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Marc Ruby™ "The Noh Hare™" RSS Feed (Warren, MI USA)
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Kiss the Dead (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Book 21)
Kiss the Dead (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Book 21)
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $7.59

1.0 out of 5 stars what genre is this?, March 30, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I remember when Hamilton was a strong writer with a good character. Noe she writes 4 hour pornography with 15 minutes of plot. Imaginary sex lives are just plain silly.


Jewish Mysticism: An Introduction to the Kabbalah
Jewish Mysticism: An Introduction to the Kabbalah
Price: $0.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Worth the Price?, April 24, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I admit to being something of a student of Jewish mysticism, which may have left me over-prepared for this thin volume, but I have to admit I was disappointed. Abelson has a tendency to depend on the kind of precise definition of terms like 'mysticism' that leave him defending the nature of Jewish mysticism against attacks which, by-and-large, don't exist in reality. And he often turns around and begs off defining Jewish terminology as 'out of scope.' The worst sin committed, however, is the continual harping on Neoplatonism (and its brothers and sisters) as the source of latter day Jewish mysticism. This left me in the cold, because there are extensive roots to Jewish mysticism that far precede Greek influences.

On the whole, the book left me a bit confused and dissatisfied.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 4, 2014 8:30 PM PDT


Baroque And Folk Tunes For Recorder: An Unusual Collection of Music Arranged for the Recorder, containing over Fifty Pieces from Over 300 Years of Music
Baroque And Folk Tunes For Recorder: An Unusual Collection of Music Arranged for the Recorder, containing over Fifty Pieces from Over 300 Years of Music
by Leo Alfassy
Edition: Sheet music
Price: $9.27
48 used & new from $0.17

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Grrrrr!, June 16, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Let me start out by saying that I am no recorder virtuoso. I've been playing (on and off) for 40 years, I own several superb instruments and a decent sized music collection, but no, I can't keep up with Marion Verbruggen. What I can do is recognise a bad transcription when one lands on my music stand. And this collection takes the cake. Now, I was specifically looking for something with a folksier flavor than what I usually play since I'm gatting old and memorizing a full sonata is getting difficult.

What I got was an eerie mishmash of nits an pieces, most transcribed in an oversimplified fashion and often ill-suited to the recorder including a number of things that would have Scott Joplin and Schubert turning over in their graves. These pieces fulfill the editors claim that few people play the recorder well by demonstrating that even fewer people have a firm hold on what a recorder should sound like.

Enough! You would be better off finding some guitar folk song books than buying this.


Canon PowerShot SD3500IS 14.1 MP Digital Camera with 3.5-Inch Touch Panel LCD and 5x Ultra Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom (Black)
Canon PowerShot SD3500IS 14.1 MP Digital Camera with 3.5-Inch Touch Panel LCD and 5x Ultra Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom (Black)
9 used & new from $99.00

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth Considering, April 28, 2010
This camera surprised me. First of all, my personal cameras are big Nikons, so my ego tells me that this little camera is a toy and isn't going to come close. I do have a point and shoot - a Canon G10, which is still a big, full featured camera with a lot of bells and whistles. I picked this out for a friend who absolutely didn't want a larger camera (not enough purse room). I honestly expected to be disappointed.

And I was delighted instead. I opened the box and charged the battery and promptly discovered that there was no thick manual but a thin 'getting started' pamphlet. OK, thought I, I'll play along, This was intended to be a camera for a non-reader of manuals so let's pretend... I put the battery and a memory card in the camera, followed the pamphlet and bang (or rather, 'click') I had a great picture of my cat. Undaunted I headed outside and started aiming it at trees and scenery. And it did a great job every time. Loaded the pictures into photoshop and was suitably impressed with the image quality. And not once did I take the camera of Auto.

I eventually discovered the manual buried away on the accompanying CD and discovered that just under the covers was a very sophisticated machine. Plenty of options should my friend ever decide to go beyond point and shoot. Since the camera has image stabilization and is smart about shifting into macro I'm not sure that that ever will be necessary. But if she wants to shoot fireworks, theres a setting for that (and a whole bunch of other things).

Probably the most important feature of the camera is that it uses a touch screen rather than a lot of knobs and buttons. This will take a bit of getting used to, but once you learn how (and where) to tap on the screen you will find that most features are very easy to use. And the screen is quite large. One warning though - there's no viewfinder, and big screens can be hard to read in direct sunlight. So there are times when you will have to point, squint, and shoot. Another thing to keep in mind with a large view screen is that, scratch resistant or not, if you drop it in your purse with a bunch of keys you will eventually scratch it. Get a small case of some sort (there are countless options).

This is a very good buy if the price is within your budget. Truth is, I'm not in any hurry to present it to my friend.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 25, 2010 10:23 AM PDT


Canon PowerShot SD3500IS 14.1 MP Digital Camera with 3.5-Inch Touch Panel LCD and 5x Ultra Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom (Silver)
Canon PowerShot SD3500IS 14.1 MP Digital Camera with 3.5-Inch Touch Panel LCD and 5x Ultra Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom (Silver)
Offered by SOLUTIONS TO ALL INC
Price: $338.88
16 used & new from $69.00

34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth Considering, April 24, 2010
This camera surprised me. First of all, my personal cameras are big Nikons, so my ego tells me that this little camera is a toy and isn't going to come close. I do have a point and shoot - a Canon G10, which is still a big, full featured camera with a lot of bells and whistles. I picked this out for a friend who absolutely didn't want a larger camera (not enough purse room). I honestly expected to be disappointed.

And I was delighted instead. I opened the box and charged the battery and promptly discovered that there was no thick manual but a thin 'getting started' pamphlet. OK, thought I, I'll play along, This was intended to be a camera for a non-reader of manuals so let's pretend... I put the battery and a memory card in the camera, followed the pamphlet and bang (or rather, 'click') I had a great picture of my cat. Undaunted I headed outside and started aiming it at trees and scenery. And it did a great job every time. Loaded the pictures into photoshop and was suitably impressed with the image quality. And not once did I take the camera of Auto.

I eventually discovered the manual buried away on the accompanying CD and discovered that just under the covers was a very sophisticated machine. Plenty of options should my friend ever decide to go beyond point and shoot. Since the camera has image stabilization and is smart about shifting into macro I'm not sure that that ever will be necessary. But if she wants to shoot fireworks, theres a setting for that (and a whole bunch of other things).

Probably the most important feature of the camera is that it uses a touch screen rather than a lot of knobs and buttons. This will take a bit of getting used to, but once you learn how (and where) to tap on the screen you will find that most features are very easy to use. And the screen is quite large. One warning though - there's no viewfinder, and big screens can be hard to read in direct sunlight. So there are times when you will have to point, squint, and shoot. Another thing to keep in mind with a large view screen is that, scratch resistant or not, if you drop it in your purse with a bunch of keys you will eventually scratch it. Get a small case of some sort (there are countless options).

This is a very good buy if the price is within your budget. Truth is, I'm not in any hurry to present it to my friend.


Nikon D300s 12.3MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II Lens
Nikon D300s 12.3MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II Lens
Price: $2,549.95
5 used & new from $1,050.00

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NICE Camera!!!, April 21, 2010
I've owned Nikons almost since they were first available here and I've always been happy with the performance of their cameras. But this is the first time I've been ecstatic over one. I switched from using the old N90s to a D90 two years ago and while I liked the camera, I was put off by the amount of plastic in what was, after all, a $1000 body. I also found the controls a bit hard to get along with -- I'm not a fan of spending a lot of time paging through menus. When the D300s came out I had a chance to buy one and it proved an answer to my complaints about the D90.

The new camera is magnesium. It's 8 ounces heavier than the D90 so it balances better with the heavy 2.8 lenses I usually use. To tell the truth I had a short period of frantic manual reading when I first started using the D300s. Nikon has shifted the controls around so that menu hopping is needed less often, and that's a blessing. It offers about a zillion focusing and metering options - While I normally stick to spot evaluation the camera offers some 51 spots which can be used individually or in groups.

Comparing photos to the D90 I would say theres a definite improvement in the images, although it's subtle. And there are more internal processing options as well. Yet another neat feature is that the camera takes two memory cards. This really is as far as you can take a 12 megapixel camera. Even though Nikon rates this a semi-pro camera the quality of image will answer most photographer's needs for some time to come. One day Nikon will improve the D700 and I'll switch, but until then I'm happy with the D300s (as a matter of fact that's now TWO D300s's).
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 25, 2010 10:31 AM PDT


Wacom Cintiq 12WX 12-Inch Pen Display
Wacom Cintiq 12WX 12-Inch Pen Display
11 used & new from $489.99

4.0 out of 5 stars All Photoshop Users Hate Their Mice, April 2, 2010
I've spend years trying different mice and trackballs with graphics programs - and never being satisfied. I don't know why I never tried a tablet - probably due to the belief that a tablet was great for artwork but lousy for browsing the web. In any case, the Cintiq's draw on your monitor approach seemed to me to be the best way to interact with photoshop - worth trying at any rate.

After viewing Wacom's plethora of instructional videos I figured out that the 21 inch version wouldn't be comfortable in my workspace (imagine trying to draw on your monitor and type at the same time). The 12WX, however, offered a decent sized pad that would fit on my desk or my lap and was only $1000 cheaper. An easy decision.

Setup in my MacPro based work area was a little complicated. There's a lot little boxes (well, two), and cables going everywhere. Keep in mind that you're are setting up a second monitor AND a tablet. Just to be difficult I left my current trackball attached with the hope of having two forms of input. After a few false starts and some luck accidents I actually came close to what I really wanted. The Mac makes dual monitors fairly intuitive, but I kept losing whichever pointer I was trying to use. It took a while for me to realize that if I left the pen lying on the screen the Mac got stubborn about which device was doing input. Lesson one is put the pen in it's holder when you're done with it. Lesson 2 is that is you aren't going to use the Cintiq at all just turn it off.

Lesson three is revisit the default action settings. Wacom expects you to keep the pen floating over the screen surface if you just want to move the cursor. As soon as you touch the screen it assumes a click and you may find yourself doing unexpected things. Wacom lets you customize just about everything and a little thought may make things easier for someone like me who finds floating like a butterfly a challenge.

Eventually I pulled up an image in Photoshop and began to get the hang of using the pen. This can be addictive, since the pen offers considerably more control than anything else I've used. And seeing where you are going is worth an epiphany or two. In the final analysis The Cintiq is worth it's fancy price because it makes a lot of my chronic problems just go away. And you only have to go through the agony of setting up once. I'm going to stick with 4 stars, because there's room for improvement - I can't wait.


Nikon 85mm f/3.5G AF-S DX ED VR Micro Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras
Nikon 85mm f/3.5G AF-S DX ED VR Micro Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras
Price: $526.95
28 used & new from $349.00

149 of 152 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what the DX ordered., March 12, 2010
It took me some thinking to come up with a criticism of this lens, which is, after all, sharp as a tack, light of weight, 'relatively' inexpensive, and the perfect working length for a DX camera. I finally decided that my only issue is that Nikon did not throw in an 85mm 1.4 as a two for one deal. Speed is nice sometimes, although crisp shots at infinity to 1:1 is really much nicer. And let's face it, 3.5 isn't all that much slower than 2.8 (Nikon's standard aperture for macro lenses). The decision to make this a 3.5 means a much lighter weight (and slightly lower price) than Nikon's flagship 105mm.

I already own the 60 and 105 macro nikkors which are usually mounted on D300s's. The 60's short working distance get's in the way too often when it gets used on a full frame camera, though. The 105 is a wonderful lens but I find that my aging wrists complain after a few hours hand holding. So it tends to stay in the studio on a tripod. The 85 solves these problems and, as an added benefit, takes wonderful photos.

I'm not going to go into analyses of sharpness or contrast - there are better sources for that. And everything Nikon says about the lens is true. If pushed into a corner I will admit that the 105 seems to have a VERY slightly snappier image (and it should), but for general utility on a DX camera, the 85mm 3.5 is the one to own.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 3, 2012 6:38 PM PDT


Assassin's Creed II: Platinum Hits Edition
Assassin's Creed II: Platinum Hits Edition
Price: $14.99
257 used & new from $0.45

5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Shoot the Lute Player!, January 3, 2010
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
I'm not sure that there is a good way to do a review or a game that a large number of others have reviewed. Especially if the game is as well done as Assassin's Creed II is. There are any number of things that amaze me - the quality of the animation and illustration, a plot which creates a perpetual state of mystery. And so forth ad infinitum. In a year where there have been an unusual number of fine action/adventure games (RPG or otherwise), Assassin's Creed 2 is remarkable. Ubisoft has put everything they had into making this a landmark game, and they have succeeded.

Rather than go on and on about each flash of brilliance I just want to touch on a couple of details - one positive and one negative. And then I'll leave you at peace to do what you should be doing -- playing the game.

The positive is one that is often overlooked - the amount of effort into making the game accurate from a historical point of view. The Italian Renaissance is one of the most complex and rich periods of European history. Rather than simply glossing this over, Ubisoft has put effort into making out assassin an active participant in the events of the time and in depicting live in some of Europe's most beautiful cities. Art, culture, politics, you name it and it is represented here. This is one of those rare games where the player is richer for having played it. There should be a special prize for this kind of effort a Nobel gaming prize, if that doesn't sound too outlandish.

My criticism will reveal my own weaknesses as well. As a 60 year old desk jockey I am lacking in the finely honed fighting reflexes that this kind of game demands of the player. I fumble, and my fingers spaz out at critical moments. To be really effective at this game one must have strong controller skills. What Assassin's Creed demands of the player is a high level of accurate control, or a great deal of luck - probably both. Very slight differences in thumb position or timing can produce frustratingly different results. Since game saving is left to the whims of the machine it is possible that a string of actions will be wiped away by a slight misstep. I had to reminds myself not to throw the controller at my brand new flat screen television on more than one occasion. That being said, though, I did finish the game and almost all the side quests so the issue is hardly insurmountable. Rest assured, if I can play it, anyone can.

Assassin's Creed II is a treat to play and participate in. Since it is a violent game with more than a little rough language there will be those who take exception to it. But for the rest of us it is well worth the purchase price.


Dragon Age: Origins - PC
Dragon Age: Origins - PC
Offered by TnsDeals
Price: $13.99
46 used & new from $1.22

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Holy Archdemon!!!, December 7, 2009
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Dragon Age: Origins - PC (DVD-ROM)
I think we can finally say the we have the RPG of the Year in Dragon Age: Origins. I'm not really prone to waxing eloquent over a board game Elder Scrolls: Oblivion and The Witcher, with a little bit of Final Fantasy thrown in, has a dash of originality that goes way beyond the typical RPG. The basic plot is fairly straightforward. A hero of your choice is drafted into the Wardens (a group dedicated to stopping the arch demon and it's minions) and, after a stunning battlefield defeat, must rally the warriors of a number of races and regions and on to a spectacular battlefield conrontation that will determine the future of the world. And you have any number of complex, battle filled quests in the process. Sounds pretty average so far, neh?

Well, hold on. You have a number of different starting characters to work with and a large band of fellow travelers to recruit and use as you see fit. But there's nothing shallow about the characters. Depending on how you behave and how you develop the characters, relationships and personalities can take any number of different variations. And many parts of the story will change accordingly. There's constant, often funny byplay among the character, romantic possibilities, and if some characters get really steamed they will simply walk out on you, so you have all the headaches of managing a diverse group, in astonishing detail.

The battle system is complex, close to real-time, and includes programmable behavior. Not all fights require the same tactics or players. So eventually you have to move away from brute force and take a close look at what's actually happening, adjusting accordingly. And don't expect to be able to find ultimate weapons either. The selection is good, and you can actually modify a weapon's behavior, but don't expect miracles. A good swipe of a monster's claws and you are still ogre meat.

The graphics and movement control are good, but the intent isn't to overwhelm with incredible CGI sequences. There is a good sense of realism. but EA has put it's money into the playability of the game rather than it's watchability. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of great graphic work, but it's treated as a part of the big picture rather than the major selling point.

I've played through the game twice, and it has surprised me with its richness both times. A lot of thought went into making this game a success, and I think you will find it is well worth its cost.


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