I’m thankful for Obama’s Medal of Freedom selections

I’m thankful for this last group of Presidential Medal of Freedom winners, spanning so many endeavors and achievements of excellence. I’m also thankful for President Obama for making these selections, and making possible a bright ray of hope for these times.

 

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My Oscar picks (of what I’ve seen in the last year)

Best best picture nominee, that I’ve seen
Spotlight, but I’ve only seen Spotlight, the Martian, and Mad Max: Fury Road (I liked them all)

Best Star Wars thing
Sure, the movie was fun, but the Solo Family Portrait blew me away.

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Best real depiction of journalists
Spotlight has been hailed for its realistic portrayal of the process of investigative journalism. Just as important was showing actors looking like real journalists. What stood out for me was Brian D’Arcy James in Spotlight, at right, looking so much like the Times Union’s Tim O’Brien, at left.

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Best nominee I’ve met
David Lang, shown below, in the elevator at the Tang Teaching Museum — photo by me. He’s nominated for his composition “Simple Song #3” from the soundtrack for “Youth.”

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Best accent to listen to
Saoirse Ronan’s Irish accent rocks.

 

Best accent to do
Tom Hardy’s character Ivan Locke in the 2013 movie Locke: “Yes, it’s there, it’s there. It’s got everything you’re going to need in there. All the numbers, the sign offs, the road closures that you have to confirm with the police. The drawer above the blow heater.”

 

The writing game is a waiting game

When I was in college, my friends and I often joked about the life of being of writer, especially the low pay, imagining a scenario in which a publisher would say something like  … “Great story. Here’s a dollar. What else ya got?”

What we didn’t talk about was all the waiting that goes along after sending stories out, and the sometimes in-between emails that can come it.

So on March 17, I got an email from a writers contest telling me of my status in the contest. I was told my story wasn’t lost, that others had been told they hadn’t won, and some had gotten Honorable mentions, but that I was in the “hold” category — which I had never knew existed. The thing is, in one of the write-ups announcing the contest, it had said that winners would be notified around the end of March, so I wasn’t expecting to hear anything — certainly not as soon as March 17. Continue reading

Thank you, Tor.com

So this is next on my reading list, thanks to a random drawing on Tor. com.

Publisher’s Weekly says of Eileen Gunn’s collection of short stories, “Questionable Practices”: “Nebula-winner Gunn combines humor and compassion in 17 short, intricate gems that showcase her many talents.”

Can’t wait.

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(Note the Tor.com buttons, too)

February 2014 Story of the Month

Vote for The Duck! Do so before the poll closes on March 2, 2014.

Bartleby Snopes Story of the Month

The voting for the February 2014 Story of the Month is now open. Read all of the February stories and then vote for your favorite. Voting will close on March 2nd. Please only vote once.

The winning story will earn an automatic spot in the 12th Issue of our semi-annual magazine due out in July 2014.

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Got jazz? You can open the 2012 Albany Riverfront Jazz Festival

Saturday, Sept. 8, will also be the date of the free Albany Riverfront Jazz Festival, from noon to 9 p.m. at the city’s Riverfront Park.

But, as with last year, the festivities really get started the night before. From 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7, jazz bands will compete at various downtown venues for the chance to be opening act for the jazz festival. Attendees will vote for their favorite performance throughout the evening and the winner will be announced by midnight on the Downtown Albany BID’s website.

If you have a jazz band, better hurry. Submissions by interested bands are due at 3 p.m. Aug. 9. Applications include a mp3 files of two songs and a promotional photo in JPEG format. They should be e-mailed to the Downtown Albany BID or received at the BID office on 40 N. Pearl Street, Albany, NY 12207. Call Marcie Bergan, director of operations at the BID at 465-2143, Ext. 13 for more information. Or visit http://www.downtownalbany.org.

The lineup for the rest of the jazz festival includes:

  • 1:15 p.m.: Way Down
  • 2:30 p.m.: PEDRITO MARTINEZ GROUP    featuring Araicne Trujillo
  • 4 p.m. : Delfeayo Marsalis
  • 5:30 p.m.: Charlie Hunter
  • 7 p.m.: THE MOSAIC PROJECT featuring Terri Lyne Carrington, Nona Hendryx and Gretchen Parlato
  • 8:30 p.m. Fireworks

Page Turner awards

Uber-best-selling mega-author James Patterson has announced the winners of his second Page Turner Awards.

The 39 winners of the 2006 James Patterson PageTurner Awards will receive cash prizes totaling $500,000. Among the winners are libraries, schools, bookstores, and innovative individuals and organizations that go to extraordinary lengths to spread the joy of books and reading across the country.