Dec. rambling: Lean on Me

I Love Trash

UN: Climate Change Will Create “New Great Divergence” Between Rich and Poor.

Were Other Human Species the First Victims of the Sixth Mass Extinction?

three years running Suicides and overdoses among factors fueling drop in U.S. life expectancy.

The Illusions Underlying our Foreign Policy Discussions.

ALEC Is an Incubator for Efforts to Protect White Supremacy.

“Calvin and the Colonel” – a kids’ cartoon with a shady past.

James Ussher, polyglot, prolific scholar, a man of the church and the man responsible for what we know today as ‘creationism’.

How gender-neutral pronouns can change a culture.

When America Starts to Feel a Little More Soviet.

Articles of Impeachment: Broad or Narrow? – they went narrow.

What Does Trump’s Inner Party Believe?

Letter to the editor: Pattern of misbehavior – Roger Green, Scottsbluff, NE.

Plan to Strip Food Aid From 750,000 Low-Income People by 2020.

He wanted to ban feeding homeless people. Now he’s about to lead a federal homeless agency.

Even if a Democrat wins in 2020, the next president isn’t likely to resurrect a Pax Americana.

The US-Mexico-Canada Trade Deal Is Not as Good as Nafta.

Devin Nunes may regret SLAPPing his critics.

Vicki Van Meter is the youngest female pilot to have made a transatlantic flight when she was aged twelve.

Gender-neutral pronouns can nudge people to see the world a little differently.

Rejection: A Wilderness Guide for Writers, Part 25.

Memories of a map.

How Costco gained a cult following — by breaking every rule of retail.

The Easiest Way to Bike Up a Hill and The One Thing You Can’t Take Home from The Price is Right and The State of Indiana versus Robin Hood and There’s Snow Better Way to Measure and Picasso with the Sharp Elbows and The Federal Bacon Law That Protects Truth in Advertising and The Best Way to Have Your House Cleaned Out By an Intruder.

Obits

Caroll Spinney, Big Bird Muppeteer for Nearly 50 Years, Dies at 85. Check out the 2014 documentary I Am Big Bird.

René Auberjonois, ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Benson’ Actor, Dies at 79. He was also in Boston Legal and a tons of other roles.

D.C. Fontana wrote many great stories and not all of them were for Star Trek, “which is the impression you’ll probably get from some of the obits.”

Ron Leibman, Tony Winner for ‘Angels,’ Is Dead at 82. His IMDB page.

Pete Frates, A Driving Force Behind The Viral Ice Bucket Challenge, Dies At 34.

Wrecked locomotive discovered after 106 years under Lake Superior.

Former chairman of the Federal Reserve Paul Volcker, who was 92 when he died in New York City blasted ‘nihilistic’ Trumpism in final testament.

unshelved
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MUSIC

I Love Trash – Oscar the Grouch.

ABC-DEF-GHI Song – Big Bird.

Going Home, per Dvorak – BYU choir.

Othello Overture – Dvorak.

Coverville 1287: The 15th Annual Beatles Thanksgiving Cover Story and 1288: The 40th Anniversary Tribute to Pink Floyd’s The Wall.

Baby’s in Black – MonaLisa Twins.

21st Century Schizoid Man [Radio Edit] – King Crimson at 1:55.

Lean on Me – Bill Withers.

Why you should learn about the Teskey Brothers.

These men just released their first music album — at age 102 and 88.

April rambling: Silent Scream

It is brutal, damaging and untrue

Condolences to Dustbury on the loss of his brother James, his last sibling

Thousands of internal documents that help explain how the Islamic State stayed in power so long

The root of all cruelty?

Travel is fatal to prejudice

Why does the Right hate victims?

50 years after the Wahine Disaster (New Zealand)

Corruption, Not Russia, Is His Greatest Political Liability

His long-term effect on American democracy: How worried should we be?

The Crime-Fraud Exception in the Michael Cohen Case

What Will Our Society Look Like When Artificial Intelligence is Everywhere?

Ten Things That Have Zero Effect on What the Truth Is

Daniel Van Riper’s Albany Weblog: They Want To Fill In The Ravine In Lincoln Park

The Real Story of the Hawaiian Missile Crisis

The REAL Consumer Price Index?

Congress, Not Amazon, Messed Up the Post Office

the beautiful human gumbo

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF COLOUR

Steven Bochco, RIP; a retrospective – I loved many of these shows

Remembering Winnie Mandela

Living the beam onstage with William Shatner

Lin-Manuel Miranda and Oprah’s Full Chat from SUPER SOUL SUNDAY

From the nifty historical fiction Silent Scream #1
Kickstarter: THE TRUST BOOK ONE: SILENT SCREAM ISSUE 2 – Dennis Webster, Bill Anderson, Gabriel Rearte and Laurie E. Smith

Mark Waid tells a new Captain America story with original artwork from Jack Kirby!

Top 37 Parks To Visit Before You Die

After 40 years, Wendy and Richard Pini finish ‘Elfquest,’ the ‘first American manga,’ and go on fanquest

SNL: Black Jeopardy with Chadwick Boseman

Seth Meyers’ great “desk story”

A Weird and Beautiful Sports Story

150th anniversary of Little Women

vlogbrothers: On Punctuality (John) v. How to Stop Being Late Forever (Hank)

Now I Know: How Overdue Parking Tickets Took Over an Innocent Person’s Life and The Therapeutic Value of a Not-Quite-Flying Pig and The Race to Determine the Fastest Man Alive and Why You Can’t Steal First Base and Why You Shouldn’t Eat Those “Do Not Eat” Packets and The Elevator Light That’s a Total Gas

How he is transforming himself into the greatest president ever

MUSIC

Found Tonight – Lin-Manuel Miranda and Ben Platt

Listen to the Music – Playing for Change

Catch Me If You Can -John Williams score

She’s A Rockin’ Machine – Archie and the Bunkers

Coverville 1212: Cover Stories for Jimmy Cliff and Pharrell Williams

Oriental Rhapsody – Alexander Glazunov

Stephen Hawking Picks the Music (and One Novel) He’d Spend Eternity With: Stream the Playlist Online

‘The Weakness in Me’: Notes on Joan Armatrading

Can’t Take My Eyes Off You – Sonny Vande Putte

Never tell someone they can’t sing – it is brutal, damaging and untrue

April rambling #2: Knowledge, Freedom, Democracy

The Public Library: A Photographic Love Letter


Do Not Lose Heart; We Were Made for These Times

On earth as it is in heaven: Why Jesus didn’t call his followers to be safe

The Gaslight Zone, Part 1 and Part 2

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Gerrymandering and Marijuana

Can We Get Real About Opioids? and Opioids, My Mom’s Death, and Why People Trust Science Less

How my daughter died from a simple case of flu

The Perception of Liberal Bias in the Newsroom Has Nothing Whatsoever to Do With Reality

Facebook use is a predictor of depression

The Internet Isn’t the Wild Wild West Anymore, It’s Westworld

Killing the Church with Sunday School

Girl, 2, defends her choice of doll to cashier

Carolyn Kelly, R.I.P.
Mark Evanier’s getting by, with the help of Henry Fonda

Sheryl Sandberg: ‘Everyone looked at me like I was a ghost’

Letterman’s mom was everyone’s mom: Dorothy Mengering dead at 95

A Tribute to Carrie Fisher

The Public Library: A Photographic Love Letter to Humanity’s Greatest Sanctuary of Knowledge, Freedom, and Democracy

Dianne Bentley saved receipts, helped take down her cheating governor husband

Arts in the Parks

Not me: Two longtime artists offer stunning works in ‘Traces’ exhibition

“Let me help” (Thoughts on “The City on the Edge of Forever”)

Bette Davis and Joan Crawford in the 1960s

Ken Levine interview: Voiceover artist Randy Thomas

I wrote about helicopter parenting four and a half years ago, and someone wanted to know if I wanted to read Abandon Helicopter Parenting, Embrace Negotiation Parenting; xooloo has developed an app for that.

7 Tips for Donating Old Books Without Being A Jerk

Now I Know: The Slave Who Spied on the Traitor and The Campaign for the Other Gary and Taking “One Person, One Vote” Literally — and Accidentally

Queen Elizabeth has someone break in her shoes before she wears them

Dawn Wells: Forever Mary Ann

I keep seeing references to crushed Doritos in recipes, e.g. replacing bread crumbs on fried chicken, or as the crust for mac and cheese. Have YOU used them?

Chopped liver

Music

Just a clown singing Pinball Wizard to the tune of Folsom Prison Blues

The Beatles – Home Recordings, May 1968 (white album)

Coverville: Elton John cover story

Back in June 1980, the legendary Chuck Berry performed in the little village of Ladner, British Columbia, Canada

K-Chuck Radio: Music to help pretty plants grow

5 truly explosive performances of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture

Appreciating an Unusual Beach Boys Album

Who has opened for the J. Geils Band?

Linda Hopkins; blues singer won Tony for best actress

The Neuroscience of Singing

There is a reason to have a B# and an E#

John Coltrane Draws a Picture Illustrating the Mathematics of Music

Monkees Star Mike Nesmith Reveals All on Drugs, a Near-Crippling Illness, and Jack Nicholson ‘Bromance’ in New Memoir

Where Have All The Bob Seger Albums Gone?

Genesis Tour Manager Recalls His Role in One of Rock’s Most Embarrassing Moments

Rock’n’roll shrimp named after Pink Floyd because of its deafening vocal ability

September rambling #1: unfinished art

Busker lends a helping hand to people with cancer

Blessed are the poor
Instead of Dumbing Down

Meet the People Who Believe the Earth Is Flat

Flooding of Coast, Caused by Global Warming, Has Already Begun; Scientists’ warnings that the rise of the sea would eventually imperil the US coastline are no longer theoretical

How Trolls Are Ruining the Internet

The Falling Man

The FBI Accused Him of Terrorism; He Couldn’t Tie His Shoes

The Aurora shooting survivors’ $700,000 legal bill shows the difficult reality of one Colorado law

Risky alone, deadly together Overdosing on prescription drug combinations plays a part in the growing rates of premature death among white women

White people think racism is getting worse, against white people

White privilege has enormous implications for policy — but whites don’t think it exists

‘He paid a dear price for it’: The 19th-century ordeal of one of America’s first transgender men

JEWEL OF THE NILE and why Ken Levine will be forever haunted by it

Who is Funding the Backlash against John Oliver’s Charter School Critique?

‘Playing Joan Crawford ruined my career’: Faye Dunaway says Mommie Dearest changed the way Hollywood thought of her

Now I Know: The Pool Party That Wasn’t a Gas and A Token Effort

One in Four Americans Didn’t Read a Book Last Year, But don’t mourn the death of the printed word just yet

Introvert Hangovers Can Be Really Rough

Hugh O’Brian, Star of TV’s Wyatt Earp, Dies at 91

Actor Jon Polito, known for roles in Coen brother films ‘The Big Lebowski’ and ‘Miller’s Crossing,’ dead at 65

Trouble with Comics contributor Tim Durkee passed away

Woman in iconic WWII Times Square kiss photograph dies at 92

A little good news

Dozens of higher education institutions in New York state will stop asking applicants whether they have past criminal convictions

Jerry Lewis returns, at 90

Star Trek: The Making of The Next Generation’s Greatest Episode, ‘The Inner Light’ and When ST was banned in Albany and ST and Jaquandor

Gene Wilder on Willy Wonka Remake, Young Frankenstein, Mel Brooks, and more (2013)

Actress Bea Arthur leaves LGBT youth a generous gift in her will

Ken Levine’s favorite celebrity sighting

Dan Van Riper: We Walked The Entire Rail Trail From the South End of Albany all the way to Voorheesville

An exhibition celebrates unfinished art

Early comics reading and A Number 1 By Any Other Name, both featuring moi

Busker lends a helping hand to people with cancer (Roger Green, not me)

Alicia Abdul: My favorite part of the trip– the Library of Congress!

Library Gothic

The fifty-year odyssey of a born-again baseball fan

High school was hard, and no one showed it better than My So-Called Life

How Lace Is Made

Finding Dory As Told By Emoji

When He Turned Out the Light, He Was in Bed Before the Room Was Dark

Berlioz

Star Trek suites

Fred Hellerman, Last Living Member of Folk Group the Weavers, Dead at 89 – Folk icon also produced Arlo Guthrie’s ‘Alice’s Restaurant’

Tchaikovsky’s Symphonies No. 5 in E minor and No. 6 in B minor

Cover of Michael Jackson’s Bad by Jordan’s Project (Big Band; Soloist – Artur Katz)

K-Chuck Radio: The Vanda and Young Songbook

Four chords, no waiting

An Oral History of “We Built This City,” the Worst Song of All Time; or at least a real contender.

Beatles appropriation and ‘Eight Days a Week’ — The Beatles’ story in Ron Howard’s documentary

Rolling Stone: 100 Greatest Rolling Stones Songs

All 314 Bruce Springsteen Songs, Ranked From Worst to Best

Beach Boys: Mike Love’s Endless Summer of Love

Playbill Asked Over 70 Actors to Name Their Favorite Show Tune of All Time

The Price is Right losing horn

Star Trek turns 50

Thanks to the VCR, I believe I missed but one episode.

startrekFrom all the news segments, I knew that Star Trek turns 50 today. Yet I was going to let the anniversary pass, even though I really liked the piece on CBS Sunday Morning, where, I discovered, reporter Faith Salie appeared on Deep Space Nine.

But what tipped the tide was turning on the TV on Labor Day, and there was someone who looked a whole lot like Nichelle Nichols, Uhura on the original Star Trek, on the CBS-TV soap opera The Young and The Restless, which, I assure you, I never watch. And it was!

My excitement, BTW, was only mildly tempered by the fact that The Wife has NO idea who Uhura was, let alone Nichols, who was one of the very few black actors on TV in 1966-1969 when the original series aired. But my late father, who watched that series in real time, even as I mostly ignored it, knew the significance of the actress and the character.

I didn’t watch Star Trek but I did watch Leonard Nimoy in his next TV series, replacing Martin Landau on Mission: Impossible. And oddly, I started watching the Star Trek cartoon series in the 1970s.

I saw the first five Star Trek movies. The first one bored me, but I liked the next three. The fourth film, The Voyage Home, I saw in a movie theater in Charlotte, NC with my mother in 1986. And though she had not seen the previous films, which made the narrative a bit confusing, she seemed to enjoy it. But after the terrible fifth film, I never saw another movie with that cast.

Speaking of the original cast, the late James Doohan, who played, Scotty, participated at FantaCon in Albany in 1983. I saw him only briefly, but the story goes that he was…less than an ideal guest. Also, having been to several conventions and worked at a comic book store, I will attest that Get A Life, that famous segment on Saturday Night Live, had a HUGE element of truth; Shatner talks about the experience.

Like most people, I only discovered the original Star Trek in reruns. But I watched Star Trek: The Next Generation religiously from the start. Thanks to the VCR, I believe I missed but one episode, and that in the first season. But I have never seen any of that cast’s films. Go figure.

I viewed Deep Space Nine (1993–99) and Voyager (1995–2001) fairly regularly, though Enterprise (2001–05) considerably less so.

But I was a devoted follower of the TV series The Practice, which, in its last season, was essentially an extended pilot for Boston Legal with Shatner as Denny Crane.

There was also this Shatner-hosted program, and I hope someone can identify it since it appears nowhere in his IMDB or Wikipedia pages. He interviews people involved in saving a little girl who fell down a well, or victims of a crime, or Mary Kay Letourneau with the much younger Vili Fualaau.

And while I’m on Shatner, it was through Coverville that I discovered Common People, the cover by William Shatner and Joe Jackson, which I have great affection for.

Patrick Stewart, Jean Luc Piccard in The Next Generation, I love in almost anything I see him in. I get oddly great pleasure seeing his great friendship with Ian McKellan.

I’ve already addressed George Takei recently. And I noted Leonard Nimoy’s passing last year.

The first Star Trek movie reboot I’ve seen on TV. CBS Interactive is showing a new iteration of Star Trek, Discovery in January 2017. I’ll probably not watch it until it’s on a more affordable platform.

But I realize that Star Trek, no matter how much or little one has seen the movies, TV series, bought the comics (I did) or the novelizations, or purchased accouterments (I did not), is in the cultural DNA. So I need to acknowledge the fact that Star Trek turns 50 with an appropriate response.