Tuesday, November 23, 2004

2 + 2 = 5.

1) Summerland, CA.

I was going to put Thanksgiving as my number one, but that would be unoriginal. Instead, I'm putting the location of where I'll be spending Thanksgiving. Located just a few miles south of Santa Barbara, Summerland is all ocean and sky and sun. I'm looking forward to flopping down on the couch in the rental place and just soaking in that sunlight. Oh and eating lots of food and watching dumb TV and reading and spending time with my family. Amen.

2) and 3) Vacation reading.
Among others: Hitch's new collection, Love, Poverty, and War and Chabon's The Final Solution. I've started both already (cheating I know) and am madly in love with both. While there's plenty of Hitch's sometimes infuriating "Iraq stuff," there's plenty of the material that I really love: his poisonous diatribes against the Dalai Lama and (in his words) "Mother" Teresa and Fahrenheit 9/11 and The Passion of the Christ.
Perhaps my favorite essay that I've read (thus far) is far gentler. It's a piece about L.A.'s Sunset Blvd. The concept: Hitch drives from one end to the other, giving the history and expressing the importance of the street. For a memorable stretch of the trip, Billy Wilder was actually his guide (which, when one things about it, is like the celebrity death match of acerbic curmudgeons). And then there's this bit:
Asking diffidently at Dan Akroyd's House of Blues if I could smoke, I was told by a stunning African-American hostess, "Honey, didn't we have this conversation last year? You promised you'd stay healthy so I could bear your child." Just like that. Behind her a large notice read, THIS JOINT IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF OUR DEAR BROTHER RIVER. Did Mr. Phoenix die in here? "No, honey, he was an investor." Oh, O.K. I'll go smoke outside, then.

As for Mr. Chabon's book, I'm only two chapters in, but I'm relishing his rich/odd characters and how his prose will suddenly jut off into a lyrical stratosphere.

4) The White Stripes' "Jolene (live)."

Go to iTunes now and download The Stripes' frenzied, blues-soaked take on this Dolly Parton chestnut.

5) The Amazing Race 6.
It's back and so best. It's hard to let go of the teams of yore (Mirna and Shmirna: you will not be forgotten!), but this new crop is going to work nicely: lots of crazy OCD-types and silicone. And the initial leg of the race (Chicago to Iceland) was as great as anything on last season. It's off to a great start.


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