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The Story of Alexander Graham Bell [VHS]
The Story of Alexander Graham Bell [VHS]
Offered by Internet Marketplace
Price: $18.95
40 used & new from $3.29

6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Irritating crackling noises throughout., October 4, 2005
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this video new. The story line is excellent. The acting is excellent. The scene in the courtroom is clever and excellent. The depiction of American history is excellent. The costumes are stylized and overwrought, as was typical during the earlier days of Hollywood. The film is an excellent teaching device for kids. This film was one of the eternal favorites of our parents' generation and our grandparents' generation. But there is a slight problem. There are irritating crackling noises throughout. Why is this? The crackling noises make the movie almost unbearable. I was only able to watch this otherwise excellent movie only once. I own about 50 videotapes, many of them bought second hand. Crackling noises of the same type occur on only one of these, namely, Three Stooges in Orbit, which I bought new. Can any of the reviewers of this product provide insight as to the source of the noises? Can somebody please tell the manufacturer that they need to do something about the noises.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 12, 2014 5:38 PM PDT

It Came From Beneath the Sea
It Came From Beneath the Sea
DVD ~ Faith Domergue
Offered by Sparks DVD Sales
Price: $9.99
32 used & new from $2.51

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, forward-moving drama., September 19, 2005
This review is from: It Came From Beneath the Sea (DVD)
This is an excellent sci-fi film. I first saw it in the late 1950s. My school was going to take us to see Old Yeller, but that film was sold out, so instead we went to see It Came From Beneath the Sea. Bobby Moore's mother was taking us. That was about 45 years ago. The film starts with a tense episode in a submarine, and introduces kids to all sorts of interesting gizmos, such as sonar, Geiger counters, and periscopes. The film gets off to a humorous start, as there is a slight disagreement among submarine personnel as to whether the music played on board should be Hawaiian music or big band. Without devoting much further time to character development, or to establishing the historical context, we are introduced to the giant octopus. It ensnares a ship and takes it down. What follows is an excellent course in psychology, where a surviving sailor is so shocked that he cannot describe the octopus, but merely points to the examining physician's stethoscope. The doctor makes some subtle pronouncements, indicating that he believes the sailor to be nuts. The other sailors, waiting their examination, agree amongst each other to pretend that they saw nothing (to avoid being diagnosed as nuts). Another scene takes place in a marine biology lab, where there is a prominent sign reading NO SMOKING, but the sub commander, in speaking with the marine biologists, proves to be a chain smoker. Kids will love observing this discrepency on their own, as the contradiction is not discussed by any of the actors. As if the film was not dramatic enough, the octopus attacks San Francisco, tears down the Golden Gate Bridge, and extends its tentacles along the Embarcadero, near the area now named after journalist Herb Caen. "Woman's liberation" plays a surprisingly prominent role in this film, the female marine biologist is a university professor. Other films from this era would not have dared to do this, and would have given the woman a master's degree, at most. From time to time, there are hints of romance in this film, and the film director is to be commended for infusing the romantic episode with ambiguity (is the woman involved with the other marine biologist or not?). But there is not enough romance to dampen a kid's enthusiasm for the plot. The special effects are more than adequate. Unlike other sci-fi films from this era, and thereafter, the dialogue does NOT bog down in pseudo-scientific gibberish. After watching this movie, one wishes that more sci-fi films were in black'n'white. The quality of the images is excellent (not blurry at all) on my new liquid crystal T.V.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 10, 2011 12:44 AM PDT

Paper Cuts
Paper Cuts
Price: $17.04
14 used & new from $0.90

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing., August 17, 2005
This review is from: Paper Cuts (Audio CD)
I was looking for some vocal versions of be-bop standards, such as Ornithology, Joy Spring, Confirmation, and Groovin' High. I already knew of Eddie Jefferson's work, and wanted more. The relatively small amount of be-bop vocal that is commercially available includes this fine album by Sarah Pillow. First of all, it must be said that the album contains actual jazz (not EZ listening music or disco). The instruments include voice, vibraphone, guitar, electric bass, and percussion. The vibraphone is somewhat shrill, like a gamelan. The electric guitar has the muffled sound that is traditionally used on most jazz guitar recordings. The vocal work is astonishing, for example, in the velocity and apparent precision of the "scatted" arpeggios. Ms.Pillow's rendition of Confirmation is everything that I was looking for. (The acrobatics taken by the voice, in this album, might strike children as unnatural. And so, if you want to introduce kids to vocal be-bop, then you might first expose your kid to Eddie Jefferson instead.) A perfect version of Confirmation also occurs on the album "Stitt Plays Bird," by Sonny Stitt, on Atlantic Jazz. Majestic renditions of Confirmation, as well as Groovin' High, and other be-bop standards, can be found on "The Bop Session," featuring Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Stitt, John Lewis, and Max Roach, on Sonet Records. In noting that Sarah Pillow's album includes Joy Spring, one might point out that a fine instrumental rendition of Joy Spring can be found on Anthony Braxton's "Seven Standards 1985" on Windham Hill.

The Photograph as Contemporary Art (World of Art)
The Photograph as Contemporary Art (World of Art)
by Charlotte Cotton
Edition: Paperback
46 used & new from $0.73

21 of 59 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good supplement to visiting art galleries., July 20, 2005
The photographs shown here are not really of popular appeal. There are no scarlet sunsets, romping puppies, or laughing children. Actually, there is exactly one photograph among the 217 nicely reproduced images that clearly might be enjoyed by most people. This is Esko Mannikko's color photograph of a Finnish dairy farmer, in his rustic kitchen, smoking a cigaret while feeding a baby lamb with a baby's milk bottle. In addition, there is one image from Bernd and Hilla Becher's irresistable series of odd-shaped water towers.

The book includes photographs from a number of famous, but otherwise lacking in popular appeal, photographers, e.g., Steven Shore, Thomas Struth, Joel Sternfeld, William Eggleston, and Cindy Sherman. Also included are a great many photographs created by lesser known artists. Nearly all of the photographs are somewhat puzzling, in that it is not clear how they could be construed as being compelling or interesting, how they could provide insight into the world as we know it, or how they could be construed as being "art." For example, the book includes Ruth Erdt's picture of an ordinary boy on a beach, Uta Barth's picture of a window with smudges, Marketa Othova's picture of a bland livingroom, and Jeff Wall's picture of a mop. Nevertheless, there are some gems to be found in this generous collection of 217 photographs. We learn about Nina Katchadourian's photographs of mushrooms, where the naturally occurring cracks are "repaired" with bicycle tire patches, or of naturally torn spider webs, "repaired" with red thread. We learn of Georges Rousse's technique of painting white areas within a garage or barn so that when viewed from one angle, it looks like the circular beam of an intense spotlight. The author Charlotte Cotton should have mentioned John Pfahl's book (Altered Landscapes (1981) Friends of Photography) at this point. John Pfahl is likely the pioneer at this attractive technique. We learn of Axel Hutte's technique of displaying a large transparency, mounted in front of a mirror, to create a glistening effect. We learn of Wim Delvoye's method of altering photographs of cliffs and monuments, so that they bear some casual or trite message, such as "Out walking the dog. Back soon. Tina." We learn of Joan Fontcuberta's fanciful technique of fabricating mermaid fossils, mounting them in rugged areas by the seashore, and photographing the installation. We learn of Susan Derges' appealing method of placing huge sheets of photographic paper at the bottom of a stream or brook, and letting the moon expose the paper, resulting in a feathery pattern. We learn of Vik Muniz' re-creation of a famous photograph of Jackson Pollack, caught in the act of doing an action painting, where Vik Muniz' re-creation consisted of dribbled chocolate syrup, dribbled to reproduce the original photographic image. Then, of course, there are some gloriously tacky photographs by Martin Parr, including a close up of custard bars with pink frosting festooned with multicolored sprinkles, and another photograph of a puppy wearing sunglasses having rainbow-colored rims. Martin Parr has also created an unpublished portfolio of signs from the village of Boring, Oregon. Also, Martin Parr has published an amusing collection of boring (not tacky, not gaudy, just boring) postcards called Boring Postcards USA (2000) Phaidon Press.

To summarize, nearly all of the images in Charlotte Cotton's book are essentially uninteresting, too dull to warrent any comment, or with little apparent ability to stimulate amusement, outrage, solace, or insight. But the utility of this book is that everyone will surely be able to find at least two or three interesting photographers here, and thus be enabled to seek out monographs of these particular artists.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 1, 2013 4:42 PM PDT

The Generic Challenge: Understanding Patents, FDA and Pharmaceutical Life-Cycle Management
The Generic Challenge: Understanding Patents, FDA and Pharmaceutical Life-Cycle Management
by Martin A. Voet
Edition: Paperback
31 used & new from $0.01

19 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Aleatory in form and content., June 20, 2005
Pages 1-40 disclose some background information relating to patents. Here, the author is plainly uncomfortable with the topic. Pages 41-107 describe various regulations relating to FDA submissions. Here, the writing is somewhat more assured.

On page 14, the author states that "claims tend to get long winded because for some reason lost in the mists of time, there can only be one sentence in each claim, so that [sic] sentence sometimes gets very long." This is false. A basis for single sentence claims is the Patent Act of 1836, but also in a publication from July 1836 called "Information to Persons Having Business to Transact at the Patent Office."

On page 15, the author states that the Seaborg claim is a broad claim. This is false. The Seaborg claim is a species claim (a narrow claim). The Seaborg claim is NOT a genus claim (genus claims are broad claims).

On page 15, the author states that "the broadest patents have the shortest claims." This is not really true. The author forgets that certain extra words, such as "comprising" or "or", are universally used to broaden claims. Again, the author might have described how "comprising language" is used to broaden claims. The author also might have explained how "or language" is used to broaden claims. But nothing is said about these techniques for broadening claims. Note also that what can be broad is a CLAIM in a patent, not the patent itself. From the writing, the reader might infer that the SPECIFICATION determines whether a patent's coverage is broad or narrow. But this is not the case. An author writing for a novice audience should not be using careless phraseology in referring to established, clearly defined concepts.

On page 16, the author tries to describe the Doctrine of Inherency, giving the example of a mechanism of action of a drug. This is a confusing example, because there are really two issues going on in this example: (1) Inherency; and (2) Failure to satisfy the utility requirement (35 USC 101). This is also a bad example because often, when faced with a discovery relating only to mechanisms, the patent attorney might draft a claim reading, "A method to detect this mechanism" or "A method to stimulate this mechanism." For the claim given by the author, when written by an attorney to read "A method to detect this mechanism" or "A method to stimulate this mechanism," only utility is an issue (inherency would no longer be an issue). The author should have used the much better example found in a case from the Federal Circuit, In re Cruciferous Sprouts.

On pages 18-19, the author attempts to explain novelty, utility, and non-obviousness. However, the author only mentions the statute 35 USC 103, and fails to mention 35 USC 102 (novelty) or 35 USC 101 (utility). At this point, it is becoming clear that the "book" is unusually disorganized and inaccurate.

On page 23, the author states that "A patent is a sword, not a shield. . ." This is false. As soon as a patent is filed, it becomes a powerful shield, as it can become prior art under 35 USC 102(e), preventing the allowance of U.S. patents, e.g., of competitors. Morever, as soon as a patent application is published, it also becomes a shield, preventing the allowance European patents, e.g., of a competitor.

On page 28, the author tries to explain the "Function, Way, Result" test. But what a mess the author has made. The author writes, ". . . it might infringe under the doctrine of equivalents because your gizmo has an element that performs a similar function by similar means in a similar way . . ." What happened to "Result"? Where is "Result"? Where? The author is further confused here, because he uses the term "means." In patent law, the term "means" is used to invoke 35 USC 112, paragraph six. The term "means" should not be used when initiating an explanation of the Doctine of Equivalents. Another mess.

On page 31, the author writes, "This is called prosecution history estoppel if you really wanted to know." This type of comment is excessively informal, and is not appropriate for a "book" on patent law.

On page 89, the author states that "The FDA recently approved a combination of two well-known cholesterol lowering statins giving new life to Merck's Zocor by combining it with a newer statin sold by Schering-Plough." This is false. The compound of Schering-Plough is Zetia. But Zetia (Ezetimibe) is not a statin.

This "book" contains only about 30,000 words. This is the length of a typical law review article. At $25.00, this tiny "book" is no bargain. The production could be better. While the quality of the glossy cover is excellent, the ink in my copy of the book is smeared on pages 34, 49, 88, 105, and 108. Citations for cases, and the names of cases, are missing (pages 51, 66, 71, 74).

This "book" contains way too many errors in its attempts to describe various issues in patent law. For this reason, this "book" deserves zero stars.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 21, 2011 2:43 PM PDT

Here They Come
Here They Come
17 used & new from $20.22

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bible of garage bands., June 9, 2005
This review is from: Here They Come (Audio CD)
This album is best of the genre. The album was the "Bible" for thousands of garage bands during the 1960s, who learned all or nearly all of the songs, and performed them for countless high school dances. The overall style is similar to early Beatles, as found in, for example, "I Saw Her Standing There" or "Twist and Shout." The vocal style is reminiscent to that of Roger Daltry, especially his style of singing found on "Who's Next."

Mark Lindsay seems to have studied carefully the long tradition of blues shouters and soul artists dating from the 1930s to the 1950s. It is amazing that this album could be the product of a group of gentleman between the ages of 19 and 23.

The Raiders' "Louie, Louie" was a massive hit during the 1960s, on par with the Stones' Satisfaction. "Sometimes" is an unforgettable ballad, with a fine tune, and brash piano chords which connect directly with the central nervous system. "Gone" also has a fine tune.

In my opinion, "Big Boy Pete," "Oo Poo Pah Doo," and "Do You Love Me," should be put on a kid's compilation of rock'n'roll songs, along with "Yellow Submarine," "Hound Dog," the Coaster's "Little Egypt," the Four Season's "Big Girls Don't Cry," along with Devo's "Whip It," Devo's "Peek a Boo," Ray Stevens' "Ahab the Arab," and the Who's "Boris the Spider." What a fine and fun kid's compilation this would make.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 10, 2015 9:02 PM PDT

American Images: New Work by Twenty Contemporary Photographers
American Images: New Work by Twenty Contemporary Photographers
by Renato Danese
Edition: Textbook Binding

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the finest "art" photography books ever published., April 24, 2005
The book is 216 pages long. The cover is unusually sturdy (for any book) and if you wanted to tote it around in a backpack for a year (not that I'd want to) the book would survive unscathed. The quality of the reproductions, both black and white and color, is high. If you wanted to cut out the pages and have them framed (not that you'd want to), they'd resemble original photographs. There is much to like in this book, including the landscape photography of William Clift, Richard Misrach, and Linda Connor, the people photography of Elliott Erwitt, Roy DeCarava, Larry Fink, Mary Ellen Mark, and Nicholas Nixon, and the urban commentary photography of Robert Adams and Harry Callahan. Twenty photographers in all are generously represented in this awesome book. In particular, one might point out an amazing photo by Mary Ellen Mark of an obese woman seated in her kitchen with a charming curly headed young boy balanced on her lap, with a puffy loaf of Wonder Bread (the wrapper reading "GIANT") in the foreground. This image is part of a series that comprises an overly-sympathetic, but still intriguing, account of a teen pregnancy. Also notable are two photographs of unearthly beauty, by William Clift, entitled Santa Fe River Gorge from Cerro Seguro and La Mesita rom Cerro Seguro. The little round bushes resemble the comical bushes featured in many of Roger Brown's (Chicago imagist painter) paintings.

Sacred Planet
Sacred Planet
DVD ~ Robert Redford
Price: $9.79
70 used & new from $0.01

18 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars In effect, the film lasts for only 20-25 minutes., April 4, 2005
This review is from: Sacred Planet (DVD)
The film and DVD is in the subgenre of "nature/anthropology movies" that compares civilized human societies to life in primitive societies, and where there are no characters or actors. Written information provided with the DVD states that the film lasts for about 40-50 minutes. However, this is not entirely accurate. The film was made in the following way. Each scene lasts for about 10-15 seconds. Between scenes is a ten second fade out and fade in sequence. This means that half of the time of the entire film (or DVD) is spent either fading out to pure white, or fading from pure white to another scene. The end result is that the entire film really lasts only 20-25 minutes. Particularly frustrating is some fine footage of a family of elephants trodding up a small river, where each river bank is lined with trees. What a nice image it makes. But just as soon as one begins to enjoy it, the movie fades out to white. Because the camera dwells for such a short time on all of the subjects, the film is consistently irritating. Far better films and DVDs in the same genre can easily be found. See, e.g., KOYAANISQATSI, or similar films available from National Geographic, the History Channel, or PBS. In filming natives in their rain forest, the director replaced the native garb with brightly colored red-striped loin clothes, apparently purchased from J.C.Penney's, from Target, or from Ross (Dress for Less). This is deceptive. Art is not supposed to be deceptive. The problem with this is that the film is geared to a young audience (children). Children are smart creatures, and they can readily detect when something is false. For the above reasons, the film deserves no more than one star.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 19, 2006 2:05 PM PDT

Colored Field & Still Movement With Hymn
Colored Field & Still Movement With Hymn
33 used & new from $2.98

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Abundantly easy on the ears., April 3, 2005
The first movement begins quietly and gently, but with hints of tension, reminiscent of the first movement of Bartok's Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta. At 2 minutes, there starts a flittery, fluttery, looping, bounding, flute exercise. The natural vibrato of a piece of metal, struck at this time, is appealing. If you like Charles Ives' music, e.g., Decoration Day or Washington's Birthday, you'll like this part of the first movement. The period between 4-5 minutes sounds a bit like the saxophone compositions of Sam Rivers or Eric Dolphy. At 8 ½ minutes occurs a thunderstorm episode, comprising abundant use of drums which at 10 ½ minutes, suddenly becomes gentle. The first movement ends quietly. If you like Messian's Turangulila Symphony, you'll like Kernis' second movement. Here, the English horn plays the role of the ondes martinot of the Turangulila, that is, an underdog, young and naive, a protagonist, unwilling to be overwhelmed by the orchestra. At 2 minutes and again at 3 minutes, there occurs a brief playful, laughing, cartoonish episode, reminiscent of composer Carl Stalling. (Orchestral "laughing" occurs only rarely in music. One can also find a laughing episode in Bartok's string quartet no.1, where the laughing occurs at 6-7 minutes into the 3rd movement (allegro vivace)). Again, at 4 minutes and thereafter, occurs a busy section sounding like Turangulila. Kernis' third movement begins with a step-wise music, featuring bold, dignified, Coplandesque chords. This contrasts nicely with the cartoons of the second movement. At 4 minutes and 40 seconds into the 3rd movement, there occurs a stuttering horn, briefly evoking Lutoslawski's Cello Concerto (see 3 min and 50 seconds in the Cello Concerto). The stuttering horn never appears again in Kernis' piece. From 9 minutes to 11 minutes, there is a warm and cozy sounding section. Then, 11 minutes into the third movement, the step-wise music returns, with its craggy mountains and Copland-chords, but this time supplemented with clanging metal and galloping wooden blocks. Finally, at 14 minutes, occurs another gentle section, where the English horn provides a solo in absence of accompaniment. At 16 ½ minutes, there occurs a reassuring, optimistic, quiet section, reminiscent of the concluding moments of Ives' Unanswered Question, perhaps implying that the hurdles imposed by the craggy mountains and thunderstorms are overcome. At 22 minutes and 40 seconds, the 3rd movement ends with a creative yelp. Kernis' concerto is not lengthy. It contains enough ideas for a 90 minute symphony.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 28, 2007 2:44 PM PDT

Greatest Hits 1963
Greatest Hits 1963
Offered by troyacurtis71
Price: $29.90
11 used & new from $0.49

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, they are indeed the originals., March 12, 2005
This review is from: Greatest Hits 1963 (Audio CD)
The five star rating goes to Rhythm of the Rain, Only Love Can Break a Heart, Deep Purple, and Since I Fell for You. But overall, the compilation might deserve only three stars, since some of the numbers, e.g., Any Day Now; Oh, No, Not My Baby; Do the Bird; Thou Shalt Not Steal; and Don't Say Goodnight and Mean Goodbye; were probably never on anybody's radar screen.

Rhythm of the Rain begins (and ends) with recorded thunder sounds. The tune starts out in a sing-song manner. This part of the song has barely has any melody to speak of. But then comes the middle section, which has a memorable descending melody. Rhythm of the Rain is one of the few rock'n'roll songs with a metal xylophone. To give another example, That's It For the Other One, one of the finest compositions by the Grateful Dead, and perhaps one of the finest compositions in all of rock'n'roll, also has a metal xylophone. Rag Doll by the Four Seasons also appears to have a metal xylophone.

Only Love Can Break a Heart, one of Gene Pitney's hits, has the same style as Bobby Vinton's songs. If you like Bobby Vinton, then you will like songs by Gene Pitney. Only Love Can Break a Heart features pizzicato violins, mellow saxophone fluorishes, jazzy guitar stylings, and a vocal chorus.

Deep Purple might not be one of my favorite oldies, but I recall that it had been given incessant airplay during 1963.

The style of Since I Fell For You' sung by Lenny Welch, is reminiscent of that of one of Little Anthony and the Imperials' songs, "I'm On The Outside Looking In." Since I Fell For You is a classic oldie.

I'm Leaving It Up To You is catchy, and it seems to have a Nashville sound.

Da Do Ron Ron, of course, is a classic "Motown sound" rock'n'roll song. Da Do Ron Ron should not really be classified as an oldie, since there is not a touch of moldiness to it. There is no hint of doo-wop and no hint of sappiness. Da Do Ron Ron contains saxophone choruses, an imaginative sax solo, vocal choruses, and timpani. The bass line consists of only three different notes, each note repeated hundreds of times. Apparently, the monotonous bass line serves as a counterpoint for all the activities and variety provided by the vocals, brass, and percussion.

This compilation contains a song by Del Shannon, "Keep Searchin'." Keep Searching is noted for its falsetto parts, for its organ, and for the unusual pronunciation of the word "sun" (it is pronounced "sun-nuh"). Although Keep Searchin' might not be Del Shannon's best song, it should be noted that Del Shannon is responsible for what is arguably the greatest of all oldies: Runaway.

Sheila, as performed by Tommy Roe, utilizes Buddy Holly's singing style, i.e., subtle hiccup inflections.

Any listener born after 1960 might wonder why "Money" by the Kingsman is on this compilation. The song is not very well recorded, the sound quality is somewhat muddy. The arrangement is not at all innovative. The Kingsman were, in essence, a typical garage band. But note that Louie, Louie (penned by Richard Berry), as performed by the Kingsman in their garage band style, was one of the greatest monster hits of the 1960s and, for reasons unknown (to me) resides in the lofty territory occupied by monster hits from the 60s such as Satisfaction by the Stones and Stairway by Led Zep.

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