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Blogcritics Editors’ Picks: May 17 through May 23

The music writers are busy examining the roots of R&B and rock and roll, the folks in the books section are busy examing the craft of writing, and the politics writers are busy examining just about everything. In between, you’ll find movie reviews, space news, and sports and gaming news too.

Let me remind those of you who are chosen that you are invited to submit your own pick for next week (due to space considerations, please limit it to one). Please feel free to email me your picks (including the URL) by next Tuesday.

MUSIC

From Music Editor Connie Phillips:

In CD/DVD Review: The Best of Chris Isaak Nik Dirga takes a good look at an old favorite. He examines both the CD and DVD not only for its contents, but also compares it to current music trends.

This week the Modern Pea Pod has been treating us to reviews from the Stax Profiles series. Two stand-out articles were CD Review: Little Milton – Stax Profiles (written by Laura Misjak) and CD Review: Booker T. & The M.G’s – Stax Profiles (written by Jon Cameron). Both were provocative reviews that examined the roots of modern R&B.

Thank you, Jackie, for DVD Review: Chuck Berry’s Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll! and for sharing the personal memories that made you a fan as well as your thoughts on the DVD.

BOOKS

From Books Editor Natalie Bennett:

Blogcritics has a sub-category for articles in books called the writing life. As you’d expect on a site chock-full of writers keen to analyse and improve their craft, it is one of our most popular. This week, two Blogcritics looked at writing from different, equally illuminating, angles.

Richard Marcus, in When Writing Is Art, debated the old issue about writing reviews: are they good for the writer, or a dangerously wearying dead-end?

Taking a practical approach, Mark Schannon introduced Fifty Writing Tools from Poynter Online. There’s one key message, he says: “Every word counts.” I’ll stop now.

From Editor Gordon Hauptfleisch:

Richard Marcus, in his expressive and cohesive review of the fascinating Broadcasting The Blues: Black Music In The Segregation Era, outlines the field research and rich musical history of the Blues, from its beginnings in the methods of field workers who would “scatter the good seeds on the land — a technique which was called broadcasting,” to its roundabout transmission to 1960s British Invasion groups who re-ignited American passion.

TV/FILM

From Film Editor Erin McMaster:

El Bicho’s review of Exploring The Da Vinci Code is an informative read about a DVD that very well may be trying to cash in on the popularity of The Da Vinci Code.

Lucas McNelly takes on The Shop Around The Corner and gives us a refreshing look at a classic film.

Natalie Davis beautifully explains why I am addicted to American Idol and why Taylor Hicks will get my vote.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is a cheesy, yet charming film and Christopher Soden tells us why.

Casey Lunkley provides a heavenly glimpse at Heavenly Creatures. It makes me realize how badly I need to add this movie to my collection.

From Editor Gordon Hauptfleisch:

In Aaron Fleming’s DVD review of In Hell, we almost get lost in Jean-Claude Van Damme‘s eyes. Literally: “A microcosm of being lies in those vortexes, and often it stands up and walks around the cornea, sometimes even going to the vestigial eyelid to pick up a paper.” We’re hoping it’s Variety announcing, “Van Dammes’ Flix Tix Kix Ass.” We never thought we cared, until Fleming’s dazzling use of language brought us to our senses.

CULTURE

From Culture Editor Diana Hartman:

With summer right around the corner, outdoor get-togethers aren’t far behind. We may lack the social circle we think is necessary to kindle a successful party in the round. Fortunately, Brian Sorrell’s BBQ Tuesday: A Social Revolution In Your Own Backyard is just the inspiration needed to foster a season full of good times, good friends, and good memories.

POLITICS

From Politics Editors Dave Nalle and Mark Schannon:

Suffering For the Actions of a Few by Mark Edward Manning
Well-argued, cogent analysis of the animal rights movement’s excesses as well as society’s attitudes towards animal experimentation.

Fred Phelps Can **** My **** by Mark Edward Manning
Terrific and well-written attack on one of the most vile, distorted minds on the far right — from a conservative.

Bush Guts Critical Science Projects And Outsources NASA Projects To India To Further His Ambitions by Jet in Columbus
Detailed analysis of both the scientific loss and the political dangers of Bush’s single-minded space agenda.

Borderline Immigration Policy by Chancelucky
Powerful satirical review of the twisting and turning going on trying to figure out a solution to illegal immigration.

The Bush Administration and Iranian Anger by Uncle Sammy Says
Excellent analysis of the current situation in Iran backed up by the historical evidence that explains why America’s image is so tarnished.

NSA Data Gathering Leads to Lawsuits by Dave Nalle
As if the controversy around NSA collecting phone records wasn’t enough, the plaintiff buzzards are circling which is sure to create more confusion (and wealth for the buzzards) than help us understand the legality of the administration’s actions.

SPORTS

From Sports Editor Matthew T. Sussman:

Reds/Phillies: How I Ruined Jon Lieber’s Perfect Game by M.D. Sandwasher
If I published it 20 minutes earlier, it would have been an editor’s pick last week. But I knew that the first article of this week’s cycle of stories would be the first editor’s pick as well. This is a classic tale of fan superstition when it comes to no-hitters and perfect games. Also, I just want to publicize the living tar out of this just to see if Jon Lieber himself reads it, so he knows who to blame.

LeBron and the Cavs, Playing with House Money by Craig Lyndall
The parallels of being a Cavaliers fan with sitting at the blackjack table pretty much held this together. Even though it was written at the peak of the team’s success, it still rings true even after the Pistons came back to win. The house was dealt 21. Craps.

Will Bonds Eventually Become a Designated Hitter? by Ryan Jerz
He had me at the opening line: “Bear with me here. Let’s play a game. Pretend, just while reading this, that Barry Bonds never did steroids.” But with all the talk of his past, it’s refreshing to see someone mention Barry Bonds’ future as a player.

GAMING

From Gaming Editor Ken Edwards:

Louisiana Passes Violent Video Game Law on Lies by Matt Paprocki
The Parents Television Council and Louisiana politicians need to get some facts straight.

Nintendo DS Review: Metroid Prime – Hunters by Kevin Cortez
A solid first-person shooter on a handheld is a rare thing, but leave it to Nintendo and the DS to pull it off.

SCI/TECH

From Sci/Tech Editor Lisa McKay:

Jet in Columbus does a great job of reporting on an interesting new astronomical discovery in Three New Planets For Puppis.

In yet more news from space, Johniac takes a look at the Venus Express space probe in the latest edition of SciTech Watch.

Picked by one of last week’s chosen authors:

From Steven V. Funk:

And Now, A Word About The Residents and Ralph Records by Michael J. West
Michael gives us a tantalizing sneak preview of the book he’s writing about pioneering D.I.Y. record label, Ralph Records. The Residents have founded the label and become its most notorious band, but there’s much more to the story than that.

About Lisa McKay

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