May #2: Philosophy of the world

Why Is Everyone Running for President?

Waiting for the But
xkcd -licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.
What I Lost (and Can Never Get Back) When My Father Was in Guantanamo North

How Poor Oversight and Fraud in Generic Drug Industry Threatens Patients’ Health

Why Is Everyone Running for President? It’s a Billion-Dollar Industry

‘We’ve created a civilisation hell bent on destroying itself – I’m terrified’, writes Earth scientist

What Changed My Mind About Climate Change? Risk management is not a binary choice

Last Week with John Oliver: Green New Deal and Death Investigations

Last American slave ship discovered in Alabama

What Reparations for Slavery Might Look Like in 2019

Largest ever class of black women graduating from West Point – 32!

Hilde Lysiak of the Orange Street News gives commencement address at Reed School of Media at West Virginia University

‘We must be in this together. Relentlessly.’ Deborah Lipstadt, MA ’72, PhD ’76, delivered the keynote address at Brandeis University’s 68th Commencement

Arthur’s Unexpected reboot

Understanding the divine sense of humor

Why certain words are left out of our English-language Bibles

Kindness Can Be Taught. Here’s How

Casting announced for The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World, Joy Gregory and Gunnar Madsen’s acclaimed Off-Broadway hit, at the Bridge Street Theatre in Catskill, NY July 11-14, 18-21

Portrait of Steve Martin and Martin Short on 60 Minutes Australia

The Bob Emergency: a study of athletes named Bob- Part I and Part 2

The Secret Behind the Success of Avengers Endgame – not that much of a secret

Blogging revelation and reflection

How to Be an Ethical Influencer and I’m A Supposed Influencer and An Open Letter to Professional YouTubers

Now I Know: What do you do when someone you don’t like is wearing your clothes? and The Second Life of Crayons and Pigcasso

Does This Dress Make Me Look Guilty?

Why do people love coffee and beer

Ignaz Trebitsch-Lincoln was one of the most remarkable adventurers, scoundrels and fraudsters of the 20th century

To keep his daughter from getting bored on a family trip a dad had her Irish Step Dance in every location they stopped in at Ireland

8 Things Your Credit Card Can’t Buy

The Worst Product Ever

MUSIC

Rolling Stone – Annie & the Hedonists

Someone You Loved– Lewis Capaldi.

And The Waltz Goes On – André Rieu, composed by Anthony Hopkins

Symphonic suite for the Hayao Miyazaki film Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind by Joe Hisaishi

Coverville: 1262: This Day in Covers – 1989 and 1263: The Smiths Cover Story

The R word: retirement

Everything that I’m doing now except…

retirementAs a relatively small number of you know, I’ll be in the state of retirement from my job as a librarian for the New York Small Business Development Center on June 30.

That’s a Sunday? Yes, I know. My last day of work is June 28, but I don’t have to start handing over my Medicare Part B card until July 1.

People keep asking me, “What are you going to do now?” The quick answer, and not entirely untrue, is “Everything that I’m doing now except I won’t be going to work.” More than one recently-retired friend has quipped that the job gets in the way of the other stuff.

I mentioned recently how busy the weekends are, in particular. I’ve blown off meetings, rehearsals, even events I was looking forward to because it was all too much.

I’ve known for at least two years I would retire this year if I possibly could. The timing is based on a number of factors:

My wife, who is a teacher, and my daughter, who is a student, will be out of school in the summer. This means we can all go somewhere together. Our primary limitation getting away is finding someone to feed our cats, one of whom is finicky about who he lets in the house.

My daughter and I are going to Indiana, the state of Mike Pence and Pete Buttigieg, in July, on a church-related trip. I’ve never been TO Indiana, through I went THROUGH it on a train twice. Ah, state #31 for me.

No more fretting about going back to work and dealing with 666 emails. I’ll have ZERO work emails. My list of personal emails, which has grown tremendously in the last six months, will diminish, as I take those reminders and turn them into blog post or tasks I want to finish.

I WILL finally get to that pile of clothes at the foot of the bed. Old copies of The New Yorker, unread, will finally get the love they deserve. The three Marvel movies I recorded months ago will eventually exit the DVR queue.

I have no plans to take up golf at this time.

This retirement process has its complications, of course, but that’s a post (or three) for another day.

Movie review- NTL: All About Eve (2019)

A remarkable blurring of the lines between cinema and theatre

All oabout EveMy wife suggested that we go see All About Eve at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady. I had heard of the Bette Davis/Anne Baxter film from 1950, of course, but I had never seen it.

No, she meant the new National Theater Live version “performed in the Noël Coward theatre and is an adaptation from the well-known film.” It played twice at the Spectrum Theatre in Albany, but we had missed it.

The production stars Gillian Anderson, best known from the television show The X-Files, as Margo Channing, an accomplished, but temperamental stage actress. Lily James (Downton Abbey, title role in 2015’s Cinderella) is Eve Harrington, a huge Margo fan with a “melancholy life story.”

Having read the description of the 1950 film, this story stays true to the source material, but the technology has made it much more than a filmed version of a play.

“Spending ages trying to get the rights, writer/director Ivo van Hove proves that it was worth the wait, with a remarkable blurring of the lines between cinema and theatre (all backed by PJ Harvey’s simmering score.)”

His search for the rights to “The Wisdom of Eve”, the short story by Mary Orr, from which writer/director Joseph L. Mankiewicz adapted the earlier screenplay, is described in the short piece prior to the action.

“Separating the stage layout into several sets, Hove attaches a large protector screen to the back of the set, and films (in real-time) private exchanges between characters in corridors, which are shown at the same time as with on-stage events (such as around a dining table) continue to unfold.”

This was an astonishingly effective technique. Sometimes, the main action was on the screen as the folks on the stage waited. One also got to see Margo, or Eve’s, full face, as they looked into the mirror.

The other actors were fine as well. I couldn’t help note that the 2019 version had a cast far more diverse than the origin film.

If All About Eve comes to a theater near you, I highly recommend that you go see it!

“…every time you ride with Uber”

I downloaded Lyft, which worked just fine. I knew so because my credit card company wanted to confirm that the $1.00 “purchase” I made was legit.

uberOne more thing I did on my birthday (March 7): I took an Uber for the very first time. Technically, it was the 8th. And as is my wont, it was more complicated than I thought it would be.

I would be returning from my trip from New York City to attend my friend Karen’s retirement party. Since the event was on 26th Street from 7-10 p.m., I had two practical choices. Taking the train, I needed to get to Penn Station at 34th Street, but the bus was at Grand Central at 42nd Street.

I’m not subway-averse – I even had my Metrocard swiper with me – but I opted to walk the shorter distance. The Amtrak is more expensive, especially the later you book it, but it would get back to Albany at 1:15 a.m. as opposed to the 2:30 a.m. Greyhound.

Well, not exactly Albany in the former case, but Rennselaer, which is across the Hudson River. While there were taxis at both venues, because of greatly disappointing results, I haven’t taken a cab in the Capital Region this century. (I’ve taken a couple in NYC, but not in my town.)

Hey, maybe the taxis are better now? Not according to the rider reviews I discovered for the one company assigned to the Rensselaer train station. This left Uber and Lyft.

I attempted to download the Uber app, but it didn’t seem to “take”; it never showed up as an icon on the phone. So I downloaded Lyft, which worked just fine. I knew so because my credit card company wanted to confirm that the $1.00 “purchase” I made was legit.

But I discovered in trying to book a ride on the train back that, at least where I wanted to go, nothing was available from Lyft between midnight and 7 a.m.

So I played with the previously downloaded functions on my phone, and I DID have Uber after all, just not on the main screen. I booked the ride. When I got to the train station, I looked for the correct license plates – there were a half dozen Uber drivers at that hour, and several cabs to boot.

Normal Fare-$8.69 Surge x1.3-$2.61 (I know vaguely what surge fees are) + Booking Fee $2.40 (that surprised me) + Long Pickup Fee $0.60 (somehow my address was NOT in the system, though I THOUGHT I’d put it in) + NY State Black Car Fund (2.5%) $0.34 + TNC Assessment Fee (4%) $0.42 (whatever THEY are) = $14.30 plus tip. Not terrible.

So now I’m all 21st century, enough to get an email about a month later from the company. “Check your ride, every time.” Specifically:
1.Match the license plate number.
2.Match the car make and model.
3.Check the driver’s photo. (I did that too)
“When you’ve confirmed this information, get in, buckle up, and enjoy the ride. At Uber, your safety is important to us.”

This was undoubtedly the reaction to a young woman in South Carolina getting into a car, thinking it was her Uber – the guy wasn’t one of their drivers – and was killed.

Another tip, not on the list, but mentioned by law enforcement after the murder, is to ask the driver to tell you YOUR name before getting into the vehicle.

For ABC Wednesday

“Mission Accomplished” is Old Enough to Drive

Calling the Iraq war a ‘tragedy’ implies that the U.S. had a legitimate reason to go to war against Iraq in 2003

In response to my post about war protest songs, someone I know IRL, and a very nice guy wrote: “As a veteran, I still have bad feelings about those protesters who demeaned individual soldiers returning from the horrors of war. The young men and women of those days are the PTSD patients of today.

“If you want to protest against something, take it out on the politicians who started the war.”

Far enough. The problem is that by the time the mainstream analysis catches up with the facts, it’s far too late. The American Conservative notes, “The Iraq War Was a Crime, Not a ‘Tragedy.'” Andrew Bacevich, reviewing Michael Mazarr’s Leap of Faith, rejects the author’s contention that the Iraq war was “the product of good intentions gone awry.”

As Daniel Larison points out: “Waging an illegal preventive war cannot be noble and cannot be done with ‘good intentions.’ To embark on an unnecessary war in violation of another state’s sovereignty and international law because you claim to be afraid of what they might do to you at some point in the future is nothing other than aggression covered up by a weak excuse. It is the act of a bully looking to lash out at a convenient target.

“Calling the Iraq war a ‘tragedy’ implies that the U.S. had a legitimate reason to go to war against Iraq in 2003, but there was no legitimate reason and anyone who thought things through could see that at the time.”

That would include between 12 and 14 million people who came out on February 15, 2003, “the largest protest in the history of the world.” I was in New York City where an estimated 200,000 gathered. It was so large that I never got within 40 blocks of the United Nations, the rally’s terminus point. Yet the events were largely ignored.

Now, ‘Mission Accomplished’ Is Old Enough to Drive. We’re still in Iraq. “A few people got rich, a lot of people got killed and the carnage rolls on because too many people thought it was real. My old bar friend was right. The fix was in, and still, too many forget.”

As my buddy suggested of the perpetrators of unnecessary war: “There’s a special place in hell for them.”


Vets say pardoning military service members who were accused or convicted of war crimes is an insult to those who have served honorably.

Now I Know: The Bomb Detector That Was a Dud