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October 2007 Archives

October 2, 2007

TV Eyes Glasses: revolutionary new process or tired, old rip-off?

We'd like to invite the 3D community to respond to the claims made for this product. My initial reaction is profound skepticism. When I asked the Easter Bunny he told me if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't true. But what does he know about optics?

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So please: give us a product review, an endorsement or a debunking. . .


The seller says that using a "revolutionary new process . . .based on an optical principle that turns regular movies 3D" TV Eyes Glasses makes any TV picture look three dimensional with "no color distortions, no odd ghosting effects."

The effect produced makes "distances look farther, objects in the foreground look nearer, spaces look larger, and people look contoured and three-dimensional."

They further claim that their "revolutionary new process" works on "all types of computers, monitors, screens, and televisions. HDTV or Standard. Regular televisions, color or black and white, Plasma screen, LCD screen, projection screens, computer monitors, even films at the movie theater. . .There are no cable connections, no remote controls, no compatibility issues, no electronics at all!  Simply put on the glasses and watch TV."

For more information on TV Eyes Glasses, go here.

October 7, 2007

Hallmark issues 19 lenticular Halloween Greeting Cards

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Sheldon Aronowritz tells us that Hallmark is releasing 19 lenticular greeting cards for this Halloween. Unfortunately, my search of Hallmark's web site doesn't show any of them. Nor does an October-dated press release I found from Hallmark mention these cards.

However, some enterprising entreprenuers are selling them, significantly marked up, on eBay, where the above images were found.

Sheldon says these "lenticular 3D, animated, and morphing cards are of superb quality. The 3D ones are OK - but the animated and morphing ones are the best I have seen - and I have seen a lot of lenticulars! They are $3.99 each at Hallmark stores."

October 12, 2007

Blood Manor Halloween House has 3D maze feature

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Today's NY Daily News has an article rating two of NYC's haunted house shows. Of special interest to us is the following line from the review of Blood Manor:

Best idea: The Day-Glo maze you enter with 3-D glasses.

If anyone in our audience has gone, please report back on the experience.

For the complete article, go here.

Blood Manor is located at 542 W. 27th St.; bloodmanor.com or (877) 340-3002 for tickets.

October 13, 2007

Update on TV Eyes Glasses: Pinholes from Pie Holes? Or Just Another Sonic Transducer?

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The truth is out there and maybe soon it will be here, too. Sheldon Aronowitz posted our query about TV Eyes Glasses on the Yahoo Photo 3D group and it generated lots of comments and opinions but no real information on the product.

All of them are inconclusive because no one has actually seen or used a pair of these "revolutionary" new 3D accessories.

That's the problem with the explosion of self-publishing on the 'net: an extremely low signal to noise ratio. Of what practical use are the opinions of 50 people who are just commenting and speculating in the dark, so to speak? One notion that came out of this discussion was that these might be a variation on so-called pinhole glasses (illustration above).

On the other hand – for all we know at this point – TV Eyes Glasses might be an audio-vibratory physio-molecular transport device.* As Tim Curry first said so memorably on June 19, 1973, "You better believe it, baby!"

Our intrepid 3D reporter, Sheldon, managed to contact the manufacturer and, on the promise of writing a review for Stereo World magazine, he was told he would receive a complimentary pair of TV Eyes Glasses. So perhaps the mystery will eventually be resolved.

BTW, if these do turn out to be pinhole glasses, they can be had for around 3 bucks (plus shipping) on eBay, much less than the $25 you'll be charged for TV Eyes Glasses.

But what the heck are pinhole glasses and what are they good for anyway? Not much apparently. According to the Optometrists Association of Australia

Pinhole spectacles consist of a standard spectacle frame in which are mounted opaque plastic sheets in place of lenses. These sheets have a pattern of small holes cut in them.

Advertisements for "pinhole glasses" have appear in the press and elsewhere regularly. These advertisements often make extravagant claims concerning the supposed therapeutic benefits of pinhole spectacles, including claims that they "realign light rays," "repair" the eyes, "exercise" the eyes, improve blood circulation, "teach your eyes to focus again," reduce refractive errors, or otherwise permanently improve vision.

There is no objective evidence to support any of these claims.

For the complete article, go here.

* "A device that is capable of breaking down solid matter and projecting it through Space and, who knows, perhaps. . .even. . . Time. . .itself!"

October 18, 2007

CARNIVAL OF EVIL in 3D at Fright Haven, CT

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It seems as if 3D is making major appearances at this year's Halloween haunted house amusements through out the New York area. Here's one we just found in Connecticut. . .but aren't most haunted houses already in 3D, like most physical objects in what we amusingly refer to as objective reality?

What exactly is the 3D twist in these attractions? If someone attends one of these, won't you please enllighten us? That is, unless you're too scared to scream!

A 3-Dimensional tribute of terror to Savin Rock Park, Palisades Park, Freedomland, Paragon Park, what's left of Coney Island, and all the amusement parks torn down over the years.

Clowns! For some reason, people are afraid of clowns, and this attraction takes advantage of this fact with lots of crazed, demented clowns popping out from everywhere.

For complete details, go here.

Second Update on "TV Eyes Glasses" – Pinholes it is!

Sheldon Aronowitz has received his reviewer's copy of the TV Eyes Glasses and confirms that they are a pinhole variation; having just a half dozen small holes in a horizontal line. He will be posting his assessment of their perceived effect shortly. Congratulations to those posters on the Photo 3D list that guessed correctly.

In addition, one of our resident member experts, Gerald Marks posted the following remarks as a comment and I thought it was worthy of the wider audience of a regular post:

My belief is that these are pinhole glasses and that they sort of work for 3-D by reducing light unevenly, producing very occasional 3-D effects based on the Pulfrich effect.

Funny thing, when I first saw a Pulfrich 3-D video, in October of 1976, I viewed it using a pinhole instead of a dark filter over one eye. It was intended that you use a filter, but for some reason I used a pinhole. That video may have been the first Pulfrich 3-D video ever made and was beautifully done by Alfons Schilling together with Woody & Steina Vasulka.

Even if it wasn't the first Pulfrich 3-D video ever made, it probably was the first good one. It inspired me to create my first Professor Pulfrich's Universe installation at the Exploratorium, the following Summer. When I used the pinhole to view the video, I used it on just the one eye that was intended as the eye with the filter. So, it was not the very occasional 3-D offered by this product.

Pinholes are wonderous things to experiment with. . .In 1974, I ran a summer workshop in pinhole photography and built a 3-D pinhole camera. I was, just recently, thinking about doing that again. The depth of field was remarkable. The exposure was a minute or two.

October 20, 2007

Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas in Disney Digital 3D

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I missed it during last year's premier theatrical run, so I was determiined to catch the 3D version of this 14 year old stop-motion animation classic this Halloween season. The film remains delightful and the 3D conversion by Industrial Light and Magic, with polaroid glasses by RealD, is quite impressive, though for the sake of corporate branding it's promoted as "Disney Digital 3-D. . .3-D so real it's like you're in the movie."

This tag line hints at what is the sole limitation in this conversion process. If you take the physical plane of the movie screen as the stereo window, all depth effects occur behind it. With the exception of a very few weather effects, swirling snowflakes for example, nothing in Nightmare Before Christmas comes through the window.

This is in sharp contrast to a newly produced opening segment with a jack o' lantern jack-in-the-box where ghostly numbers and, at the climax, a grinning pumpkin head zooms out of the screen to hover briefly in projected space that seems to be at arm's length distance from your seat.

It reminded me of the floating fish in Murray Lerner's 1978 classic Sea Dream shown at Marineworld that achieved a similar proximity. My target market advisory team, three sisters aged 7 to 10, confirmed that the effect in this short intro was the most effective 3D of the entire presentation.

While 'through the window effects' certainly got a bad rap from their over-use and mis-use in the first wave of 3D theatrical films in the early 1950s, the inability of the current conversion process to include them even occasionally short changes the contemporary audience of the most pronounced 3D experience possible. No other single shot elicited the gasps and delighted reactions of this opening segment.

Maybe this limitation will be overcome with the planned 3D conversion of Orson Welles' muckracking potboiler Citizen Kane by Martin Scorsese's Film Foundation, scheduled for release in 2010. ;-)

October 21, 2007

Creature From The Black Lagoon in Anaglyphic 3D at Alex Theatre, Glendale, CA

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Thanks to member Kerry O'Quinn, we've got this 3D film news:

Saturday, October 27, 2007 at 2:00 P.M. & 8:00 P.M.

Creature from a million years ago! Every man his mortal enemy. . .and a woman's beauty his prey!!

The Alex Film Society celebrates the Halloween season with Creature From The Black Lagoon, presented in anaglyphic 3-D (red/green lenses). A scientific expedition searching for fossils along the Amazon River discovers a prehistoric Gill-Man in the legendary Black Lagoon. The creature escapes capture but returns to kidnap the lovely young fiancee Kay, whom it loves. This classic Universal (1954) horror film, directed by Jack Arnold, stars Richard Carlson and Julia Adams.

The film will be preceded by an on-stage Magic Show.

For complete info, go here.

Personal media viewer for iPod MyVu 3D conversion: Threat or Menace?

An NYSS member forwards this query from Carlton:

If this is a viable viewing device, I am curious if there is any other members of the NYSS that would be interested in modifying this for stereoptical viewing?

myvu_media_viewer.jpg

This, is a personal media viewer for the iPod from MyVu. For their home page, go here.

He also provides a link to review (that you can trust) from Ben Longo, longtime Mac guru. The title: MyVu iPod Video Glasses Review (Verdict: Look Like Geordi From Star Trek)

MyVu charges $199 for the Universal Edition iPod PMV and $249 for a PMV for the fully-loaded edition iPod.

So, any well-heeled hacker amongst our audience want to see if you can mod this media viewer out for 3D viewing? Is it even possible? And, if possible, is it advisable? Anyone who does, or is interested, is encouraged to let us know their results

For Ben's review on Gizmodo, go here.

October 23, 2007

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier – 3D section by Ray Zone

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Originally scheduled to appear in October 2006, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier by writer Alan Moore and artist Kevin O'Neill is now set to be released on November 14, 2007. For more details, go here.

Why should you care? Don't hold the bloated big screen adaptation against the LoEG franchise, it had very liitle connection to its source material; this is entertaining comics done right. This edition features a state-of-the-art 3D section, conversion work done by the master himself, Ray Zone.

THE BLACK DOSSIER is an elaborately designed, cutting-edge volume that includes a "Tijuana Bible" insert and a 3-D section complete with custom glasses, as well as additional text pieces, maps, and a stunning cutaway double-page spread of Captain Nemo's Nautilus submarine by Kevin O'Neill.

The premise for LoEG is that fictional characters from many genres and sources co-exist in one alternative world. They band together to form a precursor to the Justice League team concept in comtemporary comics, a group of first tier and second (or third) tier super-heroes who battle outsize menaces that would overwhelm them individually.

(BTW: did you know that Marvel and DC comics jointly hold the copyright on the word "super-heroes?")

In the LoEG the heroes are almost always taken from works that are in the public domain to avoid messy issues of copyright. The heroes in the first series were Allan Quartermain, Mina Murray (from Dracula), Captain Nemo, Dr. Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde and Hawley Griffin, the Invisible Man.

When a character that is required is still under copyright, efforts are made to change them into a more generic version of hero or villain. This was done with Fu Manchu in the first series from 1999.

Alan Moore is probably the single comic book writer best known by the general public and the author of the award-winning Watchmen, From Hell, V for Vendetta and Swamp Thing.

Kevin O'Neill is a grown man who draws comic books for a living. His career has been marked by controversy almost from the start when he was a favorite artist in the wildly popular British series 2000 A.D. beginning in the late 1970s.

To get completely up to speed with this ongoing series, go here.

October 24, 2007

TV Eyes 3D Glasses: the Manufacturer Responds

We at NYSS want to be fair and balanced in dealing with the Great Pinhole Glasses 3D Controversy. Sheldon Aronowitz, whom I think we can safely say has seen more images in stereoscopic 3D in more different formats over the years than just about anyone alive today, received a review copy of these glasses last weeek and they haven't worked for him.

For me, that would equal case closed, move on, nothing to see here, Elvis has left the building.

Add to this the fact that the TV Eyes 3D Glasses as shown on eBay are NOT what a purchaser receives. That, in itself, seems fradulent to me. If I post a picture of a horse on eBay, you buy it and I deliver a cow to your home, you're gonna cry 'foul.'

However, Sheldon has received comments from the seller and we've decided to post them.

But we're also going to make an open request that the seller send us a clear picture of the glasses that he actually ships to purchasers, so our audience can make a more informed judgment.

Finally, while perception is subjective, the fact remains that either these glasses produce a 3D effect or they do not.

The seller claims that he's got over 500 positive responses for selling only TV Eyes Glasses. That's being a bit, um, generous. He's also not telling the whole truth when he claims he's only selling these glasses: he's also selling a number of DVD's. If you scroll through the comments, you'll find it's a little hard to tell if buyers are happy with the glasses or the DVD they received. But here's one I thought is particularly relevant:

Gimmicky little thing that kind of works with a little imagination

If these revolutionary new glasses require 'imagination' to 'kind of' work, I wonder if the seller's car operates under the same principle: the needle may point to 'E' but I imagine I've got a full tank of gas. How far can I drive?

As far as 500 positive feedbacks go, I'd submit to you that this still fails to make a convincing case. After all, according to a New York Times poll, 3 million Americans believe they've had close encounters with UFOs or alien intelligences. That number doesn't prove anything about UFOs.

I used to attend a barbaric weekly ritual where I ate the flesh of my chosen deity while the local cult leader drank his blood; I was a Roman Catholic and the process is called transubstantiation. Did my belief make this ghoulish practice true?

It also seems to me that the seller is committing a logical fallacy when he explains that these glasses work because of the "overlay" of pinhole viewing's infinite depth of field as compared with the filmed (or televised) version's finite depth of field.

That might be true only if one were capable of viewing both the TV screen's image and the actual scene on location. How can one TV image contain both sets of depth information, the finite depth of the camera's lens and the infinite depth of a pinhole view?

And what could possibly explain the claimed "increased color separation?" Color separated from what? (You Reds wait over here on East 32nd Street; all you Blues and Greens come with me to Waverly Place). The seems a disingenuous attempt to co-opt the anaglyph process without actually making anything remotely resembling an anaglyph.

I invite the seller to contact us with clarification on these two points.

We'll let you decide if the explanation below seems reasonable and plausible. . .

Hello, TV Eyes 3-D here. I noticed a couple of articles on the New York Stereoscopic Society pages. If you're looking for some comments by people who have actually used the glasses, please don't forget to look at the eBay feedback for this item. With over 500 feedback, and selling nothing else, the feedback score is over 99% positive.

They do work. I guarantee them. I'm aware the glasses look like a hoax. It's been an uphill battle to get people to actually try them because they "look" like they won't work.

And despite appearances, they aren't the "pinhole glasses" mentioned in the NYSS articles. They are based on a pinhole lens, the same as a pinhole camera is (and pinhole cameras are well known for their depth of field) but TV Eyes 3-D Glassses are specifically engineered for TV viewing. The tolerances are exact.

Trying to use regular "pinhole glasses" like the ones shown in that article just makes the picture look like you're looking through a colander. I know, I tried.

I thought you might like a technical explanation of how the glasses work. The simplest way to explain it is that movies are filmed with ground optical camera lenses, those lenses, because of the way they focus, create a "finite depth of field."

A pinhole lens, on the other hand, creates an "infinite depth of field." By overlaying the finite depth of field in the movie with the infinite depth of field created by the glasses the TV picture looks deeper and more three-dimensional.

(For more specifics see our "How it works" page at http://stores.ebay.com/TV-Eyes-3-D/How-it-Works.html.)

It also increases color separation, so in the right conditions it can create a slight ChromaDepth-like effect. Unlike regular pinhole glasses, TV Eyes 3-D Glasses have been specifically formulated for TV viewing. Every single part of the glasses; frames, shape of lenses, size and spacing of holes, is specifically designed to create the clearest possible 3-D picture. (Regular pinhole glasses are not.)

October 26, 2007

Just in Time for Halloween

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New York Stereo Society member George Higham has an exhibition of his work at the Limner Gallery in Hudson, New York.

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George is shooting all his macabre work in stereo now. Due to success of his recent tour to promote the new Wormweird Tarot Deck, his next book may be in 3D! He's planning to bring his Neo-Victorian Steampunk Stereo box to the reception at the gallery this Saturday, October 27.

October 30, 2007

Lenticular Christmas Cards from Hallmark

The lenticular Halloween cards by Hallmark, which you read about here, have now been replaced by a line of 26 lenticular Christmas cards. They are even better than the Halloween ones!

Most are animation, but a few are 3D. The animation is superb - among the best I have seen!! There is one of Santa and Ms. Claus doing the "bump and grind" and it is hilarious - perhaps even a little to risque for young children. It is "live action" animation, as are about 6 others, and all are fantastic.

It is still early enough so that if you get to your local Hallmark store soon you can see all 26. Although other chain stores carry Hallmark cards - they do not carry the lenticular line - so you have to go to an official Hallmark Card store. Call first to make sure that the store carries the full line - as I went to 3 Hallmarks yesterday and 2 of them had all 26 but the other had only about 12 different designs.

–reported by Sheldon Aronowitz

October 31, 2007

TV Eyes 3D Glasses: the Manufacturer Responds Again. . .and We're Still Not Convinced!!

Here at NYSS if we value anything, we value one thing: fairness and great stereo images. OK, we value two things: fairness, great stereo images and RBT cameras. Right, we value three things: fairness, great stereo images, RBT cameras and 3D movies -- four things, we value four things! Fairness, great stereo images, RBT cameras, 3D movies and lenticular greeting cards -- I'll come in again!

We want to be fair to the manufacturer of TV Eyes 3D Glasses, so we are going to publish his response to our last posting on the subject complete and unedited.

However, we do reserve the right to comment on what he has written. And since it's our forum the comments will come first.

TV Eyes replies with a number of responses he has gotten that praise his glasses. I would remind our readers that the plural of anecdote is anecdotes, not data. (Thanks to Dr. Mark Crislip of the Quackcast podcast for this great line). Science is not determined by popular vote. I don't "believe" in the internal combustion engine; I don't have to. I use one every day.

TV Eyes main caveat is that these glasses "do not create a stereoscopic effect." This begs the question of terminology: if it's not stereoscopic, how can it be 3D? This is, in my opinion, a deliberate attempt to mislead the buying public.

How many would he sell if he advertised them as TV Eyes NOT 3D Glasses? Or TV Eyes 2D Glasses?

TV Eyes has so little confidence in the product he manufactures that he declines to use an actual photo of the product you will receive when you send him money. His reason? ". . .people take one look, see the holes, and decide it's a fake. . ."

He claims that since he offers a money-back guarantee, he must not being selling a "fake."

Anyone in advertising or direct mail marketing can tell you that only a tiny percentage of people ever take up this offer, repackaging and remailing the item (especially for a small purchase). This leaves a healthy profit for people who are, in fact, selling "fake" merchandise.

TV Eyes uses many logical fallacies in his response. A logical fallacy is a statement that might appear convincing but actually carries no weight or significance.

The argument from antiquity: "pinhole lenses are hundreds of years old." Age does not confer status or confirm viability. Acupuncture is thousands of years old and it doesn't work either.

The argument from ignorance: "Exactly how it creates these effects I don't know."

The argument from personal incredulity: "But I don't know how an LCD monitor works either. It just does." This one made me laugh so hard, for so long that my dogs got up and left the room.

The argument from contradiction: pinhole glasses "are proven to increase focus and depth of field" vs. "there isn't a lot of research into how pinholes work" vs. pinhole glasses "enhance atmospheric perspective."

For anyone who thinks this is true, I again will refer you to the Optometrists Association of Australia who maintain a page explaining – with diagrams – what pinhole glasses do, and do not do.

For the complete article, go here.

The argument from authority: "Only recently was it discovered that when viewing a 2-dimensional image with them it created the illusion of greater depth and form."

Discovered by whom, exactly? Supported by what data? Explain the logic underlying that conclusion, as John Cleese famously said.

I will also take issue with his flat assertion that "nothing works for everyone." This is what we professionals call a "lie."

Air conditioning works for everyone (it actually does reduce the temperature and humidity), oil heat works for everyone (it actually does warm interior spaces), global telecommunication works for everyone (it actually does allow tele-marketers and political action groups to interrupt your dinner). . . and so on.

Astrology doesn't work for everyone because it requires that you believe in the system for it to work. If you're a skeptic, your "negative vibes" produce an inhibitory effect.

My conclusion is that TV Eyes 3D has no understanding of either science or optics. Buy an optical device from them with caution. We stand guilty as charged: we do not "believe" his glasses work.

And now, TV Eyes 3D Glasses has the floor:

I'm the manufacturer and I thought I'd respond to this. But instead of trying to convince you myself, since you seem to be inclined not to belive [sic] me, I thought I'd let my customers do it for me. I notice you picked one feedback out of hundreds, the one that cast the most doubt on the glasses without actually saying they don't work. Well, nothing works for everyone. But it is equally true that these glasses do work for many people. They are not stereoscopic glasses and do not create a stereoscopic effect, so perhaps this is not the best place to discuss them. But here is some of the feedback you apparently overlooked (and these feedback are only for the glasses, no DVDs included.):

A unique and fun effect - twild7

Having fun with the glasses. Great item. Great seller! - billb4466

Takes time to get used to but LOVE IT! I Can't wait to watch all my
Harry Potter - michiru_storm

I was amazed at how great they are thank you so much - mauricer67

Item recieved quickly. 3-d glasses actually work!! - dawnm229

cool 3d - efreek123

Wow! They Work! They Shipped Quickly! Fun! Great Eaby Seller! Buy an
extra pair! - tahoka1974

Delivered what was promised. These glasses do work. Makes standard tv
almost HD. - crow11ad

work as advertised - 8719tim

The product was fun. I will recommend you to other buyers. Thank you. -
hotmail333.123

fast shipping.....interesting product....exactly as described -
stoney2183

WOW! gives you same effect as shutter glasses,cheaper no wires,works on
hdtvs ++ - stormriderab

Really do work. Take a little time getting used to, but can see depth!
Fast ship - cartoontagger

And that is just some of the positive responses these glasses have received.

If you wonder why I don't put up a picture of the actual lenses. It's because people take one look, see the holes, and decide it's a fake, without any proof, and without trying them.

Pinhole lenses are hundreds of years old. They are proven to increase focus and depth of field. Only recently was it discovered that when viewing a 2-dimensional image with them it created the illusion of greater depth and form. It enhances atmospheric perspective (which is one of the main ways we determine distance, and relative distances of objects) It enhances color seperation [sic], so that in certain scenes containing the right combinations of red and blue, or orange and green
it creates a deeper effect, by making one color seem farther back, similar to the way Chromadepth looks.

Exactly how it creates these effects I don't know. There isn't a lot of research into how pinholes work.

But I don't know how an LCD monitor works either. It just does.

I offer a money back refund, so that if you are unhappy with the glasses you can get your money back. I'd hardly do that if they were fake.

These glasses are like every other product in the world. Some people will like them, and some won't.

They're new, they're different, and create a new and different effect. There are already three main types of 3-D glasses out there. Stereoscopic, Pulfrich, and Chromadepth. They all create 3-D in different ways, and have different looks.

This is one more.

An NYSS reader comments. . .on TV Eye 3D Glasses

I hope the contributor of this comment will not object to my giving his comment the status of a post as it makes the point so clearly and concisely:

The placebo effect can be very powerful, especially if the one receiving the placebo is very gullible and susceptible to suggestion.

That is why pinhole glasses work for some people. They really believe the hype. This is why some people see the image of Jesus Christ in a fried egg or in tree bark.

This is why it is comparatively easy to bilk an elderly peson out of their life savings.

Pinhole glasses may not be illegal, but selling them flushes one's self respect down the toilet.

About October 2007

This page contains all entries posted to New York Stereoscopic Society in October 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

September 2007 is the previous archive.

November 2007 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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