My new Think Again column is called "More Tea Party Fiction," and it relates to the inability of those people, now down to just 8 percent of the country, to think straight about anything, except how to screw up Congress. Anyway it's here.
The Nation column, "Hooray for Hagel" is here and perhaps some find it ironic (to put it kindly) that Phyllis Benniss accused me of flacking for AIPAC in last week's magazine. Perhaps one day the magazine will carry reports on Israel/Palestine that are appropriately critical of both sides, instead of blaming Israel for absolutely everything and refusing to acknowledge, much less address, Hamas's horrible human rights record.
I've discovered the pleasures of Blur rather late in life, but just in time to be pleased with the arrival of the deluxe edition of The Parklive which is 4cds plus a dvd and includes a complete plus Blur – Live At The 100 Club,' and another of live tracks recorded during the summer this year, including Under The Westway and The Puritan performed live on Twitter from a London rooftop, (just like you know who) and recordings from the band s Wolverhampton warm-up show and BBC Radio Maida Vale sessions. They come inside a sturdy 60-page hardback book with lots of photos, but hey, it's the music. Alas, it ain't cheap, here.
Last year, rather late in life, I discovered the Berkeley based Arhoolie Records via the terrific box set collection, "Hear Me Howling! Blues, Ballads, & Beyond," which I still recommend. Now, as a tribute to the label's owner and guiding spirit, Chris Strachwitz, there's a new, beautifully produced and packaged box set drawn from the February 4, 5, and 6, 2011 benefit for the Arhoolie Foundation. It's called The All Played for Us got sets from Ry Cooder, Taj Mahal, Santiago Jimenez Jr., Laurie Lewis, Peter Rowan, Treme Brass Band, Maria Muldaur, Campbell Brothers, Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band, Country Joe McDonald, Barbara Dane and Bob Mielke's Jazz Allstars, and even more. Ive seen Strachwitz compared to Alan Lomax and the notion is not crazy. There's a ton a roots here to all kinds of music and some pretty great music as well. And again, the book and packaging give you the necessary context to make sense of all o fit. So Maazel Tov on 50 years! You can find it here.
It's taken me a little while to get Hilary Mantel sequel to Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies. Like its predecessor, it's one of those books that is actually far better on audio, because the drama is so intense and profound and also, the accents help. The prose is also quite beautiful.I'm sure you've read the reviews if you're the slighest bit interested but regarding the Macmillan audio, I'd give it a strong recommendation. Read by Simon Vance, here. So too, the new Alice Munro collection, Dear Life, which I just finished on audio. The characters in these stories are not the people with whom I typically spend time–and it's not because they are Canadian, or even women–and so I have a great deal to learn from them and from Munroe's quiet wit and eloquence. Also well read by Kimberly Farr and Arhtur Morey (who is always great).