August Rambling II: Smart is sexy and stupid is not


The New York Times’ prophetic 1983 warning about the NSA, which naturally leads to Glenn Greenwald killed the internet.

My Feelings About the Harriet Tubman Sex Tape in 10 GIFs.

Invisible Disabilities Day is October 24. I have this friend with rather constant neck pain, but she doesn’t LOOK sick, and therefore feels diminished by those who actually don’t believe her. Conversely, The Complexities of Giving: People with Disabilities as Help Objects.

Photos of the worldly goods of inmates at the Willard Asylum. I backed the Kickstarter for this and wrote about it a couple years ago.

“Each week, TIME Magazine designs covers for four markets: the U.S., Europe, Asia and the South Pacific.” Often, America’s cover is quite, well – different. I had noticed this before. I don’t know that it’s “stunning,” but it IS telling.

The Peanuts gang meets The Smiths, in which This Charming Charlie masterfully blends Charles Schulz’ comics with lyrics by The Smiths. Continue reading

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MOVIE REVIEW: Blue Jasmine

It’s true: after over 30 years of watching Woody Allen movies, I have had to limit myself to those that review well. That’s because bad Woody Allen films are perhaps more painful to me than the bad films of other writers and/or directors.

I watched Midnight in Paris, which I liked. I avoided To Rome with Love, , because it was critically savaged. Perhaps if I were seeing as many movies as I did 15 or 16 years ago, I would be more willing to take cinematic risks. Blue Jasmine got mostly great reviews, and understandably so.

But the title Jasmine is a bit difficult to like. She’s this odd mixture of two characters, one real, one fictional. Continue reading

FantaCon 2013 is coming soon!

As I have noted, I’m not one much for nostalgia. I don’t long for the “good old days.”

Also, I used to think in terms of time being linear. You do this; this is over. You do that; that passes. On to the next thing. I’m more likely now to see things as parabolic, with events somehow coming back to re-inform one’s life periodically.

I do have a sense of history, though. That is why my friend Steve Bissette and I tried to fix some of the more egregious errors on the FantaCo Wikipedia page a few years ago. I worked at the comic book and film paraphernalia store/publisher/mail order/convention place at 21 Central Avenue in Albany from 1980-1988 Continue reading

March on Washington, a half century later

It’s likely you’ll see a LOT of stories about the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Every single one will marvel about how much progress has been made in America in the area of race, since 1963. Almost all will point to a black President, the current Attorney General, and two recent Secretaries of State as examples. The divergence in opinions come on this point: some will claim that we have “reached the promised land,” making sure to paraphrase Martin Luther King, Jr. from that day a half century ago – as though he were the only speaker there – while others will suggest that we haven’t quite gotten there yet.

When President Obama suggested that we look at race again in light of the Trayvon Martin case, that Obama could have been Trayvon 35 years ago, some, such as Touré at TIME, thought it was a brave personal observation. He wrote: “The assertion that blacks are hallucinating or excuse-making or lying when we talk about the many very real ways white privilege and racial bias and the lingering impact of history impact our lives is painful. It adds insult to injury to attack all assertions of racism and deny its continued impact or existence.”

Others labelled Obama “racist-in-chief”, playing the “race card” and worse. Continue reading

G is for Gadsden Purchase


I swear I went to bed one night, wondering, “What should I write about for the letter G?” Then I woke up in the morning thinking about the Gadsden Purchase.

Say what?

You can see from the map above that the western expansion of the United States had already been achieved by the time the US purchased this relatively small section of the country, shown in orange. After the Revolutionary War Continue reading

The Lydster, Part 113: Robbed!

The Daughter has been going to her summer camp in a nearby park, Ridgefield by name. She decided to ride her scooter there. It was in a location she could keep an eye on it.

About a month ago, it was raining, and they had to move to the alternate site, which happened to be her usual elementary school. Her scooter was in the hallway next to one of her counselor’s bicycles, but not visible to her. You can guess what happened at the end of the day.

There was a police report filed, and, allegedly, there was film being reviewed, but nothing has come of this, to date.

She was sad that her scooter is gone, of course, but it’s more that someone who she probably knows, perhaps not well, but still, took her vehicle. It made her understandably wary about returning to the camp. She looked sad a lot the next few days, especially getting up on weekday mornings.

I know she remembered Continue reading

Linda Ronstadt for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

One of my friends, remembering her popularity in the late 1970s, both musically and visually – posters of her image were on more few dorm room walls – wrote: “Now that we know Linda Ronstadt is living with Parkinson’s, can we please finally put her in the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame?”

Not sure about whether induction there really matters; it certainly does not diminish her remarkable talent over decades. Still, I support the notion of her getting into the Hall, and if it takes a sympathy vote because she no longer can sing to achieve it, so be it. But I think she has enough bona fides to get there without pity.

She had tremendous commercial success in the folk-rock milieu in the 1970s, yet ventured off to do Continue reading

MOVIE REVIEW: The Way, Way Back

The Daughter is visiting the grandparents for the week, so it’s almost mandatory that The Wife and I go to the movies. But what to see? When one’s seen only a handful of films this year, so there were a half dozen contenders. The Wife chose The Way, Way Back, which we saw Wednesday at the Spectrum in Albany.

I was surprised. I expected, based on the trailer, to be some summer coming of age flick that I’ve seen once too often. And while there are elements of the formula, Continue reading

Summer song: Summer’s Almost Gone

My favorite Doors’ album is the third one, Waiting for the Sun, even though the song Waiting for Sun does not appear on it; it shows up two albums later, on Morrison Hotel. This third LP must have been lots of people’s favorite Doors’ album, since it was the group’s only #1 album in the United States, fueled by the #1 single, Hello, I Love You.

The melancholy song Summer’s Almost Gone (listen), the fourth tune on the album, precedes a much more joyful Wintertime Love; maybe I’ll include that a few months from now.
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In honor of Freddie Mercury’s birthday: Bohemian Rhapsody by Porkka Playboys.

Grandmother Agatha Green, found at last

When my parents moved downstairs at 5 Gaines Street, Binghamton, NY, my paternal grandparents, McKinley and Agatha (nee Walker) Green moved upstairs. Her name, BTW, was pronounced a-GATH-a, not AG-a-tha. Yes, it is I who she is holding.

Grandma Green was almost certainly my first Sunday school teacher at Trinity A.M.E. Zion Church, only a couple short blocks from our home. She had a certain refinement and bearing. While my maternal grandmother would nag me, this grandma gave me the parameters she expected, and I pretty much did it.
It’s rather like some Bill Cosby routine Continue reading