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Tuesday, Dec 18, 2007

All nine seasons of the groundbreaking series are offered in deluxe, limited edition fashion, packaged with the X-Files movie and a wealth of cool extras, including a comic book, classic art cards, and the theatrical poster. For fans of classic TV and geeks alike, this is the mother lode. True, hardcore fans already have the individual sets like I do with the extras those include. But what completist can ever resist sets like these… one big box full of everything from your favorite show ever. It’s mostly essential for fans of smart TV who don’t already have any X-Files sets or may only have the themed alien story sets or a single season or two.


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Tuesday, Dec 18, 2007

Oddly enough, this Italian icon never wanted to be the savior of the American oater. He simply wanted to make a commercially successful film, and the rising interest in the spaghetti style western seemed like a good avenue to explore. The result stands as the revamped genre’s greatest hits. Collecting together A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, and the criminally overlooked Duck, You Sucker, we literally witness the birth of an entire motion picture mannerism. The long pauses, the extreme close-ups, the heat scorched sanctimony – it’s all here to be enjoyed over and over again.


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Tuesday, Dec 18, 2007

Role playing games have come a long way from the slow-paced, menu-driven “Boy and ragtag band of warriors grow up/fight evil wizard” days. A lot of the credit for that goes to BioWare, whose previous titles Knights of the Old Republic and Jade Empire combined old school role playing with action packed lightsaber battles and kung-fu fighting respectively. BioWare’s next step in innovation is Mass Effect, which fuses a third-person squad shooter with role playing elements in a completely original outer space science fiction setting. Mass Effect‘s problems (mediocre combat, hiccuping framerates) might be slight annoyances, but the game’s breathtaking graphics and absorbing story more than make up for them. In Mass Effect, you play as Commander Shepard, a mid-level military officer who must pursue a rogue Spectre, the intergalactic equivalent of a CIA operative. Unlike most sci-fi plots where humanity is still the center of the universe, humans are relatively weak in Mass Effect, tolerated by some alien races, hated by others. Combat with guns and “biotic” powers is a big part of the game, but conversation via BioWare’s signature complex dialogue trees is where you make the important and sometimes ethically challenging decisions. Those expecting Halo should stay away, but all role playing fans should check out Mass Effect.


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Tuesday, Dec 18, 2007

Imagine, Mark Twain on masturbation (although he doesn’t call it that), a 1592 valentine to a dildo (and yes, even then, it’s called, that), a three-part section on other words used for, er, “those parts”.  Imagine, imparted wisdom on “sexual relativity” by Albert Einstein, alongside excerpts from the Kama Sutra and other “authorities” on the subject (not least D.H. Lawrence, Henry Miller). And speaking of The Subject, this little book, loaded with historical images (ads, cartoons, photos), goes all about it, all around it, and covers it pretty thoroughly, with delightful inclusiveness; much like one goes over every inch of one’s person of fascination. It’s a little bit naughty and terribly funny, much like the Real Thing. Consider it a pop-y, anthropological study of the libido with, of course, a fair amount of history and “geography” thrown in. Perfect for the sexy, cerebral, imaginative person in your life.


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Tuesday, Dec 18, 2007

Everyman Michael Moore is well known for his at times comically, at times painfully blunt approach to the gawdawful truth of life as it is in the US for the average person.  Indeed, Moore is among our most astute cultural/political critics, in the non-academic sense, of course. The fat cats who keep the rest of us underfoot are no match for the Big Man and his team in this TV series—when he can corner them.  He gets a lot closer to them than the average Joe, even makes them squirm, at times, and that’s damned cathartic to watch.  The Emmy nominated show, captured here in the Entire Series and Best of DVDs, make an ideal gift for anybody you know who feels their tax money is misdirected, and their lives and the lives of others, undervalued.


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