October rambling: doing an impression

old blogger, newish home

blue-whale
From https://wronghands1.com/2021/09/21/blue-whale/

The ivory-billed woodpecker, 22 other species extinct.

Pandora Papers:  The largest investigation in journalism history exposes a shadow financial system that benefits the world’s most rich and powerful.

How decades of security blunders led to the formation of the TSA and forever changed the way we fly.

Texas’ Sweeping Abortion Ban Gives New Meaning to Oft-Misused Handmaid’s Tale Comparisons.

The Big Lie Refuses to Die.

Your gas stove, your health, and climate change.

The American West is running out of water—and Big Oil, of all things, can help fix it.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:  PFAS and  Voting Rights.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuf1m1VGu8Y Call Your Senator to Support the Equality Act

I saw the stories about the Facebook outage but kept reading it as the  Facebook outrage.  How Facebook’s Response To Whistleblower Could Make Their Crisis Worse. Incidentally, when Facebook was down, I went to Is It Down Right Now but it TOO was down. I ended up using Down For Everyone or Just Me and Is Your Website Down Down Right Now?

Why Is the U.S. Housing Market So Out of Whack?

Garbage odyssey: San Francisco’s bizarre, costly quest for the perfect trash can.

Inventions That Changed the World

Ted Koppel pays a visit to Mayberry (Mt. Airy, NC)

You’ve just been ‘ghosted’ after a job interview. Here’s how you should respond.

New York Public Library is ending fines on overdue materials forever. Albany Public Library did that a couple of years back.

Butt-dialing 911 is a challenge for police dispatchers

Why Seinfeld is the Worst Sitcom of All Time

The Peace of Wild Things – Wendell Berry (born 1934)

The medical ward

Pandemics are beaten by communities, not individuals. This describes my risk/reward calculations pretty well. 

How Jared And Ivanka Botched Trump’s Pandemic Response.

Combating Anti-Vaxxers and Vaccine Hesitation.

Why Mandates Make Us Feel Threatened.

Albany Med prize winners: Coronavirus vaccine was years in the making.

Cognitive Bias Is Influencing Forensic Pathology Decisions

I had gone to the dentist this month to get a tooth uncapped because a cavity developed. It is one of those things that might have been prevented but for COVID. Anyway, they said, “We’re going to do an impression.” I knew what they meant, but my mind wandered to Rich Little doing John Wayne or Richard Nixon.

More Empathy Means Better Care, Less Medical Liability.

A Gene-Editing Experiment Let These Patients With Vision Loss See Color  Again.

People with vitiligo debate whether to treat or embrace their condition

Race in America

Calls to Ban Books by Black Authors Are Increasing Amid Critical Race Theory Debates

Origin and Meaning of Critical Race Theory.

How Do We Dismantle Structural Racism in Medicine?

Manhattan Street Names Tied to Slavery Listed from A to Z.

Meet The First 2 Black Women To Be Inducted Into The National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Bruice’s Beach in California can return to descendants of a Black family in a landmark move.

Byzantium Shores, no. ForgottenStars, si!

I’ve been following Jaquandor at Byzantium Shores for well over a decade. He’s another upstater from the other end of the Erie Canal.  His birthday is 45 years to the day after my late father’s.

He started blogging in 2002, over three years before I did. Eventually, he’s let the pseudonym go. Now Kelly Sedinger is blogging at ForgottenStars.net, where he promotes his books, two of which I have. He knows a ton about classical music, many of which I have linked to.  I don’t quite get the pie in the face thing, but that’s OK.

Now I Know

dog portrat The Problem with Space Pirates

Why the Ace of Spades is So Darn Big

 The Worst Way to Get People to Watch a Movie?

Why Teams Wear Gray When Not At Home

How South Korea Massages Its Workforce

The Road Where Seat Belts are Banned

The Oldest PhD.

MUSIC

You’re Not Alone album by Roy Buchanan.

Feeling Good – Nina Simone.

Eine Alpensinfonie by Richard Strauss.

Coverville 1374: Cover Stories for John Mellencamp, Bob Geldof, and Chrissie Hynde.

The First Moonwalk? Bill Bailey tapping to an instrumental version of the Larks’ hit “The World is Waiting for Sunrise” performed by the Paul Williams Quartet

Autumn Leaves  – Ebene Quartet.

Stuck in the Middle with You -MonaLisa Twins

Capriccio Italien by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Robert Russell Bennett’s Selections from Camelot. (Lerner and Loewe)

I Am Waiting – Ollabelle, a cover of The Rolling Stones song

The Final Act. 60 Minutes story on Tony Bennett.

Dave Koz and Friends Christmas Tour 2021 will be on the road, maybe in a town near you, between Nov 26 and Dec 23 with Richard Elliot, Rick Braun, Jonathan Butler, and… Rebecca Jade!

Technical difficulties: Facebook v. my blog

One can go to the blog directly

facebookSometimes, it’s difficult to write a blog post. I’ve experienced that acutely this summer. Arthur noted his blogging weltschmerz recently.

But then there are those technical difficulties, particularly the ones I don’t understand, that are truly maddening. I’ve been getting reports that when people go to the link that I post on Facebook every day since July 31, some people are getting untoward messages. Some are denied access by something that tells them that they’re the nth customer and a prize winner.

A friend noted that the link started to go to my site then appeared to be redirected to somewhere else, then a message came up that the page was blocked as malware. And it doesn’t seem to matter whether they are on laptops or iPhones.

At times, the first time someone clicks on the link to the blog from Facebook, they get the warning from Norton. If they go back immediately and try again, no warning. Is it Norton being hypersensitive?

What ARE my passwords now?

As I’ve noted, the last time my Norton was renewed, every HTTP site I went to was “dangerous.” But that soon passed. In any case, I have an HTTPS site, which is presumably more secure. I’ve changed my password on Facebook and on my blog. It did not help.

One of my cousins ran the FB link through something called Virustotal. The direct link to that blog page came back clean. I’ve followed the FB link in a couple of browsers and saw no problems at all. I even used another scanning system; all clear.

So it seems that the problem is not with my blog. It’s with Facebook doing SOMETHING to my blog post links. I considered deleting my Facebook and starting all over. (I need to cull the list anyway.) But I’ve decided not to do this yet, in part because I’m not sure it would work.

Any suggestions are welcome, preferably something that won’t add to the hours I spent so far trying to fix it.

By request, a Facebook meme

Chuck Taylor

bulldogBy request, one of those Facebook memes about high school. “Think about your SENIOR year in High School…if you can remember that long ago!! The longer ago it was, the more fun the answers will be! It only takes 5 minutes, do it!!!” Or don’t. I’m not all that invested.

Incidentally, one of my friends suggested that people ought not to participate in such memes. Nefarious folks might use your information to figure out your password. I think this is a legitimate concern. So for all you bad actors out there: the password for everything I use is Binghamton37. So now you don’t have to look for it. You’re welcome.

1. Did you know your current love? Well, no.
2. Type of car? No idea. I don’t even know what my parents were driving at the time. I have no automotive memory.
3. What kind of job did you have? At some point, I was a page at the local library for seven months.
4. Where did you live? Binghamton, NY, the Parlor City.
5. Were you popular? I suppose so. I was elected president of the student government. But I was never a class notable. I was popular enough among the antiwar crowd, and the music/theater people, I guess.

Thomas J. Clune, choir director

6. Were you in choir or band? Choir and male glee club! I loved glee club. And there are choir songs I can still recall.
7. Ever get suspended? Not exactly. It was more of a severe dressing down.
8. If you could, would you go back? Oh, God, no.
9. Still talk to the person that you went to prom with? Yes, at least once a year.
10. Did you skip school? Not unless it was to go to an antiwar demonstration.

prom

11. Go to all the football games? Some of the home games.
12. Favorite subject? History. It had been math before that year. Intro to Calculus confounded me.
13. Do you still have your yearbook? Yes, though I never got a senior picture.
14. Did you follow your career path? I thought I’d be a lawyer, so no.
15. Do you still have your high school ring? Never bought one.

16. Who was your favorite teacher? Helen Foley, public speaking and theater maven, and mentor to Rod Serling.
17. What was your favorite style? Nerd, before it was cool.
18. Favorite Shoes? Chuck Taylors. Don’t know that I could wear them to school, though.
19. Favorite food? Lasagna.
20. Favorite band? By the time I graduated, the Beatles had broken up and Diana Ross had left the Supremes. Maybe The Rascals?

21. High school hairstyle? I never could do a ‘fro.
22. What favorite perfume? n/a
23. How old when you graduated? I was 17, going on 18.
24. Who do you think will play along and fill this out? I don’t even ask.
25. What high school did you attend? Binghamton Central, which hasn’t existed as an entity since 1982.

 

Things we learned from djt

Our democracy is fragile

On Facebook last week, I made a request. What are things we learned from djt and his last four or five years in public life?

One couple has downloaded the Constitution, referring to it often for the past 4 years. Another has learned more about the document, “in particular the 12th amendment. But also the 13th and the 25th.”

Of course, I knew about the Electoral College, but prior to the 2020 presidential election, I’d thought of the post-Election Day aspects of it as often as I’ve considered gravity. The recent machinations on December 14 and January 6 are like the wedding guests storming the officiant’s office demanding to see the couple’s license.

A friend chimed in: “The legal meanings of the word treason and what distinguishes it from sedition; and the federal statutes regarding both. How martial law works.

Also, “the structure of the United States District Courts; how and the meaning of SALT (in addition to Strategic Arms Limitation Talks).” Are you referring to that Angelina Jolie movie?

My buddy Steve noted: “The difference between simple corruption and an actual impeachable offense.” I thought when he was impeached they should have gone after him over the emoluments clause.

A friend suggests “There are innumerable norms that have provided guidelines for presidential behavior.” That’s irrefutably true. Will the other members accept djt into the former prez club? Doubtful. It got me thinking of the fact that I can’t remember half the people in his Cabinet.

Who knew the Hatch Act was so ineffectual on the highest-ranking folks? Who has violated it? Ivanka Trump, repeatedly. Kellyanne Conway, ditto.  And others.

You folks have done well

A parent noted “The names of dictators around the world, as well as names of responsible world leaders.” Yow, me too, and I hadn’t thought about it. Their child wants to know whether “there is any better leadership anywhere in the world, especially related to COVID and climate change.”

“Inherently good people can become mean and vindictive when pushed to their limits. Let’s hope that’s just a temporary condition and they can heal.” Unfortunately, the “good” and “temporary” nature I’m just not feeling.

The January 6 insurrection one can trace to a time before djt. In the last four years, it runs from Charlottesville (2017) to the planned kidnapping of the Michigan governor (2020) and beyond.

Some other responses:
Our democracy is fragile
The danger executive orders pose for human/civil rights. Methods a political party uses to suppress the vote of American citizens.
The “loving thy neighbor” commandment is frustrating and confusing. I knew that already but nothing brought it home as these four years have.

What “deplorables” can accomplish when they work together and by extension what any group can accomplish when they work together.
Some people are happily embracing their prejudices, and that empathy is a quality to be embraced.
Misogyny is our biggest problem. The majority of folks would rather have a racist president than a woman President.
There are more bigots and haters than I could ever imagine. And it makes me sick

Our culture is suicidal.
There are no checks and balances in our government.
The process of the transition of the president on inauguration day.
How is it that nearly one-half of the country could support after living through 4 years of narcissism, bigotry, and daily lying?

[“I learned…”] Not everyone who lives in America loves America and respects the Constitution. The symptoms of malignant narcissism. How easily we could go from a democracy to an autocracy. That I could really hate someone with every fiber of my being.

His accomplishments

Someone I do not know says, “Anyone saying Trump didn’t do a good job as President is full of Fake News BS…Pelosi is promoting sedition and Treason…this Congress is a Malcontent Group of vindictive people…Hillary Lost…period…now listening to PBS. I’m beginning to think the Durham Durham investigations have found out WASHINGTON is Corruption…and the best way to avoid exposure is for the Corruption to Cheat and Lie. Shame on Congress…”

If you’ve read my blog over the past quadrennial, you’ll note that I have a different POV. I will give him credit for two things, though. The First Steps Act. “The act was… an effort to improve criminal justice outcomes, as well as to reduce the size of the federal prison population…”

The other is to pour money into getting a COVID vaccine. Unfortunately, he totally undercut that effort by denying the pandemic’s seriousness, contradicting CDC guidelines on mask-wearing, failing to provide any federal coordination for PPE acquisition, and holding superspreader events, among other failures.

The big lie

Unfortunately, lies can trump the truth.

There was a bit of dialogue:
“I have learned is how effective ‘The Big Lie’ technique can be.”
“A man said the bigger the lie, the more people believe it because a big lie has the quality of being unbelievable, therefore people don’t believe that someone would make it up. So they believe it’s true.”
“If everyone believes it then it must be true. I have been debating the election fraud story with believers of it. I have shown and proved how everything they believe is not factual but even then, they won’t admit to the lie or acknowledge even a part of the truth.”

And in fact, part of that quote is attributed to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels. It probably wasn’t him, though he is cited on millions of webpages.

Conversely, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” That’s a quote by Maya Angelou

Back in August of 2020, he said, “The only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged.”‘ He was announcing his strategy for undermining the election, attacking the postal service, et al. That was the birth of the series of baseless post-vote challenges.

In the midst of a 2020 election debated, he made a statement to the Proud Boys. “Stand back and stand by.” That dog whistle was blown just a few months later. Afterward, he tells the insurrectionists, “We love you. You’re very special. Go home.” How sweet.

Facebook: “I don’t see color!”

#ProdigalSonsMatter

all lives matterThough I was not looking for it, I came across messages of people trying to explain white privilege and why All Lives Matter sucks. One thread started with a friend of mine, a woman of color, reporting about a conversation she had.

My friend: “I don’t see color when I look at you, I don’t see color when I look at anyone.” An actual quote from someone I was speaking to yesterday. But I’ve heard this my entire life. As has every person of color. If you’re guilty of saying this to us – stop it.

Color is a part of an individual. Saying you don’t see it is to deny the beauty in which we are all made. Also – claiming to not see color serves as a justification for the stance that people of color aren’t mistreated. And further allows for the normalization of inequality. See where this is going?

Be educated about the experiences of people of color. Ask questions. See color. Embrace it. It’s beautiful.

Me: OMG, all my damn life. I’ve never done it, but I’ve been sorely tempted to walk up to a white person and say, “I don’t see color when I look at you.” And it’s almost always well-meaning people.

A friend of hers: Your friend is far from woke. But I also have heard people say it as a way to spiritually bypass racism. Including the statement, we are one… I don’t see color… the list goes on and on.

“Be color brave”

Another friend of hers: Growing up I was taught in school, society and my parents NOT to see color. To treat everyone equally. I don’t think it was malicious but what people thought was best at the time. Now being a teacher in the DOE they have made the conscious effort to train staff to SEE color, appreciate the difference and struggles that come with it. They say “be color brave, not color blind”. It will take time to ‘retrain’ but to me, it’s a start.

Some of the links that were shared included these:

How White Parents Can Talk To Their Kids About Race

Jimmy Kimmel Addresses His Own White Privilege: “To me, white privilege was what Donald Trump had – a wealthy father and a silver spoon in his mouth. It wasn’t what I grew up with. So, I rejected it because I didn’t understand what white privilege meant. But I think I do now. I think I at least understand some of it and here’s what I think it is. People who are white – we don’t have to deal with negative assumptions being made about us – based on the color of our skin. It rarely happens. If ever. Whereas black people experience that every day.”

In another conversation:

Imagine your house was on fire and when the fire truck came they began spraying water on each house on your street. Because all houses matter, right? But only one of them is on fire.

Scripture

Or the Jesus variation about having 100 sheep, one is lost, so he leaves the 99 to find it. Doesn’t he care about the 99? Of course, he does.

One of my pastors subsequently posted another great Biblical one:
The father was waiting there with a sign #ProdigalSonsMatter
When the older son saw it, he was angry, wouldn’t attend the party, and moped around with his own sign: #AllSonsMatter
Father: “Dude, It isn’t about you right now.”

Yet despite the efforts of a couple women, one guy kept insisting “ALL lives matter to me as a Christian.”

Shared links:

Not seeing race does little to dismantle racist structures or improve the lives of people of colour. In order to do so, we must see race. We must see who benefits from their race, who is affected by negative stereotyping of theirs, and on whom power and privilege is bestowed – not just because of their race, but also their class and gender. Seeing race is essential to changing the system.

Streaming Shows That Will Help You Examine White Privilege

James Corden: It’s Time for Change in the US. “How can the black community dismantle a problem that they didn’t create?”