Getting Personal

When I’m 105

John Green, one of the Vlogbrothers, and probably no relation to me, created a post called  Getting Personal about Getting Personal. He talks about the transactional nature of media. John is promoting the movie Turtles All The Way Down, based on his novel, even though he has no great financial incentive to do so. He just likes, no, loves the movie.

He was asked an innocuous question by a PEOPLE magazine reporter about what keeps his 18-year marriage strong. The answer doesn’t just reflect on him but delves into his wife Satah’s life. Ultimately, he shares a story he had told before, but he mused on it first.

Likewise, last year, his brother Hank shared his cancer diagnosis, in part because he’s part of a Nerdfighter community but also because he had to cut on his responsibilities for a time.

A friend of mine is going through a very serious family tragedy. Though they have alluded to it, they haven’t said it outright, probably because writing it makes it too real.

Formerly known as

I saw Chanel Miller on CBS Mornings recently. She was sexually assaulted by Stanford frat boy Brock Turner in 2015, though he got an outrageously light sentence. She was described as Emily Doe then.

In 2016, her victim impact statement at his sentencing hearing went viral. She outed herself in 2019 when she released Know My Name: A Memoir, which I thought was gutsy.

But she was on the program promoting her new children’s book, Magnolia Wu Unfolds It All. She was happy to be there because she didn’t want to be just known as a crime victim.  And she looked joyful, which made me quite happy.

So there may be value in sharing, but that’s not going to be everyone’s choice. And frankly, I see a lot of TMI, especially online.

Where’s the line?

Almost every week, I struggle to figure out the line between sharing and oversharing. I figure if I get to be 105, I’m going to publish my no-holds-barred book, the consequences be damned. Until then, I straddle the line when it comes to other people’s privacy and my own. You just have to wait another 34 years for my tell-all.

February rambling: extrauterine children

Alexei Navalny, RIP

22 Feb 2024

Alabama hospital puts a pause on IVF in the wake of ruling saying frozen embryos are children. Conservative groups have long revered Chief Justice Tom Parker as an architect for the overturning of Roe v. Wade. “The majority, in its opinion, cited an 1872 statute that allows parents to sue over the wrongful death of a child and found that ‘unborn children,’ including ‘extrauterine children,’ were included in that.” SMH at the faux Christian “logic.”

‘Unconscionable’ criminal justice bills could fuel soaring incarceration in Louisiana. Reform advocates condemn raft of measures expected to pass under the new far-right governor, Jeff Landry.

Mitch McConnell to Step Down as Senate Minority Leader

Capital One to Acquire Discover, Creating a Consumer Lending Colossus. “The all-stock deal, valued at $35.3 billion, will combine two of the largest credit card companies in the United States.” As a long-time satisfied  Discover cardholder, I am extremely wary.

Ecological Overreach: Ignorance, Hubris, and Stupidity

To purchase The Black Woods: Pursuing Racial Justice on the Adirondack Frontier by Amy Godine at Cornell Press, input discount promo code 09FLYER at check out for 30% off the list price.

A Big Week in the Trump Trials; He Says Indictments and His Mug Shot Are Helping Him With Black Voters

Parent’s Guide to Fentanyl

Sleeping Pills & Addiction

The myth of men’s full-time employment

I’m a Digital Nomad. It’s Not as Fun As It Looks. Remote workers find that the challenges of globetrotting with a laptop can sometimes outweigh the benefits.

One Swedish zoo, seven escaped chimpanzees

Library staff reunites cat family

Bicentennial Minutes

Richard Lewis, “Neurotic” Comic, Dies at 76

RIP, artist Ramona Fradon, and stories about her

Dan Wilcox, Writer and Producer on ‘M*A*S*H,’ Dies at 82

Sam Waterston on His ‘Law & Order’ Goodbye and Getting to “Kill the Bull” One Last Time

Overtime rules for postseason NFL games

How Actor Kevin Miles Became “Jake from State Farm”

Why Doesn’t ❤️ Look Like a Heart?

Now I Know

The Ghost That Was Too Quiet and The Rules of the Roadkill, Smart Phone-Version and The Problem With Dark Blue and Yellow License Plates, and The Lion King and the Secret (But Not Actually R-Rated) Message

The Russians Are Coming

Alexei Navalny, the Fiercest Foe of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Dies at 47. With every story, I become more sad and angry.

Fox Promoted Informant’s Dubious Tale To Bolster Right-Wing Lies About Ukraine

Jon Stewart on Tucker Carlson’s Putin Interview & Trip to Russia | The Daily Show

What Is The Deal With Republicans And All These Russian Spies?


FFAPL book reviews/author talks

Tuesdays at 2 pm at 161 Washington Avenue branch of the Albany Public Library, 161 Washington Avenue

March 5 | Book Review | The Path to Paradise: A Francis Ford Coppola Story by Sam Wasson.  Reviewer:  John McGuire, PhD, attorney. 

March 12 | Author Talk | Author, Spiritual Director,  and Book Coach Diane Cameron will discuss her book, Looking for Signs, and talk about writing memoirs.

March 19 | Book Review | The Exceptions: Nancy Hopkins, MIT, and the Fight for Women in Science by Kate Zernike.  Reviewer:  Elaine Garrett, BFA, MA, STEM Outreach and Workforce Development, SUNY Research Foundation at NY Creates and the NYS Center of Excellence in Nanoelectronics and Nanotechnology, UAlbany.

March 26 | Author Interview | Ian Ross Singleton, MFA, of the Writing & Critical Inquiry Program, U at Albany, SUNY, is interviewed by Geri Walsh, MS (special education), employment specialist, about his novel The Two Differences.


Gotta Have You –  Peter Sprague, featuring Leonard Patton and Rebecca Jade

boygenius – $20

J. Eric Smith: Yes and Good Rats

Farewell, Seiji Ozawa

Maggie Rose – Underestimate Me

Coverville 1476: Tribute to Melanie and Norah Jones Cover Story and  1477: The Robbie Williams Cover Story II

I Don’t Mind – MonaLisa Twins

Overture to Candide, conducted by composer Leonard Bernstein

Sam Cooke – A Change Is Gonna Come

Jump – Van Halen

Texas Hold’Em – Beyoncé

A film music suite from the movie Miracle

Toots Thielemans – Bluesette

Sam Mendes will direct four movies about each Beatle, slated for release in 2027 with an “innovative and groundbreaking” release schedule

Saying NO and being OK

the indispensible person

happier nowArthur received a question. His response is titled Saying NO and being OK.

The query is quite long. Here’s the beginning. “How do I learn to say no? All my life, I have tried to live my life helping others. As I approach my mid-sixties, I have found myself embroiled in so many people’s problems, that I am overwhelmed beyond belief.”

I SO relate to this. Arthur gave some sage advice, identifying the anonymous writer as perhaps a “rescuer,” which has often been the case in my experience. Sometimes, people, myself included, get a certain gratification from being indispensable while, AT THE SAME TIME, feeling overwhelmed by the implications of the tasks at hand.

One of the things I have done more often preemptively in the past decade is to say NO to almost everything that’s not already on the schedule. This wasn’t easy, and it is/I am a work in progress. And I needed to do so in even low-consequence situations.

A recent example. As I’ve noted, my church exterior appears in the season two premiere of The Gilded Age series. My wife got the DVD of Season 1 from the library and asked me, “Would you like to watch this with me?”   Sometimes I am too literal. I hear: Would I LIKE to watch it with her? The answer to THAT question is, Why yes! Of course!

But I said NO because I was working on reading a book review that I would be presenting at the library soon.

This happened to me a lot. Someone asks, “Could you…” be on this committee or take on that responsibility? Could I? Well, yes, I believe I have the requisite skills to do the job. Yes, I COULD. But even if it’s the question asked, the answer should not be whether I COULD but rather if I SHOULD, whether I WILL.

Well, this once

That said, I’m much better at a one-off, and Arthur alluded to this aspect. As I write this, I agreed to serve communion at church because someone will be out of town. Frankly, I like doing it; it’s not onerous – 15 minutes max to set up before service, 10 minutes afterward to clean up, and the serving is during the service I’m at anyway.

Occasionally, one IS the best person to resolve a particular issue. This happened to me in the autumn of 2023, when I brokered a resolution of an impasse, and I really was the only living person able to do so. But these are fairly rare situations for most of us.

In general, my default is to say NO, and then I try to juggle the other to-do things in my mind. Sometimes, I change my mind and say yes.

A recent vlogcast by John Green impressed me. He has been posting weekly on YouTube, barring illness or technical difficulties, since January 2007. He admitted that he wasn’t feeling it a few times a year but posted anyway. In 2024, if he’s not feeling it, he won’t do one.

Just say no. It’s easier said than done for many of us, especially when we see ourselves as “good” people. Just say NO, not always, but now and then.

The Anthropocene Reviewed, reviewed

Essays on a Human-Centered Planet

I agreed to review The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet by John Green on September 12 at the Albany Public Library, mainly for selfish reasons.

I’ve been having a terrible time reading books this year. I’ve attended many book reviews and author talks this year and have even bought several books from the authors.

So if I agree to review the book, which I bought when it was brand new in 2021, read about 50 pages, then never got back to it, I MUST finish it. I completed it the day before the review.

Next issue: how to present the review. The first thing, I suppose, is to explain the title.  What the heck is the Anthropocene? According to the video The Anthropocene and the Near Future: Crash Course Big History #9, the Anthropocene is “an unofficial geologic era where humans have an immense influence over the biosphere.”

Then, I needed to explain what Crash Course, started by John Green and his brother Hank, is.  “At Crash Course, we believe that high-quality educational videos should be available to everyone for free. The Crash Course team has produced more than 45 courses to date, and these videos accompany high school and college level classes ranging from the humanities to the sciences.

“Crash Course transforms the traditional textbook model by presenting information in a fast-paced format, enhancing the learning experience.” I learned. I discovered that my daughter had looked at several videos for her Advanced Placement history course, notably on the French Revolution.


And, of course, I needed to introduce them to John Green. Fortunately, on the 20 February 2023 episode of  JEOPARDY, episode  #8811, there was a category called A CRASH COURSE IN JOHN GREEN. One clue mentioned his book The Fault in Our Stars,  which was “largely inspired by a young friend, Esther Earl, who died of cancer at 16″  in 2010.

I noted that the earlier book had been banned or challenged in certain schools and libraries, much to John’s dismay.

The answer (or question) of one J clue was, “What is  Nerdfighteria?” How do I explain that?!  It is the mainly online-based community subculture that originated around Vlogbrothers videos, to “get together and try to do awesome things and have a good time and fight against world suck.”

This led to the DFTBA (Don’t Forget To Be Awesome) store and other activities. They’ve raised about $5 million to help fight maternal mortality in Sierra Leone. The Awesome Coffee Club, Awesome Socks Club, Pizzamas, and other endeavors have funded this.

Back to the book!

But what do I want to say about The Anthropocene Reviewed itself? In a Vlogbrothers post from 2021, What is my new book about, John admitted that it was difficult to describe. It’s an adaption of 2018-2021 essays, plus others going back to 2008. It’s a memoir.

Answers from some Nerdfighters: “The Anthropocene Reviewed attempts to capture what it means to be human. It is both joyful and terribly sad, filled with light and darkness, levity and grief. “

“It’s essays that “review facets of the human-centered planet on a five-star scale.”

“It is about honoring your lenses from which you see the world, letting yourself wonder and wander, but never forgetting that your lenses are not the full picture, and they depend on who moves them.”

John reviewed the reviews of his book.

Ultimately, I spent most of my time reading from the book. The only section I shared in its entirety is the section about the movie Harvey.

I did NOT play these videos. But if YOU want to get a sense of The Anthropocene Reviewed, check out these three, at least the first one.


Auld Lang Syne

The Sycamore Tree

I liked the book a lot. Moreover, I loved the integration of self and the stuff around self. My audience seemed to appreciate the artfulness of the duality of the form in the book.


August rambling: it does matter

Roger Green reviews John Green (no relation)

392 “Educational Intimidation” Bills Have Been Introduced in the US Since 2021

How the Myth of Colorblindness Endangers France’s Future: The refusal to gather data on race and ethnicity is exacerbating inequality, increasing social segregation, and preventing badly needed reforms.

How did Frederick Douglass become a conservative spokesman?

A New Monument to Emmett Till Doesn’t Measure Progress, But It Does Matter?

A raid on a Kansas newspaper likely broke the law, experts say. But which one?

Is Mental Health a Workplace Issue?

Ingenious librarians: A group of 1970s campus librarians foresaw our world of distributed knowledge and research, and designed search tools for it

The little search engine that couldn’t. A couple of ex-Googlers set out to create the search engine of the future. They built something faster, simpler, and ad-free. So how come you’ve never heard of Neeva?

India lands a spacecraft near the moon’s south pole, a first for the world as it joins an elite club. WAY cool.

Brain-reading devices allow paralysed people to talk using their thoughts. Two studies report considerable improvements in technologies designed to help people with facial paralysis communicate. But the devices must be tested on many more people to prove their reliability.

Why do upstate New Yorkers call it city chicken when it isn’t even made of chicken?

Now I Know: The Translator That Sucked The Life Out of Dracula and  Ulysses Subtracting (Land) Grant? and You Can’t Eat Here (And Don’t Really Want to Anyway) and The Man Who Lives on Cruise Ships and The Fans Who Saved The Day (For the Bad Guys) and The River Race that Doesn’t Like Water


Jerry Moss, A&M Records Co-Founder and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Member, Dies at 88

Clarence Avant, ‘Godfather of Black Music,’ and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Member, Dies at 92

Bob Barker, Famed Game Show Host, Dies at 99

Plus, people I’ve known IRL:

Billie Anderson, 93, a pillar at Trinity AME Zion Church in Binghamton, NY, the church I grew up in, died July 23. Then  her daughter Penny Sanders, a contemporary of mine, passed c. August 17

Dwight Smith, 93, a longtime member of my current church, choir, and Bible study, among other things, died August 7

Marilyn Cannoll, 93, who was the head of the Schenectady Arts Council when I worked there in 1978, died on August 9

John Wolcott, 90, a “rebel with a cause, a purveyor of justice and the truth,” died on August 17

Jacqui Williams, who I knew from Filling in the Gaps in American History, died on August 22. She spoke at my church in 2015; though the website is defunct, the Facebook page has lots of information

Matthew 5 is too “woke”

From Newsweek: Evangelical leader Russell Moore said that he saw Christianity in “crisis” because the teachings of Jesus were being viewed by a growing number of people as “subversive” to their right-wing ideology. The idea of “turning the other cheek” and other teachings of Jesus are being rejected as “liberal talking points.” Theologians described it as a rift within the conservative Christian faith that had come to be defined by support for djt.

It’s a dichotomy between theological evangelicals concerned primarily with Christian character and “political” evangelicals intent on winning the culture war, experts told Newsweek. See also: Daily Kos.

The Georgia indictments

djt has a “plan” for America called Agenda 47, and it’s a helluva thing.

Albany Public Library

Proceeds from the event benefit library programs and services. Purchase tickets here.

Tuesday noon book reviews at Washington Avenue large auditorium: I suppose I should plug September 12 | The Anthropocene Reviewed:  Essays on a Human-Centered Planet by John Green.  Reviewer:  Roger O. Green, MLS, retired librarian, NY Small Business Development Center, & current board member, FFAPL.


September 5 | Two Photography books:  Uncommon Places by Stephen Shore & Empire by Martin Hyers & William Mebane.  Reviewer:  David Brickman, exhibiting photographer, art critic, & FFAPL treasurer.

September 19 | The Heat Will Kill You First:  Life and Death on a Scorched Planet by Jeff Goodell.  Reviewer:  Richard King, retired attorney.

September 26 | A Conspiracy of Mothers, a novel by Colleen Van Niekerk.  Reviewer:  Miki Conn, author, poet, artist, storyteller.


Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door– the PFC Band, in memory of Robbie Robertson

Coverville 1453: The Gamble & Huff Cover Story and 1454: The Robbie Robertson Tribute 

Peter Sprague Plays Coltrane’s Giant Steps

My Home by Antonin Dvorak

Brahms: Academic Festival Overture (Solti, CSO)

Peter Sprague Plays Badge featuring Leonard Patton

The Boy From… – Linda Lavin, written by Esteban Río Nido

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