OnMilwaukee.com Recommends: July 30, 2009
It's always important to stay hydrated during the warm summer months, so it's not surprising that we're recommending a sport from Clif (pictured). Once we've wet your whistle, we'll follow up with advice on a cool Hendrix collector's pack, a solid Disney movie, an up-and-coming TV character, a handy accessory for your purse or backpack and an iPhone app that will let you know where you are and where you're going. Who couldn't use that?
Here are a few of our favorite things this week:
Clif Quench sport drink -- With 88 percent organic ingredients, the all-natural Clif Quench is one of the better sports drinks on the market. It still has 20 grams of sugar, but at only 90 calories per 16 ounces it's a good way to hydrate with something that tastes very good. I'm digging the lime-ade and the $1 price right now at Whole Foods Market. --Jeff Sherman
The Jimi Hendrix Experience -- Live 1968 Paris • Ottawa "fan pack" (Dagger Records) -- Make no mistake, this set of goodies built around a vinyl LP and a CD is a collector's dream. There are posters, postcards, an iPod skin, guitar picks, a T-shirt and more in this pack available only from Amazon. The LP in clear vinyl splattered with red and yellow, is stunning and collects seven songs recorded at the Olympia in Paris on Oct. 9, 1967. It's hit-heavy with "Fire," "Hey Joe," "Stone Free," "Red House," "Wild Thing," "Rock Me Baby" and "Purple Haze." The CD has nine tunes recorded a few months later at the same venue. Those performances are electric and exciting despite some occasional sloppiness. Three more songs are added from the first set of a March 19, 1968 show at the Capitol Theater in Ottawa that Hendrix himself recorded for posterity. These are less exciting -- although it's fun to hear the band rip through "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" -- as the band is often communicating poorly. The fan pack is released Aug. 11 and can be pre-ordered now. Hendrix fans have to be happy that so many of the guitar legend's performances are still coming to light on these "official bootlegs" -- especially when they come in amazing packages like this one. --Bobby Tanzilo
The emotional growth of "Turtle" -- In the first few seasons of HBO's "Entourage," the Turtle character was a chubby, pot-smoking, sneaker-obsessed go-fer. He's still all those things, but this season the show's writers are letting actor Jerry Ferrara branch out. He's dating Jamie-Lynn Sigler (of "The Sopranos" on HBO). He's going to take business courses in hopes of starting a business. The story arc is good for the show, which is focusing on the personal growth of other central characters (Eric Murphy, Lloyd). Turtle, whose overbearing mother regularly breaks his balls from 3,000 miles away, is the schleppy, everyman kind of character that makes people root for him. --D.O.
Clipa -- Racking your brain for a gift for a favorite girlfriend? One word: Clipa. A simple, metal ring with a hinge, the Clipa handbag hanger is always at your fingertips because it attaches to your handbag strap. All the other purse hooks I've seen need to be carried inside your purse, which means you have to dig for it - likely while in a dark bar or restaurant. Hardly convenient. Plus, there's no folding and unfolding with the Clipa so you can quickly and easily attach it to the edge of a bar or table. The press materials say the Clipa weighs just 2 oz.; I suspect it's a bit heavier than that, or maybe I just need to work-out. I definitely need to go out more now that my bag won't be left to soak up floor grime of local watering holes while I'm enjoying a cocktail. The Clipa sells for $24.95 and comes in four finishes: silver polished chrome, hematite polished chrome, gold polished brass and gold brushed brass. --Velia Tarnoff
"Bolt" -- Have an extra 96 minutes to spare? Download or rent Disney's "Bolt." The plot is simple, I'll let imdb.com explain, "the canine star of a fictional sci-fi/action show that believes his powers are real embarks on a cross country trek to save his co-star from a threat he believes is just as real." John Travolta and Miley Cyrus do solid voice work to create characters that are more intriguing than those in many movies and TV shows. --J.S.
Navigon MobileNavigator turn-by-turn GPS app for the iPhone --
Amazingly, even though the mighty iPhone has offered GPS for more than
a year, only now are turn-by-turn driving applications beginning to
appear in the App store. The first weak entry came from AT&T
itself; a rebranded offering that charges users a monthly fee. But the
first fully-functionally turn-by-turn GPS app comes from Germany's
Navigon, and it's among the most impressive tools I've seen on the
iPhone. The company sent me a demo license last week. I've been putting
it through its paces -- for the most part, it works extremely well.
Although it's taken me on a few slightly circuitous routes (as opposed
to my normal shortcuts) to work and to my parents' house in Racine,
MobileNavigator hasn't yet let me down.
What's interesting about this pricey $100 app ($69.99 until Aug. 15) is that all the maps for the United States and Canada reside natively on the iPhone -- so even if you're without cell service, the program works fine. MobileNavigator has all the bells and whistles you'd expect from a stand-alone GPS: ample points of interest, a "take me home" function, 3D maps, speed limit warnings and more. It also integrates with your iPhone's address book, though I've had a few challenges in that department. Directions are loud, clear and easy to follow. If you deviate from its preferred course, it immediately plans a new route.
On the downside, the App is quite expensive -- though you'd surely pay more for a separate piece of hardware, and there are no recurring costs with MobileNavigator. Also, it's huge at 1.29 GB, so consider the purchase carefully if you don't have a lot of storage space. And finally, when I rest the iPhone in a cup holder, sometimes it loses its GPS signal (though that's not the app's fault), so I hopped on eBay and bought a $5 windshield holder. Problem solved.
Is this a must-own App? If you have an excellent sense of direction, probably not. But if you travel, get lost easily, or just want to make the very most of your iPhone, buy this. Now. For a 1.0 version, it's very, very good. I know some people are waiting for the GPS "big boys" to get into the game, but Garmin and Tom Tom aren't going to be much, if any cheaper, than MobileNavigator, and I'd be surprised if they worked any better. --Andy Tarnoff
"The Terroir Guides: The Italian Riviera & Genoa" (The Little Bookroom) -- Considering how little space this stunning region of Italy garners in most guidebooks, you might be surprised to see that author David Downie packs 400 pages with information about both sections of the Riviera (Ponente to the west of Genoa and Levante to the east) and its sights but especially its tastes and scents. Home not only to Genoa -- which is one of Italy's under-touristed cities but one with a great history, some great sites -- including Italy's best aquarium and a fine emigration museum -- and some of its best food, including native specialties like pesto, focaccia and farinata (an amazing chick pea flour treat) and copious seafood. In the interior mountains there is great rustic food and dazzling hiking and vistas. Along the coast are touristed gems like Portofino and the towns of the Cinque Terre, but also lesser known finds like Chiavari, with its porticoed center, and nearby Sestri Levante with its "two seas" and its great resort-y beaches. Downie packs it all in here and spices it all up with great photos and an attractive, easy to read design. --B.T.
Can a week go by without B.T. mentioning something related to Italy. Dude needs a new interest. This is a site about Milwaukee right?
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