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Sunday, December 24, 2017

Last-Minute Gift Ideas, plus a TV show of note -- Dec 24 2017

YES, we published a separate edition YESTERDAY, Dec. 23, with EVENTS and MUSIC NEWS, and it's at:


* The one about the TV show is listed last.

* Up front is...

Short, sweet, simple. Stuff you can get online for a deserving someone. (AND avoid further enriching people who undermine American jobs -- we're talking about you, Amazon, and we do NOT buy from you.)

...Don't support online spies who monitor you and sell your data to others... (yes they all implant cookies, and that, alone, is a form of spying)...

PLEASE ALWAYS USE one of the NON-TRACKING Search Engines:

▶ get the URLs for anything below:


* admission to a 2018 music festival (via the festival's website; Telluride Bluegrass Festival is on-sale now; Topanga Banjo Fiddle Contest, Stagecoach, FolkWorks Festival, many others in all price ranges)

* Take them for an evening (or get them a gift certificate) to their favorite live music venue -- McCabe's (Santa Monica), Coffee Gallery Backstage (Altadena), Boulevard Music (Culver City), Fret House (Covina), Folk Music center (Claremont), Hotel Cafe (Hollywood), Canyon Club (Agoura), Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum (Topanga), Grand Annex (San Pedro), Arcadia Blues Club (Arcadia), or any of many others.

* gift membership to the Grammy Museum in L.A. (via the museum website)

* concert tickets (careful: that's only appreciated if the show you choose is a good match)

* gift membership to Folk Alley, the 24/7 online multichannel folk radio station

* gift code to let them buy music from the big Amoeba Hollywood record store (Amoeba dot com)

* gift certificate to their favorite record store

* gift code to dowload music or get CDs from record labels (Red House and Rounder have lots of folkies)

* gift code to get CDs or downloads directly from an artist (via their website)

* lessons from the music teacher they can't afford

* gift code for music technique / instruction / method / books / or sheet music from one of the acoustic / folk-friendly publishers (Mel Bay or Alfred or Hal Leonard)

* gift membership (for the historically minded) to the Autry Museum of Western Heritage/Autry National Center (Griffith Park, L.A.), or the Battleship Iowa (San Pedro), or the Orange Empire Railway Museum (Perris), the Planes of Fame Museum (Chino), the Getty, the Skirball, the Broad, or whatever museum / historical site matches their interests.

* gift membership (for the scientifically minded) to The Planetary Society, or the Griffith Observatory.

* gift membership to an organization working to save the planet or some part of it -- The Wilderness Society, Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, Ocean Institute, Greenpeace, Audubon Society, or any of many more.

* gift membership to KPFK or KLCS or KCET

* gift subscription to LA Progressive, or Foreign Policy magazine, or something else worth reading

* a donation in their name to help fire victims in California, or flood victims in Texas, or fellow Americans suffering in the shambles of Puerto Rico; there are plenty of reputable locally-based NGOs working in each of these places.

* donation in their name to a music charity -- one that puts instruments and instruction back in the schools, or one that helps hurting musicians, like MusicCares.

* or donate in their name to a horse-rescue or animal rescue organization, or a local facility that does equine therapy for handicapped and disabled kids.

+ All that said -- do you just want to check-off a box next to each name, or do you want to do something that makes the receiver and the giver both feel good, and a little bit fulfilled about being on the planet at the same time they are?

+ AND remember -- the most treasured thing you can give anybody is your time and your company. You can go with them to the grocery store and buy food to take, together, to the local food bank. Then go have lunch just with them.

Feel free to share this with other harried, last minute procrastinators. The Acoustic Americana Music Guide waves the copyright for this edition.

Merry Christmas, Happy Festivus, Chrismakwanzica, Post-Hanukah, Feast of Mithra, or whatever you choose to celebrate.

We hope you find a way to make all of it meaningful to you and those dear to you.

Oops! One more news story for you, just below...



We all remember what the floods brought to Texas, even as their own politicians insisted on getting aid but ignoring the fact that global climate change is certain to keep doing things like that, as the new normal.

The Guide's editor had seen it before, as a volunteer who went to Louisiana to help recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina. And in all these years since, he says that TV never really communicated what it was like for the people who live there, because it never conveyed what they endured.

Years later, the 2017 Texas floods have finally brought some of the best that TV has ever done to show personal stories -- of families trying to reclaim their flood-damaged houses after the water has receded and the mold is growing everywhere.

The show is American-produced, but on foreign-owned television. Which, alone, tells you something about US corporate mainstream media.

We can all see this new show, today only.

"This absolutely brought me back to when I volunteered in Louisiana after Katrina, and it is just what so many there faced with their ruined homes," says our editor.

He recalls that he bought a chisel-pointed drywall "jab" saw in a hardware store in un-flooded Baton Rouge and gave it to a friend who lived in hard-hit New Orleans -- a present for her birthday -- and he showed her how to use it.

With her two sons, she ripped out all the soaked carpets, then used the saw to cut-off the bottom-third of all the drywall in the whole house. That allowed them to pull all the soggy insulation down and out of the walls, and save their home.

THEN they faced exactly what the families in the episode of this TV show were dealing with, when the show was filmed in October. And back then, after Katrina, just as now in Texas, it all happens for a long time, and all of it after the TV morning shows and cable news camera crews have left.

This time, someone came back. "Great American Pilgrimage" airs multiple times every Saturday on RT America, on cable / satellite / Direct TV, and as an online simulcast.

Pacific time, it premiered today at 6:30 am, and it REPEATS TODAY-only, at

* 10:29 am

* 2:29 pm


* 6:30 pm

It's a half-hour show.

The series is hosted by STEPHEN BALDWIN (one of the actor clan of Baldwin brothers) with co-host MAX KEISER (the financial guru who hosts "Keiser Report" and is also a stand-up comic and magician).

The show is a cross-country journey in a motor home, meeting ordinary Americans, de-bunking media-driven myths, and looking at how folks really live, struggle, and think.

The trip is financed by the cryptocurrency company called Dash, which is sort of like Bitcoin "but with customer service," says its representative. He is making this part of the trip with the duo, which was already a sort-of trio with Stephen's cute little dog along for the ride. Dash users give some money to flood victims in this episode -- they've helped others in need in previous episodes.

If you need to watch it online, just go to

Scroll to the bottom, and on top of the third column, click "Live"

The "On Air" page comes up. Click the tab up top for "RT America" and you're there with the live broadcast, 24/7.

For future reference, there's also a tab to watch "RT Documentary." Each day, RT America screens half-hour segments of documentary films from all over the world, many of them award-winning. The documentary tab gets you access to watch many of the recent ones, in full.

Now, seriously -- Forget about all the vilification you hear from mainstream corporate media and crybaby congressmen about RT being "evil Russian propaganda." As a journalist, I'm at least as sick of all that BS as you probably are. Just go watch and decide for yourself.

We have found that there's really good stuff on RT America, all the time -- in addition to "Redacted Tonight," the comedy news show we love so much (it is the best thing since Jon Stewart retired: part political parody, part call-out-and-ridicule-the-bums and expose what they're doing with our money, and how they've got us addicted to perpetual war).

All of RT America's other shows have higher "production values" than this seat-of-the-pants, take-the-show-on-the-road "Great American Pilgrimage." But this episode is of special significance -- to all of us with friends who've been flooded, and to all of us who are disgusted with a mainstream media that parachutes in for the drama, then leaves people to contend with the mess.


Again, Merry Christmas.

The Acoustic Americana Music Guide waves the copyright for this edition.

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