Profile for Manu > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Manu
Top Reviewer Ranking: 4,505,207
Helpful Votes: 23

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by

Page: 1
Mens Bamboo & Organic Cotton Plain T shirt : L, blue
Mens Bamboo & Organic Cotton Plain T shirt : L, blue
Offered by Da Londra
Price: 11.95

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars nice to wear but bad quality, 24 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This T-shirt is made of organic cotton and bamboo, and thus meets my criteria before purchasing anything : I do not want to take part in the destruction of the planet (or rather the least the better).

Moreover, organic cotton and bamboo are very nice to wear (breathable and soft).

But after a few cleanings the T-shirt lost its shape. It is still wearable of course, but it does not fit as well as the first time I put it on. I think this problem will occur on every T-shirt of this make because 1) You can feel it right from the start : they are too light... 2) I thought all organic items were well-made (taking care of the planet means not only producing from good materials, but also producing durable products), but I was clearly wrong. So I bought many of them (around 10, in two purchases), but these T-shirts all have the same fault after a while...

I would prefer to pay a little more for quality organic products, though I am not rich at all (besides, I share the idea that if you can afford it, quality is less expensive in the long run). Do not make my mistake if you can !

F1 2012 (PC DVD)
F1 2012 (PC DVD)
Offered by FUN-N-MORE
Price: 13.90

2 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars do not lose your time and your money with this !, 13 Jan 2013
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: F1 2012 (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
This is not a simulator, since in real life the pilots drive much better than the pilots you may see on your screen if this "item" works, for example they do not bump into one another as they tend to do here, moreover mainly into your own car, and in any case you would not be punished with a ten seconds penalty because another driver push your car into the sand. This is not a game neither, it is much too annoying to be fun : if you want to take part to a complete F1 season like I did it will be through the career mode ; here, you will have no choice but to begin with a bad car for the first year ; this means 20 grand prix plus the qualifying rounds (at least 20 min + 15 min + 10 min), since you can not skip these (if you do you will start at the back of the pack, and you will be pushed by the other cars and will have 10 seconds penalties as a result). So what is this BS ?... Frankly, I don't know how to describe it better than an attempt to steal your money.

Why is the penis shaped like that?
Why is the penis shaped like that?
by Jesse Bering
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 15.19

0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars evolutionary biology is Bering's religion, 11 Dec 2012
The book is composed of many short articles about a lot of subjects, but two third of it is devoted to sexual matters. To explain to you why, and what is Jesse Bering's point of view, I criticize in the subsequent paragraphs the evolutionary biology theory, Bering's paramount paradigm. I will use this discussion as an opportunity to describe some of the matters tackled in the book.

Bering's all powerful and knowledgeable god is the gene pool. Since he is a psychologist I was expecting that his god could be the unconscious, but in fact it works quite in the same way. It is something that drives your life, and though deprived of any awareness knows a lot of things. For example, how to explain suicide ? Here is the answer (p.231) : "as the evolutionary theorist William Hamilton's famous [?] principle of inclusive fitness elucidated so clearly [lol], it is the proportion of one's genetic material surviving in subsequent generations that matters ; and so if the self's survival comes at the expense of one's genetic kin being able to pass on their genes, then sacrificing one's life for a net genetic gain may have been adaptive ancestrally." This is what J. Bering would have liked to share with the gays who commited suicide, as he says... in other words, he would have told them "Suicide is an adaptive process. Human gene pool knows that if you have children one day [hello Jesse, you just told us they were gays !], then they will not be able to reproduce themselves [oh my... clever "little genes" !], hence your genes decide [quite a feat, since they are deprived of consciousness] that enough is enough and if you could die immediately it would be better for everyone [ah !... Now surely you feel much better !]".
Bering's religion is called "evolutionary biology" or sometimes "evolutionary psychology". It stipulates that everything should have the same systematic explanation, which is much more interesting than "It is the way it is because God decided it so", indeed it amounts to "It is the way it is because the Gene Pool decided it so". This is certainly why J. Bering does not believe in God : he prefers Gene Pool. And what does Gene Pool wants, above all else ? Reproduction (as the practical way for its survival). Quite a bizarre theory to endorse for a gay man, as he repeatedly claims to be.

J. Bering considers evolutionary biology as the way to explain everything. And indeed, he often sheds some interesting light on different questions throughout his book, about cannibalism, the shape of the penis, acne to name a few. But it is very unlikely that evolutionary biology will be able to explain why shamans see therianthropes in their psychedelic visions, or why humans are unable to rebel against an economic system polluting the very air they breathe and leading them directly to the destruction of their habitat (the biosphere). So, despite some interesting material and thinking, I often felt frustrated and found myself thinking "Why ? Why does he limit himself to this rehash of the 'everything is in the genes' trend followed by some scientists more than 10 years ago ?" It has nevertheless this interest to expose how many scientists think today (because evolutionary biology is really the new religion in fashion among many of them), and how too conservative they are (understandable frame of mind though, since they are generally paid by states or big enterprises, whose interests are in the perpetuation of the system).
Of course if a species survives it means that its gene pool enables it to ; and a species can only do what its gene pool allows it to do. But it allows a lot more than a single behaviour, so trying to deduce all behaviours from Gene Pool interests, and only considering Gene Pool, is terribly simplistic.

As I evoked earlier, evolutionary biology, in stressing exaggerately the importance of sexual reproduction, tends to be homophobic. According to J. Bering (who presents studies made by other believers), if gays commit suicide more often than heteros it is also because they have "poor reproduction prospects". This argument (gays do not usually reproduce) is true, and suits his religion, ok. Now, was this hypothesis tested, as should be any so-called scientific truth ? Of course not. Maybe it is not possible to compare the suicide rates between gays and heteros in non-homophobic societies (in ancient Greece, or in some tribes), but then it should not be expressed as a truth. And this sort of "truth" (considered true because it suits the religion) appears all along the book.
Not only some unproven assertions are considered true when they fit the Gene Pool religion, some facts are rejected, some insults hurled, and some snap judgements made when they question its soundness.
Because the religion states that everything could be interpreted via Gene Pool interests (well-understood), and that Its foremost interest is to survive (Gene Pool is not eternal), the most important thing in life, for each of us, is to reproduce. Thus asexuals and homosexuals are aberrations that the religion has difficulties in explaining.
In fact J. Bering does not believe that there exist asexuals since "what would the evolutionary psychologist make of asexuality ?" (p.125). "the only good way to solve the riddle is also a bit unsavory. But unless psychological scientists [sic] ever gather a group of willing, self-identified asexuals and, systematically and under controlled conditions, expose them to an array of erotic stimuli while measuring their sexual arousal [...] the truth of the matter will lie forever hidden away in the asexuals' pants." (this denial of people's feelings is directed only toward asexuals ; J. Bering does not propose that heteros or gays or anyone else should be tested).
Since Gene Pool decided every possible behaviour It decided our sexuality as well. Here J. Bering, instead of using denial of the facts, prefers to insult the people who would not share his point of view : (p.199) "it requires a prodigious degree of stupidity to talk about what makes one's genitalia become tumescent as being a conscious choice". Though my own life cast some doubts on this assertion. I used to be heterosexual before realising that I liked my body and I was able to stroke any part of it, and I was even able to caress many animals and to take sexual pleasure with a dorknob or a watermelon, so why couldn't I do the same with a boy I would have liked ? And I was not the only one in my situation. Are we so servile we can not even choose what to do with our bodies ? Then I tried a sexual relation with my best friend, who was gay, and it was wonderful. I prefer the responsiveness of muscles to the slackness of fat, so I now consider myself as being gay. My story might show that any heterosexual who can derive some sexual pleasure from any object is heterosexual only because the society wants him/her to be, and not because of a gene or Gene Pool superpowers.
To retaliate after this terrible insult (I am a stupidity prodigy), I will give a last example of evolutionary biology relevance. Because Gene Pool needs reproduction, asexuals are not trusted when they say they take no pleasure in sex, but J. Bering being gay he can not posit that homosexuals do not exist neither. So does he respect them or does he stick to his religious beliefs ? As any good priest, he prefers to spit on his fellows than to renounce his religion. He tries to soothe parents who would have homosexual children : (p.200) "I think it's far better for parents to recognize the source of their concerns about having a gay child as being motivated by unconscious genetic interests". And he insists "it's also important to stress that since genetic success is weighed in evolutionary biological terms as the relative percentage of one's genes that carry over into subsequent generations -rather than simply number of offspring per se- there are other, though typically less profitable, ways for your child to contribute to your overall genetic success" [don't forget this should be your ultimate goal in life...] and thus "your ultimate genetic payoff could, strangely enough, be even larger with one very special gay child than it would be if ten mediocre straight offsprings leaped from your loins".
What a convoluted way to explain homosexuality ! I do not share J. Bering's own homophobia, and to answer to the points he makes : there is no excuse to be homophobic ; there is no consolation needed for parents raising a gay child, except if their concerns are due to society's homophobia ; I don't care about the survival of my genes - or yours - ; if I had a child he would not be more or "less profitable" ; and I dislike your religion which leads to such statements.

What is my conclusion about this book ? I am thankful to J. Bering for explaining his religious beliefs about Gene Pool in an honest, clear and often humorous way. It is interesting as a widespread religion today among the scientific community. It is thought-provoking, and a lot more awaits the reader than what I presented here. But in the end I dislike evolutionary biology : I prefer to think than to believe, I prefer to listen to what people say before interpreting or insulting them, and I do not consider gay children as "less profitable" since I really don't care about Gene Pool.
To end in a positive way, I want to add that J. Bering is able to be compassionnate ; he holds interesting and friendly stances about animals treatment or "green burial". Also, to be complete about J. Bering's understanding of suicide, I must add that his religious interpretation is followed by a much more interesting presentation of a "suicidal person" ; J. Bering lets down his religious beliefs for a moment and presents R. Baumeister's article "Suicide as escape from self" (1990).
At last, the book is presented in a good quality edition.

The Penguin Book of Myths and Legends of Ancient Egypt
The Penguin Book of Myths and Legends of Ancient Egypt
by Joyce Tyldesley
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.79

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A very confused book, 2 Dec 2012
Egyptian mythology fluctuates along Egypt's three thousand years of history. Mother becomes wife or daughter, powers and physical attributes alter, etc. For example in the Old Kingdom Horus' mother is Hathor, while she is Isis in the Middle Kingdom, Hathor taking charge of other tasks.

Thus, for the sake of clarity and for a better understanding of the evolution of the Egyptian's mind and beliefs, it would have been a good idea to present a whole coherent set of myths, epoch by epoch. On the contrary, here the author presents one sort of myth at a time, putting in each all the deities involved in the 3000 years of evolution, as well as the side stories and different versions of the main story, which often becomes very confusing. Besides, this impedes any historic learning for those who, like me, know too little about Egyptian history.

I was also disappointed by the fact that J. Tyldesley does not translate the myths herself. Worse, she does not even respect the translations she uses ; she candidly explains (p.346) "where it seemed appropriate that the Egyptians should be allowed to speak for themselves, I have used direct translations". She does not even explain when She thinks that the Egyptians should express themselves directly. I don't care about Tyldesley's interpretations of Egyptian mythology, and I have much more respect for the likes of A. George who let the Sumerians and Babylonians present their versions of Gilgamesh (he translates their texts himself, does his best not to distort their voices, and has the humility to not even fill the numerous gaps between two readable portions of a text, thus respecting them and us).

There is one point though, where I would have liked to read J. Tyldesley's point of view, but she never expressed herself about it. I mean the book is all along tainted with homophobia... Since the Egyptians speak only when J. Tyldesley allows them to do so, we do not know if this homophobia comes from J. Tyldesley or from Egyptian taboos. Since Egyptians accepted incestuous brother-sister couples as Pharaohs, and since one of their main gods -Seth- killed his own brother, while it took years of other Seth's treacherous deeds for the gods to decide that Seth could not be king after all, they might also have accepted homosexual relationships, though some texts seem to prove the opposite ; if not, J. Tyldesley should have said a word to distance herself from Egyptian's homophobia.
One example of this cunning way of expressing homophobia while letting the reader hypothesizing about its origin is given p.262, where J. Tyldesley asserts that the king Ptolemy XII's nickname "Auletes (the flute player) [...] is more likely to have been a decidedly unflattering reference to his sexual proclivities." Even though Ptolemy XII was of Macedonian descent (like Alexander the great and his lifelong love Hephaestion), and really was a good and passionate flutist frequently engaged in some sorts of flute contests... Flute mastery is not necessarily the most important attribute for a pharaoh, so there was no need to see homophobia in this ironic nickname.
And there are plenty of these examples where the open-minded reader (at least me) feels insulted.

While the author never says a word against homophobia, she incessantly adds a feminist bias in her presentation and, in all likelihood, in her choice of the texts she presents. I do not criticize her feminist bias, but since she so often put the women in the foreground (even devoting the third part of the book to "The great goddesses" -no part for the great gods-), she could have spent one line to reassure the gays about her non-hostility.

My three stars come from three assets of the book. First, as its title indicate, it contains many myths and legends directly translated (though by others). They appear all through the book, but mostly in its fourth/last part. I enjoyed most of them. I was particularly moved by the magnificent "Great Hymn to the Aten".

Second, there are a comprehensive index and a "glossary of the major gods and heroes mentioned" which were of great help to me throughout my reading.

At last, this is a beautiful book, with 25 color photos inside and hard-wearing pages. It is rare to find such a qualitative edition at this price.

The Epic of Gilgamesh (Penguin Classics)
The Epic of Gilgamesh (Penguin Classics)
by Anonymous
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the true versions (with their holes not replenished), 25 Oct 2012
The epic of Gilgamesh is one of the first narratives ever written. It has been rediscovered through archeological excavations, written on clay tablets. The so-called "standard version" dates from the 5th century BC and comes from Babylonia, but the first clay tablets were Sumerian in origin and date back to around 2500 BC, the hero was then called Bilgames. The stories have changed slightly during these 2000 years ; the gods and heroes have seen their names changed, the episodes highlighted (or found) are not the same, even the way the episodes unfolded were modified (for example the way Gilgamesh and Enkidu defeated the ogre Humbaba (from deception to strength, with a different kind of help by the gods).
Thus I found very interesting, from an historical viewpoint, to have access to the different versions of the text. In this respect the introduction by Andrew George, who explains succinctly the literary and historical backgrounds, was useful. Here though, I chose to follow another order of reading than the one proposed ; I began with the most ancient version (the Sumerian, chapter 5), and to follow the evolution of the text (ch 2, 3 and 4) up to the standard and most recent version (ch 1).
The other point I want to underline concerns the difficulties of transmission. The tablets found are usually in poor condition, so there are a lot of missing words or even sentences. So there are different ways to present the text : some authors choose to transcribe a story without holes (though more readable, such a presentation implies that you can not know neither what the original text was nor how it evolved) while others prefer to let the holes empty (I prefer to think by myself, and thus I was very satisfied with A. George's presentation).
A. George explains the problems that the translator encounters, and there are plenty, linked either to the difficulty of Sumerian and Akkadian languages, or to the state of the excavated tablets. Some symbols are still not understood. Here I want to make three remarks :
1) Some A. George's remarks about the translations are presented at the end of the introduction, while most of them are presented at the end of the book -in a part anyway succinct-. So here again, I made my own reading order : I read both parts before beginning the fifth chapter. More generally I would have liked to know why A. George chose to present his book in this order.
2) Like many other reviewers I wondered if the very strong friendship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu may be understood as a homosexual bond. It is never apparent in the text presented by A. George, but do the uncertainties of translation and historical background let such an interpretation possible ? Since the question is quite obvious, I would have liked to know, at least, why A. George avoided it.
3) I have heard of translations of Sumerian texts made by Z. Sitchin. Though he does not seem very serious to me, he is famous, and for this very reason I would have enjoyed one page or two about his translations : are they possible interpretations of the texts ? To be honest, I don't even know if Z. Sitchin translated the epic of Gilgamesh, so this remark is in no way reproachful.
As I said, the story is, to this day, still incomplete. Holes are filled up, little by little, with new discoveries (either from new tablets, or from tablets that had not yet been translated). Here again, A. George translation is interesting, since it is the most recent.
Overall, despite a rather odd (at least unexplained) presentation order, and the avoidance of the matter of homosexuality, I was very pleased with this book. The seriousness of A. George's work is remarkable, especially in such an arduous subject, and I am very grateful to him.

ASICS Men's Gel Nimbus 13 Trainer
ASICS Men's Gel Nimbus 13 Trainer

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars durable neutral running shoes, 21 Oct 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These shoes are neutral running shoes. They are light, comfortable and durable... I mean really very durable : usually I have to buy a new pair of running shoes every 6-8 months (I use them almost on a daily basis), I have been using these Gel Nimbus 13 for 10 months now, and they are still in good shape. I am glad I bought two pairs of these.

Boy Culture [2006] [DVD]
Boy Culture [2006] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Derek Magyar
Offered by Gayfilmlover
Price: 4.79

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A subtle gay movie with cute actors... :), 21 Oct 2012
This review is from: Boy Culture [2006] [DVD] (DVD)
Alex is a gay hustler, much too proud to share his emotions ; he can not have a sexual relationship without being paid. One of his clients, an old man well acted by Patrick Bachau, does not want to have sex with him ; he prefers to talk with Alex, and wait for Alex good feelings towards him. This constitutes the best cure Alex could hope for... While this story unfolds, Alex lives in a roomy appartment with two other guys, Joey and Andrew, both gays. Joey is young and quite a stereotype of many young trendy gays ; funny and shallow, he is the most at ease with his sexuality and I think his presence benefited Alex and Andrew (in two different ways). Andrew is Black, he is the nicest character in the movie, and his family is great (his mum -before he opens up to her about his homosexuality- : "Did we do something that made you think you couldn't tell us ?"...).

The whole movie is well acted, full of witty comments and twists in the plot. There is neither too much sex nor plenty of agitation, on the contrary this film is shrewd and subtle all along. It is original in its form (narrative). At last the actors are cute, which only adds to its attraction.

Misfits - Series 1-3 [DVD]
Misfits - Series 1-3 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Robert Sheehan
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: 9.87

0 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars homophobe friendly !, 20 Oct 2012
This review is from: Misfits - Series 1-3 [DVD] (DVD)
The series display some originality. The heroes are young offenders, they have powers without being superheroes, the series make fun of religious people and probation workers. Overall it is entertaining, and I laughed many times.

But the characters never say anything interesting, and they do not share anything but the very moments they spend together, there is no deep complicity, no true friendship. In fact there was only one true friendship, between Simon and the comics' guy (I can't remember his name), but Simon kills him to defend a girl we don't even know why he loves her (they never shared anything but sex).

In this respect, if you want to watch a lot of strokes, kisses and sex, but you do not want to see gays you will be very pleased with this series. There are a lot of couples holding hands, dancing, kissing, or having sex ; but there is not a single second for two guys' affection. Knowing that so many gays suffer from being rejected (the youth in particular, who are five times more likely to commit suicide than young heterosexuals), this choice from the producers is disgusting to say the least. Apparently, only a few people complain about it (noone here) so it seems that the producers decided to please these "new" homophobes - those who are so closed minded they like worlds rid of gays, while believing they are not homophobes -, and they are plenty (I realise these people will find my review unpleasant, and I am curious to see how many they are, so don't hesitate to prove my point if you wish, I will survive).
Comment Comments (13) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 10, 2012 10:58 AM GMT

Buffering [DVD]
Buffering [DVD]
Dvd ~ Alex Anthony
Offered by Gayfilmlover
Price: 5.99

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars a void to avoid, 14 Oct 2012
This review is from: Buffering [DVD] (DVD)
This movie is boring. Nothing happens, but a gay couple having sex in front of a webcam. They are not gorgeous, they are not witty, they have nothing to say...

The 2nd Law
The 2nd Law
Price: 12.97

12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars mature, diverse, profound music... needs a few listenings, 3 Oct 2012
This review is from: The 2nd Law (Audio CD)
I love this album... and I am very grateful to listen to something in accordance with Muse's genius ! At last they did it !

First, I must admit I used to be a Muse devotee, but I have been disappointed since Black Holes and Revelations was released. They were losing their rock touch, despite some rebellious lyrics like Assassins or Uprising, and released some retarded songs like Starlight or United states of Eurasia (despite the Chopin extract in the end, music and text are very poor -"United States of Eurasia", why should there be states anyway ?-) ; they were losing their rock touch, trying some new styles but they did not mastered them I felt...

I must say, about the lyrics, Muse seems to be even more senile in this new album... Ok, there is some rebellion for the one who wants to hear it, but it is ever more duller, for commercial purposes I think. Or... there is another way to understand it, if one desires to be lenient (not my habit, but why not trying a drop of it ?). "To shoot your leaders down" evolved in "The time, it has come to destroy Your supremacy"... A rebellious touch survives, for sure, and rather than senile one may call it mature. Of course, these are only examples, I am not here to study their texts anyway, but it is my general feeling about Muse's lyrics. And there is this new theme, alcooholism, and it's real life here, real struggle, so one can not but respect it ; mature again... After all, what is the second law of thermodynamics ? It stipulates that any isolated system (like the capitalistic system is now) tends to lose its quasi-equilibrium in an irreversible manner ; it expresses the natural and irreversible tendency of such a system towards chaos ; so I understand that Muse think the system we live in will destroy itself, and it's good news, I just hope it will not destroy the planet in the same time.

Now, what about their music ? Muse are the best musicians out there, best voice, best keyboard, no doubt. Fans of guitar riffs might be a little disappointed with this new release ; I am with the keyboard technical level, which is not what it was in Butterflies and Hurricanes ; Matthew's high pitch voice is rare now, far from what it was in Origin of symmetry... But their style evolved, it is no more a pure rock band, they're pursuing their conquest of different styles, and I must admit they begin to master them. So in a way, Muse is much more complete and rich than they used to be in their first albums, and better in this than they were in their two last releases. Mature again... The problem with this is that their music is no more obvious and easy to appreciate ; the good point is that the more you listen to it, the more you like it. It is the same problem with any profound and good music, you need some time to enter into it...

My general feeling is that the ones who did not like Muse very much, may like "the Second law" ; it is diverse and they tend to master their new styles. The ones who loved Muse will continue to do so, and will certainly expand their musical horizons, if needed, thanks to them. The ones who liked only some parts of Muse, for example their guitar riffs, technical keyboard, high pitch voice, might be disappointed, but do yourself a favor : try to listen to this album a few times, you may like their evolution after all.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 9, 2012 9:24 AM BST

Page: 1