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Thule EnRoute Escort 2 Daypack, 27 L, Black
Thule EnRoute Escort 2 Daypack, 27 L, Black
Price: $91.43
11 used & new from $83.54

5.0 out of 5 stars Cadillac Backpack …, September 2, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My college backpack 30 years ago was (at the time) a high-end backpack that consisted of one large zippered pocket with a second smaller zippered pocket. Of course, back then you only needed a backpack to carry notebooks, a few textbooks and pens (our state-of-the-art IBM “Portable PC” weighed 30 lbs. and had its own luggage bag). Today, there’s a backpack tailored to most any specific activity, but I haven’t found anything comparable to the THULE ENROUTE ESCORT 2 in terms of functionality.

WHY SO SPECIAL?

THULE seemed to take an “all-hands-on-board” approach to designing this pack as I was finding unnoticed pockets, gadgets and gizmos for several days.

- Pockets and stash space galore: There are four “concentric” main double-zippered pockets, of which three open the top half of the pack. The fourth, outermost pocket is a smaller, protective pocket for storing more delicate items. There is a one-sided zipped storage space below the protective pocket, 2 meshed, elastic pockets (one on each side) for water bottles and a myriad of meshed, zippered pockets, sleeves and dividers inside the 4 main pockets. There is a space designed to hold just about anything reasonable.

- Ample storage: The backpack advertises total storage space of “29 L” which, to me, translates into “a lot of space for all your stuff”. The pack has the capacity to simultaneously store a larger-sized laptop (17”) and a large tablet in designated pockets without making a dent in the total storage capacity. There are adjustable retention straps on the outside to keep the contents in place.

- Ingenious perks: all the straps have elastic bands to prevent excess straps lengths from hanging (eliminating the annoying “pom pom” effect of multiple hanging straps). Nylon loops are attached to all outside zippers for easy access and the main/large pocket has larger plastic loops that make it easy for gloved hands to operate.

- Comfort: two segmented, parallel padding strips run from top to bottom (shoulder blade width). Because they are segmented, the pads are able contour the wearers back and create a more customized degree of comfort.

- Custom/secure fit: The ENROUTE ESCORT 2 has an adjustable waist strap to stabilize and secure the backpack. Further stabilization and comfort is provided by chest straps that can slide about 8” up or down to create a custom fit for the wearer (I love this feature). All straps connect via side-squeeze buckles.

- The protective pocket is lined with a felt-like material that allows storage of more delicate items like glasses. The outer rim of this pocket is a hard shell that reduces the likelihood of the pocket’s contents being damaged/crushed when the backpack worn while seated in a chair with a back (think bus seats or airport terminal chairs).

- The ENROUTE ESCORT 2’s outer shell is a layer of rugged nylon that protects the pack’s contents from the elements (snow and rain).

- Nylon loops on the outside can be used to attach carabineers for even more gear loading.

- The internal laptop sleeve/pocket is also serves to accommodate a hydration system and an access slit at the top of the backpack for the drinking tube that can be anchored by the elastic nylon bands on both shoulder straps. This is the one aspect of the ENROUTE ESCORT 2 that I didn’t like. I simply don’t like the idea of alternately using the same area as a holding place for electronics and liquid. Because I already have hydration packs, I won’t be using this backpack in that capacity … problem solved.

Overall, I found the THULE ENROUTE ESCORT 2 to be a superbly-designed, highly functional and extremely comfortable backpack. Hands down, this is the best backpack I’ve ever used.


Time to Get Tough: Make America Great Again!
Time to Get Tough: Make America Great Again!
by Donald Trump
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.89
34 used & new from $9.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Trump’s Game Plan …, September 1, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I’ve listened to Trump’s bellowing for decades (who hasn’t) and I have always separated his role as an entertainer/blowhard from that of the genius businessman (even though these roles seem to merge at times). While he has threatened to run for the Presidency before, his willingness to follow-through on that threat warranted me to take deeper look into his political philosophy. If anyone doubts that the man has any ideas on how to fix the problems facing this country, they need to read TIME TO GET TOUGH. With this book, Trump clearly addresses the problems he believes are plaguing the United States and pointedly details what needs to be done to fix them … in true Trump fashion, of course.

I am basing my review on the 2011 edition of this book. While the updated edition reflects Trump’s position as an official Presidential candidate, I found the original edition interesting in that his take on issues in 2011, as well as his solutions, are quite relevant today.

TIME TO GET TOUGH speaks to readers in the same manner as “The Apprentice” came across to viewers … a brutal mixture of bluster and bravado meticulously processed into sharp quips designed to insult, anger, motivate and above all, take notice. If anything, Trump is a master at using whatever tact is necessary for people to listen to him, like it or not. With this book, Trump vociferously expresses his disdain toward the leadership and policies of Obama leading up to the 2012 election. Now that the country has experienced a second Obama term, many of Trump’s opinions in 2011 appear quite visionary, especially his take on China, entitlements, immigration and the purpose/use of our military. I found Trump taking a practical approach to solving all the issues he presents. Sure, there is the trademark insult here and there, but I wasn’t turned-off by his blunt-speak. In fact, the one aspect of Trump’s Presidential candidacy that I find most refreshing is his refusal to not speak like a politician (lie) to appease certain groups. The frustration exhibited by Trump in TIME TO GET TOUGH is palpable and considering this frustration has festered four years after he wrote this book clearly explains why he finally decided to run: he feels the stagnant pool of career politicians (Republican and Democrat) aspire only to serve themselves and their political parties, not the American people.

Trump makes his points quite clear and uses a diverse array of sources to support his position. What I like about the book is that Trump supports many of his ideas with examples of his own successes which showcase his ability to saw through red tape and politics to produce quality results in short order and at a fraction of the cost (the ice skating rink project in New York City is a great example). The book is peppered with examples of such successes and it proves that Trump is a man who can put together an action plan and deliver. Regardless of how I’ve seen various media outlets or other Republican candidates challenge the authenticity of his political conservatism, TIME TO GET TOUGH reveals his affection for Ronald Reagan and his governing principals (arguably, Reagan’s policies were significant building blocks to Trumps mega-wealth). From a political standpoint, conservatives, libertarians and opinionated people in general will probably appreciate the author’s candid rhetoric and political posture. Liberals, career politicians (Republican and Democrat) and political elites will likely not care for Trump’s desire to reverse most of Obama’s defining achievements and his personal pot-shots at various people associated with these groups (Hillary Clinton, George Bush, Carl Rove, Barack Obama, etc.). In general, Trump doesn’t hold back when it comes to expressing his opinion (good or bad) of specific individuals … I actually found these little tidbits to be enjoyable breaks from the general monotony associated with politically-themed books. One thing that cannot be argued, Trump doesn’t hide his feelings about anything (he even provides a clear explanation of the bankruptcy issues that have plagued him over the years).

Regardless of one’s opinion of Donald Trump as an entertainer, businessman or possible President, TIME TO GET TOUGH exhibits the man’s willingness to identify and solve problems. I sometimes have to remind myself that aside from all the media and self-hype is a man who is serious-enough to be such a big success in high-stakes global business ventures. Reading this book reveals how serious and knowledgeable Trump is on economic, domestic and foreign policy. It also serves as a reasonable argument that maybe it’s time to give someone outside the political-class an opportunity to take the helm of the US … Trump certainly makes his case with TIME TO GET TOUGH.


Mad About Mad
Mad About Mad
by Sergio Aragones
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
45 used & new from $1.89

5.0 out of 5 stars Lost Treasure …, August 30, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Every once in a while, I’m reminded of a lost piece of my 70s childhood that I’m compelled to get back (like my Adam 12 lunch box). I remember treasuring a copy of MAD ABOUT MAD back, but like a lot of my “stuff”, it disappeared forever after I left for college. Something triggered my memory of the book and, thankfully, I was able to retrieve a used copy of it.

Sergio Aragones always provided some of my favorite segments in Mad Magazine and MAD ABOUT MAD was an excellent sample of his work. The minute I opened the book, all the memories I had of the book came flooding back. The witty sequential drawings, while dated, still deliver the laughs; they are as funny now as they were almost 40 years ago. This is one of those books you “read” from beginning to end as soon as you flip to the first page. While I’m happy that I’ve retrieved a lost piece of my childhood, I’m happier that my young daughter enjoys the book as much I do (proving the PC culture of today hasn’t corrupted all young minds).


AmazonBasics Resistance Band Set with 5 Bands, Foam Handles, Door Anchor, Ankle Straps, and Carrying Case
AmazonBasics Resistance Band Set with 5 Bands, Foam Handles, Door Anchor, Ankle Straps, and Carrying Case
Price: $22.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, Well-Designed Resistance Bands …, August 27, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
About four years ago, my left triceps tendon completely detached from the bone, requiring surgery. When I finally received the green-light to start lifting weights again, I was like a baby learning to walk and resistance bands were critical in putting me back on pace to lifting heavy again. The set of 6 bands I used certainly got the job done, but my on-going use of them has revealed several limitations. The AMAZONBASICS RESISTANCE BAND SET not only addresses those limitations, but provides a few unrealized perks as well.

WHAT YOU GET:

- 5 bands that individually offer resistance up to 4, 6, 12, 20 and 30 lbs.
- Attachments that include 2 handles, 2 ankle straps and a door anchor.
- A square nylon zip pouch that stores all bands and attachments.

WHY I LIKED THIS SET:

- My old set of bands had handles attached to each band, which proved to be limiting, as well as creating a storage problem. The AMAZONBASICS set of bands’ use of carabineers at the end of each band solved both of these problems. First of all, now I’m dealing with only 2 handles, not 12, and I’m using 2 fewer bands to accommodate my needs (significant space-saver). Second, the carabineer ends allow multiple bands to be attached to the 2 handles for added resistance. I can now use a single handle when adding resistance, rather than trying to grip multiple handles.

- The attachments are solidly made with comfort in mind. The handles are a significant improvement over the naked plastic tube grips attached to thin nylon straps I’d grown accustomed to. These handles are very solid, with a rugged, thicker nylon strap and a thick tubed grip covered with a spongy sleeve. They provide a comfortable yet sure grip. While the D-ring can accommodate all 5 bands for max resistance, I wouldn’t recommend doing so unless you’re absolutely certain the door anchor can handle the resistance (this should be considered anytime the door anchor is used).

- The Velcro-adjusted ankle straps have a soft, spongy interior that not only offers comfort, but keeps the straps in place.

- Flexibility. While this set comes with essential attachments (grips and ankle straps), the carabineer ends allow you to add any sensible grip device (a rope end grip, for example).

- The nylon storage pouch holds everything together and has a nylon-strap loop that allows you to hang it or use a carabineer and attach it to your gym bag.

This set of resistance bands would be a great addition to any household. They can be used by people of all ages and can be used for many purposes (strength building, stretching, injury rehab, core-building, cardio, etc.). If I had to get picky, I wished it included a super-heavy band (> 30 lbs.), but that’s why I have a gym membership. I found this particular set of bands perfect for stuffing into my suitcase for a recent business trip (those metal hotel door frames actually can handle the resistance of using all 5 bands). The combination of versatility and quality offered by the AMAZONBASICS RESISTANCE BAND SET is certainly hard to ignore.


Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning
Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning
by Timothy Snyder
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.23

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Mixed Bag of Unique Historical Perspective and Future Alarmism …, August 24, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As an avid reader of the Second World War, I own numerous volumes covering the Holocaust. Most of these books are either first-person accounts (victim and perpetrator) or works of historical reference. Timothy Snyder’s BLACK EARTH offers a unique view of (arguably) history’s greatest atrocity by focusing on the elements that enabled such “effortless” mass-killing. While I found the book’s basic premise to be stimulating; I felt the author’s penchant for reiteration on some subject matters to be tedious and, at times, confusing. Additionally, the final “history as a warning” chapter seemed unnecessarily out-of-place and somewhat alarmist (and opinionated) in nature.

Snyder’s view on the Holocaust is both eye-opening and unique. Rather than focusing on what happened and why, he delves into the issues that enabled such an atrocity to not only happen, but grow with impunity. We get a better understanding that while Hitler and the Nazi’s carry the banner of notoriety associated with the “Final Solution”, they were certainly not alone in implementing its goals. Additionally, Snyder sheds light on how the very elements that permitted mass killing dictated why the probability of survival favored some Jews over others.

I found much of Snyder’s work quite fascinating as he explains how statelessness became the chief facilitator in executing the Nazi’s anti-Semitic quest of “Lebensraum”. His argument that the dissolution of the state leaves people powerless, un-represented and ultimately unprotected. Answering the question of what to do with such people is simple … anything you want. Although not the CAUSE of the killing (an ideological matter), it enabled the killing to spread relatively unchecked. This issue of statelessness plausibly explains while Jews in occupied Western Europe (where state governments remained in power, albeit under Nazi influence) were more likely to survive as compared to those Jews living in Eastern European countries that were systematically dissolved. Nowhere was this more prevalent than Poland, a country that experience several incarnations of statelessness at that hands of the Soviet Union and Germany between 1939 and 1945. While other countries in the East experienced statelessness as well, none suffered to the extent of Poland … home of the notorious extermination camps and the lion’s share of the 6 million Jews lost. Viewing the Holocaust from this perspective was certainly enlightening, but throughout the book, Snyder overemphasizes the issue. The use of “doubly-occupied” and “triply-occupied” territories becomes redundant and, at times, confusing (was he referring to Poland, Estonia or Ukraine?). I think Snyder could have condensed some of the material and still made his points effectively. And while I liked this particular angle of presenting the Holocaust, it tends to ignore so many other factors involved with exterminating so many people. In other words, there are a multitude of intricate factors that contributed to Holocaust that Snyder doesn’t highlight.

BLACK EARTH proved to be a quite sensible read until Snyder approaches the possibility of such a horrific event happening again. Propaganda leading up to and through the Holocaust presented the existence of Jews as an ecological menace that threated Germany and Europe (an issue that had to be dealt with immediately … or else). I understand that presenting an ecological “doom and gloom” scenario is an easy way of providing a tangible message that is easy for the masses to consume and rally behind. But, emphasizing the issue of climate change/global warming as a singular, logical precursor to a second Holocaust was received as more political prodding that anything else. For some reason, the nuclear fallout associated with Iran attaining the capability of fulfilling its promise to eradicate the State of Israel would present a more pressing ecological disaster than rallying the masses to believe a “consensus of scientists”. Sure, Snyder’s hypothesis is food-for-thought, but so are a great of other possibilities, including current instances of statelessness around the world.

BLACK EARTH was both interesting and educational … definitely a fresh perspective on a complicated topic that is often presented in a simplified/narrow scope. Snyder’s work is both readable and well-presented. While I would not consider BLACK EARTH a singular comprehensive source on the Holocaust (it’s not intended to be such), it certainly deserves a place on the bookshelf as a tool to understand specific aspects of the atrocity.


A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up with George
A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up with George
by Kelly Carlin
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.13

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes, Things are Better Left Unsaid …, August 23, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Yeah, I was a George Carlin fan. I became a hit in my dorm as a freshman when I brought a cassette recording of “Carlin at Carnegie” and peppering “Carlinisms” into conversations became a staple that entire school year. In addition to owning his books, I consider seeing him live in 1996 as an entertainment milestone in my life (along with seeing Stevie Ray Vaughan and BB King). I vaguely knew Carlin had a wife, daughter and several dogs, but he seemed to spare/protect them from being a source of his comedy (save the dogs, of course) … the jokes were always on/about us “regular” people. With A CARLIN HOME COMPANION, daughter Kelly Carlin (McCall) spills the beans on the mess we didn’t know existed when her dad stepped off stage. While I can still look back and enjoy Carlin’s comedic take on most everything, I could have done without the TMI-tales his daughter felt compelled to share and wondered why such a book was even necessary.

Kelly Carlin is the daughter of a celebrity and apparently that, in and of itself, warrants writing a book … about herself. A CARLIN HOME COMPANION is simply an autobiography from a relatively unknown offspring of a celebrity … a self-aggrandizing adventure that tells us things about the deceased comedian we probably didn’t need to know and things about his daughter we really don’t want to know. Although I didn’t enjoy the book’s premise, Carlin’s story is an easy, fast read and, at times, the spirit of her father manages to surface in her writing … just not enough to validate the book itself.

What is wrong with this book? Nothing, if you enjoy reading about the angst and neediness exhibited by the only-child of a celebrity … from birth to middle-age. The first few chapters provide a rather benign view of the early stages of the Carlin family (referred to as the “Three Musketeers”); a struggling comedian trying to provide for his family. Shortly, thereafter, readers are taken on a fast ride that includes a history of substance-abuse, three aborted pregnancies before the author’s 16th birthday and endless pages of emotional/dependency issues of one sort or another. Father George traipsed around America, forming a comedic brand that mocked the stupidity of the average citizen and returns home to get hammered/stoned with his wife in full view of his daughter. Even though Kelly Carlin may never have intended to blame the misery in her life on her mother and father’s actions, one can read between the lines and figure that one out. The fact that she exposes this information isn’t bad in and of itself, but the vain attempt to make a positive out of all the negativity comes across as both vain and superficial. When her mother dies, Kelly shares a tender, symbolic moment when her father points to the “Gemini” constellation and how it signified the closeness that she and her mother shared being “Geminis” (even though her mother was born on a day that would have made her a “Taurus”). A single, insignificant oversight, or simply one of many feigned attempts to garner empathy/sympathy? Most of the book consists of the author dealing with one issue after another that seems tied to the trauma her parents exposed her to as a child, yet much of her book is spent redeeming their actions in every way (Hippy-love). Countless instances of cringe-worthy neediness and “why me?” situations that become tiresome to read about … especially when some of these situations occur when the author is in her forties.

The book may come across as cathartic in some ways, but Carlin also paints herself as someone who enjoyed and expected all the trappings associated with her famous father … a chronic name-dropper. The fact that the author is the “daughter of George Carlin” is presented as a point of privilege throughout the book and it wears thin. She even expresses here disdain about an airline employee who was clueless when she dropped the “do you know who my father is?” line when not receiving (expected?) preferential treatment (“the one human being over the age of forty in the United States who has no idea who my dad is? F’ing Hawaiians”). It was at this point that I finally asked myself … why? Why do I need to read about the life of the deceased funny-man’s daughter? I actually would have preferred it if she simply would have provided a biography of her father … warts and all. Instead, we get HER story with bits and pieces of his life along the way.

A CARLIN HOME COMPANION didn’t generate the reaction I was expecting as it certainly took some of the veneer off of George Carlin for me. Sure, I understand that everyone is flawed in one way or another, but divulging this information almost a decade after his death is rather unnecessary. I find it ironic that the gradual disgust, anger and disdain he displayed in the later years of his comedy act was not only palpable, but rather hypocritical … no matter how much his daughter tries to tell us otherwise.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 28, 2015 4:34 AM PDT


Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot (Captain Underpants #12)
Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot (Captain Underpants #12)
by Dav Pilkey
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $6.49
53 used & new from $5.11

3.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm …, August 10, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My 9 year old daughter loves the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books (and movies) and I figured Captain Underpants would be another illustrated series of stories for her to sink her teeth into … the titles alone are enough to generate interest. But, the SENSATIONAL SAGE OF SIR STINKS-A-LOT didn’t interest her the way I thought it would.

My daughter wasn’t familiar with Captain Underpants and neither of us knew how she’d react. This was the first book of the series she read and I like that the author didn’t punish her for not climbing on-board from the beginning. A 7-page introductory chapter primed her for SIR STINKS-A-LOT and at no point did she feel that she was “out-of-the loop” regarding the main characters and the storyline. I, on the other hand, wasn’t so sure that jumping into the world of Captain Underpants at volume 12 was the best move.

While these frenetically illustrated books seem to be the rage for young kids these days, I find them a little “over-the-top” (like a video game on paper). My daughter generally consumes these type of books at a decent clip, but she felt this story jumped around a bit and found some of the vocabulary a little more challenging. Overall, however, it was a relatively easy read (with the exception of the Smart Earth chapter, which she described as “complicated” and “weird”). I assumed that Captain Underpants was more a “boys” book, but it wasn’t. The “potty-humor” generated by the book is universally appealing to all kids and is sure to generate a gross-out chuckle or two, but nothing extreme. I admit I was a little surprised to find a number of adult-themed/political issues slipped into a book, but most of these instances were (thankfully) over my daughter’s head (I still appreciate her political innocence).

SIR STINKS-A-LOT elicited a mixed bag of reactions from both my daughter and I. I found the subtly mature humor and even some of the vocabulary peppered throughout the book to be a little advanced for a child to comprehend. The much-celebrated “flip-o-rama” picture sections didn’t measure-up and elicited a simple “meh” from my daughter. While she found the book somewhat entertaining/funny, it didn’t grab her interest like the Wimpy Kid books. Overall, I wondered whether is particular installment was the best way to introduce her to the series. After this book, I’m wondering if it may have been best to simply start with the first Captain Underpants book.


Cellucor Super HD Thermogenic Fat Burner Supplement for Weight Loss, 60 Capsules
Cellucor Super HD Thermogenic Fat Burner Supplement for Weight Loss, 60 Capsules
Price: $30.93
22 used & new from $28.48

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars My Experience: Not Worth the Negligible Results …, August 3, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The supplement frontier is a lot like the California Gold Rush … a world of promise, but only a few may reap any reward, yet we keep digging. I’ve experimented with the promises of (legal) supplements for over 20 years as both a powerlifter (20+ meets) and a bodybuilder (2 shows). I have trained for competitions with the assistance of supplements and without. Overall, I have a more pessimistic view toward the actual benefits many supplements claim to offer and I’m not sold on CELLUCOR’S SUPER HD.

First of all, common-sense dictates that because everyone is different, no supplement (or natural food item, for that matter) is going to be universally beneficial. Body constitution, nutrition, exercise, physical/mental health, metabolism, other supplements/medications, stress levels etc. are ingredients that will dictate how positive or negative your body’s reaction will be to supplementation … if any reaction actually occurs. Just read the microscopic warning label on the bottle of SUPER HD.

In discussing my opinion of using SUPER HD, I must factor that I’m a “healthy” 49 year old male working a full time job in a stationary environment. I get some moderate exercise in each day and lift heavy/intense 2-3 days a week. I’m 5’11”, 210 lbs with ~12% body fat I drink A LOT of coffee in the morning and again at night and water with every meal. I eat clean most of the week (emphasis on protein with each meal), but finish an entire extra-large pizza every Thursday as a “cheat meal”. My existing supplementation includes daily vitamins and 1-2 powdered protein shakes. I do take a pre-work out drink on gym days and a BCAA mix during throughout those workouts. I learned from my bodybuilding comps that fat is a source of energy for me, so I will eat several tbsp. of peanut butter throughout the day to avoid feeling run down/sluggish.

I added SUPER HD to my “routine” and followed the 1 capsule in the morning and 1 at mid-day routine for almost 4 weeks without interruption. Because of my generous coffee intake, I opted to forgo the suggestion of an additional capsule in the morning for an “energy boost”. At no point during my use of SUPER HD did I feel any jitters or buzz after taking a capsule … something I thought might happen when adding it to my coffee consumption.

I made notes after each week, expecting to see some change. The only change noticeable from week to week was internally … my digestive tract. I’m pretty “regular” in that department, but SUPER HD seemed to want to make me SUPER regular. I was not a fan of the undesired laxative effect generated by this supplement (thankfully, I telework from home 3 days a week). Dealing with that issue, I decided to press-on to see if this product had any of the “sculpting” ability it claims to have. I’d previously used a popular fat burner years ago in the final weeks of prep for bodybuilding to get down to 3% body fat, so I kind of know what I was looking for … it just never happened. As a matter of fact, after 3 weeks, the only offering I received from SUPER HD was a grumbling gut … something I could certainly do without.

Is SUPER HD an ineffective product? For me, it was. But, that does not mean that someone else (with their own set of personal/physical ingredients) won’t see positive results from using this fat burner. These supplements are basically chemicals that are mixing with the chemicals in each person’s body … the results will certainly vary. I do believe, however, that in order to get anything positive out of SUPER HD, one has to put in the work ahead of time by developing a metabolism that naturally burns fat through diet and exercise and use the fat burner as a kicker. The key to remember is that SUPER HD is a SUPPLEMENT, not a cure … it may give you that final burst at the finish line, but I won’t run the race for you.


Sentinel FM120P 12-Sheet High Security Micro-Cut Paper/CD/Credit Card Shredder with Pullout Basket, Black
Sentinel FM120P 12-Sheet High Security Micro-Cut Paper/CD/Credit Card Shredder with Pullout Basket, Black
Price: $119.99
6 used & new from $101.99

5.0 out of 5 stars All-Around Superb Shredder and a Great Value …, August 3, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Looking for an affordable high-security shredder that eats CDs and credit cards as well as paper? I say look no further than the SENTINEL FM120P 12-page shredder. This shredder is compact powerhouse that should address most any home/small business shredding needs.

I was content with my cross cut 6-page shredder, it was fine until I started teleworking and felt the need for higher security shredding and grew tired of the shredder’s 6-page limitation. THE SENTINEL FM120P proved to be a real workhorse that addresses every need and comes with a few unexpected, but appreciated features.

WHAT I LIKED:

- The shredding motor is powerful. It can handle 12 pages at a time and will grind credit cards and CDs with ease. While the ability to destroy credit cards is nice, I have a more realistic and pressing need to destroy data CDs than credit cards. No need to pull staples or worry if you fail to remove a standard paper clip … the FM120P chews them up with ease (just don’t let the larger paperclips go through). The shredding face has 3 designated slots for paper, credit cards and CDs. The user interface is a simple 3-way slide for forward, reverse and stop.

- I like the security this shredder offers. The resulting shred-waste is not comprised of small strips, but pellet-sized curls that easily pour out of the bin and can simply be swept into a dust pan if they spill on the floor (unlike the cross-cut paper scraps that require a vacuum if spilled on the floor).

- The shredding bin is a 5 gallon drawer that easily slides in and out. A window on the middle/front of the drawer gives you an at-a-glance idea of how full the drawer is. Most personal shredders I’ve owned required me to lift the shredding motor off the bin to see if it was full and this act usually resulted in paper dust and shreds spilling on the floor, even when the bin wasn’t full. I like the safety feature that turns the shredder off if the drawer is opened.

- The weight of the shredder is displaced so it isn’t top-heavy, like most others I’ve owned. Additionally, the 4 roller-wheels on the bottom make the FM120P conveniently portable. At roughly 20” tall, 10” wide and 13” long, it certainly isn’t a space-hog.

- While the shredder is powerful, it is no louder than my 6-page shredder (manufactured lists noise output at 72 db).

- Ease of use. Other than occasionally lubricating the blades by feeding a little shredder-oil into the paper/credit card/CD slots, just plug this thing in and start shredding.

Overall, I would expect to see many of the features on the FM120P on an expensive office shredder. I am impressed with the performance, presentation and value of this shredder.


Thule 911XT Passage 3 Bike Trunk Mount Carrier
Thule 911XT Passage 3 Bike Trunk Mount Carrier
Price: Click here to see our price
60 used & new from $75.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for Short Trips …, August 2, 2015
After replacing my old, but much beloved XTerra with a new one, I was looking for an affordable solution to biking with my young daughters as I was no longer willing to stuff our bikes into the back of the vehicle (not only trying to avoid unnecessary damage, but I was tired of constantly removing/re-attaching the front tire of my mountain bike every time). Living in a town that is over-the-top bicycle friendly, I received plenty of recommendations for a decent bike rack that wouldn’t force me to install a trailer hitch and settled on the THULE PASSAGE TRUNK MOUNT CARRIER (for 3 bikes). For my particular needs (short trips), this bike rack is great, even though I have some valid concerns.

WHAT IT IS:

A relatively universal trunk mounted 3-bike rack that is fairly easy to assemble, attach and remove. While the range of vehicles that can accommodate this rack is wide, I would definitely recommend checking Thule’s website to ensure it will work for a specific year, make and model.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT IT:

- First and foremost, it is designed so it won’t scratch your vehicle. All 6 trunk hooks have a rubberized coating, eliminating scratching potential. When the straps to the hooks are properly pulled to ensure they are taught, the hooks should easily stay in place. 4 large rubberized foam rollers cover the bars that make contact with trunk/back of vehicle are soft and spongy. You will need to be patient when attaching and detaching the rack to ensure the loosened hooks don’t smack into your vehicle.

- The rack is designed not only to secure the bikes, but also the front wheels. The two arms that actually hold the bikes each have 3 rubberized “wells” that accommodate most standard frame bikes … even the fatter tubed frames. Additionally, the rubber straps that hook to each side of the “well” have multiple holes to ensure the bike is firmly in place on the rack. I have an odd-framed Specialized mountain bike and had no problem securing it to the rack. 3 attachments with the rubber straps keep the bikes’ front wheels in place (no bungee cords needed). If your bike frame doesn’t have a top bar that inhibits racking, there is a handy top-bar add-on you can purchase for < $20 that solves the problem.

- The rack’s arms can be quickly and easily locked in a “down” position when not in use. This is a great feature that allows you to keep the rack mounted when no bikes are attached. No more riding around town worrying about the two prongs jutting out the back of your vehicle or worrying about clearance for your garage door.

ISSUES:

While I love the convenience and sense of security offered by the THULE PASSAGE, I have two security-themed issues and one accomodation issue with this rack.

1. I have no problem using this rack around town or for short trips. But, my confidence wanes somewhat when I think of long stretches of interstate travel. The rack is designed to “give” a little, even though it’s secure (kind of like how tall buildings are designed to sway), but the thought of driving long stretches of 70+ mph highway with 3 bikes strapped to the back unnerves me a little. Then again, this may be an issue of adaptation and I haven’t had the rack long enough to build the necessary confidence.

2. Theft. The rack is so easy to mount/dismount, anyone can do it … and I mean anyone. I would hate to return from the trails only to find out my bike rack was stolen. While I wish some sort of anti-theft measure was factored into the packaging of this rack, there is none … you have to buy it separately. In a pinch, I simply looped a kryptonite lock through the rack and my XTerra’s trunk latch, but honestly never even thought of this rack being stolen until I had the bikes off the rack.

3. While my daughter’s bikes could be racked, I can see issues with some kids’ bikes being too small for this rack.

Overall, the THULE PASSAGE gives me the tool I need to ride bikes with my family. It is sturdy, convenient and well-designed. Even though I have a few concerns, I do believe my issue of using the rack on long trips is simply a matter of gaining confidence. Dealing with theft is an unfortunate fact of life … just wish Thule would have included a simple anti-theft device with the rack instead of forcing us to make an additional purchase.


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