Alex Goldman is a producer for On the Media. One time he got run over by a car.
OTM Staff Picks, January 23rd, 2011
Monday, January 23, 2012 - 01:07 PM
Every Monday, the staff of On the Media talks about a few of their favorite things. Tell us what media you've been consuming in the comments!
Sarah Abdurrahman: I’m slow to get on the “Downton Abbey” train, but now that I’m on it, I have to recommend it. I just finished all of season 1 (which is available on Netflix streaming) so I can’t vouch for the second season yet, but the first was great. I didn’t know anything about the show except all the hype surrounding it—so there was a huge potential for disappointment—but it completely lived up to the build up.
Bob Garfield: I'm going to do my staff pick in reverse this week. I've just begun reading 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, and 20 pages in I run into a hitman. (Hit woman, actually.) Do I want to invest two weeks on a two-pound book that begins like a silly Hollywood movie. Tell me. Tell me.
Brooke Gladstone: Barry Unsworth’s Sacred Hunger won Britain’s prestigious Booker Prize in 1992, tying with Michael Ondaatje's better known novel, The English Patient. Sacred Hunger is a stunner, a straight-up historical novel set in the middle of the 18th century. It’s about a slave ship, its officers and press ganged seaman, and a pitiless era depicted in feculant detail. The charters are vivid and tightly drawn, with no word wasted. It’s a novel that inexorably pulls you in, and you can’t leave, though sometimes you wish you could. When you’ve finished, you know you’ve been somewhere and it stays with you.
Alex Goldman: Going by my preoccupation with the Wu-Tang Clan and Parliament/Funkadelic, it may just be that I have a bottomless affection for music made by huge, loosely coordinated ensembles of insanely talented and prolific musicians who frequently branch out on their own to do solo work. Seriously, I'll consume anything related to these two groups and usually find something to appreciate about it. So I was delighted to discover that the documentary about the keyboardist for Parliament (and later The Talking Heads) Stranger: Bernie Worrell on Earth, was available on Netflix streaming. As far as I'm concerned, Worrell should be getting a full pension from the west coast rap community for inventing their entire musical vocabulary.
Chris Neary: My staff pick this week is the story of a Nepalese Mount Everest guide who also works at a 7-11 in the Bronx.
In the mountains, Mr. Sherpa can spend months trekking over glaciers and negotiating ice falls and treacherous crevasses at nosebleed heights. His duties include scrambling ahead up snowy slopes, lugging heavy packs, setting ropes and tents, and heating hot noodles for climbers.
In the Bronx, he is a Sherpa of a different sort: furnishing fast food and daily necessities to truck drivers, warehouse workers and mechanics who seek sustenance from this base camp in the middle of a gritty industrial area.
Jamie York: Califone. It’s always been Califone. You know that cherished book of heirloom photographs that you keep though it’s decayed past recognizability? They sound like that. And you can dance to them.
And Rachel Aviv keeps writing incredibly nuanced, deeply researched pieces about mental health, often about how it intersects with the law or the criminal justice system. Her latest, in the New Yorker, about what happens when a remorseless teen-ager is sentenced to life in prison for murdering his grandfather in cold-blood, is characteristically great.