The continuing adventures of Beau Yarbrough

A year after San Bernardino woman’s jailhouse death, family seeks answers

Saturday, February 25, 2017, 18:16
Section: Journalism

Photo taken with an iPhone 7 Plus in Portrait mode, which fakes a shortened focal length.

The story on the protest is located here.

Jalisco mariachi

Sunday, February 12, 2017, 18:21
Section: Miscellany

I flew down to visit my parents in Ajijic, a village in Jalisco, Mexico, where they’ve retired. We were participating in the 39th annual Mexican National Chili Cook-Off (we came in second place).

The next day, we went to the county seat of Chapala to take in e malecon and relax.

iPod Top 100: 2016

Sunday, January 1, 2017, 14:09
Section: Arts & Entertainment

Like so many other things 2016-related, I’m not going to even try to justify that title making sense any more. This is also the first one of these lists to feature a band I first heard playing live at a presidential candidate’s rally. And finally, also true to 2016, there’s a lot of dead people on this year’s list.

1. “Never Come Back Again” – Austin Plaine
2. “Sleep When Dead” – A Giant Dog
3. “All Work” – Fever High
4. “I Shall Rise (From ‘Rise of the Tomb Raider’)” – Karen O
5. “Ain’t I a Man” – The Foghorns
6. “This Land is Your Land” – Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
7. “Let’s Be Still” – The Head and the Heart
8. “I Can Be Afraid of Anything” – The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die
9. “Make the World” – Lee Fields & the Expressions
10. “Lady Liberty” – Dressy Bessy
11. “Tangerines” – The Gods Themselves
12. “Stop” – Jane’s Addiction
13. “Authority Song” – John Cougar Mellencamp
14. “Girl From Conejo Valley” – M. Ward
15. “Runaway” – Nice As Fuck
16. “I Could Never Take The Place of Your Man” – Prince
17. “Drive North” – SWMRS
18. “Kirby” – Aesop Rock
19. “Grown Man” – Full Moon Royalty
20. “Nothing More to Say” – The Frightnrs
21. “Bad Reputation” – Joan Jett
22. “Video Games” – Lana Del Rey
23. “Katmandu” – Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
24. “Good Girls” – Elle King
25. “Hurt” – Johnny Cash

26. “Hole in My Soul” – Kaiser Chiefs
27. “Tiki Hut” – Miles Corbin
28. “You Know I’m No Good” – Arctic Monkeys
29. “Fishing Blues (feat. The Grouch)” – Atmosphere
30. “One Big Holiday” – My Morning Jacket
31. “Guns” – Nice As Fuck
32. “California (Tchad Blake Mix)” – Phantom Planet
33. “Can’t Hardly Wait” – The Replacements
34. “I’m Still Here” – Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
35. “Hey You” – The Thermals
36. “California Kids” – Weezer
37. “Valerie” – Amy Winehouse
38. “Space Oddity” – David Bowie
39. “Mujer Moderna” – Fea
40. “You Want It Darker” – Leonard Cohen
41. “Sweet Child O’ Mine” – The Martini Kings
42. “Little Red Corvette” – Prince
43. “Awkward Waltz” – Acapulco Lips
44. “Bravado” – Aqua Velvets
45. “Shame” – Big Bad Hats
46. “Hightimes” – The Big Pink
47. “Keep on Keepin’ On” – Bleached
48. “No Sleep Till Brooklyn (Daft Science Remix)” – Coins
49. “The Midnight Special” – Creedence Clearwater Revival
50. “Changes” – David Bowie

51. “Green Peppers” – Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
52. “Blue Jeans” – Lana Del Rey
53. “Take Five” – Martini Kings
54. “Galaxy Song” – Monty Python
55. “1999 (Edit)” – Prince
56. “Killing in the Name (Live)” – Prophets of Rage
57. “Taurus” – Spirit
58. “Ha Ha Ha Ha (Yeah)” – White Denim
59. “Gringo” – Aqua Velvets
60. “Jockey Full of Bourbon” – The Blue Hawaiians
61. “Daydream” – Britta Phillips
62. “Alive/Intergalactic (Daft Science Remix)” – Coins
63. “Three Packs a Day” – Courtney Barnett
64. “Life on Mars?” – David Bowie
65. “Too Soon” – DMA’S
66. “Dancing With Myself” – The Donnas
67. “Where the Night Goes” – Josh Ritter
68. “Bone” – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
69. “Soul Bossa Nova” – The Martini Kings
70. “Angel” – Nice As Fuck
71. “Take Me With U” – Prince & The Revolution
72. “100 Days, 100 Nights” – Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
73. “Where Did You Sleep Last Night (Live)” – Sonny Knight & The Lakers
74. “Black Hole Sun” – Soundgarden
75. “Swampbilly Hop” – Aqua Velvets

76. “The Kingdom of the Universe” – Ashley Park
77. “Red House” – Chase Walker Band
78. “Fame” – David Bowie
79. “Radio” – Lana Del Rey
80. “Hurtin’ (On the Bottle)” – Margo Price
81. “Cantaloupe Island” – Martini Kings
82. “Door” – Nice As Fuck
83. “Numb” – O.J.R.
84. “Killer” – Phoebe Bridgers
85. “Darling Nikki” – Prince & The Revolution
86. “Prophets of Rage” – Prophets of Rage
87. “Dark Necessities” – Red Hot Chili Peppers
88. “Another Lie” – Stewart Lindsey
89. “L.A. Girlz” – Weezer
90. “Beauty and the Beach” – Aqua Velvets
91. “Ain’t It a Sin” – Charles Bradley
92. “Nothing But Love” – James
93. “Homerun” – Nice As Fuck
94. “Raspberry Beret” – Prince
95. “No Sleep Til Cleveland (Live)” – Prophets of Rage
96. “Good Man” – Raphael Saadiq
97. “All For One” – The Stone Roses
98. “Orange Color Queen” – Ty Segall
99. “Bulletproof Love (feat. Method Man)” – Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad
100. “Surf Boogie” – Aqua Velvets

Previous editions can be found here: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. This is now a long-term longitudinal study with data that no one but me cares about.

Books read, 2016

Sunday, January 1, 2017, 13:09
Section: Arts & Entertainment

I’ve done the impossible and read a whole 16 books in a year. (I know, I know, but I have two small children and an increasingly demanding job.) My goal for next year: 17.

And yes, I read a lot of J. K. Rowling this year. She was busy in 2016.

Feb. 4: Medusa’s Web by Tim Powers
March 29: Owls Hoot in the Daytime and Other Omens by Manly Wade Wellman
May 17: The Art of War by Sun Tzu
May 28: Lord of the Rings: Weapons and Warfare by Christopher Smith
July 3: A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R. R. Martin
Aug. 4: In Other News: Reporters on Reporting by Stephanie Forshee & Rosie Downey
Sept. 3: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany
Sept. 10: Rum Punch by Elmore Leonard
Oct. 23: The Writer’s Guide to Life in the Middle Ages by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Oct. 24: Crooked by Austin Grossman
Oct. 24: Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies by J.K. Rowling
Nov. 11: Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists by J.K. Rowling
Nov. 23: Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide by J.K. Rowling
Dec. 7: Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff
Dec. 10: The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson
Dec. 27: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling

In Other News: Reporters on Reporting

Friday, August 5, 2016, 7:48
Section: Arts & Entertainment,Journalism

Originally published on Goodreads:

In Other News: Reporters on ReportingIn Other News: Reporters on Reporting by Stephanie Forshee and Rosie Downey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Note: Turn to the last page of the book, and there I am, a Kickstarter backer of this book.

“In Other News: Reporters on Reporting” fills a valuable role for new or prospective journalists, particularly reporters, looking for some career guidance. As newsrooms have shrunk, which nearly all of them have, so to have the number of available mentors, in part because even would-be mentors often find themselves too busy to help out, even when they want to.

So this book fills that gap, with interviews with a dozen journalists from across the United States, and at a mix of print, online and broadcast outlets. Stephanie Forshee and Rosie Downey also interviewed a good number of female journalists and journalists of color, the latter of whom are still in woefully small supply across most outlets, and whose voices are especially needed by new journalists looking for advice.

The interviews tend to be about their career paths, and include other voices from the journalists’ paths, although in the cases of particularly interesting pieces they’ve worked on, the interviews may end up focusing on a particular story or series instead.

The book’s not perfect. It could use at least one more good edit, for one thing: The first interview uses “self-admittedly,” which would cause most copy editors I’ve known in the past 25 years to scream, and the last piece includes quotes from a former co-worker of the subject, but never gives their first name or an explanation why it’s not included. But those errors are a lesson for new reporters, as well.

And despite the fact that the two authors both work for smaller outfits themselves, the book is entirely focused on larger, more famous publications — I think all of the newspapers mentioned in the book are in the top 25 in the nation by circulation, despite the fact that there are more than 1,200 newspapers being published today. That gives the unfortunate impression that these larger market publications are what “real” journalism is about and that it’s what new journalists should aspire to, despite the fact that most of the journalists at those publications aren’t going to be leaving any time soon (and if they are, there often won’t be a job opening left when they do), and that there isn’t any good work being done at small publications. (Daniel Gilbert of the 39,000-circulation Herald Courier in Bristol, Virginia, won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, and my colleagues won the Pulitzer for Local Reporting in 2015 while at the 57,000-circulation Daily Breeze in Torrance.)

But those, honestly, are quibbles, and maybe something to be addressed in a second edition. Because this is a book that new and aspiring journalists should be reading, especially those who weren’t born with a passion to become a journalist or who didn’t take the route through a prestigious undergraduate journalism program and an expensive graduate degree program. There are journalists in this book, some of them household names, who didn’t decide on journalism until decades into adulthood and many others who took circuitous paths to get to where they are today. The big lesson of this book — that there’s no one “right” way to make it in journalism — is one I think every journalist at the start of what is still an immensely satisfying, if challenging, career path ought to hear.

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