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Bill M. "bill_m1" RSS Feed (MA, USA)

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The Satanic Bible & Satanic Rituals
The Satanic Bible & Satanic Rituals
by Anton Szandor LaVey
Edition: Paperback
2 used & new from $32.19

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This is an illegal (and overpriced) bootlegged copy, January 6, 2015
While these are great books in and of themselves, the combined version you see here with the silly cover is an unauthorized, illegal copy. Somebody who doesn't own the publishing rights to the books has put the two of them together and is illegally selling them here. It's a tragically ironic way to sell a book that's about a philosophy embracing self-responsibility and rewards to those who deserve it.

Never mind the fact that this is overpriced. You can buy the two titles separately for less. The only aithorized and legal copies of the book are put out in print by HarperCollins (formerly Avon).
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 6, 2015 7:57 PM PDT

Mathematical Cranks (Spectrum)
Mathematical Cranks (Spectrum)
by Underwood Dudley
Edition: Paperback
Price: $33.95
33 used & new from $3.89

5.0 out of 5 stars A great, humorous collection of math "crank" stories., January 11, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
If you're a scientist or somebody who just likes to surf the internet for articles and forums about science, then you've no doubt run into "cranks". These include people into pseudo-science, conspiracy theorists, and others who keep pushing for crazy ideas that really have no basis in the scientific method. Even after their claims have been debunked, that doesn't stop them; it only makes them more determined to find excuses to rationalize away the opposing explanations from scientists, and keep trying to push their hogwash as being "science". Many of them self-publish their own books, complete with incomprehensible sentences and no real use of established scientific terms, symbols and nomenclature. When defeated, quite often they'll end up responding to the real scientists with the excuse of "Well you can't be 100% sure that you're correct, and you can't 100% prove that my crazy idea is wrong. Therefore we're at a stalemate, and there's still a chance that I'm correct!" Ugh.

You would think that this wouldn't happen in mathematics, since mathematics deals with the abstract and pure logic, not experimentation, and can thus offer an irrefutable proof on why a theorem is true or false. So since we have the mathematical proof that pi is irrational, then that should settle it, right? Unfortunately, mathematical cranks do exist. And that's who this book is about.

The author has collected dozens and dozens of different examples of works from mathematical cranks, and compiled them all here. The people's last names have been hidden. But you'll see some jaw-droppingly crazy proposals sent in to various universities and math periodicals. Each example is, on average, just a few pages long, complete with a background story from the author. You can read it from beginning to end, or just flip around to the different examples. Geeky math humor at its best!

Fuck, Yes!: A Guide to the Happy Acceptance of Everything
Fuck, Yes!: A Guide to the Happy Acceptance of Everything
by Wing F. Fing
Edition: Paperback
44 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Part comedic 1980s new age cult novel, part philosophy book, January 11, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Some time in the late 1980s, I first heard of this book "FYes" (I don't think I can write out the full title in the review, or Amazon will delete it). I saw it being advertised in a new age store's catalog. I never forgot the title. Last year I decided to seek out a copy, buy it, and read it once and for all.

This book is essentially a funny novel written in the first person, the main character being the author himself, "Wing F. Fing", mixed with some philosophical ramblings. Or rather, as you find out from reading the book, that was the name he decided to take up after he had left his wife and family and formed a cult. The book goes back and forth between the funny story, and his own philosophical reflections. He especially explores the word "Yes", which his cult is based upon. Basically, he advocates approaching life's problems with a humorous, Zen-like application of reverse psychology. For example, he first discovers this when he gets into an argument with his teenage daughter, who wants to go out on a date with a boy. But instead of protesting, the father (the author) says "Yes", she may go, while additionally going into graphic detail of all the undesirable things that could happen (pregnancy, etc.) with a smile on his face, which ultimately discourages her from wanting to go. After philosophizing on the word "Yes", near the end of the book he also explores the "F" word, its origins, and its paradoxical use of being both a word for making love and a word for anger.

After finishing the book, it occurred to me that the author manages to never use the word "no" anywhere. It shows up symbolically though in a few of the characters names, like "Norine". There are a few typos, such as "it's" everywhere in place of "its", but the book was still quite readable to me.

Who is the actual writer of this book? How much of it might actually be true? I have no idea. I haven't been able to find any other information. Though that made me all the more curious to read the book. I'm glad I finally did.

The Beatles: A Paperback Series Songbook
The Beatles: A Paperback Series Songbook
by The Beatles
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.99
75 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice little fake book with 115 Beatles songs. Great for studying chord progressions in music theory too., January 11, 2014
Hal Leonard Publishing has published a lot of these portable little (6.75" x 4.25" x 0.75") music books, and I love them. Each book in the series has its songs typically transcribed across one or two pages each, which includes the transcribed melody line, the lyrics, and the chord changes. This is The Beatles book, which includes 115 songs from The Beatles. When you ignore stuff like the "Anthology" releases, BBC bootlegs, etc., that means well over half of their studio catalog. I paid $7.95 for mine in the store, and it's a steal.

Some reviewers have complained about some songs being transcribed in the "wrong" key, as well as incorrect lyrics here and there. Personally I haven't noticed this, but then again I haven't sat down to listen to all 115 songs playing with the book in front of me. Also, this is what's essentially known as a "fake book": a book that's NOT necessarily trying to be a note-for-note transcription of the recording, but rather a book showing each song's basic structure so that you can at least "fake" your way though it and make it recognizable to your audience.

I've never been a real die-hard Beatles fan, but I'm certainly a musician and at least a casual Beatles fan, and I have fun learning some of the songs in this book on the different instruments I play (ukulele, mandolin, bass). I'm also a life-long advocate and fan of formal music theory, and I recommend this book to any musician who wants to explore different chord progressions that go beyond the usual diatonic modes, and which countless pop musicians have taken and applied over the years. Even if Lennon & McCartney didn't have real formal training, their ears had an amazing knack for chord changes and using what "worked", and I think the songs in this book offer a wealth of hidden knowledge in exploring how, from a music theory perspective, those musical components worked.

Led Zeppelin -- Complete Lyric & Chord Songbook
Led Zeppelin -- Complete Lyric & Chord Songbook
by Led Zeppelin
Edition: Sheet music
Price: $15.78
32 used & new from $10.92

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT little book, with the lyrics and structures to every Zep song, January 11, 2014
I've been a life-long Led Zeppelin fan, and am currently in a Led Zeppelin tribute band where I sing, play harmonica, play some mandolin, and occasionally bass too when our bassist hops over to the keyboard. This book has been an extremely helpful reference for me and my band mates.

As the name says, this is a "Lyric & Chord Songbook". So it's a general music score book. If you're looking for a guitar tablature transcription book, a piano book, melody transcribed for G-clef, or some other note-for-note transcription book of the album recordings, then look elsewhere. If however you just want a book that simply has the lyrics, chord changes, and the song's general structure mapped out ("verse 1", "chorus", "bridge 1", etc.), then this is the book you want. Every song from every original studio album seems to be here. Each song's structure is, on average, spread across two side-by-side pages.

Regarding the lyrics, they seem really accurate. Even though I've been listening to these albums all my life, I have to admit that there are some lines of some songs where I have no idea what the heck Robert Plant is singing! The bottom line is that there seemingly has never been an authentic lyric transcription available for Led Zeppelin. With the exception of maybe Houses of the Holy, their albums never really included printed lyrics. That means that every transcription you see, whether it's printed in a song book or somewhere on the internet, is ultimately the result of a human guessing by ear. As you can imagine, some look accurate while others look terrible. You can't just search the internet and assume that the first hit you get is correct. Again though, this book seems to get it right.

The only other near "complete" Led Zeppelin music book I own is the Led Zeppelin Real Book, whose layout is styled after the infamous "Real Book" series of jazz standards. Comparing the two, I see a few pros and cons. I still use the Zep Real Book, namely because it's a nice big book that's easy to read from a music stand, with a spiral bind, and additionally has the melody transcribed in notation (helpful for seeing just when the heck Plant comes in on some songs!). This book is smaller in size, not spiral bound, and doesn't have the melody (just the lyrics). But still, it's at less than half the price, and still does one heck of a job. Both books also include the occasional tablature on selected riffs.

No matter what instrument you play, if you're a fan of Led Zeppelin, then this is a great music book to have.

Harry Lorayne's Memory Power (Boxed Set of Audio Cassettes)
Harry Lorayne's Memory Power (Boxed Set of Audio Cassettes)

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really works. One of the Best Investments I Ever Made., January 6, 2014
I first saw this being advertized back around 1990, on the infomercial show "Amazing Discoveries". I was a teenager, and was wowed by the memory stunts they showed. So I took a chance and bought it for $30. I've never regretted it. I ended up using the techniques here not only in high school, but in college, graduate school, and beyond. I'm a member of MENSA, where Lorayne's techniques helped me pass the membership exam (it included a long, complicated narrative that was read to everybody only once, and then you had to answer all sorts of questions about it). To this day I still use the techniques to memorize one thing or another. If you just take the time to go through the whole program, or even just most of the program, then it WILL work. You'll be able to memorize just about anything from trivia, to historical dates, names and faces, birthdays, your grocery list, phone numbers, mathematical formulas, playing cards, digits of Pi -- anything!

So how DOES it work? Well, I can't explain every part of it here, but consider this. You know how there are some things that you might vividly remember the details of, even if it's something mundane like a really bizarre costume somebody wore at a party, a joke somebody told you 20 years ago, some really emotional experience, or something that has an inseparable association with something else that you remember? Well, Lorayne gets right down into what sorts of things make those memorable, and turns them into techniques that you can then consciously apply in order to commit practically anything to short term memory. It even works for abstract things, like numbers. These aren't subliminal tapes by the way; they're instructional.

The kit that I bought consisted of a big 3-ring binder containing the program printed on paper, 4 cassette tapes with the main program, plus a bonus cassette tape ("Memory Makes Millionaires"). I've seen later variations with the binder contents condensed into a paperback workbook, and the same exact content of the cassettes on CD. Truth be told, you don't really need the cassettes or CDs at all to learn the program. They're there just to help further guide you along. If you try to learn the program just from listening to the recordings and not using the workbook, then you're just short-changing yourself. The real content is in the workbook. But the workbook is super easy to use, with everything broken down into chapters and extremely simple exercises. You'll be given information, and mostly just fill in the blanks with answers. If you start at the beginning and just go through it, it's ridiculously simple.

In the bonus tape/CD, "Memory Makes Millionaires", Lorayne just talks about some examples of professionals he's know who have applied his techniques to further their career. And yes, this includes some millionaires, but also lots of people who kept their own profession too and used the techniques to bring more success to it. Some use it to memorize the names and faces of every client they work with, another guy used it to memorize the thousands of symbols of the NYSE, etc.

Again, the workbook here is the real gem. Don't try to search on-line for bootleg copies, or sites that claim to teach some similar techniques but only seem to be a few pages long. Just get the kit, and go through the book. After you go through it one time, you'll never have to go back to it again. The investment is well worth it.

Intelligent Design, Turning The Scientific World Upside Down
Intelligent Design, Turning The Scientific World Upside Down

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Turning Logic and English Upside Down, January 6, 2014
I learned about this book from the author himself, as he tried to use copy-paste excerpts from the book in some debates over on the Amazon Customer Discussion forums. Regardless of where you stand regarding Intelligent Design, the bottom line is that this book is horribly written. If you read the "About the Author" profile above (unless it has improved since Jan 6, 2014), you can get at least some idea of just how atrocious his writing is. Just about every other sentence has a grammatical mistake. The paragraph structuring is very poor. It's rarely clear what point he's trying to make at times, or where he's going with his arguments.

He uses terms like "intellen" and "naturen" to describe objects made by intelligent design and objects from nature, respectively. But then he also thinks that the whole universe is an "intellen", so...well, try to read it yourself. Here's an excerpt from one of the chapters:


P1/P10Now that we had already discussed Mathematics of intelligence for Intelligent Design <id>, it is now time for us to know how we can use "intelligence" in reality. I put this topic here since I believed that we will never fully understand intelligence if we neglect Mathematics. In addition, we will never fully understand completely the natural realm if we neglect the topic of "intelligence". So, let us roll. Let us "do intelligence".

P2First, let us study the obvious objects (X). "Why we consider PCs or computers are intelligently designed objects (intellen)?" In our present time, we know that computers are being produced or designed by people who are using the knowledge of computing and intelligence. Thus, we agree that computers are intelligently designed objects. PCs are all intelligently designed objects, an intellen. It is so obvious and it is so straightforward. By using the principles of Intelligent Design <id> on "HOW TO `INTELLIGENCE'", the features, accompanied in the finished products of PCs that we normally see, are all "supports or reinforcements" to the term (that we normally use as) "PCs". If we use mathematics, Intelligent Design <id> predicts that if we could find a minimum of three features (for perfect intelligence) with respect to the term "PC", then, that PC is considered an intellen. If the features exceed three (3), then the PC is not only intellen but also an important intellen. Thus, X is PCs, and the X's are the features of PCs - an asymmetrical phenomenon. Take note very carefully, that we could easily categorize and recognize PCs as intellen, since we are directly dealing with PCs for almost every day. We knew how and who made those PCs, thus, our categorization is always correct and scientific;

P3Second, let us study the obscure objects (X). I called them "obscure" since those objects are very hard to be detected and yet we deal with them directly. In addition, humans did not made/created/designed them since they are already existing before humans exist. The two examples are (in biology) life and the living organisms, and in physics or cosmology, the universe. Intelligent Design <id> had been claiming that "life" and "living organisms" are intelligently designed since "life" and its "support mechanisms" are detected. We could also detect and see that all living organisms are intelligently designed since they also have the same pattern of asymmetrical phenomenon. The pattern is: X = living organisms, X' = components or structures of a living organisms. The universe is considered an intellen since Intelligent Design <id> had detected that matters have anti-matters, and particles have a dual nature - an unseeming properties if the universe is a naturen. As I said earlier, that if we include Mathematics, Intelligent Design <id> predicts that if the universe is intellen, we can find 2 or more X' for the existence of physical universe. One X' will be the existence of matter and anti-mater, the other X' is the duality of particle, and the other X' will be the existence of direction. If we study the universe further, we can add more X'. Thus, the universe is considered an intellen. It would the same to the living organisms. The presence of eyes, of ears, of feet, of sensory systems, of pain, etc are all X' to the existence of living organisms. X' in living organisms exceeds more than three (since three is considered a perfect intelligent, and more than three is considered important), thus, living organisms are not only intellen but also an important intellen;
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 3, 2015 2:53 PM PDT

The Encyclopedia of George Carlin Jokes (Jokelopedia Presents Book 2)
The Encyclopedia of George Carlin Jokes (Jokelopedia Presents Book 2)

2.0 out of 5 stars Looks like just another copy-paste without research, November 17, 2013
Judging from the sample pages, this appears to be just a collection of quotations copied from the internet, most especially Wikiquote. One of the real red flags is the acknowledgment lists, which includes -- notoriously known for accepting any and all quotations that people submit without a care for authenticity. I see that people have highlighted the quotation about "The real reason that we can’t have the Ten Commandments in a courthouse...", of which there's no evidence that Carlin ever said it. For a comedian who was a big advocate of critical thinking, you would think that a Carlin fans wouldn't be so quick as to assume every little thing on the internet credited to Carlin is legit.

On the plus side (and the reason why I give this 2 stars instead of 1), a lot of the quotations ARE legit and ARE sourced by the album and/or HBO special they're taken from. Though again, these appear to be a copy-paste from Wikiquote.

Sometimes a Little Brain Damage Can Help
Sometimes a Little Brain Damage Can Help
by George Carlin
Edition: Paperback
30 used & new from $19.53

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Carlin's "Pseudo-Book" from 1984, April 8, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've been a life-long Carlin fan; I own every single one of his albums and DVDs, I've had the pleasure of seeing him live in concert about a dozen times, and I currently run a fan website, GeorgeCarlin [dot] net. I remember the phrase itself "Sometimes a Little Brain Damage Can Help" being later used on the backs of some George Carlin t-shirts he'd sell at the shows. It also shows up in Brain Droppings, as a subtitle of sorts. But I had never even known that this book existed until at least two decades after its release. I had always assumed that Brain Droppings was his first book. It didn't help of course that interviewers, press releases, and I think even Carlin himself referred to Brain Droppings as his "first" book.

In Carlin's 2007 interview for XM's "Unmasked", he described this book by saying "It was actually a magazine-sized item to be sold at concerts. I wanted to put out some material in there, so I threw pictures in too because you have to have pictures in it. It's kind of a pseudo-book. Kinda quasi-book." In any case, once I first learned of "Sometimes a Little Brain Damage Can Help", I immediately looked up and bought a used copy here on Amazon.

As Carlin's description implies, this book isn't really in the style of his later books, in several different ways. Rather, it's a 9x12" book with about 38 pages, in color. So physically it's much like a rock concert tour book. Seeing Carlin's work in this illustrated format though is unique. About the only thing that comes close is the set of animated sequences in "Carlin on Campus".

Much of the material here showed up on both previous and later releases. For example, there are three pages of illustrations for "The Book Club". You'll also find an opening collection of one-lines similar to the "Short Takes" feature in his later books, "The World Hostility Scoreboard" much like the one from "An Evening With Wally Londo..." album. There's a 2-page centerfold drawing of a bathroom wall with an "incomplete list of impolite words" scrawled on it (almost word for word with what you hear on the album version of "Carlin on Campus"). There are earlier versions of "People I Can Do Without", and "Things You Never See". There are earlier versions of routines which eventually wound up in his book "When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?" such as "In The Future...", "Finish Your Sentences", "Tumor Humor", and "The Continuing Story of Mary & Joseph". There's "Idea Flow" which showed up in the bonus material of "3 x Carlin: An Orgy of George". There's even at least one line that showed up in his last HBO special "It's Bad For Ya" (about God having a three-day weekend).

And that's what surprised me the most about this book: that so many of these thoughts from his later years had already been around in his head as early as 1984! But there is certainly other material which never wound up on any other release, including written routines like "Wrinkles", "Nice Body, No Mind", "Number Fun", "Tonight's Program", and my favorite, a letter addressed to Myron from Sperla Vaughn.

George Carlin has communicated his humor through the medium of audio recordings, live shows on video through HBO, acting, and the written word. So here's yet another medium: writing plus illustrations. If this sounds fun, then buy the book. Like almost all of Carlin's comedy, it still holds up without coming off as dated.

Quotes, Jokes & Anecdotes: How to Spend Two Hours Chuckling
Quotes, Jokes & Anecdotes: How to Spend Two Hours Chuckling
by Gerard O'Boyle
Edition: Paperback
13 used & new from $6.82

2.0 out of 5 stars Mostly stuff copied from the internet, without research, April 7, 2013
There is indeed a lot of great humor in this book. Unfortunately a lot of it comes down to stuff blindly copied from the internet. I remember getting emailed some of this stuff back in the 1990s.

The quotes are especially embarrassing. For example, there are several quotes here attributed to George Carlin. Some of them are slight misquotations of stuff he really said and you can hear for yourself on his albums or HBO specials, but some of them are the completely bogus quotes that have been misattributed him over the years. A quick search on the web or (until recently) the official Carlin website would have cleared this up, but I guess the author didn't care.

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