Posts tagged “Amazon”

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

“Of the Month” October 2017

Show of the Month:

Comrade Detective

Did you know that in the early/mid-80s in communist Romania, there was a limited-series television show that was part cop procedural and part communist propaganda? It was called Comrade Detective, and it was thought lost to the dust of history… until now! Of course it’s all fake. It was filmed last year on location in Romania with all Romanian actors, and then dubbed into English by Channing Tatum, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Nick Offerman. Let me tell you: this is my favorite type of satire, one that is so uncannily accurate that unless you’re in on the joke you almost wouldn’t know it is satire at all (see: Paul Verhoven’s Starship Troopers). Everything is played absolutely, 100% straight, and it is only the occasional scenes that go just a bit too far (such as the bumper segments that open each episode with Channing Tatum talking to an “historian” about the show) that peel back the curtain and let us laugh with the show’s creators rather and simultaneously at the very nature of popularized propaganda itself. Also (unlike Starship Troopers) the Comrade Detective show itself is thoroughly entertaining (though very NSFW) even beyond the satire. Apparently the show was created when Channing Tatum asked the producers to bring him their very worst idea. I think that’s brilliant.

Album of the Month:

Doom Wop by Prom Queen

Two amazing albums came out in September, but alas I can only have one Album of the Month per month. And since Prom Queen’s Doom Wop is more thematically Halloween-ish, it gets the slot in October (sorry, Mike, but don’t worry, your album will definitely get November’s slot). Doom Wop continues Prom Queen’s (A.K.A. Celene Ramada, A.K.A. Leeni) forays into the dark, lush aesthetic of late-50s and 60s pop. Think of The Flamingos’ version of I Only Have Eyes For You and you’ll instantly know the genre of which I speak. The lyrics on this album pretty much all touch on a theme of existential dread, and the music is lovingly crafted to fold into the dreamy 60s sound (though “Manic Panic” slips a bit into late 90s girl-power-pop (think Dressy Bessy)). Everything sounds like what velvet looks and feels like, and even the slightly fuzzy vocals sound like they’re coming out of a vintage amp. It’s all of a type, and if you like this genre (I happen to love it) then this is a wonderful dream of an album. These songs would fit right into a David Lynch movie without batting a fake eyelash.

Video Game of the Month:

Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment

A gothic castle base. A tormented sort-of-undead antihero. A sickle and cloak. Dark magic. Lots of skeletons. How could this not be my Video Game of the Month in October??? A prequel to Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope, Specter of Torment shows the tragic origins of Specter Knight and how he recruited the Order of No Quarter for the Enchantress. It manages to be completely familiar to anyone who has played the original Shovel Knight game, while simultaneously being a thoroughly inventive and fun platformer. The jump-and-slash conceit of the gameplay is very intuitive, and makes for some refreshing level design. You also gain a new special item after every level (assuming you collected enough red skulls), though Specter’s sickle is so powerful and versatile that I wasn’t able to really discover the full usefulness of each item. I kinda just used the healing one a lot. And since the game is non-linear (you can choose in which order you’ll defeat each level), each level is designed to be able to be beaten without having to use any special item. It’s a very minor quibble in an otherwise excellent game.

Categories: Of the Month.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

My Famous Friends: The Pink Fool vs Amazon eTextbooks!

Jake, you're doing it wrong!

Jake, you’re doing it wrong!

My pal Jake (aka the retired Pink Fool of Fools Play Improv) recently starred in a series of funny advertisements for Amazon’s new(ish) eTextbook service! They’re kind of a “Goofus & Gallant” series, where it shows the wrong way to do things, then the right way to do things (which always happens to be Amazon eTextbooks—weird how that works out). Guess who consistently portrays the wrong way to do things:

Oh, Jake, will you ever learn? Other than by using Amazon eTextbooks, I guess…

Categories: Fools Play, My Famous Friends, Videos.

Monday, 1 December 2014

“Of the Month” December 2014

Link of the Month:
Amazon Wishlist
My Amazon Wish List!

That’s right! You think in this, the most wonderful time of the year, that I’d waste my one-and-only link of the month on something selfless? EFF THAT! I want you to click on this link and buy crap for me! Crass commercialism EFF-TEE-DUBYA, baby! Mwa-ha-ha-haaaaaaaa!

Holiday Special of the Month:
The Paul and Storm Nondenominational Perennial Holiday Special – Part One

An animated holiday special written and performed by comedy musical duo Paul and Storm, with animation by those guys who did Homestar Runner? Hmmm… yeah, that does sound good to me. It’s a special about Cyber Monday and its surprisingly Jamaican mascot, Cyber-Mon. And the villain is a small business owner (voiced by Matt Chapman of Strong Bad fame) who does a delightful riff on the “Miser” songs from “The Year Without a Santa Claus.” What’s that? Why, yes, of course you can watch it right here:

And speaking of Paul and Storm and the holidays…

Album of the Month:
Paul and Storm: It Might Be Xmas

You see, folks, WAY back in 2009 Paul and Storm did something rather remarkable. For 8 consecutive days they released an original holiday song in the style of They Might Be Giants. And, boy howdy, did they ever nail it. These are the most TMBG-ish songs out there. You can hear specific TMBG song influences in each P&S-penned tune, and it really helps that they can do an absolutely uncanny impression of John Flansburgh. And, blessedly, they learned a thing from TMBG about keeping the songs short and sweet. They get in, state their business, and get out. It’s funny and frighteningly accurate holiday fun.

Categories: Christmas, Of the Month.

Monday, 5 December 2011

“Of the Month” December 2011

Link of the Month:
My Christmas Wish List
Merry Shameless Christmas to Me!

Album of the Month:
A Very She & Him Christmas
She & Him, aka Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward, have come out with a very simple, minimalist Christmas album. The vocal reverb is turned up, and the instruments are kept to a minimum. Sometimes it’s just a ukulele; sometimes just a guitar that sounds like it’s straight outta the 1950s. There are only a couple of songs that bring in a full band (one even has backing vocals). The result is a soothing, somewhat spacey and dreamy set of Christmas standards. I like it.

TV Special the Month:
A Muppet Family Christmas
A great 1987 Christmas special that combines the Muppets, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, and even Muppet Babies (appearing as puppets) in one glorious, nostalgic feast of warm feelings and happy times. Problems with the rights to some songs have caused the “official” video & DVD releases of this movie to be edited all to Hell, but right now you can watch the unedited version on YouTube… before it gets taken down!

Categories: Of the Month, Videos.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

“Of the Month” April 2010

Link of the Month:
My Birfday Wish List
Yes, it’s that time of year again. My birfday is coming up, and I’m shamelessly asking for stuff. Hooray!

Album of the Month:
Julia Massey & The Five Finger Discount: I’m Not Hollow
Good stuff. Gooood stuff. The long-awaited album by the full Five Finger Discount is finally here, and it does not disappoint.

DVD of the Month:
Sherlock Holmes
A damnably fun movie, and probably my favorite screen version of the character. Read my full review here!

Categories: Of the Month.

Friday, 4 December 2009

“Of the Month” December ’09

Link of the Month:
My Wish List
It’s that time of year again: Time for you to buy things for me for Christmas! BUY THINGS FOR ME! Don’t forget to sort the wish list by PRIORITY. Thanks in advance!

Album of the Month:
November 2009 Album of the Month Tori Amos: Midwinter Graces
Tori Amos has released a holiday album! Gasp! This album is Tori’s delightfully weird takes on some holiday classics, with a couple of originals thrown into the mix. She slightly varies the melody, lyrics, and cadence on the most well-known songs, which is at first a little off-putting because you find yourself unable to sing along with the much-extended vowels or the arbitrarily changed or dropped words (for some reason she removes the word “bright” and the entire final line from the chorus of Star of Wonder), and the “Tori Amos Accent” is in full swing—vowels are randomly transposed to different vowel sounds, and she manages to make the word “torches” sound like, “to-ho-ah-chyezz.” But once you get used to her versions then you find that they’re wonderfully idiosyncratic and undeniably all hers.

Game of the Month:
November 2009 Game of the Month New Super Mario Bros. Wii
A New Super Mario Bros. video game is like an old friend (one you are actually excited to see) coming to visit. It’s like a warm fire waiting for you in a home you love. You’re not going to have your world rocked by something new and exciting, but, by gum, you’re going to have a lot of familiar fun. So what if you’ve eaten this food before? This is one of your favorite foods, and you always enjoy another serving.

Categories: Of the Month.

Monday, 1 December 2008

"Of the Month" December ’08

Link of the Month:
My Wish List
It’s that time of year again: Time for you to buy things for me for Christmas! BUY THINGS FOR ME! Don’t forget to sort the wish list by PRIORITY. Thanks in advance!

Game of the Month:
Mega Man 9
The original Mega Man series is tied with the Mario Kart series as my all-time favorite series of video games. Imagine my surprise and delight when suddenly out of nowhere Capcom released Mega Man 9 this year… with Mega Man II era graphics and sound effects! So far it’s only available as a WiiWare download (and it only costs ten bucks). Easily the best Mega Man game since Mega Man IV, Mega Man 9 is like a distillation of everything that made those original games so great 20 years ago. It proves you need not have 10,000 polygons per character and photo-realistic lighting effects to have a good game. All you need to have is A GOOD GAME. And it’s frikkin’ difficult, which I appreciated quite a bit. It actually took me several days to beat it! And with downloadable content, there are tonnes of reasons to go back and keep on playing it!

Album of the Month:
Sixpence None the Richer: The Dawn of Grace
I’m kind of a sucker for a good girl-pop/rock band, so I’ve always kinda liked Sixpence None the Richer. Even back when they were much more overtly a Christian band I didn’t find them terribly offensive; it was surprisingly catchy stuff. Leigh Nash has an endearingly quirky voice. Well, now they’ve released a Christmas album, so it’s okay that there are Christian songs on it. Surprisingly, there are only a few standards: Angels We Have Heard on High; O Come, O Come Emmanuel; Silent Night; and Carol of the Bells. The rest of the album is made up of very unusual choices like the old Spanish carol Riu Riu Chiu (in Spanish), the delightfully laconic Christmas Island, and the thoroughly bizarre Some Children See Him, which tells how children of different ethnicities all see Jesus looking like them.

Categories: Holiday, Of the Month.