The Internet Is for Everyone, Right? Not With a Screen Reader

From Wired:

A few weeks ago, Lucy Greco heard a story on NPR about more clothing retailers shuttering their stores and moving online. Oh, great, she thought, recalling some of her past experiences with online shopping: “You’re clicking on something that says, ‘graphic graphic graphic,’ or some numbered file name, or some gibberish like that.”

The internet can be like this for Greco, who is blind and uses a screen reader to wayfind online. Screen readers convert display text into synthesized speech or refreshable Braille, giving visual displays an audio equivalent. But many websites have features that make them impossible for her to use—unlabeled graphics, forms with missing field labels, links mysteriously named “link.” Greco says she runs into issues like this “90 percent of the time” that she spends online. When she does, entire chunks of the internet disappear.

Since the 1990s, the popular narrative of the internet has been one of progress: More people are online than ever and the web is increasingly open. But today, the internet is far from fully accessible. By some measures, it’s gotten even worse.

There are around 7 million people with a visual disability in the United States, according to the National Federation of the Blind.

. . . .

One study by an accessibility software company this August found that 70 percent of the websites it surveyed, ranging from ecommerce to news to government services, contain “accessibility blocks,” or quirks in the design that make them unreadable with assistive technology. Another accessibility report analyzing the top million homepages on the web estimates that just 1 percent meet the most widely used accessibility standards.

Link to the rest at Wired
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Mondegreen

From Thoughtco:

A mondegreen is a word or phrase that results from mishearing or misinterpreting a statement or song lyric. Also known as an oronym.

The term mondegreen was coined in 1954 by American writer Sylvia Wright and popularized by San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll. The term was inspired by “Lady Mondegreen,” a misinterpretation of the line “hae laid him on the green” from the Scottish ballad “The Bonny Earl o Moray.”

According to J. A. Wines, mondegreens often occur because “the English language is rich in homophones–words which may not be the same in origin, spelling or meaning, but which sound the same” (Mondegreens: A Book of Mishearings, 2007).

. . . .

“The point about what I shall hereafter call mondegreens, since no one else has thought up a word for them, is that they are better than the original.”
(Sylvia Wright, “The Death of Lady Mondegreen.” Harper’s, November 1954)

. . . .

  • “I led the pigeons to the flag” (for “I pledge allegiance to the flag”)
  • “There’s a bathroom on the right” (for “There’s a bad moon on the rise” in “Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival)
  • “Excuse me while I kiss this guy” (for the Jimi Hendrix lyric “Excuse me while I kiss the sky”)

. . . .

  • “The girl with colitis goes by” (for “the girl with kaleidoscope eyes” in “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” by the Beatles)

. . . .

  • “The girl from Emphysema goes walking” (for “The girl from Ipanema goes walking” in “The Girl from Ipanema,” as performed by Astrud Gilberto)

Link to the rest at Thoughtco and thanks to Karen for the reminder in her comment to an earlier TPV post.
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The Diatomist

PG had no idea some diatomists – those who study diatoms – engage in the art of arranging diatoms.

The first diatom arrangements date back to the early 1800s, but the art form reached its peak in the latter part of the century. It was a period of intense interest in the natural world and also a time when the arts and sciences were more closely aligned. Diatom arrangements are a stunning example of that particularly Victorian desire to bring order to the world, to display nature in a rational way.

If you’re a little rusty on your knowledge of diatoms, according to The Smithsonian, diatoms, very tiny forms of plant life, range in size from 5 microns to 200 microns. A micron is one-thousandth of a millimeter. A diatom arrangement of 100 forms would fit inside a punctuation mark of average-size text. A single drop of water can contain hundreds of thousands of phytoplankton, free-floating plant life, most of which will likely be diatoms.

Diatoms are also the tiny friends of all life upon the earth – about half of the oxygen in the atmosphere originates from plants living in the ocean, chiefly the untold numbers of phytoplankton in the oceans of the world. The other half comes from plants on land.

Diatoms are not to be confused with Zooplankton, microscopic free-floating animals which feed on phytoplankton and are, in turn food sources for slightly larger aquatic life forms.

Typically, you would view artistic arrangements of diatoms either through a microscope or via microscopic photos or videos.

Eugene V. Debs

Today is celebrated as Labor Day in the United States.

One of the early heroes of what was called The Labor Movement was Eugene V. Debs.

From American Experience:

Outspoken leader of the labor movement, Eugene Debs opposed Woodrow Wilson as the Socialist Party candidate in the 1912 Presidential Election. Later, he would continue to rally against President Wilson and his decision to take American into war — and be jailed for it under the Espionage Act.

Debs was born in Terre Haute, Indiana in 1855, the son of poor Alsatian immigrants. Though his parents encouraged an intellectual spirit, Debs left high school after one year to become a locomotive paint-scraper. There, among the rough-and-tumble of railway men, Debs found his calling. From his membership in the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen to his role co-founding the Industrial Workers of the World (the “wobblies”), Debs raised his voice in defense of the common man.

The years leading up to the turn of the twentieth century brought America unprecedented prosperity — but relatively few people, men like Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller Sr., controlled the new wealth. For the nation’s working class, and leaders like Eugene Debs, it was a time to be angry. From steel fabrication to mining, American industries saw major protests as workers tried to secure 8-hour workdays, living wages, and other fundamental improvements.

After leading the American Railway Union in a confrontation with federal troops sent to break up the Pullman strike of 1894, Debs was jailed for six months for contempt of court. It was then that he came to a set of beliefs that roughly mirrored the socialist tenets of the European labor movements. Upon his release, Debs became a featured speaker for the Socialist Party, and ran for president in 1900 as their nominee. He lost, but continued to be the party’s candidate in several subsequent elections.

Debs found his greatest success in the 1912 Election, when he campaigned against Democratic nominee Woodrow Wilson, incumbent President William Howard Taft, and former President Theodore Roosevelt. Debs received almost a million votes – six percent of the ballots cast.

Link to the rest at American Experience.

Debs was accused of sedition because of the anti-WWI speech he’d given in Canton, Ohio, on June 16, 1918. Found guilty on ten counts under the Espionage and Sedition Acts, he would eventually be sentenced to 10 years.

Following is a reading of an excerpt of a speech Debs gave to the court on Sept 18, 1918.


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A reminder that PG does not always agree with items he posts.

Amazon offered vendors ‘Amazon’s Choice’ labels in return for ad spending and lower prices

From DigiDay:

Amazon has previously offered vendors the ability to “bid” for an Amazon’s Choice badge by lowering prices and spending more money on advertising, bringing into sharper focus how the program, which recently came under fire from senators, actually works.

It’s unclear whether or not this offer was taken up by any Amazon vendors, or how long the program was offered before it was discontinued. One source believed it was only offered for a few months.

Amazon’s Choice label, which is a mark that denotes that an item is recommended, gives certain products and items higher and more obvious placement in search results. While it’s unclear how exactly the mark is earned, it’s been accepted that it’s generally a mix of product listing and specifications, price and reviews, operated by Amazon’s algorithms.

But sources say that Amazon actually offered sellers the chance to bid on the mark back in 2017.

A pitch deck reviewed by Digiday details a 2017 bidding program for the Amazon’s Choice badge in a particular product category. The deck explained the Amazon’s Choice program, which launched in 2015, as valuable to brands in that it increases the visibility of a product listing in Amazon’s search results, which then drives an increase in units sold and revenue over time. An example for an Amazon’s Choice-recommended electronic showed a 10% increase in units sold over one quarter and an immediate increase in the number of people going to the product page over a few weeks.

While Amazon didn’t set up an outright pay-to-play system for its coveted Amazon’s Choice badge, which increases visibility and conversion rates for product listings that receive the tag, it did set up an internal process that could be seen as manipulating the Amazon’s Choice system.

In an email requesting confirmation and information on whether this program existed, an Amazon spokesperson denied that this program was offered.

. . . .

An agency source said that while this bidding program ran briefly in 2017, Amazon rolled it back and Amazon’s Choice badges are now driven by Amazon’s algorithms. According to Amazon’s vendor and seller resources, Amazon’s Choice is rewarded to product listings that have high in-stock and conversion rates, high customer ratings, competitive prices and Prime shipping. But nefarious recommendations from Amazon have come under scrutiny: In a report in June that reviewed dozens of Amazon’s Choice products, BuzzFeed found that Amazon frequently recommended inferior and defective products, as well as products whose reviews had been manipulated by the seller.

Link to the rest at DigiDay

PG was reminded the following song, titled “Don’t Be Stupid.” (Given the title, he has no idea why people are dancing in water).

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An Author Heads to the Stage

From Publishing Perspectives:

As I bundled up my 225-page memoir manuscript and mailed it to editor Jane Rosenman, I hoped she would reveal the magic formula for transforming my pages into a book. I’d received glowing rejections but still no takers for my story, The Inheritance, about how, six weeks after my mother died, I discovered that she had disinherited me, and my quest to understand why.

Although Rosenman found much to praise, some aspects of my story still weren’t working, including a whiff of bitterness on the page. Yet who wouldn’t be bitter after being blindsided from beyond the grave? But the problem with bitterness, I later discovered, is that it lacks drama.

As I was revising the manuscript, I received an invitation to perform a 10-minute story with Portland Story Theater in Oregon, where I live. When I walked onto the stage, into the pressure cooker of live performance, something happened: my bitterness transformed into humor, and I discovered a liveliness and emotional depth that had not been as evident on the page.

Was I onto something that could help me crack open my story? To find out, I enrolled in a solo performance class with Seth Barrish at New York City’s Barrow Group Theatre, who I then hired to help me craft a performance of my story. With script in hand, I secured a director—Lauren Bloom Hanover—and performed the 50-minute, one-person show, retitled Firstborn, at Performance Works Northwest in Portland, as part of the Fertile Ground Festival. My minitour culminated with my off-Broadway performance at the United Solo Theatre Festival last October, where Jane was in the audience.

. . . .

By telling my story on stage, I found not only its through line but also its beating heart. Writing for performance also gave me more to work with than just the words. Now I had my body, voice, lighting, and music, plus props and images. Also, I could take shortcuts: a transition could be made with a turn of my body or a look to the audience. As Jane said when I spoke with her afterward, the demands of performance helped me get to the “nub of the story.”

Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives

 

New Documentary Focuses on Ursula K. Le Guin

From The Wall Street Journal:

“Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin” is the first documentary about the pioneering science-fiction writer—and pretty much the first film of any kind to showcase her work. Although Ms. Le Guin was writing about dragons and wizard schools back in 1968 for her Earthsea series, there have been no high-profile movies based on her 20 novels or more than 100 short stories.

“I don’t think Harry Potter would have existed without Earthsea existing,” author Neil Gaiman says in the documentary, which premieres Friday on PBS. Ms. Le Guin’s Earthsea cycle, a young-adult series about a sprawling archipelago of island kingdoms, included five novels and many stories written between 1968 and 2001.

Other writers who discuss Ms. Le Guin’s work and influence in the film include Margaret Atwood (“The Handmaid’s Tale”), David Mitchell (“Cloud Atlas”) and Michael Chabon (“The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay”).

“I think she’s one of the greatest writers that the 20th-century American literary scene produced,” Mr. Chabon says.

. . . .

“I never wanted to be a writer—I just wrote,” she says in the film. Believing science fiction should be less about predicting the future than observing the present, she invented fantastical worlds that were their own kind of anthropology, exploring how societies work.

In her 1969 novel “The Left Hand of Darkness,” she introduces a genderless race of beings who are sexually active once a month, either as a man or woman—but don’t know which it will be. Her 1973 short story, “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas,” introduces a utopian city where everyone is happy. But readers learn that this blissful world is entirely dependent on one child being imprisoned in a basement and mistreated. The joy of all the people hinges on the child being forced to suffer, and everyone knows it. The author had been horrified to learn through her father’s research about the slaughter of native tribes that made modern California possible.

. . . .

As a female sci-fi writer, “my species was once believed to be mythological, like the tribble and the unicorn,” Ms. Le Guin said in an address before the 1975 Worldcon science-fiction convention in Melbourne, Australia. Her work was called feminist sci-fi, but she grew into that label awkwardly. “There was a considerable feeling that we needed to cut loose from marriage, from men, and from motherhood. And there was no way I was gonna do that,” she said. “Of course I can write novels with one hand and bring up three kids with the other. Yeah, sure. Watch me.”

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal (Sorry if you encounter a paywall)

 

The Secret to Success on Youtube? Kids

From Wired:

Kids love YouTube. They love the pinging of the xylophones in the upbeat “Thank you song” on CoCoMelon, a channel with more than 53 million subscribers that plays animated nursery rhymes. They love watching other kids open and test toys, as they do on Ryan ToysReview (subscriber count: 20,749,585). And they love the Baby Shark song. Possibly because of the fun dance moves and possibly because they want to drive adults crazy.

These trends are nothing new, but now we have more than vast subscriber counts or astounding click numbers to illustrate just how central videos featuring kids are to the platform. In a report Thursday, the Pew Research Center said that in the vast ecosystem of YouTube’s English-language videos, children’s content and content featuring kids under 13 are some of the most popular videos on the site.

For the study, researchers analyzed the videos posted by 43,000 YouTube channels, each with more than 250,000 subscribers, during the first week of 2019. There was a lot to work with. In those seven days, these channels posted almost a quarter-million videos totalling more than 48,000 hours. For the record, the authors note, “a single person watching videos for eight hours a day (with no breaks or days off) would need more than 16 years to watch all the content.”

Those videos covered everything from politics to video games. Most were not intended for kids. But the most popular featured kids. Researchers found that just 2 percent of the videos they analyzed featured a child or children that appeared to be younger than 13. “However, this small subset of videos averaged three times as many views as did other types of videos,” says the report.

There have been studies of niche communities within YouTube, but “We hadn’t seen something like this done before,” says Aaron Smith, director of the data lab team at Pew. Although YouTube children’s content wasn’t the impetus for the study, Smith says the results weren’t surprising: “We had a sense that this kind of content would be fairly popular. We know that lots of parents let their kids watch videos on YouTube.”

Videos with cheery, if nonsensical, titles like “Funny Uncle John Pretend Play w/ Pizza Food Kitchen Restaurant Cooking Kids Toys,” and “No No, Baby Rides the Scooter!” racked up over 6 million views each. “SUPERHERO BABIES MAKE A GINGERBREAD HOUSE SUPERHERO BABIES PLAY DOH CARTOONS FOR KIDS,” attracted almost 14 million views.

Not all the videos that featured young kids were nursery rhymes or traditional kids content like Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Pew’s analysis found that only 21 percent of videos featuring children appeared to have been aimed at kids. But videos that were both aimed at kids and featured kids were the most popular videos in Pew’s analysis, averaging four times as many views as other “general audience” videos.

As for the other 79 percent of videos that had kids but weren’t directly aimed at children? They did better too, getting “substantially more” attention than other videos aimed at teens and adults. The five most popular videos from the week Pew studied included a baby name reveal and family vlogs with titles like “WELCOMING A NEW MEMBER OF FAMILY!!” One was a sliming video. None are immediately alarming, though Smith couldn’t comment on why that kind of content was so attractive to so many viewers. “Why that type of material pops is unclear to me,” he says. “Someone clearly is enjoying it but it’s not clear who those folks are or what their motivations are for doing that.”

Link to the rest at Wired

PG’s general impression is that the videos that traditional publishers post on YouTube to promote books look cheap and are lame. The ones he recalls had very few viewers at the time he checked them.

However, he wondered if any authors have popular YouTube channels that play a significant part in the promotion and marketing of their books. Feel free to point out examples in the comments.

PG is particularly interested in productive YouTube channels from authors who are not megaseller/JK Rowling, etc., authors.

The Most Terrifying Buildings in Literature

From Crime Reads:

We’ve all read enough ghosts stories to know to stay far away from haunted houses. A night at Hill House? Never. An overnight stay at The Amityville Horrorhouse? You’d have to kill me first. Even an invitation to visit Manderley, the opulent estate at the heart of Rebecca, might give one pause.

Apartment buildings and hotels are a different story. They’re less frightening because they’re the opposite of a house—tall and imposing, with dozens of floors, hundreds of rooms, people constantly coming and going. After all, there’s safety in numbers.

Yet there are a few buildings—most fictional, one that was all too real—that you should never go near, let alone spend a night in. These are the buildings of nightmares. Places where bad things happen to good people, where neighbors can’t be trusted, and where something sinister lurks behind every locked door.

Building: The Central Plaza Mansion

Book: The Graveyard Apartment, by Mariko Koike

When choosing an apartment building, it’s best to avoid ones situated right next to a cemetery. And a crematorium. And a Buddhist temple. That’s advice the Kano family should have followed before moving into this apartment complex in the suburbs of Tokyo. As soon as they arrive, their daughter’s pet bird dies. Then that bird’s ghost starts visiting in the middle of the night. Then their neighbors begin to flee the building. Then things really start to get weird.

. . . .

Building: The Manderley Resort

Book: Security, by Gina Wohlsdorf

Unlike the estate at the heart of Rebecca, this is a Manderley you don’t want to dream about. As hotels go, it’s a beauty. But as overworked staff members prep the resort for its grand opening, a masked killer roams the halls. Make that two masked killers. Or maybe three, because the all-knowing, all-seeing narrator watching the horror unfold via security monitors doesn’t seem too interested in trying to stop the carnage.

Link to the rest at Crime Reads

And speaking of Manderley.

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Yesterday

Not much to do with writing, but perhaps a writing prompt.

The premise for a new movie PG just stumbled upon, Yesterday, is that due to some cosmic occurrence a small-time struggling musician is the only person on the earth who remembers The Beatles and their songs. For everyone else, The Beatles never existed.

Here’s a trailer:

From The Wall Street Journal:

How much is an idea worth? In show business it often depends on who came up with it.

In the surreal comedy “Yesterday,” a struggling musician catapults to fame by singing Beatles tunes as if they were his own, following a freak occurrence that erases the band from the world’s collective awareness.

The real-life story behind the movie, in theaters Friday, tracks nearly the opposite trajectory: A struggling screenwriter comes up with an original idea, but can’t get the project made until he passes the torch onto someone much more famous.

. . . .

Moderately successful TV writer Jack Barth had spent many a hard day’s night trying to write for the big screen, penning more than 20 scripts over the course of his career—none of which he had ever managed to sell. Then, inspired partly by his own failures, the 62-year-old Mr. Barth had the idea for “Yesterday,” and spent a few years trying to get his script made into a movie. But it wasn’t until Richard Curtis—the acclaimed writer and director of “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Love Actually”—heard Mr. Barth’s idea that the dream started to become a reality.

Although Mr. Curtis had experience adapting other people’s ideas—most notably with Helen Fielding’s novel “Bridget Jones’s Diary”—in this case he preferred to write his own version of the story. Mr. Barth, selling his idea for what he calls “a fair price,” hoped for the best, knowing he no longer controlled the film’s fate. He didn’t reveal the price.

Mr. Barth credits Mr. Curtis with writing a charming movie, even though their respective scripts take different turns; in Mr. Barth’s more cynical version, the film’s protagonist, also named Jack, fails to attain stardom.

“My view was, even if I woke up and I was the only person to know “Star Wars” or Harry Potter, I probably wouldn’t be very successful with it, because that’s kind of the way things have gone for me,” Mr. Barth says.

. . . .

“When I wrote my version I hadn’t actually read Jack’s; that was the deal,” Mr. Curtis says. “So I guess it was my natural instinct that went for a more optimistic version.”

. . . .

Because of his decision to sell the script, Mr. Barth can’t take credit for writing the movie and isn’t accorded the coveted “Screenplay By” credit. Instead, he shares the less prestigious “Story By” credit with Mr. Curtis, which means he is also ineligible to receive major awards.

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal (Sorry if you encounter a paywall)

The Biggest Book-To-Movie Adaptations of the Summer

From BookBub:

Every book lover experiences a little thrill when news breaks that their favorite book will be adapted into a movie. Whether you enjoy seeing cherished characters fleshed out on screen or cataloging the differences between book and film, seeing the movie version is all part of the literary experience. During these hotter months, cool off in a theater while watching one of these amazing novels brought to life. From childhood favorite Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark to bestselling hit Where’d You Go, Bernadette, here are the biggest book to movie adaptations summer 2019 has to offer.

A Dog’s Journey by W. Bruce Cameron

Expect as many laughs and as tears from this heartwarming sequel to 2017’s A Dog’s Purpose (based on Cameron’s book of the same name). Starring Dennis Quaid, Josh Gad, and Marg Helgenberger, A Dog’s Journey tells the story of Bailey — now reincarnated as a beagle named Molly — who is adopted from an animal shelter by C.J., the young granddaughter of Bailey’s original owner, Ethan. Pet lovers and book lovers alike can also look forward to the third book in the trilogy, A Dog’s Promise, set to be published in October of 2019.

. . . .

Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple

Cate Blanchett stars as Bernadette, a former brilliant architect who doesn’t like interacting with people or leaving the house. When she disappears, it’s up to her 15-year-old daughter, Bee, to find her. Bee learns unexpected secrets about her mother and must travel to the literal ends of the earth — Antarctica — to solve the mystery of her disappearance. The movie also boasts a cast of blockbuster actors like Kristen Wiig, Billy Crudup, and Laurence Fishburne.


Link to the rest at BookBub



When the Irish Invaded Canada

From The Wall Street Journal:

Late in the evening on May 31, 1866, a private army of several hundred Irish rebels marched through Buffalo, N.Y., and crossed a narrow section of the Niagara River into the British colony of Canada. An unlikely invasion had begun.

The commander of the force, John Charles O’Neill, was a native of County Monaghan who had immigrated to the U.S. as a child and served in the Union Army during the Civil War, suffering severe injuries at the Siege of Knoxville in 1863. O’Neill was a member of the Fenian Brotherhood, the American branch of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, an oath-bound secret society dedicated to the violent overthrow of British rule in Ireland. A largely forgotten figure in the annals of Irish history, O’Neill emerges as the quixotic hero of Christopher Klein’s “When the Irish Invaded Canada,” which details a madcap series of cross-border Fenian raids between 1866 and 1871.

The Irish revolutionists were a quarrelsome lot, riven by factionalism, financial mismanagement, British informers and a major strategic dispute. O’Neill was among those who believed that an invasion of Canada, led by Irish-American veterans of the Civil War, would be the first step in winning Ireland’s freedom, an idea vociferously opposed by James Stephens, the leader of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, who thought a Canadian incursion would be “suicidal.”

“The objective point is Ireland,” Stephens insisted, “not Canada, Japan, or any of those distant regions that do not concern Irishmen.”

By the time O’Neill’s ragtag army reached Canadian soil, we are told, 200 of the soldiers had abandoned the cause, “some dissuaded by second thoughts, others lured into passing saloons by the gratification awaiting at the bottom of a whiskey bottle.” Yet on June 2, a few miles from the border in the village of Ridgeway, the Fenians succeeded in defeating several hundred Canadian militiamen. The victory marked, according to Mr. Klein’s accounting, the first time Irish soldiers defeated forces of the British Empire since the Battle of Fontenoy in 1745. It was the high moment of the Fenian raids, a symbolic victory over British hegemony that, according to the Nation newspaper in Dublin, “fills our people with tumultuous emotions impossible to describe, impossible to conceal.”

. . . .

A few days later, a Fenian force of a few hundred men repeated the farce 80 miles to the west, marching upon a large gathering of Canadian militia and British troops at Trout River. The retreat was closer to a stampede. “Had the Fenians remained upon the ground ten minutes longer,” wrote a New York newspaper, “not one of them would have been left to tell the tale.”

Upon returning to the U.S., O’Neill, who had escaped conviction in the Ridgeway invasion, was found guilty of violating U.S. neutrality laws for his role in the Eccles Hill disaster. In true Irish nationalist tradition, he gave a stirring speech from the dock on July 29, 1870: “No matter what may be my fate here—I am still an Irishman, and while I have tried to be a faithful citizen of America, I am still an Irishman, with all the instincts of an Irishman.” President Ulysses S. Grant, who sputtered his contempt for the Fenian troublemakers, eventually issued an unconditional pardon. “The lure of the Irish vote,” Mr. Klein writes, “ultimately proved too powerful for Grant.”

. . . .

His military career over, O’Neill turned to real estate, urging Irish families from the East to relocate to settlements he established on the Great Plains. “We could build up a young Ireland on the virgin prairies of Nebraska,” he wrote, “and there rear a monument more lasting than granite or marble to the Irish race in America.” The town of O’Neill, Neb., is named for him.

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal (Sorry if you encounter a paywall)

PG did a little checking and found that O’Neill, Nebraska, is a town of about 3,700 people located in Northeast Nebraska near the South Dakota line.

O’Neill has not let memories of its Irish founding die and is the home of the world’s largest permanent painted shamrock, located in the middle of the town’s main intersection.

Turned Pages

As even the least-observant visitor to TPV has noticed, PG has been on a video spree. He promises this will not continue, but he will post a handful of additional book-related videos he has discovered during his brief video journey.

The following 8-minute documentary is titled Turned Pages.

 

Bookstores in Movies – 6

Crossing Delancy

From IMDB:

Isabelle (Amy Irving) is a young independent woman who works in a bookstore. She meets regularly with her friends, and often goes to visit and spends time with her Jewish grandmother (wonderfully played by Reizl Bozyk), or bubbie as she calls her, who thinks its sad that she doesn’t have a man in her life. Trying to do something about that, her grandmother hires a marriage broker, and Isabelle ends up getting fixed up with a guy who sells pickles, Sam Posner (Peter Riegert). Isabelle is not very happy about it to begin with, since she is interested in the writer Anton Maes (Jeroen Krabbé), who does readings at the bookstore she works in. She is not very interested in Sam to begin with, and declines his offer to take her out when they meet for the first time at her grandmothers apartment. Sam is very persistent though, and Isabelle starts to warm up to him slowly as he woos his way into her heart. Still being very interested in Anton Maes, she fixes Sam up with her best friend Ricky. A good idea to begin with, but as Isabelle starts to like Sam more and more and discovers that maybe Anton Maes isn’t that great, she starts spending more time with Sam.

Link to the rest at IMDB

Bookstores in Movies – 5

The Bookshop

From IMDB:

England, 1959. Free-spirited widow Florence Green (Emily Mortimer) risks everything to open a bookshop in a conservative East Anglian coastal town. While bringing about a surprising cultural awakening through works by Ray Bradbury and Vladimir Nabokov, she earns the polite but ruthless opposition of a local grand dame (Patricia Clarkson) and the support and affection of a reclusive book loving widower (Bill Nighy). As Florence’s obstacles amass and bear suspicious signs of a local power struggle, she is forced to ask: is there a place for a bookshop in a town that may not want one? Based on Penelope Fitzgerald’s acclaimed novel and directed by Isabel Coixet (Learning to Drive), The Bookshop is an elegant yet incisive rendering of personal resolve, tested in the battle for the soul of a community.

Link to the rest at IMDB

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