July rambling: The True True Truth

Blind Tom Wiggins and Ulysses Simpson Kay – black composers

arguments-against-wearing-a-parachute
Arguments against wearing a parachute.This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 3.0 Unported License


Who Are Those Guys? – Customs and Border Protection agents in Portland, OR.

Why Hundreds of Mathematicians Are Boycotting Predictive Policing.

Looming Immigration Services Shutdown May Fuel Voter Suppression in 2020.

Apologies that aren’t apologies, 2020 edition.

They’re trying to kill the Postal Service so they can privatize it.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: China & Uighurs.

The Cancel Culture Debate.

Methane is mysteriously leaking from the sea floor in Antarctica, edging global heating to a point of no return.

The Truth About Micromanagers.

People who like embarrassing or angering others find social media more addictive.

Violin Makers’ Dark Future.

Patriotic Millionaires.

The Lincoln Project ads: How It Starts and Trumpfeld and The Wall and New.

The No Cars Experiment.

Why You Should Travel Without a Smartphone.

The Sisyphean Quest to Bring Back Discontinued Foods.

An Oral History of Big Mouth Billy Bass.

How the Ice Cream Truck Made Summer Cool.

I am spiritually Finnish.

Actor John Saxon, RIP.

Gone With the Wind’ star Olivia de Havilland dies at 104.

The sons and daughters of John Wayne, John Lennon, Caitlyn Jenner, and others tell what it was like to grow up with a world-famous dad .

Rotten Tomatoes: 100 Worst Movies Of All Time. I’ve seen zero of them, FWIW.

Race

Rep. John Lewis wasn’t seen as a hero from the beginning — and there’s a lesson in that. Plus Barack Obama delivers his eulogy.

A new word in my vocab: misogynoir, where racism and sexism meet.

The health disparities of systemic racism.

ERIC Crow, Jim Crow’s liberal twin.

Peggy Shepard is Featured in CBS Environmental Racism Story.

I’ve not read it. Thoughts? Robin DiAngelo’s best-seller White Fragility is a book about how to make certain educated white readers feel better about themselves.

Characteristics of white supremacy culture and, from NPR: White supremacist ideas have historical roots in U.S. Christianity.

“I Have Struggled”: Black TV Journalists Talk George Floyd Coverage, Industry Diversity.

Calling on the Ancestors: The Gift of Ralph Ellison.

Now I Know

The Post Office That’s Underwater and The Cheeseburger on Ice and When Video Games Go Bitter and International Wallyball and When Bread Breaks Arms and The Politician Who Went to Prison.

COVID
Confirmed Cases.
Confirmed Cases. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 3.0 Unported License

Health care executives fear public distrust of vaccine will lead to the continued spread of disease.

John Oliver on coronavirus conspiracy theories, and related, The True True Truth.

Inside His Failure: The Rush to Abandon Leadership Role on the Virus.

DeVos’s Plan to Reopen Schools Hides a Sinister Agenda and Back to School.

We’ve Reached Peak Libertarianism — And It’s Literally Killing Us.

Buddy, first dog to test positive for COVID-19 in the U.S., has died.

How to make masks that everyone will want to wear.

Why Pandemic First Dates Are Better and We Found Love in a Hopeless Place.

Gee, Anthony Fauci -Randy Rainbow.

MUSIC

Lincoln Center version of Carousel starring Kelli O’Hara and Nathan Gunn available until 8 PM ET on September 8.

Rebecca Jade! Live From The Merc with Peter Sprague (7/26) and Home Made, Part 4 (7/25).

Everybody Cries – Rita Wilson, from “The Outpost”.

The Battle of Manassas, by Blind Tom Wiggins.

How Can I Keep from Singing – NYC Virtual Choir and Orchestra.

Fantasy Variations by Ulysses Simpson Kay.

A rock concert of 1,000 performers.

Coverville 1317: Cover Stories for Beck and Jack White and 1318: The Slash Cover Story.

If the world was ending – JP Saxe.

Hamilton Cast Tribute To The 40th Anniversary of A Chorus Line (2015).

Longest Time (Quarantine Edition) – Phoenix Chamber Choir.

Jumpin’ Jive – Cab Calloway with the Nicholas Brothers number from Stormy Weather.

Lean on Me – Bill Withers (live).

K-Chuck Radio: Order in the Court”.

“BIG DADDY…STRANDED IN THE JUNGLE” to ten (audio version) episodes!

Essentially v. for all intents and purposes

lie/lay/lain; lay/laid/laid

For All IntentsOne of my Facebook friends, a guy in my neighborhood, posted the graphic above. I’d never seen “supposably,” though I suppose I might have heard it.

But I’m fascinated by “for all intents and purposes.” Why would one say that at all these days, when you could use “essentially” or “in effect”? Let’s go to the dictionary.

“In a 1546 Act of Parliament, the phrase ‘to all intents, constructions, and purposes’ was used to convey that King Henry VIII had unlimited power to interpret laws. Apparently, the people of England took a liking to the phrase—just not the ‘constructions’ part.

“Thereafter, the phrase began appearing in legal documents and other writings in forms such as ‘to all intents’ and ‘to all intents and purposes.’ Nowadays, the latter phrase has survived—chiefly in British English—and ‘for all intents and purposes’ was popularized in American English.”

So it’s an American variation on a British Parliament concession to a monarch’s overreach of power. Got it.

“It is often mistaken as ‘for all intensive purposes’ because when spoken aloud these two phrases sound very similar. These mistakes, where incorrect words and phrases are replaced but the meaning remains the same, are known as eggcorns.”

I’d come up with my own intentional eggcorns for this phrase, just for fun. “For all in tents and porpoises,”, e.g.

As for the others

Regardless Of What You Think, ‘Irregardless’ Is A Word. That was the title of an article just this month. So irregardless, something I say intentionally as a joke to my wife, is a word. Even before the designation, it was always “a word.” Just not a very good one.

Certain phrases I just avoid. “I could care less” is one. This and the “expresso/espresso” bit both show up in Weird Al’s Word Crimes.

Googling pacifically, I found I Love My 30s, a bit from Gina Brillon: Pacifically Speaking. My spellcheck doesn’t even complain.

“I seen it” is something that I usually hear in extemporaneous speech, and it doesn’t distress me. “I’ve seen it” is what they meant, right?

Did you know that upmost is a variant of uppermost, meaning “highest in location, farthest up”? “My office is on the upmost/uppermost floor of the building.” Whereas of upmost importance suggests “highest” in a non-physical sense.

Finally, the lie/lay thing is nuts. The past tense of lie is lay. The past tense of lay is laid, which is also its past participle. Now the past participle of lie is lain, which almost no one uses at all. Let’s call the whole thing off.

Philip Schuyler: Hero, enslaver, statue

When you fly a flag, it has meaning.

Philip SchuylerThe folks at my church had a healthy conversation about Confederate monuments, and similar symbols last week. On ZOOM, of course. Here’s a pretty thorough assessment of the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, VA. There are the whole point of Confederate monuments.

I love the issue of the Confederate statues and flags. There’s no ambiguity for me. My problem with the Confederate flag being removed from the Mississippi state flag is that it’s taken too long.

Frankly, I was unaware that military bases bore the names of Confederate traitors. Many veterans, military families, military leaders, and service people have called for the names to be changed. The Tweeter-in-Chief declared “I don’t care what the military says.”

But the discussion brought up two other angles that are more nuanced.

P-Schuy

One is happening right in my city. The Philip Schuyler statue is to be removed from downtown Albany.

You fans of the musical Hamilton might be familiar with the man. He was Alexander Hamilton’s father-in-law, the father of Elizabeth, and 14 others.

Philip Schuyler was “reportedly the largest owner of enslaved people in Albany during his time.” But he also was a hero of the Battle of Saratoga. The Revolutionary War might have ended in another way without his leadership.

What will happen to the statue? One choice is to move it to the Schuyler Mansion right in Albany, where the proper historic context might be provided. Perhaps the State Museum, also in the city. Schuylerville’s mayor is lobbying to take possession of the 9½-foot (3-meter) bronze statue. The village is 45 miles to the north.

Separate from politics, removing the statue will possibly provide a much better traffic flow at that location. That junction is reliably dangerous for pedestrians in particular.

Is that all there is?

A broader question involves statues vs. systemic change. How much of a difference does tearing down monuments really make?. The Washington NFL team is changing its long-criticized mascot, for instance. “Symbols can be an easy out for powerful institutions still resistant to undoing systemic inequalities. But taken as a whole… the growing collection of fallen symbols is a sign of true progress, an early victory in what will be a long fight for fundamental change.”

Now, “at the national level, little progress has been made so far on sweeping policy reforms that would bring criminal justice, economic, health, and educational systems in line with protesters’ demands.” Of course, symbolic change is comparatively easy. Systemic change is hard, in part because it’s more difficult to agree on how to facilitate it.

Jack Kirby: The Epic Life… by Tom Scioli

Jacob Kurtzberg was born on August 28, 1917

Jack KirbyAs someone who has become bit of a Jack Kirby affectionado, I needed to write a review of a new book about him.

Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics is a biography, or perhaps a 200-page graphic novel, by the guy who co-created Captain America, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and many more superhero favorites.

It was scripted from various Kirby interviews. Tom Sciofi, an Eisner-nominated comics creator, with whom I wasn’t familiar, wrote and drew the story. It is VERY thoroughly researched, including a bibliography. Scioli’s one affection is to draw Jack in a more cartoony style, and shorter than almost everyone else.

Jacob Kurtzberg was born on August 28, 1917, in the Lower East Side of New York City. His tough upbringing during the Great Depression and his love of science fiction would inform much of his work. He tried a number of pseudonyms, some simultaneously, before settling on Jack Kirby.

His service in the European Theater in World War II was some of the more harrowing segments in the narrative, something I had only been vaguely aware of.

Neither cash or credit

Jack was not only very talented but prolific. But he wasn’t, by most accounts, very good on the business side of things. Generally, the comic book industry and the companies Kirby helped to thrive did not treat him well.

One four-star review in Amazon complained that the Sciofi narrative was not always “fair” to the other side. To that I say, I don’t care. Put a different way, “Just as every great superhero needs a villain to overcome, Kirby’s story also includes his struggles to receive the recognition and compensation that he believed his work deserved.”

I was quite fond of the handful of segments in the book when Jack’s wife, Roz, drove the narrative.

Here is an eleven-page excerpt. Also, an interview announcing Tom Scioli’s then-forthcoming graphic novel.

If you don’t know Kirby’s story, you really ought to pick up this book. If you’re a Jack expert, I think you’ll likely enjoy the telling of the tale.

JEOPARDY! withdrawal syndrome

Alex Trebek’s memoir

Alex TrebekIt appears I must be going through JEOPARDY! withdrawal. For the past several years, the game show would air for 46 weeks. There would be six weeks off, in late July and August, during which they’d rerun the Tournament of Champions and/or other highlights.

But because of the coronavirus, the season ended early. Even before the last show, which aired June 12, they reran the Greatest of All Time tournament in early May that had aired on ABC primetime back in January.

Now what? The JEOPARDY folks have gone into the vaults to show, among other things, the first two episodes from 1984. Game #1, airing September 10 showed Greg Hopkins, an energy demonstrator from Waverly, Ohio, with an insurmountable lead after Double JEOPARDY. Greg had $8,100, Lois $3,800, and Frank $2,500.

After everyone got the HOLIDAYS question correctly. “The third Monday of January starting in 1986.” Frank’s wager was revealed: $300, a quite rational choice. Anything up to $499 made sense. But Alex said to Greg about his wager, “Chicken!” BTW, the question, “What was Martin Luther King Day?”

Guess what? The episode was a hit!

On the second day

Game #2 pitted Greg against two players that caused Alex to ask if the information cards were switched. Yes, Paul WAS a registered nurse. Lynne WAS a carpenter because she was good at it and made money. Alex learned to curb his assumptions, at least openly, somewhat over the years.

Paul went into Final JEOPARDY with $1,100, Lynne with $5,000, and Greg with a not quite insurmountable lead at $9,500. In the category THE CALENDAR, “Calendar date with which the 20th century began.” Paul wrote, “What was Jan 1, 1900?” WRONG. He had bet it all. Lynne also answered incorrectly and had also gone all in. Greg, as we now understand the game’s wagering, really only needed to bet $501. If Lynne had gotten it right and Greg got it right, he’d win. If they both missed it, with a conservative wager, Greg still wins.

Greg gave the same response as his opponents. And bet the whole $9,500. I have to wonder if Trebek’s “chicken” comment affected his wagering. Alex said, “Oh, boy. What… I’m at a loss for words in a situation like this. {Whistles}. Hey folks, easy come, easy go.” Audience members joined in with the “easy go” part. “Because all of our contestants wound up with nothing, we have consolation prizes for each of them.” Paul got an exercise machine. Greg and Lynne each received a range and cookware.

“Tomorrow on JEOPARDY, we’ll be bringing in three new players to play the game.” As Alex was about to sign off, voices from offscreen yelled, “The answer!” Trebek replied, “You mean, ‘What is the QUESTION?’ The question is: What is January 1, 1901?”

There have been only a handful of games with three players at zero, which includes some players not even making the Final because their score was zero or below.

The answer is

Unsurprisingly, on these episodes there were ads for The Answer Is, Alex Trebek’s memoir. It has reviewed well. The audiobook is read by Trebek and Ken Jennings. Maybe Ken WILL succeed Alex?

Back in April, Sarah Jett Rayburn, a returning champion, decided to explain her incorrect answer in Final JEOPARDY to Alex. I thought it was goofily endearing.

Finally, Alden Shoe Company sues Bianca de la Garza for $15 million. “Lawsuit alleges former Alden CFO Richard Hajjar embezzled funds and funneled them into the TV personality’s television and beauty companies.” I note this only because de la Garza, then a reporter for WTEN in Albany, interviewed me in the moments before I appeared on JEOPARDY in 1998.

Hey, if you ever see ads for the reruns for “first regular JEOPARDY shows recorded outside of the studio” or “first shows filmed in Boston,” please let me know! I may have a vague interest in them.

R.I.P., Regis

Regis Philbin died recently. I watched Who Wants To Be A Millionaire a couple of decades back religiously. And just a couple months ago, I saw Reege pass the mantle to Jimmy Kimmel on the celebrity edition.