Posts Tagged ‘ Review ’

Music Review: Balls in Your Face by Lee Press-On & the Nails

Lee Press-On Nails Ballroom Music!

Well what can you expect from an album that is titled “Balls in Your Face”?  Wait, do not answer that, just let me tell you.  What you do get is another fun album from Lee Press-On that focuses on Waltz’s and Ballroom Music in general.  I am sure you have always wondered what Ozzy’s “Mr. Crowley” would sound like as a Tango; and I am just as sure you have spent nights awake thinking what Motörhead’s “Ace of Spades” would sound like if it were a Polka.  Well wonder no more and download this album.  Also included is the fan favorite at live shows, “The Congress of Vienna Waltz”!

But I digress.  If you are a fan of the music and humor of Lee and the Nails then I feel like you will enjoy this album.  If you are a fan of obscure covers of ballroom music, you too may enjoy this album.  If you take yourself or ballroom dancing very seriously, get away, get away quickly, listening to this music may cause you to have fun or possibly even be considered hype.  You have been warned.  So in conclusion, I have enjoyed the latest music endeavor from Lee Press-On & the Nails and I hope you will too. Purchase or listen tot it here:

Balls In Your Face

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Book Review: WAR by Sebastian Junger

Taking you inside the American soldier’s mind in Afghanistan

I have read several books and accounts of both the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and I feel secure is saying that Junger does a better job of taking you inside the mind of a soldier then anything else I have read, even solders’ own personal accounts of the war.

The author spent time with the same group of soldiers in remote Afghanistan off and on over a period of 15 months.  During this time he went out on patrols with them, was with them during firefights, and endured endless hours of boredom.  And he was really able to translate what it was like to be there with them and what those men were going through.

Junger broke down his book into three themes/parts: Fear, Killing and Love.  And each part of the book sort of focused on that theme in the soldiers daily life from fear of dying or failing fellow soldiers, to killing enemies, and the love soldiers had for each other and for fighting.

All in all I really enjoyed reading this book.  It can be a little tough to follow at times unless you can get a mental picture of the geography of the land Junger talks about.  As the action takes place in an area of hills and valleys in Afghanistan.  Also the author has a tendency to flash forward and flash back a little bit when telling a story and that can disrupt the narrative a little bit, but other than those two minor quibbles I found the book to be very engrossing, intriguing, informative and overall entertaining.  If you are interested in books about on the ground modern warfare I think you will enjoy this book.

Book Review: California Tenants’ Rights by Janet Portman

California Tenants' Rights

Front Cover

Now, I have been a renter/tenant all my adult life and there are multiple times I can think of, when I wished I had this book.  The information would have saved me a lot of time looking through the legal codes online or just getting bad advice from friends.

So let me just say this book is great, as it is particular to California State Law and whenever something is mentioned or quoted from the law they give you a legal reference so you can look up the law yourself to prove it to your landlord or whoever it is you are talking to .

Just about everything is covered, from getting your lease, including inspections, repairs, sub-leasing, getting your security deposit back, even when the landlord can enter your dwelling, plus a whole lot more. And another great feature is there are a bunch of useful standardized forms in the back that you can either pullout or make copies of to use for various things like maintenance requests, setting up sub-leases and other useful stuff.

My only real disappointment with the book and the only section that was not covered that I really would have liked was dealing with bad neighbors/next-door tenants etc.. But I suppose the law doesn’t say much about the people below your apartment blaring music at 2am.  I just wish they could of given some direction as to how to deal with these people and what rights you have to not be disturbed by noise and late night parties.

However on another good note this book also gives some helpful advice as to how a judge would view your case if you took your landlord to court over various objections and problems, which I find quite helpful, especially since the book is honest enough to tell you that even though legally you may be right, a judge probably won’t do anything for you.

So if you are looking for a useful and well organized resource for the laws and rights of a tenant in the state of California then I highly recommend this book, as I said before I really wish I had access to this info in the past as it would have saved me a lot of time and grief. If you have any questions feel free to leave and comment and I will try to get back to you with a response.

{Book Review} Chasing the White Dog By: Max Watman

A Fun Look At Moonshine But With Faults

In this book journalist Max Watman takes you all around the world of American distilling and moonshining.  We learn of his own (Mis)adventures in fermenting and distilling in his kitchen and basement.  We learn the history of distilling and in our nation’s past, and we get an overview of the major events that shaped alcohol production in the country (Whiskey Rebellion, Prohibition, Etc.).  We also get a tour of many of the new startup micro-distillers that have began around the country.  Finally Max takes you on a great tour of moonshining in Virginia, South Carolina and much of the rest of the South and even visits with the law enforcement officers who are charged with shutting it down.

The topics are not all in this order; rather the author tends to jump around from subject to subject as he changes chapters.  His writing about his own experience making moonshine, visiting micro-distillers and moonshiners is quite interesting and I as a reader was able to connect with the people he was interviewing and talking about.  However his leaps into American moonshining and distilling history were far too chaotic for me to follow, characters came and went so fast that by the end of a chapter I felt like I didn’t learn too much and it all spread by in a blur.

Other than the occasional falter when he ventures into history, Watman does a great job telling you about real people who practice this art of distilling spirits, both legally and illegally.  And as far as books go on the subject, his is one of the freshest and is obviously one of the most current, so despite its faults I recommend the book if this subject interests you at all.

{Book Review} prayerfulness by Robert J. Wickes

Not a book about prayer but still worth reading.

At first glance you might think this is a book about prayer but instead it lies in the vein of books that talk about praying without ceasing or practicing the presence of God.  In this book the author Wilkes focuses on practices/mindsets and activities that will develop a sense of spiritual mindfulness or awareness.  Topics include “Creating simple rituals”, “Softening the soul”, and “Befriending anger and other negative emotions”.  From the titles of those chapters I think you can get an idea of the direction of this book.  The book is more about finding a way of connecting with God via small actions and changes in mindset that allow for a life of “Prayerfulness”.

The book is not heavy on the use of scripture, but instead pulls regularly from life experiences of the author.  Also Wickes’ views Christianity from a Catholic perspective while not being overtly catholic in his recommendations or practices.

I found some of the recommendations and thoughts in this book to be useful and interesting; and I have been challenged in my thinking on dealing with some of my emotions and thoughts about my relationship with God.  If you are open to this style of spiritual writing then I think you may be able to get something out of this book.  However, if are looking for principles firmly based in scripture and consistent references to the Bible and reformed theology this book is definitely not for you.  Decide on getting this book with that in mind.

{Book Review} Citizens of London by Lynne Olson

All I can say is I wish I had history books this interesting back when I was in college. This book as you may know cover the contributions of three important American figures in Britain during the early years of World War II before the U.S. had declared war. The people examined are John Gilbert Winant the American Ambassador to Britain after Joe Kennedy was recalled home; Edward R. Murrow the head of CBS news in Europe at the time, and Averell Harriman a businessman who developed the lend-lease program that would provide weapons, technology and materials to the British during the early years of WWII.
Olsen explores through stories and anecdotes the lives of these men during this trying time for the England and how they made significant contributions to the war effort in England and hwo they were responsible for forging those early bonds that tied England and USA together in the battle against the Axis.
Olsen is a journalist not a history professor, so she tend to mix in a bit of opinion and makes some claims without really justifying them, but that is easily overlooked for how fun and interesting of a read this book is. As a journalist the author crafts and tells great stories and you learn so much about how people you never knew existed had a great effect on WWII, and that includes many other people beyond the main subjects of Murrow, Winant and Harriman.
If you are a fan of World War II history and politics I think you will enjoy this book like I did. It is not a military book by any means, but rather a book about political inner workings, creating public opinion and the economics of waging a war. If any of those things interest you, then I think you will find this book a great read.

{Product Review} Crest 3D White Whitestrips Vivid

I know it has been a long time since I have written or reviewed anything.  This is mainly due to my contributions to Sermons On The Mound (My God/Baseball Blog with Ben Chamberlin).  But I am back with a new product review, which isn’t really that much of a great product at all.
Disappointing with no real results.
The Crest 3D White Whitestrips Vivid are the lowest level of Whitestrip product line that Crest offers.  They offer an “Advanced Vivid” and a “Professional Effects” version of this product too.  And I can understand why, because I had little luck and no real whitening results from this version of the strips.
The strips are a bit difficult to apply and they don’t really want to stay stuck to your teeth.  And I know if they don’t stick to my teeth they are not going to be whitened at all.  I used the ten strips sets of strips in the package once a day for ten days and after all the hassle of trying to get them to stay put in my mouth I saw no discernable difference in the whiteness of my teeth when I finished using the product.
If you are looking for an over the counter teeth whitening product I would skip this one.  Perhaps try one of Crest’s two other versions, which according to packaging offer better whitening results and “Advanced Seal Technology” to help them stick to the teeth.  I am really not sure why if they have the better working and faster acting technology why they would put out a poor product like this?  So my recommendation is to skip this product and try something else.