Keeping Up (Vol. 8)

by Darren Paltrowitz

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

fleetfoxes_st_150ALBUM: Fleet Foxes / Fleet FoxesHailing from Washington State, Fleet Foxes formed in 2006 and quickly earned a quarter-million visits to their MySpace.  Not long after, their debut full-length came out on Sub Pop and reached many-a Best Of 2008 list.  Driven by harmonies with a folky spin, it is another great album featuring the production of Phil Ek, who is also known for working with Built To Spill, The Shins, and Band Of Horses.  New listeners ought to start with the second track (and first single) “White Winter Hymnal” to get a taste of this interesting quintet. (myspace.com/fleetfoxes)

BOOK: Dr. Denis Leary / Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid – While this book has received its fair share of criticism from conservative ends of the media, long-time fans of comedian Denis Leary can sense his sarcasm.  In being over-the-top with the majority of his viewpoints, he is able to make a point in saying the exact opposite, much the way that Stephen Colbert can.  Away from the spotlight, Leary remains a 51-year old married father that regularly hosts functions for charitable organizations (e.g. The Leary Firefighters Foundation, The Cam Neely Foundation).  So consider this an amusing way for Leary to blow off some steam. (denisleary.com)

SHOW: Childrens’ HospitalWritten, directed by, and starring “Daily Show With Jon Stewart” correspondent Rob Corddry, Childrens’ Hospital is a new online series with 10 webisodes posted.  Featuring an ensemble cast that also includes Megan Mullally, Ed Helms, Ken Marino, and Lake Bell, the series lampoons medical dramas like Grey’s Anatomy and ER.  Combining satire with slapstick, the show’s lack of subtlety is likely to cause its viewers to immediately love or hate it.  Either way, there is no cost to watch any of the webisodes on its official website.

FILM: The King Of Kong: A Fistful Of Quarters – For many, video games aren’t a hobby but a way of life.  “The King Of Kong” is about the latter, focusing on the controversy surrounding two gamers who claim to hold the all-time world record score in the arcade edition of “Donkey Kong”: Billy Mitchell and Steve Wiebe.  Director Seth Gordon follows the saga between Mitchell and Wiebe, initially seeming to be mocking the two, but as it turns out portrays their feud in a gripping and intriguing manner.  “South Park” fans may recognize the movie’s plotline being similar to one involving Randy Marsh and U2 frontman Bono.  (billyvssteve.com)

TOOL: Airfare Watchdog – The tagline of Airfare Watchdog is “when fares are low, we’ll let you know.”  That said, the website enables users to by departure and arrival cities, and ultimately see the cheapest published rate.  As an aggregator tool –- rather than the website providing the discounts –- it also syncs up deals on hotels, resorts, and car rentals, providing a list of “Weekly Top Travel Deals.”  There is no cost in trying this one out, so users can buy directly from the airline’s website to potentially save even more money.  (airfarewatchdog.com)

As always, if I’m missing something that’s worthwhile and deserving of column space, please reach out with an e-mail: darren.paltrowitz@gmail.com.

In the meantime, stay tuned for another 5 picks...

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