What It Is: 3/22/10

What I’m reading: Finished The Ask, read West Coast Blues, and started Schulz and Peanuts, David Michaelis’ biography of Charles Schulz, and The Night of the Gun, David Carr’s memoir of his, um, very bad years. I didn’t mean to have so many books going on at once, but we got hit with a blackout on Saturday night and I decided to read on the Kindle app on my iPhone for a bit. Since the Schulz book isn’t available on the Kindle, I thought I’d start on Carr’s book. Three chapters later, I’m enjoying it immensely. Still, I’d like to read the Schulz book and segue from that into the new memoir by Jules Feiffer, Backing Into Forward (for which Carr wrote a really nice review in the NYTimes this weekend). I guess I’ll stick with the Carr book, since I’m traveling next weekend and don’t want to carry around the Schulz hardcover.

What I’m listening to: Joe Jackson Live 1980-1986, and Born To Run, the latter because it was a gorgeous, sunny weekend in NJ and what else are you supposed to listen to when you’re out driving? It’s in the state constitution fer goshsakes!

What I’m watching: A little TV (Parks & Rec, 30 Rock, The Ricky Gervais Show, the new South Park), but the only movie was a take-the-bad/weird-with-the-good capitulation to one of Amy’s oddball requests: My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

What I’m drinking: Death’s Door gin & Q-Tonic, and Domaine de L’Hortus grande cuvee 2007.

What Rufus & Otis are up to: Enjoying the warm weather with long walks. Well, Otis isn’t enjoying them as much as Ru is, because he has a bit of fur to shed, and has been panting by the last third of a 1.5-mile meander.

Where I’m going: St. Louis, for Passover with my family.

What I’m happy about: Assembling a new dining room table (yes, it was Ikea, but it seems sturdy as heck) and getting some new chairs, to replace the cheap-ass set I bought in the winter of 2002.

What I’m sad about: My NCAA brackets falling apart by the end of the weekend. Despite the fact that I watch zero college hoops and filled them out half an hour before the first game, I’d managed to pick a bunch of the upsets and was actually doing just great on ESPN’s Tournament Challenge through Saturday.

What I’m worried about: Getting the April issue out by the end of the week.

What I’m pondering: The weak link on Born To Run. It’s either She’s the One (a somewhat generic rocker to follow the title track?) or Meeting Across the River, which gets extra demerits for that awful David Sanborn horn. But Meeting does segue into Jungleland better than any other song on the album would, and She’s the One does rock pretty hard, albeit eh. It’s pretty amazing to think that one album contains Thunder Road, 10th Avenue Freeze-Out, Night, Backstreets, Born To Run and Jungleland. And that the artist still managed to make songs like Sprit in the Night, Blinded By the Light, Rosalita, NYC Serenade, Incident on 57h St., Badlands, Prove It All Night, The River, etc.. And don’t let ’em take me to the Cadillac Ranch . . .

What It Is: 8/25/08

What I’m reading: I finished When Genius Failed on Sunday, and am slowly continuing Montaigne’s Essays. Oh, and I picked up the third installment of Richard Sala’s comic, Delphine. Guess I better reread the first two parts.

What I’m listening to: The Cosmic Game, by the Thievery Corporation

What I’m watching: Finished up the fourth season of The Wire, and caught The Life & Times of Hank Greenberg. I think this may be my favorite season of The Wire so far, inasmuch as the storytelling really seemed to surpass its police/crime roots. Throughout the show, Baltimore has been the central character, but this was the first season where it really felt to me like the police characters just weren’t sufficient for the writers to explore the themes they were going after. That was true in the second season, to some extent, but the amount of character development that went into the four schoolkids was an even greater accomplishment than the way season two made us (me and Amy) actually care about and feel sympathy for a union boss. How this show never got nominated for an Emmy is beyond reckoning.

What I’m drinking: Plymouth gin. Man, does that have a sweet botanical edge to it.

What Rufus is up to: Meeting neighbors, trying to lead me into their garages. Also, we took him up to Rusty’s Place, our local pet store, on Sunday, so he could pick out a new toy and meet more dog-lovers.

Where I’m going: I have a coworker’s wedding to attend on Saturday, down in Cranford, NJ. More importantly, I’m seeing my accountant today! Since that’ll put me in Hackensack, I may just make a side trip to White Manna for lunch.

What I’m happy about: My niece Liat (age 8) went to her first Springsteen show! And she and my brother made it up near the stage, to the videographers’ pit, where — well, here’s my brother’s description:

Bruce jumped down into the pit, held Liat’s hand and started singing ‘Girls in Their Summer Clothes’ to her. Her face was on the video screen the entire time. Minutes earlier, Clarence gave her a maraca as a gift (she couldn’t take her eyes off him the entire show when he waved to her after the first song). Needless to say, that kid now has a better childhood than either of us. I can die in peace.

What I’m sad about: Summer’s just about over, so my typically hectic September looms (big issue of the mag, plus our annual conference on 9/25-26). Also, only 10 episodes of The Wire left.

What I’m pondering: How lucky I was to be out of the country for both parties’ national conventions in 2004, and how unlucky I am to be stuck here for both of them this time around.

Set List

Bruce put on a heck of a show last night, even though the awful NJ traffic left us with a 9:30pm start, rather than the unofficial 8:30 start (the tickets are for a 7:30pm start; hah!). My two observations about the band:

  1. Nils Lofgren may be shorter than Seth Green (but he had an awesome solo in Because the Night)
  2. Max Weinberg bears an unfortunate resemblance to Harold Ramis (but he drove the entire show)

Here’s the set list from the concert:

Summertime Blues

10th Ave Freeze-Out

Radio Nowhere

Prove It All Night

Two Hearts are Better than One

Promised Land

Spirit in the Night

Light of Day

Brilliant Disguise

Pretty Flamingo

Blinded by the Light

Cadillac Ranch

Candy’s Room


Because the Night

She’s the One

Living in the Future

Mary’s Place

Incident on 57th St.

The Rising

Last to Die

Long Walk Home


First Encore


Born to Run

Bobby Jean

Dancing in the Dark

American Land

Second Encore

Jersey Girl


I had a blast, especially since he kept the preaching to a minimum (unlike the time I saw him in 2003, which I don’t seem to have written about), but that late start meant that I walked in the door at home at 2:10am. Now I’m up at 5:30, taking care of the dog and I’ll bring my wife down to the bus stop in an hour. It’s humbling, given that I just watched a 59-year-old man perform for 3 hours and 15 minutes without a break.

Good thing I’m not heading into the office today!