1980, 2012

How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So kids Will Talk (1980, 2012)

Full disclosure: I have no children, I am not a teacher and I spent virtually no time around children. So I am not the book’s audience. Why did I read it? Because my father recommended it me for as a good tool for communicating better.

2020, Personal, Society

Journal of the Plague Year: Blood on Their Hands

If you had asked someone in Autumn 2019 which country would be best equipped to handle a pandemic, they might have answered “The United States”. They have the most resources of any country in the world. Of course, given who is in power, they might have expressed doubt. But ask the question in Autumn 2015, …

2020, Personal, Society

Diary of the Pandemic Year: Nobody Follows the Rules

“Nobody is following the rules!” That is what literally everyone is saying. So many people are saying it that some of the people who are saying it must also not be following rules. As Jenn put it, each of us thinks we are following the rules better than everyone else. And we want everyone else …

1948, Books, Fiction

The Loved One (1948) by Evelyn Waugh

This is a mildly amusing pitch black comedy about the American funeral industry and the British in Hollywood. (And American advice columnists.) It’s pretty slight and it feels like Waugh didn’t exactly know what kind of story he wanted to tell for this. (There are three or four main topics in a book that is …

1980, Music

Seventeen Seconds (1980) by The Cure

I can’t actually recall if I’ve ever listened to Three Imaginary Boys. I don’t think I have but I can also imagine listening to it once and deciding there was no point to include it, given its reputation. I have listed to Faith on the other hand and I did not enjoy it when I …

1980, Music

Empty Glass (1980) by Pete Townshend

The story goes that Townshend was writing songs for both this album and the subsequent Who album and Daltrey at least feels like Townshend kept most of the good material for himself and gave the band the less good stuff. (I should point out I’ve never bothered with Face Dances because one thing I don’t …

1975, Music

Hokey Pokey (1975) by Richard & Linda Thompson

I fell in love with I Want to see the Bright Lights Tonight years ago and then, for some reason – too much music in the world – I never found my way to other albums. in the last few I finally have and I find myself unsuccessfully chasing the folk rock dragon. Sometimes you …

1975, Music

Let’s Take It to the Stage (1975) by Funkadelic

This is one of those Funkadelic albums where the line between them and Parliament is blurred and that’s not something I can I say I love. Because of its title, I thought it was a live record and almost skipped over it.

1970, Music

12 Songs (1970) by Randy Newman

With virtually every Randy Newman album I’ve yet encountered my problem with him has in part been the aesthetic – a unique and not particularly compelling singer singing acerbic is often backed by extremely slick arrangements. But that’s not the case here as Newman has abandoned the massed arrangements of his debut for members of …

1970, Music

Yeti (1970) by Amon Düül II

The older I get, the lower my tolerance for directionless jamming. If I listened to Yeti when I first listened to Tanz der Lemminge I imagine I would have loved it as much as I love that album. But I’m not a lot older and these endless jams and snippets wear on me in a …

2019, Movies

Hustlers (2019, Lorene Scafaria)

This is a pretty heavily stylized dramatization of a true story of strippers ripping off rich men in post crash New York City. I somehow never read the infamous article – though I’m going to now – so I can’t comment onto how accurate the depiction is. (Though that is not something I usually care …

1970, Music

Elton John (1970)

Elton Johns self-titled second album

Elton John’s second album is an interesting combination of contrasting styles, with some of it sounding like classic Elton John and some of it sounding like he really doesn’t know what he wants to sound like. It sounds a lot like a debut to me in that it feels like he hasn’t quite found his …

1965, Music

Dance Party (1965) by Martha and the Vandellas

Dance Party by Martha and the Vandellas

This album has the reputation as being the group’s best, but I have no idea if that’s true or not, as it’s my first experience of the group in LP form. (I know their hits from oldies radio.) This album contains three of the group’s biggest hits – at least one of which had been …

2013, Books, Non-Fiction, Travel

The Great Canadian Bucket List (2013) by Robin Esrock

I’m of two minds about this book, which was a gift to me who knows when. (And, weirdly, many years after I drove across Canada.) On the one hand, it feels like a bit of a affiliate marketing gimmick, and some of the places and things on the list appear to be here to make …

2020, Personal, Society

Diary of the Pandemic Year: It’s Oh So Quiet

Time has lost all meaning. Weekdays feel like weekends and weekends feel like weekdays. The only thing that lets me figure it out is consciously thinking about it. I have a weekday work schedule, which helps too. But I still have to think to myself “This is a weekday” in order to start it. So …

2000, Music

Like Water for Chocolate (2000) by Common

I’m sure I’ve heard a hip hop album quite like this, and I mean that as a compliment. I’ve heard music by some of the participants but I don’t know if I’ve quite heard something this clearly hip hop (as opposed to neo soul) which had such a neo soul feel, and lyrics which mostly …

2000, Music

No Strings Attached (2000) by *NSYNC

I absolutely hated *NSYNC when they first become popular, much like I absolutely hated the Backstreet Boys. And, though time has softened my feelings, it was still a struggle listening to “Bye Bye Bye” and “It’s Gonna Be Me” as immediately my got up a bit, as I remembered being inundated with these songs and …

2000, Music

The Covers Record (2000) by Cat Power

When I was younger, I believed the people who sang others’ songs were somehow lesser artists. I believed this for quite some time until, one day, I didn’t. It took me a long time to get there, but one of the things that helped me get there was getting exposed to really good cover albums …

2000, Music

He Has Left Us Alone but Shafts of Light Sometimes Grace the Corner of Our Rooms… (2000) by A Silver Mt. Zion

Less ambitious and grand Godspeed You! Black Emperor, with a slowcore song stuffed in the middle of it, basically.

1995, Music

Wild Love (1995) by Smog

My biggest problem with Bill Callahan is just the wild inconsistency from track to track. (I understand that this is why some people like him.) This is only my second Smog album, and this record is arguably just as inconsistent as the other one – full of ideas, many of which are half-baked (third-baked? quarter …