Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to

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    > Harry Potter: A Journey Through a History of Magic

    ?u tio havas bildojn de ar?entajn bovlojn?

    Mi le?as “Teach Yourself Esperanto” de John Cresswell. Anka?, mi le?as “Magical Folk” pri verajn feinojn kaj koboldojn.Report

  2. fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

    I might put out “Sock Monkeys: (200 out of 1,863) ” because it’s weird, and if the people I’m having over don’t know that I’m weird they need to know.

    (Essentially: it is a book of photographs of sock monkey toys. Which are surprisingly diverse, though then again, because they were handmade up until a few years ago, maybe not so surprising. Some people were asked to write essays about selected monkeys – Teller, of Penn and Teller, has one in there, and Neil Gaiman)

    Currently reading “The Cruelest Month” (Louise Penney mystery novel) and a biography of Winston Churchill….Report

  3. Reading: I just finished Pleading Guilty by Scott Turow, Think Like a Cat by Pam Johnson-Bennett, and (a few weeks ago), Burden of Proof, also by Turow. Today I’ve started reading Russell’s Children of God, the sequel to her earlier book Sparrow.

    Watching: My spouse and I a couple weeks ago started watching Parks and Recreation. Last night, we saw episode 5 (or maybe 4) from the first season. We’re also kind of intermittently watching the most recent season of Call the Midwife.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to gabriel conroy says:

      I tried to watch Parks and Rec a million years ago and I couldn’t stop wincing. I didn’t make it to episode 5. Later on, I was walking through the room when Maribou was watching it and it was a completely different show. I couldn’t help but laugh at every single line being said no matter who was saying it and I didn’t cringe once. “What happened?”, I asked her. Apparently, they found their voice in the 2nd season somewhere.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

        The amusing way of saying it (not original with me) is that the American Office got goof when it stopped trying to be the British Office and Parks and Rec got good when it stopped trying to be he American Office. Benevolent, driven, hyper-competent, slightly naive Leslie Knope is one of the best sitcom characters ever.Report

      • Avatar gabriel conroy in reply to Jaybird says:

        We actually like it so far. So hopefully we’ll like it even better when we get to the second season.Report

  4. Avatar Maribou says:

    I binge-watched the 4th season of Grace and Frankie. Watching American Genius (PBS) which I find myself liking for its (copious) flaws, not in spite of them.

    Readingwise I’ve been in escapist mode, looking at big ole coffee table books – not just the one Jaybird describes here, but also Taschen Paris and a Relais & Chateaux book about entertaining that was basically just an excuse to wish myself into a far-out-of-my-price-range Quebecois manor or two for a few minutes…. Production values stellar on both of course.

    Now I’m spending time with Christiane Lemieux’s The Finer Things, which I thought would be more of the same but is actually a pretty practical, well-organized explanation of how Lemieux evaluates various home decor materials. It’s ALSO really beautiful and full of “if only I had a bajillion dollars and no worries” escapist stuff, but I like it better for being an interesting explanation of someone’s professional perspective, in nitty-gritty detail, as well.Report

  5. Avatar Slade the Leveller says:

    Watching, on Oscar’s recommendation, Altered Carbon. The first episode set the hook.

    Reading some classic Arthur C. Clarke sci-fi. I just finished Childhood’s End and I’m now making my way through Songs of Distant Earth.Report

  6. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Unsurprisingly, my coffee table books are art books and a collection of New Yorker cartoons.

    I just finished watching Babylon Berlin. It’s set in 1929 Weimar Germany and is a police procedural/political thriller about how the Weimar Republic was attacked from both the Communists and the Nationalists. Sometimes they worked together in an unholy alliance against their mutually dreaded Social Democrats.

    On the one hand, I watched it easily and was never bored. On the other hand, whenever you have these political thrillers with closely entangled webs, I spend a good chunk of the time thinking “Really? Really?”Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      whenever you have these political thrillers with closely entangled webs, I spend a good chunk of the time thinking “Really? Really?”

      Narrative economy, I think it’s called.

      But, honestly, there are only but so many ways to handle this sort of thing. (And this is going to involve mild spoilers for a bunch of movies that are more than 20 years old.)

      There’s the way that Sea of Love handled it. It’s a movie about a serial killer. The serial killer is shown to the audience a couple of times throughout the movie and is given a handful of lines. In the big reveal, it turns out that the guy we saw in a couple of scenes ended up being the killer.

      There’s the way that Blood Work handled it. It’s a movie about a serial killer. The serial killer gets the second most screentime in the movie after the protagonist. In the big reveal, it turns out that the guy we’ve seen in almost every scene up to that point ended up being the killer.

      There’s the way that Se7en handled it. It’s a movie about a serial killer. The serial killer is not seen at all for the first third of the movie. Then we see him but his face is always in shadow and out of focus and we only see a general outline of a body. We don’t see so much as a profile… until about halfway through the movie where the serial killer shows up and it’s someone we haven’t seen before (and wasn’t in the credits).

      I don’t know which way I prefer. The first way (Sea of Love) is probably the closest to something like a “fair play” mystery. Hints are given to the audience and, in the big reveal, you can gasp and say “I should have known!” The second way falls prey to “narrative economy”. Who’s the serial killer? The wacky neighbor. Every freakin’ time, it’s the wacky neighbor. And the third way can have a punch but it’s not even close to “fair play”. Information is deliberately withheld from the audience.

      I guess it depends on what story the author is trying to tell.

      You wanna write something for Scooby Doo? Use the Sea of Love formula. You want to have a buddy movie that turns weird? Do the second. You want to shock the audience and make them gasp? Withhold information from them and then hit them with a recognizable face that you’re pretty sure is destined to be a breakout star.Report

  7. Avatar j r says:

    Anyone else watching Dark on Netflix? I’m a few episodes in and it has hooked me.

    It is sort of a German take on Stranger Things (it’s centered on disappearing kids) but without the pseudo-80s nostalgia.Report

  8. Avatar CJColucci says:

    Just finished Bart Ehrman’s The Triumph of Christianity, which was intriguing because I got involved some years ago in on-line discussions about religion and what you could teach in the public schools, and I frequently used as a hypothetical a history exam question: “How did a tiny splinter sect of Judaism become in a few centuries the dominant religion and most powerful cultural institution in Europe?” followed by an explanation of why the one answer guaranteed to get you an “F” was: “Because Christianity is the true religion and God willed its triumph” — even if it was true.
    On the subway ride home tonight, I expect to finish the final volume of Edgar Johnson’s two-volume biography of Charles Dickens. An old-fashioned biography, a year older than I am. Rather Dickensian itself, as was Dickens.Report

  9. Avatar Aaron David says:

    As far as coffee table books go, I have the collected works of Gustav Stickley’s The Craftsman in one large volume that I pick up and read, article by article. The wife has some very nice books on food, along with some art books she or I have picked up.

    As far as reading right now, back on my Conrad boat, this time The Rescue. Also slowly working though The Silk Roads.Report

  10. Avatar Jason says:

    Coffee table book: Painting: Musee d’Orsay–large good images of the paintings and some short essays interspersed with the material.Report

    • Avatar Maribou in reply to Jason says:

      @jason Oooh, I bet that one’s beautiful. I’ve been to the Musee d’Orsay and while I did spent about 15 minutes each looking at 4 or 5 of the paintings there, I was mostly too obsessed with the sculptures and the arts and crafts rooms to give the paintings the attention they deserved. *sits on your internet couch and starts leafing through excitedly*Report

      • Avatar Jason in reply to Maribou says:

        It is. The sculptures are great, too. And it’s not as monstrously huge as the Louvre. When the wife was tired and needed to sit, she’d sit in the center area and check out the sculptures while I wandered looking at all the paintings.Report

  11. Avatar Zac Black says:

    Finally started on Dune Messiah; I read the original Dune last year and scored a copy of Messiah a bit ago but I read a fair few other books in between as palette cleansers.Report