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J. Bird (Canada)

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Ultra-Compact Phono Preamp
Ultra-Compact Phono Preamp
Price: CDN$ 38.99
18 used & new from CDN$ 36.26

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing sound reproduction for the price paid, Aug. 7 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Amazing sound reproduction for the price paid. I am running this amp off a Technics 1200-MK2 and the little unit holds its own with the big boys. No noise, loud and clear sound levels, small and nice looking construction. You can't ask for more from this price. Behringer makes quality sound equipment across the musical landscape. Don't hesitate to buy if you are on a low budget. This thing works just fine for your vinyl listening needs. Now put on some Sabbath and chill out.

Dr Seuss Childrens Book Collection 20 Books Set
Dr Seuss Childrens Book Collection 20 Books Set

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dr Seuss is still king, Dec 15 2012
These books are great. The hardcover editions are the best ones to buy and the value of buying them in a set is much better than individual purchases. Only a few essential books are missing from this set but all in all I cannot complain about the books that are included. Great books for kids and quite good material to stir the mind of a young reader. Highly recommended.

Mars Attacks! [Blu-ray]
Mars Attacks! [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Jack Nicholson
Offered by importcds__
Price: CDN$ 19.11
17 used & new from CDN$ 12.05

5.0 out of 5 stars What If?, Sept. 24 2010
This review is from: Mars Attacks! [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
What if Edward D. Wood Jr. had a higher budget, good digital effects, access to quality studios, and great actors at his disposal? Director Tim Burton has answered that question for us in 'Mars Attacks.' You may not understand the reasoning behind this movie but you do not have to, Tim Burton understood it perfectly. Mars Attacks makes no sense in itself and the script, narrative, and dialogue are just as non-sensical as the idea of Martians that attack for absolutely no reason. Why is this so? It is obvious, this movie is a throwback to a genre that exists no more and perhaps that is our loss as a moviegoers; when cheap sci-fi and B-movies ruled the cinemas and drive-ins. Hitchcock of course set all this straight with 'Psycho' by proving that a great horror film (B-movie if you will) could be made with a low budget. But Ed Wood was no Hitchcock and Tim Burton was not paying homage to Hitch.

To understand Mars Attacks you must understand Tim Burton's love for Ed Wood as a film-maker. It appears that Tim Burton made this movie in honour of Ed Wood; alongside the bio-pic of the same name.

Have you never seen 'Plan 9 From Outer Space?' If not, watch that movie then watch this one in sequence; You will understand the answer and the question............ what if?

Che - Collector's Edition (Che - Édition du Collectionneur) [Blu-ray]
Che - Collector's Edition (Che - Édition du Collectionneur) [Blu-ray]
Price: CDN$ 29.99
10 used & new from CDN$ 23.44

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Movement in Two Parts, Aug. 2 2010
The idea of this movie was meant not to polarize the message of "Che" and his life by propagandizing you along the way; this would be a cheapening of the man's life and his relevance as a critique of modern capitalism. Rather, the movie is presented as an honest portrayal of two most intense and meaningful revolutionary Events in Che's life; i.e. - his utmost success and his abject failure.

These two Events are the essence of Che's life, at least in a 4 hour timeframe (especially if you are not willing to read about his life or his ideas on revolution). The first part is the high-point: the Cuban revolution is a success and the guerrilla army wins the day. The second part is the low point: the Bolivian revolution was fraught with tragedy, ill-preparedness, bad timing, etc., and this demonstrates the failure. These portrayals are not romanticized or propagandized (they might be ideology but that is another discussion) rather they are attempts at a real look at the facts; which is why Jon Lee Anderson was constantly on-set and given a role as an advisor. These two parts work nicely when viewed together. You inevitably cheer for the success and you are puzzled by the failure. Soderbergh also focuses on the martyr-role in the Bolivian example and the messiah-role in the Cuban example; these are not mythology-based rather they are factual-based.

Obviously this is cinema and all the aspects of the two guerrilla campaigns cannot be presented as realistically, and totally, as possible but Soderbergh does a fine job with his subject.

The images are stunning, the use of Spanish is essential, and the physical/geographical settings are outstanding. There are no Hollywood sets or studios utilized, no excessive CGI tricks, and no unnecessary special affects = a throwback to another age. Benicio Del Toro is outstanding as Ernesto 'Che' Guevara, Demian Bichir fully embodies a youthful Fidel Castro, but clearly Santiago Cabrera as Camilo Cienfuegos is definitely the understated spirit of the movie. The scenes between Che and Fidel are presented as cold and hierarchical (father to son) whereas the scenes between Che and Camilo are presented as friend, comrade, and brother. Soderbergh misses a great opportunity to portray the "love" Che speaks about when the movie fails to examine Camilo's untimely death and Che's grief over his best friend's demise (perhaps his utmost sentiment in leaving Cuba and Fidel behind: to prove his father wrong and to find another Camilo along the way).

The paternal analysis was not lost in Soderbergh's analysis. In the first part Che is under the forceful tutelage of the father: Fidel (thus Che succeeds) and in the second part Che leaves Cuba and Fidel for Bolivia but he only finds failure and hardship. Messiah-martyr?

To paraphrase Che: 'there are periods of boredom in the life of the guerrilla and in the struggle' and this movie demonstrates his truth: war of any kind is filled with periods of pure boredom and periods of intense fighting = failure and success. Soderbergh presents the highs and lows of Che's guerrilla existence and this is seemingly his main motif, as is perhaps the martyr-messiah, and father-son. Sometimes there is victory and sometimes there is defeat.

Watch this movie and then watch it again.

First As Tragedy, Then As Farce
First As Tragedy, Then As Farce
by Slavoj Zizek
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.47
69 used & new from CDN$ 3.42

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Zizek at His Most Accessible, Aug. 2 2010
If you have never read a book by Zizek then this is definitely the best place to start, especially considering the emphasis of the book. If you have read Zizek before then consider this is a great little pamphlet. Zizek focuses his analyses on the two most politically relevant topics of the past decade: 1) the current global economic crisis, and 2) the changing world post 9-11. Zizek breaks the book down into two separate parts that are primarily based on the analysis of ideology and the burgeoning communist hypothesis. The usual characters come along for the ride: Marx, Hegel, Lacan, and Freud = historical materialism, dialectics, and psychoanalysis (get used to these ideas if you have never read Zizek).

The analyses are always grounded in philosophy and history and of course Zizek does not utilize the over-abused drivel of the mainstream media (and when he does, he abolishes it), rather he creates highly critical arguments that are not presented in our mainstream; which is why we need Zizek. As with all other books by Zizek, the language can be difficult to understand at times but Zizek expects his audience to examine his ideas carefully; too often we are given ready-made answers to our most pressing questions (which is where ideology comes into play) and Zizek obliterates these all too easy answers. But there is good news, if you are too busy to fumble around with difficult language (most of us are these days) then there is hope to be found in Zizek: the other half of Zizek is always filled with profound analyses in beautifully written and accessible language and these passages will entertain and enlighten. And it is in these accessible areas that the amazing clarity of Zizek's critiques will shine through. As always, Zizek utilizes humour, film, Hollywood, art, literature, pop-culture, and good old ideology to get his points across.

Here is the great news: the book is only 157 pages long and it directs its attentions on two ideas. So, it is very easy to re-read the book if you happen to get lost along the way (it happens to us all). Welcome yourself to the amazing head-space known as Zizek and get ready to challenge yourself and your ideas about stuff (yes I said it, stuff!).

The Communist Hypothesis
The Communist Hypothesis
by Alain Badiou
Edition: Hardcover
22 used & new from CDN$ 4.56

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Idea Lives On, July 31 2010
This book by Alain Badiou is a small collection of shorter essays and it is a great companion to anything that has been written previously by Zizek or Badiou. The book itself physically resembles the Quotations of Mao Zedong (little red book) and the accessibility of the book (the small stature) is very handy when carrying around as it easily fits into anything (probably a conscious choice by Verso Books).

What is presented in the book are a few older essays and a few new writings by Badiou on various topics regarding communist history and philosophy. This book is purely meant to be a philosophical study and on that topic it is not an egregiously difficult read at all. In fact, you can literally read the entirety of the book in a couple of hours, and even understand it. The shortness of the book inspires future readings. The topics of the essays are specifically based upon: the supposed failure of communism, the political unrest of 1968 and its contemporary implications in today's communism, the Cultural Revolution in China (a particularly good essay), The Paris Commune, and the Idea of communism.

If you are at all interested in communist philosophy, and/or history, then this a great little addition to your literary collection.

A Companion to Marx's Capital
A Companion to Marx's Capital
by David Harvey
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 22.48
40 used & new from CDN$ 15.97

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 40 Years of Scholarship, July 31 2010
David Harvey has done you and I a tremendous favour. He has incorporated 40 years of teaching of Marx's Capital into a single volume (in the form of a rather inexpensive commodity nonetheless, perhaps one of the best you will ever use). The insights Harvey gives are great tools for understanding the more difficult concepts that Marx presents. Harvey gives a detailed but not overly lengthy description and analysis into Marx's more important terms. The title of this book is exactly what it claims to be: a wonderful companion to Marx's Capital. If you have never read Capital from front to back then this is an essential place to start and if you have read it several times then the 40+ years of Harvey's analysis will certainly be appreciated.

The wonderful thing about this book is that it is able to stand on its own apart from Capital (although this is not the intention of the book) and it is very accessible to all readers. Harvey does not use excessively complicated language and he does his best to clarify the tougher subjects and ideas of Marx. Harvey is a powerful teacher and this volume works great for all levels of students and anyone else that is interested in Marx's beautiful book called Capital.

The Complete Monterey Pop Festival (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
The Complete Monterey Pop Festival (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Otis Redding
Price: CDN$ 64.99
20 used & new from CDN$ 61.24

1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Bit Creepy?, Oct. 17 2009
I just recently bought this Blu-Ray and I have to say that the remastered picture and sound is fabulous, well worth the $$$. The performances are classic and I particularly love Otis Redding, Jimi, and the Who doing their thing. I am far too young to remember any of this when it happened but reliving the experience in this format is fantastic. Definitely get the blu ray edition and get a good surround sound set-up.

So then why am I creeping out? Well the blu-ray edition is dedicated to John Phillips (yeah him) and I imagine the dvd version is also; I bought the box set post-confession. Obviously this dedication to a scumbag was always a part of the complete set. The dedication was written in the book-notes well before the recent dropping of Mackenzie's bombshell of a confession. I believe in peace and love but not to that extent, thank you very much. Anyway, it is safe to say that the next pressings of the box set and its booklet will more than likely have the dedication removed and perhaps even some of Johnny's images. I don't believe in censorship at all so the Mamas and Papas performances will forever remain apart of the film and that is fine (it is only music)....... but as for me, I just skip right by the Mamas and Papas performance because I can only envision one thing. Thankfully I was never a fan. Just looking at the man in that hat is creeping me out today.

B-Sides And C-Sides
B-Sides And C-Sides
Price: CDN$ 15.67
65 used & new from CDN$ 10.53

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I Wanna Riot!, June 1 2009
This review is from: B-Sides And C-Sides (Audio CD) has this wrong, this album is not a "Best Of" collection it is merely a compilation of older and lesser known B-sides and C-sides from older compilation albums and out of print split albums and singles. All in all this a very solid collection of songs from Rancid and if you have not heard the songs on this album then definitely pick this record up soon. As I write this review the new Rancid album is out and I have to say this in all honesty - try to pretend in your mind that this "B-sides" collection is actually the new Rancid album and that "Let the Dominoes Fall" is the compilation album, at least this way you will not be totally disappointed in the new and weaker version of what is now called a Rancid record. "B-Sides and C-Sides" blows away "Let the Dominoes Fall" in every conceivable musical category. So if you only have enough $$$$ to buy one Rancid album then do yourself a favour and buy this album instead of the new one. Trust me, you might never hear a better Rancid song than "I Wanna Riot", because it appears obvious that Rancid is no longer in the business of writing angry social and political songs and isn't that a shame for all the fans.

Let the Dominoes Fall (Expanded Version)
Let the Dominoes Fall (Expanded Version)
Price: CDN$ 31.48
22 used & new from CDN$ 11.41

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rancid Becomes Irrelevant, May 28 2009
Where do I start. I have been a die-hard Rancid for the past 14 years (I am now 30) and I was eagerly awaiting this new release. The only word that comes to mind is - disappointment. Lars Frederiksen (the best vocalist in the group) has only 1 lead vocal on the entire 19 track album and not surprisingly Lars' song has the potential to be the most sociopolitically topical song on the record ('New Orleans') but it falls short of making any statements about the disaster and the failed relief efforts of FEMA. Nevertheless, 'New Orleans' is still a good song. Matt Freeman's questionable voice is over-used on the album and Matt can neither carry a tune nor hit a note to save his own life, Matt appears to be singing more than Lars on this record. Tim Armstrong carries the entire album as most of the songs seem to be penned by him and thus he is the lead singer but at the same time there are weaknesses within the writing of this record. The listener also has to bear in mind that this album is 5 years in the making, so time was not an issue, but still the album and its lyrical content seem rushed and unconvincing. There are nationalistic sentiments ('Disconnected', the Bravest Kids') where there was once nihilistic sentiments and there appears to be no more biting political commentaries to be found within Rancid songs. The album is overall slower-paced and relaxed, which is fine by me, but most of the songs are rather boring (lyrically and sonically) and only a handful stand out as being exceptionally good.

The good old USA is currently engaged in two wars (their validity in question), they are now coming out of their worst presidency in history (yes, I am speaking of W.), they have just elected their first African-American president (Obama), they are in the midst of the worst financial crisis in a century, there are government bailouts left, right, and centre for major corporations, workers are losing jobs every day, terrorism still looms large in the international world, religious fundamentalism is highly prevalent in American politics, anti-gay feelings are rampant in the South and in their American political decisions (gay marriage was repealed in California - Prop 8), racism and sexism are still major issues, and the list goes on and on for relevant and topical issues that need to be written about especially in a neo-punk world that is increasingly becoming overtly right-wing. Rancid instead has deliberately chosen not to write about any of the major issues of the past 5 years but instead have opted for a safe and easy listening record that contains no relevant information about the age we presently live in. I hold Rancid to a higher standard and they have let me down. This album has to fight hard to deserve the 2 stars that it gets.

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