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Timeline American History Game
Timeline American History Game
Offered by Games, Gifts, Gadgets and More
Price: $12.99
16 used & new from $8.90

4.0 out of 5 stars Fun game, simple rules, quickly learned, quickly played, but once you become familiar with the cards the level of fun drops off, December 16, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
We played and enjoyed the original Timeline game, so when I had a chance to review this "American History" edition I jumped at it.

We are game players at our house...so we are always on the lookout for new table game options, card or board games.

If you know how to play the original Timeline game, you already know how to play this one.

if you don't know how to play, here's the scoop. Each card has an event on one side of the card and the year that event happened on the opposite side of the card.

1) Each player is dealt 5-6 cards depending on the number of players (do NOT look at the date sides of cards). These cards are laid out date-side down on the table in front of each player.
2) A card is drawn from the deck and laid in the middle of the table date-side up. This is the starting card.
3) Play starts with the youngest player. This player chooses a card of their choice from the cards in front of them. They lay it to the left of the starting card if they think the event on their card happened before the target card's date, or to the right if they think if happened after it. They then flip the card over, revealing its date.
4) When a player places a card correctly nothing happens except that they are down one card. When a card is placed incorrectly in the growing timeline the card is discarded and the player draws another card to replace it.
5) The object of the game is to get rid of your cards before the other players can.
6) Once a player plays their last card correctly each other player gets one more chance to play.
7) If there is a tie between two of more players, they continue to draw and place one card at a time until only one player is left.

We like this game because it plays fairly quickly and we get to learn something along the way. It takes only 15 mins or so to play a round with three or four people.

The only significant downside I can see to this game is that if you have only one set of cards you will become generally familiar with the cards after playing only 5-6 times. This makes it less fun for first-time players who are playing veterans. This is the main reason it earned only 4 stars IMO.

We also wish that there was a little more info about each event on the date side of the cards. That would make it even more educational.

We now have three sets of Timeline cards - the base set, American History, and Americana. I am thinking about mixing the sets to reduce the rate we become familiar with the cards. That will extend this game's functional life.


Freshwater Ecology, Second Edition: Concepts and Environmental Applications of Limnology (Aquatic Ecology)
Freshwater Ecology, Second Edition: Concepts and Environmental Applications of Limnology (Aquatic Ecology)
by Walter Kennedy Dodds
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $73.07
66 used & new from $65.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Readable, understandable, current, December 15, 2014
I've been teaching aquatic biology and limnology at the University level for more than 20 years. Until now I used "Limnology" by Robert Wetzel as my textbook. The 3rd edition of Limnology came out in 2001, and in 2005 Bob Wetzel passed away. I continued using his book for the next 10 years, but it was going progressively out of date. When I checked with the publisher I was informed that at least at that time there was no plan for anyone to take over the title and update it. So...I started looking around for other options.

About a year ago I came across "Freshwater Ecology" by Dodds and Whiles, and gave it a look. It was published in 2010, nearly a decade newer than the last edition of Limnology. I decided to adopt it for my senior level course in Limnology. I just finished using it for that class for the first time. This is a small enrollment class of usually around a dozen students. Most students who take this class are eyeing careers in fisheries management or ecology.

We use the textbook extensively in class. At least half of each class meeting is devoted to open discussion of the assigned reading for the day. By the end of the semester students and I had read the entire textbook. Readings for this class were pretty heavy going when I used Limnology by Wetzel. But this semester, when I asked my students how they liked "Freshwater Ecology" they reported that they found it to be readable and understandable...not something my students used to say about "Limnology."

I too found this textbook informative and readable. I also read the whole thing this semester with my students. As textbooks in specialized areas go, this one is excellent. Don't get me wrong, it's its own book, it's not just a Wetzel reboot. I like the layout, the presentation, and the content.

I plan to use this textbook for the foreseeable future.

5 stars.


Viva Labs Organic Quinoa, Whole Grain, Non-GMO, 1lb Bag
Viva Labs Organic Quinoa, Whole Grain, Non-GMO, 1lb Bag

5.0 out of 5 stars Great food, and it happens to be gluten-free, it that's an issue for you, December 8, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a great product. We add it to oatmeal, it can be eaten alone, and it has a nice, non-overwhelming flavor.

BTW, quinoa is pronounced "keen-wah" (my wife helped out in with that one)...don't make the quinoa faux pas I did and refer to it as "Kwin-oa". Heh heh.

You make this basically the same as you would any other grain...oatmeal, cracked wheat, rice...boil it and let it absorb the water. We actually cook it up, then keep it in the fridge and add it to other things as desired.

Pure quinoa is also gluten-free, so if you are gluten intolerant, but you enjoy cooked cereals then this could be a nice alternative for you. Oh, wheat, rice, oats, rye, etc., are true cereals, since they are all different kinds of grasses, but quinoa is not. It's from a different plant family all together.

All in all a great 5-star product and food.


Diono Pacifica Convertible Plus Booster Seat with Body Pillow, Shadow
Diono Pacifica Convertible Plus Booster Seat with Body Pillow, Shadow
Price: $209.99
13 used & new from $189.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Solid, heavy duty car seat - a kid in it is not going to be going anywhere!, December 5, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
We have not had a need for a car seat for several years, but now our children are getting married and grandchildren are likely to be appearing in the foreseeable future. This isn't an announcement, just a likelihood. Anyway, we decided that it would be a good idea to pitch our old car seat (we got it nearly 25 years ago) and replace it with a modern one so we'd have it for when family with small children come visit.

So, when I had the chance to review this car seat I jumped at the chance.

First of all, be ready for a HEAVY box.

I did some research on this seat and it has steel frame construction covered by heavy duty plastic and thick foam padding.

As I assembled the seat (easy to do) and started checking out the child restraint straps, straps designed to secure to seat to anchor points in a car, etc., I started thinking of the movie "A Christmas Story." You know, that's the one about Ralphie and his quest for a Red Ryder BB gun. The scene that played over and over in my mind as I reviewed instructions and tried the seat in its various configurations was the one where Ralphie and his brother Randy were getting ready for school. Ralphie as the narrator said, "Getting ready to do to school was like preparing for extended deep sea diving." That's how I felt as I read, checked, and tried out all aspects of this car seat.

While that's what I was thinking, don't be daunted by this seat. It's not really as complicated to use as the somewhat complicated user's manual makes it sound. Even old guys like me can figure it out and see how it works.

The one thing you MUST figure out is the mechanism for tightening or loosening the restraint belts. This is accomplished by pulling a gray strap through a clip located in the access panel on the front-center of the seat. Once you have the child in the seat you tighten or loosen the strap as needed for comfort and safety.

The straps can be adjusted for children of all sizes, and the extra padded insert for infants is a very nice touch.

Lastly, when a child is very small there is an additional base/boot to attach to the bottom of the seat giving it a rear-facing orientation.

All in all, this is a well-made seat that should serve a child well from infancy on.


Cat's Pride Fresh and Light Fragrance Free Premium Clumping Cat Litter Box, 21-Pound
Cat's Pride Fresh and Light Fragrance Free Premium Clumping Cat Litter Box, 21-Pound
Price: $20.69
3 used & new from $17.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good litter, but I couldn't smell any fragrance, December 5, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
We are a one-cat family. It spends time inside as well as outside. We therefore have a litter box in the garage as well as in the house. it is therefore imperative that the litter we use (especially inside) does a great job. I mean, who wants to smell cat droppings, etc.?

We started using this litter long enough to need a couple of litter changes.

Though the maker advertises this as a "light fragrance" litter, to me there is no smell at all...and I gave it a good solid whiff when I opened the box.

On the plus side this litter does a good job of absorbing urine and negating its smell. It also keeps "other" smell in check as well :-)

As I mentioned above, this litter does a good job, but I still prefer a litter with a bit more fragrance, just in case the litter box gets accidentally neglected for longer than usual.

4 solid stars!


Big Hero 6 Armor-Up Baymax Action Figure
Big Hero 6 Armor-Up Baymax Action Figure
Offered by Think Fast
Price: $23.07
212 used & new from $19.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Armor tends to easily fall off during play...not particularly easy to reassemble, November 20, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Big Hero 6 is doing great in the box office, and I have a daughter who loves Disney and PIXAR type movies so I thought it would be fun to try this out and see what it's like.

First of all, the inner figure has adequate range of motion of arms and legs, but it doesn't do much more than stand there.

Next there is the armor...many pieces of it. These pieces do not simply snap into place...I wanted to know what a kid's experience with the armor might be so I chucked the directions and sat down with the Baymax figure and the pile of armor pieces. It took a little while to decide which pieces were for the arms and which were for the legs. Then I had to figure out which direction they went and which side of the appendage they went on. Once I got that straight I found that the pieces do not just snap onto the inner figure, they attach to each other using peg and hole alignment - no snapping, just pushing together. You also have to be sure to have the gloves in place before squeezing the arm armor pieces together. This takes, well, close to 2.5 hands to do. In other words, it's not intuitive or particularly easy. As I mentioned before it took me about 10 mins to figure out how it all fits together.

So my armor-up Baymax was all ready to go. I set it aside and it toppled over, hit the floor and pieces scattered here and there. So another 4-5 mins later I had it back together.

Once it was re-assembled I found that the legs and arms had extremely limited range of motion and the shoulder pads were especially prone to coming loose when the arms were moved too much.

I guess what I'm saying is that IMO this toy is less of an action figure and more of a shelf decoration that you might suspect.

Unless you want to spend your parent-child playtime reassembling this unit over and over again, don't buy it for a child younger than, um, maybe 8 or 9? To be safe I'll say 12 - but what 12-yr old really wants to play with something like this? Regardless, it's not a toy for tots.

The manufacturer suggests that it's for children 4 and older. This is probably because the parts are large enough that a 4-yr old would really have to work at it to choke on them. It is not, I repeat NOT a toy for pre-schoolers.

I am also surprised at the cost. It seems excessive for what you get and how it holds together.

My overall recommendation? Keep shopping and give this toy a miss, unless you really are looking for a shelf decoration.

2 stars for lack of durability and ability to hold together during play.


Koss SP540 Full Size Dynamic Headphones, Black with Silver Accents
Koss SP540 Full Size Dynamic Headphones, Black with Silver Accents
Price: $149.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great design, comfort, sound, and even protection against cold wind, November 17, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm always on the lookout for good quality options for listening to music. I've been using Philips SHL9705A/28 (Headband Headset for Android -Black) headphones for the past couple of years and I quite like them, so I was interested to see how these KOSS headphones stacked up against my set from Philips.

I have to say that though the Philips headphones are good, the KOSS are even better. Maybe it's the ear-surrounding design that cancels out more extraneous noise or maybe the KOSS just have better bass response, but the KOSS headphones became my primary headphones for casual listening and my Philips have been placed on reserve.

I listen via headphones mainly as I walk to and from work. There are plusses and minuses to these for that. First of all, the plusses are that I started using them in late fall in SE Idaho. That means cold weather - especially this fall! Yikes! It was -12oF yesterday morning. Anyway, the plus is that in addition to great sound response and range, these work well as earmuffs! My ears don't get cold at all as I walk to work and back (about 1/2 mile walk). The downside is that on warmer days that we've had a couple of weeks ago, these headphones can actually get quite warm/hot on my ears on a warmer day. So maybe these will be my cold weather headphones.

I have to admit that I was quite surprised and a little confused when I saw that one feature of these headphones is that the cord detaches. I thought, what!? Why in the world would they do this? Then as I thought about it I realized that problems I've had in the past with many headphones hasn't had anything to do with the speakers, etc., but have been cord-related issues. Either the cord gets weak, bends and breaks next to the headphone base or the other end where it's plugged into a devise. With this set however, if there is a cord problem - no problem! Just unplug the cord and insert a different mini-jack cord. Smart, very smart! I LIKE that. That's thinking!

The headphones are comfortable on my head and are comfortable over my ears, even with eyeglasses which I always wear. So wearing these with sunglasses should also work well.

It feels like I've gone full circle, since when I was a teenager my first headphones were also KOSS brand. I'd use them to listen to my LPs so I wouldn't disturb my parents. It feels good to be back in KOSS headphones.

These are now my #1 top headphones. Great job!

5 stars.


The Golden Hour (A Judd Ryker Novel)
The Golden Hour (A Judd Ryker Novel)
by Todd Moss
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.31
94 used & new from $4.96

5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy read for a fan of Tom Clancy, November 13, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've been on the lookout for good reads that follow the same basic approach as Tom Clancy - master of the military, paramilitary, politico-techno-thriller, ever since Clancy stopped writing his own books. The Golden Hour is a nice fit, lighter on the techno, heavier on the politico, but a great read for a Clancy fan like me.

I have to admit that the first handful of chapters gave me something of readers' whiplash with back flashes, forward flashes, back flashes, again, etc. After the first 40 pp. I wasn't quite sure where or when I was in the book, but things smoothed out after that.

You know, most of today's politico-thrillers seem to stretch back to WWII or the Cold War or even post-Cold War storylines involving the USA, Russia, or China. I thought that this book was a nice escape from that since this story is set largely in western Africa. I enjoyed the diversion and the different angles that this geographic option provides.

The writing was good, certainly didn't get in the way of the storytelling, and once I navigated the early time jumps really came together.

The premise of the book is this. There is something called "The Golden Hour." This refers to the fact that someone who has had a traumatic accident is most likely to survive if they can receive adequate medical help within the first sixty minutes. The analogy, politically is that a political coupe or similar political upheaval is most likely to be remedied with the least amount of bloodshed and trauma if it can be resolved within the first 100 hours...the political version of "The Golden Hour."

Be advised that there is a very light smattering of f-bombs in this book. Other than those I didn't find anything that was particularly offensive. Nice job Mr. Moss! Nothing worthy of losing any stars.

5 stars. I hope Mr. Moss has many more stories to tell.


Dove Go Fresh Cool Moisture Body Wash with Nutrium-Moisture, 34 Fluid Ounce
Dove Go Fresh Cool Moisture Body Wash with Nutrium-Moisture, 34 Fluid Ounce
Price: $8.47
3 used & new from $8.47

5.0 out of 5 stars A nice switch from bar soap, has a pleasant scent and provides a great shower experience, November 6, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've been using this body wash for a couple of weeks now, and it's great. I like the easy action pump. It's also large enough that this bottle will last a good long time.

The cucumber scent is pleasant and refreshing, but not overpowering, and I can't even tell it's there post-shower. In other words I don't feel like a walking vegetable salad all day.

The soap lathers nicely in softer water (we have a water softening system, so tend to get good lather from most soaps and shampoos).

One thing I didn't expect was how much I enjoyed not having to handle a bar of soap when I use this. I mean, when I shower and use bar soap I have to get the bar, lather my hands, put the soap back, use the soap on on my hands, get the bar again, and so on and so on. With this bottle a simple touch to the pump and I have what I need.

A surprising 5 stars (I honestly didn't know how much I'd like this, but I really like it)


DII 100% Polyester, Damask, Machine Washable, Holiday Tablecloth, 60 x 104", Wine, Seats 8 to 10 People
DII 100% Polyester, Damask, Machine Washable, Holiday Tablecloth, 60 x 104", Wine, Seats 8 to 10 People
Price: $22.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful table cloth, perfect for the holidays, November 6, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
We pulled this table cloth out the other day to use for a family meal, but frankly it just didn't seem like the best match for a casual "potato bar" meal, so we switched it out. It is, however a perfect match for more formal affairs or holiday parties.

I like the pattern that breaks up the solid red color, and it'll be an awesome addition to our Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner table setting.

This table cloth is Santa's suit red, and adds a deep elegant color to any table. It is high quality and forms elegant folds at table corners.

5 stars...why is Christmas taking so long to get here!?


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