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Schiff Glucosamine 2000 mg Coated Tablets - 150 Ea
Schiff Glucosamine 2000 mg Coated Tablets - 150 Ea
Price: $12.94
44 used & new from $11.08

5.0 out of 5 stars Effective Joint Lubricant …, October 30, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
With each passing year, I discover new, uncomfortable or painful reminders of my competitive powerlifting past … mainly in my elbows. Bone spurs and considerable pain were consequences I thought I had to accept, until a pharmacist recommended trying glucosamine as a potential source of relief. I was advised that it may take several weeks to a month to see benefits, if any at all. I have been taking 2000mg of glucosamine (daily) for the last 5 years … it’s proven to be the best supplement I’ve ever taken.

SCHIFF GLUCOSAMINE offers a coated tablet (1000mg) that is much easier to ingest than other brands of glucosamine I’ve been choking down daily. The brown color of the tablet also makes it easy to spot in the pile of identical white tablets that constitutes my daily supplement regimen. This particular glucosamine uses hyaluronic acid in lieu of chondroitin. The hyaluronic acid provides natural joint lubrication and serves as somewhat of a shock absorber for the joint itself. On the other hand, chondroitin (sulfate) is the main ingredient for cartilage development. While there are benefits to both, I felt the lubrication factor was more essential to my specific needs.

While I start my days with a dose of select vitamins/supplements, I find myself questioning the need or benefit of more than a few due to my measured approach to eating. The only supplement that I don’t question is the 2000mg of glucosamine, mainly because of the results experienced over the years. The stress and strain of heavy bench pressing did a number on my elbows and the development of bone spurs often made flex and extension movements in both arms severely painful. Even the slightest tap to my elbow area triggered excruciating pain. Surgery could remove the bone spurs, but I wanted a less-invasive method to relieve the pain and gave glucosamine a try. After two or three weeks of taking it, I noticed the pain had subsided to a point where I actually started enjoying “pain-free” workouts … something I hadn’t experienced in years. Additionally, the sensitivity of the elbow region vanished and I can actually put my elbows on a table without experiencing the sharp pain I was accustomed to feeling. Glucosamine is the only supplement that I can say provided tangible results.

SCHIFF GLUCOSAMINE provides a 2000mg dose with the added benefit of hyaluronic acid for added joint lubrication in a “throat friendly” tablet size. As with any vitamin/supplement, I would recommend reading the contents and consult with a doctor/pharmacist to discuss any potential side-effects (this product does contain shellfish which could trigger an allergic reaction in some people.


The Best American Sports Writing 2014
The Best American Sports Writing 2014
by Glenn Stout
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.56
63 used & new from $7.47

4.0 out of 5 stars A Little Something for Everyone …, October 27, 2014
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For those looking for more than sports headlines or over-analysis of the latest sports’ scandal, THE BEST AMERICAN SPORTS WRITING 2014 should fit the bill. A selective conglomeration of eclectic stories from writers contributing to the likes of ESPN: The Magazine, Deadspin, New Yorker, Rolling Stone and GQ that should be of interest to those seeking more than the standard media-driven sports fodder being recycled day-in and day-out.

The book offers 24 stories (presented as chapters) that cover a myriad of diverse sports-related topics. I found most of the entries enjoyable to read, mostly because they were relatively short, concise and covered more obscure topics. Following the first entry (an in-depth look at accused murderer and former New England Patriot, Aaron Hernandez), I was expecting more of the same: a book centering on the “Big 3” (NFL, MLB and NBA). But, aside from a few storylines focusing on familiar topics/individuals, the majority of the book taps on issues, people and sports I never really thought much about. The wide variety of topics is what makes this book a worthwhile read: the handicapped NCAA wrestling champion, the bum MMA fighter who faked his own death and a look the dangers of bull sharks, etc.

I would have enjoyed the book even more had there been photographs to support some of the stories (I found myself Googling after reading most articles to put faces to names). But, overall, a nice collection of fascinating, quick-paced and diverse sports reads … I’m hooked. Will definitely seek future annual releases of this book.


Why We Lost: A General's Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars
Why We Lost: A General's Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars
by Daniel Bolger
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.72

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Examination/Explanation of Iraq and Afghanistan Conflicts to Date …, October 21, 2014
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For a decade, the media has beaten the dead horses known as Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom to influence public and political opinion (nationally and globally). While the sickening habit of spewing the daily American body-count ironically ended when a new President presided over both wars (even though Americans were still dying), the slightest American misdeed in either theater surely found its way to being a headline in some form or another … a drum-beating reminder to Americans that we really screwed things up in the world. Regardless of how the media reports or spins news of the wars (your pick), it always seems to be in bits and pieces. Finally, after 10+ years, someone of authority has come forward and provided a cogent look at what really happened (good and bad) in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Retired Lt. General Daniel Bolger’s WHY WE LOST is arguably the best overall critique of the American experience in Iraq and Afghanistan … from top to bottom.

The cringe-worthy title of this book almost led me to avoid reading it … I wasn’t ready for a book solely aimed at hammering another negative nail in the US military’s decade-long two-theatre mission … more bits and pieces heaped on the ever-growing pile. For me, the saving grace was the author: a recently-retired 3-star general who earned a Combat Action Badge, three Bronze Stars (one with valor) and was actually on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq. In other words, a person of authority likely to speak authoritatively, not politically. Any initial suspicions I had of reading a partisan perspective of these wars were erased from the start as I quickly found myself fully immersed in a much-needed lesson of misunderstood modern history, told in a candid manner that finally puts all those bits and pieces together.

So what does Bolger do right? What he does is simply provide a straightforward, all-encompassing narrative of the US “War on Terror” from the bombing of USS Cole (2000) to mid-2014 … a time-frame that includes the devastation of 9/11 and the US response in Afghanistan and ultimately, Iraq. Surprisingly concise and rich with detail, I found it quite impressive that so much could be revealed in less than 500 pages, but Bolger deftly manages to do just that. Rather than an after-battle report from a commander’s perspective, the book provides a complete perspective of events, from the “boots-on-the-ground” all the way up to the Oval Office. Readers are taken on nerve-racking foot-patrols, traverse roads strewn with IEDs and feel the experience the ominous perspective of Americans fighting alongside “friendly” Iraqis and Afghans that may suddenly turn on them (so-called “green on blue” incidents). We see how directives being issued thousands of miles away in the climate-controlled confines of Washington impact those carrying the fight to the enemy. Conversely, we see how the political consequences of civilian deaths and occasional American immorality (actual and purported) led to more stringent rules of engagement and other restrictions that left troops more vulnerable. Overall, Bolger provides readers with a better understanding of how today’s wars are not only fought on the battlefields, but in the media and at the election booth. Gone are the days of troop divisions attempting to steamroll anything and everything in their paths (like Patton); the US fought its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan under rigid constraints set forth by political reaction to media reports on events that were all-too-often crafted and exploited by the enemy (dead Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters wearing civilian clothing conveniently upped the tally of “innocents” being killed). As frustrating as it was to read about our men and women fighting on terms dictated by the enemy, it is easy to see how delicate/tricky it is to conduct military operations regions where the slightest “incidents” could destroy fragile alliances with supportive Iraqis and Afghans … leading to more dead Americans.

As much as I initially disliked the book’s title, it honestly reflects Bolger’s take on how things panned out in Iraq and Afghanistan: we reacted to 9/11 and rightfully aimed to eradicate the perpetrators hiding-out in Afghanistan, but failed to manage our hubris and placed ourselves in an unwinnable situation. While the US military’s initial (successful) response to 9/11 garnered widespread support, the US suddenly found itself at war with an ambiguous enemy that could be anywhere and everywhere at any given moment. With the need to widen the scope of the original plan leading to a war with Iraq, the US placed itself in an open-ended, two-front conflict that seemed to have no definitive goals … a war of attrition that pitted an impatient, casualty-sensitive America against cunning enemies with no time (or ethical) limitations. Bolger does a wonderful job illustrating the good, bad and the ugly of what went down in Iraq and Afghanistan and holds no punches when assigning (or accepting) blame. While there is plenty of “good” painted throughout the book (mostly, the professionalism, capability, ingenuity and resolve exhibited by American men and women carrying out the missions), the “bad” and “ugly” certainly stain the canvas (Abu Ghraib and other incidents) No stone is left unturned in WHY WE LOST, Bolger provides a thorough account of all significant events (large and small) and candidly details all the “players” involved and the overall effect they had on the “big picture”. The presentation of the material leads to a smooth and addictive read that is politically neutral and never boring.

As I surely did, most readers will find WHY WE LOST a valuable educational resource that consolidates all the piecemeal books and articles that focus on more singular events. Bolger’s ability to weave detailed stories of small unit combat assists in clarifying the overall narrative and makes it personal by specifically naming those fighting and dying in the unit actions described. I found myself shaking my head in frustration throughout reading the book as bit-by-bit it became sadly evident why Bolger opted for the blunt book title. While the US learned hard lessons and gained extremely valuable experience in how to fight modern wars against an enigmatic foe, we failed again to understand or factor the history of the places we opted to fight and more importantly, we underestimated the resolve, capability and culture of those we chose to fight against. US military might combined with GI ingenuity and professionalism led to overwhelming battlefield success at every turn. But, like Vietnam, strategic blundering not only negated the victories on the battlefield but sacrificed American lives for an ever-evolving mission with no apparent end.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 22, 2014 1:52 PM PDT


Active Shooter Events and Response
Active Shooter Events and Response
by John P. Blair
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $59.95
52 used & new from $52.90

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough, Well-rounded Approach to the Subject Matter …, October 14, 2014
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Unfortunately, the term “active shooter event” has become part of modern America’s vernacular and law enforcement, as well as society in general, must find ways to stop the killing as soon as such events start. ACTIVE SHOOTER EVENTS AND RESPONSE claims to be the first book solely designed to combat active shooter events and limit the human cost. The book is thorough, thought-provoking and while it is written primarily for first-responders, it provides more than enough practical information to educate civilians as well.

I find this subject matter quite interesting and somewhat personally relevant. Two years after experiencing an armed robbery (which, fortunately, did not become an active shooter event), I watched Columbine unfold on television and eight years later had the misfortune of living in the town that experienced one of the worst shooting events (Virginia Tech/Blacksburg). Nowadays, it seems like reports of a gunman on the loose is typical occurrence that sadly only seems to get attention if it exceeds a certain body count.

The four authors of ACTIVE SHOOTER are members of the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Center in Texas and they include the disclaimer that the book is the result of a decade’s worth of research and training. The authors also state that the lethality of Columbine served as the catalyst for law enforcement to develop a quicker and smarter response to such events in order to stop the killing sooner and save more lives. Stopping the killing and saving lives is the core theme that runs throughout the book … all of the implementations, tactics and theories presented are geared toward law enforcement arriving at the scene and formulating a plan that expeditiously stops/eliminates the killing threat.

The book is essentially a training manual that teaches based on the lessons (good and bad) learned from prior active shooter events (most notably Columbine and Virginia Tech). The authors reveal the various types of active shooter situations that could be faced, including the ominous and ever-more real threat of a terrorist-related shooter event (fortunately, the US has yet to experience any shooting event as deadly as Beslan or Mumbai). The book methodically advises law enforcement on how to form an active shooter response team (even noting what personality types are and are not appropriate for such a team) and the steps needed to prepare and train such a team. Referencing prior active shooter incidents, the book addresses the tactics, weaponry, necessary equipment and mindset that is essential when responding to active shooter events. The authors take care to factor virtually any issue first-responders might face (barricaded doors, bombs, multiple shooters, etc.) and provide step-by-step strategies to maximize efficiency and effectiveness while minimizing risk (acknowledging sight angles within buildings, communication, fields of fire, room entry tactics, utilizing cover, etc.). Post-engagement activities and life-saving measures are also discussed once the killing has stopped. The authors make it abundantly clear that there is no single success-formula to combat active shooters and being open-minded is critical if the situation warrants a rapid strategy-change. As a civilian, I found this section both awe-inspiring and sobering ... I’ve read hundreds of World War II combat memoirs and now I’m reading about how to conduct combat operations in a local school or business (says a lot about the world we currently live in).

The later portion of the book specifically addresses the civilian element in active shooter incidents and provides practical information for civilians to minimize one from being a target (how to use halls, doors and locations within rooms, etc.). Additionally, the authors factored the possibility of armed civilians (concealed carry permit holders) in a building with an active shooter; a situation that draws a fine line between helpful and disaster). This section offers sensible advice to both civilians and law enforcement in effort to minimize unnecessary injury or death (if the police mistake an armed civilian as the shooter suspect). I found the civilian portion of the book to be quite informative as the authors explain how the mental/emotional stages civilians experience when an active shooting event starts generally dictates the likelihood of survival. Two case scenarios (a deadly night club fire and the Virginia Tech shooting) are used to effectively illustrate how civilian reaction led to escape or death. An appendix documents each incident labeled as an active shooter event in the US from 2000-2010 … the sheer number of incidents is enough to warrant a need for this book.

The way the world appears to be heading, I found this book providing a wealth of practical knowledge to prepare law enforcement and civilians for such violent events. The authors present the material in a manner that is thought-provoking, easy to consume and (more importantly) easy to remember.


Train: The Definitive Visual History (Dk Smithsonian)
Train: The Definitive Visual History (Dk Smithsonian)
by DK Publishing
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $30.60
47 used & new from $18.54

5.0 out of 5 stars Another DK Gem …, October 13, 2014
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I own several DK books that cover a variety of subjects. While I generally love the heavy graphic presentation DK books offer, those books that are labeled as being affiliated with the Smithsonian are simply the best of the bunch … TRAIN: THE DEFINITIVE VISUAL HISTORY is no exception.

One does not need to be an avid fan of trains to appreciate this book’s treasure trove of historical information and stunning eye-candy. As with other Smithsonian volumes, TRAIN: THE DEFINITIVE VISUAL HISTORY is presented chronologically with every single page brimming with interesting and immensely detailed factoids, informational insets and beautiful, vivid photos lighting everything up. I cannot say enough about the photos, including several montages of a variety of locomotives and/or cars that include up-close images revealing intricate details. The book is organized extremely well with the trademark final pages providing the trademark general information that educates readers on a variety of train-related subject matters such as signals, tracks, etc.

300+ glossy pages in this oversized volume serves as an authoritative reference on anything/everything train-related or a terrific book to simply sit back, relax and flip through with a cup of coffee. With school-aged children in our house, this is yet another quality DK addition to the family/personal library. I look forward to the next subject matter DK/Smithsonian plans to tackle.


Female Serial Killers: How and Why Women Become Monsters
Female Serial Killers: How and Why Women Become Monsters
by Peter Vronsky
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.15
92 used & new from $4.02

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 in 6 ..., October 13, 2014
In an era where modern feminism has pushed equality on every front, there is one area where it appears to be quite acceptable to let men dominate: serial killing. However, studies reveal that 1 of every 6 identified serial killers is, in fact, female. Peter Vronsky details the lesser known and little understood world of the female serial killer in his book: FEMALE SERIAL KILLERS: HOW AND WHY WOMEN BECOME MONSTERS. With so many books written about the men who consider killing others as their life's work, I found Vronsky's book to be quite informative and rather chilling.

The book starts with a lesson as to what defines a "serial" killer, the psychopathological, as well as the criminal/legal aspects. Vronsky then ties everything together with a brief history of female serial killers (from the Roman Empire's Agrippina the Younger to the modern world's most recognizable female serial killer: Aileen Wournos). I found the science and data detailing the mindset of the female serial killer to be quite fascinating and the evidence shows that once a woman decides to commit serial murder, she'll likely be a more prolific and proficient killer than her male counterpart. Vronsky also reveals how modern feminism has loosely embraced the deeds of a monster like Wournos as being a source of refreshing vengeance in the brutal, male-dominated world ... a real-life "Thelma and Louise"-type hero that finally stands up for herself. Vronsky tempers the "you go girl" attitude of feminists with the sobering fact that the victims of female serial killers are more likely to be friends and family ... in many cases, their own children. This section of the book is quite informative and Vronsky presents the material in a witty, sarcastic manner which made the science more enjoyable to digest.

The bulk of the book (about ¾) is dedicated to specific case studies of female serial killers in the twentieth century. Rather than simply listing the women by name or in a chronological order of their killing time, Vronsky breaks down these case studies into specific types of serial killers: women who kill for money/mothers, nurses and caregivers killing their children or those who depend on them/cult serial killers and females as a serial killer accomplice. The case studies, for the most part, are interesting but, Vronsky's tongue-in-cheek asides were a little grating at times and some of the stories were drawn out a little too much. Aileen Wournos, as the first female to be commonly labeled as a serial killer, gets a great deal of attention from the author, as does Karla Homolka (whose killing career included particularly disturbing murder of her own little sister). The case studies of cult serial killers included the Nazi's female concentration camp guards and the Manson family women. I would have liked more information on the Nazi guards, but detailed information of these women has historically been rather scarce. Regarding the Mason women, Vronsky lumped Linda Kasabian with the three most notorious Manson-followers (Susan Atkins, Leslie Van Houten and Patricia Krenwinkle) and I don't see how she fits the mold of a serial killer (I don't believe she was ever charged with a single murder, let alone multiple murders). Regardless, these case studies illustrate how proficient women can be in killing, as well as exhibiting a talent for killing "under the radar" (explaining the longevity of their killing "careers"). There are several pages of photos in the middle of the book which I found myself referencing quite often in order to put a face to the names documented in the case studies.

Overall, FEMALE SERIAL KILLERS provided quite an eye-opening education on a rather nightmarish subject (women who kill friends and family). Having read several books on the subject matter, I believe this book trumps other similarly-themed books in that It provides a more thorough and exhaustive approach on the subject matter.


The Good Old Days: The Holocaust as Seen by Its Perpetrators and Bystanders
The Good Old Days: The Holocaust as Seen by Its Perpetrators and Bystanders
by Ernst Klee
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.35
122 used & new from $2.70

4.0 out of 5 stars Casual Killing …, October 13, 2014
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Ernst Klee’s THE GOOD OLD DAYS differs from most books on the Holocaust in that rather than writing a historical perspective, he provides damning evidence of the extent of German involvement in mass murder.

THE GOOD OLD DAYS is mostly a collection of correspondence, testimony and other documents from those who witnessed, facilitated, ordered and/or participated in the murder of Jews on the Eastern Front. While names like Mengele, Himmler and Heydrich are innately associated with the Holocuast, they aren’t among the cast of characters in this book. Klee reveals that “ordinary” Germans on the Eastern Front were well aware of the systematic slaughter of innocents and witnessed numerous “killing events” first hand. Cooks, orderlies and Wehrmacht enlisted men reveal, in chilling clarity, the casual nature of the killing … even the killing of children. While history has shown that simply “following orders” has been the trademark rationale for those accused of such crimes, Klee’s book provides evidence of the willingness to ignore events, if not participate in them (directly or indirectly). The accounts are disturbing in that many of the happenings detailed are small-scale (when compared to Babi Yar or Auschwitz), but frequent and extremely brutal in nature … the murders happened as opportunities presented themselves … anywhere, at any time and by any means. Many of the numerous photos throughout the book serve as visual evidence that supports the specific events being described.

I’ve read numerous books on the subject matter, but THE GOOD OLD DAYS really hit a nerve in that it documents the role of “ordinary Germans” in the Holocaust and casts doubt over the over-claimed innocence of the “average” German soldier. This book proved to be a sad and disturbing read, but it provides a perspective of events that is seldom seen … that of the perpetrator. I found it somewhat ironic that, as I was reading this book, the eerie news of ISIS brutality in the Middle East started to dominate the news. Once again, the world is watching (immediately and with vivid clarity thanks to YouTube, Twitter and Instagram) innocents being slaughtered by those worshiping a cancerous ideology … and doing nothing about it.


Spot it! Disney Frozen - Alphabet
Spot it! Disney Frozen - Alphabet
Price: $12.16
57 used & new from $5.99

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cards too Small …, October 5, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My daughters and I are big fans of the original Spot It! Card game, so SPOT IT! DISNEY FROZEN seemed to be a no-brainer. Unfortunately, what could have been a nice version of the addictive, easy-to-learn-and-play card game was tainted by the size of the cards and the small, detailed images on them.

WHAT IT IS:

- 55 round cards with 8 images of items/characters related to Disney’s “Frozen” movie in addition to letters of the alphabet. The cards are made so that each card possesses an identical image (of varying sizes) to every other card in the deck … the point of the game is to “spot the match”. There are 4 modes of game play and all of them are quite simple and fun.

- Because the images on each card are randomly put in various positions, the letters “M”, “N”, “W” and “Z” are underlined to avoid confusion in identifying them.

- The game accommodates 2 to 8 players and is geared for children as young as 3.

- The cards and instructions come in a handy, round metal tin that can be conveniently stored in a purse, glove-box or pants-pocket.

THE ONE PROBLEM THAT MAKES IT SUB-PAR WHEN COMPARED TO THE ORIGINAL:

- The original Spot It! has the same number of images on the cards (8), but the images are simpler and easier to render because the cards are larger. SPOT IT! DISNEY FROZEN uses cards that are smaller than the original and I found the detailed “Frozen”-themed images much harder to discern (especially the smaller images).

The game itself is still fun; the “Frozen” theme and letters were a big hit with my youngest daughter. But, my enjoyment of the game was somewhat diminished by my need to get closer to the cards to see the images clearly.


Fruit Friends Squeezable Fruit, Apple, 3.2 Ounce (Pack of 32)
Fruit Friends Squeezable Fruit, Apple, 3.2 Ounce (Pack of 32)
Price: $24.43

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite Tasty …, October 1, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
FRUIT FRIENDS SQEEZABLE FRUIT (Apple) is simply a single-serving of pureed apples in a convenient squeezable container (that kids will surely like). Made solely from pureed apples (and ascorbic acid/Vitamin C), it’s an all-natural product with each individual packet amounting to the equivalent of one apple. I found the biggest difference between FRUIT FRIENDS and other comparable products is that FRUIT FRIENDS doesn’t add water to dilute the puree … I felt the apple flavor is more pronounced. The texture is smooth, not chunky, so it’s suitable for all ages.

The packaging is convenient in that it doesn’t have to be consumed at once (the cap screws back on). This eliminates the mess that most single-serving apple sauce containers generate once their foil lids are pulled off.


Thermatek Heated Memory Foam Travel Pillow, Black, One Size
Thermatek Heated Memory Foam Travel Pillow, Black, One Size
Price: $24.99
2 used & new from $24.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Cozy …, September 30, 2014
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Most travel pillows I’d previously used were simply “okay”; the THERMATEK HEATED TRAVEL PILLOW is one of the most relaxing, comfortable travel pillows I’ve ever used.

WHAT IT IS:

- A “U-shaped” pillow that fits around the neck for support with the optional benefit of heat.

WHAT MAKES IT SO SPECIAL:

- Memory foam with a silky-soft/plush cover. The memory-foam pad is somewhat firm and provides added comfort and support. Extremely comfortable/cozy and accommodates larger necks. The pillow itself isn’t tapered like most pillows, it’s slab-like thickness adds more support.

- There is a pocket/sleeve that accepts disposable “heat packs”. This is an added benefit for those who are seeking a therapeutic angle to their travel pillow. The pillow comes with 2 disposable heat packs; additional heat packs must be purchased separately.

I found this pillow to be quite luxurious and useful. The pillow alone (no heat) is great to use when working at the computer, watching television, reading and travel. The memory foam and plush cover make this pillow comfortable to use for longer periods than the other travel pillows I’d previously tried. While I like the soothing option of heat, the added cost of buying additional replacement heat packs must be considered (each pack generates about 8 hours of warmth) will temper my need for heat. Heat or no heat, the THERMATECK HEATED TRAVEL PILLOW is wonderful.


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