Monday, February 8, 2010

Top Ten (January 2010)

That time again. My favorite things from the month previous.

1. BOB DYLAN: BEHIND THE SHADES REVISITED. From what I can tell this is the most comprehensive and accurate bio on the man who is well-known to not like to be well-known. It's very dense (long) but was quite the page turner. I mean, you gotta like you some Dylan to want to turn these pages, and I really liked it. As my pal and fellow Dylanologist, James Preller said, "it helps connect the dots." My favorite period remains the controversial "going electric" one. Coming to a loud, loud crash with the world tour of '66.

While I'm on topic, I just discovered this nasty, nasty performance from the '02 Grammy Awards. Circa Love and Theft. Freakin amazing.

2. LATE NIGHT WARS. I'm not much on Late Night TV these days. And I'm not much on bickering matches (especially in this political climate). But I have to say I was entertained by what went on this past month. I think it peaked when Jimmy Kimmel soundly eviscerated Leno at his own table. Oomph.

3. SESAME STREET: A CELEBRATION OF 40 YEARS OF LIFE ON THE STREET. This book was one that I got for xmas but had not yet cracked til a week or so ago. They did an AMAZING job with this. The amount of detail, history, behind-the-scenes info is incredible. Ever wonder how Big Bird is brought to life? You'd be amazed. Anybody who grew up with SESAME would find it hard not to get a little misty when thumbing through this beautifully illustrated document. Especially in the Mr. Hooper section. Sniff.

4. THE DAY AFTER RECOVERING FROM STOMACH FLU. Act I: day of getting hammered in the stomach for hours accompanied by unspeakable acts of purging. Act II: it abruptly ends and you discover what it is to "have your health" again. Being of sound health the very day after being ill--It is a beautiful reminder that even the worst days of some (stomach flu) will never be as bad as the best days of others (serious illness, poverty, famine...). As the late great Mr. Rogers used to say, "It's such a good feeling to know you're alive." Straight truth.

5. MOON MAN. Phaidon is reprinting a lot of classic Tomi Ungerer picture books. I say they're classic cause this one is from 1966. Not that I'd ever heard of them or him. But I have now, and I've started with MOON MAN, and I am impressed. I don't know if it's any relation, but it has that whole Yellow Submarine vibe to the art. Loose pen and ink line and wash. Very nice.

6. MEZZETTA GARLIC AND DILL GOLDEN GREEK PEPPERONCINI. I love salty foods. I love salty, pickled foods. I love salty, spicy, pickled foods. I love salty, spicy foods pickled with garlic and dill.

7. MUPPET WHAT NOT. I am, it seems, some kinda Henson nut. I mean, somewhat yes. But mostly, there's just been a lot of it going around with Sesame's 40th. But a while back, Julie discovered that FAO Schwarz offers a build-your-own Muppet program (much like the more commercial Bear Workshop out there). How amazing is this? If you can't get to NYC to do it in person (which, by the way, looks awesome!), you can assemble and order the whole thing online. For Romy's Xmas/Hanukkah gift, we got her one of these. Well, it's supposed to be for her.

8. 100 SCOPE NOTES. This blog, by Travis Jonker, is one of a handful of kidlit blogs that are constant abuzz. I really like the tone of it and Trav always finds new and creative ways to present himself (e.g., he sometimes reviews in the form of a comic strip). I actually met Travis at an ALA Conference (he's also a librarian) not too long ago in Chicago. A very nice guy.

9. GIBBY from iCARLY. Now that we have cable television, I've become a bit of a connoisseur of the tween comedy. I don't like much of what Disney has to offer, except Wizards of Waverly Place is pretty funny despite it's shameless hopping on of bandwagon. iCarly trumps them all. There's this old jaded codger side of me that cringes from time to time when they get all tweeny but I'm not exactly the intended audience. Anyways, the best part of the show is this kid Gibby, a secondary player. He is positively built for physical comedy (no offense, Gibbs). Man, that dude is funny.

10. MAN V. FOOD. Another recent cable TV fascination. This time from the Travel Channel. A dude goes around the country taking up local restaurants on insane eating challenges. Like, "eat this gigantic steak in under an hour and you get a free t-shirt." Or, "eat this disturbingly spicy sandwich (made with "ghost" peppers...?!) and you get a free t-shirt." If it sounds ridiculous, it is. And it is also both disgusting and appetizing at the same time. Weird.


Jeff Newman said...

Moon Man is great. I'm glad to hear they're reprinting some of his books. I've been looking for one that I read when I was young called The Three Robbers. I hope they'll include it.

Scope Notes said...

Thanks for the shout-out. That Kimmel clip is crazy. Pretty gutsy guy.

Trevor at the PHAIDON | STORE said...

We're delighted that you like the Tomi Ungerer books! His "The Three Robbers" from 1963 is indeed included - it's $16.95.

Contact us at the PHAIDON | STORE in New York (212 925 1900 or, at 100 Wooster Street in SoHo - we currently have it at 15% off), or visit

Heather said...

Have you tried pickled okra? Has a little spice to it.

Chloe Donile said...

Gotta love sesame street and Man VS. Food!

Matthew Cordell said...

Jeff--Moon Man tis cool. Take a look a couple comments in for ROBBERS...

Travis--No prob. Great blog!

Trevor--Thanks for the tip.

Heather--Pickled okra is cool too. The fuzz is a little odd.

Chloe--True dat. Did you see the Cake Boss/Sesame Street mash-up?

Chloe Donile said...

Yep one of the best! I love how they made cookie monster a HUGE cookie! Have you ever seen this video with Cookie and Martha stewart?

Matthew Cordell said...

Nice. "Cookies like Novocaine."