February rambling: expats, and the end of “Parenthood”


How America’s Sporting Events Have Turned into Mass Religious Events to Bless Wars and Militarism. Amen.

The Weekly Sift analyzes what the Atlantic article “What ISIS Really Wants” gets right and gets wrong. Also, ISIS Bans Teaching Evolution In Schools in Mosul, as well as art, music, history, literature and, of course, Christianity.

American ISIS: The Domestic Terrorist Fallout of the Iraq War.

Melanie: A Modern Day Scarlet Pimpernel and Human Trafficking.

Something most Americans know little or nothing about: The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the latest trade deal being cooked up in secret by big corporations and their lobbyists.

John Oliver Eviscerates the Stunningly Corrupt Practices of Big Pharma. This IS journalism. I also LOVE how he takes on Big Tobacco and their bullying tactics internationally.

Here are Remarks by the President at National Prayer Breakfast, February 5, 2015. Obama Attacked for Telling the Truth about Christianity’s Bloody History and The Foolish, Historically Illiterate, Incredible Response to Obama’s Prayer Breakfast Speech. True this: Using religion to brutalize other people is not a Muslim invention, nor is it foreign to the American experience.

Is The Phrase ‘Playing The Race Card’ As Racist As It Sounds? You Bet It Is.

A Latin motto for Vermont? “I thought Vermont was American, not Latin?”

When a Puerto Rican Wins the Powerball.

When Hate Stays in the Closet: “Answering the most sympathetic and reasonable arguments against same-sex marriage.”

A cautionary tale: How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life.

Amy Biancolli: The Weight of a Ring.

Uthaclena: Truth in Advertising, or The Eyes Have It.

Dear Student: Should Your Granny Die Before The Midterm … “Grandmothers are 10 times more likely to die before a midterm, and 19 times more likely to die before a final exam. Grannies of students who weren’t doing well in their classes were at even higher risk of meeting their maker.”

3 Tips For Being Awake In A World That Is Asleep.

Learning stuff.

Nancy Frank, organist at First Presbyterian Church in Albany, NY, retires after 42 years. Not only is she a fine organist, but a great person as well.

Watch Middle School Kids Play A Led Zeppelin Medley … On Xylophones.

Vogue’s The 10 Greatest Oscar-Winning Songs of All Time.

Bob Dylan’s Full MusiCares Speech: How He Wrote the Songs.

Jaquandor is ranking the Bond songs!

The Real Instrument Behind The Sound In ‘Good Vibrations’.

Chuck Miller on the redemptive quality of Allan Sherman.

One of my favorite TV shows, Parenthood, ended this past month. Deleted Scenes Show Seth’s Return, Sarah’s Roast, and More.

Gary Owens of Laugh-In fame, RIP. Mark Evanier’s piece, and a story with Evanier’s mom, and the short-lived show Letters to Laugh-In. Plus Ken Levine’s appreciation.

What happens to someone who goes on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and loses $225,000?

Clowns: Beware of the Unicycling Clown and The Toronto Circus Riot of 1855.

Muppets: Miss Piggy and Constantine, the World’s Most Dangerous Frog, accept an award, and I’ll Get You What You Want (Cockatoo in Malibu) and Cookie Monster Chase. Also, ‘Big Birdman’ starring Caroll Spinney and Big Bird [Birdman Spoof] plus Simply Delicious Shower Thoughts with Cookie Monster and I’m Going To Go Back There Someday and The Muppet Movie can’t hide a soft heart beneath the silly gags. Finally, a Sesame Street discography.

Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling.

Video Artist Eran Amir made this video that looks like magical things seem to happen because the video is being run in reverse — but this is not running in reverse…


Somehow, I have helped to encourage SamuraiFrog to compile a ranking of all of “Weird Al” Yankovic’s songs. THIS is a good thing that I will share with The Daughter.

Arthur wrote a GREAT piece, E is for Expat, about being a stranger in a strange land and how that changes over time, quoting others, as well as noting his own experiences.

Jaquandor answers my questions about changing his mind, but not about pie.


Roger Green, from Sudbury, was named as the regional winner of the Churches Conservation Trust Volunteer Award… This is in recognition of the work he has done for St Peter’s Church, Sudbury, where he chairs the Friends’ group, facilitates regular markets, festivals, concerts and theatre productions, and has helped boost visitor numbers to around 60,000 a year.

Drug Money

It becomes clear to my sister and me that since my mother had the check in hand, and that who knows how long it would take A-Z to reissue a check – and they don’t relish the expense of doing this again…

The good news is that a check came to my parents’ house in North Carolina this week. It was a substantial amount, in the low four figures, in response to some class-action lawsuit settlement; not positive which drug was involved. The company issuing the check is a pharmaceutical company who I won’t name; we’ll just call it A-Z.

The slightly not-so-good news is that the check is made out to Leslie H. Green, my father, who is deceased, has been deceased for nearly ten years. This is quite annoying since my mother filled out paperwork back in April informing A-Z of this fact. At least the check came to my father c/o my mother, but it doesn’t make it any easier to cash.

At my sister’s request, I contacted A-Z. After going through a myriad of telephone menus, I reached a real person, who transferred me to another real person, who expressed her condolences at my father’s passing. “How long ago did he die?” “Ten years.”

I was then transferred to the nurse. This was not for MY benefit, but rather CYA for A-Z since the deceased (i.e., my father) died around the time he was taking their medication. The nurse wants to know when he died – “August 10, 2000” – and from what “prostate cancer”. After she was done, she too expressed her condolences at my father’s passing.

Then she transferred me to someone who was going to transfer me to the person who could address my question. She expressed her condolences at my father’s passing.

I was told I would be on hold for three minutes, then someone would pick up and help me. Instead, I was on hold for two minutes, then I was disconnected.

OK, so I call A-Z back. After eventually getting a real person again, I conveyed to her why I had called, and also that I had already spoken to the nurse. I was transferred to someone who was going to transfer me to someone else when I indicated that was the point I had gotten disconnected the LAST time I called. She stayed on the line the full three minutes (or more – I didn’t time it) that I was waiting, then made the transfer, after expressing her condolences at my father’s passing.

I explain the situation to this guy. He says my mom should deposit the check. I say my mom no longer has an account in my father’s name, so she cannot deposit the check. He said that she could mail back the check, but that she would need to write VOID on it, write a letter explaining the situation, provide his death certificate, provide proof that she is his primary heir, etc.

As I explained this to my sister, it becomes clear to us that since my mother had the check in hand, and that who knows how long it would take A-Z to reissue a check – and they don’t relish the expense of doing this again – they should try to deposit it. If that didn’t work, they (my mother and sister) would set up an estate account for my father and deposit the check; this might require setting up a DBA of some sort, but it would be worth it.

So I spent a half-hour during the week leading up to Father’s Day being reminded that this is the 10th Father’s Day I’ve spent without my father. I knew that already, of course, but I did want to thank A-Z, who COULD have, I’m thinking, written the check to my MOTHER, and keep me from all this rigamarole. Just saying.
I state this every year, but it is no less true for that: I wish my father had had the opportunity to meet my daughter.


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