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Lark (North Coast of Ireland)
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With Charity toward None
With Charity toward None
by Florence King
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read of a particular tone and temperament which would resonate with many readers, 10 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A distinctly mixed read this one, although that said I did like it and perhaps it could be that there are not many books which deal with the topic of misanthropy at all, let alone fondly or sympathetically. Written in 1992 do not expect to see any more recent paragons of misanthropy from fact or fiction, such as Dr House which I think could by turns be either one of King's "tender" or "intellect" misanthropes.

This book has a contents, unfortunately there is no index but there is a bibliography with introductory passages and a list of references, with stars marking those which the author particularly enjoyed herself and would recommend to other readers (including Irving Babbit, Russell Kirk, Simon Schama).

The style and pace of the read I did not find to be particularly consistent, with some chapters I enjoyed a lot more than others, the first chapters I felt were distinctly aimed at the author's target audience of Americans, small town conservatives or curmudgeons and deal with seeming paradoxes such as the legend of souther American hospitality given that they dont appreciate the influx of people moving out of the cities. It is proceeding through these chapters that King develops her own theories and sets out her own idiosyncratic stall for misanthropy, describing there are being "tender", largely compelled by feeling and sometimes disappointment or disillusionment, misanthropes and then "intellect" driven misanthropes, those who think their way to misanthropy.

By far I thought the greatest chapters were the later ones in which King presents a number of short biographies or character sketches of the people she believes conform best to her theory, these were very interesting and while a selection from historical sources and celebrity or superstar renown do seem to bare out very well what King has said. Although this is no real research project with theories proffered and data fielded which could prove readable but the whole time lead the reader to suspect confirmation bias at work. This is more a literary work or tribute, as the subtitle of the book itself says, a "fond look" with some of the introduction and some of the epilogue leading the reader to suspect it is semi-autobiographical, a product of King's own reflection and response to others labelling her (I have not read any of King's other books and would only be vaguely familiar with her political perspective which I believe is similar to pop-conservatives like PJ O'Rourke but nothing like Ann Coulter).

The book does present the good, the bad and the ugly in a certain sense, King presents the tender and intellect driven misanthropes, does not engage in any kind of phoney valourisation of individuals she clearly admires a lot, something I can respect her for. I actually enjoyed the chapter on Ayn Rand and I hate that author and all her work with a passion.

The chapters on individuals who posed as witch doctors and choose the companionship of great apes and wildlife over people only to end up murdered in their beds were something a little marvellous in the recounting of a mix of misadventure and ill temperament. Likewise the chapters of totally little known historical figures, such as totally raging Frenchmen from Rousseau (actually there is some of the best material on Rousseau and the cultural mileau and ferment of the French revolution and after, and the long shadow it casts through left vs. right traditions and politics right up to today, that I have ever read) right through to bonkers pseudo-fascists. I absolutely loved the critical eye to one biographer who attempted apologetics for one raging misanthrope by saying that while the seemed to hate people and the world so much they had a great "love of life".

It is not all simple homage though, King includes a piece about misanthropes she could not warm to at all, this is pretty much the "ugly" of the set. Man are they ugly too. I had heard about some of the early icons of baseball being violent or savage but I had thought it was restricted to the field and really meant hard nosed competitiveness, in that I clearly was mistaken. These are totally unlikeable individuals but unmistakeably misanthropic, which King doesnt shrink from.

I did like this book and I would recommend it but there are chapters which are stronger than others, it is also an idiosyncratic collection by an American, I suspect pretty much for an American audience and perhaps an established readership. That said it could be an interesting read of a particular tone and temperament which would resonate with many readers.

Philips Shaver Series 9000, Wet and Dry Shaver with SmartClean S9031/26
Philips Shaver Series 9000, Wet and Dry Shaver with SmartClean S9031/26
Price: £199.95

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, close electric razor and beard trimmer/shaper recommended., 9 Oct. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have been, with the exception of short time on and off in my late teens and early twenties, a devotee of using a razor and suds to shave believing that electric razors were about convenience but never as good for clean, close shaving. However this shaver has provided me with as close a shave as I have ever been able to get from a razor and suds. The promises made in the product description details about the pivoting heads and closeness of the shave absolutely accurate, whether dry or wet shaving. The beard trimmer is also very good for shaping beards, side burns or shaping the hairline around the ears even.

There are two heads for the shaver, the triple circular pivoting head and a beard trimmer or shaper head, the each attach or detach by being pressed on or pulled away from the socket on the handset. This is pretty intuitive but there is a label on the handset to provide guidance straight out of the box, there is also a guide groove which alines with the fitting of each of the heads for the shaver. The shaver comes complete with plastic and zipper carry case in which both heads and handset will fit.

The shaver can be locked (indicated by a flashing lock symbol) and the three lit up bars indicate the amount of power remaining in the handset, there are also other symbols, a reminder for cleaning, an overheating indicator, blocked shaving head warning. The battery life of the shaver is pretty good, lasting long enough to take it with you on a short break, and the shaver can be charged directly or in the free standing cleaner, both have attachments for the charger capable (which is a standard two prong electric razor socket for which you will need an adaptor if you are going to use a standard UK wall socket).

The freestanding cleaning unit works pretty intuitively too out of the box, the handset sits face down with the three circular shavers facing downward and the press on/press off head secures to the bottom of the handset to allow charging, at the side of the base there is a button which presses to allow the cleaner to open for the blue liquid cleaning fluid cartridges to be inserted (one of which is included with the razor and cleaner). The cartridge has simple instructions on it to open the foil wrap before inserting the cartridge and closing the cleaning unit once again, ready for use. The only detracting factor about this cleaning station is that if you do not keep it upright the fluid can run out of the case. Once you have cleaned the razor you can use it straight away, you dont need to shake of excess residue or dry the head in anyway.

The entire kit is well packed in the box it is supplied in with an inlay book which explains completely the device, the two heads and their use, the use of the cleaning station, the various symbols which light up on both the handset and the cleaning station (all of which is very clear, uses bullet points, pictures and clear simple text), which is boxed with the Philips certificate of purchase and a card introducing you to the Philips Male Grooming Club with a code to log into the website. All in all a very satisfactory product, recommended to anyone who is an electric razor user or thinking of trying electric razors for the first time or as an alternative to a razor and suds.

Tefal Safe to Touch Kettle, 1.5 Litre, 3000 Watt, Black
Tefal Safe to Touch Kettle, 1.5 Litre, 3000 Watt, Black
Price: £32.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good kettle but with a short lead., 25 Sept. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a good kettle, it takes very little time to set up straight out of the box and its pretty intuitive to "assemble" and operate.

The pot sits upon an independent base which has the lead and plug attached to it, the lead is pretty short, shorter than two other kettles I own and this is why I gave this four rather than five stars but I have heard others say that they thought the shorter lead was a "safety" feature, it does mean that your kettle will be pretty close to the wall socket though (if this means the kettle is beneath a cupboard it could mean the steam from the kettle on the boil will rise up and damage the cupboard).

The lid opens when you press back a little mechanism and pull it up, this isnt really intuitive and at first I simply tried to pull the lid up the way, if I had applied a little more force I would have broken the lid but thankfully I did not, however, this is better than other kettles which have buttons at the head of the handle or thereabout to release the lid on a sort of springloaded mechanism which can become damaged or worn with use meaning you have to fill the kettle through the nozzle.

The casing of the kettle pot is double insulated which means you are not liable to get roasted by accidentially touching or brushing it, this feature really is a plus over some other kettles I've owned which do tend to conduct heat a lot through the casing.

The switch is located beneath the handle and automatically shuts itself off when the kettle reaches the boil, although this is almost a standard feature now, at least in the last two or three kettles I have bought, which were not all Tefal. I have heard that switches of this kind are prone to breaking or wearing out quickly and render the kettle useless but this has not happened with this product so far, I've been using it for some days now without a hitch and will post an update should this occur, as yet I could not complain about it.

The product comes complete with the manufacturers guarantee and an inlay card instruction manual which is clear, concise and easy to follow. It is well packaged too within a cardboard box and molded cardboard casing for the base, which makes it handily stored and stacked when not in use.


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the book referenced in the War Machine review, 25 Sept. 2014
In my other review of the 2000AD Presents War Machine I referenced this Rogue Trooper Annual, the other book (War Machine) contains the origin tale of "Friday", the one time "future" of Rogue Trooper, a "gritty reboot" to use a cliche, and two seperate short strips, one from this book, another from the comics.

This book is for anyone at all who read War Machine and liked it, I think fans of Rogue Trooper would also appreciate it because it is a piece of history showcasing what writers and artists at the time were sure was the "new wave" but which readers were less excited about, preferring the earlier incarnation, which was more WW2 American GI than Vietnam or later war era conscript a la Hamburger Hill and Platoon but also, arguably, more sci fi with dead soldies surviving in sentient telekinetic bio-chips mounted on his helmet, backpack and rifle rather than as memories associated with the same kit.

This book contains an illustrated non-comic strip story about Rogue's development and training, a good piece of writing about future war on film, a "classic" Rogue Trooper story to contrast with the black and white print story featuring Friday, a number of Friday stories and a page comparing and contrasting the old and the "new". I do not know why the annual in its entirety was not included with the other material contained in War Machine as they all belong together. Its good to see that this is still in circulation in the marketplace and maybe the publishers will create a single volume at a later date.

The War Machine
The War Machine
by Dave Gibbons
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.31

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The future that almost was, 25 Sept. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The War Machine (Paperback)
The Rogue Trooper series is about as recognisable, to fans of the 2000AD universe at least, as Judge Dredd, so why would anyone think of changing it? Well, that is exactly what I was amazed to discover they had done one christmas when I was gifted the Rogue Trooper annual for that year.

This annual contained comparisons between the old and new Rogue trooper, explaining why the writers and artists felt a "gritty reboot" (to use the internet cliche) was necessary, what their influences were, old and "new", ie Friday, story lines, a long essay about "future war" and an illustrated story which wasnt a comic strip.

At the time I had, after reading the initial story, thought that perhaps I just had not read a Rogue strip in a long time and the story had moved on but then I read about the reboot and was pretty worried. This was 2000AD and not Marvel or DC, characters if they died or changed did not make a come back, there wasnt a multiverse, storylines were pretty canonical and I imagined the original Rogue was gone, soon to be forgotten. I need not have worried because it was the original Rogue that lasted in the minds of readers, console games were released featuring the original Rogue trooper, bio chips and all etc.

This volume contains the origin story of Friday, the one time "new" Rogue Trooper, a black and white one of tale and one more one of tale in full colour. There is some thematic continuity from the earlier Rogue Trooper storyline, Rogue is now named Friday but he is a genetically engineered soldier, the last of his kind, a lone survivor who has kit, a helmet, rifle and backpack, gleaned from his dying comrades and he is seeking, at least initially, to avenge their loss. It is an anti-war war comic like the earlier incarnation, possibly even more sophisticatedly so but it also explores humanity too(the "flaw" which turns out to be a strength).

The black and white one off is a great tale I recall from the annual, about soldiers stranded after the war is over, there is a genetically engineered monster but it is really a foil to the story's real point. The colour strip is a short affair Rogue is involuntarily pitted against another in a duel to the death by slaver psychic mutants.

I gave this five stars because I think it would please anyone who was familiar with the Friday "detour" or totally new to the idea, the writing is good and the art is good too. Although there were a number of great stories in the annual I mentioned which were not included here and I do not know why, one featuring savangers louring unsuspecting ships in with decoys, Rogue could kill them but turns their attention to pirates hot on his trail. In another writers describe how Friday experiences a weaponised acid rain as being like hot match sticks on his skin. Finally he seeks to defend a seemingly defenseless circus troop from someone murderously pursuing him who apprently aims to exploit them but who turns out to be their main course at a cannibalistic religious ritual. I mention these because the Friday reboot allowed for some of the best post-apocalypse/future war story telling I read but its not here, the origin story is though and I wanted to read it and like the others it was top notch.

Huy Fong Sriracha Chilli Sauce
Huy Fong Sriracha Chilli Sauce
Offered by Wholesale UK
Price: £8.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Really good hot sauce for cooking or garnishing food, 21 Sept. 2014
Really good hot sauce for cooking or garnishing food.

I originally tasted this sauce in a restaurant which had prepared chicken wings or ribs with it as a sort of basting sauce and I had thought it was a cooking sauce, it can be, although it could be as easily used like ketchup or a dipping sauce or used in sandwiches or on burgrers or hotdogs.

It is a hot, hot chilli sauce, unsweetened, but it also has a distinctive taste after the heat. I've tried lots of different sorts of chilli sauces, like the Daves Insanity Sauce range and this Sriracha sauce is the best of them all.

Tacwise Electric 16G Finish Nail Gun
Tacwise Electric 16G Finish Nail Gun
Price: £116.69

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great product, it is supplied in a molded, 19 Sept. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a great product, it is supplied in a molded, heavy duty plastic case and is itself a pretty sturdy and hardy tool, I believe it would be fine to take out of the workshop to any sites under construction (although the inlay card discourages using extention cables and for site work the cord which is attached to the nail gun would be a little short).

It is an electric nail gun, with a power cable which is attached to the bottom of the hand grip, the flexibility of the wire is good and does not inhibit the use of the nail gun at any angle, ie using it facing up the way above the head to affix a door frame, using it facing forward or using it facing down the way, when working at a workshop table or affixing a piece of wood flooring. It uses clips of singular nails all attached together, a box of which were supplied with the nail gun itself, the silver metal angular front of the nail gun houses the slide, which is released by a large switch, rolls aside and provides the space for the clip to be set in with the slide pused back into place and clip affixed once more the spring load is active and its ready to operate. The is a system for clearing jams on the top of the slide, which operates fine too, it springs up and releases the nails which can be gripped by the aft quarter and removed to release the jam. All the clips are easily operated, bulky enough to be easily flicked but not liable to be a nuisance or catch on things.

The balance and weight of the tool is good and it fires the nail with enough force as to not require a hammer for finishing the drive in most of the time, as recommended on the youtube instructional advertisements which are available for this tool (there is also a helpful website) placing a second hand against the butt will ensure that nails are driven all the way into the surface everytime.

There are a number of safety features, a switch on the base of the nail gun to cut the power, a small light which indicates when it is operational, a rubberised tip on the nozzle which needs to be pressed against the surface in order for the mechanism to fire the nail. While it is intended for the tradesman or a DIY workshop the inlay card which comes with the nail gun is pretty clear and it does not take that long from you take it out of the box to master its use. The recoil when firing the nails is not the great and as previously stated further stability can be provided by using both hands when working it, I would not consider that this would take a lot of cleaning and maintence to keep it operational and most of the moving parts were the is liable to be jams are not exposed that much as to be present a problem working in the vacinity of a lot of cement or brick dust or sawdust.

Recommended as a good tool for anyone doing joinery work at a workbench or in construction, I used it to secure frames and fittings on a shed and it worked the very best. On the strength of this product I would consider other Tacwise tools and products too.

The Erich Fromm Reader
The Erich Fromm Reader
by Erich Fromm
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars When I first got this I was skeptical because it appears like a short book to cover all of Fromm's thinking ..., 15 Sept. 2014
This review is from: The Erich Fromm Reader (Paperback)
For one superb overview to Fromm's thinking look no further than this.

When I first got this I was skeptical because it appears like a short book to cover all of Fromm's thinking but it is a very well choosen selection of writings accompanied by a foreword from Joel Kovel, introduction from Rainer Funk (Fromm's biographer), a great contents and index, each section is prefaced with an introductory overview too.

The contents cover the length and bredth of Fromm's developed thinking very well as follows:

Part 1: Studying The Social Unconscious: 1. The approach to a psychoanalytic social psychology; 2. Social psychology as a combination of psychoanalysis and historical materialism; 3. The Dynamic concept of character; 4. The Social character and its functions;

Part 2: The Discovery of Different Social Characters: 5. The Authoritarian Character; 6. The Marketing Orientation; 7. The Necrophilous Character;

Part 3: The study of Mother Right and Its Significance for Social Psychology: 8. The significance of the theory of mother right for today; 9. The theory of mother right and social psychology;

Part 4: A New View of Society: 10. The social unconscious; 11. The sick society: On the Pathology of Normalcy; 12. Steps to a New Society;

Part 5: Another view of human nature: 13. On the search for the nature of man; 14. Freedom and growth of the self; 15. The Art of Loving; 16. Self-Love, Selfishness, Selflessness;

Part 6: Faith in Humanity: 17. The humanistic credo; 18. Authoritarian versus humanistic religion; 19. Religous Experience and the concept of God; 20. De-repression and enlightenment: Psychoanalysis and Zen Buddhism.

I have read a lot of the original material which has been arranged in this book and would recommend it as an excellent resource to anyone who is entirely new to Fromm or anyone familiar with his books and perspective. The material is presented in such a way that there is great structuring of diverse material, Fromm's focus, arguably, changed and evolved over time and with his reception of new material himself, such as Bachofen's book about Mother right but there was always, arguably again, a thematic continuity and perspective or outlook.

For that reason alone it is worth purchasing even if you are already acquainted with some of the content, the arrangment and accompanying introductory passages I thought provided greater clarity than some intellectual or general biographies I have read. I do speak perhaps as someone who has been building a personal liberary of "the complete Fromm" but I do not believe I am mistaken in recommending it to established and new readers alike.

The Boy in the Book
The Boy in the Book
by Nathan Penlington
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ... a fan of these as I was would be pleased by this book, 14 Sept. 2014
This review is from: The Boy in the Book (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I bought this book as a fan of the Choose Your Own Adventure books which are pivotal to the unfolding story and I believe that anyone who is as big a fan of these as I was would be pleased by this book. However, I would not suggest that it a read which is unlikely to appeal to a broader readership, in fact I would hope that it reaches as large a readership as possible, it deserves to.

The book is non-fiction, well, as becomes clear in the introduction and afterword, as close to non-fiction as makes no difference but there is artistic licence taken with the construction of the narrative. Penlington is a poet, writer and performer after all, what he narrates is his discovery, when indulging an obsessive streak and nostalgia trip, of pieces of a lost diary inserted in the Choose Your Own Adventure Gamebook. The discovery becomes an obsession of its own and he decides to try and find the diarist.

The books which I expect this book to resemble were those of Danny Wallace, which can be discovered (oddly in my opinion) in the travel sections of bookstores but which narrate his personal adventures with things such as saying yes more often or looking up the former friends in his life. Wallaces books I enjoyed but always felt could generally have been half as long as they were usually in practice, the adventures felt like they were often padded out and writ larger than life. Penlington is not like that at all, I got the feeling he had a lot more to say about a lot more things, the nature of obsessions and obsessiveness and a lot more sharp observations of the everyday and mundane details which prove remarkable upon a second thought.

The pace and style is well done, the narrative just flows, there is a contents page, a list of sources and references and acknowledgements but, disappointingly, no index, which is largely why I gave it four stars rather than five. It is a minor complaint but given that the rest of the book is so, so clearly such a labour of love and comprises such great detailed information such as the full titles of all the Choose Your Own Adventures books, hand written notes, character assessments, letters and lists all produced in full it did seem odd that this was the case.

The reconstruction of dialogue and sequence of events is done very well but what maybe makes the book, and certainly was a high point for me, is the punctuation of the text by the aforementioned literary asides, reflections and observations. Like the observations that the best lies contain the most truth, returned to in the afterword in which Penlington concludes by suggesting that the best truth is one which is almost a lie explaining the origin/genesis of the book itself.

There was a lot in this book which resonated with the, most of the reflections upon obsessivenss for instance, the bidding wars for books online and hunting down precious items which others would not consider precious at all. It is probably why I liked it so much and would recommend it so strongly, however, I think the book has great merit even if you are unlikely to belong to the same niche adventure games books and obsessives that I am part of. Its just possible that even if it does not resonate with the reader the quirky, cookie, possibly cracked nature of the adventure will be enough to provide a compelling read anyway.

Very Best of Bob Newhart
Very Best of Bob Newhart
Price: £5.01

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars is available on YouTube if you would like to give it a listen to test run the ..., 14 Sept. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Absolutely hilarious.

I was reminded of this comic artist by an episode of Mad Men in which they are gathered around a record player listening to a recording of his act, I promptly decided to look up the availability of his material in a more modern format and here it was.

Some of the material, the more famous such as The Driving Instructor, is available on YouTube if you would like to give it a listen to test run the content to see if it is the kind of humour that you like. The sound quality is great, it may have been recorded live, remastered or recorded from the original record recordings but it is clearly audible and audience noise does not detract in any way from the content delivered by Bob.

There are bound to be people who may seize upon minor details, such as The Driving Instructor sketch featuring a woman driver, to suggest that the comedy is chauvinistic or dated in terms of social attitudes but that would be unfair whether or not it could ever be proven that this was significant at all. Its not what I found made for laughs either.

The sketches are usually telephone conversations or "overheard dialogue", I dont know the extent to which its scripted or improvised but it is really and truly belly laughs and laugh out loud funny stuff. Like the "sales pitch" of Walter Raleigh's discovers to a sketpical and incredulous public back in England, its not possible to say more without providing spoilers which I know some people find highly disagreeable in a review, or another reflecting upon the fact that teams of experts are always deployed to defuse unexploded bombs, well, what if some pretty inexpert guys are called to respond instead?

This is good clean funny humour which is likely to appeal across any age divide and provide a great spoken word accompaniment to any road trip or journey.

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