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a girl lives in brooklyn
A few weeks ago, I saw the band Self live at Gramercy Theater. The band hasn’t played a show in 10 years. It was a fantastic concert, where the audience was singing along to every song. Their stage presence was great and the lead singer’s banter was perfect.
During a break between songs, the lead singer goes: “There’s some super fans here tonight! This guy down here has been singing every single word. Why don’t you come up and sing the next one? Is that your girlfriend next to you? Bring her up too!”
Now, this isn’t unheard of at shows. I’ve been to several where the band brought a fan up to sing or play guitar with them.
Once on stage, the guy takes the mic and says: “I hope you don’t mind, I changed some of the words.”
And then this happened:
I have never had so much second-hand embarrassment for any person as I had for that guy at that moment.
The worst part is, this is actually an amazing proposal. The guy had planned everything to a T. Clearly the band was in on it. It wasn’t obvious right away. If the guy and girl were both huge fans of the band, getting engaged on stage at their first show in ten years would be pretty amazing. But it seemed like the girl just wasn’t into it.
Brennan & Carr is the best place to go for roast beef in Brooklyn. It’s cheap. Delicious. In the middle of nowhere. We went around 7:30p on a Friday night and there wasn’t a wait at all. It felt like I was back home. There was no air of pretentiousness. Nothing was organic or natural. The beef broth was salty (and phenomenal). The waiters were wearing butcher coats. Beer was cheap. Napkins were on the table. It was comfortable. Exactly what you want in the winter.
This is some of the best roast beef I’ve ever had! I ordered The Gargiulo Burger. This is a cheeseburger topped with roast beef. Yum! You can get it dipped, dry, or juice on the side. I got the broth on the side so I could dip the sandwich myself. SO GOOD.
And, being at the bottom of Brooklyn, everything was totally affordable. About $7 for the burger. I’m excited to go back and just eat the roast beef. I don’t want anything getting in the way. Even though the roast beef is really just a vessel to get to the broth!
There were three phases of this book for me. The first third was very exciting. I learned a lot. The story telling was great. Bryson had a rhythm. The second phase was getting dull. A lot was overlapping and being repeated. Some of it wasn’t going anywhere. Then the third phase was like being attacked with a diluge of information. Topics would change so fast I couldn’t even keep track anymore. Finished the book feeling informed but overloaded.
Reading this book is like spending eight hours on Wikipedia. You start on one topic, click a link to a related topic, then a few hours later you’re reading about Ponzi schemes where you started at Babe Ruth.
The equation to Wikipedia goes with the writing too. Bryson’s humor was stretched at times, with most of it being unnecessarily added. It would also feel out of place in most situations. Some of his wrap-up sentences were rather painful. Ending chapters with, essentially, “but that was only the beginning” came off lazy and childish. There was a grade-school essay quality to some topics.
However, the information was fantastic! I know there are criticisms of his sources but I didn’t feel that way while reading. Bryson acknowledged whenever a fact had been disputed. He quoted other references and authors frequently.
There is so much information in this book! It was all very interesting. And is a wonderful history reference for so many other aspects of American history. My only problem here is that, especially toward the end, it became too much. The information became so overwhelming, I didn’t want to read about yet another new thing that happened. I’d say the book as a whole could have used a few more rounds of editing (for content and writing).
I have only previously read A Walk in the Woods but, comparing the two, I prefer Bryson’s writing when it’s autobiographical than merely re-telling history.
Current Events Portal – Wikipedia
English Muffins – Kara Cooks
Nescafe Gold Blend Commercials from the 80’s – Jenny Trout
The Groupon Trap – The NY Budget
Complete List of Excel Keyboard Shortcuts – Chandoo