October rambling: Mental Misfires

tarot cards

Halloween not Xmas

Why Is Pentagon Spending Rising When “We Can’t Afford” Everything Else?

What to Make of the Pandora Papers?

Naming Climate Villains As the World Burns and  Indigenous People With Disabilities Are on the Front Lines of the Climate Crisis

Jan. 6 Protest Organizers Say They Participated in ‘Dozens’ of Planning Meetings With Members of  Congress and White House Staff; and Trump’s Cryptic Comment From 2017 May Have Foreshadowed His Coup Attempt; and [SATIRE] Trump to Skip 2024 Campaign and Go Straight to Claiming He Won

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Taiwan and Misinformationrelated to the latter

Don’t believe corporate America’s labor shortage. This is an unofficial general strike.

Did Texas Legislators Read the “Founding” Documents? and Reading While Texan

What did Thomas Jefferson Buy in October 1803?

North Carolina lieutenant governor calls transgender movement ‘demonic’

Christian Academies: Training the Next Generation of Rightwing White Nationalists? and ‘Great replacement’ belief correlates with Christian nationalist views

What Conservatives Tell Themselves About Critical Race Theory

It’s a camera shutter. It’s not a detonator

Black Children Were Jailed for a Crime That Doesn’t Exist.

What We Lose When We Lose Local News

How a newspaper’s collapse makes people feel: less connected, more alone.

Bez, the final frontier

DNA testing privacy resource

Diet soda may prompt food cravings, especially in women and people with obesity

MMP 25: New Zealand’s proportional representation officially became the way New Zealand was governed.

Hank Green: A Tool With No Blood On It

But wait! There’s more!

Kelly has even MORE links!

Loopy or Stringy: What would Einstein Say?

The nearly forgotten mystical artist who still foretells fates – Pamela Colman Smith might be history’s greatest victim of copyright injustice

The first major city in the United States passes a dark-sky ordinance

A lovely Shari Lewis story

Betty Lynn, the actress best known for her portrayal of Thelma Lou, Barney Fife’s sweetheart on The Andy Griffith Show, has died

Book review: Why We Swim

The Mental Misfires of Matt Amodio

Meet the Two Women Who Give Prescription Drugs Their Generic Names

Bell peppers are mangoes

Now I Know: A Great Example of Quiche Thinking and The Non-Profit That Gives Drivers Sticker Shock and The Accidental Pet Feeding Hero of 2016 and The Toddler Truce and  The Great Tattoo Cover Up

When you have “tall ZOOM energy” and show up to the office for the first time, it can get awkward.

Winnie-the-Pooh BEFORE Winnie the Pooh

MUSIC

The Bard by Jean Sibelius

Coverville 1375: The Paul Simon Cover Story III and  1376: The Snoop Dogg Cover Story

Lazy Sunday Afternoon – MonaLisa Twins

Farewell, Paddy Moloney and  Late Night with The Chieftains and Earl Scruggs

A Song For You – Donny Hathaway

Celtic Rock – Donovan

Paul McCartney:  on writing Eleanor Rigby and Band On The Run  BBC Documentary

Back to the top of the charts, part 3

posthumous

Jackson 5Here’s another edition of going back to the top of the charts. The premise is that an artist had once had commercial success on the Billboard pop charts. After some period, they regain that status. Again, this isn’t about album sales, just what used to be 45s.

It’s Your Thing – The Isley Brothers. A change of labels, from Tamla/Motown, which released This Old Heart of Mine (#12, 1966), to T-Neck, gleaned a #2 hit in 1969.

Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough – Michael Jackson. He WAS busy recording with his brothers between Ben, #1 in 1972, and this track, #1 in 1979.

Dancing Machine – Jackson 5. Never Can Say Goodbye, #2 in 1971. This cut, #2 in 1974.

The River of Dreams – Billy Joel. This #3 hit in 1993 was his first Top 5 since I Didn’t Start the Fire, #1 in 1989.

Candle In The Wind 1997 – Elton John. Another artist with multiple “comebacks”. But his last #1 was Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, way back in 1976. Of course, this special version of the #6 hit in 1988, was #1 for fourteen weeks!

Jazzman – Carole King. It’s Too Late was a #1 in 1971. This was #2 in 1974, and a favorite of Lisa Simpson.

Come Dancing – the Kinks. #6 in 1983. the previous Top 25 was Lola, #9 in 1970.

Neither One Of Us – Gladys Knight and the Pips. The group had two #2 hits with Soul/Motown, this one in 1973 and some grapevine song in 1967.

The ell you say

Is That All There Is – Peggy Lee. At #11 in 1969, her highest-ranked single since Fever, #8 in 1958.

Starting Over – John Lennon. The first single after his hiatus went to #1 posthumously at the end of 1980. Whatever Gets You Through the Night went to #1 in 1974 with the help of Elton John.

Mighty Quinn – Manfred Mann. #10 in 1968, it was the first Top 10 single since Do Wah Diddy Diddy hit #1 in 1964.

Don’t Mess With Bill – The Marvelettes. Like Playboy in 1962, this song also went to #7, in 1966.

Too Much, Too Little, Too Late – Johnny Mathis. #1 in 1978 with Deniece Williams, it was his second #1, after Chances Are in 1957. JFK was President the last time he had had a Top 10 hit.

The Rose – Bette Midler. At #3 in 1980, it was her first Top 10 since Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, #8 in 1973.

Garden Party Garden Party – Rick Nelson. He had 18 Top Ten hits. the 17th was For You, #6 in 1964. This song, #6 in 1972, was the #18 and last.

Don’t Know Much – Aaron Neville and Linda Ronstadt. This song hit #2 in 1989. Aaron only did that well with Tell It Like It Is in 1967. Linda’s duet with James Ingram was also #2, in 1987. Her previous solo Top 10 was Hurt So Bad, #8 in 1980.

You Got It – Roy Orbison. Posthumously, his first Top 10 song – #9 in 1989 – since his #1 Oh, Pretty Woman in 1964.

Accessible: the hotel and the motel

electricity

Late in September, I went to my hometown to do research and attend my 50th high school reunion. I wanted to stay at a hotel downtown so that I could be near the county clerk’s office and the main library.

But, though I had booked with Hotels.com on MAY 19, I couldn’t find a place to stay downtown on Saturday night. There was some sort of Parents’ weekend at Binghamton University

So I booked the Holiday Inn for Thursday and Friday nights, and the Motel 6 on Upper Front Street on the third night. Checking into the former, I was surprised to discover that the reservation indicated that I requested a “Disabled Accessible Room.” The woman at the desk, looking at me and not seeing me obviously physically impaired, wondered if I actually wanted that room. I, now very curious, said it was fine.

Maybe she didn’t notice me carrying a stick as a cane. My right knee has been killing me since 1995. Moreover, the neuropathy in my feet makes walking on uneven surfaces, such as lawns and gravel roads, uncomfortable and a tad treacherous. My friend Cee’s husband made me a legitimate walking stick that weekend; it’s green at the top, of course.

Made in the shade

There were two aspects of my Holiday Inn room, right off the elevator, that I noticed right off. One was that the bar for hanging up my shirts was at chair level, so someone with a walker or wheelchair would have an easier time.

The other involves the bathroom. I found a video here showing all of the bars in the bathroom. I got to say, I LOVE these! On one hotel visit in 2021, I almost slipped on a wet floor.

Another feature of the room was a pair of shades that operated electronically. One allowed the light into the room but maintained privacy, while the other cut off the light from outside. I did like my view of the Chenango River, pretty full from a lot of rain but not overflowing. I could see the wooded area behind the houses on that section of Front St, with my high school peeking through the trees. Court Street bridge was to my right.

Actually, the first thing I noticed was that there were lots of plugs. And not used outlets plugged into the lights, TV, and the microwave, but three sets of three plugs, one on the desk, and sets on each side of the bed. It was quite civilized.

Conversely, Motel 6 had no elevator, and my room was on the second floor. So not accessible at all. I was walking my suitcase up one step at a time before a young man, who was coming down, hoisted it to the landing. Not all of the plugs worked, and at least one looked as though it was coming out of the wall. I had a great view of the highway.

Now the Holiday Inn room was nearly twice the cost each night of the one at Motel 6. I would have gladly paid the difference.

One last thing: I saw dogs in both venues. When I was checking out of the Holiday Inn, there was a dog in the elevator. Another dog owner wisely decided to wait for the next car.

The New York Mets are best worst

From first to third

New York Mets

Kelly reviewed the book So Many Ways To Lose: The Amazin’ True Story of the New York Mets, the Best Worst Team In Sports, by Devin Gordon. You can read the review about what the heck that title means. But the 2021 season pretty much encapsulates this.

From Baseball-Reference.com: The Mets were in first place in the National League East for 91 days, if one counts only the days a team played and was in first at the end of the day, or 114 days if one counts all days of the season including off days. They topped their division as late as Friday, August 13. They ended up 77-85-0, 3rd place in NL East. It was in large part because of a season-ending injury to pitcher Jacob deGrom on July 18, he with an astonishing 1.08 ERA.

There’s a friend of my sister’s named MJ, who swears I turned her on to the Mets in the mid-1960s, after their truly awful early seasons, but before they won the Series in ’69. Curious, because I had thought of myself as a Yankees fan in those days.

There was a farm team in Binghamton (actually Johnson City) that was usually a Yankees farm team. I saw Al Downing, who as an LA Dodger gave up home run 715, I saw play there. The stadium was razed in the late 1960s to build a new Route 17 (now I-86).

1986

By happenstance, I caught the ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 Documentary “Once Upon a Time in Queens”. It chronicled the 1986 Mets season. But it also discussed the 1984 and 1985 seasons, and how they built to their improbable World Series victory. It includes many interviews, including Keith Hernandez, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Mookie Wilson, Lenny Dykstra, and Kevin Mitchell.

Executive Producer Jimmy Kimmel is correct. “The characters and events captured in this documentary are so outlandish it is hard to believe this documentary isn’t a work of 80’s-era fiction. Whether you are a New Yorker, a Mets fan or even a fan of baseball makes no difference. This is the definitive, must-see story of a team and a time whose antics and even existence now seem unimaginable.”

Back in 2012, I documented seeing the ’86 Game Six on TV, with my friend Cee dressed as Gary Carter.

NYCNY

When the Yankees and the Mets played in the 2000 Subway Series, I was a bit torn. The Yankees had won in 1996, 1998, and 1999, so I was thinking the Amazins deserved a shot. It was not to be. On the other hand, I had all but forgotten that they lost to the Kansas City Royals in 2015.

There’s now a stadium in downtown Binghamton. The team that plays there is the Rumble Ponies, the Double-A farm team of the New York Mets. I’ve only been there once or twice, but maybe next year, something the MLB Mets are undoubtedly saying right now.

2021 Ballot Proposals: statewide, local

I looked on the ballot from both sides, now.

Before I could vote on November 2, 2021, or earlier, I needed to get up to speed on the 2021 Ballot Proposals. There are five statewide items in New York State, and two in the city of Albany.

There may be other local propositions where you live. They will likely be on the REVERSE side of the ballot from the candidates’ listings, so check out both sides!

The five state proposals are found here.

Ballot Proposal 1

Amending the Apportionment and Redistricting Process
This proposed constitutional amendment would freeze the number of state senators at 63, amend the process for the counting of the state’s population, delete certain provisions that violate the United States Constitution, repeal and amend certain requirements for the appointment of the co-executive directors of the redistricting commission and amend the manner of drawing district lines for congressional and state legislative offices. Shall the proposed amendment be approved?

The Census guy in me supports:
Requiring that state assembly and senate district lines be based on the total population of the state, and require the state to count all residents, including non-citizens and Native Americans if the federal census fails to include them.
Provide for incarcerated people to be counted at their place of the last residence, instead of at their place of incarceration, for the purpose of redistricting. This practice is already established by state statute for Senate and Assembly districts.

I’m ambivalent about this:
Freeze the number of state senators at the current number of 63. Currently, under the state constitution, the number of senators was originally set at 50 and thereafter increased over time to 63.
On one hand, I would support Congress getting larger to counteract the unfairness the current system is applied to larger states. On the other hand, we’re talking about the historically dysfunctional state legislature.

All in all, I’m still thinking about this. Notably, the League of Women Voters of the City of New York recommends a NO vote. This is due, in part, because, “The proposed amendment would unfairly empower the majority party by preventing the minority party from having input into the final proposed maps.” Help me with this one, people.

Ballot Proposal 2

Right to Clean Air, Clean Water, and a Healthful Environment
The proposed amendment to Article I of the New York Constitution would establish the right of each person to clean air and water and a healthful environment.

Of course YES. But how would this work, exactly?

Ballot Proposal 3

Eliminating Ten-Day-Advance Voter Registration Requirement
The proposed amendment would delete the current requirement… that a citizen be registered to vote at least ten days before an election and would allow the Legislature to enact laws permitting a citizen to register to vote less than ten days before the election.

YES.

Ballot Proposal 4

Authorizing No-Excuse Absentee Ballot Voting
The proposed amendment would delete from the current provision on absentee ballots the requirement that an absentee voter must be unable to appear at the polls by reason of absence from the county or illness or physical disability.

YES. People oughtn’t have to lie about how sick/infirm they are.

Ballot Proposal 5

Increasing the Jurisdiction of the New York City Civil Court
The proposed amendment would increase the New York City Civil Court’s jurisdiction by allowing it to hear and decide claims for up to $50,000 instead of the current jurisdictional limit of $25,000.

Sure. It seems to be a response to inflationary pressures. The NYC LWV is YES on Props 2-4, and takes no position on 5.

The local items

Proposition: Council residency requirement
Shall the Charter of the City of Albany be amended to require any person seeking election as a member of the Common Council to be an elector and resident of the ward for which the person is seeking election for a continuous period of at least three hundred sixty-five (365) days prior to taking office and during the entire term of office, except in limited circumstances following reapportionment of Common Council wards?

What? That’s NOT the law already? YES.

Proposition: Increase Community Police Review Board Authority

Shall Article XLIV of Chapter 42 of the Code of the City of Albany be amended to increase the Community Police Review Board’s authority and ability to conduct investigations and to exercise oversight, review, and resolution of community complaints alleging abuse of police authority?

The IDEA of the CPRB was grand. But it has been a paper tiger. “The law was already affirmed by the Albany Common Council, in a unanimous 14-0 vote, in March but requires a citywide referendum from the public to go into effect. That would be a YES.