December rambling #2: how to do sanctuary

Is tech ruining the way we use exclamation points?!

onam.empireOligarchy Is Destroying Our Society and the Planet

Free the Free Press from Wall Street Plunderers

The main problem with privatization is that it tends to socialize risk and privatize profits

Moments of madness: Freud’s thoughts on human nature resonate today

Low nurse staffing levels directly linked to higher patient mortality, study finds

The politics of ’12 Angry Men’ has never really left us and probably never will

The Postal Inspector Who Took Down America’s First Organized Crime Ring

Pew’s ‘striking findings’ from 2018

150 Minutes of Hell

Can Compassion Be Taught?

Now this is how you do sanctuary right

Walter Ayres: New Hope Budget

My friend and former pastor Donna Elia: Woman of the cloth, woman of the belt

Being Mortal review – a surgeon’s view of how we should end our days

Morrie Turner: Wee Pals, Kid Power

Curios from the Outer Rim: SUPERMAN at 40

Is tech ruining the way we use exclamation points?!

In Vermont, a small-town feud leads to a big middle finger (literally)

A simple, free way to pass your permit test; the New York State version

A few of the 700some stories about the street names of Albany

The annual obit reel from Turner Classic Movies

Word of the year? listen or risk

The Internet has screwed up Christmas shopping

Holiday weight gain: Can it be avoided? Probably not

Now I Know: The Starbucks That Never Gets Your Name Wrong and Rodentia Intelligencia and A Crowd-Pleasing Side Dish and The Transatlantic Battery Bunny Battle and Is a Burrito (Legally) a Sandwich?

A woman tricked her dad by replacing Ferrero Rocher chocolates with chocolate-covered brussels sprouts

Chuck Miller: Photos of 2018

Dustbury notes my Advent devotional

Arthur answers my questions about where to live and religion and his likes


Russia picked him and ran him for President, former Israeli intelligence officer says

No, These Tariffs Have Not Been Good for America

He says: Give Me a Wall or I’ll Engineer a Recession

He took credit for a growing economy – Now what?

Shutdown halts civil court cases — including those against him

Regime Suggests Unpaid Federal Workers Do Odd Jobs to Cover Rent

Daughter of the podiatrist who helped defer him from Vietnam says ‘bone spurs’ were a lie

Trials of Individual-1: a scorecard

The E.P.A. proposed new rules for assessing pollution that would make it easier for power plants to release mercury and other toxic substances

Here’s how his environmental record is hurting communities worldwide

Is this any way to run a superpower?

Back when (a) he was just an annoying, self-promoting business tycoon and (b) Jon Stewart manned the desk at The Daily Show


Who Cares – Paul McCartney, video with Emma Stone

Coverville Countdown: The 40 Greatest Covers of 2018, Part One and Part Two

I’ll Be Seeing You – Nancy Wilson

Crimson and Clover – Prince

Love Always Wins – Hande Yener

Jerusalem – Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Bourée – Jethro Tull

“The Chipmunk Song” Turns 60: Secrets of a Holiday Novelty Smash

Reflecting on the movie “12 Angry Men”

We ought to have the trial anyway, even though “everybody knows” he or she is guilty.

Have you seen the 1957 movie, 12 Angry Men? I highly recommend it. It was nominated for three Oscars: Best Picture, produced by Henry Fonda and Reginald Rose; Best Director, Sidney Lumet; and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, Reginald Rose.

The Golden Globes nominated the film, the director, lead actor Fonda, and supporting actor Lee J.Cobb. “A dissenting juror in a murder trial [played by Fonda] slowly manages to convince the others that the case is not as obviously clear as it seemed in court.”

Had a chance to watch it again this summer. I was doing apheresis at the blood bank which takes two hours, and this DVD, which I got for free about eight years ago by mailing some coupons from a Cheerios box, fit the bill at 95 minutes.

I was struck again by the racial/class issues. The defendant, who we see only at the very beginning of the film, with the judge’s charge to the jury, is young (18), Hispanic, and from a troubled neighborhood. The jury seems to think the case is a slam dunk, and quickly votes 11-1 to send the young man to his death. But as the Fonda character talks, he gets a second supporter. Immediately one juror thinks it’s the juror from the slums (played by Jack Klugman), but it’s not.

This film also starred Martin Balsam, John Fiedler, E.G. Marshall (who I know best from the 1960s lawyer show The Defenders, which also had a huge impact on me), Edward Binns , Joseph Sweeney, Ed Begley, George Voskovec (whose character has the best speech about the obligations of a jury) and Robert Webber.

The Fonda character, and his eventual allies, make observations about the inconsistencies in the testimonies, something a decent defense lawyer might have done. The young man, though, apparently had a court-appointed attorney who was going through the motions.

The film has always informed me or reinforced in me, several issues. 1) People with means generally have better legal representation than poorer folk. 2) We ought to have the trial anyway, even though “everybody knows” he or she is guilty. 3) Because of 1) in particular, I’ve long opposed the death penalty. 4) Because of 2), I wish we had more of a limit on pretrial and trial scuttlebutt.

Incidentally, there was a TV movie of 12 Angry Men in 1997, with a cast including recent Tony winner Courtney B. Vance; Ossie Davis; George C. Scott in the Cobb role; Armin Mueller-Stahl; Dorian Harewood in the Klugman role; the late James Gandolfini; Tony Danza; Jack Lemmon in the Fonda role; Hume Cronyn; Mykelti Williamson; Edward James Olmos; and William Petersen. I feel I should check it out soon, now that the original is fresh in my mind.

Jack Klugman died on Serling Day Eve

In 1989, Jack Klugman underwent surgery again to remove the cancer, but this time his right vocal cord had to be removed as well. The surgery left him without the ability to speak…

My fondness for actor Jack Klugman, who died on Serling Day Eve, was quite great. He appeared in four different episodes of the classic television show The Twilight Zone, which I own on DVD. Watch a couple of minutes of In Praise of Pip.

I also possess, on DVD, the classic 1957 murder trial film 12 Angry Men, with a cast that was, or would become, name actors. Klugman was juror #5, the soft-spoken young man, who provides pivotal insight. Watch a brief clip.

Much later, using his fame as Quincy, the fictional medical examiner, the actor had a positive impact on the US legislative process dealing with so-called orphan diseases.

Of course, he was best known as Oscar Madison, the slob sportswriter half of TV’s underrated comedy, The Odd Couple, with Tony Randall as the fastidious photographer Felix Unger. The senior writer of the (Albany, NY) Times Union, Mark McGuire, has been both an entertainment writer and a sportswriter for the newspaper. One of his favorite segments involves them on the game show Password [watch].

McGuire wrote on his Facebook page: “… one of my favorite memories of being a TV columnist was having breakfast with Jack Klugman and Tony Randall at The Plaza maybe a dozen years ago. I later talked to Jack several times over the years, including the day Tony died. A few years ago I introduced Jack to the concept of ‘Odd Couple Day’… which he loved.” From the intro of the show: “On Nov. 13, Felix Unger was asked to remove himself from his place of residence. That request came from his wife. …” That intro came from ABC censors, as McGuire explained, “lest anyone thought they were gay.”

From the Oral Cancer Foundation website: “He was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx in 1974. With surgery and some treatment, he was able to continue acting without much interruption. But Klugman did not stop smoking, and as in many cases of continued tobacco use after treatment, the cancer came back. In 1989, he underwent surgery again to remove the cancer, but this time his right vocal cord had to be removed as well. The surgery left him without the ability to speak… His friends and loved ones helped him through the agonizing pain of the chemotherapy and surgery as well as the rehabilitation to recover his voice. After being silent for years, Klugman is now able to speak in a small raspy voice. He recently received the American Speech and Hearing Association’s International Media Award for his battle to regain his speech.”

It’s little wonder that there was, for about three years, a Church of Klugman.
Charles Durning, nominated twice for an Oscar nominee, dubbed the king of the character actors, was a war hero (Normandy, Battle of the Bulge) who didn’t even become an actor until he was 40. I saw him most regularly on the television program Evening Shade with Burt Reynolds, but he appeared in dozens of TV shows, often, but not always, as the heavy. I saw him in, among other movies, The Sting, Starting Over, and Tootsie. Never saw this scene from the Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, though. Charles Durning died at 89 on Christmas Eve.

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