Dec. rambling: Happiness Campaign

FFAPL book reviews now two hours later

Thoughts and prayers

A Viral Dance and ‘Happiness Campaign’ Frustrates Iran’s Clerics:

It all started when a 70-year-old fish market stall owner nicknamed “Booghy” was grooving in public in violation of Iranian law.

Elon Musk and Freight Trains: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Those University Presidents

 COVID isn’t over: “Globally, the number of new cases increased by 52% during the 28-day period of 20 November to 17 December 2023 as compared to the previous 28-day period.” In the US, “SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, has continued to mutate and spread. The latest strain to attract attention is called JN.1, and so far, it appears to be highly transmissible.” I’ve known several IRL people who’ve gotten COVID this fall. My sister in SoCal told of one of her choirs in which almost 50% had to bail from a concert because of various respiratory ailments. BTW, I got my most recent shot in October 2023.
Kindness Doesn’t Have a Billable Code— But it’s a key part of patient care.
My questions to Ask Arthur 2023: Get here from there; measuring and measured.

The loneliest miser

Just how rich were the McCallisters in ‘Home Alone’? Fans have been debating the family’s wealth for years. We asked the Federal Reserve for answers.

Mais non?

France did not always speak French.

8 Demonyms That’ll Leave You Shaking Your Head

Opinion: The simple explanation for the changes at ‘Jeopardy!’ and Ken Jennings on Mayim Bialik’s Exit and His Own ‘Celebrity Jeopardy!’ Host Approach

Tom Smothers, Half of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Duo, Dies at 86. I watched the Smothers Brothers show on CBS religiously.

Mbongeni Ngema, Renowned South African Playwright and Creator of ‘Sarafina!,’ Dies at 68

Lee Sun-Kyun, ‘Parasite’ Actor, Dies at 48

‘The Gilded Age’ Stars Christine Baranski and Cynthia Nixon on Their On- and Off-Screen Relationship. My wife is currently bingeing on Season 1 of this program. BTW, the building in the background of the photo is my church!

Now  I Know: The Smutty History of the Pixar Logo’s Older Cousin and The Town That Raged Against Rage Against the Machine and There Weren’t Skeletons In His Closet and The Silent, Stickless Award Show Protest

Tuesday, Dec 26, 2023. I’ve got five more since.
Voting in even years

On September 20, I complained in this blog about a bill passed by the New York State legislature that would mandate many local elections to be held in even years. There was bipartisan opposition from the Albany County Board Of Elections on the bill (Times Union, Nov 27): “Republicans and the New York State Association of Counties have generally mounted the main pushback against the legislation, raising concerns that traditional attention on local races will be drowned out by races for president, Congress or governor…”

The TU editorialized against it (Dec 3): “More people may cast a local vote as long as they’re in the voting booth, but those local races may just as likely get lost in the information overload of a considerably more crowded ballot. And the bread-and-butter local issues behind those races may get drowned out in the hyperpartisan, hot-button din of state or federal elections.”

To my great disappointment, Governor Kathy Hochul signed it (TU. Dec 23). “Hochul described the controversial measure as a ‘significant step towards expanding access to the ballot box and promoting a more inclusive democracy,’ but she also chose to sign it on a Friday evening, three days before Christmas. “

Friends and Foundation Book Talks move to Tuesdays at Two!

The FFAPL book talks at the Washington Avenue branch of the APL are moving from noon to 2 pm starting in 2024. The speakers in January:

January 2 | Book Review | The Democrat Party Hates America by Mark R. Levin.  Reviewer:  Frank S. Robinson, JD, philosopher, author, & blogger.

January 9 | Book Review | Prequel: An American Fight against Fascism by Rachel Maddow.  Reviewer:  Roger O. Green, MLS, retired librarian, NY Small Business Development Center, & current board member, FFAPL.

January 16 | Book Review | Fire Weather: A True Story from a Hotter World by John Vaillant.  Reviewer:  Jonathan Skinner, PhD, retired statistician & amateur classicist.

January 23 | Author Talk | Paul T. Murray, professor emeritus at Siena College, discusses & reads from his book, Seeing Jesus in the Eyes of the Oppressed:  A History of Franciscans Working for Peace and Justice.

January 30 | Book Review | Best Remembered Poems by Martin Gardner.  Reviewers:  Joe Krausman, poet; Gene Damm, former journalist; & Jonathan Skinner, amateur classicist & retired statistician.

Newsmax writes: “Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is poised to declare “war” over proposed legislation in New York that would force some Chick-fil-A restaurants to open on Sundays, a move that would run afoul of the company’s policy since it opened in 1946.” Except that the story is grossly misleading. 

VerifyThis notes: No, a New York bill wouldn’t force current Chick-fil-A rest stop locations to open on Sunday.  “The bill requires all restaurants at certain rest stops to remain open seven days a week, including Chick-fil-A. But it only applies to future restaurant contracts.”

Frankly, I never understood why the Thruway authority offered contracts to an entity they knew would be closed on part of the weekend.


Kodachrome – Joshua Lee Turner

Coverville 1470 and 1471: The 2023 Coverville Countdown

THR’s The 10 Best Songs of 2023

J. Eric Smith’s Best Albums of 2023

Laura Lynch, Founding Member of The Dixie Chicks, Dies at 65

The eighth class of artists was announced for the Capital Region Thomas Edison Music Hall of Fame.

Working towards a Trump detox

Newsmax suckup

The Week.20201204My attempt to create a Trump detox has started. I’ve found it necessary to say repeatedly to myself that virtually all we are hearing now from him and his dwindling pool of supporters is crap. If it weren’t so much a threat to democracy, it would be absurdly funny.

ITEM: Check out the Instagram of Rich Ragsdale. His “Incredible Sulk” is great.

ITEM: Sit Down, You’re Blocking the Vote –  Brad Oscar 

ITEM: Per the LA Times: “The Justice Department is investigating whether there was a secret scheme to lobby White House officials for a presidential pardon as well as a related plot to offer a hefty political contribution in exchange for clemency.

“Most of the information in the 18-page court order is redacted, including the identity of the people whom prosecutors are investigating and whom the proposed pardon might be intended for. The document from August does reveal that people are suspected of having acted to secretly lobby White House officials to secure a pardon or sentence commutation and that, in a related scheme, a substantial political contribution was floated in exchange for a pardon.”

Whining about DeWine

ITEM: The National Review (!) calls his post-election behavior  disgraceful and dishonest

ITEM: Even U.S. Attorney General William Barr “told the Associated Press that the Justice Department has not found any evidence of voter fraud that would impact the result of the 2020 presidential election… Barr.. had boosted Trump’s baseless attacks on the security of voting by mail ahead of the election and amid a pandemic.”

ITEM: IMPOTUS’ “hostility toward yet another sitting Republican governor once again risks begetting yet another primary challenge: In a bonkers interview on Fox News on Sunday…, he complained bitterly that Gov. Brian Kemp hadn’t sought to overturn the results of Georgia’s elections and moaned, ‘I’m ashamed that I endorsed him.'” He’s also declared war on Ohio’s Mike DeWine.

ITEM: State after state is verified for Biden yet again, including Arizona and Wisconsin, which cost IMPOTUS $3 million to find more votes for the President-elect.

Those leftists at CBS

ITEM: Newsmax, his new favorite media outlet, now that he’s on the outs with FOX, is blaming the “left-wing news media” for his “alleged” defeat. The MSM “refused to give airtime to important arguments of the Republican campaign.” Ah, they weren’t shills.

The argument is that “millions of voters cast their ballots knowing only what the media permitted them to know about the candidates.” I’m not buying the premise, but I share it to show its flawed logic.

If these voters had only known about “the financial scandal enveloping Biden and his son, Hunter,” enough folks would have changed their ballot to swing the election. Wait. The incumbent had brought up repeatedly at the first debate with Joe, though it didn’t serve him well. He also mentioned the charge regularly at his COVID-spreading rallies.

Meanwhile, those voters weren’t informed about the record number of jobs “created in the extraordinary snapback from the pandemic recession.” Boohoo. ALL of his advisers told him repeatedly to run on the economy, and yet he spun conspiracy theories instead. The brokered peace agreements with Israel and several of its Arab neighbors made MY mainstream media newsfeed.

But the last example is the most absurd. “Operation Warp Speed, which even before the election was well on track to deliver 300,000,000 doses of a safe vaccine as soon as next year.” True enough. “Our poll found 36.1% of Biden voters said they did not know about the administration’s key role in promoting vaccine research… If they had, 5.3% told us they would have abandoned Biden, flipping Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, giving the President 295 electoral votes.”

Who showed up at COVID press conferences for 40 days straight at the beginning of the pandemic? He shared useless or even counterproductive mutterings about not wearing masks and taking unproven remedies. Then he disappeared for weeks at a time, seemingly giving up on fighting the pandemic. He had the bully pulpit and failed to use it.

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