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 )
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
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.”)