The Juice

get it out of my head

It was oddly unsettling. When I was traveling across New York State, anticipating the April 8 eclipse with my best friend from college, the subject of O J Simpson, The Juice, came up.

I could not remember why, but MAK noted that he had seen a boxy white vehicle that perhaps reminded him of a Ford Bronco involved in the slow-speed highway chase after Simpson was supposed to surrender to police.

So he asked if Simpson was out of jail. I was fairly sure that he was, which proved to be accurate. He was “released from prison in 2017 after serving about nine years of a 33-year sentence for a kidnapping and armed robbery in Las Vegas.”

As I noted, in 2016, I watched O.J.: Made in America,  “a sprawling five-part documentary on the cable sports network ESPN,” which I still recommend. It’s still on ESPN and available on other platforms as well.

After I watched the series, I  wrote: ” I concluded that 1) O.J. likely did the murders but that 2) the prosecution did not make its case due to the tremendous efforts of the defense team and some of the rulings of Judge Lance Ito.” The most angry I ever saw a mild-manned work colleague was when the not guilty verdict, watched by an estimated 95 million people, was announced.

So it was weird that a person whom I hadn’t even thought about in over six years until that trip died four days later of prostate cancer, the same disease that killed my father and which basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is currently fighting. 

Who are we?

On the trip, I said that the murder trial told a lot about America in terms of race, celebrity, media, and the justice system. Interestingly, Med Page Today touched on some of those in its story: “The public was mesmerized by his ‘trial of the century’ on live TV. His case sparked debates on race, gender, domestic abuse, celebrity justice, and police misconduct.”

Of course, there were countless comments after Simpson’s death. Caitlyn Jenner, “who married Kris Jenner shortly after the Kardashian matriarch’s divorce from Robert Kardashian, who was Simpson’s defense attorney during the murder trial, was among the first to react on social media. ‘Good Riddance #OJSimpson,’ she tweeted.”

I was more interested in the response by Ron Goldman’s family. They called Simpson’s death “a mixed bag of complicated emotions” tied to the civil case Nicole Brown Simpson and Goldman’s families filed in part to direct the proceeds of Simpson’s sort of confessional, If I Did It. They did not receive all they were due in the judgment. And the executor of Simpson’s willl says he’ll ‘do everything’ to ensure Goldman family gets ‘zero’ from the estate.

I’ve now purged the topic from my head. Probably. 

April rambling: history on the road

The King of Canned Italian Food

Used with permission. and

History on the Road: After decades of reading, writing, and teaching about the American past, Ed Ayers sets out to see how that past is remembered in the places where it happened.

American Visions: The United States, 1800-1860. There’s more to every story, and the making of America is no exception. Visions for a more perfect union—often originating from the margins of society—continue to shape our nation in profound ways. These original voices are resurfaced in the book American Visions and brought to life through short films, original sources, and visits to the places where history unfolded.

The Deadliest Infectious Disease of All Time | Crash Course Lecture (Tuberculosis)

Will the World Central Kitchen attack change anything?

What Updates to OMB’s Race/Ethnicity Standards Mean for the Census Bureau. They included Using a Combined Race/Ethnicity Question and a New “Middle Eastern or North African” Category

Food Delivery Apps: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Today in book banning

djt: Stock Plummets (Literally) ft. Liz Dye and revealing his true abortion position: Lying to win elections and his mental health diagnosis was confirmed by a forensic psychiatrist. A Weekend Show Special

How a small change to U.S. quarters is part of a big trend in logo design. A subtle change on the front of the 2022 U.S. quarters mimics a shift in the design of corporate logos.

Basque has no known linguistic relatives.

Pop culture
The film fans who refuse to surrender to streaming: ‘One day you’ll barter bread for our DVDs’

TV Ratings: Men’s NCAA Basketball Final Falls Short of Women’s Title Game for First Time

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Joe Flaherty, ‘SCTV’ and ‘Freaks and Geeks’ Actor, Dies at 82

Irwin and Fran (2013) | Full Documentary about comedian Irwin Corey and his wife of 70 years, Fran (Berman)

The King of Canned Italian Food, Chef Hector Boyardee, née Boiardi, and his spaghetti recipe

Carolyn by Mark Evanier

The tyranny of the algorithm: why every coffee shop looks the same

Now I Know

The Million Pound Cough and The Case of the Missing Space Tomatoes and The $0 Baseball Player With the Priceless Contract and The Birds That Didn’t Want to be Tracked and The Speeding Ticket That Sent a Judge to Jail and The King of the Solar Eclipse and But What Did Delaware?


Peter Sprague Plays Playground of the Gods featuring Rebecca Jade

English drummer Gerry Conway (1947-2024)

Mickey Guyton – Black Like Me

Come In From The Cold – Joni Mitchell

Coverville 1482: The Nick Lowe Cover Story II and 1483: The Richard Thompson Cover Story II

Linda Martell: Bad Case of the Blues

Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Second Concerto

Brittney Spencer: I Got Time 

Favorite Songs By Favorite Artists: Modern English

Rhiannon Giddens: Don’t Let It Trouble Your Mind 

K-Chuck Radio: Pass it on the left-hand side…

Franz von Suppe’s Poet and Peasant Overture

Ann Peebles: I Can’t Stand The Rain 

Weird Al Yankovic: Polkas, Parodies, and the Power of Satire

Billie Eilish, Pearl Jam, and Nicki Minaj are among a group of 200 artists who penned an open letter to tech and digital music companies, expressing their concerns over the use of AI in music

Beyoncé fans say songs missing from Cowboy Carter vinyl and CDs

Sunday Stealing: How Far Will You Go?


This week’s Sunday Stealing was provided by How Far Will You Go?

1.    What have you been the most ignorant about in your life?

Cars. Specifically, a class of boxy vehicles looks virtually identical to me.  They’re made by Toyota, Jeep, Chevy, et al. Many of them, including ours, are white, but I have no idea which one belongs to us until I look at the license plate.

2.    What in the world would you most like to see protected?

Water. Plastics in our oceans, lakes, and rivers are distressing, especially microplastics.

3.    How do you waste the biggest chunk of time each day or week?

I’m fretting about all the things I haven’t gotten done. A friend said we should have lunch if I get bored. I’m seldom bored, though I’m sometimes overwhelmed with a never-ending list of projects.

4.    Who is the scariest person you’ve ever known?

I’m hard-pressed to come up with an answer. When I was in second grade, some sixth-grade bullies were scary, but I didn’t KNOW them.

5.    What was the job you enjoyed the least?

This is tricky. Back in 2005, I wrote about a box factory. But I was there for only two weeks. It may have been being a customer service representative for Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, which I did for 13 months before quitting without a job to go to.

6.    What thing about your family are you the most proud of?

I had three great-great-grandfathers who fought in the American Civil War: James Archer, Samuel Patterson, and Daniel Williams. All of them survived the war when the disease was more likely to kill a soldier than gunfire. James did get sick but recovered.

Power To The People

7.    What kind of power do you want most?

The power to allow others to discern BS.

8.    What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?

Jendy, Judy, and Broome nagged me to go to library school. 

9.    What’s the thing you know the most about?

The difference between US and UK Beatles albums

10.    When were you most moved by a ceremony?

I like naturalization ceremonies. One of my co-workers, Jinshui, experienced one in 2005. On a hot July 4, 2023, over two dozen folks were sworn In during an outdoor ceremony. Most of the participants were well-dressed but looked very uncomfortable.

11.    What is the best gift you ever gave to someone?

When I was younger and less sore, I helped people move at least 70 times. I was also pretty good at packing vehicles.

12.    What is the cruelest thing you’ve ever suffered?

It was work-related but not either of the previously mentioned jobs. It was my last job involving one particularly evil alleged human being.

13.    What’s the single nastiest thing you’ve ever done to someone?

I was not present for something I should have been present for, although, to be fair, I didn’t fully understand the ramifications at the time.

14.    What problem do you think is most common among friends your age?

Aches and/or pains, especially the joints.

15.    What is the strongest craving you get?

I was in CVS this weekend and did not buy a mini York Peppermint Patties bag, but I was tempted.

For Good

Because I knew you

All of life’s riddles are answered in musical theater*. In this case, For Good, from Wicked.

Recently, I was talking with a friend of mine. They wanted to get in touch with an old friend of theirs. The two had been really close for a time, but then the friend inexplicably pulled away. I knew that other person less well, but I, too, recognized the unexplained pulling away.

So I’ve been there. Haven’t you? For several reasons, one old friend is at the top of my mind, which has generated an oppressive degree of melancholy in me. When I heard this Tiny Desk concert of four songs from the show performed by Alyssa Fox and McKenzie Kurtz, it was the last song that struck me. It’s because Stephen Schwartz, who was at the piano, told the process of writing the song (at 17:26), which involved him asking his daughter what she would say to her best friend if she knew she would never see her again. Then he wrote it down.

I’ve heard For Good several times. My wife and I saw Wicked at Proctors Theatre in November 2012. Yet I HEARD the song differently this time, probably because of Schwartz’s story.

Elphaba and Glinda

I am recommending this to my friend, and myself.

I’ve heard it said
That people come into our lives
For a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true
But I know I’m who I am today
Because I knew you…

It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You’ll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend

*The actual quote is, “All of life’s riddles are answered in the movies.” It’s from the 1991 film Grand Canyon and is spoken by the character played by Steve Martin.

RIP, Trina Robbins (1938-2024)

The Way We Wore

by Gage Skidmore

According to my diary, I met Trina Robbins, Steve Leialoha, and Scott Shaw! at the San Digo Comic Con on August 6, 1987. I didn’t write anything about the encounter except that it was “nice.”

But maybe I was a bit starstruck because I had enjoyed her work for so long, going back to Wimmen’s Comix from Last Gasp in the mid-1970s.

She also produced a four-page story called The Way We Wore for Gates of Eden, published by FantaCo in 1982 . In a previous life, she was a clothing designer.

While she did work for Marvel and DC, notably Wonder Woman, she was better known for working with “independent” publishers. Her body of work is vast.   

But it’s not just the breadth of her work. As Mark Evanier wrote: “Beautiful…talented…important…I don’t know which quality of Trina I should start with. I’ll start with important. Trina Robbins was one of those cartoonists who did things that mattered. No one did more to elevate the awareness of and the opportunities for females in the realm of cartooning and comic art. And along the way she did not neglect the males; did not neglect anyone or anything worthy of attention.”

As the Forbes article noted: “Her unapologetically feminist take on politics and pop culture stood out among peers like Robert Crumb and S. Clay Wilson, and the experience left her a lifelong critic of the ‘boys club’ misogyny she perceived in such work.”

Documenting women

A 2018 piece in Vulture called her “the Controversial Feminist Who Revolutionized Comic Books.”

She and Cat Yronwode created the legendary 1985 tome Women And The Comics, the “first attempt to document the careers of the hundreds of women who have created and worked in the field of comic strips, comic books and cartooning. The Women whose work is showcased in this book have been long overlooked or ignored by most other histories of comics.”

From the New York Times: “She also wrote more than a dozen prose books, including Pretty in Ink: North American Women Cartoonists 1896-2013 (2013) and Flapper Queens: Women Cartoonists of the Jazz Age (2020). ‘Trina didn’t just support women,’ Shary Flenniken, who created the ‘Trots and Bonnie’ strip for National Lampoon, said in an interview, ‘she unearthed the history of all these women cartoonists who had never been talked about.'”

The most recent comics-related item I purchased was the crowdfunded Won’t Back Down. “Comics legend Trina Robbins is fighting the rogue Supreme Court with over 30 storytellers from all around the world to publish a pro-choice anthology. Proceeds will be donated to Planned Parenthood.”

I read a lot of the many comments about Trina on Facebook. Many shared the sentiment, “I thought she’d be here forever.


Among the most interesting was from Wendy Pini, co-creator of the comic book Elfquest. “Were Trina and I friends? That’s hard to say. Not once in all the years we knew each other did we really understand each other. We didn’t ‘get’ or even really like each others’ artwork and writing. We didn’t inspire each other…. I was not her kind of feminist or activist, not a ‘joiner’ in most of the causes she cherished. Our life experiences and world views were, for the most part, very different.


“That said, when it came to today’s politics and speaking out on LGBTQ+ rights, Trina and I were very much on the same page. Her activism thrilled me and I sent applause when I could. She would pop up in my political FB posts from time to time – I was always delighted to have her chime in. Her voice carried weight. With her vast energy and drive, she was willing to get down in the trenches and get up close and personal with pro-woman movers and shakers… Trina could do that. She was a mover and shaker herself and an inspiration to many.


“I’m so glad Trina knew that I thought she was adorable. I honestly have no idea what she thought of me… Though we weren’t close, I loved her and I loved running into her, through the years, at San Diego Cons. She represented something powerful: a pioneer and a survivor. Outspoken, controversial, at times even rude… I loved her for all of that. She was funny. Just knowing she was keeping on keeping on was a kind of comfort, something to count on.”


Condolences to Trina’s longtime partner Steve Leialoha and their family. 
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