A sometimes-bumpy buddies-on-the-road account of spiritual transformation.



A former hippie recounts his 1970s encounter with an unlikely spiritual teacher in this debut New-Age manifesto.

Doorlag’s account of his spiritual odyssey opens with a disturbing scene. On a beach in southern Vancouver Island, at the end of a long, deeply affecting journey, his friend and mentor died. Following JJ’s explicit wishes, the author burned his body on a bonfire, then smashed his bones to dust and pebbles with a hammer. It is a strange and grisly beginning to what is essentially a gentle story of spiritual guidance. Doorlag met JJ (whose moniker stands for his most basic directive, “Just Jump”) in the summer of 1975, when he accepted the man’s request to ride with him on a road trip from California to Canada. The author was a long-haired, bearded college student driving a “baby-blue van with rainbow curtains.” JJ was at least a decade older and worn down by a life he refused to talk about. But over the course of their month-long adventure, JJ did expound daily on his spiritual outlook, teaching Doorlag to embrace a worldview rooted in New-Age values of peace, love, and justice as attainable ideals. Rejecting established religions for their reliance on the “supernatural,” JJ set forth a belief in four miracles. Three of these, the creation of the universe, the beginning of life, and human consciousness, had already happened. The fourth, “peace on Earth for all mankind,” was to be achieved by practicing open-mindedness, questioning authority, and caring for other people, animals, and Earth. After imparting his philosophy, JJ asked Doorlag to write it down and publish it, a promise that took the author more than four decades to fulfill. Doorlag’s picaresque narrative evokes the innocent revolutionary ethos of the ’70s, which becomes especially poignant when juxtaposed with the continuing struggles of the “Occupy” movement of a more world-weary millennial generation. JJ’s teachings of the miracles of life and creation and hopes for peace and human connection propose a positive and well-intentioned cosmology with intriguing details. But the lessons are sometimes simplistic and contradictory. For example, in discussing JJ’s vision of the future, Doorlag asserts that “medical advances in the centuries to come would be pure speculation” while nonetheless going on to predict “birth defects, paralysis, brain trauma, cancer, etc. may no longer be an issue.”

A sometimes-bumpy buddies-on-the-road account of spiritual transformation.

Pub Date: July 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-73220-441-6

Page Count: 74

Publisher: Mountain Mouth Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2018

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    


Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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