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Mike Powers "mkp51" RSS Feed (Woolwich, ME USA)

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Mahjong Pro
Mahjong Pro
Price: $2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Mahjong Pro: the best tile matching game for Android devices., June 3, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Mahjong Pro (App)
Over the years, I've tried several Mahjong-style tile matching games on my Android devices, and Ta Dah Apps' "Mahjong Pro" is clearly the best I've found to date. It has stunning HD graphics that look especially great on my new 10.1-inch tablet and my Kindle Fire HD. (It also looks good and plays well on my 5-inch smart phone, but the tiles are really small.) Game play is silky-smooth and always eagerly responsive to my touch screen inputs. "Mahjong Pro" is loaded with easily accessible features, including a host of board layouts, tile sets, background wallpapers, and playing styles. If you're a tile-matching Majong addict like me, you will really enjoy "Mahjong Pro." It earns my highest recommendation.

NCIS: Season 11
NCIS: Season 11
DVD ~ David McCallum
Price: $24.70
37 used & new from $22.93

3.0 out of 5 stars "NCIS" Season 11: not up to this show's usual very high standards., May 27, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: NCIS: Season 11 (DVD)
Over the past couple of years, I've been collecting DVD sets of my most favorite television series. At the top of my list of favorites is "NCIS." I recently acquired the show's 11th season on DVD; I now have every season available on DVD (to date) of this outstanding show in my collection.

"NCIS," of course, is the long-running, very popular police procedural crime drama that, as of this writing, has completed its 12th season and has been renewed for a 13th. It has aired on CBS on Tuesday nights at 8:00 since it premiered in 2003. The show revolves around the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), an actual civilian-run law enforcement agency of the U.S. Navy. It follows the investigations of the Major Case Response Team (MCRT) located at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, DC. Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon), leads this team, which is made up of Special Agents Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly); Eleanor Bishop (Emily Wickersham) (who replaced the departed Cote de Pablo midway through Season 11); Timothy McGee (Sean Murray), Chief Medical Examiner Donald "Ducky" Mallard (David McCallum), and forensics expert Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette.)

I wish I could write that "NCIS" Season 11, which ran from September 2013 through May 2014, is every bit as good the show's previous seasons, but unfortunately I can't. From the outset, this particular season simply doesn't live up to the very high standards set in prior years. To be sure, there are some good story arcs and excellent single episodes, but overall, I have the impression that the scripts are generally a bit lackluster, and the actors don't have as much of the fire" they had possessed in earlier seasons. In short: the show seems to be losing steam.

I'm guessing that at least some of the reason for this may lie in the rather sudden departure of series regular Cote de Pablo, whose character (Ziva David) was tremendously popular with viewers. In previous seasons, de Pablo's character made for some of the most outstanding "NCIS" episodes of all time, and her departure seems to have left a void that may have "wrong-footed" producers, writers, and actors alike. Early in the season, an inordinate amount of time seems to have been spent casting about for a "Ziva" replacement; her eventual successor, "Ellie Bishop," (played by Emily Wickersham) paled in comparison to "Ziva," and proved unpopular with "NCIS" fans.

There were some bright spots during "NCIS" Season 11. The story arc involving the hunt for terrorist Benham Parsa was both interesting and exciting. The two-part back-door pilot for "NCIS: New Orleans" (episodes entitled ("Crescent City Parts I and II," with guest stars Scott Bakula, Lucas Black, and Zoe McClellan) hearkened back to "NCIS's" best days, when episodes were consistently tense, taut, interesting, and unpredictable. In contrast, other episodes in Season 11 seem rather slow-moving and bland.

As of this writing, another year has passed, and "NCIS" now has its 12th season "in the can." Fortunately, my favorite show appears to have rebounded nicely during Season 12, once again showing some of its old fire and passion, and leaving viewers at season's end with a suspenseful cliff-hanger that will keep people talking and guessing throughout the summer of 2015...

Although "NCIS Season 11" is a bit of a letdown compared to previous seasons, it's still good, solid entertainment that's certainly well worth watching. Recommended.

Progo Ultra Absorbent Microfiber Cleaning Cloths for LCD/LED TV, Laptop Computer Screen, iPhone, iPad and more. (6 Pack)
Progo Ultra Absorbent Microfiber Cleaning Cloths for LCD/LED TV, Laptop Computer Screen, iPhone, iPad and more. (6 Pack)
Offered by YoKool
Price: $8.89
2 used & new from $8.89

5.0 out of 5 stars Soft and absorbent; won't cause scratches., May 26, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
With a number of mobile devices now in our home, we spend a lot of time wiping fingerprints and other smudges from touch screen glass. It didn't take us long to discover that keeping microfiber cloths on hand are an absolute necessity in order to keep our devices' screens clean.

These Progo Ultra Absorbent Microfiber Cleaning Cloths are the best microfiber cloths I've found to date. They're made from a good quality terry cloth-type material that's reasonably thick, nice and soft, and very absorbent. They do an outstanding job of removing all traces of fingerprints from our devices' screens, without causing any scratches or other abrasions. Because these Progo cloths are also completely washable, so they can be used repeatedly.

I now keep a Progo Ultra Absorbent Microfiber Cleaning Cloth with each of my handheld devices, plus a couple in reserve in case one gets misplaced. I also keep one with me for cleaning my eyeglass lenses. Simply put, this is a great product! Highly recommended.

Men's Short Sleeve Cycling Jersey Road / MTB XXL Yellow
Men's Short Sleeve Cycling Jersey Road / MTB XXL Yellow
Offered by CyclingForLess
Price: $11.95

3.0 out of 5 stars A decent enough product, but..., May 19, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've recently started bicycling again, after being away from it for about 20 years. I wanted a brightly colored shirt to provide the high visibility I need while riding on the busy country roads near my home. I chose this particular road cycling jersey because of its very bright yellow color, and its reasonable price.

The jersey is pretty well sewn together with a light but sturdy fabric. Stitching is good all the way around. Unfortunately, the sizes appear to run very small. I am 6 feet, 3 inches tall and have a bit of an expanded waistline that I am trying very hard to reduce (which is why I've started cycling again). I purchased this jersey in the largest size available (XX), which is the usual size I buy for all my pullover shirts. I was barely able to squeeze into this one; it fit too snugly around my midsection, and made me feel pretty uncomfortable.

It's too bad, because this really is a decent enough product. Perhaps the manufacturers/sellers ought to consider adding a size XXX to their inventories to accommodate older, more fully-shaped guys like me. Recommended with reservations.

Price: $0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A most worthy and entertaining checkers opponent., May 19, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Checkers (App)
Looking for an opponent for a game or two of checkers? Look no further than AI Factory's "Checkers." This is an outstanding Android version of the ancient and venerable board game called "checkers" or "draughts." Like all other AI Factory games for Android devices, "Checkers" provides silky-smooth game play; excellent graphics that are simple yet refined; ten levels of difficulty from beginner to... well, let's just say extremely challenging; and win-loss statistics for all levels of difficulty. "Checkers" works flawlessly on all of my Android devices, and looks especially good on my Kindle Fire HD7.

There is a free, ad-supported version of this game, but I decided that 99 cents was a small enough price to pay to eliminate those pesky and distracting ads. If you enjoy playing checkers/draughts as much as I do, I'm sure you'll find "Checkers" a most worthy and entertaining opponent. Highly recommended!

Scrabble Champion Edition
Scrabble Champion Edition
15 used & new from $24.87

4.0 out of 5 stars The best Scrabble version for Windows-based PCs., May 18, 2015
This review is from: Scrabble Champion Edition (CD-ROM)
I am a hard-core Scrabble junkie. A few weeks ago I came across a copy of "Scrabble Champion Edition" at a neighborhood yard sale. I purchased it in the hope that I would FINALLY find a version that would work correctly on my Windows 8.1 laptop...

...I was not disappointed. "Scrabble Champion Edition," which dates from 2006 and is listed as compatible only with Windows Vista, XP, Me, 2000, and 98, is the first (and only) version I've found that works flawlessly when running in Windows 8.1. The game installed in a matter of seconds. Graphics are OK; certainly not cutting-edge high definition, but still crisp, clear, colorful and appealing to the eye. (Video resolution appears to be set at 1024 x 768, and cannot be adjusted.)

Game play is exactly what I expected. The program has two modes: "Classic" (no time limits) and "Speed" (time limits that can be adjusted by the user.) The game has eight difficulty levels ranging from "Beginner" (ridiculously easy, but great for kids) to "Genius" (ridiculously hard, nearly impossible to beat). I usually play at either the "Intermediate" or "Veteran" levels, and win slightly less than 50 percent of the time. "Scrabble Champion Edition" appears to follow the standard rules of Scrabble meticulously; it has never given me cause to think it "cheats."

My one and only gripe about "Scrabble Champion Edition:" you must insert the CD-ROM into your computer's drive each time you want to play the game. This is an outdated and very annoying form of copy-protection that causes me to deduct one star from my overall rating of an otherwise perfect game. Nevertheless, I still think it's the best Scrabble version that I've found for Windows-based PCs. Recommended.

Price: $9.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Selma:" A brilliant historical and biographical drama., May 17, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Selma (Amazon Instant Video)
With my keen interest in historical and biographical dramas, the movie "Selma" was a natural for me to want to see. I recently watched it through Amazon Instant Video, and came away very impressed. "Selma" is an altogether brilliant film that features standout performances by David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King, Jr., Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King, Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon B. Johnson, Oprah Winfrey as Annie Lee Cooper, Tessa Thompson as Diane Nash, and Andre Holland as Andrew Young, as well as many others.

"Selma," superbly directed by Ava DuVernay, tells how Martin Luther King led the African American fight to secure equal voting rights through a series of highly publicized, non-violent marches in Selma, Alabama in the early months of 1965, culminating in a 50-mile march from Selma to Montgomery, the capital of Alabama. "Selma" shows how King was able to first overcome the resistance of leaders within the Civil Rights movement, as well as the opposition of U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Key scenes in the film include the killing of protestor Jimmie Lee Jackson by an Alabama state trooper; the civil rights marchers' first attempt to march from Selma to Montgomery, which resulted in state and local police, using heavy riot gear, making an unprovoked attack on unarmed demonstrators at the Edmund Pettus Bridge (an event known as "Bloody Sunday"); the murder of civil rights activist James Reeb by a mob of local segregationists; and two subsequent attempts by civil rights activists to march from Selma to Montgomery.

"Selma's" historical accuracy has been the source of some controversy, mainly from the way it portrays the relationship between King and Johnson as being confrontational. A key Johnson political appointee maintains to this day that the protests planned for Selma were Johnson's, and not King's, idea. Witnesses to a meeting between King and Johnson insist that no argument between the two ever took place.

DuVernay maintains that her film is accurate, saying that "...the notion of the Selma protests being Johnson's idea was 'jaw-dropping and offensive' to African Americans and veterans of the Civil Rights movement." Even if discussions between King and Johnson had become heated, I seriously doubt that King would have spoken to the President with the level of intensity (bordering on insolence) that's depicted in the film. Despite this controversy, I think "Selma" maintains a pretty good degree of historical accuracy, taking into consideration the need to compress and alter some events for the sake of a two-hour film. I certainly came away from watching "Selma" having a strong feeling for what the times must have been like in the Deep South of the mid-1960s.

I enjoyed "Selma" tremendously, and have now watched it several times. (I now own a digital copy of the film through Amazon Instant Video.) It's one of the few films that I think is good enough to take an honored place in my Blu-ray collection as well. Most highly recommended.

ARRIS / Motorola SurfBoard SB6121 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem - Retail Packaging - Black
ARRIS / Motorola SurfBoard SB6121 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem - Retail Packaging - Black
Price: $69.99
164 used & new from $40.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reasonably priced, easy to install, and performs very well., May 15, 2015
Over the past few weeks, I've been getting pestered with a lot of phone calls from my Internet service provider (Comcast), saying that my old cable modem no longer meets the company's minimum technical requirements, and that I was likely to see slower performance and increased instability of online services. Even though I was a bit skeptical about Comcast's claims, and my old modem was still hanging in there, I went ahead and upgraded anyway.

I decided to purchase an Arris/Motorola Surfboard SB6121 cable modem for my upgrade. This is a DOCSIS 3.0 device that, so far, has proven to be an excellent performer and a significant improvement over my old cable modem. Ever since I brought it online about a week ago, my wife and I have both seen a distinct improvement in online performance and stability across all our devices. Web pages on our laptops seem to load considerably faster; our smart phones exhibit a snappier response to our inputs; and, most noticeably, streaming video is much clearer, smoother, and faster on all of our devices.

The new Surfboard SB6121 was very easy to install; I simply disconnected my old modem from my Linksys WRT54G router, and plugged the new one in. I did have to call Comcast and provide the MAC Address for my new modem. I was (surprisingly) able to get through very quickly to a technical support representative, so the entire installation and setup process took only about 15 minutes.

The Arris/Motorola Surfboard SB6121 cable modem meets mimimum requirements recommended by most leading cable internet service providers. It's a reasonably priced modem that performs very well indeed. Highly recommended.

3 Games to Glory IV [Blu-ray]
3 Games to Glory IV [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Tom Brady
Price: $34.59
16 used & new from $26.77

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "3 Games to Glory IV:" a unique and absolutely outstanding production., May 10, 2015
"3 Games to Glory IV" is a 3-Blu-ray disc (BD) set that serves as a perfect summary of the New England Patriots' highly successful playoff run at the end of the 2014 NFL season. As is well known, that playoff run ended with the Patriots winning Super Bowl XLIX on February 1, 2015.

"3 Games to Glory IV" is a unique and absolutely outstanding production in every way. Instead of summarizing the entire 2014 season, it focuses solely on the three games played - and won - by the New England Patriots in the 2014 postseason. Each of the three BDs contained in this set spotlights one of the three Patriots playoff games: the Divisional Playoff game, AFC Championship game, and Super Bowl XLIX.

NFL Films once again employs its brilliantly conceived combination of regular speed and slow-motion photography, excellent music, and sounds from "miked-up" players and coaches. Clips of every play of each game are woven seamlessly together to form a smooth-flowing narrative of each game, with play-by-play and color commentary provided by Patriots radio announcers Bob Socci and Scott Zolak. The mellifluous voice of narrator Scott Graham also provides spare but essential narration where needed. All non-essential "dead time" - the time between plays, replays, time-outs, etc., has been removed, so each full game takes less than one hour to watch.

"3 Games to Glory IV" contains a wealth of special features that I found especially entertaining. On each BD, viewers will find postgame press conferences and interviews with Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and other standout players, as well as Belichick's game breakdown for the game featured on the disc. Several other very entertaining short features are included as well. It's important to note that none of the controversy surrounding "Deflate-gate" and Tom Brady's possible role in it are addressed anywhere in "3 Games to Glory IV," although "Deflate-gate" is mentioned once in passing. The focus of the entire set is football as it was played during the 2014 postseason.

The main programs and all special features of the Blu-ray version of "3 Games to Glory IV" are presented in high definition video that is crisp, clean, shows no artifacts, and has perfectly balanced color. The video has a wonderfully filmic quality to it. Each disc also employs DTS-HD Master Audio 2-channel stereo which brought a surprisingly immersive sound into my viewing area.

"3 Games to Glory IV" is an outstanding addition to the long and illustrious series of NFL films that commemorate team championships. It's a perfect complement to the "New England Patriots: Super Bowl XLIX Champions" BD that was released earlier this year. Highly recommended.

Farewell: The Greatest Spy Story of the Twentieth Century
Farewell: The Greatest Spy Story of the Twentieth Century
Price: $4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the most important and devastating espionage case of the Cold War era., May 1, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
"Farewell: The Greatest Spy Story of the Twentieth Century" is an altogether fascinating look at what is perhaps the most important and devastating espionage case of the Cold War era. Written by Russian journalist and espionage expert Sergei Kostin and French screenwriter Eric Raynaud, "Farewell" tells the story of Vladimir Ippolitovich Vetrov, a mid-level KGB officer who was also a spy for the French intelligence service known as the DST.

During the years 1981-82, Vetrov, code-named "Farewell" by his French handlers, gave the DST thousands of pages of highly classified documents containing many of the Soviet Union's most closely guarded secrets. The government of France shared this information with its allies, most notably U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Vetrov's information proved invaluable to the West; it included the names of double agents working on behalf of the Soviets, and provided details on the myriad of technological and military secrets that those agents were able to steal from Western sources. Many analysts believe that the information provided by Vetrov enabled Western leaders to make key policy-making decisions that ultimately led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.

I really enjoyed the book "Farewell." Authors Kostin and Raynaud certainly packed a tremendous amount of information into the book's 390-plus pages. They tell Vetrov's story in a pretty straightforward manner - how he went from being a young man of great promise, and how he became, in his later years, a disillusioned alcoholic, a philanderer, a murderer, and a traitor to his country. Kostin and Raynaud do an excellent job of both conveying what Vetrov did, and providing a thoughtful, reasoned analysis of why he did it.

"Farewell" was originally written in French, and was expertly translated into English by Catherine Cauvin-Higgins. Kostin and Raynaud's clear, concise, and always elegant prose loses none of its power and authoritativeness in the translation. It remains easy to read and understand, and very enjoyable. Highly recommended.

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