Rob Williams's blog

MUSIC REVIEW: Singing the Blues, Effortlessly: Chris Smither Plays Mad River

Most folks who’ve ever listened to the blues casually assume that this time-worn and much-appropriated musical genre is more or less focused on all things depressing – cheatin’, lyin’, stealin’, boozin’, lustin’, heartbreak, and life’s many other sorrows and woes.

While this is certainly true, there is an often-overlooked playful aspect to blues music, as well, and few blues musicians capture the clever side of blues better than Massachussetts blues veteran Chris Smither.

THE DARK SIDE: Life Without Television

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ROB'S NOTE: Thanks to Frank Baker for passing on this fascinating article.

I was asked last week by a local reporter here in Vermont's Mad River Valley how I was coping with the digital set top box conversion, the subject of much consternation and angst in my community these past few weeks.

I answered as truthfully as I could - "I have no opinion since I have not owned or watched television since 1985."

Now I am trying to decide if I am "crunchy granola," "a religious right ultraconservative," or just a plain cave-dweller.

Enjoy, and happy Friday,


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CLASSROOM: "Persuasion and the Presidential Campaign" - Activity

Hi ACME friends.

I trust everyone has had a fine summer.

Here's a suggested opening few weeks media/communications class activity.

Download and print out Barack Obama's presidential acceptance speech.

After teaching students to identify the language of persuasion, assign each of them a 1-2 paragraphs of the speech, and make a list of Obama's use of persuasive language - we have a list of more than 24 techniques at the web site available in a free downloadable two page format.

Discuss your findings together.

Denver Convention 2008: Show Time and Media Hype (Boorstin's IMAGE lives...)

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Rob's note: I've been sifting through a tremendous number of convention articles - this one seemed useful. Folks familiar with Daniel Boorstin's classic THE IMAGE would do well to re-read it right about now.

Convention stage is a show in itself
By David Bauder, Associated Press Wed Aug 27, (Via Yahoo News)

The stage of the Democratic National Convention is a mix of modern stagecraft and political consciousness.

Three plasma screens tower 103 feet above the stage. A video projection wall backs speakers with a sea of blue. The podium retracts when it's not being used.

FILM REVIEW: The Dark Knight - The Joke Is On U.S.

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The Dark Knight: The Joke Is On U.S.
by Rob Williams, ACME Co-President

Vlogging from Minny: the 2008 National Conference on Media Reform

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I've got one word for you.


It is so good to be amongst old friends and colleagues here at the 4th National Conference on Media Reform.

Where to start?

Letter From Minny: Blogging the 2008 National Conference on Media Reform

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I am fired up.

I am sitting in the Best Western hotel room here in Minneapolis (I like this town, and affectionately refer to it as "Minny") with my old friend - ACME co-founder and co-president Bob McCannon.

We are preparing for ACME's first-ever TEACH-IN at the National Conference on Media Reform.

ACME has attended all four of Free Press' National Media Reform conferences, beginning with the one in Madison back in 2003, running workshops and an exhibit booth advocating the importance of media education for media reform.



Kingdom of the Crystal, Dull: Indiana Jones Jumps the Shark

Remember that old TV show “Happy Days”?

The one starring Henry Winkler as “the Fonz”?

Late in its run, the show featured an episode with Fonzie jumping a shark on water skis (and yes, he was wearing his trademark leather jacket).

Those of you who may have missed this magic moment can now watch it on YouTube – just search for “Fonzie Jumps the Shark.”

Prince Caspian (Film Review)


FILM REVIEW: Prince Caspian: C.S. Lewis Goes To New Zealand

Once upon a time Walden Media teamed up with Disney to make a film version of C.S. Lewis’ classic children’s tale: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Despite this cumbersome title, the film quickly became Walden Media’s biggest grossing movie of all time.

And if there is anything Hollywood likes, it is a good sequel, especially when there’s money to make.

THE WAR ON BUGS (Book Review)

Eating Oil: “The War On Bugs” Sounds A “Pharm Alarm” About the Toxic History of American Agriculture

By Rob Williams

Read more about this book at Chelsea Green Publishing.

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