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Monthly Archives: November 2016

Ever have one of those days?

… days when you feel like the only thing that will make the world feel right is if you have a pocket full of outdated tools and you’re wearing broken-in comfortable clothes that your big brother handed down to you?

Well, what if you’re early middle-aged and you don’t even have a big brother, but you do have expendable income at your disposal? If that’s the case, the carbon2cobalt catalog was made for you.Their motto: “Effortlessly Cool Men’s Clothes, Footwear and Accessories,” because it would be a damned hassle to collect all this stuff honestly.

Screen Shot 2016-11-28 at 9.08.35 PM.pngConsider the Vintage British Ruler. For just $69 they point out helpfully that they can solve one of the first world’s greatest problems. “Got a gadget-lover that has everything? Pretty good chance they won’t have one of these. Made in England circa 1900-1950, these authentic vintage folding rulers are made of boxwood with brass hardware.”

At this point, I have to admit that I actually do own one of these already. I don’t know that it’s actually of British origin, but it is actually vintage (not just recreated in the style of an inconvenient means of measuring things). I inherited mine as one of several tools I got inexplicably from my great-grandfather. So, don’t buy me this, anyone.

When you’re finished measuring stuff in the Imperial System – proof that you live in one of “only three backwaters still use the archaic Imperial system of weights and measures: Liberia. Myanmar (a.k.a. “the country formerly known as Burma”) the United States of America,” (source) perhaps you’d like to cruise down to the beach (or shore if you live in Jersey) for some serious-as-a-heart attack paddleball in the sand.

Screen Shot 2016-11-28 at 9.16.58 PM.pngSure, you could pick up the old standby Pro-Kadima paddles for $7.99 at almost any store. But, do they really mean PRO-Kadima? I mean, are these the paddles the actual professionals use? Because that’s the kind of standard you want to set when you crush your sister’s kid into the sand. No – you need Pro League Paddles. At $99.99, they might cost a bit more, but that’s the price you pay to steal away any hopes that little squirt might excuse his loss on account of using unsanctioned paddles.  Carbon2cobalt’s paddles are “made of high-quality lacquered bamboo … [and] feature rubberized grips for optimum handling. Paddles come boxed with two rubberized balls. Imported.”

To my surprise, there actually is a professional league of players in Israel, where they call the sport ‘Matkot’. Here’s a quick video of the organisers of the league:

These guys eschew the wooden paddles in favor of paddles made of indestructible carbon fiber.

But that’s all beside the point. You’re in this for the appearance of quality, not to actually play against these guys. So, Pro League Paddles it is.

Screen Shot 2016-11-28 at 9.48.38 PM.pngAnd, to ensure that your paddles are perfectly flat, why not invest the $79 to make assessing the level of objects look effortlessly cool? Get the Vintage Carpenter’s Level and don’t stop to ask why the hell the actual level is not itself a level surface. There could be a reason, but it’s not evident.

It’s hard to imagine why carbon2cobalt is such a successful company when it seems to sell only the most ridiculous items for insane prices, but then you remember that gadget-lover who has everything.

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Christmas Countdown

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Posted by on November 28, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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“Don’t get cheap on me now Dodgson

… that was Hammond’s mistake.” The SciFlix movie of the month, Jurassic Park, was shown last night at the Edwards Campus of the University of Kansas to a good crowd of 50 attendee…

Source: “Don’t get cheap on me now Dodgson

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

The Marriage of Figaro at KC’s Lyric Opera

It’s an unexpectedly pleasant thing that I have come to expect good things from Kansas City’s Lyric Opera. Rarely have I felt like this company has delivered the best operatic performances, but it seldom rates as the worst either.

This weekend I was lucky enough to be taken to see the latest production of this opera by my wife and son for a birthday present (amazingly, Figaro has come on or near my birthday many years now). I don’t think I’ve properly thanked them for this gift, but I very much appreciate it and had a great time.

My favorite part of the Lyric’s production this year was the return to a traditional setting but with a spectacular set design that suggested the change in aristocracy occurring at the time while still delivering on a class-stratified society complete with the trappings of a legacy of what we now call old money. The co-production with Opera Philadelphia, San Diego Opera and Palm Beach Opera truly delivered in this respect.

 

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An excellent effort! But, how does one say … ?

Unfortunately, the performance, while uniformly good, failed to achieve greatness at any point. On the ride home, we all agreed that it was a perplexing combination of all members of the cast ‘delivering’ but still missing the mark. I personally believe that Figaro is one of the more laugh-out-loud funny operas you can see. But where the comedy of Cheribino’s  near-capture and incredible escape and coverup should have brought down the house, I think I merely smiled.

 

Figaro is written for show-stealing performances. In its original production – in contrast to the portrayal in Peter Schaffer’s Amadeus, there were so many encores in its premier showings that Emporer Joseph insisted that these be limited due to the already long running time of the performance. Cheribino, a soprano en travesti, is almost uniformly the most beloved character in the Opera delivering two perfect arias, Non so più cosa son and Voi che sapete che cosa è amor voicing his struggle to keep up with his wildly raging hormones. Samantha Gossard gave a lovely performance that was well done, but oddly unextraordinary. 

 

Bartolo and Marcellina are two other characters who almost uniformly steal the show for their comedic performances. In last evening’s performance, the two were delightful, but also failed to win the night. One exception to all the ‘merely solid’ performances was the scene in which it is revealed that Figaro is Rafaello, the long-lost illegitimate son of Bartolo and Marcellina. Amazingly, it wasn’t the two older players who made the scene work, but the Count who brought everything together in his whole-hearted display of despair in ever figuring out what the hell was going on around him. In fact, I would say that it was Baritone Edward Parks’ Count Almaviva who rose above all others to make the night a success.

Overall, I’d say the Lyric’s Figaro was a musical success surrounded by beautiful sets, but inhabited by mundane performances.

ps – bring back the chair.

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Posted by on November 14, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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