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NotATameLion (Michigan)

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Lonely Planet Yellowstone & Grand Tetons  1st Ed.: National Parks, 1st Edition
Lonely Planet Yellowstone & Grand Tetons 1st Ed.: National Parks, 1st Edition
by Andrew Dean Nystrom
Edition: Paperback
30 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A COLLECTION OF USEFUL TIPS, July 16 2004
A big thank you to Mr. Mayhew and his compadres for putting this very useful book together. I got several books to help prepare for my family's Yellowstone and Teton trip. This one, along with the Falcon Guides on hiking and the Trails Illustrated map proved the most helpful. That said, this Lonely Planet guide was probably the one book I relied on the most.
Some tips of my own:
Make the hike to Fairy Falls. Especially in the early morning fog, the other side of Midway Geyser Basin (the side NOT on a tourist-tastic boardwalk) is majestic and wonderful. Fairy Falls is the most beautiful of the many falls I saw in the park.
Get the beans at the Roosevelt Lodge. They are the ONLY beans I've ever had that I'd gladly part with $3 for. (Corresponding tip: the beans elsewhere are $3 also--but you can buy your own can of Busch's for half that).
Don't be frightened off by all the Bear talk. The only Bear I saw was halfway up a mountain and about the size of a quarter from where I stood. The Elk on the other hand...
Going to the Tetons will explain the line "Purple Mountains Majesty." Hiking in the Shadow of Moran or the Grand Teton = instant perspective on life.
Driving through the Big Horn Mountains on the way to Yellowstone is every bit as breathtaking as anything I saw in either park. Its "wow" factor led me to even buy a hat as a souvenir.
Wyoming has to have the highest concentration per square mile of what Patrick McManus calls "Old Men" in his classic A Fine and Pleasant Misery story The Theory and Application of Old Men. This was great for my son. I enjoyed it too.
Probably my biggest tip:
Go to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. (If you're coming the way I came, Badlands NP is well worth it too).
My second biggest tip:
Get this book for all the tips it contains. I recommend it wholeheartedly.

The Cooler [Import]
The Cooler [Import]
DVD ~ William H. Macy
Price: CDN$ 11.23
49 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars MUDDLED, BUT WORTHWHILE, July 16 2004
This review is from: The Cooler [Import] (DVD)
The Cooler is a dark tale of luck and free will. It is loaded with brilliant performances. Yet it falls well short of its potential.
The best thing about The Cooler is Maria Bello. She is among a handful of the most beautiful women on the screen these days. As Natalie she exudes an emotional depth and an aching honesty that almost makes this movie something great.
Almost.
Despite similarly wonderful performances from Baldwin and Macy, this dark comedy drowns in its "dark" (dank to be more precise). The Cooler can't figure out if it wants to be a gangster flick, a romantic comedy, a dark comedy, or an elegy for the old ways of Vegas. That the movie almost pulls this off is a credit to the actors involved.
The Cooler misses its mark though. I found it enjoyable, but I have the feeling that most of my friends would either have their patience tested or balk at the heavy violence and sexual content. People watching a slightly more humorous version of Leaving Las Vegas still have to deal with the existential goo of Leaving Las Vegas--no matter the outcome or humor along the way.
That said, if you feel you're up to the challenge, The Cooler, for all its scattershot befuddlement, does sing a strain of the greatest song of all: the song of Love and its power to save and transform--a song well worth listening to--in any form.
"Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it."

The Art of Fugue, BWV1080
The Art of Fugue, BWV1080
Price: CDN$ 14.38
28 used & new from CDN$ 10.89

5.0 out of 5 stars IN A WORD: "SMOOTH", July 15 2004
If one word could sum up this performance it would be "smooth." I have come late to the recordings of the Emerson String Quartet. This has to be among this very worthwhile group's best.
The Art of the Fugue is, if not my favorite piece by Bach, then certainly high on the short-list. This is music fully realized--with an almost mystic greatness. Les Violins du Roy and the Delme Quartet (in Robert Simpson's arrangement) have both done great chamber versions of the work.
This recording by the Emerson Quartet is well at ease in such lofty company.
This recording lets the music speak for itself. It does so brilliantly. The crystal clear sound quality works hand in hand with the performance.
Everything here is evenhanded and well judged. This is pulled off without any loss of the music's passion, fire, or insight. I cannot recommend this version of Bach's last great work highly enough.
If you are considering getting a copy, do not hesitate.

The Art of Fugue, BWV1080
The Art of Fugue, BWV1080
Price: CDN$ 14.38
28 used & new from CDN$ 10.89

5.0 out of 5 stars IN A WORD: "SMOOTH", July 15 2004
If one word could sum up this performance it would be "smooth." I have come late to the recordings of the Emerson String Quartet. This has to be among this very worthwhile group's best.
The Art of the Fugue is, if not my favorite piece by Bach, then certainly high on the short-list. This is music fully realized--with an almost mystic greatness. Les Violins du Roy and the Delme Quartet (in Robert Simpson's arrangement) have both done great chamber versions of the work.
This recording by the Emerson Quartet is well at ease in such lofty company.
This recording lets the music speak for itself. It does so brilliantly. The crystal clear sound quality works hand in hand with the performance.
Everything here is evenhanded and well judged. This is pulled off without any loss of the music's passion, fire, or insight. I cannot recommend this version of Bach's last great work highly enough.
If you are considering getting a copy, do not hesitate.

Only the Wind Remembers
Only the Wind Remembers
by Mario Schalesky
Edition: Paperback
22 used & new from CDN$ 0.98

4.0 out of 5 stars GREAT WRITER, GREAT BOOK. GET IT AND READ!, June 21 2004
Marlo Schalesky has what it takes to become a truly great writer. Only the Wind Remembers is a powerful book. I could not put it down during the last one hundred pages.
This is a book I feel so strongly about that I am taking time out (late at night I might add) on the day before I begin a cross-country camping trip in order to share my thoughts about it here. Let me start by saying Only the Wind Remembers is a book you should read. I've read a few books lately, and while some have been pretty decent stories, none of them has topped this one by Mrs. Schalesky.
In fact, I have high hopes for Mrs. Schalesky as a writer. If this story is any gauge of what might be to come, the sky is the limit for her. She made me care about these characters.
A book can be as well or poorly written as it wants, but it it doesn't make me FEEL, then it is a waste of time. This book is well written. And my time was not wasted.
Yet what I fear has been wasted is the wider audience. I am grieved that talents like Marlo Schalesky continue to labor in the irrelevant obscurity of the "christian" publishing ghetto. This book is a keeper; but "christian" ghetto styling--the ham-handed sentimentality of the character of Pop, the blatant interpretation of the parable, and the tacky epilogue--combined with the built in audience/restricted circulation of "christian" publishing condemn this book to falling into the wrong hands (preaching to the choir) and not being seen or taken seriously by the rest of the world--which according to the Great Commission needs to hear this a whole lot more than I or other Christ-followers do).
The story of Yuna is some of the greatest pound for pound writing that I have read in a long time. I only wish that it could reach more people who actually need it. The Eagles's outstretched wings seek to embrace us all.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book.

Northern Exposure: The Complete First Season
Northern Exposure: The Complete First Season
DVD ~ Rob Morrow
Offered by The Digital Vault
Price: CDN$ 49.99
17 used & new from CDN$ 6.88

4.0 out of 5 stars GREAT, GREAT SERIES...CRAPPY DVD'S, June 3 2004
Northern Exposure is on my shortlist of greatest television shows ever (the other shows on the list being MASH, The British Robin Hood series that starred Michael Praed, The Simpsons, Six Feet Under, and the Simpsons). Therefore I am very happy to finally have the first season on DVD. One only wishes that this great show could have gotten the treatment that its superior quality deserves.
To begin with...even though the first season only comprises eight episodes. And despite the shoddy way the DVD's are put together, this set still warrants acquiring (even if Universal does not deserve money for the product).
Northern Exposure is a series that was "on" from the beginning. The Caricaturization so often found in first seasons is almost completely lacking. The plot picks up and takes off.
Most of this is due to one of the greatest ensemble casts of all time (John Cullum and John Corbett lead a long list of my favorites). This cast, wedded with excellent writing, made Northern Exposure a truly transcendent show from the very beginning.
Why then the crappy treatment?
I don't mind the parka-packaging. However, I would willingly trade it to not have to deal with flipper discs and previews I am forced to fast-forward through rather than skip. It is even more annoying that there is not a printed list of which episodes are on which discs (this could confuse some--particularly with the flipper discs).
Sixty bucks is a bit much to shell out for something as poorly put together as this DVD set. Yet, the episodes are worth acquiring--any way you can.
I recommend these episodes. I also heartily recommend someone at Universal pull their heads out of wherever they stuck it.
This series deserves more.

50 Hikes In Michigan 2e
50 Hikes In Michigan 2e
by Jim Dufresne
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 20.79
11 used & new from CDN$ 18.05

4.0 out of 5 stars MICHIGAN'S GREAT TREASURES, May 17 2004
I recently had a friend of my wife comment on how I knew all the good and "secret" places to go in Michigan. This is not true, but I do often wonder at how people know of some of the truly great places to go in my home state.
Any knowledge that I might have comes from owning several books written by Jim Dufresne. Dufresne is among a handful of what I consider the best writers out there when it comes to the outdoors/travel. Happily, he lives in and writes about my home state.
I not only own this 50 hikes book, but I have books written by Dufresne on hiking with children in Michigan, Michigan's State Parks, the Porcupine Mountains, and the best campgrounds in Michigan. With the exception of the Porcupine Mountains book (which is of a narrower interest) all of these books are indispensable.
50 hikes in Michigan (there are actually 60 hikes listed) really does contain most of the best hikes in the lower peninsula of Michigan. From this book I learned of the Algonquin trail in beautiful and semi-remote Negwegon State Park (you won't find any brown signs on the main roads leading you there). This hike alone is worth the price of the book.
But why stop there?
You can also explore such places as the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the Manistee River Trail and the plethora of shorter trails in Waterloo State Recreation area. These hikes and the others listed in this well-written and engaging book are some of the best to be found anywhere. I only wish there were an Upper Peninsula edition.
Jim Dufresne himself, though not homegrown, is one of Michigan's great treasures. I recommend this book and others by him.
Get a copy today.

Big Fish (Bilingual) [Import]
Big Fish (Bilingual) [Import]
DVD ~ Ewan McGregor
Offered by importcds__
Price: CDN$ 9.76
36 used & new from CDN$ 1.03

5.0 out of 5 stars "I'VE ALWAYS BEEN A FOOL"..., May 12 2004
The truth for me, like Edward Bloom, is that I have never been a reasonable man. I believe that this fact taints my views on Big Fish the movie. (I confess I have yet to read the book.)
The thing about movies of late is that the public, though demanding more and more in the way of special effects, is less and less willing to suspend their disbelief. This kills a culture's ability to hear (or view) story.
Yet Big Fish is FULL of story.
Big Fish is, in my opinion, a masterpiece. As much as I loved Return of the King's apocryphal Lord of the Rings, Big Fish was the best picture last year (incidentally, Finding Nemo receives my vote for runner up).
So why the dirth of recognition elsewhere?
Our culture has stuck its head in the sand when it comes to accepting the wonderful. By wonderful I do not mean "great." I mean those things that are full of wonder. Be they things that put us in awe, or things that merely make us smile, we have all forsaken, at least to a degree, the wide-open life before us. Have we become too seared by a false sense of maturity and the tepid self-assuredness in the everyday to ever wake to the true and the beautiful?
Not really...
...though some of us, if we are not terribly care-full, will never know the difference.
Get a copy of Big Fish. It is not The Answer, though it may "prime" you--may open your eyes. Your heart may just follow.

American Thighs
American Thighs
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 22.95
9 used & new from CDN$ 1.52

3.0 out of 5 stars LARGE AMOUNTS OF UNFULFILLED POTENTIAL, May 11 2004
This review is from: American Thighs (Audio CD)
Way back when--as the saying goes--I got to see Veruca Salt play live (and meet the ladies) a couple of months before the video (and consequently the album) broke onto the "American Musical Consciousness).
I was blown away by them on stage. Untainted by fame or notoriety, this band was a force of nature. These two rather diminutive ladies could rock!
I met both Louise and Nina after the performance. Both were very engaging and I had an interesting conversation with Nina (who also drew a nice snail for me).
Then I heard the album.
For some reason it did not capture the elemental power of the band. The lyrics are somewhat easier to hear in the more smoothly produced studio versions, but they are a good deal less effective in their neutered form.
The videos that followed gave the band a boost, but although the album is strong, I don't think it was solid enough to withstand the band's flirtation with the microscope of fame.
I have no idea whatever happened to this band. I only felt moved to review this album when Amazon's purchase engine suggested it to me. All the same--in their time Veruca Salt was one of the best live acts that I've ever seen. They are worthy of remembering, even if the album isn't.

Sym 5/Sym 2
Sym 5/Sym 2
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 42.95
7 used & new from CDN$ 29.55

4.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT 5th AND A VERY GOOD 2nd..., April 26 2004
This review is from: Sym 5/Sym 2 (Audio CD)
There is no denying that George Szell was one of the greatest conductors of the last century. He turned in some of the best cycles of Brahms and Schumann. His recording of Mahler's 4th is still considered the top choice in some corners.
The best part of Szell's legacy is that it mostly available at discount price. Record companies thought they had the greatest thing since sliced bread in Herbert von Karajan. Therefore, we common folk don't have to pay as much for music by greats such as Szell--whom the recording industry treated like burnt toast.
Philips has done some wacky and questionable things in its reissued "50" series...most notably uncoupling Haitink's recording of Mahler's 9th from the great Das Lied von der Erde recorded with Janet Baker. Yet I some of Philips's foolhardiness (some might say ignorance) should be forgiven because of their willingness to give this Szell recording its proper due.
There is no lack of great Beethoven 5ths on the market. Yet Philips should be praised for having the courage to bring this one back to the fore. Szell's interpretation ranks among the best of all time. He and the Concertgebouw reach moments of sheer, seemingly hidden beauty that are not found elsewhere. All the while they maintain the integrity of the symphony's structure.
This is one of my three favorite interpretations of this piece. Norrington's second recording (on Hanssler) and the famous reading by Carlos Klieber (on DG) are the other two. Klieber and Norrington win their points with me on insight they provide--Szell takes the cake when it comes to beauty.
Likewise, the Sibelius is grand, if not great. It lacks the wonderful "secret" moments attained in the Beethoven, but is still (after Sir Colin Davis and Segerstam) amongst the better versions I have heard. The pairing is inspired.
This is a great disc. The Beethoven alone is worth the price of admission. I give it my full recommendation.

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