Two for Tuesday BONUS: enra

enra “is an entertainment unit which presents the ultimate fusion of images and live performance,” according to their website. I found a link to their video “primitive” this morning on Twitter. The only act comparable to them that I’ve seen is the Blue Man Group, but these folks are far more advanced. Judge for yourself.

There are many more videos on their YouTube page. This is called “Torque Starter.”

What do you think of enra?

Two for Tuesday: Art Pepper

Art Pepper (1925-1982) started playing alto sax when he was 17 years old with Benny Carter, then with Stan Kenton’s band until he was drafted in 1943. When he returned from the war, he joined the Kenton Innovations Orchestra. By the 1950’s, he was considered second only to Charlie Parker in the Down Beat poll on alto sax. Serving several stretches in prison for offenses related to his heroin addiction, he maintained a high quality of musicianship, and in the late 1960’s spent time in Synanon for his addiction. In the 1970’s, he recorded a number of albums (mostly for Fantasy Records) and wrote his life story, Straight Life: The Story of Art Pepper, with his wife Laurie. It was published in 1979 and is considered one of the best musician’s biographies. He died of a stroke in Los Angeles in 1982. He’s associated with the “West Coast Jazz” movement along with Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, and Shelly Manne. His playing style, however, was most influenced by East Coast musicians such as Charlie Parker and Miles Davis.

Our first selection is “The Prisoner,” love theme from the 1978 movie The Eyes Of Laura Mars. It’s from the 1982 album Winter Moon and features Stanley Cowell on piano, Howard Roberts on guitar, Cecil McBee on bass, Carl Burnett on drums, and a string section led by Nate Rubin.

the prisoner

Our second tune is “Tin Tin Deo,” from the 1957 album Art Pepper Meets The Rhythm Section. He’s accompanied by Red Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Philly Joe Jones on drums.

Art Pepper, your Two for Tuesday, September 16, 2014.

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “On Green Dolphin Street”


Green Dolphin Street was a novel by Elizabeth Goudge that was made into a movie by MGM and released in late 1947. Here’s the original trailer. At about 1:20, you’ll hear the theme song, written by Bronislaw Kaper, with lyrics written by Ned Washington.

The movie won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects and was nominated for four others, in Cinematography, Film Editing, Sound Recording, and Special Effects. The theme song became a jazz standard, done countless times, including the four performances I’ve chosen.

First is a vocal version by Sarah Vaughan, done on a radio broadcast sometime in the 1950’s. I have no idea who the backing musicians are.

Miles Davis included his version on his seminal album ’58 Sessions featuring Stella By Starlight. On the recording with Miles are John Coltrane on tenor sax, “Cannonball” Adderley on alto sax, Bill Evans on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Jimmy Cobb on drums.

Barney Kessel is one of my favorite jazz guitarists, and his version included Ray Brown on bass and Shelly Manne on drums. This is from the album The Poll Winners.

Finally, a slightly more up-to-date version by the Chick Corea Akoustic Band, featuring John Pattitucci on bass and Dave Weckl on drums.

Once again, YouTube has many, many more versions of the song. It was hard for me to pick just four, and even there I might be overdoing it.

Anyway, it’s time to vote. Which of these is your favorite version of “On Green Dolphin Street”? And why?

After you’ve voted, how about visiting some of the other participants of the Battle of the Bands? They’d certainly appreciate it!

Tossing It Out
Far Away Series
StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands
Your Daily Dose
A Writer’s Life In Progress
Creative Outlet of Stratplayer
Mike’s Ramblings
Curious as a Cathy

I’ll announce the winner of this Battle next Monday.

Support your local library

Here, I thought I had posted already for today, and I realized that my ROW80 status report posted last night rather than first thing this morning, making me a blog post short for today. We can’t have that, now can we?

Gloria Weber had a post today where she was talking about various opportunities to buy books, and ended it with the question, “Can you ever have enough books?” The answer is, of course not!

But there is one qualification: When we talk about physical, paper-and-ink books, we’re talking about an investment in places to put them. If you’re an avid reader, your personal library can start taking up a lot of physical space. After a while, your collection could take over your home if you aren’t careful. In that case, maybe you need to find a new home for some of those books.

I am, of course, talking about your local public library.


Andrew Carnegie, the great industrialist of the 19th and 20th centuries, donated the bulk of his fortune toward building public libraries around the country. In many towns, they’re referred to as “Carnegie libraries.” Here’s what he said about them.


I don’t think anyone in the United States is that far from a public library. Nearly every community I’ve lived in had some sort of library system. A brand new branch of the Cobb County Public Library opened less than a mile from our home not long after we moved here. The library system has an excellent collection that they’ve built with tax revenues, proceeds from sales of used books, and from books donated to the library by residents of the county. It is a tremendous resource, not just for books, but for periodicals, sound recordings, movies, e-books, and online resources, including extension courses, paid for with a portion of our property and sales taxes and free for anyone who wants to use it.

Writers reap the benefits, too: a significant percentage of sales of their books are copies purchased by libraries to circulate. For example, when Janet Evanovich comes out with a new Stephanie Plum book, our library purchases twenty to thirty copies of it. The waiting list for her books can be as long as 300 people by the time the library gets it. And, when demand for the book wanes, the library sells some of the books at book sales and raises revenue to purchase other in-demand titles.

So, if the size of your collection at home has gotten a little out of hand and you’re looking for a new home for some of it, consider donating the books to your local public library. Our system takes donations and either puts them on the shelf where they can circulate, or sells them to raise revenue to purchase new books. Yours likely does the same. You get a tax deduction, and your community benefits from your generous donation.

Invest in your community. Support your local library.

#ROW80: The round winds down

Click to visit the challenge!
Click to visit the challenge!

The end of the round is nigh, in 11 days, if I’ve counted correctly. Things have gone well this round and I’ve done some extra things that have made it a little more fun. The summary:

Did some good reading this week. I read Randy Ingermanson’s How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method. I gave it three stars: It taught the technique in an understandable manner, I’m just not sure I liked the way he taught it. I’m also re-reading Larry Brooks’ Story Engineering and have his Story Physics queued up after that. I never got a chance to finish the latter. I have a couple of memoir-type books lined up after that.

And, I’ll be a sponsor for ROW80 for the next round.

Hope everyone else had a good week. Straight ahead!

Automating Your Social Sharing

While we are on the subject of Evernote (I know, “huh?”), I wanted to share an article by Dennis Goedegebuure that was on his blog a little over a year ago, How I Use @Pocket @Buffer & @IFTTT to Make My Social Sharing Efficient. In this article, he talks about what has become one of my favorite websites/apps out there, Pocket.


Formerly called Read It Later, Pocket is a place where you can put web pages, blog posts, and emails to read later. Pocket usually reformats the material so it’s easier to read and gives you options to mark it as a favorite, archive it, tag it, or get rid of it. He uses it with Flipboard, Zeit, and RSS feeds; I use it with Feedly, StumbleUpon, and Twitter, though yesterday I started using Flipboard to grab updates and tweets from Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube, because Flipboard makes it easier to “stick it in my Pocket.” Then, at my leisure, I can go through my Pocket, read each article, and decide if I want to keep it permanently in Evernote, reply to it if it’s a blog post, repost it in a tweet or Facebook status update, or discard it. Pocket is especially useful when trying to read blog posts and articles on my phone. They’re easier to read in Pocket.


IFTTT (short for “If This, Then That” and pronounced like “gift”) makes the social sharing and moving to Evernote automatic. IFTTT uses what are called “recipes” that allow you to set conditions under which the recipe will take the desired action. For example, one of my recipes (one of the more popular ones) copies anything I’ve favorited in Pocket to Evernote. Another copies things I favorited in StumbleUpon to Pocket. A third (currently inactive) tells Buffer to set up a tweet whenever I post a new blog post. I considered setting up another that would move items in Feedly to Pocket when I put an article in the “read it later” queue, but I found it was just as easy to send it to Pocket directly. Dennis has a recipe that takes archived items in Pocket and sends them to Buffer.

These two applications are useful even if you don’t intend to post to Twitter and Facebook. Give them a try and see what they can do for you!

Evernote: Notebooks and Tags


I have to apoologize that I didn’t get The Thursday Ten out yesterday. Its topic was to have been “Ten Things I’ve Learned About Evernote.” I was stuck in that eternal struggle between wanting to keep posts short and wanting to be as thorough as possible. The latter comes from my years as a software trainer, where I was sure that, if I didn’t cover something, sure as God made little green apples someone would ask about it. Hmmm, I think there’s a song about that…

Evernote (EN) is a huge application with lots of bells and whistles that you might or might not use, depending on what you have it for. A lot of those features are things I either haven’t used or things I haven’t learned about. So, let’s talk about something I have lots of experience with: Notebooks and Tags.

Migrating from Springpad to EN, I had to get used to the idea that all your notes have to go into a notebook. Springpad allowed you to leave the various types of notes unfiled, and I did that a lot more than I think I should have. When I converted my notes from Springpad to EN after the former’s demise, all of those unfiled entries ended up in a notebook called, appropriately enough, “John Holton’s Notebook.”

“John Holton’s Notebook” was set up by EN and made my default notebook. The default notebook is where any notes not destined for another notebook are filed. Many EN gurus (and there are many EN gurus) suggest setting up a notebook called “_INBOX,” the underscore forcing EN to force to to the top of any notebook listing, and making it the default notebook. You can (and should) go through the _INBOX notebook and decide whether to assign each note to a permanent notebook or to throw it away. You might decide that you want to read an article later, and save it or its URL in the inbox. At the end of the day (or week, or month, or…), you go through the inbox and decide what you want to do with the articles. (I use Pocket to save my articles for later; IFTTT has a “recipe” that takes any articles marked as favorites in Pocket and copies them to Evernote. I’ll talk more about that later.)

Ask any EN guru how many notebooks you should set up, and they’ll reply “as many as you need.” There is no limit to the number of notebooks you can set up, or if there is, very few people have set that many up. You might have one notebook for work and one for home. If you’re in school, you might set up a notebook for each of your classes. If you’re writing a novel, you might have a notebook for research, another for characters, another for settings, etc. You might set up 31 notebooks, one for each day of the month, and put reminders, to-do lists, research, etc. you’ll need on each date. Whatever makes life easy for you.

As an added bonus, you can stack your notebooks, so that all of the related notebooks you need are in one place. Like our student, who could “stack” all of the notebooks for a semester.

EN also gives you tags, identifiers that you can assign to your notes to organize them so that you can find them later. A writer could tag all of the notes pertaining to a character with the character name; a student could tag all notes relating to a topic with the topic name; and so on. The advantage is that you can use the same tag in multiple notebooks, so a search on that tag would bring up notes from all of them. That could be useful if, say, you’re writing a series of novels using the same cast of characters, or taking a more-advanced class in a subject you’ve studied before.

And that’s where I ran into trouble. In order for this to do me any good, I figured that I would need to strive for some sort of consistency with my tagging. I have a Writing notebook, and in that notebook I keep notes with ideas, techniques, tips, inspiration, and prompts. I do four kinds of writing: blogging, memoir, nonfiction, and fiction. A technique or tip for fiction could be about setting, character, plot, structure, or description. Ideas for nonfiction could also be used for blogging, and vice versa. Memoir could be family-related, job-related, or cat-related.

Etc., etc., etc….

It would have helped to do this kind of thinking before I started using Evernote, I think.

So, in short, here are things I learned about using notebooks and tags:

  • Be consistent. Searching for the tag “cat” doesn’t include notes tagged with “cats” or “kitties”.
  • If it makes sense to set up another notebook, set up another notebook. You can set up tags to work like notebooks within notebooks, but there’s no reason to.
  • Keep the inbox empty. Otherwise, what good is it?
  • Don’t be afraid to reconfigure when a different configuration makes more sense. I think, when I’m done here, I’m going to do just that.

So, that’s the first thing I’ve learned.

What would you like to hear about? Let me know. If I can answer, I will; if not, I’ll figure it out.



I will never forget September 11, 2001.

Having said that, I’m not going to remember it.

I don’t think there’s anything about the day that I want to remember.

I keep everyone who died that day in my prayers. And always will.

But I don’t want to remember seeing the World Trade Center and the Pentagon being hit by jets over and over and over and over and over again, beyond the point of ad nauseum. I don’t want to remember seeing people jump to their deaths. I don’t want to remember the fence around where the World Trade Center once stood draped in the clothes of people who died that day. I don’t want to remember people running away in terror as the towers collapsed.

I don’t want to remember the sorrow and fear everyone in this country felt that that day. Or the way some in the world jumped around in glee at the news of the destruction and death and havoc that had been wreaked on innocent people in this nation. Because it makes me afraid, and sad. And angry. Really, really, really angry.

And I don’t want to feel those things anymore.

I want to remember my beautiful cousin Genny on the happiest day of her life four days later. And I want to remember being there at her wedding with Mary and the rest of my family. Only two people who had planned on being there weren’t able to make it, and two people who hadn’t planned on being there ended up stranded in Chicago and came to be with us. So it was a wash.

I want to remember the way that people were a little kinder to each other. It was if people were happy to see that you were still alive. Total strangers.

I want to remember that life is precious.

And I want to forgive. I can never forget, but I want to forgive.

Fly the funny skies

"AirtranJet" by Original uploader was MamaGeek at en.wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia; transferred to Commons by User:Makaristos using CommonsHelper.. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -
“AirtranJet” by Original uploader was MamaGeek at en.wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia; transferred to Commons by User:Makaristos using CommonsHelper.. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

I spent twenty years flying from place to place, conducting training sessions and installing software, so I’ve been on a lot of planes. Every once in a while, you’ll get on a flight where one or more members of the crew think they’re stand-up comics. These were my favorite flights. I found this list of fifteen very funny flight announcements while stumbling around StumbleUpon last night, and wanted to share them.

You’ll notice that some of them are from flights on Southwest Airlines. I rarely had the opportunity to fly Southwest. When I lived in Chicago, they flew in and out of Midway Airport, closer to my home than O’Hare, but they weren’t usually going anywhere I was. They only recently began flying into Atlanta, after they bought Airtran. Allegedly, the owner of Southwest didn’t appreciate some of the tactics used by the members of the Atlanta Airport Authority when he was negotiating for gates and swore he’d never fly into Atlanta. “Never,” of course, is a long time.

My favorite in-flight announcement story: I was flying home to Chicago one night, and it was raining at the airport in whatever city I was in (there were so many). We take off and climb about a thousand feet, and the captain comes on. “Ah, good evening ladies and gentlemen. Well, we’ve got clear sailing most of the way, but I’m gonna leave the seat belt sign on for a few more minutes, because there’s some rough air in the area…” With that, the plane hit an air pocket and dropped about fifty feet (that’s a guess; all I knew was that it felt like my heart was somewhere over my head). The captain steadies the plane and brings us back up to the right altitude, then comes back on the PA: “See? I told ya!”

Any funny air travel stories you’d like to share?

Two for Tuesday: The Coasters

Someone (who I won’t embarrass) mentioned poison ivy in a blog post yesterday, and the next thing you know, “Poison Ivy” by The Coasters started running through my head. Thus, they’re today’s Two for Tuesday.

Much of The Coasters’ catalog consists of Lieber and Stoller’s humorous “story” songs, such as the two we feature today. First up is “Searchin’,” from May 1957. It reached #3 on the Hot 100, #1 on the R&B chart, and #30 on the UK singles chart that year. A year later, the group released “Yakety Yak,” our second tune. It reached #1 on the Hot 100 and R&B charts and #12 in the UK in 1958.

The current group features J. W. Lance on lead vocals, Primotivo Candelara on baritone vocals, Eddie Whitfield doing bass vocals, and Dennis Andeerson on tenor vocals. The current lineup has a website, announcing that the group will start the “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” tour starting on October 3 in Branchburg, New Jersey.

The Coasters, you Two for Tuesday, September 9, 2014.


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