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M. A. Ramos (Florida USA)

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Ten Tea Parties: Patriotic Protests That History Forgot
Ten Tea Parties: Patriotic Protests That History Forgot
by Joseph Cummins
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.41

4.0 out of 5 stars A Quick Read, 5 Mar. 2012
The author has written short concise chapters in which he summarizes some of the political and sometimes violent protest against taxes that took place before the American Revolution. The colonist did not like being taxed with out being represented or the monopoly of the East Indianian Tea Company. The author does not write about these protest in a vacuum; he gives the reader an introduction of the politics and economics of the period. These political protest of the time are placed in the geopolitical context of the economic problems the Great Britain was facing because of the cost of protecting these very colonies. Especially after incurring the cost of the Seven Years' War.

Until recently when anyone mention 'Tea Party' they were referring too the Boston Tea Party. This historical event is taught in U.S. schools and is a well known piece of Colonial American history. What is taught in the U.S. is a watered down history and in this small book you learn it was just one of many protest and not the first. Though not a scholarly work the book is well written and covers a summery of some British Colonial American protest; mainly focusing on the, tea protests (parties.)

Hell & Back Again [Blu-ray] [2011] [US Import]
Hell & Back Again [Blu-ray] [2011] [US Import]
Offered by Newtownvideo_EU
Price: £21.95

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Documentary: In Combat and Back Home, 27 Jan. 2012
This documentary was filmed by Danfung Dennis. Danfung is a photojournalist and was embedded with U.S.M.C., Company E, 2nd Battalion, in a 2009 assault on Taliban forces in southern Afghanistan. This is not the standard documentary; we see appropriately sanitized war footage along with life when returning home. The subject in this case was 25 yr. old Sargent Nathan Harris who was wounded in his last mission before returning home.

There is combat footage along with the Marines social mission of working with the local population and winning their confidence. The populace knows the U.S presence will eventually leave and they fear the Taliban reprisals, so it is a thankless task for our marines. We get to watch these interactions as the occur in this documentary.

Danfung has taken the editing approach of of taking the viewer from combat to home and back again seemed too work well. He does not do any interviews and lets the scenes speak for themselves, though he did edit the film so it is his view we are seeing. But it is a real view...though the war zone is worse than pictured as is what Sgt. Harris must have gone through too even reach his therapy and being at home with his wife. You can see the amount of drugs they use too aid in his therapy to reduce the time required in interaction with medical and counseling personal.

At least now with the new laws Sgt Harris had the choice too stay in the service and is getting better treatment than if he had left. But it is obvious in the documentary that he is dealing with combat fatigue, what we today call Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD.) And every returning soldier lies about on their exit forms when leaving the theater of operation so they can get home. (This procedure is not shown in the documentary.)

Staying in service with the support of his fellow marines, his loving wife and his desire to get back into the field will hopefully keep him motivated. The Sgt. represents the typical combat veteran returning home. Yet in his case we must add too his homing coming his traumatic injury. It was the same in most wars. Men change form what the see and do and realize, though dangerous, life for them is easier in a war zone. That is why you see so many volunteering for multiple tours of duty. The Sgt. is still young but a professional soldier and seems too be continuing to strive too perform his duties.

The documentary does not seem too have any political agenda, that I could see, and I like that. The camera is just a witness too what is transpiring. It brings too light what all these young men are going through and hopefully many will get too see this film. There is no glamor ...only duty.

The Dolphin in the Mirror: Exploring Dolphin Minds and Saving Dolphin Lives
The Dolphin in the Mirror: Exploring Dolphin Minds and Saving Dolphin Lives
by Diana Reiss
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.12

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Memoir of a Dolphin Activist, 13 Oct. 2011
This book starts off with a prologue that has nothing too do with dolphins but is an interesting read. Dr. Reiss has shared what she recalls as her part in the rescue of the humpback whale Humphrey back in 1985. Though a compelling read it seems she has given herself a more prominent role than I have read about from other accounts of the rescue. Regardless of what transpired with those involved in the rescue it shows that she was considered an expert in her field and it must not have hurt that she was available and in the vicinity.

The body of the book then starts in earnest and she take us back another ten years too relate how she left her original field of study and work too become involved in the study of dolphins. She shares some of the pioneer work of the scientist that came before her that were working on trying too show dolphins cognitive abilities. As well as the work with primates that had been done using the mirror test she used. It is obvious that she made up her mind about dolphins without the quantitative proof and corroboration of other scientist. I too wish too believe as she does in the dolphin species and that of whales.

Dr. Reiss is the director of dolphin research at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. When I went to read this book I was expecting Dr. Reiss too give us an introduction to her work with dolphins and go into depth on how her work has shown that the dolphin is an intelligent creature with self awareness. The title basically tells you all you need too know for the basis for her theory. Basically using an old mirror test, that some scientist had agreed for convenience, that if a creature could recognize itself in the mirror and not look at the reflection as another creature it was then self-aware. This self-awareness equates too a superior type of intelligence above that of most creatures in the animal kingdom.

With a lack of sharing scientific analysis or objectivity she relates her life over the years working with a few captive dolphin. Dr. Reiss also covers some of the ancient myths and history associated with the dolphin and ties them into some more recent activity. This memoir does an excellent job of showing how a behavioral scientist works who has become emotionally attached to her subjects. She has shown us that she has a perceived empathetic link with the dolphins she works with. And she thinks they return this. If this is the case is it because they have no choice; if they wish too stay healthy and eat. For some serious research work would need too be done with dolphins in their own realm. She has taken some theories and have referred too them as fact a few times. But as this is not a scientific work it will not detract any from the memoir.

This memoir seem too be written with the purpose to get people to know she exits, too become emotionally involved with the dolphin species through her shared experiences and the main reason I feel for the book; her activist work too stop the annual slaughter of dolphins in Japan.

On the good doctors drive too stop this wholesale slaughter I completely agree. These villages are not destroying this wonderful creature for subsistence. They do it for money and in the most barbaric way as they call it a tradition. I have seen some film clips and can not imagine how bad the clips are that have not been released.

When I received the book its premise was that of a scientific work and it's subtitle 'Exploring Dolphin minds and Saving Dolphin Lives.' What we have here is a book with no time continuity and that should have been subtitled 'A Memoir and struggle to Save Dolphin Lives.' And in this endeavor I hope that Dr. Reiss is completely successfully in stopping the recorded annual slaughter. If it was touted as a memoir of an activist this would be a four star book but as the science is lacking I feel compelled too rate this as I have.

Saints Preserved: An Encyclopedia of Relics
Saints Preserved: An Encyclopedia of Relics
by Thomas J. Craughwell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.95

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Easy read of Short Biographies, 15 Sept. 2011
Saints Preserved by Thomas J. Craughwell is a short book that has an alphabetical list of saints. In this work, self titled an encyclopedic work, the author gives a very short biography that contains no new information and the location(s) of the saint's relics and in some cases how they came too be there. The book is a light work and has no new insights, but then the title claims too be about the Holy Relics. In this work the main subject is only touched upon as an aside on the small biography of the saint. The books does not contain even and index which an book of this kind should have.

Mr. Craughwell does not make light of his subject and this may be a good book for someone who is not looking for full biography of the saints or where they may find any saints relics. For a set of books that one can read on the biography of saints I would suggest "Butler's Lives of the Saints" which contains (as of a couple centuries ago) over eighteen times the number of biographies than this book and is more in depth; though relics are not discussed. It is a shame too have wasted this opportunity for a reference too Holy Relics. The author could have included the Holy Relics chain of documented custody and present location(s) that would make an excellent four too five volume book in small font. If the font used in Mr. Craughwell's book is used it would probably fill twelve volumes or more.

Even the limited saints covered are not covered in their full entirety. I am right next too a Relic Chapel containing properly ecclesiastically documented first century Holy Relics through twentieth century Holy Relics of some of the most well known which are included in this book. He seemed too have missed these Holy Relics on saints he included in his book even though they are written about in various areas and the information is easily found in the public domain. I think this book, though missing location of some of the relics he actually covers and has a very limited number of saints covered, is a good rudimentary introduction as too saints and some Holy Relics locations; if known. Either the title needs some work or the author was rushed into publishing.

Logitech Wireless Keyboard K360 - UK layout
Logitech Wireless Keyboard K360 - UK layout
Price: £24.99

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Small but Feature Filled, 3 Aug. 2011
I was looking for a new keyboard as the one I use now has some of the keys fading out and makes it necessary too look for typos from the missing letters. I also have special requirements of the keyboard being wireless, light and not have so many optional keys on its upper surface above the function keys as too be in the way. This keyboard met all those requirements. Where the Logitech logo is is a perfect place too support the keyboard.

Why I need those particular functions is I am stuck in a hospital bed so the keyboard rest on my chest or stomach depending on how the bed is set up that day. This Logitech keyboard is small and light that I even fall asleep with it on me. When I type I can use one hand too grasp the top, which I must do, in order too use the keyboard and type with one hand. This keyboard always me too do that as my last one did.

The Logitech Wireless Keyboard K360 is a black keyboard as pictured which is my preference and looks to be of a good quality. As I already had Logitech's SetPoint software on my system I just add this keyboard too it and added it too the software's' keyboard section. This software will allow you too program the features you wish too use or remove. If you do not want to program any special keys or turn off any functions you will not need the software but I find it very handy. Though I have read it does cause problems with some games I have never personally experienced this.

I have not tested the range and will not be able too but the computer is over ten feet away from where I use the keyboard. Since the lights are normally off here I would have loved a back lit keyboard of this size and configuration but one does not exist. And for $30 the keyboard deserves solid functions and a quality product. And unlike your old Christmas toys the batteries are included. All I need now is too replace my old mouse with a wireless trackball mouse which is used on my bed and I will be set.

If you need a small, light high quality keyboard at low cost this is a good choice. Remember it is not a gaming keyboard yet I use it for gaming. Though I must admit most of my functionality for what I play is through my mouse. I am very happy too have a working keyboard that I can use!

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
by Laura Hillenbrand
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Resilience of Man, 3 Aug. 2011
Faith Potts the author of 'Seabiscuit' writes the life story of an American named Louis Zamperini. And a story it is; one that will keep you turning the pages. note there is descriptions of violence and none of it is gratuitous. The author has chosen a subject whose biography needed too be shared.

Louis Zamperini was born in 1917 lived an extraordinary life. A prodigy runner in his teens, after breaking state and scholastic sport records went on too become an Olympic runner for the U.S.A. and competed in the Berlin Olympics. He was too compete again four years later but the Olympics was canceled do to the world being aflame in what we now call His story of a runner alone would have been inspiring and interesting but it was cut short. by World War II. As his life moves forward we follow and read how Zamperini tried to enter the United States Army Air Corps as flier and washed out...yet he is soon recalled into service to fly during World War II as a bombardier.

The book goes on to expound upon life as an Army Air Corps Bomber crew training and war time experiences. And this part of his life is over shadow by the amazing resilience he showed when he survived his bomber crashing into the ocean. Zamperini spent forty-two days adrift at sea surviving against the elements, Japanese pilots and sharks. This will too survive was rewarded by almost making land just too be picked up by the Japanese. He thus became a Prisoner of War (POW) of the Imperial Japanese Military. The story he relates is common too ones I had heard from others and yet though very hard and trying not as bad as some as the other camps. it seems he and the men with him were even part of the infamous Japanese biological and chemical warfare test.

At the end of the war when the U.S.A. had dropped the first Atomic bomb his camp was close enough too it too know something had happened. And though they were tortured, subjected too medical experiments, and used as forced labor these last few days of internment must have been the worse. Not knowing if the Japanese where going to kill you after you have learned they had lost the war and surrendered and you were days if not hours away from rescue.

Louis Zamperini does survive and returns home too the U.S.A. and the girl that was waiting for him. He does not adjust well too being back into life and has some problems, drinking being one of them. Memories of his time in the raft and as POW always in the back of his mind. He later relates how his wife was able too get him too attend a young Billy Graham revival, which he was not pleased too be at originally. He credits Billy Graham's ministry with his religious awakening and this new found faith gives him the strength too not only forgive but has a redemptive quality that changes his and his families life for the better. It is an inspiring story of the resilience of man. We can endure many horrible things and survive....and forgive. A must read book.

Maria: The True Story of the Beloved Heroine of The Sound of Music Edition: Sixth
Maria: The True Story of the Beloved Heroine of The Sound of Music Edition: Sixth
by Maria Von Trapp
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars + half a star, 7 July 2011
This is the autobiography of Maria von Trapp whose name was made famous by the movie 'Sound of Music.' But this was written years later and is not the book that became the inspiration for the movie. That book is her first book titled 'The story of the Trapp Family Singers.'

In this book we the author shares her life and thoughts from childhood up to the time of the writing of the book. The exception is that she does not retell the part of her life from her first book so together they could be considered account of her life to that date. An account one must read to have insight into who she was. Though there are a couple of discrepancy between her two books I would attribute them too time; or perhaps trying to separate the fiction of movie from life. This is hard too determine.

We read of her childhood which adds details as too why she formed the personality she did. Left too be raised by relatives she never knew her mother and very rarely saw her father that she considered herself an orphan. How her love of the Church diminished in this atmosphere as her love of the outdoors grew. We see how close she crossed the line toward what we would call a juvenile delinquent. And then her re-awakening that drove her too impetuously run too a life of piety at the Nonnberg monastery, a cloistered monastery.

It was from this monastery that the Mother Superior sent her to be a tutor for the von Trapp family. She writes that she fell in love with the children so accepted the proposal of the Baron too become his wife and the mother of his children. She briefly touches her life during this period that is covered in her first book and we take up with her later in life. Her life as a world touring speaker and the families very interesting section on where she was sent to the Pacific to see and show that lay missionaries could be of great benefit and where some of her children were missionaries.

The book concludes with her growing old and her stubborn too not let go of control of guiding the family. Her recognized weakness over her life and her regrets. The writing appears too be very open and personal with all that she shares.

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
by Fr Gregory Boyle
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.29

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational, 26 Jun. 2011
In this book Fr. Boyle S.J., a Jesuit priest, recalls his experience working with gangs in Los Angeles County for more than two decades. He openly discusses ministering in jails and starting Homeboy Industries, a gang-intervention program that offers education, job training, tattoo removal, and employment. This memoir includes spiritual reflections and vignettes of those he ministered too.

Death by China: Confronting the Dragon - A Global Call to Action
Death by China: Confronting the Dragon - A Global Call to Action
by Peter Navarro
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wake up call, 24 Jun. 2011
This book was not a surprise. What is written here has been reported by various sources. NGO's (non-governmental organizations) and even in brief blurbs in the media expose the human rights violations. But many people hear it, think that is horrible, and then forget it. 'Jane's' has documented the military build up and we experience the repercussions of today's economic reality. This book is not against free trade but for real free trade as agreed too when the countries joined the WTO (World Trade Organization). It outlines the danger's of China's trade practices too the U.S.A., the Chinese population and the world at large.

Human Rights violation are numerous and blatant in China and a few of these are addressed in this book. Some of these violations are in the government sweatshops that manufacture the worlds goods today. And the authors do not ignore the great injustice the Chinese government perpetuate on their own population. Some have written that this book is an attack on China; and if revealing what is happening in that country is an attack then they are correct. The author make sure too document what the cite.

It is not a well kept secret about China's human rights violations, their unfair trade practices and their military build up. I even knew about the event's in outer space, cyber-attacks and the secret submarine base. But the true extent of China's long term goal for world economic and military domination seem to be going forward with the aid of the governments of the people they plan too subjugate. They are successfully dismantling the industrial might of the U.S.A. as well as it's Research and Development capabilities.

Death by China not only covers China's corrupt leaders but also those of other government's that are naive or corrupt. As well companies only concerned with today's profit margin and not their long term future or that of their countries. While media focuses on false domestic economic predictions or the hostilities in the Middle East, China is quietly colonizing the world and looking to the heavens.

The authors remind us of the China's government has the patience and ability to create and follow through on long term, multigenerational, plans. These plans include the destruction of other countries economies, forced monopolies on raw materials, environmental destruction, large militarization, and the control of outer space. The authors do a good job on each of these subjects in text book form that is very readable and succinct. In each section the authors tell you what they are going to cover, then go into details on the subjects the outlines and then summarized what was just read. You will come to see how all these sequences of events are part of a larger plan. The end of the book outlines the problems faced by the world because of China and some proposed solutions too think about.

Read this book and do your own research. If the nothing changes China will become the next global leader. It seems that politicians of the world are worried about their own present self-interest and ignore the ramifications on the peoples future they are suppose too represent.

At the Devil's Table: The Untold Story of the Insider Who Brought Down the Cali Cartel
At the Devil's Table: The Untold Story of the Insider Who Brought Down the Cali Cartel
by William C. Rempel
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Inside the Cali Drug Cartel, 24 Jun. 2011
Over almost a decade investigative reporter William Rempel compiled the information needed too write this book. A book that gives us a peak inside the violent world of the Cali Drug Cartel. The center of the story and the author's main source was a cartel insider named Jorge Salcedo. A man who became close too the head of the cartel and their head of security.

Jorge Salcedo is the son of a retired General of the Colombian army. He was at age forty-one an engineer, businessman, and entrepreneur who was a member of the Colombian army reserved where he had fought the FARC. This story starts in 1989 when Mr. Salcedo working on a new business venture was summoned too a meeting in Cali and escorted by a life long friend. From what we read he agreed to work for the Cali Cartel bosses as security in order too protect them and their family from Pablo Escobar the head of the Medellin Cartel.

Mr. Salcedo became head of security, very close too the bosses of bosses, and involved in hiring mercenaries to assassinate Pablo Escobar. His innovation in secured electronic communications with off the shelf items is amazing. As is the thought that he thought he could actually resign from the organization. He tries too justify his actions by helping his country; first by eliminating the man responsible for much violence against the population and government. But as he continues to work and aid in the facilitation of international and national crime. He tries to avoid any knowledge of the drug business or any violence. Yet he becomes informed and involved with the Cartel's assassins.

From 1989 through 1995 he worked for this very violent and large drug cartel. It is safe too say that his security measures allowed the Cartel to survive as a large organization as long as it did. Of course he is also the sole cause of its abrupt demise. When he realized that he was being brought further into the Cartels violent business he decided he had too get out and eventually was in contact with the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Mr. Salcedo saw his only way out of the organization, and the only way to keep himself and his family alive, was too destroy the organization.

The book reads as if its a well written crime novel. Mr. Rempel corroborates Jorge Salcedo's story based on interviews with Jorge Salcedo with cooperation of the involved agents from the DEA, prosecutors, U.S. Customs Service and various archives in the united States and Columbia. The book has an epilogue which summarizes what happened to those involved in the Cartel on both sides after the arrest of the head Godfather. Mr. Salcedo is presently under the protection of the Witness Protection program. The book is worth reading with the proviso that you know the book contains violence.

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