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The Mighty Boosh (The Complete Radio Series)
The Mighty Boosh (The Complete Radio Series)
by N Fielding J Barratt
Edition: Audio CD
16 used & new from $24.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "It's Not Marmoset Season!", September 27, 2014
This three CD audio edition of "The Mighty Boosh" BBC radio series is a treasure. While I prefer the more refined comedy of the "Boosh" television series, this is a great way to have a laugh on the go (it was put on my iPod with great haste). As always, Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt dish up surreal humor in six episodes for the BBC. Those familiar with the television series will no doubt recognize many of the same episodes ("Jungle", "Hitcher", "Mutants", "Tundra", etc.) although in frequently highly modified form in both plotline and detail (the zoo is "Fossil's Fun World" instead of "The Zooniverse," for example). The "Tundra" and "Jungle" episodes are my two favorites of the set, but all are excellent and bizarre.

The shows are hilarious and a bit more raw than their television counterparts, but always provide the edgy, off-kilter humor "The Mighty Boosh" is deservedly famous for. This set is comic genius.


Brooks Men's Glycerin 12, Color: Exhuberance/Electrc/Slvr/White, Size: 12.0
Brooks Men's Glycerin 12, Color: Exhuberance/Electrc/Slvr/White, Size: 12.0

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My New Go-To Running Shoes, September 27, 2014
I have had Brooks Cascadias for years for trail running and always liked them, but I normally run on paved surfaces and for that I generally wore ASICS products (mostly Noosas.) I had plantar fasciitis about eight years ago and it took me a year to knock it back down to a dull roar: it hadn't bothered me in about seven years, but came back with a vengeance this spring at the start of my outdoor running season. I got to the point that I was running less than my target (I typically run at least three miles a day) and some days even those shorter runs were too painful to tolerate. After starting physical therapy for the pain in my heel I got a gait analysis and discovered that I'm close to neutral in my left foot and supinate a bit in my right. I was advised to seek out a neutral shoe with a lot of padding in the heel. After doing some research I narrowed my list to several alternatives and went to a very reputable and well stocked running store, sought out advice and tried on a lot of shoes. After it was all done I came away with a pair of Brooks Glycerin 12's in the wonderfully eye-catching Exuberance/Electric/Silver/White limited edition color scheme (I like bright colors, and this was an unexpected bonus.) I am a 12 in most shoes, but interestingly in the Cascadias I am an 11.5. In these Glycerins I am my usual size 12.

In short, I took them home and went for a five mile run and repeated it the next two days. While the heel pain is still present at the beginning of the run, it was quickly gone and I ran better than I had all season. On day four I bought another identical pair to take in my travel bag so I always have a pair available when I am on the road. They aren't cheap, but the cushioning is perfect for me (I am 6'2" and 195 pounds) without feeling pillowy like Hokas. The heel area gives a nice ride without too much give, though it's clear it's not a minimalist shoe it doesn't feel bulky. I was actually amazed at how light they are (10.9 ounces is published,) and how comfortable they are even after several miles of running. The toe box has a bit of give and there are no irritating seams anywhere to be felt. Attention to detail is very high and as far as I have found they have no drawbacks for a neutral (to supinating) heavier runner with higher arches and in need of underfoot padding. Even the laces are dyed to match the upper (and their slight elastic quality makes knots sure and fast.)

In short, these are absolutely excellent shoes. There are plenty of people who know more about the technicalities of shoe construction and design that I do, but from an end user point of view, these are clearly very high quality shoes and I could not recommend them more highly.


Audio
Audio
Price: $13.42
198 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Percussion, September 27, 2014
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This review is from: Audio (Audio CD)
"Audio" is an astonishingly good CD that is as representative of a Blue Man Group performance as a studio album could be (much of the material is seen in the various incarnations of live shows.) The sonic quality of the CD is superb, and as expected the percussion in particular is astonishingly layered and nuanced. I find I play several of the songs on "Audio" repeatedly, with the top three being "TV Song," "Opening Mandelbrot," and what I consider to be the defining Blue Man Group piece "Drumbone." If you are interested like I am, there is a very interesting insert with the CD explaining the instruments used, how they are played, and how other bits of information more dedicated fans or the percussion-obsessed will find endlessly fascinating.

"Audio" is a great album of an absolutely original musical style. It's great for repeat listening as is the equally compelling album "The Complex."


Journey: Greatest Hits
Journey: Greatest Hits
Price: $7.00
102 used & new from $2.30

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Huge Body Of Work Distilled Into One Disc, September 27, 2014
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This review is from: Journey: Greatest Hits (Audio CD)
I am a fan of a lot of '80s music, and Journey was a simply giant part of that landscape. As an amateur guitarist I am more a fan Neal Schon's consistently excellent and instantly recognizable guitar work than anything else, although most listeners will associate Journey more strongly with Steve Perry's vocals. Needless to say, this greatest hits CD is heavy on material from the monster album "Escape" ("Who's Crying Now," "Open Arms," and "Don’t Stop Believin'") though other albums are also represented here. The problem is, of course, that Journey produced a huge body of work and one CD is inadequate for anything but a very superficial treatment of such a long-lived band. I admit that there are songs here I am not fond of, but there are also songs here that I can't get enough of (mostly thanks to Schon.) For me the most appalling oversight is not having "Anytime" (from "Infinity") front and center in the collection, though everyone will have their own list of liked and disliked tracks. If you want a good introductory overview of Journey, "Greatest Hits" is a good fit for your '80s music collection.


Mindsploitation: Asinine Assignments for the Online Homework Cheating Industry
Mindsploitation: Asinine Assignments for the Online Homework Cheating Industry
by Vernon Chatman
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.10
55 used & new from $5.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "When I Enter Spaceship, I See Strange Badgers There.", September 21, 2014
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Vernon Chatman has contrived a masterpiece. This is a wonderful book showcasing the ineptitude of offshore homework companies trying to complete completely inane assignments that Chatman provides. There isn't a page in the book without something to make you laugh out loud. A synopsis is impossible, but a few examples may be of assistance.

When asked to invent a new human limb for a class called "Human Biological Technologism" the result is the "Peanutclaw," a specialized appendage for cracking open seeds and peanuts. The correspondence that ensues ("What is the peanutclaw's prime directive?") is increasingly bizarre and just gets funnier.

For you English majors out there there's a great musing in pseudo-rhyming couplets titled "Poetry of Spite" ("I will remember tickling hair / Of her moustache and loving kiss....")

For the Logistics class an assignment in "Advanced Riddle Solvage" requires several very difficult questions to be addressed, not the least of which is "If there is no such thing as death, what effect would this have on the raisin sales industry?" While the answer provided uses faultless logic, it is rather uninsightful, to say the least.

In a class named "Culinary Delightmaking" the most obscure and disgusting assignment in the book presents the ultimate difficulty for a budding chef: "Create a recipe using meconium." If you don't know what that is, don't feel bad (but do look it up.) If you do know what it is you'll instantly grasp why it’s impossible to create a dish using it as the main ingredient. Despite this, you will be unable not to laugh through your revulsion.

But my favorite assignment of all is for a class ostensibly called "Creative Post-Modern Storywriting 1010101," in which the poor writer is asked to tackle an assignment that is from beyond the fringe: "You must compose an original creative story that is a story within a story within a story about a story within a story about a story about a story. It must constantly collapse into itself and directly reference all five levels. Also, write it in the 51st person." I will just say that the results are hilarious on all five levels and then some.

This book is a great choice for anyone, particularly anyone who enjoys academic humor or the works of Ted L. Nancy. It's not a particularly long book, but it may take you a while to read due to having to take frequent breaks for wiping the tears from your eyes from the excessive laughter. "Mindsploitation" is a brilliant idea that was perfectly executed by a very funny guy.


Not Cool: The Hipster Elite and Their War on You
Not Cool: The Hipster Elite and Their War on You
by Greg Gutfeld
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.71
102 used & new from $8.00

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cult Of Cool Viciously Dissected, September 20, 2014
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"Not Cool" is a brilliant skewering of the mindlessness that passes as intellectualism and culture on the left. I appreciate this book more than I would from other pure-GOP talking heads, as Greg is a genuine libertarian with viewpoints frequently out of lockstep from the mainstream of the right. I applaud that he isn't afraid to defend his own positions even if they are totally unique (and a few of them are.) The principle underlying this book is that liberals define themselves as cool (Greg's logic in explaining this is spot on) and that "the cool hate nothing more than when a genuinely original thinker rejects them" (p.29.) Indeed. The examples he cites are irrefutable and anyone who dares to stand up to this groupthink is deemed "intolerant" or something that ends in "-ist" immediately.

Among Gutfeld's most frequent targets are the loony positions endorsed by celebrities who always claim the high ground even if they are endorsing radicals like the Weather Underground, which Robert Redford used as a basis for his "The Company You Keep," a film with great variance from the facts of the actual killings involved. I heartily approve of Gutfeld's proposal that "celebrities and activists who adore violent radicals should be forced to meet the relatives of those adorable violent radicals" (p. 67.) This is no dry book of political commentary, though: Gutfeld's somewhat random, scathing and sarcastic sense of humor comes through nearly constantly ("I made a vow years ago not to see any movie starring Robert Redford or Susan Sarandon unless they are documentaries that culminate in them being eaten alive in a vat of European congers," p.69.) A sound policy.

Just because he's sarcastic and scornful doesn't mean there isn't a lot of thought and insight behind his proclamations, for example the chapter "Killer Cool" begins aptly thus: "If you're looking for the worst person in the room, find the guy wearing the "Free Mumia" button, as a show of support for a cop killer." This is a rich vein for Gutfeld to mine, as it is perhaps the biggest chink in the armor of the left, and the thought process comes to a head in the excellent chapter "How Heathens Become Hip," which begins with commentary about Hugo Chávez. When Chávez, a murderous thug, died the cool came calling: "When Chávez bit the dust, who did we see? Sean Penn. Oliver Stone. Jimmy Carter. Joe Kennedy. All decorating the corpse with wreaths of blithering blather." (Do we even need to read Michael Moore's tweets on the matter?) Gutfeld contrasts this to the death of Margaret Thatcher a few weeks later at "the National Union of Students conference in Sheffield, where some delegates actually cheered when told of Thatcher's death" (pp. 96-104.) Mind you none of these students were old enough to actually remember Thatcher, but when a British Celebrity expressed her condolences on Twitter "she was met with vile slurs (all of which rhymed with the word 'bunt.')" "Rolling Stone" putting the Boston Bomber on the cover is cited as an appalling glorification of evil in the amoral world of the cool: he explains that he'd like to read the issue with Bob Dylan on the cover ("the man loved Barry Goldwater") but he can no longer buy it and support the editorial viewpoint it furthers, concluding "Me, I'm getting a subscription to 'Cat Fancy.' When was the last time a cat blew up anything?"

While I've illustrated some of Gutfeld's themes with examples (I could go on, but the review would really take a while...) but perhaps my favorite chapter in the book is "The Rise of the Free Radical" at the end which lists people who are truly cool, and who are infrequently celebrated, even though they should be due to some common elements which Gutfeld defines (p. 230) as honesty, fidelity to principle, unpredictability that starts to make sense once you realize the person has a code, and persuasive correctness. They are morally upright people who do what they genuinely believe to be the right thing even when nobody is watching, and Gutfeld provides a convincing argument for the selections. Examples include such diverse choices as black conservatives, Ambassador John Bolton, Bjorn Lomborg, Ramirez, Hirsi Ali, Iranian metal bands, legal immigrants, Truman Capote, Japan, Mike judge, Margaret Thatcher, King Buzzo, Ben Carson, and my favorite choice on the list, Skunk Baxter (former "Steely Dan" and "Doobie Brothers" guitarist, who now consults for the Pentagon as an expert in ballistic missile defense systems. Seriously.) A list like that does not spring from the mind of a party political hack, and certainly Gutfeld is no hack: he's a scary-smart, insightful, and deeply funny guy who knows how to make a point, and here his overarching point is to think for yourself. I don't agree with everything he says or believes, but that's exactly what he'd want.


Japanese  English Bilingual Visual Dictionary (DK Visual Dictionaries)
Japanese English Bilingual Visual Dictionary (DK Visual Dictionaries)
by DK Publishing
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.36
68 used & new from $4.87

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Supremely Useful Japanese-English Dictionary, September 20, 2014
The DK Japanese-English Visual Dictionary was one of the two books I referred to most for assisting with communications during a recent three week trek across Japan (the other was the "Lonely Planet Japanese Phrasebook and Dictionary.") I had previously used the DK French-English Visual Dictionary with great success and this book contains essentially identical photographs from the French volume, but obviously labeled with the English and Japanese terms for everything from lacrosse (rakurosu) to insect repellent (mushiyoke,) and everything in between. This also makes for a fun vocabulary builder to browse through things that you are interested and study the words associated with that theme. The book does have some pronunciation tips and some directions for quirks specific to the Japanese-English version of this dictionary, but this is a dictionary and not a phrasebook. If you want a phrasebook, this is not your best choice, but if you want an easily accessible dictionary that has most any word your may ever need as a tourist (and then some) grouped into sensible thematic sections this is indispensable. One of the great things about the book is that when you are all out of ideas about how to communicate, opening the book and pointing to what you want is hugely effective (I used this technique in several giant department stores in both Tokyo and Hiroshima, with great results.) It's not sophisticated or elegant, but it works. When I go back to Japan, I will definitely be taking this back with me.


The Complete Bob Wilkins Creature Features DVD
The Complete Bob Wilkins Creature Features DVD
DVD ~ Bob Wilkins
2 used & new from $17.75

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Feature On A Pioneering Horror Host, September 19, 2014
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Being a longtime fan of early horror and cult movies, I had heard of Bob Wilkins, but since I was from nowhere near Northern California I had never seen any of his material. It was my loss. This DVD is an 87-minute treasure trove of cult film paradise. Between 1966 and 1981, Bob hosted over 1,800 movies (!) on his show, and this feature takes you across the breadth of that massive body of work with clips, trailers, stills, audio and video snippets, and vintage interviews with the likes of Boris Karloff, John Belushi, the great William Marshall (a fine actor and singer perhaps best remembered for his roles in "Blacula" and "Star Trek",) and the incomparably prolific man of horror himself, John Carradine! This is a great introduction to Bob Wilkins, its only fault being that it's too short. The titles profiled read like a shopping list of B-movies from days gone by (I was astounded by how many of them I had seen) and the information provided is interesting to true fans of the genre. Wilkins' good humor shines through and it's immediately obvious why he was such a beloved fixture on California television.


Chernobyl Diaries (DVD + Ultraviolet Digital Copy)
Chernobyl Diaries (DVD + Ultraviolet Digital Copy)
DVD ~ Devin Kelley
Price: $5.00
103 used & new from $0.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Think "The Blair Witch Project" With Radioactive Mutant Bears, September 19, 2014
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"Chernobyl Diaries" is a pseudo-reality horror film, with lots of atmospheric, panicky hand-held camera work. It features some interchangeable good looking twenty-somethings who go to Kiev and on a whim visit Uri's Extreme Travel for a day trip to Chernobyl and the creepy abandoned town of Pripyat where the Chernobyl workers lived. In reality Pripyat is extremely creepy, and it follows that it makes an effective setting for a horror movie, and it does. When the tour arrives they are turned away, but Uri knows another way in.

Of course much menacing drama unfolds and the party ends up with a bonus overnight sleepover due to the van not starting right on cue. During exploration of the site there are attacks by wild dogs, radioactive bears, and even creepier things all of which hint at the predictable but well-done ending of the film. Much of the movie is highly contrived and utterly eye-rolling, and the excessive yelling and walking around in the dark gets old after a while. It's also a problem when the only vaguely likeable cast member is Uri, an ex-USSR Special Forces operative. As unlikely as it would be to stumble into the reactor control room at Chernobyl, that's the least of the logical issues the film has to deal with. Fortunately, the conclusion is the big payoff and it's handled well, though the closing credits and music are awful. There are a couple of inconsequential extras including the "Chernobyl Conspiracy Viral Video," and an utterly pointless deleted scene.

I have mixed feelings about "Chernobyl Diaries." It is a great and genuinely creepy concept that had a decent first and third act, but act two was illogical and intermittently painful to sit through as I cared about none of the protagonists or their peril, so it's really a problem of execution by the filmmakers (and some especially hammy acting in places.) Fans of the genre will appreciate the movie, and to them I recommend it.


Brooks Men's Infiniti 3" Split Short, Color: Electric/White, Size: XL
Brooks Men's Infiniti 3" Split Short, Color: Electric/White, Size: XL
Offered by Brooks Sports
Price: $55.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Minimalist Running Shorts, September 19, 2014
I love Brooks shoes and (unsurprisingly) love these shorts too. The Infiniti split shorts are well made and carefully thought out. I like the 3" inseam for racing: when you wear them you almost forget they are there; they stay comfortable for long periods even in very warm weather. I am very picky about pockets on my shorts, and here Brooks did a generally good job. I will say that the two side pockets are too shallow for my taste, and the inner pocket on the right hip seems oddly located, but it's not especially disagreeable. The real bonus is the hidden zippered pocket on the inside seam of the right side pocket: it's a beautiful touch. If you do endurance work each side pocket has two elastic loops to hold energy gels, which is a nice feature.

These shorts have reflective details which I appreciate as I live in a location where nightfall comes very early part of the year (although in all honesty, it's normally cold enough then that I wouldn't have these on as an outer garment then.) The liner is extremely comfortable and it is clear that these shorts had a lot of thought put into them: seldom have style and utility been combined into a minimalist short so well. For warm weather and distance running, these are now my go-to shorts and I recommend them without reservation.


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