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

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ARA: Sports and superheroes

Chris Honeycutt asked:

Do you like sports other than baseball? Which ones?

I like to play volleyball and racquetball, but haven’t played either for a while. I like to bowl, but my knee is inhibiting that.

I enjoy watching football, and believe it is the PERFECT sport for instant replay. But I tend to follow the NFL, rather than college, and generally only from the end of World Series on.

Basketball I don’t watch until Continue reading

May Rambling: Faraway fire; faux news; second chances

Chuck Miller has taken on the task of promoting the work of his “fellow Times Union community bloggers, until that day when the Times Union itself will restore the ‘Best of Our Blogs’ feature to the print edition of the paper.” And one of those “well-written articles” was mine. Merci, Chuck.

The specter of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory looms over the garment factory that collapsed last month in Bangladesh, killing more than [1100] workers…. But the world is smaller than it was 102 years ago. Tragedies of this sort in the Third World aren’t engendered only by forces in their proximity, and they won’t be averted unless the responsibility for change is embraced globally. Also, Is Rana Disaster Bangladesh’s Triangle Fire? I wrote about the Triangle fire HERE.

Meryl’s quite reasonable concern: ‘truth’ is becoming ever-more illusive with advancing photoshop technology and our modern vehicles of ‘news resources’ and communication. Related: Since Twitter hasn’t built a correction feature, here are 3 things journalists can do instead. And Who’s The Biggest Liar?
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The Tom Skulan FantaCon interview, part 2


FantaCon, once an Albany tradition for fans of comic book, fantasy, and in its latter incarnations, horror films, is returning after a brief, two-decade hiatus. FantaCon 2013, operated by its original creator, Tom Skulan, will be held Saturday September 14 and Sunday September 15 at the Marriott Hotel on Wolf Road in Albany. Ticket for the related Three Nights of Horror at the Palace Theatre on September 11-13 in Albany, will be available from the Palace Theatre box office, starting on February 13.

FantaCo, the store/mail order company Tom started, operated from 1978 through 1998 at 21 Central Avenue, Albany, NY. I worked there from May 1980 to November 1988, worked at the first five FantaCons and attended the sixth.
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Even before I started working at FantaCo, I bought from FantaCo this single by the Spastic Phono Band , a parody of some Beatles and Paul McCartney songs. The store carried some Japanese EPs of the Beatles. How important to you were The Beatles specifically, and music generally?

The Beatles were and are very important to me because they represent a group of individuals who against ALL odds did exactly what they set out to do. That’s a powerful example to learn from.
Musically they are sublime. My Beatles CDs are the CDs I play the least because I just enjoy them so much I never want the magic to wear away. The Beatles (White Album) is my all time favorite. Not only because it has so many songs but because there is a slightly ominous tone to the whole thing. And yes- I love Revolution #9 too. I always look forward to dissecting all the sounds.

Early on, the store also sold some records of some local bands such as Blotto. How much did you follow the local music scene?

When I lived above FantaCo I went to JB Scott’s on a regular basis and saw all the local bands opening for the national acts. It was a fun time “living downtown”. I followed most of them at the time.

The 1980 FantaCon was the one with the Berni Wrightson artwork on the cover. It was labeled FantaCon 2, to avoid the confusion of the previous event. What are your memories of that show?
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February Rambling about comic book issues, and music

Local judge removes 5-year-old from grandparents to live with mom and known child abuser. “Local” being in Michigan, with the child being moved to Utah with a mother who had never been part of her life. This particular case involves Troy, the grandfather in question, who’s contributed the ABC Wednesday team. He’s not thrilled with the way the actual story came out – I’ve seldom liked stories I’ve appeared in myself – but the “justice system” is SO wrongheaded in this case, which, as I’ve linked to before, is not an isolated incident.

KunstlerCast #215: Nicole Foss Interview. Economic contraction and the fate of the nation.

Mad props for Anita Hill.

Blogger Alvin McEwen has published a booklet called How They See Us: Unmasking the Religious Right War on Gay America, which deftly exposes the most common anti-gay propaganda. Also, conservatives file amicus brief in a case before the Supreme Court; they are supporting the plaintiffs in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the challenge to California’s anti-gay marriage referendum.

How Joe E. Ross (of Car 54) is NOT like Donald Trump or Michele Bachmann.

I mentioned Melanie LAST month; I COULD mention her weekly. This month, she talks about 17 years of defying death and fulfilling longed-for dreams, and for futures that are better than what we have known.

Jaquandor: On Snark and his eleven years (!) in Blogistan. Not only that, he answered some of my questions!

Amy’s 600th post is about Frickin’ Frackers.

Euthanizing gay dogs for Jesus.

Arthur remembers C. Everett Koop, the former Surgeon General, “an unlikely ally in the fight against HIV/AIDS.”

Shooting Parrots, on juries: “Has it come to the point where a group of citizens have failed to grasp the basics of the legal system or even a working understanding of the English language?”

Roger Ebert “took after” his aunt Martha.

Recovered suitcases from an insane asylum; this is a Kickstarter project I backed.

Why does bottled water have an expiration date? We HAVE some 2007 water in our emergency kit. Hmm.

I want THESE people to move my stuff; too bad they are in Japan.

One of many reasons why people hate Disney: Disney Refuses To Allow Epilogue To Appear In The Don Rosa Collection. You may not know the name, but if you ever read the Disney ducks, you’ve probably seen his work. The publisher Egmont has agreed to publish a link to career-end.donrosa.de in the final volume, which leads to the now unpublished text, a scathing indictment of compensation practices. (Mark Evanier clarifies this, but does not dispute, in Rosa’s case.)

A fine letter to DC Comics objecting to the hiring of hatemonger Orson Scott Card to write some Superman comics.

Eddie Campbell’s Rules of Comic Book Comprehension.

Colleen Doran, comic artist, says: Fandom, You Deserve Better Friends.

Library prof bops doc who K.O.’d comic book industry.

You can NOW hear my buddy, comic book artist Steve Bissette blather [his word] with Robin at Inkstuds: PART 1 and PART 2. Steve also noted on Facebook: “Note to self: NEVER FORGET Continue reading

Traditions of baseball, comic books, and film

I lost a dollar this week. A blogger I know bet that no one would be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and regrettably, he was right. Even allowing the “punishment” of those who allegedly took performance-enhancing drugs, there were plenty of qualified candidates (starting pitcher Jack Morris, the totally undervalued reliever Lee Smith, for two). This was an unfortunate outcome, and not so incidentally, will be lousy for tourism in Cooperstown this year.

Now, ironically Continue reading

BOOK REVIEW: Using Content-Area Graphic Texts for Learning

I’m someone who used to sell graphic novels in a comic book store, not a teacher. My wife IS a teacher, though, and was excited to see that I had received a review copy of Using Content-Area Graphic Texts for Learning.

Even Meryl Jaffe, co-author of this book, with Katie Monnin, mentioned in her blog that the title of this book is a bit of a mouthful. Basically, this should be called “Teaching with Graphic Novels.” Regardless of the name, this volume makes a convincing argument for using graphic novels in teaching math, language arts, social students, and science. More importantly, very early on, it makes the case, in the strongest terms, that the graphic novel is a legitimate teaching tool that broadens the educational palette for an increasingly diverse population.

Not that Meryl was always a believer. Continue reading

S is for Sub-Mariner

When I got suckered into reading comic books when I went to college, I started with a couple of comics that were #1s, but also Sub-Mariner #50. My girlfriend at the time and later my wife, the Okie, was particularly fond of Namor, the character with ears like Mr. Spock from Star Trek. As it turned out, the Sub-Mariner long predated the Vulcan, but did have a thing or two in common.

From the Marvel Universe: Namor’s father, American seaman Leonard McKenzie, embarked on an expedition to Antarctica in 1920… McKenzie set explosive charges to break up ice floes in the ship’s path, unaware that Atlantis lay beneath the waters. The city sustained heavy damage, and Atlantean Emperor Thakorr commanded his daughter Fen to investigate the cause of the explosions…. In a strange twist of fate Continue reading

Video reviews: Iron Man 2 and The Parent Trap

The Parent Trap (1961), if I saw it – and surely I MUST have seen it at some point – mustn’t I? – I watched SO long ago that the details are surely erased from my memory. It was a Disney film starring Hayley Mills… and Hayley Mills! I DO recall that ad campaign. The script was based on Das Doppelte Lottchen, a novel by Erich Kastner, that had been made into British and German films, using twin girls.

Two girls, one from tony Boston, the other from freewheeling California, meet at a summer camp and take an instant dislike to each other. Each just doesn’t like that other girl with her face. Antics ensue Continue reading

August Rambling: Punctuation, Crowdfunding

Listen to the KunstlerCast podcast #212: Health & Technology Update. James Howard Kunstler gives listeners an update on his recent health issues, and discusses the importance of advocating for oneself when dealing with medical professionals, rather than taking their word for it.

Keyboard Waffles. (But if they were REAL nerds, they would have spelled nerd’s correctly!)

My favorite new blog: Grammarly, Continue reading