Monday, May 20, 2019

Oh, and while I'm catching up on stuff I should've posted to the blog weeks ago...
The Honest BookTuber Tag



The video in which I was tagged by Dane: https://youtu.be/BuCUVvcGb_I

Youtubers mentioned/ tagged:
Graham Quigley: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_HjgJ-x9oNaMe8IHJayApw

Stripped Cover Lit: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzUPWU_SqbUvZw1pyi-ZVeg

Steve Donoghue:
https://www.youtube.com/user/saintdonoghue

----------------------
QUESTIONS:
----------------------
1. Have you ever lied about reading a book?
2. Have you ever avoided a book because of controversy around the content/author?
3. Have you ever been sent a book for free and not disclosed it?
4. Have you ever bought a book with no intention of reading it?
5. Have you ever got caught up in booktube drama?
6. Have you ever had a hate comment, and did you respond?
7. Have you ever made a video just because you knew it would get views?
8. If you could go back to the beginning of your channel, would you do anything differently?
9. Are there any channels you wish you could be more like?
10. What's something you love about your channel?

Vlog Playlist HERE

I've been keeping up with my weekly Game of Thrones reviews on Youtube, but (after posting the first and second one) have neglected to update the blog for the rest.  So here are the final 4 episode reviews.

Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3: TV Review



Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 4: TV Review



Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 5: TV Review



Game of Thrones Final Episode (Season 8 Episode 6): TV Review



And the whole Playlist HERE

Monday, May 13, 2019

Avengers: Endgame

(Movie Review)


***SPOILERS***
I'm 2 weeks late on this because it's a lot harder to make it to the cinema after having a baby.  But the wife's sister agreed to watch the baby for one afternoon so we could watch this.

I do genuinely enjoy these movies, but they've also begun to feel a bit like an obligation.  It feels like you absolutely HAVE to make a trip to the theater to see this, or you're missing out on an important cultural milestone.
I do also wonder at what age I'm going to become too old for dumb superhero movies.  I mean, here I am, 41 years old, and still planning my day around seeing a superhero movie.  Should I have stopped watching these 10 years ago, or has the culture shifted so that these are now acceptable for adults?
At any rate, after some 20 movies watched, I feel like it's too late to back out now.  At this point I have to watch this one to see how it all ties together. 

Actually to give credit where credit is due, whatever else you want to say about these movies, they are not "dumb superhero" movies.  The plotting and continuity off these movies has become complex enough that at this point, I have to admit the people making these movies are a lot smarter than I am.  They're juggling a lot of characters, and a lot of story-arcs here, but they manage to do justice to them all.  And they throw in a some interesting plot twists and subverted expectations.

We've also reached a point where the convoluted continuity of comic book characters (which used to be something only geeks cared about), has now become mainstream.  Pity the poor person who tries to watch this movie without a detailed understanding of the previous 20 movies before it.  This movie is chalked full of Easter eggs and references to previous movies.  (My sister-in-law got dragged to this movie by her boyfriend, and didn't understand anything that was going on.)
Me? I've always been a geek, so I eat this kind of stuff up.  I loved all the call-backs, references, and continuity nods to previous movies.

There were a few plot twists in this movie that I thought were very clever and some of which took me off guard.  Kudos to the writers--there's some really clever plotting and set-up and pay-off things going on here--which is difficult considering how many characters they're juggling.

I also really enjoyed the humor in this movie.   (I that that whole fat Thor thing was the funniest thing ever.)
The action scenes were decent--I liked the battle between Thanos and Thor/Captain America/ Iron Man.
The big battle at the end was well-done also.  Although this is (by my count) the 4th Avengers movie that has ended with a big battle against an invading horde.  I guess if you're going to bring all the Avengers together into one movie, then you need to have something big for them to fight.  But too much of this could get tiring quickly.  (I'm happy to wait a few years before the next movie that has the Avengers battling a huge space army).

Rating:
8 out of 10 Stars.

Marvel Cinematic Universe Reviews Links

1. Iron Man
2. The Incredible Hulk
3. Iron Man 2
4. Thor
5. Captain America: The First Avenger
6. The Avengers
7. Iron Man 3
8. Thor 2: Dark World
9. Captain America 2: Winter Soldier
10. Guardians of the Galaxy
11. Avengers: Age of Ultron
12. Ant-Man
13. Captain America 3: Civil War
14. Doctor Strange--Haven't seen yet
15. Guardians of the Galaxy 2
16. Spider-Man: Homecoming
17. Thor: Ragnarok
18: Black Panther
19. Avengers: Infinity War
20. Ant-Man and the Wasp ,
21. Captain Marvel--Haven't seen yet

Video Review HERE and embedded below


Link of the Day

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Like everyone else, I was saddened to hear off the death of Rachel Held Evans.
From Vox: How progressive Christian blogger Rachel Held Evans changed everything

I gave my opinions in 2014
I've come across Rachel Held Evans before.  I forget exactly how, but I think someone I know on Facebook must have linked to her blog in the past or something.  I haven't read a lot of her, but my impression is that she is pursuing a dialogue within the Christian faith.  She's defending a liberal view of Christianity against the more conservative view she grew up with.  When I was 20, I would have been very much on board with her, 

Isle of Dogs

(Movie Review)

Negatives
* The plot moves a bit slowly at points.
* Too much sentimentality at points.

Positives
* That deadpan Wes Anderson humor is great.
* All actors are good, but especially Bill Murray and Edward Norton are great at delivering the deadpan Wes Anderson humor
* I'm not much of a cinema expert, so I can't talk about this in great depth, but it's obvious that Wes Anderson views every frame as a piece of art.  And it shows in his shot composition.
* Related to the above point, my friend the Cinephile once told me that Wes Anderson is heavily influenced by Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu, who also was obsessed with creating symmetry in all of his shots.  So, the Japanese setting for this movie is appropriate, and words beautifully. 

Other Notes
* I know this is only of interest to me, but... Back when I lived in Japan, and was obsessed with Japanese oldies, I had "Tokyo Shoeshine Boy" in my music collection.  (This is the song that is playing in the background in the izakaya scene.)

Rating:
7 out of 10.  (In the past I've given 10 out of 10 to Wes Anderson film The Grand Budapest Hotel.  But I didn't enjoy this one quite as much.  It loses a couple of points for the slow moving plot, and the sentimentality.  But... the funny parts were really funny.  (I love that deadpan humor).  So 7 out of 10.

Video Review
Video review HERE and embedded below:



Link of the Day
Noam Chomsky on Venezuela

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowlings: Book Review (Scripted)



Video version of an old post (as I explained about HERE)
For the original post, see:
http://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2006/04/harry-potter-and-goblet-of-fire-by-jk.html

Shazam

(Movie Review)

My History With Captain Marvel
The strange legal history of Captain Marvel, as well as his awkward place in the D.C. Universe, has long been a source of fascination for me.  I've mentioned it before several times on this blog--HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE for example.

This is also, incidentally, the first D.C. Universe movie I've seen.  Although I've long been a fan of the comic books, the movies have been getting such horrible reviews that I've just stayed home.

The Review  ***SPOILERS***
Having long had a bizarre fascination with Captain Marvel (see the links above), I was predisposed to be interested in this movie. 
And I liked it.
There are some weak points.  The plot is a bit too contrived.  The bully characters are a bit too cliche.  And the movie is not as funny as it thinks it is.  Asher Angel--the actor who plays Billy Batson--is good, but a lot of the banter at the beginning of this movie between Billy Batson and Freddy Freeman was not funny and just groan worthy.
But Zachary Levi, the actor who plays Captain Marvel, redeems the whole movie.  He is great.  Not only is he really funny, and does great in all the comedic parts, but he also does such a good job of really selling the idea of a kid in a grown man's body. 
I liked the fact that the whole Marvel family was involved.  When all the kids went through the magic door together to fight the bad guy, the movie had a Goonies type vibe of this gang of kids together on an adventure.
And then (**SPOILERS***) I was really very pleasantly surprised when they all got super powers in the final scene.  I mean, since I was familiar with the comics, I knew that Freddy and Mary were obviously being set up to be Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Jr.  But I thought it was just an Easter Egg they weren't really going to pay off.  Or if they did, it would be in some sequel down the road.  I didn't think this movie would embrace the zaniness of the original comic book source material by bringing in the full Marvel family, but I'm so glad it did. 

More Nitpicks
* I realize at this point it's not really sporting anymore to point out how much the DC Cinematic Universe is failing compared to Marvel, but... what was up with that Superman cameo at the end in which they couldn't even get the Superman actor to appear?  Could you imagine a Marvel movie doing that? Could you imagine Marvel not being able to negotiate a cameo appearance, and so having to hide the character's face out of frame?

Rating :
7 out of 10 Stars.  A flawed movie, but still a fun movie.

Video Review
Video Review HERE and embedded below



Link of the Day
Chomsky: Arrest of Assange Is “Scandalous” and Highlights Shocking Extraterritorial Reach of U.S.

Monday, April 08, 2019

If any changes, what will you do?

(Grammar Questions I Couldn't Answer)

...actually I think I've got this one, but I'll throw it out to the blogosphere for a second opinion.

During an activity in which the students were supposed to brainstorm possible job interview questions, a student wrote the sentence "If any changes, what will you do?"

I corrected it as "If there are any changes, what will you do?"

The student was confused.  "But why do I need a full clause?" she asked.  "Don't we often use abbreviated phrases like 'If possible' or 'If necessary' without any subject in the If-Clause?"

Thinking on my feet, I said those were different because those were adverbial clauses.  Then I changed my mind and said they were adjectives.  (Both "possible" and "necessary" can modify nouns, right?  "a possible plan" or "a necessary plan")
The Assassination of Richard Nixon: Movie Review (Scripted)



Video version of an old post (as I explained about HERE)
For the original post, see:
http://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2006/04/oh-movies-ive-seen-part-3.html

Sunday, April 07, 2019

A Joke A Day Part 3

(TESOL Worksheets--Comprehensible Input)
Google Drive Folder HERE
Slideshow: slidespub



So, back in June I said I was trying to bring "A Joke A Day" back into the classroom.  It's corny, but it works really well with 10-12 year olds. 
I've found that the bigger the slideshow gets, the longer it takes to load on slow Internet connections.  So once I got to 200 slides, I restarted with a new slideshow.  So here is part 3.

I say this every time, but I am really getting desperate for good jokes.  Every week I'm like, "Oh, what am I going to do for this lesson?" 
It's difficult to find good jokes that would be understandable to children who are learning English as a second language.
So... if some of these jokes seem a bit desperate, it's because they are. 
Please let me know if you have any good jokes.  Leave them in the comments or something.

For the first Joke a Day collection, see HERE.
For the second, see HERE.
The Life of Emile Zola: Movie Review (Scripted)



Video version of an old post (as I explained about HERE)
For the original post, see:
http://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2006/04/oh-movies-ive-seen-part-3.html

Saturday, April 06, 2019

Staging an IELTS Lesson

(TESOL Ideas--IELTS, Lesson Planning)
Google: docs, pub
[This was a worksheet I made discussing the staging of an IELTS lesson for a revised version of my workshop on IELTS.  The CELTA staging framework (which I use as a point of contrast) are HERE. ]

Receptive Skills (Reading and Listening)
For receptive skills, I don’t think the CELTA staging framework fits the IELTS class.  On the actual exam, no one will set the context for the student, no one will pre-teach the vocabulary, and there is no opportunity for gist listening.  (Students can do a gist reading if they want, but they have to teach themselves how to do it.  No one will give them a gist question).

So I often use Test-Teach-Test instead.

Test
Give students a section from a reading or listening practice.  Have them attempt it, and then check their answers with the partner.
I then usually put the correct answers on the board, and have students self-check.  (This avoids embarrassing students who get the wrong answer).  Then students have some time to discuss the answers with a partner, and figure out why these are the correct answers.  (For listening exercises, I give the students a written transcript at this point). Then class feedback consists of the students explaining to me why these were the correct answers (e.g. where they were in the text, what were the synonyms, what were the distractors).
Next students are put into groups and discuss what they found difficult about the test.  (i.e. if they got something wrong, why did they get it wrong).  During class feedback, groups tell me what was difficult, I put the problems on the whiteboard, and then we discuss possible strategies and solutions.

Teach
Introduce a subskill or strategies for a task-type.  Do controlled practice with it.
Controlled practice often means using very short passages.  For example, when practicing True/False/Not Given, instead of having to read a long passage, students are given only one or two sentences and a T/F/NG question related to that one sentence.

Test
Students complete another practice test section.  Compare answers and feedback as above.

Exam Rules
Also, at some point in the lesson, there is a game (board race, treasure hunt, quiz game) to focus the students’ attention on the rules and strategies for this section of the test.


Productive Skills (Writing and Speaking)

For productive skills, I find that the CELTA framework can actually transfer very well to the IELTS class.  (See backside for Productive Skills CELTA framework).
I make some small additions.

For the model text section of the CELTA framework, I usually give the students the question in advance of the text, and we brainstorm strategies for answering it before I give them the model.  e.g “Here is a question for Writing Task 2.  With your partner, think of 3 reasons to agree, and 3 reasons to disagree.”

With the writing especially, I try to have some sort of game/activity involved in re-constructing the model text.  e.g. put the sentences in order, match the discourse markers to the blanks, match the topic sentences to the paragraphs, put the paragraphs in order, etc.  These can also be turned into running dictations or treasure hunts.

The “focus on the useful language” section of the CELTA framework can be used to focus on a variety of things--grammar and lexis, but also structure and content.  (But not all in the same lesson of course.)

At some point in the lesson, I add in an extra stage that focuses on the exam rules and useful tips and strategies.  I try to make this into a game (e.g. board race, treasure hunt, quiz game)


Bananas: Movie Review (Scripted)



Video version of an old post (as I explained about HERE)
For the original post, see:
http://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2006/04/oh-movies-ive-seen-part-3.html

Saturday, March 30, 2019

From ET Pro:
We’re very sad to hear of the passing of Michael Lewis, who gave us the revolutionary Lexical Approach, made ‘collocations’ mainstream and wrote the most fascinating ‘The English Verb’. His passing is a great loss to ELT. Our thoughts are with his family. - Chia




I've read several of his books:
* The English Verb
* The Lexical Approach
* Implementing the Lexical Approach
(I actually read The English Verb twice)

Playlist HERE

Monday, March 25, 2019

And my response to the video linked to in the previous post...

Vlog: The BookTubers I Love Tag



Links to Everything Mentioned
Dane Reads:  https://www.youtube.com/user/danecobain
Dane Reads The BookTubers I Love Video: https://youtu.be/O2Ngt56og_g
Steve Donoghue: https://www.youtube.com/user/saintdonoghue
Reading Classics:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb6gQ-us023So3MCp98fHVg
Reading the Classics Appian, Civil Wars Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5N_cJnaI3c9xyiTjsy5APUD4Iana8Wie
Stripped Cover Lit: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzUPWU_SqbUvZw1pyi-ZVeg
Stripped Cover Lit The Sun Also Rises: https://youtu.be/KFuIXwdvdHA

My own takes:
My review of Civil Wars by Appian of Alexandria: https://youtu.be/m3JWo23INT4
My review of The Sun Also Rises: https://youtu.be/-FkzQURCJSk

Why am I in the shower?  See HERE:
https://youtu.be/uLTDG8SAtQM

Vlog Playlist HERE

The BookTubers I Love Tag! by Dane Reads



I got a mention in this, which I thought was very generous of him.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Vlog: Classic Books that Have Sequels



The camera I'm using has a 30 minute time limit, so when I ramble for more than 30 minutes, I just get caught off mid-sentence.
At the time I got cut off, I was talking about Henry IV Part 2 right when I got cut off, but its alright because I already have another video on Henry IV Part 2 and it's status as a sequel.  So anything I didn't get a chance to say in this video is in the other video anyway.  Link: https://youtu.be/czOmU4KPuJc

Other Links:
Dane Reads Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/danecobain
Dane Reads Review of Robinson Crusoe: https://youtu.be/dv2aU5R5AlQ
My comments on Dane Reads review of Robinson Crusoe:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dv2aU5R5AlQ&lc=Ugzlr33zitKvTvAaUaJ4AaABAg
Dane Reads review of Bob Dylan's Chronicles: https://youtu.be/37jkHJHKiVk
My review of Bound for Glory by Woody Guthrie: https://youtu.be/OHbHI1n0Buo
The Yale University lecture by Christine Hayes on the book of Ruth:
https://youtu.be/5J6q1J09oNw

My reviews of some of the books mentioned:
Kidnapped and Catriona by Robert Louis Stevenson
http://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2014/09/kidnapped-and-catriona-by-robert-louis.html

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
http://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2015/06/the-adventures-of-tom-sawyer-by-mark.html

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
http://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2015/08/the-adventures-of-huckleberry-finn-by.html

Tom Sawyer Abroad by Mark Twain
http://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2015/11/tom-sawyer-abroad-by-mark-twain.html

Tom Sawyer Detective by Mark Twain
http://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2015/11/tom-sawyer-detective-by-mark-twain.html

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
http://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-three-musketeers-by-alexandre-dumas.html

Twenty Years After by Alexandre Dumas
http://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2013/11/twenty-years-after-by-alexandre-dumas.html

The Vicomte De Bragelonne by Alexandre Dumas
http://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-vicomte-de-bragelonne-by-alexandre.html

Ten Years Later by Alexandre Dumas
http://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2014/03/ten-years-later-by-alexandre-dumas.html

Louise de la Valliere by Alexandre Dumas
http://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2014/05/louise-de-la-valliere-by-alexandre-dumas.html

The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas
http://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-man-in-iron-mask-by-alexandre-dumas.html

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
http://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2017/12/blog-post_13.html

Why am I in the shower?  See HERE:
https://youtu.be/uLTDG8SAtQM

Vlog Playlist HERE

Monday, March 18, 2019

Started: The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language by David Crystal


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Saturday, March 02, 2019

English Reading and Listening Practice

...So, I've decided to create a separate website to index my reading and listening materials.  (It is, of course, all indexed on this blog, but this blog is a bit messy.) 
I'm hoping that this website will act as an easy to use resource for teachers and students of English as a Second Language.

URL is here:
https://sites.google.com/view/reading-and-listening-practice/home

If you know anyone who is interested.


Tristram Shandy (Abridged) by Laurence Sterne: Book Review (Scripted)



Video version of an old post (as I explained about HERE)
For the original post, see:
http://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2006/03/tristram-shandy-abridged-by-laurence.html

Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Iron Heel by Jack London: Book Review (Scripted)



Video version of an old post (as I explained about HERE)
For the original post, see:
http://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2006/03/iron-heel-by-jack-london.html

So Such Lesson

(TESOL Worksheets--Adverbs)
Google Folder HERE
Slideshow: slides, pub
Model Text (describe my friend): docs, pub
Scrambled Sentences: drive, docs, pub
[This was made to supplement the Grammar in Conversation lesson in English World 5 Unit 6.  It was also made as an attempt to model classic grammar lesson staging following the lesson plan framework HERE.  The scrambled Sentences part of this lesson I had already posted previously HERE.]



My Friend Lisa
This is my friend Lisa.  She is so beautiful.  She is such a beautiful girl.  And she is so tall. 
And she is such a good friend.  She is so kind to me. When I have a problem, she is so helpful.
Also, she is so smart.  She is such a good student. 
Also, she is such a good soccer player.
But, she has some bad points too.  She is so lazy.  And she is so messy.  And she is such a bad driver.  I hate riding in her car.
Still, all in all, I am so glad she is my friend.  We are such good friends.


******************************************************************


Matching
so

such

such a
_____ + adjective + singular noun

_____ + adjective

_____ + adjective + plural noun

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald: Book Review (Scripted)



Video version of an old post (as I explained about HERE)
For the original post, see:
http://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2006/03/princess-and-goblin-by-george.html

"the same as me" versus "the same with me"


In speaking activities, I find myself constantly correcting my Vietnamese students when they say, "The same with me."

"No, it's the same as me," I'm always saying.

One day, a student asked me, "What's the difference between the same as me and the same with me?"

"The same as me is correct," I answered.  "The same with me is wrong."

But the students had actually looked up this question themselves, and there were several grammar forums online discussing the difference.
One example HERE

"The same as" - comparison. Two or more things are the same.
"the same with" - Could say, "It's the same with me". In agreement with something
...which, yeah, come to think of it, that's right, isn't it?

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett: Book Review (Scripted)



Video version of an old post (as I explained about HERE)
For the original post, see:
http://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2006/02/interesting-times-by-terry-pratchett.html

meanwhile, whereas, while

(TESOL Worksheets--Vocabulary)
Google: docspub
[This is in response to a student request to study the difference between meanwhile, whereas, and while.  Example sentences come from the dictionary.]


meanwhile, whereas, while


Definitions

_______________ during the time that
_______________ in the time between two things happening, or while something else is happening
_______________ although
_______________ used to compare two different facts or situations
_______________ a period of time (Noun)
_______________ compared with the fact that

Notes:
Meanwhile vs While
Meanwhile and  While more or less have the same meaning however there are differences in the grammar:
Meanwhile is used to connect two sentences however while is also used in a sentence where two actions are happening but it’s all in one sentence.
Meanwhile can’t be at the beginning where while can be put at the beginning of the conversation. For example I could say “While you play soccer I will learn some pronunciation”
Meanwhile is followed by a subject (person or a thing being talked about) whereas while is followed by a verb

While vs Whereas
Whereas means the same as while in sentences expressing contrasts. It does not mean the same as while when while refers to time:
The south has a hot, dry climate, whereas/while the north has a milder, wetter climate.
The secretary took care of my appointments while I was away from the office. (Not: … whereas I was away from the office.)

Sentences

Sit down for a little _______________ .
His parents were rich, _______________ mine had to struggle.
John has gone to the supermarket. Nicola, _______________ , has gone to collect the kids from school.
I can't talk to anyone _______________ I'm driving.
_______________ you're away, I might decorate the bathroom.
I met my old English teacher _______________ trekking in the Alps.
Put the chicken into the oven to roast. _______________ , prepare the vegetables.
Let's go now _______________ it's still light.
Could you forward my mail to me _______________ I'm away?
She described him, rather charitably, as quiet _______________ I would have said he was boring.
Did you visit St Petersburg _______________ you were in Russia?
And _______________ I like my job, I wouldn't want to do it forever.
He is a globalist, _______________ we are nationalists who will put our country first.
It might be wise to keep this quiet for a _______________ .
The rehearsals take place next week. _______________ , the technicians will be testing the stage equipment.
Tom is very confident _______________ Katy is shy and quiet.
a long/short _______________
He must be about 60, _______________ his wife looks about 30.
I'm going out for a _______________ .
After his heart attack, he had to take things easy for a _______________ .
The situation has been troubling me for a _______________ .
She actually enjoys confrontation, _______________ I prefer a quiet life.
He works slowly and precisely _______________ I tend to rush things and make mistakes.
Go and play outside for a _______________ .
I read a magazine _______________ I was waiting.
The mother is ill. The child, _______________ , is living with foster parents.
The school is being rebuilt after the fire. _______________ , temporary classrooms are being used.
You eat a huge plate of food for lunch, _______________ I have just a sandwich.
Your hair has a natural wave _______________ mine's just straight and boring.
Many parts of the south have been suffering from drought. _______________ , areas of the north have been flooded.
Wait here _______________ I get the car.

Answers:

Definitions

while during the time that
meanwhile in the time between two things happening, or while something else is happening
while although
while used to compare two different facts or situations
while a period of time (Noun)
meanwhile in the time between two things happening, or while something else is happening
whereas compared with the fact that

Sentences

Sit down for a little while.
His parents were rich, whereas mine had to struggle.
John has gone to the supermarket. Nicola, meanwhile, has gone to collect the kids from school.
I can't talk to anyone while I'm driving.
While you're away, I might decorate the bathroom.
I met my old English teacher while trekking in the Alps.
Put the chicken into the oven to roast. Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables.
Let's go now while it's still light.
Could you forward my mail to me while I'm away?
She described him, rather charitably, as quiet whereas I would have said he was boring.
Did you visit St Petersburg while you were in Russia?
And while I like my job, I wouldn't want to do it forever.
He is a globalist, whereas we are nationalists who will put our country first.
It might be wise to keep this quiet for a while.
The rehearsals take place next week. Meanwhile, the technicians will be testing the stage equipment.
Tom is very confident while Katy is shy and quiet.
a long/short while
He must be about 60, whereas his wife looks about 30.
I'm going out for a while.
After his heart attack, he had to take things easy for a while.
The situation has been troubling me for a while.
She actually enjoys confrontation, whereas I prefer a quiet life.
He works slowly and precisely whereas I tend to rush things and make mistakes.
Go and play outside for a while.
I read a magazine while I was waiting.
The mother is ill. The child, meanwhile, is living with foster parents.
The school is being rebuilt after the fire. Meanwhile, temporary classrooms are being used.
You eat a huge plate of food for lunch, whereas I have just a sandwich.
Your hair has a natural wave whereas mine's just straight and boring.
Many parts of the south have been suffering from drought. Meanwhile, areas of the north have been flooded.
Wait here while I get the car.


Monday, February 25, 2019

On Writing Short Stories: Edited by Tom Bailey: Book Review (Scripted)



Video version of an old post (as I explained about HERE)
For the original post, see:
http://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2006/02/on-writing-short-stories-by-tom-bailey.html

I applied for a position a grade higher than my current job.

(Grammar Questions I Couldn't Answer)

This sentence comes from the worksheet I prepared for my students on "Grade, Tier, Class".  (Originally it comes from the dictionary, from which I took all my example sentences for that worksheet).

A student asked why "higher" comes after "a grade".  Since it's an adjective, shouldn't it come before the noun it's describing, and not after?

I couldn't answer, so I asked around the office.
My manager said, "Because it's a comparative structure.  I think it's as simple as that." 

Maybe he's right.  We do usually put the comparative after the noun, right?  So we say: "the tall boy" but "the boy is taller than the girl"
But then what happens to the "is" in "a grade higher".

Maybe it's a reduced relative clause--"I applied for a position [which is] a grade higher than my current job." ?

Grade, Tier, Class

(TESOL Worksheets--Vocabulary)
Google: docs, pub
[This is in response to a student request to study the difference between Grade, Tier, and class.  Example sentences come from the dictionary.]



class, grade, tier

Definitions
______________: a level of quality, size, importance, etc:
______________: a group into which people or things are put according to their quality:
______________: one of several layers or levels:

Example Sentences
I applied for a position a ______________higher than my current job.
a business/economy ______________ticket
We sat in one of the upper ______________s of the football stands.
Whenever I travel by train, I always travel first ______________.
He's suffering from some kind of low- ______________ (= slight) infection, which he can't seem to get rid of.
first/second ______________ mail
Bill has been on the same ______________ (= his job has been of the same level of importance, or he has had the same level of pay) for several years now.
When it comes to mathematics, he's in a different ______________ to his peers.
My wedding cake had four ______________s, each supported by small pillars.
There's some really high- ______________ (= high quality) musicianship on this recording.
I don't understand why you think we need yet another ______________ of management.

Answers:

Definitions
Grade: a level of quality, size, importance, etc:
Class: a group into which people or things are put according to their quality:
Tier: one of several layers or levels:

Example Sentences
I applied for a position a grade higher than my current job.
a business/economy class ticket
We sat in one of the upper tiers of the football stands.
Whenever I travel by train, I always travel first class.
He's suffering from some kind of low-grade (= slight) infection, which he can't seem to get rid of.
first/second class mail
Bill has been on the same grade (= his job has been of the same level of importance, or he has had the same level of pay) for several years now.
When it comes to mathematics, he's in a different class to his peers.
My wedding cake had four tiers, each supported by small pillars.
There's some really high-grade (= high quality) musicianship on this recording.
I don't understand why you think we need yet another tier of management.

Grade: a level of quality, size, importance, etc:
Class: a group into which people or things are put according to their quality:
Tier: one of several layers or levels:

We sat in one of the upper tiers of the football stands.
My wedding cake had four tiers, each supported by small pillars.
I don't understand why you think we need yet another tier of management.


Whenever I travel by train, I always travel first class.
first/second class mail
a business/economy class ticket
When it comes to mathematics, he's in a different class to his peers.



I applied for a position a grade higher than my current job.
He's suffering from some kind of low-grade (= slight) infection, which he can't seem to get rid of.
There's some really high-grade (= high quality) musicianship on this recording.
Bill has been on the same grade (= his job has been of the same level of importance, or he has had the same level of pay) for several years now.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

A Series of Unfortunate Events: A Very Bad Beginning By Lemony Snickett: Book Review (Scripted)



Video version of an old post (as I explained about HERE)
For the original post, see:
http://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2006/02/series-of-unfortunate-events-book-1.html

Adventures in Interacting With Famous People on Twitter--Part 3
For my previous two adventures, see:
* Tom Hayden liked one of my tweets
* I attempted to remind Tom Holland of which quote he had translated from Suetonius.  (He never responded).

This time, it's Jim Scrivener. 
Jim Scrivener is a big deal in the English Language Teaching industry.  Most first year teachers have to read his book Learning Teaching.  (I've reviewed Learning Teaching HERE.)

Anyway, Jim Scrivener tweeted...




This got me curious, so I had to search for the videos.  And I found them.
Both Jim Scrivener himself (and a number of people in the reply thread) seemed to think this video was a serious attempt at fraud.  But after watching it myself, I thought it was pretty obvious the whole thing was a joke.  And, what's more, I even got a few chuckles out of it.  
The guy is clearly playing a character.  He's pretending to be a terrible English teacher, who is passing off all kinds of terrible advice.  I found it pretty funny.





I normally don't like to tweet at famous people.  (I don't want to be "that guy").  But in this case, I thought I could help out by just letting Jim Scrivener know the thing was a joke.  So I replied to his tweet:


Jim Scrivener responded by liking the tweet.  Which was nice of him.
So, there you go.  Another interaction with a famous person on twitter!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Godfather: Movie Review (My Favorite Movies List)



I explained about this project in a previous post HERE

I got cut off right at the very end, but I was pretty much finished.  I was just going on a little digression about "The Godfather Saga", and was possibly going to talk about the advantages and disadvantages of watching the Godfather saga all in chronological order.  But you can get the same information from Wikipedia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Godfather_Saga

Playlist HERE.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Vlog: My Favorite Movies List (And New Reviewing Project)



So, this has been on my blogging to-do list ever since 2006 when Whisky Prajer did a blogging series about his favorite movies of all time, and I thought it was a really neat idea. 

I've kept putting it off, however, just because of what a major project it would be.  I knew myself well enough to know I would never be able to be succinct when talking about a movie I had a lot of history with.  Which meant I'd be writing for hours and hours about each movie.  And I waste too much of my time on this blog as it is.  (Whisky Prajer, who knows the value of succinct writing, was able to pull his own project off with a lot of short well-written essays.  But I doubt I'd be able to duplicate it.)

But then, the other day, the wife and I were watching The Godfather.  (She had never seen it before, but she had been curious to see it because she had been noticing a lot of references to it in pop culture.  I was eager to introduce her to the movie.  We had to stop it a few times because the baby was crying, but we did managed to get through the whole thing.)

"Are you going to do a video review of this one?" she asked me.
"No, I only do a review a when I see a movie for the first time," I explained.
"Why's that?" she asked.
"I don't know--it's just my system," I answered.  I started to explain how it took me much longer to review a movie I have a lot of history with...  and then it occurred to me that actually, these video reviews  I've been doing lately are much less painful than the written reviews.  I just turn on the video camera, ramble for 30 minutes, and then the review is done and ready to upload.  (This is, of course, the laziest way to do Youtube.  The top-tier Youtubers put a lot of time and effort into scripting and editing.  But I've been discovering more and more that there are a lot of other people like me on the bottom tier--people who just turn on the camera, say whatever comes into their heads, and then upload the video.  I've made my peace with being on the bottom-tier.)

So... I've decided I'm going to tackle this project as a video only review.

I'll be posting them on this blog as I do them, but just to be clear: no one is under any obligation to watch these.  I fully anticipate that these are going to get long-winded and rambling--in fact, that's why I'm doing them as video only reviews instead of attempting to write them.  I'm doing these more to get it off of my own chest than I am because I think other people need to watch it. So if you don't want to watch the video, we're still friends.

I'm taking the list that I posted in February 2017.  It was originally supposed to be a top 10 list, but then it got expanded into two top 10 lists when I didn't trust myself to differentiate between critically acclaimed movies and guilty pleasures. 
In the same post, I also posted my old list from 2002, which had some overlap, but also had 5 movies on it which weren't on either of my new lists.
So, what the heck, I'm just going to take all the movies from all 3 lists--all 25 movies total.

In no particular order:
The Star Wars Trilogy
Peter Pan (1953 Disney version)
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Monty Python's Life of Brian
Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman
Platoon
The Planet of the Apes (The original 1968 version, of course)
Aliens
You Only Live Twice
Gremlins
Citizen Kane
The Godfather
Casablanca
The Great Dictator
Gandhi
Malcolm X
The Third Man
Psycho
The Big Sleep (This is the only movie on this whole list that I've also reviewed on this blog--see that review here).
Doctor Strangelove
Duck Soup
Easy Rider
Hard Day's Night
Help!
West Side Story

I'm planning on re-watching each of these before I record a review, so this could take some time.  I'm also not going to do this on any particular schedule.  It might take 10 years before I re-watch all of these movies and review them again.  But I will do it eventually.

The first one, obviously, will be The Godfather, because I just got done re-watch one.  I'll post that video tomorrow.  I'm not sure when the next video after that will be.

I'll be keeping the videos collected on this playlist HERE

Friday, February 08, 2019

Since I left Christianity and became an agnostic, I've gone back and forth on the value of religion.  Some days I think it's an oppressive force.  Some days I think it does a lot of good and helps people through their daily life.  (See HERE and HERE for examples of me admitting that religion might do some good.)
Karl Marx famously called religion the "Opium of the People" because it encouraged people to not worry about improving their condition here on earth, and instead promised them a paradise after they died.
Union organizer Joe Hill wrote a famous song about this--The Preacher and the Slave
Long haired preachers come out every night
try to tell you what´s wrong and what´s right
but when asked about something to eat
they will answer with voices so sweet
You will eat, you will eat, by and by
in the glorious land in the sky way up high
work and pray, live on hay
you´ll get pie in the sky when you die.
But all of this is unfair, isn't it?  In this day and age, Christians don't actually go around saying we don't need to worry about health care because we're all going to heaven, do they?

No, actually, turns out that they're still saying exactly that.  In pretty much exactly those words. Quote from Phil Robertson:

I already have health care. It’s given to me by God. Eternal health care. I’m guaranteed to be raised from the dead. I have life and immortality given to me by God through Jesus Christ... The temporary reprieve is not worth it. I'm telling [Kamala Harris], I have eternal health care, and it's free! Doctors can give you a little temporary reprieve, but they cannot save you from physical death. The doctors who treat you, they die, too.
Phil Robertson: You Don't Need Healthcare, Just Jesus.



For those keeping score at home, put another point in the "Religion is an Oppressive Force and We Need to Resist It" column. 
The game's not over yet, of course.  Give me another couple days and I could be veering back towards the "Religion Actually Does Some Good" side of the ledger, depending on what else happens in the news.  But for today, I'm playing The Preacher and the Slave on my jukebox all afternoon.

Thursday, February 07, 2019

Another edition of : Hey! I know that Guy!

Friend from my Melbourne University days, Janenie Mohgan, has started a video series: Mondays with Janenie Mohgan.
Channel HERE
First video HERE: Millennials are not entitled

Do the normal Youtube stuff to show your support--like, comment, subscribe, etc.  (Also, see pictures of Janenie from my trip to Malaysia HERE.)



I am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe: Book Review (Scripted)



Part 2: I am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe:  Book Review (Scripted)



Sorry about this one.  The camera batteries died 17 minutes into the video, so I had to film a second one to finish up.

Video version of an old post (as I explained about HERE)
For the original post, see:

Bound for Glory by Woody Guthrie

(Book Review)

Started: I actually started this book around August 2017.  Before I had started keeping track of my Starting and Finishing books.  (Although, to be honest, by "started", in this case I mean "I got a few pages into it, and then just let it sit on my shelves for months).
I talked briefly about this book in an April 2018 vlog post--The Books I'm Currently Reading.  But I didn't make a serious attempt to tackle it until a few weeks ago.
Finished: February 6, 2019

Why I Read This Book / My History With Woody Guthrie
So... the past few weeks, while I've been carrying this book around with me, I've discovered that a whole lot of people out there have no idea who Woody Guthrie is.  (Many times someone would ask to see what I was reading, and then respond with some version of "Who's that?")
On the other hand, there's a whole lot of people out there who are obsessed with Woody Guthrie.  A couple of my friends from my college days were big Woody Guthrie nuts.  And while I was reading this book at a coffee shop, some random guy sitting next to me started up a conversation in which he started telling me all sorts of random facts about Woody Guthrie.*

Me? I'm somewhat in the middle.  I was vaguely familiar with Woody Guthrie, but not obsessed with him.
In my college days I was a Bob Dylan fan, and one of the first things every Bob Dylan fans learns is that Dylan was influenced by some guy named Woody Guthrie.
As a young radical (or at least, a radical wannabe) I was interested in the history of the American Left, and was intrigued by Woody Guthrie's iconic status.
It surprised me when I learned that "This Land is Your Land", a song we had actually been trained to sing for school concerts in elementary school, had been written by a radical leftist communist.  (But then... that's everyone's history with that song, isn't it?  We all learned to sing that song at school, and then we were all surprised later in life when we learned the history of that song.)
At one point in college, I tried to track down a CD of Woody Guthrie's music, but it was hard to track down at the time, and the one CD I did find was just a lot of scratchy recordings that didn't sound all that great. **
I was actually a lot more into Woody Guthrie's friend and collaborator, Pete Seeger.  (I've written about my history with Pete Seeger HERE ***).  Although Woody Guthrie and Peter Seeger started out as contemporaries, Woody Guthrie was hospitalized in 1954 and that was the end of his career, whereas Pete Seeger was able to keep recording into the modern studio age.  Which (I think) is why there are a lot more quality recordings of Pete Seeger than Woody Guthrie.  (If I'm missing something here, let me know in the comments.)
I also used to have the Alice's Restaurant album by Arlo Guthrie--Woody Guthrie's son.  And I saw the movie Alice's Restaurant--which includes a dramatization of Woody Guthrie sick in the hospital bed.  (And I saw Arlo Guthrie perform once as part of one of the Grateful Dead's Further Festivals in the late 90s ****).

...yeah, so, point being, I definitely knew who Woody Guthrie was.  Even if I didn't know a lot about him.

During my year in Australia, I also learned that Woody Guthrie also had iconic status overseas.  In April 2010, I attended a Socialist conference in Melbourne in which a radical sing-along session was entitled: "This Machine Kills Fascists"--a reference to the slogan Woody Guthrie used to put on his guitars.
That very same month, friend and fellow blogger Whisky Prajer wrote a blog post called, Guitars I Dig: "This Machine KILLS Fascists"  in which he talked about the legacy of Woody Guthrie's guitars, and also included a long quotation from Bound for Glory.
I wrote in the comments:
You know, I was just at a radical sing-along this weekend entitled "This Machine Kills Fascists". It's amazing how that phrase has stuck in the imagination across generations and, in the case of Australia, continents as well.
...Whether Woody Guthrie's machine actually did kill fascists is something I've always been a bit more skeptical on. I'm sure he irritated some of them, but I suppose that's not quite as catchy.
By the way, I had no idea he was an author before reading this post, and that short section is so captivating I'd be quite keen to read the whole book someday. If only my reading list wasn't always so backed up.
I'm assuming you read the whole thing?
Whisky Prajer replied:
I've read Bound For Glory many, many times. It is a terrifically evocative read, and I had a difficult time limiting the quoted passage to what I wound up with. For a guy like you I don't hesitate to make BFG a mandatory purchase (ditto: Joe Klein's bio). 
I should have read the book years ago when Whisky first recommended it to me *****.  But, as I said, my reading list is always backed up.  And besides, it's difficult to track down English books out here in Southeast Asia (where I spend most of my time.)
But then, Whisky actually shipped the book out to me.  It came in the same package in which he sent me The Intellectuals and the Masses by John Carey.  It took me another year to get around to it, but here I am now with my review.

The Review
The book starts out with a vivid description of Woody riding the rails, packed in a boxcar with a lot of other desperate and poor men.  Tempers soon flare up with too many men confined in a small space, leading to a tremendous fight in the boxcar.
The reproduced conversations, and the blow-by-blow descriptions of some of the fighting, couldn't possibly have come from memory.  (Whisky Prajer has quoted an excerpt from this chapter on his blog post, if you want a taste of it.)  And this is the moment when the reader realizes that this is not a traditional autobiography, but some sort of imaginative fictionalized version of Woody's past.

Throughout the book, then, there is always a looming question as to what is true and what is exaggerated or invented.  I suppose the ideal reader of this book doesn't let such mundanities interfere with their enjoyment of a good story, and just enjoys the narrative prose for its own sake.
Me? I've got a certain personality, so it was impossible for me to turn off the questioning part of my brain completely.  But I largely enjoyed the book for what it was.
I probably should have read this book alongside of Joe Klien's biography of Woody Guthrie, as Whisky had recommended me all along.  As it was, I just read it alongside of the Wikipedia bio, and Wikipedia did a decent job of filling in most of the gaps.

Actually, speaking of  what I learned from Woody Guthrie's Wikipedia bio...
The other noteworthy thing about this book is that it completely skips over all of the major events of Woody's adult life.  There's no mention of him meeting his wife, getting married, having kids.  There's no talk of him getting discovered, or getting his first recording contract, or becoming famous, or becoming friends with John Steinbeck.  There's nothing about Guthrie's involvement with the Communist party, or his writing songs about Thomas Mooney (a cause célèbre of the time) or writing his most famous songs, et cetera.
None of the big biographical events are in here.  If you're coming to this book because of Woody Guthrie's importance as a political symbol (and I admit, I was), then you're going to be disappointed.

The bulk of this book is just about Woody's childhood.
Apparently the idea for this book came because Guthrie's friend, Alan Lomax, was reading some of Guthrie's essays, and thought Guthrie had written some of the best accounts of American childhood (once again, via Wikipedia).  So a focus on childhood is what you get in this novel: a lot of descriptions of the games Woody Guthrie used to play with the other kids in the neighborhood, or long descriptions of the neighborhood fights, or just Woody recounting the conversations he used to have with his father, mother, and grandmother.
Again, this can be a bit frustrating if you come to this book expecting tales of organizing, protesting, and revolution.  But it's well told for what it is.  Apparently Guthrie had a lot of help in the editing of this book (again, Wikipedia), but regardless the stories still flow, and Woody has a talent for creating vivid scenes.
The childhood chapters of the book are the only ones that have a feel of a connected story.  (It recounts all the major episodes in Woody's childhood in chronological order.)  Then, once we get to adulthood, the memoir becomes a lot more episodic.  Some specific episodes of Woody's adult life are told, but no large grand story.

All of the stories in Woody's adult life feature him being down-and-out in some way--hitchhiking, riding the rails, sleeping under bridges, travelling with migrant orchard workers., et cetera******
The chronology gets a bit muddled, but at least some of these stories appear to take place after Woody Guthrie had already become a celebrity, and probably wasn't as desperate as he portrays himself.  Apparently long after he had become successful, Woody Guthrie still liked to portray himself as an real working class person (again, Wikipedia).

I think that's all I have to say in general.  Onto my notes about specifics.

Notes about Specific Things
* So, every now and again, you read an opinion piece talking about how coddled and over-protected kids these days are, and how back in the author's day, kids used to run around the neighborhood unsupervised all day, climb trees, go swimming in the river, ride bikes without helmets, et cetera, and no one thought twice about it.
Bound for Glory has this flavor in spades.  Any modern parent would be horrified at all the dangerous things Woody Guthrie and his playmates got up to.  Apparently it was normal at the time?  Or is Woody Guthrie exaggerating again?
Chapter VII, Cain't No Gang Whip Us Now, is a long recounting of a play fight between to rival gangs of children.
It was similar to some of the playfights I remember from my own schoolyard days--similar insofar as we also had elaborate battles between groups of boys, and, like Guthrie's gang fight, we were also confused as to what extent we were playing and to what extent we were really fighting.
But we always had parents and teachers who were not too far away, and kept things from getting completely out of control. Whereas Guthrie's version sounds completely out of control, with stones and slingshots and sticks flying back and forth.  (Stones were even heated up on a stove to get them red hot, and then fired at one of the groups of boys).  I had trouble enjoying it.  I kept thinking, "Somebody's definitely going to lose an eye."
But I suppose this is what boys would get up to if they were left completely unsupervised all summer, isn't it?  And it sounds like back in the day, kids were left completely unsupervised most of the time.  So it's not hard to believe these kind of things happened.

* One of the themes throughout the book is how Woody Guthrie always stood up for the underdog.  In the gang fight described above, Woody takes the side of the new kids in town, who aren't allowed a vote in the clubhouse.
Later on, Woody talks about how he stands up for black friends while riding the rails.  Or how he and Cisco Houston (W) protect a family of Japanese Americans from a blood-thirsty mob on the night of Pearl Harbor.
You get the sense that Woody is tooting his own horn a little bit.
On the other hand, given how many racist writers there were during the 1930s, it's good to remember that there were people fighting against racism at the same time.

Comparison With Chronicles by Bob Dylan
Anyone remember Bob Dylan's memoirs?  It was a big deal when it came out back in 2004 (although I think since then it's been largely forgotten. Or am I wrong?)
Anyway, I read it back in the day, and posted some thoughts on this blog.  To quote myself from 2005:
One thing that really struck me about Bob Dylan's book is how clearly he seems to remember certain events from his past. What the room looked like, the way a conversation went, etc.
I'm tempted to compare this with my own memory. Something I've been noticing lately, especially back in the States and meeting up with old friends, is how much I've forgotten about my college days. I did save all my e-mails, as well as kept a fairly detailed day to day journal, and I'm glad I've done that now because my memory is such crap. I wonder sometimes if because I've been in Japan for so long I'm away from daily cues, people and places and other things, that might otherwise jog my memory and help to keep the past fresh in my mind. I'd be curious how other people feel like their memories are working. And how many people believe Bob Dylan actually remembers the events with the vividness he described them, or how much he is embellishing. 
Now that I've had a few years to think about it, it occurs to me that I was being incredibly dense back in 2005.  Of course Bob Dylan was embellishing his memories.  And probably any reasonably intelligent reader figured that out a long time ago.
It's interesting for me to see now how Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan's role model, did the same thing 60 years before.
In fact, the more I think about it, the more Bound for Glory has in common with Dylan's Chronicles.  Both are episodic--featuring certain events in vivid detail, and completely ignoring other events.

Also, the New York Times reviewer wrote of Dylan's Chronicles:

He's also taunting us, since he knows perfectly well that we'd rather be reading about the creation of "Blonde on Blonde" or some other LP from his 60's peak. 
Is Woody Guthrie doing the same thing in Bound for Glory--deliberately leaving out his biggest career achievements as a kind of tease to the reader?

I'm wondering more and more now if Bob Dylan wasn't using Bound for Glory as his model when he wrote his own memoirs.

As luck would have it, my reading of Bound for Glory coincided with my Scripted Youtube Book Review Series, in which I went through my old blog posts and made Youtube videos out of the old book reviews.  So when I got to making the video for Chronicles, I incorporated some of my thoughts on Bound for Glory in the video.  See HERE.
Since then, I stumbled across another Youtuber review of Chronicles HERE, who pointed out something I long ago forgot (if I ever remembered it to begin with)--Bob Dylan actually talks about his love for Bound for Glory within the actual text of Chronicles.

Footnotes
* Specifically, from this gentleman I learned that Woody Guthrie actually stayed at one point in a building owned by Fred Trump--Donald Trump's father.  And that Woody Guthrie wrote (but didn't record) a song called "Old Man Trump" about the racist housing policies of Fred Trump.  See New Yorker article HERE.

** Of course that was back in the dark ages of the 1990s.  Nowadays with the Internet, it's never been easier to track down old recordings.  There's a lot of Woody Guthrie stuff on Youtube, but most of the recording quality sounds scratchy and old and not all that great generally.  I'm assuming that the modern recording technology just wasn't around in Woody's heyday?

*** Pete Seeger actually wrote the foreword to Bound for Glory, in which Seeger said, "Woody never argued theory much, but you can be quite sure that today he would have poured his fiercest scorn on the criminal fools who sucked America into the Vietnam mess."

**** Fun fact--Arlo Guthrie refuses to perform Alice's Restaurant in concert.  I had actually known this ahead of time. A high school friend, who had seen Arlo Guthrie in concert previously, had told me he had refused to play that song when she saw him.  People kept yelling out "Alice's Restaurant!" and Arlo Guthrie just said, "Sorry guys, I don't do that anymore."
When I saw him, Arlo Guthrie teased the audience by playing a bit of the chorus on the guitar, but then refusing to continue.  He said, "You know, I wish I could have gotten famous for writing something a lot shorter.  Did you ever see that film Groundhog's Day?  That was my life for many years.  Just the same 30 minutes over and over again every night for years."
Of course, that was 20 years ago now.  Maybe he's changed his policy since then?

***** Wow, strange to think that exchange was almost 10 years ago already.  It seems like just the other day Whisky was first recommending this book to me, and just the other day I was thinking to myself I would get around to it sooner or later.  And then all of a sudden 10 years go by before you know it.  Yet another reminder of how fast life can get away from you.

******Speaking of down-and-out, I guess an obvious point of comparison is Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London.  And there are a number of similarities.  Both books are autobiographical, and both seek to convey to the reader how the poor parts of society live.

Video Review
Video review HERE and embedded below:



Link of the Day
about wanting-Noam Chomsky | audio