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Release Date: August 05, 2009
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Release Date: September 29, 2009
Genre: Rock
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Discover New Music

  • Spanks for the Memories

    • 8 out of 10
    • Asylum Street Spankers
    • The Asylum Street Spankers are...well...The Spankers. Hailing from Austin, where I saw them live dozens of times, the band played entirely acousti

  • Life's Rich Pageant

    • 8 out of 10
    • R.E.M.
    • In the long series of R.E.M.'s evolution, this album (finally?) showcases their ability to capture on tape what had been happening in the live for years: heartfelt, sweat-filled performances that just
  • Perverse

    • 8 out of 10
    • Jesus Jones
    • When you think of Jesus Jones, chances are you can't remember them at all, or you vaguely remember "Right Here, Right Now" because it has been use

  • De Nova

    • 10 out of 10
    • The Redwalls
    • Wow! Perhaps my 5-star rating is simply because the Redwalls are not only new and fresh (none of them older than 22!), or perhaps its because -- despite their ages -- they are able to totally capture
  • Quadrophenia

    • 10 out of 10
    • The Who
    • Quadrophenia is everything that Tommy wanted to be, a rock opera that told a story, but one where every song could still stand alone. It was also Pete Townshend's farewell tribute to the Mod

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YouTube, Sharing,ViroPop, And More

Before we get into this week’s freebies I want to tell you about something that’s not free, but, in my never-so-humble opinion, is worth every penny spent: I speak of Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog.

If you know who Joss Whedon is then you’ll also be familiar with Buffy, The Vampire Slayer and Firefly. Both are off-centered takes on some tried and true cinematic themes. Buffy kills vampires, but basically does it in a high school cheerleader outfit (allegorically speaking) and Firefly is a space opera with a western setting (western as in cowboys and...well, cows).

Both series had have a huge fan base because Mr. Whedon has a tendency to produce very odd yet very human shows and cast actors that are as likable as the characters they play.

Mr. Whedon continues in this vein with the production of Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog.

What is it?

Take a healthy dollop of The Mystery Men, several dashes of Cyrano De Bergerac, sprinkle lightly with a broadway musical ( Sweeney Todd will do), add Joss Whedon’s sideways perspective and you have the makings of one of the strangest, yet coolest friggin shows movies series bits of entertainment you’ll ever pay $4 for.

I should also warn you that this is a case where watching the 90 second previews in iTunes does the full length feature no justice. The preview for Part 1 jumps in where Dr. Horrible, a role filled to the brim by Neil Patrick Harris, starts singing about a girl he’s met at a laundromat. While the full production is a class act, the snippet shown in iTunes preview left me frustrated and I was inclined not to buy. I liked Nathan Fillion as Captain Reynolds on Firefly, and Mr. Fillion plays Dr. Horrible’s arch nemesis, The Hammer, so I figured, "How bad can it be?"

If you’re a Whedon, Firefly, or Fillion fan or if you’re looking for something completely out in left field, waaay out there passed the bleachers, then buy Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. You’ll thank me. (Or curse me.)

Now, let’s get to those freebies.

It is said that laughter is the tonic, the relief, the surcease for pain. Whoever said that never got his hand stepped on by a 250 pound man dressed in a butterfly outfit and six-inch stilettos. (don’t ask) Of course, if you were watching said scene you would have been laughing so hard that a spike in the eye wouldn’t have bothered you.

Watching comedians is one way to find a good yuk, but more often than not, reality is the best source of the silly. I can think of no better source for common-man silliness than YouTube.

Lucky for us there’s a podcast, available on the iTunes Store that offers the best of YouTube, and it’s called, appropriately enough, The Best of YouTube.

Chain Surfing: The Best of YouTube

Four-handed guitar picking, tornado on a soccer field, cat conversations, chain surfing, it’s all there. The odd, the strange, the mind boggling, the stupid, and the funny. No, there’s no 250 pound man dressed in a butterfly outfit and stilettos, but the human mirror is just as good.

Check it out at the iTunes Store.

You know, sharing is something I excelled at in kindergarten. Back in those days (when we had to walk two miles to school through a foot of snow) the concept of sharing was taught by parents, Captain Kangaroo, and the schoolyard bully. Today sharing is still taught by parents, but teachers and bullies expect kids to understand the concept by the time they get to kindergarten.

When I was wee ( back when we had to walk 10 miles to school through five feet of snow wearing newspaper-lined hand-me-down shoes) I had two older brothers who were kind enough to teach me sharing. Of course, sharing to them meant leaving me nothing, but that’s another story.

Many kids today, however, come from small families were they are often the only child. So, how’s a kid suppose to learn about sharing these days?

Why, from The Sprout Sharing Show, of course.

Sprout and its friends are hand puppets and they sing and talk about sharing.

In a time when computer animation can leave little to the imagination, The Sprout Sharing Show is actually a breath of fresh air. Patty Pig, Ricky Rabbit, and Curtis E. Owl put on skits, sing opera, and basically have a lot of fun while imparting the concepts of sharing to young (and old) minds.

Parents watching the show may come away with ideas on how to entertain their young ones without involving hi-tech gee-whizardry.

There are only five episodes of The Sprout Sharing Show, but that’s more than enough to keep you nuclear powered rug runt occupied for a few minutes at least, so go grab them at the iTunes Store.

OK, out with the kiddies and in with green.

Everything is going green nowadays and everyone is looking for ways to green up what they’ve got yet do it with the minimum outlay of cash.

Normally, "going green" and "maintaining a budget" are mutually exclusive concepts, but innovation is the key and folks are finding better, greener, cheaper ways to do things.

This is where ViroPop comes in. This video podcast is stuffed to the rim with tech-oriented green news, all delivered crisply by bubbly girl-next-door-ish, Jessica Williamson.

The show’s fun to watch though you have to watch and listen carefully as Jessica flies through the stories as if Global Warming is going to melt the polar ice caps tomorrow. Still, fun to watch and a great source of green info, ViroPop gets green right.

OK, that’s another wrap. Make sure you check out Dr, Horribles Sing Along Blog. It really is good stuff.

More free stuff at the iTunes Store (with direct links):

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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