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What Churchill feared; the real ‘Bloody Mary’; revisiting Watergate; newsletter April 20, 2018

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,129) on Friday, April 20, 2018. The weather in East Tennessee has gone from sunny with a high near 80 degrees last Friday to a cold rain on Sunday and sleet — and even a bit of snow — on Monday. All that has prevented […]

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Starting beehives; surviving March; sketching in the urban; more on Darwin: newsletter April 13, 2018

There is this thing in America known as March Madness. To the untutored among you, that refers to the three-week long national collegiate basketball tournament that has the country mesmerized until the Monday evening (usually the first Monday of April) when the national championship games takes place, and in a few days, you’ve forgotten completely […]

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The fears of Charles Darwin; Typhoid Mary; installing the bees: newsletter, April 6, 2018

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,171) on Friday, April 6, 2018. Planting the garden was the first order of business on the farm this week. After I had completed the tilling last week, we had some more rain, so the planting did not begin on Good Friday, as is our […]

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Disgraceland

Free audiobooks and more; Churchill the writer, part 3; the Stone Fleet; newsletter, March 30, 2018

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,198) on Friday, March 30, 2018. My poor math skills were on display in last week’s newsletter when I noted the birthday (March 31) of Johann Sebastian Bach. I was only off a hundred years. Saturday is actually the 333rd anniversary of his birth. (Thanks […]

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lovelang

New biography of Agatha Christie; loving alliteration; remembering the Sabbath; newsletter March 16, 2018

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,088) on Friday, March 16, 2018. Hi, [FIRST NAME GOES HERE] Lots of readers have reacted to lots of different things in previous newsletters, and I include many of those reactions in this week’s missive. I have said this many times: I love hearing from you on […]

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Handel, down and out; ‘Girl with the Pearl Earring’ up and away; more Shakespeare and Vietnam: newsletter March 9, 2018

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,116), on Friday, March 9, 2018. Hi, You may think that I am obsessed with William Shakespeare, that I just can’t leave him alone. Actually, it’s the other way around. He won’t leave me alone. The last three newsletters have had items about The Bard, […]

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Shakespeare’s appearance, Eleanor’s mastery, and Cronkite’s broadcast – plus a new book giveaway: newsletter, March 2, 2018

One of the seminal events in America’s long involvement in Vietnam occurred 50 years ago this past week. CBS newscaster Walter Cronkite — often called “the most trusted man in America” — narrated a prime-time documentary that called into question the American government’s rosy predictions about the war’s progress. Cronkite did not come out against the war. […]

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A name for this newsletter; more on Shakespeare; the lost eloquence of the sports page: newsletter, Feb. 23, 2018

Vince’s first novel is titled Paperboy, and it’s the story of a boy growing up in Memphis who has a stutter. Vince himself is a stutterer, and the story rings true on every page. The novel was a Newberry Honor Award winner, and the Washington Post said: “[Vawter’s] characterization of Little Man feels deeply authentic, with . . . […]

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Teddy Roosevelt: "I am DEE-lighted."

A new source for Shakespeare; etymology for everyone; nutritious foods; more crimes against English

Life is not all sitting around reading and writing blog posts and painting watercolors. Sometimes there is real, hard physical labor involved. That’s what

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Leonardo’s journals; eyewitness to the biggest event of the first century; football art and the First Amendment; newsletter Feb. 9, 2018

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (3,317) on Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. Hi,  This has been The Week of Interesting Things for me. Most of my weeks could take that moniker, but this one seemed especially full. I try to put a lot of interesting things I find into the newsletter, but I […]

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Teddy Roosevelt: "I am DEE-lighted."

Jim’s newsletter: Under the hood

My assumption about newsletter readers is that they are intelligent individuals, they are readers of good books, and they people who can handle the occasional challenge of learning something new.  Most of all, my assumption about newsletter readers is that they are my friends, even though I have not met all of them personally.

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Another painting giveaway; Amazon gift cards; Pliny the Younger, Rome’s great eyewitness reporter; newsletter, Feb. 2, 2018

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,222) on Friday, February 2, 2018. Hi, I watched a super moon, a blood moon, and a lunar eclipse this week. Not as spectacular as the solar eclipse we saw last summer but still pretty phenomenal. Nature has its moments — many of them, in fact, if we would […]

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The first real-life private eye; Neil Sheehan; more crimes against English; newsletter, Jan. 26, 2018

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email (4,302) list on Friday, January 26, 2018. Hi,  Unseasonably warm weather in East Tennessee last weekend allowed us to check on the beehives, and I am happy to report that both of my hives have bees! This is good news. The biggest challenge a beekeeper has […]

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Readers track down more crimes against English; Ross Macdonald; newsletter, Jan. 19, 2018

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,379) on Friday, Jan. 19, 2018. Hi,  Winter has settled in in a big way in my part of the world. Plenty of time for indoor activities, the most important of which is reading. But that’s not the only one. Some writing and some painting […]

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Raymond Chandler and the development of the ‘private eye’; newsletter, Jan. 12, 2018

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,500) on Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. Special note: If you have unsubscribed to this list previously, I apologize for this email. I had some problems with the list over the past couple of weeks — due mainly to my incompetence — and some unsubscribers may have […]

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The death of a great mystery writer; and more crimes against English; newsletter Jan. 5, 2017

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (3,662) on Friday, January 5, 2017. Special note: If you have unsubscribed to this list previously, I apologize for this email. I had some problems with the list this week — due mainly to my incompetence — and some unsubscribers may have been added back in. […]

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Dashiell Hammett (watercolor, Jim Stovall, 2017)

More on the ‘private eye’ and Dashiell Hammett; lots of reader response this week

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,431) on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. Hi,  A lot of you readers took the time to respond to various parts of the newsletter last week, and I have included some of those responses here. Thanks to you all. Your responses make great reading, and I […]

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The private eye’s business is trouble; newsletter, Dec. 22, 2017

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,466) on Friday, Dec. 22, 2017.     Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy New Year. Tis the season to celebrate, and there are lots of good greetings out there. I wish you good fellowship, good friends and family, good food, good music, and […]

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The Private Eye (watercolor by Jim Stovall)

The state of Alabama, various and sundry; newsletter, Dec. 15, 2017

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,204) on Friday, Dec. 15, 2017.   The state of Alabama plays a prominent role in this week’s newsletter. So does Edgar Allan Poe (again), James Whistler, and the Washington Post. The newsletters this week and next week are a bit shorter than usual because of the Christmas season. Next week I […]

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A ‘day’ becomes a ‘date’; Poe’s rules for detective fiction; a little bit of Henry Fowler

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,140) on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. Hi,  Last week’s question: Were there no Americans before 1776? An answer came in from newsletter reader and good friend Jane P: There were many Americans long before 1776, in the numerous Native American societies and groups across what became the […]

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