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Personal Essay: Less competition, more cooperation

In the U.S., it seems like everything is turned into a competition. Our economic system, capitalism, is based on competition, at least in theory. Schools are usually based on some kind of competition for grades. We’re trained from early childhood to compete. To win. We’re often told by society that if we don’t win, there’s something wrong with us. Rather than striving to improve our skills for the personal satisfaction of doing something well, the goal is instead to be better than somebody else. Sports permeate society reinforcing a mindset of striving to beat the other guy rather than focusing on helping one another hone our skills. [Continue reading]

Personal Essay: You can’t run a theater on a shoestring anymore

After hearing about the Tabard era coming to an end, I thought back on some of the community theaters that used to thrive in years past. One such community group was The Shoestring Theatre Company, later renamed Shoestring Family Theatre. Shoestring was a little different than most theaters. It hearkened back to what community theater was in a bygone era. The Andrews family was the driving force behind Shoestring, and they got the whole community involved. [Continue reading]

Personal Essay: The end of the Tabard era is nigh

The Tabard Theatre Company has often been known as the little theatre that could. … The last three years have been especially challenging, not just because of the pandemic, but also because of the challenges from California’s legislative changes. One piece of legislation has been the bane of community based arts groups since January 2020 when AB5 took effect. … The combination of AB5, the pandemic reducing the patron base for all live performances, and the rising rates of pretty much everything finally was too much for the little theater that could, and Tabard announced that they will be closing their doors on 2 April 2023. … A few concerts and their production of the Tony Award winning musical, Once remain on the calendar which comes to an abrupt end when Once closes and strikes its set. The show runs 10 March – 2 April 2023 and will be Tabard’s swan song presented at 29 N. San Pedro St, Ste 200, San Jose, CA 95110. [Continue reading]

Personal Essay: Social media post controversy – listening vs. reading

Over time I have learned a few things about social media posts.

First, a surprising number of people consume the stuff I write for which I am appreciative.

Second, even something I consider innocuous or even trivial can become controversial depending on the consumer’s interpretation.

Third, it’s important to take a step back and not necessarily engage at face value. A person’s response may not necessarily be directly related to what I wrote or intended but could be a response to something my writing triggered in them or to an unstated connection they made. They experienced what they experienced. They could be reacting to that with my writing acting as a catalyst for them. No matter the reason, discussion is fine, but attacks are not.

Fourth, the way language is used today, meanings seem somewhat fluid despite what the dictionary may have recorded. This unfortunately goes back to an experiment I ran at work several years ago regarding that elusive concept of “common knowledge.” Common knowledge in this case extends to the meaning of various words or terms which may not be as universal as I thought. This makes communication much more challenging and sometimes frustrating. [Continue reading]

Fiction: What a Rat Race

Robert was restless. He looked around quickly and then took off running through the lab, climbing over various apparatus, leaping from landing to landing, until finally stopping atop a bookcase in the corner. It was late, the lights were dimmed, and he wanted to play. This was not an unusual occurrence after the scientists left for the day. [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]

Book: Memoirs and True Confessions of a Disinformation Warrior, by Teri Kanefield

The dangers of disinformation in a compelling novel

Teri Kanefield is many things. She’s a former appellate defense lawyer who helped those who couldn’t afford representation. She’s an educator who taught at the high school and college level. She’s an author who has published informative works of nonfiction as well as compelling novels. And most recently, she’s tirelessly working to educate the public in hopes of helping people understand the political and legal minefield that has been thrust upon us by the rising authoritarian threat. … Most recently, Kanefield has given her regular readers a gift. … Kanefield released the story, entitled Memoirs and True Confessions of a Disinformation Warrior, in three lengthy posts on her blog, initially linked from the end of her 18 March 2023 entry about Trump’s imminent arrest. The pieces of the novel can be found here: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. [Continue reading]

Book: Divine Justice, by David Baldacci

Justice in Divine

Divine Justice is the fourth book in David Baldacci’s Camel Club series. The Camel Club is a ragtag team of eccentrics who are attuned to and intent on exposing the missteps of our government from all sides. They are led by John Carr, AKA Oliver Stone, a former government-trained assassin from a highly secret (and fictional) branch of the CIA who’s been on the fringes of society since his ouster by the corrupt leadership that had his family executed when he wanted out. When he went on the run, he took the name Oliver Stone because he saw real conspiracies everywhere. The other charter members of the club are Reuben Rhodes, Caleb Shaw, and Milton Farb. … Divine Justice opens with action immediately following the end of Stone Cold. Stone had just committed high-profile murders of two corrupt government officials and was on the run. [Continue reading]

Book: King and Maxwell, by David Baldacci

The end of the King and Maxwell series

King and Maxwell is the sixth and final book in David Baldacci’s King & Maxwell series, and it doesn’t disappoint. The last three books of the series, First Family, The Sixth Man, and King and Maxwell are closely coupled, each picking up where the last one leaves off. Sean King and Michelle Maxwell are looking to get back to a more normal, less life-threatening routine when they come upon a teenager running through the woods with a gun in a vicious storm. The boy, Tyler Wingo, is frantic. He’s been informed that his father, Sam Wingo, was killed in combat in Afghanistan. The trouble is that Sam Wingo is very much alive, and he’s a hunted man though it takes a while to determine that this is the case. After some negotiation and being threatened by various government and government adjacent thugs, King, Maxwell, their client Tyler Wingo, his father Sam, and a couple of innocent bystanders are in grave danger. No matter the risks, they aren’t deterred from their quest to clear Sam’s name and get him and Tyler to safety. [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]

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]


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?

Purchase the print edition:

Purchase a digital copy in Kindle or Nook formats.
Read the full Introduction.

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Reviews: Theatrical / Book



Fiction (short stories)


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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!


    • 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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