Thursday, December 25, 2008

My Top Movies of 2008

Note: This is my list. It probably doesn't match anyone elses. That's more or less by design. Ann Arbor gets flicks that don't hit other markets, but frequently gets Oscar contenders after the awards go out. 2008 was another great year for movies. Some of the choices this year are edgy or offbeat (YPF, The Gymnast). My advice is to pay attention to ratings and descriptions.
Honorable Mentions

Missed at the Theaters but Caught on DVD

Friday, December 19, 2008

Hrequests Hredux

When I put my first web page up in late 1999, it had a Hrequests section that asked about things that weren't known to the search engines at the time. I thought it might be interesting to see how far we've come:
  • Has anyone ever seen a book or website on the subject of hojojitsu/hojojutsu? This is the Japanese art of binding used by the Saumurai to tie up their enemies.

    Youtube video of hojojitsu with a little jutte for good measure.

  • HBO has done many "Young Comedian" specials. Where can I get the episode that had the Charles Fleisher (doing the Moleeds bit) and Steven Wright performance?

    Moleeds is on Youtube. Early Steven Wright routines are also common.

  • Does anyone have a copy of "Space Wars" that runs on the Vectrex for sale?

    Of course this is what Ebay does best, but Google Product Search also works.

  • I'm also looking for a CD remaster of Blue Note flutist Bobbie Humphrey's "Flute-In" and a copy of Patrick Williams "Threshold" on CD.

    Flute-in and Threshold were remastered and are now out-of-print. I can't say the same for clarinetist Eddie Daniel's LP "Breakthrough". It still not on CD or MP3.

  • Grocery stores in Michigan that sell New England-style hot dog buns?

    I think these are far superior to standard buns. Kroger carried them for a while, but they're just not very popular in the Midwest. You can't have a lobster roll without one...at least in New England.

  • Whatever happened to the East Lansing band Groove Spoon?

    Never found out what caused the break-up. Making money playing clubs is hard particularly with a band as large as this one.

  • Is there any company or group that recycles CDs and CDROMS?

    There are now several companies that recycle CDs although we now think of this as downcycling.

  • Why is it that David Sanborn and Jules Holland's television show "Night Music" is not available on tape or DVD?

    Still not on DVD. There were some bootleg compilations at one point. Sessions at West 54th is also not on DVD (there are some best of disks). As for why...who can say? Another failure of the long tail.

  • Who is the American distributor for the excellent driving book "Roadcraft"? This is the manual used by the British police force and is sold in the UK by The Stationary Office.

    Roadcraft is available in the US although you'll have to translate driving on the left to driving on the right. I got my first copy shipped from the UK. Amazon and other online stores carry it now.

  • Is there any animation compilation available for purchase that includes the brilliant animated short "The Quest"?

    Quest and many Oscar nominated and winning shorts are on Youtube, iTunes, etc.

Monday, December 15, 2008

My Top Music of 2008

This year was better than most for music and musicians. There was a lot to like from traditional to groundbreaking. Mature vocalists, guitarists of various styles, covers, blues, funk, folk, and jazz are represented in this list.