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Customer Reviews: 43
Top Reviewer Ranking: 164,667
Helpful Votes: 253

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Stephen Doonan RSS Feed (Portales, NM United States)

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Grieg: Peer Gynt Suites/ Holberg Suite
Grieg: Peer Gynt Suites/ Holberg Suite
Price: $13.90
75 used & new from $0.42

2.0 out of 5 stars Love the Music, Can't Stand the Performance, September 10, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I love every piece of music on this CD, but I have come to hate the performances after repeated listenings. Yes, the Berlin Philharmonic is an awesome orchestra, yes, Herbert von Karajan was and is a highly respected conductor.

However, these recordings seem to be the voice of the conductor, not of the composers. The music is inherently beautiful and lively, but Karajan makes it so soft, then unexpectedly loud, so filled with angst when there is none, so tortured and melodramatic, the violins often sounding like fingernails being scraped over a smooth surface, enough to make one cringe and one's teeth hurt, that it's hard to hear the beauty and meaning in the music because of all the layers of the conductor fiddling with and distorting the music.

I truly can't stand these recordings anymore, and this CD is going into my sell-to-a-used-CD-store pile. If anyone can recommend a more straightforward, less tortured-dynamics recording of these pieces (in the comments to this review), please do so; I would be grateful for it and it will help others. Thank you.

Lemonbest® High Power 3*3W 9W E27 Screw PAR20 LED Light Bulb Warm White Pack of 2
Lemonbest® High Power 3*3W 9W E27 Screw PAR20 LED Light Bulb Warm White Pack of 2
Offered by Lemonbest
Price: $14.56
2 used & new from $14.52

1.0 out of 5 stars LemonBest is the Worst, July 2, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I ordered a two-pack of these LED PAR 20 (2.5 inch diameter) spotlights. I already had two Utilitech brand PAR 20s to compare them to.

These Lemon"best" lights are very light compared to the Utilitech. One of the Lemonbest lights arrived dead (did not light up even one time, tested in multiple outlets including the outlet that the other Lemonbest light was working in.

I shook the broken light lightly and it rattled loudly. As a test, I shook the other (working) light and it rattled too (but still lit). This made me think that these are incredibly cheap because they are incredibly cheaply made in you-know-which-country.

I regret having bought these lights and recommend Utilitech or Cree brand instead. LemonBest is certainly "a lemon," but certainly not the "best."

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey [Blu-ray]
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Neil Degrasse Tyson
Price: $24.99
52 used & new from $18.87

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Science Videos, June 25, 2014
We don't have satellite or cable TV, so we watched the over-the-air broadcasts of Cosmos, and were fascinated by them despite the low resolution, static on the TV image and so many commercials. I was anxious to see the entire series again so I ordered the Blu-Ray version of the series and have greatly enjoyed seeing the series again in crisp and beautiful high resolution.

It seems that the relatively small ratio of people who give this series very low ratings have one or more of just several objections: they don't believe that the Earth is as old as it is, for religious reasons; they object to the scientific material and assessment of the carbon dioxide we're adding to the atmosphere and its implications for the global warming we're experiencing, for ideological (almost religious) reasons; and an objection to the "theory" of evolution, for religious reasons.

I have a couple questions for the religious people who believe that the Earth is only 6-10 thousand years old-- How did Noah and his family collect and place on the ark the many tiny or microscopic animals on Earth at that time, all the insects, the tiny tardigrades, all the bacteria and other microscopic organisms? And since the flood covered the world and must have killed all the land plants from both submersion and the poisonous effects of the dissolved salts in ocean water, and since plants weren't included in the species to be saved by the ark, why do we have the great diversity of plants that exist today? Did they all evolve after Noah and the Flood?

Cosmos is an extremely good series that accomplishes the astonishing feat of being appealing and fascinatingly educational to both adults and children. It is a great asset to us as a society. Thank you to everyone involved in its production.

Also recommended, the amazing Your Inner Fish about the recent discovery of the real-life "Darwin Fish" and its many implications, and the long line of gradual change that shaped those early animals' bodies into the one we call our own.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 26, 2014 7:40 AM PDT

Cree BA21-16027OMF-12DE26-1U100 100-watt Equivalent LED Light Bulb, Soft White
Cree BA21-16027OMF-12DE26-1U100 100-watt Equivalent LED Light Bulb, Soft White
Offered by RainyDay
Price: $21.95
16 used & new from $16.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Great, BRIGHT LED lightbulb!, June 21, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Some years ago we went through the house and systematically replaced the old incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. Some of those fluorescents have already lasted more than a dozen years without failing, but recently we decided it was time to move from compact fluorescent to LED, for several reasons.

Anyway, we bought several brands and watt-equivalents of LED lights, and these Cree 18-watt (brightness equivalent to 100-watt incandescents) and really love them. No idea how long they'll last, although they're rated from 15 to more than 22 years, which is good. That longevity makes their apparently steep price worth it, and these 100-watt equivalent lightbulbs are brighter than the brightest compact fluorescents we had, nice for aging eyes that need more light.

Very happy with these LED lights.

Your Inner Fish
Your Inner Fish
DVD ~ Host: Neil Shubin
Price: $17.99
19 used & new from $14.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Fascinating!, June 12, 2014
This review is from: Your Inner Fish (DVD)
This 3-part video series has as its centerpiece the discovery of a new (but very ancient) species, in fossil form in the Arctic, that has been named Tiktaalik. This ancient species had skeletal and anatomical development that places it at the exact point (in the geological and evolutionary time scale) at which fish developed limbs and lungs to move from their native water environment to the land at shore's edge. Tiktaalic had gills _and_ lungs. His eyes had moved from the sides of his head to the top center, as his head had flattened and his fin bones had elongated into stout stubs that could function to move his body like stumpy legs across the solid land of ancient shores.

Tiktaalik is the legendary "Darwin fish" in real life, the transitional species from water to land that further developed into other land animals that left the oceans and lakes behind permanently.

We still have traces of Tiktaalic and his fish ancestors in our own bones and organs. This documentary and the information it presents are eye-opening and fascinating, and the newly-discovered fossil and evidence fills in some gaps in our picture of prehistoric and ancient life, and shows how from an anatomical viewpoint, the more things have changed, the more they have stayed the same in many ways. We are so lucky to have scientists like Neil Shubin whose research illuminates and adds so much to our knowledge.

After seeing all three episodes of "Your Inner Fish" on PBS TV, I immediately wanted to see it again and ordered this DVD. Highly recommended.

Hudson 69940 Brass Flat Fan Nozzle Cap, Cone Shaped Spray Pattern, For Green Thumb & Hudson Sprayers
Hudson 69940 Brass Flat Fan Nozzle Cap, Cone Shaped Spray Pattern, For Green Thumb & Hudson Sprayers
4 used & new from $8.22

5.0 out of 5 stars Great replacement for stock Hudson nozzle, June 4, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This nozzle works great to produce a fine conical spray for my little one-gallon Hudson "Bugwiser" sprayer. The spray tip that came with it has a notch that produces a wide, narrow, coarse fan spray that is very efficient at pumping out a lot of liquid, but in coarser droplets that I don't like for the plants I typically grow.

Highly recommended replacement for the Hudson Bugwiser sprayer stock spray tip.

Earl Wild plays Gershwin
Earl Wild plays Gershwin
Price: $15.84
20 used & new from $7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, A Rhapsody Idomatic of the Jazz Age, December 11, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Finally! Someone who doesn't play the Rhapsody in Blue like they are beating this old, tired, warhorse to death! Except that this is not a new recording, but a very-well-remastered old recording from 1945, directed by the original conductor of Rhapsody in Blue, Paul Whiteman, and played by the incredible virtuoso pianist (and composer) Earl Wild, who heard George Gershwin himself perform this any others of his works many times.

This is a wonderful recording and record of not only George Gershwin's original sensation and his Three Preludes, but also Earl Wild's own incredible and complex concert works based upon Gershwin's songs and his opera Porgy and Bess.

Wonderful music, wonderfully played.

Maurice Steger: Vivaldi Concerti
Maurice Steger: Vivaldi Concerti
Price: $15.99
3 used & new from $15.99

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Musicians, Horrible Performance, August 14, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
First, an important note: this is an on-demand recorded CD-R disk, not a pressed, manufactured audio disk. That means that some audio equipment may have difficulty reading the disk (mine does), and the permanence of the recorded audio is in question as the dye layer of the disk ages.

About the music and the performance-- Vivaldi's concertos are often fairly light music but beautiful if performed appropriately. Unfortunately, some conductors and instrumental groups like to put their own highly individual stamp upon the music they perform, and the original composers are usually dead, so are not present to protest.

These performances are melodramatic and unpleasant. The audio is artificially constrained and too soft for long passages, and then suddenly, overwhelmingly too loud. The violins and other strings, which can sound so sweet, are instead used to imbue a maximum amount of annoying, fingernails-on-the-chalkboard, screechy and grating tonality to the music, as though the conductor were trying to force Vivaldi into the mold of angst-filled German "sturm und drang" music, making Vivaldi into high drama, or rather, inappropriate and almost dissonant melodrama.

The musicians are superb, which makes me angry that the interpretation of this music is so idiosyncratic and in a style that I regard as inappropriate for the music and musical period. Although others may disagree, the earnest, aggressive but ill-conceived performance ruins the music, in my view.

Quality Park Coin/Small Parts Envelopes, #7, 3.5 x 6.5, Box of 500 (50762)
Quality Park Coin/Small Parts Envelopes, #7, 3.5 x 6.5, Box of 500 (50762)
Offered by My office innovations
Price: $32.30
33 used & new from $25.31

3.0 out of 5 stars Bottom back flap not glued securely, June 15, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
If you are considering buying these envelopes as heavy-duty mailers, as I did, be aware that the bottom flap on the back side is not glued securely along its entire length, leaving loose tabs at either end that could be caught and torn in postal sorting machinery. You may need to apply some tape to the flap to keep it flush with the envelope, before mailing.

Vivaldi: Six Flute Concertos
Vivaldi: Six Flute Concertos
Price: $15.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Great Music - Won't Play, June 15, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The Amazon editorial review says: "This product is manufactured on demand using CD-R recordable media."

Take that warning seriously. This is wonderful music, if you can get it to play in your audio CD player. I have 3 audio systems; this burned CD (rather than pressed CD) plays in only one of them, and only after the player thrashes for a while trying to read the almost inscrutable disk.

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