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Paul Tognetti "The real world is so much more interesting!" RSS Feed (Cranston, RI USA)
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Record Store Days: From Vinyl to Digital and Back Again
Record Store Days: From Vinyl to Digital and Back Again
by Gary Calamar
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.10
58 used & new from $7.44

5.0 out of 5 stars Calamar and Gallo bring back a flood of happy memories in this highly entertaining book., December 17, 2014
"Immersing yourself in the environment of a real record store where music is celebrated and cherished adds real value to the experience of buying music. In some ways, that retail experience is as important as the music." -- quote from John Mellencamp page 27

In the course of my lifetime I have spent thousands of hours in record stores. Collecting 45's, LP's and CD's from a cornucopia of genres has been my lifelong passion. Most of my time was spent in small mom and pop stores run by individuals who possessed both the knowledge of and a passion for the music they were selling. It was a joy to shop in these places. Recently and quite by accident I stumbled upon a most remarkable book that fondly recalls those halcyon days. "Record Store Days: From Vinyl to Digital and Back Again" presents the history of record stores in America in words and pictures. While I usually read books on much more important topics I wanted to read this one for the sheer joy I suspected it would bring. I was not disappointed.

While I certainly appreciated the detailed narrative presented by Gary Calamar and Phil Gallo it was the dozens of captivating photographs sprinkled throughout "Record Store Days" that really sent me back. I agree with Cameron Crowe who recalled in the book that "The record shop was a place of escape. It was a library and a clubhouse." I shopped and hung out at the same mom and pop stores for decades. I never got tired of discovering new and different sounds and meeting other passionate collectors. As I got older I also spent quite a bit of time browsing and shopping at some of the national and regional chain stores. Most of these places were quite well-stocked and staffed by extremely knowledgeable salespeople. With the arrival of the compact disc, Napster, SoundScan and big-box stores the record industry would change radically and not for the better I'm afraid. It just wasn't the same. Calamar and Gallo chronicle the events that would alter the face of the business. For those of us over the age of 50 "Record Store Days" is sure to bring back a boatload of fond memories. I was very happy to discover that there are still some great old-timey record shops around like George's Song Shop in Johnstown, PA. Meanwhile, the authors report that vinyl is making something of a comeback these days. You younger folks might want to check out "Record Store Days" to discover exactly what you might be missing out on today. It is clear to me that putting together "Record Store Days: From Vinyl to Digital and Back Again" was a labor of love for everyone involved. This is a well-written, informative and entertaining book that can be enjoyed by music lovers, history buffs and general audiences alike. Highly recommended!


Neil Diamond, Melody Road CD + LIMITED FREE DIGITAL DOWNLOAD
Neil Diamond, Melody Road CD + LIMITED FREE DIGITAL DOWNLOAD
Offered by MorningStar2
Price: $36.97
4 used & new from $22.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite back to basics but a step in the right direction., December 17, 2014
The Neil Diamond that I know and love was the gifted young singer/songwriter who recorded all of those great sides for Bert Burns' Bang Records back in the 1960's. It was pretty much just Neil and his guitar back then. The tunes were simple, upbeat and thoroughly entertaining. Over the years Neil Diamond seemed to drift further and further away from his roots. Now in 2014 producers Don Was and Jacknife Lee have pointed this venerable artist in a different direction for his first new album in six years. "Melody Road" would remind you an awful lot of the style he exhibited during his heyday at Uni Records in the early 1970's. A few of the tunes on this disc, most notably the title track "Melody Road", definitely would have been hits back in the day. I especially enjoyed the more upbeat numbers including "Sunny Disposition" and "Marry Me Now". Meanwhile, "The Art of Love" brought to mind Neil's great 1972 hit single "Play Me". Good stuff! The bottom line is that "Melody Road" is definitely worth a listen. The elaborate production values that made so many of Neil's later Columbia recordings sound so pedestrian have been scaled back dramatically. Neil Diamond fans are going to love it and I suspect the public at large will embrace it. His voice remains strong and distinctive. It's wonderful to see Neil Diamond back in the game once again at the age of 73. Here's to a true American original! A solid effort by everyone involved. Recommended.


The Very Best of Peter, Paul & Mary
The Very Best of Peter, Paul & Mary

5.0 out of 5 stars Highlights from more than 40 years in the music business., December 17, 2014
It is hard to believe that they released their very first Warner Brothers single more than 47 years ago. And although Peter Yarrow, Noel Paul Stookey and Mary Travers get credit for producing Rhino's brand new 2005 release "The Very Best of Peter Paul and Mary", I find it hard to believe that these folks ever really thought of themselves as a singles act or worried too much about how successful their records were on Billboard's Hot 100. Peter Paul and Mary were much more concerned with the issues they sang about and with the "live" performances they gave. Yet the fact of the matter is that Peter Paul and Mary made a half dozen Top Ten hits and amassed an impressive total of 19 charted hits. During their heydey in the 1960's they sold a ton of albums as well. The group still performs on a fairly regular basis, continues to record new material and boasts an extremely loyal following.

For collectors like myself, Rhino has finally given us a pretty comprehensive single disc collection cleverly entitled "The Very Best of Peter Paul and Mary". Fans of the group would quickly point out that the 25 tunes on this CD do not necessarily represent the best songs the group ever made. I would be the first to agree with that assessment. Rather, "Very Best" presents the groups biggest and best singles as well as a number of memorable tunes from the groups most popular albums. Of course you will find the familiar hits you heard on the radio like "For Lovin' Me", "Puff The Magic Dragon", "Blowin' In the Wind" and their biggest hit ever from 1970 "Leaving On A Jet Plane". You will also hear Peter Paul and Mary belt out some of folk music's most important and memorable songs. Enjoy great renditions of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land", Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'" as well as Pete Seeger's classic "If I Had A Hammer". Listen to some of PP&M's lesser known gems like "The Great Mandala (The Wheel of Life)" and "El Salvador" a haunting tune written by Noel Paul Stookey in the mid-eighties. For a brief period in the early 1970's the group took a hiatus from performing and each recorded solo albums. This collection also features a solo recording by each from this period including Noel Paul Stookey's memorable "Wedding Song (There Is Love) which was a pretty big hit back in 1971.

"The Very Best of Peter Paul and Mary" replaces a vinyl copy of the 1970 release "Ten Years Together--The Best of Peter Paul and Mary" in my collection. It is a major upgrade. The remastering job is wonderful and Rhino has provided a 20 page booklet to peruse. For most people looking for a good overview of their work this collection will surely fill the bill. Highly recommended!


The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels[MORAL CASE FOR FOSSIL FUELS][Hardcover]
The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels[MORAL CASE FOR FOSSIL FUELS][Hardcover]
by AlexEpstein
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Do you prefer to live in a world with more opportunities and fewer hardships or more hardships and fewer opportunities?, December 17, 2014
"This book is about morality, about right and wrong. To me, the question of what to do about fossil fuels and any other moral issue comes down to: What will promote human life? What will promote human flourishing--realizing the full potential of life.........There is an incredibly strong correlation between fossil fuel use and life expectancy and between fossil fuel use and income, particularly in the rapidly developing parts of the world." -- page 13

It all depends on your world view I guess. If you are someone who believes that environmental nonimpact is a higher priority than human life then you probably buy into the radical left-wing agenda of Al Gore, Paul Ehrlich, James Hansen and Barack Obama who profess that the world must drastically curtail the use of fossil fuels in order to save the planet. In fact, many progressives advocate outlawing between 80 and 95 percent of fossil fuel use in the next several decades regardless of the consequences to our standard of living and our health and well-being. Author Alex Epstein believes that this approach is utter madness. In his thought-provoking new book "The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels" Epstein debunks many of the myths and misconceptions about "global warming" and "climate change" and explains in painstaking detail why the use of coal, oil and natural gas will necessarily continue to grow all over the world for decades to come. Furthermore, he makes a logical and thoroughly convincing argument that utilizing the abundant natural resources that we have been blessed with on this earth is clearly the ethical thing to do and can benefit all of mankind, most especially those living in third-world nations. As the author observes "Without a large amount of affordable energy, the vast majority of the people whose lives were drastically improved in recent decades would still sit in the dark mourning their dead children and friends, if they were ever born in the first place." Think about that as you turn up your thermostat on a cold winter morning and imagine what your world might look like if the progressives ever get their way.

In my view "The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels" is an extremely important book that changes the conversation about our energy future. Alex Epstein offers his readers a comprehensive look at the advantages of fossil fuels and compares them with all of the alternatives. Most fair-minded individuals will quickly come to the conclusion that natural gas, coal and oil are definitely the way to go for the foreseeable future. If you are the parent or grandparent of a high-school or college age student then by all means I urge you to pick up a copy of "The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels" for them to read and digest. These highly impressionable young people desperately need to be exposed to the other side of the energy argument. When they discover the positive impact fossil fuel use has on life expectancy, clean water, infant mortality and family income they might just reconsider the entire issue. Highly recommended!


A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion The Pity Party (Hardback) - Common
A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion The Pity Party (Hardback) - Common
by William Voegeli
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Voegeli exposes the folly of liberal compassion., December 17, 2014
"The liberal argument posits an imperative for an American to constantly weaken his particularist attachment to his own spouse, children, siblings, parents, neighbors, community, coworkers and coreligionists in favor of an increasingly encompassing, undifferentiated concern for all other Americans. The logical next step is a bigger, more ambitiously humanitarian mission: replacing the narrow attachment Americans feel for other Americans with a comprehensive devotion to all humans everywhere. The world abounds in suffering situations, after all, millions of them more acute than the ones addressed by liberals' domestic policies." - page 41

We hear the sob stories ad infinitum at places like The New York Times, The Washington Post, MSNBC, CNN and the three major broadcast networks. The narrative is not just present in newscasts, but also in news magazines, late-night talk shows and in the primetime television fare and feature films that emanate from the Hollywood Left. Far too many Americans have bought this drivel hook, line and sinker. Author William Voegeli has had enough of it and painstakingly picks apart so-called liberal compassion point-by-point in his powerful new book "The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion". Conservatives, who have been so beaten down so much over the past 50 years, need to read this book in order to refine their opposition to the progressive agenda.

Voegeli covers a wide array of topics in his presentation including Head Start, immigration reform, gun control, green energy, affirmative action and entitlements to name but a few. You can feel the rage in his writing when he points out how liberals routinely distort the facts and are willing to lie time and again in order to advance their radical left-wing agenda. Liberals have absolutely zero interest in how well a program is working. If one program is failing the answer always seems to be to spend more of our hard-earned taxpayer dollars and add yet another "feel-good" program. Furthermore, progressives are unwilling to assign blame of any kind to the so-called victims. Their misfortune is never of their own doing, but rather it is always society's fault. Meanwhile, Voegeli thoroughly discredits the notion that "It Takes A Village" to raise a child. So much poppycock! The author quotes the legendary journalist H.L. Mencken who once opined "The urge to save humanity is almost always a false-face for the urge to rule it. Power is what all messiahs really seek; not the chance to serve." Thus, the ever expanding and dangerous government leviathan that we are coping with today. Finally, there is a very timely quote from none other than that bastion of truth Jonathan Gruber regarding Obamacare which further drives home the point of just how these folks operate. The ends always justify the means.

I found "The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion" to be a thoughtful, scholarly and very well-written book. William Voegeli makes the case against liberal compassion in very clear, logical and workmanlike manner. For those who fear that we are losing our country reading "The Pity Party" is definitely time well spent. Highly recommended!


ROGGE DUO-Clean Screen Cleaner - Professional cleaning kit for all LED, LCD, OLED, Plasma TV, Computer, Laptop, Phone Screens, Lenses and Sensitive Surfaces - Made in Germany
ROGGE DUO-Clean Screen Cleaner - Professional cleaning kit for all LED, LCD, OLED, Plasma TV, Computer, Laptop, Phone Screens, Lenses and Sensitive Surfaces - Made in Germany
Offered by ROGGE Cleaner
Price: $16.95
2 used & new from $16.95

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Imported from Germany....a product that actually performs as advertised., December 13, 2014
Received my 250 ml bottle of Rogge TFT/LCD/Plasma Screen Cleaner in the mail today and promptly put it to work. This stuff is amazing. I cleaned just about every glass surface I could find in our house.....from electronics to mirrors to clocks etc. etc. Much to my delight this product does not streak. Leaves all surfaces clean as a whistle. I have been trying various screen cleaning products for years and Rogge outperforms them all. And you only need a little bit to get the job done right. Product comes with an extra large microfiber cloth as well. BE SURE TO FOLLOW DIRECTIONS CAREFULLY AND NEVER SPRAY PRODUCT DIRECTLY ON THE SCREEN! This 250 ml bottle should last for quite some time. Rogge TFT/LCD/Plasma Screen Cleaner is not some fly-by-night item that will disappear in a few months. Rather, Rogge Screen Cleaner is a tried and true product that has been manufactured and sold in Germany since 1998 and is now available in America for the first time. I could not be more pleased. Try it. Highly recommended!


The Twilight Zone - Vol. 32
The Twilight Zone - Vol. 32
DVD ~ Robert Sterling
Price: $11.69
21 used & new from $0.32

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three more engrossing episodes from Rod Serling., December 7, 2014
This review is from: The Twilight Zone - Vol. 32 (DVD)
Borrowed this disc from my local library this past weekend. I found each of these episodes to be thoroughly entertaining. My favorite was definitely the special one-hour episode "Printer's Devil" which first aired in 1963. Burgess Meredith is very convincing as The Devil who offers the publisher of a fledgling newspaper a deal he simply cannot refuse. The is a tale that is as old as humanity itself. Kudos also for the other two episodes "Nightmare as a Child" and "Person or Persons Unknown". About the only time I get to see "The Twilight Zone" these days are on Syfy marathons that appear every so often on holiday weekends. I find that time has definitely not diminished my enjoyment of one of the greatest series in the history of television. Highly recommended!


Saint Barbara: Convert and Martyr of the Early Church
Saint Barbara: Convert and Martyr of the Early Church
DVD ~ Vanessa Hessler
Price: $17.89
12 used & new from $10.06

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely riveting...even with subtitles., December 7, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
So my wife and I sit down last night and decide to check out the movie "Saint Barbara: Convert and Martyr of the Early Church" on EWTN. I was skeptical to say the least. For one thing Barbara, the daughter of a rich pagan named Dioscorus, lived around 300 A.D., a period in history that I am not particularly interested in. To make matters worse we quickly discover that "Saint Barbara" is an Italian production with English subtitles. I did not expect to be around for long. However, much to my surprise this film grabbed my attention from the outset and simply did not let go. I watched it all and was deeply moved by it.

Barbara, portrayed masterfully by Vanessa Hessler, is a woman of great compassion She was just 20 years old when these events took place around 303 A.D. We learn early on that for reasons that are not made clear Barbara's beautiful mother was taken from her when she was a very young child. Barbara's father Dioscorus is an entrenched government official who feels threatened by the rise of Christianity in his area. Christians are not to be tolerated and are routinely put to death for refusing to renounce their faith. Although Dioscorus attempts to shelter her from the world, Barbara is deeply impressed by the courage of the Christians that she encounters in her life. She is eventually moved to convert to Christianity knowing full well that in spite of her father's position her decision could very well lead to her execution. Barbara endures the slings and arrows that come her way with exceptional courage and grace. This is a story you will not soon forget.

As far as I am concerned "Saint Barbara: Convert and Martyr of the Early Church" gets high marks in just about every area. The acting is superb and my wife and I agree that the music was exceptional. Vanessa Hessler gives what can only be described as an unforgettable performance in portraying Saint Barbara. I must confess that I could not take my eyes off her during the entire film. I was also duly impressed with the rest of this very talented cast and with the splendid photography as well. Furthermore, the climactic event in this film will blow you away. If you are even remotely interested in "Saint Barbara" then would urge you to give it a look. You will definitely not be disappointed. I have already ordered a copy. Very highly recommended!


Classics
Classics
Price: $9.99
40 used & new from $5.89

16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As comfortable as an old pair of jeans., December 2, 2014
This review is from: Classics (Audio CD)
Prior to the release of "Classics" I was totally unfamiliar with the song stylings of the indie duet known as She & Him. The track listing sure looked promising so I decided that this was a disc that might just be worth checking out. And for the most part I was not disappointed. "She & Him: Classics" offers up a bakers' dozen of light and breezy favorites culled from the past eight decades. Among my favorites has to be the oft-overlooked 1964 tune made popular by the late Dusty Springfield called "Stay Awhile". Zooey Deschanel has the perfect voice for this number and makes the song all her own. This thoroughly entertaining set was recorded "live" and opens with a song that was a #1 hit for Guy Lombardo in 1934 and also covered by the likes of Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong. My guess is that you will enjoy "Stars Fell On Alabama" every bit as much as I did. I was also duly impressed with the duo's superb take on Sammy Kahn's great 1940's standard "Time After Time". Other notable selections include the French singer-songwriter Charles Aznavour's wonderful "She" and the closing number "We'll Meet Again" a World War II era favorite originally recorded by the popular British vocalist Vera Lynn. Also included are a pair of tunes penned by the legendary songwriting teams of Burt Bacharach and Hal David ("This Girl's in Love With You") and Gerry Goffin and Carole King ("Oh No, Not My Baby"). Good stuff.

"She & Him: Classics" offers a little something for everyone and is thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish. So while She & Him hardly seem to be breaking any new ground here they have come up with an album well worth adding to your collection. Meanwhile, I would be remiss if I failed to make mention of the outstanding guitar work of "Him" (Matthew "M." Ward) on so many of these tunes. He is obviously an extremely gifted musician. "She & Him: Classics" might not be something you will play all the time but when you are in the mood you will be glad that you have it on the shelf or in your MP3 player. Highly recommended!


The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels
The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels
by Alex Epstein
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.48
54 used & new from $16.00

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do you prefer to live in a world with more opportunities and fewer hardships or more hardships and fewer opportunities?, December 1, 2014
"This book is about morality, about right and wrong. To me, the question of what to do about fossil fuels and any other moral issue comes down to: What will promote human life? What will promote human flourishing--realizing the full potential of life.........There is an incredibly strong correlation between fossil fuel use and life expectancy and between fossil fuel use and income, particularly in the rapidly developing parts of the world." -- page 13

It all depends on your world view I guess. If you are someone who believes that environmental nonimpact is a higher priority than human life then you probably buy into the radical left-wing agenda of Al Gore, Paul Ehrlich, James Hansen and Barack Obama who profess that the world must drastically curtail the use of fossil fuels in order to save the planet. In fact, many progressives advocate outlawing between 80 and 95 percent of fossil fuel use in the next several decades regardless of the consequences to our standard of living and our health and well-being. Author Alex Epstein believes that this approach is utter madness. In his thought-provoking new book "The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels" Epstein debunks many of the myths and misconceptions about "global warming" and "climate change" and explains in painstaking detail why the use of coal, oil and natural gas will necessarily continue to grow all over the world for decades to come. Furthermore, he makes a logical and thoroughly convincing argument that utilizing the abundant natural resources that we have been blessed with on this earth is clearly the ethical thing to do and can benefit all of mankind, most especially those living in third-world nations. As the author observes "Without a large amount of affordable energy, the vast majority of the people whose lives were drastically improved in recent decades would still sit in the dark mourning their dead children and friends, if they were ever born in the first place." Think about that as you turn up your thermostat on a cold winter morning and imagine what your world might look like if the progressives ever get their way.

In my view "The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels" is an extremely important book that changes the conversation about our energy future. Alex Epstein offers his readers a comprehensive look at the advantages of fossil fuels and compares them with all of the alternatives. Most fair-minded individuals will quickly come to the conclusion that natural gas, coal and oil are definitely the way to go for the foreseeable future. If you are the parent or grandparent of a high-school or college age student then by all means I urge you to pick up a copy of "The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels" for them to read and digest. These highly impressionable young people desperately need to be exposed to the other side of the energy argument. When they discover the positive impact fossil fuel use has on life expectancy, clean water, infant mortality and family income they might just reconsider the entire issue. Highly recommended!


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