Monday, September 22, 2008

'Not in Our Stars: Large Hadron Collider Incident Results in Multi-Month Shutdown

OK, it wasn't a black hole, or at least no one is saying, but Something Happened to require a shut down of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.

According to Time: Although a final evaluation is yet to be completed, scientists believe the fault caused the machine to lose the near absolute-zero temperature it must maintain to operate. For now, however, repair work can't begin because the machine is still too cold; it will take about a month to warm up the area to a temperature at which replacement parts can be inserted. It will take another month to cool it back down, and given that CERN has pledged not to run its giant machine — which requires as much power as the entire city of Geneva — during winter months when Europe's energy needs are highest, Friday's breakdown could delay the actual smashing of atoms until early next year.

CERN spokesman James Gillies called the fault a "teething problem" and said that previous accelerators that used superconductivity — i.e., low temperatures that allow metals to conduct electricity without resistance — also faced early problems before "running pretty smoothly after they were sorted out." Even so, "it's certainly a disappointment," he added.

When it is fully operational, the $6 billion LHC will send beams of protons careening around a 17-mile underground ring, crash them into one another to re-create the immediate aftereffects of the Big Bang, and then monitor the debris in the hopes of learning more about the origins and workings of the universe.

More information here:,8816,1843296,00.html

Bob Dylan: 'Mississippi' Redux

The Guardian (UK) has released an outtake of "Mississippi" which was recorded during the sessions for Bob Dylan's 1997 album Time Out of Mind, but which was actually released as a more produced version on "Love and Theft" in 2001. This is the first time the original, soulful, stripped down version of 'Mississippi' has been released

Taken from The Bootleg Series Vol 8: Tell Tale Signs, which will be available next week. I am looking forward to this intriguing new collection.

Frank Vincent Zappa & Nicolas Slonimsky: American Tunes

We are doing some reorganizing around our home, and I came across this while packing and moving some books. I never tire of reading this piece:

This is an excerpt from Nicolas Slonimsky's PERFECT PITCH (Oxford 1988).

One late Saturday evening in the spring of 1981, I received a telephone call. "Nicolas Slonimsky?" (correctly pronounced) the caller inquired. "This is Frank Zappa. I never realized you were in Los Angeles, and I want so much to get in touch with you about your book of scales." I was startled. Frank Zappa was the last person who, to my mind, could be interested in my theoretico-musical inventions. His name was familiar to me from a promotional record jacket showing him seated on the john with his denuded left thigh in view, and a legend in large letters: PHI KRAPPA ZAPPA.
We arranged to meet on the following Monday at 2.30 in the afternoon, and, at the appointed time on the appointed day, his assistant knocked at my door. I stepped out of my apart- ment and beheld something that looked like a space shuttle -- a black Mercedes taking up almost half a block of Wilshire Boulevard. I could not refrain from asking the driver how much such a machine cost. "Sixty," he replied.
It took us nearly an hour to get to Zappa's place in the hills of Hollywood. Zappa met me at the door. He looked like a leading man in the movies -- tall, slender, sporting a slight Italian moustache. For starters, I asked him the origin of his last name; he replied it meant "the plough" in Italian.
Zappa's wife came in, an ample, young woman, and served coffee and tea. Zappa told me he did not drink alcoholic beverages; contrary to the legendary habits of most rock-and-roll musicians, he never partook of drugs. But he smoked cigarettes incessantly, tobacco being his only, and quite venial, sin. Zappa led me to his studio, which housed a huge Bosendorfer piano. I asked how much he paid for this keyboard monster. "Seventy," he replied.
Zappa declared himself an admirer of Varese and said he had been composing orchestral works according to Varese's principles of composition, with unrelated themes following in free succession. To substantiate this claim, he brought out three scores, in manuscript and each measuring 13 x 20 inches, beautifully copied and handsomely bound. Indeed, the configurations of notes and contrapuntal combinations looked remarkably Varesian. Yet he never went to a music school, and had learned the tech- nique of composition from the study of actual editions. He had had a contract with an orchestra in Holland to play one of his works, but they had demanded a piece from his recording royal- ties on top of the regular fee. "I offered the a quarter," Zappa said, "if they would put up a quarter." It took me some time to figure out that the fractions he used were those in millions of dollars.
Zappa's teenage daughter flitted in, introduced by Mrs. Zappa as Moon Unit. She did not seem to be embarrassed at all by this esoteric appellation......About that time, I acquired a cat, black and white and plenty mischievous, which I christened Grody to the Max...
Zappa invited me to try out his Bosendorfer. I sat down at the keyboard and played the coronation scene from BORIS GUDUNOV which required deep bass sounds. Zappa was impressed by these Russian harmonies. He asked me to play some of my own composi- tions, and I launched into the last piece in my MINITUDES, based on an interplay of mutually exclusive triads and covering the entire piano keyboard. "Why don't you play this piece at my next concert?" Zappa asked. "When will that be?" I inquired. "Tomorrow. We can rehearse in the afternoon." I was somewhat taken aback by the sudden offer, but after all, I had nothing to lose. So I decided to take my chance as a soloist at a rock concert.
The next day I arrived at the large Coliseum in Santa Monica where Zappa's concert was to take place. A huge, towering man led me to Zappa's room. "Mr. Zappa is expecting you," he said, satisfied with my identity. He was Zappa's bodyguard, hired after Zappa had been attacked during a concert by a besotted admirer and hurt his back.
On stage I sat at the electric piano and played my piece. For better effect, I added sixteen bars to the coda, ending in re- peated alternation of C major and F-sharp major chords in the highest treble and lowest bass registers. Zappa dictated to his players the principal tonalities of my piece, and they picked up the modulations with extraordinary assurance. I had never played the electric piano before, but I adjusted to it without much trouble.
The hall began to fill rapidly. Zappa's bodyguard gave me ear plugs, for, when Zappa's band went into action, the decibels were extremely high. Zappa sang and danced while conducting, with a professional verve that astounded me. A soprano soloist came out and sang a ballad about being a hooker, using a variety of obscenities. Then came my turn. Balancing a cigarette between his lips, Zappa introduced me to the audience as "our national treasure." I pulled out the ear plugs, and sat down at the electric piano. With demoniac energy Zappa launched us into my piece. To my surprise I sensed a growing consanguinity with my youthful audience as I played. My fortissimo ending brought out screams and whistles the like of which I had never imagined possible. Dancing Zappa, wild audience, and befuddled me -- I felt like an intruder in a mad scene from ALICE IN WONDERLAND. I had entered my Age of Absurdity.

--from Chapter 23, "The Age of Absurdity" Perfect Pitch by Nicolas Slonimsky, Oxford University Press 1988


Frank Vincent Zappa:

Friday, September 19, 2008

Brooklyn Bridge 9-19-2008: 'The German Parade' aka Steuben Day in NYC

Photo by Gabrielle Napoli 2008

Photo by Ilana Napoli 2008

Our younger daughters, in the 8th grade, are on a class field trip to the Brooklyn Bridge on this beautiful cool, breezy September Friday. They reported that there is a "German parade on the bridge even as we speak." Steuben Day in New York City.

Yes, New York, the one, the only. Now and forever.

--Brooklyn Beat

"May You Live in Interesting Times": The US and global economy - A Watershed for the Free Markets; the Beginning of a New Phase ?

The economy continues to roll on a rocky road. Economic surges on world stock markets. Russian stock market suspended due to market turmoil. US and London markets rebound based on promise of US intervention. How temporary, remains to be seen. It appears that the free market vision of the last two decades is now over as the role of government, whether short-term or long-term, appears to be a given. Now that the wisdom of de-regulation is suspect, will the US economy evolve into a more regulated, managed version of itself, to avoid going over the cliff ? Clearly, at this stage of advanced capitalism, something's gotta give. Will we evolve into a more European style of managed economy, or will the American cowboy version of capitalism continue to hold sway, where growth is the only thing that matters ? How will the economy and the government address the fact that bailouts are fine for corporations and the wealthy but not for the working folks ? What impact will this have on the upcoming election ? As the Chinese curse (or blessing) states, "May you live in interesting times."

Krugman on Federal Bailouts -- Done Right; Brooklyn's Own Senator Chuck Schumer and Sen. Hillary Clinton on likely next steps:

Freakonomics: The Two Steves on the Crisis

Thursday, September 18, 2008

'The World As We Know It Is Going Under': The Financial Crisis

Complex does not describe it. The current financial crisis continues to unfurl with apparently no end it sight. The New York Times devotes a 4 full columns of its banner..the Wall Street Journal gives extensive coverage. World press as well recognizes the enormity of this and its repercussions and ramifications. This is Big Time, Big Time.

Der Spiegel gives a very pressing perspective on this. The excerpt below followed by the full article:

From Der Spiegel - By Marc Pitzke in New York

The most breathtaking aspect about this week's crisis, though, is that the life raft -- which Washington had only previously used to bail out the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- is being handed out by a government whose party usually fights against any form of government intervention. The policy is anchored in its party platform.

"I fear the government has passed the point of no return," financial historian Ron Chernow told the New York Times. "We have the irony of a free-market administration doing things that the most liberal Democratic administration would never have been doing in its wildest dreams."

Panic is the word of the hour on Wall Street. Now even Morgan Stanley is fighting for survival. The commercial bank Wachovia and China's Bank Citic are being discussed as possible rescuers. The crisis has led President Bush to cancel a trip.

For traders, now might just be the worst of times.
The original plan actually called for humor. On Wednesday evening, actress Christy Carlson Romano was supposed to ring the closing bell on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to mark her debut in the Broadway musical "Avenue Q." She plays two roles on stage -- a romantic kindergarten teaching assistant, and a slutty nightclub singer.

After that day on the floor, the stock traders could have used a bit of comic relief. But it was not to be. Instead of Christy Carlson Romano, a NYSE employee in a joyless gray suit stood on the balcony and silently pressed a button. The bell rang and he disappeared. No waving, no clapping, none of the usual jubilation.

By the end of Wednesday, no one here was in the mood for laughter. The bad news on Wall Street was coming thick and fast. All the US indexes were crashing again after Tuesday's brief and deceptive breather. In its wild, rollercoaster ride, the Dow Jones lost about 450 points, which was almost as much as it lost on Monday, the most catastrophic day on US markets since 2001.

Investors were turning their back to the market in droves and fleeing to safer pastures. The price of gold broke its record for the highest increase in a one-day period.

Panic Is the Word of the Hour

Traders abandoned the NYSE temple visually defeated and immune to the TV crews rushing past. The disastrous closing prices were flickering on the ticker above the NYSE entrance: American Express -8.4 percent; Citigroup -10.9 percent; JPMorgan Chase -12.2 percent. American icons, abused like stray dogs. Even Apple took a hit.

"I don't know what I should say," stammered one broker, who was consoling himself with white wine and beer along with two colleagues at a bar called Beckett's. Ties and jackets were off, but despite the evening breeze, you could still make out the thin film of sweat on his forehead. His words captured the speechlessness of an industry.

Things got worse after the markets closed. Washington Mutual, America's fourth-largest bank, announced that it had started the process of putting itself up for sale. The Wall Street Journal reported that both Wells Fargo and the banking giant Citigroup were interested in taking over the battered American savings bank.

And then came the announcement that would dominate all of Thursday's market activities: Morgan Stanley -- the venerable Wall Street institution and one of the last two US investment banks left standing -- had lost massive amounts and was fighting for survival. Media reports were saying that it was even in talks about a possible bail-out or merger. Rumor had it that possible suitors might include Wachovia or China's Bank Citic.


"Folks," economist Larry Kudlow, a host on the business channel CNBC begged his viewers that evening, "let's not let this magnificent country go down!"

End of an Era

In fact, it really does look as if the foundations of US capitalism have shattered. Since 1864, American banking has been split into commercial banks and investment banks. But now that's changing. Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch -- overnight, some of the biggest names on Wall Street have disappeared into thin air. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are the only giants left standing. Despite tolerable quarterly results, even they have been hurt by mysterious slumps in prices and -- at least in Morgan Stanley's case -- have prepared themselves for the end.

"Nothing will ever be like it was before," said James Allroy, a broker who was brooding over his chai latte at a Starbucks on Wall Street. "The world as we know it is going under."

Many are drawing comparisons with the Great Depression, the national trauma that has been the benchmark for everything since. "I think it has the chance to be the worst period of time since 1929," financing legend Donald Trump told CNN. And the Wall Street Journal seconds that opinion, giving one story the title: "Worst Crisis Since '30s, With No End Yet in Sight."

But what's happening? Experts have so far been unable to agree on any conclusions. Is this the beginning of the end? Or is it just a painful, but normal cycle correcting the excesses of recent years? Does responsibility lie with the ratings agencies, which have been overvaluing financial institutions for a long time? Or did dubious short sellers manipulate stock prices -- after all, they were suspected of having caused the last stock market crisis in July.

The only thing that is certain is that the era of the unbridled free-market economy in the US has passed -- at least for now. The near nationalization of AIG, America's largest insurance company, with an $85 billion cash infusion -- a bill footed by taxpayers -- was a staggering move. The sum is three times as high as the guarantee provided by the Federal Reserve when Bear Stearns was sold to JPMorgan Chase in March.

The most breathtaking aspect about this week's crisis, though, is that the life raft -- which Washington had only previously used to bail out the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- is being handed out by a government whose party usually fights against any form of government intervention. The policy is anchored in its party platform.

"I fear the government has passed the point of no return," financial historian Ron Chernow told the New York Times. "We have the irony of a free-market administration doing things that the most liberal Democratic administration would never have been doing in its wildest dreams."

Bush Cancels Trip

The situation appears to be so serious that George W. Bush cancelled two domestic trips he had planned for Thursday on short notice. Instead, the president will remain in Washington to discuss the "serious challenges confronting US financial markets." He said the president remained focused on "taking action to stabilize and strengthen the markets." Bush had originally planned to travel to events in Florida and Alabama.

So far, the US presidential candidates have made few helpful remarks about the crisis other than the usual slogans. Both are vaguely calling for "regulation" and "reform" -- bland catchphrases almost universally welcomed with applause.

Republican Party presidential candidate John McCain had the most to say. On Monday, he said "the foundation of our economy" was "strong," adding that he opposed a government-led bailout of US insurer AIG. But now he's promising further government steps "to prevent the kind of wild speculation that can put our markets at risk." McCain's explanation for the current crisis: "unbridled corruption and greed."

But Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama didn't move past superficialities, either. "We're Americans. We've met tough challenges before and we can again."

What else are they supposed to say? After all, US presidents have very little influence on stockmarkets. And Wall Street is expecting the status quo for the next president. On Wednesday an almost palpable mix of tension and melancholy filled the air above New York's Financial District. The beloved trader bar Bull Run was half empty, and many tables were free at fine-dining establishments like Cipriani, Mangia and Bobby Van's, which are normally booked days in advance.

At the side entrance to Goldman Sachs on Pearl Street, limo chauffeurs sat waiting for their customers, still above in their office towers cowering over the accounts. "If they go under," said Rashid Amal, who works as a chauffeur for a firm called Excelsior, "then I will soon be out of a job."

Der Spiegel Article:,1518,druck-578944,00.html

Fearless Leader: Can you lend me a dime? Bloomberg on the "Next Wave Crisis"

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Well, despite the hue and cry about grades and tests, whether it is due to schadenfreude, or disagreement, or satisfaction, we find the results endlessly fascinating.

So, here are a few of the results from the 2007-2008 Progress report just posted by the NYC Department of Education. Visit the DOE web page and enter the school borough and number (K=Brooklyn, R=Richmond, M=Manhattan, X=Bronx, Q= Queens) in "Find a school"/ Go to the school website, and select "Statistics" from the left hand column, and go to "Progress Reports." Then, either gloat or read m and weep.

For convenience, a very incomplete list of a few of the grades for schools familiar to readers are as follows:

School 2007-08/2006-07/COMMENT

K029 A/ A
K051 A/ B
K261 C/ C
K321 B/ B :SAY NO MORE.. the original

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Art in Free Fall Opens at BWAC

Art in Free Fall opened today at the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition at the organization's gallery space at 499 Van Brunt in Red Hook. Information on the exhibit and performances at . The comprehensive and always provocative BWAC show also features a "photo op with Sarah Palin" an installation by Dawn Robyn Petrlik.

Ms. Petrlik was last represented at BWAC by, among other works, an installation in memory of Sister Green, a patient who died at a NYC hospital while awaiting treatment.

Her current work, which addresses a political issue but strikes a much lighter note, includes, among other things, a life size caribou. Photo ops by visitors are encouraged.

Through October 26.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Tell Tale Signs

The forthcoming Bob Dylan Bootleg Series Vol. 8, coming out early next month, contains the haunting, heavily hooked "Dreamin' of You". Another remarkable outtake that might help define the oeuvre of another artist here just missed out appearing on the classic "Time Out of Mind." The video, based on this classic Dylan outtake, below features Hollywood rebel Harry Dean Stanton, and is, albeit promotional, a little gem of time, mood, and Western desert light:

A download of the classic "Dreamin' of You" appears at the Bob Dylan website; this tune will not leave you:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11



"All the years combine
They melt into a dream"



Compassion and restoration.

Freedom and Preservation of Freedom.

Civil Liberty in a Secular Democracy.

The United States of America. The original.

Forever free.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"Knocking at the LHC Door": CERN & The Great Experiment

Well, the world hasn't ended yet with a bang nor a whimper, neither by ice nine nor fire. But the Large Hadron Collider seems to be operational, although it may be a few weeks before it accomplishes its primary goal, the creation of conditions that exiasted at the subatomic level at the point of the Big Bang. This may yield further scientific nuggets, including the possible detection of the Higgs Boson, the so-far-undetected "G-d particle": read on...

Wikipedia: The Higgs boson or BEH Mechanism, popularised as the "God Particle", is a hypothetical massive scalar elementary particle predicted to exist by the Standard Model of particle physics; and is the only Standard Model particle not yet observed. An experimental observation of it would help to explain how otherwise massless elementary particles cause matter to have mass. More specifically, the Higgs boson would explain the difference between the massless photon and the relatively massive W and Z bosons. Elementary particle masses, and the differences between electromagnetism (caused by the photon) and the weak force (caused by the W and Z bosons), are critical to many aspects of the structure of microscopic (and hence macroscopic) matter; thus, if it exists, the Higgs boson is an integral and pervasive component of the material world.

No experiment has yet directly detected the existence of the Higgs boson, but this may change as the recently built Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN begins to produce new scientific data. The Higgs mechanism, which gives mass to vector bosons, was theorized in August 1964 by François Englert and Robert Brout ("boson scalaire"),[1] in October of the same year by Peter Higgs,[2] working from the ideas of Philip Anderson, and independently by G. S. Guralnik, C. R. Hagen, and T. W. B. Kibble[3] who worked out the results by the spring of 1963.[4] The three papers written by Higgs, Brout, Englert, Guralnik, Hagen, and Kibble were each recognized as milestone papers by Physical Review Letters 50th anniversary celebration.[5] Higgs proposed that the existence of a massive scalar particle could be a test of the theory, a remark added to his Physical Review letter[6] at the suggestion of the referee.[7] Steven Weinberg and Abdus Salam were the first to apply the Higgs mechanism to the electroweak symmetry breaking. The electroweak theory predicts a neutral particle whose mass is not far from that of the W and Z bosons.

Here's news from the source:
The CERN Webcast of the Large Hadron Collider (it may be down intermittently):

Groovy Gecko reports on the first operational steps:

It's a moment that the world awaited with eager anticipation. Amidst all the controversy and fears that the scientists may blow us all to bits, the first beam in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN was successfully steered around 27 kilometres of the world's most powerful particle accelerator at 10h28 CET this morning.

Today's milestone marks the culmination of over 20 years of patient dedication and £5billion. Clearly we have entered a new and exciting era. "It's a fantastic moment," said LHC project leader Lyn Evans, "we can now look forward to a new era of understanding about the origins and evolution of the universe."

Of course, CERN decided to webcast the event, thereby not only providing transparency but also information to millions around the world. Pivotal events like these are best relayed live, not only to demonstrate the scale and importance of the project, but also to provide breaking-news and updates.

CERN: Firing up that Large hadron Collider:

10 September: the LHC’s first circulating beam
On 10 September, a first beam of protons will circulate in the LHC. The first moments in the life of the LHC will be an exciting time for the CERN staff, and will be captured by more than 250 media organizations from all over the world.

The first injection of the beam into the machine will be between 9:00 and 10:00 a. m. At 9:15 the LHC project leader, Lyn Evans, will give a brief explanation of the day’s proceedings in French followed by some words from Robert Aymar, CERN Director general.

CERN personnel are invited to follow the first beam day events, which will be shown in the following rooms around CERN:

All day:
Council Chamber, Main Auditorium, IT Auditorium, AB Auditorium Prévessin, Conference Room 40-S2-A01, Conference Room 40-S2-C01.

AB Auditorium Meyrin, AT Auditorium.

Please note that the event will also be webcast but, given the limited number of connections, this option is intended for use of the public outside CERN. CERN personnel are encouraged to follow the event from the conference rooms.

Copyright CERN 2007 - CERN Publications, DSU-CO

I heard the news today, oh boy:

Park Slope Bike Accident ?

9:53 AM Report of a bicycle accident at 8th avenue and President Street in Park Slope. Damaged bike, which looks like a kid's bike, and what appears to be blood on the street. Lots of police officers on the scene. No further details at this time.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Coda: POWER TO CHANGE: Black and White Years

Black and White Years, making Texas (and Brooklyn) proud and currently rockin' the western US of A will see their new album in wide release beginning Tuesday, September 9. It's distributed through ADA, ask at your local indie record shop for this hook-laden, artful rocker.

Also of note, BWY have a new video on their very special tune, "Power to Change", directed by Scott Pearson. Now that things have really broken open on the Old Campaign Trail, and the ice shelves continue to plummet, the Black and White Years' tune, and now this accompanying video, seem more pertinent and meaningful than ever. Provocative and thoughtful, I watched it at just the right time as the Campaign Media Blast is now in full swing. See what you think. A great tune.

And Great News for We East Coast Types, the Black and White Years will be back in NY, taking the town by storm, for dates around CMJ: Piano's - LES - Oct 20; Spike Hill - Williamsburg - Oct 24; Fontana's - LES - Oct 27 and a CMJ show TBD. CMJ Music Marathon in NYC from October 21- 25.

If'n you are fixin' to go on the road, BWY makes their festival debut at Austin City Limits on Sept 27th. They then go on a regional tour with Presidents of the USA with performances at Stubb's Waller Creek Amphitheater and the House of Blues in Houston and Dallas before heading to the east coast.

We have the Power to Change.

Current Reading

  • Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War- Tony Horwitz
  • A Sultan in Palermo - Tariq Ali
  • Hitch-22: A Memoir - Christopher Hitchens
  • Negropedia- Patrice Evans
  • Dead Funny: Humor in Nazi Germany - Rudolph Herzog
  • Exile on Main Street - Robert Greenfield
  • Among the Truthers - A Journey Among America's Growing Conspiracist Underworld - Jonathan Kay
  • Paradise Lost - John Milton
  • What Is Your Dangerous Idea? Thinking the Unthinkable - John Brockman
  • Notes from the Edge Times - Daniel Pinchbeck
  • Fringe-ology: How I Can't Explain Away the Unexplainable- Steve Volk
  • Un Juif pour l'exemple (translated as A Jew Must Die )- Jacques Cheesex
  • The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins
  • Pale King - David Foster Wallce
  • David Bowie: Starman bio - Paul Trynka
  • Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat - Andrez Bergen
  • The Future of Nostalgia -Svetlana Boym
  • Living in the End Times - Slavoj ZIzek
  • FIrst as Tragedy Next as Farce - Slavoj Zizek
  • How to Survive a Robot Uprising - Daniel Wilson
  • Where is My Jet Pack? -Daniel Wilson
  • Day of the Oprichniks - Vladimir Sorokin
  • Ice Trilogy - Vladimir Sorokin
  • First Civilizations
  • Oscar Wilde -Andre Maurois
  • The Beats - Harvey Pekar, et al
  • SDS - Harvey Pekar, et al
  • The Unfinished Animal - Theodore Roszak
  • Friends of Eddy Coyle
  • Brooklands -Emily Barton
  • Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter - Seth Grahme-Smith - Entertaining and historical
  • Dictionary of the Khazars - Pavic
  • Sloth-Gilbert Hernandez
  • War and Peace- Leo Tolstoy
  • Charles Addams: An Evilution
  • Life in Ancient Greece
  • Time - Eva Hoffmann
  • Violence - S. Zizek
  • Luba - a graphic novel by Gilbert Hernandez
  • Life in Ancient Egypt
  • Great Apes - Will Self - riveting and disturbing
  • Lost Honor of Katherina Blum - Heinrich Boll - could not put it down
  • Yellow Back Radio Brokedown - Ishmael Reed (author deserving of new wide readership)
  • Living in Ancient Mesopotomia
  • Landscape in Concrete - Jakov Lind - surreal
  • 'There Once Lived A Woman Who Tried To Kill Her Neighbor's Baby'-Ludmilla Petrushevskaya - creepy stories - translation feels literarily "thin"
  • Mythologies - William Butler Yeats (re-read again & again)
  • How German Is It ? - Walter Abish
  • The Book of Genesis - illustrated by R. Crumb - visionary
  • "Flags" - an illustrated encyclopedia - wish I could remember all of these. Flag culture
  • Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut
  • Ubik - Philip K. Dick
  • Nobody's Fool - Richard Russo
  • Hitler's Empire - Mark Mazower
  • Nazi Culture - various authors
  • Master Plan: Himmler 's Scholars and the Holocaust - Heather Pringle
  • Eichmann in Jerusalem - Hannah Arendt
  • Living in Ancient Rome
  • Traveling with Herodotus -R. Kapuszynsky
  • Oblivion - David Foster Wallace - Some of his greatest work
  • Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace - still wrestling with this great book
  • Netherland - Joseph O'Neill - staggeringly great read
  • Renegade - The Obama Campaign - Richard Wolffe
  • Mount Analogue - Rene Daumal
  • John Brown
  • Anathem - Neal Stephenson - love Stephenson but tough slogging first few chapters
  • 7 Deadly Sins
  • ALEX COX - Alex Cox
  • FIASCO by Thomas Ricks
  • I, Fellini - Charlotte Chandler & Federico Fellini
  • Best of 20th century alternative history fiction
  • Judah P. Benjamin - Eli Evans - Confederacy's Secretary of State & source of the W.C. Field's exclamation
  • Moscow 2042 - Vladimir Voinovich - Pre-1989 curiosity & entertaining sci fi read; love his portrayal of Solzhenitsyn-like character
  • Gomorrah - Roberto Saviano - Mafia without the It-Am sugar coating. Brutal & disturbing
  • The Sack of Rome - Celebrity+Media+Money=Silvio Berlusconi - Alexander Stille
  • Reporting - David Remnick - terrific journalism
  • Fassbinder
  • Indignation - Philip Roth
  • Rome
  • Let's Go Italy! 2008
  • Italian Phrases for Dummies
  • How to Pack
  • Violence - Slavoj Zizek
  • Dali: Painting & Film
  • The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight - Jimmy Breslin
  • The Good Rat - Jimmy Breslin
  • Spook Country - William Gibson
  • A Blue Hand - The Beats in India - Deborah Baker
  • The Metaphysical Club - Louis Menard
  • Coast of Utopia - Tom Stoppard
  • Physics of the Impossible - Dr. Michio Kaku
  • Managing the Unexpected - Weick & Sutcliffe
  • Wait Til The Midnight Hour - Writings on Black Power
  • Yellow Back Radio Brokedown - Ishmael Reed
  • Burning Down the Masters' House - Jayson Blair
  • Howl - Allen Ginsberg
  • Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Palace Thief - Ethan Canin
  • John Adams - David McCullough
  • The Wooden Sea - Jonathan Carroll
  • American Gangster - Mark Jacobson
  • Return of the King - J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Gawker Guide to Becoming King of All Media
  • Jews and Power - Ruth Wisse
  • Youth Without Youth - Mircea Eliade
  • A Team of Rivals - Doris Goodwin
  • Ghost Hunters -William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death - Deborah Blum
  • Dream -Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy - Stephen Duncombe
  • Love & Theft - Eric Lott
  • Exit Ghost - Philip Roth
  • Studio A - The Bob Dylan Reader

Current Listening

  • Alexi Murdoch Wait
  • Wilco Summer Teeth
  • Wilco The Album
  • Carmina Burana - Ray Manzarek (& Michael Riesmann)
  • Polyrock - Polyrock
  • 96 Tears - Garland Jeffries
  • Ghost of a Chance Garland Jeffries
  • Yellow Magic Orchestra
  • Mustang Sally Buddy Guy
  • John Lee Hooker
  • Black and White Years
  • Together Through Life - B. Dylan
  • 100 Days 100 Nites - Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
  • DYLAN: 3 disc Greatest...
  • Glassworks - Philip Glass
  • Wild Palms - Soundtrack -Ryuichi Sakamoto
  • Dinah Washington - Best of..
  • Commander Cody& His Lost Planet Airmen Live at Armadillo