Friday, July 25, 2014

Jeff Goldblum, Walt Whitman's ghost, Giant Squid hunters and Hillcrest Artisan Meats

Posted By on Fri, Jul 25, 2014 at 4:15 PM

click to enlarge goldblum.jpg

Arkansas Times Recommends is a weekly series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things we've been enjoying this week.

Feeling down today? Watch Jeff Goldblum laugh for 10 minutes. — Bryan Moats

Go to Hillcrest Artisan Meats. Ask for a couple of chunks of the teres major. It's a little known cut of beef shoulder. It's as tender as tenderloin, but a lot more flavorful. Each individual piece is about 6 to 8 ounces. One per person should do. Rub it with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat a grill pan or skillet until smoking. Cook the meat no more than about two minutes on each side. Result: a mini-chateaubriand cooked nicely rare. It's $16 or so a pound. But like everything at HAM, it's exquisite quality. Grab some fries at McDonald's to go along. Reheat them for a few minutes in a 400-degree oven while the steak cooks and you've got steak frites worthy of a Parisian bistro. HAM also has some condiments to go along, including fancy ketchup. — Max Brantley

I teach a class on creative writing out at the college, and somebody sent this to me the other day: a video featuring the only surviving recording of the voice of the late British poet and novelist Virginia Woolf, who committed suicide in 1941 at the age of 59. The recording was created for a BBC broadcast in April 1937, and features Woolf reading her essay on writing poetry, "Craftsmanship." 

Even beyond the thrill of hearing the actual voice of a poet whose work I've loved for thirty years, as somebody who tries to teach people how to arrange plain ol' words and punctuation into pleasing or even important shapes, I find Woolf's essay so goddamn wise and beautiful in places that I almost want to have big chunks of it tattooed on my body so it'll never leave me. It's a beauty, and a poignant, personal epitaph to one of the many poets immolated by the heat of their own fires.

BONUS: Here is audio of Walt Whitman reading a section of his poem "America," as captured on a wax cylinder recording. Ain't the Internet neat? — David Koon

The New Yorker recently announced that they're dropping their website's paywall for three months while they transition to another subscription model, a move that's maybe most exciting for the outpouring of New Yorker story roundups and compilations that have sprung up this week (At The Awl, there's even a roundup of the roundups). There are now several more interesting and well-edited things to read on the Internet, and you can sort through it all on your own time, but I'll put in a good word for more or less everything written by David Grann, author of "The Lost City of Z" and a number of great magazine pieces about giant squid hunterssuspicious art authenticatorscircus fire-eaters turned Cuban revolutionariespotentially innocent executed Texans, etc. He's a deceptively good reporter, capable of weaving all manner of source materials into gripping, propulsive narratives that never lose sight of the 'physics of reading' (what David Foster Wallace once described as the "whole set of readers’ values and tolerances and capacities and patience-levels to take into account when the gritty business of writing stuff for others to read is undertaken.”). He tells stories really well, is what I mean. — Will Stephenson

Mexican water has a terrible reputation. And it’s largely warranted, but Mexico does have one thing going for it in the water game: it produces the world’s best sparkling mineral water — Topo Chico. It’s got the perfect amount of fizz and is a great way to stay hydrated on a hot summer day. It’s also good for cocktails, crafting and it’s good for you. Plus, it does awesome stuff when you put it in the freezer. — Kai Caddy

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