Sunday, July 30, 2006

AUDIO: More Old-Time Radio

Zoot Radio is another website that offers free mp3's of public domain old-time radio shows. Their archives are quite extensive compared to other free sites, and it's quite an impressive effort. You have to register and log in, and the interface is a tiny bit clunky, but it's free, and as I said, there is a lot there. Some of my favourite shows are:

  • Avengers
  • Box 13
  • Campbell Playhouse
  • Dimension X
  • Escape
  • Suspense

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

E-BOOK: Poems Teachers Ask For

I love poetry. My tastes verge to the clasic side---lots of Victorians and other People Who Rhyme. So I can keep myself quite entertained with Project Gutenberg stuff when I want a poetry fix. My latest find is the anthology Poems Teachers Ask For. This gem of an anthology includes, as most anthologies of days of yore do, some classics that remain popular, and some finds that are obscure today, but delightful. For example, I was already familiar with these ones:
  • The Walrus and the Carpenter by Carroll
  • The Charge of the Light Brigade by Tennyson
  • Invictus by Henley
And in the "new discoveries" category, these were some I enjoyed:
  • Diffidence by Anonymous
  • Say Not the Struggle Not Availeth by Clough
  • The Cloud by Shelley
It's heavy on the epic stories, which really would be useful to the teachers this collection was aimed it. So if you like that sort of thing, or if you are just interested in exploring some poems that are, or were, popular---download and enjoy.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

MUSIC: Last (for now) of the Garage Band finds

Here ya go :) I promise some non-music posts coming your way soon to help you recover from the Garage Band overload :) Oh, and spread the word about the blog, you guys, Share the Creative Commons love :)

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MUSIC: The penultimate five from Garage Band

Still more from my Garage Band haul...

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Monday, July 24, 2006

MUSIC: Yet another five from Garage Band

And still, some more from my Garage Band haul :) There will probably be two more posts with this in the next few days. Enjoy the tunes and check out their site for tons of neat stuff.

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Sunday, July 23, 2006

E-BOOK: Death of a Viewer

This title comes to us from Project Gutenberg of Australia, a companion to Project Gutenberg that deals in works which have not yet hit public domain status in the (imho overly) strict US, but which are perfectly legal in Australia and in and other countries which subscibe to the more liberal "life of the author plus fifty years" copyright guideline. The largely unknown but apparently reasonably prolific mystery writer Herbert Adams died in 1952 and hence is fair game. Nearly all of his many books featuring sleuth Roger Bennion are out of print, and the Gutenberg folks have rescued him from obscurity and made available a few of his titles.

So, is Death of a Viewer a novel worth being rediscovered? Yes and no. There are some interesting characters here---Ossie, the gambler who is hanging on to his marriage and his reputation by a thread; Lady Bethesda, the aristocrat, who is cold to her stepson and smothering to her natural one; her niece, who befriends both the young son, and our sleuth; and Roger himself, a former Scotland Yard operative who becomes unwittingly involved in the mystery when he attends a party to try and get Lady Bethesda's gardner a rental house. The mystery itself is solid enough, too---somebody dies, obviously :) But before that happens, we must endure several long, dull chapters on the characters' opinions of the monarchy and socialism and politics. Snore. I must admit, I skimmed ahead to the murder part---and things did pick up from there onward.

So, there is a reason, I suspect, that until the advent of the internet and Project Gutenberg, this guy's work was lost to the ages. He isn't timeless and eternal, maybe. But if you want a fairly frothy mystery that tells a good yarn and entertains you for a couple hours, and if the antiquated language of the better-known classics scares you off, this fairly modern tale is worth a download. And hey, it's free---for Non-Americans, anyway :)

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Saturday, July 22, 2006

MUSIC: Five more from Garage Band

As promised, five more Creative Commons tunes from Garage Band. Some great stuff on this site if you go exploring! I have not even touched the instrumental songs yet.

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Friday, July 21, 2006

MUSIC: Five from Garage Band

Garage Band is an interesting little music site: a little clunky in some areas, perhaps not 100% sure what it's trying to do or be, or to whom it's catering. But there is some really good stuff on there. I recently learned how to do site searches on Google for specific terms, and have been having fun pulling up songs licensed under Creative Commons. There are quite a lot of good ones here if you dig. I'll be sharing the best of the ones I've found in batches of five as I download.

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

MUSIC: Three from Opsound

Opsound is one of those "anyone can upload anything they please" sort of places, so it can be a chore sometimes to browse, and it has a kind of clunky interface. Three good ones to start the intrepid off:

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Monday, July 17, 2006

AUDIO: Old-Time Radio

One of my favourite commuting entertainments is old-time radio. These were the television mega-hits of their time, and are perfect for revival during the MP3 age because they are designed to be listened to. These shows are generally 30-60 minutes and include detective stories, comedy and variety shows, sci-fi adventures, quiz shows and movie/play dramatizations. Most of these shows have now fallen into the public domain and can be freely shared. Radio Lovers is one of a few websites to do this without charging fees. Here are some of my favourite shows. Multiple episodes are available. There is a lot of free listening here!

Abbott and Costello
The Saint
X Minus 1
Casey, Crime Photographer

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Saturday, July 15, 2006

E-BOOK: The Story of an African Farm

I first discovered this wonderful novel in a course on South African literature that I took in university. It was actually upper-level Post-Colonial Lit, but the professors in upper level seminars got to choose the focus, theme and content. We had a wonderful South African professor who shared with us the stories of her homeland, and this tale from Olive Schreiner about two sisters who live on a farm is charming, readable and wonderfully descriptive.

Story of an African Farm by Olive Schreiner

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

MUSIC: Duets from Shannon Campbell

I blogged earlier about Shannon Campbell, and thought I would share a few more tunes from her. In addition to her solo stuff, she has some lovely duets. Oblivion with Nathan Davis is my favourite, with sort of a rock-ish feel and catchy tune. Nothing New with cc stalwart Scott Andrew is another fun one, with more of a subtle feel to the harmony. Both are great tunes. Enjoy!

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Monday, July 10, 2006

MUSIC: Chenard Walcker

This guy does some strange kind of funky remix stuff and releases prodigious amounts of it onto his own cc-licensed netlabel. Here are some tracks to get you started:

Our Father With Yellow Eyes (jazzy with vocals)
Nervous (jazzy instrumental)
Blind (jazzy with vocals)

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Sunday, July 09, 2006

AUDIO BOOK: The Raven by Poe

Librivox is like the Project Gutenberg of audio books: volunteers produce audio versions of works in the public domain and release the resulting MP3 under the Creative Commons license. They have quite a stash of them by now, some of which are read by one person solo, and others of which are group affairs. The listening experience can vary widely depending on how good the narrator is (these are amateurs, and volunteers) but there are gems to be found. One of my favourites so far is the reading by Chris Goringe of Poe's classic poem The Raven. He has a wonderful accent that really lends itself to this sort of thing.

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Saturday, July 08, 2006

MUSIC: Jonathan Coulton

Jonathan Coulton is my new favourite singer-guy. His stuff is very pop-ish, with well-written lyrics that have a sort of quirky bent. Chiron Beta Prime is my favourite so far, and it's a Christmas song about evil robots. He has a blog-style thingie he does too with a weekly song. Standouts include:

Rock and Roll Boy (incorporating found music from the Internet Archive)
Tom Cruise Crazy(surprisingly catchy considering the subject)
The Presidents (each line presents a fact about one president)
Podsafe Christmas Song (with hilarious dialogue commentary)

I have five subsribers now! Hi, you guys! I have no idea who found me, but I send you hearty greetings all the same!

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

E-BOOK: Five Children's Classics

I love reading books from Project Gutenberg on my handheld organizer. Many Books offers Gutenberg texts for download in a variety of formats including for Palm and for Ipod (as a notes file). The public domain goes beyond just Shakespeare and the Bible now! A lot of great early 20th century stuff---mysteries, pulp novels, that sort of thing---is now free for the taking. I will be posting about Gutenberg texts often, I suspect. Here are five great books for children to start things off.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
The Story of my Life by Helen Keller
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter

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MUSIC: Josh Woodward

Those looking for some good popish acoustic type stuff will enjoy checking out the website of Josh Woodward. He offers several full albums worth of helpfully categorized cc-licensed music (you can buy the albums too) and if you buy his most recent one, it comes with a free code to access his "preview" club, where you can get about 2 dozen more free songs, including demos and tracks that didn't make the album. A song to start you off: Goodbye to Spring. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

MUSIC: Three from Magnatune

Magnatune is a wonderful all-cc netlabel. You can stream and save (with small ad at the end of the song) for free and share under a cc license. You can also buy the albums you like for a nomiml fee and get high-quality ad-free sound files, album art and other goodies. I have not found all the good stuff on Magnatune yet, but here are a few pop-ish, pro-quality tunes to start things off:

The Last Vision on Dahlia Street by Mercy Machine
I Think I Started a Trend by Brad Sucks
PSA by Arthur Yoria

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Monday, July 03, 2006

MUSIC: Two From CC Mixter

CC Mixter is a site where artists can post cc-licensed songs and snippets of their work and mix them with the songs and snippets of others to create some neat results. This approach tends to work better for intrumentals, imho, but I have been poking around and finding some neat vocal stuff. Two to start you off with:

Angel Face by Ashwan
Raindrops and Diamonds by King Benny

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Sunday, July 02, 2006

MEDIA: One of Each

To start us off, I am posting one link each for audio book, music, ebook and spoken word. Enjoy!

Audio book: The Magic Shop by H.G. Wells: This title is courtesy Thought Audio, who produces some excellent high-quality audio books which they have made available for free. Support them by buying compilation cd's of their stuff :)

Music: Shannon Campbell, Your Own Dot Org: A cute little pop-ish thing that is one of the few cc-licensed songs I have that has not turned up yet on CC 365 or one of my other regular spots. I found this one all by my own self :)

E-Book: Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town by Cory Doctorow: There are a ton of great classics available, but I figured why not start us off with a modern one :) This book, released commercially in print and on-line under a CC license, is highly original and really neat. I did find the ending a bit unsatisfying, but some of the images here stayed with me for days.

Spoken Word: Dr. Michael Geist: Our Own Creative Land: This is the podcast of a lecture noted lawyer Michael Geist gave at the University of Toronto on the Fair Copyright movement in Canada. He talks about the Sam Bulte affair, Creative Commons, Flickr, podcasts and other neat stuff. A good first link for a blog like this one :)

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