June Ramblin’: my Facebook follies

Speedy Alka-Seltzer with Buster Keaton?

The problem with Facebook: I had passed along some funny items. As it turns out, though, the original cover of Tails had been Photoshopped to remove the comma after the word cooking, this giving the post a whole new meaning. Read about it here.

The wife of a World War II soldier waited for more than 68 years for solid proof that her husband is either dead or alive. Then she learned the stunning truth in Normandy, France. Steve Hartman reports. A sad, maddening, and ultimately, touching story.

Mark Evanier tells The Ray Bradbury-Julius Schwartz-Al Feldstein Story, at the San Diego Comic-Con. Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3 and Part 4.
Also: Ray Bradbury: 1950s comics’ illustrated man.

The British sense of personal privacy is very different from the American one. Asking someone’s name, even implicitly by offering yours, is a premature violation of that privacy until some goodwill has already been established between you.

From Alan David Doane: Looking back, I have to say my over 18 years of parenting has been fascinating, a never-ending learning curve that I am sure will continue for the rest of my life.

There’s also a debate over whether the FDA should label genetically modified food. I don’t even know what the debate is, honestly. Is this something that needs discussion? Of course it should be labeled. Everything on food should be labeled. Also stuff about “gay” Oreos, among other topics.

John Lincoln Wright – a man of two musical careers.

How did the Euro start?

In 1955, John L. Black, Sr. started his job as a janitor for the Cincinnati public school system. He regularly put in 16-hour days to provide for his wife and eleven children…his son Samuel talks… about his father’s lasting legacy and the power of a look.

Redux Riding Hood is a 15-minute Oscar-nominated animated short from 1997, written by Dan O’Shannon, and starring Michael Richards, Mia Farrow, Lacey Chabert, Garrison Keillor, Adam West, Don Rickles, June Foray, Fabio, and Jim Cummings. It has never aired or been released on DVD. You can now watch it on director Steve Moore’s website, or on Samurai Frog’s.

The Making of Star Wars. Now, I REALLY want to read this book.

A great tool in snow removal.

Matt Cain of the San Francisco Giants pitched a perfect game against the Houston Astros on Thursday night. Cain struck out 14 batters in the Giants’ 10-0 victory. Here’s the box score.

Clinic Vignettes from a family practice physician.

Jaquandor finishes the first draft. I’m interested in the process, too.

June Foray wins her first Emmy…at the age of 94. As the Squirrel would say, Hokey smoke, Bullwinkle!

Cartoonists! You NEED This Chapbook!

The argument is: If you’re criticizing this show, which is for, by, and about girls/women, you’re a misogynist. Bullsh-t.

Here’s a rundown of the folks who hosted The Tonight Show between the time Jack Paar left and Johnny Carson took over.

Harry Belafonte on The Nat King Cole Show, back in 1957, singing a song I remember surprisingly well.

‘Mr. McFeely’ gives his take on viral Mister Rogers video

How Canadians Get Their TV

An obit of legendary Dick Beals — a star of radio, cartoons, and more commercials than just about anyone – Speedy Alka-Seltzer with Buster Keaton?


A mashup of cartoon and Kubrick.

Keep Calm and Carry On – a phrase I somehow all but missed. (Though, now that I see the graphic, it looks vaguely familiar…)

Not calm: Gilbert complains about gender cakes, as well he should. (Some NSFW language.)

New grandfather Steve Bissette’s essays on Tijuana Bibles and gay comics. To be VERY clear, grandpa Steve is adorable, but if you don’t know what the Tijuana bibles are, they are definitely NSFW AT ALL, and the latter post, “though non-explicit, may be offensive to some.”

And in the world of the truly bizarre: Jesus was crucified on a pyramid.
By aliens… The proof is on the Ohio flag.


Dr. Green is the founding President of the Florida Nurse Practitioner Network.

Religion compare and contrast, and Old Silvertooth

Maybe I could have been one of Gladys Knight’s Pips.


Chris, with whom I have been having an interesting dialogue on Facebook about human nature, wants to know:

What do you think about other religions? Is it just “different strokes for different folks,” or are some religions better than others, or a mix? Where do you think other religions belong in Christianity?

A lot of how I view other religions is based on the bias I have seen within Christianity, including by myself. When I was growing up, I wouldn’t say anything, but I thought those Catholics who had “dirt” on their foreheads on Ash Wednesday looked silly. As a bit of cosmic comeuppance, in my last two (Protestant) churches, we now apply ashes on our foreheads on the first day of Lent.

I recall the first time I was allowed to take Communion at a Roman Catholic Church, on some important anniversary of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany, back in the 1990s. Interestingly, some of my Protestant friends refused to take the Eucharist because of being denied for so long, which I thought was CRAZY; they let you in, you gotta walk through the door.

Did I ever tell you about the Coptic who told me I was going to hell because Protestants didn’t believe in literal transubstantiation?

So I have enough problem sorting out my own religion that the assessment of other faiths tends to be secondary considerations.

For instance, the Texas Republican platform condemns homosexuality and invokes God. People are boycotting Oreo cookies because the brand is “violating God’s law.” I disagree with these “thought” processes, of course, but it remains my struggle to find common ground with other Christians, first and foremost, if possible. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned, Mohandas K. Gandhi said he’d consider becoming a Christian if he had ever met one.

All of that said, I’m also influenced greatly by the Baha’i faith, the religion of a former Significant Other. Basically, it said that many of the major religious leaders, such as Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Krishna, and Zoroaster, were part of a “progressive revelation”, with Christianity revealed for the city-state, Islam for the nation-state, and Baha’ism for the world-state. I never embraced it, but I accepted it as a way to respect other faiths.

Now from a purely comfort level, there seem to be far fewer jerks who claim to be Buddhists, for instance, than jerks purporting to be Christians or Muslims. And there are commonalities in many religions that suggest that at least PARTS of their doctrines are universal. Doesn’t everyone have some variation on the Golden Rule? I will admit, too, that I’m really not all that into proselytizing, at least by words.

When you fantasized about running away as a kid (I assume most people did), what did you fantasize about doing?

I liked watching or playing baseball. Or maybe I could have been one of Gladys Knight’s Pips.

If money were no issue – you were set for life, although you couldn’t just give it all away – what would you be doing?

I would get on trains and go to every Major League Baseball ballpark pretty much every season. I’d go see lots of live theater and a lot of movies in the colder part of the year, especially in New York City and in my region. I’d go visit friends. I’d read a lot more, write more. I’d love to have a companion with whom I could play racquetball wherever I went.

Steve writes:

Not sure if this is the appropriate post to put this on, but how did you chip your sister’s tooth?


When I was a kid, I was a bit of a loner, even in my own family structure. I liked to read in my tiny little room or play with my baseball cards. I played with my sisters, too, who were 16 months, and five years younger than I – mostly kickball or with their dolls – but I needed my own time.

The middle child sometimes would bug me. She knew about the parents’ “no hitting girls” rule, and she took advantage by poking me. I’d do my Garbo best: “I vant to be alone!” But eventually, I’d go chase her away.

On one of these occasions, when I was about 10 or 11, I was trying to catch her – wasn’t sure what I’d do if I did, since I couldn’t hit her – and I stepped on the back of her bathrobe. She went straight down, hit the floor, and started crying loudly. She had chipped one of her front top, permanent teeth.

Ultimately, the dental folks put some silver-gray epoxy on it. The specifics of it now escape me, but what was clear is that she had this discolored item right in the middle of her mouth for months. People would say to her, “Hi, yo, Silver!” or “Old Silvertooth.” She was mortified.

The good outcomes (for me) were these: I didn’t get in trouble, presumably because my narrative rang true to my parents; and my sister left me alone for quite a while. More bizarre to me is that my sister had, apparently for years, until I corrected her in the past few months, attributed her ugly silver tooth to actions taken by our baby sister rather than by me.

The day they knocked down the Palais

Around 1987-1989, I was living in this nifty apartment in the West Hill section of Albany. I loved this building.

I’m listening to the Kinks recently, not surprising since Ray Davies’ birthday was June 23. The song Come Dancing came on, and, oddly, I got all melancholy.

The lyrics begin:
They put a parking lot on a piece of land
Where the supermarket used to stand.
Before that they put up a bowling alley
On the site that used to be the local Palais.

It reminded me of things as they once were, which are not anymore. My elementary/junior high school, where I spent ten years of my life, was torn down years ago to build some housing that just didn’t mesh with the character of the neighborhood. My grandmother’s house, a few blocks away, where I came home for lunch every day for a decade, is also long gone. My high school merged with the other public high school; I get these nostalgia solicitations to remind me that I went to Binghamton High School. Except that I didn’t; until 1982, it was Binghamton CENTRAL, the Bulldogs, not the Patriots. There are actually a LOT of those places that used to be in my hometown, replaced by highways, or nothing at all.

But what triggered this nostalgic wave occurred considerably later, around 1987-1989, when I was living in this nifty two-family apartment in the West Hill section of Albany. I loved this building. It had two apartments, and when I walked down the hall and inside, I was in the kitchen! The bedroom was next to it. The living room, and the spare room, where I kept my comic books at the time, were in the front of the building. The best thing, though, is when I moved in, I could put all my books and records on the enclosed back porch, taking my time to unpack them without having to trip over them. The landlord, Steve, was pretty OK, too, now that I remember. It was my favorite place living by myself for a lot of reasons.

I’ve been riding my bicycle partway home, and I always ride down North Lake Avenue, but I decided to veer off to pass by the old homestead. It was all boarded up, with the grass around it all overgrown. My heart sank a bit. I know the neighborhood had deteriorated since I was there; still, this made me more than a bit sad. I suppose I could buy it for $31,300, but I fear what renovation would be required.

And that Kinks song, imperfect match though it was, ran through my head. Though I was in my thirties by then, it was as though “Part of my childhood died.” It was, if not my best self, a period when I was quite contented.

Listen to Come Dancing by the Kinks.

Evil, President Romney, and my daughter’s future

Mitt Romney’s hard right swing makes it difficult for me to ascertain what his real values are.

First, Chris, in answer to my answer, writes:

You bring up Andrew Jackson and the Trail of Tears. However, my husband is studying for a military exam, and the honors that his company won during the “Indian Wars” is considered part of their venerable history… And then I think of Hitler and Genghis Khan and I wonder, were they genuinely trying to do good by their own?

This is why I picked him over the more obvious choice such as Hitler. History, at least the history most of us have read, has already assigned Hitler with the “evil” mantle; he doesn’t need me. Whereas Jackson’s place in history is a more of mixed bag. I have an ex who could talk your ear off (probably not literally, though I’m not sure) on the topic. I would submit that GWB’s war in Iraq may have been – OK, probably was, in his mind – initiated by “trying to do good” for his own people; didn’t make it right. I daresay most ethnic cleansing is done to “protect” one group from “the other” (see: Rwanda or Yugoslavia in the 1990s for recent examples). Whether the “good intentions” of mass murder are relevant inevitably will be written by the historians.

Maybe a better question is “What do you consider evil?” What is good and what is evil, really?

I defer to Potter Stewart, who famously said, concerning pornography, that he knows it when he sees it. I do agree, for example, with the sentiment in the article Condemning foreign governments for abusive acts while ignoring one’s own is easy. But the U.S. leads the way.

American slavery was evil, and you had good Christian people defending it at the time, though almost no one does now. People in the US North who were involved in the “triangular trade” at the time seemed to be oblivious to their role in the “peculiar institution.”

Not incidentally, I wouldn’t argue against your notion that this “American life” is supported by a modern-day form of slavery and exploitation, which is, however, much harder to see, though some of us do try.

Jaquandor of Byzantium Shores provokes me:

At the risk of provoking a more political post than you might wish…

Almost certainly true, BTW.

how bad do you think a Romney presidency might be? (I, as you might suspect, think it would be an absolute train wreck that might make us pine for the days of George W. Bush.)

Here’s the thing: I don’t know. His hard-right swing makes it difficult for me to ascertain what his real values are. I’m not a big fan of pointing to “flip-flopping” when a person’s view on life has changed over time; I know mine has. But Romney would contradict himself and even lie about his position from weeks earlier during this campaign. And I don’t remember him doing that during the 2008 race.

Let me go wildly optimist: Maybe he really is that guy who was the Massachusetts governor who could manage to have some sort of health care plan that would be palatable to Republicans.


I believe that he would expand on the covert military actions that both GWB and Obama have overused; difficult to put that genie back into the bottle.

I believe he, with Republicans, will dismantle regulations pertaining to banking (such as they are) and the environment. I expect that the pipeline from Canada, which Obama has partially resisted, will be expedited, and a massive catastrophe will ensue.

I believe, if the Republicans still control the House, that there will be pushes to go into either Syria or Iran (or Lord help us, both), to terrible outcomes.

I believe that not only does the divide between the rich and poor increase, but there will be hunger in America with a safety net that has been rendered totally inadequate, so apparent that there will be demonstrations a lot more confrontational than Occupy has initiated to date. To Chris’ question about evil: some of it, at least, is all that Biblical stuff about NOT feeding the hungry, NOT clothing the naked.

What’s a movie or book that you were convinced you would hate and ended up liking a good deal?

Any number of movies billed as raunchy but I liked anyway, such as 40-Year-Old Virgin, and, to a lesser extent, Knocked Up. Dolphin Tale, which I saw with The Wife and The Daughter, I thought wasn’t awful, and Ramona and Beezus, which I saw with the Daughter, I rather liked. I actually did try to read The Bridges of Madison County, but just couldn’t, yet I liked the movie. But, in general, I go to a movie EXPECTING to like it; sometimes I don’t, but I have my anticipation.

Even more true, I just don’t read books I don’t expect to like. Well, when I was in my church book group at my former church, from about 1986 to 1995, we would read from various genres; that’s how I read Margaret Atwood, which I didn’t expect to like, but I did.

Are there any careers you’d like to see your daughter pursue? Or, on the flip side, any careers you would be deeply troubled to see her pursuing?

To the former, no. I’m REALLY TRYING to give her room to figure out her path. Although she could do worse than to be a librarian or teacher. There COULD be a parental bias here, however. She is starting to write stories, and while I would not wish a writer’s life on her – full of rejection – I’m happy about the learning aspect of her activity, at least. She likes to dance, and I don’t know whether that is a career path she’ll want or not. Maybe she’ll be a pastor; that was my dream when I was about 10 to 15.

But I wouldn’t want her to be a politician, because I just think it’s too brutal, with candidates decided upon with too much superficiality.

The Lydster, Part 99: Her Father’s Daughter

We’ve been singing “Build Me Up, Buttercup” together.

For years, part of the running shtick between my wife and me has been this: I ask her a question. She responds to the question. Then I ask the question again, because, while I have some information, I often don’t have the ANSWER. I must say that, early on, it used to drive me crazy. Now, I just recognize it as just the way it is.

Here’s an example from a couple of months ago. I had seen some fresh strawberries in the refrigerator earlier, so I asked her where they had gone. She replied, “Well, I was going to make strawberry shortcake, but that fell by the wayside.” Puzzled, I was about to say, “Oh..kay, honey…but where are the strawberries?” which was my actual question. But instead, Lydia said, “But mommy, where are the strawberries?” I had a VERY difficult time not breaking into uncontrollable laughter. Lydia reacted the same as I did. And worse, she knew it.

We also do a lot of singing together. She has a CD of cover versions of a wide variety of songs, from pop tunes to patriotic songs. We’ve been singing “Build Me Up, Buttercup” together. But “Take Me Home, Country Road” is usually her solo performance.

Of course, there are things that Lydia gravitates towards my wife’s interests, such as watching/participating in figure skating or sharing conversations about clothing and jewelry. Still, I’m happy about when she and I connect.

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