July Rambling: privilege, and 12-tone music

Watch the important documentary Two American Families online at Bill Moyers’ website. In the same vein, To Rescue Local Economies, Cities Seize Underwater Mortgages Through Eminent Domain.

From Meryl, the graphic novel expert: The Armageddon Letters and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Also, Zahra – from Paradise to President. Published in 2011, its story takes place in Iran, June 2009.

Brief Thoughts on Shelby County v. Holder by Mark S. Mishler. (But the actual title is TOO long!)

Daniel Nester writes about privilege. I found it interesting, in part, because it reminded me of certain white sociology students Continue reading

Is Stand Your Ground bad law?

I could have sworn I had written about my concerns about the Stand Your Ground laws after Florida passed it, long before the shooting and killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman. Can’t find it. So I’ll cheat, and expand on this document from the government of the state of Connecticut.
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The Castle Doctrine and “stand-your-ground” laws are affirmative defenses for individuals charged with criminal homicide. The Castle Doctrine is a common law doctrine [going back to English common law] stating that an individual has no duty to retreat when in his or her home, or “castle,” and may use reasonable force, including deadly force, to defend his or her property, person, or another. [There was a case a few years ago where some drunk guy wandered into someone’s home in western New York at 1 a.m. The intruder was shot and killed, and no charges were filled.] Outside of the “castle,” however, an individual has a duty to retreat, if able to do so, before using reasonable force.

Stand-your-ground laws, by comparison, remove the common law requirement to retreat outside of one’s “castle,” allowing an individual to use force in self-defense when there is reasonable belief of a threat. [Note this important distinction; one does not have to walk away from the conflict.] Deadly force is reasonable under stand-your-ground laws in certain circumstances, such as imminent great bodily harm or death.
Continue reading

C is for Cover songs

A cover song is a version of a recording released subsequent to the original one. Sometimes the most popular version is a cover: Good Lovin’ by the Young Rascals [LISTEN] was initially recorded by someone dubbed Lemme B. Good, then was a minor hit by The Olympics [LISTEN], which I own. I Heard It through the Grapevine was a massive hit for Marvin Gaye [LISTEN], though the original by Gladys Knight and the Pips [LISTEN] (my preferred version, actually) went to #2 on the US charts a year earlier.

What makes a good cover song Continue reading

Its name is Bond: Savings Bond

Your name here

Our family – mostly I – is cleaning out our attic, and that fact MAY become the source of several blog posts. I have noted that it has become a bit of a sore point. We all have stuff up there, but I have items that are relegated there because there’s no room on floors one and two, according to the powers that be. So I have two bookcases, with books, that I would be inclined to access, e.g.

When we decided to get the attic insulated, it took THREE years. Moving all the stuff to half of the attic, then have it insulated. Then paint it, which I would have skipped. And for a brief time – maybe six weeks, the attic was again a usable space. But then time to insulate the other half, so everything’s then in the OTHER half of the room. And this took the contractor FOREVER to do, until I got…rather grumpy about it, let’s say. Room gets insulated; floor, which was weakened, was repaired; room (again, I believe unnecessarily), was painted.

NOW, finally I could put things from one side of the attic into the other, rather than have everything packed to the ceiling on one side, where I can’t access/find anything. Some of the clutter are old bills and the like, which I WOULD have gotten to a couple years ago, if that had been possible.

One box, I quickly determine was receipts of The Wife’s, all from 2004, the year the Daughter was born. One thing I DID take out was a $50 savings bond. Hmm, I wonder what it’s worth. I go to the TreasuryDirect calculator, and discover that a $50 savings bond purchased in April 2004 doesn’t mature until April 2034. The $25.00 outlay has gained $6.96 in interest, currently at 0.63%, and is now worth a whopping $31.96.

I then remember that I have a about two dozen $100 savings bonds, purchased for $50 each, from the mid-1990s, and I should check their value.

The first one, purchased 01/1993, has gained $89.56 in interest, is still gaining at 4.00%, and is now worth $139.56, more than face value. Cool.

The first ones I got in the next two years are worth somewhat less: the one I purchased 02/1994 has $57.56 in interest, still at 4.00%, for $107.56. 01/1995 has $53.72 in interest, at 4.00%, for $103.72.

But then it drops off badly. My 01/1996 purchase $50.00 has made $50.00 in interest, but is getting only 0.59% interest now. And the last one I bought, in 08/1997 has garnered only $36.20 in interest, and is receiving only 0.63%.

So if I were to have to cash them in, I’d start with the 1996 issue, then 1997, 1995, 1994, and keep those 1993 bonds for last. Savings bonds don’t seem to be the golden value they used to be.

Mick Jagger is 70, tomorrow

Mick Jagger at the White House

I started reading this Philip Norman book about Mick Jagger last month, and I’ve never understood the physical appeal of the man, but it is palpable from the very first chapter. He continues to be such an icon that there was a (relatively) recent song about him, Moves Like Jagger by Maroon 5. A lock of his hair fetched $6,000 at auction recently; it was for charity to be sure, but still.

Anyway in honor of Sir Michael’s 70th birthday, here are my 20 favorite Stones’ songs. The album references are to the UK releases; worse than with the Beatles, the US record company could be swipe one song and stick it on another album, or two.

20. Start Me Up -Tattoo You (1981)
Not sure I liked this song as much as appreciating another’s enthusiasm for it. I went to my 10th high school reunion, and it was deadly boring. Afterwards, a bunch of us went to our friend Cecily’s house and partied until about 6 a.m. Continue reading

I bought me a cat


Being the terrible blogger that I am, I have totally neglected mentioning the fact that we got a cat this year.

The Daughter has been wary of animals, especially dogs and cats. So we had never had pets of any kind since she was born. But as she spent more time with her friends’ cats, she decided that she wanted a feline of her own. In fact, when she didn’t get one for Christmas 2012, she gave us a deadline of her birthday in March to get one. Finally, around that date, she and her mother went to went to the animal shelter. There were two kittens she really loved who liked playing with each other . But before they could decide on which one to get, or possible get them both, one was selected by another family. Continue reading

Go Where You Wanna Go

Roger and Leslie, Corning Glass Works

For her 12th birthday, my sister Leslie received her own guitar. With some assistance from my father, a largely self-taught player, she became quite competent with it in about a month. And that really became the birth of the Green Family Singers, when the three of us used to sing around Binghamton, NY together from 1966 to 1971. The program initially was a variation of what my father had been singing by himself. We would sing harmony on some choruses or responses, for instance, though there were a number of pieces that were three-part harmony throughout.

Leslie and I pretty much stole Hole in the Bucket from my father’s repertoire, though. Continue reading

B is for the Bermans

Charlotte (Berman) Yates, Gertrude (Yates) Williams, Trudy (Williams) Green, Roger Green- 13 Maple St, Binghamton, NY

When Charlotte Berman married Ernest Yates in 1937, it was a pretty radical event at the time. Charlotte was from a family of Jews from eastern Europe, and Ernie was black.

But let’s back up a bit. “Pinches Barosin, a teacher in the small town of Warklian, Latvia, and his wife, Slatte” had five children, the youngest of which, Isaac, was born in 1886. In the US, Barosin became Berman; Isaac married Sara Schmuelowitsch in 1910. They had eight children Continue reading