January rambling #1: Tower of Terror

50 Years Ago, the Wah-Wah Pedal Was Born

2016: The Movie

First BLOTUS Press Conference, Annotated

‘Gaslighting’ all of us

FLATUS Dossier Spotlights Russian History of ‘Kompromat’ – Diplomats, politicians and bureaucrats have been embarrassed by leaks of compromising material

The body language of FLATUS, and the 20 best nicknames; are you sorry yet?

FLATUS plan to keep his business is national embarrassment

How Populism Goes Bad

Gun silencers are hard to buy. Donald Trump Jr. and silencer makers want to change that

Regarding Simon & Schuster, Milo Y., and Booksmith

Nazis Celebrate As Ann Coulter Cites White Supremacist Code

The US has been hacking elections for more than a century

Transcript of Face the Nation book panel with Isabel Wilkerson (“The Warmth of Other Suns”; JD Vance (“Hillbilly Elegy”); actor Diane Guerrero (“In the Country We Love”); Amani Al- Khatahthbeh (“Muslim Girl: A Coming of Age”

Full Text Of Obama’s Farewell Address, or you can watch it

President Obama Awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Vice President Biden

ObamaWhiteHouse.gov is the future home of President Obama’s WhiteHouse.gov. This site will be maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration and will serve as an historical archive of Obama Administration content.

Decency Is Not a Dirty Word

This way to the egress

Our brain does not process information, retrieve knowledge or store memories. In short: your brain is not a computer

We don’t need Uber

The Prank of the Face: Unmasking the “Droeshout” Portrait of William Shakespeare

Actors seek posthumous protections after big-screen resurrections

RIP William Christopher; I watched him as Father Mulcahy for 11 seasons on MASH

Lord Snowdon dies aged 86; Anthony Armstrong-Jones was the first “famous” person who I knew shared my birthday of March 7

The Mysterious Virus That Could Cause Obesity


Shelterforce takes an in-depth look at the summer 2016 Sheridan Hollow mosaic project in which 3,000 City School District of Albany art students contributed their talents to help transform a city neighborhood.

Announcing a New Folger Fellowship in Honor of Margaret Hannay

The Waxhaws, on the border between the Carolinas

Arthur answers my questions about pop culture and Arthur, plus writes about his mom, who would have been 100

How Not To Write Like An Archdruid

Disney’s Twilight Zone Tower of Terror has taken its final plunge before it gets a Marvel Studio makeover

They surveyed Americans to see how familiar they were with the ten shows that were nominated for Best Comedy and Drama for the Golden Globes

Richard Thompson and the comic strip CUL DE SAC

Jim Cummings provides the voices for many cartoon characters

Now I Know: Selling a Better Way to Shop and Top Billing and The People That Have No Rights and McRefugees and The Lobster War

Obit: Mr. Oliver Larry Rickard, better known as “Paw Paw” the Clown, age 81, of Rome “Survivors include… a brother-in-law, the late Roger Green.”

Music

2016 Coverville Countdown of the best cover versions, Part I and Part II

Kubo and the Two Strings – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Highlights from “Bring It On: The Musical”

To Russia with Love – Matt Monro

If Moby Accepted Trump Inauguration Invitation, This Would Be His Playlist, plus Trump Is on Your Side – Moby and the Homeland Choir

Station to Station – David Bowie

Nat Hentoff, renowned columnist, jazz critic, free speech advocate, died at 91. I used to read him in the Village Voice for about 20 of his 50 years with the paper

Patti Smith Never Wanted to Be Famous (interview)

David Byrne on not being afraid to fail

The Kinks’ Ray Davies receives knighthood in New Year Honours List

50 Years Ago, the Wah-Wah Pedal Was Born in a Hollywood Hills Garage

Vinyl sales in UK reach highest level in last 25 years – with more than 3.2 MILLION LPs sold last year

A Fancy Guitar to Sell, but Hard to Play in Handcuffs

Why did CNN air a documentary about the band Chicago produced by band members?

Circular question answering New York Erratic

Let me say that while Thanksgiving and Christmas are wonderful and all, there seems to be a lot of sense of obligation.

happinessrunsAnd in an act that defies logic, I am now answering questions that New York Erratic answered for me, even though I gave them to her, based on questions Lisa posted, and which Dustbury also answered… Oh never mind.

1. What is your dream vacation spot and why?

It would be a place by the water, preferably running water, like a river or waterfalls, because I love water; maybe it’s the Pisces in me. It would be neither too hot nor too cold. MaybeVictoria Falls, in September.

2. Where did you come up with the name of your blog?

There was a long-running radio talk show called Rambling with Gambling, from which I got the Ramblin’ part. The Roger part, I have no idea.

3. How do you define blogging success?

It really does vary. While I don’t especially care, when my Times Union blog is trending, or when Chuck Miller declares it one of the week’s 10 best, I enjoy that.

But the real success is that I find people with whom to have reasonable, usually rational, dialogue. Such as with New York Erratic.

4. What is your favorite type of “going out” entertainment?

I like going to the movies because I like seeing movies in the theater. Watching videos often creates the temptation to pause it and do something else. That’s OK with something I’ve seen before, but not the first time. That’s why I ultimately canceled Netflix; I had The Hurt Locker for four or five months, and never found two solid hours to watch it without The Daughter around, or being too tired, or too busy.

5. How many states (name them) have you lived in?

North Carolina (for four months). New York (the rest of my life.)

6. What is your favorite holiday and why?

Ash Wednesday. Let me say that while Thanksgiving and Christmas are wonderful and all, there seems to be a lot of sense of obligation. The beginning of Lent is a time of quiet reflection. When I was a kid, it was only the Catholics I knew that got the ashes on the forehead, but lots of Protestant churches, including the last two I’ve belong to, participate, and I think it’s an easy, but symbolic, way for religious rapprochement.

7. What’s your favorite number and why?

I really do like zero. It’s nothing, yet it’s massive in combination. It’s that dividing line between the positive and the negative. What’s not to like?

8. What would be your dream vehicle to own?

Some motorized bicycle that I’d turn on for hills, and pedal otherwise.

9. What is your favorite hobby?

I suppose it’s singing, though, until you brought it up, I never thought of singing as a hobby, but rather just WHAT I DO, WHO I AM. Or blogging.

10. How do you try and keep your blog fresh?

I change the blog filter every 3,000 miles. Cereally, I actually plotted out 2014, or parts of it. I decided on my ABC Wednesday topics for every week in Round 14, back in October; didn’t write them, of course, but knowing what I was going to write about gets the brain working. Then I found the half dozen people who turn 70 I want to write about. Then there are holidays and observances. And anything I find interesting I don’t have anything to write about, I link to at the end of the month. This leaves the rest of the time for movie reviews and life experiences. In other words, I throw the blog against the wall and see what sticks.

11. Where do you do your best thinking?

In the shower, or riding the stationary bike. Or when I first wake up, which is why I like to blog when I first wake up (and don’t particularly like to blog at night).

Sing If You’re Glad to Be Gay

Mitt Romney let religious right activists bully his campaign over its hiring of an openly gay foreign policy staffer, Richard Grenell. After the campaign froze him out of press briefings to quell the controversy, Grenell finally quit…, with no effort by the presumptive nominee to persuade him to stay.

In the “nobody said progress was linear” department, I note that in short order:
* Joe Biden Says He’s Comfortable with Gay Marriage, a remark which sent all the tea leaf watchers to ponder whether it was a “gaffe”
* US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Supports Gay Marriage
* Despite the pleas of good Christian folks such as this guy, the voters of North Carolina voted for constitutional Amendment 1, which not only reemphasizes an already codified law, which will also complicate the lives of unmarried heterosexual couples

* President Barack Obama said:
I was asked a direct question and gave a direct answer:
I’ve always believed that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally. I was reluctant to use the term marriage because of the very powerful traditions it evokes. And I thought civil union laws that conferred legal rights upon gay and lesbian couples were a solution.

But over the course of several years, I’ve talked to friends and family about this. I’ve thought about members of my staff in long-term, committed, same-sex relationships who are raising kids together. Through our efforts to end the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, I’ve gotten to know some of the gay and lesbian troops who are serving our country with honor and distinction.

What I’ve come to realize is that for loving, same-sex couples, the denial of marriage equality means that, in their eyes and the eyes of their children, they are still considered less than full citizens.

Even at my own dinner table, when I look at Sasha and Malia, who have friends whose parents are same-sex couples, I know it wouldn’t dawn on them that their friends’ parents should be treated differently.

So I decided it was time to affirm my personal belief that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

I respect the beliefs of others, and the right of religious institutions to act in accordance with their own doctrines. But I believe that in the eyes of the law, all Americans should be treated equally. And where states enact same-sex marriage, no federal act should invalidate them.

Even before the President’s latest pronouncement, Arthur had noted the President’s accomplishments on the GLBT front. Meanwhile, “Speaker John Boehner decided to use our tax dollars to intervene and stand up for DOMA to deny LGBT Americans the rights they deserve.” And only last week, Mitt Romney… let religious right activists bully his campaign over its hiring of an openly gay foreign policy staffer, Richard Grenell. After the campaign froze him out of press briefings to quell the controversy, Grenell finally quit…, with no effort by the presumptive nominee to persuade him to stay. If Grenell was qualified to hold the sensitive post of foreign policy spokesman, why did Romney cave instantly to demands from radio hosts and other ignorant bigots to let him go? I find that far more telling than the bullying incident from Romney’s youth.

I’m not a single-issue voter, but on this issue, the courage and cowardice are clear.

I’ve read suggestions that Charlotte, North Carolina should be stripped of the Democratic National Convention this summer, in response to the state’s vote; whether it should or shouldn’t, it’s not going to happen. Planning national conventions take months of preparation for security and other considerations.
**
Gay Pride events, mostly in June

*God v. Gay?, where I link to an important video piece

*Mark Evanier wrote: “My friend Shelly Goldstein…on this blog, writes a monthly column for a Gay Rights website arguing for more tolerance and also some of those ‘equality’ things like marriage. When I mentioned her gig to someone once, he furrowed his brow and said, ‘She’s not gay, is she?’ No, she’s not and it’s sad that there are some people out there who can’t seem to grasp the concept of taking a stand on behalf of others, as opposed to your own immediate self-interest.”

Glad To Be Gay- Tom Robinson Band, a most significant song from 30+ years ago that’s been rolling around my head. I first heard a live, solo version on the Secret Policeman’s Ball album c. 1979.