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M. Allen Greenbaum's Profile

Customer Reviews: 1395
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M. Allen Greenbaum RSS Feed (California)
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The Vinyl Detective Mysteries - Written in Dead Wax: A Vinyl Detective Mystery 1
The Vinyl Detective Mysteries - Written in Dead Wax: A Vinyl Detective Mystery 1
Offered by Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Price: $7.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, June 18, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This seemed like a very promising book because of the jazz-based premise, that intriguing cover, and several favorable reviews. However, it was a huge disappointment to me. I liked the initial references to some jazz (and later, 60's rock) albums, and the appreciation and knowledge of their sound and production, but this is limited and not enough to cover over 400 pages of sluggish material.

The author seems to think we need explanations of the humor displayed by our protagonist, but the humor needs no explanation, just more humor to it. Apparently there's also humor in the female protagonist's variously displayed ineptitudes; I just found this annoying, and a somewhat puerile make fantasy. The plot is very linear, and I didn't see (in the first half of the book) much character development or suspense. Aside from one scene with bullets flying and an exploding fuel tank for a homegrown marijuana greenhouse, there's not much excitement, hard as the author tries to ring it out of searching through lots and lots of boxes for a rare album of jazz.

I must disclose that I read only the first half of the book: After the section with the explosion described above, I checked to see whether my prediction of a "twist" was true. I went towards the end of the big, and, yes, my prediction was true. The big twist was predictable, and, combined with the 200+ pages I had already slogged through, I decided that I'd had enough.

Perhaps you will like it more than I did; I hope so. Again, I like the idea of the book, but felt it just wasn't written very well. Perhaps the next offering in this series will be better.


Nature's Bounty Earthly Elements Rosemary Essential Oil, 10 ml
Nature's Bounty Earthly Elements Rosemary Essential Oil, 10 ml
Price: $5.97
4 used & new from $5.97

4.0 out of 5 stars Rosemary (add your own parsley, sage, and thyme) Oil, yum!, June 18, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is pure rosemary oil (pure as in 100%) and is well packaged (dark amber bottle to protect degradation) and easy to use. I don't have a diffuser or a mister at the ready, so this review is intended for those who would describe themselves as aromatherapy enthusiasts (not that I'm discouraging it). I simply put about 3-4 drops on a surface in my office; hopefully, no one is shuddering at this non-optimal distribution technique.

This is strong stuff, so this small quantity was definitely enough, keep in mind that I did not dilute nor "atomize" it via misting, etc. There was an immediate burst of rosemary scent, but after just perhaps 10 seconds, it diffused through the air and I found the scent very pleasant and not overpowering. Of course, if you do not like the smell of rosemary, this is probably not for you.

You can use it in the lazy way described here, or mix with other oils and/or use different dispersion methods, via differing media (e.g., water in a bath). Rosemary is a common ingredient in shampoos, in which it seems to have mild astringent and stimulating properties. Please take the advice of Nature's Bounty and dilute before applying to the body, and do not apply to open sore, wounds, etc,. or to sensitive tissues (for example, the eyes!).

The only question I have is about the price for the 0.338 ounces of oil. Even with the 5% discount offered today, you're paying almost $22 1/2 dollars per ounce. Just for comparison, look at Rosemary Essential Oil - Big 4 Oz - 100% Pure & Natural Therapeutic Grade - Premium Quality - Great for Hair Strengthening and Dandruff as well Aches & Pains which (on sale today) is $12.95 for 4 ounces, or about $3 1/4 dollars per ounce, makes similar claims about purity, and receives very favorable ratings here at Amazon.com.

One other alternative for a person with a rosemary plant (very inexpensive), and who like "doing-it-yourself" or enjoyed chemistry sets: Make your own. There several are recipes easily found on the net. This is undoubtedly the least expensive, but I cannot attest to any qualities of the resulting oil because I've never tried this. Like I said, I'm pretty lazy when it comes to oil.


MERRITHEW Fitness Circle® Flex (Orange), 12 inch / 30.5 cm
MERRITHEW Fitness Circle® Flex (Orange), 12 inch / 30.5 cm
Price: $19.99
6 used & new from $13.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Plain, Utilitarian, but Does the Job!, June 7, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a well-made and thoughtfully designed workout device with no frills but good performance. I strongly recommend that you go to YouTube to get an idea of the range of potential exercises for which this can be used. You'll probably use more of those exercises than what is presented by Merrithew. You can focus on your core, as well as other areas (e.g., legs and arms). and the circle is adaptable to several traditional and other exercises.

You'll notice that the handle placement interrupts the otherwise circular shape, but, as noted by another viewer, this helps keep it in place. I would have liked a little more padding on the grips, and perhaps I'll find that necessary as I move to more difficult exercises. For now, though, this is sufficient. Not a lot of bling in the looks or in additional material, but YouTube videos and the thoughtful design make this a winner. As always, consult your friendly health care professional before beginning a new program, so that you don't do something you shouldn't.


DII Bone Dry Warm, Soft, Plush, Pet Pillow Blanket for Couch, Car, Trunk, Cage, Kennel, Dog House, 50x60", Gray
DII Bone Dry Warm, Soft, Plush, Pet Pillow Blanket for Couch, Car, Trunk, Cage, Kennel, Dog House, 50x60", Gray
Price: $29.99

5.0 out of 5 stars I turned down MILLIONS so that I could tell you the TRUTH (Read more!), May 16, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
These are tough times for Luddites, and for people who know what a Luddite is. It seems like everyone can be an expert, all you need is a computer, an acceptance (reluctant or not) of the term "social media," or a show like "Celebrity Apprentice" and you can spout your head off about anything. This includes the ubiquitous reviewer, and may even include me.

This is just one reason we need our dogs more than ever (cats, too, or whatever your favorite companion animal might be). More than ever, we need turn to them for their reassurance and stability (coupled with their zany ambitions), their way of making us feel needed and loved, and capable of returning love.

Along with ample amount of quality food, and general safety precautions, and exercise and play, one of the best way to show that love is to keep your doggish friend warm and cozy. The designers at DII understand this, and have come up with a canine "quillow," a warm, and, yes, very PLUSH polyester confection that doubles as a warm, ultra-soft blanket and a pillow (when the blanket is folded just so and then the external pieces zippered together--you'll get the hang of it). It's extremely versatile (e.g., under- or over-blanket, seat cushion, thing-to-lay-against, toy-if your dog likes sliding along the floor), and holds up well. It's so pliable that it can be adjusted for different amounts of coverage depending on the temperature. Take it outside too, it washes well. Our fussy miniature schnauzer (OK, he's not really very fussy) really loves it, and would like some more yams, while you're at it...

But back to the initial, if not original, point. I certainly won't tell anyone if you feel tempted to use this yourself. You need and deserve the self-soothing quality of this exceptional "pet" pillow. So go ahead, get your favorite dog toy, and wrap yourself up for some comfort time. Don't tell the dog, of course.

********************************************************************************************************************************************************************
I wrote this honest review although I was offered several million dollars to write a dishonest one by a DII competitor. For your sake, and for your dog's, I refused.
********************************************************************************************************************************************************************


Case Logic Reflexion Removable Camera Case, Indigo, Full-Size (FLXM201)
Case Logic Reflexion Removable Camera Case, Indigo, Full-Size (FLXM201)
Price: $44.52
2 used & new from $44.52

5.0 out of 5 stars The Logical Bag, May 16, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This has several versatile features (especially pockets and holders), so let's get straight to the architecture of this camera case/whatever holder (more on the "whatever" later). We being from the inside layer, moving outwards...

The now infamous removable bag (or "pod") effectively separate the case into three main compartments: The pod, and the two sections external to the pod (as in left section, middle "pod" section" and right section). The interior of this middle pod section has two pockets situated across from each other for lenses; these do not have bottoms (i.e., they're not sealed at the bottom), but should keep your heavier lenses protected. At the other end is an actual pouch; it has a bottom and could, for example, hold lenses, lens cleaner, a lens duster, and other small objects. None of these have tops. There's plenty of room in the main compartment of the pod for your camera; however, there are no straps to secure a camera. If you take the pod out to travel lighter while walking towards some destination, I'd recommend keeping your camera in a fitted case; there's just not enough padding in the pod to do without. With the pod kept inside the entire case, you obviously have much more protection. The pod itself is kept secured to the case by some thread tied around two U-shaped carrying straps. These can be untied (with a bit of difficulty) or just cut if you really think you want to use the inner pod by itself.

With the pod inside the bag (probably the way you'll use it) you have two more inner sections, as explained above. There are no pockets or other gizmos inside this area (i.e., the interior of the camera case).

The exterior really shines, however. On one side (and only one side), you have a very large zippable compartment inside of which are two additional pockets (these have bottoms, but again, no tops, zippable or otherwise). This lack of zippers is nice-you don't want to scratch your equipment, although some people may have preferred a velcro-like sealable inner pocket. (By the way, there is no external holder or strap designed for a tripod, but one that folds up small enough could be transported inside the case. You could also experiment with a lanyard tied to the small cords attached to the zippers.) This is a pocket on the outside of the external pouch (think suitcase), about half as large, also zipper sealed, large enough to place a cold can of soda, not that you'd necessarily want to. But wait....

I have used this bag also as a *shudder* lunch container for work. (Please remove all camera equipment or photographers in your neighborhood will search for and seize this!.) The same solid construction, compartments, and adjustable shoulder strap (with padded shoulder rest) that make this such a pleasure for transporting your photography equipment does the same for your papers, lunch, even thermos. Should you be unfortunate enough to spill anything, just wash out water and let dry. I'm sure this is not a recommended use, but I tend to flout social conventions if no one ges hurt and it makes thing easier for me.

I recommend this as a very well-designed all-purpose camera bag, probably not big enough for those with LOTS of equipment, but ample for one or more cameras and accompanying equipment.


Air Cam Walker Fracture Cast Boot, Medical / Orthopedic Boot (Medium, Tall)
Air Cam Walker Fracture Cast Boot, Medical / Orthopedic Boot (Medium, Tall)
Offered by GoBioMed Online Medical Super Store
Price: $35.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This Boot is a Heel!, May 3, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
After about 10 days of wearing the fracture boot, the bottom heel came off. I didn't notice this at first, and the glue on the bottom of the boot collected lots of debris. In addition, the air compression device did not seem to provide a snugger fit (I couldn't even tell if it was working). My damaged toe was held very well, but the boot is so heavy (I suspect most boots of this type weight a lot), that my heel wouldn't stay flush with the bottom of the boot, no matter how tight I tried to attach the multiple velcro straps.

It also became very difficult to take off. This may have been due to some misalignment after the bottom heel fell off. Obviously, I'm not at al satisfied with the boot performance. I wasn't expecting a perfect-fit, just something that would last.

FYI: I wear a size 10 shoe, and the length of the medium was just right. I just wouldn't recommend this to anyone.


Ace Men's Running Socks, Large/X-Large
Ace Men's Running Socks, Large/X-Large
Price: $15.00
2 used & new from $15.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars C'mon Baby, Do the Locomotion!, April 20, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a very well-made, beefy (I've wanted to plagiarize Lands End catalogue copy for a while now) sock that has a sporty design and very good padding. It's not just for runners: Any kind of exercise (or just lounging in a cold/cool room around would be appropriate). Just a few words of caution, however: Because they're thick and padded, they can get very warm, perhaps too warm if you wear them for non-sport use. For sports, they seem fine, as long as (for my comfort zone, anyway) it's not too hot out. Second caution: These are like "compression sock," and, as such, can feel tight, especially as you go up the leg, as compression socks do. Because they're thick and padded, I find them more comfortable than compression socks made for, say, medical purposes (e.g., if you've had deep vein thrombosis). If you're not used to this type of sock; however, you might want to try these on in person.

They're not itchy, did not seem to shrink or fade immediately upon washing, and I expect them to last quite a while. They're fairly pricey, and I suspect the compression design may have something to do with that. As stated above, you may wish to try these on before purchasing, and, as always, consult your coach or health care provider to best determine if these would be appropriate for you.


Old Mother Hubbard Gourmet Goodies Soft Bakes Carrot & Pumpkin Natural Soft Dog Treats, 6-Ounce Bag
Old Mother Hubbard Gourmet Goodies Soft Bakes Carrot & Pumpkin Natural Soft Dog Treats, 6-Ounce Bag
Price: $5.99
6 used & new from $5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the Finicky Schnauzer Owner (and the not-so-finicky Schnauzer), April 20, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Owner and dog (or dog and companion person) unanimously endorse this soft-chew treat even though their priorities don’t completely align. The owner/person wants a treat that is healthy, natural, and that his beloved dog will enjoy. The dog, in his springy spontaneity wants something that tastes good and that the person would buy again.

We’re both happy. This is a healthy treat that you can use for teaching dog tricks or just to let your dog know how you feel about him or her. These have a very pleasant odor (you may be tempted to eat one yourself), can be cut into smaller pieces (as we did for our 23-25 lb. miniature schnauzer), and is vastly superior to a lot of the fat-laden not-so-healthy treats commonly sold. I haven’t found many treats that compare favorably to this one. As for the dog…for someone who will devour garlic cheese, jicama, tomatoes, and fried-egg scrapings, there’s no problem finding something he loves to eat. However, the quality of these snacks is reassuring to me--if not to him. Definitely a big hit at our house.


DII 100% Cotton, Basic Everyday, Machine Washable, Monogrammable, 12 x 12" Zig Zag Weave Kitchen Dishcloth, Set of 6- Neon Lime
DII 100% Cotton, Basic Everyday, Machine Washable, Monogrammable, 12 x 12" Zig Zag Weave Kitchen Dishcloth, Set of 6- Neon Lime
Price: $8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Better than an Old T-Shirt, but Might Not be as Pretty, April 7, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have never used these as a dish cloth, either for cleaning or drying; no, my needs are more pedestrian (or the opposite): Washing and a non-luxury station wagon -like vehicle on which I place my kayak.

These work great for this purpose: The semi-rough texture works better than a rag torn from a discarded shirt, although perhaps not as well as those with a microfiber mesh on one side. They're large enough to cover a fair amount of space without losing hand control. I don't follow the washing instructions at all, and so they're a little more frayed around the edges (but not unraveling) than anyone who wants thse for intended use inside the house. Still, I expect them to last a long time. Stains come out of the cloth easily.

I recommend these for all-purpose tasks inside and out that don't require elegance-or something as big as a towel. The only problem I have with it is the color, a lime green sort of thing that you would never want on clothing, appliances, mystery vehicles, perhaps nothing except a fire engine-it really stands out. Perhaps someone who frequently loses dish towels and rags (or someone looking for a great Secret Santa gift) will see a kind of beauty in whatever color this is/ Otherwise, buy it for durability and visibility.


Viva Labs - The BEST Organic Ground Flax Seed, 15 oz - Proprietary Cold-milled Technology
Viva Labs - The BEST Organic Ground Flax Seed, 15 oz - Proprietary Cold-milled Technology
Offered by Viva Naturals
Price: $19.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost Scandalously Good!, March 17, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In exchange for my dishonest review, a rival to Viva Labs offered me SIX MILLION DOLLARS to write negatively about VIVA Labs ground flax seeds.

I won't say I wasn't tempted. I could quit my job, buy a fixer-upper in San Francisco, celebrities to dinner, and never worry about shipping costs again. But I couldn't do it, because of you, my audience.

Viva Labs has a simply outstanding product here, certainly the best organic flax seeds that I've ever tasted (not that I've tried a lot of brands). The BIG thing to remember about this product is the taste and texture, nutty, FRESH (note UPPER CASE added for emphasis), robust, and hearty. Grinding the flax seeds gives them a very smooth texture,, and seems to release the full flavor of flax, but it's not oily, and the ground flax seed stays fresh in the well-designed zip container.

This is VERY easily added to cereals hot and cold, smoothies, yoghurt, on top of baked potatoes, added to sauces. Depending on how much you add (and I've used much more than the recommended 2 tablespoons at a time, it will either blend right in with little or no flavor, or enhance the taste of whatever it's added to. I even tried it raw, just stuffing it into my mouth, and it was... very, very dry. Don't do that. Otherwise, I find this much better tasting than flax seeds: There's more of a flax/wheat germ flavor combination, even though there's no wheat in it. Flax seeds have a pretty distinct taste, and it can get cloying after a while. This tastes much better.

It's organically grown in Canada-gotta love those Canadians! There's no gluten in it,, not because the Canadians took out the gluten, but because there is never any gluten in flax seeds. (If I owned a store, I'd just label everything--the rice, the apples, the bottled water, the magazines, the shopping bags, "gluten-free" and charge twice as much. No, flax seed is the seed of the flax plant of the family Linaceae, and besides its nutritional value, it's used to make gluten-free linen cloth.)

Made entirely from cold-pressed Canadian ground flax seeds, two tablespoons (about 30 servings) contain just 4 grams of carbohydrates, no sugar, 70 calories (60 from fat), 3 grams of protein, 3 grams of Omega-3, .6 grams of Omega 6, 3 grams of dietary fiber 6 grams of fat (1/2 gram of saturated fat; no trans fat; 4 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat-that leaves 0.5 grams of fat unaccounted for), and 4% of the RDA for iron and calcium. DISCLOSURE: I did not conduct an independent laboratory analysis; all of that was just copied from the label.

I will definitely buy this again. It tastes fantastic, adds some flavorful OOMPH (not sure how many grams, exactly) to your food, is packaged very conveniently, and mixes with all sorts of food very easily. If flax seeds are for you, this is the one I recommend.

You can't buy this kind of positive review, believe me.


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