David Holt’s State of Music

DHSOM pitch for Indiegogo campaign from Will & Deni Films on Vimeo.

From David Holt’s State of Music:

David Holt’s State of Music is a one-hour special program that premiered on North Carolina public television in January. David introduces viewers to some friends who are taking traditional music to a new level. Featured performers are Rhiannon Giddens of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, traditional ballad singer Josh Goforth, virtuoso fiddler Bruce Molsky, guitar phenom Bryan Sutton, the Branchettes gospel duo and the powerhouse bluegrass band Balsam Range. The program showcases these great performers doing what they do best on location in the very landscapes that nurtured them and their music.

The premiere of the show was a big success, and now UNC-TV has invited us to make it into a series for national distribution! We are excited to have the opportunity to do that, because there are so many wonderful musicians that we couldn’t fit into one hour—and so many viewers who haven’t seen the show.

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Best Fiction and Writing Blogs

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The best fiction and writing blog posts from around the ‘net, all guaranteed to make you a literary adventurer. Compiled by margaret.

Electric LitThe 2015 Hugo Nominees
Alice OsbornHow to Get Back into Writing After a Hiatus
Allison BrennanThink your book is ready to publish? Maybe not.
Jane RisdonThe Black Prince and an Archbishop
Jodi MilnerMedieval Village Anatomy 101
Jack Sutter Screw The Muses
Confessions of a Readaholic22 Things I Learnt By The Time I Turned 22
Peter WellsThe Creative Abyss

The band that just walked away, Renee

Here’s an excellent explication of the lyrics of Walk Away, Renee:

The lead singer’s voice and the music are haunting and well-matched. But the song hits the trifecta, because the words are at least as extraordinary as the music and the singing. They are poetry, conveying a tense pull between sorrow and stoicism, yearning and renunciation, regret and acceptance. You don’t believe me?

Read the rest here. I must admit the symbolism and craftsmanship in this song escaped my notice, despite my admiration of the Left Banke.

Cristian Mihai Reviews Aztec Midnight

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From Cristian Mihai: “This novella is one hell of a roller coaster ride. It’s got just the right amount of suspense, well delivered, to make me want to get to the end as soon as possible. The dialogue is excellent, the plot flows in a natural manner. The story works. It just does.”

Read the rest of Aztec Midnight: a novella by M.C. Tuggle at Cristian Mihai’s blog.

The Condoleezza Tales

Condoleezza Tales

What better way to welcome April than with a satirical poem that takes place in that lovely and tempestuous month? I wrote it in 2004, and the anti-war site LewRockwell.com published it. It’s a takeoff of The Canterbury Tales that targets the Iraq War and the Neocons who lied us into it. I’ve dusted it off, revised it a bit, and added links to names and places that may not be as well known as they were eleven years ago. Enjoy!

When that April, with its fickle weather,
Reflects spring madness altogether,
And pounds the District with such fury
The politicians curse and scurry.
When newsmen chase them seeking answers
About leaks from CIA necromancers,
The press secretary concocts such theories
That the head does spin, and the eyes grow bleary.
And young bloggers compose Internet discourses
They research all night with help from secret sources.

So crazy does become the Capital City,
Then congressmen gather in committee.
And pundits skewer the president’s invasion
Of foreign lands that had not harmed this nation.
And specially from every TV station
Of the USA to Condoleezza they hasten,
The National Security Adviser for to grill
That she had lied up on Capital Hill.

It so happened in that season on a day,
In the fevered District at Bullfeathers I lay,
Tossing down another gin and tonic
Before attending more testimony moronic.
But then there stormed into that famed saloon
A noisy, cursing Neocon platoon.
So heated they were from congressional hearings
They paid me no mind as they started sneering.

A General stood proud with glistening medals
Awarded for battles he’d helped to settle.
Sad Vietnam did his war doctrine form;
He’d chaired the Joint Chiefs during Desert Storm.
And lately he had well served his nation
With a deft Power Point presentation.
Though the UN rejected his grave proposal,
He was well regarded in the Office Oval.

There was a Wolfowitz at the door,
And at a Rumsfeld his eyes did bore.
“We’ve no time for Congressional hysteria.
Our troops should be marching tonight on Syria.”
The Rumsfeld shrugged. “Yes, it’s all overblown.
Congressional scrutiny’s a known unknown.
But should a new crisis come, thanks to Bin Laden
Congressional hearings will soon be forgotten.”

A Cheney popped in from an undisclosed location
And nearly smiled at his standing ovation.
He checked his own pulse with each shot of liquor.
Though the others would laugh, his scowl did not flicker.
He spoke with a manner that showed he was certain
Of the contracts he’d win for his beloved Halliburton.

At his side stood his student, a prideful young Flyer,
Once a 12-stepper and lusty party goer.
He’d fought the Cong in the war in ‘Nam
From a strategic position in Alabam.
He wore a smart flight suit that shined like the sun,
And swaggered and grinned when he said, “Bring ’em on.”
His teacher, the Cheney, had to act deferential
Toward his eager young student despite low potential.

When into the bar there strode an old Clarke,
With the mind of a scholar and the bite of a shark.
He’d served well his country for one score and ten,
And he roared at the pack like Daniel in the den,
“You are liars and slackers in your sham war on terror.”
And the cowards all shivered, ashamed at their error.
Drinks spilled and men shrieked, and started a-runnin’.
But I knew they’d continue their neo-connin’.

The 1,000-year-old solution

Anglo Saxon helmet

My father is in a nursing home, and a couple of weeks ago, we had a bad scare when he was exposed to methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, otherwise known as MRSA. It’s a “superbug” that sneers at modern antibiotics. Fortunately, Dad responded well to the treatment and is doing well — but he’s being watched in case it flares up again.

MRSA is the scourge of nursing homes. So this BBC News story caught my eye:

Scientists recreated a 9th Century Anglo-Saxon remedy using onion, garlic and part of a cow’s stomach.

They were “astonished” to find it almost completely wiped out methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, otherwise known as MRSA.

Their findings will be presented at a national microbiology conference. …

The remedy was found in Bald’s Leechbook – an old English manuscript containing instructions on various treatments held in the British Library.

The leechbook is one of the earliest examples of what might loosely be called a medical textbook

It seems Anglo-Saxon physicians may actually have practised something pretty close to the modern scientific method, with its emphasis on observation and experimentation.

Bald’s Leechbook could hold some important lessons for our modern day battle with anti-microbial resistance.

How about that? A home remedy from the time of Beowulf works better than any of our over-priced, hyper-marketed pharmaceuticals.

“Tuggle ably captures the spirit of Dan Brown novels and Indiana Jones–style adventure stories.” Kirkus Reviews

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