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Prescription: Murder!   Volume 1: Authentic Cases From The Files of Alan Hynd
Prescription: Murder! Volume 1: Authentic Cases From The Files of Alan Hynd
Price: $2.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Early 20th Century Murder …, July 3, 2015
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Free copy provided as an Amazon Prime member.

PRESCRIPTION: MURDER! VOL I represents a handful of stories that detail several odd cases of doctor-related murder cases.

Generally, I prefer more modern crime stories, but admit that I found the handful of cases in this particular volume rather interesting. The stories illustrate doctor-involved murder plots that (for the most part) center on life insurance benefits. These accounts are relatively brief and told in a story-telling manner that keeps the reader focused from beginning to end. While the dated nature of these murder cases harken the days when potions and elixirs were considered “medicine”, the plans for murder were arguably elaborate and innovative. I particularly enjoyed the tale of a diabolical World War I hero imprisoned for murder who was later deemed a hero again … in another country.

For those who enjoy murder mysteries, PRESCRIPTION: MURDER! VOL I offers an interesting palate of short, digestible stories that are fun to read.


Women in War and Resistance: Selected Biographies of Soviet Women Soldiers
Women in War and Resistance: Selected Biographies of Soviet Women Soldiers
by Kazimiera J. Cottam
Edition: Paperback
21 used & new from $24.93

4.0 out of 5 stars How the East Was Won …, July 3, 2015
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The brunt of mankind’s biggest catastrophe (World War II) fell on the shoulders of the Soviet Union. Struggling in a total war of annihilation against Nazi Germany (something the West did not have to experience), every resource was utilized to save the country, including almost one-million women serving in a military capacity. Of these women, nearly a quarter of them earned medals/decorations of some sort with almost 90 receiving the ultimate honor: Hero of the Soviet Union (militarily comparable to the US Medal of Honor). Kazimiera Cottom’s WOMEN IN WAR AND RESISTANCE accounts for the lives of these female Hero of the Soviet Union (HSU) recipients and sheds light on their dedication, courageousness and the respect they earned from their compatriots.

Essentially, WOMEN IN WAR AND RESISTANCE is an extensive compilation of 94 mini biographies. Of these biographies, 4 represent the contributions of pre-World War II individuals (all of whom later served during World War II in some capacity) and 4 heroines who earned the title during the Russian Civil War. The bulk of the book, however, is dedicated to those who served during World War II (which the Soviet Union referred to as “The Great Patriotic War”). The biographies are grouped into chapters that detail the manner in which they served (airwomen, infantry/tanks, partisans, medical field, etc.). Each of the biographies vividly illustrates the lives of each woman, not just their wartime exploits. While many of those in the book perished during the war, when applicable, the biographies extend past 1998 (my book is a 2012 updated edition). I liked that the author provided photos of these women as many of them serve to contrast the non-feminine stereotype of a woman serving in the Red Army.

Initially, the Soviet Union had restrictions on women serving in combat roles until the war reached a desperate “all hands on board” level and no able-bodied citizen was to be spared service. While I have been well aware of Soviet women serving in combat for some time, I was only familiar with the exploits of Lilya Litvak (one of history’s two female air aces with 5+ kills) and a handful of successful snipers. Many of my books contain images of Soviet women in uniform, but mostly in non-combat roles, like signalers. The women in this book basically performed in the same capacity as men (including driving a T-34 tank or serving as a machine-gunner) and many of them sacrificed themselves to save comrades or fulfill a mission goal. Cottam really took an exhaustive and dedicated approach to the subject matter as the biographies are thorough and well-researched. I appreciated seeing that there was no standard background to the women (some had privileged upbringings and some came from extremely poor families) and they came from no specific part of their country. The lives of these women were as diverse as their roles in military service.

While I enjoyed the book’s content, I will admit that reading 94 biographies in succession was, at times, a tedious affair; especially the section on airwomen (which comprises the lion’s share of the book). With that being said, I found it hard to ignore the value of being educated on a subject matter that most of the Western world has little or no awareness. While the debate about “women in combat” flares up in American politics from time-to-time, I have yet to hear ANY reference of the only structured example of a modern nation allowing women to serve on the front … from either side of the argument. Reading Cottam’s book does, however, illustrate another scenario the Western world has yet to experience … a nation’s desperate struggle to avoid complete annihilation (Hitler’s plan for the Soviet Union), not merely oppressive, exploitative occupation. In other words, when the war reached a critical point, these women served on the front lines … and performed more than admirably. This desire to help save the nation from barbaric invaders was a common motivator in these HSU recipients’ desire to serve. On a sad note, many of the biographies reveal that the demise of the Soviet Union represented the nation steering away from acknowledging the one arguable accomplishment in its history … the sacrifice its citizens made to save the country and ultimately defeat Nazi Germany.

WOMEN IN WAR AND RESISTANCE proves to be both interesting and educating and Cottam’s passion for the subject matter really comes through. I have yet to find a more exhaustive and informative source detailing the issue of Soviet women fighting against the Nazis in World War II, let alone accounting for such heroism. Certainly a one-of-a-kind book.


Brian Piccolo: A Short Season
Brian Piccolo: A Short Season
by Jeannie Morris
Edition: Paperback
57 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Reveals a Depth of Character Not Shown in “Brian’s Song” …, June 30, 2015
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I actually remember picking up this book at our school’s Scholastic Book Fair back in the mid-1970s after seeing “Brian’s Song” (ABC Movie of the Week) … and never read it. Like many people my age, the movie tends to stick with you over the years (in my case, some 40 years) and after seeing both versions with my 9 year old daughter, I finally decided to read A SHORT SEASON. The book certainly paints a more complete image of Brian Piccolo than either of the “Brian’s Song” movies even attempted to do.

A SHORT SEASON is written in a somewhat choppy style with readers getting an early understanding of Piccolo’s progressive struggle with cancer. In between the medical issues being faced (which are explicitly detailed in medical vernacular), we are provided with remembrances of “Pics” life that include childhood, college, family life, and of course, his time with the Bears. Many of these remembrances/stories are told by Piccolo himself (italicized text). The entire book is essentially a single, 150+ page chapter and you somewhat need to get into a rhythm to handle the ongoing back-and-forth nature of the book.

While I certainly wasn’t expecting A SHORT SEASON to jive completely with the movie adaptation of Brian Piccolo’s short life, I was quite surprised at how much of the man’s character was left out of the screenplay. First of all, the book’s depiction of Piccolo’s relationship with superstar Gale Sayers certainly didn’t seem so exclusive … “Pic” was close to many of his Bears teammates, especially the legendary Dick Butkus. In fact, the entire Bears organization, including owner George Halas, adored Piccolo for his self-deprecating humor, work ethic, dedication to the team and his big-hearted personality. It is certainly thought-provoking to see how the entire Bears organization coalesced around Piccolo when his cancer was discovered … management and teammates. A scenario quite unimaginable today, when even the top players on a team (which “Pic” was not) are often casually dismissed. The depiction of unwavering loyalty by the organization toward its injured teammate/employee was one of the more endearing aspects of the book.

What I appreciated most, though, was getting a better understanding of who Brian Piccolo really was. As I read the book, it was hard not to envision James Caan’s “Brian’s Song” portrayal of “Pic” as a wise-cracking, fun-loving family man and consummate teammate (the better of the two movies … in my opinion). But, the book proves Piccolo to be a much deeper person, especially when it came to his limitless love and support of Carol, his wife’s mentally-challenged sister … a prominent part of the man’s life that never appears in either of the movies. It is easy to understand how and why the man’s early demise was so heartbreaking … Brian Piccolo was the kind of person most people want to have in their lives.

Up front, we know this is a tragic tale as most who will read A SHORT SEASON have likely viewed at least one of the “Brian’s Song” movies. But, this is one instance where the movie simply isn’t enough. While the movie is a bona-fide tear-jerker (for men and women alike), the book is just as sad (even seeing the text of Sayers’ courage award acceptance speech left a lump in my throat). But, along with the sadness of losing such a decent person at such a young age (leaving a wife and three young daughters) is the uplifting/offsetting courage demonstrated by Piccolo during his struggle with cancer. While I love (the original) “Brian’s Song”, I never really understood why the story of a relatively obscure football player deserved so much attention … A SHORT SEASON provides that explanation.


Diplomatic Afterlives
Diplomatic Afterlives
by Andrew F. Cooper
Edition: Paperback
Price: $23.56
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2.0 out of 5 stars Political Afterlives or a Political Kardashians?, June 24, 2015
This review is from: Diplomatic Afterlives (Paperback)
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With DIPLOMATIC AFTERLIVES, Andrew Cooper touches on a more modern trend of prominent world leaders’ who simply refuse to retire following their terms in office. Cooper selectively highlights a few of these “hyper-empowered” individuals and illustrates how they “cash-in” (figuratively and literally) on their global political clout. The results of his study shed additional light on the deeds being done by a handful of individuals (most of which the media readily reports), but never attempts to flesh out what really drives their efforts … altruism or ego?

Cooper’s book is a narrowly-focused work that centers on a select few leaders who have seemingly never retired from their former day jobs. Nowadays, it seems, leading a country is merely a stepping-stone to reach the political and financial pot-of-gold they were unable to attain while in office. These former leaders, freed from the confining chains of an electorate, roam the world to spread their power and influence on an unprecedented scale and making a lot of money for themselves in the process. Cooper claims the model for post-statesmen globe-trotting is Jimmy Carter, a man whose post-presidential passion may be rooted in honest altruism or simply serve as a means to right an arguably flawed presidential legacy. While the author acknowledges both as being possible motivators for Carter’s still-active presence on the national and global stage, he prefers to show support for the more favorable motivator: altruism. And with that, readers are spared from any recap of Carter’s polarizing and reckless meddling in US domestic and foreign policy. Unfortunately, this sets a somewhat skewed tone throughout the book, especially when one considers the individuals Cooper chooses to highlight and how he encapsulates their “political afterlives”.

With Carter providing the initial template, Cooper delves into the post-office careers of Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela and, to a lesser degree, Margaret Thatcher. The majority of the book is dedicated to Clinton and Mandela and the author documents how they have considerably expanded Carter’s more modest approach to a politically-active retirement. While one cannot argue the personal motivators when considering Mandela’s storied life, Clinton’s motivations are not-so-easily defined in the book. While much of Clinton’s involvement on the world stage following his Presidency are shown as successful and for just causes, Cooper presents an overly glorified image that tends ignore the considerable wealth amassed by Clinton in his political afterlife and really only factors the political ambitions of his wife to the year 2008. The controversial financial element of Clinton’s globe-trotting has been newsworthy for a while, but really isn’t explored by Cooper, who seems to take “the end justifies the means” approach to Clinton’s post-presidential life. The post-office lives of Gorbachev and Blair are less-favorably presented as being more “dash-for-cash” driven and tend to elevate the statures of Carter and Clinton. Toward the end of the book, we see how the author views those he has selected to examine for his book: the “earnest commitment” of Carter, the “charisma” of Clinton, the “iconic status” of Mandela, the “historical importance” of Gorbachev and the “mixed legacy” of Blair. It may be hard to argue with the list of successes associated with some of these leaders when only the successes are presented. I would have preferred a more critical analysis as to what these individuals could have done, but for some reason, did not or could not. Did some of their efforts make matters worse, was all the money received wisely appropriated? Are these globe-trotting second careers simply a means of supporting a healthy ego and amassing wealth under the guise of being helpful?

In addition to being a rather dry read, DIPLOMATIC AFTERLIVES comes across as an incomplete work. While Cooper brings forward other world leaders towards the end of his book (mostly by listing their participation in post-office diplomacy/cultural gatherings), it is a Carter-Clinton centric work the mostly shows how Clinton expanded/exploited what Carter started. The inclusion of Mandela serves to parallel/support the more positive Carter-Clinton post-leadership careers with Blair, Gorbachev and Thatcher being presented in a negative, contrasting manner. I was hoping for a better picture of the post-office careers of more world leaders than a stereo-typical presentation of a select few. Understandably, Cooper feels that those he selected were the most important (the “hyper-empowered”), but are they necessarily the best choices? I’ve never sensed Gorbachev and Blair as being as “overly-involved” following their terms in office. Hard to believe the political afterlife of Al Gore wasn’t included (even though he was a VP, he certainly threw his weight around the world enough to get a Nobel Prize). It would have been nice if the book could have presented a broader scope of leaders and their post-political careers. While I don’t have a problem with Cooper favoring the works of Clinton or Carter, I felt a more thorough approach could have been taken toward examining the controversial aspects of their legacies to present a more well-rounded understanding to readers.

Are these former leaders working for the good of others or are they simply self-aggrandizing, money-grubbing overnight guests that refuse to leave? DIPLOMATIC AFTERLIVES provides some food for thought, but presents too narrow an approach to the subject matter.


China's Coming War with Asia
China's Coming War with Asia
by Jonathan Holslag
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.54
50 used & new from $13.27

3.0 out of 5 stars Acknowledging the “Elephant in the Room” …, June 17, 2015
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With America’s global dominance being challenged and even usurped both internally and externally, it is hard to ignore China’s steadily growing presence on the world stage, let alone the shadow it’s casting over its Asian neighbors. Jonathan Holslag’s provocatively titled CHINA’S COMING WAR WITH ASIA draws attention to the collision course being created by China’s planned growth and the negative impact it will likely impose on bordering nations … with force, if necessary.

Holslag postulates an eventual diplomatic/economic/military logger-head in Asia due to China’s fulfillment of four “great aspirations” (author’s term): adding frontier land, recovering lost territory, strengthening its population’s faith in the Communist state and garnering respect for its authority (both locally and globally). While China claims to be achieving its growth peacefully (and has done so to this point), the massive investment in modernizing and strengthening the military indicates force as being an available option. Holslag’s provocative scenario of China using its growing military might as a bargaining tool doesn’t totally mesh with the alarming sentiment of war that book’s title indicates (including a cover featuring a ticking clock with a missile and military jet for hands). But, it is certainly hard to ignore the logic of China using its military as a tool to achieve its goals … especially when disputing territory with a nuclear power like India or nearby nations backed by the US (Japan, for example).

The book kept reminding me of a familiar 20th century theme of hegemonic expansion exhibited by Germany and Japan to achieve similar “aspirations”. While the author states China’s rise is centered more on security than hegemony, I felt the supporting data somewhat marginalizes China’s long (dynastic) history and a general principle of communism … ideological expansion. With onetime ally Russia no longer retaining “superpower” status, the US and its strong economic and military presence in Asia seems to be the biggest issue for China. Without directly saying so, Holslag appears to illustrate an escalating proxy war in Asia between China and the US, both economically and militarily (the author even refers to the military situation as being Cold-War like). Holslag doesn’t venture into predicting the outcome of the “coming war”.

CHINA’S COMING WAR WITH ASIA is certainly provides food-for-thought, but I felt the book was a little narrow in focus and/or somewhat incomplete. While it is hard to disagree with many of the issues Holslag presents, I was somewhat bothered by what ingredients weren’t added to the mix. How do a billion+ Chinese people factor into this scenario, what about Europe and its connections to Asia and most notably, what about North Korea (an unstable, bordering nuclear power that has presented a host of problems for China over the years)?


Diamond Nuts of California Pistachios, 6 Ounce
Diamond Nuts of California Pistachios, 6 Ounce
Price: $7.94
2 used & new from $7.94

5.0 out of 5 stars Straight-up Pistachios: Shelled and Unsalted …, June 15, 2015
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I’ve always felt the little pistachio nut was a worthy prize for dealing with the shell. But, DIAMOND OF CALIFORNIA offers a 6 oz. bag of shelled, unsalted pistachios that gives us the wonderfully, subtle sweetness we love without the manual labor.

This bag of nuts is a convenient way of adding pistachio sweetness to just about anything. Throw them into a bowl of ice cream, oatmeal, cookie dough or a salad. Toss them into waffle or pancake batter … with dark chocolate chips (my favorite use of pistachios) … or simply grab a handful and eat them on the go. No fuss, no mess … no need risk cracking your teeth trying to break into closed shells (I waste NO pistachios).

These pistachios are softer and chewier than the roasted/salted nuts, but they are great for cooking and plain pistachios are quite nutritious (14g of the good fat, relatively low carbs and 0 sodium). The nice thing is that if you really prefer the salty/crunchy kind of nuts, you can easily toast them. But, If you like the distinctive, sweet flavor of the pistachio nut without having to deal with the shell, you can’t go wrong with this DIAMOND OF CALIFORNIA product.


MoJack 47104 Myron Mixon Pitmaster Q3 36-Inch Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker
MoJack 47104 Myron Mixon Pitmaster Q3 36-Inch Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker
Price: $729.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Grill is Great … Once you Get to the Point You can Actually Use It …, June 9, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Honestly, I’d never heard of a pellet grill before … it’s always been either gas or charcoal. But, the described capabilities of the PITMASTER Q3 PELLET GRILL/SMOKER certainly made it worth trying.

WHAT IT IS:

The PITMASTER Q3 is a sharp-looking fire-engine red 36 inch barrel-shaped electric grill/smoker that burns wood pellets as a heat source. The grill arrives unassembled and weighs about 120 lbs. In addition to all necessary parts, the box included instructions. Unfortunately, there are several items you will need to purchase separately to use and safely store the grill: wood pellets, grill cover and a “water pan”.

ASSEMBLY EXPERIENCE:

When the grill arrived, even the UPS driver commented on how much of a “monster” the grill was (size/weight-wise). My grill had a little scuffing damage on the front of the grill lid (some of the red paint was scraped off), but no noteworthy dents or dings. Overall, I found the assembly process quite simple and the instructions for piecing together the main parts easy to understand. Unlike the standard propane grills I’d previously assembled, the panels of the PITMASTER Q3 are thin, but heavy and awkward to handle at times (especially the grill lid with its pointed corners). I managed to assemble it by myself, but another person could have made things easier (and safer) … total assembly time = 45min – 1 hour.

SOME PRE-USE ISSUES:

I did run into problems in figuring out how to assemble the interior unattached parts (the drain tray, heat damper, etc.) as the instructions don’t directly address them. While I figured things out (at least I believe I did), a simple diagram or picture of the grill’s interior would have been helpful.

Another issue is the water pan … it’s mentioned in the operating instructions, but not as part of the grill’s assembly. I had to scour the internet to figure this one out: you basically need to create your own water pan. Others have stated that using a small aluminum “loaf” pan that you get in multi-packs at the grocery store will suffice. I couldn’t find anything that fit the square slot that I assumed was designated for the water pan and basically had to shape the loaf pans myself … looks sloppy, but it works. I believe a pre-made water pan should/could have been included.

Buying the fuel was not as simple as I thought. I live in a large college town … we have Lowe’s, Home Depot, Walmart and Target … not one of them carried grill pellets in-store and it took me a while to explain to the individuals helping me that I wasn’t looking for heating pellets or wood chips for grilling … they had no idea what a pellet grill actually was. Eventually I had to order them online and wait for delivery.

It took me a minute to find the grill’s electrical cord … it was tucked up into the auger box and was completely out of view.

I would suggest buying a grill cover ahead of assembling. Even the instructions strongly suggest getting a cover due to the sensitive components in the grill (and the fact that the grill is an electric device). I believe something this important should have been included in the box.

FIRING IT UP FOR THE FIRST TIME:

Word of caution: Don’t immediately gather friends and family when you first plan to use the PITMASTER Q3 … a 45 minute seasoning process is needed before you can begin cooking food. With that being said, you may want to give yourself an extra 30-45 minutes to let the auger S L O W L Y transfer the wood pellets to the heat source … then, you can let the grill burn (season) for 45 minutes. Fortunately, this seasoning ritual is a one-time gig … but always keep an eye on the supply of pellets in the grill to avoid having to relive the 30-45 minute pellet transfer step.

When the pellets (I chose hickory) started to burn for the first time, I was engulfed in a pleasantly aromatic, but blinding smoke that eventually subsided and I could then start controlling the temperature for the task at hand. As a gas-griller, I had to get used to the pellet method of grilling. There are differences: no roiling flames, using electricity to operate the grill and adjusting heat levels with a thermostat. But, there were some distinct positives: No roiling flames, the awesome wood-burning aroma, easier heat control and no more throwing lit matches and waiting for that minor explosion (due to the push-button “starter” not working past the first 3 uses).

Cooking with the PITMASTER Q3 was easy and I love the ability to try smoking food (a first for me). The coordination between the thermostat and the thermometer is accurate and consistent … giving me the control I need to differentiate between grilling, cooking and smoking. The wood flavoring wasn’t as prominent as I thought it would be in the grilling process, but it certainly was when using the smoker.

OVERALL OPINION:

The frustrations I experienced prior to using the grill wore off shortly after the first steaks were being plated, but I do believe these frustrations should factor in the overall evaluation of a product as pricey as the PITMASTER Q3. I can’t complain one bit about this grill’s performance, but it took me a full week after I put it together before I could actually use the thing (waiting for the delivery of the wood pellets was a big part of that wait). The instructions could have been more thorough and the entire ensemble was missing a few essential items … especially a grill cover. If you plan on purchasing a PITMASTER Q3, it would be advisable to get a grill cover, loaf pans and wood pellets prior to putting the grill together. Once you’ve gotten through the initial teething process … grill on!


Tailgaterz Cool-N-Carry Cooler/Organizer, Game Day Graphite
Tailgaterz Cool-N-Carry Cooler/Organizer, Game Day Graphite
Price: $25.95
11 used & new from $22.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Simple, Practical and Versatile …, June 8, 2015
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While I live in a college town and do enjoy tailgating for games in the fall, I was attracted to the COOL-N-CARRY COOLER more as an organizer than a cooler. The nice thing about this product is that it gives me both options … a cooler with benefits.

WHAT IT IS:

A collapsible cooler with large, open box pockets on 2 of the cooler’s sides. The cooler is 12”x”12” with a vinyl-lined interior and a zippered top. The 2 side pockets are 10”x10” and the cooler exterior are made of rugged polyester. Straps are attached to the cooler for easy shoulder transport and additional Velcro straps allows the user to collapse either/both pockets as well as the entire unit. The entire assembly can be easily collapsed.

WHAT I LIKED:

- First and foremost, I love the storage capacity. For years, I was using an old snowboard bag to store emergency gear in the back of my XTerra. When I expanded the COOL-N-CARRY, I was able to place all the contents of the board bag into the cooler’s side pockets: tow strap, large water bottle, jumper cables, 2 rolled-up towels, 2 rolled-up blankets, bungee cords, socket wrench set, tennis balls (for the dogs) and more. The pockets are deep and the polyester sides stay rigid, keeping everything in place. The pockets were big enough that I didn’t even need to use the cooler for storage.

- Each pocket has an additional stretchy, meshed outer stash pocket to store smaller items.

- The cooler compartment is similar to the design of most collapsible coolers, with the interior vinyl insulation. It is rugged both inside and out and will not leak unless something sharp tears the liner inside. If cared for, there is no reason this cooler shouldn’t last for years. I have several soft-side stand-alone coolers with zippered tops and this is as good as any of them.

- I really like the fact that I can collapse one or both pockets if necessary and secure them to the sides of the cooler with the Velcro, depending on the amount of storage needed.

- When collapsed, the entire unit is relatively flat and takes up minimal space … in this state, I found it serving as a decent seat cushion.

I love products that have multiple uses and the COOL-N-CARRY certainly provides me with that luxury … this is a smartly designed and well-made product.


End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun)
End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun)
by Guy Benson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.77
67 used & new from $12.50

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Preaching … Not Only to the Choir …, June 7, 2015
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While I reached a degree of “political burnout” years ago, I’m still temped to dip my toe in the political book pool from time-to-time when lured by the promise of intriguing (salacious) scandals or reasonable (non-sycophantic) debate. Authors Mary Katharine Ham and Guy Benson may be labeled as “conservatives” or even “right-wingers”, but they present a rather convincing argument how “freedom of speech” is gradually being shaped by one voice that demands to be heard over everyone else. What I found enjoyable about END OF DISCUSSION was that Ham and Benson make their point in a humorous, relaxed manner … sans the bitterness. In other words, they offer their take on issues in a way that most sensible people can appreciate.

Sure, many of the issues presented in END OF DISCUSSION are nothing new to those who’ve grown accustomed to the rantings and ravings of the “us vs. them” mentality that dominates every facet of political discussion these days: the “war against women”, same-sex marriage, Islamophobia, racism … and the list goes on. These are provocative in that they involve people, which tends to make things personal and emotional ... the essential ingredients needed for rage. Rather than focus on the topics themselves and take sides, Ham and Benson take a step back to examine how and why these issues have become so volatile. Their conclusion is that the sensible manner of resolving differences using rational debate is being usurped by one side’s effort to silence the other by employing the same tactics kids use on a playground (fear, shame, finger-pointing and yelling louder). The authors claim this lack of debate has amounted to a one-sided argument in which a minority opinion ultimately controls the national discussion because anyone taking a different viewpoint must be a (insert derogatory label). In other words, we’re gradually losing our civility and the authors simply want to show us how and what can be done to improve things.

I caution those who may dismiss the book simply because the authors are labeled as “one of them”, because both authors express their open-mindedness on many of the issues at hand. Ham and Benson manage to offer candid opinions and solutions without being bitter or emotional … humor and simple common-sense make the book a relaxing and enjoyable read. They provide plenty of examples and evidence to convincingly back their points and never stoop to ranting. In many ways, END OF DISCUSSION reads a lot like Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” in that it manages to present one side’s perspective in a manner that is easy to digest by all. Like “Rules”, readers may not ultimately agree with the book’s message, but can appreciate the manner in which the message is delivered.

I enjoyed END OF DISCUSSION because I appreciate political books that make points using common-sense and humor. I also see value in the book because regardless of what side of the political aisle we belong, it illustrates how we should be cognizant of the dangers associated with one side controlling the national discussion. Inevitably, the other side will have its day at the helm …


Nia 24 Neck Sculpting Complex, 1.7 oz.
Nia 24 Neck Sculpting Complex, 1.7 oz.
Price: $118.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Positive Results, but the Active Ingredient (Niacin) May Be Unpleasant for Some …, May 27, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
NIA 24 NECK SCULPTING COMPLEX is a cream designed to “firm” and “lift” the skin along the neckline. My wife used this for 1 month and noticed both immediate and longer-term positive results.

POSITIVES:

- The cream is thick … a little goes a long way.
- A big plus was that the complex was not greasy and did not cause any outbreaks.
- Upon application, there was noticeable softening of the skin and over time (2-3 weeks), the firming qualities of the cream became evident.
- My wife experience no side effects/rashes at all using the NIA 24.

WORD OF CAUTION:

- The active ingredient is Niacin which is a stimulant that is known to generate a wide range of reactions that range from slight (a warm, flushed and or tingling sensation to the face/neck) to more severe (headaches and stomach pain). My wife takes niacin daily as a supplement and experiences no side-effects and this cream was fine for her. It may be wise to buy a bottle of niacin tablets at a grocery store (it’s cheap) and test it before wasting a considerable amount of money on a product that makes you miserable to use.

My wife loves the NIA 24 NECK SCULPTING COMPLEX because it actually delivers on its promise to soften and firm her neck. The only downside is that the product is somewhat pricey (but 1.7 oz. will last a while).


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