March rambling: quotation marks

Support the Albany High School robotics team!

tractor_beam_2x
From https://xkcd.com/2579/

In a world-historic first, microplastics were detected in human blood

The Our World in Data COVID vaccination data

 How American conservatives turned against the vaccine

The Lancet: Paul Farmer

Cameroonians fleeing conflict are in dire need of Temporary Protected Status – cf.  Inside “the most diverse square mile in America”

What Caused the War? Ukraine and Russia in Historical Context

The Race to Archive the Ukrainian Internet

Ukrainian Actress Oksana Shvets Killed in Russian Rocket Attack

Non-war conflict

Hate and extremism

How did Christianity become so toxic?

The Interactive Theater of Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Confirmation Hearing

Addressing racial inequality in paid leave policy

Sara Jacobs, one of the youngest members of Congress, talks about sexism and ageism in politics. 

Writing Women into History

Women in medicine are running up the wrong side of the escalator

Where Does the Religious Right Go After Roe?

Sojourner Truth’s Battle to Free Her Son from Slavery

Actor Tim Reid on addressing racial issues on WKRP in Cincinnati

Texas’ New Voting Law Disenfranchised Thousands Of Otherwise Eligible Voters

The Tangled, Messy Roots of Fake News, long before it became djt’s favorite term

Ginni Thomas demanded Congressional Republicans take the fight to overturn the 2020 election to the streets

John Bolton admits that ‘it’s hard to describe how little [djt] knows’

I Know There’s An Answer

Climate Change Brings Uncontrollable Wildfires

 The Illinois town that got up and left

The 1950 Census is Coming: What You Need to Know

Timbuctoo Institute would build opportunities in the Adirondacks 

About Those Gas Prices

Concert  Tickets: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

2021 County and Economic Development Regions Population Estimates for NYS

Luka’s mural

Jobfished: the con that tricked dozens into working for a fake design agency

“They’re called ‘quotation marks’.”

Phobias. Aibohphobia is the (unofficial) fear of palindromes. Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia is used to describe the fear of very long words.

The official Girl Scout cookie power rankings

The Result of a Rabbit Hole

Audience participation

GoFundMe page for the Albany High School Robotics Team to compete at the FIRST Robotics World Championship in Houston, TX on April 20-23. They placed 2nd in the New York Tech Valley Regional Competition.

Four Open Seats on Albany Public Library Board in May 17 Election. Nominations are due to the Clerk of the City School District of Albany by Wednesday, April 27, at 5 pm.

New York Bike Census

Now I Know

The Biggest Bread Soup in the World and Why Are My Baby Carrots Always Wet? and The First Computer Bug and The Phone Booth in the Middle of Nowhere and Beware the Ire of Caesar and Which Came First, The Algorithm or the Pi? and World War II’s Pre-Email E-Mail

MUSIC

Livinliv – Aleksandr Shymko

Irish tunes

K-Chuck Radio: The musical tree of Ida Red  and green songs

Holiday at Ferghana -Reinhold Gliere

Lullabye of Broadway from 42nd Street

Coverville: 1393 – John Cale and Velvet Underground Cover Story and 1394 – The Blink-182 Cover Story II and 1395 – The Smashing Pumpkins Cover Story II

Unsettled. Deeply unsettled.

too much insurance

unsettled.face-on-the-sun.enIn early 2022, I have felt deeply unsettled. The snow/ice event was an amazing time suck. I spent a minimum of 12 hours chopping ice over five days, and it was exhausting.

Returning the unwanted devices made me anxious because I needed to get them within 14 days. Not two weeks from when I got them but a fortnight after their package was sent. I went to one of those FedEx drop boxes, which was very convenient, even though I felt the persons checking me out gave me the vibe that I was some sort of terrorist dropping off an explosive device. And I’m still unclear about whether I’ve been compromised, though Experian seems to think not.

One of those annoying things I, and most retirees, have to deal with is a ton of solicitations from Medicare Supplement providers. And for a time I had two of these insurance policies. This was NOT a good thing. This involved getting reimbursed for the insurance I no longer had, paying for the new insurance, and waiting for reimbursement for that. Plus the hassle of contacting all of my medical providers.

Other passings

I’ve discussed Paul Weinstein, who I had last seen when his daughter and my daughter were inducted into the honor society in November; I attended his funeral. The choir sang at the funeral of Michael Attwell, with whom I had sung on Christmas Eve.

I had briefly mentioned Kay Olin Johnson, a fellow member of the Olin Family Society, who I last spoke with on 15 January. Subsequently, she commented on my Facebook page how much she enjoyed talking with me. Then she died on 22 January. On 3 February I contacted someone in my old office for Reasons and discovered that Kay had sent mail to my wife and me there.

It was forwarded a week later. Kay had sent her holiday greetings. She wrote of home improvements she did finish in 2021 but promised pictures of the changes in December 2022. She likewise suggested some genealogical news in the coming year. But mostly, her letter was about her far-flung family, who she greatly appreciated, especially since her husband Don had died 31 years earlier.

Betty Curtis, who died 11 Feb was an extremely talented member of my church choir and very generous of spirit. She was the one person who dealt well with a certain cranky soul. She was active in that choir from at least the 1960s to just a few years ago. Her birthday was a couple of days after mine. And she LOVED her Butler Bulldogs men’s basketball team. Her funeral is upcoming.

Health Care in America

It’s always disturbing to me when people are forced to start, or their friends initiate a Go Fund Campaign for someone’s health care. It’s more irritating when it’s someone I know.  Ken Screven, a well-known TV reporter in this area “faces mounting medical bills.”  His friends started a GoFundMe campaign and raised over $33,000, crushing the goal of $25,000.

But should this be the way we do health in this country?

Lockdown

At my daughter’s high school this past Thursday, two freshmen got into an altercation. Then one cut both the other kid and a hall monitor. The school went into lockdown; my daughter texted me that neither the students nor the adults in her room were quiet, as is recommended. Incidentally, the alleged assailant, 14, was hiding in the cafeteria with the other students until he was found out.

I was most annoyed with the tease for WRGB’s news broadcast. “Violence boils over at Albany High School.” The following day was remote, the third school district that went to distance learning that week for non-COVID reasons.

My daughter had already had experienced a rough week, so this did not help.

I read the news today

A crazy lady was complaining about the gazpacho police. Another GOP MOC says Americans must own enough weapons to overthrow the government if 30-40% agree on “tyranny”.

But I was most distressed by a former president hiding or destroying government docs. This goes beyond mere politics. This is proof – once again – that he doesn’t understand that the Presidency is a trust.

Also, not just the country but much of the world is at war over COVID mandates. I’m not quite to the surrender mode yet, but I’m teetering. Hey, I could say, I’ve got my three shots, and I’d get a fourth if suggested. I’m going to keep wearing my mass indoors, so don’t bother me if you don’t like it. But it seems the fight is tearing the fabric of society apart. It is wearying, as is the possibility of another Greek letter.

There are other things, but these are the big ones. The cumulative effect has left me unsettled.

I find there is never “nothing to do”

“This is theater as teaching tool, artistic expression and catharsis”

HersOne of my pet peeves – nah, it’s stronger than that, more an irritation – happens when I hear folks from around the Capital District say, “There’s nothing to do around here.”

For instance, last weekend was chock full. On Friday, author L. Lloyd Stewart spoke at my church about his 2013 book The Mysterious Black Migration 1800-1820: The Van Vranken Family and Other Free Families of African Descent in Washington County, New York.

Now mostly rural, Washington County, not far from Albany, is not a place people around here think of as an African-American stronghold. But the growth of free blacks, and slaves – the institution didn’t end in the Empire State until 1827 – was huge.

Saturday night, the Albany High School Theatre Ensemble challenged “gender conformity and misogyny in its… production of a student-written played called HERS: An Explanation of Our Expectations.”

Times Union newspaper critic Steve Barnes wrote: “This is theater as teaching tool, artistic expression and catharsis, for the performers and their audience, and it is often deeply moving to experience.” It was so much so that our daughter went AGAIN on Sunday afternoon.

Instead, I went to Remembering a Life of Words, Art and Music, celebrating the life of Greg Haymes, a/k/a Sarge Blotto a/k/a Will Bill Hayes, et al.: musician, writer, artist and Nippertown founder. I saw a LOT of people I’ve known over the years, such as intellectual property lawyer Paul Rapp, a/k/a drummer F. Lee Harvey Blotto, and photographer/critic David Brickman.

Peter Lesser from The Egg, the venue where the event took place, started things off. Sara Ayers, true love of Greg. was wonderfully gracious. Then Paul Jossman (guitarist Bowtie Blotto) and Bill Polchinski (guitarist/songwriter Broadway Blotto) gave touching and funny tributes to their band mate.

Michael Eck (Ramblin Jug Stompers) was particularly emotional. Local musician Bryan Thomas spoke of Greg’s encouragement. Kirsten Ferguson discussed Greg’s light touch as Nippertown editor. The aforementioned Steve Barnes marveled how Greg could know EVERYTHING about what was happening in the local music scene.

Rosanne Raneri and Steven Clyde sang and played a Jefferson Airplane tune. Then there was proper New Orleans sendoff with The 2nd Line Driveby Jazz Band. A wonderful celebration.

We were so busy that weekend, we didn’t make it to the annual Greek Festival. Monday night, I had three choices of activities, including something promoting the census; I did none of the above.

This is not a complaint, but most of my weekends have been very busy all year. There’s NEVER “nothing to do.” I can tell as my email queue gets longer and my prepared blog post list gets shorter.

A is for Albany High School awards

Albany High School was up for six awards in an event fashioned after Broadway’s Tony Awards®

Hairspray Director Gregory Theodore Marsh, Annabelle Duffy , Theatre Ensemble Director Ward Dales
Back on Saturday, May 19, the family went to Proctors Theatre in Schenectady to attend the 2nd Annual High School Musical Theatre Awards for New York’s Capital Region in partnership with The Broadway League.

Albany High School was up for six awards in an event fashioned after Broadway’s Tony Awards®. The evening celebrated “the achievements of the region’s theatre students from 23 area high schools, highlighting the importance of arts and theatre education.”

The AHS March production of “Hairspray” won for best musical, best technical execution and best choreography execution. Moreover, “Albany High junior Annabelle Duffy won best actress for her portrayal of feisty Tracy Turnblad.”

She received an all expenses paid trip to New York City to receive training from working Broadway professionals. Annabelle and a young man from the area participated in the Jimmy Awards, the national stage in which high school performers across the nation acted and sang, on June 25.

At Proctors, our family applauded wildly for AHS and also my young niece’s high school; one of the supporting characters in their The Music Man was nominated, which somehow meant that the niece got to perform in the energetic opening and closing numbers.

Truth is that some of the Albany High School rooting was a bit of chip on the collective shoulders of the city dwellers. On the standardized tests, the urban schools don’t fare nearly as well as the ones in the suburban districts. But as someone wrote on a Facebook listserv:

“What I do know is my children will have experiences like many others won’t. They are exposed to the world thanks to classmates, teachers, and courses not available in many locations… Remember money talks and those districts with most living in poverty are underfunded and inundated with unfunded state mandates.”

Not incidentally:

Grammy-nominated jazz artist Stefon Harris (Albany High School ’91) was named a recipient of a 2018 Doris Duke Artist Award – “one of the most prestigious arts grants in the country – for his continuing contribution to jazz.

“Harris is one of seven performing artists that will receive $250,000 in flexible funding, along with up to an additional $25,000 to encourage contribution to his retirement account.”

For ABC Wednesday

“Blaq Boi” new play May 3-6, Albany HS

The play is a celebration of black America through the reflections of a diverse Albany High School playwriting team.

The Albany High Theatre Ensemble uses the stage to tackle issues of race and identity in the Promising Playwrights Festival’s upcoming production of “Blaq Boi.”

The four-performance run of the student-written play opens at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 3 with shows at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 4 and 5, and a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, May 6.

Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for students and seniors.

“Blaq Boi” is the story of Treasure, an African-American male. It follows his journey from childhood to adulthood and delves into the myriad challenges black men face growing up and living in America.

“Though the play boldly addresses issues of institutional racism, white privilege, and internalized oppression, it is also a celebration of black America through the reflections of a diverse Albany High School playwriting team,” said Theatre Ensemble Director Ward Dales.

The play was written by students Camille Dobbs, Jacklyn Flynn, Thia Fowler, Sion Hardy, Jaidyn Hires, Xji-Anne Hudson, Zanief Washington and Immanuel Williams, and teacher Gregory Theodore Marsh. Marsh also directs the play.

The play contains strong language and may not be appropriate for very young audiences.

You can learn more from this video or by visiting the Albany School District website.

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