Jan. rambling: worse than you’d think

P.D.Q. Bach

What’s Indoor Air Quality Like in Long-Term Care Facilities During Wildfires? Worse Than You’d Think

The Media Is Melting Down, and Neither Billionaires Nor Journalists Can Seem to Stop It. Across the industry, contraction, layoffs, sales, and labor unrest remind us of 2008 — but insiders are less optimistic this time.

Politicians Must Stop Playing Doctor — Personal ideology should not guide medical care, even for abortion.

Frank S. Robinson’s Book Review of “The Democrat Party Hates America”

The Green Island Power Authority responded to Chuck Miller’s questions. All of them.

2030 Census Planning in 2024

NY County data on detailed race by sex and age

What Happens When a Baby Is Born on a Plane? The unique reality of being—and having—a ‘skyborn’? at 39,000 feet

Pam Grier Set for Career Tribute at Toronto Black Film Festival

Complexly Signs Major Tetris Athlete

“God told me to run a bitcoin swindle on my parishioners.”

The last Salem “witch”

The Bookshop Sketch

9 Issues You Absolutely Need to Fix Before Selling Your Home

How to properly use a semicolon?

Now I Know: The Pregnant Platypus With a Secret and The Jail With a Built-in Breakout Plan (one of my sisters used to live in El Cajon)

Obits and a birthday

The Unthinkable Mental Health Crisis That Shook a New England College (WPI)

Colon cancer is killing more younger men and women than ever.

Norman Jewison, Director of In the Heat of the Night, Moonstruck, Fiddler on the Roof, The Hurricane, and many others, dies at 91

Charles Osgood, the host of CBS News Sunday Morning from 1994 to 2016, died at 91. I watched religiously. Thank you, VCR and DVR.

Joyce Randolph, Trixie on ‘The Honeymooners,’ Dies at 99

Bill Mumy, who I remember from Lost in Space and episodes of The Twilight Zone, turns 70 on February 1. 

SCOTUS on tape

The Supreme Court – now with sound! The Moving Image and Sound Branch of the National Archives is also home to over 300,000 sound recordings.   The recordings are organized chronologically.  Since cases are often argued over multiple days, cases can be split up between different recordings.

Time, Inc. v. Hill in 1966.  The Hill family case was argued by former vice president and future president Richard Nixon.  You can hear Nixon argue at about 51:30 in this recording.

  • Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015 required states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  The recordings are divided into three parts: question onequestion two, and the opinion.
  • Engel v. Vitale in 1962 decided that school-initiated prayer in public schools violated the First Amendment.
  • Gideon v. Wainwright from 1963 declared that indigent defendants must be provided legal representation without charge.
  • Roe v. Wade was argued over two dates: December 1971 and  October 1972.  The court declared abortion to be a constitutional right.
  • Loving et ux. v. Virginia struck down state laws that banned interracial marriage in 1967.


The American Dream Is Killing Me – Green Day [graphic]
Otis Redding: “(Sittin’ on) The Dock Of The Bay”, the first posthumous #1 pop song

Peter Schickele, Composer and Gleeful Sire of P.D.Q. Bach, Dies at 88. P.D.Q. Bach – Beethoven Symphony No. 5 Sportscast

Singer Melanie, Who Performed at Woodstock,” Dies at 76. Listen to Lay Down with the Edwin Hawkins Singers; Ruby Tuesday.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom Of The Opera film (2004)
Peter Sprague Plays The Wind Cries Mary featuring Lisa Hightower
John Lennon featuring the Plastic Ono Band: Jealous Guy
Coverville 1473: The Footloose 40th Anniversary Album Cover and 1474: Cover Stories for Roxette, Aaliyah and The Ventures
Symphonic Poem on Three Notes by Tan Dun.
Billy Joel: The Stranger
K-Chuck Radio: The Frank Farian Catalogue
Peter Sprague Plays Ocean Song, Earth Song
2024 Songwriters Hall of Fame Class: Timbaland, R.E.M., Steely Dan, Hillary Lindsey, Dean Pitchford

Ramones Biopic Caught In Crossfire of Heirs’ Clash In Court

Indie Lens Pop-Up

The Tuba Thieves

I have attended two Indie Lens Pop-Up events at the Pine Hills branch of the Albany Public Library. What’s that?

“Indie Lens Pop-Up is a neighborhood series that brings people together…for film screenings and community-driven conversations. Featuring documentaries seen on PBS’s Independent Lens, Indie Lens Pop-Up draws local residents, leaders, and organizations to discuss what matters most, from newsworthy topics and social issues, to family and community relationships.”

Here’s a list of screening partners. The one for my area is the local PBS television station, WMHT.

The first event on December 6, 2023, was the showing of the first part of A Town Called Victoria. “A south Texas town is thrown into the national spotlight when a local mosque is burned down in an apparent hate crime.” I remember the event. One dynamic shown in the film involved the ethnic tensions of the black, white, Hispanic, and Muslim communities.

The showing was followed by a conversation with the roughly two dozen viewers. A couple in the audience had regularly visited Victoria, so their insights. It was an excellent interaction.

The entire three-hour documentary is available from your local PBS station through mid-April.

On January 3, Razing Liberty Square was presented. “The Liberty Square public housing community in Miami becomes ground zero for climate gentrification.” This was a function of the fact that Liberty City was built on higher ground than the Miami coastal areas. Black people weren’t initially allowed to live on the coastline. With global warming making coastal Miami vulnerable, developers and politicians suddenly targeted the long-neglected area.

It was a good conversation. Sadly, there were only four in the audience, plus the facilitator. The film started airing on PBS starting on January 29.


The following films at the Pine Hills branch of the Albany Public Library, 517 Western Avenue, near Allen Street, will be:

Wednesday, February 7, 6 pm: Breaking The News. Women and LGBTQ+ journalists launch startup The 19th* to buck a broken news media system.

Wednesday, March 13, 6 pm: Matter Of Mind: My Parkinson’s.  Three individuals navigate their lives with determination in the face of Parkinson’s disease.

Wednesday, April 24, 6 pm: The Tuba Thieves. What does it mean to listen? An exploration of musicality set against a theft.

Oprah Winfrey turns 70

National Women’s Hall of Fame

When someone answers “Oprah” on JEOPARDY, when the correct response is “Oprah Winfrey,” the answer is generally adjudged to be correct. It’s like “Elvis” for “Elvis Presley.”.

Oprah’s A.M. Chicago show, which was much  more successful with her at the helm,  went national after her “Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for—her performance as Sofia in the film The Color Purple.”

I started watching her program early in its run, around 1986. I did not view it regularly as it was on in the afternoon. But I appreciated seeing her show the empathy that allowed celebrities and regular folks to open up to her.

I know I saw her interviews with the Little Rock Nine, the black kids trying to integrate the Arkansas high school in 1957, requiring the support of troops sent by President Eisenhower. But also participating were a bunch of white kids who jeered the Nine. There was a rapprochement that was truly powerful.

I saw some stars, such as Paul McCartney and Tom Cruise, the latter of whom “jumped around the set, hopped onto a couch, fell rapturously to one knee and repeatedly professed his love for his then-girlfriend, Katie Holmes…

“On February 10, 1993, Winfrey sat down in a prime-time special broadcast with Michael Jackson, who had performed ten days earlier in the Super Bowl XXVII halftime show, for what would become the most-watched interview in television history.” I watched that, too.


She was an effective interviewer because of her vulnerability and compassion. “On November 10, 1986, during a show about sexual abuse, Winfrey revealed that she was raped by a relative when she was nine years old. Since this episode, Winfrey has used the show as a platform to help catch child predators, raise awareness, and give victims a voice.”

And from 1995, “I was involved with a man in my twenties who introduced me to cocaine. I always felt that the drug itself was not the problem but that I was addicted to the man… I have said many times I did things I was ashamed of in my twenties, and I’ve done things I’ve felt guilty about. And that is my life’s great secret that’s been held over my head. I understand the shame, and I understand the guilt, I understand the secrecy, I understand all that.”

She had segments I enjoyed, such as her Book Club and the fiscal advice from Suze Orman. I was much less enthused by two other folks whom she helped launch,  Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Phil McGraw.

Oprah became a millionaire in 1986 and a billionaire by 2004.  In 1994, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. “Winfrey has won many accolades throughout her career,” including the Kennedy Center Honors in 2010.  She was elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2021.

She aids numerous programs, including an impressive school for girls in South Africa.

Taraji P. Henson Praises Oprah at ‘The Color Purple’ Screening: “She Was There Holding Our Hands.” Oprah produced the Warner Bros. musical remake, which stars Henson alongside Fantasia Barrino and Danielle Brooks.

Sunday Stealing: February

walking without tripping

The first question in this iteration of Sunday Stealing is about the second month. It should be the 12th month, but we won’t get into that.

1. What are your plans for February?

There will be an Olin Family Reunion online on February 3. I’m involved with the John Olin Origin Project. We know he came across the Atlantic in the latter 17th century on an English ship, but was he English? Welsh? French? BTW, I am the spouse of John> Joseph> Joseph> Reuben> John> Earl> Orva> George> Ann> Carol.

Two Death Cafes are taking place online in February. I’ve written about them here, among other places. Although I wasn’t a part of the originating group, I’ve been recruited to run one of the break-out rooms, making sure everyone who wants to has the opportunity to speak, take notes for when the group gets back together, and basically try to keep things on track. Some college students will be joining in.

Also, Valentine’s Day will be Ash Wednesday. They coincided in 1923, 1934, and  1945, which I don’t remember, and 2018, which I do. It will happen again in 2029, but not again in the 21st Century. My hot V-Day date with my wife will be going to church.

2. Did you ever have or go to sleepovers as a kid?

No sleepovers at my house, at least for me and my friends. I have some vague notion of going with one or both of my sisters to someone else’s house when I was eight or ten, having a mad crush on a girl from the host family.


3. Which books would you pick for a book binge?

There’s a shelf in this office of books I purchased in the past two years at the author talks at the Albany Public Library that I’d grab. I’d probably start with Roosevelt Sweeps Nation by David Pietrusza.

4. What features do you love most about your home?

It’s the built-in bookshelves in this room, the contents of which I had to reorganize.

5. How often do you try something new?

I watched this recent Vlogbrothers video by Hank Green.  I’ve concluded that every day I do something new when I write this blog because I’m synthesizing my experiences. And the experiences are new, whether seeing a movie or reading a book. I only went to France last year so I’d have blog fodder. (KIDDING, Deborah!)

6. What type of sushi is your favorite?

I don’t really know sushi, and I seldom consume it. California roll, I suppose.

7. Do you prefer to relax or go on adventures during vacation?

I don’t have a great need to go somewhere in order to relax. It is not as though I like sitting on the beach, in no small part because of my vitiligo, but even before I developed it two decades ago, I never saw the attraction.

8. Which colors look best on you?

I look marvelous in everything! You should ask someone else. Blue, I guess?

9. Do you like brunch?

As opposed to not having brunch? Sure.


10. Do you get stage fright?

Apparently so. I was in two different musicals at church in the past decade, and I knew my songs cold in rehearsal but forgot a line in one song and failed to make an entrance in another.

11. Which podcasts do you like at the moment?

There are approximately one zillion podcasts, and I’ve heard a few that seemed intriguing, but I haven’t the time. I can’t listen to one while doing something else. (This is true of audiobooks as well, BTW.) So I’ve been listening to three: Coverville by Brian Ibbott since 2008, Hollywood and Levine by Ken Levine since c. 2016, and AmeriNZ by Arthur since… actually, I haven’t a clue, but for a long time.

12. One thing that immediately makes your day better

When the cats are in a good mood and want to purr on my lap.

13. Which family members are you closest to?

My wife, my daughter, and my two sisters.

14. Something you practice often

Choral music, near-obsessive self-reflection, walking without tripping over the cats.

15. Are you a light sleeper or a deep sleeper?

Deep sleep, not necessarily for very long, but often enough time to have vivid dreams.

Academy Awards nominations et al.

baseball, The Daily Show, JEOPARDY!

As I’m sure I mentioned once upon a time, I pay attention to the Academy Awards nominations. In the early 1990s, I’d listen to the radio at work and jot down the major selections. Now I can wait ten minutes and find it online.

The issue of an awards snub currently seems particularly energized. Academy Award winner Whoopi Goldberg denies it happened this year but one of her The View costars says otherwise. A guy on my Facebook feed says no, and is accused of mansplaining.

THR writes:  “One irony of the backlash to the Barbie snubs is that it has attempted to pit women against women. (Barbie Land would never!) One column has been excoriated for appearing to diminish the performances of the nominated actresses in defense of [Margot] Robbie.”

For me, it’s clear I need to see more performances. There are five women Best Actress in a Leading Role:

Annette Bening (Nyad)
Lily Gladstone (Killers of the Flower Moon)
Sandra Hüller (Anatomy of a Fall)
Carey Mulligan (Maestro)
Emma Stone (Poor Things)

I’ve seen only Mulligan.

Likewise, these folks were nominated for Best Directing:

Justine Triet (Anatomy of a Fall)
Martin Scorsese (Killers of the Flower Moon)
Christopher Nolan (Oppenheimer)
Yorgos Lanthimos (Poor Things)
Jonathan Glazer (The Zone of Interest)

I’ve seen only Oppy, so I can’t say of Greta Gerwig was snubbed or not.

Best pics

Ten films were selected as Best Picture nominees. The ones I’ve seen I’ve starred:

*American Fiction (Ben LeClair, Nikos Karamigios, Cord Jefferson and Jermaine Johnson, Producers)
Anatomy of a Fall (Marie-Ange Luciani and David Thion, Producers)
*Barbie (David Heyman, Margot Robbie, Tom Ackerley and Robbie Brenner, Producers)
*The Holdovers (Mark Johnson, Producer)
Killers of the Flower Moon (Dan Friedkin, Bradley Thomas, Martin Scorsese and Daniel Lupi, Producers)
*Maestro (Bradley Cooper, Steven Spielberg, Fred Berner, Amy Durning and Kristie Macosko Krieger, Producers)
*Oppenheimer (Emma Thomas, Charles Roven and Christopher Nolan, Producers)
*Past Lives (David Hinojosa, Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler, Producers)
Poor Things (Ed Guiney, Andrew Lowe, Yorgos Lanthimos and Emma Stone, Producers)
The Zone of Interest (James Wilson, Producer)

Time to get to the theater, where these films have either shown up for the first time or have made an Oscar nom return.

I won’t be seeing these films, though. Razzie Awards: ‘Expend4bles’ Leads Nominations. ‘Exorcist: Believer’ and ‘Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey’ also nabbed multiple mentions.


I’m happy Adrián Beltré, Todd Helton, and Joe Mauer were selected for the Baseball Hall of Fame. But I’m sad that, in his 9th try out of ten chances, reliever Billy Wagner came up five votes short.

Gary Sheffield: HE was snubbed, falling off the ballot after receiving 63.9% of the vote, with 75% needed.

Next year’s ballot will include Ichiro Suzuki and CC Sabathia. Both should get in on the first ballot, with Ichiro, the only MLB player I know to have his first name on the back of his jersey, a mortal lock.

I’m sad to read that  Chicago Cubs Hall of Fame infielder Ryne Sandberg has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and has begun treatment. Part of it is that my father died of the disease. 

NFL playoffs

Go, Detroit Lions! General Motors is delaying a shift on Sunday so that their workers can see the Lions’ NFC title game completion against the San Francisco 49ers. 

Like the return of Michael Jordan to the Bulls

I’m glad Jon Stewart is back on The Daily Show, even if it’s once a week on air, plus serving as executive producer, at least through the election.  TDS veterans are thrilled. I liked the top-secret intrigue in luring him back.


To my surprise, I found this season’s Celebrity JEOPARDY more interesting than the previous iteration. It’s also a lot more fun than the regular game’s interminable Champions Wildcard, where they bring back players from the past three seasons. That said, I’m rooting for Martha Bath, who won back in 1972 when Art Fleming was the host and then won again a couple of years ago.

Celebrity J! fans criticized ABC for revealing the winner ahead of the final tournament: ‘Thanks for the spoiler.’ An ad for Jimmy Kimmel’s late-night program featured the winner. (If you’ve recorded it without watching it, I’M not going to provide a spoiler.) Luckily for me, I watched it fast-forwarding through the commercials.

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