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John L Murphy "Fionnchú" RSS Feed (Los Angeles)

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The Companion Guide to Rome (Companion Guides)
The Companion Guide to Rome (Companion Guides)
by Georgina Masson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $23.96
48 used & new from $14.36

4.0 out of 5 stars In-depth resource, November 27, 2015
This was in our room when we arrived in Rome, so I was able to check out its recommendations on the go. More akin to the Blue Guide series, there is no emphasis on places to eat or stay, but on the artistic, archaeological, and cultural attractions. Certainly Rome abounds in all of these.

Georgina Masson's original text, updated wittily if densely by John Fort, is dense. It rewards a reader who turns to this before he or she embarks, or after the visitor returns to the hotel, to absorb the details of what was just seen. It's hefty, so it may not fit in every purse or backpack, but as a resource, it explains a lot in small type. The maps are not as easy to decipher, as the places listed are not easily cross-checked with the text itself.

Still. the knowledge amassed in The Companion Guide to Rome will instruct. Those who wish more depth than a conventional guidebook or indeed many website's superficial summaries of the city's sights will find this an essential purchase. Using it to plan a walking tour or a few days' itinerary, this handbook provides a solid contrast to the tendency these days for glib snippets and paragraph-length "reviews" of sites deserving more scrutiny and more investigation.

ThorFire PF03 Cree LED Waterproof Pen Flashlight Torch Light 110LM Use One AAA Battery (Not Included) Christmas Gifts
ThorFire PF03 Cree LED Waterproof Pen Flashlight Torch Light 110LM Use One AAA Battery (Not Included) Christmas Gifts
Offered by Eachinedirect
Price: $35.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Three-way beam, November 23, 2015
Very small, it can fit in pocket or purse. I put this in my glove compartment, for instance. It clicks on three ways. Moonlight to save night vision, medium beam, and a very bright one. It uses a AAA battery (not included) and has a spare O-Ring to keep the interior safer from moisture. Handy and recommended, provided for review, this Thor LED pen-size flashlight is good to have on hand or in a little space nearby for emergencies.

CAILLER L'Ecorce Dark Chocolate Cocoa Bar, Strong/Intense, 3.5 Ounce (Pack of 16)
CAILLER L'Ecorce Dark Chocolate Cocoa Bar, Strong/Intense, 3.5 Ounce (Pack of 16)
Price: $78.49

3.0 out of 5 stars Good product, but it's Nestle-owned..., November 22, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Many chocolate lovers grow up with milk but gravitate towards dark varieties when they get older, in my experience. Perhaps like coffee, the flavors please a more sophisticated palate? This venerable Swiss brand features a high rate of cacao in this L'Ecorce bar, but it is not as sweet as you may expect. It's more steady, a flavor that can last, but does not tickle the taste buds so much as coat them. The growing popularity of and carefully concocted cocoa bars should expand Cailler's market here.

Yet I have to note that the manufacturer since 1817 is now under Nestle, and given that firm's reputation for business practices as to baby formula in the past and bottled water now, this gives me caution. For, it does not seem that fair trade or ethical standards were considered in the product. No information is on the label confirming this.

So my review reflects the quality of the bar, but also the situation in which the chocolate may have been harvested and the product marketed.

M-Audio Bass Traveler Portable Powered Headphone Amplifier with with Dual Outputs and 2-Level Boost
M-Audio Bass Traveler Portable Powered Headphone Amplifier with with Dual Outputs and 2-Level Boost
Price: $29.00
3 used & new from $29.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Helps boost the sound of small devices, November 22, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is the first portable amp booster I have seen that has an equalizer setting of flat-medium-high in addition to the integrated circuit. At the high range, it may blow out your ears, but at lower rates, the adjustment is welcome. It is easy to use and two headsets can even be plugged in at the same time. A great enhancement for smartphones or laptops or tablets, the added bass is not that overwhelming, but it may heighten the soundstage and provide a bit more depth for the music you hear. Most small devices lack the ability to provide this, so the Bass Traveler can help. It comes with a charging USB cord and the mini plug that fits devices. A projecting volume knob stands out, but otherwise, it's a tidy small cube.

USB Travel Wall Charger - 4 USB ports plus AC Outlet Portable Travel Power Adapter for Smartphone , Tablet , Laptop and More(White)
USB Travel Wall Charger - 4 USB ports plus AC Outlet Portable Travel Power Adapter for Smartphone , Tablet , Laptop and More(White)
Offered by iO-Teck-US
Price: $29.99
2 used & new from $14.02

4.0 out of 5 stars Works only in Asia, November 21, 2015
I took this on a journey to both Northern and Southern Europe. I thought it was capable of changing plugs for all regions, but this works neither on a UK or a European plug. So, I assume it is for Asia only. I could not test it as I have not journeyed to Asia, but I received this for evaluation and I am offering this information for potential purchasers. Be sure that you check out the compatibility when researching the right travel wall charger!

PROLOSO 9.8"x9.8" Ultra Soft Bamboo Fiber Baby Washcloths 6-Pack, with New Package and Reduce to 3 Colors Yellow Green Pink, What You See Will be What You Get
PROLOSO 9.8"x9.8" Ultra Soft Bamboo Fiber Baby Washcloths 6-Pack, with New Package and Reduce to 3 Colors Yellow Green Pink, What You See Will be What You Get
Offered by W@D
Price: $12.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Softer and gentler, November 9, 2015
My babies are grown, but I find these cloths are soft and dry easily. My family uses these as they are gentle and although they are small, they do the trick for facial cleansing. They are a bit smaller than the standard washcloths, but they feel nice on the face and the body. I was asked to try these out and this is my review.

Stones and Stars: A Year in West Cork
Stones and Stars: A Year in West Cork
by Denise Hall
Edition: Hardcover
12 used & new from $0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Leave the big city behind, November 5, 2015
It's by now a familiar trope. An author leaves the city and finds a patch of rural Ireland to cultivate. He or she toughs it out, and then writes about it.

Denise Hunt left Los Angeles, where she wrote for the National Enquirer, wore a hideous pink jumpsuit, and hung out with Lou Ferrigno, aka the Hulk. She buys Barley Hill Cottage in West Cork, and half the 1994 book and more is her waiting to sell this to a German couple so she can buy Lickeen.

That place is far more woebegone. Up a lane, decaying, without any amenities or utilities. As barren as a cow shed, and as inviting. But she fixes it up, finds the animals to take care of, and cleans out and refurbishes the interior. So far it's what one expects, reading such a well-worn theme.

It halts suddenly. More for another tale, she promises, but this breaks off just as the sub-titular year ends. Twenty-and-more years ago, such a modest book might have found a patient publisher. Denise Hall writes well, and as a journalist, tells the story clearly. Yet I was not drawn in enough. Now it might have been a "branded" blog, then pitched to Hall's old Hollywood-adjacent former cronies as a reality-t.v. series. surely.

A Pity Youth Does Not Last: Reminiscences of the Last of the Great Blasket Island's Poets and Storytellers (Oxford Paperback Series)
A Pity Youth Does Not Last: Reminiscences of the Last of the Great Blasket Island's Poets and Storytellers (Oxford Paperback Series)
by Micheál O'Guiheen
Edition: Paperback
37 used & new from $0.64

4.0 out of 5 stars Companion to Peig, his mother's account, November 5, 2015
This complements his mother's autobiography. Peig Sayers' account of life in Dunquin, Ventry, Dingle. and most famous, the Great Blasket Island off the West Kerry coast represent the epitome of such narratives. While I found hers more dated and less engaging, the similarities with her son's book are intriguing. They complain about privation, they appeal to the saints and Mary, and they endure.

Translated in 1984 by Tim Enright, this captures the spirit of the last of the Islanders, who were removed around the same time this was published in Irish in 1953. They were unable to eke out a living in a place without electricity, and the government resettled them. O'Guiheen laments the loss.

What distinguishes this is the appeal for readers now of simple perspectives, at a slight remove from the Irish and European chaos. The Great War, the Rising, the War of Independence all feel distant. But the last hits home, as the locals ambush the British near Lispole and bring down the Crown's wrath in Dingle, if briefly. War abroad is resisted, but war at home it seems, is welcomed as freedom.

A few poems translated at the end of this volume convey the author's mingled spirituality and patriotism. He trusts in the forces above to help him and his family make it through hard times. He castigates the Irish who have lain down and let their language go and the heel of the British bear down. O'Guiheen's account is basic, with the same lack of drama often as his mother's but I found it more interesting for the early years, as with his mother's tales. Middle age feels less involving, and this suddenly breaks off the chronology to break into a cry of pain for the loss of the native island.

The chapters as with Peig's version of the same life and times feel sudden, and oddly paced. They can break off and they may reflect more of an oral than a written tradition. They tell of a time now gone.

The Anarchist Cookbook
The Anarchist Cookbook
by Keith McHenry
Edition: Paperback
Price: $19.95
47 used & new from $11.60

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No, it's not that cookbook...but a real one, and more, November 5, 2015
This review is from: The Anarchist Cookbook (Paperback)
No, it's not that one. This one borrows the title and the stenciled cover art of antiwar activist William Powell's 1971 tirade, but it opens with Powell's own 2013 disavowal of his original manual, which has been in demand ever since. He wishes it would go out of print. Keith McHenry, for nearly as long, has worked with Food Not Bombs in New Mexico. Arrested nearly a hundred times, he shares meals with those in need. This, then, is a true cookbook, but it's also a handbook for D.I.Y. subversion, in another era of war. Some current events never go out of date.

Newly published, prefaced by a typically charged introduction by Chris Hedges, the 2015 publication of The Anarchist Cookbook features a lively tone and inspiring argument. Although his section seems detached from the rest of the contents, it sets a context. Hedges claims that the "anarchist does not succumb, not because he or she is assured of victory, but because to be ruled by fear, to bow before the demands of power, means one is no longer an anarchist. Anarchism is a state of being." Hedges shifts the impact of an anarchist's rebellion to "what he or she becomes," rather than "what he or she achieves." This distinction sustains this anthology. It combines theory with practice. It surveys anarchist thought. It critiques "tactics of diversity" (which can divide anarchists from one another over a resort to violent resistance). This book, unlike Powell's, espouses non-violence. It expands anarchism to its titular concerns, rarely found in such primers. Vegan cooks of the world, unite.

Part One distinguishes anarchism from terrorism, primitivism, chaos, rejection of (non-coercive) organization, amoral egotism, and what the right-wing has co-opted as capitalist-friendly "libertarianism." Instead, the Food Not Bombs strategy, as its name states, rejects domination and coercion. Most anarchists, furthermore, turn away from not only capitalism but religion, as manifestations of "the twin evils." Freedom from restraint and what Emma Goldman called "the freedom to" intertwine as negative and positive senses of liberty. Freedom for all means respect for the rights of others and a wider access to resources which can nourish and educate more people who crave wisdom and long for moral guidance. This in turn will provide more people the freedom to act.

"You Can't Blow Up a Social Relationship" follows, an insert from a 1979 Australian pamphlet critiquing urban guerrillaism. This strategy is what Hedges, during Occupy Wall Street, (in)famously challenged. Vehemently if also intelligently, members of black blocs argued back. "Revolutionary Nonviolence," in this collection of essays, counters through FNB's refusal to enter into confrontations which the authors warn may be instigated by undercover police, informants, and provocateurs. McHenry and Bufe speak from the inside. They recognize the pitfalls that newcomers may miss. While many anarchists defend the black bloc approach, and while this reviewer has encountered equally eloquent paeans to "by any means necessary," here is a time-tested counter-argument.

As FBI entrapment is a danger for left-libertarians and anti-capitalist advocates, and as the post-9/11 security state lures anarchists but then turns them to report on one another, a chapter on how to minimize risk advises activists. This book emphasizes the need to state non-violent choices early on among others, in person as well as in print, for more than one conviction has been obtained from infiltrators who report out-of-context jests and asides from casual conversations. It is a sobering situation when those attempting to spark change find themselves compromised--in a memo or a court filing detailing an off-the-cuff joke about less-than-peaceful means of protest--by an FBI affidavit.

Part Two suggests safer approaches to stir up social change. Boycott and divestment campaigns, co-ops, education face-to-face and online, labor organizing (with its inevitable drawbacks, given how few of today's workers belong to unions, and those which remain are often corrupt or undemocratic), and wildcat tactics are considered. Again, due to the inability of many workers now to cajole bosses into better conditions in an unstable environment of "at-will" contracts, corporate surveillance, and "contingent" or "on-call" employees, most of the authors' suggestions feel borrowed from the 1930s, when strikes, slowdowns, and picketing might move the mighty to capitulate. I feel far less sure now.

For more drastic measures, occupations of public space, and the dangers of sabotage earn coverage. The "simple living" trend popularized by well-meaning if often privileged progressives gets dismissed as less realistic than idealistic. Similarly, advantages and disadvantages of street demonstrations, from McHenry's years of marching, merit discussion. He treats the dubious attractions of fringe vanguard parties; he examines quarrels over voting as useless or not (as in referenda which he argues serve a wider purpose of necessary legislative change on certain issues).

Of course, anarchists prefer their own ways of organizing to encourage others to join. In a digital age, value in one-on-one conversation may even inspire more listeners, engaging in discussion and debate, taking action rather than sitting behind a keyboard. Useful tips on public outreach are shared. For instance, you learn how to pack a literature table's contents, and why rocks (police can accuse one of stocking up on them as weapons) are not as good as rubber bands to secure flyers. As the pages turn, the practical nature of the book emerges in its second half. Here are steps on organizing meetings, a consensus flow chart, promoting a local event or taking it in tour, and convening a gathering.

Direct action is familiar to all anarchists. Combined with non-violence, a section tells the organizer how to plan. Based on FNB's own experience, McHenry and his co-writer, counterculture scholar Chaz Bufe, look at such issues as pirate radio, tent protests, vigils, blockades, and how to (try to) give out free meals. With an increasing homeless population and police tensions, this is a relevant concern.

Misunderstood by many critics, the principle of reclaiming for the commons the "stolen property" hoarded by the few is a fundamental campaign for anarchists. It does not mean individuals or families surrender everything they own as "tools." Similar to indigenous peoples' claims to what the people use and enjoy together, anarchist ambitions documented here as squats and communal reclamations reveal how widespread historically and globally such efforts persist. This, in turn, leads back to food.

Mutual aid can fight world hunger. Conscious eating brings consumers to live more lightly off the land. Meeting together, community is formed and communal spirit bonds activists. Therefore, recipes for small groups of five or six are given. Then, many are expanded for a hundred diners. From granola to home fries, hummus to nopalitos, tofu fajitas to "Trident Subs" (spicy), hearty fare awaits.

This handy volume concludes with a few tips on growing your own--as in using spices and herbs, and trying your hand at a few backyard crops. This rushes by, however, too rapidly. But this is a guide for more progress. Appended are a series of themed reading lists. This affordable and handsomely produced compendium is far less volatile than its predecessor; let's hope it ignites its own spark.

Negative Feedback Resistor
Negative Feedback Resistor
Price: $8.99
42 used & new from $7.18

4.0 out of 5 stars Not for newcomers, but blazing, November 4, 2015
From the Sonoran Desert, this band, under the direction of guitarist-vocalist Ryan Rousseau, crosses the lines between metal, punk, and space-rock. Imagine Hawkwind channeling Motorhead (who after all, shared Lemmy Kilminster as bassist). Rousseau's vocals tend towards a thrash style, obscuring his message under lots of distortion, volume, and effects. The band's albums drone on, densely.

Their 2013 full-length Void found Destruction Unit tightening its sound. Rousseau, formerly of Reatards, assembled a line-up able to pummel his songs. The following year's Deep Trip sustained this assault. Both albums sound like their titles. But both leave you room to breathe, and decompress.

On their newest release, the band cuts you off from any airlock. You are left gasping into the vacuum, sucked into a pitiless abyss. "Disinfect" opens with static, disembodied voices, and disorienting transmissions. Like wreckage from a disintegrated spacecraft, it floats over processed guitar and faint keyboards. Then, as if it has lost a booster rocket, the song lurches into relentless overdrive, in Discharge-like hardcore. This forceful push features throughout Negative Feedback Resistor.

"Proper Decay" and "Salvation" blur this rush. It's as if the listener is sucked into a black hole. The more measured tunes on their previous albums are abandoned. "Chemical Reaction/Chemical Delight" pauses mid-way, but for groans and menace rather than for any solace granted the hearer.

Admittedly, this uncompromising devotion to a sonic beat-down deserves respect. For many label mates on Sacred Bones tend to turn softer as they age. Destruction Unit bulks up and bears down.

"Animal Instinct" allows the rest of the band needed recognition. Rusty Rousseau's bass thunders. The guitar duo of Jes Aurelius and Nick Napp, together now for their third album, cement the impact of the swirling attack of the guitar chords that three instruments produce. Underneath it all, Andrew Flores pounds on drums that keep time efficiently, while advancing the rhythms intelligently. This song presents the band nearer to their live sound, which has been acclaimed for its volcanic impact.

Hints of country music, for a band from Arizona, hover as "Judgement Day" begins. But again, the noise triumphs. Destruction Unit can be commended for its consistency here, but its last two albums let up once in a while to open the band to less punishing stretches. Guitars could slow down, and the band could explore hints of post-punk, psychedelic-tinged, and hard rock now and then. Here, a lack of respite from full-throttle propulsion may punish listeners, over these very weighty eight tracks.

A great title, "If Death Ever Slept" continues this frenzy. I hear hints on this album of The Germs, and deep in the terse credits, one "D. Bolles" gains a mention. I assume, somewhere, the former drummer for that band is on board. Destruction Unit hearkens back to the slur of Darby Crash, over a rumble of catchy riffs and rushed lyrics. Concluding with "The Upper Hand," the forty minutes of this album whir by. While the more varied lysergic whoosh of their previous two albums remains a better introduction for newcomers, for veterans able to handle dry heat, Negative Feedback Resistor inflicts an electric maelstrom. As metal and punk, hardcore and thrash, this space invasion storms over you.

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