Yogi Berra and March madness

Segregated by Design

Yogi BerraA quick Ask Roger Anything response for my old colleague Walter:

Here’s a baseball question for you, Rog. Someone supposedly asked Yogi Berra if he had been to a favorite restaurant lately. His reply was, “ Nobody goes there anymore because it’s too crowded.” Did he really say it?

He did, and repeatedly. But he didn’t say it first.

Per Quote Investigator, a site I recommend; “Berra has stated on multiple occasions that he did make this remark.” But check out a New York newspaper humor column called Sparklets from the December 1907 edition. “Oh, don’t go there on Saturday; it’s so frightfully crowded! Nobody goes there then!”

Yogi Berra was describing a restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Or maybe New York City or St. Louis. The key term might be “popular” or “crowded,” depending on Yogi’s recollection at the time.

BTW, I was very angry when the Yankees fired him as manager when the team lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1964 World Series.

Links

Race in US History: 4 Facts Every American Should Know

Segregated by Design, a 17-minute video narrated by Richard Rothstein explaining the concepts of his book about redlining, The Color of Law.

Colorado’s Boebert Slammed for Invoking God After Mass Shooting Then Fundraising Off Their Deaths.

Prison Laborers Are Paid Pennies to Maintain the Prisons They’re Incarcerated In.

Sen. Raphael Warnock: “Politicians Are Trying To Cherry-pick Their Voters”

 The Radicalization of Kevin Greeson – How one man went from attending President Barack Obama’s inauguration to dying in the mob protesting Donald Trump’s election loss during the Capitol insurrection.

What Makes a Good Conspiracy Theory?

Why you can’t compare Covid-19 vaccines.

Krispy Kreme giving away free donuts for showing vaccination cards.

 Our Taxes Subsidize as Much as 74 Cents of Every Dollar Donated by a Billionaire

Is an Intelligent Cancel Culture Discussion Possible?

 Weeping with WandaVision

Yaphet Kotto, Magnetic Actor With A Long And Varied Career, Dies At 81.

 Marvelous Marvin Hagler, middleweight boxing great, dies at 66.

 JEOPARDY guest hosts so far, including Oz

Masked Singer’s The Snail unmasked.

I Am Tola (short story).

The lost tourist, who thought Maine was San Francisco.

Tadpoles: The Big Little Migration.

Now I Know:   A Unique Way to Get Some Jewelry on the Cheap and Long Distance  Love Birds and  A Wales of a Mistake and  A Fishy Way to Get a Free Meal.

Self-Help

The No-BS Guide to Setting Healthy Boundaries in Real Life and How to Set Healthy Boundaries: 10 Examples + PDF Worksheets.

 How to Deal With Difficult People: 11 Steps.

 Change Your Home to Boost Your Mental Health.

 Eat Healthy on a Budget.

Wash Dishes For Better Brain Health.

Vlogbrothers:  How Will Post Pandemic Behavior Change?

MUSIC

Reworking the ‘Hamilton’ Track to Promote Vaccines. I’m Not Throwing Away My Shot and Not Gonna Delay My Shot! and Parody: Pro-Vax vs Anti-Vax.

Journeys by Linda Robbins Coleman.

Amanda Jones

 Marine Band Showcase.

Coverville 1350: Covers of Bands Born in 1971 and 1351: Alice In Chains Cover Story and Alice in Wonderland.

Sir Eglamore – Kate Rusby

Train In The Distance – Paul Simon.

The Spirituality Of Van Morrison.

In the Mood  – Henhouse Five Plus Two.

Philosophy of the World  – The Shaggs  (full album, 1969). Is this the  WORST  album ever made?

Review – Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm

slack-jawed horror

BoratI did not see Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006). Fortunately, you do not have to have watched the first movie to understand Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm.

The man (Sacha Baron Cohen) is in serious, perhaps lethal, trouble with his home government and the population at large because he showed his country in a bad light with the first film. He has a chance, though, to redeem himself by offering a gift to a famous person.

That idea goes awry. Plan B involves his 15-year-old daughter Sandra (Maria Bakalova) and maybe Mike Pence. It is part of the “Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.”

Borat 2 shows the protagonist as a father who feeds his daughter a bunch of revolting lies about the nature of womanhood. To her credit, in time, she begins questioning them. And ultimately, the developing relationship between them is the most sustaining part of the film.

So THAT is what caused COVID!

But he seems to fit in well with Trump’s 2020 rallies, though even his new buddies question some of Borat’s most outlandish conspiracy theories. So it’s not what I’d call LOL funny stuff. Occasionally tasteless, yes. His anti-Semetic schtick, which he apparently did in the first movie, is gently brought up short here.

I think  David Sims hits on the core of the film in his review in The Atlantic.
It is “Less a Satire Than an Exposé.” “Borat, arguably, starts actually doing his job as a journalist—shining a light on the darkest corners of society and revealing them for what they are. By this point in the film, if you’re laughing, it’s likely in slack-jawed horror.”

The ultimate “cause” of the coronavirus actually makes sense in the context of the film. If this movie doesn’t entirely work for me, maybe it’s because the country has become more of a parody than he is. Yet I don’t regret the hour and a half I spent watching it.

By request, a Facebook meme

Chuck Taylor

bulldogBy request, one of those Facebook memes about high school. “Think about your SENIOR year in High School…if you can remember that long ago!! The longer ago it was, the more fun the answers will be! It only takes 5 minutes, do it!!!” Or don’t. I’m not all that invested.

Incidentally, one of my friends suggested that people ought not to participate in such memes. Nefarious folks might use your information to figure out your password. I think this is a legitimate concern. So for all you bad actors out there: the password for everything I use is Binghamton37. So now you don’t have to look for it. You’re welcome.

1. Did you know your current love? Well, no.
2. Type of car? No idea. I don’t even know what my parents were driving at the time. I have no automotive memory.
3. What kind of job did you have? At some point, I was a page at the local library for seven months.
4. Where did you live? Binghamton, NY, the Parlor City.
5. Were you popular? I suppose so. I was elected president of the student government. But I was never a class notable. I was popular enough among the antiwar crowd, and the music/theater people, I guess.

Thomas J. Clune, choir director

6. Were you in choir or band? Choir and male glee club! I loved glee club. And there are choir songs I can still recall.
7. Ever get suspended? Not exactly. It was more of a severe dressing down.
8. If you could, would you go back? Oh, God, no.
9. Still talk to the person that you went to prom with? Yes, at least once a year.
10. Did you skip school? Not unless it was to go to an antiwar demonstration.

prom

11. Go to all the football games? Some of the home games.
12. Favorite subject? History. It had been math before that year. Intro to Calculus confounded me.
13. Do you still have your yearbook? Yes, though I never got a senior picture.
14. Did you follow your career path? I thought I’d be a lawyer, so no.
15. Do you still have your high school ring? Never bought one.

16. Who was your favorite teacher? Helen Foley, public speaking and theater maven, and mentor to Rod Serling.
17. What was your favorite style? Nerd, before it was cool.
18. Favorite Shoes? Chuck Taylors. Don’t know that I could wear them to school, though.
19. Favorite food? Lasagna.
20. Favorite band? By the time I graduated, the Beatles had broken up and Diana Ross had left the Supremes. Maybe The Rascals?

21. High school hairstyle? I never could do a ‘fro.
22. What favorite perfume? n/a
23. How old when you graduated? I was 17, going on 18.
24. Who do you think will play along and fill this out? I don’t even ask.
25. What high school did you attend? Binghamton Central, which hasn’t existed as an entity since 1982.

 

Movie review: Nomadland

Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

NomadlandHow many movies can I watch on Hulu during the free trial? This is what my movie watching has come to.

Nomadland is about Fern (Frances McDormand), who lived in a Nevada company town. Then the company went bust, and so did the town. Fern, a self-sufficient widow, travels around the country. She’s attracted to the life of the nomadic existence, and the interesting people she meets and sometimes meets again.

The movie is based Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century, a 2017 non-fiction book by American journalist Jessica Bruder. She wrote about “the phenomenon of older Americans who, following the Great Recession, adopted transient lifestyles traveling around the United States in search of seasonal work.”

The story was adapted by Chloé Zhao, who directed the film. The story blurs the line between fiction and reality, with the appearance of real nomads such as Linda May, Swankie, and Bob Wells, the video star of the movement. They serve as “Fern’s mentors and comrades in her exploration through the vast landscape of the American West.” Everyone, save for Frances, uses their real first names, even David Strathairn, as Dave.

No final goodbye

Nomadland is melancholy, but not particularly sad. The people she meets have gained a lot of wisdom. For instance, Bob uses this analogy. “The workhorse… is willing to work itself to death, and then be put out to pasture. And that’s what happens to so many of us. If society was throwing us away and sending us as the workhorse out to the pasture, we workhorses have to gather together and take care of each other.”

Many of the folks are uncomfortable with conventional capitalism, preferring to live in their vehicles, being reliant on themselves and their comrades. But the movie didn’t feel preachy about it.

Katie Walsh of the Tribune News Service notes that Nomadland “feels simultaneously like both a memory and a prophecy. Zhao has managed to marry these juxtaposing ideas in her film, which is the essence of bittersweet distilled into an arrow and shot straight through the heart.”

I suppose reviewer Ryan Syrek is also correct. The movie “has no plot or subplot, no character or narrative arc, no easily discernible thesis or moral. It just kind of ‘is.'” But that was not stated as a failure, though others felt the film was too slow, small, and/or simple.

I’ve neglected to mention the often gorgeous scenery that makes this rooted as a specifically American story. Nomadland is a meditation on the country. Think Christian has an interesting take on the film, both as a “critique of American ideologies and a celebration of God’s created order.”

National Recording Registry 2021

Flaco Jiménez

Partners. Flaco JiminezYou may have heard about 25 recordings making it into the National Recording Registry. Some got more press than others.

Edison’s “St. Louis tinfoil” recording (1878). I can’t find it yet, but it should be available starting August 28, 2021, when the Missouri History Museum starts its St. Louis Sound exhibition.
Nikolina – Hjalmar Peterson (1917) (single). This appears to be a 1929 version.
Smyrneikos Balos – Marika Papagika (1928) (single). “An authentic Greek recording.”
When the Saints Go Marching In – Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra (1938) (single). He performed this song a lot, but this is among the finest versions.
Christmas Eve  Broadcast – Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill (December 24, 1941), right after the US entered WWII.
The Guiding Light – Nov. 22, 1945. I can’t find it, but now I know why it’s on the list. It aired “the first Thanksgiving after the conclusion of World War II… The Rev. Dr. Frank Tuttle gives a moving sermon to a packed church.”

The 1950s and 1960s

Odetta Sings Ballads and Blues – Odetta (1957) (album). My father LOVED her voice.
Lord, Keep Me Day by Day – Albertina Walker and the Caravans (1959) (single)
Roger Maris hits his 61st home run (October 1, 1961). I don’t know if it’s the one with Phil Rizzuto’s voice, or, more likely that of Red Barber.
Aida – Leontyne Price, et.al. (1962) (album)
Once A Day – Connie Smith (1964) (single) – EIGHT weeks at #1 on the country charts in 1964, though only #101 on the pop charts
Born Under a Bad Sign – Albert King (1967) (album). I may still own this on vinyl.

Onto the ’70s and ’80s

Free to Be… You and Me – Marlo Thomas and Friends (1972) (album). I watched the TV special for sure. I might have even bought the album.
The Harder They Come – Jimmy Cliff (1972) (album). There are YouTube versions with more than 12 songs, but the version I own has the dozen.
Lady Marmalade – Labelle (1974) (single). Patti LaBelle didn’t know what this song was about? She didn’t understand French, evidently.
Late for the Sky – Jackson Browne (1974) (album)
Bright Size Life — Pat Metheny (1976) (album). Didn’t find it.
The Rainbow Connection – Kermit the Frog (1979) (single)

Celebration — Kool and the Gang (1980) (single). On the 22 March 2021 JEOPARDY, R and B and SOUL HITS $800. 40 years later and partygoers still like to get on the dance floor and “celebrate good times” to a hit by this group. Triple Stumper, but I knew it instantly. I have the album on vinyl.
Richard Strauss: Four Last Songs – Jessye Norman (1983) (album)
Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 – Janet Jackson (1989) (album). I LOVE this album. She performed much of it when I saw her at SPAC in 2018.

THE Find

Partners – Flaco Jiménez (1992) (album). I was not familiar with this artist, but he performs with Stephen Stills, Linda Ronstadt, John Hiatt, and Los Lobos on songs they wrote or co-wrote, plus Dwight Yoakam, Oscar Tellez, and Ry Cooder
Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What A Wonderful World – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (1993) (single). I may have gotten a little teary-eyed when this played on the TV show E.R. just before Dr. Greene’s departure. Maybe not. Possibly.
Illmatic – Nas (1994) (album)
This American Life: The Giant Pool of Money  (May 9, 2008). “A special program about the housing crisis produced in a special collaboration with NPR News. We explain it all to you. What does the housing crisis have to do with the turmoil on Wall Street? Why did banks make half-million dollar loans to people without jobs or income? And why is everyone talking so much about the 1930s?”