November rambling: can we talk?

Apollo 13

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Behind the Curtain: Trump allies pre-screen loyalists for unprecedented power grab.

Takeaways from the November 7 elections

Israel-Hamas War War: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and Can we talk about Israel and Palestine?

A settlement marks a step toward ending abuses at for-profit immigrant prisons.

Sesame Street Getting “Reimagined” for Season 56 

Hollywood Reacts to Tentative SAG-AFTRA, AMPTP Deal

Anonymous Strike Diary: A Writer’s Back-to-Work Hangover

Why the Dying DVD Business Could Be Headed for a Resurrection

US Census Bureau: Interracial Couples More Common Among Same-Sex Couples and U.S. Population Projected to Begin Declining in Second Half of Century

Health and more

COVID Immunity in 2023: Guide to Weathering the Winter Resurgence

Vision Impairment May Raise Your Dementia Risk, Research Suggests

In a Comment Submitted to U.S. Copyright Office, FTC Raises AI-related Competition and Consumer Protection Issues

Stand Up To Cancer and the Trebek family have launched The Alex Trebek Fund to accelerate critical research with the goal of better treating pancreatic cancer, which has the highest mortality rate of all major cancers.

Astronaut Frank Borman was the commander of the Apollo 8 mission, humanity’s first mission around the Moon in 1968. He passed away at the age of 95. 

Thomas K. Mattingly was originally part of the 1970 Apollo 13 mission but was bumped 72 hours before takeoff due to his possible exposure to rubella. He helped to guide the Apollo 13 crew as they returned to Earth after an explosion compromised their lunar mission, then flew on Apollo 16. He died at age 87.

Peter S. Fischer, ‘Murder, She Wrote’ Co-Creator and ‘Columbo’ Writer, Dies at 88

Condolences to Kelly and his family upon the passing of his mom, Theresa Sedinger

Trevor Noah Sort Of, Kind Of Misses ‘The Daily Show

Why note-taking apps don’t make us smarter

Hey, writers! It’s NaFaDoYBIMSCoM

How Netflix Conquered Hollywood — And Then Broke It

The 2023 Gold Glove Award winners

CDTA’s New BusPlus Purple Line BRT commenced on Sunday, November 5, 2023. Service along the Washington & Western corridors will be enhanced from downtown Albany to the University at Albany and Crossgates Mall.

Now I Know: The Man Who Sued Himself (and the IRS) and Won and The Girl With Two Twin Sisters and New Jersey’s Fake Sister and The Problem With 500 Pounds of Pennies and The United States/North Korea Alliance of 2007 Am I happy about Christmas television ads starting on November 1st? I am not. 


A friend wrote about Now and Then, “It’s a trap! It’ll get us marveling at how cool it is to hear The Beatles again and use that feeling to lull us into ‘AI complacency.’ I am deeply suspicious.” AI is so suddenly ubiquitous that I understand the confusion. I saw Tony Dokoupil raise similar concerns on CBS Mornings, with his co-anchors explaining the process, which you should see on the Beatles website. Rick Beato’s reaction to the recording is similar to mine: I’m glad it exists.

Now and Then – the MonaLisa Twins

Sweet Sounds of Heaven – The Rolling Stones & Lady Gaga (Live from Racket NYC)

Eve Was Black-Allison Russell

Quiet City by Aaron Copland

Cast Iron Skillet – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

Another Wasted Life – Rhiannon Giddens

El Dorado – Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway  

Work Until My Days Are Done – Blind Boys of Alabama  

De todas las flores – Natalia Lafourcade

K-Chuck Radio: The cheapest knockoffs.

Dymaxion – Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society 

Woven Song – Ólafur Arnalds (Hania Rani Piano Rework)

Dracula OST by John Williams

What Now – Brittany Howard

Coverville 1463: The Johnny Marr Cover Story II and 1464: The Joni Mitchell Cover Story IV

18,000 strangers sing Africa by Toto

Jenny– The Mountain Goats

Goodnight, My Someone – Voctave from Meredith Willson’s The Music Man

Dumb Guitar – Mount Kimbie

Decimal – Tom Lehrer

When You Wish Upon A Star – Dave Koz 

Tuesday, December 13, 2022


December 13This happened Tuesday, December 13, 2022, a day-in-the-life story. It was more like four hours.
I was taking the bus to the Washington Avenue branch of the Albany Public Library to attend a book review. It was about five minutes late; no biggie.
The bus stopped to pick up a guy in a motorized vehicle, a very fancy wheelchair. As usual, the driver put up some seats to accommodate the rider, then let down the ramp. But the fellow couldn’t get to the ramp because of the snow.
The driver let up the ramp, closed the door, and started ranting. “You’ve got to be kidding me! The STAR [specialty] buses should pick up these folks!” Then they pulled the bus up about two meters, let down the ramp, and the passenger boarded.
I believe the driver was stressed because they fell further behind schedule, not out of animosity towards those with disabilities.
Getting to the talk as it was starting, one of the hosts made the joke, “Now we can begin because Roger Green is here.” He’s made the joke once earlier.
I bought not just the author’s new book about the 1936 Presidental election but also a book written by an audience member about a much more recent Presidency.
Bus back
I took the bus back. The guy with the snazzy wheels was already on the bus and got off at the same stop without difficulty.
I stopped at the CVS to pick up prescriptions for my daughter. CVS and other pharmacies are closed between 1:30 and 2 pm. So I was fifth in line, with more folks behind me, when the counter opened. But the clerk, who was also a pharmacist, was quite efficient, answering a couple of my questions, and it did not take long. I also picked up a UPS package at the front.
The sidewalk of the Madison Theater was a sheet of ice five days after the snowfall. The sidewalks on the rest of the block were totally clear. They need to be better neighbors.
Then I  went to the Price Chopper/Market 32.   Ostensibly, I went there for blueberries, grapes, and butter. But, as is often the case, I bought more items so that my bag from home was inadequate.
I was second in line at the register. In front of me was a couple, approximately my age, buying only a few items. I was not paying attention to them until the man berated the woman. ‘Where are the cards? I just gave them to you since we were in line!”
I half-heard a series of exchanges between the man and the cashier.  They involved needing to void purchases. One was that he couldn’t buy razor blades with food stamps.
There is a calculation about when to pick up the items you’ve already put on the conveyor belt, put them back in the shopping cart, and look for another checkout aisle. I decided to stay. Surely this will be concluded soon. Still, I told two other people to go to another aisle behind other people, and both finished long before I started.
FINALLY, the young cashier, who didn’t appear old enough to shave, said to me, “I’m sorry. I’ll be right with you.” My reply: “You’re fine. I’m not blaming you.”
The man in front of me in the aisle scowled, “Are you blaming me? You can’t blame ME! I should go and kick your ass!”  Fortunately, there was a shopping cart between us. For some reason, I calmly replied,  “As you wish, sir.” He huffed out of the store.
The young cashier said, of the previous customer’s transactions, “That was very stressful!” I told him that he handled the situation very well. Then I finally carried my groceries home.

CDTA’s Purple BusPlus v. NIMBY


cdta purple routeThis is one of those topics I would have put in my Times Union blog. But alas, it’s gone. Still, you folks not in Albany, NY, might find it interesting if something like it comes to your neck of the woods.

The Capital District Transportation Authority is currently building the Bus Rapid Transit/Purple BusPlus Line, which will run more frequently and make fewer stops. It will connect Crossgates Mall, UAlbany, Harriman, and Downtown Albany, mostly along Western Ave. it will be funded with federal money.

Recently, I signed a petition supporting the bus stop at the corner of Colonial Avenue/Eileen Street and Western Avenue. The petitioners believe the proposal will:
● Reduce traffic on Western Avenue, which can be quite congested.
● Provide better and higher quality access to transit in the neighborhood, potentially enabling many drivers to transition to public transportation. Sidebar: parking in downtown Albany is sparse and expensive.
● Make a busy intersection more pedestrian and cyclist friendly, something I always favor.
● Be a great asset for the neighborhood students relying on buses to get to North Albany Middle School and Albany High School.

The planned stop will be lighted and sheltered, with improved pedestrian access/crosswalks/beg buttons and heated sidewalks to melt snow and ice in winter. CDTA has committed to using it for tripper buses to bring kids to school.


A counterproposal from a few neighbors suggested relocating the stop to Brevator, where Western crosses over Route 85. That intersection has comparably little housing north of Western and has far fewer residents nearby. “Relocating the stops to this less centralized street will increase walking time to the stop and make it more challenging for residents to take advantage of the route.

“Looking at the proposed purple line from the CDTA website, the distances between Allen St. and Colonial (0.6 mi) and the distance between Colonial and the East Harriman Campus stop (0.6 mi) are already at the upper end of the distance that CDTA prefers between its BRT/BusPlus stops.

“If a stop is placed at Brevator instead of Eileen and Colonial,” which are central to the neighborhoods, “the distance between the two stops will be 0.8 mi, which is a very long walk for those who live between those streets; let alone those who have to walk a couple of blocks just to get to Western.”

I miss not being in the TU because I could point out the newspaper’s shortcomings in its article. It didn’t point out the benefit to school children or the university. Instead, it focused on the fervor of the discussion at a recent city hall meeting rather than the substance.

I figure I should bug CDTA, my city council member, my state assemblyperson, and anyone else I can think of.

Always: the collective folk wisdom

30% chance of rain

cdta_bus_10_downtown_albanyI was taking a bus home from my allergist, the second of two. Someone asked if I were waiting for a particular line, which I was. My CDTA Navigator app said the next bus was coming at 10:04; it was 9:58 at the time.

This person then launched into a tirade. “The buses are always late! They should do something about them!. The buses should come more often!”

The bus rolls up at 10:03, and I got on; there were about six people aboard. Ironically, the other party tried to wheedle their way onto the bus because they had no money for the fare. (N.b.: if they had asked me, I would have paid for them.)

This bugged me, just a little because it’s that unwarranted generalization that the System has failed. In fact, the four buses I took that day were all within four minutes of on-time.


It’s like when people say in my presence, “The weather forecast is always wrong.” This is usually followed by “It must be great to get paid for being wrong all of the time.” Occasionally I’ve pushed back against the assertion, but I’ve found that to be not very fruitful. So I generally ignore it.

The accusation is addressed here by a meteorologist. ” Take, for instance, a day with a ’30 percent chance of rain.’ That’s tough to… show in a simple TV 7-day graphic. But it’s possible that a majority of the people stay dry and a small percentage see rain.”

I’ve experienced that quite often. I landed at the Albany airport, where it was sunny and dry. But when I got home, seven miles away, it had clearly rained. Or back in my FantaCo days, it was raining in Albany, but the owner came in from Averill Park, across the river, and he had snow on his roof.

Here’s a geeky article. It states, logically, that the shorter the outlook, say one to three days, the more likelihood, that it’ll be correct.

The COVID vaccine

Kelly noted that Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers defended his “alternative” regimen as “immunization” equivalent to being fully vaccinated. But what ticked off the western New Yorker, understandably, is this: “Liberals hated vaccines when 45 was President but as soon as Biden took over they loved them.”

I know lots of liberals who spent months praying – some of them literally – for a vaccine. If it had been available in October 2020 and I were eligible, damn straight I would have gotten inoculated.

Rodgers is in this prism that suggests that liberals like me are always going to dispute whatever good things happened during 45’s term. What I disputed were what 45 seemed to do to minimize his own vaccine accomplishments by touting hydroxychloroquine or other unproven formulations.

Delta variant and other COVID news

Luciferian Globalists

By Harold Jessurun and Aníbal Quiñones, the prominent creators of the popular Pepito comic in Puerto Rico. Instagram had deleted the image on some sites, citing that it violated its Community Guidelines.

The Delta variant doesn’t give a flying #@$% if you’re tired of hearing about COVID-19.

From the  Boston Globe: “This is not the worry-free summer many envisioned as recently as Memorial Day, full of long-awaited travel, family reunions, and evenings in favorite restaurants.

“Since July Fourth, there’s been a steady drumbeat of discouraging COVID-19 news: Infections are climbing across the country. Hospitalizations in several Southern and Western states are spiking, too. Vaccination rates have dwindled. And communities from Cambridge to Los Angeles County are advising or mandating a return to mask-wearing, even for vaccinated people.”

An old friend of one of my sisters has been sending me stuff such as how some doctor says there is no Delta variant of COVID. But the “logic”, alas, fails me. Then she sent me something about the Luciferian Globalists Implementing the New World Order. Er, no.

Speaking of which: In southwest Missouri, the coronavirus Delta variant and “freedom” collide. Our guest pastor made a credible link between American individualism in this crisis and sin.

Right-Wing Vaccine Lies Are Tearing the Country Apart.

My daughter asked me if I’d ever heard of Eric Clapton. Er, yeah. Apparently, he was trending on Twitter because of some reportedly racist thing he said in 1978; IDK why it was notable decades later. But then I came across this article from 2021 noting that he says he won’t play venues that require COVID-19 vaccinations. I find that… disappointing.

Masking up

Someone asked me, “Are you going to watch the Olympics?” And I was surprised that I answered, “I don’t know.” The COVID surge in Japan has taken away some of the luster from the games in my mind. Ken Levine hit on it.

Except for a few restaurant visits, I tend to wear my mask indoors, even though I’m fully vaccinated. So it’s not onerous for me if it’s mandated.

Oh, and it IS required on the local CDTA buses, as it is on most mass transportation. At a bus stop where I was getting on, two potential passengers were arguing about whether masks were required. I butted in and agreed with the one who said yes. Then the bus driver refused to allow the unmasked person on, so the other one declined to get on too. The two were still squabbling as the bus pulled away.

The Department of Justice decided not to probe COVID deaths in state-run nursing homes in four states, including New York. I can’t speak about the other states, but I was hoping for such a probe in my state. It’ll be investigated at the state level, but federal juice has more impact.

Canada to Open to Fully Vaccinated Americans on August 9.

I read that the morally bankrupt Congressman Madison Cawthorn, who lied about a major aspect of his biography, is bloviating that if the GOP retakes the House, it’ll be prosecuting Dr. Fauci to the “full extent” of the law.

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