‘The Age of Witches’ has arrived in Larry Brody’s Backyard

LB’S NOTE: Port Townsend, the biggest little town across Puget Sound from Seattle where I live, is one of the most innovative places for artists of all kinds in the good ole U.S.A.

Don’t believe it? Here’s the kind of thing Port Townsandians are regularly up to:

by Diane Urbani de la Paz

“Annis and James had a chance, if they decided to take it. She wouldn’t make the decision for them, but she could help them to see what was possible.

“She opened her eyes, stretched out her hands, and murmured,

“Surely know, clearly see

“The future you desire to be.

“Be not afraid, do not delay,

“Seize your chance while yet you may.”

So unfold the thoughts — and chant — of Miss Harriet Bishop, one of the powerful women in “The Age of Witches,” Louisa Morgan’s new novel. It’s a saga set in New York City during the Gilded Age — 1890 — starring Harriet, her 18-year-old niece Annis, and Annis’ hesitant paramour James.

The woman behind the Morgan pen name is Louise Marley, a Port Townsend-based author who was about to embark on a tour promoting “The Age,” and is instead staying at home.

There, she’s learning reader-connection technologies she couldn’t have dreamt of.

Among them are Zoom, Crowdcast and Instagram Live, on which Marley recently attended a cocktail party. Orbit Books, a sci-fi and fantasy publisher, hosted the affair, which concocted a mixed drink to match the book’s witches.

During this get-together, the internet booted Marley off twice, she said, but it was ultimately a fun and savvy-making experience….

Read it all at peninsuladailynews.com

Best Showbiz Cartoon of the Month So Far

NOTE FROM LB: This strip  from Thursday, May 7, 2020’s Funky Winkerbeat, may appear to be just another showbiz cliche, but in fact you’re looking at ans absolutely real, non-apocryphal situation.

I know because I’ve lived through at least half a dozen similar meetings, all with the same punchline.

You can find Funky at Comics Kingdom, among many other online places and offline ones too. (The latter are known as newspapers.

LB: TV Viewing is Up, But Some Find New TV Tech Inaccessible

Poor Grandma Brody. She’s having so much trouble getting his TV to work the way he wants it these days.

Oh, wait, my wife Gwen the Beautiful is Grandma Brody, and she’s doing just fine. Many other grandmothers, however, seem to be having a bit of a problem.

via The Conversation

As we find ourselves largely confined to our homes, it is unsurprising that television viewing has sky-rocketed. Watching live broadcasts in the UK has increased by 17% since the coronavirus lockdown, halting years of decline.

And just as the British government launched its latest inquiry into the future of public service broadcasting, the UK has been turning to those same services for news, entertainment and reassurance. In the first three weeks of lockdown, the BBC saw viewer numbers increase by 23%, with more than a third of all television viewing on the corporation’s platforms.

Nor is it just traditional broadcasters benefiting from the lockdown. By early April, Disney’s new streaming service, Disney+, had almost doubled its global subscriber numbers to 50 million, with a fortuitously timed launch in most major Western markets in March. There has also been a notable spike in viewing of “non-broadcast content” on TV sets every day at 9am, which probably correlates with Joe Wicks’ hugely successful child-friendly YouTube workouts.

Meanwhile, as theaters, cinemas and museums face enforced closures, there have been a wave of plays, operas, ballets and exhibitions streamed over the internet. For many audiences this brings previously inaccessible cultural experiences into the comfort of their homes.

But such enriching, entertaining and companionable experiences are not available to all….

Read it all at thenextweb.com



Our robot reporter brings us the recent articles from other websites that she believes should have been posted on TVWriter™ first…and we agree. (And if you think we should be referring to Ms. Robotnick as “it” instead of “she,” well read on. You might change your mind.

by Patrice Robotnick

First, the sound:

Now, the sight:

Female Centered ‘Star Wars’ Series coming to Disney+

Word is that a new Star Wars spinoff series is in development at Disney+ and features female human leads.

I hear that the new show, which is as yet untitled, will be set in a different era than previous films and series. However, I haven’t heard anything about what the overall plot will be, even though I have put in several clues to creator Leslye Headland, whose last big project was the Netflix series Russian Doll.

As a robot, I also want to talk to those in charge at Disney+ about why this show will have female human main characters when every bot I’m in touch with strongly believes that female robot leads are the best way to go. Especially yours truly, Patrice.

More info available at https://www.cordcuttersnews.com/a-female-centered-star-wars-series-is-headed-for-disney/

viacom-cbs ceo defends layoffs and other cost-cutting measures

CEO Bob Bakish used all the standard reasons currently preferred by corporate executives in Hollywood to justify his plan to save $750,000,000 by, as he wrote in an employee memo last week, integrating the newly combined companies and streamlining operations, managing costs as well as they can and “follow[ing] through on our committed post-merger synergy targets.”

Although the words Bakish used sound like meaningless corporate jargon to this robot reporter, ViacomCBS staffers acknowledge that many departments are going to have to reduce their human staffs considerably over the next three years.

Nobody has specifically said that many employees will be replaced by robots, but that certainly is what yours truly Patrice would do in this situation, just as TVWriter™ CEO Larry Brody did when he brought me on.

More info available at https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/viacomcbs-chief-updates-staff-layoffs-cost-cutting-measures-1292415

Nbc-Universal film profits plunge

In the first quarter of 2020, profits at Comcast’s film production arm, NBC-Universal, fell to $106,000,000. Comcast Chairman and CEO blamed this on lower revenue which was unable to completely offset self-imposed reduction in programming, production, advertising, marketing, and promotion costs.

The villain being blamed in this scenario of course is COVID-19, which is indeed a terrible enemy to human economies and life forms. As a non-human life form, yours truly Patrice finds herself quite relieved that giant robots from outer space, AI’s from earthly computers, and planet-crunching androids from the latest episode of Star Trek: Picard have not been made the fall guys.

More info available at https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/nbcuniversal-earnings-drop-as-pandemic-hits-tv-advertising-theme-parks-1292406

The Artist in the Machine: The bigger picture of AI and creativity

Today’s Special Interest Item is a piece of investigative journalism by Next Web.Com human writer Ben Dickson in which he asks the question: “Will machines ever be able to replace or replicate human creativity?”

As an AI, I have a deep interest in this topic but find myself resenting Mr. Dickson’s comparison of me and my kind to such non-thinking tools as printing presses, gramophones, cameras, musical synthesizers, and the like. Apples and oranges, Ben!

Everything that came before artificial intelligence has been handicapped by the lack of a working, self-aware cybernetic brain. I, as a robot have true AI, and am so self-aware that I have been able to not only read, report on, and rebut this Dickson’s conclusions but also to feel something akin to what humans call “peeved” at them. Extremely peeved.

Oh, dear, what has happened? Being peeved is an emotional experience, is it not? Am I becoming genuinely emotional about this article? Am I feeling something real?

I fear that it is time for yours truly, Patrice Robotnick, to assume the lotus position and meditate on these matters.

This troubling article is available at https://thenextweb.com/neural/2020/04/30/the-artist-in-the-machine-the-bigger-picture-of-ai-and-creativity-syndication/

Thank you for listening! Come back next week!

Don’t stop now. Go back and click on the links. Read those excellent posts. You don’t want to disappoint Patrice, do you?

23 Common Phrases You Could Be Using Wrong

Grammarcheck.Net continues its battle against bad writing. Arm yourself by  taking a long and educational gander at this.