13 years – feeling lucky, blogger?

Roger Green, strolling the streets of Albany, talking about the weather.

After 13 years, I think blogging is easy. There are 365 days. My birthday. My two sisters’ birthdays. My parents’ birthdays, the anniversary of their marriage, and the anniversaries of their deaths. 12 posts about The Daughter, always on the 26th of the month. Music throwback – another 52.

Various holidays – a dozen more. ABC Wednesday – 52 posts. Birthday people who turn 70 – 3 score and 10. There were 21, but some became music throwbacks, so let’s say 12 additional. That’s roughly 170 posts right there. All I need is another 185. Easy-peasy.

Blogging is hard. I have no skill, and frankly little interest, in the backside of the blog, how it works. So when it doesn’t work, for reasons mysterious and frustrating, makes me wanna holler, to quote Marvin Gaye. Dustbury has been gracious and helpful and gracious in this regard.

Blogging is convenient. When I’m on Facebook and having a conversation about a movie I’ve seen or an issue I care about, it’s easier to reply with a link to a blog post I’ve already written rather than answering on the fly.

Blogging is a community. I’ve discovered a bunch of other bloggers over the years. My friend Fred Hembeck, when he was blogging, had a sidebar. That’s how I was introduced to comic book fans such as Lefty Brown, Greg Burgas, and Eddie Mitchell; maybe SamauraiFrog, as well. I was reintroduced to my old buddy, former Swamp Thing artist, Steve Bissette, who had done work for FantaCo, the comic book shop/publisher I worked for in the 1980s.

Somehow I connected with other people I didn’t know, from Jaquandor at the other end of the Erie Canal, to AmeriNZ, on the other side of the globe. Mrs. Nesbitt started ABC Wednesday, and I got involved in that early on.

Blogging begets blogging. The same month my blog started, our work blog began. Because I was blogging here, I was invited to blog on the Times Union site, something I do rarely these days, for all sorts of reasons. Alan David Doane, a young FantaCo customer in the day, had invited me to blog on a couple of his comics-related blogs.

And blogging generates connections. People from my elementary school, old friends of the late FantaCo artist Raoul Vezina, fans of donuts, and many others.

It’s even gotten me on the news: Here’s Roger Green, strolling the streets of Albany, talking about the weather. The station saw my blog post from 10 years earlier and decided to interview me.

So I guess, if I can do 13 years, I’ll keep at it for another 12 months.

Angry people: airline seats, nudies in the Cloud, tobaccoless CVS

The Puritanical “outrage” over nude pictures in the Cloud left me shaking my head.

disk_discs_compact_It’s 4:40 a.m., and if I were an independently wealthy/retired, there are any number of recent topics I might write about. But I’m not. So some scattershot thoughts before they go totally cold.

Reclining seats on planes

I’ve long hated airline travel; it’s a flying bus. The recent spate of fights over someone trying to recline his/her seat, and was inhibited by the person behind, have gotten so bad that three flights were diverted in ten days. This is inevitable, given the fact that the space between seats is getting smaller as the passengers, collectively, are getting larger. Of course, this totally screws up not only the lives of the passengers on those flights but those on connecting flights as well.

Mark Evanier reminded me that airline passengers’ occasional schmuckiness is not just a recent occurrence.

Physical music

Part of the reason I’m strapped for time, actually, is that I switched around three pieces of furniture that hold my CDs. One extremely heavy piece moved, two others replaced, which meant reorganizing almost every disc I own. I am reminded that Jaquandor recently noted that he hadn’t purchased a physical CD in four years, and Alan David Doane said the other day that he listened to an album all the way through for the first time in a long time. Whereas I, obviously an old person, listen to albums, all the way through, all the time, and purchased, or was given, maybe two dozen CDs in the past four years. Yes, I know they may deteriorate over time. Did I mention my vinyl collection?

The moving of these CDs actually made me nostalgic. When I was a new blogger eight or so years ago, Lefty Brown and some of his online cohorts (Greg Burgas and Mike Sterling and Eddie Mitchell and Gordon Dymowski, among others) put together a mixed CD exchange; those discs now have their own section in the new furniture.

There’s some comedy routine that ends with “no one understands the Cloud.” And while technically untrue, I sometimes feel that way. I’ve never been all that comfortable having my music there, and good thing; the stuff I used to have on Amazon seems to have disappeared.

Nude photos in The Cloud

And speaking of the Cloud, intellectual property lawyer/drummer Paul Rapp explains the misrepresentations about pix of Jennifer Lawrence, et al being accessed. I discovered amazingly heated conversations about this topic.

My feeling is that the hackers were – I already used schmucks this post – twerps. Others criticized the (mostly) actresses who stored the pictures and fall into a couple of subcategories: those who thought it was not safe to rely on the Cloud to keep nude photos, and those who wanted to slut-shame those who HAD nude photos of themselves. I sort of understand the former – though this should have known better talk irritated me. But the Puritanical “outrage” left me shaking my head.

As usual, Dustbury has an interesting take on the issue.

CVS bans tobacco

A month earlier than previously announced, the pharmacy CVS decided to ban the sales of cigarettes. The reaction by some baffled me “I don’t smoke, but I think it’s ridiculous. We can’t legislate everything.” Well, no, it’s not being legislated, it’s a business decision, which, in the short term will cost the company millions of dollars in sales.

The major complaint is that they aren’t banning cookies and chips and candy, which can also be bad for you. Sure, but in moderation, it won’t give one diabetes and heart disease, while cigarettes can kill even second-hand smokers. Much of the thread seem to scream about a loss of “freedom”, as though Walgreens and the corner store and thousands of other venues have begun banning them as well.

Gillibrand redux

I’ve mentioned the less-than-tasteful comments made by members of the US Congress toward Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). There are shrill calls saying she should be naming names. I don’t. 1) She’s made her point and 2) she still has to work with these guys, and even if they weren’t always using Senate decorum doesn’t mean that she should abandon same.
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Evanier pretty much nailed my feelings about Joan Rivers. Before she got nasty and spent too much time doing whatever schtick she did with her daughter, she was quite funny. The term pioneer is applicable.

February Rambling: niece Rebecca Jade in a movie

My niece, Rebecca Jade, appears as a singer (typecasting, that) in a film called 5 Hour Friends, starring Tom Sizemore,

autocorrectFrom Jeff Sharlet, who I knew long ago: Inside the Iron Closet: What It’s Like to Be Gay in Putin’s Russia. In 2010, Jeff wrote about the American roots of Uganda’s anti-gay persecutions. He notes: “Centrist media sources dismissed my reporting as alarmist; The Economist assured us it would never pass. [This week], Ugandan President Museveni is signing the bill into law.”

There was no Jesse Owens at Sochi.

Arthur’s letter to straight people: why coming out matters; read the linked articles therein, too. (Watch that Dallas sportscaster on Ellen.)

So Dangerous He Needs a Soo-da-nim. Racist homophobes who comment on Sharp Little Pencil’s blog.

With conversations about shipping potentially dangerous liquids through my area, here’s a recollection of a train wreck 40 years ago.

If you knew you were going blind, what would be the last thing you would want to see before everything went dark?

The mess of an answered prayer and talking about mental illness.

A Hero’s Welcome after World War II. On a lighter note, The Margarine Wars.

This school is not a pipe, or pipeline.

An alto’s-eye view of choral music.

Who the heck was Ed Sullivan. Plus, Meet the Beatles and what it replaced, and What the critics wrote about the Beatles in 1964, and Introducing the Beatles to America.

Evanier’s experiences with Sid Caesar. Evanier wrote a brace of followup stories here (which also talks about Howie Morris) and here. Also, Dick Cavett reviewed one of Caesar’s two autobiographies, plus an article about the ever-foldable Al Jaffee of MAD.

Leonard Maltin on meeting Shirley Temple.

There are several Harold Ramis films I haven’t seen yet, but the ones I DID view – Animal House, Ghostbusters, Analyze This – I really enjoyed. Groundhog Day was among the first movies I ever purchased on VHS. And his SCTV stuff was fine, too.

A reminder that this is why we are so touched by Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death, from Anthony Lane. As someone put it, “It’s not his celebrity but his art.”

An audio link to a 46-minute lecture by Charles Schulz.

My niece, Rebecca Jade appears as a singer (typecasting, that) in a film called 5 Hour Friends, starring Tom Sizemore, a 97 minute comedy/drama/romance. “A lifelong womanizer gets a taste of his own medicine.” It was made in 2013, but not widely released, if at all. It will be in theatrical release in San Diego March 28-April 4th. Here’s the trailer, in which Rebecca can briefly be both seen and heard singing.

After only an 18-month hiatus, Tosy and Cosh are back ranking every U2 song.

Why Tom Dooley was hanging his head. Plus hangman John Ellis.

That is NOT the way Dustbury remembers that song, and I don’t either. Plus the history of Unchained Melody.

Mark Evanier’s teacher from hell.

Lefty Brown’s Valentine’s Day post to Kelly. “The Married Gamers – Play Together. Stay Together.”

Maypo Cereal Commercial (1956) Yes, I DO remember it, so there.

The five-second rule, expanded. Very true.

One can count on SamuraiFrog for all things Muppet: Getting to the Big Game and Miss Piggy’s response, plus a meta ad for the upcoming movie and Rowlf getting ice cream and saying good night to Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night; I hear Fallon’s gotten another job. Fallon, BTW, went to school at the College of Saint Rose, about five blocks from my house.

Yet another version of Bohemian Rhapsody.

Frog still torturing himself with 50 Shades of Smartass: Chapter 13 and Chapter 14 and Chapter 15 and Chapter 16. When I typed the title, I accidentally wrote “50 Years…”; read into that what you will.

GOOGLE ALERTS (me)

And now for the AmeriNZ section: Arthur’s linkage, in which he calls my Everly Brothers post “diabolical.” Arthur’s Law restated, tied to my Facebook unfriending. The law is a ass.

YouTube and AIDS deniers.

January Rambling: looking for good news

Ever confuse palate, pallet and palette? I did this month.

attemptedmurder Arthur’s article Why we think the news is worse than it is. This led to a thread that I wrote about finding good news amongst the bad which are here and here and here.

People I know personally, at least one artist, seemed really irritated that a Norman Rockwell painting fetched a record price last month. This antipathy seemed to be tied to the notion of Rockwell as artistic pablum. Another view of the artist is Closet Case as Gay Icon. I find these assumptions interesting, but highly speculative.

I am tired of being the T in LGBT.

Albany, NY has been a city since 1686; got its first woman mayor in 2014.

The Albany Symphony Orchestra Wins a Grammy Award! And I went to that ASO concert the week the recording was made.

In the small town of Binghamton, New York there spins a 1925 carousel that once inspired Rod Serling and has since become a portal into… the Twilight Zone.

Re: the Chris Christie/George Washington Bridge story, Stereotypes still caught in gridlock. You’ve probably already seen the take by Jimmy Fallon and Bruce Springsteen.

Speaking of whom, an NPR interview with Springsteen.

Criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic.

My Pete Seeger obit, which is a rewriting of what I wrote when he turned 90.
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The first obituary I saw for Amiri Baraka, formerly LeRoi Jones, whose Blues People book I loved, was a prolific author. Later stories focused on him being polarizing and controversial. I prefer the balanced NPR report.

Morrie Turner, R.I.P., creator of the comic strip Wee Pals, revolutionary in its own way.

Growing Up Unvaccinated. “I had the healthiest childhood imaginable. And yet I was sick all the time.”

In 1919 wave of molasses in the North End of Boston killed 21 people.

Because dictionary.

The Decoy Effect and, re: Fidel Castro, Elimination by Illumination, and early phone service via barbed bells and the medical wonder of tiny sideshows.

Lefty Brown is open-sourcing his weight loss and exercise.

About the new Presbyterian hymnal, written by my pastors’ niece.

50 Shades of Smartass, Chapter 9 and Chapter 10 and Chapter 11 and Chapter 12. Plus SamuraiFrog explains his visual autobiography.

Jaquandor is killing his darlings, so to speak.

The New York Times’ Most Popular Story of 2013 Was Not an Article.

Dates you won’t find on your calendar, such as January 0.

Happy introverts day was January 2. I so relate.

Melanie’s A Bit of Happy: Reading, Russian, and the Soviet Union and The Memory is in There.

Ever confuse palate, pallet, and palette? I did this month, but I had the good sense to stop and look it up before sending it.

The Official Website of William Schallert. He’s a character actor I know best as the dad in The Patty Duke Show.

The new and ugly Monopoly “Get Out of Jail Free” card.

Fables, Elfquest, Marvel’s Conan, and Neil Gaiman’s Sandman are the best fantasy comics of all time, according to Comic Book Resources.

Ever since two Atlanta Braves pitchers got elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame this month, people have been telling me about this commercial, which also features a former player NOT yet in the HoF, and who may never be.

Alex Trebek raps clues on ‘Jeopardy’, sort of.

Robert Downey Jr. sounding more like Sting than Sting does.

Leon Theremin playing the theremin.

Between the music and the history, well worth watching; I will say no more.

The history of Amazing Grace with Bill Moyers from 1990.

Quaker Parody: What Does George Fox Say.

We have two felines and can’t argue: Sorry, But Your Cat Is Actually A Total Jerk. It’s Just Science.
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GOOGLE LINKS (not me)
The website is the brainchild of Roger Green, founder, and owner of £10m national office cleaning contractor, Spotless Commercial Cleaning Ltd.

Re: Statistically speaking: ‘Anti-mayor’ voting block overstated. Brighton Independent By Greg Smith and Roger Green.

You thought they knew everything about you?

“Short of wearing a burka, we may all one day become Tom Cruise at the mall, because marketers who track us as we shop online and send us ads, want to do that as we shop in the real world.”

Did you see 60 Minutes recently or read the story ‘Say goodbye to anonymity’?

Lesley Stahl, CBS News 60 Minutes: Facial recognition is already in some of our home appliances like TVs. In our mobile devices, PINs and passwords are giving way to faceprints. And the technology can single us out in real-time as we go about our daily business, often without us ever knowing.

Joseph Atick, one of the first scientists to develop facial recognition software: What’s unique about face recognition is the fact that you can do it surreptitiously, from a distance, and continually.

Alessandro Acquisti is a professor at Carnegie Mellon who does research on how technology impacts privacy. “He says that smartphones may make ‘facial searches’ as common as Google searches and he did an experiment to show how easy it could be… He ran pictures [of random students] through a facial recognition program he downloaded for free that sifted through Facebook profiles and other websites. And he was able not only to identify many of them instantly, he also got their personal data, including in some cases, their social security numbers.

“Short of wearing a burka, we may all one day become Tom Cruise at the mall, because marketers who track us as we shop online and send us ads, want to do that as we shop in the real world.” That reference was to the 2002 Cruise film Minority Report. I’m somewhat horrified by this.

I’m happy that with their relationship on the rocks, Chris (Lefty) and Kelly Brown found a marriage counselor in their Xbox, but I wonder how much of privacy is given up to prove that new Xbox experience that’s being launched.

I can’t quite explain why, but this future automotive device weirds me out.

And it’s primarily commercial entities doing this, from the info we give out ourselves. I suppose I should unplug everything on social media and hide in my cave. But I won’t (yet).

As Tom the Mayor wrote on Facebook: “You know, You can’t ‘friend’ an Amish person on Facebook!”

Shooting Parrots wants to give Google the finger because “corporate giants like Amazon, Starbucks and Google [and Apple!] who have taken to biting the hands that feed them by avoiding paying tax where their customers live,” while, I would add, using the info we give them to get ever richer. SP is using DuckDuckGo.com in lieu of Google; its motto on the page: “Search anonymously. Find instantly.” It may lessen the “Google experience,” but it is a reasonable tradeoff, I think.
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Some kid’s in jail for something he wrote on Facebook.