Month: April 2009

Book report: Time Out of Joint

Book report: Time Out of Joint

Books
There are some names in literature that for some reason intimidate me before I even read a word of their work.  Since I'm not a voracious reader I think I have a tendency to put some authors on a pedastal.  When I do get around to reading something by one of the "greats", I feel silly for having avoided them for so long. So it was with science fiction legend Philip K. Dick, whose canon I have finally entered by reading his 1959 novel Time Out of Joint.  Why this one, and not one of his more famous works such as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? or A Scanner Darkly you might ask?  My wife owns a copy so that's the one I decided to start with, that's why. As I made my way though the story of Ragle Gumm and his struggle to break through what he at first only vaguely feels to be the f
Album review: Doves – Kingdom of Rust

Album review: Doves – Kingdom of Rust

Music
I think it's fair to say that I was spoiled musically by growing up in the '80s, the tail end of a long period where bands usually released albums no more than 1-2 years apart.  So when great newer acts like Manchester's Doves come along and take longer than that I get impatient.  It's been more a little more than four years since the group's excellent third record, Some Cities, and after reading about so many delays with their newest I was starting to lose hope.  But now Kingdom of Rust is here, and all is well. My overall impression of Rust is that it represents a nice synthesis of the sounds and styles the band explored on their first three albums, but is by no means an artistic retread.  The bulk of the record leans more toward the dense and atmospheric tendencies displayed on Lost
Album review: Queensrÿche – American Soldier

Album review: Queensrÿche – American Soldier

Music
Is there even a point anymore to comparing new Queensrÿche releases to older ones such as Rage for Order or even Empire?  It seems that to do so is unfair to the band, who clearly don't care to repeat the past.  And yet that's what has been happening for more than a decade, and in the process some bitter or resentful fans have missed out on some really good music.  Case in point, the band's latest offering - American Soldier. A look at the front and back covers of American Soldier (showing a pair of combat boots and an American flag, respectively) might give pause to some fans - has the same band who railed against war and the American government in the past turned into Toby Keith for the progressive metal set?  Not quite.  As the name implies, this is a theme album about American soldi
Deadliest Catch drinking game

Deadliest Catch drinking game

Funny Stuff, TV & Radio
My friends, there is only one acceptable situation in which you can sing out loud to Bon Jovi's 1987 hit "Wanted Dead or Alive" and not be seen as a total dork - and that situation is during the opening credits to Deadliest Catch, one of the finest programs on television.  That same show returns to the Discovery Channel (in the U.S.) for a fifth season starting April 14.  I have an extra reason to look forward to the exploits of the Hansen, Hillstrand, and Harris clans this time (as well as others whose names don't start with an h) - HDTV! But if 1080 lines of Bering Sea action aren't enough to get you into the show, you can always introduce alcohol into the equation.  Because that always makes everything better.  Longtime fans will be familiar with the scenarios on my little drinking g