Archive for October, 2018

UncleSamLadyLiberty.PinterestClimate change: The Media is Failing Us and Billionaires Are the Leading Cause

Triumph of the strongman has worrying echoes of the Thirties

Why America Didn’t See Fascism Coming

More Americans Supported Hitler Than You May Think

John Oliver Takes Down Saudi Dictatorship, In Detail

The Rule of the Uber-Rich Means Tyranny or Revolution

This Is What Living on Minimum Wage Looks Like

This is why the Founders banned emoluments

Here’s why he threatened to pull out of a 144-year-old postal treaty

‘It Doesn’t Matter What He Says We’ll Support It’: His Fans Profess Cult-Like Love

Vlogbrothers: The Rigged Election

Republican Voter Suppression Efforts Are Targeting Minorities, Journalist Says (nothing new)

Weekly Sift: 12 Things to Remember Before You Vote and Souls in Darkness

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: State Attorneys General (at 10:00)

Kavanaugh proves one of the nine justices is not like the others

Pregnancy discrimination’s toll: Women in strenuous jobs miscarried after employers denied requests for light duty

The Threat of Tribalism – The Constitution once united a diverse country under a banner of ideas, but partisanship has turned Americans against one another—and against the principles enshrined in our founding document

Melania, we have a Be Best emergency

Guy’s $650 World Series Ticket Stolen by Scammer Through Instagram Photo

How a Ragtag Group of Oregon Locals Took on the Biggest Chemical Companies in the World — and Won

The Most Googled Medical Symptoms by State

James Karen, R.I.P.

Eugene Peterson, author of ‘The Message’ and pastor to other pastors, dies at age 85

A nice remembrance of Neil Simon that was assembled upon his recent passing

Robert S Hoffman The big chill has broken our circle

The heart-busting story of Igor Vovkovinskiy, one of the tallest men in the world

Spectrum customer service

Julia Louis-Dreyfus receives Mark Twain Prize

Speeding up sitcoms

Jimmie Walker on the “Good Times” cast – TelevisionAcademy.com/Interviews

Back Machine stops in 1969

intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.

Nik Durga’s new blog, My Impression Now. “I’m coming back to blogging because it trains me to write more than a few pithy sentences”

A sin, Arthur! Blogging about blogging

More meta: Internet Wading: A bit of it

PostSecret Ted Talk

SEEN: Albany Public Library Foundation’s Literary Legends Gala 2018

Now I Know: The “Faithful Employee” Award Which Had the Opposite Effect and Until Death Does the Hangman Part and The Battle over The Collect Call and Why We Park on Driveways and Drive on Parkways and The Cell Phone Contract Killer

Dancing robot dog is too creepy

MUSIC

A Scary Time

‘Swamp Rock’ Master Tony Joe White Has Died At 75; Polk Salad Annie

Can’t Run But – Paul Simon, Saturday Night Live, 13 Oct 2018

Steel Here- Tisha Campbell-Martin (powerful backstory)

While My Guitar Gently Weeps – the Beatles (Acoustic Version, Take 2)

English singer Kathy Kirby (1938-2011)

Hard Times Come Again No More – Mavis Staples

I Need To Be Loved – Keiko Togi, Carpenters

POP Chamber String Orchestra

Poke at The Pope – Donovan

I’ll Follow the Sun – The MonaLisa Twins

Coverville 1237: The Radiohead Cover Story IV and Coverville 1238: The Duran Duran Cover Story IV

The Wheels on the Bus – Mad Donna, and Leo Moracchiol

The oddly controversial cover: T Ko Ko Korina -Ahad Raza Mir & Momina Mustehsan

K-Chuck Radio: Seamless segues

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys – Sabrina Lentini

WatchMojo.com’s 10 Worst #1 Songs on the Billboard Hot 100; I own four of them

Music as Medicine

The Copyright of Spring

Betty White

Betty White

There is something called the Q score, which is a methodology used in the United States “to measure the familiarity and appeal of a brand, celebrity, character, company, licensed property or entertainment product, such as a television show.

“High Q Scores mean that a property, brand or person is more highly regarded among a group that is familiar with them, and a measure of likeability that can predict increased consumer preference and involvement.”

The information is sold and parsed by age, gender, income and other characteristics of the respondents, who generally are in the coveted 25-54 age range. But general trends leak out.

According to a Quora article: “Tom Hanks and Morgan Freeman are tied for most popular with a positive Q Score rating of 48 according to the most recent polls. Denzel Washington, Steven Spielberg, and Betty White are tied for second most popular with a positive Q Score rating of 44.”

“The highest negative Q Score belongs to Kim Kardashian at 71. ‘But that’s not a bad thing for her… That’s how she markets herself.” [It is] actually a positive marker on the scale of success because it’s a “love to hate” scenario…”

This is undoubtedly true in that the tabloids spend an inordinate amount of space charting the relationship of Kim – married to Kayne West, the jackass who visited the White House recently – her sisters and extended family. It’s comparable to how the royals are covered in Britain, I imagine.

“This is not so for Justin Bieber, who has the second-highest negative Q Score rating at 63. Bieber’s negative rating… doesn’t stem from any kind of ironic ‘negative’ admiration: it just means most people dislike him.”

The Q score can change over time. “Maggie Smith had the most positive change… in the wake of Downton Abbey with a Q Score increase of 15.” Meanwhile, Bill Cosby lost 43 points when he was on trial on a rape charge, plus allegation “from nearly 50 women who have accused the comedian of drugging and sexually assaulting them.” And was before he was convicted.

This all about money, of course.

For ABC Wednesday

There was a recent Daily Double on the game show JEOPARDY, in the category PARDONER: Ronald Reagan pardoned this owner for illegal campaign contributions in 1989–the Gipper a Yankees fan?

The contestant guessed George Steinbrenner and was, of course, correct. What other owner of that American League franchise could many people name? And which other owner would be in need of Presidential absolution?

Steinbrenner – The Last Lion of Baseball was written by Bill Madden, a well-regarded writer who had a “mostly pleasant working relationship with George in his “capacity as a baseball writer” for UPI and then the New York Daily News. But Madden was furious when he had been fed some bogus story by Steinbrenner about how Lou Pinella, a manager George fired, was trying to steal the furniture.

Steinbrenner was always firing managers, publicity directors, and general managers, who presumably run the day-to-day operations of a team. But it was difficult for all of them because he was a hands-on owner, luring or aggravating the players.

George grew up in Ohio and made his wealth first by reviving the family-owned Kinsman Marine Transit Company, then purchasing it from his family. He later was a co-owner of the American Shipbuilding Company, and, in 1967, he became its chairman and chief executive officer. By 1972, the company’s gross sales were more than $100 million annually.

CBS bought the New York Yankees in 1965, but it was not a good fit. Early in 1973, Steinbrenner, who had tried and failed to buy the Cleveland Indians in 1971, led a group of investors in purchasing the Yankees for $10 million. However, part of the price was two parking garages that CBS bought back the garages for $1.2 million, so the net cost was $8.8 million.

One of my friends recently told me that, though he grew up as a Yankees fan, he changed allegiances, and it was entirely because of the massive amounts Steinbrenner spent in trying to buy championships. I get that. During his 37-year ownership from 1973 to his death in July 2010, the Yankees did earn seven World Series titles and 11 American League pennants.

Madden’s book was exceedingly thorough and obviously well researched. I was feeling a bit exhausted, though, about three-quarters of the way through the 430-page book. Oh, yeah, ANOTHER manager fired – he hired and fired former Yankee infielder Billy Martin FIVE times as manager!

Or dissing one of his players; in 1990, baseball commissioner Fay Vincent booted Steinbrenner out of baseball “for having paid a two-bit gambler to dig up dirt on the Dave Winfield Foundation.” George once dubbed Winfield Mr. May for a poor post-season.

In many ways, George Steinbrenner was a loud, pompous, opinionated, stubborn rich fellow who reminded me of a current part-time DC resident. At least George could play the stadium organ. Oh, yeah, Reagan pardoned Steinbrenner for his really minor financial role in the Watergate scandal.

flat earthThis guy from my hometown wrote 300 words on the travesty of the Republicans, who, after cutting taxes for the wealthy, plan to cut Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare. “We are talking old folk and the disabled who are living on so few bucks they are cutting their prescription pills in half to get through the month.”

He pointed out that we’ve seen this movie before. It’s a rerun from 1981 under Reagan in 1981, and income inequality has ballooned since then. Other advanced countries provide better pensions, nearly complete healthcare “and at a cost half of the inflated American prices.”

I wrote, cheekily, “Sorry, it sounds as though you are using facts. This is painfully obvious to you and me, but I’m having my doubts to convince those who bought the Kool-Aid.” He thought I ought to expand on this somehow, but it’s difficult. The hardly liberal Forbes magazine notes Social Security Does Not Add To The Federal Deficit.

When I watched CBS News Sunday Morning recently and there are flat-earthers trying to launch themselves into space in order to see if there’s REALLY curvature beyond the horizon because it looks flat to them, it pains me. Somewhere along the way, “Question authority”, a mantra of my growing up period, became “Doubt everything.”

As the story notes, they believe the “Moon is only a few miles up. We’ve been lied to on such a massive scale!” Photos of the Earth from space are “Completely and utterly false.” And “The sun is not as far away as we’ve been told, nor is the moon. They’re probably about the same size…”

“In short, Flat Earthers don’t believe much of anything unless they see it for themselves. They believe NASA is just part of a broad conspiracy.”

There was a period when you could have a fruitful debate about the philosophy of government, economic policy, scientific theory, differences in religion, and the like. But I wouldn’t argue with some people, who are non-historic, anti-science. There is just no point.

Worse, because of the “false equivalence” belief that even the most inane theories are somehow equally valid, it adds to the noise on social media.

pettyUsually, music brings me joy. But sometimes it feeds into my melancholy. As I was reading about how Tom Petty’s death is still a hard reminder for aging rockers about the downside of life on the road, I was reminded of that phenomenon.

Back in 2015, he acknowledged that he was a heroin addict in the ’90s, “something he had sliced out of Peter Bogdanovich’s four-hour documentary, 2007’s ‘Runnin’ Down a Dream.'”

How does a 50-year-old become a junkie? He talked about it to Warren Zanes in a biography, unauthorized only because Petty didn’t want to dictate what Zanes could or could not write

Addiction happened “when the pain becomes too much and you live in a world, in a culture, where people have reached in the direction of heroin to stop the pain. He’s a rock and roller. He had had encounters with people who did heroin, and he hit a point in his life when he did not know what to do with the pain he was feeling.”

Then in 2017, “Tom Petty was rushed to a hospital… in full cardiac arrest… Weeks later, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s report confirmed what many family members, friends and fans feared: Petty had accidentally overdosed.

“Among the combination of sedatives, anti-depressants and painkillers found in Petty’s system was the opioid fentanyl, the same drug on which Prince overdosed in 2016. According to his wife, Dana, Petty endured the pain of a fractured hip throughout a 40th-anniversary tour with his longtime band, the Heartbreakers.”

Here are three songs:

Gainesville, a new song with the Heartbreakers about his hometown area, about which he had mixed feelings.

Free Fallin’, the first song on my favorite Tom Petty album, the “solo” disc Full Moon Fever (1989)

Possibly my favorite. The End of the Line. I love the “happy accident” that was the Traveling Wilburys. On this track, Jeff Lynne, George Harrison, and Roy Orbison sing the choruses, and Petty sings the verses. In the video, Roy is recently deceased, as only his framed picture in a rocking chair appears. George, of course, died in 2001. With Petty gone, the song makes me wistful.

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