Inputs - Feb 22

Posted on 02/28/2022 in misc

Reading

As usual, I track my reading at Books-2022, so I’ll keep it brief here. Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby is a fabulous follow-up to his debut novel Blacktop Wasteland. Weaver on Strategy is an interesting look at the Orioles manager who was doing a lot of the stuff modern analytics say baseball mangers should do, back in the 70s when the analytics department had one index card per player. A Well-Paid Slave is the biography of Curtis Flood and a deep dive look at the period of time when he sued MLB to eliminate the reserve clause. Every player making hundreds of millions today owes him a debt of gratitude, and I doubt 5% know who he is.

Online articles worth bookmarking included:

Magpies have outwitted scientists by helping each other remove tracking devices - It feels like we are seeing more “the animals are smarter than we thought” articles in recent years. It’s almost like they are asserting themselves as they watch us continually screw up the world we all share.

The Unreasonable Math of Type-1 Diabetes - I live this daily, as a spectator and supporter.

Songs for a South underwater - A fascinating look at how blues artists 100 years ago memorialized a devastating flood that white folks have mostly whitewashed. It comes with a fabulous Spotify playlist.

Facebook has a Superuser Problem - It’s not my blog without some anti-Facebook content.

The Beatles first US concert - A few days after the Ed Sullivan appearance they played their first full concert in the US, in Washington DC. Full concerts were 40 minutes back then. This is it in all its B&W glory.

The story of how Satchel Paige ended up pitching for a team representing a religious cult from Michigan. - Paige on the field with a bunch of white guys that look vaguely Amish must have been quite a sight.

Piecing together the Green Burial Movement - Hey, I am > 50.

The Economics of Spotify - 2% of Spotify artists make more than $1000/yr from Spotify. I suspect the numbers weren’t any better for artists pre-Spotify.

Watching

Pam and Tommy - Once you get by some ridiculousness in the first two episodes, it settles down into an interesting story. Pamela Anderson is portrayed way more sympathetic, and strong, than I expected. (Hulu)

American Rock Stars is the story of the Men's US curling team. They came up short in China, but the story of their 2018 Gold medal and the journey back to the Olympics is highly entertaining. It’s narrated by Nick Offerman, which is an additional argument in favor of watching. It’s 4 episodes - roughly 2 hours. (Peacock)

We watched Meatballs for maybe the first time this century. It doesn’t really hold up well. Not a bad movie, but not nearly as funny as I remember. (Amazon Prime)

14 Peaks is a really entertaining documentary about a climber from Nepal who decides to get Nepalese climbers the respect they deserve by climbing all 14 8000 meter peaks in 7 months. The previous record was 7 years. (Netflix)

The Rom Com The Map of Tiny Perfect Things is a take on Groundhog Day with two teens trapped in the time loop. Sweet, charming, and fun to watch. (Amazon Prime)

Hired Guns is a documentary on the guys in the band behind the stars. I didn't realize how screwed most of them are, basically living paycheck to paycheck on a touring salary while their boss makes millions on royalties that they helped make happen, in many cases. It includes an extended section of the death of Randy Rhodes and how Brad Gillis jumped in to keep the tour going, and also a lot from Jason Hook of Five Finger Death Punch and Alice Cooper. Prior to his metal gigs, he played guitar for Mandy Moore and Hillary Duff. As long as the checks clear, it’s all good in their world, I guess. (Hulu, I think)

We’ve started The Book of Boba Fett. I can’t say it really grabbed me after two episodes, but it’s only 7 total, so I imagine we‘ll finish it. (Disney+)

The only Olympics I watched was curling. I've gotten to where I understand the strategy of the game and can predict the shots they'll attempt to make. Curling was fun when I did it 4 years ago but I don't have the time to commit to it.

There are 5 streaming services in that list. Might be time to trim the subscription list a bit.

Listening

True to my comments last month, I have mostly avoided Pandora this month. Instead, I did a deep dive into my MP3 directory to unearth some hidden gems by listening to every album (that I own) by some of my favorite artists.

I started with Tesla, because of course I did! Something you may not realize is that every one of their albums hit the top 40 charts in the US. Also, Bust a Nut, released in peak grunge in 1994, still went Gold and is a hell of an FU to the music industry by continuing to do what they do, with no thoughts of jumping on the grunge wave.

Drivin’ N Cryin’ hasn’t had the commercial success of Tesla. 1995’s Wrapped In Sky is criminally overlooked, though, even within their canon of everything they’ve done being criminally overlooked. The Indian Song and Underground Umbrella are two of their best songs.

John Mellencamp has continued to put out really great albums long past his expiration date for pop culture relevance. He hasn’t had a hit since the 80s, and his folk and blues influences have come to the surface over the last 20 years. I can’t find anything bad in his catalog, though. It’s all good stuff.

And speaking of folk and blues, John Hiatt also got a lot of airtime in the house in February.

What were you watching, reading, or hearing in February?

Comments!