Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

When I was growing up in Binghamton, NY, John Burns was the mayor for a dozen years. From his November 2004 obituary:

“John was elected mayor of Binghamton in 1957 and re-elected in 1961.” He served in a bunch of other positions, including working on Robert Kennedy’s tragic 1968 campaign for President. “Governor Hugh Carey asked John to serve as his Appointments Secretary” in 1979, for instance.

I blew up balloons and the like for his brother Bill’s failed 1969 campaign for mayor.

What I most remember about John Burns is that he and his wife Theresa had 12 kids, double digits, just like his friend and mentor RFK. As far as I know, I didn’t know any of them.

At some point, several of the sisters moved to Ithaca, NY, not that far away, and The Burns Sisters began their professional musical career. “One of their earliest successes was when their music appeared in the Louis Malle film Atlantic City as a result of their brother Patrick who was working on the film. As a quintet [they were] made up of sisters Marie, Annie, Jeannie, Sheila, and Terry…

“In 1993 the quintet released Songs of the Heart before older sisters Terry and Sheila dropped out to devote more time to their families.” The trio had a modicum of success, including touring with Arlo Guthrie more than once.

“In 2012, the Burns Sisters released… The Hills of Ithaca. The title was inspired by a 1947 Woody Guthrie poem which the Burns Sisters put to music after being given the unpublished version by Woody’s daughter, Nora Guthrie.”

“Jeannie Burns left the band in 2013 to study guitar and songwriting, with Marie and Annie continuing to perform as a duo.” And it was the duo’s music that popped up on my YouTube feed, unbidden,

So it seems as though I am required to link to The Burns Sister’s rendition of Oh Danny Boy. The video shows pictures of their family over the years. It’ll link directly to some of their other songs.

Someone I know IRL recently wrote, “I didn’t use algebra at all today.” That was probably not true, but no matter.

The Daughter is studying algebra right now in 8th grade and it’s a real PITA. Because she was so good in 7th grade math, she skipped over 8th grade math, what that was, and is now taking the math for 9th grade. This is a problem because she doesn’t know, and I surely don’t remember, what she’s missing.

I should note that when I was in 9th grade, I was very good in algebra. I remember helping a fellow student, Sid, at the chalkboard, when Miss McNulty couldn’t get him to understand.

I got a 97 in the Regents final. (Yes, I remember this; no I didn’t look it up. I got 86 in geometry and 98 is trigonometry.) But that was a HALF CENTURY AGO. THAT will make you feel old.

I have been depending on something called Tiger Algebra to help her muddle through.

For the problem 10x^2+x-21=0, where the ^ over the 6 key represents “power of,” so ten X squared in this case.

The factoring is the tough part to explain.

Factoring 10x^2+x-21
The first term is 10x^2 – its coefficient is 10
The middle term is +x its coefficient is 1
The last term, “the constant”, is -21

Step-1 : Multiply the coefficient of the first term by the constant 10 • -21 = -210

Step-2 : Find two factors of -210 whose sum equals the coefficient of the middle term, which is 1 .

-210 + 1 = -209
-105 + 2 = -103
-70 + 3 = -67
-42 + 5 = -37
-35 + 6 = -29
-30 + 7 = -23
-21 + 10 = -11
-15 + 14 = -1
-14 + 15 = 1 That’s it

By “it,” we’re talking the very beginning of “it.”

Step-3 : Rewrite the polynomial splitting the middle term using the two factors found in step 2 above, -14 and 15
10x^2 – 14x + 15x – 21

Step-4 : Add up the first 2 terms, pulling out like factors :
2x • (5x-7)
Add up the last 2 terms, pulling out common factors :
3 • (5x-7)

Step-5 : Add up the four terms of step 4 :
(2x+3) • (5x-7)
Which is the desired factorization

At which point you take 2x+3=0 and 5x-7=0, and get 1.5 and 1.4 respectively, then do a whole bunch of other stuff with graphing designed to make your eyes glaze over.

We usually work on this in the morning, after the Daughter has felt despair the night before, which means doing it in lieu of me blogging in the morning, which is my best time for writing.

And she SORT OF understands parts of this. Hey, if you have an easier way to find the factors, please let me know. My blog will thank you, publicly if you want.

At Current Rates Of Use World Could Run Out Of Thoughts And Prayers By As Early As 2019

We Are all Nixonians Now

There Are No Good Guys With Guns

What To Do When Racists Try To Hijack Your Religion

‘National Geographic’ Reckons With Its Past: ‘For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist’

‘Stay Strong,’ And Other Useless Drivel We Tell The Grieving

The Encyclopedia of the Missing

When the only way to go free is to plead guilty

3 Far-Flung Cities Offer Clues to Unsnarling Manhattan’s Streets

OVERLOOKED: 15 obits of notable women

Alaska as a Red-to-Blue(ish) Model

‘The story of a weird world I was warned never to tell’

Union College says it found strand of George Washington’s hair

Stop Using the Label ‘Struggling Reader,’ Author Jacqueline Woodson Advises

Why Do We Need to Sleep?

The Unexpected Benefit of Train Travel

Rare Photo of Harriet Tubman Preserved

Digging into my family’s claims of Cherokee ancestry

in praise of soft targets

Stephen Hawking dies at 76 on Einstein’s birthday and Pi day; despite ALS, his mind roamed the cosmos

RIP, David Ogden Stiers

Dalai Lama, Chicago in May 2008:
“The universe is in a constant state of becoming—an ongoing miraculous creation. Every day we awaken to that miracle with gratitude, respect, and compassion for all who share the gift of being.”

Memories of ‘M*A*S*H’: Inside Stories of the Most Famous Episodes (and Castings)

The Loophole

Smartphones Are Getting Dumber…on Purpose

A Finnish comedian explains the complicated meanings of an English word

Legendary toy demonstrated to have squirrel-repelling properties

Faking It: The Obviously Dubbed Telephone Ring

Aldi’s supermarkets history

A PhD In Batman

A niece at Carnegie Hall

Now I Know: The Florida City Fueled by Soda and Baseball’s Unluckiest Fan and How Bazooka Joe Lost a Baseball Glove

Not me: Couple begins rekindling an eighth-grade romance


Camille Saint-Saens’s Septet for piano, trumpet, and strings, Opus 65!

Hamilton Polka

The Music of Paolo Tosti – Carla Fisk and Michael Clement

Will Jesus Wash The Bloodstains From Your Hands – Hazel Dickens

Everlasting Arms – Luke Winslow-King, Vasti Jackson, Dr. John, and Roots Gospel Voices of Mississippi

Norma Tanega (and Dusty Springfield)

There Is A Time – The Darlings (Andy Griffith Show)

Tush – Luna Lee on the gayageum

Cover of Take on Me (a-ha)

Sound of Silence – Todd Hoffman

Taxman – Joe Bonamassa, Live at The Cavern Club

Inside the Life of Brenda Lee, the Pop Heroine Next Door

One of the first fictional gay characters on US television was Jodie Dallas on the sitcom Soap, played by Billy Crystal from 1977 to 1981. The character’s development was limited by the folks in Standards and Practices, i.e., the censors, at ABC-TV. It WAS a very different time.

Billy spent the 1984-1985 season on Saturday Night, along with Christopher Guest and Martin Short. He did impressions based on actor Fernando Lamas and sports announcer Howard Cosell. He also did a wicked take on Muhammad Ali, which I saw him do with Ali present, probably on a special for the Champ’s 50th birthday special in 1992.

He appeared in movies that I saw such as Spinal Tap (1984) and The Princess Bride (1987) before his breakthrough role in When Harry Met Sally… (1989), featuring one of the most famous scenes in cinema history.

After he starred in City Slickers (1991), Crystal made his pitch as a legitimate artiste in the seriocomedy Mr. Saturday Night (1992), which he directed and co-wrote. It was an an uneven film, but it generated a Best Supporting Actor nod for David Paymer.

By this time, he was firm established in the mind of the public, performing in Comic Relief several times with Whoopi Goldberg and Robin Williams and playing Robert DeNiro’s shrink in Analyze This (1999).

Crystal also made game show appearances on The Hollywood Squares and The $20,000 Pyramid. “To this day, he holds the Pyramid franchise’s record for getting his contestant partner to the top of the pyramid in winner’s circle in the fastest time: 26 seconds.”

He hosted the Academy Awards nine times, beginning in 1990, when I thought he was quite funny, and most recently in 2012, when it was generally agreed that he was not.

Connecting with his well-established love of baseball, Crystal directed the made-for-TV movie 61* (2001), about Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle pursuing Babe Ruth’s season home run record. This earned him an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special. I learned that he attended Marshall University in Huntington, WV on a baseball scholarship, but never had a chance to play because the program was suspended during his first year.

He did quite a bit of voiceover work, including in Monsters Inc. (2001) and Monsters University (2013).

From watching the Tonys each year, I recall that “Crystal won the 2005 Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event for 700 Sundays, a two-act, one-man play, which he conceived and wrote about his parents and his childhood growing up on Long Island.”

I always figured that if I ever met Billy Crystal, I’d get along talking to my fellow Pisces about baseball.

In the midst of the process of creating the massive tax bill at the end of 2017, the US Congress attempted to remove The Johnson Amendment. Fortunately, Congress’ own rules prevented from happening in that particular manner.

From the Wikipedia: It is “a provision in the U.S. tax code, since 1954, that prohibits all 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates. [These] organizations [range] from charitable foundations to universities and churches. The amendment is named for then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas, [later the 36th President] who introduced it in a preliminary draft of the law in July 1954.”

Recent claims suggested that the provision was some sort of attack on the First Amendment’s freedom of religion and speech. Defenders of the Johnson amendment, including me, believe that when the churches and other nonprofit organizations that are exempt from taxation, the prohibition against “directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office” is appropriate, for it would otherwise be the state establishing religion.

Now the law is fairly narrow in scope. “Nonpartisan voter education activities and church-organized voter registration drives are legal. Pastors are free to preach on social and political issues of concern. Churches can publish ‘issue guides’ for voters.” In other words, preachers can preach on feeding the poor and clothing the naked, and that a just society ought to be doing that.

As it turns out, the piece to quash the Johnson amendment in the December 2017 budget bill was blocked by the Senate parliamentarian. “Because of a requirement called the Byrd Rule, reconciliation bills — which are passed through a simple Senate majority — cannot contain ‘extraneous’ provisions that don’t primarily deal with fiscal policy.”

Nonreligious people have said for decades that we ought to be taxing the churches, and I disagree. But if a religious entity wants to engage in partisan politics, endorsing candidates, it should give up its tax-exempt status.

For ABC Wednesday

Contact me
  • E-mail Contact E-mail
  • RSS Feed Blog content c 2005-2017, Roger Green, unless otherwise stated. Quotes used per fair use. Some content, including many graphics, in the public domain.
I Actually Know These Folks
I contribute to these blogs
Other people's blogs
Popular culture
Useful stuff
March 2018
« Feb    
Get your own free Blogoversary button!
Networked Blogs
wordpress analytics