Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Globe Trotting

Potential new feature here in Freeze Pop land, born from a longtime love affair with the Sunday paper. As I consume more and more of my news online, the Sunday Boston Glove endures as my one tangible newspaper experience. Call me a hopeless romantic but there's still just something different and wonderful for me in the experience of having a newspaper in your hand versus reading articles online.

One of things I really enjoy about flipping through a Sunday paper is the randomness of seeing which stories and sections grab my attention from week to week. Maybe it's an interesting Travel piece. Maybe a book or movie review that sends me straight to my Amazon wish list or Netflix queue. Or maybe it's a long feature in the Ideas or Sports section. It could be almost anything.

That's where this feature comes in. In this space, I want to share the journey through the Sunday paper by presenting my top five list of the most interesting pieces of the week. The rules are simple. There are no limits on what's eligible. Could be a small blurb. Could be three stories in the same section. Whatever's clever. As long it catches my fancy it's fair game. And, on that note, let's dive into a first pass (in no particular order) below.

Clarke's Globe Picks of the Week (10/25/2009)

1) Headline: Coming Around Again
Author: Joan Anderman
Description: Record-contract limbo behind her, Carly Simon revisits her classics and makes new album a family affair

Comments: I'm far from the world's biggest Carly Simon fan. I mean, I've got You're So Vain and Nobody Does It Better on my ipod. Don't get me wrong. I know about the failed marriage to James Taylor. I'm familiar with their son Ben Taylor and his music. That's pretty much where it ends though. That said, I thought there were lots of interesting tidbits in this piece about her re-packaged greatest hits project.

You learn about her Starbucks contract and how that deal fell apart. Then there's the whole dynamic of her relationship with her son which is kind of fascinating. You can tell he adores her on the one hand but that they have this kind of weird working relationship too. There's the lingering enmity with her famous ex-husband. There's hope that this project is going to be commercially successful despite what seems like a lot of mixed feelings over doing it in the first place. After reading this story I could easily see myself buying into a book or a movie based on Carly, JT and the kids. There's more material there than I would have thought.


2) Headline: Islam's Darwin Problem
Author: Drake Bennett
Description: In the Muslim world, creationism is on the rise

Comments: See, here's why I enjoy the randomness of the Sunday Globe. We go from a story about Carly Simon to a feature about the rise of creationism in the Muslim world. I love it. And I highly, highly recommend this piece if you can find the time. It's fantastic. I think you might be surprised how many people (even in the US) do not support the theory of evolution. Some of the statistics that Bennett provides are pretty eye-opening. The stuff in here about Adnan Oktar (Turkish author and vehement creationism-defender) is worth the price of admission alone too. No scientific or religious training? No problem! Blame Darwinism on Freemasons! On the flip side, surprising support for evolutionary theory from a Middle Eastern country you might not expect. Which one? You have to read it yourself...


3) Headline: Welcome To The Dollhouse
Author: Francie Latour
Description: The line the new black Barbies won't cross

Comments: Well-written piece about the problem with black Barbie dolls. Plenty of valuable historical context. I learned about "Colored Francie" from the 60's and Oreo Fun Barbie from the 90's. The biggest impression that the story made on me though was in regards to the crazy lengths that many black woman go to get straight hair. I don't think I had any concept of the severity of the salon experience described by Latour, what with the burning chemicals and so forth. Yikes.


4) Headline: For Walker, Financial Fouls Mount
Author: Shira Springer
Description: Former Celtics star pursued by creditors as free-spending lifestyle drains his wealth

Comments: Poor Antoine. Nothing in this story really surprised me. "Young person is given boatloads of money and doesn't handle it well," is a tale we've all heard by now. But the details are still pretty depressing. And, granted, it's hard to feel sorry for someone that was paid over $100 million to play basketball. But when you balance the craziness of playing $15,000 hands of blackjack with Michael Jordan and $1,800 dinners against taking care of about 75 people (especially his mother) to the point where you're giving five people authorization to just use your credit cards as they see fit, you do have to have a touch of remorse for the guy.


5) Headline: What You Hear Is Not A Chorus
Author: Matthew Guerrieri
Description: The truly original thing about "Rapper's Delight"

Comments: Now here's an easy sell. You give me an article about Wonder Mike, Big Bank Hank and Master Gee's signature hit and I'm in. This story, in particular, is about the uniqueness of a song with no chorus. Guerrieri describes the phenomenon in Rapper's Delight thusly, "Like the balladic verses of the blues, or the improvisatory excursions of long-form jazz, the song is less interested in how loud it can rev its engine than in how long it can keep it running." Well said, sir. Well said. I like a good chorus as much as the next guy but who says that every song needs one? Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go fire up some Sugarhill and ease into the afternoon. Happy reading kiddos.



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