Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story by Chuck Klosterman

Hearing how Chuck Klosterman’s voice sounds on Bill Simmons’ podcasts makes it a little more awesome to read this book. I thought the premise tying this book together was unnecessary, as Spin could have just sent Klosterman on a road trip. It’s worth reading even if I don’t know whether to pronounce Klosterman as Close-terman or Claws-terman.

Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story by Chuck Klosterman

The Last Pale Light In The West – Ben Nichols (2008)

Based on the book Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy, The Last Pale Light In The West is a solo effort by Ben Nichols of Lucero. It’s weird, an EP based on a book, but every song, even the my least favorite, is great. 4 stars, instead of 5, because all of the songs sort of sound the same, which ends up being fine, actually, but might rub some of you the wrong way.

The Last Pale Light In The West – Ben Nichols (2008)

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin

It might be just me, but I really struggled through the first 125-odd pages of this book until Lincoln got elected (sorry for the spoiler. He dies at the end. Damn it, again!). Kearns has obviously written the book from the perspective that Lincoln always made the right decision, and thus didn’t include any decisions he got wrong. That said, Lincoln sure seemed to make a hell of a lot of decisions correctly.

Bonus links:
Lincoln Memorials in NYC, 16 hour audiobook of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates and superpower Lincoln biopic coming in 2011 from Steven Spielberg, Tony Kushner, Liam Neeson, and Sally Field, with music by John Williams.

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Lucero, The Paradise – Boston, MA 4/16/09 Review

After only seeing Lucero in divier venues (The Middle East, The Living Room, and a dingy boat riding around the Boston Harbor), I was interested to see what they did in a classier venue, like the Paradise. While the sold-out crowd was into it from the get go – singing along and finger pointing – the band started out a little stiff. Whether it was playing some new songs or the newer arrangements to older standards or the apparent complete sobriety, something wasn’t clicking on stage for the first couple songs. The situation turned around quickly, though, and after the audience carried the band out of gate, they were treated to the Lucero performance they were expecting. [I don’t know if there’s ever been a more vanilla opening paragraph, blech. Writing about things dispassionately sucks!]

The band was joined on stage by a slide guitarist and keyboardist (and at one point towards the end, some random bald guy from the audience singing a Replacements cover) adding extra heft to the songs and all told, Lucero played for two and a half hours, which is NUTS. It got sloppy towards the end of the night, which is hard to avoid when 2 of the members are drinking straight from bottles of Jameson, but this was still the most polished performance I’ve seen – Ben only forgetting the words to one song and mixing around the verse order of another – and really, what did you expect?

Lucero, The Paradise – Boston, MA 4/16/09 Review