The Littlest Big Winner and Then, Their Pants Exploded and The Sesame Seed Backlash of 2023 and America’s Secret, Tasty World War II Weapon? and Why Can’t Californians Buy This Snack?
The Supreme Court’s decision last summer that overturned the federal right to an abortion sent Rachel Sweet into overdrive focused on two states (Kansas, Kentucky) that share traditionally conservative values.
“With those [successful] campaigns behind her, Sweet has had time to reflect on the lessons learned from those hard-fought victories, including what many activists on her side of the issue misunderstand about voters who are persuadable on abortion rights.”
(The takeaway here is that one should not be so quick to pigeonhole people who could turn out to be your political allies on some issues.
People have been talking about Buffalo, the second-largest city in New York State, a lot recently. Part of it has to do with the deadly weather; folks there are used to snow but not that. Some of it surely with the near-death on national television of Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin, coincidentally, the first game I started watching from the beginning all season. There’s been a lot of “the city’s been through a lot this year,” going back to the shooting deaths of ten black folks at a supermarket in May 2022.
I’m not unhappy about it. It’s just that I hope we can show such concern for each other when there’s no crisis. I know this is an unrealistic ideal.
I’m happy that the church choir is singing in person again regularly. We did sing in late 2021, but it was sporadic; half the choir sang one week, then just the soloists, then the other half, then the soloists. It wasn’t easy to get a musical rhythm. We all did sing on Christmas Eve.
2. How energized I feel at this point in the year.
It’s cold, and it’s darker for longer. But it’s not awful.
3. The best things about the holiday season
Music. Singing it, listening to it. BTW, my bud fillyjonk linked to a great piece by the Monkees!
4. Something that changed my perspective on life
The whole year has been a series of Plan B moments.
5. What I seem to get the most comments about
Evidently, I am a very expressive singer. Even strangers have commented on it.
6. The changes I’ve made to my style
I have no style. Or, more correctly, I don’t care about style to be concerned enough to change it.
7. What gets in the way of my success
The fourth estate
8. News sources I trust the most
I look at LOTS of sources, even ones I don’t particularly trust. It helps inform me how people with different, even, IMO bizarre, thoughts about the world get their ideas.
9. Fictional characters that would easily fit into my life
I thought that certain iterations of Peter Parker, the seeming schlub who is unappreciated, would be a friend.
10. My relationship with spirituality
You’re almost certainly wrong if you think you’ve got it figured out. Mainline churches have liturgies that repeat every three years because one should be taking something new from the stories.
Of course, in my Bible group, we often comment that we’d like to see our pastors tackle some particularly odious passages. We’re in the middle of 2 Kings, some ferocious stuff.
11. How I feel when I’m being retrospective
Depends. Sometimes it is with great appreciation that I have good friends, some of whom I’ve known for half a century or longer. Other times it is with regret that I didn’t deal with someone better.
12. My thoughts on AI technology
I went to DeepAI and used the prompt, “The french revolution was good.” Here’s the result:
the french revolution was good, I wish I could have played," says the former striker. "You don't go into Spain believing you can go there and play there but I think maybe that was the case.
"The pressure is intense at training because you've got to do everything you can to be successful, because in Spain these days a lot of people do that work and do everything you can to get yourself in top form. So I don't know why we haven't worked hard for some time but definitely the feeling has changed for me.
"The pressure on you in training is intense. I have to go out there and play every minute of any game and try to stay mentally sharp. It's nice to be back at home and feel calm in training or off in the dressing room after all these years."
I find some AI art interesting, but other pieces are rather creepy.
This gets into a whole series of philosophical questions about intellectual property. Plus, what is… knowledge/art/writing/creativity?
13. The odd/weird things I do when nobody else is around
I don’t think it’s all that odd. I talk to myself, especially when I’m writing. It helps me think.
14. What do I do when I can’t sleep
Get up and play Wordle. Read newspapers.
15. The winter/holiday season tasks I enjoy
I like buying presents for people who are easy to buy for, such as my daughter. Conversely, my wife is terrible to shop for because she doesn’t hint well.
The Happier Now Sunday Stealing questions this week are all over the place.
What flavor Popsicle is the best?
I haven’t had Popsicles in years. But I remember that I favored grape, lime, cherry, and orange, in approximately that order.
Do you have a DVR feature with your cable?
Yes, and increasingly it’s the ONLY way I can watch television. It’s not only much faster – JEOPARDY! in 18 minutes – but I also get to avoid the plethora of advertisements for prescription drugs that are ubiquitous on American television. I’ve been told, and someone can correct me, that the ads are banned everywhere except in the US and New Zealand.
How many drawers does your dresser have?
Five. Or not nearly enough.
Is your closet a mess?
Actually, I have an armoire. After our daughter was born, the room with a large closet became her bedroom for a time. Now it’s my wife’s office. So no.
Have you ever solved a Rubik’s Cube?
No, but I haven’t tried in decades.
Describe your favorite pair of pajama pants:
They’re blue and have moose on them.
What color is your wallet?
The brown color of probably faux leather.
Do you find flea markets and thrift shops enjoyable?
Not really. The cost (of time)/benefit (the find) is too unbalanced. Sorry, Eddie.
Have you met amazing people online?
Yes. I could write a whole blog post on this topic. When I first started blogging in 2005, I followed my friend Fred Hembeck’s now-defunct but still extant blog. I met a slew of great folks there, including Lefty, Gordon, the aforementioned Eddie, and even Greg.
I discovered the late Dustbury, who died in 2019. So I know fillyjonk because I knew Charles Hill.
I stumbled upon Denise Nesbitt’s ABC Wednesday, which I participated in for about a decade. I met Leslie and many other fine folks.
The local newspaper, the Times Union, used to have a blog platform. I still follow folks such as Chuck Miller and J. Eric Smith, the latter of whom is no longer in the area.
Then there are people for whom I have NO idea how I “met” them, such as Arthur and Kelly.
This doesn’t count all of the people I’ve become reacquainted with, including Steve Bissette, Alan David Doane, and a bunch of folks on Facebook.
Between the lines
Would you be happy if I colored a picture for you?
Only if it’s better than I would draw for myself, which is almost certainly going to be true.
What show do you think ‘made’ the 90’s?
Law and Order, The Simpsons, Saturday Night Live, NYPD Blue… I think I’m supposed to say Seinfeld or Friends.
Are you happier now than you were last year?
Yes, because 2021 was too COVIDy. An odd observation, I suppose, since I actually GOT COVID in August 2022. But I’ve gone to a few movies, attended plays, eaten at a few restaurants, and participated in the church choir in 2022.
What are you currently drinking?
Not alcohol, and that’s about calories, not any other consideration. Arnold Palmer.
Do you trust people easily?
Not especially. I don’t DISTRUST people out of hand, but when they’ve betrayed me, I always remember. I can forgive, but I seldom forget.
What are you looking forward to in the next three months?
My daughter will be home from her first semester of college.
June 12, 2022, Pride Parade, Lark St between State and Lancaster Sts, Albany, NY. The car that was the basis of the First Presbyterian Church Albany float stalled out; this was the improvisation. Photo by Jay Zhang, first used by the [Albany] Times Union. Used with permission.
What I realized after this post by fillyjonk was that I haven’t spent nearly enough time playing with the stuffed animals. Note that these are MY animals, not my daughter’s. A couple of them technically are my wife’s that I bought for her.
The monkey with the mask is Oscar. He knows he was a replacement for my previous monkey, Ersie, who I lost in the divorce. He’s the most verbal of the creatures and does a great Ersie two-step. His name comes from the fact that my friend Uthaclena found him in a movie theater. I suppose I should get him an N-95 mask except that he really doesn’t get out much these days.
The large white bear in the back, somewhat obscured, is named Mr. Applause. I think it’s the brand of the bear. He’s very cuddly. My sister Leslie gave him to me in the 1990s.
The orange lion to the left is named Lenny, I suppose an obvious name for a lion. But he is really named for Leonard Bernstein, the composer and conductor who had wild and expressive hair. Sometimes he roars, but they are friendly sounds.
The tan bear to the right of Mr. Applause is Gunther. Gunther is so very engaging that my friend Dorothy actually borrowed him for a time.
My late brother-in-law John had bought my wife a flower arrangement with came with a bear who was named Genesis, or Genny. Genny got lost on a vacation. I tried to replace her. Both of the dark brown bears, the one behind Lenny and the one to the right were attempts to substitute for Genny. They weren’t quite the right size. But they’re still nice.
There are others that aren’t in the shot. Blanca is a white bear about the size of Jenny to the right. She knows limited Spanish and French. I think one of my former co-workers, Terry, gave her to me.
Twin bears, about the size of Nick, the Santa, are named Minnie and Paula. Minnie’s smile is more Mona Lisa while Paula’s is fuller. Named for two cities in Minnesota, where my late FIL’s favorite baseball team plays.
Stories exist for many of the other stuffed animals, but that’s enough of this. Otherwise, you might think I’m weird or something…
To provide the best experiences, we use technologies like cookies to store and/or access device information. Consenting to these technologies will allow us to process data such as browsing behavior or unique IDs on this site. Not consenting or withdrawing consent, may adversely affect certain features and functions.
The technical storage or access is strictly necessary for the legitimate purpose of enabling the use of a specific service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user, or for the sole purpose of carrying out the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network.
The technical storage or access is necessary for the legitimate purpose of storing preferences that are not requested by the subscriber or user.
The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for statistical purposes.The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for anonymous statistical purposes. Without a subpoena, voluntary compliance on the part of your Internet Service Provider, or additional records from a third party, information stored or retrieved for this purpose alone cannot usually be used to identify you.
The technical storage or access is required to create user profiles to send advertising, or to track the user on a website or across several websites for similar marketing purposes.