I’m entirely unacquainted with the podcasting work of Justin, Travis, and Griffin McElroy, the siblings who’ve built a minor audio empire around their flagship podcast, My Brother, My Brother And Me. But I have watched and enjoyed several episodes of the Seeso version of My Brother, My Brother And Me, in which the McElroys purport to dispense advice solicited from their viewers, but really just use those topics as jumping-off points for good-natured shenanigans filmed around their hometown of Huntington, West Virginia. With the McElroys—introduced at the top of every episode as “your oldest brother, Justin McElroy; your middlest brother, Travis McElroy; and your sweet baby brother, Griffin McElroy”—deploying comedic personas previously established on mic, Seeso’s MBMBAM gets busy fleshing out the world of Huntington, introducing viewers to the brothers’ radio-personality dad, Clint, and my personal favorite recurring character/target for McElroy mix-’em-ups, Mayor Steve Williams. Williams figures prominently in the sample episode of My Brother, My Brother And Me that’s streaming on YouTube; the appeal of the series is on full display in the sequence in which the McElroys attempt to sell the mayor on their idea for a parade celebrating tarantulas. (It’s a long story—just watch the episode!) Justin gives Williams a grim forecast for what his political career might look like if he turns down the brothers’ arachnid celebration, but he keeps getting interrupted by his own giggles. That’s My Brother, My Brother And Me in a nutshell: the McElroys fighting through every goofy obstacle to see their intensely goofy ideas to fruition, for our amusement and to a public servant’s low-level annoyance.
My wife used to have every Agatha Christie novel, and I generally rolled my eyes at them. But when she finally talked me into reading Murder On The Orient Express, I saw the appeal. It was a quick, engrossing read, but not the kind of thing that would tax my mental energy too much before falling asleep. Looking for similar stuff on my Kindle, I was recommended A Quiet Life In The Country by British writer T E Kinsey. The book, which came out last October, follows an eccentric widow named Lady Emily Hardcastle and her devoted servant, Florence Armstrong, in the English countryside in 1908. Lady Hardcastle has retired to the country after a life of secret government work that Kinsey alludes to but never explains. But when a man is murdered, Lady Hardcastle and Florence can’t help but investigate. Lady Hardcastle’s age (early 40s, positively ancient in 1908) and gender lead the male townsfolk to underestimate her abilities, but it doesn’t take long for them to get the picture. A Quiet Life In The Country is great fun, aided by Lady Hardcastle and Florence’s witty banter, amusing signifiers of the era, and a bunch of delightful British slang I had to look up. I immediately downloaded the second Hardcastle book, In The Market For Murder, which picks up shortly after its predecessor and is every bit as enjoyable. After that I quickly preordered Death Around The Bend, the third book in the series, which came out June 8. All three are available on Kindle for a measly 12 bucks and are easily worth twice that.
If you’re anything like me, you find putting liquor in your coffee a messy, arduous task, and then there’s the hassle of being drunk at work. There’s got to be a better way! Fortunately, Fire Department Coffee has released a new line of “spirit-infused” coffees that remove all the muss and fuss of pouring bottles of booze into your mug and getting fired. Of the three varieties I was sent to sample, I would heartily recommend the bourbon, which does indeed boast the woodsy aroma and palatable smoothness of a middling to decent whiskey (if you’re into that sort of thing), allowing you to pretend like you Irished up your coffee, for whatever reason you might have for doing that. I’d offer a more reserved endorsement of the rum brew—a bit sweet for me, though my wife loved it—and I would skip the brassy, acidic tequila coffee with its “hint of lime” entirely, unless you’re into the taste of lingering hangovers. All told, it’s no substitute for the real deal, but you probably shouldn’t be putting liquor in your coffee, anyway. What are you, a grizzled homicide detective?