The Best & Worst Gifts this Holiday Season!!

Okay first lets start off with what not to get people this holiday season… smart devices!

With the rash of recent lawsuits regarding Smart TVs actually spying on people, you would have thought the public would have gotten the message.

What’s the message?

 

If it is not family or not paying rent, don’t let anything in your house that is smarter than you.:) That means saying ‘no thank’ you or ‘good buy’ to all these spying devices marketed as amiable servants or harmless entertainment.

That means no ECHO, no ALEXA, no XBOX, no Smart TVs. It means trading in your Roku or Amazon Fire microphone remote for a regular non-microphone remote.

 

Here is the thing… you want to know what the weather is… do the search yourself!

Same with the news, or the traffic. Do it your effing self. There is a point where convenience becomes a cage, and ease of access a trap.

Every camera in your house (laptops, phones, TVs, smart refrigerators, etc), should have a lens cap. And every microphone in your house (xbox, phones, laptops, alarm systems, smart thermostats, etc) should be able to be physically disabled/disconnected. Being able to determine yes I want this camera off, and yes I want this microphone off, and being certain that they have turned off, that is owning things. Having to trust in the hardware or the software that it is not recording you, and delivering that info to marketeers… that is being owned.

And increasingly in ‘Smart’ homes, the homeowner finds themselves in the latter category.

So yes those are the things not to buy this or any holiday season.

So what are some things worth buying? Well this installment let us discuss…

Portable DVD/CD players

The music industry is happy to get high quality physical music out of the hands of consumers, and especially the ability for them to burn their own discs; and to take us back to the 1950s in returning us to the inherently inferior medium of vinyl. And if you don’t know vinyl is inherently inferior, than you missed the previous paragraph about being smarter than the technology. 🙂

And sure we have streaming. But streaming is largely a gatekeeper format. We empower gatekeepers to store the media we pay for. That media can then be changed or deleted as commerce demands. Even deleted not just from the cloud, but from your media player.

Music thus becomes reduced to something, that though you pay for it, you do not in any substantial way control the thing you paid for. A CD (full WAV, not that MP3 nonsense)and a portable CD player, and a good pair of headphones… returns that control to you. That is what I call a priceless gift.

Here then are my recommendations for portable CD players, headphones, and great quality CDs to test out those headphones.

WONNIE 7.5 Inch Portable DVD Player with Swivel Screen, USB / SD Slot and 4 Hours Rechargeable Battery, Perfect Gift for Kids ( Black ) – While marketed as a gift for kids and the aged, this is actually a great compact portable DVD/CD player that plays a variety of formats at a ridiculously low price. And comes with great extras including a carrying case.

Now while it comes with basic headphones I would recommend the following headphones and amp combo when ready to take the sound from this portable to a better level.

HIFIMAN HE-400I Over Ear Full-size Planar Magnetic Headphones– Not cheap at around $200 but it is actually nearly 60% off of its retail price.

A slightly lower cost, but still well reviewed and lauded headphone option would be:

Fostex T50RP MK3 Professional Studio Headphones, Semi-Open

And while not necessary, an amp will help deliver quality sound to your headphones. Get yours at the link below:

FiiO A3 Portable Headphone Amplifier (Black)

Finally here are some must own CDs for testing out your headphones and just hearing great music:

Human

Up Close

Get Up With It

Midnight Matinee (XRCD24 Master)

That’s it for this installment. Follow our suggestions and you’ll have a portable system that will offer superior sound for a fraction of the cost of other options. And if you liked this post drop me an email, subscribe, use the above links or leave me a comment. or do all of the above! 🙂

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To Suffer Fools

People forget.

People forget what their job is.

Our job is to stand between the darkness and the light…. and hold the line.

People forget.

That’s why we have these clowns and fools running for the most powerful office in the land, and poised to take it.

Because people forget, the American people forget that we are suppossed to hold the line between the darkness and the light,

And that line does not suffer fools.

 

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My musings on the world brought to you by today’s Book of the Day :
The Agonizing Resurrection of Victor Frankenstein by Thomas Ligotti

Favorite Amazon Purchases of 2015! 1 of 3!

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The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears [Blu-ray]

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DEAL OF THE DAY: The Complete Crepax: Dracula, Frankenstein, And Other Horror Stories

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DEAL OF THE DAY: The Complete Crepax: Dracula, Frankenstein, And Other Horror Stories (The Complete Crepax) Hardcover

This book collects short comics in which the famed erotic Eurocartoonist takes on the classic Universal monsters, and much more.
Italy’s Guido Crepax is one of the most acclaimed cartoonists in the world. In the 1960s and ’70s, he created and chronicled the adventures of Valentina, arguably the strongest and most independent female character in European comics up until that time, and legitimized the erotic genre. Crepax: Dracula, Frankenstein, and Other Horror Stories features, in addition to the artist’s unique take on the eponymous literary works by Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley, a half dozen Valentina stories, several never before published, and influenced by the French New Wave. Black & white

The Complete Crepax: Dracula, Frankenstein, And Other Horror Stories Hardcover(The Complete Crepax)

Art Deals of the Day : Gustave Dore MASTER OF IMAGINATION

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It’s about time that the 19th century’s most staggering and arguably prolific artist of the fantastic received a worthy hardcover tome, and with the almost sold out 2014 book, DORE:MASTER OF IMAGINATION edited by Phillippe Kaenel, Gustave Dore finally has that acclaim, and his fans finally have that book.

The book however, by shear breadth of Dore’s output, is in no way a comprehensive overview of his output, and is more a very cursory sampling of the different projects and mediums this renaissance man of the 19th century put his hand to.

“I am sorry to have made a mere 100,000 drawings by the age of 33” – Gustave Dore

So it is not perfect, but it is essential and makes a great companion to those quickly going out of print, but wonderful, 1970s Dover paperback compilations of Dore’s work. Whoever the editor at Dover Publishing in the 1970s who spearheaded reprinting Dore’s acclaimed works in affordable but quality paperback volumes, they created a great boon to art lovers everywhere.

inf.34.134.dore

Dore was the master of the meticulous and the detailed and the imaginative, a single one of his painstaking engravings having more complexity and depth and range than most modern day artists produce in a year.

There is this school of thought, that I do not subscribe to, that detail is bad, or unnecessary, or overkill. Largely spearheaded by modern artists incapable of doing detail, so they attack the idea of detailed illustrations to justify the value of their limitations. Simplicity and minimalism have their uses, but they will never replace, or supplant, or overshadow, prodigious talent, prodigious passion, and prodigious detail, all in service to a prodigious imagination. And Gustav Dore brought all that immense talent to every drawing he did. As an artist he has my highest recommendation.

All of the Dover Dore books are collectible, but the four best are the DORE BIBLE, DORE DANTE’S DIVINE COMEDY, DORE’s ORLANDO FURIOSO, and Dore’s IDYLLS OF THE KING.

And the DORE: MASTER OF IMAGINATION book serves as a bit more upscale exploration of Gustav Dore’s life and work. Price your copy of that and the Dover Titles below!

Gustave Dore 1832-1883: Master of Imagination beautiful Hardcover Tome!

The Dore Illustrations for Dante’s Divine Comedy (136 Plates by Gustave Dore)

The Dore Bible Illustrations

DorĂ©’s Illustrations for “Idylls of the King” (Dover Fine Art, History of Art)

DorĂ©’s Illustrations for Ariosto’s “Orlando Furioso”: A Selection of 208 Illustrations (Dover Fine Art, History of Art)

inf.34.139.dore


These are a few of my favorite things : Amazon Prime DEALS OF THE DAY!

 

 

 

The Best of EC Artist Edition Vol 1 Hardcover – 2013

 

EC Comics is arguably the finest line of comics ever produced. Whether it was science fiction or war, crime or horror, their entire line stood head and shoulders above the rest of the comics on the newsstands. Now IDW Publishing is pleased to present an Artist’s Edition unlike any other, featuring the best stories by the brightest stars of EC Comics. Remember these classics? 50 Girls 50 by Al Williamson and Frank Frazetta, The Corpse on the Imjin by Harvey Kurtzman, The Flying Machine by Bernie Krigstein, Touch and Go by Johnny Craig, Judgment Day by Joe Orlando. All these plus more! And a stunning cover gallery crammed with glorious EC goodness! Brought to you by the same team responsible for the Eisner Award-winning Walter Simonson’s The Mighty Thor: Artist’s Edition and David Mazzucchelli’s Daredevil Born Again: Artist’s Edition.

The Best of EC Artist Edition Vol 1 – Price your copy here!

 

 

newyorkcity3dgild

 

New-York Historical Society New York City in 3D In The Gilded Age: A Book Plus Stereoscopic Viewer and 50 3D Photos from the Turn of the Century Paperback – June 3, 2014

Be transported to New York during the Gilded Age and experience daily life in one of the world’s most vibrant cities through mesmerizing, contemporary 3D photography and exciting tales of the time.

Black Dog & Leventhal has partnered with the New-York Historical Society to present New York in the Gilded Age as it’s never been viewed before. This innovative package includes a sturdy metal stereoscopic viewer and 50 stereoscopic photographs of turn-of-the-century New York. The package also includes a 128-page paperback that provides a brief history of the stereograph craze and an overview of the city’s evolution during that time.

New-York Historical Society New York City in 3D In The Gilded Age: A Book Plus Stereoscopic Viewer and 50 3D Photos from the Turn of the Century

 

parisin3dbelle

 

Paris in 3D in the Belle Époque: A Book Plus Steroeoscopic Viewer and 34 3D Photos Paperback – April 14, 2015

 

pocketwatchluxury

LNTGO Ks Luxury Brand White Skeleton Alloy Dial Analog Hand Wind Mechanical Relogio Fob Copper Key Steampunk Pocket Watch Men- Ksp064

 

  • Adjustable and Washable Elastic Fabric Strap
  • High Quality Fashion Watches
  • Imported
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LNTGO Ks Luxury Brand White Skeleton Alloy Dial Analog Hand Wind Mechanical Relogio Fob Copper Key Steampunk Pocket Watch Men- Ksp064 – Price this beautiful time peace here!

gustavedore

Gustave Dore 1832-1883: Master of Imagination Hardcover – June 10, 2014

The diverse oeuvre of Gustave Doré—illustrations, paintings, sculpture—combines with biography and critical essays and attests to the artist’s enduring impact on contemporary culture. Proclaimed “the most illustrious of illustrators,” Gustave DorĂ© is best known for his engravings, which appeared in editions of the Bible, Dante’s Inferno, Poe’s The Raven, The Adventures of Don Quixote, and even in Hollywood, from King Kong to Seven. Yet the extent of his genius remains largely unknown. Here, along with his renowned illustrations, his paintings and sculptures are also examined, bringing to light the rich diversity of his talent. Using watercolor, vivid oil paint, or sculpture, he demonstrated mastery in a vast scope of media, and in treatments ranging from monumental historical tableaux to landscapes to modest compositions. His work transcended techniques and eras, covering an inexhaustible range of subjects from Europe to the United States to Russia and revealing his insatiable curiosity. This comprehensive monograph accompanies an exhibition at the MusĂ©e d’Orsay in Paris from February 18–May 11 and at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa from June 12–September 14, 2014.

Gustave Dore 1832-1883: Master of Imagination – Price it Here!