What have I learned in 2016?

The cost/benefit analysis of singing in the choir mitigates in its favor

Melanie, who got married recently – congratulations, you’ve made an honest man out of your honey! – asks:

What was the most important thing you learned this past year?

That I REALLY have to be more selfish. I find this, at some level, to be an anathema to me. There’s all this service that needs to be done, people to be helped, tasks to be fulfilled.

And I get this message not from my church, though it emphasizes it, but from deep within me. It was modeled by my father and I understand its import.

But if I’M not happy, then I’ve got nothing to give. It’s like when you put your air mask on first if it should drop from the airplane ceiling. If I tend to the other first, without getting my oxygen, I’m likely to suffocate.

Not sure I can pull it off. But emotionally, 2016 was emotionally battering, and it wasn’t just Agent Orange and those who supported him.

Another thing I learned is that some folks just are not fact-driven. A person mentioned, on FB naturally, that “Under God” wasn’t always in the Pledge of Allegiance. In reply, someone wrote: “I’m too lazy to research it at the moment, but, actually, I think ‘under God’ was always in the pledge.” This person had IN HIS HANDS a device that would allow him to access the answer.

What is something you are hoping to learn this coming one?

I want to know if I really can write in long-form. Blogs are, relatively, easy for me, but I suspect a book, on one subject, would be hard. Yet I’m about 75% sure I want to write one, which will mean clearing the deck of other things.

But I’m not giving up the blog, because the blog is what keeps me sane. Looking for a graphic for something else, I came across the item pictured. I’ve known it a while, but it’s no less true for that. And sometimes I forget.

I don’t know ANYTHING, in terms of many opinions, until I’ve written it down, which may require looking up facts – REAL facts, not GMO facts. Until then, I’m in flux. This is why I always do those Ask Roger Anything things in the first place, to find out my truth, as it were.

I also need to keep singing in the choir. The cost/benefit analysis mitigates in its favor.

I’ve tired of half-read books, and old newspapers and magazines piling up. I want to read more, NEED to exercise more. But time is not fungible, it’s finite, at least on the three dimensions I understand.

Facebook will be a casualty; no big loss, though items will continue to be automatically posted there, since it is an effective tool.

Oh, I have a book on learning how to play bridge, the card game. Always wanted to learn that. To be continued…

2016 in review

The progenitor of much of it, Agent Orange

This is that thing that Jaquandor does on December 31, but I do on January 1.

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

Not only did I not keep them – to do less -I did more until a point in the last quarter, when I lost most any desire to do anything but to cocoon. Circumstances didn’t really allow for that, though.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

Anna, the daughter of friends of mine, who is partially named for me, had a baby on November 13.

Did you attend any weddings?

Don’t think so. But I was pleased that my online friend Melanie got hitched.

Did anyone close to you die?

Well, yes. My cousin Donald Yates, whose brother Robert was on the list LAST year. Margaret Hannay, a woman from church who I was mighty fond of. And my good friend Norm Nissen, who I think to call now and then before I realize, yet again, that I cannot.

What countries did you visit?

None, but my passport is in order, just in case.

What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

I guess, at this point, I’d settle for civility in the world.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Helping the Daughter survive the transition to middle school.

What was your biggest failure?

Not going to a shrink.

What was the best thing you bought?

House of Blues: Essential Women in Blues. But it was the circumstances. A friend of mine had to go into physical rehab, and her clumsy caretaker knocked over her portable CD player, smashing the CD therein. I found it used, burned me a copy, then gave it to my friend.

Whose behavior merited celebration?

Anyone who faced bigotry with grace. Anyone who stood up to bigotry directed against others.

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Kellyanne Conway, Steve Bannon, Eric Trump, Paul Ryan. The bigots who threaten people because their side “won.” And, of course, the progenitor of much of it, Agent Orange.

Where did most of your money go?

The house, though we had no big projects.

What did you get really excited about?

I think I could get excited about contributing to Quora, if I had TIME to actually do it.

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

Sadder by a very large degree.

Thinner or fatter?

Yo-yo much of the year, heavier of late.

Richer or poorer?

Richer, marginally.

What do you wish you’d done more of?

Reading books; I’ve started several. Donate blood. Maybe drinking (Nah…although…)
What do you wish you’d done less of?

Reading Facebook.

How did you spend Christmas?

Christmas Eve means singing at church, so that. Eventually, we go to the in-laws.

Did you fall in love in 2016?


How many one-night stands?

Jaquandor: “Now, that’s not the kind of question a gentleman answers! (Another stock answer!)”

What was your favorite TV program?

CBS Sunday Morning with Jane Pauley, JEOPARDY!

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

I’m on the precipice…

What was the best book you read?

That I FINISHED? Apocrypha Now.

What was your greatest musical discovery?

See below. Also, I do like the rediscovery of some of the items Jaquandor has posted.

What did you want and get?

A different place to sit in my office.

What did you want and not get?


What were your favorite films of this year?

Spotlight; La La Land; Zootopia; Sully; Hail, Caesar!; Cafe Society

What did you do on your birthday?

I took off the day from work and…oh, who knows?

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?

“We are the goon squad and we’re coming to town, Beep-beep”

What kept you sane?

May I argue the premise of the question? That said, my dads’ group in church, especially with Norm gone. My best male friend is out of town; I should call him more often.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Bernie Sanders, George Takei.

What political issue stirred you the most?

The sheer terror a lot of Americans already feel in the age of Trump.

Who did you miss?

Norm. My old friend Tom Hoffman, who died in 2004 – I wonder what he would have made of this political year?

Who was the best new person you met?

Some new choir members.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016:

The trouble with normal is it always gets worse.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

I looked at the Billboard singles charts in the middle of the year, and the only song I could identify by both song and artist, AND knew audibly for sure, was The Sound of Silence by Disturbed, which you can listen to HERE

And in the naked light, I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening


December rambling #2: American Routes

Agent Orange is on target to violate the Constitution the moment he takes the oath of office<

Sift quotes of 2016

The truth about lying

Amy Biancolli: words words words words words words words

Words we can live without

John Cleese discusses genes

This was from mid-November: John Oliver talked about how 2016 sucked, especially in the NSFW ending, starting at 23:23.
99 Reasons Why 2016 Was a Good Year

S.2943 – National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 includes in Section 1287, the GLOBAL ENGAGEMENT CENTER, which, some fear, will allow the government to decide what is ‘truth’

The Jim Crow election effect

Homer and Harold – “Stories abound of present-day prosecutors who have lost their way, who do anything to win a conviction, who place politics above principle.” This is a fascinating story of the exact opposite

Hmm: The My Lai Massacre Inspires an Opera One of the most horrific episodes of the Vietnam War is being made into an opera; also, Larry Colburn died; he helped stop the massacre

My affection for the late Carrie Fisher ran well beyond her bad-ass Star Wars appearances, most notably Postcards from the Edge, for which wrote the screenplay; but also as a script doctor, plus her whole life narrative writ large. “Going through challenging things can teach you a lot, and they also make you appreciate the times that aren’t so challenging” – recollections from SamuraiFrog and Mark Evanier and Ken Levine, plus artists’ tributes

Presbyterians rank oldest, Muslims among youngest in new Pew survey

Epidemic of mall brawls spreads across US on day after Christmas

Jewish family flees Lancaster County after wrongly being blamed for Christmas play cancellation

The late Cindy Stowell won a total of $103,801 during her six-episode run on JEOPARDY!, some of which was donated toward cancer research

Money is pouring into immunotherapy research for cancer, but most of the patients who get into experimental trials are white

Black children see more TV ads for junk food than white kids

Cities across the country are cutting public transportation because they think ride-hailing services will fill the gap; they’ll regret it

Arthur answers my questions about podcasting and his female crush and murder in virtual reality and politics and Facebook

Holiday doll shopping yields far more diversity this season than in years past

World’s oldest woman turns 117

Work fact of the month: in Moldova, Moldovan is spoken by 58.8% (official; virtually the same as the Romanian language), Romanian 16.4%, Russian 16%, Ukrainian 3.8%, Gagauz 3.1% (a Turkish language), Bulgarian 1.1%, other 0.3%, unspecified 0.4%.

The very impressive SNL stage crew

The Midnight Ride of Sybil Ludington and Blanketing the Maternity Wards and You’ve Got the Right Stuffed and Japan’s Lucky Break

Is ‘Die Hard’ a Christmas movie? (I am agnostic on this)

What Flirting Looked Like in 2016

Chuck Miller’s most prolific commenters

Man’s Golf Shot from Frozen Hazard Goes Terribly Wrong

NOT ME: Minister Rev. Roger Green has stepped down from his role at Briercliffe Road Baptist Methodist Church after what he described as many happy years in the post

Agent Orange

Christmas (NOT HOLIDAY) Yule Log – the Daily Show

The Year of “This Can’t Be Happening”

The Danger of the “Just Campaign Rhetoric” Excuse

On target to violate the Constitution the moment he takes the oath of office

Russian registry

Private security force ‘playing with fire’

In hiding

The First Amendment Gives Too Much Protection For Press

An ardent supporter wonders: why do progressives assume I am an uneducated low intelligence neanderthal?

Jump in US, Brit migrants to New Zealand after Brexit, AO win


American Routes is a weekly two-hour public radio program produced in New Orleans, presenting a broad range of American music — blues and jazz, gospel and soul, old-time country and rockabilly, Cajun and zydeco, Tejano and Latin, roots rock and pop, avant-garde and classical. Now in our 15th year on the air, American Routes explores the shared musical and cultural threads in these American styles and genres of music — and how they are distinguished.

Carla Ulbrich -on owning the rights to the F-word

Ringo Starr & Carrie Fisher – You’re Sixteen taping session for the 1978 TV special “Ringo” – 1978 version with CF vocals here or here, the original 1973 version here

Eddie Holland came up with some dandy 45s

Cheese And Onions – THE RUTLES (1969)

Neil Sedaka is still back

Ronnie Spector: For Every Kiss You Give Me, I’ll Give You Three

Hours of Popcorn

It’s Not a Rumor, recorded in 1980 by The Nu-Kats, song co-written by Demi Moore

Obit for pop star Laura Branigan corrected, 12 years later – I was disappointed by those who said, “Why bother?”

How playing an instrument benefits your brain – Anita Collins

Chuck Berry Invented the Idea of Rock and Roll By Bill Wyman

Chuck Close Immortalizes Lou Reed, Philip Glass and Others in 2nd Avenue Subway

Y is for the Year 2016

Aug 29 , 1966– The Beatles end their US tour with a concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.

I realize I did a similar thing last year around this time. And why not? But this time, I got a tad carried away. Of course, no one knows all that will happen in 2016, besides a leap day on February 29.

Super Bowl 50 (no Roman numerals) will be held on February 7, 2016, at Levi’s Stadium, in Santa Clara, California, broadcast in the US on CBS-TV. The 2016 Summer Olympics will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. August 5–21, followed by the Paralympics, September 7–18. And of course, the 45th President of the United States will be voted on November 8.
These anniversaries will also be noted.

950th (1066)
Oct 14 – Battle of Hastings – The Norman forces of William the Conqueror defeat the English army and kill King Harold II of England.

400th (1616)
Mar – Work of Copernicus banned by the Congregation of the Index.
Apr 23- William Shakespeare, English writer and actor, died.

350th (1666)
Sept 2-4 – The Great Fire of London breaks out and burns for three days, destroying 10,000 buildings including St Paul’s Cathedral.

250th (1766)
Dec 5 – James Christie holds the first sale at Christie’s auction house in London.

200th (1816)
Apr 11 – In Philadelphia, the African Methodist Episcopal Church is established by Richard Allen and other African-American Methodists, the first such denomination completely independent of White churches.
Apr 21 – Birthday of Charlotte Brontë.

175th (1841)
Feb 4 – A first known reference to Groundhog Day in North America, in the diary of a James Morris.
Feb 10 – Act of Union (British North America Act, 1840) proclaimed in Canada; the next day, the two colonies of The Canadas are merged into the United Province of Canada.
Feb 18 – The first ongoing filibuster in the United States Senate begins and lasts until Mar 11.
Mar 9 – the United States v. The Amistad: The Supreme Court of the United States rules in the case that the Africans who seized control of the ship had been taken into slavery illegally.

150th (1866) – lots of post-US Civil War events
Jan 1 – Fisk University, a historically black university, is established in Nashville, TN.
Mar 13 – The US Congress overwhelmingly passes the Civil Rights Act of 1866, the first federal legislation to protect the rights of African-Americans; U.S. President Andrew Johnson vetoes the bill on March 27, and Congress overrides the veto on April 9.
July 28 – Birthday of Beatrix Potter.
Sept 21 – Birthday of Herbert George (H. G.) Wells.

125th (1891)
Jan 7 – Birthday of Zora Neale Hurston, Harlem Renaissance writer (d. 1960).
Feb 13 – Birthday of Grant Wood, American painter (d. 1942).
Mar 19 – Birthday of Earl Warren, Chief Justice of the United States (d. 1974). I met him once; I need to write about that.
Apr 1 – The Wrigley Company is founded in Chicago.
Apr 1 – The London–Paris telephone system is opened to the general public.
May 5 – The Music Hall in New York (later known as Carnegie Hall) has its grand opening and first public performance, with Tchaikovsky as guest conductor.
June 25 – Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective Sherlock Holmes appears in The Strand Magazine (London) for the first time, in the issue dated July.
Date unknown – James Naismith invents basketball.

100th (1916) – I emphasized this year, but didn’t mention all of the many World War I references
Jan 1 – The British Royal Army Medical Corps carries out the first successful blood transfusion using blood that had been stored and cooled.
Feb 26 – Birthday of Jackie Gleason, American comedian, actor, and musician (d. 1987).
Feb 29 – Birthday of Dinah Shore, American singer (d. 1994).
Mar 29 – Birthday of Eugene McCarthy, U.S. Senator from Minnesota and Presidential candidate (d. 2005).
Mar -Einstein publishes his theory of relativity.
Apr 5 – Birthday of Gregory Peck, American actor (d. 2003).
Apr 20 – The Chicago Cubs play their first game at Weeghman Park (modern-day Wrigley Field), defeating the Cincinnati Reds 7–6 in 11 innings.
June 15 – U.S. President Woodrow Wilson signs a bill incorporating the Boy Scouts of America.
July 1 – Birthday of Olivia de Havilland, British-born American actress.
July 9 – Birthday of Edward Heath, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (d. 2005).
Aug 25 – U.S. President Woodrow Wilson signs legislation creating the National Park Service.
Aug 31 – Birthday of Daniel Schorr, American journalist (d. 2010).
Sept 15 – World War I: Tanks are used for the first time in battle, at the Battle of the Somme.
Oct 14 – Birthday of C. Everett Koop, United States Surgeon General (d. 2013).
Nov 4 – Birthday of Walter Cronkite, American television journalist (d. 2009). I read his autobiography.
Nov 24 – Birthday of Forrest J. Ackerman, American writer (d. 2008).
Dec 18 – Birthday of Betty Grable, American actress (d. 1973).

90th (1926)
Feb 7 – Carter G. Woodson initiated the first National Negro Week. In 1972, it was renamed Black History Week and in 1976, it became Black History Month.
Aug 6 – Gertrude Ederle becomes the first woman to swim across the English Channel.

80th (1936)
May 28 – Alan Turing submits On Computable Numbers for publication.
Dec – King Edward VIII of England signed the instrument of abdication; George VI accedes to the throne

Joe DiMaggio
Joe DiMaggio

75th (1941) – of course, LOTS of World War II anniversaries, far too many to list here
Mar 11 – Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the US, signs the Lend-Lease Act into law, providing for the U.S. to provide aid to the Allies.
May 15 – Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak begins as the New York Yankees’ center fielder goes one for four against Chicago White Sox; ends July 17.
July 1 – Commercial TV authorized by the FCC. NBC television begins commercial operation on WNBT on channel 1. The world’s first legal TV commercial occurs at 2:29 PM before a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies. The 10-second spot displays a picture of a clock superimposed on a map of the United States, accompanied by the voice-over “America runs on Bulova time.” As a one-off special, the first quiz show called “Uncle Bee” is telecast, followed later by Ralph Edwards hosting the second game show broadcast on U.S. TV, Truth or Consequences, as simulcast on radio and TV and sponsored by Ivory soap.
Aug 15 – Corporal Josef Jakobs is executed by firing squad at the Tower of London at 7:12 am, making him the last person to be executed at the Tower for treason. This was the final question on JEOPARDY! in May 2015.
Sept – Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox batted .406 for the season, the last Major League Baseball player to do so.
Dec 7 – Attack on Pearl Harbor, and subsequent entry by the US into WWII.

70th (1946)
Mar 5 – Winston Churchill uses the phrase “Iron Curtain” in his speech at Westminster College, Missouri.

50th (1966) – lots of Vietnam War events
Jan – Indira Gandhi named Prime Minister of India. She wan’t the first female head of government in modern times; Sirimavo Bandaranaike of Ceylon was chosen PM of Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, in 1960.
Jan 13 – Robert C. Weaver becomes the first African American Cabinet member, by being appointed US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
June 1 – The final new episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show airs (the first episode aired on October 3, 1961).
Aug 1 – Sniper Charles Whitman kills 14 people and wounds 32 from atop the University of Texas at Austin Main Building tower, after earlier killing his wife and mother. I wrote about this, briefly.
Aug 29 – The Beatles end their US tour with a concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. It is their last-ever live performance, except for the short “rooftop concert” at the Apple Corps offices in January 1969.

35th (1981)
Jan 20 – US embassy hostages, taken Nov 4, 1979, released from Iran, coincidentally, or not, the same day Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as the 40th US President.

25th (1991)
Jan 16 – Gulf War: Operation Desert Storm begins with airstrikes against Iraq.
Mar 15 – Four Los Angeles, California police officers are indicted for the videotaped March 3 beating of Rodney King during an arrest.
May – The first Starbucks Coffee outlet is opened in California.
Dec 23 – Bohemian Rhapsody returns to the top of the British singles charts after 16 years, with the re-release’s proceeds being donated to the Terrence Higgins Trust, a British charity that campaigns on various issues related to AIDS and HIV.
Dec 25 – Dissolution of the Soviet Union: Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as president of the Soviet Union, from which most republics have already seceded, anticipating the dissolution of the 74-year-old state.

20th (1996)
July 5 – Dolly the sheep becomes the first mammal cloned from an adult cell.

5th (2011)
Apr 29 – Wedding of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Kate Middleton.

abc 17 (1)
ABC Wednesday – Round 17

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