Happy Public Domain Day!

•January 1, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Safety Last

On January 1st, 2019–today!–published works are entering the public domain in the United States for the first time in more than twenty years.

Classics from 1923 like Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last, Robert Frost’s Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, P.G. Wodehouse’s The Inimitable Jeeves, and lots of other masterpieces and less masterful works are free for public use starting today.

The fascinating and infuriating story of why it’s been so long since the last time works entered the public domain in America can be found at the Center for the Study of the Public Domain.

Secret Passages in a Hillside Town: WLT review

•December 31, 2018 • Leave a Comment

secret-passages-largeWhat a string of comparisons Lanie Tankard puts together in her review of Secret Passages in a Hillside Town, the crazy brilliant novel by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen (translated by yours truly).

“On the surface, the book is an amusing story of a grumpy man’s midlife crisis å la Fredrik Backman’s Ove. On another level, the novel’s a lurking childhood mystery in the style of Per Petterson’s I Refuse. Look again, it’s an exploration of memories reminiscent of Haruki Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki. Go deeper for a psychological examination of gender harking back to Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness. Crawl far enough into the warren maze of Jääskeläinen’s plot and uncover a parody of data analytics, Facebook, cinema, and book publishing echoing the best of William Gibson-with a touch of Anais Nin.”

World Literature Today, Winter 2019

I haven’t read all the books she mentions, but I agree that Secret Passages is weird and wonderful.

Seeking Safety

•December 30, 2018 • Leave a Comment

seeking safety

Dead Leaf Butterfly

•December 28, 2018 • Leave a Comment

This is a dead leaf butterfly.

Good Song or Bad Song: I’m a Woman

•December 27, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Musically, I’m a Woman is a great song. It’s got a fun rhythm and melody, clever lyrics and satisfying rhymes, and Maria Muldaur’s version is fantastic.

But what is the song telling us?

I’m a Woman was written in 1962 by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. That was the early days of women’s lib, an exciting time, and this song’s message was that a woman can do most things a man can do and everything he can’t do, too, and it says it in a funny way, with lots of bravado.

But now that women have been doing everything for 50 years, this song sounds kind of like an ode to working yourself to death.

What do you think? Good song or bad song? Leave a comment if you want to explain your feelings.

More Good song / Bad song surveys

Rudolph (You Don’t Have to Put On the Red Light)

•December 24, 2018 • Leave a Comment

That snowman is jammin’.

Found on Misscelania.

Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook Year in Review

•December 23, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Mark Zuckerberg’s year, in the style of Facebook’s data-generated “personalized” year-in-review videos.

Brought to you by The Guardian.

Sugar Chile Robinson

•December 23, 2018 • 2 Comments

Piano prodigy Frank “Sugar Chile” Robinson in a newsreel from 1946.

The film really captures his unusual style and wide, wide reach.

Video from the Historic Films Stock Footage Archive.


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