Silas Martin

Joined a year ago

Silas's Favorites
The Partial Adventures of Tillie McGwinn
The Partial Adventures of Tillie McGwinn
The Partial Adventures of Tillie McGwinn by Dalton C. Dalton. Rated 5 out of 5 stars, with 1 ratings. Read more and check out similar items in the J. K. Rowling category.
Stephen King: The Art of Darkness
Stephen King: The Art of Darkness
Stephen King: The Art of Darkness by Douglas E. Winter. Rated 4.7 out of 5 stars, with 7 ratings. Read more and check out similar items in the Stephen King category.
Mathematics and Python Programming
Mathematics and Python Programming
Mathematics and Python Programming by J.C. Bautista. Rated 3.3 out of 5 stars, with 9 ratings. Read more and check out similar items in the 'Python programming' category.
Machine Learning: 3 books in 1: - Hacking Tools for Computer + Hacking With Kali Linux + Python Programming- The ultimate beginners guide to improve your knowledge of programming and data science
Machine Learning: 3 books in 1: - Hacking Tools for Computer + Hacking With Kali Linux + Python Programming- The ultimate beginners guide to improve your knowledge of programming and data science
Machine Learning: 3 books in 1: - Hacking Tools for Computer + Hacking With Kali Linux + Python Programming- The ultimate beginners guide to improve your knowledge of programming and data science by Adam Bash. Rated 4.8 out of 5 stars, with 31 ratings. Read more and check out similar items in the 'Python programming' category.
ASP.NET Core 3 and React: Hands-On full stack web development using ASP.NET Core, React, and TypeScript 3
ASP.NET Core 3 and React: Hands-On full stack web development using ASP.NET Core, React, and TypeScript 3
I got this book from another place, but anyway want to make a recommendation for it. It is a all-in one book, that will teach you TypeScript, React and asp.net core building a real world application. Topics are introduced in a great sequence, building on top of each other. The example of a Questions and Answers app is great. This is one of the few technical books that you will enjoy reading from cover to cover. Kudos to the author.

This is for beginners, but it will give you an incredible solid foundation, it makes everything easy to learn and follow. Very pleased!! Highly recommended
Redis Programming by Example
Redis Programming by Example
Der Informationsgehalt ist in etwa auf dem Niveau der Redis-Homepage. Vergleichbare Beispiele lassen sich zudem auch schnell googeln und in diversen Blogs nachlesen.
Warren Buffett (Spanish Edition)
Warren Buffett (Spanish Edition)
¿Tienes el suficiente dinero como para cuando inviertas en una empresa te reciba su Consejero Delegado?. ¿Lo conoces suficientemente como para saber si es ético o un desalmado?...bueno, pues sin estas y otras ventajas más que sólo unos pocos pueden tener, los consejos de este hombre, la verdad, se encuentran a medido camino entre lo obvio y lo simplemente imposible.

Un saludo
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
Grab an armful of business leadership books from your nearest bookshop and look through them for advice on how to treat staff. I doubt you'll find any of them encouraging business leaders to humiliate their colleagues in public more frequently.

Yet one of the most memorable stories in Brad Stone's account of how Jeff Bezos made such a success of Amazon is just such an encounter with a senior manager. They were giving answers that Bezos did not believe about the speed with which the phones were being answered by the customer service team. So in the middle of a meeting with senior managers, Bezos put a phone on loudspeaker, dialed Amazon's customer service number and started ostentatiously timing how long it took to be answered. He'd been told that calls were being answered in less than a minute, but the meeting had to sit in excruciating silence as the minutes ticked up before finally the phone was answered.

A devastatingly effective way of making a point, true. But how do you combine such a brutish attitude at times with an ability to recruit, retain and motivate the sort of brilliant staff you need, especially when Amazon wasn't paying high wages? The mystery is deepened by the grimly humorous collection of stories of other technology CEOs and their abrasive behaviour that Brad Stone presents in the book.

As with Steve Jobs, reading about Jeff Bezos and all his quirks in dealing with other human beings (not to mention Amazon's huge sums spent on failed takeovers) leaves you wondering for much of the time if you're reading an account of a brilliant success or a tragic failure. Clearly the path Amazon has taken shows he - like Jobs - is the former.

But whilst Walter Isaacson's biography of Jobs does answer the question of how Jobs and Apple ended up so successful despite his manner, in the case of Bezos and Amazon, Brad Stone leaves that question only partly answered. Early on in the book Amazon is but one amongst many online book selling startups. Stone explains well why traditional bookselling firms found it difficult to move into the online business, constrained as they were by their heavy investment in offline stores. Why, though, did Amazon triumph from all those different online startups? That Stone doesn't tell us.

The more successful Amazon gets, the better Stone's book does explain its gathering momentum, especially thanks to Bezos's insistence on using Amazon's scale to drive prices as low as possible. There are two types of company, Bezos says. Those that looks to charge as high a price as possible (think Apple) and those that look to charge as low a price as possible (think Amazon). Amazon's low prices may have kept its profits down, but they have hugely boosted its size and, while Apple's high margins have attracted big competitors eating into its market, Amazon's low margins have kept competitors out of the market, leaving more space for it to grow even further.

It's a shame though that the initial crucial breakthrough remains unexplained even by the end of an enjoyable book.
Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration
Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration
Creativity Inc: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in The Way of True Inspiration is the intertwined stories of Ed Catmull and Pixar Animation. It’s more than that, though. It may be the best book you’ll ever read about how leaders and organizations can make it possible for people to use their whole creative brain power. I know that’s a bold statement. Here’s why I make it.

There is a vast literature out there about how individual people can tap into their natural, God-given creativity. There’s no one best book in this crop, but if you find one that works for you, that one’s the best as far as you’re concerned.

There’s not a lot about how organizations and leaders can unleash creativity and most of it is platitudes on parade. We’re told to “fail fast and fail often” as if failing was the point. It’s not. Learning is the point. We’re told to tell people they should not be afraid to fail. What nonsense. Nobody likes to fail, and if they’re afraid to fail, it’s not their fault. It’s yours. We’re also given that advice as if there is an alternative to doing creative cutting-edge work without getting it wrong, mostly at the beginning. There isn’t. That’s the way the world works.

Some writers do a better job on this by talking about ways you can structure things so that a failure is more likely to be seen as a learning experience and where criticism and bad news can be received as gifts rather than attacks. But there’s precious little in those books about how you actually make it work and then keep it working over time.

Creativity Inc is different. The primary reason is Ed Catmull and his willingness to talk about the details of both his and Pixar’s journeys. Here’s what I consider the key quote from very early in the book.

“What makes Pixar special is that we acknowledge we will always have problems, many of them hidden from our view; but we work hard to uncover those problems, even if doing so means making ourselves uncomfortable; and that when we come across a problem, we marshal all of our energies to solve it.”

Early in the book, Catmull tells the story of a table in a meeting room at Pixar. The table, evidently, looks like most of the tables in most meeting rooms that I’ve been in. It was rectangular. Most of us have heard that tables with that shape aren’t exactly symbols of an egalitarian culture and that they stifle open discussion. But we keep meeting around those tables. So did Pixar.

“Over the course of a decade, we held countless meetings around this table in this way – completely unaware of how doing so undermined our own core principles.”

When Catmull and his crew become aware of the effect of the table, they change it. Good for them. Then they discover that there are other behaviors that may have been linked to the table originally but continue after the table is changed. For example, on the old table there were place cards indicating where people sat. Powerful people at the ends, junior people toward the middle. The new square table removed the power of shape but the place cards had become common practice, too. So, when Catmull came into the room for a meeting around the new table, he found place cards indicating where everyone should sit.

That is the book in a nutshell. Catmull covers a lot of ground and many topics, but the core book is about how he, John Lasseter, and other people at Pixar, uncovered problems and worked to solve them, nurtured creative energy, and dealt with the inevitable conflicts and surprises. Every organization that I’ve ever worked with or visited has had similar issues.

One problem putting together the review for this book is that it is simply riddled with wisdom. So, rather than give you the standard chapter summaries that I put in most reviews, I’m going to list each of the four sections and name the chapters that are in it, then share some quotes from that section. I’m sure that when you read the book, you will find your own insightful bits that are different from mine.

Part 1 is called Getting Started. The four chapters, Animated, Pixar Is Born, A Defining Goal, and Establishing Pixar’s Identity, tell the story of Ed Catmull and Pixar up until the success of “Toy Story.”

"I also didn’t yet know that my self-assigned mission was about much more than technology. To pull it off, we’d have to be creative not only technically but also in the ways that we worked together."

"What had drawn me to science, all those years ago, was the search for understanding. Human interaction is far more complex than relativity or string theory, of course, but that only made it more interesting and important; it constantly challenged my presumptions. As we made more movies, I would learn that some of my beliefs about why and how Pixar had been successful were wrong. But one thing could not have been more plain: Figuring out how to build a sustainable creative culture—one that didn’t just pay lip service to the importance of things like honesty, excellence, communication, originality, and self-assessment but really committed to them, no matter how uncomfortable that became—wasn’t a singular assignment. It was a day-in-day-out, full-time job. And one that I wanted to do."

Part 2 is titled Protecting the New. That’s a theme that will run through the book from here on. The chapters are: Honesty and Candor, Fear and Failure, The Hungry Beast and The Ugly Baby, Change and Randomness, and The Hidden.

“Because early on, all of our movies suck. That’s a blunt assessment, I know, but I make a point of repeating it often, and I choose that phrasing because saying it in a softer way fails to convey how bad the first versions of our films really are. I’m not trying to be modest or self-effacing by saying this. Pixar films are not good at first, and our job is to make them so—to go, as I say, ‘from suck to not-suck.’ This idea—that all the movies we now think of as brilliant were, at one time, terrible—is a hard concept for many to grasp”

“So if your primary goal is to have a fully worked out, set-in-stone plan, you are only upping your chances of being unoriginal.”

"One of the biggest barriers is fear, and while failure comes with the territory, fear shouldn’t have to. The goal, then, is to uncouple fear and failure—to create an environment in which making mistakes doesn’t strike terror into your employees’ hearts."

"If you don’t try to uncover what is unseen and understand its nature, you will be ill prepared to lead."

Part 3 is titled Building and Sustaining. There are only two chapters: Broadening Our View and The Unmade Future.

"This third section of the book is devoted to some of the specific methods we have employed at Pixar to prevent our disparate views from hindering our collaboration. In each case, we are trying to force ourselves—individually and as a company—to challenge our preconceptions."

"Companies, like individuals, do not become exceptional by believing they are exceptional but by understanding the ways in which they aren’t exceptional. Postmortems are one route into that understanding.”

Part 4, titled Testing What We Know, also has just two chapters. They are A New Challenge and Notes Day.

"The future is not a destination—it is a direction."

One more thing. Steve Jobs played a critical role in Pixar’s success and Ed Catmull has included an afterword called The Steve Jobs We Knew. My friend, Bob Sutton, has said that Steve Jobs is something of a Rorschach test for people. You see what you think you see, and other people see the same thing and interpret it differently. My problem has always been that most of the views of Jobs freeze him in time and they don’t indicate any growth or maturity. No one as intelligent or introspective as Steve Jobs would have stayed the same for his entire life. What I loved about the afterword is that it not only gave a unique view of Jobs as both a business partner and a friend, but also talked about his growth during his life.

Bottom Line

Creativity Inc: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in The Way of True Inspiration is a great book about creativity and about how to lead an organization. More importantly it is the very best book I’ve ever read about unleashing the initiative and creativity of people in an organization.
Experiments in Honesty: Meditations on Love, Fear and the Honest to God Naked Truth
Experiments in Honesty: Meditations on Love, Fear and the Honest to God Naked Truth
Listen. I know this review says Nick wrote it. He didn't. It's Gwenn here.

I am not gonna try to sell you on something that I don’t think you need. I value our friendship and your money not being wasted too much for that. And even with all of that said I can, without hesitation, recommend you buy this book. I grew up in the Christian tradition. I was fully bought into that lifestyle. And then I lived outside of America. And now I don’t know what to think. I honestly don’t. There’s a part of me that just wants to throw up my hands and walk away, but there’s also something that won’t let me completely sever ties with my faith. I know a lot of people who are in the same spot. Friends—this book is for us. It really is a fresh look at issues of faith (and Jesus) formatted into storytelling chapters. My friend, Steve, the author, is a (relatable) mystic, a talented artist, and an award-winning storyteller. This book is an excellent collection of his stories. Some come from the Bible— some come from his life. All of them are very readable and make you think. You’ll want to read it once for the entertainment factor and the next time to let each episode ruminate. You need to buy it.
The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World
The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World
Many Americans, not to mention millions of people in other countries around the world, may find it difficult to imagine a world without Uber or Airbnb. Yet Uber was founded only in 2009 and Airbnb a year earlier. (Neither company’s success—or, for that matter, the sharing economy as a whole—would have been possible without the iPhone, which Apple introduced in 2007.) As the cover graphic suggests on Brad Stone’s captivating new book, The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World, these two iconic companies have been riding the wave of new and ever-improving technology.

Is this the sharing economy?

“Airbnb and Uber didn’t spawn ‘the sharing economy,'” Stone writes, “. . . so much as usher in a new trust economy, helping regular folks to negotiate transportation and accommodations in the age of ubiquitous internet access.” Even before going public, the two companies together were valued at close to $100 billion. There is no evidence that their principals have shared any appreciable portion of that wealth. Nor does it seem consistent with a gentle label such as “the sharing economy” for Uber to resist every effort to classify its drivers as employees and provide them with benefits.

Stone contends that “Together, these companies have come to embody a new business code that has forced local governments to question their faithfulness to the regulatory regimes of the past.” In the course of doing so, both companies have engaged in bare-knuckle fights with local governments around the world. For the most part, they’ve won. But not always. Stone tells the fascinating story, blow by blow.

The five men behind the two companies’ rise

Stone’s book is tightly focused on Uber and Airbnb, with digressions about the many companies that have tried to compete with them, with only meager success for the most part. In fact, in a sense, the book is about the two companies’ cofounders, and especially the two young men who have emerged as CEOs. Travis Kalanick runs Uber. Brian Chesky is at the helm at Airbnb. However, the two companies’ success may well be due as much to the contributions of their cofounders: Garrett Camp in the case of Uber, and Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk in the case of Airbnb. All are featured in Stone’s account. They’re all billionaires now, many times over.

The trouble with Uber and Airbnb

Stone makes clear that many of the problems that have surfaced in the news media about Uber have been caused by its CEO. “Chronically combative” (and sometimes abusive), Travis Kalanick continues to generate negative publicity, seemingly on almost a daily basis. Here’s one recent example that emerged in The Guardian—an article about Kalanick’s abusive treatment of one of his company’s drivers. And here’s an even more recent report about the company’s use of software to evade police in at least five American cities and six other countries. These are not isolated instances of controversy surrounding the company: trouble seems to follow Uber with disturbing regularity.

Many of these reports reflect Kalanick’s combative personality, but there are other problems as well. For instance, Anna Weiner wrote in the Feb. 28, 2017 New Yorker about recent reports of sexual harassment at the company: “Uber is, in some ways, a model villain. The company has long inspired Schadenfreude. It has been accused of mishandling customer reports of sexual harassment by drivers.”

A shared reputation for aggression

As a result of the frequent, high-profile accounts of Uber’s misbehavior, Airbnb tends to be regarded more highly. But Stone argues that CEO Brian Chesky is frequently as aggressive as Kalanick. Neither has shied away from blatantly breaking local laws or confronting local officials. “Reflecting on the years 2011 through 2013,” Stone notes, “a person might find it difficult to conclude that one company was the more ethical operator . . . Both CEOs seized the tremendous opportunities before them with steely determination, pausing just long enough to turn around the repair some of the carnage they left in their wake.” Stone adds, “in the end, there emerged an unavoidable fact: Chesky was every bit the warrior Travis Kalanick was. He believed so much in the promise of his company that he was going to fight for every inch of territory.” Both companies racked up so many victories against local officials because their services had come to be regarded as essential by so many residents—and the high-priced lobbyists they both hired managed to mobilize so much support that local officials were forced to back down.

A final assessment

After cataloguing a litany of offenses by both companies, Stone relents in the end. “Both Travis Kalanick and Brian Chesky had made big promises: to eliminate traffic, improve the livability of our cities, and give people more time and more authentic experiences. If these promises are kept, the results might well be worth the mishaps and mistakes that occurred during their journeys; perhaps they’ll even be worth the enormous price paid by the disrupted.” Not to mention that $100 billion the two companies’ founders and investors have amassed.

About the author

Brad Stone is a senior executive at Bloomberg News in San Francisco. The Upstarts is his third nonfiction book. The second was the bestseller The Everything Store about founder Jeff Bezos and the rise of Amazon.com.
Donald Trump for President Make America Great Again T Shirt
Donald Trump for President Make America Great Again T Shirt
JUNK! DO NOT BUY!!!!!!!!!!

I messed up, what self respecting TRUMP supporter would buy a Trump shirt that was made in china? You wouldn't! If you support the USA, but a shirt made in the USA, end of story. Please learn from my mistake! Furthermore, this shirt is absolute JUNK mine showed way longer than i expected (because it came from china) and the screen printing was the worst i've EVER seen. I will NEVER wear this shirt, if i can't return it it will be a shop rag..... total bummer... NOT as expected.... I'll order another one from a US seller......Please, Learn from my mistake, DO NOT BUY THIS SHIRT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Songs Of Freedom [4 CD Box Set]
Songs Of Freedom [4 CD Box Set]
SONGS OF FREEDOM is an outstanding box set and collection of songs that gives the listener a wonderful overview of not only the growth of this band but of Reggae as a whole. There are 4 cd's in the set and they are broken down into the 2 phases of the band, in particular Marely's, career. The 1st cd takes you back to the beginnings of the band in the 1960's into 1970 and some of the early origins of Reggae. Many of these songs were written and recorded when The Wailers were signed to the legendary Lee "Scratch" Perry's record label in Jamaica and is what I would consider "hard core" or the most authentic form of Reggae. I absolutely love it, I will say that if you haven't heard any of the early Wailer material it may be a shock upon 1st listen but I think it's well worth you listening to it over and over as it's truly wonderful and gives you a great feel for the early formation of the genre.

The second cd picks up with the bands work from 1971 into the the mid 1970's when they began to be noticed outside of the Island Nations and actually traveled abroad and began recording in studios with more up to date equipment thus allowing for a more full and rich sound to their music. The songwriting also began to delve into deeper and more reflective themes. One of my favorite songs from this time period is "Guava Jelly" and an Acoustic Melody of several songs that are truly fantastic. This is also the time period when they would release their mainstream masterpieces CATCH A FIRE & BURNIN both of which would explode on the mainstream and shock the world with a message and sound it had not heard prior to. This was, unfortunately, also the time period where Peter & Bunny would leave the band.

The 3rd cd is the beginning of Bob's ascendance into legendary status following the break up of the original band, the albums and songs he would record and release during this time period would take him to places few had ever seen as far as influence and artistic expression. Their are some wonderful live versions of songs on the whole set and this cd has a live version of one of his most popular hits "No Woman, No Cry." Other classics on the cd are "Who The Cap Fit"; "Johnny Was"; "Exodus" and the incredible "Three Little Birds." Although both Bunny and Peter would release outstanding material during this period too, both of which deserved far more praise than currently given, this was Bob's time and he took full advantage of it with one great album full of wonderful songs after another. The albums covered during this time period are NATTY DREAD, RASTAMAN VIBRATION & EXODUS the latter of which was voted by Time Magazine as the most influential album of the 20th century.

The 4th and final cd covers the albums released in the final years of Marley's life which include KAYA; SURVIVAL & UPRISING. These are some of my personal favorites from Bob and truly saw him writing a wide variety of songs above and beyond revolution and mystical beliefs. He was truly an all around man, a poetic man, a soul man, an herbsman, a ladies man and a revolutionary man and the songs during this stage of his life explore all of those themes in great detail. One of the crown jewels on this cd is the live version of "Redemption Song" sung at his final performance in Pittsburgh PA. This is a truly wonderful collection that takes us on a journey of historic proportions as this band and it's leader were truly historic in every way.

There will never be another Bob Marley nor will there ever be another band like The Wailers.
Yeah!!!
Yeah!!!
Since watching the movie "Amazing Grace", I have been re-discovering one the greatest singers (soul or otherwise) of my generation. Worth having in any collection.
My beef is with the Amazon packaging. They just threw it in a BIG box without the LP mailer box; just a flimsy bubble sleeve. Surely it was thrashed about loosely inside during shipment that it came with the lower right corner BENT!! If I pay $30+ for an Audiophile Record, I expect it to come it perfect shape. Unacceptable!
Bob Dylan - Roads Rapidly Changing
Bob Dylan - Roads Rapidly Changing
This is an excellent critical and historical walk through Dylan's early career. Those who prefer light narration and mostly music performance would be advised to look elsewhere (for example the Newport Folk Festival DVD set). For those of us who love an in-depth discussion and celebration of the contributions he made to music and songwriting during this period, this is a great gift, with insightful commentary by some of the best music reviewers and documentarians in the business. The series is continued by three other DVD sets: After The Crash (1966-1978), Both Ends of the Rainbow (1978-1989), and The Never Ending Narrative (1990-2006), all of which are well worth the time, depending on the part of Dylan's career you are most interested in. I love it all, and have seen all of them. My only beef is that the two most famous albums of his career, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde, are not covered by this or any of the other DVD sets. How could they leave out that crucial period of post-Newport '65 through the '66 World Tour??? Anyone know of a documentary by this set of reviewers/commentators that covers that?
Vol. 8-Bootleg Series-Tell Tale Signs
Vol. 8-Bootleg Series-Tell Tale Signs
Enjoying all the Bootleg Series so far, haven't got 11 yet but it's going to take a lot to beat this one.

I'm a big fan of Dylan's newer recordings, especially "Love and Theft" and "Modern Times" so an album of outtakes and live recordings from that last twenty years is for me. Favourite track has to be the live version of High Water - almost worth it just for that. This is a must buy for fans of Dylan's later years.
Slow Train Coming by Dylan, Bob Original recording remastered edition (2004) Audio CD
Slow Train Coming by Dylan, Bob Original recording remastered edition (2004) Audio CD
There is a lot I would like to write about people reviewing records, Cd's and music in general but that would be USELESS. The point I'm would like to make is: review should be about each particular edition of each particular album or record on a particular medium. People, at least 90% (or most of them) , are buying because they know this particular piece of music or the artist, they've chosen to buy. So for all of you who are writing abut the history or discography and detailed biography of any artist - it is a waste of time, do not brag about your knowledge, who cares?
What I'm interested in is the quality of a particular edition of a particular album or record. How does it sound in comparison to the original. Period.
That said I'll write about this album, one of my very favorite records which I own already in three different formats.
First of all - it is (my copy of course), junk, crap, absolute rip of, this record released by Music on Vinyl (yes, Amazon specifies the label, as "International") it is nicely packaged, but the quality or lack of it is disheartening. The background noise is just awful, there are pops and clicks just like on an old, used record. I hoped for improved sound and what I've go is piece of vinyl junk. My old "overplayed" copy sound much better and "Cleaner" than this. For the same reason I just requested refund for recently released record by ULTRAVOX - Vienna (I was promised a good copy by the seller as a refund - I shall find out.) Same goes for this record, I'll be requesting refund or replacement.
Music on this album should 5 stars, but for the quality of the pressing gets 1, although it should be - 0
I buy a lot of music on Amazon and most of it is Vinyl or SACD, because of the quality of sound, I wish all of the music or at least my favorite album and records would be released on SACD or downloadable hi resolution files, just to avoid this kind of problems.
Yes, Vinyl Rules!!!
Unfortunately there are a lot of people trying to take advantage of music lovers. Just like the "artists" from Music On Vinyl.
GUND Sesame Street Elmo Stuffed Animal, 20 inches
GUND Sesame Street Elmo Stuffed Animal, 20 inches
So let me preface this by saying I did a ton of research on Elmo plushes before settling on this one, the 20" Gund with soft eyes. I didn't particularly want soft eyes because of the propensity for staining, but what I really wanted was the quality and LOOK of the fur that looks like the actual puppet. Elmo's fur looks kind of thread like compared to normal stuffed animal fur, which was hard to determine online in stuffed animals. I was afraid the 20" Elmo online from other brands wouldn't have that nice fur that the 13" Gund Elmo does, so I took a chance with this.

He arrived promptly and on time in a bag inside an Amazon box. His stuffing is pretty full including his eyes making them stiff and almost a little hard, but he's still a little floppy from his arms and legs. His cardboard or thin plastic mouth, whatever is under the fabric, is pretty stiff meaning the front of his face isn't very soft, but his fur! OMG his fur! It's exactly as I'd hoped and looks like the 13" model stock photos despite being the 20" model. It's really silky and sort of shiny actually. The proper official sesame Street Gund tags were in place letting me know this is a genuine article. Feels very high quality for the price of about $23.

His size is accurate. To give you an idea, I placed a Hershey's kiss on him. I bought this for a 27 month old and think it's the perfect size, what a normal size stuffed animal is. I'm glad I didn't get the smaller 13" because it's just too small to really be a huggable buddy for a toddler. I also bought the playskool jumbo plush cookie monster to go with this Elmo as a Christmas gift because Gund only makes the smaller cookie monster. I hope cookie is as awesome as this Elmo!

Update on review and added photos after receiving Playskool jumbo cookie monster:

So this Gund Is far superior in quality to the playskool jumbo cookie monster, but I love that their sizes compliment one another. Still glad I went with the Gund Elmo, just a little sad that Gund doesn't make Cookie monster in the sane size. I will save the review on Cookie for that particular item, but Do like how both have that similar thread quality like fur like the real puppets. They complement each other well, but it's clear Gund is definitely superior in softness, quality and workmanship.
Scorched Earth
Scorched Earth
This is not a great movie--but it is good enough for the genre and budget. It has budgetary and post-apocalyptic assumption flaws but delivers action with some dry humor while sticking to a tried and true plot line. Considering that we have to work within the scorched earth premise despite a history of adapting to changes amazingly well there has to be some give and take to get the movie out the door. I loved the gritty western style of the filming and sets. Assuming they were setting a western in future explains why our heroine is nearly indestructible. Ms. Carano can play that role exceedingly well. Sadly, the director here should be excoriated for not using her prowess more. One of these days another film will figure out how to use her talents perfectly. Until then.

The bad guys were bad enough. The good guys internally conflicted and in the end they ride off into the sunset which works to close the movie. You can do oh so much worse in looking for action. Nothing here insults the intelligence of a viewer. Points for that and remember we are looking at low budget SF/Western. It is great to see Luvia Petersen getting screen time as she plays grit well. .
DIAMOND SELECT TOYS Marvel Select Beast Action Figure
DIAMOND SELECT TOYS Marvel Select Beast Action Figure
Been looking forward to add this blue guy to my DST X-Men diorama ever since he was announced and am happy to say that he lived up to my expectations. First of, the sculpt is fantastic. Is fur is very well textured, and the paint application is neatly done. I heard a lot of complaints about the face sculpt not being Lee-esque enough for some people, but I do love that he has a more feral look. His articulation is a biiig step up from the early Marvel Select days and shows just how far the line has come. You also get an extra set of hands, which is always a plus. Like many DST X-Men before him, he comes with a piece of the Danger Room. This one is brand new and unique to Beast, featuring bars for him to hang from. The only problem with the piece of diorama he comes with is that its another corner piece. So as of now, someone who has collected all four pieces finds himself with a lovely.. cube. Which is not the best in terms of display options. The upcoming Rogue figure should fix that with the introduction of a non-corner piece that will be much welcome. For now.. gotta use scotch tape and imagination to make a something more linear that holds. I strongly recommend that figure to any fan of Marvel or the character.
A Will and a Way
A Will and a Way
This book was originally released in 1986 and has recently been released as an e-book. It passed the test of time for one of Roberts' early M&B type romances. This is not my normal fare but after an operation I had a need for an interlude from heavy thrillers. This filled the bill - while it does follow Roberts' early romance formulas it is sufficiently different to make it a good read for the genre.

Uncle Jolley was an eccentric but very wealthy old man who disliked and distrusted most of his family but was very close to and doted on his niece Pandora McVie and distant relative Michael Donahue (his mother had been Uncle Jolley's niece by Jolley's son's second marriage). The only problem was that Pandora and Michael had never been good friends.

Uncle Jolley had the last laugh on his close family members when he died. He left his collection of magic tricks to his son, and a nephew who kept the first dollar he had made was left the last dollar Jolley made, appropriately framed. Grand nephew Biff was left his collection of matches in the hope that at last he would set the world on fire.

When it came to the main bequest Jolley left most of his considerable wealth and his huge house (Jolley's Folly) to Pandora and Michael "because they understood and cared". The bequest came with a kicker - they had to move into Jolley's Folly and live there together for six months (with only 2 days away) for the estate to revert to them in equal shares.

Jolley sets up Pandora and Michael to live closely together and really get to know one another. He also stirs up his family to find ways to make sure that Pandora and Michael can't fulfil the requirements of the will.

It was an entertaining and interesting romantic setup, against a background of dirty business by the family. I needed the break and it was especially rewarding as the Kindle book had been discounted to pocket change.
Time Was: Time and Again, Book 1
Time Was: Time and Again, Book 1
I was expecting more of a speculative fiction/sci-fi story. This was more of a straight out romance. The characters were likable, and the writing smooth and polished, as I have come to expect from reading her stories written as J.D. Robb.
I now see that this is the inception of at least a two book series. I will try to find more featuring Libby and Caleb.
Harry & Meghan: A Very Modern Romance
Harry & Meghan: A Very Modern Romance
This is a true documentation of the background of both Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. This documentation will leave no doubt in your mind as to whether or not they were meant to be together. The two have a lot much in common, very intelligent and comes from entirely different backgrounds. They share the same goals, which are helping the world to be a better place. A better place especially for those who at a disadvantage and need to have their voices heard.
Cavalleria Rusticana and Other Stories (Penguin Classics)
Cavalleria Rusticana and Other Stories (Penguin Classics)
I whole-heartedly agree with the last reviewer about how good these stories are, and also about the fact that the title story is one of the LEAST interesting. Indeed, as I read, I continued to be astounded at how good Verga was, and at the fact that he isn't better known (in the US, at least). His best work is right up there with Chekhov and Henry James. "The She Wolf" is shocking (there's really no other word for it); Jeli The Shepherd unfolds almost biblically, and with a great deal of pathos; "Rosso Malpelo" is an enviably good character study (really trenchant psychologically); "Gramigna's Mistress"; "How, When, Why" (though I must profess I don't really understand this title at all); and "The Reverend" are all first rate. And the astounding first sentence of "Getting to Know the King" is so good at setting place, time and character, it should be used to teach writing classes. I heartily recommend this book to anyone interested not only in Sicily, but also in great literature. It's an amazing little discovery.
The Fantastic Adventures of Unico
The Fantastic Adventures of Unico
I recently purchased both "Unico in the Island of Magic" and "The Fantastic Adventures of Unico" together. "Fantastic Adventures" is the first of the Unico movies. I bought them not only out of childhood nostalgia, not only because I loved the movies when I was a kid, but because I knew my daughter would enjoy them.

In the film, Unico is a baby unicorn who has the unusual gift making people happy just by being there. The Gods (looks like Olympus of Greek myth) see this as a threat to their power over mankind, so they banish him and order the West Wind to throw him up on the Hill of Oblivion, to be forgotten forever. The West Wind just can't do it to the poor little guy, so she takes him to various places to keep him safe from the Gods' wrath, keeping one step ahead. During his travels, he helps various characters and kills a monster while in the form of a Pegasus.

These are great films for a fantasy or sci-fi collector, and kids will get into the action,the characters, and the animation. The only warning is that parents should either preview the movies before hand or watch it with their children the first couple of times because of the sequence in which Unico kills the monster at the castle.

As I stated in my review of the other Unico movie "Unico in the Island of Magic", these movies did not phase my 4 year old daughter, but all kids are different. Some kids might love it, and others may be frightened. Just fair warning.

Check them out.
C. S. Lewis: A Biography
C. S. Lewis: A Biography
I've read three biographies of C.S. Lewis and Wilson's is the best. This is largely because Wilson himself is a "man of letters", as was Lewis. And like Lewis, he's written novels, criticism (both scholarly and journalistic), books about religion, was once a member of the Oxford English Literature faculty, as well as an erstwhile fellow Anglican, though much more liberal than Lewis. .

Since Lewis was a writer, his private life was largely uneventful; he "professed" literature and wrote books primarily.

What's important to understand is that Lewis wrote three kinds of books with varying results.

First, and most importantly in my opinion, he was a literary scholar. His ALLEGORY OF LOVE was the definitive (at least in its time) study of "courtly love" in general and Edmund Spenser's FAERIE QUEENE in particular He also wrote Volume 3 of the Oxford History of English Literature, on 16th literature excluding drama, a remarkable achievement. His PREFACE TO PARADISE LOST was a valuable contribution to the 1940s debate on Milton's place in English lit that was started by T.S. Eliot, the great poet, and F.R. Leavis, the great literary critic. He also wrote several minor works, the outstanding example of which is THE DISCARDED IMAGE, a brief overview of Medieval and Renaissance literature. There's no question that all of Lewis's literary scholarship is first-rate..

Second, he wrote books of Christian apologetics, which are the basis for his latter-day fame. No matter whether you're Christian or not, these books are the weakest part of Lewis' bibliography. He was neither a trained Biblical scholar nor a professional philosopher, and his ignorance and contempt for "modernism" in both these areas make his Christian books totally unreliable. He was a dogmatic Anglican, a literalist reader of the Bible, and apparently dismissed the relevance of philosophy after Aristotle and Plato. The pity is that he was a superb prose writer with a first-rate intellect who could have presented the modern view of Christianity very compellingly. Unfortunately, his great appeal today is to Evangelical Christians, who prefer his authoritarian fundamentalism to critical understanding of the Bible and the Christian tradition.

Third, he wrote fantasy novels and children's books. The fantasy novels are, for the most part, good yarns, but they're marred by didactic elements, Lewis's mistaken attempt to make a story a sort of theological tutorial. The best of them, in my opinion, is OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET, which has the least "theology" and thereby gains in readability. The Narnia novels for children are equally laced with theological elements, but I'd guess most children, who read for pleasure and fun, are happily unaware of them.

Wilson gives a sympathetic account of Lewis's life and works with just enough critical judgment to create a picture of the man that provides all one wants to know about him, excepting, of course, Lewis "fanatics".
Laguna Brass 3310CP/4010CP Mobile Home Two Handle Non-Metallic 8" Tub Shower Diverter with Shower Head/Arm/Flange Chrome Finish
Laguna Brass 3310CP/4010CP Mobile Home Two Handle Non-Metallic 8" Tub Shower Diverter with Shower Head/Arm/Flange Chrome Finish
My mother owns a modular pre fabricated home. Anyone that has any experience with these homes knows if you ever have any troubles its not as easy to repair things as a traditional stick built home. Her bathroom tub/shower faucet started to leak about 8 years into owning the home. I had a hard time finding replacement faucets that were this style. I do have to say this product was incredibly easy to install, requiring no hand tools and only a small amount of silicone to seal around the top. The problem i have is the quality of the parts. From what i examined the entire piece is plastic. I knew upon ordering that it was going to be that way i guess i was hoping for metal valves or something not so weak. I wish someone would make an all metal faucet in this style for a reasonable price. All in all i give the product an 8-10 year life span before a handle snaps off, or the valves leak.
Power Rangers The Green Rangers Costume T-Shirt Tee
Power Rangers The Green Rangers Costume T-Shirt Tee
Pros: 1) AWESOME design 2) high quality t-shirt 3) hardly shrank after the dryer, after 3 loads
Cons: 1) because of the belt design the shirt does run long it feels
Other: the shirt size runs direct with US sizing, don't expect slim-fit or sport-fit, if it's XL or XXL, it's really XXL.
Organic Baby Bandana Drool Bibs - Bandana Bibs for Boys, Girls by KeaBabies- Super Absorbent Bandana Drool Bibs - Teething Bibs - Organic Cotton Baby Bibs for Infant, Toddler - 8 Pack Set (Grayscape)
Organic Baby Bandana Drool Bibs - Bandana Bibs for Boys, Girls by KeaBabies- Super Absorbent Bandana Drool Bibs - Teething Bibs - Organic Cotton Baby Bibs for Infant, Toddler - 8 Pack Set (Grayscape)
By the third kid you think you have every product for every thing under the sun. But somehow, we were unprepared for the level of drool our third child would produce. He’s cute, sure, but the spiderwebs of drool he produces are pretty gross. On top of the regular drool, he sucks his fingers - something our other children didn’t do - which really turns the faucet in there on. If the drool isn’t coming straight from his gummy smile, it’s all over those chubby sausage fingers and then all over everything around him.

Well, we were tired of constantly reaching for a burp cloth to wipe him (and us) up so we gave these a try. They’re the perfect balance of cute and functional. Especially when we’re out and about we always have a way to catch all that drool. What we also like is that this will prevent his shirt from getting too wet and those uncomfortable rashes that come along with it.

The bananas themselves are very large, covering his chest completely. He’s a big guy (16.5lbs at 4 months) so this is a plus. The snaps are also well placed and have four generously sized settings. These fit his neck much better than another brand we were gifted. And he’s only on the second size, so this is a bandana that will grow with him if he continues to drool throughout his first year and toddler years. The material is soft and absorbs a lot of drool. One bandana has been plenty to last all day without feeling too gross. Bottom line is that these are a great buy and you get a lot of them for the price.
Alias Grace: A Novel
Alias Grace: A Novel
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood tells the true story of 19th century alleged murderess Grace Marks.

At age 15/16, Grace Marks was convicted of killing her employer and his mistress with a fellow member of “the help”, James McDermott. Grace’s trial was highly publicized across Canada, the US, and Europe (she was an Amanda Knox of her time, if you will, more on that later.) Her story soon became both sensationalized and romanticized, and the true story seemed to fall by the wayside as the years went on.

Throughout Alias Grace, Atwood illustrates a system inherently skewed against someone like Grace because of her sex, age, and socio-economic status. At one point, a character notes that if Grace had come from a wealthy family her “madness” wouldn’t have been handled as it truly was. After the murder trial, Grace’s death sentence was changed to life in prison. However, for the first part of her imprisonment she was committed to an asylum, where Atwood alludes to abuse and sexual assault. I do not doubt it of that period, especially with a woman in that situation.

Alias Grace is a framed story, with Grace recounting her side of the story to young Dr. Simon Jordan. Dr. Jordan has foregone a traditional medical practice in favor of studying the mind and mental illness. As a forerunner of the field (although Dr. Jordan is fiction), he seeks to prove Grace’s innocence by uncovering the truth of the events, as well as Grace’s mental state. It goes without saying that in the 19th Century, the majority of mental illnesses were not yet “discovered”, researched, and diagnosed–thus, the individual likely would have been locked up and forgotten.

I particularly enjoyed Grace’s friendship with fellow maid Mary Whitney, as well as her doctor-patient relationship with Simon Jordan. Mary Whitney is often a foil to Grace; an outspoken young woman in a time when such behavior was viewed with suspicion. In fact, Grace and Mary were so close that I sometimes wondered if there was a Fight Club situation going on with them. I won’t get into spoilers, but there is a hypnosis event that occurs toward the end of the book that will both jolt and chill the reader. For some reason, and perhaps just because of my own world view, I did not go into this book thinking Grace was guilty. On the contrary, I viewed her as an innocent up until the hypnosis, and even after that I wasn’t entirely sure of its validity. I know Atwood is fond of using isolated, perhaps unreliable narrators (i.e. pedestal in Handmaid’s Tale in which we don’t get the full picture, just her perspective). In reality, no one is truly sure if Grace was guilty or innocent. Although the system worked against her, much of the public opinion was that she was innocent–an opinion which would later precipitate her pardon after 29 years in prison. The reader often aligns with Dr. Simon Jordan’s evaluation of Grace, as we are figuring her out alongside him. And in the end, even we do not know the truth.

Simon was an interesting character in his own right, as there are a few chapters from his point of view and even letters from and to him from family members and colleagues. If Simon is reflective of the reader, then we along with him are brought face to face with what anyone might do, or could do, in Grace’s situation. Can dreams and the unconscious so heavily influence our waking actions?

Atwood’s main theme seems to be a comment on society’s pre-conceived notions about women, especially those imprisoned: if a woman is young and pretty, are people more inclined to believe her innocence? And if a woman is old and ugly, does that make her guilty? At the same time, can society accept a young and pretty woman to be evil enough to manipulate people into believing her while she did the crime after all? Is society threatened by a clever woman, full stop, and would they inherently be suspicious of her because of that trait? If Grace had not been so young and pretty, would she still have been given a life sentence? Perhaps if she was ugly she would have been hanged, because society is apt to treat women who do not align with traditional beauty standards poorly. If James McDermott was not involved at all, could society have accepted that Grace may have done it all herself? If James McDermott was not involved, would society still think Grace a manipulative whore or a besotted lovesick girl? Femme fatale or innocent maiden? These two roles are often perpetuated not only in media, but in our society as a whole, as if a woman cannot be anything but one of these two archetypes and nothing more. The greater point I believe Atwood is trying to argue is that women are more complex than falling solely into one category. And the people judging Grace Marks clearly wanted her to fit into one box, regardless of facts vs. the desired narrative. But women cannot be seen as one or the other, nor sensationalized or romanticized, cast entirely aside nor placed on a pedestal. Rather, women should be viewed with all strengths and weaknesses in tact.

Sadly, we will probably never know the truth about Grace Marks, but Atwood’s novel calls attention to issues still prevalent today. How we view Grace will inevitably reflect our own worldview, as it was at the time of Grace’s trial. People will always believe what they want to believe, regardless of the truth.
MAGCOMSEN Men's Polo Shirt Quick Dry Performance Long and Short Sleeve Tactical Shirts Pique Jersey Golf Shirt
MAGCOMSEN Men's Polo Shirt Quick Dry Performance Long and Short Sleeve Tactical Shirts Pique Jersey Golf Shirt
This shirt is awesome. I have a difficult time finding shirts especially that fit because I have a long torso and shorter legs. I am 6’ and this shirt fit perfectly. There’s enough to tuck in and stay tucked in when I bend over/down which at work is a lot. Other reviews say they are rough on the skin but they really aren’t at all. The inside is smooth. The Collar is a little big but it’s a work shirt and doesn’t take away from the awesomeness. I recommend this shirt if you’re looking for an affordable work shirt that’s basic but still appropriate. If it falls apart I’ll let everyone know but day one, I love it and I will definitely be buying more. Edit: these are some of my favorite work shirts. They seriously allow air flow. I have some sweat issues at times and end up sweating through all kinds of shirts but with these I don’t. Not once in two months. I will buy again. The only thing is you don’t want to wear them while walking through blackberries or pick up a cat with claws as they can snag. No star loss for that tho; they’re still great shirts.
Krups EA 8000 Kaffee-Vollautomat Espresseria Automatic (Dampfdüse) schwarz
Krups EA 8000 Kaffee-Vollautomat Espresseria Automatic (Dampfdüse) schwarz
Nach langer Suche haben wir uns für diesen Automaten entschieden, da wie ich finde, auch das Preis/Leistungsverhältnis stimmt. Leider lag nur eine Kurzanleitung bei, die längere muss man sich erst downloaden.
Habe das Teil jedoch dann mit Hilfe der Kurzanleitung in Betrieb nehmen können und war sofort positiv überrascht.
Der Automat ist kinderleicht zu händeln und auch die Reinigung ist kein Problem.
Cappuccino-Liebhaber sollten sich allerdings weiter umschauen.
Die Düse für den Milchschaum ist sehr laut, und erhitzt mehr oder weniger die Milch nur, anstatt sie aufzuschäumen.
Jedoch für den einfachen Kaffee-Fan eine tolle Alternative zu den anderen oft sehr teuren Geräten.
Raíz de regaliz sin alcohol, 1 onza fluida, de Nature's Answer , AF98, 1, 1
Raíz de regaliz sin alcohol, 1 onza fluida, de Nature's Answer , AF98, 1, 1
Absolutely delicious! (If you love black licorice, that is!) I need to take this for adrenal fatigue and also for Gastroparesis. Was told to start with 25 drops under the tongue, hold about 10 seconds, then swish around your mouth before swallowing about 10-15 min. before eating....making sure to use it 3 times daily. Some other benefits are if you have a sweet tooth, after taking this for a couple of weeks, this "urge" for sweets drops dramatically. Stress eaters, this is a MUST for you! It calms and relaxes as well, but in no way makes you sleepy. If anything, you have a positive mood and out look as well as a little livelier bounce in your step! lol :) Seriously, this is awesome, but was told to keep an eye out on my BP. If your blood pressure increases and doesn't go down, from long term use, it might be better to go with DGL (Licorice Root Extract w/o the ingredient that increases your BP). I, however, have been and remain fine with this. You're suppose to increase to 50 drops 3 x's daily and as you see evidence of it working, then cut down to 2 x's daily & maintain at 1 x daily unless you feel yourself slipping back. These are MY instructions I was given, I'm not a doctor, and not trying to be. Just giving my info. But think this is absolutely wonderful. Will update in a few months.

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