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SOUNDTRACK: LAURA MVULA-Tiny Desk Concert #284 (July 1, 2013).

I don’t know Mvula’s music (I know her because her name is unmistakable and I feel surprised that her debut came out only 4 years ago).  The blurb talks about her big powerhouse soulful pop.  But that is not in evidence here at all.  As they say:

with the help of a small string section, she forgoes some of her flashier songs (“Like the Morning Dew,” “Green Garden”) in favor of Sing to the Moon‘s most brooding ballads.

“Father, Father” is almost entirely her singing and playing a very spare keyboard–with just a few seconds of string help near the end.  Her voice is quite lovely in what is practically an a cappella setting.

She introduces the second song by saying: “If we had the bigger band we’d do the more upbeat things.  I usually write in six-part harmony.  But it’s just the three of us so I’m going to do another more intimate one called ‘Diamonds.'”  There’s more strings on this song, which add to the song (the keyboard is quite thin, I fear).

The set ends with “She,” a song with a bit more complex keyboard parts which I rather like.  This song is my favorite, probably because it sounds the fullest.

The whole set is a little too mellow for my tastes, but I am curious to hear what her big poppy six-part-harmony songs sound like!

[READ: April 21, 2016] The Right Here Right Now Thing

I found this graphic novel at work. What was so funny about it is that the title is in English but the publisher is German.  I flipped through the book and saw the English dialogue so I decided to read it.  Imagine my surprise then that the first few and the last few pages are in German!

Google Translate is a good thing. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do as well with idiom and vulgar phrases, and there are a few in this book.  But I got the gist.

Plus, quite a lot of it is wordless, too.

The story begins with hands putting drugs (I assume cocaine and pot from later sections) into a condom.  And then we see our heroine on the toilet…doing something.  Her plane ticket says Frankfurt-Krakau.  She says goodbye to the guy lying in bed and she heads to the airport. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: MARGO PRICE-Tiny Desk Concert #581 (November 28, 2016).

It is my fervent hope that I will wake up this morning and the world will say April Fools, and that these last few months will all have been a prank.  Or that this day marks the first day in formal steps to get the buffoon out of the White House before more people get killed.

Barring that, I can post these Trump-based pieces.

Margo Price is beloved by NPR.  I find her a wee bit too country for my tastes.  And yet, once again, a Tiny Desk Concert changed my opinion of her.

Price came to NPR on the day after the election.  I was in a fog of disbelief that day.  I can’t imagine how she managed to play and sing.  Here’s the intro:

When I greeted Margo Price in the NPR garage before her Tiny Desk performance, tears were streaming down her face. It was Wednesday morning, Nov. 9, the day after the 2016 election. For her — as for many Americans — it was a stunning and bewildering moment in time, a day when life and the everyday took on new meaning. And so when she and her band began to play “All American Made,” a song she’s sung many times before, those words about America’s changes and failures in the 21st century seemed even more powerful.

As this Tiny Desk progresses, even “Four Years Of Chances,” her song of a love gone wrong, feels less about a lousy husband and more about presidential politics. She dedicates her third and final song, “About To Find Out,” to Donald Trump; she says it was originally written about a “musician acquaintance of mine who’s a complete sociopath.” When the song ends, she rips open her red cowboy shirt to reveal a T-shirt with the words “Icky Trump”— a play on the title of The White Stripes’ song “Icky Thump,” which criticizes the U.S.’s immigration policies. She smiles, wipes a tear away: It seems cathartic, but temporary.

The music includes piano, guitar (of course), some slide guitar and harmonica.

“All American Made” plays down the twang in her voice and the lyrics are great.  It was written for her previous band Buffalo Clover.

1987, and I didn’t know I then
Reagan was selling weapons to the leaders of Iran
well it won’t be the first time and it wont be the end
They were all American made.

I was just a child
Unaware of the effects
Raised on sports and Jesus
and all the usual suspects

It’s a slow folk song with harmonica and a nice guitar solo.

“Four Years Of Chances” is actually about a failed relationship.  And we can all only hope that we don’t have to wait as long as she did in this song before ending this relationship.  It’s a faster song with good slide guitar work.  There’s a guitar solo, a piano solo and I like the way it goes up two steps after the solo.

I gave you four years of chances
But you threw em all away
I gave you one thousand, four hundred sixty-one days

“About To Find Out” seems so uncannily about Trump it is hard to believe it was written about someone else (as it says, it was originally written about a “musician acquaintance of mine who’s a complete sociopath”).

Well I’ve had about enough of your two-cent words
And the way you’re running your mouth
No you haven’t got a clue or another thing to do
Except to take another picture of yourself
You’re living high on the hog looking down at us all
You may have come so easy and happened so fast
But the harder they come, they fall

You have many people fooled about your motivation
But I don’t believe your lies
You blow so much smoke it’s bound to make you choke
I see the snakes in both of your eyes
But you wouldn’t know class if it bit you in the ass
And you’re standing much too tall
You may have come so easy and happened so fast
But the harder they come, they fall

Tell me what does your pride taste like honey
Or haven’t you tried it out?
It’s better than the taste of a boot in your face
Without any shadow of a doubt
You better learn where the line is
You missed a lot you’ve gotta learn about
How’s it gonna feel to be put in your place
Well I guess you’re about to find out

Some folks today have got nothing to say
Except to talk about their wealth
But the poor’s still poor and the war’s still war
And everybody wants more for themselves
Like a rich man’s child you never walked a mile
One day you won’t have nothing to sell
You may have come so easy and happened so fast
But the way I see it you fell

Uncanny.

So yes, this Tiny Desk Concert has totally won me over to Price.  Although I really need to never hear “Hurtin’ (On the Bottle)” again–it is just waaay to twangy for my sensitive ears.  But more importantly, I hope she hasn’t given up the fight.

[READ: March 12, 2017] “It Is I Who Styles Donald Trump…”

My only other exposure to Crosbie was in the April 2012 issue of The Walrus, in which she wrote a couple of short pieces.

Obviously, I am all for hating on Trump, for ridiculing him and making him look as pathetic as he actually is.  And this entire issue was more or less devoted to the horror that is Trump.  So having a story that mocks him is something I can appreciate.

But, as with the comedians who mock Trump’s hair or skin rather than his racism, bigotry, lack of knowledge of the world, lying and everything else, this story is strangely superficial, and overall, just kind of strange.

It begins amusingly enough: “Last night I dreamt I went to Mar-a-Lago again.  I stood shuddering at the gates–was I to be the mistress of an estate named in colloquial Spanish?”

It even seems like it might go for an interesting angle: “as he sleeps his lips purse, and his hands fly our, defensively.”

But, as the title states (so I guess I was expecting too much), this is mostly about Trump’s hair: she “quickly took over this industry.” (more…)

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 doubledownSOUNDTRACK: JAKE SCHEPPS’ EXPEDITION QUARTET-Tiny Desk Concert #187 (January 19, 2012).

jakeJake Schepps’ Expedition Quartet is a somewhat unusual string quartet in that the instruments are violin and upright bass (normal) but also guitar and banjo.  And so the songs have a classical feel–melodies repeated in a fugue style, but with the prominence of the banjo, it feels more like a folk song.  The violin takes on a kind of fiddle sound.  And that’s interesting enough, but it’s the story of the music that they are playing which makes it even more fascinating:

About 100 years ago, Béla Bartók was traipsing through his native Hungary (Romania and Slovakia, too) with a bulky Edison phonograph, documenting folk songs and dances. There’s a priceless photo of the young composer, his contraption perched on an outside windowsill with a woman singing into the horn while anxious villagers stare at the camera. By 1918, Bartók had amassed almost 9,000 folk tunes. He made transcriptions of some; others he arranged for piano, while elements of still others found their way into his orchestra pieces and chamber music.

This was the country music of Eastern Europe, and its off-kilter rhythms and pungent melodies continue to captivate music lovers and musicians like Colorado-based banjo player Jake Schepps, who has recorded an entire album of Bartok’s folk-inspired music.

For this concert, with fellow members of Expedition Quartet — violinist Enion Pelta-Tiller, guitarist Grant Gordy and bass player Ian Hutchison, they played a Bartók hoe-down of sorts.

They play three pieces:

“Romanian Folk Dances: ‘Stick Game'”  Bartók (arr. Flinner).  This is a quieter piece with moments of bounce.  Indeed, Schepps doesn’t feel like the leader of this group because everyone shares the spotlight.  The guitar takes a lengthy solo–its got a very jazzy feel (which is a little weird on an acoustic guitar).  The violin takes a pizzicato solo, which is neat.  When Schepps finally does do a solo it’s not a showoffy banjo solo, it just fits in well with what everyone else is playing.

“For Children (Hungarian Folk Tunes): ‘Stars, Stars Brightly Shine'” Bartók (arr. Schepps).  This is a slower tune and it is much shorter as well—it doesn’t really lend itself to soloing.  Although the violin takes on the lead melody and it sounds mournful and beautiful.

“Mikrokosmos No. 78 / ‘Cousin Sally Brown'” Bartók / traditional (arr. Schepps).  Before this track, when someone tells Schepps that No 78 is his favorite of the Mikrokosmos, he says that he prefers 79.  The bassist says that 79 has gotten too commercial.  The end of the song has a tag of “Cousin Sally” a rollicking traditional dance number.  The four seems to play somewhat at odds with each other briefly and when they all rejoin for the end—it’s pretty great.

[READ: December 27, 2013] Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down

I keep expecting the quality of the jokes in the Wimpy Kid books to decline.  But rather, this book was not only hilarious, but it worked really well as a book, too.

What I mean is that, I know that the Wimpy Kid series is online and that Kinney does a new story every day (or at least he did , I don’t know if he still does).  These books had always been taken from the online site (and I assume they still are).  But somehow, this book has jokes that circle back to jokes earlier in the book.  There’s at least a half a dozen callbacks which makes this book more than just a collection of diary entries…it’s a perfectly contained unit with a satisfying ending.

(more…)

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 schoololsSOUNDTRACK: KHAIRA ARBY-Tiny Desk Concert #94 (November 29, 2010).

khairaA year ago I would have said I know nothing about music from Mali, but the shows at NPR have given me a greater appreciation of it.  And, while I wouldn’t say I’d have been able to pick this out as music from Mali, I definitely recognized the style of the what I’m going to call fiddly guitar that seems to be prominent in Mali music.

You can really hear how good guitarist Drahmane Toure is with the way he keeps up the constant soloing and fiddly bits.  It brings a cool distinctive sound to the otherwise steady rhythm from the bass and percussion (which looks like a beautifully carved salad bowl covered in duct tape).

The rest of the band includes an acoustic guitar, a bass backing singers and some other instrument that i can’t figure out.

Of course, this show is meant to celebrate singer Khaira Arby, the queen of desert rock.  And she is fine.  I don’t really have much to say about her.  She sings perfectly for this music, and sounds almost more like a prayerful singer than a professional one.

[READ: December 27, 2013] Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School

Clark said that this book was the best Wimpy Kid yet (a claim he has made before, so this must be really great).  My story about this book is that I knew the cover was black and I know basically what the back cover looks like, so when we saw Age of Ultron this summer, imagine my surprise to see that the boy was reading this book (which didn’t come out until last week).  Movies are magic.

Anyhow, this book begins in September with some hilarious snark about “the good old days.”  I love Greg’s reaction, “I think they’re just jealous because MY generation has all this fancy technology and stuff they didn’t have growing up.”  And now Greg’s mom’s big kick is to get everyone to unplug.  To unplug and reconnect with the community. (more…)

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gulpSOUNDTRACK: PET SHOP BOYS-Elysium (2012).

220px-PSB_ElysiumPet Shop Boys are known for big dancey singles.  And so perhaps it’s something of a surprise to get this album which is pretty but certainly low key.   It’s not like they haven’t written low key songs before, but there’s very little to get up and sing about here.

Which is not to say the album is bad.  It’s actually very good once you accept the lack of big songs.

Of course, having said that, there are one or two anthemic tracks, but the album overall is more introspective (unlike their album Introspective).  The title, Elysium refers to the afterlife where those chosen by the gods would live a happy (after)life, indulging in whatever they had enjoyed in life.  Yes, mortality is on Tennant’s mind.

“Leaving” opens the disc with a great chorus, which leads to this somber opening verse: “Our love is dead but the dead don’t go away.”  And that certainly sets the tone–nice synth rock, but nothing to loud and frenetic.  “Invisible” is a similarly low key song.   This is one of their quiet ballads, with just touches of synth melody: “I’m here but you can’t see me, I’m invisible.”  It’s a definite downer of a song but it’s very pretty.

Of course all that I said about mellow low key albums is belied by the third track: “Winner.”  This was written in time for the 2012 Olympics in London and it is very much an anthem about, well, winning.  It’s kind of obvious (although lyrically it is more in depth than many similar songs), but the melody is just simple and uplifting–(just what you’d want for Olympic documentaries).

“Your Early Stuff” is a much darker song–it is a song written to a “washed up” performer: “you’ve been around but you don’t look too rough and I still quite like some of your early stuff.”  It’s funny but also tender.  “A Face Like That” is the closest thing to a dance single on the album–it’s fast and synthy and the vocals are echoed and repeated.  But even the verses are more low-key than you might expect from the chorus.  “Breathing Space” is another pretty ballad.

“Ego Music” is another faster song, with a very funny premise: “ego music–it’s all about me.”  It’s a slight song but good for a laugh.

“Hold On” also aspires to anthemicness, but it is slower than a typical PSB anthem.  It also has a synth line that is vaguely classical.  Although of all the songs, this one is lyrically the most tautological:  “Hold on, there’s got to be a future or the world will end today.”  “Give it a Go” is a slower, simpler track. Not too memorable, although the chorus is bouncy and catchy h.

“Memory of the Future” has a great synth line and Tennant’s cool accompanying vocals–it’s a classic PSB song and one of my favorites on the disc.  Although I don’t love “Everything Means Something,” the final song, “Requiem in Denim and Leopardskin” is a great ending–slow but very catchy and rather wry and funny.

So this album overall is certainly more, dare I say it, “mature” for the Pet Shop Boys, but they haven’t lost any lustre in songwriting.

[READ: Summer 2013] Gulp

Yes, that date is correct, I read this book over a year and a half ago.  I meant to write about it then, but I loaned it out to someone and I like to have the book nearby when I write about it.  So I put it off and put it off and now that I have the book back, I will do my best to remember whatever I can about it.

But the thing about this book is that it was so memorable, I won’t have much trouble writing about it anyhow.

Mary Roach investigates the physical properties of eating from pre-digestion through to the end.  And she does it with thorough research and a boatload of humor (sometimes gross out humor, although she warns that that is not her intent–“I want you to say, ‘I thought this would be gross, but it’s really interesting.’  Okay, and maybe a little gross.” (19).

She begins with the nose.  Most people know that the nose contributes tremendously to your sense of taste.  But Roach really explicates how much.  She speaks to a woman, Langstaff, who is a professional sniffer and who is currently staffing the Olive Oil taste Panel at the Olive Center.  She is training novices to be be better at tasting flavors.  But Langstaff herself for instance rarely drinks beer for pleasure even though she is an expert at tasting it.

The most amusing (or not, depending) information here is that there are people who were paid to taste cat food.  Yes.  And that humans prefer cat food with a tuna or herbal flavor over those that taste “rancid,” “offaly,” “cereal” or “burnt.”

Fortunately, the second chapter shows that it is actually dogs who test the dog food.  It turns out that dogs and cats really shouldn’t enjoy dry dog food (cats and dogs are not grain eaters by choice).  Dry dog food was created as a means of convenience for people (and as a way to stop tinning food during the war).  As for your pets, “pet foods come in a variety of flavors because that’s what we humans like, and we assume our pets like what we like.  We have that wrong.  ‘For cats especially…change is often more difficult than monotony.'” (43).  Some other pet observations: cat’s can’t taste sweet (although dogs can and rodents are slaves to it).   (more…)

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wallsSOUNDTRACK: PHISH-Round Room (2002).

round After Farmhouse, Phish went on a hiatus.  No one knew it would be quite so brief, but there was really a feeling that they were done.

And then they quietly released Round Room in 2002.  And it bursts forth with an 11 minute song.

“Pebbles and Marbles” has an interesting riff—complex and pretty.  And when I listened to it again recently I didn’t really quite recognize it.  But that’s because it’s nearly 12 minutes long and the really catchy part comes later in the song.  At around 5 minutes, the catchy chorus of “pebbles and marbles and things on my mind” announces itself.  And it is a good one.

“Anything but Me” is a pretty, mature song that is slow and piano heavy.  “Round Room” is a boppy little ditty (clearly a song written by Mike).  It is sweet and a little weird.  “Mexican Cousin” sounds a lot like a cover (maybe an old song by The Band) except for the solo which is very Trey.  It’s a funny, silly ode to Tequila.  “Friday” is a slow six minute song with two sections.  The verses are spaced out a bit, delicate riffs that are mostly piano once again.  The middle section is sung by Mike (which makes it more mellow somehow).

“Seven Below” is an 8 minute song.  It has another great riff (and the intro music is cool and bouncey).  When the vocals come in, it’s got gentle harmonies as they croon the sweet song).  Most of the 8 minutes are taking up with a guitar solo.  “Mock Song” is another of Mike’s songs.  This one seems to be a random selection of items sung to a nice melody.  Then when the chorus comes it’s quite nice, how this is a “just a mock song.”  The first verse is sung by Mike, then Trey does a kind of fugue vocal with different words in verse two.

“46 Days” opens with funky cowbells and turns into what seems like a classic rocking folk song—few words but a great classic rock melody (complete with 70s era keyboards).  “All of These Dreams” is a mellow piano piece, another mature song.  “Walls of the Cave” has an interesting piano melody that opens the song. The song is nearly ten minutes long and the middle part has a nice flowing feel to it.  There’s also a few sections that are separated be drum breaks—something that doesn’t often happen in Phish songs.  When the third part opens (to almost exclusively percussion, their vocals all work in a very nice harmony.  It’s a long song but with so many parts it always stays interesting.  “Thunderhead” is another piano-based song with some guitar riffs thrown on top. But it is largely a slow, mellow piece.

“Waves” is an 11 minute song with long instrumental passages.  It also begins with a kind of Santana feel to it, but it is a largely meandering song, with a simple melody that they stretch out for much of the song.  So this album proves to be an interesting mix of long jams and mellow ballady type songs.  It seems like Phish had a big mix of things to let loose.

[READ: November 1, 2013] If Walls Could Talk

This book reminds me of the work of Mary Roach—exploring a topic in great detail and including lots of amusing insights.  The two big differences here are that Worsley is British and that she goes back very far in British history to give us this fascinating information about the development of certain rooms of the house.

Worsley begins with the bedroom.  She looks at the furniture—the history of the bed from lumps with straw to fantastically ornate full poster beds that were made for kings who might never actually use them.

Then she moves on to more personal matters—sex (including deviant sex and venereal disease); breast feeding (for centuries mothers felt they were not equipped to take care of and nurse their own children, hence wet-nurses) and knickers (royalty had an entourage designed specifically to assist with underthings).  Indeed, privacy was an unknown thing in olden times.  Even royalty was expected to receive people in all of the rooms in the house.  Initially the bed chamber was for their most intimate friends, not just for sleeping.

The section on old medicine was also fascinating, they believed that it was vaporous miasma that did you more harm than say, excrement-filled water.

The section on Sleep discusses what was also in a recent article by Gideon Lewis-Kraus—that there were two sleep times at night.  With no electricity there was no artificial light to keep people up late so they would go to sleep early, wake up in the middle of the night (the best time for conception of children) and then sleep again. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: THE GREAT GAMBLE-Book One (2012).

My friend Matt has worked at a school in Pennsylvania for years. He wrote to tell me that a few kids who graduated from his school had formed a band and have released a CD.  It’s streaming (and downloadable) on bandcamp at their site.

I have lots of friends in bands, and I’ve listened to lots of demos, so I wasn’t expecting very much.  But the first thing I noticed when I listened was how good this sounds–professional and, yes, like a “real” album.  This isn’t just a bunch of guys jamming in their garage.  What makes this even more striking is that the music is heavy progressive metal–not something you just whip out in a quick take.  This is complicated, interesting music.  I’m hearing a kind of Dream Theater meets King’s X vibe going on.  And man, it’s really good.

This is multi-step heavy rock (complete with a synth player/violinist!). The only song that is less than 9 minutes is the 90 second introduction called “The Marketplace.”  Otherwise, we’ve got three songs over ten minutes and one over 16!  Who even knew young bands did stuff like this anymore?

Al Joseph plays lead guitar and sings lead vocals.  His guitar speed is very impressive and his vocals sound not unlike Dug Pinnick from King’s X (noticeable on the opening track, especially) .  Matt Weaver plays violin and keyboards.  The keyboards offer more than just a fuller sound.  On “Release the Kraken” they provide some cool sci-fi sound effects.  At about five minutes in, “Release the Kraken” slows down to a quiet middle section that really showcases Steve Michael’s drums.  And then comes the blistering guitar solo.  It’s followed quickly but a slight diversion and then a wholly different style of solo.  It’s really something.

If “Release the Kraken” wasn’t a good enough prog rock title, how bout “Legends of the Symmetria.”  This one has a very Dream Theater feel for the opening.  But the vocals sound very different–dual vocals with great low harmony.  There’s a cool pre-chorus (I guess) at about 3 minutes.  This song is definitely a heavy one.  At about 4 minutes, the song slows down into a pretty classical guitar section,where Chris Joseph on plays bass gets to show off a bit (although he seems to be the most understated of the 4 players).  There’s some great drumming at the end of the song, too.

“The Ghost of Three Reflections” is a slow builder of a song.  There’s some quiet parts (with beautiful harmonies) and a guitar solo that sounds clear and perfect (I’m hyping the production so much because it sounds so good).  The guitar solo section in this one strikes me as something that might suit two guitarists better–maybe two more different styles of soloing, but he pulls it off well, especially when by the end, he has shifted to a very different style, and the music changes along with it).  I love the bass section at the 8 minute mark, which reminds me of something Rush might have done back in the mid 70s.  The song kind of merges into “Breach At Fort Mycenae” which opens with the same kind of staggered sound as the end of the previous song.  The violin gets an airing in the middle of this song and it’s a cool treat.  I could definitely use more violin in these songs, although maybe little bits are a treat.  There’s a few times when I don’t like the production choices–maybe there needs to be a bit more music behind some of these solos so it doesn’t just sound like two players soloing against each other.

The disc ends with the big one, the sixteen minute, “The Sleepwalker Pt. 1 – Tears of Dagon” [I love that it’s a Part One and it’s 16 minutes long].  When the vocals kick in at about 3 minutes, the harmonies are gorgeous.  I love the bass guitar break at 5 minutes.  Although there’s something about the keyboard sound that I don’t like–maybe they’re not big enough?  But I love the crazy guitar solo at the 9 minute mark of this track (I’m a sucker for dissonant scales).

This is an amazing debut CD and I hope these guys go far (they’re going from Scranton to Boston for school, but I hope they can go further than that).  They are tight as a drum, stopping and starting perfectly, keeping all of the rhythms and time changes perfectly.  They really have done their prog rock homework.  The only gripe is as I’ve said, some sections don’t feel “big” enough.  If you’re going to write a 16 minute song, you don’t want sections that sound small–you want your backing guitars or bass guitars to be a little louder so it sounds like the song is still going.  But other than that, there’s not much room for improvement.

I downloaded their CD, (and yes, I paid for it…that will help with college, eh?).  But my real complaint is that on the computer, the album cover is awesome–if you look at it from an angle, there’s a whole scene behind the large logo (try it, it works here too).  But when you print it out, you lose all of that.  The images are there, but the effect is gone.  This is a band that calls out for full color packaging and maybe even a gatefold sleeve!  (The bottom of the cover says Ο υπνoβάτης which means The Sleepwalker).

Good jobs guys!  You’ve done NEPA proud!

[READ: May 15, 2012] Drop Dead Healthy

Sarah got me this latest A.J. Jacobs book for my birthday.  At first I didn’t think I wanted to read it because I feared what a book all about being in good shape would be—nagging, obnoxious, making me feel bad about my vices. But I should have leaned from all of my A.J. Jacobs experience that he is completely NOT about that.

Jacobs occasionally enters into preposterous forays of Self-Improvement.  In the first book of his I read, The  Guinea Pig Diaries, he tried various weird experiments to see what it was like to be a woman, radically honest, a unitasker, etc.  His other books have been about self-improvement.  He read the encyclopedia from A-Z, he did a year trying to live like out of the bible (I will get to these eventually).  In this book, he is on a quest to be the healthiest person in the world.

It’s an impossible task.  And, frankly, a foolish one.  But he decides he will take two years and focus on individual parts of his body one month at a time.  I’m going say right up front I feared that this book would make me feel bad about all the things I don’t do for myself.   But well, a) Jacobs is a funny writer, so at least you’re laughing.  b) Jacobs is either in bad shape or plays up his badshapedness so that the average person doesn’t feel too bad off.  c) He is so over the top in his quest that no one would ever think about doing all of the things, but we can take what he learned and apply little bits to ourselves.  What is nice is that he tries to get two if not balanced opinions then perhaps fringe opinions to balance out–trying one extreme then another to see which work.

He Breaks His Categories Down thusly: stomach (eating right, the perfect food), the heart, the ears (the quest for quiet), the butt (avoiding sitting too much), the immune system (germs), genitals, nervous system, lower intestine (better bowels), adrenal gland (lowering stress), brain, endocrine system (removing toxins), teeth, feet, lungs, skin, inside of the eyelid (sleep), bladder, gonads, nose, hands, back, eyes, and skull.  Each category is designed to be a month-long workout of that organ/item–some things he keeps doing after the month is over making his workout regime something like 5 hours a day.  And at the beginning of each month he lists the stats for what he accomplished.

I’m not going to talk about all of his body parts, but I will mention a few that i enjoyed the most. (more…)

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