Random 2016 posts, a New Year’s tradition

Continuing my theological journey, and why 1977 sucked.

This is a thing I continue to do at the beginning of the year: pick a post for each month of the previous year, using a random number generator, which may not actually be random, but is sufficient for this exercise. See how well it reflected that year just passed, or did not. Pretty sure I got this from Gordon, who lives in Chicago, who remains the only non-local blogger I ever met.

I think I enjoy this a lot because it’s so…numerical. And random, or randomish.
The graphic is random. I went to Google, limited to .mil sites, and typed in the word random, and this was the first one to come out that didn’t seem to represent a random check of one’s belongings. This is, as you well know, “Final review and comparison of Figure 1 shows that overall the noise characteristic of the CWT TFR is similar to the synthetic white FM integrated to time …”

Yer random 2016 posts:

January: Z is for Ze (or zie)
In September 2015, “Harvard University made a buzz after allowing students to select gender-neutral options like ‘ze,’ ‘e,’ and ‘they’ on registration forms.
(An ABC Wednesday post; I often write about words and the language)

February: Winter 2015-2016
(The one thing I hate about the metric system is that one gets to below zero WAY too easily.)
(Landed on a parenthetical aside! A still true sentiment.)

March: March rambling #1: wipe out cancer in a decade
Kintsugi: The Art of Embracing Damage.
(It is inevitable that, with two dozen link posts during the year, I’d hit upon one!)

April: Haunted computers
My current Amazon Fire is operable so far, knock my forehead.
(STILL working, though there’s a mysterious crack on the screen.)

May: Not getting to Facebook
(Oh, and why, you may ask, are all the graphics below?)
(More proof that I’m technologically impaired.)

June:Polly ticks, again
I have been told to my face, “Racism will go away, if we would only stop talking about race!”
(Didn’t believe it then; sure don’t believe it now.)

July: George Takei
I vaguely remember that George Takei was politically active.
(This was in response to an Ask Roger Anything question.)

August: The First Ward of Binghamton
Though I spent 18 years there, none of the interior structure looks familiar, though the back yard does.
(A specific reference to the house I grew up in. Arthur helped me with the map, because, as established, I’m technologically impaired.)

September: The 21st century’s 100 greatest films, part 1
97. White Material (Claire Denis, 2009) -DK (don’t know)
(I am doing fewer lists these days than I used to. I don’t even see ones I WANT to do much anymore, though 1971 music MAY be on the horizon.)

October: Baptized again
I hadn’t gone out with ANYONE from mid-1975 through the end of 1977.
(Continuing my theological journey, and why 1977 sucked.)

November: November rambling #2: Book two of the trilogy
“Who thought we’d have to deal with this in our lifetimes?”
(Quoting the Weekly Sift guy, after the unfortunate election of Donald TRump.)

December: A Yuletide tradition: Ask Roger Anything
So I guess I’m NOT so pure of heart as to be happy writing a daily blog that no one reads.
(My quarterly entreat, in which I get as close to baring my soul online as I’m likely to do.)

August rambling #1: Jon Stewart, and Roz Chast

the root of all evil
Nuclear arsenals.

Thanks to Reliance on “Signature” Drone Strikes, US Military Doesn’t Know Who It’s Killing.

John Oliver: Subpar Sex Education in U.S. Schools. Plus: DC Statehood; stay for the song at the end.

Here are 7 things people who say they’re ‘fiscally conservative but socially liberal’ don’t understand.

Senator Elizabeth Warren to the GOP: This is 2015! Also, Jeb Bush’s Grandfather Was A Founding Member Of Today’s Planned Parenthood.

FactChecking the GOP Debate.

What If Everything You Knew About Disciplining Kids Was Wrong?

Children’s illustrator Mary Engelbreit is losing fans because of her anti-racist art. “There are no words to express how little I care if I lose every bigoted, racist, homophobic and/or sexist follower I have.”

Key & Peele: What if we were as crazy for teaching as we are for sports?

The Cop: Darren Wilson was not indicted for shooting Michael Brown. Many people question whether justice was done.

Is this true? 2015 is the year the old internet finally died.

Michael Moore talks about his new movie.

Dealing with Diversity: Awesome Kid Graphic Novels.

David Brickman reviews Roz Chast: Cartoon Memoirs at Norman Rockwell Museum.

Dan the Man writes about Her Eighth Triathlon. The Wife competes in what might be the last Pine Bush Triathlon, but she did not compete barefooted like some.
Jaquandor’s tools of the writing trade.

1000 Candles, 1000 Cranes by Small Potatoes.

Jon Stewart Started Small, Became Voice Of A Generation, and Exit, Stage Left. Also, from the last episode: Uncensored – Three Different Kinds of Bulls**t, and Our Moment of Zen.

Bob Crane, radio legend.

Cannabis discovered in tobacco pipes found in William Shakespeare’s garden

After Frank Gifford died last weekend, someone wrote, “Many happy memories sitting on the couch with my dad watching Gifford and the New York Giants on a Sunday afternoon.” True of my dad and me as well. Later, I watched him co-host Monday Night Football.

SamuraiFrog’s Weird Al rankings 20-16. I missed this: Weird Al gets Whiplashed.

From Bill Wyman, (correction) NOT the bassist for the Rolling Stones, All 74 Led Zeppelin Songs, Ranked From Worst to Best. And The ESQ&A: Keith Richards Explains Why Sgt. Pepper Was Rubbish.

One of the very first CDs I ever bought was Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits, but this commercial for Farxiga, a Type 2 diabetes medicine, is wrecking my enjoyment of the song Walk of Life.

An escalator for a Slinky.

Muppets: Sesame Street on HBO. Plus Harvey Kneeslapper and Jungle Boogie and Cookie Monster in “Jurassic Cookie.” 1974: Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog visit Johnny Carson’s show. The new Muppet TV show is a top pick for the fall, even though Kermit and Miss Piggy have split up. Not to mention a PBS special, An overview of the highlights of Muppet creator Jim Henson’s life and career, which premieres Tuesday, September 15, 2015 at 8 p.m. ET. Check local listings.

K-Chuck Radio: Tony Burrows versus Joey Levine versus Ron Dante.

Dancing with the Renaissance Geek.

Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck are being chased by Elmer Fudd and escape into paintings in a museum, from the 2003 movie Looney Tunes Back in Action.


Arthur answers my questions about seeings things from the other side of the political and philosophical spectrum.

The near-twin is taking questions for Ask Gordon Anything through August 24.

I made Jacquandor’s brief trip ’round Blogistan, along with some other interesting pieces.

Dustbury notes The bigot on the front line.

Last Week at Trouble With Comics, plus this week’s edition.

Dustbury: Our fits grow ever hissier.

June rambling #1: procrastination, and tessellation

The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson: America’s Mozart?

waltz in
When You Kill Ten Million Africans and You Aren’t Called ‘Hitler’ – King Leopold II of Belgium, who “owned” the Congo.

The Dannemora Dilemma. “‘Little Siberia’ turned out to be the prison’s nickname.”

The Weekly Sift addresses the Duggars’ brand of fundamentalist Christianity and other stuff. Plus What’s So Scary About Caitlyn Jenner?

The 2016 U.S. Presidential Race: A Cheat Sheet and The Crystal Ball‘s 2016 Electoral College ratings. I have NO idea who the Republican candidate for President will be.

If it’s not Jeb Bush, and I have my serious doubts that it will be, then one of those people from the “he/she can’t win” category could possibly emerge.

ADD on blaming the victims of today’s disastrous economy for trying to survive it.

What Poverty Does to the Young Brain.

Disunion, The Final Q&A: The New York Times’s series on the Civil War.

Franklin Graham Calls for Christian Boycott — Here Are Some Ideas for Targets.

Rachel Dolezal and minstrelsy.

David Kalish: The Fine Art of Procrastination.


Drawing the Undrawable: An Explanation from Neil and Amanda Gaiman, re: The New Statesman and Art Spiegelman.

Microsoft’s Windows 10 will be available on July 29. This SHOULD mean you can update from Windows 7, and I can get rid of the dreadful Windows 8.

How to create strong passwords.

Why Pluto Is a Planet, and Eris Is, Too.

Now I Know: The Lights That Almost Led to World War III and America’s Most Wanted Coincidence and Why are there so few $2 bills?

Gouverneur is a small town of about 6,000 located in St. Lawrence County, NY. But how do you PRONOUNCE it? In English and in French.

Berowne: George Gordon. Better known as Lord Byron.

Never-before-seen film of the legendary aviator Amelia Earhart — from her last photo shoot ever, shortly before she disappeared over the Pacific Ocean in 1937.

The origin of that Orange Church of God sign I see on Facebook all the time. Speaking of which: 6 Facebook Statuses That Need To Stop Right Now.

Mark Evanier’s childhood Christmas chicanery.

The app that identifies plants from a picture. Seriously, I could use this.

What is a tessellation? Math, and design.

A marbles tsunami.

True: Why are the Tony Awards so afraid of the Tony Awards?

Sex Pistols credit card.

The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson: America’s Mozart?

James Taylor’s creativity flows anew.

The Mary Lou Williams Suite, the jazz pianist and arranger. Includes the Land of Oo-Bla-Dee.

SamuraiFrog ranks Weird Al: 60-51. He also brought to mind that the birthday of Todd Rundgren is coming up, which reminded me of a 1985 album I own on vinyl that I haven’t heard in a good while. LISTEN to A Cappella, or at least the last song, a cover of the Spinners’ Mighty Love.

Bert Jansch’s Blackwaterside, first recorded in 1966. Which sounds an awful lot like Jimmy Page’s instrumental Black Mountain Side, from Led Zeppelin’s 1969 debut.

DJ Otzi – Burger Dance, “based on the premise that the single aspect of American culture most readily recognizable in the rest of the world is fast food.”

This list is rubbish, but hey, it has links to Beatles songs. The most skippable Beatles cuts, from “All You Need Is Love” to “Yellow Submarine”.

Muppets: Puppetman and Kermit the Frog and Grover on The Ed Sullivan Show and Grover is Special and the 1962 pilot Tales of the Tinkerdee and some other stuff.

Legendary Special-Effects Artist Rick Baker on How CGI Killed His Industry.

Actor Christopher Lee, Dracula and Nazi hunter, dies at 93. From The Guardian and BFI and the Hollywood Reporter and Bruce Hallenbeck in Diabolique and Mr. Frog and Gordon at Blog This, Pal.

Ornette Coleman, Jazz Innovator, Dies at 85.

Dustbury notes the passing of Monica Lewis, a voice, at least, you’ve heard, if you are of a certain age.


Roger and Carmen Green of Baraboo, Wisconsin celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

UK: An illustrated guided walk tracing the route of the Nickey Line is being led by railway enthusiast Roger Green on Saturday, June 27.

The professional challenges of being a librarian

EVERYTHING I have read suggests that books, paper books are generally preferable.

Librarian_black_grandeNear-twin Gordon, whose birthday is the day before mine, only a few decades later, says:

OK, here’s a question:
Working in the librarian/information field, what do you see are your key professional challenges?

On March 14, 2015, I attended this workshop primarily of the board of the Albany Public Library. I was invited as the president of the Friends of the APL. One of the issues was that very subject.

One of the challenges is that some people associate the library with only books, not realizing that libraries do so much more than lend tomes. Almost every librarian I know have asked whether the library will be defunct in X number of years, AND that, because of Google, there will be no need for librarians.

Frankly, it used to irritate me, but now I laugh, LAUGH, I do. Because one of my primary responses is that a lot of the things found on Google is, to put it mildly, CRAP. Part of our job is not to find the first answer that shows up on an online search but to discern what is the USEFUL and USABLE information.

Statistics show that about 90% of all people in the US are in support of libraries, conceptually, but most people don’t quite know what they DO. This is both a challenge and an opportunity.

The Albany Public Library, specifically, engages in online database use, has developed local history expertise, lends eBooks and audiobooks, has a 3D printer and other skill tools.

The library is often the only free Internet some folks have, which people use to look for and apply for jobs. There’s this myth that young people magically understand the newer technology, but that’s only true if they have ACCESS to it. Lots of kids use the computer rooms at APL, and undoubtedly, most libraries.

For me, as a business librarian, the wonder that is the Internet means two specific challenges.

1) People see information out there that comes from some expensive research consortium and want that research.
2) People see information out there that is bogus and want us to verify it, or find out more about it.

Information has gotten expensive. We have access to some databases, and that helps our counselors assist their clients. One of the great advantages of using some resources, whether they be free or fee, is that you understand the nuances of what’s available.

I use freely available Census data a lot because most people can’t figure out how to use it. Heck, sometimes, I need help from people with greater expertise.

One of the things that is true of the vast majority of librarians is that they display collegiality by nature, rather than competitiveness. I noticed that even back at library school in the 1990s, a refreshing change from my failed attempt at getting a Master’s in Public Administration a decade earlier.

Fillyjonk reflects:

Riffing on Gordon’s question: What do you see as the future of libraries?

I think the answer depends on how well the supports for libraries tell the story. If they allow the narrative to be “libraries were useful once upon a time, but they’re so 20th century,” and this is not challenged, then libraries will suffer.

The New York State Library took some massive cuts in years past, which meant a reduction in public hours, and a slashing of staff. I knew people who worked there. Librarians, by their very nature, want to find the answer, but if you limit their ability to do so, it is very discouraging. I think the NYSL took a hit that it’s only starting to recover from.

Libraries nationally have suffered. The number of library workers is clearly down. Friends’ groups and others have to advocate for libraries, ESPECIALLY when politicians act inanely.

I participated in my very first Library Advocacy Day at the state legislature in February 2015. Staff can share their own narrative, but taxpayers think that they are just worried about their own jobs. USERS who tell the tale are much more powerful ambassadors for libraries.

What do you think about the college (can’t remember if it was a 2-year or 4-year) that decided to go 100% digital with its library?

I assume you are referring to this San Antonio library, which came up in our meeting. It’s a branch of a larger library/ Per public demand, it’s needed to be at least a drop-off and pickup point for actual books.

Follow up question: are those of us who prefer paper books going to be like dragons with hoards of inky treasure?

EVERYTHING I have read suggests that books, paper books are generally preferable. Better absorption of the information, less interference with sleep patterns, reduces stress.

This is not to say that books WILL win out. There are plenty of examples where the lesser technology (VCR over Betamax, e.g.) won out. But I have hope. Children, in particular, need books, which require the tactile adventure that electronics simply cannot provide.

Pictured T-shirt is available HERE.

Christmas 2011

The Bells of Christmas may be my favorite recording of a Christmas song ever.

Merry Christmas! It’s a Sunday morning and I’ll be going to church, but our choir is not singing; we sang on Christmas Eve, but not Christmas Day, which is fine by me. Besides, Santa is probably tired from putting presents under the tree.

Somebody I once met was born on Christmas Day 1924, and that’s the late Rod Serling. My blogger buddy Gordon has been trying to institute his and Humphrey Bogart’s birthdays (b. 1899) as alternative holidays for “those who may be atheists, agnostics, or just plain tired of the usual thing.” Don’t know how that’s working out.

Speaking of Serling, I reviewed his bio back in October, and I was thrilled to find that the book’s author, Joel Engel, commented on my post! Check it out.

And as for that OTHER holiday today, here’s The Bells of Christmas and Joy to the World, both sung by Julie Andrews. The former may be my favorite recording of a Christmas song ever; the latter recording pops as though it’s from that original Firestone tire LP that I owned as a kid, and in fact still own.

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