The blog at random 2014

It’s entirely possible (likely) the Bible doesn’t always mean what we THINK it does.

Gmsh: a three-dimensional finite element mesh generator
Gmsh: a three-dimensional finite element mesh generator

This is a thing I continue to do at the beginning of the year: pick a post for each month of the previous year, using a random number generator. See how well it reflected that year just passed, or did not. Pretty sure I got this from Gordon, who lives in Chicago, who remains the only non-local blogger I ever met.

I think I enjoy this a lot because it’s so…numerical. And random. The graphic was a random graphic from a .gov site

“The Yardbirds allowed me to improvise a lot in live performance and I started building a textbook of ideas that I eventually used in Zeppelin.”
(A Jimmy Page quote, for his 70th birthday)

There’s a lot that this movie got right, starting with an actor, Oscar Isaac in the title role, who could act, plus sing and play guitar convincingly.
(My not-so-positive review of the movie Inside Llewyn Davis.)

As a huge fan of Dr. Seuss, I was rather interested in this blog post by Chuck Miller: “Don’t cry because you thought he said it.”

However, I’m going to limit the songs here to those written, or co-written, by Christine, only because it fits the family group motif.
(My M for the McVies of Fleetwood Mac)

Back in October 2001, the Wife and I went to Cherry Valley, NY, about an hour west of Albany.
(A tale of our 2014 return to the Limestone Inn)

The last Sly album I bought, until considerably later, was the druggy There’s A Riot Going On, with two Top 40 singles in the US, Family Affair, #1 for three weeks in 1971, and Runnin’ Away, #23 US in 1972.
(U is for Unique)

“Do public facilities need to be sanitized of all things religious to insure separation of church and state?”
(Uthaclena asking Roger anything.)

This time, though, I was feeling reflective when I awoke.
(Musical thoughts after a rare nap.)

“And today, many go so far as to say that the opposing party’s policies threaten the nation’s well-being…”
(Quoting a Pew Research poll re: the political polarization of the American public)

Before the superhero-movie renaissance, a struggling Marvel sold the FF’s film rights (along with those of the X-Men) to 20th Century Fox at terms very favorable to Fox.
(About the cancellation of the Fantastic Four comic book)

Re the Ferguson protests, which I saw described as “mind bogglingly incomprehensible”: “It’s Incredibly Rare For A Grand Jury To Do What Ferguson’s Just Did,” as even Antonin Scalia could tell you.
(One of my end-of-month summaries.)

It’s entirely possible (likely) the Bible doesn’t always mean what we THINK it does.
(On the Bible and gay-bashing. Interesting that is the very next post after the previous link.)

Hitting two ABC Wednesday posts is about right: 2/12=1/6, close to 1/7.

The 2014 quiz

Not only did we torture, but a majority of the American public thought it was an acceptable idea.

2014One of those year-in-review quizzes from Jaquandor.

Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

SO happy I didn’t, for if I had, it would be a big FAIL.

Anyone you know get married?

Why, yes, we attended the weddings of Lee and TJ, and of Anna and Brian. I cheered from afar for Eddie and Keith.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes, my coworker, Amelia had a daughter, Olive, in late November. I got to hold Olive at the work Christmas party a couple of weeks ago.

Did anyone close to you die?

The weird thing about the three gentlemen is that in each case, my own sense of dealing with loss came from something other than a wake or funeral.

Lenny Tucker, former head of the Friends of the Albany Public Library, at least HAD a funeral, though I was unable to attend. We spent time at the Friends meeting in late November talking about him.

My wife’s uncle, my mother-in-law’s oldest brother, Warren Olin, was the patriarch of the Olin clan and the historian who traced the family history back to the 1680s. There was only a small private service, so the family got to grieve somewhat at the Olin family reunion in July.

But the one that seems least settled for me was Irving Smith, a member of our congregation, who died at the age of 76 in October. There was no obituary I could find, and no service, at least that the church knew about. He was a long-time president of FOCUS churches, which does lots of important work, such as the food pantry and breakfast program. He traveled to Guatemala to visit our sister church in Mam. He operated the sound system and was an active participant in the Black History Month celebration.

Irving was an elegant, nattily-dressed, quiet in voice, with just a hint of a Brooklyn accent, who drank a LOT of coffee. The Bible Guys had a breakfast in December, and we told Irving stories. Then the FOCUS newsletter published a nice tribute to Irving.

What countries did you visit?

Yeah, right.

What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

More optimism. Oddly, that’s what I wrote LAST time!

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Despite my complaints about it, becoming President of the Friends of the APL.

What was your biggest failure?

Easily distracted. I’m sorry, what did you ask?

What was the best thing you bought?

The 50th anniversary Hess truck. Makes me happy. What can I say?

Whose behavior merited celebration?

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), whose complaints about the budget deal, with all the non-budgetary extras, was at least helpful. Also Congressman Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Not only did we torture, but a majority of the American public thought it was an acceptable idea. THAT is depressing.

Where did most of your money go?

The house. Specifically, filling in the pool area in the back yard.

What did you get really excited about?

Jaquandor’s new book. His excitement was infectious.

What song will always remind you of 2014?

There were, surprisingly, a lot of contenders, including much of the new Weird Al album. Ultimately, it has to be the BBC version of God Only Knows. Every time I watch it, a little dust must get into my eye.

Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?

Sadder. The body politic and the capacity of humans to be quite terrible to each other have worn me down.

Thinner or fatter?

Lost weight in the summer, put in on in the fall. Zero-sum.

Richer or poorer?

Marginally better. I got a raise for the first time in three or four years.

What do you wish you’d done more of?


What do you wish you’d done less of?


How did you spend Christmas?

It still is going on. I bought presents SO late, some have yet to arrive. That said: went to church on Christmas eve. The Daughter got most of HER presents…

Did you fall in love in 2014?


How many one-night stands?

As many as last year.

What was your favorite TV program?

The Good Wife, CBS Sunday Morning, The Daily Show. Though I watch John Oliver’s This Week Tonight a LOT on YouTube.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Nah, hate is highly overrated.

What was the best book you read?

The Gospel According to the Beatles.

What was your greatest musical discovery?

That whole proms thing on BBC radio.

What did you want and get?

Books and music.

What did you want and not get?

Less responsibility.

What were your favorite films of this year?

Boyhood; Chef; Nebraska; Gravity.

What did you do on your birthday?

As little as possible.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?

As usual, “fashion” is silly. Function over form. Still, those people who walk in public in clothes that look like pajamas weird me out.

What kept you sane?

Music: singing, listening; learning new stuff. As previously noted, the question ASSUMES that I AM sane, which may or may not be the case.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

George Clooney.

What political issue stirred you the most?

Race relations in America, heaven help me. Or maybe income inequality, which has been an issue for my church the last couple of years. But net neutrality is SO boring to explain.

Who did you miss?

I miss my parents, still.

Who was the best new person you met?

I met my boss’s boss’s boss. Surprisingly pleasant.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014:

It can always get worse.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

In their sties with all their backing
They don’t care what goes on around
In their eyes, there’s something lacking
What they need’s a damn good whacking
-Listen to Piggies (George Harrison), from the Beatles white album.

I should note it’s not just a cynical choice. The Daughter will be among a group singing this and other Beatles songs in March.

December rambling: the Rosa Parks of the Fourth Amendment

The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin. Plus the Atheist 10 Commandments.

This story claims: If The Supreme Court Reads This Study, It Could End Partisan Gerrymandering Forever. But probably not happening.

This being the second anniversary of the Newtown massacre this month, should Nancy and Adam Lanza be mourned? I’d say yes.

1944 murder conviction of 14-year-old vacated. His execution can’t be. I wrote about George Stinney HERE.

Pew Explains Why the Conservatives Live in Their Own “Reality”.

Reasons You Should Never Agree to a Police Search (Even If You Have Nothing to Hide). I agree, in theory, but I’m not sure, in practice.

Rethinking Immigration. We don’t understand “illegal”. We just think we do.

“Sustainable Keystone XL”.

Dollree Mapp, 1923-2014: ‘The Rosa Parks of the Fourth Amendment’.

The PR firm using “Strange Fruit” in its name. Oy.

Feds Indict Another Person For Teaching People How To Beat Polygraph Tests.

A friend of mine wrote: “Watch this video where a casino clamps down hard on a guy who is winning at blackjack by counting cards. I think there’s a very apt correlation between what happens here and what happens in real life any time you actually start to get ahead.”

When reporters value ‘justice’ over accuracy, journalism loses.

Ted Koppel: Fox News is Bad for America.

Why IS liberal Protestantism dying, anyway?

You’re Not What You Think You Are.

Evanier talks about an aspect of creative work (writing, drawing, etc.) that doesn’t get enough attention. It’s the part about making a living.

Why you’re so busy.

Major League Baseball umpire Dale Scott comes out as gay, which still matters as long as homophobia exists.

All of those end-of-the-year lists that come out well before the end of December:
What we searched for on Google. I swear I had NEVER heard of Flappy Bird.
TCM remembers movie actors who died in 2014
100 Notable Books of 2014.
74 Of The Most Amazing News Photos Of 2014, which ARE amazing
50 best albums of 2014; 60% of the artists I had not heard of, and only TWO of the albums, the ones by U2 and Leonard Cohen, I’ve actually heard, though the Springsteen is on the wish list
United State of Pop 2014 (Do What You Wanna Do). Arthur has linked to a bunch of these mashups.
*11 Hoaxes That Your Gullible Facebook Friends Fell For In 2014
And here’s a list of significant events each month of 2014, plus New Republic spotlights bad predictions that were made about the year now ending.

Facebook’s algorithmic cruelty.

The secret language of twins.

Spite thy neighbor, housing division. Also, The Long But Not the Short of It and The Immovable Ladder and Ye Olde Mispronunciation.

Robert Johnson, King of the Delta Blues at the wrong speed?

Fashion at the dawn of pop.

Mister Sister by Kate Pierson, formerly of the B-52s.

The James Bond Theme a cappella. And Ranking: James Bond Theme Songs From Worst to Best.

Inductions into the Grammy Hall of Fame. An eclectic bunch.

Christmas in her soul: Laura Nyro.

The Who’s Roger Daltrey: wedding singer.

Maya Angelou’s ‘Harlem Hopscotch’ Music Video.

The What colour is it? clock does a lovely job of showing the relationships between adjacent colors.

History of Franklin: 1st black Peanuts character” How a schoolteacher helped create the first black Peanuts comic strip character.

The Daughter liked this a LOT, and insisted I link to it: Who doesn’t love a good chain reaction?

Legendary Mad Magazine Illustrator Jack Davis Calls It Quits at 90: “I can still draw, but I just can’t draw like I used to.”

Here’s Everyone From the Epic ‘Colbert Report’ Finale. Never saw Andrew Young when I first viewed it.

If Dr. Seuss books were titled by their subtexts.

My failed attempt to draw the Nancy comic strip.

A Hanna-Barbera story, featuring Tex Avery.

Muppets: Thog (with whom I was unfamiliar), Uncle Deadly (who I DO remember), Vendaface (broad comedy), the very early Wilkins and Wontkins and Sam and Friends, the comedy stylings of Kermit and Cookie Monster, and Cookie Monster takes direction, and Auld Lang SwineSyne.

Mystery of creepy 1970s Sesame Street clip solved.

Artifacts Discovered Buried In Washington D.C. Suggest Humans Once Passed Laws There.

John Oliver speaks of the horror that is New Year’s Eve. Still, woman to ride Rose Bowl float 60 years after she was denied because her race.


Interesting that both Arthur and Dustbury responded to my post about compact discs.

Dustbury on an analysis of decade-specific words in song titles listed in Billboard.

It appears that Arthur will meet his post per day goal.

Arthur, by request: terrorism in New Zealand and white privilege and police violence and dentists and New Zealand holidays and loss, and memes and the places he’s been in the US and Canada.

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