After twenty first-graders and six educators were gunned down at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012, gun control advocates felt that it was the perfect time to get something done on that front. If Congress won’t respond to the deaths of six- and seven-year-olds, what WILL change them?

But nothing much happened. Professor Charles Collier wrote: “In other words, less gun violence proves that gun control is not needed; more gun violence proves that gun control is not working. In either case, the proper response remains laissez-faire.”

In fact, there is a bill with broad support in the US House of Representatives, tacking on a poison pill to the ‘Fix NICS’ Act, designed to “improve the gun-sale background check system simply by helping ensure that the staffs of federal agencies and states complete a couple more keystrokes and mouse clicks every day and submit more records into the system” The addition is dreadful:

“‘Concealed Carry Reciprocity’ would force states to allow people to carry concealed guns in public even if they are domestic abusers, have other dangerous histories, or lack even the most basic safety training to carry concealed guns in public. [It] would leave local police powerless to stop people with dangerous histories from carrying guns.

“‘Concealed Carry Reciprocity’ would gut our gun laws because it would force each state to accept the concealed carry standards of every other state — even states that have weaker standards, or worse, no standards at all. And it would not establish a national standard for who is allowed to carry a hidden, loaded gun in public.”

I can easily imagine even a supposed “good guy with a gun” getting shot and killed by law enforcement in the midst of an act of violence.

This I understand: List of mass shootings placed inside nativity scene at Dedham [MA] church. “Pastor Stephen Josoma said the goal is to get people talking about what more can be done to bring peace on earth.”

There is a Sandy Hook Promise channel on YouTube that might provide ideas on addressing the apparently intractable debate over gun violence and gun control.

When I’m weary, I take a list, in this case, Rotten Tomatoes’ 50 BEST COMPUTER-ANIMATED MOVIES. Not incidentally, many of the ones I saw, I viewed BEFORE I had a child. Links to my reviews in this blog.

50. HAPPY FEET (2006)
49. THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN (2011) -I’ve read some of the books
48. ICE AGE (2002)
47. THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS (2016) – The Daughter expressed interest in seeing this, but it just didn’t happen.
46. SURF’S UP (2007) – I don’t even remember the existence of this film

*44. DR. SEUSS’ HORTON HEARS A WHO! (2008) – saw this first on commercial TV, i.e., with commercials, which diminishes its impact
42. MR. PEABODY & SHERMAN (2014) – I SO loved these characters as a child that I actively avoided this
*41. MONSTERS UNIVERSITY (2013) – saw this with a bunch of elementary school children, which made it occasionally difficult to hear

40. KUNG FU PANDA 2 (2011)
39. THE BOOK OF LIFE (2014) – I don’t remember the ads
*38. BRAVE (2012) – I think I liked this more than most because Merida didn’t look like every other Disney princess
37. DESPICABLE ME (2010) – my late friend Norman had gotten free passes to see this at the evil Crossgates mall, so the Daughter and I went there. But the movie made her nervous, and we left about a half hour in. Specifically, after one of the girls goes into an iron maiden and her juice box gets punctured. the Daughter has seen the whole film subsequently, and I’ve seen the ending, but not the middle.
36. PUSS IN BOOTS (2011) – I’ve seen bits and pieces, but not the whole thing

35. SAUSAGE PARTY (2016) – it looked rather stupid in the ads
*34. CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS (2009) – saw this at an elementary school. I somewhat related to the main character
33. CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS: THE FIRST EPIC MOVIE (CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS) (2017) – my niece in Charlotte was a big fan of the books when she was young
*32. WRECK-IT RALPH (2012) – I loved the references that the Daughter could not have gotten
31. KUNG FU PANDA 3 (2016)

30. RANGO (2011) it was nominated for an Oscar, and I had meant to see it
29. KUNG FU PANDA (2008) – I guess I should see these
28. THE PEANUTS MOVIE (2015) – I saw this heavily advertised, but my affection for the early TV specials kept me away, I suppose
*27. SHREK (2001) – I enjoyed its mildly anti-Disney message
*26. SHREK 2 (2004)

*25. TANGLED (2010) – I loved the look
24. BOLT (2008)
23. THE LITTLE PRINCE (2016) – I’ll have to look for this
22. ARTHUR CHRISTMAS (2011) – the Daughter watched the series on PBS religiously for a time, and i grew fond of it; I may have to seek this out
*21. A BUG’S LIFE (1998) in the one trivia contest I’ve participated in, in 2017, one of the questions was the type of insect John Ratzenberger, who’s in EVERY Pixar film, played. I had no idea. (He voiced P.T. Flea )

*20. BIG HERO 6 (2014) – the Daughter declared that this movie, which the family saw together, is one of her favorite films
*19. FROZEN (2013) – I MAY have ODed on this film
*17. ANTZ (1998) – I saw this at almost the same time as A Bug’s Life, and I think they blur together in the mind
*16. MONSTERS, INC. (2001) – I saw this in an elementary school, well after its release

15. THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE (2017) – I may may yet see this
*14. THE INCREDIBLES (2004) – I love this movie, especially the office drone parts
*12. RATATOUILLE (2007) – once I got over the idea of a rat preparing food…
*11. MOANA (2016) – this IS a lovely film, and I was probably too harsh in seeing it as another Disney formula film

*10. FINDING DORY (2016) – there are parts of this film near the end I find surprisingly moving
*9. THE LEGO MOVIE (2014) – I saw this movie on my birthday for free – I liked this a lot
*8. WALL-E (2008) – I grew to like it
*7. TOY STORY (1995) – at the time, I was just awestruck by the Pixar method
*6. FINDING NEMO (2003) – I still remember the Daughter watching this upstairs at a Christmas party with other kids, and how upset she was when Nemo was trying to escape the dentist’s aquarium

*5. UP (2009) – that first 10 minutes of flashback is incredibly affecting
*4. ZOOTOPIA (2016) – I loved this, a lot; much more complex than I would expected
*3. TOY STORY 2 (1999) – When Somebody Loved Me STILL makes me cry
*2. TOY STORY 3 (2010) – seeing the incinerator scene in the theater was quite intense
*1. INSIDE OUT (2015) – another moving story

26 out of 50, but 17 out of the top 20, and all of the top 12.

JOSHUA JOHNSON of NPR, ‘This Week’ Transcript, 12-10-17

JOHNSON: I feel like the evangelical Christians who are supporting [Republican US Senate candidate for Alabama] Roy Moore have a very strong impetus to show up because of the platform that he’s put forth. I’m almost more interested to see what happens with evangelical Christians, particularly with all the issues important to evangelicals that have come up in 2017, and whether this affects the way they view themselves not only as voters but as Christians.

This Week co-anchor MARTHA RADDATZ:… What is your general feeling about it?

JOHNSON:… I can’t stop thinking about this verse from the book of Mark chapter 8, [verse] 36. “What does it profit a man to gain the world and lose his soul.” There have been a lot of issues important to evangelicals this year from the naming Jerusalem as the capital of Israel or the Johnson amendment or Roy Moore’s candidacy, or Joel Osteen in Houston not opening Lakewood Church to victims of Hurricane Harvey that a painting a picture of evangelicals as a key of President Trump’s base.

And I wonder at what point a reckoning comes, if any, where evangelical Christians say, we may be getting what we want in Congress, but is God pleased with our sacrifice? Is this who we want to be as a community of Americans whose primary purpose is to make more Christians. Is this who we are?
From Jim Reisner, former pastor of Westminster Pres in Albany, now in Maryland:

Has the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel the teachable moment for the church to make the distinction between Christians and Dispensationalists; between the followers of Jesus, and the followers of John Nelson Darby; between those who take the lessons of Jesus seriously, and those who dismiss what Jesus said as moral lessons intended for another era than our own?

And in this season of Advent, can we make a distinction between Christians who are waiting for Jesus to enter into the world and Darbyists who are waiting for him to destroy it?
For my non-religious friends, I want to let you know that we Christians aren’t all [guano] crazy.

One of those mundane questions I’ve long wondered about, but never bothered to look up, is why virtually all the radio and television stations in the US start with either the letter W or K.

From Primer Magazine: “In 1912, several countries attended a conference centered on the subject of ‘International Radiotelegraphs.’ One of the biggest things to come out of this gathering was the assignment of certain letters to certain countries, to identify their radio signals – America was given W, K, N, and A (fun fact: Canada got ‘C’ and Mexico got ‘X’).”

But why those particular letters in the US has seemingly been lost. (A for America?)

“While N and A were chosen for American military radio stations, W and K were designated specifically for commercial use. Stations were allowed to choose the letters that followed the K or the W, and the combination was allowed to be three or four letters in length.”

Initially, the K stations were to the east and the W stations were to the west. Thus one can find early radio stations such as KDKA out of Pittsburgh, PA, established in 1920. By 1926, the Federal Communications Commission codified the idea of having four letters, but stations with three didn’t need to change.

From Early Radio History:

“The original K/W boundary ran north from the Texas-New Mexico border, so at first stations along the Gulf of Mexico and northward were assigned W calls. It was only in late January, 1923 that the K/W boundary was shifted east to the current boundary of the Mississippi River. With this change, K’s were assigned to most new stations west of the Mississippi; however, existing W stations located west of the Mississippi were allowed to keep their now non-standard calls.”

This page has more information on the topic than most mortals would want to know, such as the K/W exceptions and other trivia. For instance, some break the rules by owner requests -examples: WACO in Waco, Texas; WMT (Waterloo [Iowa] Morning Tribune). The page was compiled on 1 January 2017, so it’s quite recent.

For ABC Wednesday

A friend of mine wrote this about his wife: “[She] likes music but isn’t obsessed with the trivial metadata surrounding it — you know, she knows a song when she hears it but might not know the title or artist, or underlying themes, or what studio it was recorded in, or if the band’s usual drummer was replaced by someone else for some reason on that particular song — that sort of thing doesn’t interest her.”

My wife is like that. And so are many folks who read my blog who DON’T know who Holland-Dozier-Holland are, or Barry and Greenwich, or Doc Pomus, or even George Martin when I mention them here, all of whom are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They do know Carole King from the album Tapestry, but Gerry Goffin, or Mann and Weil, not so much unless they happened to have seen Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.

What I realized is that my friend, and much of the crew who worked at FantaCo, and the director of my library, and Dustbury, and Chuck Miller, and I are the anomalies. We’re the geeky outliers who used to read the liner notes of albums to find out who wrote each song, who produced the tracks, even each song’s running time. We discovered that the person who wrote X also both wrote AND produced Y.

I’ll bet some of them used to read the side panels of cereal boxes. I know I did: thiamine, niacin…

I tended to surround myself with like-minded people and fooled myself into believing that almost everyone is like that. Then I post something on, say ABC Wednesday, and folks know the tunes but not the names.

I get the comeuppance I need. I’m the weirdo who knows Classical Gas by Mason Williams is exactly three minutes, designed to accompany some video on The Smothers Brothers TV show, without looking it up. But not everyone’s brain is filled with such musical trivia. And that, I suppose, is a good thing.