September rambling: perfect Yiddish word

Rebecca Jade interview, Middle Earth debate

Rebecca Jade.Dallas
Rebecca Jade.Dallas

An Ode to Oy — the Perfect Yiddish Word

And speaking of which: Rings of Power Cast Slams Racist Threats Against Performers: “Middle-Earth Is Not All White.” This hurts my head. Someone wrote, and I’ve misplaced the attribution, I’m afraid: “When did we stop being able to just sit down and enjoy something that’s been created? Just take all shows and movies as fan fiction of any book that they take it from and enjoy the creators’ stories.”

Sah Quah: More than twenty years after the American Civil War, an enslaved Alaskan walked into a Sitka courtroom and sued for his freedom

The Church Left on the Curb:  A chance trash-day encounter reveals a 170-year institutional history

Bernard Shaw, CNN’s First Chief News Anchor, Dies at 82

Anne Garrels, the longtime foreign correspondent for NPR, dies at 71

Culcha

In Memorium Video from this year’s Emmys and going about a decade back

Jazz Pianist & NEA Jazz Master Ramsey Lewis Dies at His Chicago Home, September 12, at the age of 87

“Weird Al” Yankovic on the Long, Hard Road to Bring His Mock Biopic to the Big Screen

Ken Levine ends his blog, but his podcast will continue

At 100, Norman Lear Looks Back (And Ahead)

Whiz! Bang! Boom! Energetic Ads Hold Viewers’ Attention

Real Money, Fake Musicians: Inside a Million-Dollar Instagram Verification Scheme

Quentin Tarantino, Miramax Settle ‘Pulp Fiction’ NFT Legal Battle

Flin Flon: One Book’s Unlikely Survival

Has a computer ever passed the Turing test?

The Twisted Life of Clippy, Microsoft’s annoying paperclip. Its developers never imagined the virtual assistant would become a cultural icon.

Some good advice from John Green

Of Elbows and Tables

Best State Capitals to Live In – 2022 Edition. Albany, NY, is #9.

The Small Town In New York With More Historic Buildings Than Any Other

Can Something Be “Very Unique”? Modifying Absolute Adjectives

Now I Know: What About Bob (dot com)? and The Wisdom of Crowds of Sports Fans? and  The Almost-War Over a Bear’s Missing Privates

Polly ticks

President and Mrs. Obama Become a Part of White House History with Reveal of Official Portraits, and Barack Obama just won the Emmy

How deranged anti-Obama conspiracy theories led America to Donald Trump

Fascist is a description, not an insult, and  “Semi-Fascism”: The Shoe Fits

Judge Cannon’s Incredibly Flawed Trump Special Master Ruling

The faulty premise of the ‘2,000 mules’ trailer about voting by mail in the 2020 election

How Many Of ‘Her Emails’ Were Classified? Actually, Zero

Thomas, Barrett will further delegitimize SCOTUS when they fail to recuse on key cases

The Battle for Voters’ Imaginations over Abortion. Pete Buttigieg was correct.

When We Rose to Fight COVID, We Were Deliberately Turned Against Each Other

The Return of the Bitter Politics of Envy

UN Report Highlights Ongoing Racism in the US

Nebraska HS newspaper and journalism program shut down over student-written commentary on LGBTQ+ issues. The shutdown of the prize-winning student newspaper after 54 years occurred because an edition in June contained student-written commentary on LGBTQ+ issues, the origins of Pride Month, and the history of homophobia, material members of the local school board considered inappropriate.

Demographics

U.S. life expectancy drops sharply, the second consecutive decline

Most and Least Ethnically Diverse Cities in the U.S.

Demographic divide – the key differences in media and entertainment that continue to evolve between younger and older Americans.

New Data Reveal Inequality in Retirement Account Ownership

When and How Often People Marry Changes by Birth Cohort

MUSIC

Behind the Beats article about Rebecca Jade by the Smooth Jazz Network!

The In Crowd – the Ramsey Lewis Trio

The Comedians – Dmitry Kabalevsky. The second section, The Galop, is EXTREMELY familiar to me.

Wade In The Water – Ramsey Lewis

Jonchaies by Iannis Xenakis

Coverville 1412: The Clash Cover Story III and 1413: The Squeeze Cover Story III

Conductor Seiji Ozawa leads the Vienna Philharmonic in Strauss’s overture to Die Fledermaus

Hang On Sloopy – Ramsey Lewis Trio. I still have the Hang On Ramsey album on vinyl

If You Could Read My Mind – Gordon Lightfoot 

The fall 2022 semester

post-Paxlovid

fall 2022I’m not going to school anymore. Heck, I’m not even working anymore, and neither is my wife. Yet it feels like the fall 2022 semester has begun.

Our pastors returned this week from their three-month sabbatical to the UK and France, followed by some vacation time. After the service was a picnic largely planned by my wife, which has proved to be trickier than she thought.

The choir started rehearsing this past Thursday for the first time since late May and had a gathering afterward. We sang at the service yesterday. I’m very pleased that I’m well enough to participate.

My Bible Guys are reconvening tomorrow, still on Zoom. Given the fact that I am the youngest member of the group, this is not a surprising decision. The Thursday group is going to be meeting in person.

The Literary Legends Gala, sponsored by the Friends and Foundation of the Albany Public Library, will take place on Saturday, October 1, 2022, at the Delaware branch of the library. It will honor Sylvie Kantorovitz, and Edward Schwarzschild. Bidding on the silent auction will begin on September 23. If you have a product or service that we can auction, please let me know.

The Wizard’s Wardrobe is “a free one-on-one, after-school tutoring program for elementary students in the South End of Albany.” Folks from my church started it. The Readers Theatre will be held at Capital Rep in Albany on Monday, October 3rd. The “theme for the evening is ‘Hope for Changing Times.'” Alice Green of the Law and Justice Center will be the keynote speaker.

Bitter medicine

A few words about Paxlovid, the antiviral I took after testing positive for COVID. It was a five-day regimen, ending this past Tuesday. Interestingly, it comes in three pills per dose, two nirmatrelvir tablets, and one ritonavir tablet, twice daily. There must be a medical reason for this setup, though I don’t know what it is. (My spellcheck does not like the word “nirmatrelvir” but is okay with “ritonavir.”)

About three hours later, the combination emits one of the worst aftertastes I’ve ever experienced. Water doesn’t help. I’ve been drinking lemonade, ginger ale, and even cherry diet Pepsi to mitigate the effect. They are only marginally effective.

Here’s an important message about some common Paxlovid interactions you should know about. Both my primary care doctor and my pharmacist noted that I should stop taking my statin for not only the five days of the regimen but for three days after that.

Still, I feel okay, and I’m ready to work on the projects for Tom and Delia, the project for Steve, et al. Oh, and I’m planning on getting a flu shot soon, so I can avoid being felled by a potentially nasty flu season.

It’s not easy until it is

no coffee

not easy“It’s not easy until it is” is my mantra concerning anything even the slightest bit mechanical. For instance, there is a bike rack – actually two – on the buses run by the CDTA. The first time I attempted to use it, I couldn’t figure it out for about three minutes. I do think that there was a busload of people who want to go home didn’t help. The bus driver was not allowed to leave the bus to assist.

Finally, voila. Then it was easy. So simple, in fact, when other people are having trouble figuring out its use, I have gotten out of the bus to help them.

The first time I took an at-home COVID test, the instructions made it seem very complicated. Now, easy peasy. (Do people still say easy peasy?)

This happens to me a lot with technology. I read the manual, but there’s a disconnect in my brain. This does depend on who’s writing them, of course. There was a Picasa software for putting pictures in a Blogger/Blogspot blog; I NEVER understood it. By trial and error, I figured out a workaround.

Java

The most complicated thing at church had nothing to do with the fact that our pastors are on sabbatical from May to September. Making coffee had been the purview of the custodian. Since the last fellow left early in 2022, the church’s elders hired a service to clean the bathrooms, vacuum, etc. This doesn’t include making coffee, though. A series of volunteers have to make it.

One recent Sunday, my wife was tasked to set up for the coffee hour, meaning making coffee. She had once made coffee at another venue with a different machine, but she was hardly experienced.

I was of no help. Back in the early days of my last job, someone determined that everybody had to make the coffee because it was “fair.” Fair to whom? I never have drunk coffee, to the apparent horror of some people. Seriously.

But I made it once. It was apparently so terrible that I never had to do it again. I’d like to say that I sabotaged it intentionally, but I did not. Still, I couldn’t tell if it was too strong or weak because, as noted, I don’t drink coffee.

For my wife’s task, it turned out to be more complicated than she thought. So when a couple of folks who had made the coffee before came in, I enlisted their help. One said, “There are instructions.” Yes, I know; my wife knows. But the coffee was spilling on the burner. It turns out the whatchamacallit had to be in a certain position, totally contrary to her instincts or mine. So next time, it’ll be easier, probably.

Doctrine of Discovery: papal bull

European Christian governments could lay title to non-European territory

From https://www.redletterchristians.org/called-to-respond-dismantling-the-doctrine-of-discovery/

The Anti-Racism Task Force at my church has been holding a series of online discussions. One involved the Doctrine of Discovery. I was vaguely aware of it. From the material:

The Doctrine “originally came from Papal bulls issued in the 1100s by popes, providing permission for Christian explorers to take land from non-believers and do with those people whatever they wanted. (e.g.Crusades, slavery, etc.)”

Daniel N. Paul created a First Nations history, worth reading in its entirety. He starts with a quote from Thomas Aquinas’ rationalization. “On the part of the Church, however, there is mercy which looks to the conversion of the wanderer… after [a couple of tries] that, if he is yet stubborn, the Church no longer hoping for his conversion, looks to the salvation of others, by excommunicating him and separating him from the Church, and furthermore delivers him to the secular tribunal to be exterminated thereby from the world by death.”

The Gilder Lehrman website describes in detail “The Papal Bull ‘Inter Caetera,’ issued by Pope Alexander VI on May 4, 1493… [It] played a central role in the Spanish conquest of the New World.” This follows a similar series of bulls by Pope Nicolas V a few decades earlier justifying the Portuguese slave trade.

The American version

The Wikipedia entry, also useful, notes: The doctrine… is a “concept of public international law expounded by the United States Supreme Court in a series of decisions, most notably Johnson v. M’Intosh in 1823. Chief Justice John Marshall explained and applied the way that colonial powers laid claim to lands belonging to foreign sovereign nations during the Age of Discovery. Under it, European Christian governments could lay title to non-European territory on the basis that the colonisers travelled and ‘discovered’ said territory.”

Look at the whole thing, which helps to explain the Monroe Doctrine and most especially Manifest Destiny. A legal debate found the Native Americans “to be in violation of international law through their resistance to Spanish exploration and missionary activities. By resisting Spanish incursions, Indians were, according to Vitoria, provoking war with the Spanish invaders, thus justifying Spanish conquest of Indian lands.”

I also highly recommend the links at the Upstander Project.

In a quick search, you’ll find a number of churches, governments, and other organizations repudiating the idea of the Doctrine of Discovery. These bodies recognize that the philosophy is not well known, and difficult to understand. But they recognize they’ve been advantaged, and that it still has an impact on modern-day dealings.

The Unitarians lowlight one of their own, Joseph Story. He was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court at the time of the Johnson v. M’Intosh decision. The United Church of Christ addresses “Why it still Matters Today.” A group of Anabaptists noted: “Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery can seem overwhelming for a lot of people. Here you can find a few foundational components to help break it down.”

This is a big topic, far beyond what I can fairly address here. But I believe it is worth your while to investigate.

Maladies Melodies Allergies

my second COVID booster

There’s a Paul Simon song that starts Maladies Melodies Allergies. I so relate.

My allergies to pollen and the like have been quite severe this season, the worst in years. They were so awful that every time my head hit the pillow at night, within five minutes, I would start to cough uncontrollably. Even trying to sleep with my head propped up wasn’t sufficient. One night I woke up four times, after about 90 minutes each time.

Finally, I started taking the generic version of Nyquil just so I could sleep for six hours in a row. It has a cough suppressant and a nasal decongestant. Likewise, my daughter suffers from seasonal allergies which affect her sleep. She actually stayed home from school a day last week, from sheer fatigue.

I decided that we should each take a home COVID test. As I expected, they were both negative. The other motivation for mine was that I was scheduled to get a second COVID booster. I understand that getting the booster while you actually have COVID is contraindicated. Incidentally, I had no bad reaction, as usual, as long as I didn’t lean my arm on the injection site.

We now have several COVID test kits, some from that time not so long ago when they were a bit difficult to come by. Now they are practically ubiquitous, which is good since I’ve used them a total of thrice in a week. The CDC guidelines in Albany County changed this past Thursday from GREEN to YELLOW, which means masking is no longer optional in church. So before Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunday, I took a rapid test.

Expiry

I was curious about the fact that all the tests we currently own have an expiration date of June 30. This article from Health News Hub states: “The Food and Drug Administration countered Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance by extending their expiration dates. The FDA says it’s OK to add three months to any expiration date printed on a test kit box. (The BinaxNow test kit received FDA approval for an extended shelf life after tests showed the kit components were effective for up to 15 months.)

“Beyond the extended expiration date, results are not reliable.”

Also: “Most manufacturers of at-home tests recommend storing the kits between 35 degrees and 86 degrees. The greatest threat now is delivery during the cold winter months. A test kit left for a day or more in your mailbox at frigid temperatures could freeze the liquid reagent inside a cartridge that comes with the kit, invalidating the test results.”

So, if you see me going into a coughing jag, it’s unlikely that I am spreading COVID, only hay fever. It’s because I’m going to be getting used to sticking a cotton swab up my nose for a while.

Oh, yeah, that Paul Simon song.

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