We've got a bit of social commentary mixed in with the music this week, and a timely essay about the meaning of courage. We've got politics from both sides of the aisle, an article about ethanol use in Texas (is it coming to a gas pump near you?), and a compelling assortment of music reviews, TV stuff, and great coverage of gaming and sports. You won't be bored, we promise.
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.
From Music Editor Connie Phillips:
In CD Review: Ministry – Rio Grande Blood, Jessa takes a good look at the band, the CD, their political message, and bands who use music to further a political message in her own charming and entertaining way.
It's one thing to review a concert. It's quite another to give your reader a front row seat right next to you, which is exactly what Joan Hunt does with Concert Review: Joe Bonamassa, Las Vegas – May 31, 2006.
Mark reviews The Jeff Gauthier Goatette – One and the Same in true Saleski style. If you haven't read the article yet, check it out and see for yourself why he associates Jeff Gauthier with Spring.
From Asst. Music Editor DJRadiohead:
The Friday Morning Listen: The Dixie Chicks by Mark Saleski
Mark is a hell of a writer and he has done a hell of a thing with this most recent Friday Morning Listen. I do not like the Dixie Chicks’ music. At all. In spite of that, I still read the column. Why? Because like I said, Mark is a hell of a writer. He uses the Chicks' new record as the backdrop to challenge all of us to be better. If he can pull that off with the Dixie Chicks, imagine what he would do if he started listening to something good. I'm just kidding. A little. Well done, Mark.
From SciTech Editor Lisa McKay:
The latest of Gordon Hauptfleisch's entertaining Vinyl Tap series, in which he takes on Elvis Costello's fourth album, Get Happy, is a fine example of Gordon's ability to get to the heart of the matter where Costello's music is concerned. Gordon proves once again that Costello is best appreciated by those who have not only an ear for music but also a taste for an elegant and pithy turn of phrase.
From Books Editor Natalie Bennett:
Often Blogcritics come and go, but it is always lovely to see old faces back again, so welcome back to a former Books Editor, DrPat, who this week recommended The Secret Life of Dust. It is a brilliant example of how to use short sentences crisply and effectively. See!
From TV Editor Joan Hunt:
PBS' AIDS Documentary Online by TeevBlogger focuses on an important show from PBS about AIDS, and how PBS has put the show in the hands of even more viewers by offering it up online. Kudos to PBS for embracing the new frontier!
TV Review: *The Apprentice 5* – Season Finale by Jackie
Damn the Donald for making me watch yet another season of his show! And Damn
"the Jackie" for making her piece more exciting than the show's finale. While we'll never know who earned more money in the final task, I know I'll be counting on Jackie to keep me up to date on all the other details on all my favorite shows, including Season 6 of The Apprentice.
From Film Editor Erin McMaster:
Ken Molay provides a glimpse into what proves to be a historically informative and cinematically interesting movie, The Harmonists.
From Executive Producer Eric Berlin:
Movie Review: Mazes and Monsters by Aaron Fleming
Aaron Fleming has a delightfully playful way with words, and delving into Tom Hanks' ancient filmic past (Mazes and Monsters, the venerable actor's first leading feature role) makes for a joyfully raucous ride.
From Culture Editor Diana Hartman:
Buried only by the fading memory and interest of the rest of the country, the destruction of Hurricane Katrina is still a stark reality for the Gulf region's population. JP's Going Home illustrates a devastating picture of what remains and what hope there might be for the future.
From Editor Gordon Hauptfleisch:
In his vigorous and beautifully-written commemoration of D-Day, Rick Moran in A Word About Courage not only finds occasion to remind us that real courage is a “sacrifice or a willingness to give all that one has for a cause greater than oneself,” his article also serves as an insistent corrective to its “base and cavalier” modern-day distortion as “a congratulatory epithet, a hollowed out expression of empty promise and insincerity.”
From Asst. Politics Editor Mark Schannon:
U.S. Accused of "Habitually" Attacking Iraqi Civilians, by Eric Berlin
Horrifying account of continuing stupidity.
Haditha, the Laws of War, and the Terrorist by John Bambenek
Except for a minor diatribe at end, good warning about rushing to judgment about military behavior in Iraq.
Rick Perry Saves America from La Reconquista by Dave Nalle
Except for the failure to label the article as satire (or at least news/satire), a pathetically humorous look at how his fellow Texans are going to save America for Americans.
Chertoff to City: Drop Dead by Jon Sobel
The extent to which Bush will go to support his friends and literally destroy his enemies has no parallel in U.S. history…at least that I can think of.
From Sports Editor Matthew T. Sussman:
Is Chipper Jones Really Underappreciated? by David Barbour
David samples a piece of sloppy journalism as a means to a conclusion, and for once it's not something I wrote. While respecting the Atlanta third baseman, he dispels the theory that Chipper doesn't "get enough respect" — a label 95 percent of athletes seem to get.
The Downfall of the Detroit Pistons: Much Ado About Nothing by Adam Hoff
Think back a week. It was a time when the Pistons were still in the playoffs, but down a couple games. They were supposed to come from behind and wow everyone. Adam shut them up by saying the Pistons were a great time lucky to get the success they had in the first place to warrant a dynasty.
From Gaming Editor Ken Edwards:
Xbox 360 Backwards Compatibility Discussion by Ken Edwards and Matt Paprocki
This is a Point/Counter Point discussion on the backwards compatibility of games on the Xbox 360.
Xbox 360 Review: Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis by Matt Paprocki
No hookers, gangs, or guns, but it is still a very entertaining game.
Runescape — Digging the Virtual Economy by Deano
Digging clay for a living has never been so easy.
From Sci/Tech Editor Lisa McKay:
In Ethanol Fuel Comes to Texas, Dave Nalle discusses the future of alternative fuel sources in his home state, where the need for large vehicles is competing with the desire to pollute less and spend less at the pumps. Is the emerging availability of ethanol in Texas predictive of what's in store for the rest of the country?