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D. Culp "diarci" RSS Feed (Auora, CO)
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Sennheiser HD 598 Over-Ear Headphones
Sennheiser HD 598 Over-Ear Headphones
Price: $150.00
93 used & new from $120.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, August 15, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I'm not qualified to offer a comparative technical review, I can only say that the sound quality is superb. The reason I can't offer such a review is that I live near Denver and there just aren't any retail outlets that carry these or any other top-line headphones in stock. I went to Grado's site and they had 5 listings - all of whom were out of business or had moved to a different area. Sennheiser's site is useless for finding a retail outlet, they offer a list of company names but no address or phone numbers and the ones I did find didn't carry any in stock. "We can order it for you." I ordered the 598 after glowing recommendations from several classical music boards. With that said, I ordered it from Anazon at midnight on a Thursday and it was delivered at noon on Saturday. The packaging is refreshingly simple and you do not need a hacksaw to remove the protective plastic.

NOTE: mine came without instructions, an invoice, or a warranty card. I don't know if this is standard, but I went to the Sennheiser site and registered it without a problem. If you do register online, they will ask for the serial number and a copy of your invoice. The serial number is on the flap at the bottom of the package. For the invoice I went to My Account on Amazon and printed it out, then made a .jpg image and attached that when I registered.

Problems: none except that initially I got sound out of only one side. I unplugged the cable and tightly re-connected (be SURE to turn twist the cable plug clockwise when you insert it.) This time it worked.

I play opera and classical almost exclusively and a large part of my collection is monaural, many on CD's remastered from old 78's. I play almost no electronic music and what I look for is realistic sound. What I love about these Sennheisers is that they have a great bass response, but it is true bass, not artificially boosted. Trebles are clear but not shrill.

Not much more to add except - oh, yes! Literally light as a feather. Quite literally, I am sometimes not even aware I have them on.

Great stuff.


Verdi's Aida: The History of an Opera in Letters and Documents
Verdi's Aida: The History of an Opera in Letters and Documents
by Hans Busch
Edition: Paperback
19 used & new from $15.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, August 8, 2015
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Completely fascinating. From the earliest suggestion of the opera through to the (delayed) premiere and first few years of performances and Verdi's frustrations with so many of the participants, it's all there in the letters between Verdi and everyone involved. What makes it so readable is that Verdi's personality (whether grumping about delays or soothing the feelings of officials he obviously holds in contempt) is so vivid and his intelligence and fierce determination are so obvious.

Warning: lots of musical notation by Verdi is included but you can skim over that if you are not technically inclined and still not lose any of the sense of what, when, and why. A really wonderful book.


Punch! Home & Landscape Design 17.7 Home Design Software for Windows PC [Download]
Punch! Home & Landscape Design 17.7 Home Design Software for Windows PC [Download]
Price: $49.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Waste of time and money., August 7, 2015
I've used architectural software before so I'm familiar with slow learning curves, but this is awful. Lots of features, most of which are difficult and counter-intuitive to use. VERRRRY slow to install. Takes longer than Photoshop. I have a very fast system and it took 3 minutes just for the install screen to appear. Took 5 minutes to uninstall it. Which I decided to do after several attempts to create a simple floorplan.

Initial drag and drop of rooms is easy, but simple editing such as deleting sections of walls is maddening as is trying to insert a deck. Will not save or print unless you convert to 3D view. I could go on but what's the point.


Norton Security | 1 Device |PC/Mac/Mobile Key Card
Norton Security | 1 Device |PC/Mac/Mobile Key Card
Price: $42.07
9 used & new from $32.29

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recent changes are annoying., May 14, 2015
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I've used Norton since it was Norton Utilities and Norton Anti-Virus in 1986. It was great then (and almost the only disk-repair utility available for Windows) and it is great now - EXCEPT ... two complaints.

First, it now runs a disk defragmenter called "Optimization" by default. My C:/ Drive is an SSD which not only should not be defragmented but can apparently be harmed by doing so. And by calling it "Optimization" it is easy to skip past and not turn off.

Second, I want to install from a hard copy. You cannot buy Norton on a disk anymore so if you uninstall your old copy first (as I did) you must install from the Internet unprotected. You can download a copy (using a needlessly complicated procedure) and I did, but why won't they offer the program on a disk?

Otherwise, it works fine.


Victoria De Los Angeles
Victoria De Los Angeles
by Peter Roberts
Edition: Hardcover
10 used & new from $1.47

4.0 out of 5 stars Almost a very good book. But well worth reading, March 3, 2015
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Having first read the two reviews posted, I bought the book with reservations and was prepared to be disappointed. To my surprise I wasn't, The book reads like notes from an unfinished "as-told-to" autobiography.
Which is a good thing because Peter Roberts is not a particularly graceful author and seems to have done very little independent investigation, so there is no way of knowing how much or how little of the contents are accurate or what is missing.
But that's OK because Miss de Los Angeles is surprisingly forthright about what she does reveal and she seems to have a very grounded sense of herself and her career. In fact, the book is best when quoting directly from her - and luckily, that's about 75% of the contents. What's missing may be similar to the difference between the two biographies of Rosa Ponselle that James Drake published. The first was an "authorized" biography published while Ponselle was alive and, while the lady was a marvelous story teller, her version of events was decidedly one-sided. the second was published after her death and contained the materiel that Drake had not included in the first. Nothing salacious or bad, just a more rounded picture.

I read it cover-to-cover in one sitting.


On A Shoestring: The Autobiography To End All Theatrical Biographies
On A Shoestring: The Autobiography To End All Theatrical Biographies
by Will Morrissey
Edition: Paperback
Price: $35.95
10 used & new from $31.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Great stories, a great life. If you love vaudeville, Broadway, and the 20's you will adore this book., July 24, 2014
So there are two things you should know about this book for starters. First, it helps a great deal if you know (or at least care) something about vaudeville and the Broadway theater in the 1920's and 1930's. Not essential, but most of the people Morrissey writes about were once well-known (or even famous) but are now a part of the past. More important, his world and the times he writes of are a part of the past. A wonderful, freewheeling, innocent past, but some knowledge of that past is helpful in appreciating his world.

The other thing is that Will Morrissey is not a writer. At least not of prose. He wrote many songs and quite a few plays and musical revues, but he is essentially a talker and that’s what you get in this book. Talk. More specifically, reminiscences - and since I am sure he couldn’t afford a ghost writer or even an editor at the time, reminiscences with many mis-spellings and printing errors.

None of which matters. He led a fascinating life and every word is a delightful reminder of that life. I first read “On A Shoestring” in 1955 and foolishly gave my copy to someone who never returned it. Luckily I was able to purchase another copy recently and enjoyed it every bit as much as I did nearly 60 years ago. Will Morrissey was a failed actor who became a song writer and producer, every bit a famous for his shows that folded as for the few that were hits. He seemingly knew everyone in, around, or on Broadway from George M. Cohan and Billy Rose to Bing Crosby and Milton Berle, and a wild assortment of lesser and never-knowns as well as gangsters, Mayors, and tycoons.

Like all great story tellers, Morrissey is best appreciated in small doses, so I suggest reading this book in short spurts (say, 40 or 50 pages at a time.) You’ll be glad you did.


Putting the Record Straight: The Autobiography of John Culshaw
Putting the Record Straight: The Autobiography of John Culshaw
by John Culshaw
Edition: Hardcover
26 used & new from $57.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great reading but qualified accuracy, July 18, 2014
Culshaw’s book makes very entertaining reading and I’m sure most of it is true, but it has to be said that he was a man who liked to “embellish.” Probably the most egregious example being his remembrances of Jussi Bjorling. Bjorling was an alcoholic, but there are a (very) few known instances of him being drunk in public. At the Rome recording sessions of "Un Ballo in Maschera" the memoirs of everyone directly involved - Mrs. Bjorling, Birgit Nilsson, Cornel McNeil, and especially George Solti - all agree that he was cold sober during that time.

Culshaw wrote of waking in Vienna to find a “heavily intoxicated” Bjorling standing at the foot of his bed. In her biography of her husband, “Jussi”, Anna-Lisa Bjorling made no attempt to hide his problems with alcohol and, in fact, documented it’s effect on Bjorling and his family extensively. But she wrote: Apart from it’s being untrue, he (Culshaw) obviously hadn’t the slightest idea of what an uncontrollably drunk Jussi Bjorling looked like.”

During the Rome recording sessions for “Un Ballo” Solti had an entirely different concept of how Riccardo should be sung than Bjorling and according to Cornell McNeil, “Whatever he (Jussi) asked in my presence, they trampled all over him.” Solti wanted him to change everything - tempo, phrasing, dynamics, and nuances. Bjorling did refuse to rehearse as often as Solti wanted. He had, after all, sung the role for 24 years at that point with many of the finest conductors and had been personally coached in the part by Toscanini. Solti turned it into a contest of wills. But Bjorling was a dying man. As Solti acknowledged later “It wasn’t that he didn’t want to rehearse, he could not!”

All of which is not to decide at this late date whose memory was more accurate, Culshaw’s or Mrs. Bjorling, Nilsson, McNeil, and Solti, but to suggest that when you read Culshaw blaming other people for something that happened the proverbial grain of salt might be desireable.


A Matter of Records: Fred Gaisberg & The Golden Era of the Gramophone
A Matter of Records: Fred Gaisberg & The Golden Era of the Gramophone
by Jerrold Northrop Moore
Edition: Hardcover
26 used & new from $2.91

5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely worth reading, July 17, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The life of Fred Gaisberg is a fascinating one and this book covers most of it. Much of the book is taken directly from Gaisberg's journals and there doesn't seem to be a lot of original research. Almost no coverage of his personal life (he never married - why? Did he have any romantic relationships other than the abortive one mentioned early on?) but the narrative is done well and quite readable.

This was a man who was in at the very beginning of recorded music. He is best known for being the first to record Enrico Caruso but his firsts also include Feodor Chaliapin, Nellie Melba, Adelina Patti, John McCormack, and on and on. Not to mention tons of recordings of Indian, Japanese, Russian, and other folk artists.


The American Opera Singer: The lives & adventures of America's great singers in opera & concert from 1825 to the present
The American Opera Singer: The lives & adventures of America's great singers in opera & concert from 1825 to the present
by Peter G. Davis
Edition: Paperback
Price: $22.56
50 used & new from $0.61

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional, June 13, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Aside from providing an immense amount of information about many early singers I (and probably you) was unaware of, Peter Davis' writing style is clean and moves crisply. Oddly, the book becomes marginally less interesting as it reaches the present day, probably because present day singers are less individual and less interesting. All the expected singers are covered - Mary Garden, Geraldine Farrar, Rosa Ponselle, Lawrence Tibbett - but it's the stories of the nineteenth century divas that fascinate.


The Serpent of Venice: A Novel
The Serpent of Venice: A Novel
by Christopher Moore
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.73
111 used & new from $5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Long may the serpent sail, May 16, 2014
Curses upon thee, foul scrivener Moore. Now I must revisit "Fool" and discover why I so little cared for it and so much liked "The Serpent of Venice." Arrrgh! I read the damned thing straight through last night and loved it. Was I simply in a mood black when I read (and abandoned) "Fool."? Was it really that bad or was "Serpent" that good? Memory serves me that it was the intrusive use of Shakesperean speech patterns that disturbed me at the time. Was that truly the case and my tolerance for such foolishness has increased, or is the level of writing markedly better and the use of Elizabethan argot reduced in "Serpent"? In any case, Othello is a more interesting person in "Serpent" than he was in the play.

Oh, yes. I laughed out loud at Pocket’s final line.


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