Wednesday, September 20, 2006

roundup, difficulty: low

(Please bear with us... we are having some technical difficulties. This week's edition of the Media Roundup will be short and without pictures. There are some issues with uploading links and pictures with Blogger, right now so we decided to carry on and hit the highlights.)

Whew! In the past few days there has been a little discussion going on at The Shelf regarding a little post we put up about Wal-Mart last week. Honestly, I don't know what all the fuss is about. We have learned a lot about evidence and etiquette and intelligent discussion on the internet. I am assuming that some of the names I had been called on other forums are actual words that don't need hyphens. I am not sure. Having actually graduated from grad school (in the allotted time, no less!) not too long ago, I thought that I was up on the vocab. Apparently not, but then again, having a real job and not spending my days in class and nights in the basement freebasing cheeto crumbs and chatting in forums might have made me "out of touch." But hey, at least I'm trying to reach out to the peeps. While I am at it, shout out to "cheesedoodleman", "danddplayer152" and "megatronrulz": mad props to ya! Thanks to all those who commented and argued with tact and decorum. We appreciate your views even if we might disagree. We hope you will return. With that we leave the world of madness and straight back into your regularly scheduled programming:

Welcome back to another episode of the media roundup. In the world of college football this might be considered a "bye week" - there is too much important going on out there and what is there is a no brainer as far what gets our top pick in each category: no competition! So let's get started shall we...

Dual Top Shelf Pick of the Week!
Jonny Lang: Turn Around and Diana Krall: From this Moment On
Two different musical styles, I know, but coming from the same roots. Jazz has been frequently cited as the original American music (or even art form), but Jazz, Blues, (real) Country Music, Rock, Gospel, Folk, and other genres can trace roots far back to the spiritual and instrumental sounds along the Mississippi Delta and in the hills of the Appalachian Mountains. These two new offerings by Blues artist Jonny Lang and Jazz artist Diana Krall reflect why a person who loves music can truly appreciate and enjoy two different genres. At their soul, at their center- they both come from the same place.

Lang's new CD incorporates even more musical influences than his standard talented blues guitar. Lang brings a very personal side to this album, talking a lot about redemption, repentance and returning. There is a gospel choir backing him on many tracks and I think the overall tone is really that of a "spiritual blues" album. A colleague, who reviewed Turn Around, stated that Lang brought too much of the spiritual into his album. What he doesn't understand is, at its heart, the Blues is really spiritual music. Many of the early performers of blues and jazz came from church music backgrounds. It is very much apart of the roots of the genres. Turn Around goes from toe tappin' uplift of Thankful and Turn Around to the plaintive Only a Man. In fact, if you only hear one track, you need to hear Only a Man. That is not Top 40 Bubblegum, my friend. That is real music, real emotion, real pain and redemption.

Diana Krall's new CD From this Moment On is an excellent return to what Krall does best: jazz and standards. Her particular take on standards is always enjoyable in its breathy excellence. Her previous albums, a Christmas one and a CD of original efforts, were good in their own right, but her new release goes back to her somehow icy yet smoldering jazzy take on the American Songbook. Highlights: Come Dance with Me and How Insensitive. Both CDs are highly recommended and you can preview both of them as well as other new releases this week on aol music. Go out and purchase or order your copies today. Throw Turn Around in the car and listen while cruising. Then put From this Moment On in the player at home during a rainy fall evening and enjoy while curling up with your favorite book or your significant other- or both if you have the arms for it and they don't mind.

Caesar: Life of a Colossus, by Adrian Goldsworthy
I don't think that we read enough Roman history, or history in general, for that matter. I've discussed some of my favorites and you've seen recent books like Rubicon on our "What's On The Shelf" sidebar. This new biography of Goldsworthy offers yet another glimpse at the controversial, and perhaps best known figure of the later years of the Roman Republic (not Empire- that's another discussion). Although seemingly a bit forgiving of certain aspects of Caesar's life, Goldsworthy offers a more thoroughly complex portrait of a man than we've gotten lately. With all of the Roman hubbub in recent years on film and television, do yourself a favor and check out the real story, you might discover just exactly how "Roman" we still are today.

I Shouldn't Even Be Doing This!, by Bob Newhart
Bob is one funny guy, and completely iconic to my generation. I loved Newhart! Larry, Darryl, and Darryl ruled! The "kids" today only know Newhart from Elf, but that's OK. I think Bob is starting to undergo a "rediscovery" of sorts. This is his first book, set to coincide with the release of the DVD which covers his first recorded "concert" performance. Check Bob out! It even includes transcriptions of some of his early routines.

The Henry Fonda Signature Collection: Four previously released films, Mister Roberts, Advise and Consent, The Wrong Man, and Battle of the Bulge. If you didn't own them before, this is an easy way to nab all four. Especially Mister Roberts, a Shelf favorite.
The Unit: Season One. One of the best shows on television today. (The season premiere was great, by the way.) Dennis Haysbert rocks.
Bob Newhart: Button Down Concert: If you get the book, get this DVD- they go great together like... chocolate and peanut butter. Mmmm... chocolate and peanut butter.
The Boris Karloff Collection: Old school thrillers and fright movies. Not some of Karloff's more widely known stuff, but very entertaining nonetheless. Classic flicks.

The Amazing Race- well, duh! Watch it - you'll be in for even more surprises. Two eliminations in one episode? Child's play! Wait till you see what else is up the sleeve of the Mighty Phil K.

Shelf picks for Turner Classic Movies:

Sept. 20th: William Holden War classics: Stalag 17 (1953), The Bridges At Toko-Ri (1954), The Bridge On The River Kwai (1957)

Sept. 21st: First chuckle with Red Skelton in Half A Hero (1953). Then settle in for a Film Noir night with Robert Mitchum in The Night Of The Hunter (1955), Cape Fear (1962), Out of the Past (1947), and Thunder Road (1958).

Sept. 22nd : Paul Muni in his classic roles: The Life Of Emile Zola (1937), The Good Earth (1937), and his signature turn in the original Scarface (1932).

Sept. 23rd: It’s the film the brought the Duke to stardom: Stagecoach (1939). Then the Marx Brothers can’t be confined to three rings in At The Circus (1939). Later join Bud and Lou as they have The Time Of Their Lives (1946).

Sept. 24th: It’s the Chairman of the Board in a double feature: The Tender Trap (1955) and The Manchurian Candidate (1962).

Sept. 25th : Don’t miss the lovely June Allyson in Good News (1947). Then stick around for the classic comedy Dinner At Eight (1933).

Sept. 26th : You are in for a treat with some action: Whispering Smith (1948), No Name On The Bullet (1959) and Lonely Are The Brave (1962).

That's all for today Shelfers. We hope some of you Farkers will become regular visitors as well. Remember the rules: no roughhousing, close all the doors behind you (were you raised in a barn?), don't forget to turn the lights out when you leave a room... and most importantly, think for yourself. More Shelf goodness to come this week: Another Halloween Candy teaser, Bargain Bin review and, as promised, Baravelli's Football roundup! Till then...

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

It just came to me all of a sudden. I was lying on my bunk this morning, thinking. And there wasn't a breath of air. And all of a sudden, a funny thing happened. A little breeze came up, and I took a big, deep breath, and I said to myself: Pulver, boy, there's women on that island!

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