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Martin A Hogan "Marty From SF" (San Francisco, CA. (Hercules))

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London Underground
London Underground
by Chris Angus
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 28.25
8 used & new from CDN$ 28.25

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When Hell Unfolds, Feb. 14 2013
Ce commentaire est de: London Underground (Paperback)
London is an old city full of underground railways systems, subterranean rivers, ancient Roman ruins, remnants from medieval times, artifacts from the World Wars, rats and a hell of a lot more. There is also a lot of undiscovered history, particularly from World War II, Winston Churchill, the Nazis and the `plague' that is entombed in that hellish dark place. When modern times accidentally discover some of these hidden treasures and horrors of the past, the ride begins and it's no ordinary thriller.

Interweaving a spy thriller story of a Nazi V-2 rocket produced and traveling Europe by rail in the second World War with modern day discoveries is a marvel of mysteries. It is told stealthily and in a maddenly fast pace as it unfolds in Norway and under the City of London. Did Winston Churchill or Hitler have something to hide that has lied buried for decades that holds a horrible truth and a possibly catastrophic illness? Why are the rats running from the underground in mass and why is there such an interest by so many in what lies beneath?

These are part of the story of "London Underground", a novel that takes unique and interesting characters through a series of calamities and circumstances that hold the reader spellbound. Once started, the reader is committed to the story with a quickening and terrifying pace. Some of the imagery and circumstances will have anyone, especially those claustrophobic or afraid of the dark in a deep hold. No one is safe from the deadly darkness that prowls the underground. If you don't like bloody rats, be prepared. There are plenty and some are more than extraordinary.

This is one of the best science fiction novels I have read and the story is so utterly believable that it causes reason for alarm. From chapter to chapter, the pace is addictive and the ultimate outcome is so unpredictable that I found it to be stunning.

The Last Titanic Story
The Last Titanic Story
by Chris Angus
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 6.38
6 used & new from CDN$ 6.38

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breakneck Speed, Feb. 14 2013
Ce commentaire est de: The Last Titanic Story (Paperback)
From 1912 to the present day, Angus weaves a fast paced story from four different perspectives and times, all culminating in a stunning climax. Not unlike an "Indiana Jones" story, "The Last Titanic Story" is more real, more visceral and more than simply entertaining. In the classic sense, the chapters are short and concise with each ending with a cliffhanger. Initially, I wondered how these characters and events would find common ground, but the action and storyline keeps rolling on with breakneck speed. I'm not normally a fan of fiction, but this story is so believable with solid emotionally ranged characters, that I was immediately hooked. From people surviving the sinking of the Titanic to World War II Nazis to modern day newspaper sleuths, the narrative feels real and exciting.

If you read Christopher Angus's, "Flypaper", you'll enjoy this novel as well. They both have high action, empathetic characters and plenty of clever, stunning twists. Both are keepers.

Larks' Tongues In Aspic (40th Anniversary Series)
Larks' Tongues In Aspic (40th Anniversary Series)
Price: CDN$ 26.30
30 used & new from CDN$ 15.16

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE 40th Anniversary Album!, Feb. 14 2013
This latest and arguably most anticipated remix of the early King Crimson albums is an exercise in wondrous excess. Remixed for 5.1 Surround Sound from the original studio masters by Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), this CD contains a completely new stereo album mix by Robert Fripp & Steven Wilson, as well as three extra, previously unreleased, alternate takes/mixes. This includes a 5.1 mix, a High Resolution mix and with Blu-Ray players, an additional 5.1 Advanced Resolution (Lossless Audio) mix. The DVD A also features over 30 minutes of rare, previously unseen footage of the band - a rare gift for Crimson fans. This set is similar to previous in that it is a 2-digipak format in a slipcase with extensive new sleeve notes by King Crimson biographer Sid Smith. Of course, there are those great rare photos and archive materials.

The group contains the mid-1970s trio of founding member Robert Fripp (guitars and mellotron), John Wetton (vocals and bass) and Bill Bruford (drums). Along for this wondrous ride are David Cross (violin and flute) and Jamie Muir (percussion and "devices"). This quintet only performed together for one tour and one album. Fans will debate the use of the "devices" or "sound effects", depending on how pure one considers ones taste, but in some sense, it's a new branch of experimentation that King Crimson (Fripp) had never done before. Note that this is the same year that "Dark Side Of The Moon" was released, so the invention of `quad' recordings and special effects were well in place. The mix by Steven Wilson allows these devices to come and go in a humorous and often mysterious fashion - flitting or flying from speaker to speaker in a true surround sense, he takes that `crazed laughter', the `increasing mumblings of a female neurotic', the `screeching' (a bridge in this case), `wind sweepings' and many others. I have to say that they could have released a `non-effects' version, but I truly enjoy the mix of Crimson and this new feature. It's nearly psychosis.

As a definitive `progressive rock' album, it contains healthy portions of hard rock, folk, classical and wild free form jazz. `Larks Tongues in Aspic, Part One' is one of the most delightfully deceiving and frantically fun songs on the album. From the long soft percussion intro that almost induces a hypnotizing effect to the sneaking, angst ridden violin, increasing to the blast of unexpected rock chords that shatter the senses - only to have the violin deftly return with a `Hitchcock-style' edge (think, "Psycho' shower scene), it is breath-taking. After that manic introduction, Crimson slides into some relatively gentle ballads, (`Book of Saturdays' and `Exiles'). Picking up again with some brilliantly interwoven pieces, (`Easy Money' - watch those sound effects, `The Talking Drum' and `Larks Tongues in Aspic, Part Two'), the band keeps each song distinct with a unique flair injected into each one. The final cut, 'Larks Tongues in Aspic, Part Two' pulls those heavy hard rock chords back again and finishes off one of the most satisfying albums to that date.

The `Improv: The Rich Tapestry of Life', `Exiles' and `Larks Tongues In Aspic, part One' on the second list are just as inventive and satisfying as the main album. These provide a welcome addition for any King Crimson fan.

This 5.1 surround version is a must have for any hard rock/progressive rock fan. The devices only add to the mixture, but for some reason, this album stands out to me as one of their better albums and that is a tough call to make. I hear the 15-disc set is amazing, but to be honest, this set is exactly what I wanted and needed.

The Bee Gees: Tales of the Brothers Gibb
The Bee Gees: Tales of the Brothers Gibb
by Hector Cook
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 37.07
9 used & new from CDN$ 26.26

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complete & Exhaustive, Feb. 14 2013
UPDATE: This latest edition contains all the little known information that occurred after Maurice's death to Robin's death. Continuing in the sometimes scandalous, sometimes sad and heartfelt, this edition shows the frustrating dynamics had between Barry and Robin until he became sick. Fans forget how much good music was still being poured from the Gibbs, even individually and occasional together. But the brothers never reformed, to the chagrin of Robin. Nine years of information that any fan would want to know is here. God bless.

UPDATE: This latest update contains a few more intensive chapters after Maurice's death. Sometimes, even fans forget what happened after that terrible day. From the release of Robin's solo album, "Magnet" to the infighting between Barry and Robin's on and off relationship, all is rendered truthfully and in detail. There was a lot of good music released in this time period, but there was the missing 3rd voice - the "glue" that held the Bee Gees together. Now with the passing of Robin Gibb, this voluminous biography details the last days of Robin's life and his family's endurance. The last few pages show glimmers of hope for more unreleased material, but all that rests with Barry and the families. Time will tell, as the Gibb Family is one of the largest musical families in recent history.

How can you possibly write a biography about one of the most successful rock bands of the last four decades and get it all right? Writers Bilyeu, Cook and Hughes (along with Brennan and Crohan and many others) have managed to achieve the impossible. With uncountable interviews and years of research, this team has placed the Gibb family and all their triumphs and tragedies into perspective.
Starting chronologically with the pre-marriage days of Barbara and Hugh Gibb in the 1940's up to the present, continually active Bee Gees, we are presented with every viewpoint, memory and recollection of the three brothers and their freinds and acquaintances. The highs and lows of the Bee Gees and Andy Gibbs' careers are not glossed over or over-emphasized. They are told with 'matter-of-fact' honesty and sincerity; a refreshing exercise in storytelling. The read is fast and crisp with a personal edge lacking anything close to newscopy.

After the conclusion, there are numerous, wonderful appendixes including more comments from folks close to the Gibbs, a complete album and singles discography, a cover versions list and a bibliography with book, magazine, newspaper and Internet Web Sites.

All the beauty marks and all the scars are here. It just makes the Gibb family more human. They may be ordinary people, but they have had extraordinary lives.

by Chris Angus
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Edge Of Your Seat Excitement!, June 23 2012
Ce commentaire est de: Flypaper (Paperback)
A team of archaeologists venture to remote China to explore several unique and rare burial sites, including a 20,000 year old body frozen in a glacier. This is no ordinary tale of burial site exploration but more on the edge of an `Indiana Jones' saga. The team is faced with numerous obstacles, including thieves, other explorers, the Chinese government and thousands of bands of deathly ill people - more than zombies.

The characters are well-fleshed out and there are several poignant and fearsome relationships that keep the story going with an unpredictable and harrowing account of each person's place in the tale. It slowly builds up the characters with the intertwining stories of people, lust, government and greed. Mostly taking place in far reaches of the Asian continent from Russia to the mountainous Alps of southern and western China, the landscape is immensely both beautiful and foreboding.

All of these characters are placed in severe jeopardy when a bizarre and uncontrollable epidemic breaks out in China and begins to spread around the world, despite every precaution major governments take. It seems as if there is no control over this fast-acting, monstrously sickening disease. Those afflicted seek refuge in the remote regions away from cities to avoid infection, only causing it to spread like wildfire.

The global story bounces from China to Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. to Russia and a remote valley in the Adirondack wilderness of upstate New York. A beautiful monastery in the steep treacherous mountains of China proves to be the final strategic place of impossible solutions, grisly battles, horror and redemptive romance. What is found there is beyond the imagination and will either threaten the very existence of man or solve the riddle of the epidemic. The climax is staggering. The last 100 pages will have you poleaxed. It's all that good.

Titanic Requiem
Titanic Requiem
Price: CDN$ 35.29
29 used & new from CDN$ 16.57

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Somber Beauty, April 15 2012
Ce commentaire est de: Titanic Requiem (Audio CD)
Rock/Pop artists have tried producing classical works in the past with competent to mediocre results. Sir Paul McCartney comes to mind, being one of the most melodic songwriters of all time. His "Liverpool Oratorio Suite" and "Ecce Cor Meum" received modest reviews. So when former Bee Gees member Robin Gibb and his son RJ stepped up to the plate to honor the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, the skeptics were waiting.

The work is not a rock opera, an Andrew Lloyd Weber production, nor even a purely classical piece. It takes the strengths of all these elements and produces one unique experience. Its actually an ingenious idea that Robin Gibb would take his fascination of the Titanic and use it to emote an interweaving composition of absolute drama. Using the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, forty-two strong chorus members bursting forth in Latin ('Latin Mass for the Dead') and three unique soloists, 'The Titanic Requiem" comes very close to nailing a perfect movement that easily pulls emotion from the listener. The layered mixture of vocals and orchestration can be startling given that this is the first work of this kind from Robin Gibb.

Most of the pieces are somber and heartfelt without much levity. In fact, only "Farewell (The Immigrant Song)" and "Maiden Voyage" contain glimmers of happiness and hope. Soon, pieces like, "Kyrie" and "Sos (Tract)" give way to a more serious and foreboding sense. A listener may find a few of the pieces ponderous or even too grave, but perhaps that was the point; to give the listener no chance for composure given the severity in the wake of this most famous disaster. The three solo vocalist songs are truly beautiful, and the lyrics (particularly "Daybreak" and "Don't Cry Alone") suck sorrow from the gut with surprising ease. In fact, Robin Gibb's trembling "Don't Cry Alone" is one of his most startlingly aching vocals to date.

To compare the "The Titanic Requiem" to anything other than itself would be a disservice as it truly does not easily fall into any one category. It is a work from a father and son who let out all emotional stops, in severe illness and health, to deliver a truly unique and satisfying hybrid of musical compositions. "The Titanic Requiem" begs numerous listening.

No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Protection!, Dec 19 2011
This is what you need to protect your new iPhone. Most other stores, particularly Apple Stores will charge well over fifty dollars for a similar style. The Otterbox Defender has a multi-layer of protection, including a clear membrane for protecting against scratches, a hard shell around the phone that splits into two pieces and a silicone outside cover. The holster clip is tough and durable, but I don't like parading my iPhone around in public. Even with the case, it fits easily in your pants pocket. Just compare prices. Considering what you paid for your phone and your monthly service commitment, you don't want to not have this kind if protection. Apple does provide an annual fee for protection against drops and water now, but it's expensive. The only drawback is on the top where the headphone jack is located. The silicone membrane hole is in the wrong place, so you have to open the flap. Otherwise, I am very happy.

SanDisk Cruzer 8GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive- SDCZ36-008G-B35
SanDisk Cruzer 8GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive- SDCZ36-008G-B35
10 used & new from CDN$ 11.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Bargain Flash Drive!, Dec 19 2011
For the price, this is a fairly good bargain for simple transferring of data. The 8gb version really can store almost 2,000 songs or over 2,000 photos. I've yet to try the video, but it claims to be able to store almost 16 hours. However, this driver is amazingly slow (hence the price). I transferred several 12 megapixels photos to it and then plugged it into my flat screen USB. The images were flawless, but the loading was excruciatingly slow. You watch as it slowly rolls out the photo from the top of your screen to the bottom. Ouch. However, for simple transference of files, it is fine. I was able to transfer several MP3's from my desktop to my laptop. Check out other brands and sizes for price and quality. SanDisk has a good reputation, so I imagine this device will last a while - it's just a bit too slow. But there is a two-year warranty, so its sort of a bargain.

PetSafe Drinkwell Hy-Drate Water Filtration System for Dogs, Fresh Blue
PetSafe Drinkwell Hy-Drate Water Filtration System for Dogs, Fresh Blue
Price: CDN$ 18.51
11 used & new from CDN$ 18.51

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works Well - Great Device, Dec 19 2011
I have a "Catit Fresh & Clear Drinking Fountain for Cats and Puppies", which my cats drink out of sparingly. The 'Drinkwell Hy-drate' is a nice companion to this. I want to point out that although this product says it is for dogs, it is exactly the same size and power as the 'Drinkwell Hy-Drate' for cats. I see where it would work for a small dog, but if you have a Labrador or a Husky, you might run out of water making the unit run dry.

The main portion of the pump is a little large for a typical dog bowl and you want to keep the entire pump underwater. That means you want a bowl that is at least 1-1/2" deep and 6"-8" wide. I put mine in a large dog bowl. The pump sends a nice ripple effect of water circulation around the bowl and it barely has a hum. The carbon filter is easy to replace and the motor is as well. However, unlike the 'Catit Fresh & Clear Drinking Fountain', any dust or particles that float on top of the bowl will continue to circulate and not get drawn down into the filter. However, the water will stay filtered. The mini-suction cups keep the motor firmly in place even in 4" of water and the extra outside cup holds the electrical wire tightly to the bowls outside. It's very convenient when you wish to clean the motor and bowl, the electrical cord detaches about 12" from the pump, so you don't have to unplug the entire device. With this large a bowl, I can leave my pets alone for a week without having to worry about the water evaporating and ruining the pump. For the price and the ease, this is well worth the price.

Starless And Bible Black (40th Anniversary)
Starless And Bible Black (40th Anniversary)
Offered by Fulfillment Express CA
Price: CDN$ 43.55
39 used & new from CDN$ 22.76

5.0 out of 5 stars Several Sources Of Genius, Dec 19 2011
Sandwiched in-between, "Lark's Tongue In Aspic" (LTIA) and "Red", "Starless and Bible Black" (SABB) is a composite of live, studio and concert performances; something I never knew in 1974. Following on the heels of the successful LTIA, King Crimson was in full drive concert mode all over the world. With little time to sit and write or record, the band took advantage of what they had and pieced together parts of concert performances, edited out the audience, added studio vocals and instrumental overdubs and created near perfect sounding songs.

All of the songs were recorded in multi-tracks, enabling the amazing Steven Wilson under the guidance of Robert Fripp to produce this edition. However, "Trio" and "The Mincer" were only available in stereo form, giving Wilson the opportunity to `Upmix' or sensibly create a surround effect with no gimmicks. The first few minutes of "The Night Watch" are from a live performance (Amsterdam) and the rest of the track was completed in the studio. Something you would never know. Even "Fracture" was taken from that show and Fripp double-tracked the lead line; something amazingly difficult to do.

Wilson's 5.1 surround mixing makes the album sound like brand new, eliminating any harshness and deepening and enriching every instrument and vocal. Much of this was necessary, given the inclusion of so much live material. The result is fantastic without being gimmicky (wait for LTIA to see what Wilson does with the sound effects). You get the full surround effect with minimal separation of instruments, but the clarity and immersion into the album is as good as anything King Crimson has released yet in this 40th anniversary collection.

Again the CD becomes the companion piece here, something for the stereo aficionado, but the DVD gives an enormous amount of music and extras. The main eight songs of the original album are worth the price of this set. But not all is perfect. The historic Zurich Volkshaus concert from 1973 (six songs) showcases the band's talent, but the sound is flat and sketchy. The 1973 Central Park video concert is included here with two offerings; "Easy Money" and "Fragged Dusty Wall Carpet". For the period, the sound is very good and the video is not high definition, but the editing is pleasing, showing each performer up close. Watching Fripp play guitar is magical and Bruford is like a wild man surrounded by his immense percussion collection. Watching the band in action is a real treat and it's a shame only two songs are included.

The extra tracks are hit and miss, but are worth the listen. "Easy Money" in its original format is exciting and raw, completely unlike the polished LTIA version. "We'll Let You Know","Dr. Diamond" and "Guts On My Side" are unedited live versions which in stereo, are valuable historically. "The Night Watch" 7" single edit is excellent in stereo and the US single edit mono version is taken directly from the vinyl, including tiny pops and clicks. The 30 second and 60 second radio adverts are fun to hear and provide more historical input. One advert is a straight forward DJ vocal and the second has an intellectually sounding woman promoting the album. Both include segment highlights of the better songs.

This is a unique album for King Crimson with the original mix already being taken from several sources. The eight songs are simply perfectly treated in this edition, but I was particularly amazed by the impact of "The Great Deceiver" in this format. "Starless and Bible Black" and "Fracture" are some of King Crimson's best instrumentals with a quickly progressive mix of styles, rhythm changes and surprising mood twists.

Sid Smith explains it all perfectly from his notes: "Utilising impressionistic moods, atonal elements, out-of-the-box rhythms, high-degree risk taking and a monstrous rock sound, there was always a magical mercurial dimension present in a King Crimson concert. One never quite knew what was going to happen next, and it's this aspect of the band which is brilliantly captured on Starless and Bible Black".

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