Monday, October 31, 2011

REDUX: A Real Brooklyn Ghost Story

I have posted this before, the first time in the first year of Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn. Since it is my first and only experience with The Great Beyond, I thought I would post it again for Halloween....

Back in the day, well, sometime in the 1980s, when Reagan was as far-out and far-right a reaction to the Jimmy Carter years that the human mind could contemplate, you could still afford to rent your own apartment in Park Slope even though you were neither the employee nor scion of a hedge fund. Anyway, I lived on 7th street between 5th and 6th avenues. It wasn't a fancy hipster neighborhood, and as hard as it is to believe, we were were young once too and were probably the hippest things happening, but there was El Faro and Polly-O and Save on Fifth, and I was just leaving a public affairs and marketing writing job at local hospital (then known as the Park Slope Body Shop), and taking up freelancing for a number of film, engineering and trade mags, so I guess essentially life was good. I was living in the first floor of a brownstone; the owners, an older Italian American couple and their grown sons, lived in the upper floors. The husband of the couple grew his tomatoes and enjoyed his occasional chianti which reminded me alot of my maternal grandfather who had passed away shortly before I moved to this new place.

One day, after I was living in the building for a year or so, the elderly husband himself passed away rather suddenly. My girl friend at the time, the Art Director's Daughter, and I had spoken to the sons earlier in the day. It was the first night of the wake, the family left in the early afternoon and informed us that they would not be returning until much later in the evening. We were planning to pay our respects the following night. Anyway, at around 7:00 PM it started.

Footsteps. Nothing but footsteps, loud and clear, walking the length of the brownstone apartment above. A constant pacing that started near the front door, walked to the opposite end of the house, turned and walked back to the door. Slowly, methodically, but unmistakably. At first, I believe the radio was on, I could hear this strange pacing (they had no dogs or pets of any kind) only intermittently, until it finally made its way into our consciousness as the Art Director's Daughter and I made dinner. I turned off the radio. Then, when it was very quiet, a chill went up and down my spine as I listened to the mysterious, relentless pacing.Finally, I went upstairs to knock on the door, but of course no one answered. I could not see or hear anyone (or anything) through the door. Since it was clear no one was ransacking their apartment, there was nothing much else to be done. But when I returned downstairs, there it was again. We turned on some music. The Art Director's Daughter (who was a Red Diaper Baby) was a big fan of the Weavers and Pete Seeger, so we cranked up some of that beneficent, positive vibe, good time hammer and sickle music, and had another glass of wine.

I guess between the clomping, and the wine, and the Weavers, we distracted ourselves until it either stopped or we took less and less notice of it. A few hours later, when the family returned from the first night of the wake, we decided to throw caution to the wind and mention the strange noises, just in case someone had in fact broken in through a window.

The older son looked at us quizzically but went upstairs first to look around before his mom got out of the car. Nope. Everything was as it should be. "Maybe it was a sound from next door through the walls" he offered good naturedly. We apologized for bothering him, but he said, no, don't worry about it, I am glad that you let me know.

But, just as brownstone walls are thick, and floors in old houses can creak when you walk on them, I was sure that the old man had returned for a final visit, and was looking to see where his wife had hidden the chianti.

--Tony Napoli --- Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn


World population clocks - estimate that we will pass 7 billion at some point today here

7 Billion Actions - Making the world a better place for all 7 billion of us here

NY Times: Mathematical biologist Joel Cohen on the humanity and the human population growth imperative here

7 Billion mark may also represent a shift in world population patterns - shrinking not expanding here

Could continued population growth spell a turn to a "Soylent Green" future ? Here

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday On My Mind: And Now A Word from the Art World and Its Discontents

"For some years now, Mr. Bourriad wrote in a 1997 essay that has since become famous or infamous, depending on your perpsective, there has been an upsurge of convivial, user-friendly artistic projects, festive, collective and participatory, exploring the varied potential in the relationship to the other." The curator dubbed this relational aesthetics. From The Fall of Relational Aesthetics here

Extracts from Nicolas Bourriaud's Relational Esthetics (Dijon: les Presses du réel, 2002) as pdf

The anti-financial industry Occupy Wall Street protests that have become a media sensation in New York City over the past few weeks have spawned an art-world offspring.

Begun early this morning, @OccupyArtWorld is agitating for change in the cultural landscape through a Twitter account and an active hashtag. The provocateur has already inspired some online debate in the art bloggerati.“Behind every famous artist is a millionaire investing in a collection and influencing the direction of art with money,” the account writes. “Gallerinas could make more working the streets. Art dealers should pay them more. Harsh but true.”

The as-yet anonymous art-world protester kicked it off with an anti-commercialist manifesto:

Tired of the 1% controlling the direction of art. Museum exhibits based on Investment of wealthy. Reviews based on ad sales. #occupyartworld

The 1% controls art culture by investment. They have robbed art from the people. #occupyartworld #occupywallstreet

More here from Artinfo


Nor'easter forecast for Saturday details here

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Occupied With Wall Street as the Dow Hits 12,000: From Uprising to Catalytic Institution

Occupy Wall Street has gone from a shot in the dark promoted by a Canadian anti-corporate website, AdSense, to a First Amendment Protest, to a mash up of a Rebel Encampment and Hooverville.  But clearly, in its second month, the message of Occupy Wall Street, about the future of "casino capitalism" and the indelible message of the 1% holding the reins and lording over the 99%. will not be denied. It's the hardship the broken economy is causing, not the deficit, that is the real issue.

Although NY's mainstream media, especially the Murdochian NY Post, struggle to take it down by first focusing on free "gourmet meals" served to OWSers, and now on the influx of homeless folks (including ex-habitues of Rikers Island) which has elicited complaints from OWS's volunteer kitchen staff, even sympathetic observers, like Justin Elliot in Salon are beginning, in the 2nd month, to speculate about direction and possible futures.

Aside from the political, ideological and activist assessments, (and as I post this as the stock market breaks 12,000), I wonder -- while there apparently are many folks volunteering in different capacities at Zuccotti Park, isn't it time that OWS creates a model by establishing itself in the form of a more progressive, cooperative format where folks have to do something to get something ? That is, is hanging out with occasional protests and intermittent figthting with the cops really a sustainable life style? If OWS isn't calling for utopia, can't everyone be expected to do something, besides protesting, to earn their keep? Either in the park or outside? For that matter with all of the resources coming in, can OWS serve those in the community who are currently underserved, and not currently residing in Zuccotti? The hungry, the elderly? For that matter, while Zuccotti is a base, can't folks fan out over the City, to find other ways to help? Bringing food to and volunteering in food pantries and soup kitchens around the city?  Helping out at senior centers, etc? Just a thought. While understanding the principle role of OWS is to keep the excesses of our current form of Extreme Capitalism and the 99% - 1% message fresh, as the population grows might it also not be interesting to see what ideas and experiments OWS can take, as a social model,  as it explores New Directions in political economy?

--Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Last Weekend Update: Bruce Springsteen Performed 25 Song Benefit at Asbury Park's Stone Pony

So cool -- reports that last Saturday night Bruce Springsteen, backed by a band which included E Streeters' Roy Bittan on keyboards and Max Weinberg on drums as well as Bobby Bandiera, played 25 songs over two hours and 35 minutes. There was a four-piece horn section. Also joining in for a few songs was J.T. Bowen, the lead singer for Clarence Clemons' Red Bank Rockers from the 1980s. Bowen had played with Springsteen at the Wonder Bar on July 17.

In his great coverage,'s Stan Goldstein reports that Bruce's playlist included Darlington County, Because the Night
(Great guitar playing by Bruce), Waiting on a Sunny Day (Bruce came out and jumped on the back bar by the bathrooms), Fourth of July Asbury Park (Sandy), Pink Cadillac, 10th Avenue Freeze-Out, Soul Man (with J.T. Bowen - One of the highlights of the show), Dancing in the Dark, Glory Days, Born To Run, Rosalita, Havin'' A Party (with J.T. Bowen), Twist and Shout, and lots more, closign with a solo acoustic Thunder Road.

The show, which was a benefit for Boston College, where The Boss's son Evan is a student, attracted its share of celebs, including Gov. Chris Christie, actor Tim Robbins, and NBC News Anchor/30 Rock Supporting Actor/NJ Native Brian Williams. Check out the full article here


Monday, October 24, 2011

Coda: Coney Island Retains Its Funkadelic Soul -- For Another Season

It was a brisk and lovely weekend at the Coney Island Boardwalk. Breezy and chilly in spots, lovely in the sunlight. Part wood, part cobblestones, part concrete, the Brooklyn's own Boardwalk Empire continues its march forward, as, happily, Ruby's Bar and Grill and Paul's Daughter remain part of the Coney Island landscape for another year.

It was a busy, post-beach season Sunday as we walked the streets, the Boardwalk and the Pier.  We saw a film being shot on a side street; strolling families, couples, and dogs taking in the sun; the Original Kings of Coney Island Boardwalk Music doing there thing; many rides and venues were entertaining families, including Luna Park; Denos; the Wonder Wheel; and of course Nathan's; a homeless-looking guy entertaining the crowd to disco music a little further down; jet skiers racing along the shore; and finally, a bride and groom walking along the shoreline as the wedding photographer took photos; the bride's lovely gown swirled about by the waves as they gently lapped up on the beach.
Just another ordinary day in an extraordinary place, Coney Island, NY, USA

For Halloween related activities, including the 10/29 Halloween Childrens Parade
and the 10/31 Luna Park Halloween (Adult) Extravaganza coming up next weekend,
as well as other events, vendors, restaurants, businesses and activities see here and here

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thursday Morning: Gettin' On...

Jovanotti - Serenata Rap 1994

More on Jovanotti (aka Lorenzo Cherubini) here

Serenata Rap lyrics here

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Occupied With Wall Street: Notes on a Popular Uprising

Leave it to the Wall Street Journal: What percentage are you ?

While evidently not a resident of or embedded in Occupy Wall Street at Zuccotti Park, Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi who was the subject of an Andrew Breitbart attack (based on allegedly leaked/stolen emails) claiming he is directing OWS policy, may be  emerging as the journalist with his fingers on the pulse of the political-economic zeitgeist that has catalyzed this popular uprising. In his blog, he suggests that key to this movement is its not getting boxed in by either the Democrats (as “their movement”) or the GOP (“OccupyWS is a Dem movement”) – he’s argued that the longer they can channel this popular discontent – but not, I would offer, the boiling rage of anger and hostility of the Tea Party that seems more claustrophobic and exclusive rather than inclusive– the more possibility they will have to influence policy. As soon as OWS gets locked into the traditional political discourse with identified leaders, etc.,  it runs the risk of getting caught in the same merry-go-round as Life in the Slowlane of the Beltway and Ye Old Campaign Trail and it will just go off the rails like the rest of Washington-centric politics. But as Taibbi's continuing analysis and the OWS's willingness to continue to hang in there and stir the pot demonstrate, clearly, sooner or later, something’s gotta give…

Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi on hit the bankers where it hurts here

Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz on the 1% and everything else here "The 1% may have the best [of everything] but their fate is bound up by how the other 99% live."

From the Brooklyn Rail review of Matt Taibbi's 2010 "Griftopia:Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America"
"The grift in America always starts out with a little hum on the airwaves, some kind of dryly impersonal appeal broadcast over the skies from a high tower, an offer to sell something—help, advice, a new way of life, a friend at a time of need, the girl of your dreams. This is the way the ordinary American participates in this democracy: he buys. Most of us don’t vote more than once every four years, but we buy stuff every day. And every one of those choices registers somewhere, high up above, in the brain of the American Leviathan."...

"Looking back now, what I experienced in the wake of the Goldman piece was a lesson in a subtle truth about class politics in this country. Which is this: you can pick on the rich in an ironic, Arrested Development sort of way, you can muss Donald Trump’s hair, you can even talk abstractly about class economics using clinical terms like “income disparity.” But in our media, you’re not allowed to just kick the rich in the balls and use class-warfare language."

Full review of Taibbi's book here

NY TIMES: In Private, Wall Street Bankers Dismiss Occupy Wall Street as Unsophisticated
But, going global, they can no longer ignore it.  "But when they speak privately, it is often a different story. “Most people view it as a ragtag group looking for sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll,” said one top hedge fund manager. “It’s not a middle-class uprising,” adds another veteran bank executive. “It’s fringe groups. It’s people who have the time to do this.”
Citigroup’s chief executive, Vikram S. Pandit, even said he would be happy to talk with the protesters any time they wanted to drop by. Mr. Pandit, onstage Wednesday at a Fortune magazine conference, said that the protesters’ “sentiments were completely understandable.” 

“I would also corroborate that trust has been broken between financial institutions and the citizens of the U.S., and that it’s Wall Street’s job to reach out to Main Street and rebuild that trust,” Mr. Pandit said. The protesters should hold Citi and others “accountable for practicing responsible finance,” he said, “and keep asking us about how we’re doing.”

Full article here

NY Times: Paul Krugman: Losing Their Immunity 
"And what about the current situation? Wall Street pay has rebounded even as ordinary workers continue to suffer from high unemployment and falling real wages. Yet it’s harder than ever to see what, if anything, financiers are doing to earn that money. Why, then, does Wall Street expect anyone to take its whining seriously? That money manager claiming that finance is the only thing America does well also complained that New York’s two Democratic senators aren’t on his side, declaring that “They need to understand who their constituency is.” Actually, they surely know very well who their constituency is — and even in New York, 16 out of 17 workers are employed by nonfinancial industries."

"But he wasn’t really talking about voters, of course. He was talking about the one thing Wall Street still has plenty of thanks to those bailouts, despite its total loss of credibility: money."

"Money talks in American politics, and what the financial industry’s money has been saying lately is that it will punish any politician who dares to criticize that industry’s behavior, no matter how gently — as evidenced by the way Wall Street money has now abandoned President Obama in favor of Mitt Romney. And this explains the industry’s shock over recent events."

"You see, until a few weeks ago it seemed as if Wall Street had effectively bribed and bullied our political system into forgetting about that whole drawing lavish paychecks while destroying the world economy thing. Then, all of a sudden, some people insisted on bringing the subject up again."

Full link here

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Zizek at Zuccotti Park: Don't Be Afraid to Dream

There is a danger. Don’t fall in love with yourselves. We have a nice time here. But remember, carnivals come cheap. What matters is the day after, when we will have to return to normal lives. Will there be any changes then? I don’t want you to remember these days, you know, like “Oh. we were young and it was beautiful.” Remember that our basic message is “We are allowed to think about alternatives.” If the rule is broken, we do not live in the best possible world. But there is a long road ahead. There are truly difficult questions that confront us. We know what we do not want. But what do we want? What social organization can replace capitalism? What type of new leaders do we want?
Full transcript from Impose magazine here
Dream but don't dream it's over--as Zizek observes, there is hard work ahead to forge a New World...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Future Tense

New York's Finest and Occupy Wall Street Protesters clash here 

Pat Buchanan views the end of American Exceptionalism as he predicts sunset on the American Empire..sadly,given the tone and anger in the chapter listings, one imagines that the only solutions the book could offer would involve truncheons, building walls, shackles,  action "by any means necessary" against those who fail to adhere to Church dogma (mostly Catholic, although Protestants are equally weak/culpable in his view) and worship, and of course invective, hatred, epithet and anger. Drudgereport's summary here

Thursday, October 13, 2011

News -- On the March

21 Things You Didn't Know about Herman Cain here 

Restaurant bans men from standing up to micturate here

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

CODA: Faster than Light? Hold On There -- Not So Fast, Pardner

Despite the previous reporting from the CERN Large Hadron Collider in Geneva which suggested that Flying Neutrinos -- I said Flying Neutrinos-- with faster than the absolute barrier posed by the speed of light had been detected, scientists are looking down sheepishly, moving around dust with the tip of their shoes, sayin', well, sure, they went fast but maybe not quite that FAST.

Perhaps everyone was caught up in the excitement of the potential news when a systematic error was actually the cause.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"The Mill and the Cross" by Lech Majewski

Rutger Hauer as "Peasant Pieter (the Elder) Bruegel

Rutger Hauer, Lech Majewski, and Michael Yorke,
during the making of "The Mill and the Cross"

The Way to Calvary by Pieter Bruegel

There is no melodrama or biopic flourishes in Lech Majewski's beautiful and estimable "The Mill and the Cross." The film stars Rutger Hauer, Charlotte Rampling and Michael Yorke, and they are terrific, but the film's true power comes from the vision of director Majewski, as he explores Pieter Bruegel and in particular the painter's "Way to Calvary". That work by the elder Bruegel, known as "Peasant Pieter" for his practice of dressing in more common garb so he could travel among the peasant folk and observe them, depicts the passion of Christ in the context of country life in Flanders in 1564, at a time when the people were under the brutal occupation of the Spanish, who sought to suppress the Protestant Reformation.

As the prodiction notes state: "The film changes the way art is portrayed on film, pioneering a new method to “enter” a painting and to create a narrative based on its depicted figures, performed by live actors. Majewski's method consists of combining digitally shot footage in three different ways:
· actors shot in front of a blue screen, which is integrated later with various backdrops
· actors and footage shot on location in Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria and New Zealand on specifically chosen
  landscapes resembling those found in Bruegel’s paintings
· a large 2D backdrop of Bruegel's work painted on canvas by Majewski

In post-production, Majewski and his editor painstakingly layered these various elements. For example, he added an actor shot in front of a blue screen to several layers of both painted backdrops and location footage, enhanced by digital footage of a majestic sky shot in New Zealand. This process allowed the filmmaker to act as a painter himself."

The music, the stunning visuals, and the depiction of the quiet and earthy country life, melded with the subdued brutality,
create a rivoting and beautiful film. All things considered, the film's languid, countrified pace may be slow for some viewers, but the director (writer of the original screenplay for Julian Schnabel's Basquiat) has done a masterful job in wresting a
simple narrative from just the painting and a few fragments of art history and the painter's bio.

Once again, this viewer can't help but admire any artist who is unafraid to challenge the tyranny of modernity, at the same time taking creative leaps of faith . One needs only to allow Majewski's vision to establish the parameters of a new old world, and sit back in wonder at what film as art -- and art as film for that matter -- can achieve.

--Anthony Napoli for Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn

Storyboard fragments here

More from the official site here

Friday, October 7, 2011

Digital+Culture+Style= The Story of Apple, Inc.

Steve Jobs leaves a trail of new products for future release/development here

The day the notoriously private Steve Jobs contacted his future biographer; Time magazine excerpt here:

On Walter Isaacson, who wrote the forthcoming biography Steve Jobs, available later this month and excerpted in an upcoming special Time magazine here

The Global Woman: 3 Winners of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize

"[T]he road to freedom is long, the cost of freedom is high [and] the fight for freedom is not for the faint-hearted and the pessimists."  --Leymah Gbowee of Liberia

"With two civil wars, an al-Qaeda presence and 40% unemployment, what else is President Saleh waiting for?" she told the Guardian in March. "He should leave office now." --Tawakul Karman - Activist in Yemen

"What do you say to those who say your gender is the key to your presidency?
Gender's an important part of our agenda, there's no question about it. [Women] did not have a voice before. Today we know they listen to us. Illiterate market women ... many of them can now read and spell their names. All girls know that they can be anything now. That transformation is to me one of the most satisfying things. [Having a woman President] sends a signal. Women just all of a sudden come alive because they have a role model, because they know it's possible. I expect some places in the Middle East where women have been contained will see them emerge after this Arab Spring."
--Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Full article here

Thursday, October 6, 2011

American Visionary: Steve Jobs 1955-2011

Steve Jobs 1955-2011

From the NY TIMES obituary: "His worldview was shaped by the ’60s counterculture in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he had grown up, the adopted son of a Silicon Valley machinist. When he graduated from high school in Cupertino in 1972, he said, ”the very strong scent of the 1960s was still there.” ...

"Decades later he flew around the world in his own corporate jet, but he maintained emotional ties to the period in which he grew up. He often felt like an outsider in the corporate world, he said.When discussing the Silicon Valley’s lasting contributions to humanity, he mentioned in the same breath the invention of the microchip and “The Whole Earth Catalog,” a 1960s counterculture publication."
Full article here 

BACK WHEN: Apple's First Logo drawn by Ronald Wayne

NOW: Adobe Myriad Typeface

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