Archive for December, 2013

People don’t actually like creativity.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Why it’s lousy for the environment and food safety and US sovereignty, not to mention creators’ rights, and why you’ve probably never heard of it.

In this clip, Carl Sagan passionately defends science, with a grave warning.

Secessionists on the ballot.

I mentioned the FOCUS church’s long struggle to feed the hungry. Here’s a print news story and TV story about the cut in food stamps affecting local pantries.

Rev. Frank Schaefer was found guilty by The United Methodist Church for officiating at his son’s same-sex wedding; his response.

Teenager’s Sentence in Fatal Drunken-Driving Case Stirs ‘Affluenza’ Debate; my, when I saw this story on TV I got really ticked off. Will they also accept povertenza as a defense? Didn’t think so.

The former editor-in-chief at the New England Journal of Medicine believes it is no longer possible to believe much of clinical research published.

I didn’t write about that Duck Dynasty cable TV guy, mostly because of time, but also because I didn’t have a fresh angle. Arthur wrote about him, and about his reluctance to write about the issue at all, and it’s pretty much my position too.

How fashion can be used as camouflage from face-detection technology.

There’s a new film about Walt Disney and the making of the movie Mary Poppins: watch Harlan Ellison on “Saving Mr. Banks”. For another new film, Philomena, read this article from three years ago, The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, for background.

This Man Rescued Over 600 Jewish Kids from Nazi Camps. He Doesn’t Know It Yet, But He’s Sitting with Them.

So you’re feeling too fat to be photographed… And Pioneering Photographer Robert Cornelius Credited With World’s First Selfie, c. 1839.

If physical diseases were treated like mental illness.

Melanie: Reading, Russian, and the Soviet Union.

Sit Still, and Follow the Stick.

Always hated end-of-the-year lists that come out in early December, because the year isn’t over. Still, 45 powerful photos and NPR’s 100 favorite songs and the best and worst media errors and corrections and worst words and phrases and the Jibjab piece
what brought us together.

21st Century Punctuatio​n; this is a non-issue for me. The frontiers of American English usage involve Death Metal English.

Facebook Use Predicts Declines in Subjective Well-Being in Young Adults, and 5 Reasons To Stop Checking Facebook At Work.

Jaquandor: “Bitching about what people post on social networks is rather like going to each individual table in your high school cafeteria and demanding that everyone at each table only discuss the topics you want to hear discussed.” I agree with that. He also mentioned SamuraiFrog’s situation, linked therein.

Speaking of SF: 50 Shades of Smartass, Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 and Chapter 7, which you should check out, even if you don’t read the others, because now the truly awful stuff is being eviscerated. Or wait until Chapter 8, when the sex stuff starts. Would someone who liked this book please write me and tell me why?

Books About Movies: XEROX FEROX: THE WILD WORLD OF THE HORROR FILM FANZINE by John Szpunar.

The status of Jaquandor’s Princesses In SPACE!!! (not the actual title).

The “radio call” of the miraculous Auburn win over Alabama, both a faux one and the real thing.

Another Kennedy Conspiracy Theory, involving a Superman comic book from around the time of JFK’s assassination, with a happy ending.

Don McGregor on Marvel Comics’ First Interracial Kiss.

Now I Know: rabbit show jumping and the history of flatulence humor.

Michael Feinstein talks about the Gershwins and play some of their tunes for an hour.

Tony Isabella’s birthday wish list.

Amy Biancolli has a new blog. She’s a writer for the local newspaper I’ve met once or twice. As she noted in her first post, ” In 2011, my beloved, brilliant husband, Chris, committed suicide. This left me and our three unbelievably spirited, beautiful children with a task ahead of us: to live.” So she’s FSO, Figuring Stuff Out, such as Things. Except she doesn’t say “stuff.”

Of all the noteworthy people who died this month – Ray Price, Eleanor Parker, Peter O’Toole, Joan Fontaine, Tom Laughlin – the only obit I link to is Harold Camping? OK, here’s one for Price, and for O’Toole.

Food Fight Muppet episode featuring Gordon Ramsey.

Mark Evanier has been blogging for thirty years! I didn’t even have Internet access at work TWENTY years ago.

Unexpected singers: Run Joe by Maya Angelou from the Miss Calypso album. And Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out by Richard Pryor.

Arthur answers my question about Maori representation in New Zealand government and religion and genealogy, among other things.

I wrote: 50 is the new 65, and not in a good way.

There’s a game that involves five dice and a score sheet called Yahtzee, which I’m teaching to my daughter. I like it because, while it involves an element of luck, it also requires some strategy.

“In the upper section, each box is scored by summing the total number of dice faces matching that box. For example, if a player were to roll three ‘twos,’ the score would be recorded as 6 in the twos box. If a player scores a total of at least 63 points, [which corresponds to three-of-a-kind for each of the six rows], a bonus of 35 points is added to the upper section score.
Read the rest of this entry »

The intrepid New York Erratic asks:

What’s the most recent fiction book you’ve read?

You ask a simple question, and I have a simple, then complicated, answer.

The book was Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein, which became a New York Times Bestseller.

Lucky Kyle wins a spot as one of the first twelve kids invited to a gala, overnight library lock-in filled with of fun and games. Read the rest of this entry »


Jendy, who I’ve only known since 1987, asked:

If you were to shave your beard, would Lydia recognize you? Would I? ([Paul [her husband] says his kids would do a double take every spring when he used to shave his off!)

I don’t get to see Jendy as often, now that she has a new job. When she worked in a public setting, I’d see her once or twice a month. So she didn’t know that, in fact, I DID have my beard shaved off, on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. It had become a scruffy mess, and I needed to get it trimmed. But once in the chair of a new barbershop, I let the whimsy of the moment carry me off, and had all the facial hair, save for the mustache, removed. Lydia seemed to recognize me, and I’m sure you would too.

Know who didn’t recognize me? Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this before six months ago, but consider this my now semiannual plug for something called ABC Wednesday, in which people, literally from around the world, post an item – pictures, poems, essays that in someway describe each letter of the alphabet, in turn. I’ve been participating since the letter K in Round 5.

The meme was started about six and a half years ago by Denise Nesbitt from England. Read the rest of this entry »

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