The Frontal Cortex

Things I Like

1) The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac, by Freedarko.

This book is perpetually on my coffee table, if only so I can read through it (again and again) every time there’s a commercial break during the NBA playoffs. It’s a really hard book to describe, but if you think you might enjoy Langston Hughes references in an essay on Lamar Odom, or might like a digression into Shanghai architecture and globalization while reading about Yao Ming, then get this book. On a related note, I really enjoyed the email conversation between Simmons and Gladwell.

2) The Talent Code, by Daniel Coyle.

Where does talent come from? This is the best summary I’ve read of deliberate practice, which is the optimal way to learn, well, anything. Coyle also finds a way to make myelin and glial cells (not the sexiest parts of the brain) utterly fascinating, if only by interspersing the science with tales from Russian tennis academies and the life story of the Bronte sisters.

3) “Papa Was A Rodeo,” by Bright Eyes

Does Bright Eyes still exist? Or is Conor Oberst now “Conor Oberst”? (The new album, by the way, is a little disappointing. Sorta reminds me of Planet Waves, in that the music feels a bit too casual and slapdash.) But this cover of one of my favorite Magnetic Fields song is fantastic. I’ve also been enjoying The Hold Steady cover of “Atlantic City”. And Juana Molina (via Radio Lab). And the new Dylan album, which gets better with repeated listens.

4) The Sopranos

The Wire gets all the blog love, but I’ve been slowly re-watching The Sopranos on DVD and it’s astonishingly good. (If The Wire is Dickensian, then the Sopranos is Shakespearian. The characters are all too human.)

5) The Eames Lounge Chair

A crazy splurge, I know. But how often does modernist beauty intersect with sheer comfort? In fact, the chair is so comfortable that it has actually affected my reading habits. I’ll read mediocre novels and tedious journal articles for hours just so I don’t have to leave the padded, leather womb of my lounger.


  1. #1 Pierre
    May 14, 2009

    I’m surprised by some your entertainment.
    I just finished reading Julian Jayne’s ‘The Origin of Consciousness in the breakdown of the bicameral mind’. Not very light…

  2. #2 Chris
    May 15, 2009

    The Eames lounger gives me consumer lust like no other piece of furniture can.Check out this chair, the Hans Brattrud “Scandia” lounge chair.

  3. #3 Moopheus
    May 15, 2009

    A few years ago there was a cool little exhibit at the Museum of Arts & Design in NYC on the work of the Eameses and centering around The Chair in particular, including a documentary showing the chairs being made in the factory. It’s true, there’s nice furniture out there, in all kinds of styles, but the Eames chair is really a one-of-a-kind thing.

  4. #4 steve
    May 17, 2009

    I’d never heard the Bright Eye’s cover of the magnetic field’s song. It’s not the treatment you might expect, as it’s more like the Digital Ash in a Digital Urn stuff, but it’s good.

    I agree about the Sopranos. If only their could have been a psychiatrist-as-plot-device in The Wire for unveiling the inner thoughts of Marloe and Omar Little.

    Also, I’ve enjoyed reading your blog. I started reading after following a 3 Quarks Daily link a few months ago.

  5. #5 kabin
    May 23, 2009
  6. #6 Alessandro Lanni
    May 26, 2009

    So young and already with a coffee table. gasp!

  7. #7 burak
    June 11, 2009


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