This is a little bit different from my typical Song of the Week as it is in fact a podcast discussing music. That podcast is Radiolab, the show that explores curiosity and science through storytelling. This episode of Radiolab Shorts explores the music of Dawn of Midi who use an electronic approach to acoustical music that creates a trance-like state.
Author: Ben Fountain Title:Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk Publication Info: HarperCollins (2012) ISBN: 9780060885618
Summary/Review: This review should be called “Liam Sullivan’s Long Summertime Read” because it took me months to complete reading. The slothfulness of the read should reflect more on the reader than the novel, and in fact the intricate level of detail in the book may be appreciated by a slow read. Fountain’s novel tells the story of the Bravo Squad whose firefight in Iraq caught on video goes viral making the ten young men instant heroes brought back to the US to be celebrated and used for a promotional tour. The majority of the novel takes place on Thanksgiving Day at a Dallas Cowboys game where the Bravos are part of the pre-game and halftime festivities and is told from the perspective of the young Texan infantryman Billy Lynn. There’s little nuance in Fountain’s writing as this is clearly an anti-war novel with a pile-on of hypocritical people using the Bravos to advance their agenda. The incidents of the novel also grow increasingly absurd including Billy’s fling with a cheerleader and the surreal halftime show where the Bravos support the performance of Destiny’s Child. My ultimate summation of this book is good but not great, where the small details stand out better than the overarching themes of the novel.
Beer: Saison Various Brewer: Harpoon Brewery Source: Draft Rating: *** (7.5 of 10) Comments: #47 in Harpoon’s 100 Barrel Series, this saison is actually a blend of four different beers crafted by four different brewers. The beer is a deep golden color with very little head or carbonation. I caught a strong whiff of tropical fruit in the aroma. The taste is sweet with hints of spice and a bready quality with a crisp finish. It’s tasty and unique.
Upon arrival on Georges Island, we made our way inside Fort Warren to the parade ground where the Essex Base Ball Club was playing vintage baseball according to 1864 rules. The Newburyport Clamdiggers faced the Lynn Live Oaks in vintage style woolen uniforms. We enjoyed being “cranks” and using 19th century terms to cheer on the players such as “Well hit, sir!” and “Leg it!”
After the game we explored the fort, checking out the gun batteries atop the walls, the dry moat, and the underground caverns of the demilune. Georges Island may be a small speck in the harbor, but it is definitely a place worth further exploration.
This week’s song comes from Seattle singer/songwriter Shelby Earl. The vocals on “Sea of Glass” remind me of the style of singing of Neko Case, although to my ears Shelby Earl has more of an alt-country twang.
Comments: This is clearly a good summer drink, if not clearly a great beer. The beer is a thin, straw color, inconsistent in tone and very sparkly. The aroma is defined by the watermelon scent which is also the clear flavor upon first sip. The flavor evaporates leaving a bland, watery mouthfeel. The head also disappears quickly. Mind you this is not necessarily a bad thing as many fruit beers can be overly sweet and sticky. This watermelon ale is clean and refreshing and good for a hot summer’s day. Serve with a slice of watermelon.