Archive for November, 2017


Jaquandor saw this article from the UK. He wrote to me on Facebook: “‘It’s an Albany expression!’ Hmmm…really? Hey, do you call hamburgers ‘steamed hams’? (I’m guessing, no.)”

The piece from March 2017 refers to a scene from the TV show The Simpsons. I was a fervent viewer of the program in the first decade, but I rarely see it now. So I was unfamiliar with the particular segment.

“This scene comes in at about 340 words, and 67 sentences. Every line serves a purpose – either as a joke, or as character building.”

Cookywook goes into great detail about:

1. The script about principal Skinner trying to impress school superintendent Chalmers. “Skinner’s charade is woefully transparent, but the deception doesn’t completely fall apart until the very last line.”

2. The structure of a faux opening

3. The animation

4. The psychology of space

5. The climax, with “Skinner’s most extravagant lie by far”

Of course, “steamed hams” really isn’t “an Albany expression.” It’s probably a Schenectady thing.

Australia cut off food and water at an offshore detention camp; asylum seekers there more determined than ever to find freedom

Meet the Teenagers Who Started a Film Production Studio in Their Refugee Camp

Where Brexit Hurts: The Nurses and Doctors Leaving London

From the November 26 lectionary: Matthew 25:44-45 (NIV): They also will answer, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?” He will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”

When Unpaid Student Loan Bills Mean You Can No Longer Work

The recent tide of apologies by famous men have been ‘awful’

Right-wing troll James O’Keefe fails badly at baiting Washington Post with rape lie

Fear of a Black Princess: Britain’s Royal Racial Problem

Bringing an XX perspective to an XY world of movies

What Latino Film Critics Are Saying About Pixar’s ‘Coco’

I’ve seen a variation of this more than once on Facebook: “If we’re being technical here, Charles Manson isn’t actually a serial killer and never killed anyone that we know of.” I think this is pedantic; encouraging others to kill made him legally culpable

How evidence once thought destroyed helped free a man after 39 years behind bars for murder he didn’t commit

NYT responds to readers’ accusations of normalizing a Nazi sympathizer

Fear of crackdown haunts daily life of undocumented immigrants

Net Neutrality: What You Need to Know Now and Without it in Portugal, mobile internet is bundled like a cable package

Thomas Brunell’s appointment “signals an effort by the administration to politicize” the decennial survey

Supporters backed a time-honored American political tradition, disavowing racism while promising to enact a broad agenda of discrimination

Supporter Says He’d Trust Trump Before Jesus Christ

He Now Says That Wasn’t Him on Access Hollywood Tape

Schroedinger’s Tax Hike

In the Land of Vendettas That Go On Forever

Why the rise of the robots won’t mean the end of work

NOW YOU CAN ENJOY GLUTEN FREE VERSIONS OF FAMOUS ART – As gluten-free options are on the rise in trendy circles, someone had the bright idea to go back into classical art and make it gluten-free too

David Brickman’s Italy photos

#Marie Severin is a Comic-Con Icon Award Recipient

#The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour at 50: The Rise and Fall of a Groundbreaking Variety Show

a few thoughts on bathroom signage

This New York Times Website Comment Is the Single Best Comment of the Year

These Aren’t the Tootsie Rolls You’re Looking For

Lessons from the Worst Food Hack of 2017

The strategically planned implosion of the Georgia Dome, captured by The Weather Channel

MUSIC

The Passenger (Randall Thompson) – Chris Trombley, baritone; Todd Sisley, piano

Simple Gifts (excerpt) – Aaron Copeland

Suite from JFK – John Williams

The American In Me – The Avengers

Abraham, Martin and John – Dion

In My Life – Jose Feliciano and Jools Holland

Obsession – OK Go

R. Stevie Moore

Hero and Leander by Victor Herbert

The True History Of The Traveling Wilburys

Neil Young Launching Online Music Archives December 1

In mid-October, my friend Mark went up to a little town in Ulster County, south of Albany, to listen to a talk Joe Sinnott was giving, and afterwards asked if he would give a presentation to a comic book club for some disadvantaged adults. He had never met Joe before, but found him “delightful.”

I’ve known Joe a bit personally since my days at FantaCo back in the 1980s. My strongest recollection was when he showed up at the store in 1983 and bought 10 copies of The Life of Pope John Paul II, which Marvel Comics put out in, for which he was the inker. I sold them to him at a deep discount, as I recall.

Joe is STILL “delightful”, as I’ve noticed when I get to the occasional Albany Comic Con. At 91, he’s still a working artist, as inker of the Sunday Spider-Man comic strip for King Features. Quite coincidentally, my answer to the question which penciler/inker teams have had the most impact on me reappeared in my Facebook feed. The answer was Jack Kirby with Joe Sinnott on the Fantastic 4.

Friend Mark has discovered another credit for Joe. A bi-monthly comic book called the Treasure Chest of Fun & Fact was distributed in Catholic parochial schools. “The Treasure Chest was intended as a remedy to the sensationalism of traditional comics: it contained educational features, narrated the lives of saints, and presented adventure stories featuring realistic characters with what were considered wholesome values, like patriotism, equality, faith, and anti-communism.

“By the early 1960s, the Treasure Chest was at the height of its popularity… In 1964, Joe Sinnott… teamed up with writer Berry Reece to produce a story depicting a U.S. presidential election. It was set in the future: the presidential election was supposedly that of 1976, the year of the nation’s bicentennial.

“‘Pettigrew for President’ lasted for ten issues, following the campaign trail of the fictional Tim Pettigrew from the announcement of his candidacy through the national convention of his party. The candidate’s face was carefully hidden in every panel, until the final page of the final issue of the story, when Pettigrew is finally revealed: the first black candidate for president of the United States!”

Note that the original links no longer work – http://www.lib.cua.edu/wordpress/newsevents/802/ – but the material is still out there via the Wayback Machine.

I needed a U post and decided on USB port. My first problem? Despite my use of them virtually every single day, I didn’t know what it stood for.

A USB port is a “standard cable connection interface for personal computers and consumer electronics devices.” Yeah, I knew that.

USB stands for Universal Serial Bus, “an industry standard for short-distance digital data communications. USB ports allow USB devices to be connected to each other with and transfer digital data over USB cables. They can also supply electric power across the cable to devices that need it.”

When I first got chargers for my cellphones and tablets, they were in one piece, with a USB cable doohickey on one end and a plug on the other. Now they come with the cord with different size connectors on each end and a plug as a separate attachment, I gather for greater flexibility.

It has come in handy. At a conference last year, I received – well, I didn’t know WHAT it was. It had an In DC 5V port and an Out DC 5V port at the same end. It turned out to be a portable charger. You stick one end of a cord into a laptop or computer, and the other end into the charger. Then you use the charger when your cellphone or tablet is dying.

Oh, and speaking of phones, I finally got a smartphone this year, kicking and screaming into the 21st century. I can text without typing the 2 three times to get the letter C. I still don’t do it much, but I COULD.

It happened because I lost my not-smart cellphone in NYC in August; I didn’t really miss not having one until I traveled to Binghamton in early October. And while I could have gotten the same phone I had, with the same $7 a month deal, I ended up with an LG something-or-other for $35 per month package, which seems sufficient right now.

And I got a new bike light this year, which was expensive. But it is rechargeable. I had to take it to the bike shop to FIND the USB port, and someone with better fingernails than I had to take off the hard plastic piece hiding it. Plug it in, And There Was Light.

For ABC Wednesday

I came across an article in Newsweek, The Weird Way That Climate Change Could Make Earthquakes Worse.

“There have to be natural risk factors—specifically, unstable fault lines—for an earthquake to occur. However, the evidence is there that humans are creating situations that can agitate, lubricate, and put pressure on these plates. In fact, a book called Waking the Giant by Bill McGuire documents the science behind climate change creating ideal conditions for tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes.”

I had not heard of this 2012 book with the subtitle How a Changing Climate Triggers Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and Volcanoes. It reviewed well on Good Reads and Amazon, though some thought it was too technical. And most believe the ending was too much a recapitulation.

“Here’s how climate change can lead to more earthquakes, according to scientist emeritus at the US Geological Survey and CEO of earthquake app Temblor Ross Stein.”

He explained something called Reservoir-Induced Seismicity or Dam-Induced Seismicity, earthquakes caused by building dams near fault lines. “People are building reservoirs on fault lines all around the world, filling and draining them. The water in the reservoir can lubricate faults, and filling and draining the reservoir creates and lifts pressure. Furthermore, filling a reservoir can force pressure on water at the bottom, which can run into the ground and create cracks and instability.”

And yet, “it’s difficult to objectively prove that reservoirs cause earthquakes.” Wouldn’t those plate tectonics create earthquakes anyway? This is maddeningly like the general conversation about climate change. One cannot attribute hurricanes Harvey, Irma or Maria to global warming, or the earthquakes in Mexico. But directly, or indirectly, the rising temperatures may be factors.

The interesting thing about the article is that it appeared as a spam comment on this blog, the entire piece without a title. Usually I’m rather quick in purging spam comments, but the length and coherence of the post slowed me down just enough. I may not have seen it otherwise.

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