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Addictive and wonderful TV and cable shows

(Updated 1-20-2020) I assembled this alphabetized list of "best TV and cable shows of all time") for friends but got so many requests for it that I posted it here and update it periodically. Not all of the shows are current. I've added stars to shows that in my view are "must try" and I've provided links for many shows, but venues change. You can always google the name of a show and scroll down past the Google ads to see if and where the shows are streaming now.
If you haven't seen it, start with Friday Night Lights (2006-2011, watch streaming on Hulu). The rest, in alphabetical order:
Absolutely Fabulous (Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video with BritBox) Fashion-obsessed, drug-addled best friends, total narcissists, and career women fumble their way through middle age.
Accused (BBC streaming, aired for two seasons, 2010-2012). This award-winning drama anthology follows people accused of crimes as they await the verdict of their trial. (Watch on Acorn or Amazon Prime.)
American Crime (ABC) Good actors take on different roles in compelling, sometimes depressing stories in anthology crime drama TV series.
American Odyssey (NBC, Netflix) An elite soldier, a corporate lawyer and a political activist uncover a deadly conspiracy linking terrorists to a powerful American corporation.
• • • • The Americans (FX). Read Joshua Rothman's New Yorker piece, The Cruel Irony of "The Americans. As the NY Times writes, the week of its finale, "It’s a fabulous spy thriller and an even better domestic drama — a strange, awful love story set amid tremendous violence but also staggering idealism. This finale manages the nearly impossible: a meaningful and satisfying but still surprising conclusion to a sprawling, difficult story." I have loved it all though it did bog down  Read More 

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Do blurbs help sell books?

by Pat McNees
My first experience asking experts to read and maybe praise a book was with DYING, A BOOK OF COMFORT, an anthology I put together after my father's death. It was designed to sooth the frightened and bereaved. The Literary Guild asked me for a list of people who might comment, which I provided,  Read More 
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Who owns an interview? Who controls the right to use it?

by Pat McNees
Who owns (or is assumed to own) the copyright in an interview seems to vary among professions (say, journalists and oral historians) and sometimes those doing the interviewing seem to be taking too much advantage of the people they are interviewing.  Read More 

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The Hubbub About Sci-Hub: Who's the real pirate?

Updated 7-11-17, 4-13-17. Welcome to Sci-Hub, the Pirate Bay of science. "A researcher in Russia [ Alexandra Elbakyan} made more than 48 million journal articles -- almost every single peer-reviewed paper ever published -- freely available online. And she refused to shut the site down, despite a court injunction and a lawsuit from Elsevier, one of the world's biggest  Read More 
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The Panama Papers: Exposing the rogue offshore money maze

filed by Pat McNees

The Panama Papers: Politicians, Criminals, and the Rogue Industry That Hides Their Cash


Panama Papers: Exposing the Rogue Offshore Finance Industry (International Consortium of Investigative Journalism) Giant leak of offshore financial records exposes global array of crime and corruption. Millions of documents show heads of state, criminals and celebrities using secret hideaways in tax havens. Brilliant coverage by the  Read More 
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Voice in memoirs

People who talk about "voice in memoir" aren't always talking about the same thing.
Sue William Silverman writes "In short, the Voice of Innocence conveys what happened: 'I press the scarf to my face, inhaling autumn dusk.' It leads the reader through the actual surface event. The Voice of Experience, on the other hand, examines what the author, sitting at her desk, writing, understands about events now Read More 
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Ever wondered about those TED talks and conferences?

Watching a TED talk online, I noticed that most of the audience appeared to be well-groomed men, so I looked for explanations of who gets invited and how and why TED gatherings work. Liked what Jacob Ward of Popular Science had to say: I Didn't Like TED. Then I Got It (3-1-16) "It launched in 1984 as a conference around Technology, Entertainment and Design, and has grown to include not just its two annual events  Read More 
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Bill Wurtz's fabulous speedy history of Japan

The entire history of Japan (40,000 years) told quickly, visually, fabulously, and in a way you want to see again. Bill Wurtz, you are a genius.






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Preserving original documents

by Taylor Whitney

Photographs (and paper documents) suffer from inherent chemical deterioration, generally exhibited by fading (called "chemical fade"). Fluctuations in temperature and humidity accelerate that deterioration process; that's why storage is such an important conversation to have.

Most "cultural collections" (business archives, household, social clubs and institutions such as nonprofit organizations) are stored in acidic  Read More 
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Amazon vs Book Publishers (Do Writers Win or Lose?) Updated 1-14-2020

Published initially 11/14/2014; updated 1-14-2020

• Amazon Publishes Books by Top Authors, and Rivals Fret (Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg, Wall Street Journal, 1-14-2020) "Dean Koontz, Patricia Cornwell are among the blue-chip writers whose books the tech giant is not just selling but publishing. It was a surprising move because it means his new books likely won't appear in retail stores, which generally boycott Amazon-published titles. But Mr. Koontz is banking on Amazon’s vast retail machine to get his work to readers, whether in physical or digital formats."
A lot has changed in book publishing in the last ten years (Mike Shatzkin, Shatzkin Files, 7-23-19) "At the beginning of this decade, Amazon Publishing had ideas about signing up big authors. But they were stymied then by the pretty stubborn refusal of the rest of the supply chain to stock books published by their biggest retail competitor.
"But that was when Amazon sales were about 20-25 percent of the market. Now they’re probably over half, and well above that for many books. Whether they will successfully sell Koontz beyond Amazon remains to be seen, but their no-middleperson structure enables them to pay far more of each retail dollar in royalties, so half the sales or more can generate more income to the author than a publisher without its own retailing capability can deliver selling a larger number of units. If this is a sign of things to come, and it is hard to see why it wouldn’t be, some profound changes might be just around the corner."
The Week’s Big Story: Amazon Publishing on Wooing Dean Koontz (Porter Anderson, Publishing Perspectives, 7-26-19)
Amazon To Open Hundreds Of Brick-And-Mortar Bookstores (Pavithra Mohan, Fast Company, 2-2-16) Amazon, the online retailer that killed off so many independent bookshops, is getting ready to launch its own brick-and-mortar book chain. According to the Wall Street Journal, the CEO of a major mall operator, General Growth Properties, revealed on Tuesday that Amazon intends to launch hundreds of bookstores.
Why Amazon's Rumored "Bookstores" Probably Won't Be What You Think (Rich Bellis, Fast Company, 2-3-16) If Amazon does expand its physical retail footprint, don’t expect it to focus exclusively or even primarily on books. It may see physical locations as (among other things) more akin to Apple Stores, where it can showcase the hardware it sells online.
Meet the Guy Behind Amazon’s Secret Retail Store Plans (Jason Del Rey, re/code, 2-3-16) The man behind the Kindle is leading Amazon’s project to create the retail stores of the future. And bookstores are just the beginning. These are two of the new details Re/code has uncovered about Amazon’s plans for expansion into physical retail.
Amazon Plans Hundreds of Brick-and-Mortar Bookstores, Mall CEO Says (Greg Bensinger, WSJ, 2-2-16) mazon Plans Hundreds of Brick-and-Mortar Bookstores, Mall CEO Says

In the following pieces about a dispute among them, Amazon and book publishers take turns being the bad guy. Authors, read these often excellent arguments for and against book publishers, Amazon, and others engaged in this battle for market power and tell us what you think!  Read More 

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