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Apparently It Is Too Easy to Drive and Park on South Main Street   5 comments

Posted at 10:21 pm in commentary

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So here's the Latest Good Idea From the Folks Who Brought You Stadium Lighting:

A major facelift is being planned for Columbia’s South Main Street that would narrow it from four to two lanes and eliminate all on-street parking.

Written by ted on June 14th, 2017

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Adam West: 10 June 2017   6 comments

Posted at 10:56 pm in commentary

Some time late in 1965, or early in 1966 I was watching daytime TV. I never went to kindergarten, and hadn't started first grade yet, so at the time I was home all day with my mother. In general, she liked for me to be doing something, prefably outside, rather than watching TV, but it would have been cold out so I was watching game shows. Let's Make a Deal was always my favorite because of all the doors and the booby prizes, but I think this one was The Match Game. At any rate, it had a semi-celebrity panel playing the game, not that I knew who any of them were, and during the course of the game each of them got to casually drop a little promo for whatever their latest project was.

There was one guy who said he was going to star in a show called Batman which was premiering soon. There was some back and forth joking with the other panelists to the effect "Oh, so, you can turn into a bat, or what?", and that really stuck with me. I really wanted to see a show about a guy who could turn into a bat!

That little PR squib was, to the best of my memory, all I knew about "Batman". I knew who "Superman" was, of course, but "Batman" was a complete unknown quantity. I couldn't read at the time, so I didn't know comic books, and while I knew comic strips in the paper, "Batman" was not one of them. But I made sure my parents knew I wanted to see this new show when it came on, and was fully prepared for a show about a man who could turn into a bat. (I didn't realize how far beyond what a 1960s TV show could do an effect like that would be..). What I got, of course, was something completely different -- and thrilling: The Neil Hefti theme song, the animated opening sequence and the most noble and steely-eyed hero on televison. I was hooked from minute one, and I had *no* idea I was watching a comedy. I hung on Batman's noble words, thrilled at his (and Robin's) daring escapes and chilled at the colorful cast of scenery chewing villans...

The man on that game show, and behind the mask was, of course Adam West. An up and coming journeyman actor before the show, forever typecast after the show. In time he learned to get beyond the fact that the big roles never came again, and to embrace being "Adam West: Batman". He played the Gray Ghost on the classic animated Batman series, and recently returned for one more outing behind the (animated) mask last year in Return of the Caped Crusaders.

Away from the spotlights, he apparently lived a full and happy life. With that, and making the world a bit more four-colored and brighter, who can quarrel?

Written by ted on June 10th, 2017

Radio Shack, Again   no comments

Posted at 10:33 pm in commentary

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Back on 20 April, I decided to finally see "Logan" before it left first-run theaters. As it happened, I was at the beach, and as also often happens, the Myrtle Beach theaters had their own notions of what was "current". In the end, I had to run to Conway to catch the show.

As I overplanned the transit-time, I had a few minutes to drive around the shopping area near the theater, and the Radio Shack above caught my eye. I knew they had had a second bankruptcy by then, so I wasn't surprised to see it closing, but the chain kind of slipped out of my mind again after that, and I didn't really have any idea how things were proceding. 'Not well', is the answer:

Over the Memorial Day weekend, RadioShack—which filed for bankruptcy twice in two years—closed over 1,000 stores, leaving just 70 corporate locations and 500 dealer stores in operation across the U.S. Throughout the weekend, the consumer electronics retailer announced a liquidation sale that played out on social media. Social media represents a new plot twist for America's dying retailers: How do you toast a brand's final days when the world is watching?

RadioShack opted for unadulterated bleakness. The company's social media handle on Twitter shared photos that depicted the sale of store fixtures, $25 grab bags stuffed with items pieced at $5 apiece, and deeply discounted printers. Here are some tweets that highlighted the carnage.

Take that in for a second. I don't know if it's more surprising that they still had over 1000 stores, or that they closed over 1000 stores in a weekend, but it's impressive in its own grim way.

The dealer stores will probably make do; I think they are mostly small market independant electronics stores that basically use the Radio Shack affiliation to signal that they're a step up from Uncle Bob's convenience store that has phone chargers. I don't see what the point of a corporate store is at all with just 70 though.

Patrick Stewart deserves a Best Supporting Actor Oscar, by the way.

Written by ted on June 1st, 2017

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Worst Case Scenario? -- It's True   6 comments

Posted at 2:26 am in commentary

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Seen at the Dutch Square Hardee's by commenter uscnurse

Written by ted on May 26th, 2017

Carolina Wiring Service, 1366 Rosewood Drive: Not Closed   2 comments

Posted at 12:14 am in commentary

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UPDATE 23 May 2017 -- Well I'm re-writing this post because I was wrong about Carolina Wiring being closed. I was fooled by the fact that the trucks weren't there, but as I learned in a nice note from Travis at that operation, they are working on the building, and are still very much around.

So if you need "anything from Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) systems to Dedicated Home Theaters", you can get up with them at 803-748-9473 and wiredbycws.com.

I still like these old Dairy Queen buildings, and if you saw Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 then you know this DQ design featured in a key scene:

Written by ted on May 23rd, 2017

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Free Comic Book Day 2017   no comments

Posted at 11:58 pm in commentary

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Just a reminder that Saturday is Free Comic Book Day 2017. Click the link or image to find local stores participating.

Written by ted on May 5th, 2017

Don't Let The Soft Shell Fool You   2 comments

Posted at 11:15 pm in commentary

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They're still crabs, and it will be a tough interview. Prepare accordingly.

Written by ted on May 3rd, 2017

New Life For Old Malls, But Not Here   6 comments

Posted at 12:22 am in commentary

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Interesting article on Bloomberg:

Desperate Malls Turn to Concerts and Food Trucks

Malls are fighting for shoppers with one thing their web rivals can’t offer: parking lots.

With customer traffic sagging, U.S. retail landlords are using their sprawling concrete lots to host events such as carnivals, concerts and food-truck festivals. They’re aiming to lure visitors with experiences that can’t be replicated online -- and then get them inside the properties to spend some money.

“Events draw people to come to the shopping center,” said Craig Herkimer, whose company, KevaWorks Inc., is working with big landlords including GGP Inc. and Simon Property Group Inc. to produce outdoor events. “They generate revenue for the owner and offer a chance for cross-promotion, so they can try and drive more customers into the stores.”

I've not noticed anything of this sort in Columbia. To me Dutch Square & Columbia Mall would be iffy, but it seems like a natural concept for the top deck at Richland Mall, whereas in the event all they have on top is a closed garden center and at the side some sort of Farmers' Market that I've never actually seen open.

Written by ted on April 22nd, 2017

Chuck Berry: 18 March 2017   15 comments

Posted at 12:25 am in commentary

A flawed man, but no Chuck Berry -- no Rock & Roll. Go Johnny Go.

Written by ted on March 19th, 2017

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Moderate Snowfall, Moderate Snowman   1 comment

Posted at 8:41 pm in commentary

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Written by ted on March 12th, 2017

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