January rambling #2: JEOPARDY!, and recess

‘I feel like a dime among nickels.’

Abe Vigoda.Spidey

I received one of those recorded scam IRS phone calls this month, threatening to put me in jail. Mine came from the Syracuse, NY area from a known scam phone number.

2015 Was Hottest Year in Recorded History.

No boots on the ground… What does it mean?

Abortion Is as Old as Pregnancy: 4,000 Years of Reproductive Rights History.

No relation: The Green brothers explain January 1 and Oregon “militia”, the latter before the recent arrests.

Fiscal Woes Drowning Clearwater: Iconic Festival May be Scrapped.

I saw this moving piece (90 seconds) on CBS Sunday Morning: The Man and the Dog.

The decline of play in preschoolers — and the rise in sensory issues. Conversely, Recess four times a day is good for learning.

Now I Know: Behold the Power of Cheese and One of These Things Just Isn’t the Same (about twins).

WHATEVER happened to the laptop computer? (1985).

Rejection: A Wilderness Guide for Writers (Evanier) and Jaquandor.

Sharp Little Pencil: Bright Brit (For Alan Rickman).

Frank S. Robinson: Joe Krausman, Monkeyshines, and heightism. Joe writes on Facebook: “Carlos Rommulo, once president of the General Assembly of the UN, was very short. He went to Texas, and when asked how do you feel being short among so many tall men, he said, ‘I feel like a dime among nickels.'”

Watch Bill Nye Weigh In on ‘Star Wars’ vs. ‘Star Trek’ Debate.

Yankees without number (1.9999…).

Dustbury’s Six Degrees of Separation.

Tweets from Gettysburg.

The strange life of Q-tips, the most bizarre thing people buy.

Don’t believe that splashy finding that 10 percent of college graduates think Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court.

A Venezuelan beetle named for SUNY chancellor.

Celebrity anagram illustrations from illustrator Steve Rampton and Decluttr.com.

RIP, Abe Vigoda

Mark Evanier, and Abe Vigoda’s Dead (Premortem Mix).

The Godfather – Tessio is taken away to be killed.

The graphic above is from here.


3-day winning streak on ‘Jeopardy’. Not only is Amelia Hershberger from Albany, NY, reason enough to root for her, she attended Greenville Central School (as did my wife), she graduated from SUNY Albany (as did both my wife and I, albeit us in grad school), and she was a political science major (as was I).

Final ‘Jeopardy!’ clue stumps all 3 contestants, who all bet everything. The two people tied for first bet rationally; the woman in a distant 3rd could have bet nothing, or $5,999, or anything in between, and won. (Some really uninformed comments here.) BTW, would you have gotten the Final? I did, but I am of a certain age.

This has passed, but ‘Jeopardy!’ hopefuls can try out online features quotes yours truly.


I was looking through my draft posts. From 2008, and the original source is lost to me:

And to that end: IllumiBowl is a night light for your toilet.


Coverville 1109: A Tribute to David Bowie. Plus David Bowie on Extras, and SamuraiFrog has some Bowie links; he’s right re: Kayne.

Renaissance Geek: Music for MLK Day.

Chuck Miller: Shane Howard and Lawrence Welk.

Of course, you can do mashups of classical music.

Muppets: She Loves You.

I linked to this before, as part of the Kennedy Center Honors, but it’s Aretha, FCOL.

HuffPo: A Shade of Jade: Interview With Rebecca Jade. That would be niece #1.

In Defense of the Eagles, and Not Being a Jerk About Recently Deceased Musicians.

Old music is outselling new music for the first time in history.

Google alerts (me)

Shooting Parrots: Sunday round-up and The Art of a Scammer.

Chuck Miller: Where rejection is growth.

Google alerts (not me)

Top teams win as Hucknall Wednesday Pool League heads for a tight finish. “Station B’s winners in their 8-0 romp at home to Chequers were George Roy, David Butler, Jason Smith, Danny Butler, Roger Green and PJ Singh on singles and the pairings of Andrea and Roger Green and Danny Butler and Jason Smith.”

Regional journalist turned TV wrestler dies aged 76. “Tributes have been paid to Roger Green…, who started out at the Portsmouth Evening News before working simultaneously Fleet Street and as a grappler in the ring.”

Music Throwback Saturday: songs from The Beatles album Please Please Me

Musically, John admitted it was his attempt at “sort of Motown, black thing.”

PleasePleaseMeMy love for the Beatles is quite substantial, as most people who know me can tell. Here’s an article about how they influenced many other artists, and there are plenty more examples.

But they too were influenced by other musicians. I was reading Steve Turner’s “The Beatles: A Hard Day’s Write,” subtitled “the stories behind every song.” Fairly often, the members of the group are quoted as having been inspired by a piece for their own creations. So I thought I’d put some of their songs, from the Please Please Me album, and related singles, up against the source material, with links to all.

I Saw Her Standing There”:

Paul explained…the bass riff was stolen from Chuck Berry’s 1961 song ‘I’m Talking About You’. “I played exactly the same notes and it fitted our number perfectly. Even now when I tell people about it, I find few of them believe me. Therefore, I maintain that a bass riff doesn’t have to be original.”

I’m listening for it, and I barely can hear it.


The ‘la-la-la-la-la’ outro appears to allude to Pat Boone’s ‘Speedy Gonzalez’, a single that entered the British charts in July 1962 and didn’t leave until October.

Even as a kid, I HATED Speedy Gonzales as a terrible stereotype.

Please Please Me:

The song’s… chorus having been suggested by the 1932 Bing Crosby song ‘Please’, written by Leo Robin and Ralph Rainger, which starts off by playing with the homophones ‘pleas’ and ‘please’.

Love Me Do:

During 1962, the American star Bruce Channel had enjoyed a British hit with ‘Hey Baby’ which featured a harmonica solo by Nashville session musician Delbert McClinton. When [John] met McClinton in June 1962…he asked him how he played it.

McClinton, who I was unfamiliar with until the late 1970s, tells his version of the story.

Do You Want To Know A Secret?:

[John’s] mother used to sing to him…’Wanna know a secret? Promise not to tell? We are standing by a wishing well’ (‘I’m Wishing’, words and music by Larry Morey and Frank Churchill)… from Walt Disney’s 1937 film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. George later revealed that the musical inspiration… came from ‘I Really Love You’, a 1961 hit for the Stereos.

George later covered I Really Love You.

There’s a Place:

Paul claimed the title was derived from the West Side Story song There’s a Place for Us (i.e., Somewhere) from 1957. Musically, John admitted it was his attempt at “sort of Motown, black thing.”

The Beatles, of course, covered several Motown songs, such as You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me, Money, and Please Mr. Postman.

Ask Me Why:

Reminiscent of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ 1961 song What’s So Good about Goodbye.

And, of course, Motown covered many Beatles tunes.
Bonus Beatles music: In Spite Of All The Danger

Happy birthday to Beatles fan Fred Hembeck.

Cat food

I have to feed Midnight in the back of the kitchen first.

catsI suppose I should use the fact that I have cats for greater blogging opportunities.

For the first year together, Midnight and Stormy used to fight all of the time, so this picture of them together represents a sea change. Not that they don’t fight occasionally, or, truthfully, nearly daily, but they have learned to tolerate each other.

We’re convinced that they spend a good deal of time on the dining room table, based on their insistence on trying to climb up there when we’re home. This bothers The Wife more than me, but I feign my outrage.

The cats’ mealtime is a ritual. In the morning, one of them would come up to my room, scratch on the door, or come in and talk to us. Or more correctly, me. I have to feed Midnight in the back of the kitchen first, then Stormy in the front. Invariably, after a few minutes, Midnight, though his bowl was not empty, would start eating from Stormy’s bowl, and she would walk away.

When they go down to the basement, or up to the attic, we used to be able to wrangle the felines by shaking a bag of cat treats. This still works on Midnight, but Stormy is no longer lured by them. OK, so she stays up there/down there until she gets bored, or, more likely, hungry.

LISTEN to Cat Food – King Crimson.

Movie review: The Danish Girl

Eddie Redmayne got his second Academy Awards nomination in a row,

danishgirlThe Danish Girl has nothing to do with a young woman selling pastry. It’s about a “fictitious love story loosely inspired by the lives of Danish artists.” Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) is a successful painter, but his wife Gerda (Alicia Vikander) less so. Still, they seem a happy couple, though trying unsuccessfully to have a baby.

Then they are required to go to a potential party. In order to make it more interesting, Einar dressed as a woman, with the aid and encouragement of Gerda. The woman, dubbed Lili Elbe, Einar’s “cousin”, was having a great deal of fun.

Moreover, Gerda’s pictures of Lili start selling like none of her previous paintings did. So the couple’s relationship gets tested and transformed.
Do you know how it takes a while for you to get into the storyline of the movie? This was certainly true of me watching The Danish Girl. The acting is quite fine, especially the leads. Vikander, in some ways, had the more difficult role, reacting to the changing relationship, and deserves her Golden Globe and Oscar nominations. (She was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Ex Machina this season.)

Redmayne, getting his second Academy Awards nomination in a row, was perhaps not as compelling as he was in last year’s The Theory of Everything, for which he won playing Stephen Hawking. Partly, I didn’t quite buy that he convinced other people into thinking he was a woman.

Also very good were art-dealer Hans Axgil (Matthias Schoenaerts), and friend Ulna (Amber Heard).

The Danish Girl deals with a real, important issue. It’s Lili, trapped in the wrong body, in a period, the 1920s, when gender misassignment was even less understood than it is now. The Wife and I saw this at the Spectrum on the Martin Luther King holiday, and somehow, thinking back, that was appropriate.

I did enjoy the film and was glad that I saw it. Yet there was a certain arms-length quality to it. Perhaps the story was a tad overlong and unfocused and stagy, and the music was overmuch. But it felt just a little as though I were watching something that is supposed to be something Oscar-worthy.

Still, I got a little weepy in the last scene, so there’s that. And I wasn’t really all that aware of most of the film’s flaws while I was watching it, only in retrospect.

Trumped, again

Seriously, I try to ignore the phenomenon that is Donald Trump. But I profess weakness; I am only human.

A friend posted the pic above, with a caption “From Robert Crumb’s strip in HUP comix from 10 or 15 years ago.” But a cursory search reveals that HUP comix #3 was actually from 1989, “featured his take on the ugliness of America (Donald Trump).”

This means that at least some folks realized the toxicity of one DJT over a quarter century ago.

And his father was equally reviled: Woody Guthrie, ‘Old Man Trump’ and a real estate empire’s racist foundations, and Woody Guthrie Loathed His Racist Landlord: Donald Trump’s Father.

nydn-palin-trumpThe New York Daily News has been doing a series of front pages mocking the Donald, and to a lesser extent, Ted Cruz. Audiences are entertained, and the points I tend to agree with, for the most part. The endorsement of Trump by former Alaska governor Sarah Palin was odd theater.

See also the cartoon of Trump beheading the Statue of Liberty But is it journalism? I’d say not as I understand it.

Conservatives against Trump. If he IS the Republican nominee for President, know that the Clinton and Sanders campaigns have bookmarked this piece. Of course, National Review was booted from co-sponsoring the February 25 GOP debate for putting this out.

The Week says Donald Trump is hypnotizing the GOP. Literally. THAT would explain things, such as retweeting a white nationalist, with minimal consequence. Is it true, as he posits, that he could shoot somebody and not lose voters?

I’m now convinced that Donald J. Trump could be elected President this year, especially after reading Ruth Marcus on how much more dangerous Cruz is than Trump, an argument I hear by others. President Trump would cut deals, Cruz would not.

To Dustbury’s everlasting horror:
1. There exists Donald Trump fanfiction.
2. There exists sexually explicit Donald Trump fanfiction.

Man’s obituary: ‘In lieu of flowers, please do not vote for Donald Trump’.

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