June rambling: fragments of finality

new Rebecca Jade and the Cold Fact!

Close but no cigarTheir billionaire descendants, who control Krispy Kreme, Stumptown and other brands, are grappling with the exposure of an unspeakable secret.

The Iranian People Are Not Our Enemy.

John Oliver: Mount Everest’s tourist industry.

Nearly 1 in 4 American adults are worse off now than before the Great Recession.

Forgiveness Is a White Privilege.

The “Moral Budget” is a plan for the future, because everybody has the right to live. Rev. William Barber: “Jeremiah 22 tells us that when political leaders abuse their office & hurt the poor, we must show up in person to deliver a prophetic indictment. Now is the time.”

Weekly Sift – Socialism: What’s in a word?

Best game show host. “Who is Alex Trebek?”

Mark Evanier’s Mayberry Monday.

Arthur’s Internet Wading for June 2019.

Now I Know: Why Frogs Ribbit and The Art of No Noises and Rudolph the Red Knows Undersea Warfare, Dear and The Everyday Hockey Superhero For Hire.

Fastest lawnmower.


Explosion science: an animated guide to building demolition

A Guide to Low Cost or Free Drug Rehab Options.

How to Make Your Bedroom Accessible for Disabilities.


U.S. Air Quality Is Headed the Wrong Way

‘Plasticrust’: A new form of pollution is forming on a Portuguese island.


Karen Oliveto — United Methodist Church’s first lesbian bishop. My wife knows Karen; Karen’s sister and my wife were college roommates.

Not everything we “know” about the Stonewall Rebellion is true; heck, just read Arthur’s blog all month.

New GLAAD Study Shows Decline in LGBTQ Acceptance In 18-34-Year-Olds.

Barbara Walters interview with playwright-actor Harvey Fierstein (1983)


The Lawless Administration.

John Oliver: Impeachment.

Sulzberger wanted to reach the business leaders and conservatives who read the Journal.

Twitter Will Put Warning Labels On His Rule-Breaking Tweets

Kimmel Shows How His Campaign ‘Monetizes Stupid’.

The Most Serious Accusation Yet?


Bobmill: The final story and Fragments of finality.

Could Donor #2065 Be My Father?

Census Bureau Releases First-Ever Report on Men’s Fertility.


I Only Smoke When I Drink – Rebecca Jade and the Cold Fact

Tiny Desk Concert – Sesame Street

Once Upon A Time – MonaLisa Twins, featuring John Sebastian

Coverville – 1266: Cover Stories for Alanis Morissette, and Ian Hunter of Mott the Hoople and 1267: Cover Stories for Stereophonics and The Kinks.

The New Gospel of Rock.

Disney Medley on plastic bottles.

Don’t Send Me Away – Garfield Fleming.

How Beethoven went from Napoleon’s biggest fan to his worst critic.

The Day the Music Burned.

A song that’s a classical favorite

I stand by my love for the Chopin lift

bach guitarThe prompt: A song that’s a classic favorite; I don’t know specifically what that means. Therefore, I’ve decided that it means songs that are classical favorites.

Oh, but not the classical VERSIONS, but rather the pop iterations. As it turns out, way back in 2011, I did a post on the topic. S is for Songs from the classics. I had to replace about a half dozen YouTube videos, understandably.

In the post, I touted A Lover’s Concerto by the Toys; American Tune by Paul Simon; Stranger in Paradise by the Supremes; Nut Rocker by B. Bumble and the Stingers; A Fifth of Beethoven by Walter Murphy; Night on Disco Mountain by David Shire; and Ebony Rhapsody by Nat King Cole.

There were also three articles links, but only the first one works. It points to a lengthy list of popular songs from the past century that incorporate classical compositions.

What else should I mention?

Spanish Caravan – the Doors. The intro riff was taken from “Asturias,” a classical piece by Spanish composer Isaac Albeniz (1860 – 1909). The song was written by Robbie Krieger and it appears on the Waiting for the Sun album.

Hallelujah Chorus – the Roches. I got to hear them sing this live many years ago; it was amazing. Also love the album from which it’s taken, Keep On Doing.

Beethoven Symphony 7, Movement II (Allegretto) – Waldo de los Rios. Appears on one of those Warner Brothers Loss Leader albums.

I’ve already written about the Rheingold Beer Jingle from Estudiantina Valse, written by Paul Lacome and rearranged by Emil Waldteufel

And I stand by my love for the Chopin lift at the beginning and the end of
Could It Be Magic by Barry Manilow.

Finally, a piece of music that merely SOUNDS as though it were rooted in the classics: Conquistador – Procol Harum. The version from Live: In Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (1972) is far superior to the 1967 studio take on their eponymous first album.

Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye

They damn well BETTER replace MY position

Hey, That's No Way To Say GoodbyeEven two years ago, I was pretty sure that I was going to retire in 2019. I started conversation with the HR people back in December 2018. But I didn’t want to tell my immediate office yet.

Part of the issue was that I didn’t want to discuss it until after our statewide conference at the end of April. I was working as hard as I could, writing blog posts, doing reference questions, giving a talk about reference sources at the Chamber of Conference, devising a webinar on sales tax.

Plus there was this new competition of teams from across the network selected on their interests. Go, Team Retail! I’m sure I got picked for that team based on my experience at FantaCo. One group was getting a grant from an entrepreneur to implemented the idea.

I had to dissuade the group from making ME the chair, because I knew there would be follow-up work to be done if we had gotten the award. We did not, but it wasn’t because I was suffering from short-timer’s syndrome.

The other complicating factor, for me, was that one of the other three librarians, who I’ll call Amelia, announced in mid-February that she would be leaving on May 24. She took a librarian job in New England.

Then, in mid-April, it came out that, because of funding cuts, they may not replace Amelia’s position right away. This irritated me greatly.

For a very brief period we had six librarians, and we had five for a good chunk of time. When one librarian left in January 2015, we had no reason to think she wouldn’t be replaced. Well, until months passed and she WASN’T replaced.

The reason for not replacing her was never enunciated to us until 1 August 2016, during an evaluation of the program. The explanation: some BS newspeak that said nothing.

Now, we’re going from four to three? Well, not “we” because I’m still gone at the end of June, and they damn well BETTER replace MY position. (The slot’s approved but the interviews haven’t happened yet.)

Anyway, everybody knows I’m leaving by now. Some are likely ticked off because I didn’t tell them sooner or I didn’t tell them in person. My current state director said that if he’d known before staff training had ended, he would have announced it then, which is precisely why I hadn’t told him.

This is the first time I’ve retired, so I’m figuring out the “rules” as I go along. Apropos of not much:

Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye
Leonard Cohen
Judy Collins
Roberta Flack

Movie review: The Biggest Little Farm

the farmers are not alone?

biggest little farmMy wife and I had been seeing the trailer for The Biggest Little Farm at the Spectrum Theatre in Albany for months. It is an “environmental advocacy documentary with a satisfying side dish of hope for the future.”

The premise is that, in part as a promise to their dog Todd (seriously), John and Molly Chester left their city lives. They found themselves owning a fairly arid piece of land about 200 miles from Los Angeles that they were going to farm, despite an enormous dearth of experience.

In the beginning, they did have an agricultural guru to help them figure out how to start to create a diverse ecosystem. Each year was a series of successes – fruit trees! – and frustrations – birds eating the fruit on the trees?!

There are a lot of interesting characters, most of them non-human: the various birds and the snakes and the coyotes, Emma the pig and her BFF Greasy the rooster, to name a few? Do we need ALL of them or are some of them merely predators?

Slowly, after a number of years, it appeared that perhaps the promise that the farmers are not alone in cultivating the land was kicking in. Will the farm withstand the notorious southern California droughts, flooding and fires?

Some of the critics (90% positive on Rotten Tomatoes) thought that the filmmakers, John Chester and Mark Monroe – kept back some of facts from the narrative. Surely, the more grisly aspects were explained rather than shown. If it’s a little infomercially at the end, it was earned.

I suppose I left the theater a bit annoyed, but not at the film. Much of the concepts the Chesters were using I remember reading about it elementary school, MANY years ago. How did we end up with farm after farm with a single crop, year after year?

This, of course, eventually meant that unnatural, expensive and patentable fertilizers were developed to “fix” the land when all one really needed was biodiversity and and a bit of faith.

Lydster: Toussaint Louverture

from the French word for ‘the one who opened the way’

Toussaint LouvertureVirtually all my friends say they never helped their children with homework. My parents certainly never helped me. But there was a disconnect last year between her algebra teacher and most of the class, so I did what I could.

This year, I didn’t help much until my daughter had two sick days in early May. Being ill in high school does not mean you don’t have to do the work. So during the last week of classes, I did assist her for three days in a row.

One of the assignments for AP World History was to talk about a notable historic figure. My daughter decided to draw, then paint, François-Dominique Toussaint Louverture (or L’Ouverture). He could be considered the George Washington of Haiti, although he did not live long enough to see the end of that country’s revolution.

While she worked on English homework, I found some biographical information about Louverture. The early stuff was vague; he was born between 1739 and 1746, with many historians settling on 1743, in May, or maybe November.

He was a leader of the 1791 slave revolt. “His military and political acumen consolidated those gains, and eventually controlled the whole country. He worked to improve the economy and security of Saint-Domingue,” later called Haiti.

“Some time in 1792–93, he adopted the surname Louverture, from the French word for ‘opening’ or ‘the one who opened the way.’ Although some modern writers spell his adopted surname with an apostrophe, he did not.

“The most common explanation for the name is that it refers to his ability to create openings in battle. The name is sometimes attributed to French commissioner Polverel’s exclamation: ‘That man makes an opening everywhere.’ However, some writers think the name referred to a gap between his front teeth.

On 29 August 1793 he made his famous declaration of Camp Turel to the blacks of St Domingue.

In 1800, he created a de facto autonomous colony, and named himself governor for life in the constitution, against Napoleon Bonaparte’s wishes. “In 1802 he was forced to resign by forces sent by Napoleon to restore French authority. He was deported to France, where he died in 1803.

“The French, suffering the loss of two-thirds of their forces from yellow fever, withdrew from Saint-Domingue that year. The Haitian Revolution continued under Louverture’s lieutenant, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, who declared independence on 1 January 1804. It was the only slave revolt in the modern era that led to the founding of a state.”

The airport in Haiti is Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Tabarre, near Port-Au-Prince. The number of cultural references to Louverture is enormous, including a 1971 track by Santana from the group’s third album.

Not helping my daughter with the homework would give me more time. (And I DO love summer vacation!) But in helping, I learn stuff, so that’s the trade off.

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