June rambling #1: Seven and Seven Is

Once I could have told you ALL the guys with 500+ homers.

Geez, I forgot to mention that I got together with some former JEOPARDY! contestants on the first Friday in May at a bar in Albany. I remember that because I had to rush from the First Friday event at my church. Anyway, nice people. Yes, and smart.

Mark Evanier writes about being The Advocate — “the functional person who handles everything for the sick person. I had to watch over their needs, get them whatever they required, intervene with the hospital and caregivers when necessary and run the aspects of their lives they could no longer handle, including personal finances. In simpler terms, I had to just be there for them.” Maybe I got a little teary.

I was going to write why I think the US pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement won’t be that bad, since mayors and governors and industry will step up. But with The Weekly Sift guy explaining The Paris Agreement is like my church’s pledge drive, plus what John Oliver said (or here), and what Hank Green said and what Ben & Jerry wrote and what Arthur wrote, I’m not feeling compelled.

Covfefe department: Do trademarks present an ethical violation? These probably do. Plus the swamp and failed Twitter intervention and the corrosive privilege of the most mocked man in the world.

Chuck Miller, my former Times Union blogger buddy – we’re still buds, but he’s not with the TU blogs anymore, explained in these pages in early April. Anyway, he is doing a new thing, and I am mentioned. The only problem is that he didn’t link to a certain song, so I did, below.

Chuck also writes about Teri Conroy, who also used to be in the TU blog farm. I’ve met her and she really IS a saint.

Su-sieee! Mac, one our ABC Wednesday participants: “Am I allowed to say I’m a cancer survivor when I didn’t know I had cancer?”

My local library branch (Pine Hills in Albany) gets a new art installation every few months. Among the artists this go round is Peach Tao, whose dinosaur woodcuts are really cool. I went to the opening on June 2. The art will be there until October 28.

Jaquandor has been doing his Bad Joke Friday for a while. Some are quite terrible. So naturally, sometimes I encourage him.

Albert Pujols became the ninth hitter in Major League Baseball to hit 600 or more home runs. Once I could have told you ALL the guys with 500+ homers, which used to be a lock for the Baseball Hall of Fame*. But as a result of the era of performance-enhancing drugs, Bonds and Sosa, for two, have not yet made it.
1 Barry Bonds 762
2 Hank Aaron * 755
3 Babe Ruth * 714
4 Alex Rodriguez 696
5 Willie Mays * 660
6 Ken Griffey, Jr.* 630
7 Jim Thome 612
8 Sammy Sosa 609

What Does Wonder Woman Actually Represent? and Revisiting the story that redefined her. Reckon Eddie and I need to see this movie.

The first shopping cart was introduced in OKC 80 years ago this week.

MUSIC

Dustbury expands on my reference to Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.

Liverpool Plays Pepper (link good only in June 2017) and When I’m Sixty-Four – MonaLisa Twins and Sgt. Pepper at 50.

Hey, Animaniacs, shouldn’t it be 50 state capitals, plus the federal one?

K-Chuck Radio: The Adjustments of Popular Songs.

Seven and Seven Is – Love. (CM)

How Gregg Allman and Cher stunned Canisius High ‘assembly’ in 1976.

Be more Jonathan Swiftian, or not

I was surprised that some folks did not know what covfefe was.

When my bud Amy Biancolli called out Kathy Griffin for the severed head thing, she noted:

“I know my Jonathan Swift well enough to understand the creative and moral imperatives of political satire: To call out the horrors of a failed system with blackened, ridiculous overstatement. Swift challenged heartless British policies toward the starving with a ‘modest proposal’ to sell and cook Irish babies ‘in a fricassee, or a ragout’ — a ghastly piece of irony that he knew enough to publish anonymously.

“But the ghastliness was born of compassion. It didn’t target ACTUAL BABIES; it took aim instead at the ruthlessness of the system. Had Griffin taken a more Swiftian tack on Trump, his head would have stuck to his body and polished off a large plate of authentic-Mexican food.”

Interestingly, when David Larson, like Amy, working for a Hearst newspaper, proposed, with a nod to the great 18th century Irish satirist, “that San Francisco’s housing crisis be solved by dumping the elderly on the streets and letting nature take its course,” it received more than its fair share of backlash.

For the record, I found Griffin’s artistic statement, among other things, too unsubtle and strategically problematic. “See what kind of people you have on the left?!” Though it’s true that I’ve long ceased to think of Orangeism as a left-right, or even Republican-Democratic schism. It’s a whole different animal.

Swiftian satire is often difficult to pull off. Still, we do NEED some sort of humor. If someone “discovers” the meaning of the word ‘Covfefe’ in the Samoan language, this is not a “distraction” from the US withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement -my, that address was incredibly deceptive – or the bogus health care bill or the Russian involvement in our government. It is, rather, a coping mechanism.

(I was surprised that some folks did not know what covfefe was; Chuck Miller explains it.)

These continue to be a difficult time for some of us. I find joking with the folks at the CVS or to a nodding acquaintance on the street makes all of it just a little mote tolerable.

Random notes from Facebook

obama-cryWhen another person and I, separately, posted on Facebook from The New Yorker, The News Reshuffled what was clearly a piece of satire, Emotional Obama Tearfully Thanks Trump for Granting Him Citizenship, a few people thought it was unfunny. One, on my feed, said it was a “lie” that I was sharing FOX News garbage, and that the New Yorker is a terrible magazine.

Trying to explain that it was meant as humor did not help. However, when I posted, from the same source, that Obama had paid Mexico $5 million to keep Trump, now THAT was considered funny.
***
I believe:

One should NEVER say, “See what I did there?” As The Daughter rightly notes, it lessens the joke. Let others notice.

A: After releasing his health records to Dr. Oz, Donald Trump is now said to be considering allowing only Tex Baxter and Lois Lane to cover him. Peter Parker, Jimmy Olsen, and “Animal” will form the press photo pool.
B: What about Clark Kent?
A: Too much of a liberal do-gooder. “Truth and justice.” So corrupt!
Me: And Clark would see right through him.
C: I see what you did there! 😀
***
I posted this video on Facebook, Are Cracker, White Trash, & Redneck Racist? from Decoded on MTV News, which led to a very long conversation about white privilege, which Francesca Ramsey mentioned only in passing. Conversations about white privilege are ALWAYS lengthy.

I appreciated input from Michael Rivest and others on this, but I shan’t relitigate it here.

It’s a good thing I didn’t post the White Fragility Workplace Training.
***
Keith Olbermann took on DJT in GQ, which Arthur linked to. In a Facebook discussion, someone wrote of Olbermann: “He is a paid character assassin. He’s rehashing the same accusations made against Trump. since the beginning of his campaign.”

To which someone else noted: “I will refrain from insulting you personally. But as Roger [me] said, you only have to listen to what comes out of Trump’s mouth. And because he is featured on almost every news and talk show 24/7, I have heard him actually say most of the things Olbermann attributed to him. In other cases, I have read the accounts of people that have had to deal with him. I even know a couple of people personally who have had to try and get paid for the work they did for him. So this is not a ‘choice’ I have to make about believing Olbermann or not. It is the sad reality of Donald Trump. It’s hard to imagine that one guy running for President can be such an ass clown, but then Mr. Trump is no ordinary guy.”
***
areacode-new-yorkmapA local reporter posted on Facebook: “the #518 is getting a new area code. Like or dislike…”

Wow, the dislike was STRONG. “I dislike this change. Life is more complicated when there are more numbers to use.” Which is true; one will have to dial 518, even within the 518, which I have to do at work presently. But people won’t have to get new phone numbers; the new area code, which has not yet been determined, will be for new calls. Expect it in October.

Someone asked if we’d get 666. I wrote: Here’s the current list. 666 IS available, but don’t count on it!

One person would have preferred they divided 518 geographically, as they did with 914, leaving only Westchester County, just north of Albany, as 914 and creating a new area code 845 in the rest of the area. “An overlay means if I get a new neighbor, I may need to dial 10 numbers to call her. An overlay is easier for them, not us. Another example of not putting people first.”

Not necessarily. The change was a pain for all those counties in the Mid Hudson section of New York who had to change ads, make new business cards, repaint signs. Not to mention all the folks interacting with those people, businesses, colleges, governments, et al.

“This area could have kept 518 in the Capital District.”

Probably not. The plan that was rejected “would have meant giving residents of both Albany and Troy, as well as towns south of them, a brand new area code and phone numbers to learn.”

But my favorite comment was “Don’t they have anything better to do?” Actually, making sure we have enough phone exchanges IS what THEY do.

February rambling #1: the earth is not flat

Bob and Ray’s Slow Talkers.

EqualityEquity_300ppi.IISC

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson’s response to rapper B.o.B’s rant insisting that the Earth is flat and we’ve all been lied to.

How 37 Banks Became 4 In Just 2 Decades.

Rebecca Solnit: Men Explain LOLITA To Me. And Amy Biancolli on what women want.

White America’s ‘Broken Heart’.

Weekly Sift: Back to Ferguson.

Say — you want a revolution?“Changing presidents or even changing minds isn’t enough. A real revolution has to change a lot of people’s political identities.”

On Antonin Scalia: On The Death Of A Brilliant Public Servant and Don’t tell me not to be glad.

The Daily Show’s Jessica Williams Shuts Down Beyoncé’s Super Bowl Haters.

Voting in the USA, from overseas.

The Great Dictator Speech – Charlie Chaplin + Time – Hans Zimmer (INCEPTION Theme).

Why People Who Are Scatterbrained Are Actually More Intelligent. Well, duh.

The 100 Jokes That Shaped Modern Comedy. Missing, though, is Bob and Ray’s Slow Talkers. Mr. Bob Elliott died at the age of 92; an appreciation of the duo.

Joe Alaskey, R.I.P. at age of only 63. Boy from Troy, NY made good.

Stupid Phrases for People in Crisis. Or, more politely, the unhelpful things one ought NOT to say.

In Defense of Artist Glenn Brown.

Now I Know: The Crack Tax and Unchecked Baggage and D-N-Nay.

An unfortunate incident on a Friday in the dead of winter.

Why Do Some People Say “Yuge” Instead of “Huge”?

The explanation of the chart below:
JEOPARDY.wildcard_info

Music

Coverville 1111: Dolly Parton and Neil Diamond Cover Stories.

Jaquandor: songs from the movie High Society.

Muppets: Does Dave Grohl Drum Battle Trump Animal vs. Buddy Rich? No, it does not.

Jed Clampett Rocks Out (Beverly Hillbillies Clip).

What’s the point of music? Ask Peter Gabriel.

New Ways Into the Brain’s ‘Music Room’.

NY State Senate’s Bowie resolution.

45s doohickey.

sjw
(Definition of SJW)

Google alerts (me)

That’s the Way of the World – Earth, Wind and Fire.

Today we have trolls.

[Top image per IISC.]

The past, education, happy, sad

I don’t like studying anything in depth; I get bored.

paperrockNew York Erratic must be from New Jersey, she asks so many questions:

Are there any events in your life that you feel make good parables that you want to share one day with your daughter?

I was 51 when she was born, so there is a lot of my life to draw from. Huge parts of it she doesn’t know, significant events, and I’m not sure exactly when/if to tell her. Maybe if she asks. She DOES know about JEOPARDY!

I remember looking at photos of my mother with some guy she went out with before she dated my father, and initially, it was kind of weird, but hey, that was rather natural. When she would talk about it- I was at least in my 20s by then – and say, “Oh, I could have married” so-and-so, it was rather disconcerting. I mean, I wouldn’t have been me!

My daughter is ALWAYS asking me to tell her stories, and I always struggle to tell her some. I know I’ve not wanted to poison her with some of the racism that I’ve experienced, yet at the same, try to subtly let her know – and some of it she’s figured out on her own – that it’s not all in the past.

I suppose I could tell her about being a conscious objector during the Vietnam war or going to various demonstrations for peace and justice. Not sure I want to tell her how I quit a job without having one to go to, more than once.

Really struggling with this one.

If you could go back in time and talk to yourself at 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50, what would you say?

At 10, I was feeling pretty good about things. Got 100 in the spelling final. I started becoming real friends with the girls in my class. Maybe I’d say that I needed to develop more male friends, because, even to this day, I have a dearth of them. I’ve usually preferred the company of women, and not just in romantic settings. I have some great male friends, but they are in the clear minority.

At 20, I was married to the Okie. I’d tell myself to press her about what was going on with her that would lead to her leaving the next year. Maybe I would have gone to the Philadelphia folk festival (which we couldn’t afford) if it was THAT important to her. (Ah, something the Daughter does not know about yet.)

At 30, I had a good friend die and got my heart broken in a fairly short period of time. I’d tell myself to avoid a certain emotional entanglement the following year, though it felt so good at the moment.

At 40, I had just started my current job the year before. I would have suggested taking a temporary position when it became available because the whole path of my employment could have changed.

At 50, Carol was pregnant with Lydia. Actually, there’s very little I would have said at that point because it’s impossible to understand parenthood without experiencing it.

What do you think you didn’t study enough in high school and college?

In high school, it was French, though I DID put in the effort, I just didn’t GET it, past the first year or so. Wish I had had the chance to have taken it earlier. In college, I’m surprised, in retrospect, that I took exactly one course in music, which I aced, and didn’t participate at all in a choral group, at college, or a church or something.

Did you have to write a thesis for your graduate program?

It was not a thesis as such, but it was a long paper, close to 50 pages. I couldn’t tell you what it was about if you paid me. It was torture when I wrote it.

What’s your favorite subject to study in-depth? What is your least favorite subject?

I don’t like studying anything in-depth; I get bored. I like to know a little about a lot of things. Recently, I HAVE become more expert in START-UP NY (an attempt at an economic stimulus in the state) and NYS sales tax law than anyone ought to be, and still, I have to look up. I suppose I’ve picked up some knowledge of The Beatles and other musical entities of the 1960s and 1970s.

My eyes glaze over when listening to talk about cars; I couldn’t tell you a type of Chevy that doesn’t start with C (Corvette, Corvair).

If you could give one piece of advice to a college student today, what would it be?

Resist learning about job skills that you can go into today; the field could be gone tomorrow. DO learn about all sorts of stuff, and know-how to think, not just regurgitate back the facts. In other words, in spite of the great affection for STEM education in the country these days, and I’m not against it, I still believe in the value of a liberal arts education.
floor
Do you read the funnies? What’s your favorite internet comic?

I seldom read the comics on the Internet, more as a matter of time. I’ve seen stuff I like online, such as XKCD, but it’s not part of the routine. (Here is a special version of the strip.) I read Pearls Before Swine, Luann, Zits, Doonesbury (when there’s new daily stuff) and Blondie, because it has evolved somewhat. Having said this, I did support the Kickstarter for the movie STRIPPED, about the history of the genre, so I am interested in the topic.

What types of jokes or humor make you laugh the hardest?

It’s language: clever puns, things that evolve from double meanings of words. Can’t give you an example, because, as I have often said, I can’t REMEMBER a joke I’ve heard since the age of about 12, even with fiscal incentive. But the visuals on the page, while not the best examples (but they are the last two on my Facebook feed) at least suggest the genre of humor.

I HATE, BTW, America’s Funniest Home Videos; the bits usually involve physical pain and embarrassment. I was at an urgent care place with Lydia a couple of years ago, and it was on the TV; my loathing was confirmed.

One more question, this from SamuraiFrog:

What makes you cry?

Music: The Barber Adagio I have almost a dozen versions of. Lenten music in general. But a great final movement of a classical piece will do it too, especially with organ power chord endings. I’ve mentioned some sad songs, associated with romance, in the past. Music evokes some very specific memories. Sometimes, songs, songs I associate with my former church in Albany make me very sad. Know what song used to make me weepy? Captain Jack by Billy Joel.
Movies: the first one was West Side Story when Maria yells “Don’t you touch him!” over the dead Tony, but there have been several since. An occasional television show will do this as well, but it’s been a while, mostly because I’m not watching much TV.
Other people being sad: I remember when Bobby Kennedy died and people were all sad. I wasn’t, but their tears became mine because THEY were hurting. That Kickstarter/Veronica Mars thing that you experienced made me sad for you, almost to tears, and surprisingly angry.
My melancholia: More now than in quite a while. Sometimes, even in the midst of a crowd, I can feel quite alone. And I cry and/or I get angry.
My daughter in pain, my wife in pain: the worst pain I ever saw my wife endure was after some surgery involving her jaw. MUCH worse than childbirth.

You can still Ask Roger Anything.