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Notebook

Jan122021

Quote of the Day: “Unsolved in your heart”

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

 

Rainer Maria Rilke

Jan112021

Daily Links: Today in Tabs, Fashion During COVID, Bicycles and Goats.

Today in Tabs, the world’s greatest weird-stuff-on-the-internet newsletter,  is back. Subscribe for free and witness the hilarios genius of my old friend Rusty Foster

— “How the press can hold Trump’s enablers—and itself—to account” [CJR]

“The Year Without Clothes” is New Yorker staff writer Rachel Syme’s brilliant assessment of what “fashion” means when no one can leave the house.

— URL’s, like plants, are part of a living system. Which means someday, they will die. A great point . [Maya.Land]

— There’s going to be a Season 2 of Zoey’s Infinite Playlist? Really? [Paste]

— Bicycle ownership around the word is booming [BBC].  (via Clive Thompson)

“Militarizing the Police was a Failure” — Cory Doctorow breaks down just how badly.

— “How Music Persisted During the Pandemic” [Pitchfork]

Culture Type: “An essential resource focused on visual art from a Black perspective” could open up and swallow me whole and I wouldn’t mind.

— Leading the comeback of vinyl records…goats!

Jan112021

A Wish for 2021: “We are the Ones”

A poem for New Year’s Day…
Sunrise over America
“And who will join this standing up
and the ones who stood without sweet company
will sing and sing 
back into the mountains and
if necessary
even under the sea
we are the ones we have been waiting for”
June Jordan  (i.e. one of my heroes)

Jun212020

In Praise of “Red” Cities and Purple America: Tulsa, OK

Tulsa Skyline

Dear blue state friends,

Allow me to tell you something about Tulsa, particularly if you have never visited.

Tulsa is friggin awesome.

Birthplace of SE Hinton, John Hope Frankin, Bill Hader and Current Poet Laureate Joy Harjo. The cultural capital of the state. Home to the Bob Dylan archive and the Philbrook Museum of Art. Cain’s Ballroom (i.e. Johnny Cash’s favorite venue outside of Nashville) and the BOK Tower (i.e. the building Minoru Yamasaki honed his skyscraper chops on right before sketching the World Trade Center). A blue dot in a sea of red.

Yeah, it’s got some silly shit like Oral Roberts University. And its progressive power is usually blotted out by blood red Oaklahoma City in electoral politics. But before we go giving all the credit to teenagers on Tik Tok for the sorry-ass turnout at this weekend’s Trump Rally, consider this: Tulsa was a boneheaded, tone-deaf place to hold that rally anyway.

Tulsa is NOT the Trumpy base. Tulsa is filled with open-minded, creative, diverse, forward thinking people like my dear friend Jeff Martin, owner of Magic City Books downtown, who has brought basically every interesting cultural figure you can think of to Tulsa, who sold and gave away a truckload of books by Black authors this weekend, who has been giving out gave out water and supplies to protestors since protesting began this month.

Jeff is a singular presence and a miracle worker. He is far from the only person doing amazing progressive cultural work and organizing in Tulsa.

Jeff brought me to Tulsa a few years ago while I was on book tour. It was one of the highlights of almost a year on the road, a town filled with friendly interesting people, great food, beautiful sites and plenty to do. I would recommend anyone visit as soon as it is safe to do so. And see Tulsa as a reminder that we blue state dwellers all too often think the red-leaning parts of America are an endless sea of small minded bigots.

We are wrong.

Tulsa is one of my favorite cities in America. It’s purple America. And purple America are our allies and friends in this fight too.

May162020

Listening to Every Song I own: Letter “C”

The latest update in my absurd project to listen to all 11, 704 songs in my iTunes library straight through no skipping (called Abba Zappa Zoo, thank you to Mike Gluck ) included Song #1235: “Charlie Loves Our Band” by From Good Homes to #1334 “City Rising from the Ashes” by Deltron 3030.

The Math:

99 Songs
10.5% complete — 11.3% complete

Trivia:

“Charlie Loves Our Band” by the New Jersey folk rock band From Good Homes pays tribute to their most loyal fan in the group’s early days. It’s an incredibly sweet reminder that, when creating anything, you have to start with one “Charlie” and can always go somewhere higher from there.

“City Rising From the Ashes” is one of a dozen great songs on the self-titles dystopian hip hop album Deltron 3030 from the year 2000 about the year 3030.

1. The most common title words in this block are “City, Cherry, Child, Chill and Choice”

2. In one string of songs “City of Dreams” by the Philadelphia bar room rockers Marah and “City of Dreams” by The Talking Heads sit next to each other.

3. Best one-two punch: “Children’s Story” by Slick Rick followed by “Children’s Work” by Dessa.

5. Song you really must know but probably don’t…

“Chase” an instrumental soundtrack banger by Giorgio Moroder which has become intro/outro music for dozens of people, places and things.

 

May72020

Interviewing True Crime Writers/Broadcasters…

In my ongoing quest to speak to all of the world’s most interesting creative people, I’ve been interviewing writers and broadcasters in the true crime genre I admire for The Blotter Presents podcast. Most recently..

Phoebe Judge. Host and Co-Producer of the incredible “Criminal” podcast. 

I spoke to Ms. Judge on the May 6 episode of the program (#142) about her journalistic background as a midwesterner who cut her teeth reporting from the deep south, “Criminal” not being crime-solvers or moral arbiters, what counts as a story about crime or wrong doing and the placement of the now immortal “I’m Phoebe Judge. This is Criminal”

 

Robert Kolker
Robert Kolker, author of “Lost Girls” An Unsolved American Mystery” (2012)

I spoke to Mr. Kolker on the April 7 episode of the program (#138) about the Netflix adaptation of “Lost Girls”, covering a crime story with no arrest at the end, the best medium for an ongoing investigation and his new book, which Oprah just chose for her bookclub in April.

Who should I speak to next?

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