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Andrew Cox "powerdog242" (Tallahassee, FL United States)

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What Has Government Done to Our Money
What Has Government Done to Our Money
by Mlurray N. Rothbard
Edition: Paperback
18 used & new from CDN$ 8.68

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A concise wake-up call for fiscal responsibility, July 10 2004
I know what you're thinking: "Wow, a book on the finer points of monetary policy and its geopolitical legacies throughout eyelids are getting heavy already..." You may not, however, get to sleep too quickly afterward as a result of this book-it's too short and well-written for that. Plus, the implications of a collapse in the value of the dollar and having all of your life savings being worth a medium-sized Pepsi at Burger King is not all that comforting, either. While the furor over money and its value has died down considerably since the 1970s, Inflation, unfathomable amounts of government debt, and ever increasing amounts of spending on all fronts means that asking "where did the money go?" will not soon go out of style.
Murray Rothbard, one of the most influential economists of the late 20th century, wrote this book-essentially a glorified policy memo (read: Math-free reading)-at the end of the 1970s, when America was in the final stages of the most devastating period of inflation in its history. His book, "What Has Government Done to Our Money?", talks about what money is and can be, the ways in which currency REALLY works, why more "money" in everybody's pocket really isn't "more money", and how almost all of any government intervention into the realm of the worth of money makes things worse instead of better. And just when you wonder about how any of this applies to the real world, it charts a course from the Worldwide Gold Standard years of end of the 19th century up through the late 1970s. He looks at how great coutries like America, Great Britain, and others almost bakrupted themselves and their citizens through ignorant and irresponsible policies regarding their respective currencies. Through it all, he makes continuous and well-thought-out arguments for a standard of exchange based on an outside measure of value-gold-and pleas for governments of all kinds to exercise financial restraint.
If you ever wondered about why prices keep going up, if you ever wondered why cars don't cost $2,000 anymore, if you asked questions like this and never thought you were getting a full answer, this is the book you need to read. You may never look at money the same way again, and you'll probably be richer for it, too.

Exile On Main Street
Exile On Main Street
Offered by marvelio-ca
Price: CDN$ 18.93
28 used & new from CDN$ 3.38

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Rolling Stones' Yardstick, July 3 2004
This review is from: Exile On Main Street (Audio CD)
If you've gotten this far, it probably safe to say that you know by now that EVERYONE seems to think it is their best ever, of all time, on the desert island, scrounging for gas money because you bought it once more album. And it surely has a pretty good legend surrounding it (south of france, stoned, ripped, twisted..good people). But is it their Best? That all depends.
Me? I like "Sticky Fingers" a little better for one reason: The good songs (Brown Sugar, Can't You Hear me Knockin', Bitch, Sister Morphine) are Transcendant, whereas here the good songs (Tumbling Dice, Shine a Light)Are only "Damned Good". Yes, it's a very fine line, to be sure, but it must be said. And "Fingers" Wins hands down on opening tracks-I mean "Brown Sugar" vs. "Rocks Off"? There's no comparison. Fun Fact: Keith Richards once listed "Brown Sugar" as one of his favorite all-time songs with this justification "Don't YOU think it's a great song?"
That being said, however, "Exile" is the stronger album of the two. The reason? The rest of songs here are neither as bad or as ordinary as the rest of the songs on any other Stones album. Let me put it this way: It's said that any good song will have a sort of "magic" about it. Well, here most every song has that kind of magic in varying amounts. Put on any single song (with the exception of "Turd on the Run", which just doesn't have the magic) and you will end up liking that song on its own merits. It may not be a religious experience, but you will want to hear that song again. It's that kind of album. The same cannot be said for any other Stones Album in their catalogue, and all but the precious few other jewels in the rest of the history of Pop Music.
Of Course, as with all High-water marks, The Stones were destined to fight against the reputation of this masterwork for the rest of their careers, and always be found just a little lacking. A shame, really, for what remains one of the Great Bands Ever and a consistent hit-making force even now, 30+ years on.

Bubba Ho-Tep [Import]
Bubba Ho-Tep [Import]
DVD ~ Bruce Campbell
Offered by Warehouse105
Price: CDN$ 24.88
20 used & new from CDN$ 5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Hail to the Superannuated King, Baby!, June 3 2004
This review is from: Bubba Ho-Tep [Import] (DVD)
Let me guess: You're probably thinking about seeing or getting this movie because of Bruce Campbell, right? After all, He did kick much monster backside as Ash in the "Evil Dead" films and "Army of Darkness," and had some of the most quotable dialogue this side of Humphrey Bogart in the process. And here he plays Elvis, the referent of that oh-so-famous line of infinite cool spoken at the close of "Army of Darkness". You can taste the longing-he wouldn't tease us with such a cruel joke like that, would he? Playing Elvis in a low-budget Monster movie that does nothing but just fall apart? It just wouldn't be right. So you're hoping that maybe, just MAYBE, this one can catch just a glimmer of the brilliance shown on that dark day at that too much to ask?
Fear not, gentle viewer.
As you may already know, Campbell plays a not-so-gracefully-aging and nearly-bedridden Elvis (or Elvis Impersonator, we're never quite sure) who is wasting away what is left of his life in a run-down East Texas nursing home. The cause? He has never fully recovered from a broken hip suffered when he fell on stage at a concert. Elvis teams up with Ossie Davis (playing a black JFK with a head full of sand), and together they try to solve the home's bug problem. Meanwhile, their fellow patients are starting to drop like flies under the appetite of Bubba Ho-Tep, a soul-sucking Egyptian mummy in snakeskin boots now unleashed upon their collective golden years. Can Elvis and JFK save the nursing home? How in the world did an Egyptian mummy land in East Texas anyway?
For maximum enjoyment of this picture, you must not think of it as a serious movie release, but as the best "B-movie" ever made. The Effects? Cheesy and straight out of the '50s, but it fits the model of the low-budget B-movie. The Plot points? as preposterous as a B-flick should be, but the difference here is that they are all exposed and deftly explained into believability. Further, you will accept the story without losing the ability to laugh at the sheer absurdity of it all. Bruce, Ossie, and the rest play their roles to the hilt, too, resulting in a cheesy, preposterous B-movie comedy that avoids the kiss of death that comes from everyone knowing "The Big Joke". Here, the characters never get "The Big Joke," and the movie is marvelous as a result. Director Don Coscarelli deserves mucho kudos for his effort on this one.

Back in the USA
Back in the USA
Price: CDN$ 14.14
43 used & new from CDN$ 3.50

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Second of the '5, April 30 2004
This review is from: Back in the USA (Audio CD)
Why this album isn't regarded as one of the classics of the 65-74 rock era is beyond me...wait, no it isn't. Listen to the overall tone of the whole recording. EVERYTHING HAS TOO MUCH TREBLE AND NOT ENOUGH OF ANYTHING ELSE! Listening at any reasonable volume feels "too loud" and turning it down makes it "too soft". This single production oversight (courtesy of 1st-timer Jon Landau, who later produced the Boss' "Born to Run") overshadows and hamstrings the whole effort. Granted, the CD is much better than the original LP release (which was almost unlistenable), but it still hurts to hear. To minimize the pain, you'll have to skip over "Tutti Frutti", "Looking at You", and "Call Me Animal". Of these "Animal" is the only real loss, as "Tutti" is already incredibly familiar and the '5 did "Looking" just a little better on their original A-Squared single.
Production gaffes aside, this album, perhaps more than any other album I own, including the Stooges first one, exemplifies Lester Bangs' assertion that Rock music is gloriously dumb. Every one of the tracks could only have been done by a bunch of American near-dropouts from the Midwest who read too much sci-fi and took too many drugs, which pretty much narrows it down to the MC5. Landau's guiding hand also adds familiar rock sayings and guitar riffs to every song but "Human Being Lawnmower". All of this adds up to something that is pretty good, but not as challenging as "starship" from their first album. The new songs are thus somewhat familiar, the oldies are pretty good too, and everything's quite fast, which is par for the course for the MC5.
All told, this album isn't either spectacular or unspectacular. It wouldn't be awful as a first MC5 album to own, either, but it's nowhere near "Kick out the Jams" in terms of sheer impact. Which is, in the end, this album's biggest flaw: it came after "Jams", not before, and shows the band as mere musical mortals. Here, they're not grasping for the stratosphere like they did on their first album, but retreating from and sidestepping the stardom that they should have rightfully claimed.

The Big Bang - Best of
The Big Bang - Best of
Offered by importcds__
Price: CDN$ 11.42
26 used & new from CDN$ 11.42

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An acceptable intro to the '5, April 30 2004
This review is from: The Big Bang - Best of (Audio CD)
The MC5 were a band that had no precedent in Rock & Roll at the time of their inception-A politically-charged, high volume ball of energy that turned their amps up to 10 and played their 3 chords deep into the night. Other bands turned up the volume, sure, but the MC5 added the energy and expressed incoherence that turned rock & roll into Punk. As can be expected, record sales went nowhere, but the band was championed by Rock Critics, and later, by the punks of the 1970s. However they did it, they created the throne of "most important Punk Band" that has since been inhabited by the Stooges, Ramones, Sex Pistols, Clash, Black Flag, NOFX, Fugazi, and others.
This compilation is as close as a single cd can get to a "kitchen sink" compilation, but like most "throw 'em together and see if it hangs together" compilations, this one falls short somehow. One reason: the set is tracked very chronologically, meaning that the rare, but unfocused and lo-fi early recordings are front-loaded onto the cd, thus killing any enthusiasm the prospective non-fan buyer has for the band. It takes almost 10 minutes to reach what should have been the great opening track of the disc (and which was the great opening track of their first album), Ramblin' Rose, and almost 15 minutes to reach their first great song, Kick Out the Jams. The solution? Move the rarities to the end of the disc (Rhino, are you listening?). The great music of the '5 is transcendant, but the inferior sound quality of those early singles is bad enough to detract from both those songs and the rest of the set unless it is minimized, and here it is given center stage.
But, disc track programming aside, the songs themselves are as great as I can possibly remember. The 4 tracks (4-7) that comprise the first side of "Kick Out the Jams" are whiplash-inducing adrenaline in song form. Tracks 8 through 15 are the bulk of an uneven "Back in the USA" with only the true clunkers removed. Likewise, tracks 16 to 20 take the cream of "High Time". And the set ends with a "live in the studio" rendition of "Thunder Express" which proves to me that the '5 were best when they were live and recorded properly, of which there is too little on this album and too little in their recorded history, both official and otherwise.

Joe Versus the Volcano (Widescreen) [Import]
Joe Versus the Volcano (Widescreen) [Import]
DVD ~ Tom Hanks
Offered by Rarewaves-US
Price: CDN$ 6.57
23 used & new from CDN$ 3.84

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Grab the Orange Soda! It's "Sleepless in the South Pacific"!, Jan. 29 2004
For those of you familiar with later Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movies such as "Sleepless in Seattle" and "You've got Mail", "Joe Versus the Volcano" is the movie that started it all, for good or ill. Tom Hanks is a down-on-his-luck guy who gets fired from his job and diagnosed with a fake terminal illness, only to be duped into promising to jump into a volcano by a wealthy mining tycoon. Meg Ryan plays 3 parts, but most convincingly that of Hanks' cruise director and principal love interest. Add to that a raft of everything-proof luggage and an unstable island full of orange soda-guzzling natives and watch the romantic comedy hijinks ensue!
As far as these types of movies go, it's pretty standard fare. The movie is low budget enough so that you can rule out any real technical innovation, and was done at a time when both Hanks and Ryan were at that uncertain point in their careers when they were considered competent without being particularly bankable. True to typecasting, Hanks is the earnestly striving everyman and Ryan is sweet and charming, and they go through the most gosh-darned amazing things to end up falling in love.
If nothing else, it's interesting to see Hanks before triumphs like "Apollo 13", "Forrest Gump" and "Saving Private Ryan", and realize that he was as good then as he is now, if much less appreciated.
Like others have said here: you either love this movie or you hate it. I, for one, happen to like it.

American Beauty (Widescreen)
American Beauty (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Kevin Spacey
Offered by importcds__
Price: CDN$ 9.65
52 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true cinematic classic and as good as the hype., Jan. 28 2004
This review is from: American Beauty (Widescreen) (DVD)
If you haven't already seen American Beauty, and are weary of the now-toxic levels of hype surrounding it, then you may be best served by moving on. Nothing short of watching the movie itself will truly convince you anyway. But let me just reiterate: it is as good as the hype says it is.
First off, let me say how gratified I was that this movie walked away with lots of Oscars. It was like seeing the Good Guys win after a hard-fought battle, and something that happens all-too infrequently. I need only remind readers of the 10-nomination, zero-statue snub of Gangs of New York in 2003 (which I still find incomprehensible) as a reminder of how rare it is that a deserving mainstream hit drama gets an Oscar.
What I find amazing is how affecting this movie is without any truly sympathetic adult characters. Kevin Spacey's Lester goes from downtrodden sod to pedophilic, blackmailing, unemployed, pot-smoking man-child/id. Annette Bening's Carolyn is the materialistic, status-grubbing matron-harpy. Chris Cooper, meanwhile, is the uber-hard-edged stereotypical military-guy, Allison Janney is a ghost, and Scott Bakula and Sam Robards are almost invisible.
All this is true, yet you still root for Spacey's Lester as he cashes in, shapes up and smokes out. We yearn with Bening for something to take her away from the somehow painful numbness that is her life as she knows it. The moral stands taken by Cooper's Colonel Fitts, although wrongheaded in many respects, are the only ones in the film, and as a result make him the somehow-praiseworthy moral center. Add to this Mena Suvari as your local despicable it-girl and Wes Bentley as the voyeuristic drug dealer next door, and what you are left with is Thora Birch as the only true, if disaffected, innocent in the film.
Yet some of the magic of the flm lies not so much in its content, as its comment on its viewers. Just what kind of people are we, to root for a man, even as he blackmails his company, buys drugs from his daughter's boyfriend and dreams about seducing her other best friend, all in the name of "finding himself"? What does it say about us in that we find him lovable? And in a medium where not walking out and demanding a refund can be classified as acceptance, how much more so is both a huge box office take and multiple Oscars? Yes, this film has truly lived up to the hype of exposing the dark side of suburbia, but the exposure is not on screen, but in our own hearts.
The remainder of this film's magic? That we neither squirmed nor flinched, but instead took it to heart with no questions asked.

Kick Out the Jams
Kick Out the Jams
Price: CDN$ 15.00
37 used & new from CDN$ 7.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Ooh...the sound of kids on a meth power it!!, Jan. 26 2004
This review is from: Kick Out the Jams (Audio CD)
This is one of the all-time, desert island, most awesome live discs ever conceived. Hendrix at Woodstock? Lame. Doors Live Compilations? Please. Frampton Comes Alive? It sounds dead next to this. The Stones' Get Yer Ya-Yas Out? Not even Close.
But this is more than just a great live album, it's a thrilling debut by a band who by all rights should have moved popular culture far more than they did. The MC5 was one of the most controversial, yet popular bands in a town (Detroit) that was known for its music. Consider the local competition at the time: Parliament/Funkadelic, Grand Funk Railroad, Bob Seger, Ted Nugent/Amboy Dukes, Mitch Ryder, the Stooges (the MC5's "little brother" band), and let's not forget Motown, which was then at the height of its powers. The MC5 were not only revolutionaries, they got incredible chances. Consider: they were the only band who actually played the protests surronding the 1968 Democratic Convention, many of this album's songs are classics that have been covered by multitudes (most notably "Kick out the Jams", which has been swiped by Rage Against the Machine, among others), and their second album (Back in the USA) was produced by critic John Landau (who later went on to produce Bruce Springsteen's classic Born to Run.)
So why isn't this band revered for all time despite this outrageously awesome album? Simple-they shot themselves in the foot so much, they couldn't walk anymore.
Mistake number one: They introduced their would-be single with the intro "KICK OUT THE JAMS, (incredibly obscene expletive deleted)!!!!!" Their label, Elektra, decided to clean that up for the single release so it could get, you know, airplay and units shifted and money coming in. The bad didn't like this, so they moved to...
Mistake number two: They declared war on their own record label, and placed "(expletive deleted) Elektra!" stickers on the front of stores that sold their album. Obviously, this did not go over well with the label brass, and precipitated...
Mistake number three: Getting the album pulled from store shelves nationwide and booted from the label. The album promptly went nowhere after that and the MC5 never recovered. The 'Five tried to resurrect themselves at Atlantic, but bad production values on the next record (Back in the USA), cash flow problems, and increasingly troublesome drug habits all around combined to finish them off.
But if they were short-lived, one need only listen to this album to find out how brightly they burned. The obscene intro to "kick out the jams" is back, too, if that's any indication of how things are on this album. The Songs (not counting the Sun Ra-freakout "Starship") are incredibly simple affairs that show their Garage-rock roots, the lyrics are so basic as to be lumpen, but the energy-Ah!! The sheer conviction is what refreshes time and time again. The twin guitars ebb and flow well, the band's dynamics draw you in and refuse to let go until the end of 40 minutes of sheer adrenaline. If you like the energy of punk,you can do little better than to go back to the source of it all: this disc.

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