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Colin Jervis "cjervis" (UK)

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Alkalol Saline Solution Nasal Wash, 16 fl oz (473 ml)
Alkalol Saline Solution Nasal Wash, 16 fl oz (473 ml)
Offered by united care
Price: £19.90

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Effective, 15 July 2013
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I have been using this for about a month and it has made a big difference. I have suffered from sinusitis for many years and regularly use steroidal sprays - which are partly effective. I dilute this with some water in a neti pot and use it twice a day.

It has made a big difference. The forehead pains are reduced and even my eyesight has improved. It's not a wonder cure, but it does bring me relief. I also recommend you read: Harvard Medical School Guide to Healing Your Sinuses (Harvard Medical School Guides) for the bigger picture.

Working the Cloud: The ultimate guide to making the Internet work for you and your business
Working the Cloud: The ultimate guide to making the Internet work for you and your business
by Kate Russell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Very good if not ultimate, 23 May 2013
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This is a very useful book written in an approachable style.

First, a couple of things that are not so good. I read the book from the beginning - a habit I've fallen into with eBooks - and found Hilary Devey's 'Foreword' rather lumpy; it could have done with a good edit. Also, the book can come over as a pile of bricks at times, with the mortar to bring it together less easy to find - though Kate does give useful examples throughout.

That said, this is a very practical book that could be used to set up an internet business and to run it economically from your local coffee shop, if you like. The strongest sections are at the front of the book and are enough to help a businesses to establish a social media presence - though perhaps not enough to grow it and co-ordinate it.

Kate's writing is very clear and her enthusiasm is infectious in the manner of her regular slot on the BBC's Click program. I have been using IT for years and there was plenty that I highlighted for later reference. Well worth buying even for old hands.

The Music of Business: Business Excellence fused with Music
The Music of Business: Business Excellence fused with Music
by Peter Cook
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars His Own Metaphor, 27 April 2013
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Peter has made the music and business analogy his own, in this book and on his blog. Using metaphors and analogies can produce some perceptive insights--but requires some hard thought and a creative mind. Peter has thought hard and packed them into this excellent book. Do AC/DC stick to the knitting and play what their fans like? What can we learn from Peter Grant's management of Led Zeppelin? Seek the answers within. A readable, insightful and useful book. Also see his other book Punk Rock People Management - A no-nonsense guide to hiring, inspiring and firing staff

Punk Rock People Management - A no-nonsense guide to hiring, inspiring and firing staff
Punk Rock People Management - A no-nonsense guide to hiring, inspiring and firing staff

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pogo Power, 21 Sept. 2011
Peter Cook distils HR into 13 concise chapters. I read it on the train this morning and immediately used my 'instant wisdom' in a meeting with a client.

Here is a quick summary of each chapter:

*Selection: hire for attitude and top up skills and experience.
*Induction: design roles to inspire people.
*Rewards: money doesn't satisfy.
*Engagement: everyone talks about it, but how do you get it?
*Motivation: it's not about 360 degree appraisals.
*Diversity: unite people in their experience of work.
*Appraisal: who enjoys their appraisal?
*Training: is not a panacea.
*Promotion: hire people that are better than you.
*Innovation: shiny, happy people do not always innovate.
*Conflict: addressing the turf wars between organisational silos.
*Unions: are a good thing.
*Redundancy: the good and bad news.

Most problems are human problems, so safety pin this gem to your leather jacket (OK, carry on your smartphone, if you must) for easy reference.

Alice in Wonderland [DVD]
Alice in Wonderland [DVD]
Dvd ~ Johnny Depp
Price: £2.99

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 10/6, 6 Jun. 2010
This review is from: Alice in Wonderland [DVD] (DVD)
It is a tale. Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Tim Burton tries to replace 19th century wordplay with 21st century wizardry and fails.

I have read the original Alices many times, most recently Martin Gardner's The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass (highly recommended). And of course Tenniel's original illustrations will always be a visual cynosure. That said, I was really looking forward to this because of other Tim Burton films, particularly the stylish and witty Tim Burton's Corpse Bride [DVD] [2005]. Sadly, I found my finger itching to push the eject button less than half way through.

They may have been better in 3D, but on DVD the animations are a Mock Turtle soup of Bagpuss, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, exceeding none of them. In parts it reminded me of the mixture of actors and animation in Mary Poppins--though that works rather better. Johnny Depp over acts in fine style, and, of course, his English and (oddly) Scottish accents are superior to Dick Van Dyke's infamous yankney. But whether his FutterWhack matches Van Dyke's vaudeville style of dance is a matter of taste and generation, which I think touches on the real tension here.

Other reviewers have deplored the lack of plot, and indeed this has none. However, it shares that quality with the original books: when Alice tells the Cheshire Cat she wants to get *somewhere* he replies: "Oh you're sure to do that, if you only walk long enough." Nonetheless, at times, the script writers feel the need to remind us explicity of allusions: the similarities between two sisters in the real world and Tweedledum and Tweedledee in the dream world; Alice believing six impossible things before breakfast--twice; and I lost track of how many times the Hatter asks the raven and writing desk riddle.

The film seeks to appeal to older Alice fans and to generation X-Box. It fails in the former, and, on the basis of the games animation I have seen, in the latter too. Like the Mad Hatter's topper, this is worth 10/6 rather than the full guinea, so 2.5 stars. BTW: Gardner's book has a couple of suggestions about the raven and writing desk.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 6, 2010 12:54 PM BST

The Peregrine (New York Review Books Classics)
The Peregrine (New York Review Books Classics)
by J. A. Baker
Edition: Paperback

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nature writing at its best, 13 May 2009
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Recently I have read birdlife described by birders, a stand up comedian and a prize-winning journo. The beauty of this writing surpasses them as the Golden Jubilee Diamond does cubic zirconia.

It relates the author's obsessive stalking of a peregrine falcon and its mate across the East Anglian countryside. He transforms the insouciant weather, landscape and falcon into interlocking metaphors of each other.

The falcons soar and stoop over their territory, their progress tracked by the clouds of birds that burst up as they pass. Sometimes foolhardy crows, jays and blackbirds pursue them, but they are dropped by the disdainful wing flicks of this the world's fastest creature.

At times the descriptions of savagery are simultaneously beautiful and breathtakingly visceral. Almost every paragraph contains a gem in a carefully crafted setting:

"...The kingfisher shone in mud at the river's edge, like a brilliant eye. He was tattered with blood, stained with the blood red colour of his stumpy legs that were stiff and red as sticks of sealing wax, cold in the lapping ripple of the river. He was like a dead star, whose green and turquoise light still glimmers down through the long light years."

A book to be read slowly and enjoyed with full visualisation.

Birdwatchingwatching: One Year, Two Men, Three Rules, Ten Thousand Birds
Birdwatchingwatching: One Year, Two Men, Three Rules, Ten Thousand Birds
by Alex Horne
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Could be Better, 12 Mar. 2009
What do you get if you mate childhood jottings and the fortunes of Liverpool FC and the England World Cup team with a family bird spotting contest. Sadly, a rather infelicitous hybrid.

The main theme of the book is a year long contest between neophyte birdwatcher Alex and his more experienced father to see who can tick the most bird species. He refers to his father as "Duncton" after his ham-thumbed sign offs to text messages--a conceit that is amusing for the first chapter but rapidly becomes irritating after that. (Why doesn't he just call him Dad?)

Alex's experiences as a newbie birdwatcher and his interactions with the birding tribe are the book's best parts. He draws on the support of experienced birders, the worldwide web and even indulges in a spot of twitching--at one stage racing across the UK to catch a rain sodden glimpse of a rare little brown job skulking in a hedge.

Regrettably, the desciption of the contest never creates any tension. While Alex details his own experiences, the character of Duncton is left undeveloped. Nor does Alex draw any new insights or point of view from his experiences.

I nearly consigned this book to the charity shop pile a few times before finishing it. The second time was during a lengthy digression on the fortunes of the England football team in the World Cup--as if I needed reminding.

The book gains its inspiration from others; for example, Mark Cocker's "Birders", a tighter, more insightful exploration of the tribe. If you like your birding with a plot, I recommend you try Rory McGrath's "Bearded Tit" or Esther Woolfson's exquisite "Corvus".

Alex comes over as a nice bloke, but his writing needed a nasty editor to correct spelling and grammar and to question the relevance of digressions. Hidden in the foliage is a tighter and better book.

Comme si de rien n'était
Comme si de rien n'était

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First Lady, First Class, 19 Sept. 2008
Has hardly been off my player since I bought it.

A journalist commenting on her recent UK television appearance with Jools Holland said a beautiful woman in a Chanel trouser suit could recite a telephone directory in French and still sound good. But these lyrics are not from a directory. Sometimes childlike, sometimes mature, they are delivered in a breathy voice that at times can sound diffident, but that only adds to its charm.

I speak reasonable French so can understand most of the lyrics, though I did have to look up "Tu es ma came" (something like "you are my drug") but I think even non-francophones would enjoy this collection's ambience, intimate delivery and pared down accompaniment.

Blood and Guts: A History of Surgery
Blood and Guts: A History of Surgery
by Richard Hollingham
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Readable and Engaging, 25 Aug. 2008
Blood and Guts is a pithy and readable history of surgery that does not hold back on the successes and the botches.

One of the most amusing anecdotes became known as the "night of the pigs" and takes place in the National Heart Hospital in London in 1969.

Surgeon Donald Longmore waits for a delivery of pigs. He plans to graft a pig's heart and lungs into a patient to keep him alive. One pig has other ideas and makes its escape onto Wimpole Street, pursued by gowned, capped, masked and booted theatre staff.

The pig, now secured by the expert team, is taken to the mortuary to be put to sleep, but the anaesthetist assigned to the task is Jewish. Another anaesthetist is found, but there is another problem: the patient is also Jewish and unconscious so unable to take any decisions for himself. Mr. Longmore calls a rabbi who in fits of laughter gives the go ahead for a genuine attempt to save the patient's life. Unfortunately, the operation fails in its final stages owing to an unforeseen reaction of pig heart to an injection of calcium.

Medical mavericks seem to have been responsible for much surgical progress, so it's surprising to read how often innovations we now take for granted were at first rejected by established leaders and institutions. Plus ca change!

Trust Me, I'm a (Junior) Doctor
Trust Me, I'm a (Junior) Doctor
by Max Pemberton
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, but Episodic, 11 Aug. 2008
Max Pemberton relates his experiences of the UK's National Health Service, where I also worked for 10 years. Many of his anecdotes brought on a wry smile of recognition.

When I was studying for an MBA I remember learning about corporate culture (now an overused and devalued term) and how it might be described using myths, heroes, legends, stories, jargon, rites and ritual. An NHS manager on my course suggested the consultant's ward round as an example of a ritual. In it the medical consultant and a retinue of junior doctors progress through a ward reviewing and discussing patients. An extreme example can be seen in the film "Doctor in the House" (1954) when the formidable Sir Lancelot Sprat humiliates his underlings.

Max Pemberton seems also to lie at the bottom of the pecking order, because he's packed off to get the coffee and croissants for the round. That seems poor reward for the time he spent excavating X-ray films from behind radiators and tracking down missing pathology samples and results in preparation for the ritual. He even has to transpose manually drugs charts by interpreting the glyphs of senior medical staff. But they say there is little evidence to support the use of Information Technology in healthcare (!)

On the downside it is episodic, which tends to conceal an overall story line, other than the hell of being a junior doctor. Nontheless, I enjoyed it and it, and for those who haven't worked for the supertanker that is the NHS it offers a peek into its engine room.

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