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Lonnie E. Holder "The Review's the Thing" RSS Feed (Columbus, Indiana, United States)
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Bell Automotive (22-5-65103-8) 104-Piece Covered Emergency Road Kit
Bell Automotive (22-5-65103-8) 104-Piece Covered Emergency Road Kit
Price: $42.46

2.0 out of 5 stars Better Quality Kits Are Available, October 13, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When I first saw this kit, I thought it was be a nice-to-have for our second vehicle. We already had a nice kit for half the price from a warehouse club, so I (mistakenly) assumed that this kit would be much nicer. This kit does have a couple of nice features, but most of the kit seems cheap and one-use, to me.

I do like several things about this kit. The LED flashlight seems to be of decent quality. The kit also includes an air pump that runs off a standard vehicle electrical outlet. Though this particular air pump is much less capacity than another pump I have, for emergencies the air pump could be useful, but only for emergencies. More on the air pump in a moment. I also sort of like the can of TiteSeal included in the kit that is useful for sealing punctured tires, though I have some reservations about the Titeseal also.

Most of the items in this kit are cheap, one-use products. I am amazed at the low quality of some of the items. In general, the cheap stuff outnumbers the quality stuff, by a lot. In order of quality, the kit contains the following items.

- 9 LED flashlight and two AA batteries: My favorite feature in this entire kit. The flashlight looks like it was designed to be water "resistant," but I am not sure it would survive being dropped into a pond (I have an LED flashlight that contains seals that can survive an underwater journey). The 9 lights are wonderfully bright, and the small size means the flashlight will fit easily in a small glove compartment or a door pocket.

- Bellaire 500 tire inflator with, hold your breath for this one, AN INSTRUCTION MANUAL! I did not count the "104 pieces" in this kit, but I suspect that the manual could be included as one of the "pieces." The only problem with the tire inflator is that it is abysmally slow. A serious tire, like on an SUV, truck, or full-sized car, would likely take 20-30 minutes or more to inflate. I wonder if the air pump would burn up in that time? Before I forget, the manual says you should run the engine while inflating your tire. I guess the makers of the kit figure you will break down with a lot of gas in your tank.

- A can of TiteSeal, except the single provided can is only good for tires up to 14" in diameter, which means that this can is only suitable for itty bitty cars. None of my vehicles have tires that small, so one can is essentially useless. Of course, I could either get a second can, or use the air pump in conjunction with the TiteSeal. Incidentally, the instructions say you should never store the can in the interior of your car, so that pretty much excludes SUV's and trucks without a topper, cover, or toolbox. Then the can says you should never store in more then 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which essentially means you should never put this can into your car in the summer, because your trunk can reach 120 degrees F.

- A carrying bag with a shiny triangle on the side. I like the triangle, but a decent wind will blow the whole thing away. Except on calm days, the triangle is useless. I do like the bag. It seems fairly durable and what you would expect to contain an emergency kit. Too bad the kit seems to be a lot of cheap junk.

Pretty much everything after these items is cheap stuff you could probably get in a dollar store...

- A pair of "one size fits all" knit gloves. These things might keep your hands a little warm, as long as the gloves do not get wet, and they will likely keep your hands from getting dirty if you change a tire. That's about all the gloves can do for you.

- A genuine "reusable emergency poncho." This item feels thinner than an indoor kitchen garbage bag, and is certainly thinner than a Zip-Loc sandwich bag. I would call this item a barely reusable emergency poncho, which will likely be tossed after a use or two and replaced with something more durable, like an outdoor garbage bag.

- A reversible screwdriver, meaning a #2 Philips on one end, and a straight blade on the second end. I would not try to put much torque through this screwdriver as it seems as though it would break or bend easily.

- A plastic help sign with adhesive edges so you can stick it to your window. Yes, the kind of help sign that you can pick up for free at those booths they have a country fairs staffed by your local emergency preparedness group. I should knock on wood when I say this, but I have never needed a "HELP" sign in my entire life. I hope I never do, but, by golly, now I have one!

- 25...er...well, the list says 25, but, actually, I have 24 in my kit. I feel so robbed. Incidentally, masses of cable ties can be purchased at various places for a very modest cost. I have a few hundred that I got (500, I think) for around 6-8 dollars. In other words, 25, er, 24 cable ties are not worth a lot. Incidentally, 19 of the cable ties are teeny tiny ones that are useful for...well...something, I just can't think what.

- A genuine cheap 24" elastic tie down. You can never tell when you might need ONE cheap 24" elastic tie down. I personally am unable to think of what I could do with one. If you meet ten other people with the identical kit, then you would have 10 of these cheap tie downs, which could be genuinely useful. One tie down? Essentially worthless.

- a 3' x 5' felt "blanket." I suppose if you REALLY need a blanket that this one is better than nothing. I got a space blanket in the kit I bought for far less at a warehouse store.

- Assorted swabs, adhesive bandages, mostly little ones, and some emergency guides. For the latter, think small pieces of paper with some basic first aid advice. For the most part, this stuff seems fairly useless. Incidentally, these items contribute more than 63 pieces to the 104 pieces. Wow, a couple of bucks worth of bandages and swabs. Yippee. My excitement knows no bounds.

- 8-foot jumper cables. I am not impressed with the jumper cables. These jumper cables are extremely light, and are likely not useful for starting anything larger than a compact car. Forget about trying to start a truck or SUV with these, because the wire is very light (another reviewer believes the cables to be 14 gauge, which is very light for jumper cables).

I may have missed a couple of details, but basically, this kit is a couple of nice items, and a lot of cheap items, all at a premium price. Is this kit worth the price? My feeling is that I would never buy this kit for any vehicle I own, because the items in it are just not that useful. Either buy a better quality kit, or make one yourself.

As a side note, it seems to me that Vine products fall into a couple of categories. The first category is great products where the manufacturer is trying to generate a positive buzz. Most of the stuff I receive from Vine is, thank goodness, in that category. Then there are the items where it seems to me that the supplier or seller thinks they are going to get positive reviews by giving stuff away. It seem to me that this item falls into the latter category. I am unable to recommend this kit to anyone for any purpose. The tire sealant is not safe to store in your vehicle in the summer. Most of the stuff is cheap. You can buy an LED flashlight for a fraction of the cost of this kit. If you need an emergency kit, get a better quality kit than this one.

Good luck!


T.S. Shure ArchiQuest Master Builder Wooden Building Blocks Set (136-Piece)
T.S. Shure ArchiQuest Master Builder Wooden Building Blocks Set (136-Piece)
Price: $54.84
3 used & new from $54.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Reminds me of blocks I had as a child., October 12, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I love this set of blocks. The biggest drawback of the set is that I would love to have many more blocks. As a child, I would have loved to have had two, three, or even four sets of these blocks, because the more you have, the bigger things you can build.

This set includes 136 colored blocks, which are "precision cut" from the perspective that the dimensions let you build tall structures with little or no tilt the higher you go. I would love to have enough blocks to build a pyramid. Forts are certainly possible, but more blocks would be good for a fort. I could even see combining this set with Lincoln Logs.

The blocks are very high quality. The wood is smoothed and painted with multiple colors. The colors are probably attractive to young children. I personally would have been fine with fewer colors, or even plain wood colored, but that's just me. The blocks come in 15 different shapes that provide all sorts of flexibility in building different things.

The set includes an instruction book that includes ideas for building several different things, including the Arc de Triumphe, the Chrysler Building, and more. As fun as these buildings are, it is even more fun to build stuff out of your imagination.

As much fun as I had (and am having) with this set, there are a couple of things to know.

First, these blocks are painted, and they are kind of slick. That makes the blocks a bit of a challenge to align, and keep aligned, in comparison to Lincoln Logs and Legos. However, that also means that these blocks are much more flexible than both Lincoln Logs and Legos.

Second, while this set comes with a very nice wood box to store the blocks, there is no cover. I find it difficult to believe that the manufacturer was unable to come up with a decent cover for the beautiful wood box, even if the cover was plastic.

Other than my two small complaints, this set is perfect for most children ages 3 to 100+. Indeed, I would like to have a couple of these sets. Maybe even three. Okay, four would be even better. Seriously, once you start building really BIG stuff, you would be amazed how quickly 136 blocks run out. Skip cheap plastic toys with little pieces that get lost the day of play and get a high-quality set of wood blocks that can be used to build things for your other toys.

Enjoy!


Delsey Luggage Helium Sky Carry-On EXP Spinner Suiter Trolley, Blue, One Size
Delsey Luggage Helium Sky Carry-On EXP Spinner Suiter Trolley, Blue, One Size
Price: $84.99
18 used & new from $84.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Very Lightweight, Sturdy, and Small Suitcase, August 26, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This suitcase is lightweight with lots of little pockets for - STUFF. When I say lightweight, I mean 7.2 pounds lightweight, and my wife, who is very petite, loves the weight. She recently took this suitcase as a carryon for two United flights without an issue. Now, the overall dimensions of this suitcase DO exceed the dimensions that are allegedly for carryon luggage, and if you fly on an airline that is militant about dimensions, you may have a problem taking the suitcase on board.

Moving past the basics, the handle slides up and down smoothly. The wheels make this suitcase a dream to handle. The interior, which can expand by two inches, has lots of room for clothing, toiletries, etc. My wife took this suitcase for a week long trip, and she had plenty of room for a week of clothing. It is really hard to find fault with that. Sure, some of the pockets are small, but everyone has those small items that need just a small pocket, and they are available in this suitcase.

On the return flight, my wife put her laptop into the suitcase. Her suitcase ended up getting a lot of water on the outside because of a downpour, and my wife worried about her laptop. Needlessly, as it turns out, because the interior of the suitcase remained dry. The suitcase is NOT advertised to be water resistant, but it did keep her stuff dry in this particular instance, and she was greatly relieved.

Before I forget, the suitcase is a pretty, blue, and includes a ten year warranty. Some reviewers have apparently had issues with warranty, but thus far warranty is unnecessary for us. We will see what happens in a year or two, with more trips, by car and plane, and perhaps by other transportation.

Small, lightweight suitcases are highly desirable for travel. Even more importantly, small, lightweight, DURABLE suitcases are highly desirable for travel. At least initially, this suitcase, which is the lightest small suitcase we recall owning, seems full of features and appears to be well constructed. The suitcase has been on two flights as carryon luggage without an issue, but there is no guarantee that all airlines will allow it as a carryon. Until there is an issue, this suitcase has become our favorite for short trips, either by air or by car.

Enjoy!


Five Star Advance Wirebound Notebook, 5-Subject, 200 College-Ruled Sheets, 11 x 8.5 Inch Sheet Size, Black (72819)
Five Star Advance Wirebound Notebook, 5-Subject, 200 College-Ruled Sheets, 11 x 8.5 Inch Sheet Size, Black (72819)
Offered by 911 DRUGSTORE
Price: $14.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Durable Spiral Notebook with Lots of Features, August 26, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Spiral or wirebound notebooks exist by the dozen, from the inexpensive versions that sell for a dollar to extremely fancy versions that sell for far more than this particular notebook. If you are seeking a cheap, spiral bound notebook, then pass this one by and go buy a cheap, spiral bound notebook. If you are looking for a notebook that will last you for a semester, or longer, then you may want to take a look at this notebook.

Of course, this notebook has 200 sheets of college rule (narrow) paper, which anyone would expect. This notebook has much, much more. For starters, there are five dividers. However, the dividers are more than just dividers, because each divider includes three pockets for paper, notes, etc. Each divider includes an interior color-coded tab that enables quick access to a particular portion of the notebook. The Spiral is large, so paper slides easily from section to section. The spiral is covered by cloth, reducing the chance of snagging or damaging the spirals. A pen loop is attached to the cloth cover so you can avoid the dreaded ink stain on your pocket, or in your backpack, or your purse, or murse (man purse, you know!), or whatever it is you carry that you put your pen into - if you use a pen. Where would a self-respecting spiral bound notebook be without obligatory covers, which are heavy plastic for this notebook. While the covers are unlikely to stop bullets, they will certainly protect the paper from the things that most students will typically encounter.

Since this notebook has lots of features, does it have any downsides? I suppose that depends on the features you want. I saw complaints about the thickness of the paper. I tend to use gel pens and ink pens, and neither types that I use bled through the paper, so the paper is sufficiently thick for my needs. I also saw complaints about the size of the paper. I measured this paper against the standard paper I use, and this paper seems about the same width, and it is the same length. I am not sure what paper others were using for comparison. I have seen lots of variation in 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper, and this paper appears to be about standard size. I also saw complaints about the tab position, internal versus external. Being left handed, I admit that the internal tabs were really easy for me to use, and I can see how they are better protected toward the interior versus the exterior.

This review ends how it began. Each person needs to choose the features they value in a spiral bound notebook. Similarly, evaluate the potential downsides and determine if any of those are a problem for you. If you need a highly durable spiral notebook with 200 sheets that includes dividers having pockets, then this one seems, to me, to be a really good choice.

Enjoy!


InterDesign Horizontal Scarf Holder, Chrome
InterDesign Horizontal Scarf Holder, Chrome
Price: $9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Heavy Duty Hanger, August 25, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Once upon a time, clothes hangers were well-made and intended to last a lifetime. Of course, during the era of readily available well-made hangers, people also had fewer clothes, as opposed to the current era of ephemeral clothing meant to last a season or two, and then passed along or trashed. This scarf hanger seems to be a throwback, produced of welded high-gauge wire. It is also nearly a work of art.

Indeed, the hanger is beautiful, with a polished chrome finish. That beauty hides great strength, and I could easily believe that the hanger is stronger than the closet rails from which it is likely to hang. While the hanger is advertised as being for scarves, it could be used to hang just about anything that will fit on its rods, which are up to 13.5-inch wide and which are spaced about an inch and a half apart for bulky items, like knit scarves.

Does this hanger have any downsides? I have seen some reviews complain about roughness at the welds, but our hanger has a very small amount of roughness that is unlikely to be an issue. Some people may find the lack of a swivel annoying. On the other hand, the swivel is a point of weakness and failure in other hangers, and swiveling can be a drawback for some clothing. Most of my hangers have swivels, and sometimes it is hard to keep my clothes in a line. Swivels are not necessarily the best feature for some hanging purposes. The bottom line is that considering its function, this hanger seems to have mostly advantages, and any disadvantages are very minor.

Other options for "scarf" hangers exist, and those hangers offer some very nice features with an array of different capabilities. As with most things in life, one size does not necessarily fit all, and options are always a good thing. This hanger is yet another of those functional, lovely options available for a specific need, be it belts, ties, scarves, small pants, ribbons, or something beyond anything listed here. The primary limit to this hanger is imagination.

Enjoy!


Amazon Gift Card - E-mail - Special Thanks (Animated) [American Greetings]
Amazon Gift Card - E-mail - Special Thanks (Animated) [American Greetings]
Price: $50.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Convenient for all Occasions, July 22, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
We have given Amazon gift cards many times for multiple occasions, including Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, or as a thank you gift. Amazon gift cards may seem as though they are an "easy" gift taking little thought. Conversely, we have always had positive feedback from every person receiving one, because an Amazon gift card gives the receiver nearly unlimited choices, and can be combined with other gift cards to get something nicer than just one gift alone would typically provide. Sometimes that perfect gift is hard to find. When it is, get an Amazon gift card in an array of denominations. Everyone will find something to buy on Amazon!

Enjoy!


Cafe Altura Freeze Dried Instant Coffee, 3.5 Ounce (Pack of 2)
Cafe Altura Freeze Dried Instant Coffee, 3.5 Ounce (Pack of 2)
Price: $22.31

5.0 out of 5 stars Instant Hit, June 19, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Generally, we drink brewed coffee. However, there are times when a cup will do the trick and we want to avoid brewing a pot of coffee, especially since we do not use a single-cup brewer. Taster's Choice has typically been the instant we use, but this coffee seemed like it was worth a shot. This coffee was instantly loved.

The two people who drink Taster's Choice in my house both became instant fans of this coffee. I heard terms like "high quality," "great taste," "better than Taster's Choice," and "it tastes expensive." I was somewhat surprised by the praise, mostly because I thought all freeze-dried coffees were similar. It appears I was terribly wrong.

I should also note that Folger's instant is another brand we buy, and this coffee also beat Folger's easily. While the fresh-brewed coffee was the clear winner over the instants, Café Altura Freeze Dried Instant Coffee was a winner among instants.

Please be aware that this coffee is relatively mild. I believe Café Altura is coming out with a bolder coffee, but in the meantime, try this coffee only if you like a medium or mild roast.

Rarely do I hear a lot of praise for coffee. I got it the first day we received samples. This coffee is a tasty keeper if you like instant coffee.

Enjoy!


AmazonBasics Wood Suit Hangers (Set of 16)
AmazonBasics Wood Suit Hangers (Set of 16)

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Wood Is too Rough, June 19, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
We have lots of wooden hangers. When I say lots, I mean several hundred. Most of these hangers have a beautiful, smooth, cherry finish. We decided to give these hangers a chance because we like wooden hangers, and thought the "basic" option might be a cost-effective alternative to the hangers we had. Well, they are cost-effective, but maybe not what we want for some of our clothes.

The hangers seem sturdy and well-constructed. There is a plastic piece over the cross-bar for pants. Notches in the tops of the hangers are available for hanging clothes with straps. All the basic features you would expect from a wooden hanger are there. The problem is with the finish of the wood.

The wood is relatively rough. Sadly, the wood is so rough that some fabrics like to stick or get caught on the wood. The roughness is unlikely to rip gaping holes in your clothes, but we are worried that individual threads could be caught and start to pull, which could damage the fabric. Of course, tough fabrics like denim or heavy cottons are unlikely to be damaged by the roughness, but the moment your forget and put a silk shirt or fine wool pants on the hanger, if something were to happen, you would be very annoyed, or perhaps even angry.

I guess "basic" means "sanding to a smooth finish is not included." These hangers are unlikely to be one of our future purchases just because of our perceived risk of damaging threads. The hangers we have are now sequestered in a closet we typically do not use. We will have to see if they return from oblivion at some point.

Good luck!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 25, 2014 8:15 PM PDT


Tub O Towels TW40-SS Stainless Steel Cleaning, Polishing, and Protecting Wipes (Tub of 40 Wipes)
Tub O Towels TW40-SS Stainless Steel Cleaning, Polishing, and Protecting Wipes (Tub of 40 Wipes)
Price: $9.48
6 used & new from $7.96

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for Polishing; Cleaning, not so much..., June 19, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
We have multiple stainless steel appliances. All of them have a "brushed" finish as opposed to being shiny. We have had issues with fingerprints and smudges, and trying to keep the finish looking good. The good news is that if you want to make your stainless steel appliances look pretty, these will do the trick. If you are looking for heavy duty cleaning, go for the soap and water first.

Generally, our appliances get cleaned regularly. When I say regularly, I mean any time we see food, fingerprints, etc. Our appliances typically do not get all that dirty, unless food splatters. So our issue is not cleanliness so much as polish. After we clean the refrigerator, the stove, etc., it may be clean, but cleaning leaves streaks on the stainless steel. Historically, we have used stainless steel polish to make the surfaces look uniform. Of course, stainless steel polish comes with all sort of warnings because the primary ingredients are toxic, and spraying these in your kitchen with food about might be something you prefer to avoid. You probably do not want the chemicals in these wipes in your food either, but at least you are not spraying the chemicals in the wipes into the air.

We wanted to try these wipes for the same purpose we use stainless steel polish, and they do that task, polishing, fairly well. These wipes will not remove hard water, but we have found through experience that we have to wipe water off the refrigerator immediately to keep from having hard water spots. Yes, it's a pain to do that, but it is the only sure-fire way to prevent water spots. Hard water can be really tough to remove from stainless steel. The wipes are only okay, at best, in removing dried food (water and a dish rag are much better, in our opinion). I am not sure how much protection the wipes provide, and do not have a good measurement or observation regarding protection.

If you want something that will do some light cleaning along with polishing of stainless steel, these wipes could be for you. My wife likes them over stainless steel polish, which she said can go places she does not want the spray to go. If you want something to remove dried food, or something more challenging, there are likely other, better options.

Enjoy!


Tide Plus A Touch of Downy HE Liquid Laundry Detergent, April Fresh Scent, 92 Fl Oz
Tide Plus A Touch of Downy HE Liquid Laundry Detergent, April Fresh Scent, 92 Fl Oz
Price: $11.97

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Tide - Little More to Say, June 19, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This product contains lots of awesome reviews, and there is really little more than I can add, so I will make this short.

- Tide remains one of the best detergents for cleaning clothes. Clothes come out clean. The odor is relatively mild, and likely for most people, is pleasant.
- Tide seems to have perfected its formula for front-loading machines. Take care with the amount you use. It is easy to use too much. Indeed, it is easier to use too much than too little.
- Yes, Tide is probably going to be more expensive on Amazon than in your local discount store. However, it is tough to beat the convenience of having delivery to your door, especially when you have mobility issues or no car. Choose your battles, as they say.
- Okay, detergents generally are not environmentally sound. But, an HE machine uses less water, less energy, and less detergent than a top loader. The Tide bottle appears to contain some recycled plastics; hurray for that. If you have to have a detergent, and the so-called "environmentally friendly" detergents are not getting your clothes clean, then go HE and get Tide. Or alternate between your "environmentally friendly," not-so-stain-and-dirt-removing detergent and Tide.

We have always liked Tide. It is one of the best, and perhaps the best washing machine detergents that exist. Tide seemed to lead the crowd when it came to adapting to front-loading machines. Tide gets our clothes clean, without damaging them. What else could you want?

Enjoy!


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