Appreciations by Title

Title Body
Apollo 11 - 2019 film

No matter what your age or orientation (political or otherwise), it's hard to gainsay the significance of humankind's first trip through space to set foot on a celestial body other than our birth planet.

Of course fictional space flight has become so common, in books and video, that sitting down for two hours to watch a documentary about a real trip that took place half a century ago might seem like a somewhat pedestrian enterprise.

Ah, but don't be fooled.

Building a Case for the Detective Story

Over the many years since the receipt of my Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Michigan, I have probably spent more rewarding hours reading detective stories than any other form of fiction. Such reliance on a particular genre is often viewed as a marked deficiency in taste and erudition, so I'd like to take a few minutes to defend my predilection.

Let me start with an observation from Raymond Chandler, one of the recognized masters of the form.

Fruitcakes I've always considered “Fruitcakes” to be Jimmy Buffet's masterwork. The musical backing is infectious, swaying and danceable, and the background vocals add depth. The words are cleverly crafted, and perfectly suited to Buffett's conversational, wisecracking delivery.

The history of Leonard Cohen's song “Hallelujah” is a fascinating one. Cohen's songs had never really been embraced by the masses, and his first recording of “Hallelujah” in the early eighties was part of an album so lacking in obvious commercial appeal that the president of CBS Records responded to it by saying: “What is this? This isn't pop music. We're not releasing it. This is a disaster.”

Paul Thorn and his 800 Pound Jesus I'd been aware of Paul Thorn for some time, but didn't really become a fan until I saw him live last summer at The Ark in Ann Arbor. I've been listening to Thorn's recordings regularly since then, and can now bear witness to a great catalog that stands up to deep and repeated listening.
The Village Green Preservation Society

This is a rather amazing song by The Kinks, first released in 1968.

I loved this song from the moment I first heard it, but my appreciation for it has only grown over the years.


The Weight I recently came across the Playing for Change Song Around the World video of Robbie Robertson's composition “The Weight,” and it made me want to think – and write! – more deeply about how this song works, and what it means, and the timeless nature of its appeal.
Will the Circle be Unbroken

I first heard this song as the title track on the monumental 1972 album by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, which they recorded with a number of country music greats who were still alive at the time.