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John L Murphy "Fionnchú" RSS Feed (Los Angeles)
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The Sack of Rome: Media + Money + Celebrity = Power = Silvio Berlusconi
The Sack of Rome: Media + Money + Celebrity = Power = Silvio Berlusconi
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $10.99

3.0 out of 5 stars The rise if not the fall, May 30, 2015
"In my three-hour interview, I was deeply struck by his unusual relationship with factual truth." Early on in this big book, Alexander Stille uses his 1996 interview with Silvio Berlusconi to demonstrate that figure's ability to charm Italy. He may have not told the truth, but he made a good story. This continues for hundreds of pages, as Stille follows him from childhood through his quick rise as a condo developer and marketer of the suburban subdivision outside his native Milan, to his control over the majority of the Italian media--and stretching into France and Spain as well as he cleverly finds loopholes and sidesteps laws in the fashion he condemns in his rivals.

As Stille sums up, his subject owns three of the largest TV networks, leading papers, more media outlets, AC Milan, and investment, insurance, and a cinema chain. There's abundant detail on his consolidation of power, and you learn that this adroit manipulation of his nation's ideals was decades in the making, not a foible or folly suddenly carried out on a stupified electorate. Instead, he turned to the voters as he did his target consumers. Those who were self-employed and who cooked their own books, those with little education, those reliant on TV for their views, and those who tended not to finish at the top of their class.

Stille is at his best when he gives context. As when he narrates how Italy was as late as the '80s in terms of a limited range of products, perspectives, and choices. The market economy, as the Cold War eliminated the appeal of the corrupt Communist Party, supplanted the austerity preached by both the CPI and the Church, as they opposed consumerism and rampant wealth. As these powers declined after a half-century of detente, Stille maps out how Forza Italia replaced the CPI while spreading its message to a populace already prepared, for they had formed under Berlusconi's direction AC Milan supporters' clubs in 8000 locations in Italy--the same as the number of parishes, no accidental equivalence.

Also meriting attention is the relative lack of attention given his family. They get all of one paragraph, both wives included. The scandals that erupted a few years after the 2006 printing of this book find little foreshadowing here in the narrative. While parties are mentioned as an aside, and the purported prowess of Berlusconi in bed pops up, there is not much material. One does enjoy his failed attempts to chat up the leaders of the free world with sexy banter and tales of his liaisons with women of seemingly every country. And, there is a good punchline told by him in a joke about Claudia Schiffer (whom at least he never claims to have wooed.

However, the anecdotes are repeated a lot. The tale is weighed down by lots of documentation. This will serve scholars well needing an English-language account of the high points before his fall, but it does not grip the average reader as tightly. Stille in his forward notes that some of this material appeared in the NY Review of Books and it feels like that publication--targeting those opposed to similar movements in the US and abroad, making analogies to the then-current Bush administration, and attacking the neo-con, psuedo-libertarian economy and its ties to billionaire candidates. A decade later, one reads this wondering if the next US president will gain comparison to the massive takeover, in money and media exposure, to the impact Berlusconi and his promises for jobs and programs spun from air. We the people of whatever nation seem to fall for market research more than market reform.


Soundpeats Qy7 V4.1 Bluetooth Mini Lightweight Wireless Stereo Sports/running & Gym/exercise Bluetooth Earbuds Headphones Headsets W/microphone for Iphone 5s 5c 4s 4, Ipad 2 3 4 New Ipad, Ipod, Android, Samsung Galaxy, Smart Phones Bluetooth Devices (Black/green)
Soundpeats Qy7 V4.1 Bluetooth Mini Lightweight Wireless Stereo Sports/running & Gym/exercise Bluetooth Earbuds Headphones Headsets W/microphone for Iphone 5s 5c 4s 4, Ipad 2 3 4 New Ipad, Ipod, Android, Samsung Galaxy, Smart Phones Bluetooth Devices (Black/green)
Offered by SoundPEATS Audio
Price: $27.99
2 used & new from $25.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice product, if used carefully, May 27, 2015
These take a bit getting used to, due to the earhooks design rather than a straight-in IEM or an over-the-back of the ear clip. The set is large in the ears and the bulk added for the Bluetooth may weigh you down a bit.

But the portable nature and fewer wires, of course, is the feature you look for here. Some may find these do not nestle in the ears tight enough. The flanges might help if switched. The hooks are only tabs around the phones to ease them being extracted from your ears. So, the weight of these despite the plastic housing is a factor worth considering.

One additional factor: the tiny cover for the USB charging cable to connect is delicate, I fear it will tear out soon. It fits in securely for now, but after a few uses, I am not sure the plastic will stand up to pushing in and pulling out.

As these are intended for movement, they did not stay in as securely as I'd have wished. I had some problems pairing them with my PC but as I have been unable, once it recognizes a Bluetooth device, to get it to then work, it is the PC's fault (I have not been able to get a driver to update) and not the headset. But I wanted to mention this as an aside. With an iPhone and HTC M7, after a few seconds to sync, the 4.1 headset connected with no problems. This is my straightforward review after being asked to try these out.

The sound is respectable, But for music, you may need to crank the volume of your phone way up. For audiobooks, on the other hand, I could hear them easily at a lower setting and longer distance. They do not shut noise out, and this may be a plus or a minus. I like the color, the flat cord for the phones and the USB cable (a very short charging cord, so be prepared), and the eco-friendly packaging.


CHOETECH 40W Smart Desktop Multi Port USB Charger with 1700 Joule Dual AC Power Supply 2500W USB Power Strip Surge Protector Power Socket Charging Station for LG G4/Galaxy S6/S6 Edge/Nexus 6 and Other Apple Samsung Google Smartphones and Tablets
CHOETECH 40W Smart Desktop Multi Port USB Charger with 1700 Joule Dual AC Power Supply 2500W USB Power Strip Surge Protector Power Socket Charging Station for LG G4/Galaxy S6/S6 Edge/Nexus 6 and Other Apple Samsung Google Smartphones and Tablets
Offered by Greenjia
Price: $50.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple and useful, May 26, 2015
This saved me nightstand space, as now I don't need an old-fashioned surge strip plus a USB converter for AC. The cord is long enough and the size small enough to meet my needs. While the language in the instructions is rather unclear as to how this is or isn't a super charger, I will assume that it can read the device being charged correctly so no overload of the battery inside the device occurs.

There's an on off switch and a small blue light to show power. A simple but useful product. Asked to try it, this is my review.

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Pantene Pro-V Weekly Rehab Creme 1.9 Fl Oz
Pantene Pro-V Weekly Rehab Creme 1.9 Fl Oz
Price: $3.99
35 used & new from $1.98

2.0 out of 5 stars My wife's review, May 24, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My wife loves Pantene products, so she looked forward to this, But, and she has naturally curly and thick hair, this left that limp and dry all week after she used this twice. So, while your results with different hair (and we have hard water, too) may vary, she cannot recommend this.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 27, 2015 10:29 AM PDT


Etekcity Mini USB LED Book Task Reading Light Lamp, 1-Year Warranty, Bendable Silicone, 6 Super Bright LED Lamp, 360 Degree Flexible, 50,000 Hours Working Life (White)
Etekcity Mini USB LED Book Task Reading Light Lamp, 1-Year Warranty, Bendable Silicone, 6 Super Bright LED Lamp, 360 Degree Flexible, 50,000 Hours Working Life (White)
Offered by Etekcity
Price: $6.99
2 used & new from $1.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Plug it in and it starts, May 21, 2015
This is like a digital thermometer on one end and a USB on the other, in shape. In size, it's small, but sufficient to stick into a PC and have some illumination for at least some of the keyboard. This is a product I have been looking for, for this reason. Sometimes you need to be on a computer when everyone else is sleeping, or in a dark room. So, this fits that need nicely. I was asked to review this, and it is very simple. Plug it in and it works. While very small in its range of illumination, for a small device's surface, such as keys, it should work.


Neither Virtue Nor Anger
Neither Virtue Nor Anger
Price: $15.84

5.0 out of 5 stars Great double album, two sides full of promise, May 20, 2015
Imagine a double album full of some of your favorite bands from the past fifty years. The first disc revives the metallic depths of early Joy Division in their post-punk phase. A few songs soften a bit, as with the Velvets. But most churn on, relentless, with a drony guitar wash, thundering drums, a Krautrock icy blast on bass and electronics, and appropriately gloomy vocals. The homage this British band pays to its forebears is honest, and the band is neither derivative nor repetitious. It keeps the fresh punch of the music, and it finds in it the pulse that pushes it forward, into our brains and our hearts. The post-punk tension that links the Velvets to the early 80s is here. So are Spacemen 3, Loop, and Hawkwind, filtered into a catchy set of downbeats, somber as they may be. This also reminds me of contemporary peers Farflung.

On the second disc, the tribal vibe dominates. The first singles and albums of The Black Angels found this place, where the heartland of Native America meets the dessicated psychedelia of Austin, Texas. So, the songs here follow this groove. More percussive if as distorted as those on the post-punk first disc, the second disc drifts from Northern Europe's chill into Eastern and indigenous moods. But the band keeps its cohesion, stretching out into long pieces on both discs, to explore dank inner realms.

It's rare for me to give full stars to a new band, and a first album. Yet this fulfills the promise of maturity, difficult for some musicians who capture the essence of past bands' triumphs, yet who manage to meld the sounds they love into a new mold. Sonic Jesus brings this off by allowing the space of two discs to delve into their more jittery early-80s and the more lysergic late-60s directions of their forebears. It's a clever combination, and for all the dark corners they explore, an inviting place.


Multipurpose Car SUV Organizer Collapsible Folding Car Trunk Organizer
Multipurpose Car SUV Organizer Collapsible Folding Car Trunk Organizer
Offered by Swinsonbox
Price: $10.02
23 used & new from $5.45

4.0 out of 5 stars Good idea for a product, May 20, 2015
Pros: Small shape, easily foldable, snaps on sides allow it to be secured in larger luggage or a car pocket or under a seat. I like the quick open-shut design. A pair of smaller pcckets on one side is a smart touch. The size makes this able to fit in most trunks easily

But, the material is very light. I am not sure that spills can be contained in the organizer. The division between the two sides on one half is a good idea, but it cannot be removed, and while a bit flexible as it is sewn in only on the top, this may rip apart after heavy use. The handles, too, are fine for lighter items inside, but this may not support a bulkier cargo weight inside the organizer itself.


Hefty Drawstring Multipurpose Trash Bags, 30 Gallon, 10 Count
Hefty Drawstring Multipurpose Trash Bags, 30 Gallon, 10 Count
Price: $6.29
5 used & new from $3.65

5.0 out of 5 stars Lives up to the brand-name, May 20, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As the commercials assert, the brand name can make a difference, These may cost a bit more, but the Hefty name does mean quality. These have solid twist ties and a durable surface, the old-fashioned big 30 gallon bags needed for yard work, trash dumping, and heavy-duty tasks that the white kitchen bags cannot deliver. My only qualification is that ten bags seems not enough--why not 20 or 30?


Adeline Organic Eye Serum - Best Anti Aging and Anti Wrinkle Eye Serum with Aloe, Cucumber Extract, Chamomile Extract, Antioxidant Vitamins A, C, E - Serum Not a Cream - Reduce Dark Circles and Puffiness Under Eyes - Restore Youthful Appearance Naturally Paraben and Alcohol Free - Made in the USA
Adeline Organic Eye Serum - Best Anti Aging and Anti Wrinkle Eye Serum with Aloe, Cucumber Extract, Chamomile Extract, Antioxidant Vitamins A, C, E - Serum Not a Cream - Reduce Dark Circles and Puffiness Under Eyes - Restore Youthful Appearance Naturally Paraben and Alcohol Free - Made in the USA
Offered by Adeline Beauty
Price: $35.25

5.0 out of 5 stars My wife's report, May 20, 2015
My wife tried this, and here is her report: She found it soothing. The serum felt very gentle on her skin. She noted it had a smooth texture, neither too thin nor too heavy. She also found it non-irritating. Finally, she liked the sensible packaging.


Raqpak Travel Duffel Bag Foldable Black
Raqpak Travel Duffel Bag Foldable Black
Offered by LaRoyal
Price: $50.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Does what it says, May 17, 2015
It's a nylon duffel bag. It folds easily into its own zippered bag, Mine came in yellow rather than black, so some color options occur.

It is sensible as an add-on item in luggage, for when you need a smaller day-bag for shopping on the go when somewhere else. I was asked to test this out, and no problems occurred with the bag. It is a smart addition for a traveller needing to pack lightly yet expand...


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