These headphones are not new. Koss created the PortraPro Stereophones in the mid-1980s, and from an aesthetic standpoint they are distinctly of their time. (They look like rejected Tron props.) But those who can stomach (or even embrace?) the unique look will discover why the PortaPros continue to sell: they’re comfortable, sound great, and—here’s the kicker—they’re cheap, too. There simply are no other cans in the under-$50 market that deliver sound like this: crisp, rich, detailed. A friend contends that they lean a little on the bass, but I think he’s just being nitpicky. And Koss offers a lifetime no-questions-asked warranty, so if you happen to trod on them on a late-night bathroom run (as I did), you can get them replaced for only the cost of shipping. Bottom line: If you’re looking for a gift for the discriminating listener, but don’t feel like stretching your wallet, you can’t go wrong with these.
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After a dearth of written history for so long about the “only band that matters”, the Clash’s spot in the music book section of the local Border’s has grown a lot more crowded in recent years. There is Pat Gilbert’s Passion Is a Fashion: The Real Story of the Clash and Chris Salewicz’s Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer leading the pack. But this is the first time we’ve gotten the seminal band’s story in their own words, married to a rich photographic history, with many photos published for the first time. Even if you’ve read the other volumes, you’ll want this one to hear the artists tell their own story as well as possess the most complete photographic history of the Clash yet printed. Here’s a proud addition to the coffee table of a serious rock music fan.
Fable 2‘s Albion is a lush snow-globe world that seduces and envelops the player as few video games have done. Ultimately, designer Peter Molyneux’s real achievement is to reorient our moral compass in unexpected and often unsettling ways. Many games have attempted to offer us choices, but few have successfully transcended a limited binary good/evil formula. Fable 2 accomplishes this and does so with wit, sharp writing, and memorable characters. This is a richly enjoyable role-playing game that even non-RPG players can fully embrace.
This is not your college art history 101 book—but something much, much better. Presented in graphic fiction-like format, readers absorb actual art history lessons (Artistic style: Baroque, Northern Renaissance, and such) alongside some entertaining gossip (fears, tempers, infidelities, personal hygiene issues, behavioral quirks, crimes committed and so on). This book delivers a light, humanizing touch to an historically heavy subject matter, and wittily ‘mortalizes’ the immortal Great Artists. Perfect for the undergrad and the art history major.
It would be easy to overpraise this show simply because of its readily-embraceable quality by the fanboy niche, but Spaced isn’t defined by its overstuffed pop-culture references: it’s ultimately defined by its lovable characters and its genuine, witty humor. Even at 14 episodes, it proves to be delightfully rewatchable, a cultural touchstone for a slacker generation that may or may not even know it exists. It knows no demographics: it only knows how to entertain, and, really, what more could you want out of a sitcom?