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Wilf Trauma Spinach (Sheffield, UK)

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The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity
The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity
by Roy Porter
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.99

0 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Interesting subject made uninteresting. I could have done that!, 7 Nov. 2014
Very dull book. I gave up very quickly. Someone I know who actually read it all said there were only two salient points which came across. And if these points are incorrect, I apologise for it. He said that medieval leprosy effectively vanished after the Black Death of 1348 and that many diseases that afflict mankind are down to the unfortunate necessity of humans having to live cheek-by-jowl with domesticated beasts. Apart from these two facts there was little to be gleaned from this volume. I didn't even get that far. It was unengaging and written by someone who was obviously not entirely enthusiastic about the prospect of putting together a book about the subject.

The Limits Of Liberty: American History, 1607-1992 (Short Oxford History of the Modern World)
The Limits Of Liberty: American History, 1607-1992 (Short Oxford History of the Modern World)
by Maldwyn Jones
Edition: Paperback
Price: £25.20

3.0 out of 5 stars It struggles over the dry periods of US history, as they all do., 7 Nov. 2014
What is wrong with this book is the same that goes wrong with all books about the USA. The period from the end of the Civil War to the beginnings of the First World War presents us with a very dry intermission where not a great deal appears to happen. For an unsophisticated reader such as myself someone is needed to grasp my hand and lead me through the points that are salient but not actually very engaging.

For instance, a lot of post-civil war policy-making hinged around the potency of the 'tariff' and the reform of this mechanism. By that I take it to mean the amount of taxation levied upon imports, and from that the definition escalates to how this tariff level affected differing levels of society in the US. This is all very interesting at first glance, but it has to be explained in full detail to get the full grasp of what it entails. It needs an 'idiot's guide' approach for a reader who is more used to reading about John Brown and Antietam and Sherman's march to the sea. If you want to understand the US over this period you need to understand the subtleties of what happened in peacetime. And its dullness can be ameliorated by a full explanation of what is actually happening. This book is not meeting the challenge.

30 Rock - Complete Season 1-7 Box Set [DVD]
30 Rock - Complete Season 1-7 Box Set [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tina Fey
Price: £19.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 30Rock - watch it, dudes, 7 Nov. 2014
Oh man, am I speaking from a disadvantaged position here, being drunk. However, I will say this: this particular TV series has given me many hours of seriously excellent distraction. Tina Fey and Jane Krakowski are wonderfully funny. And I draw attention to these talented ladies first of all because being a UK subject of the crown I don't have much exposure to women of such achievement. No sir, not at all, In the UK women are not funny. Apart from, say, Helen Lederer, Morwenna Banks and few others, but they are not brought into prominence. British TV is not friendly towards funny women.

30 Rock is so funny and engaging. What can anyone say? If you are not gripped by the situations developed in the pilot then it's not for you. It's all about Liz Lemon trying to keep Tracy Jordan and Jenna Maroney under control as Liz tries to put together a weekly TV show. And it all springs from that well.

Well, I can watch until i'm sick. It's that good.

Community - Season 5 (DVD)
Community - Season 5 (DVD)
Dvd ~ Joel McHale
Price: £3.30

5.0 out of 5 stars I'll add my opinion even though it fits in pretty comfortably with what has already been said, 7 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Community - Season 5 (DVD) (DVD)
When i approached the idea of putting forth a review for Community Season Five I noticed that there was already plenty of people bigging up this remarkable TV show. However I want to add my opinion even though it fits in pretty comfortably with what has already been said. My utterances are surplus to requirements.

Community has been a real eye-opener for me. It shows to me what TV entertainment can achieve. I know it never drew in the vast numbers who watch and admire The Big Bang Theory - itself an excellent show - and I can only say that those who didn't hang on and let themselves be absorbed by Community are missing out on a great experience.

The individual characters are built up with great subtlety - and the way they interact lends itself to great comedy and superb drama. You'll want to watch these episodes over and over again.

The superb thing about this season is that the relationships between the characters is still dynamic, still fresh; the writers continue to throw a spotlight upon the frictions which existed in earlier seasons. The character-led tales capture your interest because they are about solid personalities in conflict - even if only momentarily - with personalities with which they have supposed to have already reached some kind of rapport. Within the strife lies the comedy.

Because of the dip in quality noticeable in season four, Dan Harmon on his return - by giving us seriously quality results - has shown himself to be the master of this particular show. He is indeed the prominent force behind it. I look forward to seeing more of it. Six seasons and a movie, indeed.

Litany of the Long Sun: The First Half of 'The Book of the Long Sun'
Litany of the Long Sun: The First Half of 'The Book of the Long Sun'
by Gene Wolfe
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.13

5.0 out of 5 stars Wolfe challenges the reader..., 28 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Gene Wolfe is the most irritating author. Listen: you are reading the dialogue which is taking place between two of the main characters. And in your mind you are saying 'Get on with it! Move the plot forward!' But it is not to be. No sir.

You are asking Gene Wolfe to say one thing: - you want him to substantiate the plot segment you have envisioned because of what he has written earlier - but he's not doing it. He's grinding you down with inconsequentialities. You have imagined the way the plot should develop - and now you want Wolfe to validate it. You want Wolfe to give substance to your suppositions.

And this is where Wolfe plays games with you. He'll bolster up your expectations ... but only half way. For the remainder you'll have to hang on. And there's always the threat that you got it wrong.

I am highly critical of Wolfe whilst I'm reading it. But I'm always willing to go where he's heading. In a way he's like Picasso. You may not entirely like the way he's doing it, but he's telling a story and the story is worth the telling and the hearing.

Little Bo Peep Has Lost Her Jeep
Little Bo Peep Has Lost Her Jeep
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.26

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Spike Jones compilation, 12 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is very good. The CD doesn't cost very much, but the pleasure is totally out of proportion to the financial outlay. Spike Jones is terrific anyway; but this compilation is much better than we can decently expect for the price.

For me, I noticed that many of the old favorites were subtly different from the standard versions we've heard before. Alternative takes, obviously, and all the more welcome. There were some numbers not commonly heard, and to hear the City Slickers magic in songs we've not heard before has got to be the goal of every music lover. And for a couple of quid, I got a Spike Jones buzz far bigger than I had any right to anticipate.

The blurb on the back insert card says: 'All tracks have been digitally enhanced. However, due to the age of these recordings some distortion or background noise may be experienced'. A fair warning for the purists. But who cares?

Does anyone know who today uses the same tuned percussion techniques that the City Slickers used? I certainly don't.

Shergard Is Home Safe And Well
Shergard Is Home Safe And Well

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Album of that year, 28 Jan. 2013
I've had this album for many years now, and I regularly have a look at how this album is doing on Amazon. And I'm amazed that someone hasn't stepped forward and praised it in the most grandiloquent terms.

It's a beautiful piece of work. I don't have the track listing in front of me right this minute, so I'm having to rely on memory. What I do remember are tracks such as 'Roadkill' and 'Kaleidoscope Girl'. They were very engaging. Very moving.

Anyway, try it out. I'm sure an Amazon Market-placer will have it available for a pound or so. It's definitely worth both the price and the attention. I thought it the best album of .. er .. whatever year it came out. 2009?

And, as an extra note, I continually take a peak on Amazon to see if other Ceramic Hobs CDs have been released.

9 (Nine) [DVD]
9 (Nine) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Elijah Wood
Offered by Game Trade Online
Price: £2.36

5.0 out of 5 stars Mad Scientist's Desperate Plan to Save World !!, 16 Nov. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: 9 (Nine) [DVD] (DVD)
Excellent movie, watched it four times so far. The plot could have been presented with a little more clarity, I feel - but repeated viewings solved that problem. It wasn't until after the third viewing that I felt I completely understood the story.

What was lacking was the sense that the scientist's plan to incorporate himself into the Machine was too little, too late. By the time that Nine (9) was able to animate himself and go forth into the world, mankind had been totally exterminated with poison gas. It was too late to attempt to tame the Machine. The Machine itself, job done, had lapsed into immobility. The nine homunculi who were supposed to deliver the scientist's soul into the Machine were now adrift in a world where all life had been made extinct.

So, in a way, the story was about the nine homunculi who were programmed to deliver themselves to the Machine having to resist this programming - so that they themselves could survive as sentient, separate entities in their own right, the last living things on a dead planet.

It's a great work, worth watching many times.

The Big Bang Theory - Season 5 (DVD + UV Copy) [2012]
The Big Bang Theory - Season 5 (DVD + UV Copy) [2012]
Dvd ~ Johnny Galecki
Price: £9.16

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thin material, threadbare even, but can grow on you ..., 15 Sept. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I could say I was sure that it's pretty hard to keep a project like The Big Bang Theory chugging along for so many years and still keep it fresh. I could say that. But, on the contrary, I see the opposite of this being true: the Big Bang guys not only have all of science as their theatre, they also have everything associated with comic books, sci-fi movies, role-playing games and every other pastime and diversion beloved by nerds. It's a big playground. In fact, being physicists and interested in literally everything, Leonard and his pals could get themselves involved in absolutely everything. The opportunities are endless.

So for this reason I must say that I am disappointed by stories where, for instance, Sheldon acts out his terror of birds, or he is adamant that he should be the centre of attention when his mother visits. These might be worthy themes for inferior sitcoms, but we expect better in The Big Bang Theory. The material is thin. The writers show Sheldon to be an imbecile rather than him being a genius who has quirks. Because at the end of the day, we accept Sheldon's craziness because he has an IQ which cannot be accurately measured. The stories should try to always emphasise that. Otherwise we are sitting back and watching the antics of a fool.

Having said all this, I remember vividly that I didn't think too much of season four when I first saw it. But I grew to like it very much. I dare say the same will happen again. So ... five stars !! Ha ha, bazinga !!

Octopussy [DVD]
Octopussy [DVD]
Dvd ~ John Glen (II)|Roger Moore|Maud Adams|Louis Jourdan
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £8.48

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Octopussy - great story, great fun, 13 Aug. 2012
This review is from: Octopussy [DVD] (DVD)
Whilst I'm not a big fan of the Bond franchise in general, I did pay extra attention to this helping, mainly because it was co-scripted by George MacDonald Fraser, the author of the Flashman novels. It was Fraser who wrote the scripts for the Musketeers movies which starred Michael York, Oliver Reed, Frank Finlay etc. He also co-scripted Red Sonja, and who can deny the redeeming qualities of that production?

---spoiler alert---

To be honest I liked this movie for a few reasons; its India setting for one. Blimey, there was a big Afghan guy chasing him with a blunderbuss - filled with spanners and doorknobs, I shouldn't wonder. I thought the plot was convoluted to just the right amount; enough to make you go 'ooh aah, I get it' every so often. His rapport with Q was terrific; and we saw in this interlude that Bond was, at heart, a randy child - and this pretty much explains everything about him. And the sight of Bond running around in a clown suit stricken with absolute desperation made him a massive hero - his dignity had gone and so had his certainty. This was a good moment for us to see James Bond in action.

For me this was one of the better of the Roger Moore attempts. The other good one is For Your Eyes Only. Also - apparently, so I've been told - is The Spy Who Loved Me, which I will endeavor to add to my list of 'must find time to watch'.

But Octopussy is top entertainment.

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