Recommended diversions


Yeah, fine: burn your television, TV is bad. It’s mind numbing and makes us lazy. Blah blah blah. But if you’ve been without it for three years like I’ve been, getting the “basic cable package” is quite a joyous experience. The season premiere of “24” was awesome, “American Idol” is just as silly and pointless (and entertaining) as ever, and even getting to watch the news is nice. Heck, we tuned in to CBS for a while, and that almost never happens. Sorry Dave.


High Speed Internet

Ummm ... yes, this was part of the cable package as well. Even with the squirrelly old RCA modem, sorry — “digital broadband interface” — not having to wait a year for my email to appear, nor continuing to suffer through “buffering hell” when checking out music or video online, is heavenly. I am fully equipped to be over-stimulated, and I think I like it.


My big Christmas present this year was a cat (kitten, actually) that’s been christened “Dublin.” She’s a little tortoise shell colored ball of fur, has the midnight crazies nearly all the time, and loves sinking all of her needle sharp little claws into my right knee in an attempt to climb my leg like it’s the summit of a great mountain. One of our dogs desperately wants to disassemble the kitty while the other mostly doesn’t care one way or the other. I’ve always been more of a cat person, so this particular gift was extra special and totally unexpected. It should be noted that Dubs is an adopted shelter animal, and there are plenty more little whacked out bundles of joy where she came from, waiting patiently for a chance at a good home.

Wes Montgomery

He’s the best of the very best jazz guitarists and by no means a new discovery for me, but I do find myself going far too long without being grounded by this man’s sheer musical brilliance. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, sprint like a jazz-deprived cheetah to your nearest music retailer and demand a copy of his landmark Riverside recording, The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery, or Boss Guitar, or one of the many collections out there. The live take of Coltrane’s “Impressions” is a masterful education in groove and band interplay, and “Bumpin’ on Sunset” defined “chilled out” decades before the term was exiled into the land of much-abused clichés. Inspiring and humbling, he is indeed the man.

— Chris Cooper

Reading Room

  • A strange mix of books crosses my desk
    A strange mix of books crosses my desk The first weeks of 2018 have seen some offbeat books shamble across my desk and into my fingers. First up is John Buchan’s Mr. Standfast, also known as Mr. Steadfast. Buchan, a Scottish novelist and politician who served as Governor General of Canada from 1935…
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