Thursday, February 26, 2009


Besides being the stuff dreams--or maybe nightmares--are made of, the recent show at the BRIC Rotunda Gallery, entering its final week, looks at money, or more specifically, currency, as a subject, a medium, and an art material. Curated by Baseera Khan, the show seems to approach money both obliquely and head-on, somewhere between a fetish object and tool of protest, and, with the discussions of Trillions of Dollars spinning into wild abstractions, the focus on currency as object seems an effort to focus more clearly and get a handle on the reality of money, work, and wealth. Catch this show before it closes on March 7, 2009. -- Brooklyn Beat

Curated by Baseera Khan
January 21 – March 7, 2009

Curator's notes here:

A New Deal, Art and Currency highlights relationships between American presidents and the economy, while observing how these relationships affect art-making. This exhibition takes its name from the social and economic reforms implemented by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1930s. For better or worse, each president affects the course and stability of the economy, and likewise, the changing economy affects the stability and reputation of each president.

Artists in this exhibition play within the space of literal and imagined artifacts of currency and alternative methods of exchange to push social protest and reconsider material value. The participating artists deal with manipulating and erasing, recreating and exchanging, collecting and commemorating, all to address these intrinsic relationships. Some artists take the stance of philanthropic entrepreneurs who devise new economic systems.

Link here:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Community Groups Schedule Saturday, Feb. 28 Protest of Cut of B-25 Bus Route, Key Link to Downtown Brooklyn

The Brooklyn East New York Crisis Team and the East New York United Concerned Citizens in conjunction with Council members Charles Barron, Letitia James and Albert Vann have coordinated a MARCH & CARAVAN AGAINST THE CUT OF THE B25 BUS ROUTE.

The protest will be held on February 28, 2009 from 10 AM- 1 PM.

The march starts at Van Sinderen Avenue & Fulton Street; it ends with a Rally at Brown Memorial Baptist Church, 484 Washington Avenue (between Fulton & Gates). For more information, contact Kevin McCall at (347) 675-4210 or Chris Banks (347) 240-3049, or the offices of CM Barron at 718-649-9495, CM James at 718-260-9191, or CM Al Vann at 718-919-0740.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

'Economic Crisis End Distant': NYU Economist Nouriel Roubini Who Predicted Current Meltdown

Nouriel Roubini, one of the few economists who foretold much of the current financial turmoil, opines that the banking and credit crisis is still far from over. In an interview today with Reuters, he also commented that Treasury Secretary Geithner was probably correct to be vague in his comments on the banking situation this week since buying overpriced, toxic assets in failing banks may not be in best interests of the U.S. unless it proceeds tactically and effectively.

When asked, to use a baseball analogy, "What inning are we in?" with regard tot he crisis, Professor Roubini, who tends to be bearish, predicts that we are still in the 3rd or 4th inning, and that it is still early to hope for a rapid recovery. Further issues, such as credit card, auto loans, personal loans, student loans, and other defaults likely still lie ahead as the economy and jobs picture continues to worsen.

Reuters interview with NYU Professor Nouriel Roubini here:

In the relentlessly bullish Wall Street Journal this weekend, Professor Roubini, AKA "Dr. Doom" discusses the value of the temporary nationalization of key failing banks which could then be cleaned up and resold to the private sector. Roubini also talks about the failure of the financial press to act as more than cheerleaders during the good times. The failure of investigations of businesses (such as Madoff, presumably) which did too good for too long, as well as for journalists to generally challenge the conventional wisdom, likely contributed in some way, no matter how small, to the current crisis. Roubini in the WSJ interview predicts the nationalization of banks to occur with the next six months; he suggests the approval of this as a temporary measure by Greenspan and GOP Senator Lindsey Graham, will no doubt provide cover to the Obama administration.

The Wall Street Journal interview here:

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dandy Andy in Pepsi Land: The Neuberger Museum of Art at Purchase

Visiting the State University of New York at Purchase with our son, we had the opportunity to spend a little time enjoying the wonderful Neuberger Museum of Art at Purchase College. In the past, we admired and enjoyed some great exhibitions at the Samuel Dorsky Museum at SUNY New Paltz where our daughter attends. Now the Neuberger at Purchase will be a terrific new destination and one that NYC museum goers should know. Among the current exhibitions at Neuberger, Andy Warhol is represented twice (Andy WarholX2? ), ANDY WARHOL: POP POLITICS at the Neu's Theater Gallery (through April 26, 2009) and ANDY WARHOL: SNAPSHOTS (through May 17, 2009). POP POLITICS looks at and behind the great Warhola's portraiture of notable figures of his time, Richard Nixon, Nancy Reagan, Russel Means and others. The show also explores the relentless pursuit of commissions by the artist, as he pursued relationships with celebrities and politicos with whom he may not have been politically simpatico, but who would be good subjects for his creative (and business) eye.

SNAPSHOTS explores Warhol's "Magnificent Obsession" with the image, and how the Polaroids he took served as his "sketchbook, diary, and means of communication." Photos in the show of the known and unknown also fit in fabulously with the POP POLITICS show as the interaction of photo portraiture and the Warhol silkscreen oeuvre become clear. Dianna Ross, Tom Seaver, all in their 70s and 80s persona, along with the occasional model and delivery boy who caught Andy's fancy, make this an interesting show.

The permanent collection includes Pollock, Krasner, Marcell Duchamp/Man Ray collaboration, and a lot more Warhol, among other great contemporary 20 - 21st century artists.

Another show, LAYERS IN MOTION: EGUNGUN MASQUERADE COSTUMES from the Yoruba peoples of Nigeria in the Museum's center gallery, is a small but very vibrant and colorful show (through May 16, 2009.) An adjoining show of AFRICAN ART & CULTURE: SELECTIONS FROM THE COLLECTION(through December 31, 2009) represents a renovated and expanded exhibition space showcasing major ritual and aesthetic objects from throughout the African continent. Neuberger has a lovely African Art website on the collection:

For brief mention, since the exhibit closes February 22, GREAT WOMAN ARTISTS featuring 20 works from the Neuberger's permanent collection, including Jenny Holzer's marble "In Your Self Interest," Beverly Semme's "Pot # 35," and Patty Chan's video "Love with me, Swim with You" are just a few of the interesting works in this show that will be making their way into the Neuberger's expanded collection of contemporary women's art, through the donation's of Sara M. Vance and Michelle Waddell.

More on Neuberger here:

Purchase is a lovely area in Westchester, catercorner to Connecticut and home to the Pepsi Cola worldwide HQ (try to get a Coke up here; it takes Brand dominance to another level).

Directions and planning a visit:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Forget the Hype (& Fear): Barry O and Team Are Way Ahead of the Curve -- Bank Nationalization Even the GOP Can Love

Remember on Election night, when after so many years of Dem defeats, we couldn't believe that we finally had an intelligent, sophisticated, highly educated, and politically astute candidate, a New Model for the New Millennium, who could actually break on through to the Presidency? Until the last possible moment, we imagined that we could actually be saddled with a McCain-Palin Presidency which in our worst fears would be a George Bush Do-Over?

Well, in the opening weeks of the new Adminstration, as President Obama and his team struggled through what appeared to be political missteps of the Cabinet nomination process, and then the uncertainy around his efforts to achieve bi-partisanship on the Stimulus Bill, there was a little uncertainty, hedging, nervousness on the part of even Dyed-in-the-Wool-Obama- Supporters.

Now, despite the concern attendant upon the Heavy Lifting that the Stimulus Bill represents, and the public's acceptance that the Daschle resignation was unfortunate, but in keeping with President O's setting of the High Ethical Bar that hopefully will be a hallmark of his administration, the fog is beginning to set a bit, and we can still see a bit of sun on the Gloaming. A great example appeared in Financial Times, where all of the GOP nay-saying is revealed to be what it is, an effort at face-saving, and independence, where it can be maintained. But the reality is, Barry O, of Hawaii, Indonesia, NYC/Columbia U., Chicago, and Washington, DC, has some solid ideas that he is willing to push through. And when the pedal is to the metal, and someone says, look, guys, we've got to try this, even the Republicans will listen.

In this case, the nationalization of Banks, one of the huge No-no's in the American Canon for a long time, but which has been recommended as a key tool for getting the US back on a firm financial footing. Barry O is contemplating the "Swedish Model" as the best means to achieve this, and even the Grand Old Party may be beginning to listen:

Bank nationalisation gains ground with Republicans
By Edward Luce and Krishna Guha

Published: February 17 2009 19:44 | Last updated: February 18 2009 01:07

Long regarded in the US as a folly of Europeans, nationalisation is gaining rapid acceptance among Washington opinion-formers – and not just with Alan Greenspan, former Federal Reserve chairman. Perhaps stranger still, many of those talking about nationalising banks are Republicans.

Lindsey Graham, the Republican senator for South Carolina, says that many of his colleagues, including John McCain, the defeated presidential candidate, agree with his view that nationalisation of some banks should be “on the table”.

Barack Obama, the president, who has tried to avoid panicking lawmakers and markets by entertaining the idea, has moved more towards what he calls the “Swedish model” – an approach backed strongly by Mr Graham. In the early 1990s Sweden nationalised its banking sector then auctioned banks having cleaned up balance sheets. “In limited circumstances the Swedish model makes sense for the US,” says Mr Graham.

Mr Obama last weekend made clear he was leaning more towards the Swedish model than to the piecemeal approach taken in Japan, which many would argue is the direction US public policy appears to be heading.

“They [the Japanese] sort of papered things over,” Mr Obama said. “They never really bit the bullet . . . and so you never got credit flowing the way it should have, and the bad assets in their system just corroded the economy for a long period of time.”

Administration officials acknowledge that the rescue plan unveiled by Tim Geithner, Treasury secretary, last week could result in the temporary nationalisation of some weak banks.

The plan sets out a framework for revealing the extent of the likely credit losses facing banks. Most private sector analysts believe the exercise will reveal that some banks have large capital shortfalls.

Policymakers acknowledge that if this is indeed the case, it will be difficult for those with the largest shortfalls to raise the required equity from the markets, in which case the government would probably have to take temporary control. Moreover, while nationalisation remains taboo in some political circles it is increasingly openly discussed among past and present economic policymakers of all leanings.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The 25 Best Blogs of 2009: Time magazine,28804,1879276_1879279_1879290,00.html

Top 25 Blogs
Talking Points Memo
The Huffington Post
The Daily Dish by Andrew Sullivan
Zen Habits
The Conscience of a Liberal: Paul Krugman
Crooks and Liars
GeneraciĆ³n Y
Official Google Blog
Seth Godin's Blog
Deadspin: Sports News without Access, Favor, or Discretion
Confessions of a Pioneer Woman
Said the Gramophone
Detention Slip
Bad Astronomy

Most Overrated BlogsTechCrunch
Jim Cramer's Blog
Daily Kos: State of the Nation

Friday, February 13, 2009

Flatbush Critters: Opossum Sighting !

Just wanted to share some Flatbush Critter news -- My better Half saw an opossum this morning, around 7 AM, as she (my wife!) was leaving for work, it seems to have been camping out overnight in our garage. It woke up and ambled down the driveway to the street. It was a little too quick for a photo op..however, the stock photo here is provided as a reference

Xris at Flatbuush Gardener noted numerous sightings in previous summers, as well as Raccoons. But is this early in the season? Did the warm weather bring them out? I have seen them on the streets of Fiske Terrace before, walking up driveways, scooting under bushes, also saw one, unfortunately, as roadkill, but NIMB ...

I wonder if the old railroad tracks that run along Avenue H/Avenue I (perpendicular to the Q line) are a haven for lots of the Flatbush critters ?

Previous sightings from the ever vigilant Xris at Flatbush Gardener (in invaluable resources on Natural Brooklyn) with a great photo by Xris:

Everything you may have wanted to know about Opossums (Didelphimorphia, aka Didelphis-virginiana), which are marsupials; the young 'uns cling to Mom's back when not snuggled in Mom's pouch:

Natural facts here:

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Brooklyn in Between

Spring comes
in small doses
Like the twinkling of sunset
on the water
or the indigo in the sky
at the end of night

--Brooklyn Beat

The Promenade was jammed yesterday. Cadman Plaza Park filled with strollers, kids playing in shirt sleeves, and Lawyers in Love.

But the winds of change shift, as Brooklyn traverses seasons, a warm sciroco one minute, blending with winter chill. Things will settle, and there will be more winter this weekend, but in the distance we can tell in these intermediate moments, of the inexorable march toward spring.

19th Century Men: Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln, Born February 12, 1809

Charles Darwin: A visionary theorist who studied and advanced the unique scientific concept of evolution, that broke new ground in the study of life and biology, and, not insignificantly, cast aside the Biblical view of the genesis of life.

Charles Robert Darwin FRS (12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist[I] who realised and demonstrated that all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors through the process he called natural selection. The fact that evolution occurs became accepted by the scientific community and much of the general public in his lifetime, while his theory of natural selection came to be widely seen as the primary explanation of the process of evolution in the 1930s,[1] and now forms the basis of modern evolutionary theory. In modified form, Darwin’s scientific discovery is the unifying theory of the life sciences, providing logical explanation for the diversity of life.[2]

At Edinburgh University Darwin neglected medical studies to investigate marine invertebrates, then the University of Cambridge encouraged a passion for natural science.[3] His five-year voyage on HMS Beagle established him as an eminent geologist whose observations and theories supported Charles Lyell’s uniformitarian ideas, and publication of his journal of the voyage made him famous as a popular author. Puzzled by the geographical distribution of wildlife and fossils he collected on the voyage, Darwin investigated the transmutation of species and conceived his theory of natural selection in 1838.[4] Although he discussed his ideas with several naturalists, he needed time for extensive research and his geological work had priority.[5] He was writing up his theory in 1858 when Alfred Russel Wallace sent him an essay which described the same idea, prompting immediate joint publication of both of their theories.[6]

Biography here:

Abraham Lincoln: A 19th century man. Complex, perhaps in a more modern way, brilliant and homespun, a remarkable writer and political leader and executive. Despite the myth and the flawed humanity revealed by modern historians, he took enormous risks and made the supreme personal sacrifice in order to preserve the Union, end slavery, and ensure the continuation of the grand experiment that is the American Republic. -- Brooklyn Beat

Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was the 16th President of the United States. He successfully led the country through its greatest internal crisis, the American Civil War, preserving the Union and ending slavery. As the war was drawing to a close, Lincoln became the first American president to be assassinated. Before his election in 1860 as the first Republican president, Lincoln had been a lawyer, an Illinois state legislator, a member of the United States House of Representatives, and twice an unsuccessful candidate for election to the Senate.

Biography here:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Economic Maelstrom: "When you are out there getting the honey..You don't go killing all the bees"

Too dreadful to contemplate, but the question is already being asked, by Martin Wolf of Financial Times: Has the new administration's effort at reversing the economic collapse already failed? Details on the problem, and possible solutions not being taken at present...yet:

Why Obama’s new Tarp will fail to rescue the banks
By Martin Wolf

Has Barack Obama’s presidency already failed? In normal times, this would be a ludicrous question. But these are not normal times. They are times of great danger. Today, the new US administration can disown responsibility for its inheritance; tomorrow, it will own it. Today, it can offer solutions; tomorrow it will have become the problem. Today, it is in control of events; tomorrow, events will take control of it. Doing too little is now far riskier than doing too much. If he fails to act decisively, the president risks being overwhelmed, like his predecessor. The costs to the US and the world of another failed presidency do not bear contemplating.
What is needed? The answer is: focus and ferocity. If Mr Obama does not fix this crisis, all he hopes from his presidency will be lost. If he does, he can reshape the agenda. Hoping for the best is foolish. He should expect the worst and act accordingly.

Yet hoping for the best is what one sees in the stimulus programme and – so far as I can judge from Tuesday’s sketchy announcement by Tim Geithner, Treasury secretary – also in the new plans for fixing the banking system. I commented on the former last week. I would merely add that it is extraordinary that a popular new president, confronting a once-in-80-years’ economic crisis, has let Congress shape the outcome.

The banking programme seems to be yet another child of the failed interventions of the past one and a half years: optimistic and indecisive. If this “progeny of the troubled asset relief programme” fails, Mr Obama’s credibility will be ruined. Now is the time for action that seems close to certain to resolve the problem; this, however, does not seem to be it.

All along two contrasting views have been held on what ails the financial system. The first is that this is essentially a panic. The second is that this is a problem of insolvency.

Under the first view, the prices of a defined set of “toxic assets” have been driven below their long-run value and in some cases have become impossible to sell. The solution, many suggest, is for governments to make a market, buy assets or insure banks against losses. This was the rationale for the original Tarp and the “super-SIV (special investment vehicle)” proposed by Henry (Hank) Paulson, the previous Treasury secretary, in 2007.

Under the second view, a sizeable proportion of financial institutions are insolvent: their assets are, under plausible assumptions, worth less than their liabilities. The International Monetary Fund argues that potential losses on US-originated credit assets alone are now $2,200bn (€1,700bn, £1,500bn), up from $1,400bn just last October. This is almost identical to the latest estimates from Goldman Sachs. In recent comments to the Financial Times, Nouriel Roubini of RGE Monitor and the Stern School of New York University estimates peak losses on US-generated assets at $3,600bn. Fortunately for the US, half of these losses will fall abroad. But, the rest of the world will strike back: as the world economy implodes, huge losses abroad – on sovereign, housing and corporate debt – will surely fall on US institutions, with dire effects.

Personally, I have little doubt that the second view is correct and, as the world economy deteriorates, will become ever more so. But this is not the heart of the matter. That is whether, in the presence of such uncertainty, it can be right to base policy on hoping for the best. The answer is clear: rational policymakers must assume the worst. If this proved pessimistic, they would end up with an over-capitalised financial system. If the optimistic choice turned out to be wrong, they would have zombie banks and a discredited government. This choice is surely a “no brainer”.

The new plan seems to make sense if and only if the principal problem is illiquidity. Offering guarantees and buying some portion of the toxic assets, while limiting new capital injections to less than the $350bn left in the Tarp, cannot deal with the insolvency problem identified by informed observers. Indeed, any toxic asset purchase or guarantee programme must be an ineffective, inefficient and inequitable way to rescue inadequately capitalised financial institutions: ineffective, because the government must buy vast amounts of doubtful assets at excessive prices or provide over-generous guarantees, to render insolvent banks solvent; inefficient, because big capital injections or conversion of debt into equity are better ways to recapitalise banks; and inequitable, because big subsidies would go to failed institutions and private buyers of bad assets.

Why then is the administration making what appears to be a blunder? It may be that it is hoping for the best. But it also seems it has set itself the wrong question. It has not asked what needs to be done to be sure of a solution. It has asked itself, instead, what is the best it can do given three arbitrary, self-imposed constraints: no nationalisation; no losses for bondholders; and no more money from Congress. Yet why does a new administration, confronting a huge crisis, not try to change the terms of debate? This timidity is depressing. Trying to make up for this mistake by imposing pettifogging conditions on assisted institutions is more likely to compound the error than to reduce it.

Assume that the problem is insolvency and the modest market value of US commercial banks (about $400bn) derives from government support (see charts). Assume, too, that it is impossible to raise large amounts of private capital today. Then there has to be recapitalisation in one of the two ways indicated above. Both have disadvantages: government recapitalisation is a bail-out of creditors and involves temporary state administration; debt-for-equity swaps would damage bond markets, insurance companies and pension funds. But the choice is inescapable.

If Mr Geithner or Lawrence Summers, head of the national economic council, were advising the US as a foreign country, they would point this out, brutally. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, IMF managing director, said the same thing, very gently, in Malaysia last Saturday.

The correct advice remains the one the US gave the Japanese and others during the 1990s: admit reality, restructure banks and, above all, slay zombie institutions at once. It is an important, but secondary, question whether the right answer is to create new “good banks”, leaving old bad banks to perish, as my colleague, Willem Buiter, recommends, or new “bad banks”, leaving cleansed old banks to survive. I also am inclined to the former, because the culture of the old banks seems so toxic.

By asking the wrong question, Mr Obama is taking a huge gamble. He should have resolved to cleanse these Augean banking stables. He needs to rethink, if it is not already too late.

On Good Banks and Bad Banks and what to do about them:

The full Martin Wolf article here with charts and data:

Monday, February 2, 2009

February, the Cruelest Month?: Economic Blues

OK, the inauguration was last month. Job losses increasing. Market and home prices continue to fall/barely hanging on. The Super Bowl, replete with Bruce Springsteen and a fourth quarter wrestling match between the West and the Rust Belt, hampered by by economic blues. Change. Check. Post-party governance. Nope. Hope. Ch....eck, for now. Ya gotta believe.

Printing The NYT Costs Twice As Much As Sending Every Subscriber A Free Kindle

Quo Vadis: Salaries, Jobs, and Equity.
The NY TIMES article on "The Big Fix" was interesting until it ridiculously equated "Big Oil" "COAL" "WALL STREET" and "Teachers Unions" as issues that need to be addressed (i.e., tamed) before the economy can be "fixed". A different article, on another issue entirely,seems to address the absurdity of this position, and the entire issue of wealth, greed, and the workplace. Huge salaries to hire "The Best"?
Howard Jacobson: You can never get enough sex, but you can have too much money
Society will always be unjust. The question is how great we can bear the disparity to be

The weakest argument made for excessive earnings is that only by offering a fortune do you attract the right person. It should always have been obvious that that's a truism which proves its very opposite. If it's only the fortune that makes the job suitable for the man then the man is by definition unsuitable for the job. Even banking – the one place where the rapacity criterion might have applied – has proved that. The greedy, we now know, are not even good at greed. And were it true that we must pay the most to get the best, why do we argue differently when it comes to the jobs we prize above all others? Let teachers or nurses strike for half a day to improve their pittance and they are accused of irresponsibility and greed, of not honouring the sacred codes of selflessness we associate with their professions. Here the very opposite to the avarice principle prevails: we pay the least to get the best.
A sentimental assumption about job satisfaction underlies this double thinking. Teachers and nurses, we say, do what they do because they love to do it; for them the calling is its own remuneration. (An assumption that doesn't look the other way, with our pitying the poor banker for whom the only relief from the grinding unrewardingness of his job is the prospect of a seven-figure bonus.) But however true it is that the best of what we do we do because we choose to, and let money come or let it not, extreme inequalities in pay must create discontent. Society will always be unjust – not only unequal but undiscriminating – in its distribution of rewards. The question is how great we can bear the disparity to be; and when a banker gets more in his Christmas box than the entire annual teaching salary of a failing inner-city comprehensive – though not so failing as the banker's bank – we have passed the point of tolerance. I might have tried to calculate how many undernourished children could be fed with the money the average Premier League footballer earns every time he misses a penalty, but we indulge footballers. Like rock stars and actresses they get us through the grey days of life in an innocent reverie of emulation, which is I suppose preferable to envy.

Article here:

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
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