Profile for E. A. Lovitt > Reviews


E. A. Lovitt's Profile

Customer Reviews: 2554
Top Reviewer Ranking: 79
Helpful Votes: 19060

Community Features
Review Discussion Boards
Top Reviewers

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
E. A. Lovitt "starmoth" RSS Feed (Gladwin, MI USA)

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
TaoTronics® Elune TT-DL03 LED Gooseneck Desk Lamp / Detachable Emergency Light Source Lasts 8 Hours / 3 Level Dimmable Touch Control Button 6W Equivalent 50W (Black))
TaoTronics® Elune TT-DL03 LED Gooseneck Desk Lamp / Detachable Emergency Light Source Lasts 8 Hours / 3 Level Dimmable Touch Control Button 6W Equivalent 50W (Black))
Offered by Sunvalleytek
Price: $79.99
2 used & new from $42.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The charge really lasts 8 hours, July 30, 2014
This is a very nice reading lamp. I compared it against my much more expensive Verilux reading lamp, and although the Taotronics lamp has a narrower, dimmer beam, it is more than bright enough to read by. Furthermore, its head can be rotated on its stem, so you can aim the light a bit more accurately. The base is heavy enough so that you can place the lamp right on your bed and it will stay upright. The light can be dimmed or brightened by tapping on the head. My only problem with this light was that I couldn't seem to find the 'on' switch in the dark. I had to turn on the overhead light in order to turn on my reading light. Hopefully, this problem will go away when I'm more familiar with the lamp.

I tested the manufacturer's claim of an 8-hour emergency light source, and my desk lamp actually lasted 9 hours without being attached to an external power source. We are very prone to power outages where we live now, so it's very nice to have a light that will keep on burning when everything else goes out.

The base of the lamp has a USB port where I can plug in my Kindle, and my lamp came with a carabiner ring so that the lamp head can be hung on my backpack.

***product supplied by manufacturer for review purposes***

The Aviary Gate: A Novel
The Aviary Gate: A Novel
Price: $9.39

4.0 out of 5 stars Opulent, but claustrophobic, July 29, 2014
The heroine of "The Aviary Gate" (2008) survives a shipwreck only to be sold into slavery in the Sultan's harem in Constantinople, 1599. This is not your typical bon-bon romance, where you can lie on your chaise longue and eat chocolates, secure in the knowledge that the book is going to end with a happily-ever-after. This is an historical romance that takes place during the last years of Queen Elizabeth's reign, and most the characters were actually taken from life. The ending is ambiguous, at least regarding the historical story. It is woven together with a modern-day romance, which ends a bit more happily.

In spite of the less-than-pleasing ending, I enjoyed the story of political intrigue and murder in the harem, and learned some fascinating details of what it was like to live in such opulent, but claustrophobic surroundings. And the clothing! Veils of sheerest muslin, tasseled caps of velvet embroidered with pearls, trousers of Bursa silk, vests and girdles encrusted in precious stones, emeralds and rubies the size of pigeons' eggs. Of course, in order to gain rank in the harem, you had to do your best to please a gross old man who liked--well, this website won't let me go into detail, but let me say that the bedroom scenes are off-putting rather than lascivious.

This book wouldn't be complete without the eunuchs. This author goes into quite a bit of detail (as she does with everything in this book) about the chief eunuch and how he was 'created.' Male readers might even want to skip this chapter since it involves cutting off the whole works, and being buried neck-deep in the sand, until either healing or death.

One of the details that I did not understand was why both the heroine and her friend kept getting a pain in their side. The author brings it up many times, but the book ends without a hint as to what was hurting them.

The exotic, meticulously recreated background of "The Aviary Gate" more than makes up for the vague, somewhat unsatisfying ending. There is a sequel to this book called "The Pindar Diamond" so perhaps the loose ends are finally resolved.

Avery Big Tab Write-On Dividers, 8-Tabs, 1 Set (23079)
Avery Big Tab Write-On Dividers, 8-Tabs, 1 Set (23079)
Price: $1.93
35 used & new from $0.19

3.0 out of 5 stars Archival Ink smears on the tabs, July 27, 2014
Before you buy these tabs, ask yourself how often you're going to erase and use a set of tabs that have already been set up as dividers in a notebook. In my case, the answer is 'not very often.' When I did write something on one of these tabs using a Pigma Micron 01 archival ink pen, it smeared. My Sharpie Permanent Marker worked much better: the resulting letters are easier to read and don't smear.

I also tried a ballpoint on one of the tabs, and that hardly showed up, at all.

Amish of Lancaster County, The
Amish of Lancaster County, The
by Donald B. Kraybill
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.03
63 used & new from $0.60

5.0 out of 5 stars "Gentle, patient, meek, and mild...", July 26, 2014
This is the fourth book about the Amish that I have read by this author. All of them were very interesting, but the standout was "Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy" (co-authored with Steven M. Nolt and David L. Weaver-Zercher). It tackled the subject of the 2006 Nickel Mines school shooting in Lancaster County, and how the Old Order Amish found it within themselves to forgive the killer of their young girls. If you truly wish to explore the Amish religion as opposed to the 'tourist' Amish, read "Amish Grace." This book has a chapter on "The Tragedy at Nickel Mines" and although it doesn't go into much detail, there is a poignant photograph of a wood plaque that an Amish craftsman created as a gift for the Pennsylvania State Police. It has been signed by all of the surviving pupils.

I read "The Amish of Lancaster County" because one of my friends recently visited Lancaster County and commented that "these Amish people, unlike the folks in your area [mid-Michigan], have turned 'being quaint' into a business. I saw dozens of horses and buggies-- you can rent a ride all up and down the main highway. There are also lots of cutsie shops where you can buy handcrafted doo-dads. This all didn't exactly jibe with my idea of Amish people, but why not? "

According to the author, tourism is Pennsylvania's second-largest industry: "An Amish farmer traces the rise of Lancaster County tourism to the two hundredth birthday of the village of Intercourse in 1954: 'Mix together the word 'intercourse' and some Amish buggies,' he says, 'and you're bound to attract some tourists.'"

The heart of this book, with its many wonderful color photographs deals with the everyday life of the Pennsylvania Amish, and how their lives express the fundamental values of their religion. Dr. Kraybill is the leading scholar of the Amish in North America, and he manages to capture the spirituality and grace of the Amish culture. His discussion of 'Gelassenheit' (submission to the will of God) takes his reader to the core of Amish religion.

Along the River that Flows Uphill: From the Orinoco to the Amazon (Armchair Traveller)
Along the River that Flows Uphill: From the Orinoco to the Amazon (Armchair Traveller)
by Richard Starks
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.96
50 used & new from $3.43

4.0 out of 5 stars Stone Age Tribes and Narco-Terrorists, July 26, 2014
This low-budget journey along the Casiquiare River in Venezuela should be called a `quest' rather than a `vacation,' since it involved not only a goal, but also a fair amount of unpleasantness, such as an attempted kidnapping by the FARC guerillas. Richard Starks and Miriam Murcutt were commissioned by "Geographical," the magazine of the Royal Geographical Society in London to explore a river that joins two great South American river systems, the Orinoco and the Amazon, by apparently flowing uphill over the watershed that divides them.

Most of the journey is by boat, so there is plenty of time for reading and musing. I was especially fond of the author's riff on the creation myths of the Yanomami Indians versus the Old Testament versus the latest cosmological Big Bang. Stanley's journey through Africa to find Dr. Livingston (who didn't really want to be found, most especially not by an American journalist) is interwoven with the authors' own journey up the Casiquiare River.

There are also up-close and personal encounters with the Yanomami, one of whom nocks an arrow at the author while he is taking photographs. In common with many Stone Age people, the Yanomami believe cameras are soul-stealing devices. Or possibly, the guy with the bow happened to be in a bad mood on that particular day. The Yanomami don't lead very easy lives, especially the women.

However, the misery of the Yanomami women still contrasts favorably to the lives of the FARQ kidnap victims, some of whom have been captives in the Columbian jungles for over a decade. The operations of the FARC guerillas are funded by kidnap for ransom, illegal mining, extortion and the production and distribution of illegal drugs. The authors were very fortunate to escape from these narco-terrorists, and write vividly and indignantly of the treatment of those who currently languish in captivity.

"Along the River that Flows Uphill" is adventure-travel writing in the grandly eccentric British tradition: a horrid climate and high adventure, laced throughout with acute observations on geopolitics, anthropology, and geography .

***review copy supplied by authors***

Isaac's Storm: The Drowning of Galveston
Isaac's Storm: The Drowning of Galveston
by Erik Larson
Edition: Paperback
26 used & new from $0.22

5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling account of this country's worst natural disaster, July 23, 2014
Are there other folks out there who enjoy reading true accounts of someone else's misfortune, especially if that misfortunate involves a titanic, unstoppable force of nature? A few, really good examples of this true-life disaster genre that I've read over the years are: "Earth Shook, The Sky Burned - A Moving Record Of America's Great Earthquake And Fire - San Francisco, April 18, 1906"; "The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance"; "Great Lakes Shipwrecks & Survivals"; "Rats, Lice and History (Social Science Classics Series)" (a biography of typhus); and "Isaac's Storm" (the Galveston hurricane of 1900).

Erik Larson's book on the deadliest hurricane to strike the United States has two main focal points: the hurricane itself; and the human drama of Isaac Cline, the Galveston meteorologist who failed to predict the intensity of the storm. The book meanders through occasional dry stretches of Isaac's pre-storm biography, and through the history of the U.S. Weather Bureau (they were interesting, but not nearly as interesting as the storm), but once it focuses on the events of September 8, 1900 and beyond, I wasn't able to set "Isaac's Storm" down. Especially compelling are the eerie descriptions of what it's like to sail through the eye of a hurricane, and of course the narrative (from the viewpoints of several survivors) of what it was like to be in Galveston before, during, and after the storm. If you are afraid of storms or of water, you might not want to read this book because Erik Larson puts you right there when the storm debris is caving in the side of your house, or when the "tide suddenly rises fully four feet at one bound".

If you'd like to read more about this particular hurricane, which produced the most casualties of any natural disaster to befall the United States, try "A Weekend in September" by John Edward Weems.

A Wind to Shake the World: The Story of the 1938 Hurricane
A Wind to Shake the World: The Story of the 1938 Hurricane
6 used & new from $24.96

5.0 out of 5 stars A deadly hurricane called `The Long Island Express', July 23, 2014
Powerful hurricanes are infrequent visitors to New England, but `The Long Island Express' not only paid a visit---it dropped in unannounced on September 21, 1938 just as many summer residents were on the beach and closing up their ocean-front cottages.

The weatherman gave no cause for alarm. "Cloudy skies and gusty conditions" did nothing to warn East Coast dwellers of the imminent arrival of a 500-mile wide hurricane with peak wind gusts of 180 miles an hour.

This is how the book jacket of "A Wind to Shake the World" describes the coming of the storm:

"No one could have been prepared for the storm's ferocity. Sweeping suddenly northward from Cape Hatteras, building tremendous momentum as it advanced, the hurricane raced over six hundred miles in only twelve hours. Winds of 100 to 130 miles an hour and swiftly rising water of almost tidal-wave proportions slammed into the shore from South Jersey to Boston, most severely from Long Island to Cape Code."

The hurricane struck Long Island around 3:30 PM. Few of the summer folk or permanent residents on the Island's south shore had a chance to escape, as waves between 30 and 50 feet high pounded the coastline.

Entire homes and families were swept into the ocean.

September 21st was also the day that Everett S. Allen, recent college graduate and future author of "A Wind to Shake the World", began his first `real' job as a reporter for the New Bedford `Standard Times.'

It took Allen over thirty years to recover from his own traumatic experiences during the storm, and write about one of the most under-reported natural disasters of 20th century America. Six hundred New Englanders were killed in less than 12 hours, and yet it is very difficult to find accounts of the hurricane that came to be called "The Long Island Express". I first heard of it in a story told by one of my Down East relatives---

"On the day of the hurricane, a Yankee farmer received a package containing a barometer that he had ordered through the mail. No matter how many times he tapped it, the mercury remained stuck at the bottom of the glass. Finally, he re-packaged the `broken' barometer and returned it to the post office. By the time he got back to his own property, his house had washed out to sea."

If you are an `armchair junkie' of natural disaster stories such as "Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History", you should definitely read "A Wind to Shake the World". Although the survivors were interviewed over thirty years after the hurricane, Allen wrote that some of them still wept, "to see again the sick color of sky and sea on that day, to hear the scream of the wind, which was see man himself, face down and weaving like weed in the roiling shallows or open-mouthed and still, half-buried in the damp sand."

Sudden Sea: The Great Hurricane of 1938 by Scotti, R.A. Published by Back Bay Books Reprint edition (2004) Paperback
Sudden Sea: The Great Hurricane of 1938 by Scotti, R.A. Published by Back Bay Books Reprint edition (2004) Paperback
2 used & new from $10.72

5.0 out of 5 stars The Deadly 'Long Island Express' of 1938, July 23, 2014
Powerful hurricanes are infrequent visitors to New England, but `The Long Island Express' not only paid a visit---it dropped in unannounced on September 21, 1938 just as many summer residents were on the beach and closing up their ocean-front cottages, among them Katharine Hepburn and her mother.

The Weather Bureau gave no cause for alarm, at least not after the hurricane skirted Florida and headed north. The meteorologists in Washington D.C. assumed that the storm would dissipate in the cold waters of the Atlantic, as had happened to all north-bound hurricanes since the Great September Gale devastated New England in 1815.

According to the author, no one could have been prepared for the 1938 storm's speed and ferocity. Sweeping northward from Cape Hatteras, building tremendous momentum as it advanced, the hurricane raced over six hundred miles in only twelve hours. Only the captain of the 'Carinthia,' a small 20,000 ton luxury cruiser that weathered the ferocious brawl 150 miles north of Florida might have given warning. He did radio to shore that his barometer had dropped "almost an inch to 27.85 in less than an hour. It was one of the lowest readings ever recorded in the North Atlantic."

Author Scotti interviewed many survivors of this ferocious storm, and includes the story of Katharine Hepburn who had to escape through a dining room window and then battle her way to higher ground:

"When the Hepburns reached high ground, they looked back. [Their house] which had endured tide and wind since the 1870's, pirouetted slowly and sailed away."

Many folks were not as fortunate as the Hepburns. The storm surge was so sudden and so high many houses were completely inundated before their inhabitants could escape. One survivor saw a submerged house leap twenty-five feet into the air and explode. Another watched as a school bus containing his children was overtaken by the onrushing water. Others climbed to the top floors of their homes, then clung desperately to pieces of their roof as their houses washed away beneath them.

It is estimated that 682 people died and another 1,754 were seriously wounded by the 'Long Island Express.' Scotti focuses on a few representative stories, and relates tantalizing fragments of many others.

If you would like to read a first-hand account of the 'Long Island Express,' September 21st was also the day that Everett S. Allen, recent college graduate and future author of "A Wind to Shake the World," began his first `real' job as a reporter for the New Bedford `Standard Times.' His book is one of the finest accounts of this vastly underreported hurricane.

The Blooding-The True Story Of The Narvorough Village Murders
The Blooding-The True Story Of The Narvorough Village Murders
by Joseph Wambaugh
Edition: Hardcover
23 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars "I am in blood stepp'd in so far...", July 18, 2014
I'm a big fan of the forensic programs on Court TV, and I always check the date of the featured crime (almost always murder and/or rape) to see if it occurred before or after DNA testing became common in the United States. If it occurred after 1992, the perp is usually doomed. Even decades-old cases can be solved if blood/semen/saliva samples were properly stored from the crime scene. According to a prophecy in the weekly "New Scientist," there will soon be kits available that will allow police to process DNA samples in less than two hours.

In "The Blooding," former policeman, Joseph Wambaugh writes about the first serial killer who was caught and convicted through the use of DNA testing: two teenage girls in the English village of Narborough were brutally raped and murdered in 1983 and 1986, and it took four years, a scientific breakthrough, and the blood of 5,000 men to capture the killer, Colin Pitchfork. DNA testing also freed the suspect that police had already jailed for the crime.

On September 10, 1984, at nearby Leicester University, Dr. Alec Jeffreys (now Sir Alec) discovered that each human being (except for identical twins) has a unique genetic profile. At first, his DNA profiling technique was used to sort out immigration cases. Then the Leicestershire constabulary became familiar with DNA 'fingerprinting' and collected blood from over 5,000 men in the ultimately successful search for their murderer.

By 2004, the UK had a national database of 2.5 million genetic profiles from convicted criminals. Statistics show that 38% of all crimes are detected where DNA has been loaded onto the UK national database, compared with a 24% detection rate overall. And 48% of burglaries are detected where DNA has been loaded onto the database, compared with a 14% detection rate for burglaries overall.

Nowadays, British bus drivers are issued DNA testing kits to help catch passengers who spit at them.

Wambaugh does not spend much time exploring the scientific aspects of the Narborough Village murders. He tells the interwoven stories of the victims, their families, the murderer, and most especially the policemen who were involved in the hunt.

From the shadowy paths that wound past the grounds of the local psychiatric hospital to the ancient, smoke-filled pubs where the villagers spent their free hours, this author will have you living and breathing the horror of these crimes. There are a few of the patented Wambaugh belly laughs as the Leicestershire police invent their own techniques for 'blooding' the local men. One of my favorite scenes takes place after Colin Pitchfork is apprehended, and he insists on telling his bored interrogators his whole life story before he will confess to his crimes.

Everyone comes to life in a Wambaugh story, but most especially the policemen.

I have never been able to pick up one of this author's books without reading it through to the end, and "The Blooding" is no exception.

Unnatural Death: Confessions of a Medical Examiner by Michael M. Baden published by Ballantine Books (1990)
Unnatural Death: Confessions of a Medical Examiner by Michael M. Baden published by Ballantine Books (1990)
9 used & new from $5.85

5.0 out of 5 stars "A place where death delights to help the living", July 16, 2014
Dr. Baden was the chief medical examiner of New York City from 1960 to 1985, and "Unnatural Death" is a fascinating look at some of the cases he investigated. Bronx-born and Brooklyn-bred, Dr. Baden doesn't shy away from a fight whether it is with the Mayor of New York City who fired him (Dr. Baden eventually sued Mayor Koch for wrongful dismissal and won his case) or the Warren Commission, which was charged with the investigation of President Kennedy's assassination.
Baden refers to himself as "a witness to the dead,'' and treats the bodies on his autopsy table with what can only be described as reverence. Forensic Pathology is both a fascinating profession and a sacred calling for him. During his forty-year career he has conducted more than 20,000 autopsies and has served as an expert witness on homicide cases that include Nicole Brown Simpson, the last alleged victim of Albert DeSalvo, "Sunny" von Bulow (included in this book), John Belushi (also in this book), and JonBenet Ramsey.
Also there are those wonderful political brawls, the foremost of which in "Unnatural Death" is Dr. Baden's tussle with various government officials involved in the investigation of the deaths during the Attica prison riot. In a way, I wish there was less politics and more science in this autobiography, but Dr. Baden correctly points out that reforming the 'politics of death' and raising the status of MEs is one of his most important goals.

This book also highlights cases and anecdotes where the emphasis is on detection and forensic science rather than politics. One of the most gruesome involved a New York City ME who kept a tray of feet that had been cut off at the ankles. He called it the 'Centipede' and used his display to convince the Federal Aviation Agency that airplane seats needed to be redesigned. People's feet were being cut off during airplane crashes by the bar under their seat that was supposed to keep suitcases from sliding backwards.

The seats were redesigned, thanks in part to the 'Centipede.'

One of the saddest, most inexplicable (in psychological terms, at least) cases in "Unnatural Death" is Dr. Baden's investigation of the deaths of Mary Beth and Joseph Tinning's nine children in upstate New York. One aspect of this case that is not widely known is Mary Beth's attempted poisoning of her husband (she was having an affair with a minister at the time). According to Dr. Baden, Joseph Tinning "did not feel that his marriage had been destroyed by this attempt to annihilate him." Nor, evidently by the deaths of his nine children.

Readers will definitely gain an appreciation of the value of forensic pathology from this book, which I believe was Dr. Baden's ultimate goal in writing it.

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20