It’s Ba-a-a-ck! Serial, Season Two

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Last year, Serial took the podcast world by storm.

I listened to Season One, and I was immediately hooked. This original Serial, a spinoff of This American Life, tells the story of a murder in Baltimore, Maryland, back in 1999. The story unfolds in “serial” form (hence, the title :) ), drawing the listener in, week by week. The first season of Serial was wildly successful with 2.2 million listeners per week. . It was the first podcast to achieve a record 5 million downloads on iTunes.

Because of the gi-normous success of Season One, the Serial folks promised more. Season Two begins a new story, following the same serial format of unfolding a bit more week after week.

And now, much to the delight of, literally, millions of fans, Season Two has begun. You can listen to it as a podcast, downloaded it to your computer or stream it directly from the website, here.

The story this year: (copied from the Serial website)

In May 2014, a U.S. Special Operations team in a Black Hawk helicopter landed in the hills of Afghanistan. Waiting for them were more than a dozen Taliban fighters and a tall American, who looked pale and out of sorts: Bowe Bergdahl. Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier, had been a prisoner of the Taliban for nearly five years, and now he was going home.

President Obama announced Bergdahl’s return in the Rose Garden, with the soldier’s parents at his side. Bergdahl’s hometown of Hailey, Idaho, planned a big celebration to welcome him back. But then, within days—within hours of his rescue, in fact—public reaction to his return flipped. People started saying Bergdahl shouldn’t be celebrated. Some of the soldiers from his unit called him a deserter, a traitor. They said he had deliberately walked off their small outpost in eastern Afghanistan and into hostile territory.

Hailey canceled its celebration. The army launched an investigation. Finally, in March, the military charged Bergdahl with two crimes, one of which carries the possibility of a life sentence. Through all of this, Bergdahl has been quiet. He hasn’t spoken to the press or done any interviews on TV. He’s been like a ghost at the center of a raucous fight.

Now, in Season Two, we get to hear what he has to say.

For this season, Sarah Koenig teams up with filmmaker Mark Boal and Page 1 to find out why one idiosyncratic guy decided to walk away, into Afghanistan, and how the consequences of that decision have spun out wider and wider. It’s a story that has played out in unexpected ways from the start. And it’s a story that’s still going on.

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A Short List of a Few Favorite Shopping Spots

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 6.19.21 AMA few weeks back, Apple added a new category to their App Store: Shopping.

Since then, I’ve received a number of internet shopping recommendations from blog followers, friends and a daughter-in-law.
And so, in the interest of sharing, I thought I’d list a few (not all….. so many!!!) of these favorite shopping spots, here, today.

This is just a collective list ….. and not even a complete list. There is no order to this group of shopping sites, just the names and links to some of the places that are used by some of those in our blog community.

Please feel free to add more suggestions in the comment section!

Zappos
Ebay
Amazon
Uncommon Goods

Reuseit

Jet

Dodd’s Shoe company

Levi’s

Incipio

Anthroplogie

Poshmark

Etsy

Thinkgeek

Moo

Sephora
eBags

Shopstyle

Craftsy

Marks and Spencer
(currently offering FREE delivery to the USA, New Zealand, Canada and Australia).

My personal favorites from this list?
Amazon, Uncommon Goods, Zappos, Craftsy (thanks, Trudi!) and Etsy.

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It’s Snowing! (On your blog)

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 6.47.28 AMIf you have added snow to your Blog here on WordPress anytime in the past, you might have noticed that WordPress remembered this …. and it has recently started snowing on your blog without you doing a thing to get it going.

And if you leave it alone, it will automatically stop on January 4.

If you are new to WordPress and you would like to make it snow on your blog, here is what you do:

Go to Settings > General and scroll ALL the way down to the bottom. There you will find the box that you can check to make it snow on your blog (or UNcheck if you do not want the snow).

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This snow is harmless. It won’t accumulate, and you don’t have to shovel it. :)

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How to Permanently Delete Kindle Books from your Library

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 9.01.17 PMIf you are an enthusiastic ebook reader, you have probably developed quite a library. I know I have, with oodles of books in the Cloud, and a long line of unread books waiting for me on my Kindle.

I have so many that I feel the need to do a bit of pruning. I know there are thorns among the many roses. It’s time to let some of them go.

So …… let’s be CLEAR: When you have a book on your Kindle, and you “delete from the device” ….. , you still own the book. Even though it is no longer physically sitting on your Kindle, it is alive and well and resting in your Cloud Library, just waiting for you to download it to your device whenever you would like to read it.

What we are going to talk about now is a different action. A PERMANENT action. We are going to look at deleting a book from your Cloud Library forever. That’s forever.

If you do this, it will be gone. You will no longer own the book. If you want to read it again, you’ll have to buy it again. So before you do this ..be sure!

Here is how to PERMANENTLY delete a book from your Kindle Cloud Library:

Go to the Kindle books area on the Amazon website. Look along the top of your screen. Click on “Manage your Content and Devices”. (You can also access this area through “your account”.)

There will be several tabs, one for content, one for devices, and one for settings. Tap on Content.

Now you see a list of ALL the Kindle books you own. All your books in the Cloud AND all the books on your device are listed, here.

Once you have found a book that you want to delete permanently, click on the little box with dots to the left of the title.

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Once you tap on those dots, a menu will appear. Click on “delete”.

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Once you click on “delete”, you’ll be asked…. “are you SURE??” and if you are, go ahead and delete.

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That’s it! That’s all there is to it.

Just make sure that you are paying attention as you do this, and only delete the books that you really want to toss from your library.

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This Thanksgiving App Could be Quite Helpful Year-Round

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 7.42.03 PM“Butterball” is practically a synonym for “turkey.”

Therefore, when I stumbled across this app, I was quite sure it would contain turkey recipes. And yes, it does. But it also has much more, and since the price is FREE, it is well worth the download.

This app has hundreds of recipes represented by delicious looking photographs. Recipes that will be helpful all year round, not just at Thanksgiving.

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It also gives you some TOOLS, including a very large substitution chart. I often seem to be missing just one ingredient, so I’m anticipating using this pretty-darn-inclusive list (a lot!).

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Butterball Cookbook Plus is available FREE for both the iPad and iPhone in the iTunes store

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Apple’s App Store Adds a New Category …… Shopping!

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 6.19.21 AMI’m actually surprised it took so long for Apple to make “shopping” its own category. Until now, any shopping app was buried within the Lifestyle group….. but no longer.

I’m pleased. There are actually several of these apps that I wanted to try (but I forgot) and now, with their own category, I see them and I’ll be downloading a few before the day is over. (And of course, if I find something share-able, I’ll post it, here.)

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When I look at myself as an ordinary-person example, I would have to say that on-line shopping has greatly increased over the last decade. Last year, when the holiday season was over, I surprised myself when I realized that a major portion of my shopping was on-line. A quick google search this morning showed me that the e-commerce continues to gain traction year after year, all over the world.

On-line retailers continue to make the deliveries quicker and the returns easier. Someday it’s likely that this trend of on-line shopping will level off, but for now, it continues to grow. Many of these retailers offer special perks, such as free one-day shipping, percentages off your purchase and/or free merchandise.

I use Amazon a lot, but there are many other sites that I enjoy using, as well. I’ll share a few over the next several weeks. How about you? Do you have any favorites? I’d love to know. :)

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