March rambling: censorship figures

Unsold Pilots

The American Library Association (ALA) released censorship figures from 2023. The data are alarming.

The 10th anniversary of the Foilies — awards given to public agencies responsible for the most egregious, absurd, and outrageous defiance of freedom of information requests.

Student Loans: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

FTC Releases Report on Grocery Supply Chain Disruptions: Pandemic-induced disruptions disproportionally impacted smaller firms, as larger companies sought to protect market share, power

Businesses Are Not as Agile as They Think

Jobs most impacted by AI

Bob Westphal died early this morning. Someone accurately wrote, “He was a wonderful person, an honest seeker, lover of poetry, storyteller, and friend.” He was also one of the Bible Guys until he moved away a few years ago and a member of the First Pres Choir from 2007 to 2009.

Jeanette Sharp,  Ph.D. died. From her obit:  “She developed macular degeneration at an early age, which eventually progressed to complete blindness. Despite this hurdle, she earned her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from SUNY Albany. She worked at Albany Medical Center, and held a private practice until her retirement in 2018.” I sang with her for several years at the Trinity UMC choir. We shared a birthday. I was quite fond of her.

Why the I’s have it. Is there a physiological reason why we say “tick tock” rather than “tock tick?” Why does the “i” get first position in all of our i/o word combinations (as in “ping pong”)? Writer and narrator Robert Krulwich explores the phenomenon in this video essay.

Are You Mispronouncing These U.S. City Names, such as Schenectady?

Doctors warned women of developing “bicycle face” from cycling in the 19th century.
Kelly gets rid of some open tabs
Bad proposed laws in New York State
Steven Sanders of Troy, a former member of the state Assembly for 28 years, writes in the Times Union: 
“Legislation being circulated in Albany would criminalize certain acts of protest. Such laws would be way out of bounds…

“According to a state Senate bill (S. 8646), anyone who obstructs public thoroughfares, even a single street or avenue, with an “intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm” could be charged with ‘aggravated disorderly conduct’ and jailed for up to a year. Under an Assembly proposal (A. 8951), persons engaged in similar conduct could be indicted as “domestic terrorists,”  a Class D felony that could be punishable by up to seven years behind bars. Those measures would surely intimidate individuals from exercising their First Amendment rights or participating in time-honored civil disobedience or protests. Criminalizing such actions would be a serious suppression of political speech.

“Under another measure before the Assembly (A. 8334), a person who disrupts a public meeting by being unruly or not obeying the rules set forth by the moderator could end up charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which could bring up to one year in jail. This kind of protest conduct is common, albeit bothersome. But who may or may not be arrested for such behavior is a totally subjective decision. Giving such wide discretion to police officials will inevitably lead to selective enforcement.”

Pop culture

“It’s a Silent Fire”: Decaying Digital Movie and TV Show Files Are a Hollywood Crisis. Industry pros sweat the possibility that many digital files will eventually become unusable — an archival tragedy reminiscent of the celluloid era.

Oscars’ Best Casting Award: Which Movies Would’ve Won Over 96 Years of Academy History?

M. Emmet Walsh, Actor in ‘Blood Simple,’ ‘Blade Runner,’ ‘The Jerk,’ ‘Slap Shot,’ ‘Brubaker’ and ‘Critters’ Dies at 88

Mark Evanier celebrated Unsold Pilots Week March 10-16, including these television one-offs: Stick Around (1977) with Andy Kaufman as a robot; Carol Channing Show (1966); Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe (1959) with Kurt Kasznar as Nero Wolfe and William Shatner as his sidekick, Archie Goodwin; Operation Greasepaint (1968) created by the comedy team of Johnny Wayne and Frank Shuster, it starred the comedy team of Jack Burns and Avery Schreiber;  Scared Stiff (1971), written and produced by Garry Marshall and Jerry Belson much in the vein of an old Abbott and Costello movie, starring Bob Denver and Warren Berlinger;  Dick Tracy (1967) by most of the folks who brought you the Batman TV, starring Ray MacDonnell; and Bozo the Clown (1954) with Gil Lamb

William Shatner on His Biggest ‘Star Trek’ Regret – and Why He Cried With Bezos

2024 ToC Champion Yogesh Raut | Inside Jeopardy!
Greg Hatcher: ‘And Friday’s Contestants Are …’
Up in the sky … it’s a restored Superman!

Now I Know: Good Mousekeeping and The Blind Man and the Armless Man Who Planted 10,000 Trees and The Town Where It’s Fun to Be a Grouch and The World’s Oldest Kindergartener and The Endless “Africa” in Africa and The Problem with Customer Support Chatbots [I DO so hate them]


Kamasi Washington – Prologue

Peter Sprague Plays We Love The Drums featuring Duncan Moore

Favorite Songs By Favorite Artists: Guadalcanal Diary and Earth, Wind, & Fire

Polovtsian Dances by Alexander Borodin from his opera Prince Igor 

Coverville 1480: Eric Carmen Tribute and Sly and the Family Stone Cover Story and 1481: Tributes for Steve Harley (and Cockney Rebel) and Karl Wallinger (and World Party)

Bully – Atom Bomb

Hoagy Carmichael sings the Yabba Dabba Doo Song on The Flintstones

Your Forgiveness – Paul Simon (LIVE on The Late Show)

“Life Is Incredible” – Stephen Colbert’s FULL EXTENDED interview with Paul Simon

The Father Of All Music — Why Not Listening To Bach Is A Mistake


Starting on St. Patrick’s Day, I received the same spam comment from several sources. But they had one feature in common: the names were related to vaping, such as best mouth to lung vape and brit beast sub-ohm tank.

“Hi, It has come to our attention that you are using our client’s photographs on your site without a valid licence. We have already posted out all supporting documents to the address of your office. Please confirm once you have received them. In the meantime, we would like to invite you to settle this dispute by making the below payment of £500. Visual Rights Group Ltd, KBC Bank London, IBAN: GB39 KRED 1654 8703, 1135 11, Account Number: 03113511, Sort Code: 16-54-87 Once you have made the payment, please email us with your payment reference number. Please note that a failure to settle at this stage will only accrue greater costs once the matter is referred to court. I thank you for your cooperation and look forward to your reply. Yours sincerely, Visual Rights Group Ltd, Company No. 11747843, Polhill Business Centre, London Road, Polhill, TN14 7AA, Registered Address: 42-44 Clarendon Road, Watford WD17 1JJ”

Interestingly, the photos included ones I’ve taken myself, pics from federal government sites, the promo stuff from movies, and even the duck I’ve been using for nearly 19 years.

February rambling: extrauterine children

Alexei Navalny, RIP

22 Feb 2024

Alabama hospital puts a pause on IVF in the wake of ruling saying frozen embryos are children. Conservative groups have long revered Chief Justice Tom Parker as an architect for the overturning of Roe v. Wade. “The majority, in its opinion, cited an 1872 statute that allows parents to sue over the wrongful death of a child and found that ‘unborn children,’ including ‘extrauterine children,’ were included in that.” SMH at the faux Christian “logic.”

‘Unconscionable’ criminal justice bills could fuel soaring incarceration in Louisiana. Reform advocates condemn raft of measures expected to pass under the new far-right governor, Jeff Landry.

Mitch McConnell to Step Down as Senate Minority Leader

Capital One to Acquire Discover, Creating a Consumer Lending Colossus. “The all-stock deal, valued at $35.3 billion, will combine two of the largest credit card companies in the United States.” As a long-time satisfied  Discover cardholder, I am extremely wary.

Ecological Overreach: Ignorance, Hubris, and Stupidity

To purchase The Black Woods: Pursuing Racial Justice on the Adirondack Frontier by Amy Godine at Cornell Press, input discount promo code 09FLYER at check out for 30% off the list price.

A Big Week in the Trump Trials; He Says Indictments and His Mug Shot Are Helping Him With Black Voters

Parent’s Guide to Fentanyl

Sleeping Pills & Addiction

The myth of men’s full-time employment

I’m a Digital Nomad. It’s Not as Fun As It Looks. Remote workers find that the challenges of globetrotting with a laptop can sometimes outweigh the benefits.

One Swedish zoo, seven escaped chimpanzees

Library staff reunites cat family

Bicentennial Minutes

Richard Lewis, “Neurotic” Comic, Dies at 76

RIP, artist Ramona Fradon, and stories about her

Dan Wilcox, Writer and Producer on ‘M*A*S*H,’ Dies at 82

Sam Waterston on His ‘Law & Order’ Goodbye and Getting to “Kill the Bull” One Last Time

Overtime rules for postseason NFL games

How Actor Kevin Miles Became “Jake from State Farm”

Why Doesn’t ❤️ Look Like a Heart?

Now I Know

The Ghost That Was Too Quiet and The Rules of the Roadkill, Smart Phone-Version and The Problem With Dark Blue and Yellow License Plates, and The Lion King and the Secret (But Not Actually R-Rated) Message

The Russians Are Coming

Alexei Navalny, the Fiercest Foe of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Dies at 47. With every story, I become more sad and angry.

Fox Promoted Informant’s Dubious Tale To Bolster Right-Wing Lies About Ukraine

Jon Stewart on Tucker Carlson’s Putin Interview & Trip to Russia | The Daily Show

What Is The Deal With Republicans And All These Russian Spies?


FFAPL book reviews/author talks

Tuesdays at 2 pm at 161 Washington Avenue branch of the Albany Public Library, 161 Washington Avenue

March 5 | Book Review | The Path to Paradise: A Francis Ford Coppola Story by Sam Wasson.  Reviewer:  John McGuire, PhD, attorney. 

March 12 | Author Talk | Author, Spiritual Director,  and Book Coach Diane Cameron will discuss her book, Looking for Signs, and talk about writing memoirs.

March 19 | Book Review | The Exceptions: Nancy Hopkins, MIT, and the Fight for Women in Science by Kate Zernike.  Reviewer:  Elaine Garrett, BFA, MA, STEM Outreach and Workforce Development, SUNY Research Foundation at NY Creates and the NYS Center of Excellence in Nanoelectronics and Nanotechnology, UAlbany.

March 26 | Author Interview | Ian Ross Singleton, MFA, of the Writing & Critical Inquiry Program, U at Albany, SUNY, is interviewed by Geri Walsh, MS (special education), employment specialist, about his novel The Two Differences.


Gotta Have You –  Peter Sprague, featuring Leonard Patton and Rebecca Jade

boygenius – $20

J. Eric Smith: Yes and Good Rats

Farewell, Seiji Ozawa

Maggie Rose – Underestimate Me

Coverville 1476: Tribute to Melanie and Norah Jones Cover Story and  1477: The Robbie Williams Cover Story II

I Don’t Mind – MonaLisa Twins

Overture to Candide, conducted by composer Leonard Bernstein

Sam Cooke – A Change Is Gonna Come

Jump – Van Halen

Texas Hold’Em – Beyoncé

A film music suite from the movie Miracle

Toots Thielemans – Bluesette

Sam Mendes will direct four movies about each Beatle, slated for release in 2027 with an “innovative and groundbreaking” release schedule

February rambling: obituary pirates

strong men always fall

Posted by Jessica Wilson to Star Trek Wholesome Posting

He Died in a Tragic Accident. Why Did the Internet Say He Was Murdered? Within a day of the death of Matthew Sachman, 19, on New York City subway tracks, so-called obituary pirates had flooded search results with false information.

Judge clears names of 2 men convicted in Times Square murder after they spent years in prison and The Juror Who Found Herself Guilty. I’m always pained by these stories of innocent people being in jail for decades before being exonerated.

Gazan Lives Matter

Cory Doctorow: How I Got Scammed

Sam Waterston to Leave ‘Law and Order’ After 20 Seasons

50 Best ‘Law & Order: SVU’ Guest Stars, Ranked

Anti-Racism Resources

I gave blood at the Albany High School on January 31. It was my 178th time. My time: 5 minutes, 17 seconds. Booyah!

Kelly goes marbles

Mel-O-Toons: Cheap cartoons for weekday enjoyment

Now I Know: When New York Choked the Artichoke Trade and When Milwaukee Went to War Over Bridges and Math and the Missing Planet and Why Did This Rabbit Drive a Car?

NOT ME: A SCOTTISH commercial cleaning firm has announced its acquisition of an English rival, adding a further 100 staff to its growing UK team. Founded in 1988 by its Chairman Roger Green, Spotless now operates over 1,700 contracts across the UK, providing a full range of cleaning services for blue chip companies, retail outlets, industrial leaders, and premier commercial premises.


Chuck Miller: The surgeries aren’t done yet; Panic at the hospital; Waiting on an NPO; This blog post was almost written from beyond the grave. Get better, Chuck!

About Biden’s Age and Memory

King Charles Diagnosed With Cancer, Buckingham Palace Say. The Royal Line of British Succession

Seiji Ozawa, Captivating Conductor, Is Dead at 88. He led the Boston Symphony Orchestra for 29 years, toured widely, and helped dispel prejudices about East Asian classical musicians. I saw him on television several times, at least once in person, probably at Tanglewood. 

Chita Rivera, revered and pioneering Tony-winning dancer and singer, dies at 91

Carl Weathers, Apollo Creed in “Rocky,” dies at 76

Amelia Earhart’s long-lost plane was possibly spotted in the Pacific by an exploration team

The retribution presidency

2024: What Kind of Society Will America Be?


djt Calls for ‘All Willing States’ to Deploy National Guard Troops to Texas. Kareem: “This is not a drill: Donald Trump has become the most destructive force to American democracy. To support him after all that’s happened, after all he’s said and done, is to denounce America and everything it stands for. That’s not hyperbole or liberal posturing. It’s merely acknowledging the facts.”


From Maggie Haberman, New York Times: “A vindictive Trump second term is now a frequent point of discussion. But [John] Bolton already got a close-up look at Trump’s nature — and how his anger can boil over. He spent 17 months in the administration and left in 2019.

“The new edition of Bolton’s book focuses on several examples, especially the case of Ellen Knight, a National Security Council official who cleared Bolton’s original edition for publication and was then dismissed from the [National Security Council].

“Knight told a federal judge that senior White House lawyers pressured her to falsely claim that Bolton’s book contained classified information. She was reinstated under President Biden.”


djt says he’d let Russia do ‘whatever the hell they want’ to NATO countries that don’t pay enough. Republicans say it was just fine.


Heather Cox Richardson: “What I’m saying is… if former president Donald Trump or a Trump-like figure… is elected president or takes the presidency in 2024, we will lose American democracy for our lifetimes. Not forever, because strong men always fall. It’s the nature of authoritarian movements.”[She’s more optimistic than I.]


Federal Appeals Court Rejects Trump’s Claim of Absolute Immunity. The ruling answered a question that an appeals court had never addressed: Can former presidents escape being held accountable by the criminal justice system for things they did while in office?


Where has Tracy Chapman been? Tracy Chapman – Fast Car

The Genius Of Stevie Wonder

The War and Treaty: Lover’s Game

1712 Overture – PDQ Bach

Karma Chameleon – Culture Club

Victoria Monét: On My Mama

Coverville 1475: The Harry Styles Cover Story

Jelly Roll: Son Of A Sinner

J. Eric Smith’s Favorite Songs by Favorite Artists: Buggy Jive and D.O.A. 

Laufey – From The Start

Gracie Abrams: Difficult


Jan. rambling: worse than you’d think

P.D.Q. Bach

What’s Indoor Air Quality Like in Long-Term Care Facilities During Wildfires? Worse Than You’d Think

The Media Is Melting Down, and Neither Billionaires Nor Journalists Can Seem to Stop It. Across the industry, contraction, layoffs, sales, and labor unrest remind us of 2008 — but insiders are less optimistic this time.

Politicians Must Stop Playing Doctor — Personal ideology should not guide medical care, even for abortion.

Frank S. Robinson’s Book Review of “The Democrat Party Hates America”

The Green Island Power Authority responded to Chuck Miller’s questions. All of them.

2030 Census Planning in 2024

NY County data on detailed race by sex and age

What Happens When a Baby Is Born on a Plane? The unique reality of being—and having—a ‘skyborn’? at 39,000 feet

Pam Grier Set for Career Tribute at Toronto Black Film Festival

Complexly Signs Major Tetris Athlete

“God told me to run a bitcoin swindle on my parishioners.”

The last Salem “witch”

The Bookshop Sketch

9 Issues You Absolutely Need to Fix Before Selling Your Home

How to properly use a semicolon?

Now I Know: The Pregnant Platypus With a Secret and The Jail With a Built-in Breakout Plan (one of my sisters used to live in El Cajon)

Obits and a birthday

The Unthinkable Mental Health Crisis That Shook a New England College (WPI)

Colon cancer is killing more younger men and women than ever.

Norman Jewison, Director of In the Heat of the Night, Moonstruck, Fiddler on the Roof, The Hurricane, and many others, dies at 91

Charles Osgood, the host of CBS News Sunday Morning from 1994 to 2016, died at 91. I watched religiously. Thank you, VCR and DVR.

Joyce Randolph, Trixie on ‘The Honeymooners,’ Dies at 99

Bill Mumy, who I remember from Lost in Space and episodes of The Twilight Zone, turns 70 on February 1. 

SCOTUS on tape

The Supreme Court – now with sound! The Moving Image and Sound Branch of the National Archives is also home to over 300,000 sound recordings.   The recordings are organized chronologically.  Since cases are often argued over multiple days, cases can be split up between different recordings.

Time, Inc. v. Hill in 1966.  The Hill family case was argued by former vice president and future president Richard Nixon.  You can hear Nixon argue at about 51:30 in this recording.

  • Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015 required states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  The recordings are divided into three parts: question onequestion two, and the opinion.
  • Engel v. Vitale in 1962 decided that school-initiated prayer in public schools violated the First Amendment.
  • Gideon v. Wainwright from 1963 declared that indigent defendants must be provided legal representation without charge.
  • Roe v. Wade was argued over two dates: December 1971 and  October 1972.  The court declared abortion to be a constitutional right.
  • Loving et ux. v. Virginia struck down state laws that banned interracial marriage in 1967.


The American Dream Is Killing Me – Green Day [graphic]
Otis Redding: “(Sittin’ on) The Dock Of The Bay”, the first posthumous #1 pop song

Peter Schickele, Composer and Gleeful Sire of P.D.Q. Bach, Dies at 88. P.D.Q. Bach – Beethoven Symphony No. 5 Sportscast

Singer Melanie, Who Performed at Woodstock,” Dies at 76. Listen to Lay Down with the Edwin Hawkins Singers; Ruby Tuesday.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom Of The Opera film (2004)
Peter Sprague Plays The Wind Cries Mary featuring Lisa Hightower
John Lennon featuring the Plastic Ono Band: Jealous Guy
Coverville 1473: The Footloose 40th Anniversary Album Cover and 1474: Cover Stories for Roxette, Aaliyah and The Ventures
Symphonic Poem on Three Notes by Tan Dun.
Billy Joel: The Stranger
K-Chuck Radio: The Frank Farian Catalogue
Peter Sprague Plays Ocean Song, Earth Song
2024 Songwriters Hall of Fame Class: Timbaland, R.E.M., Steely Dan, Hillary Lindsey, Dean Pitchford

Ramones Biopic Caught In Crossfire of Heirs’ Clash In Court

November rambling: we’re in trouble

notable books

A great cover illustration by Walter Molino, repurposed by Jan Strnad, and used with Jan’s permission

Democracy and the Press: We’re in Trouble

Revisiting the fascism question

Liz Cheney’s new book blasts GOP as ‘enablers and collaborators’ of djt

Why Georgia Republicans Are Protecting the D.A. Who Indicted Trump

In the wake of the Voting Rights Act ruling, North Dakota to appeal the decision that protected tribes’ rights

ProPublica reviewed 12 of the nation’s strictest abortion bans. Few changed in 2023, as state lawmakers caved to pressure from anti-abortion groups opposing exceptions for rape, incest and health risks.

Dollar Stores: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

The Remarkable Biden Economy

You Cannot Rely on the Government to Protect You From Bad Charities

FTC Authorizes Compulsory Process for AI-related Products and Services

Rosalynn Carter, Outspoken Former First Lady, Dies at 96

Chuck Miller: A big toe named Elise Stefanik

NYPL service was impacted due to City budget cuts, including ending Sunday service at the vast majority of locations that currently offer it.

 About 8.2 Million People Moved Between States in 2022

Of special interest to me

Finally — a PROFESSIONAL Comics Magazine! COMICS SCENE 1, January 1982. At this point in the video, there is a discussion about a FantaCo ad. Tom Skulan noted that the ad wasn’t particularly successful, whereas the ads for horror items in Fangoria magazine were much more profitable.

New York Times: 100 Notable Books of 2023, one of which was written by an author I actually know 

Obit for Bob Maye, who grew up not far from my house in Binghamton, NY

Consumer Value Stores

Boston Globe: CVS pharmacists are at a breaking point, imperiling the company’s reinvention plans. The link may be behind a paywall, but basically: “There are not enough pharmacists in the pipeline, and the ones the company employs are reaching a breaking point. The company… has spent billions remaking itself into a sophisticated healthcare conglomerate. A key goal is turning its thousands of stores into community clinics where pharmacists, doctors, and nurses work together to improve patient health. But none of this works if the company can’t hire or retain its pharmacists. ‘Pharmacists are burned out,’ said a former CVS executive.”


Warner Bros. Reverses Course on ‘Coyote vs. Acme‘ After Filmmakers Rebel. I don’t understand how a studio makes money scrapping a film it’s completed.

The people who ruined the internet

The Boy Who Captured JFK From His Parents’ Basement

John Oliver – Finding a Place for Satire & Immigration as a Comedian | The Daily Show

Do You Want to Build a Movie? An Oral History of Frozen

How TMZ Became Hollywood’s Grim Reaper

Frances Sternhagen, a two-time Tony winner and television and movie actor, Died at 93. I’ve seen her on The Closer, ER, Sex and the City, Cheers, and the movie Misery, among many other roles.

What Is the Value of a Scenic View?

Medical Malpractice On Law & Order, episode 1, Ft. Legal Eagle

Mark Evanier bankrupted his grandmother in Monopoly, and in life

Greg’s long, strange trip of collecting comic books
There is no such place as Wyoming
Now I Know
 How Fake Fish May Save Coral Reefs (And You Can Help!) and Cops of Coffee and The Very Expensive (and Not Very Nice) Surprise Party and The Man Who Bought (And Returned?) Stonehenge and

The Hole in a Swiss Citizenship Application


Peter Sprague Plays Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You featuring Rebecca Jade

Tray Wellington: Crooked Mind

Mr. Big Stuff – Jean Knight, who died recently at 80

The Highwomen: Crowded Table

Jake Blount: Didn’t It Rain

Rhiannon Giddens: You’re The One

Coverville 1465: The XTC Cover Story II and  1466: The 20th Annual All-Beatles Thanksgiving Cover Story

Amythyst Kiah: Hangover Blues

Our Native Daughters: Black Myself

On The Beautiful Blue Danube by Johann Strauss II

Rina Sawayama : Chosen Family

Kara Jackson: Pawnshop

Rossini: L’italiana in Algeri – Overture

Michael Pollack accompanies Billy Joel on “New York State of Mind”

You Were Meant For Me – Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds

Notation Must Die: The Battle For How We Read Music, which starts with ten minutes about chess notation

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