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David Bonesteel (Fresno, CA United States)
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Highest Altar
Highest Altar
by Patrick Tierney
Edition: Paperback
15 used & new from CDN$ 22.63

4.0 out of 5 stars The dark roots of human society, Jan. 9 2004
This review is from: Highest Altar (Paperback)
This exploration of human sacrifice meanders a bit, but maintains interest throughout. Perhaps it should have been organized into three parts. Parts 1 and 2 are very anecdotal as author Patrick Tierney gives a first-person account of his adventures in the Andes as he investigated his subject. Part 1 is as much about mountain climbing as human sacrifice. He scaled various peaks to investigate mountain burial sites of Incan child sacrifices. In Part 2, he spends time in the company of modern-day shamans to uncover the truth behind present-day sacrifices, culminating in a lengthy interview with Maximo Coa, a man who is famed for committing many human sacrifices. Part 3 shifts gears completely. Referring to the patterns and motifs of human sacrifice and the mythology surrounding it, he makes a provocative and fascinating case that sacrifices were an integral part of early, developing Christianity and that sublimation of and guilt over this fact has resulted in hundreds of years of anti-Semitism.

Time Out Of Mind
Time Out Of Mind
Price: CDN$ 9.03
48 used & new from CDN$ 0.06

4.0 out of 5 stars He's not finished yet, Jan. 8 2004
This review is from: Time Out Of Mind (Audio CD)
On this disc, Bob Dylan shows that he is not interested in pretending that he is still a young man. Rather, he is a serious artist who is not afraid to grapple with the consequences of his fading powers, both physical and emotional (though not, apparently, creative). These songs are dark and rough, perfectly complemented by Dylan's harsh but expressive growl. His clear-eyed eloquence provides a sense of dignity and hope that most artists can't match. This is quite a recording.

Please Don't Take My Air Jordans
Please Don't Take My Air Jordans
Offered by FastMedia "Ships From USA"
Price: CDN$ 23.09
11 used & new from CDN$ 0.26

3.0 out of 5 stars Often very good, Jan. 5 2004
There is plenty of clever word play on this disc, but it is often employed in service of angry diatribes on race that don't hold up after repeated listenings. More interesting are pieces like the tribute to Jimi Hendrix, a character sketch of a young crack addict, and a disturbing look at the mind of a rapist.

Small Change
Small Change
Offered by Fulfillment Express CA
Price: CDN$ 12.91
44 used & new from CDN$ 3.33

5.0 out of 5 stars The man can do no wrong, Dec 31 2003
This review is from: Small Change (Audio CD)
Another superb offering from the poet laureate of Skid Row. This album from the bluesy vagrant phase of Waits's career features more brilliant storytelling ("Small Change"), hilarious wordplay ("Step Right Up"), and heartbreaking ballads ("Invitation to the Blues") from one of American music's most distinctive voices--both literally and thematically. Highly recommended.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (Widescreen)
Ferris Bueller's Day Off (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Matthew Broderick
Offered by Round3CA
Price: CDN$ 25.00
25 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars I guess I'm all alone on this one, Dec 29 2003
High school student Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) decides to take the day off from school and uses his superior wits to treat his best friend (Alan Ruck) and girlfriend (Mia Sara) to a good time. I am astonished that this film has developed such a following over time. It is a very slight story, not particularly funny, with a sappy ending and two truly annoying performances from Broderick and Ruck. I didn't like it when I first saw it back in the 80s and it hasn't improved over time. However, 256 (as of this writing) other reviewers have apparently taken this film to their hearts, so why listen to me?

The Reality Dysfunction Part 1: Emergence
The Reality Dysfunction Part 1: Emergence
by Peter F. Hamilton
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
61 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it!, Dec 28 2003
In a future where humans are successfully colonizing the galaxy, something terrible begins to stir on the otherwise insignificant jungle planet Lalonde. Although this volume serves mainly to set the stage, it is clear that the known universe is about to be thrown into chaos.
This series has provoked very polarized responses. Many of the negative reviews come from reviewers who have read more of the series than I have, but based on this first installment I come down firmly on the positive side. Peter Hamilton has imagined a fascinating universe and relates it in amazingly intricate detail. Some have criticized the book for its sexuality and violence, but I would like to point out that this aspect of the book is far outweighed by pages and pages of material on the effect of technology on human society, the economies of interstellar colonies, the geographies of worlds both natural and artificial, and dozens of interesting characters, resulting in a truly impressive and plausible feat of universe-building. I can't recall another SF novel that so successfully underscores the importance of economics and commercial activity in conquering frontiers and establishing colonies; the result is a universe that believeably includes both bioengineered telepathic starships and primitive worlds that still rely largely on pre-20th-century technology. All of this explication has led some to criticize the series for getting off to a slow start, but I enjoyed this read immensely.
I did think that the publisher's way of splitting the volume in two parts was unfortunate. From the way events just seem to peter out instead of building to some kind of cliff-hanging moment of suspense, it is clear that Hamilton did not intend for his story to be presented in this way.

Holding Up Half the Sky - Wome
Holding Up Half the Sky - Wome
Offered by moviemars-canada
Price: CDN$ 17.78
10 used & new from CDN$ 8.56

5.0 out of 5 stars We need more CDs like this one, Dec 25 2003
Judging from what is available for sale in the United States, reggae music seems to be dominated by men. This outstanding compilation, which showcases the work of fifteen female reggae artists, is a small but impressive step toward rectifying that imbalance. Standout performances include Judy Mowatt, Sister Carol, and Joy White.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Widescreen Special Edition)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Widescreen Special Edition)
DVD ~ Paul Newman
Offered by Streetlight_Records_USA
Price: CDN$ 13.90
18 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Western and crowd-pleaser, Dec 13 2003
Butch and Sundance (Paul Newman and Robert Redford) are two affable outlaws who bear no malice toward anyone although they make their living by robbing trains and banks. They enjoy their freedom and their easy-going camaraderie until they make the mistake of stealing from the wrong man, a powerful millionaire who sets a skilled, relentless group of hired killers on their trail. From then on, death is always in the background, implacable and ever-present. They may escape for a time, but the end is unavoidable.
Newman and Redford have great chemistry. Their timing and the way they play off each other is the main delight of this film. This movie helped redefine the modern Western and issued in a slew of buddy pictures. Watch it to see two Hollywood legends at their finest in a hugely entertaining film.

Odessey and Oracle
Odessey and Oracle
Price: CDN$ 21.24
28 used & new from CDN$ 3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Lost masterpiece, Dec 6 2003
This review is from: Odessey and Oracle (Audio CD)
Everyone has heard "Time of the Season," but the album from which it came has become little more than a footnote in the annals of pop history. More's the pity, because this album length release by the Zombies is excellent. While "Season" is the finest song here, other tracks such as "Hung Up on a Dream," "Care of Cell 54," "Brief Candles," and "This Will Be Our Year" stand out as well. The 30th anniversary edition includes alternate versions and mono tracks as well, so it is a completist's dream.

Black Cat [Import]
Black Cat [Import]
3 used & new from CDN$ 23.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing resolution, Nov. 30 2003
This review is from: Black Cat [Import] (VHS Tape)
A pair of young American newlyweds (David Manners and Julie Bishop) become involved in the face-off between the devil-worshipping architect Poelzig (Boris Karloff) and Werdegast (Bela Lugosi), the man he destroyed years before, who has returned for his vengeance. The style of the film is operatic, with big exaggerated performances, a swelling score derived from classical tunes, and magnificent, brooding set design. Director Edgar Ulmer does a wonderful job of building an atmosphere of sinister dread that makes the early part of the film utterly fascinating.
However, once Poelzig reveals his true nature and intent to the young couple, the film abruptly runs out of steam. The masterful build-up is resolved by a lot of frantic running from room to room, capped off by the obligatory and ludicrous explosion at the end. Is this due to the studio hacks that supposedly recut Ulmer's film? It would be nice if a restored version could be released on DVD some day.

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