Big Beat Steve

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    Dr. Funkenstein

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  1. Overall on the recording scene of the 50s Nick Stabulas wasn't that rare a name in the line-ups, though. So I don't think the "obscure" tag fits him.
  2. COVID-19 III: No Politics For Thee

    Turn to the Swiss. It's them who have been reported as considering getting rid of their ordered AZ stocks "lock stock and barrel".
  3. COVID-19 III: No Politics For Thee

    @Dan Gould: I agree about the question(ability) of proven specific effectiveness of over 65s. But don't tell me. Be puzzled about the way of communication in the EU instead. And ask yourself if what you said would not rather make the case for Merkel and Steinmeier BECOMING role models with the AZ vaccine, for example. What I find to be cause for concern is the zigzagging of the statements in the media (by the leaders, their orgnizations or anybody else feeling qualified to make a statement). Unfortunately this just does not build up trust. As for your other statements ... "It works? Get it out to the public. There are greater risks that you will end up hospitalized or dead as age increases, so the elderly and certain other favored groups are getting them first " Not that I would disagree with the basic premise but the gist of what I understood about the working principle of the AZ vaccine is that it may have more incalculable side effects on the human body than the totally different principle of the Biontech and Moderna vaccines. Side effects that experts are cautious not to rule out totally but relativize to being a "very small risk". Because they know that more definitive statements would have needed more long-term trials. I am not too surprised that some (particularly in the medical professions) are concerned because of this. Because the way I understood this (though I may have overlooked something) the only prior vaccines working on the AZ principle actually in use had been used for local epidemics in Africa on a (comparably) exceedingly small cohort of patients, i.e. not comparable at all. As for the "certain other favored groups", I still feel those "other favored grups" ought to include all medical workers - with the BEST vaccine available (there MUST be supplies of Biontech and Moderna after all). They deserve it more than many in far-removed office jobs. "That's actually proof that it works, it's priming the pump of the immune system to be a hard-ass bitch against this stuff." I know you are quoting what others say, and looking at it in an isolated way I understand this line of reasoning and would not object. But - again - what about the other vaccines (not necessarily Corona-related), then, that have PROVEN to be effective without any sizable number of patients suffering severe side effects after vaccination? Now are they less good than AZ that apaprently often hits you in the head to show its effectiveness? Again - which way is it supposed to be? At best this reasoning is inconsistent, at worst I am afraid it - again - in the view of many in the PUBLIC boils down to a question of "The better (being vaccinated with hardly any side effects) is the enemy of the good (being vaccinated with a more definite risk of side effects)." In fact there is another aspect in this. Are any antibody tests being done prior to vaccination? In the US? Elsewhere? I know here they usually aren't. What if these severe reactions are the result of antibodies already present in the body that would then result in a severe antibody overshoot (with corresponding reactions) if a vacination were to be added on top of this. There are indices that this might be an aspect to consider. As for Israel, I marvel at the way they ORGANIZE this at speed. Maybe the fact that they live in a permanent state of semi-war alert helps getting large-scale actions like that rolled out fast and effectively. But even disregarding the near-war alert state other countries certainly can take a lesson. And if you ever wonder about the oh so great organizational efficiency of Germany (that no doubt was real for a very long time), don't believe a word! At least not in its current state.
  4. COVID-19 III: No Politics For Thee

    It's not as clear as that, and rash comments are totally uncalled for. Disregarding the "opt out" percentage of persons (which I guess exists in any country and which you really can only hope will sort out themselves over time), AZ has not exactly endeared themselves to the public in Continental Europe firstly because they unilaterally cut down contractually agreed deliveries in the early phase of their delivery schedule earlier this year (whereas the UK was supplied in full), which is about as bad a way to build up trust as it can possibly be. This has not just upset attempted schedules in the early vaccination phase (as it added to the cutback of Biontech supplies due to a rebuild of a major production plant) but also caused severe irritations and frustration among the political deciders in the EU, up to publicly voiced complaints that AZ had "taken the EU for a ride". Add to this the undeniable fact that the effectiveness rates of the AZ vaccine ARE lower than those of Biontech and Moderna (plus likely way substandard communication policy by AZ themselves) and you are in for a bad start. And then, following medical advice, several EU countries decided not to administer the AZ vaccine to persons over 65 - due to insufficient evidence of its effectiveness based on the EU approval info submitted by AZ. This does contrast sharply with that the Grauniad claims in its statement about the alleded peredomiance of elderly cohorts tested by AZ. So which is which? Is this another way to build up trust, I ask you? No doubt the vaccination program rollout in Germany so far is not what it ought to be and so far has been too slow in gathering momentum, but it really does NOT help if you see the meandering in the communications of the politicians that first were forthright in the differences of effectiveness and then switched to all sorts of contortions in their "argumentations" that AZ all of a sudden was oh so good which reeked very much of "you gotta make do with what we got" (but where do the Biontech and Moderna supplies go, one wonders?). Add to this that, of all groups of the population, the medical personnel (part of stage 2 candiates following the over-80 ones, retirement homes etc. which made up stage 1 and are largely taken care of by now if you believe the press statements) have now AGAIN been singled out for the AZ vaccine. Of all groups ... those working the medical field, at the forefront of the risk exposure, often unknowingly and untraceably in contact with irresponsible patients seeking out the doctors DESPITE the fact that they ought not to in thier condition, etc.? And there ARE concerns about the functioning principle of the AZ vaccine which differs fundamentally from that of Biontech and Moderna and it can only be hoped for that there are no side effects, not even long-term ones (which do matter to members of the medical professions because many are in the younger age groups). Note that even experts state that the risk is "very low", not that it has been proven through comphenensive testing that by all humanly possible yardsticks there is none. I'd wager a statement that many among the medical profession aren't irrational as you insinuate but just are aware of potential implications of this "technical side" of the vaccines and therefore ARE concerned. They are just plain worried. So don't you at least understand that they are less than pleased or wary of what the deciders want to shove down their veins, come what may? And at the risk of getting political (but this entire subject IS political and has been so for a very long time, let's face it ...), dig this quote form the Grauniad: "Asked whether she would volunteer to be administered with the vaccine, Merkel said: “I am 66 years old and I do not belong to the recommended group for AstraZeneca.” Similar tones came from Steinmeier, our president who the other day publicly said he had no understanding for those choosy about the vacine brand. Adding that "of course he and his wife would have themselves vacinated." What he did not say, though, that they were going to get the AZ vaccine. Fine way of reasoning, "I'm above the age bracket and hey, give me the better stuff!" As if 66 or 65 (cf. the "cutoff date") by itself made a significant difference, particularly since the AZ vacine seems to be OK for senior citizens in the UK and the medical experts cannot be all dumb there either? And then talk about role models to entice people to get vaccinated (as has been advocated only recently, .e.g. in certain ethnic groups of the population, e.g. the UK, isn't it, Sidewinder?). In short, our leaders are just plain chickening out. Not the ideal way to build up trust either. Add to this case-based evidence (read a couple of my earler posts) and the picture just IS not all clear. I had a talk about this last night with my better half - she works in the medical field - at a dentist - and is therefore among those at the forefront of aerosol exposure, despite protective gear which LITERALLY is a burden for them. Hence her hesitations, and of course she gets feedback from colleagues or patients who work in other fields of the medical profession. And you know what? She has had feedback from about 15 persons in recent days who had been vaccinated with AZ. And virtually every one of them had had severe side effects which went well beyond the usual pain at the point of injection in your arm and had them feel weak or even sidelined for days. Virtually everyone! And most of them were in the younger age bracket, which seems to be indicating there is a problem there too, not (just) among the over-65s. These stronger and more frequent side effects were noticed elsewhere too, but all of a sudden the media and politicans tell us "oh those side effects are good because they show the body reacts to the vaccine and builds up antibodies". So by inference any other vaccine that the patient supports well without side effects (which elsewhere is often touted to be the ideal case) is useless or at least less effective? Which is which then, and when? Is it surprising that some feel that the reasoning is changed at anyone's whim? This evidence may be anecdotical but as the number of these anecdotical evidences increases it adds up to a picture. I told her what a colleague of mine from Gloucestershire told me the other day about her husband (past 70). He had been given his AZ shot recently and did not have any side effects. She was interested and sort of relieved to hear that not all is bad news. We all are hoping for the best and would rather believe good news but still the overall picture is that trust-building measures are low, communication is a disaster, role models among the leaders are inexistent and too many feel they are left to themselves and are not given the respectful treatment they earn (e.g. the medial profession who IMHO, for example, have every right to be given the very best and most effective vaccine available). Nuff said in this rant ...
  5. COVID-19 III: No Politics For Thee

    I think the keyword is "representativity" if you want to market and administer the product with a degree of reliability (which I feel is a key aspect for medical products). I realize time (or rather the lack of) was a major factor in this situation but this does not eliminate the problems or uncertainties if representativity is lacking (as you say yourself). Your reasoning may explain the results obtained for AZ (and therefore the resevations many have with regard to that vaccine). But isn't it understandable, then, that there are persons out there who do not fancy being treated as guinea pigs AFTER the step of clinical trials (which by nature ought to be to a certain level of comprehensiveness and therefore result in the duration of clinical trials which "normally" is longer - for not so bad cause - than it was with these vaccines)? What worries me is that indeed many in the medical profession (over here, for example) are not exactly overenthused by the AZ vaccine, and they cannot all be misinformed (as politicians scrambling to get things rolling in a situation that in many ways had been bungled by them in earlier steps of vaciine procurement are now claiming - unfairly, I feel). In fact, through their daily jobs they are closer to the problems that may result than most of us in the "men and women in the street" population are. This takes some evidence--based convincing and not pressurizing.

    This has more and more been the prevailing thought for me too. And same for the UK, alas, it seems. I've just checked a few older magazines on eBay I still had fancied but shipping rates have not only gone through the roof (the UK postal services had increased their "overseas" rates for some time anyway) but they vary so heavily that I even am wary of the passably affordable quotes. Who knows if the seller won't say "Sorry, on checking closer is costs .... instead" later on? Fine new world ...
  7. COVID-19 III: No Politics For Thee

    So I understood the report in the news. But it is odd in these times we live in ... Latest news on the subject of AZ which made the headlines on many news sites this morning: The Swiss government apparently is considering reselling the AZ vaccine doses they have so far procured (5.3 million) as those in charge have doubts about the effectiveness of the vaccine. WTF? Apart from the fact that this is not exactly the kind of news to increase confidence, what are the Swiss (who otherwise are so business-savvy) trying to achieve? Who would want stuff when the seller himself has doubts about its usability? Or are they betting on the really desperate?
  8. COVID-19 III: No Politics For Thee

    Let's keep fingers crossed it is so. But this situation and the ensuing discussion is a mess. I have no reason to believe there are different AZ vaccines depending on the region of the planet. But it is a fact that for whatever reason news reports (NOT on fake sites, mind you!) about reactions to the vaccination that turned out more severe with the AZ vaccine than with the others have abounded lately. Sweden has temporarily stopped using the AZ vaccine in some regions because there were doubts (IIRC they had inexplainable reactions too) and one recent report here does not sound good: An entire crew of an emergency aid task force was vaccinated with the AZ vaccine and then so many of them came down with symptoms bad enough to force them to stay home and quarantined that they had to close down that station and order replacement staff from other stations to keep the service up and running at all. This does not sound like the usual tiny percentages of people showing symptoms. What isn't exactly faith-inspiring is that the first report of this on a news platform sounded fairly dramatic whereas the second one on their platform (that replaced the first one) sounded much more toned down ("orders from above"??). And now the discussion here (where the AZ vaccine is not to be administered to those over 65 because of lack of clinical data about its effectiveness for that age group) is about to get out of hand anyway because polticians now clearly seem to be panicking because many in the population are wary of being forced to take that "2nd rate vaccine". AZ definitely is better than nothing but the lower effectiveness even against mild cases unfortunately is a fact and REMAINS a cause to worry). And now, with more AZ doses arriving, they seem to focus on the health care staff as one group to get this AZ vaccine in the first place. Adding insult to injury because - again - most around here (me too) stilll believe that this group of persons working at the limit in a higher-exposure and therefore higher-risk environment need to be given the vaccine with the highest efficiency of them all and nothing else. Politicans, though, seem to target this group (who are among those due now after vaccination of the elderly has progressed far, it seems) because they are afraid vaccine doses supplied will perish if reluctance remains high. But is this the way to do it? Their communication at times sounds like they resort to all sorts of argumentational contorsions to tell veryone how good the AZ vaccine is after all. Reminds historically aware persons a bit of those "hang on" statements of early 1945. This is what worries me most - the state of panic of those in charge. And, though I really hate to say this, would the public be told the whole story if there were problems that at least increase the residual risk? And sorry to say, GregK, if what you say about the groups included in the clinical trials (and their potential lack of representativity) were true, then these clinical trials were even more of a rush job than some claim they were. Not good either.
  9. New to the world of Online Vinyl Shopping

    I used to buy quite a bit at Euclid through the mail about 10 to 15 years ago (when shipping rates from the US to Europe were still reasonable) as they had a good selection of fairly affordable originals or off-thebeaten-tracs items. But then things fizzled out, though I kept checking their website listings for a while. One caveat, however (though things - or may not - have changed since then): I often found their gradings a bit on the optimistic side. I.e. I was not so sure a VG+ item would be VG+ with everyone else. I dont mind the occasional surface noise but even a VG+ record shouldn't skip or stick even after cleaning. Their "optimism" overall wasn't totally unreasonable and things still were OK (complaining or sending back from overseas would have been of no use anyway) but I do know that finicky collectors (I understand there PLENTY like that out there ) would take offense at such grading differences.
  10. Amazing ... considering it's been out for 3 months only. Some 5 EUR cheaper than the preorder price on German Amazon too now. That's quite a price cut from the original price of §39.99 (it's down to 31.99 even on the Harper Collins site by now too, BTW). Did it sell that poorly for it to be discounted that fast? Unfounded and inexplainable. (Or is it indeed too niche-y??) For those who prefer to get their facts and (period) details right IMO it still has quite a few factual and textual flaws (that hint at sloppy research and lack of attention to detail - or carelessness or unawareness or cutting corners? - by the author and a concern more about effects than about accuracy by some interviewees) but it still is a great opus that fills gaps in the literature on the music life of that period .
  11. The USPS SUCKS

    Competitors for delays like that happen all the time. I ordered an LP from an Italian eBay seller before Christmas, and it was marked as being handed over to the shipping agency on Dec. 17. Then nothing happened and the tracking info remained unchanged at that status. I knew holiday shipping loads and the virus were likely to cause delays but around New Year I became a bit worried and contacted the seller who promised to check with the shipper. But stil nothing happened in the tracking status. Then, a couple of days later (around Jan. 7) I finally got an updated tracking info link that showed that the parcel had actually made it to the main sorting center of that shipper (Hermes) in Germany but for 3 days had been marked as leaving that sorting center to go into the distrubution center, then back into the sorting center, out again to the distribution center, and so on. I managed to get hold of someone at that center on the phone around that time and they promised to check it out by the tracking number figuring that maybe there was a problem with the address o the parcel. But things remained unchanged for several more days - into the sorting center, out to the distribution center, back in, and so on. Then, after having already worked out the details of a possible refund with the seller and after some TEN days of this endless circle of to and fro shippings in one and the same center showing up in the tracking info, lo and behold - on Jan. 16 the LP all of a sudden showed up on my doorstep. The original address label had been totally correct but though a new one with my (identical) address had been stuck on the parcel on the day I phoned them (according to the fine print on the label) the parcel still remained stuck for about a week before it finally moved on and then some 300 miles down to my place. Go figure ... Anyway, all was well that ended well but it DOES worry you in these times ...
  12. The V-8 Juice is SO GOOD!

    Ha - I know more than one who'd probably change their entire eating and drinking habits if that "V-8 juice" stuff were marketed over here. (You know - the ones who drool about Small Block Chevies, Flathead Fords, Y-Block Fords and Chrysler Hemis day in, day out when it comes to their rides.)
  13. Phil Spector Dead at 81

    For those who prefer snippets like this on vinyl, ther was this one on the ZuZazz label: And to add a little reading matter (and a possible antidote to a Phil spector bio ) for those interested enough:
  14. Phil Spector Dead at 81

    FWIW, the Jim Pewter oldies radio shows we got here through rebroadcasts on AFN in the mid-to late 70s (the period I intently listened to AFN - much less so later) weren't THAT limited. And they introduced me to quite a bit more than the typical Top 40 stuff from the 50s and early 60s. But of course, to go further even then it took specialist oldie shows for REAL fans and collectors (which we luckily did have on one national German radio station at that time) that at least made a point of digging chronologically through the ENTIRE Hot HUNDRED, including (in particualr) its nether regions.