Stories to read this week

The headliner…

Crack, a Tiffany Drug at Woolworth Prices: Spin’s 1986 Feature

“There are messages in these bottles, cries for help tossed in a curbside sea. The fleet stops at the corner of Eighth Avenue and capsizes into an already gutted drain of moldy, splintered, and stagnant dreams. This is 145th Street, “Crack City.”

In 1985 Barry Michael Cooper exploded Harlem’s crack epidemic to the world with his street-charged style and new jack prose. Cooper, who coined the term New Jack Swing in a profile on future Blackstreet founder Teddy Riley, stares into the “hyper, spastic eyes” of users, dealers, mothers, and fathers – all addicts hooked on the fleeting euphoria inhaled with freebase. His imagery takes us inside an urban war zone, thirty years back to when crack turned people into junkies and tossed families into ruin. Cooper went on to write New Jack City, Sugar Hill, and Above the Rim, but this story is the one that introduced a new epidemic to the world.

Articles to make you think…

How Jimi Hendrix’s obsession with Bob Dylan led him to Woodstock-  A look into how Hendrix’s appreciate for Dylan led him to Woodstock and gave us his charged cover of “All Along the Watchtower.”

Drew Brees has a dream he wants to sell you-  Drew Brees and an army of athlete-celebrity endorsers profess their support for AdvoCare, a multi-level marketing company selling energy drinks, shakes, and supplements. Whenever a company’s revenue derive from the sale of goods to their salespeople (and their salespeople’s downlines) and not to an end consumer, be wary before handing over any money.

The rise of killer robots-  “When robots go to war…how will humans keep the peace?”

Me, myself and I: Loneliness can be a shameful hunger, a shell, a dangerous landscape of shadowy figures. But it is also a gift- “It took me a long time to understand how loneliness might be a gift, but now I think I’ve got it… Loneliness might raise one’s blood pressure and fill one with paranoia, but it also offers compensations: a depth of vision, a hungry kind of acuity.” 

I’m asked often why I enjoy being alone–reading a book on a bar stool, scribbling into a pocket-sized notebook in the corner of a busy coffee shop, walking, dining, being–and this quote captures it. Being alone sharpens my surroundings and focuses my perceptions. It lets me hear feelings behind conversations or see the warmth in a handshake or silent embrace. Being alone connects me to others.

Michael Lewis: The scourge of Wall Street-  “Disruptors always make great stories… But that is not how I live my life. I’m a go along, get along person…Troublemakers, I am drawn to, though I am not one myself by nature; I do like the idea of them.” I think this quote is why I am surrounded by folks who are way more interesting than me.

Book(s) to read…

Fall River Dreams

“Ask anyone who’s lived there for any time, in the past eighty years, and they’ll probably tell you that Fall River, Massachusetts is a city lost in a time-warp. It’s old, and it’s tired. Long gone are the memories of its heyday as the textile capital of the world…”

“Friday Night Lights” on the hardwood. Author Bill Reynolds spent a season with Durfee High’s basketball team in Fall River, Massachusetts, and captures how sports is a source of hope and frustration for a town living without much of the former and burdened by too much of the latter. Chris Herren, subject of the ESPN Film Unguardedis a junior and stars as the irascible point guard equally adept at slicing apart a defense and challenging his coach’s long-held virtues. Basketball matters- perhaps too much- for the players, town, and futures each struggles to see.

Something to laugh with…

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One comment

  1. Glad you’re back with a wealth of good articles. Michael Lewis is one of my favorite authors and I’m always glad to see what’s been on your mind lately!

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