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Tuesday, Jun 24, 2014
Now a parent herself, Carpenter asks how her father, such a gifted man, became so ruined.

Novella Carpenter is best known for her 2009 memoir, Farm City, wherein she details her decision to squat farm the empty lot beside her rental. That this land is located in one of Oakland, California’s worst neighborhoods only adds to the madcap quality of Carpenter’s choice.


Make no mistake, however, she is utterly serious about life off the grid in one of the country’s grittiest cities. Farm City won Carpenter a lot of readers with her humor, honesty, and earthy refusal of consumerist values.


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Thursday, Jun 19, 2014
Thomas Ricks's 2009 book The Gamble predicted that the 'surge' was far from the end of the Iraq War.

Back when publishers still released books about Iraq, Thomas Ricks wrote a pair of them that were forward-thinking for the time but now look powerfully prescient. Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2003 to 2005 (2006) was a damning an indictment of the Bush / Cheney / Rumsfeld crew’s excited rush to war and then seeming boredom with the details of actually managing it. It wasn’t the first book to lay out that case, but given the depth of Ricks’s reporting and his lack of ideological cant (which hampered a number of other books on the Iraq fisaco), it was one of the most definitive and difficult to dispute.


It was Fiasco’s less-celebrated 2009 companion volume, however, that truly stands out today.


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Monday, Jun 9, 2014
Daniel Levine finds the unique in what we thought was very familiar.

When Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was first published in 1886 it became an instant sensation, eventually selling over a quarter of a million copies in less than two decades and inspiring countless adaptations (stage versions began happening almost immediately after its publication). More than that, the concept of a man split, and eventually destroyed, by the darker side of his personality has become a staple of fiction, to the point where “Mr. Hyde” is synonymous with anything that reduces us to our most basic, animalistic needs.


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Tuesday, Jun 3, 2014
Joe Strummer cycled through a wardrobe's worth of personas in his career; but it never changed his fundamental authenticity or optimism.
This article is adapted from the chapter “Mystery Train: Joe Strummer on Screen” in Punk Rock Warlord: The Life and Work of Joe Strummer.


Excepting perhaps only Fats Domino, the Clash’s Joe Strummer had the greatest name in the history of rock and roll. Of course, it wasn’t actually his name. Nobody has a moniker that perfectly suited to their profession, especially in the business called show. After all, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame isn’t filled with people named John Smith or Ruth Adams.


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Friday, May 30, 2014
These two events grappled energetically with Ireland’s scruffily banging-through post-Celtic Tiger present and the not-so-buried wounds of its terrorized past.
Above: Dublin signpost image from Shutterstock.com.


In a spare white lobby-like space just off Temple Bar, the walls are decorated with highly personable photographic portraits of distinctive faces. A facepainted woman with a wry smile, the tough-looking trio of girls leaning up against a brick wall, the farmer with his tractor, the bearded drunk with lidded eyes, the young drunks with wide-open eyes.


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