So, let's see what's interesting today...
I was once told by a 'communications expert' that I should put stuff in here as a way for people to get to know more about me. As if doing the music wasn't enough! Well then, fine. Self-serving or not, these are products, services, individuals and institutions that never fail me.
- The Rational Christian Ranter This is my other blog, so I suppose I should give it a plug. I'm a person of faith, but no ideologue. This blog chronicles the challenges people like me face in a world which seems to be increasingly unable to reconcile sincere belief and the modern world.
- Radiolab The finest radio program I think I've heard. In addition to the compelling material, the sound design is the best. It has the sound of music. By the way, I would also recommend two of its amazing forebears from the 1950's: Ken Nordine's "Word Jazz" albums and Glenn Gould's "The Idea Of North."
- Dubarry Boots Made in Ireland, they are the ultimate in sailing footwear. Don't laugh, cold feet are a sailor's worst nightmare (besides that giant squid thing.) But seriously,, all their boots and luggage are a lifetime investment.
- Design BoomA great site for learning about all sorts of cool ideas in art and design
- WolframAlpha.com I can't begin to tell you how much fun and educational it is. I can only describe it as the closest thing yet to 'Computer: What is the atmosphere like on the planet below.' You ask a question about something and it opens up a whole world. I can see kids teaching themselves calculus just by dinking around with this gizmo. Or maybe just finding out the ratio of potato exports between Ireland and Idaho in 1999. If you're at all wonky? Do not click on this unless you've got nothing pressing to do. You'll get lost.
- Slugger O'Toole is a great source for information on politics in Ireland, both the Republic and Northern Ireland.
- Dennis Dutton's Arts & Letters Daily Just imagine you're in a waiting room and instead of the crappy 'Holiday' and stale 'People' magazines? You suddenly notice you're surrounded by an endless selection of absolutely the most interesting stuff you've ever seen. And it's all so totally unexpected and engaging you can't stop reading when your number is called. And then it dawns—you're queued up to get into heaven.
- AcademicEarth.Org I just love this site. It's a site with video lectures from the best college profs out there. I first tried it in order to get my own kids jazzed about college, but now I visit there just to (shock) learn. What knocks me out is how much more I would've enjoyed college if my own profs had been half as interesting as these guys.
- Live365.com Shameless plug since I wouldn't have this <cough> 'success' if it weren't for them. The first 'internet radio station' and, in my opinion, still the best. Why? They use real DJs. So, yeah, you get songs targeted to your genre du jour, but they will also try to stretch you a bit--a good thing these days where it's far too easy to only hear the same stuff over and over.
- Lingua Franca Geoffrey Pullum's wonderful discussions on the evolution of the English language. If you're a complete snob regarding proper usage, this is for you.
- The Mahabharata The most amazing six hours of acting I have ever seen.
- Johnny's 'Jamaica Me Crazy' Hot Sauce With enough of this stuff I'd happily eat my socks.
- Salumi If the idea of paying $50 to order a 'salami' by mail seems about as sensible as ordering a hot dog in a French restaurant then stop reading here. But if you can accept the idea that a soprasetta can be a transcendent experience? Get some. Or better still, go down to Jackson street at 11am and start queuing for lunch. Just writing this is making me desperate for a sandwich.
- Patton Soundtrack The movie was great, but the score is a real treasure. A great soundtrack is one where you cannot imagine the movie without it. There are very few movies you can say that about these days. Memorable melodies and the best bits of Hindemith. More on important soundtracks here...
- The Debt To Pleasure One of the most interesting books I have ever read; a study of a most entertaining psychotic killer with some darned fine recipes that really taste great! Another plus: it is an absolutely great looking book. The design, typography and even the paper are a perfect match to the book's sensual experience.
- St. John Restaurant My favourite restaurant in the world. They serve up marrows n' toast just like my grandmother used to make. And they're in Smithfield London of all places. Go figure.
- The Salvation Army I have volunteered with them for over twenty years and they have consistently done the best charitable work on the largest scale of which I'm aware. Over 97 cents of every dollar they bring in goes to helping people. And when you work for them you can really see the good you're doing for people in your city.
- And one more charity, if you aren't already warn out? Richard Fuller's Blacksmith Institute, which cleans up the crappiest places on earth; where zillions of people have to live. And they do it for peanuts, using the simplest materials you can think of.
- Arthritis Foundation As a long-timer with this condition, I've seen how much good the AF does. Millions of people live much more active, pain free and happier lives through their efforts. Like the Salvation Army, their efforts are often overlooked by well-meaning people in favour of causes that are more au courant but I want to assure you that there is no cause you can give your dollars to that will have a higher 'bang for buck.'
- Polyface Farms Joel Salatin is one of the most interesting guys I have ever met. His approach to commercial farming is unlike anything I had ever heard of before. I think you will find it interesting to you regardless of what you do in life as his work is revolutionary and down to earth.
- Growing Power Will Allen is like the other side of the coin. He's an inspiration to me as someone who wants to grow their own good food.
- OyezA fantastic site which tracks the Supreme Court and all its cases. So much stuff that never makes the news and it's all fascinating.
Oh, you want musicians?
- OK, Check out Jake Shimabokoru, the most fantastic ukulele player I have ever seen. Yes, ukulele. And let me say that if I could recommend an instrument to teach your child or for yourself, I would pick this. Compact. Cheap. Beautiful. A lifetime of adventure on four strings.
- David Langlois. One of the most amazing percussionists you'll ever hear. Does more with five dollars of junk than most guys could with a Stradivarius. Tough to find good videos, recordings, but if you're in the New York area, seek him out because he's everywhere (maybe he'll be playing in Central Park!)
- The Beatles Anomaly List. A place no Beatles lover should do without. A guide to every little niggly, beautiful 'mistake' and oddity. A labour of love and hours of fun.
- The Sons Of Kemet. A different direction of jazz (along with guys like William Parker) that I'd like to see get explored a lot more.
- And what about Irish music? Here ya go: Liam O' Maonlái and Kila. When I want to give people an example of what modern Irish music can be, I recommend these two.
- So you want to dance? So let's go! Check out DiscoMusic.com.
- And since we do have a passing interest in 'progressive rock', here's an article from Rolling Stone on Rolling Stone. I strongly disagree with their conclusions but for the uninitiated this is at least a good list of many of the most 'famous' bands. If you want the real creme de la creme, see my top ten list instead.
Thanks for stopping by.
To paraphrase that old Talking Heads song. If you want to prove that you are creative, check out these links chosen especially for musicians like Ethyl here, who don't just want to be in show biz, but really want to hone their craft.
- Recording.Org A great place to get tips and insights into all the gear.
- Kunst der Fuge A place to download MIDI transcriptions of the standard classical repertoire.For computer-based musicians, this can be the best self-study music program of your life!
...and of course any of the musical kit I list on my Gear Lust Page.