August rambling: a word with no meaning

keep the lowest-ranked people at the bottom

rock-classification-table
https://wronghands1.com/2020/07/07/rock-classification-table/ This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 3.0 Unported License

The NRA and the Long Con.

There’s No Such Thing as Family Secrets in the Age of 23andMe.

Telehealth Boom Misses Older Adults.

Don’t Blame Colleges for the Coming Fall Debacle. This is just what higher education looks like in a failed state.

Google Voice deserves your attention (again).

The Anonymous Professor Who Wasn’t.

Urban Dictionary TOP Definition: Literally – a word with no meaning in today’s USA.

Webwaste: The Web is Obese.

Vlogbrothers (Hank Green): Ideas are absolutely a kind of magic and It seems like content is now infinite and internalizing the reality that critique is vital…but so is knowing when you think it’s wrong.

A Tale of Two TV Producers and How They Switched Places (Gene Roddenberry and Jack Webb).

Ken Levine interview of Debbie Gibson: Part 1 and Part 2.

Songwriter Ashley Gorley Becomes First with 50 Number One Songs.

Double-O Thoughts.

Octothorpe – another term for the pound, number, or hashtag symbol (#).

Race

John Oliver: US history books and racism.

How Stephen Miller Molded the GOP to His Anti-immigration Agenda.

Pitfalls Black Lives Matter must avoid to maintain momentum and achieve meaningful change.

A Rare Recipe From a Talented Chef, Enslaved by a Founding Father.

A historical reckoning for the global slave trade including the database Legacies of British Slave-ownership.

I’ll have to read Isabel Wilkerson’s important new book, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. She makes unsettling comparisons between India’s stigmatizing treatment of its untouchables, Nazi Germany’s treatment of Jews, and America’s treatment of African-Americans, the social systems that “keep the lowest-ranked people at the bottom.”

Now I Know

The Color of Fraud and The Holbrook Holiday and The Horseless Headsman and The TV That Needed Help and Kindergarten Crabs?

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IMPOTUS

His Threat to Press Freedom Is Global.

Weekly Sift: The Election: Worry or Don’t Worry?

The Lincoln Project: Wake Up.

Yes, Kanye Is Trying To Help Trump Win By Spoiling Biden’s Chances with some help.

MUSIC

Lookin’ For a Leader 2020 – Neil Young.

Global Warming by Michael Abels.

The Ordering of Moses by Robert Nathaniel Dett.

Stevie Wonder music featuring Rebecca Jade and Leonard Patton on vocals, Tripp Sprague on sax and flute, Mack Leighton on bass, Duncan Moore on drums, and Peter Sprague on guitar. The Prayer featuring Rebecca Jade and Chris Walker.

AGO Organfest: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday

Concerto for Left Hand in D Major by Ravel, performed by Leon Fleischer, who died at the age of 92.

16, Going On 17 – Laura Benanti and Christopher Fitzgerald

You’ll Be Back, priest’s viral ‘Hamilton’ video.

Brandy – Elliot Lurie. and friends, a cappella (and an Evanier story).

Electric Avenue – The Last Bandoleros and SHAGGY.

William Tell Overture finale, played by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.

Coverville 1319: Covers of Public Enemy, RUN-DMC and LL Cool J.

Angry people: airline seats, nudies in the Cloud, tobaccoless CVS

The Puritanical “outrage” over nude pictures in the Cloud left me shaking my head.

disk_discs_compact_It’s 4:40 a.m., and if I were an independently wealthy/retired, there are any number of recent topics I might write about. But I’m not. So some scattershot thoughts before they go totally cold.

Reclining seats on planes

I’ve long hated airline travel; it’s a flying bus. The recent spate of fights over someone trying to recline his/her seat, and was inhibited by the person behind, have gotten so bad that three flights were diverted in ten days. This is inevitable, given the fact that the space between seats is getting smaller as the passengers, collectively, are getting larger. Of course, this totally screws up not only the lives of the passengers on those flights but those on connecting flights as well.

Mark Evanier reminded me that airline passengers’ occasional schmuckiness is not just a recent occurrence.

Physical music

Part of the reason I’m strapped for time, actually, is that I switched around three pieces of furniture that hold my CDs. One extremely heavy piece moved, two others replaced, which meant reorganizing almost every disc I own. I am reminded that Jaquandor recently noted that he hadn’t purchased a physical CD in four years, and Alan David Doane said the other day that he listened to an album all the way through for the first time in a long time. Whereas I, obviously an old person, listen to albums, all the way through, all the time, and purchased, or was given, maybe two dozen CDs in the past four years. Yes, I know they may deteriorate over time. Did I mention my vinyl collection?

The moving of these CDs actually made me nostalgic. When I was a new blogger eight or so years ago, Lefty Brown and some of his online cohorts (Greg Burgas and Mike Sterling and Eddie Mitchell and Gordon Dymowski, among others) put together a mixed CD exchange; those discs now have their own section in the new furniture.

There’s some comedy routine that ends with “no one understands the Cloud.” And while technically untrue, I sometimes feel that way. I’ve never been all that comfortable having my music there, and good thing; the stuff I used to have on Amazon seems to have disappeared.

Nude photos in The Cloud

And speaking of the Cloud, intellectual property lawyer/drummer Paul Rapp explains the misrepresentations about pix of Jennifer Lawrence, et al being accessed. I discovered amazingly heated conversations about this topic.

My feeling is that the hackers were – I already used schmucks this post – twerps. Others criticized the (mostly) actresses who stored the pictures and fall into a couple of subcategories: those who thought it was not safe to rely on the Cloud to keep nude photos, and those who wanted to slut-shame those who HAD nude photos of themselves. I sort of understand the former – though this should have known better talk irritated me. But the Puritanical “outrage” left me shaking my head.

As usual, Dustbury has an interesting take on the issue.

CVS bans tobacco

A month earlier than previously announced, the pharmacy CVS decided to ban the sales of cigarettes. The reaction by some baffled me “I don’t smoke, but I think it’s ridiculous. We can’t legislate everything.” Well, no, it’s not being legislated, it’s a business decision, which, in the short term will cost the company millions of dollars in sales.

The major complaint is that they aren’t banning cookies and chips and candy, which can also be bad for you. Sure, but in moderation, it won’t give one diabetes and heart disease, while cigarettes can kill even second-hand smokers. Much of the thread seem to scream about a loss of “freedom”, as though Walgreens and the corner store and thousands of other venues have begun banning them as well.

Gillibrand redux

I’ve mentioned the less-than-tasteful comments made by members of the US Congress toward Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). There are shrill calls saying she should be naming names. I don’t. 1) She’s made her point and 2) she still has to work with these guys, and even if they weren’t always using Senate decorum doesn’t mean that she should abandon same.
***
Evanier pretty much nailed my feelings about Joan Rivers. Before she got nasty and spent too much time doing whatever schtick she did with her daughter, she was quite funny. The term pioneer is applicable.

Constitutional allies

2013 marks the 100th anniversaries of 16th and 17th Amendments.

It’s Constitution Day!

Earlier in the year, I was inclined to agree with Jon Stewart of The Daily Show that most of the Constitution seems to be under attack, except that the Second Amendment right to bear arms seemed to be sacrosanct. For instance, the Supreme Court has chipped away at the Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.

Worse, it felt that only a relative handful of people were concerned. That has visibly changed, and the opposition to governmental overreach is bipartisan.

Item from Newsmax:

“The American Civil Liberties Union is joining tea party activists in opposing the use of armed drones and other counterterrorism operations to kill suspected terrorists, even American citizens.

“A recently surfaced Justice Department memo revealed that drones can strike against a wider range of threats, with less evidence, than previously believed.

“Both the ACLU and tea party groups cite the Fifth Amendment, which says that Americans are guaranteed due process of law under the Constitution and that the classified program circumvents that right.

Item from Newsmax:

“Stopwatching.us has gathered more than a quarter of a million signatures, including the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute and the conservative FreedomWorks and Restore America’s Voice.
Most of the selected signatories on the page are from more liberal groups, such as the Daily Kos, MoveOn.org, Green Peace, and Occupy Wall Street NYC.”

Now President Obama has decided to get Congress’s input in our Syria policy, consistent with the legislative body’s Constitutional war making authority. The Tonight Show’s Jay Leno recently quipped: “And if that works there’s talk of bringing back the REST of the Constitution!”

The Constitution is not “left” or “right”, people have started to have figured out.

In a book review, Jaquandor pondered: “Do I believe in the Constitution? I suppose so, in that I believe that we have a government that is structured according to the provisions contained within the Constitution’s pages. And that’s about all that I believe about it. I don’t believe that there is anything especially sacred about the Constitution, and I don’t believe that the Constitution represents some kind of moment when we rose to greatness. In truth, the Constitution is a muddled mess of a document, and the government it creates isn’t so much a brilliantly constructed Machine of Democracy as a hodge-podge, ramshackle mess of compromises with difficulties exacerbated by some really poor writing.”

2013 marks the 100th anniversaries of the 16th and 17th Amendments. The 16th, which allowed for a federal income tax, is almost universally despised, not just because it levies taxes, but because the tax code has become so cumbersome that one needs accountants and lawyers to fully exploit the loopholes that other accountants and lawyers have inserted into it.

The 17th Amendment calls for the direct election of US Senators, which previously had been selected by state legislatures. Seems like a no-brainer, but there is a cadre that continues to call for its repeal. Here’s why.

Talk Like a Pirate, but don’t walk the plank

The Pirates, who had not had a winning season since 1992, got to 81 wins, then had a four-game losing streak, before winning #82 last week.

It suddenly occurred to me a while back that all these deals whereby you get something, and you are required to pay for it over and over (and over and over) again through mandated leases, such as Software as a Service (SaaS), are forms of corporate piracy. As my buddy Steve Bissette ranted – I think it was regarding a policy by Adobe or Microsoft: “We can afford them once and that’s what we can afford. We want to own almost all things we buy. With few exceptions, we don’t wish to buy or support those things which do not wish to be purchased outright. We do not need more monthly bills. We do not wish to interact with you regularly for permission to be permitted to use what we purchase to use.”

Did you know you can’t buy an electronic copy of the Oxford English Dictionary? It is “only available as monthly rentals, services that come with expansive data-collecting policies and which cannot be owned.” Cory Doctorow “mentioned this to some librarians at the American Library Association conference in Chicago this spring and they all said, effectively: ‘Welcome to the club. This is what we have to put up with all the time.'”

Speaking of whom: The site for Cory Doctorow’s 2012 novel Pirate Radio, which I have not read, makes it sound intriguing. “When Trent McCauley’s obsession for making movies by reassembling footage from popular films causes his home s internet to be cut off, it nearly destroys his family. Shamed, Trent runs away to London. A new bill threatens to criminalize even harmless internet creativity. Things look bad, but the powers-that-be haven’t entirely reckoned with the power of a gripping movie to change people’s minds…”

A sensible Internet policy platform.

Author Scott Lynch responds to a critic of the character Zamira Drakasha, a black woman pirate in his fantasy book Red Seas Under Red Skies, the second novel of the Gentleman Bastard series.

Democracy ruled under the Jolly Roger?
***
We’re talking baseball here: At the All-Star break, the St. Louis Cardinals were 57-36, .613. The Pittsburgh PIRATES were 56-37, .602. Since then, these two teams, plus the Cincinnati Reds have continued to be in a heated pennant race. One of the teams will win the National League Central Division, and almost certainly, the other two will play a one-game playoff. The Pirates, who had not had a winning season since 1992, got to 81 wins, then had a four-game losing streak, before winning #82 last week, breaking that terrible string. I’m rooting for them. How could I not?

The Dream: The Compliant, Yet Angry Consumer

Trashing the place IS some wish fulfillment from some retail experiences I’ve gone through.

Here is a dream so vivid that I had to get out of bed at 4:10 a.m. to write it down:

I’m at an outdoor market with my sister Leslie. Some saleswoman is trying to sell me eyeglasses. I wasn’t really in the market, but I reluctantly try on a pair. It was quite different from what I usually wear, as they were a bit heavier, but they looked nice, and I decide to buy them. As I’m about to have the sale rung up, I see the computer tablet she’s working on. Somehow she has gotten into the editing section of my blog and has written, “Hey guys, these are my current glasses” with a picture of that. “And these are the glasses I’m thinking about wearing. They are a little bit heavier, but I like them. What do you think?” And there’s a picture of THAT. I say, in a very even tone, “I’m not very happy about that,” pointing to her tablet. Then I make the purchase with some guy as she goes away, but she leaves her tablet on the counter.

I walk behind the counter, get into her tablet, and delete the offending post. Then I take my left hand and, one by one, start throwing can goods (can goods?) down a hill behind the stand, speaking as evenly as I possibly muster. “I don’t think you people understand how upset I am about this invasion of privacy.” Then I take my left arm [I’m right-handed, BTW] and knock over a whole counter’s worth of stuff down that same hill. “THAT is how angry I am. I don’t think you understood. I hope you get it now.”
***
Now that even-tempered rage I’ve seen in me. But why, after I was upset with my privacy being violated – not to mention how this total stranger so quickly hacked into my blog – would I have bought the glasses? Loss of privacy is a constant concern; I’ll share what I like, thank you, which is quite a bit, I think. Trashing the place IS some wish-fulfillment from some retail experiences I’ve gone through, such as the time I walked into a particular store on the corner of Washington and Lark in Albany and was immediately, and without subtlety, being watched as a potential thief. That store is long gone – there’s a Subway there presently – but it really ticked me off at the time.