January rambling #2: Jerks on the Loose

The Wife and I saw Something Rotten at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady.


‘Doomsday Clock’ Moves 30 Seconds Closer To Midnight

From the Barmen Declaration: 8.18 We reject the false doctrine, as though the Church were permitted to abandon the form of its message and order to its own pleasure or to changes in prevailing ideological and political convictions.

“I was a stranger and you did not welcome me.” and What the Bible Says About How to Treat Refugees

Christians’ Call to Speak Truth to ‘Alternative Facts’

Crowd statistics worldwide, 21 January 2017

If you’re looking for those climate change and LGBT rights and Native American pages on whitehouse.gov that disappeared on January 20, know that they are archived at https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/

Obama Foundation

The legitimacy and illegitimacy of 45 and A Guide to His Huge Debts—and the Conflicts They Present. Mr Brunelle explains it all

Inaugural speech was the most dreadful in history

This Is Our Most Dangerously Retrograde Government in 150 Years, including, but not limited to, intentionally lying to us and/or gaslighting us and attacks on the freedom of the press – Historically, tyrants have tried to control the press using 4 techniques and getting payments from foreign governments, though we have no idea what they are and Aides Keep Leaking Embarrassing Stories About How He Can’t Handle Embarrassment and struggles badly to pass a test of presidential maturity, while using the White House page for puffery

The “Muslim ban”, which these politicians fought, is “Immoral,” “Stupid,” and “Counterproductive” and excludes those countries from the ban that have killed Americans on US soil, while including those that have not. Quebec Mosque Terrorist Is White Christian Pro-Trump Fanatic

Not to mention: controlling Voice of America and silencing EPA and the cone of silence on USDA scientists. Is this a trial balloon for a coup?

Make of this what you will: his mother was a Scottish immigrant. And his father’s middle name was Christ, pronounced Krist, the surname of Fred’s mom; Fred said he was Swedish, when his parents were German.


(From here)

Kellyanne Conway on Donald Trump, BEFORE he hired her

I Was Trained for the Culture Wars in Home School, Awaiting Someone Like Mike Pence as a Messiah

Possibly the worst news of the month: Steve Bannon Gets A Seat At The NSC Table

Steven Mnuchin Unmasked By Samantha Bee – he’s the Treasury Secretary nominee

Joy Reid of CNN: “We have to think about how do we, a free press, operate with an increasingly authoritarian regime and change everything we’re doing. We can’t just report what he says and live on his Twitter feed.”

1984 climbs the bestseller list — almost 70 years after it was published

How to lose the war on terror

Out Here, No One Can Hear You Scream – The dangerous culture of male entitlement and sexual hostility hiding within America’s national parks and forests

Something Rotten (Boston Globe review) – When the Wife and I saw it at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady earlier in the run, we laughed uproariously.

PK Miller, an Albany original and colorful character, dies at an uncertain age – I’d see him often at our monthly concerts at my church, among other places. we’re FB friends, and a couple weeks after he died I got one of those cloned invitations to Friend him.

When I posted on Facebook that Miguel Ferrer had died of cancer at the age of 61, people kvetched about what shows Variety noted. NCIS: Los Angeles (his current gig, which I’ve never seen) and Crossing Jordan (which I watched regularly), as opposed to Twin Peaks and Robocop and Star Trek.


John Hurt: 1940-2017

Della Street, er, Barbara Hale, R.I.P.

Dick Gautier, R.I.P.

Dan Savage speaks frankly about Savage Love

Mark Evanier: Rejection – a wilderness guide for writers

John Oliver returns February 12

Historic Albany Foundation Inventory – An attempt to document the oldest structures in Albany, NY

News anchor sets off Alexa devices around San Diego ordering unwanted dollhouses

Now I Know: New Jersey’s Shockingly Dangerous Water Slide and How Pride Makes Basketball Players Worse

Fortune teller who uses ASPARAGUS to predict the future

NOT ME (guy in Australia) WHEN Roger Green was nominated for the Clarence Valley Local Hero Award, he had raised more than $64,000 in 12 years.

Music

Gimme Some Truth- David J

Get Up Stand Up – Bob Marley

Ladies First – Queen Latifah

“Kellyanne Conway” cover Chicago’s “Roxie” on SNL

I saw the Roches a couple of times and got several of their albums. So I was sad to hear about the passing of Maggie Roche, at the age of 65, from cancer. Listen to We and Hammond Song and Hallelujah Chorus and Keep On Doing What You Do/ Jerks On The Loose and about 100 more tunes. Also Was a Sunny Day – Paul Simon featured Maggie and Terre Roche; Liquid Days (Part I) – Philip Glass Ensemble has Maggie and Terre and Suzzy; Forgetting – Philip Glass Ensemble has Linda Ronstadt and the Roches.

Derrick Boudwin: For Utah Father, Music Eases the Pain of Going Blind

Jeanne Mitchell: America’s First Young Lady of the Fiddle

Butch Trucks, Allman Brothers Band Drummer and Co-Founder, Dead at 69

The passing of Soul Survivors vocalist Richie Ingui

Coverville 1156: The Warren Zevon Cover Story II – he would have been 70 this month

Orion, The Would-Be Elvis

Paul McCartney sued Sony/ATV, the massive music publishing company that owns, among other things, all of The Beatles’ songs written by Lennon and McCartney. Paul wants his 50 percent share of the songs back.

Buddy Greco, Jazz Pianist, Vocalist and Las Vegas Mainstay, Dies at 90

D is for dirty dozen (ABC W)

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band is a New Orleans, Louisiana ensemble established in 1977.

A dozen is, of course, a grouping of twelve. But WHY do we gravitate for this non-decimal collective?

Wikipedia suggests the dozen may be one of the earliest primitive groupings, perhaps because there are approximately a dozen cycles of the moon or months in a cycle of the sun or year.” This, of course, then relates to the number of characters in astrology.

“Twelve is convenient because it has the most divisors of any number under 18. The use of twelve as a base number, known as the duodecimal system (also as dozenal), originated in Mesopotamia… Twelve dozen (12X12 = 144) are known as a gross; and twelve gross (12X12X12 = 1,728, the duodecimal 1,000) are called a great gross, a term most often used when shipping or buying items in bulk.

“A baker’s dozen, also known as a big or long dozen, is 13. Varying by country, some products are packaged or sold by the dozen, often foodstuff (a dozen eggs). Dozen may also be used to express a large number of items as in ‘several dozen’ (ex. dozens of people came to the party).”

The dozens is a slang term – which I’ve never heard – for “a ritualized game typically engaged in by two persons each of whom attempts to outdo the other in insults directed against members of the other’s family (usually used in the phrase play the dozens).”

Another definition I was not familiar with is “to talk incessantly.” Synonyms include prattle, blabber, run off at the mouth, and talk the hind legs off a donkey. Example sentence:
“She talks nineteen to the dozen, amusingly, self-deprecatingly, practically, irreverently.”

The term Dirty Dozen has several references, including:

Twelve less than desirable traits: in EWG’s 2016 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™, e.g.

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band is a New Orleans, Louisiana ensemble established in 1977. They show up on two cuts of my favorite Elvis Costello album, Spike. Here’s The Flintstones Meet The President.

The 1967 movie The Dirty Dozen I saw in a drive-in theater when I was a teenager. It had a cast of then and future all-stars including Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, Jim Brown, John Cassavetes, Telly Savalas, Robert Webber, Donald Sutherland, and George Kennedy.

ABC Wednesday – Round 20

Julian Assange and Edward Snowden

Edwatd Snowden seemed to be just a guy who believed that the Constitution of the United States was being violated by its very government.

Chris has thought about Julian Assange a lot more than I have:

What drove Julian Assange to start WikiLeaks? Do you think he’s a white, gray, or black hat? Has your opinion of Assange or Snowden changed at all due to the leaks and Russian involvement?

I’m going to assume Assange started Wikileaks for the reason he said he started it. From a recent Bloomberg story I can’t locate presently:

“A decade ago, when Assange founded WikiLeaks, it was a very different organization. As Raffi Khatchadourian reported in a 2010 New Yorker profile, Assange told potential collaborators in 2006, ‘Our primary targets are those highly oppressive regimes in China, Russia, and Central Eurasia, but we also expect to be of assistance to those in the West who wish to reveal illegal or immoral behavior in their own governments and corporations.’ For a while, WikiLeaks followed this creed.”

The same story shows how the organization has gone off the rails, most recently proposing the tracking of verified Twitter users’ homes, families, and finances. Um, no thanks. That seems to be the Big Brother that Assange looked to take down initially.

When Agent Orange sided with Assange Over the CIA, that was disturbing on more than one level. Sarah Palin’s support further diminishes.

I thought, 10 years ago, that he was a white hat if you will, but certainly not now.

Whereas Edward Snowden I’ve seen differently. He was just a guy who believed that the Constitution of the United States was being violated by its very government. He believed that protection from unwanted and illegal government attention should be afforded to every citizen.

I wondered if I, in the same situation, might have been tempted to do the same, be a whistle-blower, to detail these conflicting, interrelated issues of national security, privacy, civil liberties, and Internet freedom. Librarians, after all, have been at the forefront of the fight for freedom, changing the way records are no longer kept in the wake of the so-called USA PATRIOT Act.

He changed the business model. “The NSA relied on Internet giants to do surveillance for them (surveillance being a major part of the Big Data business model), and pre-Snowden, there was no real downside to cooperating with illegal NSA spying requests — in some cases, spooks would shower your company with money if it went along with the gag. Post-Snowden, all surveillance cooperation should be presumed to be destined to be made public, and that’s changed the corporate calculus.”

I wish I had seen “Citizen Four,” Laura Poitras’ film about abuses of national security in post-9/11 America. “In June 2013, she and reporter Glenn Greenwald flew to Hong Kong for the first of many meetings with the man who turned out to be Edward Snowden. She brought her camera with her.”

I did watch that John Oliver interview of Snowden in 2015, in Russia. As a buddy of mine put it, “he was clear, clever, and careful in how he responded, even when he was adopting the joke angle. He earned a lot of my respect just in how he dealt with Oliver’s interjections and his goofy gimmick interview style.”

Did Edward Snowden sabotage the war on terrorism? Did he provide too much information to Russian intelligence? Or did he let the American public know about the illegal activities that the US Government was doing in their name and at their expense? Possibly all of the above.

Someone wrote recently that, if he were a real patriot, Snowden would come home, and like a Father Berrigan, face his accusers, and let the ACLU or others defend him. That’s a personal decision only he can make.

I find Julian Assange to be an arrogant twit, whereas Edward Snowden appears to be a bright guy, but way out of his depth.

Mary Tyler Moore: “girl with the three names”

Danny Thomas thought Mary Tyler Moore had too small a nose to play HIS daughter on his sitcom

When I went to see the movie Ordinary People in 1980, I knew that, like the character Beth, Mary Tyler Moore, who died this week, had a son die tragically, and during the filming period. It’s impossible to ascertain how that event affected her acting. But it was a ferocious performance; one of my friends said, painfully, it reminded him of his growing up.

Mary was deservedly nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress, though she lost to Sissy Spacek in Coal Miner’s Daughter. But it was clear, Beth was NOT “Our Mare!” that we knew from the show named after her, one of the most popular TV shows ever, which “helped define a new vision of womanhood.” Mary Richards is the cultural ancestor of Murphy Brown, Liz Lemon, Carrie Bradshaw, and so many others. There was initial talk of having Mary Richards be divorced, but that was nixed.

That theme, written and sung by Sonny Curtis, who wrote “I Fought the Law”, was changed after season 1. The iconic first line, “Who could turn the world on with her smile?” started in the second season after she actually moved, got her job, and made new friends after a romantic breakup. The theme song’s original first line was “How will you make it on your own?” The last line was also changed from “You just might make it after all,” to “You’re gonna make it after all.”

It’s well-repeated that shows such as The Mary Tyler Moore Show, produced by MTM Enterprises, Mary’s company with second husband Grant Tinker, had people staying home on Saturday nights, and it was true. Here’s the fall CBS Saturday night schedule, with # indicating an MTM show:
1970: Mission: impossible (hr), My Three Sons, Arnie [no, I don’t remember it either], MTM#, Mannix (hr0 -[Mike Connors just died, too – watched that show regularly as well]
1971: All in the Family, Funny Face, New Dick Van Dyke Show, MTM#, M:I (hr)
1972: AITF, Bridget Loves Bernie, MTM#, Bob Newhart Show#, M:I (hr)
1973: AITF, MAS*H, MTM#, Bob Newhart#, Carol Burnett Show (hr) – THE classic lineup
1974: AITF, Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers#, MTM#, Bob Newhart#, Burnett (hr)
1975 and 1976: The Jeffersons, Doc#, MTM#, Bob Newhart#, Burnett (hr)

Watch
alt MTM opening
Love Is All Around – Joan Jett
Chuckles the Clown’s funeral

Read
John Amos on being on the MTM show

I watched all the spinoffs, Rhoda, Phyllis, and especially the hour-long drama Lou Grant. And those other MTM Enterprises shows were among my favorites: The Tony Randall Show (1976-1978), The White Shadow (1978-1981), WKRP in Cincinnati (1978-1982), Paris (1979-1980), Hill Street Blues (1981-1987), St. Elsewhere (1982-1988), and Newhart (1982-1990)


But it’s the original Dick Van Dyke Show where I learned about Mary Tyler Moore, the “girl with three names” who Danny Thomas thought had too small a nose to play HIS daughter on his sitcom, but who he recommended to play Laura Petrie to Dick’s Rob. And when I was eight and a half when the show started, I noted that she was pretty.

But there was something about the episode It May Look Like a Walnut, featuring Danny Thomas, a month shy of my 10th birthday. I couldn’t have identified it at the moment, but I later realized that Laura Petrie rolling out of a closet on a wave of walnuts was sexy as all get out.

Watch
DVD show opening
DVD/MTM song and dance
another DVD song and dance
I Am a Fine Musician
It May Look Like a Walnut – 5 minutes

Read
Growing Up with Mary Tyler Moore: The Dick Van Dyke Show’s Larry Mathews Shares Memories of His TV Mom
Mary Tyler Moore’s Greatest Quotes

I’ve watched Mary Tyler Moore in all sorts of projects, from Dick Van Dyke and the Other Woman Special, to at least four other series she starred in, to that not very good Mary Richards/Rhoda Morganstern reunion in 2000, to a 2013 appearance in Hot in Cleveland with Betty White and Georgia Engel. Before the Dick Van Dyke Show, I probably saw her in a bunch of shows, but I never watched a show hosted by Boris Karloff called Thriller

The Fatal Impulse (1960) – small role for MTM
Man of Mystery (1962) – a substantial role for MTM, though she doesn’t appear until 10 minutes in

Writing from marginalized people’s POV

I get nervous about the notion of writing “from the viewpoint of marginalized people.”

Jaquandor informed me:

There’s a lot of discussion in the writing world about the extent to which white people should attempt to write from the viewpoints of marginalized people. Do you have a view on this? Should a white person write, say, a fictional memoir of a slave in Mississippi?

I was unaware of the debate, and I’m rather pleased by it, though diversity should be more than a marketing trend, but a way to get more voices in the marketplace.

This answered is colored (pun intended) by the fact that I lost a friend in 2016 because, in discussions on Facebook and elsewhere, I thought I had understood the specific isolation that someone of a different culture – not white – was experiencing. I was severely upbraided for assuming facts apparently not in evidence. That I was not the only one so rejected was small comfort.

To your question, you COULD write a story about a poor, gay youth in Florida. But it seems to me that someone who had actual knowledge and interest in the topic would be better served to put out something like that.

I do admire the notion that white people recognize sharing the stories that do not get told, such as Rebecca Skloot writing about Henrietta Lacks, is important. Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving is HER perspective on race in America, not an assumption of someone else’s experience.

But I get nervous about the notion of writing “from the viewpoint of marginalized people.” This is because I think it is difficult to “get inside in the skin” of another. It’s not that I think it’s a bad idea to write about another culture, in the abstract; it’s that I’m afraid it would not have a good outcome. It could be seen as elitist by minorities, and if it were a hit, it would likely be seen as successful BECAUSE of the white face involved. If it were lousy, it would be considered insulting.

In Mary C. Moore’s blog, she writes Diversity vs Marginalized: Writing In Tune With Current Voices:

Part of what makes a great writer, whatever background they have and whatever genre they are writing in, is the ability to capture and reflect on truths in society. To dive beneath the surface of the collective and draw it out in your story. These are the stories that resonate and connect with readers… But an unfortunate result is that “diverse books” is becoming something of a catch phrase. And when something becomes a catch phrase, it loses some of its meaning and the truth we are seeking becomes muddled…

Non-marginalized writers may have the urge to say, “but I want to be a part of this, I want to support and represent diversity.” That is a great attitude to have, but do so with awareness and modesty, not because you are seeking pats-on-the-back. The first step? Know the difference between writing diversity and writing from a marginalized point of view.

For that fictional memoir of a slave in Mississippi, is the writer going to use patois? THAT could be interesting for a white writer using “dese” and “dem” from the mouths of others.

I thought the maxim was to write about what you know. Not that canvas can’t get wider. I could write, not just as a black man, but as a father after 50, or someone with vitiligo, a male librarian in what had been a traditionally female profession, or a reformed comic book reader, or a daily blogger, or progressive Christian, or whatever. One can find diversity in many ways.

You couldn’t relate to the Beatles 10 years ago, but you could now write about being a relative novice in Beatlemania. Or any of the adventures/struggles that are specific to your experience, yet universal in our understanding.