Monday, December 16, 2013

Monthly Recommendations: December 2013

I am doing something different for this month's Monthly Recommendations post. Seeing how it is the end of the year, I have decided to select a few of the things that I recommended this year in my monthly posts and re-recommend them. These are things that I think are totally worth checking out. Consider this the highlight version of this year's recommendations.


Brave Hannah - Yes, it's my sister's blog. Yes, that makes me a little biased. But it's a really great blog for anyone interested in eating real food, staying active, and generally living a healthy and positive life. If that's your thing, then give it a look.


Answers for Aristotle: How Science and Philosophy Can Lead Us to a More Meaningful Life - I read a lot of books this year - way more than usual - but this book by Massimo Pigliucci is by far the most intriguing book I read all year. I think about it regularly and intend to read it again soon. Yes, it's that good.


Dream Whip #15 - Dream Whip is one of my all-time favorite zines. Bill Brown's writing is simple yet so profound. Getting to read a new issue of Dream Whip was a highlight of my year.


Caustic Soda - When I recommended this back in August, I had only listened to one or two episodes. I honestly didn't fully comprehend what I was listening to at that time, but I knew I liked it. Now that I've listened to nearly every episode, I think I can safely say that I am a bona fide Caustic Soda Jerk. With healthy doses of humor, lightheartedness, caution, and seriousness, nobody discusses "caustic" themes like these guys. Give it a few listens, and you'll find that - just like a train wreck - you won't be able to turn away.


The Kingons - Because I am convinced that everyone needs a little pop punk in their lives every now and then. (Or in my case, the more the merrier).

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Monthly Recommendations: November 2013


Death from the Skies: The Science Behind the End of the World - Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy describes the myriad ways in which the universe is out to get us. A fascinating and somewhat unsettling read.

Darwin for Beginners - An illustrated history of Charles Darwin and how he came to write The Origin of Species. A great introduction to the theory of evolution and all of its complexities by Jonathan Miller and Borin Van Loon.


The Kingons - Japanese Pop Punk. On tour now with The Copyrights and The Queers.


Thanksgiving is coming up soon, so consider this:

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Review of Elephant Mess #27

Recently, DJ Frederick posted a very kind and thoughtful review of my zine, Elephant Mess #27. I appreciate his words very much, and I encourage you to check out his blog - One Minute Zine Reviews - where you can read other reviews that he writes as well as find out about all the other worthy projects that he is involved in.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Monthly Recommendations: October 2013


Pie Any Means Necessary: The Biotic Baking Brigade Cookbook - Activists pie-ing people for a cause. Making protest fun again.


Sandra and Zora Knauf (of Greenwoman Magazine) were interviewed on We Dig Plants, one of the many fine programs on the Heritage Radio Network. Check it out!


Autumn is here. Get outside, enjoy the cooler temperatures, and observe the beautiful fall colors. But first, read a little about the science behind why leaves change color in the fall. Just one of the many plant themed posts on my brother blog, Awkward Botany.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Monthly Recommendations: September 2013


Grow: How to Take Your Do It Yourself Project and Passion to the Next Level and Quit Your Job by Eleanor Whitney - Eleanor is a long-time zine writer and do-it-yourselfer, and her book is a great introduction for anyone considering turning their DIY project into a successful business and a full-time job. She also writes a great blog:


SawbonesPart of the Maximum Fun network of podcasts, this podcast covers "all the odd, weird, wrong, dumb, and just gross ways we've tried to fix people over the years." Who knew that medical history could be this interesting and fun?!


This is an entertaining and informative video about green roof technology:

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

new issue of elephant mess out now!

It's been more than three and a half years since the last issue of Elephant Mess. I thought perhaps it was dead. And maybe it should be? But for whatever reason, I am keeping it least for now. This issue has words about love, loss, and being haunted by life. It's written in typical emo-phant mess fashion, and it's available for $1 or trade or whatever. You get the idea.

Dan Murphy
PO Box 9862
Boise ID 83707

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Monthly Recommendations: August 2013

Caustic Soda Podcast - A podcast that I recently discovered. The hosts prattle on about "science, horrible news, and humor," among other things. I'm really loving it so far!

Overseas - A band composed of David Bazan (Pedro the Lion, The Headphones), Will Johnson (Monsters of Folk, etc.) and members of Bedhead and The New Year. A super-group as far as I'm concerned. Their first album is incredible!

Portland Zine Symposium - Hanging out with zine kids is always a fun time! It's happening right now as I type this, so if you missed it this year, plan for next year. Or find/start a zine get-together in your neck of the woods.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Monthly Recommendations: July 2013

Here are some titles to add to your summer reading list:

Xerography Debt - Zine World may be dead, but Xerography Debt is still very much alive. This is a great resource for finding new zines to read and for connecting with fellow zine writers. The columns are worth your time as well.

Dream Whip #15 - Bill Brown writes about a bike tour in a way that only Bill Brown can. He made a movie about activists who work along the U.S./Mexico border, and he showed it at various places across the U.S., getting to each location by bike and making the trip with various friends. "LJR's knee was bugging her for a few days. But now it's better. She darts ahead of Mike and me and pretty soon, she's barely visible. Seeing her like that, a little black dot under a huge Kansas sky, makes me feel like a little black dot, too: small and lonely and lost in space."

Zera and the Green Man - Sandra Knauf, editor of Greenwoman Magazine, has finally published her young adult novel, something she's been working on for more than a decade. Zera is a teenager who discovers that she has a very unique connection with plant life and the earth. The trouble is that her Uncle (who became her legal guardian after her parents died) works in the biotechnology industry, creating bizarre combinations of plants and animals and thereby threatening the ecology of the planet and the future of the human species. An entertaining and important read. There is no print version available, but you can purchase a kindle edition on amazon. Other options may soon be available. Visit Sandra's website for updates.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Monthly Recommendations: June 2013

June is the first month of summer, therefore I really only have one recommendation for you: turn off your computer, put your smart phone down, shut off your tablet, etc., and go outside! Go on a hike, a bike ride, or a camping trip. Go for a swim. Spend some time in the park. Do something active or just relax in the shade. I don't really care what you decide to do outside, just get out there and enjoy the sun and the warm weather. Take advantage of the summer while it lasts, because before you know it, it will be over and you'll be back to complaining about old man winter.

Now quit reading this stupid blog, and go do what I just told you to do.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Awkward Botany

This isn't my only blog. If you'd like to read more of what I have to say, consider visiting Awkward Botany. It's my blog about plants. I'm a plant nerd and love all things plant related. Awkward Botany is where I express my plant nerd self. Whether you are plant interested, plant curious, or plant ambivalent, I am certain that you will find something of interest here. It's worth checking out.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Monthly Recommendations: May 2013

Lord of the Ants - A PBS documentary about my favorite scientist, Edward O. Wilson. One view isn't enough. This movie is fascinating! - Greenhorns is a non-profit organization that aims to "recruit, promote, and support the new generation of young farmers." I can get behind that.

Yo La Tengo Live! - I recently saw Yo La Tengo for the second time. They put on an incredible live show. You don't want to miss it. I highly recommend checking them out if they ever happen to be in your town.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Asparagus with Chive Blossoms

We are well into spring, which means that chive blossoms and asparagus are now in abundance. I love chive blossoms for two reasons: they are beautiful and they are edible. Not only are they edible, but they taste great. They have a mild onion flavor, and their texture is pretty unique. Due to my love for both chive blossoms and asparagus, I included the following recipe in issue #15 of The Juniper. I am including it here because many people who read that issue mentioned how much they wanted to try it. So, consider this a reminder. It's that time of year again, so here is your chance. This recipe is borrowed from this location on the interwebs.

Asparagus with Chive Blossoms

1 pound asparagus (washed, trimmed, and cut into 1 inch lengths)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 tablespoons fresh snipped chives
About 16 chive blossoms, stems removed
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
A few whole chive blossoms for garnish

Blanch the asparagus in lightly salted boiling water for about 3 minutes or until tender (but not mushy). Remove from heat and rinse under cold water; drain well. In a large frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sesame seeds and stir for about 1 minute. Add chives and stir for another minute. Add asparagus, soy sauce, and salt and pepper; stir well, cover, and cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove the lid, sprinkle the chive blossoms over asparagus, and cover for 1-2 minutes so that the chive blossoms steam briefly. Remove from heat. Stir lightly and serve hot.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Monthly Recommendations: April 2013

The Memory Palace -  Obscure stories from history told by Nate DiMeo, a man with a very fine voice and a gift for words. Now part of the Maximum Fun network of podcasts. - A community committed to sharing. Enough said.

Answers for Aristotle: How Science and Philosophy Can Lead Us to a More Meaningful Life by Massimo Pigliucci - "...the relationship between science and philosophy in guiding our lives is complex, but surely one way to understand sci-phi is to let philosophy (informed by science) guide us in principle, and to use science (steered by philosophy) as our best bet for implementing those principles." Yes, I know it's cliche to say, but this book really changed my life.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Raccoon vs. Onions

A little while back, I planted some onion seeds in a plastic salad container. As the onion seeds began to sprout, I placed the container outside by my front door so that the little seedlings could get plenty of sun and eventually be ready to transplant in a yet to be determined location. After they had been outside for a few days, I observed that something had been digging in them. At first it wasn't anything major - just a couple small holes. I assumed it was a squirrel. No big deal. I would just bury the holes back in and go about my day. I wasn't too worried about it because it didn't seem overly intrusive. Then one day I noticed more digging than usual and decided I should do something about it. I found a piece of chicken wire and placed it over the top of the planter. The next morning, to my horror, the digging had advanced to a new extreme. The chicken wire had been shoved aside and what had previously been small, isolated holes had become one giant hole extending across the entire planter. I decided that what I was dealing with wasn't just a playful squirrel but most likely a menacing raccoon (especially since the deed seemed to be occurring at night). Frustrated, I dug out what I could of the onions, transplanted them into a smaller container, and placed them in a safer location, hopefully to never be bothered again. Unfortunately this means that what I had envisioned as a bumper crop of onions in the fall will now just be a meager harvest at best. This time, in the battle of Raccoon vs. Onions, Raccoon wins. Such is the life of a gardener and his constant battle against nature.

To read more of my adventures in the plant world, please visit:

Monday, March 11, 2013

Monthly Recommendations: March 2013

Michael Jackson's Moonwalker Arcade Game - I discovered this game at Spacebar recently. Michael Jackson fights bad guys and zombies with dance moves, etc. and saves little kids. Not too many things are cooler than that.

Heirloom Gardener Magazine - I really like what the folks at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds are doing, and I've been checking out their catalog and ordering their seeds for a few years now, but I hadn't checked out their magazine until this month. I'm not sure what took me so long - their magazine is great!

Johnny Marr: The Messenger - The Smith's guitarist, Johnny Marr, put out his first solo album last month. It's no Morrissey album, but it's still pretty great. It's got a very throwback feel and some pretty catchy tunes.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Juniper #16

Hello friends and foes! The 16th issue of The Juniper is out now! It's about time, right? In this issue, I write about embracing change, being human, raised bed gardening, the proper way to add organic matter to your garden, purposeful gardening, and pruning rosemary plants. This zine is free, but if you have a dollar or stamps to donate to the cause, that would be greatly appreciated as printing and mailing costs add up. I am also, for the first time, offering a pdf version of the zine. If you would like a free pdf copy, just send me a request by email. Otherwise, send your dollar or stamp(s) to the following address:

Dan Murphy
PO Box 9862
Boise ID 83707

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Monthly Recommendations: February 2013

The Other F Word - A documentary about punk rockers becoming fathers (F = fatherhood) and the challenging dichotomy of living an anti-authoritarian lifestyle while simultaneously having to be an authority figure to your children. Fascinating.

Greenwoman Magazine - The fourth issue of Sandy's garden writing magazine is out, and it's packed with the quality content you've come to expect. A musing on chickens, thoughts on the challenges of birds in the garden, an interview with Amy Stewart (an artist), a "Diary of a Garden Goddess," some fiction, art, poetry, and so much more. Get your hands on a copy of this.

A Valentine's Day message from Laci Green of Sex+.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Monthly Recommendations: January 2013

The days of weekly recommendations are over. 52 weeks in a row was enough for me. However, I still have things that I feel the need to recommend, and I am also looking for reasons to keep this blog at least semi-active. So, I have settled on writing Monthly Recommendations from now until the foreseeable future. Each month I will choose 3-5 things (more or less) that I feel are worthy of a recommendation and list them here with a sentence or two about each one so that you might be enticed to check them out.

Destination DIY Podcast: A high-quality podcast exploring all things Do-It-Yourself. Going beyond just home improvement projects and crafts, this podcast aims to tell the stories of people from all walks of life who have taken things into their own hands and chosen to "create rather than consume the world around them."

Brave Hannah Blog: This is my sister's blog...but don't let that be the only reason you check it out. Hannah writes about food ("clean eating"), fitness, and life in general. Read her "About Me" page to find out more.

Useless Eaters: Catchy punk rock/garage rock band from Tennessee. Chaotic, messy, and fun.