• I've been using the Firefox browser for some time now and I must say it's far ahead of ye olde MS IE Version Whatever. There are lots of reasons but the most interesting (at least for the moment) is the "Extensions" feature, which allows users to download and add on various useful features to the browsers. While a good many of those are geek- and developer- oriented, one in particular seems to be getting a whole of lot of attention (including mine): Stumbleupon. This little jewel, once installed, lets the user delineate specific interests. It also adds a small toolbar, which features a Stumble! Button, which, when clicked, serves up a website that more-or-less matches the user's interests. And no ads or spyware, either.
What it serves up, however, and very often, is a site that one would never have thought to look for and would not have found any other way except by recommendation. The toolbar also has buttons that let the user give a `thumbs up' or `thumbs down' to a particular website, which refines the pages that are served up later.
It's quite addictive and infinitely better than channel-surfing on cable. It's replaced the Solitaire and Freecell games as a means of taking a break. Plus, it's actually useful if you are researching a topic, as you can constrain it to give you only that area you wish to search.
The browser is free and available here: style="font-family: 'Garamond'; font-size: 10pt; color: #000099">http://www.firefox.com/. To load the Stumbleupon extension, click `Tools' then `Extensions' then `Get More Extensions' in the Firefox browser. That'll take you to the Firefox site, where StumbleUpon is listed in the "Most Popular' list. If you are a dedicated Mac, Mozilla or even - urk! - IE user, go to www.stumbleupon.com/ for a compatible toolbar. Enjoy
• For the guitar-pickers, there's this: Artie Traum will be presenting a guitar workshop at Steilberg String Instruments on Monday, June 6 at 7:30 p.m. Traum, of course, as a great long history in the business, including stints with Paul Butterfield, Joni Mitchell and The Band. It's a free event.
• In case you missed this bit of news from Nashville, here's Louisville native and songwriter Karen LeVan's note: Alan Rhody was on TV the other night because the BIG GUITAR he painted was stolen from in front of SONY...All over Nashville you see these 6 ft. tall guitars, you know how Chicago did with the cows and Louisville did with horses..well Nashville, of course, is doing guitars...they will be auctioned off soon and as a prank, someone stole the one Alan did with Elvis on it that was in front of Sony music...After the news about it on TV, the next day whoever took it put it in front of a day care center with a note saying it was a joke among friendly competitors on Music Row..however, since a Police report was filed, the joke may be on whoever gets caught."
• Across the Big Water, Floyd Central High School 's production of SEUSSICAL, THE MUSICAL was picked as one of five shows nationwide to gain an evening main stage presentation slot at the 2005 International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska next month. The festival brings together more than 3500 students, teachers and theater professionals from throughout the world for a week of workshops, college auditions and selected shows. The Floyd Central group will perform in the closing night slot on Saturday, June 25.
The school's musical Titanic was a presentation at last summer's festival, plus they have been asked to return with another production this summer.
Way to go, team. Now if the Jefferson County School system would pay some attention, they might decide not to whack their Arts and Music programs.
• The style="font-family: 'Garamond'; font-size: 10pt">2005 International Songwriting Competition is open to submissions. In addition to a total prize package of $100,000 in cash and merchandise, winners also get a multi-lateral promotion campaign. Judges for the 2005 contest include Darryl McDaniels (Run D.M.C.); LeAnn Rimes; Macy Gray; Tara Griggs-Magee (Executive VP Gospel/Urban Music, Sony Records); Michael McDonald (President, ATO Records); Chris Parr (VP of Music Programming & Talent Relations, CMT); and Barbara Sedun (VP Creative, EMI Music Publishing Canada);
Deadline for submission is September 15, 2005. Surf over to www.songwritingcompetition.comfor more information.
• Buehler, Edna May, 89, died in Louisville on May 14, 2005. She was a member of the Songsters singing group.
• Smith, Bernie B. Jr., 83, died on April 27 in Lexington. He was a guitar player who was a regular on WHAS-TV's "Hayloft Hoedown," hosted by the late Randy Atcher and "Cactus" Tom Brooks. He was a lifetime member of the Chicago Federation of Musicians and Louisville Federation of Musicians Local 11-637 and a member of the American Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers. (ASCAP).
• Wines, Michele Elizabeth, 56, died in Louisville on May 23, 2005. She was a member of the 50s band The Cruisers.