The Curious Coupling of Playlist and 27

A former colleague of mine decided to go back to grad school. One school essay asked him to name the three people, currently living, whom he would take with him on a cross-country trip. I've often thought of that question myself.
Most of the names change, except for one -- Jimmy Carter.
Friends and my mostly conservative family know of my admiration for the 39th president. My son's middle name is Carter. (And we did not name him Andrew Carter because of my similar admiration for the TV show Hogan's Heroes. I swear. I know nothing!)
I really think I could learn a lot about life by spending time with President Carter, who is an inspiration for how to stay an honest, faithful and giving person in the often dirty and unforgiving world. He is, arguably, the best person we've had as president.
This all leads into this week's Playlist ...

Jimmy Carter Man from Plains.
So you know I'm biased toward the subject matter here. I found this Jonathan Demme-directed documentary fascinating. If you're looking for something that covers the former president's whole life, look elsewhere. This covers his book tour for Palestine: Peace, not Apartheid, and the controversy that swirled around it. Maybe a bit too long at two hours, but otherwise a great peek into the current life of our former president.

Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex. Mary Roach
If I had Mary Roach as a science teacher, I might have gotten a few more B's, and the subject would've held my interest a little more. Granted, the topic here is pretty interesting on its own, but Roach takes it on in her unique way and you can see why the New Yorker called her the "funniest science writer alive." Roach tackles things that are pretty creepy (the penis cam, Kinsey's attic experiments) as well as highly technical content. It's fascinating. And it's funny.
The best part? The footnotes. Yep, the 100+ off-the-cuff comments were perhaps the funniest part of the book.
Whoever thought of a science book as a quick read? Well give this follow-up to Stiff (a book about cadavers, not another book about sex ... get your mind out of the gutter) a try. I finished it in two days.

Love is Simple. Akron/Family.
I downloaded this last year, listened to it haphazardly and gave up on it.
It was disjointed.
I gave it another shot recently and was just mesmerized by it. Yep it's still weird. And a bit disjointed. But it's an amazing very listenable album that is simple in its humanist message -- let's love each other -- but complex in its genre-bending sounds. There's the chants that sometimes go one for minutes. At other times, the songs reminded me of The Beatles, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Yes and, just for a few minutes, Rush.

Lanquidity. Sun Ra
Sun Ra covered a lot of ground in his long career from swing to blues to free jazz and avante garde. He's been pretty far out there at times. While he stretches the boundaries a little here, this is not one of his more adventurous albums. But that's OK. This album made in the late 70s when Sun Ra and the Arkestra had resettled in the Germantown section of Philly, is all about the groove. With electric bass, two guitars and three drummers, Lanquidity pulses behind Sun Ra's keyboard improvisations. A very cool album.

Just in case you haven't seen it, I'll spare the season finale details, other than it answered some questions and left us with a whole lot more. A great season-ender. I already can't wait for it to start up again. And for you Lost fans, our Weekly Wikipedia link is to Jeremy Bentham.


I Don't Get It -- Internet Making Voters Stupid

Eight years ago, we had a man who invented the Internet running for president.
The current Democratic president is finding himself a victim of hoaxes perpetuated by that same wacky World Wide Web.
Take a look at Snopes.com's list of the hottest e-mail urban legends. It's a list that Obama has been a mainstay on. (Cue Casey Kasem's voice: And holding strong for the 30th straight week at No. 2 is that Senator from Illinois ...)
The biggest hoax, lie -- or whatever you want to call it -- making the rounds is that Barak Obama is a Muslim. It's nothing new. It's been going on for months and has steadfastly been debunked. But thanks to an enthusiastic group of zealots, it lives on.
Now first. I don't personally care whether Obama is a Muslim or not. But here's the thing. He's not! It's a lie. It's a hoax.
And people are believing it.
I really didn't think much of this, until this past week. What struck me was when I heard that a friend -- a smart, well-educated woman in a comfortable income bracket -- said that she liked Obama, but had concerns with his Muslim beliefs.
Let's set the record straight:
Obama is not Muslim and he has taken his oath of office on the Bible -- not the Koran.
Look, I don't care if you want to believe the stupid e-mails you get that tell you that In God We Trust is being taken off money or that you need to immediately send a few hundred bucks to someone in Uganda who is going to pay you back twice as much. But if you're going to make decisions that affect all of us, make sure you've got the right info.
By the way, Al Gore NEVER said that he invented the Internet, nor did he ever say anything that could be interpreted that way.
Let's hope eight years from now, we're not talking about that Muslim who ran for president.


Playlist 26 -- Three-day Weekend = No Depression

Hope everyone is enjoying their three-day holiday weekend. If you Tivo'd The Office or Desperate Housewives and haven't watched the season finales yet, you should skip the bottom part of this week's playlist, which begins right now ...

Fanon. John Edgar Wideman.
At the end of Part II, main character Thomas writes to Frantz Fanon. The letter clearly explains my struggle with the book.
Dear Frantz Fanon:
As you can probably figure out for yourself, I'm reluctant to say whether my evolving project is fiction or nonfiction, novel or memoir ...
The widely acclaimed Macarthur genius grant winner Wideman set to write a novel about a writer tackling the life of Fanon (who happens to be the subject of our weekly Wikipedia link). Fanon was a philosopher, psychiatrist, political activist and author who fought against racism and oppression. A worthy subject indeed. Fanon, the inspiration of the Black Power movement is making a comeback on college campuses.
Thomas is writing a book about Fanon. Or he may write a book about a severed head arriving in the mail. And he visits his brother in jail. And talks to French filmmaker Jean Luc Godard. And then the author himself shows up in the book.
It takes place over neverending, sometimes page-long, paragraphs.
And I found it all very confusing.
However, there is joy in reading Fanon. Wideman's prose has been called "poetry" and been compared to jazz. Those long paragraphs are sometimes beautifully rendered and make this difficult book a joy to read. Here's one such example:
After all, watching the news is to verify the single fact that counts: survival. The flood, car bombing, drought, AIDS, train wreck, cancer, death in all its menancing spectacularly repeatable forms didn't zap me. Those terrible things happen to other people. I'm still safely sealed in my citadel, a viewer above, beyond the fray. Not immune, of course. I'm not dumb enough to think that, but who knows. I'm still peering through my window, watching the news. For a minute or two after 9/11 my viewing habits, along with my fellow countrymen's viewing habits, may have altered a little bit, but we've settled back on our sofas, watch like NASCAR fans, numbed by the noise and power of super turbo-charged cars, racing around and around an oval track secretly hoping against hope that a fiery crash will lift us out of our seats again.

No Depression, Issue 75, May-June, 2008.
Blender, April 2008.
I finally got around to reading some magazines that were piling up, including the last issue of No Depression. (See Playlist 14.) It had been a while since I picked up the magazine, but one read through issue 75 and I'm already missing its devotion to roots rock and its excellent music writing and criticism. This last issue had wonderful in-depth pieces on the Old 97s, Billy Bragg and Blue Mountain. And a great review of Alejandro Escovedo's latest album.
Fittingly for ND, it chose its artist of the decade (yes, in 2008) and it is alt-country's everyman -- guitarist Buddy Miller. The magazine reminds me a lot of Buddy Miller. It was steeped in the traditional, but created honest, new and timeless quality art. Though the magazine was started in response to a musical trend, it was never relegated to the whims of the buying public. It was about good music.
Blender, well, let's say it's no No Depression. But if you have five to seven minutes, it's a fun read. And I learned five interesting things from the April issue.
1. Steve Malkmus played Scrabble a lot when touring. (Am I the the only person to find that really really cool?)
2. The music industry has made a lot of mistakes, from Pretty Boy Floyd to Napster.
3. Taylor Swift is cute.
4. It took a long time and a lot of LA session musicians (think Toto) before Warren Zevon got the right sound down for Werewolves in London.
5. Beatle Bob (photo at top of blog) is a great story. Beatle Bob has been to a live rock show every dayof his life for the last 11 years. No days off. That's an interesting story. But who is Beatle Bob? Does he work? Does he have a family?

Read the amazing story of Beatle Bob here.

In Rainbows. Radiohead.
I'm late coming to this party, but thanks to eMusic, which added this to its catalog this month, I'm here. I have not listened to any of Radiohead's work since OK Computer and this is being heralded as a return to that more band-focused sound. But this is a much warmer and more accessible record than OK Computer. I'm most impressed with how the swirling guitars and lush strings work so well with Thom Yorke's voice.

The Instigator. Rhett Miller.
When the Old 97s singer released this solo album, the band had already started to move away from pure alt-country into more pop territory. But this Jon Brion-produced album was pure pop. Nary a twang to be found. That's OK, because this is a masterpiece. That it sold so few copies just amazes me. Listen to a song once and it'll stick in your head for days.

The Office.
Angela and Dwight? What a way to send out the season. And hasn't poor Andy just turned into a miniature version of clueless Michael? What will happen when Pam leaves for art school? Will there ever be a proposal? The highlights -- Kevin as a "special" person. And the connection between new HR person Holly Flax and Michael before Jan's surprise. Looking forward to next year already.

Desperate Housewives.
Look, I swear I only watch this to spend time with my wife. Honestly. The season finale was excellent, a much needed boost after a somewhat lackluster season. The anchor of the show remains the Scavo family, but finally some interesting story lines involving the other housewives. And the new family, led by Dana Delaney, was much more interesting than the previous year's son chained in the basement story. But I hated the Lost flash-forward like ending.

Other songs I've been listening too ...
-- Ever Fallen in Love/Noise Annoys. The Buzzcocks. Singles Going Steady.
-- At Least That's What She Said. Wilco. A Ghost is Born.


I Don't Get It -- This Package Doesn't Stimulate Me

All over the Internet this month, people are talking about their stimulus packages. Heck, there is even a Web site called How I Spent My Stimulus where people are submitting photos of how they spent their $600, $1200 or $1800 from the government. Arjewtino blogged this past week that the stimulus is making everyone stupid.
He's right.
You know why?
The stimulus package is just politics. You may have heard there's an election coming up and that Republicans are getting a little worried. Of course, the Dems can pander, too.
In the long run, it's only going to benefit those who are rich -- the people who are going to take the money from you while you , ahem, help stimulate the economy. Like ESPN's Colin Cowherd said today on his show: During the good economic years, like Clinton's presidency, everybody got rich. But during tough economic times, it's the rich who get super-rich.
You know who is getting rich these days? The oil companies.
Not us.
Think of how much gas prices have risen since the war in Iraq started five years ago. Think your stimulus package covers that difference?
Rising costs
How is your food bill these days? My weekly supermarket trips cost as much as my old car payments. (And it doesn't help that my teen-age boys have decided that 7 meals a day just isn't enough, even if at least three of those meals are either cereal or ice cream).
Yep, we got our check. And no, we're not sending it back. We may actually spend it on a need, perhaps a dishwasher that actually works.
But what about the cry for responsible government spending? Isn't that what the Republicans are all about? Don't you think this check is sort of a welfare program? What about the big budget deficit? Didn't we all used to care at some point about what we're leaving behind for our kids' kids and their kids?
And forget oil. The latest economic news to send a shiver down my recessionary bones is beer. Because of disappearing discretionary income, beer drinkers are opting for the "economy" brands. Can you say, I'll take a six of Milwaukee's Best?
I hate to be so depressing, but times are bad. And they're just going to get worse. Whichever new administration gets in is going to have its hands full.
Then again, never mind.
Maybe it's time for a vacation to Fiji.


Playlist 25 Survives the Plague and Zombies

What a great week. How could it not be a tremendous, joyous, wonderful week when it included the great Free Iced Coffee Day? And the news gets better, Dunkin Donuts has extended this promotion to run on Thursdays through June 12. So pick a flava and make your order. My favorite -- hazlenut, one sugar, one cream.

Now onto Playlist 25 ...

Boing Boing Web site.
Back in Playlist 20, we discussed Cory Doctorow's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom and I provided a link to his Web site Boing Boing. The last couple of weeks I've found myself going back to that Web site regularly where I've found interesting items/links such as ...

A coffee table that's also a classic NES video game controller -- and it works! ...

A Floating Staircase

How to Knit Uppers for your Converse

The Web site, of which Doctorow is one of several contributors, posts numerous blogs each day. It focuses mostly on technology and copyright, but also links to interesting stories, such as the 78-year-old blind man who bowled a perfect game, the art of defacing money and the three-year-old boy who hasn't slept yet (seriously, not in his whole three years).

The Distraction promise: Visit Boing Boing on a regular basis and you'll find at least one interesting story over the course of a few days that you'll want to tell everyone about. That's why it's been added on the right to the list of Distractions-approved Web sites.

Plague of the Doves. Louise Erdrich.
Erdrich is an accomplished author of 13 books, including novels, poetry and children's books. As I started this book, I found out my 11-year-old nephew was reading one of her books, too. But this is not a children's book. Not because of adult content. But because it's so confusing (at least to me).

I steal moments to read. Five minutes while waiting for the bus with my son, 10-15 minutes before bed, maybe 20 minutes at lunch. That's not the way to read this book. I was lost several times and had to reread passages. That said, this work was very rewarding.

is a multigenerational tale, involving several families whose lives intertwine in and around a North Dakota reservation. Sections of the book are told from different viewpoints. But the first one-page chapter sets the tone. A family is slaughtered, except for a baby in a crib who is left alive. Later in the book, we find that a group of Native Americans who stumble upon the slaughter, but had nothing to do with it, are brought to swift justice -- and three of them are hanged. This incident unwittingly guides the lives of several families for years after.

Erdrich is a great storyteller, which made me continue to want to read the book even when I was confused about who was who. I particularly felt for the goofy old grandfather Mooshum, who survives the hanging.

If you have a big stretch of time or a rainy day alone, consider this book.

Read a snippet of the book from the New Yorker.

And check out our Weekly Wikipedia link to Louis Riel. Although, Plague of the Doves is a work of fiction, Riel was a very real person who is mentioned often in the book.

Odessey and Oracle. The Zombies.
I had only known the Zombies as a British Invasion band with a couple singles -- She's Not There and Time of the Season. But they were not a singles band. Listening to Odessey and Oracle this past week was like finding a lost Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band or another Pet Sounds. But the Zombies combined the best of both those albums. Yes, it's psychadelic and experimental, but it is held together by wonderful melody after wonderful melody. And great songwriting, such as the album lead Care of Cell 44, about someone awaiting the return of a loved one from prison. Or the haunting Butcher, describing the desolation and pain of being stuck in war.

Dogs & Water. Anders Nilsen.
Nilsen's graphic novel, published late last year by Drawn & Quarterly, is epic in theme, but simple in art and story. Several reviews I've read praise Nilsen's linework, which gives the book a dreamlike quality. It's basically the story of a young man traveling with his stuffed bear. He gets lost and ends up in what appears to be a desolate war-torn area, where he meets animals and a handful of humans. The story tugs at your heart as loving scenes, such as the boy meeting a pack of dogs, quickly turn ugly.

Songs I listened to this past week ...
-- New England. Jonathan Richman. The Best of Jonathan Richman. I have seen Israel's arid Plain. It's beautiful, but so is Maine. Ooooooh New England.
-- No Quarter
. Led Zeppelin. Houses of the Holy. Reliving my teen years, I guess. Funny, this was the song on the album I always hated.

So take care. And if I don't blog before then, have another great Free Iced Coffee Day next Thursday!


Playlist 24 Goes Into the Wild

When I moved from Philadelphia to Florida so many years ago, I decided it was time to trade in my LP collection, which reached a few hundred at its height. I had already started buying CDs. And figured it was time for a fresh start.

But it wasn't easy. At the last minute, I pulled out of the sale pile several slabs of vinyl that still meant something to me -- my Tom Petty and Led Zeppelin bootlegs, the Joe Jackson I'm a Man box of 45s, the rare Buckingham-Nicks and my Spanish import of Sticky Fingers. And there were some I'm not sure why I kept, like a Fairport Convention greatest hits compilation. It's good. But why I decided to keep it, I don't know.

In Florida one night, I decided to dig up the Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart LP that originally belonged to my dad. I was lonely for home and I had not listened to the album for a while. I panicked as I realized that I didn't have it. It must have been in the pile I sold. I couldn't believe I sold Button-Down, probably for pennies, but I kept Ian Hunter's Welcome to the Show. What was I thinking? Distraught, I looked for the CD in local stores, but couldn't find it.

I felt miserable. I sought out a CD version whenever I could. For a while, I was under the impression that the CD was out of print. But a couple weeks ago, I found it. I was ecstatic. It was sitting there in the comedy section of my local library, which is my long introduction to this week's Playlist ...

Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart. Bob Newhart.
Newhart is a comic legend, whose name belongs next to Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, Bill Cosby, etc. His early stand-up schtick was built around conversations. You could hear his end of it -- not who he was talking to. Even though this album is 40 years old, it's not outdated except perhaps the cringe-worthy reference to a "woman driver." It's clean, smart and laugh-out loud funny, particularly Abe Lincoln vs. Madison Ave. , where a PR rep tries to convince Lincoln not to shave his beard. And then there's They'll Never Play Baseball where Newhart plays a board game manufacturer who listens to Abner Doubleday pitching the game of baseball. But the highlight by far is when Newhart plays the patient Driving Instructor.

Bonus: Check out this NPR clip with Conan O'Brien and Newhart discussing the making of the landmark album.

A Wheel Within a Wheel. Southeast Engine.
The last CD by this six-piece band out of Athens -- that's Ohio, not Georgia -- earned comparisons, apparently unwelcome by the band, to Wilco. That led me to Wheel. The Wilco comparison works for me, but I see even more resemblence to Okkervil River. Wheel is an adventurous and high-reaching effort. It's about a man trying to make his peace with God. It's title, and the song Ezekial Saw the Wheel reference the Book of Ezekial. It's heavy duty stuff, but the music lives up to the concept. Whether playing in hushed terms, dropping a little twang, or rocking out indie-style, Engine, led by a former middle school English teacher, is never boring. In fact, the more I listen to this 13-track epic, the closer I grow to it. If this were released this year, instead of late 2007, it would be definitely be the leader for my album of the year.

Into the Wild. Jon Krakauer.
Why did Chris McCandless leave behind his family, forgo an opportunity to go to law school and give away $25,000 to charity, then embark on a trip that led to him two years later to the Alaskan bush country. How did he end up dead, his decomposed body found by a moose hunter? Krakauer, an excellent reporter and compelling writer, uses interviews with friends/family and McCandless' own notes to piece together the story. Although, it's clear that Krakauer feels a connection to McCandless, he lays out all the facts to let the readers make up their own minds. A tragic story, but one wonderfully told. And hard to put down.

Eat This, Not That. David Zinczenko. Next time you getting hunger pangs at Starbucks, you might want to skip the healthy-sounding bran muffin with nuts and, if it's breakfast, go with the Black Forest egg, ham and cheese sandwich. The difference? More than 350 calories, 20 grams of fat and 60 grams of sugar.
A friend of ours, who recently started working at Men's Health, sent this book written by Zinczenko, the magazine's editor-in-chief. What a fun fun read. Page after page is filled with interesting information. It challenges what you think is good for you and makes you think before you order.
Oh, and the worst food in America? That would be the nearly 3,000 calorie-filled Aussie Cheese Fries at Outback It's got 182 grams of fat and 240 grams of carbs.

Now, I'm off to Cheeseburgers and More -- payback to my son who proved today that it's easier for a 13-year-old to finish a game of basketball in 90-degree Florida heat. Yes, he beat me. But I did not suffer a heat stroke. I'll let you know next week whether I chose the salad or fries to go with my veggie cheeseburger.

In the meantime, some other songs I hummed to this past week ...
-- My Girlhood Among the Outlaws, Maria McKee. You Gotta Sin to be Saved. My MP3 player seemed to like this CD this past week, picking out three different songs on random play. I had forgotten what a classic this was.
-- Great Plains/Where's the Fire, Head of Femur. Great Plains. I saw this band a few years back opening for Wilco, and thought they were close to being pretty good. And their latest albums shows they are still getting closer. They've cut down the size of the band and seem to be more focused, though they continue to alternate between complex avant-rock and simple new wave.
-- White Guilt, John Wilkes Booze. The Five Pillars of Soul. I'm not sure if this is great garage rock or the worst music ever made. But it ain't anywhere in between. Here's what you need to know about this very loud band: The five pillars or soul that they display on the cover of their album are Mario Van Peebles, Patty Hearst, jazz legend Albert Ayler, T-Rex himself Marc Bolan and Yoko Ono.

And, finally, this week's Wikipedia link is a Happy Birthday to Israel.


I Don't Get It -- The Democratic Fight to the End

On the eve of another primary that may once and for all settle up the Democratic nomination, but most likely won't, I return with another I Don't Get It.

1. CNN poll. Each day, I'm inundated on CNN and its Web site with the latest figures of the "national poll" between Hillary Clinton and Barack OBama. I can understand a national poll of how each candidate would do against John McCain. But why each other? It's down to a few states and the national poll has no bearing on the Democratic primary. It's a waste of time.

2. Rev. John Hagee vs. Rev. Jeremiah Wright. I've heard just about enough of the Rev. Wright controversy. But why haven't we heard more about the very dangerous Rev. John Hagee? Why doesn't the press dog John McCain about seeking out the endorsement of a man who called the Catholic church a "cult" and the "Great Whore." I found those statements incredibly offensive. And as you can see in this American Prospect article, he was talking about a pre-emptive strike of Iran two years ago. But thank God Hagee cleared it all up for us -- that Barack Obama is not the anti-Christ.

So tomorrow will be another fight to death, this time in Indiana and North Carolina. Wasn't that what Pennsylvania was for. And before that Texas and Ohio. My prediction -- tomorrow's primaries will solve nothing. It's time for the Democratic party to do something to bring this to a resolution.

Three songs: Fighting until the bitter end
I don't know if you've seen Daily Show correspondent Rob Riggle's hilarious Bloodfest/Mortalk Kombat report before Texas/Ohio, but it's worth searching out at Dailyshow.com. (Just a heads-up. It's highly inappropriate). And with that I leave you with three songs that mention boxers who died in the ring.

-- Who Killed Davey Moore? Bob Dylan
-- Doo Koo Kim, Sun Kil Moon.
-- Boom Boom Mancini, the late great Warren Zevon. The video below is from the David Letterman show circa 1987.


Excuuuuuuuse Me, It's Playlist 23

What a wonderful way to start the weekend -- blogging and playing ball. As soon as I finish this blog, I'm going to head out and play some basketball with my son. But what makes this a great weekend was the Channel 25 weekend news show I watched when I first woke up this morning. The show included two interviews with "esteemed" (their words, not mine) local author Donna Gephart, author of As If Being 12 3/4 Isn't Bad Enough, My Mother Is Running for President.

Now onto the Playlist ...

Born Standing Up. Steve Martin.
Whether you thought he was wild and crazy or just a Jerk, you'll enjoy reading this memoir. Martin is humble and self-deprecating as he details how his successful stand-up act came together. It starts when he was a kid hanging out at magic shops and follows his path to arena-filling shows. He's filled the memoir with great stories, including his first appearances on The Tonight Show. He talks about dating the the daughter of Dalton Trumbo (subject of our Weekly Wikipedia link) and Linda Rondstadt, whose talent and beauty was a little too intimidating for Martin. She asked him after nine dates: "Steve, do you always date women and try not to sleep with them?" This is one of the most enjoyable non-fiction books I've read in years.

Mudcrutch. Mudcrutch.
This is the band Tom Petty, Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench were in before they left Florida behind them and became Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Mudcrutch left behind some wonderful pop-rock singles -- Depot Street and On the Street -- but little else. Petty recently decided to reunite the band, which also includes guitarist Bernie Leadon and drummer Randall Marsh. (Note: Petty plays bass as he did in the original Mudcrutch).

So 35 years later, how do they sound?

Different, that's for sure. There's nothing like the catchy Depot Street on this self-titled debut. But it's good. Mudcrutch plays a crunching alternative country/country rock set that clearly stands on its own. Some of the material is more reminiscent of Petty's solo albums, than his Heartbreakers work. At times, the dual guitars sound very Allmans-like. Good songwriting. Intense playing. A fun album.

The Abstinence Teacher. Tom Perrotta.
The author of Election and Little Children writes another book that could easily make the transition to the big screen. Perrotta has suburban life -- sex and politics -- down cold. The story revolves around Ruth, a sex ed teacher embroiled in controversy, and Tim, a Christian soccer coach trying to pull his life back together. Both are divorced with children. And both are struggling as parents. The book really takes off when Tim has the team pray following a big victory. Seeing this happen, Ruth pulls her daughter off the field and let's Tim have it. I'm interested in what others who have read this think about Perrotta's characterization of the Tabernacle Church and its members. Was it a fair portrayal? And, for me, the ending provided more questions than answers.

Other musical numbers I've tuned my ears to in the past several days ...

-- Don't Stop Believing, Petra Haden, Guilt By Association. The standout on this album of covers. Haden does the Journey tune pretty much acapella. Now I need to check out her cover of the entire album The Who Sell Out.
-- American Ruse, MC5, The Anthology 1965-1971. Loud. And essential.
-- Helena Won't Get Stoned, Tarkio, Omnibus. Colin Meloy's pre-Decemberists band.