June Rambling

Here I am with my good buddy Walter, who works at one of the SBDC centers. Shortly after this picture was taken, I started having trouble with my knee. Walter’s been having trouble with HIS leg, and I called him to tell him that, whatever he has, it’s contagious!

An ad hominem argument is any that attempts to counter another’s claims or conclusions by attacking the person, rather than addressing the argument itself.

Why Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas Must Go, which, as a couple commenters note, does not go far enough. And another article re Thomas.

Japan Earthquake Swarm Google Earth Animation. And controversy over Surviving an Earthquake.

The Pink Triangle: Never forget.

I used Twitter more often last week than in the previous six months combined, mostly keeping track of our state legislature. Here’s my favorite tweet Continue reading

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Freedom Riders: An Appreciation

While praising New York state lawmakers as they debated legalizing gay marriage, President Barack Obama stopped short of embracing it. Instead he asked gay and lesbian donors for patience. “I believe that gay couples deserve the same legal rights as every other couple in this country,” the president said at a Manhattan fundraiser [last Thursday], his first geared specifically to the gay community.

Last week, my Internet buddy Arthur posited the question: Has President Obama done enough for gay rights? He included a news video. “Let me be clear: President Obama is dead wrong on marriage equality: Civil unions are not a substitute for real marriage. It’s time for the president to stop “evolving” and get there and support full equality for GLBT people.

“However, Dan Choi is also wrong, possibly because he doesn’t know history. As Brian Ellner of the Human Rights Campaign says, this president has done more than any other president for GLBT equality than any other president in history.”

And this reminded me of a program I watched on PBS last month called Freedom Riders.

FREEDOM RIDERS is the powerful harrowing and ultimately inspirational story of six months in 1961 that changed America forever. Harrowing is right; it took me at least four sittings to get through the whole thing, not because it was boring, but because it was so intense. Just watch the two-minute Freedom Riders trailer.

From May until November 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives—and many endured savage beatings and imprisonment—for simply traveling together on buses and trains as they journeyed through the Deep South. Deliberately violating Jim Crow laws, the Freedom Riders met with bitter racism and mob violence along the way, sorely testing their belief in nonviolent activism.
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X is for…


I marvel at the versitility of the letter X.

It can be used as a signature that is printed in lieu of an individual’s signature…”Typically, individuals sign their full names when executing legal documents. Sometimes, however, individuals use only their initials or other identifying mark. For illiterate, incompetent, or disabled people, this mark is often the letter X. Documents signed with an X sometimes raise questions as to their validity and enforceability.”

Related, the X refers to a kiss. “The first mention in literature of XXX for kisses at the bottom of a letter was in 1901, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. The X itself is very old.

“The custom goes back to the early Christian era, when a cross mark or ‘X’ was the same as a sworn oath. The cross referred to the cross of Calvary and the first letter of the Greek word for Christ, Xristos.” Continue reading

Roger Answers Your Questions, Tom the Mayor and Jaquandor

Jaquandor, the Buffalo area’s finest blogger, asks:

1. Are there any words you dislike, just because of the sound of them and not necessarily the meaning?

Used to be that German words I tended to dislike as too gutteral. The K sound would get stuck on the roof of my mouth. But I’ve mellowed, and nothing immediately comes to mind.

2. Are there any subjects you really want to know more about and yet never seem to get around to learning about?

Oh, yeah, dozens, everything from various sciences, such as astronomy and botany; to languages, which I do not seem to have a talent for, starting with Spanish and Latin. But I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I probably won’t do anything about it unless I give up something else, and evidently, I’m not willing to do that.

3. Are you surprised that gay marriage passed in New York? (I am, a little….)

Heck, yeah. It failed miserably some 600 days earlier, when the State Senate was controlled by the Democrats. OK, “controlled” is probably an overstatement Continue reading

The Lydster, Part 87: The Book of Acts

Very early on in this blog I laid out the rules for naming the daughter, most of which were negative:
*No name in the top 10 in the Social Security list of most popular names for the most recent year available.
*No naming after any family member, living or dead.
*No unisex names…This comes directly from the fact that my father AND my sister were both named Leslie.
*No single syllable names; it had to have two or more syllables, to balance off the shortness of Green.
*No names that easily went to the nickname.
*It should have a recognizable spelling.
*No names beginning and ending with A. Continue reading

Color TV’s 60th anniversary

Looking for something else, I discovered that TODAY is the 60th anniversary of the first U.S. color telecast. “On June 25, 1951, with 12 million TV sets in existence, of which only two dozen could receive CBS color, CBS made history by presenting an hour long color TV program hosted by Ed Sullivan and Arthur Godfrey with 16 stars that performed song, dance and comedy routines.”

As this article notes, “Earlier attempts to create marketable color broadcasts had been hampered by the FCC’s insistence that any color signal be readable by existing black and white sets as well. Even though the CBS color transmission system was not compatible with most existing televisions, the FCC approved it as the U.S. standard in 1950… Continue reading

Sausage making done right – Gay marriage will be legal in NYS

“Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.” – apparently misattributed to Otto von Bismarck. But every once in a while, you fry some sausage in the pan and it tastes great.

I was home watching YNN, the Time Warner cable news station, during an extended session of Capital Tonight Friday evening, when Steve Saland, a Republican state senator from the Mid-Hudson, started speaking about an amendment to the marriage equality bill. There’s an overlay on the screen indicating that Saland had not yet indicated which way he would vote on the bill. Continue reading

Roger Answers Your Questions, Eclipse and Uthaclena

Eclipse, who I have visited through ABC Wednesday, asks:
Regarding the “music playing in the head” I’ve just thought….Have you ever try to write poetry?
Would you?

Before I answer that question, I’ll answer a question you didn’t ask.

When I was roughly 15 to about 23, I had made some effort to try to write songs. I should rephrase; I wasn’t TRYING so much as tunes and lyrics came to me. I kept them in a notebook, which unfortunately, I’ve since lost.

But as I think back on them, most of them weren’t very good. Oh, a couple of them might have potential in the right setting. And one in particular isn’t bad at all, but expresses values I no longer have: David Lee Roth should have recorded it. But most of them, I recognize, are cribbed in the way George Harrison unintentionally purloined He’s So Fine for My Sweet Lord. Because I literally grew up with music, I feel I can clear-mindedly evaluate them.
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A Perfunctory Defense of ‘Glee’

My online buddy Jaquandor wrote an evisceration of the TV show Glee recently:

I hate Glee. Hate it. Absolutely hate it. But I’ll say this: Glee sure is a fun show to hate. It’s total crap.

Virtually everything he says is absolutely, positively true. And (most of) it doesn’t matter to me one whit.

What do I hate about it? Well, the characters, for one. This is one of those shows that makes me constantly say to myself, “Nobody would ever act this way in real life!”

Well, no, but see, I see Glee as a musical. Musical theater, or movie musical, operetta, or even a Bollywood video. “Real life” isn’t the point.

In one episode, the Jane Lynch character Continue reading