Playlist 40 Awaits Arrival of Ike

Our Playlist hits the magical 40 this week, but little time to celebrate what with party-crasher Ike hanging out there near the Leeward Islands. When I heard that the tropical depression had turned into Ike, I just knew it was going to be a bad one.

Here's this week's playlist...

The Night of the Gun. David Carr
Carr, a media reporter with the New York Times, once covered the controversy over James Frey's Million Little Pieces. So it's no surprise that when he decided, somewhat reluctantly, to do his own memoir, he approached it as an investigative reporter. He didn't rely on his own memories, but did extensive researching and interviewing over a two-year period.

The result is one of the most fascinating memoirs I've ever read. Honest. Brutally honest. It chronicles Carr's long spiral into addiction. It includes moments where he beats women. And when he and his girlfriend continue to smoke crack -- even when she's pregnant. Then after he sobers up and begins a new life as a single father, he finds out he has cancer.

Once you've read the book, check out the Web site Night of the Gun Web site, where Carr has posted all of the various documents, photos, videos and audio clips that were a part of the book research.

NPR's 2008 Election Map.
In Trade.
I find that national poll of registered voters to be pretty useless. As we all know, a candidate can win the presidency without capturing the popular vote. So what's the best way to follow this horserace?

NPR's election map uses an average of state polls to tell you who's winning each state. But if you want to know what's going to happen, whether it's politics, sports or entertainment, you need to look where the money is. And that's why I trust In Trade. It appears that John McCain has gotten a bit of a convention bump as his In Trade stock has jumped to 42.3. It's not just politics. You can trade on global, weather and entertainment events as well. I really like the look of their new beta site.

McSweeney's Quarterly. Issue 28. The folks at McSweeney's really outdid themselves with the artwork this time. Eight small books create two beautiful panels of pictures. The stories? Well, there are eight and they're short fables. One involves an eggboy. Another involves a girl and her beloved book. And in another, a boy keeps meeting himself. Eight modern-day fables. Usually, it takes me a good two months to read through an entire McSweeney's. I was done this quarterly within an hour.

Sahara. McCoy Tyner.
John Coltrane's former sideman is a monster on the piano on this 1972 classic, selected the 87th greatest jazz album of all time, according to Rocco Stilo, author of the A History of Jazz Music. Just listen to his hands all over the keys on the ferocious, rock-like Ebony Queen. Then listen to the plaintative playing on the more mellow A Prayer for My Family. In each song, you can just see that right hand flying all over the piano. All the musicians shine on this Coltrane-influenced work, but Alphonse Mouzon's drums jump right out at you.

Interest in our Dumb Poll has waned over the last few weeks, so this will be our last for a while. This time, it's Pick a Tony. For those who missed it, our last winner (Pick a Jackson) turned out to be painter Jackson Pollock (our weekly Wikipedia link) He beat out Andrew Jackson, Jackson Brown and Tito Jackson.

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