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Terry Sunday RSS Feed (El Paso, Texas United States)
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Yoga[Addict]™ Men's Yoga Long Pants (Sale - Introductory Price)
Yoga[Addict]™ Men's Yoga Long Pants (Sale - Introductory Price)
Offered by YogaAddict
Price: $59.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Well-Made, High-Quality and Comfortable—but LONG!, August 28, 2015
Being retired and living in the sunny desert Southwest, I have very little use for long pants. I live nearly year-round in shorts and T-shirts, except for a couple of winter months when nights get a little chilly. So I wasn’t sure if I should accept these yoga pants that yoga[addict] offered in return for an honest review, especially since I don’t practice yoga. But then I thought that they might be useful for my energetic exercise walking, so I decided to try them out.

The size L fits my 34-inch waist (+/-) perfectly. I wish I could say the same about their length. Maybe I’m built funny, but never in my life have I found pants that fit me in both the waist and length, and these pants are no exception. The legs are about five inches too long. As a suggestion for future products, yoga[addict] might consider offering these pants in different lengths, even if just Short, Regular and Tall.

Other than that minor glitch, I like these pants a lot. A thick drawstring in the sturdy, heavily elasticized waistband assures they’ll stay in place through the most strenuous activities. The ends of the drawstring are apparently intended to make a fashion statement by hanging outside rather than tucking inside.

The fabric is smooth and comfortable, and stretches a bit but not a lot. Don’t think the waist will stretch enough to fit if you order too small a size. The seams are straight and tight, and I found no manufacturing defects or loose threads anywhere. The two front pockets (there are none in the back) are smooth and nicely finished on the inside, and plenty deep enough for phone, keys, ID or whatever--although I wouldn't jump around too energetically with stuff in the pockets. The embroidered lemniscate (infinity symbol) on the left leg adds a subtle touch of class.

These pants are well-made, high-quality and extremely comfortable, and should be great for yoga, barre, indoor or outdoor walking, jogging or other exercising and just plain around-the-house casual wear—when weather permits, in my case.


Brooklyn Bean Roastery Ground Coffee, Fuhgeddaboutit, 12 Ounce
Brooklyn Bean Roastery Ground Coffee, Fuhgeddaboutit, 12 Ounce
Price: $11.90

5.0 out of 5 stars Brooklyn Coffees Make Great Cuppas, August 22, 2015
Let me say right up front that I never, ever drink coffee in any form other than hot, strong and black, and unadulterated with syrups, splashes, sprinkles or any other foreign substances. Let me further admit that (gasp!) I don't own a Keurig machine. I grind coffee beans fresh and brew my coffee a pot at a time in an ancient Norelco Dial-a-Brew drip machine that I've repaired more times than I can count. I guess that makes me either a coffee purist or a Luddite.

My favorite coffee comes from Spec's, a Houston-based fine-food-and-spirits store. The coffee is called Obama Blend, which is a really surprising name for a product of a company based in the great, progressive state of Texas. It's a superb blend of Kona and Kenya AA (get it?).

With all that said, what did I think of Brooklyn Roastery's Corner Donut Shop, Breakfast Blend and Fuhgeddaboutit ground coffees, which I received free in return for an honest review?

Corner Donut Shop

Using my usual brewing quantities and techniques, Corner Donut Shop turned out fresh, smooth and mellow, a little roasty but not noticeably bitter, with a pleasant, long-lingering aftertaste. I detected no harshness or acidity, nor any of the slight sourness that I've found in some brands.

Breakfast Blend

Compared to Corner Donut Shop, Breakfast Blend tasted richer, darker and more assertive. Full-bodied and robust, it was still very smooth, and, again, had no hint of harshness or acidity. Even though I love bitterness (my go-to craft beers are mouth-puckering India Pale Ales), I found no bitter notes in Breakfast Blend--I wouldn't have minded had there been some. Its pleasant roasty aftertaste lingered nicely.

Fuhgeddaboutit

This Dark Roast Extra Bold variety is similar to the other two, but in amped-up form. Silky smooth, robust and with a great long-lasting, mellow aftertaste, I enjoyed Fuhgeddaboutit the most of the Brooklyn Roastery's coffees that I tried because of its extra measure of flavor and boldness.

My Bottom Line

Although I rarely use pre-ground coffee, these selections from Brooklyn Roastery are great alternatives when I can't grind beans in real-time.

YMMV, of course, but if you like great coffee, you should give Brooklyn Roastery's products a try.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 23, 2015 12:25 PM PDT


Unmanned: A novel
Unmanned: A novel
by Dan Fesperman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.45
79 used & new from $0.66

3.0 out of 5 stars Meh--A Middle-of-the-Road Conspiracy Story, August 19, 2015
This review is from: Unmanned: A novel (Hardcover)
I spotted “Unmanned” in the New Books section of the public library and reflexively checked it out.

I’m not especially interested in drones, but I thought “Unmanned” might be a good diversionary read. From the cover blurb, it seemed to be a mystery yarn about a group of intrepid journalists and a disaffected ex-military ally trying to unravel a nefarious government/corporate plot. I love that subgenre of fiction. Titles like “Six Days of the Condor” and “The Odessa File” immediately come to mind.

Well, “Unmanned” is and it isn’t. There are journalists in it, and a disillusioned former military drone pilot with a dark secret, and government and corporate villains, and drone flying. But, all in all, I didn’t find it compelling or, indeed, very interesting at all. I had trouble relating to the characters, or even telling them apart. I was drawn into the action during the real-time and taped flying sequences, but most of the rest of the book was pretty slow going for me. The conclusion, which I’ll say no more about, was neither unexpected nor especially satisfying.

As a statement about what might happen in today’s surveillance-centric society, “Unmanned” makes some relevant observations about technology, loyalty, secrecy and greed. As an edge-of-the-chair novel, however, it just didn’t cut it for me. I’m glad I read it, but, unlike the other books I mentioned, it doesn’t warrant repeated readings. Hence my middle-of-the-road rating.


KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps
KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps
by Nikolaus Wachsmann
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $26.49
65 used & new from $17.50

5.0 out of 5 stars The Horror of the Holocaust Revealed, August 19, 2015
If you want to learn about one of the darkest chapters in the recorded history of the human race, you should put "KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps" on your must-read list.

In chilling, horrific, graphic, annotated detail, author Nicholaus Wachsmann relates the whole sordid story of the establishment, growth, pre-World-War-II and wartime management, decline and fall of the vast system of hundreds of concentration camps in Hitler's Third Reich.

From their modest beginnings in the 1930s as places to detain political dissidents and social undesirables, the KL ("Konzentrazionslager") system eventually exploded across Germany and occupied Europe and became the nexus of Nazi plans for Jewish genocide. Few people probably realize the immense geographical extent of the KL system, and fewer still probably know the kinds of day-to-day details that Dr. Wachsmann provides in this scholarly, groundbreaking yet highly readable work.

More than just the history of the camps, "KL" is the story of their inmates and of the millions of victims of Nazi atrocities. Dr. Wachsmann taps memoirs, memoranda, reports, correspondence, oral histories and other historical documents to put vivid human faces to some of those who suffered and died in the camps. His matter-of-fact writing style makes the fates of these people even more tragic, as he shows how everyday Germans accepted virtually without objection the presence of these camps and their murderous purpose in their midst.

It's appalling that at least one Holocaust denier here gives this book a one-star rating. But no matter--all reasonable, thoughtful, educated people realize what went on behind the barbed wire fences of Hitler's concentration camps. By reading "KL," we can understand how it happened, and perhaps that's the best way to make sure it never happens again.

If you read only one book this year, make it "KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps."


Dancing with Myself
Dancing with Myself
by Billy Idol
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.01
112 used & new from $1.68

5.0 out of 5 stars Honest, Detailed, Compellingly Readable and Unforgettable, August 19, 2015
This review is from: Dancing with Myself (Hardcover)
Musicians have different lifestyles than average people, and rock musicians' arguably are the most different of all. "Sex, drugs and rock & roll" is more than just a catchy phrase--it's a fitting anthem for many performers in the music genre that once took the world by storm.

I've always known intuitively that the lifestyle of one of my favorite artists, Billy Idol, was one drenched in hedonism, illicit drug use, casual sex and mayhem. However, before I read "Dancing With Myself," I had no idea how deep that depravity ran.

It's all chronicled here, in exacting, excruciating detail, practically line-by-line, snort-by-snort, fist-fight-by-fist-fight and encounter-by-sexual-encounter. "Dancing With Myself" was eye opening for me on so many levels, because it quantified matters about which I had previously had no more than a vague impression. Yes, Billy Idol was THE bad-boy rock icon, and now I know just HOW bad.

Reading this book did not decrease my enjoyment of Billy Idol's music one iota. Indeed, it made me appreciate his accomplishments even more, considering the sorry condition he was in when he recorded many of his hits. I don't know if he wrote the book himself or used a ghostwriter, but his story is compellingly readable in a train-wreck kind of way.

If you're a Billy Idol fan, or just interested in the life stories of rock legends, "Dancing With Myself" should be on your must-read list.

Rock on!


YogaAddict Yoga Shorts For Men, Quick Dry, No Pockets, Yoga Pants, Pilates, Gym
YogaAddict Yoga Shorts For Men, Quick Dry, No Pockets, Yoga Pants, Pilates, Gym
Offered by YogaAddict
Price: $44.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-Made, High-Quality and Comfortable, August 9, 2015
I wasn’t sure what to expect of these yoga shorts that I received free from yoga[addict] in return for an honest review. While I’m a huge fan of yoga toe- and toeless-socks and yoga sandals, I’d never before used other items of yoga clothing.

With that said, I’m very impressed with these shorts. Having roughly a 34-inch waist (+/-), I went with the size L, and they fit me perfectly. After sliding them on and cinching up the heavily elasticized waistband using the attached drawstring, they’re sure to stay in place through the most strenuous activities. The ends of the drawstring are apparently intended to hang outside the shorts rather than being tucked inside, but that’s fine—they’re long, but not long enough to trip over.

The fabric is smooth and comfortable, and stretches a bit but not a lot. Don’t count on the shorts stretching enough to fit if you order too small a size—go with the sizing chart. All the seams at the waist and leg openings are straight and tight, and there are no manufacturing defects or loose threads anywhere. Their quality seems very high. The embroidered lemniscate (infinity symbol) on the left leg adds a subtle touch of class.

These shorts are well-made, high-quality and extremely comfortable, and should be great for yoga, barre, indoor or outdoor walking, jogging or other exercising and just plain around-the-house casual wear. The fact that they have no pockets—for example, to carry a house key or ID—may restrict their utility in certain types of activities, but you can always hang a key around your neck.

Give ’em a try for your exercise routines.


TabletTail: Lynx • Universal iPad Stand / Tablet Stand, Holder, and Mount
TabletTail: Lynx • Universal iPad Stand / Tablet Stand, Holder, and Mount
Offered by Octa
Price: $99.99
7 used & new from $99.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Five-Star Gadget--with a Caveat, August 9, 2015
As a (retired) aerospace engineer, I really like the design and construction of the Octa Lynx TabletTail, which I received free in return for an honest review. It reminds me of the article in Road & Track magazine many years ago about a Mercedes Benz ashtray that consisted of 43 separate pieces. While the TabletTail may seem over-engineered, I'm fascinated by its many component parts made of different materials, and the tolerance-free precision with which they function. This is a really neat gadget that almost seems to be a modern sculpture of metal and black, silver, gray and soft-touch plastics.

After you figure out how to open the equally impressive and precision-made package (hint: open the outer book-like cover and then use the almost invisible semi-circular tab to pull open the inner hinged transparent plastic panel), it is imperative that you RTFM. You'll find the tiny, 30-page (!) manual underneath the "spider"--the disk-like object that grabs your tablet. You might have to play around with the three parts of the TabletTail a little before you grok in fullness how they work, but it gets easier after you try it a few times. There's more to them than meets the eye. After you catch on, setting it up becomes intuitive.

The TabletTail works as well as it looks. The parts snap together with firm authority, the spider firmly grips the tablet it's attached to, the gooseneck takes a bend and holds it, and the clamp jaws tighten securely. This marvel of engineering does a superb job at what it is designed to do.

But...

I have one and only one issue with the TabletTail. The clamp jaws, while lined with very nice gray rigid-but-compliant plastic pads that tightly grip any surface without scratching it, open only to a maximum spread of about 1-3/4 inches. My problem is that EVERY place I tried to attach it to--my kitchen and dining room tables, my office desk, my living room coffee table and end tables--is thicker than the maximum spread of the clamp jaws. The dimensions of the tops of my home furnishings may be out past three-sigma on the thickness curve, but regardless, this limitation prevents me from using the TabletTail where I wanted to. If you're considering buying this product--and you should--just be aware of the thickness limitation on its attachment point.

With the caveat that the TabletTail may not be able to attach to certain surfaces, this is a genuine, impressive, well-made and useful five-star gadget.


The Complete Steve Canyon On TV - Volume 3
The Complete Steve Canyon On TV - Volume 3
DVD ~ Dean Fredericks

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Finally Here--and Worth the Wait!, August 6, 2015
Superlatives can't adequately describe "The Complete Steve Canyon on TV: Volume 3." To say "It's finally here!" and "It's well worth the wait" doesn't even scratch the surface of the praise due John Ellis, of the Milton Caniff Estate, for his magnificent achievement in bringing this long-lost TV series to DVD. John almost single-handedly tackled this project and saw it through to its successful conclusion, despite years of problems, issues and setbacks that would have brought lesser men to their knees. The result of his Herculean labors is a fantastic piece of aviation and broadcast TV history. The long delay between the releases of the first two volumes and this, the final one, is over, and now the entire series of 34 episodes is available.

John meticulously and professionally restored the 11 half-hour, black-and-white episodes in this set from the original 35mm film broadcast masters. The episodes originally aired between March and May 1959. They look as good on these DVDs as they ever did, and show no visible effects from the passage of more than five decades. They're exceptionally crisp and sharp, with excellent contrast and superb video and audio quality. All have fascinating, authoritative audio commentary tracks, and most include ABC promo spots and vintage cigarette commercials, a jarring jolt of nostalgia for the days when everybody smoked on television shows and tobacco companies were major sponsors.

The production values of the DVDs and the packaging design and materials are superior. And the episodes themselves? In a word, they're superb. As in Volumes 1 and 2, each show in Volume 3 is an unforgettable dramatic treat. This volume includes, at last, the most-anticipated Steve Canyon episode of all time, the one that almost everyone who ever saw it remembers--the haunting "Operation Intercept." Each episode is an immensely enjoyable half-hour escape into a retro-world of roaring afterburning jets, imminent danger in the air and on the ground, and steely-eyed pilots and their "girl-next-door" sweethearts. This is the kind of really great "right stuff" that you just don't see on television today.

I have never recommended anything more enthusiastically and unequivocally than I do "The Complete Steve Canyon on TV: Volume 3"--and, of course, the companion Volumes 1 and 2. If you remember watching this series as a child, your purchase should be a no-brainer. If not, you should still give it a try. There has never been anything like it on television, and there never will be again.

Many thanks and a hearty "Cheers!" to John Ellis on behalf of all the Steve Canyon fans out here. Well done, John!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 9, 2015 1:48 PM PDT


N-1: For the Moon and Mars A Guide to the Soviet Superbooster (English and Russian Edition)
N-1: For the Moon and Mars A Guide to the Soviet Superbooster (English and Russian Edition)
by Matthew Johnson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $39.95
6 used & new from $39.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Not Definitive, but Maybe as Good as We'll Get, August 6, 2015
First of all, "N-1: For the Moon and Mars" is an outstanding reference work on many aspects of the Soviet Union's enormous, long-secret super booster that, for a while, seemed destined to put cosmonauts on the moon--albeit considerably after the U.S. Apollo landings.

What "N-1: For the Moon and Mars" is NOT is the definitive book on the subject. However, it may be as good as space enthusiasts can expect to get. When Sergei Korolev, Chief Designer of the early Soviet space program and principal architect of the N-1, died in a botched surgical procedure at the height of the Moon race, his arch-rival Valentin Glushko succeeded him as head of Design Bureau OKB-1. Glushko's first act was to cancel the N-1. He ordered the destruction of all hardware, records, media and documentation. Nevertheless, a small amount of material survived in private files despite Glushko's order. Much of it is in this book. But, sadly, many specifics of the programmatic and development histories, and the fascinating engineering details of the huge rocket, are forever lost. Thus the definitive story of the N-1 may never be written.

With that said, "N-1: For the Moon and Mars" is chock-full of information I've never before seen in print. Given the paucity of primary sources, much of it concentrates on the observable external configuration of the rocket, and on the slight differences among the four versions that flew (none successfully) and the fifth that was undergoing fueling tests on the pad when Glushko pulled the plug. It's kind of a "modeler's handbook." As such, it scrimps (in a relative sense only) in describing the N-1's internal components and their functions, and on the day-by-day development history. While I craved more of this type of information, I eagerly devoured the stories penned by several contributors on the history of the project and on how the Soviet lunar mission would have been carried out.

But the highlight of the book is the absolutely incredible CGI renderings that adorn almost every page. Some are even multiple-page foldouts. I can't praise these renderings enough. They bring the N-1, and its planned manned lunar spacecraft payload, to life at an unprecedented level of detail and accuracy. Even if there weren't a single sentence of text in the book, it would be worth the price of admission just to get the artwork. There are also many photos of the rocket during assembly, test and flight.

"N-1: For the Moon and Mars" is a no-brainer must-have for any spaceflight enthusiast who wants to learn about the Soviet Union's manned lunar landing program that, back in the 1960s, competed with the American Apollo program. We all know who "won" the Moon race, but "N-1: For the Moon and Mars" offers a fascinating glimpse at "what might have been." I give it my highest possible recommendation.


Predestination
Predestination
DVD ~ Ethan Hawke
Price: $16.67
27 used & new from $8.64

4.0 out of 5 stars Better than Other Heinlein Adaptations, July 30, 2015
This review is from: Predestination (DVD)
The track record for television and movie adaptations of the late Robert A. Heinlein's works is largely unblemished by success.

Consider the sappy "Jerry Was a Man" segment in the "Masters of Science Fiction" television series. Why anyone would pick that story, IMO one of Heinlein's weakest, to use for a television show is beyond me. "The Puppet Masters" movie was okay in places, but it lost its way partway through and did not in any way do justice to Heinlein's superb, grim and dark original novel. As for the truly execrable big-screen version of "Starship Troopers"--well, the less said about that stinker, the better.

So I didn't have very high hopes for "Predestination," based on Heinlein's 1959 short story "--All You Zombies--"

But I was pleasantly surprised. In fact, if you held me up against a wall with a gun to my head, I'd be forced to admit that the film version of the short story is not bad at all. However, I confess that I re-read the story (for probably the dozenth time) immediately before watching the movie, so the plot was fresh in my mind and I understood what was going on in the movie, which may not have been the case if I'd gone into it cold. Much of the movie's dialogue is verbatim from the story, which is another plus--no one wrote dialogue like Heinlein. Of course, the movie expands considerably on the 12-page story, but the extra "stuff" is well integrated and organic.

Anything else I'd say could be a spoiler for the complex, mind-bending plot. You probably already know the kicker anyway, but why take a chance?

So give "Predestination" a try if you're interested in a decent adaptation of one of the better-known short stories written almost 50 years ago by the Grand Master of Science Fiction.

But you might consider reading (or re-reading) the story first--


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