Life: The Latest
Imperfect: An Improbable Life. By Jim Abbott and Tim Brown. Abbott’s book goes above and beyond the usual autobiographic navel-gazing. The retired major-league pitcher, who was born without a right hand, writes about his journey from boyhood, to professional-baseball stardom, to advocate for disabled children, to, inevitably, just another pitcher whose arm gives way to age. A great read as the 2012 baseball season kicks off.
Wrecking Ball, Bruce Springsteen. In his 17th studio album, The Boss journeys deeper into his populist ways. Having already written songs about the working class and blue-collar struggles, Springsteen’s latest explores beyond the ‘what’ and into what he believes is ‘why’: amidst a lush and diverse musical backdrop that swings from classic rock to Irish rhythms and textures, Wrecking Ball strikes an angry tone, one that confronts recent economic events and their ugly effects.
Damien Hirst Retrospective at Tate Modern. This lightning rod of a British artist will have his love-it-or-hate-it work displayed until this September at the Tate Modern in London, and we can guarantee one thing: the exhibit will be jammed. With signature eyebrow-raising pieces ranging from a tiger shark floating forever in formaldehyde to a diamond-studded platinum cast of a human skull, Hirst’s work, no matter how you feel about it, is worth the trip…if only because going through so much effort to create what seems to be pointless is, in itself art.
Chester Lit Outdoor Furniture at Design Within Reach. Your patio/poolside/deck just got a little more interesting, brighter, and less cluttered: these Italian-designed Chesterfield sofas and armchairs innovatively include light fixtures within the seats themselves, giving your outdoor space a soft glow that can’t be knocked over by clumsy guests. Best part: it plugs into a standard 120-volt outlet. Lit Armchair is $900; Lit Sofa is $1,460;
Juice Tank for iPhone at Kickstarter. This crowd-funding website is known for being a hub for innovation; one of its stars at the moment, the Juice Tank, does something so common sense, it’s a surprise it hasn’t been done before already. Rather than relying on your computer or plug-in charger to keep your iPhone alive, the Juice Tank utilizes a protective case for its charging purposes: the back has folding prongs for convenient power-outlet plug-ins at the last minute. If this project does well enough, could we expect a Juice Tank for iPads?
FOOD & DRINK
Kilchoman 100% Islay Inaugural Cask Strength Release by Kilchoman Distillery. The first distillery to be built on Islay for the past 124 years, this Scottish whisky maker is all Islay, from the barley, to the peat, to all steps of the crafting process. Founded in 2005, Kilchoman’s initial releases are, as can be expected of an Islay Scotch, warmly smoky, with strong hints of earthy spice. Unlike its bigger, more famous regional brethren, however, this Scotch is a bit softer and less sharp on the palate, giving it a nice, smooth trip down into your belly. And at 50% ABV, this young whisky is sure to make for a lively dram.
$300 per bottle
Seaventures Rig Resort, Pulau Mabul, Malaysia. It may look like an oil rig on top of a coral reef, but don’t be fooled — it’s actually a resort hotel designed specifically for scuba divers, with a unique proposition. Rather than forcing divers to clump around on land in uncomfortable gear until they’re deep enough over water to get into a boat, Seaventures has built its hotel so that it can lower its clientele directly into the waiting seas and corals below. Dives are unlimited for hotel patrons, a sun deck offers 360-degree views of the surrounding sea and islands, and the resort has live bands and top-notch food. seaventuresdive.com
Armstrong & Wilson Pocket Squares. The devil is in the details, right? In this case, a bit of playful devilry is afoot: stuff these pocket squares into your nearest suit, for they’re neither stodgily silken, or gaudily shiny, or covered in some kind of nonsensical pattern. Armstrong & Wilson’s squares are instead breezy, cool, and manage to make the urbane man appear put-together without seeming vain. Check out classic styles like The Triplets, a (safe) adventure in black-and-white cotton gingham; Peanut Butter & Jelly, a tan, linen square bordered in deep magenta and perfect for warmer weather; or Pink Goat, a dark grey cashmere number with a smart brown button for adornment.