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 FIVE 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 22, 1984
(UPDATE: 5-31-10 — I found the first installment!)

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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Robin Thicke and the Greatest Crevasse in the Modern World of Crass

Why does it seem the longer we live, the crasser the world around us becomes?  Language degrades into cursing every other word and sportsmanship on the basketball court, gridiron and baseball diamond become all about who can be the loudest, and not who is really the best team player.

The greatest crevasse in the modern world of crass is found in the entertainment business.  Decades ago, we had quieter movies and songs and other Art that challenged our thinking and emotion; while today, we are “bonked” over the head with obviousness and bad taste and the resurrection of outright misogyny masquerading as a music video.  Nothing is left to imagination.  It’s all obvious, bad taste.

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Honoring the Game: Pay as You Go or Pay as They Want?

It’s no secret that many major league baseball teams — even the Yankees! — are having a hard time selling season ticket packages this year, and one must begin to wonder if the economics of baseball, and major league sport in general, are forever changing for the betterment of the impulse buyer and to the detriment of the dedicated fan that these teams covet, and often, overcharge.

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2012 in Review

The year 2012 went by rather quickly for me — one day at a time, as it were. It was a year of many moments spent with my wife and son and remarkably not too many spent attending concerts and movies as in years prior to Chaim being born — but we are quite okay with it and know that it too shall pass and we will eventually have a sitter over more than once every half a year or so.

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Beyonce Fakes Reality Once Again

Beyonce is at it again!  She’s faking reality and pretending that we don’t notice and are not offended by her intentional deceit.  Is this capacity for suspending disbelief part of the DNA of her itinerant celebrity status?  Pretending to really sing the National Anthem at Obama’s second inauguration was but the latest straw breaking our camel back.  Four years ago, we addressed the performance fakery of Yo Yo Ma at Obama’s first inauguration; and the second time around — we’re stuck with No Mo’ Beyonce.

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The Cruelty of The Circus

When I was growing up I always wanted to go to, but never managed to go to the circus. My dreams of the circus were filled of images that I saw in books that I read — the elephant parades, the lion tamer, the tigers and monkeys, not to mention the plethora of acts involving clowns, trapeze artists, acrobats, and the like. I would on occasion get a box of animal crackers with the standard animals from the circus and enjoy munching on them when thinking about how much fun it must be to be that lion, getting the opportunity to perform in front of so many people every year. It was at a certain point, growing up, that I found out how badly the animal performers are treated.

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Kill Laugh Tracks!

There are some innovations on television that have overstayed their welcome by a long shot and need to go away. I was reminded of one of these innovations recently when I read a harsh critique of the new Zoey Deschanel sitcom, New Girl. One of the reasons the author gave to hate the show was the lack of a laugh track in the show.

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