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Michael Griswold "Michael Griswold" RSS Feed (Rockford, USA)
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How Music Got Free: The End of an Industry, the Turn of the Century, and the Patient Zero of Piracy
How Music Got Free: The End of an Industry, the Turn of the Century, and the Patient Zero of Piracy
by S. Witt
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.48

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good After Chapter One, April 25, 2015
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How Music Got Free by Stephen Witt turns into a very panoramic view of the music piracy industry and the effect that it has on the legal music industry, but you really have to soldier through the first chapter or so on the technical mumbo jumbo about the creation and evolution of the MP3. Tech people may love the detail of this section, but I found myself rather bored and considering reading other books. But to put the book down due to frustrating chapter one would be a monumental mistake.

After chapter one, the technology side calms down a lot and we get portraits of the (mostly) men on both sides of the fight Doug Morris—a music industry veteran and Dell Glover- a factory worker who leaked thousands of tracks to the masses. Yet, Witt doesn’t present one side as wholly good and wholly evil, but rather throughout the course of the book outlines the motivations of both sides—the record industry wanting to retain the old system because it enriched the few like Morris vs. men like Glover who made money hand over fist by pirating music and movies.

Instead of presenting a good and an evil, I think we end up somewhere in a place where record execs and music pirates would actually have a lot in common in terms of motivations and goals. Witt draws the various characters in such a way where the reader can understand where they are coming from. This does not mean that the reader will end up liking some corporate big wig or a man who broke the law, but they will understand them.

A fascinating look at music piracy and the consequences.


Being Berlusconi: The Rise and Fall from Cosa Nostra to Bunga Bunga
Being Berlusconi: The Rise and Fall from Cosa Nostra to Bunga Bunga
by Michael Day
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.52

4.0 out of 5 stars Berlusconi gets the Tabloid Treatment, April 25, 2015
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Ordinarily saying someone got the “tabloid treatment” would indicate that someone’s reputation was being dragged through the mud or they were being unfairly smeared, but I have to say that if any political figure ever deserved the tabloid treatment it would be Silvio Berlusconi. While author Michael Day does touch on answering very pertinent questions such as “How does a man who has done as much as Berlusconi hold on for twenty years”? Much of the 243 pages of text is dedicated to charting the seedy rise through Italian society, the a la carte menu of political scandals during his terms as Prime Minister, and his spectacular downfall.

As time goes by, it begins to read more like a tabloid and less like the hard-hitting journalistic expose that one might expect given the authors credentials. I was very torn on whether this hurt the book or not. When you’re dealing with a figure such as Berlusconi with his history of affairs, uncomfortable diplomatic incidents, and whatever in the world bunga bunga is, I don’t know how one avoids slipping from series inquiry into tabloid journalism. Me personally, I don’t think Michael Day should be held responsible for Silvio Berlusconi.

An eye opening, if somewhat cringe inducing portrait of Silvio Berlusconi


McCormick Skillet Sauce Smoky Applewood BBQ Chicken, 7 Ounce (Pack of 6)
McCormick Skillet Sauce Smoky Applewood BBQ Chicken, 7 Ounce (Pack of 6)
Price: $23.65
3 used & new from $23.65

2.0 out of 5 stars BBQ Mess would be more appropriate, April 21, 2015
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Near as I can tell the BBQ was supposed to go on the chicken and provide this really smoky BBQ chicken taste. It succeeded in this endeavor for all of two bites before turning into a slippy, slide mess that required multiple paper towels. More of the sauce ended up on my face and fingers then the chicken that ended up in my mouth. While as a sauce, it may have the taste that the company is looking for, practically getting more of the sauce on me then affixed to the chicken is a problem.


Girl at War: A Novel
Girl at War: A Novel
by Sara Novic
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.26

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Passable Tale of a Girl at War, April 12, 2015
This review is from: Girl at War: A Novel (Hardcover)
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Sara Novic has written about a young girls experience during the breakup of Yugoslavia and the Croatian civil war. While I thought it did a good job of relating the war experience and the lead characters Ana’s need to deal with the personal aftermath of the war, I would’ve preferred a more linear form of storytelling that went something like childhood in Yugoslavia, war, life in America and then going back to confront the ghosts of the past. As it reads, her existence in America is rather shallowly presented and I felt we needed greater depth there. I also wish that Sara Novic would've also gone earlier into the characters actual war experience sooner because that provided the story glue that bound the thing together. From where I was sitting as a reader, what reason would she have to go back considering her biological parents are dead ? Once we get her full story, this becomes clearer. For these reasons, I can only go three stars.


The Man in the Monster: An Intimate Portrait of a Serial Killer
The Man in the Monster: An Intimate Portrait of a Serial Killer
by Martha Elliott
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.48

4.0 out of 5 stars Two Sides of a Serial Killer, April 12, 2015
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The Man in the Monster: An Intimate Portrait of a Serial Killer by Martha Elliot was a really difficult read for me because it forces you to put yourself in the mind of a person who kills people. The Man in the Monster goes a step further by then asking us to see the convicted serial killer as a man, despite the fact that he is a man who has killed eight women. This is the complex dual role that Elliot asks the reader to preform throughout 320 pages and I have to say that it is quite uncomfortable at times.

As a book, it is well-written and the reader does see a complicated relationship develop between the author and Michael Ross or the two sides of Michael Ross as the case may be. I found myself stunned as Mr. Ross described in detail the fantasy that he was acting out in attacking all these women and how he killed them. It almost felt like there was an invisible hand in the room creeping up on me as I read it. But yet, it had a certain train wreck quality in that no matter how gruesome the scene may be, you just can’t turn away. I guess I won’t be joining my mom in a Criminal Minds marathon anytime soon.

The bottom line is that it is a great book, but I think a lot of audiences may have difficulty mentally getting to the place that Martha Elliot makes the reader go to in order to fully appreciate this book. Recommended for specific audiences.


Nesco FD-2000 Digital Square Dehydrator, 530-watt, White
Nesco FD-2000 Digital Square Dehydrator, 530-watt, White
Price: $152.80
9 used & new from $152.80

4.0 out of 5 stars Dehydrate this, April 8, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Nesco FD-2000 Digital Square Dehydrator requires both a whole lot of patience and a sizeable amount of space. The patience aspect comes in from the very moment that you start to unpack the box because what you actually end up with is a box, inside a box, inside yet another box, which is inside of forth box. I will avoid making the almost too easy reference to a clown car. The setup is fairly easy, but the sheer size of the machine means that it might not situate easy in a smaller kitchen environment like I have and might thus be relegated to part time or as needed use.

The device does come with a book that tells you the estimated drying time for a variety of different meats, fruits, and vegetables, which is good because most people probably don’t know the drying time of pineapple for example. We tested this product using first a couple and then multiple trays and discovered that the estimates for drying assorted fruits pineapple, bananas, kiwi, and apples were generally accurate when only a couple of trays were used, but slightly off when one began using many trays as this machine allows.

I am not however willing to penalize on this point because there are many factors that could account for this difference such as thickness of slice, size of produce etc, so I cannot say for certain that I wouldn’t work fine, if conditions changed.


Billy Martin: Baseball's Flawed Genius
Billy Martin: Baseball's Flawed Genius
by Bill Pennington
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.26
52 used & new from $15.41

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Flawed Book About A Flawed Man, April 8, 2015
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There is no denying that Billy Martin is one of the most dynamic characters in the history of Major League Baseball, while also being one of the most flawed. I thought that Bill Pennington did a pretty good job of placing the reader inside Billy Martin’s world from the rough upbringing in the Bay Area, to his playing career most notably with the Yankees, and his roller coaster of a managerial career. For those non-baseball people, there are plenty of stories of various brawls, tabloid flings and celebrity encounters, it all came with the territory of being Billy Martin.

Where my disappointment comes in is in these off the field incidents involving Billy Martin. It felt like his involvement and role were significantly downplayed or minimized away. While I’m not an advocate for taking a sledgehammer for Billy Martin, this suggests that the writer is biased in that he can’t shake his love for Billy Martin. It’s not really a question of credibility because Pennington covered Martin for so many years, but he doesn’t seem to give alternative points of view much coverage inserting them more as part of acknowledgement that they exist before laughing into a but or however that paints Billy Martin in a better light.

On the positive side it is a very entertaining book that reminds one of a past and perhaps better era in baseball complete with fights, affairs, and a larger than life cast of characters, but the authors seeming pro-Martin bias takes it down a peg for me.


Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam
Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam
by Fredrik Logevall
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.09
47 used & new from $9.79

5.0 out of 5 stars The Spark to a Decades Inferno, April 4, 2015
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I feel like so many great things have already been said about Embers of War by Fredrik Longevall that it would be hard to not get lost in the wave of superlatives that cover this book. Longevall did something amazing in this volume. While there has been work preformed on the French portion of the Vietnam War and of course the later Americanization of the war, this is the first volume that blends the two together sort of. This book stops at roughly when the United States was ramping up its efforts to keep Vietnam out of Communist hands. Yet it isn't entirely a tome on the French War either. Longevall digs deeper and starts the narrative in the 1920's and unravels a story ripe with powerful personalities each striving for conflicting goals and disillusionment with ideas and what nations can and cannot be.

With so many why we lost type analysis of why country x or y won or lost, we forget that both Vietnam conflicts are above all human stories of greed, pride, mis-perception, arrogance, and loss. Embers of War really excels on this point because the reader can feel the cornucopia of human emotion pulsating through the veins of the various characters. For example, the unrelenting belief that Vietnam must be free for Ho Chi Ming or the desperation of French politicians and military figures to win Vietnam because it was a matter of France's pride and prestige in the international community. One even feels the shifts in US perceptions of the Vietnam conflict over 40-50 years. Logevall draws all of these figures in such a way that the reader finds himself with an understanding of the mindsets of these figures. In this way, the reader can identify with, not necessary like the motivations of someone like Ho Chi Ming for example.

A first rate history that hooks the reader early on and never lets go.


Self-Esteem For Dummies
Self-Esteem For Dummies
by Vivian Harte
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.92
55 used & new from $10.63

4.0 out of 5 stars A Jolt of Self-Esteem, April 4, 2015
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The good thing or bad thing about the For Dummies series depending upon your point of reference is that they often act as a starting point as though you have just splashed down from your home planet and have no concept of what self-esteem is or how it is useful in a human beings functioning. I am in the camp which believes that acting as though the audience knows nothing is actually a tremendous benefit because human beings are often so hammered by a broad, vast encompassing concept like self-esteem that we forget the most basic concepts such as self esteem is not a fixed commodity and comes from many sources, thus we have at least some control over it. Forgetting such concepts, often leads people to cling to faddish quick fixes and hope salesman.

Some of the exercises themselves may come off as silly and inspire laughter from inside of a person such as writing a love letter to yourself, I personally couldn't even fathom doing it because it kept inspiring the question "But what if your a narcissist"? A love letter to yourself is probably the last thing you need. Still 98% of the advice featured in this book comes from a helpful and compassionate place. I did feel something steel within me as I pondered my life because of the material presented in this book and came out of the reading experience better than coming in.


Bialetti Granito Nonstick Saute Pan, 12-Inch, Gray
Bialetti Granito Nonstick Saute Pan, 12-Inch, Gray
Price: $39.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Time will tell, April 2, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Bialetti Granito Nonstick Sautee Pan, 12-Inch, Gray is certainly a very heavy sauteé pan with a fairly comfortable and smooth handle grip. The true test of a pan will be how the non-stick coating will hold up over time, beyond the first five or ten uses. Thirty days is admittedly not a fairly long time period to test-drive a pan whose main drawing points are a sleek and user friendly design and the non-stick coating. Most appliances and kitchen ware can hold up in this brief window of time, unless its absolute garbage. I will update this review when more sufficient time has passed. All I can say at present is that the product seems to work as advertised.


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