Monday, July 17, 2006

What have you been reading, listening to, watching (apart from civilization falling apart at the seams)?

The Barry Manilow Dilemma
You may frighten the criminals, but you'll also annoy the townsfolk.

Who Will Voice the Word of God in Audio Version of The Bible?
Samuel L Jackson, of course. I just wish we could have gotten Isaac Hayes.

Article 19 Film Recommendation: Wordplay
If you've ever gotten in a routine that involves the NYTimes crossword puzzle, you will like Wordplay. This documentary is a tribute to the crossword obsession--particularly the pinnacle of crosswordery, the Times. It's not the most fabulous documentary ever, but it's fun--you hear from some well-known people (including Jon Stewart, the Indigo Girls, Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina, and Bill Clinton who has by far the best things to say in the whole film). Told through the lens of the 2005 National Crossword Puzzle Tournament, you will learn 3 things from this film:

1. No matter what you think, you are not very good at the NYTimes Crossword. There are people - humans mind you - who finish the Sunday Times puzzle in 8 minutes. and a weekday Times puzzle in 3 or less.

2. The people who create the puzzles have a very...uh...interesting set of mental skills. One of my favorite parts of the film is watching one of the regular NYTimes puzzle constructors explain his idea for a puzzle and get started on it.

3. The people who can quickly complete the puzzles have an even more...uh...interesting set of mental skills. It's not just a wicked vocabulary and memory for cultural tidbits, though that's a big part of it. These folks anticipate, filling in gaps with letters that make sense before they even look at the clue. They're antonym machines, plus they know which choices are likely to make the best crossword answers, letter-wise, in the context of the space. And they seem to think of all that stuff pretty much simultaneously.

New TVLand Show
You may have heard about Mr.T shedding his trademark gold chains. I read today that he's also got a new reality show starting up, called--you guessed it--"I Pity the Fool." Best as I can tell, on this show, Mr. T goes around to fools in need and offers the kind of spirited advice that only Mr. T could. It sounds to me like a cross between "Queer Eye", "Dr. Phil", and pro wrestling.

Weekend Box Office
1. Pirates 2
2. Little Man
3. You, Me and Dupree
4. Superman Returns
5. The Devil Wears Prada
11. An Inconvenient Truth

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