In Meredith Wilson’s 1957 hit musical The Music Man, con man Professor Harold Hill sings out about “ragtime, shameless music” as one of the pending disasters that threaten Riverside if the parents of the town don’t get their collective act together. It’s intended to be funny. In 1957, parents were facing new musical threats that…

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If I were smarter, I’d have written this blog post last week and invited you to attend Books in Bloom, a literary festival in Eureka Springs at which I was a guest speaker on Sunday. Put on by the local library foundation, Books in Bloom is held the third Sunday in May and is a…

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The year 1818 began and ended with the introduction of two very different works of art, both of which have become a permanent part of the popular culture. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was published on January 1st. On Christmas Eve, in the small Austrian village of Oberndorf bei Salzburg, young curate Joseph Mohr and schoolteacher/organist Franz…

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