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Allen Smalling "Eclectic Reader," RSS Feed (Chicago, IL United States)
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   

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The King and I (1956 Film Soundtrack)
The King and I (1956 Film Soundtrack)
Price: $7.99
64 used & new from $2.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the Best, January 26, 2015
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Even at nearly sixty years' remove, this soundtrack from the 1956 Twentieth Century-Fox movie is still the best way to hear the music from Rodgers and Hammerstein's immortal 1951 musical. The earlier cast-album LP with Yul Brynner and Gertrude Lawrence is technically inferior, and later revivals don't convince. Deborah Kerr (actually Marni Nixon's singing voice) and Brynner, abetted by the likes of Rita Moreno and Terry Saunders, do very well on this soundtrack remastered for CD, which includes the overture the original release LP lacks. Better and more of it, and -- surprisingly cheap. A quite nice production booklet is enclosed. Unqualified recommendation.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 26, 2015 7:05 PM PST


Soft Cuddly Teddy Bear Holding Purple Cupcake
Soft Cuddly Teddy Bear Holding Purple Cupcake

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The bear, the cupcake, and me, January 26, 2015
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This sweet bruin comes from "Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Company," which is headquartered in Aurora, New York. The bear himself was manufactured in China. He looks bigger than the photo implies: top to bottom, standing, eleven inches (just under 28 cm), probably because the cupcake is wider than the average baker's cupcake at four inches in diameter (10 cm). He has the more wild, shaggy type of fur that I prefer as opposed to the "plush carpet" type and as the photo indicates is a good medium brown. However, his eyes are small and tend to be partially obscured by his fur. At present, his siblings bearing blue cupcakes and red cupcakes as well as purple can be ordered through Amazon, and all are quite reasonably priced. The vendor protests that he and his kin are good for "child therapy" but I really don't know how much roughhousing he can endure -- all my teddies lead indolent lives where they enjoy muttering about what a shame it is Hanna-Barbera productions exists in name only, and getting into staring contests with the (real) gerbil whose cage is nearby and who has shown definite ursophobic tendencies. A friend suggested the perfect name: "Cubcake"!


More and More of You: Gay-Manga 160 Pages, Black and White, Softcover with Flaps, 6.75 X 9.5"
More and More of You: Gay-Manga 160 Pages, Black and White, Softcover with Flaps, 6.75 X 9.5"
by Takeshi Matsu
Edition: Paperback
Price: $18.81
21 used & new from $16.02

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lighthearted Japanese Gay Porn with Yaoi Elements, January 25, 2015
Good lighthearted Japanese gay porn, with the emphasis on youth. Do not expect the SM-inflected *bara manga* of Gengoroh Tagame, but instead a lighter style that mixes manga with touches of the yaoi visual style (usually aimed at younger, female readers). Good fun and well done, but I for one miss the more serious, woodcut-oriented style of Tagame. As is usual with softcover books in this Bruno Gmuender series, the volumes are nicely printed (Italy) and worth the price.


Natrol Melatonin Tr 5mg, 100 tablets (Pack of 2)
Natrol Melatonin Tr 5mg, 100 tablets (Pack of 2)
Price: $11.38
18 used & new from $11.38

5.0 out of 5 stars Good example of a staple item, January 25, 2015
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My doctor authorized a step up from six or nine mg per night (two or three x 3mg) to ten mg (two of these). I seem to tolerate these better than the sublingual pills. Good price, fresh stock, and nice small pills to swallow. Highly recommended, but if you are new to Melatonin check it with your medical professional first and start out with a lower dose unless otherwise advised.


Tabloid
Tabloid
DVD ~ Kent Gavin
Offered by Two Thumbs Up
Price: $5.99
40 used & new from $1.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A "cult," a self-centered femme fatale, the British press at its worst -- how did this doc not gel? ~, January 25, 2015
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This review is from: Tabloid (DVD)
There were two smaller documentaries inside this hash -- either one would probably have been better alone. They both purport to tell the story of a young North Carolina woman, Joyce McKinney, who fell in love with a Mormon missionary, pursued him to the U.K. in 1977, and with the help of friends kidnapped him and put on a full-bore sex offensive in a remote cottage in order to secure his love and free him from Mormon "training." Other documentaries I've seen by Errol Morris had more respect for their topic, I feel. Even VERNON, FLORIDA, whose citizens and ambience go from weird to a kind of transcendental weird, stayed with the mood of that quiet and isolated small town and let town citizens, abetted by the camera, speak for themelves. TABLOID was about half that, about half Michael Moore kneejerk irony (as the central figure reminisces about her teenage years, a clip of a strutting majorette is shown). The problem with this injected camp is that it tends to drag us away from the subject. After the film was over, I found myself wondering about her -- did Joyce McKinney finish college? -- how did she wind up in Wyoming? -- did she ever have a full-time job? -- omissions or partial omissions which seemed a little unfair given the assault on her erotomania and (one could argue) insufficient socialization. I left with the feeling that I'd learned a little about the tabloid treatment of a singular woman who may have been even more wack than the "cult" she affected to despise, but ultimately that no one got it right, least of all the normally insightful Errol Morris. If you're a Morris fan at some point you'll probably wind up seeing TABLOID, but be prepared for some letdown.


The Butcher's Boy
The Butcher's Boy
by Thomas Perry
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.85
145 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid First Novel, January 25, 2015
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This review is from: The Butcher's Boy (Paperback)
Solid first novel by Thomas Perry focusing on a mafia hit man and his nemesis -- though neither of them knows it at first -- a female analyst working for the Justice Department. The expository dialogue is a little clunky, and I must wonder why and how an analyst for Justice was so easily "weaponized" and sent out into the field. More satisfying is the manner of which the hit man weaponizes common items to fulfill his contracts, and the cat-and-mouse game of pursuer and pursued and how those roles are sometimes reversed.


Imagine My Surprise...: Unpublished Letters to the Daily Telegraph
Imagine My Surprise...: Unpublished Letters to the Daily Telegraph
by Iain Hollingshead
Edition: Hardcover
51 used & new from $0.65

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another delight, January 23, 2015
Another delightful book of unpublished letters to Britain's TELEGRAPH in the tradition of AM I ALONE IN THINKING? and also curated by Iain Hollingshead. The price new or as download for this chapbook-sized hardback of under 200 pages may seem high, but used copies are easy to find. Worth a try for people who admire British humor and can overlook the occasional forays into scurrility and political incorrectness that helped get many of the best of the missives herein barred from actual publication.


Six Kandinsky Cards (Dover Postcards)
Six Kandinsky Cards (Dover Postcards)
by Wassily Kandinsky
Edition: Paperback
Price: $1.50
36 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A solid and cost-effective sampling of Kandinsky's work, January 20, 2015
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This pamphlet of six reproductions of paintings by the famed Russian abstract impressionist (1866-1944) is a bargain at the current price. The six different images, strangely, do not include any of his concentric "Farbstudien" color circles, but other pictures are among his best known. A possible hitch is that the cards, while on decent stock, are about half an inch less wide than ordinary dimensions: the post office will accept, but writing space is slightly diminished, and I don't know if they'll fit into stock picture frames. At this price, though, it may well be worth taking a chance. Suitable for Postcrossing, subject to the limitations above. Printed in USA.


Gund 2014 Amazon Collectible Teddy Bear
Gund 2014 Amazon Collectible Teddy Bear
Offered by Delubbi Inc.
Price: $7.51
71 used & new from $6.12

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bullish on Bears for the Winter of 2015, January 20, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This past holiday season, this little guy was available for free with a minimum purchase of qualifying toys. Now that 2014 is over, he is available at a steep discount, and since I have a weakness for the Bears who missed Christmas, I added one to my pack. "Ammybear" (a/k/a "Zon the Bruin") may be smaller than the average teddy bear, but he is definitely a Gund, with that wonderful squeezy quality and floppy limbs so typical of that company's stuffed animals. The Amazon logo on the front is visible but not obtrusive, and that long "nightcap" cap with pompon on the end is adorable. I think he'll like it here. Made in China.


VINTAGE REPRINTS 1907-1941 postcard set of 20. Quality post card variety pack postcards. Made in USA.
VINTAGE REPRINTS 1907-1941 postcard set of 20. Quality post card variety pack postcards. Made in USA.
Offered by Postcard Fair
Price: $4.98

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Glorioski! Instant Camp!, January 19, 2015
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But, rather like instant coffee, not as satisfying as they might have been.

My set of twenty VINTAGE REPRINTS postcards arrived today. The icons at this product listing accurately represent what I received and they span, to put it mildly, a wide variety of themes such as humor, travel advertising and city sites, probably based on originals from about 1910 to about 1940.

PROS: These cards are, as stated, exactly four by six inches (ca. 10 x 15 cm), white-bordered, made in America and plenty stiff enough for the rigors of international mailing or framing and mounting. The "send" side of every postcard is well equipped with address lines, a mark to put the stamp, and as much white space for message as is possible, not counting the manufacturer's web address at the bottom. Some of the postcards (Washington, D.C. and San Francisco) are so exactingly reproduced that the linen grain of the original reproductions are visible, much in the way that a CD based on a 1960s analog master tape will reveal "the imperfections of the source." If the linen grain itself cannot be reproduced, that is the next best thing, I suppose. Owing to the wide variety of subject matter, you are bound to like at least a few of the selections here.

CONS: The medley is varied enough that most people are bound to dislike at least a few of them, too. Some of the humor is of the smirky post-Edwardian kind, such as a sepia drawing of a young boy looking through an enormous keyhole and the caption, "Seein' things at night." But the greatest drawback is that not a single card of the 20 specifies original creation date, its creator, or what it portrays. These cards are almost certainly all in the public domain so the specifics the Postcard Fair people have omitted are legal, I'm sure, but they rankle nonetheless. I can make out San Francisco's Market Street from visual clues, but another American city is unknown to me. This is going to diminish severely my use of these cards for my intended purpose, Postcrossing. What happens if a recipient gets back to me and asks, "How old is that picture of the Capitol through cherry blossoms?" Or, "What is that enormous hotel on a boardwalk?" What can I say? -- "Umm, real old,"... "Umm, I think it's the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec but I'm not sure..." If I were rating this set for my purposes only, I would only give it three stars. Based on physical quality, variety and whatever nostalgia factor leaks though the very modern printing, I'll give it four. If the cards had been attributed, it would have been five.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 19, 2015 9:52 PM PST


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