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Credit: US Army 1st Lt. Zachary West

After Hurricane Harvey, Houston property owners joined the millions of Americans with uninsured losses. The National Flood Insurance Program isn’t giving the rest of us a reason to “buy in” anytime soon.

Flood. Repair. Repeat. This mantra — echoed by many homeowners in flood-risk areas — is most apparent in the records of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). In Spring, Tex., for example, a home worth $42,024 has been repaired 19 times. These repairs come out to $912,732, nearly 22 times the home’s value.

Still, more Americans are risking uninsured damages rather than buying into an NFIP plan. Initial estimates have around 70% of Hurricane Harvey damages going uninsured. …

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Father John Misty at CrossroadsKC in Kansas City, MO — August 20, 2017.

The artist has always shown flashes of real heartbreak. But with his latest release, God’s Favorite Customer (2018), Josh Tillman is finally ready to meet these meditations head-on.

The last track of Fear Fun — Josh Tillman’s 2012 release under the newly-adorned moniker, Father John Misty — is titled “Every Man Needs a Companion.” Ending his first record and starting the next with one this imperative in mind, Tillman had created the foundations for a love album early on.

His following release, I Love You, Honeybear (2015), though, finds Tillman looking for his own reflection in his partner’s eyes.

In its own right, Honeybear is a lovely album, perhaps Father John Misty’s best. On “True Affection”, we’re transported to some of Tillman’s most intimate moments of disconnect. The album’s final track, “I Went To The Store One Day”, wallows in love’s serendipity as Tillman traces his marriage to its first chance encounter. The result is a moment that’s as vulnerable as it is beautiful. …

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A hike, however, on this clear windy day sounds delightful.

A train ride, a hike, and a man selling oranges. Snapshots of a journey through Cinque Terre, Italy.

The train from Rome to La Spezia is about four hours long, and if you’re lucky, you’ll have a direct route, one that doesn’t make you transfer in Florence or Pisa. Today, we are lucky.

Claire and I sit in a car that’s about half-full, and the two seats across from us are empty. I always enjoy long train rides like these — “always,” as in, during the two months I’ve been here. There’s a lot of talk about how unreliable, how under-resourced Italian transit is, and most of it is spot on. I’m sure that if I were commuting to and from Rome or venturing out on business, I’d dread a train like I do the dentist. But in this weird perennial vacation of mine, I look forward to the novelty of a long ride. A much smoother and quieter ride than an airplane (if you’re in a car without Italian teenagers). A place where I can read my book, sleep, and read some more. …

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Credit: Abby Gillardi, Flickr

It’s Friday night, and Kristian Matsson has a problem. Just two songs into his set, the Swedish singer-songwriter has busted the pick on his right thumb.

He, along with a crowd of about a thousand in Rome’s Auditorium Parco della Musica, now find themselves waiting for the adhesive on his thumb to set.

The position is a familiar one for Matsson, though. Guitar-less, he scans a crowd of dark, indistinct faces and remarks:

I have this recurring stress dream.

I come out to play in front of a lovely audience like this. I step out on stage, and I realize I forgot my capo backstage. So I say, ‘I left my capo backstage. I’ll be right back.’ But it’s not backstage; I left it at home. So I go outside and get on a bus, but the bus takes forever and you all are waiting and waiting. And when I get back, there’s only about ten people here, and they all write shitty things about my music online and in Youtube…


John Godfrey

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