Books

Why Are There 16 Producers on House of Cards?
June 12, 2017

OK you Hollywood moguls and wannabes, what does a producer do? What do all of the variants do? Executive Producer, Associate Producer, Managing Producer, Supervising Producer, Co-Executive Producer?? How do they stay out of each other’s way?? How much are they paid, salary and residuals?? Should this be my next career stop??

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The Internet and Demand Management (Advertising)
March 1, 2017

My friend Joe Keenan recently sent me an article by Vicki Boykis, “Fix the internet by writing good stuff and being nice to people” from her blog Woman.Legend.Blog.  Today’s internet is mean. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when everyone online became a jerk, but to me it seems that the tipping point occurred right when making money off content started being worth more than the content itself. Ms. Boykis devotes…

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PEW graphic on book reading vs e-books
E-Books Flatline; Books (Paper) Return Like Zombies
September 6, 2016

As the Web was becoming ubiquitous in the early haze of the 21st century the wonders of Google search displaced Altavista and other engines in the search wars. Web wags declared that the age of books, actually all paper-based media, to be over. The Web would quickly provide universal access to all of human knowledge on your computer. This even before the iPhone and Android brought the Internet to our…

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Joe, My friend got back to me. Her contact left the Review five years ago. Sorry. Mark
No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald – book review
June 1, 2014

We are within days of the anniversary of the first revelations from Edward Snowden’s archive of NSA documents. The drum beat of new stories emerging from this trove continues even to this moment.1 So, Glenn Greenwald’s book, No Place To Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the US Surveillance State might be greeted with a yawn, what could be new? In…

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Whisperes- family life in Stalin's Russia by Figes
Book Review – The Whisperers – private life in Stalin’s Russia by Orlando Figes
July 28, 2013

This book by Orlando Figes is exciting, terribly depressing, and cautionary. Based on hundreds of in-depth interviews and thousands of letters, diaries, and government documents, Whisperers2 puts real people in place of the faceless numbers that constitute our usual image of the human costs of Stalinist Russia – the 10 million lost during collectivization, the same or larger number disappeared during the various Terrors and…

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NSA is listening to everthing
US Vacuum Cleaning Our Privacy – the bigger story
June 8, 2013

There has rightfully been considerable outrage over this week’s revelations that the Federal government has been sucking up information on virtually every aspect of our lives, email, telephones calls, pictures, credit card and banking transactions, and so on. Unfortunately almost all of this discussion is taking place without a useful sense of the scope, scale, and trajectory of the government’s war on terror. META DATA Before getting to the bigger…

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John le Carre - wikipedia image
John le Carré on Bush’s Iraq War – The United States of America Has Gone Mad
April 21, 2013

John le Carré, author of many beloved spy novels, e.g., Tinker Tailor, Soldier, Spy, wrote this piece critiquing the then upcoming War on Iraq in January 2003. Besides pointing out the very strong connections between big oil and the Bushes, many other elements of the critique continue to be applicable to current American foreign policy. Here it is reproduced in its entirety: The United States of America Has Gone Mad…

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George Smalley in Yatzeck's Russia in Private
Russia in Private by Richard Yatzeck
October 10, 2012

Russia today seems very far from the country I grew up with as an international ogre on the TV news,  the Soviet Union or USSR. After all, the Wall fell in 1989, already 23 years ago. The Soviet Union  dissolved in 1991, 21 years ago. It is mostly in the memories of those over 40 years old that crossing behind the Iron Curtain was an exotic, even inexplicable adventure. In the spring…

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Lands’ End – deceptive advertising
February 29, 2012

Made In The USA – Sham This catalog showed up last week. Wow, I thought. Lands’ End is offering a whole bunch of US manufactured clothing. This should be interesting. After turning the cover, there were two more pages of puff about the wonder’s of “Made in the USA”. A two page spread followed of a sweat shirt and two more pages of gym ware – “Made in the USA”.…

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Cod: a biography of the fish that changed the world by Mark Kurlansky
September 27, 2011

This wonderful little book (283 pages including 40 pages of recipes) by Mark Kurlansky is a great introduction to viewing history through a different kind of lens. We are all to used to history as told from the point of view of great men (almost always me) and nation states. Codis about the fish, fishing, processed food, ecology, trade, slavery, rum, fishing technologies, food around the whole of the Atlantic and…

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Slavery by Another Name by Blackmon
Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black People in America from the Civil War to World War II
November 13, 2010

This book brings to light the extent to which the Jim Crow laws were in fact part of a totalitarian system of government that ruled the South for more than seventy five years. How these laws came to be called Jim Crow by historians instead of  “a system of racist oppression and exploitation” is a mystery. The fact that historians and school textbook writers  adopted this term,which is derogatory in its basis, points to a…

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The Warmth of Other Suns – Isabel Wilkerson
October 10, 2010

Isabel Wilkerson’s book, The Warmth of Other Suns – the epic story of America’s great migration,3 creates  whole new planes of awareness of our history. This book startled me to a new understanding of how encompassing and pervasive the Jim Crow laws and social rules of the South really were. Without much thinking on my part, I have always equated Jim Crow with images…

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Manias,Panics,and Crashes by Kindleberger
Book Review: Manias, Panics, and Crashes: a history of financial crises by Kindleberger
November 13, 2009

Manias, Panics, and Crashes: a history of financial crises, fourth edition by Charles P. Kindleberger (New York: Wiley 2000) A recent Wall St Journal article described this book as a “must read” classic for anyone involved in financial markets. I have been involved directly in financial markets in two ways recently. First, I spent a year chasing around chasing angel investors and venture capitalists during the DotCom boom to fund Valuedge…

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Secret Sentry by Mathew Aid
Yottabytes and the National Security State
October 17, 2009

The current New York Review of Books has an article by James Bamford, “Who’s in Big Brother’s Database” that reviews the new book by Mathew M. Aid, The Secret Sentry: The Untold History of the National Security Agency . I have gotten in line at my local library to read this book and will make further comments after that. Meanwhile, the Bamford article mentions the construction boom at NSA (National…

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Book Review: Diamond Street – Hudson, NY: the story of the little town with the big red light district
September 13, 2009

Diamond Street: The Story of the Little Town With the Big Red Light District by Bruce Edward Hall (Black Dome Press, Hensonville NY 1994 and 2005) This is a fairly readable history of Hudson as seen from the other side of the tracks and from the corrupt office holders in city government and local police. Sheds new light on how Hudson has been dependent for a very long time on…

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Book Review: Looking for Work: Industrial Archeology in Columbia County, New York
August 13, 2009

Looking for Work: Industrial Archeology in Columbia County, New York, The Emergence and Growth of Local Industry as Revealed in Surviving Sites and Structures by Peter H. Stott, Syracuse University Press, 2007 This is a comprehensive review of industrial sites in 18 towns and the City of Hudson in Columbia County. There is a narrative historical description of the industry in each town and more detailed descriptions of the 134 sites. A great resource…

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Healthcare Crisis
September 8, 2008

Originally written in 2005 The healthcare crisis in the US is growing in severity and yet is not the subject of any real public debate. More than 44 million Americans are without health insurance and almost 65 million will experience a lack of coverage during the year. Emergency rooms are the primary care provider of necessity. All of this despite the fact that, as a nation, we spend more than…

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North Korea – a visit to the "Axis of Evil"
June 21, 2007

Recently, in the context of some discussion of the Bush regime, my step-son Jonathan pointed me towards several books on Korea. He said that Bruce Cumings is simply the best author writing in English on Korea. So, a quick trip to the local library and I had this compact little book in my hands. The book is organized around five topics: (1) the impact of the Korean War on North…

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Book Note – Before the Dawn: recovering the lost history of our ancestors
February 27, 2007

Earlier this year I read Charles Mann’s 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus and was rewarded with another reminder of how thin my understanding of our hemisphere’s history is and how much new knowledge is being added by multiple disciplines. Here was a whole new world to be explored. Nicholas Wade’s book is another must read for those of us educated before the impact of the decoding of…

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A Fog of War or a Fog of Ethics?
December 18, 2003

Through our friend Esther Hanig we attended a showing of Errol Morris’s new documentary, The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons From the Life of Robert S. McNamara. at the Kennedy Library in Dorchester on December 14, 2003. This documentary is an extended adventure into the historico-biography of Robert S. McNamara, most famous as the Secretary of Defense during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. The movie intersperses close up head shots of…

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  1. NSA Collecting Millions of Faces from Web Images http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/01/us/nsa-collecting-millions-of-faces-from-web-images.html accessed 06012014 []
  2. more here on Figes’ website []
  3. New York City, Random House 2010 []