— Leonard Cohen, speaking to Paul Zollo, Songwriters on Songwriting, via Brain Pickings
Jacob Rubin, "Meditation for Strivers," Newyorker.com
Sure. More people meditating—even if it’s for suspect reasons—is, on balance, a good thing, I reckon.
Still, it kind of chafes seeing the Buddha reimagined as an executive life coach. Maybe what’s called for is a little more attention to the eightfold path, of which right mindfulness is only one part—preceded by right intention. And right livelihood.
Amanda Petrusich, Do Not Sell at Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World’s Rarest 78rpm Records, as quoted by Sara O’Holla, "Last Kind Words," Slate
First of all, I knew Amanda a little bit when we were both getting our MFAs, and it’s been cool to see her carve out a place of honor for herself in the boys club of music criticism/journalism.
And it’s cool to see O’Holla quote her by way of defending her own music blog against the scolds.
A while back, I wrote about O’Holla and the dilemma of context-free music appreciation (the context of no context, as someone once said). Ultimately, I came to a somewhat different conclusion, but I haven’t managed to express myself as eloquently on the subject as Amanda.
In this era of frantic tweets citing “sources close to Lebron/Melo/Kidd,” let’s take a moment to appreciate the direct, no-drama way Lamarcus Aldridge is handling his business. You’ve got a good one, Portland.
UPDATE: Okay, I have to admit, this isn’t bad either.
To wit, Food Network Magazine's summer music special, featuring such unlikely pairings as Iron Chef Zakarian and Ja Rule (who's working on a microwave cookbook inspired by his stint in jail, naturally) and The Sandwich King and Billy Corgan (who owns a tea shop in the suburbs!),* as well as the far more likely—some might say inevitable—summit of Taylor & Ina.
If that’s too mainstream for you hipsters, how about alt-country smartass Robbie Fulks talking Ottolenghi?
*I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that my lovely wife was present for both the ICZ/Ja and King/Corgan meet-ups.
UPDATE: Stop! Dinnertime.
"Myth, insofar as it is fitting, provides a ready-made means of externalizing human plight by embodying and representing them in storied plot and characters.
"By the subjectifying of our worlds through externalization, we are able, paradoxically enough, to share communally in the nature of internal experience.
If one is to contain the panicking spread of anxiety, one must be able to identify and put a comprehensible label upon one’s feelings better to treat them again, better to learn from experience… Myth, perhaps, serves in place of or as a filter for experiences.
What is the art form of myth? Principally it is drama; yet for all its concern with preternatural forces and characters, it is realistic drama that … tells of ‘origins and destinies’… Knowing through art has the function of connecting through metaphor what before had no apparent kinship [and] the art form of the myth connects the daemonic world of impulse with the world of reason by a verisimilitude that conforms to each.
—Jerome Bruner, “Myth and Identity,” via Brain Pickings
I’d never heard of Bruner when I wrote my essay questioning whether Buffy the Vampire Slayer should be considered a modern-day myth. I wish I had.
Writing for the Beard Awards is cool and all, but my heart is with the humble Beardys. And while farmers markets and CSAs are spilling over with nature’s abundance this time of year, the competition for summer’s most outstanding Edible Brooklyn subject was a two-man race:
Your runner-up is Matt Speigler, a web developer who refers to his 2nd Street apartment as his “nano-creamery.” No, you perv, he’s a cheesemaker—with a certificate from the Vermont Institute of Artisan Cheese, no less. Lots of details factored into Mr. Speigler’s high score:
1) I used to live on 2nd Street! We were totally neighbors!
2) His mold-ripened goat’s milk offering is called Gowanish (makes sense; isn’t everything in Gowanus mold-ripened?).
3) He stores his creations in a wine refrigerator purchased from Ted Allen, Brooklyn’s most charming gastrolebrity.
4) He says he aspires to “more ‘gypsy’ cheesmaking in borrowed pro spaces.” I think this just means he wants to make arrangements to work in professional kitchens, but it sounds kind of romantic and illicit, no?
Should go without saying, but this is a very personal, off-the-cuff list. No Phil Ochs (the paradigmatic protest singer), no Bob Marley, no Minutemen, no Coup. No lesser-known bands that deserve to make it on strength of name alone but haven’t yet found their way onto my ipod. Just five songs that fill me with the righteous spirit of rebellion. If that spirit doesn’t move me to get up, stand up, fight the powers that be, or rage against the machine as much as I should, that’s on me, not the artists below.
1) Billy Bragg & Wilco—“I’m Out to Get”: Figures Woody Guthrie would have written the perfect Occupy anthem roughly seventy years before the fact. “I’m out to get your long green tender/I’m out to get your round town car/I’m out to fight and win a good job and wages/And a six room twin bed flat with a built in bar.” Also recommended: “My 30,000,” inspired, I’m guessing, by Woody’s experience defending friend Stetson Kennedy’s home against the Klan.