Arnold Schwarzenegger is 70

I always had mixed feelings about Arnold Schwarzenegger. On one hand, the whole Mr. Universe thing mystified me, yet he was obviously very good at it.

He came to the United States, knowing relatively little English, and become an actor. Many people said he would have to change his name, because “no one” would be able to pronounce it; he ignored them.

Arnold Schwarzenegger had an incredibly successful movie career. I have seen exactly zero of his films in the cinema, though I’ve bumped into some iteration of The Terminator and Kindergarten Cop while flipping through the TV channels. BTW, here are HIS favorite films.

He was clearly a Republican, yet married a Democrat, and a Kennedy, no less, in Maria Shriver. And then, for reasons I considered bogus, tied to Enron manipulation, the governor of California was recalled. Ahnuld decided to run for the office, and he actually WON, joining the tradition of Golden State performer-politicians such as George Murphy, Sonny Bono, and Clint Eastwood. Oh, and Ronald Reagan.

By most accounts, he wasn’t bad at the job, so much so that a contingent of folks wanted to change the Constitution so that the Austrian-born Schwarzenegger could potentially run for President.

As it states in a 2015 Rolling Stone interview, “The guy has spent his life turning naysayers into spectators, skeptics into constituents. ‘I’ve always been underestimated, and that’s always worked to my advantage,’ he says. ‘It’s the most wonderful thing, to be underestimated.'”

Schwarzenegger had two boys and two girls with Shriver. “In 2011, it came to light that [he] had fathered a fifth child, Joseph, now a teenager, with the family’s housekeeper.” Shriver divorced him.

He agreed to become the host of the Celebrity Apprentice in 2016, formerly run by someone who was successfully running for another job. After that short-term gig, Arnold has been active in criticizing the United States’ departure from the Paris Climate agreement.

As Schwarzenegger said to University of Houston graduates in May 2017, he didn’t make it all on his own, and that it’s important for them to recognize the help they got and then give back to others.

The simple bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger is actually a complex fellow. Happy natal day to him.

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June rambling #3: Macca and Brian Wilson are 75

Plastic pollution in Antarctica 5 times worse than expected

America’s Amazon Problem

Are You The Husband Or The Wife?

“The good advice my mom gave me that I still don’t like” published in The Lily by Margaret Sullivan

Rachel Maddow: The Rolling Stone Interview

Millennials are the most likely generation of Americans to use public libraries

Political Violence is Our Issue Too

Obama’s secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin’s election assault

Russian official linked to South Florida biker club spent millions on Trump condos

What, He worry?

John Oliver blasts ‘human megaphone’ for the anti-vaccine movement

Power Causes Brain Damage Over Time, leaders lose mental capacities—most notably for reading other people—that were essential to their rise

The Daily Show presents: THE DONALD J. TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL TWITTER LIBRARY

Nearly every outright lie he has told publicly since taking the oath of office

The Racist History of America’s Chinese Restaurant Boom

vlogbrothers: Cheyenne, Wyoming

The length of a dog’s memory

Total Solar Eclipse 2017: When, Where and How to See It (Safely)

Comedian Bill Dana, Who Played the Character Jose Jimenez, Dies at 92. He penned one of the funniest ‘All in the Family’ episodes. Plus the TV Academy has put together a very nice page about him

Stephen Furst, who I watched on St. Elsewhere, died at the age of 63. Film director Kevin Smith wrote: “As an awkward round kid, Flounder was the Delta I most identified with in #AnimalHouse, my fave comedy.”

Speaking of Smith, he and TV writer Ken Levine do a podcast crossover, first on Smith’s here, then Levine’s here and here.

What Play Finally Brought Tim and Tyne Daly Together Onstage?

Ace magician Misty Lee creates her new show

Leptospirosis Death Warning Hoax – Rat Urine on Soda Can Top

How To Make A Bedtime Snack

KFC to launch fried chicken sandwich into space

The redesigned Names.org offers origins, statistics and popularity rankings for people names. Users can search and compare the most popular names, find trending names and review various list of names by origin, region decade and more

Stop Sending Me Chain Letters Because They Can Be Dangerous! Also, VERY annoying

Arthur mentions unmentionables

Now I Know: The People Who Can’t Take Socks For Granted and China’s Extremely Personal Loans and Why Parisian Bakers Can’t Always Go On Vacation and The Hamburger on Display in a Canadian Legislature

How do they make cake sprinkles?

MUSIC

The Impressions – Gypsy Woman (1961)

Highway Tune – Greta Van Fleet

With A Little Help From My Friends – The Gibson Brothers Bluegrass

Surf’s Up – The Beach Boys

Coverville 1175: 75th Birthday Celebrations for Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson

Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 – Elgar

Tunes from c 1987

Musicians Look Back on the Albums They Don’t Remember Recording

You Can’t Do That! Making Of A HARD DAY’S NIGHT (1995)

Steve Earle: ‘My wife left me for a younger, skinnier, less talented singer’

Pet Sounds v. Sgt. Pepper

The intrinsic value of blogging


For Ask Roger Anything, Arthur the AmeriNZ asks a couple meta questions on blogging:

I sense that (like me) you also believe that writing has intrinsic value for the writer, even without any financial reward. What’s your take on those who dismiss blogging (for example) done without any pay? Similarly, why do some people also have to belittle bloggers who DO make money from their blogs? Is there any validity to those criticisms in your opinion?

Some people dismiss those who write without pay as fools. But there are very many well-known folk who blog either for nothing or for PayPal tips. Initially, I blogged to write about the Daughter and JEOPARDY! But it was also a sense of addressing my feeling of powerlessness in the midst of a Republican administration engaging in a war of choice that I thought was unjustifiable. I wasn’t sure I would actually write about it, but I COULD.

Now I blog because I pretty much have to. It’s therapy. All the crap going on and I can vent a little. At the same time, I have found it a useful reference tool for my own existence that I’M likely to forget. AND it is my vehicle to have dialogue, in a way Facebook simply cannot be for me. Something I wrote about my grandfather or Spaulding Krullers I can find again. Moreover, OTHER people find it and comment on them, occasionally years after I wrote the pieces. This gives the exercise a sense of being less ephemeral.

Bloggers who get money are considered as not “pure” by some, not of the “tortured artist”. But in that piece you linked to about New Zealand, it mentions a professional travel blogger with thousands of hits. Do I wish I had thousands of followers? Some days, yes.

But my reach on the Times Union newspaper site was far greater than it is here; guess which one I all but gave up? It was too much grief, too many schmucks; it wasn’t worth it.

I’ve gotten offers to do advertisements, and I’ve resisted, so far. If something is really in my wheelhouse, I might change my mind, but I’m not cashing the check just yet.

Why do you provide links to YouTube videos, but not embed the videos themselves?

Initially, I was afraid that it might be taking up too much bandwidth and would load too slowly. But mostly, it’s pure aesthetics.

This is an odd phenomenon I’ve only seen on Blogspot/Blogger blogs (yours, Mark Evanier’s), sometimes, the videos appear to be under the wrong description. If I reload, it rectifies the situation, but it’s distracting.

Also, the videos make the posts appear too long for my taste. And when a video, almost inevitably, goes offline, it leaves that pale gray box that I always find looks slightly sad.

Incidentally, I was looking at a post on SamuraiFrog’s Blogspot website on my tablet, and a post for which he merely provided the link, rather than the embedded video, the video showed up anyway. Doesn’t always happen, but it interested me.

Y is for the Yardbirds

I was surprised to discover that The Yardbirds apparently still exist as a band in 2017, albeit with only one founding member, drummer Jim McCarty.

As the Rolling Stone bio indicates, they “may not have been as famous as their British Invasion contemporaries…, but the pioneering blues-based combo introduced three of the most famous and influential guitarists of the rock era: Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page.”

The original band was Keith Relf (vocals, harmonica); Anthony “Top” Topham and Chris Dreja (guitars), Paul “Sam” Samwell-Smith (bass), and McCarthy. Clapton joined the band in October 1963, replacing Topham, who was only 16 and forced to quit by his parents. But “Slowhand” left the group in March 1965 when they got less bluesy and more pop-driven; eventually he helped form Cream.

Clapton was replaced by Beck, through October 1966. Page joined in June 1966 until the last throes of the Yardbirds in July 1968. He then formed the New Yardbirds in October 1968, which evolved into Led Zeppelin.

Jim McCarty and Chris Dreja reformed the group in 1992 with John Idan handling bass and lead vocals. Since then, the group has operated off and on with various band permutations, including, for a time, original guitarist Topham.

The Yardbirds were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, with members Keith Relf, Chris Dreja, Jim McCarty, Paul Samwell-Smith, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page.

All references to chart action refers to the Billboard (US) Hot 100 pop charts.

Listen to:

Good Morning, School Girl (1964, Sonny Boy” Williamson cover) here or here
I Ain’t Got You (1965) here or here
I Wish You Would (1965, early single) here or here

For Your Love (#6 in 1965, written by Graham Gouldman; recording of this song drove Clapton out of the band) here or here
Heart Full Of Soul (#9 in 1965, Gouldman) here or here
I’m A Man (#17 in 1965) here
Train Kept A Rollin’ (1965) here or here
You’re a Better Man Than I (1965) here or here

Shape of Things (#11 in 1966, written by the band) here or here
Over Under Sideways Down (#13 in 1966, written by the band) here or here
Happening Ten Years Time Ago (#30 in 1966, written by the band) here or here

ABC Wednesday – Round 20

The Lydster: Nipper the dog as art

It is difficult to explain to outsiders the pull that the dog Nipper has in Albany. From the Albany Institute of History and Art:

“The twenty-eight-foot [8.5 m] tall, four-ton [3600 kg] steel and fiberglass canine statue anchored atop a warehouse on North Broadway has captured the hearts and minds of young and old alike for three generations.

“Nipper was a real-life dog in nineteenth-century England who was painted by the dog owner’s brother, Francis Barraud. He depicted the curious dog listening to a gramophone and titled it ‘His Master’s Voice.’ It became an internationally recognized logo for several audio recording companies, including RCA.

“Nipper came to his downtown Albany perch at 991 Broadway in 1958 following renovations of a rundown reinforced concrete warehouse built in 1900 to house the American Gas Meter Co.”

It is an iconic figure in New York State’s capital city, believe me.

Recently, it was announced that “the upcoming round of downtown Albany public art projects will be decorated statues of Nipper.

“For this year’s exhibit, the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District is accepting submissions from artists who wish to submit proposals to design 36″ tall [0.91 m] sculptures of Albany’s famous canine resident.”

As it turns out, an Albany middle school teacher and four of her seventh-grade students were selected to work on their entry for the “Downtown is Pawsome” project, the only school so honored.

“The project involves twenty local artists putting their creative spin on three-foot versions of Albany’s iconic Nipper statue. Their artistic creations will be placed throughout downtown Albany this month and remain on display until May 2018.”

The “Pawsome” project kicked off with a garden party at Tricentennial Park on June 16. But unfortunately, the artist in my household was out of town, visiting our nation’s capital. Still, I look forward to see these critters around town, and one in particular.

Shooting off their mouths


Referring to the 154th mass shooting in 2017, the Los Angeles Times noted:

“Even though members of Congress were attacked Wednesday by a gunman on a ball field just outside the capital, nothing is likely to change in the Washington debate over gun control, save the addition of Alexandria to the list of blood-soaked postmarks.

“The two sides of the debate are simply too dug in, the political forces too firmly entrenched, the worldview of opposing sides so vastly different it is impossible to see how the gulf narrows even slightly, however close to home the latest attack.

“Underscoring that notion, the one thing both sides shared after the latest mass shooting was the capacity to look at precisely the same event and see it in a way that buttressed diametrically opposing views.”

All that wonderful unity at the charity baseball game, yet:

A GOP Congressman Thinks It’s Obama’s Fault. Some Republicans on the far right point to “vitriolic rhetoric on the left,” which could be to blame for the gunfire that hit a GOP leader and others at a congressional baseball practice. GOP Rep. Steve King of Iowa says that “the violence is incited by the leading cultural voices of the Left.”

Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi responds, “How dare they?”, noting the dramatic escalation in hate crimes from the “alt right” and white supremacists, and GOPUSA scolds Pelosi for breaking the “unity”.

Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot and nearly killed by an assassin, called for sympathy and understanding, which was met with hate.

There’s a reasonable observation in the right wing Legal Insurrection about getting off the rhetorical merry-go-round: “The collective desire to be ‘right’ and to prove wrongness is hindering our ability to find even the smallest shred of consensus” is counterproductive, and other sensible points. But as Red State, another rightist publication noted, the comments section of the LI article is riddled with condemnation for the writer.

Arthur wrote: “”Claiming that only ‘the other side’ is responsible for the current disgusting nature of US politics—as always happens when there’s something like this shooting—is merely part of that same sick politics, boiled in its broth of seething resentment and baked within its self-righteous shell.”

As is often the case, the Onion gets the last word: “In the wake of [the] mass shooting in Alexandria, VA, every single American from across the political spectrum was reportedly able to cite the tragedy as irrefutable proof that they had been right about everything all along.”

Mick Fleetwood is turning 70

Yeah, I know about those earlier iterations of Fleetwood Mac, going back into the late 1960s, fronted by Mick Fleetwood and John McVie. I alluded to the group’s evolution in a post from three years ago.

Still, most of my favorite songs were from the version represented in the 1975 eponymous album (not be confused with the 1968 album of the same name), when Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined Christine McVie and the two guys for whom the band is named.

In no hard order except the first two. Chart action refers to the Billboard pop charts in the US. Links to all:

20. Save Me (Behind the Mask), #33 in 1990
19. What Makes You Think You’re the One (Tusk – T), 1979 – some referred to Tusk as the band’s “white album”. It was a double LP, the band was fractured, and some of the songs were kind of weird
18. Dreams (Rumours – R), #1 in 1977. It’s difficult for someone not living through it to understand how dominant Rumours was. 19 weeks at #1.
17. Skies the Limit (Behind the Mask), 1990 – Buckingham was gone at this point; he would return. Rick Vito and Billy Burdette were in the band
16. Everywhere (Tango in the Night – TitN), #14 in 1988

15. Over My Head (FM), #20 in 1976
14. Little Lies (TitN), #4 in 1987
13. You Make Loving Fun (R), #9 in 1977
12. Tusk (T), #8 in 1979 – there’s a live version with the USC marching band that’s even sillier
11. Say You Love Me (FM), #11 in 1976 – this first part of the list is heavy with Christine McVie songs, I just noticed; always thought she was the glue of the group

10. Monday Morning (FM), B-side of Say You Love Me – I have an irrational affection for pop songs about days of the week, from Ruby Tuesday to Monday, Monday
9. Oh Well (Then Play On), 1970 – from the Peter Green days
8. Landslide (FM), 1977
7. I’m So Afraid (FM), B-side of Over My Head – and I believe Lindsay is
6. Gypsy (Mirage – M), #12 in 1982

5. Rhiannon (FM), #11 in 1976
4. Hold Me (M) , #4 in 1982
3. Don’t Stop (R), #3 for two weeks in 1977 – the inauguration song for one William Jefferson Clinton
2. Go Your Own Way (R), #10 in 1977 – a great breakup song
1. The Chain (R), 1977 – written by all five members; given all the romantic and musical breakups over the years, SOMETHING must be holding them together

Happy birthday, Mick Fleetwood.

The homicide of Philando Castile has wrecked me

In the roster of black men killed by police and available on video, the brutal, and totally unnecessary death of Philando Castile, and the acquital of the police officer who shot him, has hit me the hardest. As Trevor Noah said on the Daily Show, “I won’t lie to you, when I watched this video, it broke me.”

In case you can’t keep up with WHICH miscarriage of American justice this was:

“After Officer [Jeronimo] Yanez politely informs Castile that he’s been pulled over for a broken taillight and asks for Castile’s license and insurance, Castile calmly discloses that he has a firearm (Castile had a permit to carry the gun). Then the situation rapidly devolves. Yanez places his hand on his holster and tells Castile not to reach for the gun; within a few seconds, Yanez is yelling ‘Don’t pull it out!’ as Castile and his girlfriend try to assure Yanez that no one is grabbing for it. Then Yanez fires seven times into the car.”

Yes, watching videos of police brutality can traumatize you, especially if you’re black. “Research suggests that repeated viewing of terrorism news coverage can lead to symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.”

“Though Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, had previously streamed the immediate aftermath of the shooting on Facebook live, the moment of the shooting itself was not made available to the public until this week.”

And then it gets surreal.

Moments after Yanez shot Castile, [Diamond Reynold’s] 4-year-old [daughter] climbed out of the back seat of the car in which Castile was shot…

Diamond Reynolds and her daughter were in the back of a squad car for “45 minutes until an officer drove them to a nearby police station for questioning…” While handcuffed there, “Reynolds shouted an expletive, and the girl said, ‘Mom, please stop cussing and screaming ’cause I don’t want you to get shooted.'” The girl also wished they lived in a safer place.

I’m watching this with my teenaged daughter, and she’s crying, and I’m crying. We show it to my wife and watch it yet again, and she’s crying too.

And where’s the National Rifle Association in this? The NRA has shunned a Second Amendment martyr. “Philando Castile died because he exercised his right to bear arms.” Even the very conservative Hot Air thinks so.

“Part of the irony of this verdict, Noah explained, is that it comes after years of people saying that the solution to unwarranted police shootings is to require police to wear body cameras, to eliminate any doubt about what had happened. ‘Black people have already taken that initiative, all right?’ Thanks to cellphones, every black person has a body cam now’ — and for Castile, neither a dashcam nor a cellphone mattered.

“Even worse, Noah went on with palpable horror, is that the jury of Castile’s fellow citizens did see this footage, and concluded that Officer Yanez had reason to claim self-defense. ‘Forget race,’ Noah said. ‘Are we all watching the same video? The video where a law-abiding man followed an officer’s instructions to the letter of the law and was killed regardless? People watched that video, and then voted to acquit?'”

The story hasn’t made me mad as hell. It has brought out a level of despair that even I, as melancholy as I can be, have not felt in a very long time.

I know all your secrets

This happened AGAIN when I went to use the computers at one of the branches of the Albany Public Library in May 2017. I went to gmail, and I got the message that it had “closed unexpectedly”, undoubtedly because the hour allotment of the previous user had expired. Did I want to “restore”? OK, let’s do that.

There was the gmail of a total stranger, totally accessible to me. At the end of each day, APL scrubs the records, but not always from user to user on the same day. I’ve gotten into people’s Facebook that way on public computers, and not just on APL’s, which is why, when I get that five-minute warning, I close down gmail and Facebook, then other items I might have open.

Per usual, I wrote her an email from “herself” explaining how and where I got into her system. I did not specifically explain that, had I been less of a swell guy, I could a wreaked real havoc in her life, trusting that she has figured this out.

So what did I learn from this woman? I never went past the first page, but I assume she’s looking for a job. But this really boggled my mind: she had about 9,300 emails, and around 8,500 of them were UNOPENED. How does one even operate with so many emails unread? She might have missed an employment opportunity, or six.

Now I’ve had even more emails than this woman, even a month ago, but I purged over 6000 of them in fairly short order, and they were all read. Some were things I was going to blog about – random ideas, news stories – but they got too old. Others were reminders of events to come that have since passed. And a lot were links to Facebook conversations – which I can never find by merely searching – that I decided just weren’t all that interesting, in retrospect.

Based on a blogpost I wrote a few years ago, the co-author of the Public Wi-Fi: How to Stay Safe and Secure Your Data infographic recommended it to me, and I do the same for you.

Happiness is Ask Roger Anything

Charles Schultz came up with one of the iconic comments in comic strip history in Peanuts. And do you know which character originally said, “Happiness is a warm puppy”? I will give you a hint: she was usually considered crabby.

“Some of the most simple joys in life are free. People tend to forget this and try to fill their lives with material objects that may give them temporary happiness but these things aren’t exactly fulfilling. Try to find something simple and pure that give you joy.”

Do you know what gives ME joy? Writing this blog. And I hope that it gives you a modicum of pleasure once in a while.

Having time to write it is very nice. God bless three-day weekends!

You can add to my joy, gentle reader, and Lucy Van Pelt’s, I am sure, by doing the Ask Roger Anything… whatever it is, when you may ask truly anything. I promise to respond, generally within a month. I’d rather answer those than post my emergency pieces that only see the light of day if I get no questions, which happened last time.

I will, as always, answer your questions to the best of my ability, which waxes and wanes over time. Obfuscation on my part, though, is always an option, though, truth to tell, I have not used it as much as I had expected.

You can leave your comments below or on Facebook or Twitter; for the latter, my name is ersie. If you prefer to remain anonymous, that’s fine; you should e-mail me at rogerogreen (AT) gmail (DOT) com, or send me an IM on FB (make sure it’s THIS Roger Green, the one with the Vezina duck) and note that you want to remain unmentioned; otherwise, I’ll assume you want to be cited.