Podcasts of the Week Ending June 8


BackStory :: Songs of Ourselves?

Walt Whitman and the American Imagination on the 200th anniversary of his birth.

The Moth :: Mets, McDonalds, and a White House Secret

The story of the author of “Go the F**k to Sleep” ends up at a fundraiser with Dr. Ferber and a family finds a way to get to see the Mets first World Series championship.

Code Switch :: The Original ‘Welfare Queen’

The story of a con artist, child abductor, and possible murderer whose crimes were used to justify to slash welfare safety nets by the Reagan and Clinton administrations.

99% Invisible :: The Automat

When I was a kid, I loved going to the last surviving Automat in New York City, a surviving relic of Old New York.  This podcasts details the 100 year history of the innovative Horn & Hardart restaurants in Philadelphia and New York that became a cultural touchstone.


Running tally of 2019 Podcast of the Week appearances:

Book Review: Siege by Roxane Orgill


AuthorRoxane Orgill
TitleSiege: How General Washington Kicked the British Out of Boston and Launched a Revolution
Publication Info: Candlewick (2018)
Summary/Review:

I received a free advance reading copy of this book through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program.

Siege is a book that tells the story of the Siege of Boston in 1775-1776 from multiple perspectives and entirely in verse.  It’s a spectacular way of presenting how the Continental Army was able to fortify the hills surrounding Boston and force the British Army to evacuate the city. And while there’s poetic license, almost all of this book is based on historical fact.  The characters include familiar names like George and Martha Washington, Colonel Henry Knox, Sir William Howe, and Abigail Adams, but also Washington’s aide-de-camp Joseph Reed, Washington’s enslaved manservant William Lee, and rank-and-file Continental Army privates Caleb Haskell and Samuel Haws.  Orgill also versifies Washington’s daily orders and the news from Boston.  This is a wonderful approach to presenting a moment in history and highly recommend it.

Favorite Passages:

“Funerals – three, four, five a day
General Gage has ceased
The pealing of church bells
They cast too melancholy a mood
They do not bring back the dead” – p. 31

“I believe it
from the jetsam
washed ashore
spindles
headboards
tables without legs
splintered drawers
carved backs of Chippendale chairs

they’re leaving the town intact
but nothing to sit upon.” – p. 171

Recommended books:

Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick, A Few Bloody Noses: The Realities and Mythologies of the American Revolution by Robert Harvey, and 1776 by David McCullough

Rating: ****1/2

Book Review: Suicide Hotline Hold Music: Poems by Jessy Randall


Author: Jessy Randall
TitleSuicide Hotline Hold Music: Poems
Publication Info:  Red Hen Press, April 2016.
Summary/Review:

Jessy Randall, the Curator of Special Collections at Colorado College, and blogger at Library Shenanigans used her librarian skills to track me down and offer me free copies of her books in exchange for an honest review.  While I’ve never quite figured out how to review poetry, I’ll give it my best shot!

This is a collection of humorous poems on various topics from childhood, to work, to parenting, to popular culture. And pantsing.  There’s a heartfelt poem pantsing.  There is also a selection of “poetry comics” – simple drawings and diagrams where a picture says 1000 poetic words.  This is funny stuff.  If you like humor and poetry, this is for you.

Recommended books: Step Aside, Pops by Kate Beaton and Where the Sidewalk Ends: Poems and Drawings by Shel Silverstein
Rating: ****

Book Review: There Was an Old Woman: Poems by Jessy Randall


Author: Jessy Randall
TitleThere Was an Old Woman: Poems
Publication Info: Unicorn Press, December 2015
Summary/Review:

Jessy Randall, the Curator of Special Collections at Colorado College, and blogger at Library Shenanigans used her librarian skills to track me down and offer me free copies of her books in exchange for an honest review.  While I’ve never quite figured out how to review poetry, I’ll give it my best shot!

In this volume each poem starts with a line from a Mother Goose rhyme, usually “There was an old woman…” and then goes off entirely different direction.  Usually there’s an anachronism putting that old woman in contemporary times with modern sensibilities, with no shortage of feminism.  Sometimes it’s a lot more absurdist or has meta-commentary on nursery rhymes.  But each poem is quirky and funny.  I enjoyed this book

Recommended books: Cow Poetry and Other Notes From the Field by M Frost and The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde
Rating: ***1/2

Mets Review in Haiku


I’ve given up the burden of trying to make weekly posts about the Mets, and I’m sure that there’s no one out there dying to see my comments and players of the game.  So expect my Mets commentary will be much more spare for the rest of the season.  Here’s a summary of the series played from July 23-August 12 in verse.

John Maine hits one deep
LoDuca makes the Bucs weep
But the Mets can’t sweep.

I just can’t see how
The last place team from DC
Can split with the Mets?

Tom Glavine on the mound
Win 300 on the line
Oops! Bullpen blows it!

Deadline comes and goes
Omar works the phones and gets
Luis Castilo

Wrigley Field is not
Foreign when ten years a Fish.
Joe Morgan is dumb.

The second place team
Looks much better than the Mets.
I hate Chipper Jones

Runners left on base
The bullpen is a disgrace
Fish take two of three.