Archive for May, 2018

Muppet Rawk III: Revolver by Karin Madan


Not to be used to bribe politicians

How Long Does It Take To Figure Out If a Ten-Dollar Bill Is Real?

Historically, Income Inequality Is Known As A Destroyer Of Civilizations

Mass incarceration: An American problem

His last foray into international negotiations doesn’t bode well for his Kim meeting

There’s no cost to white people who call 911 about black people. There should be

Yes, He Is Making White People More Hateful

Congressman: Rocks tumbling into ocean causing sea level rise

Why did it take so long to find the Golden State Killer suspect?

Big Pay Gaps Are Bad for Business

Outlines of a Reading Project on the Class Divide

Seven Maps to Better Understand the World

All hail the mighty balloon lobby

A SON SPEAKS OUT By Moses Farrow

Why Be a Congregation?

Stores & Brands Offering Senior Discounts

Alan Bean, 4th Person to Walk on the Moon, Dies at 86

Toobin: What you need to know about Tom Wolfe

Memorial video for Comedy Store creator Mitzi Shore

An Open Letter to Wikipedia by Philip Roth (September 2012)

The cast of The Big Bang Theory gave their own tribute to fan Stephen Hawking

Have Your Heard Adulting is Way Hard?

According to a local official in the know, plannerding is “a thing.” “Nerding” is the act of being a nerd. Planning is obvious. Being a nerd, while planning (typically involving mapping and or data analysis) = plannerding

Alexa, Stop Spying on Me

Here’s to the Losers

Now I Know: The Solution to an Unanswerable Question and The Problem with Chinese GPS and How Strawberries with Sugar Ravaged Portugal and The Restaurant With A Rotating Grandma On The Menu

Hotel Duckmaster

We Made a Tool So You Can Hear Both Yanny and Laurel

MUSIC

Jaquandor and his bride have been married 21 years

Symphony No. 2 by Howard Hanson, the “Romantic”, in memory of Dr. Janice Wade of Waverly, IA

AFRICA – Peter Bence (Piano Cover of Toto song)

Coverville 1217: The Steve Winwood Cover Story II – my request! and Coverville 1218: Covering the 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Stand By Me Father – The Soul Stirrers

Higher Love – Lilly Winwood with Steve Winwood

The Flying Sequence from the score to Superman, by John Williams

Medley of Junk – Continental Co-Ets, surf/garage band from Fulda, Minnesota

Here’s to the losers

The Seeker – Fish

THE NATURE OF SOUND – Symphony of Science

Alright – Jain

The Song of Summer 2018

Why Stradivarius violins are worth millions

Burton Silverman’s Famous Painting

I’ll Never Hear Every Song

Watching RBG, a documentary about the Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, the parallels among her being an aspiring law student at Harvard and Columbia, the cases she took on as attorney, and her role on SCOTUS are quite striking.

She tended to be dismissed out of hand at Harvard, with her and the handful of other students being asked directly why they were taking spots that could have gone to a man. Decades later, Virginia Military Institute was essentially making the same case, but the argument was met with withering criticism by RBG.

This is a wonderful film, helped by some amazing archival video showing the development of the great love story between Ruth and Marty Ginsberg, who were married from 1954 until his death in 2010. He was gregarious, while he was quiet, goofy when she was serious. Ruth is a notoriously awful cook, while Marty had kitchen talent.

Moreover, he recognized her great legal skills. Arthur Miller, their great friend, said that Marty was the greatest tax attorney in New York City, yet he left his job to follow his wife when she was appointed to the federal bench by Jimmy Carter.

During her confirmation hearing for the Supreme Court in 1993, she felt that many of the men on the Senate Judiciary Committee didn’t “get” it, didn’t understand the effect of being dismissed out of hand. Yet she was confirmed 96-3 after Bill Clinton recommended her, recognizing her stellar mind.

As she became more the liberal voice of dissent, social media dubbed her The Notorious RBG with a Tumblr page, pictures on Pinterest, T-shirts and a book describing the an unlikely recent obsession in our culture: an octogenarian Supreme Court justice.

Ruth has learned to embrace the phenomenon. She laughs at Kate McKinnon’s portrayal of her on Saturday Night Live while acknowledging that it is nothing like her.

Meanwhile, she is passing down wisdom to her grandchildren, including one granddaughter who was in a class of lawyers that’s about 50% female.

The film, which my wife and I saw at the Spectrum Theatre in Albany, is touching, and educational, and, based on my laughter at the latter sections, occasionally quite funny.

Uluru or Ayers Rock is a national park in a central part of Australia, located in the Northern Territory. What does this have to do with this cartoon, which I saw on Facebook?

The graphic is called Trouble Brewing from The Far Side by Gary Larson. Someone theorized that it was inspired by an episode of the US TV show Seinfeld called The Stranded from season 3 (November 27, 1991), in which Jerry and Elaine are bored at a Long Island party that George invited them to. “Elaine confronts a woman because of her fur coat,” and in a mock Australian accent exclaims “Maybe the dingo ate your baby?”

In fact, Elaine was parodying Meryl Streep in the 1988 film A Cry in the Dark, in which she played a woman who claimed a dingo took her baby. You didn’t need to have seen the movie – though I did – just the trailer, to have heard the iconic dialogue.

Was Larson inspired by the movie clip, the TV show, or both? I don’t know when the cartoon was first published, though it had to be before January 1, 1995, when he retired. The cartoon then shows up in the 2005 desk calendar.

I’m fascinated how the phrase became a pop-culture joke, but more that people are unaware that it was based on a true story.

“August 17, 1980 was like any other hot and sticky Summer night in Australia. Lindy and Michael Chamberlain took their family camping in Uluru… Hours after setting up camp, [they] were having a barbecue with other campers when they heard cries coming from their tent. It was their 2-month old daughter, Azaria. When Lindy approached the tent, she saw a wild animal shaking its head violently and growling. The animal fled, and Lindy was shocked to learn Azaria was missing from the tent…

“Immediately, police were suspicious of Lindy. When the mother appeared on local news, she described her daughter’s apparent death in horrifying detail. Even more concerning, the public couldn’t believe how casually the mother described the scenario… So, they assumed she was guilty…

“It was another person’s disappearance that would lead to the truth behind Azaria’s death… The Chamberlains were released from prison, but the state didn’t confirm their version of events until 32 years later. The couple was rewarded $1.3 million for their wrongful imprisonment…

“It’s not far off from the influence media has had on cases in the U.S. From the Menendez Brothers to OJ Simpson, and even Casey Anthony, we’ve fed off real-life crimes like they were written for us to consume…”

Finally, an interesting take on The Far Side: “Much of what Larson endeavors to satirize is the communal understanding of one another by pitting two individuals against each other psychologically…”

Re: “Trouble Brewing”: “The reader can appreciate each perspective in the panel: the hunger and wily aspect of the dingo, and the benign unawareness of the toddlers. Each perspective lets us ponder what it must be like to be the Other in a given circumstance, especially the numerous strips featuring an anthropomorphic Judeo-Christian god creating the world, and other assorted creatures.”

For ABC Wednesday

As people MIGHT remember, Memorial Day formerly Decoration Day, is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. It was on May 30 from 1868 to 1970, after which it became a “Monday holiday” to extend the weekend.

The tug-of-war between solemn remembrance and summertime fun is almost as old as the holiday itself, so I shan’t rail against its designation as the “unofficial start of the summer vacation season.”

Presumably, the point of the American civilian government is to lessen the number of its citizens killed in war. I was taken by a May 2016 article in Forbes by Todd Essig:

“[Honor] the memory of those who died in war not just on Memorial Day but all year long by actively engaging the political process. Read what candidates say. Hold them accountable for who they are, what they do and what they say. Get news from multiple sources. We have to be collectively smart to make sure the next Commander in Chief has the requisite temperament and experience to make decisions that will inevitably result in the deaths of many sons and daughters, brothers and sisters.”

Not incidentally, he stated that the now current White House occupant does not have those important qualities. The United States withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal codifies that for me.

Essig noted: “Honoring the fallen on Memorial Day does not let the war-makers off the hook. It does not mean forgetting that war is always filled with horror and trauma, mangled bodies and lost lives. All wars are political failures worthy of scorn, as are politicians who fail at peace. And unnecessary wars fought on the basis of ideological faith and incomplete, even fabricated, intelligence deserve our deepest scorn, scorn that honors those who have died.”

A 2015 Vox piece suggested a holiday to honor those who try to stop wars. I had not thought of that, but there is some wisdom in that.

This happens a lot, maybe a half dozen times a year. I’m riding my bicycle on the correct side, going with traffic, as far right as the parked cars allow.

Some yahoo in a car does something designed to startle and/or annoy me, such as blow the horn for no cause, then take off, with drivers and passengers sufficiently amused. In the past, I’ve yelled, but it seldom gave me satisfaction.

But this month, the car drives by and the passenger yells “d’oh!”, the famous Homer Simpson response. The car rode off, but luckily it caught the light, so I was able to catch up. Instead of yelling, or threatening (which I’ve never done, except in my mind), I calmly and clearly said to the guy riding shotgun, “You must be quite the a$$#013 to yell at someone from a moving car.” Then I rode past. I think/hope I made them nervous. Yes, I can be that petty.

I’ll admit I was paranoid enough to ride on the sidewalk until the vehicle passed me again. Still, I was pleased because I didn’t have a treppenwitz moment. You remember that word, don’t you?

“We’ve all experienced this moment before – someone says something to you and you are so overwhelmed by the comment that it leaves you speechless and you can’t come up with a snappy comeback on the spot. But once you’ve walked away from the situation the perfect response suddenly pops into your head.

“This phenomenon is referred to as Treppenwitz in German, which literally means staircase joke, because… the witty retort usually hits you in the stairwell on your way out. Of course by then it’s already too late to use it.

“The term derives from the French expression “L’esprit de l’escalier,” which also translates to staircase joke.”

I was less successful with coming up with responses to a couple bicyclists doing wheelies just outside my building in downtown Albany the very same day. The pedestrians were understandably wary of these clowns, who, fortunately, didn’t hit anyone.

Speaking of almost getting hit, I was riding my bicycle down State Street in Albany. As is often the case at Hawk Street, a car goes partially though the intersection and manages to create gridlock. I’m far enough to the right to ride past. But the car left of me decides to move right, heading into my path.

I yelled “HEY” and he waited. Did I mention that was also on the same day?

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