Summer Reading B2G1 Free

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores


Authors, readers, critics, media — and booksellers.


Nude Pictures of Hal Linden

Until recently, I was bewildered at the reason why people would buy DVD box sets when they can get TiVo and have their shows for free. I think now that people want collections in order to have them on hand to show unfamiliar guests or even lend the discs to others in hopes of gaining compatriots. DVD sets are an evangelical tool.

At my reading last night, my wife and I got to talking with Brendan, who was introducing me. We got on the subject of television shows and he raved about The Wire, saying that it was better than The Sopranos in many ways. I promised to have a look and I made him vow to start watching House.

It was odd sitting in a bookstore discussing television, but for both of us I'm sure it was a welcome respite from talking about books. This kind of chat is the only way that I trust to find restaurants, movies, TV shows, and — most important — books.

Books have always been this way. When I fall in love with a book, I'll often buy multiple copies — usually used — because I know I'll be lending them out to friends. I've lost at least a thousand books this way.

I'm going to use my soap box here to mention some things I think are worthy of people's time and money. I'm also going to list some things I hate, which I'm equally passionate about.

Down By Law. The only movie I ever saw that I rewound and watched a second time. Like The Pope of Greenwich Village and Rounders, I can see this movie a dozen times and enjoy it for new reasons every time. Also watch Lone Star.

The worst movie ever made was Mrs. Winterbourne. A close second and third are Stepmom and The Bachelor.

The aforementioned House, AMC's Hustle, The Soup, and especially HBO's Entourage are all great television. Top Chef is the best reality show. Overhaulin' is fun, but you have to watch with the volume muted. The best poker show is still High Stakes Poker.

Extreme Makeover and The Swan are the worst shows on right now and Mama's Family was the worst show I ever saw.

Books: This one is hard.

The best is easy. Joseph Mitchell's Up in the Old Hotel. Every story, paragraph, and sentence is perfection.

A list of books I recommend would be too long for any blog, but I'm just going to throw out some titles: The Anomalies, Valencia, Ella Minnow Pea, The Mysterious Secret of the Valuable Treasure, Home Land, Assassination Vacation, The God File, The Seas, Post Office, A River Runs Through It, The Contortionist's Handbook, The Phineas Poe Trilogy, The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio, and The Locklear Letters. Disclosure: I worked for the publishing house for many of these but that doesn't change anything; they're great books.

The book I hated the most was Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. It may have been the circumstances in which I read it as a freshman in college, but I really despised the book. It won the Pulitzer Prize, but so did The Shipping News and that wasn't a good book, either. Not that I hated it, but I never really got why The Great Gatsby was considered such seminal work. It was very good, but not, as many claim, the best thing written in the 20th Century.

Thanks very much — to both of you — for reading my rantings. A special thanks to Powell's, especially Dave (to whom I promised the above mentioned nude pictures of Hal Linden — I'm working on it), Georgie, and Bolton. It's been my pleasure.

Books mentioned in this post

  1. Up in the Old Hotel: and Other Stories
    Used Trade Paper $10.00

  2. Valencia
    Used Trade Paper $5.95
  3. Ella Minnow Pea
    Used Trade Paper $5.95
  4. The Mysterious Secret of the... Used Hardcover $4.50
  5. Home Land Used Trade Paper $6.95
  6. Assassination Vacation
    Used Trade Paper $5.50

  7. The Seas: A Novel
    Used Trade Paper $10.00
  8. Post Office
    Used Trade Paper $10.95
  9. A River Runs Through It and Other...
    Used Trade Paper $7.00
  10. The Contortionist's Handbook
    Used Trade Paper $8.95

  11. The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio:... Used Trade Paper $3.50

  12. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (Perennial...
    Used Trade Paper $5.95
  13. The Shipping News
    Used Trade Paper $3.95
  14. The Great Gatsby
    Used Trade Paper $5.95
  15. How to Win the World Series of Poker... Sale Trade Paper $1.00

Pat Walsh is the author of How to Win the World Series of Poker (or Not): An All-American Tale

13 Responses to "Nude Pictures of Hal Linden"

    The Other Reader June 16th, 2006 at 1:34 pm

    You're welcome.

    Jim Linder June 16th, 2006 at 1:56 pm

    I'll be honest- I haven't had the courage to read this yet. The title scares me too much.

    Bolton June 16th, 2006 at 1:57 pm

    Amen to "Rounders," "The Wire," and "Lone Star!"

    Mama June 16th, 2006 at 1:58 pm

    Pat Walsh... KISS MY GRITS!

    pat walsh June 16th, 2006 at 2:09 pm

    Jim Linder, it could be worse, ie. "Hot Sexy Action with Richard Moll and Bea Arthur"

    Bolton, good taste! I should have added Runaway Train, tho.

    Mama, that's Flo from Alice.

    Georgie June 16th, 2006 at 3:08 pm

    Yay Pat!

    Thanks for the shout out and thanks so much for blogging. your posts have been fantatsic -- especially your divine take on the Da Vinci Code. My thoughts exactly, though expressed far more eloquently than i would have been able to say myself. If you haven't seen Deadwood yet, I'd highly recommend it. I'm in the middle of Season wo on DVD (sadly,i don't have cable ot TiVo so i'm a dvd tv series person myself.)

    And yes, yes, yes, to The Mysterious Secret of the Vaulable Treasure. Pendarvis rocks!

    Georgie June 16th, 2006 at 3:11 pm

    And actually, if anyone releases Barney Miller on DVD I'll be the first in line to purchase. I love that show!

    Bolton June 16th, 2006 at 3:12 pm

    Oh, yeah -- I almost forgot: The Shield and The West Wing! They're pure televisual crack.

    pat walsh June 16th, 2006 at 3:44 pm

    Georgie, Jack Soo rocks.

    Bolton, I used to love the WW but it went downhill fast. Jimmy Smits is television poison. I'm going to start watching The Shield as soon as i forget that guy was The Commish.

    Bolton June 16th, 2006 at 3:59 pm

    Oh, Pat -- the first episode of The Shield is the greatest first episode of any series, ever. You will forget The Commish in approximately 1.2 seconds and after the ending, you will never think of him that way again.

    After Sorkin left WW at the end of the fourth season, it sank like Bush's approval ratings. But up 'til then, man...

    pat walsh June 16th, 2006 at 4:23 pm

    I agree about ww, although i thought the fifth season was good. I will find 1st ep. of the shield somehow.

    Beth June 17th, 2006 at 10:58 am

    My vote: Battlestar Galatic (the new one, of course) -- it's like the West Wing, in space! Could it be even better? Yes, with Hal Linden as Adama.

    Julius Marx June 19th, 2006 at 11:17 am

    Nice blog entry! Yes, it is amazing how folks in literary meccas such as Powell's can sometimes be found talking about television. Not just discussing, but passionately touting their favorite shows.I realize that it is en vogue to poo-poo the idiot box, and of late, except for a very few entrys, TV seems to have become the vast wasteland as was earlier predicted,(I'm sure I bastardized that quote, twisted it, and somewhere, Edward R Murrow is doing about 1700 rpms!). However a few hidden gems give people like me hope.
    When it comes to television, I think two shows that bear mentioning are Northern Exposure and On The Air. I know they're over a decade off the air, but both were amazing, in my opinion. Northern Exposure was a delightful, thought provoking work that never shot for the lowest common denominator. Character driven plots that ranged from the mundane to the sacred, oftentimes within the same episode. I felt it was criminal that it was cancelled! I still watch episodes that I taped and, yes, I do plan on getting the boxed sets soon!!
    On The Air was the David Lynch take on sitcoms and short-lived though it was, it was hysterical! Filmed with no audience, and no laugh track, this homage to live television broadcasting in the 1950's was filled with quirky characters performing with an absurdist style that turned the genre on its ear. There is a lone video tape of the episodes broadcast as well as the episodes not broadcast, as the show was too weird for television.
    As for worst films made, try harder! I won't go for the easy targets, that would be errrrrr too easy!! Every decade has its share of drech, but I feel the 80s brought us the most! I would stack films like "Destroyer", "Troll", "The Stuff", "Kid Colter", "Hollywood Vice Squad", "Link", "Wraith", and "Hamburger: The Movie" up against your worst list any day.

Post a comment:

Get Your Gravatar

  1. Please note:
  2. All comments require moderation by staff.
  3. Comments submitted on weekends might take until Monday to appear.
PowellsBooks.Blog uses Gravatar to allow you to personalize the icon that appears beside your name when you post. If you don't have one already, get your Gravatar today!
  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at