Profile for WryGuy2 > Reviews

Browse

WryGuy2's Profile

Customer Reviews: 475
Top Reviewer Ranking: 408
Helpful Votes: 2510




Community Features
Review Discussion Boards
Top Reviewers

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

Reviews Written by
WryGuy2 RSS Feed (Out On Life's Journey)
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
First World War For Dummies (For Dummies (History, Biography & Politics)
First World War For Dummies (For Dummies (History, Biography & Politics)
by Sean Lang
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.19
48 used & new from $12.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Complete (although summarized) coverage of the "War to End All Wars", July 1, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As we approach the centennial of the start of World War I, a lot of books are being published on this first truly world-wide war. This book, "First World War For Dummies" by author Seán Lang, attempts to concisely explain and summarize the conflict and the many factors that shaped it, from its explosive beginnings through how the world was changed by the war after the guns had fallen silent.

This is an ambitious effort, covering four-plus years of war, and includes the home fronts, technological changes, the political intrigues and issues hidden in the background, and the important persona involved in directing the war, all in 410 pages. Of necessity, the author has to limit his discussion on most issues to a few important points to describe a larger topic. For example, in the section on air warfare, he notes that the Sopwith Camel was key in allowing the Allies being able to establish control of the air. Of course, he is right ... the Camel was a superlative aircraft that shot down more enemy aircraft than any other airplane in the war. But unspoken, due to the need to fit everything into one book, was a deeper discussion of the vicious ebb and flow of the air war, how aggressive British tactics played an important part of controlling the skies even before the Camel appeared, and how, toward the end of the war, even the great Camel was pushed into a ground attack role by better German (and Allied) fighter aircraft. Note that I'm not saying the author is wrong here, I'm just pointing out that compromises had to be made. And I do believe he did a good job of choosing what to include and at what level of detail.

The author has an easy to read style, and he is careful not to bury the reader in technical jargon, as is fitting for a "Dummies" book. While I might quibble on some of his analysis, that's only because I'm well read on World War I and I've formed my own opinions on some matters, not that I'm necessarily right and he's wrong. But in the vast majority of cases, I'm in full agreement with him.

I have a few very minor nits. First, I wish the publisher had included a few more maps. Second, I feel the book is biased a bit toward the British point of view, at least in terms of the amount of material covered. And third, I thought the text itself included too many parenthetical notes about material already discussed or would be discussed. What I mean every page or so, you get a "(as was discussed in Chapter 2)" or "(as we will see in Chapter 16)". I guess these statements were included for those people who want to browse the individual chapters, but I found them mildly annoying, particularly when you had a page with two or three such notes.

Overall, I have no reservations about recommending this book to a novice who wants to learn more about World War I. Readers more familiar with the war will also find much to learn, particularly if they want to see the entire war shown as a whole. I think the author did an excellent job in fitting the entire war, including the global situation before it started and the impacts after it was over, into a one readable volume. Four stars.


Allen Sports Premier 2-Child Aluminum Bike Trailer/Racing Stroller, Green/Grey
Allen Sports Premier 2-Child Aluminum Bike Trailer/Racing Stroller, Green/Grey
Price: $299.97
2 used & new from $299.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Very good as both a bike trailer and jogging stroller, June 21, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I had an old combo bike trailer/stroller for a few years, that I used primarily as a bike trailer. As it's now gone to that trailer graveyard in the sky (well, actually to the recycling center), I was happy to get this combo, the "Allen Sports Premier 2-Child Aluminum Bike Trailer/Racing Stroller, Green/Grey" to review.

The good: This is pretty much Allen's top 2 child trailer/stroller, and it shows. It's lightweight yet sturdy, rolls very well, and is packed with amenities. These include a very large rear storage compartment, a foot well for your kids, Velcro pockets on each side of the inside for each child to put their drinks in, and has a front screen that is mesh with a zipper down plastic lining that can be used in bad weather. It also has parking brakes ... one per rear tire. Although I primarily have used/tested this as a bike trailer, I also assembled and tested it with a child as a stroller. My old combo was a good bike trailer and a mediocre stroller. But this combo is very good both as a bike trailer or jogging stroller, and only takes a few minutes to switch between them. It also folds down to simplify storage (and the rear wheels come off in seconds, if you want to reduce the storage footprint even more).

The bad: As other reviewers have noted, the instructions could be better. There are tiny black and white pictures (which are too small to show much detail) and the text isn't as clear as it could be. The main compartment comes mostly assembled, and the only hard part of putting this thing together is popping the compartment up and setting the horizontal braces. Once that's done, the rest is easy ...the wheels, the bike trailer attachment or jogger wheel, and parking brakes will only take you a few minutes. It's not impossible by any means, it will just take you 10 minutes or so before you figure out how to set up the main compartment. The only other negative, and it's a very small one, is that the front tire to the jogging assembly is "fixed" forward (i.e., it's not on a swivel), so you have to push down on the handlebars and lift it off of the ground for major turns.

Overall, while pricey, you get what you pay for with this trailer/stroller combo. And the only tool you need to assemble the unit is an included Allen wrench, and a little patience the first time you assemble it. Five stars.


Five Star Ergo Sidekick Backpack, Blue (72394)
Five Star Ergo Sidekick Backpack, Blue (72394)
Price: $29.26

4.0 out of 5 stars Lightweight, sturdy, attractive backpack, June 17, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The backpack is approximately 19 inches tall by 13 inches wide, is lightweight yet well padded, and attractive. Several family members of varying sizes and I were able to adjust the backpack so that it fit comfortably. It has 3 outside zippered pouches:

The first one is about half the height of the backpack (about a foot wide by 8 inches tall), and contains a couple of small stitched compartments that would hold an upright pen, a zippered compartment that would hold keys and change, and a 9 inch wide by 6 inch tall pocket open at the top.

The second zippered pouch on the outside is about 4 inches wide by 8 inches deep. I'm not what you'd put in this one, maybe a drink or your cell phone.

Finally there is the zipper that runs the from the base of one side of the backpack to the base on the other side, going over the top. Inside is a large pocket 12 inches wide by 12 inches tall, with elastic at the top. There is a strap from the very top of the backpack that secures this inside pouch with via a patch of Velcro on the strap and pocket. You could secure a laptop or tablet inside this pocket.
There is a handle attached to the top of the two backstraps, which is handy for picking it up. There is also a loop on the upper back for hanging the backpack up.

One "feature" I don't understand is that the backstraps are attached in front of the largest zippered pouch. In my opinion, this makes it difficult to easily open the rear zippered compartment enough to extract large objects (books, laptop, etc.) In other backpacks I've owned, the straps are secured behind all of the zippered pouches. All I can think of is that it might secure the contents more tightly to you in the event you're jogging or biking.

Overall, this is a lightweight, sturdy, attractive backpack. Four stars.


Crispy Green 100% Freeze-Dried Fruits, Fruit Variety Pack, 16 Count, 5.6 Ounce
Crispy Green 100% Freeze-Dried Fruits, Fruit Variety Pack, 16 Count, 5.6 Ounce
Price: $17.05

4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad ... actually, they're pretty good, June 12, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The “Crispy Green 100% Freeze-Dried Fruits, Fruit Variety Pack, 16 Count” is pretty much what its title says … freeze dried apples (8 packs), pears (4 packs), and tangerines (4 packs). All of the water has been removed from these, unlike some other brand snack-packs where a little water remains and the product feels a little “spongy”.

Taste-wise, these were very good. I particularly liked the freeze-dried tangerines, both because they were unusual for dried fruit and were delicious. They are actually small freeze-dried wedges right from the tangerine. (Be aware, though, that like any citrus product, most wedges were sweet and tangy but a few were somewhat sour.)

The portions are fairly small but the total calorie count is only 40 per serving, so these are good for people who want a tasty snack without a lot of guilt over what they’re eating. So they’re diet-friendly.

Overall, these are tasty treats that are a little bit off of the beaten path for most of us, and that’s a good thing. This is especially true for the tangerines. Four stars.


Airtight
Airtight
by J.P. Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.99
45 used & new from $0.18

2.0 out of 5 stars Sorry, but this book didn’t do it for me, June 10, 2014
This review is from: Airtight (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
“Airtight”, by J. P. Smith is a comic thriller about two guys who meet during college, and then meet again around 30 years later when both have lost their jobs and need money. They then decide to dig up two jars of drugs buried on campus while they were students, and sell the drugs to make some fast cash. Things begin to spin wildly out of control from that point.

I had a very tough time getting into the story and remaining interested. I have picked up and put this book down numerous times over the past 18 months trying to read to the end. The writing style didn’t work for me, the situations a bit over-the-top, even for a comic thriller, and the humor didn’t amuse me. I’m not saying that this is a terrible book, and other reviewers have greatly enjoyed it, but I just couldn’t get interested in the characters or story. Two stars.


Marvel Super Hero Mashers Electronic Iron Man Figure
Marvel Super Hero Mashers Electronic Iron Man Figure
Price: $16.79
31 used & new from $11.78

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Iron Man (made of plastic), May 21, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have two sons, ages 5 and 8. The 5 year old is an Iron Man fan, while the 8 year old is not. So, I selected this toy, primarily for my younger son. This toy, the “Marvel Super Hero Mashers Electronic Iron Man Figure” is part of a set of Marvel superhero “mashers”, but as this is the only one I own, I’ll review it as a stand-alone toy.

It comes with two sets of arms and heads (one head is Iron Man’s helmet and the other is Tony Starks), and numerous other attachments, the most impressive of which is a “rocket launcher”, which actually launches a plastic “rocket”. The suit also lights up, courtesy of 2 included batteries.

My younger son was easily able to swap out the various body parts and attachments. (He’s been doing the same with the various Power Ranger Zords and Megazords, which are much more complicated than this toy.) He is having a good time mixing this into his existing toy figurine universe. My older son, although not an Iron Man fan, also likes to play with it, although I can’t tell if it’s because he likes the concept or he just wants to annoy his little brother. :-)

Overall, this is a good toy, although I suspect you’ll want to get more figures so as to be able to swap parts between the superheroes, as well as to fill out your Marvel collection. Four stars.


Marvel The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Motorized Spider Force Web Blaster
Marvel The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Motorized Spider Force Web Blaster
Price: $16.84
16 used & new from $10.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Something different for your little Spiderman fan, May 16, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When I was a boy, I had a toy pistol where you would load little discs, maybe the size of a quarter, into the pistol, and then could shoot them off one-by-one. This toy, the “Amazing Spider-Man 2 Motorized Spider Force Web Blaster” reminds me a little of that pistol in that it shoots discs, albeit they are larger and are shot differently.

The web-blaster is fairly large and you wear it on the top of your arm. It comes with 10 discs, which you can load a maximum of five into a hatch in the top of the web-blaster. (Be aware that you can fit six into the compartment, but it will jam and not fire.) It takes 3 AA batteries, which are not included. Once the batteries are installed, you load up the web-blaster, turn it on, and put it on your arm, threading your arm through an adjustable wrist-band and gripping a handle (for lack of a better word). There is a trigger mechanism on the handle that you use to fire the discs. The discs go about 10 feet unless you tilt the toy upward at an angle. You can rapidly fire the five loaded discs, and then reload to start again.

One drawback of the toy is how loud it is when you turn it on. The web-blaster uses air to launce the discs, so it’s like a mini-vac in reverse. It would also be nice if they could have figured a way to fire more than five discs at a time. The discs themselves are soft, and shouldn’t hurt anything/anyone under normal use.

My children like the toy, using it to shoot at and knock down other toys. It’s a decent toy, especially if your kids are into Spiderman. Four stars.


Marvel The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Spider Vision Mask
Marvel The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Spider Vision Mask
Price: $16.84
14 used & new from $12.84

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Does whatever a Spidey-mask can ..., May 16, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My five year old boy is a Spiderman fan, so he was very interested in this toy mask. First, a brief description. It is made of plastic, with a mesh over the eyes, much like Spidey might actually fit to his own costume. The mask is adjustable and will fit kids from about five years old up to adults. You install two (provided) AAA batteries, and you can press a button on the mask which lights up two red LED lights right above the eyes. Also included are two “throwing” discs, which can reflect the red lights from the mask.

The mask adjusted well to my boy, although the mask was proportionally very large relative to his body size, so that he looked like a Spiderman bobblehead doll. :-) He didn’t mind, though, and liked looking into the mirror and posing. The red LEDs on the mask did reflect off of the throwing discs, but only if the angle and lighting were correct. The throwing discs are made of a solid, fairly heavy plastic, and while my five year old might have trouble breaking stuff with them, my eight year old wouldn’t.

In sum, this is a good mask for your spiderguy or gal. Four stars.


Five Star Split Pencil Cup, Purple (72260)
Five Star Split Pencil Cup, Purple (72260)
Price: $8.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A great pencil cup for school use, May 16, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My seven year old girl was looking for a pencil cup for school, so I was happy to be given the opportunity to review this product, the “Five Star Split Pencil Cup, Purple”. As the description infers, this is a split pencil cup. It is hinged on one side, and held together with magnets, so that it can be opened and used to stick to a locker or any other magnetic surface.

It may be a bit too “purple” for your grandmother, but it was just right for my little girl. The cup is sturdy and sufficiently large that each half of the cup can hold a lot. (The cup is ! 4-1/4" x 4-1/8" x 4-1/4" folded and 4-1/4" x 8-1/4" x 2-1/8" when unfolded.) My child likes to put pencils and pens in one half of the cup and other supplies (such as kiddie scissors and the like in the other half). We’re considering cutting the cup in half and leaving one half of the cup on the door of her locker and putting the other half on her desk … the cup feels like it will easily be stable enough to stand that way.

Overall, this is a great little, inexpensive product. Five stars.


His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
by Dan Jenkins
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.50
63 used & new from $15.52

4.0 out of 5 stars My Ownself's review of "His Ownself", May 16, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As we move more and more into the internet age of sports writing/blogging, many of what I call the first generation of “critical” sports journalists (as opposed to the earlier, “golden age” of sports writers where the athlete was a demigod and the prose written about them was extremely purple) are either retired or soon will be. Dan Jenkins, one of the best known of this era and a successful novelist, has finally written his own autobiography, “His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir”.

As autobiographies are wont to do, Dan’s book covers “his ownself’s” life from birth through today, written in his easy-to-read yet far from simple style, and includes ample helpings of humor, low-brow and otherwise. The central themes of the book revolve around Dan’s love of writing, college football, and golf. Getting his start as an ink-stained wretch while still in high school, he tells a tale of what it was like to work for small and then progressively larger newspapers, before moving on and discussing his work at nationally recognized magazines such as “Sports Illustrated”, “Playboy”, and “Golf Digest”, and as a novelist.

Two years ago, I read Dan’s “Sports Illustrated” contemporary Frank Deford’s autobiography, and it was interesting to compare and contrast both their styles and lives. Although equally talented, and I suspect equally intelligent, Deford book has more of a cultivated, acerbic feel, while Jenkin’s is more home-spun and friendly. Note that this is not a criticism to either writer, both are at the top of their fields and both are terrific writers. But it offered me a view of what drove each man, and how they approached their craft.

If I have a quibble with Dan’s book, it’s that he spends about half of it describing his childhood and close relationship with famous golfer Ben Hogan, and then the other half about the rest of his life. While the first part of the book is very entertaining and enlightening, the second half feels a bit rushed, if only by comparison.

Overall, if you’re familiar with Dan’s work, or if you want to know more about sports writing from an earlier era, get this book. If you’re not a fan of Dan’s, the book is enjoyable in its own right. As an aside, “Washington Post” sports columnist Sally Jenkins is Dan’s daughter. Four stars.


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