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  • 2112

    • 10 out of 10
    • Rush
    • We all know it, right? Well, ya just gotta have it. 2112 finally showed Rush out on their own, doing their own thing, and doing it well, IMHO.
  • Every Day: The Best of the Verve Years

    • 8 out of 10
    • Joe Williams
    • Joe Williams was Figure Two in my three-man education in singing. A brilliant vocalist, scatter, and interpreter of jazz and blues, Williams produces music that's totally unique, yet sounds so effortl
  • Mystics Anonymous

    • 8 out of 10
    • Mystics Anonymous
    • Mystics Anonymous is the brainchild project of Jeff Steblea, a fantastic songwriter and good friend of mine, as well. In fact, I even played the drums on all but one of the tracks on this album. Jef
  • Plans

    • 8 out of 10
    • Death Cab for Cutie
    • With the introduction of Plans, Death Cab for Cutie became a new addition to many user's Artist list after the single "Soul Meets Body" became a hit on iTunes. Offering a fresh alternativ

  • Supernature

    • 10 out of 10
    • Goldfrapp
    • On their latest CD, Supernature, Goldfrapp has put together a successful mix of 1980-era New Romanticism, German cabaret, and T. Rex glam that leaves you riveted even through the album's lulls. It's a great amalgam that sounds current without sounding at all dated.

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Free on iTunes

Dr, Danger, Brickfilms, Narnia and More

I really do wish I could travel more. Like most people who work for a living I spend my days tied to a desk, keyboard, and a small mountain of bills begging to be paid. With gas prices steadily climbing, even a weekend jaunt to a local beach 50 miles away has to be planned into the budget. So trekking about in some distant foreign land is just plain out of the question. If I could pick someplace to go would it be somewhere near current conflicts?

I hesitate to answer.

Several years back I visited Israel on company business. Of course, Israel is not Kuwait, Iran, or Iraq, but the country has known its share of violence which continues to make international headlines today.

Israel is an enigmatic country that, on the one hand hold such promise for all its people, and on the other hand seems locked in its harsh and very volatile past.

I was never worried about my safety when I was there, but everywhere were signs of its often weary vigilance; waiting at bus stops and train stations with the morning commuters were young soldiers, weapons slung over their shoulders like college kids here might have computer bags. Military checkpoints appeared randomly on any major road, and even beaches had armed guard towers alongside life guard stations. Living constantly under the threat of violence is a way of life there and it seemed to me that the Israeli people had learned to focus and take pleasure in the little things.

The friends I made while I was there seemed to enjoy showing me their country. We drove in the desert, swam in the Dead Sea, snorkeled in the Red Sea, visited Masada and less touristy places like a park filled with ancient Roman ruins and a small forrest of young trees planted in an effort to bring greenery to a desolate area.

I enjoyed the months I spent there even though I knew that there was a very real possibility that I could be in the wrong place at a very bad time. I somehow felt more alive there than on any other trip I’d taken.

So, would I pick a vacation spot that is near military conflict? Yes, I think I would, which is why the first free show at the iTunes Store I want to tell you about this week has me waxing nostalgic about my not-so-adverturous Middle Eastern adventure.

The show is Dr. Danger and it follows the exploits of Dr. Bob Arnot, an ex-NBC foreign correspondent turned Middle Eastern travel guide.

The free episode of Dr. Danger focuses on Yemen, a small and relatively calm Middle Eastern republic that’s on the south-eastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, just north of the Horn of Africa.


At the outset the show doesn’t seem to put the good doctor in much danger, unless it’s of the gastrointestinal variety, but as the show progresses we find Doc passing checkpoints to witness camel jumping (Yes, actual men leaping over actual camels, several in fact, for fun), climbing a misty mountain, firing automatic weapons, then falling off said mountain and dislocating his shoulder.

I know it doesn’t sound like much fun, but I’d go in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, I’m still fundless so I’ll have to settle for Dr. Danger’s (mis)adventures. Grab the Yemen episode for free this week at the iTunes Store.

I can never sleep while in-flight. it’s not that I’m afraid of flying, it’s just that, even in first class, airplane seating just does not work well as a bed for me. So I was wide awake on 16 hour plus flight across the Atlantic and totally sleepless during the 12 hour plus flight across the Mediterranean Sea.

I really could have used an iPod loaded with Brickfilms.

What’s Brickfilms, you ask?

Imagine little movies where the characters, the sets, and in fact nearly everything in the movie is made of Lego bricks, and you start to understand the possibilities.


Most folks have seen the Star Wars based Lego movies that inspired games and even more movies. Well, Brickfilms is where you’ll find them and a bunch more, and you find many made into podcasts and available at the iTunes Store.

Sure, Brickfilms are entertaining to watch, but what gets me is the ingenuity that often goes into creating the sets. Very cool.

There’s at least 15 Brickflims available on the iTunes Store -- plenty to keep you busy. If that’s not enough then you might also check out Lukasfilms podcast, which features clay-based stop-motion movies.

I did listen to an audiobook on several of my flights to and from Israel, but I used a CD player back then and most unabridged audiobooks came on several CDs, some as many as 10. More stuff to cram into my already crammed luggage. If I’d of had an iPod back then I could have loaded a small library of audiobooks on it and I could have listened to The Chronicles of Narnia audiobooks.

Listening to audiobooks is an entirely different experience compared to watching a movie of the same title, or even reading the book yourself. A good reader can pull you into a story and, combined with your imagination, can construction visions of worlds no movie can match.


If you doubt this, download the free chapter of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and take a listen before going to the movies to see the film. I think you’ll agree that the audiobook is as good, if not better than the movie.

Besides, audiobooks let you do other things, like firing automatic weapons, while listening.

The next time I travel anywhere further than the corner market I’m going to make my first stop the iTunes Store and stock up on whatever is free.

20 hour flight? Bring it on!

That it for this week. Stop by next week for more Free on iTunes.

More free stuff at the iTunes Store:


Vern Seward is a writer who currently lives in Orlando, FL. He’s been a Mac fan since Atari Computers folded, but has worked with computers of nearly every type for 20 years.

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