There are no spoilers in these reviews, except that the restaurant was lame.
Breville BOV650XL Compact 4-Slice Smart Oven:
I never thought I would become a toaster oven snob but after a succession of cheap Black and Decker ovens with an assortment of issues (stopped working after three months, had no completion bell, turned the left bagel black and refroze the right bagel) I asked for this classy oven for Christmas. Using and programming it are iPod-simple, and every single bagel and toast entree I've made has come out perfectly, even in the often-failing case where you toast something else while the oven is still warm. Besides breaded objects, we've also made a chocolate cake, a small pizza, quesadillas, bean dip, and other delicious goodies. As a bonus, this toaster oven came out at the top of the Consumer Reports ratings after we bought it. If you use a toaster oven with any regularity, give it a look.
Final Grade: A
Bring It On (Tenth Anniversary Edition) by Gomez:
I believe that this was Gomez's first CD from the late nineties, and it also comes with a bonus CD filled with BBC Live Studio recordings. The actual album is pretty bland, with no big highs, and ends with one of those seven minute vamp songs that you want to be over after three. The BBC recordings are more interesting, but really only for fans.
Final Grade: C+
Inside the Mind of BTK by John Douglas and Johnny Dodd:
This is another serial killer book by the Mindhunter guy, so it's immediately bogged down by the introductory biographical filler that I've memorized by now. However, because this book focuses on a single killer, there's a surprisingly deep analysis of the crimes, the perpetrator, and the post-capture follow-up. In addition, this true-story account essentially IS the plot for the fourth season of Dexter, so I'm glad I didn't read it until afterwards.
Final Grade: B-
Negative Yelp reviews of The Counter have kept us away in the past, but we decided to give it a try after receiving a free burger coupon in the mail. The service was overly attentive at first, but then went downhill after that. Our fries came out immediately and were delicious. The burgers were "okay" and came out a full forty minutes after we had ordered. No one is hungry after forty minutes of fries, and our waiter claimed that "they had run out of meat in the kitchen". This seems like a bad state to be in during normal dinner hours. He also tried to convince me that Stouts are supposed to be golden yellow and taste like wheat beer after he messed up my second beer order. I would not even have needed a second beer order if the burgers had come out on normal human schedules. Bottom line: This is a decent, slightly undercooked burger if you can get it for $6 and home-delivered. It's not worth your time if you have to eat it in the restaurant and pay $10. Note: The Counter does not deliver.
Final Grade: D
Kucinich sues for olive pit sandwich
Mom jailed for enrolling kids in a better school district
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