Month: June 2017

1987, Music

Whitney (1987) by Whitney Houston

This is one of the most commercially successful albums of its era, so I guess that’s why I felt I had to listen to it. But if I learned one thing from this album, it’s that the things that I like about music and the things that most consumers like about music are not the …

2001, Books, Non-Fiction

Fooled by Randomness (2001) by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

This is an important, valuable book. It’s basically a must-read. It would go on my list of essential non-fiction only I have a few reservations (all of them stylistic). Still, very, very important stuff.

1977, Music

Exodus (1977) by Bob Marley and the Wailers

Though this is something like the Wailers’ ninth record, it is apparently actually more like Marley’s first proper solo record, as the other songwriters and singers in the band had left, leaving him as the primary creative voice. This is my first Marley/Wailers album, so I have no idea if that means any kind of …

1977, Music

I Robot (1977) by The Alan Parsons Project

When I was young and obsessed with prog rock, people used to make fun of me. They would learn I loved prog and they would be bemused or even a little shocked/outraged. And I was confused because I really liked the stuff. Eventually, I realized that those who made fun of my tastes were often …

Philosophy, Society

Alternative Facts Are Older Than Facts

aka Western Philosophy Caused Alternative Facts We are told that so-called “alternative facts” are a new threat to us as a society; to how we view and understand the world and how we make decisions about the world (policies etc). But I think the idea of an “alternative” fact is far older and, worse, rooted …

1970, Music

Kooper Session (1970) by Al Kooper, Shuggie Otis

Al Kooper tries to capture lightning in a bottle again, replicating the old Super Session format this time with Shuggie Otis and a complementary change in sound. Both halves have their hits and misses but, for me, there is enough here to enjoy, even if this isn’t anything revelatory. The two halves definitely appeal to …

1970, Music

Easy Does it (1970) by Al Kooper

By the time Kooper released this double album in 1970 he had put out 6 albums (including this one) in something like 2 years. Yes, two of those were partially improvised, but Kooper was the prime creative force of all of them. So it should come as no surprise that this record feels like it …

1968, 1969, Music

The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper (1969)

Much like Super Session (the studio version of this record), this album suffers a little from happenstance: Mike Bloomfield had a habit of wearing himself out and he’s not present on all tracks (much like on Super Session where he was replaced for half of it by Stephen Stills). But he’s present on most (and …

1968, Music

I Stand Alone (1968) by Al Kooper

When I was younger, I was utterly fascinated by Kooper’s career: how he went from a successful songwriter to a less successful session guitarist to one of the best rock keyboardists of his era (or, perhaps, ever) and the major creative force behind some interesting ventures in the late 60s. But, for whatever reason, it …

2016, Movies

Passengers (2016, Morten Tyldum)

I feel like every single time I watch one of these legendary blockbuster bombs I find myself asking the same question: did I watch the same movie as everyone else? Make no mistake: this is not a good film. But once you’ve been told something is The Worst over and over again, your expectations get …

1978, Books, Fiction

The Westing Game (1978) by Ellen Raskin

This is the kind of novel all kids should read. I am far too old for this type of book now but, as a child or tween, this would have been great. It feels like a legitimate game (it’s basically a far more complicated version of Clue with character development) and its humour is rooted …

2017, Daily Log, Personal, Travel

Riley Goes to Saskatchewan Day 9 – Saturday June 10, 2017 Regina

I didn’t have a great morning as I don’t always sleep in when I’ve been up late drinking (more so now than when I was young) and the condo we stayed in was super bright. Then, shortly after 8, the in-laws called to inform us they would be there shortly for breakfast. We went to …

2017, Daily Log, Personal, Travel

Riley Goes to Saskatchewan Day 8 – Friday June 9, 2017 Moose Jaw and Regina

On this morning we made a ridiculously heavy biscuits and gravy breakfast that we made once before this year (albeit with a few minor alterations). It’s great stuff, but it’s very, very heavy.

2017, Daily Log, Personal, Travel

Riley Goes to Saskatchewan Day 7 – Thursday June 8, 2017 Manitoba again

This morning we woke up and ate our Riding Mountain National Park cinnamon buns. They were quite good but not as good as the ones from Saskatoon. Today we were supposed to go for a boat ride. So we got in the car and headed back to Manitoba to Lake of the Prairies.

2017, Daily Log, Personal, Travel

Riley Goes to Saskatchewan Day 6 – Wednesday June 7, 2017 Manitoba

We woke up in Manitoba, to a weird situation: we had been informed the night before that our host couldn’t make us breakfast at our bed and breakfast because she had to look after her grandkids due to an emergency. But she left us some farm eggs to microwave and she left us scones and …

2017, Daily Log, Personal, Travel

Riley Goes to Saskatchewan Day 5 – Tuesday June 6, 2017 Manitoba

This morning we made pancakes and had a leisurely breakfast. That would prove to be a mistake.

2017, Daily Log, Personal, Travel

Riley Goes to Saskatchewan Day 4 – Monday June 5, 2017 Yorkton and Melville

This morning we had the Kuchen (Kowach?) that we bought at the Farmer’s Market, which was pretty great. Then we went for a walk down to the end of the road, and then back to the other end of the road. I was not expecting all the trees as my idea of the farming part …

2017, Daily Log, Personal

Riley Goes to Saskatchewan Day 3 – Sunday June 4, 2017 Saskatoon to Yorkton

This morning we woke up early again and went to the Park Cafe Diner in the formerly bad part of downtown. It was a solid diner breakfast and I got to try a kind of bacon I’ve never had before: schinkenspeck.

2017, Daily Log, Personal, Travel

Riley Goes to Saskatchewan Day 2 – Saturday June 3, 2017 Saskatoon

We woke up pretty damn early on account of the time change and headed over to the Saskatoon Farmer’s Market probably not much longer after it opened. We wandered around, looked at the vendors, and had some snacks. We had not very good (too dense) scones and an absolutely amazing croissant. It was so good …

2016, Movies

Jason Bourne (2016, Paul Greengrass)

Why there’s another Bourne movie I don’t know. This one hits all the marks you’d expect: Bourne is mad at the CIA and is taking some kind of action, there’s someone on inside helping him out (actually 2 people, but whatever). The cast is too good for the material, as is usual with these films, …

2017, Daily Log, Personal, Travel

Riley Goes to Saskatchewan Day 1 – June 2, 2017 in Saskatoon

On Friday June 1, I went to Saskatchewan for the third time in my life. Why I went is sort of a long story. The short version of that story is that I was supposed to be in Europe for most of May but had to cancel my trip. Saskatchewan became the alternative because my …

1994, Books, Non-Fiction

Jung: A Very Short Introduction (1994) by Anthony Stevens

When I was a teenager, some adult told me about Jung’s collective unconscious. I didn’t read a thing about it, but took whatever they told me and created my own elaborate theory about our thoughts influencing others (which has nothing to do with Jung). Ultimately, that theory was a responsible for a lot of mental …