Slowly I turned, step by step…

Niagara Falls

Slowly I turnedHere’s an odd stream of consciousness piece, I suppose. Back in the mid-1970s, I was in a local production of Godspell in New Paltz. At some point in the dialogue, much of the cast is chanting: “Slowly I turned, step by step, inch by inch, until…” I knew it had to be a reference to something, but I had no idea what. I didn’t bother to search YouTube or Google, since they didn’t exist at the time. So I forgot about it…

…until I was reading Arthur’s recent stories about the COVID protocols in New Zealand, specifically The next steps have been announced. “Critics, as the Prime Minister pointed out today, will complain that the government didn’t move fast enough, or that it’s moving too fast.” And somehow, my mind conflated the “next steps” and “too fast” into “Slowly I turn, step by step…” What IS that a reference to?

As it turns out, it’s a bit by the Three Stooges called Niagara Falls, which you can see here. It’s part of the 1944 short film Gents Without Cents. But the routine has been used for decades, going back to vaudeville. See the variation on I Love Lucy.

I was never a big fan of the Three Stooges. Their comedy seemed mean-spirited when I’d occasionally see them on Saturday afternoons growing up.

Where everybody knows your name

But they are the punchline to one of the most memorable pieces of dialogue on the sitcom Cheers. It’s from the episode entitled What’s Up, Doc? which I have not seen since it aired in March of 1989. A therapist says to Sam Malone (Ted Danson), “You’re an aging lothario who uses sex to cover up massive insecurity, a fear of true intimacy, fear of a relationship…”

Sam believes the diagnosis. “Come on, answer the question. What do I have in my life that isn’t women or sex?” His friend Rebecca notes his job bartending, his car, and sailing, but Sam notes these are all ways to meet women.

At the end is this dialogue:

Rebecca: What about the Three Stooges?
Sam: Oh, yeah, great. I like the Three Stooges. That helps a lot.
Rebecca: Wait a minute, Sam. Think about this. Do women like the Three Stooges?
Sam: No, they hate them.
Rebecca: All right. Are women impressed that you like the Three Stooges?
Sam: No, some of them even think they’re stupid.
Rebecca: When you’re watching the Three Stooges, do you think they’re sexy?
Sam: No, when you watch the Three Stooges, nobody has time to think about sex or women. Hey, wait a minute. That means I do have another interest in my life. I like the Stooges for themselves. Hey, whoa, I’m okay. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!

It’s funnier in full context.

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

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The Self-Dealing Presidency

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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

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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

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

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