Keeping Up (Vol. 2)

by Darren Paltrowitz

Welcome to the second edition of what's become a bi-weekly column.  While the weather has begun to get a little colder, entertainment and online media have not cooled off.  But should I be missing anything worthwhile and deserving of column space, please feel free to reach out to me with an e-mail: darren.paltrowitz@gmail.com.

Here are 5 quick picks for you, the loyal reader:

leo_alpacas_150L.E.O. / Alpacas Orgling - Admittedly, I missed the boat on this gem of an album.  Essentially, L.E.O. is a one-off led by renowned singer-songwriter Bleu.  Wearing his E.L.O. influences on his sleeve, Bleu and friends (including Jellyfish's Andy Sturmer, Self's Matt Mahaffey, The Black Crowes' Steve Gorman, Chicago's Jason Scheff, producer John Fields, and Mike Viola) collaborate on power-pop tracks that would make Jeff Lynne proud.  A similar tribute project -- this time heralding "Mutt" Lange -- is currently in the works from Bleu, who also recently released a great album of originals as The Major Labels. (http://www.bleutopia.com)

Tom Farley with Tanner Colby / The Chris Farley Show - Chris Farley will long be remembered as a comedic genius who left us too soon.  Tom Farley, an older brother of Chris, has co-written a narrative-style book that looks at his star sibling's life in three acts.  Die-hard fans will appreciate the previously-untold anecdotes and new insight into Farley’s life, whereas general readers should be captivated by the cautionary tale.  All in all, an honest work of non-fiction that ought to make you laugh and cry, while additional stories can be found on the official website. (http://www.thechrisfarleyshow.com)

Merit Aid - It's no secret that education costs are continually rising, regardless of the surrounding economy.  Fortunately, Merit Aid aims to level the playing field as a directory of merit scholarships.  The site aims to help visitors locate over $11 billion in merit-based scholarships under the motto of "good money, great schools."  Sign up and start browsing, although beware that the service is currently in beta mode; its sister site, Cappex, offers more information on further educational opportunities. (http://www.meritaid.com)

Blender Magazine / "The 33 Most Overrated People, Places, Trends and Other Junk in Rock" - In the 21st century, it is questionable as to how necessary music journalists are.  For one thing, the top-selling artists of today are rarely critically-acclaimed.  Compiled by the staff of Blender, this list points fingers at "overrated" concepts in today's rock and roll scene, providing an "underrated alternative" for each.  Without giving too much away, KISS, Timbaland, Woodstock, and Lester Bangs are among those getting a wag of the finger.  At the very least, readers have themselves some good conversation-starters. (http://www.blender.com/articles/default.aspx?key=40543&pg=0)

Hulu - An alternative to illegal YouTube postings and torrent-downloads, Hulu is among a pack of sites with legalized streaming.  Striking deals with a number of major content-owners, "30 Rock," "WWE Monday Night Raw," and "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" are among the TV shows available to browsers.  In addition to fully-streamable episodes of 100+ programs, so are 100+ full-length movies.  As with L.E.O., this may not be the late-breaking news to many bloggers, but truly a helping innovation to those without TiVo, DVR, or another form of catching missed programs.  (http://www.hulu.com)

Stay tuned for another 5 picks...

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