Last week, I talked about the dread, the fear that filled me with both the Eagles and Phillies playing at the same time. Years of tough losses and disappointments at big times have left me unable to get hopeful.
But I'm trying.
The election is just a few weeks away and my candidates are up in the polls. The Phillies are in the playoffs -- two wins away from a World Series visit, the first since my teen-age son was only months old. And the Eagles season is still young enough that things can turn around.
I felt bad for Cub fans last week. What a great season so quickly wiped out -- and now it's more than 100 years since a World Series. I was trying to talk down a Cubs fan colleague who was upset. I explained to him my theory that Cubs players must feel the weight of all their fans and the past losses on their shoulders. I told him that it's sort of like why my Philly teams can never seem to quite get over that hump.
I was trying to console him. I knew how he was feeling. I was trying to connect with him through our shared sports disappointments.
His response: "Philly fans are ---holes."
On that note, let's jump into this Week's Playlist.
Thanks But No Thanks: The Voters Guide to Sarah Palin. Sue Katz.
Can you think of a anybody who has become such a polarizing figure in so short a period of time as Sarah Palin? In her well-written and heavily researched first novel, blogger extraordinaire Sue Katz details all of the reasons why we need to very concerned about a potential Palin vice presidency or, gasp, presidency. Katz dissects Palins' feminist (or lack, thereof) and religious views. You think Jeremiah Wright is troublesome? Then you haven't met the witchdoctor Thomas Muthee.
Over 176 pages, Katz gives you all you need to know about this lipstick-wearing, moose-killing hockey mom. She delves into the rape kit scandal and revisits the sad riff on community organizers that Palin played part in at the Republican Convention. Thinking of voting for the McCain-Palin ticket? Read this book. Or if you have friends who are suppporting McCain-Palin, buy this book and feed them the facts.
And you won't be alone in buying the book, which is doing brisk sales on Amazon. And, as of yesterday, was Amazon's number one book in Kindle sales. Congratulations Sue!
In honor of this wonderful book, our Weekly Wikipedia link is Victorial Woodhull, the first female presidential candidate and a great early leader of the women's rights and suffragist movements.
Oh, and does the whole Palin thing sound like a Disney movie? Well, check out this film trailer for the fictitious Head of Skate. (Thanks Josh!) And if they did make a film out of a mom running for president, let's make sure it's not Palin, but Florida's Gov. Rothrock.
The Silver Lining Playbook. Matthew Quick.
Hope is the message in Quick's warm and funny debut novel. Pat Peoples has lived the last few years in a mental health facility or, as he calls it, the bad place. He can't remember the events that led to his stay in the bad place, but he knows what he has to do to reunite with the wife he loves. So he avoids Kenny G's music and works out ferociously. He reunites with his brother, his friend Ronnie and his parents -- a loving mom and a defeated father. He slowly ends up befriending the emotionally challenged Tiffany. What a memorable character Quick has developed in Pat Peoples.
You don't have to be a Eagles fan or even a football fan to enjoy this poignant book. However, if you, like me, have many family members who know the Eagles fight song by heart (Fly Eagles Fly, on the road to victory ...), this makes a wonderful gift.
See Matthew Quick's Guest Playlist on Distractions.
And one final note: E-A-G-L-E-S!
If the thought of a band that bounces from psychedelic rock to Frank Zappa-like guitar explosions to moments of free jazz with lyrics sung in their native Swedish tongue, doesn't appeal to you, then I'll feel förlåt for you. You're going to miss out on the excitement of Dungen. These guys can plan, whether it's the elevator music feel of Ingenting är sig likt or the amps-to-11 jam Samtidigt 1. Dungen has reigned in their excesses a bit. Their self-titled debut had three songs that averaged over 14 minutes. 4's longest is only 4:45. I can't pronounce any of the titles, but I'm certainly enjoying this. If you like both the Flaming Lips and Frank Zappa, you'll enjoy it too.
Nicknames and Natives. The Antiques.
This 2006 album is, as far as I know, the only full-length put out by this LA band. It's a sorely overlooked Americana release. Armed with pedal steel, mandolin and organ, the Antiques come off as an indie version of the Band, albeit much mellower. Of all the releases from 2006, this is one that I find myself coming back to most often.