So when DO we talk about this?

“Your thoughts and prayers aren’t going to stop the next shooting. Only action and leadership will do that.”

When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston and most of southeast Texas, it was NOT the time to talk about global warming because of people’s lives and homes and businesses in danger? OK, how about now? No, the recovery is still going on.

So when do we talk about Houston’s rampant growth and urbanization, which merely aggravates the problem of the city’s flat terrain? If they’re going to “rebuild,” then how and where? What are they going to do differently going forward?

I remember some towns in the Midwest that were flooded in 1993 by the Mississippi River moved entirely.

Yet talking about Puerto Rico’s aging infrastructure seemed to be fair game for at least one person, right after Hurricane Maria, a broken system that has made communication so difficult that the aid was not reaching many of the people.

“I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack because we’ve spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico.” You would never have heard this in Houston or Miami.

So what’s the difference? Mark Evanier tweeted: “Puerto Rico doesn’t have water, power or humanitarian aid because of two other things they lack: Electoral votes and enough white people.” I have (jokingly? I’m not sure) suggested that some of the three million residents of the island move to some red states on the mainland before 2020.

(And I will rant that I wish some news commentators would refer to Puerto Rico as a commonwealth rather than a territory, even though commonwealth status is just plain weird.)

Over 58 people were killed and over 500 were injured in Las Vegas. “Thoughts and prayers.” But Mark Kelly, the retired astronaut and husband of former congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who was shot in 2011 at a constituent event in Tucson, AZ, disagrees.

Messages to the families of victims in the Las Vegas shooting, while important, are “not enough.” Kelly told reporters outside of the Capitol building with his wife at his side: “Your thoughts and prayers aren’t going to stop the next shooting. Only action and leadership will do that.”

The Onion ran YET AGAIN, ‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.

So when do we talk about a ban on assault weapons that can kill people from a distance of four football fields away? Apparently, it’s just not the right time. It wasn’t the right time after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, FL, which was the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history. And it’s not time now, less than 16 months later, when we have the NEW deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.

Maybe it’ll be money: After Hurricanes and Las Vegas Shooting, Countries Warn Citizens About Travel to U.S. I’m not sure what awful things will be required in order for us to have the conversations, but I better start praying NOW, because they’re going to be horrific.

September rambling #2: Len Wein

Congress’ most unapologetic feminist is the junior senator from my state

Share this post if you agree
A Moment of Silence – a poem by Emmanuel Ortiz

Guntown (Rogue Kite video)

I’m a US military vet, and I feel afraid in my own country

Joe Arpaio: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Reverend Barber on White Supremacy

Tired are the peacemakers

Increasingly, foreign students are choosing Canada over the US

What Your Phone Knows. Is your phone watching you?

What Does an Innocent Man Have to Do to Go Free? Plead Guilty

Here’s why right-wing Christians think they are America’s most persecuted

Single Payer Joins the Debate

So, you hate unions because …

The Great Flood and What Comes After

Spotting a viral hoax: Debunking the fakes from Hurricane Irma

Congress’ most unapologetic feminist, Kirsten Gillibrand, the junior senator from my state of New York

How English Was Made – the introduction of the printing press had a profound and revolutionary effect on the language

Newly-coined portmanteaux:
“It took me a long time to get to sleep after the whole shebacle.” From shebang and debacle (per the wife of a friend)
“Vomment” is a comment, usually on social media, someone makes that’s so full of bile and bitterness than it’s the verbal equivalent of vomit (per AmeriNZ).

Why Science-Fiction Writers Couldn’t Imagine the Internet

Scientists Say That Being Forgetful Is Actually A Sign You Are Unusually Intelligent – gee, I HOPE this is true

RIP Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov – Thanks for Saving The World

When I heard Len Wein, the legendary comics writer-editor, passed away at the age of 69, I was surprisingly sad. I had never met him, but he started writing comics professionally almost simultaneously to when I started reading them. Mark Evanier, his long-time friend wrote “Len Wein died… and it feels so odd to type those words even though I’ve known for a long time I would have to.” I also know people IRL who knew him IRL, and I experience their sadness as well. Condolences to his wife Christine Valada

No, I don’t understand Len Wein’s teddy bear thing

How Bullwinkle Taught Kids Sophisticated Political Satire

Condolences to my old FantaCo boss Tom Skulan, and his brothers Dan and Joe, on the loss of their mother Ruth. I remember her fondly, though I haven’t seen her since the 1990s. Tom said that she really liked me too, and that she had asked about me as recently as a year ago. She was suffering from Sjogren’s syndrome, which I had been unfamiliar with.

Once the kings of Hollywood, directors are now increasingly interchangeable

22 Broadway Musicals That Closed on Opening Night

How are diamonds made?

Helpful Home Remedies for Sunburn

Now I Know: The Fake Illness Which Saved Lives and The Power of Being Bored and What Happens When a Monkey Takes an Awesome Selfie and The Million Pound Cough


Papa, Can you hear me – Nina Simone

Mozart. Symphony no. 29 in A major

Composer Alan Menken plays his greatest hits in ten minutes

Dee Dee Sharp – Mashed Potato Time and other tunes

Coverville 1185: Cover Stories for Fiona Apple and Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics

I don’t want to work

They Dance to a Popular Song from 2016

Why Brian Wilson Is A Genius

September rambling #1: Cheap Prosperity Gospel

the last surviving veteran of the Boer Wars

Hell hath no fury like Mother Earth scorned; Floods in India, Bangladesh, Nepal kill over 1200

Don’t Fall for Hurricane Charity Scams

Was Barack Obama President During Hurricane Katrina? Did Trump Saved Two Cats After Hurricane Harvey? And how are these even asked?

Obama on DACA and fate of 800,000 uncertain

The foundation of this presidency is the negation of Barack Obama’s legacy

The hateful beliefs The Nashville Statement endorses have real-life, devastating consequences to LGBTQ people. In response to it, a Nazareth Statement

When the Rich Said No to Getting Richer

How America Lost Its Mind

The Cheap Prosperity Gospel of Trump and Osteen

Holy tabouli! Shawarma Law – not sharia law – is taking over Dearborn

Neoliberalism: the idea that swallowed the world

Mel Brooks, The Producers and the Ethics of Satire about N@zis

The White Flight of Derek Black

This is true: An episode of the 1950s western TV series ‘Trackdown’ featured a snake oil salesman named ‘Trump’ who promised to build a wall in order to prevent the end of the world

Online Censorship: A Global Map & Ranking of Every Country’s Internet Restrictions

Hollywood was exploring sexuality, gender, and feminism in the 1930s—but one man stopped it

I’m 35 and I may suddenly have lost the rest of my life. I’m panicking, just a bit

How are you? An answer from someone with Asperger’s

Why Is Male Anger So Threatening?

That old gang of mine – Arthur on aging, and John Green turns 40

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

Places In Idyllic 1960s Postcards Have Transformed Into Scenes Of Abandonment

Richard Anderson, of ‘Six Million Dollar Man’ and ‘Bionic Woman,’ Dies at 91

Shelley Berman, Stand-Up Comic Who Skewered Modern Life, Dies at 92

George Frederick Ives– when he died in 1993 at the age of 111, he was the last surviving veteran of the Boer Wars

Now I Know: The Rhino Guards and Why the Rainbow Tastes Different Depending on Where You Are


September -Earth, Wind & Fire

Alf Clausen has created many classic ‘Simpsons’ songs

K-Chuck Radio: Studio 54 hangovers for a 54 year old man

Coverville 1183: The Squeeze Cover Story II

Thriller – Kentucky Vocal Union

Alan Lomax

The Shaggs Reunion Concert Was Unsettling, Beautiful, Eerie, and Will Probably Never Happen Again

Do bootlegs matter? What Discogs’ new crackdown means for the site’s future

Spotify Says They Don’t Owe Anything for ‘Mechanicals’

Hurricane Sandy and incredibly silly people

My ire was predicated by the very real devastation the storm brought to a whole lot of OTHER people.

First off, I should note that I’m fine, we’re fine, in Albany. 150 miles north of New York City, we got a little wind and a little rain, but nothing substantial. They closed our public schools in the city for two days due to an abundance of caution; the new superintendent is from New Jersey and I think she was taking her lead from the mayor, who had proclaimed a state of emergency for a day or more.

And because it wasn’t a big weather event HERE, I’ve heard people calling it a “dud”, that they were “cheated”, which frankly ENRAGED me. (I referred to such people as “idiots” on Facebook; maybe I should stay off Facebook. Someone else called them “callous douchebags”, which I suppose is worse.) I wonder if it’s the result of the infotainment quality of big weather event reportage, alluded to by both Cheri and Mark Evanier?

My ire, though, was predicated by the very real devastation the storm brought to a whole lot of OTHER people, starting in Haiti, Cuba, and Jamaica, then much of New Jersey, Connecticut, and southern New York State, specifically NYC and Long Island. Over 80 dead, at least 33 in the US:
Millions without power
Oyster Creek, New Jersey on “Alert” as Sandy Threatens Nuclear Facilities
NYC flights still grounded by Sandy, and major train disruption as well. LaGuardia airport, in particular, is a mess.

One of my best friends wrote on Tuesday morning: “NYC and the surrounding area are a mess. The transit authority said this was the most devastating storm in the city’s history… The seven subway tubes underneath the East River connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn are Queens are flooded. The subway stations in lower Manhattan are flooded. Depots in all 5 boroughs where trains and buses were parked are underwater… This is the worst storm recorded in the city’s history. A buoy in NY harbor recorded a wave of 32.5 feet, the highest ever recorded. Seawalls in Queens and New Jersey recorded the ocean surging over 13 feet, the highest ever recorded. The creek did rise.”

Meanwhile, in the theater of the absurd, George W. Bush’s FEMA Director During Katrina Criticizes Obama For Responding To Sandy Too Quickly. As opposed to Michael Brown’s more…casual pace in dealing with the 2005 disaster. Also, some anti-gay preacher blamed Hurricane Sandy on “homosexuality and marriage equality”; these clowns seem to pop up every disaster. They should go send money to the American Red Cross, and, as another friend of mine used to say, “zip their traps.”
What to do after a hurricane – US-specific, though some useful messages about preparation for all.

I is for Irene

Yes, that’s 3 hours, 39 minutes of flying time over an 11-hour stretch.

Irene is one of those semi-popular names in the US, 16th most popular among girls’ names at its peak in 1918 and 1919, 684th in 2010.

Irene has also been designated as a possible hurricane name by the World Meteorological Organization. “The Atlantic is assigned six lists of names, with one list used each year. Every sixth year, the first list begins again.” Things before 1978 weren’t quite so neat and tidy, so Irene was eligible to be a hurricane name in 1959, 1963, 1967, and 1971. While Irene was unused in 1987 and in 1993, there were actually hurricanes named Irene in 1981, in 1999, and in 2005.

2011’s Hurricane Irene caused great damage, as you have probably heard. Albany County was among several in upstate New York designated as disaster areas. Our property only lost some tree limbs. But the storm was life-complicating.

As I’ve noted, my wife and daughter traveled down to Charlotte, NC August 24 to visit my sister and niece. One track of Irene would have come quite close to Charlotte, but the storm stayed on the coast, fortunately. Unfortunately, it traveled up the coast, and while it largely spared New York City, it walloped parts of New Jersey, Vermont, and upstate New York.

The problem was that the family was supposed to take the train back from Charlotte to Albany on August 31, but the trip was canceled by Amtrak, likely because of possible damage, or fear of same, to the tracks in New Jersey and elsewhere.

They couldn’t drive back because of washed-out roads. So they got a flight. Or three:
From Charlotte Douglas Intl Airport (CLT)
Departs: 08/31/2011 at 11:40 A.M. To
Baltimore/Washington Intl Thurgood Marshall Apt (BWI)
Arrives: 08/31/2011 at 1:09 P.M.
From BWI
Departs: 08/31/2011 at 4:37 P.M. To
Philadelphia Intl Airport (PHL)
Arrives: 08/31/2011 at 5:26 P.M.
From PHL
Departs: 08/31/2011 at 9:10 P.M. To
Albany Intl Airport (ALB)
Arrives: 08/31/2011 at 10:31 P.M.

Yes, that’s 3 hours, 39 minutes of flying time over an 11-hour stretch. That is what you’re left with – let’s not even talk about the cost – when one books a flight the day before.

Of course, many people had it a WHOLE lot worse! For a mild for instance, my brother-in-law Dan and his family, about an hour south of us in Greene County, NY, lost a bunch of stuff in the basement. Getting around was difficult because the roads were either flooded or washed out altogether; the schools started a week late, as much because of the impassable roads as the damage to the buildings. Those of you who know upstate geography will appreciate this: the fastest way currently to get from Catskill to Oneonta is going through Albany.

I feel a little testy about the notion that NYC overprepared; it was a hurricane, FCOL!

And there will be more storms that travel further north, because of the warmer Atlantic waters.

I wonder if Irene’s name will be retired. “The only time that there is a change is if a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of its name on a different storm would be inappropriate for obvious reasons of sensitivity. If that occurs, then at an annual meeting by the WMO…the offending name is stricken from the list and another name is selected to replace it.”

Check out some Vermont devastation HERE and HERE and HERE, collected by long-time VT resident, and my buddy, Steve Bissette.

(And I won’t even get into the subsequent destruction of Tropical Storm Lee, which did damage from the Gulf Coast to upstate New York this past week, as this video from Binghamton, NY, my hometown, will attest.)

ABC Wednesday – Round 9