A Riveting Romp Of A Read!

Todays post comes from Trail Baboon’s living and loving correspondent, a man who is a bottomless well of wellness, B. Marty Barry.

I was scandalized … SCANDALIZED! … to read this NY Times article about the for-pay book review business. It turns out there are people who will say nice things about books in online reviews without really reading those books!

They do this as part of a financial arrangement to “legitimize” the writer in the eyes of potential readers. This is one of the few places left in the world where journalists can make a little money – inventing the kind of promotional blurbs they used to disdain! Oh how far we have fallen!

Each One is a Shattering Work Of Genius!

Normally I’m all in favor of praise, but I think this is a very dangerous trend for everyone who might venture into the unregulated internet looking for a little validation. And we are all seeking some of that – the sweet nectar of positive comments! As one of the “experts” in the Times article said, “Nearly all human beings have unrealistically positive self-regard.” But it is fragile and needs constant support.

Before long, it won’t be just book reviews. It will be personal remarks of all kinds that are for sale. Such as:

“Clyde is a perceptive man – a genius and a scholar who is under-appreciated by those who could most benefit from his wisdom – the indifferent mob that cannot see greatness when it is in their midst.”

And …

“Barbara may physically be in Robbinsdale, but her intellect knows no bounds and her influence ought to be valued by the famous and the mighty. There is nothing beyond her understanding, and no problem that would not yield to her commonsense analysis.”

I say these things from the heart, but a person with very little writing talent could invent such compliments in minutes, and you the reader would be none the wiser.

I feel personally and professionally threatened by this. As a therapist, I have to help my clients see themselves clearly by guiding them through a discussion of their good qualities and some of their habits that are, quite frankly, rotten. But why would anyone seeking self-knowledge come to me for the brutal truth when they could just as easily go to a professional flatterer for a comfortable lie?

Of course the truth is much more useful than empty praise in the long run, just as brussel sprouts are better for you than potato chips, but guess which has the most shelf space at your local supermarket? And for that matter, how can I even believe the positive things I hear about brussel sprouts? Maybe someone is building them up for a financial reward.

I’m afraid this all may lead to a global outbreak of Midwesterner’s Syndrome – an infectious condition where the brain cannot accept a compliment, but must always, ALWAYS give credence to the most negative available assessment because it feels true.

Imagine it. Lutheran farmers, everywhere.

I’m not feeling very optimistic at the moment. But please don’t try to cheer me. I want to believe you, though I’m pretty sure I can’t.

Can you give us a few kind words for the dust jacket?

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62 thoughts on “A Riveting Romp Of A Read!”

    1. Our State Fair is indeed the best State Fair in our state.To taste the best Mini-sota Donut Ice Cream in the state you can go to Machinery Hill between 1 and 2 for free samples of the best mini donut Ice Cream in the state and its rhubarb-laced competitor at the Kemps booth in the Little Farmhands exhibit. You can vote for your favorite flavor after the tasting. Samples will also be available at the KARE11 barn at 4 . I will be there and it will be televised.The celebrity judging and announcement of the winner will also be at the Kemps booth on Wednesday at 1. On line voting for Mini-sota Donut Ice Cream at http://www.kempsnextflavor.com/ and https://apps.facebook.com/kempsfavs/contests/ ends at noon on Wednesday.
      After tomorrow baboons will be freed of the nagging to vote, but will be able to bask in the glow of being the best, most supportive bloggers in the state.

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      1. and i just want to say that this ice cream is the creamiest most delicious and fortuitous ice cream on the face of the earth. there have been good ice icreams before, there have been great ice creams before but never, never in the history of ice cream has there been anything to compare to the robust flavor, the true meaning of nirvana the total encapsulation of the word orgasmic as there is in one spoonful of mine sota donut ice cream soon to be available on your grocers shelves in the frozen food section of the store. if you don’t find it there be sure to tell the manager that you are going to shop only whee they carry the finest and by this you mean mine sota dount ice cream by kemps. americas ice cream company wher the best flavors are brought to you and your family from kemps and the kemps family.

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        1. Mini-sota donuts won the straw poll at KARE 11 today. The Kemps people are amazed by the number of votes cast. Way to go baboons!

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      2. I think you will get all of the sentimental favorite votes too. The Fair, mini-donuts, ice cream—a marketing dream!

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      3. I was among the first in line to taste the amazing and life-altering Mini-sota Donut Ice Cream yesterday. Without even tasting it, I knew that it was my choice! (How is that possible??)
        After tasting, my choice was confirmed and I pressed the rather insubstantial looking button on the counting device (I hope there won’t be voter fraud there). I watched the button pressing for a while and it seemed somewhat in favor of BA’s MsD).
        I will say that the other flavor was pretty good, too (better than its creator thought when she got a sample). I got a good amount of the swirly stuff. I could imagine that if one got mostly the plain vanilla part, it wouldn’t be very impressive.

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        1. THe MsD was ahead in the voting when I left the area on Saturday as well. (My sample of the competitor didn’t have any swirly stuff so you’re correct, it was definitely just vanilla.)

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        2. You could read the count? I just saw faint 888 on both sides. I didn’t know if it was sun glare, malfunction or secrecy on the part of Kemps. (or post-cataract surgery blurriness on my part)

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        3. Yes, we went on Saturday and it was raining at the time, so no glare. And we were very early in the count… I think my vote was #14. So maybe the little machine is wearing out from the massive voting.

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  1. RISE AND SHINE BABOONS!

    The website, Trail Baboon, is an odd yet entertaining website, inhabited by literate, funny denizens (Booners) with a taste for ice cream with a quirky name, great recipes, fabulous book suggestions, You-Tube videos of ancient musicians, and a glossary to DIE FOR. For your own entertainment I recommend you cuddle up with your iPad or Laptop and give it some screen time.

    Miss this and you miss the year’s best read. It has been nominated for a Golden Banana Award.

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  2. I fabulous melange of opinion, wit and intelligence. A surprisingly light and fresh perspective on the mundane and everyday as well as the out-of-this world. The Trail will bring you a smattering of goofy phrases, a sprinkling of silliness, and a soupcon of giggle-inducing typos. Pair this blog with chocolate, a good cup of tea or coffee, your favorite baked good, or creamy, cinnamon-y Mini-Sota Donut ice cream – you won’t be disappointed.

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  3. Good morning all. I sense that I will be creating gratitude blog entries in my head today. Let me begin by thanking the jack russell terrier next door. It is easy to ignore, even be unaware, of his voice if you are not a neighbor. This morning, at 5:37 or so, he had an important message to deliver. I am not sure of the exact nature of his announcement but it seemed rather urgent. I highly recommend being extra careful today.

    This is a recommendation for the audio version of his message. I am sure it will reveal more details—this morning was just a teaser. : )

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  4. dale connelley, the blogmaster extroirinare, host of the tail baboon, news director of kfai public radio, host of the new kfai morning drive time slot on a news music concoction only possible by the brain of dale and his dancing radio cast, see dale fall from a 40 story building, hear him swim the english channel, meet radio friends from past present and future. listen to tunes and news as the new start to your day. dale has had enough of this sleeping in stuff. he want to get up before the owls have missed him, to read more news articles and have more avenues to comment on them. his radio audience will be thrilled at his reemergence to stardom on kfai;s new am show starting soon on a radio dial within three blocks of the corner of cedar riverside or on kfai.com on your computer screen. come one come all to kfai.com or 90.3 /106.7 on your fm dial.

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  5. Good morning. My life has been changed by this wonderful work of art which is an amazing creative effort. I didn’t even have read this book to know that it would result in a significant addition to my well being. The very generous nature of the author has lead me to find this book to be such outstanding one without even turning a page. I am very much looking forward to visiting with this author regarding any other works of art he might create which I think I might also consider to be outstanding works of arts that will enhance my life.

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    1. i think we know how the well being of your life was changed by the book. ill bet you are looking forward to the ensuing visits to the same place of well being in the future.

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    2. Amazing!!! Me too! I am dazzled! I have not read this book and found it to be absolutely weighted with insights and opinions that could alter my view of the world. What an author!!!

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    3. The cover, even without illustrations, is concise and informative. The use of blues and reds suggests that the book will delve into the deepest levels of political and social controversy, and the font used in the title promises thougthfulness and depth of analysis.

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    4. The weight of the tome is just right in the hand. A perfect 10.357 ounces. Just heavy enough to indicate a certain seriousness but just light enough to let the reader know that the contents were written with a wry sense of humor. The picture of the author on the back confirms this with the slight frown coupled with an arched eyebrow.

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  6. I have attended many music festivals, and I’ve even paid money to enter some of them. I thought I was having fun until I attended Rock Bend Folk Festival in St. Peter, Minnesota, the weekend after Labor Day. Rock Bend Folk Festival changed my perception about what a music festival should be. A great festival should be FREE, FREE, FREE, so that everyone can afford to go and listen to great musicians. It should have art, food, friends, fun, grass, trees, music, harmony, peace and a great vibe. Rock Bend has all of these things and more. It creates a harmonic state of mind that is spread by the good will of those who attend and will last for months, or until the next Rock Bend comes along. The good vibes have already begun and are resonating in a Baboon near you. Your lawn chair and blanket await their opportunity to support you as you approach Nirvana. Rock Bend Folk Festival is an experience that should not be missed in this lifetime. The energy created by Rock Bend Folk Festival is so positive that it is vibrating with the cosmos right now and will likely last for all eternity. Don’t miss it!
    http://www.rockbend.org

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    1. tim – you seem to know the most, although I found committee notes online that suggest that KFAI is debuting a morning Drive Time show that will be introduced/produced by Dale. Starting September 3?

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      1. Dale’s new gig started yesterday, along with “Democracy Now’s” special coverage of the RNC. It has to begin by 6 AM because I’m hearing it at 6:20, but I’m not willing to get up any earlier to find out for sure when it starts. Some early bird in this crew can run the experiment for me ;-).

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    2. Jacque, Linda, VS, Crow Girl, tim, and everyone,
      The “new morning show” tim refers to is a programming shift at KFAI in response to a change in a national program we were carrying. That show “The Takeaway” will no longer be available at the time we’ve been running it (5 am – 8 am) come September 3rd. In response, KFAI’s Program Committee asked me to produce a replacement show to run from 6 to 8 am weekdays that will make the best possible use of the station’s volunteer news staff and also bring in some of the musical personality of the rest of KFAI’s quite varied schedule. The goal is to have lots of voices and to create a diverse and comfortable place for listeners to park their ears most mornings. If we can deliver a comprehensive picture of the broad musical and public affairs reach of our station, we’ll be doing the job we were asked to do. My role is to co-ordinate, to smooth out the rough edges, and to play well with everybody. That will require some on-air work from me, but what we’re NOT doing is attempting to revive the old MPR Morning Show, which, under any set of circumstances, would be impossible.
      Right now we’re playing around with the 6 to 7 hour and handing it over to Amy Goodman and Democracy Now for special convention coverage at 7. Our full two hour version of this experiment will roll out on September 10th.
      I hope the KFAI community will offer lots of suggestions, and of course comments and thoughts from baboons are always welcome.

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        1. Krista, I think you can get KFAI streamed live in Waterville. I can get it in Clarks Grove. Just go to the KFAI web site and look for the place to get live streaming.

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  7. I was recently awarded the timeless classic Roget’s Super Thesaurus in a competition – a gratifying and unexpected delight! This sagacious volume enchants the reader with its luminous prose. Life-affirming yet irreverent, it will amaze you with its astute and comprehensive content, proffered with inspiring precision and wisdom. Scintillating and eminently readable. I couldn’t put it down. But perhaps I should have, about half an hour ago.

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  8. The Trail is a fascinating place that hosts every sort of blogger – you can choose between nearly everyday blogging (like me, who will post at the drop of a hat) since there is, surely, always something to say. You can be a lurker who anonymously checks the goings on (see Lurkitude in the Glossary at top of today’s post). And if the spirit moves you, you can become, like Occasional Caroline (are you there, Caroline?), writing a post once in a while, to keep everyone on their toes, adding a little spice to the day’s reading. You may have had to take a break from regular posting because of extreme busy-ness as life intervenes in your Trail experience, but you can always re-join the world of blog posting when life allows (are you there, BiB?).

    The Trail is even a place where novice writers can try out their craft on a kind and forgiving audience, by writing Guest Blogs, which the Alpha Baboon (Mr. Connelly) is happy to receive. Try it today!

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    1. BiR, you may post at the drop of a hat but because your “intellect knows no bounds”, it’s always a wise and insightful post. I would know this in my bones even if I didn’t read it. (though I always do)

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  9. The characters (if there are characters) are developed with such detail that one feels that one knows them well. The plot (if there is a plot) has a wonderful arch from comfort to despair to euphoria and back to comfort. The facts (if there are facts) are very factual. The setting (if there is a setting) gives a great sense of place. The theme (if there is a theme) is such that non-English majors won’t have a clue but English majors will think themselves quite cleaver to have named it. The whodunit (if that’s the sort of story it is) is unexpected but not whacky. The writing (there HAS to be writing) is clear without dumbing down to the LCD, but beautiful and literate for people who get excited about that. This book has something for everyone. Five stars (when 5 stars is the maximum)

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  10. Yeah — what they all said in such a fine, elegant manner. I bow to your turns of phrase and excellent use of the thesaurus. I just love you guys!

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  11. You guys are great at this! I don’t think I could ever write these kind of reviews. I belong to Library Thing, and members have an opportunity to win Early Review copies of various books. Every once in a while, I win a copy…and almost all of them are disappointing to me so I write a two or three star review. Maybe if I use some of your ideas, I could start writing reviews that make people want to read the book and, who knows, maybe I could start making big bucks. (not going to happen.)

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  12. Seems to me that writing a good book review is akin to writing a “good” reference for a former employee who was total loser. I have done this many times, fully expecting the reader of the reference to discern that I didn’t really say anything of substance about the person in question. If they didn’t, that was their problem. You might refer to someone who could never be counted on to be part of a team effort as someone who was “creative and individualistic.” Or someone who was perpetually late, as someone who was a free spirit that accomplished things in his own timeframe. I am so glad to be out of that gamut. Having spent several hours watching the Republican Convention this evening, I’m very cognizant of what’s being said and what isn’t. God help us all if people aren’t reading between the lines.

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    1. i couldnt take it.i had to shut it off. i preferred listening to the twins lose. i hope clydes not gone for good but i suspect he might be

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