reviews on blogcritics: october

October was a busy month for me. I went to my college reunion, battled with a cold and lower back pain, and attended a professional conference. The end result of this is that I didn’t do as much reviewing as I had planned on, and now I’m having to play catch-up. Expect to see a longer list for November, but for now, I give you:

Jessie Baylin – Firesight

The arrangements and production work on Firesight are both so well done that one hardly notices them. It’s simply a collection of good tunes that flow together well with an appropriate balance between the lead vocals and everything else. This is essential to making the album work, as anything that stands out as too rough or too glossy would immediately break the mellow mood. [more]

Theresa Andersson – Hummingbird Go!

It took a few listens before I began to appreciate the complexity and depth of Andersson’s music. It’s quirky and a bit more subdued that the assortment of rock-tinged pop that tends to be on regular rotation in my house. Putting away all other distractions and focusing on the album alone, I was able to hear the energy and drive of her performance that was not as apparent when approaching the recording casually. Andersson’s creative use of unorthodox instrumentation and unexpected arrangements need the listener’s full attention to be appreciated. [more]

Click and Clack’s As the Wrench TurnsClick & Clack – As the Wrench Turns

If the creators of Click & Clack were looking to achieve the success of shows like The Simpsons or The Family Guy, they have a great deal of room for improvement. Click & Clack: As the Wrench Turns may be enjoyed in small doses, but I would not recommend buying or renting this DVD unless you are a consummate NPR/PBS fan who must acquire everything put out by those media companies. [more]

Awake, My Soul – The Original Soundtrack / Help Me to Sing – Songs of the Sacred Harp

With the release of the two-disc soundtrack, we are treated with the full recordings of the songs referenced in the documentary, including the solfège – singing the song with the names of the notes rather than the words in order to learn the music. The second disc of the set features 20 renditions of Sacred Harp tunes by a diverse group of folk and pop performers. The set is treated as two different albums, each with its own title. [more]

Agatha Christie: Mystery Lover’s Collection

Although the box is given a distinctive design and theme, the contents are clearly pulled from the various sets and single releases previously made available by Acorn Media. It’s a little disappointing that they did not change the packaging of the contents to match, rather than making it appear to be an assortment of remainders marketed as something new. Luckily, it’s the contents that matter more than the packaging. [more]

this land is your land

A geographic meme, courtesy of Sorcha. Also, places where US paper currency I have spent in the past four and a half years have gone.

bold the states you’ve been to, underline the states you’ve lived in and italicize the state you’re in now…

Alabama / Alaska / Arizona / Arkansas / California / Colorado / Connecticut / Delaware / Florida / Georgia / Hawaii / Idaho / Illinois / Indiana / Iowa / Kansas / Kentucky / Louisiana / Maine / Maryland / Massachusetts / Michigan / Minnesota / Mississippi / Missouri / Montana / Nebraska / Nevada / New Hampshire / New Jersey / New Mexico / New York / North Carolina / North Dakota / Ohio / Oklahoma / Oregon / Pennsylvania / Rhode Island / South Carolina / South Dakota / Tennessee / Texas / Utah / Vermont / Virginia / Washington / West Virginia / Wisconsin / Wyoming / Washington D.C /

Go HERE to have a form generate the HTML for you.

bush relatives for kerry

“Because blood is thinner than oil.”

“Because blood is thinner than oil.”

A friend sent me a link to this small website containing statements from relatives of George W. Bush who plan to vote for John F. Kerry. I found it rather enlightening. My favorite quote comes from Bush relative Jeanny House:

“I’m voting for John Kerry because I’m a Christian. I know that my second cousin, George Bush, claims that he is the anointed leader of the American people and that God told him to run for office. I believe he may even believe that. I don’t.”

john kerry is a douche bag but i’m voting for him anyway

Yeah, we know he’s no Howard, but look at the alternative.

Essayist Alan Blevins is hoping to persuade people like myself and others not enchanted by Kerry to vote for him in November by admitting that, indeed, he is a bit of a dork. He has plans for five essays, with the first two already written. I read the first one, and although his reasoning is well articulated, he could use a bit more in the research department. His second essay is a bit better about providing links to sources, although many of the news sources are from the so-called liberal press (no Fox News citations here). Good luck to him, but I think he’ll mostly be preaching to the choir.

I’m voting for Kerry, only because he’s the most likely of the Anybody But Bush crowd to get enough of the popular vote to win. I’m still a Deaniac progressive Democrat at heart, and it kills me that yet again I have to vote for a moderate, sluggish politician.

shameless plug

I’m a librarian DJ, too!

I’m still catching up on reading my RSS feeds from this past weekend (I was out of town), so I hadn’t seen Jessamyn’s post about the librarian DJs in Massachusetts until just now. I thought I’d take the opportunity to remind folks that I, too, am a radio personality once a week. You can check out my playlists or listen to the live stream. I’m on every Monday from 3-5:45pm.


The recent Supreme Court decition on CIPA regarding filtering in libraries is still getting some media attention. One public library director in Massachusetts had a few pointed comments:

“Who is deciding what’s pornographic. Who’s decision is this? Some Midwestern software developer who may be homophobic? What I can’t stand is hate groups. Why are their standards being imposed on my East Coast community?”


Having to pay for the filters in a time when public libraries are losing money for books and staff is what really burns, said Gilley. Adding insult to injury, more affluent communities who don’t rely on every penny the government throws out, may not have to comply with the filtering ruling, she said.