Arts Desk

Five Books I’d Read

In which the author discusses five books he'd read, had he not been snowed in playing $5 + $0.50 no-limit sit-and-go tournaments at fulttiltpoker.com.

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1. The Great Ocean Conveyor: Discovering the Trigger for Abrupt Climate Change, by Wally Broecker
Dear Scientists: Please, please, please decide once and for all whether global warming is real. Now, I know that, for all intents and purposes, global warming is "real"—that is, the white elite liberal urban establishment (of which I am proud to be a part) believes that global warming is happening even when its black-overcoated, bescarved membership must red-facedly dig their brand new Toyota RAV4s out of 2-3 feet of snow here in the United States capital, substantially south of the Mason-Dixon line. But know, ye scientists, that every time it snows more than it ever has before in my entire life, it becomes that much harder to convince my conservative father, who voted for George W. Bush twice and threatens to vote for Sarah Palin (!) in 2012, that global warming is real—really, really real, like "cancer-kills" real, or "the-sun-rises-in-the-east" real, or "Jay-Leno-is-nonthreateningly-funny" real. Not real like "JFK-was-killed-by-Lee-Harvey-Oswald-acting-alone" real, or real like "the-New-Deal-would-have-got-America-out-of-the-Great- Depression-without-World-War-II-defense-spending" real, but really, really incontrovertibly real, like "Lost-got-shitty-after-Season-Two" real, or "Wings-wasn't-as good-as-the-Beatles" real, or "moon-landing" real (an event so real that it's routinely accepted to make fun of people who don't think it was real). Anyway, even if you show that, somehow, global warming actually results in global cooling (?!?!) like this one, do it. Otherwise, it's looking like a real mavericky 2012. Fuck.

2. Arctic Labyrinth: The Quest for the Northwest Passage, by Glyn Williams
Dear Ms. Williams: Washington, D.C., where I live and from whence this website originates, is in the midst of a "snowpocalypse." So, when you talk about "Finding the Northwest Passage," we think about: 1) finding our way up Porter Street to the Uptown to see Avatar (pow!), or 2) finding our way to 14th Street to Giant whilst hoping to Christ that there's one motherfucking box of Nature Valley Vanilla Cremes left (ooof!), or 3) find the way from the 1600 block of Monroe Street to Rock Creek Park so that our dogs can find a place to shit that isn't on top of three feet of yellow snow in our backyards, leaving us to stare out the window at crusty, dense "poopsicles" for the next 7-10 days (eeew!). I mean, I'm sure Arctic exploration was hard, but, come on—we're trying to get on the 42 bus over here.

3. Point Omega: A Novel, by Don DeLillo.
Perfect: Just when the world isn't icy and postmodern enough, Don DeLillo gives birth to another novel.

4. The Blues Go Birding Across America, by Carol L. Malnor and Sandy F. Fuller, illustrated by Louise Schroeder
Birding—like skiing, snowboarding, camping, canoeing, kayaking, acupuncture, raw-food diets, macrobiotic diets, riding public transportation, voting D.C. Statehood, not-watching TV, and not-playing no-limit Texas Hold 'Em all night—seems like one of those things that's meditative and healthy in a Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance kind of way that I'll just never get around to.

5. Chainsaws, Slackers, and Spy Kids: Thirty Years of Filmmaking in Austin, Texas, by Alison Macor
Back before Austin was known for a four-day vomit-and-indie-rock festival, it was home to a bunch of filmmakers that made some pretty cool movies with no resources. Then, one of those filmmakers made Spy Kids. I'm not sure what the other one did.

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