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truman jones "Professor" (London)

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Homeland - Season 2 [DVD]
Homeland - Season 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Damian Lewis
Price: £11.50

0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unintentionally hilarious, 1 Oct 2013
This review is from: Homeland - Season 2 [DVD] (DVD)
The first series of this remake of an Israeli TV show was fine. However, they have to keep milking it to death, don't they?

So here we have Carrie, mentally unstable (though her CIA bosses don't seem to mind), utterly incompetent (I think she would struggle to run a cake stand at a school fete, and yet she is apparently blessed with superhuman intuition and intelligence), totally irresponsible regarding her 'friends' (but hey, why should her CIA boss mind she is pleasuring a suspected Islamic terrorist).

And on and on and on it goes.

Utter trash really - but so funny because it is SO ridiculous. 2 stars for comedy value.

Culinare One Touch Automatic Can Opener, White
Culinare One Touch Automatic Can Opener, White

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect - and better than any other make, 1 Oct 2013
Does exactly what it says on the tin...

PLUS unlike cheaper models from other makes, it rarely sticks. Compared to the cheapo models, this is well worth the extra price.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 2, 2013 7:00 AM GMT

The Pantomime Book: The Only Known Collection of Pantomime Jokes and Sketches in Captivity
The Pantomime Book: The Only Known Collection of Pantomime Jokes and Sketches in Captivity
by Paul Harris
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable and useful book, 18 Sep 2013
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I know three people who crib from this book for their own productions every year. Pantomime is a genre which is very specific in the sort of gags it uses - and they have just been adapted for every age. Old jokes never die!

The best book of its kind around, perfect for all am-drams too.

by Jim Crace
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Stylish but irritatingly romantic 'green' polemic, 18 Sep 2013
This review is from: Harvest (Hardcover)
I really disliked this novel, though I absolutely loved Crace's The Gift of Stones. I found this irritating, sanctimonious, twee, smug - in other words, perfect to appeal to all the hypocritical yummy mummies who work in publishing an d worry about the environment (whilst driving 2 cars, taking multiple holidays and leaving a much larger carbon footprint than almost anyone else).

I am glad he is on the Booker shortlist though - and he's even favourite - but I doubt he'll win because he is too white and male.

Tom Sutcliffe in The Independent nailed it - why this book is so irritating. Google that. Here's it is:

'I had that odd "missing step" experience last week of expecting a discussion about a book to go one way and then finding my expectations completely confounded. The book in question was Jim Crace's Harvest, a novel about the fragile social eco-system of a remote English village and what happens when a more mercantile attitude to the landscape is imposed upon it.

It was up for review on a radio arts programme and I expected the conversation to play out as a set of polite reservations. I was completely wrong. Two of the readers who gave their opinions reacted instead with something like rapture. They didn't just like the book, they thought it was exceptional. They weren't alone. One newspaper reviewer announced the novel was worthy to stand alongside the work of William Golding. And having felt disappointment myself - with that weightless presumption that others would feel just as I did - I was momentarily doubtful about just why it was that I couldn't join in the chorus of praise.

I'm not anymore and it was Ruskin who helped me out - more specifically that section of his book Modern Painters in which he writes about the pathetic fallacy, his own coinage for the writerly habit of attributing to inanimate objects the sentiments and reactions of living ones. Crace is an absolute demon for the pathetic fallacy in Harvest.

Here is its troubled narrator writing about a sleepless night: "The night itself is keeping me awake. Its wind is pelleting its buckshot stars across the sky. The trees cry out already for their departed friends." A little later, preparing to plough a field, the same man takes aim on a distant oak. "An oak is trustworthy," he writes. "It wants the plough to find a true, straight way, then it can preside all year over a pattern that is pleasing to its eye." I'm afraid I found myself wondering if old Uncle Oak, so steady and sagacious, couldn't have had a quiet word to calm down those wailing hysterics who kept the narrator awake a few nights earlier.

Ruskin is quite brusque about the pathetic fallacy. It is, he announces, only "the second order of poets who much delight in it". Then again, he counts Keats and Tennyson in the "second order of poets", so it's not exactly terrible company. And Ruskin also concedes that the pathetic fallacy can be emotionally effective. It isn't pathetic in the most common current meaning of that word - feeble and faintly contemptible. It's pathetic because it relates to pathos and deep feeling. Ruskin offers bad examples (he gives Alexander Pope a furious pummelling) but also good ones. And what separates the latter from the former, he argues, is the sense that an emotion has somehow bled across from the writer to the thing written about.

You could argue, I guess, that Crace's narrator has personified the night out of the frustration of insomnia. It can feel as though nature is in conspiracy against you at such moments. But I still think you'd run into trouble attempting to parse that sentence about the buckshot. Has the wind got a licence for its shotgun? And what might this scene actually look like? Isn't the point about stars that they're fixedly indifferent to the weather? I just can't find a perspective from which that sentence doesn't look wildly overwritten. Nor one from which that passage about the oak doesn't sound like the wildest kind of townie romanticisation. Would a real countrymen ever think something quite so silly?

Ruskin, in grand Victorian style, ascribes to his readers the emotions his argument requires them to have. Pope's image, he declares magisterially "has set our teeth on edge". After last week, I'm not second-guessing anyone else's response but I surely can't be alone in having winced while others raved?
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 1, 2013 11:38 AM BST

Cyberstalking: Harassment in the Internet Age and How to Protect Your Family
Cyberstalking: Harassment in the Internet Age and How to Protect Your Family
by Paul Bocij
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £22.64

5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Read, 15 Sep 2013
Here's a book a certain people should read. An interesting first book on the debate; also a useful guide to what cyberstalking is and whether certain people encourage and provoke it (as happens a lot on Twitter). Remember, it is easy to block posters on Twitter and emails too - yet 'victims' don't do that often. Why?

Also, please remember, it's not only men who are cyberstalkers - women, especially women scorned, are the worst stalkers - just like every teacher knows girls are the worst bullies at school, devious, underhand and vengeful. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned...

I have had 2 cyberstalkers following me round Amazon now, leaving abusive comments after my reviews. Some people have too much time on their insane hands...

The Myth of Autism: How a Misunderstood Epidemic Is Destroying Our Children
The Myth of Autism: How a Misunderstood Epidemic Is Destroying Our Children
by Ismael Mena
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful and Controversial Book, 15 Sep 2013
This is a brilliant book and anyone who has swallowed the lie that any quiet, shy child - usually a boy expressing normal male behaviour - is somehow 'ill' or has a disorder that needs medical treatment and expensive medication (funny how medical companies and drug companies push the myth for all they're worth, isn't it?)

40 years ago no boys (or girls) who were quiet and solitary got a label - except the most extreme cases. There are conditions and behaviours which could need children to be in special schools. However, what we do now is medicalise ordinary human behaviour - esp male behaviour - and that is wrong. In fact, it is tantamount to child abuse.

I know Oliver James and Baron Cohen have investigated this, the latter with brain scans, and have received much abuse from the usual suspects (defensive 'moms' who cannot stand anyone pointing out the emperor has no clothes - see the 1 star review for this book by a typically badly-educated angry specimen; deranged loons like Alexander Lofts, by cyber stalker).

However, when people think about this rationally, what good is it to label our children all the time? Why label ordinary human behaviour that does not conform to parents' and schools' ideals?

The APA - American Psychological Association - have fabricated and cobbled together thousands of disorders over the last few decades - it only needs 4 behavioural criteria to get a new so-called 'disorder' or 'syndrome' rubber-stamped. Of course, such disorders will need therapists and expensive treatment from psychologists (so the APA is feathering its own nest BIG TIME); those with these invented disorders will also need medication (and surprise surprise the corporate drugs companies have lots of pretty pills to treat these NON-illnesses.

It's worse in the USA than here - but the UK has become dangerously in thrall to woolly thinking, psychobabble spuriousness, specious evidence, scaremongering by the media, and the rantings of gullible, defensive, ignorant, ill-educated 'moms'.

I pity the children. There really is nothing at all with most of them: they are just perfectly normal kids with solitary and shy personalities. Those with any knowledge of history will see how many writers, artists, scientists etc have been like that, and many boys and men ARE like that. They are not ill; they do not have a disorder; they are human and male, and 100% perfect as they are.

The Myth of Autism: Medicalising Men's and Boys' Social and Emotional Competence
The Myth of Autism: Medicalising Men's and Boys' Social and Emotional Competence
by Dr Sami Timimi
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.74

1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest and brave book, 15 Sep 2013
This book is the equivalent of a whistleblower - the little boy pointing out that the psychobabbly therapy 'disorder' clothes everyone loves to smother themselves and our children in are not real but largely cultural and diagnostic.

These days, esp in the USA but also in the UK< if a boy at school is quiet and shy, very solitary, and - and here is the cruncher - not behaving in a female manner (being being vocal, sociable, enjoying company and group work all the time) - then he is likely to get someone labelling him as 'on the autistic spectrum' or branding him with some other disorder.

But who is this diagnosis and label really helping?

The boy? Nope - his life can be seriously hurt by such labels.

However, parents feel better as they can abdicate any responsibility for their withdrawn, shy, anxious and unconfident son from their behaviour (though loads of evidence shows many such anxieties are caused by babies and young children being separated from their mothers too much and too early - and that is not PC in our society of women working and au pairs and dumping babies on baby farm nurseries...)

And of course getting a diagnosis of special needs gets extra funding for the school and extra help for the parents and children. Such kids also get more time in exams and maybe a free laptop for flip's sake!

So there are several strong motivators here encouraging people to crave such diagnoses.

30+ years ago such children would have been called shy and typically male (boys are NOT girls - they are more solitary in general and less talkative, and that is evolutionary - their brains are 100% normal male); these days in our feminised Western world' they get labelled 'on the autistic spectrum' for not behaving like mummy did when she was at school (and the lack of common sense fathers at home hardly helps matters - a lack of dada really does mess boys' lives up, and there is a plethora of evidence showing this).

Moreover, in other culturs - Japanese, Indian, Chinese - such boys, who are perhaps quiet and studious at school, would be called ideal sons! Not boys with ANY problems at all - but superior to the girly chatty boys who like skipping games with the girls.

Let's stop trying to turn our boys into girls or expecting they will behave like girls; like appreciate that their shy and solitary behaviour is 100% normal and not at all a 'disorder' with a label (invented anyway by the psychobabble industry for its own ends).

Most of all, let's never ever give any such boys any medication, Ritalin of SSDs or Xanax: that is child abuse. End of. Perhaps we can ban psychologists? They seem to have created a plethora of fake disorders that they profit by to a quite disgusting degree.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 22, 2014 6:38 PM BST

Under the Paw: Confessions of a Cat Man
Under the Paw: Confessions of a Cat Man
by Tom Cox
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Well-written magazine-story-type tale of a tom and his cats, 14 Sep 2013
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This is a well-written book written like a long rambling magazine article; the subject is not cats, but Tom Cox the author, and his life, world, past, family, loves and cats. But that is what it is, and it does not perhaps pretend to be any different. Not laugh out loud funny but amusing enough.

And boy is it refreshing to read some quality prose - albeit magazine-y/chatty/blokey/rambling prose - instead of the twee, glib, mawkish, amateurish waffle most cat books are written in. Nice to be free of the mawkish, cheesy self-pity and sentimentality too. I think Mr Cox's being a man and a former professional journalist makes all the difference here.

So, even though it's rambling and even though it's more about Tom Cox than cats, I give this well-written 'story of my life' book 4 stars.

Wrinklies' Joke Book: The Old Ones Are The Best
Wrinklies' Joke Book: The Old Ones Are The Best
by Mike Haskins
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Amusing book for oldies, 14 Sep 2013
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This is more amusing anecdotes and stories, rather than one liners and stand-up jokes. However, despite that, it'll bring a smile to the lips of all but the most grouchy.

Well worth getting as a present for the oldie in your life.

City of Laughter: Sex and Satire in Eighteenth Century London
City of Laughter: Sex and Satire in Eighteenth Century London
by Vic Gatrell
Edition: Paperback

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic book with lovely illustrations - and a sense of humour, 14 Sep 2013
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This is worth buying for the illustrations alone.

But the rest is great too, despite the velvet clawed cattiness of academics in other reviews (why on earth should this be 'less male' and why should this author have waffled on about feminist theory? I bet your books are tedious if you do that, love!)

Wonderful explanations and detail - and unlike most academic books, it is well-written with panache and verve - and a sense of humour.

This is THE book to buy on this period and to learn about Gillray's world. Read it or dip into it before any other.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 25, 2014 10:52 AM GMT

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