January 30, 2011

Amazon Reviewing Report: Ranked 7.8 Million and Rising

Amazon.com $50 Gift Card (0109)January 30, 2011
Customer Reviews: 122
New Reviewer Rank: 7,797,830
Classic Reviewer Rank: 4,936
Helpful Votes:  954

Remarkably impressive is the saga of change. Besides a recent a flood of negative votes on one review begun by a strange 14 year-old, not much change since two days ago. That is, excepting for my rank, higher than ever.

See my reviews. Follow me on Amazon as an 'interesting person'. 


January 28, 2011
Customer Reviews: 122
New Reviewer Rank: 102,971
Classic Reviewer Rank: 4,932
Helpful Votes: 953

December 2
Customer Reviews: 115
New Reviewer Rank: 7,420,986
Classic Reviewer Rank: 5,120
Helpful Votes: 920

November 13
Customer Reviews: 113
New Reviewer Rank: 60,742
Classic Reviewer Rank: 5,165
Helpful Votes: 916

November 3
Customer Reviews: 109
New Reviewer Rank: 73,273
Classic Reviewer Rank: 5,157
Helpful Votes: 911

October 15
Customer Reviews: 109
New Reviewer Rank: 94,917
Classic Reviewer Rank: 5,250
Helpful Votes: 905

October 1 
Customer Reviews: 109
New Reviewer Rank: 310,062
Classic Reviewer Rank: 5,300
Helpful Votes: 900

Amazon.com $50 Gift Card
Amazon.com $25 Gift Card - Box of 50 Cards

Bright Lights, Big City - Jimmy Reed

January 28, 2011

Amazon Reviewing Report: Back to 100K and Petty Insults

January 28, 2011
Customer Reviews: 122
New Reviewer Rank: 102,971
Classic Reviewer Rank: 4,932
Helpful Votes: 953

A laughable spate of negative votes on a recent review (Levana LV-TW501 Safe N See Digital Video Baby Monitor) along with a petty personal attack by a troll in the comments shows me that for some unknown reason, my reviews intimidate readers. 

I have added several new reviews. Check 'em out. Besides a baby monitor, there is one for a new kind of Oreos, Cyrano de Bergerac, a measuring cup, and coffee flavored candy. 


My rank is dancing. Was 7.4 million, and a month and a half later, it is just under 103,000. Why?

December 2
Customer Reviews: 115
New Reviewer Rank: 7,420,986
Classic Reviewer Rank: 5,120
Helpful Votes: 920
Amazon.com $50 Gift Card (0109)

November 13
Customer Reviews: 113
New Reviewer Rank: 60,742
Classic Reviewer Rank: 5,165
Helpful Votes: 916

November 3
Customer Reviews: 109
New Reviewer Rank: 73,273
Classic Reviewer Rank: 5,157
Helpful Votes: 911

October 15
Customer Reviews: 109
New Reviewer Rank: 94,917
Classic Reviewer Rank: 5,250
Helpful Votes: 905

October 1 
Customer Reviews: 109
New Reviewer Rank: 310,062
Classic Reviewer Rank: 5,300
Helpful Votes: 900

Amazon.com $50 Gift Card
Amazon.com $25 Gift Card - Box of 50 Cards

Bright Lights, Big City - Jimmy Reed

January 27, 2011

Monitor Babies and Coffee From a Quiet Distance: Levana LV-TW501 Safe N See Digital Video Baby Monitor with Talk-to-Baby Intercom and Lullaby Control (Electronics) review

Levana LV-TW501 Safe N See Digital Video Baby Monitor with Talk-to-Baby Intercom and Lullaby Control (Electronics)

Your baby, and your coffee-drinking guests, will enjoy your full attention, even when in another room.

I held a party of fellow artists. Four of a dozen guests all agreed coffee would be wonderful. Brewing as quickly as I could, I returned to attend to the bustling discussion comparing Cezanne and Van Gogh. Like any gathering of artists, movement defined even the stillest among them. Though my home, all felt comfortable serving themselves.

video
It took little to notice five mugs being used at the bar. Another glance confirmed two more mugs being carried off to the living room. That was seven mugs of coffee in all. My brewer only makes 12 cups. Each would want refills. It was good coffee (a roast from Honduras) and an understandable desire.

Setting up the Safe N'See Digital Video Baby Monitor with Talk-to-Baby Intercom and Lullaby Control, I found a solution. Rather than monitor a sleeping child (or, more importantly, the awake and upset child), I kept awatch on coffee quantity. When the carafe dropped to two cups, I readied more.

Levana LV-TW501 Safe N See Digital Video Baby Monitor with Talk-to-Baby Intercom and Lullaby ControlOther features became unexpectedly useful. The sun set, the lights were dim, and still, I could see clearly my brewer enough. One guest found his way to the adjacent wine rack, thinking to help himself to some choice port. The "Talk-to-Baby Intercom" allowed me, as the 'voice of conscience' let him know that bottle was off-limits. The lullabies were pleasant enough, but Billie Holiday was the soundtrack for our night. With perfect accuracy, it told me the temperature. Too warm for a baby at 73°F, but my guests, much older, found the air gentle, if not hot, closer to the fireplace.

--Brockeim

January 24, 2011

Plenty of Chocolate and Mint, Not Enough Oreo: Oreo Mint Fudge Cremes, 8.5-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 4) by Oreo review

Oreo Mint Fudge Cremes, 8.5-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 4) by Oreo

Cookies and coffee? Excellent.

Chocolate and coffee? Here can be found truth.

Chocolate covered cookies? That is where this indulgence begins.

Slice open a cookie. See the layers of cookie, with white mint thinly covering it, all covered and surrounded in chocolate.

Oreo Mint Fudge Cremes, 8.5-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 4)As Oreos, I would not consider them. The relationship to Oreos is lost with the abundance of chocolate. While not a problem, the Oreo name is misleading. They are more like thick Thin Mints, those sold by the Girl Scouts.

Each cookie is 57 calories with a little iron, dietary fiber and potassium to help justify their kitchen presence. The label considers three (one seventh of the box) one serving, and I found this to be accurate to that last bite.

--Brockeim

Search Amazon.com for Oreos  

Rereading Rostand: A True Tale of Hasty Love in a Bookstore With Cyrano

I am rereading and English translation of Edmond Rostand's play "Cyrano de Bergerac." I recently reviewed the 1950 movie, and was hungry for more.

I first read it quickly in an antiquarian bookseller where I am friends with the owner.

His bookstore is like a private library for me. Thousands of books, and more in a dark corrugated metal warehouse in the back. Near the front window is an old round table. Who knows what previous use it had, but now, it stored things. These things were just that, an unorganized menagerie of items that should, but didn't, have a home. Bookmarks, covers of books they independently published, empty cases of metal type, a pencil cup without a pencil. Why wasn't it a cup intended for pens? Not here. Pens have no place making new, permanent marks in books older than any living animal.

Not all of his books were old, and not all were valuable in any other way either. Some were just there to fill the shelves and make a few dollars. Most of those, like Cyrano, were overpriced. Let there be no romantic illusion about this quaint bookstore. It was and is a business as much as the largest corporation. The owner knew any customer willing to pay $500 for a pamphlet from 1850 might be interested in an old, but otherwise insignificant edition of Cyrano. It isn't that he hoodwinked customers. Value is in the eye of the beholder, and this edition had its rustic charm. He made enough to buy a home in the woods for his wife and six children, and a dog, and more books.

Cyrano de Bergerac (Bantam Classics reissue)Bookstores like his are both in direct competition with Amazon.com, and opposite, all at once. His books are online, but Harry Potter cannot be found. Some is one of a kind, and other books on his shelves, like Cyrano, are probably in any antiquarian shop.

Our lunch plans were slowed when a rash of paying customers came in. Five minutes became over two hours so I read a copy he had I started a couple of lunches earlier.

This wasn't reading so much as it was soaking and getting soaked. I gulped this wine instead of sipping. It went to my head well enough, and, like a drunk then, I returned. Wisdom stayed away in my haste, but almost a decade has passe. Older, wiser, ready for passion that does not finish before lunch. 

Now, like a lover with hours to smile, I kissed carefully as I begun a new reading through of the play. The edition I am reading is translated into English by Bryan Hooker. My copy is less beautiful that most you may have seen, but my comfort comes from our deciduous and delightful conversation, falling in and out of inexplicably blissful moments to ecstatic ones, and again.. A book, a play, even the shortest poem must be kissed if it is to be loved, and must be loved if it is to be kissed.

Each night, most nights, I read slowly. The whispers coming only to me. I am silent, listening, trying to see not what José Ferrer or Gerard Depardieu saw, but what Rostand himself saw 100 years ago.
And what is a kiss, specifically? A pledge properly sealed, a promise seasoned to taste, a vow stamped with the immediacy of a lip, a rosy circle drawn around the verb 'to love.' A kiss is a message too intimate for the ear, infinity captured in the bee's brief visit to a flower, secular communication with an aftertaste of heaven, the pulse rising from the heart to utter its name on a lover's lip: 'Forever.'
- Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Act 3

January 19, 2011

A Magnificent José Ferrer Makes This Cyrano a Classic: Cyrano de Bergerac

José Ferrer is Cyrano de Bergerac. That fact alone is enough to see this version. I say this with the confidence that, until this week, until watching the Hal Roach edition of the 1950 version, Gérard Depardieu owned the role.

In Depardieu's favor was his charm and average or even unattractive appearance. So likable, so gentile, yet not enough. Depardieu was terrific, but he was not as fierce and as bitter as Ferrer in the first part of the movie. Depardieu's obsessive rage was acted, not owned. Ferrer, to the contrary, for me, demonstrated the proper depth of bitterness, insecurity, arrogance, wit, and broken heartedness.

The story is simple: an ugly poet/master swordsman (Cyrano) loves a beautiful woman (Roxanne), but is too insecure to tell her. She in turn loves a pretty boy soldier (Christian) who, by his own admission, is void of wit. Christian does not realize Cyrano loves the same woman. Each man uses the other to successfully reach into the woman's heart. She overcomes her shallow view of beauty, but the ugly poet remains diffident and unwilling to risk his heart to her.

José Ferrer is more than the star here. Cyrano's love for Roxanne is truly the story, with no subplots woven in. He capably goes from bold leader to broken man and back again. This puts Ferrer's skill to the test, to engage the audience from scene to scene, emotion to emotion.

When he fights dozens of men to protect the baker, I believe it. Unlike many great swashbuckling movies, the choreograph is not fluid. It appears chaotic, like a street fight would be.

Cyrano de BergeracThis movie, Cyrano de Bergerac, is left open to criticism, like that so much was filmed on a stage. We see painted backdrops instead of a genuine wartime sky. Outside of a cane and slow steps, no one seemed older in the final garden scenes. The costuming is impressive, but, beyond that spectacular nose, the makeup is not. That could all be easily improved.

Mala Powers as Roxanne worked well enough, though vacuously. I saw her as shallow yet stunningly beautiful from beginning to end. A better actress may have been found as some scenes she played as more of a place keeper than love interest.

It is easy to feel for Christian, played by William Prince. Though he is lacking Cyrano's wit, his passion is real. He is brave and bright, but not when it comes to poetry. His sword is mightier than his pen, but he makes no pretense and asks Cyrano for help.

A few production value concerns do not hold back the movie, but they do exist. However, with the consuming power of Academy Award winning actor José Ferrer as the focal point, Cyrano de Bergerac receives top marks from me.

--Brockeim

Cyrano de Bergerac DVD

Cyrano De Bergerac - Trailer (1950)


Watch the entire movie free here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8i9PGWIjjQI

January 18, 2011

84, Charing Cross Road - Friendship with Depth and Love

Reviewing the DVD 84 Charing Cross Road

In these days of e-books, and bland books constructed from franchised ideas and formulas, we are presented 84 Charing Cross Road, a story about a relationship begun because of a mutual love of old great books.

Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft share a film highlighting both of their genuine personas.

Like Hopkins in Shadowlands and The Remains of the Day (Special Edition), we see him in full glory, as a quiet man of grace and sophistication.

He owns the English bookstore, and Bancroft's character mails him a request for a book.

Correspondence and a relationship begins. Contently and confidently married, Hopkins responds as an older brother might, and the two grow to cherish each other despite the distance.

As they care for each other, and slowly, their local friends and family become aware, we see how love transcends the sea. Neither character has an agenda, and this left me feeling a little less cynical about the world around me.

Like so many of today's e-mail- and chatroom-only friendships, they learn to appreciate each other, though knowing only the other as they choose to describe themselves.

This isn't a story about books or bookstores, despite the honest representation of their demeanor and personality. Any booklover knows the search for a book, and the texture of a bookseller's knowledge and connection with his books.

This is a movie about the depth, trust, and love of one unexpected relationship. Book lovers will enjoy the context, and good friends will smile knowingly.

(movie is based on Helene Hanff's book, 84, Charing Cross Road)

--Brockeim

January 15, 2011

Holds Two Cups of Coffee in Support of a Long Workday Pyrex Prepware 2-Cup Measuring Cup, Clear with Red Measurements

A Pyrex Prepware 2-Cup Measuring Cup left on the counter of my company's kitchen took a Friday from agony to survival.

One Friday workday after sunset was only half done. Deadlines cannot be negotiated, and so my labor continued. Staring long at my unfeeling monitor, I knew it would offer no compassion to my aching body and tired soul. Hope seemed plundered as problem added to problem compiled exponentially through the day. My desk only supported misery. I made a dash for the break room.

Forgotten coffee remained in the office pot, heating now for three hours. Nearly full, I looked at it with compromised desire. Though not the coffee of my choice, I also saw I had no other option. No ordinary mug would do. My office was a long walk from the kitchen. I need something large.

Pyrex Prepware 2-Cup Measuring Cup, Clear with Red MeasurementsCan I measuring cup be a coffee mug? I needed only that it carry hot coffee. This cup accepted 1500 ml -- two cups of my favorite elixir. Where it lacked in style, it made up for in efficient functionality. My remaining hours of work were not less long, but they were endured.

May your difficult days be offset by sufficient coffee to get you through the night.

--Brockeim

 Search Amazon.com for Pyrex

January 13, 2011

Ammy - Singalong With Brockeim (parody of Barry Manilow's "Mandy")

Ammy
(severe apologies to Barry Manilow)

I remember all my life
Readin' stuff -- Capote's In Cold Blood
Pope's Essay on Man
(Saw Hitchcock's Rear Window)
Readin' in the night
The night goes into
Mornin', just another day
Bookless people pass my way
Lookin' in their eyes
I see no memories
I never realized
How happy you made me, oh Ammy

CHORUS

Well I logged on, browsed without buyin'
And you took me away, oh Ammy
Well, you sold me and stopped me from spyin'
I bought from you today, oh Ammy
Flipping through my shelf at home
Walked away with a best-loved tome
Sucked up in a book of brain primin'
Thoughts now are in my mind
And nothing is rhymin', oh Ammy

Amazon.com $50 Gift Card (0109)CHORUS

Your site's just a dream
I face the mornin'
Loggin' on all pleased
Amland is callin', oh Ammy

CHORUS

Well I logged on, browsed without buyin'
And you took me away, oh Ammy
Well, you sold me and stopped me from spyin'
I bought from you today, oh Ammy



Who Is Ammy?
Ammy is a nickname for amazon.com used fondly on the reviewer discussion board there.

Barry Manilow wrote many of songs that surround my generation. He wasn't a Bob Dylan revolutionary or a Rolling Stones rebel. Mostly, he sang (and sings) love songs. Fans of Neil Diamond, Olivia Newton-John, the Carpenters have all enjoyed Barry Manilow.

I shop at amazon.com frequently, as do many of you reading this. "Ammy" is my tribute, if you will, to this wonderful site. It isn't the only online bookstore, nor does it have everything. It has plenty, and I like it.

I hope you enjoy my parody.

--Brockeim