September 14, 2007


It's been a while since we asked, but what's on your iPod, night table & Tivo?:


Raymond Burr plays Ironside as much more of a tough guy than I recalled.


The Daughter and I crank this when we go for a walk--music to strut by...

and the Internet Archive has an MP3 collection of an early 60s radio show adapting de Tocqueville's Democracy in America--it's quite earnest and pretty amusing.


For whatever reason, we were inundated with biographies this past Spring and Summer and one oddity: every one was about a basically admirable person--Calvin Coolidge; Condi Rice; Edwin Arlington Robinson; Lafayette; Charlemagne; and de Tocqueville:

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 14, 2007 7:11 AM

I have two go watch recomendations both of which are fairly recent TV to DVD releases.

First, go watch Serenity a thirteen part TV series that was cancelled on FOX before it got going. I speak as a life long initiate of the pencil neck SF geeks. It is the best SF I have ever seen on the screen, including 2001, Starwars, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, etc...

Second, the current HBO series ROME is astonishingly good. Violence, political intrigue, the occassional sexy woman, massed ranks of Roman legions smashing into one another, obscure Roman religious sects, underworld machinations, gladitorial combat, Byzantine dynastic fights; really what more do you need from a costume drama that even gets the costumes right? And did I mention that at bottom it's a buddy flick? And then there is the second season where it gets really good.

Posted by: Ray Clutts at September 14, 2007 11:25 AM

Reading: The Autobiography of Mark Twain (re-reading Huck Finn aloud with my 12-year old). The autobiography is really more of "Mark Twain lays in bed smoking his pipe and talking about whatever comes into his mind." And that's a good thing.

Listening: Dug up some old disks from the Blood Oranges, who wrote beautiful roots/bluegrass tunes and had an electric mandolin.

Watching: Metropolis, 1927, the 2002 Kino restoration. I had seen this as a teen with with the awful quality print and awful Queen music. This version puts as much of the film back together as possible, cleaning the images to fairly pristine state, and includes a modern recording of the original orchestral score. As a quarter of the movie is missing, they have to put some placards up to describe the action in the missing frames. It is purely engrossing. My kids even watched the whole thing, which is amazing for for a black-and-white silent film that is nearly 3 hours long.

Posted by: ted welter at September 14, 2007 11:33 AM

On the [DVD-R machine]: Burn Notice -- Imagine MacGyver with a bad attitude and more realistic spycraft.

On the iPod: Hem, "Half Acre" -- a hauntingly pretty song; used as the soundtrack for that compelling Liberty Mutual "Responsibility" commercial.

Reading: Jon Lundstrom, Black Shoe Carrier Admiral -- a biography of Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher, who commanded task forces in more carrier battles than any other, and won every one of them.

Posted by: Mike Morley at September 14, 2007 12:31 PM

Ray: "Serenity" is the theatrical movie conclusion to the 13-part "Firefly" single-season TV series. And it's great stuff. Joss Whedon (Buffy, Angel) understood what made the first couple of Star Wars movies so entertaining, and adapted/extended the concept: Cowboys in space! The payoff of the movie "Serenity" is pretty sweet if you go through the series chronologically. But people I know who never saw the series still loved the movie, then went back to view the series.

Posted by: ted welter at September 14, 2007 12:45 PM

Books currently out from the library include Wedgwood's "The Thirty Years War", Barone's "Our First Revolution", Spengler's "The Decline of the West", and Lodge's "The Art of Fiction." Also "Angelina Ballerina." Returning Grossman's "Life and Fate" as I'm just too busy to get into it at the moment.

What's an ipod? Music I have out from the library includes William Byrd's "The Great Service", Arvo Part's "Kanon pokajanen", and Rachmaninoff's "Divine Liturgy."

What's a tivo?

Posted by: b at September 14, 2007 12:52 PM

Mike Daley hectored me until I watched Burn Notice and it's pretty good: sort of an updated Magnum PI.

Posted by: oj at September 14, 2007 12:57 PM


I really enjoyed those Blood Oranges discs and can't recommend enough that you both check out Fritz Lang's later American noir films--like, the Big Heat--and that you see if you can track down a copy of Flicker by Theodore Roszack, in which a Lang-ish director and his hidden messages become the obsession of a young film enthusiast.

Posted by: oj at September 14, 2007 1:02 PM

Watching: Princess Mononoke, after getting the DVD as a present 3 years previously. Rewatched Repo Man. I think those are the only two adult movies I've seen in the last six months.

iPod; Same stuff as last time, I haven't added any music since the last survey.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at September 14, 2007 1:51 PM

Gathered the first 3 seasons of The Wire from friends and the library and had a marathon session last wknd. Awesome, just awesome.

The Shield is up in 2 weeks!

Posted by: Benny at September 14, 2007 5:35 PM


You're absolutely right. The series title is Firefly and the movie sequel is Serenity. Sorry, they'll strip me of my browncoat for that faux pas; both were surpassingly good.


Posted by: Ray Clutts at September 14, 2007 9:41 PM

Isn't Ironside great? I love it. I recently bought three seasons of the first Bob Newhart show. The only swear word he ever used in all his comedy was "damned" funny. Once! And, need I mention, Suzanne Pleshette!

How in the world can I list all the music I have on my 40 gig iPod?

But you do, elsewhere, mention Pat Metheny. I have every one of his records permanently on my iPod. If God has elevator music in heaven, Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays will have written it. (I mean that in a good way...)

Ahmad Jamal, Akiyoshi-Tabackin, Aldo Romano, Andras Schiff, Andrew Hill, Angela Hewitt, Art Blakey, Art Pepper, Artur Rubenstien, Artur Schnabel...

Hey, you get the picture ;-)

Posted by: Randall Voth at September 15, 2007 4:33 AM