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Wednesday, Nov 28, 2007

According to Michael Erard, we screw-up what we say when we speak at a rate of approximately one in every ten words. I don’t know if that’s a source for consolation or worry. Although this book traces verbal fumbles all the way back to ancient Greece, what first came to my mind when I saw this title was, of course, the famed lip-tripper of our day: George W. Bush. Indeed, Bush’s blunders during the 2000 presidential campaign (and the press and the public’s response to them) are what sparked Erard’s interest in the topic.His approach is rather scientific, albeit in an entertaining manner, and you will leave this book armed with a vocabulary to identify each type of common blunder, as well as a better-tuned ear for the gaffes made in everyday conversation that more forgiving types tend to overlook, or overhear, as it were. But, he gently warns, resist the urge to correct those speaking to you, lest you send them into a stuttering rage. The drama student, the psychology major, and the otherwise linguistically inclined will be well-served by the work done here.


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Wednesday, Nov 28, 2007

The Brit Box collects 78 songs of UK alt-pop from 1985 to 1999. Rhino’s four-disc set traces the evolution of this music, from just after the neon lights of new wave died, through the Britpop explosion, and ending right before Coldplay emerged to rule supreme. This box is both an excellent survey and a very well sequenced 312-minute mix. Because Rhino didn’t stick to one genre, you won’t get fatigued by hearing the same style over and over. For Anglophiles and pop lovers alike, the Brit Box is quite a treat.


Oasis - Live Forever



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Wednesday, Nov 28, 2007

According to the noted agent provoc-auteur, celluloid is dead—and you’re tempted to believe him after witnessing this amazing three-hour digital dream. As maddening as it is majestic, overflowing with the noted director’s demented inspirations, what starts out as an actresses fantasy transmogrifies into a statement on women in general. After self-distributing the film throughout 2006, Lynch oversaw the meticulous DVD presentation, which includes a bonanza of behind the scenes material. We get deleted scenes, an onset documentary, a Q&A with the filmmaker, and a recipe for Quinoa. What more could you ask for?


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Wednesday, Nov 28, 2007

McEwan’s On Chesil Beach, a crisp and pocket-sized novel that takes place—with the exception of a number of flashbacks—over the course of a single summer night in 1962, is as tautly constructed as anything he has written, though sprawling in imagination. It’s emblematic of a generation, a semi-scornful elegy for a repressed age, sarcastic about mores and unrelentingly honest about psychological and sexual intimacy. It’s a big book in a little space.


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Wednesday, Nov 28, 2007

Hair metal is making a comeback in a big way. Thanks to a sweeping wave of nostalgia buoyed by the children of the ‘80s, now financially coming into their own, the much mocked and maligned genre is suddenly cool again. With the recent musical success of Motley Crue’s comeback tour, and the Crue’s Nikki Sixx and Poison’s Bret Michaels jettisoning themselves into the current landscape of pop culture relevance (albeit at very different ends of the spectrum), other alumni from the pop metal scene are trying their hand at a possible second-wind. In spite of having fallen off the radar, many of these bands never really went away. Still cranking out pentatonic-punctuated albums, these bands are finally re-emerging from the Aqua Net mist. The light-hearted, yet musically solid hallmarks of hair metal lend themselves perfectly to this sort of compilation. With tracks ranging from the good, such as Winger’s “Happy Christmas (War Is Over)”, to the cheesy-fun of Danger Danger’s “Naughty, Naughty Christmas”, Monster Ballads Xmas is a well-rounded disc of re-worked holiday favorites. Its charm lies within its lack of saccharine sap and the tongue-in-cheek presentation of many of the artists on the album. Although these bands have been out of the public ear for some time, devotees of the hard rock/pop metal genre will instantly recognize the signature sounds and styles of some of their favorites. This latest disc in the Monster Ballads franchise swells with a sizeable gift of holiday cheer. Just keep your Aqua Net-ted locks away from your menorah or Yule log.


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