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Content by G. J Wiener
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Reviews Written by
G. J Wiener (Westchester, NY USA)

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Secret of Giving
Secret of Giving

4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant Viewing, Feb. 21 2004
This review is from: Secret of Giving (Audio CD)
America's Scenic Rail Journeys: The Canadian Rockies certainly makes a great impression. Its so relaxing to see such an unspoiled part of North America. The animals, mountains, and bright skyline are a real treat. Jasper National Park is so captivating. I just have to make it there someday.
A big plus are the persepctives from several people. The train conductors are so pleasant. They seem so unworried with trivial matters.
Anyway, this is a good overview for those who want to visit this breathtaking part of North America.

Return of Saturn
Return of Saturn
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 27.46
77 used & new from CDN$ 0.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Good But Something Is Missing, Feb. 16 2004
This review is from: Return of Saturn (Audio CD)
Its hard to put my finger on it but Return of Saturn seems to be just a little substandard when compared to other No Doubt CD's. Gwen Stefani is in fine voice and even her lyrics are such songs as Bathwater, Simple Life, Suspension Without Suspense, and Dark Blue are quite touching and heartfelt. The band is in fine form as they certainly rock pretty hard on some tracks and add some creative touches elsewhere.
However, I think the melodies of the some of the other tracks are not as memorable as Rock Steady or even the fine debut. I've played through this CD about five times now and I really cannot remember much about the melodies in such songs as Magic's In The Makeup, Marry Me, New, Home Now, and Too Late. The arrangements jog my memory a drop that there were some jazz touches on Marry Me as well as a fairly compelling riff on Too Late. However the slight drop off in the level of these melodies does make a difference.
Also, the tone of many of these songs is quite depressing. Don't get me wrong, Fleetwood Mac produced an entire record of heartbreaking tunes with Rumours. However, the songs on Rumours were very melody focused and even provided an inkling of hope. Just listen to Don't Stop. These Return of Saturn numbers seem to wallow in despair with little trace that anything will get better.
Don't get me wrong, Return of Saturn is a good CD. And No Doubt is one of the best things going in the contemporary music world today. However, it falls a little(not a lot) short of their best material.

Elton John
Elton John
Offered by Fulfillment Express CA
Price: CDN$ 17.06
51 used & new from CDN$ 5.55

4.0 out of 5 stars Approaching Greatness, Feb. 14 2004
This review is from: Elton John (Audio CD)
Quite a strong second release for Elton John. For American audiences this was his debut as most people did not hear Empty Sky for several years.
Anyone, Your Song is the signature tune on this CD and its a classic. Beautiful words mixed soothing music particularly the string arrangement. Border Song is another strong work that has gospel overtones while talking against prejudice. Thats always a good thing. Rock N Roll Madonna, The Cage and Take Me To The Pilot are strong rock n roll numbers.
The ballads are pretty good too. All of them have strong melodies. However, several of them are way too string heavy. And the tone on these tunes is quite depressing particularly Sixty Years On and I Need You To Turn To. Maybe I prefer more uplifting ballads or at least a variety of them.
Nonetheless, this is a solid release which rates between 3 1/2 and 4 stars.

Suze Orman: The Laws of Money, The Lessons of Life [Import]
Suze Orman: The Laws of Money, The Lessons of Life [Import]
Offered by WonderBook-USA
Price: CDN$ 15.67
7 used & new from CDN$ 15.64

4.0 out of 5 stars Good for Beginners and The Disenchanted, Feb. 14 2004
Reader, have you been turned off by the Stock Market and other investment vehicles? If your answer is Yes than you need to watch Susan Orman's Video, The Laws of Money, The Lessons of Life.
Susan carefully outlines five key principles of keeping more of your hard earned cash. She emphathizes with her audience stating how life is more complicated than it was in previous generations. She relates how the CEO's of Enron and Worldcom have put fear into our lives. Also she cautions against putting too much trust in all the financial gurus on television and radio.
Most of her talk is based on common sense. She advises her audience not to purchase what they cannot afford. She implores her audience to pay off credit card bills in full as paying the minimum can only lead to a false sense of security. based on an audience member's question regarding an IRA Rollover, Susan advises that any amount of money that you own is important. She further stresses the importance of NOT borrowing against a 401K.
Furthermore, her apporach to evaluating your own investment portfolio is very sensible. Based on a simple one to five scale, she advises how much you need to sell of your current investment. She encourages avoiding an all or nothing approach. This can be refreshing to a disenchanted investor who just might be waiting for the market to return to the highs of the late 1990's.
There is some wonderful insight in this video and that will appeal to most audiences especially beginners and those who are down on their luck. The common sense alone will wake you up from your doledrums.

Super Hits
Super Hits
Offered by dcbuys
Price: CDN$ 7.04
9 used & new from CDN$ 2.93

5.0 out of 5 stars Super Compilation For Newbies, Feb. 14 2004
This review is from: Super Hits (Audio CD)
This Miles Davis compilation is very beginner friendly. The eight tunes on here vary in length and in style. More importantly, each of these tunes are focused so the beginner listener can follow the melody and the little improvisations. Even on tunes that exceed the seven minute mark like Bye Bye Blackbird, So What, and Someday My Prince Will Come, define their melodies very strongly while also adding some captivating instrumental solos.
The addition of Time After Time and Human Nature show that Miles can enlighten top forty pop music tunes. The saxaphone tones are bright and joyful with many pretty accentuations.
If you have always been curious about Miles Davis and are not sure where to start, this collection may be worth the investment. That is if you have not chosen Kind Of Blue already.

Rock Steady
Rock Steady
Price: CDN$ 13.02
126 used & new from CDN$ 0.09

4.0 out of 5 stars Its Title Says It All, Feb. 10 2004
This review is from: Rock Steady (Audio CD)
No Doubt is quickly becomming one of my favorite new bands. On Rock Steady Gwen, Tony, Tom, and Adrian provide a diverse sampling of modern rock, hip hop, ballads, and even reggae. More importantly these songs are all loaded with many catchy hooks.
The sound stays fresh from start to finish. I just adore the reggae flavored Underneath It All. The rap part fits in like a hand in a glove. The title track also has some pleasing reggae tones and soothing harmonies. In My Head is another soft soothing jazz flavored tune. Platinum Bloinde Life is a cool edgy rocker. And there so many good dance oriented tunes. These guys no how to use the hip hop beat without betraying their New Wave Rock N Roll roots. Some clever lyrics as well.
Its amaxing how many people feel betrayed by the slight change in No Doubt's sound from earlier works. Truthfully this is a band that wants to grow. And they definitely grow for the better. I say that in an age of here again gone tommorow stars like Sugar Ray, No Doubt is one band that will be a permanent force in the future of contemporary music.

Hitler's Diaries: The Rise & Fall of Adolf Hitler [Import]
Hitler's Diaries: The Rise & Fall of Adolf Hitler [Import]

4.0 out of 5 stars Simply Mind Boggling, Feb. 10 2004
The Hitler Diaries portrays Adolph Hitler for wahte he was: An Evil Genius. Germany was in a period of deep humiliation and despair after World War I. Their economy was in shambles and the people needed someone to beleive in. Along came the commanding Adolph Hitler whose goal was to create a strong image. Unfortunately Hitler had a troubled childhood. His father beat him without mercy. However he had great talents as an artist, engineer, and an organizer. Hitler was the one who designed the Autobahn which exceded highways in the United States at the time.
Unfortunately with all his abilities, he had troubles deep in his soul. He fought viciously for power and turned against anyone who did not see his way. Also, his feeling towards non Aryans particularly Jews was absolutely repulsive. This led to difficult times to the Jewish people and other minority factions within Germany. The hangings, shootings, and beatings are documented here and they are all so gruesome.
The footage from World War II is documented here. The reality of all the lives lost and the cities destroyed just boggle the mind. Amazingly Hitler fought on until the bitter end. Cruelly he turned on his own people. Then out of desperation he killed himself.
As many painful moments as there are in this documentary, I must say that the world needs to know what can happen when a madman has too much power. I cannot imagine how so many of the German people could have stood by and let so many innocent people get killed by this madman. This film should serve as a blueprint to all nations that power is nice but fairness to all people is essential.
Another interesting note that will echo the comments of other reviewers is the statements that Hitler made to drive the Jews out of Europe as he leads his God's people to the Promised Land. Many Jews later escaped to Palestine and three years after World War II, Israel achieved statehood. It makes one wonder would Israel have existed without Hitler and his atrocities?
Anyway, this is a fine document of World History in spite of all the violence and horrifying moments. May something like this never happen again.

Led Zeppelin - Box (4CD)
Led Zeppelin - Box (4CD)
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Price: CDN$ 161.40
13 used & new from CDN$ 34.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Some Moments But A Whole Lotta Of Drudge, Feb. 9 2004
Sorry, try as I might I just cannot listen to Led Zeppelin on a long term basis. Robert Plant's bellowing voice just irritates me to no end. Page, Jones, and Bonham certainly are more accomplished than the aforementioned lead screamer....I mean singer. But even these guys overamplify their sound. Led Zeppelin has some good songs, even a few great ones. However, two thirds of this material is quite overrated and even quite annoying.
The first CD probably is the most consistent. I'd rate about eight or nine quality tunes including five of the first six songs. Sorry Babe I'm Gonna Leave You barely qualifies as a song with its over repetitive lyrics and annoying Robert Plant shreiks. Anyway, the jazzy What Is And What Should Never Be always appealed to my ears. Like the guitar tone on that one. And the most underatted Zep tune of them all, Hey Hey What Can I Do is on here. Great mandolin and acoustic guitar touches. I even like Plant's vocal on this track. Travelling Riverside Blues is another highlight where the guys actually vary the tone. And of course Whole Lotta Love is a cool tune with those chock full of crunchy riffs.
The second CD is pretty strong as well. There are several good acoustic moments particularly the touching Going To California and Tangerine. And of course standards like Rock N Roll and Dyer Mak'er even approach greatness to these ears. However, there are a few annoying moments specifically Gallows Pole and Misty Mountain Hop where Plant's voice just tries my last nerve. The Rain Song also drags way too long in spite of a somewhat pleasing arrangement. I guess the limited melody wears out after seven and a half minutes.
CD number three is probably the most erratic disk. No Quarter and Dancing Days rank as two of my all time fave Zep tunes. What a mood that No Quarter sets and Dancing Days grooves along quite nicely. I have even grown to like When The Levee Breaks. The instrumental support stands strong including Plants harp solo. However Achilles Last Stand, In My Time Of Dying, and Kashmir are way too long and oh so irritating. The vocals are especially patience trying with way too much caterwaling and shrieking. The instrumental jams are way too heavy handed especially on Achilles Last Stand. The other songs just do not leave an impression that is except for Plant's grating voice.
The fourth CD is truly 3rd rate material. Out of the fourteen songs, I really only like Houses of the Holy. In The Evening and Bonzo's Montreaux/Moby Dick have their moments. The rest of this CD four probably belongs on the cutting room floor. I never cared for All of My Love and Fool In The Rain. Whereas I respect the band's efforts to revamp their sound, somehow the style just doesn't fit. Once again I blame Robert Plant as the chief culprit as his voice just ruins the songs. Truthfully, I would have rather had Hot Dog and Southbound Suarez from In Through The Out Door on here. The country rock style of Hot Dog is fun in a light hearted way. And Southbound Suarez has a nice driving rhythm.
Even if you are a diehard Zep fan, I would go with the Complete Box Set as you dudes will get all the Robert Plant Caterwaling you could ever want and not complain about missing any songs. Minor fans should probably just settle for their two best recordings, Led Zeppelin 2 and Houses of the Holy. As for myself, with the exception of a few songs(No Quarter, Dancing Days, Hey Hey What Can I Do, What Is And What Should Never Be and a few others), I'll gladly pass on these guys.

by Joseph Finder
Edition: Hardcover
48 used & new from CDN$ 1.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling From Start To Finish, Feb. 7 2004
This review is from: Paranoia (Hardcover)
Joseph Finder's Paranoia is an exciting tale of corporate espionage from start to finish. Yes unlike some of the other reviewers on this page, I find the ending not so predicatable. It also leaves the door open for a possible sequel.
The story depicts Adam Cassidy, a disenchanted engineer who gets caught manipulating the company security system. He gets forced into becomming a spy on the competition. At this point he gets lured into many moments of a false sense of security. Yes he is pampered with many luxuries. However, Adam must always look around to cover himself. Nonetheless, the many relationships he forms with the employees of the company that he is spying on is quite thought provoking.
Most touching is Cassidy's relationship with his ailing father. Adam tries to please his father by showing him what great luxuries he has at his disposition. However, his father cautions Adam to the reality that the coporation owns and controls his life. Adam almost overlooks this bottomline situation.
Joseph Finder writes in a clear but detailed manner and keeps his audience hooked at many junctures of this very thrilling novel. Whereas there are great similarities to The Firm and Disclosure, the execution of this story is at least as captivating as those other two novels if not more so.
The rumour I hear is that this novel will be made into a film in the not so distant future. If so, Paranoia may become a cultural event. At the moment it is certainly a cutting edge novel that is deservedly flying up the Best Sellers List. Take my advice and seek out this novel right away.

50 Hikes In The Lower Hudson Valley 1st Edition: Hikes And Walks From Westchester County To Albany
50 Hikes In The Lower Hudson Valley 1st Edition: Hikes And Walks From Westchester County To Albany
by Stella Green
Edition: Paperback
19 used & new from CDN$ 0.41

4.0 out of 5 stars A Valuable Tool For NY Area Hikers, Feb. 2 2004
50 Hikes In The Lower Hudson Valley is a valuable guide to some good trails . Stella Green and Neil Zimmerman provide detailed descriptions on 50 quality hikes. The accompanying maps along with these vivid descriptions are pretty easy for someone who would like to lead a group of hikers. The pictures are quite scenic as well.
The authors are a little inconsistent when it comes to providing telephone numbers for contact information about some trails. Also, the authors lock into one route on many of the hikes without taking into consideration easier trails for light hikers. However, the maps provided and the use of the internet can get around this minor issue.
Nonetheless, this is a valuable reference book for many audiences.

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