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Profile for Janet L. Hazen > Reviews


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Little Kitten (Look at Me Books)
Little Kitten (Look at Me Books)
by Giovanni Caviezel
Edition: Board book
Price: $7.68
70 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Adorable Little Kitten -'s a SHE, not a HE!, January 13, 2016
The only criticism I have of this book is that as almost all calico cats are female. "Little Kitten," the title character, should be female, not male as the text states. The illustrations and story are darling.

What Would Brian Boitano Make?: Fresh And Fun Recipes For Sharing With Family And Friends
What Would Brian Boitano Make?: Fresh And Fun Recipes For Sharing With Family And Friends
by Brian Boitano
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.64
72 used & new from $0.01

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Book from Brian Boitano, May 2, 2013
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I am delighted to be the first reader to review this book, as
What Would Brian Boitano Make? is a book that will delight any foodie or fan of Boitano, be it as a chef or a skater. The recipes look tantalizing and festive but well within the ability of an average cook to successfully make, and most of them include marvelous, sumptuous color photographs that could make one want to eat the paper upon which they are printed! Brian offers many tips and tweaks one can do with the ingredients, including ones that he did with the dishes that gave him the recipe ideas in the first place.

The book could be subtitled, Why Did Brian Boitano Make?, as it features an abundance of anecdotes on Brian's culinary memories, from his Aunt Tree's passed-down-from-memory Italian specialties to the restaurants of the locals in the various countries that he visited during skating competitions and tours. Between the recipes, there is much genuine love of friends, and especially family, expressed through the pages. This book will remind the reader of his or her own fun times with food, family, and friends, and will inspire many new equally tasty discoveries!

No Title Available

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Product 5 stars, seller zero stars, August 16, 2011
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The product is great but I will not buy it again from this seller. They shipped the jar inside a thin mailing envelope with nothing to protect it. It was not taped, wrapped, or boxed and when I got it the lid was askew and about 20% of the contents had spilled all over the jar and the inside of the envelope. This stuff really needs better shipping care. It was free shipping, perhaps "ya gets what ya pays for" but this was insufficient to say the least.

The Our Gang Collection
The Our Gang Collection
DVD ~ George 'Spanky'McFarland
Price: $47.67
17 used & new from $39.11

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Whole Exceeds the Sum of the Parts, March 14, 2010
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This review is from: The Our Gang Collection (DVD)
This five-disc set presents, with superb sound and visual quality, the final six years of the Our Gang series. Hal Roach started the Our Gang comedies back in 1922 and produced seven years of silent comedy shorts followed by another nine years of talking episodes, the latter of which are well-known to baby boomers from their television syndication as "The Little Rascals." In 1938 Roach sold the production rights for the Gang to MGM, which had already been distributing the Roach films to theaters since the late 1920's. The post-Roach shorts have always been presented as starring "Our Gang," and are the ones featured in this set. They too have been shown on syndicated television and various VHS/DVD compilations over the years, and have shown up occasionally on Turner Classic Movies, but this is the first complete set of what Our Gang experts call "The MGM's" or "The Final 52."

The films in this package are presented chronologically, which means that the first disc is by far the best, and the fifth disc is hands down the worst. When MGM first took over the series, the shorts had many of the elements that made the late-30's Hal Roach Rascals films classics: the likeable leader "Spanky" McFarland, the determined singer "Alfalfa" Switzer and his fickle girlfriend Darla Hood, who by the way is the real musical talent of the Gang, the lovable younger tagalongs "Buckwheat" Thomas and "Porky" Lee, and the convincing villains Tommy "Butch" Bond and Sidney "The Woim" Kibrick. Many of the episodes focused on Alfalfa's efforts to steal Darla's heart away from tough Butch or nerdy "Waldo," or sometimes both! These episodes are very well-made and enjoyable.

As the MGM years rolled on, the stories became more and more moralistic. Time Out for Lessons, a 1939 title on Disc 2, is a good description of the direction in which MGM was steering the series: Rewards are the good work, not the glory. Education is more important than play. Don't envy children who have more wealth than you. Cross the street safely. Don't Lie! Support your Uncle Sam during wartime. With the shorts continuing production until 1944, wartime life and lesson-teaching became the main themes of these so-called "comedies." This reviewer gives the first disc four stars out of five, the next two, three stars, the fourth one, only two stars, and just a single star for the last. But, the whole is indeed greater than the sum of the parts. For its good reproduction quality and completeness, I give four stars to the set as a whole, and would give five if not for the lack of DVD extras and any accompanying booklet.

Children age and change quickly and cast turnover was an ongoing problem for Our Gang. Adorable Porky Lee, Buckwheat's little true-blue pal, suddenly grew into a very tall child: taller than Spanky who was five years older. MGM gave Porky a pink slip and his film career was finished. Several of the other kids stayed well past their prime: Spanky stayed until age 14, Alfalfa, Butch, and Buckwheat each remained until 13, and Darla departed as a very mature-for-her-age 10-year-old. Unfortunately, the new cast members were some of the least appealing characters in the history of The Little Rascals/Our Gang.

As an adult, Robert Blake (star of In Cold Blood, Baretta, and countless "entertainment" tabloid criminal court features) was embarrassed by his performances as "Mickey" of Our Gang. Who wouldn't be? Mickey Gubitosi (his real name, which was given to his character) started out as a simpering, shrugging, blubbering little brat with a thick Jersey accent who couldn't act his way out of a teardrop. The studio worked on him, changed his name to Bobby Blake and his character's to Mickey Blake, and while at least his line readings improved, his role as the smiling goody-good boy kept him just as annoying on the screen. No Gang of any kind would want this kid in it.

After Spanky left, the lead actor in Our Gang was Billy "Froggy" Laughlin who had some acting skill and a unique persona with his platinum blond hair, Harry Truman specs and croaky speaking voice. The trick voice gimmick grew stale, though, after the first few films, and worse, Froggy was rarely given funny things to say, and when he was, bad direction made even those jokes unfunny. Froggy was born too late (to have worked in the better stories and gags in the Hal Roach films) and died much too soon (at 16, in a motor scooter/truck collision, only 4 years after the last Our Gang comedy.)

Perhaps no child generates as much disdain from Our Gang fans as Janet Burston, who replaced Darla in 1942. It was obvious that Janet was trying to be another Miss Temple, with her golden hair in Shirleycurls, but the talent wasn't enough and the personality was wrong. Janet's mugging and overacting make Mickey Gubitosi/Blake seem like Alec Guinness. She managed to make the annoying stories and jokes of the last two years of Our Gang twice as annoying as they already were. This reviewer shares her first name and belongs to an Our Gang online group where she is always quick to remind the fellow members that she is NOT the Janet who was actually in the Gang!

So, who should buy this set?
* Die-hard fans of the Rascals who have enough interest in the series to want to watch and own it all. (Casual fans should buy the Hal Roach Little Rascals set instead.)
* Those interested in WWII era film history
* Those old enough to have been youngsters at the time these films were made. They will enjoy the nostalgia of seeing the clothes, automobiles, and décor of their youth.
* Historians of Black film actors. Buckwheat's one of the best-loved film characters of all time, and although there are too many elements of racism (for instance, in several episodes he's all excited about watermelon) he is treated more like just another kid in the Gang in these films than in those made by Roach. The evolution from Farina through Stymie, and finally Buckwheat, cannot be accurately examined without these later shorts. Listen to Buckwheat speak about Lincoln in Election Daze. Such a speech would have made him President of Our Gang's All-For-One Club in a just society. Thankfully, we indeed are closer to that kind of justice today. But throughout these films, Buckwheat is the type of person anyone should like to have for a friend.
* MGM history buffs.
* Fans of character actors of the 30's and 40's. Many familiar faces turn up here and there: Ava Gardner as a cinema ticketseller, Andy Hardy's "Aunt" Sara Haden as a beloved teacher, Leave it to Beaver's Hugh Beaumont as a court assistant, Mickey Rooney's father as a dental patient, and many more.

The box bears a warning on the back: "The Our Gang Collection is Intended for the Adult Collector and is Not Suitable for Children." It would be more accurate to say that the content includes racist material that was common for its time and left in, though offensive, for historical purposes. Children of today might enjoy some of these films, but may be quite bored by some of the topical situations like war bonds, not to mention the lesson-teaching plots. There is slapstick, music, fun, and of course, many kids doing real-kid things like playing, fighting, trying to earn money, and just being with their pals. Adult collectors should buy this set to watch alone, or with their kids, along with conversations about the culture and humor of these times gone by.

Must-have additions:
The Little Rascals: The Complete Collection
The Little Rascals: The Life and Times of Our Gang
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 10, 2014 8:29 PM PDT

The Comics Journal #290 (No. 290)
The Comics Journal #290 (No. 290)
by Gary Groth
Edition: Paperback
20 used & new from $5.72

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anyone who reads the Michaelis Schulz bio must read this too, June 30, 2008
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This issue is a must for all Schulz fans and "Peanuts" fans, not to mention fans and non-fans alike of the David Michaelis biography, "Schulz and Peanuts." It contains some very thoughtful and well-written essays which clarify the objections that the Schulz family, especially his son Monte, had with the final results of what they were led to believe would be a detailed, respectful and informative biography of Mr. Schulz. That book turned out to be a very skewed, gloomy, doomy, judgmental volume with many deliberate omissions about key areas of the great cartoonist's life. The essays included in this issue of Comics Journal set the record straight, and I hope that all readers of the other book will have the opportunity to read these.

Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography
Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography
by David Michaelis
Edition: Hardcover
197 used & new from $0.68

31 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Do not let this be the only Schulz biography you read, April 29, 2008
I was very disappointed with this very skewed and incomplete biography of Schulz, especially given its length. Being a collector of Peanuts books and other memorabilia since 1965, I had looked forward for several years to reading this book.

People who have not read other books about Schulz, not to mention the late cartoonist himself, are ill-served by this work. Michaelis has placed excessive emphasis on Schulz's melancholy and lack of social ease and has all but ignored his subject's joys (which included golf, skating, hockey, reading, and charity work such as Canine Companions for Independence.) As Linus scolded Lucy, I feel inclined to say to Michaelis about Schulz's shyness and sensitivity, "these aren't faults, these are character traits." Schulz is painted too much as a dark and stormy cartoonist, who never learned how to live life.

Instead of this book, I would suggest the Rheta G. Johnson biography, as well as the books Schulz wrote for the 25th, 35th, and 45th anniversaries of Peanuts.

I also suggest that the prospective reader or those who have already read Michaelis's book should search the Internet and read about the Schulz family's beefs with the author. They describe the problems better than I can. Michaelis spent a lot of time researching and writing this book, but has let down the family, his subject, and the public.

STRONGLY RECOMMENDED ADDITIONAL READING for any reader of "Schulz and Peanuts"
The Comics Journal #290
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 17, 2012 9:41 PM PDT

Goldie's Premium Carob Bars, Plain, 3-Ounce Bars (Pack of 12)
Goldie's Premium Carob Bars, Plain, 3-Ounce Bars (Pack of 12)

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delight for those allergic to chocolate!, April 2, 2008
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I've had a chocolate allergy (along with several other foods) for most of my life but in the 80's I discovered carob bars at GNC and Nature Food Stores. Those places eventually went away from having food in favor of vitamins and supplements, and carob bars have become hard to find. Last year I did find these from Goldies in one small local health food store - and after searching online found that I can buy them from Amazon! Hooray!

If you can eat real chocolate perhaps these might disappoint. Not having been able to eat the real thing for decades, I can't compare them to anything except my memory of chocolate. And I just love them! They taste delicious and have the texture that I remember from when I could still eat Hershey Bars and their clones eons ago.

Carob is also lower in fat than regular chocolate, so that's another reason to select these.

My husband is a chocolate fanatic, and he thinks these taste good too. Of course, I usually just give him a taste and then send him off to eat actual chocolate, so there will be more Goldies' for me.

Goldies and Amazon, please keep selling these for people like me who can't enjoy chocolate.

Looney Tunes: Golden Collection Vol. 2
Looney Tunes: Golden Collection Vol. 2
DVD ~ Various
Price: $20.49
45 used & new from $9.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classics plus an AMAZING short, "Orange Blossoms for Violet", October 30, 2005
Lots of my absolute favorites, which were missed on Volume One, are here: Gorilla My Dreams, Little Red Riding Rabbit, Bear for Punishment, Back Alley Oproar, What's Opera Doc, One Froggy Evening, I Love To Singa, and best of all, Three Little Bops. These cartoons alone make the package worth its cost.

The hidden gem here, is, through no fault of its own, "Orange Blossoms for Violet," a rare venture by Jones and Freleng into live action comedy, featuring animals of various kinds but focusing on monkeys. Violet is the golden-wigged bride-to-be of a slightly dweebish simian named Fred, but not if the devious monkey Harvey has anything to do with it. Harvey sounds a lot like Daffy Duck, but, and I swear I am not making this up, he looks EXACTLY like George W. Bush in his facial expressions. You have to see this film to believe it, and you will find the resemblance hysterical. My boyfriend and I did several screen captures and the "Bushiness" of each look on Harvey's face was uncanny.

Okay, I'll close this with a few wish list items for Volume 4 (I've already seen the list for Volume 3):

"I Wanna Play House" - a late 30's Merrie Melodie about two playful young bears, one of whom unwittingly gets drunk and then sings a song which in hindsight is an unbelieveable choice for a little 1930's teddy bear - "I've Gotta Sing 'Cause I'm Gay."

"The Gay Anties" - a turn-of-the-century picnic is turned topsy-turvy by some fun-loving ants.

"Rabbitson Crusoe" - WHY WHY WHY haven't they included this one yet? Bugs sings "Secret Love" and leaves Doris Day's version in the dust, in between aggravating Yosemite Sam on a pirate ship.

"Claws In the Lease" - features the classic "Pussykins Cat Food" commercial.

"Jumpin' Jupiter" - Porky the brave and Sylvester the cowardly venture into outer space. The music soundtrack for this one ranks at the very top.

Pictures of an Exhibitionist: From the Nice to Emerson Lake and Palmer - The True Story of the Man Who Changed the Sound of Rock
Pictures of an Exhibitionist: From the Nice to Emerson Lake and Palmer - The True Story of the Man Who Changed the Sound of Rock
by Keith Emerson
Edition: Paperback
14 used & new from $104.98

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Better than nothing, August 5, 2005
Given the frequent disdain of the musical press for ELP's music, ELP has always been one of the least-biographed musical acts of the rock era. As a fan for decades, I looked forward to this book for many years. I'd certainly rather have the book than none at all, but it was not what I had hoped for. I agree with the other reviewers that it unfortunately gives little insight from Emerson about his music. The pacing is uneven, with a lot of detail about his early years and scarcely any more than a scattered medley of events beyond the end of the 1970's.

The two major things I took away from this book were:

1. Considering Emerson's dislike of Greg Lake, it is a miracle that ELP made any recordings at all or were able to be such a formidable live act.

2. The real center of Emo's existence for many years was not music, but drugs. I suspect that the sketchiness of many parts of this autobiography is the result of Emo's cocaine addiction.

If you love ELP, you will want this book and probably have already read it anyway. If not, you won't gain anything that you've already missed in the music.

The photo section was of extremely poor quality. A coffee table quality book about ELP with good photos is needed and I hope someone will publish one.

It would be fascinating to read an account by Greg Lake of the ELP years as well as the years that followed, but he seems to work about as often as Halley's Comet appears. I think Lake could do a well-structured and well-written book (Emerson hasn't done so here) but as with hopes for any new music from Lake, I'm not holding my breath. I'm afraid Lake will croak before that happens. I hope to be proven wrong. Perhaps Palmer's might be the most fascinating account of all. He might be able to provide the "this is what really happened" version of ELP.

The music exists, and we are fortunate for that. This book and ELP's recent status represent something magical that could have happened but never did.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 22, 2008 2:13 PM PDT

Gamewright Hisss Card Game
Gamewright Hisss Card Game
Price: $10.90
59 used & new from $6.99

66 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slithery fun for every home should have at least one, October 10, 2004
This review is from: Gamewright Hisss Card Game (Toy)
I own it and I don't even have kids! (I do have two pet snakes, though.)

Another benefit of his besides those mentioned in the other reviews...Hisss is a good physical game too, because you have to stre-e-e-tch your body to place the cards in position when the snakes get long.

Here's a tip - buy two sets and play with 100 cards instead of 50. This makes even longer snakes possible and also gives you two of every head and tail card! Just make plenty of floor space available!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 28, 2009 2:56 PM PDT

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