July rambling #2: Let The Sunshine In

The Most Boring Day of the Last Century


A Real Pro-Police Agenda is Liberal and A Black Republican Tackles The Police ‘Trust Gap’

Why I Don’t Talk About Race With White People

How Abigail Adams Proves Bill O’Reilly Wrong About Slavery

Presbyterian Church USA Joins Growing List of Denominations Repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery – It also voted to develop recommendations of how Presbyterian congregations “can support Native Americans in their ongoing efforts for sovereignty and fundamental human rights”

NAACP calls for national moratorium on charter schools

The Sewage Still Spills. The Park South neighborhood in Albany still dumps raw sewage into the Hudson River

Journalist Jeff Sharlet on What’s Wrong (and Right) With the Media

The 7 biggest problems facing science, according to 270 scientists

SamuraiFrog is 40 and had been having a difficult time with the medical bureaucracy. So Jaquandor suggested some natal day music

The writing process: Levine and Isaacs and Sedinger

MAD magazine’s Jack Davis, R.I.P. and more on Jack

I participated in TWC Question Time #47: Do you find creator controversies make you more or less interested in comics by those creators?

What Calvin and Hobbes taught me about mindfulness

Old photos and other miscellany

Walter Cronkite Apollo 11 Interview with Robert A. Heinlein & Arthur C. Clarke

Alan Moore is the best author in human history

Star Wars book review

Legally Blonde – Feminist Review and Analysis

TV shows made special television commercials to represent the products of their sponsors

Bummer: Sesame Street’ Lets Go Longtime Cast Members Bob, Gordon and Luis

Comedians in cars getting coffee: John Oliver

Now I Know: Calling Dar Bizziebee and The Key to Seceding and Buds But Not Buddies and The Most Boring Day of the Last Century

Sunshine bloggers fillyjonk and Chuck Miller

Is it Mary or Sue? and Hominy and understanding


Elephants and Donkeys

Weekly Sift: The Big Lie in Trump’s Speech and You Have to Laugh

Understanding Trump

Inside the scramble to oust Debbie Wasserman Schultz. “Aides to President Barack Obama urged him to get rid of the troublesome DNC chair last fall. He passed, figuring she was Hillary Clinton’s problem to solve”

Tim Kaine on Abortion

The Houston Chronicle endorses Hillary Clinton, already

Oldest Presidents inaugurated
73 Reagan (II) 1985 Colon cancer, benign prostatic enlargement, dementia (?)
69 Reagan (I) 1981 Life-threatening hemorrhage after gunshot to chest
68 Harrison, W 1841 Died of pneumonia after one month in office.
66 Eisenhower (II) 1957 Stroke, despite taking anti-coagulant medication.
66 Jackson (II) 1833
Reagan turned 70 on February 6, 1981; Donald Trump turned 70 on June 14, 2016; Hillary Clinton turns 69 on October 26, 2016


Marni Nixon, Singing Voice Behind WEST SIDE STORY, THE KING AND I & More, Dies at 86 – I wrote about her last year HERE

Say hello — and then say goodbye — to Qandeel Baloch, twenty-six

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Campaign Songs

Ciara – Paint It, Black (The Last Witch Hunter Soundtrack)

Rossini’s Overture to William Tell

HOFFMAN FILES: Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer

Coverville 1133: The Linda Ronstadt cover story; and Coverville 1135: Cover Stories for Buddy Guy, Louis Armstrong, and Paul Anka

Michelle Obama & Missy Elliott Do Carpool Karaoke With James Corden

Harry Chapin – What Made America Famous (Soundstage)

A Chorus Hamilton Line

Late 1969: Let the Sunshine In featuring these people and these people and the cast of HAIR. Those scheduled but did not show included Muhammad Ali, Julian Bond, Dick Gregory, John Lindsay and Sidney Poitier

Music Throwback Saturday: Beatles for Sale songs

The two-timed character in the Beatles’ song was more tame than the earlier character.

BeatlesforsaleTo American album collectors of the 1960s, Beatles for Sale was an odd duck. Unlike other albums, it neither shares the name of an American collection or primarily matches up with any US release. It became the basis of both Beatles ’65 and Beatles VI, as usual by adding a non-album single, such as I Feel Fine/She’s A Woman.

And note the weariness on their faces, a function, it is believed, of constantly touring, making records or appearing in films.

This continues my reflection of Steve Turner’s “The Beatles: A Hard Day’s Write,” subtitled “the stories behind every song.” Sometimes, the Beatles were as much influenced as influencers. Links to all songs.
I Feel Fine:

It was obviously inspired by Bobby Parker’s riff on his 1961 track ‘Watch Your Step‘.

I’m A Loser:

[Early in 1964] After hearing Freewheeling, which was Dylan’s second album, they went out and bought his debut album Bob Dylan, and according to John…we all when potty on Dylan.

Here’s Bob Dylan’s Dream from Freewheelin’.
Dylan also inspired the thoughtful lyric on You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away, from Help!

No Reply:

It was based, John said, on ‘Silhouettes‘, a big hit in 1957 for the Rays…His repetition of the line “I saw the light’…could possibly be an illusion to Hank Williams’ song of personal salvation ‘I Saw the Light‘ (1948).

Interesting that the two-timed character in the Beatles’ song was tamer than the earlier character in Silhouettes, who threatens to smash her door down.

I received for Christmas, Reading the Beatles: Cultural Studies, Literary Criticism and the Fab Four, edited by Kenneth Womack and Todd F. Davis. The first article, by Ian Marshall, talks about the Beatles archetypes Ringo the goofball, George the quiet spiritual one, John the intellectual activist, and Paul the cute, melodious one. Marshall posits that those distinct personality types” account for some of the enduring appeal of Beatlesmusic.”


Paul McCartney weaves in new bits amidst familiar tunes at Fenway Park July 17

Pure McCartney: Early Days – which should segue into other videos

George Harrison estate slams Trump: Don’t use ‘Here Comes The Sun’— try ‘Beware of Darkness’

The First Trailer for Ron Howard’s Beatles Doc Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years

15 Rare, Behind-the-Scenes Photos of the Beatles

Guitarist Randy Bachman: Demystifying the opening chord of “A Hard Day’s Night”

How I (fictionally) met someone: “I was attending a meeting of the I Hate The Beatles Club, and you walked in and dragged me out by the collar without saying a word. Seemed odd at the time…”

Drinks at the Gadang Sports Bar

Google Eight Days A Week


Why people hate politics

vote-button-3I was a political science major at the State University of New York at New Paltz in the 1970s, a fairly yeasty time of Vietnam, Watergate (I watched the hearings voraciously), and the first President (Gerald Ford) selected through the 25th Amendment, after Vice President Spiro Agnew, and later President Richard Nixon, left office.

I remember the sharp partisan divide. Yet I recall a strong sense of duty to the country, being greater than a duty to party, taking place, as the Republican members of the Senate committee investigating the break-in, and the House committee that was considering the impeachment of a Republican President, resolutely, though not without anguish.

The political climate in the United States in 2016 is awful. I understand why people hate politics and decide to ignore politics altogether.

These are things I believe about the current season:

The Hillary Clinton supporters who have been nagging the Bernie Sanders supporters to “get in line,” to give up the quest, were wrong. I’ve been saying for MONTHS to leave them alone, respect their views. Bernie has been signaling, for WEEKS, that he would eventually back Hillary Clinton.

But he was waiting. Waiting to get concessions on the Democratic party platform. He had what is called LEVERAGE. You do not give away leverage for “the sake of party unity,” but rather exploit it. What Bernie did was, frankly, brilliant.

Sarah Silverman telling Bernie supporters Monday night that they were “ridiculous” for continuing to support the Vermont senator was demeaning and unhelpful.

Likewise, those Bernie folks who screamed “WE trusted you” repeatedly at Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA) during her address Monday night, as though they were demanding some sort of ideological purity, were extremely rude.

I appreciate the debate about Who Should Bernie Voters Support Now? Robert Reich vs. Chris Hedges on Tackling the Neoliberal Order. One can disagree without being disagreeable, as my mother used to say.

I stole this from Elaine Lee on Facebook: “A primary campaign season is like a nasty divorce negotiation. Each side builds its case against the other, in an effort to paint the other as evil, in hopes of winning the house. Also like a divorce negotiation? It’s most important to think about the future of the kids.”

The Democrats were right to get rid of the party head Debbie Wasserman Schultz over bias toward Hillary. No, she’s not getting a cushy job with the Clinton campaign, but the optics, with novice supporters unfamiliar with the nomenclature, could have been a LOT better.

She’s referred to as Hillary because there was a previous President Clinton. I’m not feeling the sexism here. Her signs have a big H, not a big C.

The Democratic convention, for me, was easier to watch than the Republican one last week. The GOP version was a dystopian version of America that was, frankly, exhausting. I avoided watching the Hunger Games movies for a reason.

Voting for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, or Jill Stein, the Green Party standard-bearer, or writing in Bernie, or voting for no one, is NOT voting for Donald Trump. I so wish my Clinton friends would STOP SAYING THIS. It convinces no one, because it’s bad math. If there are 100 people, and 50 of them voted for Trump, and 50 of them voted for Clinton, if the 101st person votes for Stein, Trump and Clinton still each have 50 votes. The ASSUMPTION is that vote would otherwise go to Clinton, when there is no evidence of that.
After supporting Bernie Sanders in the primary, I am voting for Hillary Clinton in the general election, for several reasons, some having to do with my deep fear of a Donald Trump Presidency, but others having to do with the positive attributes laid out by Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, among others. Plus this cartoon. It helps – a lot – that Bernie requested that his supporters do so.

That said, I strongly favor people voting. Even for Trump, Lord help us. Or vote for Johnson or Stein. As I’ve noted, I fear a write-in vote would be less effective because state laws vary in how much they are counted.

But I VIGOROUSLY oppose people not voting at all. If you know the history of this country, and how difficult it has been for black people, and women, to exercise the franchise, you bring shame to America by staying home. (I could have soft-pedaled that a little… nah.)

I freely admit I don’t “get” Donald Trump’s appeal. At all. He appears, to me, singularly unfit for office, as historians such as David McCullough have indicated.

And he invited the Russians to hack into a former secretary of state’s email to help him win an election?

However, I do not believe that anyone who supports Donald Trump is necessarily a racist, or stupid, or whatever. I was, accidentally, the conduit, of such an attack, on my Facebook feed, with someone I know personally bashing the husband of a friend of mine. There were 17 or so comments back and forth, and frankly, I stopped looking.

Ad hominem attacks win over no one except those already inclined to believe that point of view. Fighting on FB about politics is the logical equivalent of eating glass. Maybe a little won’t tear your insides out, but I’m not looking to discover the threshold.

This is especially an issue because social media is the place most likely to view calumny, an offense against the truth, in the political discourse. “We become guilty of this offense against the truth when by remarks contrary to the truth, we harm the reputation of others and give occasion for false judgments concerning them.”

Anyway, there it is. I expect a lot of, “Well, I agree with some of what you say, except…”

P.S. Here is a 1992 cartoon by Paul Mavrides, which initially appeared in Heavy Metal magazine. It’s annoyingly accurate, still. Used with permission.


Vacation 2016

yes, we get milk delivered

map.nyOne of several posts.

The great thing about going on vacation is having plenty of things to blog about. The tough thing about being on the road is that there’s no time to write about it. Part of the problem is that the three of us are in one room, and I’m trying not to wake them up.

This first post will be about traveling, in broad strokes, from July 10-19. Vacation 2016 may be the first time I took off more than a week from work since 1998, save for my parents’ deaths. Later, I’ll be describing some of our various stops.

One of the rules of the road for our household is that we try to minimize announcing that we’ll be away, in this case, for over a week. Obviously, I had to take off from work. And one of my work folks engaged me to do a week’s worth of tunes on Facebook; I got ONE post done.

And we had our cat sitter. Given the quirkiness of our felines, it is a miracle we’ve found someone they would accept coming into our house without us. Maxine is also watering the plants, and bringing in the newspapers.

We canceled the milk delivery – yes, we get milk delivered – and the mail held, but keeping some semblance of the house appearing to be lived in is a big deal. I make no mention on social media, no “Hey, I’m in Cleveland!” I suppose this means that I’m old, but my (younger) wife insists on it, and I totally agree with her.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been involved with over 100 moves, including about 30 of my own, but I’m really good at packing the trunk of the car. This was a particularly tricky maneuver. Not only did we have clothing for five days, with the intention of washing them en route before we ran out of clean apparel, but we had the large bin with the accouterments for the Olin Family Reunion near Binghamton, NY.

For the last several years, the Olins, my mother-in-law’s people, who trace their roots to the 17th century or earlier had been meeting at Grippen Park in Endicott. But because of the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open, a PGA-sanctioned golf tournament which USED to be in August.

So, as the outgoing President of the NY-PA Olin reunion, I had to move the event to Roundtop Park. It’s a mere mile away as the crow flies, from Grippen, but you can’t get there by any direct route. Moreover, it’s hilly, and the demographics of reunion participants tend to be… grayer, let’s say. And the LAST time we had an event there, c. 2011, someone passed out from the heat and we had to call an ambulance. But it turned out fine, with me relinquishing my title as president.

After that we were on the road, W to Painted Post, NY near Corning (1 night), W to Salamanca, NY, on the way to Jamestown (1 night), W then south to Richfield, OH, between Canton and Cleveland (3 nights), NE to Austinburg, OH, near Ashtabula, OH (2 nights), NE to Geneseo, NY, near Letchworth State Park (1 night), E to Waterloo, NY, near Seneca Falls and Auburn (1 night) and WNW back to Albany. And except for 1300 miles over 10 days, 9 nights.

The Wife saw on some TV show that having breakfast included in the hotel package would be both a time and money-saving exercise, and all but the last place we stayed fit that model. The Salamanca Holiday Inn Express, which is near the casino, was the best breakfast. You can tell when the hostess, or whatever her title was, takes pride in her work. Some others were OK; one had a beleaguered woman one step behind the crowd, or maybe she was just overworked.

We came across some charming places to eat, such as The Jellybean: The Restaurant, in Painted Post, though the ice cream place around the corner was disappointing because of a peanut allergy warning for the whole menu.

On the other hand, avoid Burger King in Salamanca. It’s attached to a gas station but also a cigar shop, which the adjoining BK smells like.

THE most disappointing venue had to be the Ramada near Ashtabula. It is a very long two-story building with no elevator. The continental breakfast was sparse on day 1, and they hadn’t even replaced the butter for toast and bagels on day 2. The mold in the ice bucket was sufficiently icky.

I’m sure other details will creep in as I describe the various places we visited.

The Health Report, July 2016

bronchitisAt the end of the school year in late June, the Daughter was very lethargic. It wasn’t some sort of short-timer’s syndrome, but rather some unidentified malady. One Friday evening, the three of us went to the Urgent Care place.

The Daughter was going to get tested for strep throat, which she understandably hates; the gag reflex is a powerful reaction. Now, I’d been having a scratchy throat for a couple of weeks, but I was otherwise asymptomatic. Still, I became a patient too.

Well, the Daughter did NOT have strep throat. But I DID. She took some odd pleasure in this finding. I did the ten-day antibiotic regimen that ended shortly before our vacation. I felt reasonably well on the trip, though sleeping in unfamiliar beds sometimes makes it difficult to sleep through the night.

I get back from vacation, actually on the last leg of the trip, from Auburn to Albany, and my throat’s scratchy, maybe from too much air conditioning. But going back to work on Wednesday and Thursday, I also developed an uncontrollable cough. And I just felt washed out.

I stayed home sick from Friday with a fever of around 100F, and alternatingly feeling chills and overly warm. (One hates to take sick time right after vacation.) And after a particularly awful Friday night waking to a coughing jag every two hours – so I’m now EXHAUSTED, as well – The Wife drags me to the Urgent Care place for the second time in a month.

Good news – I don’t have strep throat again. The bad news is that I have – well, let’s check in with JEOPARDY from Monday, July 11, the last episode I watched before I became so loopy that I lost the DVR remote for days.

The category is THAT’S B_S!, where each correct response will begin with a “B” and end with an “S”: “This inflammation of the air passages in the lungs causes an increase of mucus production.”

Can you say, What is bronchitis?

The Wife took the Daughter swimming so that I could rest Saturday afternoon. I missed church Sunday plus a production of Chicago at the Mac-Haydn Theatre. I want to see some movie, notably Ghostbusters, but don’t want to hack my way through a film disturbing the audience.

Grr. I get back to town and I have no energy; this was really aggravating.

My throat is constantly sore, as though someone’s fist is there. I’ve decided that there are foods that are easier to consume:
Scrambled eggs: GOOD!
Yogurt: GOOD!
Toast: BAD!
Strawberry milkshake, Good, but that real strawberry that went through the straw I better chew about 30 times.

Bedtime is the WORST, because the coughing hackathon tends to start in the evening, after a busy day of sitting on the sofa, lying on the sofa, getting dressed (maybe), eating cautiously, drinking a lot (non-alcoholic, alas), watching other people’s Facebook fights.

I want to blog and have plenty to write about. I’m burning through my pre-posted stuff rapidly. If my July 31 post – which looks at things others have written – is unusually short, you’ll know why.

But I’m in a fog, mostly out of sheer exhaustion. I said to The Wife on Saturday, “If I feel better, maybe I’ll go to the movies on Monday,” one minute after she said, “That movie theater is closed on Mondays,” which I knew in my right mind anyway.

So if I haven’t commented on your blog, ABC Wednesday people, and others, I will eventually. If I haven’t commented on your Facebook, and you didn’t tag me, it’s more likely than not that I didn’t see it, going back to the beginning of vacation on July 10.

I think I’ll take a nap now. Then again, probably not: too tired to nap.

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