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Reviews Written by
M. B. "femmyv" (TN United States)

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Folklore
Folklore
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 37.93
2 used & new from CDN$ 37.93

4.0 out of 5 stars From Moonshine to a Deep, Big Red, June 9 2004
This review is from: Folklore (Audio CD)
Their fifth studio album showed 16 Horsepower sounding more confident and less self-consciously arty than ever before, without compromising any of their distinctness. Much of the band's normal brimstone is absent, and their music's spooky, ethereal quality is being replaced by a sorrowful worldliness. The music and tales remains haunting - David Eugene Edwards still has souls on his mind, but there's more room for indulging in earthly pleasures and a joyous yawp or two that come across in the cover of the Carter Family classic, "Single Girl," and "La Robe a Parasol" (sung in French!).

A.M. & P.M Yoga for Beginners with Rodney Yee [Import]
A.M. & P.M Yoga for Beginners with Rodney Yee [Import]
DVD ~ Gaiam: Yoga/Rodney Yee/Patrici
Offered by Warehouse105
Price: CDN$ 11.99
33 used & new from CDN$ 7.73

5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Place to Start, April 22 2004
I first picked these up on VHS a few years ago, for stress relief. The AM Yoga portion is a relatively easy routine for a quick dose of energy to get your day going, but it was really the PM Yoga that did the trick for me. Some of the poses in the latter are initially challenging, but after a week or two became second nature. I can't praise these sessions enough. Now that my VHS player is long since toast, I'm ecstatic both are on one DVD unit.

Stereo (Bonus Cd)
Stereo (Bonus Cd)
Price: CDN$ 16.72
20 used & new from CDN$ 5.36

4.0 out of 5 stars You Can Return Home, Nov. 7 2003
This review is from: Stereo (Bonus Cd) (Audio CD)
Like so many other old-timer Replacements fans, I got turned off by Paul Westerberg's mid 1990s solo albums. Great production values couldn't hide that his songs weren't maturing as his fans were, in spite of the occasional witty couplet. And so I almost skipped over Stereo/Mono.
Listening to this album is like slipping into a comfortable, beat-up pair of Chuck Taylors that have been sitting in the back of the closet gaining dust, and finding they still have plenty of spring left in them.
Stereo serves up the realization that the who man created the musical genre "Country & Westerberg" is still the one who's defining it. Dark, lonely nights. Check. Promises and dreams unfulfilled. Check. Musically, these two albums use the final Replacements' album, All Shook Down, as a jumping-off point, with Mono comprising the more rattling, Stonesy-blues/rock numbers. In all honesty, the Mono CD should be considered as little more than the bonus disc it is; a fun extra that shouldn't be taken too seriously.
In at least one way, he's come full cycle - radio won't touch this work anymore than it would have played the best of the Replacements' earlier works. It's too raw, too honest, and too unpretty. And yes, too ridden with technical imperfections.
If there's no "Within Your Reach" to completely stop your heart beating, there are more than a few that come close, only to come maddeningly to harsh gaps where the tape in the studio ran out. In the liner notes, Westerberg warns us of that possibility, laying out his short doctrine of the imperfectness of art, and he's perfectly correct. Stereo, with all of its flaws, is worth all of Westerberg's 1990s output, combined, and then some.

Stereo (Bonus Cd)
Stereo (Bonus Cd)
Price: CDN$ 16.72
20 used & new from CDN$ 5.36

4.0 out of 5 stars You Can Return Home, Nov. 7 2003
This review is from: Stereo (Bonus Cd) (Audio CD)
Like so many other old-timer Replacements fans, I got turned off by Paul Westerberg's mid 1990s solo albums. Great production values couldn't hide that his songs weren't maturing as his fans were, in spite of the occasional witty couplet. And so I almost skipped over Stereo/Mono.
Listening to this album is like slipping into a compfortable, beat-up pair of Chuck Taylors that have been sitting in the back of the closet gaining dust, and finding they still have plenty of spring left in them.
Stereo serves up the realization that the who man created the musical genre "Country & Westerberg" is still the one who's defining it. Dark, lonely nights. Check. Promises and dreams unfulfilled. Check. Musically, these two albums use the final Replacements' album, All Shook Down, as a jumping-off point, with Mono comprising the more rattling, Stonesy-blues/rock numbers.
In at least one way, he's come full cycle - radio won't touch this work anymore than it would have played the best of the Replacements' earlier works. It's too raw, too honest, and too unpretty. And yes, too ridden with technical imperfections.
If there's no "Within Your Reach" to completely stop your heart beating, there are more than a few that come close, only to come maddeningly to harsh gaps where the tape in the studio ran out. In the liner notes, Westerberg warns us of that possibility, laying out his short doctrine of the imperfectness of art, and he's perfectly correct. Stereo, with all of its flaws, is worth all of Westerberg's 1990s output, combined, and then some.

The Eight: A Novel
The Eight: A Novel
by Katherine Neville
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.49
130 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Chess, Anyone?, Oct. 18 2003
The Eight is a book about Wonder Women on a great adventure.
An ahead-of-her-time computer programmer; a champion chess player; a queen; a nun; and a goddess.
Underneath, and in a very un-boring way, it´¿s also a story about how math moves the cosmos. Chess only really comes in as the conduit, in the form of an infamous historical chessboard said to have been owned by Charlemagne, possessing the power to literally rock the world so much that the pieces were, by necessity, scattered to its furthest corners.
In two stories, two centuries apart, Katherine Neville spins the tale of 18th century, innocent novice Mireille de Remy who puts into danger just about everyone she comes into contact with in her quest to keep the board's pieces hidden. Catherine Velis, a savvy, sexy computer programmer-cum musician, is put into danger by just about everyone around her when she is asked to help reunite them 200 years later.
The part of the novel set in the 18th century is studded with the historically famous, mostly from the French Revolution, a Who's Who of the not-so-shadowy elite in the most exclusive drawing rooms. Marat, Tallyrand, Napolean and more all make entertaining and fascinating appearances in the intrigue.
The 20th century portion ´¿ early 1970s, to be specific ´¿ as it moves from Manhattan to North Africa and back, is more like Indiana Jones on estrogen, complete with an obnoxious sidekick with an even more obnoxious miniature dog.
What Neville does to keep the all the side characters from blurring the reader into confusion is to give each of them a story of their own, an explanation of how they were brought into 'the game.'
The 600 or so pages turn easily ´¿ Neville is a gifted writer who holds the reader's attention throughout ´¿ and for the uninitiated, the more esoteric stuff is revealed in a way that piques the reader's interest rather than condescends. I'm not entirely in love with the ending, some aspects of it seem more like anti-climax, but there are no let-downs and overall, The Eight is a very satisfying read.

No Title Available

4.0 out of 5 stars Almost Had Me There, Oct. 17 2003
For about one hour and forty minutes, Requiem for a Dream was the most harrowing - and entertaining - drug movie I'd ever seen. The solid story of four intersecting lives in a rapid descent to hardcore drug addiction, performed to perfection by all the actors, combined with truly original and dazzling imagery as the camera concentrated on those moments when the fix comes in.
I cared about these people.
And then the screenplay committed the cardinal sin: ripped my willing suspension of disbelief into shreds when one lead character was in need of immediate medical attention and instead was given grounds for a major lawsuit (not giving away the spoiler for those who haven't seen it).
In that moment, Requiem went from being a brilliant film to being the best-produced Partners for a Drug Free America commercial, ever.

The Da Vinci Code: A Novel
The Da Vinci Code: A Novel
by Dan Brown
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 20.69
284 used & new from CDN$ 0.18

3.0 out of 5 stars As Novels Go, It Would Make a Great Screen-play, Oct. 13 2003
Harvard professor Robert Langdon is awoken in the middle of the night and asked to use his specialized knowledge for a murder investigation. In a short matter of time, he will become the main suspect, and hit the road with the victim's granddaughter in the attempt to unravel a mystery and clear his name.
Dan Brown deserves major kudos for taking the far-flung elements of a popular conspiracy theory and putting them together into an engrossing page-turner and weaving a cohesive plot.
But ...
Maybe because I was already primed for the material, and didn't have to spend anytime pondering it, the novel's faults seemed glaring.
Lack of character development. With perhaps two exceptions - and minor players at that - the characters were nowhere near approaching fully "drawn." Everyone is either "good guy," "bad guy," "bad guy with flair," or "truth-seeking gal."
"Show, don't tell." Probably the biggest reason I never got into mystery novels is all the exposition at the end. Maybe because DaVC tries to be both a thriller/adventure and mystery, there's exposition throughout.
Recurring references to the protagonist's previous Vatican escapade. If Brown wasn't going to tell us what that was all about, why even mention it, except perhaps, to try to sell another book in the Langdon series? He could have at least put in a brief overview of what had gone on, other than "something very, very bad went down."
As compelling and lively as Brown's prose is, The DaVinci Code is a bit like stopping in at Burger King when you're really hoping for prime rib. It'll do in a pinch.

Bartok Album
Bartok Album
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 66.95
4 used & new from CDN$ 32.70

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real Deal, June 27 2002
This review is from: Bartok Album (Audio CD)
One day, in adventurous mood and tired of RAWK, I decided it was time to investigate Gypsy fiddle music and stumbled onto this CD (who says you can't judge a CD by the cover art?). It became my happiest discovery in years. There's nothing hokey about the performance of these re-worked folk tunes; the album is passionate and exhuberant and visceral, and the violin work often soars into the stratosphere.
I've seen other reviewers express disappointment that the ensemble didn't perform/arrange the work in the fashion Bartok himself would have, ie, classical mode, but that would have diluted the whole point: the people who performed the songs for the Bartok's microphone (clips of the original field recordings Bartok made are presented inbetween the modern renditions) didn't make music for upper-crust performance halls and Sony Classical, they played it in the intimacy of their everyday lives and communities. By presenting the songs in this context, the album reminds us of a time and place when popular music had real communal value not measured in units sold.

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