Let’s dicker.

I was looking at a pair of shorts on an online store the other day, trying to decide if they would suit, when I took a closer look at the price, teased with the red pixels that indicate markdowns and savings: $49 retail, marked down to $48.93. Seven cents. (Please let’s not make this discussion whether it’s right to pay $50 for a pair of shorts. I concede it isn’t, but these were a specialty item, and I was only window-shopping.)

I’ve been having good luck with online chat on retail sites, so I summoned up some poor sap in the Philippines and we had some back-and-forth over this. My side amounted to really? and his was all about profuse apologies and we’ll-get-to-the-bottom-of-this. Check back! he advised.

Today I did. The shorts had been put on real sale this time:


I’ve also been looking at an item on my holiday gift list. You can buy it directly from the manufacturer for $99. Ever since I made the mistake of comparing it to the Amazon price, I’ve been served an ad for it regularly. It started at $119, which is baffling enough, but today it changed to this:


I assume this is another example of Amazon’s forward-thinking dynamic pricing, also known as the one where the shoes you want are, ooh, sorry, not available at the lower end of the price range we just teased you with to get you to click from the Google search. Rather, you’ll be paying the other price, the top one, maybe more. It turns out the cheap price is only for people who want them in chartreuse and size 2. Know any tiny people with itty-bitty feet and no color sense? Tell them the world is their oyster.

I’ve seen this enough times that it has pushed me away from shopping on Amazon. Based on the absurdity of the price-chop on those shorts, I can only assume it’s spreading, or seeping, or something.

Can one of you tech-savvy people explain what’s going on? I sorta understand about the shoes, but I’m baffled by the meat thermometer. If you can find the same thing, in 10 different colors, on the manufacturer’s website at price X, why would you pay 50 percent more somewhere else?

The mysteries of our brave new world often leave me cold.

A few short links here, at least one of which basically has nothing to do with Him, although maybe with the mysteries of our brave new world: How Twitter became plagued with trolls and abuse, and has stayed that way for nearly a decade.

My friend Amy Welborn homeschooled her two boys for four years, and is writing a pretty great blog series on why and how she did it (and might do it again). She’s not hostile to public education, and is a strict-but-not-insane Catholic, so I found it interesting. It seems she did it for the right reason, which boils down to: School sucks, not all the time, but a lot of the time, and if you have the right temperament, the right kids, the right skills and the means to do so? Why not. This is part four, which I link because she has the links to the other parts right at the top, and you can go from there.

Himself’s North Carolina director is alleged to have pointed a loaded gun at a colleague’s knee. Are you surprised? Didn’t think so.

Finally, Jon Favreau, the former Obama speechwriter and current pundit/podcaster, has a column up about how to react when the inevitable Trump comeback narrative is unleashed later in the campaign. You might want to clip and save.

And here it is, the weekend again. Enjoy it.

Posted at 12:01 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

69 responses to “Let’s dicker.”

  1. Sherri said on August 12, 2016 at 2:48 am

    When I look for the Thermapen on Amazon, it shows me a price ranging from $148 to $164, but none of those are actually from Amazon, they’re from third parties shipping through Amazon. Amazon’s prices are mysterious enough, but the third party fulfilled by Amazon prices are often really bizarre. I will sometimes pay a bit more to buy something for Amazon rather than have to type my credit card into yet another site, or to get something faster since I’m a Prime member, but I pay close attention to the third party sellers. Amazon’s been letting counterfeiters run too rampant there trying to compete with Ali Baba.

    617 chars

  2. Sherri said on August 12, 2016 at 3:51 am

    Twitter is the most spectacularly successful incompetently run company I’ve ever seen. Well, successful in a way – millions of users who use it all the time, but in 10 years, they’ve never made a profit. And it’s not in the way that Amazon went years without making a profit – Amazon could have shown a profit many years before they did, but Bezos kept putting that money back into the company – but because Twitter has never figured out what the hell its business model is.

    Twitter isn’t unique among tech companies in not being able to see the needs and problems of people other than privileged white males, they’re just more dickish about it and exceptionally incompetent at formulating a strategy to deal with anything. Maybe a third-party could have come up with some tools to help, but in one of Twitterr’s strategic whipsaws, they stopped publishing and supporting the API that allowed that sort of development.

    There’s a whole cadre of technobros on top in Silicon Valley who are just insufficiently socialized or something, and have never figured out that the real world doesn’t look like they think it does in their RPGs. Cryptocurrency isn’t immune to he challenges of fiat currency just because of math, ultra free speech really does do harm, they aren’t going to live forever if they just find the magic formula, and their libertarian utopia would probably smell like shit. Maybe we can convince them that the answer to it all is to colonize another world, and they’ve been selected for the B ark. We’ll immediately know which one haven’t read Douglas Adams, and they’ll be first onboard!

    1610 chars

  3. BigHank53 said on August 12, 2016 at 4:24 am

    Oh God, third-party resellers on Amazon. Here’s a decent story (found on Longreads) on them, and how they’re nearly killing this poor guy’s small business:


    That’s why you’ll run into weirdly high prices on Amazon and eBay: they only need a few lazy fish to bite on the hook.

    The other thing you’ll run into is dynamic pricing, which is the practice of trying to figure out if you’re the sort of person who can (and does) pay more because you’re in a hurry or a lazy shopper or you live in a pricey zipcode. You thought your computer was anonymous–ha! Forbes has a short piece on the practice:


    807 chars

  4. David C. said on August 12, 2016 at 6:18 am

    We all probably have “sucker” digitally stamped on our online foreheads. Amazon collects so much data on us that the one time we bought something for a higher price than we should it stamps us and tries to see if we’ll do it again. I find I’m buying much less on Amazon than I used to. Their prices just aren’t as good as they once were.

    337 chars

  5. ROGirl said on August 12, 2016 at 6:55 am

    The Favreau piece articulates much of what I have been thinking, but I would add that: 1) Trump doesn’t really want to be President, and 2) attention and controversy are the only things he lives for. He could probably keep doing what he’s doing now — running around the country with full media attention and adoring crowds, orchestrating the daily momentum — well beyond election day.

    386 chars

  6. Suzanne said on August 12, 2016 at 8:06 am

    I try to avoid Amazon when possible. I’ve had too many issues with them in the past few years-sending the wrong thing thing, book covers torn, minor stuff but annoying. Add that to how they reportedly treat their workers and I just try to go elsewhere.

    This whole Trump thing is fascinating on one level, horribly frightening on another. I listened to a story on NPR yesterday regarding the flap over Mr T saying that Hillary & Obama founded ISIS. The commentators tried so hard to rationally discuss the spin & parse his words and the whole time I wanted to scream that No! In parts of the country (mine for one) people will totally believe exactly what he said which is that Clinton & Obama started a terrorist group. Not facilitated its growth by selling weapons, leaving Iraq too soon, etc. No, that is not how they think. They will believe that the POTUS & Sec of State called up some lunatic fringe clerics and told them to start terrorizing people. As I read the editorials in the papers and listen to pundits on TV & radio, I keep going back to the fact that rational, sensible people do not get the number of people out there who really, truly believe that what people like Glenn Beck & Bill O’Reilly say is as true as the date on the calendar.

    1281 chars

  7. Pam said on August 12, 2016 at 8:40 am

    It’s my opinion that virtually everything is priced higher on Amazon than on other sites. I almost never shop there. I’ve found that if you want a specific thing and you keep rejecting the higher prices, then google will eventually cough up the same item at a lower price. But you have to show what my mother called “buyer resistance”. I am sometimes amazed at what they do. Let’s say you’re looking for a rug. Severals days searching and all you get is the high priced rugs. Don’t buy. More days and you get, Buy today and today only for a 10% discount. Don’t buy. Then search again and you may finally get some decent prices, which is the price that the thing is really worth, not necessarily a bargain. Sometimes, I still may not buy because I hate being manipulated by google.

    791 chars

  8. john (not mccain) said on August 12, 2016 at 8:53 am

    The only things I use Amazon for are cat food/litter, which is cheaper than buying it at a store and having it delivered is a godsend for people without a car, and dvds. The collapse of the dvd market is the best thing to happen to movie fanatics in years. Most of the movies I’ve bought in the past few months have been in the $5-$10 range. However, today I noticed that some optimistic soul is asking $500 for a new dvd copy of the Liam Neeson/Jessica Lange movie Rob Roy. The blu ray is $11.89. Such optimism is inspiring.

    530 chars

  9. Julie Robinson said on August 12, 2016 at 8:58 am

    On Amazon, I’ve found it pays to scroll, since often the top item is available a little farther down for less. For the same exact item. Which explains why someone would pay $149 from Amazon rather than $99 on another site; the laziness factor.

    Last week I ordered some bras online and ever since my hubby’s Facebook feed is inundated with ads from the site I used, for bras. Whut? Not that he doesn’t enjoy looking at ladies in bras, he would never buy a bra for me. Or anything else. His idea of shopping is for me to do the shopping. For everything. I’ve even bought suits for him, without him.

    Yesterday in Orlando: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/politics/os-donald-trump-marco-rubio-lgbt-protest-20160811-story.html. Inside: Trump and conservative pastors at an anti-LGBT rally. Outside: my Pastor daughter, part of the protest and press conference. Couldn’t be prouder.

    885 chars

  10. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 12, 2016 at 9:05 am

    On Amy’s essays, I have to say in part 2 on the decision, if I’d heard that my son was told he couldn’t read if he got done early with stuff but had to put his head down on the desk, that would have had me rethinking things.

    As I probably say too often, I think everyone should homeschool their kids. The question is whether or not you’ll supplement with the public school program or not. We did, and have the usual mix (he said the day before dropping his only child off at college for the first time) of regrets, ruefulness, and reasons to be glad we did so. But it’s the cohort of folks who cannot get it through their heads you don’t just drop them off at K and get them educated exactly as you want at the end of grade 12 without doing some teaching yourself — they baffle me. Too much of the refrain “the school didn’t teach my kid [blank]” makes me cranky and irritable and even ready to say things my wife will tell me at home later I should regret.

    Speaking of which — Sherri, do you ever have nights where you want to grant a variance or permit, plan to do so, and the citizen is so unpleasant and rude and threatens litigation even when someone just asks a question, and they actually make you think about denying their request just on general principles? I thought so.

    (We granted one last night that left us all talking after the recorder was off and the chambers were cleared of observers; he was drunk, nasty, and so mean-spirited we all said “I kept thinking of Donald Trump!” yet there was no good reason to deny, and we hoped we’d feel better about ourselves tomorrow for doing the right thing. Hasn’t happened as of 9 am!)

    1652 chars

  11. Danny said on August 12, 2016 at 9:39 am

    Speaking of Amazon, I’m in need of a suggestion. My wife and I are learning French together (I’m relearning) and to spice things up and make it fun, we’ve been watching a lot of French movies. A few weeks ago, I bought a dvd from third party reseller on Amazon in France that also came with a digital copy. Unfortunately, neither version came with English subtitles and I’ve looked a bit for options, but no luck so far.

    I know versions of this delightful little romantic comedy exist that are subtitled because I watched it on my Lufthansa flight returning from Europe a few weeks back and they also had it at a French Canadian film festival, according to the Internet.

    I’m at a loss. I told my wife we have two options: I either find a copy with English subtitles or we learn French quickly.

    Anyone else encountered this and have a suggestion? The film is Le Gout des Merveilles (A Sense of Wonder) with actress Virginie Elfira who I have come to appreciate as a perfected version of Renee Zellweger.

    1015 chars

  12. Danny said on August 12, 2016 at 9:45 am

    Efira not Elfira

    16 chars

  13. Bitter Scribe said on August 12, 2016 at 10:25 am

    Trump is now saying that his claim that Obama was “a founder” of ISIS was “sarcasm.” His lawyer complained to CNN that “the mainstream media wants to pick on [his] every single word.”

    Uh, yeah, that’s what happens when you’re a major party’s nominee for president.

    Christ. Calling these people amateurs is an insult to amateurs.

    341 chars

  14. adrianne said on August 12, 2016 at 10:33 am

    I’m with Sherri on the plan to deport all of the libertarian jerks, i.e., tell them they’ve been selected for the “B” Ark, load them on, and then wave goodbye…forever! Douglas Adams was a genius. “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” is some of the best satire ever written. Always bring a towel!

    295 chars

  15. MichaelG said on August 12, 2016 at 10:35 am

    Finally arrived in Barcelona after three days of cancellations and re-routings. One full day spent in Salt Lake City and all day Wed and Thurs spent at JFK. Left JFK at midnight on Thurs/Fri and arrived here in BCN about 1:30 Fri aft. What a slog.

    250 chars

  16. Deborah said on August 12, 2016 at 10:44 am

    Last night Little Bird and I camped out in Abiquiu in the partly finished cabin to watch the Perseids meteor shower and wow was it spectacular. We set an alarm for midnight after retiring early, when we went up on the roof we saw about 3 meteors per minute. The most I have ever seen before, it was clear as a bell. I kept counting to 20 and sure enough before I could even finish there would be another one. I stayed up on the roof for about 2 hours with a pillow and sleeping bag, then when I went back to bed in the sleeping loft inside I could still see them through the windows, all in all I probably saw close to 350 – 400. I had a hard time falling back to sleep, and then a bat flew in the cabin (not all of the doors are installed in the lower level yet). We didn’t sleep much after that, the bat only stayed inside for a couple of seconds but it creeped us out. The stars were blazing overhead, that’s one of the things I absolutely love about Abiquiu.

    962 chars

  17. Judybusy said on August 12, 2016 at 11:12 am

    Deborah, so envious of that! I almost am never in country dark enough to see stars, and I realy miss it.

    MichaelG, Ugh! What a terrible start to the trip. I hope you really get to enjoy the rest of it.

    204 chars

  18. Jeff Borden said on August 12, 2016 at 11:25 am

    My newspapers inform me this morning that Macy’s will close 100 stores. I’m not a technophobe or a Luddite. Computers and the Internet have made a lot of things easier for me. But I do like real stores with real people who can answer real questions. Last week, my wife and I took a handful of Barnes & Noble gift cards to one of the few brick-and-mortar locations still open. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed walking around, picking up books based on their covers or blurbs, and perusing shelf after shelf of music and DVDs. No sane person can argue against the convenience of online retailing, but I can testify that we spent far more than the value of our gift cards because we kept stumbling over interesting books. Our purchases online are generally just a direct transaction with no browsing. I hope I don’t outlive stores, but who knows?

    847 chars

  19. Sherri said on August 12, 2016 at 11:48 am

    Jeff(tmmo), we haven’t had a situation yet where we granted a variance despite how obnoxious the person, but we did have a situation where an obnoxious person wanted a change to the code. We thought it was a bad idea anyway, but that he was so obviously obnoxious about it, and wanted the change to stop a particular project he didn’t like and had exhausted other means of stopping, and that the project was a mosque, made our decision especially easy and quick.

    462 chars

  20. Peter said on August 12, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Bitter Scribe, I was going to jump on that this morning – I just love how the mope tweets out that it WAS JUST SARCASM, when it was nothing of the sort. If he’s going to go full cray cray, he should have said he was being facetious.

    On my div win this morning I heard clips of the Donald with his sympathetic radio toadies; Hugh Hewitt was practically begging him to walk it back, but no – Donald said that he meant that POTUS and Hilliar created ISIS; they actually organized and created the organization.

    What a POS. Who’d have ever thought that I would long for the good old days of Snowzilla.

    606 chars

  21. Peter said on August 12, 2016 at 11:59 am

    sorry – meant drive in, not div win.

    Time to adjust those meds.

    67 chars

  22. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 12, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    There’s a certain gratification when the person requesting an intrusive or problematic variance makes it easy for us. The trick being not to enjoy that too much…

    163 chars

  23. Deborah said on August 12, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    I’ve been trying to order a couple of Bertoia type side chairs for the Abiquiu cabin. The Harry Bertoia originals from Knoll cost $700 each, so no thanks. But you can get knock-offs on line for anywhere from $79 to $250 each. Of course they have pleather pads not the nice leather ones that come with the originals. You have to have the pads on the seats or you get waffle but when you sit on them. I really don’t know how to judge which knock-offs to buy though because you can’t tell the quality from the photos online. Plus the prices are all over the map. I want to use them for dining chairs, I like that they are minimal and see through, since our space is so small.

    673 chars

  24. Deborah said on August 12, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    That’s waffle butt

    18 chars

  25. jcburns said on August 12, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    I’ll say!

    9 chars

  26. Dorothy said on August 12, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    Let’s all have a laugh today courtesy of Tom and Lorenzo. I have to say despite my love for Meryl Streep, this is straight up ridiculous:


    226 chars

  27. Sue said on August 12, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    Sherri, your Plan Commission doesn’t have the power to actually change the code, right? You recommend to your governing body (council, board)?
    Our PC and Zoning Board of Appeals occasionally get criticized for being a rubber stamp. It doesn’t occur to many people that the department head carefully reviews applications and communicates to applicants the viability of the request, and if he will recommend for or against, and why. Applicants can cancel their request early on in the procedure if they choose, or go forward. Most pull out, hence the unfair reputation.

    572 chars

  28. Scout said on August 12, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Today’s Blue (Red?) Light Special:


    85 chars

  29. nancy said on August 12, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    I was just served that ad for the meat thermometer again. The price has dropped to $148.50. BUYER RESISTANCE IS PAYING OFF, GUYS.

    129 chars

  30. jcburns said on August 12, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    That’s waffle butt, Nancy.

    26 chars

  31. Heather said on August 12, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    Waffle butt! My new all-purpose curse/put-down.

    I’m not surprised by the Macy’s announcement. There’s one in the mall across the street from where I work, and I went there about six months ago to buy some sheets (Martha Stewart sateen, which are barely sateen, but whatever). That was fine, but afterward I wandered down to the women’s clothing section to check it out. I found a jacket I liked, and I literally had to yell to alert someone that I wanted to pay for it–the floor was deserted. Actually there was one woman there at another register, but she said she couldn’t check me out–nor did she offer to find someone for me. While I like to shop on my own, there better be someone there to take my money when I’m ready to go.

    735 chars

  32. St Bitch said on August 12, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    The day after Nancy’s foray into sniffing distance of the mouth-breather, I noticed a front-page story in the Quad City Times about tRump’s promise of a 15% tax cut. I only caught a few lines of the column in passing, but it seemed too favorable towards the provocateur for comfort. Then the pundits put Iowa into play as a possible battleground. Ugh! This on the heels of finding out that my newly-minted niece-in-law (a few weeks ago in an Oregon country-club golf course ceremony I wasn’t sorry to miss), is a tRump supporter. At least my R brother and sister-in-law are sitting out this election. But is my nephew in his bride’s thrall? I’ll never ask.

    I’m driving into Chicago tomorrow with my Jamaican great-niece (in-law)…to treat her and myself to a matinee of The Book of Mormon, then dinner at The Green Zebra, a foodie vegetarian restaurant. If we get into the city early enough, we’ll duck into the Art Institute for a quick gander.

    My great-niece was in her mama’s belly when my Rastaman took me to Buff Bay to meet his family…and was born 20 days before we got married. Her birthday is coming up , but she’ll be out of town, so this is a celebration outing. I’m still wrapping my head around her re-entry into my life…here, in my hometown, where I’m only tarrying as long as Mom is alive. In the years since we’ve been in touch, she’s joined the Army as an American citizen; served in Afghanistan and Iraq; then was stationed in Germany and Hawaii after trying to commit suicide upon returning from the Middle East. Of all things, she chose The Rock Island Arsenal as her base for the next 3 years, not knowing it’s right on my doorstep. She’s now a staff sergeant and is an ongoing source of amazement.

    Anyway, I know you’re drenched from your meteor shower in NM, Deborah. Is there anyone else in the group that might be able to cross our path tomorrow? Alex? Sooner or later, I’m going to meet some of you in person. I believe Nancy can facilitate phone number exchanges, can’t she?

    Gotta fix lunch for Mom.

    2066 chars

  33. Jolene said on August 12, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    Never fear, St. B., Clinton is ahead in all battleground states, including Iowa. The margins range from 4 points in Iowa to 14 points in Colorado.

    Wish we could vote today. The prospect of a wounded Trump caterwauling in public for three months is not pleasant, but it’ll be worth it to see him humiliated.

    438 chars

  34. Deborah said on August 12, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    My new name for the Republican candidate is Putin’s Bitch http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/donald-trump-kissimmee-rally-protester-putins-btch

    146 chars

  35. Bitter Scribe said on August 12, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    Dorothy @26: As far as I’m concerned, when you’ve accomplished as much as Meryl Streep has, you’ve earned the right to wear any fucking thing you want. I have no idea who Tom and Lorenzo are, but I doubt they’ve done a tiny fraction as much in their field as Streep has done in hers.

    283 chars

  36. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 12, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    Sue, bless you. Exactly right.

    30 chars

  37. Dorothy said on August 12, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    Bitter – of COURSE she can wear what she wants. But I reserve the right to declare it ridiculous. T&L were right – it’s a laundry bag she’s wearing.

    Is anyone else watching Stranger Things on Netflix? I’ve seen 5 of the 8 episodes so far. It scares the crap out of me and it’s not gory. Not yet, anyway. The kid actors are all terrific.

    347 chars

  38. nancy said on August 12, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    Tom & Lorenzo may be bloggers, but they bring a very professional outlook and philosophy to their work. They are very funny and frequently snarky, but rarely unfair. They take the position that actresses and entertainers who are performing their job-related tasks, as Streep was doing here, are fair game for criticism of their turnout. For a long time they didn’t ever criticize paparazzi going-to-Starbucks-in-sweats pictures, and even now, they seem to be pretty restrained in street-style criticism. (I don’t recall them ever making a statement about it, but I would imagine they figure that in the Instagram/cameraphone era, celebrities dress as carefully for a shopping trip in NYC as they would a C-level red carpet, and hence: Fair game.) Unlike other shithead celeb bloggers, they don’t do hot-mess pictures (unless it’s on the red carpet).

    OK, one T-Lo criticism: They are way too smitten with Laverne Cox. But everyone is allowed their favorites.

    972 chars

  39. Dorothy said on August 12, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    And they do NOT tolerate any body shamers. They kick out commenters who do so which I respect. They’re very strict.

    116 chars

  40. alex said on August 12, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    Sorry I won’t get to see you this time, St. B. It sounds like you have a great weekend planned out. I’m heading to Naptown for a long-overdue visit with an old friend.

    Wouldn’t mind having a set of Bertoia waffle-butt chairs myself. Deborah, here are some Eames chairs that are similar and only $1950 for the set: http://bamchicago.com/lens_galleries/furniture/

    365 chars

  41. Sue said on August 12, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    I love the nicknames: Grandma Betty for Queen Elizabeth, Cathy Cambridge for her granddaughter in law, Madge/Mags for Madonna.
    And it’s not just Laverne Cox. Helena Bonham Carter shows up looking like Miss Havisham Goes To The Army Surplus Store and they rave about her style.
    But I’m totally there on letting Crazy Aunt Emma Thompson and Dame Helen Mirren wear whatever they want. TLo are correct on that.

    413 chars

  42. alex said on August 12, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    Sorry, you gotta go to image #16 of #48 for the Eames waffle-butt chairs. Lotsa cool stuff to see there, though!

    112 chars

  43. nancy said on August 12, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    Helen Mirren? Or Queen Helen of Fanfuckingtastica?

    50 chars

  44. Sue said on August 12, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    The very one.

    13 chars

  45. David C. said on August 12, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    Not to sound like I just fell off the turnip truck or anything, but why do all the pictures show Olympic medalists biting them?

    127 chars

  46. Jolene said on August 12, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    Here’s the answer, David. Or, at least, an answer.


    147 chars

  47. David C. said on August 12, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    That’s pretty boring, isn’t it? They do it because someone did it once and now they all do it because they can’t think of anything better to do. What happened to the good old days of Olympic black power salutes?

    211 chars

  48. Deborah said on August 12, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    The outfit Meryl Streep is wearing looks like something by an avant garde designer like Rei Kawakubo for Comme Des Garçons, or even Issey Miyake, maybe Yohji Yamamoto. Some of the Japanese designers make stuff like that. Actually I don’t think it’s so bad.

    257 chars

  49. Deborah said on August 12, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    Here’s an example of Comme Des Garçons, check out the price http://www.dotcomme.net/collections/women/products/2d-felt-dress

    125 chars

  50. Sherri said on August 12, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    Sue, to answer your question about the authority of our planning commission, we make recommendations to the city council, which has the ultimate say. The planning department works with anybody proposing a change quite a while before it ever comes to us, and when it does come to us, the planning department has made a recommendation, along with an outline of other alternatives and why they chose not to recommend them. We discuss the matter and raise potential issues, hold a public hearing, discuss some more and resolve any issues raised, and make a recommendation to the council. That process usually takes place over 2-3 meetings, plus another meeting to approve the formal report to council. It will then take council at least two meetings even if they just rubber stamp what we’ve done. If they change it and do something outside the scope of what we discussed, they have to hold another public hearing, and that means another 2-3 meetings.

    We try not to just rubber stamp or to just change things to say we did something. I try to remember we represent everybody, not just people who make noise, who vote, or who are home owners. It’s an interesting place to be, because Redmond has and continues to change very rapidly. Thirty years ago, it was still almost semi-rural, twenty years ago it was suburban, and now it’s transitioning to a semi-urban area with a couple of dense urban cores. Needless to say, not everyone is happy about it, but we are also required to accept this amount of growth by state law, plus we have a big jobs-housing imbalance which, I keep trying to explain to people, is a big source of our major traffic problems. (People always complain about the traffic more housing will bring. Traffic is the first thing people bring up to complain about something new they don’t want.)

    1812 chars

  51. alex said on August 12, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    Just witnessed a fun frolic on the courthouse lawn in Auburn, Indiana, that looked like a Monty Python short. Pokemon.

    Wish I’d snapped a photo of s sign I saw on a busker’s violin case on Boul Mich earlier this week–“Rare Pokemon if you tip.”

    248 chars

  52. Joe K said on August 12, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    Dang Alax I was just down at the band pavilion listening to choice,
    Wish I would have known you were in town.
    Pilot Joe

    121 chars

  53. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 12, 2016 at 10:56 pm

    And parking.

    12 chars

  54. MichaelG said on August 13, 2016 at 9:19 am

    In many intersections in BCN the corners of the buildings are cut off and set back 20 feet or so. This really opens up the intersection and humanizes it. It’s very nice.

    The young women are wearing short shorts that show the bottoms of their bottoms and also nice airy frocks. All quite fetching. Girl watching is very nice here. I also feel like a dirty old man. It reminds me of one day in the army. We were standing in formation and a young lady walked by on the street. This was at Ft. Bragg. The First Sergeant looked at us and at the young lady. “You men are like a bunch of goddamn dogs chasing a car. If you caught one you wouldn’t know what to do with it.”

    I walked past a beautiful old restaurant this afternoon. It’s in what I learned is a 14th Cent building. It’s rather up scale. Anyway there was an ancient but lovingly maintained Royal Enfield bike parked in front. I walked in and an older (late fifties looking) guy asked if he could help me. The place was closed so he wasn’t exactly welcoming. I asked if I could make a reservation for this evening and mentioned that I had noticed that beautiful bike out front. He said it was his. It’s a 1950 500cc thumper. Next thing I was sitting at the bar having a beer and some olives and we were talking. He wouldn’t let me pay for the beer.

    More about my three and one half day trip to BCN later.

    Just looked up thermapen on Amazon and my price was $118.76.


    Contact me. I’ll get you a deal.

    1719 chars

  55. Deborah said on August 13, 2016 at 9:54 am

    Michael G, great stories. Barcelona is known urbanistically for its cutaway corners. It works well because it’s so consistent. It sets up a nice repeating pattern, and as you say it feels good. Every once in awhile a large building will be built in Chicago with a cutaway corner and it doesn’t work because it’s out of context.

    327 chars

  56. Sherri said on August 13, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    The cutaway corners are part of the design standards being proposed in a part of our downtown we’re currently working on, the idea being to improve the pedestrian experience. It’s just part of many things going on in the area in anticipation of light rail coming in about 7 years.

    280 chars

  57. Deborah said on August 13, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    A big milestone for Jeff tmmo seeing his son off to college today. I remember that day when I said goodbye to Little Bird at the Kansas City Art Institute. I made it out to a place where I could cry my eyes out.

    211 chars

  58. ROGirl said on August 13, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    The Comme des Garcons dress price doesn’t bother me so much, but it’s 100% polyester. Slimy, non-breathable, cheapass polyester.

    128 chars

  59. brian stouder said on August 13, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    Lemme just say – Simone Biles RULES!.

    If General Mills has any advertising money at all, they need to get her onto their Wheaties boxes…and although I’ve not been a breakfast cereal eater in decades, I’d buy it every week!

    248 chars

  60. Jolene said on August 13, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    If it’s too hot to go outside, but you’re tired of the Olympics, here are Slightly More Than 100 Exceptional Works of Journalism.

    285 chars

  61. MichaelG said on August 13, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    As I understand it, the cut away corners were part of a larger urban design for Barcelona that was concocted by a chap named Ildefons Cerda.


    The cut away corner concept makes for an excellent pedestrian experience but I can see property owners screaming. It certainly does cut down on billable square footage.

    Here’s a look at how the intersections appear.


    You can play around with the various views if you are so inclined. My favorite Barcelona bookstore is at the corner of Carrer del Rosello and Carrer de Balmes in roughly the center of the screen. The change from square corners dramatically alters the character of the neighborhood. If it could be worked out (I’m not going to try to convince property owners) it would be wonderful.

    So I had heard about Delta’s woes and left home early on Tuesday. My scheduled route was from Sac to Salt Lake City to Amsterdam to Barcelona arriving on Wed. Delta said all my flights were good. Everything was smooth at SMF and my flight to SLC took off and landed on time. Trip to AMS was scheduled for 2:10 PM. It was shown as on time for the longest time until it started to slip an hour at a time. At about 6:00 PM it was cancelled.

    It took seemingly forever to get rebooked but I finally ended up with a redeye leaving SLC at midnight Tues and arriving JFK at 6:30 Wed morning and departing for Barcelona at 10:30 that evening. So after spending a whole day cooling my heels at SLC, I was looking at a long day of nothing at JFK which I spent in Delta’s Sky Lounge.

    At 10:30 Wed night, Delta announced that that aircraft had gone tech and that my flight was cancelled for the second day in a row. The whole planeload of loudly disgruntled passengers was rebooked on a special flight Thursday night at 9:00 PM At least I got a night in a fleabag out of that.

    Thursday AM I was back for another day at the Delta Lounge at JFK. What else was I going to do? I learned that my checked bag had somehow gotten airborne and was waiting for me at BCN. A third whole day at the airport.

    Come Thurs evening, the board showed our 9:00 flight delayed until 10:00. A half hour later it was 10:45. Fuck, I thought. So it starts. I ended up talking to an agent who informed me that a first officer was on a flight from Raleigh-Durham and was due in 15 minutes and that the aircraft was being flown up from Atlanta and was due at about the same time. In the end, we ended up leaving JFK at midnight Thurs and arriving here at BCN about 1:30 in the aft.

    Three long days of sitting at airports reading and staring out the window and vegging. The Delta club serves free booze and people all around me were getting liquored up. For some reason, I didn’t feel like partaking. Part of it was I just didn’t feel like it and part of it was I felt like I should keep a clear head. Three days without even a glass of wine. Not my usual MO. Barely ate anything as well. A couple of carrot sticks. I think I’ve taken up enough room.

    3177 chars

  62. Deborah said on August 13, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    Wow, sorry you had to go through the travel mess up MichaelG, I would have been in need of a straight jacket.

    It was supposed to be a bright sunny day in Abiquiu, so we scheduled a picnic with my husband’s sister and brother-in-law who are in Santa Fe for the opera. Of course it’s storming like mad with flood warnings. Rain is good so it’s hard to complain. We moved the picnic to our apartment. We can’t even sit outside because it’s raining here too.

    457 chars

  63. Jolene said on August 13, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    Ugh! What an ordeal, MichaelG. And what a bummer to have days stolen from your stay in Barcelona. Glad that things have gone better since you got there.

    152 chars

  64. Heather said on August 13, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    Three days lost and stuck in airports is beyond ridiculous. I hope you can get some compensation. I was pissed when I lost one day in Lisbon due to weather in Chicago (a pretty serious blizzard). Luckily United let me push back my flight on the way back to compensate, no charge.

    279 chars

  65. jcburns said on August 14, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    That’s really waffle butt, MichaelG.

    43 chars

  66. Deborah said on August 14, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    I can’t tell you how honored I feel that you guys have accepted waffle butt as a turn of phrase.

    96 chars

  67. basset said on August 14, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    Remember the old VW ads?


    160 chars

  68. Jessica said on August 15, 2016 at 8:54 am

    The company that manufactures Thermapen not only offers them at a lower price than those Amazon resellers, it has a screen on its website about the resellers. At the moment you can get the older model, which is essentially identical to the new one with fewer bells and whistles, for $79. An excellent deal.

    Shopping on Amazon is becoming a sport or a life skill. You have to know which items are offered by Amazon itself and which by the innumerable resellers. Not clear yet to me why some items attract resellers and some don’t.

    536 chars

  69. Jessica said on August 15, 2016 at 8:58 am

    And then there’s algorithm-driven opportunistic pricing for used books on the Amazon site. The day after Mary Ann Madden (she of the New York Magazine puzzle) died, her collections of the best entries were selling for $10 to $30. A couple of weeks later, nothing below $200.

    The algorithms will eventually notice that nobody is buying at those prices, but it takes a few months at least.

    392 chars