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John L Murphy "Fionnchú" RSS Feed (Los Angeles)
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Key (Irish Literature)
Key (Irish Literature)
by Máirtín Ó Cadhain
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.95
58 used & new from $7.34

3.0 out of 5 stars Novella nods to Kafka + Flann O'Brien, June 24, 2016
This review is from: Key (Irish Literature) (Paperback)
Similar to when I read the long-awaited English translation of Cre na Cille last year as rendered by Alan Titley as The Dirty Dust, so with Mairtin O Cadhain's short novella. That is, I expected more than I received, at least in English. The story's slow, but the verbal energy of the Irish is evident in the Dalkey Archive Press dual-language edition. Louis de Paor and Lochlainn O Tuairisg manage to wrestle O Cadhain's Connemara Gaeilge into grumbling and sardonic English. But you need some attention, as the verbose Irish means that that and the more compact translation are not in sync, and off half a page at least for much of this shaggy-dog tale.

The story as summed on the blurb is simple. A Dublin functionary named J. gets trapped in his office when the key breaks in the lock. Efforts to extricate him are delayed by bureaucracy and the lack of superiors able to issue the orders needed to free him.

Trouble is, it's not that exciting. Given the grind detailed here. I understand the satire against the bureaucracy and the symbolism of J's predicament. But it might have worked better as a play.

A few moments surface worth noting. "Minding paper was the most onerous duty in the Civil Service, because the Civil Service was paper; he hoped he did not have to repeat himself on the subject." So goes the Boss' recitation as repeated mentally by the protagonist. Naturally, most of this is not dialogue but monologue.

"Her face was a suit that had often been sent to the cleaners" is the clerk's appraisal of one femme fatale. Again, not a lot of action. But this remains readable if not as gripping as I had expected. O Cadhain's affinity with not only Kafka but Flann O'Brien is apparent. Originally published in Irish in 1953, it's worthwhile for a wider audience to appreciate this Irish author's works in English.


Owl Bobo Z4 VR with head strap - High quality Google Cardboard 3D Games Movies VR Headset Virtual Reality box compatible with Apple, Samsung, LG, Sony, Nexus, HTC, and other Android smartphones
Owl Bobo Z4 VR with head strap - High quality Google Cardboard 3D Games Movies VR Headset Virtual Reality box compatible with Apple, Samsung, LG, Sony, Nexus, HTC, and other Android smartphones
Offered by Kabayan Limited
Price: $43.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of fun, June 24, 2016
This virtual reality headset is a lot of fun. I haven't played around with it too much but it has surprisingly good picture quality and works totally fine with an iPhone. There's a lot of apps that you can use with it, and more every day. It is a little hard to orient and the two pictures are never totally flush. It's always slightly out of focus but you can overlook it. Also the website, which is really the only way to figure out how to use it, is written in horribly broken English. I was given the opportunity to try this in exchange for my unbiased review.


Gonex 60L Multi-function Duffel Bag Trekking Camping Hiking Travel Outdoor Sports Luggage Tactical Backpack Water Resistant 900D Oxford
Gonex 60L Multi-function Duffel Bag Trekking Camping Hiking Travel Outdoor Sports Luggage Tactical Backpack Water Resistant 900D Oxford
Offered by Gonex
Price: $213.29

4.0 out of 5 stars A giant duffel, but flattened, June 23, 2016
When the description said this holds 60 liters, all I could think of was water. Translated into the usual terms for a backpack, this is more like a giant zippered flat version of a duffel. You can carry this much easier on your back than the old round style. It has shoulder straps from the back pocket unfolding out of a zipper

The main compartment has the basics. Some pockets also allow access. This unfortunately at 23 inches will be too large by a fraction for nearly all airlines. I was hoping to use this for a flight. Instead, it may be more practical for car travel, or storage of items that are flatter rather than taller or rounder. I was provided this for a fair review in exchange for my unbiased evaluation.


Men's and Women's Waffle Weave Robe Bathrobe Spa Robe Cotton Robe Plus Size
Men's and Women's Waffle Weave Robe Bathrobe Spa Robe Cotton Robe Plus Size
Offered by J.cotton Design
Price: $33.99
2 used & new from $27.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Basic white, basic design, June 23, 2016
On the thin side as compared to fluffier ones, but his robe may suit the summer heat. It is like one you may get on loan in a hotel, It's not super thick, but it is comfy, The white may easily stain, so I'd watch what you snack on when so attired. That's it for a basic robe.


Gaiam Kids Zafu Meditation Cushion, Blue
Gaiam Kids Zafu Meditation Cushion, Blue
Price: $39.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Does what it is meant to do, June 23, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I measured this against an adult zafu. That one runs about 14 inches wide and just under six inches thick. By comparison, this kids version from Gaiam is a cushion is a foot across, and approximately six inches in height. It is very firm. I am not sure of the inner material precisely but it feels like a conventional cushion. Even an adult may use this to supplement a sitting in a chair as a back prop, so for those like myself due to physical limitations who cannot sit on the floor in a lotus position, this may simulate the experience in a chair. For those able, this may entice little ones to try out the sit in the traditional manner. The blue is a nice standout shade, furthermore


Petstages 494 Bone Blend Dog Chew Bone Toy, Medium
Petstages 494 Bone Blend Dog Chew Bone Toy, Medium
Price: $10.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Rubber dogger, June 23, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This may sound odd, but the way my hound wanted this was if I soaked it in meat juice. On its own, while bone meal scent is added according to the maker, it did not entice my dog enough. She tends to chew through even "indestructible" toys rapidly, so I hope this one will last a while. So, perhaps consider this taste boost to the old (or new) rubber bone.


The Bridge: A Journey Between Orient and Occident
The Bridge: A Journey Between Orient and Occident
by Geert Mak
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.95
51 used & new from $1.94

4.0 out of 5 stars Galata Bridge observed, June 22, 2016
This was recommended in Norman Stone's "Turkey: A Short History," so I figured he knew what he was talking about. Fluidly rendered from the Dutch by Sam Garrett, this flows like the Golden Horn beneath the Galata Bridge. Geert Mak combines interviews, impressions, and information gleaned from historians (and a poet's verse is included) to illustrate the pull of this symbol between East and West. It can bog down in recitations of facts, but the curiosity Mak shows enables him, like a tour guide, to press on.

The results are pleasant. Yet the author tries to get beyond first impressions. The bridge can be shrouded and damp, full of those muttering insults at tourists unable to understand them. Crime abounds and schemes to separate money from strollers abound.

During a time of strife, Mak analyses Turkey as caught between the east bank's tradition and the west bank's modernity. Those who fish, hang out, pickpocket, hawk, or work the bridge appear to yearn to emigrate, But as Mak shows, the tension of honor and tradition keep a strong hold even on many who leave Istanbul and the countryside behind for the European destinations.

Mak regards the Turkish ingrained sense of honor as "social currency," and "a matter of black and white, virgin or whore, insider or exile--a completely different world of thought from the subtle, analytical, eternally ambivalent considerations typical of the liberal West." (96) Lest you accuse him of Orientalism, reflect on this metaphor. During 1895, Armenian revolutionaries sought to disrupt and take over the capital, and counter-measures were equally violent. "As old, parochial Islambol fell apart, its citizens sensed the approaching demise and reacted like respectable passengers on a listing ocean liner: discreetly, but with determination, they hopped the railing and boarded the shiny, modern dream that had drawn up aside."(63) Fresh images like this enliven The Bridge.


ABIZOE 30 Oz Tumbler Coolers Double Wall Vacuum Insulated Travel Mugs Stainless Steel Tumbler cups with Lid - Keeps Drinks Cold and Hot
ABIZOE 30 Oz Tumbler Coolers Double Wall Vacuum Insulated Travel Mugs Stainless Steel Tumbler cups with Lid - Keeps Drinks Cold and Hot
Offered by ABIZOE
Price: $28.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice companion for a commute, June 22, 2016
What I like is that this keeps drinks hot or cold at a greater volume than competing tumblers. There is also a handle sold separately. The cooler itself has a double wall to ensure safety when holding it. It can be done, but it's a hefty mug when filled, so a handle may be advisable for balance and for grip.

The steel is cool to the touch regardless of the liquid inside. It seems durable and should be hand-washed to protect it from damage.

The transparent lid is a bit of a problem, as it allows air to escape. I understand some models have a sliding lid mechanism t seal in the liquid better. A straw might fit but I reckon it'd be bent more likely than not. I was offered this for a review and this is my unbiased evaluation.


Lingo: Around Europe in Sixty Languages
Lingo: Around Europe in Sixty Languages
by Gaston Dorren
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.40
79 used & new from $9.63

3.0 out of 5 stars More byways than highways through language lore, June 21, 2016
I've been struggling with learning other languages for most of my life, and even my native one provides challenges. Fascinated by linguistic diversity, I began Gaston Dorren's book with anticipation. The results? Uneven. Parts show invention, parts recite facts.

Two sections back to back, on Belarussian and Luxembourgish, are inventive. The first gives two sides as if in a propaganda campaign of the validity of that tongue. The second takes a folktale approach to allow us to reimagine how the natives teach their own language and two much more spoken ones to their children. His explanation of Icelandic continuity is similarly memorable.

However, some sections read like Wikipedia entries. Others, as with Basque's ergative structure, lost me. Dorren seems too dismissive of little cultures struggling to hang on to their languages, for as he shows, hundreds of them die out globally, and inevitably. He shrugs off Channel Islands Norman, Monegasque, and the Jewish exilic languages of Yiddish, Ladino, and Karaim, as if resigned.

He demolishes Esperanto, and for me, a learner of Welsh, discourages what appears an insurmountable and by now inarticulate series of compromises frozen into mutations that turned nonsensical as past rules fossilized and were then isolated. Yet, as a determined learner of Irish, I liked his pithy metaphor for that language trying to escape from the dead. "A colonial bully had beaten Gaelic to a pulp, then an inept nationalist doctor had failed to save it." (210) Dorren writes wittily, and the Dutch translation of this must capture as he acknowledges some of his verve. But too often the analyses were lacking and the coverage appeared superficial. He does to his credit group sections by loose themes, and he tries to keep the chapters fresh by veering all about, but some leave you with no idea of what, say, Basque or Sorbian even look like, as he delves into tangents, linguistic byways instead.

I was going to say "If It's Chapter XX, it must be Belgian," but I realized neither Walloon nor Flemish is even mentioned. Maybe it's Dorren's Dutch identity showing, or not? I suppose these to him are French and Dutch dialects, but their omission is an odd one here.


London Fog Cambridge 20 Inch Wheeled Club Bag, Black/White
London Fog Cambridge 20 Inch Wheeled Club Bag, Black/White
Offered by eBags
Price: $240.00
4 used & new from $103.26

4.0 out of 5 stars Sensible companion, June 20, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
At five pounds, this enables one to pack a lot. It is simple, A large interior, two small zippered pockets within, and one on the outside. A handle extends one length for lifting, and doubles that for hauling on wheels. The material is like vinyl, so I am not sure of its durability.

The houndstooth design may be unisex, too. There is no shoulder strap, as I assume the makers expect you will pull this club bag along. It should fit in the overhead compartment at 20 inches.

The sides fold over to secure, but there is no other expansion. A slot for an i.d. tag is provided, and the carry strap has a leather securing wrap, a nice touch. The seams as I inspected are tight and this appears a sensible bag for use in air travel, therefore.


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