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Steve Vrana RSS Feed (Aurora, NE)
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Taylor of Old Bond Street Jermyn Street Luxury Shaving Cream for Sensitive Skin, 5.3-Ounce
Taylor of Old Bond Street Jermyn Street Luxury Shaving Cream for Sensitive Skin, 5.3-Ounce
Offered by Day Dream
Price: $17.25
11 used & new from $14.05

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Shaving Cream Will Leave You Gobsmacked!, July 26, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
After decades of using cartridge razors, I finally switched to using a safety razor. I use an Edwin Jagger razor and my shaving cream of choice is Taylor of Old Bond Street (made in England). I started using their Sandalwood, but I am equally thrilled with their Jermyn Street Collection for Sensitive Skin. Same great lather--a little goes a long way--and I still have plenty for three passes. And its fragrance is very subtle.

However, after having used their product for the past six months, I've begun to notice subtle changes. I've been inexplicably addressing my colleagues as "guv'ner." I enjoy savouring a cup of Earl Grey tea around 5 p.m. My favourite TV show is "Downton Abbey." Oh, and I've started adding the letter "u" to certain words. Oh, well, I'm also getting the best shave of my life! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED


Sharp SPC800 Quartz Analog Twin Bell Alarm Clock (Silver)
Sharp SPC800 Quartz Analog Twin Bell Alarm Clock (Silver)
Price: $7.88
16 used & new from $7.88

5.0 out of 5 stars LOUD Alarm Clock...Exactly What I Was Looking For!, July 26, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
My twenty-something daughter is starting a new job which requires her to get up early. She put me in charge of finding an alarm clock that would ensure that she wake up in the morning. This Sharp twin-bell alarm clock meets the criteria. It is a fairly basic clock. Here's what you get:

1. There are only two settings on the back of the clock--one knob is for setting the time, the other is for setting the alarm time. To set the alarm time, simply rotate the alarm knob which moves the red alarm hand on the face of the clock. For example, set the red hand on the six, and your alarm will go off at six o'clock. To be honest, you have to simply eyeball it to get a specific time--say, 6:15 or 6:30. [Note: I find that it is a good idea to simply advance the clock to see exactly what time your alarm is set to go off and adjust accordingly if it was too soon or too late. Once you've got the alarm set, return the clock to the correct time.]

2. There is an alarm on/off switch on the back of the clock. To activate the alarm, turn to the "on" position. When the alarm goes off, the hammer at the top of the clock strikes the bells alternately. It is quite LOUD! The alarm will continue ringing until you turn the switch to "off." [I let it ring for ten minutes and it was still ringing.] There is no "snooze" option.

3. The clock runs on a single AA battery. [I would recommend replacing it every six months. The battery may last longer, but why run the risk?]

4. The hour and minute hands are luminous as well as the hash marks at each hour, but it is difficult to read the time in the dark. To remedy this, there is a "Light" button on the back of the clock which will light up the face while the button is depressed.

5. The clock face is four inches in diameter. From the bottom of the clock to the top of the handle, it measures slightly less than seven inches.

Overall, this is an excellent little clock for the price. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED


8 Classic Albums B.B King
8 Classic Albums B.B King
18 used & new from $26.77

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You Get What You Pay For, May 21, 2015
I own several of these multi-disc "Eight Classic Albums" collections from Real Gone Music. some for as little as two or three dollars per disc. However, you need to be aware of what you are actually purchasing. Yes, you are getting eight complete albums by B.B. King from the mid-50's to the early 60's. And the sound quality is good. How good? The cover declares: "Digitally remastered and enhanced for superior quality."

What does this mean? Consider, Europe's copyright laws places all recorded music into public domain after fifty years. The most recent album here is from 1962, fifty-three years ago. Each CD is stamped "Made in EU." Because all of the music here is in the public domain in Europe, it doesn't take much of a leap to assume that these discs may have been "digitally remastered," but not from the original studio source tapes. More than likely they were remastered from existing vinyl or CD sources. How else do you explain the ridiculously low prices in Real Gone Music's catalog? After all, no fees have to be paid to the original record label and no royalties are being paid to the artist.

Here's what you get:

Disc One

Tracks 1-12 "Singin' the Blues" (1956)
Tracks 13-24 "The Blues" (1958)

Disc Two

Tracks 1-10 "King of the Blues" (1960)
Tracks 11-20 "Sings Spirituals" (1959)

Disc Three

Tracks 1-10 "My Kind of Blues" (1961)
Tracks 11-20 "Easy Listening Blues" (1962, all instrumental)

Disc Four

Tracks 1-10 "More" (1961)
Tracks 11-20 "Compositions of Duke Ellington and Others" (1960)

No booklet, no liner notes, no personnel, no recording information, just great music.


Picture Book by The Kinks CD, Box set, B-sides included, Import, Original recording reissued edition (2008) Audio CD
Picture Book by The Kinks CD, Box set, B-sides included, Import, Original recording reissued edition (2008) Audio CD
14 used & new from $79.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The First and Only Box Set to Cover The Kinks' Entire Career, May 7, 2015
Because The Kinks have recorded for so many different labels over the course of their 30-plus year history as a band I never really expected them to get the kind of box set treatment that their British Invasion contemporaries had been getting for decades. And by the time they did, I had already invested so much in the reissues of their sixties and seventies-era albums, this box set seemed almost redundant...at first.

I initially hesitated at purchasing this box set because of all the overlapping material on all of the individual albums I've purchased over the last twenty years. However, I finally broke down and bought it (at a fairly reasonable price) when I realized I may never get the chance to buy it if I didn't act soon. It is an embarrassment of riches. In all, 138 tracks clocking in at more than seven and a half hours, covering everything from their earliest recordings as The Boll-Weevils in 1963 through their final album TO THE BONE recorded in 1996.

Last year, Sanctuary essentially replaced this box set (now out of print) with THE ANTHOLOGY 1964-1971, but if I had to choose between the two today, I'd still pick PICTURE BOOK. Here's a quick summary of all of the then previously unreleased tracks:

Disc 1
"I'm a Hog for You Baby," 1963 (Demo recorded as The Boll-Weevils)
"I Believed You," 1963 (Demo recorded as the The Boll-Weevils)
"I Don't Need You Any More," 1964 (Never released in the U.S. before)
"Don't Ever Let Me Go," 1964
"Come on Now," 1964 (Previously unissued take)
"There's a New World Opening for Me," 1964 (Ray Davies demo)
"Time Will Tell," 1965 (Never released in the U.S. before)
"I Go to Sleep," 1965 (Ray Davies demo)
"A Little Bit of Sunlight," 1965 (Ray Davies demo)
"This I Know," 1965 (Ray Davies demo)
"All Night Stand," 1965 (Ray Davies demo)
"And I Will Love You," 1966

Disc 2
"Dedicated Follower of Fashion," 1966 (Alternate version)
"Mr. Reporter," 1966 (Alternate version w/Ray Davies vocal)
"Dead End Street," 1966 (First version)
"Good Luck Charm (Good Luck Child)," 1967
"Lincoln County," 1968 (Never released in the U.S. before, mono)

Disc 3
"Apeman," 1970 (Alternate version)
"Moments," 1971 (Never issued commercially in the U.S. before)

Disc 4
(All previously released)

Disc 5
"Hidden Quality," 1979
"A Gallon of Gas," (Previously unissued edit)
"Nuclear Love," 1979-80
"Duke," 1979-80
"Maybe I Love You," 1979-80
"Stolen Away Your Heart," 1979-80
"Art Lover," 1982 (Previously unissued mix)

Disc 6
"Come Dancing," 1982 (Demo version)
"Million Pound Semi-Detached," 1989 (Previously unreleased in the U.S.)
"To the Bone," 1995 (Ray Davies demo recording)

[Note: Some of these previously unreleased tracks have since shown up on Sanctuary's two-disc Deluxe Editions of the Kinks' classic sixties albums rereleased in 2011.]

I do have a couple caveats. I really miss the studio version of "Come Dancing," and it appears we are never going to get an official CD release of "When I Turn Off the Living Room Lights"--even though the booklet on page 31 clearly states that it is included. (Thankfully, I still have my vinyl copy of THE GREAT LOST KINKS ALBUM!)

The 64-page booklet is filled with dozens of photos, an informative essay/biography of the band, along with a "Kinks Diary" that runs along the bottom of nearly every page beginning with 21 June 1944 and the birth of Ray Davies through June 2008 with "Ray and Dave meet to discuss the possibility of recording again." While I would love nothing more than to see Ray and Dave enter the studio again, it's been twenty years since they recorded together. In the meantime, I will cherish this box set. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED [Running Time - Disc 1, 77:34; Disc 2, 78:23; Disc 3, 78:05; Disc 4, 75:47; Disc 5, 76:59; Disc 6, 76:03]
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 28, 2015 12:31 PM PDT


Classic Italian Cella Shave Shaving Creme Soap-150g-Hard Plastic Travel Container
Classic Italian Cella Shave Shaving Creme Soap-150g-Hard Plastic Travel Container
Offered by VirtueLuxe
Price: $12.25
7 used & new from $10.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Skimp on the Essentials--That Includes Your Shaving Soap, April 28, 2015
I had used a shaving mug and brush for forty years, but only in the past six months did I switch from a cartridge razor to an Edwin Jagger safety razor. It didn't take long before I realized I needed to stop using my synthetic bristle brush (I replaced it with a badger brush) and I also had to stop using the Van Der Hagen shaving soap available at the nation's premier discount store. After some online research and reading reviews posted on Amazon, I found two excellent shaving creams. One of them is Cella Shaving Cream. [Note: The other is by Taylor of Old Bond Street.]

Sure, it costs way more than the generic bar soaps like Van Der Hagen or Williams, but this 5.3 oz. bowl will last me about a year--that's only about five cents a shave! Soap lathers well, and I don't need to start with much soap on my brush to allow for a third or even a fourth application. Some customers have stated a dislike of the almond scent. However, while I will admit it is a bit sweet, I do not find it at all overpowering.

If you are serious about using a safety razor, don't skimp on any of the essentials: razor and blades, brush, and soap. [Note #2: The Cella shaving cream is considerably cheaper than the Taylor of Old Bond Street soap, but I like to alternate between the two.] Your up front costs may be higher, but in the long run you will save money over your old cartridge razor and I have never had closer shaves. I am extremely pleased with this product. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED


Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood Shaving Cream Bowl, 5.3-Ounce
Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood Shaving Cream Bowl, 5.3-Ounce
Offered by Top Shelf Barber Supplies
Price: $17.00
23 used & new from $13.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Superb Cream Style Shaving Soap, April 28, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I had used a shaving mug and brush for forty years, but only in the past six months did I switch from a cartridge razor to an Edwin Jagger safety razor. It didn't take long before I realized I needed to stop using my synthetic bristle brush (I replaced it with a badger brush) and I also had to stop using the Van Der Hagen shaving soap available at the nation's premier discount store. After some online research and reading reviews posted on Amazon, I found two excellent shaving creams. One of them is Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood Shaving Cream. [Note: The other is by Cella.]

Sure, it costs way more than the generic bar soaps like Van Der Hagen or Williams, but this 5.3 oz. bowl will last me about a year--that's only about five cents a shave! Soap lathers well, and I don't need to start with much soap on my brush to allow for a third or even a fourth application. In addition, the sandalwood scent is refreshing without being overpowering.

If you are serious about using a safety razor, don't skimp on any of the essentials: razor and blades, brush, and soap. I have never had closer shaves. I am extremely pleased with this product. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED


Orchestre 2
Orchestre 2
Price: $0.00

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes You Just Want Music To Fill the Silence, April 28, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Orchestre 2 (MP3 Music)
After glancing over the track list, I recognized roughly half of these songs as 60's and 70's pop songs: The Beatles' "And I Love Her," the Rolling Stones' "Lady Jane," Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are,' among others. Don't let the title or cover art mislead you; these are not classical music covers. Most of these songs have a Latin flavor to them and the entire album would provide innocuous background music at your next dinner party or simply to serve as the soundtrack at the end of a long day as you unwind with your favorite beverage. Is this muzak? Well...that word has such a negative connotation. There is nothing engaging or exciting about this music, but if all you are looking for is something that will fill the silence, but at the same time not distract you, this might be the aural blanket to wrap yourself in that you were looking for.


The Complete Blues Anthology (Doxy Collection, Remastered)
The Complete Blues Anthology (Doxy Collection, Remastered)

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Be Sure You Know What You Are Getting with Reissue Labels, April 19, 2015
Wow! Nearly eight hours of music and 167 songs. Sounds to good to be true, right? Well, be aware of what you are dealing with when you buy from low budget reissue labels like Doxy Music.

Approach these Doxy Records releases with a bit of skepticism. Doxy is an Italian reissue label that takes advantage of Europe's copyright laws which places all recorded music into public domain after fifty years. [Note: In the "Product Details" under "Copyright" it says "Pubblico Domino." That's Italian for "public domain."] Essentially, what this means is that any recording that is fifty years old or older can be released by any music label that chooses to, and they are not breaking any laws.

So what exactly does "remastered" mean here? Doxy certainly did not have access to the master tapes from each of these artists (not at these prices, anyway). This would have meant having access to the vaults at Chess (Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Little Walter), Folkways (Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee), King (Wynonie Harris), and many more. Instead, the source material used here was most likely vinyl records and/or CD's.

Real Gone Music is another label that employs the same practice. I have, however, purchased several of their import releases, including Chet Atkins' "8 Classic Albums" box set and was pleased with the sound quality. Fortunately, with this Doxy release you get to sample the tracks and decide for yourself if the sound quality meets your expectations.

However, one final consideration: The original label and the artists (or their estates) are not compensated at all for these recordings. That's why they can offer this music at such a low price. The same is not true for all reissue labels. For example, domestic labels like Rhino, Sundazed or Collectors' Choice all work directly with the original issue label and generally use original master recordings.

Caveat emptor.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 27, 2015 10:23 AM PDT


The Bluegrass Anthology (Doxy Collection, Remastered)
The Bluegrass Anthology (Doxy Collection, Remastered)
Price: $6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Know What You Are Getting with Low Budget Reissue Labels, April 19, 2015
Approach these Doxy Records releases with a bit of skepticism. Doxy is an Italian reissue label that takes advantage of Europe's copyright laws which places all recorded music into public domain after fifty years. [Note: In the "Product Details" under "Copyright" it says "Pubblico Domino." That's Italian for "public domain."] Essentially, what this means is that any recording that is fifty years old or older can be released by any music label that chooses to, and they are not breaking any laws.

So when each of these tracks is labelled "remastered," what does that really mean? Doxy certainly did not have access to the master tapes from each of these artists (not at these prices, anyway). This would have meant having access to the vaults at Mercury (Flatt & Scruggs), Decca (Bill Monroe), Starday/King (The Stanley Brothers, Reno & Smiley), and many more. Instead, the source material used here was most likely vinyl records and/or CD's.

Real Gone Music is another label that employs the same practice. I have purchased several of their import releases, including Chet Atkins' "8 Classic Albums" box set and was pleased with the sound quality Fortunately, with this Doxy release you get to sample the tracks and decide for yourself if the sound quality meets your expectations.

However, one final consideration: The original label and the artists (or their estates) are not compensated at all for these recordings. That's why they can offer this music at such a low price. The same is not true with domestic reissue labels like Rhino, Sundazed or Collectors' Choice.

Know what you are getting with low budget reissue labels and listen before you buy.


Icons of Screwball Comedy, Volume 1 (If You Could Only Cook / Too Many Husbands / My Sister Eileen / She Wouldn't Say Yes)
Icons of Screwball Comedy, Volume 1 (If You Could Only Cook / Too Many Husbands / My Sister Eileen / She Wouldn't Say Yes)
DVD ~ Fred McMurray
Price: $9.98
29 used & new from $5.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Films at an Affordable Price, April 9, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The price of this set made it see a bit too good to be true, but believe it. This is a marvelous collection of comedies from 1935 to 1945. This collection from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment consists of two single-sided discs with two films (along with a few extras) on each disc. Each disc is housed on its own spindle. Here's what you get:

DVD-1

"If You Could Only Cook" (1935, 71 min., black & white) Internet Movie Database (IMDB) rating is 7.0
"Too Many Husbands" (1940, 81 min., black & white) IMDB rating: 6.5
Bonus Material: "Ain't Love Cuckoo?" (1946, 19 min., black & white) This short is very similar in theme to "Too Many Husbands," which probably accounts for its inclusion here. Also included are three previews of Columbia products: "The Treasure of Columbia Classics" (3:34), "The Norman Lear Collection" (2:03), and "The Three Stooges Collection" (1:10) [Note: The Three Stooges make a cameo appearance in the final scene of "My Sister Eileen" on disc-2.]

DVD-2

"My Sister Eileen" (1942, 97 min., black & white) IMDB rating: 7.1
"She Wouldn't Say Yes" (1945, 86 min, black & white) IMDB rating: 6.2
Bonus Material: Original theatrical trailers of these two films

Subtitles are available in English only for all four films. These are enjoyable films with very good picture and sound quality at a very affordable price. If you enjoy vintage films, you can't go wrong with ICONS OF SCREWBALL COMEDY, Volume One. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED


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