Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pop Media I've Been Consuming

Winter is usually when I retreat from adventure. Rather than climbing mountains in the Andes or performing interpretive dance in Prague, I amuse myself with books, movies, and television. As a result, one could make the argument that my life is boring from an external perspective. I like to say that boring is relative, unless I'm nodding asleep, in which case I mumble and slobber.


I went on a World War II phase, reading about six WWII books in a month. The best one was called The Mammoth Book of Eyewitness World War II. I know. It's a stupid title. But it was excellent, with personal accounts from infantry and brass on both sides. It's similar to the fascinating The "Good" War by Studs Terkel, only with less poignant artistic value and more battle stories.

The best part of the book is the account of France's fall. The conservative party in charge was faced with either fighting the Germans and losing elections to the leftists or signing an armistice treaty that allowed them to keep power in Vichy France. Before they signed away most of their country, they coaxed a few key Frence generals into intentional bad maneuvers that allowed German troops to blitz into France. If I had to choose between that conservative French government and the Bush Republicans, wow. What a tough call.

I also read a few Band of Brothers accounts, along with an excellent book called With the Old Breed by Eugene Sledge, one of two books on which is based "The Pacific," with is a 10-part HBO mini-series that comes out next year. Yes, I'll re-subscribe to HBO.

I also tried to read a book by Jonathon Kellerman. That didn't work.


Mad Men, Season 2 - Just as good as the first season. Don Draper is the most compelling television character since Tony Soprano. It's a smart show.

30 Rock - Tiny Fey is the funniest woman of all time. Oh, you think I'm exaggerating? Tell me who's funnier. Ellen? Sarah Silverman? Ok, maybe Julia-Louis Dreyfus. Still, she's in the running.

Top Chef - Wendy got me into this show. Now I'm hooked, even though I'm not a foodie.

Sports - I'm getting ready for March Madness.




Adam Bede by George Elliot - One of my favorite novels in college, but I have a difficult time thinking I understood it as a 21-year-old kid.

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzin - I'd read this before and thought it was in the running for The Great American Novel. It doesn't quite hold up.

When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris - Hilarious, as usual.

It's almost 10 o'clock. Time to go to bed.



  1. For some reason I'm not attracted to world war I/II books.

    No argument here - Tina Fey is funny.

    Is Sedaris the voice for the "When You Are Engulfed in Flames" audiobook? If so that's got to be better than just reading the book.

    This winter I've watched some good movies - most of them former Oscar winners: Heat, Casino, Blow, Matchstick Men, American Beauty, and some Bonds. Maybe I'll blog about them.

    (I always considered Bond films to have enough substance to be worth watching, but "View To A Kill" sunk that theory. It's awful. It may beat Moonraker as the worst Bond film.)

  2. Yes, Sedaris does the audio. The audiobooks are great. As I'm riding to work between the ferries and Pike Place Market, giggling or laughing out loud, I wonder if tourists think I'm mentally unstable.

    In my opinion, the only Bond movies worth watching are the new ones with Daniel Craig.