May 28

Big Screen TVs Squashed by UHD

Bigger is Better if You can Stand it

When I was a kid, the “cool” place to sit in a movie theater was in the very back row. As I got older, I realized that defeated much of the purpose of going to the movies: a larger than life BIG screen experience. By sitting at the back of the theater, one essentially makes the 35 foot screen equivalent to watching a 50 inch screen from ten feet away. You can hold up your hand and block out the screen if you want.

I’m now of the philosophy that to fully appreciate the movie going experience, the screen should be just shy of comfortably filling my peripheral vision.

So, it should be of no surprise that, as something of a home theater aficionado, I buy the highest quality big screen I can afford. Currently that means a 75″ 1080p Samsung Series 8 8000 that I bought a year or two ago. If I had my way, I’d have at least a 120″ TV.

I’ve also been working to upgrade my home theater speakers, which included transitioning to Definitive Technology speakers. Having tastes that exceed my budget, I haven’t bought a full compliment yet but I did buy a Definitive Technology center speaker.

And here is where my 1st world problems start: my legacy Ikea TV stand (from the days when I ‘only’ owned a 65″ Sony Vega), is barely large enough for my Samsung, but more to the problem: it does not accommodate my center speaker, so I’m forced to sit my speaker in front of my TV. This is only barley tolerable when I’m watching a letter-boxed movie and the image isn’t blocked by the speaker.

The Fellowship of the Ring on a Big Screen TV: Samsung UN75F8000 75-Inch 1080p 240Hz 3D Ultra Slim Smart LED HDTV

I’m not prepared to wall mount my TV or speaker for the time being, for various reasons, so this problem sent me on a hunt for a TV stand or entertainment center that would accommodate both my center speaker, components and TV without my image being blocked.

This issue is further exacerbated because my speaker not only fires sound forward, but up towards the ceiling as well, so I don’t want to trap it inside a cabinet or under a shelf. So, I’ve spent a good bit of time trying to find an attractive solution and have been surprised to find that there are few good choices to accommodate TVs larger than 65″.

Where Have All the Really Big Screen 1080p TVs Gone?

My search took me both online and to brick and mortar stores like my local Best Buy, and it was here that I was surprised to find 65″ Ultra High Def TVs are now as cheap, or cheaper than my 75″ 1080p TV was a couple of years ago. Perhaps with the release of UHD Blu-Rays and some streaming content starting to be released, it will finally be worth buying an UHD TV. This was a new temptation and I started to fantasize about moving my 75″ TV to another room, thinking I might be able to forego the Ultra High Def and instead get a larger 1080 big screen.

So, I perused the TVs in Best Buy and then later, at home, online and to my dismay, I started to learn that big screen TVs – bigger than 65 inches, have started to disappear. My search finally lead me to this article “Where Have All the Really Big 1080p TVs Gone?” that explained the disappearance: Ultra HD happened. In terms of TV pricing, the race to the bottom has run its course; right now, manufacturers are now looking for reasons to charge more for their televisions, not less.

So, I’ll probably be forced to commission a custom TV stand that fits my needs and I’ll likely be making for UHD TVs to become both big and affordable.

Oh, how shall I ever survive?

May 10

April 2016 – Quote of the Month

“As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy.”

~Christopher Dawson

Apr 30

Trumped Trump

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures and declares "You're fired!" at a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, June 17, 2015. REUTERS/Dominick Reuter Donald Trump could almost qualify as a cartoon character, except for the dark rancor that spews from his round, orange mouth. What at first might have seemed like an extension of one of his reality TV shows has long crossed the border into scary fascism.

Here is why I think the man is a danger based on his own words:

  • Donald Trump is xenophobic

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re not sending you, they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bring crime. They’re rapists… And some, I assume, are good people.”

“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on. According to Pew Research, among others, there is great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population.”

“I have a great relationship with the blacks. I’ve always had a great relationship with the blacks.”

  • Donald is antithetical to the values of liberty and justice

 

“I would bring back waterboarding and I’d bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.”

“We’re losing a lot of people because of the Internet. We have to see Bill Gates and a lot of different people who really understand what’s happening and maybe, in some ways, closing that Internet up in some ways.”

“I would certainly implement that. Absolutely… There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases. We should have a lot of systems… They have to be. They have to be… It’s all about management.” (In reference to supporting a database and ID cards to track Muslims in the U.S.)

  • Trump’s willful ignorance which includes science, history and world affairs

“I am totally in favor of vaccines. But I want smaller doses over a longer period of time. Same exact amount, but you take this little beautiful baby, and you pump–I mean, it looks just like it’s meant for a horse, not for a child, and we’ve had so many instances, people that work for me. … [in which] a child, a beautiful child went to have the vaccine, and came back and a week later had a tremendous fever, got very, very sick, now is autistic.”

“Just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke, OK? I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So I don’t know. I don’t know — did he endorse me, or what’s going on? Because I know nothing about David Duke; I know nothing about white supremacists.” (fusing to condemn former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard and noted white supremacist David Duke, who endorsed Trump for president)

  • Donald’s sexism

“You’re disgusting” – said to a female lawyer during a court case after she asked for a break to pump breast milk for her 3-month-old daughter.

“26,000 unreported sexual assults [sic] in the military — only 238 convictions. What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?”

  • Donald Trump’s pandering

“I love the poorly educated.”

  • Trump’s arrogance (and insecurity)

“All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me – consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.”

“My IQ is one of the highest — and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure; it’s not your fault.”
“Look at those hands, are they small hands? And, [Republican rival Marco Rubio] referred to my hands: ‘If they’re small, something else must be small.’ I guarantee you there’s no problem. I guarantee.”

“I think apologizing’s a great thing, but you have to be wrong. I will absolutely apologize, sometime in the hopefully distant future, if I’m ever wrong.”

  • Donald’s immaturity

“I never attacked him on his look, and believe me, there’s plenty of subject matter right there.” (On Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul)

“You know, it really doesn`t matter what [the media] write as long as you`ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”

“A person who is very flat chested is very hard to be a 10.”

  • Trump maligns, bullies and incites violence

“He’s (John McCain) not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, OK, I hate to tell you.”

“There may be somebody with tomatoes in the audience. If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. Okay? Just knock the hell — I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees.” (Encouraging violence at his rallies)

“That was so great. Who was the person who did that? Put up your hand, put up your hand. Bring that person up here. I love that.” (Praising two audience members who tackled a protester at his rally in South Carolina, Feb. 16, 2016)

  • Donald Trump is avaricious

“The point is, you can never be too greedy.”
“The beauty of me is that I’m very rich.”
  • Donald’s creepiness

“I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”
“My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body.”
  • Donald Trump is a conspiracist

 “An ‘extremely credible source’ has called my office and told me that Barack Obama’s birth certificate is a fraud” 

“I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.”

“It’s really cold outside, they are calling it a major freeze, weeks ahead of normal. Man, we could use a big fat dose of global warming!”

  • Sadly, ‘The Donald’ might be right about at least one thing…

“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot people and I wouldn’t lose voters.”

Apr 14

March 2016 – Quote of the Month

“Go in peace! I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.”

~J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

Mar 30

Clown and Pig have Bad Intentions

Have you ever watched a horror film that depicted a possessed or evil doll and thought that it stretches credulity to think that anybody would ever buy such a creepy looking toy in real life?

Annabelle the doll

Annabelle the doll from the 2014 movie says, ‘Take me home. What could go wrong?’

Chucky Doll

Chucky from the 1981 movie “Child’s Play” has eyes that only a serial killer could find enticing.

Well, wonder no more. I spotted these two evil stuffed toys leering out from the bin of an arcade claw game in a local Steak ‘n Shake, just waiting to dine on the flesh and soul of some foolish suburban family.

Stuffed Clown and Pig with Bad Intentions

Stuffed Clown and Pig will drink the warm blood of your children.

“Here you go kids. – Enjoy your new stuffed toys and sweet dreams!”

Mar 06

February 2016 – Quote of the Month

“Success is a little like wrestling a gorilla. You don’t quit when you’re tired. You quit when the gorilla is tired.”

~Robert Strauss

Feb 29

Fit to be Tied

Trying to increase my fitness, I’ve been working out six to seven days a week, for 30-90 minutes a day. – A pretty respectable workout routine. And yet, in spite of the fact that I’m going out of my way to pick up weights and run, I get very irritated anytime I forget my water bottle or music and I have to walk a single flight of steps to retrieve them so that I can start my exercises.

Feb 01

January 2016 – Quote of the Month

“We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.”

~Carl Sagan, Cosmos

Jan 23

Elven and Hobbit Power Tools

Amazon recommendations for me under, “Power & Hand Tools”. Oh Amazon! You know me so well!

Funny Elves and Hobbit Power Tool Recommendations from Amazon

Jan 07

December 2015 – Quote of the Month

“The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is reason.”

~Thomas Paine

Dec 28

India Observations Redux

Jaipur India - Older Man with Orange Turban by Glen Green - GlenGreenPhotography.comI’ve been back from India for over a month and thought I’d share a few more observations from the trip to compliment my Bangalore Vernacular post from October.

  • There are many road-side options to buy motorcycle helmets, and although drivers often wore them, passengers (which are very common), seldom do. – This lack of head gear includes children and women who often ride on the same bike with the helmeted man driving.
  • Many women ride side-saddle in saris as passengers on motorcycles (usually without helmets – as noted above). – A very scary sight: I kept dreading seeing a woman’s dress get pulled into the spokes of the bike – yanking her hard onto the road and into the fast moving, chaotic traffic.
  • Even though there is an over abundance of garbage piled along the roads, there is almost no graffiti to be seen.
  • Although male-female Public Displays of Affection (PDA) are not to be seen, men platonically hold hands, hug, and walk with arms around each other in spite of the fact that there seems to be strong cultural currents of homophobia.
  • Traffic speed is controlled by large speed bumps.
  • Motorists drive the center of the road – apparently to maximize the options available to them in terms of lanes and passing.
  • Given the very poor state of road maintenance, tire repair and replacement stands are common road-side sights.
  • At night, the vast majority of people street-side are men. – Women go missing.
  • People seen along the roads, squat as opposed to sit: this includes older people.
  • The areas around the India airports of Bangalore, New Dehli and Jaipur (at least), are kept relatively tidy and are complimented with extensive gardens.
  • There are swastika (svastikas in Sanskrit) – an ancient symbol of auspiciousness in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Of course, India had the symbol before the Nazis, but it still catches the eye and one realizes how deep and dark the Nazi symbolism is to the Western eye.
  • In spite of the ever-present refuse, markets areas smell good with the scents of flowers and food – only occasionally punctured with something more pungent.

If I had to sum up my experience in India into a bumper-sticker, I’d say that it isn’t always pretty but it is always interesting. Poverty and pollution are realities of India and likely to shock those who have not previously visited a developing nation, (or ventured outside of their Caribbean vacation resort compounds). However, the open minded traveler is well rewarded with a country full of vitality, amazing sights, warm hospitality and countless pleasant surprises. Just don’t drink the water and you’ll be more than fine.

Dec 02

November 2015 – Quote of the Month

“The gladdest moment in human life, me thinks, is a departure into unknown lands.”

~Sir Richard Burton

Nov 13

Travel Tip for Parents

A traveling tip for parental units: When the airport luggage carousel is jam pack surrounded with adults trying to get their bags, you’d be wise to move the little kiddies away from the machinery instead of letting them play with it, occupying a much needed spot. Alternatively: keep your mouth shut if your spawn gets clipped by an adult heaving a 50lb suitcase off of a conveyor belt when there is no more than 6 inches of space on either side.
Continue reading

Nov 04

October 2015 – Quote of the Month

“Now everyone dreams of a love lasting and true
But you and I know what this world can do
So let’s make our steps clear that the other may see
And I’ll wait for you
If I should fall behind
Wait for me”

~Bruce Springsteen

Oct 29

Bangalore Vernacular

Motorcycle basket with huge basketI’m a few days into my first trip to Bangalore (Bengaluru), or for that matter: my first trip to India.

A few initial, random observations:

  • People are very friendly (but then again: I’m of the philosophy that you find what you’re looking for when you travel).
  • Plugs tend to spark a bit when you stick them in an outlet.
  • Driving on the road involves extra dimensional spaces that did not exist a moment before your car somehow, wondrously, did not collide with an oncoming auto, motorcycle and pedestrian.
  • Vehicles use their horns as a form of echolocation. The regularly send out beeps, testing if the coast is clear and letting others know they are there. Pedestrians, motorist and cyclist do not seem at all perturbed by the regular blasts and few honks seem to be in anger.
  • The city is exceedingly vibrant and forever in motion. There is a continues stream of street vignettes: each different from the last.
  • Service is top notch.
  • There are a lot of street dogs. (A lot more than there are street cows.)
  • People tend to be sharp dressers – and women’s outfits are often particularly striking and beautiful. – Makes me wish that we could see some of those fashions take hold in the US.
  • Apparently, Indians can’t recognize an American accent when they hear one. Compared to Greece, when every person could identify an American from a block away before ever opening one’s mouth. Indians can have a conversation with you and then ask what country you’re from.
  • As we drive on the right side of the road in the US, we also tend to walk down the right side of hallways and rooms. Conversely, in India, everything is reverse. This results in regular confusion and near collisions as I walk down the inappropriate side.

Oct 06

September 2015 – Quote of the Month

“I don’t think the American Dream was that everyone was going to make it or that everyone was going to make a billion dollars, but it was that everyone was going to have an opportunity and the chance to live a life with some decency and a chance for some self-respect.”

~Bruce Springsteen
(as captured in the anthology, Bruce Springsteen Talking)

Sep 28

An Absolute Monarchy in the Minds of Men

For all of the humanistic conventions and relative progressiveness of Pope Francis*, that is enchanting the people; here, at the bedrock is what continues to disturb me: the fostering of supernatural, magical beliefs. If the disservice and damage that this magical mindset does among the everyday individual is disturbing enough, it is downright scary when found in the halls of power.

*(Although not reflected in change of doctrine.)

In his congressional office, Rep. Bob Brady, D-Pa., drinks from the glass of water Pope Francis used during his speech to Congress. Stan White/U.S. Rep. Bob Brady's office via AP

In his congressional office, Rep. Bob Brady, D-Pa., drinks from the glass of water Pope Francis used during his speech to Congress.

As reported in “The Blaze“:

 

Brady took the glass to his Capitol Hill office where he sipped some of the water. The Pennsylvania Democrat passed it around to his wife and staffers.

“Anything the pope touches becomes blessed,” he told The Post. “I think so and no one is going to change my mind.”

According to The Post, Brady invited Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) to his office to dip his fingers in the remaining water. Brady’s wife and mother apparently also took part in that practice.

And so, one is reminded of Francis Bacon:

Atheism leaves a man to sense, to philosophy, to natural piety, to laws, to reputation; all of which may be guides to an outward moral virtue, even if religion vanished; but religious superstition dismounts all these and erects an absolute monarchy in the minds of men.

– Francis Bacon

Sep 03

August 2015 – Quote of the Month

The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.

~ Abraham Lincoln

Aug 30

Based on Your Browsing History, Amazon Recommends…

I take a perverse satisfaction in these screen captures from my Amazon account.

Taken as a group, they paint quite the picture.

  • A motion activated light
  • A dustbuster
  • Wireless video camera with night vision
  • A life sized animatronic clown
  • 12 D-Cell Batteries
  • Mask Latex
  • Cable Splitter

Based on Your Browsing History, Amazon Recommends...Based on Your Browsing History, Amazon Recommends...

Sounds like the making of a hell of a party if you ask me!

Aug 02

July 2015 – Quote of the Month

The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.

~ Bertrand Russell

Load more