November rambling: we’re in trouble

notable books

A great cover illustration by Walter Molino, repurposed by Jan Strnad, and used with Jan’s permission

Democracy and the Press: We’re in Trouble

Revisiting the fascism question

Liz Cheney’s new book blasts GOP as ‘enablers and collaborators’ of djt

Why Georgia Republicans Are Protecting the D.A. Who Indicted Trump

In the wake of the Voting Rights Act ruling, North Dakota to appeal the decision that protected tribes’ rights

ProPublica reviewed 12 of the nation’s strictest abortion bans. Few changed in 2023, as state lawmakers caved to pressure from anti-abortion groups opposing exceptions for rape, incest and health risks.

Dollar Stores: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

The Remarkable Biden Economy

You Cannot Rely on the Government to Protect You From Bad Charities

FTC Authorizes Compulsory Process for AI-related Products and Services

Rosalynn Carter, Outspoken Former First Lady, Dies at 96

Chuck Miller: A big toe named Elise Stefanik

NYPL service was impacted due to City budget cuts, including ending Sunday service at the vast majority of locations that currently offer it.

 About 8.2 Million People Moved Between States in 2022

Of special interest to me

Finally — a PROFESSIONAL Comics Magazine! COMICS SCENE 1, January 1982. At this point in the video, there is a discussion about a FantaCo ad. Tom Skulan noted that the ad wasn’t particularly successful, whereas the ads for horror items in Fangoria magazine were much more profitable.

New York Times: 100 Notable Books of 2023, one of which was written by an author I actually know 

Obit for Bob Maye, who grew up not far from my house in Binghamton, NY

Consumer Value Stores

Boston Globe: CVS pharmacists are at a breaking point, imperiling the company’s reinvention plans. The link may be behind a paywall, but basically: “There are not enough pharmacists in the pipeline, and the ones the company employs are reaching a breaking point. The company… has spent billions remaking itself into a sophisticated healthcare conglomerate. A key goal is turning its thousands of stores into community clinics where pharmacists, doctors, and nurses work together to improve patient health. But none of this works if the company can’t hire or retain its pharmacists. ‘Pharmacists are burned out,’ said a former CVS executive.”


Warner Bros. Reverses Course on ‘Coyote vs. Acme‘ After Filmmakers Rebel. I don’t understand how a studio makes money scrapping a film it’s completed.

The people who ruined the internet

The Boy Who Captured JFK From His Parents’ Basement

John Oliver – Finding a Place for Satire & Immigration as a Comedian | The Daily Show

Do You Want to Build a Movie? An Oral History of Frozen

How TMZ Became Hollywood’s Grim Reaper

Frances Sternhagen, a two-time Tony winner and television and movie actor, Died at 93. I’ve seen her on The Closer, ER, Sex and the City, Cheers, and the movie Misery, among many other roles.

What Is the Value of a Scenic View?

Medical Malpractice On Law & Order, episode 1, Ft. Legal Eagle

Mark Evanier bankrupted his grandmother in Monopoly, and in life

Greg’s long, strange trip of collecting comic books
There is no such place as Wyoming
Now I Know
 How Fake Fish May Save Coral Reefs (And You Can Help!) and Cops of Coffee and The Very Expensive (and Not Very Nice) Surprise Party and The Man Who Bought (And Returned?) Stonehenge and

The Hole in a Swiss Citizenship Application


Peter Sprague Plays Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You featuring Rebecca Jade

Tray Wellington: Crooked Mind

Mr. Big Stuff – Jean Knight, who died recently at 80

The Highwomen: Crowded Table

Jake Blount: Didn’t It Rain

Rhiannon Giddens: You’re The One

Coverville 1465: The XTC Cover Story II and  1466: The 20th Annual All-Beatles Thanksgiving Cover Story

Amythyst Kiah: Hangover Blues

Our Native Daughters: Black Myself

On The Beautiful Blue Danube by Johann Strauss II

Rina Sawayama : Chosen Family

Kara Jackson: Pawnshop

Rossini: L’italiana in Algeri – Overture

Michael Pollack accompanies Billy Joel on “New York State of Mind”

You Were Meant For Me – Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds

Notation Must Die: The Battle For How We Read Music, which starts with ten minutes about chess notation

November rambling: can we talk?

Apollo 13

per –

Behind the Curtain: Trump allies pre-screen loyalists for unprecedented power grab.

Takeaways from the November 7 elections

Israel-Hamas War War: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and Can we talk about Israel and Palestine?

A settlement marks a step toward ending abuses at for-profit immigrant prisons.

Sesame Street Getting “Reimagined” for Season 56 

Hollywood Reacts to Tentative SAG-AFTRA, AMPTP Deal

Anonymous Strike Diary: A Writer’s Back-to-Work Hangover

Why the Dying DVD Business Could Be Headed for a Resurrection

US Census Bureau: Interracial Couples More Common Among Same-Sex Couples and U.S. Population Projected to Begin Declining in Second Half of Century

Health and more

COVID Immunity in 2023: Guide to Weathering the Winter Resurgence

Vision Impairment May Raise Your Dementia Risk, Research Suggests

In a Comment Submitted to U.S. Copyright Office, FTC Raises AI-related Competition and Consumer Protection Issues

Stand Up To Cancer and the Trebek family have launched The Alex Trebek Fund to accelerate critical research with the goal of better treating pancreatic cancer, which has the highest mortality rate of all major cancers.

Astronaut Frank Borman was the commander of the Apollo 8 mission, humanity’s first mission around the Moon in 1968. He passed away at the age of 95. 

Thomas K. Mattingly was originally part of the 1970 Apollo 13 mission but was bumped 72 hours before takeoff due to his possible exposure to rubella. He helped to guide the Apollo 13 crew as they returned to Earth after an explosion compromised their lunar mission, then flew on Apollo 16. He died at age 87.

Peter S. Fischer, ‘Murder, She Wrote’ Co-Creator and ‘Columbo’ Writer, Dies at 88

Condolences to Kelly and his family upon the passing of his mom, Theresa Sedinger

Trevor Noah Sort Of, Kind Of Misses ‘The Daily Show

Why note-taking apps don’t make us smarter

Hey, writers! It’s NaFaDoYBIMSCoM

How Netflix Conquered Hollywood — And Then Broke It

The 2023 Gold Glove Award winners

CDTA’s New BusPlus Purple Line BRT commenced on Sunday, November 5, 2023. Service along the Washington & Western corridors will be enhanced from downtown Albany to the University at Albany and Crossgates Mall.

Now I Know: The Man Who Sued Himself (and the IRS) and Won and The Girl With Two Twin Sisters and New Jersey’s Fake Sister and The Problem With 500 Pounds of Pennies and The United States/North Korea Alliance of 2007 Am I happy about Christmas television ads starting on November 1st? I am not. 


A friend wrote about Now and Then, “It’s a trap! It’ll get us marveling at how cool it is to hear The Beatles again and use that feeling to lull us into ‘AI complacency.’ I am deeply suspicious.” AI is so suddenly ubiquitous that I understand the confusion. I saw Tony Dokoupil raise similar concerns on CBS Mornings, with his co-anchors explaining the process, which you should see on the Beatles website. Rick Beato’s reaction to the recording is similar to mine: I’m glad it exists.

Now and Then – the MonaLisa Twins

Sweet Sounds of Heaven – The Rolling Stones & Lady Gaga (Live from Racket NYC)

Eve Was Black-Allison Russell

Quiet City by Aaron Copland

Cast Iron Skillet – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

Another Wasted Life – Rhiannon Giddens

El Dorado – Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway  

Work Until My Days Are Done – Blind Boys of Alabama  

De todas las flores – Natalia Lafourcade

K-Chuck Radio: The cheapest knockoffs.

Dymaxion – Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society 

Woven Song – Ólafur Arnalds (Hania Rani Piano Rework)

Dracula OST by John Williams

What Now – Brittany Howard

Coverville 1463: The Johnny Marr Cover Story II and 1464: The Joni Mitchell Cover Story IV

18,000 strangers sing Africa by Toto

Jenny– The Mountain Goats

Goodnight, My Someone – Voctave from Meredith Willson’s The Music Man

Dumb Guitar – Mount Kimbie

Decimal – Tom Lehrer

When You Wish Upon A Star – Dave Koz 

October rambling: Three Chaplains

“he pledged to donate almost all of his money to causes before he died”

I’ve seen and recommend that you watch the hour-long film Three Chaplains. “Muslim chaplains aim to make change in one of America’s most powerful institutions—the military.

“For them, the fight for equality and religious freedom begins on the inside.” Broadcasting on PBS, Independent Lens, November 6, 2023, and available elsewhere after that date. Here’s a review.

 “The Lie Detector Was Never Very Good at Telling the Truth” 

Per, there have been at least 565 mass shootings in the United States this year. Five hundred sixty-five mass shootings in the first 299 days.

Legal Eagle: When Police Raid A Newspaper for No Reason

There Is No Such Thing as Cancer (Hank) and A Tale of Two Cancers (John)

The Census Bureau has posted a new Federal Register Notice inviting public comments on proposed changes to the 2025 American Community Survey (ACS) and Puerto Rico Community Survey (PRCS) questionnaires. Comments are due on or before December 19, 2023, and, once submitted, are part of the public record.

NYS geographic primer Food Safety and Prison Health Care and McKinsey consultants and chocolate: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

The GOP bets on extremist Mike Johnson (LA) as Speaker, risking 2024 prospects; also, his positions on health issues, his impossible agenda, and his belief that separation of church and state Is only a ‘shield for people of faith.’ A blistering rebuke from his hometown newspaper’s op ed. He is worse than you think.

Using Learning Styles to Your Advantage: the Complete Guide.

Early History of Bedloe’s Island, now known as Liberty Island.

When Hybrid Works … But Doesn’t


An early name for Albany and how it’s pronounced

How Lena Horne Won Over MGM — and Became a “Test Case” for Hollywood

Hasan Minhaj Offers Detailed Response to New Yorker Story: “It Was So Needlessly Misleading”

Oscar Winner Buffy Sainte-Marie Responds to Questions About Her Native Heritage: “I Know Who I Am”

The 100 Greatest Film Books of All Time. The only two I’ve read were the annual Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide (#17) – I’ve had at least a half dozen iterations over the years, and Life Itself by Roger Ebert (#45)

Interview with a SamuraiFrog by Splotchy

Opening titles for 18 situation comedies of the seventies. I watched two of them, both on CBS, on Saturday nights at 8:30 p.m.

“The kick is up … and it’s … CLANG…”

Now I Know: The Halloween Costume You Can’t Buy and When Science Gets Unexpectedly Expensive and An Awkward Phone Call from Mom and The Giant Pink Bunny in the Middle of Nowhere and Everybody Was Kung Fu Panda Fighting and Paved With Good Intentions and Why Dorothy Couldn’t Surrender


Charles Feeney, Who Made a Fortune and Then Gave It Away, Dies at 92. “After piling up billions in business, he pledged to donate almost all of his money to causes before he died. He succeeded and then lived a more modest life.”

Kevin Phillips, who died at 82, published his first book at 29, a landmark work,  The Emerging Republican Majority, which “presciently predicted a rightward realignment in national politics driven by ethnic and racial divisions and white discontent.”

Richard Roundtree, Suave Star of ‘Shaft,’ Dies at 81. I never saw Shaft, but I did watch him as “the disgraced doctor Daniel Reubens on the NBC daytime soap opera Generations,” c. 1990.

Matthew Perry, Chandler on ‘Friends,’ Dies at 54. He “Masterfully Walked the Line Between Mirth and Melancholy.” All spiders are named Phil.

Burt Young, Oscar-Nominated ‘Rocky’ Actor, Dies at 83. I saw the initial four Rocky pics, the first one with my mother

Richard Moll, Bull the Bailiff on ‘Night Court,’ Dies at 80


Ghost Story soundtrack album

Celtic Rock – Donovan

Bless The Child OST suite

Songs from the Woods – Jethro Tull

The Great Pumpkin Waltz – Vince Guaraldi

Theme From Shaft – Isaac Hayes. My sister got this double album, but it contained two copies of the same record (Sides 1 and 4, I believe), and we had to get it replaced.

Somebody Like You – Giant Rooks

Coverville 1461: Cover Stories for Ultravox and Thomas Dolby and 1462: The Natalie Merchant & 10,000 Maniacs Cover Story

Closer To Fine – Indigo Girls

Honky Tonk Heroes – Waylon Jennings

Greg’s Drinking Song from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend 

The Beatles’ ‘Last Song,’ ‘Now and Then,’ Is Set for Release (Nov 2), Along With Expanded, Remix-Filled ‘Red’ and ‘Blue’ Hits Collections (Nov 9)

Sept rambling: extreme heat

backyard train

ALA Releases Preliminary 2023 Book Ban Data. Look for more info here.

Extreme Heat Is Threatening Entire Marine Ecosystems in Florida

Summer Heat Is Killing Incarcerated People — It’s Cruel and Unusual Punishment

US sets record for billion-dollar disasters in a single year, with  months to go

If there’s no federal budget on October 1, blame the House Republicans

Don’t just connect the dots

About the polls (JRB vs. djt)

Legal Experts Have A Field Day With djt’s Megyn Kelly Interview

Colorado Lawsuit’s Strategy for Keeping djt Off Ballot Is Starting to Spread – The lawsuits cite the 14th Amendment, which says former officials who engage in insurrection may not serve as president. But it may not work.

How GOP pressured Texas senators over Ken Paxton’s impeachment trial

Arthur: The fourth horrible anniversary

Travis: Screw Cancer!

FDA OKs Updated COVID Shots — New single-strain vaccines will exclusively target the XBB.1.5 Omicron subvariant

John Green attends the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis and gets to give a speech. 

Actor David McCallum died at age 90.  I noted here that my sister Marcia and I used to play The Man from U.N.C.L.E. together.  My daughter watched NCIS regularly for a few years.

Brooks Robinson, Hall of Fame third baseman for the Baltimore Orioles, died at the age of 86

El Monte Thai garment workers were inducted into the Labor Hall of Honor. They helped expose their employer’s abusive labor practices and spurred changes in legal protections for the nation’s workers.

US senators can wear workout clothes to work under new rules. In response, pearls will be clutched.

In TV’s Wild West, Which Channels Will Be Dropped Next?

Oakland vs. the A’s: The inside story of how it all went south (to Las Vegas)

Jann Wenner [weakly] Apologizes for Saying Black and Female Musicians Aren’t “Articulate” Enough for His New Book

A metamorphosis, completed

NASA: the lunar south pole

Life Expectancy of Pets

Someone’s nice backyard train

Artist Imagines What Would Happen If Disney Princesses Visited A Psychotherapist (10 Pics)


Now I Know: When Being From France Isn’t French Enough and The Fugitive Who Was Put Out to Pasture and The Counterintuitive Problem of Dry Counties and  The Town That Fled a Fake Earthquake and The Mystery of the Exploding Toads and How to Sell* a Lot of Carrots


Perfect Day– Al Green

When You Wish Upon A Star – Sara Bareilles

So You Are Tired – Sufjan Stevens

Ballad Of A Homeschooled Girl – Olivio Rodrigo

I remember everything – Zach Bryan, feat. Kacey Musgraves

Shiny Happy People – Micky Dolenz (Sept. 2023)

Voiceplay, giving the a cappella treatment to a collection of TV theme songs

Start Me Up – The Folksmen (Sept. 2003)

Volcano Girls – Vercuna Salt

Coverville 1457: The Tommy Shaw & Styx Cover Story

I’ll Follow You – The Empty Pockets

Mickey– Toni Basil

Elegy by Mark Camphouse

Romanian Rhapsody #1 by Georges Enescu

Reject All American – Bikini Kill 

The Beatles Stowe School Concert Is Unlike Any Other Show in History

Temptation’s About To Get Me

Bruce Springsteen Postponing All 2023 Concerts to Next Year as He Recovers From Peptic Ulcer Disease

August rambling: it does matter

Roger Green reviews John Green (no relation)

392 “Educational Intimidation” Bills Have Been Introduced in the US Since 2021

How the Myth of Colorblindness Endangers France’s Future: The refusal to gather data on race and ethnicity is exacerbating inequality, increasing social segregation, and preventing badly needed reforms.

How did Frederick Douglass become a conservative spokesman?

A New Monument to Emmett Till Doesn’t Measure Progress, But It Does Matter?

A raid on a Kansas newspaper likely broke the law, experts say. But which one?

Is Mental Health a Workplace Issue?

Ingenious librarians: A group of 1970s campus librarians foresaw our world of distributed knowledge and research, and designed search tools for it

The little search engine that couldn’t. A couple of ex-Googlers set out to create the search engine of the future. They built something faster, simpler, and ad-free. So how come you’ve never heard of Neeva?

India lands a spacecraft near the moon’s south pole, a first for the world as it joins an elite club. WAY cool.

Brain-reading devices allow paralysed people to talk using their thoughts. Two studies report considerable improvements in technologies designed to help people with facial paralysis communicate. But the devices must be tested on many more people to prove their reliability.

Why do upstate New Yorkers call it city chicken when it isn’t even made of chicken?

Now I Know: The Translator That Sucked The Life Out of Dracula and  Ulysses Subtracting (Land) Grant? and You Can’t Eat Here (And Don’t Really Want to Anyway) and The Man Who Lives on Cruise Ships and The Fans Who Saved The Day (For the Bad Guys) and The River Race that Doesn’t Like Water


Jerry Moss, A&M Records Co-Founder and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Member, Dies at 88

Clarence Avant, ‘Godfather of Black Music,’ and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Member, Dies at 92

Bob Barker, Famed Game Show Host, Dies at 99

Plus, people I’ve known IRL:

Billie Anderson, 93, a pillar at Trinity AME Zion Church in Binghamton, NY, the church I grew up in, died July 23. Then  her daughter Penny Sanders, a contemporary of mine, passed c. August 17

Dwight Smith, 93, a longtime member of my current church, choir, and Bible study, among other things, died August 7

Marilyn Cannoll, 93, who was the head of the Schenectady Arts Council when I worked there in 1978, died on August 9

John Wolcott, 90, a “rebel with a cause, a purveyor of justice and the truth,” died on August 17

Jacqui Williams, who I knew from Filling in the Gaps in American History, died on August 22. She spoke at my church in 2015; though the website is defunct, the Facebook page has lots of information

Matthew 5 is too “woke”

From Newsweek: Evangelical leader Russell Moore said that he saw Christianity in “crisis” because the teachings of Jesus were being viewed by a growing number of people as “subversive” to their right-wing ideology. The idea of “turning the other cheek” and other teachings of Jesus are being rejected as “liberal talking points.” Theologians described it as a rift within the conservative Christian faith that had come to be defined by support for djt.

It’s a dichotomy between theological evangelicals concerned primarily with Christian character and “political” evangelicals intent on winning the culture war, experts told Newsweek. See also: Daily Kos.

The Georgia indictments

djt has a “plan” for America called Agenda 47, and it’s a helluva thing.

Albany Public Library

Proceeds from the event benefit library programs and services. Purchase tickets here.

Tuesday noon book reviews at Washington Avenue large auditorium: I suppose I should plug September 12 | The Anthropocene Reviewed:  Essays on a Human-Centered Planet by John Green.  Reviewer:  Roger O. Green, MLS, retired librarian, NY Small Business Development Center, & current board member, FFAPL.


September 5 | Two Photography books:  Uncommon Places by Stephen Shore & Empire by Martin Hyers & William Mebane.  Reviewer:  David Brickman, exhibiting photographer, art critic, & FFAPL treasurer.

September 19 | The Heat Will Kill You First:  Life and Death on a Scorched Planet by Jeff Goodell.  Reviewer:  Richard King, retired attorney.

September 26 | A Conspiracy of Mothers, a novel by Colleen Van Niekerk.  Reviewer:  Miki Conn, author, poet, artist, storyteller.


Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door– the PFC Band, in memory of Robbie Robertson

Coverville 1453: The Gamble & Huff Cover Story and 1454: The Robbie Robertson Tribute 

Peter Sprague Plays Coltrane’s Giant Steps

My Home by Antonin Dvorak

Brahms: Academic Festival Overture (Solti, CSO)

Peter Sprague Plays Badge featuring Leonard Patton

The Boy From… – Linda Lavin, written by Esteban Río Nido

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