DVD-Licious

This best-of collection would be a good gift for fans of the talk show, but others might not “get” it.


by Warner Home Video

Ellen DeGeneres has had a long career as an entertainer that began in with stand-up comedy in the 1980s and transitioned into television and movies in the 90s. After her sitcom Ellen was canceled in 1998 and was then followed by another failed sitcom and some bad movies, it seemed that she was destined to join the ranks of the Hollywood has-beens. However, all of that changed when in 2003 the wildly successful animated movie Finding Nemo was released and she began the Daytime Emmy award-winning talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

As daytime talk shows go, The Ellen DeGeneres Show is pretty much the standard fare of celebrities and “normal” people. Most of what has made the show successful is DeGeneres herself. By incorporating her own wacky and often irreverent sense of humor to the show, as well as a willingness to laugh at herself, she has endeared herself to millions of viewers around the world.

The first two seasons of The Ellen DeGeneres Show reshaped the daytime talk show genre, bringing it out of the realms of crazy people and product promotions and incorporating the entertainment of late night talk shows, but without the crass humor. Unfortunately, the latter half of the third season and into the fourth seems to be moving more towards product-promotions-as-content. Thankfully, fans have the The Ellen DeGeneres Show: DVD-licious collection to remind us of happier times.

The DVD set contains two discs. The first disc is a collection of DeGeneres’ favorite clips from the first three seasons, and the second disc is her favorite monologues. All of them are quite entertaining and on the whole they convey the essence of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. It’s definitely a must-have for fans, but it does not hold up well as a stand-alone. Without the context of the show structure and history, viewers might not “get” some of the humor.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show: DVD-licious has been on sale exclusively in Target stores since September, and heavily promoted on the show. Tuesday was the official release to all other markets, but I suspect that the impact of that release will have been somewhat diminished by the long promotion period. However, I would not be surprised if copies of this DVD end up under Christmas trees and Hanukkah bushes this season.

Continue reading “DVD-Licious”

whole wheat radio

If Web 2.0 is the read/write web, Whole Wheat Radio is the read/write broadcast station.

So I’ve been hearing about this online radio station called Whole Wheat Radio, but it wasn’t until about 10pm last night that I finally checked them out. I’m hooked! The site uses a wiki platform to allow users to enhance the database of music that is available to be played over the live stream “radio” station. Users can request songs directly from the wiki pages and keep tabs on the play list. If Web 2.0 is the read/write web, Whole Wheat Radio is the read/write broadcast station.

chocho

I learned a new card game.

oh, no!I learned a new card game last night called chocho. It is simple and a lot of fun. First, take an equal number of sets of four cards from a regular poker deck as there are players. Shuffle the cards and distribute them all to each player so that everyone begins with four cards. The dealer indicates clockwise or counter-clockwise play and calls the start. Everyone then passes a single card in that direction around the table and continues to do so until someone collects a set of four of the same cards. That person yells “chocho” and slams their hand down in the middle of the table. Everyone else follows suit and the person with their hand on top of the pile is the “chocho.” They then have to wear the “chocho” hat and become the next dealer. Play continues in this manner until everyone has had enough. There is very little strategy to the game, which makes it great mindless entertainment.

memory band

Created by Stephen Cracknell, this English folk “supergroup” has a fresh approach to an old sound.


by The Memory Band

Over the past couple of months, I have had The Memory Band‘s CD Apron Strings on heavy rotation in my office and at home because I cannot stop listening to it. They have been labeled as folktronica, which could be accurate, if one defines the neologism to mean folk or traditional music with an electronica groove.

Stephen Cracknell pulled the band together out of nothing a few years ago, releasing the first EP Calling On in 2003 and following it up with another, Fanny Adams, later that summer. Cracknell wanted to create an English folk “supergroup” with talents that spanned contemporary music. In that, he has succeeded. The band on Apron Strings includes renown vocalist Nancy Wallace, fiery fiddle player Jennymay Logan of the Elysian Quartet, violist Rob Spriggs, former Simian member Simon Lord, rocket scientist and drummer Rhys Morgan, Paul McGee, Adem Ilhan, Hot Chip member Al Doyle, and Emma Mcfarlane.

The sound of the album harkens back to English folk music of the 60s and 70s that combined old songs with modern sensibilities and instrumentation. Drawing on the talents and backgrounds of each member of this “supergroup,” Cracknell has created something that sounds both old and new, much like what Steeleye Span or Fairport Convention did in their time

Most of the songs on Apron Strings are Cracknell originals, with a few contributions from others and new arrangements of traditional tunes. One such arrangement is “I Wish I Wish” that includes a violin solo by Logan that is a total jam fest and thrills this rocker girl to the core. Another traditional tune, “Green Grows the Laurel,” showcases Wallace’s exquisite vocals.

“Want To Know You” is one of the tracks that saddled The Memory Band with the folktronica label. Using repetitive melodies played by the violin and viola, along with a percussion line taken from modern dance rhythms, the song has an organic electronic vibe. The instrumental “Deltic Soul” follows, and it continues the organic electronic theme a bit longer.

The true masterpiece of the album is how Cracknell is able to write fresh new songs that sound as though they have been a part of the English folk-rock paradigm for generations. Apron Strings is a welcome addition to the genre and deserves a great deal more attention from folk music listeners outside of the UK than it has received so far.

blogger payola?

Unsolicited email becomes fodder for blog post — learn from their mistake.

From my email inbox:

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Thanks, but no thanks. I don’t blog for bribes.

radio voice

Jenica wrote about her results from the regional accent quiz, which inspired me to take it to see if my accent has been influenced by the PNW yet. It seems that it has not: What American accent do you have? Your Result: The Midland “You have a Midland accent” is just another way of saying … Continue reading “radio voice”

Jenica wrote about her results from the regional accent quiz, which inspired me to take it to see if my accent has been influenced by the PNW yet. It seems that it has not:

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

“You have a Midland accent” is just another way of saying “you don’t have an accent.” You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

phase 2b

I think I got to phase two and then took a left turn.

I think I got to phase two and then took a left turn. Unlike Matthew Inman’s entertaining illustrated phases of owning an iPod, I got over the “shiny new” phase relatively quickly and moved onto “incorporated into my life but not the central focus of it” phase. Even with the release of new and “better” nano models, I’m still happy with my 4 gig version from last year. It holds all the unplayed podcasts (around 34 at the moment) and an essential collection of songs.

I did have to buy a 60 gig portable hard drive because my 60 gig laptop was running out of space for additional music, so there is still a chance I’ll end up at phase seven.