December rambling: the Rosa Parks of the Fourth Amendment

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The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin. Plus the Atheist 10 Commandments.

This story claims: If The Supreme Court Reads This Study, It Could End Partisan Gerrymandering Forever. But probably not happening.

This being the second anniversary of the Newtown massacre this month, should Nancy and Adam Lanza be mourned? I’d say yes.

1944 murder conviction of 14-year-old vacated. His execution can’t be. I wrote about George Stinney HERE.

Pew Explains Why the Conservatives Live in Their Own “Reality”.

Reasons You Should Never Agree to a Police Search (Even If You Have Nothing to Hide). I agree, in theory, but I’m not sure, in practice.

Rethinking Immigration. We don’t understand “illegal”. We just think we do.

“Sustainable Keystone XL”.

Dollree Mapp, 1923-2014: ‘The Rosa Parks of the Fourth Amendment’.

The PR firm using “Strange Fruit” in its name. Oy.

Feds Indict Another Person For Teaching People How To Beat Polygraph Tests.

A friend of mine wrote: “Watch this video where a casino clamps down hard on a guy who is winning at blackjack by counting cards. I think there’s a very apt correlation between what happens here and what happens in real life any time you actually start to get ahead.”

When reporters value ‘justice’ over accuracy, journalism loses.

Ted Koppel: Fox News is Bad for America.

Why IS liberal Protestantism dying, anyway?

You’re Not What You Think You Are.

Evanier talks about an aspect of creative work (writing, drawing, etc.) that doesn’t get enough attention. It’s the part about making a living.

Why you’re so busy.

Major League Baseball umpire Dale Scott comes out as gay, which still matters as long as homophobia exists.

All of those end-of-the-year lists that come out well before the end of December:
What we searched for on Google. I swear I had NEVER heard of Flappy Bird.
TCM remembers movie actors who died in 2014
100 Notable Books of 2014.
74 Of The Most Amazing News Photos Of 2014, which ARE amazing
50 best albums of 2014; 60% of the artists I had not heard of, and only TWO of the albums, the ones by U2 and Leonard Cohen, I’ve actually heard, though the Springsteen is on the wish list
United State of Pop 2014 (Do What You Wanna Do). Arthur has linked to a bunch of these mashups.
*11 Hoaxes That Your Gullible Facebook Friends Fell For In 2014
And here’s a list of significant events each month of 2014, plus New Republic spotlights bad predictions that were made about the year now ending.

Facebook’s algorithmic cruelty.

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The secret language of twins.

Spite thy neighbor, housing division. Also, The Long But Not the Short of It and The Immovable Ladder and Ye Olde Mispronunciation.

Robert Johnson, King of the Delta Blues at the wrong speed?

Fashion at the dawn of pop.

Mister Sister by Kate Pierson, formerly of the B-52s.

The James Bond Theme a cappella. And Ranking: James Bond Theme Songs From Worst to Best.

Inductions into the Grammy Hall of Fame. An eclectic bunch.

Christmas in her soul: Laura Nyro.

The Who’s Roger Daltrey: wedding singer.

Maya Angelou’s ‘Harlem Hopscotch’ Music Video.

The What colour is it? clock does a lovely job of showing the relationships between adjacent colors.

History of Franklin: 1st black Peanuts character” How a schoolteacher helped create the first black Peanuts comic strip character.

The Daughter liked this a LOT, and insisted I link to it: Who doesn’t love a good chain reaction?

Legendary Mad Magazine Illustrator Jack Davis Calls It Quits at 90: “I can still draw, but I just can’t draw like I used to.”

Here’s Everyone From the Epic ‘Colbert Report’ Finale. Never saw Andrew Young when I first viewed it.

If Dr. Seuss books were titled by their subtexts.

My failed attempt to draw the Nancy comic strip.

A Hanna-Barbera story, featuring Tex Avery.

Muppets: Thog (with whom I was unfamiliar), Uncle Deadly (who I DO remember), Vendaface (broad comedy), the very early Wilkins and Wontkins and Sam and Friends, the comedy stylings of Kermit and Cookie Monster, and Cookie Monster takes direction, and Auld Lang SwineSyne.

Mystery of creepy 1970s Sesame Street clip solved.

Artifacts Discovered Buried In Washington D.C. Suggest Humans Once Passed Laws There.

John Oliver speaks of the horror that is New Year’s Eve. Still, woman to ride Rose Bowl float 60 years after she was denied because her race.

GOOGLE ALERTS (me)

Interesting that both Arthur and Dustbury responded to my post about compact discs.

Dustbury on an analysis of decade-specific words in song titles listed in Billboard.

It appears that Arthur will meet his post per day goal.

Arthur, by request: terrorism in New Zealand and white privilege and police violence and dentists and New Zealand holidays and loss, and memes and the places he’s been in the US and Canada.

Y is Year 2015

Likewise, this will be the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in 1945.

2015.blocksOf course, no one knows what will happen in the year 2015 except that we’ll celebrate anniversaries of past events.

Back in 1965, fifty years ago, the brilliant music satirist Tom Lehrer, in the introduction to So Long Mom, a song of World War III, said this: “This year we’ve been celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the Civil War and the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of World War I and the twentieth anniversary of the end of World War II. All in all, it’s been a good year for the war buffs.” (With a different intro, LISTEN to So Long Mom.)

This being a half-century later, we just “celebrated” the beginning of World War I. 2015 will be the sesquicentennial of the end of the American Civil War in 1865, with all that entails:

January: The U.S. Congress approves the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, to abolish slavery.
March: Second inauguration ceremonies for President Lincoln in Washington.
April: Gen. Robert E. Lee surrenders his Confederate Army to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at the village of Appomattox Court House in Virginia.
Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary see the play “Our American Cousin” at Ford’s Theater. During the third act of the play, John Wilkes Booth assassinates the President.
June: Juneteeth in Texas.

Likewise, this will be the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in 1945:

January: The Soviets enacts a massive offensive against German foes along the East Front. Russian troops find fewer than 3,000 survivors when they liberate Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp in Poland.
February: U.S. troops invade the Philippines, while British planes bomb the German city of Dresden.
April: US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt dies. Adolf Hitler, in the face of certain defeat, commits suicide.
May: Germany surrenders unconditionally to General Eisenhower at Rheims, France, and to the Soviets in Berlin
June: The Pacific island of Okinawa is captured by the Allies.
August: The Japanese sue for peace after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
September: General MacArthur accepts the formal, unconditional surrender of Japan in a ceremony aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

So what else shall we celebrate this coming year?

April: Josephine Baker’s death (40th anniversary)
May: Nathaniel Hawthorne’s death. (150th anniversary)
June: Signing of the first Magna Carta. (800th anniversary)
June: Battle of Waterloo. (200th anniversary)
June: William Butler Yeats’ 150th birthday.
July: JK Rowling’s 50th birthday
August: Hurricane Katrina, which hit New Orleans and surrounding areas (10th anniversary)
December: Rudyard Kipling’s 150th birthday.

What will YOU be celebrating in 2015?

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ABC Wednesday, Round 15

Fans of doowop: ABC Wednesday, Round 16, is coming!

ABCWed16Seven and a half years ago, the redoubtable Denise Nesbitt from across the pond in England created a meme called ABC Wednesday. 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, which a bit more political than the usual fare.

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 and a half years ago- she ceded the role of administrator to me. This means that I assign 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, which, of course, mentions the Crests. He’s designed the logos for the last eleven rounds if memory serves.

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.

SamuraiFrog has been participating in the last two rounds. The first time through, he wrote about his feelings, and the last time around, he wrote about amazing, often obscure, facts about the Muppets, which are great, especially the pre-Sesame Street material covering Washington, DC local TV, and long-ago ad campaigns; recommended.

Two rounds back, I did a series of pop and rock band that had family members (Andrews Sisters, Beach Boys, Carpenters, Heart, et al.), but the last time through, I had random topics – 70th birthdays, obscure words, and whatever else came to mind. Arthur@AmeriNZ has participated in the past, and I’m betting Dustbury would be REALLY good at it because he’s such a prolific blogger; no pressure, though, Chaz.

As always, 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, appropriately R for rambling.

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

MOVIE REVIEW: Whiplash

Whiplash is a movie less about jazz than the application of perfection that the instructor was apparently seeking.

Whiplash-5547.cr2Sometimes, what movie The Wife and I end up seeing depends on circumstances. The weekend before Christmas, I’m looking at the movies playing at The Spectrum Theatre in Albany that was departing on Christmas Eve, and the one that got the most critical buzz was Whiplash. Specifically, J.K. Simmons, who I know from the Tobey Maguire movie version of Spider-Man, as Assistant Chief Pope from the TV show The Closer, and, oddly, from a series of commercials for Farmers Insurance. He’s already won the Best Supporting Actor nod from the New York Film Critics Circle and Los Angeles Film Critics Association and is nominated for a Golden Globe, as is the movie itself.

Whiplash stars Miles Teller, who I remember favorably from The Spectacular Now in 2013. Here he plays Andrew Neiman, a 19-year-old jazz drummer, who wants to next Buddy Rich. He is accepted into the legendary New York City music school, the Shaffer Conservatory. Andrew successfully auditions to become the new drum alternate for notorious Shaffer conductor Terence Fletcher (Simmons).

Then the “fun” begins. While practicing the Hank Levy song “Whiplash”, Fletcher makes Andrew’s life difficult, not that he has singled him out. And that’s all I’ll say about that.

The movie costars Melissa Benoist (Marley from the TV show Glee) as Andrew’s neglected girlfriend and Paul Reiser (TV’s Mad About You) as his supportive dad. The film was written and directed by Damien Chazelle, who I had never heard of.

We watched a pair of intense performances. At the point about 2/3s of the way through, the movie seemed to let up a bit, but the drama returns and runs to the end. This is a movie less about jazz than the application of perfection that Fletcher was apparently seeking; I’ve seen it, and you have too in other endeavors. In fact, the Wife and I found several examples of, “Boy, do I know THAT feeling.” The music is quite good, but it is secondary to the narrative.

When I was in high school, we had some music competitions. Someone said that drum solos are boring unless they’re not. Whiplash is an inspired drum solo.

Christmas favorites

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Time to start ANSWERING those Ask Roger Anything questions. And you may STILL pose your queries.

Tom the Mayor asked:

What is your Favorite Christmas Song, not devotional, but popular, e.g., “White Christmas”?

This is similar to that asked by noted author Jaquandor:

I imagine by the time you answer these it’ll be after Christmas…

Well, in the Christian calendar, we’re in Christmastide until Epiphany, which is Three Kings Day on January 6, so we’re still good.

…but what’s your favorite Christmas song?

Besides the aforementioned Stevie Wonder and Julie Andrews songs:

Since Tom mentioned White Christmas, I should note Mele Kalikimaka -Bing Crosby with the Andrews Sisters
White Christmas -The Drifters
Christmas All Over Again – Tom Petty
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love
Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses
Coventry Carol – Alison Moyet
Christmastime is Here – Vince Guaraldi
The Mistletoe and Me – Isaac Hayes
This Christmas – Donny Hathaway
Winter Snow – Booker T & the MGs (starts at 2:30)
Happy Xmas (War Is Over) – John Lennon and Yoko Ono
Jingle Bells – The Fab 4, which is NOT the Beatles
Santa Claus is Coming to Town – the Jackson 5. But not so much the version by the moving snowman The Daughter brought down from the attic last week.

I’m a sucker for pretty much any version of Little Drummer Boy, mostly because I used to sing it in church as a child. So it’s OK by Harry Simeone Chorale (the single I grew up with), or Bing & Bowie (I watched that program when it first broadcast, just after Crosby died) or a number of others.

BTW, Jaquandor makes a good case for Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, but NOT by a certain crooner. Which reminded me, somehow, of the saddest Christmas song, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.” I heard Kim and Reggie Harris sing it several years ago; damn thing made me cry.

Jaquandor also asked a few other questions:

Least favorite [Christmas song]?

It tends to be more VERSIONS of songs. Run, Rudolph, Run by Chuck Berry is OK, but the version by Bryan Adams irritates me. I have some compilation albums, and on virtually every country album, when someone sings O Little Town…, they pronounce it Beth-LEE- Hem, instead of Beth-LEH-Hem; astonishingly grating.

That said, Dominick the Christmas Donkey by Lou Monte is probably my least favorite song. While others get tiresome from repeated listening, this one I hated from the outset.

Favorite [Christmas] movie?

Tough one. Just haven’t seen a lot of them; never saw Elf or Christmas Vacation, e.g. Just saw Miracle on 34th Street last year for the first time, and it had its charms. I guess I’ll pick It’s A Wonderful Life, maybe because I misjudged it as pablum, sight unseen, maybe because it was deemed as possible Commie propaganda.

But I always love A Christmas Carol. The George C. Scott version is my favorite, though I’m quite fond of versions with Alistair Sim, and with Mr. Magoo.

Is Trading Places a Christmas movie? Is Home Alone? I might add them to my list.

Least favorite [Christmas movie]?

There was a terrible one on the Disney Channel recently, but it wasn’t even worth noting the title.

Do you have a favorite hymn?

Oh, that’s impossible! One thing for sure, though: it probably won’t be a unison piece. I like four-part music with my hymns.

So I pulled out my recently replaced Presbyterian hymnal, and picked a few. These are in book order:

Angels We Have Heard On High
Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light (I mean it’s JS Bach harmonization!)
Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming
Ah, Holy Jesus
O Sacred Head, Now Wounded (more Bach)
Christ the Lord Is Risen Today!
Thine is the Glory (Handel)
Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty (this was on page 1 of the Methodist hymnal I grew up with)
Come, Thou Almighty King (also reminds me of my growing up)
All Hail The Power of Jesus’ Name! (the Coronation version, rather than Diadem)
My Shepherd Will Supply My Needs
Our God, Our Help in Ages Past
A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
God of the Ages, Whose Almighty Hand (always associated with Thanksgiving, and more specifically, with the songbook in my elementary school)
Amazing Grace
Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah (LOVE the bass line)
Fairest Lord Jesus (a childhood favorite)
O Master, Let Me Walk with Thee
Just As I Am (definitely a childhood favorite, probably from watching those Billy Graham programs)
The Church’s One Foundation
Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee (Beethoven!)
Here I Am, Lord (the only one on the list with a unison verse)
Lord, Dismiss Us with Thy Blessing
Lift Every Voice and Sing (a whole ‘nother context)

Not a lot of spirituals here. Now the choirs I’ve been in have done arrangements of hymns I enjoy (Every Time I Feel The Spirit probably most often), but for congregation and choir singing, not so much.