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Thursday
May112017

Rolling Stone is 50!

Rolling Stone magazine is part of the backdrop of most of my adult life. I've been reading it from the start. In the late '60s a hippie entrepeneur with a bulging backpack would hit my hometown a couple of times monthly, with new issues for sale of Rolling Stone, Creem, Crawdaddy, Chicago Seed, and other cultural missives from the counterculture. He was our only access, other than subscribing. This made the guy important and eagerly awaited.

Sunday
Jan082017

Gary Taubes' The Case Against Sugar is important

I'm only a couple of chapters into Taubes' latest nutritional work, The Case Against Sugar, and already it's proving to be engrossing reading. More than that, it feels critical, like something everyone should be discussing, not just those of us in the fitness and nutrition world. 

Get your hands on this book, read it, tell others about it. And for your sake, get sugar out of your life!

Monday
Jun202016

Put Your Dollars Where Your Passion Is

A couple of nights ago two of my favorite musicians were performing close by, along with Adam Faucett, whose music I was unfamilar with. Christopher Gold and Austin Lucas alone are a bill worth traveling to see; Faucett turns out to be a songwriter with an unusually sweet yet powerful voice. The show, put on in a local micro-brewery, was wonderful. But I'm not here to talk about their amazing music.

After the show the performers were hanging around their merch table, meeting fans and offering for sale whatever they had of their own music. A couple of vinyl LPs, the odd T-shirt, and of course compact discs. I bought Gold's latest (already the proud owner of his earlier releases), as I'd been waiting to purchase it directly from him. As I handed each of these three artists $10 for their current CD, I was reminded how much this simple act of commerce means to them.

This is how they make their living, really. Sure, there is some arrangement with the venue, but it's often little. Maybe a free pizza and some beers, and a cut of the door. But that doesn't buy gas, lodging, or pay for real life. The few helpuful, hip record stores still in existence are a big help, but they take their cut, too.

When you have the chance to put some bucks right into the hands of the musician whose work you enjoy, do so! Help them continue to write songs and perform. 

And thank them...

@Cgoldmusic, @AustinlucasIND, @Adamfaucettsong

Thursday
Jun022016

House of the Rising Sun by James Lee Burke

James Lee Burke is one of the greatest American novelists of the last thirty years. His recent House of the Rising Sun enhances his hard-earned reputation, rekindling my hope Burke lives forever and continues to write an amazing novel each year. 

Hackberry Holland, Texas Ranger, is at the center of events in House of the Rising Sun. Burke has worked with him before. He is of disciplined spirit and resilience, with and an attitude of strength and a moral compass uncommonly strong. Set in Texas, beginning in 1918, Burke weaves an adventurous tale incorporating treachery, lost and found faith, and man’s struggles.  

Holland carries within himself a constant threat of danger, a knowledge that he has the capacity to do whatever must be done. Sometimes others realize this; to their unhappiness, often people don’t. The reader will find themselves captivated and riding an emotional roller coaster along with those whose lives intertwine with Holland.

On the surface House of the Rising Sun is an adventure story set in a time and place in American history little-known to most.  Holland’s interaction with others, notably his son, provides opportunity to witness and reflect upon good and evil. Tension slowly, effectively builds throughout the story. I find myself glued to the pages, not wanting the story to complete.

James Lee Burke writes in such a way that my reading is slowed, my comprehension is lifted, and my enjoyment is amplified. Few bring people, their thoughts and struggles, the path of life itself, to the printed page as Burke can. Don’t let me raves for the people in House of the Rising Sun, and how they are brought to life, take anything away from what is a hell of a good adventure tale, either. James Lee Burke is, first and foremost, a tremendous spinner of yarns. Thought provoking and full of conflict, but always at heart, superb stories.

#houseoftherisingsun, @JamesLeeBurke, @simonschuster


Thursday
Jun022016

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith is the third of the Cormoran Strike novels. If I tell you each improves on the preceding, and that the initial book was terrific, will that sound like too much praise?

Strike is a private eye, not doing all that well in the world of investigation, troubled by physical limitations (a prosthetic leg), and huge samplings of pride. His assistant, Robin Ellacott, has steadily become a bigger part of his life and his business, seemingly knowsing him better than most others. She assumes a vital role in Career of Evil, beginning when a woman’s severed leg is messengered to her at work. Cormoran Strike is a fascinating character, and author Galbraith has made him so. She (J.K. Rowling) uses her superior storytelling and characterization skills to bring us the world Strike and Ellacott live and work in, and carry us through a compelling mystery.

I’m hoping Rowling continues to follow Cormoran and Robin through the ups and downs of their struggling detective agency, and their relationship. The profound tension between the two of them, and the resulting misunderstandings, then the resolution, are masterfully handled. These interludes help these two come alive on the page, and provide some of my favorite reading in the novel. I’m anxious for the next installment.

#careerofevil, @RGalbraith, @mulhollandbooks