March rambling: as good as Jacinda Ardern

John Oliver’s Monica Lewinsky Interview Should Be Required for Internet Use. The Secret Life of Muslims: An education.

I helped convict two men of murder. I’ve regretted it ever since.

The Secret Life of Muslims: An education.

Jacinda Ardern Has Rewritten the Script for How a Nation Grieves After a Terrorist Attack and Why The World Looks To New Zealand — And Not US and NY Times Editorial Board: U.S. Deserves Leader ‘As Good As Jacinda Ardern’.

These Are the World’s Healthiest Nations. The US is #35 on the list.

Early responses to the Mueller report from Weekly Sift and AmeriNZ.

Public Shaming: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; this Monica Lewinsky Interview Should Be Required for Internet Use.

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah: The Reparations Debate: Should America Compensate the Descendants of Slaves?

Why You Should Stop Saying ‘Committed Suicide’.

The Trump–Rosie Feud That Ensnared Barbara Walters and Blew Up The View.

paranoia

Top 10 Most Populous City Ranking History (1950-2035).

Confronting Season-Change Denial.

Vlogbrothers: Writing and Marriage Advice from Michelle Obama and How to Get a Colonoscopy.

The ‘Men’s Liberation’ Movement Time Forgot.

The only metric of success that really matters is the one we ignore.

When Hoarding Is a Disorder.

Mispronouncing Students’ Names: A Slight That Can Cut Deep.

8-year-old homeless refugee takes chess world by storm.

The Power Of Doing Only One Thing.

Chuck Miller spoiler: My big problem with the new Shazam! movie.

Jim Carrey and Michel Gondry on Making Eternal Sunshine.

Green Book: History vs. Hollywood.

Jim Meskimen doing some impressionist “warm-up” exercises.

Happy retirement to Joe Sinnott.

Historian finds first grand slam in MLB history — in Rensselaer County, NY.

Maple Sugaring Time In The South End of Albany.

Now I Know: The Trail Ink Left Behind and How a Silly Social Media Thing Helped Break the Ice and When You’re Glad The Bank Isn’t Trustworthy.

MUSIC

Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind – MonaLisa Twins featuring John Sebastian.

Postmodern Jukebox: Video Killed The Radio Star in the style of Queen ft. Cunio and Pinky And The Brain Theme.

King of Anything – Sara Bareilles.

Workshop versions of songs from Hamilton.

Unforgettable Covers of Aretha Franklin songs.

The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore – Walker Brothers.

In Ireland -Sir Herbert Hamilton Harty.

The Irish Suite – Leroy Anderson.

K-Chick Radio: Harry Nilsson.

Coverville: 1256: Tributes for Keith Flint, Dick Dale and Cover Stories for Ric Ocasek and Nick Lowe.

Light Calvary overture – Franz von Suppe.

George Winston’s Linus and Lucy: The Music of Vince Guaraldi.

Dick Dale, Surf Guitar Legend, Dead At 81.

Aubrey Logan and her band talk about her new album Where the Sunshine Is Expensive, including a couple clips of the niece/backup singer Rebecca Jade.

Fight Poverty, Not the Poor; “White Genocide”

America is something we do, not something we are. It is an idea that can be shared by anyone who is inspired to share it.

poor people's campaignRev. Liz Theoharis from the The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, came to my church this past weekend. It was a very meaningful event on Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Part of the scripture reading was the beginning of Isaiah 10 (NIV): “Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people.”

But beyond the message was the relational connections. I knew a LOT of people there, and not just my fellow parishioners. There’s a colleague from the North Country, way above Albany, who attended. He’d heard Liz speak on videos and wanted to see her in person. I sent him this Faith in Public Life webinar on Census 2020, trying to include everyone.

One friend shocked another – they had never met each other – in discussing John Calvin, the progenitor of Presbyterianism and his role in the burning of Michael Servetus. As the Calvinist said, “We never learned about THAT in my confirmation class.”

Still another buddy was stunned by the assertion, by me and another, that the National Rifle Association, founded 1871, was actually a largely non-partisan group in its first century. It’s only been since the 1970s that it became radically politicized.

Even someone breaking into our church at 4 a.m. on Sunday – a broken door window, but nothing of value apparently taken – did not cancel out the meaningfulness of the weekend.

The talk Saturday night, of course, began with more than a moment of silence for those massacred in New Zealand. I really have no words that aren’t better expressed by Arthur the AmeriNZ.

He too is incredibly impressed by the Kiwi Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who offered “the strongest possible condemnation of the ideology of the people who did this. You may have chosen us, but we utterly reject and condemn you.”

I was likewise taken by the Weekly Sift guy, Doug Muder, who managed to read the whole 70+-page “manifesto” of the gunman, something I was not able to stomach. Muder wrote Fear of White Genocide: the underground stream feeding right-wing causes.

A key paragraph of the Weekly Sift rebuttal: “In my view, America (or Western culture, for that matter) isn’t something that arises from the essential nature of the White race. America is something we do, not something we are. It is an idea that can be shared by anyone who is inspired to share it.”

I suppose it’s important to understand the hate mentality, though I’m not convinced that comprehension will be enough to stem the tide of bigotry. But I do see a linkage between the attack on the poor and attacks on racial/ethnic/religious “others.” It’s driven by fear.

It’s sometimes difficult to remember that most people are good and kind and just trying to get through life like the rest of us.

October rambling: Twilight Zone & the Confederacy

We are living in a kakistocracy

Hands up, don’t shoot (Nah, that never happened…)

The Twilight Zone and the Confederacy.

In 1939, 20,000 Americans rallied in New York’s Madison Square Garden to celebrate the rise of Nazism

How the Nazis Used Jim Crow Laws as the Model for Their Race Laws

Trevor Noah: Race and Identity (NY Times interview)

No longer a convicted murderer, Carl Dukes faces life after 20 years in prison

A Fire Story -Brian Fies

Journalists’ lament

Heather Fazio’s exodus from the Times Union blogfarm

John Oliver: Why The Equifax Breach Is A Big, Scary Problem

The lie that poverty is a moral failing was buried a century ago. Now it’s back

How the Elderly Lose Their Rights

Labour will lead NZ Government

LIGO Detects Fierce Collision of Neutron Stars for the First Time

The day the sky turned red in the UK – but what caused rare phenomenon?

The Story Behind the Chicago Newspaper That Bought a Bar

We are alienating each other with unrestrained callouts and unchecked self-righteousness

Chuck Miller: Crossing past my failures

Burger King ad: Bullying Jr.

Vikings Razed the Forests. Can Iceland Regrow Them?

Archaeology in Albany

How did people sleep in the Middle Ages

The shortest regularly scheduled airline route on earth

Swedish death cleaning is the morbid new way to de-clutter your life

28 Boring Words and What to Use Instead

Where do mansplainers get their water?
From a well, actually.

How to Pronounce Paraskavidekatriaphobia

5 Zombie Walks to do for Halloween

Magazine of the Living Dead: The bloody rise and frightful fall of Fangoria – at FantaCo in 1980-1988, we sold a ton of back issues; #9 was considered rare

A brief history of Bat-marriage

The Great Catnip Caper Of 1909

Now I Know: Why Things are Tawdry and When Baseball Players Left it on the Field and The Special Sound a Mercedes-Benz Makes Before a Crash

Steve

THE MADNESS OF DJT

We are living in a kakistocracy

Taking Hostages and The chaos grows

The Self-Dealing Presidency

Rigged: How Voter Suppression Threw Wisconsin to Trump

Grief, compassion -advice ignored

George W. Bush: Bigotry in any form is blasphemy

Lawrence O’Donnell: ‘Stunned’ by John Kelly’s attack on Rep. Wilson and video of her 2015 speech at new FBI building

How Badly Is Neil Gorsuch Annoying the Other Supreme Court Justices?

MUSIC

We Will All Go Together When We Go – Tom Lehrer

Almost like Praying – Lin-Manuel Miranda and friends sing for Puerto Rico support

Since I Don’t Have You – Skyliners

What goes on – Beatles (Lennon vocal)

Coverville 1190: Indie Hodgepodge & Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute

K-Chuck Radio: But they’re not doing the Time Warp…

Hey Ya! – Walk off the Earth (Outkast Cover)

Up In A Puff Of Smoke – Polly Brown

You’re Still A Young Man -Tower Of Power (1972)

Go Go Shoes / Go Go Place- Lonnie Youngblood with Jimi Hendrix, May 1966.

Shocking Omissions: Joan Armatrading’s ‘Walk Under Ladders’

Female-female songwriting teams

Joni Mitchell: Fear of a Female Genius

Hallelujah! The Songs We Should Retire?

Why we really really really like repetition in music

Who first said, “Writing About Music is Like Dancing About Architecture”?

CAREER IN MUSIC IS DAMAGING TO MENTAL HEALTH

August rambling #2: artificial – flowers and televangelists

A Marvin Gaye/Ramones mashup.

librarian.mug

How a ’50s-Era New York Knife Law Landed Thousands in Jail.

Jeff Sharlet interviews Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King.

No matter how sincerely we think we get it, we don’t really get it. “A personal epiphany about race and gender, to my fellow white males.” And Please Stop Being a Good White Person (TM).

Donald Trump Just Stopped Being Funny. “Win or lose, Trump’s campaign threatens to unleash the Great American Stupid.”

About Josh Duggar’s Ashley Madison Account. Am I the only person who had never HEARD of Ashley Madison until this summer?

USA network postpones ‘Mr. Robot’ finale due to parallels to Virginia murders, in which two people were murdered on live television, a reporter and cameraman. Postponed a whole week, to September 2!

Apocalypse Now – Washington state’s climate change.

How to Be Polite.

The difference between Latino and Hispanic, in one mini comic strip.

Dustbury notes men who are boobs.

Stop the Jared Fogle “footlong” jokes: Why do we still find prison rape acceptable, let alone funny?

John Oliver Exposes Shady Televangelists Fleecing Americans For Millions. Or watch here. And he sets up his OWN church Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption. So, will the IRS respond? Over 30 years ago, Frank Zappa sang about this.

Ken Burns, on the Civil War: It’s about ‘slavery slavery slavery’.

Julius Rosenwald is The Philanthropist Who Built Over 5,000 Schools for Black Students in the Jim Crow South.

Arthur wonders: expat or immigrant?

In Defense of Saggy Pants by Miriam Axel-Lute.

After first treatment, Jimmy Carter and family returned home to see the streets lined with support.

Chuck Miller’s son turns 30. Plus he links to some fine posts, plus one of mine.

The English language, we all know, is in decline. “‘The average schoolchild can hardly write’… said William Langland, author of ‘Piers Plowman’… who died in 1386.”

Banksy’s ‘Dismaland’ in England: It’s a Strange World, After All.

Amy Biancolli explains How to cross the street in Albany.

Jaquandor gets interviewed by Jon Stewart, kinda, sorta.

Rebecca Jade sings the National Anthem at Petco Park on August 8, 2015. Also featuring #1 niece: Under New Management from Tom Antl and Team Groovy, MATURE audience, Winner Best Film – San Diego 48 Hour Film Project 2015.

Born to Run and the Decline of the American Dream.

A Marvin Gaye/Ramones mashup.

Artificial Flowers by Bobby Darin, an unlikely hit, given its subject matter. An interpretation by New York stage performer Ciro Barbaro more in keeping with the lyrics.

The Rolling Stones for Rice Krispies.

This actually came up in conversation at church last week: I Love To Singa- Owl.

Dean Martin Knocks the Beatles out of the #1 Spot on the Charts.

One Toke Over The Line – The Lawrence Welk Show (1971).

Fillyjonk: Lorde have mercy.

Now I Know: Making Sense of Dollar Signs.

The Spiedie Is A Perfect And Important Sandwich: It is high time this nation recognized Binghamton, New York’s beloved culinary mascot as the God-Level Foodstuff that it truly is.

GOOGLE ALERT (me)

Chuck Miller and I had an idea for some Times Union bloggers to get together. I jokingly suggested having it at Ken Screven’s place. Chuck actually pursued it, and it was so.

Absurd Flag Flapping, New Zealand style, and When the ‘good guys’ are wrong.

TWCQT #4: The Nine-Panel Grid.

GOOGLE ALERT (not me)

Lubbock (TX) ISD baseball field home to district’s llamas. “Tina has been here the longest,” Monterey Agriculture teacher Roger Green said.

Other than America; ending arguments

Moving closer to the equator doesn’t interest me much

CHILDRENAROUNDTHEWORLDLisa of peripheral perceptions wonders:

I don’t know if you’ve answered this one, but I’d like to know in what city/country would you live if you could live anywhere else in the world. And why. 🙂

I don’t think I have. I did this with states – I came up with Vermont – but not countries.

Part of the problem is that I’m just lousy with languages, so it’d have to be a country where a lot of people speak English.

The default answer for a lot of Americans is Canada. It’s like the US, except they have better health care and don’t fear the metric system, the argument has been. And if the globe is warming, Canada might be a thought. But those waves of cold weather this past winter in the US, all stored to our north, and fueled by the Arctic melting, worries me.

The United Kingdom my wife loves. But it appears broken economically and is subject to that same nasty weather we experience on this side of the pond.

I don’t know enough about Belize, but moving closer to the equator doesn’t interest me much. I loved Barbados, but, in addition to too much heat, and hurricanes, I can’t imagine living on a small island. Not diverse enough geographically, and too expensive.

Ultimately, I think it’d have to be in the Southern Hemisphere. While Australia seems interesting, the ghastly warm weather that has been experienced in the interior the last couple of years, north of 125F/50C would keep me away from everything except the east coast cities.

Another option, I suppose, is New Zealand. This is in no small part because Arthur the AmeriNZ has described it so well in his blog and podcasts. It’s reasonably progressive. Now I may NEVER figure out its electoral system the way I know the US system. Then again the US system is broken, so no big loss.

Climate change will affect NZ too, but the southern landmass of Antarctica may make that a LITTLE less terrible, for a time. Now, it IS on the ring of fire of volcanic and earthquake activities, which makes me nervous. Still, I guess I’ll say New Zealand because at least I’d know someone there.
***
SamuraiFrog wants to know:

At what point is an argument over for you? I know someone on Tumblr who recently engaged in victim-blaming just to end an argument. He felt bad about it, knew it was wrong, admitted it, and sincerely apologized. But some people are still invested in making him feel bad about it. At what point do you let something like that go?

It all depends. What is the “crime”, first of all? Some dumb comment someone makes in the heat of the moment might get a pass unless it’s so hateful and vicious that you have to surmise that, deep down, that he or she must be a really awful person.

Michael Richards of Seinfeld fame gave a really nasty racist rant, I hear. I didn’t listen to it. There’s a point, though, that it is in the past, and for me, Richards is there.

Of course, it matters if it is a real apology. Richards sincerely apologized. I’m sure I must have mentioned this topic somewhere about bad apologies. Oh, there it is, from 2009:

DON’T use the word BUT. An example would be, “I’m sorry, BUT you started it.”
DON’T use the word IF. My least favorite apology: “I’m sorry IF you’re offended.” The clear implication is that you really SHOULDN’T be offended, but I better say it anyway.

Lame apologies get zero points from me.

Nasty words written are more difficult to forgive. I do know that people can get caught up in a debate on social media, though, which is why I tend to minimize my contribution to the same.

But some acts are so egregious that even a sincere-sounding apology is hard to accept: “I’m truly sorry that I molested those boys over a 20-year period.” Not satisfactory.

Now, online fights, I’ll just walk away from, even if THEY think that, by not responding, they think I think they’re right. I suspect that your Tumblr acquaintance, assuming he keeps his nose clean, will come out OK, if only because his critics will latch on to someone else.

Whereas a face-to-face or phone argument might be a different issue, especially among friends or relatives. You may have heard stories of fights that went on for years or even decades. True of my maternal grandmother and her brother over the fact that he was “living in sin” with a woman in the 1960s.

Go, Argentina!
Go, Argentina!

And speaking of arguing – Not an ARA question, but rather a comment by Lisa to this post:

I would encourage you to try and get back into one of the groups at your church. That seems to be an area of importance for you and may be the best place to nurture those human interactions. But you’ll always have us…….:-)

As it turned out, I actually had an odd incident at one of these groups back in April, and it’s not entirely settled.

It was after The Daughter was starting to get better after her terrible March. I hadn’t gone to the previous meeting, partly because it was Lydia’s birthday, but partially because she was still having issues. Getting together with this group was something I was clearly looking forward to, as I had purchased lots of snacks.

But one guy dominated the conversation with references most of the rest of us did not understand for a good half hour. By the time I got to say something, someone made a joke that less upset me than distracted me from what I had hoped to be talking about. I angrily stormed out and didn’t come back for the last three or four meetings before the summer break. I may return in the fall.

Still, it’s not the same as one-on-one conversation with an old friend.