Archive for September, 2018

Your shadowThe republic for which it stands

The NRA’s Catch-22 for Black Men Shot by Police

US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Demands Taxpayer Money For Religious Schools

The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans Living Paycheck to Paycheck

10 Years After: The Post-Recovery Economy

Stephen Colbert Made DJT’s Hurricane Response Into A Children’s Book

Sexual assault survivors tell ‘why I didn’t report’

Stop Making Victims of Sexual Assault into Martyrs for Virginity

We Need to Rethink Our Ideas About Aging

The Plot to Subvert an Election – Unraveling the Russia Story So Far

China is building a digital dictatorship to exert control over its 1.4 billion citizens. For some, ‘social credit’ will bring privileges — for others, punishment

John Oliver: Facebook’s global expansion has been linked to political turmoil overseas, so maybe their ads should focus less on how they “connect the world” and more on why connecting people isn’t always the best idea.

Doug Ford Cancelled Ontario’s Basic Income Pilot Experiment Because It Was Working

How Golf Digest helped free a golf-course artist imprisoned 27 years for a murder he didn’t commit

Arizona’s Gosar family asks voters NOT to re-elect their brother to Congress

Noor Inayat Khan, one of the bravest women of World War II

RIP Thad Mumford, MASH writer and former Yankees batboy

R.I.P. Norm Breyfogle, 1960-2018, Batman artist

Chevy Chase can’t change

The 2018 Winners of the Ig(R) Nobel Prize

You Can’t See ‘Round Corners: The Vietnam War as a rare TV miniseries

Two People with Paralysis Walk Again Using an Implanted Device

In Saratoga Springs, NY! This Enormous Warehouse Of Used Books In New York Will Be Your New Favorite Destination

Interview with Dick Van Dyke at 2017 Salt Lake City Comic-Con (30 min)

What’s coming to Broadway in the coming months

Premiere night of The Minor League Mecca, the Albany Patroons documentary

The million-dollar brownstone that no one owned​

Bruef slide show on the history of the Horn & Hardart Automats

Now I Know: Why the Big Bad Wolf Wouldn’t be a Good Baseball Player and Why You Shouldn’t Pass Gas Near a West Virginia Police Office and When Flying First Class Isn’t Good Enough and How Long It Takes to Find a Needle in a Haystack

The history of cookies as explained by the world’s foremost authority on the subject

Would-be robber loses trousers

MUSIC

Fugue on “Donald Trump is a wanker” based on Seven-Man Army – White Stripes. Plus So You Want to Write a Fugue? – Glenn Gould

René and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog After the War – Paul Simon (Live from Copenhagen); Feeling Lost with Paul Simon One Last Time

Land of Confusion – Hidden Citizens

Africa -Weezer (starring Weird Al Yankovic)

Estancia, by a composer named Alberto Ginastera

Good Times – Pheobe Snow

Ravel Left Hand Piano Concerto played by Yuja Wang

Overture to The Jolly Robbers -von Suppé

Bonehemian Rhapsody – 28-Trombone Collaboration! (from ITF 2018!)

Gangsta’s Paradise – Jain

Marry An Ugly Woman – Rafael de Leon (Roaring Lion)

Weekend Diversion: Coldplay

How big was Helen Shapiro? The Beatles opened for her in 1963

Paul McCartney: Lands No. 1 Album for First Time in 36 Years and Answers the Web’s Most Searched Questions and Talks to Howard Stern and at the Kennedy Center Honors (2012)

Jefferson Airplane Co-Founder Marty Balin Dead at 76

super black market clashAlthough I was a big fan of the eclectic and significant English group The Clash, I must admit the band was not a massive commercial entity. The group, consisting of vocalist/guitarist John Meilor, a/k/a Joe Strummer (d. 2002); Mick Jones on lead guitar; Paul Simonon on bass; and Nicky “Topper” Headon on drums, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.

Their first two albums don’t even reach the top 100 in the United States. The two-LP London Calling (1980) was their breakthrough collection, with quite a few songs getting airplay on my favorite Albany radio station at the time, WQBK-FM, Q104. That was followed by a triple album, Sandinista! (1981) that also did reasonably well.

Additionally, they put out various other packages including several non-LP singles, and Black Market Clash (1980), a 10″ album, with dub versions of some songs.

The last album of new Clash music I bought, and the last vinyl, was Combat Rock (1982). It was the group’s most successful album, getting to #7, and probably my least favorite. It did, however, contain two of their charting singles, Should I Stay or Should I Go, and Rock the Casbah.

I must have also purchased around that time an single or EP that contained a dub version of Rock the Casbah called Mustapha Dance, with fewer vocals and a more prominent bass line.

Super Black Market Clash was a compilation album released in 1993 “that contains B-sides and rare tracks not available on their studio albums. It is a repackaging of the original 1980 Black Market Clash,” with 20 songs rather than nine.

Listen to the Clash:

Train in Vain (Stand by Me), #23 in 1980, from London Calling, though it was recorded so late that it didn’t make the album liner notes

Time is Tight from Black Market Clash (1980)

Should I Stay or Should I Go, #45 in 1982 and #50 in 1983

Rock the Casbah, #8 in 1983

Mustapha Dance, from Super Black Market Clash (1993)

new-yorker-cover-bert-ernieOne of my favorite Pete Townsend solo tracks is Let My Love Open the Door from his 1980 album Empty Glass. I recall that there was some conversation about whether the song was religious in nature, as Townsend occasionally hinted. or a romantic song.

Here’s the thing, though: it doesn’t matter. Whatever the artist’s vision of the work, how the audience perceives it will usually carry the day.

So I found the whole rather vigorous discussion of whether Bert and Ernie of Sesame Street were gay – it made several mainstream news stories – as rather beside the point. As Muppeteers Frank Oz and the late Jim Henson came up with them, the characters reflected their friendship.

When Sesame Street scriptwriter Mark Saltzman noted in an interview that he wrote Bert and Ernie with his longterm relationship with film editor Arnold Glassman, that was his process. He clarified to the New York Times, “As a writer, you just bring what you know into your work. Somehow, in the uproar, that turned into Bert and Ernie being gay. There is a difference.”

The Sesame Street folk responded, initially awkwardly. Ultimately, the audience decides what it chooses to believe.

Another showbiz buzz this month involved Cosby Show actor Geoffrey Owens found working at a Trader Joe’s market. Beyond the pushback against some trying to shame him is a more basic reality; you don’t always get that next job in the entertainment world.

It’s not for me to judge if GoodFellas costar Ray Liotta does a commercial for Chantix, an anti-smoking drug. He’s a working actor, but we’re not paying his bills. If he needs the money or loves the product or both, so be it.

Working actress Blythe Danner is still in those ads for Prolia, an injection to fight osteoporosis. Ditto for her.

That said, I STILL wish the flood of pharmaceutical ads would end in the US. But we’re quite unlikely to see that genie put back into the bottle.

Making only my second trip to the new Yankee Stadium, Marconi and I took Metro North from Poughkeepsie (halfway between Albany and NYC) to see the New York Yankees take on the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday, September 15, 2018. I’ve only known him since September 12, 1971, so not very long.

In the bottom of the 2nd, the two empty seats on the aisle nearest us were filled by this young couple from Australia, in the City for a couple weeks. She was wearing a borrowed Blue Jays top, while he was nominally a Yankees fan.

Soon after they arrived, the Yankees starting pitcher, the usually reliable CC Sabathia, had given up five runs in only 2 1/3 innings, including two solo home runs by right fielder Randal Grichuk. CC was taken out of the game.

Meanwhile, the Yankees had opportunities to score, twice with the bases loaded, and once with runs on second and third base, but failed to do so. This really deflated the home team crowd.

We, mostly I, since I was closer, answered some of the idiosyncrasies of the game, such as the foul ball rule and how the defensive positions are numbered.

Yankee shortstop Didi Gregorius hit a solo homer in the bottom of the 6th, and the female Aussie frowned. “You still have a big lead.” I also coaxed her into acknowledging that he had made a great basket catch over second base.

The Blue Jays lead grew to 8-1 in the top of the 7th when Tommy Kahnle from Albany County, NY, the fourth of seven Yankee pitchers, gave up three runs in only 2/3 of an inning. Toronto had the bases loaded and no outs, and the Aussie guy was savvy enough to know that the situation was still perilous for the Yankees even when the lead runner was thrown out at the plate.

In in the bottom of the 7th, designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton (I explained the DH) and Gregorious hit solo homers, and pinch hitter Miguel Andújar hit a grand slam. Suddenly Toronto was up by only 8-7, and the Aussie woman fretted. But that’s the way the game turned out.

The scoreboard displayed narratives of what the batters had done earlier in the game. But in the latter stages, it showed scorecard shorthand. F7 meant flying out to the left fielder. The Aussie guy was bemused to know that a forward K meant struck out swinging while a backward K meant struck out looking.

“How do you KNOW these things?” he asked. “I’ve been only going to games since I was eight.” “So 20 years.” HA! A splendid time was had by Aussies and at least these two Americans.

Oh, I was in Washington, DC at the beginning of September. I was starving one muggy evening, and I ended up at a tavern/restaurant. I sat at the bar, got a burger and a drink, and had a nice conversation with an Aussie woman currently working in the US. She mostly bemoaned the leadership of her home country and her current one as we watched the US Open tennis on TV.

The Daughter was practicing her signature, using cursive writing, earlier this year. A couple generations ago, this wouldn’t have even warranted a mention.

Now there’s a great debate regarding the necessity and efficacy of cursive writing. In some circles, it is now considered a form of creativity, art, if you will, and I think the Daughter was attracted to it at that level.

It is also true that, for some time, she was having difficulty READING cursive, notes from her grandparents, for instance. To the degree that she can, it’s like learning a foreign language. I imagine the folks who design logos are cognizant of that trend.

One of the “cons” of cursive listed: “It’s gone the way of the typewriter.” Of course, the typewriter is making a comeback.

Is the loss of cursive a “dumbing-down of our education system” or is teaching it time wasted? As one who thinks that quicker is not necessarily better, I believe that since it appears to be good for the brain, it should be taught.

“Since it engages both the right and left hemispheres of the brain, it can actually aid in reading comprehension, idea generation, spelling, brain development and memory.”

Even thirty years ago, I realized some ten-year-old children could not read an analog clock. The Daughter was learning in second or third grade, but I know I understood it before I left kindergarten, and I might have known it earlier.

The announcement that analog clocks are disappearing from UK schools caused similar conflict, with some bemoaning it, others suggesting that we can’t read a sundial either, times change, etc.

I suppose I like the analog clock – a retronym, BTW – precisely because it’s imprecise. A quarter to three might be 2:44 or 2:46, and unless you’re trying to catch a train or something, it matters little.

If I had to keep one or the other, it would be cursive writing. Yes, toddlers might have computers to type on, but there’s value to the hands-on craft.

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