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April 14, 2007

I want my FTV — but in the meantime, B&F TV will do just fine

I've never understood why it is that DirecTV, my satellite provider, doesn't offer Fashion TV (FTV) among the many hundreds of channels it currently carries.

According to Wikipedia, "Fashion TV has become one of the most widely-distributed satellite channels in the world: 31 satellite and 2,000 cable systems, with a total of 300 million households in 202 countries across the five continents."

That's the good news.

The bad news: "In North America... it isn't yet available on major cable or satellite television providers such as DirecTV or Dish Network."

How can this be?

In any event, the lack of fashion programming suddenly became moot yesterday when I somehow stumbled on the Beauty & Fashion Channel, DirecTV Channel 223.

Brilliant!

Fashion shows and interviews around the clock.

Finally.

My new default channel, superseding the NFL Network.

See ya, Mike Mayock and the gang... it was fun while it lasted.

April 14, 2007 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Shoplifter Shopping Bag — Hide in really plain sight

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My homie over at gadgetmadness.com just sent this to me.

He wrote:

    Shoplifter Shopping Bag

    Chances are if you are reading this you aren't a shoplifter. No, you're a normal person who goes shopping and is photographed by security cameras, scanned by devices at the entrance & exit and sneered at by security guards.

    On top of all this shopping annoyance, when you get home you probably have to deal with those impossible plastic packages that encase DVDs and everything else — you know, the ones the real shoplifters can circumvent quickly and easily.

    Why not show some sass and let the system know what you really think?

    That's the idea behind the Shoplifter Shopping Bag. (It's got to be — Winona's going to buy one, right?)

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From the product website:

    Shoplifter Tote

    You've probably never been caught doing it, right? That's because you simply don't do it, right? No, not what you are thinking of, we are talking about something much darker: shoplifting. That habit that poor Winona was getting a kick out of....

    We know, it's something one would probably not want to discuss in public, let alone be caught in the act of.... But our good friends over at Citizen:Citizen have just launched a new tote yesterday, that we simply had to get our hands on, made for exactly that.

    Well, maybe it's more like a statement that you are one, or aspire to be one, or maybe you just want to give the impression that you could be one.

    Whatever your motivation, whether you are an aspiring shoplifter or just like the fact that your new favorite shopping tote will most definitely cause a stir, it is a wonderful conceptual and stylish piece of work, exactly what we expected from the incredibly talented guys over at C:C.

    It comes in two sizes: the Large is 18" x 18" x 6" (46 x 46 x 15 cm) with 23" (60 cm) long straps and the Medium [$25] can be found if you click here. Both are cotton canvas. But now that you are equipped, you might want to reconsider doing it, as it is sort of obvious....

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Large costs $35.

April 14, 2007 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Mozart — The Complete Operas on DVD

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All 22 of them, just out in a box set from Deutsche Grammophon and Decca.

Greg Sandow wrote about his delight watching and listening — "I got addicted to these DVDs" — in an April 7, 2007 Wall Street Journal article, which follows.

    It's Fun to Watch These Opera DVDs

    Works Mozart wrote when just a kid benefit from a fresh approach

    Last summer, over in Austria, the Salzburg Festival unleashed the stage equivalent of a gigantic boxed set, performances of all the operas — 22 of them — written by Salzburg's most famous native son, the immortal Mozart. And now these performances have come out on DVDs from Deutsche Grammophon and Decca, which does raise a question. Twenty-two operas? You can go to the opera all your life and hear only six or seven of these pieces, with only four guaranteed to show up regularly. So where have all the others been?

    The answer, very simply, is that Mozart wrote a lot of them when he was just a kid. He was a child prodigy, as we know, and wrote his first opera when he was just 11. By the time he was 20, he'd written nine more, and while I wouldn't call these pieces kid stuff -- even in his teens, Mozart could construct a piece of music as well as any adult — child prodigies do have their limits. When you're a kid, you're a kid, and you don't feel emotions like a grown-up. So these early Mozart works — accomplished as they are, and often pretty — can sometimes seem a little blank.

    And yet I got addicted to these DVDs. In part I had a specialist's reaction, which I wouldn't expect everyone to share. I loved hearing Mozart learn his craft. He'd write one blank (though pretty) aria, then another — and then he'd pounce like a teenage eagle on a key dramatic climax. Later, when he had more to say, he could make those moments jump right off the stage.

    But I also loved the way the operas were produced. That includes the most famous pieces, apart from "The Magic Flute," which is beautifully designed but somehow dead. "Don Giovanni" and "Così Fan Tutte," though, are wonderfully smart, and also gripping, and also (when appropriate) lots of fun. The production style is modern — we see contemporary people, people we might know, doing everything that Mozart specified, and it's easy to connect with them.

    But the early operas benefit the most from this, because they need some help. So there's a giant Venus flytrap in a piece I'd never heard before, "La Finta Giardiniera" ("The Phony Gardener"). When it ate the leading tenor, he deserved that, because — in a plot twist unusual in comic opera — he'd almost killed his girlfriend. Later, when he frees himself and limps around, blurting out some 18th-century platitude about unkind fate, the flytrap opens hungrily, both making fate real and giving it some attitude.

    And yes, the Venus flytrap isn't something Mozart specified. But if we think that we can resurrect all his vanished, teenage expectations... well, just remember that these would have included an audience that talked during the performance, along with singers and instrumentalists who improvised.

    We can't bring the 18th century back. But what we can do — especially in productions that visibly give the singers both energy and a lot of joy — is remember that we're watching 18th-century opera in 2007, and that any meaning it might have for us has to come from the lives we're living now.

    For this I'd also recommend a more serious teenage work, "Lucio Silla," about an evil Roman dictator who sees the error of his ways. This, in Mozart's time, was an 18th-century cliché. But the Salzburg production turned it into striking theater, above all at the end, where the cliché gets replaced by a chilling reinvention. The dictator is killed. In his place there rises someone who'll be just as bad. And the music of rejoicing, with which the opera ends — with which it had to end, because that's what the 18th century demanded — now sounds like empty, almost shocking propaganda.

    Which is to say that we've learned a lot since the 18th century. Among much else, we don't trust happy endings, or at least not routine ones. In these productions, Mozart's operas show us not just who he was, but who we are, too.

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$485.99 at Amazon.

April 14, 2007 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

iPod Digital Drumsticks

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From the website:

    iPod Digital Drumsticks

    These motion-activated drumsticks allow you to drum along with songs from a connected iPod or similar music device with an audio output.

    The control module clips to a belt and has a cable for your iPod and another audio output for connecting to a stereo system or headpones for silent play.

    Both sticks have buttons that allow you to play combinations of different drum or cymbal effects, including a snare drum, bass drum, tom, floor tom, hi-hat and crash cymbal.

    Can also be played without musical accompaniment by using one of the six included background rhythms.

    Volume and tempo controls allow you to adjust sound levels.

    1-1/2"H x 2-1/2"W x 13-3/4"L.

    Ages 8 and up.

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8 and up? — everybody in the pool!

$29.95 (iPod not included).

April 14, 2007 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Goofy — As you've never seen him before

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[via José's blog Zé Porto]

April 14, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Washable Outdoor HD-Ready LCD TV

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Can your fancypants HDTV do this?

Didn't think so.

From the website:

    SunBriteTV 23'' Outdoor LCD TV

    Finally you can enjoy your favorite movie, watch the big game or play your video games in high definition in the comfort of your own backyard regardless of the weather, be it sun, rain, snow or cold.

    The Sunbrite 23” Outdoor LCD TV has an aluminum enclosure that protects it from any and all of the elements.

    Ideal for entertaining, this outdoor TV is the perfect complement to your outdoor living area and is sure to be the envy of all your guests.

    While some televisions lose picture quality due to glare, the screen on our outdoor TV allows for flawless viewing even in shaded daylight.

    Go ahead and enjoy the outdoors without missing a season finale or your favorite sporting event!


    Outdoor TV features:

    • Weatherproof television has all-weather powder coated aluminum enclosure protecting the internal components from harsh outdoor elements

    • Conformal coating protects the internal electronics from humidity-related corrosion damage

    • A contrast-enhancing, anti-glare, scratch-resistant window protects the outdoor TV’s LCD screen from rain, dirt and the elements

    • The user-friendly operator controls are also sealed against rain

    • Filtered and baffled dual-fan air flow system quietly keeps the outdoor TV cool in all climates and keeps rain, dust and insects from entering the enclosure

    • An innovative watertight cable entry system allows the use of standard AV cable — the pass-through design makes hook-up quick and easy

    • Compatible with almost all video sources, including off-the-air antenna, cable and satellite TV, DVD players and PCs (Standard VESA 75/100 mounting hole pattern)

    • Internal thermostatically-controlled heater on weatherproof television activates automatically when temperature sensor reads 32 degrees F or lower

    • Outdoor TV dimensions: 23.51”W x 16.27”H x 7.83”D (with optional wall mount)


    Outdoor TV technical specs:

    • LCD Screen 23” diagonal TFT Active Matrix

    • Resolution: 1366 x 768 WXGA

    • Outdoor TV brightness: 800 nits

    • Aspect Ratio: 16:9

    • Contrast Ratio: 1600:1

    • Response Time: 8 milliseconds

    • Display Colors: 16.7 million


    Outdoor TV Inputs:

    • Antenna/CATV (NTSC)

    • HDMI Input x 1

    • S-Video x 1 and Composite Video x 1

    • L/R Audio Inputs x 2

    • YCbCr/YPbPr x 1 (supports HDTV inputs at 480i, 480P, 567I, 576P, 720P and 1080i) and audio L/R channels x 1

    • 15-pin D-sub VGA


    Outdoor TV Dust Cover (Included):

    • This custom-fit nylon dust cover keeps the outdoor TV free of accumulating dirt and dust

    • The attached Velcro straps secure the cover in place

    • Fits only Sunbrite TVs


    Outdoor TV Articulating Wall Mount (Included):

    • Designed with rigid extruded aluminum construction, this mount provides smooth tilt, swivel and pan motion, effortless tightening and extreme rigidity

    • The mount is Vesa 100/200 compliant and is supplied with stainless steel hardware for rust prevention

    • Outdoor TV Articulating Wall Mount dimensions: 2.5” to 8.5” deep

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$2,299.95.

April 14, 2007 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Love's Vicissitudes — by Jessica Fisher

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First you were hungry, then you were in love
and thought everything had changed, oh the sun
and the birds hidden in the trees, their presence
proved by singing. Happiness, you thought,
was given freely, the balance books
with their neat columns and faux leather covers
had nothing to do with it: this was not
like a wartime grocery, everything given
but on the short leash of credit. Abundance
and glory: that's it, it's been here all along
and as in the song the lovers sing as they cross the bridge,
you just didn't see it, didn't hear it, before.
You are willing to believe in a world where violins
begin to bow of their accord, where a phrase
turns into a refrain and everything rhymes. Go ahead,
ridiculous one, say it's the springtime of the heart.

First you were hungry. Then you were in love.
Miraculous transformation, the path between
a labyrinth. Once you walk blinking
into the sudden sun, know the two will always
be twined. It is an outrage and you are outrageous
in your failure to distinguish between what ought
to be opposites, love and hatred, for example.
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April 14, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

What is it?

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Answer here

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this time tomorrow.

April 14, 2007 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

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