Update and Joe Recommends IV

by Joe Thomas


The last few weeks have been a whirlwind. I feel like I’m coming up for air after being underwater for a while.

My work at the Georgia Conservancy evolved again. After two months or so as the de facto Grants Manager, I’ve given way to someone who can actually be there everyday and has a degree in something and various other technicalities like that. Fortunately I have another role to take on now. For the last couple of months, I’ve helped a group of high school students start an outdoor activities club through the Conservancy with the help of funding from Outdoor Nation. As an Outdoor Nation “Fellow”, I’m charged with engaging young people and helping them find new outdoor recreation opportunities. I’ve made it my priority to find activities within a half hour of downtown Atlanta, the idea being that kid’s parents will be more likely to support their desire to engage with the outdoors if they don’t have to drive all over north and central Georgia. We’ve had some great successes, and some hurdles, but the kids have been great and we’ve had tons of fun. So far we’ve hiked the Atlanta BeltLine and gone to Sweetwater Creek State Park. If you have any ideas for fun outdoor activities near Atlanta, I’d love to hear them!

In sort of related news, I got word a week or two ago that I’ve been elected to the board of Generation Green! You can read more about Gen Green here, but in a nutshell it’s a program of the Georgia Conservancy that engages young professionals through networking and social events and service projects; as the website puts it, “the next generation of environmental leaders”. I’m really excited for this opportunity and can’t wait to get started.

Between all that and school, including a class that requires nearly constant blogging, I haven’t had a lot of time for personal time or personal writing. I do have a few new rec’s for you though, so check ’em out:

Lake Street Dive- I went and saw Yonder Mountain String Band in concert a few nights ago for the fiftyleventh time. Lake Street Dive opened for them and I was blown away. A four piece band featuring a singer, drummer, stand-up bassist, and a guy who plays guitar sometimes and trumpet sometimes, they managed to mix R&B, soul, rockabilly, and americana into some fantastic dance music, and the lead singer had an AMAZING voice. Here they are covering The Jackson Five’s “I Want You Back”:

Frank Wren- I heard an interesting point on sports talk radio this afternoon. Consider what the Braves have done over the last few seasons as compared to the other teams in the NL East, and the payroll constraints they have had, and try to make an argument for any other of the divisional GMs being more successful than Wren. The only other team even in the conversation is Washington, and I would contend that at this point their GM is Scott Boras, essentially. As always, it remains to be seen whether the moves will pay off in the long run, but at this point Frank Wren looks like a genius.

Matt Taibbi- Here’s the thing about Matt Taibbi: you’re gonna end up pissed off after reading his columns. He doesn’t write about anything cheerful or light. What he does do is take large corporations out behind the woodshed, a place with which CEOs are increasingly unfamiliar. My favorite piece of his, and the one for which he probably got the most attention, was a 2009 Rolling Stone column entitled “The Great American Bubble Machine”, in which he explains how Goldman Sachs has been behind every American economic bubble since the Great Depression. If you have some time, you should read it, and then keep reading about how large corporate foxes are guarding our financial henhouse.

Treat Yo Self- Just do it.

Mad Dogs and Englishmen- For fans of The Last Waltz, I suggest checking out Joe Cocker’s 1970 live album Mad Dogs and Englishmen. The show is almost all covers, and features an all-star band, including one of my personal favorites, Leon Russell. Here’s Cocker at his Belushi-impersonation finest, with Leon wailing on the keys. When the background singers come in, it’ll make you wanna testify.

Murphy Oil Soap- Something weird happened yesterday and I cleaned my house for like seven hours. Most of that time was spent in the kitchen, and while I was working I found a real treasure. One of my parents friends built some shelves for them in the kitchen, and with a piece of the scrap wood made an incredible slab cutting board. Over the past couple years it’s gotten ill-treated, and when I found it yesterday it was covered in old food debris, dirt, and mold. I refused to accept defeat, however, and took to it with Murphy Oil Soap, a wood soap. After a few treatments, the cutting board was like new and ready to use, and looks great just sitting on the counter. So great I was reluctant to cut anything on it.