Archive for the ‘Miscellanea’ Category

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Walmart Fails to Deliver

01/22/2021

Color me gobsmacked. (Is that really a color?) I knew it was bad out there but this situation was an eye-opener. Due to the lockdown, instead of going to a brick and mortar for a much needed scanner/printer, I shopped online, a frustrating endeavor to be sure.

After hours of research, I settled on a Canon Pixma and proceeded to look for it at a price in my budget range. Believe me it took a lot of research and time to finally come up with a printer and source. Walmart is not my usual retailer but it was the only offer that would work for me. So I placed an order on 1/12 and received an acknowledgement that included an arrival date of 1/20. Subsequent confirmations gave the same date. A UPS shipping label was generated on 1/13 and my credit card debit cleared on 1/14. All good, right? Heh. 1/20 came and went without a sign of a printer. This did not bode well. I initiated an email to the third-party seller through the Walmart site and this is the response I received:

Hrumph. So I called Walmart and after a couple of attempts, spoke to “David”. Pleasant enough guy but he told me that Walmart was not responsible though they would issue a refund that my bank is currently holding. Guess they don’t trust Walmart either.  Regardless, it’s too late for me since the good prices, discounts and product availability have evaporated. A comparable printer will cost double to triple what I paid Walmart assuming there is a model with the same specs. David also told me that the vendor, PTM, does not have an address so there is no physical location. A guy in his mom’s basement perhaps?

What really speaks ill of “PTM” is that they knew they hadn’t shipped the item but failed to notify me so the funds could be returned and I could shop elsewhere. The only reason anything happened on it today was because I initiated a query to Walmart. Apparently, Walmart does not require a follow-up from a vendor when an item has shipped so basically you are on your own. The pile of work on my desk will have to wait for a future printer sale and a windfall of cash.

The lack of concern and responsibility is mind-bogglingly stupid in any age but particularly in the age of social media. 

I won’t order from Walmart again. Far too much trouble. Whenever the lockdown ends and I can go to local merchants, Walmart and the like had better look elsewhere for buyers because I won’t be one of them. Am I alone in this? How about you? Do you expect to return to your former brick and mortar sources or has the lockdown turned you into an online shopping addict?

 

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Sometimes Things Just Don’t Go As Planned

11/20/2020

Challenging times for everyone but I would like to update you on one particular stumbling block I have encountered.

After more than a year of frequent crashes, freezes and unexpected restarts, my laptop died in January. In March, I was lucky enough to borrow an old laptop though it was on its way to computer heaven or possibly hell with as many as four blue screens and various softwear repairs per day. It died permanently a month ago.

Now I am without a computer as well as the means to write posts and edit photos. Even my six-year-old phone has taken to crashing and WordPress is its enemy anyway. Perhaps there will be an affordable laptop with good specs in the Black Friday or Cyber Monday offerings. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

In the meantime, I am working on things to upload that are short on text. I have been surprised at how many websites and programs are incompatible with an Android phone. So we shall see what can be done with such limited resources. Life certainly has gotten tricky.

See you soon!

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A George Raft Autograph And The Pen

09/26/2020

Films and film stars of the 1930’s, 40’s and early 50’s have fascinated me for years. Film noir and musicals are of particular interest though the Thin Man movies and My Man Godfrey all starring William Powell are favorites, too. However, the man at the top of my list is George Raft, a dancer on Broadway before becoming a leading man in Hollywood. He was also a very good man, uncommon in the cut-throat entertainment industry.

George was born 125 years ago today, September 26, which got me looking at files and photos. Based on autographs, he most often used a fountain pen with brown ink. I have also seen him use turquoise. He appreciated and could afford the finest quality available so it would be reasonable to assume he owned a Montblanc pen. Both of the ink colors, especially for the time, showed sophisticated taste, not surprising for the debonair actor. I wonder which brand of ink he used.

This autograph from my collection could have been written with a ballpoint pen. What do you think? If so, that would date it to the mid 1950’s or later when ballpoints became common. The paper has yellowed and appears to be at least that old. “George” is written less firmly than “Raft” so either it was written on an uneven surface or the pen failed to write consistently when first put to paper. There are none of the blobs of ink that one would expect from a ballpoint so perhaps the signature was written with a fountain pen. Again, what do you think?

If you have an interest in George Raft, here are some notes from research for a possible tribute site. Perhaps because he was and still is a legend, there is a bit of inaccurate information about him circulating online. Correcting the record suits the investigative journalist in me. Whether that comes about or not, he made audiences during the Depression, World War II and the beginning of the Cold War, forget their troubles. For that alone, he has earned my respect.

Often remembered as the quintessential movie gangster, he was also a romantic lead adept at comedy as well as drama. He insisted his tough guy characters have redeeming qualities. None were all bad even the most villainous ones.

From his start on the mean streets of Hell’s Kitchen to dancing on Broadway to making movies in Hollywood, George became a style icon, suave, handsome, kind, funny, charming, generous and ever the gentleman. Women whether fans or friends adored him. His prowess was legendary but he never spoke ill of any woman much to his credit. It might seem incongruous, but he was self-effacing, shy, and insecure. He needed no pick-up lines since his shyness kept him from making the first move. He was an unassuming ladies’ man for which he was richly rewarded.

A genuine tough guy, George was fully capable of decking any comer should one be foolish enough to ask for it and not afraid to stand up for what he knew was right. He was resilient, perhaps because life knocked him around, but it also made him empathetic and generous to a fault. He was forever giving money away and expected nothing in return. He basically lived by his own code of helping others whenever he could. He was a very, very good man.

George was one of the highest paid actors of the 1930’s. His earliest outstanding role was as the coin-flipping Guino Rinaldo in Scarface (1932). If there had been a supporting actor category that year, he would have at least been nominated if not the winner. Several other films were standouts include Bolero (1934), Each Dawn I Die (1939), They Drive by Night (1940) and Some Like It Hot (1959). My current favorite is Red Light (1949) for George’s performance though not the plot line. Nocturne (1946) is also a good film.

He dropped out of school at the age of eleven and for the rest of his life was embarrassed by his lack of education. His prodigious memory may have filled the gap as he was nevertheless said to be a most charming companion.

A lack of belief in himself, made selecting scripts difficult. George said he never regarded himself as an actor. “I wanted to be me”.

George had some very bad advice and made some poor choices of films. He made Bogart’s career by turning down High Sierra and, on the advice of his agent, The Maltese Falcon, a film that would have been perfect for him.

His acting suffered at the hands of mediocre directors. Good ones brought out good performances whether comedy or drama just as working with good actors elevated his delivery. He had chops as they say, but he was seldom encouraged to show it. Hollywood was a narrow-minded and often cruel place to work (still is), and George like Jimmy Cagney and other multi-talented actors were seldom allowed to stray beyond unimaginative type-casting. However, George was feisty and fought for what he thought would be better roles earning him a reputation for being difficult. His chutzpah was admirable even if his choices were not.

But first and foremost, George was a dancer. He was a self-taught, natural dancer who spent countless hours honing his skills. Known for his lightning-fast legs, sensual hip motion and light footwork, he was smooth, classy and could make the tango an act of vertical seduction. He was the bad boy any woman could love. (Links below.)

The quintessential tough guy said this about himself: “I must have gone through $10 million during my career. Part of the loot went for gambling, part for horses, and part for women. The rest I spent foolishly.”

Charismatic whether the villain, hero or someone in between, George Raft deserves legend status if not for the roles he played, then the man he was.

George Raft and Janet Blair Dance the Tango in Broadway (1942).  Another version edited to Dean Martin’s Sway. Watch their hands. Elegant and sensual even if suited to a G rating. The first clip is the original though interrupted by some cuts to other characters. It is still worth watching. I have read that this film was at least in part based on George’s real life experiences on Broadway.

George Raft and Carole Lombard in Rumba (1935). Carole was not a dancer but she was very athletic. George had to manage her as well as the gorgeous dress. He makes her the focus but in truth he was the star.

George Raft Dances to Sing Sing Sing by Louis Prima (1929). Not the original score but very fitting. Look at the legwork and the fit of George’s clothes. He was still doing these moves when he was 60!

George Raft Enhanced Dance Scene from Loan Shark (1954). Not that anyone could imitate George’s swaying hips or smooth moves, but dancing with him looked like something even an untrained partner could manage.

More videos at George Raft The Dancer and films at Hollywood-The Golden Age. My George Raft YouTube channel and George Raft Films have clips and films saved while doing research. One of my Pinterest boards has lots of photos from candid images to studio stills. If you want to learn more, he has his own Facebook group called George Raft The Actor, Dancer, Producer. Good stuff there.

 

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When Technology Fails, Lavender Ink Will Do

03/09/2020

A few weeks ago, my laptop died. It lived at least a year beyond its predicted demise so its death was not unexpected. Platinum Classic Lavender Black provided some solace. Purple is more soothing than my “happy dance” orange inks so it was the best choice for the frustrating circumstances. Yes, hopelessly an inkophile.

Equally predictable, the lack of a computer put a dent in my writing efforts. Until I can swing a new device, an old and somewhat unreliable laptop borrowed a couple of days ago will suffice though posts may be shorter in length than usual. I have to write quickly before it freezes and eats my words. That might not be a bad thing when I think about it.  Ha!

First though, I have weeks of catching up on other matters. Then, if no other insanity strikes, Inkophile will receive its due. Anything in particular you would like to see?

Platinum Classic Ink courtesy of Luxury Brands USA.

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Update To Trouble At Inkophile

05/23/2019

Thanks to generous readers, the ads on Inkophile will be eliminated for a year. Tech support was annoying. I am not fond of upselling or bait and switch. Parsing through answers that don’t address the questions asked is another challenge. To their credit, the employees who tried to help wrote decent English. Either that or were good at copy and paste.

Due to the betrayal of trust, my domain registration will remain at GoDaddy and not make the move to WP. Count me skeptical that prices and packages won’t change next year, but for now, we are good.

Happy dance!

Gene Kelly Dancing On Apica Paper

Gene Kelly dancing on Apica paper.

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Google’s Prying Eyes

05/20/2019

Google is tracking everything you buy online. Everything! Look at your purchases page. It even tracks when an order will be delivered. You will need to be logged into your Google account to access the info but it certainly does explain a lot.

Go to the Google support page if you want to know more about how that intrusive tracking works.

Sometimes I swear I’ve only thought about purchasing an item and ads about it show up. But that’s not possible, or is it?

Privacy is indeed a relic of the past.

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Trouble At Inkophile, Part 3

05/16/2019

Yesterday, my daughter mentioned that she does not object to the ads on Instagram. Me, too, and for the same reasons she does.

  • Ads are infrequent and easy to scroll past.
  • They are well-targeted and of real interest.
  • They are not spammy but usually attractive and nicely photographed.
  • Ads are less repetitive than on other sites rarely showing up more than a few times.
  • Comments about the product are easily accessed even before clicking the ad.
  • Legitimacy is attested to by the content and quantity of the comments.

Twice I have purchased fountain pens through ads on Instagram. There is no other site at which I have made even one purchase of any sort through an ad.

Instagram has certainly figured out what works. So I suppose I am not opposed to ads entirely – just ugly, gross, stupid, irrelevant ones that demand my attention and distract from otherwise interesting web pages.

Do you know of any sites with ads that are acceptable, even interesting?

For context, read Trouble at Inkophile and Trouble at Inkophile, Part 2.

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