Feb. rambling: Jealous of a dog

Republicans sending mailer labeled Census ahead of official forms

Want Your Personal Data? Hand Over More Please.

‘Barbaric’:8 Million Americans Have Been Forced to Start Crowdfunding Campaigns to Cover Medical Costs and When Medical Debt Collectors Decide Who Gets Arrested.

A new study shows Medicare for All will save Americans billions and prevent thousands of unnecessary deaths.

Is Coronavirus Panic Sending Us Back to the Days of Racist Quarantines? and COVID-19 from the CDC.

Identification, Evaluation, and Management of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder.

How to Spot Fake News.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Modi and Disney blocks episode critical of India’s PM.

Facing Undeniable Reality of Climate Change, Deniers Now Argue It’s Not That Bad.

The folks on Fox & Friends really HAD referred to Fred Rogers (AKA Mr. Rogers of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood) as an “evil, evil man.”.

FBI: The Most Perpetrated Cybercrime Is Not Getting What You Paid For.

Socialists Will Never Understand Elizabeth Warren, part of a long intellectual tradition that’s gone forgotten in the West: pro-market leftism.

What’s Wrong With a Decision-Making Convention?

National Marriage, Divorce Rates Both Declined in the Last 10 Years.

John Oliver: Quest For U.S. Citizenship Culminated In An “Utterly Petrifying” Citizenship Test.

How Google Got Its Employees to Eat Their Vegetables.

Generations of Handwritten Mexican Cookbooks Are Now Online.

How to Leave Your Lover with Lemons.

World’s oldest married couple celebrates 80th Valentine’s Day together.

Hugging Is A Very Great Spiritual and Emotional Boost.

Katherine Johnson’s NASA bio and the NPR obit.

RIP Kellye Nakahara.


After impeachment, passing most of the checkpoints on the way to authoritarianism and Accelerating Corruption and Autocracy.

John Kelly Finally Lets Loose.

Family Of Pardoned Felon Gave Heavily To Him and The Trouble with His Clemencies and Pardons.

Jealous of a dog and its positive press.

State Department Struggling on Diversity.

Republican Party sending mailer labeled census ahead of official forms.

Black History Month

“The past is all that makes the present coherent” – James Baldwin

Seeing Black History in Context.

Silent Work in Elmira: Letters from the Wilbur H. Siebert Underground Railroad Collection

Tulsa plans to dig for suspected mass graves from a 1921 race massacre.

The Legacy of Mildred Johnson Edwards.

Backwards, Forwards.

Now I Know

Cheese You Can Bank On and The Feud Over the Top of the Mountains and How to Brew Cleaner Water and The Fake Cold Moment of the Cold War and The Man Who Covered Up An Eruption and This Isn’t His Fight Song.


No Rules For Donald – Randy Rainbow.

The Jeffersons Theme Song, lyrics by Jeff Barry and the late Ja’net Dubois.

Africa by William Grant Still.

Coverville 1296: Peter Gabriel Cover Story III and 1297: The Smokey Robinson & The Miracles Cover Story II.

Hiawatha Overture by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.

Seventy-Six Trombones– Ambassadors of Harmony.

Sketches of Spain – Miles Davis.

Mama Africa featuring Andrew Tosh.

Touch The Hem of His Garment, plus pop hits by Sam Cooke.

Till There Was You – MonaLisa Twins.

Caroline – Julian Neel.

50 Drug-Addled Albums.

The 100 best guitar albums of all time.

The last of the Bubbling Under


Temptations circa 1965
The Temptations circa 1965 – David, Melvin, Paul, Otis, and in the middle, Eddie
We’ve come to the last of the Bubbling Under the Billboard Hot 100 Charts. These are songs that just didn’t chart high enough to be deemed a hit. Many of them are quite familiar nonetheless, and I own all of them in some physical form.

When Something Is Wrong With My Baby – Otis (Redding) and Carla (Thomas), #109 in 1969
Crush with Eyeliner – R.E.M., #113 in 1995
Louie Louie – Paul Revere and the Raiders, #103 in 1963, the SECOND version of the song on the list
Like a Rolling Stone – Rolling Stones, #109 in 1995

Linda Ronstadt

Her box set gleaned all of these
Skylark, #101 in 1985,
Heartbeats Accelerating, #112 in 1993
A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes, #101 in 1995

More Than This – Roxy Music, #102 in 1983
Watch Your Step – Carlos Santana, #107 in 1983
Put Your Lights On– Santana featuring Everlast, #118 in 1999
When I Meet Them – Seals & Crofts, #104 in 1972

Sock It To Me, Baby – Bill Minkin as Senator Bobby, #128 in 1968, unfortunately, released just before the RFK assassination
My Kind of Town – Frank Sinatra, #110 in 1964
When Somebody Loves You – Frank Sinatra, #102 in 1965
Kind Woman – Percy Sledge, #116 i 1969
Black Coffee in Bed – Squeeze, #103 in 1982

Bad Sneakers – Steely Dan, #103 in 1975
I Love My Dog – Cat Stevens, #118 in 1966
Matthew and Son – Cat Stevens, #115 in 1967
Brand New Day – Sting, #103 in 2000

Once in a Lifetime – Talking Heads, #103 in 1981; a live version went to #91 in 1986
Road to Nowhere – Talking Heads, #105 in 1985
Carolina in My Mind – James Taylor, #118 in 1969; reached #67 in 1970

The Temptations

Their 5-disc box set gleaned most of these
Paradise, #122 in 1962
The Girl’s Alright with Me, #102 in 1964, RB #39; B-side of I’ll Be in Trouble (#33 pop)
You’ve Got To Earn It, #123 in 1965, RB #33; B-side of Since I Lost My Baby (#17 pop)
I Truly, Truly Believe, #116 in 1968, RB #41; B-side of I Wish It Would Rain (#4 pop)

Try Jah Love – Third World, #101 in 1982
A Dime A Dozen – Carla Thomas, #114 in 1968
You Don’t Miss a Good Thing (Until It’s Gone)– Irma Thomas, #109 in 1965
I’m Gonna Cry Till My Tears Run Dry – Irma Thomas, #130 in 1965
Something in the Air – Thunderclap Newman, #120 in 1970; hit #37 in 1969, reissued because of its inclusion in the movie The Strawberry Statement

Wordy Rappinghood – Tom Tom Club, #105 in 1982
Talk To Ya Later – The Tubes, #101 for two weeks in 1981
River Deep-Mountain High – Ike and Tina Turner, #112 in 1969; original issue on a different label initially reached #88 in 1966
Love’s Gone Bad– the Underdogs, #122 in 1967

Need Love – Vanilla Fudge, #111 in 1969
Since I Fell for You – Lenny Welch, #134 in 1967; reissue of #4 1963 hit
The Kids Are Alright – The Who, #106 in 1966
MacArthur Park – Andy Williams, #102 in 1972

Night Train – Steve Winwood, #104 in 1982
I Call It Pretty Music, But the Old People Call It the Blues – Little Stevie Wonder, #101 in 1963
Generals and Majors – XTC, #104 in 1981

“Weird Al” Yankovic

I have a LOT of Al
Another One Rides the Bus, #104 in 1981
I Love Rocky Road, #106 in 1983
Headline News, #104 in 1994
Gump, #102 in 1996

Yup, that’s the last of the Bubbling Under experiment. What will be the next theme?

Talking with the new cousins

Created Scene at Father-in-Law’s Home

new cousinsFriend Broome asked: Have you contacted your cousins? I assume he means my NEW cousins.

Actually, I’ve been in touch with some of them going back to September 2018, after I did my Ancestry test. I had found six people who were close relatives that I couldn’t account for. Two I figured out, but not the other four.

One of them, who I’ll call Tony, explained that he was originally from Wilson, NC. Ah, the home of Raymond Cone, the newly-found grandfather. His paternal line included Cohen and Cone.

What I didn’t know then but get now is that Cohen was a variant of Cone. Even in the early 20th Century, there were families with both surnames. Apparently, Cone was a slaveholder name, and some family members eschewed it.

The mom of another close cousin, “Edna”, had a mom born in my hometown of Binghamton, NY. I need to pursue THAT angle.

“Tia” is a cousin through Willis’ and Raymond’s brother Jimerson’s line. I actually spent 90 minutes on the telephone with her in December 2019.

Charles Slaughter

Here’s another story, related to Raymond Cone. The headline is Wife Beater, Thief Given 40 Days in Jail. It was from the Binghamton (NY) Press: 27 Nov 1926 p3. Subheads: Negro Who Evaded Police for Three Days after Stealing Gun is Caught; Went on Rampage; Created Scene at Father-in-Law’s Home, and Then Fled.

Raymond’s son-in-law Charles Slaughter broke down the door at the church parsonage. He assaulted his wife, Raymond’s younger daughter Mary. After chasing her through the house, he beat her with the gun. Then he drove off, eventually getting captured in Elmira, about 60 miles away.

“Charles Slaughter, negro, 24 years old of 35 Carroll street…pleaded guilty of petit larceny and assault in the third degree.” He received 40 days in jail. He got 30 days for larceny, stealing the revolver valued at $35. He received 10 days on the charge that he beat his wife.

“Mrs. Mary Slaughter is only 15 years old. She and Slaughter were married 14 months ago. They have one child.” In the summer of 1926, Raymond, on a three-week vacation from church, went back to Wilson, NC, ostensibly to visit his mother.

Apparently, he recommended that Mary and Charles Slaughter move to Binghamton. They lived only a couple blocks away. After Charles became abusive, Raymond suggested Mary move into the parsonage with him.

Lydster: not-absent resolution

my tale of woe

absent.truancy vs chronic absenceEarly in December, my daughter and some of her classmates were required to attend a workshop to determine what classes she could take for the next school year. She came home excited. Because she’s met so many requirements, she’ll be able to take more electives next year.

While she’s explaining this to her mother, I’m getting an automated telephone message from the high school saying that she was marked absent from school for periods three and four. Why, yes, she was absent from physics that day, for an authorized school activity. She was present for the physics lab during period four and handed in homework.

I call the school the next day. The phone menu says that I have to contact the office of the academy my daughter is assigned to. There are four academies in the school. But the Discovery office says that they can’t fix it because they only deal with actual absences. The teacher can fix this.

I call the teacher’s office. She’s out for the day. The substitute has a child in the school, so she knows that my tale of woe is true. She recommended talking with the guidance counselor.

A few hours later, the guidance counselor calls me back. She can verify that my daughter was at the authorized event for period three. She would write the teacher to correct the record for period four.


This is hardly the first time I’ve gone through this rigamarole. Nor am I the only one experiencing it. The mother of a freshman was baffled when she experienced a similar situation.

It appears that the school is better at tracking when a student is away for the whole day. My daughter went on a school trip to Montreal in the spring of 2019, but we got no robocalls. The problem seems to be tied to those in-school events of limited duration.

This may seem to be a small thing, but it happens frequently enough to become an annoyance. I don’t want to have to make two or three calls every time this happens.

20 years at the new church

water under the bridge

new churchIt suddenly occurred to me that I have now been attending my new church for 20 years. I suppose “new church” might not be quite how I should label it.

As I may have mentioned, the Troubles were taking place at my old church. I need not dwell upon them presently. One element, though, was that the choir was not allowed to sing.

I called Laura, a woman who had left my old church. I was wondering if I could sing at her church until The Troubles were resolved. After all, it WAS Lent. Two minutes later, Victor, the choir director, said “stay as long as you want.”

As it turned out, the Troubles were not really resolved. A couple from my old church joined me at the “new” church that fall. And it’s been fine.

What’s interesting, though, is my evolution in dealing with the old church. Both churches belong to the FOCUS churches. This means that there would be joint services rotating among them once a month during the summer and also the first Sunday in February. For the first five years, when the service was at the old church, I just didn’t go there.

Then I would generally attend. It could be awkward, with some very nice people asking when I was coming back. The choir folks, only one of whom I knew from my time there, noted that my name still showed up in pencil on some of the music. I DID sing there for about 17 years.

Duane Smith, R.I.P.

Now, it’s mostly water under the bridge, I realized when I sang there in early February. The feeling was codified, I suppose, when I went to the funeral of a young man named Duane Smith, who died of cancer at the age of 45. Among other things, he was an extremely talented artist. His mom was a choir member with me at the old church, and she was a tenant of my wife’s for a time.

Duane’s friends who grew up with him in the church – the kids I saw growing up there – all seemed happy to see me. Jeff and Dan and Jessica and David and Eddie, plus a couple of their moms, who I also used to sing with.

I must say that there was a time at the old church when we had an excellent choir, especially when Eric was our director in the early 1990s. I’m in an excellent choir now, but I’ll own up to some nostalgia, even now.

Some stuff can be rather painful at the time. Yet sometimes, it dissipates. Time has a way of doing that under the right circumstances.

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