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J. Edgar Mihelic "Iconoclast" RSS Feed (Brookfield, IL)

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Silver Screen Fiend: Learning About Life from an Addiction to Film
Silver Screen Fiend: Learning About Life from an Addiction to Film
by Patton Oswalt
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.14
89 used & new from $8.69

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fails to Meet High Expectations, February 14, 2015
I like the idea of Patton Oswalt.
He can be funny and snide and smart.
It is just that sometimes he may try too hard. I think that is the case here. He like movies and he went and watched a lot of movies. But the book tries to put a narrative arc and significance to some of the movies just where it doesn’t fit. I liked his previous book, but that seemed to have more form and structure in an organic manner.
Not to say that this book does not have its good parts that made me laugh. It does. It just felt less necessary than his other book and his stand up.
He is self-aware though, and I can respect that. He writes of a time he was opening for Louie CK, when he was younger and “My ideas were simpler and less startling than I cared to admit, so I masked that with a lot of unnecessarily ornate vocabulary an dense cultural references” (134). Maybe he’s still there. Heck, this book isn’t all about movies then, I guess.
And then, after all that, it’s too short! It is only 220 pages with larger font and margin, and that’s padded out with 40 pages of the movies he saw during the time period he’s talking about. I was let down in the end, but only because it didn’t meet my high expectations.


Yours Truly
Yours Truly
Price: $6.99
56 used & new from $1.94

5.0 out of 5 stars Holds up after all these years, February 7, 2015
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This review is from: Yours Truly (Audio CD)
There was another album released recently, with this title. They are very different works.
For my money, though, this is the best Sick of It All Album,
It has nothing to do with the fact that this was the album that they were out touring to support when I first saw them live. They were touring with the Dropkick Murphys, at the time one of my favorite bands. They stole the show from Dropkick. I was in the pit and did the wall of death and was too worn out to really pay attention to the Murphy’s set.
I bought the shirt at the merch table and went and bough the album and listened to it a bunch. I started buying the other albums, but this was the best one. It was more melodic, and better produced than some of the earlier records – a black mark for some fans, but it worked for me.
I don’t know what happened, but music slipped out of my life for a while, until I started learning how to play bass and guitar a couple of years ago. It was even later when I heard that Sick of It All was back on tour with a new album. The new album is good, but I wanted to relive my past. Sadly, I have no idea what happened with my old version of this album, so I had to buy it again. It had been ten years or so, and I remembered the words and the breakdowns. From start to finish, it still holds up, with some great songs that make you want to punch the floor. Except for that last track, it just doesn’t fit.


Ubik
Ubik
by Philip K. Dick
Edition: Paperback
Price: $7.88
78 used & new from $6.70

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What a Ride. Read. Repeat., February 7, 2015
This review is from: Ubik (Paperback)
Here's the thing about Phillip K. Dick.

He was the guy that everyone else was ripping off for their stuff to seem original. But for whatever reason he was never mainstream. But he made sci-fi craziness so that he could be mediated through hacks and made safe.

So, when reading Ubik, don't think of the bad predecessors that had more money and recognition than Dick. Ignore all the matrices that exist.

Buy the ticket, take the ride.


Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances
Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances
by Neil Gaiman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.38
91 used & new from $10.44

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stories to Treasure, and a Book to Pass Along, February 7, 2015
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First off, I am a big fan of Neil Gaiman. So I’m just going to call him Neil from here on out.

Neil is one of those writers, that if they were dead, you would say, “Man, I wish he were still alive”. I feel that way about Orwell and Camus. Thankfully, Neil is still alive and making art. We are lucky for that.

This collection is a continuance of Neil’s awesomeness. I have read his other two collections – both Smoke and Mirrors and Fragile Things – and loved them. Fragile things was one of the first presents I got for my wife when we were first dating. I waited for her to finish then I asked to borrow it. It is now part of our combined collection. Thanks, Neil.

That said, I have a quibble. The title of this collection sounds too de mode. It is brought of current discourse in the left. In 20 years, the title will have to be explained to new fans. “Oh, a Trigger Warning was a way of saying…”. Other than that, these stories are awesome. Neil has a way of creating an atmosphere that is just creepy, but in a good way. There’s no exposition dump, or if there is it doesn’t stand out. That’s good, because the format is made for immediacy, and quick intimacy. You have to know who the character are, and live in them right away.

The problem with short stories by Neil is that they are too short. I want a new book by Neil, I want to fully live in a world that he creates. Thankfully, some of the stories are long enough for you to stretch out your legs in, and you’re not confined by the page count. There is a nice selection here – the good long stories are Lovecraftian, Grimmish, and Whovian. The best, most haunting story is just a few pages.

Somewhere Neil once said that adults need fairy tales too. Thankfully he’s still giving them to us. I’ll now hand this book to my wife, glad that I had a chance to read it first when she wants to talk about the stories.


Finance and the Good Society
Finance and the Good Society
by Robert J. Shiller
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.90
79 used & new from $9.97

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I don't want to live in that society., February 6, 2015
Amazon didn't link the hardback and the paperback version of this book, so here's my review of the hardback.

I had first taken notice of Shiller's new book back when it first came out in hardcover. It was on my wishlist for a bit, but got deleted on one of my frequent reconsiderations of what to read and when to do it. I don't read too horribly quickly, so every book I choose is an investment in reading time. However, when the Swedish thing was announced, I thought I'd have a look.

The layout of the book is rather rote. He takes different roles that exist in finance capitalism, and explains why they exists and why they're important. His basic outlook is that markets work, but they need to be more liquid and there need to be more of them. It made me think of the Leninist lamenting Stalin and claiming that true Socialism has never existed ergo the social system has not been disproven despite the states that have flown the banner and have failed (basically my starting position).

So basically, the book was kind of boring until it started to make me angry, which is half the reason I read finance and economics books. It started on a chapter on insurance. He makes the claim that the BP oil spill was exaggerated in its effects by the media, and that everyone was actually fine because of insurance (64-5). People got paid back, so the suffering was ,moot, and the cleanup was effective. I don't have counter evidence to being forth to show that he's wrong, but this is just evidence that shows the worldview that opens economics up to criticism. Not everything is measured in economic costs, and not everything can be quantified. There is a human element that is missing.

For example, he defends inequality as necessary for a vibrant economy (141) but doesn't go into how much, or even define what a vibrant economy is. I feel that if you're going to say the Gini can't or shouldn't be zero, you should at least look at what an optimal measurement might be. Otherwise, it feels like elite hand-waving, ignoring the problems of the lower classes.

So basically, for Schiller, there will be losers, and that's fine as long as people have full information and participate in these deep and wide markets in a finance capitalism utopia. It just feels wrong. I can't imagine looking back at 2005 and saying that the main problem that was developing was asymmetries of information, though that was an issue. To me, there were larger structural issues that are part and parcel of the system that we live under.

Finally I have to add this to close, because it didn't fit in with the main thread. You may be aware of the negative feelings a lot of people have about Goldman Sachs. One thing some of their people did was load up a crappy deal, loaded off on a company and then took positions where they would benefit when the thing they designed to fail failed. Look up Goldman Sachs and ABACUS when you have time. It was an incredible nefarious plot that illustrates what people can do when they have financial power and no sunlight.

I bring this up because in the book, Schiller defends the deal (220). I don't want to be part of that world.


Panasonic RPHJE120K In-Ear Headphone, Black
Panasonic RPHJE120K In-Ear Headphone, Black
Price: $7.44
128 used & new from $0.36

4.0 out of 5 stars Just One Complaint, February 4, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The general complaint about ear buds is that they collect ear wax.
These do it, but maybe a little worse than some others I have had.

Otherwise, they are great - were inexpensive and maintain a nice sound.
They also fit nicely in my ears.


LG BP125 Blu-Ray Disk / DVD 1080p Player with HDMI & USB
LG BP125 Blu-Ray Disk / DVD 1080p Player with HDMI & USB
Offered by Sean's i-Deals
Price: $199.99
4 used & new from $125.99

4.0 out of 5 stars If All You Need is to Play Movies..., February 4, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
When I bought this, it was the cheapest blue ray player on the market. I did what I needed it to do, which was play discs.
It's almost never used though. Streaming is making it so that discs are on the way out. I wonder how many more years it will be until we're trying to figure out what to do with it.


Ozeri Precision II 440 lbs Digital Bathroom Scale, in Ultra Sturdy Tempered Glass with Blue Xbright LCD and StepOn Activation
Ozeri Precision II 440 lbs Digital Bathroom Scale, in Ultra Sturdy Tempered Glass with Blue Xbright LCD and StepOn Activation
Price: $21.96
8 used & new from $18.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Heavier Capicity Than Most Scales, February 4, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Bottom line is that I weigh more than the top limits of some scales out there.

This one has some room until I top it out.

It's not judgmental, and I feel it keeps pretty accurate weight.

It looks good too. Only quirk is that they say not to keep it in humid environments. That means it isn't in the bathroom, which still feels kind of weird.


BIC Brite Liner, Assorted Colors, 5 Pack (BLP51W)
BIC Brite Liner, Assorted Colors, 5 Pack (BLP51W)
Price: $2.88
77 used & new from $0.25

5.0 out of 5 stars Worked for Me!, February 4, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Nothing fancy here, just a nice assortment of highlighters, with different colors.

If you were really attentive to your studies, you might use them to color code the things you need to know.

Me?

I'm less attentive. If I bought just one highlighter, I would never know where it is. With this pack, I have one at my desk, and one in my bag and one near my spot on the couch.


Officemate Wood Clipboard, Letter Size, Recycled, 1 Clipboard (83100)
Officemate Wood Clipboard, Letter Size, Recycled, 1 Clipboard (83100)
Offered by BestSource OfficeSupplies
Price: $6.99
14 used & new from $2.50

5.0 out of 5 stars This is the Clip Board You Need, February 4, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Do you need a good, cheap clip board that holds papers and gives you a solid surface to write on?

Yes?

Then read on!

This is the clipboard that will fill your needs.

Anything more is just being fancy.


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