May rambling #2: Blind In Your Mind

Since when did Christianity become more about preaching the rules than preaching the Gospel of mercy?

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A sad case of Facebook blackmail.

“Dude, enough with the entitlement.” She doesn’t owe you @#$!”.

Women are getting harassed in bathrooms because of anti-transgender hysteria. Plus Utah man attacked for taking his 5-year-old daughter into Walmart men’s bathroom. I have taken my then-5 y.o. daughter to a Wal-Mart men’s bathroom, in North Carolina, without incident.

Obituary of a Homophobic Racist, or, My Grandfather.

Killing Dylann Roof. “A year after Obama saluted the families for their spirit of forgiveness, his administration seeks the death penalty for the Charleston shooter.”

Why should schools move away from suspensions?

Poor People Deserve To Taste Something Other Than Shame.

The Election Is About the Country, Not the Candidates

Cartoon: Cut from commencement speeches.

The End Of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 Campaign.

What third parties CAN do.

John Oliver: Primaries and Caucuses.

R.I.P. Pinius Bergmann (1925-2016).

Aphantasia: How It Feels To Be Blind In Your Mind.

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Book review: Stardancer by Kelly Sedinger.

Alicia: As I’m leaving the library today, I walked by a pile of new books and literally said out loud to myself, “No, I already have enough at home to read right now.”
Roger: The question: What did the books say in response?
Alicia: It was more of a quiet weeping.

On the heartbreaking difficulty of getting rid of books.

Neither Rand nor McNally. Death by GPS.

This month in 1856: Violence on the U.S. Senate floor.

Three-minute video about the Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region, produced by the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.

The Trouble with Comics: the epic Question Time survey of the best current comics titles.

Now I Know: Combat Juggling and The Land Down Under in the Land Down Under and And Together They’ll Make Music.

True Facts About The Owl.

Sodium.

TELEVISION

60 Minutes, the Sunday night news staple, honored Morley Safer, one of television’s most celebrated journalists. Then, days later, Safer died at 84. From the New York Times: “Mr. Safer had broadcast 919 “60 Minutes” reports, profiling international heroes and villains, exposing scams and corruption, giving voice to whistle-blowers and chronicling the trends of an ever-changing America.”

Alan Young, RIP, star of Duck Tales, and, of course, Mr. Ed. But, of course, of course, some are unhip to the lingo.

Beth Howland, Accident-Prone Waitress Vera From the Sitcom ‘Alice,’ Dies at 74, on New Years’ Eve 2015. Her husband was the actor Charles Kimbrough, who played the anchorman Jim Dial on the television series ‘Murphy Brown.’

Muppets TV show, RIP.

David Letterman – Behind The Scenes Of Late Night’s Longest Running Broadcaster and Leaving Letterman, Part I.

The closing of Johnny Carson’s last Tonight Show.

I disagree broadly, but as for these three: Celebrities Should Not Play Jeopardy. Plus Buzzy Cohen Might Be The Most Polarizing ‘Jeopardy!’ Contestant Yet.

MUSIC

What Kind of Fool Am I? – Kermit the Frog. And Grover.

CREAM – The Last Goodbye (1968).

Coverville 1126: Bob Dylan Cover Story VII.

Debunking Every Excuse For Keeping The Monkees Out Of The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, plus a positive review of their NEW album. Here’s Me & Magdalena, which was written for the band by Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard.

First Listen: Paul Simon, ‘Stranger To Stranger’, due out June 3.

The fight over Prince’s estate will dig deep into copyright law for a very long time.

Lady Gaga and the Online Eucharist Police. Since when did Christianity become more about preaching the rules than preaching the Gospel of mercy?

Community Service

Civil Works Administration improved roads, constructed bridges, upgraded airports and repaired pipelines.

“Musing”, in Rogerspeak, means that I have some idea, but nothing nailed down yet.

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I spent part of Mother’s Day musing over this kernel of a thought. It was fed by the dire needs of this country, plus noticing that an increasing number of students are taking a “gap year, either right after high school or during their college years.

Also, there’s a bill in Congress that would require women to sign up for the military draft. Yet, it seemed unfortunate that the only area that seems of value culturally in the United States is military service.

So why not have some sort of community service? Perhaps it’d be fashioned, in part, on some of those programs in the 1930s during the Great Depression under Franklin Delano Roosevelt. .

The goal of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was to preserve the country’s natural resources. This meant working in the parks and forests performing tasks such as “planting trees, building flood barriers, fighting fires, and maintaining roads and trails.” It seems that fires and floods have become ubiquitous each season, stretching local resources thin.

The Civil Works Administration (CWA) improved roads, constructed bridges, upgraded airports, and restored pipelines. EVERY SINGLE ONE of those tasks is needed. The aging infrastructure is in dire need. External security at airports needs to be built up. And Flint, Michigan is hardly the only place that needs pipes replaced.

Perhaps more assistants to teachers could be found, more arts and music, as well as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Older people given companions – I’m sure there’s more.

And surely it should include support for the tragedy that there are homeless veterans. There are models n the country – in Utah, for instance – of alleviating this problem by providing housing for all, not just more dignified but much CHEAPER than leaving them on the streets, without access to proper medical care and benefits. It could be a source of employment for them as well.

Yes, as Jon Stewart alludes to, having a public service component might add to that sense of the collective. It feels that many of us are in our little electronic pods.

Any thoughts on other projects and how this all might work? I know some will say we cannot afford it. We also cannot afford bridge collapses and levees being breached, homeless warriors, and overtested yet undereducated children.

“Memorial Day should be a day for putting flowers on graves and planting trees. Also, for destroying the weapons of death that endanger us more than they protect us, that waste our resources and threaten our children and grandchildren.” — Howard Zinn (Boston Globe, 1976)

Michael Rivest on Vietnam

U is for Uber-less Albany

Uber, and Lyft, can operate in New York City, but in upstate New York cities such as Albany, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, insurance laws make it difficult to get coverage for drivers.

An article in March 2016 appeared in the local business journal: Schenectady sauce maker, frustrated with ‘apologizing’ for Albany’s cabs, calls for Uber upstate.

“Adine Viscusi [co-owner of Casa Visco] easily takes planes, trains and Ubers to get from the airport to hotels and bodegas when she attends national trade shows. In Albany, she can barely catch a cab… Viscusi said she doesn’t normally take cabs in Albany, but a recent trip from the Amtrak station in Rensselaer has made her a vocal critic.

“‘The cab was a 25-year-old minivan with ripped seats. There was a pack of Newports and Axe in the console. The door on one side didn’t open,’ Viscusi said. ‘It was so embarrassing. To travel so seamlessly from planes, trains, Uber, and rental car. You get to Albany and it’s grinding to a halt. It’s like welcome to the 80s.'”

Another article in the same periodical: “‘It’s so embarrassing to have important people come here and have them get into a beaten-up taxi cab,'” CommerceHub CEO Frank Poore said.

“‘Not all taxi cabs are bad, but many times I have had people show up with drivers who are smoking, or who have to wait for a cab for 30 minutes, or are picking up other people along the ride.'”

Reportedly, Uber, and Lyft, can operate in New York City, but in upstate New York cities such as Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse, insurance laws make it difficult to get coverage for drivers.

“Gov. Andrew Cuomo said last year that ride-sharing companies should be regulated with a ‘statewide license.’ Legislation has yet to make it to his desk and… there’s been little to no visible progress on the issue this year.” Still, it’s believed that Legalizing Uber would save upstate lives by getting drunk drivers off the road.

There is such a pent-up demand for these services that, when blogger Chuck Miller wrote an April 1 story about Uber reaching an agreement to come to Albany, it was believed by more than a few.

While I don’t have a real need for Uber myself – I don’t have the app – I do have feelings about Albany cabs. I HATE them, for the reasons the businesspeople stated. In fact, I haven’t ridden an Albany cab in well over a decade and was surprised to discover the conditions are no better than they were last century.

I missed a wedding within Albany in 1986; I called 1.5 hours before the event, and an hour later, the cab still had not arrived. We walked – it was 87F – and got there on time for the recessional.

Of course, not everyone loves ride-sharing services. Blogger Dustbury notes the pushback by a taxicab association. And for good reason: Uber and Lyft have devastated L.A.’s taxi industry as trips plummet. “Since the ride-hailing services began operating in Southern California three years ago, the number of L.A. taxi trips arranged in advance has fallen by 42%, according to city data, and the total number of trips has plummeted by nearly a third.”

And Uber has its issues. From the Boston Globe:

“On April 21, [2016] the ride-hailing company agreed to pay up to $100 million to drivers in Massachusetts and California who’d sued over being classified as independent contractors. The settlement didn’t resolve the underlying issue, but it did include another provision that could significantly alter the experience of Uber drivers and passengers alike: The company stopped telling passengers that a tip is included with its fees.

“Instead, it’s now telling them that no tip is included or required. In practice, this means that some drivers may post signs seeking tips — but Uber is declining to build a tipping function into its app.” Uber says tipping is unfair because riders are biased.

Austin, TX no longer has Uber.

And Tucson Weekly reports, Say Goodbye to Creepy Uber Drivers, Ladies.

Chariot, the ride-sharing service, set to go live on April 19, is “driven by women, exclusively for women,” according to the app’s website. “It operates similarly to Uber or Lyft, but only women, girls and boys under 13 can request a Chariot, and all drivers are, unsurprisingly, women… This is meant to make us ride-sharing ladies feel less at risk of being violated by male Uber or Lyft drivers. Nice.”

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ABC Wednesday – Round 18

Music Throwback Saturday: songs from A Hard Day’s Night

I listened to some early Wilson Pickett , but I’m not hearing the connection at all.

HardDaysNightThe Beatles, as influential as they were on other musicians, were also influenced by their predecessors and peers. I’m rereading 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. I thought I’d put some of their songs up against the source material, with links to most.

Actually, the videos I’m having the most difficulty finding recently are those of the Beatles themselves, with several of them banned at least in the United States by some UK entity. The links I’ve used WERE working…

Anytime at All (at 16:52):

[John] later admitted [it] was a rewriting of his earlier song ‘It Won’t Be Long’, using the same chord progression from C to A minor and back, and when it came to recording, employed the same bawling vocal style.

I hear the connection. Yet the latter song is arguably better.

When I Get Home (at 23:39):

Influenced by his love of Motown and American Soul Music. Around the time it was recorded, he was asked what song he wished he had recorded…His first choice would be Marvin Gaye’s ‘Can I Get A Witness‘.

Wouldn’t we all have liked to have written that?

You Can’t Do That (at 26:00): “The musical influence, John later said, was Wilson Pickett…who had only released three singles under his own name, only one of which had been a minor hit.” I listened to some early Pickett – I Found a Love, If You Need Me, It’s Too Late – but I’m not hearing the connection at all.

Beatlesebooks confirms this:

The problem is that Wilson Pickett had not come into his own as of January of 1964 when this song was written. By that time, Wilson had only released four early singles which were 6/8 ballads far unlike anything he’s known for, such as ‘In The Midnight Hour’ and ‘Mustang Sally,’ which were much closer to what Lennon was talking about… John obviously was thinking retrospectively and originally found inspiration elsewhere, such as the R&B classics coming out of Memphis at the time. Confirmation of where the inspiration actually came from may never be known.

Memory is a peculiar thing, I’ve discovered. And John’s recollection of events in the early 1960s was taking place in 1980.

I’ll Be Back (at 28:40):

John found the chords while playing a Del Shannon song. This was probably ‘Runaway‘, which the Beatles had played in their early shows and which also starts with a minor chord and has a descending bass line.

This is so transformative that even though I was well aware of the earlier song, I never made the connection.

***

If I Fell – MonaLisa Twins

The Central Park jogger and Donald Trump

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The case of the Central Park jogger made headlines well beyond New York City in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

This photo of The Donald along with a picture of a full page advertisement was reposted on Facebook by my fellow former Binghamtonian, John Hightower. He writes that “the $85,000 worth of ads, ran in May 1989 in The New York Times, The Daily News, The New York Post and New York Newsday. The 600-word appeal, signed DONALD J. TRUMP, is titled ‘BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY. Bring Back Our Police!'” This involved a woman jogger being attacked in New York City’s Central Park a month earlier.

“FIVE juvenile males, including 4 BLACK and one HISPANIC were arrested and tried. They came to be referred to as THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE. After their 1990 trials, they received SENTENCES ranging from 5 to 15 years. They individually spent between 6 to 14 YEARS in PRISON.

“HOWEVER, 12 years later, in 2002, a person, with NO relation to the accused, a male, CONFESSED to raping the jogger. DNA EVIDENCE confirmed his involvement. If ‘MR. KNOW IT ALL-TRUMP’ had HIS way, the INNOCENT FIVE would have been EXECUTED. The convictions against the Central Park Five were vacated, and they have SUED the City and the State. So far they have received about $40 million, and additional legal settlement is being sought.”

PLUS

The mind of Donald Trump. Narcissism, disagreeableness, grandiosity — a psychologist investigates how Trump’s extraordinary personality might shape his possible presidency.

Why D.C.’s think tanks can’t figure out Trump.

The Nazi Tweets of ‘Trump God Emperor’.

There will be a motion picture based on sexually explicit Donald Trump fanfiction.

Tom the Dancing Bug: Donald and John, a Boy and His Imaginary Publicist.