Thursday, December 30, 2004

My Top 5 for 2004

No Top 10 from me, because once I start, I doubt I could keep this list to just 10 items. Much easier, I think, to list the top five entertainments that brought me the most pleasure this past year. They surpassed everything else by a mile. In no particular order, they are...

Les Klinger's New Annotated Sherlock Holmes

The arrival of this slipcased, two-volume, hardcover collection of all 56 Conan Doyle short stories about Holmes, thoroughly annotated and featuring beautiful reproductions of the original magazine illustrations, is the biggest Sherlockian event since William S. Baring-Gould issued his classic Annotated in 1967. Next year, expect Klinger's third volume, presenting the four Holmes novels.

Kill Bill, Vol. 2

This and its 2003 first-half, taken together, make up the greatest action epic since The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. I understand the super DVD package, both halves re-edited into a single, glorious bloodbath with Quentin Tarantino extras (and commentary?), might arrive as early as next August. Can't wait!

The Phantom of the Opera, the Joel Schumacher film

If you don't like the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, you certainly won't like this. But my wife and I saw the stage production four times between 1989 and 1991 and adored it. And we loved this film adaptation. Emmy Rossum is extraordinary. And even if he's no Michael Crawford, Gerard Butler's Phantom ain't no slouch, either.

Spider-Man 2

So far, the best comicbook super-hero film ever. 'Nuff said.

Brian Wilson's Smile

I waited 37 years for the release of this album. And Brian didn't let me down.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

In Defense of Scrooge

After delivering his "Defense of Scrooge" lecture to college audiences at Christmastime for many years, my friend Butler Shaffer has finally made the transcript available to all of us online. It's one of my holiday favorites, and you can find it here.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Crichton abandons all reason, questions the Left

Here's further proof that many of today's tolerant "liberals" remain intolerant of anyone who steps outside their politically correct box:

Slate's Bryan Curtis has reviewed Michael Crichton's latest novel, State of Fear. And the novel -- horrors! -- has the audacity to question the reality of global warming!!

Writes Curtis: "For Crichton's fans, this has got to be heartbreaking. The boy-novelist who engineered tyrannosaurus in Jurassic Park and mysterious pathogens from outer space in The Andromeda Strain has become a political pamphleteer, a right-wing noodge."

In other words, if you dare think outside the official liberal "reality tunnel," on even a single issue, you're a right-wing propagandist. It's also interesting that Curtis assumes all Crichton fans somehow naturally fall into his own liberal groupthink.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

23 days 'til Christmas

On my way out of the house this morning, it occurred to me that it might be time to load some Christmas music into the Accord's CD-changer. After several minutes of shuffling through our stacks of CDs, I came up with the Stones' Exile on Main Street. It seemed perfect, just what I was in the mood for.

Maybe it's still a little early for Christmas music...