Tuesday, November 15, 2011

But How Was I To Know?

However impossible it may seem, somewhere among the readers of this blog lurks the computer that invents the farfetched recommendations attributed to Barnes & Noble. Having nothing to do with that revelation, it is all very unfortunate that I have discovered that I can walk to Barnes & Noble on my lunch break. Having a good deal to do with that, a few weeks back, I, intoxicated with the distinction of being A Person Who Had, At Last, A Copy Of Martin Chuzzlewit, darted prodigally into the aforementioned establishment and bought a copy of Nicholas Nickleby. And the computer printed in the most surly tone imaginable:


Bleak House
by Charles Dickens

Dombey and Son
by Charles Dickens

Tale of Two Cities
by Charles Dickens

Great Expectations
by Charles Dickens

Oliver Twist
by Charles Dickens

And the computer is batting 300.

[If you're reading this again, computer: I'm sorry about the previous "recommendations" post, pal. That bit I ranted on before--it was just in fun. You know that, don't you? And I honestly did enjoy the bits of Moby Dick that I've read. I enjoyed 'em a lot. . .Well, most of 'em, anyway.]

Monday, November 14, 2011

All the Latest Rage

This weekend I finally learned Jerry Holland's fabulous "Reel for Carl," which, considering I first heard the tune in 1999 on one of Shane Cook's early albums*, was a task--a pleasure, I should say--rather overdue. It's quite an addictive tune, perhaps not the least because it is in the refreshing key of C#m, coming as a perpetual surprise to the ear. (Admittedly, to the uninitiated (me) it is also a perpetual surprise to the fingers, and therefore, in its early stages, not always the kindest of surprises to the ear.) The sound on the video below isn't the clearest, but Mr. Holland himself plays the reel in question at exactly 1:00.

A mesmerizing solo version of the tune also appears on the composer's The Fiddlesticks Collection, and anthologised on Green Linnet's Legends of the Scottish Fiddle.

*Heritage Fiddles, now out of print. Yes, I do enjoy writing footnotes. Why do you ask?

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Today being Robert Louis Stevenson's 161st birthday, here is his opinion on Guinness. Or at least Guinness' opinion of his opinion on Guinness. (Spoiler: It's good for you.)

Credit where credit is due: RLS Silverado Museum's Facebook page