Outside Reading — Songs Are Like Tattoos edition

50 Reasons to Love Joni Mitchell’s ‘Blue’

On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the release of Joni Mitchell’s fourth studio album, The New York Times provides a colossal retrospective with commentary from fellow musicians, some who participated and some who were influenced by it. The whole digital package is impressive, with audio clips to illuminate the commentary and a lovely layout. The more time passes, the more convinced I am that Blue is one of two or three best albums from the rock era. Lindsay Zoladz pens the exceptional introductory note.


The yard sign that traveled the world by Addison Lathers

Although I and my partner in all things went through a lot of concerted effort to be able to once again make our residence in Madison, Wisconsin, I consider myself truly lucky to live in a place where progressive values and a commitment to community are far more common than the retrograde selfishness gussied up as “freedom” that is the nitrous-oxide hits of right-wing identity. The sign in the photo above is one of the tangible representations of my city’s widely shared ethos. After the disastrous presidential election in 2016, these signs started showing up everywhere. They — or a close variant — are spiked into about half the yards on the street where we live. Writing for The Cap Times, one of our local newspapers, Addison Lathers goes deep on the story of its genesis and spread.


Chefs Solve Riddles To Sell Retail Products by Jane Black

The upended world of the last year and a half has forced change onto a multitude of people and businesses. I’ve been especially attuned to the troubles endured by restaurants. Shifting to takeout was the quick remedy to keep the cash register dinging, but restaurant proprietors have been consistent and clear in noting the extreme shortcomings to that as a prime business model, especially for the truly special places that know how to create a full experience. Created packaged food that could be sold in local grocery stores was the other enticing option for places with a beloved signature item on the menu. In a fascinating article published by The New York Times, Jane Black details the challenges in that approach.

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