February Rambling: niece Rebecca Jade in a movie

autocorrectFrom Jeff Sharlet, who I knew long ago: Inside the Iron Closet: What It’s Like to Be Gay in Putin’s Russia. In 2010, Jeff wrote about the American roots of Uganda’s anti-gay persecutions. He notes: “Centrist media sources dismissed my reporting as alarmist; The Economist assured us it would never pass. [This week], Ugandan President Museveni is signing the bill into law.”

There was no Jesse Owens at Sochi.

Arthur’s letter to straight people: why coming out matters; read the linked articles therein, too. (Watch that Dallas sportscaster on Ellen.)

So Dangerous He Needs a Soo-da-nim. Racist homophobes who comment on Sharp Little Pencil’s blog.
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My Oscar predictions, 2013 films edition

12_years_a_slave_soundtrackFor whatever strange reason, I’ve watched the Academy Awards for decades, more often on DVD or on tape than live in recent years, but still. It’s NOT to find out who won, because I can read THAT in the newspaper the next day; it’s what they say, and how they say it. The program will be on Sunday, March 2 this year; they’ve been bouncing around the date in recent years, in late March for a long time, then late February.

Oscar picks don’t always go to the BEST film or performance, but some other socio-political and popularity factors. I haven’t even seen all the films, but that never stopped me before from predicting the winners.
* Indicates I saw it

Best Picture:
*“American Hustle”
“Captain Phillips”
*“Dallas Buyers Club”
*”Gravity”
*“Her”
*“Nebraska”
*“Philomena”
“12 Years a Slave”
“The Wolf of Wall Street”

Is this the largest list of movies for which I need to make a parenthetical reference that it’s a movie? Gravity, Her, and Nebraska all make lousy indexing terms. (Here’s a futurist reviewing Her, and missing the point.)

As for the winner, I’d pick 12 Years a Slave. It’s well-reviewed, it’s important, and it allows Hollywood to show how progressive it is. Yet, I’m feeling unsure because the Oscars uses Instant Runoff Voting, where one ranks the pictures, a good way to get a consensus choice. Continue reading

G is for the Guthrie family

Arlo Guthrie, and his father Woody

Woodrow Wilson Guthrie (July 14, 1912 – October 3, 1967) was an iconic American individual – songwriter, musician, political activist. He had a huge effect on Pete Seeger, whose group the Weavers, recorded So Long, It’s Been Good To Know Yuh [LISTEN to Woody’s version]. He also hosted a young Bob Dylan in his hospital room, after he had been diagnosed with the Huntington’s disease that would kill him. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 as an early influence.

I saw a video of Michael Feinstein, who tended to Ira Gershwin’s papers the last six years of the lyricist’s life. Feinstein was asked who is missing from the discussion of Continue reading

“New” information that is hardly that

wilson_headerThere was this article in some news feed I was reading a while ago – oh, maybe this is it: 10 things from Grimms’ Fairy Tales you got wrong. I rather hate that title, and, if you’ve read Grimm, and I have, well, I didn’t get them wrong, Mister or Ms. Article Title Writer. A better one in this specific genre is 11 Fairytales You Loved As A Child That Are Actually Really Creepy, which does not assume how well the reader is informed on the topic.

It may be that people are not familiar with the late Tom Wilson (pictured), unless they are liner note readers, like I am, but The Greatest Music Producer You’ve Never Heard of Is… is annoying.

I rather like this article, BEATLE GEORGE HARRISON’S BRIEF JOURNEY INTO EXPERIMENTAL ELECTRONICS. It refers to the album Electronic Sounds and gives not only the information about it, but the actual album from Zapple Records. Yeah, I own it, but haven’t listened to it in a VERY long time. It IS obscure, but the title informs without gloating. BTW, either today (very late) or tomorrow would have been George’s 71st birthday.

I DO like articles that clear up common misconceptions. I suppose there are a lot of people who have misunderstood the context of the quote, “Nice guys finish last” from baseball manager Leo Durocher. Even the Baseball Almanac provides no insight.

Durocher, in this excerpt from his book Nice Guys Finish Last, explains:

The Nice Guys Finish Last line came about because of Eddie Stanky too. And wholly by accident. I’m not going to back away from it though. It has got me into Bartlett’s Quotations— page 1059, between John Betjeman and Wystan Hugh Auden—and will be remembered long after I have been forgotten.

This is the context:

It came about during batting practice at the Polo Grounds, while I was managing the Dodgers. I was sitting in the dugout with Frank Graham of the old Journal-American, and several other newspapermen, having one of those freewheeling bull sessions. Frankie pointed to Eddie Stanky in the batting cage and said, very quietly, “Leo, what makes you like this fellow so much? Why are you so crazy about this fellow?”

I started by quoting the famous Rickey statement: “He can’t hit, he can’t run, he can’t field, he can’t throw. He can’t do a …thing, Frank—but beat you.” He might not have as much ability as some of the other players, I said, but every day you got 100 percent from him and he was trying to give you 125 percent…. The Giants, led by Mel Ott, began to come out of their dugout to take their warm-up. Without missing a beat, I said, “Take a look at that Number Four there. A nicer guy never drew breath than that man there.” I called off his players’ names as they came marching up the steps behind him, “Walker Cooper, Mize, Marshall, Kerr, Gordon, Thomson. Take a look at them. All nice guys. They’ll finish last. Nice guys. Finish last.”

I appreciate when old information is clarified, but not in a way that I feel is condescending to the reader.

Proposed Arizona legislation supports Sharia law

It’s quite the irony: Arizona was one of the states that had introduced legislation banning Sharia law, which is the moral code and religious law of a prophetic religion; this usually understood to refer to Islam in our country.

Yet with the passage of Arizona Senate Bill 1062, passed by both houses of the AZ legislature, the legislature may have inadvertently opened the door for Sharia law in the state.
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Woody and Mia and Dylan

WoodyAllenOn the sidebar of Facebook, there was this sponsored ad from The Ranking, with Woody Allen’s picture with the caption: “Should he get any awards?” “Dylan Farrow allegations have refueled the scandal. Does he deserve any award? Vote!”

But when you click through, the actual question is: “Do you think that Dylan Farrow´s statements will influence on the Oscar Academy Awards?” Continue reading

The (alleged) JEOPARDY! sins of Arthur Chu

Arthur ChuSeriously, I had no idea. As a regular viewer of JEOPARDY!, there are contestants I like, ones that I don’t particular care for, and most from whom I just want to see a good match.

Having viewed the four victories of one Arthur Chu, I did not realize that his reign, to be continued on February 24, was at all controversial until someone sent me an article and asked me to comment on it. Then a couple more people sent me other articles. This was a story on Yahoo!’s Finance page?

So what are his JEOPARDY! “sins”?
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