Half Crazy

I’ve had this song stuck in my head for months. Months. I haven’t felt this way since Funkytown!

Half Crazy by The Barr Brothers, from their 2014 album Sleeping Operator. The track is modern Southern delta blues — with a stand-up harp! — including a nasty slide-guitar, a sweet 6/4 beat, and three heaping helpings of bad-ass boogie.

Here’s what guitarist Brad Barr told Paste Magazine said about Half Crazy, and it’s global influences:

“This song could be described as the tenacious offspring of the North African desert music of Mali/Morocco and the sweat and electricity of the Chicago and Mississippi Delta blues,” Barr said. “That music is like a stem-cell, really open to going in many directions. On this track, we wired the harp through a dirty little amplifier. I played my early 40’s Oahu lap-steel. Andrew uses a loping high-hat feel, and the electric bass pushes the whole thing. The lyrics got a nudge from our friend Nathan Moore – we’re all half-crazy, half clear as a bell.”

The track is also available on iTunes. The other songs on Sleeping Operator are okay, but veer a bit too deeply into folk territory for my particular tastes.


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Why do we believe in hell?


The belief of a torturous after-life traces back millennia, across religions and cultures, and the idea of ultimate retribution remains culturally ingrained today. Billions of people believe they (usually others) will be tortured for eternity if they misbehave in their mortal lives. This idea isn’t new, and it snakes throughout history with considerable force.

But why do we believe in hell?

Candida Ross presents solid research and top-notch long-form journalism here. She carefully outlines the history of hell, and never veers far from objectivity and skepticism. Good read.


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Critical reasoning, or how to win an argument on the Internet


Comprehensive — and surprisingly readable! — guide to logic and reason, two precursors to effective critical thinking. By Greg R. Haskins.


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Favorite Fermi findings


The Fermi Paradox is one of my favorite philosophical/scientific ideas. Essentially, it’s an inquiry into why we haven’t discovered definitive proof of advanced alien civilizations.Given all we know about the universe, mathematically, it does seem a little odd that we would be the first and only civilization to get this far. The idea has became known as Enrico Fermi’s Paradox.

(NOTE: When Enrico Fermi wasn’t radically re-framing broad cosmological concepts, he was a brilliant physicist. He presided over the first controlled nuclear chain reaction in Chicago in 1942, famously uttering, “The reaction is self-sustaining.” Chilling.)

Listing 11 credible solutions to Fermi’s Paradox, the writer here does an excellent job of balancing science fiction with sound science. He also does a nice job balancing several competing theories that may one day solve Enrico Fermi’s famous paradox.

My favorites are #1, 4, 6, 8 and 10.


By George Dvorsky, one of the very best science writers working today.

Here’s a fun link to an adjacent line of scientific inquiry, also by Dvorsky.


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“WRRRRRRRRRRRRRR….” went the woodchipper.


A talented artist re-imagined classic movie scenes in a Pixar-style. Brilliant!

Favorites: Fargo, 2001: A Space Odyssey, No Country For Old Men, Seven, The Terminator, hell — all of them! The artist is Josh Cooley.


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Fantastic analysis of Kawhi Leonard’s quiet genius


An excellent breakdown of basketball defense and its soft-spoken NBA wizard, Kawhi Leonard. By Kirk Goldsberry.


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Mad writer

Next time you go grocery shopping, try not to think you accidentally caught someone acting in your personal life story.

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