January rambling: dn ǝpᴉs ʇɥƃᴉɹ


The UN Security Council’s Counterterrorism Committee says there’s been a 320 percent increase in right-wing terrorism globally in the five years prior to 2020.

Confronting Two Crises: The COVID-19 Pandemic, the Opioid Epidemic, and the IH by Jonathan Rosen and Peter Harnett.

Martin Luther King Jr. Defended Democracy Against Racism and So Must We.

Martin Luther King Jr. and Muhammad Ali’s Surprising Secret Friendship.

The Quest to Unearth One of America’s Oldest Black Churches. First Baptist Church was founded in secret in 1776. It’s been hidden under a parking lot in Colonial Williamsburg for decades—a metaphor for the failures of archaeology and American history.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom draws a direct line from the Bible to the blues.

Why Do People Keep Going to Church? — Even during a pandemic, it’s important to realize why worship is essential.

Lost touch: how a year without hugs affects our mental health

The Sycamore Tree – John Green.

There’s a right and wrong way to be bored.

The Happiness Project: Finding Joy in Tough Times.

NOVA  – Secrets in our DNA.

From https://wronghands1.com/2021/01/08/parts-of-the-skeleton-in-the-closet/

Wikipedia at 20: last gasp of an internet vision, or a beacon to a better future?

The Orwellian Misuse of Orwellian.

JEOPARDY!: Ken Jennings Get Trolled by a Recent Contestant and the Guest Hosts Scheduled in 2021 So Far.

The Hollywood Con Queen Who Scammed Aspiring Stars Out of Hundreds of Thousands.

The best Gibson guitars were made by the ‘Kalamazoo Gals’.

Now I Know: The Imagination Library and The Blessing of Overpriced  Orange Juice and A Bridge With Some Firepower and The Bridge That’ll Flip You and Why Harriet and Duncan Weren’t Allowed in Iceland and The Internet Scammer Who Won.

What makes for a good flag!

dn ǝpᴉs ʇɥƃᴉɹ, created by the upsidedown text site.


One Last Trump Dump, all of the folks he insulted on Twitter; why it’s clear Biden won; his campaign promise tally; the full list of the last-minute pardons; and more

Chomsky: Coup Attempt Hit Closer to Centers of Power Than Hitler’s 1923 Putsch.

Ameristan: Did He Bring the War Home?

Republican House members who voted for impeachment: Liz Cheney (WY), Anthony Gonzalez (OH), Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA), John Katko (NY), Adam Kinzinger (IL), Peter Meijer (MI), Dan Newhouse (WA), Tom Rice (SC), Fred Upton (MI), David Valadao (CA)

US Reaches Grim Milestone of 400K COVID Deaths.

Never Happens Here – Lincoln Project.

Jaquandor: Dear 45.

Cartoon: The end of an error.

Yes, He Can Be Convicted by the Senate After January 20.


Seasons of Trump – Randy Rainbow.

With a Song in Her Heart – Laura Benanti as Melania.

One Day More  – James Corden.

Bye Bye Bloatus – Rufus Wainwright.

K-Chuck Radio: Some 45s  for 45

Right side up!

Transcript of Amanda Gorman’s inaugural poem

Joe Biden: “We Must End This Uncivil War”

Executive Order on Ensuring a Lawful and Accurate Enumeration and Apportionment Pursuant to the Decennial Census

Executive Order: 1776 commission rescinded.

I watched this year for Nigel.  

Enjoy the world’s greatest palindrome: 1 20 2021


I Need You – Jon Batiste.

Fanfare on Amazing Grace composed by Adolphus Hailstork.

A Musical  from Something’s Rotten.

I Say A Little Prayer – H.E.R.

Coverville 1342: The Madness Cover Story II and 1343: The Motels and Sam Cooke Cover Stories.

Close To You – MonaLisa Twins.

Seasons of Love – Broadway stars.

Musician Phil Collins turns 70

That guy from the band Genesis

Phil CollinsAmong all the “cool,” snarky kids writing about the “bad” music of the 1980s, the oeuvre of Phil Collins often shows up. In The Worst Rock ‘n Roll Records of All Time (1991), Collins appears with Paul McCartney and Duran Duran as one of the worst artists. Only Billy Joel fared worse. There are lots of truly horrific artists in the decade. Yet Phil bashing became de rigeur.

More recently, there’s some nastiness in the press from his ex and her new spouse, shut down by a judge. And she may be on one of those Real Housewives show. REALLY Don’t Care.

I must admit that I was oblivious to the drummer back in the Peter Gabriel era of Genesis. It wasn’t until he became the lead singer of the band that I knew his name. While there are songs of his I wasn’t that fond of, there are a few I like, and one (the obvious, last one) I love.

That’s All – Genesis. It feels Beatlesque, which was its intent, I read.

I Wish It Would Rain Down  – Phil Collins. “Phil’s immaculate vocals, Clapton’s flawless lead guitar, Pino Palladino’s legendary fretless bass, and Chester Thompson’s super tight drums.”

 Land of Confusion  – Genesis. Over the top political puppetry.

Follow You Follow Me – Genesis. A sweet love song.

Tonight, Tonight, Tonight – Genesis. I like the description of the video: “electronic drums and ethereal synthesizers… stir in some stark, scary lyrics about scoring dope… and—voilà!—you’ve got yourself the ’80s! Er, well…you know, one facet of the ’80s anyway.”

Jesus He Knows Me – Genesis. This hits on my fascination with songs that show religiosity in an unfavorable light.


Another Day In Paradise  – Phil Collins. Wikipedia notes that his character “observes a man crossing the street to ignore a homeless woman, and he implores listeners not to turn a blind eye to homelessness.”

Misunderstanding – Genesis. A bluesy summertime vibe.

Take Me Home  – Phil Collins. Is this based on the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest? Features Sting and Peter Gabriel.

Turn It On Again – Genesis. “The verse/chorus sections alternate time signatures, 6/4 to 74 (13/4), while the intro and bridge sections are in 4/4 and 5/4 (9/4).”

The Roof Is Leaking – Phil Collins. “Delta blues and country elements.”

In The Air Tonight – Phil Collins. He “wrote the song amid the grief he felt after divorcing his first wife Andrea Bertorelli in 1980. In a 2016 interview, Collins said: ‘”I wrote the lyrics spontaneously. I’m not quite sure what the song is about, but there’s a lot of anger, a lot of despair and a lot of frustration…'” Feelings I can relate to.

“While recording ‘Intruder’ for his former bandmate Peter Gabriel’s third solo album, at some point Collins started playing the drums while the reverse talkback was activated. Engineer Hugh Padgham was amazed at the sound achieved.” I love Intruder, and that album is on my desert album list.

“In 1984, the song was memorably used in a scene from the first episode of the television series Miami Vice,” which I watched. Phil Collins hit a then-president with a cease and desist order after his people played the song at one of his rallies in October 2020.

From January 6 to competence

Boring is a good thing.

Jen PsakiThe Saturday night after the inauguration, I decided to view some recordings of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. I had watched the January 3 episode, which ended with Amanda Peet in the middle of a game. Since it recorded automatically, I didn’t notice that there were three episodes on January 6. Well, ostensibly.

As it turned out, there was no Millionaire airing that night, but rather three hours of ABC News’ coverage of the siege on the US Capitol. Seeing this news from only 18 days earlier felt almost otherworldly. January 6 seems simultaneously so current – troops are still locking down DC – and in the horrible past. I can’t explain it.

Even then, several of the network reporters indicated how race played a role in the assault. Martha Raddatz compared the armed camp that was summer 2020 DC, where she felt safe with the cocoon of soldiers with concern for her safety in the initial hours of the siege. (She talked about it on The View on January 7.)

It’s not that we’re past January 6. Far from it. But I’m feeling…IDK..less stressed. I haven’t asked my wife if we’ve invaded Iran in over a week, something I feared greatly as recently as January 19.

My TV is even happy

I am really thrilled with catching the CBS This Morning eye-opener and not wanting to curse at my TV set. A recent Boston Globe headline: ‘Boring is a good thing’: A day in post-Trump Washington.

Watching Jen Psaki conduct White House press conferences is like viewing competence. That’s defined as “They know what they’re doing, they know their jobs, and they work to get the job done. Which isn’t to say that there aren’t complications!”

I haven’t become Pollyannic about what the next four years will look like. We’ll have to deal with many of the same problems that we’ve encountered in 2020, not the least of which is COVID. But I feel…dare I say it?… hopeful about the future, and that hasn’t often been the case.

Movie review: Sound of Metal


Sound of MetalSound of Metal is a movie in three acts. The first section involved punk-metal drummer Ruben (Riz Ahmed) playing a series of one-night gigs. He’s crossing the country with his bandmate and girlfriend Lou (Olivia Cooke) in their Airstream vehicle.

Darius starts experiencing severe hearing loss. A doctor tells him that his condition will rapidly worsen, especially if he continues to perform. What is a musician if he can’t hear? Lou rightly fears that this trauma will destroy his four-year record of sobriety.

In Act 2, Lou checks the reluctant Ruben into a secluded sober house for the deaf. The hope is that he will learn to adapt to his new situation. The place is run by a no-BS fellow addict and Vietnam vet named Joe (Paul Raci). He is welcomed into the community, and in fact, makes some strides with signing and teaching drumming to deaf children, generally fitting in.

In the final section, Ruben chooses between his old life and his new one.

Based on…

The movie was based on an unfinished 2009 project by director Derek Cianfrance called Metalhead, based on a drummer who actually did blow his ears out and had to adapt to silence. First-time director Darius Marder received Cianfrance’s blessing to complete it.

The Sound of Metal succeeds because it rings true. As this Den of Geek article explains, Marder required Ahmad to learn to play the drums for real, “without resorting to cutaway shots or using another drummer’s hands or feet for the close-ups.

“The actors would also perform live at a real-life club (the Middle East in Cambridge, Massachusetts) in front of a real audience of, as Marder puts it, ‘actual music lovers that are specific to this subset of music..’ His plan was to make the music sequences ‘impossible to fake.'”

More impressive was Ahmed’s “living with deafness and becoming part of the deaf community.” Early in that section of the film, folks at the house were signing to each other. The character Ruben at that point hadn’t learned American Sign Language and was baffled by what was going on. And so was the movie viewer.

Marder also used “startling, innovative sound design techniques” to “vividly recreate his journey into a rarely examined world.”

“Another crucial piece of the puzzle was finding an actor to play Joe… ‘Finding Paul [Raci] was really hard,’ reveals Marder.  ‘Not only is he a two-time Vietnam War veteran and has dealt with addiction and taught deaf AA groups, but the man’s been acting for 30 years.'”

Adding to the verisimilitude of Sound of Metal was the deaf teacher Diane, played by Lauren Ridloff. She was a former teacher, and the-then Lauren Teruel was a former Miss Deaf America (2000 – 2002).

The critics liked the movie, giving it a 97% positive rating. The audience agreed, with 89% positive responses. Rotten Tomatoes said it was the 47th best film this past year. I watched it on Amazon Prime., and was very impressed, especially with the middle section.

Holocaust Remembrance Day

National Archives

Holocaust Remembrance DayInternational Holocaust Remembrance Day is a memorial day designated by the United Nations to mark the anniversary of the January 27, 1945 liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration and death camp.

“The National Archives is the international epicenter of Holocaust-related research. NARA holds millions of records created or received by the U.S. Government during and after World War II that document Nazi war crimes, wartime refugee issues, and activities and investigations of U.S. Government agencies involved in the identification and recovery of looted assets (including gold, art, and cultural property)—as well as captured German records used as evidence at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunals.”

So I was… appalled is far too weak a word… when I saw one of the January 6 insurrectionists. He was wearing a Camp Auschwitz T-shirt. Did he not know the awful history of the place? Or did he approve of it?

“By the end of World War II, the Holocaust had claimed the lives of over 6 million Jewish people—nearly two out of every three in Europe.” Was he a Holocaust denier? If he believed the Big Lie about the “stolen election,” maybe he had drunk that Lool-Aid too.


I no longer remember the first time I watched a film of emaciated people walking out of the camps. It was at least half a lifetime ago. The survivors reminded me of sentient skeletons. Seeing them on film was far more awful than looking at still photos.

With the clear growth of a white supremacist movement in the United States and elsewhere, perhaps you should view Investigating the Holocaust. It is a series of short videos that “trace the history of the Nazi Party from its inception through World War II… The videos feature original film footage used as evidence by the International Military Tribunal at the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg, Germany — the most famous courtroom drama in modern times, and the first to make extensive use of film as evidence.

“The FDR Presidential Library and Museum has also produced an accompanying Curriculum Guide to introduce students to the Holocaust through historical materials drawn from the FDR Library’s archives and the recently remastered documentary, ‘ Nuremberg: Its Lesson for Today.'”

Also, check out the ADL website.


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