August rambling #2: how ridiculous xenophobia is

Will Your Prescription Meds Be Covered Next Year? Better Check!

Syrian children

It’s not just Freddie Gray. The Justice Department’s new report shows how wide and deep Baltimore’s police problems are

My four months as a private prison guard, which has led to the US phasing out private prison use

US: The Real Way the 2016 Election Is Rigged

Joseph Goebbels’ 105-year-old secretary: ‘No one believes me now, but I knew nothing’ – she said, Nothing!

Germany finally apologizes for its other genocide—more than a century later

Does Henry Kissinger have a conscience?

At what point is it impossible to separate art from the artist? (Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation)

Tote bag proves how ridiculous xenophobia is

“Christian” groups are handing out these creepy ‘gay cure’ comics to children

If your pastor says “RACISM ISN’T A SKIN PROBLEM, IT’S A SIN PROBLEM” you need to find another church

Pew Research: Choosing a New Church or House of Worship; Americans look for good sermons, warm welcome

In today’s troubling times, where are our faith leaders? But Even Reinhold Niebuhr could not be Reinhold Niebuhr in 2016


Michael Rivest: The Wall That Heals

Cartoon: The future of climate denial

174 Heroin Overdoses in Six Days in Cincinnati

NPR is closing its comments section – can’t blame them

Flat earth Theories

When New Parents Refuse Vitamin K Shots And Their Babies Get Brain Bleeds

Race and poverty

America’s wealth gap is split along racial lines — and it’s getting dangerously wider

Affluent and Black, and Still Trapped by Segregation

The Original Underclass; Poor white Americans’ current crisis shouldn’t have caught the rest of the country as off guard as it has

‘Hillbilly Elegy’ Recalls A Childhood Where Poverty Was ‘The Family Tradition’

Michele Bachmann: “White People Have Suffered More In The Last 8 Years Than Blacks Did During Couple Years Of Slavery”

Why Poor People Stay Poor -Saving money costs money. Period.

Auto Lending: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Will Your Prescription Meds Be Covered Next Year? Better Check!

The culture of the smug white liberal

What I said when my white friend asked for my black opinion of white privilege

A C-SPAN caller asked a black guest how to stop being prejudiced; Here’s how she responded

The infamous Stop White Genocide video

Lottery of Indencency

Arthur’s Internet wading

When Elite Parents Dominate Volunteers, Children Lose

Thurgood Marshall’s interracial love: ‘I don’t care what people think. I’m marrying you.’

Dashcam Video Captures Highway Pileup, Woman Rescued from Burning Car in Binghamton, NY

Larry Wilmore on the End of The Nightly Show and the Show’s Greatest Legacy

Arthur@NZ is getting better and his hospital bill; damn Kiwis!

Dustbury goes grocery shopping 2.0

At my alma mater at SUNY New Paltz, College mourns death of emeritus biology professor Heinz Meng, known for recovery of peregrine falcon – he was very cool

The only movies I’ve seen with Gene Wilder are The Producers, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask, Silver Streak, Stir Crazy, and one of my favorite movies ever, Young Frankenstein, which he co-wrote. They were all released between 1967 and 1980. But he was always excellent then and in a couple of episodes of Will and Grace early this century. Gene Wilder on The Truth | Blank on Blank | PBS Digital Studios, plus Evanier and Tom Straw remember.

Steven Hill, D.A. Adam Schiff on ‘Law & Order,’ Dies at 94

A Marvin Kaplan story

Jack Riley, RIP

‘I’ve had a good life’: Donna Wold, the ex-flame who inspired the Little Red-Haired Girl in ‘Peanuts,’ dies

Your Guide to the Fall Broadway Season

50 things about comics, featuring ME

The 10 most Influential Poets in History

Art is about surrender – Stop asking for it to be custom-tailored

Chuck Miller at the State Fair and Don Rittner at the county fair, and Jaquandor at the county fair

Now I Know: David’s Garden and Horse, Off-Course

Ken Levine HATES Robert Hall

The Casual Sex Project


Harmonica legend Toots Thielemans, Known for ‘Sesame Street’ Theme, Dies at 94 and The Getaway – End credits – Quincy Jones – Toots; more Quincy and Toots; John Barry, Toots – Theme from “Midnight Cowboy” (mostly stolen from Steve Bissette’s Facebook)

U2 Live Albany New York – 13 November 1981

John Denver, Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash & Roger Miller – Rocky Top

Herb Alpert Foundation to donate $10.1 million to Los Angeles City College — making studies for music majors tuition-free

It’s only rock ‘n’ roll – and sometimes it’s better in mono

35 Years Ago: Violent Femmes Discovered by the Pretenders While Busking in Milwaukee

H is for handy

Reading the manual is seldom useful.

handyI am not what you would call handy. The old saying “Measure twice, cut once” was invented with me in mind, and yet that piece of wood is STILL too long, or worse, too short.

It’s not that I’m not curious about things work. When I was 10 or so, I took apart the deadbolt on our door at home, trying to figure out how it worked. Unfortunately, I never figured out how to put it back together properly, and we had to engage the services of a locksmith.

I tried the Cub Scouts when I was eight, but they were always requiring specific knots, and I quit that in a year. Speaking of knots, I couldn’t master tying my shoes until I was nine, and wore penny loafers until then.

“Righty tighty, lefty loosey.” Need it almost every time.

I attempted to learn to play the piano when I was 12, but it wasn’t meant to be, despite hours of practice. Meanwhile, my sister learned to play guitar in a month, something I could never master either, despite the fact that my dad played.

My father did a lot of floral arrangements, for weddings and cotillions, and the like. He often brought Leslie and me along. She had a great artistic eye, and I was good at schlepping things.

I always appreciated seeing art, but creating art was another thing altogether. Once my 7th-grade art teacher gave me a B in some now-forgotten project, and my father asked her why the grade was so high. She said that it was my best effort based on my ability.

Junior high required going to what they called shop, where I could build ill-constructed wood items, and blow up pottery in the kiln. But I actually liked 9th-grade shop, dealing with metal, maybe because the machinery was so precise that I could not screw up the project.

That was a useful lesson. If I have the right tools, and I’m shown how to do it, I can do it…sometimes. Reading the manual is seldom useful. Being told how to do it almost never works. But doing a hands-on process, and having room to screw it up without destroying it, helps.

Occasionally, I CAN hang that picture without putting a large hole in the wall.

Now my buddy Amy, she’s handy!

Have to end, of course, with Weird Al Yankovic – Handy.

ABC Wednesday – Round 19

Maine-Endwell wins LLWS, 2-1

Maine is a town (County subdivision) in Broome County, New York, where I grew up. NOT in New England!


Endwell, New York, wins Little League World Series, 2-1 over the team from East Seoul, South Korea.

“Endwell snapped a five-year championship drought for U.S. teams on Little League’s biggest stage and gave New York its first title since 1964.

Huntington Beach, California, won in 2011 and Mid Island from Staten Island won New York’s last World Series championship.”

The only other New York State victory in the LLWS was back in 1954 when the team from Schenectady beat the team from Colton, CA, 7-5, the year after Schenectady lost to Birmingham, AL, 1-0. It wasn’t the international tournament then that it has become.

BTW, Maine is a town (County subdivision) and Endwell a hamlet (Census-designated place) in Broome County, New York, where I grew up.

All things End Well Mid-Atlantic Region Wins Little League Baseball® World Series Title

I also have become more familiar with the double-elimination process than anyone needs to be.

Asia Pacific: East Seoul Little League, Seoul, South Korea 4-2
Australia: Hills Little League, Sydney, Australia 2-2
Canada: Hastings Community Little League, Vancouver, British Columbia 1-2
Caribbean: Pariba Little League, Willemstad, Curacao 1-2
Europe Africa: Emilia Little League, Emilia, Italy 0-3
Japan: Chofu Little League, Tokyo, Japan 1-2
Latin America, Aguadulce Cabezera Little League, Aguadulce, Panama 4-1
Mexico: San Nicolas Little League, San Nicolas, Mexico 3-2

Great Lakes: Bowling Green Eastern Little League, Bowling Green, Kentucky 2-2
Mid-Atlantic: Maine-Endwell Little League, Endwell, New York 5-0
Midwest: Johnston Little League, Johnston, Iowa, 2-2
New England: Warwick North Little League, Warwick, Rhode Island 1-2
Northwest: Bend North Little League, Bend, Oregon 1-2
Southeast Goodlettsville Baseball Little League, Goodlettsville, Tennessee 4-3
Southwest: McAllister Park American Little League, San Antonio, Texas 0-3
West: Park View Little League, Chula Vista, California 1-2

The M-E team had previously beaten New England 7-2, Southeast 3-1, Great Lakes 13-10, and in the United States championship game on Saturday, Southeast, again, 4-2.

Olin Family International Reunion 2016

This circular proof literally made me shake my head.

Olin Family International Reunion 2016, Saybrook, OH – July 15-17, 2016

After we left the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, we headed east on I-90 . The Wife wanted to stop in Geneva-on-the-Lake, so we did, enjoying a great view of Lake Erie and eating at a fairly new restaurant in town.
We traveled to the hotel, and then the reunion. I’d been saying we were going to Ashtabula; well, we were in that county, but actually at the Saybrook United Methodist Church. About 65 of us gathered over the period from the Friday evening ice cream social to the Sunday morning brunch, coming from California, Washington state, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ontario, and probably other states besides New York and Ohio.

In fact, at least five folks I had seen only the weekend earlier, including my parents-in-law.

Practically as I entered the door, Kay Olin Johnson corralled me. She had something to show me, an article in the Jamestown (ND) Sun titled “Talks to focus on ancestry search and Princess Diana. “There was an online posting on June 5, 2011, by Roger Green, whose wife and daughter are related to the Spenser [sic] line, and who is author of ‘Ramblin’ with Roger: a Librarian’s Life.’

“Green introduced a Fargo lady named Kay Johnson, whom he met at his wife’s family reunion of the Olins/Spensers.”

I laughed hysterically because it was clear that the reporter was vetting Kay’s bona fides through my blog when much of the information about the Spencer line I had gotten from Kay! This circular proof literally made me shake my head.

As is true with lots of organizations, recruitment of new members is key. Reaching out to people who may not know they’re Olins, through social media, is a key tactic.

On Saturday, we shared historical finds and identifying genealogical resources, including DNA testing; ate lunch; participated in a lengthy auction; had dinner; talked a lot; and watched the sunset on Lake Erie. This was a whole lot more fun than it sounds. And we talk WAY less about Diana than you might think.
ashtabula bridge disaster
I was particularly intrigued by one entrepreneurial woman who puts my ecological efforts to shame. She and her partner discover businesses that are tossing certain products, and they dumpster dive to find items that can be auctioned on eBay or sold for scrap. She was clearly brokenhearted when the stuff goes to the landfill, not primarily because she wants the revenue, but because those items will clog a landfill somewhere, not the planet she wants to leave to her young granddaughter.

We visited covered bridges, including one named for the Olins, and went to a cemetery where some Olins are buried, plus the folks in the Ashtabula Bridge Disaster of 1876.

The Daughter had a reasonably good time at the Olin Family International Reunion, assisting with the auction, playing with one of her cousins, previously unknown to her, and eating the free ice cream available all weekend, thanks to one of the tribe. That’s usually my gauge of a successful trip, how The Child fared.

Links galore: Barack, Hillary, and Donald

I’ve decided to offload the overtly political links here, not because they’re more important, but because they are more volatile.

obama-clinton-trumpDo you know what I hate? The political rhetoric that doesn’t inform, but merely belittles the other. Recent examples:
*Hey look, the GOP is drowning. Throw them an anvil, STAT!
*Trump Is ‘Urinating On You And Telling You To Dance In The Rain’

Oh, there are more, but I’m too tired to look. And there are equally vile, or worse, comments aimed at Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and the Democrats.

One of the things I pride myself on is reading a wide variety of opinions, even those I disagree with vehemently. I have a particularly curious relationship with the husband of a friend of mine. He’s made some decent points on his Facebook page, particularly about Hillary Clinton.

But then he has to spoil it all, by saying something wacky, such as citing former FEMA head Michael Brown as proof that Obama’s response to the Louisiana flooding was inadequate. It’d be like Oliver North complaining about money for hostages or citing Dinesh D’Souza about much of anything.

I never look for these links, BTW; they come to me by various email subscriptions or I see them on Facebook or someone emailed to me directly. I don’t do a Google search. And as of August 24, I had some mondo list of various links, with another week to go before the usual linkage.

I’ve decided to offload the overtly political ones here, not because they’re more important, but because they are more volatile. I had some article about Trump canceling some rallies, but he’s so mercurial, they might be back on.

But first, 3 Reasons the Standing Rock Sioux Can Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. I hope they succeed.

Barack Obama

Obama Shows How A Real President Acts During Tour Of Louisiana Flood Damage

‘Heckuva Job Brownie’ Slams Obama’s ‘Botched’ Response to Louisiana Floods

Why “Obama’s Katrina” Never Sticks But Won’t Die; A conservative meme resurfaces after the deadly flooding in Baton Rouge

5 myths about Presidential vacations, which was from a couple of years ago, but still valid

Hillary Clinton

Her speech on the alt-right A primer on alt-right

How Hillary Clinton Became A Hated Yankees Fan

The AP’s big exposé on Hillary meeting with Clinton Foundation donors is a mess

What does the Clinton Foundation do, other than get attacked by Republicans?

Donald Trump

A Full List of Donald Trump’s Rapidly Changing Policy Positions

The 258 People, Places and Things Donald Trump Has Insulted on Twitter: A Complete List

Democracy Will Survive This, With Damage

Trump’s damage has already been done: He has nurtured a generation of racist bullies; Win or lose, Trump has inspired a new wave of racial hostility in America, and capitalized on it

How Evangelicals are Losing an Entire Generation

Those who view him favorably are disproportionately living in racially and culturally isolated zip codes

Eugene Robinson On Trump’s New ‘Outreach’: ‘He Wasn’t Speaking To African Americans’ and Minorities Not Buying Trump’s Bogus Outreach

It’s time to accept that he is never going to learn basic stuff about the world

He Used Campaign Donations to Buy $55,000 of His Own Book

Trump App Collects Data From Phone’s Contacts, Draws Ire of Privacy Experts

I SPENT 5 YEARS WITH SOME OF TRUMP’S BIGGEST FANS. HERE’S WHAT THEY WON’T TELL YOU; How Donald Trump took a narrative of unfairness and twisted it to his advantage

Understanding Trump

‘The Daily Show’ Takes On Trump’s Relations With Workers

Guess How Much Time He Spent ‘Helping Out’ Louisiana Flood Victims. Plus PHOTO OPS, BAD OPTICS, AND PLAY-DOH

Trump, allies push conspiracy theory about Clinton’s health


Barbra Streisand:Singer Performs Duet With Jimmy Fallon on ‘The Tonight Show’

Trump blames bad poll numbers on the existence of the numerical system

Trump campaign chief Steve Bannon is a registered voter at a vacant Florida home

The Appalling Last Act of Rudy Guiliani

I think this article is mistitled – Another Frank Luntz GOP focus group spells disaster for Donald Trump. At least half of them said Trump could still get their vote if he stays on message. They seemed to be impressed by his “apology.” That’s why I think DT is going to be elected unless he takes John Oliver’s advice to drop out of the race.

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