July 26, 2005


Reasons To Be Cheerful, Summer Edition


I've been pretty lucky with my book choices so far this summer (with the exception of Bellow's "Seize the Day." Sorry but I just can't get into him). Highlights include

Cloud Atlas

...perhaps the perfect summertime novel for liberals: Metafiction to the max, it traces the rise and fall of civilization via a journal, a collection of letters, a mystery, a movie bio/proposal, an interview and an oral history. It's fun, challenging, sad, ultimately uplifting and a total page-turner. I also loved


...which could best be described as

Straight Man +Money +Homer

(oops, wrong Homer)
+ Homer1

It was written by Steve Tesich, best known for his Oscar-winning original screenplay for Breaking Away, and was published after his death.

And: I'm almost finished with

The Known World

A novel about free black slaveowners, 20 years before the Civil War. Absolutely beautiful and heartbreaking.


Believe it or not, my wife and I have only seen one movie so far this summer...but it was a great one:

Me and You

It had no superheroes and no explosions. However, there was some sex and a car chase involving a goldfish. Oh, and it had this:
For more, go here.


TV just doesn't seem the same without Lost and 24...we've yet to find any "Appointment TV" replacements this summer. The final season of Six Feet Under has been, more or less, a bummer. At this point, my wife and I are hoping that the entire Fisher family dies in a freak accident when the show finally comes to an end (it would be a fitting bookend to all of the freak accidents that have begun each episode). In the meantime, we've been filling our weekly TV-viewing requirements with, of course, The Daily Show, and the funniest hour on TV, Reno 911 & Stella (Tuesdays, 10-11p, Comedy Central):


It hasn't been the strongest summer for new music. The new Brian Eno was disappointing; try his second collection of odds and sods, Curiosities 2, instead:


It's available here.

The only disc that's truly been rocking my world this summer is The Secret Machines' new ep, "The Road Leads Where It's Led"

Secret Machines

It's mostly a collection of covers, but boy do these New Yorkers know how to cover. Check out their version of Dylan's Girl From the North Country.

Update: Picked up the new Bob Mould last week. It's not "Capital G" great, but good Bob is better than most people's best efforts. If you're a true fan, I suggest you buy the limited edition double disc boxed set:


(Disc 2 has 6 other new songs plus 3 remixes which lean more toward Bob's recent noodling with electronica. The 6 new ones make it worth the extra dough. Plus, you get extra artwork with half-naked pictures of Bob...not that there's anything wrong with that). Click the cover below for a sample from Disc 1:

Body of Soung

Listening Accessory:

It's a waterproof case for my iPod. Click it if you're interested in buying one. It comes in handy, especially when you have a dog like this:

Toast on the Water


Probably the main reason we don't get to many movies is because we prefer a slow, relaxing evening filled with good food as opposed to eating stale popcorn in the dark. And, fortunately, we've been blessed with a great new restaurant in our neighborhood:

Aroma, located at 36 E. 4th St. in the greatest city in the world. It's tiny so you might want to call ahead: 212-375-0100 (tell 'em "Neil" sent ya).


This will do:


Cheers! Enjoy the rest of your summer...

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