May Cargo Cult

By ScottB;

BOOK: "Underworld" (1997) by Don DeLillo

I remember listening to Sonic Youth's "Daydream Nation" for the first time and how perfect it was. The Platonic Ideal of indy rock. It had a big enough sound to straddle the void between mindless pop catchiness and noise rock's masochism. It was expansive enough to be able to dwell on the huge arcs of its style, or get lost in the microscopic detail of each hook, or word, or pause, or exhale. I enjoyed this book in the same way. It's by far the best book I've read this year...and probably in a lot longer even.

The story vacillates seamlessly between pitch-perfect descriptions of card games in the 1950's Bronx, to Lenny Bruce stand-up, to 1980's corporate culture, to the Atom Bomb looming over each character and engulfing the action. The bomb charges everything with a dark undercurrent of metaphysical energy. It's The White Whale...only nobody gets least not literally. The threat alone is enough to make the entire half-century radiate with a strange luminescence. This is one of the best books I've ever read.

ALBUM: "High Violet" (2010) by The National

There are a few lazy ways to describe this band and album: they sound like Joy Division covering R.E.M...."High Violet" is to "Boxer" as "Ok Computer" is to "The Bends"...but despite being accurate they're a little reductionist. And that's whats great about this band/album: sure, they have a context in which they exist inside of rock history, but they also have tendrils exploring previously untouched psychic fauna. The drumming is awesome. The guitars play around with texture. The lyrics are perfect keyhole glimpses into inner bed-chambers of thought. "Bloodbuzz, Ohio" is nearly an anthem for Midwesterners living in the city. And, as always with this band, the first line of the first song perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the album: "Terrible love and I'm walking with spiders..."

MOVIE: "Grizzly Man" (2005)

Herzog, the director, is a baller for sure; but in this documentary he shifts his attention to the least deserving aspect of Man/Bear love: the aesthetic beauty of the bears themselves. Timothy Treadwell's lunacy is addressed, but so respectfully as to be nearly reverential. That's fitting for the dead but boring for the living. So get past the new agey soundtrack and expansive Alaskan vistas and concentrate on the story itself: An outcast moves to LA, assumes a false name and makes up a new Australian identity, fails at acting, finds work in a Medieval themed restaurant, picks Grizzly Bears to pour his wealth of psycho emotional energy into, lives among them for a long time, films it, starts to believe that he is a bear too, is eventually eaten by the bears. And didn't anyone try to stop him or help him or something? No. Apparently everyone he's ever known or loved was also insane.

FOOD: Cuban Sandwich from Cuban Cafe

Now that summer is here and outdoor seating is open it seems more appropriate to eat Cuban in the city. I don't know if its the tender meat, the crispy pickle, or the chipotle mayo that makes this Cuban taste better than others, but it does. And it's served with a side of Garbanzo Beans. Wash it down with a Pina Colada so delicious I didn't even drink it ironically.

CARGO: My New Apartment

It's huge for my neighborhood. It's twice the size of my old apartment for the same price. It's contains the holy trinity of washer/dryer/dishwasher. There's roof access from which you can see the Empire State building if you look one way, and the beautiful Neo-Classical Brooklyn Museum the other. My bedroom windows look down on my favorite Thai, Mexican, and Japanese restaurants. My neighbor, Sit and Wonder Cafe, serves Stumptown Coffee. And Glenn and Maddie will be living 1.4 miles away.


  1. OMG, a washer-dryer in an NYC apartment? You'll just have to stay there til you die. Or clothes develop self-cleaning technology (estimated time: 2017).

  2. This article needs more pictures!

    I'm glad to see it sticking around. I probably should see Grizzly Man. I didn't even know Herzog directed it.

  3. i can't wait to visit your new apartment! can we watch grizzly man? it's one of my favorite movies.

  4. I want to see pictures too but not as much as I want to read that Dom Deluise book!

    Daydream Nation is a bit too long for me but damn if it doesn't have some amazing moments.

  5. Don't forget the planned Man Room in the new awesome apt!

  6. I LOVE ALL OF THESE THINGS (or at least the idea of them - your new apartment in particular). I really like this series too.

  7. This series is as awesome as the idea of a NYC apartment that can fit a washer, dryer and dishwasher.
    Jake, we really need to watch 'Grizzly Man'.


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