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SMiLE Brian
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« Reply #450 on: November 22, 2017, 05:25:33 PM »

Good education, sorry for being a d*ckhead to you....
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And production aside, I’d so much rather hear a 14 year old David Marks shred some guitar on Chug-a-lug than hear a 51 year old Mike Love sing about bangin some chick in a swimming pool.-rab2591
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« Reply #451 on: December 08, 2017, 07:04:32 AM »

Radio station during this time each year starts game but the jock said who rings 1st gets gift anyway. I did, went to take my gift - Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None". Luckily, I didn't read it before. The book's got this special fragrance which I like usually - sweet & cinnamon plus sth. else.

10 people invited to faraway Negro (?) Island (the book's in Russian) by pair they didn't meet before. In everybody's room there is children's twister about 10 little blacks. 10 guests - 10 blacks. 10 black statues. You get the whole picture - everybody gets killed as poor black kids in twister. Statues disappear.

Very sporting of Agatha to add flashblacks to each character to help see who's who. I like books with motley crew. Don't like stories with few people. F.ex., tale about 2. Tale inside the family of 5.

Favorite definitely Blore, inspector. His lines - the best, he's talkative, even too talkative, smb. said he's fool. Hm...is he? In fact, he voiced theories that made sense few times. I wished him to be survivor by the end but...Agatha decided to leave Lombard & Ms. Claythorne who I didn't like at all. They should be killed way before.
Next favorite to make Top 3 - Mr. Rogers, the butler & Emily Brent, the old lady-religious freak. Mr. Rogers seems really nice, well-bred gentleman who didn't make friends with anybody but was polite to every guest. Did his work well. Ms. Brent, again, polite classy lady, I read her lines in plummy ceremonial voice. She kept it cool at the face of murders.
Least interesting - Dr. Armstrong - too chicken, hysterical, jittery. Mrs. Rogers - by default, killed early, i.e. not much character development.

Cool ending, nice twist but at the same time it does fall into place. I didn't suspect anybody, except doctor acted mad at times. 5/5.
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« Reply #452 on: December 22, 2017, 02:56:37 AM »



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anton_Webern
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« Reply #453 on: February 11, 2018, 08:46:02 PM »

I'm reading Timekeepers by Simon Garfield. It's a book about the concept of time, which fascinates me.
One chapter is about calendars. Like Mike Love, my first job in the real world was in the "oil and gas business" LOL. I had to deal with some foreign businesses, and was the only job I had that required the use of a telex (are they around anymore?) Anyway, one of the companies was in Iran. This was in 1979, a turbulent year there to say the least. We had to date correspondence to them using their calendar. Can't remember the year, maybe around 2500? But sometime late in 1979 the calendar was changed; it was then 1358.
The book mentioned about how a calendar was changed back in the 18th century, knocking off 8 days. Can you imagine what a headache it would have been if there were payroll departments back then?

Another discussion is how have musical terms such as Andante or Allegro changed over time. And how the available space on a CD was determined - possibly to be long enough to have Beethoven 's Ninth fit on one disc.
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« Reply #454 on: February 12, 2018, 02:23:57 AM »

Another discussion is how have musical terms such as Andante or Allegro changed over time. And how the available space on a CD was determined - possibly to be long enough to have Beethoven's Ninth fit on one disc.

Really? That's amazing!
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« Reply #455 on: February 13, 2018, 06:28:54 PM »

I'm reading a few things at once, which is a bad idea generally but sometimes that's how it goes.

Hans Fallada's novel "Once a Jailbird" is one, and it's fantastic. Then again, I've thought that of the two things of his I've read before ("Little Man, What Now?" and "Every Man Dies Alone"), so it's no shock. This is the story of a 1930s German convict leaving prison after a five-year sentence, and the challenges associated with starting life.

I'm also reading Margaret Atwood's "A Handmaid's Tale," because I watched the Hulu series last year and thought it might be fun to compare it to the book. It's good, if written in an annoyingly casual style. (If I may...) Lots of thoughts ... ellipses, too ... random run-on ideas that aren't meant to be sentences because it's a book meant to be imagined in the protagonist's head, you know, I'm sure you know, that's how it works here. Book. Movie. Differences. But style is different when written. Than when watched. (Thank you. Here ends our imitation.)

As for nonfiction, I'm enjoying Richard Pervo's "Profit With Delight," a study on the literary genre of the biblical Acts of the Apostles.
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« Reply #456 on: February 14, 2018, 11:26:31 AM »

Im reading Bruce Dickinson's recently released autobiography.   
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« Reply #457 on: March 08, 2018, 05:15:23 PM »

Just finished reading a wonderful book with the provocative title "Roots, Radicals and Rockers: How Skiffle Changed the World" by Billy Bragg.
I had first heard of Skiffle way back when I saw the Compleat Beatles documentary. It mentioned John forming a skiffle group, and also showed a clip of Lonnie Donegan singing Rock Island Line.
I really liked the few skiffle songs I heard over the years, but noticed that it seemed to be denigrated as just a phase until more "important" music came along.
 This book helps put that to rest, showing that almost all the British bands that had any success in the mid 60s and beyond had a skiffle connection.
Highly recommended for those interested in roots music.

To add, there are a couple of YT videos online:
A short one: How old timey ‘skiffle’ music liberated British rock

Library of Congress Lecture (which begins a few minutes into the video): Billy Bragg, Roots, Radicals and Rockers
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« Reply #458 on: March 09, 2018, 06:09:13 PM »

Well smb. bumped super-duper important Recipes thread just when I posted in great Cats thread (good folk, post there, will ya?). Baaad timing. Anyhoo, Charles Dickens "A Tale Of Two Cities" - not the best book by him. 3/5.
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Buy new shiny shoes at dollar tree shops. Bring checkbook.
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« Reply #459 on: March 09, 2018, 06:18:04 PM »

I despise various biographies about rockers but, I'd like to read Mick Jagger's writing/ recollections. Esp. interested in his filming "Ned Kelly", the best Ned imo. 3D
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Short notice: the cat you see to the left is the best. Not counting your indoor cat who might have habit sitting at your left side when you post at SmileySmile.

Betty Boop dislikes Beatles; she cringes at mop tops, says they should get hairdos like hers.

Buy new shiny shoes at dollar tree shops. Bring checkbook.
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« Reply #460 on: March 09, 2018, 06:26:34 PM »

Finally began my copy of Dostoevsky's "The Adolescent" that I picked up a few weeks ago.
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« Reply #461 on: March 24, 2018, 04:14:15 AM »

Bel Kaufman "Up The Down Staircase". 1st discovered the film ["Up The Down Staircase"] which is Top 5 favorite. Many people at Goodreads didn't like it saying "it lacks the book's humor". Sure there is humor, even the music's humorous, light, positive. That said, book 5/5 as well as film despite the fact I dislike the epistolary narration.
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Short notice: the cat you see to the left is the best. Not counting your indoor cat who might have habit sitting at your left side when you post at SmileySmile.

Betty Boop dislikes Beatles; she cringes at mop tops, says they should get hairdos like hers.

Buy new shiny shoes at dollar tree shops. Bring checkbook.
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« Reply #462 on: March 25, 2018, 08:49:51 AM »

Finishing up Bart Ehrman's new "The Triumph of Christianity: How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World." It's OK, but definitely not as interesting as some of his earlier books. I think because like many of his popular-audience books, it's not really positing anything especially new or controversial but rather just promoting the general consensus of relevant scholars. With books like "Forged" and "Misquoting Jesus," those consensus positions seem controversial, or are at least unknown to typical readers. But here ... there's just nothing especially novel.

Hopefully I'll finish it today and get back to "The Adolescent," which has been sitting on the coffee table for a week or two mostly untouched.
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« Reply #463 on: March 25, 2018, 09:33:06 AM »

PSmith Journalist, by Wodehouse.  A student could write a nice thesis pairing this with Damon Runyon.
I've managed to learn a new word here and there...as when I read Peter DeVries. And that is a good reason to read.
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« Reply #464 on: March 25, 2018, 09:48:25 AM »

Thanks to RangeRover for mentioning Up the Down Staircase.  Released about the same time as the All Summer Long
album?  I remember reading it a year or two later (gosh I'm old) and enjoying it much. What has stayed with me is
the book's freshness, openness, a willing to listen. Ah, the Sixties.
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« Reply #465 on: March 25, 2018, 12:13:03 PM »

Anyhoo, Charles Dickens "A Tale Of Two Cities" - not the best book by him. 3/5.

Well, although it wasn't the best of times reading it, it wasn't the worst, either. :-)

One of my favorite Dickens' books is the Pickwick Papers. One of the only "classic" novels that had me laughing out loud.
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« Reply #466 on: April 06, 2018, 02:19:56 AM »



This is the cover of the version I already had in the house when I was alerted to this fantastic novel. And now I'm a good way in (bye bye, reader's block). Grin   
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« Reply #467 on: April 06, 2018, 06:41:25 AM »

Daniel Ellsburg's "The Doomsday Machine," which is terrifying.
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« Reply #468 on: April 06, 2018, 07:54:53 AM »

I just finished Carrie Fisher's Postcards from the Edge. It was ... fine.

I just started Carson McCuller's The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.
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« Reply #469 on: April 08, 2018, 11:19:49 AM »

Daniel Ellsburg's "The Doomsday Machine," which is terrifying.

To help mitigate the depression caused by the above, I started Steven Pinker's "Enlightenment Now." I'm going back and forth a few chapters at a time. We're all going to die. Everything's fine. We're all going to die. Everything's fine. And so on.
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« Reply #470 on: April 08, 2018, 02:00:45 PM »

Daniel Ellsburg's "The Doomsday Machine," which is terrifying.

To help mitigate the depression caused by the above, I started Steven Pinker's "Enlightenment Now." I'm going back and forth a few chapters at a time. We're all going to die. Everything's fine. We're all going to die. Everything's fine. And so on.

I'm pasting this not because I want to argue the merits of Pinker (whom, admittedly, I don't particularly like) but more because I just think it's a funny take-down in a style that I would never personally use:

http://fucktheory.tumblr.com/post/57633497486/in-which-steven-pinker-is-a-total-ignoramus-who
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« Reply #471 on: April 09, 2018, 04:19:10 PM »

I'll be honest, I don't like that style. At all.

First, it's basically pure ad hominem in spirit, even if not in the facts. (I can't pretend to have read even much of what Pinker has written, much less the everything from the philosophers and other assorted historical figures he cites, so I won't be able to weigh in on the substance much.) But the tone of the piece is "oh, listen to this fucking dick. What an asshole, he's so dumb that he thinks..." That's a turn-off for me no matter where it comes from, or toward whom it's directed. When it's from someone with whom I disagree, naturally it's an annoyance. But when it's from someone with whom I agree, then I'm embarrassed for "my team," whom I expect to rise above that nonsense and stick to facts.

Second, it has the scent of someone wildly punching up. "You don't know who I am, but you'll know me when I take down this famous asshole!" Someone like a Pinker couldn't really respond even if he wanted to, because it dignifies the tactic.

As for the Pinker book, I'm enjoying it so far. I've only read a few chapters, maybe 75 pages. But I think it's good. Then again, I think his generally liberal leanings align more closely to my mindset than I'd guess they do to yours.
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« Reply #472 on: April 09, 2018, 06:07:08 PM »

I'll be honest, I don't like that style. At all.

First, it's basically pure ad hominem in spirit, even if not in the facts. (I can't pretend to have read even much of what Pinker has written, much less the everything from the philosophers and other assorted historical figures he cites, so I won't be able to weigh in on the substance much.) But the tone of the piece is "oh, listen to this fucking dick. What an asshole, he's so dumb that he thinks..." That's a turn-off for me no matter where it comes from, or toward whom it's directed. When it's from someone with whom I disagree, naturally it's an annoyance. But when it's from someone with whom I agree, then I'm embarrassed for "my team," whom I expect to rise above that nonsense and stick to facts.

Second, it has the scent of someone wildly punching up. "You don't know who I am, but you'll know me when I take down this famous asshole!" Someone like a Pinker couldn't really respond even if he wanted to, because it dignifies the tactic.

As for the Pinker book, I'm enjoying it so far. I've only read a few chapters, maybe 75 pages. But I think it's good. Then again, I think his generally liberal leanings align more closely to my mindset than I'd guess they do to yours.

Like I said, it's not in a style that I would use but I don't see how you could characterize it as an ad hominem attack. The writer points out, quite strikingly, that Pinker doesn't have a solid grasp on the key figures of Western thought - not only does he not understand their methodology, he pretends as if they didn't have one. These conclusions would be somewhat excusable if Pinker was talking about some obscure figure who had little impact on the field in which Pinker himself studies ... but Descartes? That alone would be a remarkable problem had not Pinker gone on from there and suggest how he would go back and time and "guide" these philosophers, whose work he seems to not understand.

The writer then goes on to point out how Pinker erects straw men after straw men in order to defend the sciences from the humanities.

I don't think that this has much to do with politics. I think that Pinker belongs to a current fad in scholarship that emphasizes branding over actual research work and the results show in the work itself. Pinker wrote a book The Better Angels of Our Nature which posited a historical decline in violence. The book won a tremendous amount of praise from the mainstream print sources. However, almost everybody who has spent a lifetime doing scholarly work in the field he was writing in pointed out how the book is simply riddled with historical inaccuracies. But the truth is that I can't imagine Pinker much cares - I highly doubt that the book was meant to add anything meaningful to research. It was simply a kind of junk history meant to garner attention from a mainstream audience.  But again, Pinker's not alone - there's a whole handful of professional charlatans out there now who are offering their brand-centric "research" on a regular basis.

So, I suppose here's my conclusion: the person in the article I posted uses extreme language. Steven Pinker is, in my view, a professional huckster at best and, at worst, someone who uses his clout to offer fashionable apologetics for war crimes. I will take the former over the latter any time.
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« Reply #473 on: April 10, 2018, 05:35:36 AM »

I said it was ad hominem in spirit: whatever its points, they’re buried in name-calling.
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« Reply #474 on: April 20, 2018, 04:03:33 AM »

I'm in the throes of finishing The Great Gatsby. What have I been missing all these years? Thank you, that person, for pointing me at it. :=)

I think next up will be 1984, another book I'd be put in front of a firing squad for not reading in an enlightened society. Grin
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