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PowerGen® 4.2Amps / 20W Dual USB Car charger Designed for Apple and Android Devices - Black
PowerGen® 4.2Amps / 20W Dual USB Car charger Designed for Apple and Android Devices - Black
Offered by POWERGEN
Price: $7.99
6 used & new from $5.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Came quick. Works as advertised., July 23, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Came quick. Works as advertised.

Moluk Bilibo Blue
Moluk Bilibo Blue
Price: $29.95
18 used & new from $20.48

4,696 of 4,906 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars With great respect, I dissent, December 29, 2009
This review is from: Moluk Bilibo Blue (Toy)
Well, it's intimidating to write a bad review for the Bilibo. First, you need a thick skin, because it seems that a sure way to get "unhelpful" votes on Amazon is to utter disrespect for the sacred Bilibo. Second, even anonymously, a bad review can't help but come off as perhaps some sort of indication that your child is just lacking in the "imagination" department. Who wants to be perceived as having an unimaginative child?

Well, my flame suit firmly in place, I respectfully dissent. When the Bilibo arrived in our house as a surprise present for our 3.5 year old, my wife looked at me as though I were a bit off. "No no no," I protested. "You don't understand! This is the most talked about toy on the Internet. What looks like a simple oddly shaped upside down German World War II helmet is really the key to unlocking our child's innermost happiness." Despite several skeptical glances, I pleaded: "Please trust me. Apparently, kids just love them, even if adults cannot completely understand it." "It is," I declared triumphantly, "the cardboard box of the 21st century." "But," my wife replied, "we already have cardboard boxes. Some of which date from the 21st century." Shaking my head knowingly and with a sad looking glance, firmly secure in the knowledge that 100 five-star reviews can't be wrong, I thought, "you'll just have to wait and see." My biggest concern was that my wife would feel somehow she was not in touch with our child when she saw the glee on our child's face when the Bilibo was gloriously displayed and our child's imagination fully engaged and unlocked!

On the appointed day, the gift was delivered. Ready for the magic that was sure to unfold, we placed it in the middle of the room. "What is it?" "Why, it's a Bilibo." "What does it do?" "Whatever you like, Sweetheart. Whatever you want it to be, it can be." "Can I put my books in it?" "Yes! Of course. You can put your books in it!"

Well, the books are still there. In the Bilibo. In the corner of the room. We took them out briefly for some spinning attempts and some other guided Bilibo activities that were received more as a chore than as playtime. So we put the books back in. They don't fit so well. The books are square and rectangular. The Bilibo is round. As a book holder, I would only rate it as average or maybe slightly below.

A cardboard box would hold more books, I think.
Comment Comments (220) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 7, 2016 10:49 AM PDT

Franklin Sports Competition Steel Soccer Goal, 12-Feet X 6-Feet
Franklin Sports Competition Steel Soccer Goal, 12-Feet X 6-Feet
Price: $93.49
33 used & new from $73.79

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Soccer Goal, December 29, 2009
Nearly all of my amazon reviews are limited to books, but this goal has so far exceeded expectations that I thought I'd write.

This goal was a Christmas present in our house, and it is really outstanding. I came close to purchasing a different goal with a "top shelf," but ultimately couldn't justify the price difference. This goal was extremely easy to put together. It is extremely well made, and very solid when completed. It is not quite heavy enough to use without the included lawn stakes, but with the stakes it is very well supported and holds fast against even very heavy shots. I'm glad we opted for a 12 foot goal over a 9 foot goal -- I think it makes a difference.

I was initially disappointed to see that the net attaches with velcro straps. I would have preferred a sleeve type design that would go over the posts. But, as it turns out, the velcro works pretty well. We haven't had any problem with the net not holding shots, although we do occassionally relocate or retighten the straps. At the price, you really can't go wrong with this outstanding goal.

Averatec All-in-One Desktop - Intel Core 2 Duo E4600 2.4GHz - 3GB DDR2 SDRAM - 320GB - DVD-Writer (DVD-RAM/?R/?RW) - Fast Ethernet, Wi-Fi - 22" Active Matrix TFT Color LCD - Windows Vista Home Premium - All-In-One
Averatec All-in-One Desktop - Intel Core 2 Duo E4600 2.4GHz - 3GB DDR2 SDRAM - 320GB - DVD-Writer (DVD-RAM/?R/?RW) - Fast Ethernet, Wi-Fi - 22" Active Matrix TFT Color LCD - Windows Vista Home Premium - All-In-One

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really Happy With This Computer, December 14, 2008
So far, this has been an excellent purchase. The long-term plan is to convert to a mac household, but the prospect of having macs and nonmacs on a home network was a bit too daunting to me for now. I viewed this computer largely as a place holder for a couple of years.

I needed an all in one given my workspace. At the price, I just don't think there is another all in one out there that can compete. My delievered price ended up a shade under $700. I had low expectations, and they all have been exceeded. It worked immediately out of the box. Set up was a snap. There is not an abundance of garbage pre-installed. It comes with a very easy to use and understand pdf instruction manual preloaded on the desktop.

I'm comparing largely to a 2-year old vaio desktop, but the speed is great. The 22" inch screen is easily compatible to the HP all in ones and I think a bit better than the del xps one. The dvd reader is rapid and well located. An especially nice perk is the volume and monitor controlls on the cpu's side. The wireless mouse and keyboard work great, and the keyboard is compact enough to use with a mousepad if you have a slideout drawer in your work station -- or at least it all fits fine in my desk. I haven't tried the tv tuner yet.

Key downsides for me -- I would have liked a 500gb hard drive, and the wireless adapter is b/g, not n. But for the price, I could easily buy an "n" external adapter. Range on the adapter seems good not great. I upgraded the memory -- it comes with 2GB upgradable to 4GB. One annoyance was that the specs on the internet indicated that the 2GB is installed as a single stick in one of the two slots and the other is empty. Unfortunately, when I got it open, there were two 1GB sticks in the 2 slots, which means that you need to purchase two 2GB sticks to upgrade to 4GB. Your mileage may vary, but this was a modest annoyance, since I had only purchased one 2GB stick. Bottom line -- don't assume what the RAM config will be until you open it up or run a scan. I replaced one, upgraded to 3 GB, and may just keep it that way. Install was a snap -- 10 minutes and the system recognized the new memory immediately. While I had the machine open, I took a look around -- it's basically like a laptop in there with no wasted space, so I'm not sure that much upgrading is a possibility. I think the video card was a stand-alone, and it looks possible to upgrade. I think, but am not sure, that it's a laptop-style video card. Video so far looks great to me, and Vista runs well. Haven't needed support, thankfully, so I can't comment on that -- I have low expectations.

The bottom line -- at less than half the price of a comparable imac, with a bigger screen, this computer was too good to pass up. It's not a mac, but it compares extremely favorably with the sony all in ones at 3x the price -- except no blu-ray. It is extremely well designed ergonomically, versatile with respect to placement all over the house if you have a wireless network, and much faster than what I'm accustomed to. Very nice for the price.

The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute
The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute
by Michael Ruhlman
Edition: Paperback
135 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and Entertaining, July 30, 2008
I really enjoyed this book.

What I expected was an inside-the-walls report about an interesting institution, its students, and its instructors. To be sure, the book is that. But it is more. The core of the book, I think, is the epiphany, or series of epiphanies, that Ruhlman has on and after a day he considers missing class because of a snowstorm. The book's major themes orbit that formative experience and are held by its gravity. Some of these are deep, thought-provoking, and ultimately unanswerable matters; for example, the cook's version of the nature v. nurture debate - are cooks born or created? Some are a bit more CIA-specific; Rulman's thesis that the overarching dogma of the place is perfection is both beautifully explained and illustrated by vignettes (for example, the running obsession with the proper roux for brown sauce).

To me, though, the book is at its finest in using the snowstorm core to explain the essence of a cook. Ruhlman finds the concept difficult to reduce to words. One important aspect, though, seems to be captured albeit imperfectly by the hackneyed concept of "the zone." (Ruhlman doesn't use this term.) There are occasions - not many - when I have been in "the zone." I am not a cook, but I have had times - at school, at work, and with some hobbies - when I have faced monumental tasks, with seemingly not enough time, and where my attention has been entirely engaged and neither failure or tardiness is an option; where the completion of each task along the way offers no time for reflection, satisfaction, or rest but instead is merely the predicate for moving, as efficiently as possible, to the next.

What I remember most about these occasions is the decompression period when the project is complete. The transition, almost literally, from focused vision to a fuller field of vision. I can recall, for example, one such occasion where, when my work was finally done in the late evening, I noticed a complete and completely uneaten lunch that I had somehow secured in the midst of the task, but could not remember how. It sat no more than 2 feet from me throughout, untouched and, indeed, unseen, until the pinpoint focus broadened and peripheral vision returned. For a brief time my senses are alive. I see, sense, and interact with the world differently. And then, too quickly, I return to my normal state - well outside "the zone" with my attention scattered in different directions.

Surgeons or professional athletes, who similarly live in and out of the zone, probably can already relate. For the rest of us, Ruhlman's book is a dramatic success and accessible to non-cooks like me precisely because we all, no doubt, have had similar experiences to varying degrees. What Ruhlman helps us see is that CIA students, and cooks, live almost perpetually in these states - in "the zone," then the exhausted but exhilarating hyper-aware state that follows, immediately back into the zone, and on and on. While many cooks-turned-writers such as Anthony Bourdain and Marco Pierre White have attempted to describe similar states, they paint with too broad and imperfect a brush - typically resorting to incomplete concepts like "adrenaline junkie." Ruhlman - a writer turned cook - however, nails it in a much more satisfying exploration of the question and in so doing makes his book amazingly accessibly to anyone and, indeed, transcendent.

Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany
Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany
by Bill Buford
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.07
331 used & new from $0.01

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun and Entertaining, August 1, 2007
In ejoyed this book considerably. Other than having read the famous Anthony Bourdain book, I am neither significantly familiar with the emerging genre nor a "foodie." But I found this book captivating on several levels.

As it's subtitle suggetst, the book divides itself into several somewhat-discrete, somewhat-overlapping themes: (1) Big NYC kitchen dynamics and hazing; (2) Inside look at two cooking luminaries (Mario Batali and Marco Pierre White) recently made quite famous in the explosion of interest in the subject caused by, among other things, the food network; and (3) The author's Hunter Thompson style continental culinary exploration. I would say I liked these three components, from most to least, roughly in that order.

I read mostly fiction, and so I guess am naturally attracted to books about places and things I would not otherwise have occasion to know about. I guess that's why I enjoy the kitche-slave, inner-NYC-restaurant workings the best. Little details, like the disfuctional angst that accompanies an impending New York Times review, or passages about space-shopping for a new restaurant venture, captured my interest most. With respect to the Batali and White stuff, I was mildly interested, but while I recognize that these individuals are incredibly gifted at what they do, I don't find them important enough in the greater scheme of things to hang in there through 100 pages about their excessive idosycracies. I enjoyed author's butchering apprenticeship least, and his choice -- a butcher -- was puzzling (although probably his only real choice). The ephinany his apprenticeship provokes, however, in the book's final few chapters -- both about what makes great food and how we humans deal with change -- was fresh, insightful, and extraordinarily well presented.

One minor annoyance was that the chronological details of Buford's journey are quite jumbled and confusing in the book. It's hard to tell exactly when he's doing certain things in relation to others, or to understand the chronology of his kitchen development and promotion. I don't know if this is a criticism of the editor or whether this was intentional, so that Buford could be a bit misleading about the extent to which he truly was having the NYC kitchen experience.

One thing I noticed about this book that was also true of the author's other book, Among The Thugs: He seems to be incredibly forgiving, or maybe empathetic, with respect to situations and characters that do not deserve to be forgiven or empathized with. Much in the way he almost seems to excuse or try to explain the violence of the soccer "lads" in Among The Thugs, he is overly apologetic and kind to the disfunctionality of the kitchen in which he worked and slow to simply ackowledge that Batali and the Tuscan butcher are often just unmitigated and upleasant jerks.

Anyway, a fun read. Enjoy.

State Of Fear
State Of Fear
by Michael Crichton
Edition: Hardcover
107 used & new from $0.01

13 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Forget about the global warming debate, it's just not a good novel., February 5, 2007
This review is from: State Of Fear (Hardcover)
My dislike of this novel has little to do with the debate that rages within about the causes of climate change. My first problem is the borderline hypocricy. The author harshly targets the supposed propagandists on the other side of the debate he sets up, while at the same time prosthelitizing about his side. Perhaps most readers already understand what they are getting into when they start this book. I picked up the book in the airport and took at face value the dust jacket blurbs like "techno-thriller," and "pulse-pounding fiction." I did not expect a thin story acting as a fig leaf to barely conceal the lecture I was about to receive. And that really is my problem with the book -- the author works so hard to convince us of what he's apparently convinced himself that stuff like plot, dialogue, character development and the like simply are not given the attention they deserve. If you're looking for a counterpoint to current climate change theories, there is a wealth of information out there for you. A poorly constructed novel with an almost-obsessively shrill way to get the message across seems like a decidedly poor vehicle.

Three Days to Never: A Novel
Three Days to Never: A Novel
by Tim Powers
Edition: Hardcover
106 used & new from $0.01

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars God May Not Play Dice With the Universe, September 5, 2006
But in Three Days to Never, men will try. (Modest spoilers here.)

It is near lunacy, or at least a sure road to regret, to attempt to review a Tim Powers book too soon after reading it, but here goes anyway. Fortunately, with Amazon, one doesn't need a time machine -- just the edit button. I cannot quite say why I liked Declare and Last Call much more than I liked Earthquake Weather or Expiration Date. Nor can I exactly put my finger on why I thought Three Days is more like the latter and not like the former. I suppose it's the superficial similarities to the last two installments of the Last Call Trilogy -- freaky astral projecting weirdos with crazy artifacts and devices chasing the good guys through SoCal to capture the essence of long-dead luminaries.

Digging more deeply, I think what I loved about Declare was that Powers perfectly balanced his story with his attempt to fit historical events into a new puzzle. And similarly, the supernatural elements seemed in Declare (as in Last Call) to compliment the rest of the goings on, not overwhelm them. I think I think that neither is true in Three Days. The attempt to bend the story around the true details of Einstein's existence (and some unexplained Charlie Chaplin events) seems almost forced and not natural. And the supernatural crazies become overwhelming by the end.

I believe that those with a good working knowledge of Shakespear's the Tempest or the biographical details of Einstein's life will appreciate this novel a bit more than I did. Then again, I knew very little about the Wasteland or Kim Philby's life, but still adored, respectively, Last Call and Declare. The book also suffers from one of the problems that I think no time-travel novel can avoid. It either will generally have holes that don't make logical sense, or it will make logical sense but spend considerable effort on side-points explaining why the time travel scenarios are consistent with the framework the novel has constructed. Three Days suffers a bit from the latter problem.

So with some of that negativity out of the way, there are things in this book to celebrate. There are, as in most of Powers' works, moments of devastating revelation. If you're used to the rhythms of his novels and his compulsion to force you into active reading, you will not be disappointed. (As an aside, there is a nice moment in this book where one of the characters who herself must rely on the eyes of others to see has thoughts about what makes a good reader and what makes a bad -- it is an interesting little insight into Powers' story-telling style.) And his masterful manipulation of familiar themes is at times genius, as is his dialogue. There is one running gag throughout the book that is virtually worth the price of admission itself -- when two members of one of the weird factions have conversations over the radio, they give each other signals (code words based on popular music or children's cereals) when to turn the channel to avoid detection. Much hilarity ensues.

In any event, Powers fans will not be diappointed and likely will spend at least one morning with bloodshot eyes. Enjoy!

Captain Alatriste
Captain Alatriste
by Arturo Perez-Reverte
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.46
229 used & new from $0.01

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars S'blood! Loved Every Page!, June 8, 2006
This review is from: Captain Alatriste (Paperback)
It's neither as deep nor as intricate as the author's other works, but, man, is it a lot of fun. To be sure, it is not entirely frivolous. It combines many of the elements that I thought made The Fencing Master a wonderful work. The title character is compelling, complicated, and likeable not just in spite of his flaws but because of them. Moreover, some of the classic Perez-Reverte elements are there, just in somewhat toned-down fashion. For example, the double entendre, more-than-meets-the-eye dialogue is well preserved in this translation. The walk-on cameos by/homages to luminaries like Lope de Vega and Diego Velazquez also are fun diversions in classic Perez-Reverte style.

I enjoyed most the complicated and heart-warming relationship between Inigo and the Captain, and also the climactic scene in the office of the "King's favorite," the Compte d'Olivares. The tension and dialogue in that scene had, I thought, perfect pitch. (Modest spoilers coming.) Perez-Reverte's efficiency with language is on full display in this scene. In one simple exchange, and just a few words, he is able to speak volumes about his hero. When the Count questions Alatriste about why, during the war, he defended against a mutiny the field marshall who was to have him hanged for a prior offense, Alatriste's one line answer doesn't merely help you understand him, it defines him. Similarly, I thought the pay-off line of this first installment -- "you are alive simply because you do not deserve to die" also struck the exact right chord, and told you who these men are and provided insight into the code by which they live.

I could not have enjoyed this novel more. I eagerly await future installments.

Forever: A Novel
Forever: A Novel
by Pete Hamill
Edition: Hardcover
64 used & new from $2.48

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I picked the wrong story, May 3, 2006
This review is from: Forever: A Novel (Hardcover)
There are pretty much two stories working their way through these 600 pages. First is the story of Cormac O'Connor, Irish-born immortal who may never leave the island of Manhattan to stay that way. Second is the story of New York City.

In the first 200 pages, Cormac is an incredibly likeable and compelling character -- as a young boy living in Ireland, and then as a young man living in New York trying to come to terms with the buying and selling of human beings. These first 200 pages got me hooked on the "first" story, almost to the exclusion of the second. I waded through the historical stuff about New York while really caring about what would happen to Cormac. It turns out, though, 400 pages later, that the second story is really the better one. Cormac degenerates into a somewhat unlikeable and inpenetrable protagonist. I don't understand the choices he made after being granted immortality. As the years wear on, he slides down a spiral of unlikeability and actually, other than being immortal, is not that interesting. His career choices are odd. His choices in affairs of the heart are strange. He has a very odd lack of concience at times, which is pretty fundamentally inconsistent with his overexaggerated sense of empathy, as developed in other parts of the story. The book also very much depends on generating sympathy with his "plight" of being immortal, but doesn't do a very good job of building up that sympathy. You sort of just have to take Cormac's word for it that, after a while, immortality is a pain in the butt.

The book is also not very kind to its secondary characters. One minute, you're getting to know and like them, and then the next minute, it's 60 years later and, "oh, and old Mr. so-and-so, he's dead."

All that said, the New York stuff is really excellent. New York is itself a character in the book, and a very well done one at that. There is nobody I have told about this book who isn't immediatley impressed with it's pitch -- a view of New York through the eyes of an immortal who lives there from pre-revolutionary times to the present. Unfortunately, in the final analysis, the idea was better than the execution.

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