Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Silver Screen

 Here is a link to my YouTube video about Storm Approaching. I hope you will watch it.


It’s six minutes long.

Monday, July 3, 2017

A Handy Guide


This blog contains all sorts of stuff related to my books, but this infor- mation is scattered. Here is a guide to book-related material, which you can easily access by using the "Blog Archive" on the left-hand side of this page.

Flyer about all books:  March, 2014

       Excerpts:
From Storm Approaching:  March, 2010
From Gold and Glory: April, 2010
From Resolution: October, 2010
From And Gladly Teach: February, 2010 & March, 2011

Maps:  July and September, 2010

Ordering Books:  Amazon.com is the best way. A few are available from the author.

I hope you will read some of the essays. You might well start with “A Cautionary Tale” (about getting published): May, 2012

 And for anyone interested in a gentle satire of the wonderful Agatha Christie’s Poirot series, my only piece of fanfiction, “The Adventure of the Surprising Ending,”  can be read at:
https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9321353/1/The-Adventure-of-the-Surprising-Ending

 Contact me:  brnlbb@gmail.com 

 YouTube Video:  https://youtu.be/GjlyGbBkTbc    

Friday, February 17, 2017

A Small Rant


“Of all modern phenomena, the most monstrous and ominous, the most manifestly rotting with disease, the most grimly prophetic of destruction, the most clearly and unmistakably  inspired by evil spirits, the most instantly and awfully overshadowed by the wrath of heaven, the most near to madness and moral chaos, the most vivid with devilry and despair, is the practice of having to listen to loud music while eating a meal in a restaurant.”
                                                                                                                 G.K. Chesterton
 
I ran across this today, and I find it interesting that even in the 1920s or 30s, when it was written, and when the music referred to was undoubtedly quite good music, ambient noise in public spaces was a problem. I wonder what Mr. Chesterton would think if he walked into a supermarket or other large store today. I am at one with G.K. Chesterton. When entering a store which plays ‘music’--usually some ghastly relic of the 1960s or 70s--I refrain only with difficulty from trying to find the speakers, tear them out with my bare hands, and jump up and down on them so that no one could make speakers out of them again. I believe this horrible habit of forcing noise on the public originated in this country with “Muzak” in elevators. I have often wondered what market survey or research led to the conclusion that people would be charmed, or soothed, or induced to spend more money, by regaling them with horrible aural rubbish while they shop. The effect it has on me is to encourage my expeditious departure from the afflicted area.

 By the way, if you’d like to read a good historically-based poem, read Chesterton’s “Lepanto”--a poem not without relevance to certain world conditions today. I wonder that it has not been set to music.) 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Ghost of 1812

When the normally pleasant stroll to the grocery store reminds you of Napoleon's retreat from Moscow and you begin to think that in the spring your bones might be found in a parking lot, you know that winter has come to Minnesota.
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Merry Christmas to All, and remember, books (especially those listed below) make fine presents.

And Gladly Teach
Hodgepodge
Storm Approaching
Gold and Glory
Resolution
The Free Lands 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

CANDY IS DANDY, BUT...


While taking my daily walk I was overcome by a desire for chocolate. The nearest place to get a Hershey bar, or similar treat, was--I fondly thought--a liquor store directly across from my apartment building. A teetotaler, I do not usually patronize such establishments, but, visions of Milky Ways dancing in my head, I boldly entered, and, making my way past the displays of potent beverages stacked shoulder-high, located the counter and looked about for a display of sweetmeats. I looked in vain. Upon my inquiry, the genial clerk informed me that “liquor stores aren’t allowed to sell that sort of stuff”. Feeling ignorant and vaguely embarrassed, I smiled weakly and departed.

 I had to wonder why this prohibition exists. What prompted our Solons to pass such legislation? Was it, perhaps, that impressionable tots might toddle in to buy a peppermint patty and mistakenly leave with peppermint schnapps? Was it to avoid giving innocent Youth the notion that a store that sells candy must only sell innocuous things so they might as well get a bottle of gin to wash down their Snickers? Was any thought given to simply prohibiting liquor stores from selling M&Ms to those under 21 (and carding questionable patrons)? I wonder…

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Not Original, but Worthwhile


MAJOR TECHNOLOGICAL BREAKTHROUGH

 
Introducing the new Bio-Optic Organized Knowledge device, trade-named BOOK.

BOOK is a revolutionary breakthrough in technology: no wires, no electricity, no batteries, nothing to be connected or switched on. Even a child of four can operate it.

You can use the compact and portable BOOK anywhere, even sitting in an armchair by the fire.

BOOK is constructed of sequentially-numbered sheets of paper (“pages”), each capable of holding thousands of bits of information.

The pages are locked together with a custom-fit device (the “binder”) that keeps them in correct sequence. Opaque Paper Technology (OPT) allows manufacturers to use both sides of the sheet, doubling information density and cutting costs. Additional density can be obtained by varying the size of the type and the width of the margins. Pages are completely recyclable.

Each page is scanned optically by end-users, registering information directly to the brain. A mere flick of the finger takes users to the next page. BOOK requires no passwords and may be used at any time by simply opening it.

BOOK never crashes or needs rebooting. The “browse” feature allows users to move easily forward or backwards. Many BOOKs come with an “index” feature that pinpoints the exact location of any selected information for instant visual retrieval.

An optional accessory, the BOOKmark, allows users to open BOOK to the exact place they left when shutting down (“closing”) BOOK. BOOKmarks fit universal design standards; the same one can be used in any BOOK. Several may be used in the same BOOK to store many views.

Users can also make data entries in BOOKs by using programming tools: Portable Erasable Non-Complex Intercommunication Language Styli (“Pencils”) or Portable Enhancing Nibs (“Pens”).

Portable, durable, and affordable, BOOK is being hailed as the crest of a new entertainment wave. Also, BOOK’s appeal seems so certain that thousands of content-creators have committed to the platform and investors are flocking in. BOOK has already been embraced by such noted programmers as Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, Goethe, Tolstoy, and Faulkner.

 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

This Week's Revolution in Education



This essay will be most meaningful, I imagine, to those who toil in the groves of Academe. Laymen may be unaware of the tremendous strides made with remarkable regularity in secondary education. One of the latest is the idea of "blended classes," which means classes that meet only twice a week or so. Students are expected to do much of the course work on their own. I do not see why this tremendous notion--that students learn as much by meeting with their teachers only occasionally--cannot be pushed to its logical conclusion; hence this article.
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NeverNeverLand Academy announces an addition to its many centers with the inauguration of the NO CLASSES AT ALL CENTER of PERFECTION (NCAACoP, pronounced “Baloney”).

This latest innovative, imaginative, ground-breaking, awe-inspiring, state-of-the-art, cutting-edge golly-gee gobsmacking it’s-so-brilliant-I-can’t-stand-it brainstorm of our Headmaster, Mr. Dick Pebble, a man already trumpeted throughout the nation—the continent—the world—indeed the entire cosmos—as the most brilliant pedagogical innovator since the people who said that filmstrips would change the face of education forever, involves the notion that in throwing out the bathwater you may as well toss the baby as well.

We know beyond argument that the traditional method used by high schools, “teaching classes,” is hopelessly obsolete. Expecting young people, in our frenetic age, to accustom themselves to punctuality, regularity, and listening, is obviously an anachronism, as of course is thinking that a “teacher” can actually get someone to “learn” something. Indeed, most of this traditional “learning” is mere accumulation of valueless “facts”. When all facts are easily available on Wikipedia and other websites, what possible point could there be in forcing young people to “master” such trivialities as punctuation, the grammar of foreign languages (or of English, for that matter), chemical formulas, abstruse mathematical concepts, or silly historical trifles such as whether the Civil War preceded or followed World War I?

Instead of forcing these young folks to go to “classes” where “teachers” dominate the room and use their decades of experience to instruct them, should we not allow “students” to organize their own schedules and pursue their passions? Who is to say that an intense interest in the welfare of whales or developing an app should not take predominance over Spanish verb forms?

Therefore, NeverNeverLand Academy has abolished all classes. Our Baloney Center will allow our young clients to do all their work “online” at whatever times they wish. Also, they will all serve as interns in local businesses (where they will be a useful source of unpaid labor in the least desirable activities). And they will all complete a Major Project, under the genial supervision of somebody, which will enable them to demonstrate poor grammar, inarticulateness, and the lack of basic knowledge they would have learned in traditional classes. They will also, of course, still practice their sports several hours each day.

There are a few trifling points yet to be worked out. The mighty brain of our Headmaster just scintillates with a myriad of brilliant innovations; you can’t expect every detail to be filled in until the Baloney Center actually starts to operate. Do not worry. Shortcomings will be covered up so cleverly that no one will know, or at least no one will admit, that they exist. Those “teachers” involved in the Center will tacitly understand that they are to lower standards, inflate grades, and generally ‘curate’ (i.e. reduce) content so everything seems to be working just fine.
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NOTA BENE:

Parents whose children are here primarily to take part in our grotesquely huge athletic development programs may rest assured that none of this innovative stuff will affect any sports teams. Athletes will continue to punctually attend daily exhausting practices under the watchful eye of autocratic coaches whose slightest word is law, and woe betide any kid who shows up a second late. (Indeed, since students will no longer have any mandatory commitments to attend classes, our enormous coaching staff will doubtless be able to schedule even more practices than before.)