Saturday, March 14, 2015

In the NY Times this Weekend - March 14, 2015

Lazy Saturday here in Park Slope. Went to see my friends Woody and Jesse play with their band Mighty High in Williamsburg last night. The bar where they played – Trash Bar – is on the verge of closing and last night was one of the final shows before it’s turned into a sushi joint, nails salon or whatever else is taking over the location. Mighty High has played there many times over the years and always brings the rock. Last night was no exception. Cool venue, good crowd, and the boys played well. I ran out of gas early and hit the road right after the boys finished their set. Now it’s Saturday night and I’m listening to Stevie Wonder’s Fulfillingness’ First Finale on vinyl with the Rangers vs. Sabres game on the TV on mute. It’s 0-0 with a bit more than 4 minutes left in the second period. Go Blueshirts.

Here’s what I read in today’s half of the NY Times that I thought would be of interest to you. Please let me know what you think by leaving comments. Always good to hear from my readers.

The Magazine
I remember watching National Geographic specials on the great Jane Goodall when I was a kid and being absolutely mesmerized by them.  What an inspiration she is to so many. I love her voice and the way she describes the activities of the chimpanzees she lived with for years at a time. To this day I get such a kick out of thinking about David Greybeard using a stick to pry termites out of their mound for a snack. Her efforts to protect chimps and conserve the jungle forests they inhabit are beyond admirable. She’s still going strong today as you’ll see by reading this feature article. I’m sure those of you with children who love animals will want to share this article with them, too. (Hello KAM!) Enjoy.

A few years ago when President Obama decided that his feelings towards same sex marriage had “evolved” and he was now in favor of it, I caught some flak from my Facebook friends for posting a two word response: politically opportunistic.  I did find it rather convenient that the President had experienced this “evolution” just a short time after Vice President Biden had taken a pro-same sex marriage position and the state of North Carolina voted down an amendment to allow it. In any event, Mark Leibovich takes a look at how we common folks change our minds and politicians evolve. Have a look and share your thoughts. For the record, I’m pro love between two consenting adults and if they want to make a legal commitment to each other and get married, so be it. Mazel Tov.

Last year I was on the subway and saw a guy leaning against a pole and thoroughly engrossed in a book called My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard. I made a mental note to look into it and eventually bought a copy online. Reading it was an interesting experience. It’s basically a book about everyday life. There’s nothing particularly noteworthy about it. Knausgaard talks about his years growing up and the usual things that happen as years go by. He also touches on his life as an adult, married with children and writing for a living. I read Book I – there are three in the series. I can’t adequately explain why I couldn’t put the book down once I started it. Maybe it’s because it felt like reading someone’s diary. Anyway, I’d be interested in discussing it with any of you who’ve also read it. Last weekend, the Times published part 1 of his road journal on crossing North America from Newfoundland to Detroit in the magazine. I didn’t get a chance to read it yet. Part 2 is in today’s magazine.

Arts & Leisure
There are a few noteworthy articles in this section today. Here are some thoughts on two of them.

It would appear our man Al Pacino is in the midst of an active run of starring roles. His new movie Danny Collins opens this coming Friday. It’s based on the true story of an aspiring British folk singer Steve Tilston who received a letter of encouragement from his fellow Liverpudlian John Lennon in 1971, but the note never reached him until nearly 40 years later. Tiltson’s still alive today and has made a living as a working musician since first starting out. He can’t help wondering if his life would have turned out differently if the letter had reached him when it was first sent, but says he has no regrets. Sounds like an interesting concept for a movie. Have a look to learn more about the filmmakers’ approach to the story.

Some of you may have heard Courtney Barrett’s catchy and cheekily titled single Avant Gardener. As a fellow asthma sufferer, I could surely relate to the lyrics. She’s about to release her first full album and talks about the recording of it here. Can’t say I’m a huge fan but I do love the way she writes about the everyday and finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. I’ve always sought to do the same in my own work – largely inspired by the short stories of Raymond Carver and Sherwood Anderson.

That’s all for tonight. More tomorrow. Until then….

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