems know. They learned from Chappaquiddick.

    Monday will start the cycle with fallout from the Supreme Court decision on vax mandates.

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  22. Nick Flandrey says:

    @greg, got the tripod, target prisms, rods, etc.   Even have a surveyors notebook and text books on surveying if I ever wanted to do that.   I've used it mainly for the equivalent of machine setup though, not surveying.

    n

  23. drwilliams says:

    Most of my 1970’s rock records were played once or twice when they were “ripped” to cassette. I started with Akai and later bought a Nakamici. Not much difference in sound quality when using high-end Maxell or TDK cassettes. 

  24. Greg Norton says:

    I mentioned recently that I was shocked to listen to a cheap walkman cd player directly with the Sennheisers and to realize how good the CD sounds compared to the mp3.

    The biggest issue isn't the fidelity of the gear, or the compression artifacts, but the degradation of peoples' hearing.

    MP3 and other similar compression ratio codecs remove frequencies which most of the population cannot "hear" psychologically. This technique isn't 100%, but it is, again, "good enough".

    If you want an example of where the audio codecs fail try a digitized copy of OK Go's landmark "Of the Blue Colour of the Sky" and compare it to the original CD.

    Another example would be the uncompressed CD quality stereo audio track on Sting's "Live in Berlin" DVD vs. the standard 7.1 AC3 (?) track on the same disc.

    “Dream of the Blue” turtles still ranks as my favorite CD ever. I can hear the mixing errors on “We Work the Black Seam” and the valves on Branford’s saxaphone clicking in “Moon Over Bourbon Street”. That was akin to a religious experience in 1985. A&M spent serious money on that recording making Sting’s solo debut album.

    He is the Vampire Lestat. 🙂

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  25. MrAtoz says:

    Happy tRump Day!

    The Sun came up this morning, didn't it?

    Wake up, sheeple.

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  26. MrAtoz says:

    What does the term "COVID Breakthrough case" even mean? You're *fully* vaccinated, but still got COVID? But, you are *safe* 'cause *fully* vaccinated? Why even report it if you are *safe*? How come the Lame Stream Media don't have death count tickers anymore? If someone isn't vaccinated, why do LSMers give a shite? They are all fully vaccinated and will only get *breakthrough* COVID, which is safe. They want the unvaccinated to die anyway, don't they? Just shut up and let them die.

    So tired of COVID, masking, mandates. Can't wait to get back to Tejas.

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  27. Ray Thompson says:

    Snowing.  Weather liars say we will get 3”. I would guess an inch, tops. Weather liars feed their ego getting their mugs on the screen. Same dumb reporting, salt truck, overpass, dim witted comments about driving. Just annoying.

  28. SteveF says:

    re the hysterics and the demonization of the purebloods: You keep saying that I'm going to kill you if I don't get the clot shot. It's been a whole year. How much longer is it going to take for you to die?

  29. lynn says:

    I stopped at lowes for headlight bulbs for my wife’s minivan. Over the weekend I noticed they had bins of them on closeout, huge price reductions, and I just noticed her headlight was out. That’s how my life works. I got a set for her minivan, and a set for each of my trucks. $5 a pair was too cheap to resist.

    One of the side effects of glaucoma is that it is really affecting my night vision.  I looked into converting my 2019 F-150 into LED headlights, parking lights, taillights, cargo lights, etc.  When I hit $2K for the conversion, I quit looking.  I may start looking again anyway, just for the headlights.  Apparently a new grill surround is needed for the headlights and foglights which really cranks the price. 

  30. lynn says:

    "Infinity Flight (Perry Rhodan, No. 24)" by Clark Darlton, translated by Wendayne Ackerman
    https://www.amazon.com/Perry-Rhodan-Infinity-Flight-24-Clark-Darlton/dp/B000GSM61M/br?tag=ttgnet-20 />

    Book number twenty-four of a series of one hundred and twenty-six space opera books in English. The original German books, actually pamphlets, number in the thousands. The English books started with two translated German stories per book and transitioned to one story per book with the sixth book. The German books were written from 1961 to present time, having sold two billion copies and even recently been rebooted. I read the well printed and well bound book published by Ace in 1973 that I had to be very careful with due to age. I bought an almost complete box of Perry Rhodans a decade or two ago on ebay that I am finally getting to since I lost my original Perry Rhodans in The Great Flood of 1989. In fact, I now own book #1 to book #102, plus the Atlan books.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perry_Rhodan

    BTW, this is actually book number 32 of the German Pamphlets. Forry Ackerman skipped #31 of the German Pamplets ( https://www.perrypedia.de/wiki/Der_Kaiser_von_New_York ) since it was all Earth action and he liked action off the Earth. There is a very good explanation of the plot in German on this website of all of the PR books. There is automatic Google translation available for English, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese, French, and Portuguese.
    https://www.perrypedia.de/wiki/Ausflug_in_die_Unendlichkeit

    In this alternate universe, USSF Major Perry Rhodan and his three fellow astronauts blasted off in a three stage rocket to the Moon in 1971. The first stage of the rocket was chemical, the second and third stages were nuclear. After crashing on the Moon due to a strange radio interference, they discover a massive crashed alien spaceship with an aged male scientist (Khrest), a female commander (Thora), and a crew of 500. It has been over ten years since then and the New Power has flourished with millions of people and many spaceships headquartered in the Gobi desert, the city of Terrania.

    Perry Rhodan and his three spheroids (2,400 foot and two 600 foot) are drastically outnumbered by the Springer trader and navy fleets. So he decided to go visit his old friend, the immortal, and see if he would give them a new weapon to fight off the Springers. He takes off in the 2,400 foot spheroid Stardust and is clandestinely followed by eight 900 foot long cylindrical battleships of the Springers. When Rhodan reaches Wanderer, the hidden planet of the immortal on its two million year journey around the galaxy, the Springers watch the Stardust enter the hidden planet and decide to wait and ambush the Stardust on the way out.

    One has to remember that this book was written in German in 1962 and translated to English in 1973. Many items that came about in the 1970s and beyond such as cell phones are not reflected in the book. However, commercial aircraft commonly traveling at Mach 3 are not available to the public as talked about in the book. Niels Bohr's saying "Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future" comes to mind.

    Two observations:
    1. The publisher should have put two to four of the translated stories in each book. Having two stories in the first five books worked out well. Just having one story in the book is too short and would never allow the translated books to catch up to the German originals.
    2. Anyone liking Perry Rhodan and wanting a more up to date story should read the totally awesome "Mutineer's Moon" Dahak series of three books by David Weber.
    https://www.amazon.com/Mutineers-Moon-Dahak-David-Weber/dp/0671720856/br?tag=ttgnet-20 />

    My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    Amazon rating: 4 out of 5 stars (1 review)

  31. lynn says:

    "Sunshield Successfully Deploys on NASA’s Next Flagship Telescope"

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2022/01/06/sunshield-successfully-deploys-on-nasas-next-flagship-telescope/

    "The James Webb Space Telescope team has fully deployed the spacecraft’s 70-foot sunshield, a key milestone in preparing it for science operations."

    "The sunshield – about the size of a tennis court at full size – was folded to fit inside the payload area of an Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket’s nose cone prior to launch. The Webb team began remotely deploying the sunshield Dec. 28, 2021, three days after launch."

    OK, that is just cool.

  32. Rick H says:

    Regarding the sun shield on the James Webb Space Telescope  ..

    …see https://xkcd.com/2564 for the reason why it is needed.

    Explained here https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/2564:_Sunshield … although I like the premise of the comic, even if it is faulty.

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  33. Alan says:

    >> Spontaneous human combustion.   There is a lot of potential heat in the human body….

    Time to re-watch Soylent Green.

  34. Alan says:

    >> Apparently a new grill surround is needed for the headlights and foglights which really cranks the price. 

    Real men don't need grills on their trucks.

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  35. Alan says:

    >> So tired of COVID, masking, mandates. Can't wait to get back to Tejas.

    2022 Grammy Awards (Jan 31) postponed indefinitely.

    Sundance Film Festival (Jan 20–30) cancels all in-person events.

    1700 flights canceled yesterday (weather and staffing issues), 11th straight day with over 1,000 cancelations.

    The NFL is exploring contingencies if COVID-19 restrictions in the Los Angeles area appear they will be too onerous to hold the Super Bowl.

    And in local news, dog bites man.

  36. mediumwave says:

    Except for the thousands of canceled flights, cancellation of the other events would be a loss to humanity exactly how?

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  37. Ray Thompson says:

    Except for the thousands of canceled flights, cancellation of the other events would be a loss to humanity exactly how?

    Especially the Hollywood "Pat Themselves on the Back" awards shows. Where films, plays and other media get noticed for the liberal tilt, gays marrying gays, social messages that only apply to 0.0001% of the population but have non-white actors, etc.

  38. Greg Norton says:

    The NFL is exploring contingencies if COVID-19 restrictions in the Los Angeles area appear they will be too onerous to hold the Super Bowl.

    Tampa was the fallback choice last year when LA couldn't get the new stadium open in 2019.

    The NFL doesn't like the Florida stadiums because they are all over 20 years old with the exception of the Citrus Bowl's lower deck seating. Still, the Citrus Bowl is in a cr*p neighborhood without an easy connection to Eisney World, and the league has been unimpressed with how much the city prostituted itself for the recent Pro Bowls.

    Plus, does the NFL want to add to the Yuc’s story advantage giving Brady another home field Super Bowl? Tampa or Miami (where Brady built a house) would definitely qualify.

  39. drwilliams says:

    Real men don't need grills on their trucks.

    Yeah, we have cattle guards. 

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  40. paul says:

    I ripped my CDs to 192VBR.  I can tell a difference from the CD but for playing over the stereo while doing other stuff, close enough.  Having it all on the server and letting the Squeezebox play in random mode is worth the trade-off.

    I didn't rip my LPs.  I used µTorrent to find the files.  Why repeat the work?  Just look around for the best bit rate.

  41. lynn says:

    xkcd: Sunshield

       https://xkcd.com/2564/

    Uh, the new James Webb Space Telescope sunshield is NOT to protect the Earth.

    Explained at:

       https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/2564:_Sunshield

  42. lynn says:

    The last piece I have left of my component system is a pair of Baby II Advent speakers I bought decades ago. At some point, I will either sell them or hook them up to a $30 T-class amp.

    My 55 inch 4K tv in the bedroom is held up by a pair of 1962 Acoustic Research (AR1) speakers that my Dad bought in 1962 when we lived in New Jersey. Shoot, they may have been used since they are AR1 speakers.  I stole them from Dad in 1978 when I went to TAMU.  I have not hooked them up to my 1978 Panasonic Technics component stereo since 2000 or so.  But they are great TV pedestals as they weigh about 50 lbs each.

  43. lynn says:

    Or like Qwest, what started as a railroad ended up as a nationwide fiber backbone provider.    FWIW, I watched a crew pulling cable underground along one of the rail rights of way in Houston yesterday… which is Qwest's claim to fame.

    SPRINT – Southern Pacific Railroad INTernal communications.

    Qwest was part of the mountain state Baby Bell based in Denver (?) after the questionably hostile takeover 2000, enabled by the 1996 “reform”. They're part of CenturyLink now.

    There is also several natural gas and crude oil pipelines in the railroad right of way.  Burlington Northern Natural Resources got their start that way.  Was bought by Phillips 66 several decades ago.

  44. lynn says:

    Real men don't need grills on their trucks.

    Yeah, we have cattle guards. 

    You beat me to it !

  45. Ray Thompson says:

    Yeah, we have cattle guards.

    Or an alternate name is Protesters Blocking Highway Removal Accessory.

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  46. Chad says:

    Yeah, we have cattle guards. 

    I always chuckle when I see 18-wheelers with those. It's almost always a independent trucker. None of the fleets bother accessorizing their trucks with them. You can always tell the independent truckers: Cattle guard, sun shade, absurd amount of chrome, and tailgating you in the left lane at 10+ over the speed limit as they blow past the "trucks use left two lanes only" sign…  It's like they're universally a-holes. lol

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  47. paul says:

    I always chuckle when I see 18-wheelers with those. It's almost always a independent trucker.

    Yeah.  But if you actually own the truck, taking a deer puts you out of business.

    As for the chrome, it's something to do for a single guy.  Just what I noticed while working at the U-Tote-Em Truck Stop in Pflugerville.

    Can't say I've noticed the tailgating.

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  48. drwilliams says:

    @Ray Thompson

    Yeah, we have cattle guards.

    Or an alternate name is Protesters Blocking Highway Removal Accessory

    I’d want the cattle to stay down but loft the protesters over the cab. Adjustable pitch kit, maybe?

  49. SteveF says:

    No no, this is a Protesters Blocking Highway Removal Accessory.

    10
  50. lynn says:

    I always chuckle when I see 18-wheelers with those. It's almost always a independent trucker.

    Yeah.  But if you actually own the truck, taking a deer puts you out of business.

    As for the chrome, it's something to do for a single guy.  Just what I noticed while working at the U-Tote-Em Truck Stop in Pflugerville.

    Can't say I've noticed the tailgating.

    Or running over a feral pig can do severe damage to one's grill. 

    I have the Chrome Package on my 2019 F-150 4×4.  Chrome is beautiful on a white truck !

         https://www.winsim.com/truck_and_boom_lift.jpg

  51. Alan says:

    >> Watch the whole stream.

    But see, you already took one for the team.

    As JP used to say, you do these things so we don't have to.

    And now you probably want those 25 minutes of your life back.

  52. Alan says:

    >> I have the Chrome Package on my 2019 F-150 4×4.  Chrome is beautiful on a white truck !

    These guys can fix you up with some more chrome.

  53. MrAtoz says:

    The ProgLibTurds are fawning over plugs’ tRump Day speech. “It will go in the history books” as a marker as what happens to our Democracy. These people are crazy. They will say anything or do anything to convert us to commie pinko bastards. As long as they stay in power. I’ve never read so many lies by so many Dumbocrats and some Redumblicans. You’d think Shot Girl ™ was gang raped. Chuckle Schumer says the rioting, terrorist, WHITE scum were chanting “there’s the big Jew, get him!” And the lies about all the cops who died on or because of Jan 6.

    Wake up sheeple!

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  54. Greg Norton says:

    The ProgLibTurds are fawning over plugs’ tRump Day speech.

    Trump just has to keep his mouth shut until Sunday at Noon and nothing said today matters.

    The upside to an 18th NFL game weekend. Brady has the Panthers in Tampa at 1 PM EST.

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  55. Greg Norton says:

    BTW, I've had the post nasal drip from hell since Monday morning. I don't know if this is the Wuxu, but it I had worse around this time in 2020 that started around the New Year.

    It isn't the typical sinus thing I get this time of year. That usually advances to asthma fast, with large chunks of green stuff coming out of my nose. My emergency Z-pack starter dose remains untouched on my dresser, and my inhaler hasn’t been touched.

    I did reach my personal cutoff on Afrin of three days. Done.

    Those of you who promised to hold the unvaccinated like me down for the jab had better head over and knock on the door soon. I'll either be dead or, more likely, recovered with natural immunity in a few days.

    What? A test? In Austin? Yeah, right.

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  56. SteveF says:

    You’d think Shot Girl ™ was gang raped.

    It was worse than that, MrAtoz. Representative Nobrain McBigtits was murdered by insurrectionists on January 6, 2021. She laid a wreath on her grave today in commemoration of her tragic death, before going on to make a speech and accuse Trump supporters of wanting to have sex with her even though she's been dead for a year.

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  57. SteveF says:

    What is two years of social isolation (to one extent or another) going to do to immune systems? Serious question, the answer to which I'm unable to track down. (I'm able to find a lot of hysterical shrieking about doom, DOOM I TELL YOU, but I'm not convinced that their information and predictions are solid.)

    We've been told most of my life that the immune system needs to be "used" in order to keep working right. With many people not getting exposed to as many cold and flu germs as normal, are we heading for autoimmune disorders or some other problem?

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  58. Nick Flandrey says:

    And now you probably want those 25 minutes of your life back.

    yes, on most levels.  Still it was worth seeing it with my own eyes so I don't have to believe someone else.   The 5 minutes of the Kamel was almost as bad, as she's a terrible speaker even when fresh.  Hearing her quote the Preamble was like hearing Satan quote scripture.

    I caught a bit of the nightly news while testing my client's system.  OMFG.  You cowered under your desk and you think I should care?  You are a coward.  P#ssy. Wimp.  Limp wristed sweater lifting fanny biter.   4 cops were so traumatized they committed suicide?  Give me a freaking break.  Not  one mention that the only direct death was Sargent Trigger Happy killing an innocent woman.  Would have been better for everyone if he'd lost his gun in the white house toilet permanently.

    My programmer is sure the Republicans will flip both chambers in the election.  I'm sure the fraud will be epic.  Either way, nothing in politics will change.

    We made some progress today but I still have to go back tomorrow.  Damnation.

    n

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  59. drwilliams says:

    @SteveF

    "We've been told most of my life that the immune system needs to be "used" in order to keep working right. With many people not getting exposed to as many cold and flu germs as normal, are we heading for autoimmune disorders or some other problem?"

    If it makes you feel pro-active, stick your head under the bed and hoover up some dust bunnies.

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  60. drwilliams says:

    "My programmer is sure the Republicans will flip both chambers in the election.  I'm sure the fraud will be epic.  Either way, nothing in politics will change."

    Flip both chambers. Purge the Capitol Police. Bring articles of impeachment against The Camel. Speaker Trump announces "credible threats against certain elected officials" and acts immediately to order protection for Pelosi, Schumer, Clinton, Mittens, Cheney, et al. Pelosi, Schumer, Clinton, Mittens, Cheney, et al, all fully vaxxed, succumb to newly discovered hangnail virus. Investigations are slow and deliberate. Irregularities found indicating a possible threat against The Big Guy himself. Require all medications be vetted by a blue-ribbon panel of experts. Long daily presidential briefings to calm the nation. Binney and Smith announces Presidential Puce retired for Orange. Ghislaine Maxwell gives tape vault to Speaker of the House. Trump Channel debuts on pay-per-view. Orville Redenbacher buys own delivery fleet when Amazon fails.

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  61. lynn says:

    Pelosi, Schumer, Clinton, Mittens, Cheney, et al, all fully vaxxed, succumb to newly discovered hangnail virus.

    Can the new hangnail virus take out both the daughter and the father ?  I am so tired of both.

  62. SteveF says:

    stick your head under the bed and hoover up some dust bunnies

    Not a bad idea … for others. I didn't get the possibly-immune-system-destroying clot shots, don't wear any kind of mask except for a few minutes to keep a store clerk from getting in trouble, and don't isolate any more than I used to. (Though I'll note that there's a joke which applies to me, about having to go into two weeks of lockdown "to flatten the curve", and it not affecting your life.)

  63. drwilliams says:

    It's very contagious.

  64. Ray Thompson says:

    I didn't get the possibly-immune-system-destroying clot shots

    I don’t agree with your decision but it is certainly your decision not mine. I certainly do not have a right to tell you to get the shot and neither should anyone else. You choose, I choose. It’s how freedom is supposed to work. Not by using questionable mandates which in my opinion are illegal against civilians.

  65. SteveF says:

    You're showing your age, Ray. "You choose, I choose" is sooooo old fashioned. The modern system is that I get to choose for both myself and you. Well, I don't get to choose. I'm not of the anointed. Instead, some small but screeching slice of the population claims victimhood or weakness or BFYTW and demands the right to choose for everyone.

  66. drwilliams says:

    How do you say "Come and choose for me" in Ancient Greek?

  67. Nick Flandrey says:

    @drwilliams,   "hypocrisy"

    n

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  68. brad says:

    Grading season: One lot of semester projects this week, then a huge lot next week, then come the exams. Bleah – I love teaching, but I hate grading. That's not quite true: it's really nice to see good work, and to give it a good grade. Of course, the majority of work is *not* good. Wading through some piece of work that a student just couldn't be bothered with, writing down all the reasons it is ungood, takes far longer, and is far less pleasant.

    the employee confirmed it was to hide the reduced stocking levels

    Dunno if I buy your interpretation. Reducing the amount of displayed product indicates that the display area was too big for the amount people are buying. Likely, products were expiring before being sold.

    So: reduced stocking levels, yes, but not because of supply problems. The previous stocking levels were just too big for the store's turnover.

    If people were buying enough to justify the larger displays, then reducing the displays would mean running out during shopping hours. That would be a bigger problem than having a few empty spots in larger displays.

    Everyone with a big screen – proj or tv – wants 7 or more speakers to shake the house

    Well, I'm a stick in the mud, but not me. I am more than happy with high quality stereo. Why would I want to clutter up my living room with 5 additional speakers?

    On top of that, the current audio editing in shows and (especially) movies is terrible. More and more people complain that they cannot understand the dialogue, both because the actors mumble and because the other sounds drown out the voices. Putting in surround sound speakers that let sound effects shake your house – that will only make the problems worse.

    Jan 6

    Even my wife, who is a lot more liberal than I am, is shaking her head at the coverage.

    If even a fraction of the allegations of a setup are true – i.e., feds removing blockades and inviting people inside – then…good luck with that…

    Y'all still need a better candidate than Trump. The guy is too old, too narcissistic, and surrounds himself with too many yes-men. His only feature in 2016 was that he was better than Hillary. That may be his only feature in 2024 as well, if certain rumors are true.

    My programmer is sure the Republicans will flip both chambers in the election.  I'm sure the fraud will be epic.

    If there's one thing the Republicans should have known in 2020, they surely must know it now: They need observers in every district, all the time. There really should be cameras in all locations as well, with footage publicly available, or even live-streamed. You can't stop voter fraud, but you can stop counting fraud.

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