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

February rambling: obituary pirates

strong men always fall

Posted by Jessica Wilson to Star Trek Wholesome Posting

He Died in a Tragic Accident. Why Did the Internet Say He Was Murdered? Within a day of the death of Matthew Sachman, 19, on New York City subway tracks, so-called obituary pirates had flooded search results with false information.

Judge clears names of 2 men convicted in Times Square murder after they spent years in prison and The Juror Who Found Herself Guilty. I’m always pained by these stories of innocent people being in jail for decades before being exonerated.

Gazan Lives Matter

Cory Doctorow: How I Got Scammed

Sam Waterston to Leave ‘Law and Order’ After 20 Seasons

50 Best ‘Law & Order: SVU’ Guest Stars, Ranked

Anti-Racism Resources

I gave blood at the Albany High School on January 31. It was my 178th time. My time: 5 minutes, 17 seconds. Booyah!

Kelly goes marbles

Mel-O-Toons: Cheap cartoons for weekday enjoyment

Now I Know: When New York Choked the Artichoke Trade and When Milwaukee Went to War Over Bridges and Math and the Missing Planet and Why Did This Rabbit Drive a Car?

NOT ME: A SCOTTISH commercial cleaning firm has announced its acquisition of an English rival, adding a further 100 staff to its growing UK team. Founded in 1988 by its Chairman Roger Green, Spotless now operates over 1,700 contracts across the UK, providing a full range of cleaning services for blue chip companies, retail outlets, industrial leaders, and premier commercial premises.


Chuck Miller: The surgeries aren’t done yet; Panic at the hospital; Waiting on an NPO; This blog post was almost written from beyond the grave. Get better, Chuck!

About Biden’s Age and Memory

King Charles Diagnosed With Cancer, Buckingham Palace Say. The Royal Line of British Succession

Seiji Ozawa, Captivating Conductor, Is Dead at 88. He led the Boston Symphony Orchestra for 29 years, toured widely, and helped dispel prejudices about East Asian classical musicians. I saw him on television several times, at least once in person, probably at Tanglewood. 

Chita Rivera, revered and pioneering Tony-winning dancer and singer, dies at 91

Carl Weathers, Apollo Creed in “Rocky,” dies at 76

Amelia Earhart’s long-lost plane was possibly spotted in the Pacific by an exploration team

The retribution presidency

2024: What Kind of Society Will America Be?


djt Calls for ‘All Willing States’ to Deploy National Guard Troops to Texas. Kareem: “This is not a drill: Donald Trump has become the most destructive force to American democracy. To support him after all that’s happened, after all he’s said and done, is to denounce America and everything it stands for. That’s not hyperbole or liberal posturing. It’s merely acknowledging the facts.”


From Maggie Haberman, New York Times: “A vindictive Trump second term is now a frequent point of discussion. But [John] Bolton already got a close-up look at Trump’s nature — and how his anger can boil over. He spent 17 months in the administration and left in 2019.

“The new edition of Bolton’s book focuses on several examples, especially the case of Ellen Knight, a National Security Council official who cleared Bolton’s original edition for publication and was then dismissed from the [National Security Council].

“Knight told a federal judge that senior White House lawyers pressured her to falsely claim that Bolton’s book contained classified information. She was reinstated under President Biden.”


djt says he’d let Russia do ‘whatever the hell they want’ to NATO countries that don’t pay enough. Republicans say it was just fine.


Heather Cox Richardson: “What I’m saying is… if former president Donald Trump or a Trump-like figure… is elected president or takes the presidency in 2024, we will lose American democracy for our lifetimes. Not forever, because strong men always fall. It’s the nature of authoritarian movements.”[She’s more optimistic than I.]


Federal Appeals Court Rejects Trump’s Claim of Absolute Immunity. The ruling answered a question that an appeals court had never addressed: Can former presidents escape being held accountable by the criminal justice system for things they did while in office?


Where has Tracy Chapman been? Tracy Chapman – Fast Car

The Genius Of Stevie Wonder

The War and Treaty: Lover’s Game

1712 Overture – PDQ Bach

Karma Chameleon – Culture Club

Victoria Monét: On My Mama

Coverville 1475: The Harry Styles Cover Story

Jelly Roll: Son Of A Sinner

J. Eric Smith’s Favorite Songs by Favorite Artists: Buggy Jive and D.O.A. 

Laufey – From The Start

Gracie Abrams: Difficult


Jan. rambling: power and the glory

Until The End Of The World

The Corruption of the Evangelical Movement, the Weekly Sift review of Tim Alberta’s The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory.

The effect of abortion bans on women’s health, a preview of a program running on Hulu.

See How 2023 Shattered Records to Become the Hottest Year. Month after month, global temperatures didn’t just break records; they surpassed them by far. This year could be even warmer.
History is not a feel-good story.
Renaissance fairs and the Red Scare

Stealing Jokes Is Taboo, So Why Do Comedians Keep Doing It?

Julie Newmar documentary

A Parliament of Owls and a Murder of Crows: How Groups of Birds Got Their Names

The Jay Thomas story about the Lone Ranger, Clayton Moore

Now I Know: The Problem with Free Pizza and The Restaurant of Mistaken Orders and These Pigs Don’t Fly, But They Are Flags


Hail and Farewell (CBS Sunday Morning 12/31/2023)

My wife’s uncle on her mother’s side, Glenn Olin, and her aunt on her father’s side, Portia Bush, both died in January 2024.

Tom Shales, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Washington Post Critic, Dies at 79

Glynis Johns, Who Played Mrs. Banks in ‘Mary Poppins,’ Dies at 100. I watched a show called Glynis, which ran for 13 episodes in 1963.

David Soul: Starsky & Hutch actor dies aged 80

The 1890 US census was destroyed 103 years ago. Here’s what survived.

NFL ‘Sunday Ticket’ At Stake As Court Clears Way For Major Antitrust Trial. A jury trial, which could significantly impact the market for NFL games, is set to start on Feb. 22. Damages are estimated at $6.1 billion.

NFL: Saturday, Jan. 20 – I’m rooting for the visitors

AFC — No. 4 Houston at No. 1 Baltimore 4:30 p.m. (ESPN, ABC)

NFC — No. 7 Green Bay at No. 1 San Francisco, 8 p.m. (FOX)

NFL: Sunday, Jan. 21 – I’m rooting for the home teams

Game 9: NFC — No. 4 Tampa Bay at No. 3 Detroit, 3 p.m. (NBC)

Game 10: AFC — No. 3 Kansas City at No. 2 Buffalo, 6:30 p.m. (CBS)

Bhutan: In the mountains of the world’s most remote country, baseball takes hold


Until The End Of The World – U2

Samba Em Comun – Peter Sprague, featuring Sinne Eeg

On The Beautiful Blue Danube, followed by the Radetzy March. Vienna Philharmonic.

It’s Been A Long Long Day – Radka Toneff, a Paul Simon cover 

Coverville 1472: The Jimmy Page Cover Story

Nothing Really Matters – Madonna

Carmen Suite – Rodion Shchedrin

Red Flags – Brittany Howard

Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again – Bob Dylan

Rainbow Connection dubbed into Japanese

Tomorrow Never Knows – The Beatles

The Covered Man – David Soul 

Midnight Special– CCR

Don’t Give Up On Us  – David Soul 

a valuable life lesson learned in 2023

How does a weary world rejoice?

One more question: 

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2023:

Repeating what I’ve said before, The trouble with normal is it always gets worse. After the UNLV shooting, in which three people died, an NBC reporter interviewed a witness. The reporter said, “Incredibly,” the witness was also present at the 2017 Vegas shooting at which five dozen were killed and hundreds wounded. There was nothing “incredible” about it. It’s just guns in America.

Someone fired a shot around a Jewish temple in Albany, NY, on December 7, the first night of Hanukkah, which led the NBC Nightly News. No one was hurt, and the shooter was quickly apprehended. But the Israel/Hamas/Palestinian war has stirred long-simmering anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim,  anti-Palestinian bigotry, which we’ve seen everywhere from college campus to the streets of bucolic Burlington, VT, where three Palestinian college kids were staying because it was perceived as safer than being in the occupied West Bank. They were shot, and one likely will never walk again.

People can’t keep saying, “It can’t happen here.” I searched Wikipedia for Maine shootings, and I had choices: the one in 1993, the one in 2006, or the two in 2023.


Then there’s the political turmoil. djt will be the Republican nominee, even if he’s convicted of one or more cases against him. The Atlantic is so terrified it had a whole issue dedicated to it.

Even if he’s not in office, his minions dominate the House, starting with the Speaker, Mike Johnson. And trumpism is baked in – book bans being the most on-the-nose example – and we can’t even count on the courts, certainly not SCOTUS, to stop it.

Add to this the ecological precipice we’re on and refugee crises worldwide, and you can call me Debbie Downer.

What is the remedy?

Still, I have hope because hopelessness is too hard. No hope means not getting out of bed in the morning. You do what you can. If that’s irrational, so be it.

How do I get there? And I see this as an ongoing process, not that I’ve arrived. For me, and it wasn’t initially a conscious decision, I’ve been embracing a series of sermons our pastors have been presenting during Advent and Christmastide collectively titled: “How does a weary world rejoice?”

“We acknowledge our weariness.” I’m very good at THAT. The first two sections of this post are precisely why I am weary. And I left a few things out.

“We find joy in connection.” Like many people, the real difficulty with COVID was the feeling of community. I’ve been embracing these opportunities. Thrice this year, I participated in trivia contests, as much for the collegiality as the competition; I’d only done trivia twice before, and one was in 2022. Participating in the Ironweed reading, a potluck, and a carol sing were other examples.

“We allow ourselves to be amazed.” My daughter interviewed me for a class project, which she says she’ll allow me to use in this blog early in 2024. I learned things about her but also about myself.


“We make room.” Our friends gave us their tickets to the Albany Symphony Orchestra on December 10. I particularly loved watching the joy that one of the cellists was experiencing. At some moment in Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 4, which I was unfamiliar with, there is a dead silence. It was awesome and unexpected.

It was raining very hard that day. My wife pointed out that I mentioned the wonder of a brief silence twice. It was pouring out. I get JOY when we drive below an overpass, and the sound of the deluge is stilled for 1.5 seconds.  This has been true for a very long time.

“We sing stories of hope.” On Christmas Eve 2020, my church service was online. The pastors were present, but few others. The music was provided by recordings of our choir singing from previous years. Watching me sing brought me to tears, and they were not happy tears but weeping of despair. I don’t take singing on Christmas Eve, Maundy, Easter Sunday, or even a regular weekly service for granted.

“We root ourselves in ritual.” I have Thursday choir rehearsal, Sunday service, and Tuesday book talk at the Washington Avenue branch of the Albany Public Library (moving, BTW, from noon to 2 p.m. this year). Many years ago, a friend complained when I refused to pass on choir rehearsal to do something else. Rehearsing means knowing the music better on Sunday and experiencing the choir gestalt.  

The retrospective quiz thing for 2023

Life is a Cabaret

I’m doing that retrospective quiz thing for 2023.

Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn’t check, but I swear I resolved to do less. I’m not sure I achieved that.

Did anyone close to you give birth?


Did anyone close to you die?

Yes. A couple of folks from the choir, Gladys Crowder and Dwight Smith.  Also, two people I knew from high school, Bob Maye and Pat Cannon, died within a week of each other, one from ALS, which weirded me out.

Off-topic, when I get a Google alert for someone who died with my name, I always check it out: Roger C. Green of Saugerties, NY, just an hour south of Albany, passed away on Christmas Eve, and he was only a year older than I am. We’re not related. I didn’t know him, but I found it sad. 

What countries did you visit?

I’m checking my blog. Nowhere in January. Ditto in February. March? Nope. How about April? Nyet. May – no… wait, YES. Apparently, I went to France! That’s never happened before!

What would you like to have in 2024 that you lacked in 2023?

Less dread that democracy, hanging by a thread, will totally collapse, and not just in the United States.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I did a lot of stuff! I went to Las Vegas, helped plan the Underground Railroad Center’s 4 July event, and participated in three trivia events.

What was your biggest failure?

I have failed to create enough space to spend time working on genealogy.

What was the best thing you bought?

I got that gadget for the trip to France, where I could charge multiple cell phones plus my watch simultaneously. I’m still using it.


Whose behavior merited celebration?

Anyone willing to point out the threat to democracy, protecting reproductive rights, fighting against book bans, fighting for bans on assault weapons, et al. Also, a resurging labor movement and folks like Partners In Health are working for better medical treatments globally, with some success in fighting TB.

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

American right-wingers and Republicans. Last year, Kelly asked, “At some point, these people have to return to Earth, don’t they?” There is no reason to believe that is true. The House Republicans were particularly absurd.

Where did most of your money go?

Same as always: the house, books, eating out.

I’m So Excited

What did you get really excited about?

Lots of things: the Ironweed reading, the Lux Aeterna choir performance, seeing the first niece thrice, the UREC event, and Las Vegas.  Did I mention we went to France?

Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?

It’s a mixed bag. Personally happier. But the world is screwed. In particular, there is little room for resolution regarding opinions in the Israel/Hamas/Palestine issue.

Thinner or fatter?

About three pounds heavier. My wife is pitching for us to do better in 2024, which will probably happen.

Richer or poorer?

Definitely poorer. We have a kid in college.

What do you wish you’d done more of?

Nothing, which is to say, to have time to read and do genealogy.

What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worrying about things.

How did you spend Christmas?

Christmas Eve is at church, and Christmas Day is at home, then my mother-in-law’s.

Did you fall in love in 2023?


How many one-night stands?

Same as last year and the year before that…

What was your favorite TV program?

It’s been so long since I’ve watched any series; it tends to be CBS Sunday Morning and 60 Minutes. I’ve watched more football this fall than in the previous five seasons combined.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No, it’s just more intense.


What was the best book you read?

Comics for Ukraine; Won’t Back Down, edited by Trina Robbins; John Green’s The Anthropocene Reviewed.

What did you want and get?

I got to see two different Eiffel Towers!

What did you want and not get?

Competence and compassion from many political figures.

What were your favorite films of this year?

A Boston Globe critic named Odie Henderson, who I’m not familiar with, listed his Top 10, and I found some overlap. In roughly my order: Past Lives (his #1), The Holdovers (his #7), It Ain’t Over (his #9), Barbie (his #3). He also had Air and You Hurt My Feelings (at #4 and #5, respectively) which I liked, but not at the same level.

The Holdovers and Barbie got some love from the National Board of Review. The Film Independent Spirit Awards liked Past Lives. Vanity Fair had You Hurt My Feelings, The Holdovers, and Past Lives in its Top 8, but it also had Asteroid City, which I did not love. .

Then there are the 2022 films I didn’t see until 2023 that I liked: The Quiet Girl, The Fabelmens, and Women Talking.

I should make a special note of seeing Cabaret with my wife in a cinema. I’d watched it when it came out a half-century ago, but she had never seen it. It is oddly timely. Shortly after that, we watched the documentary The US and the Holocaust – you’d be amazed how long items can reside on our DVR – which amplified how slipping into fascism can take place.

It was in March – I dunno

What did you do on your birthday?

I had a ZOOM call with the Bible Guys at 9 a.m. At noon, I went to the Washington Avenue branch of the Albany Public Library to listen to  Frank S. Robinson, JD, discuss and read from his book, The American Crisis: Chronicling and Confronting the Trump S***storm. After that, I don’t have any idea.

If you take selfies, post your six favorite ones:

I don’t take selfies. I suck at taking selfies. But I like this pic, taken by my wife, a lot.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2023?

{Yawn.} Say what again?

What kept you sane?

Music. Singing music with others, listening to music, and learning about music. Again, this assumes that I am, in fact, sane.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Beyonce attended Taylor Swift’s movie opening, and TS returned the gesture. Sisters are doin’ it for themselves.

What political issue stirred you the most?

Keeping democracy

Who did you miss?


One more question; that’ll be tomorrow because the answer is too danged long.

Oh, the photo on top is one that my friend Alexis took of her TV set while I happened to have been captured by Spectrum News sitting at a Juneteenth event on June 17, 2023, on the grounds of the Underground Railroad Education Center.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial