Issue #479 August 2014
4 bad speakers spoil the whole darn bunch... (a Street Stor!
I want to have a word with you, Amazon and Cyber Acoustics, so wipe that smirk off your face.
In the 20 years since my Atari 800 was superseded, Ive been throu!h probab"y #0 pairs of computer
speakers$not countin! the ones bui"t in to the monitor, which arent desi!ned for music or anythin! e"se more
comp"icated than %peak & %pe"" tones. %peakers dont "ast "on!. 'very time a pair breaks premature"y, that brand
!oes on my shit "ist. It happened a!ain
recent"y. Considerin! the cost of speakers, I
e(pect them to "ast at "east #0 years$and
thats bein! !enerous.
%o a coup"e weeks a!o, I ordered a
new pair. I de"ayed this ish of The Last
Word because I fi!ured there was a chance
of bein! confronted by shoddy workmanship
in the new speakers, and if the new speakers
were bad, I didnt want to keep you waitin!
another month to read about them. )e"", I
didnt receive a bad pair of speakers. I
received two bad pairs of speakers* In fact,
both pairs set a record for shortest time it
took for me to return a somewhat ma+or
purchase.
I had to order off Amazon, because
theres no e"ectronics stores "eft in my area
that Im aware of. ,-.y area/ does not mean
0"orence or 'ast!ate. It means somep"ace
peop"e can actua""y !et to.1 2he brand I
initia""y ordered was Cyber Acoustics.
3emember that name, and make sure it
cakes itse"f onto your shit "ist as it now has
with mine.
It arrived a week "ater, and after I
opened the bo( and batt"ed throu!h another
bo( to unearth my new ac4uisition, I
p"u!!ed in the new pair of speakers and was
immediate"y dis!usted. 2hese speakers
advertised bi! bass and vo"ume. )e"", as
"on! as you werent usin! headphones, it
had bi! vo"ume$but if you put the vo"ume
"oud enou!h to actua""y hear it reasonab"y
we"", the sound !ot distorted and
overmodu"ated. I wou"dve been much better
off +ust usin! the monitor speakers.
5istenin! to the new speakers throu!h my headphones was even worse$because the sound didnt even !et that
"oud. I had the speakers at top vo"ume and had to strain to hear them usin! headphones. 2here was a separate bass
knob, but it didnt do anythin!. Abso"ute"y nothing. )ith a subwoofer bi! enou!h to take up ha"f the space under
my desk, youd think it wou"d at "east do something, but it didnt.
I immediate"y stuffed the speakers back in the bo( to be taken by the 67% peeps back to Amazon. 2hen I
noticed Amazon had added a specia" note to the pa!e for this product. It read...
"#hile this ite$ is a%ailable &ro$ other $arketplace sellers on this page' it is not
currentl o&&ered b A$a(on.co$ because custo$ers ha%e told us there $a be so$ething
wrong with our in%entor o& the ite$' the wa we are shipping it' or the wa it)s described here.
(*hanks &or the tip+!,
)hat does that mean8 %omeone a"so saw this messa!e on an Amazon pa!e for 9:9s of The Many Loves
Of Dobie Gillis and asked what it meant. %omebody rep"ied that this messa!e means Amazon has ceased to
direct"y offer the product because so many customers comp"ained about it bein! defective. %core one for me*
I think what rea""y did it for these speakers in Amazons eyes thou!h
is that most of the positive reviews seem to a"" sound "ike they were written
by the same person$someone at Cyber Acoustics perhaps. 2here were of
course some bad reviews too$many comp"ainin! about the same prob"ems I
had, but some reportin! other issues. ;ne customer said these speakers were
so bad that -now it is !oin! to !o out in the trash./ Another said that one of
the speakers "asted on"y 2 weeks before it stopped workin! a"to!ether.
Another "ikened it to a toy. %ti"" another said they were actua""y
reconditioned speakers so"d as new ,as evidenced by the scuff marks1.
<ut who cares if Amazon wont se"" your inferior product anymore8
=o bother* >ou can +ust se"" the same shit under a different name. After
sendin! back the first pair of speakers, I ordered a different brand. It arrived
a few days "ater, and when I opened the bo(, my heart sank. 2his pair of
speakers "ooked stran!e"y fami"iar. I pu""ed out the manua" and noticed that
it was for none other than...Cyber Acoustics speakers.
>es, Cyber Acoustics$or somebody$so"d a Cyber Acoustics
product under a different brand. 2hese speakers were a"most the same mode"
as the ones I had sent back$and worked +ust as horrib"y. 2here were some
very minor differences$for e(amp"e, the bass knob that didnt work was on
the subwoofer instead of the round !ad!et with the main vo"ume knob where
it be"on!ed$but overa"" it was the same !ro!an in a prettier packa!e.
2his product set another new record for shortest time it took for me
to return a si!nificant purchase$beatin! the record set by the previous
weeks speakers. I had the entire thin! a"most comp"ete"y packa!ed up to be sent back before I even received the
te(t messa!e from Amazon sayin! it had arrived. 2hats a new "ow even for e"ectronics purchases, which "on! a!o
!ot mi!hty proficient at hittin! new "ows.
%o then I ordered yet another brand. ?opefu""y, these wont turn out to be +ust the same pi"e of refuse
under a different name. .aybe if Im "ucky they"" "ast more than @ months.
2heres a "ot wron! in the wor"d$war, poverty, home"essness, disease. Aust because everythin! in "ife
stinks to hi!h he"" doesnt +ustify Cyber Acoustics se""in! a product that +ust au!ments the misery. I !uarantee you
the wor"d is no better of a p"ace because they so"d speakers that are "ess usefu" than the bubb"e wrap they arrived
in.
I)$ a $apper...I)$ a crapper...I)$ not -ake *apper...
3emember the funny o"d days when we in the carto!raphy biz had to draw maps by hand8 2hat was, "ike,
this past .ay.
<ut that was before free, open source mappin! software "ike .ap)indow BI% and CBI% was discovered.
=ow drawin! maps wi"" be a breeze* <ut on"y if poo.
<efore then, maps were drawn usin! a paint pro!ram and saved as ima!e fi"es. 2hese maps were easi"y
defaced by pryin! or shaky hands, and the defecation was hard to undo. <ut now$in the BI% era$the map data
itse"f is di!itized as shapefi"es that the pro!ram uses to draw features. I first dreamed of somethin! "ike this over a
4uarterDcentury a!o, but the future is now here*
?eres a samp"e taken from a rudimentary street map I 4uick"y drew up usin! one such pro!ram...
Im on"y showin! you the pro!rams basic features because youre +ust a novice. <ut these pro!rams can
e(port these maps as ima!es if youre carefu" enou!h and educated enou!h to know what youre doin!.
;nce you do that, you can of course use a paint pro!ram to mi( and match your maps with other ima!es.
0or e(amp"e, heres the oran!eDhaired woman who used to appear in the "oca" >e""ow 7a!es back in the E80s...
>es thanks to the wonders of %pace A!e techno"o!y, we can cut and paste the phone book woman in front
of our map...
;r$if the need arises ,and you know it wi""1$we can show the >e""ow 7a!es "ady dancin! frenetica""y in
front of our map...
)ith care, we can even show the phone book woman after she has stap"ed our map to her face as part of
her street map costume for a ?a""oween party...
2hese pro!rams can even edit shapefi"es* .ap)indow is somewhat s"ow and bu!!y in this re!ard$and
runs the risk of corruptin! entire shapefi"es and renderin! them a tota" "oss$but CBI% is 4uite efficient.
<e warned a"so that the 0"at 'arth %ociety seems to have had some hand in writin! these pro!rams. 2hese
pro!rams make it very difficu"t indeed to !et your map pro+ections +ust ri!ht. If youre not carefu" and inte""i!ent,
your maps wi"" be distorted, and even the measurin! too" wi"" !ive fa"se resu"ts.
In the immorta" words of Beor!e .ichae"F .aps are somethin! that we shou"d do. .aps are somethin!
for me and you.
#here thrills de.ect
%ay, arent you e(cited about the newest rides at Gin!s Is"and8 >eah, me neither.
I havent been to this amusement park since #HH0, and there are on"y a few zi""ion factors that keep me
from comin! back. 'verybody a!rees that Gin!s Is"and used to be better in my day$and much cheaper too. <ut
even o"d dinosaur bones "ike me wi"" admit that not everythin! was hunkyDdory at Gin!s Is"and even in past
decades.
If you !rew up periodica""y visitin! this abusement park, did you notice that the inerrant ->ou .ust <e
2his 2a"" 2o 3ide/ si!ns used to be
raised ever so s"i!ht"y each season8
Its true, its true, its a"" true* =o
4uestion about it. I remember bein! a
youn!ster and knowin! for sure that
Id be ta"" enou!h to ride certain rides
the fo""owin! summer$but theyd
a"ways raise the si!ns. ;ne of the
turnpike rides had a statue of a
<ritish cop to measure if you were
ta"" enou!h, and I out!rew him pretty
4uick"y. <ut at "east one of the other
rides was b"ockaded by a deceptive"y
round cartoon character who
mana!ed to !row a "itt"e bit each
year. %he must have been some
obscure ?annaD<arbera characterI
she was the one that was decked out
in pink. .y hei!ht never 4uite cau!ht
up with hers, as her statue was raised
a "itt"e bit every season.
'ventua""y, we stopped !oin!
to Gin!s Is"and each year because it
was !ettin! too cost"y and too borin!
$but we did !o to the o"d Americana
amusement park, where a "ikeness of
a cartoon bear or wo"f was posted at
some rides to measure !uests. ;nce, I
spit a hu!e "oo!ie ri!ht on the statues
nose because I wasnt ta"" enou!h to
ride.
Gin!s Is"and sti"" makes
e(tensive use of its measurin! stick
that it c"aims is never wron!. 2he
parks website features a vo"uminous -3ider ?ei!ht Buide/ for customers that says parents can have their kids
measured at one of severa" -hei!ht measurement stations/ where they can be !ranted a specia" wristband if theyre
ta"" enou!h. 2he document inc"udes a haran!ue a!ainst fo"ks puttin! their kids in p"atform shoes to -artificia""y/
boost their hei!ht.
A"" of this may be moot, because Gin!s Is"and has become so e(pensive that most peop"e wou"d rather
+ust stay home$and the park decides to +ust shut down when 3ea""y Important 7eop"e want to use it. A few
months a!o, a fami"y from out of town reported on a website that they went on a trip +ust to see Gin!s Is"and$
on"y to discover that the entire park was c"osed because of a private party. Gin!s Is"and said nothin! in advance
about this c"osure. 2hen the park refused to issue a refund for the tickets they had buyed in advance. 2he e(act
same thin! happened a coup"e years ear"ier to a customer who had purchased tickets for a !roup of overseas
students. It happened to another outDofDtown fami"y a year before that.
3eminds you of National Lampoon’s Vacation, doesnt it8
7"us, a"most a"" the !reat rides that I remember at Gin!s Is"and are now defunct. 3ides dont "ast very "on!
there$and never did. In fact, the first time I ever heard the word dismantled, it was in re!ard to a Gin!s Is"and
ride* I miss the turnpike cars$where I a"ways used to do the e(act opposite of what the si!ns a"on! the track said.
,0or instance, Id stop my car when I saw a si!n that said to keep movin!.1
Accordin! to "e!end, ru"es are put in p"ace for a reason. <ut when I disobeyed ru"es, it was because every
day I encountered ru"es at schoo" and other venues that seemed to make no sense$which bred disrespect for all
ru"es. )hy is it anyones concern if someone wears the -wron!/ co"or of socks to church8
Amusement parks +ust dont amuse me anymore. Id rather spend my day rep"acin! the pron!s in broken
=i!ht 3an!er 8Dtracks that I found behind the shoppin! center than !oin! to Gin!s Is"and.
/hanto$ /ooper disco%ers rail transport0
)ith the !reat new invention of the rai"road$the iron chariot$it seems that a who"e new vista of
opportunity has been opened up for the 7hantom 7ooper.
In 6(brid!e, .assachusetts, po"ice are ur!in! fo"ks to stop shittin! on movin! trains from overpasses.
Cops had received comp"aints from rai"road emp"oyees sayin! peop"e were e(pe""in! their bowe" movements off
brid!es onto trains. 2he po"ice department even issued a statement sayin!, -)e have no idea what wou"d possess
someone to drop their pants and poop on a passin! train, but !uess what, it is happenin!./ A "oca" newspaper said
a !roup of J peop"e -dropped their drawers and defecated on the train./
2hat means they pooped.
2he remarkab"e thin! is that J peop"e who were !athered to!ether were ab"e to take a dump a"" at the
same time. 2hats "ike how when I was !rowin! up, every member of the fami"y a"" had to use the bathroom at the
same time$so if one person was monopo"izin! the +ohnnydumper, everyone e"se was out of "uck.
Copyri!ht K 20#J. A"" ri!hts reserved.