Bizarro Burberry hybrid coat/vest

Described as a "posh mash-up of uptown and downtown," this Burberry outerwear offering is just downright weird. It combines a classy women's camel hair coat (the "uptown") with a red/taupe puffer vest (the "downtown," which is inexplicably attached upside down with a zipper to the coat).

Now, I don't pretend to follow fashion but this seems like a strange thing to do to a perfectly good coat. What makes it even more unusual? Its price. It's available at Nordstrom as the "2-in-1 Camel Hair Coat with Reversible Puffer Vest" for $3,790 and on the Burberry site as the "Camel Hair Tailored Coat with Detachable Gilet" for the same price.

One suggested way of wearing it

Thanks, Andy!

images via Nordstrom

Scholar finds John Milton's copy of Shakespeare, marked up with corrections and improvements

Photo of a folio copy of Shakespeare, with marginalia written by John Milton

University of Cambridge lecturer Jason Scott-Warren was looking at an original 1623 folio copy of Shakespeare's plays, when thought he recognized the handwriting in the margins: John Milton.

Was it possible that he'd identified Milton's personal copy of Shakespeare? It was jammed full of marginalia, and scholars for years had wondered who had written those scribblings. If it was Milton, then they had a record "of arguably the second-greatest 17th-century writer reading the first."

So Scott-Warren went to his blog and wrote a post arguing his hypothesis, hit "publish" -- and the world of 17th-century English literary studies went faintly nuts. Turns out they agreed with him and now they're all flipping out with excitement.

One of the best parts about Milton's notes is that he keeps on suggesting corrections and improvements to Shakespeare. As the Washington Post writes (my apologies if this is paywalled):

Milton’s marginalia range from line-editing — crossing out an adjective and offering an alternative — to flagging preferred passages to fixing Shakespeare’s meter, ensuring it conforms perfectly to the rules of iambic pentameter. At one point, Milton rewrites the title of what may be Shakespeare’s most famous work: The play becomes “Juliet and Romeo,” not vice versa. [snip]

Bourne came to cherish particular edits. For example, the time the commenter suggested “wicked tongue” instead of “idle tongue” in Hamlet. Or the time he proposed that Juliet was “past hope, past cure, past help” instead of “past hope, past care, past help” in “Romeo and Juliet.” [snip]

It’s unclear why Milton may have made the marginalia and revisions. But — despite the man’s well-documented massive ego — Scott-Warren, Bourne and experts cautioned against the idea that Milton saw himself as a superior writer entitled to edit Shakespeare.

It was more likely that Milton saw himself as correcting others’ errors — saving Shakespeare, who died seven years before the folio appeared, from the printer, according to Scott-Warren.

“I don’t think it’s about wanting to do it better than Shakespeare; I think it’s about appreciating the immense potential of the texts,” Scott-Warren said. “Milton is a real admirer of Shakespeare. He thinks Shakespeare is a brilliant writer, and he wants the text to be as brilliant as it can be.”

The Guardian also has a good story on this, and the post at the Intelligencer is probably the funniest on the subject.

Woman burning love letters sets apartment on fire

A woman in Lincoln, Nebraska was burning love letters from her ex when she fell asleep. She was woken by the smoke alarms with her apartment on fire. Insert joke here about hot love affairs, burning passion, etc. From UPI:

Police said there were no injuries, but the fire caused about $4,000 worth of damage...

The woman was cited for negligent burning, police said.

Colt "suspends production" of AR-15 rifles for consumers

Armalite created the AR-15, sold the rights to Colt in the fifties, and the design long ago emerged from patent and became widely-copied. The AR-15 itself will no longer be made for consumers by Colt, it says. It says they're just not that popular among consumers and the company needs to focus on institutional sales.

The fact of the matter is that over the last few years, the market for modern sporting rifles has experienced significant excess manufacturing capacity. Given this level of manufacturing capacity, we believe there is adequate supply for modern sporting rifles for the foreseeable future. ... At the end of the day, we believe it is good sense to follow consumer demand and to adjust as market dynamics change. Colt has been a stout supporter of the Second Amendment for over 180 years, remains so, and will continue to provide its customers with the finest quality firearms in the world.

Missing in a lot of the coverage is the fact lots of companies make AR-15s. Colt not making AR-15s is like Sony not making laptops.

Interview with Rare Blues Collector John Tefteller, who bought a $37,100 record

John Tefteller is a well-known rare blues record collector. In 2013, Tefteller purchased “Alcohol and Jake Blues” by Tommy Johnson (1930), a very rare blues 78 rpm record, on eBay for $37,100.

Tommy Johnson made five records for the Paramount label in 1929 and 1930. Johnson, unrelated to bluesman Robert Johnson, was a little known and very under-appreciated singer/guitar player from Crystal Springs, Mississippi.

I love collecting records (mainly 33 rpm). However, being the budget-conscious (i.e. “cheap”) record consumer, I will gripe when paying over $37 for a record at Amoeba Music while John Tefteller paid $37,100 for one.

What made this Tommy Johnson blues record so rare? How did Tefteller get into collecting 78 rpm records? What advice does he have for folks wanting to get into collecting 78 rpm records? John Tefteller was kind enough to speak to me and provide insights on the unique world of 78 record collecting.

Why is “Alcohol and Jake Blues” by Tommy Johnson the rarest blues record?

That’s not the rarest blues record. It’s complicated when you say “rarest.” The way I look at it, “rarest” means that only one copy remains in existence. Then, you can call it the “rarest.”

What makes these blues 78s so rare today?

In the 1920s and 1930s the companies that produced these records made limited copies of the records for a limited audience. That small audience, through time, either broke, wore the records out or threw them away. The record companies rarely kept any masters and there was no way to trace the purchasing and selling of the music. So, it’s made these blues records from that period extraordinarily hard to find.

Everything changed after WWII. There was better record keeping. However, the records from 1926 to 1935, if you can find them today, are super rare.

Back to the “Alcohol and Jake Blues” by Tommy Johnson record, how did you find that?

I had a copy of that record (before the eBay purchase), which was the only [known] copy in existence. But it was really beat up, noisy and distorted. On eBay, I saw that somebody in South Carolina was selling it. He had a picture of it and it was in nice shape. I put in a really “stupid” high bid because here’s a chance for me to get another copy of that record. I had no idea what the record would sell for. I knew how rare it was but didn’t know how desirable it was.

Well, I made it (the winning bid) for $37,100. When it was first listed, the seller was asking $100 for it but within a few days, the price shot up.

Did the seller of the record realize how rare it was?

I don’t think so. The owner bought it at an estate sale for a few dollars. [Note: Tefteller went to South Carolina to pick up the record in person.]

How many records do you own including all the formats: 78, 33, 45 etc.?

My business, World’s Rarest Records, has an inventory about half a million records. While my person collection is around 5,000 records.

When did you start collecting 78 rpms and blues 78 rpms? 

1972. I was a kid in Jr. High School back then. But it wasn’t until the 1980s when I started to collect blues records.

Vinyl album sales in the U.S. have grown for the 13th consecutive year. Any insights on vinyl’s popularity?

What I see is that people are tired of music that doesn’t come with anything. The music comes off a computer or phone, but it doesn’t have a cover to it, photographs, liner notes—there’s nothing to attach to other than the music.

The young people buying records like the concept of a visual thing with the listening pleasure. When you combine the two together, it’s a more powerful experience than just downloading the song from a computer. Young people are enjoying the option of holding a 33 rpm record or 45 rpm record. There are some companies that are even reproducing 78 rpm records.

Artist Robert Crumb is a famous 78 rpm collector. Any other famous folks who collect 78s?

Keith Richards is a collector. The actor Matt Dillon collects rare pre-Castro era Cuban 78s.

Robert Crumb was a big 78 collector and still has a very diverse collection which includes jazz, jug bands, popular acts, ethnic music, blues, etc. My collection has a focus on blues, rare blues. Crumb is currently really not buying anything these days.

Any advice for folks looking to get into collecting 78 rpms?

There is different advice for folks collecting specific types of records. It’s best first-off to limit yourself to things you really like and that are affordable to you. Stay within your ability to buy them.

And for purchasing a 78 rpm record player?

You can get a cheap 78 rpm record player on the market today for $100. But I don’t advise you doing that; in fact, you might do more harm to the records. There are players in the $500-600 range that are decent. Then, there are turntables that cost thousands of dollars.

I often come across 78 rpms in thrift stores and garage sales. Is that a good way to get into collecting 78s?

I don’t recommend collecting the “old way”: thrift stores, estate sales, swap meets. You can do that, but you’ll be combing through a lot of beat up records in poor condition. That approach to collecting takes a lot of time, patience and dealing with frustrations.

Find out who the 78 rpm dealers are, the honest guys, the ones who specialize in the genre you’re looking to collect. Go with them and stick with them.

According to John Tefteller, this particular audio “is taken from the original super beat up copy and poorly equalized. It sounds awful.”

Tefteller suggests checking out the good-sounding reissues on CD sold on There are also loads of fantastic blues-related items like CDs, shirts, calendars, posters, etc.

Image: The Vinyl Factory

What killed Adrian Lamo?

Adrian Lamo is most famous for turning U.S. Army intelligence analyst and whistleblower Chelsea Manning in to the authorities, but was already well-known among hackers and journalists because of his penetration of The New York Times' source database, subsequent conviction for the hack, and his sparkling personality. He died mysteriously last year in what many assumed was suicide or murder, but NPR's Dina Temple-Raston investigated his last months and found a tragic figure in failing health, evicted by his carers and in chronic pain. He likely died overdosing prescription drugs, kratom and nootropics after suffering a twisted leg.

His doctor was in the process of weaning him off some of the medications, including reducing the three different benzodiazepines he was taking. That is of particular interest because about a month before Lamo died, the FDA came out with a medical alert — a warning against mixing benzos with kratom. The combination had been linked to dozens of deaths.

"A few assessable cases with fatal outcomes raise concern that kratom is being used in combination with other drugs that affect the brain, including ... benzodiazepines," the alert read. Rohrig said Lamo had a handful of what he called designer benzos in his system, some of which weren't available by prescription in the U.S.

"The most common way of getting these particular ones is basically off the Internet," Rohrig told us. "You can order them and have them shipped to whatever address you want." Debbie Scroggin assumed that lots of the pills and supplements coming into the house were in those packages addressed to Adrian Alfonso.

Enjoy being an unpleasant goose in Untitled Goose Game

In Untitled Goose Game, you are the goose: an irascible, annoying, hostile bird waddling around the environs of your pond, attacking children and ruining things.

It's a lovely morning in the village, and you are a horrible goose.

Makes me think of a cross between Katamari Damacy and Postal. It's made by Aussie developer House House -- Jacob Strasser, Nico Disseldorp, Michael McMaster and Stuart Gillespie-Cook--and published by Panic.

Sexy Mr. Rogers costume

Trashwear retailer Yandy has released the perfect costume for Halloween 2019: sexy Mr Rogers. (Previously)

Won't you be my neighbor? Entice your friends next door with your playful puppets! Suit up with a neck tie, and be the friendliest next door neighbor in town in this exclusive Nicest Neighbor costume featuring a red top with a V-neckline, long fitted sleeves, a white detachable collar with a black neck tie, and matching high waisted gray shorts with belt loops. (Hand puppets, wig, belt and socks not included.)

Amazon has plenty of gray wigs in the requisite style, but those hand puppets seem hard to find.

Make meals your way with this 9-in-1 programmable pressure cooker

Life isn't getting any less hectic, and pressure cookers are a quick, healthy solution for a growing number of kitchens. But if you thought your Instant Pot was versatile, there's a major upgrade on the market: The Yedi 9-in-1 Total Package Instant Programmable Pressure Cooker. If you've somehow never used a pressure cooker before, try this thing out. It might just replace the microwave as your go-to meal maker.

The Yedi 9-in-1 currently has an average of 4 1/2 stars on Amazon, with well over 1,000 reviews and counting. No wonder: True to its name, it can be used to pressure cook, slow cook, sauté, steam, make cakes, pasteurize, make yogurt, cook rice, make eggs or warm food, all of which you can do with a single touch. In all, there are 15 microprocessor settings to fit most any food you care to put into it. Prepare everything from your favorite chili recipe to a whole frozen chicken, all in half the time.

And its versatility isn't just limited to single dishes. Unlike the Instant Pot, you can cook two meals at once by adding the stainless steel steamer basket.

Right now, the Yedi 9-in-1 is on sale for 10% off at $89, but you can take a further 15% off by using the online code COOKING15OFF for a total of $75.65. Take your pick between copper, stainless steel, or matte black.

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