In Memoriam

I’ve discovered that there seems to be some confusion about the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. That fact confuses me, frankly, though their previous designations would be much more unclear.

Memorial Day, which falls on the last Monday of May, commemorates the men and women who died while serving in the American military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971.

Whereas: Continue reading

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Stitching a Meme Together

Jaquandor stitched together a couple of Sunday Stealing memes (On speed dating, but he is happily married, I am happily married, so don’t get any ideas).

1. What’s your favorite Dr. Seuss book?

Bartholemew and the Oobleck. Like most of my favorite Geisel stories, it confronts the powerful.

2. If you could live in any home on a television series, what would it be?

The USS Enterprise.

3. What’s the longest you’ve gone without sleep?

About 40 hours. I pulled an all-nighter to study for my calculus exam in my freshman year in college. I was failing calculus, but ended up with a C for the semester.

4. What’s your favorite Barry Manilow song?

“Could It Be Magic”, specifically the Chopin-inspired opening.

5. Who’s your favorite Muppet?

Kermit. I mean, he’s green, about which he has sung.

6. What’s the habit you’re proudest of breaking?

I want to say none. There are things I don’t do anymore, but proud? Not coming to me.

7. What’s your favorite website?

For work, the Census site. For pleasure, probably my old blog, because I haven’t finished updating my links here.

8. What’s your favorite school supply?

A compass. No, not THAT kind of compass. THIS kind of compass: Continue reading

The 30-Day Challenge: Day 3- Favorite Musician

Does one have a favorite musician? I mean, I do love:
B.B. King’s guitar
Jerry Douglas’ dobro
Rick Wakeman’s organ
Alison Krauss’ fiddle
Itzhak Perlman’s violin
Pete Seeger’s banjo
Bill Evans’ piano
Hubert Laws’ flute (he plays on It’s Love by the Rascals
Nat Cole’s vocals (the voice is an instrument – and I have an irrational affection for the way he says BEER)

But truly, anyone who knows me for a while KNOWS that the ultimate choice will be John Lennon. I have a picture of him in my office (thanks, Rocco) and a picture of the IMAGINE section of Strawberry Fields in New York City (thanks, honey).

He’s not the greatest singer, or guitar player, or pianist, though more than adequate. He IS a great songwriter, of course.

So, what Lennon song should I link to? WWJD? (What would John do?) It being Memorial Day weekend, he’d probably find an alternative version of
I Don’t Want To Be A Soldier.

May Ramblin’

If I think about the BP debacle, my blood boils. So I try not to, generally unsuccessfully.

***
DNA Clears NY Man Wrongly Convicted of 1988 Murder
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: April 28, 2010
Filed at 3:29 p.m. ET

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — A New York truck driver who spent nearly 19 years behind bars for a 1988 slaying he didn’t commit walked free Wednesday after DNA testing exonerated him and instead pointed to another prison inmate.
The exonerated inmate, Frank Sterling, 46, was convicted of murder in 1992 based on a confession that he later recanted.
State Judge Thomas Van Strydonck vacated the conviction after Monroe County prosecutors agreed with lawyers for the Innocence Project that DNA evidence obtained from the victim’s clothing excluded him as the killer and pointed instead to
Mark Christie, who was convicted of strangling a 4-year-old girl in 1994.

There’s a couple things about this story that jump out at me;
1) that people DO confess to crimes they did not commit; Sterling “claimed he had slipped into a hypnotic state and parroted details police gave him about the crime”
2) DNA testing can and should be used to solve more cases. Yet there as a disturbing report this month on ABC News about tens of thousands rape kits go unprocessed, some for a period beyond the statue of limitations
3) I continue to oppose the death penalty because sometimes the authorities just get it wrong
***
Info sent me: Thirty years ago, Douglas Fraser, then president of what was still a million-member United Auto Workers union, presciently warned that the leaders of corporate America—in combination with the American Right—were waging a “one-sided class war.” He described it as “a war against working people, the unemployed, the poor, the minorities, the very young and the very old, and even many in the middle class of our society.”
***
A nominee we can all support for the Supreme Court
***
HP takes cue from Dick Tracy to develop a solar-powered wristwatch for the military that can display strategic information.
***
There is a search engine called Clusty. The technology has been purchased by something called Yippy.

From the Yippy MISSION STATEMENT
Oh, we should say that we are a very far-out group of people. Everyone is a certified genius here and we work together for our goals for the love of it all. Good vs. Don’t be Evil … We are too smart to sell out to Porn, Gambling and other things that infect our society for profit. Good always wins, and conservative values will bring us our victory in the marketplace.
God controls all creative thought, it’s what you do with it that defines who you are.
Search Samples: Search of the word pornography
Sorry! Your choice of keywords indicates that you may be searching for a type of content which YIPPY does not allow. Please try another search term.

As someone sarcastically commented on the listserv where I found this: “How wonderful to see a search engine doing God’s will. It’s incredible!”
***
I get bulletins from Los Angeles Times. This past week I see: Big Bear teen becomes youngest to summit Everest, about 13-year-old Jordan Romero, who has been on a quest to climb the highest peaks on all seven continents. And what is my first thought? I didn’t know that “summit” was a verb.
***
I get Google alerts for my name. Peculiar title: Indecent assault accused whacked with brolly. This is from Guyana. Then there’s the story about the German driver who narrowly escaped a fiery crash.
Finally, this obit for Roger Green of Nashville, TN. Only 58 – damn.
***
Don’t use a public copy machine until you see this video from CBS News. If you’ve copied your birth certificate, passport, drivers license, social security card, or other extremely personal info on copy machines at places like Kwik Copy, Office Max, etc, you may never do so again.
***
Google Pac Man is a permanent page. So if you missed it on the two days it was the main Google page logo, you’re in luck.
***
This is the 40th anniversary of the Capital District Gay and Lesbian Community Council, which is sponsoring two full weeks of Pride events.
***
Evanier had this: Jonathan Ortloff Plays Springtime for Hitler on the Wurlitzer organ.

An American Need

Listening to the podcast of Arthur@AmeriNZ recently. He noted that Rachel Maddow of MSNBC apologized to US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for calling him Bernie. Arthur, an American now living in New Zealand was amused/bemused by this apology. In his adopted nation, the prime minister is first among equals, and is referred to by first name; the same tends to be true in the UK and in other countries that used to be called the British Commonwealth.

So what do they have that the United States doesn’t have? Continue reading

The Lydster: Part 74: No Isabella Green

VERY early on in this blog, I delineated the rules for naming the daughter. Primary among them: “No name in the top 10 in the Social Security list of most popular baby names for the most recent year available, which was then 2002.

Note: Rank 1 is the most popular, rank 2 is the next most popular, and so forth. Name data are from Social Security card applications for births that occurred in the United States.

Among the names that were under consideration were these:
Continue reading

S for Severed States


I saw this article recently in the Wall Street Journal about some people on Long Island wanting to secede from the rest of New York State for a bunch of reasons; it won’t happen, BTW, because the state legislature wouldn’t allow it. But it reminded me that the 50 states in the US were not always the size that they are currently.

Even before there was a United States, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York all insisted that Vermont was a part their state. That’s why Vermont declared itself a kingdom in 1777, and Vermonters to this day refer to the state as the “Northeast Kingdom”, though it became the first state after the original 13.

In the early days of the Union: Continue reading

Guilt or Innocence

From Jaquandor.

The rules of the game:

RULE 1- You can only say Guilty or Innocent.
RULE 2- You are not allowed to explain anything unless someone messages you and asks!
RULE 3- Copy and paste this into your notes or blog, delete my answers, type in your answers and tag to your friends to answer this.

The Questions:

1. Asked someone to marry you? Guilty
2. Ever kissed someone of the same sex? Guilty
3. Danced on a table in a bar? Guilty
4. Ever told a lie? Guilty
5. Had feelings for someone whose feelings you can’t have back? Guilty
6. Kissed a picture? Guilty
7. Slept in until 5 PM? Innocent
8. Fallen asleep at work/school? Guilty
9. Held a snake? Guilty
10. Been suspended from school? Innocent
11. Worked at a fast food restaurant? Innocent
12. Stolen from a store? Guilty
13. Been fired from a job? Innocent
14. Done something you regret? Guilty
15. Laughed until something you were drinking came out your nose? Guilty
16. Caught a snowflake on your tongue? Guilty
17. Kissed in the rain? Guilty
18. Sat on a roof top? Guilty
19. Kissed someone you shouldn’t? Guilty
20. Sang in the shower? Guilty
21. Been pushed into a pool with all your clothes on? Guilty
22. Shaved your head? Innocent
23. Had a boxing membership? Innocent
24. Made a boyfriend/Girlfriend cry? Guilty
25. Been in a band? Guilty
26. Shot a gun? Guilty
27. Donated Blood? Guilty
28. Eaten alligator meat? Innocent
29. Eaten cheesecake? Guilty
30. Still love someone you shouldn’t? Innocent
31. Have/had a tattoo? Innocent
32. Liked someone, but will never tell who? Guilty
33. Been too honest? Guilty
34. Ruined a surprise? Guilty
35. Ate in a restaurant and got so bloated that you couldn’t walk afterward? Innocent
36. Erased someone in your friends list? Innocent
37. Dressed in a woman’s clothes (if you’re a guy) or man’s clothes (if you’re a girl)? Guilty
38. Joined a pageant? Innocent
39. Been told that you’re handsome or beautiful by someone who really meant what they said? Guilty
40. Had communication with your ex? Guilty
41. Got totally drunk on the night before exam? Guilty
42. Got so angry that you cried? Guilty

***
The Beatles – Not Guilty

30-Day Challenge: Day 2: Favorite Movie

Considering all of the movies I’ve seen, all the GREAT movies I’ve ever seen, it is surprisingly easy for me to pick my favorite:

Annie Hall (1977).

It was my touchstone picture for a number of years. I saw it four times in the movie theater, and it was one of the first films I purchased on VHS.

It’s the roller coaster in Coney Island, which I loved as a child. It’s early Christopher Walken, bizarre as he would later become.

The opening of the film was more story, fewer jokes, my kind of humor. It reminded me of seeing Woody Allen on Ed Sullivan in the 1960s. The film also features Paul Simon, one of my music icons of that decade.

I related to Alvy Singer. Continue reading

Spoilers QUESTION

Per usual, I was watching JEOPARDY! recently, and the show had a whole category devoted to spoilers! In an unJEOPARDYlike fashion, I’ll give you the questions, but NOT the answers, until the end. Planet of the Apes (2001), The Sixth Sense, Chinatown, The Usual Suspects, The Crying Game.

So when is the RIGHT amount of time to give away the “spoiler” ending of a TV show or movie? In early 2005, noted critic Roger Ebert wrote about this regarding Million Dollar Baby when critic Michael Medved and faux critic Rush Limbaugh revealed the crucial plot point because they didn’t LIKE the crucial plot point. (I STILL haven’t seen the movie, but learned that plot point at the time. Now I’m feeling the need to rent it.)

With LOST coming to a close, how long can someone recording the program to watch later expect NOT to hear the details? Will it be in the newspaper the next morning? Will it have a spoiler warning, and will that matter? (I haven’t been watching LOST, but I have it on good authority that the island is really Continue reading