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Jack Limpet (Virginia Beach, VA)

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Loake 205B, Men's Lace Up Shoes
Loake 205B, Men's Lace Up Shoes

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Suited and booted, 11 Jan. 2011
You're after a smart business shoe and loafers, cross-trainers and boots don't quite cut it. And you need something to cover you for formal occasions like weddings and the works' dinner-dance. I say, consider Loakes - compared with the likes of Cheaney, Barkers and Church's you're going to get a genuine bargain. I love this particular style of shoes. I have worn Loakes shoes for 20 years or so and my current pair in this style, which is coming up on 3 years old, I don't think was available on Amazon when I bought them. The quality of workmanship on the Loakes brand is first rate. True, neither Loakes nor any of its principal competitors are typically out to win awards at the cutting edge of fashion. What you are getting is a traditional, stylish, smart all-leather shoe (save for the heel). So what? Well, your feet are going to breathe better in leather and I've found that my Loakes take repeated re-soling and re-heeling to give you a long-lived shoe. Anyone new to a leather-soled shoe may wish to note that the leather is more slick on polished surfaces than rubber-soled shoes, ie you're more liable to slip, and the sole can become somewhat saturated if you do a lot of walking around outside on wet days. Treat them well though - you know, polish them more than occasionally and allow them to dry out when they get really soaked - and you'll be well rewarded on your rather minimal investment.

[Afternote: Check the Loake's website and you will see that the company has an L1 range and a Loake Classics range. The 205B is part of the L1 range and made in India. The Classic range (the 205B equivalent is the Putney) is made in England. Having checked my own shoe, I can see that it was made in England, so my review is not a 'pure' 205B. The look of my shoe is identical to the 205B but I have subsequently read some other reviews that indicate some issues with the Indian-made versions. Amazon, unhelpfully, doesn't indicate the country of manufacture in its product details. I remain a fan of the shoe but I do have the English version, which is about 30 pounds dearer than the 205B. Check the Loake website (for any of their brands) if you want to buy and are uncertain of the provenance.]

Addictaball Large Maze 1 Puzzle Game
Addictaball Large Maze 1 Puzzle Game
Offered by KMKSALES
Price: £13.49

22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Addictaball versus Perplexus, 7 Jan. 2011
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
There are lots of other reviews about what Addictaball is like so I thought I'd address the Addictaball versus Perplexus debate that the 1-star reviewer has highlighted. Since my daughter has the Perplexus Maze Game by PlaSmart, Inc. and I've just given an Addictaball as a present, I think I'm reasonably qualified to comment. First, this (ie, large) Addictaball product is not an exact copy of the Perplexus becuase Perplexus has only 100 stages whereas the Addictaball runs to 138 - the small Addictaball does have 100 stages, though. Is Addictaball a rip off? Well, the Perplexus inventor (Michael McGinnis) certainly believes it is, if you accept his comment at the Techblog site (Google "Techblog Addictaball"). Setting legality aside, because McGinnis presumably would have sued if he had the copyrights or patents in place, whether you choose Perplexus or Addictaball probably comes down to personal integrity. Both puzzles do what they advertise and are particularly good when you have a number of house guests, amongst whom the puzzle ball can be passed. Great for hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, as the blurb suggests, but I'm less certain about the educational value. Little use for children who are too young because the ball tends to fall off the track so quickly and so often for them that they become frustrated and lose interest. I would say for kids 11 and up, unless your child is particularly determined or adept. As to durability, treated with some care, this product should be fine. But don't try playing basketball with it on a hard floor and don't drop anything heavy on it - if you do either you're likely to wind up with a cracked orb. Buyers with smallish hands may find the orb a little tricky to pick up and control with one hand. For the record, I'd give the Perplexus 4 stars. Addictaball I'm docking 2 stars for absence of originality.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 28, 2012 10:55 PM GMT

The Twitter Book
The Twitter Book
by Sarah Milstein
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent quick read for Twitter newbies, 6 Mar. 2010
This review is from: The Twitter Book (Paperback)
As a newcomer to Twitter I looked at a few books to get me quickly up to speed. I found many of them to be text-heavy and, in keeping with the 140-character Tweet limit, I was looking for something rather more pithy. This book hits that spot precisely. Richly illustrated with pictorial examples, the book is a light read but right but up to date and pretty comprehensive in its coverage. I've learnt a lot, including about stuff I didn't realize I needed to know about. Good value and good. Recommended

This Is It: The A&M Years 1979-1989
This Is It: The A&M Years 1979-1989
Price: £11.32

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is this it? Early years, yes; later years, no, 10 July 2008
The earlier review from 2000 pretty much nails this album in terms of what it contains; it does less well on what it doesn't contain. Until Night and Day Vol 2 in 2000, Joe Jackson seems to have considered his 1989 album `Blaze of Glory' to be the high watermark in his career. Not everyone would agree of course, and for many `Is she really going out with him?' or `It's different for girls' - from his 1st and 2nd albums respectively - are the most memorable highlights of his career. Whichever view you take this album neatly bookends that period of Jackson's career when he was signed to A&M Records.

The thing is that Jackson has gone on to produce a considerable amount of further material since then. True, a good deal of it has seen Joe Jackson pursue his interests in classical or more heavily orchestrated material - witness `Night Music', `Symphony No 1' and `Heaven & Hell'. But much of it is still worthy of a listen, plus - in recent times - he has become significantly more mainstream again - listen to his material on `Volume 4' or `Rain', from 2004 and 2008.

This album never sets out to cover this later period. This is its failing, but then few of the other `best of...' packages do any better. The best of the bunch that tries is the import product `The Ultimate Collection'. The price new isn't great - but is better on Amazon marketplace - and it does rather over-egg the content from the `Mike's Murder' film soundtrack. On balance, though, for anyone looking for some sort of reflection of Jackson's entire career, that is the album to go for. Ultimately, what the market really needs is a Phase 2 `greatest hits' covering 1990-2008. Its natural counterpart would be this album. Although no longer available new from Amazon - but see the new and used items here - the 2008 release `Gold' has an identical track listing.

The Very Best of Joe Jackson
The Very Best of Joe Jackson
Offered by A2Z Entertains
Price: £6.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the very best of value ... beware, 30 Jun. 2008
Since Joe Jackson first tasted album and singles success in 1979, it might be assumed that with more recent releases of `best of' packages, such as this 2007 album, improved judgement over time would have led to better coverage of the artist's oeuvre and a more judicious selection of key tracks. In this case, beware!

Unfortunately, when you've been in the music business as long as the likes of Joe Jackson a certain disease seems to afflict the artist (or, more probably, their record company; trying to chisel a few more pence out of the contract): each new album of original material seems to inspire a further `best of' package, even if the recently released original material contained no new hits. Such seems to be the position with this album, `The Very Best Of'. Fortunately, though, with more than 10 other greatest hits packages available there is plenty of alternative choice.

The distinguishing tracks on this album are the last three: `Stranger than Fiction', `Awkward Age' and `Love at First Light.' The first is from 1991's `Laughter and Lust' and the latter 2 are drawn from the 2003 album, `Volume 4'. I like each one of the tracks - don't get me wrong - but aside from that material the track listing is near identical to `Steppin' Out: The Very Best of' or `The Collection'. The clincher in favour of these 2 albums is that each is 50% or more cheaper than `The Very Best Of.' My recommendation: treat yourself to `The Collection' and also buy the `Volume 4 - Limited Edition' package and `Laughter and Lust'. It'll cost you £1 more in total for the goods - yes, `The Very Best Of' album really does offer such limited value for money - and you'll still have a good greatest hits package, 2 excellent albums of original material, and some bonus live tracks that go with the `Limited Edition' CD.

Stepping Out: The Very Best Of Joe Jackson
Stepping Out: The Very Best Of Joe Jackson
Price: £5.75

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but limited best of package..., 27 Jun. 2008
Since this, his first `best of...' album was released in 1990, Joe Jackson (or his record companies) have released more than 12 further greatest hits packages (either on Import or produced in the UK). After 30 or so years in the business maybe that isn't unreasonable. But there is a huge amount of overlap between some of the offerings and large gaps between others. Is this the one to choose? Bluntly, no! The greats are here - `Is she really going out with him?', `Different for girls', and `Steppin' out' (plus lots more) - but the coverage is purely JJ's years with A&M Records (1979-89). That's no bad thing but hindsight allows the view that there are more comprehensive and complete packages that have become available since. For the same money, `The Collection' is a comparable hits package - and highly rated by Amazon reviewers - but while including fresh tracks to those available here also omits some key material: `A Slow Song' - long a live staple at concerts - `Home Town', `Beat Crazy' and `Jumpin' Jive' to name but some. For my money the trade out isn't worth it. So consider instead `This Is It: Anthology', which is still available via Amazon marketplace and contains all the tracks available here plus more. Even better is the material on `Gold' and `Ultimate Collection' - if you can steel yourself to spend more than a tenner!

Kaspersky Internet Security 7 (3 PC, 1 Year subcription) (PC)
Kaspersky Internet Security 7 (3 PC, 1 Year subcription) (PC)
Offered by Kryonet Ltd
Price: £29.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Another satisfied user..., 12 Jun. 2008
I switched to Kaspersky from ZoneAlarm because I had got a new laptop with Vista Home Basic and ZoneAlarm was attracting dreadful reviews for its poor Vista support. I am now running Kaspersky successfully both on my family computer (running Windows XP with a 2.66 GHz processor and 1 Mb of RAM) and on the laptop (again, only 1 Mb of RAM). No problems at all either with install - plaudits to ZoneAlarm for its uninstall routine; some other packages seem not to clear down cleanly, so causing problems for the succeeding security protection - or the operation of Kaspersky. Very happy after 6 months of use and no plans to switch to a different provider.

Price: £10.55

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A review for any non-Joe Jackson fans, 12 Jun. 2008
This review is from: Rain (Audio CD)
It's great to have a loyal fan base, but an almost universal set of 5-star Amazon reviews for each and every one of Joe Jackson's albums is hardly helpful to a potential afficionado. The good news is that `Rain' is right up there as one of his best albums - `Solo' is an absolute gem. Worth 5-stars? I'm not sure but for me it is his best since Laughter & Lust in 1991 and a step forward from Vol 4 - his previous album. Looking further back, I'd say it is broadly on a par with Big World, Night & Day (the original) and Look Sharp. But with Jackson never expect the same; his style and output is nothing if not eclectic. If you fancy trying him out, dip your toe in with `Rain' or one of the others, then try a side branch like Jumpin' Jive, Beat Crazy, or Will Power.

God Explained in a Taxi Ride
God Explained in a Taxi Ride
by Paul Arden
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bit of balance, please..., 7 Jun. 2008
Okay, this book won't change the world or finally resolve the debate over the existence of God. But, hey, what do you expect from a book with this title and at a cost of £3.99? So, previous 1-star reviewers, get some perspective. Likewise, it is definitely not a 5-star either. On balance, I'd say a 3.5 or a 4, so it has to be a 4. As with a fellow reviewer, I too have all Arden's books. For anyone new to him, expect a very different and personal slant on whatever subject Arden is tackling - and here it is Arden's take on the concept of God. Some stuff you'll definitely disagree with, but I suspect Arden would be disappointed if that wasn't the case.

Stained Glass: Masterpieces of the Modern Era
Stained Glass: Masterpieces of the Modern Era
by Xavier Barral i Altet
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £35.00

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning visual depiction, 22 Dec. 2007
I've just bought this book as a present for my brother-in-law, who makes stained glass windows. I'm not in a similar position to be able to pass critical judgement on the text but I can report that the image on Amazon's web page - plus the product details - really do not do justice to this book. Barral's work is packed throughout with crystal clear photographs of the stained glass he is describing. These appear as full-page pictures along with smaller shots. The pictures themselves capture detailed views of stained glass as well contextual arrangements that site the stained glass within the frame that is the building of which they are a part. For anyone interested in this field, and at a price of £22.40 (with free super saver delivery), this is a bargain.

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