It’s been a while since we tried one of these conversations at Based in Lafayette. So, here goes …
With everyone dropping their Best of 2023 retrospectives – lists of books, songs, concerts, news events, plays in college football, you name it – tell about one great thing you read, heard, saw, experienced, whatever in the past year.
The rules here are fairly loose. It doesn’t have to be the absolute best thing, just something that had you buzzing at the time. And if you can’t narrow it down, pop in with a couple of things.
I’ll start: “Tim: Let It Bleed Edition,” the remixed reissue of the 1985 record by the Replacements. I was skeptical about a project that touted a fresh mix on what already was among my top all-time records, a major label debut by one of my favorite bands that I wore ragged when it came out and through the decades, as it was. The new mix, pulled off by Ed Stasium (Ramones, Talking Heads, Living Colour), unearthed buried parts from the din, turning the whole thing into a new record without killing – or even marring – the old one. I wound up soaking in it for weeks, months even, after it showed up this fall.
As always, be cool to each other when responding. And thanks for reading and supporting the Based in Lafayette reporting project.
A variety of businesses have opened up in downtown and seem to be thriving. That in combination with all of the growth that Purdue, a new mayor across the river, and the folks that make up this community, make me really excited for the future.
The Barbenheimer cultural phenomenon proved that the communal experience of "the movies" can thrive with smart scripts , original stories, and innovative directions. Just like the amazing voters of 2023, moviegoers turned out when offered something that mattered.
I recently read The Decline and Fall of the Ottoman Empire by Alan Palmer.(Fall River Press,1992), Over the many years of my teaching of World History I was quite familiar with Edward Gibbon's magnum opus, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Palmer's book was much shorter than the 3 volumes of Gibbons, but it was, obviously "more current". Here I learned why the Crimean War got started as well as why The Ottoman Empire was often referred to as The Sick Man of Europe in the 19th century. *something applied to the Ottoman Empire by the ever-resolute Russian Tsars looking for the ultimate breakup of that troubled empire.. Currently the problems in the Levant, the Near East and the Middle East can, in part, be somewhat understood by reading what Alan Palmer was able to assemble from very wide and deep research. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to have a deeper understanding of what is going on in that troubled part of the world.
There was a few weeks in Battle Ground when a large sector of the town population was rooting for a lost little one eyed Pug named Pirate Pete to be reunited with his owner. It was a time of pulling together instead of mocking others for their posts and opinions. It made me want to vote for Pete for president.
For a Star Trek the Next Generation fan, reading Patrick Stewart’s Making It So was the highlight. A lovely book written in conversational style that is filled with his personal memories of his amazing life. His surprising mentors along his developmental path reminded me of how much those chance meetings in our lives form and change us and those we assist in kind. A much needed respite from the hateful cruelty that seems to dominate modern rhetoric and lives.
I was thrilled that the Indiana Historical Bureau approved my 8-page application for a historical marker to be placed at the former home of Lafayette native and nationally-known author, poet and artist Evaleen Stein (1863-1923). It has become my mission to bring Stein out of the shadows of history as she was an important contributor to the Golden age of Indiana literature. Her home sits across the street from mine. Plaque to be installed in 2024. More to come.
My wife is a voracious reader and owns hundreds of books. I, however, am not. She’s been after me for years to begin reading. Finally, I agreed and began with the Will Thomas series of Barker and Llewelyn novels. (Think Sherlock Holmes in Victorian England.) Thomas is from Oklahoma, but is a Victorian scholar and writes in a style that is easy to read. His stories drop you squarely in the middle of London in 1885. He can expertly write in the London cockney accent style or the more highbrow aristocracy style. I simply cannot put these down. I’d recommend them highly to anyone.
The streaming show Poker Face really blew me away. The idea - what if we made a 70s-style TV mystery drama using the best actors and directors - really worked for me. It had moments of silliness and moments of real depth.
Reading “The Covenant of Water” by Abraham Verghese. Probably one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. He is an amazing writer.
I thought this years GLC Christmas Parade was one of the best ever. It's so fun to see so many people get out and enjoy the community. And, the participants did an awesome job on their entries-- from lights to fog machines to a working toy shop! Plus, the Purdue All-American marching band. So much fun for all ages!
Currently reading “Elon Musk” by Issacson (80%). Great read about a gifted albeit troubled man. We’ll written and very complete.
Watching my beloved Boilermakers play in Toronto, Zach’s home. 💛🖤❤️
I saw Taylor Swift in Chicago earlier this year. While I prefer my concerts to be more of the "people standing there playing music" variety, that show really highlighted how talented Taylor is as a song writer, musician, and performer. It was an Experience.
Without a doubt, the new Rolling Stones album, Hackney Diamonds, and the 2024 US tour announcement. The album is pure, authentic Rolling Stones sounding like themselves again, playing with newfound joy and not over-thinking it. Got my tickets for the first show in Chicago. "This could be the last time, may be the last time, I don't know."
The weirdest thing for me this year was when a 3 story banner of my husband appeared on the front of Lilly Hall at Purdue. It was a surprise to all of us.
I was a little disappointed in the minimal amount of coverage on the death of Bob Knight. His tenure at IU was a highlight of the Purdue/IU rivalry. I attended one of the rivalry games in the late '90's and have never heard the Boiler faithful any louder than when RMK was introduced.
Gene Keady and Bob Knight cemented a great rivalry in the annals of sports history.
My husband and I took our first trip to Europe in July on a Paris to Normandy River Cruise and three days in Paris afterwards. It was absolutely wonderful! Linda Yoki
Noah Kahan at EHM earlier in the year was a diamond in the rough. Great show and his career has taken off.
The Book of Lost and Found by Lucy Foley.
This year I read The World According to Garp, by John Irving. It was just lying there on the kitchen table--my wife was reading it. We saw the movie with Robin Williams many years ago but had never read the book--wow!
Another oldie that I redicovered is A Wrinklle In Time, by Madeleine L'Engle. The 50th anniversary edition came out a few years back, and our daughter (seeing it referenced on my blog) gave me a copy for Christmas. What a great story.
We also found two additions to our Christmas music collection: Mateo, Virginia, and Andre Bocelli A Family Christmas (2022) and Willie Nelson, Christmas (2006).
Obviously, there were many wonderfull songs and books published this year, but we can talk about them on another occasion. We are still enjoying the oldies.
Happy New Year,