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Customer Reviews: 683
Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,034
Helpful Votes: 2011

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Jill Clardy "So many books, so little time...." RSS Feed (Redwood City, CA USA)

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Dad's Guide To Pregnancy For Dummies (For Dummies (Health & Fitness))
Dad's Guide To Pregnancy For Dummies (For Dummies (Health & Fitness))
by Matthew M. F. Miller
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.89
33 used & new from $9.16

5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable Advice for Brand-New Dads, September 20, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
"Dad's Guide to Pregnancy" offers comprehensive coverage of everything relating to pregnancy and birth, and even the early days after the new family returns home. Whether the pregnancy is just in the planning stages, early days or well along, both mom and dad will find plenty of information and advice in the pages of the "Dummies " Guide. The trademark format of the "Dummies" books, with wide margins, varying type fonts, big bold headings, tables and sketches, and icons drawing your attention to things to remember, tips and warnings, makes the reading experience both pleasant and productive.

You can read from cover to cover, or dive in to a particular section, or use the comprehensive index to find info on a burning question. The humorous writing style helps to make the sometimes serious and mundane topics more approachable and memorable. Though the book is specifically aimed at pregnancy and childbirth from a dad's perspective, it's also quite useful for the mom to be. It addresses every topic relating to the process, from creating a birthing plan to determining what equipment you really need to buy for the tiny 6-7 lb. human being and how to stock the layette.

Highly Recommended !

Winter's Tale
Winter's Tale
Price: $3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Fantasty / Romance / Period Piece - Charming and Heartwarming, September 19, 2014
Winter's Tale somewhat defies description - is it a romance? is it a period piece? is it an allegory? a fantasy? Regardless of what you call it, it's a moving and emotional journey. The story starts in the early 1900's, when we meet Peter Lake, acted by Colin Farrell, a charming thief, just 2 steps ahead of the law. He accidentally meets Beverly Penn, acted by Jessica Brown Findlay (of Downton Abbey), in her home when he finds an open window and enters the sumptuous estate in order to steal something. She is not at all afraid of him, and helps him to escape unnoticed. Beverly is suffering from consumption, from which she is expected to die, and Peter is totally taken by her beauty and gentle spirit. She shines with a light that sparkles and believes that each person who leaves the earth becomes a star. Her stern father disapproves of him, of course, though Peter eventually wins him over by saving the family home from a fiery explosion by fixing the runaway furnace.

Peter acquires a white horse of magical properties - it flies ! But he is constantly being pursued by the scar-faced evil maniac played by Russell Crowe. The film makers could have done a better job of revealing the back story of why these two are opponents. Crowe represents the dark forces that are out to destroy both Peter and Beverly.

Peter gives Beverly one of her dying wishes by taking her out to dance on New Year's Eve, but he is unable to prolong her life when she suddenly takes a turn for the worse. Peter believed he had been sent to save her, and that was his destiny.

The fantasy aspect reveals itself through the beautiful flying white horse and the fact that Peter survives for nearly 100 years searching for the woman who followed the light. He eventually finds the vision that he has been chasing his whole life, and it's completely unexpected and beautiful to behold. His love transcends generations and gives him purpose and fulfillment.

The film is a visual masterpiece of beautiful sets and costumes and scenes, and the score is lovely and haunting. I don't usually seek out fantasy films, but this one had enough realism mixed in with the fantasy to hold my interest.

Land O' Lakes Half & Half Mini Moo, 384-Count Single-Serve Packages
Land O' Lakes Half & Half Mini Moo, 384-Count Single-Serve Packages
Offered by TheNewMall
Price: $20.94
2 used & new from $20.94

4.0 out of 5 stars Need My Mini-Moos !, September 18, 2014
I've become inexplicably addicted to having my splash of Mini-Moo in my coffee each morning at work. Just one tiny serving does it for me - just takes the bitter edge off of the coffee.

However, I've always been curious about why Half & Half can survive on the shelf with no refrigeration. Here's the answer:

"There's a general class of UHT (Ultra High Temperature) pasteurized products on the market. UHT pasteurization encompasses a range of temperatures and times of processing to create specified products. Shelf-stable milks have been around for decades. You can also find UHT products in the dairy case. Most, if not all, organic and reduced-lactose milks are UHT processed because they don't have the almost immediate turnover that "regular" milks do. By regulating the temperature and time, a UHT process allows them to increase the sell-by date by several times over "regular" milks and so can sit in the case much longer than normal."

Though the claim is that it is an "all natural" product, the ingredients include: "Half & Half, Sodium Citrate, DATEM, Tetra Sodium Pyrophosphate, and Carrageenan." CONTAINS: Milk

I've always been concerned that it's not really milk at all, but some agglomeration of milky looking chemicals. So with that concern put aside, I will continue with my daily dollop of Mini-Moo !

The main problem with this product is that the lids on the tiny cups are somewhat fragile, and you have some leakage and burst containers in each carton. Also, the amount of plastic waste that is put into the environment is another concern. But given the alternative, which is wasted fresh half and half, it seems a reasonable trade-off.

Elvis Presley: A Southern Life
Elvis Presley: A Southern Life
by Joel Williamson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $24.89

4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and Well Researched Biography of The King, September 17, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
From Elvis' impoverished youth, right up until the day he was found dead on the bathroom floor, no detail is spared in Williamson's biography, however flattering or sordid, in describing the unique life of one of America's most beloved and imitated personalities - Elvis. People of a certain generation (i.e. those now over ~55) can remember where they were the day they heard the news of his death in August, 1977. He was larger than life then, and his legacy of songs and movies is still prevalent in our culture.

Though the book is primarily told in chronological order, the author starts right off with "The Death of Elvis", covering the details of the discovery of the body, the delayed ambulance trip to the hospital, the involvement of Dr. Nick, and other unsavory details. With that out of the way, he then discusses Elvis' very early career, how girls reacted to his sexual body language and tunes, and how Colonel Parker came to handle him exclusively.

Elvis segued from live performances to television, which actually eliminated the assembly of screaming girls that populated his concerts. Williamson discusses Elvis' appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show and his gradual reformation into a mainline performer, "morally straight, sanitized, certified and approved for nationwide consumption." Then, having conquered television, he disappeared from that medium for over a decade to concentrate on his movie career.

Then Williamson changes gears and delves into Elvis' upbringing, his father Vernon's trip to Parchman Prison and how that affected his family, and Elvis' deep love and respect for his long-suffering mother, Gladys. The Presley's were "white people of the lowest order", and Elvis never forgot the importance of class and position in our society, nor the deprivation of poverty. He was generous to a fault, gifting his entourage with cars and jewelry and trips.

The second half of the book focuses on Elvis' obsession with young virginal girls and his long drug-infused decline. The author stated repeatedly that Elvis could never go to bed alone, and that one of the primary jobs of certain of his staff members was to provide him with a selection of pretty and servile young girls. No gritty or sordid detail is omitted - at times I felt pity and even revulsion for his insatiable appetites, and grew tired of the dreary repetition of this part of his lifestyle. During the last few chapters of the book, you can sense deterioration in everything and everyone around Elvis, and the impending sense of doom almost caused me to stop reading the book.

I read an "Uncorrected Advance Reading Copy", which includes no photographs or an index. There are references to photographs in the book, so I assume the final version will include photographs from Elvis' movies and life. I felt that the book needed some editing to change the sequence of some of the vignettes, and remove redundant and repetitive sections.

My reaction to the story of Elvis can be summed up by what the author wrote in the first sentence of the Foreword: "People respond to Elvis with some pretty powerful emotions. People love him for some things, laugh at him for others, feel almost desperately sad about his decline and wasted potential, and sometimes get angry at him or people close to him." I grew up in Las Vegas during his heyday when he reigned at the International Hotel, and he was a huge presence in the town. Indeed I love some of his cheesy old movies and songs that became the sound track of our lives, I found his outrageous costumes and obsessions laughable, I am still sad about the circumstances of his untimely death at the age of 42, and am sickened by the people who presided over his decline.

Safety 1st Clean and Comfy Feeding Booster
Safety 1st Clean and Comfy Feeding Booster
Price: $27.99
7 used & new from $21.93

4.0 out of 5 stars Lightweight, Portable, Easy to Clean, September 15, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Booster seat arrives in 3 different pieces and requires some assembly to snap the seat into the base and insert the tray. As others have noted, aligning the seat to the base and snapping the two together is a bit of a struggle. The plastic molded pieces are very light weight and appear somewhat flimsy, but when assembled, the finished seat is sturdy and stable. The seat protector pad is thick and rubbery and has the dual purpose of protecting the adult chair from spills and scratches, as well as ensuring that the booster seat won't slip around. However, the protector pad doesn't drape down the sides of the chair at all, so if I were using this on top of an upholstered chair, I might put down a towel or dishcloth first.

The seat is a seamless molded plastic that is smooth and shiny and very easy to clean. In fact, you can place the whole thing in the kitchen sink and turn the sprayer on it if your little darling has made a big mess! The tray completely detaches from the seat and you can wash it in the sink also.

A small harness fastens around the child so they can't wriggle out, and straps attach the booster seat to the adult chair. This booster would be ideal to keep at grandma's house, or when baby outgrows the highchair. The tray is a bit tricky to remove, but with practice I'm sure it will become easier.

Munchkin Latch Lightweight Pacifier and Heartbeat Clip, 0+ Months
Munchkin Latch Lightweight Pacifier and Heartbeat Clip, 0+ Months
Offered by Best Brands Toys
Price: $12.99
2 used & new from $12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Nice Way to Soothe Baby, September 12, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The red heart-shaped plastic part snaps into the front of any Latch pacifier and has 2 functions 1) it includes the tiny button-activated heartbeat sound, and 2) it. Is attached to ~6 inch grosgrain ribbon with a clip on the other end. The clip which attaches to the baby's clothing to keep the pacifier from going astray, seems a bit over-engineered for the task. The round metal part flips back so that the plastic teeth are separated and when closed they have a very firm grip on the fabric. The ribbon clip is hand washable, and the heartbeat gadget seems to be sealed well enough to not be damaged by getting wet.

The heartbeat sound is exactly like what you hear from the ultrasound machine in the doctors office, so presumably it will be familiar to a newborn baby.

The pacifier is newborn-sized with a natural shaped nipple. The addition on the heartbeat gadget and clip makes it very practical and useful. The baby for which this is intended hasn't arrived yet, so we'll just have to see whether she will like the heartbeat sound and pacifier shape !

The Body Shop Peppermint Cooling Foot Lotion, 8.4-Fluid Ounce
The Body Shop Peppermint Cooling Foot Lotion, 8.4-Fluid Ounce
Price: $15.16
7 used & new from $7.33

5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing and Moisturizing - Keeps the Tootsies Looking and Feeling Good !, September 10, 2014
I have been using this product for many years and really enjoy the soothing and moisturizing properties for my dainty tootsies. I keep the bottle in my nightstand and massage it into my feet before going to bed each night. It prevents ugly calluses from forming and also helps take away some of the aches and pains when I've spent a long day walking or standing on my feet. I also have a smaller travel size version for my travel kit, and that really comes in handy when I've been touring and walking for hours a day. A refreshing foot massage with the peppermint lotion, clean pair of socks and a change of shoes gets me back on my feet and ready for the next outing !

Secret Outlast Protecting Powder Scent Women's Clear Gel Antiperspirant & Deodorant 2.7 Oz
Secret Outlast Protecting Powder Scent Women's Clear Gel Antiperspirant & Deodorant 2.7 Oz
Price: $3.97
28 used & new from $1.36

5.0 out of 5 stars Clear, Effective and Pleasant Scent, September 10, 2014
After trying many different products over the years, Secret Outlast Clear Gel is by far the most effective and now my favorite. Just one crank of the knurled pump at the bottom expresses enough of the gel through the small holes at the top to swipe the entire underarm area. The gel goes on smoothly, covers thoroughly with no sticky residue and dries very fast due to the slight amount of alcohol. I can get dressed soon after putting it on and never have to worry about smudging my clothing - even black silk t-shirts go on without a trace. The scent is pleasant and fresh, vaguely like baby powder, and not at all overpowering. I don't smell a waft of perfumy scent from my armpits throughout the day as I do with other products.

United 93
United 93
Price: $2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Documentary Quality - Riveting Action Scenes, September 9, 2014
This review is from: United 93 (Amazon Instant Video)
United 93 is organized and filmed in a documentary fashion, with alternating scenes from Air Traffic Control, a military control room, and the cabin and cockpit of UA93. The handheld, sometimes jittery, film style lends a real-time, intense quality as does the fact that there is no background music. The cast is entirely assembled without any recognizable "stars", which also lends an air of authenticity.

Though the scenes on the plane are recreated from logs and phone calls, of course it will never be known exactly what happened during the fatal flight. What seems to be missing, however, is identification of the 4 men that were assumed to have been the leaders among the passengers on the plane, and even the now famous "Let's roll!" call when they charged the cockpit. The people on the plane were virtually unidentified and unknown. It would have preferred to know a bit more about them, if only to satisfy my conclusions that they were just like the rest of us - ordinary citizens and that each of us may have had the courage to act in the same manner had we been there.

The hijackers were portrayed as religious but somewhat disorganized and ill-prepared buffoons - probably a simplification given the spectacular devastation that the group of terrorists as a whole were able to inflict on the country.

The chaos of the events that played out within the plane was riveting, but what I found most interesting was the sequence of events on the ground as the controllers and military attempt to make sense out of the developing situation. I still have the 9/11 Commission Report on my bookshelves and intend to eventually reread it.

As the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 hijackings approaches, it occurs to me that there is an entire generation of kids approaching high school that weren't alive then, and have perhaps an unclear understanding, if any, of what occurred that day. I think "United 93" will remain a useful and informative film to help make sense of some of the chaos of that day as it fades from our collective memory.

Munchkin Latch Lightweight Pacifier, Green/Orange, 0+ Months
Munchkin Latch Lightweight Pacifier, Green/Orange, 0+ Months
Price: $5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soft and Pliable for Newborn's Tiny Mouth, September 6, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The 2 tiny pacifiers are just the right size for a newborn's sweet little mouth. The soft, pliable silicone is odor free and tasteless (yes I tried one on for size !) The nipple is a shape that will be familiar to baby, and the heart shaped surround fits around baby's mouth without blocking the nose. There's even a little tab at the bottom so you can gently remove the pacifier from baby's mouth. The blister pack was easy to open and there's a small sheet of instructions, mainly warnings about sterilizing and proper use.

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