Pizza and compassion, to go

On this Thanksgiving day, I’m thankful.

pepperoniandveggieIt was a Monday in late September when I was coming from a meeting, and heading to church. This guy named “Tim” was looking for something to eat.

Being very close to a pizza shop on Lark Street in Albany, I asked him to come in and order a slice or two. While we were waiting, Tim told me what a screw-up he had been.

He’s fallen off the sobriety wagon, again, and he’s embarrassed that his brother will be coming to town to go to some rock concert. Tim knows his brother will be disappointed.

I had no words of wisdom. I told him that I thought he was being terribly hard on himself, that he should keep on trying.

As I packed up my pizza slice to go – I WAS already running late by then – Tim gave me a big hug. And I’ll tell you the truth: I wasn’t fond of Tim hugging me with his boozy breath and slightly malodorous self.

But what I remembered from a very different story informed me: Tim needed to hug ME, Tim needed to thank ME.

So, on this Thanksgiving day, I’m thankful. Thankful that I don’t have Tim’s addiction. Thankful that I had the means to buy him dinner. Thankful that I can try to see the situation from Tim’s point of view.

It’s hard for us to be inclusive, to embrace those who are different. We may be OK with gay people or black people, but waiting the extra time it takes for a person in a wheelchair to board the bus may make us cranky. I suspect there are areas we all have that push against our blinders.

May we all be thankful, and ask for greater awareness and compassion for those around us, especially those we might find different or “lesser.”

Also: John Green: On Not Seeing Hamilton

Eight Poets to Discuss Over the Thanksgiving Table

The Muppets auditioning for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

November rambling #1: Rebecca Jade’s new video, and Confessions Of An Idiom

What happens if the Elephant in the Room decides to make the Skeleton in the Closet bring the truth to light?

Librarian_need
What Evanier said about Paris. Ditto. This is the second time this year my cousin Anne, currently working there, has had to report that she is safe.

Samaritan Lives Matter.

Fall of the House of Bush.

Marilynne Robinson warns against utilitarian trends in higher education.

Middle-Aged White Americans Are Dying of Despair.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Prisoner Re-entry.

The First County Clerk in the US to Approve a Same-Sex Marriage License. In 1975.

Egypt’s women-only taxi service promises protection from male drivers.

A New Alcott Emerges From The ‘Annotated Little Women’.

Now I Know: How Matthew Broderick Helped Shape American Computer Law and The World’s Most Prolific Author.

Berowne’s participation in the French Revolution. No, not that one.

A tumor stole every memory I had. This is what happened when it all came back.

Renaissance Geek: Eddie is 51, which is divisible by three.

Simply Red: The Con-Man Behind the Rightwing’s Starbucks Cup Freak-Out.

Wondermark: Throw Back the Dead Man’s Coin.

Binghamton, Now & Then.

Stop expecting artists to work for free — or worse, for “exposure”.

God, on Lawns.

Tosy has 10 opening sentences to short stories that do not exist, yet. But one of them could.

David Kalish: My imagined contract with cockroaches.

The new music video Weather the Storm by Rebecca Jade, the eldest niece.

Allen Toussaint – seven of his greatest songs. Plus Top 10 Allen Toussaint Classic Rock Covers, and finding a big hit in Toussaint’s trash can.

K-Chuck Radio: The WABC Sonic Experience!

Dustbury’s Feel Bad songs. Plus Connie Stevens (!) sang the original of a soul classic.

The Beatles: A 5 Minute Drum Chronology – Kye Smith.

“Love and Theft” – The Veiled but Tangled Roots of Jimmie Rodgers and Tommy Johnson.

Confessions Of An Idiom. What happens if the Elephant in the Room decides to make the Skeleton in the Closet bring the truth to light?

Mad magazine: Overheard at the New Amazon Bookstore.

The Absolute Best Way to Reheat Pizza.

Mark Evanier continues to list the twenty top voice actors in American animated cartoons between 1928 and 1968, including Jackson Beck (Bluto, King Leonardo) and Dick Beals (Speedy Alka-Seltzer, Davey of Davey and Goliath) and Clarence Nash (Donald Duck, Huey, Dewey, and Louie) and Bill Scott (Bullwinkle J. Moose, Mr. Peabody).

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, the first-ever Disney character and a long-eared precursor to Mickey Mouse, features in this long-lost animated film. Another, obscure, Disney film, John Henry.

The finale of a recent episode of Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris, a program I forget was even on the air.

GOOGLE ALERT (me)

What comics creator has most changed the way people think about comics?

 

Cheaper pizza

The Daughter is doing order of operations at school.

General problem 2I went to the local pizzeria on a recent Saturday night. The cost was $10.50; I gave the cashier a $20 bill and a $1 bill. But he gave me back the dollar bill, and then gave me change for the $20, which was $9.50.

As it turned out, they were out of five-dollar bills, so he was going to give me nine one-dollar bills and 50 cents. Seeing this, the owner yelled, “Just charge him [me] ten bucks.” The clerk says, “But I’ve already closed the register.” The owner overrides the register to reopen it, puts back the $9.50 and gives me a $10 bill.

Of course, I gave the clerk $21 in the first place so he would not have to give me a bunch of ones. If you’ve ever been in retail, you know that you don’t want to give away ones if you can help it, and certainly not nine of them. I knew that, the owner knew that, the clerk, not so much.
***
For some reason, I’m reminded by a story from long ago, where a guy I knew wanted to buy milk and a newspaper. At the time the milk was 99 cents and the newspaper, 35 cents. But the register wasn’t working properly, and couldn’t give the total, though it could give change. The problem is that the clerk couldn’t figure out the change from $2, because he didn’t know the total of the purchase.

The guy tried to explain: “99 cents is a penny less than a dollar, so it’s $1.34. These are non-taxable, so it’s $2 minus $1.34 is 66 cents.” This was too complicated.

I worry that when the computers all go down, no one will know how to add and subtract, never mind do multiplication and division.
***
gas_prices I was watching the NBC Nightly News and saw this story: Gas Prices Drop to Lowest Level in Nearly Four Years, using the picture. I had to write to them.

“The average price drop is NOT 30% [as Brian Williams said], it’s 30 CENTS, as the graphic showed, from $3.34 to $3.04,” I noted. If it had been 30%, the drop would be about $1.
***
The Daughter is doing the order of operations at school. At a website quaintly called Math is Fun, it reminded me that the order in which one does math problems is:
P
Parentheses first
E
Exponents (i.e. Powers and Square Roots, etc.)
MD
Multiplication and Division (left-to-right)
AS
Addition and Subtraction (left-to-right)

I’ll admit to forgetting where the exponents fit, exactly.

So what is the answer to the item posted above?

A Sense of Proportionality

Getting lost is the fact that OWS changed the conversation. The narrative that wealth trickling down works has been largely rejected. The notion that your can’t fight back against the banks has been proven to be false.

Things in the world have been annoying me, and I think there’s a common theme: everything seems to be perceived as equal as everything else. I go to a news aggregator and I see the latest on the wars, a bad weather event, and the most recent person voted off a reality show, and it’s all treated similarly, as though they have the equivalent news value.

There has been a run of misstatements by US politicians recently, and they are not the same at all. US Senate Majority leader Harry Reid recently talked about being done before the Easter recess, then quickly corrected himself to say Thanksgiving. In a debate, Republican Presidential candidate Rick Perry has a brain freeze and can’t remember the departments he’d eliminate, and some pundits declare his candidacy over; it WAS bad but human. GOP candidate Herman Cain not seeming to know that China had gotten nuclear missiles – over 40 years ago! – or the US position vis a vis Khaddafy’s Libya seems less like a gaffe, which I think means a relatively trivial matter, and more like a fundamental shortcoming.
***
Re; the Occupy Wall Street, et al movement. There were basic truths about income inequality that fueled the protests. But recent polling suggests that the OWS has become less popular, not, I submit, because of the wrongness of the original premise, but because of the obfuscation over whether or not the protesters had the right to essentially live in public parks, and the manner in which they were removed by the police. In fact, it has been the heavy-handed response by authorities in many cities, such as NYC; Oakland, CA; Burlington, VT; Portland, OR; and Chapel Hill, NC, which has actually energized the movement, rather than defeat it. Of course, I know from too many rallies that “the people, united, can never be defeated.”

Getting lost by critics is the fact that OWS changed the conversation. The narrative that wealth trickling down works has been largely rejected. The notion that you can’t fight back against the banks has been proven to be false. There’s a pushback against the idea that unions are all costly, terrible mistakes. There is an economic disparity, and if there is a class war, it isn’t the 99% waging it. So a poll of whether one supports the movement is facile at best.
***
Another issue: the alleged sex crimes at Penn State. Jaquandor hit on much of it when he noted that PSU isn’t the victim here; children allegedly are. And I should say here, I suppose, that Jerry Sandusky is innocent of the charges against him until proven guilty. What I am compelled to note, though, is guilty or not, Jerry Sandusky is an idiot. Who thought it was a good idea to agree to a phone interview on national television? His lawyer, who had a child by an underage girl more than 30 years his junior? His lawyer is an idiot too.

I read an article by a local retired journalist, which I cannot now find, that suggests that people have watched so many “real” people interviewed on TV after a tragedy that they feel some sort of obligation to do the same. This is a false assumption, and especially when one has been indicted. Sandusky, from everything I’ve seen of him, seems to think HE’S the misunderstood victim here. Some free legal advice: Jerry Sandusky should say NOTHING, at least until his trial.

What the heck is behind Congress considering a bill counting pizza as a vegetable? A paean to some fast-food lobby or hostility towards Michelle Obama’s efforts towards healthier living? Or something else?

I believe in intellectual property rights, but the Stop Online Piracy Act, proposed in the House of Representatives, and the companion bill PROTECT IP (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act) is a pair of oxymoronic newspeak titles, just like peacekeeper missiles and the USA PATRIOT Act. As an intellectual property attorney I know puts it, the proposed law is “insidious and dangerous. It will change, some say break, the internet as we know it, by turning the internet into a limited portal where you can’t do much more than buy what they want you to buy, and only from them, and to read only what they want you to read, and for a price.”

Yet the legislation has a good chance of passing with bipartisan political support, despite the opposition of Google, AOL, eBay, Facebook, Linked In, Mozilla, Twitter, Yahoo, and Zynga. This is bad law, and could easily affect those not in the United States as well,

Done ranting. Or, I’ve run out of time.