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Lifetime Doublesided Cardboard and Wooden Cat Scratcher
Lifetime Doublesided Cardboard and Wooden Cat Scratcher

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kitties love this durable scratcher, June 4, 2014
This is the best cat scratcher I have found.

The manufacturer claims the scratcher will last the life span of an average cat, and judging by the condition of mine after my two cats have been at it for a year now, it certainly has many, many years of life left in it. There is little mess compared to the typical cardboard scratcher - no bits of shredded cardboard all over the house that need to be vacuumed constantly, and my kitties really love it. The durable, double-sided, extra-hard cardboard wears very well. This is something my kitties can really sink their claws into, and I think it helps to keep them from scratching other things in the house. If they feel the urge to scratch, they always go to either their scratching post or to this scratcher.

"Creative Ideas" appears to be, in my estimation, a very small and/or home-based company. I have called and got a typical household answering machine, and the directions and info that come with the scratcher are made on plain old on Kodak printing paper as is typically used by your basic home printer. They claim that all scratchers are made in part by ROCA (helping young men move out of violence and poverty,) AV Custom Woodworking in Warren, Mass., packaged by Work Opportunity Center (working with the developmentally disabled), and donates a scratcher to a local shelter for every fifty scratchers sold. It appears that if you buy a scratcher, you will also be helping worthwhile causes, and I also love supporting the small business community.

The only reason I knocked this product down a star is the price. This scratcher is a bit pricey. I got mine at a local pet store for a little less, probably because it's made in my state. Weigh the price plus shipping cost when you consider ordering yours.

Overall, this is a quality product and I and my girls are very happy and satisfied with ours.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 9, 2014 4:04 PM PDT

Killing Jesus
Killing Jesus
by Martin Dugard
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.32
313 used & new from $7.40

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well organized content and very thorough, May 26, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Killing Jesus (Hardcover)
Who was this man upon whom so much attention has been focused over the past two thousand years? Who was this man of strong conviction and commanding presence, and what domestic issues and political forces surrounded and influenced him in his lifetime? How did such revolutionary change begin as a result of his teachings? Authors O'Reilly and Dugard attempt to answer these questions from a historical viewpoint.

In a book that attempts to define rather than convert, O'Reilly refrains from imposing his own personal beliefs into the dialogue, making this more of a history book based on many sources than an attempted spiritual conversion that could offend. He examines the life of Jesus the man, and while he alludes to Jesus's miracles and the people's faith in them, he does not go into detail nor state that it is necessarily so, giving the reader fodder for further investigation.

The book has many easy-to-read maps detailing the areas he is focusing on as well as other illustrations, and is written in a detailed yet accessible prose that is absorbed well by someone who has no background in this area. The content is extremely well organized and almost reads like a novel (though not quite the thriller to the extent that Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy are).

It is interesting to note the similarities between the current path of the U.S. and the decline of the Roman Empire: families losing their homes; increasing taxation; debauchery; perversion; excess; the sexual abuse of children. "Such is life in the Roman Empire," O'Reilly and Dugard tell us, "Which has begun its slow decline into ruin." Our leaders would do well to take note.

Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy
Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy
by E. L. James
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.97
2429 used & new from $0.01

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A teenager's wet dream, May 26, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever read. Just had to see what all the fuss was about. I was expecting spice, but got stupidity instead.

Christian Grey is the most unrealistic character I've ever seen drawn. He is every little pre-teen or young teen's dream guy, who just cannot exist. Every little awkward, prepubescent gawky little girl can identitfy with the protagonist, Anastasia. Awkward, mousy (but smart) little college girl literally stumbles into Beautiful Man's extravagant office, and he goes crazy for her. Beautiful Man is a billionaire; runs a multi-billion dollar world-wide corporation (that he built from the ground up); owns and can fly a helicopter, in which he pops around the area on a regular basis; lives in a spacious penthouse apartment that most of our houses would fit into; is an expert at flying a glider; and buys Audis at the drop of a hat, all well before the ripe old age of twenty-something. Puleeze.

Beautiful Man identifies himself at Anatasia's college graduation as her boyfriend (everyone is stunned), introduces her to raw oysters (which she loves immediately), and sends her first-edition antique books that are worth a fortune. And all Anastasia has to do is chew her lip (sets Christian ablaze), and moan a lot. Oh, and Beautiful Man teaches Ana the Innocent a thing or two along the way. Of course he's got a you-know-what the size of the Empire State Building and is as experienced as they come. What more could one ask for?

"This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly; it should be hurled with great force." (Dorothy Parker) That quote applies here. Based on book one, I will not be wasting my time reading the trilogy.

Pagan Metaphysics 101: The Beginning of Enlightenment
Pagan Metaphysics 101: The Beginning of Enlightenment
by Springwolf
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.48
43 used & new from $8.84

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New Ideas, October 6, 2013
In "Pagan Metaphysics 101, The Beginning of Enlightenment," author Springwolf tells us early on that the information in this book is meant to "empower YOU help you learn how to go within, connect with your own Divine Spirit, communicate with the greater Divine Consciousness, and bring a sense of spiritual wholeness to your being," and through this process, she hopes her readers will "walk through every moment of the day with a sense of higher purposes, greater connection to their spiritual mission, and with insight to meet their personal and spiritual goals." In this mission, she greatly succeeds.

The author begins by asking us to define our beliefs, and gives a solid definition of the origins of metaphysics, or "first cause principles," dating back to the time of Plato and Aristotle.

However, she also gives us detailed descriptions of The Soul Groups, Root Races, and the influence of Atlantis on ancient civilizations, and tells us that this knowledge has "come to be known ...." Known by whom? And how? This bothers me because it is stated as fact, when it isn't necessarily so. Although her bibliography is extensive, I would have appreciated a few footnotes.

Also, I need more than the channeled and researched information of just two individuals to convince me of the reality of Atlantis. (I know, I know, I watch Discovery and H2 too, but the author wasn't any more successful in convincing me of its reality than they were.) However, while she was over my head a few times, her prose still remains accessible and conversational. I cannot fault the author for including theories just because I have not heard of them before, but still, they are the opinions of some, not necessarily all (and not necessarily fact).

She comes down to earth a bit when discussing the similarities between different spiritual beliefs. "We are all trying to advance the human soul toward enlightenment," she explains, and defines how enlightened beings choose to come to earth as Master Teachers, sighting Jesus, Buddha, and Billy Graham as examples. She parallels pagan beliefs with the Christian concept of Heaven and Hell, defining them as "Spiritual, Ethereal Realms," which she believes coincide with the existence of multiple universes that science believes it has proven to exist.

Springwolf has done some interesting chakra work, some of which was new to me. Here, she provides the first of several impressive meditations intended to help the reader absorb her convictions. In the second half of the book, she writes with strong conviction about many different concepts. She describes the "conscious minds," splitting the soul and spirit into two different entities, a concept which was new to me, and I wasn't sure I could quite get my mind around it. Again, the author doesn't just explain a possibility, but provides a hands-on meditation to help the reader incorporate the possibility into his or her life. The meditation helped me envision it.

There are also extensive sections on karma, the effect of free will on the spiritual blueprint, The Akashic Records, ghosts, spirits, and finding your "spiritual sanctuary," where another impressive meditation is provided to help you get there. Not in a million years did I think that would work for me, but I actually got a glimpse of the place, and it was nothing like what I was expecting.

Springwolf makes clear that part of her goal in writing this book is to "fill some gaps or open new avenues of thought that you may not have thought of before." She certainly did for me. You will need an open mind and be willing to work with some new ideas to use this book successfully. An explanation of the roots of every idea mentioned here is not the purpose of this book. Working with the knowledge she imparts is what she tries to do, and does successfully. She balances known theories with original thought well. Springwolf has promised a series on this subject. Based upon book one, I will definitely be back for more.

(Review copy provided by publisher.)

Mentholatum Pain Relief Extra Strength Gel, 8 oz (Pack of 4)
Mentholatum Pain Relief Extra Strength Gel, 8 oz (Pack of 4)
Offered by The Medicine Shoppe
Price: $35.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Five Star Product with a One Star Price, June 24, 2013
I felt the need to counter the one star review here which is based solely on price. I will be reviewing the product's effectiveness.

Mentholatum Pain Relief (Extra Strength Gel) works very well for my husband and me. Let me just say that it is not simply "pain relief." It must be massaged into the muscles for a good amount of time and for several applications.

My husband comes home with terrible knots in his lower back, thighs and calves from standing on a hard floor. I aggressively massage this product into his knots for a good amount of time, and repeat the process two or three times before bed. He finds he has great relief the next morning.

I have used this on myself for my tight calves I also get from standing all day. As an experiment, I slapped it on my left calve without a massage, and then massaged it deeply into my right calve. It alone did absolutely nothing for my left calf. My right calve experienced relief quickly.

It goes on icy/hot and it took me a little time to get used to the feeling. It's kind of like BioFreeze, but for a lot less. We have experimented with other icy/hot products to find an alternative for the expensive BioFreeze, and have found this one to be the most effective.

Ok, you naysayers. You're going to tell me it's the massage, not the product, that's giving us relief. I truly believe the massage is much more effective with this product.

I believe this to be an effective treatment as a tight-muscle reliever, but am unsure as to whether it would be effective for other conditions, such as arthritis and other conditions that are more bone-oriented. For muscle cramps, knots and the like, I highly recommend Mentholum when combined with a massage.

And now -- to the price. As of this writing, the product is priced way too high. Hopefully, another vendor will carry it at some point and lower the price. Mentholatum pump gel should cost you no more that six ninety nine. As the comment on the other review says, way to go Walgreens.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 6, 2014 12:17 AM PST

Florida's Haunted Hospitality
Florida's Haunted Hospitality
by Michelle Davidson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.61
40 used & new from $5.11

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A visit to the Sunshine State's haunted inns and more, June 21, 2013
In "Florida's Haunted Hospitality," author Michelle Davidson investigates the Sunshine State's local haunts from the historic to the little known, large cities to small towns off the beaten path. The focus here is a bit different than other ghost-story books: Davidson herself stays in many of Florida's purportedly haunted inns, with interesting results, and also investigates some locations with professional paranormal investigators. Addresses, telephone numbers and websites for the inns and paranormal groups are provided. Also, she is a psychic intuitive, and we therefore gain a unique perspective into many of these spirits who seek to make contact with the living.

Davidson encounters plenty of innkeepers with lots of stories to share. Candlesticks fly off a fireplace in one location, specters are spotted in the hallways and on the grounds in many others, and Davidson herself has captured some splendid examples of orbs with her digital camera. There is one particular orb photograph on page sixty that is incredible -- it looks like a little crystal ball floating over the bed. She has even captured a fully materialized apparition in the doorway of one inn that is really quite amazing. In one case, a phantom voice even complements the new owner of a historic house she was restoring. "I like your taste in books," the specter intoned. I'm sure the owner was glad the ghost approved.

One thing that strikes me again and again is how many of the people who bought these historic inns were inexplicably drawn to a particular building. A few people were in the market for an inn, but many others experienced love at first sight when they first saw their inn, and just knew it was for them and they had to buy it. Most have had great success in their new endeavor. One has to wonder if the resident ghosts were also drawn to these particular people as much as the buyers were drawn to their inns.

Nevertheless, I must mention that there are also a lot of unsubstantiated rumors being tossed about here, many of vague origin. All speculation needs some basis in fact, and there are several instances where the book falls short. "It is rumored ...," "People have speculated ...," and the like are common, and I find this ambiguity a bit disappointing. In one instance, "A spirit of a young girl who died of yellow fever has been seen ...." How do we know the unknown girl died of yellow fever? Are we guessing at who this spirit may be? It is unclear in some cases whether there is any substantiated fact that has birthed stories like this. However, folklore can be fun too, and there are enough eye-witness accounts included here that make the book as a whole satisfying, and it's a small distraction. The photos alone make this book worth checking out.

I usually wouldn't make mention of a book's author, but this case is an exception. I believe Davidson to be a true southerner, as I've never otherwise encountered people who use the expression "live oak." The gentle nature of this southern belle shines through her prose. Her kind nature and open mind -- and her own hospitality in taking us with her on her travels -- make this book a pleasure to read. Davidson leaves us with the thought, " many spirits that linger, they just want to be heard and recognized." I would like to let them know we are listening.

(Review copy provided by publisher.)

The Three Stooges Career Guide: Advice for Climbing the Ladder
The Three Stooges Career Guide: Advice for Climbing the Ladder
by Sam Stall
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $5.18
35 used & new from $1.55

5.0 out of 5 stars What a hoot!, June 7, 2013
My husband recently picked this up at a local store (at over twice the price than it's offered on Amazon) and just had to have it. This fun little book delivers lots of sage advice to the career-minded employee. On each page, a classic Stooge photo is perfectly matched with a right-to-the-point phrase that provides wise counsel to those seeking a successful career.

It's chock full of Stooge photographs that we believe to be actual still photographs, rather than freeze-frames from a short. Most are obviously posed. My husband is a Stooge expert (er, fanatic), and I have absorbed them over the years through osmosis. It seems to us that some of these photos aren't even from an existing short at all -- such as Curly on a dock all wrapped up in fishing tackle with a fishnet over his head ("Lead by Example"). Has anyone ever seen a short like that? We haven't. Enlighten me, if you can.

Either way, a lot of effort went into gathering these photos and pairing them with the perfect phrase.

Don't expect a "serious" book here. This is for amusement purposes only, and can be read in under 15 minutes. It's perfect for the recent graduate or anyone beginning a new career. It is what it is, and it succeeds in its purpose.

And what it is, is a solid 5-star effort.

Ecover Bathroom Cleaner, 16 Ounce
Ecover Bathroom Cleaner, 16 Ounce

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE Best Natural Bathroom Cleaner I have found, June 3, 2013
My husband got on this natural cleanser kick a while back, and came home with Seventh Generation bathroom cleaner from Whole Foods. The stuff was horrible. Left my sink dull and did absolutely nothing for the soap scum in the bathtub. And I mean NOTHING. Then I thought, gee, I love Ecover's Free and Clear Laundry Detergent .... Why not give that brand a try?

I was not disappointed. Ecover Bathroom Cleaner has a clean fresh scent, and is plant and mineral based. It makes my sink sparkle, and is tough on soap scum and dirt. It powers right through the buildup on the facets in the bathtub, and is very effective at cutting through the buildup on the shower walls (fiberglass) with a lot less elbow grease than other cleaners require. Your average Scrubbing Bubbles can't hold a candle to this. For me, it works well and makes my life a bit easier on cleaning days. Definitely give this a try if you're looking to move away from harsh chemical cleaners.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 11, 2013 10:29 PM PDT

In Search of Maryland Ghosts: Montgomery County
In Search of Maryland Ghosts: Montgomery County
by Karen Yaffe Lottes
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.86
34 used & new from $4.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Ghosts and history make for an interesting blend, June 2, 2013
The state of Maryland has a rich, storied history as well as deep-seated cultural roots that reach into the present day. With the War of 1812, The Civil War and the stain of slavery in Maryland's past, it's not surprising that the legends and ghost stories of the state are plentiful. Authors Karen Lottes and Dorothy Pugh focus on Montgomery County to bring us some of the best lore the land has to offer.

The chapters for the most part follow a formula: we are given a detailed history of a location and those who lived there, then speculate as to whom the ghostly inhabitants might be. Although many of these tales are from "some years back" and are unsubstantiated legends, the authors also speak with many current residents of the haunted sites. The speculation paired with first-hand accounts make for a balanced, well-varied result.

Some of the more unusual offerings include a spirit who likes to "kiss" glass, leaving lip prints behind on windows and mirrors, and a house that literally "lost its marbles." An antique store's marbles constantly disappeared, never to be found again. Years later, when the building was under renovation by a private party, the marbles were discovered in all manner of strange places -- under the floorboards, in the ceilings, and even in some of the clocks! I know from experience that ghosts like to take things and hide them in strange places where they won't be found for a very long time.

Also, just as important as the ghost stories, the incredibly detailed research poured into this tome is impressive and unequivocally second to none. The book is a gem for officially recording the genealogy and historical accounts from around the region in a neat, thorough package. The history is engagingly written rather than being dry, and the stories are detailed and satisfying. Recommended reading is suggested at the end of each chapter.

Rarely do I ever award two thumbs up to a book that contains as much speculation as is found here. But in this case, the authors are such talented raconteurs and the detailed, well-researched history makes this an unusual case. All speculation needs some basis in fact, and the authors deliver their end of the deal. Not only do these stories make you think, the historical information about houses, battles and genealogy are more comprehensive than any other ghost-story book I have ever read. Period. Ah, makes me long for the house I grew up in.

(Review copy provided by publisher.)
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 14, 2013 1:26 PM PDT

Great Britain's Royal Tombs: A Guide to the Lives and Burial Places of British Monarchs
Great Britain's Royal Tombs: A Guide to the Lives and Burial Places of British Monarchs
by Michael Thomas Barry
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $24.48
26 used & new from $18.95

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating history without being dry, April 28, 2013
In "Great Britain's Royal Tombs, A Guide to the Lives and Burial Places of British Monarchs," author Michael Thomas Barry carries us back as far as The Dark Ages to bring us a pantheon of English monarchs and other major players who graced the stage throughout British history. While the locations of all burial places are indeed included, the bulk of this book is the history of England's monarchy dating back more than a thousand years.

Comprehensive and thorough, many questions that you didn't even know you had are answered here. Who were William the Conqueror, Richard the Lionheart, and the revered Edward the Confessor? What makes Thomas Becket a memorable character? How did "Bloody Mary" gain her notoriety? And just exactly what was really up with the infamous King Henry VIII? Such questions and more are answered here, with no stone left unturned.

For the most part, the book is engagingly written and kept me engrossed throughout. I found it fascinating -- most fascinating to me are the battling kings of the Middle Ages -- and I am now able to put so many names from the past into their proper perspective. Each chapter closely follows a formula which works well for the subject matter while managing to retain originality, as the players are constantly changing. There is a comprehensive section at the beginning of the book that details by dates and Houses the reigns of the various English monarchs.

One thing I would like to see added would be a brief synopsis of and dates for the Dark Ages, Middle Ages, Renaissance, and the very general term, "Medieval Times." This would add another layer of depth to understanding the time in which much of this history is set. I googled these terms, and the definitions were a great help to me in understanding the timeline.

One thing that must be mentioned is the sheer volume of photographs, engravings and paintings that have been collected here. Many of the photos are the author's own work, and others come from different sources which are credited at the end or are otherwise noted. The author has also included a comprehensively detailed bibliography and index. However, one thing that is suspect is how the medieval kings are portrayed in engravings done in the 19th century. Are there any actual images of the kings that these later artists were working from? I have to assume there are. Also, the sketches of the medieval queens were done in the latter half of the 19th century (credited to one artist), and suspiciously all look very much alike. In this case, I have no doubt that the sketches of the queens are the artist's own interpretation, rather than being based on any actual images. I don't fault the author for including them; I would just like this loose end cleared up.

Modern politics actually have more in common with medieval politics than we may care to admit. Between the ambitions of the titled and power-hungry, the ruthless jockeying for position, the brutal in-fighting -- and even murder -- the life of a medieval monarch was tenuous indeed. We must remember that this book portrays real people, some of whom lived a thousand or more years ago in an era we cannot imagine. We look back a millennium and see what we would describe as barbarians, constantly battling with their neighbors and chopping each others' heads off. Will our descendants look back a millennium from now -- at us -- and see the same thing? Maybe. With two world wars in the past century alone, as well as many other conflicts that have plagued the globe, we may indeed seem uncivilized to our descendants, who hopefully will have become a more peaceful society. It is my hope that our descendants will learn from the past, rather than repeat it.

Overall, Barry has great success in bringing the monarchy of England under the microscope for our inspection. The details of battles, lineage and intriguing politics keep the book on a fast pace that, for the most part, prevents the text from becoming dull. I highly recommend "Great Britain's Royal Tombs" for those interested in the history of England.

(Review copy provided by publisher.)

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