At Last: Librarians With First-Strike Capability

I should really activate the parental controls on the TV in my bedroom. I’m not concerned about limiting my access to sex and violence so much as controlling the times that I can get sucked into great movies that I’ve never seen before. Friday morning’s casualty was “Infamous.” In one of those weird things that…

Amazon Advent 03 – “White Wine In The Sun” (Tim Minchin)

White Wine In The Sun Tim Minchin Ready For This? (Live) Genre: Miscellaneous Continuing my kickoff theme of “Comedians, And Please Give Them Their Full Due As Musicians,” we have this triply-appropriate and hugely wonderful track from Tim Minchin. (1) The album is filled with clever, funny songs; (2) but “White Wine In The Sun”…

Amazon Advent 02 – “Mr. Fancy Pants” by Jonathan Coulton

Mr. Fancy Pants Jonathan Coulton JoCo Looks Back Genre: Pop “Not many people know this…but the Führer was a terrific dancer.” So wrote no less an authority on European history than Dr. Melvin James Kaminsky, in his seminal work, “The Producers.” It goes to show you that typecasting is a widespread problem that extends far,…

Amazon Advent 2012: “Rock-A-Bye Your Baby” by Jerry Lewis

Rock-A-Bye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody Jerry Lewis Jerry Lewis Just Sings Genre: Comedy My BFF John has been simultaneously inspiring and shaming me with his Movie Year project. He’s watched and reviewed 1300 movies over the past four years — each one new to him — and has kept up a one-a-day pace…

Amazon Advent Calendar 2012: The Preamble

This can’t possibly be the first day of my annual Musical Advent Calendar, can it? First objection: “The Advent season doesn’t begin until Sunday, December 2.” I’m not sure why this is your first objection. If you’ve been sent here expecting additional guidance and insight about how to prepare yourself and your family for Celebration…

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga: “The Lady Is A Tramp” (Amazon Advent Calendar day 6)

The Lady Is A Tramp Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga Duets II Genre: Pop Yesterday’s post covered the subject of “Being surprised that a famous person is good at doing something else besides the thing for which he or she is famous.” Today’s topic is about being surprised that the famous person is good at…

“Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues (Advent Calendar day 26)

Fairytale of New York The Pogues Featuring Kirsty MacColl The Best of The Pogues Genre: Pop What’s your favorite Christmas-ish song? Note the decisive use of the hyphenated suffix. If the lyrics include references to either the Batman or the Superman of this season (Santa and Jesus) then you can clearly file it under “Holiday.”…

“You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” by Kasio Kristmas (Amazon Advent Calendar day 24)

You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch Kasio Kristmas Kasio Kristmas Genre: Holiday Here’s a song with real crossover appeal. And not that weak kind of crossover either, where a longtime fan of a quirky, iconoclastic performer eagerly buys her first mainstream release and is bewildered to find that all of a sudden, she’s covering both…

“The Spirit Of Christmas” by Ray Charles (Amazon Advent Calendar day 23)

That Spirit of Christmas Ray Charles The Spirit of Christmas Genre: R&B/Soul How many Christmas songs can there be, do you reckon? And I’m not throwing my hands in the air and whining that there are too damn many of them. I’m saying that there seems to be a fixed number of Christmas songs that…

“Christmas Time Is Here” – Amazon Advent Calendar day 22

Christmas Time Is Here (Vocal Version) Vince Guaraldi Trio A Charlie Brown Christmas Genre: Holiday We’re at Kringle Minus 6, people! Clearly it’s time for me to stop diving deep into the back-catalogues and give up any attempt to make myself seem like the Ahmet Ertegun of my generation. Although yes, admittedly, inserting a reference…

“And I Wonder?” by The Slackers (Amazon Advent Calendar day 19)

And I Wonder? The Slackers The Question Genre: Alternative Rock Maybe the most sophisticated version of the Turing Test for any given technology is actually the simple question “Is it capable of helping us and screwing us at the same time?” Then and only then can we say that a machine is truly Human. “And…

“Shine On Your Shoes” from “The Band-Wagon” (Amazon Advent Calendar day 18)

A Shine On Your Shoes Fred Astaire The Band Wagon Genre: Soundtrack I don’t want to get into the exhausting argument “Which is the greatest musical ever made: ‘The Band Wagon’ or ‘Singin’ In The Rain’?” It’s tiresome and unproductive and it misses the entire point of MGM’s Golden Age. The point being that the…

“Por Una Cabeza” by Carlos Gardel (Amazon Advent Calendar day 16)

Por una cabeza Carlos Gardel Remasterizado año 2010 Genre: Latino 1992’s “Scent Of A Woman” had two positive impacts upon our culture. First, it expanded the vocabulary of any valid Al Pacino impression. To “It was you, Fredo. You’re the one who broke my heart” and “Say hello to my little friend!!!” the movie added…