Friday, May 24, 2013
As with any other style of cooking, grilling takes a certain amount of skill, care, and finesse in order to master. Burgers don’t cook the same way as a T-bone, and charcoal is different than propane. If you have a vegetarian in the house like I do, squash doesn’t grill like an ear of corn, and veggie burgers definitely do not cook like hamburgers. I definitely found that out the hard—aka: charred beyond edible—way.
Lest you be one of those people who simply tosses the meat on the grill, walks away for 30 minutes, and takes it off when it’s about the texture of shoe leather, it will benefit you, your family, and your guests to brush up a little bit this summer. Whether you fancy yourself a grillmaster or a greenhorn, there are a few informative videos that may help out even the most seasoned BBQer.
BBQ Tech – One of the primary rules of cooking in general is to know your equipment, be it a stove, oven, pot, or grill. In this video, the History Channel takes you to the Weber factory to see how the grills are made. You’ll also get some insight into the history of barbecuing.
Barbecue – A Texas Love Story – Folks in Texas are very proud of their barbecuing culture, to say the least. This video gives a humorous-but-accurate look at how nearly every aspect of Texas life, in one way or another, ties back to barbecue.
Primal Grill with Steven Raichlen – When it comes to techniques, sauces, rubs, and recipes, there are about as many different opinions as there are people. Worry not, though; Steven Raichlen is here to guide you through all of the details.
BBQ Secrets – Master Guide to Extraordinary BBQ – I found this video to be a little more helpful for a more experienced griller. There’s a lot of information in here about all the different elements of grilling so it may seem like overkill to any but those who fancy themselves grilling aficionados.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a hobby if someone, somewhere, didn’t turn it into a competition! Be sure to check out: BBQ Pitmasters, All-Star BBQ Showdown, Barbeque Championship Series, and Now You’re Cookin’- Inside The World of Championship Barbecue.
And just to get the season started off right, here’s some background music for your weekend cookout.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Written by Jon WilliamsThe world of classic rock lost a legend earlier this week with the death of keyboardist Ray Manzarek. He was 74.
Manzarek met Jim Morrison while a student at UCLA. Later, the two would found the legendary rock group the Doors. While Morrison is the name most associated with the Doors, Manzarek’s work gave the group its signature sound. The Doors were one of the very rare rock groups to operate without a bass guitarist; Manzarek handled those parts by playing a bass keyboard with his left hand in addition to solos and melodies with his right.
After forming in 1965, the Doors got their start as the house band at LA’s famous Whisky a Go Go club, where they played with such musicians as Van Morrison. Their self-titled debut album was released in January of 1967, including such classic rock staples as “Break On Through (To the Other Side)” and “Light My Fire,” which was the song that made the Doors into bona fide stars.
Manzarek also took over some vocal duties as the band attempted to carry on following Jim Morrison’s death in 1971. During their six years together with Morrison as the vocalist, the Doors released six albums and charted fifteen singles on the Billboard Hot 100. Manzarek was played by Kyle MacLachlan in the 1991 film The Doors starring Val Kilmer as Morrison.
Be sure to SmartBrowse ‘The Doors’ on our website for a full list of their CDs, as well as DVDs featuring performances and behind-the-scenes looks at their career.
Monday, May 20, 2013
Silver Linings Playbook remains atop this week's DVD list, with the Tom Cruise action flick Jack Reacher appearing just behind it. Half of the CD chart is made up of new titles, including those taking up the top three spots. There are also five debut titles on this week's fiction list, headed by the latest (and last) Sookie Stackhouse novel from Charlaine Harris. Four non-fiction titles are new this week, including a second title from the Duck Dynasty family at the top.
- Silver Linings Playbook
- Jack Reacher
- The Guilt Trip
- Django Unchained
- This Is 40
- A Haunted House
- Life of Pi
- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
- Parental Guidance
- The Impossible
- Lady Antebellum, Golden
- The Great Gatsby Soundtrack
- NOW That's What I Call Music 46
- Michael Buble, To Be Loved
- Pistol Annies, Annie Up
- Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience
- Rod Stewart, Time
- Kenny Chesney, Life on a Rock
- Blake Shelton, Based on a True Story...
- Bruno Mars, Unorthodox Jukebox
- Dead Ever After, Charlaine Harris
- Silken Prey, John Sandford
- 12th of Never, James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
- The Hit, David Baldacci
- A Step of Faith, Richard Paul Evans
- A Delicate Truth, John LeCarre
- Whiskey Beach, Nora Roberts
- Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
- Daddy's Gone A Hunting, Mary Higgins Clark
- Robert B. Parker's Wonderland, Ace Atkins
- Happy, Happy, Happy, Phil Robertson and Mark Schlabach
- Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg and Nell Scovell
- Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, David Sedaris
- Cooked, Michael Pollan
- Dad Is Fat, Jim Gaffigan
- Waiting to Be Heard, Amanda Knox
- The Duck Commander Family, Willie & Korie Robertson
- Obsessed, Mike Brzezinski
- Bunker Hill, Nathaniel Philbrick
- Keep It Pithy, Bill O'Reilly
Friday, May 17, 2013
Written by Kyle SlagleyAsk any student (or teacher for that matter) and you will be told that summer is the best season of the year. We all know this. Sure, there are things like warm weather, vacations, no school, pool parties, and mowing the lawn every other day to look forward to, but when I was a kid, summer meant one thing: camp.
Yes sir, who needs pool parties when you can go live in an Army tent circa 1949, use bug spray as perfume, and swim in a lake that may or may not be home to the Loch Ness Monster of North America? I know, I know…I was always a little weird.
Fortunately, there are plenty of films to get your patrons jazzed up about their ventures into the wilderness this summer!
Let’s start off with two classics: Camp Nowhere and Meatballs. In Camp Nowhere, the campers decide to swindle their parents with the help of an unemployed teacher and create a “camp” that pretty much lets them run amok all summer. In Meatballs, my personal favorite, Bill Murray plays the camp counselor who makes sure campers and staffers alike are having a summer they won’t soon forget.
Perhaps even more classic than those two is The Parent Trap. Unfortunately, the original 1961 version with Hayley Mills is no longer available, but we do carry the 1998 version with Lindsay Lohan – which, despite all the negative press surrounding Lindsay right now, is a pretty good remake. If you also happen to have it on the shelves, the Olsen twins put out a revamped version of this film in 1995 titled It Takes Two.
Two more camp films that have been around for quite a while are Wet Hot American Summer and Heavyweights. Wet Hot American Summer takes place in the early ‘80s and focuses more on the antics of the counselors than the campers. With a killer comedy cast of Paul Rudd, Janeane Garofalo, Michael Ian Black, and Molly Shannon, the slapstick helps make up for the lack of plot. Heavyweights was Judd Apatow’s big-screen debut for both screenwriting and executive producing, and is generally an unsung gem. It features a group of overweight kids sent off to a vacation-like “fat camp,” only to find that Tony Perkis (Stiller) has taken over it and turned it into weight-loss bootcamp.
For a comedy alternative, try Indian Summer, a sentimental film in which a group of former campers reunite after twenty years when their beloved camp is closing down, only to find that they pick up right where they left off.
And finally, I would be completely remiss if I didn’t mention the ultimate summer camp horror film – Friday the 13th. After being closed for years, Camp Crystal Lake is being reopened under new management, but the infamous Jason Voorhees isn’t having it. Even the most dedicated counselors out there will second-guess returning to camp this summer after seeing this slasher mainstay.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Written by Jon WilliamsThis week saw the release of the book The Human Division by John Scalzi. While this is the first time the book has been available in its complete form, it’s possible that Scalzi fans and sci-fi readers may have already experienced the bulk of it. That’s because The Human Division is made up of thirteen individual episodes which were each published individually in ebook form, one per week, beginning in January. The book version collects these installments into a complete tale, and also includes a couple of bonus stories.
Of course, the serial novel is far from a new concept. It came to popularity in Victorian times, when a young writer named Charles Dickens was hired to write a series of loosely related adventures to accompany a number of comic illustrations. Those tales eventually became The Pickwick Papers. Dickens continued to publish his works in serial format, and in 1841, in one of the earliest instances of release date fever, a riot nearly broke out in New York as eager readers waited impatiently at the harbor for delivery of the final installment of The Old Curiosity Shop.
Many works of classic literature were introduced into the world in serial form, among them Madame Bovary (1856), Anna Karenina (1873-1877), and Portrait of a Lady (1880-1881). One of the earliest American serials was Uncle Tom’s Cabin, appearing each week for forty weeks in an abolitionist newspaper in 1851-1852.
Serial literature went into a decline as the format shifted into radio and, later, television broadcasts. It never fully died out, however, and various writers have experimented with it over the years. Tom Wolfe, for example, serialized The Bonfire of the Vanities in Rolling Stone in 1984 before compiling it into book form.
One of the most notable forays into serializing a novel came in 1996 with Stephen King’s The Green Mile, which came out as six monthly installments and led to the popular film starring Tom Hanks. It’s interesting to note that the serial format doesn’t always work out; King tried to distribute a story entitled The Plant via his website in 2000. After payment for the installments proved to be sporadic, the story petered out and has yet to be completed.
Now, though, with the rise of ebook technology and digital subscription services, the serial form is coming into vogue once again. Scalzi’s success with the experiment that became The Human Division shows that there’s room in the market for tales told and consumed episodically as well as compiled later as one complete story.