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The Misfits
The Misfits
DVD ~ Clark Gable
Offered by Jay Mart
Price: $9.49
101 used & new from $1.75

5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet story of rough characters, January 25, 2015
This review is from: The Misfits (DVD)
Whatever defects some may find in it, there's enough to appreciate about this film to make it worth seeing.

Gable and Monroe, both in their last film, are stretched as in no other roles, with memorable results. I found their characters sympathetic and engaging, the story arc satisfying.

The writing sometimes sparkles with insight.

The physical force of the final scenes, with Gable doing his own stunts, is powerful.


The Misfits
The Misfits
DVD
Price: $2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet story of rough characters, January 25, 2015
This review is from: The Misfits (Amazon Instant Video)
Whatever defects some may find in it, there's enough to appreciate about this film to make it worth seeing.

Gable and Monroe, both in their last film, are stretched as in no other roles, with memorable results. I found their characters sympathetic and engaging, the story arc satisfying.

The writing sometimes sparkles with insight.

The physical force of the final scenes, with Gable doing his own stunts, is powerful.


Foster Grant James Multifocus Glasses, Black, 1.5
Foster Grant James Multifocus Glasses, Black, 1.5
Price: $34.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Will work well for some, not for "looking across a room", January 24, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
These multifocal reading glasses are intended to work from close reading distance to two or three feet (for "interacting," or "across desk" as it says on the packaging). The product description also says they're useful for "looking across the room," but that can't be right for reading glasses. People with normal vision at distance, whether through nature or contacts, won't be able to use these to look across a room larger than a closet. (If you can see across a room with these, you need prescription lenses, not just reading glasses.)

Because people's eyes are different, these will work for some and not others, even with the correct close reading strength. In my case, the 1.5x strength works very nicely for close reading, using the bottom of the lenses, and the top of the lenses work out to about two feet. As I sit about three feet from my computer, they don't work for that. The advantage of these to me is more flexibility in how close I can hold a book.

These glasses are designed to fit snuggly for all sizes, have a spring on each hinge. That means for all but child-sized heads there is some pressure from the arms. It's comfortable enough for me, but some, especially those with large heads, may find it uncomfortable.

Several people have complained that the glasses make them feel nauseated. Among the possible causes are incorrect corrective strength for the eyes and the distance, which can be caused by the wrong glasses or by looking out the wrong part of the lenses for the distance, which is easy to do. For those who have one eye stronger than the other, a shift in which eye has the best vision can also cause discomfort, something that can usually be fixed by getting the right corrective strength for the dominant eye.

These are well constructed, feel solid.

The soft case is nice, a little tight at the closed end.


Haydn - The Creation / Du Closel, Chambord Sinfonietta
Haydn - The Creation / Du Closel, Chambord Sinfonietta
DVD ~ Haydn
Offered by sharp10
Price: $5.75
14 used & new from $1.85

5.0 out of 5 stars Die Schöpfung in Chartres, January 23, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a live recording of the original German version, made in the famous Chartres Cathedral in France in 1993. The performers are for the most part good musicians not well known here, led by Amaury du Closel, a conductor and composer who has led several performances for French radio and television, of which this appears to be one. The small orchestra, the Sinfonietta de Chambord, was founded by him. The chorus, called simply Les Choeurs de Versailles (The Choirs of Versailles) on the recording, is said on the DVD case to be made up of professionals and "enthusiastic amateurs." The soloists are Brigitte Lafon, Douglas Nasrawi, and Michel Piquemal.

I enjoyed the performance. Du Closel leads vigorously, the soloists have pleasant voices and sing well for a live performance, and with feeling, and the chorus and orchestra sound more engaged than they sometimes look. The playing is occasionally a little rough, and I'd prefer even more fire and joy sometimes, but I feel that way about most performances of this work (and many others!).

The sound is mostly clear but sometimes congested in tuttis, and the choir is sometimes mushy, probably not helped by the very reverberant acoustic. Dolby Stereo 2.0 only.

The video is fairly good for what was probably a TV broadcast, soft for those accustomed to contemporary hi-def. The setting is gorgeous, of course; the performers are more variable that way. Images of the cathedral open the recording and appear between the three parts. Otherwise the cameras are on the performers, from a variety of perspectives, usually focusing on the singers or players with a prominent part at the moment. Though the shift to the performer is late a couple times, and there are a couple dissolves that are too long, on the whole it's nicely done. The aspect ratio is 4:3, full screen.

There are optional English subtitles, no others are available. (I didn't notice any DVD menu control for the subtitles, you can choose them with your TV/player control.) The English titles appear to be a new translation of the German, not the English version used by Haydn. This translation isn't as poetic but it's probably better for understanding what's being sung.

There are chapters for almost each number, 32 chapters in all. The chapters are listed on the inside of the DVD case and are accessible from the main menu. There are notes on the performers on the CD case.

4 stars, plus one to balance out a couple ridiculously low ratings. (This is definitely better than anything I've ever heard at a local church. "Too much soloists not enough choir"?)


18k Yellow Gold Plated Sterling Silver Gunmetal Color Two-Tone Champagne and White Cubic Zirconia Medallion Pendant Necklace, 18"
18k Yellow Gold Plated Sterling Silver Gunmetal Color Two-Tone Champagne and White Cubic Zirconia Medallion Pendant Necklace, 18"
Price: $89.72

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely, January 14, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I enjoy this piece. The metalwork has good color, brighter and more golden than it looks in the photo and video. It has a pleasing design, appears and feels well crafted, and is filled with sparkly CZs that are sized just right for the piece.

That's not to say this is going to be mistaken for very expensive jewelry on close examination. The first tell for me is a slight seam inside the outer ring. But that's out of the way and you have to strain to see it--I didn't notice it until I searched for the jewelry marks. The overall look is very nice.

The chain is thin, as others have said, but I like that too, gives it a delicate look. I've tugged on it and it feels surprisingly sturdy.

The weight is enough to feel substantial but still comfortable.

The back is smooth, nicely polished, won't catch on clothing.

The clasp is easy to operate, and there's a 2-inch adjuster chain.

Comes in a nicely-built hinged black case with a beveled padded top. I don't know what it's made of, but it makes a solid wood-like clack when shut. Inside there's a felt-like padded platform and top lining. There are a couple small blue ribbon loops to open the case and lift the platform. It has a peculiar scent inside, like new car with a bit of cedar. The case comes in a matching clean-looking black paper box lined with bright blue inside. Nice presentation.

There are jewelry marks on the back of the pendant and on the chain:

925, meaning .925 (92.5%) pure silver, the purity required for sterling
PAJ, which is the manufacturer or importer mark (see below)
CZ (pendant only), meaning cubic zirconia
CHINA

As another reviewer points out, there are no marks present for gold plating. US law doesn't require markings, only that any markings be accurate. I asked Amazon's jewelry people about this and they stand behind the 18K gold plate description. They say each piece has been inspected and the description verified.

The PAJ mark indicates that the manufacturer or importer is PAJ Inc of Dallas, Texas. They registered the PAJ trademark for jewelry in 1991, after having first used it in 1984. According to their website, they've been in business for over 35 years. (There's nothing to the internet rumor that the PAJ mark refers to the kind of metal.)


George Foreman GRP4842R 2-in-1 Evolve Grill, Red
George Foreman GRP4842R 2-in-1 Evolve Grill, Red
Price: $114.36
9 used & new from $78.52

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little evolved, still fairly simple, January 13, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This Evolve grill is moving on a little from the original Foreman grill, but it has its advantages, while keeping the main idea of two-sided grilling and fat removal. It's bigger and more expensive than the old-style models, over 15" wide and almost as deep (a couple more inches deep with the fat-dripping pan attached), about 15 pounds. That's still not real big, and it means you can cook more at once, of course. The cooking surfaces are about 12" wide by 8" deep, good for six small hamburger patties or, with the included waffle plates, a couple good-sized waffles. Changing the cooking plates is very quick and easy.

The other main advancement is the two temperature options, regular grill (selectable from 300 to 450 degrees) or sear (500 degrees). The searing option is a little quirky, you have to select the cooking temperature (350 is specified in the instructions but you can change it after the searing) and then select sear. It takes almost ten minutes for it to reach the searing temperature if you start from cold. When it gets there, it beeps and immediately starts timing 90 seconds of searing. If you don't get the food on fast, and you miss too much of that time, you have to start the process over (will heat back up fairly quickly when already hot). When the searing is done, you can automatically finish cooking at the regular temperature.

It all works great, cooking-wise. The grill marks look great, the searing gives juicy results. The lever to tilt the grill up a little in the back to drain the fat is a little hard to turn on mine, but it works.

The grill plates have a ceramic surface, the waffle plates have what looks like a teflon-type surface. The plates and the plastic drip pan are easy to clean by hand and are dishwasher safe. The rest you just wipe down with a cloth as needed.

The cord is 2 feet long.


Beethoven - Symphony No. 9 & Piano Concerto No. 2 / Abbado, Pletnev, Berlin Philharmonic
Beethoven - Symphony No. 9 & Piano Concerto No. 2 / Abbado, Pletnev, Berlin Philharmonic
DVD ~ Claudio Abbado
10 used & new from $4.11

5.0 out of 5 stars Sparkling 2nd, Electric 9th, January 6, 2015
This is a live recording of the tenth Euro Concert in Berlin, 1 May 2000.

It opens with Pletnev playing the 2nd Piano Concerto with a scaled-back orchestra of about thirty strings and seven winds. Pletnev is relaxed, refined, fleet of finger. The orchestra has a chamber sound that goes well with this music, plays enthusiastically.

The 9th Symphony gets the full orchestra, naturally. It's fast but expressive, joyous, committed. The soloists and chorus do an excellent job keeping up, singing the right notes with feeling and power. I especially enjoy this performance. There are many good ways to perform this symphony, and this is one.

The sound quality is good, full, natural. The video is a pretty good for DVD, with natural color. The camera work is good, a mix of perspectives with frequent focus on instruments while playing their parts. The camera moves or shifts points of view quite a bit, but it's done naturally and doesn't distract. There's a surprising amount of chromatic aberration (purple fringing around bright whites), especially noticeable in the concerto.

This recording of the symphony is also available on DVD as part of a set with the other eight, the rest recorded in Rome the next year.


Verbier Festival 2009: Stephen Kovacevich (Bach, Schumann, Beethoven)
Verbier Festival 2009: Stephen Kovacevich (Bach, Schumann, Beethoven)
DVD
Price: $3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A performance well worth seeing, January 4, 2015
This recording was panned for bad sound in its DVD release by a very fine Amazon customer reviewer, but the piano sounds full and natural to me. I checked a few professional reviews as well, including Gramophone, Fanfare, BBC Music, and Tutti Magazine (France), and if they mentioned the sound at all it was in positive ways. They were also positive about the performance, though in humorously opposed ways. Some loved the Bach, some thought it the weak point. One finds Kovacevich visually dull, unexpressive; another interesting, thoroughly involved emotionally. And so on.

The program:

Bach: Partita No. 4 in D major, BWV 828

Schumann: Kinderszenen (Scenes of Childhood), Op. 15

Beethoven: 33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations"

--: Bagatelle in G major, Op. 126, No. 5

I enjoy the entire program. Bach isn't repertoire Kovacevich is known for, but he clearly enjoys it. He makes it sound natural on piano, beautiful, thoughtful, vigorous, with a nice balance of left and right hands. Some of the Schumann is fast but tenderly articulated, other parts are fittingly dreamy or longing but never too ponderous. The Beethoven is powerful, well propelled, flies off the keys, reflective when called for. The bagatelle is a lovely "good night." Kovacevich pushes his limits in this playing, especially the Beethoven, and there are a few smudges, but overall it's remarkably precise.

The video quality is good, with natural color, dominated by deep blacks, the pianist's white hair a striking contrast especially when backlit. There's a mix of focuses on the hands and/or face, with occasional shots with the entire piano. Both hands and face are expressive without exaggeration.


Verbier Festival 2009 Stephen Kovacevich: Piano
Verbier Festival 2009 Stephen Kovacevich: Piano
DVD ~ Bach
Offered by Kings Emporium
Price: $19.95
22 used & new from $15.68

5.0 out of 5 stars Sound is fine, performance well worth seeing, January 4, 2015
I always value Scott Morrison's reviews, but I can't find any sound issues with this DVD. The piano sounds full and natural. I checked a few professional reviews as well, including Gramophone, Fanfare, BBC Music, and Tutti Magazine (France), and if they mentioned the sound at all it was in positive ways. They were also positive about the performance, though in humorously opposed ways. Some loved the Bach, some thought it the weak point. One finds Kovacevich visually dull, unexpressive; another interesting, thoroughly involved emotionally. And so on.

The program:

Bach: Partita No. 4 in D major, BWV 828

Schumann: Kinderszenen (Scenes of Childhood), Op. 15

Beethoven: 33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, "Diabelli Variations"

--: Bagatelle in G major, Op. 126, No. 5

I enjoy the entire program. Bach isn't repertoire Kovacevich is known for, but he clearly enjoys it. He makes it sound natural on piano, beautiful, thoughtful, vigorous, with a nice balance of left and right hands. Some of the Schumann is fast but tenderly articulated, other parts are fittingly dreamy or longing but never too ponderous. The Beethoven is powerful, well propelled, flies off the keys, reflective when called for. The bagatelle is a lovely "good night." Kovacevich pushes his limits in this playing, especially the Beethoven, and there are a few smudges, but overall it's remarkably precise.

The video quality is good, with natural color, dominated by deep blacks, the pianist's white hair a striking contrast especially when backlit. There's a mix of focuses on the hands and/or face, with occasional shots with the entire piano. Both hands and face are expressive without exaggeration.


ProTeam Super HalfVac Pro Hip Vacuum w/14" Xover Floor Tool kit 107098 & 2 pc wand
ProTeam Super HalfVac Pro Hip Vacuum w/14" Xover Floor Tool kit 107098 & 2 pc wand
Price: $409.23

4.0 out of 5 stars Hip-style commercial vacuum for commercial/public spaces // correct specs, January 4, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a commercial vacuum that straps on like a backpack for easy prolonged use or for hard-to-reach places like between or under rows of chairs, desks, etc. It's designed to fit at waist level (see Amazon photos), can be used with or without the shoulder harness. It's over 11 pounds with the shoulder harness, small and light for a commercial unit but heavy enough to make the harness a welcome support. If you get it adjusted right it feels natural enough, and is a lot easier to move around than a conventional design that rolls on the floor. Doesn't get too warm during use.

This is intended to be used on smooth surfaces and low-pile heavy-duty commercial carpets. It won't clean a shag rug as effectively as models designed for that.

The specs currently listed by Amazon are incorrect (they're for the ProVac FS 6). This model has an 8.5-amp motor, 1050 W, 106 cfm airflow, 97" static lift. Those are on the low side for commercial vacuums, but the suction feels strong and for many offices, restaurants, churches, etc, it will be plenty for quick cleaning. You'll still occasionally need a broom, mop, or your hands for some things, but it will do fine for most ordinary debris.

There's an included 50-foot power cord, sturdy.

It's all solidly put together for heavy longterm use.

The warrantee is one year on the motor, 3 years parts and labor on the rest.

It operates at 66 DB, fairly quiet for a vacuum, but since it's closer to your ears when in use than a floor-style model it's still noisy.

There's a four-level filtration system, including dual HEPA filters. The micro filter bags can be emptied and reused to a point, but eventually you need to replace them. The two HEPA filters also need to be replaced occasionally, every six months is recommended. More bags and filters can be ordered from the ProTeam website. It's $20-25 plus shipping for a ten-pack of the bags, about $6 for each HEPA cartridge, $1.32 for the dome filters. Some are also available through Amazon, just use the search terms ProTeam (one word) plus the part number.


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