1984: Murder in F-flat at the Daily Nebraskan

1984 was an interesting time to be alive, because you felt, every day, as if you were living in the George Orwell novel of the same name. Reagan was president, and the world seemed to be collapsing around you — likely just as many of us feel today with another, repressive, Republican president. 1984 also happened to be the year I started writing for the Daily Nebraskan — the school newspaper for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I was a Sophomore in 1984, and I was writing a weekly, serialized, novel called “Murder in F-Flat” — in the wake of Mark Twain, and others like him — and the effort was curious, odd, joyful, frustrating, and purely delightful.

1984 was the dawn of the Personal Computer Age, and while we could save electronic copies of our writing, the work was stored on a fragile 5 1/4″ floppy disk that was kept in a sleeve because its magnetic surface was exposed to the elements. You wrote on the computer, printed out your articles, handed in the paper, and an editor retyped what you wrote into their computer. Yes, you saved what you wrote, but retrieving it later, was an issue then, as it is now; so when I discovered yesterday that the Daily Nebraskan archives for 1984-1987 were now online, I pounded my memory to try to remember when, and what, I wrote in 1984; and the key to the memory trick was my 1984 September 28 pay stub from the Daily Nebraskan. I remembered a check was cut for us every 30 days and each article paid $10.

My search began, and ended, in money — and now I present to you what I was able to find — four installments of “Murder in F-flat” by Dave Boles. I think a couple of episodes are missing from the online archive; I will keep an eye on that Daily Neb portal, and if the other stories flash into the now from the past, I will dutifully update this article! If you prefer a larger version to read, please head over to my Boles.com Periodicals Archive.

August 31, 1984
Too bad you can’t see the whole graphic logo for the column — and today, you’d never want a graphic byline, because your name would never index online as text — “Murder in F-flat” is stylized, and hand-drawn, and I wish I could remember the artist’s name. I just realized now, the pen doing the writing, is being held the wrong way, and is actually stabbing me, the author, in the chest. Murder, indeed! The opening reference to “last week” tells me at least one previous episode installment is missing, so we’re leaping into the story mid-stream.

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Seven Seconds in Jersey City is a Lifetime Too Long

My opthamologist is always excitable. She enjoys life. She’s an excellent MD. She knows I’m a writer, and a Script Doctor, and she makes bumping into her at her office to pick up my contact lens order, a real delight!

My doctor is also a Jersey City girl, born-and-bred, and she’s tough, and smart, and she knows the city well; and my doctor implored me to watch the new Netflix Seven Seconds cable series because it was about the city in which we spin.

She told me Seven Seconds was dark, and ugly, and that “bad people live here in Jersey City” — but my doctor loved the series, and she binge-watched all 10 one-hour episodes in a single sitting! She went on to tell me I had to watch it too, and that she would be testing me on what happened in the story the next time I sat with her for my annual eye examination. I took her up on her offer — and challenge! — because I had no other choice!

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Case of the Half-Boiled Toad

I’m sure you know the fable of the slow-boiled frog. If you drop a frog into a boiling pot of water, the frog will leap out to escape the heat. If, however, you place a frog in a pot of lukewarm water, and then slowly bring the pot to boil, the frog won’t sense the slow temperature change and will stay in the pot of rising, boiling water, until the frog is cooked, and dead.

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2018 Historic Collection 1959 Les Paul Standard

I love a Gibson Custom Shop Les Paul guitar. The heavy guitar feels right in my hands. The strings vibration is nothing like any other guitar I’ve played. For the past decade, or so, I’ve collected four Les Pauls, and I reviewed two of them for you here: My valued ’57 Les Paul VOS and my beloved 56′ Goldtop.

In the image below, you can see all four of my Les Pauls, and the newest one, on the front left, is my 2018 Historic Collection 1959 Les Paul Standard “Dark Bourbon Fade” just purchased from Wildwood Guitars in Louisville, Colorado — and on the front right, is the first Les Paul Standard “Iced Tea Burst” I purchased back in 2008.

I find it wildly fascinating that the two guitars, built a decade apart from each other, so closely resemble each other, while also being alarmingly different in distinctive, yet charming, ways. 2008 was the first wacky year for “The New” Les Paul Standard that included “weight relief” holes carved out of the body, an asymmetrical neck and locking tuners. My new Les Paul is part of the Gibson Custom Shop Historic Collection, and it arrived yesterday, fresh from Wildwood.

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Best Bedroom Amp Review: Orange Rocker 15 and Henriksen Bud

It’s been awhile since I posted a “Boles Blues” review of guitars, guitar amps and other musical gear. Two things were conspiring against me over that time. One, I injured my left wrist. That’s my “fretting” hand, so playing was difficult. The second conspiracy came in two parts, a couple of years apart: Floods! The first flood that hit my apartment came from three flights above and ruined half of my guitar collection. The second flood, two years later, arrived from the same burst pipe in the same apartment on the third floor, and ruined every single guitar amp I owned. The water damage ruined my musical collection and — because I pay for my own gear — I knew it was going to take awhile to get musically re-established.


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Best of Mechanized Morality

Mechanized Morality is my free, insider, newsletter — and a faithful reader of that missive suggested I compress all the Mechanized Morality newsletter updates from 2016-2017 into a “Best of” book — just as I did last month for Boles Blogs, Vol. 8 (2017) — and, my friend, so I have!

Please find “Mechanized Morality” — the eBook! — now available for purchase and download from Amazon Kindle Direct publishing!

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Best of David Boles, Blogs: Vol. 8 (2017) is Ready for Reading!

It is our delight to announce that the immediate availability of our yearly eBook volume of collected blog articles — Best of David Boles, Blogs: Vol. 8 (2017) — is now ready for download from the Amazon Kindle store!

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