Sept. rambling: Suicide prevention

Way Less Sad

NAMI: Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. “It’s Okay to Talk About Suicide”

Food insecurity soared roughly 9% last year for Americans

The LMNOPs of Caring for the Nursing Workforce: Healthcare systems can do more to prevent staff burnout

 A Guide on Racism, Inequality, and Health Care for African Americans.

Household COVID-19 risk and in-person schooling

Fines Double for Refusing to Wear a Mask on a Plane

 ‘I’m learning firsthand how difficult it is to be shunned by people you love’: The vaccine wars are getting personal

 Once-in-a-Century Weather Events Every Week

 Why ‘I’ Hurricane Names Are Most Likely to Be Retired

What Bobby McIlvaine Left Behind, -Grief, conspiracy theories, and one family’s search for meaning in the two decades since 9/11

How can America wake up from its post-9/11 nightmare?

Tycoon, Contractor, Soldier, Spy (Erik Prince, 2010)

A Dozen Observations about Abortion, Texas, and the Supreme Court

Power Move: Charles Blow wants Black people to reverse the Great Migration and form majorities in the Southern states.

Journey with Jesus: Richard Rothstein on “The Color of Law” 

Is it Better Not To Know?

‘SNL’ Alum Norm Macdonald Dead At 61

Sporting News
every_data_table
https://xkcd.com/2502/ Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

Pittsburgh Pirates lineup from Sept. 1, 1971, the first time an AL or NL team had fielded an all-Black and Latino starting lineup.

60+ Key Stats About the Olympic and Paralympics

 The Woman Who Invented Stuffed Animals 

John Green:  My Two Favorite Jokes. From the comments: “I went into the library and asked the librarian for a book on turtles. ‘Hard back?’ ‘Yeah, with little heads.'”

How Much of the World’s Bourbon Is Actually Made in Kentucky?

Surf the Vintage Internet 

ZOOM:  Celebrating 10 Years of Zoom: “Some of you have only known Zoom since early 2020.” Including me.

What Is a Squinting Modifier?

A 13,654 stick bomb 

Now I Know: The Friend on the Bench and The Man Who Gets People Out of the Hospital and The Magical Place Where Everyone Can Play

MUSIC

Elegy by Mark Camphouse

I heard this song called Way Less Sad by AJR this week for the first time last week. It came out in February 2021. For the life of me, I recognized but could not immediately place the horn riff. No, not Chicago or Blood, Sweat and Tears or Earth, Wind and Fire. Finally, it came to me, without looking it up: the way too sad My Little Town by Simon and Garfunkel! Paul Simon even gets a writing credit for Way Less Sad.

Times Will Be Better – Elena Romanova 

I Bought Myself A Politician – MonaLisa Twins

Flivver Ten Million by Frederick Shepherd Converse, played by the Buffalo Philharmonic, conducted by JoAnn Falletta

Michelle – Julian Neel

Arlington from John Williams’s score to JFK

17 Quotes on the Transformative Power of Music

July rambling: “Tell Us How We Did”

time to use the F-word

Misinformation
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

The U.S. could lose its top-level bond rating because of the Big Lie

Yes, this is fascism: The Atlantic’s conservative David Frum says it’s time to use the F-word; a dark warning

Military Chiefs Planned Joint Resignation To Thwart Trump’s ‘Gospel Of The Fuhrer’

Deadly Flooding Turns ‘Small’ German River Into a ‘Raging Monster’. Video by Roger Green (not me)

NBC News: Eighty years after a segregation wall rose in Detroit, America remains divided. That’s not an accident

Flight attendant harasses Muslim woman

DACA: One More Example of Broken Democracy

I lived in an airport for seven months

According to the EPA, clothes, and shoes account for more municipal solid waste than .plastic items

Now I Know:  Literally Nuts for Candy and The Problem with Lots of People Drinking Lots of Tea and  The Pink Hat of Fidelity and  The Biggest of Macs and  When It’s Better to Be in Fourth Place and The Problem With Stealing High-End Electronics and The Bugs That Make Danger Glow

Media

Inside Big Tech’s angry, geeky, often petty war for your privacy

Hank Green: Should You Abandon Social Media?

I’m Breaking Up with ZOOM

“Tell Us How We Did”. Irrefutably TRUE

An Exploration of James Baldwin’s Life and Works Through the Powerful Lens of His House Chez Baldwin in St. Paul de Vence, France

Voice actors

Emmy’s Big Problem

Ken Levine interviews author Mark Harris who wrote the book MIKE NICHOLS: A LIFE here and here.

The Marvel Sacred Timeline

At The Washington Post, Harry Rosenfeld found himself handling the most important political scandal of the 20th century – Watergate – before joining the Times Union in Albany, N.Y. “HIRSCH MORITZ ROSENFELD and his Polish immigrant parents fled the violence engulfing Nazi Germany in 1939, and found refuge in the Bronx. He never forgot the price his family paid for freedom, never took American citizenship for granted. He developed a keen eye for unaccountable power and nascent oppression and embraced his responsibility to fight for the freedoms that made America a beacon of hope.” The last time I saw him in person was in 2017.

Jackie Mason, R.I.P.

Summary: No Exit – Jean-Paul Sartre

Central Warehouse

Cartoons: Human time and 10 ways to befriend a misanthropic cat and  explaining confusing things

MUSIC

Harlem – Duke Ellington. Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by JoAnn Falletta.

Run Run Run – Kurt Vile,  from the album I’ll Be Your Mirror: A Tribute to the Velvet Underground and Nico; long version

Mighty River by Errollyn Wallen.

Dragon live album concert during two weeks in an Auckland hotel for quarantine clearance

Coverville 1365: The AC/DC Cover Story III

Just A Friend– Biz Markie, RIP

The Glamourous Life – Audra McDonald from A Little Night Music

Bohemian Rhapsody in Blue – Postmodern Jukebox

He’d Have to Get Under, Get out and Get Under  (to Fix Up His Automobile) – The Peacherine Ragtime Society Orchestra

A medley of ten Hanna-Barbera theme songs performed by Alex Duquette  in two minutes

Jim Croce

The Music of the Night/Monster Mash – Big Daddy

Sister Marcia, the convener

old movies

Marcia.covid shotMy sister Marcia was asking that the family, i.e., my sister Leslie, she, and I – meet online on a regular basis for years. And years.

She wanted to use Skype or some such. As I vaguely recall, I found that platform unnecessarily wonky, and so… I didn’t say No, and I actually downloaded the software. MAYBE we used it once or twice, but I didn’t like it.

But as the saying goes, it takes a pandemic. The three of us have met almost every week for a year on ZOOM. Occasionally, we’ll get guest participants such as my wife or Marcia’s daughter. We pretty much fill two 40-minute slots. (Longer than that and I develop brain fog.)

Currently, she’s working on pricing a headstone for our maternal grandmother Gertrude (Yates) Williams, who died in 1982, and her sister Adenia Yates, who passed in 1966. Why my parents never took care of this is one of those unsolved mysteries.

One of these days, maybe in the summer, we’ll spend some time working on genealogy. Ancestry.com has provided us with approximately one jillion hints of possible connections. Anyone who’s ever spent any appreciable time finding their roots knows that it is a rabbit hole that would have Alice wondering.

Cinema

I may have seen more recent movies. But she has viewed FAR more movies from the last century, especially the 1930s through the 1960s, almost all of them released before she was born. I keep threatening to veg out on TCM or some other channel, but I haven’t done so yet.

So she knows who Barbara Stanwick is. I mean, I do too, but only because she was on the TV series The Big Valley (1965-1969), while she’ll know the performer from classics such as Double Indemnity (1944), but also from the more obscure fare.

For the most part, she knows her performers from the Studio Age of cinema. Of course, she has a pretty uncanny ability to recall things from our childhood, events I’ve long forgotten.

Happy birthday, baby sister.

22 years: Negotiations and love songs

taxes could have been the death of us

Roger & CarolI highly suspect that we’ve managed to stay married 22 years because of Negotiations and Love Songs. It includes a division of turf.

When we’re on ZOOM at an event, we are generally at separate devices. This is a function of having very different computer habits involving when to mute et al. It is also that we often see couples on the same screen and we sometimes have difficulty hearing one or both of them.

Conversely, when we’re watching our Sunday church service on Facebook Live, we generally sit together. This allows us the opportunity to worship together. Back in the olden days – March 2020 and before – she’d be in the congregation, but I would be in the choir loft.

She has bank accounts, as do I. Then we have joint accounts. I certainly don’t fault couples who operate otherwise, but this works for us. I pay for the mortgage, utilities, Internet. She buys groceries, pays for the vehicle, and makes the church contribution.

Some couples share email, but we never could. I may still have a lot of it to go through, but I’ve read them all. She often has stuff unread; we’re talking four digits.

This brings us to taxes. Before we were married, I usually filed a 1040A or even a 1040-RZ (as in easy). I never itemized my deductions. This was codified by a philosophy of a radical Catholic couple I know. The general theory is that you give not for the deduction but because it’s right. The fact that it was EZ was a bonus.

But my wife, who owned rental property before, and when we were first married, filled out a Schedule C. So she’s always done the long-form taxes.

Last year of the century

I remember quite vividly the spring of 2000 since we had gotten married the year before. Not only we filling out the 1040 form, me for the first time, but we had also received a decennial long-form Census and were completing that as well. I will say that the Census info was extremely accurate.

But doing the taxes was causing us… stress, every year. This was particularly true when we must have done something wrong a couple of times and ended up paying penalty and interest. So we ended up hiring someone.

One time, the accountants ALSO got something wrong, and we had to pay more, but they absorbed the penalty and interest. I figured if they’re professionals and muck it up, how should I know? I know there’s TurboTax and the like, but trust me, this is one of those expenses designed to preserve the union.

This year, she asked me which amount goes on the work form for my Social Security, the amount before or after the Medicate expenditure? I don’t know. This suggests the gross before Medicare comes out. But does the Medicare payment and other medical expenses reach the 7.5% threshold for deductibility? (I fell asleep while typing the previous sentence.)

So, as the Paul Simon compilation title goes, Negotiations and Love Songs. Happy anniversary, dear.

Our first Coronaversary, if you will

ersatz experience

coronaversaryA friend of mine asked me, and his other friends, to share their thoughts on the past COVID year. A Coronaversary, if you will. I gave him my off-the-top thoughts, but I decided I’d expand upon that.

First off, I am grateful that my daughter got to travel to the African American History Museum in DC in February 2020. Then the church play she was in, Once On This Island in early March, took place, by which point congregants were refraining from hugging in favor of waving.

And I’m glad I went to the Pine Hills library and picked up seven Marvel movies the afternoon before the lockdown, though I didn’t actually watch them until months later.

Vigil

My father-in-law, about 75 minutes away, was at home, dying from cancer. Just before March 15, one of my brothers-in-law moved in with his parents. We had regular Zoom meetings. (I use Zoom generically; it was a Google thing, I think.)

Early on, my FIL was chatty and engaging. Soon, though, he was fatigued and slept through much of the gatherings. It was supposed to be for 15 minutes a day, but it was always longer, often considerably so.

These went on until April 22, when my FIL died, then for a few days more. My BIL went back to his family. Someone thought it’d be a good idea to have weekly meetings.

These went on OK, for the most part, until George Floyd was murdered on Memorial Day. Then discussions about race, religion, and COVID shutdowns made things… uncomfortable. I alluded to this here. While I’m in regular contact with most of my in-laws, it’s not with one couple, and it ain’t my decision.

School

Starting in mid-March 2020, schools started the arduous task of migrating to remote learning. My wife moved her “office” from the dining room table to the guest room. As a retiree, I had to get used to my wife and daughter being home during the day; my daughter is STILL home. The governor canceled spring break, which was extremely disheartening. 

I’ve noted my loathing of ZOOM school, and my disdain for lost snow days, restated by The Atlantic here.

Fighting COVID

I was appalled by the mixed messaging coming from the White House press conferences. None more so than in early April, when the CDC recommended mask-wearing and 45 said, essentially, “I’m not going to that.” Governors, in TX and FL, among others, were congratulating themselves in May for their success in fighting the virus without closing down. I yelled at the TV, a lot.

The news is rehashing the past year, with projections that we could experience as many as 200,000 dead in the United States. We have 530,000 or so now. In retrospect…

Things I miss

I so want to go to the movies, seeing and hearing people in person reacting to the action on the screen. Virtually all of the films I’ve reviewed in 2021 I saw alone, on TV, or on the computer. [Sigh.]

One of these days, I’ll be overjoyed to sit in an indoor restaurant. Yes, I know I can in Texas right now. [Arrgh!]

More on ZOOM

Theater on ZOOM is not great. It’s a televised play, except it’s too stagey.

ZOOM negates being too busy to go to that second meeting of the evening. You can finish one gathering at 6:20, then go to the loo before meeting #2 at 6:30.

I sort of hate ZOOM. It’s an ersatz experience. I’m almost certainly depressed. I went to a therapist, but it failed because it was on ZOOM instead of in person.

Now, it’s not all bad. I see my sisters, in CA and NC all the time. Watching niece Rebecca Jade perform is a joy. And Bible study actually works well.

Spring is almost here, actual and metaphorically…

Jaquandor’s take.