|Limiting myself to just one picture to sum up this weird post.|
- The Coolest Game on Earth: The return of hockey sucked me in immediately and I've been closely following the new NHL season ever since. While the lockout that wiped away half the league's regular season was an ugly and embarrassing disaster for the sport, the actual gameplay on the ice hasn't suffer from it one bit. Hockey is still amazing to watch. Perhaps more than ever. (I can't help but watch anytime it's on---a game currently plays in the background as I type this.) Similar to the NBA's lockout-shortened season last year, the abbreviated schedule feels easier to digest. I'm of the opinion that every sport, with the possible exception of the NFL, has an overly long and drawn-out schedule that badly needs to be pared down. A 48-game NHL regular season (in which each team only plays opponents from their own conference) seems perfect. It bears mentioning that the sportswriting conglomerate site Grantland.com now features two great hockey writers in Katie Baker and Sean McIndoe whose work has been contributing to my intense interest in the sport this year. To be posted here soon will be a large post of all my thoughts on the NHL season thus far.
- Spring Has Sprung: The arrival at my doorstep of Baseball Prospectus 2013, the annual season preview book, has officially signaled the beginning of spring and the return of the beautiful outdoor game. I love watching and keeping up with the NHL and NBA but inevitably each year when the new BP annual shows up and Spring Training begins, my baseball obsession quickly stirs awake from its winter slumber, making it hard to maintain any balance in my sports fanhood. For the fourth time since this blog's inception, I'll be putting together my own season preview/predictions for each team in the weeks to come. Also, expect a critique of the BP annual soon as the phonebook-sized text which I look forward to reading every year made some major changes, mostly for the worse.
- "Yeah I'm Underground/ Straight Outta the Bat Cave": Two new hip hop albums have brought me lots of audio ecstasy already this year. The latest offering from Bronze Nazareth and his Detroit-based Wisemen crew is a solo album for the group's dynamically grimy and gravelly-voiced flow master Phillie entitled Welcome to the Detroit Zoo (produced and directed by Bronze). A pure album in every sense of the word, it is front-to-back filled with quality tracks, not a single bad beat (as per usual with Bronze & crew), and maintains a thought-provoking theme variously inflected throughout: that of captured animals in zoos being a metaphorical equivalent to "what it's like to be a nigga in America" as the oft-quoted Katt Williams has it. After two full months of constantly listening to and never getting bored with that album, another long-awaited record has just recently reached its release. The mesmerizing psycho-cosmic-occult-spiritual-street-poetic mysticism of Wu-Tang tribe shaman Killah Priest bursts forth through a massive 41-track collection in his most ambitious project to date, his tenth studio album, a double-cd entitled The Psychic World of Walter Reed (aka PWOWR). I'm still absorbing it, but will soon have lots to more to say about it as well as a full review of Phillie's album.
- Engaged in Guerilla Ontology: Inspired by the ongoing reading group over at the Robert Anton Wilson fan blog RAWillumination.net, I've been reading RAW's historical fiction novel Masks of the Illuminati. Through his always refreshingly smooth and creative prose, Wilson weaves a strange tale of secret societies, occult magic, astral projection, and global conspiracy with a thoroughly spooked main character who happens to cross paths with two of the greatest minds of the 20th century, James Joyce and Albert Einstein (at the earliest cusp of their fame), who are compelled to help him solve his harrowing dilemma. As always happens when I indulge in reading RAW's books closely, weird yet innocuous synchronicities keep popping up around my life lately.
- Finnegans Everything! I've got a new favorite blog and, as you can probably ascertain from reading this space, it's a weird one. Entitled Groupname for Grapejuice (a phrase from Finnegans Wake), this blog uses a mix of comparative mythology, occult knowledge, numerology, and some subjective free association to engage in what I can only call synchronicity detective work. The process might rankle the corduroys of the average skeptical rational materialists, but for me, having often indulged in this kind creative associative detective work myself, it's a delight to read. If you any interest in Finnegans Wake, synchronicity, numerology, Kabbalah, or conspiracy theories, then I can't recommend this blog highly enough. While the synchro-knots revealed can be a little scary sometimes, it's a good kind of scary, the kind that shakes up your world view, forcing you to reorganize your reality tunnel. Healthy mental exercise. Robert Anton Wilson would've loved it. In addition to that, I spent a month obsessively reading arguably the best critical work on Finnegans Wake called Joyce's Book of the Dark by John Bishop. It's an incredibly dense, information-filled book and so my attempt to summarize and review it has been a difficult one, but I'm about halfway done with that review piece so expect to see a big post on that soon at my other blog. My friend Gerry Fialka, who runs the long-standing Marshall McLuhan/Finnegans Wake Reading Group in Venice, California recently published a superb article weaving together a variety of threads, the associative style of which will appeal to anyone who derived intellectual pleasure from this specific bullet point.