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.

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