Counterfeit Canada Goose

12/28/16 Update!
I received my fake Canada Goose parka today (photos below). The return address on the manifest reads “Shanghai, China.” Phone number (required for shipping): “Shanghai, China.” Shipper: “ShanghaiChinaShanghaiChinaShanghaiChina.” I’m guessing they don’t “do” returns.

The coat had an unusual chemical smell when I opened it (although no rats ran out), so I stuffed it back in its bag. I may throw it out even though I’ve been instructed to keep it until I get my refund. Needless to say, it’s the kind of “original” that one used to be able to pick up on 14th Street in New York back in the days of “squeegee men,” fake Rolexes, 6th Avenue Electronics, and apartments that cost less than $1 million per bedroom. A little bit of nostalgia, I guess.

Luxury Packaging.
Luxury Packaging.
I think those little tridents are supposed to be maple leaves.
I think those little tridents are supposed to be maple leaves.
Some sort of "pull strap" on the back. A feature you don't get with the original!
Some sort of “pull strap” on the back. A feature you don’t get with the original!

Ten years ago, I bought a spectacular Canada Goose bomber jacket for about $360. It’s hot as a blast furnace (actually too hot, except on the absolute worst days), and durable as iron. In fact, it’s still in excellent shape. Unfortunately, I have…as we say…grown out of it. So a coupla weeks ago, with the holiday sales coming up, I figured why not git me a new jacket? I deserve it. Plus, the old one’s too small, and it’s cold out.

A non-counterfeit Canada Goose patch
A non-counterfeit Canada Goose patch

This time, I figured, I’d get a longer coat — a “parka,” if you will. I priced them from Canada Goose, and they started at $900. So much for Canada Goose.

But wait! Right below the official Canada Goose link in my Google results page was a site called “Officially Canada Goose.” [That link is not the counterfeit site. I wouldn’t do that to you. It’s the real Canada Goose page that details how to verify a retailer and what to do if you get scammed.] It was identical to the CG site — perfect. And in the “about” tab, it esplaned that it was the Canada-based “official Canada Goose” outlet, selling (presumably) last year’s styles and colors. “Well, heck!,” I thought to my own self, “Last year’s gray, navy or black down parka is pretty much like this year’s gray, navy or down parka, plus I keeps ’em for 10 years anyway, so even the latest one would be nine years out of date eventually, and the one I want is $750, but these boys are blowin’ ’em out for $255 with free shipping.”

I think you know where this is headed.

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Favorite 2016 Videos

Produced in various years, these are the videos I enjoyed watching in 2016.

Just in time for Christmas. If you’ve been crossed off Santa’s list, not to worry.

Without the Gabor sisters, we never would have had the Kardashians! See Zsa Zsa deliver her most memorable line! See an intrepid spaceman attacked by a stuffed animal! And through it all…acting! You’re welcome.

Hef, Barbie Benton, Jack Cassidy, Hal Frazier and Buddy Rich doing a “wild number”? Did it ever get any cooler than Playboy After Dark?

I have no idea what this is, but I can’t stop watching it.

Not to be outdone by slobbering dogs, this is the coolest cat video of 2012. An old favorite.

Dog. Cat. Now rat — taking care of his business.

Before there was “daytime talk,” there was the weekday afternoon movie.

And finally, this one — which I thought was hilarious during the summer — hit a little too close to home.

Thoughts From Before the Election

Before I morphed my “cars and stereo equipment” blog into a Chronicle of Doom, I used to bother the sh*t out of my friends with lengthy emails. In the recently resurfaced September 15th note below, I raised some issues that turned out to be prescient. As you will see, it never occurred to me that HRC would lose the election. But I was concerned about her not having enough of a mandate to govern effectively, especially because of what I perceived to be the lack of understanding of both her campaign and many of her supporters of socio-cultural issues outside of the educated, often monied professional class.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton celebrates among balloons after she accepted the nomination on the fourth and final night at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 28, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young - RTSK6XP
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton celebrates among balloons after she accepted the nomination on the fourth and final night at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 28, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young – RTSK6XP

Those issues would be important, I argued, as Hillary navigated her presidency.

But, in the immortal words of Donald’s Secretary of Energy nominee, “Oops!”

boing-boing:
To Find Hillary Clinton Likable, We Must Learn to View Women As Complex Beings

(published and commented upon on September 15, 2016)

My email:
I didn’t finish this article because it’s not that good. But it raises what — for me — is an interesting clue about why HRC could lose the country, even if she wins the election.

First, let me get out that I will vote for HRC, as this race, as far as qualifications are concerned, is uncontested. HRC is not only the better relative choice, but it should be clear by now that she is the only absolute choice. But let’s set that aside.

I sure as hell didn’t read everything published during either of the Obama campaigns, but I don’t remember anybody suggesting that we had to change our fundamental perceptions of people in order to like him. People liked him for legitimate reasons. People liked him — either absolutely or symbolically — because he was black. And people hated him — either absolutely or symbolically — because he was black. But nobody ever suggested that Obama was somehow so fundamentally different from any other human being (or group of human beings) that we had to reorient ourselves (as human beings) to like him.

Among the reasons that HRC apologists are lit-critting her candidacy is that they — not the collective “we” — exist in that parallel universe of bullshit and privilege wherein if one decides something about one’s self, it simply and unquestioningly becomes true. The “cultural space” of this parallel universe is not unlike that of the suburban soccer game where every child receives a trophy. And this parallel universe “cultural space” is just as relevant to real space as the suburban soccer environment — which is to say not at all.

Can we admit that feminism — like Marxism, socialism, communism or capitalism — is a socio-political belief system, and not a religion? Can we admit that feminism — especially the practice of affluent, Western and predominantly white feminism — can be (and is) as flawed as highly particularized practices of capitalism and communism (to pick two) have been and are? Can we admit that good socio-political belief systems adapt, evolve and refine themselves based on the human condition(s) they must address? And can we admit — and I’m being generous here — that some socio-political systems (such as communism, to pick one) are or were never holistic enough to be anything other than transitional?

Maybe communism *was* the best thing for a China and Russia that had devolved into a brand of capitalistic/monarchic chaos in which lives of the poor had no value. Sound familiar? And maybe the horrific body count — if one really does the math, which I haven’t — was worth it to wrest those cultures from the feudal period to the industrial and post-industrial periods in just two generations. I don’t know.

But eventually, communism collapsed under it’s own failure to be relevant to the human experience. Communism failed to evolve, failed to update itself, and failed to look beyond itself while simply telling itself how great it was — with all of the objective relevance and value of handing out trophies at a suburban soccer game.

So, where is Western, affluent feminism now? Has the movement been necessary for a culture that still does not truly value women as it values men? You bet. But no socio-political belief system (and not even a true religion) can survive without adapting, and Western, affluent feminism has been hampered in its ability to adapt by the very privilege it rails against — its whiteness.

For example, Western, affluent feminism is not relevant to the vast majority of women of color. That doesn’t mean that women of color are not oppressed, or that they like being oppressed. But it *does* mean that most women of color are not able to practice Western, affluent feminism because they don’t have the options that affluent white women enjoy through dominant-culture privilege and wealth.

For these reasons, Western, affluent feminism also is not relevant to the vast majority of non-affluent white women. Women of color and non-affluent white women are vexed by lack of opportunity and choice — not stymied by the super-abundance of opportunity and choice. I could go on, but you know what I mean.

And now we have supporters of the standard bearer of Western, affluent feminism suggesting that the collective “we” needs to change in order to understand and appreciate how great she is?

To repeat: I will vote for HRC for the reasons I stated earlier. But it’s not hard to understand how HRC’s persona riles the lizard brains of those who so viscerally hate her (I don’t). Who describe her as “pure evil” (which doesn’t even make any sense). Who equivocate her moderate flaws with Donald’s gargantuan ones. Who don’t understand the real extent to which this race — in “real” reality, not American realty TV reality — is, in fact, uncontested.

Those are my thoughts — dashed off in a quick email.

I would be interested in yours.

rg

12/03/16: Saturday Fun Day in NYC

As part of my Dumping Facebook “Friends” for Real Friends initiative, I organized a lunch for half a dozen college friends at the Grand Central Oyster Bar, which was convenient and tasty, though a bit more expensive than we had planned. All agreed that someplace cheap will serve as the next venue. Baby steps….

After lunch, a few of us stopped by the New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex to check out the holiday electric train display. There used to be a more elaborate holiday electric train display at the Citicorp Building, but it ended in 2008. Below is a shot from Saturday’s display at Grand Central.

After looking at the trains, we walked off our lunch with a stroll to the Seiko Boutique on Madison Avenue. I’m a freak for the incredible engineering and craftsmanship of Seiko watches, and treated myself to a new diver’s watch from the boutique last spring. Saturday’s focus was on the exquisite Grand Seiko dress watch pictured below and reviewed here. I love the vintage/mid-century modern look of the ivory/parchment colored face, and probably would have bought the piece if I hadn’t left my $4,900 in my other pants.

Grand Seiko SBGR061. $4900
Grand Seiko SBGR061. $4900
A block north and across the street, I was able to check out the elusive JBL KL2 S9900 loudspeakers at the Harmon Flagship Store. Sadly, as driven by Mark Levinson electronics and connected with AudioQuest AG-4 speaker cables, the big JBLs sounded so harsh that they actually gave me a headache. I blame those amps from the Mark Levinson brand, which has long since severed ties with legendary audio designer Mark Levinson (the man). Levinson (the man) founded his eponymous company in New Haven in 1972, and essentially reinvented high-end audio as we know it today. He’s since gone on to found several other highly regarded audio companies, and currently runs Daniel Hertz audio (which he founded) in Switzerland. I could go on about how I would have amplified and cabled the JBL system, but I won’t. As shown, the speakers were about $44,000/pair. But as I noted, they gave me a headache. Plus, I’d left my backpack with $45,000 in it at home.

JBL KL2 S9900. $44,000/pair base price (upcharges for custom finishes)
JBL KL2 S9900. $44,000/pair base price (upcharges for custom finishes)
The great thing about “shopping” for ridiculous things is that there’s no way to buy impulsively. I still believe that Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills is the best place to do this (plus, you might see somebody famous), but mid-town Manhattan clocks in at a close second.

Looking forward to the next group lunch and outing, with cheap eats followed by other types of low-to-zero expenditure activity.

 

FastCompany Productivity Questionnaire (as modified by RG)

Now you try it!

Time you wake up: 7 a.m.

First thing you do in the morning: Make my bed, because once it’s made, I can’t get back in.

What you do while commuting: Think about the sequence of the upcoming day. Talk to myself. Sing.

Email strategy: The first thing I do is select all of the messages that have nothing to do with me — or which do not require any action by me — and delete them. Then I respond to emails from my client and chain of command. I have assigned the color red to those individuals, so their emails are easy to spot in a crowded mailbox. Every 30 days, I sort my inbox by sender and dump all but the most recent messages.

Mantra: Save the drama for yo’ mama.

How you handle stress: I do what I can to avoid stressful and/or toxic individuals by limiting their ability to control my time. For repeat offenders, that means blocking them on instant messaging and phone. This forces them to gather their thoughts before reaching out to me via email, versus contacting me first and then burning my time while they figure out what they want. I also have learned (the hard way) only to take employment that interests me, and that I can get behind morally. Once you do that, you never hate going to work, and you’re constantly thinking of ways to improve because you’re excited about what you do.

Productivity tool: I use Google Calendar to schedule work tasks rather than adding them to a To-Do list. Unfortunately, I have been less successful at scheduling personal tasks.

Productivity philosophy: Think first (even if it presses you against your deadline), then act. I’m a writer, and I find that writing something all at once after lengthy periods of thought produces more coherent work. But you have to know how to put a sentence together.

Lunch routine: I usually work at my desk. When I work from home, I try to go outside for a little while.

Most productive space: I can work anywhere, as long as I’m in the zone.

Best habit: Trusting my judgment and saying “no” when necessary.

Worst habit: Wanting things to happen too quickly.

What you let slide: I try to identify things that aren’t worth doing, and then not do them.

Nightly routine: I listen to music late into the night. Lately, I’ve been working on my blog.

Time you go to bed: It varies. Sometime between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m.

Omega Compact ALNICO Monitor (CAM) Loudspeakers

I recently replaced my 16-year-old ATC SCM12 studio monitors with a really interesting pair of new speakers based on classic hi-fi design principles — the Omega Compact ALNICO Monitors (CAMs). The Omega CAMs harken to the classic days of hi-fi (the 1950s and 1960s) when high-efficiency (lots of volume per watt of amplifier power), single-driver and horn-loaded speakers ruled the market. Think of the enormous classics from Klipsch, Altec Lansing and Electro-Voice. But unlike those monsters — any of which I would have if I had the space and the cash — the Omega CAMS are “bookshelf” sized and utilize a combination of old and new technologies.

The Omega Compact ALNICO Monitors (CAMs)
The Omega Compact ALNICO Monitors (CAMs)

The heart of any Omega speaker is it’s proprietary driver — a design that covers the entire audible frequency range without the need of a crossover network that typically would connect a separate woofer (for the bass) and tweeter (for the treble). Omitting the crossover circuit eliminates all kinds of problems, including distortion during the “transition” from the woofer to the tweeter, and the inherent “power sucking” characteristics of passive crossover designs. Crossover circuits require amplifier power to activate them, and unless you use a complex (and expensive) design that incorporates multiple active (externally amplified) crossovers, you lose a lot of performance. I’ve heard speakers from Linn and Naim that pulled off the active crossover trick with aplomb, but none has been anywhere close to being financially within reach.

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