Today I booked plane tickets for our next trip to Thailand. We will also be hosting my brother & two best friends of many decades. There will be regular pictures from Thailand here starting in late October. Gorgeous image is from Wikipedia, used without change & not endorsed.

How to Restore Vintage Tube Radios --

There’s a ham in Israel who records a podcast every week with a different ham from around the world about his/her life in radio. It’s a lot like Jean’s Micro Monday episodes, except much longer. This week he published Episode #257 which I listened to. He talked with Ray Heffer, G4NSJ, in the UK, who got interested in radio at age 5 and started repairing radios at age 10. He has made his living for decades repairing radios. He’s 68 and now only works on radios from the 1940’s. That seems like a pretty narrow focus, but he gets in 3-4 radios of that vintage to repair every week and it’s all he can do to keep up with them. No one told him he had to retire at age 65 and he is quite self sufficient, which is not unusual for hams around the world.

He says there are actually three people in the UK repairing radios of that vintage from around the UK and Continental Europe. Customers ask him what will happen when he is gone. Will there still be people who know how to repair them? To preserve what he knows, he started to record videos for beginners, showing them everything about how to restore vintage tube radios. His focus is on making the videos for beginners, using layman’s language.

For years I’ve been wanting to learn how to do such work. I have finally discovered a gradient that should work well for me. For a one time fee of 25 pounds, I will become a member of his website, with access to his videos, including all those from the past, as well as a new one every week, and also hundreds of service manuals for vintage tube radios. I already own one radio from that vintage and another one about one decade newer that need to be restored. They will be the first two I will practice on. And then I will start to keep my eyes open for other radios of this vintage in need of repair.

Driving home from fireworks at the lake, a wrong turn had us driving through neighborhoods, like through a war zone; with bottle rockets, Roman candles, & loud explosions in front yards & on streets all around us. Our state is one of four where all fireworks are banned.

Ever since Manton made those recent server updates, I’ve been noticing very slooooow Timeline refreshing when clicking on Reload. Meanwhile some are lobbying for complicated added features. Myself, I’d much rather have a comprehensive user manual, but know my vote is irrelevant.

1966-99 William F. Buckley ran Firing Line. He used big words & interviewed everyone. Civilized discussion was always the hallmark of the show, rare these days. Now the great grand-daughter of Herbert Hoover is reviving the show. It (and she) are good!

Harris has what Hilary never had, she’s easy to like. I don’t think Trump could easily dismiss her. In fact, I think there’s a good chance she could shred him in a debate. She showed a lot of gravitas, which surprised me. And she has charisma, which always helps.

I think it’s been the same since I was in grade school. People vote for the candidate they like. When I watch Sanders, I’m hoping he doesn’t have a massive stroke or heart attack mid sentence. So far it looks like Harris has the best chance of becoming the first woman president.

I think the two candidates who improved their chances the most in the election from their debate performance tonight were Mayor Pete and Sen. Kamala Harris. Harris surprised me the most. I didn’t expect her to be as likable as she was. 🇺🇸

For years I said that Silicon Valley should be using their brain power to get a Transporter Room working, rather than un-ending fidding with gadgets. Turns out it was one from my own generation who worked 12 hrs/day 7 days/wk for 15 yrs to produce something great!!

Write About What Interests You

I’ve been very fortunate on the Internet, as most of my early interactions on it were about Bob Dylan, the greatest artist of my generation. His music has interested me greatly since some time in the fall of 1966. That was one of the first things I ever wrote about on the Internet. Why does that mean I was fortunate? Well it meant that when I interacted with other Dylan fans on Usenet (rec.music.dylan) and later on Facebook (EDLIS Café) I was nearly always writing from my own personal experience and on a subject about which I had a lot of passion. Especially in the beginning, there were always tons of people more knowledgable than myself about Dylan, so I didn’t dare pontificate about his music and try to lecture anyone on the subject, BUT I could definitely write about my own personal experiences and opinions, clearly stated as such. So my writing tended to be authentic and passionate. It turned out that a lot of Dylan people liked that and I made a LOT of friends with my writing.

That was a good start for me. This came about just by dumb luck, but maybe not completely. Because when I first got onto the Internet I considered it an amazing resource of useful information, a place where I could explore whatever interested me and in the beginning it was Dylan. Decades later I have participated on Twitter and now on micro.blog, where many people like Dylan too, but it’s not their main interest. So I certainly don’t only write about Dylan. I got very interested in blogging and read everything Dave Winer wrote every day for some years. I loved his blogging tools and when I got onto micro.blog I was pleased to find that I was getting more engagement here than I had been getting on Twitter.

So why is that? Well Twitter is very different from micro.blog. If you desire to be liked and admired, Twitter might be a good place for you to develop a unique personality and following to create that kind of effect for yourself. But I had no interest in that at all. Of course micro.blog de-emphasizes that whole Liking culture, which was fine with me. If I found something that was really interesting to me, I would often write about it in my blog. Looking back, I now believe that people like to read about things which interest another person. But be careful, because interest can manifest itself as either interested or interesting. There is a big difference. A person who is interested in something may be looking at it carefully, being drawn into it, perhaps becoming passionate about it, maybe even becoming an expert on it. That’s what happened with my interest in Dylan. On the other hand, a person who is trying to be interesting may or may not be successful in doing that. Maybe those who are really good at it become famous people, stars in Hollywood, rock stars, elected politicians and so on. That was never me. If one tries to be interesting but does not succeed, one might get labeled as what we called a “show off” in grade school. In my days in school, you didn’t want that label slapped on you. Well I don’t want it in my blogging either.

So my successful action in blogging is to write about those things in which I’m interested, while making no attempt to be interesting. I just want to make sure my writing is authentic, it really comes from inside ME, and is honest and straight forward. This approach is much more appropriate to micro.blog, than it is on Twitter or most of Facebook, where it often seems like the game is to be as interesting as possible. Those platforms are even designed to measure Likes, which is surely a measure of interesting.

If I get really interested in something, I might describe it in a blog post and publish it. For example, one morning my wife and I got up very early to drive to Chicago for an important meeting with Immigration. As the sun was rising, it warmed the fields we were driving past and some mist began to lift up off of them. I found this super interesting and it stuck with me for days. When we got back, I wrote about it to preserve the moment for myself. I wasn’t trying to impress anyone with my writing or to make myself interesting. I just wanted to save what had interested me. I think that posting was a good one.

Decades earlier I witnessed the most amazing symphonic performance of my lifetime. I was buzzing with excitement on the long drive home and long after that. I had witnessed and participated in the performance of silence! I wrote an email to my friend Steve (RIP) about it, and it became one of the most popular pieces I’ve ever written. It was written while I was still in the moment of exhiliaration from the unexpected ending of Mahler’s masterpiece. Once again, I simply wrote an honest description of what I had experienced, an event that held my interest for days and one that has held the interest of many of my readers as well.

I certainly didn’t write either of these examples to be liked or admired. I just wanted to make sure that I would have a way of recording these experiences for My Later Me to re-experience. Dave Winer once wrote, “I want the ability to tell my future self who I am today.” And that’s why he did blogging, writing “This is what blogging is for. I want these memories.” I do too.

In the most recent episode of Micro Monday Episode 65 on 6/24/19, Greg McVerry @jgmac1106 recognized that having a passion is something one can build a blog around. The way he expressed it was “Find a passion. Get a blog!” It seems to me that this is how the web grew in the beginning. A person would have a particular area of interest, expertise and passion, so they would build a website or blog around that subject. People can certainly do that today as well. That’s what I was doing when I built my first website, which was the first large bibliography of books by and about Bob Dylan. I created it between 1995 and 1999, not very long after the Web was first created by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989. The history of the web has been that most websites have not lived for very many years after they were built and in June 1995 there were only 23,500 websites. Most of those have certainly disappeared by now. So my bibliography is certainly one of the oldest websites still in existence.

As I have grown older, I have found myself getting interested in more and more different things. So when I got into blogging, the idea of focusing on just one subject did not appeal to me. I suppose that’s one reason I was attracted to microblogging and the idea of having my own personal blog. That gives me the freedom to write about anything at all that interests me at any given time! So I have not followed the formula of “Find a passion. Get a blog!” Instead, I just go about my life and when I stumble onto something that interests me, I might write about it. It might be the case that my postings on which I am the most passionate and perhaps the most filled with joy, could be the ones which people like to read the most. I have no way to quantify this or prove it with any quantitative measure. But it doesn’t really matter to me, as I’m on to the next thing that might interest or inspire me, after I hit publish on the lastest one I just finished.

There is one huge benefit to my approach, which is a side benefit of my choice to not write for money or to make a living. I never have writer’s block and never feel the pressure of a publishing deadline. I just write and publish when I have something to say. If I have nothing to say, I will write nothing and publish nothing. I will just go about enjoying my life and paying attention to the moment, until something inspires me or strikes me as something notable that might be worthy of being written about. And then I write once again.

Thanks for reading this. I welcome any comments you might have. 😃

Photo by Ross van der Wal on Unsplash.

I've Written Something Important For All to Read --->

One of my friends is a leading sociologist with more books in print than any other sociologist in the US. You may already know about his 20 year best seller called Lies My Teacher Told Me, a truth packed book that has sold around 2 million copies. His most recent book among many, describes ground breaking research he has done in recent years that reveals a history of racism & exclusion in this country that has remained hidden for a very long time, some of it for over a century. This story is not found in normal history books. His is the first book to focus on this subject.

Please go to Amazon and take a look at his new book, Sundown Towns. Click on Read more to get an overview of the subject, and then click on the Amazon preview (Look inside) to read more about it. If you are interested in learning more after that, send me your email address and I will send you the entire text of the first chapter (23 pages in pdf), courtesy of the author. You can send me an email at this address.

As is his usual practice, Dr. Loewen fully documents all of his sources with detailed footnotes. These footnotes will be numbered in the pdf I send you, and you can read the details of each footnote in the book preview at Amazon. Dr. Loewen earned his Ph.D. at Harvard, so his skills as a scholar are strong, but he’s also an excellent writer, telling stories in a clear, engaging way. He grew up as my brother’s best friend, so I know from a lifetime of experience that he is a trusted source of accurate information.

He is the one who unearthed this hidden history. I was quite shocked when I first read about this, but having recognized it, I now consider it important to make it known widely in the country, to bring it out into plain view, where we can all begin to deal with it. It serves no good purpose to keep it hidden after all of these years.

Please share what you think about this here on micro.blog or you can send me a private email if you have questions or comments that you don’t want to share with the world. Of course I will not share your name, email address, or story with anyone, without your written permission.

I finally got around to adding them up. In the last five NBA seasons, the number of games played, including the two months of playoffs were as follows.
Warriors = 515 games
Raptors = 478 games
Difference = 37 games
Best Warriors season 2016-17: 67-15, 4, 4, 4, 5 = 99 gms

Benefits of Being a Dylan Scholar
Here’s a picture (by Cydney Scott) of a friend I made in 1998, when I hosted his visit to Stanford. Here he’s walking at Boston University in 2015 with his co-editors on the most important book of Dylan Lyrics. He looks happy, right?!

In March, Lawrence Ferlinghetti turned 100 years old. I just watched this interview of him from 2007 when he was only 88. I encourage everyone to watch this interview, to see a very literate and intelligent man who changed the world before the days of the Internet.

Disaster at Our Home!
Our adorable wild rabbits consumed my wife’s entire crop of Chinese Long Beans, close to harvest time. I told her they were very hungry & really loved her yummy beans, but she is inconsolable! It’s a 2 hour drive to buy them fresh at the Asian store.

Here's a Woman Politician I Think is Terrific!! --

And now for someone competely different!! I was very impressed by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D - Hawaii), who appeared on Firing Line today. I really like that she is speaking out against regime change wars & she has experience on the ground, having served in the military in combat zones in Iraq & Kuwait. Tulsi is a Samoan name, from her father’s side. She was reared as a Hindu and a vegetarian. I really liked that she spoke from her personal experience in life, not from talking points she’s memorized. And best of all, when asked questions, I can’t remember any politician who has answered immediately with so many direct “Yes” and “No” answers. She is not afraid of taking a position and stating clearly what it is. She is NOT a mealy mouthed politician seeking fame, as some are. Of course she is an underdog, but has been so in every election she has entered and she won them all. Please watch this video to see why such a young woman is running for President. I’ve only known about her for two hours, but from what I’ve seen, I think she’s terrific.

When the NBA Finals are over, I am going to resume my education with the help of stories told by Ken Burns. Vietnam first, the hardest period for my generation by far. Harder than the assassination of JFK, or even the killing of MLK.