August rambling: Porn stars, Playmates, prayer

A Sinkhole of Sleaze

Trump crossing the swamp
After this


Why Fascism Has the Power to Seduce the Broken

John Oliver Confronts Fake Grassroots Movements

In 2008, America Stopped Believing in the American Dream

When That “Feel-Good” Story Really Ought To Make You Throw Up

Who Chooses Abortion?

Ken Screven – The Conscience of the Newsroom

The Scientific Case for Two Spaces After a Period

On Prepositions

Joe Biden’s LGBTQ acceptance initiative

Walter Ayres: Pope Francis and the death penalty

Vlogbrothers: How Do Adults Make Friends? and How I Made Friends

Terry Crews Made A PSA With Samantha Bee To Illustrate Why Sexual Assault Jokes Really Aren’t Funny

Treating Golfer’s Elbow And How To Prevent It

The seven original cast members of Saturday Night Live inducted into the Television Hall of Fame

Dick Cavett in the digital age

Alan Alda (and Leonard Maltin) Diagnosed With Parkinson’s

Amy Meselson, Lawyer Who Defended Young Immigrants, Dies at 46

Charlotte Rae, R.I.P.

Steve Jobs and Chrisann Brennan were 23 when their daughter, Lisa, was born

How an Ex-Cop Rigged McDonald’s Monopoly Game and Stole Millions

The end of Campbell’s Soup?

Embracing päntsdrunk, the Finnish way of drinking alone in your underwear

The mind-bendy weirdness of the number zero, explained

Now I Know: Who You Gonna Call? Not This Ghostbuster and The Blood*, Sweat, and Tears of English Rugby Players and Why You Can’t Visit Liberty’s Torch and Why the National Animal of Scotland is… Wait, Really?

Players from Sesame Street read great lines from the movies

Christopher Lee and Jane Seymour

THE SWAMP

A Sinkhole of Sleaze

Week of Corruption Scandals: A Closer Look

Why Betsy DeVos shuns the American flag on her 40-foot yacht

PORN STARS, PLAYMATES, AND PRAYER CIRCLES

Mike Pence – Holy Terror and has drastically lowered his moral standard for a President

John Oliver: the next issue of Stupid Watergate

How ICE was radicalized

How the regime misled the public on poverty

EPA is now allowing asbestos back into manufacturing

The Quislings of American Collapse

The Constitutional Con

His Foreign Policy Held Back by Struggle to Grasp Time Zones, Maps

Boston Globe Calls For A Nationwide Response To Attacks On The Press

MUSIC

The anthem of the Republic of Tyva in the Russian Federation

Ohio – John Batiste, Leon Bridges, Gary Clark Jr

Vasily Kalinnikov – Bylina, an overture

“Africa” le Toto as Gaeilge

Summer Wind- Willie Nelson

I greet my country -Ahoulaguine Akaline featuring Bombino

Feel The Love – Rudimental, featuring John Newman

In the Mood – Glenn Miller (see Sonja Henie!)

Stand By Me – Bootstraps

Fur Elise – pianist Lola Astanova

The Place Where Dreams Come True and End Credits – James Horner, scoring Field of Dreams

Coverville 1227: Cover Stories for Kate Bush and Rush and 1228: Cover Stories for Whitney Houston, A Flock of Seagulls and The Go-Go’s

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (Iron Butterfly); Cover by Sina

1-2-3 – The Electric Indian

My Dearest Ruth – Patrice Michaels (from Notorious RBG in Song)

The niece Rebecca Jade will be singing at five Sheila E shows this month, in Michigan and the Northeast

How the Beatles unravelled: Hunter Davies, the band’s official biographer, recalls the tensions that led the Fab Four to split

The Top 60 Female Artists of All Time

F is for Forgiveness

Bud Welch, whose daughter died in the OKC bombing, developed a bond with Bill McVeigh, Tim’s father.

forgiveForgiveness is “the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.” Forgiveness is not always easy.

About a dozen years ago in Albany, NY, I witnessed an extraordinary event: four men touched by violence, coming out to speak against the death penalty. Bill Babbitt, seeing his mentally ill brother Manny, who he had turned in to the authorities, executed for murder; David Kaczynski, who turned in HIS brother Ted, the Unabomber; Gary Wright, who himself was almost killed by Ted Kaczynski; and Bud Welch.

They all had compelling stories, but Bud’s moved me the most. In April 1995, his “23-year-old daughter, Julie Marie, was killed in the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City along with 167 others… In 2001 Timothy McVeigh was executed for his part in the bombing.”

Bud Welch’s story shows up in that Jesus for President book I’ve been reading:

He said he went through a period of rage when he wanted Timothy McVeigh to die. But he remembered the words of his daughter, who had been an advocate for reconciliation against the death penalty. She used to say, “Execution teaches hatred.” It wasn’t long before Bud had decided to interrupt the circle of hatred and violence and arranged a visit with McVeigh’s family. Bud said he grew to love them dearly, and to this day says he “has never felt closer to God” than in that union.

He decided to travel around the country, speaking about reconciliation and against the death penalty, which teaches that some people are beyond redemption. And he pleaded for the life of Timothy McVeigh. As he worked through his anger and confusion, he began to see that the spiral of redemptive violence must stop with him. And he began to look into the eyes of Timothy McVeigh, the murderer, and see the image of God. He longed for him to experience love, grace, and forgiveness. Bud believes in the scandal of grace.

Read about how Bud developed a bond with Bill McVeigh, Tim’s father, HERE.

Bud’s narrative I also found on a page called The Forgiveness Project, which uses the process of restorative justice to try to heal both the victim and the perpetrator of wrongs.

Similarly, I came across Project Forgive, which was initially sparked by a different kind of tragedy, a man’s wife and two children being killed by a drunk driver.

The Mayo Clinic notes that forgiveness is good for your health. Forgiveness can lead to:
Healthier relationships
Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
Less anxiety, stress, and hostility
Lower blood pressure
Fewer symptoms of depression
Stronger immune system
Improved heart health
Higher self-esteem

But as I mentioned at the outset, forgiveness is not always easy…

abc 17 (1)
ABC Wednesday – Round 17

March Rambling: a quintillion or a trillion?

Fred Hembeck talks about a compilation of his Marvel work, House of Hem.

Pie-Chart-39
Delayed exoneration of a death row inmate, after 30 years.

9 Things Many Americans Just Don’t Grasp (Compared to the Rest of the World).

“The phone rang. It was my college rapist.”

What Happens When Mein Kampf’s Copyright Expires?

Building Equity: Race, Ethnicity, Class and Protected Bike Lanes.

Giving Homes to the Homeless is Cheaper Than Leaving them on the Street.

Man vs. Machine. A guy walks into a bar. He finds a video poker machine – run by the Oregon state lottery – which dealt him a strange hand.

Re: NCAA men’s basketball March Madness, the odds of a perfect bracket? It’s not 1 in 9.2 quintillion. Not incidentally, 10^18, or one followed by 18 zeroes is in the English system, one trillion. In any case, 9.2 quintillion is NOT 9.20000000000000000000, as NBC Nightly News showed earlier this month; THAT number is equal to a number smaller than 10.

Dustbury explained +/- (plus/minus) in basketball to me: “It’s based on the changing score during a player’s actual time: if, during a six-minute period in which he plays, if his team scores three points more than the opposition, he is +3. This of course varies greatly with substitutions, but electronic box scores update every minute or so.”

John Oliver won’t be your therapist: How he torpedoed the reassuring tropes of fake news.

Selma: the tragic anniversary of the death of Viola Liuzzo and Underground Railroad Project remembers the March.

Joseph Skulan on Wisconsin Mining Bill AB486 (2.17.12).

Major League Baseball’s Dirty Little Secret and Through the No-Looking Glass and Professional Ice Cream Taster.

25 maps that explain the English language.

Jaquandor: Writing Outside the Lines: on outlines. Plus the beer-drinking, 1970s sitcom DVD-watching Hank Speaks: How I Edit.

Dustbury hears voices; I’ve experienced this, too.

Gordon’s eight years in Chicago.

For all you lovers of the dance: here is an explanation of the influence of Africa on modern dance – if you have three hours to spare.

The Beatles or the Stones: Which Side Are You On? “If the Stones resented the Beatles’ cultural primacy, the Beatles resented the Stones’ unassailable coolness and sexual heat.” The Beatles themselves were like other men, but the music and lyrics channeled through them contained magic and messages from beyond the mind.

“Back when L.A.’s recording scene was a hit-minting machine that ruled the airwaves,” the Wrecking Crew worked up to four three-hour sessions a day. Here’s a review of a film about them.

Not only Diana Ross but also Mary Wilson turned 71 this month. 10 underrated Supremes songs.

SamuraiFrog ranks the Weird Al Yankovic songs: 165-151 and 150-136 and 135-126 and 125-116.

Art Spiegelman and jazz composer Phillip Johnston: “Wordless!”

Swamp Thing music.

The cover art on your favorite band’s album is awesome. It’s even better with cats. Must show the Daughter.

My friend Fred Hembeck is interviewed, and talks about a compilation of his Marvel work, House of Hem.

Irwin Hasen, R.I.P., the artist of the comic strip Dondi. Here’s the New York Times obit.

Trailers for 2015: The Best Animated Short nominees.

Muppets: Jim Henson Company and the ‘Into the Woods’ Movie that Could’ve Been and the message of “Rainbow Connection’ and Cookie Monster, Life Coach and Cookie Monster is making unboxing videos and Animal’s Whiplash.

How To Make The IDEAL Chocolate Chip Cookie: Add A Pinch of Science.

Getting more mayonnaise and toothpaste out of the container.

Dominoes and Etch-A-Sketch.

Srinivasa Ramanujan’s Magic Square.

Welcome to the Inauthentic Paper Detector. “Paste any text in the textbox. The chance that your submission is a human-written authentic scientific document will be output. Text over 50% chance will be classified as authentic.” Here’s the paper about it. Everything I write is inauthentic.

GOOGLE ALERT (me)

Chuck Miller: Welcome to the club, Roger Green!! Apparently, I have posted 1000 times on my Times Union blog. I had no idea. Also, Another win for the TU Community Bloggers.

My blog post re: the Barber Adagio was linked to EvilGeniusVic’s Capital Region.

Sharp Little Pencil: Outhouses and Holes We Dig, for Wisconsin governor Scott Walker.

Jaquandor’s Sentential Links (the Leonard Nimoy edition).

A Question of Murder

We have video games, which are as theoretically violent as the drones our government uses for real.

Chris Honeycutt, who interviewed me for the NYADP Journal, noted I wrote about Into the Abyss, about homicide and the death penalty, notes:

That’s the end I started from on the anti-death penalty work. I was more interested in crime and killers than just about anything else. Particularly their psychology: everybody covets. Everybody gets angry. Everybody has moments of blind rage. But some people are missing that fundamental “wall” in their mind that says “Don’t physically hurt someone.”

It’s lead me to other questions: if a man can hit someone out of rage, not in a sporting way or in a fight but just out of nowhere slug someone, is that on the continuum?

What about Matthew Perry, who apparently killed three people because he wanted a car? We’ve all wanted things; what drives someone to kill to take it?

On the other hand, Charles Manson at his trial brought up that in reality, he was no worse than the generals leading the war in Vietnam. He never raised a gun, just gave an order. Is the government that different when it says “Wow, I really want that oil…”?

I don’t have any answers to any of it and I’ve studied it quite a bit.

So I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts.

I hadn’t considered it until now, but, early on, most of the people I had heard of who was murdered, I had NO idea who the murderers were. Some you may have heard of: Emmett Till, the four girls in a Birmingham church, the three civil rights workers in Mississippi.

But others perhaps not: William Moore of Binghamton, NY, the namesake of the Congress of Racial Equality chapter in my hometown – William L. Moore chapter of CORE, to which my father belonged. And stuck in my mind, Viola Liuzzo, described as a “Detroit housewife”. I remember being specifically surprised by her death in 1965. I didn’t know the code in the segregated South would allow them to murder a white woman.

As for the murderers I did know about, I followed them with zeal. When excerpts of the Warren Commission Report, about the JFK assassination by Lee Harvey Oswald, came out in the local newspaper, I clipped the articles out and put them in a binder, which I may still have in the attic.

Generally, though, I was more interested in the mass murders. Charles Whitman, as I noted, really terrified me. I was also bewildered by Albert DeSalvo, the Boston Stranger, and by Richard Speck, killer of eight student nurses in Chicago. (Sidebar: the Simon & Garfunkel song, “Silent Night/7 O’Clock News” incorrectly notes nine dead student nurses; in fact, the ninth nurse hid under a bed and survived.)

After that, only certain cases really caught my attention: Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, and Timothy McVeigh, for three. I even watched the TV movie about Bundy, starring Mark Harmon. There just became too many of the mass murderers; the guy who killed his family while dressed as Santa Claus in the past year or two – couldn’t name him. The difference is that, in the early days, I could assume that these people were just pathological or crazy; now, they seem too frequent to write off so cavalierly.

So, in answer to your question, yes, I think anger and rage are on the continuum of violence. And it seems that there just is more rage out there, not just on the road and on the job, but at things such as kids’ sporting events. It’s tied to an odd sense of “fairness”; it’s not “fair” that my kid isn’t playing? It seems that the immediate gratification of computers and the like may have made us way too impatient when they take more than a few seconds, yet information a decade or two earlier would have taken several minutes or perhaps several hours to find.

Who would kill for a car or a pair of sneakers or because someone dropped a pass in a cricket match? Is it an odd sense of entitlement? Perhaps. There have always been pathological folks; In Cold Blood was written a half-century ago.

I do think war plays into it. We in the US have been fighting the “war on terror” for over a decade, with no end in sight. We have video games, which are as theoretically violent as the drones our government uses for real; I wonder if the lines get blurred for some. Of course, we have often seen the increased violence of those in the war zone – from William Calley at My Lai, VietNam to a soldier in Afghanistan ON HIS FOURTH TOUR OF DUTY killing civilian women and children in their sleep. The violence comes home; see the number of suicides, homicides and addictions in our returning vets. The ones giving the orders have a huge responsibility. That’s why I find chicken hawks, those who would offer up American soldiers for our next folly, when they’ve never served themselves, to be generally contemptible.

But “the state” also promulgates violence on the homefront with overreaction to protest that, we are constantly told, is what the folks abroad, ironically, are fighting to let us do. Of course, there has long been the state-sponsored terror of people, even their own nationals. Yet it’s always easier, it seems, to somehow make people “the other” by ethnicity or religion; you can’t underestimate the impact of the tribe.

So my short answer: I don’t really have any answers either.

No Time

post I wrote about murderabilia in this blog some time ago is scheduled to appear in the newsletter of the New Yorkers for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (NYADP) this spring,

I found that this past week or so, I’ve had no free writing time to post to this blog. Part of it was self-inflicted. I saw parts of four football games this past weekend, though I did record them all and fast-forwarded through a lot of them – GO, NEW YORK GIANTS! (The key to pulling that off without accidentally getting the scores is to avoid all media – standard, such as TV and radio, as well as social, such as e-mail and Twitter.)

I also saw two movies with my wife last weekend, including a Golden Globe winner, and read one book (THAT book, Jaquandor), none of which I’ve had time to review. I had an article due for my church’s newsletter. I am also the compiler of a sermon evaluation team, which is part of one of my pastor’s educational requirements.

So I got nothing. Well, you could read my current Flashmob Fridays post about Cleveland, a posthumous book by Harvey Pekar, or the previous posts about Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes or The Survivalist by Box Brown.

Or you can read about my takes on:
No more savings bonds of the paper variety
The Internet piracy bills SOPA and PIPA
Going bald
Why the Postal Service is REALLY going broke

Lefty Brown, who was one of the very first bloggers I followed even before I was writing myself, is blogging again, after a 5+ year hiatus. He’s been doing The Married Gamers with his wife Kelly – I am not a gamer – but now he’s back with his own musings. And he answers some of my questions. (Should be ‘believe,’ not ‘belief.’)

I should note that ABC Wednesday is starting up again (psst, at the letter A) and it’s not too late to join. Though, in fact, you don’t HAVE to start with A. (I started with K.)

Here’s something that’s interesting to me. A post I wrote about murderabilia in this blog some time ago is scheduled to appear in the newsletter of the New Yorkers for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (NYADP) this spring, augmented by an interview with me. And another piece about the death penalty may appear in a later issue.

(Had to post this picture, sent to me, as one of the best examples of constantly wrong spelling I have ever seen.)