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J. Quigg RSS Feed (Joppa, Maryland United States)

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Soldier Boy: At Play in the ASA
Soldier Boy: At Play in the ASA
by Timothy James Bazzett
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.12
51 used & new from $9.00

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Missouri loves company ..., May 17, 2009
As an admittedly biased reviewer for this book, I'd like to thank Tim Bazzett for 'Soldier Boy: At Play in the ASA,' his second in a series of three (so far) memoirs. This one, covering three of his post-high school years in the Army, would be a great non-fiction cousin to the likes of 'No Time for Sergeants' or 'Catch-22.' It's a smooth, easy read that sheds some light on the fairly rare existence of a typical enlisted worker bee in the compartmentalized, serpentine world of Military Intelligence - at least as it was lived for a brief spell by one middle-American in the early 60's. However, since little detail can be given about Mr. Bazzett's day-to-day (or night-to-night) work in the Army, all his surrounding life experiences are moved to center stage. The book is no less interesting for that necessary inversion. From basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood, to a hardship tour in Sinop, Turkey, to a final year in Germany, the details of his life are laid out in an honest, self-effacing and ultimately conversational fashion.

To those of you that lived the ASA (INSCOM) life for any length of time -- or a similar existence in any branch of the service -- 'Soldier Boy' is well worth your time. For the rest of you with even the slimmest interest in the Army, fish-out'a-water stories, coming-of-age tales or an easy-to-digest, well-written memoir, this one would be good for you as well. We've all got stories to tell - Tim Bazzett is fortunate to have some that are particularly interesting.

Speak in a Week! Flash! Chinese: 1001 Flash Cards (Chinese Edition)
Speak in a Week! Flash! Chinese: 1001 Flash Cards (Chinese Edition)
by Inc Penton Overseas
Edition: Paperback
28 used & new from $6.43

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Well produced but poorly proofread, May 16, 2008
I've only reviewed about 100 of the 1000+ cards and found at least 6 errors ... not sure why they'd have released it for sale in this kind of shape. It's also limited to long form characters, which is a product description I may have missed during the purchase process ... or not.

Time permitting, I hope to check all the cards against some dictionary software I have, which could actually aid the learning process.

DVD ~ Mika Boorem
Offered by Shop Zoombie
Price: $4.99
111 used & new from $0.01

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Look past the flaws ... (an apt metaphor), September 25, 2005
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Smile (DVD)
So, I'm reading T. R. Holtzclaw "Travis H.'s bile-spewing review below and I'm thinking, "Kevin Dillon's character from 'Platoon' LIVED!!! ... and he just attacked 'Smile' with the butt of a shotgun!!"

While "Smile" is no one's idea of great cinema, it's hardly the utter waste Travis felt compelled to warn the planet about. On the negative side, the pacing of the story, due to some "Afternoon Special"-style editing, runs too long in many scenes. It's this T.V. style of movie making that nearly robs this project of the impact it plainly is striving for. A by-product of this is that the lead girl is a bit too successful in conveying teen self-centeredness at its most grating (a problem easily managed through some deft use of the remote), where a couple less scenes of this sort of exposition would've made the point while tightening up the movie nicely. At least one reviewer below thinks Cheri Oteri brings too much SNL - for me, she brought just enough, if only because it raises the tempo of the movie from its lethargic stroll. She tones down her wilder style, leaving the impression of some inspired improvising, and next to the other people on screen, her character is a splash of technicolor flitting around a field of sepia-tone. She's just too close to some real humans I rely on for comic relief to be seen as anything but a plus for this flick.

For those in the audience learning Chinese, this has more than a smattering of clear Mandarin used to propel certain parts of the story. That the Chinese father and daughter home-study their way to some fairly impressive english can be seen as either promoting the Asian stereotype of genetically pre-disposed brilliance ... or borderline laughably off the mark.

Where the movie succeeds, in particular the DVD rendering with its extras, is in the light it sheds on special projects that've been set up to provide kids around the globe with medical treatment for birth defects. The final 1/5th of the movie seems to get the pacing and acting right (just in time!) to convey the strong emotional impact this kind of work can have on the patients and caregivers, alike. As the story concludes and drifts into the final credits, the choice of music is also a particularly effective touch that continues to carry the tone of both melancholy and great relief that are at the heart of the real drama on which the movie is based.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 21, 2011 2:20 PM PDT

Ultimate Chinese (Mandarin): Basic-Intermediate: Cassette/Book Package (LL(R) Ultimate Basic-Intermed)
Ultimate Chinese (Mandarin): Basic-Intermediate: Cassette/Book Package (LL(R) Ultimate Basic-Intermed)
by Jennifer Humphries
Edition: Audio Cassette
9 used & new from $29.10

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Happy to have the affordable review lessons, but ..., November 3, 2003
I agree with most of the previously written criticisms for this book and tape set. I came to it as a previous student of the language and found that in many ways this was a useful way to refresh a lot of what I'd previously learned. The cost of the set is outstanding, considering a local Berlitz office wanted $25,000!!! for a 6 month course of one on one training. (I suppose we can thank Gov't contracting for that kind of pricing.) While I haven't scoured this book and tape set, I have put the travel tapes to a lot of use and found this approach to covering the lessons to be a good refresher. However, this product could have made the 4 star rating pretty easily if, as a previous reviewer had mentioned, Ms. Humphries had paid a bit more attention to detail. I don't have any examples written out, but in numerous situations on each side of each of the 4 travel tapes the translations are pretty loose. Using the Pimsleur recordings as a comparison, there is NO room for interp on those - giving a pretty secure feeling that you're getting a solid item-for-item exhange of wording ... whereas the "Ulitmate Mandarin Chinese" taped sentances are often frustratingly broad and sometimes inconsistant with other similar sentances/phrases on the tapes. The ?unintentional? benefit for someone in the reviewing process is it gets you thinking more about the options of how say something ... however, for those coming to this stuff new, this aspect would seem to be a bit problematic.
As for the previously mentioned speaker on the tapes with the rushed, slurred speech ... he's a bit of a departure from your usual "Language Tape" dude, but probably useful in terms of dealing with the language as very possibly encountered around the various parts of the "real" Mandarin speaking world. To that end, a very good intermediate level course to check out is another of the "Living Language" series ... "Conversational English for Chinese Speakers". 4 tapes of Mandarin phrases (w/english tranlations) by a fluent speaker, speaking to other fluent speakers that are sprucing up on their english. Definitely a workout! But it'll give a real sense of how a lot of basic to intermediate vocab/phrasing would really sound up to speed. Think of it as a somewhat more managable (rewindable) version of the same shock you'll get the first time you step off the plane in Beijing and find out that all the Mandarin Language tapes you've been coddled by for so long ("Wo hen hao. Ni ne?")may as well have been Urdu.

Big Shot's Funeral
Big Shot's Funeral
DVD ~ Donald Sutherland
Offered by newbury_comics
Price: $9.99
11 used & new from $1.74

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What's up with the lack of stars on the other reviews?!, September 29, 2003
This review is from: Big Shot's Funeral (DVD)
To all of you with an interest in good movies and the Mandarin dialect, checking your local Blockbuster to see if they have a copy of the recently released "Big Shot's Funeral" would be well worth your time and dime (but since you're already on this website... why not just buy one). With Donald Sutherland as the American "name" actor and Ge You as the big Chinese name, it's a really well-executed movie that plays out in about 1/4 English and the rest Mandarin.

The very up-to-the-minute story, set in Beijing, is beautifully filmed and puts a premium on satire that takes jabs at the American movie industry and burgeoning Chinese market economies alike. For those working on their language, there is more than enough vocab and a range of accents to make this a semester's worth of lessons ... some of it literally so, as an ABC character has to occasionally check with the locals on some current slang. It's scary how inpenetrable the "Beijingr" accent can be at times. Written and delivered with a humor and timing that should appeal to Western audiences and filmed in a somewhat Altman-esque fashion, it's a really refreshing departure from the historical costume melodramas that leave you wiped out and wondering if the mainland is capable of productions as contemporary and uplifting as they often are well-crafted and dour. This would show the answer to be - most definitely!

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