“Until the morning he discovered the dead man in his refrigerated display case, nothing very exciting had ever happened to Jacques Beauregard.” Ah, that’s classic. And ‘classic’ is the point, exactly, of this collection of murder mysteries by this author, James Holding, and other notables such a Ellery Queen, John Updike, C.S. Forester, and many more. A dastardly curation of stories of devious invention, fans of the short story format as well as hard-core mystery fans will be captured—and held tight like a knife in a gloved hand—by this book. Each entry is a perfect dream-inducing, disturbing read just before dropping off to sleep.
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Speaking of the other Mystery Science staffers, head writer Mike Nelson did some solo work for Legend Films before settling in with old castmates Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett to create this online series of audio-only commentaries. Without having to pony up the exaggerated rights fees to take on their titles, the Traxers have spoofed Star Wars, The Matrix, and even Iron Man. This DVD collects a few of their short subject efforts (films included), which clearly represents some of their best work. As an added bonus, the boys are given unique 3D personas for the final entry “Shake Hands with Danger”.
These headphones are not new. Koss created the PortraPro Stereophones in the mid-1980s, and from an aesthetic standpoint they are distinctly of their time. (They look like rejected Tron props.) But those who can stomach (or even embrace?) the unique look will discover why the PortaPros continue to sell: they’re comfortable, sound great, and—here’s the kicker—they’re cheap, too. There simply are no other cans in the under-$50 market that deliver sound like this: crisp, rich, detailed. A friend contends that they lean a little on the bass, but I think he’s just being nitpicky. And Koss offers a lifetime no-questions-asked warranty, so if you happen to trod on them on a late-night bathroom run (as I did), you can get them replaced for only the cost of shipping. Bottom line: If you’re looking for a gift for the discriminating listener, but don’t feel like stretching your wallet, you can’t go wrong with these.
After a dearth of written history for so long about the “only band that matters”, the Clash’s spot in the music book section of the local Border’s has grown a lot more crowded in recent years. There is Pat Gilbert’s Passion Is a Fashion: The Real Story of the Clash and Chris Salewicz’s Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer leading the pack. But this is the first time we’ve gotten the seminal band’s story in their own words, married to a rich photographic history, with many photos published for the first time. Even if you’ve read the other volumes, you’ll want this one to hear the artists tell their own story as well as possess the most complete photographic history of the Clash yet printed. Here’s a proud addition to the coffee table of a serious rock music fan.
Fable 2‘s Albion is a lush snow-globe world that seduces and envelops the player as few video games have done. Ultimately, designer Peter Molyneux’s real achievement is to reorient our moral compass in unexpected and often unsettling ways. Many games have attempted to offer us choices, but few have successfully transcended a limited binary good/evil formula. Fable 2 accomplishes this and does so with wit, sharp writing, and memorable characters. This is a richly enjoyable role-playing game that even non-RPG players can fully embrace.