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Reviews: Books, Music, Products
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Reviews: Books, Music, Products


Edward Ball
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
1998, New York
ISBN 0-374-26582-8

Modern day Americans have a love of genealogy and spend a great deal of time, energy and money pursuing what is an all out passion for our family histories. In the course of it, almost always, family secrets come tumbling out of time. In Edward Ball's case, the fact that his family owned slaves was hardly a secret. The Balls owned nearly four thousand people for over 150 years, on more than twenty plantations. Ball's family, far from forgetting or obscuring the fact, wore its slaveholding status proudly, passed stories of plantation slavery freely, deposited their business and personal papers in South Carolina archives for all the world to see.

Not spoken of, ever, was the blood kinship white Ball descendants shared with black ones.

(Excerpt from Review: "There's George")

Book Review: Slaves In The Family, by Edward Ball

by Rosalie Fellows Bailey
Published 1936 (Hardcover); 1968 (Paperback)
Full Name Index
ISBN 0-486-21985-2 (Paper)

This is one of the richest regional background sources for genealogical research available. Bailey did a wonderful thing in preserving on paper the house histories of the areas mentioned in the title. Too many of these houses are forever gone. Just as wonderfully, she researched and wrote family histories of the people who owned and occupied the houses.

(Excerpt from Review: "Pre-Revolutionary Dutch Houses And Families")

Book Review: Pre-Revolutionary Dutch Houses And Families


White Negress: Dusty In Memphis

Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien was only 12, already a fan of Bessie Smith, when she announced to her convent school that she wanted to be a blues singer when she grew up. Dusty Springfield, when she was later known as the "white negress," was not always appreciated by contemporary female black singers. Dionne Warwick resented Dusty's invasion of Bachrach territory. Nina Simone did throw a drink in her face. But no less than Aretha Franklin would decide to cover "Son of a Preacher Man," which she had previously rejected, once she heard Dusty's version. And even Dionne Warwick in time forgave in the face of the sheer wonder of Dusty's cover of Warwick's "Anyone Who Had A Heart."

(Excerpt from Review: "White Negress: Dusty In Memphis")

Music Review: White Negress: Dusty In Mephis


Scanner: Epson Perfection 1200U

If you use your scanner to make money, as I do in selling antique postcards on eBay, definitely. Go ahead and buy it even if you don't have the money. This is a piece of equipment that will pay for itself in online auctions. Buying postcards online can be a tricky proposition. Ordinary scanners do nothing in the way of exposing flaws like stains, foxing, and cracks. A bidder is often lucky to be able to see the image at all clearly. The customer looks forward to receiving a postcard that looks like the scanned image and is often let down by the genuine article. I can tell you, I have no unhappy customers. What they see on their computer screen is what they see in their mailbox. Customers who don't feel as if they have somehow been tricked are return customers, again and again. Your integrity as a seller is on the line. If the buyer can see what he or she is getting, there can be no bad will connected to your reputation as a seller: In that alone, this scanner is worth its weight in gold.

(From the Review: "Scanner: Epson Perfection 1200U)

Product Review: Scanner: Epson Perfection 1200U

Swiffer Sweeper: Look Out, Momma, She's Dustin!

All things wood got Swiffed, including the piano and the 1940s French country dining room suite. The marble mantle over the fireplace, Swiffed. The windowsills, Swiffed, the baseboards, Swiffed, and way back on top of the refrigerator, Swiffed. All open shelves in the pantry and kitchen, Swiffed. Knick-knacks, art, mirrors, picture frames, poles and bases of standing lamps, computer keyboard and monitor, scanner glass, television screen, all Swiffed. The black oven door and the black door of the dishwasher, Swiffed. (A shaft of sunlight revealed not a mite of dust on these wretched surfaces from hell.) From the ceramic tile floor in the bathroom, I and Swiffer harvested enough hair for a Victorian memento mori. And it had only been 20 minutes since I was under the couch.

(Excerpt from the Review: "Look Out, Momma, She's Dustin'")

Product Review: Swiffer Sweeper: "Look Out, Momma, She's Dustin!"

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