Mule Chatter

Nathaniel Gaede
I loved this book. It held an impressive number of truly transcendent moments where Egan is able to artfully capture in writing human emotions, motivations, and subconscious decisions not often put into words, and even more seldom put into words as accurately and poignantly as she is able. It stands out as one of the best written books I have read in years with some of the most unforgettable moments. My wife called it the literary equivalent of the movie Crash, which I think pretty much nails it (well, unless you didn’t like Crash…). That said, I thought the end was disappointing. The book ends oddly and in my view is unsatisfying both in where it leaves the characters and in its lack of a worthy message. After vividly plumbing the depths of her characters psyches, Egan leave the reader feeling like they were unceremoniously dumped out of a car mid journey. It was as if Shawshank Redemption had ended after Andy gets out of solitary confinement. Sure, the scenes with the beers on the tarred rooftop and the opera over the prison PA system were majestic and the characters memorable, but the work is unfinished, and decidedly lacking in redemption. This was, of course inevitable, since the premise “time is a goon” is such a limp philosophical offering. We should have known we were heading nowhere satisfying. But if we had arrived at something more worthy, in my view it would have made a very good book great.
Brian Sousa
[ 01/24/2012 - 17:48 | The Few of Movies 2011 ]
I'm dying to see Tree of Life. Melancholia looks rad too.
Chris Madin
[ 01/23/2012 - 18:29 | The Few of Movies 2011 ]
I watched it twice in 24 hours (I almost never watch movies more than once, even ones that I love). It could have been a really confusing film, but instead of trying to “figure it out” I committed to just watching it and allowing myself to feel whatever the imagery conjured up. A lot of it didn't read as a clear (ham-fisted) metaphor – which I think is why it was so powerful. It wasn’t like, “oh, when this happened it was a metaphor for this.” But I could certainly tell you what feelings were invoked by the scenes. What did the two dinosaurs or the volcano have to do with the three brothers? No idea, but I can tell you that they invoked a consistent set of emotions. The film made sense the way a Jayhawks song makes sense - you have no idea what they're talking about, but you know what they mean. You feel what you're supposed to feel. Which, in this case, was melancholy, inspired, nostalgic, hopeful, sad, graceful, blessed, etc.
Dharma Christian
[ 01/23/2012 - 17:59 | Best Beers/Songs 2011 ]
It's great to know that someone out there is into experimenting with the recommended pairings. Ticking them off the ol' list, eh Philip? I hope you can indeed find a New Glarus Rasberry Tart bottle or 6 in the Boston area. Just a few blocks north of Inman Square I know there's a beer and wine store there with admirable collections of out of state rarities. Best o' luck!
Philip Francis
[ 01/22/2012 - 01:21 | Best Beers/Songs 2011 ]
My Waits/Schwartzbier pairing made for a perfect evening. Now, I'm on to Bon Iver with the Raspberry Tart from New Glarus Brewing Co., Wis. I'll let you know how it goes. Its snowing. A bon iver--good Winter--to one and all.
Brian Sousa
[ 01/21/2012 - 16:05 | Essential Yule For the Existential Mule ]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t84xXXrzBhc&ob=av2n
Matthew Patrei
[ 01/20/2012 - 16:18 | Best Beers/Songs 2011 ]
the lyrical content is often fruity. LOL
Brian Sousa
[ 01/19/2012 - 22:54 | Essential Yule For the Existential Mule ]
Awesome! I dig those guys. I need to listen to them more...thanks Beth!
Beth Hansen
[ 01/19/2012 - 20:40 | Essential Yule For the Existential Mule ]
For Dr. Dog... coming out on Feb. 7th, Rolling Stone Magazine reports. I'm gonna check out their winter tour, of course, and bring my older brother, Beck. The album is titled "Be the Void" and a single is "That Old Black Hole" - does that give anyone else an empty feeling inside? Get filled up with Dr. Dog!
Dharma Christian
[ 01/19/2012 - 20:05 | Best Beers/Songs 2011 ]
With a little help from my friends... special guest spots at A Beer, A Song are coming for next month and we'll get this monkey of year 2011 and all its accolades off of our collective backs!
He plays his guitar, I play along - song after song after song after song Now that I've played with the likes of him, ain't never gonna settle for less, my friend! - Dan Bern
Dharma Christian
[ 01/19/2012 - 20:01 | Essential Yule For the Existential Mule ]
I had 2001's Viva Nueva and once upon a time "Rooms by the Hour" - both really killer. Good to hear from the Maine boys that they're still around. Live shows: outdoors at the Rockland Lobster Fest headliners, and down on Landsdown St. Bill's Bar - a very Maine crowd assembled at Bill's Bar (does that still exist?) and I somehow brought in the charge, a 16 year old Beverly teen whom I was mentoring. He said it was the best time ever in his life. The group has seemed to split several times and take their solo projects to deadend directions; imo. they're best off together!
Brian Sousa
[ 01/19/2012 - 04:29 | The Few of Movies 2011 ]
Great list, but have to strongly disagree on this movie. Just saw it tonight, and I thought it was fantastic. Moving and witty, well acted and well written. Clooney had me believing him -- I thought his portrait of the emotional progression was tremendous. And I'm not any type of Clooney fan. Loved the flick.
Philip Francis
yeah, aging/dying is, historically (!), a tough one. personally, I don't think the approach to these can be as simple as affirmation/acceptance or denial/resistance. life seems to me to require/entail both-sometimes simultaneously-within one being. some aspects of my being at some times call for the one while other aspects rage for the other. at different phases of life, these things shift around. its a dynamic process requiring frequent readjustments. part of this might have to do with the tendency of aging to take something away everytime it gives. the characters in the Goon Squad are living proof of this. Its an interesting question: why do rockers often have such short creative life spans when this isn't true of other types of artists (painters, etc.)? there are certainly exceptions in both directions. and the losing-touch-with-reality-due-to-stardom could be part of it. but while the stardom of painters may be different than that of rockers it still can be as reality-altering as "strutting on a jumbo-tron". so I wonder if it has more to do with the physicality of rock and roll. its demands on the body. its intimate relationship to the body and/or sexual activity and/or its reliance on the raw emotions coursing through the body in youth--and often trailing off in the 30s. More cerebral/wisdom-tradition acts--like Dylan/Waits--don't seem to suffer the same fate, thankfully, though they too must undergo changes--sucky and otherwise.
Brian Sousa
[ 01/18/2012 - 18:36 | Essential Yule For the Existential Mule ]
Who, in Mueller's name, is KTHR?
I just recently watched an interview with Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn in which he talks about the priviledge of growing old (he was 80 at the time of the interview), the wisdom he has acquired with age, and virtue of growing old and dying well - which he sees as both a calling and a gift.  He also laments the contemporary obsession with youth and the way in which the older (and wiser) among us no longer command the respect they did in previous cultures.  Anyway, the entire interview (of which the discussion of aging was only a small part) was in sharp contrast to the idea that aging is "sucky"; aging is ineveitable, yes, but the virtue lies in the extent that we accept it as opposed to fighting it.  Solzhenitsyn's view was particularly interesting because it so far from the typical opinion heard on such things.   In another note related to this book's premise, my brother Josh and I have been discussing why rock musicians have such a short window of vital creativity and are so often completely irrelevant by middle-age, whereas for those working in other artistic disciplines (novelists, poets, painters, etc.) it is not uncommon for artists to produce their best work in middle-age and beyond.  We came to the conclusion (though feel free to challenge it) that the stardom that typically accompanies rock success separates rockers from reality to the extent that they lose all sense of perspective and are no longer in touch with the common human experience.  Whereas writers/poets/painters don't typically experience stardom on anything approaching that level, and are therefore able to remain more grounded and productive.  Agree?  Disagree?
Philip Francis
[ 01/13/2012 - 14:39 | The Few of Movies 2011 ]
http://devour.com/video/moonrise-kingdom-trailer/ Brilliant.
http://www.businessinsider.com/spotify-unlimited-streaming-ends-for-some...
Brian Sousa
[ 01/10/2012 - 00:39 | The Black Keys El Camino ]
Went out jogging today, listened to "Sister," and might be coming around on it. This album does indeed rock.
Brian Sousa
[ 01/08/2012 - 23:34 | M83 Hurry Up, We're Dreaming ]
I love how this review shows just how many possibilities one album can offer. It's abstract and specific at the same time...Well-done. Great album, too.
Matthew Patrei
[ 01/07/2012 - 13:00 | The Few of Movies 2011 ]
I totally wanna see Dangerous Method. Loved Tree of Life. It was too long, and all the visual metaphors at the end were overdone, yet the story of the family is one of my all time favorites. Brilliant. The kids running around the neighborhood felt so real to watch. I felt like I was in the movie, chasing my brother around with Russ and John and Mike and Steve, our neighborhood buddies. We lived in backyards and up on the edges of the steep gorges behind our houses. Brad Pitt and those boys..so perfect...and nothing more to say, and yet everything was there and still could be.
Adam Caress
[ 01/07/2012 - 04:42 | The Few of Movies 2011 ]
Margin Call was the best movie I saw in 2011. I know most people don't like nuance on the subject of Wall Street, but this movie nails it. You'll want this movie in your Netflix cue. Here's the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2DqFRsPrns&ob=av3e
Looking forward to the interview
I love that Floating Action's next gig is with Benji Hughes. The Grey Eagle in Ashville is the only place to be (really be!) on January 28th. Wear a tight tee-shirt, Seth.
Brian Sousa
[ 01/02/2012 - 18:37 | Essential Yule For the Existential Mule ]
No info yet, but apparently the Rustic Overtones will release a new album in 2012 as well...
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