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Sometimes you just have to do a little Pink Panthering


Personal Essay: Is Mastodon the solution?

… As time has gone on, tens of thousands of Twitter users have been fleeing the platform with each report of the company’s impending doom. Many have gone over to Mastodon. Teri Kanefield recently shared her thoughts about the future of Mastodon and social media in general on her blog. She provided a comprehensive overview of Mastodon from a user’s eye view, not a technical perspective. Several aspects come through, but one is particularly noteworthy – the Mastodon framework gets away from the profit-driven, corporate control of social media and instead supplies a distributed, connection-centric framework that users can join through multiple avenues. The beauty of Mastodon is that there’s no one master controller nor any algorithmic manipulation of the user experience. People can connect with whomever they choose across the network. [Continue reading]


Personal Essay: Cultural shifts and quirks

In a recent live session, Heather Cox Richardson talked about the evolution of the “Dark Brandon” meme that’s been taking over various social media sites in the last few weeks. It’s got a curious history that will very likely be dropped by future historians because it is tied to a potentially transitory cultural moment that originated through a vulgar verbal attack, shifted to a positive superhero context by co-opting the original intent, and may shift again before it disappears into the ether forever. The details of this meme/cultural reference while curious aren’t unique. She illustrated the point further by recalling various sayings or items such as the meaning of red telephone on a desk that anybody over about age 55 or 60 would know immediately, but somebody under 40 probably wouldn’t. What was once known as “common knowledge” has become increasingly less widespread as our diversity increases, but thinking about the whole concept of common knowledge as it applies to cultural familiarity, I am reminded of an entertaining incident and subsequent informal study I conducted many years ago. [Continue reading]


Personal Essay: What is an expert?

With the advent of the internet, and more recently the widespread availability and influence of social media, what constitutes an expert has been challenged in the media and in the public sphere. … In this information age, anybody with a connection to the internet can search for answers to any question imaginable or pontificate their own claims on myriad publicly visible platforms.

Just because somebody writes or speaks with assurance doesn’t automatically mean they are an expert or even that they necessarily know what they are talking about. Possessing academic credentials alone doesn’t guarantee that the speaker or writer is an expert either. Further, having purely academic credentials isn’t always necessary for somebody to gain proficiency or even expert level knowledge in a discipline. Mentoring and apprenticeships can be effective ways to learn and hone expert level skills in areas as varied as the performing arts to vocational trades or even some more academically oriented pursuits such various types of engineering. It depends on the quality of the mentor, the aptitude and dedication of the mentee or apprentice, and the educational requirements of the discipline. [Continue reading]


Personal Essay: The world I want to live in

With so much predation going on these days, I often think about a different place where humankind has evolved beyond its constant quests for power and control. The U.S. is in the throes of a struggle for its future. It’s possible that in 2023, the country could be completely unrecognizable, although many of us already find it so, but not in a direction that we want to be going.

So what would I like to see? I would like to live in a world where humans have stopped being a predatory species preying upon one another whether through physical violence, economic exploitation, or supremacist goals. In this world, humans will have realized that while we may have some superficial differences in customs, preferences, or even physical attributes, we really are all the same, and nobody is any better than anyone else. Humans will have come to realize that it helps us all if nobody has to suffer. [Continue reading]


Book: Lawyers Never Lie, by Teri Kanefield

‘Lawyers Never Lie’ is a gripping legal comedy

Teri Kanefield is well-known in various circles as a writer, an appellate defense attorney, and an educator. Of late she’s been part of the building legal community on Twitter, patiently explaining various high profile legal matters rippling through public discourse. Before the heightened activity of legal Twitter, she was an award winning author writing across genres including nonfiction and fiction for both young readers and adults. Her nonfiction is carefully researched and expertly presented to inform and enthrall. Her fiction is gripping, often originating from a circumstance or event she knows well adhering to the old adage of writing what you know. Kanefield’s fiction also exemplifies something she holds close to heart – that fiction or literature in an ideal world is a creative way to get to the truth. This is the case in her engaging novel, Lawyers Never Lie. The story is largely autobiographical although the names have been changed, the ages have been shuffled, and the personalities have been modified to protect the innocent. [Continue reading]


Book: On Tyranny, by Timothy Snyder

Timothy Snyder’s ‘On Tyranny’ is a must read

In 2017, after one of the most contentious presidential elections our nation had experienced up to that point, Timothy Snyder wrote a little book capturing both history and the warning it provided to the current time. On Tyranny’s full title is: On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century. In it, Snyder starts with a Prologue offering historical context framing what follows. The book starts with a wakeup call at the top of the Prologue:

“History does not repeat, but it does instruct.”

The meat of his book (weighing in at a trim 126 pages including both the Prologue and Epilogue) is contained in the 20 lessons he drew from the previous turbulent century. They are summarized in his chapter titles as follows:

  1. Do not obey in advance.
  2. Defend institutions.
  3. Beware the one-party state.
  4. Take responsibility for the face of the world.
  5. Remember professional ethics.
  6. Be wary of paramilitaries.
  7. Be reflective if you must be armed.
  8. Stand out.
  9. Be kind to our language.
  10. Believe in truth.
  11. Investigate.
  12. Make eye contact and small talk.
  13. Practice corporeal politics.
  14. Establish a private life.
  15. Contribute to good causes.
  16. Learn from peers in other countries.
  17. Listen for dangerous words.
  18. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives.
  19. Be a patriot.
  20. Be as courageous as you can.

[Continue reading]


Book: Woodwind Instruments: a practical guide for technicians and repairers, by Daniel Bangham

The book every woodwind player and technician should have

Woodwind Instruments: a practical guide for technicians and repairers by Daniel Bangham is a new release that will be a useful reference for woodwind technicians and players alike. Expected in late October 2022 through The Crowood Press, Bangham’s book provides instructions for setting up a complete workshop to repair and maintain clarinets, flutes, saxophones, oboes, and bassoons. The detailed repair instructions for technicians include most routine and complex repairs they might encounter. For players, the book can serve as a guide on caring for their instruments along with what to look for when they are encountering problems going so far as instructing them on some stop gap measures until they can get their instruments to a repair shop. The book is aimed at technicians, particularly given the specialized equipment needed to affect repairs, but understanding more about how their instruments work helps players get the most out of them even if they don’t want to try to make the repairs themselves. [Continue reading]


Book: The Sixth Man, by David Baldacci

What happened to Edgar Roy?

David Baldacci’s fifth book in the King & Maxwell series came out in 2011. The story in The Sixth Man picks up where First Family left off. Sean King and Michelle Maxwell have again taken on more than they expected when they venture up to Maine to help out King’s old mentor on a case. A brilliant but troubled genius has been accused of mass murder. The man is Edgar Roy who theoretically worked for the IRS. In reality though, his job was far more complex than that. He was recruited to help the intelligence community in ways that are completely unimaginable. He was the only person in the country, and probably the world, who could do the job for which he was hired. He was part of something known as the E-Program, and he was the only E-Six ever discovered after a few E-Fives went down in flames. [Continue reading]


Personal Essay: What is reality?

In our current world, there is a great deal of effort being expended to bend people’s perceptions of reality to gain personal, organizational, or even national advantage. I’ve written about the dangers of propaganda before, and in modern society with its current technological advancements there are more tools available today than ever before to impose false realities, i.e., to create mythologies. … Taking a step back from current world events, it’s instructive to consider something that Yuval Noah Harari observed. In his book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, he introduced the idea of common myths, upon which all of our modern societies are based, suggesting these myths may have primed us all to be open to persuasion in direct conflict with our own observations. [Continue reading]


Profile: Val is making the world a better place through the arts

Every so often we are fortunate to cross paths with somebody with that intangible spark that makes them stand out in a really good way. They bring enthusiasm to all they do, and they inspire others to reach far beyond what seems possible. I ran into such a person some years ago, and I’ve been amazed by what this young fellow has done and continues to do.

I first worked with Val Zvinyatskovsky when he was but 10-years-old. He played the role of Jojo, one of the leads, in a youth production of Seussical that I was music directing. This particular group used live orchestras drawn from the greater musician community to give their young actors the privilege and thrill of performing in musicals in a way that would prepare them for potential careers in professional theater. Through the rehearsal process, this young actor stood out as one of the most skilled, prepared, and polished young thespians I’d seen. He not only had all of his lines and blocking down pat long before the cast needed to be off book, but his musical timing was impeccable. He never missed. Even so, it wasn’t until we got into the run of the show that I realized just how accomplished and curious this young man was. [Continue reading]


Fiction: A World Without Lies

As happened most nights, Alex and Rowan Jeffries were having an impassioned discussion over dinner. The twins had been sharing a house for most of their lives, Alex a professor of biochemistry and Rowan a professor of music and religious studies at the same university. Having grown up together and only living separately as university students because they attended different schools in different states, it was both comforting and financially practical to have come together again once their student days were over. Neither had ever been married, and they considered one another perfect roommates. They relied on each other and were the best of friends even though they had a few notable philosophical differences. In fact, those differences often helped them, though they really only differed dramatically in a few areas. In other areas of their lives, they were often in agreement even when their approaches sometimes diverged. This evening, they were engrossed in a discussion in which they agreed for the most part, but differed in application. The subject this evening was honesty, or more directly, the value of truth and dangers of lies. [Continue reading]


Book: REMEMBERING MOM AND DAD

Remembering_Mom_and__Cover_for_KindleIn REMEMBERING MOM AND DAD, I make the jump from analyzing the stories to telling them.  The book is a collection of nonfiction essays and short stories written over time remembering Bayla and Jerry Jacobson. The stories include personal recollections from my experience along with the retelling of numerous events related to me in conversations over the years. Some of the stories included are: “Music in the House”, “The Parenthood Plunge”, “The Jacobson Pet Parade”, “Disney Days of Summer”, and many more.  Interested?

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3 thoughts on “Home

  1. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d without a doubt donate to this excellent blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.
    I look forward to fresh updates and will talk about this website with my Facebook group.

    Chat soon!

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    • Alexander, in a sense there is a donate button now that A Good Reed Review has joined the affiliate program with Amazon. The products and references that are listed in conjunction with those help to emphasize the subjects we discuss on A Good Reed Review, and they also help us out a little to keep this site free.

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