One of the highlights of most weeks is the arrival of the New Yorker – usually on Tuesday.
That’s the day the Postal Service decides to give up the print copy. (I think somebody in the dreaded Flushing transfer point takes it home and reads it on Monday.)
But the New Yorker in print is worth the wait – and now it also arrives via the web. Hope you have seen Paul Rudnick's recent insight into America's most dangerous dilettantes -- Jared & Ivanka's Guide to Mindful Marriage.
Not only that: the New Yorker is on the radio as well as the web. Editor David Remnick, a former sportswriter who went straight, introduces the show on the local public station (WNYC-FM).
On July 8 (and already on the web site), Ariel Levy interviews Lucinda Williams and Adam Gopnik interviews James Taylor and does a star turn with guitar and voice with “Something in the Way She Moves,” in front of the master himself. Who knew?
Gopnik lived in Paris, writes about cool stuff, and has been performing JT at night to put his children to sleep. They are teen-agers now? They still indulge him in the sweet ritual? (I used to read “Ulysses” to our son, particular the part when Bloom is falling asleep, making puns on the name “Sinbad-the-Sailor.”)
Taylor and Williams – retaining their North Carolina and Deep South accents and roots – remind me we are one country, despite the red-blue stuff.
Not on this interview, but Sweet Baby James takes us to a childhood visit to a moonshine still in his song “Copperline.” He has also recorded songs about Civil War survivors – North or South? Doesn’t matter. Us.
Not on Ariel Levy's interview of Williams, in a song called “2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten,” the singer takes us to a dirty little juke joint (“sorry, no credit, don’t ask”) in Rosedale Miss. That’s part of my country, too.
In the interviews, Gopnik and Levy allow Taylor and Williams to explore the creative roots of their songs.
When Gopnik reveals that he plays at the guitar, JT hands him one of his gamers (a ball player word for game-worthy glove) and calls up his wife Jill from the audience to sing harmony with the writer from the New Yorker. It goes very well.
For the rest of this afternoon, JT and Lucinda seem to be singing in my head -- thanks to the New Yorker.
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With the arrival of LED lighting, which costs so little to burn, every house has become an island of illumination, every city a blazing forest fire of artificial light. In my own backyard, it’s hard to enjoy the full moon because so many of our neighbors now leave their lights on all night long. And that’s without the holiday displays, each one bright enough to guide an airplane from the sky and land it safely in the middle of our street.
---Margaret Renkl, The New York Times, Dec. 21, 2022.