Thursday, January 31, 2008

Movies: Across the Universe

We recently watched the movie, Across the Universe. We were fully prepared to love the film. We enjoy musicals and Beatles songs, and we have quite the tolerance for cheesy-ness. However, even we have to say that we didn't like it near as much as we thought we would.

The musical is built around Beatles songs, a wonderful idea. About ninety minutes into the movie, however, things take a bad turn. The plot disappears and songs are shoved in willy-nilly. We were quite disappointed with the deterioration of the plot. Then the last bit of the movie is good again.

Quick vote: We recommend watching the first ninety minutes or so, and once they start doing all the drugs and tripping out, skip to the last twenty minutes or so.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

TV: This American Life

We have talked about the radio show on National Public Radio (NPR) This American Life. This tv show, shown on Showtime, is based on the radio show, and uses much of the same staff, but is a television show instead!

We love Ira Glass and his perspective on life. The radio show sparks our imagination and traps us in its arms. But the television show is able to do a lot more. For instance, there is a story on the first season about a Mormon painter who uses bums to pose for Jesus and his disciples because no one else in Provo has a beard. A lot of the qualities of that story need a visual medium.

Quick vote: We love this tv show. We recommend you check it out!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Music: Her Majesty by the Decemberists

Though this is not the most recent album by the Decemberists, we find that this is our favorite album, with a few of our all time favorite tracks by said band. The lead guitarist is an extremely well educated man (with a PhD in Russian Literature, if we recall accurately) and this shows through in his lyrics. Though we don't always understand what is being said (we are dogs after all), we love the sound of his voice, and we pretend that we understand better than anyone else.

"There is a city by the sea,
A gentle company,
I don't suppose you want to.
And as it tells its sorry tale
In harrowing detail,
Its hollowness will haunt you.
Its streets and boulevards,
Orphans and oligarchs, it hears
A plaintive melody,
Truncated symphony.
An ocean's garbled vomit on the shore.
Los Angeles, I'm yours.

Oh ladies, pleasant and demure,
Sallow-cheeked and sure,
I can see your undies.
And all the boys you drag about,
An empty fellow found
From Saturdays to Mondays.
You hill and valley crowd
Hanging your trousers down at heel.
This is the realest thing
As ancient choirs sing.
A dozen blushing cherubs wheel above;
Los Angeles, my love.

Oh, what a rush of ripe elan
Langour on divans,
Daliant and dainty.
But oh, the smell of burnt cocaine,
The dolor and decay,
It only makes me cranky.
Oh great calamity,
Ditch of iniquity and tears.
How I abhor this place,
Its sweet and bitter taste
Has left me wretched, retching on all fours.
Los Angeles, I'm yours."
--Los Angeles, I'm Yours

Quick vote: The lyrical mastery of the Decemberists is to be remembered. We adore them!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Books: Interface

We just finished the book Interface by Neal Stephenson and J. Frederick George. (Though Sammi thought it best to take a big bite out of the book before we finished it, making it difficult to finish the last few chapters).

This science fiction thriller takes an Indiana governor who had just undergone a stroke and who gets a computer chip placed in his mind. The following story is a Manchurian Candidate sort of a take with a run for president, as well as several groups of shady characters attempting to run things from behind the scenes.

Quick vote: This book has politics, mad scientists, conspiracies, and action packed scenes. What's not to love?!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Blogs: The Onion

The Onion is one of the most up-to-date papers in existence. Unfortunately, instead of reporting actual news, they take it upon themselves to report satirical news, or sometimes actual news followed by satire. We find it brilliant.

Some of our favorite headlines?

"Research Shows: Babies Are Stupid"
"World Leaders Gather to Roast Mahmoud Ahmadinejad"
"Depressed Candidate Runs Attack Ad Against Self"
"CIA On Torture Memo 'We Need To Stop Writing This Stuff Down!'"
"Opinion: We Must All Do Our Part to Preserve This Climate of Fear"

Go here to laugh until you pee your pants!

Quick vote: The onion is very funny. We love it, and you had better read it to ensure that you will love it too!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Movies: Waitress

We recently watched the movie Waitress and it is our new favorite! Jenna Hunterson is a young waitress at a pie shop who is dissatisfied with her life, though she is a champion pie maker. She is married to an emotionally abusive man who attempts to control her every move. On top of all this, she finds she is pregnant with a child she doesn't want.

The movie follows Jenna in her quest to find herself through the people she loves and hates and the pies she lives to bake. We loved the movie, and overall the message that it portrayed. You don't need a man or money to be happy! You just need a little self-confidence, and all will turn out well in the end.

Quick vote: This cute movie taught us that if only we would love ourselves, all would turn out right in the end. We adored it!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

TV: The OC

Last year, a friend of the family introduced us dogs to the wonder that is The OC. (Aka the Orange County). The television show follows the lives of a group of young friends in California as they travel through the usual and abnormal trails of high school adolescence.

We love the soap opera stylings of the OC and its characters. We love the characters and the witty banter thrown around. Also, we find the characters ridiculous as well. It's a love-hate relationship. But worth checking out.

Quick vote: We love the show, though it is more than a little ridiculous. You won't regret watching it! (Well, maybe just a little.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Music: Unfamiliar Faces by Matt Costa

We recently acquired the new Matt Costa album, Unfamiliar Faces. We've long been fans of Matt's lyrical genius and his simple guitar accompaniment. This album is more of the same, and brings us much happiness through the cold and lonely days.

"Behind the mountains where the Cuckoo sings,
They tried to mine a miner for his golden veins.
But a guy gets lonely and a guy gets sick.
Evil woman you're bound to make a mess of it. "
-- Bound

"You were right. I was up all night
Thinking about you.
Dreamed I choked on your kaleidoscope
Now you still look deadly."
-- Lilacs

Quick vote: This fun, upbeat album by Matt Costa is a treasure.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Books: Gang Leader For A Day

We recently finished the book Gang Leader For a Day: A Rogue Socialogist Takes to the Streets by Sudhir Venkatesh. The author tells the story of how he went to interview gang members for his PhD research in the projects outside the University of Chicago. He ends up spending years studying their ways and getting to know them better.

Sudhir becomes involved in drive-by-shootings, prostitution rings, and crack dealing in order to understand the people of the Chicago projects better. In the end, he discovers that the government knows even less about the crack gangs than a suburbanite boy in his young twenties.

Quick vote: This book is a fascinating read, and though some parts are a little slow, we recommend it to all! (And most especially those of us that love non-fiction.)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Blogs: Bent Objects

The blog Bent Objects is one of our very favorites. The creator takes common household objects (with a great emphasis on wires) and creates scenes out of them. (Some comical, some interesting, and some artistic.)

The title of this particular entry is entitled 'Prehistoric Citrus Were Very Clever Hunters.' We're sure you will enjoy the rest as well.

You can find this sculpture and others here.

Quick vote: We adore this blog, and we're sure that you will too!!!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Movies: Closing Escrow

We recently rented the new movie, Closing Escrow. This mock-umentary is very funny, and it was one of the cleanest movies we've seen in a while (despite a few graphic bunny-hangings).

The film follows three couples who are searching for new homes with their three respective real-estate agents. The characters are quite drastic and hilarious.

Quick vote: This is the funniest show we've seen in a long time. We wholeheartedly recommend it!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

TV: Bones

This show is one of our new favorite detective type shows. The acting is far from incredible, but the plots are usually quite interesting and the crimes are imaginative.

The story surrounds a bone-specialist that works at a museum, but is occasionally called upon by the police to assist in criminal investigations. Together, the brilliant scientists team up with the bumbling detective and their intelligence shines light on all difficult police cases in the D.C. area.

Quick vote: This thrilling and amusing television show is a good watch on a lazy evening. We like it, but we don't love it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Music: Wait, wait, don't tell me!

This 'musical' post is far from, but as the participants are prone to occasional singing, we will include it as such. Wait, wait, don't tell me is a radio show on National Public Radio where contestants are quizzed on current events in a hilarious fashion.

The panelists and the host are pretty funny, despite the obvious liberal bias, which offends the Republican among us (MAGGIE).

Quick vote: If you can get over the liberal-ness, the show is quite funny!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Books: The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

We recently finished the book The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale. We really enjoyed this simple tale of a girl getting to know herself.

The main character of this book, Ani, is a crowned princess of a small kingdom. She discovers at a young age that she can talk to birds and other animals. Later, she is sent to a neighboring kingdom to marry their prince to secure good relations between the two countries. In this journey and thereafter, she comes to know the inner princess insider of herself.

Quick vote: It was a cute read and very fast. Perfect for our tweenager doggie friends and all those young at heart.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Blogs: Passive Agressive Notes

This is a blog, much like the quality of the previous blog posted here. People find instances of passive aggressive-ness, and then post them for all to see in at the Passive Aggressive Notes blog. We like it, it's pretty entertaining.

You can find it HERE!!!

Quick vote: Check it out, it's pretty funny!!! We like it, anyways.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Movies: The Last Waltz

Our father put this movie on the other night (a free Blu-Ray Disc!) and we were forced to watch it with him. The Last Waltz is a documentary about the band, The Band. And if the volume weren't up so loud on the stupid movie, we would have slept through the whole boring debacle.

But if our father happens to be reading this blog... We loved it!!! We hope that we can watch it again sometime soon.

Quick vote: It wasn't very good. Although we did enjoy watching Joni Mitchell singing...

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

TV: Grey's Anatomy

As dogs that no longer have their "girl parts," we have a great need for steamy romance in our lives. Our parents have doomed us to a life of spinster-hood, though it's also a life full of deliciouses. We digress. Shows like Grey's Anatomy fill a void in our lives. We love our stories!

Grey's in a nutshell: Six surgical interns start their residency at a top hospital in Seattle. They are busy trying to save people's lives and get laid simultaneously. If it weren't for an occasional medical scene, this would be a full-fledged soap opera. As it is, it's a medical drama with more drama then seems possible.

Quick vote: We sure hope that our vets are not as concerned with their love lives as these surgeons. We'd be afraid for our lives.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Music: This American Life

Alright, so this technically is not a musical selection. However, we are far too in love with Ira Glass not to mention him here on our blog of judgments. So we mention here that we love him, and we love his weekly show on National Public Radio, This American Life.

Every week, the show picks a theme, and then brings a variety of stories on that theme. There are pieces of fiction, interviews, found tape, and all sorts of other interesting things to listen to. It's the only radio show we've ever heard that actually sounds more like a television show.

Quick vote: Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes or listen to old shows online. You'll appreciate it, we're sure.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Books: Marley and Me by John Grogan

We just finished a book (an audio book) called Marley and Me. This book tells the funny, sad, and lovely tale of Marley, the world's worst dog. A young couple gets in over their head by buying a large, exuberant yellow lab. The lab is neurotic and destructive, but ends up being the perfect and only pet for them. Very heartwarming.

We recommend the book to dog-lovers (and dogs themselves) all over the world! But beware, the end of the book is very very sad. Even Sammi, who seems to have a heart of steel, wept a bit at the finale.

Quick vote: Of course we would love a book about a bad dog, being a bad dog ourselves... But we think that you would probably love it too!!!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Blogs: Apostrophe Abuse

This week, we bring a blot to all of you English libbers, especially those that enjoyed Eats, Shoots, and Leaves. The blog is called 'Apostrophe Abuse.' Readers send in pictures of apostrophe abuse found in their everyday lives, and then everyone gets to cringe at laugh at the uneducated proletariat!!! (Just kidding, or am I?!)

You can find the chagrin here!!!

Quick vote: This blog is fun and inspires me to be a better writer if only to keep my things out of the blog.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Movies: Legally Blonde

Having only been alive for 1-2 years, we were not around when the movie Legally Blond first came out, so we saw it for the first time this past week. This movie is iconic, in a bubblypinkblond sort of way.

The premise of the movie is a beautiful, bubbly, blond seeks to "become more than a Victoria's Secret model" by going to Law School to win back her man. The idea of the movie was slightly demeaning, especially to career-driven doggies such as ourselves, but we like it regardless.

Quick vote: A fun movie, and we're sure you've seen it.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

TV: The Simpsons

Though this is a safe choice this week, we still are huge proponents of the classic television show, The Simpsons. I have yet to meet someone (besides close-minded mothers) that doesn't love this show.

This show is amazing. Also, the social commentary that the Simpsons makes on the world today is quite apt and hilarious.

Quick vote: I'm sure you've seen this show and laughed at it. We have all of the seasons on DVD (thank you Vietnamese pirates).

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Music: Wicked Soundtrack

This week, we've been listening to soundtracks and have decided to spotlight the soundtrack to the Broadway musical Wicked. We have never seen the musical, and we suspect we'd have a hard time sneaking into an up-class theater, but we plan on giving it our best shot.

What we love most about musicals it their sing-a-long-ability; which is exactly why we've been interested them in the last few days. This music is very fun and lovely. We very much enjoy this musical and the songs from it.

"No one mourns the Wicked!
Now at last, she's dead and gone!
Now at last, there's joy throughout the land.
And Goodness knows,
We know what Goodness is.
Goodness knows,
The Wicked die alone."
---No One Mourns the Wicked

Quick vote: If you haven't heard this soundtrack and are interested in musicals, we suggest that you check this out!