Vaccine incentive: donuts to college

free stuff

I’m OK with the COVID-19 vaccine incentive programs. So is the White HouseThe programs range from free donuts and beer to lottery tickets to select free passes to attractions.

Still, I was just a tad put off by the fact that many of the incentives were only for the newly vaccinated. (Sidebar: a previously resistant local columnist got kudos for changing their mind and deciding to get the vaccine. Meh.)

Yeah, yeah, getting the injections as soon as I could was its own reward. Second Pfizer shot on March 24, for the record, back in the old days when people were actually in line to receive it.

So, I’m pleased that New York State is offering a Vaccination Scholarship Incentive. “Enter your vaccinated 12-17-year-old for a chance to win a full scholarship to a SUNY or CUNY school.” I believe we have one of those in our household. Yup, under 18, vaccinated the second time in mid-April. So I signed up.

“Get a shot to make your future. New Yorkers age 12 to 17 who get vaccinated (or already have gotten vaccinated) can enter for a chance to win a 4-year full-ride scholarship to any public college or university in New York State. Fifty total winners will be chosen at five random drawings. The scholarship includes full tuition, room, and board, as well as an allowance for books and supplies. Parents can learn more here.”

American football

Oh, and here’s something potentially for me, as noted in the Boston Globe: “Starting June 1, you could score a VIP trip to Super Bowl LVI along with your COVID-19 vaccine at CVS. Woonsocket-based CVS Health announced… that eligible customers who received or plan to receive a COVID-19 vaccination through one of their retail pharmacies will be able to enter into their new sweepstakes program for a chance to win one of more than a thousand prizes. The winners will be chosen through weekly drawings and grand prizes over the next six weeks.”

Note to self: go to this site today. I’m going to the Super Bowl! OK, probably not. Where IS the Super Bowl next year anyway? Near Los Angeles.

Regardless, I hope this governmental and corporate bribery of the citizenry works to get more shots in arms.

February rambling: snollygoster!

Super Bowl Opening Night; Sheila E., Morris Day, with the niece Rebecca Jade

The Framingham, Massachusetts Public Library rocks!

The US has been downgraded from a “full democracy” to a “flawed democracy”

John Oliver: America is a ‘beautiful mess of contradictions’

What I Saw Treating the Victims From Parkland Should Change the Debate on Guns

Gun Control Advocates Look to Connecticut

Does the Exploding Federal Deficit Matter?

Our nation’s theological leaders should be torchbearers for morality, not enablers of ethical decay

Bombshell Exposé; the Affairs and the Coverup

‘Did he “call for bipartisanship”? Of course, he did, the way a carny barker calls for suckers

Satire: Military Refuses to Participate in His Parade, Citing Bone Spurs, plus a real response from a retired army general

Snollygoster: One, especially a politician, who is guided by personal advantage rather than by consistent, respectable principles

Lawsplainer: “Fruit of The Poisonous Tree” And The Special Counsel Investigation

The Sound and the Fury: Inside the Mystery of the Havana Embassy

Gun Reform: Speaking Truth to BS, Practicing Civility, and Affecting Change

CAN YOU SAY…HERO? Fred Rogers has been doing the same small good thing for a very long time… (from Nov 1998)

They slayed Tony the Tiger: Chile’s war on obesity took cartoon icons off junk food boxes and added black warning labels. Could it be a model?

The Science Of Why SWEARING Physically Reduces Pain

“If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything”

What Can’t a Billion Dollars Buy?

in-flight magazine on Norwegian Air


THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES WON THE SUPER BOWL!!!!!!!

Winners Of The 69th Annual George Polk Awards In Journalism

My wife and I saw The Bodyguard at Proctors and liked it a whole lot more than this reviewer

RIP for John Mahoney

Steve Gerber, 10 years gone

Marty Allen, R.I.P.

Film Theory: The Tide Pod Challenge – EXPOSED! (selected by The Daughter)

The SORRY! state of board games

Hangry in the OED

The Things That Come to Those Who Wait: A sociocultural history of the line

The Bronze Medal Which Took Fifty Years to Win and The Wrong Richard at the Wrong Time and What History Smells Like and A Penny Earned and Coming Alive at a Snail’s Pace and The Day Care Fine that Backfired and The Man Who Owned Google for a Minute and The Island with No Garbage

“if you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything”

MUSIC

Super Bowl Opening Night; Sheila E., Morris Day (the niece Rebecca Jade in the very first shot) or here (official version; loads slower)

David Byrne teamed up with Choir! Choir! Choir! to cover Bowie’s ‘Heroes’

Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture

With or Without You – April Meservy

The late composer Johann Johannsson

Puedes Sentir El Amor/Can You Feel The Love Tonight – Adrienne Walker (Nala) and Agustin Arguello (Simba)

The Manhattan Transfer returns!!

Picture Show – John Prine with Tom Petty

Coverville: 1204: Cover Stories for Sarah McLachlan and Lucinda Williams and 1205: Celebrating the music of Neil Diamond, Paul Simon and Elton John and 1206: The Un-Valentine’s Day Episode and 1207: George Harrison for (what would have been) his 75th birthday!

Karl Goldmark’s Sakuntala Overture

Mozart’s Sinfonia concertante

Mardi Gras In New Orleans – DIRTY DOZEN BRASS BAND

This is Getting Old – Young@Heart Chorus (E*TRADE ad during the Super Bowl)

Quincy Jones in conversation

Carolina Panthers

One of my favorite pieces of clothing, which I still wear occasionally, is a sweatshirt my mom gave me.

carolina panthers
The Carolina Panthers will be playing the Denver Broncos in a football game today in the Bay Area of California.

My parents and the younger of my two sisters moved from Albany, NY to Charlotte, NC in 1974. I’ve been down there several times and lived there for a brief period in 1977. I even did research on how the city annexed tons of unincorporated territory, though I never actually finished that grad school paper in 1980.

It has evolved from what my late father used to refer to as a “big country town” when he moved down there, comparable to the cartoon character Baby Huey, to something approximating a city, with a decent mass transit system.

I’m not one to believe entirely that fealty to a major league sports team is a sign of a city’s cohesion. Still, it’s had a National Basketball Association team from 1988-2001 and again from 2004 to the present.

The Carolina Panthers of the National Football League, which started about two decades ago, play in a stadium in downtown Charlotte, not in the suburbs. I’ve never been to a game, but I’ve been by the stadium, which is not far from where my late mother used to work.

One of my favorite pieces of clothing, which I still wear occasionally, is a sweatshirt my mom gave me after the Panthers won the NFC West division back in 1996 – it looks like the picture – losing in the NFC championship game. NFC West? Long story.

So my rooting interests are prosaic. I’ve been to Denver on one trip, at the airport on the way to somewhere else. Sure, like Jeb Bush, I’d like the old man, quarterback Peyton Manning, 39, to do well.

Still, I have to root for the team with the quarterback, Cam Newton, 26, the league’s Most Valuable Player who wears pants I might have considered in MY twenties.

Go, Panthers!

A long Super Bowl Sunday, Philip Seymour Hoffman edition

Interesting that the first comment I got about Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death was “If it is true, it’s sad.”

philipseymourhoffmanMy church belongs to this entity called FOCUS, which, among other things, runs a food pantry. Periodically, there is a joint service of the congregations. Usually, I miss the one in early February, because I’m away at a MidWinter’s party Saturday night out of town. But the Wife had an all-day meeting on Saturday, and that rather put the kibosh on that. It was a good service, but it was LONG: at least 100 minutes.

Then the reception afterward. The service was at Trinity United Methodist, my church from 1982 to 2000, so it was interesting being there again. I could tell the visitors where the bathrooms were – they hadn’t moved. I recognized no one from when I was in the choir there.

The Daughter had a rehearsal all afternoon at our church for the Lion King performance in four weeks. I slipped off to the library to use the computer, where I saw fellow Times Union blogger Chuck Miller working on this piece.

It was there that I first learned on Facebook that the actor, and former upstate (Rochester area) kid, Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead, news which I passed along. It is interesting that the first comment I got was “If it is true, it’s sad.” So much misinformation IS online, but I had checked four sources before passing it along.

I have seen LOTS of his films. I didn’t always love the movie, but always appreciate his efforts, and I was bummed. I thought he was one of the best actors of his generation, and at the age of 46, should have had a number of better pictures ahead. I so regret that his demons had gotten the best of him. The LA Times helpfully noted that he was found dead in his apartment with a needle in his arm.

I saw him in all of these movies:
Leap of Faith (1992)
Scent of a Woman (1992)
Nobody’s Fool (1994) – a small role as a cop
Boogie Nights (1997)
Next Stop Wonderland (1998)
Patch Adams (1998)
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
State and Main (2000)
Almost Famous (2000) – I bought him as Lester Bangs
Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
Capote (2005) – great as the title character
The Savages (2007) – possibly my favorite of his films, as Laura Linney’s sibling
Charlie Wilson’s War (2007) – that film got better the moment he was on screen
Synecdoche, New York (2008) – an unorthodox film about the arts in upstate NY described well here. Watch the funeral monologue.
Doubt (2008) – believable as a priest
Moneyball (2011) – convincing as Art Howe of the Oakland A’s

Plus a role on Law & Order in 1991 that I certainly must have seen, and a voice character on the children’s cartoon Arthur, which I KNOW I saw. The New York Times had a GREAT article about him, and CNN has a recent brief interview with him

Know who else died this weekend? Anna Gordy Gaye, Berry Gordy’s sister, and Marvin Gaye’s ex-wife, who was the subject of Marvin’s bizarre Here, My Dear album.

I get home, start watching the Super Bowl stuff right at 6 p.m. Eastern, 30 minutes before the game. But the game was a blowout by 12 seconds into the third quarter. (Those of you who do not appreciate the Big Game obviously have never heard Andy Griffith’s analysis of the sport from sixty years ago.)

Many of the ads – some of which are HERE – didn’t really stick to my brain, except the Radio Shack and one of the Doritos ads, but that could have been fatigue.

I do recall seeing Bob Dylan plugging American-made vehicles, which didn’t bother me as much as it did some folks. I love the Muppets, yet feel ambivalent at best about THEIR appearance in a car ad. There was a Masarati ad or two for which I did not understand the reason why I would want the car.

I’d already seen the Budweiser Heroes ad and the Cheerios Gracie ad. I shouldn’t have been, but I was, oblivious to the backlash the Coca-Cola America the Beautiful ad would generate.

Right after linebacker Malcolm Smith was selected as game MVP, I fell asleep, waking up in the middle of a comedy called Brooklyn Nine-Nine, so it was time for bed.

Rooting interests

Mu sisters live in San Diego, CA and Charlotte, NC, so I’ll root for their NFL teams, unless another loyalty wins out.

RichardShermanThe team you root for in sports is, of course, entirely irrational. In football (NFL variety, not soccer), I support the New York Giants because, when my father was teaching me about how to watch football, we used to watch the Giants every autumn Sunday on our Binghamton, NY affiliate, WNBF-TV, Channel 12. Even went to a few exhibition games in not-too-distant Ithaca, NY.

Who do you root for, though, when your team isn’t there? The Giants were a mediocre 7-9 this past season, starting 0-6, and failed to make the playoffs.

The first playoff weekend I backed the Philadelphia Eagles because that’s buddy Greg Burgas’ team, and the Kansas City Chiefs because the Eagles’ former coach is now the Chiefs’ coach. Both lose, KC in epic proportion, blowing a 28-point lead. (I’ve now seen both the greatest NFL playoff comeback – the Buffalo Bills down 32 to the Houston Oilers, in the 3rd quarter, yet win) and the second best.

I root for San Diego, because one of my sisters lives there, and for San Francisco because I really liked the city when I visited there nearly three decades ago; both win.

The next week, mostly divided loyalties. SF v. Carolina and my other sister lives in Charlotte, NC. Oh, except root against the New England Patriots, who win anyway.

One conference championship has Denver, with Peyton Manning, who I like, vs. New England, with Tom Brady, who I don’t enjoy. Broncos going to the Super Bowl!

San Francisco v. Seattle; I know NOTHING about Seattle, except they are NOT a perennial playoff team, so new blood would be nice. At the end of the game, there was an “incident.” Richard Sherman of Seattle (pictured) tips a pass intended for 49er Michael Crabtree in the end zone, and a fellow Seahawk catches it. Afterward, Sherman gives an amped-up sideline interview that got him fined nearly $8,000 for taunting Crabtree.

But what wasn’t seen until later was Sherman wanting to shake Crabtree’s hand, but Crabtree rejecting it. Forbes magazine, of all things, has a cogent analysis that it was a hard-fought game between division rivals, it was the game-winning play, and that exuberance makes for good TV. Some of the online comments called Sherman a thug, or worse, and a LOT of the remarks had a nasty racial element – Sherman is black – with many of them suggesting the Stanford grad was ignorant.

So my rooting interest in the Super Bowl has been tilted in favor of the Seahawks, though I have no beef with the Broncos, who, as noted, took out the Patriots.

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