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Profile for Ian Gordon Malcomson > Reviews

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Reviews Written by
Ian Gordon Malcomson (Victoria, BC)
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   

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ActionFly Basketball Game - Mini Desktop Tabletop Portable Travel or Office Game Set for Indoor or Outdoor- Fun Sports Novelty Toy or Gag Gift Idea
ActionFly Basketball Game - Mini Desktop Tabletop Portable Travel or Office Game Set for Indoor or Outdoor- Fun Sports Novelty Toy or Gag Gift Idea
Offered by ActionFly
Price: CDN$ 119.96
3 used & new from CDN$ 26.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Little Toy For Those With Time On Their Hands, May 18 2016
I have tried it out and it is all it claims to be: sturdy, creative, a mindless toy that can fill in time, and an opportunity to challenge a friend to a little game of hoops without going near the real court. Oh, yes, when not in use, it can serve as a great conversation piece. For someone who loves basketball, I see this toy as an in for those new to the sport. My wife has even tried her hand at it.

Indentured: The Inside Story of the Rebellion Against the NCAA
Indentured: The Inside Story of the Rebellion Against the NCAA
by Joe Nocera
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 31.92
39 used & new from CDN$ 23.32

5.0 out of 5 stars Fighting For What is Right and Reasonable, May 15 2016
After reading this book, one should have little trouble seeing the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) - the governing body of collegiate sports in America today - is nothing more than a cartel intent on limiting competition and conditions of employment. Looking at the issue from a number of angles, the authors see this 'august' body as nothing more than an autocratic corporation empowered to oversee a wide variety of sporting programs intent on making huge profits at the expense of students under four-year athletic scholarships. To accomplish this sense of autocratic control, the NCAA has always maintained that the individual student athlete is an amateur who must not receive any pecuniary benefit outside a tightly administered scholarship that can be withdrawn if infractions are proven. The hypocrisy of this move is plain to be seen. While college sporting programs reap huge profits from corporate endorsements by selling personalized sport wear and reaching very lucrative television deals, many performers eke out very precarious lifestyles. The four-year, full-ride scholarship is anything but a sure thing. A serious injury, a poor academic performance, and even the whiff of receiving a financial benefit regardless of size, and the so-called road to fame and fortune is over. Then there is the fact that many of these scholarships fail to cover the rising costs of basics such as travel, food, clothing and medical. Many of the lower-end students who come to play football  or basketball come from single-parent families where dreams are big but money is in short supply. This study is full of fascinating cases where individuals sued and succeeded in helping to force the NCAA to start recognizing in small ways that the people who primarily fill stadiums and arenas in the interest of enriching their particular college have rights as well. With cases like the White and O'Bannon law suits, there appears to be some movement in the direction of getting more money in the pockets of students. Stipends are up to cover incidental costs and the courts are more willing than ever to allow students athletes to sue on a number of actions such as reinstatement and gross negligence, but much remains to be done in terms of actually paying these people for their work and improving their chances of graduating with a legitimate degree. Both Nocera and Strauss point out that any further opposition to reform in these areas amounts to nothing more than denying reality. An open market system on campuses will not destroy any sense of fair competition and compensation. The tradition of protecting amateur sports at all costs has been shown to be bogus to the point of galling. In many cases, it is invariably the poor black student athlete who pays the price because he has been sold a bill of goods that virtually enslaves with the threat of huge sanctions for often minor offenses.The moment of clarity in an ongoing legal tussle of David and Goliath most certainly came when Walter Byers, the original champion of the amateur designation, denounced it as an infringement of due process. "Indentured" is a clear-eyed vision of where collegiate sports is heading as it attempts to address some of the grievances of the past. I liked this book because it created a very convincing argument that the NCAA is really an organization that needs to stop trying to protect its commercial turf in the interests of an idea that is no longer valid if it ever was.

Shine Hai LED A19 Light Bulb,8W(60W Incandescent Equivalent),3000K Warm White Glow,800 Lumens, 200 Degree Omnidirectional,E26 Medium Screw Base,UL-Listed&FCC-Qualified, 6 Pack
Shine Hai LED A19 Light Bulb,8W(60W Incandescent Equivalent),3000K Warm White Glow,800 Lumens, 200 Degree Omnidirectional,E26 Medium Screw Base,UL-Listed&FCC-Qualified, 6 Pack
Offered by Shine Glory Lighting CA Seller
Price: CDN$ 45.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great illumination, May 15 2016
This product offers a very bright light that is comparable to the incandescent type; not much heat or buzz so it should be a real energy saver. Installs like a regular bulb. I approve of this bulb because, when installed in our living-room reading lamp, it provides me with a softer light that cuts down on the eyesore.

Mr. Big: The Investigation into the Deaths of Karen and Krista Hart
Mr. Big: The Investigation into the Deaths of Karen and Krista Hart
Price: CDN$ 9.59

4.0 out of 5 stars A Tragedy Many Times Over, May 12 2016
Don't go looking for justice in this woeful tale of human inadequacy, individual wickedness, and public incompetence. I came away from reading this tragic account of Jennifer Hicks' tormented and tragic existence wondering if life could get any worse, except maybe in the slums of Calcutta or the bombed out enclaves of Aleppo. Though the writing style is a little uneven in places, I liked this true crime memoir for the way it told Jennifer's story from start to finish in a very candid fashion. After all, the murder of her children, unfortunately, involves circumstances that she directly and indirectly played a role in as their mother. As the author shows, she undoubtedly had deep love for Karen and Krista, and sought only to do the best for them in spite of her continual poverty, poor self-esteem, and lack of familial support. What really stood in her way, however, was being held emotionally captive and physically abused by a man named Nelson, the likely father of the twins. As the record shows, he was a deeply troubled individual, with a history of mental issues, who could never keep a job, was very narcissistic, and was forever angry. The reader is treated to the daily torment Nelson visited on Jennifer and the children while family and Social Services helplessly stood by while their lives spiraled out of control. I found the recounting of the sting operation especially well done in that it is seen through the eyes of an unwitting Jennifer who hasn't fully grasped that Nelson is about to ensnared in a Mr. Big operation. While these kinds of undercover setups may get a confession, they ultimately fail when they don't provide corroborating evidence to back them up. Circumstantially, Nelson likely killed his daughters because he no longer wanted to be reminded of how bad a parent he was in not providing for them.

A God in Ruins
A God in Ruins
by Kate Atkinson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 22.43
16 used & new from CDN$ 7.14

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Noble Spirits Stand the Test of Time, May 8 2016
This review is from: A God in Ruins (Hardcover)
This novel accomplishes something that many other fictional works of its kind fail to do: create a complex tale that does justice to balanced character development, provides a believable plot, and leaves the reader with much to think about with respect to fortune and fate. Covering four generations of the Todd family, starting from the end of the Great War and ending early in the next century, "A God in Ruins" takes us through a period of history where the more humanity struggles to find purpose the more it seems to fail. Each member of this family will come with his or her own interpretation of life. Patriarch Teddy tries his valiant best to save the world by going to war to defeat Nazism. Portrayed as the warrior cum airman who courageously flies with his crew aboard squadrons of Halifax bombers to bomb the daylights out of German cities, Teddy's heroic appeal lasts no longer than than the war he has been called to fight. Discharging this duty or moral imperative will not spare him from years of living with its unintended consequences. Gallantry, self-sacrifice, and virtue will not be passed on to the next generation of Todds. Instead, fear and loathing will settle in as peace returns. Ted's wife, who has become restless and unhappy as a war bride, suddenly dies without Ted ever having a chance to make the marriage work.The family will become troublingly dysfunctional as his daughter enters into a poor marriage, has a child, and proceeds to leave him to her father to look after while she goes out to experience life on her own terms. Atkinson does a fine job in following the various strands that lead from when this family first came off the tracks to when there is a semblance of reconciliation at the end. Yes, guilt, desperation and inadequacy are the big agents that take us through some of the more distressing moments - suicide, child abuse, lingering death and rejection - known to humankind. Teddy wants to save his neglected and somewhat traumatized grandkids; Viola, his daughter, wants to be financially secure before reconnecting with her children; and Ursula, Teddy's deceased sister from an earlier time, continues to exhort him from the great beyond. This last device - metempsychosis - where the soul of the dead is allowed to live in the body of someone else over succeeding generations, helps the reader to glean meaning over the long haul when the events over the short term seem dismal. Ted the grandfather becomes the man who never loses heart as he waits for someone to step forward and rescue this family from its consuming self-centeredness. Destiny has it that he will last until another Todd will step out and acknowledge his loving and noble commitment to helping others regardless of their circumstances. Atkinson is a class act when it comes to the craft of creative writing: clear and engaging prose; an exhilarating plot especially the war scenes; a well-managed interspersing of scenes; and, above all, characters who are authentic and memorable. On these terms the ambitious novel often becomes a seminal performance.

Nicetown Triple Weave Microfiber Home Thermal Insulated Solid Ring Top Blackout Curtains / Drapes for Kid's Room(2 Panels,55 x 63 Inch,Beige)
Nicetown Triple Weave Microfiber Home Thermal Insulated Solid Ring Top Blackout Curtains / Drapes for Kid's Room(2 Panels,55 x 63 Inch,Beige)
Offered by NICETOWN
Price: CDN$ 115.26

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cool in summer, warm in winter, May 6 2016
These drapes look and feel nice and make the room cooler during the summer daytime heat while offering blackout conditions to support a good night's sleep. The material seems to be durable, insulative and able to keep light out. They are easy to install by just slipping a rod through the rings.

Vantrue R2 Car Dash Cam - 2K Ultra HD +WDR 2.7 IN LCD Dashboard Camera DVR Recorder w/ 32GB TF Card
Vantrue R2 Car Dash Cam - 2K Ultra HD +WDR 2.7 IN LCD Dashboard Camera DVR Recorder w/ 32GB TF Card
Offered by VANTRUE
Price: CDN$ 224.99
2 used & new from CDN$ 199.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very handy device for catching driving misadventures, May 5 2016
I tried out this Dash Cam the other day, and I am very impressed with its features and general operations. For one, there was no problem getting it set up. The manual and YouTube took care of that. What took a little longer was getting through a number of steps to get the camera rolling and playing it back. It seems that the buttons do a number of different functions so it would take me a little time to remember how many pushes do what. However, when that was all resolved, the picture and audio pickup were good quality. I like the fact that the camera attaches to the inside of the windshield and comes with an easy-to-maneuver swivel mount.

Nicetown Full Shading Panel- Thermal Insulated Rod Pocket Adjustable Tie-up Shade Solid Room Darkening Bedroom Window Curtain / Drape (46 by 63-Inch,Greyish White/Platinum)
Nicetown Full Shading Panel- Thermal Insulated Rod Pocket Adjustable Tie-up Shade Solid Room Darkening Bedroom Window Curtain / Drape (46 by 63-Inch,Greyish White/Platinum)
Offered by NICETOWN
Price: CDN$ 74.23

5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Useful Product for Small Windows, May 5 2016
We have installed this drape to cover our second bedroom window. Over the past week, we have noticed this room significantly cooler during the daytime heat while offering total blackout conditions to support a good night's sleep. The material seems to be durable, insulative and able to keep light out. A nice little feature is its ability to be tied up at the bottom if you want to allow some light in during the morning or evening.

The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia
The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia
Offered by Macmillan CA
Price: CDN$ 10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars All Is Not What It Seems, May 3 2016
Booth is one of those canny investigative journalists who never takes things at face value, especially when it comes to accepting national and cultural stereotypes. As an outsider now living in little old Denmark, one of the more allegedly enigmatic Nordic nations, Booth sets out to test some of the more popular assumptions about the Danes and their cousins across the way in Norway, Sweden, and Finland. What he finds, mainly through first-hand encounters, usually by way of conversation, is that what the world outside Scandinavia sees as a very
prosperous, stable, and progressive bloc of countries is anything but. While these states appear to have a some economic vigor and social wellness working for them, the good times are not evenly distributed across the grid. Furthermore , such national and regional development does not automatically translate into best places to live, regardless how the western media dresses it up. The downside to each of these nations speaks to things that are not easily recognized first hand because are part of a long-running history set in war, depression, and servitude. In his travels Booth does a credible job in rooting out the fears, prejudices, and sensibilities that combine to put a different face on the popular image of a good place to live if only we were lucky to grow up there. Danes aren't as naturally happy as the pollsters portray them. They have just learned to play the role of an amenable people who learned to live a minimalist existence while paying some of the highest tax rates in the world. Like other nationalities they are collectively proud of what has traditionally works for them - a great social safety net in return for relinquishing over sixty percent of their income to big government, but doesn't mean it works forother countries. Moving into any Scandinavian society brings with it a challenge to embrace new values that take years to understand. Norway and Sweden have their own brand of national success that goes in very different directios than Denmark's rather uncertain future.One looks to cash in on an oil revenue bonanza while the other looks to grow its economy through diversification and sustainable growth.And then there is Finland, a place where many of us would yearn to live, given its incredible natural beauty, open countryside, and highly intelligent workforce. Like in the other three, when Booth is done unpacking the Finnish lifestyle, the reader gets to see a people are not completely sold on being successful. Much of what they do works only because they have found something that suits them - education, taxes, pensions, and jobs for life. Where this concept of the good life breaks down comes when they are expected to pay so outsiders get a free ride without meeting the demands of culture. Within the greater Nordic famly, there are widespread differences as to how 'paradise' should work for others.While racial intolerance has reared its ugly head from time to time, the underlying systemic xenophobia across the area does present the problem of how Scandinavia plans to economically grows outside its present narrow demagraphic confines. While Denmark and Norway are more welcoming when it comes to immigrants and refugees, Sweden, Iceland and Finland tend to be cautious. Drawing inwards is the equivalent of burying one's head in the sand; relying on socialist egalitarianism only breeds complacency and entitlement; and trying to live with dignity and bravado only keeps the wolves at bay so long. I recommend this book to anyone wanting to get a clearer picture of a very complex group of countries that are not very well understood in the West.

The Blizzard: A Novel
The Blizzard: A Novel
by Vladimir Sorokin
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 23.76
40 used & new from CDN$ 16.72

5.0 out of 5 stars The Surreal and Desperate World of Failing, May 2 2016
This review is from: The Blizzard: A Novel (Hardcover)
I am in. This author can write with a verve that defies reality as it pushes through all kinds of physical and psychological barriers to attain the impossible of arriving in the nick of time. Right from the start, the good doctor and his driver are on a mission of the gravest sort: delivering a life-saving vaccine to save a town from being destroyed by the plague. These are desperate times that require herculean efforts to overcome, but all we get here in this Gothic tale is defeat after defeat along the illusory road to a better world. Broken runners, blizzards, impassable roads, enchanted forests, corpses, and a seductive farm wife all conspire to defeat the human spirit as it attempts to answer the siren call of distress coming from somewhere out there. Sorokin is a master of capturing the existential tension of the moment so that the reader need not fret about how it will all pan out in the end because that will never happen. Nature and the suggestive powers of the mind have made sure of that: the cavalry will not be arriving to save the day because disaster has already struck in most subtle and disarming of ways. Read and enjoy this creatively crazy novel about how the natural and supernatural orders conspire to hollow out any effort to succeed.

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