I’ve got a new Think Again column, which involved quite a bit more work than usual, by the way, called "The Continuing Scandal of Howard Kurtz and The Washington Post," here. And my Moment column, "Why Jews Vote Like Puerto Ricans (and not Episcopalians)" is here.
and Hurray for Tom Tomorrow: for giving Mr. Bearded Librul his goatee back!
(Let’s not keep fighting about this, Dan. He’s much handsomer this way…)
Some Alter-reporting: I ran into Joe Scarborough on my way out of the book party for Harry Evans the other night. HE was coming in. Handsome fellow, tall, and in awfully good shape, and I worry he would make a really attractive Republican presidential candidate if he took on the (really, really) crazies and beat them for the nomination. So I asked:
Me: "So Joe, you running for president?"
Joe: "Me, no way. I’m having too much fun doing what I’m doing…"
There you have it, sports-fans.
Alter Pet Peeve: If you see two people talking at a cocktail party, don’t walk up to them and start talking as if they were not talking before you got there. It’s incredibly rude and everybody thinks it’s OK. It’s not. Wait to be drawn into the conversation. Or if you insist on doing it, go ahead, what do I care. Just don’t do it with me.
This week on Moyers:
While politicians and the media war over "the public option" and "bending the cost curve," acclaimed actress-playwright Anna Deavere Smith gives voice to questions of life and death, sickness and healthcare. Bill Moyers speaks with Smith, whose one-woman play "Let MeDown Easy"–nine years and more than 300 interviews in the making – has been applauded for spotlighting the real-life personal stories of people facing illness and mortality.
Alter Review Box-set Bonanza:
Sal on "Dolly" and "Ya-Yas" Eric on Up, Monster’s Inc boxes, the Kevin Smith bluray box, and the Dead Winterland 77 Box. Also Eric Christian McBride, live at the Vanguard Tuesday night.
"Dolly," the new 4 CD Dolly Parton box from Legacy, covers a lot of ground. This is a good thing. Dolly, like so many other wildly successful artists, is known for her hits. But what this excellent new set proves is that there is so much more, especially if you’re not enamored with some of the cornball tunes associated with Dolly. Let’s face it, Dolly Parton IS a bit of a cornball, but she is an incredible songwriter, fabulously likeable, and an entertainment legend.
The earliest material on Disc One shows Parton trying to find herself, going from stripped-down rockabilly to a 60’s girl group feel to the country & western sound that defined her career, with almost a dozen tunes that feature her first partner in crime, the late, great Porter Wagoner. Most of it is quite strong, with "It’s Sure Gonna Hurt" standing out for me, essentially a rewrite of Dion’s "A Teenager In Love."
The classics are all here, "Jolene," "Bargain Store," "I Will Always Love You," as well as some of the fun, but cheesier hits like "Nine To Five," "Here You Come Again," and "Everything Is Beautiful." But it’s everything in between, including the killer, folky demo "I’ve Known You All My Life," which, if you didn’t know, could be an early Bangles tune. There are only 7 previously unreleased tracks here, and unfortunately, this box does not include anything from her recent trilogy of fantastic bluegrass records on Sugar Hill. But as boxes go, it is solid and really all you need…and those 3 great bluegrass records on Sugar Hill.