Two Days Embedded in the World’s Hottest Brickyard (via Indy Monthly)

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Proud of self for taking this photo and not falling off a moving pickup.

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Indy Monthly — Two things about my experience at this year’s Brickyard 400, held Sunday on the surface of the sun: This was my first NASCAR race (though I’ve seen Cars 4,000 times, which counts), and I was lucky enough to spend it with Team Penske driver Brad Keselowski and his Miller Lite 2 crew. So while I can’t hear a thing anyone is saying right now, I can offer these thoughts from Keselowski’s pit box and Pit Road.

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What Is Pea Milk and Should You Be Drinking It? (via GQ)

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GQ — Alright, let’s get this out of the way: If you can say the phrase, “I’m about to drink a nice glass of pea milk” out loud without dissolving into hysterics, you have never been to seventh grade and I feel sorry for you.

And yet we need milk alternatives because cows are over and everybody hates them now. No one drinks milk anymore; we’ve all turned to an uproariously diverse buffet of beverages that includes, but is not limited to, almond milk, coconut milk, macadamia milk and hemp milk (yes it’s real, and no it doesn’t). The newest—and pretty much only—entrant into the white-hot alternative milk game is Ripple, a yellow split pea-based concoction that has already made the industry sit up, take notice, giggle at the name, and then say, “Eh, sure, why not.”

Here’s what this stuff tastes like.

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Chris Cornell Has an Absurd Number of Songs (via Indy Star)

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Indy Star — Great Caesar’s ghost, Chris Cornell has a lot of songs. Technically his current solo acoustic tour supports “Higher Truth,” his sterling fifth solo record and one that’s powered not by the thunderstorm roar of Soundgarden and/or Audioslave but an acoustic guitar — though, happily, his valkyrie four-octave voice hasn’t gone anywhere. (If you haven’t, check out “Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart,” a near-perfect single and a fine on-ramp into where he’s going with this.)

But Cornell’s show, which visits the cozy environs of the Murat on July 9, also draws from a galaxy of work that includes — deep breaths — grunge pioneers Soundgarden, the rhythmic and raging Audioslave, the Seattle supergroup Temple of the Dog and his previous four solo records (including that one with Timbaland). Throw in a James Bond theme, his contribution to “12 Years a Slave,” a cut from the “Singles” soundtrack, a track from a second Seattle supergroup Mad Season and a Donald Trump spoof called “Make America Great Again” and we’re dealing with a pretty huge grab bag.

But more than shining a light on his catalog, this tour serves to reinforce just how powerful Cornell’s voice remains. At 51, he’s applying it to reframed versions of “Black Hole Sun,” “Blow Up the Outside World” and “Doesn’t Remind Me.” But he’s also throwing in material from his recent round of killer viral covers, including a room-flattening “Nothing Compares 2 U,” a rewrite of “The Times They Are a’Changin’,” (in Cornell’s version, they aren’t) “Thank You” (something that probably happens after three solid decades of Plant comparisons) and a live mashup of Metallica’s “One” vs. U2’s “One,” which sounds like it has no right to work and then totally does.

Here’s how he makes his picks, via the Indy Star.

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Here, My Child, Let Me Help You Open That Complicated CD (via On Parenting at the Washington Post)

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More complicated than it looks

On Parenting at the Washington Post — I just watched my beloved, treasured, magical, sharp and thoughtful 12-year-old struggle to open a CD case for a full 20 seconds. He stared at it, fidgeted with each edge and then fought with the wrong side. He pushed on the black spine, trying, I’m guessing, to activate some secret spring-release mechanism. He flipped it over, inspected it, scowled, then flipped it back over for further scowling.

When he caught me watching him, an unmanageable smirk playing on my face, he made his movements more furtive, exerting pressure on parts that did not move but trying to play it all off like, “Pfft whatever, I’m just absently fidgeting with this thing. I don’t even know why you’re looking at me.” When he caught me fumbling with my camera to try for a surreptitious video, he warned, “If you post this to Instagram, you’re going to need an insurance policy for your face.”

I’m not in the business of humiliating my children online in video form, so I’ll just use words.

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Luke Bryan Is About to Play to an Awful Lot of People in Indiana (via Indy Star)

636028018097583505-PR-shot-A-Jim-WrightIndy Star — If you’re a fan of beach-country megalith Luke Bryan, you are in the right state. This weekend, Bryan plays back-to-back nights at the Klipsch Music Center, the only act pulling a double-shot there this summer. In October, he’ll bring his eighth annual Farm Tour back to picturesque Spangler Farms near Fort Wayne. All told, in the next three months, Bryan will play to something like 65,000 people in Indiana, after having done basically the same thing last year. (If you’re counting, he also performed in Evansville in February.)

Of all the seat-fillers (and shakers) in country, Bryan is one of the most astonishingly reliable; he and Kenny Chesney could easily spend an evening comparing stadium-show statistics. But for all his success singing of the party life, there are hints of change: Bryan retired his series of annual beer-splashed Spring Break concerts and EPs last year, which was both cause for sadness among his Coppertone-and-bikini-topped fans and probably a solid idea, as — let’s be honest — he’s knocking on 40, married to his high-school sweetheart and raising three kids.

More from one of country’s most reliable draws at the Indy Star.

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Darius Rucker on NASCAR, ‘Purple Rain’ and How He Ended Up Playing Jesus in a Back Seat with Billy Ray Cyrus (via Indy Star)

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Indy Star — Darius Rucker’s Saturday night show should be a little less stressful than his last appearance in Indy, when he had to sing to 350,000 people and time his performance to fighter planes.

“I get a phone call from my manager and he says, ‘They want you to sing the anthem at the Indy 500,’ Rucker says, “I was like, ‘There are so many singers in the world — they want me to do it?”

There are, and he did, and it was an honor — just one that required timing the big finish to the roaring appearance of two F/A-18 Hornets and two E/A-18G Growlers. “You have to sing it at the right time, the planes might be late, the planes might be early,” Rucker laughs. “There’s a guy on the radio with the pilots telling me ‘Stretch it out, stretch it out.’ I was like, ‘Man I’m stretching as much as I can! What do you want me to do, scat in the middle?”

More at the Indy Star.

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9 Reasons Owning a Minivan is Secretly Thrilling (via GQ)

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Bitchin’ Camaro

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GQ.com — This Memorial Day weekend, many of you will need to transport family members long distances across this great land. You will have myriad vehicular options, but precisely zero of them is better than a minivan. Now, you might think you are too awesome for a minivan. You might think SUVs are a more appropriate option, or that minivans have become shortened visual code for “sad-eyed, suburban-dwelling Blake Shelton fan.” But you will be wrong for these reasons.

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I Love You Guys. Now for the Love of God, Go Play Over There (via the Washington Post)

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On Parenting at the Washington Post — I need my kids to stop playing with me at the playground.

I don’t mean I need them to leave me alone and stop smothering me in attention because I’d like 10 minutes with my phone and to wander pointlessly through the pathways. But on the other hand, yeah, that’s exactly what I mean. I need them to play tag by themselves. Climb some branches. Explore the riverbank. Find frogs. Be dinosaur robots. Anything other than standing there, pawing at my legs, scampering off then returning every 30 seconds with a command to play some game I’ve not heard of. Somehow, at ages 12 and 4, they can’t entertain themselves.

The full story at the Washington Post.

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In Which the Great Frightened Rabbit Briefly Sorta Ruins My 4-Year-Old

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Indy Star — Frightened Rabbit’s music is grand and dreamy and often sad as heartbreak, which is why I don’t often play it in front of my 4-year-old. But to prep for a chat with singer/core Scott Hutchison, we sampled the band’s sterling new “Paintings of a Panic Attack,” which opens with a lovely, pulsing track called “Death Dream.” You can probably guess what it’s about. The band’s grandeur swirls around behind Hutchison’s rich, syrupy voice, a Scottish brogue that he lets crack at just the right times. Like the best Frightened Rabbit tracks — which is a lot of them — it’s melancholy enough to fit inside a cathedral. And midway through, my 4-year-old son wanders in, having heard the song from the living room, and he’s sobbing. Just sobbing. “Daddy,” he’s wailing, “Can you change the song?”

The full story (and the much happier ending) here.

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Michael Strahan’s Guide to Dreaming Big (via Success)

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Success — In his first career, Michael Strahan was a legend.

He became one of football’s most relentless competitors, as good at bringing down quarterbacks as anyone who ever played. Week after week, he’d tear through opposing offenses like a man without fear. When he retired in 2008, after 15 years in one of the most punishing physical environments in sports, he celebrated by picking up three full-time jobs.

“To be honest, I’m looking for a few more,” Strahan says with a big Strahan laugh. “My afternoons are free.” He’s kidding. I think.

It’s 40 minutes after a Tuesday morning taping of Live with Kelly and Michael, and Strahan has chatted with Kelly Ripa about dirty martinis, interviewed actress Rebel Wilson and concocted a small buffet of Super Bowl snacks. Now he’s headed to the offices of his production company, SMAC Entertainment, where he’ll spend the rest of today. Tomorrow, he’ll be up early for a double-shot hosting Live and Good Morning America, which he joined just over a year ago. And during football season, he’ll follow GMA by flying straight to the West Coast to prep for Fox NFL Sunday, which starts before dawn and eats up all of this day of “rest.” Afterward, it’s back to New York to start the cycle again.

See more at Success.

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