Vehicle For Dissertation

Books I read, music I hear...My imperious opinion on both.

Friday, October 21, 2005

A Short Review - The Penultimate Peril - Lemony Snicket

And here it seems we find the penultimate book in A Series of Unfortunate Events. I did find it necessary to look up the word "penultimate" which, of course, means next-to-last.

The ending of The Grim Grotto was rather exhilerating to me. The idea of the tables turning and the Baudelaires finally finding a member of V.F.D. (Kit Snicket) waiting for them in a taxi after their boldness in spurning Mr. Poe's further involvement. I am not really going to say what happens in this book play by play but I'll try and give an idea of what it does and doesn't do.

The whole idea of the tables being turned doesn't seem to carry over to this book. The siblings relationship with Kit is short lived and though it seems like things will come to a head on Thursdays V.F.D. meeting at the last safe place. L.S. himself tells us at one point that we have reached the denouement though I am just as confused as to if I agree as the three siblings were with the chaotic gathering of so many characters from their recent lives at Hotel Denouement.

When one reads this you'll find yourself flooded with more information that does little to elucidate. The Baudelaires father is named Bertrand (I don't recall if this was previously known), Count Olaf became an orphan because of poison darts, the Baudelaire parents were given poison darts by Kit Snicket at a performance of La Forza del Destino, the Baudelaires may have a previously unknown sibling** and so on.

**I say this because near the beginning of the book reading the reversed sentence(s) one reads that they were being watched as they sat outside Hotel D by a previously unknown sibling. Come to think of that however I beleive it is in reference to Dewey Denouement who they meet later in the book. He was the triplet brother of Frank and Ernest the hotel managers. One a villian one a volunteer. It is never revealed which is which.

All in all it seems this twelfth book raises a great many questions without revealing a great deal more. It also seems somewhat chaotic. I wish it weren't so long until Book the Thirteenth. It is going to have to be thick volume to clear up everything half revealed so far. It seems the Village of Fowl Devotees (at least the crows) or the eagles from the Mortmain Mountains will have something to do in the next book as they are featured in the last illustration flying in on the horizon. Of course in The Grim Grotto a hot air mobile home was on the horizon and it is only mentioned in TPP. If you've read the other books I've no doubt you'll read this as well however I don't think it will answer your questions.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Little Star - Girlyman

I can't remember now where I first heard the song This Is Me. It was on the radio but I tried and I can't remember whether it was online or on the folk hour of a local station. I do know that I first found the group Girlyman while looking around on That was before their latest CD, titled Little Star, came out. I checked out the audio clips and their website and though they seemed interesting but a little weird also. I still think a couple things are a little weird...But I like their sound. Evidently nothing really caught me when listening to the clips from Remember Who I Am. With Little Star its different (I need to check out RWIA again also).

My whole impression with Little Star is based on the 2 minute audio clips you can hear on CDBaby and on reading the lyrics on their website. And like I said I did hear This Is Me in its entirety once. I think they do an excellent job. Vocally and instrumentally. Lyrically there is a clarity combined with a certain vagueness that mirrors the feelings I often find myself experiencing.

Listen on CDBaby...

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

The name Wuthering Heights sounded appealing...Besides I'd read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. To be upfront with how I felt on finishing the book: I felt rather disappointed. It was an interesting read. The problem I had is that I didn't really have any characters to like. You know how some books or movies have these adorable, brave, beautiful or otherwise worthy characters for whom you as the reader develop a regard. This was not like that. The history of Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange covered some three generations causing some confusion since names were similiar or identical at some points. Mainly though when I was getting on a likely basis with the young Cathy Linton she goes through her transformation on becoming Mrs. Heathcliff and then further when her relationship with Hareton Earnshaw changed so drastically...

It is certainly a classic book and a good read, I just don't find it one to become particularly attached to. I bought it to take on a trip (for airport reading) and it will join Jane Eyre on my book shelf but not exactly the same place in my reading heart...

Monday, June 27, 2005

Weather and Water - The Greencards

The Greencards new album (above) is due to be released on the morrow... I just heard them for the first in the past week. In case you didn't know they've been touring with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson. Musically (and perhaps lyrically) they are similiar to Nickel Creek (they make the comparison themselves) but vocally I find them quite different. The group consists of Eamon McLoughlin on fiddle, Kym Warner (mandolinist) and Carol Young with bass. I believe Kym and Carol (both Australians) cover most of the vocals...

You can listen to the entire album on or...

Interviews and several songs played at FolkAlley studios in NE Ohio can be found on FolkAlley Extras.

Last but not least...The Greencards website.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

(Updated 5-26) More Info on Nickel Creek's "Why Should The Fire Die?"

According to the Nickel Creek news page and this eBay listing (no longer a valid listing as of 5-26) we have a look at the titles of all the tracks on their upcoming (August 9th) album. The listing on eBay describes a "back disc" evidently a prerelease recording. While it doesn't have the graphic packaging it does list the track titles and running times (presumably they are correct). The songs are as follows:

1. When in Rome
2. Somebody More Like You
3. Jealous of the Moon
4. Scotch & Chocolate
5. Can't Complain
6. Tomorrow is a Long Time
7. Eveline
8. Stumptown
9. Anthony
10. Best of Luck
11. Doubting Thomas
12. First and Last Waltz
13. Helena
14. Why Should the Fire Die?

The track Anthony is a Sara Watkins piece. To my knowledge it'll be the first Sara-written-song on their albums so far. I'm certainly looking forward to the albums release...Until then you might want to check out some album art and photos at:

Nickel Creek Publicity Photos

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Heard on FolkAlley - Moe Berg: The Song

Story songs are often quite interesting. I never remember hearing of Moe Berg before hearing this one and if I did I certainly didn't know that he was a spy, baseball player, professor etc. During WWII he worked for the OSS trying to find out if the Germans were getting close to obtaining "the bomb." He later worked for the CIA as well.

From May to mid-December, Berg hopped around Europe interviewing physicists and trying to convince several to leave Europe and work in America. At the beginning of December news about Heisenberg giving a lecture in Zurich, Switzerland reached the OSS, and Berg was assigned the task of attending the lecture and determining "if anything Heisenberg said convinced him the Germans were close to a bomb." If Berg came to the conclusion that the Germans were close, he had orders to shoot Heisenberg; Berg determined that the Germans were not close. (read more about Moe Berg here...)

Chuck Brodsky's album Radio contains the song I heard about Moe Berg. The clips below don't give you much but its a little...

Moe Berg: The Song Clip 1

Moe Berg: The Song Clip 2

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Brothers Karamazov Revisited @ ThinkBlog

I have the book Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky on my "to read list" (though I can't remember why or where I first noticed him) so this post from ThinkBlog caught my eye. Looks like The Brothers Karamazov could find its way to that same list. The following is an excerpt from the post. (The first paragraph is a quotation from the book)

Lamentations comfort only by lacerating the heart still more. Such grief does not desire consolation. It feeds on the sense of its hopelessness. Lamentations spring only from the constant craving to re-open the wound.
Such a good word. I have thought much of David's sorrow over the prospect of losing his son; or, more broadly, on the ancient Jewish customs of grief at large. Namely, there is a set period of mourning, and then it's over with. You move on. You stop complaining and worrying and fussing over it. You are able to look back on X time in your life and you remember that you have fully grieved the loss, whatever it is, and so do not need to continue to be sad. What an enormous insight into the nature of depressive psychology, and how true! (continue this post reading here...)

I thought this was interesting. I'd wondered before about the times for mourning observed by Biblical figures but it never really occurred to me why it might have been customary to mourn the death of a person death for such a specific number of days.