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If You Must Go Out

Adams Agricultural Fair (Friday through Sunday):

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Fair season is, seemingly, upon us. With the most bountiful harvests happening during the end of July and into August (your zucchini plants are almost done for the season, your cukes are putting out tons of fruit, and there is no better time to garden in the Berkshires than now) the Adams Aggie Fair marks a pretty respectable beginning to fair season. The crown jewel for real Berkshire community fairs, however, is the Cummington Fair, which comes to us at the end of school vacay proving that “fair season” truly saves the best for last. The beauty of both fairs is the demolition derby, which is so especially great in Adams because of the close proximity of fans to carnage. If you work for iBerkshire, you almost certainly want to be here with your eyes and camera trained on the crowd as you might see a young spectator catch a souvenir grill from an Oldsmobile to take home and show his friends.

Boston University Tanglewood Institute 50th Anniversary (Saturday 2:30):

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The artistic offerings in the Berkshires are second to none (no shit). The calendars in July, August, and through to the fall are loaded with events to numerous to list all in one place, so we can go with a highlight. Tanglewood actually hosts two shows on Saturday August 6 the first of which is this 50th Anniversary show. I know nothing about classical music, unfortunately, but the Tanglewood experience: lawn seats, picnic with wine etc, and relaxing, world class music is one of the most unique things about the area in which we live.

Listen to Tunes

Iggy Pop: Lust for Life

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Pop’s second solo album features several classic Pop tunes all written by Iggy with music by David Bowie. The title track, “Lust for Life” details Pop’s tumultuous existence as a heroin addict and is set to music inspired by a radio news jingle that Iggy and Bowie heard over and over again while traveling in Germany. Less experimental punk that would influence generations of alternative artists even to this day, and more glam, Lust for Life is a must own with a B side that sounds like a poor man’s Rain Dogs.

Squeeze: UK Squeeze

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To me, Squeeze will always be the epitome of new wave, and I am not afraid to admit that I feel this way because the music is so accessible. I like A Flock of Seagulls, Depeche Mode, and Echo and the Bunnymen just fine, their albums are great, their lyrics are interesting, often, because they make little sense, and there are singles from each that are all time faves. However, my limited intelligence and advancing age wants young me to have liked something more catchy and less emo, and I am not all that proud of this fact (I need kids so I can have the “how do you listen to this shit moment with someone other than 1986 me). I caught on to Squeeze in 1987 because of their crazy video for the song “Hour Glass,” which featured optical illusions and melting guitars all meant to portray the anxiety that comes with the loss of time? Or something? UK Squeeze plays more like a softer punk album along the line of Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, but it features some of the brooding numbers that I associate with some of the more committed new wave acts to which I cannot fully commit. The third track on side A, “Wild Sewerage Tickles Brazil,” is so amazingly apropos 38 years later, but only the title can be associated with this summer’s Olympics. The track made me revisit this album, and I am glad that I did. This is less a party album, unless you are gathering specifically to appreciate albums, and more of a record to be enjoyed with headphones and linear notes in hand.

Grateful Dead: Shakedown Street

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There is a period in the late 70’s when all of your favorite artists tried to make disco songs / entire records. You have likely heard the Stones’ Some Girls, an example of disco beats that work on an entire rock record, but the most effective use of disco beat in a track goes to “Shakedown Street,” the title track from this album. If you have ever been to a show featuring some iteration of the Dead then you likely waded through Shakedown Street: the sea of drugs and and all things tye dye and whittled from wood, and it is as magnificently counter culture as it is strange. Shakedown Street the album is memorable for the signature Dead tracks Shakedown Street, Fire on the Mountain, and All New Minglewood Blues, and it is the last album where personal favorite, Donna Godchaux, appears. Though it does not measure up to its predecessor, Terrapin Station, it is a good spin to get people moving.

Watch Sports on TV

Olympics

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I get so into the Olympics that white water kayaking is appointment television. The opening ceremonies are Friday, but don’t forget that we are Estados Unidos in Portuguese, which means that the United States enters the stadium much earlier than usual. NBC actually tried to get our athletes moved to the “U” place in the order where most Americans would expect to see us enter, but to no avail. I intend to watch as many featured events as often as possible. Greatest subplot: If Costas had a bad case of pink eye in Sochi, what might he contract in Rio? Raw sewage? Zika?

Football Starts

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The HoF game features the Colts and Packers in a fifth preseason game for each team where you are more likely to see some of your old high school mates suit up that Rodgers and Luck. The Colts could go a long way in making this game great if they would sign Rodgers’ whiny, attention craving, fraction of a brother Jordan to play QB during garbage time (first quarter). Of course, when Aaron Rodgers’ CTE kicks in after he retires (Brett Favre reports that he is experiencing symptoms of his own), will Jordan allow Aaron to live in his car? One can only guess.

Pickle Season

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I make my brine as follows:

3 1/2 cups water

1 1/4 cups vinegar

1 tbls salt

1 tbls sugar

2 cloves garlic

peppercorns according to taste

excessive amounts of fresh dill

I have pickled cukes, banana peppers, and zucchini though I make them differently than my grandfather: he let the food actually pickle without any cooking whereas I par boil the food in salt water and cook the brine to be added to a mason jar. I seal the mason jars in a water bath and the pickles are ready in three days or ready for four months of storage. I make a few variations to the recipe above, but the directions are simple: bring ingredients to a boil, let simmer, and add to pickle jars before boiling jars to a seal. The results have been outstanding. You have to add sugar though I like to use less than what is called for because I like the vinegar flavor. Seas salt is the best salt to use, and (hot) mustard (seeded gourmet and not standard yellows) make a yellow pickle if that’s your thing. I prefer something closer to a Clausen, and this recipie delivers. Keep the garlic cloves in the jar and eat them last.

 

 

 

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