September Rambling: overcoming adversity

Why is September a slow writing month? Haven’t even gotten to look at many interesting links I have set aside to peruse later, then “later” never comes. Jaquandor’s having writing problems too, but it appears to have been rectified, according to his Facebook posts.

Arthur has had a woeful time on HIS blog, but maybe it’s the way it is after seven years of blogging. Or maybe he’s just excited about the fact that on Friday, November 1, he and Nigel are going to the registry office in Auckland, New Zealand to change their civil union to marriage. Mazel tov!

My friend Claire’s annual blog post.

SamuraiFro​g was in a wedding. He was extremely anxious about it Continue reading

It’s not my technophobia; it’s THEM

Every once in a while you read a blog post that you not only enjoy, it edifies your very being. I’m talking about Dustbury’s post Demotional rescue. Now you need to know that Chaz, who runs the joint, has been online close to 20 years, and he’s approximately 314.15 times more savvy, technologically, than I will ever be. And I’m OK with that.

Still, Chaz installed OpenOffice 4.0.0, only to discover Continue reading

False welfare reform; and other phony info

I saw this message about drug testing welfare recipients on Facebook. It irritated me, and I wrote: “This is an amazing waste of money. 1) Most jobs DON’T require it. 2) In places, such as Florida, it’s cost more to do the testing than the savings gained by denying benefits.

The only reason I’m even bothering to bring this up here Continue reading

Cultural engagement

The cover of the September 20/27, 2013 Entertainment Weekly, its Fall TV Preview, says “get the scoop on 119 shows, PLUS the best new series.” If I need a reminder that the medium has diffused, that’ll do it.

Yet on two successive episodes of the Bat Segundo Show podcast, host Ed Champion declares that there is an “American epidemic of gravitating to mainstream culture in an age of limitless choice.” He and guest Kiese Laymon discuss “why America is terrified of rich and variegated cultural engagement.” Then Champion and Alissa Quart dissect “how outsiders and iconoclasts have been appropriated by institutional forces. Continue reading

Random Memory of My Father: Savannah, GA

For my job, I used to go to the national conference of our association every year (far less so this century.) In the fall of 1998, the event was in Savannah, Georgia, this Atlantic coastal city that had a certain old world charm. Among other things, it was a walkable locale with a sense of its history.

My father, who was living in Charlotte, NC at the time, decided to drive down and visit me. It was about 260 miles and 4.5 hours away, but when he suggested it, I was all for it. I had come down on a Saturday, and while there was a mixer on Sunday, the conference did not start in earnest until Monday; it was just cheaper at that time to fly down a day earlier, even considering the hotel costs.

Well, my father Continue reading

K is for Known As, Formerly

The Artist Formerly Known As PrinceI’m always interested in things that used to be called something else.

Retronyms are words that evolve because technology changes. There used to be things called guitars; then electric guitars were invented, so guitars became acoustic guitars. Clocks became analog clocks when digital clocks came on the scene. Before minicomputers appeared in the 1970s, all computers were what are now called mainframe computers.

Then there are political reasons for change. “Even old New York was once New Amsterdam, ” the song ‘Istanbul (Not Constantinople)’ tells us; there are thousands of changes like this; in my lifetime, many took place in Africa with decolonialization. After President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Idlewild Airport became JFK; Cape Canaveral became Cape Kennedy, but, interestingly, changed back!

One singer changed his name Continue reading

300: teenage wasteland

If you live around the Albany area, you probably know the story, but for the rest of you: former National Football League player Brian Holloway’s home in Stephentown, rural Rensselaer County, was broken into by about 300 kids and used as a party house on August 31, 2013. Holloway was in Florida at the time and these kids trashed the place, with graffiti on the walls and the like.

Holloway started some organization and website called Help Me Save 300, where he explained what happened, and most notably, posted the tweets and photos that the teens themselves posted AT THE TIME of their activity. Continue reading