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Gerald Parker "Gerald Parker" (Rouyn-Noranda, QC., Dominion of Canada)
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Instrumental Works
Instrumental Works
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 29.95
5 used & new from CDN$ 14.73

4.0 out of 5 stars Some Tasteful Music, Even if Mostly Bordering on Insipid, from One of England's Own Favourite Composers, Oct. 20 2014
This review is from: Instrumental Works (Audio CD)
Saydisc is a company that long has brought some interesting and out-of-the way music, classical and beyond that, as well as other sounds, to LP and to CD. Thomas Arne, thanks to some dramatic and other vocal works which have held a firm place in British affections; of one thinks, "hm-m-m, yes, yes, something about the Royal Navy! I've got it! 'Rule, Britannia!'" (that being originally from Arne's music for the masque, "Alfred") one knows why. There is other music of his, too (e.g., "A-Hunting We Will Go"), which also never went out of vogue, usually of sufficiently decided British character, flavour, and/or national associations to set him apart, avoiding eclipse, from George Frideric Handel, England's most famous musical import from the European continent and also apart from other younger Baroque and Rococo contemporaries of Handel who outlived him, the memory of whom safely has been ensconced in the Cathedral and parish choral and organ repertory of the Church of England. Arne, being Roman Catholic (but a Freemason as well!), did not contribute to the musical treasury of that particular ecclesiastical entity.

Arne's instrumental works are less well known than such vocal works. I played now and then some of his chamber music with friends in weekly musical gatherings when I lived in Boston for about a decade and always enjoyed Arne's tuneful music. However, the composer's trio-sonatas are more fun to play than to listen to; as for the music for harpsichord (perhaps also justifiably playable on "fortepiano", as that early form of piano has been catching on in popularity), it is jaunty and can give the player a good workout at the keyboard, but it also lacking, as to the particular selections on this CD, in memorably distinct musical profile.

Saydisc, on its Armon Ra label, has put this disc from Le Nouveau Quatuor featuring a selection from Arne's instrumental works (Amon Ra CD-SAR-42); the same recording also has appeared on the Musical Heritage Society label. The members of Le Nouveau Quatuor, playing "period" (old) instruments, are Utako Ikeda (flute, a wooden one I would assume from its tone), Catherine Weiss (violin), Mark Caudle ('cello). and Paul Nicholson (harpsichord). These pieces would sound more rubust and lively if Weiss would assert herself more on violin; in the treble parts, Ikeda dominates, understandably given Arne's writing, but it would help if Weiss either were not so timid or, if that not be the explanation, if the engineers had balanced the sound more equitably. Fortunately, the harpsichord on which Nicholson plays, an English instrument, has a ruggedly tangy tone which enables him, for his part, to hold his own, solo or with the other musicians. A wee bit less profuse resort to ornamentation, as Le Nouveau Quatuor's members play these pieces, might have enabled the music to sound more distinctly British, being that as such Arne and his music most certainly were not afraid to identify.

The most diverting work on this CD is the last one included, Arne's "Trio Sonata in E Minor ([from] VII Sonatas), Op. 3, no. 7". Its "Jigg" is a rollickingly fine piece of deftly contrapuntal writing and the following "Allegro" which concludes that work maintains its level of inspiration. Most of the other works sound like rather innocuous stuff, especially in comparison to the sonata just mentioned. For example, as I listened to the soporific work which opens the disc, "Trio Sonata in D [major] ([from] VII Sonatas), Op. 3, no. 7", I thought to myself, envisioning a yearling deer leaping playfully over the meadow, "This could be music for Bambi." (Now, if only the folks at Walt Disney Studios had known about this work!) For those who like to play recordings of music of the Baroque and "Pre-Classical" styles as background to their daily living (something that I, personally, abhor doing, even to music of so modest value as this!), certainly, this is the disc for them!

Webster's New World College Dictionary, Fifth Edition (with CD-ROM)
Webster's New World College Dictionary, Fifth Edition (with CD-ROM)
by Editors of Webster's New World College Dictionaries
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 23.16
21 used & new from CDN$ 23.16

5.0 out of 5 stars As Fine as Any Earlier Edition, This New One of a Great American Dicitionary That Writers, Students, Teachers, & Readers Welcome, Oct. 19 2014
I long have used the Webster's New World Dictionary of American English, the most recommendable and comprehensive of its variants being any designated for "college" (in U.S.A. lingo including "university") use. Having just received the new Fifth Edition ("new" in this year of 2014) causes me to ponder the unbroken excellence of every edition of this great American dictionary. The edition which most people usually think of as the first one of this dictionary was the only English dictionary which students at the college where I did my freshman and sophomore years of study, in the mid-1960s, were permitted to cite as their lexical authority (the then recently debased "Collegiate" dictionary from Merriam-Webster, having been prime among the dictionaries that students were forbidden to use in writing their papers and assignments).

By the time of its Fifth Edition, the Webster's New World Dictionary has become so compendious, so hefty, that it now barely fits the format of a single volume dictionary. The Fourth Edition already had been "groaning at the seams". To accommodate what appears surely to be a larger base of vocabulary of terms, abbreviations, names, etc. (the totals of which the dictionary's introductory features themselves do not quantify explicitly, unless something has eluded my glance), the Fifth Edition (comparing it here only to the Fourth Edition), even though it has decreased slightly in pagination, has cut out some extraneous (albeit useful) features from the "Reference Supplement", and has decreased slightly (but noticeably) the print size in the main bulk of the work. To limit the comparison to the main paging sequence between the two most recent editions, one goes from the Fourth's 1716 p. to the Fifth's total of 1703 p. The "Reference Supplement" at the end of the Fifth Edition has dropped some features which orient specifically to the United States and which were found in the Fourth Edition's more numerous sub-sections therein (e.g., among such omissions are the texts of national U.S. documents; tables of population and of some other data about American, Canadian, and Mexican cities; as well as some other matter); what remains has more universal application and is less susceptible to fall out-of-date too quickly.

Most readers, of course, now have access to the multitude of data of nearly all sorts on the World Wide Web and elsewhere on the Internet, and, if they do not have such cyber-access to the information in this dictionary's "Reference Supplement", they can find information of the kind readily and more appropriately in printed almanacs, other books of "vade mecum" nature, and in single volume and larger multi-volume cyclopaedic reference works. At least a few such handy works, anyhow, most households really should have within easy reach. If, to continue to augment the inclusion of new words in the dictionary and yet to remain reasonably within the confines of a single volume work, the editors of Webster's New World College Dictionary, in eventual subsequent editions, were to drop entries for most of the names (of persons, places, and the like), in order to opt for still larger inclusion of vocabulary, that would be a wise choice, even if it would be rather counter to what coverage in collegiate dictionaries has tended to be over the years. For now, name entries still appear in the Fifth Edition, so be not alarmed, those who like to have them!

There had been forerunners of the supremely fine Webster's New World Dictionary under the same title, published decades before the 1950s, under the imprint of World Publishers, but those earlier ones did not so deserve to be considered the first edition (which seems to have gone through printings from 1953 to 1968 or so, of which the one that I first obtained was the 1964 printing), the famed Second Edition, completely revised, appearing in 1970. I have acquired and used every edition of this dictionary, right up to and including the Fourth and now the Fifth Editions. There had been, years ago, before any of the College Editions were shortly to begin to appear, a more complete, two-volume "Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language", published in 1951, but I never have encountered any later multiple-volume edition of the work. I have retained each much-loved, well-used College Edition, keeping them in various rooms of my house, along with some other favoured dictionaries, for ready resort near desks, tables, or armchairs where I most often read or write.

An interesting feature, by the way, of the Second College Edition, at least of the sturdy "Special School Printing" of it which I own, is a flexi-disc (33.3 r.p.m., 7 in.) included with it that bears the title upon it, "New World Phonoguide: an Audio Supplement to the Pronunciation Guide and Phonetic Symbols" which could be of considerable help to users for whom English is a second (third, etc.) language. I have not seen this helpful disc in other editions of this dictionary as I own copies of them. As for the fourth college edition, one or some printing(s) of it come(s) with an accompanying CD-ROM.

Each edition of the Webster's New World Dictionary has improved on the one that preceded it and one can make a good case especially for any of the Third to Fifth Editions as the one preferred for reasons of content or of sheer attractive format, ease, and presentation (the Third Edition being particularly fine in those regards, remaining quite a viable option to choice over the somewhat more austerely cramped pages of the Fifth Edition). Alas, for some dictionaries, e.g., those benighted "Collegiate" dictionaries from Merriam-Webster, which fell from grace when they began to be based on the excessively permissive Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Merriam-Webster's unabridged dictionary which had displaced the rock-solid and far more trustworthy Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged 2nd Edition, on which earlier and better Merriam-Webster's "Collegiate" dictionary editions formerly and more happily had been based, decline, rather than consistently genuine improvement, can set in. Similar decay also has beset numerous other dictionaries which have not undergone wise or sufficient revision, leading to the lessening of quality or of reliability as later editions appear, when compared to former ones. The most admirable (of many good) qualities of the Webster's New World Dictionary is the sane approach to matters of word usage; while this dictionary is "prescriptive" in indicating what pronunciations and definitions are normative, it does give alternate ones that are common but less "proper", so far as American usage is concerned. It includes an healthy amount of words of informal English and slang; unlike the too prim-and-proper Funk and Wagnall dictionaries or the American Heritage Dictionary, both quite fine but rather too staid, the Webster's New World Dictionary does not exclude such words and locutions of less-then-high-pedigree from the lexicon, but, rather, admits them while it very helpfully indicates their level of English usage admissibility or unacceptability for inclusion in formal writing or speaking. Each subsequent edition of the Webster's New World Dictionary, too, has undergone a thorough updating to add new words, technical or otherwise, to the vocabulary of the language.

A single, general-purpose college or desk-reference dictionary, even so admirably aimed at sophisticated adult level as the Webster's New World College Dictionary is, will not suffice to fulfil all requirements. For one thing, a truly unabridged dictionary, usually multi-volume, is good to have around for exceptional needs; I have several such dictionaries, of which, among them, I particularly commend "The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged", Second Edition, in one humongous and heavily oversized volume (of xlii, 2478, 32 p.). Also, of dictionaries of solid but modestly single-volume scope, one or a few dictionaries which correspond(s) to Commonwealth usage is (or are) important for non-American readers to possess and to use. Being here in Canada, I tend most to rely upon British dictionaries for spelling (especially Cassell's, Chamber's, and Harrap's fine recent editions of their respective dictionaries) and on specifically Canadian dictionaries (most notably the impeccable Gage dictionaries) for pronunciation or for peculiarly Canadian use and origin, but for definitions, I always have preferred the best American dictionaries, especially the various editions of Webster's New World Dictionary.

The Amazon buyer cannot go wrong in purchasing any variant of the Webster's New World Dictionary. If he cannot afford or find the latest edition, any of the previous "college" editions is quite suitable and reliable for everyday use. Go for it!

Nos 18 Ans
Nos 18 Ans
DVD ~ Théo Frilet
Offered by VHS & Beta Rare Movies
Price: CDN$ 12.00
4 used & new from CDN$ 9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Bracingly Fresh Romantic Comedy of Youth Coming to Age in France, Oct. 17 2014
This review is from: Nos 18 Ans (DVD)
This endearing romantic comedy, "Nos 18 ans" (known in English, to the extent that it is at all, as "School's out"), has a lot of charm, obviously for young audiences. It is so well conceived (as based on a prior Italian movie), written, directed, and acted, with superior camera work, that more mature audiences, too, who surely will forgive these youths their coltish indiscretions, will enjoy it as well.

The story, set in France but, refreshingly, not in Paris, centres upon Lucas (played by Théo Frilet, a lad of lushly beautiful good looks) who insults and cusses out his professor, dour, strict, seemingly humourless Monsieur Martineau, on the last day of school, only to find out that he is going to have to face oral exams with none other, unexpectedly, than Prof. Martineau himself! Not surprisingly, gloom ensues in Lucas' mind.

It gives away nothing, since this turn of circumstances is mentioned on the DVD container's very container and is obvious early on in the movie, that the girl with whom Lucas falls hopelessly and deliriously in love is none other than Prof. Martieau's very attractive daughter, Clémence, a role taken by Valentine Catzéflis, who rather resembles the young Brooke Shields, but who really is prettier and more personable than that. The professor realises the boy's predicament much sooner than Lucas does, which makes for some wryly amusing scenes between the two. At film's end, Lucas, Prof. Martineau, and Clémence come out happily reunited and reconciled with the young pair's prospects (and Lucas passes his oral ordeal).

There are other youthful couples, too, whose frisky adventures figure into this delightful motion picture. Arthur Dupont plays the part of Maxime, one of Lucas' school mates. Maxime is a handsome young dude with more sex drive even than the other teenage males among Lucas' friends, one who has one wonderfully comic turn following upon another. The brashly saucy lad's raging hormones propel him not only into impregnating his girlfriend, but also into having a torrid affair, as well, with her underage sister. Maxime is all importuningly sad-beagle-puppy-dog-faced contrition, to hilariously heart-tugging effect, as he pleads with, and at last wins the pardon of, the sister of his own age. Dupont, the highly gifted actor who assumes that role, making the most of every comical opportunity which it affords, is perhaps more famous for having played the seductively good-looking but scandalously perverse bisexual rock musician who mixes things up to violent effect in a more celebrated film, "One to Another". Here in "Nos 18 ans", Dupont delivers first class comic acting, fully realising Maxime's capacity to amuse the viewer and also to excite sympathy for the young man's plight.

The dialogue is in French, with English subtitles. "Nos 18 ans" (T.V.A. Films TVA-00533 being the edition viewed) is one youth culture film (French youth culture, all to the better!) which should appeal to a wide and varied audience.

Vigo,Histoire Dune Passion
Vigo,Histoire Dune Passion
VHS

4.0 out of 5 stars Vigo's Tormented Life of Ill Heath, His Radical Experimentalism, and Beautiful Cinematic Aesthetic Are What This Film Is About, Oct. 12 2014
"Vigo: Passion for Life" (for the short one that Vigo lived!) is a free retelling (by director Julien Temple) of the life of French filmmaker, Jean Vigo, who died so young that he was able to make only a small number of films, during the 1930s. The story of his life and of his love for Lydu, the woman of his life, in this biopic is recounted rather rhapsodically but quite beautifully and sensitively. Vigo was dogged by difficulties which his radical parentage and his own leftist convictions posed for a career in so public an art as cinema. Worse, though, was the life-threatening affliction that Vigo had to bear with frail health. He died at only 29, of septicemia.

James Frain takes the title role. This motion picture is one dating from relatively early in the British actor's career, a circumstance that favours the portrayal of the young man Vigo, for Frain, being ever elegantly sleek of build (but having dieted somewhat drastically, anyway, to play this role, in order to appear yet more "beauteously skinny"), curly-headed, and (still at the time of this movie) smoothly fresh-faced of complexion, he naturally conveys alike the youth as well as the touch-and-go health that made Jean Vigo's life such a physical struggle as he lived out the ardours of devoting his cinematic career to difficult subjects (by standards both of then and now) and to such highly original treatments of anything that Vigo's movies are about. (Although Frain's looks, even with the weight loss, only in a rather general way resemble those of the real-life Vigo, that is not a matter of great importance in so imaginative biopic as this one is.)

The film takes many risks with the moviegoer's capacity to follow the story, which does cohere, but not in any obvious way. The movie is, really, quite beautifully filmed and is a joy to the viewer's eyes.

There seems to be no North American DVD or Blu-Ray edition of this motion picture. A good U.K. edition, however, among the various disc (and some VHS) editions of it which have been released in, variously, English or French, is suitable for those who have equipment that can handle the European DVD's PAL standard, is Park Circus VFD-4-1889, presenting the film in English, without any subtitles or special features (beyond the inclusion of the film's trailer).

Recommended for the adventurously and romantically minded!

Vigo, Passion for Life
Vigo, Passion for Life

4.0 out of 5 stars A Biopic about the the Life, Love, and Struggles of 1930s Filmmaker, Jean Vigo, Oct. 11 2014
This review is from: Vigo, Passion for Life (VHS Tape)
"Vigo: Passion for Life" (for the short one that Vigo lived!) is a free retelling (by director Julien Temple) of the life of French filmmaker, Jean Vigo, who died so young that he was able to make only a small number of films, during the 1930s. The story of his life and of his love for Lydu, the woman of his life, in this biopic is recounted rather rhapsodically but quite beautifully and sensitively. Vigo was dogged by difficulties which his radical parentage and his own leftist convictions posed for a career in so public an art as cinema. Worse, though, was the life-threatening affliction that Vigo had to bear with frail health. He died at only 29, of septicemia.

James Frain takes the title role. This motion picture is one dating from relatively early in the British actor's career, a circumstance that favours the portrayal of the young man Vigo, for Frain, being ever elegantly sleek of build (but having dieted somewhat drastically, anyway, to play this role, in order to appear yet more "beauteously skinny"), curly-headed, and (still at the time of this movie) smoothly fresh-faced of complexion, he naturally conveys alike the youth as well as the touch-and-go health that made Jean Vigo's life such a physical struggle as he lived out the ardours of devoting his cinematic career to difficult subjects (by standards both of then and now) and to such highly original treatments of anything that Vigo's movies are about. (Although Frain's looks, even with the weight loss, only in a rather general way resemble those of the real-life Vigo, that is not a matter of great importance in so imaginative biopic as this one is.)

The film takes many risks with the moviegoer's capacity to follow the story, which does cohere, but not in any obvious way. The movie is, really, quite beautifully filmed and is a joy to the viewer's eyes.

There seems to be no North American DVD or Blu-Ray edition of this motion picture. A good U.K. edition, however, among the various disc (and some VHS) editions of it which have been released in, variously, English or French, is suitable for those who have equipment that can handle the European DVD's PAL standard, is Park Circus VFD-4-1889, presenting the film in English, without any subtitles or special features (beyond the inclusion of the film's trailer).

Recommended for the adventurously and romantically minded!

Webster's New World Dictionary                                             College Edition
Webster's New World Dictionary College Edition
by Di
Edition: Hardcover
24 used & new from CDN$ 9.73

5.0 out of 5 stars The Third Edition Remains About as Fine as Any Other One of the Supremely Fine Webster's New World College Dictionary, Oct. 11 2014
I long have used the Webster's New World Dictionary of American English, the most recommendable and comprehensive of its variants being any designated for "college" (in U.S.A. lingo including "university") use. The edition which most people usually think of as the first edition of this dictionary was the only English dictionary which students at the college where I did my freshman and sophomore years of study, in the mid-1960s, were permitted to cite as their lexical authority (the then recently debased "Collegiate" dictionary from Merriam-Webster, having been prime among the dictionaries that students were forbidden to use in writing their papers and assignments). There had been forerunners of the supremely fine Webster's New World Dictionary under the same title, published decades before the 1950s, under the imprint of World Publishers, but those earlier ones did not so deserve to be considered the first edition (which seems to have gone through printings from 1954 or so to 1968, of which the one that I first obtained was the 1964 printing).

I have acquired and used every edition of this dictionary, right up to and including the fourth and now (updating this review slightly in 2014) the fifth editions. I have retained each much-loved, well-used edition, keeping them in various rooms of my house, along with some other favoured dictionaries, for ready resort near desks, tables, or chairs where I most often read or write. For those who specifically have a preference for the Third Edition, the purchaser from an Amazon WWW site should be aware that Prentice Hall published, for that edition itself (nice to have, but not affecting the overall desirability of it in any major way), a 1994 Update of the Third College Edition in, of course, 1994 (of which the ISBN number for it, "thumb-indexed", is 0-671-88243-0, and, "plain-edged", is 0-671-88289-9).

An interesting feature, by the way, of the Second College Edition, at least of the sturdy "Special School Printing" of it which I own, is a flexi-disc (33.3 r.p.m., 7 in.) included with it that bears the title upon it, "New World Phonoguide: an Audio Supplement to the Pronunciation Guide and Phonetic Symbols" which could be of considerable help to users for whom English is a second (third, etc.) language. I have not seen this helpful disc in other editions of this dictionary as I own copies of them. As for the fourth college edition, one or some printing(s) of it come(s) with an accompanying CD-ROM.

Each edition of the Webster's New World Dictionary has improved on the one that preceded it. Alas, some dictionaries, e.g., those benighted "Collegiate" dictionaries from Merriam-Webster, which fell from grace when they began to be based on the excessively permissive Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Merriam-Webster's unabridged dictionary which had displaced the rock-solid and far more trustworthy Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged 2nd Edition, on which earlier and better Merriam-Webster's "Collegiate" dictionary editions formerly and more happily had been based. Similar decline also has beset numerous other dictionaries which have not undergone wise or sufficient revision, leading to the lessening of quality or of reliability as later editions appear, when compared to former ones. The most admirable (of many good) qualities of the Webster's New World Dictionary is the sane approach to matters of word usage; while this dictionary is "prescriptive" in indicating what pronunciations and definitions are normative, it does give alternate ones that are common but less "proper", so far as American usage is concerned. It includes an healthy amount of words in informal English and slang; unlike the too prim-and-proper Funk and Wagnall dictionaries or the American Heritage Dictionary, both quite fine but rather too staid, the Webster's New World Dictionary does not purge such words and locutions of less-then-high-pedigree from the lexicon, but, rather, admits them while it very helpfully indicates their level of English usage admissibility or unacceptability for inclusion in formal writing or speaking. Each subsequent edition of the Webster's New World Dictionary, too, has undergone a thorough updating to add new words, technical or otherwise, to the vocabulary of the language.

A single, general-purpose college or desk-reference dictionary, even so admirably aimed at sophisticated adult level as the Webster's New World College Dictionary is, will not suffice to fulfil all requirements. For one thing, a truly unabridged dictionary, usually multi-volume, is good to have around for exceptional needs; I have several such dictionaries, of which, among them, I particularly commend "The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged", Second Edition, in one humongous and heavily oversized volume (of xlii, 2478, 32 p.). Also, one or a few dictionaries which correspond(s) to Commonwealth usage is (or are) important for non-American readers to possess and to use. Being here in Canada, I tend most to rely upon British dictionaries for spelling (especially Cassell's, Chamber's, and Harrap's fine recent editions of their respective dictionaries) and on specifically Canadian dictionaries (most notably the impeccable Gage dictionaries) for pronunciation or for peculiarly Canadian use and origin, but for definitions, I always have preferred the best American dictionaries, especially the various editions of Webster's New World Dictionary.

The Amazon buyer cannot go wrong in purchasing any variant of the Webster's New World Dictionary. If he cannot afford or find the latest edition, any of the previous "college" editions is quite suitable and reliable for everyday use. Go for it!

Webster's New World College Dictionary
Webster's New World College Dictionary
by Michael E. Agnes
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 20.78
50 used & new from CDN$ 11.76

5.0 out of 5 stars No Better Dictionary, and Few Others So Good As This One, Cover American English Usage, Spelling, Pronunciation, Etc., Oct. 11 2014
I long have used the Webster's New World Dictionary of American English, the most recommendable and comprehensive of its variants being any designated for "college" (in U.S.A. lingo including "university") use. The edition which most people usually think of as the first edition of this dictionary was the only English dictionary which students at the college where I did my freshman and sophomore years of study, in the mid-1960s, were permitted to cite as their lexical authority (the then recently debased "Collegiate" dictionary from Merriam-Webster, having been prime among the dictionaries that students were forbidden to use in writing their papers and assignments). There had been forerunners of the supremely fine Webster's New World Dictionary under the same title, published decades before the 1950s, under the imprint of World Publishers, but those earlier ones did not so deserve to be considered the first edition (which seems to have gone through printings from 1954 or so to 1968, of which the one that I first obtained was the 1964 printing). I have acquired and used every edition of this dictionary, right up to and including the fourth and now (updating this review slightly in 2014) the fifth editions. I have retained each much-loved, well-used edition, keeping them in various rooms of my house, along with some other favoured dictionaries, for ready resort near desks, tables, or chairs where I most often read or write.

An interesting feature, by the way, of the Second College Edition, at least of the sturdy "Special School Printing" of it which I own, is a flexi-disc (33.3 r.p.m., 7 in.) included with it that bears the title upon it, "New World Phonoguide: an Audio Supplement to the Pronunciation Guide and Phonetic Symbols" which could be of considerable help to users for whom English is a second (third, etc.) language. I have not seen this helpful disc in other editions of this dictionary as I own copies of them. As for the fourth college edition, one or some printing(s) of it come(s) with an accompanying CD-ROM.

Each edition of the Webster's New World Dictionary has improved on the one that preceded it. Alas, some dictionaries, e.g., those benighted "Collegiate" dictionaries from Merriam-Webster, which fell from grace when they began to be based on the excessively permissive Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Merriam-Webster's unabridged dictionary which had displaced the rock-solid and far more trustworthy Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged 2nd Edition, on which earlier and better Merriam-Webster's "Collegiate" dictionary editions formerly and more happily had been based. Similar decline also has beset numerous other dictionaries which have not undergone wise or sufficient revision, leading to the lessening of quality or of reliability as later editions appear, when compared to former ones. The most admirable (of many good) qualities of the Webster's New World Dictionary is the sane approach to matters of word usage; while this dictionary is "prescriptive" in indicating what pronunciations and definitions are normative, it does give alternate ones that are common but less "proper", so far as American usage is concerned. It includes an healthy amount of words in informal English and slang; unlike the too prim-and-proper Funk and Wagnall dictionaries or the American Heritage Dictionary, both quite fine but rather too staid, the Webster's New World Dictionary does not purge such words and locutions of less-then-high-pedigree from the lexicon, but, rather, admits them while it very helpfully indicates their level of English usage admissibility or unacceptability for inclusion in formal writing or speaking. Each subsequent edition of the Webster's New World Dictionary, too, has undergone a thorough updating to add new words, technical or otherwise, to the vocabulary of the language.

A single, general-purpose college or desk-reference dictionary, even so admirably aimed at sophisticated adult level as the Webster's New World College Dictionary is, will not suffice to fulfil all requirements. For one thing, a truly unabridged dictionary, usually multi-volume, is good to have around for exceptional needs; I have several such dictionaries, of which, among them, I particularly commend "The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged", Second Edition, in one humongous and heavily oversized volume (of xlii, 2478, 32 p.). Also, one or a few dictionaries which correspond(s) to Commonwealth usage is (or are) important for non-American readers to possess and to use. Being here in Canada, I tend most to rely upon British dictionaries for spelling (especially Cassell's, Chamber's, and Harrap's fine recent editions of their respective dictionaries) and on specifically Canadian dictionaries (most notably the impeccable Gage dictionaries) for pronunciation or for peculiarly Canadian use and origin, but for definitions, I always have preferred the best American dictionaries, especially the various editions of Webster's New World Dictionary.

The Amazon buyer cannot go wrong in purchasing any variant of the Webster's New World Dictionary. If he cannot afford or find the latest edition, any of the previous "college" editions is quite suitable and reliable for everyday use. Go for it!

Mexican Kids
Mexican Kids
4 used & new from CDN$ 42.88

4.0 out of 5 stars A Restless and Rambunctiously Energetic Mexican Kid, with His Friends & the Pizza Man, Make a Shambles of His Mother's Apartment, Sept. 29 2014
This review is from: Mexican Kids (DVD)
"Duck Season: Adulthood is a Moving Target" (Warner Independent Pictures 4032, in that particular so-titled edition for Canada and the U. S. of A.) is one of the English titles for this film as it has seen release (the other title being "Mexican Kids") on DVD of the Spanish-language film, "Temporada de patos: ser adulto no vale la pena". The movie is a succulent exercise in whimsy, the sort of uncoordinated, calm craziness of early adolescence in the case of a 14-year old boy left alone at home, with a pal of his own age, whom soon a more knowing girl of 16 joins, the lass being a bit of a flirt. Also participating in the ensuing revels is a 30-something years old slacker with a "McJob" delivering pizza, including to the two boys (with whom he ends up passing the day) on this dull Sunday afternoon, off-and-on with and without electrical power for the computer games that they so favour. The title derives from a painting and various duck-like objects that appear as a constant motif in the film.

Amazon-U.S. has several good reviews of this little cinematic charmer, so there is no need here to go into any considerable detail. The film is an exercise in whimsy, its fey charm lying in the depiction of the sweetly unaffected innocence of early puberty, of youth still without responsibility or more advanced sexual awakening, for the three teens, and of the frustrations of "slackerhood" for the hapless young man. Its "R" rating (for "restricted") is rather silly, due only to some mild profanity now and then from boys trying to exhibit how "cool" they are and for the deftly cute portrayal of how marijuana (in birthday brownies that the girl makes after a failed cake) affects the foursome's perceptions, pretty innocent stuff in terms of modern film-making!

One definitely should see it in this edition with English (or other) subtitles, unless the viewer's Spanish is good enough to catch banter, including slang, which the characters deliver often quite offhandedly, otherwise one is likely to miss the sly humour of what makes this low-key movie so endearing. (A particularly suitable DVD edition, for the U. S. of A.'s and for Canada's market which is in Spanish only, i.e. without English subtitles to view along with it, bearing the title and variant subtitle, "Temporada de patos: ¿a ti también te vale pito?", is available as R.T.C. Videomax Gold DVD-6342.) The film, obviously, is a bit of unpretentious fluff, but it is ingeniously clever, thus well worth watching time and again.

Mexican kids - temporada de patos
Mexican kids - temporada de patos
Offered by Prestivo3
Price: CDN$ 36.57
2 used & new from CDN$ 36.57

4.0 out of 5 stars The Swirl of High Energy Youthful Ability to Sow Confusion and Domestic Disorder Gets Ever Higher in Gear as the Action Proceeds, Sept. 28 2014
"Duck Season: Adulthood is a Moving Target" (Warner Independent Pictures 4032, in that particular so-titled edition for Canada and the U. S. of A.) is one of the English titles for this film as it has seen release (the other title being "Mexican Kids") on DVD of the Spanish-language film, "Temporada de patos: ser adulto no vale la pena". The movie is a succulent exercise in whimsy, the sort of uncoordinated, calm craziness of early adolescence in the case of a 14-year old boy left alone at home, with a pal of his own age, whom soon a more knowing girl of 16 joins, the lass being a bit of a flirt. Also participating in the ensuing revels is a 30-something years old slacker with a "McJob" delivering pizza, including to the two boys (with whom he ends up passing the day) on this dull Sunday afternoon, off-and-on with and without electrical power for the computer games that they so favour. The title derives from a painting and various duck-like objects that appear as a constant motif in the film.

Amazon-U.S. has several good reviews of this little cinematic charmer, so there is no need here to go into any considerable detail. The film is an exercise in whimsy, its fey charm lying in the depiction of the sweetly unaffected innocence of early puberty, of youth still without responsibility or more advanced sexual awakening, for the three teens, and of the frustrations of "slackerhood" for the hapless young man. Its "R" rating (for "restricted") is rather silly, due only to some mild profanity now and then from boys trying to exhibit how "cool" they are and for the deftly cute portrayal of how marijuana (in birthday brownies that the girl makes after a failed cake) affects the foursome's perceptions, pretty innocent stuff in terms of modern film-making!

One definitely should see it in this edition with English (or other) subtitles, unless the viewer's Spanish is good enough to catch banter, including slang, which the characters deliver often quite offhandedly, otherwise one is likely to miss the sly humour of what makes this low-key movie so endearing. (A particularly suitable DVD edition, for the U. S. of A.'s and for Canada's market which is in Spanish only, i.e. without English subtitles to view along with it, bearing the title and variant subtitle, "Temporada de patos: ¿a ti también te vale pito?", is available as R.T.C. Videomax Gold DVD-6342.) The film, obviously, is a bit of unpretentious fluff, but it is ingeniously clever, thus well worth watching time and again.

Cruising Bar
Cruising Bar
DVD ~ DVD
Offered by biddeal
Price: CDN$ 22.98
4 used & new from CDN$ 16.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Dating and Cruising Mania Among Montréal's and Laval's Middle-Class Men "on the Make" Depicted with Unquenchable Humour, Sept. 21 2014
This review is from: Cruising Bar (DVD)
It is rather astonishing that the movies, "Cruising Bar: [1]" (a different edition, Alliance/VideoFilms 104900, being the DVD edition viewed) and its sequel, "Cruising Bar: [2]" (Alliance VideoFilms 107406 being the DVD edition watched), seem, judging from so few reviews of them, to have generated, thus far (as of Sept. 2014), so little interest on Amazon's WWW sites. This is true even for Amazon-Canada, the national WWW site for the Dominion of Canada, where one would expect that films so phenomenally successful in Québec (by Québec's appropriate measure) would have garnered by now numerous reviews, "pro and con".

The two films are out-and-out farces, of course, which perhaps has meant that many who have viewed them, while enjoying the two movies, have not taken their worth seriously enough. Well, yes, they are farcical, but in the cleverest way possible! They are destined to be comedy classics in the way that the great Marx Brothers films, those of Mel Brooks, or, to single out an individual motion picture, as "Hellzazpoppin'" (1941) all have become.

Michel Côté is a comedian of stature whose films, nearly all of them, have attained that kind of status in Québec. In the case of these two films mocking the cruising patterns of date-scavenging (or, to be blunt, trawling for a "one-night-stand" hook-up), the humour is of the sort that easily should embrace the same kind of response from English-speaking audiences as from Québec viewers. The culture of dating, with all of its decadence and inherent comic potential, from the 1970s onwards (with parallels in the past of dance hall and "bar-hopping" behaviour), which the two films portray, is internationally entrenched, for better or for worse, in most of the Western World. That phenomenon is something ripe for humour!

As for the geographical setting (Montréal) that both works share, the two "Cruising Bar" motion pictures lack the grubby look of most U.S. and British cities since they, for their own part, have endured the ravages of commercial, economic, and industrial decline, which "Free Trade" and outsourcing of industry and technology have wrought, all besetting them since the baneful times of Grinnin' Clinton, Bush-whacker Jr., Obawumpa (in the U. S. of A.), and Thrasher, Blyar, and the new Cameroon Goon (in Britain). Montréal, for its part (here in Québec), still is a clean and attractive large city. However, "Cruising Bar: [1]", from 1989, and "Cruising Bar: [2], of 2008, are set in earlier times (the second just barely) when some U.S. and British cities still had looked like something besides recycled Calcutta. So, "nos ami(e)s Anglos", let your imaginations wander and in your imagination apply the action that takes place in Montréal to what had gone on in your own nearest-by pre-2008 metropolis. It helps that one can view the "Cruising Bar: [1]" with the dialogue set to hear it in English and that both pictures, on the other hand, are viewable in French with English subtitles. The antics in the two films, anyhow, are so physical in nature (with, of course, many visual gags), as farce naturally tends to be, that they would reveal what goes on even with the sound turned off!

Michel Côté is such a master of comedy and disguise that his assumption of the roles of four different "dudes on the make", young (30s or so) in the 1989 film who have become middle-aged (50s or thereabouts) in the 2008 film, are totally convincing. When I first saw "Cruising Bar: [1]" back in 1989, I did not realise (as many other cinema-goers also did not) that Côté was playing all four of the horny philanders! They are, by their nicknames, to take each in a different order herewith:

-- Le Taureau (The Bull, a genial, multi-orgasmic bourgeois businessman in a constant state of rut, who unrelentingly cheats on his wife, at work and at the local kitsch dating-pits in the suburbs);

-- Le Taon (The Peacock, a prissy "clothes-horse", fashion-obsessed and vacuously empty-headed "metrosexual", for whom no woman is quite perfect enough to justify his amourous attentions but who seeks sex, ineffectually, anyhow);

-- Le Lion (The Lion, the frenetically energetic and dim-witted "perpetual adolescent" who never takes responsibility for his gaffs and who brags and behaves delusionally, thus never learns how to become a responsible adult who can offer a woman the stable love that she needs);

and

-- Le Ver de terre (the Worm, an insecure, cowardly, and insecure, cowardly, and ugly nerd, who cringes at any challenge and is fearful to face life's challenges).

Côté transforms himself in look and demeanor so successfully that he has no need of heavy disguise, apart from some help to pad out his trim body out for the chubby and dumpy-looking Bull, with that character's sagging paunch and chin(s) and fat cheeks. He seems (although I am not sure of this) to be using some costume teeth to give the Lion his toothy grin, but aside from these, he plays his various parts mostly through the sheer transforming art of great comic acting. The result, at any rate, is utter hilarity.

"Cruising Bar: [1]" is even more fun to watch than its sequel, but both films are wonderfully comic. There is an aspect of "Cruising Bar: 2" that is very pleasing: it gives resolution and closure to the problems that most of the goofy dudes whom Michel Côté plays face. In the second film,

-- The Bull's marriage is saved and he learns to be content (well, more so) with his own wife than to be cavorting with the other suburban housewives.

-- The Worm finds his true soul mate; he hooks up at last, at the dance studio, with a real soul mate, a needy woman who is as timid, as homely-looking, and as gauche as he, the Worm, himself is.

-- The Peacock, the vain metrosexual who by two decades later has lost both his naturally suave good looks and his hair, too (an hilarious scene in which his wig falls off during attempted love-making rendering that latter loss comically evident!), now by the end of "Cruising Bar: 2" still is as uppity and absurd as ever in some ways. However, as things work out, he is able, at least, to affirm his masculinity when he had begun to face the possibility that he might be gay. His experience of "testing the waters" of Montréal's vibrant gay life are side-splittingly droll, yet without being sexist (although he is!).

On the other hand,

-- The Lion still is close to being as idiotic and juvenile as ever, but he does recognise and appreciate the value of his daughter's love.

These developments bring the second film to a satisfyingly well-rounded conclusion. There is no need to worry that this review has too many "spoilers"; the wealth of comic invention in the two movies and of so many unanticipated plot twists and abundant comic detail within the films far exceed the rough outline of the action which this review indicates.

The special features of "Cruising Bar: 2" are longer and more extensive than the short ones which are included with "Cruising Bar: [1]" (in both cases only in French, without subtitles for that part of each DVD's content). Since the bonus features with the second film concern both movies, they fill in the viewer's understanding of the earlier motion picture as well as of the sequel.

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