Sunday, August 14, 2005

Reviews aplenty

But first...
Star-gazing and the meteor shower was nice, definitely not the kind of thing that happens everyday. I saw a good number of meteors that night, mostly fairly dim & quick, but a number of really bright ones. I didn't have a good tripod, so I didn't get any pictures. You should have come with me.


MolvaniaMolvania: A land untouched by modern dentistry, a jetlag travel guide by Santo Cilauro et al.

I have to say that the criticisms of this book are mostly true. The main criticism being that this book is just one joke repeated over and over, so it's fortunate for the reader that it's less than 200 pages. Nevertheless, the disturbed minds that thought up these jokes probably have some pretty good blogs. The writers are quite proficient at turning a normal situation into the absurd and this is one of the most original books I've read since the Letters from a Nut series (I highly recommend the first one, skip #2 & 3). One other complaint I read about this book is the obvious disparagement of east-European peoples and cultures. It's hard to dispute that criticism, but at the same time it's pretty funny. If you're easily offended, you're probably not reading this review anyway. The best way to tell the story of Molvania is to excerpt a couple of short passages:
Despite being one of the smallest countries in Europe, the Republic of Molvania has much to offer the discerning tourist. Panoramic scenery, magnificent neoclassical architecture and centuries of devotion to fine culture are, admittedly, all in short supply. But the intrepid traveller will still find plenty to enjoy within this unique, landlocked nation state - from the capital Lutenblag, with its delightful gas-powered tram network, to the heavily-forested Postenwalj Mountains in the south, where visitors can share a glass of locally brewed zeerstum (garlic brandy) while watching a traditionally-dressed peasant labourer beat his mule.


No visit to Lutenblag would be complete without a stop at the Molvanian Space Museum, where visitors can learn of the country's major role in the early Russian space program. During the late 1950s Molvanian scientists designed and built the first spacecraft to be fuelled by refined mineral turpentine. Tragically, Splutfab I exploded on launch killing its entire crew and stripping paint from buildings within a 5km radius. Splutfab II was more successful and, in 1963, Molvania became the first nation to successfully land a man on Poland.

Tourists tend to be a little wary of western Molvania, perceiving it as little more than an arc of polluted factory towns full of high-rise tenement housing and even higher crime rates. They are, of course, right. But the west of Molvania is also something of a paradox: much of it was despoiled by 40 years of post-war industrialization, but here and there you can still find areas of great natural beauty that were only ruined a few years ago. Certainly, much of the region is windswept, barren, cold, isolated and completely lacking in visual charm, but on the upside, it's relatively untouched by tourism.



Also new this week are two albums that came for review. I'm contractually forbidden from mentioning them by name as they aren't officially released yet. The first is from a band named after the police code for indecent exposure. I enjoy their music, but mostly just the few tunes that have made it to the radio. You might hear one or two from this album in the near future. Their latest attempt is more of the same kind of fun you've come to expect from them, good (but not great) mid-energy, ska-ish, alt. pop/rock available Tuesday. The second is from one of the few bands sporting a harmonica-toting (and much more slender, these days) frontman. Unfortunately, these guys hit their commercial peak in 1997 and then spun off into freeform jamming, leaving fans wondering "was it me?" Their last few albums have been commercial flops, and don't expect to hear anything on the radio when this one hits shelves in mid-September.

10 Comments:

At 9:01 AM, Blogger Allie#3ga said...

Certainly, much of the region is windswept, barren, cold, isolated and completely lacking in visual charm, but on the upside, it's relatively untouched by tourism.


how could i possibly add to that?

 
At 12:34 PM, Blogger Brighton said...

Mmmm, booking a flight now...

 
At 1:12 PM, Blogger kcterrilynn said...

Re: the two albums, I totally agree with the 'eh'ness of the second group. Loved 'em back in the day, but now... The first group I just saw Friday night. Not my fave, but the tix were free.

And the book sounds interesting, I'll have to check it out.

 
At 10:04 PM, Blogger Kate the Peon said...

I've really liked your last couple posts. You're groovin', baby.

 
At 10:28 PM, Blogger tinyhands said...

Al: Umm, 80s Brit-pop?

Bright-one: Anything to get out of town, eh?

KCTL: As a matter of fact they were in KCMO Friday night. As for the book, if you've run out of other things to read...

Katherine: And for my next trick, I shall set myself aflame!

 
At 6:08 AM, Blogger Allie#3ga said...

i used to think that it was so easy.

 
At 8:43 AM, Blogger Duly Inspired said...

TH - in answer to your panhandling question, would believe it was the flag? It really was. I know, I know, I'm still shaking my bowed head at my assumption.

 
At 8:44 PM, Blogger christ*el #3tx said...

happy blog-o-versary + 8 days.

 
At 10:30 PM, Blogger tinyhands said...

Al- I may be cheap, but I ain't easy. No, wait...I'm easy too. Nebermind.

D.I.- Trust me, I would have made a much bigger fool of myself.

#3moo- I'll thank you tomorrow.

 
At 2:52 PM, Blogger me said...

that's a man on the cover, right? say it's a man on the cover.

 

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