Get your gear ready and saddle up Shelfers. It's time to hit the road and cruise on through to this week's media roundup. If you're willing, we're able. Although this is a relatively slow week, we've managed to find some gems that you just might be willing to put in your saddlebags.
Top Shelf Pick of the Week:
Feasting on Asphalt
I have a bit of a confession to make: I love Food Network. I mean sure, I don't always watch these shows and go out and make whatever gourmet, crazy complicated meal they've created. No- I go in for the down to earth stuff. I love Paula Dean like mad. I have recreated some of her recipes (delicious) and one of these days I'm gonna make it to her Lady and Sons Restaurant. Rachael Ray is also a favorite. I especially love the shows that combine pop culture, history and our nation's love of food: I'm talking about Unwrapped! Even the quirky Iron Chef gets some regular rotation. Yep, chances are, during some point in the week I've watched several shows on Food Network. However, for me the king of shows is Alton Brown's Good Eats! AB's show manages to make a cooking show cool, entertaining, educating, and a pop culture icon all at once. He's done so by making sure it isn't a "cooking show". It is definitely a show about good food, how to make it good without any unnecessary fluff, and explains why it is...what it is; what makes it work so to speak. You don't need a science degree to get it either.
Now Food Network has sent AB on the road on his beloved motorcycle with a camera crew to discover food along the road in Feasting on Asphalt. It's food that everyone eats every now and then. No ultra modern five star restaurants here, just the kinds of places where people go to eat and then go home and tell their friends about. Heck, he even checks out camps, backyard barbeques, etc. Feasting on Asphalt is sort of "Good Eats on a summer vacation." Four episodes feature his trip starting from Savannah, Georgia and ending in California. The first episode on this Saturday at 9pm eastern, features South Carolina and Georgia. Good old southern food. Check it out!
Other shows: Don't forget Big Brother 7, (here is an excellent website for recaps, goings-on and pictures: HamsterWatch) and later on the weekend: Reno 911!
Shelf Picks for Turner Classic Movies
July 26th: Party hardy with Elvis in Viva Las Vegas (1964). Then, roll with the punches in Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull (1980)
July 27th: The opulence was legendary for Cleopatra (1963)
July 28th: Charlton Heston rises above the occasion in Ben-Hur (1959). Later watch James Cagney in The Strawberry Blonde (1941) and Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
July 29th: Lee J. Cobb and Henry Fonda square off with 12 Angry Men (1957). Later, Bogie and Ida Lupino make off for the High Sierra (1941). Then Don't miss James Cagney as he goes off to WWI with The Fighting 69th (1940)
July 30th: Bogie returns in Dark Passage (1947). Bette Davis makes the wrong choices in Jezebel (1938). And don't miss Maureen O'Sullivan and Johnny Weissmuller in Tarzan, The Ape Man (1932)
July 31st: It's a Powell-Loy double feature with After The Thin Man (1936) and The Thin Man Goes Home (1945). Stay up for Olivia and Errol in Captain Blood (1935).
JAG: The Complete First Season
Harmon Rabb and company lasted 10 seasons on television. No mean feat in this day and age. The very popular J*A*G also spawned a spin-off, NCIS. This first season actually premiered on NBC, then was cancelled. David Bellasario took it to CBS, where it went on for 9 more successful seasons. One very important change was the addition of the lovely goddess known as Catherine Bell to the cast. If you've missed it - here's a good way to catch up.
Chappelle's Show: The Lost Episodes
In a way it's almost foolhardy to recommend this, as most you who love the show just watched all three episodes that are on this set. However, there are more unused clips, extra footage, and more stuff promised here. Our main contention is that Comedy Central needs to go ahead and give Charlie Murphy and Donnell Rawlins their own show.
The Will Rogers Collection: Volume One
Will Rogers is an American Icon that very few people know much about today. His gentle humor, keen observation, and "aw, shucks" down to earth personality made him one of America's first genuine celebrities. Radio helped to make him a household name, but he also furthered his career in films. The four films in this collection; Doubting Thomas, In Old Kentucky, Life Begins at 40, and Steamboat Round the Bend, are accompanied by Movietone Film Newsreels, commentary, and an excellent A&E episode on Rogers from their Biography series.
Well that's all for this week's roundup folks. Short n' sweet. That's sometimes the way it needs to be. We know that there's quite a bit of bad stuff happening around the world. Our recommendation? Go outside, pitch a couple to the kid, take a walk... enjoy being alive a little bit. There's too much bad stuff out in the world. Do something to bring a little sunshine to yours or someone else's life. Enjoy something fun. In the meantime, when the news and stuff gets ya' down...employ the Shelf motto: "Think for yourself."
As always, your comments are welcome.
The army is always the same. The sun and the moon change, but the army knows no seasons.