The film PAY 2 PLAY: Democracy’s High Stakes at the Linda 12/4

The Pay 2 Play System is where Politicians reward their donors with even larger sums from the public treasury — through contracts, tax cuts, and deregulation.

play2pay

The movie PAY 2 PLAY: Democracy’s High Stakes will be shown on Thursday, December 4 at 7:00 pm at the The Linda, WAMC’s performing arts studio at 339 Central Avenue, on the corner of Quail Street and Central Avenue in Albany. The showing is FREE, but reservations are required; call 518-463-8256 or e-mail ny4democracy@gmail.com.

The 90-minute documentary will be followed by a panel discussion organized by New York For Democracy, “an ever growing group of New Yorkers who are committed to rescuing our democracy from the devastating influences of money in politics.”

PAY 2 PLAY follows filmmaker John Ennis’ quest to find a way out from under the Pay 2 Play System, where Politicians reward their donors with even larger sums from the public treasury — through contracts, tax cuts, and deregulation. Along the way, he journeys through high drama on the Ohio campaign trail, uncovers the secret history of the game Monopoly, and explores the underworld of L.A. street art on a humorous odyssey that reveals how much of a difference one person can make.

See where the film may be playing in a city near you.

November Rambling: Eddie, the Renaissance Geek, turns 50; Jaquandor’s book now available for purchase

The official video for Cuts Like a Winter by Rebecca Jade and the Cold Fact

christmas savings

John Oliver’s Complicated Fun Connects for HBO. Perhaps John Oliver Is Outdoing The Daily Show and Colbert. In any case, Yet Another Study Shows US Satire Programs Do A Better Job Informing Viewers Than Actual News Outlets.

The Motion Picture Academy chose to bestow a special award to Harry Belafonte, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. “Belafonte’s remarks offer both a pointed and powerful rebuke of Hollywood’s past and a stirring inducement to continue the industry’s more recent progress on human rights issues.”

Re the Ferguson protests, which I saw described as “mind-bogglingly incomprehensible”: It’s Incredibly Rare For A Grand Jury To Do What Ferguson’s Just Did, as even Antonin Scalia could tell you. So Mark Evanier’s thoughts largely echo mine. Related: video showing the moments leading up to the fatal shooting by police of a 22-year-old Saratoga Springs, Utah man, Darrien Hunt.

6 Things You Might Not Think Are Harassment But Definitely Are (BECAUSE APPARENTLY WE NEED TO CLEAR A FEW THINGS UP).

Eddie, the Renaissance Geek turns 50 this month and deals with melanoma on his birthday AND a disappointing Election Day with amazing good humor. No brain cancer, but there is cancer in the liver. Here’s a piece about the Purple Power Port. Insight into how Eddie’s brain works.

Why your brain loves rewards and how playing an instrument benefits your brain.

Jaquandor’s book STARDANCER is available for purchase. Now he’s off working on the next one. Please note, the book will NOT be available in all of these formats!

The Unbelievable Skepticism of the Amazing Randi, Uri Geller’s archrival.

I thought the Grimm fairy tales I own were rather grim, but the Grimm brothers’ fairytales have blood and horror restored in new translation. Also, fairy tale truths revealed.

Rise of the “Dones” at church.

Dustbury notes Kickstarter duds and password rules.

8 things you should never feed to cats and dogs. Such as chocolate, which we’re running out of, anyway.

Stamping Out Danger and a spy needed a perfect passport — down to the staples.

On Veterans Day, Marvel Comics saluted Jack Kirby… for his military service.

New Bill Watterson comic because we can’t have enough Bill Watterson.

Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins

Someone was doing a search for sources of vinyl records and discovered this image. “Damn, if Sonny Rollins doesn’t have a doppelganger right here at Corporate Woods.”

The Science Behind Why Some People Can Sing And Others Can’t.

Nice piece about Grace, who sings in my church choir.

The song Boy in the Bubble irritates me. More correctly, the fact that the 12″ version [LISTEN] hasn’t appeared on any Paul Simon album that I’m aware of bugs me. The only version I have I copied onto a cassette from a friend’s 12″.

The official video for Cuts Like a Winter by Rebecca Jade and the Cold Fact. Also, Bang Bang (Jessie J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj) cover by Siren’s Crush, featuring Rebecca Jade (the first niece).

Music by Jayne Mansfield, backed by Jimi Hendrix.

When some network news program comes back from the break playing some old song, there’s a good chance the artist has died. Such was the case for Jimmy Ruffin.

To the surprise of absolutely no one, Dolly Parton has long been an icon to the gay community.

You know it’s All About That Baste and All About That Base (No Acid). This has become a cottage industry!

Elvis Costello goes grocery shopping, 1978.

Elvis Presley is dead, but how did he die?

Fans of music who like to flatly say U2 is no longer relevant need to define what they mean by that.

The Crosby, Stills and Nash cover photo. As opposed to Famous Album Cover Photos Uncropped to Reveal ‘The Bigger Picture’.

Remembering the pugilistic power of Rod Serling on the Twilight Zone.

A story about Welcome Back, Kotter’s John Sylvester-White who played the cranky school principal, Mr. Woodman.

Noel Neill is 95. Here are pictures from an earlier time.

It’s a floor wax AND a credit card.

Muppet galore: Quongo and Roosevelt Franklin (who I LOVED) and Frazzle and Gonzo’s enlightenment and Cookie Monster and John Oliver and clap, clap, clap. Also, “Sesame Street has a series online called Welcome to the Furchester Hotel, which is British but also features Elmo and Cookie Monster. It’s cute, and there’s a new 11-minute episode each Friday.”

Unlock the Secrets of your Poop.

GOOGLE ALERT (me)

A whale of a tale. Hat tip to Mr. Frog.

GOOGLE ALERT (not me)

Hanceville to seek a $160K grant for firefighter equipment. “Fire Chief Roger Green asked the council to approve applying for $159,547.76 through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program. The Cullman County Economic Development agency will write the grant for the fire department, Green said.” This is in Alabama, BTW.

37th Annual Kennedy Center Honors

I’m sure I first heard The Police on WQBK-FM, my favorite radio station in 1979.

al greenI’m on the record being a real sucker for the Kennedy Center Honors, an “awards show” like no other. Five legendary performers get to sit with the President and First Lady and watch others honor them by singing their songs, saying their words, and the like, with the performers, kept secret from the honorees until the curtain opens. The event will be recorded Sunday, December 7, 2014, and broadcast on CBS-TV on December 30, 2014, at 9:00-11:00 p.m., ET/PT. This year’s honorees, like most years, features four people I know quite well, and one, I must say, who is unfamiliar to me.

The one is Patricia McBride, “renowned American ballerina.” However, my wife has seen her perform when the New York City Ballet would perform at the Saratoga Performing Art Center.
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Barack Obama famously sang Let’s Get Together by Al Green; expect a mention of that fact. The running joke I’ve had is that Al Green is my cousin, “cousin Al,” but I stopped because people actually believed me. He was born Albert Greene, but “corrected” the spelling later. If I were to sing karaoke, I might pick Take Me To the River, but it’d be more like the Talking Heads’ version because I can’t sing like cousin Al. (There, I did it again!)

The back catalog of Hi Records, Al’s label, was distributed for a time by Motown, which explains how an Al Green song ended up on a Motown compilation I own.

Need to LISTEN to:
Tired of Being Alone
Let’s Get Together
Take Me To the River
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When I was watching Bosom Buddies, starring Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari, I had no idea that the former was going to become a huge star. What have I seen him in? Splash, Nothing in Common, Dragnet, Big, Punchline, A League of Their Own, Sleepless in Seattle, Philadelphia, Forrest Gump, Apollo 13, That Thing You Do!, You’ve Got Mail, The Green Mile, Cast Away, Catch Me If You Can, The Terminal, Charlie Wilson’s War, and Saving Mr. Banks. I’ve heard him as Woody in three Toy Story movies, plus the TV episode Toy Story of Terror.

I remember watching him on some late-night show talking about the Johnny Seven OMA (One Man Army) toy gun, which I used to have when I was a kid, which oddly endeared him to me.

WATCH:
There’s No Crying in Baseball – from A League of Their Own
Houston, We Have a Problem – from Apollo 13
La Mamma Morta – from Philadelphia
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LilyTomlnI have only a vague recollection of Lily Tomlin before her breakthrough appearances on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, starting in 1969, where Ernestine the telephone operator, and Edith Ann, the six-year-old in the massive big rocking chair, came to prominence. But I’ve watched her regularly ever since, from her comedy specials to Nashville, Nine to Five, All of Me, The Player, I Heart Huckabees, and A Prairie Home Companion.

She had supporting roles on TV shows such as Murphy Brown and The West Wing. Go to YouTube and put in “magic school bus full episodes” to listen to her voice as the awesome teacher, Ms. Frizzle

According to the bio, “she is the recipient of numerous honors, including the 2003 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, seven Emmy Awards, two Tony Awards, a Grammy, and two Peabody Awards.”

WATCH:
Violet and the boss in 9 to 5
Edith Ann’s sandwich from Sesame Street
The soul transference scene from ALL OF ME
My Minnesota Home – A Prairie Home Companion
Texas Monthly Talks: Lily Tomlin
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I’m sure I first heard The Police on WQBK-FM in the Albany area, which was my favorite radio station in 1979. The bass player, lead singer, and principal songwriter was a guy with the unlikely name of Sting. I bought all their albums, twice, actually, since their CD box set included the albums plus rarities.

I still have his first solo album, The Dream of the Blue Turtles from 1985, but I’ve gotten more than a few of his subsequent albums on CD. One of his best songs, I Hung My Head, got covered by Johnny Cash, and that became the definitive version of the song.

LISTEN to:
Roxanne- the Police
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic – the Police
I Hung My Head
We’ll Be Together
When We Dance

The Ghetto Chopper T-shirt thing

Was the altered Price Chopper logo protected speech, as a trademark parody?

ghetto chopperThere’s a grocery chain headquartered in Schenectady, NY, near Albany, called Price Chopper, which serves upstate New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. It was founded in 1932 as Central Market, and will soon be segueing to a new name, Market 32, which I think is boring as heck.

At least one of the Price Chopper stores, the one on Delaware Avenue in Albany, has been dubbed the Ghetto Chopper for years.

While it serves parts of a black neighborhood, it also sells food to the more Greenwich Villagey Center Square section of town. Regardless, the term always irritated me; it bugged a lot of people, but others embraced it.

When a couple of artists, Dana Owens and Chip Fascian, designed a T-shirt emblazoned with the term “Ghetto Chopper”, with an image of a handgun – perhaps as a Photoshop spoof – it created a firestorm of controversy. Writer Amy Biancolli expressed her discomfort, for instance.

The strongest critic, though, was Ken Screven, retired reporter after over thirty years at WRGB-TV, Channel 6, who is now a Times Union blogger. He wrote of the shame of the Ghetto Chopper project and applauded when the Golub Corporation, owners of Price Chopper, filed a cease and desist order against the T-shirt maker. The comment sections on both these posts are lengthy and volatile, addressing issues of what art is, free speech, and hipster racism, among other things.

The arts and newsweekly Metroland wrote a summary of the events, some of which I thought was way off base.

What was most interesting to me in the debate, though, was whether the altered logo was protected speech, as a trademark parody. Intellectual property lawyer/rock drummer Paul Rapp notes:

Trademark infringement occurs only when there is a likelihood of confusion as to the source of a product. No confusion, no infringement. Did any of you think for a second that the Ghetto Chopper t-shirt was produced by Price Chopper? No? Well, OK then.

He goes on with more details, but his bottom line is that he thinks the shirt, had it been made, would have been legal. And I totally agree. If the T-shirt makers had had the resources to take on The Golub Corporation, they might well have won. I feel conflicted between what I find is the cringeworthy nature of the Ghetto Chopper moniker and my librarian leanings towards the open expression of ideas.

Thanks giving

Thanksgiving. might be my favorite holiday, because it gives me specific permission to focus on being appreciative of others.

AA026313Saw this post via ABC Wednesday. The writer, Meenal, from India, posed 15 questions. The first, slightly paraphrased: “Why do we have the Patriotic feeling only on National days? Why don’t we feel the same every day?”

Assuming the truthfulness of the question, the answer, of course, is that people’s thoughts are overstuffed, in the busyness of life. They often need/want special days to remember veterans (Veterans Day), or express love (Valentine’s Day), or the like.

The premise of the question is akin to what I hear virtually EVERY Thanksgiving. “Why aren’t people thankful ALL the time?” Because they are not. I don’t understand why some people take such exception to those “reminder” events. Yes, yes, yes, scold person, we should ALL be thankful ALL the time. But sometimes, we’re tired, or grumpy, or distracted, or overwhelmed.

I like Thanksgiving. Might be my favorite holiday, because it gives me specific permission to focus on being appreciative of others. It gets me out of my own head, and that’s a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving. In the next week, find, if you can, someone in your sphere that you count on, but who may not know that he or she makes a difference in your life. Say thank you.