Within the framework of Frederick Douglass’s 1852 speech, “What to the Slave is Your Fourth of July,” Congressman Paul Tonko, as featured speaker for the 2018 July 4th Oration, will reflect on the meaning of July 4th in the context of our current political and social climate.
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The legacy of the institution of slavery weighs us down as a nation, but, together, we can rise up and shake off the weight by carrying on the enduring legacy of our abolitionist forebears.
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Program – 11am-12noon at The Myers Residence at 194 Livingston Avenue, Albany, NY 12210 – bring your own chair if you can
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Lunch – 1pm-2pm – bring a dessert to share
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Restroom facilities available. Parking is on Livingston Avenue and Third Street.

The day before Father’s Day, my parents-in-law suggested that we might want to meet them for a strawberry festival in a small town about an hour from Albany. Since we weren’t going to see each other on the actual holiday, it seemed like a nice idea.

We got our strawberries, biscuits and whipped cream and sat on chairs in the shady part of the church lawn. I also split some Brooks barbecue chicken, a staple at church dinners around here, with my wife. And it was a good thing I bought it when I did, because when my FIL went back to get some chicken, it had sold out.

There were a number of vendors set along the main street. The Daughter wanted to go to the one just across the street, so we did. Some unnecessary knickknacks, such as bracelets. But what’s that – some Confederate flag paraphernalia? OK, we can just go.

Then I see in the corner of my eye a bunch of hats with “We don’t call 911” stitched on the brim and a gun here a logo might be. Yes, we’re in “no sale” territory. My wife wanted to know if we found anything to buy. The Daughter and I gave a curt “no.”

Eventually we came upon a yard sale, evidently run by three women. I spent a whole dollar in one seller’s column, two sets of four coasters in the design of playing cards, which I’ll use for my annual hearts game next March, if I can still remember where they are by then.

We listened to a concert in the church, a group of 14 women and 5 men, plus conductor and pianist. They sang a half dozen tunes, New York, New York; Somewhere from West Side Story, in honor of the centennial of Leonard Bernstein’s birth; a religious tune I didn’t recognize; and finished with a version of God Bless America that incorporated both a musical version of the spoken intro and a piece of America the Beautiful. The group, that has been around for 32 years, wasn’t bad.

The town is building a newly-refurbished library in the building that used to house a small performance theater. The old library, next door, will be where they sell books that are currently stored in the dingy and inaccessible basement. They plan to move the books from one building to the other via a bucket brigade early this autumn.

It was a hot day, so we went to the local Stewart’s Shops, ubiquitous in the region, for refreshment.

Right across the road was a hand-painted sign for a guy running for town supervisor. Adjacent to that was a large message, almost the size of a billboard: “Town Supervisor [name] and town board are [sic] panning to build a town building in a flood plain. DUMB ASSES.”

We drove home, and as is likely to be customary on such an oppressive day, I took a nap.

You can’t compromise with bs

Is Trumpism becoming a new religion?

When The White House Can’t Be Believed

The 2017 Comprehensive Plan For Reorganizing The Executive Branch is codified in the June 2018 Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century. They’re DOING all of it, or trying to. (HT, Steve Bissette)

Family Separations: Should we be horrified, relieved, or just confused?

This Isn’t the First Time the White House Attempted to Cut the Dept. of Ed.

The corporate tax cut will never trickle down

Space defense will be a major concern for the U.S., but the “Space Force” is not the answer

Browser extension to fix the NYT’s squeamishness about calling him a liar

Reporter is raising her daughter to speak three languages; a stranger demanded she ‘speak English’ to her

Living While Black

More than one percent of Oklahoma’s population is in the slammer

Last Week Tonight with John OliverXi Jinping

We could use some more social justice when it comes to fandom

Father’s Day for children of abusive fathers

“In moral crisis” or “immoral crisis”?

Judge tosses Kansas law that disenfranchised thousands of eligible voters, orders KS Secretary of State Kris Kobach to take remedial law classes

Sales tax: Different items are taxable in different states

You don’t really know who Bernie Sanders was in the 1960s

Anthony Bourdain interviewed on The Daily Show, January 2018

RIP Dan Ingram

A natural gas power plant with no carbon emissions or air pollution

How does Disney World control mosquitoes?

‘I had to guard an empty room’: the rise of the pointless job

The Curious Origins of 16 Common Phrases

Now I Know: The Radio Reporter Who Found a New Voice, Literally and Why Is it Named Idaho? and The Tractors that Turn Farmers into Hackers and the Sound of Sneezes and The Man Who Takes Apostrophes Very Seriously and the National Animal of Scotland

The patron saint of the tacky

The LESLIE Chronicles

This is the picture of my sister’s bicycle after her accident on June 4; you can’t really tell that the handlebars are sheared off.

Leslie’s still in the hospital, getting incrementally better. Great strides in the past week, actually. She’s had a fourth surgery this week, on her palate. She has a coterie of friends tending to her, besides the hospital staff.

Most notably, I was able to talk with her this week! She has these different colored caps that cover the trachea incision that allows her to be audible. She was tired but coherent and rational. THAT is a very good sign.

If she were not wearing a helmet, there almost certainly would have had have been a different outcome. So if you are riding a motorcycle or bicycle or scooter, wear the damn helmet.

MUSIC

We’re Not Gonna Take It – Dee Snider (stripped down version)

77 Cover Songs – “Weird Al” Yankovic

Art of the song parody

Still A Friend Of Mine – MonaLisa Twins

99 Luftballons – Kaleida (Atomic Blonde Soundtrack)

Whitney Avalon sings again!

Anema e core – Pier Angeli

Just A Song Before I Go – Graham Nash (original demo)

John McElrath of the Swingin’ Medallions died at 77

Why Modern Music Is Awful

There’s a performer you’ve probably never heard of named Rebecca Parris who died at the age of 66 this week. She grew up in the Boston area and the Globe described her as a jazz singer of uncommon range and emotional depth. “Ms. Parris wove together jazz inflections, freewheeling scat singing, andan endless palette of vocal shadings into something all her own.”

The New York Times explained her “problem” back in 2000. “She’s a New England favorite who hasn’t quite been able to develop a national constituency. And that’s unfortunate, since the veteran… singer has quietly evolved into a highly skilled jazz artist… Parris sang a set of familiar standards with the confident musicality of a performer with both the talent and the imagination to fully express her ideas.”

The singer experienced some physical ailments, making it hard to sing while standing up early in the century, but as this 2006 Globe story suggested, ‘It’s been a drag,’ but it’s spring, again, for Parris.

From a November 2007 review in the New York Times: “If Rebecca Parris … who is playing a rare New York engagement at Birdland, were a blues-rock artist, she would belong to the school of gutbucket mamas whose delivery is the vocal equivalent of wielding an ax. Her voice, a rich contralto with a baritone resonance, is so commanding that when a song’s attitude is combative, she can scare you. But when the mood is playful, she can also enfold you in a musical bear hug.

“Most revealing was a rendition of the old Doris Day hit “It’s Magic,” in which Ms. Parris’s stressing of the words “the magic is my love for you” transformed a girlish swoon of enchantment into the narrator’s grown-up awareness that she is creating her own happiness.”

I have two of her albums, My Foolish Heart and It’s Another Day.

Listen to:

My Foolish Heart

Over The Rainbow

Rebecca Parris On Piano Jazz (with Marian McPartland, NPR, 2008, 56 minutes)

Though Kathy Bates had been working regularly on film since at least 1977, and I undoubtedly had seen her in some of those shows and movies, the first place I really recognized her was in the 1990 movie Misery.

“I’m your biggest fan” undoubtedly affected readers of the Stephen King novel, but to see her Annie Wilkes interact with Paul Sheldon (James Caan)… let’s put it this way; I haven’t seen that movie since I viewed in the cinema, and it STILL makes me shudder. She captured the Best Actress Oscar and a Golden Globe.

My favorite scene of hers, though, was in Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), the bit in a parking lot here or here, when Evelyn Couch got tired of being treated like an old davenport. The vicarious pleasure I felt was surprisingly strong.

From IMBD: “Kathleen Doyle Bates was… raised in Memphis, Tennessee. She is the youngest of three girls… One of her ancestors, an Irish emigrant to New Orleans, once served as President Andrew Jackson’s doctor.

“By the mid-to-late 1970s, Kathy was treading the boards frequently as a rising young actress of the New York and regional theater scene… She took her first Broadway curtain call in 1980’s ‘Goodbye Fidel,’ which lasted only six performances. She then went directly into replacement mode when she joined the cast of the already-established and highly successful ‘Fifth of July’ in 1981.

I have enjoyed her work in several other TV shows and films, including:

* a prostitute in Woody Allen’s Shadows and Fog (1991)
* the unsinkable Molly Brown in Titanic (1997)
* the villainous Miss Hannigan in a Disney version of Annie (1999)
* quirky, liberal mom Roberta Hertzel in About Schmidt (2002), for which she received a Best
Supporting Actress nomination
* well-to-do Jo Bennett in the latter stages of the US version of The Office (2010-2011)
* Gertrude Stein in Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen, 2011)

Kathy Bates turns 70 on June 28, 2018, and by the look of her upcoming credits does not appear to be retiring any time soon, despite living with lymphedema. She has been the national spokesperson for the Lymphatic Education & Research Network.

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