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  • unmeel - Could be a bit tighter, but a 5 star album nonetheless

    Animals is the third member of the so-called Holy Trinity of Pink Floyd's catalogue, the other two being Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here. On the whole, I'd say its about as good as Wish You Were Here and better than Dark Side of the Moon. Fans of Floyd's other work should definitely get this. If you haven't heard any Floyd, but enjoy atmoshperic, tight, lengthy musical exposition, then I'd recommend this as well.

    The concept of the album is a little silly (borrowing, as everyone has pointed out, heavily from Orwell) but darkly and intelligently executed. Roger Waters divides humanity neatly into three categories, "Dogs" (the predators), "Pigs" (the greedy consumers) and "Sheep" (the innocents). It's a bit trite, to be sure, but concept albums could get a lot worse than this, especially when this one's backed by some epic songwriting.

    The album is bookended by two lovely acoustic pieces ("Pigs on the Wing, pts. I and II) that add much more to the album than you'd think. They bring a sense of hope and surreal flight to the murky, brilliantly dark center of the album. "Dogs" opens this portion of the album, and for the first 9 minutes it is consistently, amazingly brilliant- tight, focused, bitter and merciless. A bit unfortunately, the song begins meandering afterwards (after the "stone" bit) despite the fact that I can see the framework for some beautiful music that remains un-fleshed-out. "Dogs" regains footing towards the 12 minute mark of its 17-minute run time, but it loses some of it's punch from the flab in the middle. However, I have to say I really love the solo around the 14-15 mark- it brings a triumphantly tragic air to a song that already was brilliantly infused with a bitter, nasty, sinister lyricism.

    "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" is, in my opinion, the best track on the album. It is leaner than "Dogs" at a mere 11:28, and it has some of the weirdest and best of Gilmour's solos (seriously, the solos are worth the price of the album- how does he make those pig sounds???) and I really love the way Waters sings the verses ("Big man, pig man, ha ha- charade you are"). The coldly arpeggiated synth that opens and recurrs through the song heightens the effect of an already rather creepy, cool track.

    "Sheep", on the other hand, is little bit disappointing after these two incredible pieces. It contains a few stretches of music that aren't all that memorable, and the concept is probably the most played out of the three, and therefore the hardest to make interesting. Silly stuff like "Harmlessly passing your time in the grasslands awayyyyyyyyyy" doesn't help. It opens nicely enough, with a quiet, burbly synth and guitar- a change of pace- but soon is infused with a wicked beat. It's less interesting than it could have been. Eventually the song begins to redeem itself, both musically (enter an utterly foreboding two-note synth riff over a bass-driven beat) and lyrically- the trite phrases become hilariously silly stuff like this:

    "When cometh the day we lowly ones,

    Through quiet reflection, and great dedication

    Master the art of karate,

    Lo, we shall rise up,

    And then we'll make the bugger's eyes water."

    I also really dig that triumphantly cool riff that closes the song and the center of the album. We close with "Pigs on the Wing Pt. II", a light, wonderfully apt acoustic piece.

    The album is stronger than I've perhaps made it seem; its brutally dark and cynical at times, but never loses sight of that one candle of hope in the suffocating darkness. Alternatingly brutally honest, contemptuously disaffected, triumphantly hopeful and occasionally a little trite, Animals is an essential record.

  • C. Cronk - Great tablet for adults... and kids!!!

    If you are considering getting your child a tablet, please consider a Kindle Fire HD. They have a program called "Kindle Free Time." We had already experienced that dreaded feeling you get when you think you've locked down your tablet really well before you let your kid play Angry Birds, and they end up on YouTube. Whoops. With Free Time, you choose exactly what apps, movies, and books they have access too (that you download yourself), or they have a HUGE HUGE HUGE selection of kid safe tv and movie programs, books and educational/fun apps, all age appropriate. When in the Free Time app, kids are locked out of internet surfing, purchasing paid material... completely safe from all the things you wouldn't want them to get at. You have to enter a password to exit Free Time. We looked at a bunch of the "kid" tablets and none of them matched the Kindle Fire.

    I should mention that Free Time is $2.99 a month (with Prime membership), but considering that the average paid app/show/book is between $1-4, I have no problem spending that because my son gets new material all the time.

    Also, Amazon has great customer service - we had an issue with the unit freezing and then not starting up and they sent out a new one, before we even had sent the defective unit back. Amazing.

    Only problem is... now I kind of want one!!!

  • Rosanna - The Worst of Man and the Best of Man

    This is one of the scariest books ever written. More horrifying is the fact that we live with this threat--a world dying irreversibly from nuclear destruction--every day. It's bleak, depressing, horrific, and real. Cormac McCarthy shows us the true evil of mankind and their acts--cannibalism, murder, stealing, war, environmental destruction--yet, somehow he shows us the redeeming qualities of mankind as well--benevolence, generosity, concern for your fellow man, importance of knowledge, and most importantly, love. During a time when no hope remains and all seems lost, the boy remains a beacon of hope and old-world values. This is truly amazing because this boy was born into a world of death and has only his father to learn from.

    This book shows us the destruction of nature like no other and is a truly heart-rending critique of man's environmental annihilation. Barren streams with skeletons of fish, dead trees falling to the ground with incredible loudness, the whole world empty to any kind of bird call or animal noise, just silence; these are some of the horrific images this book will leave in your head. A painful book to read, but a book everyone should read. A great novel about a father and his son, filled with human anguish and love.

  • Dr. Sarfraz Zaidi M.D. - Sarfraz Zaidi, MD

    I am a physician specializing in Internal Medicine, Diabetes and Endocrinology. Four years ago, I contracted a combination of Ulcerative Colitis and Clostridium difficile ( C.diff.) colitis. Over a period of one year, I went thru three colonoscopies, three gastroenterologists, two infectious disease specialists and one internist. Nothing worked!I was first given Flagyl in high doses which did not work, then oral Vancomycin and probiotics for almost a year but my symptoms continued. Asacol and other similar medications did not work either. I also tried alternative medicine remedies but none of them worked. After a weight loss of about 30 Lbs, I got in such bad shape that I was hospitalized at one of the best IBD hospitals in the world. A week later,I was sent home on high dose steroids which partially helped my symptoms but I still continued to have frequent bowel movements mixed with blood and mucus, cramping and gas.

    At this juncture, my gastroenterologist gave me the option to go on more toxic drugs such as 6 MP, or Cyclosporin. I knew the terrible potential side-effects from these drugs. So,I decided not to take either one of them. In stead, my wife did a lot of research on the internet. My gut feeling was that Diet has a lot to do with my illness. So my wife searched for a diet that would make sense. ( I could not even sit for any prolonged period of time ). In this pursuit she came across "Breaking the Vicious Cycle." This book made perfect medical sense to me. Therefore, I placed my self on this diet. I started seeing some results within a few days. A couple of months later, I was somewhat better but was still having symptoms.

    During this time,I went thru a complete spiritual/psychological transformation after reading books by Eckhart Tolle and J. Krishnamurti. I got in touch with my inner true self and started to live my life, by living in the Now, in stead of worrynig about "what if." I realized the real true me is the essence behind my body and is never threatened. It is the conditioned self that gets threatened and becomes fearful. With this realization, I felt an incredible inner peace, although I was still having symptoms of bloody diarrhes, gas and cramping.

    Then I came across an article in a medical journal. This researcher from Australia had treated several of his Ulcerative colitis patients with stool enema from a healthy donor and all of them were cured of their Ulcerative colitis. The results sounded too good to be true. But his approach made perfect medical sense. Like Elaine, he believed the root cause of any chronic colitis is the abnormal bacterial flora in the intestines. And stool enema from a healthy donor is the best way to normalize the bacterial flora. I was convinced this was the way to go for me. Therefore, I followed the protocol this doctor had described in the article. With the help of my loving wife, I underwent donor stool enema at home. The day after the first enema, I saw normal stools for the first time in over a year. I was ecstatic! It sounds crazy but if you are a chronic sufferer of colitis, you will understand why I was so thrilled. I continued to follow the specific carbohydrate diet that Elaine has described in "Breaking the vicious cycle." And continued to live in the now, free of my conditioned self. Gradually all of my symptoms resolved over one year. For the last two years, I am completely symptom-free, back to my normal weight and pursue all of my activities including a busy medical practice. I have more energy now than I ever did. Transformed, yes I am. I live in the Now and stay free of my conditioned self, the source of all sttress.I am enjoying every moment of living!

    During this time, I also found that my Vitamin D level was quite low. I started to take vitamin D supplement. For the last two years I take Vitamin D3, 10,000 I.U. per day.

    I believe my recovery from a double-dose of colitis is due to the combination of the Diet described in this book, my spiritual awakening, donor stool enema and vitamin D supplementation. I recommend this approach to anyone with chronic colitis. But please, do not stop your medications without the blessings from your physician.

    Since my illness, I have written two books, "Take Charge of Your Diabetes" and " Power of Vitamin D." And the third book, titled "Stress Free" based on my own personal awakening, is in the print and should be available very soon. I have also dedicated myself to educate the public about the important health issues thru my website,. This review is a part of my mission to spread the useful information.

    Power of Vitamin D: A Vitamin D Book That Contains the Most Comprehensive and Useful Information on Vitamin D Deficiency, Vitamin D Level

  • Thomas W. Keyser - A wide range of experiences

    I am a fan of historical fiction; a big fan. The better works are no accident. They are more than just the product of a vivid imagination. As with Peter's, "Cain at Gettysburg," historical research is essential to the novel. Mr. Peter's excels at this aspect in this work. It captures the whole measure of experiences of the battle from the lowly private to the commanding generals. You cannot but feel yourself present with these men, both blue and Gray; from the coarse Union General, Winfield Hancock, to the surprising private Cobb of the Confederacy.

    Anyone who has any inkling of interest in our nation's history will not only enjoy but learn beyond a doubt what it must have been like to witness the battle of Gettysburg.