Things I Know

The Daily News website on Friday announced that Jimmy Fallon was hospitalized after surgery. I’m just guessing here, but he was probably hospitalized for surgery and then remained hospitalized afterward. Get well Jimmy.

I hope this doesn’t happen to you. I installed the Chrome browser on a computer at work. Then I signed in to my personal Google account to gain access to my list of favorites. To be clear, a lot of those favorites have to do with my work. When I was done, I signed out of my Google account and erased my browsing history before closing Chrome, but not uninstalling it, and signing off the computer. Next time I used Chrome on that computer, without signing into my Google account, I was alarmed to see that all of my favorites, not just the business-related ones, were shown in the browser. Don’t know if I did something wrong or if Chrome is programmed to act like that, but it’s something to keep an eye out for.

“It’s a free country, which is why we should take down the flag that says it isn’t.”–Larry Wilmore.

On the other hand, when Apple removed a game from its app store because it contained a Confederate battle flag, I think they went a little overboard because it was a Civil War game. By the way, that flag which is now so controversial was not the official flag of the Confederate States of America. It wasn’t even the battle flag of all the Confederate troops. It was the battle flag for the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, in other words, General Lee’s army.

Here’s a map of all the states I’ve been in, courtesy of maploco.com. I think it’s pretty impressive, considering that I’ve never had a job which required me to travel extensively. I’ve been a couple of miles from Mississippi, Michigan, and Wisconsin, but I didn’t go out of my way to cross those borders just to say I’d been there.


Create Your Own Visited States Map

Oooohhhhhh, What He Said!

I don’t have any problem with President Obama’s appearance on comedian Mark Maron’s podcast. For those who missed it, the President said, “Racism, we are not cured of it. And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say nigger in public. That’s not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It’s not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don’t, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior.”

I don’t have a problem with it because he’s right. It is impolite to call someone that and the fact that it’s impolite, or even the fact that we’ve elected an African American President, and reelected him, doesn’t mean there’s no more racism. Also, please note that while President Obama said an offensive word, he didn’t call anyone that.

I do have a small problem with people who say, “the n-word, the f-word or the s-word.” If we know what all of those things are, why aren’t the substitute phrases just as offensive as actually saying the words? Plus, that structure is illogical. Based on the number of pages starting with each letter in a dictionary, there ought to be two or three times as many s-words as either of the other two, but there is only one of each.

Things I Want (or Need) to Know

The late radio commentator Paul Harvey used to observe that people who did terrible things often did so to become famous. Then, he wouldn’t use their names in his radio reports. So, did you see the pictures of the Charleston mass murderer? The one that caught my eye was the scrawny kid wearing a shirt from Gold’s Gym. Since racism and anti-Semitism often go hand in hand, I hope he has learned that Joe Gold, sometimes credited with popularizing body building and the founder of Gold’s Gym, was Jewish.

You have to wonder not what, but whether Joyce Mitchell was thinking. She’s the 51-year-old former employee of New York’s Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora NY. Mitchell is charged with aiding two convicted murderers to escape from the 170-year-old prison. What positive outcome could she possibly have envisioned? I’m guessing that if they had gone together to kill her husband, the two escaped murderers would have killed her as well.

You also have to wonder whether the two convicted murderers who escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility are more comfortable hiding out in the woods and scrounging for food over the last two-and-a-half weeks than they would have been if they didn’t escape.

And, if you wonder what Dannemora and the now infamous prison are near, the answer is they aren’t near anything.

In my house, furniture like bookcases and bureaus that you place against, but don’t attach, to the wall wind up with a lot of dust on their backs. But the wall behind the furniture doesn’t have the same problem, or at least doesn’t have it any near as badly as the furniture does. Why? Is there good physics behind that?

Am I being unreasonable? I assume that any company unethical enough to violate the federal no-call law to sell me something will also be unethical in dealing with me if I buy from them.

Have you seen the TV commercials for Liberty Mutual Insurance that are shot near the Statue of Liberty? If so, what’s a torque ratio? I’ve never heard the phrase before.

Optimum cable has a very cute commercial for their multi-room DVR service about an older sister and younger brother signing a formal peace accord. Funny, but obviously fiction.

A security officer was shot and the two gunmen responsible were killed during an incident in Texas a while back at a Muhammad cartoon contest. No question that Muslims are offended by any representation, even a respectful one, of the Prophet. Also no question that in the US the contest was legal. Still, who thought it was a good idea?

Now that Heinz is making mustard, shouldn’t they change it to 58 varieties? Also, now that Heinz makes mustard, I suppose it was inevitable that French’s should make ketchup and they are.

What’s up with major league baseball players and beards? Do any of them look good?

Father’s Day

My father was a remarkable man. He shouldered far more responsibility than most people would want. As the oldest son, he shouldered it beginning when he was 10 years old and his father died. He quit school at the end of eighth grade to support his mother, brothers and sisters. He married pretty late in life and continued to support his mother until she died.

He didn’t complain when his wife spent a great deal of her time and effort caring for her father, even though it meant that they were separated by 30 miles or so for weeks on end. He gave up the job he loved, he was a cop, at my mother’s request and never had another job that was as good. I’m aware of some of the sacrifices he made for my sister and me, but I’m pretty sure I don’t know the half of it. He had an incurable disease and I think he could have survived at least a little longer, but gave up, while he was in the hospital, near the time when his hospitalization insurance expired because he didn’t want to be a burden.

He died when I was 22 years old. He didn’t get to see me or my sister graduate from college, get married or have children. He liked young children a lot better than he liked most adults. He understood that children like whimsy. He would have loved grandchildren and they him. When he was a school bus driver, he’d ask little kids on the bus questions like whether they were married and what kind of job they had, just to make them laugh and relieve their nervousness over this new thing called school.

One memory I have of him is that when we were little if we said he was handsome, he’d insist he was pretty and we’d argue about it until we were laughing.

Because he passed away before I had a family, I never spoke with him about the responsibilities he assumed every day until he died. I couldn’t ask, because I didn’t understand or appreciate them. And because we never had that discussion, I can only speculate about why he did what he did, so I still don’t understand, but I sure as hell appreciate them now. I only hope that he saw himself they way I now see him: a remarkable man.

Things I Know

Donald Trump for president will at least be interesting. I’m actually surprised he declared since he has flirted with running both for the presidency and for NY governor before. Mr. Trump certainly has name recognition, although a lot of it is negative. He may be too brash and too blunt for politics and the way he goes on the attack when anyone criticizes him suggests he may have too thin a skin. For now, I think he has very little chance of getting the nomination, but he has accomplished an awful lot being him, so I’ll wait and see what develops.

All the news from Dannemora NY about two convicted murderers escaping from the Clinton Correctional Facility reminds me of a story. Back when I was a radio reporter a convicted murderer was brought from Dannemora to NY Supreme Court in Riverhead to testify in someone else’s trial. Another radio reporter, not me, I swear, walked up to said murderer, stuck a microphone in his face and sang out a question: “How are things in Dannemora?” He sang it, of course to the tune of the Irish ballad, “How are things in Glocca Mora?” from the Broadway show “Finian’s Rainbow.” I don’t think he got any kind of answer other than a scowl and you can’t show a scowl on the radio, but we all thought it was funny.

Clinton, by the way, at 170 years old, but it is only the third oldest prison still in use in New York State. Auburn and Ossining (popularly known as Sing Sing) are older. The first state prison in New York, Newgate, built in the 18th century, was north of New York city in Greenwich Village, so being sent there was called being sent up the river. Thus the origin of that phrase. Sing Sing was built to replace Newgate, which no longer exists.

From the NY Daily News’ website a while back:

“Thomas Brennan, 25, and his girlfriend face an array of charges in connection with the death of Scott Stephen Bernheisel last month. A man and his girlfriend were arrested Sunday night in connection with the alleged murder of a man whose rotting body was discovered in a leather suitcase near Philadelphia International Airport last month, according to reports.”

They are alleged murderers, but it’s not an alleged murder: The corpse had been bludgeoned and stabbed. I know the first commandment of journalism is, “Though shall always remember the allegedly.” Still, in my opinion, the Daily News overuses the word.

Rachael Dolezal: It would be great if what race we were never mattered, but we’re not really there yet, are we?

I like old cars and occasionally go to local show and shine events. On Friday, driving home from one, I was behind a ’57 Chevy. They don’t build ’em like they used to. Compared with modern cars, the taillights on a shoe-box Chevy are tiny, and dim. Plus, the high-mounted center brake light on newer cars does make a difference. ’57 Chevy convertibles are pretty valuable cars. If I owned one, after what I saw on Friday, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t drive it at night.

Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) sure doesn’t sound like he’s from New England.

Things I Know

Bob Schieffer retired last weekend. He’s 78 and said he wanted to go while he could still do the job. And since he can, he’s moving on to a fellowship at Harvard for the next three semesters. I hope I don’t have to tell you who Bob Schieffer is, but in case I do, he was a reporter, anchor and host of Face the Nation since beginning at CBS in 1969. Did you know how he came to national attention? He was a newspaper reporter in Dallas TX when President Kennedy was killed and it was Schieffer who interviewed Lee Harvey Oswald’s mother and drove her to the police station where her son was being held.

We’ve lost a lot of TV programs recently. Chelsea Handler, Craig Ferguson, Don Imus, Dave Letterman, Bob Scheiffer and soon John Stewart. Steven Colbert is gone too, but he’s coming back as Letterman’s replacement. Scheiffer may not have been the most entertaining, but he was the most informative and probably the most informed too.

They’re removing all the padlocks, some 45 tons of them, from the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris. About a decade ago, people started putting locks on the bridge’s railings to symbolize their love. Last year part of the bridge railing collapsed, causing authorities to decide to remove them and to revamp the bridge so they can’t be put back.

When I was in London last year, there were a few padlocks on the Millennium pedestrian bridge across the Thames too. I wondered why they were there, because I hadn’t heard of the Paris tradition. Now, I know.

Former NY governor George Pataki is never going to be President of the United States. He’s never going to be the Republican nominee for President either, despite declaring his candidacy last week.

Donald Trump isn’t either. In fact, Trump has flirted with entering politics as a presidential or gubernatorial candidate enough times that nobody should consider taking him seriously in that regard unless and until he actually does go through the process of officially declaring his candidacy.