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Customer Reviews: 329
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L. F. Smith RSS Feed (E. Wenatchee, WA)
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The Last Pirate: A Father, His Son, and the Golden Age of Marijuana
The Last Pirate: A Father, His Son, and the Golden Age of Marijuana
by Tony Dokoupil
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.04
55 used & new from $11.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Civilian casualties in the War on Drugs, April 11, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Tony Dokoupil is a civilian casualty of the War on Drugs.

His father was a major marijuana smuggler-- as in 20 to 40 tons at a time-- during the late 70s and early 80s. Many of these smugglers were romanticized by the films, music, and journalism of those times. In fact, they romanticized themselves, pretending to live by an imagined "pirate's code." That's what Dokoupil's father did. He made millions smuggling dope and spent wildly on his hedonistic lifestyle. In the process, he saw himself as a hero to his dope-hungry fellow citizens.

The real world was different. He lost the millions he made, investing in non-existent gold mines, paying prostitutes, buying expensive toys, and forgetting where he buried foam coolers packed with cash. I was teaching high school during that "Great Stoned Age," so I saw the consumers of his product falling down staircases stoned, crashing their cars, dropping out of school, and so on. Finally, Dokoupil himself was essentially abandoned by his father, who chose dope over his child.

The book offers a clear-eyed look at how the supposed romance of the pirate life contrasted with the reality. It does a great job. However, there's another aspect of this book that accounts for my four-star rating. Dokoupil spends a considerable amount of time coming to terms with his father's abandonment-- quite rightly so. To me, this amateur self-analysis detracts from the impact of the book.

I liked the book a lot, and I think it's an important book for its inside view of the smuggling business. But I think it would have been better for Dokoupil to write two books, one about the smuggling and one about his personal struggle with his father's abandonment.

My bottom line: I recommend the book highly, but in my view, it's somewhat flawed.


First Alert SMOKE1000-3 Atom Micro Photoelectric Smoke Alarm 3 Pack
First Alert SMOKE1000-3 Atom Micro Photoelectric Smoke Alarm 3 Pack
Price: $59.56

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent product, January 27, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This set of three smoke detectors is an excellent buy. It could be a life-saving buy.

Photoelectric smoke alarms are the best kind to have because they're far better at detecting smoldering fires than the older ionization alarms. This is important because smoldering fires account for the majority of fire fatalities, Further, most people don't know that all smoke alarms lose their sensitivity gradually. After about ten years, they should be replaced.

These units are very small. Unlike the soup-dish size smoke alarms all of us are familiar with, these little units are about 2 inches in diameter, and they'll stick out from the wall or down from the ceiling about 2 inches. They're a neutral off-white color.

Everything you need-- the units, batteries, mounting hardware, and detailed instructions-- is included.

My bottom line: This set of smoke alarms is an excellent buy, one that could save your life.


Teach Yourself VISUALLY Complete OS X Mavericks
Teach Yourself VISUALLY Complete OS X Mavericks
by Ben Harvell
Edition: Paperback
Price: $25.16
60 used & new from $17.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Stange and disappointing, January 27, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The "Teach Yourself Visually..." series has always featured excellent, easyt-to-use guides. This book, however, is a strange and disappointing addition to that series.

First, the good: The material is excellent, though it is clearly intended for those who are completely new to OSX. It's a hand-holding guide to the basic operations of the operating system. I can picture someone who's never seen a Mac sitting down with this book and learning how to make it do what they need done. However, anyone who wants any depth needs to know that these books simply don't offer it. Those who want detailed guides would be far better off buying "OSX Mavericks: the Missing Manual," by David Pogue.

Now, the bad: The production values for this book are terrible. Every other "Teach Yourself Visually..." manual I've ever seen features clear color screen shots. The whole point of these books is that the user can read what to do and then see what the screen should look like. Unfortunately, in this book, the screen shots are black-and-white; even worse, they're washed out, as if they were several generation old photocopies. This makes the screen shots very, VERY difficult to use. You simply cannot see most of them clearly enough.

My bottom line: Buy a different guide to OSX. The material in this one is excellent, but the production values for the book render it nearly unusable.


Sparco Hanging Name Badge Kit
Sparco Hanging Name Badge Kit
Offered by Court House Supplies
Price: $10.99
14 used & new from $8.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Just as good as Avery-- and a LOT cheaper, January 21, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
These Sparco Hanging Name badge holders are designed to hold a 4 X 3 printed name tag. They work just like the Avery equivalent, but they're only about half the price of the Avery item. That alone makes them a must-have purchase when you're preparing a set of name tags for a conference.

I recommend them most highly.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 22, 2014 2:14 PM PST


Citizen Women's EW3124-58L Eco-Drive "Corso" Two-Tone Stainless Steel Watch
Citizen Women's EW3124-58L Eco-Drive "Corso" Two-Tone Stainless Steel Watch

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great watch, January 21, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this watch for my wife, and she loves it. Of course, whether it looks good is entirely a matter of personal preference. She likes the look a lot.

The real benefit is the Eco-Drive technology. The dial is the collector for the battery. When the watch is exposed to light-- natural or artificial-- the battery is being charged. The result is that there's no battery replacement at all. (My own Eco-Drive watch is nearly 15 years old, and it's still working fine.) This watch replaced my wife's previous Eco-Drive watch. It was running well, but the clasp wore out and couldn't be replaced.

Bottom line: This is a mature, time-tested technology for powering watches. It works perfectly. In addition, the watch is very good looking. I recommend it most highly.


Apex Tool Group L725SCTMP Self Center Tape, 25-Feet
Apex Tool Group L725SCTMP Self Center Tape, 25-Feet
Price: $6.97
17 used & new from $4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Very convenient, January 21, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a tape measure, but one with a difference. When you measure something, it, of course shows you how long the item is. However, just below the measurement, it also shows you what the center measurement would be. This is EXTREMELY useful.

Think how frustrating it is to be centering a picture on a wall that's 75 inches long. You can calculate it, of course, but that's not very easy to do with confidence when you;re standing there with the tape stretched out and a pencil in your mouth. With this tape, you just look at the red number below the 75 inch indicator, and you can see that the midpoint on the wall is at 37 ˝.

It saves a lot of frustration, and I recommend it most highly.


nanoblock Sydney Opera House NBH-052 (japan import)
nanoblock Sydney Opera House NBH-052 (japan import)
Offered by JpStoreGenuine Japanese products!!
Price: $17.00
94 used & new from $4.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Oddly relaxing, January 21, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Nanoblock kits are oddly relaxing, a way to spend a few pleasant hours. They look just like Legos, but they're quite a bit smaller. The package says they're suitable for kids over 8, but the tiny size of the blocks would probably make them very frustrating for young kids.

This Sydney Opera House kit is more complex than most, but it's fun to build, and it looks great when it's done.

Highly recommended.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 24, 2014 12:59 PM PDT


Irwin Tools FK150 1858319 Folding Utility Knife with Blade Storage
Irwin Tools FK150 1858319 Folding Utility Knife with Blade Storage
Price: $12.99
28 used & new from $7.37

5.0 out of 5 stars A very good utility knife, November 29, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This Iwwin folding utility knife is a a very good tool. I've always had good experiences with Irwin tools, and this knife seems to be well made, too.

It's quite heavy, because it's made almost entirely out of metal. The hinge/locking mechanism seems very rugged, with no looseness at all. The blade locks securely in the holder. There's a nice safety feature, too. The blade can only be removed or inserted with the knife locked in a partially opened position. I can't see how it could come out unexpectedly.

The only issue I can see with this knife isn't a design or operational flaw at all. Since this is a folding knife, it seems likely that if it were used for something like scoring cuts in sheetrock, the dust and grit could gunk up the mechanism. It would be pretty simple to clean out, but it would still need to be cleaned regularly.

Bottom line: This is an attractive, well-made pocket tool that looks like it will provide many years of service.


FREE SAMPLE - Peet's Coffee & Tea + Peet's Single Cup 2pk (Free with purchase of a qualifying item)
FREE SAMPLE - Peet's Coffee & Tea + Peet's Single Cup 2pk (Free with purchase of a qualifying item)
Price: $4.00
3 used & new from $1.98

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent but very pricey, November 9, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Excellent coffee! Both flavors are bright, refreshing, real coffee drinks. I'd happily buy either one of these, if it weren't for one thing: the price. Even here on Amazon, the pods currently run well over $1 each. Yikes! Now, no one buys a K-cup machine to save money, but these are about the most costly pods I've seen. You'lkl have to decide for yourself if the excellent taste justifies the cost. For me, it doesn't.


FREE SAMPLE - Melitta Cafe de Europa Single Serve Gourmet Coffee Classique (Free with purchase of a qualifying item)
FREE SAMPLE - Melitta Cafe de Europa Single Serve Gourmet Coffee Classique (Free with purchase of a qualifying item)
Price: $3.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not made for standard K-cup systems, November 9, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
These pods are NOT designed for use in a standard K-cup system. They're about 1/4 inch shorter than a real K-cup pod, so the needle at the bottom of the holder won't pierce the pod. I think the designers believed that the coffee would come out of the sides of the pod, but it doesn't. The result was a mess to clean up.


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