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Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living
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Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living [Format Kindle]

Nick Offerman
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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Descriptions du produit



Not-­So-­Little House on the Prairie

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Where do I begin chapter 1? I suppose we’ll do a chronological thing and start you off with some of the early years, a taste of the vintage stuff.

I showed up on Earth, in the tri-­county area of Illinois, to be more precise, in 1970. This was, reportedly, the year Tom Waits showed up in LA to start pushing his demos around town. I haven’t had the chance to ask Tom if he was trying to send me a personal message of serendipity with his beautiful and haunting songs of the day like “Grapefruit Moon” and “Midnight Lullaby,” but it seems too crazy-­on-­the-­nose to just be coincidence. Right?

Somewhere in the Arizona desert, Tom Laughlin was shooting the movie Billy Jack, and warlock-­style wax albums were dropping all about the realm with names like Look-­Ka Py Py; Black Sabbath; Sex Machine; Moondance; Bitches Brew; The Man Who Sold the World; After the Gold Rush; Free Your Mind . . . and Your Ass Will Follow; Kristofferson, for cryin’ out loud; Let It Be; and the most weirdly kabbalistic—­Randy Newman’s 12 Songs. Potent magicks coalesced and fluctuated across the void, whilst strange nether-­clouds swelled with great portent above the green crop fields, awaiting . . . what? Some child? A chosen man-­cub?

Despite some loose popular misconceptions, I did NOT in fact drop from my mother’s womb wielding a full moustache and a two-­headed battle-­axe. Nor was there sighted evidence of even the first follicle of the first hair of my chest bracken. Those laurels would come later.

The luckiest part of my very lucky life (pre-­Megan) has been being raised by my family in the environment they created for the rearing of my siblings and me. My mom, Catherine Ann Offerman (née Rob­erts), and my dad, Frederic Dames Offerman, grew up about three miles from each other in the middle of the countryside, outside of Minooka, Illinois. Where is that? Right next to Channahon, as I like to joke. (I told you this shit was gwine to be humorous.) Southwest of Joliet. My mom grew up in a family of four kids, born to Mike and Eloise Roberts, and they raised pigs, soybeans, and corn. My dad, born to Raymond Offerman and Marilyn Dames Offerman, grew up on a dairy farm with two siblings before moving into town as a teen­ager. They attended all the same Minooka schools that I eventually did, and married young. Dad was twenty-­four and Mom was nine­teen. Which seems batshit crazy to me these days.

Minooka is, surprisingly, only about an hour from Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, if there’s no traffic. But it seems like it’s fifty years distant, or at least it did in my youth. It was very bucolic and idyllic, like American Graffiti or Happy Days. Saturday night you would get together and “buzz the gut” in your jalopy, which meant drive past the five businesses on Main Street. At the time I was grow­ing up the population was 768. It’s grown ridiculously—­it’s up near twelve thousand now. It used to be primarily a farming community, but by now, the commuting suburban population has reached it and subsumed it. There are now many inhabitants of Minooka whom I would consider “soft,” and yes, that is a judgment.

My dad went to Illinois State University. I had always heard vari­ous legends of his prowess as an athlete as a young man, primarily in baseball and basketball. I wrote to him, asking for some facts on this subject for my book, because he has always been pretty humble about it to the point of being mum. Here is an excerpt of his reply:

Well, I don’t know what you heard but remember it was a very small high school. In baseball I started every varsity game for four years except one as a freshman and in that one I pinch-­hit and hit a triple, then later in that game I hit another triple (that never happened again). As a sophomore I batted second, third as a junior, and fourth as a senior and was the shortstop the last three years. . . . I hit .333 (22 for 66) and led the team in RBIs. That was second to your uncle Mark, who hit 1.000 (1 for 1). I never considered myself as a terrific player but I had one damn burning desire to play and was surprised many times when I did well.

This might begin to give you an idea of from whence I sprung.

They have yet to make a man I like better or respect more than my dad. And he’ll be the first to tell you that my mom is even better. They married young, and my mother had my older sister, Lau­rie, when she was twenty. Twenty! The balls on these people! They rented an old farm for one hundred dollars a month plus utilities. It was right in between the two farms they grew up on, and that’s where I lived for my first five years.

Looking back on it now, I am just astonished at how little income we got by on. The older I get, the more my parents just seem like absolute heroes to me. My dad was teaching junior high geography, history, and social studies in Channahon, as well as tacking on every bit of extra income that he could squeeze in. He drove a school bus, he coached basketball, and in the summer break he would work on a local blacktop crew or earn wages on the Roberts’s farm, where my mother grew up. Meanwhile, my mom was running a household with four children, making a lot of our clothes, and cooking up a storm. Not too far off from Ma and Pa Ingalls. They raised us four kids, Laurie, me, Carrie, and Matt (the baby, aka “Matt Mailman”), as solid as Illinois livestock. My sisters and brother are the cut of folk who I’d be damn glad to stand beside in a bar brawl, a square dance, or a pie-­eating competition, and preferably the latter.

It was an old farmhouse, and drafty, so we nailed blankets over the doors to combat the drafts. We had our first big garden there, and I have the most wonderful memories of my parents’ gardens. To this day my dad has two huge gardens, one at home and one out at the Roberts’s farm. One of my earliest memories is of sitting in the gar­den, in the strawberry patch, in my diaper, probably fertilizing the strawberries more than I’d care to admit, ironically happy as a pig in shit, just sitting in the mud and eating strawberries.

We were right across the road from the Aux Sable Creek, which is the creek that ran through my life. No matter where my mom’s fam­ily was farming or where we lived, we were always within a few miles of the creek. That’s where I learned to fish and eventually ­canoe.

* * *

My first job on the farm was shoveling pig shit in the barn base­ment for my grandpa Mike Roberts. He probably paid me a nickel for lending him a hand in procedures of animal husbandry. One of my most distinct memories as a small boy was handing my grandfather the one-­year-­old pigs, which he would then sequester up­side down in this clamped bracket so that he could handily cut their nuts out with a razor knife and then spray the wound with a medici­nal purple spray. You may begin to understand why this memory is particularly poignant, for I promise you’ve never heard anyone scream like a one-­year-­old pig screaming for its balls.

It was never so Little House on the Prairie that we’d have our own pig-­killing day. It was something I always loved reading about, though. The whole neighborhood would come out together, as I’ve read in Little House on the Prairie and also in the fiction of Wendell Berry (our nation’s most venerated living agrarian author and far and away my personal favorite writer; he has a great short story, “Don’t Send a Boy to Do a Man’s Work,” where somebody uninvited shows up with some whisky and it turns into a very messy hog-­slaughter day).

We were eventually aware that a couple of Grandpa’s pigs would come home from market and go straight into the freezer. As kids, we’d have our favorite pigs and we’d name them. There were a few gray years before we realized, “This bacon used to be old Fat Albert.”

As the oldest male grandchild, I suppose the guys were trying me out at different tasks to see if I would take to farming. I remember a time when there was a pig who died of an intestinal sick­ness, and a vet came out and removed its intestines to determine what it had. My uncle Don Roberts and I took the pig on the end loader—­which is a tractor with a bucket in the front—­out into a field and buried the pig and the intestines separately. This may be revi­sionist history, but I recall that pile of guts being the same purple as the neuter spray. That color purple was ruined for me—­I was later a big fan of Prince, but his greatest album unfortunately gave me vi­sions less redolent of Apollonia’s beauty and more suited to the abat­toir. On that day in the field, I remember Uncle Don explaining that you had to bury both deep enough and cover them with rocks so the coyotes wouldn’t dig them up.

Out in the hog lot there were big, round feeder bins into a top central hatch of which one would dump hog feed. The pigs would then access the feed off the chutes at the bottom, which was handy for them, but unfortunately it was also handy for the rats, which are al­ways a big problem on a farm. So, when the rats got bad enough, Grandpa and the uncles would hoist this feeder up in the air with the same bucket loader. We would assemble a whole neighborhood of friends, who would surround the feeder. There would be twenty neighborhood men and boys armed with pitchforks, spades, and hoes. They’d have half as many dogs, standing at th...

Revue de presse

“It is thought-provoking, profane, and frequently hilarious.” - Publishers Weekly

"Not only does he recall his life, but he also offers chuckle-worthy anecdotes, diagrams, even a haiku...Ron Swanson would be proud." - Booklist 

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 2262 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 353 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 052595421X
  • Editeur : Dutton Adult (1 octobre 2013)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00C1N5WRU
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°99.937 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Un livre magique 12 décembre 2013
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living : Très très bon livre, d'un homme simple et rafraichissant, qui a su se faire une place au panthéon d'humour américain. Très heureux qu'Amazon puisse avoir des livres en VO à disposition. Bravo.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 3.9 étoiles sur 5  250 commentaires
216 internautes sur 268 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Where's the beef? Should have called it "Humblebrags and Bitter Ranting" 11 octobre 2013
Par AC1647 - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
As soon as I saw this book was available I purchased it for my Kindle and read it that same evening. As a long time fan of Parks and Rec as well as Offerman's other work, I was really excited. I know that Ron Swanson is a fictional character, but one of the things that sets the charachter apart is how little Offerman has to "act" to be believed. As a trip to the Offerman Woodshop website will show you, he truly is passionate about some of the same things that Ron Swanson espouses. He also has a killer 'stache. That's sadly where the similarities end.

(SPOILER ALERT: I reflect on things I didn't like in the text, with minor specifics. Proceed with caution if you want to be suprised by the tale of his life)

I didn't expect a book "by Ron Swanson" but the only amusing parts of this work are written in the spirit of the character. I laughed out loud several times only to realize it was Mr. Offerman "taking his character's voice" briefly. He then promplty rebukes the sentiment that was amusing in the first place. Offerman takes great pains to point out that he is not the source for Ron Swanson, and is even somewhat self referential about why anyone would find his real story compelling. He's right there, as I struggled through several chapters that only served the purpose of recounting his experiences with high school girls. These stories are neither unique nor meaningful, in fact they're mostly boring. Awkward teenage romance has been mined pretty well, Offerman strikes nothing new here.

Perhaps the greatest dissapointment was the sheer amount of time spent on opinions. I'm inclined to accept Mr. Offerman's opinion on things he likely knows a great deal about, like growing a mustache or using a hand plane. Indeed I bought this book for exactly that earlthy wisdom. Instead, Offerman spends an inordinate amount of time discussing politics, religion, sustainability, morals and vices. It's not only outside his wheelhouse but also plainly uninformed. He paves over complex arguments with base generalities and writes off dissenters as fools. The crux of his argument is that certain groups, ranging from religious believers to 9-5 office workers, are naive imbeciles. If you count yourself in either group, count on being at least mildly insulted. Offerman believes in your right to think and act as you wish, but he will gladly deride you in his text. Offerman has this figured out, he asked his own gut and it told him what's what. Think you have a compelling case for why you chose the path you did? Offerman says you're wrong, but that's your right so now hush up about it.

That I think is the most damaging aspect of this work. Offerman believes in a free spirit that permits anything that doesn't hurt another person. He admonishes us that the use of society is to keep us from our animal urges, and suggests the goal is to not be mean to eachother. He brags about mischeif and petty crimes while griping that there's nasty people in the world. He blusters at people who spew hate and then levels his vitrol on institutions and concepts that people live by. It's not just religion or politics. Think drugs are dangerous? Buy food at a discount grocer to save a buck? Work in an industry that's not farming or theater? Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. The only people who get a pass for being regualr work-a-day citizens with samrtphones and Sunday Worship Services are his own family. He's a bully, but he's too conceited to realize that fact. He is what he detests and doesn't know it.

I wanted to learn from this man about WHY Scotch is a great libation and how to enjoy it. I wanted to learn about hardwoods and canoes. I expected to discover what he thinks about as he plays his popular character and what he taps into. I wanted some tips on fishing waters in the Mid-West. I wanted to be amused, by a comedic actor, a pretty low bar. What I got instead was a tale of how lucky Nick Offerman is, what he likes and dislikes, and an undeveloped philosophy that you could pick up from any barfly.

These aren't fundamentals for living. Even if I agree with half of his admittedly unbaked world view, I bought this book to be entertained. It failed in that regard. I won't stop watching and enjoying Mr Offerman's characters, and I admit that being Nick Offerman sounds really cool, but if you want some fundamentals for living, skip this book and learn to tie some knots. If he means what he says, Mr. Offerman would be proud of you for it.
11 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Boring. Nick Offerman is not an author. 2 mars 2014
Par BiloxiKnifeGuy - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I love Nick Offerman, the actor. Nick Offerman, the writer, not so much. Don't hate me! Please just hear me out, and keep an open mind.
Firstly, he has no voice. His style is more like rambling.
He seems to just want everyone to know how awesome his family is and how much he loves his life. Of course you think your family is the greatest family in the world, but they aren't interesting enough to write a book about. I felt like I was reading someone's diary: a book that only achieves pathos when read by someone who knows the writer of the diary, or read by the author hisself.
There are a couple funny nuggles of wisdom and drawings and hilarious lists. I would have greatly enjoyed an entire book written in THIS format, instead of a mediocre autobiography.
In conclusion, he never could have gotten this boring mess published if he wasn't Nick Offerman... I love you, Nick Offerman.
24 internautes sur 34 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 I'm not really sure what I thought it would be, but this isn't it. 19 décembre 2013
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur
I don't remember where I first heard about this book, but I recall someone telling me it sounded like the kind of thing I wound enjoy and - based on the title - I agreed. I'm interested in things like being independent and self-sufficient and pragmatic and all of those things seem to be summed up in that title. I should also add that I don't watch a lot of TV and so didn't have the slightest idea who Nick Offerman or Ron Swanson are.

What this book should have been called is "Pat Yourself On The Back" because that's mostly what it is - Nick Offerman talking about how lucky he is and how well he's doing and how even when he wasn't doing well he was doing well and how even the mischief he got into was better than yours. I actually listened to the book during my commute and after reading things Offerman seemed to find funny (he reads it himself) he even stops to chuckle at his own amusing anecdotes, which made me cringe every time.

I did get a couple laughs out of it - mostly at the way some things were phrased than out of any of the actual content of the stories in it. I guess I thought this would be more philosophical and less biographical - but in a nutshell, that's what it is. Nick Offerman's Biography. The thing is - I don't really give a crap about Nick Offerman and if it was titled "Nick Offerman's Biography" I wouldn't have purchase it and having purchased it and listened to it, I don't feel any differently about that.

The last - oh, let's say 1/3 of the book - is B.O.R.I.N.G. I don't care how Nick met his wife or what a good interior decorator she is. I don't care about Courtney Valenti or how sweet "Sandy" Bullock is in real life. I don't really care for a roll call of people Mr. Offerman worked with in theater or who else was in the waiting room for auditions for parts he didn't get. Maybe this stuff could have been made interesting (I doubt it) if some care was actually put into the writing of those parts, but the whole last 1/3 of the book really felt like he had more to say but got bored with writing and so just tried to wrap it all up quickly and get back into the wood shop.

I suppose we all have something to say - Look, I just did, too - but taking as much time as that project probably took to tell everyone about a life that's not particularly extraordinary seems to smack of a bit of self-satisfaction. I suppose if you're a fan of Mr. Offerman or his work this all might interest you, but to the outside reader, I'd say "skip it."
44 internautes sur 63 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Nice guy, maybe next time.... 5 décembre 2013
Par Joshua Rieff - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I like Nick, and I'll continue to be a fan; but the book is a bit of a misfire. Don't get me wrong, he's a good story teller with good stories and I respect that. However, when you get on a soapbox, its a fine line between pithy and preachy. I started off things giving my man the benefit of the doubt, erring on the side of pithy. But about 1/3 of the way through, i realize that there were some topics he unfortunately just wasn't going to move on from. One of these is anti-Christianity, after a couple chapters of it, I thought he'd gotten it out of his system and that we could move on....but he kept bringing back up. I'm sorry that he's apparently been hurt by it in the past and I genuinely hope he can recover from it; however, I'm afraid his hurt may have spoiled the book.
11 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Not what you expect 6 janvier 2014
Par Casey Lewis - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
This is not a book on how to live life. It it simply an autobiography with an underlying theme of Offerman's hatred of the people who disagree with his personal beliefs. He has a strong hatred for the church and Christianity. If you enjoy reading angry rants then this is the book for you.
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