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Little Demon in the City of Light: A True Story of Murder and Mesmerism in Belle Epoque Paris
Little Demon in the City of Light: A True Story of Murder and Mesmerism in Belle Epoque Paris
by Steven E. Levingston
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.31
67 used & new from $12.37

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solidly written historical true crime procedural, March 18, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a spoiler-free review of "Little Demon in the City of Light."

If you're a Francophille, a Gay Nineties history buff, love police procedural literature, and have a strong interest in hypnosis, you'll probably want to add a star to my review. If you're none of the above, you'll likely want to deduct a star, as Steven Levingston's approach is methodical, unrushed, and leans toward thoughtful academia. This isn't a breezy, quick read despite the relatively short length.

"Little Demon" is Levingston's chronicle of a murder mystery that, while historically important, is sufficiently obscure to most of us in the 21st century that it makes for fresh reading. It's for that reason that I am hesitant to reveal too much of this true story. While the circumstances of the murder itself are indeed lurid, and while there is high drama in the courtroom and a degree of both international intrigue and despicable yellow journalism, the real star of the story is Surete Chief Marie-Francois Goron. How often have you heard that a given police detective is a real-life Sherlock Holmes? Well, Goron truly fit that bill, making careful use of then-cutting edge science to identify corpses and bolster cases that would otherwise be circumstantial. Goron is the most richly-sketched of all the real-life characters, but Levingston also makes a solid attempt to bring each of the figures in "Little Demon" to life and he does so without resorting to the techniques of historical fiction.

"Little Demon" may be an acquired taste, but it's a taste worth acquiring.


Dangerous Neighbors: Volcanoes and Cities
Dangerous Neighbors: Volcanoes and Cities
by Grant Heiken
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $27.00
59 used & new from $13.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slim and informative book about volcanoes, January 28, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
'Dangerous Neighbors' focuses on contemporary cultures that live within striking distance of volcanoes. With urban sprawl as a global phenomenon, more people than ever before live close to dormant volcanoes and the reasons for this (as well as the risks) are explored in this very thin volume. There are multiple short chapters about different cities and regions (Naples, Quito, Hawaii, Japan, etc.) that are closely associated with volcanoes, how living close to volcanoes has influenced their cultures, and how prepared these places are in the event of a catastrophe.

The target audience for this book seems to be people who know next to nothing about volcanoes, as the science presented here is very basic and accessible. For that reason, I imagine this book would be a good supplemental reading for an Earth Science course at the high school or community college level. It does an excellent job of debunking popular ideas about what most volcanic activity looks like (hint: slow, glowing masses of lava are not always what you should expect).


How I Feel (Vocal Karaoke Version) [Originally Performed By Flo Rida]
How I Feel (Vocal Karaoke Version) [Originally Performed By Flo Rida]
Price: $0.89

3.0 out of 5 stars Ok karaoke for the hit song, January 15, 2014
Like most karaoke recordings of hit songs, this one sounds bland compared to the original. However, this particular song has an excellent vamp, and that's why I downloaded it for use as background music for short slide shows. It works fine for this purpose, because I find lyrics distracting for slide shows unless they are directly related to the photos.


Daffodil ULT300 USB Light - Reading Lamp with 28 Bright LED Bulbs, Flexible Gooseneck and Desk Clamp / Plugs into Your PC or Mac's USB Port to Light-up its Keyboard and Screen. No Batteries Needed
Daffodil ULT300 USB Light - Reading Lamp with 28 Bright LED Bulbs, Flexible Gooseneck and Desk Clamp / Plugs into Your PC or Mac's USB Port to Light-up its Keyboard and Screen. No Batteries Needed
Offered by Daffodil US
Price: $19.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptionally bright and great for use with a laptop, January 4, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
For some reason, many laptop manufacturers make their keyboards out of black or dark grey plastic which is a pain if you're not working in a well-lit area. And yet, because laptops are portable, you just might find yourself in a poorly-lit area some of the time. That's why a little USB-powered lamp like this is essential. I use mine whenever I'm using my laptop during that time when the light from the windows is fading but it's not quite dark enough to turn the house lamps on. I also use it if I am reading printed materials at the same time as using my laptop, just like a regular desk lamp.

The lamp is surprisingly bright, due to the large number of LEDs concentrated in a small area. It also runs on AA batteries, but I have no idea how long it lasts on battery power instead of USB phantom power. The gooseneck is easily manipulated and the base is very lightweight, but the clamp is very strong.


Best of Cheap Trick
Best of Cheap Trick
by Cheap Trick
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.87
42 used & new from $9.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Most of the hits - and mostly accurate, too, January 4, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Best of Cheap Trick (Paperback)
Still like Cheap Trick? Of course you do, and because Rick Nielsen's guitar licks are always a little off-the-wall, this is a band that a fake book just can't do justice to. Guitar Recorded Versions are definitely the way to go. Not every fan favorite gets represented in this mid-1990s compilation, but this is a decent cross-section of self-penned material, covers, and outside material like "The Flame." Most of the songs that got significant airplay are here. Despite Nielsen's quirkiness, much of this material isn't too hard to play once you see the TAB, although his alternate picking and pull-offs on "Ain't That A Shame" are a devilish workout at the recorded tempo.

From time to time, I did catch incorrectly labeled chords that didn't correspond to the TAB, which is a problem if you're using this book as a springboard to creating your own arrangements and not playing the TAB transcription per se. Also, given how important the bass lines are for fleshing out the harmonies on the "In Color" and "Dream Police," I really would have liked to have seen them here as well, if only as "bass arr. for guitar." I would have wanted the same thing from a Guitar Recorded Versions for the Who, as well.

Have fun playing and learning from this book!


WWE: Live in Fear (Bray Wyatt)
WWE: Live in Fear (Bray Wyatt)
Price: $0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The Best WWE Entrance Music in Years, September 29, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
"Live in Fear" is an excellent piece of creepy, swampy blues-rock that sounds straight out of a Tarantino soundtrack. It's totally different from the usual vamps that most current entrance music sounds like lately - for a good reason. This wasn't written as entrance music! It's a track from Mark Crozer, who's obscure enough that you probably haven't heard of him before. Thanks to Bray Wyatt, we've now discovered Mark Crozer's music!


Bower FT77S 77mm Professional Spot Lens Filters for Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax and DSLR Cameras
Bower FT77S 77mm Professional Spot Lens Filters for Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax and DSLR Cameras
Price: $27.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Limited usefulness, September 28, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a pretty limited product. It's thick lightly-frosted glass with a smooth central hole cut out in the middle. In theory, this should allow the center of the image to be clearly in focus and the outer areas of the image to be blurred. In practice, since the frosted glass is evenly frosted you're probably going to have an image with a sharply focused center and an outer area that is uniformly blurred. You're going to have to have your apeture open as wide as possible and use manual focus only, or else the distinction between clear and diffused is pretty obvious. This is not what most people would want from a filter like this. Furthermore, if you try using the zoom to reduce the diffused area of the image, you'll end up with some odd prism-like reflections on the circumference of the clear area. Again, this is not the type of effect you'd necessarily want in a filter like this, and it accentuates the dual-focus look. Finally, the lens didn't screw into my adapter tube all that smoothly.

I bought this lens because I wanted to have a better alternative to making partially diffused imagery than just wrapping a ripped sandwich bag around the periphery of my adapter tube. I'm not convinced that this is an improvement at all. I was looking for something that would be useful for portraiture or even for figure studies, but this isn't the ticket. If you're looking for a lo-fi, somewhat trippy effect and are willing to work within this filter's limitations, you'll be OK.


Dinotopia & Journey to the Center of the Earth - Fantasy Double Feature
Dinotopia & Journey to the Center of the Earth - Fantasy Double Feature
DVD ~ Tyron Leitso
Price: $5.43
45 used & new from $1.35

4.0 out of 5 stars Family-Oriented Fantasies, September 3, 2013
This two-disc set collects two different "Lost World"-type miniseries that are largely forgotten today. It's a shame they're forgotten because both of them are mostly fun, decently budgeted family-oriented entertainment of the type we just don't get much anymore. Kids like straightforward fantasy that doesn't simultaneously ridicule itself, and these films are long on earnestness and devoid of irony and sarcasm.

"Dinotopia" is the better of the two miniseries, and well-worth the modest asking price. It's a very gentle, benign story about two teenaged boys who find themselves trapped on an island where benevolent dinosaurs and humans have mutually crafted a peaceful utopia. The first of the three episodes is admittedly on the dull side due to an odd lack of suspense, but the second and third episodes are much, much better. The series uses a setting based on James Gurney's gorgeously illustrated 'Dinotopia' books, which is why they are strong on visuals and a fairly placid mood and short on nail-biting drama. The effects are especially wonderful in this miniseries, and it's a treat to watch 'Dinotopia' with an eye toward catching many of the creatures that lurk in the periphery or background. On the downside, the three episodes do not join together seamlesly (you'll be left wondering what exactly happened between episodes), the dialogue is often tin-eared in a George Lucas fashion, and strangely enough - considering the lengths to which James Gurney pursues scientific accuracy in his books - paleontological accuracy is spotty throughout the miniseries. Nevertheless, if you've got quiet, thoughtful kids (or if you're a gentle soul yourself), you're going to enjoy 'Dinotopia.' Despite its flaws, this is one of the better family-oriented miniseries around.


Cheap Trick At Budokan
Cheap Trick At Budokan
Price: $6.98
55 used & new from $0.38

5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Live Rock Album of the Seventies?, September 2, 2013
This review is from: Cheap Trick At Budokan (Audio CD)
Or is this the best live rock album EVER? You tell me. Over 30 years later, the mean and mean original version of 'Budokan' still packs an amazing amount of punch and crunch. Once you get past "I Want You To Want Me" (which is still overplayed on rock radio to this day), you've got a very aggressive and tight-sounding set whose sound and attitude parallels early punk. Heck, even "I Want You To Want Me" can still drop your jaw if you're in the right mood for it. Live rock LPs declined dramatically throughout the 1970s (Queen and even the Stones had stooped so low as to release live records where each track was stitched together from different concerts), but 'Budokan' stands up tall in the tradition of The Who's 'Live at Leeds.' Quite simply, it rocks.

There's a longer, 2-disc version but this is the original. Absolutely no track could be considered filler on this collection, and even if the running order was shifted a bit from the actual set list it works perfectly well within the confines of a single album.


The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease
The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease
by Daniel Lieberman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.68
73 used & new from $15.80

38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid Science and Strong Arguments, August 30, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
'The Story of the Human Body' is a well-written book tailored for the curious nonscientist who wants to learn more about how our evolutionary history influences the sorts of ailments that we suffer from, particularly those that we often attribute to simple aging. This is a book primarily for the layman - if you've taken a good general life science course as a high school or college student you'll be able to survive the jargon just fine - and it's to author Daniel Lieberman's credit that he was able to write such an engaging, conversation book without overly simplifying the science behind his argument. The science itself is noncontroversial, and Lieberman does a great job distinguishing between the indisputable facts of the fossil record and what we can infer and assume based on our understanding of modern primitive peoples. Lieberman's central argument won't be new to anyone who's studied evolutionary theory and health sciences, but it's probably one that most people have not considered before.

I'm particularly impressed with the last chapter of the book. Most recent science books I've read that are written for a nonprofessional audience tend to either fall apart toward the end or have ridiculous wrapups that have little connection to the text that preceeded it. The last chapter of this book, on the other hand, reads like an extended essay examining the pragmatism of implementing our evolutionary knowledge to many of the potential solutions to improve our health. Truth be told, unless we're going to abandon civilization en masse and return to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, any changes we make to get closer to the lifestyles that our bodies evolved for are going to necessarily be incomplete. But they will be for the better. And while I don't agree with all of Lieberman's arguments, it's difficult to contradict his primary conclusions.

This isn't an overly easy read, and it isn't going to lead to an overnight improvement in your health, but it's well worth the effort you put into reading this book. Set aside a week or so to read it slowly.


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