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The DSS Essentialish Watch/Read/Listen List

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We have great taste and we want to share how cool and interesting we are by the things that define us like other people’s art. We reserve the right to consider our enjoyment of these things that we did not make as personality traits.

We’re bored. You’re bored. We’re all gonna be bored for a while. Here’s a list of some stuff we like and you may too. Maybe it will help with the boredom.

Post your favorite things in the comments!

JSam

Watch: This episode of The Chris Gethard Show where Paul Scheer and Jason Mantzoukas are tasked with guessing the contents of a dumpster. It’s as pure as it gets. Honestly maybe the best 45 minutes or so you’ll spend. Ever.

And then go watch the rest of the Chris Gethard Show, the episodes are very available and they make you feel things as long as you’re comfortable with imperfect moments and The Human Fish.

Let me know if you guess what’s in there. Cash or Trash.

Read: The best book I read last year was “Normal People” by Sally Rooney.

I...do not know what that says about me, but it ruined me emotionally and made me believe in love and more importantly it won a bunch of awards. 4/5 would definitely read again.

Listen: Podcast recs include LeVar Burton Reads and the recent JFK episodes of Last Podcast on the Left, a show which is 100% understandably not for everyone.

Music recs include...

We’d be here all day. Here’s my most recent 2020 album list

Here’s a link to a thread of last year’s completed list

And just get at me if you want lists from any of the past half decade. I treat this very seriously.

Anyways, go listen to The Midnight Organ Fight by Frightened Rabbit.

Rekrap

I know what you’re thinking - Parker is going to give us the ole sad bastard list of stuff and nobody can deal with that right now. You’re right, nobody can deal with that right now... I went to my happy place and found some things to enjoy.

Watch: I’m going to be honest with you... if I’m not watching soccer it’s usually dumb TV that I can turn my mind off and not be challenged by that much. That means I watch The Bachelor/Bachelorette - your mind will fall out of your ears if you watch it, so it should be perfect. If you don’t already, Forged in Fire is a fantastic competition show - at the very least there is guaranteed to be at least one guy wearing either a kimono or kilt participating on the show.

Finally, check out the Curse of Oak Island - it’s pure garbage where one brother is basically conning his rich brother into throwing a fortune into a hole in the ground. It’s sort of like a mix between Ancient Aliens and that show where they’re digging for gold or whatever. Of course, if you haven’t yet, watch the best comedy of all time - The Departed. Finally, you can watch and do something, get yourself started on a home yoga practice with Yoga with Adriene, it’s good exercise and is relaxing.

Read: Albert Camus, The Plague no, don’t go there. OK, sorry. If you haven’t yet read Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole - it is the damn funniest thing I have ever read. Next, go with The Masters of Atlantis by Charles Portis - it’s truly the story of one of the great American traditions: doing a grift without realizing you are doing a grift. All right, this one isn’t fun loving and magical realism might not be your thing, but it is a book about love and it’s amazing: Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Marquez. It is splendidly written and just a really beautiful story. If you want something different that might reduce the stress that everything is bringing your way, and are maybe curious or open to meditation, try Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn, this book changed my life.

Listen: This two parter from the Dead Authors Podcast on the work of L. Ron Hubbard. It includes the best piece of writing advice I’ve ever gotten - FIRST DRAFT, LAST DRAFT, GET IT OUT THE DOOR. Words to live by. Revolutions by Mike Duncan is great and bingeworthy. If you want something a little different, check out Saga Thing - it’s about the Icelandic Sagas, which includes a discussion of the battle of poop rock. Finally, I Don’t Even Own A Television. If you want to listen to music listen to Life Without Buildings - I’m telling you this before Tiotalfootball does - it’s weird.

Take care everyone.

TF

Listen to (wait, Parker is right also), but listen to Brian Eno’s Ambient 1/Music For Airports - the most useful album ever recorded. Most weeks I listen to it at least once. It’s so lovely. One time like 15 years ago, I read For Whom the Bell Tolls, with this record on in the background on repeat - you know, for like a month. You don’t have to read Hemingway with it. But put this one on and read any of the books recommended by the others - I trust them. However;

Read this extremely quick economics book (I’m talking like 2 hours, people - 100 pages max) by Clint Ballinger called 1,000 Castaways where he quickly but carefully walks you through the fundamentals of macro-economics from a mostly heterodox but accurate (imo) lens by building up an economy from scratch and importantly, defining the nature and origin of money. Also, J. Sam Jones has written a book that he doesn’t tell everyone about. If you @ him, he might let you read the manuscript, which is astoundingly good.

Oh, also don’t read Blood Meridian. I know you want to, and you’re right to want to, and it’s good. But there’s other stuff.

Watch the sequel to Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Copolla’s Apocalypse Now, Spring Breakers from Harmony Korine. I can’t explain it, but it’s perfect.

Joe

I’m going to be very brief here. And I’m also going to note that TF did his in the wrong order.

Watch: Survivor. Screw you, it’s great television. And it’s currently on it’s 40th season, so you aren’t going to run out of episodes anytime soon. Still going strong as hell (I only started watching it for the first time about 5 years ago).

Read: I don’t read many books, mainly just news and stuff. But I did read “The War on Normal People” and “Raising the Floor” recently. Both are political in nature and I’m not here to try to sway anybody on this kind of stuff. Look them up and decide for yourself, but they are definitely thought-provoking books, particularly if, like me, you’re a full-on participant of the gig economy.

Listen: I actually listened to the two books I just mentioned, so you could do that.

For music, try this:

Jackson

Watch: It’s been days since I’ve been able to watch live sports on the TV. Multiple days. Plural. You can say things are getting pretty desperate. And in an act of desperation, I went out on an online journey to find some free soccer on MyCujoo.tv to fill my eyes and mind and bring some sort of normalcy back into my life.

A couple hours later and I was invested in some random U-13 league in the island territory of Guam. The first match was a 5-5 barnburner involving a team named after their local Day’s Inn going up 3 then blowing said lead then coming back and finally conceding immediately after their at the death winner. Next was a team with the badass name of Shipyard Wolverines pounding some team that spelled Strikers as Strykers, so this was a deserved result. This was followed by a team called the Wings Red (so as not to get pursued by the Detroit Red Wings, I assume) absolutely DESTROYING some poor kids 19-1 and proving that the word “mercy” is not to be found in any Guamanian dictionaries. The matchday was capped off by a team named the Quality Distributors (which is what Frank de Boer will rebrand Atlanta United into whenever we reach the next MLS .0) not distributing enough quality to beat their Typhoon rivals.

Ultimately I was entertained enough, but this also came with the realization that I might have a problem and should find something more productive to do with my time. I’ll probably keep watching.

Read: Reading is the one of the last things on my mind since my spring break has now turned into a spring month, but I can recommend ERK: Football, Fans, and Friends, the autobiography of the great Erk Russell, which is a name that should be familiar to every college football fan in the state of Georgia. The man is a UGA coaching great and built the Georgia Southern football program from scratch and has that rural southern humor that makes every other sentence instantly quotable and how he’s not in the CFB Hall of Fame is an ABSOLUTE JOKE THAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED after, y’know, all this virus stuff.

Listen: As far as pods go, the two USL1 pods League 1 Fun and League One Unfiltered are great if you want to dive into the league. The locally sourced Mouths of the South and Five Stripe Final are also good times but y’all probably know that already. Some names thrown from my Spotify Daily Mix include Miami Horror, Passion Pit, Vacationer, Car Seat Headrest, and Declan McKenna; and to wrap things up check out some Mongolian throat singing rock by a band called... wait for it... The HU. It’s, let’s say, an experience.

All in all my recommendations will probably not hold up even for me and I’ll be trusting y’alls’ comments to supply me with some quality time consumers for the next few weeks. Godspeed.

Rob

I’m with Joe. Ain’t no one got time for all these words. I’m just gonna let you know that my taste is better than everyone’s and you should take my advice.

Watch: I recently read 150 comments on a “Best Show Ever” bracket thingy and no one even mentioned The Wire. How is that possible? Are kids today losing touch with the greatest piece of art ever created? The Wire isn’t a TV show, it is life itself told in a near-perfect package. If you haven’t watched it, do so. If you have watched it, do it again.

If that’s too deep of a show for you, I highly recommend The Circle and Love is Blind. Two new reality shows on Netflix that don’t put you through the normal mularkey that broadcast channels do. I blew through both in about a day each and I’m not proud of it. Don’t judge me.

Want to laugh? After Life on Netflix is brilliant and timely. It’s a show about dealing with grief and tragedy. It’s very dark humor as you’d expect from a British show created by Ricky Gervais.

Finally, I have to mention Dark on Netflix. If you’re a hardcore reader of DSS, you may remember me dedicating a whole match thread to the show after last year’s walloping in Chicago. It’s the best time travel show ever made. Yes, it’s in German and will require reading subtitles or listening to weird English dubbing. But it’s 100% worth it. Open your mind and suspend reality for one of the best rides you can experience before the third and final cycle begins middle of this year (assuming no delays).

Also, if you’re into the time travel genre like I am, check out the miniseries 11/22/63 on Hulu. I just finished watching it for the 4th time.

Read: I don’t do a ton of reading these days. Who has the time? I recommend The Bullpen Gospels by Dirk Hayhurst. One of the best books I’ve ever read about sports. If you like that one, read his follow-up called Out Of My League.

For soccer, I don’t know, Das Reboot was pretty good. Don’t ever read Soccernomics. That books is overrated as all hell. Come at me.

Listen: The year is 2020 and I’m just now starting to get into podcasts. BSI: The Podcast is a must-listen for any American soccer fan. The behind the scenes stories on MLS and the USMNT are incredible and give you a new appreciation for life in this wild sport.

I don’t listen to new music either. So, uh, yeah. I got nothing on that end. Basically, what I’m saying is, if it’s not about watching something, I’m pretty useless.

John

First, if you don’t already have one, go get a library card before they shut down all the public buildings. Wait, you say, what use would a library card be if I can’t go to the library? Well, most library districts these days have extensive online collections, not just of books, but also of audiobooks, music and videos. These are usually available to stream or download. I’m an avid library patron, but I only step foot inside one once every two years to update my library card. And there’s no risk of incurring late fees either.

Watch: let’s start with a couple of soccer-related suggestions. If you have Amazon Prime, the documentary series This Is Football is a must-watch. Six unrelated episodes, all with a soccer connection. The first is incredible: the story of how soccer helped heal Rwanda after the genocide, with rabid Liverpool fandom thrown in for good measure (are you paying attention J. Sam Jones?). Also, coming up on Netflix is The English Game, to be released March 20, which is a fictionalized version of how an upper class game became a working class one.

From here on, a good chunk of my suggestions are going to be in the science fiction/fantasy genre, that being my personal favorite. Opening Sunday is season 3 of HBO’s WestWorld, so you have the rest of today to binge-watch and catch up.

Currently in my Netflix watchlist is Altered Carbon, now in its second season, with Anthony Mackie taking over the lead role from Joel Kinnaman (and, yes, that does make perfect sense). You may want to try Paul Rudd in Living With Yourself, if only for the Tom Brady gag in the first episode. I hesitate to recommend post-apocalyse shows, but Daybreak is funny as hell, and how can this list be complete without The End of the F**cking World?

Also on Netflix is Peaky Blinders, of course, and Medical Police.

My wife loves historical dramas (and so do I to an extent). Still on Netflix is The Last Kingdom. And The Tudors is worth a watch, despite the suspiciously skinny Jonathan Rhys Myers as Henry VIII. Starz has a bunch of them, mostly adaptations of Phillipa Gregory novels.

Merging both those genres, Starz also has Outlander, now in its fifth season.

Read: like others here, aside from daily Bible reading I don’t have a great deal of time these days for reading, although I carry my Kindle around with me everywhere. However, my current favorite series is David Weber’s Safehold series, which addresses how modern and futuristic technological advances might be introduced into a pre-industrial society, especially military ones. It’s long and goes into great detail about all sorts of stuff, from shipbuilding to firearms to communications and medicine. In a similar vein is Olan Thorensen’s Destiny’s Crucible, which has the advantage of being shorter and cheaper.

If you do find yourself with a lot of time for reading, then obviously 19th century Russian novels are the way to go.

An extra tip: get a subscription to the AJC. It’s the perfect solution to the toilet paper shortage.

Listen: classic rock, 24/7. Don’t @ me.

Well, OK, throw in some Chris Stapleton, mostly because 90% of his songs are about whiskey.

I’m not going to be much additional help on the podcast front, as all my subscriptions are soccer-related, and two of them are DSS. But I absorb audiobooks voraciously. My best recommendation right now is Simon R. Green’s Deathstalker series. This has nothing to do with the cheesy movies or the videogame. The series totals 7 books and has been adapted for audiobooks twice. The newer version, narrated by Gildart Jackson, is the best option. Jackson is a British voice actor who manages to present a very long character list (including the female ones) with distinct and recognizable voices. He also masters the particularly British humor in the books. The books average about 20 hours of listening and are well worth it.