Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

How Much of the Internet Is Fake? Turns Out, a Lot of It, Actually

The Impact of Climate Change on Language Loss

NBC’s Meet the Press devotes the entire show to climate change with no time for deniers

Saving American Democracy

Are powerful women likable?

A double diagnosis — cancer while poor

NOW I AM

Chronic lying and self-contempt

Why He Reigns as King Cyrus

He Is the Damn Emergency; it’s not about the walltarget=”_new”>Post-Speech

The wall speech v. the prediction; <a href=

It is not about the wall

He Was Never Vetted

Terminally Ill Harry Reid Minces No Words

Celibacy isn’t the cause of the church sex-abuse crisis; the priesthood is

Comic book artist Batton Lash, October 29, 1953 – January 12, 2019

Former Yankees Starter, Pitching Coach Mel Stottlemyre Dies at 77 – I was there at the Stadium when they retired his number

Broadway legend Carol Channing dies at 97

Bob Einstein, R.I.P.

Arthur answers my questions about blogging stuff and gay conversion therapy and current gay issues and his parents

The Crimson Permanent Assurance (Monty Python’s)

Everyday smartness is definitely no match for quotidian stupidity

On books, and joy, and hoarding, and having too many books…

I Used to Write for Sports Illustrated. Now I Deliver Packages for Amazon

After 30 years, Elisa Streeter has retired from WTEN-TV 10 in Albany

Every The Dick Van Dyke Show Episode, Ranked

Review time! with ‘Planet of the Apes Visionaries’

Lady Cop: A 70s Comic that Tried (and Failed)

Disgusting Food Museum opens

What is Glitter?

Cookie Monster in the UK, interview by Melissa Nathoo and Cookie Monster visits the Ellen show

Now I Know: The Dog With Strings Attached and Meet Kelly, The Really Smart Dolphin and The Avengers Burial Ground and Why You Can’t Make a Phone Call with a Calculator and How to Beat Traffic in Moscow

11 foot 8 bridge

When teens discover jazz

Archie Comics

2018/2019

In review

The Story that Really Mattered

Bringing out the dead

fillyjonk’s year

The Worst Political Predictions

35 years ago, Isaac Asimov was asked to predict the world of 2019

Dave Barry: What made 2018 so awful? A month-by-month look at the most outrageous highlights

MUSIC

Hope Is A Dangerous Thing For A Woman Like Me To Have – But I Have It – Lana Del Rey, and other songs

K-Chuck Radio: Sail on, Captain… (Daryl Dragon)

Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Fanfare For The Common Man (complete)

Winter Melody – Donna Summer

Getting Better – MonaLisa Twins

All Along The Watchtower – Playing For Change

Loving You Today – Amy Barlow

Downtown – Saw Doctors with Petula Clark

Lawyers, Guns and Money – Warren Zevon

Don’t Turn Away – Hollie Sue

Some People, from the Broadway show Gypsy, performed by several big stars

Safety Dance – Men Without Hats

Overture to Johann Strauss’s operetta The Gypsy Baron – Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

22 Musicals In 12 Minutes w/ Lin Manuel Miranda, Emily Blunt, and James Corden

Year Of The Cat – Al Stewart

Nature Boy: Eden Ahbez and Annie Haslam and Sun Ra

Coverville: 1246: Cover Stories for Marilyn Manson and Foo Fighters and 1247: Cover Stories for Susanna Hoffs and Sade

Dawn over the Land – Night Breeze

I Just Want to Be a Star – Nunsense

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life – Sonny Vande Putte

Meow Mix – cats at a rave

Baby Shark went viral and hit the Billboard Hot 100

How one designer created the “look” of jazz

The End of Owning Music: How CDs and Downloads Died

Review time! with ‘Crossroad Blues’

Martin Luther King removes burnt crossThis TIME magazine piece from January 2018 struck me:

“In 1963, most Americans disapproved of the [August 28 March on Washington] event, many congressmen saw it as potentially seditious, and law enforcement from local police to the FBI monitored it intensively (under code name Operation Steep Hill).

“Indeed, it was after King’s speech… that the FBI — with President Kennedy’s approval — decided to increase their monitoring of the civil rights leader. With the FBI describing King as ‘demagogic’ and ‘the most dangerous… to the Nation… from the standpoint … of national security,” Attorney General Robert Kennedy signed off on intrusive surveillance of his living quarters, offices, phones, and hotel rooms, as well as those of his associates.”

Also from last year, this Folio Media. piece:

“Which Martin Luther King Jr. will we celebrate? There is a comfortable Martin Luther King Jr. and there is a challenging Martin Luther King Jr.

“The comfortable Martin Luther King Jr. gave only one speech in his life, and we’re required to quote one line from that one speech…

“The challenging Martin Luther King Jr. was a relentless critic of American foreign policy, racism and an economic system which left so many destitute…

“The challenging Martin Luther King Jr. makes us uncomfortable in our complacency and asks that we live out the courage of our convictions.

“The comfortable King has a dream. The challenging King knows the dream has yet to be realized and much work is still to be done.

“The comfortable King is the one we celebrate at the expense of the challenging King.”

In remembering that King became beloved by the broader community only after his death, we are called to continue the fight.

And the struggle seems more dire today than in many years, some of which I was certain, a half-century ago would have been largely resolved by now; inequity in education, voting rights, lack of access to health care, environmental challenges… pick your issues.

So in honor of MLK, please DON’T quote that one line, proclaim “We HAVE overcome”, and become blind for all the work there still is to do. You may be dubbed as “radical”; it would put you in good company.

blackoutOver the years, I’ve experienced many a blackout, usually in the summer, when too many air conditioners are overloading the electrical grid. The one I experienced on January 6 was a real epiphany.

It was a strange day in that it was quite mild in the morning, but got considerably colder in the afternoon, thanks to bitter winds from Canada. So even though the air temperature was above freezing, it felt 15-20 degrees Fahrenheit colder.

We were surprised, though, when the power went out about 4:13 p.m. It didn’t much faze us, and it came back on less than five minutes later. They were on long enough that I had started to reset the clocks in the kitchen when the power cut out again c 4:23.

Our daughter was doing her homework in her room, but that was no longer an option. She tried completing it on the front porch, but it was by then far too cold. She ended up working at the dining room table by candlelight. Oh, and an emergency flashlight that I’d purchased for Christmas 2017, plugged into the wall and forgotten about until I saw its illumination in the corner.

I inventoried what we had to eat that did not involve either using the stove or opening the refrigerator. There were saltine crackers, apple sauce… and COFFEE CAKE that my wife had baked that morning.

The elementary school across the street had power, and the traffic light a couple blocks away in the other direction was working, so I figured the outage was limited to a narrow band; not so. The local news reported that around 1,500 customers were in the dark in the city of Albany and nearly 3,000 in the adjacent town of Bethlehem for at least three hours.

we walked to the pizzeria a block away since we could see from our house that it was operational. After sandwiches were eaten and homework was completed, we played a game of SORRY. Near its completion, the blackout ended at about 7:20 p.m.

Sitting in the dark made me really tired. Yet I stayed up and watched the last nine minutes of the Eagles-Bears NFL playoff game; Philadelphia partially blocked the Chicago field goal at the end of the game and won 16-15.


For ABC Wednesday

If Beale Street Could TalkThere was a trailer for If Beale Street Could Talk which I must have seen a half dozen times. You know how some previews tell you so much that you feel as though there’s no need to see the film at all? This one was quite the opposite as I could hear, more than once, puzzled utterances from the audience.

The movie was written for the screen and directed by Barry Jenkins, the creative force behind Moonlight, which beat out La La Land for best picture. It is based on the book by James Baldwin. The story is set in 1974, but, in many ways, it could have been 2018.

The movie quotes Baldwin as saying, “Every black person born in America was born on Beale Street.” Though the original Beale Street is in Memphis, this story is clearly in New York City.

Without being a spoiler, I’ll tell you that the movie is primarily a love story in the midst of an unjust system. Tish Rivers (newcomer KiKi Layne) and Alonzo ‘Fonny’ Hunt (Stephan James from the Homecoming TV Series) have known each other forever. Their friendship evolved into love. Tish and her family struggle to prove Fonny innocent of a terrible crime.

The narrative is nonlinear, bouncing around in time, but one always knows where we are in the story. Yes, there are a couple terrible folks. But there’s also great kindness and generosity bestowed upon the couple. And why not? My wife, in particular, LOVED this attractive pairing.

Regina King deserves her Golden Globe for best supporting actress as Sharon, Tish’s mom. In a smaller role, Aunjanue Ellis is also strong as Fonny’s mom. Some critics thought the film wasn’t gritty enough, to which I suggest that not every film about black people need be oppressively bleak. A mote legitimate complaint, I suppose, is too much music doing the atmospheric lifting, but it’s a minor quibble.

Only at the very end does If Beale Street Could Talk become a tad pedantic, and by that point, it was earned. As usual, my wife and I saw it at the Spectrum Theatre in Albany.

Julie Brown

Julie Brown

The discussion about whether radio stations should play Baby, It’s Cold Outside heated up in 2018, with some suggesting that the song should go away and others suggesting the song is not a problem. A LOT of people in this discussion argue, “Don’t they have something better to do?”

I commented about the song back in 2017. My basic belief is that I don’t much care – ban it, don’t.

These posts led to some nifty conversations about what ELSE has been banned. To be sure, a radio station choosing not to play a song isn’t an outright ban unless some government entity actually prohibits it. The FBI checked out Louie Louie by the Kingsmen (#2 pop for six weeks, #1 r&b for six weeks in 1963) but couldn’t figure out what was said.

I recall Society’s Child by Janis Ian (#14 pop in 1967) didn’t get played on certain radio stations because of the interracial reference. Even Love Child by Diana Ross and the Supremes (#1 pop for two weeks pop, #2 r&b for three weeks) got yanked by a couple stations.

The more interesting conversation is what songs SHOULD be axed now. More than one person noted Run For Your Life by the Beatles (1965), “I’d rather see you dead, little girl, than to be with another man.” I admit it is one of my least favorite songs by the group, and John Lennon himself has dismissed it. It’s possibly the reason the Revolver album ranks higher with me than Rubber Soul.

What about Hey Joe, by the Leaves (#31 in 1966), famously covered by Jimi Hendrix (1968), about actually shooting someone? Ditto Neil Young’s Down by the River (1969). Or do they belong to the genre of “murder ballads” such as Pretty Polly (1968), famously covered by Judy Collins?

Now here’s a song – and I think it’s a good thing – that you DON’T hear much anymore. The Crystals’ He Hit Me (and It Felt Like a Kiss) (1962) was written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King.

There’s one song that I own a Dr. Demento album that I’ve not heard for decades on the radio. Homecoming Queen’s Got a Gun by Julie Brown (1983) was played on MTV in the early days. School shootings were once a rare event, so this was just an absurd, possibly tasteless, joke in the 1980s. I can’t imagine it being played in the era of Columbine, Sandy Hook, and Stoneman Douglas, and Brown hasn’t performed it in two decades.

What songs, if any, would you ban?

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