Sept. rambling: Suicide prevention

Way Less Sad

NAMI: Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. “It’s Okay to Talk About Suicide”

Food insecurity soared roughly 9% last year for Americans

The LMNOPs of Caring for the Nursing Workforce: Healthcare systems can do more to prevent staff burnout

 A Guide on Racism, Inequality, and Health Care for African Americans.

Household COVID-19 risk and in-person schooling

Fines Double for Refusing to Wear a Mask on a Plane

 ‘I’m learning firsthand how difficult it is to be shunned by people you love’: The vaccine wars are getting personal

 Once-in-a-Century Weather Events Every Week

 Why ‘I’ Hurricane Names Are Most Likely to Be Retired

What Bobby McIlvaine Left Behind, -Grief, conspiracy theories, and one family’s search for meaning in the two decades since 9/11

How can America wake up from its post-9/11 nightmare?

Tycoon, Contractor, Soldier, Spy (Erik Prince, 2010)

A Dozen Observations about Abortion, Texas, and the Supreme Court

Power Move: Charles Blow wants Black people to reverse the Great Migration and form majorities in the Southern states.

Journey with Jesus: Richard Rothstein on “The Color of Law” 

Is it Better Not To Know?

‘SNL’ Alum Norm Macdonald Dead At 61

Sporting News
every_data_table Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

Pittsburgh Pirates lineup from Sept. 1, 1971, the first time an AL or NL team had fielded an all-Black and Latino starting lineup.

60+ Key Stats About the Olympic and Paralympics

 The Woman Who Invented Stuffed Animals 

John Green:  My Two Favorite Jokes. From the comments: “I went into the library and asked the librarian for a book on turtles. ‘Hard back?’ ‘Yeah, with little heads.'”

How Much of the World’s Bourbon Is Actually Made in Kentucky?

Surf the Vintage Internet 

ZOOM:  Celebrating 10 Years of Zoom: “Some of you have only known Zoom since early 2020.” Including me.

What Is a Squinting Modifier?

A 13,654 stick bomb 

Now I Know: The Friend on the Bench and The Man Who Gets People Out of the Hospital and The Magical Place Where Everyone Can Play


Elegy by Mark Camphouse

I heard this song called Way Less Sad by AJR this week for the first time last week. It came out in February 2021. For the life of me, I recognized but could not immediately place the horn riff. No, not Chicago or Blood, Sweat and Tears or Earth, Wind and Fire. Finally, it came to me, without looking it up: the way too sad My Little Town by Simon and Garfunkel! Paul Simon even gets a writing credit for Way Less Sad.

Times Will Be Better – Elena Romanova 

I Bought Myself A Politician – MonaLisa Twins

Flivver Ten Million by Frederick Shepherd Converse, played by the Buffalo Philharmonic, conducted by JoAnn Falletta

Michelle – Julian Neel

Arlington from John Williams’s score to JFK

17 Quotes on the Transformative Power of Music

When New York Had Her Heart Broke

I was planning a flight to a conference

When my daughter was in middle school five years ago, she had a homework assignment to interview an adult about 9/11 and she got to transcribe the answers. I was the interviewee. 

1. Where were you when the attacks occurred?

In my offices in downtown Albany. [I was planning a flight to a conference in Dallas scheduled to start the next day. It was quickly canceled. One of the planes that crashed into one of the towers was in Albany air space]

2. How did you find out about the attacks?

Somebody in another office across the hallwas watching it on TV.

3. What were your first feelings/emotions when you heard about the attacks?

Well, when the first plane crashed into the building, I thought it was an accident. When the second plane hit, I knew it was a siege.

4. Did you know anyone in the Towers, Pentagon, or one of the planes? If yes, did they survive?

I knew one guy. Met him at a conference two or three times. I didn’t know him well, but a nice guy, and very helpful. He was in one of the buildings. He did not survive.

looking back

5. Do you “relive” the feelings you felt when the attacks actually happened when you see videos or read articles? Explain how it made you feel.

Right afterward, I did watch a lot of TV, over and over. {See below.] Now it seems when I see pictures of the burning towers, it still reminds me of the day. If I watch the videos, it reminds me, but I tend not to watch videos if I can help it. [What I still remember was just how beautiful the day was before the attacks.]

6. What aspects (parts) of American life do you think we changed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks?

I think, in the short term, there were a lot of people coming together. In the long term, I think people got a whole lot more paranoid, and rightly so. We lost a lot of unity when we decided unnecessarily to go to war in Iraq.

[I’ve written a lot more in the past about the so-called USA PATRIOT Act and Islamaphobia, and lots of other topics. This is enough for today, except…}

Mark Evanier recently wrote about people who may be too young to remember: “Thanks to the Internet and its hoarders, there are hundreds of places where you can download or just watch the news coverage from that day. Here’s one of many. Pick out a channel and watch its broadcast from just before the reports of the first plane hitting the North Tower until you’ve had enough. That was how most of us experienced it that morning…staring at the screen.” Including me. 

John Hiatt: When New York Had Her Heart Broke –

9/11: when you don’t believe


9-11-looking-back-looking-aheadTwo articles about 9/11:

An issue of the Now I Know newsletter was particularly fascinating. It was called When You Don’t Believe Your Past Self.

“Think back to a major moment in your life — something which you truly think you remember each and every detail about. Now, try to recall something mundane from that day, something unrelated to the main events of the moment. What you ate for breakfast, which shoes you were wearing, the weather, the day of the week, etc. Unless you have a savant-level recall, chances are your memory of that fact is, at best, a guess…

“But where is that line between ‘important stuff’ and ‘I think it was a Thursday and cloudy out? It turns out that, even on days we think are seared into our memories, those memories aren’t very reliable.

“Actually, it’s worse than that. If one leading study is any indicator, not only do our memories kind of suck, but we can’t really deal with that fact.

“For horrible reasons, most of who were alive on September 11, 2001, can remember a lot about where we were and what we were doing that morning… Plug in just most other dates in the last fifty years, though and that’s not the case. For memory researchers, 9/11 [was an] opportunity to run experiments that are hard to replicate.

“A year after the terrorist attacks, a group of researchers from asked more than 3,000 respondents… to write down their memories of 9/11 — where they were when they found out about the attacks, who they were with, etc. The research made the same requests of the same people a year later and then again in 2011, ten years after the attacks. And what they found… was that stories changed over time…”

eight forty-six

From 8:46 AM 9/11 to 8 minutes 46 seconds, 2020

“The attack on the World Trade Center led to responses that are not possible today. In France the headline of the newspaper Le Monde was ‘Nous sommes tous américains — We Are All Americans…’

“Nineteen years later the French may still remember but it is a different United States they see today. The eyes of the world are still upon us but what do they see now.

“1. They see a country which failed to manage the coronavirus, became the world leader in coronavirus deaths, declared victory, and moved on content to have 800-1,000 deaths a day forever.

“2. They see a country divided by racism preparing to refight the Second American Civil War.

“3. They see a country that has abandoned its world leadership position of its own free will.”

Second Tuesday in September: New York primary day (NOT)

There are several statewide races this year, including Governor/Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller and Attorney General.

The second Tuesday in September has been primary day in New York State for non-federal offices. It’s not today because it’s September 11, 9/11. It’ll be held Thursday, September 13 instead.

September 11, 2001 was a Tuesday so it was primary day. Unsurprising, the voting, which had already begun at 6 a.m. in New York City and a few other counties, was postponed to September 25, notably with seven new polling places.

I understand it, I really do. September 11 is for not forgetting. But what better way to to remember than to stick up a proverbial middle finger at terrorism by casting the ballot that the planes hitting the World Trade Center interrupted? This is, BTW, the third time the vote has been on the 13th, also in 2007 and in 2012.

Truth be told, I think a September primary is too late. In races with an unchallenged incumbent, a late primary is a disadvantage to anyone running in a primary, who will have only eight weeks to consolidate the fractured segments of the party and run against a usually entrenched and better financed opponent.

The federal primary in New York State is at the end of June, so those running for Congress, House and Senate, compete then. I think ALL the primaries should be held at that time. It would also create a savings for the local Boards of Election, who wouldn’t need to find people to staff the voting booths in both June AND September.

Finally, here’s my my annual complaint. People in New York City, Long Island, some NYC suburbs, and Erie County (Buffalo) can vote from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. But those in the rest of the state, it’s only noon until 9 p.m., quite possibly the shortest primary slot in the country.

There are several statewide races this year, including Governor/Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller and Attorney General. Why should the folks downstate have six more hours, 15 instead of nine, to vote? I’d favor some way to even things out, such as 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. everywhere in New York State.

My lesson from 9/11

But, of course, the Iraq war started anyway.

Back in 2002, there was some entity that devised a plan that people all over the country would sing the Mozart Requiem on September 11 of that year. In Albany, the performers were the group Albany Pro Musica. For that performance only, two of my fellow choir members, Gladys and Tim, and I crashed Pro Musica. On a very windy Wednesday morning, we went down to the bandstand by the Hudson River and sang. (That was probably the only day I’ve ever worn a tux to work.)

But that left me grappling – what can I do for peace? My friends Jay and Penny let me know about a peace vigil at the Capitol building just up the street from where I work, which I saw disperse. I didn’t go the next week, but on September 25, I started participating in a weekly vigil for peace, organized by some Quakers, though the participants were not all from the faith.

I knew then that we needed to stop the war from starting since Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. I attended other rallies, in addition to the Wednesday noon events. I went to NYC on February 15, 2003, to be part of the now forgotten largest protest in world history (In 2011, I supported a Kickstarter film about that date; now that it WASN’T nominated as Best Documentary, maybe I’ll FINALLY get the video this year.)

I boldly predicted that if the war were to start, in five years, there would be at least two countries where one was now, believing the Kurds, who had been all but autonomous in the 11+ years since the Gulf War, due to the northern “no-fly” zone enforced by the US and the UK, would opt out of a country so torn by sectarian tension.

But, of course, the war started anyway. I still protested, but now it was seen as even more treasonous than before, and some of the passersby let us know it. Finally, after the fall of the Saddam regime, one of the more regular complainers came over to gloat. “See, it’s over!” he crowed.

Of course, it wasn’t over. “Mission” was not “accomplished.” In fact, according to Wikipedia, by 2006, the war had had more operations than a cut-rate surgeon could perform. By then, some of the neocon warmongers have admitted that they were wrong about Iraq. Somehow, that was small comfort, after “three years, tens of thousands of Iraqi and American lives, and $200 billion – all to achieve a chaos verging on open civil war.”

At some point, during the run-up to war, someone had designed a simple white on green button that said: “Choose Peace”. I wore it on my coat regularly. When we ran out of buttons, I went out and had more made, giving them away to whoever would wear them.

This is oddly true: I STILL have some of those buttons left, 15 years later, which I will gladly give/send you, as long as you agree to wear them. The trick is: I don’t know what peace will look like anymore, at least in Iraq. And Syria. And Afghanistan…

Starting war is easy. Starting peace is tough. And don’t get me started about “freedom fries”…

2006: Remembering the Iraq War’s Pollyanna pundits. (Thanks, Dan.)

2015: 70,000 Muslim Clerics Issue Fatwa Condemning Terrorism

This is an edited repost from March 19, 2006.

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