I've added a new link; Ken Levine. He's a writer from some smart sitcoms. He writes about stuff I don't care about (like sitcoms. Also American Idol, celebrities and TV in general) but does it with such wit that I find it entertaining. As the old saw has it, it's the singer, not the song.
Hey, just read a press release (no link; Google it yourself, ya lazy bums!) that they're making a feature film of The Doubtful Guest by Edward Gorey. This peculiar and hypnotic book spellbound me as a boy; it's the story of a strange penguinlike creature that enters a typical Gorey residence and very benignly weirds everybody out. I gave it to a boy recently, and he found it just as enthralling as I did, so it still casts a spell, even over Manga kids. Making a feature film from a slender picture book seems like an interesting exercise in the unlikely event the result doesn't suck. It'll have to be a matter of playing with a motif rather than straight adaptation, since the original work is, like, a short picture book.
Speaking of playing with motifs, I'm listening to Charles Mingus's Mingus Ah Um and recommend it unreservedly. I have no insightful commentary, though.
You know who's under appreciated? Nina Simone. Perhaps because of the diversity of her corpus; she's a tough artist to get a handle on, because on one album (such as Silk and Soul) she'll do such a wide range of styles and moods. From bumptious R & B to tender ballads, from the warmest of tender balladry to the fiercest of frightening anger, there's not one thing she does well, there's dozens of things she does brilliantly. And the diversity of her work never comes across as mere eclecticism; there's a blistering intelligence behind her song choices, behind her original material, her arrangements... The more one hears of her broad and diverse body of work, the richer the underlying personality of the artist reveals itself to be. And she plays piano at a professional level. How many top singers can say that? But because she doesn't rely on one or two kinds of songs with which to make he mark, she doesn't get brought up as often as she should.