Profile for Merely Human > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Merely Human
Top Reviewer Ranking: 936,222
Helpful Votes: 44

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Merely Human (UK)

Show:  
Page: 1
pixel
Casio MQ24/7B Unisex Quartz Watch with White Dial Analogue Display and Black Resin Strap
Casio MQ24/7B Unisex Quartz Watch with White Dial Analogue Display and Black Resin Strap
Price: £6.75

5.0 out of 5 stars good for school, 22 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is not jewellery, or bling and will never be a family heirloom. This is a tool that does one thing well - it displays the time accurately and clearly, and I think it has an aesthetic appeal as a result. As a bonus, you can wear it while swimming.

At 11, my son had managed to lose his children's watch, but his school required him to have a watch, to encourage punctuality. So I bought him one of these. Within a year he had lost this one, too. As a watch was still required, I bought him another. This one lasted two and a half years, showing signs of having resisted a few knocks, until the strap broke and simultaneously the battery ran down.

As others have noted, it's cheaper (or at least more convenient) to buy a replacement watch. As my son had failed to lose this one, I asked him if he would like to choose a new watch, by way of reward. He chose another MQ-24-7BLL.


Appleby Talking (Inspector Appleby Mystery)
Appleby Talking (Inspector Appleby Mystery)
by Michael Innes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.26

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars disappointing, 22 Sept. 2009
I have enjoyed the Appleby novels I've read, but I found this collection of short stories very disappointing indeed. Most of the stories are too short to be intriguing. Some are obviously jokes, but I'm afraid I found them rather feeble. The longer stories appear too obviously contrived. In one of them, Appleby has a young man tag along with him through the case, seemingly for the sole purpose of impressing him with Appleby's abilities. Most of these stories showcase the author's snobbery - or perhaps, to be charitable, the snobbery belongs just to his characters. This was a waste of time, but I shall persevere with Innes' novels.


Labyrinth
Labyrinth
by Kate Mosse
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £34.25

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Dan Brown - but that doesn't make it good, 11 July 2009
This review is from: Labyrinth (Audio CD)
A reviewer, quoted on the cover, had written "Eat your heart out Dan Brown - this is the real thing". In my imagination I formed the idea "here's someone who's read the Da Vinci Code and thought: if Dan Brown can get away with writing like that, there's hope for anyone". The good news is that, unlike Brown, Mosse does appear to be able to use a dictionary. The bad news is that the one-star reviews on this site are right. The "characters" are stereotypes, the similes are inappropriate and the pacing of the stories goes awry, with pages of tedium. It is, in a word, amateurish. I wanted to say, rather tritely and unimaginitively, "Don't give up the day-job".

But then, a visit to Mosse's web site reveals what the day-job is: she teaches creative writing! Well, I'm glad for her that Labyrinth was a success, because surely after this, the supply of students will dry up.

One thing she bemoans on her Labyrinth site is that publishers now expect authors to submit works ready for publication, rather than providing editorial staff to tidy up the work. She could certainly have benefitted from this (so could Dan Brown).

I won't give her just one star, because she does seem to have investigated the historical background and gets some of it across to the reader. However, this book was a waste of time. Unlike Brown's books, it is not even so bad that it is funny.

Critics of the Da Vinci Code often recommend Umberto Eco's "Foucalt's Pendulum" as an alternative; for a story based at the time of the Cathar heresy, Eco's "The Name of the Rose" is excellent.


Eco Cordless Jug Kettle, White 3000W
Eco Cordless Jug Kettle, White 3000W

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars useful in the office, 11 July 2009
We have recently started using one of these in the office as the latest in a series of kettles. Previous kettles have been in near constant use throughout the day, and have lasted about two months each on average. A kettle ettiquette had developed whereby anyone using the kettle would fill it and put it on to boil for the next potential user. This still resulted in some people having to wait for a full kettle to boil, from time to time.

The Eco kettle has changed that. There is never a need to wait for the full kettle to boil. We don't need to top up the kettle after *every* use. It does seem more convenient.

It is debatable how significant the energy savings have been in this case. It remains to be seen whether this kettle will last any longer than its predecessors. I too have noticed the tendency to spit hot water out of the spout after pouring.

At home, we use a kettle with a gauge that displays the water level. We know how large our cups are, so we fill the kettle to the appropriate level for our purpose. This must be more energy-efficient than the eco-kettle, and I suspect the manufacturing costs (both ecologically and economically) are lower for a conventional kettle.

However, the eco-kettle does seem to work better at the office in the way we have adapted to using it.


The Secret Show - Volume 1: The Uzz Files [DVD]
The Secret Show - Volume 1: The Uzz Files [DVD]
Dvd ~ The Secret Show
Offered by Rapid-DVD
Price: £5.72

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars bring out the rest of the series on DVD, 8 May 2009
9 episodes from the very amusing series, almost looking and sounding like it was made in the 1960s with a view of the future from that perspective, but really having a much more up-to-date appeal. Many catch-phrases and recurring motifs appear. All the episodes are entertaining. In keeping with the spirit of the show, the DVD box can be disguised as The Fluffy Bunny Show.
We could do with more of the series being released.


A Change Of Heir (Inspector Appleby Mystery S.)
A Change Of Heir (Inspector Appleby Mystery S.)
by Michael Innes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a quick, entertaining page-turner, 7 May 2009
I've read a few Innes novels over the years, mainly Appleby stories. I've found them to contain pre-war Patrician attitudes - snobbish, even - and they are littered with quotations that I suspect even most of the author's Oxford contemporaries would find difficult to identify. For all that, I find them highly readable and, more to the point, entertaining, which is surely the author's principal intention. This novel turned out to be no exception, although it is not an Appleby murdrer mystery. It is quite a simple shortish story which, at one time, could easily have been turned into a modest film or television play. It has a far-fetched plot of impersonation in an implausibly out-dated environment peopled with comic grotesques. At one point the author states that the reader will already have guessed the plot even if the principal character hasn't. Even so, I felt compelled to keep turning the pages until the very last one just to see how it turned out. I was not disappointed. This is not intended as a work of high art or philosophy. It is an entertainment and succeeds as such.


The Popeye Collection [DVD]
The Popeye Collection [DVD]
Dvd ~ Popeye
Price: £7.99

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some great stuff but you may want to compare it with other collections, 16 May 2007
This review is from: The Popeye Collection [DVD] (DVD)
There are some absolute classics in this collection, but about half of the cartoons you'd want to watch only once. Fortunately, at this price you could probably afford to. Why so cheap? I understand that these are copies of some prints that slipped throught the net of copyright and became royalty-free. Unfortunately, the prints weren't of particularly good quality. In particular, the colour films have faded and many of them are now primarily just pink and black.

Because these cartoons are royalty-free, they have ended up on a number of collections and are also legitimately available on some Internet sites for free download.

Some of the alternative collections have apparently restored the films - I haven't seen any myself - and you may prefer to look for these, although they will undoubtedly cost more.

So why buy this one? Firstly, if you want to see what Popeye was like - either for the first time or to recall distant memories of viewing them as a child. Secondly, you can use it to tell which of the cartoons (if any) would be worth buying in a restored version. I would say the three Arabian Nights stories would be worth seeing in better condition than you get here.

Of course, Popeye was of his time, and is not now "PC". You should be warned that there is likely to be violence, sexism, racism, and a callous attitude to animals and sometimes human life.


Buster Keaton: Cut to the Chase
Buster Keaton: Cut to the Chase
by Marion Meade
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's an account of Keaton's life from beginning to end, 11 May 2006
I came to this book forewarned about the controversial allegations of childhood abuse and his illiteracy. On reading the first chapter, which is a sort of dramatic "taster" describing an event that occurs part way through the story, I was convinced that the book was going to be a novel (or screenplay)loosely based on Keaton's story.

The early chapters do contain some psycholgical speculation that does not seem to be supported by the evidence. For example, the author seems to make the claim that Keaton could not smile as a result of the (unproven) abuse he received from his father, resulting in his trademark "stone face". Yet this is contradicted by mentions later in the book that Keaton did smile and laugh, particulary in the early films he made with Roscoe Arbuckle.

As the book progresses, it becomes more a statement of a sequence of facts rather than imaginative speculation. Somewhere in the middle, where the story is at its most interesting, the presentation is well-paced and complementary.

Later on, the book becomes a list of short events, and has a repetititve feel to it. We learn how much Keaton earned for each of his appearances to reassure us that he was not living in poverty. As for the many interviews the author undertook, only a line or two of each have made it into the book. I'm not sure whether that is a good or bad thing.

I think that the big problem is that Keaton's life is the wrong "shape". This is probably true of most artists and I guess it is the big challenge for all biographers. The defining events of his life all happened in the first half. After that, the course of his life became more ordinary.

On the whole, I think this book does cover the facts of Keaton's life - certainly more completely than Blesh's or Keaton's books. The speculation is easy to spot and can be taken with a pinch of salt. If the ending is a let down, this is partly the fault of the subject matter. This book contains as much about Keaton's personal life as I would like to know. I don't plan to read another. Fans are probably better off reading about - or indeed watching - the films.


Page: 1