“You master form you master time.” That’s Glyn Maxwell’s mantra throughout this clever little book. Books like On Poetry basically give the author a chance to display his favorite poems and to celebrate his favorite poets. Glyn Maxwell likes Robert Frost, Yeats, Emily Dickinson, and Shakespeare. I always enjoy books where the writer is passionate about his material. You’ll find Glyn Maxwell an amiable guide to poetry and its forms. GRADE: B+
The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus was published in 1902. In typical L. Frank Baum fashion, the story of Santa is filled with marvelous creatures: nymphs and fairies, and Knooks, and Ryls. In Baum’s version of Santa’s life, Santa is an abandoned child. The creatures of the Forest of Burzee adopt him and rise Santa to manhood. But then Santa discovers his goal in Life: to make children happy. Santa starts with carved toys and then branches out. The story of how the reindeer become part of Christmas is charming, too. Those of you who’ve read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz series know what to expect: delight!
I just returned from my semi-annual appointment with my urologist. Last week I had blood work that included a PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) test. Today my urologist gave me the results. I scored a 1.1. Any score under 4.0 is good. Guys, if you haven’t gotten your PSA test this year now’s the time to do it. Do not put it off! Ladies, remind the over-40 men in your life to take a PSA test at least once a year. Early detection makes all the difference! And keep eating pizza to protect the prostate! (It’s the lycopene in the tomato sauce.)
Art Scott generously sent me this quirky tome. This is not a “Best of” volume. This is Tom Moom talking about his 1,000 favorite recordings that he thinks everyone should listen to. You can probably guess how this turns out. Minnie Riperton is here, but no Mary Wells, Billy Joel, or Mariah Carey. The Classic music choices are equally quirky. Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart are here, but no Telemann. Browsing through the 1,000 pages of 1,000 Recording to Hear Before You Die took me some time, but it generated a list of CDs I’ll give to “Santa.” There’s something here for everyone. Here’s a sample of the offerings in “A”: (The complete list can be found here)
Moorish Music from Mauritania
Dimi Mint Abba and Khalifa Ould Eide
Blu Blu Blu
The Muhal Richard Abrams Orchestra
Shakin’ the Rafters
The Abyssinian Baptist Choir
Back in Black
San Francisco Symphony Orchestra (Edo De Waart, cond.)
The Death of Klinghoffer
Christopher Maltman, Sanford Sylvan, Yvonne Howard, London Symphony Orchestra (John Adams, cond.)
The Real Me: Johnny Adams Sings Doc Pomus
At the Lighthouse
The Cannonball Adderley Quintet
The Best of the Classic Years
King Sunny Ade
Toys in the Attic
Éthiopiques, Vol 7: Erè Mèla Mèla
The Ultimate Arthur Alexander
Alice in Chains
At Fillmore East
The Allman Brothers Band
The Complete General Recordings
The Almanac Singers
Whipped Cream and Other Delights
Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
Arepa 3000: A Venezuelan Journey into Space
Los Amigos Invisibles
The First Day
Albert Ammons and Meade “Lux” Lewis
“The House of the Rising Sun”
Selected Ambient Works 85–92
When the Pawn. . .
The Arcade Fire
Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 3
Berlin Philharmonic (Claudio Abbado, cond.)
The Complete Hot Fives and Hot Sevens
3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life of. . .
Art Ensemble of Chicago
Steppin’ Out: Astaire Sings
Chester and Lester
Chet Atkins and Les Paul
Somehow Extract slipped past me when it first came out in 2009. But I finally caught up with it and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of this indy movie. The cast is impressive: Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig, Dustin Milligan, J. K. Simmons, and Ben Affleck. The plot revolves around Jason Bateman’s company that sells a variety of cooking extracts: almond, vanilla, etc. But General Mills makes an offer to buy the company. This leads to some funny consequences. The subplot is less interesting. Jason Bateman and his wife, played by Kristen Wiig, are having problems. Ben Affleck, Bateman’s friend, suggests Bateman hire a “gigolo.” The results are head-shaking. But there’s plenty in this movie to enjoy. Worth a look. GRADE: B+
Some Bills fans think their team can still make the Playoffs. There is still a remote mathematical probability of this happening. But the Bills–who haven’t won two games in a row all season long–would have to win FIVE straight games. Not likely. The Bills are 3-point favorites in this “home game” played in Toronto, Canada. Atlanta has problems defending against the run so I suspect the Bills’ ground game will be featured this week. The Bills are coming off a Bye with most of their players healthy. How is your favorite NFL team going to fare today?
Patrick was interviewed about passwords here.
During 1966 to 1972 Michael Critchton wrote a series of thrillers under the pseudonym of “John Lange.” Critchton was learning how to write and finally, with The Andromeda Strain and The Terminal Man, Critchton became a best-selling writer under his own name. HARD CASE recently reprinted the John Lange novels. I read them when they were first published (I didn’t know at the time they were written by Critchton). I found them entertaining. You will too.