June Rambling: Hal Holbrook; Marimba Queens

I see signs that say ClOSED, and it makes me a little bonkers.

pinned on Pinterest by Roger Green (not me)
pinned on Pinterest by Roger Green (not me)

My denomination, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) voted for marriage equality at its General Assembly this month. “Ministers will be allowed to marry same-sex couples in states where it is legal.”

On the other hand, Freedom and Faith Coalition’s Road to Majority conference had an Obama figurine in the urinal.

CBS News Sunday Morning did a piece, Born this way: Stories of young transgender children. The ever-interesting Dustbury on Gender Confirmation Surgery.

Writer Jay Lake worked closely with Lynne Thomas, an Illinois-based librarian… to ensure that all his blog posts and essays would be saved for posterity. “Though this is a relatively uncomplicated task for his blog content, which he unambiguously owned, it gets problematic when you wade into the legal rights of preserving your social media presence. ‘You can’t just download Facebook content into an archive.’”

A cartoon from 2008, and still apt: A Concise History Of Black-White Relations In The United States.

Mark Evanier on O.J. Simpson trial nostalgia.

Evanier saw Hal Holbrook as Mark Twain. I remember watching the Holbrook special on CBS in 1967. Hadn’t seen it since, but it had a profound effect on me in terms of the wonders of storytelling. Also made me a big Hal Holbrook fan; I watched the Senator segment of The Bold Ones a few years later, which lasted one season, but won five Emmys.

Evanier introduces Julie Newmar to Wendy Pini. The former was one of the portrayers of Batman’s Catwoman; the latter, the artist who draws Elfquest, and who used to show up at FantaCo in Albany frequently.

Alex Trebek Sets A Guinness World Record For Hosting ‘Jeopardy!’ And Who is our new favorite ‘Jeopardy’ loser? His imitation of Putin WAS fun.

Eye Macs.

There’s a new blog, Verizon Wireless Hell. Meanwhile, Time Warner’s Roadrunner e-mail was out for several days, and not for the first time, but only the residential customers. As one unhappy customer I know wrote: ” TW is too big, and its equipment is too small, to provide reliable service, despite their eternal advertising.”

William Rivers Pitt: The Astonishing Privilege of Fatherhood

Distribution of letters in parts of words and auditory illusion.

The Seven Lady Godivas: Dr. Seuss’s Little-Known “Adult” Book of Nudes.

Jaquandor: please add this to my pet peeve list: the use of I as a lower case L. I see signs that say ClOSED, and it makes me a little bonkers.

Pantheon Songs on the importance of Blind Willie Johnson.

Jim Keays passed away. “He was the lead singer of The Masters Apprentices, one of the seminal Australian psychedelic rock and pop bands of the 1970s.” Eclectic stuff.

Tosy: U2, ranked 60-51 and 50-41.

Watch the bass player. Reg Kehoe and his Marimba Queens (ca. early 1940s). “This film seems to be a mirror image of how things are supposed to be. This is because original Soundie films were printed backward so that they could appear correct when played in the Panoram machine (an early film jukebox).” Someone flipped the tape, and it’s supposed to look like this. It’s also at 7:50 here, which has nicer resolution.

Was the Eagles’ ‘Hotel California inspired by an older Jethro Tull track?

Beatles’ lyrics and the words they used most. They used LOVE 613 times, more than any word that wasn’t a pronoun (you, I, me); an article (the, a); or a preposition (to).

The Groovy Imitation Bands of 1960s Japanese Rock.

Bobby Womack, the revered “poet” of soul music for his prowess as a songwriter as well as singer and guitarist, died at 70.

Maya Angelou reading her poem Phenomenal Women. And a graphic representation. Plus, Melissa Harris-Perry shares her exclusive interview with Dr. Angelou.

The Racialicious Tony Awards recap. The In Memorium segment, not in the show, only on YouTube(!)

A Tom Waits/Cookie Monster mashup.

A World Cup-themed Mickey Mouse short.

FROZEN support group. NSFW.

The 13 Most Ghastly Horror Comic Artists, Part 1 and Part 2.

GOOGLE ALERTS (me)

Jaquandor thanked me for pointing him to a couple articles. One was about Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson returning to the comics pages in the Stephan Pastis’ Pearls before Swine strip.

Interesting that Julio cites me for providing a graphic about technology ethics when I clearly noted the source, but I appreciated the shoutout.

Is UNO the card game that destroys relationships? The Daughter and I like it, and she’s more cutthroat than I. Jaquandor loves Chuck Miller’s description of the game.

Arthur links to me linking to him, but also has interesting linkage about the Bible.

SamuraiFrog answers my question about politics and about Dustbury and Playboy Playmates.

GOOGLE ALERT (not me)

Alcoholics fight ‘rampant epidemic’: Roger Green played for the Junior All Blacks. He screen-tested to play James Bond in Diamonds are Forever and acted on the big screen with Orson Welles. He married into British high society. Drove a white Mustang across the US. Made a fortune importing meat into Saudi Arabia. But he also had fights, criminal convictions, and three failed marriages. And he looks back on it all with disdain.

HOME angler Roger Green reeled in top prize in the Trowbridge Seniors match at Farleigh Wood on Tuesday with 29 lb 12 oz of carp and skimmers.

Y is for the Young brothers of AC/DC

Malcolm Young had a stroke earlier in 2014, and the status of AC/DC is very much in doubt.

acdchighwaytohellGot all the way to Y before I found a family band for which I actually own none of their albums: the Australian hard rock band, AC/DC, formed in November 1973 by brothers Malcolm and Angus Young. I have a dearth of 1970s/1980s hard rock. Still it would be difficult for me to be totally oblivious to them, if only because of the schtick of Angus’ schoolboy pants.

LISTEN to:
You Shook Me All Night Long.
Back in Black, which is one of the most recognized hooks in rock music.

If you’re up for it, HERE are FOUR HOURS of AC/DC.

AC/DC was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.

But what I DO own is a hillbilly cover album of AC/DC songs. There are a lot of tribute albums of the band.

LISTEN to Jailbreak – Full Blown Cherry (Rockabilly Cover)
You Shook Me All Night Long – Hayseed Dixie
Thunderstruck – 2CELLOS

Unfortunately, Malcolm Young had a stroke earlier in 2014, and the status of the band is very much in doubt.

 


ABC Wednesday – Round 14

The Mississippi US Senate runoff: a poster child for Instant Runoff Voting

Even though New York does not have runoffs, it’s often been the case that a candidate has been elected with less than a majority of the vote.

LADYVOTING_000As you may know, there was a Republican primary for the US Senate seat between longtime incumbent Thad Cochran and Tea Party darling Chris McDaniel on June 3.

Chris McDaniel 155,040 49.5 %
Thad Cochran 153,654 49.0 INCUMBENT
Thomas Carey 4,789 1.5

The Democrats also had their primary for the seat. You probably didn’t know that because a Democrat is highly unlikely to win in the general election in November:
Travis Childers 62,545 74.2%
Bill Marcy 10,134 12.0
William Compton 8,261 9.8
Jonathan Rawl 3,399 4.0

Mississippi election law requires a candidate to win a majority of the vote to be nominated, and McDaniel barely missed the threshold. This meant a runoff election for June 24.

Runoff elections are particularly expensive because 37 of the 40 Senate run-off elections since 1980 have seen decreases in turnout from the initial primary, “reflecting the difficulty in getting voters to care about a primary election two times in a row.”

This, however, was a different beast. The race had “become a proving ground for some Tea Party groups… On top of that, add the deliberate effort by Cochran’s camp to turn out more black voters, mixing up the expected voter pool. That makes predicting turnout tough.” As it turns out, there was a much HIGHER turnout for the runoff.

Cochran * 191,508 50.9%
McDaniel 184,815 49.1

From the Ballotopedia: “Mississippi is one of 21 states with a mixed primary system. Voters do not have to register with a party, but they must intend to support the party nominations if they vote in the primary election.” One aspect is that voters in the Democratic primary on June 3 ought not to have been able to also vote in the Republican runoff on June 24. McDaniel supporters have suggested that’s exactly what happened.

All of this could have been avoided if Mississippi had instituted Instant Runoff Voting:

Instant runoff voting allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference (i.e. first, second, third, fourth and so on). Voters have the option to rank as many or as few candidates as they wish, but can vote without fear that ranking less favored candidates will harm the chances of their most preferred candidates. First choices are then tabulated. If more than two candidates receive votes, a series of runoffs are simulated, using voters’ preferences as indicated on their ballot.
The candidate who receives the fewest first choice rankings is eliminated. All ballots are then retabulated, with each ballot counting as one vote for each voter’s highest ranked candidate who has not been eliminated.

In the Mississippi GOP scenario, after the June 3 primary, Thomas Carey’s votes would have been distributed to Cochran and McDaniel, based on who was Carey voters’ second choice. The majority would have been reached. There would have been no need for the June 24 runoff, and no chance for the Democratic party supporters to vote in the Republican primary without foregoing their opportunity to vote in their OWN primary.

IRV is being used in a number of US jurisdictions, sometimes only for overseas ballots, but sometimes more extensively. Several locales internationally use it as well.

I’d love to see IRV implemented in New York State. Even though New York does not have runoffs, it’s often been the case that a candidate has been elected with less than a majority of the vote. The governor’s race this fall would be a real reflection of the Green Party support since people would not feel that their vote was being “thrown away” on a candidate who could not win. Of course, it can’t happen that soon, but it’s still worth considering.
***
Mark Mayfield, a leading tea party activist in Mississippi who was indicted in an alleged plot to break into a nursing home to film Sen. Thad Cochran’s ailing wife, has died. “Ridgeland, Miss. police say they are investigating the case as a suicide after Mayfield was found dead of a gunshot wound in his home.”

The chili incident

It would have been easy to put in some cheese, then some chili, a little more cheese, then top it off with plenty of chili, rendering all signs of the dairy product invisible.

This happened last month, and someone who knows that I blog said, “That’ll show up in your blog.” It had not occurred to me, frankly. But since I do the Ask Roger Anything feature, I’ll give it a go.

There’s a cafeteria in the building where I work in Corporate (frickin’) Woods. The staff is generally friendly, and the food is at least adequate, most of the time. I was not interested in the featured meal, or a sandwich. But I opted for the chili, which they don’t always have, and which I’ve enjoyed in the past. There was some shredded cheese in a bowl next to the vat of chili, and I added a soupcon of it on top.

What I couldn’t find, though, was a lid to put on the container, lest it spill. The friendly woman at the register, seeing my puzzled look, yelled across the room that the lids were by the register, several yards away. Huh?

I purchased my lunch, which seemed higher than I had mentally calculated, then went to the dining room to start eating. Then the woman who thought I ought to blog this, came to me and said: “You know why the tops were by the register? Because the cashier was directed by management to charge extra for the cheese.” This rather cheesed me off, pardon the pun. It seemed petty; if I had gotten an extra ounce of chili, that would have cost more than the ounce of cheese I used? There was no signage that I saw to indicate this, either.

What had occurred to me is what would I do the NEXT time I got chili there. It would have been easy to put in some cheese, then some chili, a little more cheese, then top it off with plenty of chili, rendering all signs of the dairy product invisible. What would YOU do?

As it turned out, the management has been replaced, so the chili lids are by the chili, and so the question is moot. Except that it still serves as an example of bad customer service.

Fans of Andy Warhol: ABC Wednesday, Round 15 is a comin’

This coming round, I will be writing something new for each week only half the time.

abc15Seven years ago, Denise Nesbitt from England created ABC Wednesday. It was brilliant in its simplicity. People, literally from around the world, post an item – pictures, poems, essays – that in some way describe each letter of the alphabet, in turn. I’ve been participating since the letter K in Round 5, my Keating Five post.

Denise recruited a team of her followers to do some of the intro writing and visiting, which eventually included me, because doing it all was too exhausting. Two years ago – that long, already?- she was getting a little burned out. So I became the administrator, assigning who reads which posts, making sure somebody is writing the introductions (and writing them myself, when necessary), and inserting the link that allows everyone to participate. The team is pretty good at noting when someone grossly violates the simple rules.

Read about the significance of this round’s logo by Troy. He’s designed the logos for the last ten rounds, I do believe.

The Netiquette for the site is this:

1. Post something on your non-commercial blog/webpage having something to do with the letter of the week. Use your imagination. Put a link to ABC Wednesday in your post and/or put up the logo.

2. Come to the ABC Wednesday site and link the SPECIFIC link to the Linky thing. It’ll be available around 4 p.m., Greenwich Mean Time each Tuesday, which is 11 a.m. or noon in the Eastern part of the United States.

3. Try and visit at least 5 other participants… and comment on their posts. The more sites you do visit, the more comments you will probably get.

I’m happy to note that SamuraiFrog has been participating in the current round, and Arthur@AmeriNZ has done so in the past.

I am looking for a few good people, not only to participate, but to visit other people each week, and/or to write the occasional intro. Here’s a recent example of an intro by me.

This coming round, I will be writing something new for each week only half the time. For the other half, I’ll be linking to something I already posted in 2014 instead, mostly 70th birthdays. I got the idea from Lisa of Peripheral Perceptions, who saw my Supremes post (I think) and thought it was so detailed that I should have used it for ABCW. So in Round 15, I WILL.

Bloggers, consider giving ABC Wednesday a try, if this sounds interesting. We’ll be starting with A again in a couple weeks. Write to me a rogerogreen (AT) gmail (DOT) com.