Roger Answers Your Questions, Jaquandor

From the guy from Buffalo who does Byzantium Shores.

1. If they re-did the Jeopardy! eligibility rules so you could try out again, would you?

Quite possibly so. I feel ever so slightly jealous that they doubled the values a couple years after I was on. This doesn’t mean I would have won $35,200 instead of $17,600 when I played, but it made me wonder. Of course, maybe I’d suck at the game now. Certainly, I’d go in the next three years, when I’d be 60, or not at all.

Somehow I feel like one of those baseball players who came along just before free agency.

2. In retrospect: Should Spitzer have resigned?

In retrospect, no, but that whole thing wasn’t going down “in retrospect”. It wasn’t his sexual behavior that did him in, it was his hypocrisy. Truth is that he never had the patience to be governor; things he could have bullied people to do as Attorney General, with the force of law on his side, could not be achieved as Governor, where give and take is more the requirement.

No doubt that if he were not tainted, he might have continued to sound the alarm about the Wall Street fiasco, as he was working on as Attorney General. Equally true that Wall Street as happy to see him go. The truth of the matter is that I wish he had stayed as AG, but he would have had to resign that position as well, once the Customer Number Nine stuff came out.

I continue to be fascinated by sexual scandals in terms of who gets to stay in office and who has to go. I always thought that Bill Clinton got to stay because there was a general feeling that 1) he already had a reputation as a womanizer, so he didn’t have the hypocrite label slapped on him (only the “liar” label) and 2) that the impeachment over sex, and lying about it, was an overreach for something that started off as an investigation of a land deal.

3. What the hell is going on with the Catholic Church? I mean, seriously: WTF?!

The church seems to continue to be tone deaf to the scandal. Some archbishop in New York State is attacking the attackers of the Pope, as though THEY were the problem instead of the pedophile priests and the system that protected them.

SamuraiFrog had a good post about this. The church
treated it as an “internal matter”, fearing that somehow admitting it and exposing it would undermind its moral authority. Have they not learned from Watergate? It’s the COVER UP that REALLY underminds their moral authority. If they’d gotten in front of this even 30 years ago – John Paul II became Pope in 1978 – then it would have been painful, yes, but not this drip-drip-drip of scandal.

Mr. Frog notes the fact that the church feels selectively persecuted/prosecuted for its religion, that other people did wrong things. OK, and the church also claims that its first Pope knew Jesus personally, which, I’d like to suggest, places it at a slightly higher standard.

The Catholic hierarchy for years has been blaming this problem on the United States’ culture and society, as though it had been the “permissive” Americans who regularly ignore Papal dictates on issues such as birth control as the problem. Classic misdirection, but it did not “take”, given the worldwide problem.

And the “it happened a long time ago – get over it” argument, not just on this issue, but any issue, such as institutional racism and sexism, has always irritated the crap out of me. Let me say it again: the persecutors oughtn’t be able to say “Let’s move on” without the adequate response of not only apologizing for the problem, but, to the degree possible, rectifying the problem. This is why the Armenians in Turkey are still, and rightly from my POV, kvetching about the 1915
genocide that the Turkish government still denies.

As someone who protected a priest who had victimized 200 boys, the former Cardinal Ratzinger has given new meaning to “papal bull”.
***
Remember last month when I directed you to a link to my guest review for Trouble with Comics, then it went away? Well, as Bullwinkle J. Moose says, This time for sure!

ROG

I AM Happy, Damn It!

Since I still feel like I just went through the spin cycle in my clothes washer, and since Jaquandor wouldn’t mind seeing this meme spread out through Blogistan, I thought I would list ten things that make me happy (minus the obvious mentions of The Wife, The Daughter, and music). Even stole his title; shameful.

1. Being touched – I don’t mean that in any sordid way. I mean hugs, hand holding, massage. (There was some recent studies that showed that when people are touched, they have a better perception of the event.)
2. White noise to go to sleep by – fan, my daughter’s air filter, even a vacuum cleaner if it’s far enough away. (There was at least one night in the Daughter’s first two months that the vacuum got HER to go to sleep.)
3. The fact that when I write, it takes me to often unexpected places.
4. Learning new things almost daily.
5. Being able to pull out some obscure piece of information, whether it be at work or helping someone on the bus figure out the best route or watching JEOPARDY!
6. Racquetball – nothing like beating up a helpless piece of rubber.
7. The English language – its amalgamation of such diverse sources, from Latin and Greek to Tagalog and Arabic.
8. Black and white photographs; they seem to have such character.
9. Baseball. It’s not just watching it. It’s the history, the obsessive use of statistics (batting average against left-handers in night games, e.g.)
10. Card games – hearts, pinochle, bid whist, spades. It’s the social aspect of games I like the most; playing on the computer is just not the same.
***
Time to drink some English tea.

ROG

Online/offline life

I attended this blogger conference last week at the College of Saint Rose. If you go to the link, you’ll see what people, including me, thought of the event. The video, which I kvetched about in the article, is also available at the site.

One of the running observations in those comments is that the participants feared that the event would turn out to be a snarkfest, based on some of the online comments that some of these same people had made online to each other. Instead it was, if not a love fest, then at least quite civil. And I got to see my buddy David Brickman, pictured, and not just his head.

I find it all very odd, because, lately, I’m finding people online to be, for the most part, much more civil than in person. There was an incident last month at church – which I won’t get into much except to say this: when someone wants to convince me of the efficacy of a point of view, it’s really important that the topic sentence not be patently, demonstrably false. That transaction, combined with some other circumstances, made going there, especially to choir, a little less of a safe place to be than it had been heretofore. Not occasionally, some of my racquetball partners can be – let’s say unnecessarily irritating lately. Our neighbors, who we are fond of, lost their house for back taxes; verdict is out on the buyer, but early signs are, let’s say, less than encouraging. And the Albany Y is closing at the end of the month; I’ve only been a member since December 1982, so I have no emotional investment.

Meanwhile, online life is pretty darn great. Part of that, admittedly, is the fact that it was my birthday Sunday and I got probably two dozen Facebook well wishers, plus four e-cards, a number of e-mails, a few comments on the blog, and a mention from Gordon. Since I am admittedly LOUSY at Facebook – it just isn’t something I find the time to do regularly – I found the FB responses in particular really gratifying.

But it’s other stuff. My blog was featured on the Times Union page when I happened to be sitting at the library next to a guy looking for a job; I could just give him the link to the Census information. “Hey, is that you?” pictured on top? Why yes, it is.

The mighty comic blogger ADD cited a conversation we had a while back in a recent post. Jaquandor (the guy at Byzantium Shores) and Scott answered my questions; yes, some of them are the same questions. I get good comments from the ABC Wednesday folks.

Sunday Stealing stole my meme (that’s a good thing); and yes, I had admittedly stolen it myself.

Speaking of stealing, I was pleased that the NYS senator Kirsten Gillibrand came out for gay men being able to donate blood. I wanted to write something but didn’t have time, so of course, I stole it. I feel only slightly guilty, because I stole it from me. Repositioning, as I recall ADD and I decided.

Someone joked at the Times Union gig that “almost no one” showed up in pajamas. Sometimes, the folks that I could “talk” with in my PJs are just easier to deal with. Well, except for Glenn Beck attacking me.
***
I’m not much of a believer in astrology, but my friend of 52 years, born two days after I, sent me our chart. I found it oddly soothing:
“This aspect is all about breaking the bonds that held you down in the past.” [Sounds right.] You are about to become liberated from some sort of situation that contained or limited you…Earlier in the month we have an excellent day that you may want to circle on your calendar – March 7…will help you hone your powers of communication. The written and spoken word will become very important to your progress at this time, and if you are born on March 7, or within five days of this date, this will be true for your whole year to come because this is happening on your “solar return” or return of the Sun to your time of birth. (The closer your birthday falls to March 7, the more dramatically you will see this trend.) Travel taken near March 7 should go really well, and all news, including news about home and family, could make you want to sing!”
Since my birthday was March 7 – which turned out to be a pretty good day…

ROG

100 Quotes Every Geek Should Know

I’ve been thinking about doing this since I first saw it at Byzantium’s Shores a few weeks ago. It’s a list of 100 Quotes Every Geek Should Know. I will reproduce the list as follows: ++ for quotes I not only recognize but can cite by the character who says it (if it’s a line of dialogue), and + for quotes I recognize by source but can’t recall who said it. All others will be left as is. You can play along, then check the source attributions.

1. “Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.”

+ 2. “Three rings for the Elven kings under the sky, seven for the Dwarf lords in their halls of stone, nine for the mortal men doomed to die, one for the Dark Lord on his dark throne, in the land of Mordor where the shadows lie. One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring the bring them all, and in the darkness bind them. In the land of Mordor where the shadows lie.”

++ 3. “I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

++ 4. “Spock. This child is about to wipe out every living thing on Earth. Now, what do you suggest we do……spank it?”

++ 5. “With great power there must also come — great responsibility.”

6. “If you can’t take a little bloody nose, maybe you oughtta go back home and crawl under your bed. It’s not safe out here. It’s wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross; but it’s not for the timid.”

7. “Five card stud, nothing wild. And the sky’s the limit”

8. “If you think that by threatening me you can get me to do what you want… Well, that’s where you’re right. But – and I am only saying that because I care – there’s a lot of decaffeinated brands on the market that are just as tasty as the real thing.”

9. “We’re all very different people. We’re not Watusi. We’re not Spartans. We’re Americans, with a capital ‘A’, huh? You know what that means? Do ya? That means that our forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world. We are the wretched refuse. We’re the underdog.”

10. “If I’m not back in five minutes, just wait longer.”

11. “I’m going to give you a little advice. There’s a force in the universe that makes things happen. And all you have to do is get in touch with it, stop thinking, let things happen, and be the ball.”

12. WE APOLOGIZE FOR THE INCONVENIENCE

13. “Some days, you just can’t get rid of a bomb!”

14. “Bill, strange things are afoot at the Circle K.”

+ 15. “Invention, my dear friends, is 93% perspiration, 6% electricity, 4% evaporation, and 2% butterscotch ripple.”

16. “Didja ever look at a dollar bill, man? There’s some spooky s*** goin’ on there. And it’s green too.”

17. “Alright, alright alright.”

18. “Heya, Tom’, it’s Bob from the office down the hall. Good to see you, buddy; how’ve you been? Things have been alright for me except that I’m a zombie now. I really wish you’d let us in.”

19. “Never argue with the data.”

20. “Oooh right, it’s actually quite a funny story once you get past all the tragic elements and the over-riding sense of doom.”

21. “Fantastic!”

22. “I must not fear. / Fear is the mind-killer. / Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. / I will face my fear. / I will permit it to pass over me and through me. / And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see
its path. / Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. / Only I will remain.”

23. “This is the way society functions. Aren’t you a part of society?”

24. “Okay. You people sit tight, hold the fort and keep the home fires burning. And if we’re not back by dawn… call the president.”

25. “No matter where you go, there you are. ”

++ 26. “Do you know of the Klingon proverb that tells us revenge is a dish that is best served cold? It is very cold in space.”

+ 27. “Ray, if someone asks you if you’re a god, you say YES!”

28. “Greetings, programs!”

29. “I guess you picked the wrong g**-damned rec room to break into, didn’t you?!”

++ 30. “I find your lack of faith disturbing.”

++ 31. “Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no substitute for a good blaster at your side, kid.”

++ 32. “Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.”

33. “It’s a moral imperative.”

++ 34. “Talk with your mouth full / bite the hand that feeds you / bite off more than you can chew / dare to be stupid”

+ 35. “Well, let’s say this Twinkie represents the normal amount of psychokinetic energy in the New York area. Based on this morning’s reading, it would be a Twinkie thirty-five feet long, weighing approximately six hundred pounds.”

36. “This episode was BADLY written!”

37. “Worst. Episode. Ever.”

+ 38. “Goonies never say die.”

+ 39. “Nothing shocks me–I’m a scientist.”

40. “Bright light! Bright light!”

41. “The Road goes ever on and on/Down from the door where it began/Now far ahead the Road has gone/And I must follow, if I can/Pursuing it with eager feet/Until it joins some larger way/Where many paths and errands meet/And whither then? I cannot say.”

++ 42. “Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!”

43. “If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?”

++ 44. “Wait a minute, Doc. Ah… Are you telling me you built a time machine… out of a DeLorean?”

++ 45. “Don’t call me a mindless philosopher, you overweight blob of grease!”

++ 46. “I’d just as soon kiss a wookiee!”

47. “But one thing’s sure: Inspector Clay is dead, murdered, and somebody’s responsible.”

48. “I know kung fu.”

49. “This is your receipt for your husband… and this is my receipt for your receipt.”

50. “Your soul-suckin’ days are over, amigo!”

51. “I don’t believe there’s a power in the ‘verse that can stop Kaylee from being cheerful. Sometimes you just wanna duct-tape her mouth and dump her in the hold for a month.”

52. “Would you say I have a plethora of piñatas?”

+ 53. “Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!”

54. “There is no Earthly way of knowing… which direction we are going. There is no knowing where we’re rowing, or which way the river’s flowing. Is it raining? Is it snowing? Is a hurricane a’blowing? Not a speck of light is showing so the danger much be growing. Are the fires of hell a’glowing? Is the grisley reaper mowing? YES! The danger must be growing for the rowers keep on rowing AND THEY’RE CERTAINLY NOT SHOWING ANY SIGNS THAT THEY ARE SLOWING!!”

55. “Time…to die.”

56. “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”

57. “Check, please.”

58. “So say we all.”

++ 59. “After very careful consideration, sir, I’ve come to the conclusion that your new defense system sucks.”

60. “I am a leaf on the wind, watch how I soar.”

++ 61. “No matter what you hear in there, no matter how cruelly I beg you, no matter how terribly I may scream, do not open this door or you will undo everything I have worked for.”

62. “Ahh, a bear in his natural habitat: a Studebaker.”

++ 63. “He’s dead, Jim.”

++ 64. “Who’s gonna turn down a Junior Mint? It’s chocolate, it’s peppermint – it’s delicious!”

++ 65. “Bring out your dead.”

++ 66. “My name is Inigo Montoyo. You killed my father. Prepare to die!”

67. “Why a duck? Why-a no chicken?”

++ 68. “Redrum.”

++ 69. “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows.”

++ 70. “We’re going to need a bigger boat.”

71. “Oooh, ahhh, that’s how it always starts. Then later there’s running and screaming.”

72. “Greetings, my friend. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.”

++ 73. “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!”

+ 74. “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”

++ 75. “Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape!”

++ 76. “You maniacs! You blew it up! Oh, damn you! Damn you all to hell!”

++ 77. “Klaatu barada nikto.”

78. “Monsters from the Id.”

++ 79. “ET phone home.”

80. “What… is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?”

81. “We thought you was a toad!” – Delmar, O Brother Where Art Thou?

++ 82. “Face it tiger, you just hit the jackpot!”

+ 83. “You don’t have to be a gun.”

++ 84. “Danger Will Robinson! Danger!”

+ 85. “Yeah, well. The Dude abides.”

86. “All things serve the beam.”

87. “You can’t fool me! There ain’t no Sanity Clause!”

88. “Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love – they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”

+ 89. “And I said, I don’t care if they lay me off either, because I told, I told Bill that if they move my desk one more time, then, then I’m, I’m quitting, I’m going to quit. And, and I told Don too, because they’ve moved my desk four times already this year, and I used to be over by the window, and I could see the squirrels, and they were married, but then, they switched from the Swingline to the Boston stapler, but I kept my Swingline stapler because it didn’t bind up as much, and I kept the staples for the Swingline stapler and it’s not okay because if they take my stapler then I’ll set the building on fire…”

90. “Michael, I did nothing. I did absolutely nothing, and it was everything that I thought it could be.”

91. “Now I have a machine gun. Ho ho ho.”

92. “Gimme some sugar, baby.”

93. “Well hello Mister Fancypants. Well, I’ve got news for you pal, you ain’t leadin’ but two things, right now: Jack and sh*t… and Jack left town.”

++ 94. “Kneel before Zod.”

95. “Shall we play a game?”

96. “Daddy would have gotten us Uzis.”

+ 97. “It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses.” “Hit it!”

++ 98. “Make it so” / “Engage”

99. “Ya Ta!”

100. “End Of Line”

I really need to see the movies referred to in #73 and #85. I’ve seen clips, so I could figure out the quotes.

So do I get booted from geekdom?
ROG

The Award-Winning…

Jaquandor was kind enough to bestow upon me a “Kreative Blogger” award of some sort.

I feel a certain obligation to pass these kinds of things along, based on the theory that, back in the olden days when I started blogging, some 4.7 years ago, it made the blogisphere – dare I say it? – FUN. Blogging should be fun, even if one’s venting one’s spleen to do so.

You’re supposed to reveal seven things about yourself. Of course, the problem with that I’m almost out of stuff to “reveal” that 1) I didn’t reveal before, 2) require more than a line or two, or 3) I’m not planning to reveal at this point, or quite possibly, ever. No guarantees that the list below might not have bumped into the first category:

1. I receive an irrational amount of pleasure when I delete one piece of spam in Gmail and it says I’ll be deleting “the one conversation”, or “both conversations” when I delete two, as opposed to those programs that will delete “all 1 conversations”, or some such.

2. I once got a B in art in 7th grade. My parents were at a loss as to how I did so well. This explains almost everything you need to know about me and doing art.

3. I once almost flew with someone who was traveling on someone else’s ticket. He got detained by airport security and the police for about seven hours until he showed his security clearance. This, BTW, was before 9/11.

4. I have no tattoos. I’m not opposed at this point, but 1) it would keep me from donating blood for a while and 2) my wife would hate it. Then there’s the pain and permanence thing, but those are secondary.

5. At least twice, I took jobs because of affairs of the heart. Neither was worth it; the jobs weren’t, that is, but the affairs of the heart were.

6. I tape sporting events then watch them later, going through lots of machinations (no news watching/reading or e-mail/Facebook/Twitter). Sometimes it works (Jets/Bengals, Eagles/Cowboys Saturday games I watched on Sunday; Packers/Cardinals Sunday game I finished Tuesday morning); sometimes not (the Patriots loss on the front cover of Monday’s Wall Street Journal).

7. I’m allergic to penicillin and Naprocyn, have been for years, yet I’m too lazy to get one of those tags. But we have one for my daughter with her peanut allergy.

Then I’m supposed to pass the award along. That’s a bit tougher. I’d have considered Jaquandor’s Byzantium Shores. I’d also have picked SamuraiFrog’s Electronic Cerebrectomy, except he gave the award to Jaquandor and that’s a bit too circular for me. Then there are the bums gentlemen who stopped blogging in the last year, who I used to follow.

Still, there’s:

1. Arthur @AmeriNZ – your usual, everyday blog of a gay man from Illinois who moved to New Zealand for love. OK, there’s a LOT more to it: talk about politics, comparative US/NZ culture and whatever enters his fertile mind. He also has a couple podcasts, one on politics, the other, more general.

2. Coverville – the blog is primarily a support mechanism for Brian Ibbott’s great podcast “featuring unusual covers of pop, rock and country songs by new and established performers.” But in the last year or so, he’s added a song rating system to the site. Also, he and his listeners have found some nifty videos of covers that he’s posted.

3. Progressive Ruin: Unfortunately, I gotta give props to Mike Sterling, even though he’s a cheater pants, not just for his persistence – I think he posted 364 days last year – but for some of his regular features, such as his deconstruction of the absurd items Diamond comics catalog, and especially Sluggo Saturdays. Still his obsession with the comic creature Swamp Thing is…disturbing.

4. And speaking of Swamp Thing, its best renderer, IMHO, my buddy Steve Bissette posts his Myrant, a mix of digital comics, comics & film history, political tirades and more.

5. Scott’s Scooter Chronicles is about music, books, beer, and hockey. Truth is that I’m not a big fan of the latter two, but he even makes those interesting. It’s also about his two young sons and being unemployed in America. SOMEONE GIVE THIS MAN A JOB!

6. Anthony Velez’s The Dark Glass is a series of theological musings. Sometimes I don’t understand, but he always explains it, or tries to.

7. Gordon at Blog This, Pal! is mostly a pop culture (comics/TV/movies) blog. He knows more about Doctor Who and Kids in the Hall than anyone has a right to. I happen to particularly enjoy those too-rare glimpses of his personal side (his mom, St. Louis vs. Chicago). He also has a podcast that he’s rethinking. He knows I’d always vote for keeping the music, but really, he should do what brings him joy.

ROG