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Reviews Written by
Bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas)

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The Spanish Cape Mystery (Signet)
The Spanish Cape Mystery (Signet)
Price: CDN$ 7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars "In the mountains of truth" quoth Nietzche "you never clime in vain", Dec 29 2013
I have to admit that it watched the movie first. They run parallel but as with most movies they are a pail reflection of the well designed book.

Ellery Queen and Judge McClain are on vacation at a seaside cottage near a cape called "Spanish Cape." Little did they know that they were going to be involved in a strange mystery with a mix of victoms and suspects.

We are used to mysteries like "And Then There Were None" where we get introduced to people up front and know one of them is a ringer. This story however has many secretive people and Ellery must extract the truth like pulling teeth.

Part of the fun or maybe a distraction is that Ellery has a habit of quoting various writers contemporary and from antiquity. If you read a lot of 20's mysteries you will be o.k. but if not you will need a dictionary on hand.

We also hear in-depth expiations that may us jump to conclusions and every chapter we suspect a different person. The wonderful part of the Ellery Queen books is that all the clues are there and you are expected to extrapolate the solution to the mystery before Ellery reveals his logic.

I picked the kindle version because of the text to speech. One day they may have whisper sync also.

Nosferatu (The Ultimate Two-Disc Edition) [Import]
Nosferatu (The Ultimate Two-Disc Edition) [Import]
DVD ~ Max Schreck
Price: CDN$ 32.99
9 used & new from CDN$ 17.95

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The sun'll come out tomorrow, Dec 28 2013
Bet your bottom dollar
That tomorrow
There'll be sun!

This is a Chronicle of the great Death in Wishborg 1838

The original story is as old as the Carpathian Mountains. A real estate agent Knock (Alexander Granach) gets a mysterious request from a far-off land; Count Graf Orlok (Max Schreck) is in need of a new abode. He sends his best man Hutter (Gustav v. Wangenheim) to seal the deal. The mysterious being, Nosferatu, has nefarious purposes that will seal more than the deal and in the process is attracted to a tasty Mrs. Hutter (Greta Schroeder).

This is the 1922 F.W. Murnau's silent German classic adaption of Brahm Stoker's Dracula. The movie follows the book little closer than today's movies do. There were a few necessary changes. I believe that was the nature of movies around 1922. Max Schreck did an excellent job of playing the deviant snacker.

Although no variations can come close to this original film, many people think of Werner Herzog's 1978 film "Nosferatu the Vampyre" as a good variation, This also being my personal favorite as I am a fan of Klaus Kinski. I suggest that you look at some of the others and see what you think and who you consider the real Dracula.

Tao of Physics
Tao of Physics
by Fritjof Capra
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
17 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Parallels are not equivalents., Dec 28 2013
There are many solid books on connections and continuity in history and religion and physics. However Jacob Bronowski, "The Ascent of Man", would turn me over in my grave if he found out that I was reading such books as this. There are too many quasi science quasi religion books that want to take some principle and reinterpret it to be a New age truth or prove the some old blind philosopher beat us too it for example (The Seat of the Soul.) Dr. Capra is drawing parallels in two fields and not trying to say "see I told you so". He takes the time and pages to describe the science and also does a pretty good job of distilling complex religions down to single chapters. I leave it up to Dr. Capra and you to determine if there really is any parallel. A parallel does not mean equivalents. If you are a Gary Zukav sort of person this book will not help you at all.

Clouds of Witness
Clouds of Witness
by Dorothy L. Sayers
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars More than just a mystery this is England, Dec 28 2013
This review is from: Clouds of Witness (Hardcover)
Dorothy L. Sayers writes many non-fiction books however among her best is the Lord Peter Wimsey series. I came to this series sort of though the back door. My first taste was the BBC productions with Petherbridge as Lord Peter that can now be found on DVD. So I read all of Dorothy's books containing the relationship of Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane. Now it is time to go through the whole series.

Lord Peter returns from Corsica. To find his older brother the Duke of Denver practically accused of murder. What is worse is his brother is not talking. So it is up to Peter to find out what happened and clear his brother.

In the process he puts his foot in it and practically gets all his relatives and friends accused. As with all Sayers' stories nothing is simple there are overlapping plots and foolish deeds, as if Peter can not figure them out. On the side we learn a little about English society and ballistics.

Animal Farm
Animal Farm
by George Orwell
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars No animal may drink alcohol "to excess", Dec 28 2013
This review is from: Animal Farm (Hardcover)
A fairy tale or a nightmare? It all began with a dream by Major, a Middle White boar, of equality, and freedom from oppression. Maybe not in our life comrade, but eventually.

The dream brings a song. Intolerable conditions lead to revolution. As time passes things change; not exactly as planned.

There are two striking parts to this tale that stand out. First when Boxer is sent to the hospital and Benjamin reads the side of the van "Horse Slaughterer." Secondly there was a party in the farm house as the pigs were playing cards with the men, two aces of spades showed up. An argument ensues. Then the creatures outside looking in as they "...looked from pig to man and man to pig, and from pig to man again drew a realization..."

Knight and Day (Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo+ Digital Copy)
Knight and Day (Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo+ Digital Copy)
Offered by Fulfillment Express CA
Price: CDN$ 31.14
25 used & new from CDN$ 6.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Someday is just a code for never, Dec 28 2013
Lots of action and great fun

I only saw the first Blu-ray DVD as it was rented. However I had a great time and was on the edge of the seat from start to finish. I really liked June Havens's (Cameron Diaz) attitude towards the end of the movie. This was just the right mix of absurd action and attitudes. Many movies have a similar mix of characters and plot but I cannot think of one that executed it better.

The basic story is that a battery of great power was built and someone is out to pilfer it from the government agency in charge of keeping it safe. Now just who can that be. June must find out before it is too late. In the process June may just learn a little bit about herself and what she really wants in life. The catalyst is a wild man with a broad set of skills and knowledge, Roy Miller (Tom Cruise). Is he the good guy or bad guy or just crazy?" any how it had to happen sooner or later; June in all the confusion clearly is attracted to him.

So sit back and enjoy this action packed comedic thriller.

If you like this transformation story you should like "Real Men" (1987) with James Belushi and John Ritter.

Computer Animation Complete: All-in-One: Learn Motion Capture, Characteristic, Point-Based, and Maya Winning Techniques
Computer Animation Complete: All-in-One: Learn Motion Capture, Characteristic, Point-Based, and Maya Winning Techniques
by Rick Parent
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 113.64
22 used & new from CDN$ 28.99

5.0 out of 5 stars This is a thriller and I cannot set it down, Dec 28 2013
Once again MK (Morgan Kaufman) has come up with a book to fill one of those itching gaps of knowledge. This time it is "Computer Animation Complete." The book is written in text book form but will capture the imagination of us all and has hours of great fun reading.

Do not overlook the introductory section as it tells of the different histories of animation and can be a book in its self. Then there is the description of the contributors to the work; to really know a work you need to know something of the contributors. Each chapter has references out the wazoo. There are quite a few terms to learn so, even if you are familiar with the industry, it would be a good idea to at least scan from front to back to be sure you have not missed any. However you can also use the index if you know what you are looking for. Even though "Maya" is touted in the title of the book, other packages and their data types are covered. I was surprised and pleased to find many of the formulas in the book on such subjects as fluid dynamics are the same ones taught in fluid dynamics for other projects.

The last animation I actually worked on was in the world of the Z80 on simple games with simple animation. This was before "Asteroids." On the film side I only dabbled in a few commercial animation programs. I was not aware of all the strides made in the field. So this book is a real eye opener. My previous life with AutoCAD 3d and computer math models prepared me for the explanations in the book. It cannot hurt having a background in programming. Some items can and should not be attempted without a classic technical background; however I did not even think about this in purchasing the book or until perusing the subject.

Just an observation is that artists in any field must first learn the mechanics of that field before venturing into that undiscovered country. It is the same with this field first learn the mechanics then apply the imagination. This book is a good starting place.

Vampires Suck (Extended Bite Me Edition) [Blu-ray]
Vampires Suck (Extended Bite Me Edition) [Blu-ray]
Offered by Warehouse105
Price: CDN$ 10.40
24 used & new from CDN$ 2.21

1.0 out of 5 stars Tries too hard - or perhaps not enough to be campy, Dec 28 2013
A waste of digits. Even if you saw the originals this is still a duffus imitation. It starts out bad and gets worse. The jokes are not even off color enough to be bad.

The actors should have been embarrassed. And who would have come up with the money to back this one?

I am not going to waste your time with the finer points (what finer points?) of the film. Jo I would just say if it were free it would not be worth watching on a bet.

The highlight is when someone tells Frank that he is missing the big picture. We look at a "big" picture and Frank says "That is a big picture". Ha ha very funny and so well thought out.

Selected Poems Ogden Nash
Selected Poems Ogden Nash
by Ogden Nash
Edition: Hardcover
22 used & new from CDN$ 2.87

5.0 out of 5 stars You will delight in Ogden Nash; he is worth the time and worth the cash, Dec 27 2013
I have a few of the rimes in other Ogden books. But I could not turn down "650 Rhymes, Verses, Lyrics, and Poems."

There is a nice short introduction by Archibald MacLeish worth reading then dive in till you fingers get pruney.

The book is divided into fifteen chapters as different subjects with the names of each item listed under the chapter.

I find myself reading from front to back.

Ogden taught me how English is supposed to work for you.

Do Not Disturb '66
Do Not Disturb '66
DVD ~ Doris Day
Price: CDN$ 20.84
20 used & new from CDN$ 20.07

4.0 out of 5 stars Standard Doris farce, Dec 27 2013
This review is from: Do Not Disturb '66 (DVD)
This is the standard Doris Day plot and Rod Taylor (Glass Bottom Boat - 1966). The opening credits have an interesting relevant song.

Mike Harper (Rod Taylor) an American has a job as the new head of a wool company in London trying to win a contract. Janet Harper (Doris Day) American, the wife is making a home in the country and learning all things English.

Each suspects the other of hanky-panky. They must maintain their positions. The question is will they ever trust each other? We watch as they banter and position (that is where the comedy comes in.)

It is interesting how this did not make it into many of the collections as it is just as good as many of the other Doris comedies.

The DVD contains the standard extras including a demonstration of the restoration.

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