Maury Chaykin, I realized that I'd only see one episode of A&E's Nero Wolfe, and that one long ago. We watch a lot of British mystery shows at Casa McD, but I was curious how the Americans would handle a classic literary mystery adaption like this. The answer is: pretty darn well. Tim Hutton is a snappy Archie Goodwin, and Chaykin is volatile and neurotic as Wolfe. The oddest part is the use of an ensemble cast in different roles each week. Aside from a few repeating characters, all the other actors play a different character in every mystery. It's a very good American take on the classic British lit-mystery format (Sherlock Holmes, Poirot, Marple, Midsomer Murders, etc).
As for Chaykin, the thing from him that I still remember best is "Mr. Potatohead! Mr. POTATOHEAD!" Can you name that movie?
|Gillian Anderson as Lady Dedlock|
Solitaire by David Parlett. Parlett is the best writer on cards, period. Alas, I think his book on Solitaire is out of print. That's a shame, because it's not just a collection of 400 games and variants, but also a thoughtful look at the game of solitaire itself. Parlett categorizes the games, ranging from simple games of luck and patience, to logic problems that require as much thought as chess. This book desperately needs to be back in print. No one has ever written a better book on the subject.
Memorize the Faith (and Most Anything Else) by Kevin Vost. I teach religion to 8th graders, so I was looking for some interesting new techniques in this book. The author's method is based on the ancient "method of loci," which associates certain facts with different discreet locations, such as rooms and objects in a house. I'm not far into it, so I'm not sure what I think of the method. I've worked with teenagers for many years, and their retention of rote facts is very poor. While rote learning was probably over-emphasized in the past, it is drastically under-emphasized now. I'm 42-years-old, and I can still recite poetry and facts I learned at their age. (I had a classical education that emphasized that sort of thing.) I'm looking for any method I can use to help them retain hard knowledge. This may or may not be the method, but it's certainly a different approach.
Killer Cribbage by Dan Barlow. I've read half of this book, and my 9-year-old daughter still took me to the cleaners ... twice. (She said, "I don't think that book is working.) Maybe all the best secrets are in the second half? Actually, it's a very good book that offers some excellent advice, My daughter is simply a card shark. I'm so proud.
I've mostly been listening to Old Time Radio. The archive.org site has a complete collection of Gunsmoke episodes in perfect sound quality. This is some of the best entertainment you'll find, and it's free! Load up your iPod with OTR and you will not be disappointed.