Too many weeks “like this”

hitting things

sky's The LimitIn response to my most recent request to Ask Roger Anythingfillyjonk writes: Green says “I hope I don’t have a lot more weeks like this” after having several people in his life die and wow, I have had WAY too many weeks “like this” these past couple years. (ANOTHER friend at church lost her husband on Saturday). I’ve stared into the abyss altogether too much these past few years but find I have few answers

While I’m unclear whether it is an actual question or an observation, the narrative is compelling enough to try – emphasis on TRY – to answer it. The short answer is that I don’t know. Sometimes, I feel that I don’t know anything. But I keep throwing things against the wall, hoping some of them stick.

Releasing the rage

For one, I yell at the television when certain people are saying… the polite term is BS. This is a relatively recent phenomenon, dating perhaps from 2015. Lindsay Graham, for instance, is far more frustrating to me than people who are always awful, like Marjorie Taylor Greene or Josh Hawley. After expelling the anger, I feel better. No harm is done. Furniture and people are intact.

Recently, I mentioned to Arthur that a Dear Abby letter actually enraged me, much to my surprise. Basically, a family member thought another in his tribe was grieving for too long. She had “overstayed her time on the pity potty.” Abby for her part disagreed with the letter writer. Having allowed myself to be angry, it dissipated.

For far too long, I had tended to try to suppress my anger as “not nice” until I would blow a gasket. One needs to release the steam from the radiator.

Boy, I miss playing racquetball. That was a really good release of tension, hitting a bouncy thing with a fancy stick. I’m reminded that when I got really perturbed, I would find a stick, maybe a tree branch that had fallen, and strike it against a telephone pole or another item unlikely to be damaged. Therapeutic.

Can’t nothing be love but love 

On a Vlogbrothers post titled Motivation in Hard Times, John Green noted that he used to operate out of anger and resentment. And for a while, that worked for him. He showed up his old writing teacher who said he wasn’t good enough to be in his class. Ha! He had books published and then turned into movies. But ultimately, and he is a tad embarrassed by it, hesky's The Limit says it comes down to love.

In February, Dua Lipa interviewed Stephen Colbert on his show. She asked him about his faith. He said it’s “‘connected to the idea of love and sacrifice being somehow related and giving yourself to other people.'”

Surely, love is the optimal route. Yet you also need to find a term that’s become almost a cliche, self-care, whatever that is. It might be playing with stuffed animals or listening to music or reading comic books or getting a massage. Writing helps me somewhat. It’s naturally different for everyone.

I wish you well.

March rambling: quotation marks

Support the Albany High School robotics team!


In a world-historic first, microplastics were detected in human blood

The Our World in Data COVID vaccination data

 How American conservatives turned against the vaccine

The Lancet: Paul Farmer

Cameroonians fleeing conflict are in dire need of Temporary Protected Status – cf.  Inside “the most diverse square mile in America”

What Caused the War? Ukraine and Russia in Historical Context

The Race to Archive the Ukrainian Internet

Ukrainian Actress Oksana Shvets Killed in Russian Rocket Attack

Non-war conflict

Hate and extremism

How did Christianity become so toxic?

The Interactive Theater of Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Confirmation Hearing

Addressing racial inequality in paid leave policy

Sara Jacobs, one of the youngest members of Congress, talks about sexism and ageism in politics. 

Writing Women into History

Women in medicine are running up the wrong side of the escalator

Where Does the Religious Right Go After Roe?

Sojourner Truth’s Battle to Free Her Son from Slavery

Actor Tim Reid on addressing racial issues on WKRP in Cincinnati

Texas’ New Voting Law Disenfranchised Thousands Of Otherwise Eligible Voters

The Tangled, Messy Roots of Fake News, long before it became djt’s favorite term

Ginni Thomas demanded Congressional Republicans take the fight to overturn the 2020 election to the streets

John Bolton admits that ‘it’s hard to describe how little [djt] knows’

I Know There’s An Answer

Climate Change Brings Uncontrollable Wildfires

 The Illinois town that got up and left

The 1950 Census is Coming: What You Need to Know

Timbuctoo Institute would build opportunities in the Adirondacks 

About Those Gas Prices

Concert  Tickets: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

2021 County and Economic Development Regions Population Estimates for NYS

Luka’s mural

Jobfished: the con that tricked dozens into working for a fake design agency

“They’re called ‘quotation marks’.”

Phobias. Aibohphobia is the (unofficial) fear of palindromes. Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia is used to describe the fear of very long words.

The official Girl Scout cookie power rankings

The Result of a Rabbit Hole

Audience participation

GoFundMe page for the Albany High School Robotics Team to compete at the FIRST Robotics World Championship in Houston, TX on April 20-23. They placed 2nd in the New York Tech Valley Regional Competition.

Four Open Seats on Albany Public Library Board in May 17 Election. Nominations are due to the Clerk of the City School District of Albany by Wednesday, April 27, at 5 pm.

New York Bike Census

Now I Know

The Biggest Bread Soup in the World and Why Are My Baby Carrots Always Wet? and The First Computer Bug and The Phone Booth in the Middle of Nowhere and Beware the Ire of Caesar and Which Came First, The Algorithm or the Pi? and World War II’s Pre-Email E-Mail


Livinliv – Aleksandr Shymko

Irish tunes

K-Chuck Radio: The musical tree of Ida Red  and green songs

Holiday at Ferghana -Reinhold Gliere

Lullabye of Broadway from 42nd Street

Coverville: 1393 – John Cale and Velvet Underground Cover Story and 1394 – The Blink-182 Cover Story II and 1395 – The Smashing Pumpkins Cover Story II

Nog, nogg, noggin, nogging

the brain

Dan writes: For the next “Ask Roger:”

Is the word “noggin” derived from the word “nogg?” The implication that one has a wooden head… jammed in the wall with a nail through it?

This is actually an excellent question to receive. I learned that NOGG is the National Osteoporosis Guideline Group. Of course, it is “a multidisciplinary group including patient representation and professionals involved in the care of people with osteoporosis. It was established in 2007 to provide a clinical guideline for the management of men and women at high fracture risk, using the output from the FRAX calculator.”

I assume that a broken head is possible. Wait, wait, that’s the wrong usage. Nogg is a carpentry term for “a shave for shaping dowels and handles”.

Thus nogging:
(noun) One of a number of wooden pieces fitted between the principal timbers of a half-timbered wall.
(v.t.) To fill (a framed wall or partition) with small masonry, as bricks or stones.

Boozing it up

However, I’ve occasionally seen nogg, which my spellcheck does NOT like, as an alternative spelling of nog, as in egg-nogg.  Nog is:
“any beverage made with beaten eggs, usually with alcoholic liquor; eggnog” or
“a strong ale formerly brewed in Norfolk, England.”
First Known Use of nog: 1693, in the meaning defined at sense 1. History and Etymology for nog: origin unknown

Nog was also a character on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Now, the definitions of noggin are:
1: a person’s head
2: a small mug or cup
3: a small quantity (such as a gill) of drink
The first known use of noggin was in 1588, or 1620–30, depending on the source; origin uncertain.

Noggin is a Nick Jr. cable channel “where kids learn with characters they love.” In the UK, there is a brain supplement called Noggin. This seems to gravitate towards the idea of “using your noggin” i.e. your brain, not just the head itself.

The colloquial sense of “head” (originally as boxing slang) is included in the same OED  entry as “noggin” so, as Neil from a Facebook group dedicated to words surmised, maybe there was some slang notion of the head being like a bucket.

More interesting, and frankly more confusing to me, are articles about noggin as whatever this is from 2011. “The Bone Morphogenetic Protein Antagonist Noggin Protects White Matter After Perinatal Hypoxia-ischemia.” Yeah. “Perinatal HI was induced in transgenic mice in which the BMP antagonist noggin is overexpressed during oligodendrogenesis (pNSE-Noggin).” Does someone want to translate that into English?

Anyway, I’m finding a link between nog and noggin, in terms of alcohol or beverage, or the container. Nogg’s wood-related origin seems to have developed separately, as far as I am able to ascertain. Unless, of course, the bucket was made of wood, which it probably was.

Neil found for me a reference to nog or nogg as “a peg, pin, or cylindrical piece of wood, serving any of various purposes” is now “chiefly Australian and New Zealand.” As are so many of the definitions, it is also of uncertain origin.

 In other words, I just can’t be certain of the linkage, because so many of the derivations are unknown.

Cornhole, tea lights – words I didn’t know

You Can Count On Me

cornhole boardMy family was in a local bar/restaurant waiting for takeout. There were at least three televisions tuned to differing sports events. One was showing a competition from the American Cornhole League. No, I did not know that was a thing.

The competitors play by the rules of the American Cornhole Association, which sells “official cornhole bags.” There’s also the American Cornhole Association – ACO.

How do you score? “Bag In-The-Count (Woody): Any bag which comes to rest anywhere on top of the board. Each is worth one (1) point. Bag In-The-Hole (Cornhole): Any bag which is thrown through the hole or knocked through the hole by another bag. Each is worth three (3) points.”

I got home and asked my wife, “What was the name of that game in which they were tossing bean bags into a hole?” I had to look it up. When I would play it in a playground or someone’s yard, only the bag going into the hole counted.

Silent Night

At church on Christmas Eve, we usually have individual candles, which the congregation blows out after the lights come on and we sing Joy To The World. It was decided that the tradition wasn’t COVID safe. I thought we weren’t going to sing Silent Night at all. Instead, a bunch of tiny electric candles either were purchased or retrieved from somewhere.

In describing them to my wife and daughter, I described them as little electric votive candles. In fact, they have a very specific name: tea lights. I had never heard of that designation in my life.

What’s the name of that movie?

Sometimes, I have a difficult time remembering the name of movies when I find the titles unmemorable. The first movie I ever saw with Mark Ruffalo and Laura Linney was You Can Count On Me (2000). Yet I have the hardest time remembering what it’s called and end up searching IMBD for one of the actors.

Worse is a 2014 movie about a character played by Jon Favreau who buys a food truck. The film shows the best-looking grilled cheese sandwich I’ve ever seen filmed. Yet I can’t remember the name of the movie. Oh, yeah, Chef, which is what the Favreau character was BEFORE he bought the food truck.

Similar to…

When I occasionally can’t up with a common word, I’m comforted that first, I think of a related term then work back to the one I want. For instance, if you were going to make dinner, you might need that list of food items. What’s that called? I might think Menu, which IS a list of foods. No that’s not right. Recipe. Of course.

Review: The Worst Person in the World

Verdens verste menneske in Norway

The Worst Person in the World (film)A couple of months ago, my wife and went to the Spectrum Theatre. there was a poster for the then-upcoming The Worst Person in the World. “Have you heard of it?” my wife asked. “Nope.”

Then on a date night in March, we went to see the film there. Julie (Renate Reinsve) is, like a lot of young adults, trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life in terms of work and love. Early on, she is in a substantial relationship with Aksel (Anders Danielsen Lie), a comic book artist, and a cultural icon in Oslo. She learns a lot from being with him. But is that all SHE is?

And how much flirting is allowed, she and Eivind (Herbert Nordrum) ask each other?

I imagine that The Worst Person in the World (Verdens verste menneske) could be remade into a not-too-appealing American rom-com. But this take is engaging. Even the tropes and there are a few, seem fresh. The decision to break the story into a dozen chapters allows transitions not bound by traditional storytelling. And, for the most part, they work.

NOT the worst

I think the worst thing about the movie is the title. Julie is hardly a terrible person, but one who I could definitely relate to. In the Hollywood Reporter,  David Rooney wrote: “It’s rare to encounter a romantic comedy as fresh, insightful and alive with bittersweet tenderness as this reflection on the fumbling mistakes we make as we figure out who we are. That’s due in part to the luminous Renate Reinsve as Julie, but especially to the wisdom and compassion of director Joachim Trier and regular co-writer Eskil Vogt’s screenplay.

This film concludes Joachim Trier’s Oslo Trilogy, but not seeing the previous films won’t diminish your viewing. I hope it wins the Best Original Screenplay Oscar. It’s also up for Best International Film. Check out the trailer. On Rotten Tomatoes, 96% of the critics and 86% of the audience agree it’s a fine movie. I should note, I suppose: yes, there are subtitles.

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