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100 Things About Me
The Bull's Testicles Project
Russia Trip: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5
Best of 2002: Movies, Books, Music.
Best of 2003: Movies.
Best of 2004: Movies, Books.
Best of 2005: Theater, Books.
Best of 2006: Theater, Books, Television.


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Sunday, November 28, 2004

How I Spent My Thanksgiving Vacation
Ah, Thanksgiving, four blissful days of sitting around at home chastising myself for not spending the precious time off more wisely.

I didn’t write a novel, make much headway in the (very good) book I’ve been reading (very slowly), nor get the work I’d been intending to tackle taken care of (that comes next). However, I did: see two movies (Callas Forever—not an Earth-shattering film but that hardly matters because it stars the most beautiful and elegant woman in the world: Fanny Ardant—and Kinsey, which seemed to me to be a pretty standard biopic, but I loved Liam Neeson’s wardrobe; that bow-tied professorial look is my dream style); eat a fabulous meal in outstanding company; and, possibly most exciting of all, I made my selections for my Best of 2004 CDs. (I spared myself some aggravation and went the T-dash-D double CD route this year—though, wait, he went triple last year, didn’t he?)

In the last couple of years, I’ve started to wonder if I buy and listen to new CDs just for the sake of the end-of-year compilation, so all-consuming is the process of selection and ordering. (Yes, this is just the third time I’ve done one, but it feels like a longstanding tradition by this point.)

My taste took an unexpected direction this year—very folky, inspired in part by a group I first heard at the beginning of 2004, Warsaw Village Band. Like some cheeses and alcoholic spirits, a good deal of their appeal is that they seem slightly “off.” As I was picking out my favorite tunes, I was astonished to realize how many involved pipes or horns of some kind—though, trust me, I would still cross the road at the sight of a busker with bagpipes. In my youth, I couldn’t stand the taste of olives—when I first went to Spain I couldn’t enjoy the most basic of tapas—and then, without warning, something happened to my taste buds, and now olives are one of my favorite foods. I suppose it’s the same with music, and right now the drone of the chanter or the animal-like sounds of traditional horns like the alboka actively appeal to me.

If you want to take a squint at the track-listing, click here. One note: Almost all these albums came out in the U.S. in 2004, but I came to some of them late, so there are a couple of 2003 releases in there. There’s also an old song that represents my summer stay in my home town: “Hallelujah,” by The Happy Mondays.