October Rambling: Enough with Dystopia; the Conservati​ve-to-Engl​ish Lexicon

from KUBE 93 Seattle Facebook page
from KUBE 93 Seattle Facebook page

My favorite website these days is The Weekly Sift. Sam Harris and the Orientalization of Islam and 7 Liberal Lessons of Ebola.

Sexual Assault in the Bakken Shale “Man Camps”.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Civil Forfeiture. “Oliver references a September report from The Washington Post, which states that, since 9/11, police have seized $2.5 billion in 61,998 cash seizures from people ‘who were not charged with a crime.’ ‘Under civil forfeiture laws, your property is guilty until you prove it innocent.'” Read more. And here’s another example

Modern art was CIA ‘weapon’.

The Forgotten Coup – How the US and Britain Crushed the Government of Their “Ally” Australia.

A Conservative​ve-to-Engl​ish Lexicon, 2nd edition.

Author Wants Southern States To Secede Over Gay Rights, Name New Country ‘Reagan’.

Whites riot over pumpkins in NH and Twitter turns it into epic lesson about Ferguson.

The Problem With That Catcalling Video.

A veteran teacher turned coach shadows 2 students for 2 days – a sobering lesson learned.

Condolences to my buddy Steve Bissette, whose dad passed peacefully on October 28.

The late Marcia Strassman was NOT happy on Welcome Back, Kotter.

Unfortunately, the cancer has returned for Eddie Mitchell, the Renaissance Geek. Send him a good thought.

How (Not) to Talk About Vaccines.

Atheist At A Funeral: A Contemplation In Four Hymns.

Want to see the Dole/Kemp 1996 campaign Web site? Dustbury notes that you still can see it and a lot more at the 4president.org site.

In an excerpt of The Republicans: A History of the Grand Old Party by American history professor Lewis L. Gould, he recounts the mid-’90s Republicans’ desperation to preserve their image — and how that desperation led them to impeach President Bill Clinton.

Chorus Nylander – Rebecca Jade Interview. Also, Brianna Cara, Angie Sagastume and Rebecca Jade sing the national anthem. Plus Help Rebecca Jade make a new album!

Cover versions you may not have known were covers.

Quincy Jones on Sinatra, Mentorship and His New Clark Terry Documentary.

2014 may be the first year ever with ZERO platinum-certified albums since they started the designation. But never underestimate Taylor Swift.

The Technical Constraints That Made Abbey Road So Good.

Chuck Miller: They’re tearing down 309 South Broad Street in Philadelphia.

Jeff Sharlet: The Writer Who’s Using Longform to Take Instagram to the Next Level. BTW, he recently sent me a pic of his late mom, his sister, himself and myself from c. 1979.

Ken Screven on being the only black kid in the class. I can relate; that was me for most of K-9.

Enough With Dystopias: It’s Time For Sci-Fi Writers To Start Imagining Better Futures. To that end, both SamuraiFrog and Jason Bennion recommend the new book by Jaquandor called Princesses in Space! Stardancer. Read all about it at his new site, ForgottenStars.net. Especially you, Uthaclena.

Speaking of Jaquandor, he reviews a book about minor league baseball that makes me want to read the tome. Or better still, go to a game. Cartoon: Why Baseball Is Better. Short audio: Take Me Out to the Ball Game – The Skeletons. Commercial: Throwing like a girl.

These Are the Grammar Rules You Don’t Need to Follow. Also, 10 Grammar Mistakes People Love To Correct (That Aren’t Actually Wrong). OK, but I just can’t say “data is…”

TV Legend Norman Lear: ‘Even This I Get To Experience’. He was the creative force behind All in the Family, Maude, The Jeffersons and many more programs.

The Nine Lives of ‘Saturday Night Live’.

Film Reviews by Cotton Mather.

Dull Men’s Club.

Playtex Living Spacesuits. Don’t think the movie has come out yet.

My computer screen went sideways this month, for some reason. I found how I turn it back: Try pressing Ctrl + Alt + UP Arrow Key, or try Ctrl + Alt + and a different Arrow Key.

SamuraiFrog’s alphabetical Muppet gallery includes Lenny the Lizard and Mr. Johnson (one of my FAVES) and Nutty Bird and Ohreally and the wonderful Prairie Dawn; the school plays on the latter are great. Plus Bill Cosby and the Muppets.

Sesame Street: Janelle Monae- Power of Yet

John Cale & Brian Eno / Spinning Away

A mildly interesting story about Mark Evanier, Henry Kloss and home electronics. But this coda is even better.

The Strange History of Corn Flakes, which, being a cereal aficionado, I actually knew.

Every time you make a typo, the errorists win.


Arthur writes about that Raven no racial/sexuality labels thing. (BTW, Cosmo responds to Raven.) He also muses about mayonnaise.

Dustbury notes the Tchotchke Index.

Jaquandor cites me watching MASH reruns.I also made his sentential links HERE.

Both Jaquandor and Dustbury are sad about the apparent cancellation of the Fantastic Four comic book.

Halloween 2014

ditko.baldmtNo Such Thing: spooky (not scary!) picture book

Here are several of SamuraiFrog’s recent posts which even predate October 1

Jaquandor has you covered if you want Halloween music.

The cubist at your door.


Mark Evanier points to a “web exclusive” from John Oliver. It’s about the mania this time of year for things with pumpkin in them, and Evanier lists some of them off.

Some People Go All Out for Halloween!

Periodic table of unspeakable horrors

Zombie pancakes!

10 Things You Never Knew About Candy Corn, The Candy You Love To Hate and Farm Pop: Candy Corn Makes a Comeback.

Video: A day in the life of a master neon sign artist

Why Are Witches Green?

Pumpkin Saving Time

All the vintage Hallowe’en masks

31 Absolutely Adorable Halloween Costumes for the Entire Family

Quick and easy Halloween costumes for adults

Melting zombie candles (and other delights)

Michael May is reviewing horror movies all month

Ghost trees

10 Adorable Halloween Costumes for Your Dog

Rich Person Writes Letter Complaining About Having To Give Candy To Poor Kids On Halloween.

Friday the 13th skull-spoons. But how do you eat soup with these?

Angmering family’s fright over Hallowe-en candle bag fire by Roger Green of the Littlehampton Gazette (UK)

Worst Halloween costume of the year? Ebola health worker.

Here are 18 pictures that demonstrat​e how terrifying Halloween was back in the day.

5 classic horror movies that’ll give you the creeps this Halloween.

Video of extreme haunted house in San Diego. (Not for the faint of heart.)

Proust-like answers

I hate it when honesty is done nastily, and people say, “I’m just being honest.”

proustBlame Dustbury; I do. He posted about the Proust Questionnaire. And because I apparently have ADHD, I decided to tackle the questions Marcel Proust reportedly answered at gatherings when he was 13 and 20. Some are duplicated, but of course, I didn’t copy them.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

The lack of a moral compass.

Where would you like to live?

In a compassionate land. Someplace near flowing water.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?

To live in contact with interesting people, listening to a wealth of music, and have access to a good cinema and a good Internet connection.

To what faults do you feel most indulgent?

To too much curiosity.

Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?

Any of those folks who help the oppressed: Zorro, Robin Hood, for two. And Spider-Man.

Who are your favorite characters in history?

Thomas Jefferson, Mohandas K. Gandhi

Who are your favorite heroines in real life?

Currently: Elizabeth Warren. Clara Barton, Margaret Sanger, Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan, Gloria Steinhem (I had a subscription to Ms. Magazine when it was brand new), lots more

Who are your favorite heroines of fiction?

Amelia Louise McBride. Or Sue Ann Nivens on the Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Your favorite painter?

Gaughin or Van Gogh

Your favorite musician?

The Beatles, if that’s a singular entity, John Lennon if not.

The quality you most admire in a man?

Intelligence, moral sense, common sense, compassion

The quality you most admire in a woman?

Intelligence, moral sense, common sense, compassion

Your favorite virtue?

An honesty honed by compassion

Your favorite occupation?

Singing, looking up stuff

Who would you have liked to be?

Methuselah – saw a lot of history.
Your most marked characteristic?

A desire to be loved, and especially, understood

What do you most value in your friends?


What is your principal defect?


What is your dream of happiness?

I don’t dream of happiness. I live my life in hope that happiness arises; sometimes, it does.

What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?

To be mistreated as a child.

What would you like to be?

Another year older and less in debt.

In what country would you like to live?

This one (United States), necessarily idealized.

What is your favorite color?

Aquamarine – oh, something on the green-blue spectrum.

What is your favorite flower?

The lily.

What is your favorite bird?

The cardinal, which I have seen more often in my yard in recent years.
Who are your favorite prose writers?

Russell Baker, Garrison Keillor, Paul Grondahl

Who are your favorite poets?

Frost, Whitman, Shafarzek

Who are your favorite composers?

Mozart, Beethoven, Lennon-McCartney, Smokey Robinson, Bob Dylan

What are your favorite names?

Isabella. Surnames, almost anything long and Italian or Polish or Russian or French.

What is it you most dislike?

Arrogance, especially when it’s unwarranted.

What historical figures do you most despise?

Joseph Stalin; I’m terribly pleased that he died just before I was born. Josef Mengele, Heinrich Himmler, Adolf Eichmann and sure, Hitler. Kim Il Sung, and his descendants. Idi Amin.

What event in military history do you most admire?

The US/UN control of Iraq in January 2003, with inspectors on the ground looking for those “weapons of mass destruction.” And then we had to spoil it all by saying something stupid like, “Let’s go to war.”

What reform do you most admire?

Much of FDR’s New Deal.

What natural gift would you most like to possess?


How would you like to die?

In my sleep. Failing that, saving someone.

What is your present state of mind?

No more muddled than usual.

What is your motto?

To quote the great philosopher Kenneth Ray Rogers:

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run

There’s a “modern” version, questions found here.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

A daily massage to soothing music.

What is your most marked characteristic?


What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Being married 15 years.

What is your greatest fear?

Losing people.

What historical figure do you most identify with?

Frederick Douglass

Which living person do you most admire?

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Who are your heroes in real life?

People who see wrongs and try to right them.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Being prone to melancholy

What is your favorite journey?

Riding on a boat up and down the Hudson River.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Honesty, when it’s done nastily, and people say, “I’m just being honest.”

Which word or phrases do you most overuse?

“Well,” when I’m formulating an idea.

What is your greatest regret?

Failure in marriage.

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?

Maybe a little more play before work, now and then.

What is your most treasured possession?

It’s this very incomplete family tree of my maternal grandmother’s family.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Suicidal despair.

P is for People songs

Plastic Jim by Sly & the Family Stone borrows from Eleanor Rigby by the Beatles.

peopleI had all these posts for Round 15 lined up, either odd words or 70th birthdays, except for a few. After I mucked it over a good while, I said, to no one in particular, “I’ve got nothing, people.” Then suddenly, I did. Songs starting with the word People in the title that I own.

One must start, naturally, with People by Barbra Streisand, her signature song from Funny Girl that went to #5 in 1964 on the US Billboard singles charts. “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” Is that true? I was rather fond of the cover version by Nat King Cole) that only went to #100 that same year.

A lot of People songs are inspirational. People Get Ready by The Impressions, featuring Curtis Mayfield, went to #14 in 1965, but was an anthem of the civil rights movement.

People Are Strange by The Doors, #12 in 1967, is a simple song, with a single verse and chorus; I tended to relate to it.

Back to the inspiration mode is People Got to be Free by The Rascals, #1 in 1968.

People Make The World Go Round is a melancholy tune by the Stylistics, #25 in 1972, with a long instrumental outro. I also have a Jackson Five cover of this.

Violent images show up in the odd People Who Died by The Jim Carroll Band, #103 in 1981. The lyrics are serious – and he repeats TWO verses – but the music is pretty straight-ahead rock and roll. I heard this a lot on WQBK-FM, my favorite radio station, at the time.

A more hopeful tune is People Are People by Depeche Mode, #13 in 1985.

The N-word is used in context in People Everyday by Arrested Development, #8 in 1992. I found it unfortunate that it’s so much less hopeful than the song it borrows heavily from, Everyday People by Sly & The Family Stone, #1 in 1969.

I see that Kelly Clarkson had a song called People Like Us, #65 in 2013, on her greatest hits album. I didn’t have that but I DID have a totally different song with the same title, in fact, the title track of an album by The Mamas and the Papas.

Finally, I was pondering the sad tune Eleanor Rigby by the Beatles – “all the lonely people” – #11 in 1966, from which Plastic Jim by Sly & the Family Stone borrowed.


ABC Wednesday, Round 15

40 years ago: the Student Government held hostage

As the only ethnic minority on the Financial Council, I was one of the folks selected to negotiate.

SUNY_New_Paltz_main_quadI got elected to the Financial Council at the State University of New York at New Paltz in the spring of 1974 but didn’t take office until the fall. We passed a budget, which was, I’m guessing, only incrementally different from the previous year’s.

This displeased two student groups, the Black Student Union and Hermanos Latinos. So much so, that one night while we were meeting, they sat in our offices, refusing to leave until the groups got in their allocations the percentage of funds equivalent to the percentage of blacks and Hispanics on campus.

Don’t know what that was then; the school is now 5% black, and that was probably about the same then, but it’s 12% Hispanic now, far more than then.

In any case, a committee was formed to negotiate. As the only ethnic minority on the Council, I was one of the folks selected. The FC tried to note that there were lots of things that we paid for that benefited everyone, such as the Oracle newspaper, radio station WNPC, and ombudsman; this was largely an unsuccessful line of discussion.

Ultimately, the FC agreed to the demands, and the groups left. Almost immediately, the FC head froze EVERYONE’S budget, and a day or two later reinstated a budget that was fairly close to our original budget, with perhaps token increases to the two groups. Oddly enough, they didn’t come back to complain, for which I was extremely grateful.

This experience oddly soured me on me running for elective office. Nothing that has happened since has negated that thought, and in fact has only strengthened it.

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