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On Tender Hooks
On Tender Hooks
by Isabel Samaras
Edition: Hardcover
37 used & new from $5.34

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Fabulous, June 23, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: On Tender Hooks (Hardcover)
If you are easily offended, this is not the book for you. If it tickles you to see iconic images put into a pornographic (yet artistic) context, this is the perfect book for you.

Isabel Samaras apparently favors using classics like "I Dream of Jeannie," "Batman and Robin," "The Addams Family," "The Munsters," etc. and gives them a fabulous pornographic twist; she puts The Addams and Munsters in bed together; has Batman and Robin making out (and so much more); Lily and Morticia sharing a moment or two. She paints beyond these examples, of course, and every painting is just wonderful. Every once in a while, an original painting is shown to give the viewer a better idea of what inspired a particular painting and many paintings take up two pages because one page is devoted to giving a close up of something in the background.

Her introduction to this book is fabulous! Her writing style is very engaging: she explains what and who inspired her to start painting and why she started off with vintage lunch boxes and TV trays as canvases; she mentions her trips to Italy and how each trip was a completely different experience because of the way it affected her painting. She details why she decided to depict classic monsters in alternate (i.e. happy) scenarios and she gives us a glimpse of her painting process.

Justin Giarla (a gallerist who showed her work) writes about what made her artwork appeal to him. One thing he said was "Yet Isabel's subjects aren't the perverse musings of some twisted mind. Instead, they are actually loving portraits of humanity, with all its failings and crazy drama." He wrote that for people who grew up on these television shows, Isabel's paintings remind them what it is like to be a kid again.

Colin Berry wrote "... Isabel clearly embraced tenderness in her work ... [she] favored scenes of affection, mystery and passion." He juxtaposes her work with other artists' in that genre (which is apparently "Lowbrow") and goes into some detail about how her style and subject matter differs from the others'.

Ghost In My Head
Ghost In My Head
Price: $13.99
3 used & new from $13.99

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's About Time!!!!, June 16, 2009
This review is from: Ghost In My Head (Audio CD)
I'm not much of a music critic, so this might not be the type of review people would probably look for. But I am a HUGE fan of Jill Hennessy! I've been wanting one of her albums since I heard her songs on the Crossing Jordan soundtrack. This album does not disappoint.

Genre-wise I would say it sounds a bit country and folksy - and I usually can't stand country. She has such a clear, beautiful voice and the passion in her lyrics is evident in every song. One of my favorite songs is "Slow Down" because a song that could easily be sung with derision (with lyrics like "wealthy people looking thinner than the poor") is sung as a matter of fact.

The music is just wonderful and definitely adds to the beauty of the lyrics rather than taking away from it or overwhelming it. This is the type of album that can be listened to in any mood. I can't wait for her next one!!

[Update] You get to hear her sing in the movie Roadie [HD] (it's an OK movie), but unfortunately, there is no soundtrack for it.

Lake Placid 2 (Unrated)
Lake Placid 2 (Unrated)
DVD ~ John Schneider
Price: $10.02
53 used & new from $0.65

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What about the Extras???, April 1, 2009
This review is from: Lake Placid 2 (Unrated) (DVD)
I am a fan of bad horror movies (I liked the remakes of "The Stepford Wives" and "The Wicker Man" for heaven's sake - not more than the originals of course ...), but this one took the cake. A lot of the acting - especially in the beginning - was more like the voice overs for some foreign films I've seen than actual acting. I actually liked Cloris Leachman the best out of all of the actors (she was indeed scarier than the crocodile). I love campy movies but I just didn't see it in this movie.

The reason I am giving it three stars is for the last special feature - the "Gnawed Up Version" of the movie, which I didn't see anyone else mentioning. It is FABULOUS!! It fast forwards through all of the "boring" parts of the film and stops to regular speed on the boobs, croc, and carnage. (If you are prone to headaches or get annoyed easily, this may not be the version for you.) I thought that was one of the best special features I'd seen in a while. Who knows - maybe if that version and that version only had been released it would have garnered a higher rating.

Alphabet Killer
Alphabet Killer
DVD ~ Eliza Dushku
Offered by CV Trading Corp
Price: $5.11
58 used & new from $0.97

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous, January 31, 2009
This review is from: Alphabet Killer (DVD)
The other reviewers have already gone over the plot so I'll just add my own opinion on the DVD itself:

I wish that there were more special features which is the reason I gave this DVD a 4-star rating and not a 5. There's the obligatory commentary, one alternate scene (which wasn't much of an alternate) for the first scene of the movie, and a "making of" feature which ... left much to be desired because all it was were film crews being visible behind the filming of certain scenes. I would really liked to have seen more interviews for the "making of" from the cast and crew. Seeing as to how the movie revolves around schizophrenia, it would have been nice to see some type of feature (or even a full-length documentary) on the illness and/or something about the real Alphabet Killer beyond the last part of the movie that stated he had yet to be found.

I enjoyed the movie itself and was stoked to find out that the same guy who directed Wrong Turn also directed "The Alphabet Killer." I was happy to find out that they are very different movies that happen to have the same actress in the lead role.

Secret Lives of the First Ladies
Secret Lives of the First Ladies
by Cormac O'Brien
Edition: Paperback
105 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Decent Read, January 29, 2009
I have yet to read "The Secret Lives of the Presidents" but I picked this up because I am really interested in women's history. This book is a decent portrait or how the role of First Lady has evolved and yet stayed the same (I'm not sure if this is possible, but this books makes it appear to be).

What I found really interesting were the differences and similarities of these women: the number of women who never wanted to be first lady and the ones who relished the role; which ones were for and against suffrage and women's rights; the ones who were "just a spouse" vs. the ones who seemed to have a great partnership with their husbands; who loved being a hostess and who relegated the chore to someone else; for some reason I was amazed at the number of philanderers who made it to the White House and yet all of their wives stuck by them (I believe Hilary Clinton was the only one who suffered the negative effects of this) ... I found it noteworthy that out of all of the First Ladies, only Hilary Clinton and Eleanore Roosevelt were credited with a possible extramarital affair.

The beginning of each chapter lists some biographical information on the Ladies (life span, spouses, years in the White House, number of children) and I loved that their religions and astrological signs were included, along with a nifty quote. It was nice of Cormac O'Brien to include the wives who didn't make it to the White House because of divorce or premature death.

All in all this was a nice, fluffy introduction of the first ladies. It wasn't as juicy as I thought it would be, but it's full of fun little facts. I look forward to reading more comprehensive books on the First Ladies in the future.

Public Executions: From Ancient Rome to the Present Day
Public Executions: From Ancient Rome to the Present Day
by Nigel Cawthorne
Edition: Hardcover
43 used & new from $0.01

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative, August 23, 2008
This is a pretty good introduction to public executions. The book starts with Crucifixion before Jesus' time and ends with lethal injection. Eye witness accounts are provided of executions ranging from hanging, drawing and quartering (both while the victim was alive and if the victim was lucky enough to be dead before the drawing and quartering), burning, beheading, etc.

This book draws important distinctions (class-wise and dying-wise) between the long drop- and the short drop- methods of hanging, being beheaded by a sword and by the axe, being guillotined or being hanged. Nigel Cawthorne also illuminates the many reasons people were executed - ranging from stealing a coin to regicide. Although this obviously wasn't a focus of his book, I found it interesting to see the "progression" of societal attitudes towards public death.

The illustrations in this book provide nice visual aids. I think the book would have been better if more original illustrations were used instead of what appear to be pictures drawn for this book's purpose.

I found "Public Executions" to be very interesting and informative. But I wouldn't recommend it if you're squeamish or offend easily.

The Almost Moon: A Novel
The Almost Moon: A Novel
by Alice Sebold
Edition: Hardcover
628 used & new from $0.01

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Pretty Good Read, April 7, 2008
For a minute synopsis of this book, see other reviews.

People who are looking for a beautiful sequel to Sebold's first novel shouldn't read this book. This book would be appreciated more by people who have experienced mental illness in their family.

I admit that I started this book with the intention of liking it because of all of the negative reviews. I was skeptical but I really liked this book. It is the polar opposite of "The Lovely Bones" and is written in a crasser style with the only sympathetic characters being Helen's daughters (in my opinion).

This book is written from the point of view of a woman who just couldn't take her mentally ill mother any more. She told her story leading up to her committing matricide in fragments because certain things triggered memories, not because she thought it'd be fun to skip around. People who have had to fortune not to be raised by a mentally ill parent cannot understand the rage and conflicting emotions that children feel while being raised by a parent who is mentally ill.

The only reason I give it four stars instead of five is that it's a bit slow taking off and took a few chapters for me to get into it.

DVD ~ Dominique Swain
5 used & new from $3.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Over the Top, March 15, 2008
This review is from: Intern (DVD)
Do not allow the opening musical sequence to cause you to turn off the movie! It is my opinion that this movie is worth watching to the end.

I know this a silly movie. I know the acting isn't the best. But I love this movie. The acting is so over the top and quasi-serious (or is that really how people in the fashion industry talk and act?!). I think that the only way to truly enjoy this movie is if you don't take it seriously.

The celebrity guest spots are fabulous - especially Joan Rivers. If you are skeptical about the movie and not too amused, you can't help but guffaw when she hits the screen (at least I couldn't).

The love story is predictable yet cute ... The whole Eurie (sp?) thing is a bit annoying, but it's almost worth sitting through that part of the plot when it's finally discovered who it is. Some subplots are interesting, others would have been better off as deleted scenes (if I recall, this DVD has no special features aside from interactive menus and the like).

So, I shall reiterate: If you are to enjoy this movie, you can't take it seriously. It is a fun movie and should be watched when you're in need of fluff.

Remember Me: A Lively Tour of the New American Way of Death
Remember Me: A Lively Tour of the New American Way of Death
by Lisa Takeuchi Cullen
Edition: Hardcover
27 used & new from $3.03

5.0 out of 5 stars Touching, March 13, 2008
As other reviewers have mentioned, this book will undoubtedly be compared with "Stiff" (Mary Roach praised this book and truth be told, that's why I decided to read it) and "The American Way of Death." While it's in the same genre it shouldn't be compared to either because this is a cultural study of the way Baby Boomers are handling death and not an expose or an investigative work.

I found this book fascinating. I loved her writing style and the way she respectfully recounted people's stories/lives. I had tears come to my eyes on several occasions because the way she wrote about lives lost was so moving. While she stated her opinion occasionally, she never seemed to pass judgment.

She brought to my attention something I had never considered; obesity is changing the way caskets are made - that never occurred to me and I thought it was great that she would point that out. Also, she mentioned that soon-to-be mortuary science students could take their computerized exams in a local H & R Block. I nearly burst out laughing when I read this and was puzzled because she didn't take the opportunity to make a quip about Death and Taxes.

I would recommend this book to everyone, especially those who can't bring themselves to think about their own deaths and plan ahead.

The Mutter Museum: Of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia
The Mutter Museum: Of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia
by Gretchen Worden
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $36.32
62 used & new from $22.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Leaves A Lot to be Desired ...., February 26, 2008
Some photographs are very interesting, but space was wasted on several exhibits being shown more than once - sometimes more than twice; most of these repetitions aren't really worthy of more than one photograph.

In order to fully appreciate the scanty captions (every picture has a caption but not much of one), more than cursory knowledge of medical terminology is required; otherwise, a medical dictionary would be helpful.

At the risk of showing my ignorance, I thought that the Mutter Museum was almost strictly abnormal medical exhibits. I didn't realize that there were so many graphic examples of human anatomy - hence, the three stars instead of two; this book gives a nicely rounded "tour" of the museum.

If possible, I would strongly suggest checking this book out from a library before buying it without flipping through it.

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