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Michael Gordon "Michael Gordon" (Los Angeles, Ca)

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Words That Make a Difference: And How to Use Them in a Masterly Way
Words That Make a Difference: And How to Use Them in a Masterly Way
by Robert Greenman
Edition: Paperback
36 used & new from CDN$ 1.88

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Way to Develop your Vocabulary!, Nov. 14 2003
From "conterminous" (having a common boundary) to yahoo, this book provides a long list of interesting words with an appropriate context in how to use them. The book lists the word, the definition, and then a short excerpt from the New York Times. The reason the author selects these items from the New York Times is to give readers a feel for how these words are used in their appropriate context. And while some of us may loathe the times for its political bias, most would agree that there is an elegance to the paper that makes it interesting.
Thus, I highly recommend this book to SAT, GRE, word lovers, and general readers.
Michael Gordon

Trial and Error [Import]
Trial and Error [Import]
DVD ~ Michael Richards
Offered by Fulfillment Express CA
Price: CDN$ 17.03
41 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Original Story and Keen Sense of Originality, Nov. 8 2003
This review is from: Trial and Error [Import] (DVD)
This ironic film is neither a romantic film nor a comedy; it is a bit of a hybrid, molding both together. There are a lot of "hidden" messages that one must take into consideration when watching this film.
For one thing, considering that Michael Richards was able to act as an attorney in a real case (even though he was really just an actor), it gives the impression that effective counsel is not as hard as it actually is. That is fine, but it is an interesting point: are lawyers just actors? And if that is so, can one be taught the rules of evidence, civil procedure, and all other legal frameworks in less than three years?
Secondly, it is quite interesting how Jeff Daniels ends up dumping his Beverly Hills wife for a small town waitress. His wife in the movie was a shrill and annoying lady. My question is: How can someone end up enganged to a bit mouth like that? Did he want to marry her because there was no one else available, and thus he choose the lesser or two evils -- until, that is, he finds the small town waitress? It certainly is an interesting dillema.
This movie has great timing and it is quite fascinating. One of the best scenes in this movie include Michael Richards pretending to be an attorney in court, which actually looks far better than some real attorneys practicing cases. Most of the time he was quite confident, until in the end, which he does something quite differently, but I don't want to reveal it because it will ruin the ending. ; 0
--Michael Gordon

"Fast, Cheap & Out of Control (Widescreen)"
"Fast, Cheap & Out of Control (Widescreen)"
DVD ~ Dave Hoover
Offered by Sellavie Online Traders
Price: CDN$ 47.17
11 used & new from CDN$ 47.17

4.0 out of 5 stars Artistically Well-Done:, Nov. 7 2003
During the first few moments of this film, it is a little hard to really appreciate the story. What these three characters (a wild animal trainer, a gardner who sculpts wild animals, a scientist, and a sci-fi looking robototics engineer) have in common is that (a) they all have a unyielding desire to do what they do irrespective of monetary rewards; (b) they are curious individuals who hold a great deal of skill in learning and applying their craft; (c) thus, they are, in all senses of the word, "experts," since they have learned their craft through education, experience, and unusual, rare, knowledge.
The producer of this film has a keen eye for knowing how the human mind works, because often times there would be scenes during the documentary where a speaker was talking about their craft, yet scenes from the other dedicated careerist's work life was being shown. For instance, the scientist would be speaking about real, live animals, yet there would be scenes of robotic instruments at work. This definitely is a film to go to; it will make you more creative, and there are many scenes that serve as effective eye candy.
Michael Gordon
Los Angeles

The Abuse Excuse: And Other Cop-outs, Sob Stories, and Evasions of Responsibility
The Abuse Excuse: And Other Cop-outs, Sob Stories, and Evasions of Responsibility
by Alan M. Dershowitz
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 22.39
33 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars Dershowitz's Book is Insipid And Dull, Nov. 6 2003
For a man as educated and intelligent as Mr. Dershowitz, this was a surprisingly uninteresting and dull account of a very important issue. While I agree with Dershowitz's main tent -- our society has become less responsible in many ways, and that our law is a reflection of that -- his essays were, to put it mildly, insipid and boring. I realize that the mediums that he choose to broadcast his message -- newspapers -- constrain his ability to express his sentiments in all the proper nuance. (For instance, George Will, a respected columnist, writes for general audiences but never hesitates to express his comments in the language such comments deserve).
Also, after you have read one single essay from Mr. Dershowitz, there is absolutely no reason to read another one. Each essay talks about the same subject in almost the same fashion: that the abrogation of responsibility will ultimately result in the end of the rule of law (which requires that we be responsible for our actions) and democracy (which posits that elected officials are ultimately responsible for their actions). I would encourage careful readers to instead look at James Q. Wilson's "Moral Judgment: Does the Abuse Excuse Threaten our Legal System." Wilson's book goes into far more depth on this issue, offering theoretical and practical support for his arguments. Plus, Wilson is far more interesting. : )
Michael Gordon
Los Angeles

Metallica: S&M (Full Screen)
Metallica: S&M (Full Screen)
DVD ~ James Hetfield
Offered by anthologymusicCA
Price: CDN$ 27.19
24 used & new from CDN$ 17.70

5.0 out of 5 stars Highest Quality Ever, Nov. 3 2003
This review is from: Metallica: S&M (Full Screen) (DVD)
What happens when you mix a heavy metal band with the San Francisco Symphony? High quality sounds that compliment one another. This is a highly creative (and original) task. Although I am not typically a fan of this gentre, Metallica knows how to transcend one's worries into the emotional impulses flowing through one's mind when listening to the work. The music demands--yes, demands--that it be played loud to hear the different symbols, vibrations, and impulses from the work.
The base is particularly noticeable, vibrating entire rooms if played loud enough. My favorite songs on this track include "Nothing Else Matters," which send shivers down my spine, especially if listened to during a particularly negative mood swing. Nothing else matters indeed, especially after you listen to this and get over the pain you may experience at a particular time. A great band: Just wish they created more albums!
-- Michael Gordon

The Nightmare Before Christmas: Special Edition (Widescreen) [Import]
The Nightmare Before Christmas: Special Edition (Widescreen) [Import]
DVD ~ Danny Elfman
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Price: CDN$ 57.26
25 used & new from CDN$ 5.87

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Story; Mesmorizing Detail and Special Effects/Graphics, Nov. 2 2003
The Nightmare Before Christmas is original in every sense of the word. The story line--Halloween creatures taking over the holiday of Christmas--has, from what I know, never been carried out before. Jack Skellington is the lead character who attempts to take over Christmas. The irony of this story is that the lead villian turns out to also be a hero. That, again, is a display of sheer brilliance and creativity. And it is true -- almost everyone in our modern era loathes musicals. I do too. But there is something quite masterful and creative about the way it is presented in this film.
Although the movie is 10 years old, it will likely be quite timeless. There is nothing about the story that indicates the time period. The graphics are still of very high quality -- to the point that it is somewhat like "eye candy." I was mesmorized by the graphics. Yes, me--an adult.
-- Michael Gordon

Moral Judgment: Does The Abuse Excuse Threaten Our Legal System?
Moral Judgment: Does The Abuse Excuse Threaten Our Legal System?
by James Q. Wilson
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 20.50
17 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars "Social Science is to Explain; Courts are to Judge.", Nov. 2 2003
James Q. Wilson presents, yet again, a very interesting social science treatire on our current dillema in jurisprudence. It is important to note that Wilson is a neoconservative, and by that I mean he believes the state can cultivate certain attitudes, mores, beliefs, and behaviors in the population through a series of incentives that will guide the behavior of particular individuals. Thus, one of the most important things for a state is to provide incentives -- a clear, moral and legal code that will influence the behavior of the general population. Wilson argues, and to which I agree, that when the law is unpredictable, and the chance of escaping the laws' penalties are reduced or absent, crime will increased. This became true in Britain.
Now, to the larger point brought about in Wilson's book: social science is to explain; the law is to judge. The problem, Wilson argues, is that recently we have blended the two. While the general population wants us to clamp down on criminals, juries are providing quite leniant sentences. How is that possible? Rather than blame the juries, Wilson explains how this is possible.
The main reason is that our court system has moved away, although slowly, from an objective standard of law -- one in which the question is whether the defendent did (or did not) committ the crime, to one where we analyze the reasons, motivations, thoughts, ideologies present in the person who committed the law. By doing this, we encourage juries to be far more leniant--because instead of their judging the question: did he do it or not, they are trying to analyze all the information based on their own knowledge and "expert" testimony, and thus they rationalize lesser sentences based on their own prejudices. Thus, they substitute the objective law that actually exists for their own feelings. This may be well and good in the short term, Mr. Wilson argues, but what happens when the precedent for these kinds of decissions develops and we get verdicts like the first Menendez brothers trial, in which the jury was deadlocked, even though it was clear that both brothers had killed their parents in their sleep and were clearly not threatened at the time. What happens is right. Anyone who fails to read Mr. Wilson's book misses out on knowing where our current actions are taking us. And Wilson does provide many informative solutions to this problem, such as having court-appointed experts and judges explaining the facts in the case among other ideas!
BTW, I had the privilage of meeting James Q. Wilson, a recent recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which was awarded to Mr. Wilson by President George W. Bush.
-- Michael Gordon

Social Security Under the Gun: What Every Informed Citizen Needs to Know About Pension Reform
Social Security Under the Gun: What Every Informed Citizen Needs to Know About Pension Reform
by Arthur Benavie
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 16.70
15 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars The Book Does not Provide Adequate Answers to the SS Issue, Nov. 1 2003
Although the notion of an objective, unbiased source for Social Security information is welcome and even encouraged, Arthur Benavie's "Social Security Under the Gun" does not meet that test. It is clear from the beginning, despite Mr. Benavie's contention that he does not want to steer the debate in a particular direction, that he has something against the notion of allowing younger workers to devote a portion of their Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts.
There are a lot of frivolous objections that Mr. Benavie makes. One of the most eggregious objections is the notion that privatizing Social Security would abridge our collective social contract to establish this particular social program. This is complete nonsense. No one in their right mind would even know what he is talking about. Although Social Security has been around for 68 years, people do not have this notion of their being involved in a "social contract" with their other fellow citizens. I fail to see how privitizing Social Security would result in people feeling more disconnected from one another.
In fact, I see just the opposite. I notice, for instance, that in my own investing, I often think of myself as an integral member of our system, part of the corporate network with fluctuating stock and bond prices. When working, I really do not see how I am connected to others when I see my wages deducted to pay for Social Security, for instance. I see a greater connection with stocks and bonds, however.
Mr. Benavie appears to believe that Americans ought to be forced to do particular things because, according to his elitist, intellectual view, Americans are either too incompetent or too stupid to save enough for their own retirement. Such a view is quite condescending and is an insult to the remarkable intelligence of the American public.
Mr. Benavie also has a hard time arguing against allowing individual investors to invest in private accounts. He argues that stock investing is risky. So? This does not serve as a good reason to ban citizens from partaking in so-called "risky" behavior, especially if doing so is a way of decreasing the burden on the Social Security system in the years to come. He fails to mention, of course, that over the long run, for an extended period of time, stocks and bonds will yield much higher growth yields than Social Security. A younger worker putting money away now, in a mutual fund, for instance, will have a substantial amount of wealth by the time they retire.
What is Benavie's answer to Social Security? More taxes and fewer benefits. Well, that's a typical liberal elitist -- Democratic answer. And I'm not going to tolerate it. Neither should any reader. This is book is not worth reading because it does not advance any new discussions or ideas on Social Security than those already discussed. It also does not go into much depth into the history or the workings of Social Security today.
And that's the way it is.
- Michael Gordon
Los Angeles

Anthem: Anniversary Edition
Anthem: Anniversary Edition
by Ayn Rand
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.54
183 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Political & Philosophical Book on FREEDOM, Oct. 27 2003
Ayn Rand's book, Anthem, is an incredible book that highlights the benefits of a free, individualistic society, over the Collective (the type that is presented by liberals, the Democratic Party, professors, media types, and other elites who "care" for us).
Anthem is a story about an individual who lives in a Collectivist society--the same type that would appear in communist Soviet Union or today's communist Cuba. I can see that these types of societies are not to be desired. Instead of thinking in terms of "I," everyone thinks of themselves in terms of their membership in the larger society, and thus the use of the term "we" to describe their ideas. Notice that identity politics today is very similar: if you are a member of a certain racial or ethnic group, you are expected to think in 'we' terms; whatever the group thinks should be accepted, regardless of your own best interests. (That is one reason why, for instance, President Bush's conservative judicial nominees, who are minorities, are being rejected. It is because their group leaders insist that they think in the 'we' context as opposed to the 'I.' If you think like an individual, be damned).
We see the triumph of the individual at the end of the book. There is a lot of emotion involved in this book. For instance, the hero in this novel notes that there was a period of time when people were free, when the Collectivist voices were just starting to take root. Yet, people were ignoring the concerns the Individualists had, and thus the Collectivists took over. We see the same thing today: the Collectivists are on a rampage: they think anytime we pay less in taxes it is evil; they insist that the government pay for health care, retirements, loss of wages due to unemployment, loss of wages due to competitive global markets; universal schooling, etcetera. It is just a way for the Collectivists to get a greater hold on us, yet few are paying any attention.
We ignore this book at our peril. Just like many of the other books warning us of the dangers of Collectivism, we should never forget that what may appear theoretical may just be true.
Thankfully, in this book, people will fight to regain an individualistic society. People will rebel. Thomas Jefferson said rebellion is good every now and then. A free society can encourage people to leave the unfree societies--exactly what is happening right now in America. We attract people from all the unfree corners of the world. And when our own individual states become unfree -- California, for instance -- there is a rebellion, a move back to an individualistic society. Ayn Rand was very right, indeed.
-- Michael Gordon
Los Angeles

Arnold
Arnold
by Arnold Schwarzenegger
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.71
41 used & new from CDN$ 3.73

5.0 out of 5 stars Arnold Schwarzenegger: His Life Philosophy, Oct. 22 2003
This review is from: Arnold (Paperback)
This book enlightens the reader. It encourages one to reach to one's potential. Yes, the book is focused on the issue of body building, but it does not take much effort to think more broadly, and see to it that if you want to reach a specific goal, it is attainable. Arnold did it.
First, if there is one thing you will gain from this book, it is that people who want to achieve incredible things don't let anyone get in their way. Arnold's parents, doctor, and peers tried to give him the impression that body building was not the wise thing to do. Arnold had it his way, anyway. He never let anything get in his way, including a girlfriend he had in Santa Monica.
We all can have this drive. Incredible things happen to those who never lose sight of what they hope to attain. Having huge dreams is what makes America great. That is one reason why Arnold Schwarzenegger will become California's governor next month. An amazing story that should inspire us all.
Hopefull Mr. Schwarzenegger will write another book about his life that continues the saga from body building to acting.
-- Michael Gordon
Los Angeles

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