RadioLab Listening Party @ MOS


Last night I attend a special even at the Museum of Science, a listening party for the public radio show RadioLab.  For the uninitiated, RadioLab is a show produced by WNYC in New York that ask questions and tell stories centered on an idea, usually related to science.  If you like This American Life, I’d…

Book Review: Ulysses by James Joyce


What can I possibly say about Ulysses (1920) by James Joyce in way of review? Here are 18 thoughts, one for each episode. I can’t believe I finally finished reading Ulysses. I can’t believe I read Ulysses for fun. I can’t believe I didn’t read Ulysses in my college English courses.  What cowardice forced my…

Book Review: The Dark Side of the Diamond by Roger I. Abrams


The Dark Side of the Diamond (2007) by Roger I. Abrams is the antidote for anyone who looks at the state of our National Pastime and yearns for “the good old days” when baseball and virtue went hand-in-hand.   As Abrams dutifully enumerates, professional baseball in the “bad old days” offers plenty of examples of gambling,…

Book Review: The Lodger: Shakespeare on Silver Street by Charles Nicholl


Long ago when I was in high school I read and enjoyed Shakespeare of London by Marchette Chute, an attempt to reconstruct William Shakespeare’s life and times as a celebrated dramatist.  Thus I was attracted to this similarly themed book The Lodger: Shakespeare on Silver Street by Charles Nicholl.  This book is built upon one…

Book Review: Outcasts United by Warren St. John


Outcasts United (2009) by Warren St. John tells a story about something I never even knew was going on in America today.  Large numbers of refugees from war-torn nations worldwide are relocated to new homes in the US, but instead of blending into immigrant communities in large cities like New York and Los Angeles, they…

Book Review: Traffic by Tom Vanderbilt


I expected Traffic (2008) by Tom Vanderbilt to be an interesting but it proved to be a fascinating and provocative book about driving.  There’s a lot of stuff here about the assumptions and practices of driving that amazed even me someone who hates driving and obsesses over how dangerous it is.  Vanderbilt surveys the world,…

Book Review: Playing Hard Ball by E.T. Smith


Fifteen years ago I attended a portion of a cricket cup match in Bermuda and have had a curiosity about the game ever since. Now I’ve discovered a book by a cricketer who loves baseball, a game I understand much better. Playing Hard Ball: County Cricket and Big League Baseball (2003) by professional cricketer E.T….

Reading James Joyce’s Ulysses, part VII – Film Edition


One would think that Ulysses, a novel which is remarkable for it’s experiments with language and writing styles as well as the interior dimensions of its characters far more than plot, would be unfilmable.  Yet I found two different movies that attempt to take Ulysses on, and having read the book I decided to watch…

James Joyce Ramble


This morning my son Peter & I went to watch the James Joyce Ramble 10 K road race in Dedham, MA.  I’m not much for spectating road races in general but this perked my interest because: I’ve been meaning to visit the town of Dedham for some time. The website for the James Joyce Ramble…

Walk for Hunger 2009


It’s time again for one of my favorite events of the year, Project Bread’s Walk for Hunger. I’ll be walking with my wife Susan and son Peter.  At least one of us has participated every year since 2004.  This year will be the first time all three of us will walk together as family.  It…

Sign of the Times


I’m amused by this hand-edited sign in the elevator at Central Square subway station in Cambridge. Sadly, signs like these would actually be needed in some MBTA elevators, especially the one the Tremont Street exit from Park Street.

Reading James Joyce’s Ulysses, part VI


Thoughts on the final three sections of Ulysses. “Eumaeus” Much of this section takes place in a cabman’s shelter which seems to be like a late-night pub.  There are shadowy figures and impostors there including the sailor “Murphy.”  Bloom has paternal feelings about Stephen, wanting to strengthen their relationship but also thinks of ways to…

Beer Review: Abita Turbodog


Beer: Abita Turbodog Brewer: Abita Brewing Company Source:  Draught Rating: ** (6 of 10) Comments: A dark ale from Lousiana, Abita Turbodog pours out with a big-bubbled head that quickly vanishes.  The beer has a sweet caramel scent and a slight chocolate porter flavor.  The tastes isn’t that strong though, which makes it a bit…

Beer Review: Stella Artois


Beer: Stella Artois Brewer: Stella Artois Source:  Draught Rating: * (5.5 of 10) Comments: Belgium’s most popular export is light colored and effervescent with a nice fluffy head that quickly vanishes and doesn’t leave behind much lace.  The taste has hints of lemons and smells kind of skunky.  The beer is refreshing and not offensive…

Beer Review: Presidente


Beer: Presidente Imported Beer Brewer: Cerveceria Nacional Dominicana Source:  12 oz. bottle Rating: No stars (4.5 of 10) Comments:  A lager from the Dominican Republic.  Just the type of beer that you’d expect to drink on a hot day at the beach.  Pale, weak, and not to exciting but okay if you’re not too discerning…

Book Review: Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi


Reading Lolita in Tehran (2003) is a memoir about life and Iran and reading English language books by  Azar Nafisi.  My alumni chapter book club selected this book appropriately about a book club Nafisi started to read Western literature with young women she had taught at the university in Tehran.  The book is divided into…

Book Review: Founding Faith by Steven Waldman


Founding Faith (2008) by Steven Waldman examines claims made in today’s “culture wars” regarding the religious beliefs and intentions of America’s Founding Fathers.  Did the Founding Fathers create the United States as a Christian nation with religion a core value in government as today’s Christian conservatives claim?  Or were the Founding Fathers really Deists and…

Beer Review: Southern Tier Raspberry Porter


Beer: Raspberry Porter Brewer: Southern Tier Brewing Company Source:  Draught Rating: * (5.9 of 10) Comments:  As the name implies this is a raspberry beer, the aroma and taste are overwhelming.  There’s also a chocolaty flavor  under the raspberry.  And it’s a porter that pours out in a rosy copper-black.  I like raspberry, I like…

Beer Review: Boddington’s Pub Ale


Beer: Boddington’s Pub Ale Brewer:  InBev Source:  Draught Rating: ** (6.3 of 10) Comments: A golden bubbly beer with a thick creamy head. I detected a scent of melon and despite being a bitter this beer tasted malty and mellow.  In fact, I thought it tasted rather like a lager  instead of an ale.  The…

Time Begins … and I almost missed it


One of the best observed … but not official … national holidays occurred this week, and I almost neglected to write about it.  I refer of course to my annual post waxing rhapsodic about Opening Day in Major League Baseball.  It’s a day of hope and possibility, and since my two favorite teams won yesterday…