Posts tagged: dvd

DVD Review: Great Courses Meteorology

By , March 8, 2016

Meteorology: An Introduction to the Wonders of the Weather
From Great Courses

March marks the beginning of spring, so it’s only natural that a young girl’s thoughts turn to…yup, you guessed it…severe weather. Tennessee’s official Severe Weather Awareness week happened from February 28 to March 5, but if you missed it, don’t fret. Nashville Public Library has lots of severe weather materials to get you informed before Mother Nature gets cranky.

My favorite weather items to read are books about tornados. While these are entertaining after the fact, they won’t do much to educate about what exactly causes the windy spirals and why forecasters can’t always predict their occurrence. But recently the library ordered a new Great Courses series called Meteorology: An Introduction to the Wonders of the Weather. This is a four disc set, plus a digital course workbook that includes 24, half-hour lessons on weather. Topics range from basic discussions about the atmosphere to wind to lightning to the actual ability of forecasters to predict future weather.

The class is taught by Robert G. Fovell, who initially looks like snobby, know-it-all professor who flunks everyone just because he can. But as the series goes on, I really started to like him. He’s funny and he not only knows his subject matter, but he attempts to make it comprehensible for those of us who don’t have advanced degrees in mathematics or fluid dynamics. At one point I considered being a meteorologist, but then I found out that they had to know all that hard stuff, like calculus, and I’ve never been the biggest fan of math. I CAN do it, I simply CHOOSE not to.

I’m still working through the set, and I thought this might be something that would not have the biggest demand so I’d be able to renew it. But shock upon shock, there is currently a holds list for this item. Way to go Weather Nerds! I promise to be responsible and share this as soon as my time is up (but I might have to put myself back in line for it and go again!)

If you don’t want to wait for your turn with this set, you can check out all my other weather-related recommendations on the Popmatic Podcast. I christened this whole month “March Weather Madness” and there is something for everyone – hurricanes, tornadoes, and Al Roker (be not afraid…). Be sure to tune in to tomorrow’s episode (March 9) when I make all the guys celebrate weather with me (and no one mentions a comic book!)

Happy weather watching…

:) Amanda

Movie Review: Spy

By , November 24, 2015


I don’t go out to the movies much because it’s just gotten so expensive. And because I’ve gotten spoiled. Why should I trudge out to a theater with sticky floors and pay $15 to listen to my hard-of-hearing seat neighbors argue if the actor on screen is Jude Law or Judge Nelson? (Eh? What?) Especially when I get the movie for free, delivered to my easily-accessible (for the most part) library. Then I can watch the movie in the comfort of my own home – with snacks and blankets and only crazy cats for distractions.

Which is exactly what I did with this one. I’m usually in for anything with Melissa McCarthy (I’ve loved her since The Gilmore Girls) but after The Heat which mostly flopped in my book, I’m a little more hesitant with my watching preferences. But not only was McCarthy good in this one, but they added Allison Janney in the uncredited role of CIA boss. Allison Janney! This is a twofer!

So the mostly believable premise is that Susan Cooper aka Coop aka McCarthy runs operations for field agents like the James Bond wannabe played by Jude Law. Of course she’s in love with him and (spoiler alert) of course he gets killed in the line of duty. So when field agent Jason Statham comes in to save the day, McCarthy volunteers to help him, and when he goes rogue, it’s all left on her shoulders.

Initially, I thought this was going to be McCarthy bungling into a victory, but she really does have some spy chops. And there were some shocking twists and turns. As he usually does, McCarthy’s husband, Ben Falcone, makes a hilarious cameo that you don’t want to miss. (Definitely better than the Bridesmaids cameo.)

I really thought this was gonna be a dumb buddy comedy with some ersatz spy action to up the special effects budget, but overall it is a decent movie. Make sure to get your holds on now because this list has a few folks in front of you. While you’re waiting, you can always catch up on other McCarthy gems like a few episodes of The Gilmore Girls or Mike & Molly.

Happy McCarthying…

:) Amanda

DVD: The Mind of a Chef

By , October 27, 2015

 The Mind of a Chef

It has been well-documented that I like cooking shows. And you are in luck because I have found another show to love (thanks PBS!)

The first season of The Mind of a Chef features David Chang – chef/ owner of Momofuku noddle bar in New York City. David takes us through his favorite recipes and travels to visit friends in Japan and Copenhagen to try new recipes and taste old favorites. The series is narrated by the bad boy of food, Anthony Bourdain. It also has a bit of a Monty Python feel with a lot of animated segments and irreverent cartoon transitions. They are funny and Bourdain’s finger prints are all over them.

Food is not just about cooking in the kitchen, there is also a lot of science involved and food science king, Harold McGee, makes several appearances to explain exactly why what David is making in the kitchen physically works. (At the latest library book sale, I totally lucked out and came across the latest edition of McGee’s book, On food and cooking : the science and lore of the kitchen,  which I have wanted FOREVER, for just $2. SUPER SCORE! Thanks Friends of the Library!)

But my favorite guest is Chang’s pastry chef, Christina Tosi. I’ve been watching Master Chef for the past couple of seasons, and this season Tosi replaced Joe Bastianich as a judge. She’s a pastry chef, so naturally I was interested, but I didn’t really make the connection between Tosi and Momofuku Milk Bar. (Sometimes I’m a little slow to catch on, ok?) Tosi showed us a recipe for her famous corn cookies that I REALLY REALLY REALLY want to make! Now I just have to find some freeze dried corn and corn flour and I’m in… The library also has Tosi’s book, Milk bar life : recipes & stories that I now need to check out and read. (Corn cookie!)

After the first season, The Mind of Chef changes it’s format a little, but we have three more seasons to enjoy. Season 2 featured Sean Brock from Charleston’s  McCrady’s restaurant, where he is diligently working at preserving old recipes and old seeds as well as April Bloomfield from Tosca (which is also my mother-in-law’s name, just fyi). For Season 3 we traveled from Brooklyn to Lousiville with Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia. The library has all three seasons on DVD and we’re waiting on Season 4 which is set to feature Gabrielle Hamilton. I have my hold on that as we speak.

Happy reading, watching, corn cookie-ing…

Amanda :)

Popmatic Podcast for May 27, 2015: Vroom, Vroom

By , May 27, 2015

SennaAre you still buzzing from the Indy 500? Maybe just depressed that Dave Letterman is off the air? None of the Popmatic crew like racing as much as Letterman does but they all love Talladega Nights. And some serious stuff too.


Senna DVD | Hoopla

Fast Track series by Erin McCarthy

Richard “Dick” Trickle

The Last American Hero

The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby by Tom Wolfe featuring the essay “The Last American Hero”

Death Race 2000

Ackermanthology: 65 Astonishing, Rediscovered Sci-Fi Shorts featuring “The Racer” by Ib Melchior

Legends of Film interview with Tina Hirsch

Legends of Film interview with Lewis Teague

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby


Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer

Norm Macdonald’s last appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman

The Dali Museum

Pitch Perfect 2

Pitch Perfect 2 soundtrack CD | Hoopla

Eat the Document by Dana Spiotta


Transcripts of the show are available upon request.

Movie review: The Expendables

By , May 26, 2015

The Expendables (1, 2 & 3)

I can’t believe I watched these movies! Even more, I can’t believe how much I liked them!!

I’m trying to think of one movie I’ve ever sat and watched the whole way through that featured any one of these men. I’ve only seen parts of a few Rockys and about half the first Transporter. Oh wait, I did go to the dollar theater and see Parker, which stars Jason Statham. I would probably say he’s my favorite anyway (Terry Crews, you’re a close second).

But I’ve just heard a lot of good things about these movies so I thought I’d give them a try. And I wasn’t disappointed.

So the basic premise for all our under-the-rock dwellers is that Sly and pals are old dudes who like to save the world. They get their orders from a guy named Church (aka Bruce Willis) and then they’re off on their mission. In the first movie, The Expendables must deal with Dolph Lundgren a crazy good guy gone bad, along with a crazy South American dictator. The second movie sees us in Russia (who didn’t see that coming) and then for 3 we head to the magical world of Armenistan (I think) to track down Mel Gibson’s supposed-to-be-dead former Expendables character Stonebanks. No, Stallone doesn’t get to ask “How many times to I have to kill you?” and I think the movie is poorer for it.

My favorite scenes include Chuck Norris’s surprise cameo in #2 (oh wait, spoiler alert) and Bruce Willis’ taunt of Ah-nold – “Don’t worry. He just wants to be president.”

These movies are pretty gory, but I must admit there are some cool guns. I also liked how irreverent they are about the storied past of each actor. Famous lines are bandied about willy nilly. I am most disappointed that Harrison Ford, as he was flying in the evac copter, did not say, “Don’t get cocky” after saving the day. Sigh. Maybe in the next movie. There is a listing for The Expendables 4 on, but there’s not much info available. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t.

Only time will tell.

Until then, enjoy the shoot’em-up-bang-bang fun of the three they’ve given us so far.

Happy watching…

:) Amanda

p.s. If these guys think we haven’t noticed that they’ve had some “work done” then they are on crack. You’d think, as tough guys, they’d be above this, but I guess Carly Simon was right. They are so vain…and I’m looking at you Stallone and Norris. Walker Texas Ranger had plastic surgery? Wrap your head around that!

Popmatic Podcast Post for May 6, 2015: The Saga of a Family Bicycle

By , May 6, 2015

We interrupt this regularly scheduled podcast to bring you the latest consumer safety report: Bicycles – Green Transportation or Human Death Traps?* My name is Amanda and posting with me today are Mike and Jeremy. Bill mentioned something about researching the Manson Family for this podcast, but we haven’t heard from him since. Maybe someone should check on him?

This is the (printed version of the) Popmatic Podcast, where you can rock out with your library card out. For the last couple of months, Nashville Public Library has been celebrating Nashville Reads with Rita Sepetys’ book, Between Shades of Gray.

Between Shades of Gray is a family saga of sorts, but since everyone in Nashville has probably already read this book in advance of Tuesday’s author talk, we here in the land of Popmatic decided to share with you our other favorite family sagas.

Personally, I love family sagas. I love reading 500+ pages (or even better multiple books) about the same family. Yes it’s sad when some family members inevitably die, but that’s life right? A new series has come out that piqued my curiosity. I’ve wanted to read Jane Smiley ever since I found out that she wrote a book called Moo. In the fall of 2014, she released the first book in what she is calling The Last Hundred Years Trilogy entitled Some LuckSmiley follows the Langdon family from rural Iowa in the 1920′s to 2020. Some Luck covers 1920-1953. I really liked it because she didn’t belabor each year. The Dust Bowl came and went. The war came and went. And yet, the Langdon’s continue on.

I grew up in rural Indiana as opposed to Iowa, but I come from hardy German peasant stock, like the Langdons. One of our local grocery stores was called Augsbergers and the maternal grandparents in this book were Augsbergers. Many other names were familiar to me and I felt like I was reading about my own family  - my maternal grandfather was a farmer as well. Honestly, the book started off a little slowly, but by the end I couldn’t put it down and now I can’t wait to see what the next volume will hold for the Langdons! Good thing the library has the second book Early Warning. Put your hold on it today.

From the Desk of Mike:

Rowan Atkinson is most famous to American audiences as Mr. Bean, but he also played various members of a British family in another British import called Blackadder.  In the late early eighties, Atkinson and writer Richard Curtis were working on a show called Not the Nine o’Clock News, when they came up with the idea of a historical sitcom.  BBC executives told them that sitcoms and history don’t mix.  Seeing this as a challenge they developed the first Blackadder series, a sort of alternate history where Richard III won the battle of Bosworth Field.  Edmund Blackadder (Atkinson) plays a dim-witted cowardly prince who is constantly scheming to seize the throne.  His servant, Baldrick, played by Tony Robinson, assists him in his plans.

Each subsequent series would feature another Edmund Blackadder in another point in history, from the Elizabethan age all the way to an hour long TV special set in 1999 called Blackadder Back & Forth.  The Blackadders would progressively become cleverer, but each generation would become lower and lower in social status.  He is always assisted in his plans to rise in the social ladder by another loyal Baldrick, and sometimes helped by a none-too-bright aristocrat (in two seasons his best friend is played by Hugh Laurie, who would go on to star in the series House).  Of course, all of his carefully thought out plans backfire, and they try to fix them, which backfires yet again.  Usually at some point Baldrick exclaims “I have a cunning plan!” and then says something completely unhelpful and nonsensical.  Here is an exchange from the fourth series:

Private Baldrick: It’s part of a cunning plan, sir.
Captain Blackadder: Of course it is.
Private Baldrick: You know how they say that somewhere there’s a bullet with your name on it?
Captain Blackadder: Yes?
Private Baldrick: Well I thought that if I owned the bullet with my name on it, I’ll never get hit by it. Cause I’ll never shoot myself…
Captain Blackadder: Oh, shame!
Private Baldrick: And the chances of there being *two* bullets with my name on it are very small indeed.
Captain Blackadder: Yes, it’s not the only thing that is “very small indeed”. Your brain for example- is brain’s so minute, Baldrick, that if a hungry cannibal cracked your head open, there wouldn’t be enough to cover a small water biscuit.

One giant perk of getting Blackadder from the library and watching it on DVD instead of streaming is that there are special features to explain some of parts of British history that Americans may not get (for example, I had no idea about rotten boroughs.) We even have the completely remastered edition of the entire run of Blackadder on DVD. Why haven’t you checked it out yet?

Just Jeremy:

None of the Ramones are actual Ramones, but they were brothers in every sense of the word. Being in a band is like being in a family, and touring the world in planes, trains, and automobiles is like sharing a tiny room. Tensions will inevitably flare, especially when someone doesn’t shower regularly or abstain from heroin.

A good place to start with the saga of the Ramones is the box set Weird Tales of the Ramones, which features gems from all the band’s studio albums. This will give you all the buzzsaw guitar, mispronunciations of “massacre” and “basement”, and Burger King references you need.

To see the dynamics behind this unique clan, check out the movie End of the Century. This movie features interviews with the band, footage from some of their earliest shows, and insights into the group’s successes and failures from insiders and famous fans.

There are plenty of books by and about the Ramones. My favorite of these is probably Johnny Ramone’s Commando. Though technically not that good of a book–it reads like a transcript of a long interview/monologue–Johnny is fascinating because he was stubbornly committed to the his idea of how the band should be, and he was a Ted Nugent-level conservative in a music scene generally associated with more progressive ideas.

*So the reason we are posting instead of podcasting is that Bryan had a slight disagreement with his bicycle and the road that resulted in an injury to his arm, which then resulted in his doctor having to lock Bryan up in his office because the new robot arm tried to take over the world. Don’t worry, it’s under control, but please bear with us in the meantime. If you miss us and want to hear our voices, you can always listen to classic episodes of the Popmatic Podcast here, or subscribe to the Popmatic Podcast on the iTunes. Hopefully, we’ll get Bryan fixed up and rescue Bill in time to be back for next week’s glorious podcast where we discuss Australia.

That’s not a knife…


DVD Review: A Moveable Feast

By , March 10, 2015

A Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking Magazine

Anyone who knows me at all knows that I love to watch the Food Network. I can watch hours upon hours of food TV even if I never make anything the fancy chefs are cooking. I do think, though, that my cooking has improved just by proximity. Watching all that good cooking  - some of the tips and techniques had to get buried in my brain somewhere.

“But Amanda,” you say, “I don’t have cable.”

Good news. The library has recently acquired the PBS series, Moveable Feast, seasons one and two. Each season is made up of roughly 20 episodes that last approximately 20 minutes or so. I binged watched Season 1 on a Sunday afternoon. (Binge watching takes on a whole new meaning when involves a food show, doesn’t it?) The host, Aussie Pete Evans, is tots adorbs. I hadn’t heard of him before, but I assume he is a chef as well because he does do some of the cooking.

Main premise: Pete travels around to various US cities where he meets up with the local talent, usually goes shopping to a local farm, butcher, fisherman, etc, and then cooks up a delectable meal for friends and suppliers of the meal. In season one, it seems like Pete mainly hops back and forth from New York/ New England to California. We revisit old favorite chefs like Jeffery Saad and Marcus Samuelsson as well as meet new favorites. Season two does better – visiting New Orleans and Chicago, among others. Some feasts I wish I could be at – the crawfish boil from season two stays fresh in my hungry mind. Others, I could live without (I’m not too big on foraging for salad greens). Even if the food isn’t my cup of tea, they all look amazing. Dear Pete…I hear Nashville is a great foodie city to visit…ahem.

So whether you watch A Moveable Feast to supplement your television viewing, or you watch it instead of cable – please enjoy every delectable moment. You can also check out the Moveable Feast website for video clips and recipes seen on the show. Fried avocado anyone?

Who knows what these crazy chefs will come up with next?

Happy eating watching…

:) Amanda

Popmatic Podcast February 18th, 2015: Rutherford B. Hayes was a Werewolf

By , February 18, 2015

Frost/NixonThe library is an educational institution; therefore, we spend most of our President’s Day episode talking about conspiracy theories and werewolves. Duh. Our post-Grammys discussion devolves to shouting.


The Hypo: The Melancholic Young Lincoln by Noah Van Sciver

Eighteen Acres by Nicole Wallace

Fraternity: A Journey in Search of Five Presidents by Bob Greene

Frost/Nixon film

Frost/Nixon by Peter Morgan

Frost Nixon the Watergate Interview

Secret Honor

Nixon in China by John Adams


My Dad, the Pornographer” by Chris Offutt

Upstairs at the White House by J.B. West

Presidential Campaigns by Paul F. Boller

The Order 1886

Casting By

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

Transcripts of the show are available upon request.

Popmatic Podcast May 2014: A Renaissance (of Sorts)

By , May 4, 2014

May marks the joyful return of the Tennessee Renaissance Festival. We hark back to the Renaissance, the Dark Ages, and Season 5 of Gilmore Girls. Merriment is had by all.


Tournaments and Jousts: Training for War in Medieval Times by Andrea Hopkins

The Art of Chess by Colleen Schafroth

Shakespeare’s Insults: Educating Your Wits by William Shakespeare

Gilmore Girls Season 5

Big Bang Theory Season Two Episode Two “The Codpiece Topology

The Armada by Garrett Manningly

Silver Skull by Mark Chadbourn

Hild by Nicola Griffith

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset

Porius by John Cowper Powys

Brother Cadfael series by Ellis Peters

The Story of Wales

Lancelot of the Lake

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Tenth of December by George Saunders featuring the story “My Chivalric Fiasco”

Donatello’s bronze David

turkey legs


The Guild DVD | YouTube

Four & Twenty Blackbird Pie Book by Emily Elson & Melissa Elson

Ascendant by Drew Chapman

The World of Yesterday by Stephan Zweig

The Wes Anderson Collection by Matt Zoller Seitz

Under the Skin by Michel Farber

Are you a Tim Gunn or a RuPaul?


Transcripts of the show are available upon request.

DVD review: First Position

By , February 11, 2014

 First Position

I’ve been on a nonfic reading kick here lately, so I guess it’s only natural that this extends to my viewing habits. With the cost of actually going to a movie hovering just this side of astronomical, I don’t get to see many – which is why it’s nice that the library can help me out with this.

I love watching documentaries about things that I have absolutely no aptitude for – ballet being one of them. When I was in music school as an undergrad, I had friends who were in the ballet program, and this movie made me nostalgic for my collegiate days.

The documentary focuses on 6 different students – all younger than college age – as they prepare for and perform at the Youth America Grand Prix competition. This competition could provide them with scholarships to continue their studies or may even result in a job placement with a dance company – but no pressure or anything.

I have nothing but respect for each of these dancers – as they gave up parties and junk food, while pushing through pain and poor performances hoping to grab their chance at fame. It was hard not to root for each of them to succeed – especially Michaela with her inflamed Achilles tendon. Even if you have no desire to ever dance Swan Lake, these artists will grab your heart.

And who knows – maybe someone out there will be inspired by this film and actually strap on some toe shoes. I’m almost completely mostly positive it won’t be me, though – which is kinda sad because I bet I could find some glittery ones.

Happy watching (and dancing)…

:) Amanda


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