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Mike Powers "mkp51" RSS Feed (Woolwich, ME USA)
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Murder One - The Complete First Season
Murder One - The Complete First Season
DVD ~ Daniel Benzali
Price: $30.23
27 used & new from $8.93

5.0 out of 5 stars "Murder One" Season 1: One of the best legal TV legal dramas ever., September 22, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
When the first season of "Murder One" originally began airing in the autumn of 1995, I was stationed with the US Air Force in Great Britain. The O.J. Simpson trial was still in progress. British TV executives, which usually broadcast what they considered only the best American shows, almost immediately began airing "Murder One," usually about a week behind episode airings in the US. Consequently, I was able to follow the show from the beginning - and, like many, I was absolutely, almost slavishly riveted to it for the entire season.

So imagine my surprise and delight late last year when I discovered the entire first season of "Murder One" on DVD at I immediately snapped up the six-DVD set! Within minutes of its arrival, I began watching, and found myself once again completely transfixed by the season-long murder trial of fictional movie star Neil Avedon (Jason Gedrick); his defense by brilliant defense attorney Ted Hoffman (Daniel Benzali, and his prosecution by aggressive District Attorney Miriam Grasso (Barbara Bosson); and the machinations of a slew of villains, young lawyers, and assorted other people on the periphery of the case.

"Murder One" was, and remains, the best legal drama I've ever seen on TV. Performances by the entire cast are brilliant. The writing is top-notch. Each episode is taut, tense, and thrilling, and builds the entire season to a wonderful, shattering climax. Presentation on DVD is superb. All 23 episodes are contained on six DVDs. Video and audio quality are both outstanding, especially for a non-HD format.

Although "Murder One" season 1 is now 20 years old, it never seems dated. It shows the best and the worst of the American legal system throughout all of its 23 episodes. It's superbly acted, brilliantly written, and has very high production values. Most highly recommended.

Cuddle Barn New Nite Brite Pals Stuffed Toy Puppy - Patches the Pup
Cuddle Barn New Nite Brite Pals Stuffed Toy Puppy - Patches the Pup
Offered by Joy of Giving
Price: $27.00
7 used & new from $19.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Our new grandson's very first stuffed animal..., September 20, 2015
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
We ordered "Patches," the Cuddle Barn New Pals Stuffed Toy Puppy, for our newborn grandson, who came into this world on August 20, 2015. My wife and I were quite frankly stunned at what a wonderful stuffed toy this is! It's much larger than we expected. "Patches" is simply adorable to look at, and our grandson seems to like him very much. (He looks at it constantly with a little smile on his face). Our granddaughters, age 5 and 3, also love "Patches." Each wants to adopt one for their birthday or Christmas, so of course we have added a couple of Cuddle Barn New Pals our list for Santa. We are extremely pleased with this very high quality toy. "Patches" earns my highest recommendation.

112 Piece Rubber Anti-Skid Pad Value Pack (Furniture and Floor Protectors) 112 pcs of assorted sizes
112 Piece Rubber Anti-Skid Pad Value Pack (Furniture and Floor Protectors) 112 pcs of assorted sizes
Offered by LA Closeout Warehouse
Price: $5.41
9 used & new from $5.41

3.0 out of 5 stars They're OK, but..., September 20, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
These anti-skid pads are a bit of a mixed bag. They are thick and durable enough to last on the legs of our easy chairs, and they are quite effective at preventing the chairs from sliding around on our bare floors. The problem is that they don't seem to have quite enough adhesive to stick firmly to where I place them. I've had to replace three of them on one chair after they fell off. Hopefully it's just a few of these pads being bad. I plan to buy more and then we'll see...

Hong Kong Style Mahjong
Hong Kong Style Mahjong
Price: $1.54

4.0 out of 5 stars "Hong Kong Style Mahjong" gives me endless hours of enjoyment., September 13, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Hong Kong Style Mahjong (App)
I originally discovered "Hong Kong Style Mahjong" at the Google Play store, and found it in both paid (ad-free) and free (ad-supported) versions. I was quite surprised, then, when I also found the paid (ad-free) version on!

"Hong Kong Style Mahjong" is overall an excellent game! This is not the typical tile-matching game that most people are familiar with, but is instead a highly complex and enjoyable game played against three computer opponents. It is very much like Gin Rummy, where you try and collect threes of a kind and runs of three tiles according to suit. Of course, the rules are a bit more complex than that, but "Hong Kong Style Mahjong" gives me endless hours of enjoyment playing it.

The game plays very well on my Kindle Fire HD7 as well as my LG G Pad 10" tablet. It has very good graphics, a nice layout, and, for the most part, smooth game play. One problem I've noticed when playing on my LG G Pad: the game seems to occasionally slow itself down for a few minutes, then speed back up. Also on very rare occasions (on my LG G Pad only) it will abruptly stop and force me to restart. However, the game plays perfectly on my Kindle Fire HD7. Highly recommended.

Decorative Hanging Round Wall Clock Classic 12" Inch Vintage Plastic Roman Numeral Time Piece
Decorative Hanging Round Wall Clock Classic 12" Inch Vintage Plastic Roman Numeral Time Piece
Offered by Joda Product Sales
Price: $29.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Very attractive wall clock adds to the decor in my den., September 13, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this 12-inch wall clock for my den/TV room. I decided on this particular clock based on the 100% 5-star customer reviews at When I received it, I was extremely pleased with it. It has met all my expectations by adding a great deal to the decor of my den. The frame is a perfect color, and the antique Roman numeral face reminds me of those old-time schoolhouse clocks I remember from my earliest days in elementary school.

The clock has an electronic movement that operates on one "AA" battery. It keeps perfect time, and I find the barely audible "tick-tick-tick" to be quite soothing.

I really like this clock! Highly recommended.

King's Brand PS23 Plant Stand Accent Side End Table, Cherry Finish
King's Brand PS23 Plant Stand Accent Side End Table, Cherry Finish
Price: $78.90

4.0 out of 5 stars Very nice accent table; fits in well in our living room., September 13, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a very nice accent table that we've set next to an easy chair in our living room. It's just the right height to hold a cup of tea or coffee while looking out the window at our gardens. The table is made of solid wood and appears to be sturdily built and of excellent quality. It was very easy to assemble; it literally took a matter of seconds. We like it very much! Recommended.

Amazon Video
Amazon Video
Price: $0.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Finally! Amazon Instant Video comes to all Android devices... with a catch., August 9, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Amazon Video (App)
Earlier this month, almost exactly one year after initially launching its "Prime Instant Video" app, Amazon finally released a version that Amazon Prime members can actually use on all their Android devices. And, for the first time, it actually works as advertised!

Before the Amazon "Prime Instant Video" app came along, there were only three ways that I knew of for me to view Amazon Instant Video (AIV) content: I could either fire up my Amazon Kindle Fire HD tablet; I could view content on my PC through the web site; or I could watch through a video streaming service (like Roku) that carries AIV content. Now, with the advent of the latest version of Amazon's "Prime Instant Video" app, I can also view AIV content on my Android-based smart phone and my 10.1-inch LG G-Pad tablet.

...But there is a catch to all this. The installation process for the "Prime Instant Video" app is unnecessarily convoluted and complicated. First you must install the "Amazon Appstore" app on the Android-based device you intend to use; then you must follow the link to the "Prime Instant Video" app, which takes the form of an .apk file. Then, and only then, can you actually install the "Prime Instant Video" app on your devices.

Follow me so far? It gets even more interesting once the app is installed. That's because it works differently on smart phones and small-screen tablets than it does on larger screen (10-inch and above) devices. On smaller devices, the app works as a stand-alone, with its own icon. Tap on the icon, input your user ID and password, and you instantly have access to all Amazon Prime Instant Video content (assuming, of course, you are a member.) On larger-screen tablets, the "Prime Instant Video" app works like a plug-in; you still must access AIV content through the main web site. The difference now is that Prime members have access to all Prime content and their own personal video libraries, which they didn't have before.

Because members must input their user ID and passwords in all cases, streaming video is actually displayed in High Definition. The app actually works quite well on all Android devices.

This whole issue of access to Prime Instant Video and my personal library of purchased content has long been a sore point for me. I always felt I was being denied full access to items I had already paid for, because I couldn't always view content when I wanted; and when I could, I couldn't always view it in High Definition (for which I have always paid extra). That issue is now apparently solved, but at a cost. Unfortunately, Amazon has made the process of obtaining the "Prime Instant Video" app unnecessarily difficult and unwieldly. For that reason, I can only recommend this app with reservations.

Microsoft Office 365 Personal 1 Year | PC or Mac Download
Microsoft Office 365 Personal 1 Year | PC or Mac Download
Price: $69.99

4.0 out of 5 stars "Office 365 Personal" subscription provides a major hidden benefit to Android device users., August 4, 2015
(Updated, September 28, 2015)

I am a long-time user of Microsoft Office. In fact, I have owned versions of Office since Windows 95 debuted twenty years ago.

Late last year, I decided to purchase a subscription to Office 365. I opted for "Office 365 Personal" because it was the least expensive way for me to get the software I wanted with all of the features I needed.

At the time I subscribed, "Office 365 Personal" came with the 2013 versions of Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint, and Word. On September 22, 2015, Microsoft released the 2016 versions of all its Office programs; I have recently updated to these latest versions. I use Excel and Word almost every day, PowerPoint infrequently, and OneNote almost never. I found the 2013 versions just different enough in appearance and functionality from my "Office 2007 Home and School" suite that they created a bit of a "learning curve" for me. It didn't take me long to adjust to the changes in the newer versions, but I discovered that I liked the 2007 version just a little bit better - enough so that I eventually gravitated back to using my tried-and-true "Office 2007" programs almost exclusively. Now I plan to give the 2016 versions a good workout to see if they are the ones that best suit my needs on a daily basis. My initial impression of the new versions is pretty positive.

I kept my "Office 365 Personal" subscription active, however, and I'm very glad I did. Earlier this year, Microsoft released "free" versions of "Office 365" for Android devices. There was a catch to this release though: Android versions of Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and OneNote provided only limited (what Microsoft euphemistically calls "core") functionality... that is, unless users happened to have an active subscription to any one of the "Office 365" versions. Users {like me) who do have a subscription have all of the "Office 365" features at their fingertips.

Is "Office 365 Personal" worth the money spent on a subscription? If you already own any previous version of Microsoft Office, and use it only on a PC, probably not. However, the program's value rises sharply if you want to use it on any kind of Android-based mobile device. Then a subscription becomes essential and worthwhile in order to take full advantage of everything "Office 365" has to offer. Recommended.

Panasonic DMP-BD77 Ultra-Fast Booting Blu-ray Disc Player
Panasonic DMP-BD77 Ultra-Fast Booting Blu-ray Disc Player

4.0 out of 5 stars A good, solid, reliable, basic "workhorse" Blu-ray disc player., July 28, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Last week, my primary Blu-ray disc (BD) player, a six year-old Panasonic DMP-BD75 model, quit working. I really wasn't surprised it broke down; it had been under nearly constant use since I bought it, frequently operating (flawlessly, I might add) for 6-8 hours per day, 7 days per week, for its entire six-year life span.

I immediately began searching for a replacement. When I discovered the Panasonic DMP-BD77 BD player at Amazon, I immediately ordered it. So far, it has proven itself to be a perfect choice to replace my old machine. It's slim, lightweight, and yet durable and reliable. It flawlessly plays every BD and DVD I insert into it. Like its predecessor, it displays stunningly life-like Blu-ray video, and upscaled DVD video that approaches High Definition quality. Audio quality is also superb. The BD-77 player automatically selects the correct audio format contained on the playing disc; formats include DTS Master Audio Multi-channel, Dolby TruHD, and several other audio formats. The BD-77 comes with an excellent remote.

The Panasonic DMP-BD77 is a substantial upgrade from the BD-75 model. It actually does boot and load discs much faster. There are improvements to the firmware, including the ability to do some limited customization (i.e., user video adjustments). The BD-77 is marketed as "wifi ready," which means it contains some internal wifi circuitry, but not a built-in adapter. (Buyers of this player still must purchase a $50 external USB wifi adapter in order to get the full benefits of wifi, which include access to a limited number of video streaming sites.)

So far, I am very pleased with my new Panasonic DMP-BD77 Blu-ray player. I've already begun using it pretty heavily, and it's proving itself at least as durable and reliable as its older cousin. Although it lacks the very latest technology (3D, built-in wifi), it performs its core functions very well. It might not be the absolute best choice for a hi-tech home entertainment center, but it certainly can hold its own as a good, solid, reliable, basic "workhorse" in most living rooms. Recommended.

The Last Lion Box Set: Winston Spencer Churchill, 1874 - 1965
The Last Lion Box Set: Winston Spencer Churchill, 1874 - 1965
by William Manchester
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $72.99
46 used & new from $49.91

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best account of Winston S. Churchill's life available anywhere in print., July 26, 2015
Sunday, May 10, 2015, marked the 75th anniversary of arguably one of the most important events of World War II, an occurrence that actually may have done more to hasten the eventual Allied victory over Nazi Germany than any other, although that couldn't be known at the time.

On that day, Britain's government, led by Neville Chamberlain, fell, and a man emerged from eight years in the political "wilderness" to take the reins of political power...

That man: Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill.

Sir Winston S. Churchill has been the subject of several fine biographies in recent years. "Winston S. Churchill," by Sir Martin Gilbert, is the seven-volume "official" biography of Britain's greatest statesman; "Churchill: A Life," also by Gilbert, is an outstanding one-volume Churchill biography. Other excellent biographies have been penned by Max Hastings, Roy Jenkins, and Carlo D'Este. The best Churchill biography, however, is arguably the three-volume "The Last Lion," by the late American historian William Manchester (1922-2004).

"The Last Lion: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932," published in 1983, is the first volume of Manchester's three-volume biography covering the long life and political career of Winston S. Churchill. The second volume, "The Last Lion: Alone, 1932-1940," in which Manchester tells the story of Churchill's eight years in the political "wilderness," appeared in 1988. And the final volume - "The Last Lion: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965," co-authored by Manchester and Paul Reid, hit the bookshelves in November 2012.

VISIONS OF GLORY, 1874-1932 (Volume I)

"The Last Lion: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932" is a superbly crafted and highly readable account of Winston S. Churchill's first 58 years, from his earliest days as the neglected first child of Lord Randolph Churchill and his American-born wife, Jennie, to his entry into the political "wilderness" over Indian Home Rule in 1932.

Manchester's portrait of Churchill is always balanced and objective. Winston Churchill was the troubled and troublesome first son of the promiscuous and socially ambitious Jennie Churchill, and her husband, the terminally ill Lord Randolph Churchill. Young Winston constantly craved his parents' affection and attention, but was usually shunted off to boarding school by parents who saw him as a burden on their social lives.

As a young adult, Churchill embarked on a military career as an army officer. He was courageous almost to the point of foolhardiness. In 1900, he was first elected to the House of Commons, where he remained for over a half-century. He switched political parties twice - once from Conservative to Liberal, and then later on, he switched back again. In his early political career, he became one of the youngest Cabinet ministers in British history, thanks in part to his natural political instincts. As a Cabinet Minister, Churchill ensured the enactment of some of the most progressive legislation in British history. But he also exercised appalling political judgment at times; he was quick to meddle in other ministers' affairs while neglecting his own, and possessed an uncanny ability to alienate not only his political foes, but his political allies as well.

The first volume of this magnificent biography ends with Churchill "entering the political wilderness" (being exiled to the "back benches" of the House of Commons) for his unpopular stand on Indian Home Rule, and for his chronic habit of irritating nearly everyone with whom he came in contact. By 1932, the verdict was in: when Russian dictator Josef Stalin inquired about Churchill, a noted British wag laughed scornfully, then sniffed: "Churchill? Oh, he's finished!"

ALONE, 1932-1940 (Volume II)

"The Last Lion: Alone, 1932-1940" is the second volume of William Manchester's brilliant biography of Winston Churchill. It is the shortest of the three volumes, and probably the best. This magnificent sequel seamlessly picks up where the first volume ends and carries Churchill's story forward through what Manchester sees as the most critical years of his life: the eight-years that encompassed Churchill's longest period in the political "wilderness," and ended with his rise to power as Prime Minister of Great Britain on May 10, 1940.

In "The Last Lion: Alone, 1932-1940," Manchester contends that the two decades between World War Iand World War II , and not his years as wartime Prime Minister (1940-1945), were, in fact, Winston S. Churchill's personal "finest hour." During this critical period, while Churchill was in the "political wilderness," sitting forlornly on the back benches of the House of Commons, he was one of only a handful of British politicians who foresaw the dangers posed by the Fascist dictators. He had the necessary expertise to speak out effectively in favor of increased military preparedness as a means of countering the growing Nazi threat in Europe, and the courage to decry his own government's appeasement policies. Despite Hitler's takeover of the Rhineland, Austria, and Czechoslovakia during the 1930s, successive British governments continued to ignore Churchill and appease Germany. Only after Hitler ignited World War II by invading Poland, and it became obvious that all attempts to placate the Nazi dictator had failed, did the British people turn to Winston Churchill to lead them.


William Manchester had begun researching the third volume of his "The Last Lion" triptych even before the publication of "The Last Lion: Alone, 1932-1940." By 1998, he had apparently completed only a small portion of the manuscript for his final volume, which he had tentatively entitled "The Last Lion: Defender of the Realm 1940-1965." He had become aware of the fact that he could no longer write due increasingly poor health, and so he asked Paul Reid, a close friend and an excellent writer, to complete the book. Manchester died in 2004, leaving a reluctant Reid to carry on his work.

The results of Reid's efforts are simply outstanding. Relying on Manchester's copious notes and partially completed manuscript, as well as his own scholarly research, Reid crafted a monumental, highly readable, and historically accurate 1,182-page volume that recounts the final 25 years of Churchill's life. "Defender of the Realm" correctly concentrates on Churchill's time as Britain's Prime Minister during World War II, when he demonstrated all his greatest personality traits - courage, dogged determination, tenacity, and persuasiveness - in leading his nation, especially while it was under attack by the Nazis. Manchester and Reid also recount Churchill's relationship with U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, contending that, while their relationship was initially close, it became less so as the war dragged on, American forces took a more prominent role in achieving victory, and Roosevelt saw less need for Churchill as a wartime partner. The authors also recount Churchill's later life: his defeat as Prime Minister in 1945; his re-election in 1950; his retirement; his declining health; and his death in 1965, at age 90.

I thoroughly enjoyed "The Last Lion: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965." When I first began reading it shortly after its publication, I did so with a bit of trepidation. How would Reid's research, writing style, and historical accuracy measure up against the great William Manchester? I needn't have worried. I found it difficult to detect where Manchester leaves off and Reid begins. Overall, I think Reid's prose is a bit more wordy than Manchester's, and perhaps not as lively. But the book's historical accuracy is based on sound, thoroughly documented research, and is beyond scrutiny.

I own "The Last Lion: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932," " The Last Lion: Alone, 1932-1940," and "The Last Lion: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965. " All three volumes clearly demonstrate why William Manchester was one of the pre-eminent historians and biographers of his day, and also why Paul Reid was absolutely the best choice to complete Manchester's work. These volumes are written with obviously meticulous scholarship, insightful analysis, and crisp, sparkling prose; there is no better account of Churchill's life anywhere in print. Most highly recommended.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 28, 2015 9:41 PM PDT

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