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Michael Griswold "Michael Griswold" RSS Feed (Rockford, USA)
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Space Jam
Space Jam
DVD
Price: $2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars The Good Cheese of Space Jam, September 4, 2015
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This review is from: Space Jam (Amazon Instant Video)
While I will grant that Space Jam will never be considered an all-time critically acclaimed movie, it really is just a harmless use of an hour and a half. These alien creatures from Moron Mountain steal the talent of NBA players in an effort to enslave the roster of Looney Tunes for work on their failing amusement park. Our favorite Looney Tunes characters enlist the services of a retired Michael Jordan for a basketball game to decide it all.

It’s very light, free, and easy without a lot of deep subplots and pulse racing drama. In all honesty, when I was in fourth grade I loved this movie and thought it was the greatest thing ever, well that and Twister. I have to wonder if my review is being tinted by the good memories that the movie generates rather than actual quality. But that is perhaps the best thing about movies in general. We can base our opinions on our emotions and feelings and probably should because if a movie just exists, then it hasn’t done its job as an art form. I like Space Jam for the fact that it allows me to escape from the adult world and feel like a kid again, if only for a few brief moments.


Problem Child
Problem Child
DVD
Price: $9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars The Thing about Problem Child, September 4, 2015
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I once heard that Problem Child was once called one of the worst comedies of all time. I have but six words on that note: “It has John Ritter in it” Yes, the plot is absurd: a child that is so bad that nobody wants him until this happy go lucky guy takes the leap and grows quite fond of Junior despite a series of horrendous, although humorous incidents like the baseball game and camping with that jerk Roy. And don’t get me started on the bow tie killer, played reasonably well by Michael Richards.

But on another level it has this quirky perverse, charm as it really makes me laugh for so many of the wrong reasons. I would suggest that its actually a father-son bonding story complete with destruction on a softer scale then a film intended for adult audiences. It’s really a harmless way to spend ninety minutes and if you have kind of an off-beat sense of humor, then you might really get into this one.


Good Will Hunting [HD]
Good Will Hunting [HD]
DVD

5.0 out of 5 stars Aren’t we all Searching for Something?, September 3, 2015
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Good Will Hunting really connected with me on a deep personal level. While I am not a Will Hunting level genius, because of my physical disability I can definitely relate to many of the feelings of being let down by people and trust issues that the Will character faces. Somewhat sadly, I also know what its like to have all this potential and yet not living up to the abilities I have.

I thought everybody was terrific and played their role perfectly. I especially liked the contrast between the university professor and the psychologist where one pushes Will towards a life of academics and knowledge, while the psychologist pushes him to find who he is. That is the way it so often goes in life with parents and friends pushing people in one direction, while you want to travel in another. The level of realism here was amazing.

Good Will Hunting is a film that really speaks to anyone who has ever gone searching for something or who questions whether there is more to life.


Days of Rage: America's Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence
Days of Rage: America's Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence
by Bryan Burrough
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.63
77 used & new from $14.98

5.0 out of 5 stars These Familiar Days, September 3, 2015
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Reading Days of Rage is like stepping into a time machine of sorts for someone like me, who grew up in the post 9-11 world where terrorism is treated as this tremendous evil that stains humanity and justifiably so. We also can't envision terrorism as being commonplace and even accepted in some circles. But then again, it was a different time, we were in an unpopular war, government mistrust was at an all time high and corporations were a symbol to be hated. [Maybe our times aren't so different after all]. That is my one complaint with this book that it does not do a better job of reaching backward and connecting what occurred in the 1960s and 1970s to the events today with the exception of the final few pages.

Days of Rage profiles several radical/terrorist organizations including The Weathermen, the Symbionese Liberation Army, The FALN, The Black Liberation Army as they plot their actions and carry them out. In addition, we get the other side of the story as Burrough talks to several retired FBI agents about their efforts to bring the terror to a close. While some of these were successful, some of them were almost laughable. While you probably need to take both sides of the fights words with more than a grain of salt because of the incentives to lie involved, I think you get a pretty coherent picture of what the days of the Radical Underground looked like in America.


Lexmark 50F1000 Return Program Toner
Lexmark 50F1000 Return Program Toner
Price: $58.99
98 used & new from $53.18

5.0 out of 5 stars Ink in Review, September 2, 2015
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Reviewing ink is really a it worked or it didn't work proposition. The cartridge slipped fairly easily into the printer. However, the printer then did one of those magical technology things that mere mortal men like me, are incapable of understanding. But we messed around with the printer a little bit and now the printer and cartridge are working like a dream. When it prints, the text and lines appear much more refined then with the original cartridge that came with the printer. As this is for a big office printer and I am just a former graduate student who has moved beyond heavy duty printing needs, this should last awhile, but mileage will vary depending on use.


The Japan-South Korea Identity Clash: East Asian Security and the United States (Contemporary Asia in the World)
The Japan-South Korea Identity Clash: East Asian Security and the United States (Contemporary Asia in the World)
by Scott Snyder
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $29.28
30 used & new from $24.30

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars History is the Kingmaker in East Asia, September 2, 2015
Japan and South Korea are democracies in Asia who are allied with the United States. That is where the two countries seem to diverge at least diplomatically. The core puzzle of this book seems to be “Why do these two important countries with similar interests in East Asian security and trade among other areas, not cooperate better with each other and the United States more broadly? As the authors point out, there exist a number of International Relations theories to account for this anomaly, but these are ultimately inadequate to explain the paradox.

The authors take a new tack by focusing on the identity of the two states. Identities are often formed through history and Japan and South Korea have a number of historical grievances that often provoke clashes and derail cooperation. This book is one part study of historical grievances mixed with public opinion data, so that the novice to issues of East Asian relations won’t be confused, yet looks at the East Asian security development from a new angle.


Imperialism Past and Present
Imperialism Past and Present
by Emanuele Saccarelli
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $24.95
16 used & new from $18.29

4.0 out of 5 stars The Many Faces of Imperialism, September 2, 2015
Imperialism Past and Present is an interesting book in that it attempts to outline why imperialism happened in the past and why it continues to happen in the present with the US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. To clarify, the imperialism of the 1800 and 1900’s is not the same imperialism that we witness today (If one in fact views this era as imperialistic). While the late 1800’s to 1960 imperialism was more about getting economic resources for the colonizer, the modern day imperialism seems to be more rooted in cultural and ideological grounds under liberalism. But the basic point is still the same: larger companies dominate weaker ones.

While I thought that the discussions dealing with how imperialism has changed over time were very interesting, the definitional soup that the average reader has to wade through in order to get to these discussions can be enough to drive one up the wall. I am thinking particular of the imperialism vs. colonialism debate, which while helpful tends to leave one confused. In the effort to so clearly define the terms of the debate, the debate itself gets lost in the trees.

This is a very good effort to link two hundred years of imperialism together in a relatively brief number of pages, but the definitional soup really drags the book and the reader down.


NCIS: Season 6
NCIS: Season 6
DVD ~ Mark Harmon
Price: $14.43
35 used & new from $4.75

5.0 out of 5 stars Season Six and still Pine Forest Fresh, August 24, 2015
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This review is from: NCIS: Season 6 (DVD)
By season six of any show, the questions begin to be asked “How long can this show keep it up or how do they keep it fresh and avoid it becoming a sad shell of its former greatness. NCIS answered this question with flying colors as all of the characters had at least an episode that revealed something about their character that was new and fresh. Ducky had an emotionally charged episode about his actions as a medic in Afghanistan, Director Vance had a case that brought the audience back to his upbringing in Chicago, Abby had that episode in the medical facility, and even Palmer had to deal with the aftermath of that Agent Lee thing. I thought this really freshened the characters up.

I guess that’s the thing I like most about NCIS. The formula is nothing spectacular, you have a crime and they try to solve the crime, but the episodes are written in such a way that no episode feels quite the same. They’ve created these characters that we can’t help but care about them because they are members of a virtual family. Most shows are nearing their decline by season six, but NCIS just keeps chugging along.


NCIS: Season 3
NCIS: Season 3
DVD ~ Mark Harmon
Price: $9.96
27 used & new from $5.87

5.0 out of 5 stars NCIS sets the table, August 24, 2015
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This review is from: NCIS: Season 3 (DVD)
NCIS Season Three really set the table for the next two-three years with the introduction of the characters of Ziva David and new NCIS Director Jenny Shepard. Before we get there however, we have to deal with the aftermath of the death of Agent Kate Todd in a somewhat haunting episode complete with talking corpses. The transition of the new characters into the NCIS fold was done virtually perfectly as the team has to accept the clash of cultures or styles between Ziva and Kate and Gibbs has to move past his past with his new boss Director Shepard.

I thought that everything was done in a very realistic manner and new stories were opened up that apparently are still memorable years later since I remembered so many of them, even though I have not caught an NCIS marathon in years.


1960--LBJ vs. JFK vs. Nixon: The Epic Campaign That Forged Three Presidencies
1960--LBJ vs. JFK vs. Nixon: The Epic Campaign That Forged Three Presidencies
by David Pietrusza
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.01
56 used & new from $0.10

4.0 out of 5 stars The 1960 Campaign for the Ages, August 24, 2015
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Having previously read his book on the 1948 Presidential Contest between Harry Truman and Thomas Dewey, I was definitely interested in what David Pietrusza would have to say about the most infamous election in the last half-century or so. 1960 is the starting point for a decade+ period that changed the American landscape forever. By the time the dust had settled, Kennedy was assassinated, Johnson was driven from office by Vietnam-a shell of his former self, and Nixon was forced to resign for his role in the Watergate cover-up. Americans faith and trust in their political leaders has never recovered.

With such high stakes in one election, one needs a book like 1960 and an author like David Pietrusza whose fluid narratives and grudging trust of politicians seems perfectly placed. He tries to give the reader something of a panoramic view of the campaign, in that we don’t just learn about the main players, but about things that have been relegated to history. For example, Nixon received a token-press challenge from the eccentric Nelson Rockefeller or that there were legitimate doubts about Kennedy’s liberal credentials—anyone remember a brief clamoring for Adlai Stevenson?

It is these tidbits that make Pietrusza’s books really fun because most people know the outcome of 1960, but the road getting there is more than half the fun. For someone who is used to the party conventions being more of a coronation of the national ticket and the primaries being king, the sections on the various primaries and how they didn’t matter and the convention nominating procedures is like a Brave New World. Still because of his writing, I felt like I could’ve been there.


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