Thursday, April 29, 2010

Look and Listen

Here are some things I've read and listened to lately. You can check out my reviews on Amazon, but I'll say a short bit here about them.


I'll start here because there's only one thing I've reviewed lately

(I'm listening to something else that I will definitely be reviewing soon also).

Freelance Whales is my new favorite band. I take them as a kind of mashup of qualities that I really enjoy in other bands and singer / songwriters (Postal Service, Sufjan, Fleet Foxes). You can download their current album on Amazon (11.99 as a CD), Weathervanes, for six freakin' bucks. Seriously, this is worth far more than 1.5 units of whatever expensive coffee crap you're buying today. You can check my review on Amazon
by clicking here. I honestly cannot stop listening to them.


Amazingly, the day I finished reading this book, I heard an
interview with the author on NPR. This is a crazy (true) story about two guys named Wes Moore. One of them ends up behind bars for life, the other becomes a Rhodes Scholar. Even more amazing, they pretty much grew up in the the same socioeconomic strata... even starting out in the same neighborhood in Baltimore.

This book is incredible - Wes Moore (the author) writes with such clarity and does nothing to sensationalize the type of environment he and the other Wes Moore grew up in. I think it's easy for most of us to be insulated to the travails that many folks in a poorer America go through. We are often baffled as to why anyone would be attracted to the drug life and make it out to be a matter of a life hopeful of ill-conceived gains (think Freakonomics). Wes Moore makes a case that it's a lot more about finding something, or some people, to belong to. You can read my Amazon review by clicking here (you might have to search for my name - CTRL+F and type my name; for Macs, Command+F and type my name).

This is another Memoir about a kid who essentially escapes the drug life within the ghettos of
Chicago to eventually become an English professor. I don't know why I've been so into these types of narratives lately, but they're really affecting me. This is also a good read. If you were going to read one of the last two books mentioned, I'd pick up The Other Wes Moore, but this is still definitely worth reading.

I think this books gives light to the sort of hurdles some folks have to jump to get out of the cycle of poverty. The writer of this book grew up in a much different way than Wes Moore, however. Both of his parents were with him throughout his life. I think both may have had masters degrees - but the writer still got caught up in some of the drug culture.

Again, pick this book up. You can read my review by clicking here.

This is a fun book full of recipes and history about... Bourbon. I think that there is definitely some content in this book that you wouldn't necessarily find on the net (say, by looking for recipes). But if you don't drink... or aren't interested in making mixed drinks with Bourbon... then don't pick this up. You can read my review here.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

So...the experiment was a FAIL.

The only thing I think I am even remotely close to being on target for the grand experiment is (maybe) running (be the averages) and perhaps reading books.

So, this is just a placeholder before I start blogging more... shortly.