May rambling: lost in the crowd

Hating what you don’t understand

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UN report details humans have pushed one million species to the brink of extinction

China takes the lead on global climate policy and the U.S. steps back

Why You Can No Longer Get Lost in the Crowd

Physicians Get Addicted Too

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Lethal Injections

Southern newspapers played a major role in racial violence. Do they owe their communities an apology?”

Hating what you don’t understand

Riley Howell’s Parents Say He Was Shot 3 Times While Tackling the UNC Charlotte Gunman – eight minutes from my sister’s house

A California teacher on medical leave for breast cancer has to pay for her substitute

What should “electable” mean?

10 U.S. Towns Stuck in Time – I’ve been to 4 of them

The fact that I’m in front of you means that I was here first

Where the US’s Foreign-Born Live Has Changed Over Time

Kid’s ‘Wow’ reaction to hearing Mozart

How I Read and Why

Doris Day dead at age 97

Tim Conway, RIP

May Chris Farley’s memory be a blessing

“Behind the scenes” visit to Sesame Street done by 60 Minutes Australia

Roosevelt Franklin – Muppet of Sesame Street

The Tony awards are June 9 on CBS

Inside the World’s Only Museum Dedicated to Ventriloquism

Tennis star Hans Redl

Albany Patroons basketball game day

Binghamton Rumble Ponies get first no-hitter in 13 years

Afterlife in New Zealand

Now I Know: The Dancing Plague and Why You Shouldn’t Take Advice From a Board Game and Why These Windows Don’t Have Windows and When a Truck Driver Had a Very Delicious Meltdown and The Cars that Karaoke and Why Do I Keep Getting Calls from Slovenia?!

Hyper-Casual Games Gone Viral

Australian $50 note typo: spelling mistake printed 46 million times

She was the ‘queen of the mommy bloggers,’ then her life fell apart

Will this WordPress theme allow me to make money?

Funny goats: screaming like humans; an inside joke from staff training in Ithaca


Que Sera Sera – Doris Day

Mama – Clean Bandit

Believer – Bigfoot & Puddles

Everybody Wants To Rule The World – Mackenzie Johnson

Ottorino Resphigi’s The Pines of Rome

Grow – Sabrina Lentini

Danzas de Panama by William Grant Still

StillSane – Carolyne Mas

Alassio (In the South) – Sir Edward Elgar

I Eat Dinner (When the Hunger’s Gone) – Kate and Anna McGarrigle

Coverville 1261: Cover Stories for Billy Joel and Echo and the Bunnymen

The Story Behind The Twilight Zone Theme Song

The Simpsons’ “Upstate New York” song

When TWO bloggers, one who started in 1996 and the other in 2005 post this separately, who am I to argue?

The Beatles off-white album

Decline of American democracy: Chavez, si; Hitler, nein

“Sharif’s daughter – who also has political ambitions – gave investigators an ’06 document she says proves she doesn’t own these properties.”

When I saw the Vox piece, The decline of American democracy won’t be televised, it made a lot of sense to me. Arthur has conveniently explained the premise further.

What I was really happy about in this piece, though, is what it does NOT contain: a reference to Adolf Hitler. It’s not that one cannot make parallels between what’s going on now in the United States and that prewar period “in which the Nazi party rose from obscurity to stand on the brink of complete power over Germany.” It’s that it has been used so often, in references to both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, among others, that it has lost almost all meaning.

The example used by Vox in the “democratic backsliding” is Hugo Chavez, the late leader of Venezuela, in his attacks on the courts, free press and other institutions designed to create checks and balances.

Not incidentally, his successor, Nicolas Maduro has thrown opponents in jail and now he’s pushing to rewrite the constitution, which will further consolidate his power. This week, his opponents organized an unofficial protest vote against the constitution change. Millions of Venezuelans showed up. Gunmen fired on crowd of protesters in Caracas, killing a woman and injuring others.

Another international story that’s caught my attention: Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif could lose his job. From, of all things, the Daily Skimm:

“Last year, the Panama Papers were leaked. They’re the millions of docs that outed some high-profile people for being shady with their finances to avoid the Tax Man. On the list: Sharif’s three adult kids. They allegedly used offshore companies to buy expensive London real estate. Pakistanis want to know where the money came from. So, the country’s Supreme Court asked a group of investigators to look into it.

“Last week, the investigators accused the Sharifs of forgery and hiding their financials, but the Sharifs say ‘not true.’ Sharif’s daughter – who also has political ambitions – gave investigators an ’06 document she says proves she doesn’t own these properties. But turns out, the doc was typed out in Calibri font…which didn’t come out until ’07. Oops.”

Of course, there are no parallels between these three children of a politician and any other three adult children of a public official. I just thought it was… interesting.

ARA: Influences and historical conversations

We’ll have Adolf Hitler, Mahatma Gandhi, Thomas Edison, and Andrew Carnegie.

Dear Lisa says Okay, I’ll play:
Who (living or dead) has had the most influence on your life?

I’d have to say my father. He turned me on to music, which was always in the house. He had a thing for social justice. His moodiness was something I tried to avoid in myself, not always successfully. He could be an unfocused dreamer, something I can be guilty of as well.

If you could go back in time and have a conversation with someone, who would it be? My apologies if you’ve already answered these questions before!

Well, I have, so I’ve decided to change it. I want a conversation with FOUR people, together, in the summer of 1910. We’ll have Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), who would be 21, and Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1947), who would turn 41 in the fall, and Thomas Edison (1847-1931), who would be 63, and Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), who would turn 75 in the fall.

I’d be interested to see what the other three would have to say to young Adolf: Gandhi about non-violence, Edison about creativity, Carnegie about going from being a robber baron to a philanthropist who built libraries.
Tom the Mayor asked:

Have you ever lost your temper with your wife? Or your daughter?

My wife and I almost never fight. We disagree, but not all that often. The last time I remember getting REALLY angry with her, and it was several years ago, was when she was in a conversation in our house with someone else. I piped in with a point, and she said, to the other person, that I had gotten said point from some specific Sunday morning talk show. After the guest left, about a half-hour later, I exploded that I don’t parrot what I see on a given talk show but take in from a variety of sources and develop my viewpoints. THAT ticked me off.

The Daughter is very sensitive; just ask her. When she was younger, just being disappointed with something she did was enough to launch her into tears. Later, when I had to prod her into doing something – doing her homework, cleaning her room – I would use my calmest firm voice, yet she’d start crying, adding “You KNOW I’m sensitive!” which actually made me laugh inside.

So, I’d say I would get agitated with her sometimes, at which point, I will take a timeout from her. To be fair to me, my wife has experienced similar things; sometimes, SHE’S the “bad” parent. Now when The Daughter writes about it, she may have a different take, but that will be HER blog.
A question in my spam folder:

What do you consider the best security defend agency in the country? thanks!

A well-informed populace.


If Hitler never lived, then does Stalin take over Europe?


Film critic Roger Ebert had a blog post Did you choose your religion? But the original title, as one can see in the URL, was “Would you kill Baby Hitler?”

The original entry began: Of course, you would have needed to know on April 20, 1889, that the little boy would grow up to become Adolf Hitler, and would commit all of the crimes we now know he committed. The only way you could know that, apart from precognition, would be to have traveled backward in time from a point when Hitler had committed all his crimes and you knew about them.

This was in context with a discussion of, among other things, the new film Looper, for which a big-time spoiler alert should have been stamped.

But this is a popular theme. There’s some current CBS show called Person of Interest about a computer that foretells crime. There was a previous CBS show(what was that called?) about a guy who would get tomorrow’s newspaper today and had the day to stop some heinous event from happening; a cat was somehow involved. I have actually never seen either show nor read Stephen King’s The Dead Zone. The piece generated very interesting and enlightening points, unlike most comment threads these days.

The problem, if one COULD go back in time, would be the unintended consequences. If Hitler never lived, then does Stalin take over Europe? These are obviously unanswerable questions, but they fascinate me.

Dustbury points to a variation on the theme:

>Steve Sailer…has imagined two different scenarios in which we’d already had a black President:

Walter Mondale picks Tom Bradley for the Veep slot in 1984, manages to beat a rattled-in-the-debates Ronald Reagan, and is killed when Air Force One crashes;
Colin Powell, urged on by Mrs. Powell, defeats Bob Dole, then Bill Clinton, in 1996.

Given either one of these scenarios, Sailer asks:

In either alternative history, does Barack Obama become the second black President? If there had already been a first black president, would anyone have ever even considered Obama to be Presidential Timber? Would you have ever even heard of Obama?

It’s been my contention that a President who is black (or Hispanic, or a woman) may be held to a different standard, higher by at least some so that the viability of a second black as President would be inextricably linked to the success or failure of the first. That said, if there HAD been a previous black President, would Obama have played such a huge role in the 2004 Democratic convention? Possibly not.

What thinkest thou?
Making the case for future voter fraud.

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