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Reviews Written by
Dr. H. A. Jones "Howard Jones" (Wales, UK)
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Billion Dollar Brain [DVD]
Billion Dollar Brain [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Caine
Offered by Black Wolfe
Price: £3.71

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Harry Palmer spy thriller, 13 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Billion Dollar Brain [DVD] (DVD)
This is another in the series of Harry Palmer movies with Michael Caine as our indefatigable hero. As with the James Bond movies, the plot is over-the-top, but none the less entertaining for that. Harry - now a private detective rather than working as part of the British Secret Service - is engaged by his old employer, Colonel Ross to carry a vacuum flask full of nasty microbes to a former contact, Leo Newbigen (Karl Malden) in Helsinki. Once there, he runs into his old friendly Russian enemy, Colonel Stock (Oskar Homolka), who warns him not to get involved with Newbigen and his comrades. Newbigen gets his (and Harry's) instructions via a computer link - that has a voice just like Donald Sutherland! It seems the viruses are destined for the controller of the computer, Texas oil magnate Colonel Midwinter (Ed Begley) who, like Barry Goldwater before him, is intent upon wiping out Communism from the face of the earth. The movie is just as entertaining as the other Harry Palmer movies and of course the good guys win.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 25, 2014 5:02 PM BST


The Page Turner [2006] [DVD]
The Page Turner [2006] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Catherine Frot
Offered by The World Cinema Store
Price: £4.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A study of artistic temperament., 13 Oct. 2013
This review is from: The Page Turner [2006] [DVD] (DVD)
This is a French film directed by Denis Dercourt. Mélanie Prouvost (Déborah François) is a teenage girl with ambitions to be a professional pianist. She leaves home to work in a law firm. While there, she is engaged by the head of the practice, Jean Fouchécourt (Pascal Greggory), to look after his young piano playing son when he and his wife are away. Jean's wife, Ariane (Catherine Frot) is an established professional concert pianist who suffers badly from `stagefright'. Mélanie and Ariane strike up a relationship so that Ariane becomes more comfortable with Mélanie acting as a page turner for her in her concerts. The two women also clearly have a romantic attachment to one another. But Ariane was responsible for Mélanie failing an audition and so, when Ariane has an important concert to give, Mélanie doesn't turn up to do her page turning. Another page turner is found for the performance but it isn't clear whether or not Ariane falls apart without the companion she has come to rely on. This is an interesting human drama but not gripping stuff. There are some lovely bits of music in the score.


Western Europe Simplified Catalogue 2005: an Illustrated and Priced Single-volume Guide to the Postage Stamps of Western Europe Excluding Changes of ... Shade and Watermark (Stamp Catalogue)
Western Europe Simplified Catalogue 2005: an Illustrated and Priced Single-volume Guide to the Postage Stamps of Western Europe Excluding Changes of ... Shade and Watermark (Stamp Catalogue)
by Stanley Gibbons
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A valuable source-book of philatelic information, 6 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I would not have thought it possible to give basic details of all the stamps issued in the western world for the past century and a half in one volume; but here it is. Over my lifetime I have built up a collection of stamps from France, Germany, Scandinavia and many other western countries usually with no indication of when the stamps were issued or for what occasion. Here is a volume that provides all that information. It's a basic catalogue that doesn't go into details of variations in watermarks and perforations, but all the necessary information for all but the most intense collector is here.


Ice Twisters (With bonus film Storm Cell) [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Ice Twisters (With bonus film Storm Cell) [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Offered by RAREWAVES USA
Price: £6.08

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A nearly plausible sci-fi movie, 6 Oct. 2013
Seeding of clouds with dry ice or silver iodide has been used for many years to produce rainfall artificially. This sci-fi film is about an experiment to use 2000 drones to create the clouds themselves, seed them with silver iodide and then have the drones recharge themselves automatically by drawing in atmospheric carbon dioxide and freezing it to dry ice. The drones drift in the upper atmosphere to a new location and then start the process all over again. Unfortunately, they are a little too successful and start producing mini ice tornados in one location after another in north-western USA. Frank (Robert Moloney) is the coordinating bureaucrat behind the project and the guy who puts up the money. Once the experiment is underway they find its effects are dramatic and fatal but the scientists in the field are powerless to moderate it. Meanwhile former scientist turned sci-fi author Charlie Price (whose has just had a signing locally for his latest novel) gets drawn in to the impending disaster. It's not a great movie but the special effects are quite good and it's an entertaining enough film using a piece of nearly believable science when actual highly damaging hailstorms with tennis-ball sized hailstones have become a reality of our present-day weather.


The Life of David Gale [DVD] [2003]
The Life of David Gale [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Kevin Spacey
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £3.35

4.0 out of 5 stars Arguments for and against capital punishment, 4 Oct. 2013
Passionate abolitionist and philosophy professor David Gale (Kevin Spacey) is on death row in a Texas prison awaiting execution for the rape and murder of a fellow DeathWatch activist, Constance Harraway (Laura Linney). Gale had previously been accused of the rape of a former student, Berlin (Rhona Mitra), although he was subsequently cleared. Gale secures a huge fee from a magazine to give a series of three two-hour interviews on the last three days of his life with one of their successful investigative journalists, Bitsey Bloom (Kate Winslet). The story is therefore told retrospectively and Bloom uncovers increasing amounts of evidence to suggest that Gale is innocent. But there are other individuals involved who support or oppose the death penalty. This is an exciting story directed by Alan Parker and we don't know until the very end whether or not Gale is innocent.


The Sense Of Being Stared At: And Other Aspects of the Extended Mind
The Sense Of Being Stared At: And Other Aspects of the Extended Mind
by Rupert Sheldrake
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Experiments on the non-locality of consciousness, 3 Oct. 2013
The Sense of Being Stared At, and other aspects of the extended mind, by Rupert Sheldrake, Hutchinson, 2003, 384 ff

In this book, author Rupert Sheldrake makes the case for regarding phenomena such as telepathy and premonition as perfectly normal human faculties rather than paranormal or supernatural events. He suggests that minds - and the human mind especially - may extend far beyond the confines of the brain. Sheldrake was formerly a Professor of Biology at the University of Cambridge and is now a Fellow of the Institute of Noetic Sciences in California.

He begins his discussion here by showing how science continually develops with new discoveries and new ideas. He describes what is often called extrasensory perception (ESP) as the seventh sense, maintaining that the ability to detect electromagnetic fields by animals should be called the `sixth sense'. He also regards personal experiences as valid evidence for the existence of these phenomena - after all, readings of ammeters and spectrophotometers have also to be made and recorded by human observations, and the fields of law and medicine rely heavily on personal accounts. Darwin's evidence for the law of evolution came largely from personal anecdotes. Sheldrake has done for `seventh sense' observations what marine biologist Alister Hardy did for spiritual experiences. The mind may be centred in the brain, but it is not confined to it.

So much for the Introduction: in the opening chapters of Part I Sheldrake gives many examples of telepathy, often between family members or, he suggests, between those playing team sports. He reviews some of the early work on psychic experiences by scientists in the 19th century. Of course, telepathic interaction with animals is included in this section. Entomologist William Morton Wheeler suggested a similar explanation for communication within communities of social insects, schools of fish or flocks of birds. This is discussed in a later chapter in this section, though Wheeler's name is not mentioned. This phenomenon leads Sheldrake to conclude that `the psyche is not confined to the body during life'.

In Part II, The Power of Attention, we begin with a chapter on `The Sense of Being Stared At'. While many of the accounts are anecdotal, there are results given also of statistically significant organized surveys, and a refutation of standard arguments against significance that such `feelings' are examples of paranoia, arise from reasons other than visual focus, such as movement in the subject, or are statistically insignificant in comparison with the number of occasions when no such awareness arises. This kind of sensitivity is clearly important for animals for self-preservation, and for humans in wild territory inhabited by predatory animals, and Sheldrake covers these situations in one of the following chapters, including research by himself and others. As with other forms of telepathy, the results are most convincing when subject and starer have some kind of emotional rapport.

An accurate interpretation of the nature of vision has been a challenge to philosophers and physiologists for over 2000 years: Sheldrake reviews the evidence and provides a theory of his own of `the extended mind'. This leads us on to Part III on Remote Viewing and the experiences that some people have of events occurring at a different (past or future) time or in a different place. Part of Sheldrake's evidence for this lies in the senses that many species of animals have of catastrophic natural events, like earthquakes, tsunami or volcanic eruptions, but there are several accounts of human premonitions of disaster too. This leads on to Part IV which explores possible rationally coherent explanations of how the `seventh sense' might work. There are copious Notes, a Bibliography of further reading and a good Index to complete the book.

Howard Jones is the author of Evolution of Consciousness

The Presence of the Past: Morphic Resonance and the Habits of Nature
The Science Delusion


Shooter [DVD]
Shooter [DVD]
Dvd ~ Mark Wahlberg
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £2.69

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An action-packed conspiracy movie, 28 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Shooter [DVD] (DVD)
Bob Lee Swagger (Mark Wahlberg) is on an illicit mission in Ethiopia with a fellow sniper, but as the US military are not supposed to be there, their military support is withdrawn leaving them to their own devices. Swagger's comrade is killed in action but he escapes - to retire from the U.S. Marines to live in peace in the country. He's then approached by Colonel Isaac Johnson (Danny Glover) to plan an assassination attempt on the president, on the pretext that they want to know how a real assassin would set about it. In reality, Johnson and his corrupt colleagues, under the control of Senator Charles F. Meachum (Ned Beatty), want to assassinate an archbishop from Ethiopia, appearing on the platform with the president, because the archbishop is in America to expose atrocities by the U.S. military in his country. With an all-too-familiar conspiracy plot, Swagger is made the fall-guy for the archbishop's assassination and is hunted down by Johnson. But an FBI agent, Nick Memphis (Michael Peña) who becomes suspicious of the frame-up joins sides with Swagger and the two of them see that justice prevails. As part of the conspirators plot, they also capture Swagger's girl-friend, Sarah Fenn (Kate Mara), who has also to be rescued by Swagger and Memphis. A really thrilling, action-packed conspiracy movie. Unfortunately, some reviewers seem to forget that at the movies you have to suspend belief in factual accuracy for the dramatic effect of the plot.


Whiteout [DVD]
Whiteout [DVD]
Dvd ~ Kate Beckinsale
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £3.44

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A gripping Antarctic adventure, 27 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Whiteout [DVD] (DVD)
This is a gripping adventure story set in the US Scientific Exploration base in Antarctica. Mayhem breaks out on a Russian cargo plane when one of the crew assassinates all the other passengers and pilots and forces the plane to crash in Antarctica. Fifty years later, a US Geological Survey team stumbles on the wreckage, and pays for their discovery with their lives. Clearly there is a villain in their midst, but who is it? With the cast wearing full snow gear much of the time, it's difficult to sort out the good guys from the evil-doers. Tom Skerritt as the camp doctor, Dr. John Fury, Gabriel Macht as U.N. Investigator Robert Pryce, and Kate Beckinsale as the star heroine, U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko are all excellent with a quality supporting cast. The filming in Province of Quebec as Antarctica, complete with the Aurora, is quite spectacular. The director was Dominic Sena and the soundtrack arranged by Eugene Raskin and Michael Nazaretz adds to the atmosphere. `Whiteout' refers to an extreme Antarctic storm with high winds and heavy snowfall.


25 Hawid 210x31mm stamp mount strips - Black
25 Hawid 210x31mm stamp mount strips - Black
Offered by Dauwalders of Salisbury (Stamp Dealers since 1958)
Price: £6.20

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hawid strip stamp mounts, 22 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Always reliable and effective, and the strips are always available in a variety of sizes for stamps of all countries


Music & Silence
Music & Silence
by Rose Tremain
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A novel set in 17th century Denmark, 19 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Music & Silence (Paperback)
Music & Silence by Rose Tremain, Chatto and Windus, 1999, 462 ff

The story is that of the court of King Christian IV of Denmark in the 17th century. Christian's reign lasted nearly sixty years, from 1588 (when he was only 11, though he was not crowned until he was 19) until his death in 1648. He had his court musicians housed in his cellar so that they were heard but not seen. The structural order of the music provided by his orchestra - and most notably by the handsome lutenist Peter Claire - is a metaphor for the order Christian would like to see in his household and in Danish society in general. The Court as a whole is a picture of the harmony and discord reflected in the music.

Another main character in the story is the King's consort Kirsten with her amorous adventures: Kirsten hates music and the pleasure it gives her husband - she would undoubtedly prefer silence. Kirsten is a selfish, malicious and spiteful woman who hates to see others deriving any pleasure from life. The story is peppered with real characters of the time, such as English composer John Dowland who served at the Danish court as composer-lutenist for eight years from 1598; and Tycho Brahe the famous contemporary astronomer who served also as augur, as was customary in those days. These references and other details add to the authentic atmosphere of this story of historical fiction. The first half of the story moves along quite slowly in segments devoted to each of the principal characters but is infused with quite a lot of humour; then the tale gathers momentum and becomes more engrossing. I certainly felt immersed in this aristocratic world of the time and Tremain is an entertaining writer.


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