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A.Trendl "What should I review next?" RSS Feed (Wheaton, IL USA)

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Frozen (Plus Bonus Features)
Frozen (Plus Bonus Features)
Price: $14.99

2.0 out of 5 stars A Dissenter's Review, August 3, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This movie exploded into popularity a couple years ago. Every kid on every planet would sing its praises. Every song was memorized. Characters were turned into toys, costumes and what-have-you.

I'm a dissenting voice amongst the billions of happy audience members. I'm glad you like it. I don't.

My kid was then too young to appreciate such a long movie. However, he just turned four so we gave it a go.

First off, the plot is refreshingly complex. The animation is superb even on my old 720 TV. The sound is remarkable.

So what's my beef? The music is weak. No, no, I don't mean the musicianship or production values. Those are through the roof. I mean the songwriting is unoriginal.

Yep. That's where this magnificent movie fails. The songs couldn't be more ordinary. They could've been flopped out any Disney straight-to-video movie made in the last 20 years. Boring lyrics and boring music. There's nothing creative about them.

It gets worse.

They all sound like it's Broadway night on Glee. They have that uninspired, generic musical theater sound.

I expect more for Disney. They used to lead because they did something new. Now they are leading because they are doing the same-old-same-old better than the rest. If my boy wants to watch, we will, but I'll hope it gets past this one quickly.

Anthony Trendl

KidKraft Waterfall Mountain Train Set and Table
KidKraft Waterfall Mountain Train Set and Table
Price: $147.99
41 used & new from $147.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Fun But Not Perfect, August 2, 2015
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:2.0 out of 5 stars 
I've mixed feelings about this. My boy likes it, but aspects of it frustrate him (and me).

The design is interesting, although some tracks stop randomly. There are too many buildings and trees, and we've never unwrapped some.

Not all trains fit on the tracks. Some Thomas trains do, some don't. Similarly, not all fit through the tunnel.

For my boy (now 4), putting it together is most of the fun.

The drawer below has become a handy catch-all for all sorts of toys.

It is durable, though don't let your child stand on it.

Anthony Trendl

101 Strings Presents Best of: The Beatles as Classical
101 Strings Presents Best of: The Beatles as Classical
Price: $5.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, July 31, 2015
I love the Beatles and had high hopes. Unfortunately, as sometimes happens with classic intreprations of the Beatles' music, the result is uninspired. For the most part, the average Beatles fan will know the tracks. Here, the melodies come through, but there's nothing interesting, as when David Garret (violin) or Tommy Emmanuel (finger picking guitar) takes on pop music.

What happens instead is it feels like one of those concerts in the park by the hometown orchestra. It is pleasant enough, but there's nothing here which will excite you.

A Hard Day's Night
All My Loving
All You Need Is Love
Eleanor Rigby
Hello, Goodbye
Hey Jude
I Want to Hold Your Hand
In My Life
Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds
Penny Lane
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
She Loves You
Strawberry Fields Forever
Till There Was You
Yellow Submarine
You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want to Do It)

Anthony Trendl

Ritz Fresh Stacks Italian Herb Crackers, 11.8 Ounce
Ritz Fresh Stacks Italian Herb Crackers, 11.8 Ounce
Price: $8.95
6 used & new from $8.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Familiar, Tasty Flavor, July 29, 2015
These are delicious. They remind me of some other cracker or similar snack, then marketed as pizza crackers.

First of all, these are Ritz crackers. The flavor is basically attached to them. Same size, same crunch. Maybe a little less crumbly, but no one really cares. These aren't health food, you know?

On their own, they are yummy. But, do as I do, and the flavor lifts up. Before me is a small bowl of spaghetti sauce. Ragu. It is what it is, and it this case, they add a bit more range to the already Italian herb flavor profile.

Scoop up a big dip's worth and much. If Ragu's not your thing, try another. The point is, it works. Get some soft mozzarella and/or Parmesan and, oh my!

The portions are relatively small. Great for lunch, or for those of you who need to remain disciplined about calories and so forth.

Anthony Trendl

De'Longhi EDG656T Dolce Gusto Esperta, Black
De'Longhi EDG656T Dolce Gusto Esperta, Black
Offered by Melrose Place
Price: $202.49
12 used & new from $59.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Step Up from Other Dolce Gusto Machines, July 28, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The De'Longhi Dolce Gusto Esperta is a step above the other Dolce Gusto. Like Nespresso, it tries to redefine the single-serve market by lifting up the production value of each up.

Unlike Keurig, which really is just a tiny drip coffee machine (like a Mr. Coffee), the Dolce Gusto series has pressure as part of the process. No one will be fooled into thinking the espresso made is on the same level as that made fresh on an equally priced espresso maker, but you can enjoy prepackaged coffee convenience.

As to this model, it has two features, aside from the aesthetic design, that I prefer.

1) The water basin holds a lot more water. Thank the designer some Monday morning when you squeeze out an extra cup.

2) Safety turn-off is 5:00. It was previously 10:00. Those few minutes mean I save a few cents on electricity and reduce burning out the machine too early.

To use it, turn it on, wait less than a minute for it to warm up, slip a capsule into the little drawer, and spin the wheel to the right amount of bars (it equals how much water goes through). For the lattes, you'll use two capsules. One for some milk-like foam, and the other for the coffee (with or without the flavor).

Other than that, it seems to be no different than the rest, but that's not a bad thing.

Note: this is a review of the machine, not the coffee itself. For that, see the individual flavors. In short, though, these aren't premium beans. They are Arabica, but not the freshness or quality found at your local cafe. That may be OK for you, but know that going into it.

Anthony Trendl

Willard Mullin's Golden Age Of Baseball Drawings 1934-1972
Willard Mullin's Golden Age Of Baseball Drawings 1934-1972
by Willard Mullin
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $26.44
46 used & new from $9.67

5.0 out of 5 stars Captures America's Pastime Perfectly, July 28, 2015
By the time I was watching baseball in the early 1970s, most of what Willard Mullin's legacy is all about was over. His impact, however, has lasted far beyond the years he worked.

This book covers his greatest period, between the 1930s and 1970s. Crammed with his drawings, we see why he was great -- his drawings gave baseball that personality we still hold to in 2015.

Gritty, every joes, with the Brooklyn Bum as the key character, Mullin pulled from all the major figures of the game. Whether a drawing of the legendary (and personal friend) Babe Ruth capturing Ruth the human, not just the Sultan of Swat, or Willie Mays, Joe DiMaggio, or numerous players abd coaches long forgotten -- all of it is filled with a love for baseball.

The illustrations are sometimes keenly detailed, and sometimes cartoonish. Some are single images and some are one-sheet stories.

There are more than the drawings, though. Aside from the magnificent descriptions of each picture, there are essays from his daughter, his lawyer, and Bill Gallo (a colleague and noted cartoonist himself).

Read this and learn the history of baseball. This book is as American as it gets, taking our national passtime to the heights it deserves.

Anthony Trendl

Swiffer Sweep and Trap Floor Cleaner Starter Kit
Swiffer Sweep and Trap Floor Cleaner Starter Kit

1.0 out of 5 stars Clunky, Sloppy to Use, July 27, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The idea of this is simple: it sweeps up particles while grabbing dust, all without electricity. It is a good idea, but it is not well-executed in design.

Set-up was quick. All that's needed is to put a few pieces together. There are instructions, but you'll find them unnecessary. It is that easy.

The problem is in using it.

* The swivel at the base is unpredictable and difficult to control. If you want to go left, you can try and it might. Or it might not. It might wiggle the wrong way.

* The particle trapper isn't good. When I lifted up the base to see how things were going, particles I had trapped fell out.

The dust sheet itself does a good job grabbing dust, and the sweeper grabbed tiny pieces of cereal and other debris well. But if I can't use it easily, it isn't worth the trouble.

Anthony Trendl

Raid Max Double Control Ant Baits - 8 CT
Raid Max Double Control Ant Baits - 8 CT
Offered by Best Junction Price
Price: $10.95
7 used & new from $7.21

5.0 out of 5 stars Did the Job, July 24, 2015
I had ants. Now I don't. I used Raid Max Double Control Ant Baits. What else do you need to know?

They were easy to set up. Packaging was a breeze to open. They rested unnoticed in the corners where the ants previously hung out.

We had carpenter ants and some sort of tiny dark brown/black ant. They are gone. I'm pleased.

That's all there is to say.

Anthony Trendl

Amici Stemless Aerating Wine Glass, 17oz - Set of 4
Amici Stemless Aerating Wine Glass, 17oz - Set of 4
Price: $31.06
2 used & new from $30.79

4.0 out of 5 stars More Looks than Reality, But Very Attractive, July 22, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
These are marketed as aerating glasses. When I aerate, I prefer to either let the wine sit open, or pour it through a special spout. These glasses, albeit less efficiently, fill that function when I'm too lazy to do either.

They are attractive. Less delicate than regular wine glasses, but less sturdy than a tumbler you might use for lemonade, they find a middle ground. I find them to be that "I'm tired, I want a drink, and I don't want to get out the nice glasses," solution. You know, when it is time to sit on the deck for an hour before dinner sipping a glass of wine.

There are four glasses. That's enough for most, but not enough for a party. Two sets might do the job.

Anthony Trendl

Bush's Best Original Baked Beans, 16 oz
Bush's Best Original Baked Beans, 16 oz
Offered by ObsidianM
Price: $8.45
7 used & new from $3.55

5.0 out of 5 stars Little Meat, Still Tasty, July 20, 2015
I came to Bush's Baked Beans as an adult, growing up on the sweeter (but also tasty) Campbell's variety.

The sauce is moderately thick, and cooks quickly. The flavor isn't as good as homemade, but for coming from a can, it'll do fine.

Good with pork chops, hot dogs, hamburgers and the like. I often just eat beans for dinner, with only bread. I like them that much.

Anthony Trendl

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