Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

When I saw the Vox piece, The decline of American democracy won’t be televised, it made a lot of sense to me. Arthur has conveniently explained the premise further.

What I was really happy about in this piece, though, is what it does NOT contain: a reference to Adolf Hitler. It’s not that one cannot make parallels between what’s going on now in the United States and that prewar period “in which the Nazi party rose from obscurity to stand on the brink of complete power over Germany.” It’s that it has been used so often, in references to both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, among others, that it has lost almost all meaning.

The example used by Vox in the “democratic backsliding” is Hugo Chavez, the late leader of Venezuela, in his attacks on the courts, free press and other institutions designed to create checks and balances.

Not incidentally, his successor, Nicolas Maduro has thrown opponents in jail and now he’s pushing to rewrite the constitution, which will further consolidate his power. This week, his opponents organized an unofficial protest vote against the constitution change. Millions of Venezuelans showed up. Gunmen fired on crowd of protesters in Caracas, killing a woman and injuring others.

Another international story that’s caught my attention: Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif could lose his job. From, of all things, the Daily Skimm:

“Last year, the Panama Papers were leaked. They’re the millions of docs that outed some high-profile people for being shady with their finances to avoid the Tax Man. On the list: Sharif’s three adult kids. They allegedly used offshore companies to buy expensive London real estate. Pakistanis want to know where the money came from. So, the country’s Supreme Court asked a group of investigators to look into it.

“Last week, the investigators accused the Sharifs of forgery and hiding their financials, but the Sharifs say ‘not true.’ Sharif’s daughter – who also has political ambitions – gave investigators an ’06 document she says proves she doesn’t own these properties. But turns out, the doc was typed out in Calibri font…which didn’t come out until ’07. Oops.”

Of course, there are no parallels between these three children of a politician and any other three adult children of a public official. I just thought it was… interesting.

One of the truly civilizing things about living in the Albany, NY area is the ability to ride the bike and the bus for certain trips. Someone noted that taking the bike on the bus to the bike repair place – broken spoke –
was the first time he had considered the value of having a couple bike racks on the bus. But in fact, I use the combo all the time.

Every 28 days, I have to go back to Corporate (frickin’) Woods, where I worked for too long, to get an allergy shot. I ride my bike through town to a rode called Northern Boulevard, then hitch the bike on the bus as it treks up that nasty Albany-Shaker Road hill.

Now, I could ride to the allergist, but time is the enemy here, for I need to catch a bus OUT of Corporate Woods, and since I have to wait 30 minutes AFTER the shot, I stay on the bus. On the subsequent trip then to work, I can ride at least partway to work, and faster than by bus alone.

There are several reasons to take the bike on the bus:

*law – it’s illegal to ride the bike on the highway. As the crow flies, the shortest route from my house to Corporate Woods is I-90, but it would be not only unlawful but dangerous to ride the bike on the interstate

*time – I COULD ride to Schenectady, the next city to the west, but that would take a while

*energy – that is to say, mine, especially when it comes to hills

*the weather – never was that more true than on May 18. I was planning on riding the two miles home, but a severe thunderstorm began. Walking to the bus stop, I got soaked. Putting my bike on the bus, I was paranoid about being electrocuted.

I think the first time I saw bikes on mass transit was back in the late 1980s, when one could put a two-wheeler on the Bay Area Rapid Transit, in San Francisco-Oakland, California. It made sense to me and I’m happy for the option.

Incidentally, Jen Reviews has put out a “detailed, up-to-date 7,000 word guide on how to choose a bike according to science” that describes “10 factors to consider.”

ABC Wednesday, Round 21

The CVS in my neighborhood I have visited many times. There is a regular set of registers near the entrance/exit of the building, plus a pharmacy register in the back.

I had noticed that some items had been rearranged the last time I went there. Some short woman with one of those carts one can purchase was muttering that she can’t find anything. I tried to commiserate with her; “Yeah, they have moved some items around.” She snapped back, not really at me, but very loudly, “And I DON’T LIKE IT!”

Then she, standing a good twenty feet away from the pharmacist, started berating him , demanding that he help her find some items. This went on while he was dealing with another customer in front of him.

I meandered to the front of the store to get an item. There were two staffed registers. There was a customer at one, and a customer who had just finished his transaction. The two people in line PLEADED with the sales clerk momentarily without a customer to PLEASE help that woman find what she wanted, forgoing being checked out sooner.

“I’m never coming back to this store ever again,” she snarled. I’m sure more than one person in the building was thinking, “Is that a promise?” Then she upbraided no one in particular, “They need to put everything back the way it was!”

And that clerk did help her, but evidently she needed another item. She barks again at the pharmacist, insisting he take care of her, because she was next, though she’s STILL 20 feet from the queue. The front-store clerk returned, as he could hear her kvetching again.

It only occurred to me later that she sounded rather like the late actress Selma Diamond, only five times LOUDER.

Leaving the CVS, I run into one of my friends from my former church on the way to the laundromat. I related the CVS story. She acknowledges that she too has a phobia of going to a store and not being able to find anything. But, I noted, “you just leave, not make everyone around you miserable.”

More random music recollections based on the book Never A Dull Moment.

I was working at the comic book store in July 1981, when the headline that is the title of this piece was splashed across the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. It was referring to Jim Morrison, the third prominent musician in a brief period a decade earlier to die at the age of 27, after Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin.

Morrison’s death created this odd obsession about 27, but it also mythologized the Doors’ lead singer. (I went out briefly in the late 1970s with a woman who was part of that JM cult.)

But three Londoners would take their place, and the place of the now-dissolved Beatles, in the charts. One was Steven Georgiou, who had a minor hit as early as 1966, but then suffered from TB. Reemerging in 1970, “he was a regular James Taylor.”

“Cat Stevens became enormously successful in 1971… he had a lovely voice..and an angel face, the kind that seemed to match the sensitivity of the material.” I bought my share of his albums. Carly Simon’s Anticipation was about him, as was Legend in Your Own Time; before Cat introduced Carly to JT, Cat and Carly were an item.

“The 1971 generation of singer-songwriters… were increasingly infatuated with each other.” This briefly included Janis Joplin and Leonard Cohen. He later apologized for writing about it in Chelsea Hotel #2.

Marc Feld, like Cat, was a descendant of immigrants. He became Marc Bolan of T. Rex, an artist who would perform sitting down because he was influenced by Ravi Shankar. He had a way of infuriating the British press at a time when, because one had limited opportunity to be heard, the image that one projected mattered. But that summer, T. Rex had some massive hits, notably Bang A Gong.

Rod Stewart had been with the Faces, but his third solo album, Every Picture Tells A Story, which was another album everyone in my dorm had, “was about to propel him into a different orbit… Everything Rod sang sounded like an old song, and everyone prefers a song they already know.”

Listen to:

Every Picture Tells A Story – Rod Stewart here or here
Jeepster- T. Rex here or here
Tuesday’s Dead – Cat Stevens here or here
Riders on the Storm – the Doors here or here
I’m Eighteen – Alice Cooper here or here
Without You – Harry Nilsson here or here

On a Saturday morning, we were scheduled to go to the Wizard’s Wardrobe to do a little cleanup, then onto New Paltz to see one of my oldest friends.

My wife, announced that she was going to go to the store to pick up a few things. My heart sank, just a little bit. This would take her longer that she thought – it almost always does. This would make us late for appointment #1, which would make us tardy to appointment #2.

Then, abruptly, she decided to stay home and relax for a few moments before we had to go. I was pleased but shocked. And I had nothing to do with this. She was downstairs, and I was upstairs, and I had only responded to her initial decision with a neutral-sounding “O.K.”

Another story: I was relating something at work about someone who used to be there – for reasons of privacy, I won’t say who – but the problems we were seeing she related to problems she was seeing in her workplace. And it gave me a whole new perspective.

Another story: sometimes her husband is crazy, and she more or less accepts that. We were at the MacHaydn Theatre about 40 miles away. She was going to wait for a lot of the other cars to get out of the parking lot before she tried, even though she had had opportunities.

Well, I was having some sort of claustrophobic panic attack, and she accommodated my irrational need to get out of that parking space. She puts up with a lot.

The blurry picture, BTW, was taken by me on my tablet on May 15, our anniversary. Yes, I suck at this; tell me something I DON’T know. But most of the pictures of her in this blog were taken years ago, some before we even met.

Happy birthday, honey. I love you.

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
July 2017
S M T W T F S
« Jun    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  
Archives
blogoversary
Get your own free Blogoversary button!
Networked Blogs
Counter
wordpress analytics