June rambling #1: Seven and Seven Is

Once I could have told you ALL the guys with 500+ homers.

Geez, I forgot to mention that I got together with some former JEOPARDY! contestants on the first Friday in May at a bar in Albany. I remember that because I had to rush from the First Friday event at my church. Anyway, nice people. Yes, and smart.

Mark Evanier writes about being The Advocate — “the functional person who handles everything for the sick person. I had to watch over their needs, get them whatever they required, intervene with the hospital and caregivers when necessary and run the aspects of their lives they could no longer handle, including personal finances. In simpler terms, I had to just be there for them.” Maybe I got a little teary.

I was going to write why I think the US pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement won’t be that bad, since mayors and governors and industry will step up. But with The Weekly Sift guy explaining The Paris Agreement is like my church’s pledge drive, plus what John Oliver said (or here), and what Hank Green said and what Ben & Jerry wrote and what Arthur wrote, I’m not feeling compelled.

Covfefe department: Do trademarks present an ethical violation? These probably do. Plus the swamp and failed Twitter intervention and the corrosive privilege of the most mocked man in the world.

Chuck Miller, my former Times Union blogger buddy – we’re still buds, but he’s not with the TU blogs anymore, explained in these pages in early April. Anyway, he is doing a new thing, and I am mentioned. The only problem is that he didn’t link to a certain song, so I did, below.

Chuck also writes about Teri Conroy, who also used to be in the TU blog farm. I’ve met her and she really IS a saint.

Su-sieee! Mac, one our ABC Wednesday participants: “Am I allowed to say I’m a cancer survivor when I didn’t know I had cancer?”

My local library branch (Pine Hills in Albany) gets a new art installation every few months. Among the artists this go round is Peach Tao, whose dinosaur woodcuts are really cool. I went to the opening on June 2. The art will be there until October 28.

Jaquandor has been doing his Bad Joke Friday for a while. Some are quite terrible. So naturally, sometimes I encourage him.

Albert Pujols became the ninth hitter in Major League Baseball to hit 600 or more home runs. Once I could have told you ALL the guys with 500+ homers, which used to be a lock for the Baseball Hall of Fame*. But as a result of the era of performance-enhancing drugs, Bonds and Sosa, for two, have not yet made it.
1 Barry Bonds 762
2 Hank Aaron * 755
3 Babe Ruth * 714
4 Alex Rodriguez 696
5 Willie Mays * 660
6 Ken Griffey, Jr.* 630
7 Jim Thome 612
8 Sammy Sosa 609

What Does Wonder Woman Actually Represent? and Revisiting the story that redefined her. Reckon Eddie and I need to see this movie.

The first shopping cart was introduced in OKC 80 years ago this week.


Dustbury expands on my reference to Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.

Liverpool Plays Pepper (link good only in June 2017) and When I’m Sixty-Four – MonaLisa Twins and Sgt. Pepper at 50.

Hey, Animaniacs, shouldn’t it be 50 state capitals, plus the federal one?

K-Chuck Radio: The Adjustments of Popular Songs.

Seven and Seven Is – Love. (CM)

How Gregg Allman and Cher stunned Canisius High ‘assembly’ in 1976.

The Ghetto Chopper T-shirt thing

Was the altered Price Chopper logo protected speech, as a trademark parody?

ghetto chopperThere’s a grocery chain headquartered in Schenectady, NY, near Albany, called Price Chopper, which serves upstate New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. It was founded in 1932 as Central Market, and will soon be segueing to a new name, Market 32, which I think is boring as heck.

At least one of the Price Chopper stores, the one on Delaware Avenue in Albany, has been dubbed the Ghetto Chopper for years.

While it serves parts of a black neighborhood, it also sells food to the more Greenwich Villagey Center Square section of town. Regardless, the term always irritated me; it bugged a lot of people, but others embraced it.

When a couple of artists, Dana Owens and Chip Fascian, designed a T-shirt emblazoned with the term “Ghetto Chopper”, with an image of a handgun – perhaps as a Photoshop spoof – it created a firestorm of controversy. Writer Amy Biancolli expressed her discomfort, for instance.

The strongest critic, though, was Ken Screven, retired reporter after over thirty years at WRGB-TV, Channel 6, who is now a Times Union blogger. He wrote of the shame of the Ghetto Chopper project and applauded when the Golub Corporation, owners of Price Chopper, filed a cease and desist order against the T-shirt maker. The comment sections on both these posts are lengthy and volatile, addressing issues of what art is, free speech, and hipster racism, among other things.

The arts and newsweekly Metroland wrote a summary of the events, some of which I thought was way off base.

What was most interesting to me in the debate, though, was whether the altered logo was protected speech, as a trademark parody. Intellectual property lawyer/rock drummer Paul Rapp notes:

Trademark infringement occurs only when there is a likelihood of confusion as to the source of a product. No confusion, no infringement. Did any of you think for a second that the Ghetto Chopper t-shirt was produced by Price Chopper? No? Well, OK then.

He goes on with more details, but his bottom line is that he thinks the shirt, had it been made, would have been legal. And I totally agree. If the T-shirt makers had had the resources to take on The Golub Corporation, they might well have won. I feel conflicted between what I find is the cringeworthy nature of the Ghetto Chopper moniker and my librarian leanings towards the open expression of ideas.

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