Posts Tagged ‘Michael Chabon’


Every so often, usually after she’s watched a few episodes of Hoarders and worries about a future where she’s keeping dead squirrels in the freezer and live ones as pets in our apartment, my wife starts cleaning out her book collection. She’ll get rid of novels and cookbooks, old textbooks, memoirs and coffee table books. Some we donate, others we just leave in our apartment lobby for people to take. Occasionally I think about following this path and ridding myself of some of my books, but then I stop and think: What if I want to read that book again? Or read it for a 12th time?

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No replacement employees here. No employees of any kind, for that matter. Yes, we’re still doing this for free. Why? We’re not really sure. Maybe you’ll be able to help us answer that by reading The Tapes, our week in review:

* I’m not a huge Neil Young guy, but I enjoyed this piece about him in the New York Times. The premise is especially cool: Interviewing the aging rocker while he drives his car.

* The podcast of the week: Here’s the Thing. It’s a WNYC production hosted by actor and generally interesting human being Alec Baldwin. What’s most striking is the mood. Yes, the mood. Baldwin has a phenomenal radio voice – as he displayed in the classic Schweddy Balls NPR sketch on Saturday Night Live – and excellently deliberate pacing. Plus, he asks good questions – I’m convinced he could have made a career in journalism if that whole acting thing hadn’t worked out.
As an added bonus, the guests are really good. I mean, how often does Dave Letterman give interviews? It’s a case of Baldwin using his status to create an interesting show. Good on him.

* Fury here. New York Magazine’s Kathryn Schulz wrote a great feature on Michael Chabon, whose new book Telegraph Avenue came out last week.

* At one time Bob Greene was one of the best-known columnists in the country, his pieces syndicated throughout the land, his books top sellers. Then, in 2002, he was fired by the Chicago Tribune for a relationship he had with a girl who was doing a piece on him for her school paper. Time Out Chicago catches up with Greene.

* This Sports Illustrated story by Thomas Lake is a week old but has gotten a lot of attention. He wrote about Rae Carruth’s son. Carruth was convicted of conspiring to kill his girlfriend, the boy’s mom, but is eligible for parole in a few years.

* So the Tommies beat the Johnnies last week. Yeah, yeah. But it was apparently a rowdy day in Collegeville, judging by this report, which reveals the tale of a Tommie co-ed who had to be collected before the game by her dad. Her blood alcohol? .35. Go Tommies.


It’s so hot, I don’t want our Midwestern readers to have to read a big intro. So this week’s links:

* Former Fury Files guest Kevin Van Valkenburg wrote a superb piece for ESPN about a semipro player in Indiana who was killed during a game in May. It’s not a “football is bad and must be banned” piece. Van Valkenburg played football at the University of Montana. He still loves the game. It’s well-written but also superbly reported with great analysis and insight, into everything from football to life.

* Another fun slideshow from New York Magazine’s Vulture blog. This one is a series of YouTube videos — “The 10 Most Jaw-Dropping Celebrity Workout Videos.” I know, sounds like a Bleacher Report story but this one’s fun. Angela Lansbury? Yes. Milton Berle? Yes. Much more? Yes.

* The Jeffrey MacDonald case haunted me for a brief time when I was a kid. He was the military man convicted in the horrific killings of his wife and children. He blamed it on hippies — this was post-Manson. Joe McGinnis wrote a famous book called Fatal Vision, which became a famous TV miniseries with Gary Cole as MacDonald. I watched it as a kid — was probably 10 — and I kept waiting for hippies to break in to our place and kill me. To make myself feel better, I thought of the Lakers. Anyway, famed filmmaker Errol Morris has a new book coming out about the case and he believes MacDonald is innocent. Here’s David Carr’s New York Times story on Morris and here’s an excerpt from the book.

* Michael Chabon is one of my writing idols and he has a new novel coming out called Telegraph Avenue, his first in five years. I’ll be buying it on its release day. Here’s a lengthy interview with Chabon in Mother Jones. And here’s an excerpt. Now, a word on this excerpt. Two years ago I saw Chabon read at The New Yorker Festival. This is the part he read. It’s extremely graphic and extremely well-written. It’s the graphic part that got to some folks. I wrote about the experience back then and you can read about that evening. I had a coughing fit that nearly ruined the show, and then I saw a man being hauled out after he fainted from hearing Chabon’s words. That’s some powerful writing.

* We all know that exercise is supposed to be good for us, but the Buffer blog (new to me, too) delves into exactly why. Really interesting stuff for workout junkies and couch potatoes, alike. Among the most surprising: The first 20 minutes of exercise are the most beneficial, and the endorphins released during exercise can be as addicting as illicit drugs.

* The latest TVFury podcast of the week: The Jalen Rose Show. (And, no, the podcast of the week won’t always be from the Grantland Network – we’re just starting there.)
Full disclosure: I was a huge fan of Michigan’s Fab Five as a kid. Even saw them play in person during their first NCAA championship appearance in Minneapolis. So I’ve long enjoyed Rose as a player and then as a TV analyst for ESPN. The podcast format allows him to use both of those talents – he can be brash and insightful without having to worry about offending, say, old people. Because old people are not downloading the Jalen Rose podcast. (Unless they are. In that case, my apologies.)
He approaches topics from an ex-jock perspective without needing to be PC – he fully admits that most players “champagne and campaign” during their off time just as he did. The honesty is refreshing. Plus, he’s funny in a Chris Tucker kind of way and co-host David Jacoby is enjoyable as the straightman/enabler. (That old combo.)