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N. P. Stathoulopoulos "nick9155" RSS Feed (Brooklyn, NY)

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Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mine
Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mine
Price: $13.88
70 used & new from $4.52

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Weird Scenes Inside Elektra Records, December 31, 2014
The music...five stars. The release less so.

Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mine was the second Doors compilation in what would become a very long and repetitive line of "greatest" and "best of" releases. It appeared in 1972 and was never released on CD until...2014? This just about sums up the Doors awful record of releasing the same material over and over.

The one once-unique thing about this release was the inclusion of the two Doors b-sides: Who Scared You and (You Need Meat) Don't Go No Further. In the pre-iTunes / downloading era, having a vinyl or cassette copy of this release was the only way to hear those songs unless you had the original and pricier singles.

Aside from having the b-sides, this was also one of the longest and most eclectic of the compilations, so it baffles the brain on why this wasn't re-issued to CD earlier. It easily has the best title, taken from a lyric in The End and sounds much better than The Absolute Best or the Essentially Absolute Greatest...

The only "value" now is that the MP3 and CD prices are much cheaper than just downloading all of the specific tracks, so this is only recommended to someone who wants (perhaps) the "best" of the "best of" / "greatest" Doors compilations. If you have nothing by The Doors, it's a nice start but as a fanatic I'd recommend buying an album at a time to appreciate the band (starting with the first one, represented here by four tracks).

Finally, the original release would be judged by the song selection and sequencing, ie how the album flowed if you put an entire side on. This is definitely an interesting mix, but the sequence has become a bit less critical in the CD / digital age (though returning to appreciation with the spike in vinyl sales). Fanatics who own all of the songs can have fun and make their own Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mine release by creating a custom list.

The Last Gangster
The Last Gangster
by George Anastasia
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.99
51 used & new from $2.16

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Last Ron, March 15, 2012
The Last Gangster is the story of Ron Previte and the Philadelphia mob, written by local crime reporter George Anastasia. It's a good chronicle of the circus-like happenings in the Philly LCN from the late 80s through the 90s, when the entire operation collapsed.

Previte's story is certainly unique, he being a former gangster-turned government witness whose real criminal education actually began in law enforcement(!) Violating one of the oldest (and easiest to understand) LCN rules, Previate was alowed into the family after having served on the Philly PD. Developing his criminal-minded, scheming chops as a cop, Previte was eventually able to earn tremendous amounts of money (like all mob rats who write books, he made several jillion dollars) and come to the attention of "made" guys. Of course, like any of these stories, one has to a) expect that there's plenty of boasting about the amount of money the guy made, b) how incredibly brilliant he really was (compared to what he thinks of himself), and c) question if such a character can ever really change. Previte at least doesn't come off as too self-righteous, and even though he's out of "the life"...I highly doubt he's become a model Boy Scout since.

This is not a flattering portrait of the Philly LCN in the 90s...but given the history of this clan, I don't see how a flattering portrait coud be painted. Following the rule of Nicky Scarfo, the family fell into disarray with "young turks" battling the old guard (headed by Sicilian-born boss John Stanfa) for total control in a rare shooting war on the streets in the early-to-mid 90s. When the smoke cleared, flashy wiseguy "Skinny Joe" Merlino emerged as the leader, and Stanfa was given a 1,000-year vacation courtesy of the government. In a bizarre scenario, Merline made himself the "boss" while having a figurhead "boss" named Ralph Natale out there. Natale eventually became a rat himself. All in all, it seems like a fairly small core of guys rotating in and out of prison.

Would be very interesting to read a follow-up, since the years following the Merlino era were stable and quiet until very recently.

Little Fockers (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy)
Little Fockers (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy)
DVD ~ Robert De Niro
Price: $9.99
128 used & new from $1.53

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Last generation?, March 15, 2012
The third entry in the Meet The Parents series commits numerous crimes, the first of which is not being remotely funny.

It's just downright depressing when a third movie in a franchise really does turn out to be this BAD. The filmmakers know this...they know the track record of "Part III", so what do they do? Do they go back and figure what made the first film interesting? Or the second an acceptable follow-up? No...they don't have to. They just take every joke, every character dynamic and drive them over a cliff...then over another. We get an enema, projectile vomiting, male ED medication jokes, gas passing, you name it.

Jack Byrnes is thinking of his mortality and realizes he must name the next Byrnes Family Patriarch. Who turns out to be his only choice? You guessed it, Greg, his bumbling son-in-law. Even though he's married to Byrnes' daughter...with kids...for years...Byrnes is still insane, paranoid, and skeptical that his son-in-law has what it takes to lead the family in the next generation. What ensues are more supposed "jokes", more slapstick humor amped up to embarrassing levels for all involved, and the death knell of the series. All of the principles return, plus Dustin Hoffman and Barbara Streisand in limited roles, plus Owen Wilson as Kevin, the rich ex-beau of Mrs Fokker, who still pines for her and now fancies himself a practitioner of Eastern medicine.

The whole affair is meant to be fun but is actually quite depressing. The budget on this movie was $100,000,000(!), most of which presumably went to the high profile actors...respectable actors who are making generational money now by degrading themselves. Not a penny of that money was spent to write a decent joke...or do anything with these characters (anything new, that is). It's still Jack, who is nuts...Greg, who is bumbling and frustrated...yawn, yawn, yawn. The movie made $300,000, it made money, lots of it, and that gives us all the uneasy feeling that a Part 4 could one day appear (no doubt with a "funnier" title).

Another uncomfortable sight is watching any aging actor fake a heart attack for the cheap "dramatic" portions of a bad comedy. Of course, Bobby D does it here, as Jack Byrnes struggles with a heart condition and his limited time left on earth. Do the actors think of their own mortality when they're on the floor, grabbing their chest in mock pain, knowing they can't take the X million they're making on the awfulness with them?

Why even write a review? To tell you a) it's even worse than you heard, and b) to try, just try, to discourage anyone of sound mind from actually purchasing this DVD/Blu Ray. I don't care how many hours of documentary, featurettes, deleted scenes, gag reels, commentaries, and trailers this thing has...the movie itself completely and utterly stinks, and the extras only serve as proof that the film COULD have been a five-hour bomb instead of 90 mins.

Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again
Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again
by Donald Trump
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $10.57
223 used & new from $0.01

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I'm fired, you're fired, January 19, 2012
It will take anyone with some grey matter a few minutes to scan this book at the supermarket / superstore / wherever to see this for what it is: the 47,000th cheap, ghostwritten, big-font-on-double-spaced-pages-with-wide-margins political "book" of the week from a TV guy.

Donald Trump likes to talk "tough" about America, but what does he do? Flirt with a presidential run every few years...write yet another supermarket checkout book, and then "drop out" to go fire more third rate celebrities on his show. He's so tough that Seth Meyers' blew him up at the White House correspondents' dinner and voila...Trump said he was "honored" by the insults but dropped out before he even ran.

It doesn't take much for someone to point out how screwed up America is. Wow, here's Donald Trump talking about government waste! Remarkable. Here's The Donald discussing the USA being broke (something he should be familiar with). And if Donald were president, why he'd bomb 'em! Whoever "they" happen to be. What a great guy.

While one of the Donald's "strengths" in politics is that he's not a politician in the normal sense, he resorts to the usual Obama Under the Bus spiel. Obama "wrecked the economy"...apparently, the economic downturn began the moment Obama took office. Then Obama ran up more debt than any country since Mesopotamia yak yak yak yak. Obama is cutting defense, the ultimate sin for "conservatives". But see, Trump can balance the budget, AND ensure our military is never without the latest high tech gadgetry, and and and...what difference does it make? He can say whatever he wants, he never has to prove it because he won't be president because he won't run for president.

It's so tired, it really is. Trump is much better on TV; he's more succinct, he has more presence. On the page, he comes across like a hundred other supermarket book ghost writers. People mention the inclusion of end notes in this book as if it's some kind of indication of its' seriousness and depth---that's what we've come to. A standard element of a non-fiction book is now "proof" that it's for real. It's serious! How much of a hand did Trump even have in this book? His machine is so well-oiled, this one smoothly passed through the presses with little effort. The slim size, the large, double-spaced font, the picture of his "serious" face in front of the flag. I thought this kind of thing had hit a peak in around, was I wrong.

It might be fun to imagine Trump, with his nuclear-tinged yellow animal pelt on his head, telling Iran "You're fired!" before launching missiles into Teheran (because he's a tough guy, remember). But (perhaps) even beaten down, disillusioned America is not ready to elect a reality TV star to the White House yet.


This was timed nicely for the Christmas holiday, this mighty tome probably caused your Christmas tree to sag. In another few months, after Candidate A self destructs and Candidate B bows out of the race, Trump will dangle his own run in front of the public for a few weeks, boost the ratings for whatever show he's plugging, then drop out again. Maybe the time to get tough will be 2016? See, he's all about getting tough and fixing America!

I give it extra stars, because The Donald knows exactly what he's doing.

Bellagio-Italia CD/DVD Storage Binders-3 Pack Black
Bellagio-Italia CD/DVD Storage Binders-3 Pack Black
Offered by RandomBy
Price: $59.99
4 used & new from $35.00

50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Book those titles and save face / space, January 4, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Like many movie buffs/nerds, I ran into the storage problem when it came to DVDs, which are terribly wasteful when it comes to shelf space. Those clunky plastic boxes usually store only a slim disc, and maybe a booklet / one-pager chapter list.

I was attracted to the product description, which promised "a taste of sophistication and refinement to the bookcase in your home". After all, since my movie titles included The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the Hellraiser series, and several versions of Dawn of the Dead, I thought I needed that touch of sophistication to elevate my bookcase to the next level and impress my philistine friends who cannot tell the difference between Night, Dawn, Day, or Diary of the Dead.

Seriously, if you're looking for a nice solution, these are great. The sleeves are good quality and generally won't scratch up your discs unless you manhandle them, and critically for the nerd, you can fit the booklets, too. Those slide into corner notches on each page, so you can preserve your DVD ephemera for eternity. While I did have to pollute a landfill with hunks of plastic clamshell boxes for eternity, at least I have classed up my bookcases. Unfortunately, now I can't SEE the titles I own directly, but given the selection, this may be best as visitors will no longer want to bolt for the door upon reading them. As for the clamshell artwork (the wraparound one-sided sheet), those won't really fit here, but you can make into a cool binder of their own so you can always stare at the artwork to Halloween V.

Highly recommended for DVD storage, you can hold almost 200+ discs in these binders as they come, plus you can pick up extra sleeves that will hold another 32. Instead of needing about eight feet of shelf space, you can fit it all into less than two.

Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America
Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America
by Ann Coulter
Edition: Hardcover
281 used & new from $0.01

5 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Strictly business as usual, November 1, 2011
Pretty disappointed. I was expecting to read a history of the liberal La Cosa Nostra, but instead I got 300+ pages about how liberals are dangerous because of their "mob-like" mentality. I've been duped.

Completely absent is a study of how liberals control illegal gambling, continue to corrupt labor unions, and use threats of violence and intimidation to get what they want. Nowhere in this book can you read about the legendary gangland hits on Paul Castellano or Carmine Galante, both gunned down by card-carrying liberals. While liberals are the prime suspects behind the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa, there's nothing in this book about that, either.

There's absolutely nothing about the legendary Apalachin meeting of the nation's top liberals, or the Kefauver Hearings, where liberals were hauled in front of Congress to answer questions about their rackets. Nothing on Joey Gallo being gunned down in Umberto's Clam House by liberals. Zero about Philip "The Chicken Man" Testa being blown to smithereens on his front porch by a liberal nail bomb. Nary a word about the 1981 murder of the three Bonanno capos by---you guessed it---liberals. Totally a blank when it comes to the Chicago Outfit's control of the Las Vegas casino skimming, an operation carried out primarily by liberals.

As a true crime tome, this book is completely useless.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 1, 2011 8:04 PM PDT

Offered by MEGA Media
Price: $27.64
77 used & new from $21.57

9 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Best of the Greatest Most Shameless and Unnecessary Hits Boxes Ever, July 23, 2011
This review is from: Collection (Audio CD)
Yes, I'm going to pile onto the previous review.

What on earth is this? Is this supposed to be comedy? As the previous reviewer noted, the only thing---the only thing---that could possibly explain the appearance of this box is the fact that in 2011 (July 3) it's the 40th anniversary of the death of Jim Morrison.

But it's no excuse, none at all. Yes, this is yet another Doors box set containing the same...six...albums...already...released...several...times...before.

If this sells one copy, it's a bleeding shame and a crime. Several years ago, the Doors decided to do the box set "right" and released Perception. It had the new mixes, it had extra tracks(!), it had audio DVDs with 5.1 mixes, it came in a neat box with nice digipacs and liner notes. It was pricey, yes (I got mine from a store going out of business) but it solved the "getting the Doors albums in remastered mode" once and for all (so we think).

Of course...the Doors STILL have not released the post-Morrison albums on CD. Still...and this is about 40 years since that. Still, they release the same...stuff...over...and...over.

It's well documented that the Doors release the same best of the greatest very best ultimate hits over and over. This one is beyond shameless, though oddly it's hard to find reference to it even on their official site. No matter, it should not exist at all---for crying out loud, they should just keep Perception in print for eternity now.

There is plenty of great Doors material out there that covers more, specifically all of the live Bright Midnight material. If you want a great box, buy the Felt Forum shows. If you want the original albums, buy Perception (go price shopping).

But do this.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 11, 2014 4:29 AM PDT

Shure SE215-K Sound Isolating Earphones with Single Dynamic MicroDriver
Shure SE215-K Sound Isolating Earphones with Single Dynamic MicroDriver
Price: $99.00
66 used & new from $69.74

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Sound of Rage, July 11, 2011
I feel a little bit more sane after reading the negative reviews of the SE215s that mention the flaw regarding the left ear piece. Of course, most of those reviews were written just after I purchased them and also after the small window I had to return them. At least I'm not the only one...and at least I don't feel like I'm literally cursed when it comes to ear buds.

Yes, the left ear piece also inexplicably died after about a month and a half of actual use. Right now, I can either listen to them and have the left ear drop out every time I move my head (which causes a new level of Rage)...or I can send them back for replacements and expect the same thing to happen.

Guess I'll send them back as they're still under warranty, though it's way past the time by which I could return them.

I dished out good money because of the Shure name, so to say this is disappointing is a major understatement. This is extremely annoying/enraging. I like the sound on the SE215s, I like the fact that there's no wire noise, and they drowned out sound pretty well, so much so that (if they worked) I could well by run over by a bus as I was trying to adjust the left ear piece in the street.

The design and fit on these is strange, so please take note (aside from the fact that they, you know, BREAK after a couple of months). These are like in-ear monitors...the piece goes all the way into your ear (so you can feel like Bono or someone on stage), and annoyingly, the wire goes up and around and back of your ear...which I suspected was why they may have given out since I was constantly adjusting them. No, only the left one.

The design is odd and definitely not for everyone (unless, again, you love adjusting wires and sticking them behind your ears/hair). The other thing, oh yeah, THEY BREAK EASILY. Forget about "burning them in"---what's the point? The 50 hours that will take is a fraction of the time the things will actually work in your ear.

Thanks, Shure. I think by the time I'm done buying ear buds I'll have paid enough money to get the iPod installed in my cranium, where I can never turn it off.

NOT recommended.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 13, 2011 6:08 PM PDT

Klipsch IMAGE S4 In-Ear Enhanced Bass Noise-Isolating Headphones (Black) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Klipsch IMAGE S4 In-Ear Enhanced Bass Noise-Isolating Headphones (Black) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Offered by Mattscomputers
Price: $132.99
14 used & new from $60.00

181 of 209 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Another casualty in the earbud wars, April 30, 2011
One would be wise to read the lower reviews for these ear buds, as they speak to issues I also had with the product.

Simply put, I bought these after reading the hype and was excited...until I opened the box and saw the flimsy wires. These will break in six months, I told myself.

More like three months.

My biggest problem is the durability. Yes, the wires are very thin. Worst of all, and this one really mystifies me, is the actual connector plug that goes into your earphone jack. Most headphones have a curved/L-shaped, hard plastic piece that goes into the jack, which allows for the wire to bend and makes the equipment more flexible (especially when you're carrying your iPod/music player in a pocket). For whatever reason, they've made these babies with a very flimsy wire that goes straight into the ear-phone jack, meaning the (thin) wire will always bend and ultimately become frayed since most people are probably carrying a music player in a pocket.

After less than three months of pretty regular usage, the sound on these ear buds is now dropping out due to this design, and without any real visible fraying of the wire. Just touching the wire now will change the sound drastically, causing it to drop out, dip in volume, etc. I thought this was an issue with the actual (gold-tipped) plug, but I confirmed it on other iPods, so it's the Klipsch buds. If you're walking along and using these, the sound could be all over the place. I expect one of the ear buds to completely stop working any moment now.

Severely disappointed, especially given all of the hype. The salesperson told me these were the best ear buds under $100. The lousy design alone ensures this is not the case. They might be ideal if you listen to music at home, sitting in one place, never moving around, never putting the player or the wire in a pocket or a backpack or a bag, and then putting these things back in the silly tin case they come in. Even that---other companies include a nifty and flexible siicon bag or a cloth bag, but I guess these sensitive things needs a full tin case. Ridiculous. But if you're going to listen to these at home in a sterile environment...go get a set of headphones. Otherwise, if you use ear buds to walk around with your music like a normal user, avoid these.

Just a note on usage, too. Realizing the wire was flimsy, I took special care with these not to leave them all coiled up around the iPod, or stuffed into a pocket to tangle. When not using, I either put them in the tin case or I lay them out so they don't get tangled. Still, the ridiculous design on the jack plug itself is mind-boggling and probably lead to my (and most low reviewers') broken ear buds.

My old Sennheiser sports ear buds---the CX 380s---sounded better, and also lasted longer. While one of those wires did fray eventually, it was a lot tougher, took a heavier beating, and could better last in the rain/wet conditions. The sound on them was also heavier, deeper, and could better handle bass and high frequencies. If you can find those today, they're probably half the money of Klipsch and they're better.

The sound on these is very good, though it didn't blow me away, especially compared with Sennheisers that I've owned. The bass was good, but I noticed they struggled on heavier bass tracks (would get distortion/fuzz). Also, very high ends became too piercing. Overall, they were good, the volume was solid, but I just don't believe there aren't better ear buds for the price. As for comfort, they are good, however if you're interested in slinging these behind your neck, the wires are the same length, so it tends to stretch on your far ear (depending on where you keep your music player).

Is it really too much to ask for a great set of ear buds for under a hundred dollars? Seriously...something durable, because let's face it, most people using these will put significant wear on them. Tons of people (like me) commute every day, use them regularly, coil them up, throw them in bags / on desks / in pockets. What Klipsch likely considers "misuse" of their precious earbuds is probably what a normal considers normal "use" (like actually commuting with a set of earbuds on an iPod). As for "burning in", which means playing music through these babies for 50-80 hours BEFORE using them in your ears so that they're properly broken in, what's the point when the ear buds themselves won't last too much longer when you actually use them?

I know I can send these things back to Klipsch and they can replace them (if I can find the receipt), but the cheap design of the wires is infuriating. Personally, I'm going back to Sennheiser. Even though I've had pairs that eventually wore down, they lasted longer, took way more abuse, and frankly sounded better (or at least as good) as these did. Take your $80 or hundred bucks elsewhere and avoid these. Three months of usage and they crap out----infuriating! Why bother getting another pair except as another backup / sub-par set?
Comment Comments (38) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 4, 2013 11:04 AM PDT

Miami Vice (TV Milestones Series)
Miami Vice (TV Milestones Series)
by Steven Sanders
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.99
27 used & new from $12.50

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indulge in literary Vice, March 8, 2011
Of the three "scholarly" texts that have appeared about Miami Vice, this is likely the best one and the new mark for "serious" books about the series. This slim volume resembles one of the better entries in the BFI Classics series.

The author makes this a bit personal (he's from Miami and is familiar with many of the show's locations), and is very concious about making this a straight-forward and easy to understand study of the seminal TV series. He also refers to other discussions of the film, particularly John Paul Trutnau's lengthier tome A One-Man Show? The Construction and Deconstruction of a Patriarchal Image in the Reagan Era: Reading the Audio-Visual Poetics of Miami Vice. He points some interesting obversations from that work, as well as some facts that are plain incorrect.

MV is populary remembered for style style style--the cars, the clothes, the music, the editing. But this book (and the others) also deal with the very deliberate choices in the story and characters. Vice is consistently "noirish" and did much to bring those themes into the modern era with its stories of corruption, identity, and the new cynicism introduced in a post-Vietnam / post-Watergate / Reagan-era 1980s. While Crockett and Tubbs were always after the "bad guys", the murky web their quarry sometimes inhabited reminded viewers that Miami, and indeed the USA, did not exist in a purely black and white world.

Highly recommended to MV fans, more so than Trutnau's book. It's far more accessible, succinct, and relevant and does much toward helping us remember that MV was about much more than pastels, Ferrari's, and Ray Bans.

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