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The Last Titanic Story
The Last Titanic Story
von Chris Angus

5.0 von 5 Sternen Breakneck Speed, 2. August 2012
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Last Titanic Story (Taschenbuch)
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 excitement.

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.

von Chris Angus

5.0 von 5 Sternen Brilliant Edge Of Your Seat Excitement!, 24. Juni 2012
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Flypaper (Taschenbuch)
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
Preis: EUR 17,99

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Somber Beauty, 13. April 2012
Rezension bezieht sich auf: 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.

XtremeMac IPU-SAS-13 Soma Stand Mobile Sound-Dockingstation für Apple iPod/iPhone/iPad grau
XtremeMac IPU-SAS-13 Soma Stand Mobile Sound-Dockingstation für Apple iPod/iPhone/iPad grau
Wird angeboten von buy2bGmbH
Preis: EUR 18,90

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3.0 von 5 Sternen Looks Great - Poor Sound, 25. Januar 2012
The Xtrememac Soma Stand is sleek, handsome and compact enough to take anywhere. It is fairly well built and not too heavy. The triangular design is unique and the foldout of the iPod/iPhone/iPad stand is convenient. I also liked the convenience of having four AA batteries as a backup in case you want to take this somewhere where there is no electrical backup. Do note that the plug is a larger box and will take over two electrical inputs. The cord is barely long enough; about four feet. The sound is going to be better with the cord than the batteries.

Despite its great appearance, the sound is disappointing. It is stereo but there is virtually no punchy bass even though the treble is good. To charge and play my iPhone, I had to take off the Otterbox so it would fit on the charger stand. That I did not care for. For its compactness, appearance and convenience, I'd say it's a nice charger/player for your device, but the sound is simply not there. I'd venture a guess that the price will drop about half in a few months. Logitech has some similar devices such as the 'Logitech Clock Radio Dock s400i for iPod and iPhone' and the 'Logitech Rechargeable Speaker S315i with iPod Dock' in the same price range with at least equal sound quality and more features.

Starless and Bible Black (CD/Dvd-Audio) [DVD-AUDIO]
Starless and Bible Black (CD/Dvd-Audio) [DVD-AUDIO]
Preis: EUR 19,99

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4.0 von 5 Sternen Several Sources of Genius, 20. November 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".

I've Gotta Get a Message to Yo
I've Gotta Get a Message to Yo
Preis: EUR 11,15

5.0 von 5 Sternen The Official Poppy Appeal Song!, 27. Oktober 2011
Rezension bezieht sich auf: I've Gotta Get a Message to Yo (Audio CD)
Robin Gibb's latest single is an official British release through the Poppy Appeal to raise funds for The Royal British Legion. This revamped version of the Bee Gees 1968 #1 has a slower less urgent feel, but sounds just as emphatic in its appeal. Robin shares lead with the famous "The Soldiers" (Sergeant Major Gary Chilton, Staff Sergeant Richie Maddocks and Lance Corporal Ryan Idzi). Their vocals are just as appealing as any artist covering any Bee Gees song. The B-Side is the instrumental version and showcases the simple yet powerful arrangement of this classic song.

Ghost on the Canvas
Ghost on the Canvas
Preis: EUR 16,01

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Classic Swan Song, 23. September 2011
Rezension bezieht sich auf: 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.

Bluetooth Headset Jabra EASYGO Original
Bluetooth Headset Jabra EASYGO Original

4.0 von 5 Sternen Good Deal On A Bluetooth, 20. September 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.

Yamaha RX-V371 Bl 5.1 AV-Receiver (HDMI, 1080p-kompatibel, 3D-Ready) schwarz
Yamaha RX-V371 Bl 5.1 AV-Receiver (HDMI, 1080p-kompatibel, 3D-Ready) schwarz

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Easy Setup & Fantastic Sound!, 15. August 2011
I upgraded to this from a Denon AVR-1507 as the Denon did not have HDMI inputs (even though it sounded great). I found the Yamaha to be a great deal for the price. The Denon was very complicated, but the Yamaha is all about HDMI (although cable options are all there). The 5-page setup is very easy. First, the sound is 100 watts per channel instead of my Denon's 75 watts. Besides giving you great surround sound (or stereo) with a crisp strong bass, the setup and use is so easy. Make your HDMI connections and use the remote to `setup' the system. Set up your speaker status (large, small, etc.), then the distance from each speaker to your sitting area and test it all on an easy test tone that circulates around to each speaker to make sure you have proper connections. You can also set the loudness of each speaker according to your room setup and your couch/chair location.

Simple operation: Using the remote, press on. Then choose one of the four HDMI buttons (say your Direct TV is HDMI 1 and your DVD player is HDMI 2). Select Movie, Music, Enhanced stereo, Surround decoders (for all surround sound) or Straight for perfect stereo reproduction. You can easily adjust the volume with the remote, as well as muting and switching between Input sources (HDMI, tuner, etc.) to Straight or 5.1. Even the treble and bass can be done from the remote. I have to say that after going nuts with frustration on other systems, this one is very easy. Note that Sony makes lots of electronic devices, but Yamaha only makes music. And it is a bargain.

Also, if you don't have a good subwoofer, the Yamaha YST-SW216BL Advanced YST II Front-Firing Active Subwoofer produces superb sub-base for a complete sound range.

Parrot Bluetooth Freisprechanlage MINIKIT Slim
Parrot Bluetooth Freisprechanlage MINIKIT Slim

4.0 von 5 Sternen Better Than An Earpiece, 5. August 2011
I have used the Bluetooth earpiece for a while now and don't feel comfortable with the sound or that is occasionally falls out of my ear. The Parrot MiniKit Slim is a much better product for hands free driving. Before you drive, set your iPhone to Bluetooth, then it syncs with the Parrot (a red light appears briefly). Press the green light and you hear a female voice asking about you want to call. I simply can say, "Call Scott" or "Call Mary" and it calls. There is no ringing or sound until the other party picks up. Pushing the red button simply hangs up the call. Turning the knob adjusts the volume or scrolls through your phone library. No more fooling with your iPhone.

The visor attachment is a bit flimsy but works. However, it works to help hide your device behind your visor when you leave your vehicle. I also found that charging it overnight at home gives it a longer charge (2-3 days of moderate use). Many times I simply charge it through the charger in my truck. Be forewarned about having a car with excessive noise. My truck has 'air noise' on the roof, so talking and hearing through the device is sometimes difficult. Otherwise, it's a nice alternative to an earpiece.

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