Podcasts of the Week – Week Ending August 7th


The Specialist – “Cane Trainer“ Since I have some very basic instruction in being a mobility guide for a visually-impaired friend, I was interested in this story about a person who helps visually-impaired people to live independently by learning to use a cane. Radiolab – “From Tree to Shining Tree“ There’s a fungus among us…

Beer Review: Throwback Seasonal Spicy Bohemian


Beer: Spicy Bohemian Brewer: Throwback Brewery Source: Draft Rating: *** (7.5 of 10) Comments: A straw-yellow, cloudy body, a thin head, and the scent of mellow malts offer no warning of what’s to come.  This beer is SPICY!!! hot with jalapeno goodness.  This is the Tabasco sauce of beer!  Good stuff, and more than a…

Music Discoveries P-Funk, part 3 (1978-1982)


Here is my third and final post for my “discovery” series on the P-Funk collective of musicians in the 1970s and early 1980s.  In the first post I found myself impressed by the freshness and innovation of the music even though it was more than 40 years old.  The second post featured the familiar hit…

Photopost: Recompence Shore


This weekend we returned Recompence Shore in Freeport, ME, and the adjacent Wolfe’s Neck Farm for camping and nature discoveries.  Here are some photographic highlights from my brand new Canon Rebel T5. Related Post:  Photopost: Wolfe’s Neck Farm (2015)

Book Review: The Silent Traveller: A Chinese Artist in Lakeland by Chiang Yee


Author: Chiang Yee Title: The Silent Traveller: A Chinese Artist in Lakeland Publication Info: London, Country Life; New York, Transatlantic Arts [1949] (first published in 1937) Other Books Read By Same Author: The Silent Traveller in London, The Silent Traveller in San Francisco, The Silent Traveller in Boston, and The Silent Traveller in Dublin. Summary/Review: Long ago I discovered…

Book Review: Who Was Louis Armstrong by Yona Zeldis McDonough


Author: Yona Zeldis McDonough Title: Who Was Louis Armstrong Publication Info: New York : Grosset & Dunlap, c2004. Summary/Review: The life of musician and icon Louis Armstrong is explored at a kids level, focusing mostly on his early life up to the 1930s.  Armstrong grew up in poverty in New Orleans and spent time in a reform…

Book Review: Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde


Author: Jasper Fforde Title: Lost in a Good Book Narrator: Emily Gray Publication Info: Penguin Audio (2011) Other Books Read by Same Author: The Eyre Affair, Shades of Gray, The Last Dragonslayer, The Song of the Quarkbeast, One of Our Thursdays is Missing, and The Eye of Zoltar. Summary/Review: Rereading the Thursday Next series has its surprises…

Podcasts of the Week


A short list for the last week of July: Planet Money – “When Women Stopped Coding” An illuminating but sad history of when computer science moved from being woman-dominated to a “men’s only club.” Politically Re-Active – “Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman Gives Us the Election Unfiltered” A podcast I just started listening to that is…

Song of the Week: “Frankie Sinatra” by The Avalanches


A long time ago I found a random album at the library by a band called The Avalanches and was blown away by the sound collage of samples, sound bites, and dance music, especially the track “Frontier Psychiatrist.”   16 years later, The Avalanches finally got around to releasing their second album Wildflower featuring the delightfully…

Beer Review: Allagash Fluxus 2015


Beer:  Fluxus 2015 Brewer: Allagash Brewing Company  Source: Draft Rating: **** ( 8.6 of 10) Comments:  A golden hazy brew with a pinky-width head, Fluxus gives off a sweet strawberry aroma. The taste is reminiscent of a hard candy, as if Jolly Rancher made beer. Thick lace clings to the glass after consuming. It’s not…

My Vote For President (and some more important things)


I know everyone has been waiting to see the official 2016 Presidential endorsement of a minor blogger with 289 followers, and here it is!  Actually, I think endorsements are mostly bunk and it drives me crazy how the media constantly speculates over who will endorse who and how many votes an endorsement will gain when…

Bands Better Live Than Studio


I used to go to a lot more concerts and shows than I do now, and when I did I discovered a lot of artists and bands who won me over with their live performances. In some cases their studio recordings didn’t live up to the concerts, or it took me seeing them live to…

Book Review: Who Was Jesse Owens by James Buckley, Jr.


Author: James Buckley, Jr. Title: Who Was Jesse Owens Publication Info: New York, NY : Grosset & Dunlap, 2015. Summary/Review: Jesse Owens is well-known as a legendary track and field star who was a pioneer for black athletes, attending Ohio State University, going to the Olympics, and winning four gold medals.  Much is made of Owens being…

Book Review: Who Was Annie Oakley by Stephanie Spinner


Author: Stephanie Spinner Title: Who Was Annie Oakley Publication Info: New York : Grosset & Dunlap, c2002. Summary/Review: I keep learning things I never knew from my son’s biographies of notable people.  Annie Oakley was a sharpshooter and that was all I knew about her.  Turns out she made an interesting life out of her skill traveling around…

Podcasts of the Week


Memory Palace – “Oil, Water“ Whenever Cleveland is mentioned, one hears about the Cuyahoga River catching fire, but until listening to this podcast I was unaware that there were multiple fires over decades and the considerable damage that they caused. Fresh Air – “Swimming with Sharks“ The much-maligned shark gets a fair shake.  And I…

Song of the Week: “Transition” by DIRTYGIRL


The lo-fi punk band from London DIRTYGIRL offers “Transition,” a track with a tight power pop sound and vocals reminiscent of early Liz Phair.  It’s off their Junk Food EP released in October, and made known to my by The Sounds in My Head podcast.

Music Discoveries P-Funk, part 2 (1975-1978)


This second post in the series covers a period where Parliament-Funkadelic is exploding, releasing some of the bands’ most popular albums and singles, touring with an increasingly elaborate stage show, and branching off to form new bands and solo projects (although those bands and artists were frequently backed up by the same stable of P-Funk…