Archive for September, 2017

It occurred to me that people not familiar with American football may not understand “taking a knee” or a “quarterback kneel.”

The play occurs after the ball is snapped “when the quarterback immediately kneels to the ground, ending the play on contact… It is primarily used to run the clock down, either at the end of the first half or the game itself, in order to preserve a lead or a win. Although it generally results in a loss of a yard and uses up a down, it minimizes the risk of a fumble, which would give the other team a chance at recovering the ball.

“Especially when the outcome of the game has been well decided, defenses will often give little resistance to the play as a matter of sportsmanship as well as to reduce injury risk on what is a relatively simple play.”

This is what spiritual warfare looks like. “There is not a more perfect gesture of Christian nonviolent resistance than to kneel while the lovers of empire stand. It makes a spectacle of our worldly powers”

The Daily Show: When is the ‘right time’ for black people to protest?

Bob Costas on NFL protests and patriotism

Principled stands taken at great risk are often how movements are born

Is America Headed for a New Kind of Civil War?

Ibram Kendi, leading scholar about racism: education and love are not the answer

Nationalism Reconsidered

The Real Reason White People Say ‘All Lives Matter’ (from a white guy)

“Leave safety behind. Put your body on the line. Stand before the people you fear and speak your mind–even if your voice shakes. When you least expect it, someone may actually listen to what you have to say. Well-aimed slingshots can topple giants.” –Maggie Kuhn

John Green reviews what is known and what is not known about the Russia Scandal

Right-Wing Star Declares He’s Too Healthy For Insurance: Guess What Happened. He has a car accident and now needs a GoFundMe to pay for this hospital bills. The schadenfreude was not strong here; it was more function of irritation, way out of proportion, over his arrogance

Corporate Consolidation: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Court Rules Copyright is Not a “Use It or Lose It” Right

Hurricane names are Insufficiently intimidating

Lynn Mabry, Sheila E, Rebecca Jade in W. Springfield, MS Sept 2017


Last weekend, I went to two street festivals in Albany. Larkfest I used to go to all of the time when I was single and lived nearby, but it had been a while. I was helping Albany Public Library staff to get folks to get library cards. The Madison Street Fair is smaller, but closer. At both events, the weather got HOT; sunburn at Larkfest, which is particularly bad for me with the vitiligo, so I used an umbrella at Madison.

Amy Biancolli: turns on the slide

Veteran Voice Actress June Foray Remembered at Packed Event

A Letter of Resignation Walking away, and “the hardest thing I’ve ever written”

Closed Campus? A Case Study of Skipping at Subchunkin, a place three blocks from my house

Now I Know: The Dead Man Who Sued to Make Himself Alive and The Man Who Ate Lots of Potatoes

MUSIC

K-Chuck Radio: Motown like you’ve never heard it before

Coverville 1186: Cover Stories for 10CC, Nick Cave and Oasis

Uranium Fever – Elton Britt (1955)

“Not all the fresh music made in 1971 made an impact in that year. Some of it didn’t come out until years later the people who made it had made it had moved on, had become different people, or died.” That’s the first sentence in the September chapter of Never A Dull Moment by David Hepworth.

The Modern Lovers included future Talking Heads member Jerry Harrison and leader Jonathan Richman, who is considered by some to be the ‘godfather of punk rock.”

Roxy Music was primarily wanted to be perceived as an art project, as most of the members, including Bryan Ferry, were students. Likewise, David Byrne was meeting up with Chris Frantz at the Phode Island School of Design and thinking about a band called the Artistics; Byrne and Franz would, of course, also help create Talking Heads.

Kraftwerk was formed by Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider in 1969. Their second album had “more in common with the workshopping approach to improvised theater than the performance-oriented approach of traditional rock.”

When the critics suggest who ought to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they often mention this band, certainly not for its commercial success, but its influence. The Wikipedia notes: “Kraftwerk’s musical style and image can be heard and seen in 1980s synthpop groups such as Gary Numan, Ultravox, John Foxx, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Human League, Depeche Mode, Visage, and Soft Cell.”

Alex Chilton had experience some success with a band called the Box Tops, but the experience left him drained. He and some mates ended up starting a band called Big Star. Their album, #1 Record, released in 1972, did nothing, maybe because it was released on the soul label Stax, which had just bought itself out “of a distribution deal with Columbia” [Records] and therefore had to “promote a white rock record through a black promotion and distribution system.”

The records of the Velvet Underground and Big Star, “like those of of the Stooges, MC5 and Nick Drake, were widely available and widely un-bought.” But those artists inspired music that eventually topped the charts.

Listen to

George Jackson – Bob Dylan here or here

Motel Blues – Loudon Wainwright III here or here

Hospital – Modern Lovers here or here

Andy Warhol – David Bowie here or here

Life Is a Carnival – the Band here or here

When I was growing up, I always watched the Emmy Awards. It was my opportunity to see my favorite television performers in the surreal moment of being off-script.

But I haven’t watched them in a number of years, and I know why: I’ve never seen most of the programs being honored. A lot of them have been on HBO, which I’ve never subscribed to, and an increasing number on services such as Netflix.

And the Emmy ratings were lower than they were any year except 2016, so it’s not just me. I’m sure the Handmaid’s Tale miniseries was tremendous – I read the book 20 years ago – but the buzz about the TV program is all secondhand to me.

Even the shows that are on basic cable, which I could watch, I don’t. I happened to catch an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia recently – it was on after the Daily Show – and I hated it so much, I couldn’t finish it.

And speaking of hate, Ken Levine, who has won three Emmys for writing Cheers, did his usual snarky review of the event, both as a podcast and in his blog, and apparently he got a lot of backlash. He was critical of Emmy announcer Jermaine Fowler, who is black, and some folks decided that Levine must be racist.

Well, I heard a couple of Fowler’s bits, and I thought they were fine, for WWE (wrestling), or being a home team announcer for a basketball or football game. (Someone else suggested that Fowler should cover sports, and there were those who perceived THAT to be a racist comment, because they were presumably implying that blacks should stay in their lane.)

I have real ambivalence about former White House press secretary Sean Spicer showing up at the Emmys. On one hand, he was a lying [place your favorite profanity here] in his previous position. On the other hand, his sudden appearance caught the audience by surprise, notably Melissa McCarthy, who portrayed him on Saturday Night Live, and Veep’s Anna Chlumsky, whose reaction became a Facebook GIF. I’m just pleased that none of the networks – CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN and even FOX – are going to hire him.

As that list of shows that I “should” watch grows and grows, my chances of watching future Emmy Awards shrinks. The good stuff I’ll catch on YouTube clips.

Our first contestant in Ask Roger Anything -you may still participate! is Jaquandor, writer of fine books, who asks:

To what degree does the phrase “President Trump” still fill you with stunned disbelief?

It used to be about 11 on a scale of 10. Now it’s only 9.89. To this day, there are people who say I dislike him because my candidate lost. This is not at all the case. I never felt as though his predecessors lacked the ethos of being President, even when I vigorously disagreed with their positions, such as W on the Iraq war.

This guy, though, either doesn’t know how to be Presidential or actively chooses not to be. I never thought He goes on Twitter, finds a video of him hitting a golf ball and his shot “hitting” Hillary Clinton. So, like a juvenile, he retweets it.

He comes up with an unclever name for North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, “Rocket Man” – isn’t that what he wants Kim to STOP doing? The New Yorker’s David Borowitz had some satirical fun with this: In War of Elton John Lyrics, Kim Jong Un Calls Trump “Honky Cat” .

And then Trump, possibly encouraged by his shrinking base, uses it AGAIN in his address to the United Nations. This appears to be the dangerous taunting by an adolescent.

And Kim’s use of the word dotard – “a person, especially an old person, exhibiting a decline in mental faculties; a weak-minded or foolish old person” – put many Americans in the uncomfortable position of wondering whether he was onto something.

His threatened withdrawal of the Iran nuclear agreement makes creating a deal with North Korea even more difficult. Since the United States agreed to VOLUNTARY benchmarks for our participation in the Paris climate change accord, the US withdrawal doesn’t even make sense. Our allies oppose our leaving the Paris accords, and most feel the same on the Iran deal.

Trump pardons a criminal sheriff, who violated hundreds of people’s civil rights. He declares that Nazis and white supremacists can be “good people.” Then he calls NFL players who kneel for the national anthem “sons of bitches” who should be fired. The NFL commissioner Roger Goodell rightly released a statement saying Trump’s comments are “divisive” and show a lack of respect for the league, the game, and the players.

His behavior, to borrow a term, is unpresidented.

He supports various pieces of legislation in Congress without seeming to have any idea what they mean. He said that Cassidy-Graham, the now-dead latest iteration of “let’s kill Obamacare”, was “better than the other bills” the Senate tried to pass in 2017. Given the fact that the new bill’s impact hadn’t been fully explored by the Congressional Budget Office, this assertion seems dubious.

His anti-immigrant positions have helped lead foreign students to choose to go to college in Canada, travelers abroad to avoid the United States and the DACA families to feel destabilized in the US. I won’t even get into the migrant farm workers who won’t be there to pick the crops.

His insensitivity towards Puerto Rico in its hour of need is not only appalling but possibly self-serving.

So, yes, it’s difficult to believe that any “normal” President could be so terrible so quickly. See The Seth Abramson Trump Tweetstorm.

There was a Washington Post article in April 2017, The simple idea to make kids more empathetic? Get them reading the news. It’s about a specific program sythesizing the news.

One of the things I tried to protect the Daughter from was the news. I thought I was watching it when she was busy doing other things. But at some point, when she was eight or nine, I noticed she was picking up on stories. Moreover, she was aware of them at a level that I knew that her classmates were not. And that is still true.

I must admit this is a curse she has inherited from from her father, who was reading op/ed columns in the local paper at 9 or 10. William F. Buckley and Jack Anderson and the like was on my reading diet.

Following the news, she became more aware of the candidates for President – she hated Chris Christie, loved Bernie Sanders – and more of them than 90% of American adults.

I tried very hard not to inculcate her with my pain about race in America. Yet the evidence in the news, with only some minor clarification from me, really informed her, such as when she saw unarmed black men getting shot. I really didn’t want her to have to know about this, but it’s out there.

She has participated in walks to fight hunger. She has contributed money to help shelter animals. She really does have a good heart, which would probably embarrass her, but so be it.

I think that she will be a good citizen. She’ll follow the issues and she’ll always vote. At this point, I can’t see her ever running for office – at some level, she is very shy – but i can imagine her working behind the scenes for a candidate she supports. And perhaps she’ll surprise me.

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