Profile for Martin A Hogan > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Martin A Hogan
Top Reviewer Ranking: 167
Helpful Votes: 459

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Amazon Communities.

Reviews Written by
Martin A Hogan "Marty From SF" (San Francisco Bay Area)
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Titanic Requiem
Titanic Requiem
Price: CDN$ 28.26
22 used & new from CDN$ 14.53

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Somber Beauty, April 15 2012
This review is from: 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
Offered by The Helpful Yankee
Price: CDN$ 7.50
14 used & new from CDN$ 7.50

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.

Radio Systems RS-PFD17-12904 Drinkwell by PetSafeHy-Drate H2O Filtrating System Dog, Fresh Blue
Radio Systems RS-PFD17-12904 Drinkwell by PetSafeHy-Drate H2O Filtrating System Dog, Fresh Blue
Price: CDN$ 18.76
9 used & new from CDN$ 12.66

1 of 1 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
14 used & new from CDN$ 21.25

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".

Family Tree Maker 2012 Deluxe
Family Tree Maker 2012 Deluxe

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy Software, Dec 19 2011
This is a very cool program when linked to Ancestry.com (a purchase gives you three months to begin). I was mildly interested in my family tree, but became enthralled after starting. You simply insert information about family members with names, birth/death dates, , military service, birthplace, etc. Often, in the information square a green leaf will appear which tells you there is some available information to expand your search. Most of this information comes from the 1930 Census, which is handwritten giving names, spouses, children whether the person is a homeowner and what they do for a living. This survey was done door to door, so you can actually see who you relatives in 1930 were living next door to. This census has been carefully reproduced and has an amazing amount of information.

In one three-hour sitting I was able to trace back my paternal roots to my grandfather and on my maternal side to my great grandmother from Germany (her name was "Albertina"). It also allowed me to understand my grandparents siblings, marriages, children and more. I didn't know my grandfather has a sister and that my grandmother had ten siblings. I have a cousin who is into genealogy and we are going to be able to TreeSync our information and verify questionable facts. You can easily set up your critical path network of relatives in any manner you like. There is also a Family History Toolkit DVD included which helps you get more detailed with more tools. I am not sure I want to include photos, audio or video, but the options are all there. There is even an Ancestry.com free app for your smart phone! The Ancestry.com is invaluable and the three months is great, however, it will be automatically renewed and charged unless you cancel for another time period of three months. Support is seven days a week out of Provo, Utah, where generally information is the most accurate and extensive. This makes for some fun surprises that you can share with your family in person or electronically!

iHome iD37GZC Dual Alarm Stereo Clock Radio for iPad/iPhone/iPod with FM Preset Station Memory (Gunmetal) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
iHome iD37GZC Dual Alarm Stereo Clock Radio for iPad/iPhone/iPod with FM Preset Station Memory (Gunmetal) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
2 used & new from CDN$ 178.96

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compact Version!, Oct. 25 2011
One great thing about this unit is its size. Its compact and still provides all the functions of any other iHome clock radio. Placing an iPad on it seems out of scale, but for the simple iPhone, its perfect. Being a sound buff, it was very nice to hear good crisp sound with a punchy bass come out of the speakers. Not only that, but one can adjust the bass, treble and balance to your needs; something not all clock/radios give you. The 'line-in' jack is great and you can play most any music device through this (like a blackberry). There is also a great USB port for charging other devices.

If you worry about your power going out, the batteries provide plenty of power to keep your clock ready for alarms. In fact, there are two alarms; one for the week and one for weekends. The remote is kind of an extra for me. I find I don't use it and when I need to get up to slap that snooze button, I'm more likely to move than grab a remote with my eyes closed! Also, don't forget about those cool iHome apps that you can use for interplay on the iHome clock/radio. For its size and price, I have to say this is one of the better iHome clock/radios that are available. The entire iHome clock/radio has all the bells and whistles you'd expect and more. I'd suggest reading the specifications for this and comparing it with other iHome clock/radios. This one is a keeper.

Ghost On The Canvas
Ghost On The Canvas
Offered by Germany to Canada
Price: CDN$ 14.88
32 used & new from CDN$ 10.50

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Campbell - A Swan Song, Sept. 22 2011
This review is from: Ghost On The Canvas (Audio CD)
Not many artists have the courage or opportunity to proclaim that this is their last album. It's a sobering proposition, until you hear the music. Upbeat, wise, 'salt-of-the-earth' songs that speak of a life well lived and celebrated. If I hadn't checked the songwriting credits, I would have sworn that "Ghost On The Canvas" was written by Jimmy Webb - it has that classic Webb/Campbell production and nuance. It's a real highlight, right down to the lead guitar (think "Wichita Lineman"). "Hold On Hope" is a surprisingly upbeat modern melody, belying any previous Campbell work. There are also a few short instrumental gems tossed in for a conceptual mood. Campbell has lots of friends here in the background, including Jacok Dylan, the Dandy Warhols, Chris Isaak, Billy Corgan and others, but it's all Glen Campbell. They are more of a welcome gesture than necessity and Campbell's voice hasn't lost its touch.

Campbell has a multi-layered history from playing with hundreds of famous artists (including a six-month stint as a Beach Boy), to television, film and an indefinable musical category. Sometimes country, folk, soft rock or balladeer, his songs have always been crossover favorites in the pop categories. You'll forget about "Rhinestone Cowboy" when you hear this collection. I suspect this album will surprise many listeners with its fine maturity and confidence. It will certainly receive much deserved attention in the next year. Despite the warm variety, it is still somehow classic Glen Campbell.

Jabra EASYGO Bluetooth Headset  (Black)
Jabra EASYGO Bluetooth Headset (Black)
Offered by eMania
Price: CDN$ 35.99
4 used & new from CDN$ 35.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Deal On A Bluetooth, Sept. 20 2011
I had used the Plantronics Discovery 925 Bluetooth Earpiece (Black, Retail Packaging) before, but the noise in my truck made it uncomfortable to use for more than a few minutes. The Jabra has no issues with that. Since it hooks around your ear and fits snugly in your ear, sound is no problem coming or going. The volume adjustment is very easy to use without having to look at the earpiece and the tone is not tinny or robotic - the incoming voice sounds perfectly normal. The 6 hours of talk time and 8 days of standby time is a lot better than my previous Bluetooth and the charging is great. The USB charger angles conveniently to charge from your computer and only takes a little more than an hour to fully charge (on a new set). You can also charge in your car with an adapter such as the Universal Apple iPod USB Charger Kit - USB Retractable Hotsync Cable - USB Home Travel Charger - USB 12V Cigarette Lighter Charger.

If you want to just walk around your home and talk, plug in then Jabra USB link into your PC and you can wander anywhere (within 30-33 feet). I found no interruption, even when in the bathroom with several walls and appliances in between. This is obviously much better than holding a phone with your hand. The earpiece comes already paired with the USB link. Pairing to your phone is just as easy as any Bluetooth. Tapping on/off is simple as well, however voice activation does not work on all phones. I have an iPhone 3G and it does not have the capability of voice activation. However, the 3GS and above do have the capability when you download the "Fonix iSpeak" application.

This Bluetooth is comfortable, very easy to learn to use and is reasonably prices. However, the lack of voice activation with some phones was disappointing.

The Ledge: An Adventure Story of Friendship and Survival on Mount Rainier
The Ledge: An Adventure Story of Friendship and Survival on Mount Rainier
by Jim Davidson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 24.00
28 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impossibly Riveting!, Aug. 15 2011
Having worked at Mt. Rainier National Park, I can tell you that there are nearly 100 bodies that were never recovered from accidents. Both Mike Davidson and Mike Price knew the challenges of the mountain, but both had ample experience to climb this mammoth volcano.

The first thing you'll read in this book is Jim's personal letter to Mike, apologizing his heart out to his best friend Mike for the entire tragedy. It's a heart wrenching and frightening foreword. The book encompasses all the pre-climb thrills and anticipations, the careful safety preparations, the climb, the accident and the resulting finale. With help from author Kevin Vaughan, Jim recalls in vivid detail the entire trip; the cave-in that threw them deep inside a glacial crevasse with its blackness and silence and the horrific realization that Mike was dead and Jim was left with no option but to climb out - if that was even possible. This was an almost impossible task. Jim was clinging to a narrow, frozen ledge, far down a lightless chasm.

The story reads of a strong friendship gone bad in an instant, the terrible guilt and the seemingly impossibility of it all. Jim's description of his horrific environment and his struggle to get out of the crevasse is a page turner. Even after the event ends, Jim describes his personal philosophy and newly found wisdom. While maintaining his respect for the mountains and their wonder, his soul has been strongly touched. This is a true adventure story. It is the real thing.

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20