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reviewed Griffin's Egg. October 11, 2010
Griffin's Egg
  The protagonist is a loner on the Moon who wants nothing more than to be left alone to commune with virgin territory, but circumstances throw him into proximity with others as well as wake him …
reviewed The Commitments (1991 movie). October 10, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The Commitments (1991)
Track One: I Heard It Through the Grapevine       It was 1991 and I had been working late, coming home on the 605 Freeway in Los Angeles, listening to SNAP (an alternative music program) …
The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Fifth Annual Collection
I read this collection in late 1992, but just recently, when I was flipping back through my Daytimer looking for some other information, I discovered that I had written notes on the stories. For some …
reviewed Mark Salzman. October 08, 2010
Mark Salzman
I was attending a panel at WisCon in 1991 entitled "Neglected Authors" or somesuch. Actually, I was supposed to have been on the panel (not that I'm neglected or anything, that's another …
reviewed The Story of the Stone. October 08, 2010
The Story of the Stone
For the most part, I could care less whether a book has won an award in the field. The Hugos and Nebulas et al. seem to be popularity contests filled with backbiting, vote-buying, be-good-to-your-friends, …
reviewed Look Sharp!. October 04, 2010
Look Sharp!
Look Sharp! contains some of the cleverest songs from the 1970s, one of which was a huge radio hit. Jackson emerged just as Elvis Costello and Graham Parker did, both incredibly clever and caustic songwriters …
reviewed Coverville. September 30, 2010
Coverville
There's only two podcasts that I listen to with any regularity, and of those two, my favorite is Brian Ibbott's Coverville, which celebrates its 6th anniversary this week. Brian plays cover songs (or …
reviewed Carcassonne (iOS application). September 25, 2010
Carcassonne (iOS application)
Carcassonne is a wonderful board game and the transition it makes to the iOS system (iPhone, iPod, iPad) here is perfect.  The software takes the things that are annoying about playing the game in …
reviewed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (20.... September 24, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
The first third of this movie, where you meet poor little Charlie Bucket and his family in their dilipidated home, where they are so poor that his grandparents sleep in one bed by the fire, head to toe, …
reviewed Last Chance to See. September 24, 2010
Last Chance to See
I read this back in 1994 during a period where my wife and I would each read a book out of the other's library. It's basically a travel book written by that master of modern British understatement, …
reviewed Kamakiriad. September 24, 2010
posted in Music Matters
Kamakiriad
I'm not a big fan of jazz. I've never understood the appeal of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Charles Mingus. I've tried, lord how I've tried, but with the exception of Take Five, most …
reviewed Ping. September 24, 2010
Ping
Apple's foray into social networks, Ping, doesn't seem quite ready for the big leagues -- especially not given the resources that Apple has and the possibilities of making something really amazing. …
reviewed Mamono Sweeper. September 23, 2010
posted in The Gaming Hub
Mamono Sweeper
After Solitaire, what's likely the most played game on your computer if you're a Windows user?  Minesweeper.  And like Solitaire, it's a trusted favorite for spending a few minutes …
God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run
A few weeks ago I read an interview with the author of this book and that intrigued me enough to make this the first purchase through Apple's iBooks application on my iPhone. During this last weekend's …
reviewed Lungs. April 05, 2010
posted in Music Matters
Lungs
I first heard Florence + the Machine on YouTube, the home of the music video ever since Mtv became the home of inane "reality" shows. I think I must have played the videos I could find by this band ten …
Confucius Lives Next Door: What Living in the East
J picked this paperback up for me during her business trip in the U.S., due in part for her own interest in it, but also because we both had enjoyed Reid's informal talks with Bob Edwards on NPR's Morning …
reviewed Permanent Waves. January 05, 2010
Permanent Waves
The lead off track of this album by Rush, "The Spirit of Radio," was written for and about a Canadian radio station, and it perfectly captures a moment in radio history, between the payola of the 60s …
reviewed The Magicians: A Novel. January 03, 2010
The Magicians: A Novel
At some point in the development of a writer, you have to stop reading and start writing. Many writers find it difficult to write in their own style if they are simultaneously reading something very stylistic, …
reviewed Maps and Legends. October 07, 2008
Maps and Legends
Pulitzer-prize winning Chabon speaks to me and for me in this book of essays on writing. Chabon believes that fiction, specifically short fiction, has lost its power because of the limitations placed …
Saucerful of Secrets: The Pink Floyd Odyssey
The recent demise of Pink Floyd keyboardist Rick Wright was my impetus for reading this well-researched biography of the rock group. I'm a fan of the Waters/Gilmour Floyd (as opposed to the Syd Barrett …
reviewed Replay (book). October 05, 2008
Replay by Ken Grimwood
Prior to having my recent bypass surgery, I bought a copy of my favorite book, Ken Grimwood's REPLAY, to re-read. [...], but I thought it would be especially interesting to re-read now in light of (a) …
reviewed The Locusts Have No King. September 15, 2008
The Locusts Have No King
This was another book from Michael Dirda's list of 100 Best Humorous Books in the English Language, and another one that I enjoyed reading, but not so much for any comedy. I'd chalk it up to a difference …
The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts
In the 80's, there was a fun independent board game that we would sometimes play called Junta. You played a corrupt power elite family member who gets assigned a stereotypical role (General, guerrilla …
The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate:
Having had this book recommended to me from a list of the 100 best comedic novels in the English language, I was somewhat disappointed that the amusement provided herein was of the limited, bring-the-edges-of-one's-mouth …
reviewed Gentlemen of the Road: A Tale of Adve.... August 23, 2008
Gentlemen of the Road: A Tale of Adventure
This "serial" novel (it was originally published in installments) by Chabon is a great adventure tale (it says so right there in the subtitle), but is a bit light for Chabon, whom has taken some light …
reviewed Katamari Damacy. August 18, 2008
Katamari Damacy
I'd long heard the praises of this game from various sources (like BoingBoing) and when I finally got a PS2 (yes, I live in the dark ages), this was the first game I had to try on it. The concept is wacky, …
reviewed Mockingbird. August 18, 2008
Mockingbird
Allison Moorer has a wonderfully smoky singing voice, the kind that can make for both great sultry jazz interpretation as well as portray the kind of heartbreak that a good country slow song requires. …
reviewed Gods Behaving Badly: A Novel. August 18, 2008
Gods Behaving Badly: A Novel
This is a quite amusing novel, although it runs the gamut from being childishly comical to randily risque in a kind of strange schizophrenia that is sometimes typical of first novels. The concept is simple: …
reviewed Garmin Portable Friction Mount. August 18, 2008
Garmin Portable Friction Mount
For what is basically a sandbag, this is an incredibly useful accessory. It has rubber grip on the bottom so that the heavy sand weighs it down on your dashboard and the holder, and your GPS, doesn't …
reviewed Love the Cup. November 05, 2007
posted in Music Matters
Love the Cup
I think it began with Fleetwood Mac. Something about the joined voices of a male and a female that is simply the two voices singing together in harmony. This is opposed to a duet, which I don't care for, …
reviewed Indian Summer. November 05, 2007
posted in Music Matters
Indian Summer
I have a confession to make. My introduction to Carbon Leaf was mp3s on a CD data disc that was part of a swap with a co-worker. This, the RIAA will tell you, is illegal. But it did make me a Carbon Leaf …
reviewed Broken Promises. November 05, 2007
posted in Music Matters
Broken Promises
Broken Promises is probably the best alt-country album you've never heard. And, unless you're like me and scan the dollar bins at used CD stores or, even more unlikely, you actually read these words and …
reviewed The Fragile Army. November 01, 2007
posted in Music Matters
The Fragile Army
It used to be that an artist--be it a painter, writer, or musician--was developed. That was one of the functions of a producer, agent, or editor: to discover new talent and help it become great. Take, …
The Smiths' Meat Is Murder (Thirty Three and a
I've been reading the Thirty-Three-and-a-Third series of books, which are like extended liner notes to albums for people who don't think the originals had enough liner notes to begin with. So far, the …
reviewed V for Vendetta (2006 film). March 06, 2007
V for Vendetta (2006 film)
Missed this one in the theater and it finally came up in the Netflix queue. As seems to be the case with movies made from graphic novels these days, the filmmakers did a great job of capturing the visual …
The Areas of My Expertise
I acquired this book through our book club gift exchange and, although I had never heard of it before, thought it would be an interesting read, and it came recommended by some of the members of the club. …
reviewed Hounds of Love. March 01, 2007
posted in Music Matters
Hounds of Love
I bought this in 1986, having heard Bill Humphries sing the praises of Kate Bush for months. It was the Spring-Summer of my triumphant return to UT Austin (before the inevitable Second Fall from Grace …
reviewed A Thousand Acres: A Novel. February 27, 2007
A Thousand Acres: A Novel
When this book was chosen by our book club for this month's theme of "tragedy," I approached reading it with some trepidation. There are a number of things that I don't care for in literature, and one …
reviewed Walk the Line (2005). February 03, 2007
Walk the Line (Widescreen Edition) (2005)
We missed this movie in the theater, and it finally popped up to the top in our netflix queue, a bit like cream rising to the top of the milk churn. This is an extremely well done biopic, that limits …
Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science
It's no easy task to write a history of science fiction, as amorphous a publishing category as there is, so I hesitate to call this book a failure on those terms alone. What it attempts to do, it does …
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