Tonight’s the Night!

The series finale of The Americans airs tonight on FX.  It’s a little too late to start watching it now, but if you should find it on a streaming service, it’s absolutely worth your time. The Americans was simultaneously one of the best TV shows of the 21st century, yet also one of the most underrated  of all time.

The Americans

So… Goodbye to Philip and Elizabeth, and Paige and Stan… and poor Henry! It was a hell of a ride!

HISTORY REPEATS: The Berners Street Hoax

Hi! I’m Jim! I have a newly redesigned website where I sometimes share quirky tales from history. Every Monday for the next four weeks, I’m going to share one of those stories to (re)acquaint you with those tales in a feature I call HISTORY REPEATS.

Our second tale is about the Berners Street Hoax… quite possibly the greatest prank of all time:

Berners Street wasn’t very wide to begin with, and as word of the deliveries spread, onlookers appeared. The street was completely clogged with angry merchants, curious bystanders and police, who wanted to know why traffic had come to a complete stop on Oxford Street. As it happened, traffic had ground to a halt throughout much of London. But Hook had it all planned out. Like a symphony, this prank was approaching a crescendo.

It’s a hilarious story guaranteed to make your sides split! Check it out:

The Berners Street Hoax

HISTORY REPEATS: Timothy Dexter

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Hi! I’m Jim! I have a newly redesigned website where I sometimes share quirky tales from history. Every Monday for the next four weeks, I’m going to share a story from my site to (re)acquaint you with some of those tales in a feature I call HISTORY REPEATS.

I’ll kick this off with the amazing true story of Timothy Dexter, a Colonial American who, by all accounts, should be remembered as “the worst businessman in history”… except for his unbelievable string of good luck:

A group of high society types then told Dexter he could make money by shipping gloves to the South Sea Islands… and you can guess what happened next: Dexter’s ship of gloves arrived just as some Portuguese ships were about to leave on a trading mission to China. The Portuguese bought all the gloves, and once again Timothy Dexter, like some sort of 18th century Kozmo Kramer, fell backwards into money.

It’s an amazing tale! You should check it out:

Timothy Dexter: Informer of Deer

Quick Site Update

Hi Folks!

A quick update about a “bug” I found on the new site: if you want to embed a YouTube video in a WordPress post, all you have to do is paste the URL into it, like this:

Incidentally, I’m kind of obsessed with that song – if you have time, you should give it a listen!

It wasn’t always like this. Before WordPress supported this natively, a third-party plug-in was needed to embed videos. I used one called Smart Youtube PRO, which worked the same way, but you had to add a V before the http part of the link, like this:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgUfdhd9fzU

I haven’t reinstalled the plug-in yet, so for now every post from 2015 or earlier that has an embedded YouTube video is broken. I don’t know if I want to track down every single post on this site that has a video and convert each one to the “new” WP native format – that’d be a lot of work.  It would be much easier to simply reinstall the plug-in… but lots of those old posts contained music videos, many of which have since been deleted from YouTube. So I kinda need to go through those posts anyway, to see if I can find replacements for all the deleted videos. Or I could just leave the whole mess as it is.

I’ll keep you posted.

 

I’m Back!

Hi Folks!

My apologies if you tried accessing this site in the past week. There was some… unpleasantness between myself and my former host. So after 16 years I ditched them for a new one! But since my former host also has a separate registrar, I thought it best (not to mention cheaper) to move my domain to Namecheap. My former host (and registrar) held on to the domain name to the very last second before releasing it… which finally happened in the wee hours this morning. So now I’m back… “from outer space!”

I hope you like the new look! When moving the site, I was much more concerned about technical stuff. When all that went off without a hitch, I suddenly realized this was a semi-creative endeavor, too. So at worst I’d have to recreate the theme of the old site. Come to find out, I went with the Twenty Seventeen default instead. I’m easy like that. Expect a few tweaks in the next couple weeks, though.

ONE BIG CHANGE: Please update your RSS feeds if you’re one of the 7 people who actually get feeds from this site! Also, my old site was in a subdirectory (jimcofer.com/personal), while the new site is not. If you have trouble with the site, make sure it’s not going to the old address. UPDATE: I added a server-side redirect, so if autocomplete takes you to /personal, you’ll be 301’d to the new site.

Thanks!

Jim

A Random Memory

Back in the 80s, some time after my family moved from one end of a suburban Atlanta county to another, a married couple moved in a few houses down. The husband was, I think, a former big wig in the Air Force. He’d retired and moved to Atlanta for a new job. Somewhere between 6 months to a year after they moved in, their youngest son failed out of college and moved back in with his parents.

I worshiped this guy. I was a 14 year-old dork, and he was a cool 20 year old guy who’d been away… in college! He liked all the cool bands, movies and art. Cool literally oozed out of this guy. And he especially dressed cool – I started wearing a single rubber bracelet – yes, the same ones Madonna would wear 20 per wrist back in the 80s… just ‘cos this guy did, too.

Now, I’m not gonna lie and say we were friends. He didn’t know anyone in Atlanta when he first moved there, and I was “the kid down the street who liked Bauhaus too, and was good for a laugh on a Tuesday night”. Still, we hung out fairly often, at least for a few months until he got connections to people his age in the city.

And so: in 1985, when I was 14, this dude invited me to see Love and Rockets with him. He bought me a few beers – another cool thing about the guy was that he’d been grandfathered into the drinking age hike, so could buy beer at 20. And I, being 14 and with little alcohol experience, got blitzed.

The venue was a “cinema & drafthouse” that was converting to live music, so security was kind of lax. About halfway through the show, I drunkenly crawled up on stage and propped myself up against the speaker next to David J. He looked down at me, but did nothing. Since I – 5’9″ and 117 lbs soaking wet – didn’t seem like a threat, neither did security. So that’s where I sat for about half the show.

Afterwards, my friend, who’d brought his fancy 35mm camera, magically convinced the back doorman that we were from Creative Loafing, the city’s alt-weekly. We got backstage and hung out for a bit, which was cool. But then the party moved to the Winnebago the band had rented. After a while inside, I realized wasn’t feeling so hot, alcohol-wise. So I stepped out of the RV for some fresh air. While standing there, I got the idea of doodling on the side of the RV with a Sharpie I’d brought. A few minutes later, Daniel Ash poked his head out the door. Instead of getting angry, Ash laughed, came outside and drew on the RV for several minutes with me before they left.

Somewhere I have a fuzzy, black & white photo of our “artwork” on the side of the Winnebago.