Archives: journalism

George III, under-rated and unfairly maligned: so says his biographer

November 23, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: history, journalism.

From the Declaration of Independence to the musical Hamilton, George III has been kicked around for the last two and a half centuries. Now he has a new defender: historian Andrew Roberts, biographer of Winston Churchill and Napoleon and author of the recently published The Last King of America: The Misunderstood Reign of George III. Roberts • Read More »

Susanna Centlivre, a successful playwright of the early 1700s

November 22, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

Two playwrights dominated the London theater scene at the beginning of the 18th century. Both were women. One was the  — Aphra Behn  (the subject of a previous post in this newsletter). The other was Susanna Centlivre. As with Aphra Behn, relatively few details are available to us about Susanna Centlivre’s origins and early life. • Read More »

Humility

November 22, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism.

Shane Parrish has recently included this in his newsletter, FS | Brain Food, and it is worth repeating: “It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.” — Epictetus Humility is the anecdote to arrogance. Humility is a recognition that we don’t know, that we were wrong, that we’re not • Read More »

Vietnam Voices volume 3 is now available

November 19, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, journalism.

Vietnam Voices, the project of the Blount County Public Library with which I am associated, now has its third volume of interviews in both print and ebook form. Vietnam Voices: Stories of Tennesseans Who Served in Vietnam, 1965-1975 (volume 3) is available on Amazon in paperback and ebook formats and on Barnes and Noble in • Read More »

The resume virtues or the eulogy virtues

November 8, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism.

David Brooks, columnist for the New York Times, wrote a column several years ago titled The Moral Bucket list. In it, he said this: It occurred to me that there were two sets of virtues, the résumé virtues and the eulogy virtues. The résumé virtues are the skills you bring to the marketplace. The eulogy • Read More »

Bernard Cornwell: “Don’t worry, darling. I’ll write a book.”

November 4, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, journalism, writers, writing.

When Bernard Cornwell followed the woman he loved back to America from his native Great Britain and married her in 1979, he asked the U.S. government to grant him a Green Card so that he could be employed. His request was denied. “Don’t worry, darling,” he told his wife. “I’ll write a novel.” More than • Read More »

Baroque composers: Barbara Strozzi

October 29, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism.

Much of the information about Barbara Strozzi is speculative, obscure, disputed, or doubtful. What we do know is that she was a terrific musician — a soprano who could accompany herself on the lute or theorbo (a very long-necked stringed instrument) — who captured the attention of music-crazy Venice during her teenage years. We also • Read More »

Frederick Taylor Gates, farsighted philanthopist

October 25, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism.

John D. Rockefeller had already been asked — several times — if he would make a contribution to begin a great Baptist university in the Midwest, and he had declined. But he had never been asked by Frederick Taylor Gates. It was a spring morning in 1889 when Gates met with Rockefeller at the magnate’s • Read More »

Baroque composers: Antonio Vivaldi

October 22, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism.

The names that dominate Baroque music (readers will know that this is one of my favorite genres) are all male: Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frederick Handel, Antonio Vivaldi, Georg Phillipp Telemann, etc. But not every composer in that genre or era (1600-1750) was male. Not by a long shot. This is post is part a • Read More »

A violin on the Grand Canal

October 18, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism.

This item cheered me up about as much as anything that has happened lately. Earlier this month, a giant violin set sail from a workshop and Venice and floated up the Grand Canal carrying a string quartet that played a selection of music of various composers including the revered Antonio Vivaldi. The idea was that • Read More »

Oleg Gordievsky: The message was clear; the listeners just didn’t get it (part 1)

October 8, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, journalism, writers, writing.

In 1985 Oleg Gordievsky, a colonel in the KGB, was less than 24 hours from launching into a plan that would spirit him out of the Soviet Union and into asylum in the West. For years, Gordievsky had been Western intelligence service’s chief asset within the Soviet hierarchy. Within that hierarchy, he had a reputation • Read More »

St. Louis: stories and scandals; beer and baseball

October 8, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism.

Every city, large or small, produces its stories and scandals. Some do better at that than others. St. Louis is one of those cities that is above average in this regard. St. Louis, near the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, started out in the 18th century as a place where professional trappers would • Read More »

Banned Books Week

October 5, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, journalism.

Banned Books Week was last week (Sept. 26 – Oct. 1), but that’s no reason to stop the observance at just five days. The banning of books is a problem every day of the year in America and elsewhere, and the problem should not slide back under the carpet. The official BannedBooksWeek.org website says this: • Read More »

The bandsaw box

September 10, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism.

The bandsaw box offers woodworkers a project that begins with a basic simplicity of design and procedure and then offers the woodworker a wide range of creative possibilities. The bandsaw box begins with a slab of wood. It can be a single piece or different pieces of wood glued together. Then. with a series of • Read More »

Ray Bradbury and his typewriter, Ian Rankin and William McIlvanney, nicknames for sports teams, and more: newsletter, September 3, 2021

September 5, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, journalism, newsletter, reporters, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,290) on Friday, September 3, 2021. During the past few weeks, I have devoted my considerable intellectual resources to solving one of the nation’s most intractable problems. I am, of course, talking about the nicknames given to sports teams. A solution to this vexing dilemma • Read More »