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Social Media Dump Dec 2022-Jan 2023

See my other social media dumps

Wow, I totally forgot to start a column for Social Media last month so I’m playing catch up.

I never expected the ad-supported version of Spotify to be great, but I’m finding that the ratio of song to ad is about 1 to 1. I only use it occasionally (usually when I can’t stream something elsewhere), but it’s hard to justify listening to using Spotify even on the premium level — considering the paltry payouts they make to musicians.

For my nieces and nephews when I give them gifts which are books, I usually write little messages inside — usually silly messages on one of the pages. But I always include one message which says something like “IF YOU SEE THIS MESSAGE BEFORE FEB 20, 2023, I WILL GIVE YOU $30! (or something comparable). Sometimes I put it on the last page or in the paragraph in one of the middle pages. Alas, none of them have ever called to claim their cash reward until yesterday — my niece Elizabeth who actually read the book — told me that she saw the message. I will be $30 poorer, but I am glad that a young person is actually reading….

QUOTE: Today, the number of political prisoners in Russia is more than the total number in all of the Soviet Union at the beginning of the period of perestroika in the 1980s. ” (Jan Rachinsky of MEMORIAL group from Russia, which shared the Nobel Peace prize with similar groups from Ukraine and Belarus).

Here’s more: QUOTE: “In my homeland, the entirety of Belarus is in a prison. Journalists, political scientists, trade union leaders are in jail, there are many of my acquaintances and friends among them… The courts work like a conveyor belt, convicts are transported to penal colonies, and new waves of political prisoners take their place…” (Co-winner Ales Bialiatski, now in prison in Belarus whose prize was accepted by his wife )

KIRSTIE ALLEY MISSES HER TV FAMILY. She was great in mixing haughtiness with insecurity. Here’s another very risque sketch — even for SNL.

I always tell people that my Harris Country branch library (Maud Marks library) is super-awesome. Yesterday when I was there to check out/return stuff, the librarian called out to me, “Mr. Nagle. It’s too bad you were not here yesterday. You could have seen the reindeer.” Yes, they actually had REINDEER outside for the children to see (she showed me video and pics). In the past, they had talks with a former astronaut, a retired police detective (to talk about murder mysteries), various art shows, India day and author readings. Also free ethnic food for random reasons. Those things are great too, but heck …. REINDEER!?

KIEV TO LVIV (and POLAND). Apparently for reasons of safety, NYT reporters were sent away from Kiev to remain in Lviv and at the Polish border. Monday’s podcast episode was an unbelievable and harrowing account of the journey to Poland through Lviv (which should only take a few hours, but because of traffic jams and checkpoints ended up taking days). Having no place to sleep, they eventually found room sleeping on the floor of a kindergarten class. It’s hard to imagine the extent of how the lives of ordinary Ukrainians are being disrupted.

I PREDICT: Elvis by Baz Luhrmann will win this year’s Oscar for Best Picture.

FUN TRAVEL SHOW FROM 1990-2000s: I was telling a friend about a great & zany travel show called Globetrekker (which appeared on PBS and other channels). I love everything about this show — and although most episodes are not online, some are on YT. Ian Wright started the show and was the main travel guide — but the show had a variety of young hosts — all with their distinct styles. I’ve seen about 90% of the 220 episodes; here’s a sample

This useful article describes how to coordinate your big-ticket purchases with the new green tax credits. Here’s a nice PBS Newshour story about heat pumps.

COOL THING FOR HOUSTONIANS: If you have a Harris County library card, you can use the freegal app to stream unlimited amounts of music from your phone. Frreegal doesn’t have the depth of the music catalog of Spotify or Apple or Amazon, but it still has a ton of music by major labels — plus it’s commercial free! (Previously you could stream it for 5 hours per week).

NOT GOING TO WIN. A few weeks ago I predicted that ELVIS was going to win the Oscar for Best Picture. Don’t know if that will happen, but I can state authoritatively that “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” will NOT win. A mind-bending kinetic, martial arts film with Matrixy/videogame elements and cartoon violence is not the type of movie which has has won their hearts in the past (cf. The Matrix 1999, Terminator 1984, 13 Monkeys (1995)), Movies with strong fantasy elements or dream sequences have sometimes succeeded at the Oscars, (Shape of Water, American Beauty), but overall the Academy has rewarded movies firmly grounded in conventional stories. These kind of mind-bending movies will eventually have their day, but the videogame generation is still growing up.; give it at least a decade.

(Commenting on the Best Film Editing nomination, one naysayer said, “They took a bunch of mish-mash, disjointed scenes and made it into a movie of mish-mash, disjointed story telling.”)

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Auditory Ruminations #1 Mazzy Star

I’m starting a series of ruminations on music I’ve enjoyed over the years. I’ll relisten to the albums and spend the month reflecting on what I think or feel about it. I’m not aiming for in-depth criticism or to uncover obscure bands. Instead I’ll pick a random artist and just make twittery remarks about it — not trying to be coherent really. (Read more Auditory Ruminations)

Background Info

Wiki/Bio:

Articles: 2021 Interview with Hope Sandoval after David Roback’s Death.

Multimedia: Rock and Roll True Stories )

Rare footage: Youtube Channel of MS Rarities: 2018 Sydney show audio , MS Forum and Bootlegs (!!!)

Related Acts: Opal, Hope Sandoval

General Remarks

It really strikes me how all the songs seem to have the same vibe even though all are unique and fascinating. In contrast, I know several singers who have a Mazzy Star vibe, but for only one or two songs and then they do something more rock or dance-like.

Among My Swans (the album I overlooked until today)

I’ve loving it as a time capsule of the original sound. All the elements are there, yet different and shiny as hell.

Seasons of Your Day

Through the Devil Softly

She Hangs Brightly

So Tonight I might See

Reminds me of: Haelos, Eliott Smith, Breanna Barbara, Tessie Spoljaric-Woodgate (Lead singer of Intimate Stranger and solo album is called Light). Mireia Vilar

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Music Discoveries (Jan 2023) #23

See also: Dec 2022 and Feb 2023 (View all)

I put my emusic account on hold for financial reasons. So I won’t be buying many albums for the next few months. Fortunately I have been checking a lot of cool CDs from my local libraries.

Actually though I really just want to sit around and listen to all the things I’ve found over the last year. I don’t consider myself a particularly astute music critic but I can get excited about things nobody else notices. I resolve to write more music reviews. One side benefit of writing music reviews is that it forces me to focus on what I’m listening — to concentrate on the album itself.

Another thing. My listening habits are haphazard. I do my most serious listening on my PC with Foobar2000 program. It’s nice, but frankly my digital music collection is so vast that I end up overlooking many artists and albums. I need to devise a good way to plan my listening — even if it’s simply to play a random album on this list sometime.

I don’t really listen to a commercial streaming service like Spotify, but I’ve been uploading my favorite albums to ibroadcast, which is an online music locker/streaming service . I’m still on the free plan, but will eventually roll over to the premium plan I like it so much. I have to create my own playlists, but that is not too terrible a problem. Actually though it’s somewhat hard to order classical albums correctly in my playlists.

Also, I plan to revisit some musical favorites — and maybe do casual posts about them. This month will be Mazzy Star

Articles and Interviews

Here’s a wonderful annotated list of Eurovision participants by country. Of course, many Eurovision winners either were distinguished musicians or later did many interesting things. Eurovision — like any contest — is just a good way to keep track of musicians since most of them pass through there at one time or another.

Emusic Purchases

  1. List begins here

Bandcamp Purchases

This may not be considered a “purchase”, but about 6 months ago I bought lots of Name Your Price albums on Bandcamp. Then I did something unusual. I bought a “DIGITAL DISCOGRAPHY” to the Business Casual label which allowed me to download/stream all the catalog’s albums. That turned out to number in the hundreds. Wow, that took a long while — plus I’m not sure that everything on the catalog is worth listening. Will report back.

  1. Begin

Youtubey Things

start

Freegal and Library CDs

Mostly I’m downloading tracks by former Eurovision winners, using names found in the subreddit article mentioned above.

  1. Bert Jansch. Scottish folk singer.
  2. Anggun
  3. Edurne
  4. Gromee
  5. Loic Nottet
  6. Laura Tesoro
  7. Samira Said
  8. Kuunkuiskaajat

Reviews (Rateyourmusic/Personal Reviews, etc)

See also my rateyourmusic profile and my review spreadsheet.in Google Docs.

Podcasty Things

I’ve been listening to the always excellent 60 Songs that Explain the 90s podcast. It’s great hearing a dissection of seemingly unremarkable pop hits and back stories behind the production, the genre and the musicians. I’ve been enjoying the episodes about Offspring, Britney Spears, Spice Girls.

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Robert’s Roundup #37 ( Jan , 2023)

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Abbreviations: KU means Kindle Unlimited,  and APUB means it was published under an Amazon imprint.NYP means “Name Your Price” (that’s an option on Smashwords and other booksellers). If you’d like to submit an ebook to me for review or mention in this column, see my instructions here.

MAILING LIST: I just started a mailing list for my publishing company. Will mail out every 2 months and will include excerpts from my Robert’s Roundup columns and other random stuff. MASTADON: https://booktoot.club/@nagletx

Indie Author Spotlight

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Under the Radar

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Library Purchases/Printed books

I’ve always enjoyed the aesthetics of Octavio Paz, but now am reading some wonderful essays. The first two volumes are for sale for $2 as ebooks.

  • On Poets and Others. Wonderful thoughtful criticism of aesthetic topics. Must-read is Paz’s essay on meeting Sartre; it’s sympathetic yet properly critical.
  • Conjunctions and Disjunctions. Poetic analysis of dichotomies between sacred and profane, the prurient and divine.
  • Double Flame: Love and Eroticism. (print-only). A long historical analysis of art, sex and literature starting with classical literature.

Also, I found a 600 page ebook poetry collection of Paz for $2 a year ago. Great deal).

All Souls by Javier Marias (Caught my eye with the blurb by my former teacher J.M. Coetzee).

Cost of Living: A Working Autobiography by Deborah Levy.

Creative Commons/Freebies

Here’s a nice essay by Carlo Rotella about E.R. Eddison’s novel WORM OUROBOROS. (Gutenberg link) I wrote this response:

Thanks for calling attention to an author and novel I’d never heard of. And sure, good storytelling is more than CGI effects. But plain informal language does have a place onscreen and even on the page. For one thing, movies and TV shows are produced for a world audience where lingo and elevated language may not translate well. Second, informal language can render a story more accessible to readers. I always remember with fondness T.H. White’s Sword in the Stone, which mixed high language with vernacular. The main thing that bothers me about these movies is the long set pieces (usually battle scenes or chase scenes). Well-staged dialogue can be suspenseful and exciting too. Too often contemporary movies and TV shows try to create character complexity through cliched backstories (usually a crime or a death) or flashbacks. I wish movies could linger more on dialogue and arguments and confessions and repartee.

Literary Articles and Essays

POEM: BESTIARY FOR THE FINGERS OF MY RIGHT HAND (BY CHARLES SIMIC)

1.

Thumb, loose tooth of a horse.

Rooster to his hens.

Horn of a devil. Fat worm

They have attached to my flesh

At the time of my birth.

It takes four to hold him down,

Bend him in half, until the bone

Begins to whimper.

Cut him off. He can take care

Of himself. Take root in the earth,

Or go hunting with wolves.

2.

The second points the way.

True way. The path crosses the earth,

The moon and some stars.

Watch, he points further.

He points to himself.

3.

The middle one has backache.

Stiff, still unaccustomed to this life:

An old man at birth. It’s about something

That he had and lost,

That he looks for within my hand,

The way a dog looks

For fleas

With a sharp tooth.

4.

The fourth is mystery.

Sometimes as my hand

Rests on the table

He jumps by himself

As though someone called his name.

After each bone, finger,

I come to him, troubled.

5.

Something stirs in the fifth

Something perpetually at the point

Of birth. Weak and submissive,

His touch is gentle.

It weighs a tear.

It takes the mote out of the eye.

(WOW, this is crazy. Later that same day I seriously sprained my ring finger on my right -hand),

Rant

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Capsule Book Reviews

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Book Roar Review

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Multimedia/Podcasts, Etc

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Personville Press Deals

I run Personville Press, a small literary book press where all the ebooks cost less than $4. Prices normally appear highest on Amazon, Apple, Kobo and BN, somewhat lower on Google Play Books and lower on the two DRM-free stores which are Smashwords and Payhip. Personville Press is committed to selling DRM-free ebooks and audio files directly from the Personville Press payhip store or from SmashwordsThe prices listed here are the non-discounted price on Amazon. Check the links to see if they are discounted at the moment (it happens often).

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Robert’s Roundup #36 ( Dec, 2022)

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Abbreviations: KU means Kindle Unlimited,  and APUB means it was published under an Amazon imprint.NYP means “Name Your Price” (that’s an option on Smashwords and other booksellers). If you’d like to submit an ebook to me for review or mention in this column, see my instructions here.

MAILING LIST: I just started a mailing list for my publishing company. Will mail out every 2 months and will include excerpts from my Robert’s Roundup columns and other random stuff. MASTADON: https://booktoot.club/@nagletx

I’m curtailing my ebook purchases during December, but this month will instead include lots of library books and Project Gutenberg titles and what not.

Hey, some big changes are a-coming. I’m flirting with the idea of changing the design of this blog. Although I really like the sidebar with all the ebooks and links, I’ve fallen out of love with Smashwords. Besides, my Google Analytics tells me that a lot of visitors are on mobile phones instead of laptops.

Over Christmas I met two people from Tennessee — and realized that I didn’t know any authors associated with that state. How about: James Agee, Peter Taylor. Here are two listicles about the subject. The distinguished university University of the South (which hosts the famous Sewannee Review) is in Sewannee TN. Apparently Alice Walker‘s Color Purple and Barbara Kingsolver‘s Flight Behavior and John Grisham’s novels take place in Tennessee, so there you go. Flight Behavior has been recommended in several different places, so I’ll probably be reading that soon.

Indie Author Spotlight

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Under the Radar

My Hilarious Sex Life by Andy Halmay. Mostly true tales of a songwriter about sex and other stuff.

Luminous Sandwich by Michael Vaughn (novella). Also, Climies. Vaughn is a very prolific author (25+ books) and tends to have several items for free on Amazon at any given time. I haven’t read anything by him yet, so maybe I should do so sooner rather than later. his Youtube channel is very active and on Jan 1 he released a 27 minute roundup of all his reads of 2022 (basically he read a lot of quick-read popular novels, sci fi, horror and gave two sentence reactions to them). His tastes differ from my own, but I enjoyed hearing his talk about authors I typically overlook.

Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941 by Stephen Kotkin. 1.99. 2nd in a series. This biographer is very interesting; check out his interviews or podcasts or lectures (such as here or here)

Library Purchases/Printed books

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Creative Commons/Freebies

the

Literary Articles and Essays

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Rant

the

Capsule Book Reviews

the

Book Roar Review

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Multimedia/Podcasts, Etc

LIT YOUTUBE : Here’s a great & fun reading & performance piece by @brianbilston (whose Twitter poems I have been following for a long while). Language is always clever & beautiful; I’m so grateful when authors do readings on Youtube;; I don’t care so much about appearances than the sound of an author’s voice + rhythm + manner of speech..

Personville Press Deals

I run Personville Press, a small literary book press where all the ebooks cost less than $4. Prices normally appear highest on Amazon, Apple, Kobo and BN, somewhat lower on Google Play Books and lower on the two DRM-free stores which are Smashwords and Payhip. Personville Press is committed to selling DRM-free ebooks and audio files directly from the Personville Press payhip store or from SmashwordsThe prices listed here are the non-discounted price on Amazon. Check the links to see if they are discounted at the moment (it happens often).

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Music Discoveries Dec 2022 #22

See also: Oct-Nov 2022 and Jan 2023(View all)

intro

Articles and Interviews

I’ve been really getting into Rob Harville’s podcast 60 Songs that Explain the 90s. I know the 90s pretty well — and I just listened to 2 of my favorite subjects — Selena and the Cranberries.

Emusic Purchases

  1. beritanya by Dansaya (IND). 4.49, 43 minutes.
  2. Untitled by Ana Roxanne. 2.49, 27 minutes. experimental US singer.
  3. Harorat by Yagona (UZB), 4.99, 55 minutes, 15 tracks. Dynamite Uzbek popstar.
  4. Sibeba by Hijas del Sol. 59 minutes, 4.99, 15 tracks.
  5. Shouka by Mariem Hassan. 69 minutes, 4.99, 16 tracks. W. Sahara singer.
  6. E’tirof Et by Ozoda (UZB). 3.99, 40 minutes, 9 tracks,
  7. To’plam 2 by Otash Xijron (UZB). 4.99, 130 minutes.
  8. To’plam by Manzura (UZB). 4.99 , 150 minutes.
  9. Hang from a Star by Sorry Kisses, 3.49, 8 tracks, 32 minutes.
  10. Memento by Jes. (US) 107 minutes, 14 tracks, 3.99. EDM headed by longtime female vocalist.
  11. Wilkes by Sam Wilkes. 2.49 for 31 minutes, experimental jazz artist featured in a recent New Yorker profile.

Bandcamp Purchases

  1. Other albums by 19 Wiosen. Cesarstwo Zwierz​ą​t, Pi​ę​kno, Po​ż​egnanie ze światem.
  2. music at a distance 110 by smv.

Youtubey Things

RIP Hamish Kilgrour (drummer of iconic NZ jangle-rock group THE CLEAN). ANTHOLOGY was one of my all-time fave music albums. Here’s a track that is positively sublime:

Freegal and Library CDs

  1. Naughty by Nature, a 90s rap band.

Reviews (Rateyourmusic/Personal Reviews, etc)

See also my rateyourmusic profile and my review spreadsheet.in Google Docs.

Podcasty Things

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Social Media Dump Nov 2022

(Sorry, I’ve been putting this off for a while)

Ok, I’ve added a mastadon account: @nagletx@booktoot.club

I realize that I’ve been substituting real posts for Linkdumps. Maybe I should vary things a bit and post separately occasionally. Something to think about.

WEIRD: AL YANKOVIC STORY (on Roku Channel) is a delightfully & predictably strange biopic parody that purports to show the early career of Weird Al and the (totally fictitious) fall from greatness. I’m sure Weird Al’s story is interesting enough to merit a documentary or even a biopic, but the because Yankovic is squeaky clean in real life and cowrote the story himself, the fictional story consists of every single cliche of musical biopics. Probably by the end it is too much, more funny in concept than execution, but I enjoyed the cameos and especially the actress who played Madonna (who was lots of fun). Also revisiting the early songs was always going to be delightful. Not a great film, but lots of silly lines and funny moments (and cameos).

ODE TO BELVEDERE: Here’s a fun car interview (11 minutes) with two of my favorite people: Jay Leno and musician Weird Al. .

WHY HIDALGO’S OPPONENTS ARE BEATING HER: Right-wing multi-millionaires and billionaires opposed to the County’s efforts to prevent flooding and pollution, some contributing as much as $350,000 to $400,000 each, began showering Judge Hidalgo’s opponent with millions of dollars of contributions to pay for deceitful attack ads against Judge Hidalgo. They knew that she could not match the millions flowing in, because Judge Hidalgo pledged in 2018 not to accept any contributions from the County’s vendors. In other words, she lived up to her campaign promise to do what all campaigns should do, but none other do, end “Pay-for-Play” politics. “

Great geo-strategic thinking videos by William Spaniel.

James Fallows on alternatives to Twitter.

PRACTICAL JOKE: This is the first time I’d ever heard of this British practical joke. Because we are educated adults, we know that spaghetti REALLY comes from the intestines of cows….

FAKE CHEVRON COMMERCIAL: Talladega Nights & Don’t Look Up Director Adam McKay makes a petroleum commercial to make a point. You should be skeptical whenever a company relies on stock footage to advertise its product.

Speaking of Andy McKay, an astrophysicist named Michael Siegel evaluates the scientific accuracy of the film Don’t Look Up. (Great channel btw!). He wrote an article about the Rule of Cool — how we accept scientific incongruities in entertainment if it seems “cool.”

MOVIE PLANS: Great to hear that my favorite TV sitcom Community will have a movie — but possibly without Danny Glover and Yvette Nicole Brown. I’ll admit it — I’m a sucker for TV reunion shows — I even liked — no LOVED! — the reunion shows for Brady Bunch and Gilligan’s Island (even if I didn’t particularly care for the actual shows). For those keeping score at home, my fave episodes are (from Season 2) Cooperative Calligraphy, “Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design”; also “Wedding Videography” (season 6)

BACKSTORY TO ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT (WITH GAGS). I’m a huge fan of AD (even the much maligned Season 5). This 22 minute documentary covers all the bases, and includes a lot of random gags… Speaking of which, This Podcast is Making Me Thirsty (a podcast about Seinfeld).

RISH SITCOM ENDS WITH A BANG: After waiting 3 years for the final season of Derry Girls to make it to Netflix, I am happy to report that Season 3 of this 90s Northern Ireland sitcom was every bit as terrific as I remembered it. Lots of outrageous Catholic humor (Nuns driving Deloreans!), crazy characters and more jokes per minute than almost any other show I’d watched. Also, a great fun soundtrack that will make anyone nostalgic for the 1990s (And not just the Corrs or the Cranberries!)

Everything in Ukraine and Russia is making me angry, depressed & frustrated. It’s a tragedy occurring in slow-motion. Here’s perceptive commentary by Russia expert Fiona Hill. Highlights: She believes that Musk is being used by Putin to water down Western resolve. By dealing with billionaires and oligarchs, Putin is “short-circuiting the diplomatic process. He wants to lay out his terms and see how many people are going to pick them up. All of this is an effort to get Americans to take themselves out of the war and hand over Ukraine and Ukrainian territory to Russia.”

Steve Martin’s business card.

Nathan Robinson on why the worst reporting tends to be free and the best/most accurate reporting is behind a paywall. A meaningful question to ask is how much should it cost to subscribe to a good daily or a good magazine? Wash Post costs 40-50$ with discounts; NYTimes costs $100. Houston Chronicle costs $1 for 6 months, then $28/month after that.

Some of the specialized magazines and sites can get expensive: Intercept, Slate, American Prospect, New Yorker, New Republic, Atlantic, NYROB, Mother Jones, the Nation and Guardian. I love all these sources, but I really can’t afford all of them — maybe 1-2 per year. I hate to have my news source depend so much on income.

For me — who follows the publishing industry and often has to do a lot of research into book reviews, I enjoy having the ability to dig into the archives to find old book reviews. My current media subscriptions: NYT, Washington Post, New Republic, NYROB, Prevention. I’ll probably drop one or two of them next year and maybe add Atlantic, which is becoming indispensable. I also am thinking of adding Slate and Mother Jones. I love the people there.

As someone whose income fluctuates a lot, here are my favorite free news sources: CNN lite, the PBS AP feed, Texas Tribune and Propublica. Also, I find that subscribing to substacks can be a way to get columns for free (although NYT has put a kibosh on newsletter subscriptions for nonpayers).

For international news, I actually follow Radio Free Liberty/Radio Free Europe RFE/RFL which is US taxpayer-funded, but hires a lot of local journalists and translates. Also, the Atlantic Council has lots of great special interest newsletters, especially about Ukraine and Europe.

I’m going to make some predictions for Election Day (without having any special insight here).

  • horrifyingly, Republicans will do a clean sweep of Texas. That includes Harris County Judge for that crazy conservative blowhard. I hold out hope that KP George will win as Fort Bend County judge, but not optimistic. I expect that southern Texas will tilt even more conservative than before.
  • Senate-wise, I think that Warnock, Fetterman and Ryan will prevail. I’m hoping that Mark Kelley will win in AZ, but who knows? Might depend on if Kari Lake wins the governor’s race.
  • Where will the surprises be? Maybe it’s that the indictments will start landing this week. Who knows..
  • I expect that Dems will have 2 more Senators, but they will lose 5 House seats. (Hey, there’s a reason why Congress is turning Republicans — gerrymandering!

Update: Well, GOP won 7 in the House, but the Dems gained 1 (and maybe 2) seats, so I wasn’t too far off-base.

I ADMIT IT: I really enjoy checking the tracking information of packages for the latest updates. I currently have a package coming from Fresno California, which has been traveling through Los Angeles, Phoenix, Tucson, El Paso, Coppell (TX?!), Dallas and most recently Northern Houston. This package seems to have visited more parts of USA than I ever will! (Hopefully when it arrives it will bring souvenirs and amusing travel anecdotes).

I preordered my iPad in 2010 and would be receiving it on the first day. I remember checking the tracking info — and was blown away that it was in China, then Hong Kong, then Alaska. It arrived only about 2 or 3 days after the tracking information started. I remember thinking, the world became a lot smaller after that point.

TRIVIA QUESTION: Which US President lived in Europe for 6 months during a single 12 month period while serving as president? (HINT: He stayed mostly in France). BONUS QUESTION: This president was accompanied by another official who stayed there almost as long — and who later became US president himself. Do you know who this person was?

Amazingly according to Wikipedia although Hoover — who accompanied Wilson traveled a lot too and later did a lot of traveling overseas immediately after his own election — never took an international trip during his own presidency — presumably to stay focused on the Great Depression.

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RJ Geeky Explorations — Nov 2022

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I haven’t been maintaining this column for a while but I’ve been learning a lot of new things.

I’ve been enjoying the CSS videos of Kevin Powell. Which units to use (I’ve never heard of ch), mastering css layouts, combinators, etc. Basically I’ve been using a small subset of CSS supported in epubs, and it was refreshing (I guess) to do some css for some static pages I was creating here and here. I have been growing more and more alarmed at the rapid increase in surfing from mobile devices (and I’m not talking about tablets!). So designing for responsiveness has taken higher priority (except for this blog, whose facelift I keep putting off). Some revelations

  • Designers have been talking about browser widths, talking about 60-70 ch, which shocked me a bit. (I ended up using 75). Also, designers have talked about font-size in the 1.8 rem range which also kind of shocked me. (I assumed wrongly that it was more along the lines of 1.0 rem). I actually used media queries for smaller displays, which worked fine overall, except for this one page where the long URLs seemed to force the font-size to revert to their lowest value.
  • For the generated HTML output from Docbook, I had to tweak the navigation controls using better CSS. (I didn’t want to try anything fancy on XSLT unless absolutely necessary). For example on this page, I changed one of the top titles to color: white to hide it and div.navfooter tr:nth-child(2) td:nth-child(2) to target the 2nd row of navigation.
  • Docbook has some built in parameters for XSLT which I know how to use. I was able to tweak the META tags in the headers to include Google Analytics tracking scripts.
  • Speaking of which, I was appalled at how often Amazon URLs and Google tracking scripts get flagged as invalid HTML (Amazon because they use lots of ampersands in URLs, Google because they don’t give values to some of their attributes).

I learned a little bit about web caching. When updating and testing my websites, I had the damnest time flushing my cache. I tried all sorts of browser steps, then moved onto different devices, and then different ISPs — and I still couldn’t view the latest CSS! After a quick email to my hosting service, I learned that you can purge cache directly from Cloudflare — which I did. Suddenly everything worked like magic.

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Personville Press links

The Personville Press home page includes information about the latest ebooks published by this Houston-based ebook press.

It’s still a work in progress, but this web page lets you download Robert Hillyer’s 1942 novel My Heart for Hostage. I actually put the novel entirely on the web.

Aha, I put up a URL for the Personville Press mailing list.

I’ll say more about both web pages later.

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November 7, 2022. Happy to report that this bug has been fixed in 8.69.0.100

Nearly 2 months ago I noticed a bug on the Android Kindle app which both perplexed and angered me. I still have a hard time believing that this bug wasn’t spotted by the Kindle Software Q&A team (It’s called a “regression bug” which is a fancy way of saying that the feature worked perfectly and then suddenly failed to work). I have a hard time believing that it still has not been repaired.

Here is a longer description of the bug (which I also posted on the KDP Formatting forum, submitted feedback via the Kindle app, reported on the Google Play store and submitted through an Amazon ticket.

[continue reading…]
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Music Discoveries Oct-Nov 2022 #21

See also: Aug-Sept 2022 and Dec 2022 (View all)

I recently came across this group named the Traveling Wilburys — and was stunned to see that this super group had Dylan, Petty, Harrison, Lynne, Orbison — and I’d never heard of them!

During the Beatles’ GET BACK documentary, George Harrison that they should have permanently split up and then get back together every decade or so and release a collaboration album. I guess the Beatles became super too quickly and then found they couldn’t walk away…

I was always into strange music. the stereotype is that when people get older their tastes are more traditional and timid, but I’m more into weird shit than I ever was. That said, I find some current pop music to be unlistenable — PostMalone, etc. But I am lot more tolerant about dance pop but experimentation for its own sake doesn’t excite me as much. Internet makes it so easy to learn about new music and musical styles. But it’s exciting to learn about how much I missed first time around….

1988-1989 (and actually a good part of the 1980s) was a black hole for me, musically speaking. I was listening to only classical, and then a bit of jazz, but by 1995 I was totally into pop music, Selena.

During college I listened to whatever my roommates were listening to but I was pretty much ignorant about anything remotely country until 1996 when a friend Sherry Stokes sent me a mix tape of country hits when I was living in Albania. From that point on, I became a fan even of country music — and then in 2000s I sort of became a pop music omnivore. I often joke that living in Albania gave me a first class education in American pop and country music.

Articles and Interviews

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Emusic Purchases

  1. 23 am by Robert Miles. (4.99, 60 minutes). Iconic dream trance music from the late 1990s. I first heard Robert Miles in a Ukrainian dance club!
  2. Di Dalam Jiwa by David Bayu (IND). 3.49 for 35 minutes.
  3. Present Tense by Yumi Zouma (NZ) 6.49 for 35 minutes.
  4. Ile De Reve by Private Agenda. (UK). 3.99 for 41 minutes.
  5. Down by the Bayou by JeConte, 9 tracks, 39 minutes.
  6. Sezónne lásky by Miroslav Zbirka (SLO). 44 minutes, 12 tracks, 6.49, I think Zbirka’s 80s album Zlomky poznania was one of the best albums I’d heard all year. This one is not quite as good, but still enjoyable. He’s like a Slovak Journey or Styx, peppy, upbeat, catchy.
  7. Atelier duse by Marika Gombitova (SLO). 44 minutes, 11 tracks, 6.49
  8. Archer by Suzanne Choffel. (USA) 7 tracks, 26 minutes. Austin singer.
  9. Brazilian budget albums: Clareou by Dinho Zamorano, Sem Moldura by Ive Greice,
  10. Albums by Norwegian singer/composer Kate Havnevik (NO: Melankton, Lightship,
  11. Hello KittenKitten and the Hip. 5.49, 48 minutes. Great British pop duo with retro jazzy sensibility. The singer Scarlett Quinn is great.
  12. Zawsze jest za krótko by 3moonboys. 6.49, Polish avante-garde jazz-rock fusion group which puts together these amazing rhythmic pieces almost seem orchestral,
  13. Dyliżans Siedmiu by Tatvamasi, 41 minutes, 2.49
  14. Na Osi Czasu by Anita Lipnicka. 6.49, 72 minutes. Live concert from 2017 by this Polish folk singer. Hints of Joan Baez, etc. Probably not as good as her studio recordings, but the only title on emusic.
  15. Philadelphia 1980 by Frank Zappa. 6.99 for 4 hours.
  16. Live 1981 by Devo. 70 minutes for 6.49 Audio quality isn’t great, but the energy is. Also, didn’t realize I had so little music by Devo other than a Greatest Hits.
  17. Pillars by Soderqvist. 12 tracks, 5.49, 50 minutes.
  18. Penny Days by Lazylazy. 8 tracks, 99 cents.

Bandcamp Purchases

  1. Now by 19 Wiosen. NYP. I loved this rock band by this electro-punk album by this Polish group. Surprisingly chill for a punk band that’s around for 2 decades. BTW, other albums are more raw, not as well put together. This one is terrific.

Youtubey Things

Aha, I ‘m noticing that my musical posts start to have giant gaping holes when a Youtube vid becomes unavailable. So I need to identify the song for the vid.

I ain’t no miracle worker by The Brogues. (1966). Incredible California garage rock band — great lyrics too.

Here’s Shagg’s Own Thing, a totally bizarre song by the men of the Shaggs (the brother and the father?!

Emiliana Torrini – Gollum’s Song

Here’s a great interview with Devo on David Letterman in 1982. I realize that they are just being silly/strange for its own sake, but the two band leaders are both eloquent and hilarious. (This clip includes no music btw). Enjoy!

Freegal and Library CDs

  1. 7 Seconds (compilation); also Africa Rekk, Youssou N’Dour
  2. Various 80s hits by Debbie Gibson
  3. Sixteen Stone by Bush
  4. Love in the Time of Science by Emiliana Torrini. Torrini sang that incredible song, Gollum’s Song from the Lord of the Rings saga
  5. Songs by Nina Bogdanov, who sang popular jazz and pop hits in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. There’s an incredible number she performed in the 60s with Rossner Jazz Orchestra (one of my all time favorite youtube finds). Нина Бродская – Хали-Гали

Reviews (Rateyourmusic/Personal Reviews, etc)

See also my rateyourmusic profile and my review spreadsheet.in Google Docs.

Podcasty Things

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Robert’s Roundup #35 (Oct-Nov, 2022)

See also: Sept 2022 and Dec 2022 (View all)

Abbreviations: KU means Kindle Unlimited,  and APUB means it was published under an Amazon imprint.NYP means “Name Your Price” (that’s an option on Smashwords and other booksellers). If you’d like to submit an ebook to me for review or mention in this column, see my instructions here. Finally, I just started a mailing list for my publishing company. Will mail out every 2 months and will include excerpts from my Robert’s Roundup columns and other random stuff.

I recite a Robert Hillyer poem.

I’m happy to say I finally made my Personville Press home page semi-decent. I’m just too busy to spruce it up as much as it should.

I’m very proud to finish the ebook My Heart For Hostage by Robert Hillyer (Special Critical Edition). Worked a long time on this one. It’s a free download, and you can also read it entirely online here.

Cover Art: My Heart for Hostage

Indie Author Spotlight

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Under the Radar

Writing As the Sky Rains Death by John Twelve Hawks

Octogenarian Blues: If It Ain’t One Thing, It’s Another by Robert R Randall

The Neighborhood by Thom Young

Natural Orders: Email Marketing Automation Strategy for Small Online Business by Matt Treacey. I’m in the middle of setting up a mailing list.

Erin’s Diary: An Official Derry Girls Book by Lisa McGee. (both ebook and printed book for Xmas!) The ebook was decent, but you really want to get the printed book.

Library Purchases/Printed books

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Creative Commons/Freebies

“WAR STOPS LITERATURE.” (William Dean Howells). In this 1917 ebook Joyce Kilmer wrote a brilliant series of author profiles before serving (& dying) in WW1. Amy Lowell, EA Robinson, Ellen Glasgow, Booth Tarkington, etc. Super-awesome! I misplaced the ebook on my Kindle app and want to reiterate how great this ebook is! (Joyce Kilmer unfortunately died early in life — killed in WW1 and is mainly known for a single poem

On Self-Translation: Meditations on Language (SUNY Press Open Access) by Ilan Stavans

Literary Articles and Essays

Great interview with Hilary Mantel.

10 Rules for Writing Fiction from various authors. Here’s a sequel. God, these are good.

Rant

Two things really irritate me.

First, Public Storage storage facility which is a quasi-monopoly has raised its rates to ridiculous amounts. Went from $50 in 2018, to $60 in 2019 to 75$ in 2020 to 90$ in 2021 to $120 in December 2022. I use it to store books, papers, and random furniture. Nothing would please me more not to have to pay for this storage!

Second, it’s not a complaint, but on my Kindle reader, I’ve been putting everything into collections on my Kindle readers. That’s really the best and only way to do it. The problem is that you have to remember to put everything into at least one collection, or you’ll fall behind, and then you’ll have a pile of unsorted ebooks you have completely forgotten about. At the moment I have 2992 Uncollected Ebooks (which is an improvement after I assigned about 100-150 ebooks to collections yesterday. It is so tedious — and yet so necessary to do this.

Third, I mentioned this bug which disables hyperlinks in the Kindle app for Android.

Capsule Book Reviews

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Book Roar Review

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Multimedia/Podcasts, Etc

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Personville Press Deals

I run Personville Press, a small literary book press where all the ebooks cost less than $4. Prices normally appear highest on Amazon, Apple, Kobo and BN, somewhat lower on Google Play Books and lower on the two DRM-free stores which are Smashwords and Payhip. Personville Press is committed to selling DRM-free ebooks and audio files directly from the Personville Press payhip store or from SmashwordsThe prices listed here are the non-discounted price on Amazon. Check the links to see if they are discounted at the moment (it happens often).

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Robert’s Roundup #34 ( September, 2022)

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Abbreviations: KU means Kindle Unlimited, LE means that lending of this Kindle title is allowed, and APUB means it was published under an Amazon imprint.NYP means “Name Your Price” (that’s an option on Smashwords and other booksellers). If you’d like to submit an ebook to me for review or mention in this column, see my instructions here.

I’m cutting down drastically on my ebook purchases this month (and last), but I found some gems still. Also, I came to the local library sale and found some great things…

Indie Author Spotlight

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Under the Radar

Charon’s Quest: An Underworld Saga Novel (The Underworld Saga) Eva Pohler

Foreign Agent by Matthew Rapaport

Alexander’s Song by Paul F. Olson.

The Wind by Dorothy Scarborough, 1.99

House You Cannot Reach by Tom Daley.

Stay with Me, Wisconsin by JoAnneh Nagler. (Author website and online writing). 99 cents. 11 sensual and modern-day short stories about love, loss, sex, devotion and desire. Nagler is a multidisciplinary artist who has written practical ebooks about how to be an artist, how to be debt-free and how to have a happy marriage. (hey, if she can manage to do all 3 of these things, that’s impressive as it is). The practical ebooks are low-priced too.

Lives of the Egression by J.D. Crawford.

I bought two novellas by N. Ireland poet and storyteller Leilanie Stewart The Blue Man: A haunted friendship across the decades (Belfast Ghosts) and The Buddha’s Bone: A dark psychological journey to find light. I wrote a review of her excellent poetry title Redundancy of Tautology (I wrote, “Here are some small quirky personal poems about mundane things and the natural world. Metaphysical in subject matter (and gosh, a lot of fleshy corpses!), most of the poems are casual, light-hearted and conversational.) Stewart runs an author blog about self-publishing and other topics.

Also, I went trolling for some free and low cost poetry.

  • Blonde with Fingers: Poems of Love and Joy with Art Photography of Original Necklaces by Mike Smetzer
  • 1989, The Number by Kevin Coval, Nate Marshall
  • Humming the Blues by Cass Dalglish
  • Iron Murmurs, Snow Does Sigh: The Second Chapbook by S. Seong, containing 30 poems. (Chapbooks 2) by Seth Seong
  • Under the Sycamore by Dave Malone
  • Simple Weight by Tania Runyan
  • Storytelling in Cambodia by Willa Schneberg

Poems 1962-2012 (Los Angeles Times Book Award: Poetry) by Nobel-winning Louise Glück. 650 pages for 2.99

Library Purchases/Printed books

I found some great stuff at library book sales recently:

Bitter Fruit Achmat Dangor 2007

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains Nicholas Carr 2020

Odysseus Abroad: A novel Amit Chaudhuri 2015

Oh William!: A Novel Elizabeth Strout 2021

Fludd Hilary Mantel 2005

Disgruntled: A Novel Asali Solomon 2016

Snow Orhan Pamuk 2005

The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the World David Eagleman 2018

Sophie and the Rising Sun by Augusta Trobaugh

Creative Commons/Freebies

the

Literary Articles and Essays

Brad Bigelow of Neglected Books produced a list of Best Neglected Western books.

J.C. Oates on the 5 motives for writing literature. This is a profound and important reflection on literature, but it ignores one motive — pleasure and play. Perhaps Oates thinks that this can be wrapped up in aesthetics, but it’s more complicated than that.

Rant

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Capsule Book Reviews

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Book Roar Review

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Multimedia/Podcasts, Etc

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Self-Aggrandizement

Having nothing better to do, I uploaded a selfie of myself in Personville, TX which I took in 2009. You may remember that I wrote previously about how to submit author photos to Wikimedia Commons.

Robert J. Nagle (who founded Personville Press) takes a selfie near a road sign at the main intersection of Personville, Texas. The small town, which was founded in 1854, never had a population of more than 2000 people, dwindling to less than 100 in recent years. “Personville” was also a name for a fictional town in Dashiell Hammmett’s 1929 novel, Red Harvest. Nagle is standing at the intersection of State highways 164 and 39, 12 miles southeast of Groesbeck in southeastern Limestone County. Nagle named his ebook publishing company long before he even visited the town, and this selfie photo is the result of the single hour Nagle actually spent there.

Personville Press Deals

I run Personville Press, a small literary book press where all the ebooks cost less than $4. Prices normally appear highest on Amazon, Apple, Kobo and BN, somewhat lower on Google Play Books and lower on the two DRM-free stores which are Smashwords and Payhip. Personville Press is committed to selling DRM-free ebooks and audio files directly from the Personville Press payhip store or from SmashwordsThe prices listed here are the non-discounted price on Amazon. Check the links to see if they are discounted at the moment (it happens often).

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Social Media Dump Sept 2022

See also:  July 2022 and Oct 2022 (View all)

(Sorry I was working on a writing project most of August. Here are things I found (I’m catching up)

QUOTE: ““The saddest thing is that I won’t see my dog …She won’t be alive by the time I am freed.” (Russian protester Alexei Gorinov, after being sentenced to 7 years imprisonment for criticizing the Russian attack on Ukraine). More:

“War, whatever synonym you call it, is the last, dirtiest, vile thing, unworthy of the title of a man,” Gorinov said. “I thought that Russia exhausted its limit on wars back in the 20th century. However, our present is Bucha, Irpin, and Hostomel. Do these names mean something to you? You, the accusers – take an interest and do not say later that you did not know anything,”

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jul/30/people-are-turning-off-muscovites-put-the-war-aside-and-enjoy-summer

1ST GILDA RADNER INTERVIEW: This delightful 1983 interview brings 2 hilarious people together. Here Radner talks about her new comedy book and she calls (on the show) the real person who inspired her Emily Litella character on SNL. (here’s the classic Violins on Television editorial).

80s CAMPY COMEDY CLASSIC ON YOUTUBE: I couldn’t find it on the other streaming networks, but was delighted to watch the full movie on youtube. Despite being a commercial flop, this movie is a LOT funnier than I remembered, it looks great and I really enjoyed Julie Brown who wrote the script and sang the crazy songs. Here’s a random musical number from the movie.

MORE FLOODING IN GALVESTON: “High tides could flood Galveston streets as many as 210 days a year by 2050, compared with as many as 17 days in 2022,…The expected number of high-tide flood days in Galveston’s is nearly the worst of any coastal spot in the country because this region suffers from land that’s sinking in addition to sea levels that are rising.”

AMAZING PODCAST EPISODE! The late Gilbert Godfried had a great 90 minute interview with the amazing and versatile Marilu Henner (my celebrity crush). We hear inside scoops about Taxi, Noises Off and Cannonball Run 2 (terrible movie, she said, but a jillion movie stars in it guaranteed that the shooting was fun at least). Learn her hot takes on Burt Reynolds (“lot better actor than people realize”), Danny Devito (“he exudes more sex appeal than Robert Redford”). We also learn why the day Neil Armstrong walked on the moon was a very special day for her. Plus there is singing, etc., etc., (Here’s that trailer to Cannonball Ball 2).

HUMOR WITH SALMAN RUSHDIE AND LARRY DAVID. I’m still horrified about yesterday’s attack on Rushdie. As it happens, Rushdie was supposed to visit my writing workshop at Johns Hopkins in 1989 during his American book tour and was canceled because of the fatwa. Rushdie had managed pretty well over the decades (all things considering). He’s written a lot of respected books and stayed pretty visible (even making this cameo a few years ago in CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM)

Rushdie used to be married to the distinguished novelist Marianne Wiggins (who even went into hiding with him for a few years despite the decline of their marriage). I’d enjoyed her John Dollar novel and recently bought 2 of her ebooks. Can’t wait to read.

MIND-BOGGLING FACT: Although Texas (30 million) has about the same population as Australia (26 million) , Australia is about 11 times bigger than than Texas (7,741,220 sq km vs. 678,000 sq km for Texas). By comparison, Texas is 1.2x the size of Ukraine even though Ukraine’s population is 40 million). Texas is 1.9 the size of Germany (even though Germany’s population is 84 million).

Lately I’ve been fascinated by these interviews with young people on Moscow streets. The pair behind 1420 are clever and absolutely fearless; they are inventing a new kind of “street journalism” which remains slippery even in a society which tries to regulate journalism and self-expression. These quick interviews not only reveal the nihilism of Russia’s younger generation, but also the variety of ways that ordinary citizens make their peace with a bad political climate.

Here’s some murals to celebrate the lives of the fallen children. Abel Ortiz is the person who is organizing this project and provides updates when a new mural is added.

I guess I dislike the fact that this person donated so much to the Republican Party where it will only accelerate political spending on both sides. I just can’t understand why an extremely wealthy person wouldn’t find a better cause to spend money on: a scholarship program for students, a foundation for medical research, a cultural exchange program, United Way, etc. In comparison, spending such a huge amount on a political cause seems petty and almost self-serving.

I totally forgot about the Obama Tan suit controversy.

2 NETFLIX RECOMMENDATIONS: Mo is a trilingual Houston-based dramedy about a young Kuwaiti immigrant and his family waiting on his green card (and dating a Mexican woman at the same time). This 30 minute show has lots of laughs and tears and Houston references. EXTRAORDINARY ATTORNEY WOO is a Korean series about an autistic prodigy woman who works for a leading law firm. The 1 hour episodes provide lots of opportunity for humor and social commentary, plus lots of legal twists and gratuitous mentions of whales (the protagonist has a thing for them). Every episodes has a Eureka moment where the woman magically figures out what is at the crux of the case. Unlike American courtroom shows, these cases are really, really complicated, and it’s impossible to guess what the final outcome will be. Both shows are great!

Sean Burke makes a satirical oil commercial.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: ““Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev gave us 30 years of sunlight. Unfortunately, this time has passed, and there is no more sun, only darkness. But I am deeply grateful to him for these 30 years.” (20 year old student Maxim, about Gorbachev)

ACTING CHOPS: Here’s a fun interview with Julia Garner, the actress from OZARK and INVENTING ANNA (both on Netflix). To my surprise, I really enjoyed INVENTING ANNA — a nice social satire about the fake social heiress — great script and moments of cringey hilarity — and yes, Julia Garner was terrific! Another interview where Dana Carvey (another master impersonator) asks Julia to recite the lines of one character in the other actor’s voice. (starts at 4:50).

NICE MEATY INTERVIEW: (18 minutes) Satirist Andy Borowitz offers some fresh (and serious) political analysis — our basic problem is politicians who don’t read anything and lack any sort of intellectual curiosity.

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Music Discoveries Aug-Sept 2022 #20

See also: July 2022 and Oct-Nov 2022 (View all)

Wow, I was really late creating my music column, so this one will cover 2 months. I was busy spending my remaining emusic credit. It’s funny. I keep resolving to cancel my membership or to suspend it indefinitely. Then when I am close to canceling, I keep finding some incredible musicians.

Lately I’ve been grabbing some albums from Opus Records which are listed in the 100 Greatest Slovak Albums of all time. I generally enjoy this album if only because of its vintage sound.

Articles and Interviews

stuff

Emusic Purchases

  1. Flames to Ashes by Elissa Pernu. 4.99, 13 tracks, 41 minutes. Great slow traditional sounding country songs by Australian singer Pernu and songwriter Bill Chambers. Lots of soothing harmonies and harmonica! (She also sings with a group Woven Hearts). It’s so great to listen to Pernu’s voice — especially in ballads like “One I Miss.” Even in songs like Oceans’ Wide where she lets loose some nice notes in the refrain, it blends very well with the light arrangements. This is real gem of an album!
  2. Best of Gosia Andrzejewicz. Polish pop star.
  3. Soliloquy for Lilith by Nurse with Wound. 145 minutes, 8 tracks, 6.49. Ambient stuff
  4. Taking Shape by Ohm Square. Groovy-nerdy and fast-paced Czech pop band with a retro sound. Lots of synthesizer and just strange but beautiful notes sung in harmony. Compare to The Octopus Project, Hooverphonic or Komeda . The songs definitely grows on you, but I still don’t know what I’ve just experienced. The vocals are crazy; check out Animated (with furiously fast sax and electric guitar) where the woman practically is scatting the lyrics. Every song is different and fun.
  5. In search of Sunrise 3 Panama by Tiesto. 4.99, 200 minutes. I love these old trance mixes, and I’ve collected most of the ISOS series.
  6. Rewashed – Series One. Compilation of Mole Listening Pearls label. 4.99, 120 minutes
  7. Siap Melayang by Young De Brock. 3.49 36 minutes. Indonesian hard rock. Surprisingly hard and fast and fun.
  8. Love Classics by Ohm Square. 5.49, 45 minutes.
  9. Albums by Marika Gombitová: Dievča do dažďa (1979 debut, most famous). Early album by this high-pitched Slovak pop star.
  10. Zelena posta by Pavol Hammel & Marian Varga. 43 minutes, 6.49 . Top rated 1972 album by two legends in Slovak music.
  11. Zlomky poznania by Miroslav Zbirka, 45 minutes, 13 tracks. 6.49
  12. s/t by Los Flakos. Delightfully weird and peppy Mexican pop. 3.99
  13. Dunyo by Nilufar Usmonova. (Uzbekistan) 51 minutes for 3.99. More pop songs by Uzbek superstar. The melodies are conventional Turk-influenced tracks, but her singing is always beautiful.
  14. Apart by Kidso. 99 cents, 30 minutes.
  15. Terraplane by Scott Ainslee (USA). 16 tracks, 50 minutes, 6.99
  16. Portraits by Louise Burns (Canada) . 47 minutes, 10 tracks. Slow and lovely songs that seem almost like psychedelic easy listening pop. Understated, minimal synth and arrangements, led along by Burns’ expressive voice. Compare to Nichole Atkins, Polly Scattergood, Sean Colvin.
  17. Curiche by Newen Afrobeat. (CHILE), 2.99, 48 minutes.
  18. Mister Mellow by Washed Out (USA). 5.49 for 29 minutes.
  19. Carried Away by Jessica Lee, (CAN) 4.99 for 11 tracks, 37 minutes.
  20. Wild Things by Ladyhawke (USA). 6.59 for 11 tracks, 37 minutes.
  21. Various live concerts in Poland: (mostly from 2010 or so). They all have the same title: Najmniejszy Koncert Świata. Here’s Tomek Lipinski & Tilt. (Tilt is one of the first Polish rock bands), and Hey, and Voo Voo

Bandcamp Purchases

Youtubey Things

Here’s a wild performance of a Buddy Holly song by Paul McCartney. Strap on your seatbeats!

PORTISHEAD NOSTALGIA. I heard several songs by this group on a mix tape I played all the time in Albania in 1995. Loved their music, but it never occurred to me to check their performances on Youtube. Here’s a terrific live performance. BTW, a “Glory Box” is an Australian idiom for a “hope chest” — a box filled with various household items and given to young married women.

Here’s a really wonderful Youtube video which analyzes Glory Box and the historical importance of the band. Here’s a 1995 interview and a Pitchfork Review.

BJORK “DEBUT” ….WITH HARPSICHORD!?? (and Gamelan, citar, etc.). I always loved the electro-dance “Debut” album which burst upon the scene in 1993. Just an hour ago I discovered the unplugged live version of this same album — full of minimalist — even anachronistic music arrangements. Some songs have the same pulsating energy (Violently Happy) while others like the soulful COME TO ME sound a lot smaller in scale. Bjork’s amazing voice comes through regardless; also I guess it becomes dull when you sing a song in a single way.

SINGING BY THE SHAGGS’ MEN! By now you have probably heard the story of the all girls’ band, THE SHAGGS, who were forced by their father to produce a music album even though they had crappy instruments, barely knew a thing about music and played songs for their iconic PHILOSOPHY OF THE WORLD album in a primitivist and almost otherwordly way. You probably already know that this original album reached a certain level of fame and notoriety and yes, even respect from music critics. BUT did you know that they did a second compilation album consisting of cover songs and this crazy song sung by the the girl’s father and brother. No joking — this song is kinda brilliant and psychotic — it sounds like a novelty song from the early rock era. It definitely sounds like musical talent runs in the family.

RAP SONG…WITH THE BEACH BOYS!? I was surprised and delighted to hear this 1987 mashup song Wipeout with the actual Beach Boys. In 1987 I was still in my “classical music” phase, so there’s absolutely no chance I would have heard that song when it was released.

Freegal and Library CDs

Bruce Cockburn: Stealing Fire and Nothing but a Burning Light

Various songs by Los-del-rio

Deluxe Special by Waitresses

Be Here Now by Oasis

Big Innings by Outfield

Songs of Daniel Johnston by Built to Spill

Reviews (Rateyourmusic/Personal Reviews, etc)

See also my rateyourmusic profile and my review spreadsheet.in Google Docs.

Podcasty Things

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Robert’s Roundup #33 (August , 2022)

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Abbreviations: KU means Kindle Unlimited, LE means that lending of this Kindle title is allowed, and APUB means it was published under an Amazon imprint.NYP means “Name Your Price” (that’s an option on Smashwords and other booksellers). If you’d like to submit an ebook to me for review or mention in this column, see my instructions here.

Wow, July was a big book-buying month. August will definitely be a minor burp in comparison. Also, I’ve been busy writing my Robert Hillyer introduction. Update: Well, I’m buying several more ebooks this month as well (sigh).

Rant: How to Ruin the Poetry of one of America’s greatest poets.

I was really shocked to realize this, but do you know that Amazon still does not carry a decent ebook of the poetry by Robert Frost.

Let me elaborate.

First, Robert Frost was a long-lived poet who published many books over his lifetime. Quite a number of his poems were published before 1925, which means that Project Gutenberg carries it. But Frost published about 15 additional poetry books after that (although it is true that some were compilations).

The best edition is Poetry of Robert Frost: The Collected Poems, Complete and Unabridged, edited by Edward Connery Lathem. Actually I bought this paperback book in the 1980s!

But the digitization of this ebook is terrible! Apparently the ebook just scanned the ebook and arranged the images sidewise — presuming that you would read them in landscape mode on your tablet. This particular ebook is a ghastly 85 MB file. For frame of reference, when I produce novel ebooks, they usually are 2-5 MB. Most poetry ebooks are 1 or 2 MB, maybe up to 10 MB if you are including images.

There are several other editions of poetry for sale. Mostly they are of early works (still very fine!) which are already available from Project Gutenberg (PG). News flash — PG ebooks are the best; they are the gold standard in ebooks! Ebook fans also know that Canada’s PG (called fadedpage.com) often contain more recent books because their public domain rules differ from that of the US. The fadedpage.com page for Robert Frost includes poetry books from the 1920s and 1930s as well.

Indie Author Spotlight

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Under the Radar

When Lions Roar by Karen Gruber

Montana 1948 by Larry Watson. Early and most successful novel by this author.

Thousand Miles from Nowhere by John Gregory Brown. Teacher flees the Katrina hurricane in New Orelans and has to piece together his life. Brown wrote a book Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery

Writer’s Legal GPS: Guide to navigating the legal landscape of publishing by Matt Knight. Knight runs the helpful Sidebar Saturdays group blog about IP law and publishing. Indispensable, and the 2020 book collects the best of the blog’s writings. A lot of the blog is of the “better see a lawyer” kind of advice and I think the fair use coverage is skimpy and not current. Other than that, this guide covers a ton of topics, including some that I had never really pondered before. I expect to learn a lot from this volume.

Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life
by William Deresiewicz. William D. comes from elite English departments, and his essays tend to be anti-elitist but always engaging. Here’s some online essays . Aha, Stephen Colbert grills him about this very book. He’s done a lot of podcast about more serious topics.

Human Errors: A Panorama of Our Glitches, from Pointless Bones to Broken Genes by Nathan H. Lents (author website).

Mine Alone by Ari Nemsira. Marriage, sex and infidelity.

I’m a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America After 20 Years Away. by Bill Bryson. 1.99

Library Purchases/Printed books

How to Make Your Advertising Make Money by John Caples. Apparently Caples ran an advertising agency and was very famous for the ad copy he wrote. Although an ebook is available, an important part of the book consists of reprints of ads, so I bought the print book. (Update: The reprinted ads don’t look particularly good in the print book — they might even be more readable as an ebook

Even This I Get to Experience by Norman Lear. I am in awe of Norman Lear, and I’d love to read a memoir of how he got started. (I heard an interview with Lear on Gilbert Gottfried’s podcast where he talked about it at length).

Creative Commons/Freebies

Lately I’ve been browsing through poetry books in the early 20th century. What pleasures. You can browse them by looking at the “year in poetry” pages on Wikipedia. See for example 1914 in poetry.

Literary Articles and Essays

the

Rant

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Capsule Book Reviews

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Book Roar Review

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Multimedia/Podcasts, Etc

Nice facebook zoom interview with Valerie Trueblood and Toni Mirosevic. Counterpoint authors (I love Valerie Trueblood’s stories).

Classic interview with Ray Bradbuy by Don Swaim.

Personville Press Deals

I run Personville Press, a small literary book press where all the ebooks cost less than $4. Prices normally appear highest on Amazon, Apple, Kobo and BN, somewhat lower on Google Play Books and lower on the two DRM-free stores which are Smashwords and Payhip. Personville Press is committed to selling DRM-free ebooks and audio files directly from the Personville Press payhip store or from Smashwords

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