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Christianity's Dangerous Idea: The Protestant Revolution--A History from the Sixteenth Century to the Twenty-First
Christianity's Dangerous Idea: The Protestant Revolution--A History from the Sixteenth Century to the Twenty-First
by Alister E. McGrath
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.32
96 used & new from $5.96

5.0 out of 5 stars The most fascinating and engaging Church History book I've read so far., September 13, 2014
This was a fascinating read. I've never found church history so interesting. McGrath does a fantastic job at sketching the history of Protestant Christianity, identifying key figures, events, and issues that contributed to what is one of the most influential movements in history--not only reshaping religious ideas and practices, but redefining the worldview and society of Western civilization. In manner similar to Jared Diamond’s influential work, “Guns, Germs, and Steel” (which helped us to re-think many outdated assumptions about the role Western society has played in shaping history and the spread of technology world-wide), McGrath’s history of Protestantism encourages us to re-evaluate long-held beliefs and assumptions regarding Protestantism’s early formation, its aftermath—the enormous plurality of church divisions and denominations—and its current impact and development as it has been spreading worldwide in the last century and transitioning from a Western centered religion to a that of the “Global South” (sub-Saharan Africa and eastern Asia, in particular).

My only complaint is that I wish McGrath would have expanded on certain topics that I found particularly interesting, but with so much ground to cover, he wasn't able to fully explore every rabbit hole he passed along the way. That's ok though, because he at least sparked an interest in me that will force me to read more and do my own research!

No Blues
No Blues
Price: $10.99
18 used & new from $8.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Their best work since "Romance is Boring," if not better., January 26, 2014
This review is from: No Blues (Audio CD)
I'm always eager to hear what this band has been up to, and their work (or perhaps more appropriately, play) rarely disappoints. I loved their early work, but I feel like they really found their sound a few years ago with "Romance is Boring." To some, "No Blues" may just sound like more of the same, and in many ways it is; they're still writing upbeat, poppy-ish, melodies with ultra witty, highbrow lyrics composed of dark themes, usually involving sex, heartbreak, and the inevitability of death. And I'm sure glad they are because they do it darn well and if they "grew out of" their unique sound and went in a new direction, they would leave behind a void which no other artist in the genre could fill.

If you like their past music, you will love this album. Where their other albums seem to have several "filler" type songs that I tend to skip, there isn't a bad song on "No Blues." Each track deserves 4-5 stars on its own. My personal favorite at the moment is "Avocado, Baby."

Whenever If Ever
Whenever If Ever
Price: $9.79
33 used & new from $5.49

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The World is More Beautiful With This Album, September 29, 2013
This review is from: Whenever If Ever (Audio CD)
First of all, I like what the first commenter said about this album having a "nothing might get better, but we can always appreciate where we are sort of feel." I doubt I'll be able to describe the music better than that but what I can say is that the sound achieved by this band here sent me back to the good old days of Emo (circa mid to late 1990s), before it became whatever that term means to the world now. Think of it as post-rock if you prefer, but all terms aside, this album is great from start to finish.

If it helps, I'd compare the sound of The World Is A Beautiful Place... to the likes of The Appleseed Cast, Cap'n Jazz, and a number of old bands off the Deep Elm record label. I hope these guys stick around fora while and I hope that they inspire other musicians to re-discover their roots.

Proscan PLED4274A 42-Inch 1080p 60Hz LED TV
Proscan PLED4274A 42-Inch 1080p 60Hz LED TV
Price: $399.99
2 used & new from $320.03

5 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Beware the dreaded "Soap Opera Effect"!, June 26, 2013
If it weren't for this one issue, it could be a great TV. The Soap Opera Effect doesn't bother everyone (like my roommate, for instance) but its basically ruining all my favorite shows and movies by making them all look like they were filmed with cheap digital camera. I guess some people just get used to it or something but I can't stand it. I'd rather watch movies on an old box TV or on my computer. First I thought it was just this TV but when I searched for a fix online, I found this was a common problem with HD TVs and you can't necessarily "fix" it. All you can do is play with the picture settings until it looks little more normal. On this Proscan, I think turning off the "MFC" feature under picture settings>advanced settings.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 9, 2013 2:56 AM PDT

DUNLOP DEN1046 Nickel Plated Steel Medium Electric Guitar 6-String Set, .010-.046 Gauge
DUNLOP DEN1046 Nickel Plated Steel Medium Electric Guitar 6-String Set, .010-.046 Gauge
Offered by Music123
Price: $3.49
37 used & new from $0.33

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm pretty new at this..., April 16, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
but these are the best strings i've played so far. My electric has a pretty warped fret board and this is the first time I've played it without ridiculous fret buzzing. The super slinkies I had on it before sounded (and felt) like crap compared with these guys.

GWC Technology AA1500 5.1 Channel USB Audio Adapter
GWC Technology AA1500 5.1 Channel USB Audio Adapter
Offered by J-Electronics
Price: $18.08
3 used & new from $16.99

2.0 out of 5 stars I tried but I finally let go of the idea of 5.1 sound from my laptop., March 20, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is either the second or third piece of external hardware I've tried to get my Logitech 5.1 system to play from my laptop(s). I actually first got it for my older HP (back in 2009). Gave up. Last year (2012) I bought a new Samsung. Still failed. And yes, I've experimented with the software extensively (and I consider myself pretty computer savvy). I DO, however, still use the thing but only because it can successfully play 2.1 sound out of my 5.1 speakers, which is exactly what I could do without this device--the only difference is that I find it easier to plug-in/disconnect the speakers through a USB port than plug and unplug the cords manually every time I take my laptop off my desk.

Sceptre X322BV-HD 32-Inch 720p 60HZ LCD HDTV (Black)
Sceptre X322BV-HD 32-Inch 720p 60HZ LCD HDTV (Black)
Offered by 10000Products
Price: $214.98
9 used & new from $197.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Low Price. Lower Quality., March 20, 2013

-It's super cheap for a 32-inch
-It works (at least mine does)
-HDMI! (just like every other flat screen...)
-USB! (at least as many ports as every other flat screen)

-Terrible, TERRIBLE audio. If this is the only 'con' that makes you skeptical, then just invest in a sound system (even a cheap crappy set of speakers should be an improvement). What I found is that the volume control only seems to work at super low volumes. I think its on a scale of 1-100 and basically, once you hit 35 or 40, the sound of the speakers crapping all over themselves makes it impossible to hear any of the highs or lows that it's trying to put out. So basically any (actor's) voice that varies in either direction (up or down) from absolutely calm and practically monotone will cause the TV to start crapping so loudly all over itself that you can't stand to watch.

-Screen Resolution. Ok I've tried and tried to find some sort of setting to fix this, and I'll admit I'm no expert on the difference between digital and analog TV channels, but for me, the only channels displayed in full resolution are ones that I happen to get the "digital" version of. To watch any "analog" channel in "standard" resolution leaves 2-3 inches of black, unused space on all four sides of the screen. The picture isn't a square (like I'd of thought analog would make it), its just like resizing your browser window to exactly 3/4 of its size (when maximized), and then carefully centering it on your screen. Annoying as s***, right? The only way to get a full screen of picture is by selecting either the "zoom" or stretch settings, which will either result in cutting off a few inches from every side or making all of your favorite celebrities super short and fat. Perhaps I am just way behind the times with my cable service and need to upgrade or something. I dunno. But it's really annoying because apparently every channel I ever watch is like this.

-Color. This isn't as unbearable as the last two complaints, but I cannot freaking find some decent color options that work for everything. Like, I finally adjust every setting for contrast, tint, brightness and everything so that it looks acceptable for an Xbox game, but then put in a movie and you can't see a thing. And while I'm here, don't even think about buying this if Xbox (or probably any game console) is going to be a primary use for it. I've tried every combination of picture settings but this TV doesn't even try to do justice to their graphics. I bought Borderlands 2 as soon as it came out and played it for weeks on a similar LCD, and the picture quality was mind blowing!! Then I brought it home and the game looked like it was made 10 years ago. But hey, at least I get a full resolution picture when I'm gaming, right?

-I guess those are my only complaints really. Sound and Video. The only two things a TV was made to do.

The Idiot (4 DVD Set)
The Idiot (4 DVD Set)
DVD ~ Vladimir Bortko
Offered by dvd_from_serge
Price: $24.99
3 used & new from $24.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Almost Perfect Novel-to-Film Adaptation, February 10, 2013
This review is from: The Idiot (4 DVD Set) (DVD)
Subtitle frustration aside (I'll get to that)--and approaching this film AFTER reading (and loving) the novel--I was absolutely blown away with how accurately they depicted the novel. I really don't think I've ever seen a film that managed to reproduce so many of the original characters, sub-plots, dialogue, and even the dynamic tones of the original novel. I'm pretty sure Dostoevsky himself might have even recommended this series as an acceptable substitute for actually reading his book.

The actor who plays the Prince (the "Idiot") looks, acts, and speaks, almost exactly how I had imagined him while reading the book. He was perfect.

I can't truly judge the actual script since I don't know Russian and the subtitles were practically nonsensical... but I could still tell that the writers did a fantastic job at transferring all the detail and meaning from the pages of the novel to the scenes of the film.

OK, so here's the one painful flaw of this DVD. I echo past reviewers by saying that the English Subtitles for this film/series are among the worst subs I have seen. Everything about them sucked. Worst of all, they were not in synch with the audio, so an actor would shout something dramatic but by the time the translation popped up, another actor started speaking... I'm pretty sure whoever did the subtitles just happened to hate English speakers. Bottom line with the sub-titles: If I hadn't already read the novel, then no matter how hard I tried, I wouldn't have understood most of the story--without knowing Russian, that is.

BOTTOM LINE: For English speakers, I would only recommend this for those who have already read the book, or who at least have a firm grip on the major storyline and characters.

Red Dead Redemption: Game of the Year Edition - Xbox 360
Red Dead Redemption: Game of the Year Edition - Xbox 360
Price: $21.88
98 used & new from $9.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Game of the Year, Hands Down, April 24, 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I had never played a Western style video game and was really curious to see how it would be done. Realizing that this was made by the people who make the Grand Theft Auto series only raised my curiosity and sealed the deal.

GAMEPLAY (10/10): Having played the GTA games, I was pleased to find that the gameplay in Red Dead quite familiar, yet not without a few clever innovations. Players of GTA will likely appreciate the easy to use navigation via the minimap/GPS. The third person perspective will also feel quite familiar. While this may turn some players off, I've always thought that Rockstar Games have pulled off the 3rd person shooters remarkably well. Get used to it and you'll be glad you did.

STORYLINE (8/10): The storyline, while perhaps a bit too simple (ex-criminal is required to hunt down his former gang members in order to be reunited with his family), is perfectly justified by its length, amount of fun and unique quests, and most of all by the characters.

CHARACTERS(11/10): Honestly, the characters in this game alone make it worth your time. I've always felt that the characters in the GTA games were always interesting and 3-Dimensional except, ironically, for the main character, who has always seemed a bit too neutral about everything in an attempt to give the player more control over the character's decisions. In RDR, however, they seemed to have managed to give your character (John Marston) plenty of personality to keep him interesting while still giving the player control over most of his choices. And while the story may force you into some less than ideal decisions, your sympathy for John Marston remains intact. Virtually every other character in the game is memorable and they all keep the cinematic cut-scenes more interesting than in any game I've ever played. No exaggeration. I cannot overemphasize the quality of this game's characters. I honestly became so attached to a couple of them that I replayed parts of the game just so that I could interact with them some more and re-watch their cut-scenes. If you're like me, when the game is finished, you will literally miss some of these characters as if you actually knew them. I know that sounds pretty lame and nerdy, but I'm just sayin'.

GOTY EDITION (10/10): Being the Game of the Year Edition, you get 2 discs: the main storyline on one and the zombie Expansion Pack "Undead Nightmare" and multiplayer on the second. To my surprise, Undead Nightmare was not just a zombie attack game mode, but a fully loaded bonus storyline involving practically all of the main characters from the original! It merits a review of its own, but sufficed to say, its awesome.

Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants
Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants
by Robert Sullivan
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.89
182 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Look elsewhere if you actually want to learn about the animal., November 21, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
What this book DOES NOT cover (or at best, barely touches on):
- Black Rats (rattus rattus)
- Any other species of rats besides the Brown Rat (rattus norvegicus)
- Fancy Rats (domesticated pet rats)
- Any rat whose habitat is not a major city (esp. New York)
- Rat's social behavior (esp. while they are in their burrows).
- Social hierarchies and fighting/play fighting between rats (what I mistakenly assumed to be the topic of his chapter titled "Fights")
- Natural predators (besides humans)
- Rat biology
- Countless other reasonable expectations from a book called "Rats"

Ok, that being said, I really did like this book--I enjoyed reading it--so I hate to give it such a low rating. Sullivan is a great writer who kept me turning pages long after I realized that his book didn't live up to its title or description. I read the whole thing, mostly for entertainment and less for my interest in learning about rats.

I did actually learn some useful things about rats from this book that I haven't found in my research from sources. The problem is that the useful info is greatly diluted and spread across 250 pages. I think he could have condensed it into about 25, 50 max.

The most astonishing part yet is that during the author's entire year of rat research, he apparently only managed to even get close to the rats on one single occasion. The rest of the time, he was only watching an alley with night vision binoculars from a nearby building. Occasionally he spotted one or two digging through trash. That is literally the extent of his interaction with rats and it contributed zero to the actually useful information that he provided in the book.

The useful information came from his research in the library, so seriously, if you have the book, just read the first few chapters (which are the most informative). Another interesting chapter--despite my misunderstanding from its title--is the one called "Fights," which is all about the underground Rat Fighting (or "Rat Baiting") which was a popular blood sport in America and England in the 1800s. After that, I would only recommend skimming and scanning the rest of the book for any sections that you might find helpful or useful. Or just spend a day or two reading about rats online. There's plenty of good sources out there...

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