MLKing National Memorial

As I’ve noted recently, this month marks the 42nd anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King. I remember the particulars of 4/4/1968 as much as I do 11/22/1963, for instance. I have recently elucidated about the importance of Dr. King in my social development.

I’ve only recently discovered a group that is “commemorating his life and work by creating a memorial in our nation’s capital. The Washington, DC, Martin Luther King, Jr., National Memorial will honor his life and contributions to the world through non violent social change.”

There is a website, mlkmemorialnews.org, that includes videos, photos, banners, and an opportunity to donate money to the creation of the memorial.

“After many years of fund raising, the memorial is only $14 million away from its $120 million goal.”
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Poll Finds Tea Party Anger Rooted in Issues of Class (NYT, 4/14)

The fierce animosity that Tea Party supporters harbor toward Washington and President Obama in particular is rooted in deep pessimism about the direction of the country and the conviction that the policies of the Obama administration are
disproportionately directed at helping the poor rather than the middle class or the rich, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

Why is this absolutely unsurprising?

Interestingly, Dr. King’s last efforts were not based on just racial equality, but on economic justice. But economic justice is like water on dry ground; it lifts ALL boats up.
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Democracy Now! spoke to the mayor of my hometown yesterday, Binghamton’s (NY) Matt Ryan. “He’s taken an unusual step to remind the city’s residents about the expanding costs of the wars. Early next week, the city of Binghamton plans to install a large digital ‘cost of war’ counter on the facade of City Hall. The counter will show that the residents of the city have already spent $138 million on the wars since 2001.” More here.

This reminds me that MLK’s opposition to the Vietnam war in 1967 was not exactly a popular move, either with the LBJ administration or with most civil rights leaders.
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I got an message from an old high school chum. (Why is it that certain people you remember instantly, and others are…who is that again?)
He wrote: “I can remember a speech you gave one day in an assembly. The idea being that racial equality had to do with even more than having a black person star in a deodorant commercial (which at the time was progress!) It made an impact that lasted…you never know what will, do you?”

Boy, I wish I could remember the context of that speech…

ROG

QUESTIONS about Shopping

It’s oft quoted that consumer spending is the lifeblood of the American economy, comprising of 2/3s or 70%, depending on who you ask, of the economy. It’s also well established that the Christmas season time of the year when retailers and services historically expect to make it into the black.

So:
Will you spend more, less, or just as much on Christmas as you did last year?

Has your shopping been affected by social concerns such as trying to buy locally or buying fair trade items, such as the toys at Green Living?

Do you worry about buying gift cards that will be worthless if the company folds?

Are you concerned about too much stuff?

My answers: less, yes, yes and yes.
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If you’re interested in equine-related stuff, you might want to check out Silver Horse Studios; not only is it local to me (Catskill, NY), it’s the business of Eileen and Mario Bruni. Mario was the eweell-done but ultimately ill-fated Mars attacks mini comics that FantaCo put out in the late 1980s.

The niece’s next gig – niece on the right.

ROG

It’s the Stupid, Economy


About three months ago, my wife got a letter from one of her credit card companies LOWERING her available credit. Understand that she always pays on time. This is so contrary to what had been happening for the past decade or more, where they kept upping her available credit to absurdist levels; i.e., greater than her gross annual salary.

Now, last week, I got a letter from one of my credit card companies. They noted that I had not used the card in 24 months, which was true. In the olden days, i.e., last year, they would have sent me checks to write against the account. Instead, though, they CANCELLED the card. This is NOT a complaint, BTW, just an observation, since I too have more available credit than income.

Meanwhile, gas is going down, but not at the same rates. While the Mobil station nearest my house has that traditional dime’s difference between the various levels (on Monday, $2.199, $2.299, $2.399), a couple other Mobil stations in Albany were $2.199, $2.659, $2.699. I don’t begin to understand pricing for this stuff, but I am fascinated that it could be so different within the same city limits.
or here.
The State University of New York is raising tuition, largely as a result of the state budget crisis; apparently, the state government can’t print money to spend its way out of its crisis as the feds can. Since two of my alma maters were SUNY schools (New Paltz and Albany), I’m interested in noting that the result of this is an INCREASE in the number of people who want to attend college. Do they figure they might as well go to school in hopes that things will be better when they get out?

ROG

11 Random Thoughts

Apparently, Wayne John couldn’t come up with an actual post. I’m so cool with that that I stole the idea.

1. At dinner last week, my wife and I actually had as conversation about The Three Bears. To wit, if all of them went for a walk because the porridge was too hot, then why was the porridge in Mama Bear’s medium-sized bowl too cold, but Baby Bear’s small bowl “just right”? Was it that Mama Bear was on a diet and took only a small portion? Or was the construction of their individual bowls so different that they had such radically different cooling times?

2. Does anyone know which DVD of the Simpsons includes The Raven? My wife needs it for educational purposes. Really.

3. I’m obsessed with branches that have broken off from trees but that have not yet landed on the ground. I worry that a stiff wind will tumble those branches onto someone. Last week, I dislodged one by flinging my backpack over my head.

4. I think if Obama wins, it’ll be because people got their third quarter 401(k) reports and blanched. Mine went down 12% so far this year, with half of that just in the last quarter. So did my wife’s. And my daughter also has a little account that tanked.

5, Conversely, McCain may have lost when he had to explain to some audience member that Obama was not an Arab. BTW, are there ANY Arab-Americans out there supporting McCain? Or any American Muslims, for that matter? If so, they remind me of Log Cabin Republicans.

6. I got out of painting the front porch last week by taking three children to the playground for an hour and a half. I’m not sure I got the best end of the deal.

7. The are people who have signed up for my Twitter feeds and I have no idea how they got there. I don’t tweet enough; I do so hope I don’t disappoint.

8. Every time my daughter’s sick, I’m the one who takes the first day off from work. This means that I only have about 139 sick days left.

9. My wife has an unusual item on her Christmas list: to hire someone to evaluate our home for a possible design redo.

10. I wish more sites I read had RSS feeds.

11. I’ve had a book called Play Bridge in Four Hours for years. It’s on my reading list. For 2016.
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WONDER WOMAN DAY 2008
Every year, writer-editor Andy Mangels stages the Wonder Woman Day event to support women’s charities. Wonder Woman Day includes an auction of donated drawings from a wide assortment of artists. Every year, Wonder Woman Day gets bigger and raises more money, and from the looks of it, the 2008 event will be no exception. This year’s festivities will be held on October 26. If you’d like to see the selection of artwork that’s going up for sale and learn more about Wonder Woman Day, please go here.

ROG

Roger Answers Your Questions, Jaquandor

Jaquandor, who kindly plugged Ask Roger Anything asks:

1. List at least three movies that you love despite the fact that the world has united against them in abject hatred.

You mean like your love of Titanic? Initially, I was really hard pressed to think of one. OK, I did consider one, Continental Divide, with John Belushi and Blair Brown. The critics I read at the time savaged it. I went to Rotten Tomatoes to verify this, and what do I find? 75% positive; of course, that was only 6 out of 8 critics who liked it. Maybe it’s aged better. I have a great affection for the 1945 version of State Fair, while not pillaged (and regarded far better than the 1962 Pat Boone version), was rated only so-so compared to the 1933 version. Finally, Requiem for A Dream wasn’t exactly hated, but with its unrated status and difficult content, it’s no surprise that the 2000 film only did $2,546,851. Ellen Burstyn should have won the Oscar that year rather than Julia Roberts for Erin Brockovich, though that might have been Julia’s best performance.

But then I remembered some movies I saw 30 years ago that I haven’t seen since – a 1977-78 trilogy of films of the Burt Reynolds/Sally Field oeuvre. Smokey and the Bandit, about running beer across county lines, with Jackie Gleason; The End, a comedy about bungled suicide, with Dom DeLuise; and Hooper, about a stunt man. My girlfriend at the time really liked them, and I found myself enjoying them as well in spite of myself.

And how about a film that I haven’t seen in 40 years? Mark Evanier lobbied for it to be released on DVD, and it is so. The Night They Rated Minsky’s – my first movie that I attended that was rated M for mature audiences; this later became GP, then PG. I remember who I saw it with: my friend Carol (not to be confused with my wife) and her friend Judy (for whom I had an unrequited crush). I remember the songs (You Rat You, Perfect Gentleman, the title tune, plus Take 10 Terrific Girls – But Only Nine Costumes, which I know by heart) because I own the soundtrack, on vinyl, given to me by my grandfather, a janitor at a radio station (WNBF, Binghamton, NY). He got it because the station was THROWING IT AWAY. I remember the opening, done by Rudy Vallee: “In 1925 there was this real religious girl, and by accident — she invented the striptease. This real religious girl. In 1925. Thank you.” I may have to watch the DVD just to see if the film, the first one with Elliott Gould and the last one with Bert Lahr, is as much fun as the soundtrack is or as good as I remember.

2. Since I assume you do a fair share of toy shopping these days, are there any toys you see out there that make you think, “Wow, I wish I’d had that when I was a kid!” Or, conversely, are you the type to go to an antiques store with your kid, see the toys you yourself played with, and subject your kid to lectures about how much better those toys were?

She has some toys, notably her train set which is much more sophisticated than anything I had, and her cars with a track, but I don’t covet them, mostly because, generally speaking, I’ve ODed on “stuff”.
Nor do I try to force my childhood on her, though she just got a ball and bat, not exactly a Wiffle ball, but similar. I suppose some day I hope she can appreciate the wonder that is Slinky, but I guess I don’t worry about it much. She seems happy so far with her stuffed bears, dolls, books, videos, puzzles, and coloring books for now.

3. What does the entire area of New York State west of, say, Troy have to do to get Albany to realize how bad things are out here?! (By “Albany” I mean of course our state government and not people who just live and work in Albany.)

Given the bath the state government has taken over the Wall Street crisis (Bear Stearns, et al.), recognition of the problem may not be the issue, it’s doing anything substantial about it.

4. Describe something that makes you laugh deep and hearty, despite the fact that few other people think it’s funny.

Bad puns. Henhouse Five Plus Two doing In the Mood like chickens; indeed anything that is done in the style of chickens. Ode to Joy per chicken. Smoke on the Water per chicken.

5. KFC: Original or Extra Crispy? (I prefer Original myself.)

And speaking of chicken: oh, original. The extra crispy tastes like cardboard. That said, can’t remember the last time I had KFC – it was since I’ve been married but before Lydia was born.
Actually, I have a historic fondness for KFC. On or around my 19th birthday at college in New Paltz, my roommate, my girlfriend, my best college friend and some others conspired with my parents (who came with my sisters from Binghamton, a couple hours away) to have a surprise party for me. I was surprised, in part because I walked into my room and my glasses steamed up. I took off my glasses to clean them and noticed over a dozen people in my room, none of whom I could make out – is that my father over there? They brought KFC, and there were leftovers that the poor college student ate over the next several days.

6. What scares you more: John McCain continuing George Bush’s foreign policy, or John McCain continuing George Bush’s economic policy?

You seem to suggest that George W. Bush HAS an economic policy. OK, the rich get richer. But even THAT’S not working very well lately. McCain has shown no grasp of economics at all. And it’s difficult to separate the foreign/defense policy of spend without ceasing from our economic woes. OK, I’ll pick foreign policy, because if we continue to isolate ourselves, that is NOT in our national interest.
Here’s the awful thing: I think John McCain has a very good chance of winning in November. I saw a poll recently and Clinton Leads Pack in Negative Ratings; moreover, in the self-selecting poll AOL had, the results were the same:
Clinton 28% positive, 61% negative, 11% neutral Total Votes: 650,265
McCain 42, 32, 26; 604,308
Obama 38, 47, 15; 618,110
Yes, McCain is the only one with greater positive than negative ratings. Also note the vote totals; more people went out of their way to dis Hillary than Barack or John. Meanwhile, the Hillary supporters are beginning to hate Barack, and vice versa, and threatening to vote for McCain, or no one in the general election. A huge number of women in particular will be most disappointed if Clinton loses and will opt out; likewise, Obama supporter, many young and/or black, will not embrace the former First Lady. I have a BAD feeling about this; I hope I’m wrong.

Oh, the woman in the picture: Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska, who some tout as Vice-Presidential on the McCain ticket. “The first-ever woman Governor of Alaska, its youngest (44) governor, and the first to have been born after Alaska became a state. A onetime beauty queen, high school athlete, and TV reporter, Palin was elected mayor of Washila in 1996 and, two years ago, made national headlines by defeating present and past governors to win the state’s highest office.” Unfortunately, the pundits observe, Alaska only has three electoral votes and is likely to go Republican anyway. I STILL think McCain’s picking a governor or former governor as his running mate.

ROG