Aug. rambling: BS asymmetry principle

RIP, Don Everly, Nanci Griffith, Charlie Watts

asymetry principle
Also known as Brandolini’s Law, this is the simple observation that it’s far easier to produce and spread BS, misinformation, and nonsense than it is to refute it. The original images and associated explanatory text on this website are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Is Religion a Force for Good or Evil?

Amid calls to #TaxTheChurches – what and how much do US religious organizations not pay the taxman?

A Harvard professor predicted COVID disinformation on the web. Here’s what may be coming next

FDA grants full approval to Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer, BioNTech

Jordan Klepper  debates anti-vaxxers and Recounts His Wild Experiences at Trump Rallies

This Physicist Discovered an Escape From Hawking’s Black Hole Paradox and Hubble captures an ‘Einstein Ring’

Malware Camouflaged As Code

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – Ransomware and Opioids III:
The Sacklers

Kids Who Die by Langston Hughes (1902–1967)

For the First Time on Record, Rainfall Observed at Peak of Greenland Ice Sheet

How We Fix the Climate

The Southwest’s most important river is drying up

Census growth data for every city, county, district, and  state

Crime and other topics

That afternoon in 1978.

The Dresden Job jewel heist

White Ohio woman gets probation for $250K theft, while Black woman jailed for stealing $40K

A history of the Segway

My Physicalmental Illness – John Green

 Why People Who Brush Still Get Cavities

Gene Roddenberry would have been 100 years old

Not me:  Colleagues remember Professor Emeritus Roger Green

Strange towers and diverted disasters (Route 20A) 

Marvel and DC face backlash over pay: ‘They sent a thank you note and $5,000 – the movie made $1bn

How Extortion Scams and Review Bombing Trolls Turned Goodreads Into Many Authors’ Worst Nightmare

 Stealing Books Before Release

America’s Best Convenience Stores, Ranked (Stewart’s is 3rd)

How to reheat and re-crisp French fries

Eight. Missouri and Tennessee Share the Most Borders With Other States

FULL 9TH INNING from Field of Dreams’ CRAZY final inning between White Sox and Yankees

Final Jeopardy! Season Finale 08/13/2021 | Matt Amodio Wins His 18th Game The JEOPARDY season returns on Sept 13

The Solution to Jeopardy’s Hosting Crisis


How to beat the “milk crate challenge” -The first time I’d heard about this. Since then, saw some kids doing this in ALB’s Washington Park.

 Last Week Tonight’s Masterpiece Gallery Tour

Uncopyrightable is the longest word we have that doesn’t contain any repeated letters.

Now I Know: A Back-Alley Way To Create a Successful Board Game and  You Actually Win Friends With Dirty Salad? and Maybe Adults Shouldn’t Play Kickball and Why Spaceships Need a Foot Bath and  When The Robber Hits the Road and How Horses Created Firehouse Poles


Bad Wolves: Rebecca Jade featuring Jason Mraz, Miki Vale and Veronica May, which won a San Diego Music Award

Mighty Quinn – Manfred Mann

RIP, Charlie Watts:  Paint It, Black – Rolling Stones; Honky Tonk Women – Rolling Stones; Slow Turning – John Hiatt (namecheck)

The Hymn of Jesus by Gustav Holst

RIP, Nancy GriffithFrom A DistanceDrive-In Movies and Dashboard LightsHeaven 

Coverville 1369: Cover Stories for The The and Tears For Fears and 1370: Tributes to The Everly Brothers and Nanci Griffith

Human -The Killers

Er Huang by Qigang Chen.

Novorossiysk Chimes (Flame of Eternal Glory) by Dimitri Shostakovich

Amy Biancolli writes about  The Tale of the Bow

Fire “Milkshake Duck” Mike Richards

Jeopardy – not just another syndicated game show

Milkshake Duck
Show #7894 – Thursday, December 27, 2018. A triple stumper.

I learned a new term very recently. It’s Milkshake Duck. Hey, it’s only been around since 2016.

The term is “an Internet meme that describes people who gain viral popularity on social media for some positive or charming trait but are later revealed to have distasteful histories or offensive behavior.”

Know Your Meme: On June 12th, 2016, Twitter user @pixelatedboat posted a tweet about the internet’s love for ‘Milkshake Duck,’ followed by the revelation ‘we regret to inform you the duck is racist’. Within one year, the tweet gained over 22,700 likes and 9,600 retweets.” Huh? Whatever.

Short-lived host

Mike Richards was pleasant enough as a fill-in host of Jeopardy. But, as you may know, he stepped down as the newly-named permanent host of the show,  following reports of a number of inappropriate comments he made on a podcast that ran in 2013 and 2014. The podcast was appropriately named The Randumb Show.

Much of the offensive comments that targeted Jews, Haitians, and especially women are documented extensively in The Ringer, as well as mentioned in  Parade. Just one example:  him calling his colleague on-air a “booth ho” and “booth slut.”

I now believe Mike Richards should resign – or be fired – as JEOPARDY’s Executive Producer because he has harmed the show.

Institutional memory lost

Long-time executive producer Harry Fridman retired in May 2020, after 23 years. “Then, just months into Richards’s debut season, Trebek died due to complications of pancreatic cancer.” And though it started before Richards’ tenure, Glenn Kagan, longtime coordinator on the show, says “he was discriminated against based on his age and ultimately fired from the show on the pretense of Covid-19 safety procedures, while being replaced by a much younger employee.

There were other recent departures of several key staffers—including the longtime head of the contestant department, Maggie Speak, and stage manager John Lauderdale. Add to that “the taping difficulties caused by the pandemic, which left many staff members working from home, there was a widespread perception internally of a power vacuum.”

(BTW, I LOVED Maggie. She made me feel good after my loss. “You were the only one to get Final Jeopardy correct!”)

Heir apparent

A bunch of paragraphs from The Ringer on how Richards undercut Ken Jennings:

Sources close to the show cast doubts on Richards’s decision-making surrounding Jennings. Many Jeopardy! staffers and former contestants long presumed that Jennings would be Trebek’s anointed successor, an expectation that only grew in the months after Trebek’s 2019 cancer diagnosis.

After Jennings won 2020’s Greatest of All Time tournament, Friedman hired him as a consulting producer—a move from contestant to staff that some interpreted as a bridge to hosting, with Jennings’s early duties including presenting categories of his own creation. Trebek furthered this perception, asking Jennings to narrate much of his 2020 memoir, The Answer Is …, and arranging a call with him to discuss guest-hosting just two days before Trebek’s death.

As The New York Times reported, the host left Jennings a pair of his cuff links, which awaited him in Trebek’s dressing room, along with a note from Trebek’s wife, Jean, when Jennings arrived at the studio to serve as the season’s inaugural guest host.

Jennings taped six weeks of episodes before a minor conflict with an upcoming tape day emerged… Sources say the show’s production staff was able to accommodate the conflict, only for Richards to step in and insist on hosting instead. When the time came to tape the preamble to his first episode, Richards blamed COVID-19 for the change and exaggerated the nature of Jennings’s conflict.

Mike to the rescue?

After Jennings’s curtailed run, which posted the highest ratings of any guest host this season, Jeopardy! did not air any additional [clue] categories hosted by [Ken]. Previously, the categories had aired roughly once a month, about as often as those hosted by members of the Clue Crew. Categories featuring clues read by the Clue Crew, celebrities, and affiliate station news anchors continued to air…

After Richards was named the executive producer of Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune in 2019, another former Let’s Make A Deal employee remembers a supervisor who had worked closely with Richards remarking, “I bet he hires himself.”

“I think that one reason why Jeopardy was aspirational for many of its contestants was its sense of integrity,” says Kristin Sausville, who won five games on Jeopardy! in 2015. ‘There was something intrinsic to the show and Alex Trebek’s hosting of it that elevated it above other game shows.

“‘The baggage Mike Richards has brought from his previous experience as an executive producer, as well as the optics of what comes across as his self-selection as host, have tarnished that. I think there’s a real danger of Jeopardy! becoming just another syndicated game show, and that makes me concerned for its longevity and standing.”

Out goes he

I’ve been in touch with other Jeopardy contestants. A few noted a decline in the quality of the clue-writing under his tenure. “It has long been more than clear that Richards’s focus has not been on the good of the show.Most [contestants] don’t understand how he can stay on, as he was the guy in charge of this whole guest host year of distraction in the first place.”

As a columnist noted, it makes “one wonder why the Jeopardy team didn’t perform much due diligence on Richards. Oh, wait … I forgot who was put in charge of it.” And, presumably, Richards will be choosing his own successor as host.

This is why I think that the self-aggrandizing Mike Richards, milkshake duck, should be fired as Executive Producer of JEOPARDY!

JEOPARDY hosts Mike Richards, Mayim Bialik

How to say “Correct” in different ways

Mike Richards Mayim Bialik JeopardyI’m a bit ambivalent over the announcement of the new hosts of the game show JEOPARDY!

Mike “Richards will kick off Season 38 as the full-time host of the syndicated show… [Mayim] Bialik will serve as the host of Jeopardy!’s primetime and spinoff series, including the upcoming all-new Jeopardy! National College Championship. Richards will continue to serve as executive producer of Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune.”

On one hand, as the EP, Richards clearly knows how the game is played. He helped coach the over a dozen guest hosts who have appeared since Alex Trebek’s death. On the other hand, and many others noted this, it’s not entirely unlike Dick Cheney being in charge of finding a Vice-Presidential candidate for George W. Bush, and deciding he’s the best qualified, though other SONY suits weighed in.

JEOPARDY fans have noted the diverse pool of guest hosts, after which they pick Richards, much to the chagrin of quite a few. Is it his fault that he’s a little dull and looks like a Ken doll? He does have some limited game show hosting credentials:  High School Reunion,  Divided ; The Pyramid; Dailies  and Beauty and the Geek , but over 4000 hours of producing credits.

Many have pointed out that Alex Trebek told TMZ in 2018 his top choice as his Jeopardy successor. “There is an attorney, Laura Coates,” Trebek told TMZ’s Harvey Levin. “She’s African-American, and she appears on some of the cable news shows from time to time.” Whether she was even interested in the job, I don’t know.

The Price Is Right

Richards previously worked as Executive Producer on The Price Is Right. A lawsuit claimed he engaged in “pregnancy discrimination in two complaints filed by former Price Is Right models. He was accused of making insensitive statements and taking other questionable actions around models on the show who became pregnant.

“‘These were allegations made in employment disputes against the show. I want you all to know that the way in which my comments and actions have been characterized in these complaints does not reflect the reality of who I am… I would not say anything to disrespect anyone’s pregnancy and have always supported my colleagues on their parenting journeys.’

“Richards got a notably public boost of support from Price Is Right host Drew Carey. Carey credited Richards with making the show’s famous showroom models a much bigger part of the show. ‘He took them from just bodies on the stage to actual people that audiences could get to know as part of the TPIR family,’ Carey wrote.”

It’s all in the game

Meanwhile, I AM pleased by Mayim Bialik’s role in the JEOPARDY brand expansion, although I’m unclear what that will look like. She was among the best candidates, and I watched them all. And one assumes that most of the guest hosts didn’t want to leave their regular gigs.

Hosting JEOPARDY requires some particular skills. Welcoming the contestants and making as though you care about them in the interview section. Reading the clues and indicating whether the contestants’ responses are right or wrong in a timely fashion, trying to vary them: “Yes,” “Right,” “Correct.”

A good host will tell you about where we are in the game. If someone hits the Daily Double, Alex would indicate that the player could take the lead, or get closer, or make it difficult for their opponents.

The hosts in the last few weeks had the difficulty of having a champion, Matt Amadio, who not only won a dozen and a half games and over half a million dollars, but most of his matches were runaway contests. This means that the outcome of Final JEOPARDY often did not matter.

Some folks are enraged by the choice of Mike Richards. I’m not. I admit that I was pulling for LeVar Burton before his appearance, but he wasn’t one of the better guest hosts, unfortunately. And him openly campaigning for the job, I dare say, didn’t help his chances.

But if Richards’ ratings tank, expect that the hosting conversation will be reconsidered.

April rambling: the automatic runner

Mandela’s Blues

embarrassing-incidentsBonhoeffer musing on Who am I?

Bankruptcy: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

The Unbelievable Story of Europe’s Runaway Nazi.

Planned Parenthood: We’re Done Making Excuses for Our Founder.

“Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.”
– James Baldwin, “Letter From a Region in My Mind” essay

The anti-trans distraction.

American Library Association: books with antiracist messages climbed the list of most challenged or banned titles in 2020.

These inventors don’t get the credit they deserve.

Weekends In Space.

Best history podcasts: 14 shows that tell you forgotten stories.

Remembering Walter Mondale

Gender reveal party death toll mounts, people ask Why? 

Prince Philip’s Fascinating Family: A Russian Tsarina, A Greek Orthodox Nun, a Banished King, and More.

Make To Don’t Lists.

New JEOPARDY guest hosts announced! LeVar Burton, George Stephanopoulos, Robin Roberts, David Faber, and Joe Buck.

Theology in the DCU and MU.

Now I Know: The Picture of Abraham Lincoln’s Fake Ghost and The Birthday Problem and When Stalin’s Grapes Went
Sour and The First Boycott and Mussels and When Baseball Went to Pot.

Not me: Four Mustangs caught going more than double the speed limit in Surrey. “High-risk driving behaviour… is one of the leading causes of collisions in BC,” said Sergeant Roger Green of the service’s Community Response Unit.

Not me: Immigrants in Greece who can’t book Covid jabs. Roger Green, a British writer who has lived on the island since the early ’90s, says some are afraid to leave their homes.


MLB’s extra-innings rule is back in 2021; here’s why baseball should use
ties instead. “Each half-inning beyond the ninth — i.e., extra innings — in Major League Baseball now begins with a runner on second base and no outs.” The automatic runner rule is dreadful, a baseball abomination,IMO.

Why Home Runs Are Bad for Baseball.

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) in Kansas City is a “privately funded, not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving and celebrating the rich history of African-American baseball and its profound impact on the social advancement of America.”

Pitcher Hope Trautwein Throws A Perfect Game Of All Strikeouts

Mulligan? Golfers consult rule book after ball lands on alligator’s back


Thou Wilt Keep Him in Perfect Peace by S.S. Wesley (Isaiah 26:3).

Mandela’s Blues -Kinky Friedman.

Wichita Lineman – Peter Sprague, featuring Rebecca Jade.

Solfeggio by Arvo Part, San Diego Master Chorale.

A Rainbow in Curved Air – Terry Riley.

I Got a Gal in Kalamazoo – Glenn Miller band with Tex Beneke and the dancing of the Nicholas Brothers (1942 movie “Orchestra Wives”).

Music for Percussion Quartet – David Crowell, plus Music for Pieces of Wood, by Steve Reich.

Coverville  1355 : The Roy Orbison Cover Story III and 1356: Tribute to Jim Steinman and 50th Anniversary of The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers.

The Swan of Tuonela by Sibelius.

Flintstones theme: Jazz AmbassadorsBarney Kessel and Herb Ellis,  Hungarian Border Guard Orchestra, FMU Jazz Ensemble, Bjørn Jørgensen
and his Big Band, Jacob Collier,  Postmodern Jukebox, The CompanY, and Vinheteiro

Robert Schumann’s Traumerai. You KNOW this tune!

April rambling: agathokakological

Don’t laminate your vaccine card.

bottledTax day moved to May 17. Procrastinators, rejoice!

All That We’ve Lost.

Here are a couple of articles from Slate and Afar about vaccination cards – don’t laminate them because you may need to record a booster shot. But if you already did, don’t sweat it. And the vaccine passport in the United States is a definite maybe kind of thing.

COVID vaccine in New Zealand.

Calling Chauvin a “Bad Apple” Denies Systemic Nature of Racist Police Violence.

Cartoon: God-Man trumpets his response to mass shootings!

‘Is This Patriot Enough?’: Asian American Official Shows Military Scars, Condemns Racist Violence.

Matt Gaetz, Now Under DOJ Investigation, Was Lone Vote Against Human Trafficking Bill in 2017

Doctor Fentanyl.

Tucker Carlson and national debt:  Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

The Science of Loneliness.

Exhausted Workers Want More Flexibility.

French police are investigating an international Lego crime ring.

Countdown to the 1950 Census release.

Administrative Records and the 2020  Census.

NYC surgeons successfully performed the first windpipe transplant in the world.

7% of Americans don’t use the Internet. Who are they?

Dear WordPress: Really? REALLY?

John Burnside · Poem: ‘The Night Ferry’

Joye Murcison Kelly, R.I.P. Early, uncredited Wonder Woman scribe.

Triple stumper question on JEOPARDY!


My paternal grandmother was named Agatha. The definition of agathokakological is “Made up of both good and evil.” I thought she was pretty good, myself. The word is from the Greek agathos (good) + kakos (bad), which proves my point.

 How breakfast cereal was invented.

A stone and wood Dutch colonial is said to be the oldest house in New York.

Can Frasier afford his apartment?

Now I Know: The Loophole With Two Wheels and Supercalifragilisticexpialilawsuit and  The Wild Deuce and Alaska’s Super Hero Dogs and  Save Your Bread When Going on Vacation.

 The Beatles: Get Back – A Sneak Peek from Peter Jackson.

Conversation between Adam Guettel and Stephen Sondheim


Music for the Soul: An Evening with Rebecca Jade, February 23, 2021.

Ted and Lindsey – Randy Rainbow.

The Observatory – Caroline Shaw.

Piano Quintet in G minor – Bruch. Novacek/Yoo/Haas/Banaszek/deMaine | Festival Mozaic 2018.

Flintstone themes: first one and the second one.

The Cider House Rules – Rachel Portman.

Road Runner Show theme.

Six Japanese Gardens, for mixed percussion and electronics, written by Finnish composer Kaija Saarioho.

Sunshine Superman – MonaLisa Twins.

Overture 1812 – Tchaikovsky.

Coverville  1352: Lady Gaga Cover Story and 1353: The Ronnie Lane Cover Story II and 1354: The Al Green Cover Story II – Also, Thumbs!

 Creation du Monde – Vangelis.

The Rubberband Man (album version) -The Spinners.

Ain’t No Sunshine – Canen.

Prejudice – Tim Minchin.