Dec rambling: Year in the Wilderness

“What in God’s Name are You Doing?”

Tales of the Unelected
Courtesy of Rich Ragsdale –

For Calling the Spirit Back from Wandering the Earth in Its Human Feet by  Joy Harjo (1951- ).

Beware of Bad Faith.

The untold story of how the Golden State Killer was found: A covert operation and private DNA.

Ken Levine, who used to write for CHEERS: I no longer find Cliff Clavin funny.

Race Car Crash From Hell—and the Science That Saved Its Drive.

R.I.P., Ann Reinking.

She’s from Schenectady. Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer  Becomes Winningest Coach in Women’s Basketball History.

What If You Could Do It All Over?

President Obama – Inspiring Future Leaders and “A Promised Land” | The Daily Social Distancing Show.

America’s Capital of Dead Vice-Presidents.

My Name Is Roscoe: The Life and Legacy of “Fatty” Arbuckle.

On Jeff Smith, problematic people, food, and memory.

Lethologica: When a word’s on the tip of your tongue.

Forgive Me, For I Have Sinned … Against the English Language.

Toledo Zoo’s Tasmanian Devils are biofluorescent.

Of Breakfast Cereals and Cults.

Texas Wedding Photographers Have Seen Some $#!+”

Now I Know: The Strange Brick Circles of San Francisco and The Programmer That Couldn’t Quit and The Man Who Was Dying to Be an Actor and The Hair-Raising Stunt That Scored a Secret Touchdown and Why Your Ice Cubes are White.

Ask Arthur Anything (I did): Surgery as a teenager and Same as it never was.


The Year in the Wilderness. Despair too is contagious. We share it as we shed a spore.

Pew Research: 20 striking findings.

The 50 Most Popular Names for Dogs.

What the U.S. searched for.

J Eric Smith: Best of My Web. And [blushes] I’m on his list.

Race in America

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Pregnancy-Related Deaths.

Dr. Camara Jones Explains the  Cliff of Good Health.

Sheet from the American Psychological Association exploring the compounding impact of socioeconomic status and race on health.

Hear the story of Henrietta Lacks, an African American woman whose cells have been used to test the effects of radiation and poisons, to study the human genome, to learn more about how viruses work, and played a crucial role in the development of the polio vaccine.

IMPOTUS – three more weeks!

A Christian asks Christian Trumpers: “What in God’s Name are You Doing?”

Executions Will Be Most of Any President in Over a Century.

Spends Final Days Plotting Revenge Against His Enemies and Pardons for Everyone Else

A Shockingly Long List of His Controversial Pardons. Maybe He ‘Could Be Prosecuted for Bribery’?

Shares Video Suggesting COVID Pandemic Created to Make Him Look Bad, Lose Election.

He Leaves the U.S. Severely Compromised By Massive Russian Hack.

Mar-a-Lago Neighbors Are Trying to Block His Return.

The real reason he is so upset

Pence Blurts Out The Real Reason Why Republicans Hate Democrats.

The loathsome  Stephen Miller, The Frankenstein of Santa Monica.


Rudolph the Leaky Lawyer – Randy Rainbow

WE ARE · Jon Batiste · St. Augustine High School Marching 100 · David Gauthier · Gospel Soul Children Choir · Craig Adams · Braedon Gautier · Brennan Gautier · Autumn Rowe

Joel Ross’ Being a Young Black Man, Live @ The Jazz Gallery.

Johnathan Blake’s My Life Matters, Live @ The Jazz Gallery.

Kiss An Angel Good Mornin’ – Charlie Pride.

Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto no. 1 – Maestro Mehta’s 80th birthday – Khatia Buniatishvili.

Coverville 1337: Paul Westerberg and The Replacements Cover Story.

The theme song from The Flintstones – Jacob Collier.

K-Chuck Radio: It’s all in Whodini’s wand

2020 music mashups here and here

Come Together -The Beatles.

Alec Baldwin interviews  Paul McCartney on John Lennon’s 80th birthday.


 Cello Sonata no. 5

Music for the play The Ruins of Athens

The Piano Concertos 1 and 2

Wellington’s Victory

Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67.

This Night – Billy Joel.

Niece Alexandria is having a birthday

the middle Green cousin


My second niece is having a birthday today. Alexandria is the daughter of my sister Marcia.

I remember quite well the first time I met her. She was about six months old and we were at a wedding reception for a cousin of ours. (We managed to miss the wedding – long story…) Anyway, I got to hold her and she began crying. Marcia insists that it was because her shoes were too tight. I chose to believe that narrative.

One time when she was five or six, I had purchased this reversible outfit at an Albany event and then brought it down to Charlotte. It was a hit with her and her mother, and she got two or three seasons out of it. All right! I lucked out.

One of my favorite times with her was when she came up to Albany. Downtown, there was a series of temporary statutes. I know I took a ton of pictures with her interacting with these faux people. They are in this house, somewhere.

She was extremely helpful to Marcia in caring for my mother, particularly in mom’s difficult later years.


Alexandria had been working in a fast-food chain for a number of years, working her way up to a manager. So she has some great interpersonal and organizational skills. The thing is, middle managers in many jobs get the short end of the stick. Salaried employees get called on to show up when someone else fails to show up.

She has a new job this fall in distribution, and she seems to like it so far. It’s certainly far less stressful than her previous gig, as far as I can tell.

Of the three Green cousins, Alexandria is the middle one. She’s younger than Rebecca by about the same number of years as she’s older than my daughter. I’ve seen what a great older cousin RJ is to Alex, and Alex is to LPG. Alex would work on my daughter’s hair and patiently play dress up for hours.

Happy natal day, niece Alexandria. I love you.

Movie on ZOOM review: Radium Girls

poisoning from painting watch dials

Radium GirlsIn early December, I got to see the 2018 movie  Radium Girls. It had screened at the Tribeca Film Festival back when it was first made. An April 2020 cinema release date had been scheduled, then postponed because of COVID.

In the fall of 2020, the movie was offered in a few theaters. I managed to see it in a showing co-sponsored by the Coalition of Labor Union Women. And following the film was a question and answers with directors Lydia Dean Pilcher and Ginny Mohler.

Watching a movie on Zoom has its problems. Among other things, this one began with the sound that was off for several minutes before the film was restarted.

It is an intriguing storyline. “In the 1920s, a group of female factory workers advocates for safer work conditions after some of their colleagues become ill from radium exposure.”

From Wikipedia: They contracted “radiation poisoning from painting watch dials with self-luminous paint. The painting was done by women at three different United States Radium factories.” The one in Orange, New Jersey was highlighted in the film.

“The women in each facility had been told the paint was harmless.” They “subsequently ingested deadly amounts of radium after being instructed to ‘point’ their brushes on their lips in order to give them a fine tip.” Given the lengthy number of reports about the case, I was surprised that I had never heard about this story until the film.

The verdict

As for the film: it was…pretty good. I wanted to love it, I suppose. I must agree with much of the criticism that was leveled at the small-budget project. “The anger inspired by what happened to these women is invigorating, but that fury is rarely felt from what Radium Girls offers as a cinematic experience.” That’s what Roxana Hadadi from wrote.

And yet, I will still recommend it. The actors, and especially Joey King, are quite good. Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter writes: “The film fulfills a vital function with its dramatization of an important chapter in America’s history of labor reform.”

So if the plot leading to the trial is a bit threadbare and contrived, I’m still glad I watched Radium Girls. The narrative is, unfortunately, still relevant when some industries are “rolling back protections for workers” a century after the events portrayed in the movie.

People in the Capital District will recognize recently-retired news anchor Jim Kambrich in the small but pivotal role of a judge.

You can watch Radium Girls for $12 here.

Ken Jennings: interim JEOPARDY! host

following Trebek

Ken JenningsIt’s time to start answering those Ask Roger Anything questions. You may still pose queries to me. My friend Mary asked:
How long will Ken Jennings last as the ‘interim’ host on Jeopardy?

You put “interim” in quotes, I see. I have no reason to disbelieve SONY regarding the announcement. “The show announced [November 23] that it will resume production on Monday, Nov. 30. Though a long-term replacement host will not be named at this time, Jeopardy! will return to the studio with a series of interim guest hosts from within the Jeopardy! family, starting with Ken Jennings.”

“Within the Jeopardy family?” That would suggest a former champion or a member of the Crew Clue, or maybe whoever the warm-up host is. Or perhaps someone from ABC? The Jennings episodes will start on January 11. The Trebek episodes were supposed to end on Christmas Day, but the show offered up a couple of weeks of reruns so that Alex episodes wouldn’t be preempted by Christmas Day basketball or New Years’ football.

You may have noticed that Jennings, James Holzhauer, and Brad Rutter will appear on a U.S. adaptation of The Chase. It has been “a British show where contestants face off against trivia masters.” It’s scheduled to air for nine weeks starting in early January.

Name of the game

The upcoming show is part of ABC’s efforts to move deeper into that genre. “Nearly 15 million viewers tuned in to the network for each episode of the ‘Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time” tournament, putting it on a level with the 2019 NBA finals and the 2019 World Series.”

ABC has gone to the game show format heavily for the past several summers, with shows such as To Tell the Truth, Celebrity Family Feud, Press Your Luck, and Match Game. Who Wants To Be a Millionaire is currently airing.

Game shows are cheap, compared with scripted shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, and it’s simpler to follow COVID social distancing protocols. Grey’s, BTW, showed only six episodes so far this season and won’t be back until March 4.

But to your question, I have to think they’d need to give Ken Jennings a minimum of four weeks. After all, the show tapes a whole week’s episodes in one day. Even Jennings, who’s been made a consulting producer, and has been at a player podium about 100 times, will be nervous. It’ll be difficult for anyone to be The One Who Follows Alex Trebek.

When Kathie Lee Gifford left Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, they had an extensive audition period. Ditto Kelly Ripa auditioning Regis’ replacement on the morning show. Still, I imagine the producers would want a permanent host by the time the new season begins.

Minced Oaths

Somewhat off-topic, I loved the category MINCED OATHS category on the JEOPARDY! episode of the show that aired on December 17.

$400: There were 6 British kings named this, but saying “By” him actually meant “By God”.

$800: This “sticky” oath, a variant of “damnation”, goes back to 1790 and may be derived from “eternal”.

$1200: This, also the surname of a prolific 19th c. British author, was sometimes substituted for “devil” in oaths.

$1600: Instead of referencing the almighty’s son, this rhyming phrase with the same initial letters was used.

$2000: On St. Patrick’s Day, you might hear someone exclaim “Faith and” this word meaning “by God”.

I think I enjoyed it because, while I knew all of the terms, I’d never thought about the derivations. Well, except for the $1600 clue. Some folks in my past thought even this substitution was inappropriate because it was still supposedly taking the Lord’s name in vain.

Of course, these were also people who thought saying, “Oh, sugar” was vulgar because it was presumably a substitute for defecation.

Anyway, the answers: George; tarnation; dickens; jeepers creepers; and Begorra, which no one got correct.

Odd dreams, because it’s 2020

too cryptic

Like a lot of people, I have been having odd dreams, disturbing dreams.

Back in August:

Guys are leaving a comic book or fantasy convention. Someone, an older guy, gets shot in the back. The next day, the protagonist is outdoors, running to the car. But because the driver is fearful of another assault, the protagonist is hanging outside of the car onto the rolled-down driver’s side window. There are roadblocks all over the city.

More recently

A group of maybe 50 people in an assembly hall at a meeting to reorganize a committee of some sort. I am sitting on a bench to the left of the podium. The speaker is talking about the history of the previous entity. She said, “It fell apart because of HIM.” And she points to me, and there’s a spotlight on me. But I wasn’t upset because I knew she was correct. And there was even a smattering of applause for me.

ALSO: I was on a side road off a paved country road. Someone in my group decided to walk up to the main road to pick up a pizza. After he left, a Trailways bus parked near me. The driver said to me that he was stopping because flooding on that main road was imminent.

ALSO: My late friend Norm and his wife were running a very nice diner. Great prices, great service. The cans of soda were only fifty cents each. But there was no location for the kitchen, so where did the prepared food come from?

ALSO: I’m a part of a team trying to ascertain criminal behavior. The premise is that we can more easily manipulate males who aren’t first-born or onlies into doing something illegal. We’re in this control room watching it all.

There are plenty of others. But my notes, taken when I wake up about 3 a.m., are often too cryptic to discern.

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