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Monday, Dec 11, 2006

Shoes: A History from Sandals to Sneakers by Giorgio Riello (Editor), Peter McNeil (Editor) [Palgrave Macmillan $49.95]


This hefty, richly illustrated book provides deliciously high-end thinking about that which embraces our lowest ends: from the most minimal of sandals of Classical Greece to the coarsest military boots worn in World War I; from the tiny shoes made for a Chinese woman’s cruelly bound foot to the impossibly towering, tottering “chopines” shoes of renaissance Venice; from the coveted suave of hip-hop trainers to the high tech running shoes of modern day marathoners.  How we are shod throughout time and place speaks volumes about class, sexuality, and personality.  This book is as meticulously crafted as men’s finest Italians, and as entertaining to contemplate as the most impossible of stilettos.  Call it Foot for Thought for the cultural historian you love. [Amazon]


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Monday, Dec 11, 2006

NHL ‘07 (Various Platforms) [Electronic Arts - $29.99-$54.99]


The arrival of “next-gen” systems always means major overhauls for the sports games we’ve come to know and love.  Sure, all the love these days goes to the Madden franchise, but even since the days of the Sega Genesis, hockey’s been the sport that translates best to video gaming, and this year is no exception.  This is the year hockey went the Smash TV route, with almost all the control in the XBox 360 version of the game handled by the two analog sticks rather than the buttons: the left stick controls the player’s feet, and the right stick controls the hockey stick.  It sounds so simple, but it’s a revolutionary move, and it’s enough to make you want to invite over that dude that beat the hell out of you in NHL ‘95 12 years ago to give him the what-for in the new version.  Plus, NHL ‘07 has been transformed into a budget title for the gasping-for-breath current-gen systems, making it the perfect gift for those budget-conscious buyers. 



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Monday, Dec 11, 2006

Lollilove [Troma - $19.98]


Welcome to one of the best movies of the year. Yes, Troma’s LolliLove is just that good. Though it should have been a problematic project from the start—the mockumentary and/or ad-libbed comedy are two of the trickiest cinematic styles to get right, let alone perfect—what co-writer/director Jenna Fischer and her Hollywood screenwriter husband James Gunn have managed here is nothing short of pure comedic bliss. Brave, brazen, and filled with the kind of well-observed satire that’s practically impossible to capture on film, this ode to questionable intentions and even more perplexing protocols takes Tinseltown by the throat and really rings its silly, self-important neck. All we can do is laugh at the truth and wonder how far this filmmaker will push the concept. [Amazon]


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Monday, Dec 11, 2006

Warriors Box Set: Volumes 1 to 3 by Erin Hunter [HarperTrophy - $15.99]
Guardians of Ga’hoole Box Set 1-4 by Kathryn Lasky [Scholastic - $19.96]


Apparently, Hunter’s “Warriors” and Lasky’s “Ga’hoole” are for kids. Well, it’s hard for this adult to sit still when news is afoot of the further tales of Rusty the house cat and Soren the owl. While Rusty and the ThunderClan must battle to secure the natural world, Soren and his band must find the Great Ga’hoole Tree to team up with others of their species to take on even more unnatural evil. These characters are adorable and they provide urgent, realistic lessons for everyone about nature and the environment. Catch up on the series’ with these box sets from Harper and Scholastic. [Amazon]


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Monday, Dec 11, 2006

The Time Tunnel: Volume 1 & 2 [Fox - $39.98 each]


With the success of the sci-fi series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (based on his film of the same name) producer/director Irwin Allen brainstormed a show about a pair of scientists tapped in a time machine. He would send Dr. Doug Phillips (Robert Colbert) and Dr. Tony Newman (James Darren) on a fantastic voyage through the eons, all part of a secret government experiment gone horribly wrong. Representing an attempt to bring serious action and adventure to the small screen, it failed to click with audiences. Of all Allen’s shows put on during the ‘60s, The Time Tunnel remains the shortest-lived, lasting only a single season. Ripe for reconsideration, Rhino’s two volume collection provides all 30 episodes of the criminally underrated series. [Amazon]


 


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