Juneteenth and other rambling; Smilin’ Ed

When Languages Go Extinct.

Pic was taken by a friend’s SIL in June 2021 and used with permission

‘Epic Failure of Humanity’: Global Displaced Population Hits All-Time High

The Delta variant is serious. Here’s why it’s on the rise. and The Perils Of Covid Complacency

Former WH adviser Fiona Hill considered pulling a fire alarm during Helsinki Summit—to shut Trump up.

The Political, Legal, and Moral Minefield That Trump Left for Merrick Garland and Cleaning Up After Him.

In 2020, 881 active Secret Service employees were diagnosed with COVID-19.

Why Has Local News Collapsed? Blame Readers. Despite all the impassioned pleas to salvage local news coverage, the reality is there’s a demand-side problem.

How Some Americans Are Breaking Out of Political Echo Chambers

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Prison Heat and PACE, a program meant to pay for environmentally-friendly home renovations.

When Undoing Is Not Enough — Repairing Harms Inflicted on Immigrant Children.

How the world ran out of everything.

Juneteenth/Critical Race Theory

Critical Race Theory is the New Boogeyeman.

Why do people hate Cathode Ray Tubes so much?

Cartoon: Attack of the critical race theory and Cartoon: History for white people.

How New York’s capital city splintered along racial lines and Black elders in the Capital Region sit down with a young journalist of color to share their stories, experiences, and reflections on being Black in America.

The sad story of southern slave owners, as told in 8th-grade history books

Tulsa isn’t the only race massacre you were never taught in school. Here are others.

Juneteenth is symbolic. Don’t confuse it with racial justice.

GOPUSA Eagle: A Federal Holiday Isn’t Enough; Mayors Commit To Reparations.

Per Newsmax – Sen. Cotton: Juneteenth ‘Fitting Addition to Our National Holidays’ So Let’s Celebrate Momentum of a Growing Racial Justice Movement.

The rat

Staying up too late? Welcome to revenge bedtime procrastination. People are so desperate for time to call their own — even if it comes at 2 a.m. — they’re exhausting themselves. (I’ve done this in 2021. Not recommended.)

What is the only cardinal number whose letters are in alphabetical order in English?

Smilin' Ed complete

I was at my local comic book store recently and I saw copies of the Smilin’ Ed collection pictured, by Raoul Vezina and Tom Skulan. Diamond Distribution is now carrying the book, so you can buy it from a source other than Amazon. Guess which duck has the last word in the book?

A piece about Don Rittner, who, among other things, worked on an environmental cartoon with Raoul.

Fire tore through historian John Wolcott’s documents, maps. I’ve known John and Linda Becker for years.

Slipping of the Mother Tongue: When Languages Go Extinct.

Jeopardy!’s Apology for an ‘Outdated, Offensive and Inaccurate’ Clue.

The Beatles: Get Back — An Exclusive Deep Dive Into Peter Jackson’s Revelatory New Movie.

I absolutely adored Spock. Loving Dad was much more complicated.

Theater needs comedy, Ken Levine says. But I think it’s a bit more complicated than that.

On Ned Beatty and HEAR MY SONG

Frank Bonner, WKRP in Cincinnati’s Herb Tarlek Dies at 79.

Danish Road Safety Council:  Helmet has always been a good idea.

Now I Know: Who is Q (James Bond Version)? and Why You Probably Prefer  European Chocolate and The Man Who Jetted to Millions and When The Faucets Ran Red and When I Learned A Lot About Doughnuts and When Multiple Streams Can Be Taxing.


The New Classics  – virtual Broadway and Broadway’s back

Coverville 1361: Cover Stories for Cole Porter and Tony Levin.

Club 27 – MonaLisa Twins.

An American Symphony by Michael Kamen, from the score to the film Mr. Holland’s Opus.

See You in September by several different artists.

The Way We Were – Aubrey Logan.

Answer: 40

Happy when I figure it out


InformationTechnologyConsidering my general lack of technological expertise, I’m always happy when I figure it out. And by “technological”, I don’t just mean Internet stuff.

I’m the kid who took the front door lock apart in our apartment then couldn’t figure out how to put it back together. Or blew up pottery in the junior high school kiln, and created furniture with first one leg, then three legs, uneven.

Interestingly, I was actually good at taking metal shop in 9th grade because the tools were more precise.

My first cellphone was like the early computers. Start also meant stop. The red button meant to start. Because I was/am a late adapter, the instructions are “Do this just like you did it on your earlier phone.” But I didn’t have an earlier phone.

I have a FitBit-like device. It’s never been used. In fact, where IS that thing?


When I first started my blog in 2005, it had no photos. Blogspot/Blogger wanted us to use a product called Picasa to add photos. I could NEVER suss it out. But somehow I stumbled upon a workaround. Whatever I can do technologically is usually by trial and a lot of error. So I’m really impressed with folks such as Arthur who can fix actually his blog.

My little victories cause me oversized pleasure. Back when I was working and had interns, I showed at least two of them how to search for text using Ctrl-F. Those savvy young folks didn’t know that?

My daughter was trying to print a label, but it was coming out with gaps in the text. I downloaded the file, and printed it; it was fine. Of course, she then found a file my wife wanted to be printed but I got the same error, even after downloading. She changed the text color and it worked.

When I was helping to plan my FIL’s funeral, the videos came to me in Dropbox, which I could view but the guy putting the service together could not. The download, then send, worked that time.

I muddle through.


Plugging stuff: UREC, FFAPL gala

The 8th annual Literary Legends Gala will be held on October 16th at the APL Pine Hills Branch.

URECOccasionally, I would plug items for organizations that I was fond of/involved with on these pages. Then I cut back because they tended to be Albany-based organizations. Most of the readers of this blog are not from around here.

So I tended to plug happenings at my church, et al. on my Times Union blog. But now, I have no TU blog.

At the same time, I didn’t have all that much TO advocate for. And what I DID have to note was on Zoom, and except for sharing the home-grown music concerts of my niece during the pandemic, I just couldn’t muster the energy to get all that involved.

But now that I’m not so melancholy, I’ve rethought this. For instance, I should be promoting the Underground Railroad Education Center’s FreedomCon 2021 Zoom Series – Freedom Road: the Struggle for Justice Continues, especially since I’m one of the sponsors. The event has been going on since February.

Coming up these Saturdays at 3 pm, Eastern time:
Jul 24 Racist Violence is as American as Cherry Pie
Aug 21 Food Justice: Hunger, Child Poverty and Farming while Black
Sept 25 Destined to engage and collaborate: Examining the Social/Political Dynamics of Native Americans and African Americans in the United States
Oct 23 Building Community through Free Black Migration before the Civil War
Nov 27 Native American Lives Matter
It’s $10 per session.

Oh, and before that: the  July 4 Oration is back in person at The Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence, 194 Livingston Avenue, Albany, NY 12210. But NOTE: it is on Saturday, JULY 3 beginning at 11 a.m. It features “an enriching presentation by Rev. Roxanne Booth on The Third Reconstruction.” I’ve heard her speak before, and she’s quite good.

The talk will be followed by light refreshments. Bring a chair and a dish to share if you like. Oh, and “this program will be live-streamed for those unable to join in-person. Details will be available on or before July 1.”

Library types know how to party!

literary legends 2021The 8th annual Literary Legends Gala will be held on October 16th at the Pine Hills Branch APL.2021 Literary Legends Tickets on sale NOW. Support the Friends and Foundation of the Albany Public Library and join us as we celebrate this year’s honorees, Lydia Davis and Eugene Mirabelli.

“Last year’s gala was virtual and we are navigating the new normal and learning what will make our honorees and guests comfortable. Like you, we are figuring things out as the post-pandemic situation changes each week. Some things we do not yet know: there may or may not be a buffet, or a live jazz band. But there will be food, and there will be music! And our silent auction is back this year! Get your ticket and join the party!

“The Friends and Foundation of the Albany Public Library provide critical financial support to the Albany Public Library in order to help the Library provide education, literacy, career development, cultural enrichment, and lifelong learning. We can’t wait to party with you at the library!”

Buy general tickets here or purchase Honorary Committee tickets here. Purchase your Honorary Committee ticket by August 6th to be listed on the invitation card. You may also buy an ad at either link. If you are interested in donating food or a silent auction item, please use the link here.

Several little blocks of Binghamton

Valley Street park

several small blocksThis is also for you, Carla.

Here’s a map of part of Binghamton, NY. My life growing up, for the most part, was contained in several little blocks. The borders were Prospect Street to the north, Clinton Street to the south, Front Street to the east, and the end of Spring Forest Cemetery, that big green area at Prospect and Mygatt, to the west.

Let’s start at 5 Gaines Street, where I grew up. Gaines St is that one little block between Oak and Front. It is not to be confused to the more interesting block just south, which is Winding Way.

Here’s the Zillow page for 5 Gaines Street. It is brown. and has been for some decades. But when we lived there, it had a GREEN asbestos siding. (The Greenes, at 13 Gaines, had a white house with green trim.)

But looking at pictures at that property, and more so the Realtor pics 4 and 5, there are several things striking. One is that back yard is terribly small. When we would play kickball, the ball might slice over the fence to the rear of the property line.

That fence was wooden, and the property felt as though we were in the woods, going downhill, a gorge, really. Someone’s filled in that ravine and put parking spaces back there. When did THAT happen? Maybe when some of those Front Street properties were renovated in 2016. Next time I’m in town, I’ll have to see this in person.

On Front St, near the corner of Prospect, was the G and H Diner. We ate there a lot, especially during the six-year period when dad was working nights. Or so I recall. Their homemade pies were particularly fabulous.


I had to look up the name of the miniature golf course at 296 Front Street. It was called Front Street Miniature Golf and it was just south of this white behemoth of a building called Cutler Ice. We played minigolf a lot in good weather. I guess it closed around 1968 after about 35 years in business.

We used to play in Valley Street park, the small green area off Front Street. It was your standard playground near the street, but a baseball or softball field farther in. I have two specific memories there.

One was a pickup game of involved playing tackle football. Mike, on our team, caught the kickoff and was slowed by a couple of guys on the other team. But he was big and strong, not easy to bring down. When he was finally tackled, the opponents discovered he didn’t have the ball. In the scrum, he had handed the ball to me, and I scored without anyone noticing. Later that game, we did almost the same thing. This time, someone eventually saw that I had the ball, too late to catch me.

The other event was a baseball game. I was pitching to this girl named Aline, a couple of years older than I. She smashed the ball right back to me, striking me in the left temple and knocking me out cold. When I was revived, I walked home. My mom called the doctor, who said I might have a concussion. The protocol at the time was to not let me go to sleep for a time, lest I die. So my mom kept waking me up all night. And I didn’t die.

Lydster music: Olivia Rodrigo

High School Musical

Olivia RodrigoI requested that my daughter share with me what music she’s listening to. More interesting to me is HOW she consumes music. The answer, unsurprising, is TikTok.

I had her read the list of artists on her playlist and Olivia Rodrigo showed up more than anyone else. More on her later.

My daughter does like old-school music, such as Destiny’s Child, Bell Biv Devoe, and the Fugees’ Killing Me Softly. Then there’s the weird mashup of I Feel Good by James Brown with Patrick Star of Spongebob Squarepants. There are actually several versions of this. O-kay…

She’s still a big fan of the Broadway musical Hamilton. On her playlist is The Election of 1800, among other songs. She also has Autumn Leaves, performed by Leslie Odom, Jr., the original Aaron Burr in the musical.

More recent tracks on her list: Transparent Soul by Willow Smith. She’s the daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. Also, Sun Gores Down is by Lil Nas X.

There are some Doja Cat cuts. Though she didn’t specify, I’m sharing Like That and Streets


I didn’t think I knew who Olivia Rodrigo, born February 20, 2003, was, but I was wrong. She played Paige Olvera on the Disney Channel series Bizaardvark from 2016 to 2019. I sat through the show a few times without screaming. It was about two nerdy teen besties – Madison Wu played Frankie Wong – “who post funny songs and comedic videos on the Internet.”

My daughter mentioned Olivia to her statistics tutor, so he Googled the singer. He found a reference to Jake Paul, her costar on Bizaardvark for two years before he was canned. Like any reasonable adult, he despises the Paul brothers.

Before that, she was in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, which I did not see.

“Her critically acclaimed debut album, Sour, was released on May 21, 2021, and went to #1 in several countries, including the US.”

Driver’s License, a #1 worldwide
Good 4 U 
Deja Vu 
Jealousy, Jealousy 

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