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Homer: The Essential Homer
Homer: The Essential Homer
by Homer
Edition: Audio CD
Price: $38.58
17 used & new from $19.95

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This Ain't Grandma's Classics Primer, August 6, 2009
Dr. Lombardo truly translates this and his work transports the epic poem into the modern era, complete with colloquial outbursts and vulgar insults shouted amongst the gods. These works are exciting! I can imagine the impact they once had is in many ways re-awakened by Lombardo's update to the otherwise antiquated language found in more classical translations such as Lattimore's. Clearly, the classical translations and even those of the 19th C are playing a somewhat different game and each have their respective merits, but I feel Lombardo's packs a punch and delivers the message to today's audience. Lombardo acts as a contemporary device to the original work making the piece current and attainable. Read the others when you want to study etymological roots, metaphor, iambic pentameter, etc.

I was fortunate enough, a few years ago, to see a live performance when Lombardo paid a visit to the classics department at Arizona State. He held a question and answer session that followed his presentation. Somehow, and I don't remember the question, he got to explaining that some transients had stumbled into an auditorium during one of his previous performances not knowing anything about the topic. They sat down on the floor in the front near the stage. When he asked the audience what their thoughts were one of the transients stood up to say, "Well, I don't know about anybody else, but I think this Agamemnon guy is a real A-hole. What happens next?"

And indeed, what happens next? You should stop watching reality TV right now. Jason Meznick and Molly What's-Her-Buckets got nothing on the scandalous womanizing moves of Zeus who rapes and then marries his sister, and then cheats on her mercilessly. Turn off the Bachelorette (also because it's really awful this season). Homer is far better. Here we have rage, jealousy, murder, lust, incest, seduction, lies, manipulation, narcissism, war, epic travels, pride unto death, and it's soon apparent that as much as things change it's all the same story in a different year.

Additionally a note on format, Susan Sarandon is great here as she does the book summaries that precede each reading by Lombardo. Also, the addition of the drums and music are fantastic as they break up the different books and add to the overall dramatic nature of this work. Better in the Iliad, however, than the Odyssey. The Odyssey music was video-gamish, or maybe that was just me. My only complaint is personal - I should have gotten the two unabridged versions of these. I wanted ALL the lines.

This audio is great company, and better than much of what is being passed off as literature these days. It's also a nice listen while stuck in rush hour traffic. The drums and the battles and the angry outbursts amongst the gods made me a more aggressive driver.

Magic Bullet Express 17-Piece High-Speed Blender Mixing System
Magic Bullet Express 17-Piece High-Speed Blender Mixing System
Offered by Value Town USA
Price: $48.99
11 used & new from $45.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars My bullet kicked the bucket, July 1, 2009
Not intended for every day use. Just as other reviewers here have mentioned - there are irreplaceable, movable, plastic parts that drive the blades. I got about 1 year of daily use out of my bullet before the plastic disc that spins the blades split into 3 pieces. I never used it to crush or blend anything very hard (no ice or compact solid foods - generally just bananas and soy milk). I tried to repair the disc with epoxy and got it back into one piece, but the threads that the disc screws onto had been rubbed bare. The threading was of course made of the same weak plastic - so no luck on that. I even tried to line the disc with glue so there'd be no need for the plastic threading. This fix was also not effective.

Recently I got a Bella Cucina Rocket from Target - I will update if it proves to be a superior product.

Glamorama (Vintage Contemporaries)
Glamorama (Vintage Contemporaries)
by Bret Easton Ellis
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.06
230 used & new from $0.01

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Cover Story: Fashion Models and B-class celebrities turned International Terrorists!, March 27, 2009
Or............ Wait! Do these plastic explosives match my Armani? Call the camera crew. We have to go back to wardrobe! Reset the timer. And....where's my Zanex?
OMG. ummmm........*yawn?

This isn't World Weekly News, but a novel that didn't know where or how exactly to end. And I'm shocked really, because I adore Bret Easton Ellis. I also secretly enjoy World Weekly News, which could arguably, at times, be a better read than this novel. Maybe he could have used Batboy or those giant army ants that eat giant housewives in rural Texas. Something I could connect to, something I could try to care about. Still, I think if Bret Easton Ellis were in need of a kidney and we matched - I'd be down.

I kept hoping the main character, Victor Ward/Victor Johnson (potentially two separate people) would just die already. But this hope occurred for the first time for me on, like, page...... 50? or so. I trudged on in hopes that he/they'd become less vacuous or maybe get impaled or strangled or blown up or attacked with a chain-saw á la Patrick Bateman ("American Psycho") style. It would have been nice to read about Victor's entrails being spun onto a wheel, the way they did in the middle ages when they'd burn trapped rats to dig into people's stomachs. Rats and wheels, it's torture genius. It proves that human ingenuity is linear, I think. Later on, we made light bulbs and 100 calorie packs. Rats and wheels, this is how much I disliked Victor Whatever.

Then, I'm wondering, am I supposed to hate Victor Ward/Johnson? He's a man so obviously disconnected from reality - like in the way that Michael Jackson is disconnected from reality. Except Victor Ward/Johnson isn't so far gone that he sleeps in Tupperware just yet. And his nose doesn't fall off - just yet. He just thinks a camera crew is following him everywhere sprinkling confetti all about. This is maybe his way to cope with being involved in gory terrorist activities. (I think.) I can't, however, figure out the confetti metaphor. Can someone fill me in? Lost! But I don't care enough to be found, really. It's all [insert random celebrity names here], Cerruiti, Huey Lewis and the News, Brooks Brothers, Cristal, blah, blah, blah. Did I floss today? I'm tired and bored. I'm down for the count. And so - the book gets put on the nightstand for another night or another week until primetime TV is bad and I've had a glass of wine.

The plot begins half-way through the novel, just at about the time you're finally ready to put it down and give up. Thank God, a point to this empty madness. But is it? Really? I'm thinking..........not so much, no. The over-materialist banality was eating at my soul for the first 250 pages. I didn't recover when things became more interesting. Victor's father wanted him sent away because he was running for Senate (or was it a Presidential nomination?). His quasi-gay unsuccessful college drop-out son was not good for campaigning or something like that. Victor Ward/Johnson is lured by a person potentially hired by his father, a man named Palakon. Palakon is somehow associated with the French embassy, and then not. It's not so clear as the lines between reality and "World Victor" become blurred. Palakon, et al. decide to take advantage of the situation they have with Victor in order to transport some uber-modern super-secret plastic explosives en route to Europe.

After this: lots of drugs and death disguised as movies sets- disguised as real death- disguised as film-making. Interrogations. Love triangles. A graphic ménage á trios that spans a full chapter. Confusion about the motive behind the violence because the narrator is unreliable. More death. *yawn

Not your best work Mr. Ellis, but still call me if you need a kidney
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 7, 2009 10:07 AM PDT

The Things They Carried
The Things They Carried
by Tim O'Brien
Edition: Paperback
1316 used & new from $0.01

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, April 25, 2002
When I first bought this book I decided to flip through it, maybe read the first few pages to get a feel for O'Brien's style and narrative. I ended up reading the first two chapters, and finished the book in just a few days. I chose to read this not because I have any interest in the Vietnam war, but for exactly the opposite reason. I don't know very much about it, which is likely due to the United State's indifference to this `conflict' as it was often called. I'm not generally a big fan of war fiction, or war movies, but there is a certain intensity, a blood and guts reality. These soldiers were without the technology we have today, without `bio weapons', without heat seeking missiles. O'Brien held my attention in his stories of how he and his platoon passed the hours with practical jokes, stories of home, and of course the preoccupation of death as one thinks of the life they are taking to spare their own.
There's a section in the chapter entitled "On the Rainy River" where the author describes what he did during the final months the summer before going off to Vietnam. He had the unfortunate job of working in a meat packing plant, and describes the job with such visceral detail that one can completely understand and even sympathize with his need to run from this awful job. He writes of trying to scrub the smell and grime from his body and clothing. It's entirely repulsive and brilliant.
Though I enjoyed this, and tore thorough it I believe O'Brien gives away too much at times. He writes about writing entirely too much and it distracted me from the stories by pulling me closer to the author. He explains his constructions and takes away some of the mystery and magic of his creation. In one story he writes of how he brought his daughter, Kathleen, to Vietnam many years later so that she might see where her father had been and understand that period of his life. But then O'Brien explains that he doesn't have a daughter, Kathleen, that he took on a trip to Vietnam. There's a recurring `just because it didn't happen doesn't mean that it's any less untrue', and although this idea is original and I understand the concept I believe it was utilized too much and he returns to it excessively. I wasn't so interested in knowing about "How to tell a war story" as I was about reading them.
But brilliant nonetheless. I'll likely read another O'Brien novel
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 15, 2012 8:12 AM PST

The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis
The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis
by Jose Saramago
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.85
147 used & new from $0.01

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, April 25, 2002
I first came across Saramago while reading nobel acceptance speeches. His words about "The wisest man I ever knew in my whole life could not read or write." let me directly to the library where <i>The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis</i> was the first book of his that I found. I've never read anything like it, the narration so unique, so poetic. I've since collected a pile of Saramago books wishing that I didn't have to read them in translation. This man has such a power of the language, such beauty, I wonder how the more striking it might read in Portuguese.
All of his novels, at least in paperback, which are currently being published read "from the author of Blindness". I just finished <i>Blindness</i>, and while it was beautiful, and full of much of the same narrative force and style, I enjoyed <i>The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis</i> much more. Saramago creates such an intimacy with this character Reis. I wish I could quote a few passages but alas I've praise this book so much that it's currently loaned out (and sent to New Zeland).
Saramago has not been given enough attention, Nobel or not.

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