Nov. rambling: language of lying


County Cork
Since I have unknown ancestors from County Cork, it is reasonable that some of my unknown cousins are putting this out

Weekly Sift:  When can I stop writing about Trump?

Trump shied away from criticizing white supremacist Nick Fuentes, fearing he’d  alienate supporters

I received an email poll on November 24, 2022, asking me, “Who Is Your First Choice For President In 2024?” The choices I was given were Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, Joe Biden, or Mike Pence. My answer is, “Stop sending me stupid surveys! I’m still getting through 2022.”

Citing Orwell, Judge Blocks ‘Positively Dystopian’ Censorship Law Backed by DeSantis

Unforgettable: The Kari Lake Story

SPLC releases new Community Guide to address Online Youth Radicalization

Monuments to the Unthinkable; America still can’t figure out how to memorialize the sins of our history. What can we learn from Germany?

The Ferguson Brothers Lynchings on Long Island (Book Review by Alan Singer)

U.S. prison labor programs violate fundamental human rights, a new report finds

Four States Voted to End Slavery — But Not Louisiana. Here’s Why.

Oklahoma’s “Child Abuse” Law Doesn’t Protect Children — It Criminalizes Mothers

Two pro wrestlers developed ‘The Progressive Liberal’ to be the bad guy at matches. Then the atmosphere turned far darker

The Monarchy: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

A PSA From an Exhausted Emergency Physician — Avoid sending us your patients until the dust settles

Tom Brady, charity, and business don’t mix

Homeownership by Young Households Below Pre-Great Recession Levels

Types of Water Pollution

More features

The language of lying (TED-Ed)

Preserving Black Heritage: Florida activists fight to save the historic site and their culture

‘Atlanta’ and Making Disciples of All Nations

4th grader uses Heimlich to save a fellow student from choking

Twenty hours on the Dog (Greyhound bus)

20 Best Places to Visit in Upstate New York

Inside Trevor Noah’s Decision to Leave ‘The Daily Show’

In honor of what would have been Charles M. “Sparky” Schulz’s 100th birthday on November 26, 2022, syndicated cartoonists across the country have paid tribute to the Peanuts creator in their own comic strips published on the date. 

Inside the Disney Board’s Decision to Swap Bobs

Robert Clary, Corporal LeBeau on ‘Hogan’s Heroes,’ Dies at 96

Irene Cara, Oscar-Winning Singer, and Actress, Dies at 63

Clarence Gilyard, ‘Walker, Texas Ranger,’ ‘Matlock’ and ‘Die Hard’ Actor, Dies at 66

Amahl and the Night Visitors – the Christmas special almost lost to time

Ask Arthur Anything

Ambient Noise!

I almost picked FEAST as my first Wordle word on Thanksgiving. About 1% of players DID make that correct choice. This was the day after DRIVE was the selection. Earlier this month, GLYPH was the selection. November 2022 was the centennial of the discovery of King Tut’s tomb by the expedition led by Howard Carter. The new Wordle editor is having fun.

Now I Know: Why Aluminum Foil Has a Shiny Side and a Not-Shiny Side and  The Problem With, and Solution to, Too Much Turkey and Let’s Talk Turkey! and  The $5 Million Comma and Proof That Trivia Can Save Lives? and How to Make Corporate Holiday Parties Even More Awkward?


You can still vote for Rebecca Jade as Smooth Jazz Network’s 2022 “Breakout Artist of the Year” DAILY through December 2nd!  Vote HERE. Also, she is joining Dave Koz and Friends for a very special 25th Anniversary Christmas tour through December 23. Tickets HERE.

Elton John Takes Final US Concert Bow at Dodger Stadium

Singer Roberta Flack can no longer sing after ALS diagnosis;  hear Why Don’t You Move In With Me

40 years later, Solid Rock and an autographed treasure

Midnight Train To Georgia – Gladys Knight and the Pips.

Coverville 1420: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees 2022 and
1421: The 19th Annual All-Beatles Thanksgiving Cover Story

Rikki Tikka Tavi by Alfred Schnittke

Goodnight, My Someone  from The Music Man –  Voctave

Journey To Blofeld’s Hideaway from John Barry’s score to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

No place like home


The AmeriNZ guy Arthur wrote about No place like home. A core paragraph: “For 24 years, my home wasn’t really a physical place—after all, Nigel and I lived in five different houses in three completely different areas in New Zealand. Instead, for me, ‘home’ was wherever Nigel and our furbabies were. That began to unravel when Nigel died.”

This got me thinking. I’ve lived in 30+ different places. How many of them were actually home? I’m leaving off a few places where I stayed anywhere from four days to two months except one.

5 Gaines Street, Binghamton, NY: the home I grew up in. Even though my room was defined by a partition, the ceiling was a painting of the solar system I commissioned my father to create. HOME.

Scudder Hall, New Paltz, NY (1971-72). A dorm is NOT HOME, though it was a pleasant enough experience. 29 Ackley Avenue, Johnson City, NY (1972). My parents moved there during my freshman year. NOT HOME.

New Paltz

The roach-infested place the Okie and I lived for two months in Kingston, NY (1972), assuredly NOT HOME. Colonial Arms, New Paltz (1972-1974). The Okie and I had people over. My neighbor Debi and I went grocery shopping together. On the other hand, the Okie, without my knowledge, let alone consent, invited people to crash with us for extended periods. HOME-ISH.

13 Maple Street, Binghamton, NY (1975). My grandma’s house, where I had no heat: NOT HOME. Three or four places in New Paltz (1975-76): NOT HOME.

The 1977 sojourn: my parents’ home in Charlotte, NC; my sister’s apartment in Queens, NY; Candid Yam’s sofa in New Paltz; my friend’s place in Schenectady. NOT HOME. The place on Eastern Parkway, Schenectady (1978-79), with two roomies. It may have been Sheila’s home, but for me, NOT HOME.

Albany, NY

First apartments in Albany (1978-80). It had a great sunken living room. But then the house was sold, and we had to move upstairs. NOT HOME.

223 Lancaster Street, Albany (1981-1983). I was working at FantaCo, a short distance away. My hangouts were Washington Park and Lark Street. My neighbors were great, including my friend Jessica and a couple of octogenarians, who gave me their 78s. At least a few times, I threw parties. HOME.

Madison Ave. I moved in because the Lancaster landlord threw everyone out to refurbish it. NOT HOME. 264 Western Ave. with the gospel writers Mark and John. HOME-ISH. The now-boarded-up 437 Second Street I wrote about; that, and the next place, HOME. The first time on Hudson Avenue and Hackett Blvd.: we could not have many guests for reasons. NOT HOME.

Home stretch

I especially liked the second time on Hudson Avenue, where I stayed for over four years. I actually carried petitions for my local city council person and worked the polls. My church and the YMCA, where I played racquetball, were within easy walking distance. Work was easy to get to. And my late friend Raoul had lived in the identical building next door until he died in 1983. HOME.

340 Manning Blvd. This is where my wife and I lived when we first got married. It had been her place before that. One of the rare, valuable things our pastor told us was that we ought to get a place that was ours. I always felt that my stuff, and therefore I, was being squeezed into that place. NOT HOME. Fortunately, I was there for only one year.

My current abode, since 2000. we took months to find a place we liked and could afford. It’s convenient. On ZOOM calls, you only see a small portion of the built-in bookcases. And, of course, our daughter was raised here. Fer sure, HOME.

S. Epatha Merkerson is 70

Isaac Hawkins Hall

Epatha MerkersonThe actor S. Epatha Merkerson played Lieutenant Anita Van Buren in 390 episodes of the long-running procedural Law and Order, from 1993 to 2010. I thought she was very credible in playing someone who had to deal with some added burdens in the workplace. She talked about the wigs she wore for the show.

I got the sense that Alex Trebek was a big fan of hers when she appeared on Celebrity JEOPARDY in 1999.

But she’s done a lot more. Epatha was nominated for two Tony Awards. She was up for Best Actress In A Play in 2008 for Come Back, Little Sheba, and Best Featured Actress In A Play in 1990 for The Piano Lesson.

I did not know that she was Reba in 16 episodes of Pee-wee’s Playhouse, primarily because I never watched the show. Currently, she plays Sharon Goodwin on Chicago Med, a program I’ve watched exactly once.


What I did see her in was the Freedom Tales episode of Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., which first aired on February 5, 2019. It reran early in 2022.

One of the most significant findings was that an ancestor of Epatha, Patrick Hawkins, was one of 272 people enslaved by the Jesuit priests of what is now Georgetown University who were sold to two planters in Louisiana in 1838. Money was tight for the educational institution. There’s a pretty good Wikipedia page on the subject.

WETA, the PBS station in DC hosted a screening and discussion of the episode. here’s a five-minute clip. Also, read Sister Melannie Svoboda’s blog.

“Despite her success, Merkerson recounted how she had ‘always wanted to know’ where her family came from. When she asked her grandmother to tell her about their ancestors, her grandmother responded, ‘It’s painful. You don’t need to hear any of this.'” This is not an unusual response.

“The ‘inventory’ compiled by the Jesuits for the sale listed the name of every slave. On the list were five of Patrick Hawkins’ relatives, his wife Letty, his son Peter, and his father Isaac. Georgetown recently renamed the Former Jesuit Residence after Isaac Hawkins following student protests over its original name that honored one of the Jesuits involved in the sale.

“Brought to tears, Merkerson responded, ‘They have names…they have names. They’re not just faceless people.'”


At the end of the episode, S. Epatha Merkerson attended a reunion of the GU272 Descendants Association. “GU272 is dedicated to preserving the memory, commemorating the lives, and restoring the honor of the GU272 enslaved people sold by the Maryland Province Jesuits in 1838 and those who were enslaved before, during, and after the sale by the Society of Jesus. As Descendants, we commit to reconciling our ancestors’ enslavement, reconnecting families, and renewing ties lost.”

Epatha said on the Finding Your Roots episode that maybe she’ll be able to take courses at Georgetown. Implicit was that she should be able to take them for free.

Swap-Bot Sunday Stealing

assault weapons, peanut butter, the movie Rollover

Swap-botThe  Sunday Stealing this week came from Swap-Bot. These were dubbed by the moderator, Bev, as silly questions. Some of them are just plain weird.

What mythical creature would improve the world most if it existed?

The phoenix could fly around from town to town, helping them to rise from the ashes of fires and the devastation of droughts. Maybe it could work on wind and water damage too.

What inanimate object do you wish you could eliminate from existence?

Assault weapons, such as AK-47s. BTW, I agree with those who have ever been in conversation about these weapons of massive destruction and are seeking to ban them. You call something an AK-47, but it’s an AR-15. So you are chastised that since you don’t know the difference, your opinions don’t matter. What I do know is how either one affects the human body. There’s a video from 60 Minutes from 2018, unfortunately now housed behind the Paramount + paywall, which explains this quite graphically.

What is the weirdest thing you have seen in someone else’s home?

It was actually at my grandmother’s house, I think. A tiny picture of “Jesus”was in a frame, and the eyes seemed to follow you around. It was creepy. The technique is mentioned on this site.

What would be the absolute worst name you could give your child?

Jelly Bean Green

What would be the worst thing for the government to make illegal?

Voting. And sometimes they try.

What are some of the nicknames you have for customers or coworkers?

Not a nickname, but when I was a working librarian, we always said, “We don’t know everything, but we know how to find it.”


If peanut butter wasn’t called peanut butter, what would it be called?

Toxic paste. My daughter is allergic. When I was young, I used to eat a lot of peanut butter, specifically Jif. I’m convinced I probably ate too much at some point because now I can’t stand it. This has actually been a boon to our family for a couple of reasons. 1) When we’re somewhere with unlabeled cookies, I can take a bite and tell my daughter instantly not to eat them before I spit them out. 2) My wife got Reese’s Pieces that my daughter would receive for trick-or-treating.

What movie would be greatly improved if it was made into a musical?

I’ve thought about this a lot. While I don’t particularly remember the film well, I thought it was TERRIBLE. (While 7 of 9 Rotten Tomatoes critics gave it a positive review, the audience was only 33% positive.) I’m picking Rollover (1981), about which one critic wrote, “Perhaps I might have liked it if I knew what it was all about.”

The plot: “The wife of a murdered petrochemical company chairman and a banker investigating the liquidity of his new bank stumbles upon an international financial scheme that could lead to global economic collapse.” It starred Jane Fonda, during a run of several well-regarded films, and Kris Kristofferson. I believe a scene was filmed at SUNY Albany. Music could only have made it better.

What would be the worst “buy one get one free” sale of all time?

A week in Antarctica in July.

Name game

What is the funniest name you have actually heard used in the real world?

It’s a strange thing. When you hear it over and over again, it’s not so weird. I’m specifically thinking of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who most Hollywood agent types thought he should change. Now, there are so many diverse names, perhaps difficult to pronounce, but people figure it out.

What sport would be the funniest to add a mandatory amount of alcohol to?

People in the stands drinking beer are usually okay. Watching people drinking while performing is not interesting to me.

What would be the coolest animal to scale up to the size of a horse?

All of the examples I thought of were terrifying. A hard PASS.

What set of items could you buy that would make the cashier the most uncomfortable?

I find most cashiers don’t care all that much.

What is something you just recently realized that you are embarrassed you didn’t realize earlier?

Probably the definition or pronunciation of a word, but frankly, I don’t remember (or much care) what it was. And “embarrassed” is a gross exaggeration.

What are some fun and interesting alternatives to war that countries could settle their differences with?

Not necessarily fun, but games of tic-tac-toe with the starter alternating. You succeed when you win ten games in a row. It’d go on forever, so there would be no time to fight.

Lydster: the college semester

Facebook Meet

I take it that my daughter mostly likes her first college semester. Frankly, I feared that her school experience might have been marred because of her delayed start due to COVID. That was my projection based on an experience I had.

Specifically, two days before I went to grad school at the University at Albany in 1979 in Public Administration, I got a small infection in my toe. By the time I had to register for classes, I was in dire pain. Right after I completed the process, I limped over to the infirmary. They put me in bed immediately for the next six days. The staff feared that the infection running up my leg would run up to my heart and kill me.

(This is, BTW, one of the reasons I worried about my wife when she had HER infection in October and why I, long before any of her doctors mentioned it, insisted that she keep her leg elevated.)

The result for me was that I felt behind in my classwork. After a year, I dropped out and instead worked at a comic book store for 8.5 years.


But my daughter was fine. She eventually figured out where the cafeteria was and found her classes. She made a couple of friends in her dorms, and all in all, she’s doing pretty well.

Well, except in one of her courses. The class breaks up into teams of six, and they are supposed to put together a coherent PowerPoint-type presentation with each team member contributing just one or two slides. But one of her colleagues both overproduced and added indefensible opinions. Her team never met when everyone was present.

So I got a text from my daughter asking if we could talk on Facebook Meet. For 2.5 hours, we talked mainly about that topic, and I recommended sources to look at. But we also spoke about the school, her mom’s condition, and people asking about her at church. This was very nice.

Just maybe I miss her a little.

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