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Trip to Massachusetts - Uncle Lee's 90th birthday, visiting cousin, Maritime Sampler

A brief recap of the two weeks encompassing July 8, 2016CE and July 22, 2016CE:

I had a great time in Massachusetts. I went, ostensibly, for my Uncle Lee's 90th birthday celebration. My cousin had arranged a huge party for his physics friends as well as relatives. I brought along two extra cameras, so my 9-year-old niece and 10-year-old extended niece (cousin's kid) could take photos. Which they did. Theirs are in the Facebook photostreams.

Then I rented a car and went to Springfield/Holyoke to visit my cousin Barb who I hadn't seen in at least forty years. Wandered around the area, was injured by dinosaur tracks, and returned to Cambridge. Stayed with my cousin Dean and family for a few days.

Then went an hour north to Cape Ann for a Road Scholar tour: The New England Maritime Sampler. Five boat trips plus museums and lectures.

Knowing the LJ propensity not to be on Facebook, I made a photostream of just the whale pics. Some of my best work. Especially considering that most of the pics were handheld with a 300mm lens, using an Olympus OM-D EM-10. My standard kit is an EM-1 with a 12-40mm 2.8 lens. Anyway:

20160721 Whale Watch in the Bay of Maine on Shutterfly

20160721 Two Whales Feeding a short video on YouTube

Public link to Facebook 20160708-10 Lee's 90th Birthday Celebration

Public link to 20160711-17 Visiting Massachusetts

Public link to Facebook 20160718-22 New England Maritime Sampler

Public link to Facebook 20160721 Whale Watch in the Bay of Maine (same photos as the shutterfly site)

A couple of photos, and a few more behind a cut.

My mother, Ethel, after speaking about her younger brother on his 90th birthday. Cambridge 7/9/16

A baleen whale. Baleen are instead of teeth, used to sieve seawater. Bay of Maine out of Salem, MA 7/21/16
Some more photosCollapse )
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Golden Gate Bridge: A study. March 2016

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Old World Order: Restored!

After some contretemps regarding the old domain name, my listing in The Nobles of Ladonia has returned. The Old World Order has been restored. I remain a real Baron of a fake country.

I have fixed the original entry about my title, here on LiveJournal, though other links to the old domain are scattered about the net and can't be so easily repaired.
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Best of Cuba Photos on Shutterfly

Territorial dog in Trinidad, Cuba 5/25/15

After two months, I'm finally done (I hope) processing the photos and videos from my trip to Cuba in May. One of the last things I did was take the 33 photos in the Potential Pulitzer gallery and post them to Shutterfly. So those of you who don't like Facebook can see them. The above is one example. The blog listing links to the FB galleries and YouTube videos. Enjoy.

Shutterfly photo stream/blog for my trip to Cuba
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All the Cuba links from my trip May 20-29, 2015 CE

I visited Cuba as part of a Road Scholar tour from May 20 through May 29, 2015CE. The first and last days were in Miami, and the secon and penultimate days were travel, but we saw a lot, and took a lot of photos, in Havana and Trinidad. I also made notes, took video, and annotated my photos to make a travelogue more than a simple photostream. Enjoy.

I know many people don't want the travelogue, so I picked my 33 favorites photos for one gallery: Dave Romm's Cuba: Potential Pulitzers.

All my Facebook photostreams/albums/galleries are public:

20150520121 Cuba Day 1 & 2 - Miami and Havana

20150522 Cuba Day 3 - Havana - Senior Center & fruit stand

20150523 Cuba Day 4am Old Havana

20150523 Cuba Day 4pm Muraleando

2015024 Cuba Day 5am Art and Dance

20150524 Cuba Day 5pm Malecon & Classic Car ride to fort

20150525 Cuba Day 6 Road To Trinidad & Trinidad

20150526 Cuba Day 7am Trinidad Plaza Mayor

20150526 Cuba Day 7pm Munoz Sugar Tower

20150527 Cuba Day 8am Munoz Trinidad

LiveJournal Blog of Cuba Notes, containing observation and commentary and some pics.

FB Videos - Some videos also on Barondave007's YouTube channel:

  • 20150521 Constelacion (band) 1:00

  • 20150522 Senior Centerin Havana, Cuba

  • 20150522 Fun With Selfie Stick and Mirrors at the Hotel Nacianoal in Havana. 0:36

  • 20150523 Percussion Rehearsal, Havana Cuba. Prep for a major event in Old Havana. 2:42

  • Dancing at the Muraleando in Havana, Cuba May 23, 2015. We Roadies inow how to party - Cuban style! 5:09

  • "Come Together" by Backspace, Muraleando, Havana Cuba May 23. 2015. A young band rocks the joint. 3:55
    Public FB link

  • 20150524 Ismael Albela of the Danza Combinatoria de Cuba. Dancing in Cuba. 6:21
    Public FB link

  • 20150524 Malecon Selfie. Just me, relaxing by the beach. 1:07

  • 20150524 Driving Through Havana, Cuba in Classic Cars. 50s cars, with horns. 2:41
    Public FB link

  • 20150526 El Zapatero - Grupo Sorpresa. A street performance in Trinidad. 3:38

  • Interview with José, sixth generation potter. Trinidad. 1:54

  • 20150526 Guitarist Junior @ Trinidad Cuba. A restaurant house musician says what he likes about his town. 2:05

  • Julio Munoz - Photographer in Trinidad, Cuba - May 26, 2015 2:43
    Public FB link
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    Dhalgren: Book I Chapter I -- the radio play

    Thirty five years ago, give or take, I had this Mad Plan (tm) to adapt Dhalgren as a Shockwave Radio Theater production in three minute segments. I figured it would take 500 or so episodes, which would keep a weekly radio show going for a long time. Alas, this never came about. For the Convergence 2015 Panel “Dhalgren’s Wounded City: Bellona” 10pm Thursday 7/2/15, I finally wrote the first one. I ran it by Chip Delany, who's comment is at the end.

    Performed live by the panelists, with implied music.


    Music up

    Announcer:  Dahlgren, by Samuel R. Delany.  Adapted for Convergence by David E Romm.  Book One, Chapter One.

    In our previous episodes we followed Kid as he tried to make his way around a crippled city where time has lost its meaning and he shares his strength with a young boy and a beautiful woman, and makes notes in the margins of his plague journal.

    We now join Dhalgren, already in progress.

    Music down

    Voice 1: … to wound the autumnal city.

    Voice 2: So howled out for the world to give him a name.

    Voice 3: All you know I know; careening astronauts and bank clerks glancing at the clock before lunch; actresses cowling at light-ringed mirrors and freight elevator operators grinding a thumbful of grease on a steel handle; student riots; know that dark women in bodegas shook their heads last week because in six months prices have risen outlandishly; how coffee tastes after you’ve held it in your mouth, cold, a whole minute.

    Music Up

    Announcer: Join us next time for Dahlgren, Book One Chapter Two when we hear her say,

    Her (orgasmic): Aaah.

    Music down

    Delany reply on FB
    Carry on, Baron Dave Romm! As they used to say in another century, "Run it up the flag pole and see if anyone salutes . . ."

    Baron Dave's Public FB Gallery of Convergence 2015
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    Cuba Notes

    Last month, my mother and I went to Cuba. I've been posting on Facebook, and have gathered together postings here. I'm still processing the photos and videos. In the meantime, let me share a couple of my favorite photos, and some observations:

    Mom and I on Pedicab, Old Havana, Cuba 5/23/5

  • Cuba Notes 1: Our Road Scholar Tour members were a good group. Seventeen tourists, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photography Instructor who was training in another Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer instructor for the increased demand in Cuba tours, and several Cuban locals as guides. Internecine conflicts were kept to a minimum and we all got on the bus on time. Mom, at 90, was the oldest of the group. I, at 60, was the second-youngest tourist (and not by much). Walking around (I averaged more than 4 miles a day) largely on cobblestone streets or barely-maintained sidewalks I lost weight.

  • Cuba Notes 2: Cuba is a socialist country. It s not really a Communist country, but after the Bay of Pigs (the CIA-funded invasion that failed due to a near-complete lack of support from the Cubans who live here), they had no choice but to get support from The Other Side in the Cold War. As of 1961, the Cuban Socialist Party changed to the Cuban Communist Party. When the Soviet Union fell, Cuba became a client state without a state. For the embargo to have continued this long hurt Cuba AND the US economically, and just made us look like whiny bullies.

  • Cuba Notes 3: Prohibition was simultaneously the best and the worst thing that happened to Cuba in the last hundred years or so. The country was a part of Spain until the Spanish-American War (where we picked up the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam). Because of the disaster of Prohibition (anti-immigrant hatred mashed with Christian fundamentalist extremism attempting to solve a real problem and failing miserably), Cuba experienced a major building boom and economic expansion and the mob. Corruption was rampant and the government unresponsive to the needs of the people. We had strong unions and a post-WWII boom to build a middle class, but even after Prohibition was repealed in the US the disparity in incomes (like in the US now) led to the Batista regime and the need for a revolution like Castro's.

  • much more under the cutCollapse )
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    "Who Is Your Favorite Science Fiction Author?" -- Theodore Sturgeon

    In a recent jaunt to NYC I was asked by a couple of twenty-somethings, "Who's your favorite sf author?" The answer was a bit easier than usual, since the death of Leonard Nimoy was just in the news: "Theodore Sturgeon. And I know you know one of his lines: (making the split-fingered Vulcan salute) 'Live Long and Prosper'.

    Any and all "Best of" recommendations are inherently subjective and incomplete. This will be no exception. I've divided this short list into three sections: One for Sturgeon, one for Classic SF and one for personal favorites.

    Section I: Theodore Sturgeon

    Theodore Sturgeon was quite prolific, wrote under several pseudonyms and did much work on for tv which is not reflected here. Individual novellas and short stories are in collections and I'll note the anthologies for them, though much of the other stories are good as well. So let's start:

    More Than Human, where individuals with odd powers band together to be more powerful as one entity. (This same concept would band mutants together as the X-Men.)

    Slow Sculpture: Volume XII: The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon, the 12th in a series collecting all his short stories, contains my favorite of his works: "The Widget, the Wadget, and Boff". And other good stuff too.

    Microcosmic God: Volume II: The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon contains, among other great stories, "Microcosmic God". Sixty years later it was parodied on "The Simpsons". Between "Microcosmic God" and Monty Python's "Life of Brian", you'll have what you need to know about how religions get started.

    Section II: Classic SF
    H/LotR, SF Hall of Fame, etcCollapse )
    I'm going to stop here, and boy is it painful. There's so many great works that fall in the realm of fantasy and science fiction. These are a start, but only a start.

    Section III: Personal favorites

    Davy by Edgar Pangborn. A post-apocalyptic story set in the Catskills, where I grew up. Still hauntingly beautiful.

    True Names: And the Opening of the Cyberspace Frontier by Vernor Vinge. I haven't read this edition, so can't speak to any story besides "True Names", but the 1981 novella remains one of the best computer stories around, and a seminal influence on cyberpunk and net policy.

    Nova/Babel-17/Tales of Neveryon by Samuel R. Delany. I'm cheating here by naming three books, but hey, it's my list and Delany is my favorite living author. "Nova" is a far-reaching space epic, "Babel-17" is about how language influences thought, and "Tales of Neveryon" is possibly the best science fiction novel ever written even though it's in a fantasy setting. Dive into Delany.

    Orphan of Creation, by Roger McBride Allen (Kindle Edition). Similar themes to "The Color Purple" but viewed from science fiction based on paleoanthropology.

    Briar Rose by Jane Yolen. Adapting the "Sleeping Beauty" fairy tale to the Holocaust.

    Way of the Spider by W. Michael Gear (Kindle Edition). The first of three in the trilogy. Military fiction is a major subbranch of sf and not my favorite, but these books are more than the battles and sweep of armies.

    Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chaing (Kindle Edition). I'll stop with a more recent set of award-winning stories. I interviewed him at Minicon; an interesting guy (who's a tech writer first and does sf as a sidelight) who writes interesting stories.

    I'm posting this on a LiveJournal blog so others can make comments. Who is YOUR favorite author, and which books by them would you recommend?
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    My Ride Along with the Mpls Police 12/12/14

    I went on a police ride along on Friday, Dec. 12. This was long in the making, and involved months of talking to Lieutenants, Inspectors, Sergeants and Officers. I'm on the Lyndale Neighborhood Crime and Safety Committee, which meets at the Mpls Police 5th Precinct station.

    Me in front of the 5th Precinct Station House, Mpls MN 12/12/14

    (Yes, this is the police station that wanted to look more like a police station, so I suggested they put a tardis out front.)

    Let's not bury the lede: The four-hour ride along was uneventful, involving more paperwork than crime stopping.
    full report under the cutCollapse )
    See also my public Facebook gallery on our visit to the Strategic Information Center.
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    2014 Fringe Festival -- my final four shows and other finery

    I'll be out of town starting tomorrow (Thurs 8/7) and will have to miss much of the Fringe. Alas. And my last video is too big a project to do beforehand, so you'll have to make do with the information and promo video on the Fringe listing.

    Dreams of The Rarebit Fiend
    A stage show based on the surreal Windsor McCay comic strip from the early 1900s. More famous for "The Yellow Kid" and one of the first animated cartoons "Gerty the Dinosaur, McCay was a pioneer in the visual arts. Adapting it for the Fringe was only partially successful, I think. The show was odd and seemed aimed for a young audience; certainly the kids at the showing I saw liked it. But the sensibilities off 110 years ago were different, and the episodic action featured drunk people and suicides. A good attempt, and I'm glad that the Fringe allows for such experiments. Steve Schroer at the 2014 Minnesota Fringe Festival. An edited version of this interview was aired on KFAI-FM

    A Christmas Carol Seder.
    I have the video they took at a run-through, and a longer version of the interview that aired on KFAI-FM, and will work on melding them when I get back.
    The show itself is almost filk: A Passover Seder done (mostly) to the tunes of Christmas Carols. A worthy attempt to foster understanding between Jews and Christians. From "Abbie's Irish Rose" to Bridget Love Birney", love conquering religious differences has been mined for comedy. Still, if you're going to write parody, I've been spoiled by the great Luke Ski and the sepulveda of Dementia Musicians, in such filk as It's A Fanboy Christmas and X-Mas sequels. Perhaps that's why most of the reviewers on the Fringe site seemed to like it more than me.
    They're trying to take this to synagogs and churches and other places. I think it needs tweaking before it goes on the road. Still, another victory for an unjuried Fringe.

    The Tiger In the Room
    As opposed to "the elephant". A nicely written and well-acted exploration of one woman coming to grips with her life. Not really my cup of tea, but Natalie Rae Wass is excellent and the script by Sharon deMark pulls many threads together for a poignant ending.

    For Humors Does Every Show In The Fringe
    Well, one per show, anyway, meaning five different improv riffs with guest stars. As with any improv, it can be hit or miss, but Four Humors hits a great deal of the time. I had loads of fun. Something about superheroes and Walmart and zeppelins.

    A little blast from Fringes past: Scream Blue Murmur has a new EP out. When all the hoopla of #mnfringe abates, it's high on list. Music from the Upcoming Motion Picture "Ormeau" by Scream Blue Murmur

    Oh... and the bit I was encouraged to write for Speakeasy didn't happen. But here it is, for your enjoyment. The show takes place at a Prohibition-era gin joint:
    This is Hollywood reporter Irving Shmuel Zeitgeist bringing you the latest from Tinseltown USA. Your correspondent has seen motion pictures grow up from magic lantern shows to star-studded red carpet openings, but nothing -- nothing -- prepared me for Al Jolson… speaking. Yes folks, as hard as it may be to believe, sound has come to motion pictures, and I don't like it. I don't WANT to hear Charlie Chaplin because he wouldn't be as funny. I don't WANT to hear Clara Bow because she has more of "it" just from her eyes. If I want to hear Fred Astaire singing, I'll go to Broadway. If you want to hear voices, you'll listen me on to the radio. Hollywood is a major industry the way it is now. Cinemas have orchestras and even small theaters have piano players. We need our job creators. With Herbert Hoover as president and the stock market rising, the last thing we need is canned sound. This is a fad at best, as ephemeral as dance marathons or the crossword puzzle. I predict the Warner Brothers studio will burst faster messier than a frat boy eating one too many goldfish. What will they do next, transmit movies over telegraph wires? No, all good pictures are silent and always will be. This is Irving Schmuel Zeitgeist, signing off for today.

    Continued from 2014 Minnesota Fringe Festival - rehearsals and first day