I often get scolded for finding Good Stuff here and there and forgetting to tell people about it. So here’s the beginning of an irregular feature, where I collect cool things for your consideration. I’m hoping this will be more than just link sausage, but we’ll see how long my attention span holds out.
- Around the World With Nellie Bly and Drawing Conclusions
Around the world… and Drawing Conclusions are a pair of newspaper features prepared weekly by Glenn Falls Post-Star editor and rec.arts.comics.strips regular Mike Peterson. Each week, Around the World… takes a focused look at a current events story, while Drawing Conclusions examines how editorial cartoons address the world around us. Aimed primarily at middle-schoolers, these features are an excellent resource for teachers, whether public, private, or home-school, and are well written and engaging enough to be thought provoking to adults as well. Go check out Nellie Bly’s webpage.
As a bonus, Mike’s blog is syndicated right here to Livejournal by adding nellieblogs to your friends list. Mike is definitely one of the people who makes rec.arts.comics.strips worth reading on a daily basis, and his blog contains useful thoughtfood as well.
- Medium Large
Speaking of comics, there are any number of webcomics you just have to read, and first among them is Ces Marciuliano’s wickedly funny pop-culture riff Medium Large. By day, Marciuliano is largely unknown as the current talent behind the syndicated strip Sally Forth, but in his spare time, he reels off one of the most hysterical and off-kilter webstrips on the net, five days a week. While the strip does include some amusing repeat gags, most notably centered on the “hit WB show Teenage Girl President”, the strip is at its best when it takes right angles to pop-culture icons. The BC parody in Week 46 is one of my favourites.
Medium Large can be syndicated to Livejournal via mediumlarge.
- Inside The Actors Studio
While its improbable that most of you aren’t familiar with Jame’s Lipton’s amazing interview program on the Bravo Network, this is my journal and you have to indulge me. Truth is, I long ago ceased bothering to tune in when my favourite actors appear on talk-and-gawk shows (Leno, Letterman, and the like) because its really just another performance, most of the time. Inside The Actors Studio is one of the few places where your really get a chance to see the people who craft most of our better entertainment as real people. Lipton is probably one of the best interviewers working on television: prepared, probing, and clearly fascinated with his subjects. He also knows what many journalists have never learned, which is when to shut up and let his subject talk, and when to draw his subject towards the topic he wants to explore. It doesn’t hurt that he’s an unashamed fan in every sense of the word, and because he focuses on the life and work of his subjects rather than whatever their current project is, it humanizes the various actors and performers who appear on his stage and gives us a glimpse behind the masks and glamours. There are many worse ways to spend an hour than watching someone have an hour long chat about the craft of performance with James Lipton.
If you don’t get the Bravo Network, Inside the Actors Studio can now be downloaded from iTunes.
- Paste Magazine
If you’re a music junkie like me, and want to keep up with what’s going on outside the mainstream, then you need Decatur, GA based Paste Magazine. The magazine is jam-packed each issue with well-written articles reviewing albums, films, books, and concerts, but what really makes it worth the $8 you’ll plop down every issue is the CD, which contains a couple of dozen tracks from a variety of mostly independent artists. Some you’ll have heard of, some you won’t. You won’t like every track. But good gosh, what a great grab-bag of new music, every issue, for half of what normal CD costs.
- The Show with Zefrank
Who is Zefrank? I have no idea. I don’t even remember now how I found this very odd video blog. Every weekday, The Show with Zefrank features about 3-5 minutes of stream of conscious monologuing, commentary, and reaction to viewer comments from this Brooklyn-based humorist. “Good morning, sports racers,” he signs on every morning, and then he’s off to the races himself with whatever has caught his eye, talking directly into the closely zoomed camera. The pace of the monologues is frentic and sharply edited, and the commentary is at turns thought provoking, amusing, and sometimes just downright silly, and I’ve grown to look forward to my daily moment of Zefrank every morning. He’s thinking so you don’t have to….give him a try.