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Cheers -  The Complete Seasons Box Set [DVD] [1982]
Cheers - The Complete Seasons Box Set [DVD] [1982]
Dvd ~ Ted Danson
Price: £30.00

89 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cheers to a Comedy Classic, 7 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Whilst words such as 'classic' and 'great' are frequently used in reviews, there are only a small number of TV shows that deserve to be given that type of status and Cheers is one of that special breed. A TV sitcom that maintained a high quality of scripts and performances throughout eleven seasons and even spawned a spin off TV show called 'Frasier' that also managed to enter the Pantheon of comedy greats.

To be honest, whilst I'm a fan of Frasier, by its eleventh and final season, it was running out of gas...and gags. In contrast, Cheers ended it's long run on a high note. In my humble opinion, that is just one of the many indicators of the show's comedy greatness.

The eleven seasons of Cheers were originally broadcast between 1982 and 1993. Although the earlier seasons have been available on DVD for several years, it is only now, twenty years after the last episode was broadcast, that all episodes have finally been released in the UK.

If you are already a fan of the show, this review is pointless as you will wish to purchase the show regardless of what I say. If you haven't seen the show before but are considering taking a leap into the dark, trust me, you won't be disappointed.

Regardless of whoever you are, I would offer some words of advice. The eleven season DVD box set was released in November 2012. I happily purchased it from Amazon in early December for forty three pounds (Cheaper than anywhere else). This was during a short period of two or three days when the price had dropped from nearly ninety pounds. Within a few days they were out of stock and then a couple of days after that, the price was up again...this time to ninety three.

You may wish to bear that in mind before handing over your hard earned cash. If you can wait, I would suggest you hold back until the price is more realistic...around forty or less. Compare this item with an eleven season Frasier box set Frasier: the Complete Seasons 1-11 [DVD] and you will see what I mean. The price will come down. Whilst ninety three pounds is cheaper than buying each season individually, you are still paying about fifty pounds more for this box set than it will cost in a matter of weeks.

By the way, the 43 discs come in two rather clever plastic boxes that don't take up much space on a shelf. On the downside, you won't have any booklets containing episode names / details, in order to find a favourite episode etc. However, thanks to the wonders of the internet, you can Google that information in a matter of seconds.

Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 19, 2013 8:47 PM BST

The Ladykillers [DVD] [2004]
The Ladykillers [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Tom Hanks
Price: £3.24

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Leave It Alone!, 30 Oct. 2010
This review is from: The Ladykillers [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
The normally safe hands of Tom Hanks and the Coen brothers failed to conjure up the magic of the original Ealing classic The Ladykillers [DVD] [1955]

This remake possibly suffers from the fact that it is a remake of a classic. Perhaps if you haven't seen the original, it will be possible to view it in a more open-minded and sympathetic manner than I and thousands of other people have managed. However, I have to wonder, why did they bother doing a remake of something that was already perfect?!

I think that all fans of the original Ealing comedies must now pray that Holywood (or anyone else for that matter), never contemplate remaking Kind Hearts And Coronets [DVD] [1949], which is the best of the best Ealing comedies. If it's a classic, leave it alone!

Logitech Notebook Riser N110 - 939-000096
Logitech Notebook Riser N110 - 939-000096

5.0 out of 5 stars Rises To The Challenge, 30 Oct. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I use a computer in my job, so my daily total of hours positioned in front of a computer is probably well above average. As a result, I have certain expectations and requirements in the equipment I use, both at work and at home when using my laptop.

This Riser is ideal for the average sized laptop, not just Notebook sized computers. It raises your laptop off the desk and holds it at a more user-friendly height and angle (adjustable). This will help prevent sore backs, necks and shoulders that are common problems in prolonged use of laptops. Therefore you are payinga small price for better posture! The Riser can also be rotated on a swivel base which can be a handy feature. The build quality of the Riser is more than sufficient for the purpose.

Obviousy, when your laptop is elevated you would have difficulty using the keyboard. To get around this issue, you simply need to purchase a new keyboard. My suggestion would be an inexpensive but good quality keyboard such as Microsoft Wired Keyboard 600 - Black which simply plugs into a USB port on your computer. It's that simple to connect it - no need to install any software etc.

You might also want to purchase a mouse (even if you don't purchase the Riser or keyboard) rather than use the touch sensitive pad (Which for me is a bit too fiddly). An excellent mouse that I bought about a year ago is the Logitech M505 Wireless Mouse - Black. Simply plug the little receiver into a USB port and away you go. Again, no software to load from a disc, as it's already in the receiver, which is so small that you needn't remove it again. Plug in and forget about it.

In summary, the Riser does everything you would expect and hope it would do. You can't really ask more than that!

Logitech M505 Wireless Mouse - Black
Logitech M505 Wireless Mouse - Black

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Logical Choice From Logitech, 30 Oct. 2010
I've owned this mouse for about one year, which means I've had a quite a long period to properly road test it.

Firstly, I'm still on the same battery, so battery life isn't really an area for concern. It helps that there is a small switch on the underside of the mouse to switch off the power when not in use - not an option on every mouse.

The receiver is really small and unobtrusive in comparison to the alternative models on sale. In short, you would hardly notice it. The fact that it is smaller than other receivers, means that there is less chance of it being damaged and if you are using it with a laptop computer, you can put the laptop in a case without having to remove the receiver. So, you can plug it into a USB port and forget about it. The software is inside the receiver, so there is no need to load anything from a disc etc.

The mouse can be surprisingly far away from the receiver and even continues to operate when there is an obstacle in the way. For example, I can put the mouse on the floor under my desk and the receiver still picks up the signal. The mouse itself has really good build quality and is both accurate and responsive in use.

I bought this for use on my laptop computer, as I don't like to use the touch sensitve pad (Too fiddly for me). This wireless mouse has made life a lot easier and I've had no regrets.

If you are a laptop user may I suggest a couple of other recent purchases that you might be interested in. The Logitech Notebook Riser Logitech Notebook Riser N110 - 939-000096 when combined with a Microsoft Wired Keyboard Microsoft Wired Keyboard 600 - Black means that you can raise your laptop off the surface of your desk. It's not good for your back or neck if you are staring down at your laptop's screen for prolonged periods. The Riser holds the laptop and you simply plug the keyboard into a USB port. The riser and keyboard are compact and easily stored when not in use.

Combine the riser and keyboard with your wireless mouse and you have a reasonably inexpensive but good quality conversion for your laptop.

Wonder Boys [DVD]
Wonder Boys [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Douglas
Offered by Compilationheaven
Price: £7.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Wonder Boys, 30 Oct. 2010
This review is from: Wonder Boys [DVD] (DVD)
This won't be everyone's cup of tea, which probably explains some of the negative reviews. However, if you are looking for an intelligent, quirky comedy then you will be delighted and dazzled by this little gem. Some reviewers found the pace a little slow, but I feel that is part of the film's attraction. It gives you time to immerse yourself in the story of a long but eventful weekend. I suppose it's really a case of horses for courses.

Michael Douglas delivers his best acting performance (in my opinion) as an aging, pot-smoking college professor / award winning author, who has been working on his difficult and seemingly never ending second novel for a mere seven years, whilst his personal and professional life crumble around him.

During a long, hectic weekend, the professor has to deal with a troubled but gifted student (Toby Maguire - pre-Spiderman), his very needy literary agent (Robert Downey Jnr), a lover / student (Katie Holmes) and a wife (Frances McDormand) he is losing to a colleague (Richard Thomas - aka John Boy Walton)...oh yes, and a murdered dog in the boot of a stolen car.

The role is well outside Douglas' normal territory. Clearly, he loved the part and set his ego aside when he put on the pink bathrobe and thick rimmed glasses.

The director Curtis Hanson had previously worked on the brilliant 'LA Confidential' L.A. Confidential [1997] [DVD]and chose to follow up that triumph with a move into comedy.

Bob Dylan won an Oscar for the soundtrack (Title track: Things Have Changed).

I've watched the film four or five times over the years and I'd be happy to watch it again in the future, which I think is good indicator of the quality of the script, performances and direction. Therefore, a good investment for your money and an excellent addition to your DVD collection.

by Robert Mason
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

5.0 out of 5 stars A Book You Will Probably Buy More Than Once, 28 Oct. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Chickenhawk (Paperback)
If you are unsure about buying this book, please note how many people in these reviews have replaced their old or lost copies of this true classic on men at war. As with a number of other reviewers, I'm on my second copy. I foolishly give my original book to someone else about twenty (or more) years ago and it never returned (Which appears to be a common problem with this book). Earlier this year, I bought a new copy. My bookshelves seemed incomplete without a copy of Chickenhawk. I'm now buying a third copy for my nephew who was recently on holiday in Vietnam - he wasn't even alive the first time I read the book!

Why are so many of us hooked on this particular book? The simplest way to find out, is probably to read it yourself! The blurb on the cover uses words like "stunning" and unlike many other books with similar reviews and critical hype, the content of Chickenhawk actually lives up to the glowing reviews. I've read many books on the history of the Vietnam War and war in general, but Chickenhawk, even after more than twenty years, still has me in it's spell. If you had to pick one book on Vietnam, or even one book written from the perspective of a soldier in any war, it would be difficult to find one better than this.

Robert Mason puts you in the pilot seat of his Huey helicopter and takes you on a trip that you'll never forget and never want to forget. Whilst a book cannot compare with the reality of being in combat, this is surely the closest you can get to the stress, excitement, fear and horror of modern war, without leaving the safety of your armchair. If you've had a 'bad day at the office', imagine flying into a 'Hot LZ' (Hot Landing Zone) to rescue troops whilst being fired at by enemy soldiers hiding in the surrounding trees. Do you abort your mission and abandon the guys below, or do you touch down on the LZ, with bullets pinging against your Huey?

Robert Mason takes you into the thick of battle and brings you out alive and quite a bit wiser on the realities of war.

You may also wish to consider 'Dispatches' by Michael Herr.

Dispatches (Picador)

Keeping Up Appearances - The Essential Collection [DVD]
Keeping Up Appearances - The Essential Collection [DVD]
Dvd ~ Patricia Routledge
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: £29.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comedy. It's a funny old thing., 9 Nov. 2009
I bought this for my mum and dad. They loved it. It comes under the heading of 'Good clean fun'. It has a gentle humour and contains nothing that is going to shock or offend....unless of course you happen to be 'James', who left a rather negative review about a year ago. Apparently he's not a fan of this show, or Jeremy Clarkson for that matter. James is offended by TV comedy shows that get their laughs at the expense of a character. This, according to James and his Austrian chum, Mr Freud, is so that we can feel better about ourselves. This, in James' opinion is being very 'English'.

Well James, clearly you need to watch more TV sitcoms, including US shows. Just about every sitcom produced in the last fifty years, invites the audience to laugh at the characters, due to their...stupidity, egotism, misfortune etc etc etc. If you think that laughing at a character in order to make us feel better about ourselves, is restericted to British sitcoms,I would suggest that you should try watching 'Cheers'. It's American (NOT English) and one of the best sitcoms of all time. Every character is flawed in some way, and we are invited to laugh at their stupidity / egotism / paranoia / snobbery etc, but that doesn't stop the the viewer from loving the characters. They are flawed, just like us and everyone we know. We're not laughing at them, we're laughing at ourselves, our friends and relatives. Cheers (like most if not all sitcoms) is a reflection of ourselves, but magnified for comedic effect.

Keeping Up Appearances is just following on in the tradition of sitcoms. So dear James, I suggest that you build a bridge and get over it. If you don't like the show, don't watch it. Or do you simply like complaining about things? Try watching 'One Foot In The Grave'. You might see a reflection of yourself in one of it's characters. I'll let you guess which one!

Gunsmoke and Mirrors
Gunsmoke and Mirrors
by Henry McDonald
Edition: Hardcover

25 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Reality Check For Irish Republicans, 20 Nov. 2008
This review is from: Gunsmoke and Mirrors (Hardcover)
"Gunsmoke And Mirrors" is a refreshing change. Henry McDonald, a Belfast born journalist, has turned the spotlight on Sinn Fein and the IRA and illuminated them in a way that so many others in his profession have failed to do. Unlike others in mainstream journalisim, he has side-stepped the Sinn Fein propaganda-machine and revealed what really lurks behind the smoke and mirrors. It will certainly make unpleasant reading for the "true believers" who support Sinn Fein / IRA, as it basically says that Sinn Fein / IRA have ditched their old ideology, but have been careful not to draw too much attention to the fact they have sold out. No doubt many Republicans will try to dismiss the contents of the book, however I believe that is what psychologists call, "living in denial".

McDonald has challenged recent attempts by Irish Republicans to rewrite the history of the "Troubles", and create a myth that will justify and rationalise their campaign of terrorism. He has questioned why so many thousands of people had to die when peaceful democratic avenues were open to Republicans, despite Sinn Fein / IRA attempts to say otherwise. He has highlighted the ideological flip flops that Irish Republicans have had to make, such as now accepting that the "British presence" in Northern Ireland is not simply British soldiers, but actually one million citizens who live there and condsider themselves to be British.

As a result of the Good Friday Agreement, Sinn Fein has had to accept the principle of consent, ergo constitutional change can not occur without the consent of a majority. This is in stark contrast to the belief that a strategy of terrorist violence would bring about British withdrawal and a united Ireland, despite the wishes of the majority to remain within the UK. The full implications of this has been missed by many Sinn Fein supporters and Sinn Fein have not exactly been quick to provide them with a reality check. However, former Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, has given his assistance by expressing his opinion recently, that a 51% majority of pro united Ireland voters in Northern Ireland, would not be enough for a workable process of change towards Irish unity. It would probably require 65%, therefore the prospect of Irish unity is somewhat in, probably not in our lifetime. That's rather longer than many Irish Republicans seemed to believe, which is not too surprising really, as Sinn Fein have been slightly more optimistic when communicating with it's voters!

In short, constitutional politics has survived and prospered in Northern Ireland, whereas the revolutionary violence of the IRA has been shelved by the very same people who where once it's main advocates. The poacher has been forced to turn gamekeeper. Although, not surprisingly, Sinn Fein propagandists try to put a rather different spin on this.

So why did Sinn Fein / IRA have to wait until now to make the change to democratic politics and accept the principle of consent? Why did we go through decades of death and destruction? Why did so many people have to suffer? These are awkward questions that Sinn Fein / IRA have tried to avoid answering (even when asked by people from within their own ranks). Thanks to books such as this and journalists such as Henry McDonald, people will be forced to confront the facts, rather than wallow in the Republican myths currently being propagated. It's time for a reality check and this book helps to deliver it.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 22, 2011 7:44 PM GMT

Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America
Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America
by James H. Webb
Edition: Paperback

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scots-Irish building America, 23 Oct. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As someone who actually is Scots-Irish or Ulster-Scot, I would happily recommend this book. It is an aspect of history that attracts far too little attention, despite the influence the Scots-Irish have had on the world, especially in North America. An influence that for too long, was virtually forgotten.

"A Yank in Belfast" questions a few aspects of the book, such as their defence of the frontier,"...Webb goes too far in defining this attribute as somehow ethnically unique." I would say that Webb actually has a point. If you properly understand the history, culture and character traits of the average Scots-Irish settler, you would know that they were ideal frontiersmen: Independent; self-reliant and unafraid to fight for what they believed in.

Their religious beliefs, through the generations had also moulded many of them into quite radical political thinkers and they played an influential role in rebellions on both sides of the Atlantic in the 1700s. A German captain fighting on the side of the British during the American War of Independence even said, "Call this war by whatever name you may, only call it not an American rebellion; it is nothing more or less than a Scots-Irish Presbyterian rebellion". George Washington said, "If defeated everywhere else, I will make my last stand for liberty among the Scots-Irish of my native Virginia. All of this, combined with such things as their influence over the Declaration of Independence (which a Scots-Irishman printed) and many other things I could list, I think supports James Webb's comments about the importance / influence of the Scots-Irish in the history of the US. The qualities / culture / history of the people, made this possible.

The comments of "A Customer" I feel say more about his / her stereotypical ideas and prejudices against his / her Scottish Lowland neighbours, than they do about James Webb's book, or the Scots-Irish. I would suggest that you would have been better spending your time outside grinding your axe rather than reading a book about people for whom you clearly have "issues". Maybe it's time you got over, whatever your problem is. You have made various accusations & criticisms, including Webb's "ignorance". Having studied 9000 years of history that would be somewhat relevant to the contents of this book, I would suggest that readers simply ignore the historical ignorance revealed in your comments and enjoy the book.

This is an important and interesting aspect of history that people seldom have the chance to read about, which will make it all the more surprising!
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 8, 2015 3:25 PM GMT

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