Keeping Up (Vol. 13)

by Darren Paltrowitz

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

mclars_gigantic_200ALBUM: MC Lars / This Gigantic Robot Kills
– A pioneer of laptop-based hip-hop, MC Lars has long been renowned for combining topical lyrics with hooky choruses. The first release on Crappy Records, the new label headed Bowling For Soup’s Jaret Reddick and producer Linus Of Hollywood, This Gigantic Robot Kills is more of the same from Lars, only with a star-studded ensemble cast. Featuring many cameos -- “Weird Al” Yankovic, members of Cobra Starship, The Donnas, Simple Plan, The Aquabats and Suburban Legends, among others -– the cameos generally add an extra dimension of entertainment. For a taste, check YouTube for a video for “Guitar Hero Hero,” as featuring Mr. Big’s Paul Gilbert and Nerf Herder’s Parry Gripp.  (crappyrecords.com)

BOOK: Ernest Borgnine / Ernie
– Few have experienced the career-longevity that Ernest Borgnine has.  He was an Academy Award winner for “Marty,” an Emmy-nominated star for “McHale’s Navy,” and remains an a voiceover actor on “Spongebob SquarePants.” In his autobiography, “Ernie,” Borgnine covers everything from his Italian-American upbringing and his military days, to his 5 marriages and 70-plus years of acting. Along the way, readers are treated to the author’s wisdom and many lessons learned, making this a fun and interesting read. (kensingtonbooks.com)

IDEA: Josh Freese
– Josh Freese is best known as one of the top drummers in the music industry. Playing with Devo, Nine Inch Nails, The Replacements, and Guns ‘N Roses – to name a few – Freese is less known as a solo artist who has made a handful of solo albums.  His latest album, “Since 1972,” holds its own in not only offering a pay-what-you-want model, but in providing unique upselling. Additional money enables buyers to have speak on the phone with, have lunch with, go to Disneyland with, take items from the closet of, and/or be the subject of songs written by Mr. Freese.  Fingers crossed that this becomes a normal business model for artists, as fans are likely to love this level of access to their favorite artists; meanwhile, artists would be able to directly reap the rewards without industry pressure. (joshfreese.com)

SHOW: Arrested Development
– Admittedly, I have missed the boat on quite a few television shows during their network runs, the latest of which has been Arrested Development. After hearing yet another rave review from a friend, I opted to borrow the DVD of Season 1. Long story short, my wife and I went through all 3 discs in less than 72 hours. Hopefully, an Arrested Development movie – as long rumored – will go into production. I do not believe that I could ever get enough of an ensemble cast that includes Will Arnett, Jeffrey Tambor, David Cross, Jason Bateman, and Portia de Rossi. (bluthfamily.com)

TOOL: Knowzy – Learning ought to be a life-long process, and Knowzy is an interactive means of engaging in such. Similar to Wikipedia, it enables readers to post what they know. Although it is currently categorized by 3 topics – Computers, Entertainment, and Personal Finance – Knowzy does not impose limits on topics covered. In turn, with increasing site popularity will come more content. (knowzy.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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