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James Choma (Ohio)

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Walk on Water
Walk on Water

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Believe The Hype -- "Walk on Water" is an Amazing album, 4 Aug 2008
This review is from: Walk on Water (Audio CD)
It's pretty rare that I'm in awe upon listening to a CD for the first time; and that's what happened with UFO's "Walk on Water."

I heard the hype surrounding this the first time around back in 1995/1996, but at that time I was just a casual fan with a passing interest in some of the band's earlier material from the 70's. It was also around that time that my interest in music took a nose-dive due to the proliferation of boy-bands corporate creations that dominated the music scene.

Fast-forward ten year later. I see the CD, remember the good press it got, plop down my money, then pop it into the car CD player. I was immediately impressed with the production and sound quality. "A Self Made Man" was good, but CD for me really kicked in with "Venus" and never let up.

"Dreaming of Summer" has got to be one of the best songs I've heard in the last 15 years by UFO, or anyone. I can hit replay on this one and never tire of it. Why they don't play this in concert in a mystery, as it's one of the best songs UFO has ever done.

Now let's get to the rarity of old bands resurfacing to create a successful album. There are only a few that have done this successfully to create a new fan base. Duran Duran is one that comes to mind from the early 90's with the 1992 "Wedding Album," but this one should be right up there with it. It's my understanding that the volatility of the relationship between Michael Schenker and the rest of the band resulted in the band titling the album "Walk on Water," as it was deemed a miracle such a reunion could happen. It's got to be hard to work under such conditions -- especially with Schenker's erratic behavior -- but if this album (and to a slightly lesser degree "Covenant" and the great "Sharks") is any indication, these guys can still create magic when they get into the studio.

This is one of those rare instances where you can believe all the four and five star ratings -- it's that good. If you're a fan of UFO and you don't have this album -- get it. No question about it, you'll be happy with your purchase. If you're a fan of guitar driven rock, Classic Rock, 80's hard rock, get this. You will not be disappointed.


Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health
Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health
by L. Ron Hubbard
Edition: Paperback

35 of 46 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dianetics Review, 28 Feb 2008
L. Ron Hubbard has been grossly underestimated as a writer of Science Fiction. He is possibly one of the greatest fiction writers of the 20th century. With "Dianetics," Hubbard has been able to weave a complex, believable tale of the science of the mind, essentially forming the basis for what would come to be taken to be a religion. How many other Science Fiction writers have done something of that magnitude with such far reaching effects? Darn few.

"Dianetics made an early appearance in the magazine "Astounding Science Fiction" back in May of 1950. It garnered a lot of press and created a buzz that eventually garnered the attention of a wider audience.

Hubbard created a whole mythology around himself. It is said he was a bronco buster at the age of three, a teenage explorer, a blood brother of the Blackfeet Indians of Montana, a Nuclear Physicist, and a World War II hero, among other things. But above all, he was a writer of pulp Science Fiction.

Interestingly enough, there's plenty of documention that many of the ideas put forth in this book are not original. Many may not be aware that at the root of Dianetics are the discoveries of Dr. William Sargant (a psychiatrist). Sargant's research observed post traumatic stress syndrome in World War II soldiers, leading to a cure known as Abnormal Reaction Therapy. This entailed re-experiencing traumatic events (Hubbard called these "engrams") utilizing a hypnotic (or drugged) state to confront these real or imagined items with the aid of a facilitator. If you are interested in exploring Sargant's work, his book is called "Battle for the Mind: A Physiology of Conversion and Brainwashing." There are many very close similarities between the two texts.

The key is to become "Clear." Getting to the state of clear comes via "auditing" (a confessional) to remove engrams, thus destroying one's reactive mind. This is the portion of the mind that Dianetics states is the cause of mental and physical ailments. A Dianetics auditor questions the "pre-clear" with the use of an e-meter (a simple lie detector) to assist with this process.

It's been debated that either George Orwell or Ron Hubbard said: "Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." Well, Hubbard did just that. And he did indeed make millions. And here is the book that started it all, compliments of the extremely imaginative mind of Science Fiction writer, L. Ron Hubbard, and a few uncredited Psychiatrists.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 14, 2008 10:36 PM BST


Ghost (Live)
Ghost (Live)
Offered by xyxxxx
Price: £17.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Live Numan album, 3 Feb 2008
This review is from: Ghost (Live) (Audio CD)
Gary Numan has released quite a few live albums. There's been "Living Ornaments 79," "Living Ornaments '81", this album, "The Skin Mechanic," "Dream Corrosion," and the excellent "Dark Light". From all of these, my two favorites are "Ghost" and "Dark Light".
Numan's music translates EXTREMELY well live. While many of the songs on his albums sound sparse and very simple, in the live format, the guy really shines.

"Ghost" covers Numan's material from 1977 up to "Strange Charm" in 1986. This tour was for a 1987 greatest hits package entitled "Exhibition". Some of the best moments are songs from "The Fury": "Call out the Dogs," and "Creatures" to name a few.


Tanx
Tanx
Price: £7.31

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite T. Rex Album, 13 Jan 2008
This review is from: Tanx (Audio CD)
This album to me represents the last great T. Rex album. This was Marc Bolan's attempt at breaking big in America after having conquered the UK charts. It ranks as my favorite T. Rex album, (actually, my favorite album of all time) with some of Marc's most melodic songs.
After the phenomenal success of "Electric Warrior" and "The Slider," Marc's record company expected big things. What Marc gave them was "Tanx;" an album very different from its predecessors. Unfortunately, the critics and many of the fans didn't like the direction Marc took and the album was deemed a disappointment.

Why is this my favorite album of all time? When I first came upon this album several years ago, after all the bad critical press it got, I was expecting the worst. My thought was, Heck, I loved Electric Warrior and The Slider, how bad could this be? I put the needle down on the turntable and was captivated for the next 40 minutes or so.

"Oh, my darling there are many ways..." The album opens with the guitar boogie and spacey lyrics of "Tenement Lady," a combination of two songs. You'll note on disc 2, it's listed as "Tenement Lady/Darling". Two songs fused together into one great one. Lots of great production work on this one.

"Your mama said, clean out your head, boy..." Next is "Rapids," with lots of guitar slide overdubs. Again, lots of spacey lyrics in a Bolan boogie mind poem.

"I'm just lookin' for a change in my luck.." "Mister Mister" is great light acoustic song with a great sing-a-long at the end. Excellent orchestration by Tony Visconti.

"This is a song that I wrote when I was young..." "Broken Hearted Blues" is, to me, one of the most beautiful songs Marc Bolan ever wrote. Beautiful lyrics, beautiful orchestration, Marc in perfect voice... poetry set to music. Possibly the best song Marc ever put on an album. The only complaint I have it that it was too short.

The rest of the album just flows beautifully. From start to finish, I never skip a song. Plus you get the added bonus of the Marc's singles from '73: "Children of the Revolution," "Jitterbug Love," "Sunken Rags," "Solid Gold Easy Action," "20th Century Boy," and the beautiful "Free Angel".
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 1, 2013 4:08 PM BST


Cold Turkey [DVD] [Region 1] [NTSC]
Cold Turkey [DVD] [Region 1] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Dick Van Dyke

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An All-Time Favorite, 13 Jan 2008
I remember seeing "Cold Turkey" back in the early 70's when I was but a wee lad, but even then, I found it to be very funny. I wouldn't describe it as laugh-out-loud funny, but a smart satire; so don't go in expecting Jim Carrey antics! Instead, you'll get some wonderful character actors (Bob Newhart, Tom Poston, Graham Jarvis, Vincent Gardenia, and Dick Van Dyke) playing some of the town's memorable inhabitants.

The premise is that the Valiant Tobacco Company, in an effort to improve its image and show it's a company that "cares," decides to offer $25 million dollars to any town that can quite smoking for thirty days. The only town in the USA where all the inhabitants have signed a binding pledge is Eagle Rock, Iowa. The tobacco company, taken aback that a town would actually accept their offer, goes into damage control mode as they attempt to foil the townspeople's' efforts.

There are so many great performances, it's hard for me to pick just one. But the one that comes to mind first is that of the late Graham Jarvis as Amos Bush, President of the Christopher Mott Society. His introduction to the society's very special guest, Rear Admiral Nelson Steinschweiker, is priceless!

The movie was written and directed by Norman Lear back in 1971, just before "All in the Family" was unleashed. And I can't forget the wonderful score by Randy Newman. It complements the small town atmosphere so vividly portrayed on screen. If the DVD and the movie soundtrack ever sees the light of day, I'll be first in line to make my purchase! Truly one of my all time favorite movies.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 5, 2010 12:33 AM BST


Richard Scarry's Animal Nursery Tales
Richard Scarry's Animal Nursery Tales
by Richard Scarry
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Richard Scarry's Animal Nursery Tales, 13 Jan 2008
There are many, many fairy tales books out there. I wanted something that would hold my 2 year-old daughter's attention while I read to her at night. I thought a good place to start would be some of the fairy tales I remembered as a kid, stories such as the "Three Little Pigs" and "Goldilox and the Three Bears."

Most of the fairy tale books I found were composed mainly of text with a few antiquated pictures every now and then. And this is fine for older children, but no so for a two year old. When I came across this book, I knew I had struck gold.

Those of you with children not familiar with Richard Scarry's books are missing out on some of the greatest learning/reading tools out there. Scarry's books are visually appealing -- multiple drawings of delightful animal characters on each page, moving the story along and giving your child plenty of details to view while listening.

As a child of the 70's, I was already familiar with Scarry's books. I must have read each of them dozens of times as a kid, pouring over and appreciating the details in every picture. Let's face it, the way to get kids into reading is to make it interesting; this is certainly a good way to start them off early.

If you're looking for a good way to get the kids interested in reading, or if you just want a quality book of fairy tales for the children in your life, look no further than this one. It's a book your children will cherish and, like myself, read to their own some day.


Llewellyn's 2008 Herbal Almanac (Llewellyn's Herbal Almanac)
Llewellyn's 2008 Herbal Almanac (Llewellyn's Herbal Almanac)
by Lynn Smythe
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.50

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Llewellyn's 2008 Herbal Almanac, 13 Jan 2008
Llewellyn's Herbal Almanac has been a great practical resource for the past fifteen years. Within you'll find moon tables, legends and lore, recipes, and practical knowledge devoted to planting and harvesting by all natural means. You'll discover how to grow herbs in the shade, enhance meals with rosemary, combat high blood pressure, comfort babies, zap blemishes, lend an herbal touch to weddings, and include the kids in fun craft projects.

Chapters include:
* Soothing Herbal Remedies for Your Baby by Michelle Skye
* Organic Gardening by Lynn Smythe
* Natural Cold and Flu Remedies by Karen Creel
* Hot Flash Herbs by Dallas Jennifer Cobb
* Mistletoe Mysteries by Patti Wigington
* Shadowplay: Herbs for the Shady Garden by Elizabeth Barrette
* Crafts for Kids Unfold Outdoors by Sally Cragin
* Henna for Hair by AarTiana
* Nutty Tales for a Pagan's Hearth by Nancy Bennett


Mission Earth
Mission Earth
Price: £17.74

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrid, Simply Horrid, 13 Jan 2008
This review is from: Mission Earth (Audio CD)
"Mission Earth" was sold on the premise that L. Ron Hubbard was responsible for the words and music. Hubbard died in 1986; however, this album was released in 1989. Apparently he left behind detailed instructions and tapes as to how it all was to come together. For one reason or another, it fell into the hands of Scientology devotee Edgar Winter. An odd choice when you consider Winter hadn't had a hit in almost a decade. Whether or not Edgar Winter was Hubbard's choice to execute his plan, I don't know, but even if U2 released this back in 1989, it would still be a train wreck.

Here's an example of some of the notes Hubbard left behind: "Now you will note that this melody has a very dirty bass horn. And this is a fairly dirty bass horn. Now don't get a melodious bass horn, you want a dirty bass horn. This is an interesting trick of reversals whereby you have chorded actions that would normally be in the bass taking place in the treble."

Winter, as producer, arranger and performer, had nothing but praise for Hubbard's insight into the recording process, as well as his use of "counter-rhythm" in Rock, comparing its use to Paul Simon's "Graceland."

After listening to this, my unenlightened ears heard nothing but bad lyrics set to bad 80's pop music. And I mean bad pop music -- generic music released in the 80's that made it to the Goodwill and Salvation Army sale bins a month or so after its release.

To be fair, there is one -- just one song that I found that stood out from the rest, "Treacherous Love." There is a descent song there. I feel comfortable stating that it may be classified as the LEAST mediocre song on the album.

But there's no denying that there are some stinkers here. Are they so-bad-they-re good stinkers? Yes, I think I'd qualify them as such. "Bang-Bang," "Just a Kid," and "Spacer's Lot" have many a wince-inducing moment to them. Hubbard seemed to have a rule: any upbeat song MUST have a horn section.

Don't think I forgot about the album cover. It scares me.

You want to drive the neighbors crazy? Looking for a great white elephant gift? Here you go: the soundtrack to the dekalogy, Mission Earth, my friends.


Ghoul
Ghoul
by Brian Keene
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ghoul Disappoints, 13 Jan 2008
This review is from: Ghoul (Mass Market Paperback)
I liked what Brian Keene did with his great zombie reads "The Rising" and "City of the Dead." Both are good apocalyptic "Dawn of the Dead (Divimax Edition)" style thrillers with plenty of blood and gore to satisfy the masses, and well developed characters. To me, Brian's one of the rising stars of the Horror genre, and I look forward to each new book he puts out. However, I know it's impossible to hit a homerun each time at bat, and that brings us to "Ghoul."

"Ghoul" just didn't work for me at all. It had all the ingredients of a great read, but it seemed as if they were all hastily mixed together, and prematurely taken out of the oven. There are some really good coming-of-age novels out there -- Robert McCammon's "Boy's Life" and Stephen King's "Different Seasons (Signet)," come to mind - but this one isn't one of them. The basic components are there - the bonds of friendship, the last summer of childhood, and the transition from child to adult - but they fall flat. One of the biggest aggravations of the book was the excessive 80's references, almost done in a forced namedropping fashion. After a while, I began to think, okay...I get it; this takes place in 1984....

The character development in "Ghoul" was in need of more...well... development. Timmy Graco, the main character, seemed wooden and wise beyond his years. I have read several reviews already that make this point, stating that Keene often confuses his voice with that of twelve-year-old Timmy's. Timmy's dad, Randy Graco, I thought, had some major development issues. Was he an irrational screwball or a loving father? If anything, he was portrayed as a borderline schizophrenic, teetering between loving, understanding father, and despoiler of childhood imagination. Probably the worst developed of all was the ghoul himself. We get a little bit of history, but not much more than a legend relayed by the town's reverend. And I don't think the ghoul had a name; if he did, I missed it. I would have loved to have known more about how the race came about, more about its motivations - for instance, why it chose this particular town. And as for his physical description and the way he spoke, I could only picture a scrawny, nude Mr. Burns from "The Simpsons."

"Ghoul" attempts to reach the depth of highly regarded coming of age novels such as "Boy's Life," (which I HIGHLY recommend), but misses the mark by a wide margin.

As I mentioned at the outset of this review, I like Brian Keene's work. He's written some really good Horror novels -- "The Rising" and "Dead Sea" are well done and fun reads. "Ghoul," however, isn't one of them.


Wow
Wow
Offered by music-discount
Price: £14.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moby Grape's "Wow", 13 Jan 2008
This review is from: Wow (Audio CD)
Before I ever heard any of their songs, I knew of Moby Grape by reputation -- the quintessential 60's band that had an incredible first album, the success of which they could never top, and they flamed out big time. I always wondered how that momentum was halted and how such a highly regarded band could flop.

That brings us to "Wow." Until recently, I had never heard anything other than their first album, which was pretty darn good and serves as a great late 60's timepiece. When getting ready to listen to "Wow," I prepared myself for dull, boring, tuneless 60's psychedelia. I must say I was truly blown away by how good this entire CD was. I dare say it's just as good as the debut album. Great harmonies, tight playing and arrangements, and great instrumentation throughout. I swear listening to this made me feel like I was transported back to 1968. It's one of those rare albums that does live up to it's title.

This prompted me to find out more about the band and see exactly where things fell apart. And after searching, I found that with Moby Grape, what could go wrong, did go wrong. At the root of it all lay horrible management on the business and personal side. Moby Grape was a wonderfully constructed boat without a rudder; and when they crashed, they quickly sunk.

If you're interested in the band, all you really need is this album and the self-titled debut. I think "Vintage" (a double CD collection of their best) may be out of print, but it certainly would give you a taste of the band as well.

Stand out songs: "Murder in My Heart For the Judge," "Bitter Wind," "Rose Colored Eyes," "Motorcycle Irene," and "He."


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