Anger, a national disease

“Anything that gets in the way must be attacked as well.”

On May 17 at about 3 pm, I stopped by a liquor store at the corner of Quail Street and Elberon Place and bought a bottle of wine. This is almost exactly one mile from my home.

On May 30 at about 3 am near that very same intersection, Devin McGlothan, 29, was the ninth person murdered in the city of Albany, NY in 2021. It’s the sixth killing in the month of May, including two high school girls.

This is hardly just an Albany problem. It’s a national disease. In the Miami area on Memorial Day weekend, there were two mass causality events. One involved three men jumping out of a car, shooting two dozen people in six seconds, killing at least two, then driving off. See the mass shootings list for 2021. Workplaces, grocery stores – no place appears immune.

After spending 2020 worrying about getting COVID-19, I don’t want to spend 2021 worrying about violence. But living near a hotheaded neighbor who thinks we’re always calling the cops on her -I did once, because of the dog – unexplained noises at night are unsettling.

Rage

I wish I had some cogent solutions to offer the country, but I’m just nervous because it’s rooted in a fit of cultural anger that I don’t know how we fix. And they have lots of guns

Anger over COVID: its physical and economic effects, people “forced” to wear masks, people demanding others NOT to wear masks, the belief that the disease is a “fraud”, that the vaccine will empower Bill Gates.

And when they get out and about, they seem to have forgotten how to act like civil human beings. No wonder Southwest and American Airlines at least temporarily banned the sale of liquor on their planes. A female passenger punched a female flight attendant in the face. Unruly Passenger Reports have skyrocketed in 2021

Anger over race/religion/ethnicity: Japanese-Americans and Korean-Americans assaulted because their attackers discriminate but aren’t discriminating. Jewish-Americans and their places of worship threatened, as though they control the military policy of the Israeli government. Hispanics are harassed because they don’t “talk American.” Black Americans are still killed, because.

Anger fueled by social media. When I read my political feeds from all sides, they often use terms such as “destroys.” Such as, “Adam destroyed Bob with this tweet.” Zero-sum.

45, still

Anger stirred up over the Big Lie about the 2020 election. This begat the January 6 insurrection. And has brought forth laws in several states interfering with elections; in Georgia and Texas, it’s much easier to overturn the mandate of the populace. And some wuss members of Congress who have decided that 6 Jan was a tourist event.

Terry Moran on ABC News This Week for May 30 described it this way: “The Republican Party isn’t very Republican, and it’s not really a party, right? It’s a nationalist Trumpist movement right now.

“Parties are static. They operate within a received set of laws and traditions. They compete for voter support to enact policy preferences. Movements move.

“And nationalist movements move to attack the establishment in their own party first and then everywhere else. And anything that gets in the way must be attacked as well.”

Just Google “angry Americans.” Read how political rage helps campaigns but hurts democracy.

“So, when democratic laws and traditions and values get in the way and the basic arithmetic of democracy, if the other guy gets more votes, you lose, they attack that too. And that’s what’s happening.”

As I noted, I’m looking for suggestions, because I’m bereft of them.

April rambling: the triumph of zealots

If every episode is a blowout in which two of three contestants are basically never competitive, does that not grow uninteresting over time?

Women and the Resurrection
Women and the Resurrection cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward
Read the redacted Mueller report here OR here.

Yes, Obstruction.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Mueller Report and Opioids II.

Deconstructed: A Migrant’s Journey and refugees to America brought in $63 billion more in government revenues than they cost in the last 10 years.

As Mr. Parrot pointed out: “Why on earth didn’t we [the UK] follow the Code of Good Practice on Referendums which the UK signed up to in 2006? This advocates a referendum as a two-part process, starting with an advisory vote and proceeding to a detailed proposal, with a second vote by either parliament or the people. They also advise that a vote below 55% in favour should be ignored.” (Brexit passed with 51.9% of the vote.)

When Did Faith & Science Become Enemies? Lessons from a Christian Physicist with Dr. David Larrabee.

Selling the Soul of Franklin Graham.

How Sovereign Citizens Helped Swindle $1 Billion From the Government They Disavow.

Do not mess with Katie Porter. EVER.

“I’ve lived long enough to see the triumph of zealots and absolutists, to watch money swallow politics, to witness the rise of the corporate state. See the party of working and poor people become a sycophant of crony capitalism.

Watch the union of church and state become fashionable again. Witness the coupling of news and entertainment. See everyday people cast overboard as the pirates and predators of Wall Street seized the ship of state. I didn’t drift; I moved left just by standing still.”

  • Bill Moyers, from an interview at The Progressive in 2014.

Why James Holzhauer Is Bad for JEOPARDY! “If every episode is a blowout in which two of three contestants are basically never competitive, does that not grow uninteresting over time?”

The Tragic Story of Bob Fosse’s Second Wife, Joan McCracken.

The #MeToo Blacklist?

What Will Hollywood Do with Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin?

Ken Levine interview with Al Michaels Part 1 and Part 2.

The Exaltation of Anger.

Why do we laugh?

Sesame Street/HBO: Respect is Coming and Respect World.

I like cursive.

We stan: Merriam-Webster just added 640 new words.

Just blog it and 101 Blogging Statistics for 2019.

Waiting for the doctor.

Neil Gaiman on Jack Kirby.

Are X-Men human… or monsters?

Now I Know: The Surströmming Offensive and Why Do Escalators Have Those Brushes Along the Edge? and The Swimming Pool That Was Literally Blacked Out and The Bug in the Plan.

MUSIC

Wayfaring Stranger – Rhiannon Giddens.

My World is Empty Without You/Maneater – Hall and Oates and The Supremes.

Hail Mary, Gentle Woman – Jamie Biller.

Coverville 1258: Cover Stories for Indigo Girls, Dave Edmunds and Dusty Springfield.

The Grande symphonie funebre et triomphale – Hector Berlioz.

O Mio Babbino Caro Darci (Italian Opera) – Darcy Lynne and Petunia.

Triumphal March from Aida – Verdi.

Greg Burgas: The Unsung – the weirder end of the Phil Collins musical spectrum.

K-Chuck Radio: The many branches of Bruce Channel’s one-hit wonder.

Jupiter from The Planets – Gustav Holst – Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Sh-Boom – Sh-Pony.

Guitarist J. Geils Dead at 71.

Top Ten Most Worthless Records, and I own half of them.

Les Green, Pop, ancestry, DNA, anger

It would be Les Green’s 92nd birthday tomorrow

Les Green.Savannah GA.1998
Les Green.Savannah GA.1998
On the same day this month, I read two oddly similar stores. One was in the Boston Globe: “DNA test tells man the bittersweet truth: His father was a Catholic priest.” The other was a piece by Times Union blogger Robert S. Hoffman When your dad is not your father.

And it got me to thinking, again, about the parents of my father, Les Green. Something in the Globe story stuck out: “For decades, James C. Graham was tormented by a simple, but profound question: Why did his father seem to dislike him so much? The South Carolina man confirmed the bittersweet truth: The man who raised him wasn’t his father at all.”

My father seemed to have at least a mild antipathy his stepfather, for the man we all called Pop, McKinley Green. Clearly, he knew Pop wasn’t his biological father, and that might have been the source of his distress. Or maybe it was Pop’s family, who, even after Mac died in 1980, said disparaging things – “bastard son” – about my father within his earshot.

Regardless, I’m still hoping that DNA will someday help me to identify the identity of my biological grandfather. There are at least five people in Ancestry that are noted as my second or third cousins. One is cousin Lisa, a second cousin on my maternal grandmother’s side. And just recently, there’s a guy named Charles with a very distinct surname, clearly a third cousin on my paternal grandmother’s side.

But what of the other three, two of which are closely related to each other as well as to me? One has a genealogy with 125 names and 10 distinct surnames, none of which are familiar. He’s very African, with lineage almost exclusively from Ivory Coast/Ghana, Nigeria, and Mali.

I should address a question from my friend Carol about Ancestry.com: “I’m concerned about the data storage and privacy issues. Have you researched that at all?” Well, yes, they do, though participants can contribute either pseudonymously or with real names. It is the open sharing of information that the best information will arise.

This is a picture of my dad at the ASBDC conference in Savannah, possibly the best time I ever had with him. It would be Les Green’s 92nd birthday tomorrow. I’ll figure this genealogy stuff out eventually.

Father and Son – Cat Stevens

Angry people: airline seats, nudies in the Cloud, tobaccoless CVS

The Puritanical “outrage” over nude pictures in the Cloud left me shaking my head.

disk_discs_compact_It’s 4:40 a.m., and if I were an independently wealthy/retired, there are any number of recent topics I might write about. But I’m not. So some scattershot thoughts before they go totally cold.

Reclining seats on planes

I’ve long hated airline travel; it’s a flying bus. The recent spate of fights over someone trying to recline his/her seat, and was inhibited by the person behind, have gotten so bad that three flights were diverted in ten days. This is inevitable, given the fact that the space between seats is getting smaller as the passengers, collectively, are getting larger. Of course, this totally screws up not only the lives of the passengers on those flights but those on connecting flights as well.

Mark Evanier reminded me that airline passengers’ occasional schmuckiness is not just a recent occurrence.

Physical music

Part of the reason I’m strapped for time, actually, is that I switched around three pieces of furniture that hold my CDs. One extremely heavy piece moved, two others replaced, which meant reorganizing almost every disc I own. I am reminded that Jaquandor recently noted that he hadn’t purchased a physical CD in four years, and Alan David Doane said the other day that he listened to an album all the way through for the first time in a long time. Whereas I, obviously an old person, listen to albums, all the way through, all the time, and purchased, or was given, maybe two dozen CDs in the past four years. Yes, I know they may deteriorate over time. Did I mention my vinyl collection?

The moving of these CDs actually made me nostalgic. When I was a new blogger eight or so years ago, Lefty Brown and some of his online cohorts (Greg Burgas and Mike Sterling and Eddie Mitchell and Gordon Dymowski, among others) put together a mixed CD exchange; those discs now have their own section in the new furniture.

There’s some comedy routine that ends with “no one understands the Cloud.” And while technically untrue, I sometimes feel that way. I’ve never been all that comfortable having my music there, and good thing; the stuff I used to have on Amazon seems to have disappeared.

Nude photos in The Cloud

And speaking of the Cloud, intellectual property lawyer/drummer Paul Rapp explains the misrepresentations about pix of Jennifer Lawrence, et al being accessed. I discovered amazingly heated conversations about this topic.

My feeling is that the hackers were – I already used schmucks this post – twerps. Others criticized the (mostly) actresses who stored the pictures and fall into a couple of subcategories: those who thought it was not safe to rely on the Cloud to keep nude photos, and those who wanted to slut-shame those who HAD nude photos of themselves. I sort of understand the former – though this should have known better talk irritated me. But the Puritanical “outrage” left me shaking my head.

As usual, Dustbury has an interesting take on the issue.

CVS bans tobacco

A month earlier than previously announced, the pharmacy CVS decided to ban the sales of cigarettes. The reaction by some baffled me “I don’t smoke, but I think it’s ridiculous. We can’t legislate everything.” Well, no, it’s not being legislated, it’s a business decision, which, in the short term will cost the company millions of dollars in sales.

The major complaint is that they aren’t banning cookies and chips and candy, which can also be bad for you. Sure, but in moderation, it won’t give one diabetes and heart disease, while cigarettes can kill even second-hand smokers. Much of the thread seem to scream about a loss of “freedom”, as though Walgreens and the corner store and thousands of other venues have begun banning them as well.

Gillibrand redux

I’ve mentioned the less-than-tasteful comments made by members of the US Congress toward Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). There are shrill calls saying she should be naming names. I don’t. 1) She’s made her point and 2) she still has to work with these guys, and even if they weren’t always using Senate decorum doesn’t mean that she should abandon same.
***
Evanier pretty much nailed my feelings about Joan Rivers. Before she got nasty and spent too much time doing whatever schtick she did with her daughter, she was quite funny. The term pioneer is applicable.

Avoiding conflict

I was always a GOOD kid. I had anger, but it was quite suppressed growing up.

Dan Van Riper, the Albany Weblog guy, first wrote to Ask Roger Anything:
Roger, I… I’m sorry, I can’t think of anything to ask. I really want to but… I can’t. Why not?

Because my life’s an open book? Because you’re having dental work done?

But then he came back and asked:
Wait, I just thought of a question. It’s actually been in the back of my head for some time. You’ve said more than once that you don’t like conflict between people, that when it happens you tend to shy away from it. I know several people who are like that. My question is, why? Do you have any idea where that comes from? Or is that too personal?

To answer the last, easiest, question, no, it’s not too personal.

I suppose I need to define the terms. My daughter’s favorite Beatles song is “We Can Work It Out,” which features the line: “Life is very short, and there’s no time for fussing and fighting, my friend.”

Watching the Sunday morning news shows, or Bill O’Reilly, or the like, I realize I would not do very well. People are rapidly throwing around facts and pseudo-facts, often yelling over each other. It would create in me too much agita to think clearly. Later, I’d have some treppenwitz moments, thinking of what I SHOULD have said.

I’ll state my positions – say on this blog – and I’m sure there are people who like them, and people who don’t, and that’s fine. People – you or others – will have a reasonable response. Maybe we’ll change each other’s minds or maybe we won’t, but it’s OK because it seems to be done with a level of mutual respect.

Whereas on the Times Union blogs, or national newspaper websites, the conflict tends to escalate, with one side trying to out-shout the other. No one will be convinced of the position of the other, so what’s the point, really? I’ve posted some things on the TU site, where I made my initial observation, then others blithely go off in directions I hadn’t intended. I let them, but after a while, I get bored with it all. It seems futile.

Then there’s the uncertainty thing, the sign of a good humanities student. I certainly don’t pretend that I know all the answers – others may think so, but it’s not true – and I put forth the possibility, in SOME topics, that I could be at least partially mistaken. I don’t have the need to badger others about those things.

I’m an old political science major, but political arguing I find demoralizing. Often, “victory” is seen as stopping government, or a corporate entity under its jurisdiction, from doing what it ought not to have been doing in the first place.

None of this, though, is the REAL answer. The REAL answer is how I was raised. My mother was great with the aphorisms such as “You get more bees with honey than vinegar.” My father’s message is that the angry young black man thing doesn’t work well in a primarily white society.

I was always a GOOD kid. I had anger, but it was quite suppressed growing up. I expelled a LOT of it in my twenties, no small portion of it at my rather controlling father. And once I let it go, a lot of it was just gone. I just don’t get as angry as I used to; sad, frustrated, even occasionally in despair about the world The Daughter is going to inherit – pollution, global warming creating ecological catastrophes, economic and cultural inequality, to name a few. But anger just doesn’t work for me, most of the time.

In fact, anger makes me feel out of control. It’s been known to give me a raging headache. I’ve been told I look like a crazy person (crazier person?).

Interestingly, then, it means that the rate times I REALLY get angry, it’s usually more effective. If I’m a known hothead, then its effectiveness is compromised.