Scott Douglas’ Terse Bloviation

How Forks Gave Us Overbites

My Atlantic interview with Bee Wilson, author of Consider the Fork.

No comments Digg this

My First Piece for The Atlantic

Online only, but still. I hope it’s not my last. It’s on how performing music leads to endorphin release a la working out.

No comments Digg this

Best Material Possessions Acquired in 2012

Of course the best things that happened in 2012 had to do with relationships, accomplishments and experiences. But I’m allowed to feel fondness for material objects as well. Here are the best things I acquired this year, and why, presented in chronological order of when I got them.

1. Amby Burfoot’s New England Runner’s Training Log
Amby gave this to me when we roomed together in Houston for the Olympic Marathon Trials. I think he meant it as a gag–he tried selling these things in the early 80s–but I’ve been using it as my running log since September. The log is wonderfully retro, with GBC binding and a cover photo of Bill Rodgers, Greg Meyer and George Malley at the 1982 New Haven 20K. I like not only the log but also that Amby and I have become good enough friends for him to jokingly give me the log.

2. Jobim For Lovers by Vincent Herring
I found a used copy of this 1999 release over the summer and have been playing it nonstop since. If I’m happy, Herring’s interpretations of Jobim’s bossa nova classics make me even happier. If I’m sad, the CD improves my mood while also acknowledging that life can be hard. Herring always plays his sax with depth, but with special layers of profundity on this album.

3. Sandwiches from Scratch Baking Company delivered on October 2
On the day Stacey and I had our dog, Clara, euthanized at home, our friend Meredith came by with sandwiches from the neighborhood bakery. I had always wondered why people bring food when there’s been a death, and now I know. We are blessed to have good friends and a great bakery within walking distance, and we were blessed to live with Clara for more than eight years.

4. Storage kohlrabi for $1
Five pounds of kohlrabi goodness for one dollar is a food bargain I will probably never top. All hail Freedom Farm for its willingness to grow crazy vegetables for the few of us who appreciate them.

5. Mill Street blanket from Faribault Woolen Mill Company
Thanks to a gift, I splurged and bought this queen-size merino wool blanket for our bed. The warmth-to-weight ratio can’t be beat, and this thing will last forever. It’s a great example of the value of spending a little more on one occasion and having a high-quality item for years instead of a series of lower-cost disposable substitutes.

6. German mushrooming knife
A great gift is one you didn’t know you wanted because you didn’t know the item existed. That’s the case with this knife for mushroom foraging, complete with foldable blade and brush. Thinking about using it already produces thoughts of purposeful, pleasant walks through the woods next summer and fall.

7. Painting of Miss Hitty
2012 was a tough year on the pet front. Clara’s death in October was preceded in March by that of Miss Hitty, the cat I adopted in 1995 and felt an inexplicable bond with. Stacey commissioned the hugely talented Kate Pugsley to do a small watercolor portrait. Staring at it evokes in me feelings that I don’t get from looking at photos.

Sorry, sort of a sappy list, and not the happiest. But true to the year’s tenor.

No comments Digg this

2012 Completed Book #24

Tough Island by Crash Barry

One-sentence review: Entertaining tales from Matinicus, Maine’s most remote inhabited island.

No comments Digg this

2012 Completed Book #23

The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin

One-sentence review: Short but interesting imagining of Jesus from the perspective of his skeptical mother.

No comments Digg this

2012 Completed Book #22

Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon

One-sentence review: I love being transported to a unique created world I would otherwise never think about (in this case, low-level horse racing).

No comments Digg this

2012 Completed Book #21

The Road by Cormac MCarthy

One-sentence review: It’s the feel-good novel of 2039!

No comments Digg this

2012 Completed Book #20

Consider The Fork by Bee Wilson

One-sentence review: A fascinating look at how kitchen implements determine how and what we eat.

1 comment Digg this

2012 Completed Book #19

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

One-sentence review: Having the author’s immune system sounds horrible, but being a snail sounds pretty cool.

No comments Digg this

2012 Completed Book #18

The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg

One-sentence review: Attenberg sustains the character development of her short-story collection Instant Love over the length of a novel.

No comments Digg this

« Previous PageNext Page »