Best Sports Movies on DVD

Just in time to help you find that perfect gift for the sports fan on your list (and to support Cinderella Man, #22, as a contender when Oscar time rolls around), Entertainment Weekly has published its list of the 30 best sports movies on DVD. Numbers 1-5 are: Raging Bull, Caddyshack, Hoosiers, Rocky, and Bull Durham. See the complete list.

Clooney: The Next Redford?

30 years ago, Robert Redford was the politically progressive Hollywood hunk making movies like The Candidate and All the President's Men. This year George Clooney is credited with reviving the political hot-button genre with Good Night, and Good Luck (which he directs and acts) and Syriana (in which he stars). Although he tones down his good looks for the camera, he hasn't bothered to tone down his political views in the press. Sure, he irritates conservatives, but outspoken actors like Sean Penn and Tim Robbins have taken far worse beatings than Clooney far. So what is it? Good looks? A good sense of humor? How about The Redford factor?

Looking for insipration in all the right (?) places

Are you poking around on so that you won’t have to face an empty canvas, or page, or monitor? Well, maybe your “research” just paid off.

Check out Letters to a Young Artist by Julia Cameron fashioned after Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet. Maybe Letters to a Fiction Writer might help you.

Letters not your thing?

Maybe you’re more of a project person. 52 Projects might fan your creative fire. Or you can go back to Julia Cameron, have you done The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity.

Who painted the portrait of George Washington on the $1 bill?

The Answer: Gilbert Stuart, 1755-1828.

George Washington posed for Gilbert Stuart, the son of a Newport, R.I. snuff grinder and a student of Benjamin West on April 12, 1796. Stuart replicated this portrait over and over again, including the one used on the $1 bill.
Two other Washington portraits by Gilbert Stuart are currently generating much controversy as the New York Public Library offered them up for auction, hoping to fetch up to $23 million for an endowment fund.

The Man Behind the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

There's only one week left before the new version of the Chronicles of Naria makes its way to theaters. Those interested in learning a bit more about the man behind the stories might be interested in The Question of God: Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis. Based on a Harvard course taught by Dr. Armand Nicholi, this PBS production examines the respective beliefs of Freud and Lewis through dramatized scenes from their lives and a roundtable discussion with Nicholi and several other so-called experts. The roundtable discussion can be frustrating at times (too many voices, not enough time, not enough coherency), but the series is still informative and thought-provoking.

Other DVDs of interest include Shadowlands, the original BBC production about Lewis' spiritual crisis when his wife died from cancer, and the original BBC production of the Chronicles of Narnia.

Richard Bak Talk on Community Access Television

Local author, historian and journalist Richard Bak can be seen on CTN Channel 17 during the week of December 6 through 10 speaking on his fascinating book A Distant Thunder: Michigan in the Civil War. The talk was recorded last December at Mr. Bak’s appearance in the Library’s Sunday Edition book talk series. The book is a comprehensive, well-illustrated chronicle of the contributions and sacrifices of the people of Michigan during the war between the states. Videos of the presentation are also available for home viewing. Mr. Bak is also the author of The Corner: A Century of Memories at Michigan and Trumbull, Detroit: Across Three Centuries and Henry and Edsel: The Creation of the Ford Empire.

#1-Hypnotize by System of a Down

Hypnotize by System of a Down debuts this week at the number one spot on the Billboard 200 chart. Place a hold on Hypnotize and other favorites by
System of a Down- Mezmerize and Toxicity.

This is the second time this year that System of a Down has reached the number one position on the Billboard 200 chart.

New Fiction Titles on the New York Times Bestseller List (11/27/05)

Thanksgiving weekend kicked off the holiday shopping season. According to the business reports, book sales were brisk. The following two titles must have been on many wish lists.

At #1 is A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin: the Seven Kingdoms is under siege in Book 4 of this fantasy series.

At #2 is Light from Heaven by Jan Karon: this is the final book in the sentimental journey of Father Tim and gentle folk of Mitford.

Never have your dog stuffed : and other things I've learned

Alan Alda was inteviewed on the Diane Rehm show on 11-29-05 about his new book "Never have your dog stuffed... Alda, star of stage and screen, looks back on his life in show business and how a life threatening illness atop a Chilean mountain changed his life.

Alan Alda played Hawkeye Pierce for 11 years on the TV series M*A*S*H. Last year he was nominated for: an Oscar for his role in "The Aviator;" an Emmy for his role on "The West Wing"; and, a Tony for his performance in "Glengarry Glen Ross."

The Economist for kids

The Economist may be a respected international newsmagazine, but it’s also great for students. Every issue has useful sections on each continent or geographic region of the world. In the table of contents you can see which particular countries are covered in that issue. There are short summaries of recent newsworthy events, longer articles, and plenty of maps, graphs, statistics, and pictures. While the focus is on economics, they cover the full range of news events in every corner of the globe. It’s perfect for country reports, current events assignments, or just to impress your social studies teacher! (Read More)

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