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Stan Vernooy RSS Feed (Henderson, NV)

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1,014 Practice Questions for the New GRE, 2nd Edition (Graduate School Test Preparation)
1,014 Practice Questions for the New GRE, 2nd Edition (Graduate School Test Preparation)
by Princeton Review
Edition: Paperback
79 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An absolute disgrace, August 14, 2012
I just came from helping a student who is preparing for the Math portion of the GRE. I was STUNNED to find that in the math diagnostic test at the very front of the book, TWO OF THE FIRST FOUR PROBLEMS ARE JUST PLAIN WRONG. The errors were not deep, and would not have required a world-class mathematician to notice them. Anyone with a mildly competent knowledge of mathematics would have discovered the errors with little or no effort, which means that the publisher didn't even bother to have the problems and answers checked by anyone.

Perhaps the most important quality you should have as a prospective graduate student is to refuse to accept from *yourself* the kind of half-assed effort that this book represents. And you certainly shouldn't accept it from anyone else either, let alone reward such people with your money.

Special Edition Using Microsoft Office Word 2007
Special Edition Using Microsoft Office Word 2007
by Faithe Wempen
Edition: Paperback
Price: $28.95
83 used & new from $0.01

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Everything you don't want, very little that you do, June 16, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've had this book for a couple of years. Every time I find Word 2007 acting strangely, or I want to do something new, I go to this book for an explanation - and every time, the explanation isn't there.

Some of the fault for this belongs to Word itself (and its designers), not to the writers of this book. For example, what the **** is a "macro enabled" document as opposed to a plain old document? In the past, a document was a document was a document, and that was good enough. So the unnecessary complications in Word itself make it that much more important that a book like this be addressed to real users. But like everyone else in the computer software business, these authors focus their attention on what the *software* will do, instead of focusing it on what the user *wants* to do. I'm not interested in Word 2007 as a work of art (which it certainly isn't); I'm interested in how I can get *my* work done by using it.

The most recent issue is that I wanted to program a function key to invoke Equation Editor. (There's a new equation editor for Word 2007; it is no improvement over the previous version, but it DOES require the user to re-learn almost everything that (s)he was doing with it in previous versions.) Looking up "function keys" in the index, I found nothing. It may be the index that is inadequate, and maybe the information is there somewhere. But am I supposed to leaf through more than a thousand pages to find it?

If anyone finds an author who writes software guides from the standpoint of the user instead of a "software design appreciator," then please let me know -- because these authors don't.

The Brutal Telling: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel (Armand Gamache Mysteries)
The Brutal Telling: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel (Armand Gamache Mysteries)
by Louise Penny
Edition: Hardcover
41 used & new from $1.53

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An ambitious departure, December 27, 2011
Like many other readers, I have become fervently attached to Louise Penny's Shangri-La: the village of Three Pines outside Montreal. In this book, she has apparently decided that it's time to drop the Shangri-La facade and reveal the nasty underbelly of life in Three Pines. In addition, this novel is more poetic, philosophical, and allegorical than her previous efforts. Whether you like that kind of thing or not, and whether you believe she was successful or not, will determine how well you like this book. Personally I didn't find her philosophical/poetical/allegorical approach to be particularly convincing, and it seemed to me that those aspects of the story made the traditional mystery elements more confusing. But Gamache is too appealing a character, and Penny is too skilled a writer, for me to criticize the book too harshly. Four stars.

A Blush With Death (Bath and Body Mysteries)
A Blush With Death (Bath and Body Mysteries)
by India Ink
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
25 used & new from $0.53

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A correction to previous reviews, July 31, 2011
This is a well-written, mainstream whodunit that will be enjoyed by almost any reader who enjoys this genre. The only reason I'm posting this review at all is that a couple of previous reviewers have, inexplicably, objected to the book on the grounds of language and sex. Let me assure anyone who reads this review, that those previous reviewers are WAY outside the mainstream of society on this point. If this book were turned, verbatim, into a movie, it would receive a PG13 rating. There is nothing in it that would make me even slightly uncomfortable in giving it to a 15-year-old to read. Unless you confine your reading to Dr. Seuss and Jan Karon's appalling "Mitford" series, there is nothing in this book that will even make you blink.

Better Off Wed: An Annabelle Archer Mystery
Better Off Wed: An Annabelle Archer Mystery
by Laura Durham
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
56 used & new from $0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Fluff, with a bit more substance than most fluff, July 3, 2011
There are about a dozen sub-genres of mysteries: police procedurals, hard-boiled detectives, "cozies," historical, etc. I'm not sure what they call the category that "Better Off Wed" belongs to, but it consists of amusing, non-challenging, whodunits in which the mystery takes second place to the banter and flirtations among the characters. These books are almost invariably written by women, and, I suspect, with a primarily female audience in mind. (Sexist yes, but almost certainly true.)

As examples of this sub-genre go, "Better Off Wed" is better than most. The mystery has more substance and requires more thought than other books of its type. One aspect of the writing that I enjoyed was the characterization of Richard, the caterer who works with the wedding-planning heroine on most of her weddings. He's flamingly gay, but Ms. Durham manages to make that obvious without ever once referring directly to his orientation. On the other hand, Detective Reese, the apparently handsome police officer on whom every female character has a crush, is almost completely devoid of personality or interest.

So all in all, a mixed bag. I expect that most readers who enjoy this particular kind of mystery will regard this one as a clearly better-than-average effort.

The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot
The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot
by Naomi Wolf
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.45
404 used & new from $0.01

22 of 32 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Golden opportunity destroyed by Bias, February 6, 2011
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I'd like to recommend this book - and in fact I do recommend it, with significant reservations. But its impact and persuasiveness is much weakened by its obvious partisan bias.

First of all, it becomes noticeable within the first few pages that Wolf has followed a formula that has been widely practiced, and even perfected, by those she detests most: the McCarthyites and Birchers. For many years, those right-wing conspiracy theorists have been publishing articles and books purporting to show that American liberals have been following a step-by-step process, supposedly designed by Marx, Lenin, Stalin, or some other bogeyman, intended to enslave us all into a socialistic empire. One technique that has made those books and articles persuasive to some weak-minded individuals, has been to solemnly outline and number each step in the enslavement process. The author then reaches (sometimes a long way!) to find one policy or law that bears some resemblance to the 'official' step #3 (for example) in the process of building a socialist state. By the end of the book, the easily-persuaded reader is frightened to death: those evil liberals are following the very script set forth by Mao Zedong! The world is about to end if we don't all run out and stockpile our homes with assault weapons!

Wolf has followed this exact same pattern so slavishly that it's almost embarrassing. The only differences are first, that she's doing it from the left in an attempt to demonize the right; and secondly, that she's (in my opinion) a lot closer to being RIGHT about her concerns than the Birchers are.

One of the reasons that I share many of Wolf's concerns is that even after Bush's Constitution-trampling, incompetent, murderous government was tossed out, the opposition party that replaced them has done almost nothing to reverse the Bushites' anti-individual rights-policies. And they have done LITERALLY nothing to make those who treated the fundamental rights of American citizens so contemptuously, pay for their attempt to undermine everything that makes America what it is. This book was published in 2007, so it's certainly unfair to criticize her for her silence about the policies of an administration that had not yet even been elected. But after reading the book, I have strong doubts that she would have allowed the facts to interfere with her strong and obvious partisan bias. In Wolf's world, to have an (R) after your name is to be evil. Those nice Democrats would never have done anything like this!

One of the most glaring and damning demonstration of her left-wing bias is this: again and again, she compares the actions of the Bush administration to the actions of certified dictators, most commonly Hitler. But when it suits her purposes, she compares the Bush's policies to the brutalities inflicted by Stalin, Pinochet, and mainland China as well. Notice anyone missing? The Middle Eastern enemies of Israel, and - surprise! - Cuba, are never mentioned. One of the most important requirements of membership in the anti-American American Left is that one of the five most brutal and rights-trampling countries in the world is exempt from criticism. Castro can't possibly be a dictator; after all, he hates the United States!

It is these transparent biases that will prevent "The End of America" from persuading those who are not already persuaded. From a commercial standpoint, that's fine with Ms. Wolf and her publishers. Nowadays, people only buy or read current affairs books that they already know they're going to agree with anyway. But there is a small number of people in the reading public who are looking for even-handed analyses on public issues, and who remain to be convinced one way or the other. Sadly, this book will do nothing for them.

Chopin: Ballades, Impromptus, Preludes
Chopin: Ballades, Impromptus, Preludes
6 used & new from $43.98

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh, probing, deeply satisfying, July 31, 2010
Almost all of my Chopin recordings (and I have a lot of them) sound as if the performer is imitating Rubinstein, just hoping that it will come out better (or at least as good as) Rubinstein's versions. Of course if you want to use someone as your role model for playing Chopin, you can't do better than Rubinstein. But occasionally I ask myself with some frustration, "Aren't there other ways of playing this piece? Other ways that are just as valid and satisfying?"

This recording by Bella Davidovich answers that question with a resounding YES. She is no one's imitator, just a profound and thoughtful musician who made these pieces her own. In so doing, she found insights and ideas that other pianists seem to have missed. The sound of the recording is warm and beautiful, matching the quality of the playing and interpretations. If you love Chopin (and how could you not?), you will play this record over and over again. It's just wonderful.

Piano Concertos 1 & 3
Piano Concertos 1 & 3
Offered by newbury_comics
Price: $5.99
42 used & new from $0.01

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre, July 31, 2010
This review is from: Piano Concertos 1 & 3 (Audio CD)
I bought this because of a rave review in American Record Guide, but apparently their critic heard a lot of things I didn't hear. The Concerto #1 is one of the most often-recorded pieces in the classical repertoire, and to my ears this performance is nowhere near the front of the pack. I hear no real ideas, no insight, no passion or inspiration, no nothing except a competent performance. When the competition is as stiff as it is for this piece, turning in a merely competent performace is just not good enough. I have recordings by Argerich/Dutoit (the earlier one), Cliburn/Kondrashin, Gilels/Mehta, Matsuev/Temirkanov, and Wild/Fistoulari, and all of those are considerably better than this one.

I can't speak with as much confidence about the other pieces on this disk, because I'm not as familiar with them. But on first hearing, they strike me as similar to the Concerto #1: competent, but unmemorable.

I'm sure you can do better. It really should be 2 1/2 stars, but I charitably rounded the score up.

The Antiphonal Music of Gabrieli
The Antiphonal Music of Gabrieli
Price: $10.40
78 used & new from $2.19

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Spectacular, May 16, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of this release is the sound: You won't be able to believe that these recordings were originally made in 1959 and 1968! The sound is so brilliant and immediate that you'll think the horns and trumpets are right there in the room with you. The second unbelievable thing about this CD is the price: EIGHT DOLLARS for more than 77 minutes of spectacular music in world class performances? Sony, not known for charity towards its customers, could probably have doubled the price on this recording and lost very few sales.

I have been listening for years to the somewhat legendary Canadian Brass recording that has some of the same pieces as this one, and I love that CD as well. (I also have the Crees performances from Naxos, which to me are too reticent for this kind of music.) But this release simply overwhelms that one in pure "spectacularness."

I have no idea how historically authentic the performances are, and for the life of me I don't know why anyone would care a rat's behind about that. The music is being performed for living human beings, not dead academicians. Music is not history; it is a communication to the souls of those who are performing it and listening to it in the here and now. And on that criterion, which in my mind is the only legitimate criterion, this is a magnificent success. If you love music at all, you can't do without this. Considering the recent propensity of record companies to keep classical CD's on the market for a year or less and then withdraw them, you need to get it right away!

Mozart: Piano Sonatas
Mozart: Piano Sonatas
Price: $35.46
47 used & new from $22.29

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impeccable performances to be taken in small doses, May 16, 2010
This review is from: Mozart: Piano Sonatas (Audio CD)
Mozart was incapable of composing a single bar of unpleasant music, and Uchida is incapable of playing a piece without a beautiful tone, meticulously clean articulation, and impressive musical integrity. So if you want a complete set of Mozart's keyboard sonatas, you're unlikely to do better than this. However it needs to be said that most of Mozart's piano sonatas are not his deepest and most challenging music. Five and a half continuous hours of this is much more than I think most listeners can take. If you listen to these as interludes between heavier pieces, or one or two at a time while you're preparing dinner, then it's wonderful, beautiful music.

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