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Blogcritics Editors’ Picks: September 13 through September 19

Wondering how to keep yourself occupied? You should hang out with us.

This week we listen to some classical music, attend a three-day music festival in Austin, Texas, pack books for a trip to Pakistan, enjoy an exhibit at the British Museum in London, and learn that chocolate is good for us wherever we are. If that's not enough for you, there's lots more, so dig in. 

In addition to bringing you the best of the best this week, we introduce a new feature. Our esteemed Comments Editor Christopher Rose submits his first entry in the Comment of the Week category. Christopher is tasked with keeping our comments pages spam-free and our commenters mindful of our policies — and has the opportunity to see us at our best, our worst, our funniest, and our dumbest. And now you'll have a chance to see it all, too.



From Music Editor Connie Phillips:

Duke De Mondo reviews this CD as only he can. In Music Review – Ben Kweller he takes us on a journey through the artist's life and career.

Snarkattack finds a way to make sure we hear every note and instrument in this educational and entertaining review titled Music Review: György Kurtág, Kafka fragmente op. 24.

Erin McMaster spent her weekend at the Austin City Limits Music Festival. She then gave us three great reports, highlighting every detail of the weekend. Make sure you read her accounts of day oneday two, and day three.

From Asst. Music Editor DJRadiohead:

I am no fan of John Mayer (just ask Mark Saleski and Phillip Winn), but I am willing to overlook that in David Winchell's case. He has written a positive yet balanced review of Mayer's new album, Continuum.  I have a feeling I would come to a different conclusion. I hope mine, whatever it might be, would be written this well.

Poignant and funny, Mark Saleski's latest Friday Morning Listen is another great entry in a series that has its share of them.

From Asst. Books Editor Gordon Hauptfleisch:

I'm buying a copy of Chris Smither's Leave the Light On based solely on this review. Not only because of the specific enticements of the album itself (a "cover of Bob Dylan's 'Visions of Johanna' is turned on its side and treated as a waltz"!!), but also due to Ray Ellis' ability to articulate his viewpoint ("conjures a vision of blues at its purest – acoustic, raw and from the gut of the soul").


From Books Editor Natalie Bennett:

Preparing for a journey, one of my biggest quandaries is always what books to pack. What mood will I be in? How much time will I actually get to read? These are not always predictable. As an Indian going to Pakistan, Mayank Austen Soofi faced these usual problems, and then the tougher ones. As he takes us through his thought-processes in A Book-Lover Sets Out for Pakistan, he provides an introduction to the issues, the topics, and the sensitivities of literature about the sub-continent.

Changing continents and moods, Howard Dratch shares his enthusiasm for the year 1776, and for the book of that title by David McCullough. He concludes: "This is a great tale of how we made this nation and the Constitution that protects us and makes America what it has been."

From Asst. Books Editor Gordon Hauptfleisch:

In an incisive book review, Damian Penny deftly and expressively conveys the content, tenor, and scope of Debunking the 9/11 Myths as it exposes the "pseudoscience, rumours, half-truths [and] logical fallacies" of the "9/11 truth movement." This kind of conspiracy theorizing "isn't an intellectual exercise," says Damian, "It's a non-religious cult."


From Film Editor Lisa McKay:

Steve Carlson
delivers an intriguing review of I Spit On Your Grave, a universally panned film that might warrant a viewing on the strength of this piece alone.

The Last Kiss is worth seeing in spite of its lack of fresh insight into the trauma of really growing up. Chris Beaumont tells us why. 

From TV Editor Jackie:

TV and Film Guy introduced us to a new fall television show in his article Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Now I really want to see this one!

Diane Kristine
explored the new fall shows and the predicament of scheduling clashes in This Week's TV Season Premieres Jam Up the Already-Crowded PVR — at least she has modern technology as I sloth around with old VCRs!


From Culture Editor Diana Hartman:

Howard Dratch divulges more about chocolate than any one confection lover should know in Study Finds Chocolate Does Good Things For You.

Natalie Bennett
shows and tells with a wonderfully informative virtual tour of her Exhibition Review: Myths of Bengal at the British Museum.


From Politics Editor Dave Nalle:

Calling a Spade a Spade by Big Dog. A pot-stirring bit of painful truth from a promising new contributor.

S.O.S. From the Next Front by Brad Schader. Every so often we need a reminder that Cuba isn't very far away and doesn't have our best interests in mind.

From Asst. Politics Editor John Bambenek: 

A Consensus on Immigration by Drew McKissick. Cutting straight through the volumnious crap and getting right to the point. The American people have already made abundantly clear what they want and it isn't more laws.

America: A Nation of Millionaires by Dave Nalle. The Democrats' cry of "wolf" isn't going to work in '06, no matter how bad GOP incompetence gets.


From Sports Editor Matthew T. Sussman:

Know who got Yahoo! Sports' attention? Our own Q Bit, who wrote about the recent investigation into Reggie Bush's finances back in college, prompting discussion about the proper punishment for Bush and USC.

Know who never saw Scarface? Okay, that was me. But I don't pick myself, although I should pick on Adam Hoff more often. However, he gets a pass for a really clutch preview of last weekend's NCAA football, done to the tune of Brian De Palma's filmography.

Know who wrote a rock solid perspective on 9/11 from a sportswriter's eye? That one guy, oh, what's his name again? Ah yes, Zach Baker.


From Gaming Editor Ken Edwards:

Mac Game Review: Sid Meier's Civilization 4 by Cameron Graham will have you addicted after the first hour of playing… possibly sooner.

PC Game Review: In The Groove
by Aaron Auzins. Roxor is in the groove with their latest home release.

PS2 Review: Dance Factory
by Tall Writer. Bring the fun to your place with the highly recommended Dance Factory from Codemasters.


From Sci/Tech Editor Lisa McKay:

Haydn Shaughnessy
raises a lot of interesting questions about the future of traditional media and the viability of old business models in Looking At The Future of Newspapers.


From Comments Editor Christopher Rose:

Hope you don't mind me cheating a tad by including this double comment — comedy and masturbation was too good to miss!

Posted by A.L. Harper to Music Review: Ben Kweller on September 16, 2006:

I hate you Aaron, I really do. I hate to read your stuff and think "I can never be this good." Wanker! *smile* Well you do admit it… regularly… in public… to MILLIONS of people. I'm just sayin'…


Posted by Duke De Mondo to Music Review: Ben Kweller on September 16, 2006:

Sirs Brewster and Harper (honourary Sir), thank you muchly! with regards the knuckle-fumblin, well, it's that old thing about how it's best you make it common knowledge from the get-go, and then no terrible moments later on all about "what in gods name were you doin just now?" "it wasn't in gods name, and also, im very ashamed." no need for shame if'n you've long since hollered it from the hilltops. (don't holler it from the hilltops, incidentally, you'll get sectioned.)

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