The bain of my existence: keys and locks…

That missing key chain also has my home rear door house key, the car key, the fob to get me onto the third floor of my work building, and, notably, apparently the remaining key to the shed.

Sunday, December 15, while we were cleaning off/digging out the car – we have on-street parking, and the snowplows know how to pack in vehicles – I gave my set of keys to The Daughter so that she could open the shed and get her snowboard. She says she gave the keys to The Wife, who doesn’t recall that action, but that is inconclusive. Regardless, I didn’t have any keys, except my spare key to the front door, and one other.

This was particularly annoying because I don’t really need help to lose my keys; I’m actually an expert at misplacing them on my own. I had to see here to know how I could rectify that habit. The one other “key” I did have isn’t really a key at all, but rather a swiper card to get into the rear door of my work building at Corporate (frickin’) Woods, or into the front after hours, when the security desk is closed. I had only recently rediscovered it, under my bed, after three or four months of it being MIA.

I’m not quite sure why we needed badges to get into my building. They had these signs throughout the floors that say, “Stop tailgating,” which means to avoid allowing someone behind you to get into the building on your swiper pass, but that’s PRECISELY how I had been getting in when I was still riding the bicycle into November and had to park it in the garage in the rear.

That missing key chain also has my home rear door house key, the car key (useful when we’re loading a car on a trip), the fob to get me onto the third floor of my work building (embarrassing to have to either wave at someone to get them to let me in or to call my office), and, notably, apparently the remaining key to the aforementioned shed (the Wife or the Daughter having misplaced the other.)

Finally, on Christmas Eve, I asked the administrator at work for another fob to get on the third floor. This was born of necessity. It seems inevitable that when I need to go to the bathroom on my floor, it’s being cleaned, which means I have to go down to the first floor facilities, requiring me to get someone to let me in again.

About an hour later, we got an e-mail notifying us that all the building entry cards would be deactivated and that we’d be getting new ones. In fact, the deactivation took place BEFORE the cards were distributed, so if you went out for a cigarette in mid-morning, you might not be able to get in the back door.

Of course, most people were on vacation Christmas Eve, so this necessitated our office people calling or e-mailing people at home to notify them of the change. The building people, realizing their amazingly lousy timing, came up with an inventive solution; keeping the back door UNLOCKED during business hours until January 2, 2014, thus defeating the purpose of the security system altogether. As it turns out, the unlocked doors, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays is the new policy, which pleases me no end.

I hate locks, and keys, and swiper entry cards, and swiper entry fobs…

Postscript: Got a call from the Bach branch of the Albany Public Library on Monday, December 27. Someone found my keys and turned them into that library because I had my daughter’s library card on my key chain. HAPPY.

August Rambling II: Smart is sexy and stupid is not

A reference to my piece about David Cassidy made it into the print version of the paper because “it was a good post, and filled with what we like: short, timely and to the point :)”


The New York Times’ prophetic 1983 warning about the NSA, which naturally leads to Glenn Greenwald killed the internet.

My Feelings About the Harriet Tubman Sex Tape in 10 GIFs.

Invisible Disabilities Day is October 24. I have this friend with rather a constant neck pain, but she doesn’t LOOK sick, and therefore feels diminished by those who actually don’t believe her. Conversely, The Complexities of Giving: People with Disabilities as Help Objects.

Photos of the worldly goods of inmates at the Willard Asylum. I backed the Kickstarter for this and wrote about it a couple years ago.

“Each week, TIME Magazine designs covers for four markets: the U.S., Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific.” Often, America’s cover is quite, well – different. I had noticed this before. I don’t know that it’s “stunning,” but it IS telling.

The Peanuts gang meets The Smiths, in which This Charming Charlie masterfully blends Charles Schulz’s comics with lyrics by The Smiths.

Mark Evanier’s Tales of My Father, featuring Tony Orlando. Also, Tales of My Cat.

A friend’s letter from his brother. (Can one read this sans Facebook?)

Yes, smart is sexy and stupidity is not.

Eddie, the Renaissance Geek is cancer-free!

So I have survived my first grown-up move. Moving as an adult, it turns out, is radically different from moving as a student.

John Scalzi: To The Dudebro Who Thinks He’s Insulting Me by Calling Me a Feminist.

Air New Zealand celebrates marriage equality.

Lake Edge United Church of Christ in Madison, WI: “Worship at the Edge” PRIDE Sunday.

My old buddy Matt Haller has a new blog and writes about lies my shampoo bottle tells me about dating.

Arthur challenges his own snap assumptions.

SamuraiFrog writes about the list of best movies that EW had on the list in 1999, but which had fallen off the list by 2013 and also other great films. Re: a comment he made: that will require a blog post from me. He’s been musing on the early Marvel comics, which have all been interesting, and I was glad to play a small part in his understanding of Thor.

21 Jokes Only History Nerds Will Understand​.

German, not Swiss, Orson Welles.

Marian McPartland, ‘Piano Jazz’ Host, Has Died. I loved how she way she not only performed but, probably, more importantly, INFORMED about music.

The late Elmore Leonard’ TEN RULES FOR WRITING. His New York Times obit.

David Janower has passed away. He was the choral director of the fine Albany Pro Musica, and I knew and liked him personally, so I am sad. He had surgery a few months back and suffered a stroke from which he never really recovered.

A worthy neologism found by Dustbury.

The God of SNL will see you now.

Dolly Parton’s original recording of “Jolene” slowed down by 25% is surprisingly awesome.

Paul McCartney “In Spite Of All The Danger” & “20 Flight Rock” (Live), the former a cover of first Beatles record. Also, the Beatles’ final photo session, August 22, 1969.

Chuck Miller has posted every day for four years, over 2,000 blog posts on the Times Union site.

Dueling banjos: Steve Martin, Kermit the Frog. Sesame Street does Old Spice parody with Grover.

No ukuleles were harmed in the making of this video.

What did I write about in my Times Union blog this month? That annoying JEOPARDY! Kids Week story and Should ‘citizen initiative and referendum’ come to New York? and The prescient David Cassidy song. Cassidy got arrested locally for felony DWI, and a reference to my piece made it into the print version of the paper because “it was a good post, and filled with what we like: short, timely and to the point :),” FWIW.

If you are an NYS homeowner, read Tax Department Launches Statewide STAR Registration. The Data Detective blog has some other interesting stuff – if I do say so myself – such as On being ‘right’ in science.

Jaquandor answers my questions about the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team and unfriending.

Spontaneous​s goat manure fire.

Guns in every school?

There are about 300 million guns in the US, nearly one for every man, woman and child in the country. ABC News has noted that, even if a gun control law were passed tomorrow, those extant guns aren’t going to disappear.

Tom the Mayor, my old FantaCo and YMCA buddy, asks: How do you feel about the NRA’s idea of having guns in every school, you being a parent. I think they are vile and evil.

I’m not keen on the NRA’s idea. I like what Salon’s Mary Elizabeth Williams had to say: Keep your guns out of my school! Among other things, the armed guards, in schools and elsewhere, are often early targets for would-be mass killers. I worry that having armed guards will accelerate the problem. And the foolish notion of making the teachers into a militia is beyond the scope of the job, when they have been given increasing responsibilities for – ready for it – teaching.

If we have armed guards in every school, where will the money come from? The strains on school budgets NOW are enormous. Now, if the NRA is willing to PAY for all of these people, MAYBE we can talk about it. (Nah, not even then.) Who will these people be, anyway? A police officer, with a level of training in situational behavior, or a rent-a-cop who just knows how to take target practice well?

The fact is I heard that about a third of schools already have armed personnel, according to NBC News. Columbine had at least one armed guard during the massacre at the high school in 1999.

Ultimately, I think that the NRA and other pro-gun advocates have been disingenuous; MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell explains it well. The implication is that more guns will keep everyone safe; clearly untrue. The Fort Hood shootings represent an apt example.

There are about 300 million guns in the US, nearly one for every man, woman, and child in the country. ABC News has noted that, even if a gun control law were passed tomorrow, those extant guns aren’t going to disappear. It would be foolish, though, to do nothing.

I have a friend who grew up in Newtown, Connecticut. and still has friends there. It’s difficult that “this horror happen in such a quiet, ordinary town.” I remember writing about the all-but-forgotten mass murder in MY hometown less than four years ago. I wrote that, on Binghamton’s newspaper’s website, “along with expressions of sympathy, distress about the human condition, requests for more help for the mentally ill, and people on both sides of the gun control issue…” This is why I despair about anything ever-changing; every gun tragedy generates the same damn conversation.

And it’s ONLY because six-year-old children were many of the victims that I have any hope that that, maybe, just maybe, things WILL be different this time.

And though you didn’t ask, I figure I’ll sound off on another topic: violent video games. I’m not a gamer, but I listened to the whole podcast when Chris (Lefty) and Kelly Brown discussed certain hazards they have faced;…how video games nearly shattered their marriage and the lessons learned… . This was all very good.

Lefty also discusses the tragedy in Newton, CT, and what it means for video games. He believes that the video games that simulate killing other people are, or should be, kept away from small children. I’m not convinced this is actually happening. I remember going to the mall some years ago and my 12-year-old niece was playing some game I can only describe as gruesome. She’s turned out all right, but I’m not convinced that’s true of all the teenagers who surely get to play them. This adult gamer notes that kids have been playing “cowboys and Indians” or “army men” for decades with no ill effect. I myself had a Johnny Seven OMA (One Man Army), and I grew up to be a pacifist. But playing war just wasn’t that graphic. If kids have seen 16,000 murders and 200,000 acts of violence via movies, TV shows, music videos, and video games, is it likely that at least some of them might be negatively impacted?

Jaquandor asked a few questions. I’ll take the first one here, and the others down the road:

I see the question’s already asked, but: Guns. What on Earth to do about them?

I was going to ask Superman to take a giant magnet and collect them all.

Seriously, limiting the type of guns and the sometimes magazines they use would be a start. Some communities have gun buybacks, which I favor. I know those Second Amendment folks think the Constitution is absolute, but as I said recently, Amendment 2 is no more absolute than the First Amendment. We limit certain types of speech to maintain a safer society, but we can’t with guns?

There’s that recent shooting in, roughly, your neck of the woods, in Webster, NY, just outside Rochester. Coincidentally, that’s where my wife was born, and where my best friend from college grew up. Four firefighters shot, two fatally, responding to a house fire, set deliberately so some schmuck could shoot the responders, and so he could burn down as much of the neighborhood as possible, with at least seven houses ultimately destroyed. One of the guns he used was the same type of high-powered weapon used on children and teachers in Newtown, CT. MORE guns would not have solved that situation either.