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Ideas for guide entries

Now that I've started writing guide entries, I find that I like the process.

I've started a second round, leading off with an entry about the Burns and Allen TV show.

Where do I go from here?

One direction would be to tackle contemporary themes. The pandemic has made it advantageous to be able to create virtual choruses. I briefly tried to sing in a virtual church choir, but I didn't have the right equipment, and other things happened in my life (no water for ten days, e.g., a huge distraction). But there are singers who were already making recordings as virtual singing groups. Peter Hollens and Julien Neel are examples of singers whose vocal range is wide enough that they can sing all the parts of a standard Barbershop group. I could write an entry featuring Neel, whose output I have heard pretty much in its entirety. The downside? Very few people on the Internet have done reviews of his work. It would be a challenge to do an entry
and keep my personal opinion at a minimum.

Another contemporary issue is that of ugly, racist songs from the 1930a being discovered in the recorded output of Kate Smith. There are definitely two sides to this, and some eloquent spokespeople on both sides. Smith died in 1986, and undoubtedly forgot about the controversial songs soon after she recorded them. They do not seem to have entered into the repertoire that Smith regularly turned to in later years. Were she still alive, she would have the opportunity to make an apology if she so desired. But she's not alive. A sports team that used her as a sort of good-luck mascot has severed ties with her recordings of "God bless America" and removed a statue of her. I personally think they should stop living in the past and look for new directions.

I could check the Edited Guide to see if either Kate Smith or Julie Andrews are represented reasonably well. At the moment, guide entries for ither of them would be long shots, but who knows?

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Latest reply: 2 Days Ago

Say ggoodnight, George and Gracie

Some time last November or December I began watching episodes of the Burns and Allen show on youtube. I've probably seen almost 200 of the episodes.

Here's the A number for the entry I've just written: A88015764
I've submitted it to peer review.

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Latest reply: 2 Days Ago

Vaccinaiton search: this application crashed

Today my age group became eligible for Covid-19 vaccination. So I went to the state websites set up for booking appointments.

Tis is what I invariably found:

"This application crashed."

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Latest reply: Last Week

The singing princess

Of the 49 movies Julie Andrews has made, I've seen 25.

I've just seen "The Singing princess" on DVD. I ordered it from Amazon on Friday. It arrived on Saturday, and I saw it Saturday night.

She was 16? when she recorded the three songs she sings. You could not have told she was that young. I don't know if she had found her ideal vocal coach yet, but does it matter?

The plot: 13-year-old Princess Zeila of Baghdad is of age to be married. her uncle has arranged for three princes from nearby kingdoms to vie for her hand. Unfortunately, evil Jafar has a magician who flies around turning the messenger to stone so the three princes won't be invited. Jafar wants Leila (and the kingdom) to himself. Bummer!

Amin, a pre-teen whose father is a minstrel, vows to thwart Jafar. Amin has cute, charming snakes and a magpie who flies through a window to remove an enchanted gem that was supposed to make Leila fall in love with Jafar.

Amin ultimately goes into the woods to see a wise elderly woman who has Aladdin's lamp.

When in doubt, reach for a Deus ex Machina.

It all ends well. Leila and Amin marry. Amin will become Caliph in time. I guess Baghdad isn't ready for a ruling Queen Leila.

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Latest reply: Last Week

Genealogy spread heavy and thick

My family met via Zoom today, and they seemed to think that I should take charge of writing a history of the family. That would be easier said than done, given the vast reaches of family history. If your ancestors procreated at a rate of about four generations per century (give or take), that means a multiplier factor of sixteen for every century that you go back. Let's disregard the guys who lost their wives in their 40s or 50s or 60s and started afresh. After all, plenty of brides began pumping out children at a younger age than they might nowadays.

Anyway, I've put together all my personal recollections of what various relatives have told me, together with whatever misinformation there is in websites. I emailed it to my sister, who will hopefully forward it to the other family members.

My surname is Harvey, which is roughly the 240th most common surname in the U.S., and the 98th most common in the U.K. My sister married into the Wilkins family, which descends from Ethan Allen's grandfather (Allen led the successful Americans in the battle of Ticonderoga in the American Revolution.).

There are other surnames here and there across the generations -- Peters, Rossman, Bemis, Holt, Bates, Steele, Griesemer. You can detect some Pennsylvania Dutch and Northern Irish in these surnames.

I don't feel like tackling much more than the Harvey lines. it might be good for other family members to divvy up the Peterses and Holts, etc.

My niece-in-law advocated hiring a professional genealogist. We will need to choose our battles, though. Go back three centuries, and you have 16 to the 3rd power, or 4096, give or take. Go back to the Battle of Hastings, and it's 16 to the 8th power (4294967296) or 9th power (68719476736).

How many of our forebears were horse thieves or other ne'er-do-wells? Maybe I don't want to know. One ancestor was a first cousin of President Benjamin Harrison (who was himself the grandson of a president). Probably no royalty, but who knows? 68 billion ancestors was a lot more than the world population in 1066.

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Latest reply: 2 Weeks Ago

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paulh, making lemonade from the lemons that life has given me

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