Ages 18+.

"She's a cheerleader, you've seen Star Wars 47 times. You do the math."

Nostalgic for high school? Can't wait for it to end so you can get on with your life?

If you don't run with the Heathers, or if your Breakfast Club persona is more Judd Nelson or Anthony Michael Hall than Molly Ringwald or Emilio Estevez, then Freaks and Geeks might be for you.

Set in a northern suburb of Detroit during the 1980-81 school year, the show traces the lives of a group of high school burnouts and their D&D-playing younger siblings as they try to figure out the answer to life, the universe and everything. As heartwarming, cringeworthy, and funny as real life, Freaks and Geeks is solid -- it didn't run long enough to Jump the Shark.

Creator Paul Feig, raised in Mt. Clemens, has just released a new book and is signed on to direct a movie adaptation of Jerry Spinelli's Stargirl. McKinley High "alumni" have gone on to appear in projects from Spider-Man and its sequel to ER to The 40-Year-Old Virgin.

How Napoleon 'met his Waterloo'

There have been numerous accounts of Waterloo, the famous, final and decisive battle of the Napoleonic era fought in Belgium on June 15, 1815. Alessandro Barbero, an Italian historian and novelist, has penned a new and exciting history of the encounter in The Battle: A New History of Waterloo. This truly fresh, balanced and appealing narrative of the battle, drawing on first-hand recollections from participants of all ranks and nationalities, presents new insights along with intense, colorful descriptions of the various skirmishes, charges and defensive stands that decided the outcome.

Welcome Back College Students!

If you're waiting for classes to begin and looking for some entertainment, try listening to How I Paid for College: A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship and Music Theater. The title perfectly describes the plot, with a little David Sedaris and a little Catcher in the Rye thrown in. I'm not sure I would listen to it in public, unless you can keep from snorting when you laugh. Here's my favorite quote from our hero's high school english teacher:

"Oedipus Rex. A heartwarming little family story in which our hero
kills his father, sleeps with his mother, and gouges his own eyes out.
If it had been written last year, the school board would be burning it
on the front lawn, but since it's two thousand years old, it's deemed
acceptable for your impressionable little brainlets" (pg. 58).

Have fun moving in, and remember all the dorm beds are extra long twin!

Six Feet Under is Laid to Rest

Critically acclaimed HBO series Six Feet Under recently aired its series finale and fans of the show will surely be in mourning for quite some time. The show's Fisher family, operators of a funeral home in Pasadena, showed audiences what a dysfunctional family really looks like. Series creator Alan Ball, who also wrote American Beauty, gave us refreshing characters and story lines that reminded us that television does offer alternatives to the endless selection of reality tv. If you're already a fan, maybe it's time to experience the series all over again. If you're new to the show, start with Season 1 Disc 1 and enjoy. If you're looking for a show that looks at life (and death) with a bit more humor, check out Dead Like Me.

The Play Ground

agricultural fairs

Though 50 degree mornings suggest that summer is in its last gasps, we still have time for another edition of The Fair Ground. Head on out to the 68th Annual Chelsea Community Fair from August 23 through August 27. There will be animal judging, tractor pulls, livestock auctions, clowns and to top it off, a parade! You might also be interested in reading about Agricultural Fairs in America: tradition, education, celebration edited by Julie A. Avery.
See you there!

Dennis Lynds, a.k.a. Michael Collins 1924-2005

Dennis Lynds

Dennis Lynds, author of the Dan Fortune series under the pseudonym Michael Collins, died August 19, 2005.

Lynds’ first Dan Fortune series, Act of Fear (1967), won the Edgar for Best First Novel. In 1998, the Private Eye Writers of America honored him with their Lifetime Achievement Award.

Lynds wrote under many pseudonyms, including William Arden (Alfred Hitchock and the Three Investigators series).

Lynds was 81.

Gorillaz are back with Demon Days!

The animated, quirky band the Gorillaz returns with an amazing follow-up to their smash debut. The brainchild of illustrator Jamie Hewlett and Blur frontman Damon Albarn the Gorillaz mix it up in ways that will surprise and delight. The catchy first single "Feel Good Inc." features an awesome contribution by De La Soul. Other noteworthy guests include Roots Manuva and Tricky collaborator Martina Topley-Bird on the dubby "All Alone" and Happy Mondays singer Shaun Ryder on the bouncy "DARE."

2005 Shamus Awards nominees

black and white private eye

On September 2, 2005, the Private Eye Writers of America will announce the winners of their 24th annual Shamus awards in Chicago. Sara Paretsky will be award awarded PWA’s 2005 Life Achievement Award.

Nominees and their categories for this year are:

Best P.I. Novel     

Leonard Chang    Fade to Clear
Robert Ferrigno    The Wake-up

Remains Silent, by Michael Baden and Linda Kenney

In 1963, Korean War vet James Lyons disappeared. Forty-some years later his bones are uncovered during the excavation of land in preparation for a shopping center. Medical examiner Jake Rosen, a bit of a fashion slob but a forensic genius, is called in to investigate. Soon he’s paired with Philomena “Manny” Manfeda, an attorney for the Lyons family in a comedic thriller/mystery. Husband-wife authors, Michael Baden and Linda Kenney know from whence they write their debut mystery -– Baden was a former New York City chief medical examiner and Kenney can be seen on CNN and Court TV in her role as legal commentator.

Beyond Bobby Darin

Kevin Spacey directs and stars in this biopic of Bobby Darin. The film chronicles Darin's rise from a sickly childhood to following Sinatra's footsteps at the Copacabana. Although Darin was famous for recording such hits as Mack the Knife, Splish Splash, and Dream Lover, Spacey pulls triple duty by singing all of the musical numbers for the film. Kate Bosworth stars as Darin's Hollywood wife, Sandra Dee.

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