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Reviews of things other than movies 
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Burning Godzilla
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To answer you, BJ, the oils did make for a softer beard. But the softness also comes naturally with the longer beard length (although, now my wife says my moustache tickles her nose).

As for beard dandruff, it's a real thing. That's the chief benefit of the oils. Shampoos and regular conditioners don't really do the trick, and I hated the feel of lotions in my beard. It made it feel oddly oily, while the oils seem to moisturize the skin while leaving the beard soft and supple.

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When 'Celebrity Deathmatch' just isn't nuanced enough for you @ The KO Picture Show "Reviewing the best (and worst) in Pugilistic Pictures!"

"I've always imagined you as Tom Servo, in my head." - Ed the IX paying me one helluva nice (if unintended) compliment.

"Hoots, Sister Morag. I can no' find pleasure in haggis anymore." - Beggar So's Hat

"I'm back, and I'm more evil than before! HAW HAW HEE!" - Mr. Mind, feelin' it


Wed May 14, 2014 2:10 am
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Burning Godzilla
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KO Rob wrote:
To answer you, BJ, the oils did make for a softer beard. But the softness also comes naturally with the longer beard length (although, now my wife says my moustache tickles her nose).

As for beard dandruff, it's a real thing. That's the chief benefit of the oils. Shampoos and regular conditioners don't really do the trick, and I hated the feel of lotions in my beard. It made it feel oddly oily, while the oils seem to moisturize the skin while leaving the beard soft and supple.



So...lotions make you feel oily. Oils make you feel soft and supple? Man, I'm glad my beard fell out. I never worry about this stuff anymore. Barbels never need oiling.

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Sat May 24, 2014 7:33 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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Cliffie wrote:
So...lotions make you feel oily. Oils make you feel soft and supple? Man, I'm glad my beard fell out. I never worry about this stuff anymore. Barbels never need oiling.


Wait, Cliffie's a dude?

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Sat May 24, 2014 9:19 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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Chicago Family Vacation - So my Swiss hostdaughter wanted to visit Chicago - a place I try to visit on an annual, if not bi-annual basis. I know this place, but since it's mostly been for B-fest, I have made VERY few traditional touristy trips to the Windy City. So, this is what my hostdaughter and wife did. We did not, thankfully, wait three hours to see the Skybox view from the SEARS - DAMMIT - Tower, but we did ascend the John Hancock Building (with its comparable city views and its superior views of the northern half of the city) and we did the windows that Tilt down to simulate the view most serious suicide jumpers get. It was cool.
Unless I am going to the IMAX theater at that location, I will be very reluctant to set foot on Navy Pier again. But the Chicago River Building architecture tour is still very good; Good to know you can kayak the Chicago River these days.
The Crown Fountain, the shiny bean, Millenium Park and the Buckingham Fountain are all still there and still worth return visits.
The Magnificent Mile is worth it only for watching American shopping culture, which I still don't understand.
We did two off-the-beaten path things. We took in a play at Signal Ensemble Theater - a tiny independent non-equity playhouse located around Irving Park. The play was a sweet little romantic comedy musical called The Next Thing. Interesting feature of the theater - it sits directly between the CTA Brown line and an RTA train line. The trains went by so often, you eventually barely noticed them.

Following a tour of the outside of Wrigley Field, we got bus directions to a small fondu restaurant about three miles from Evanston and the beginning of northern suburbia. When we finished about 10 that evening, I got a distinct Warriors vibe because the normal bus traffic went away and we were faced with having to "bop" our way back to downtown. Fortunately, the CTA people plotted us a return trek that involved some walking to a stop, but then not much else. And no Baseball Furies or Gramercy Riffs.
We did not do museum stuff - so no Field, Shedd, Art Institute or Contempo Art. But we walked around lots of downtown and ate Oprah-recommended thin crust pizza.

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Tue May 27, 2014 1:05 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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Skechers relaxed fit memory foam soled shoes are the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn, and this is coming from someone who has worn Merrills hiking shoes for years.

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Tue May 27, 2014 1:54 pm
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Bergerjacques wrote:
And no Baseball Furies or Gramercy Riffs.

The Chicago Baseball Furies wore Cubs uniforms, with the result that they were routinely beat by every other gang.

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Tue May 27, 2014 4:21 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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supersonic man wrote:
Bergerjacques wrote:
And no Baseball Furies or Gramercy Riffs.

The Chicago Baseball Furies wore Cubs uniforms, with the result that they were routinely beat by every other gang.


Once in awhile, I regret that we don't have a LIKE button.

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Oh yeah, down here, I am considered the apotheosis of cool - Sewer Urchin

This is an appalling film. And for some of you, well worth your time - SSM

I like the way this board thinks


Tue May 27, 2014 5:56 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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Review of an appliance:

We had to get rid of our refrigerator because it made noises and water was dripping into it from some source. (A mystety, since we don't have a water source for it and therefore don't have an ice maker.) We got a new one. It seems that all modern refrigerators are very loud when they run normally.

Review of a satellite television provider:

We called Dish Network to shut off our service because we were almost never using it. We got rid of the satellite dish and the black box. A month later we were stilled getting billed for it. They got more that a small piece of our minds about that.

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Dark tears for is alabaster muse lost forever into the unforgiving jade daggers of the night. Her slim form no longer to touch his burning lips, her blood like the thorny rose no longer his, O Death! O Oblivion! Why havent you come! I wait in my garden of shadows for thee! -- Juniper releases her inner Goth.


Tue May 27, 2014 7:09 pm
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Body of Water
This is a new stage play that premiered less than a week ago, which is playing at the Southside Theater at Fort Mason (building D) in San Francisco. It's being put on by a new high-level academy of dramatic arts for teenagers, which is called A Theatre Near U. Its mission is to provide the next step up for kids gifted enough that the crappy school or community theater groups normally available to them aren't serving them well in fully developing their skills. So the play is written specifically for an all-teen cast.

How to make an interesting and relevant play with no adults? The scenario that the writer came up with is that society has more or less collapsed, due to a civil war followed by a theocracy. The teens are all strays whose parents have been rounded up by the "shepherds". They've gathered at a farmhouse where they survive as hunter-gatherers, under the semi-leadership of a bombastic weirdo named Bosh. The writer described it as Breakfast Club Meets Lord Of The Flies. It's grim and gruesome at times, and it could never be put on in a school -- it would be way too controversial. This story is intense. The cliffhanger at the intermission scared the crap out of me.

Now, with that in mind, prepare yourself to realize the amazing fact that this is a full blown singing-and-dancing musical.

Now I've seen some pretty feeble community theater, but this was something else. It was certainly memorable. In fact, I'd say it qualified as mind-blowing. Despite a lot of issues that you expect with amateurs, such as rushed line readings that make you miss important words, or some singers being not nearly as good as others. If the cast were stronger -- and it might become that if they can take the show on tour -- the story might really shine.

And this makes me proud, because the writer who created this amazing thing, and (along with his wife) the theater company that presented it, is my cousin Tony Kienitz. The same guy whose own Hollywood career was about fifty percent in Albert Pyun movies. The same guy who seemed to have jettisoned anything to do with acting years ago in order to focus on being a consulting expert on organic vegetable gardening, even writing a book on the topic. (He still works at a nursery in addition to the theater group.)

By the way, one of the best kid actors was his son Jackson, who was credited without the name Kienitz in order to make it look more credible as a serious theater production. I didn't know it was him until afterwards.

Anyway, I was pretty impressed with this story, and how well they made it work to present it as a musical despite the incongruous tone and topic... but maybe you should get a second opinion, because Supersonic Woman hated it.

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Mon Jun 16, 2014 3:45 am
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Burning Godzilla
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A petroleum-free mustache wax by DocElliott on Etsy.com. I've started cultivating a slightly handlebar-ish mustache, and I wanted to keep it neat and kind of sculpted (picture more "Wyatt Earp" [or, perhaps "Doc Holliday/Sam Elliott", given the maker's name], less "Yosemite Sam"). So after reading some reviews, I went with the "Refined" scent (described as "reminiscent of barbicide, leather, and sandalwood musk"). After giving it a couple of tries, I found it to be nice and light, but perhaps a little too weak in the "hold" department. It keeps the "body" of my 'stache nice and neat, but the ends still seem get a little ragged after about an hour of wear. The scent is inoffensive (but, oddly, not reminiscent of any of the flavors mentioned above; it's got a kind of talc odor crossed with a very faint vegetal smell). I may try a brand of wax that advertises "more hold", but I like this stuff for a night out when I want my mustache looking sharp.

I also bought a larger amount of Dream Beard's "Mechanic" scent beard oil. My wife loves it, and I like having this scent under my nose all day.

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When 'Celebrity Deathmatch' just isn't nuanced enough for you @ The KO Picture Show "Reviewing the best (and worst) in Pugilistic Pictures!"

"I've always imagined you as Tom Servo, in my head." - Ed the IX paying me one helluva nice (if unintended) compliment.

"Hoots, Sister Morag. I can no' find pleasure in haggis anymore." - Beggar So's Hat

"I'm back, and I'm more evil than before! HAW HAW HEE!" - Mr. Mind, feelin' it


Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:03 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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the Sigma 150-500mm f5-6.3 OS supertelephoto zoom lens:
This is tempting because it offers a lot of length at an affordable price, but it weighs a ton and the performance isn't enough to justify the bulk. In practice it has just barely more performance than some consumer lenses that are far smaller and lighter, and less expensive too. If you need a really significant upgrade from a good 300mm zoom, you're going to have to pay a lot more to get it.

Unless you're using the Canon mount, in which case their 400mm f5.6 prime is a great bargain.

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"This is a Star Trek that pretends to have balls, but continues to prove that those balls are actually rubber prophylactics pretending to be balls." -- Bj

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Wed Jul 09, 2014 4:18 am
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Burning Godzilla
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Beethoven's Ninth Symphony (the Ode to Joy) performed by the Madison Symphony Orchestra and Chorus on May 10 at the Overture Center in Madison Wisconsin:

This was a very emotional show for me because it was my dad's final big musical performance -- he is retiring from the tenor section. And it's a full circle thing because this is a piece that he and my mom performed in the chorus in their student days when they were first dating, sixty years ago.

It was also emotional because it's terrific music and it was a knockout performance. We were seated in a side box, which you would think would be very expensive, but which end up being cheap because you can't see half of the orchestra without leaning way over the side. But everything you lose in sight you gain in sound: my mom was blown away by how much more clear and immediate the sound was, compared to her usual balcony seats in the back.

My dad says that in most performances, the chorus always ends up feeling like they're not quite ready. But not this time: they basically peaked right on time for the playoffs, and nailed it with full confidence and full power. And my mom says that what they did back when they were students could never compare, because young students simply don't have the vocal development to sing that powerfully. The four solo voices were strong, and strongest of all was the baritone who is the first one to sing. He was a huge guy with a voice to match, and he impressed everyone. The orchestra was sharp too. Add it all up and it was everything the audience could hope for: technically flawless and passionately heartfelt. I think everyone involved is going to remember this as a big moment in their musical careers. For my dad, it was a true peak experience.

Beethoven is tricky to interpret, being awkwardly between the classical and romatic periods of orchestral music. If you give a "historically informed" performance he can end up sounding like Haydn, and at the opposite extreme you can pretend that he lived fifty years later and make him sound like Brahms. The fashion has definitely shifted from the smooth Brahmsy style to the crisp Haydny one over the last couple of generations, but this of all pieces is the most Brahmsable. In the first movement I thought the conductor was leaning a bit too Haydnwards for my taste, but in the other three that was no longer an issue, He just went right down the middle of how the music sounded best.

The opening piece was by Leonard Bernstein -- a thing for solo violin, harp, percussion and strings based on one of Plato's dialogs. It was nothing special but it was okay. But the Beethoven... that was an outright triumph.

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"This is a Star Trek that pretends to have balls, but continues to prove that those balls are actually rubber prophylactics pretending to be balls." -- Bj

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Mon May 11, 2015 2:04 am
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Burning Godzilla
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That was beautiful. Thank you.

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Dark tears for is alabaster muse lost forever into the unforgiving jade daggers of the night. Her slim form no longer to touch his burning lips, her blood like the thorny rose no longer his, O Death! O Oblivion! Why havent you come! I wait in my garden of shadows for thee! -- Juniper releases her inner Goth.


Mon May 11, 2015 5:41 pm
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Firefox Mobile (for Android): I keep wanting to like this browser and it keeps disappointing me.

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"This is a Star Trek that pretends to have balls, but continues to prove that those balls are actually rubber prophylactics pretending to be balls." -- Bj

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Sun May 17, 2015 4:23 pm
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Location: California's #2 tourist destination
the 2015? Seat Toledo
Seat (SAY-at) is an automaker from Spain which nowadays is owned by Volkswagen. They sell a lot of cars in Mexico, and when we spent a vacation week in Playa del Carmen, we rented one. In many ways it's a very basic economy car, but it turns out to have a lot to like. It's quite roomy -- the chassis is stretched significantly, relative to the VW base model it's derived from -- and reasonably comfortable. The small engine gets the job done without making much noise, the suspension doesn't turn the rough roads into a punishment, and I actually enjoyed driving it. Reliability stats suggest that it has significantly less trouble than the more expensive VW-branded models. Despite being stripped down it still has power windows and mirrors, and decent AC. The one major drawback for Mexican roads is that the turning radius is too wide -- not nearly as tight as, say, a Mazda 3. This may be a consequence of the lengthening.

There are some bits about the user interface which are confusing. It took us a while to figure out how to open the liftback trunk (the rear badge tilts to make a handle) and how to unlock the filler cap (it unlocks with the passenger doors, and the button for that is in the climate control area for some reason). But as I got used to its quirks, I liked it more and more.

A lot of the rental cars I've rented over the years have been Chrysler models -- they seem to sell more to fleets than to families. Some of them were far larger, more powerful, and more luxurious than this Seat, but I can't name a single one I'd prefer in its place. For all its cheapness this is a car that gets being-a-car right, in a way that Chrysler just never seems to manage anymore.

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"This is a Star Trek that pretends to have balls, but continues to prove that those balls are actually rubber prophylactics pretending to be balls." -- Bj

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Wed Feb 03, 2016 7:24 pm
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