“I cannot throw out these books”

I wrote 10 or 11 blog posts re Never A Dull Moment: 1971, the year that rock exploded by David Hepworth.

Jaquandor recently wrote about owning books. In part, he quotes from Life Itself by Roger Ebert, which makes more sense in its entirety, and really speaks to me. “I cannot throw out these books. Some are enchanted because I have personally turned all their pages and read every word. They’re shrines to my past hours.”

Looking at my bookshelves in the office, I realize the sheer number of books I am not going to get rid of, because. And that doesn’t even count the ones in the bookcases that are in the attic, arranged, BTW, and the relatively few in the living room.

Initially, I  was just going to pick books as they appeared on the shelves. Then I decided to put them in some sort of imperfect order

ALBANY

Six and Eleven – Ed Dague (2010). Former local news anchor I hung out with him one night and have a transcript – somewhere – of that night’s broadcast in 1994

A Day Apart: How Jews, Christians, and Muslims Find Faith, Freedom, and Joy on the Sabbath – Christopher Ringwald. (2007). Signed to me. I got to hear him speak on the topic in my church a few years before his tragic death.

Figuring Sh!t Out: Love, Laughter, Suicide, and Survival – Amy Biancolli (2015). Signed to me, my wife and our daughter. About surviving the suicides in her life, including that of her husband, the aforementioned C Ringwald

O Albany – William Kennedy (1983). The greatest writer out of the city. Both he and Biancolli worked for the local newspaper, the Times Union, and both were honored by the Albany Public Library Foundation

RACE

Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II – Douglas A. Blackmon (2008) – signed to me in 2009 at an event arranged by Bill Kennedy

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness – Michelle Alexander (revised 2011). Because it makes sense.

The Sweeter the Juice – Shirlee Taylor Haizlip. when I wrote a blog post about it, I got an email from her!

Brothers in Arms: The Epic Story of the 761st Tank Battalion, WWII’s Forgotten Heroes – Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Anthony Walton (2004). Did you know Kareem was on JEOPARDY! for the first time the same month I was?

FANTACO

The Nearly Complete Essential Hembeck Archives Omnibus – Fred Hembeck (2008). I remember helping friend Fred unload boxes of these at a comic book convention in Saratoga Springs, NY

Xerox Ferox: The Wild World of the Horror Film Fanzine – John Szpunar. It premiered at FantaCon 2013. I got it signed by the author, plus subjects such as Steve Bissette, Tom Skulan, Dennis Daniel and Jim Whiting

Saga of the Swamp Thing: Book One – Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette, John Totleben (2009), art plate signed by Steve; I met Steve at FantaCo in 1987

FantaCo book publications, almost all of which have stories; I know I was quoted in the Washington Post about Splatter Movies (1981)

Elfquest books – Wendy and Richard Pini, the original 20 issues in four volumes. Wendy and Richard came up to FantaCo for signings thrice a year

MUSIC

Blues People – LeRoi Jones (1963), before he became Amiri Baraka, he wrote about “the Negro experience in white America and the music that developed from it.”

Soulsville USA – Rob Bowman (1997). The story of STAX Records

Never A Dull Moment: 1971, the year that rock exploded – David Hepworth. I wrote 10 or 11 blog posts on this book

Across the Charts: The 1960s – Joel Whitburn (2008), This a book that shows the power of songs that cross over among the pop, soul, country, and adult contemporary charts.

Plus a slew of books on the Beatles

This post is getting LONG – more books soon.

October #1 rambling: recovery mode

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival will commission 36 playwrights to translate all of Shakespeare’s plays into modern English.

wrong reenactment
Still on the mend, wearing this band around my waist, until at least November 9. I will write about this eventually.

I’ve managed to watch more baseball in the past week and a half than I saw the entire regular season. Great to see former Met Rusty Staub after his heart attack. Rooting for the Mets, or if they get eliminated, the Cubs. Just realized that the World Series Game 5 would be November. If it’s the Dodgers in the Series, I’m rooting for the American League team.

ALSO, my office is moving this week. Note to self: do NOT pick up anything over 20 pounds.

Understanding Mass Incarceration and Bringing It Down: An Interview With James Kilgore.

John Oliver: rips GOP candidates for blaming gun violence on mental illness in absence of a plan, and Migrants and Refugees.

Color film was made for white people.

The War on Science, even in Canada.

Seth Meyers explains that ridiculous Congressional hearing over Planned Parenthood and Planned Parenthood’s “Government Funding”: The Same Kind Your Doctor Receives.

What the Speakership Battle is About.

Pope Francis met with an openly gay couple — and unlike Kim Davis, who ambushed him, he did so intentionally, and Was Pope Francis Actually Swindled into Meeting Kim Davis?

If we gotta honor a Christopher…

“Sick of hearing about the damn emails.”

Analysis Ranks Presidential Candidates By Their Supporters’ Grammar.

It costs you $43 every time you wait for the doctor.

What Happens When There’s No Internet. Presented By BuzzFeed & Hyundai – is it real?

Sweden is shifting to a 6-hour work day.

Shakespeare in Modern English? “The Oregon Shakespeare Festival… recently announced that over the next three years, it will commission 36 playwrights to translate all of Shakespeare’s plays into modern English.”

Chaz Ebert reviews the play BlackWhite Love, about Roger and Chaz Ebert.

How to Make a Sandwich. It only took 6 months and cost $1500.

K-Chuck Radio’s Sunshine Pop includes rare music from Mary Hopkin and Victor Garber.

New 2015 remix and video of Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson’s 1983 international smash hit single ‘Say Say Say’.

Van Morrison and the Thirty-One Songs about Nothing But a Bad Contract.

Mark Evanier continues to list the twenty top voice actors in American animated cartoons between 1928 and 1968, including Hans Conried (Snidely Whiplash), Don Messick (Scooby-Doo) Alan Reed (Fred Flintstone), Jack Mercer (Popeye), and Gary Owens (Space Ghost, Roger Ramjet).

GOOGLE ALERT (me)

It’s so very nice that Eddie the Renaissance Geek wished me well after my surgery, given the fact that he’s had much more serious health issues of his own.

Albany High hosts tours in advance of vote on improvements.

What’s the last comic book or graphic novel you picked up at a comic book store? Also, The Big Event effect.

SamuraiFrog: Ant-Man and the Book Light Lady.

Donna’s quote resonated.

GOOGLE ALERT (not me)

New national role for Biscovey head teacher. “Roger Green is one of 70 heads across the country…”

MOVIE (on TV) REVIEW: Life Itself

The Siskel & Ebert legendary fights I had read about, and heard about, yet seeing the apparent disdain they had for one another in clips was astonishing.

life_itself-Roger-EbertI had watched Roger Ebert review movies for decades, then saw him on Oprah with his talking device after he lost his ability to speak. I’ve read many of his blog essays, including those about non-cinematic issues.

So what could I learn about him from watching the documentary Life Itself, based on Ebert’s autobiography, which I loved greatly? Quite a bit, as it turns out.

CNN, of all networks, shows documentary movies, I’ve discovered. I recorded Life Itself, then watched it in one sitting, zapping through the half dozen commercial breaks.

Roger Ebert got the film critic job at the Chicago Sun-Times only because the position had become vacant. But he LOVED the movies. As the book begins: “I was born inside the movie of my life. The visuals were before me, the audio surrounded me, the plot unfolded inevitably but not necessarily. I don’t remember how I got into the movie, but it continues to entertain me.”

In both the book and movie, Ebert described the drinking he did, to be one of the Newspaper Guys. Nevertheless, it was surprising to hear his colleagues report on Ebert’s escapades before he went sober in 1979. Roger met Chaz, his wife of the last 20 years of his life, at an AA meeting, which had not been previously revealed.

Roger wrote about Chaz and his relatively late-in-life romance, and how important her children and grandchildren were to him. Still, it was wonderful actually see the love Roger clearly had for Chaz’s family, and vice versa.

The Siskel & Ebert legendary fights I had read about, and heard about, yet seeing the apparent disdain they had for one another in clips was astonishing. It was an odd sibling rivalry for Ebert, who, as an only child, was used to getting his way. He was irritated that Siskel, by virtue of a coin flip, got top billing over the Pulitzer prize-winning, older, alphabetically first Ebert. Still, Gene’s widow Marlene believed that, by the end of Gene’s life, the critics loved each other.

An unexpected revelation for me was that it was Siskel who got to hang out with Hugh Hefner at the Playboy Clubs. Roger Ebert’s interest in “well-endowed” women was well-known, as he co-wrote the screenplay for Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

Roger’s life became much more an open book, especially after Siskel’s death; Ebert did not know that Siskel was dying of brain cancer. That freeing philosophy allowed him to appear on the cover of Esquire magazine, which was, at first, a shocking physical appearance before it became the new normal.

Not surprising was Roger Ebert’s support of new filmmakers, from Martin Scorcese (co-executive producer of this film) and Errol Morris to, more recently, Ramin Bahrani and Ava DuVernay, the latter now the director of the movie Selma, who was touched early by Ebert’s reviews. Watch the clip showing a photo of a young Ava with Ebert.

The film Life Itself was directed by Steve James, whose great documentary Hoop Dreams Roger Ebert had also championed. “James directed [the Ebert] documentary without realizing at the beginning that it would chronicle Ebert’s moving last days.”

I might have gotten a little misty-eyed a couple of times.

July Rambling: Weird Al, and the moon walk

I REALLY want to see the movie Life Itself, about Roger Ebert.

clock.numbers
Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. – George Orwell. To that end, Bible Stories for Newly Formed and Young Corporations and Congratulations: It’s a corporation.

An answer to the child immigrant problem at the US-Mexican border? I note that the Biblical Jesus was a refugee, his parents fleeing Herod’s wrath. Yet so many people who profess to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ “are so uncaring and hateful about hungry children trying to get to a better, safer place to live.”

In the non-surprise category: Stand Your Ground Laws Lead To More Homicides, Don’t Deter Crime.

Misleading on Marriage: how gay marriage opponents twist history to suit their agenda.

Yiddish Professor Miriam Isaacs has dug in a previously unknown treasure of over a thousand unknowns Yiddish songs recorded of Holocaust survivors; the text is in Swedish but can be translated. Miriam was my old racquetball buddy decades ago.

The Creation Myth of 20th Century Fundamentalism by Jeff Sharlet, who I also knew long ago.

Australian swimming great Ian Thorpe came out as gay. Arthur explains why it STILL matters. Also: I Can Be Christian, and Gay, and Live in Alabama.

Portraits of people in 7 days’ worth of their own garbage.

These next several feel of a piece, about understanding life and each other:
Amy B says This is not a bucket list.
It’s Not as Simple as it Seems: Neal Hagberg at TEDx Gustavus Adolphus College.
Technology has taken much away much.
I Dare You To Watch This Entire Video.
*She Sent All Her Text Messages in Calligraphy for a Week.

Our church, First Presbyterian Albany, hosted a work camp in the city the week leading to the 4th of July. Homes were repaired/painted throughout the city; 400+ youth and adults, from several states, including Hawaii, plus folks from Ontario, Canada, were hosted at Myers Middle School; 75+ First Pres folks volunteered to make it all happen. We received some media coverage, including one of the radio stations, WFLY present on opening day. Here’s the web link to the Times Union article. Plus nice coverage from a local public radio station.

The Importance of Eating Together.

Sinful, Scandalous C.S. Lewis, Joy, and the Incarnation.

Interview with Marion Meade, Dorothy Parker biographer.

Jaquandor, via George RR Martin, on writing. While he writes just one word at a time, I write five or six, accidentally leaving one out.

Why Readers, Scientifically, Are The Best People To Fall In Love With.

Why the Myers-Briggs test is totally meaningless.

whyteachmusic
Melanie plays with toys. So does Chuck Miller.

GayProf’s life continues at 40.

Is Dustbury, “prolific” as the inevitable consequence of a desire to maximize his output before the time comes when he cannot put out anything? And, I wondered, am I?

I realize that the 45th anniversary of the moon landing depressed me. Here’s part of the reason. Another part is that, despite disliking violence, I understand why Buzz Aldrin punched Bart Sibrel after being harassed by him suggesting that the July 1969 moonwalk was faked.

Cat Islands.

Louis Zamperini Was More Than A Hero.

Paul Mazursky wrote and directed Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986), Moscow on the Hudson (1984), An Unmarried Woman (1978). But I saw (or heard) him in a number of TV shows and movies.

James Garner’s legacy: A commitment to civil rights and political activism.

Why I want to see the movie Life Itself, about Roger Ebert.

Check out this interview Rebecca Jade, my first niece, did recently through Voices of La Jolla. Click on the microphone/link on the upper right-hand corner to listen to the podcast.

Watching the new Weird Al Yankovic videos, especially Word Crimes. Weird Al is a marketing machine.

Did I mention that Paul McCartney came to Albany, NY? And Omaha, Nebraska? Who performed the mysterious ‘train song’ from the Beatles’ ‘A Hard Day’s Night’? The George Harrison Memorial Tree killed … by beetles.

Some of SamuraiFrog’s favorite Marvel stories; nice reveal in Fantastic Four #21. Also, for round 15 of ABC Wednesday – YOU can still join! – Mr. Frog will “highlight a different Muppet for each letter, hopefully, some of the lesser-known Muppets and milestones in Muppet history.” So far, A is for Arnold, who you WILL recognize; B is for Bobo the bear.

Superman and the Bible.

For the rest of the summer, absolutely everything new that’s published in the New Yorker will be unlocked. “Then, in the fall… an easier-to-use, logical, metered paywall.”

Renting Liechtenstein.

Could “The Big Bang Theory” get canceled? I’ve watched the show maybe thrice, but I find TV machinations interesting.

Mark Evanier wrote about The Battle of the Network Stars, some cheesy TV competition c. 1977. What struck me is that I knew every actor and the associated show from CBS, all but one from ABC, but had serious trouble with the NBC stars. Even I knew of the actor, say, Jane Seymour, I had no idea what show she was representing.

GOOGLE ALERTS (me)

Arthur responds to my TWO posts on Hobby Lobby.

Dustbury cites my Instant Runoff Voting post and my TMI post.

Mr. Frog tackles #1 Songs on My Birthday, which some of the rest of you regular bloggers – you know who you are – might consider.

(not me)
Alison Green, M.D. will join Green Family Practice Clinic on August 1st as the newest family practice doctor in Newport. “Alison joins the practice established by her father, Dr. Roger Green, continuing a rich family heritage of healthcare providers.”

(image from http://teachr.co/1oik2Qr )

Malala, the government shutdown, and other things

I worked with Jeff Sharlet’s late mother Nancy, so I knew Jeff from when he’d beat me, legitimately, in SORRY when he was six.

I was quite moved to watch Malala Yousafzai on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart this past week. Malala is the teenager shot in the head by the Taliban in Pakistan, but survived, and has since set up a fund to support girls’ education. Here’s Part 1, the section that aired, but see Part 2 and Part 3 as well. If those links don’t work, try this one.

When you listen, you’ll note that what she’s advocating for is essentially a liberal arts education, wanting girls to think for themselves, radical in the environment from which she came. The group that shot her was pleased she didn’t win the Nobel Peace Prize this week Jon Stewart may want to adopt her but she is reviled in her own hometown as not being Muslim enough or being a CIA plant.
***
My job is funded by state and federal monies. Which is to say I’m still working, but if this partial government shutdown continues for a while, that could be a problem. Yes, the House GOP’s little rule change guaranteed a shutdown. And Speaker of the House John Boehner, last weekend, acknowledged there was a clean continuing resolution – there are no budgets anymore, just a series of CRs – last July.

I suppose it’s ironic that the “reason” for the shutdown, Obamacare, was instituted anyway on October 1, with all its technical glitches. Perhaps a better strategy for the Republicans would have been to ENCOURAGE participation of the Affordable Care Act, hoping to crash the computers.

And yet, if you give in to cynicism about our democracy, our democracy steadily erodes. If it’s their plan to get so sick of it all that we throw up both our hands and let them do what they do, I must say it’s a brilliant strategy.
***
The Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857. I had never heard of this.

Sometimes you get a second chance to make a lasting impression.

Melanie has resigned herself “to needing help in private, but there is something that happens to me emotionally when I have to be helped to walk, or even be carried, in public. I do not handle it well.” Also: “Have you ever tried to pray for people who seriously want you dead?

The War on Q, W, and X.

It’s been a year since Mark Evanier’s mom died.

Voice and Hammer: Harry Belafonte’s unfinished fight by Jeff Sharlet. Jeff is prominently mentioned in the article College Writers Exit ‘Bubble’. I worked with Jeff’s late mother Nancy, so I knew Jeff from when he’d beat me, legitimately, in SORRY when he was six.

Roger Ebert’s scalding review of a Rob Schneider film, and what came next.

Disney’s first African-American animator, Floyd Norman.

This Scottish ad for breast cancer awareness may be NSFW, and may save someone’s life.

The reason I like this article is not because of the specific issue, which the homophobia of the Barilla pasta guy, but because Mark Evanier explains the First Amendment so well.

I too was surprised by the lawsuit after the Smiths/Peanuts comic strip mashup. Well, not by the suit itself, but by the fact it came from the Smiths’ music publisher. The Peanuts people have long been very litigious; I DO remember the barn in question.

The back roads of western New York State. Also, Albany’s lost boardwalk.

Entitled vacationers, plus Betty White plugs Air New Zealand.

Nedroid’s Party Cat series.

Jaquandor answers my questions about politics, film casting, and end-of-writing poetry, among other topics.