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Bach J.S: Das Wohltemperierte Klavier 2
Bach J.S: Das Wohltemperierte Klavier 2
Price: $14.36
46 used & new from $6.62

2.0 out of 5 stars Avoid--Buy RCA Victor version instead..., February 15, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this CD and its companion disk after reading a review on Amazon that claimed that this version of the recording by Sviatoslov Richter was of higher quality than the RCA Victor set. The reviewer claimed that these two CDs, which are on the Eurodisc label and imported from Europe, were a different remastering and sounded better.

After a very attentive effort to determine which version is better, I can definitely state that the RCA Victor set is identical in sound to this Eurodisc version. The only difference between the two versions is in the packaging, and in the price gap which is considerable. I paid $28.52 for the Eurodisc version and could have had the RCA Victor set for $16.78.

As for the sound quality of the two versions, I found it to be muddy and flat a lot of the time. Richter's playing is very interesting and it's great that we have access to it, but this recording leaves a lot to be desired in terms of its quality. I would give the playing 5 stars but the recording gets 2 stars, and the recording dominates (oppresses) the playing.

Both the RCA Victor and the Eurodisc versions have the same mediocre audio. So save your money and don't bother buying this obscure and identical Eurodisc variant to the RCA Victor recording. Better still, find a digitally recorded version of this essential masterpiece and listen to it in all its glory.


Smeg 2-Slice Toaster-Cream
Smeg 2-Slice Toaster-Cream
Offered by La Cuisine International
Price: $149.95
6 used & new from $149.95

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stylish and effective -- for a hefty price..., February 15, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Smeg 2-Slice Toaster-Cream (Misc.)
I did a lot of research before choosing the Smeg toaster. There weren't many reviews of this model to go on, so I was a little nervous spending so much for something that seemed to have very little market presence in the U.S. Fortunately, my bet seems to be paying off thus far.

Although this toaster is quite expensive, it does a good job toasting a variety of breads. It takes time to get to know how to use it properly, and I've found it interesting to go up the learning curve trying to get the best results with various shapes, sizes and types of bread. The main challenge has been setting the browning level so that the bread surface toasts without the edges burning. I've had my smoke alarm go off a couple times as I've failed at that maneuver, but I'm slowly getting the hang of it.

My only quibble about this toaster is that it can be a little hard to get the bread out once it is finished toasting. You'll need a pair of wooden tongs to go with this model, or the dexterity to turn 2 wooden spoons into a makeshift pair of tongs. Also, watch the "chrome" surfaces on the toaster -- they scratch quite easily so you shouldn't put anything even slightly gritty or abrasive on top of them.


Bach J.S: Das Wohltemperierte Klavier 1
Bach J.S: Das Wohltemperierte Klavier 1
Price: $13.91
51 used & new from $6.86

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Avoid: RCA Victor version is identical and much cheaper, February 15, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this CD and its companion disk after reading a review on Amazon that claimed that this version of the recording by Sviatoslov Richter was of higher quality than the RCA Victor set. The reviewer claimed that these two CDs, which are on the Eurodisc label and imported from Europe, were a different remastering and sounded better.

After a very attentive effort to determine which version is better, I can definitely state that the RCA Victor set is identical in sound to this Eurodisc version. The only difference between the two versions is in the packaging, and in the price gap which is considerable. I paid $28.52 for the Eurodisc version and could have had the RCA Victor set for $16.78.

As for the sound quality of the two versions, I found it to be muddy and flat a lot of the time. Richter's playing is very interesting and it's great that we have access to it, but this recording leaves a lot to be desired in terms of its quality. I would give the playing 5 stars but the recording gets 2 stars, and the recording dominates (oppresses) the playing.

Both the RCA Victor and the Eurodisc versions have the same mediocre audio. So save your money and don't bother buying this obscure and identical Eurodisc variant to the RCA Victor recording. Better still, find a digitally recorded version of this essential masterpiece and listen to it in all its glory.


Explaining the Alexander Technique: The Writings of F. Matthias Alexander
Explaining the Alexander Technique: The Writings of F. Matthias Alexander
by Walter Carrington
Edition: Paperback
11 used & new from $62.92

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a very useful adjunct for pupils and teachers of the Alexander Technique ..., November 2, 2015
This is a very useful adjunct for pupils and teachers of the Alexander Technique who are reading F.M. Alexander's books. Walter Carrington is very clear and simple about many points where Alexander himself was either silent or rather impenetrable.

The price for this book on Amazon is completely absurd, especially since the book is currently in print. You should buy this title new from either AmSAT (the professional society for the Technique in the U.S.) or directly from the publisher, Mouritz, in the U.K.


EnergyFlux 4400mAh Rechargeable Double-Sided Hand Warmer / USB External Battery Pack -Silver/Black
EnergyFlux 4400mAh Rechargeable Double-Sided Hand Warmer / USB External Battery Pack -Silver/Black
Offered by Milford Stanley

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not so hot...literally, October 17, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I was eager to use this hand warmer since I always get cold hands in winter and could really use some relief from that. Unfortunately, this device does not warm my hands much at all. It is pleasant to hold and it does get somewhat warm, but the temperature level at the higher (supposedly 120 degree) setting is woefully inadequate. It doesn't warm up my hands indoors, let alone outside on a chilly night.

The "cautions" page of the instruction manual contain these highly useful tips: "Do not keep the hand warmer in direct contact with your skin for too long...remove it when heat cause discomfort, and see a doctor if the condition persists!" Laughable... I couldn't burn myself with this thing if I kept it on my skin for 4 hours. The cautions also advise us to "NEVER throw the unit into a fire or place it on a flame!" Who would be stupid enough to do that?

I never used it as a battery pack and cannot comment on that aspect of the device. But as far as the hand warmer functionality is concerned, it's completely pointless. I hope they make a better product that actually works. In the meantime, I'm sending mine back immediately.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 23, 2015 7:41 PM PST


Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family
Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family
by Thomas Mann
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.66
127 used & new from $2.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't hesitate... just read it, September 24, 2015
This is a grandly ambitious book by a young writer of incredible talent. The main attraction here is Mann's deeply perceptive, lovingly crafted characterizations of even the most marginal characters. These characterizations are sometimes a little repetitive in the way Mann trots them out, but he invariably shows great sensitivity to human mannerisms, behavior and eccentricities.

The riches are almost endless here -- up to the very end Mann opens new and compelling vistas filled with the thoughts, opinions, fantasies and fears of his characters. He continually steeps the reader in an atmosphere of enervated refinement given extra piquancy by many milestones marking the Buddenbrooks family's inexorable decline.

Some complain this book is boring and/or dated but I don't understand those complaints. I found the text wonderful and was happy to have read every one of its 731 pages. Hats off to translator John E. Woods -- he is clearly a scholar of incredible patience and skill.


Gulag Orkestar
Gulag Orkestar
Price: $18.04
22 used & new from $13.47

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very overrated, June 1, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Gulag Orkestar (Vinyl)
I don't understand what the mystique is about this CD. I've had it for quite a while and happened to give it a listen today and it is highly repetitive and uninspiring. People seem to have been completely taken in by what they deem to be an exotic sound and an inoffensive, Timothy Leary-like voice trilling variations of mostly unintelligible gibberish over and over again. Any decent klezmer band can give an equal, if not a superior, musical experience... the Arhoolie catalogue has several fine examples, for instance.

If you happened to be walking through one of those extra-long hallways in the Paris metro as you transferred from one subway line to another and you encountered a live performance of this album you would probably enjoy it in passing, but you wouldn't think that turning it into a CD and having people slobber all over the thing like it was the second coming of Christ was likely to occur.

I don't mean to be unkind -- Zach Condon was only 19 when this album was made -- but really, the ecstatic reviews that predominate here are completely unjustified. I'll be kicking myself several times today at the thought that I actually bought this CD, though I do admit to liking track 4 ("Postcards from Italy").


Organic Vegetable Stock Cubes 3.8 Oz Box (10 cubes)
Organic Vegetable Stock Cubes 3.8 Oz Box (10 cubes)
Offered by Alma Gourmet
Price: $5.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars It's a pretty unappetizing mix, May 25, 2015
I agree with the other reviewer -- this stuff is a health hazard. My partner bought a box of these and when I looked at the nutrition label I flipped. If you buy these you're basically paying for the following: 70% yeast or yeast extract, 25% salt, 5% other. It's a pretty unappetizing mix, which is probably why the seller doesn't bother to show the nutrition facts label on this page, which Amazon should REQUIRE of any vendor selling food on its site.


The Shipping News
The Shipping News
by Annie Proulx
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.28
1127 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, December 19, 2014
This review is from: The Shipping News (Paperback)
I had not previously read Annie Proulx's work, and when I came across a used copy of "The Shipping News" I was glad to have the opportunity to correct my omission. It seemed promising, having won all sorts of awards and praise. Unfortunately, I just couldn't get through the book.

First, there's the prose. I found the writing in "The Shipping News" to be very labored and mannered. It exudes a forced quality; the author, trying too hard to deliver striking imagery and unorthodox comparisons at nearly every turn, regularly falls flat on her face. As I went through page after page of Ms. Proulx's elaborate literary confections, I yearned for simplicity and self restraint but found little of either. She just never gives it a rest.

Then there's the characters. Everyone in this novel simply has to be determinedly offbeat, quirky, weird or repugnant. Apparently it would be too dull or easy to offer up characters whose maladjustments and struggles were on anything less than an epic scale, so there is no hint of life as most readers might have encountered it in their ordinary experience. Yet the ordinary lives of ordinary people can be quite engrossing -- and have remarkable depth too -- when they are deftly handled.

That's it in a nutshell: I found the author's obsession with spinning wild yarns about completely off the wall people using overdone prose tiresome and not worth the bother. "The Shipping News" isn't a terrible book, but I really cannot see what all the fuss is about here.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 12, 2015 6:41 AM PDT


First Alert SA303CN3 Battery Powered Smoke Alarm with Silence Button
First Alert SA303CN3 Battery Powered Smoke Alarm with Silence Button
Offered by AZDiscountDepot
Price: $9.39
134 used & new from $5.40

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A real piece of junk, November 30, 2014
I don't know how -- or whether -- this alarm will function in the event of an actual fire, but the unit is impossible to maintain. It has a battery compartment held closed with the cheapest possible plastic pin. I mean, a ditzy little plastic pin that is extremely hard to pull out, and that breaks when you apply the slightest pressure to it. And when the pin breaks it is well nigh impossible to get the battery compartment open. If you succeed in opening the battery compartment, good luck getting a 9 volt battery inside and closing that compartment. I struggled with this thing fruitlessly for a half an hour and wanted to slam it against the nearest brick wall before giving up on the whole thing.

Spare yourself the aggravation and buy a different smoke alarm... preferably one not designed by a chimpanzee.


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