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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Tales from First Class: Fat Man and Soldier Boy

Posted on July 30, 2010 at 5:14 PM Comments comments (1)

Last week I mentioned 7 travel tips I learned from my recent jaunt up to New Hampshire to meet with the good folks of Russound. While the #1 thing you should take away from that was to never, ever, NEVER accidentally call the angry, butch lesbian handling your bags, “Sir,” it turns out that I was mistaken about something I wrote.


On tip #6 I mentioned that there was...

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Cutting Edge Electronics or Setting Money on Fire (UPDATED)

Posted on July 30, 2010 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)

(Scroll to bottom for update...)

There was a blurb on the Internet today about a guy who bought a box full of old, black-and-white photographs at a yard sale. He talked the seller down from $75 to like $50. Turns out the pictures are a bunch of rare, never-before-seen Ansel Adams originals that are worth like $200 million. (You know that he saw a box of old, B&W p...

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The Perfect Line

Posted on July 30, 2010 at 10:46 AM Comments comments (0)

A quickie to start the day. (Plus, I'm still stinging a bit from yesterday's total bust of a lightning storm that wiped out about 1200 words of typing in the blink of darkened monitor. Also, apparently my parents think that each and every post is too long by about half. So, mom and dad, I'm droppin' this shorty for you!)

So I'm riding my bike today. (Up to 4 laps round the circle now. And, seriously, I know there are some of you out there that thought

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Why?!? Oh, God!!! Why?!?

Posted on July 29, 2010 at 6:03 PM Comments comments (0)

CURSE YOU RAIN STORM!!!!  Cuuuuuuurssssse Yoooooouuuu!!!

I was *deep* in the middle of a really interesting post -- I mean, come on, aren't they all interesting? -- when....THE POWER GOES OUT! Why didn't I hit save? Why didn't Billy G's Word 2007 auto-save step up to the plate to help a brother out? Why did this giant lightning storm feel that THIS EXACT MOMENT was the right time to strike? WHY?!?

So, I have not much for you today....


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Craig's List: I bow to you, sir!

Posted on July 28, 2010 at 3:49 PM Comments comments (9)

Wow. First off…just, Wow! OK, so my parents have been on the magnanimously generous giving streak of all giving streaks lately, and I have somehow managed to secure myself a First Class ticket aboard this gold and velvet lined gravy train. (The irony of this is that, as I’ve gotten older and – slightly – more successful and have needed their help and generosity less and less, they have become inversely more and more giving. It’s kind of like the reverse psycholog...

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MSN to Home Theaters: You're a Stupid Waste

Posted on July 26, 2010 at 4:58 PM Comments comments (0)

Last night I'm doing some last-minute computering as I prepare to settle in and watch the Season 4 premier of AMC's “Mad Men.” (Preparation for Mad Men is a three-step process: Step 1 - find the largest glass you have. Step 2 - fill glass with heavily chilled vodka and vermouth. Step 3 - drink throughout show, imagining that you are, in fact, Don Draper.)


So while I'm several sips into the process, I pull up MSN's home page to basically see if the world is like...

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I'm not saying she's Picasso, but...

Posted on July 26, 2010 at 10:47 AM Comments comments (6)

So we were sitting at church yesterday and my daughter, Lauryn, now 3 1/2, grabs a pen and one of my MANY CES notepads and starts drawing. The first thing I notice is that she is totally holding the pen correctly. (Well, she is totally holding it like me, which is something like a two-fingered death clutch with thumb support.) I'm not sure when she made this breakthrough, but this is the first time that I've noticed that she wasn't clutching the pen in her fist like she wants to use it as a s...

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Sky Mall 2.0!

Posted on July 24, 2010 at 4:38 PM Comments comments (4)

If you stick me in an airport for several hours and give me access to a Club Lounge with a “bar” (it's kind of insulting to even dignify it with that name!)  that has yet to get its liquor license so it can only serve soda and water, and a rain storm pouring outside *so* hard that I briefly wonder if God is upset with me and wants to punish me by forcing me to stay behind in Boston for another day at some airport Hampton Inn, if you do these things, then you must know that I ...

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Avatar does NOT equal all 3D

Posted on July 23, 2010 at 6:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Admittedly, I’ve done my share of 3D bashing. In fact, one of my first posts on the subject was 3D: I kind of already hate you

which *pretty* much sums it all up. Then I pointed out that 3D kinda hates old people, babies and drunks.


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Travel Tips 101

Posted on July 22, 2010 at 9:42 PM Comments comments (3)

So, I spent another day on the road, heading from Myrtle Beach, SC to Charlotte, NC to Boston, MA to Portsmouth, NH for a Russound event. So far, the northeast has proved to be the driest place I've visited since I've been old enough to drink.


After I discovered my newly Club Lounge access from American Express, I headed to the Boston airport lounge. At the door the woman told me that they didn't have their wine or liquor license, so I was welcome to help myself to a soda ...

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Thank you, AdAmerican Express!

Posted on July 22, 2010 at 10:33 AM Comments comments (0)

Timing. It's everything. A bit of news could arrive at one moment and be utterly useless. Five minutes sooner or later and it could have changed everything.


My brother, Adam, just sent out an e-mail that happened to arrive at *literally* the most opportune moment possible in the history of every e-mail that has ever been delivered.


Turns out that American Express *just* announced a new benefit for Platinum Card holders. That they can now use US ...

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Sky Mall, Sky Mall, totally cool, excellent!

Posted on July 21, 2010 at 4:06 PM Comments comments (4)

If there is a silver lining from my US Air debacle from last week (besides the fact that I am probably the only one that got $100 from the deal; take that all you sheep! Hannibal was right about the silence of you lambs! Can you still hear them, Clarice?!) it was that I got A LOT of opportunities to read through the Sky Mall. Oh, Sky Mall! I had forgotten how awesome you are...

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McDonald's: Really, you *shouldn't* have

Posted on July 20, 2010 at 4:29 PM Comments comments (12)

Up until this weekend, if you asked me the last time I ate at a McDonald’s, I would have honestly answered “I don’t know.” (I once asked Dan this question. “Can you even remember the last time you ate at a McDonald’s?” I seriously don’t even know what combination of bold, underline and italics that I could use to convey the amount of sneer and disdain that was actually in my voice when asking him....

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Manaufacturers: Help, Me, Help You!

Posted on July 20, 2010 at 9:44 AM Comments comments (0)

You all know the drill: the manufacturer’s rep comes around to have The Talk (which is only slightly less awkward than “the talk” your dad tried to have with you. Mine took place in a hot tub in Bakersfield, California. Other than it was near sunset and it was just my dad and I, I have repressed the rest. Since Lauryn, came along, I'm guessing I got the gist of it...). Invariably, it goes something like this:


“Hey, I’ve been looking over your ...

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Friday Night's all right for pizza

Posted on July 17, 2010 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (1)

I've mentioned before that one of our family's little weekly rituals is getting a pizza at the Piggly Wiggly on Friday nights. (Yes, that really is the name. Though consider the name of another local grocery chain -- Winn-Dixie, which is just slightly less offensively named than Die-Yankees. We also have Bi-Lo which certainly beats the alternative of Sell-Hi.)

We stumbled across this *sick* pizza deal a while ago which is a basically whatever-toppings-you-want freshly made ...

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Hey, Boston! You lookin' for a less sucky time?

Posted on July 17, 2010 at 12:11 PM Comments comments (0)

Got an e-mail this morning with the subject "Weinberg Reprint Request" which seemed innocent enough. Like that probably wasn't going to be the kind of subject that you'd throw on a Penis Enlargement or Canadian Pharmacological offer or an offer to move millions of dollars out of Nigeria.

So I opened it up and found that the editor of "The B A S Speaker" (a publication of ...

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Humble Pie: Two helpings please!

Posted on July 16, 2010 at 5:51 PM Comments comments (0)

The other day we got a referral from someone to go and look at this new house that a woman had purchased about an hour from our store. This isn’t that unusual, but the customer doing the referring was one of my biggest (here’s a feature story I wrote on his job) so I definitely wanted to give this referral the full-court, John-on-nicest-behavior treatment. (This ...

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Out with the RuncOld; in with the RuncAwesome

Posted on July 15, 2010 at 5:33 PM Comments comments (3)

A torch has been passed; an era has ended; the dim, out of convergenceness of an old, hateful, spiteful enemy has finally been vanquished. Our first – and last! – CRT projector customer finally upgraded! Huzzah!


Years ago, my first big theater job was a customer named Gary. He originally wanted a Sony projector but after lots of research we settled on a Runco; the venerable 8-inch CRT’d DTV-933. (Also, to be honest, Sony was really kind of a dick to us. I ...

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Thanks for the wine, Dick!

Posted on July 15, 2010 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (4)

On the last day of my trip to San Diego, my parents and I visited Callaway Vineyards in Temeculah. While no longer owned by Ely, this was another retirement lark for the guy who founded Callaway Golf, of Big Bertha fame. (That we should all be so lucky to have two post-career careers that were this successful! I'd settle for one regular career a tenth as successful!) So while we were on the tour, a couple of things happened that I t...

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Getting Stoned in San Diego

Posted on July 12, 2010 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (31)

I'm sorry, Gordon Biersch. I loved you, and I'll still love you, but sadly, you are no longer my favorite.


Sure we've had our great memories. Trying to "borrow" a glass with Craig. My first date with Dana. The night I got engaged to Dana. And the many, MANY, and I do mean MANY Marze...

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