May Rambling: Stolen Scream and lots of music

The Stolen Scream (via Steve Bissette’s Facebook page). Creative theft is a global phenomenon. “The Stolen Scream” is a snapshot of just one such phenomenal, almost spontaneous international appropriation of an artist’s (in this case, a photographer’s) work.

A death that was also a birth. “As a midwife, I’ve spent the last 30 years taking care of women in pregnancy. But nothing prepared me for this.”

It’s a horrible cycle I’m quite familiar with and occasionally adore. After all, anxiety is king, and I am its lowly peasant. Going into public, whether a store, the movies, a restaurant, or a family function, is exhausting. Continue reading

Paul Simon’s Graceland, plus 25

On June 5, the 25th anniversary edition of the landmark Paul Simon album Graceland will be released. It has a few demo or alternate tracks, plus something described as “The Story of ‘Graceland’ as told by Paul Simon,” which could be interesting. But what is really intriguing is the DVD that comes with it, Under African Skies, directed by Joe Berlinger, which I saw on A&E a few days ago. It not only discusses the making of the album, and shows the reunion of many of the artists; it also addresses the huge controversy over the album and the subsequent tour.

There was a United Nations cultural (and other) boycott of South Africa at the time Continue reading

T is for Tennis Hall of Fame

When we were in Newport, RI five years ago, we found ourselves at a sandwich shop. I happened to walk around the corner, and there was the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. I swore that next time we were in town we’d go, and in April, the Wife and I did.

From the Wikipedia: “While the modern game of tennis originated in late 19th century England, most historians believe that the games ancient origin is from 12th century France, but the ball was then struck with the palm of the hand. It was not until the 16th century that rackets came into use, and the game began to be called “tennis”, from the Old French term Tenez, which can be translated as ‘hold!’, ‘receive!’ or ‘take!'” One can play “real” tennis at the Hall, though we did not.

There were plenty of artifacts Continue reading

Memorial Day History

Mostly from here, because people seem to have no idea of the genesis of Memorial Day:

Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country. The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

A long weekend!

The ceremonies centered around the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington mansion Continue reading

TV: from 90% to 50%

I don’t write about TV much for one simple reason: the little I watch, I don’t usually see in real time. Depending on the show I could be a couple weeks to a couple months behind, though I tend to stay current with the news. By the time i see it, much of it is an old story. Which begs the question, how long should one wait until writing about “spoilers”? After all, a LOT of people timeshift their viewing with the TiVO or VCR or, in my case, DVR. As of this writing I STILL haven’t seen the season finale of Continue reading

The blogs as squirrel nuts

Shooting Parrots wrote:

Ever since I was I was boy, I’ve collected ‘interesting’ bits of information. I put that in quotes because by interesting, I mean interesting to me. I can’t speak for anyone else.

I collected them like a squirrel gathers nuts, tasty kernels of facts that I then bury away somewhere because I know they’ll come in handy one day.

But like the squirrel, too often I forget where I’ve buried them, or I remember only half the story, which can be worse.

That’s one of the reasons I keep this blog. If I record things somewhere that has its own search facility then I’ve a better than even chance of finding it again when I need it.
Continue reading

Good Deeds Gone Almost Wrong


My wife found an iPhone on the street last month, near our house. She rang our neighbor’s doorbell to see if any of the guys had lost it; they had not. Then she went home, but as she was on the porch, she showed it to the woman next door, and it was hers; it must have fallen out of her pocket when her father dropped her off.

We’re always trying to do the right thing with lost items, in no small part because that’s what we would want someone to do for us. Once, a few years ago, I found a set of keys at a bus stop, lying on the top of a newspaper kiosk. Not knowing what else Continue reading

If they tell you it’s an “upgrade,” be wary

At work on Thursday night, the building folks took down the phones. They were only offline for a half hour and it was at the end of the day. Under the old system, if I got a phone call when I was away from my desk, the icon for my line would be altered. Moreover, this bright red light would show up on my phone. Now, the only way to tell is that I get an e-mail sent to me. Moreover, I used to be able to retrieve the main phones if no one was there; I can still do that, but, again, no visual cue. As usual, “upgrade” is a meaningless term. Continue reading

S is for Sunburn and Skin Cancer

One of the things I have NEVER understood is the appeal of lying in the sun for the sole purpose of lying in the sun; seemed like a waste of time. Going swimming or playing a sport or working on a sunny day, that was OK.

As it turns out, while there is some benefits from the sun in terms of absorption of Vitamin D, the downside of too much sun is quite great.

* “Exposure to sun causes Continue reading