April 16-20, 2012

Rogert Ebert has a problem with lists — too often, they’re just a crutch for a lazy writer or critic. He, however, has been known to make a list of his own from time to time, and so has Kevin Mattison, who tries to figure out what a conscientious critic can and can’t do with lists in “Checking the lists”

The Flyers/Penguins first-round playoff series this year has been particularly bruising, and it’s pushing forward the conversation over whether the NHL needs to change its rules governing fighting, or even ban fighting outright. Yael Borofsky considers the pros and cons in “To fight, or not to fight”

Sometimes, it’s just too much trouble to decide what to watch next, so Sarah Werner asks the Netflix recommendation system to decide for her, with mixed results. Read “If you liked”

Suzanne Fischer tracks down a hard-to-find book by one of her favorite authors, The Homeward Bounders by Diana Wynne Jones. It was a book she found once at a library but never saw again and, having forgot the title, began think that she dreamed it rather than read it. Rediscover the book in “Walking the bounds”

Jill Kolongowski has been making life decisions lately, which has had her under a lot of stress, but happily she’s found that she’s not a stress eater. Find out what and how she eats when the pressure’s on in “On eating your feelings”

April 9-12, 2012

Matt Santori-Griffith loves bringing comic books home every week, and he loves stopping by his local brick-and-mortar store to hear what else is happening and what the store team is reading. One of the recent recommendations was Image Comics’ The Sword, and you can read about it in “Speak softly and carry a big sword”

She flies the TARDIS better than the Doctor, she knows what he’ll do before he does, and she has better hair. (You think the Doctor doesn’t know she has better hair? Oh, he knows.) Matt Santori-Griffith suggests it’s time to just admit that River Song is a better Doctor than the Doctor himself. Read “Spoilers, sweetie!”

There are two kinds of readers in the world: Those who read, and those who re-read. Kelly Hannon is one of the latter, and she recalls a somewhat testy encounter with two single-time-only readers in “Re-reading, stupid”

Ana Holguin runs, even though she hates running. She’s trying to write a love story (a love of running, food, and self) in which she moves beyond denying herself to finding what feels good when she runs. Read “On the run”

April 2-5, 2012

Yael Borofsky is a bit bummed about her March Madness bracket, so she creates her own kind of bracket to determine the best goal song in the NHL. Read “Goal song madness”

He’s dangerous, flighty, and a creature of a broken heart. He’s constantly on the edge of not being the Doctor anymore. He’s David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor, Gavin Craig tells you why he’s the best of the modern Doctor Who Doctors in “Kindness and fury”

The sleuth is clever, cutting, erudite, epicurean, exacting, and enthralling. The sleuth is Sarah Cauldwell’s legal historian Hilary Tamar, and new columnist Suzanne Fischer spends some time in the professor’s world in “Death, taxes, and telexes”

It’s the murkiest, most morally ambiguous entry in the Star Trek canon, and maybe that’s why Daniel J. Hogan loves Star Trek: Deep Space Nine the best. Read “DS9”

March 26-30, 2012

After months and months of streaming, Kevin Mattison re-embraces the discipline of limitation and goes back to the disc. Read “It’s not you, it’s me: breaking up with Netflix Streaming”

Mad Men is back, but a show that was once confident, sexy, defiant, and unapologetically mysterious, is now paranoid, aggressive, alienated, and tangibly nervous. It leaves Ana Holguin feeling a bit funny, and not always in a good way. Read “A little bit funny”

He treats humans more like puzzles than people. He has no compunction about manipulating people or dropping them entirely. He just doesn’t give a shit, and Sarah Pavis argues that, objectively, this makes Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor the best of the modern Doctor Who Doctors. Read “A tale of two Doctors”

What happens when an author’s personal life or beliefs force you to reconsider your feelings about their work? Kelly Hannon considers her deep and abiding love for Orson Scott Card’s novels in “The author, in and out of shadow”

Jill Kolongowski has strict standards for breakfast, which until recently did not include sausage gravy. She starts to make up for lost time in “Biscuits and vegetarian gravy, with apologies”

March 19-23, 2012

Technological alienation? Old news. Australian band Regurgitator was all over it back in the 90s, and they were funny, too. Mike Vincent revisits two of their best albums in “Regurgitated”

The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament is the single best event in American sports, but there’s always room for improvement. Gavin Craig offers some (somewhat unusual) ideas on making March Madness just a little more crazy in “Snark Madness”

Sarah Wener finally dives into Doctor Who, and finds that she had the good luck to start with the best Doctor, Christopher Eccleston. Read “A noob watches Doctor Who”

Comics are more interesting when things are more than just black-and-white, in the storytelling that is. Matt Santori-Griffith takes on two examples where characters and their choices don’t fall clearly into neat categories, X-Factor/X-Statix and The Secret Six. Read “Mutants and misfits”

Gavin Craig takes on homemade (and handmade) mayonnaise. See if his whisking is up to the task in “Beefy forearms and emulsions”

March 12-16, 2012

Apparently, you can go home again, but it doesn’t mean you’ll like what you find, especially when where you are (and who you are while you’re there) isn’t any better. Kevin Mattison watches Young Adult in “In the wink of a young girl’s eye”

You owe it to yourself to catch up with NBC’s Parks and Recreation. Ana Holguin tells you why in “Treat yo’self to Parks and Rec”

Virtue can be deceiving. Jill Kolongowski shares that while her shopping cart may look healthy, but her weakness for snacks is just as bad as anyone. Read “On snacking”

Kelly Hannon travels to AWP’s annual meeting in search of fellow writers, and finds making connections harder work than it should be. Read “Getting together to be alone”

March 5-9, 2012

Mike Vincent looks back at The Verve’s album Urban Hymns, and exactly where he was in his life when he was listening to it. Read “Have you ever been down?”

It’s one of the underrated superhero films of the 1990s, but it’s available on Netflix. Slam evil with Daniel J. Hogan in “The Phantom”

In new comics column “Bag and Board,” Matt Santori-Griffith reads Greg Rucka and his amazing imperfect super-heroines. Read “Super-heroines, stains and all”

Gavin Craig is trying to lose weight (just a little — it happens to the best of us), and is finding that being a food columnist can be difficult when your eating options are intentionally limited. Read “My own private food desert”

February 27-March 2, 2012

The Beach Boys’ Smile is one of the great lost masterpieces of rock and roll, and it haunts the band’s catalog, with songs from the project turning up on most of their later albums. Mike Vincent gives you a map to assembling your own Smile, as well as his take on the later releases of the original tapes and Brian Wilson’s solo re-recordings. Read “Cracked”

Kevin Mattison wraps up The Great Oscar Race with a look at the winners, and the winners that should have been. Read “Three strides back and kind of OK with it”

Yael Borofsky takes on one of hockey’s most pressing ontological questions: How in the world have the Detroit Red Wings been so good for so long? Read “Hockey philosophy: Why are the Red Wings so good?”

There are favorite movies, and then there are favorite movies that we don’t want anyone to know about. Ana Holguin lets you in on her “Top 5 movies to watch when no one’s watching”

The streaming content deal between Netflix and Starz expired today, and in case you haven’t noticed already, there’s probably a handful of stuff that’s no longer in your queue. Sarah Pavis lists “The top 10 movies I’ll miss most now that the Starz deal has expired”

Kelly Hannon reads Tana French’s Faithful Place, a compelling murder mystery about lost love and the dark places that only family can take you. Read “Where the body is buried”

Jill Kolongowski would love to be able to tell you how to eat well when you’re attending a conference, but she’s never quite figured it out. She can, however, detail her experience, so at least you know what to avoid. Read “How not to eat at AWP 2012”

February 20-24, 2012

Kevin Mattison continues The Great Oscar Race with The Artist, Moneyball, and Midnight in Paris. Read “Silence is golden. . . maybe,” “Baseball is like church: Many attend, but few understand,” “When good Americans die they go to Paris”

To help deal with her disappointment over the second season of Downton Abbey, Sarah Werner watches its predecessor, 1971’s Upstairs Downstairs. Read “Downstairs at Downton Abbey”

Mike Vincent visits his archive, and rediscovers the Super Furry Animals. Read “SFA-OK”

Gavin Craig weighs in against the panini, and offers a slightly off-the-beaten-track grilled alternative. Read “Up in my grill”

February 13-17, 2012

Kevin Mattison continues The Great Oscar Race started with Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life. Read “You are born, you die, and in between you make a lot of mistakes”

Why is Louis C.K. Ana Holguin’s Valentine this year? Because he’s funny, and there’s a brain under all that flabby male self-loathing. Read “My funny Valentine”

Even booksellers can’t read everything. Kelly Hannon had never heard of Locus Award winner and Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy Award nominee N. K. Jemisin, but a well-directed advance copy of her upcoming novel The Killing Moon changed all that. Read “The stuff of dreams”

Lindsey Malta shares the story of her cheesiest Valentine’s Day ever, and her recipe to do even better this year. Read “Cheesiest Valentine’s Day ever”

Jill Kolongowski makes double rainbow cupcakes as a Valentine’s Day treat for her sweetie. We’ll leave you to figure out what it all means. Read “Valentine’s day: Double rainbow coconut cupcakes”