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Sunday, Nov 26, 2006

LibraryThing.com lifetime account [$25]


Tim Spalding, the creator of LibraryThing, has unleashed the inner librarian of thousands of users. LibraryThing tracks your books, and lets you tag, rate, and review them; it lets you see others who own that book, people who use similar tags, plus a hundred other features. LibraryThing taps the catalogs of Amazon (all the different flavors), the Library of Congress, and more than 40 world libraries in order to help identify books and open up cataloging data. If you’re the sort of person who compulsively checks out other people’s bookshelves, you can’t miss LibraryThing.


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Sunday, Nov 26, 2006

John Lee Hooker: Hooker [Shout! Factory - $59.98 - 4 CDs]


John Lee Hooker was among the most important musicians of the latter half of the 20th century. He took the spare and lonesome sound of pre-World War Two acoustic blues and electrified it for the modern aesthetic, bridging two distinct eras of the genre. Hooker is everything one would want from a box set. It encapsulates a vast swath of musical history, showing both the personal evolution of a legendary musician and the gradual transformations that occurred in the genre. The tracks are impeccably well-chosen and lovingly remastered. The liner notes, with a compelling bio from Ted Drozdowski and highly detailed track listings, are enjoyable and an excellent resource. And, unlike many artists, John Lee Hooker’s music never turned downhill. On too many box sets (or even two-disc compilations), a halving of the act’s material would suffice. But any trimming here would be a crime. [Amazon]


Full PopMatters review


John Lee Hooker - I’m Leaving


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Sunday, Nov 26, 2006

Forget bad dubbing into English. Forget Raymond Burr as a kind of creature feature color commentator. In fact, forget everything you know about the traditional Toho titan and check out this attempt to reclaim his original motion picture majesty. This is the timeless Japanese monster movie classic the way it was meant to be seen. Those used to Perry Mason amongst all the Tokyo destroying mayhem will be happy to see the American version included as well. Toss in a collection of commentaries and bonus features and you’ve got a DVD presentation that forever vanquishes the film’s Saturday afternoon kid vid matinee aura. Godzilla was meant to symbolize nuclear technology run amuck, and with this release, his b-movie babysitting days may finally be over. [Amazon]


 


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Sunday, Nov 26, 2006

It’s enough to make fans of the famous dance team swoon with song and dance possibilities—10 films, a bonus CD, another disc featuring a comprehensive documentary and a startling array of complementary features. Just having the ability to own every film this dynamic duo made (Flying Down to Rio / The Gay Divorcee / Roberta / Top Hat / Follow the Fleet / Swing Time / Shall We Dance / Carefree / The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle / The Barkleys of Broadway) should be motivation enough for an instantaneous purchase. But Warner Brothers hedges it bets by providing the best possible print of each film possible, and then larding each entry with enough extra goodies to seal the cinematic deal. [Amazon]


“Cheek to Cheek” from Top Hat


“Top Hat, White Tie, and Tails” from Top Hat


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Sunday, Nov 26, 2006

Museum of Lost Wonder by Jeff Hoke [Weiser Books, August 2006, 159 pages, $49.95]


Hoke’s Museum is the ultimate gift for the methodical thinker. It’s a wonderland of creative experience, from investigations into metaphysical, scientific, and evolutionary thought to exercises and DIY models that seek to invigorate the reader’s desire for personal and world discovery. An artist and designer with the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, Hoke’s reveals the mystical past that has shaped our all too practical present. It looks like a simple coffee table book, yet opens out into a genuine (in appearance and representative experience, at least) museum complete with unique “halls” containing categories such as: a Hall of Technology, a Hall of Aquaria, and a Gallery of the Arts. [Amazon]


Step inside of the Museum of Lost Wonder and meet its creator, curator and author of the book bearing the same name. See more at www.lostwonder.org.


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