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How the World Sees You: Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination
How the World Sees You: Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination
by Sally Hogshead
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.57
124 used & new from $6.40

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unique work, brilliantly conceived but needs more hard science, May 18, 2016
I discovered Sally's work and she seems to be an amazing woman. There was for me, personally, more material in the book then I needed and I think it might have been improved by including more science in the book.

That being said, it's worth every penny if only for the story about Joshua Bell, the celebrated violinist who went virtually unnoticed in during rushing hour in Washington Metro as a teaching tale about the hydra-headed monster of distraction and competition.

Her grid for determining personal unique advantages at times seems a little too general--very much like the daily reading of a horoscope--and yet I could fairly easily disqualify myself from certain types.

Will it provide practical fruit? Sally's advice that "different" trumps "better" is a real 24-character motivator and may stimulate someone to do a deep dive to discover what they really do better than almost anyone else. Her admonition that we only have nine seconds to capture someone's attention and to captivate them is another gem. Most of us are inclined to make small talk hoping it escalates into a job offer, a date, or a sale.

That's a trap.

One other thing that gave me pause for thought was her suggestion that to be fascinating become fascinated. That resonated with me. Unless something about a job or a customer or someone you find fascinates you, just move on. You can't fake it.

At the end of the day, it takes time to become fascinating, even if you're world-class magicians like Penn and Teller or Derren Brown. (There's a lot to be learned from those guys: it all comes down to words--except in Teller's case but it's his muteness that differentiates him.

I would close by saying that timing and context are indispensable components to creating fascination. It's exponentially easier to crawl through your nine-second window if you're standing next to someone on a five-mile line for screening at an airport or next to someone on a train than someone whose eyes are glued to as cellphone walking down Fifth Avenue. Put another way, you have to pick your spots. Baseball players have to wait for their pitch. We have to keep our eyes open and wait for our moment. Sally's book will at the least remind you that you are on the clock and the opportunity of a lifetime could slip through your fingers if you think patience at such times is a virtue.


Anomalisa
Anomalisa
DVD ~ Jennifer Jason Leigh
Price: $22.99
19 used & new from $14.98

1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Anomalisa: A gift from the Gods--for people who like bizarre puppets screwing, February 3, 2016
This review is from: Anomalisa (DVD)
And yet another uber-hyped film by the critics (one even hailed it as "a one-in-a-million" piece of cinema and another a "miracle"). Talk about "critical inflation". I'm really starting to get tired of animation, special effects, and in this case, pornographic puppetry.

The movie, however, had one redeeming virtue: I will NEVER take critics literally again and rely on my own feelings about a trailer. The trailer makes this animated film seem like "It's a Wonderful Life" with hallmark card dialogue but this is a lamentable bait and switch. It is a downer that has the pacing of paint drying.


Billionaire Boys Clb (artisan)
Billionaire Boys Clb (artisan)
DVD ~ Judd Nelson
Offered by Stare Media
Price: $29.87
17 used & new from $11.79

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars As seen on T.V...., January 13, 2016
A predecessor to the far superior 2000 "Boiler Room", "Billionaire Boys' Club" is a made for T.V. movie approximately the length of Gone With the Wind and War Peace combined. It is supposedly based on the true story of a young sociopathic, malignantly greedy former "nerd", Joe Hunt, who seeks to conquer the world of high finance, but where as a superbly crafted films such as "Blindsided" and "The Kings Speech" serve up stellar scripts, great dialogue, and believable characters, "BBC" fails dismally on all three fronts.

Hunt's ambition, like MacBeth's is the catalyst for a conveyor belt of slaughter. Interesting enough, but the reactions to his obvious madness by his colleagues defy credulity. Here and there we are offered up scenes which elicit a "You've got to be f'ing kidding me." response. There are a handful of these but the one that stands out is Hunt's description of the desecration of his first victim's body when riddled by bullets. Hunt recounts the experience with the giddiness of a high-school kid describing his feelings while watching his first porn flick.

To make matters worse, the film is little more than a composite of serial flashbacks. On more occasions that I can recall, the writer violates the first unimpeachable rule of scriptwriting: "Show don't tell."

I'll let others discuss the plot and the virtues of the film which are almost non-existent to me. The most interesting aspect of this film is how producers were talked into anteing up the money for a three-hour, two-part television film. Perhaps Judd Nelson was more persuasive than he was as Joe Hunt.


Godspell
Godspell
DVD ~ Katie Hanley
Price: $6.59
57 used & new from $2.42

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Worked fairly well in the 70's--not so much, now, December 28, 2015
This review is from: Godspell (DVD)
I had seen both the off-Broadway production in 1974 when I was at the halfway mark of my spiritual pilgrimmage (which eventually would lead me to be a "Christian Agnostic") and one or two touring companies. As others have mentioned the stage production was far superior to the film which, in my opinion, has not aged well.

It struck me tonight that unless one has a degree of familiarity with the book of Matthew or the story of Christ's passion, it is quite likely they will find the story baffling and possibly incomprehensible.

For a person who shares my skepticism about numerous claims of the new testament, the movie only serves to reinforce those doubts. As an example, Jesus correctly foresees that he will be betrayed but is utterly surprised that his desciples fell asleep before his arrest.

And then there are numerous strange choices by the director: the character of John the Baptist morphs into Judas and then becomes John again. The Pharisees are depicted as an extremely bizarre robotic entity that looks as if it was put together with scrap metal. For the first time, I found the closing seen a bit grotesque. The lifeless body of Jesus (Victor Garber, who has his moments) is carried across what appears to be the Great Lawn of Central Park while his desciples whoop it up to "Day By Day", looking more like cheerleaders at homecoming.

At the end of the day, I really don't know what Steven Schwartz was thinking. I suppose one has to consider the film in its historical context. The early 70's were a very strange time in our country's history and the "New Age" with all its excesses was leaving its mark everywhere. To this day I don't look at Seagulls the same way.


The Blacklist Season 3
The Blacklist Season 3
DVD
Price: $29.99

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In your face, Heisenberg, October 15, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Red Reddington is back, proving again he could kick the tag-team asses of James Bond, Walter White, and Tony Montana without breaking a sweat.
Yes, "Breaking Bad" was a mega-phenomenon--as is the James Bond Franchise--but where "The Blacklist" trumps these iconic entertainments is in it's ability to make you not only feel but think. Weekly, Spader delivers elegantly crafted short monologues (in addition to the portrayal of a character with more nuance in one hour than we have seen in 007 for decades and Heisenberg in five seasons) that not only give you insight into his enigmatic persona but on the larger issues of human existence as well.

At the end of the day, it may very well be that were it not for Spader's pitch-perfect rendering of Red,"Blacklist" would be just another series in the genre of "Prison Break". But, again, "The Blacklist" serves up moments that make you think about questions you might not have even thought to ask yourself--as for example, Red's beautiful "One Last Time" monologue. What things would I do if I could only do them one more time?

Let's hope for a good, long run.


Tulsi Soap Ramtirth, Herbal, Ayurvedic, Free from animal Fat, Pack of 3
Tulsi Soap Ramtirth, Herbal, Ayurvedic, Free from animal Fat, Pack of 3

1.0 out of 5 stars Years ago a friend whoo travelled to India would return ..., August 6, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Years ago a friend whoo travelled to India would return with the most exquyisite soap" Ramtirth's "Tulsee" soap. I had hoped I had located it adfter many years of searching with this brand but regretfully it is inferior in every way. It lacks the divine fragrence, the luxurious lather, and the many natural ingrediants of the soap I recall. The predominant sent is sandalwoood. This soap is not worth 25 cents for a bar, much less $2.50.


It Works: The Famous Little Red Book That Makes Your Dreams Come True!
It Works: The Famous Little Red Book That Makes Your Dreams Come True!
by RHJ
Edition: Paperback
Price: $3.00
71 used & new from $0.04

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Inspirational Classic That Is Still Selling A Century After It Was Written, August 3, 2015
When reading "It works" one has to consider two things. This small book was written almost 100 years ago in the infancy of "The New Thought" movement, which was ushered in by the american Transcendentalists like Emerson, Thoreau, and the founders of entities such as Christian Science, Unity, Science of Mind, and Divine Science. Today, the same core principles RHJ postulates are bloated with dubious references to quantum mechanics, neurophysiology, esoteric interpretations of bible verses, or propounded by spiritual hucksters like "JZ" and Esther Hicks, in workshops or seminars that cost hundreds of dollars.

I would suggest that those who loathe the booklet because it cost three dollars reflect on the utter garbage that frauds such as Kevin Trudeau have sold for as much as $25.00. The value of the book to a specific person is not in its sticker price but the value the purchaser bestows upon it. The very fact that "It Works" still sells a century after it was written and in July of this year 14 copies were purchased from Amazon and the verified purchases rated it five stars, attests to it's enduring popularity. Furthermore, nearly 70% of all purchases rate it five stars. That would seem to suggest that these buyers are getting a good bang for their buck.

As to the content, it is indeed bare boned; the language is somewhat stilted, and the method seems profoundly counterintuitive and yet this is exactly what Lou Holtz did as a young, penniless aspiring coach who dreamed of winning a national college championship, having dinner at the white house, and being a guest on the tonight show, in addition to another 50 or 60 goals.

The bottom line? For $3.00 plus shipping (and THAT's the real ripoff) if this book keeps people in the game, hopeful, and optimistic, it cost less than a philly cheese stake combo at a Subway shop. THAT's value. But for those who feel ripped off or want to download the book in MP3 format you can just pull it up on Youtube and download it in audio format.

A final consideration: there have been single quotes that I would have paid ten times as much for for ("A Letter From Gabriel Garcia Marquez"). The right words at the right time transform lives, not word counts.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 21, 2016 3:36 PM PST


The Conjuring (2013)
The Conjuring (2013)
DVD
Price: $9.99

11 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars "More gravy than grave" in "The Conjuring", May 3, 2015
It is alleged, as was "The Exorcist" that "The Conjuring" is based on a true story.
Indeed.
A pastoral counsellor (a lutheran minister) famillar with the actual events upon which "The Exorcist" was based confirmed to me that the realities of the case were greatly embellished and, in fact, bore little resemblence to either the novel or the film. In the words of Eberneezer Scrooge, there was more gravy than grave in the tale. And yet the screenplay was adroitly and cleverly crafted with realistic characters and a coherent plot.

"The Conjuring" is completely devoid of both. It is an unimiginative tale, stacked with cliches poached from at least three or four more creative predecessors. There is a malevolent doll cast in the mold of Chuckie from "Child's Play"; the high-tech ghostbusters we first saw in "Poltergeist" with their state-of-the-art demon tracking gadgetry (as well as the persecuted Brady Bunch family we saw in the Spielberg classic), the obligatory yacking of vomitous when the demon is exorcized, a brief redux of Hitchcock's vicious birds, and worst of all a long string of extraordinary phenomenon that happen without any semblence of cause and effect. The sum of these parts, or perhaps the engine that drives them is a script that seems as if it could have been written in a few hours.

Where "The Conjuring" fails dismally is in its dramatic arc. I would suggest you could change the order of numerous scenes and the movie would not suffer at all. THAT is the sign of a poorly conceived script. The slow and metriculous set up for the credibility straining events of the "Exorcist" is what makes it work. "The Conjuring" lacks that pacing and dives right into events in a manner lacking even the slightest cohesiveness. The result is a movie that cannot possibly, in any way, suggest it was based on a true story. Even if we accept demonic possesion as a real-world phenomenon, life simply does not work as it is depicted in "The Conjuring". The incredible happens but it is still the result of a logical chain of cause and effect. As I suggested, things happen in "The Conjuring" simply becasue they happen".

I could elaborate further on the other grievous omissions of this film but I'll cite just one: we cannot feel any compassion for the family that has been tormented by the resident demon. There was real emotion between Ellen Burstyn and Linda Blaire in "The Exorcist" . We get none of that--or very little in "The Conjuring". Every film should have a heart, or, a soul. "The Conjuring" has neither. It has cheap thrills for the easily frightened but since these thrills are built upon cliches, they have a short half life. Linda Blaire sleepwalking into a a room where her mother is entertaining friends, staring catatonically at an astronaut, and saying "You will die up there" while she urinates in her sleep" packs a whallop and is scene that stays with you for years.

The best punch that "The Conjuring" can throw doesn't even leave a welt--unless your idea of horror needs countless screams behind locked doors that cannot be breached, a half a dozen descents through cobwebs into a haunted basement, and kids tossed around by unssen entities like wrestlers in the WWA.

"The Exorcist" left me believing for awhile in the theological possibility of demonic possession. "The Conjuring" just leaves me.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 15, 2016 12:06 PM PDT


Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows
Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows
DVD
Price: $7.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars So God-awful, It's hard to be bored, April 17, 2015
Flush with the windfall woldwide box office of nearly $250,000,000 for their "Blair Witch Project" which had a budget of $60,000, Daniel Myrick and Edward Sanchez should have been content to be one-hit-wonders (hell, Harper Lee pulled it off) and having conceived of "Book of Shadows", simply said, "Screw it. We're set for life." and let Blair Witch 2 die stillborn.

The sequel to the 1999 blockbuster is a muddled, incomprehsible montage of flashbacks, flashforwards, hypnogogic and hallucinogenic images awash with gore which are injected into a script with dialogue that is a constant variations on the questions, "What the bleep just happened?", "How the bleep did that happen?" and "Who the bleep made that happen?" The film is a little more than a constant stream of paranormal activity without even a feeble attempt to give a coherent explanation fo what we are being shown.

Myrick and Sanchez really mailed this one in. Basically they are saying, "There's some really foul things going on in those woods. Just don't expect us to tell you why or how.

AsDan Akroyd used to say on SNL's "Bad Theater", "Couldn't be worse. Well, that's not quite true. It could have been five minutes longer.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 27, 2015 11:36 PM PDT


Boyhood
Boyhood
DVD

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars "It will only feel like twelve years"., April 3, 2015
This review is from: Boyhood (Amazon Video)
"Boyhood" has been almost universally acclaimed for it's radical concept: rather than get different actors to play a young boy (Mason) and his sister, the director elected to use the same actors during the shooting of this film which took 12 years. As a result, we see characters age naturally.

This is one of those ideas that sounds good on paper but, incomprehensibly, it lacks--save a brief episode where Mason's mother is married to an abusive alcoholic psychology professor--any perceivable dramatic arc. The film runs just short of three hours and those of us with a more jaundiced take on this non-story, we feel just about every minute of it . Save the subplot of the alcoholic stepfather...actually it's not a subplot since there really isn't a main plot, there really is no drama here.

I've read that unless you can summarize a story--whether it's a novel, film, or play in two sentences that arouse interest and hook you , you don't have a story worth telling. So. I'll give "Boyhood" a go.

"We see a young boy, Mason, grow up from a kid of five who moves to Houston and his divorced mother remarries an alcoholic. She leaves him, takes her two kids to a small town, remarries, gets divorced a third time, and we see Mason pass through middle school, high school, and eventually go off to college."

That's it. Nobody suffers so much as a papercut. There needn't be any bloodletting in a film to make it watchable, but save for Mason's father (Ethan Hawke) there is not a single character in the film you would want to share a cab with, much less 12 years.

And what's the payoff for making a Herculean effort to hitting the eject button on your remot? The film ends with a whimper and a fade to black, after Mason experiences enlightenment and realizes the ineffable truth of a cliche.

I found almost nothing memorable about this film with the exception of it's pedestrian pacing-- not the dialogue, characters, non-story, soundtrack, or setting.

It's been years since I've seen "Forrest Gump", for instance, and I can almost recall every key scene. Thirty minutes have passed since "Boyhood"'s final credits rolled and I can't remember 10 minutes of it.


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