Do you ever look at your neighbor's yards? Jarad does, and he has a lot to say about them.
Do you ever look at other people’s yards? I do. I’m always curious as to what my neighbors are growing. There are some basics that I’ve noticed: Forsythia, hostas, and roses. Forsythia in particular seem to be in every yard I see. Sometimes people have trees, but other than the wayward maple or redbud I don’t see them often. Often, houses will have hanging baskets on the front porch, or in one instance, a very sad looking petunia.
By Sut Jhally
Review by Jarad Johnson
The film Dreamworld focuses on the role of women as accessories to male singers and illustrates the way in which women are used as interchangeable sexual objects and accessories to an infantilized dreamscape designed and curated for men. Undeniably, women in these videos are showcased as accessories to men, status symbols, like ornaments on a tree.
Written by Shaun Tan
Reviewed by Mekala Trout
The Arrival, a graphic novel by Shaun Tan, is the story of an unnamed immigrant finding his way in a strange new country until he can bring his family to their new home. While there are no words in The Arrival Tan uses his art to show the state of the protagonist’s home country and his reasons for leaving. Tan uses colors, lines, and angles to draw dramatic differences between the two countries.
I’m going to go with the funniest thing I’ve ever read. No contest. It’s a collection of stories with cartoon illustrations called Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem and Other Things That Happened. It’s a series of stories from the author’s life, including the hilarious inner thoughts of her dogs. It also discusses her depression in a way that's entirely recognizable to fellow sufferers, but still somehow funny.
Been longing for a book that will make you laugh until snot comes out your nose? Or your diet coke goes up it? A book that will make you laugh until you cry off your makeup just before work? This is that book.
Warning: you will become annoying to others as you force them to stop what they’re doing to read snippets.
From Here to Eternity
Written by Caitlin Doughty
Review by Jarad Johnson
Disclaimer: Today, Jarad tackles the book, From Here to Eternity, a discussion of death and funeral practices around the world. Please be warned that this may be disturbing to some readers, so choose to read accordingly.
Today Jarad is sharing an interesting gardening fact related to his college!
I go to MTSU, and one of the things I’ve always appreciated about it are the plants and trees all over the place, especially on the older parts of campus, where my dorm is located (coincidentally, it strongly resembles an old school mental asylum, not exactly comforting, but a story for another day). There are different types of trees planted everywhere- redbuds, flowering pears, maples and huge cedar trees that look to have been there since the school was built. Of course, the newer side of campus is not as heavily landscaped, though they are making headway.
Written by Laurie R. King
Reviewed by Julie Carpenter and Jarad Johnson
This review is done in a point/counterpoint style. We thought it would be interesting to show two different perspectives on the same book!
Mary Russell receives a mysterious summons from her theological studies at Oxford to join her husband, Sherlock Holmes to help him investigate a death and some very odd, if not supernatural circumstances. They meet at the home of Holmes’ friend the Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould, a character central to the plot, and an old-fashioned, curmudgeonly foil for Mary. This case recalls one of Holmes’ most famous, the Hound of the Baskervilles, and takes place in the same area. Has the Hound returned? Central to the plot are the odd characters that abound on the moor.
Here are the books that Jarad has bought over the last month or so!
From Here to Eternity by Caitlin Doughty
The author of this book also has a youtube channel that I watch called Ask a Mortician where she talks about death and what she does as an alternative funeral director. That's where I first heard about her book, and I was very interested in reading it. I found it while browsing through Barnes and Noble and had to pick it up! In it, Caitlin explores death rituals around the world and analyzes why Western culture is so afraid of death and everything relating to it. So far it's been great and I look forward to reviewing it!
Review: An Ever Darkening Sky – Roy Peak
You may know Roy as our go-to music reviewer here at Sacred Chickens, but his music also provides many a work day soundtrack for me. I first got to know Roy’s music when I reviewed his first Album, All is Well. That album is still on my playlist, with its dark/light, sharply funny and straightforward emotions funneled through Roy’s gravelly voice and punk/folk fusion. So, I was excited about the new album and a little nervous about whether it would live up to my expectations.
I find I really love this album too, but in a different way. Nothing Roy does could ever be described at too mellow, but this country/folk blend strikes me as more at peace with the dissonance of life. As though, the singer has relaxed into the disappointments and absurdities of life and found beauty on the way down, like Alice opening cupboards on her strangely slow descent through the rabbit hole.
The songs on this album aren’t afraid to take their time and poke into whatever they can find under the ever-darkening sky. The last song, Not Enough Mermaids is a case in point. It’s unafraid to explore bending sounds that feel wet as the ocean, brushing warm against guitar strings, the pace is slow but forward moving.
Roy’s sense of humor is still at play in songs like Miss Ohio, who “wants to do right but not right now.” I feel for you Miss Ohio. I know just what you mean. My favorites are always the songs that read like stories, on this album right now that song is Sylvia, which paints a picture of love in the apocalypse, whether that's a real or metaphorical end of the world.
In fact, one of the things I love about Roy’s music is the narrative quality. Although, as a writer, I have a tendency to concentrate on lyrics, I find that Roy uses the music not only to provide the mood, but to help tell the story. In the title song, An Ever Darkening Sky, the clean, lithe opening pushes forward, but halts in short silent spaces, adding musical suspense. Every space makes you hope for a little more. The singer asks whether the rain will wash the pain away and the music adds momentum and promise of a dim hope somewhere ahead.
I really recommend this album, although I will warn you. I’ve woken up for the past week or so with Sylvia stuck in my head. But I think that’s a risk worth taking.
Roy Peak has played electric bass in more bands than he cares to remember for more years than he can remember. He wrote the theme song for the Utica, New York radio show "Hey You Kids, Get Off My Lawn" on WPNR-FM. His solo debut album, All Is Well, has been called "Loud, cacophonous, and beautiful by a truly unique artist." His short fiction has been published in The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature and he writes music reviews for the King Tut Vintage Album Museum of Jacksonville. Roy writes music reviews for the Rocking Magpie among others.
Morty is sharing his dream garden today!
Your Uncle Morty dreams every day of the garden he will create when this assignment is done, and he is allowed to return to the Netherworlds. Let’s imagine it together.