August rambling: extreme inequality

this is not a drill
Stolen from HERE and HERE
Extreme Inequality Is Driving Anxiety and Depression in the US

Is It Obvious Yet that Tariffs Injure Americans?

#TrumpRecession Trends as he is blamed for rising fears of another economic meltdown

E Pluribus Unum? The Fight Over Identity Politics

A Life of Incalculable Harm: David Koch (1940-2019)

The Amazon isn’t “Burning” – It’s Being Burned

Man cuffed by police, forced out of his own home in his underwear after ‘sleeping while black’

CNN interview with Randy Rainbow

The Simpsons: Fleeing the Squad in ‘West Side Story’ Parody

The Daily Show: Donsplaining

The US is about to withdraw from the United Nations’ Universal Postal Union (UPU) – why?

Art Spiegelman: golden age superheroes were shaped by the rise of fascism

Secrets and Lies in the School Cafeteria; A tale of missing money, heated lunchroom arguments, and flaxseed pizza crusts

I Shared My Phone Number. I Learned I Shouldn’t Have. “Our personal tech columnist asked security researchers what they could find out about him from just his cellphone number. Quite a lot, it turns out.”

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov

Going against the decluttering craze: THE BOOK HOARDERS WHO DEFY MARIE KONDO

There Is No Reason to Cross the U.S. by Train. But I Did It Anyway. I would absolutely do this.

Smoke Detector Placement: Your Guide to Installing Carbon Monoxide and Fire Alarms

Peter Fonda, the ‘Easy Rider’ star and counterculture icon, dies at 79

The acclaimed animator who created Roger Rabbit dies. Richard Williams, 86, who worked on hit films such as The Pink Panther, won three Oscars and three Baftas

Binghamton, NY Broadcasting legend Bill Parker has passed away at the age of 91. I was on his show… in 1958.

John Green: What to Love and How

Anderson Cooper interviewing Stephen Colbert became largely about dealing with grief

Where would Las Vegas be without the fruit machine, the invention of car mechanic Charles Fey?

Norwich Cathedral helter-skelter ‘is a mistake’

Monty Python tease re: the writing and filming of Life of Brian

Commercials that travel well

6 Similarities Between Star Wars And Zen Buddhism

The New Prospectors: Every year, members of the Gold Prospectors Association of America pack up their RVs in search of adventure, friendship, and a bucketful of pay dirt

Now I know: Why Capital Letters are Called “Upper Case” and 1968: A Space, and Financial Services, Odyssey and The Easter Egg Hunt That Caught a Bad Egg and What Are All Those Dots On My Car’s Windshield? and Why We Pour Milk on our Cereal and When Pants Were a Ticket to Jail

Never could figure out these damn things

Record Review- Roger Green

MUSIC

Starman – MonaLisa Twins

16 Revelations About Fiddler on the Roof

Love Letters – Alicia Beale

Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major by Alma Deutscher

Praying For Time / The Rain Song [George Michael & Led Zeppelin mashup] – Puddles Pity Party

Symphonic Dances from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein

K-Chuck Radio: Paul McCartney’s not quite dead yet and In honor of Kris’ birthday

Pink Panther theme – all about the bass

What About Us [Pink Cover] – One Voice Children’s Choir

Who’s Sorry Now? – Gloria DeHaven

Coverville: 1274: This Day in Covers: August 14, 1984 and 1275: Cover Stories for Thin Lizzy, Jamie Cullum and KISS

Gloria – Los Doltons

All My Happiness Is Gone – David Berman, RIP

Cromulent, embiggen, vellichor, jouska

Jouska is a hypothetical conversation that you repeat again and again in your head.

dictionary of obscure sorrowsMy friend Dan happened upon the word cromulent and a whole bunch of other unfamiliar terms. I suggested – not that he listens – that he ought to write a blog post about words. “Nah. I do Albany along with rants about politics… Words are your thing.”

From an article by Merriam-Webster: “It is safe to say that The Simpsons has contributed a great deal to the English language. One famous example is cromulent, which was coined specifically for the 1996 episode ‘Lisa the Iconoclast.’ In reference to one character’s questioning of the use of embiggen, another says ‘it’s a perfectly cromulent word.'”

Somehow I didn’t remember cromulent, although I was still watching The Simpsons regularly at the time. However, embiggen is another story. I don’t know where I heard it but I HAVE used the word, colloquially to be sure, but still.

Dan put the word “cromulent” into Google and kept clicking on definitions on the page. His spellchecker liked none of them; after this post goes live, my Grammarly score is really going to sink.

Vellichor is the strange wistfulness of used bookstores, which are somehow infused with the passage of time—filled with thousands of old books you’ll never have time to read, each of which is itself locked in its own era, bound and dated and papered over like an old room the author abandoned years ago.”

Somehow this reminds me of that 1959 Twilight Zone episode Time Enough at Last with Burgess Meredith.

Jouska is a hypothetical conversation that you repeat again and again in your head. For example, replaying an argument in your head where you say all the right things and ‘win’ the argument.” I used to do it frequently.

Also check out chrysalism, occhiolism, and kairosclerosis. All of them, plus vellichor and jouska, appear in The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.

What the heck is THAT? It is a Tumblr and YouTube channel that give us words that don’t exist in the English language but definitely should.

“The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows is a compendium of invented words written by John Koenig. Each original definition aims to fill a hole in the language—to give a name to emotions we all might experience but don’t yet have a word for.

“The author’s mission is to capture the aches, demons, vibes, joys and urges that roam the wilderness of the psychological interior. Then release them gently back into the subconscious.”

Going to the site, I’m informed that an actual book will soon exist, from Simon & Schuster, and I may very well have to buy it.

Albany steamed hams: “Greatest Comedy Scene”

“Skinner’s charade is woefully transparent, but the deception doesn’t completely fall apart until the very last line.”


Jaquandor saw this article from the UK. He wrote to me on Facebook: “‘It’s an Albany expression!’ Hmmm…really? Hey, do you call hamburgers ‘steamed hams’? (I’m guessing, no.)”

The piece from March 2017 refers to a scene from the TV show The Simpsons. I was a fervent viewer of the program in the first decade, but I rarely see it now. So I was unfamiliar with the particular segment.

“This scene comes in at about 340 words, and 67 sentences. Every line serves a purpose – either as a joke, or as character building.”

Cookywook goes into great detail about:

1. The script about principal Skinner trying to impress school superintendent Chalmers. “Skinner’s charade is woefully transparent, but the deception doesn’t completely fall apart until the very last line.”

2. The structure of a faux opening

3. The animation

4. The psychology of space

5. The climax, with “Skinner’s most extravagant lie by far”

Of course, “steamed hams” really isn’t “an Albany expression.” It’s probably a Schenectady thing.

I is for iatrogenic

Unlike an adverse event, an iatrogenic effect is not always harmful.

iatrogenicSomeone sent me this piece from an obituary: “…His demise was probably iatrogenic.” Iatrogenic was not a word I knew.

It means: “induced inadvertently by a physician or surgeon or by medical treatment or diagnostic procedures: an iatrogenic rash.”

Origin of the word comes from the Greek Continue reading “I is for iatrogenic”

Watching that TV show again

There is even research to suggest that re-watching television shows is good for you.

good-wife-the-second-season-dvd-coverOne of joyous experiences I have had recently is periodically watching episodes of the Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-1966) with The Daughter. I bought the complete five seasons a couple years and we’re down to the last half dozen of 158 episodes. It’s interesting watching what she finds funny, or mystifying. I’m also fascinating by what programs I remember very well (the Christmas show early on, the ventriloquist Paul Winchell near the end), and others not so much. Mark Evanier has been revisiting the classic show too.

In some ways, I’m like this columnist who sometimes would rather re-watch a program she enjoyed, rather than to venture out and try new stuff, even though there is a lot of quality stuff out there (The Wire, Mad Men, Breaking Bad) I’ve never seen. Continue reading “Watching that TV show again”