A Jade Element December Rambling

There was some anti-gay marriage pledge that the GOP candidates were supposed to sign this month. Of course, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum agreed to it, as one would expect. But the third was Mitt Romney. Not only is his position unfortunate, it cements that “pandering” problem he has. Beyond that, pandering didn’t work in 2008, and in fact backfired. Oh, and this was widely circulated, but I still like it: the best message for marriage equality.

Where Roger Ebert stands on the Occupy movement, which is not dissimilar to my position. Or Ken Jennings’. Still, it’s impressive/amazing Continue reading

Andy Rooney

There was a time when I used to actually enjoy Andy Rooney, the long-time 60 Minutes commentator who retired in October 2011, and died less than a month later. It was even before I knew who he was. I remember watching a series of CBS News specials called ‘Of Black America’, back in the days when network television would/could broadcast such things, and as it turns out, Rooney wrote two of them. He also penned ‘Black History: Lost, Stolen, or Strayed’, which won him his first Emmy.

Then he did a bunch of quirky shows in the 1970s and early 1980s Continue reading

The Jobs reaction

I was fascinated, at some oddly arm’s-length manner, about the death of Steve Jobs. Genius, no doubt; visionary, for certain. And, though I never purchased an Apple product – no MacIntosh, no iPod, no iPad, I recognize the impact Apple’s design had on PCs, and just about everything else. I have also seen all but two of the Pixar films.

I came across this article, “arguing against a Jobs hagiography.” I LOVE the word hagiography; it’s almost never used in the literal sense – biography of a saint – but rather to inbue characteristics on the dead that are overblown or inaccurate, usually with an admonition not to do so.

Interesting that the post-Jobs world was apparent even before the announcement of his death. When the new iPhone 4S was released last week Continue reading

September Rambling

But before I get to that, the baseball playoffs begin today and Scott wants to know:
How do you think the MLB playoffs will go?

I expect that Boston will beat Atlanta in the World Series.

Wait, are you telling me NEITHER of them even made the playoffs after MASSIVE leads in the wild card race on Labor Day? I got a haircut yesterday, and a Red Sox fan walked into the shop and immediately, before anyone could even say a word, noted that the Yankees’ collapse in the 2004 playoffs (up 3-0, lost in 7 games to the Red Sox) was worse than the Bosox slide this year. Maybe. This year was certainly worse than the 1951 Dodgers’ collapse.

OK. Yankees over the Tigers, though with Verlander pitching for Detroit, anything’s possible. The Rangers over Tampa Bay. Texas over NYY.

Phillies over Cardinals. Brewers over Diamondbacks, though I know almost nothing about that Arizona team. Philadelphia over Milwaukee.

Phillies over Rangers.

Rooting interests, in order: NYY, Milwaukee, Detroit, Tampa Bay, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Arizona, Texas.


I remember reading earlier this month that actor Cliff Robertson, “who starred as John F. Kennedy in a 1963 World War II drama and later won an Academy Award for his portrayal of a mentally disabled bakery janitor in the movie ‘Charly,” had turned 88. Then, I discovered, he died the very next day. Some fans will recall that he was the “very first man ever to enter ‘The Outer Limits’, in addition to…his two trips to Rod Serling’s original ‘Twilight Zone’.” And yes, he was Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben. (NO relation to the rice of the same name.)
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Eleanor Mondale died. She was the hallmate of my wife’s best friend in college. Continue reading

August Rambling

Because I was out of town, I managed to miss a couple of significant cultural anniversaries. One was the 50th anniversary of the first real Marvel superhero comic, the Fantastic Four, by Stan Lee and Jack “King” Kirby. Mark Evanier explains why it had a November cover date. Check out this hour-long Kirby documentary. And here’s a link to the intro to the FF TV show.
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The other was the 100th anniversary of the birth of Lucille Ball. I watched most, if not all, of the episodes of every single one of her ongoing series, from the seminal I Love Lucy (1951-1957; 8.9 out of 10 on the IMDB scale), which started before even TV Guide and I were born, but lives through the clever concept known as the rerun; to the star-studded (and too long, in my recollection) episodes of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour (1957-1960; 8.6); to The Lucy Show (1962–1968; 7.3), which was the one with Lucy as Lucy Carmichael, Vivian Vance (Ethel Mertz in the earlier shows) as Viv, and Gale Gordon as Lucy’s testy boss, Mr. Mooney.
Continue reading

Sherwood, Betty and Rob

The great thing about Sherwood Schwartz, who died earlier this month, is not just that he created two popular TV shows. He also wrote, or co-wrote, their iconic themes.

I never, not once, did I see The Brady Bunch, during its initial run. But I knew exactly what it was about, just by watching the theme. It was the story about two widowed people, each with three kids, each the same gender as the parent, who, along with the housekeeper, became a blended family.

The theme to Gilligan’s Island, a show I admit to watching in my callow youth, also let us know the entire plot, though it changed somewhat Continue reading

Jeffrey Catherine Jones


There was a period of about 20 years in my life when the comic art form was extremely important in my life. One of the most impressive people working was Jeff Jones. I think I met him only once, at the FantaCon comic convention in Albany in 1980.

But FantaCo, where I worked in the 1980s, published at least two of his stories, in the anthologies Gates of Eden and Deju Vu. The covers were done by Michael Kaluta and Bernie Wrightson, respectively, two of his colleagues in something called The Studio. And both titles, on a purely commercial level, were abject failures, though brilliant on an aesthetic one.

So I lost track of Jeffrey Jones by 1994. I didn’t know, for instance, that Continue reading

Sidney Lumet

There’s an IMDB filmography for film director Sidney Lumet, who died last week at the age of 86. I thought I’d note the movies I saw, or wish I had.

12 Angry Men (1957) – A great cast, led by Henry Fonda. I must have seen this on TV originally, but it was so impactful, the whole notion of whether things are the way we thought, in a great courtroom drama, that I’ve gotten it on DVD.

Serpico (1973) – Found this movie about the one honest cop riveting, intense and rather sad by its (appropriate) cynicism.

Dog Day Afternoon (1975) – I’ve meant to see this. Actually came across the first 10 minutes on YouTube fairly recently.

Network (1976) – By far, the best movie of 1976, Rocky’s Academy Award win notwithstanding. In fact, it’s #64 on AFI’s top 100 movies. Also, Evanier tells a great story about a screening he attended. I remember the Oscars for that year quite well, when Peter Finch’s widow picked up his well-deserved award for Best Actor.

The Wiz (1978) – Definitely did NOT view this in the theater, though I’ve seen scenes on TV.

The Verdict (1982)– I’ve been a sucker for both law dramas and movies about redemption. This movie starring Paul Newman, as a lush of a lawyer I recall really enjoying when I saw it in the theater, though I haven’t viewed it since.

I probably also ought to see Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Equus and Running on Empty.

Evanier notes that Lumet “directed seventeen different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Katharine Hepburn, Rod Steiger, Al Pacino, Ingrid Bergman, Albert Finney, Chris Sarandon, Faye Dunaway, Peter Finch, Beatrice Straight, William Holden, Ned Beatty, Peter Firth, Richard Burton, Paul Newman, James Mason, Jane Fonda and River Phoenix. Four of them won for those Lumet-supervised performances. A pretty impressive record.” Kevin Marshall wrote a nice piece about Lumet.

17 November, 1927-2 February, 2011


Writing an obituary is often a negotiated exercise when more than one person has to be satisfied with it. The one below I started writing. The mechanical stuff – who she’s survived by, e.g., – is easy, but I was having trouble with the middle section. So one sister wrote a bunch of stuff for that, then the other sister and I had to trim that down, not just for length (and thus cost), but because it was a bit disjointed. This is the Thursday night draft version, not yet approved by the first sister, but it’s close enough for the blog.

Incidentally, the website of the Charlotte Observer has annoying instructions for submitting an obit. It tells you to either call or e-mail for more information.

Interesting/strange thing about the photo to the left: my mom cut the neutral background out of the picture about two weeks before she died, and no one knows why, possibly not even her. It’s not as though there was someone else in the shot.

I suppose it is quite obvious, though probably inappropriate for me to say, that my mom was a real babe when she was younger.

CHARLOTTE – Gertrude Elizabeth (Trudy) Green, 83, of Charlotte, NC, passed away on Wednesday, February 2, 2011 in Charlotte, NC. Born in Binghamton, NY, she was the daughter of the late Clarence and Gertrude (Yates) Williams, and the widow of Leslie H. (Les) Green, who died in 2000. She was a member of C. N. Jenkins Presbyterian Church Continue reading

A Peculiar Synchronicity

Well, if you read the latter comments to yesterday’s post, you know that my mom, Gertrude Elizabeth (Trudy) Green, died yesterday morning. She was 83, had suffered a massive stroke (9 cm, as opposed to the usual 2 to 3 cm) on Friday. And still I was surprised, and yet not.

Mom with Lydia

I’ll probably undoubtedly write more on this event over time, but I do want to make a couple of observations.

Thanks for the outpouring of kind words and thoughts and prayers that I have received.

Before each of my parents died, they each had a stroke, though my father’s was less severe. I was the last of the three Green children to arrive in Charlotte, and shortly after each of them saw me, they died. It was as though they were waiting on my arrival so that they could let go. there’s more than a little ambivalence in that.

I think this is interesting. Continue reading