Music, Podcasts, Shameless self indulgence, Writing

Random Thoughts Part II

It might be the insufferable heat and humidity here at Monkey central, but once again the inspiration just doesn’t seem to be coming. Therefore it’s time for yet another episode of random Monkey thoughts.

  1. The Adam Carolla podcast continues to deliver an amazing amount of free content each week. We’re talking an hour of solid programming each day, and apparently there is also a car-themed podcast that the guy is doing as well. Your Monkey is not a grease monkey and has no business with the car-themed podcast, but the regular podcast is really hitting the mark. Recently we’ve had good turns by Curb Your Enthusiasm Star Jeff Garlin and Rotten Tomatoes TV cohost Brett Erlich. Erlich in particular proves that you don’t have to be a name guest to make a good podcast. Click here for link to site.
  2. Everyone should read at least one article from the New York Times each day. Not because it is a pretentious thing to do, but because the Times is home to by far the best set of journalists anywhere. They have a marvelous talent for digging up interesting stories, finding unique angles to explore, and capturing the imagination without resorting to cheap sensationalism. Check out this piece that explores a series of bad omens leading up to a horrific car crash in Long Island over the weekend. It’s everything you want good journalism to be  (i.e. informative without being insensitive).
  3. It’s a wonder George Orwell wasn’t more of a pessimist. Listening to Dan Carlin outline the devastation that was caused during the war between Germany and Russia in World War II makes one realize that we are truly fortunate to live in a time and a place where copywriters pretending to be Monkeys can write long blog posts complaining about the unfairness of the world. We are so far removed from true suffering that it is all too easy to lose our perspective.  Check out Carlin’s Ghosts of the Ostfront series here, and then realize that Orwell started writing 1984 only a few years after this awful mess.
  4. Someone owes Iron and Wine an apology. A couple of days ago a certain Monkey may have praised the Great Lake Swimmers for doing mellow acoustic folk without being sleepy and dull. This same Monkey may have then suggested that Iron and Wine might be guilty of putting people to sleep with his “so soft you can barely hear it” mellow acoustic folk. But then Iron and Wine has to go and deliver a great new song called “Belated Promise Ring.”
  5. Your Monkey is usually against posting YouTube videos that are just one still shot of the album cover with the song playing underneath. Let’s face it, this practice is just one step below illegal file sharing. But since this song is available as a free download as part of the Current’s Song of the Day Podcast, a video is included here.
Music, Podcasts, Shameless self indulgence

Random Thoughts

In an effort to keep this blog going during a period of low creative inspiration, your Monkey will now attempt to type a catch-all report of some thoughts from the past week.

  1. KEXP Live Performance Podcasts are perfectly timed at about a 1/2 an hour each. There was a time when your Monkey was greedy for more and larger podcasts, but lately he has been finding it hard to listen to two hours worth of anything. The NPR All Songs Considered Live Concert podcasts, for all the great artists that are featured, sometime seem a little too long for this Monkey’s tastes. As far as KEXP goes, the last two weeks of live performance podcasts have featured English duo The Kills (doing an acoustic set) and English electro-folkie James Yuill. Both are worth checking out. Here is a link to the KEXP live performance podcast.
  2. George Orwell’s 1984 was written under bleak circumstances that fit the book’s pessimistic world view. Few “required reading” books from high school left as strong an impression as Orwell’s 1984. This excellently written piece in the UK Guardian explains the struggle that Orwell (nee Eric Blair) went through to birth this book.
  3. You can tell Neil Gaiman is a hugely talented writer just by reading his blog posts. Whether he is reminiscing fondly about his kids or talking about a quiet evening with a friend, Gaiman turns descriptions of everyday events into marvelously written prose. Highly recommended reading. Here’s a link to the blog
  4. People who run secondhand shops are usually odds and ends themselves. This is the kind of whimsical observational musing that you will find on my new radio show, Lake Grump-be-gon Tales, in which I play the slightly curmudgeonly Monkey editor of a local newspaper in small town Minnesota.
  5. The Mermen play excellent psyche-surf rock. This San Francisco band has an excellent mellow sound. Here is a video that is fittingly shot in an aquarium.