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Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
captainsblog

I don't remember a lot of things. Like what, exactly, I'm going to be arguing about in court tomorrow morning (it's been postponed a half dozen times since late last year and came within a hair of settling without my involvement, but hey- that's what files are for). Or how long five minutes are after Eleanor pre-treated a stain of cat hork and asked me to clean it up in five minutes:P

But I can easily, and almost literally, remember a reference that William Safire made in an On Language column in 1990:

Ace, rooted in the Latin as, ''unit,'' ''single item'' and the ancient Roman unit of weight - originally about three-quarters of a pound - has a variety of modern meanings. In Amslan, the American sign language of the deaf, the sign for No. 1 is sometimes used as the sign for the playing card ranked higher than a king; the noun ace means a lone, brave pilot with a record of shooting down many enemy planes, and in tennis, the verb to ace is to blaze a serve past an opponent on the first shot.

As a name, the word has a less heroic quality: Sid Zelinka, the comedy writer for the Marx Brothers and other zanies, told friends that whenever he wanted to spoof a company, he would name it the Ace (Whatever) - the Ace Detective Agency fell asleep on the job, the Ace Laundry lost the pillowcases, and so on.

(I suspect the "Acme" products of Roadrunner cartoons and Roger Rabbit fame riffed on the same theme.)

Why this history lesson? Because Groot, my backup laptop, is an Acer. And today, he has essentially proven the theorem.

----

Groot replaced a laptop that had been my main work machine up until 2014.  That laptop dated to Vista days, and I replaced it before its inevitable crash so I wouldn't be totally SOL if there was one.  I kept it for programs that didn't play well with my replacement Windows 8.1 machine, or would've taken up too much space on it.  In the past year or two while my main replacement laptop was still good, its monitor failed, and my Rochester guru figured that replacement was quicker and cheaper than repair, so its data files all migrated to a used Acer he had lying around the la-BOR-a-tory.  "Groot" stuck as his name, because we'd seen Guardians either in cinema or on DVD around that time, and I even replaced the wake-from-sleep .wav file on him with the only three words that Treeboy ever says.

Groot did his thing well, if only occasionally. His power supply was (still is) wonky; about 15 percent of the time, the power seizes up out of sleep mode and he needs to be hard-rebooted, once or twice or many times; and his battery is (and this is a technical term) shit.  But he came with Windows 7, which had most of 8's (and even 10's) better features without the swipes and charms and Metro-style boxes of the failed 8 experiment.  For months starting in July of 2015, Microsoft was begging me to upgrade him from 7 to 10 for free, while simultaneously telling me I couldn't- because Groot didn't have a compatible networking driver.  Finally, though, in February or so, a 7 update of that driver hit the spot, the update took, and until about a week ago, Groot, minus his wakeup .wav file but otherwise running fine, ran fine.

Then came late March.  All of a sudden, that laptop's touchpad went dead.  We have an even older XP-era desktop with a USB wireless mouse, so I transferred it to Groot and got him back running using that, and tried all the tricks to update drivers, install updates, generally beg Microsoft to give me back my touchpad.

Nothing worked; and the external mouse workaround was annoying, because my hands are trained to work toward the center rather than the right of the laptop where it was residing. (If I'm using a desktop, I'm differentially trained enough to know the mouse is off to the side, but see the "can't remember shit" discussion above.)

That's when I surrendered to my local guru.  Lisa's been an all-time friend and one-time co-worker the whole time we've lived here.   She became my go-to when her Rochester counterpart fell down on the job and left a laptop fan so full of cat hair it was pumping kitten-hairballs into the motherboard.  She needed some advice from me; I gave her Groot in return.

Her initial diagnosis: the 10 upgrade never actually happened. She'd have to roll him back to 7. Unfortunately, by the time I even got him to her, the built-in Easy Rollback Option had expired, and we'd be looking at a total wipe of the hard drive and a clean 7 install. When I saw the list of programs I'd need to reinstall, I said fuck it, I'll buy a new mouse and glue it to the touchpad. She told me I could pick it up this afternoon.... and I did, but with the problem nailed, rather than glued down.

Turns out, there's a weird button to the left of the main power switch on dat dere Acer 5532. It's not labeled, and does not light up for on or off- there's only an icon next to it, which only makes sense if (a) you've been through this shit or (b) you have Superman's visual acuity.  It's an icon of a finger touching a touchpad.

Yes, the geniuses at the Acer Detective Agency   Laundry   Computer Company put an unlabeled button in the heart of the power-button territory that disables the touchpad. Likely it was a cat who decided to conduct this experiment. She (Lisa, not a cat) toggled it; the touchpad magically came back on.

So thank you immensely, m'dear, and for you folks at Acer, I only have two words:

Meep Meep.

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captainsblog
Before we get to what that means, just a few quick notes from my LJ-cation of the past few days.

I needed to get out of the routine on this, which had largely turned into me posting only right before bed, when I was tireder and grumpier than usual and feeling, damn, gotta post SOMETHING.

No I don't. So:

* Kids were home Friday night into Saturday. Not in-the-house home much, but they did things they wanted to do and I will see at least Emily in a day or so, because,....

* Smaug, their new car, has been making brakey-wakey noises that have them a bit nervous. They turned down my offer of switching so they could drive home in my even deadlier deathtrap, but we did figure out that they are probably covered for it through a service contract they bought. So she'll be taking it to Rochester ass-early Thursday, and if it's not covered, I'll meet her at the dealer there to take care of it.  And their car is free for that on Thursday because,....

* Cameron is starting a new job next Monday. Better pay right off, and foreman training which will be even better financially once completed.  Company's been in business for 30-plus years, and it looks like a better opportunity for him.

* Both of our cars spent much of the weekend out of the garage. Saturday was cleanup day- we dumped a ton of stuff (including a treasure trove of scrap metal that didn't last at the curb until garbage day), sold off a portable dishwasher they'd stowed with us, and rearranged and cleaned what remained.  Sunday, we mostly recuperated and watched Inside Out which they left behind for us.

* Eleanor is also dealing with car dealers this week- but for better reasons.  Iggy's lease is up in June, and after going over her other options (turn in, buy out, sell to someone else), they offered her a deal on a  new 2017 electric Smart car lease. I suggested "Twiggy" for the name, but Eleanor ultimately decided on "Ziggy," in honour of David Bowie.  The payment will actually be less than we're paying now, since the mileage cap will be lower (she's barely reached a quarter of it, and unlike excess miles which they charge for, there's no adjustment for unused ones).

* I got through the 11.22.63 finale the day it dropped on Monday, and picked up the longer and more complicated source novel 11/22/63 earlier today. Both will be reviewed in due course.

* Today was my fullest, richest day of the week- court in the morning, and the seminar that explains the title (I'll get to it) all afternoon up at UB.  Both went very well.  Moar coart follows, both tomorrow and Thursday mornings, with plenty else to catch up on in between, but then,....

* The Mets lost their road opener Sunday night, but rebounded against their 2015 Series opponents in KC this afternoon.  Now they're off until the home opener Friday, which I am ticketed and "go" for, and where the weather has been upgraded to merely cloudy and 50s F.  I can live with that.

----

Right. About the continuing ed I attended today:

New York State has a dysfunctional and corrupt government, and its state constitution, cobbled together since 1894 in numerous rounds of revisions, is something of a mess, as well. But it contains one interesting component- at least every 20 years, voters must be offered, by referendum, the chance to hold a convention to amend or replace it.  It's come up twice before in my voting life, defeated both times by combinations of voter indifference and lobbyists protecting sacred cows, but the next time is November 2017.  I'll discuss the actual issues, procedures and such as that date gets closer, but this seminar, which I only found out about yesterday, was part of a statewide effort to start getting out the word on it.

The word needs to get more out.  Despite UB Law School offering free Continuing Ed hours for the session, I was the only attorney who at least admitted to the status by signing up for the credits.  The panel and associated mucky-mucks roughly equaled the number of "civilians" in attendance.  Yet it was a good start to an effort that's got over 18 months to develop, and would likely be drowned out by the Trum-pets and Hill-Bill-ies (yes, they're in town this week, too) that will be dominating the political news until November.

Already, some special interests have come out against "opening the Pandora's box" that is the status quo- even though their opposition is limited to fairly narrow provisions in the current document that could be dealt with before or at the same time as the convention if the current entrenched incumbents would allow it.  Yes, that is a pig flying that you see (and smell) there.

It's an effort I will continue to follow, and if it advances to the Actually Holding The Thing stage (which wouldn't actually occur until the spring of 2019), I think I have a decent chance of being a participant in the process.  Be afraid, Albany.

On a side note, this was my first time in the Law School proper in probably over a decade. Parking up there is as deadly as ever despite much more on-campus student housing being nearby, and I wound up risking (but avoiding) a parking ticket as I chanced it for the last "permit only" hour of the day.  The Conference Center is actually carved out from where I used to work in the law library over 30 years ago; it had been the Government Documents depository back when the documents were actually received and catalogued in paper form.  My legacy, still standing into the late 90s, of stored reports with SuDocs classification numbers in my shaky 80s handwriting- all gone.

But they're not completely rid of me:



There's the Class of '84, in the same third floor hallway we were last I checked.  And toward the bottom right:



Yup, me in my celebrated Paul McCartney period.  And above me, as he will now forever be until I head to the Other Place, is my old pal Dave, of whose passing I only recently learned.

To the left of that portrait, mostly black-and-white, almost all male and white, collages of the older graduates. To the right and up the stairs, the younguns, much more diverse and all now bearing the newer branding of "SUNY Buffalo Law School." I like to think that by being in between, I got the best of both:)
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captainsblog
True to form, the final day of March wasn't too baaaaa-d.  Other than nearly all-day rain, and winds that half-blew my explosive car off the 90 on the way home, it was hovering around 60F all day and is still 63 outside at this very moment.

But after this month Marches out in a few hours, April shivers bring many quivers.  By Sunday, we'll be lucky to break freezing for three days- midweek, we get a two day reprieve, but then Friday here promises a high of 32F and rain.  In the more relevant forecast for Flushing on Mets Opener Day, they're predicting warmer temps, but also steady rain that whole day and right into Saturday.

But never mind that- for my first time ever, I have a ticket into Game One:



If it's rained out, it's good for any of the ensuing 81 games that have tickets available, so I'll just be watching the weather between now and this time next week.

----

Never made it to the Dino today- in fact, never left the office in Rochester at all between 9 and almost 3.  My friend's husband, and one of her kids, came down very sick starting yesterday, so she had to put off her near-daily visit to her mom.  We have "rain check" arrangements on that one, too.

----

Meanwhile, our kids are due here tomorrow. Cameron's dad and fam just acquired a pair of miniature dachsie puppies, and they've been wanting to see them while they're still really miniature and adorable. 

----

I've been reading much of the bad press for the Bat v. Supe extravaganza.  One clue to its horrific-ness came in a piece I read earlier today: DC's blockbusters have had a tacit "no jokes" policy ever since Green Lantern tanked.  Since then, the Avengers and Guardians franchises down Marvel Street, among others of theirs, have cleaned up by lightening up, and apparently the WB is finally taking notice and redoing the upcoming Suicide Squad to finally make something funnier.

Anyway: I eventually will see the Ben-and-Hen tire fire that's now out and making gagillions despite the Holy Suckage!- but I thought it would help to see the predecessor Zach Snyder DVD of Man of Steel which largely sets it up.  Apparently I was the only person in Erie County to have this thought, since my nearest library branch had it for the renting, as did just about every other one in the system.  Or maybe it's because of the weird cataloguing; they've got it, not under Snyder, Zach; nor Cavill, Henry; nor Siegel/Shuster; but under Zimmer, Hans.

From the sound of the reviews, the current one might have worked even better with just a lush Zimmer soundtrack and no dialogue whatsoever.
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captainsblog
I'm early in my third year of owning my first-ever import. It's close to 40 years since I first took a wheel, over 35 since I first bought one on my own, and until Kermit (he's a hybrid, and thus it's easy for him to be green), they'd all been domestics.  Mostly Fords, a few GMs and an ill-fated Dodge.  This one's been reliable, good on gas, and other than its maintenance schedule and nags being, well, naggy, I've been pleased.  The only recall I ever got on him was in my first year, his fourth- a computer module needed replacing and was done quickly and at no cost.

Then came yesterday's mail.

Honda has decided that a defect which relates to motor safety exists in certain  2010-2014 model year Insight vehicles.

ORLY? Do tell.

The defect in these vehicles could kill or injure you or other people in your vehicle.

Thanks for the bold.  What's the deal?

....the driver's front airbag inflator could produce excessive internal rupture upon deployment. If an affected airbag deploys the increased internal pressure may cause the inflator to rupture (break apart)....

Thanks. I speak English. (The Spanish on the back is just as patronizing about se rompa.)

...fragmentos metálicos podrian pasar  a través del material cojín de la bolsa de aire, causando posiblemente lesiones o la muerte a los ocupantes del vehículo.

Oops. Forgot to turn the page back over. But you get the basics. Like lesiones, or la muerte.  As in mi muerte. 

Joder.

Past ruptures like this have killed and injured vehicle drivers.

Yeah. I see that. You sent out the identical recall on some other models in 2011. Nice of you getting around to us now two years after I bought the fucking car.

The remedy parts to conduct driver's airbag inflator recalls will  become available in the Summer of 2016. Honda will send you another letter when parts become available to repair your vehicle.

And until then?

Until parts become available for repairs, please feel free discuss your specific needs and concerns with your dealer, including the provision of, or reimbursement for, temporary alternative transportation, as necessary.

I suspect use of the word "free" in that sentence was some kind of irony.  But yeah, once I figure out who, exactly my dealer is- the nearest one where I've had one repair done, or the one in Rochester who originally sold it named, no lie, Dick Ide Honda- I'm sure they're down on letting me have a free loaner for three or four months with the driving I do.

In the meantime, I'm reminded of advice once rendered by one of my dearest friends after a particularly bad string of late 90s car accidents:

Maybe you should just take the bus.

However you say that in Spanish:P
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captainsblog
Words are a funny way of talking.

I go to Rochester just about every week- sometimes twice, rarely more.  It gets to be more of a drag as the ol' bod isn't what it used to be and the resulting sleep is even less of its former self.  But it's no more than a chore- occasionally a joy, and when I'm a little lucky somewhere in between.

What I've learned, from having family both east and south of that city, is that to those on even the far outskirts, "going to Rochester" means something far worse than an inconvenience.  If you're in Lyons or Palmyra, Binghamton or Elmira, it's where you go if you've got really bad things going on- usually, but not exclusively, cancer.

I've sat in some outlying churches on a few Sunday mornings- usually visiting former ministers I keep/kept in touch with.  During their prayer concerns, more than once I would hear the solemn tones about Edith, or Bill, or some other long-time member "going to Rochester"- and everybody would lower their heads.

Almost always, it means Strong- the U of R's teaching hospital and home of that region's largest cancer center. 

("Going to Rochester" lacks that meaning to the west where we are, because we have Roswell Park- an even more famous place for the treatment and battling of cancer. Although sadly, during Betty's recent spins through hospitalization (fortunately noncarcinogenic so far), we heard from more than one person that Roswell frequently regards its elderly patients as guinea pigs for experimental treatments, and delays or declines the more tested and/or aggressive protocols reserved for the younger and healthier.)

I bring this up today because a friend from Buffalo is spending a lot of her time these days at Strong. Not for herself, but for her mom, who is from Elmira, which is smack-dab in the Southern Tier's "going to Rochester" zone.  Mom has a particularly debilitating cardiac condition- it's not cancer, but just as deadly, and just as painful and strung-out.  My friend and her sister have been splitting the near-daily visits from their respective ends of 90 and 390: the Elmira-based daughter comes up on and around the weekends, while her younger sister makes the near-daily trek from Buffalo during the week when their kids are in school.

It's a drag on everything- from the tires to the spirits.  My friend and her husband are among the funniest, kindest, smartest people I know, with two adorable young kids who they must be trying to spare from the stress of it all.

Day after tomorrow, I will be meeting my friend for lunch at Rochester's downtown Dino.  It's a small gesture of support and distraction, but one I just knew needed to be offered.  As with both my mother and mother-in-law, it's the daughters who do this work in so much of our culture- and it's as necessary, and as taxing, as any other kind of "work" one can perform.

Prayers are welcome for her mother, and for her- as "going to Rochester" continues to mean something far harder than a Red Wings game or a Springsteen concert.
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captainsblog
Until 11.22.63 reaches its appointed conclusion.

Episode 7 ended, well, let's do the Spoiler Thing now...

Read more...Collapse )

There were other fiddybits I'm sure I'm missing.  I may do Midnight Madness next Monday and binge the finale right as soon as the clock strikes 12.00.00.  Of course, without a network schedule to adhere to, they can make the finale as long as they want to, and there's no need to tell us ahead of time just what that length will be. Or how many gorram commercials with Joe Montana I'm going to have to endure.

For your convenience, and in the spirit of the opening credits*, I've mapped out the various endgames we're hurtling toward. This is cut mostly for size rather than spoilerage, because all I'm doing is asking questions. Your guesses are as good as mine; likely, they're better, given my recent record:

There"s got to be a drinking game in this....Collapse )

How's this for fate, btw? I number my embedded image files through Semagic with "file#" references. On Tobor, I started running out of two-digit numbers so with Twobor, I've been going backward and using three-digit numbers beginning with "file999." That cheat sheet wound up as "file963."

----

* Speaking of the opening credits, did YOU ever notice that they've been changing week to week, ever so slightly? Well, these guys did- and they're brilliant.  (This is not the review site I've been following- that's the always helpful AVClub one, but they're the ones who mentioned the credit analysis.)
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captainsblog

So many to choose from....

For us, Easter wasn't one of them.  At virtually the very moment of our church's consecration of the Eucharistic Elements on the highest of holy days on the Christian calendar, I was hosing down bird poop from our bathroom window.

The stories weren't all that different. Life ends, and then begins again. Sometimes with rather gross things in the middle.

Nature itself contributed its own version of the story, beyond both the Savior and the Shitter.  I put the screens in the front and back doors today- a dangerous step in Buffalo most years, but Easter was warm, sunny and springlike this year and we'll take our chances.

----

Our evening music was from a DVD we've had for years and never before watched- of a Dar Williams concert performance.  "Christians and the Pagans" was specific to Christmas/Solstice, but it works just as well for Easter/Equinox:

"But we love trees, we love the snow
The friends we have, the world we share
And you find magic from your God
And we find magic everywhere"

So the Christians and the pagans
Sat together at the table
Finding faith and common ground
The best that they were able

And where does magic come from?
I think magic's in the learning
'Cause now when Christians sit with pagans
Only pumpkin pies are burning


Or Peeps, if you're into that sort of thing;)

----

The final ritual for me, at least, is the return of baseball.  Games will begin next weekend, the Mets soon after that on the road- ironically against their World Series opponents of 2015- but it's the Home Opener that counts for us far more.  Friends return, the gates welcome us back after a shorter-than-usual winter off, and this year, a pennant is raised and last year's participants celebrated.

For the first time ever, in this my 50th season of following this team, I will be there.

There'd been some talk late last post-season about getting together a group to be assured of tickets to this hotter-than-usual event. Something inspired me to inquire of one of the people in that discussion, and as a result I secured the last of the available April 8 tickets among the usual blogger friends.  I will leave from my sister's that Friday morning (she doesn't know this until she reads this), join in on the Famous Chapman Tailgate, then raise my glass and spirits to the 2016 version of this impossible team.

After that, as with Easter, it's just a matter of awaiting the Ascension;)

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captainsblog
"He descended into hell."

I worked on taxes.

So it goes in the early days of spring in these parts.

The Saturday between Good Friday and Easter is not much of a liturgical Thing.  I've seen the occasional church sign for Easter Vigils, today or tonight; I have not seen, anywhere near here, use of the tradition among some Chicano Catholics who mark the day with Blessings of the Animals.  (Our kids observed this today in their own way; a stray, unfixed male kitty followed Cameron home on Thursday, and they took him to the local SPCA today.)

Neither of us will be in attendance for the Big Spectacular tomorrow.  Closest we're coming to the traditional Easter ham is that we're having hot dogs, and even that's pushing it, since Wegmans isn't carrying Zweigles white-hot "porkers" anymore.

----

It's rare for Easter (at least the Western version of it) to fall later than April 15th- it's only happened once or twice since 2001, and between now and 2036 when Wikpiedia stops counting, it will only fall beyond Tax Day (extended when the 15th falls on a weekend) a total of five times.  So I've come to associate the two phenomena in at least a vague sense.

I am the keeper, now, of four different sets of tax returns. Emily and Cameron's were each done early and easily; my sister sent me her stuff earlier this week, and hers went off into the ether this afternoon.  There were some oddities in her paperwork- she'd refinanced her mortgage and moved her investment accounts in the past couple of years, and I thought I was missing one small figure (I wasn't) and couldn't make sense of a slightly larger one.  In the end, though, even the worst-case computation on the latter issue merely reduced her refund by a grand total of seven bucks, so I sent it off with that bad assumption in evidence.

She, and the kids, all got refunds. Us, not so much- so we'll be hanging in until the 15th to file, and then pay off the butt-ton that we self-employed types get to encounter every year.

And when that's done, my bank account, like the tomb, will pretty much be empty:P
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captainsblog
Good Friday has always been a de facto holiday in Buffalo, despite there being few actual religious observances of it- our church, for one, doesn't have one. This year, though, its curtain-rending effect reached back to Rochester, and that office was closed, along with my one here.

Overall, this was Good- good for work.

I got to sleep in all the way to 8:44 a.m.- and, once at work, got  my time entries caught up, and emails answered, and followups from yesterday's out-of-town marathon followed-up on.  My only appointment of the day was with the opponent of a client, and even he seemed like a nice guy.

Between last night's drive home and my time in the office this morning, I finished my annual ritual re-listening to the original album soundtrack of Jesus Christ Superstar. I also did my annual Google check-in on the three performers who created that album's most famed songs: Ian Gillan (Jesus, concurrently of Deep Purple); Murray Head (Judas, later of "One Night in Bangkok"); and Yvonne Elliman (Mary Magdalene, unfortunately of Saturday Night Fever). All are still going and even performing, lo these 45 years later, which, given 2016's unfortunate obituary histuory, is a good thing.

The peas-and-carrots conversational question for both of us over the past few days has been, "So, what are you doing for Easter?" Our answers, to different extents, have essentially been, "Not much- you?"  Eleanor brought home a rack of chicken wings for the evening of Holy Saturday, and hot dogs for Sunday proper.  I have neither the desire nor the belief system to want to spend an hour of my Sunday morning in a suddenly-filled sanctuary crawling with hypocrites.

And of course I devoted a few moments of my day to the most inspiring song for the occasion:



Blessed be the cheesemakers:)
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captainsblog
Court this morning- my sixth appearance in four days, not counting appointments with clients or filings/researches of thingses. I then had a late-afternoon appointment today on my way home with a friend I met here longago.  But just before leaving for the latter, I got a much needed chuckle, right before the traditional Buffalo/Polonia post-Easter festival known as Dyngus Day.

You haven't heard of it? I had- ages ago, when I listened long-distance to a Buffalo radio station while in high school. The girls chase the guys and whip them with pussy willows, and the guys chase the girls and shoot them with water pistols.

Police also suspect alcohol is involved.

Anyway- that's not until Monday.  But  this afternoon, from the largely Polish-American population of our southtowns, came a preview.

----

I filed a bankruptcy for a guy.  One of his creditors is a longago landlord. D**-U** Plaza Associates, named for the intersection of the southtowns streets where it is located.  I sent out papers in the case last week- not directly affecting this former landlord's claim, but potentially exposing them to Bad Things if other creditors asserted older or bigger claims than expected.

Making my day, though, was that their lawyer referred to his client throughout the submission by its acronymic name: DUPA.

Eleanor instantly got the reference. Emily, it took some reminding.  Dupa, in the native Polish, refers to what Hawkeye Pierce once described as "the tuchus! The back of my front! The permanent vertical smile!" In modern Buffalonian usage, it can refer to either the body part itself or, synecdoche-like, to the entire person attached to said part.

And landlord's lawyer referred to his client by this term of endearment at least six times in two pages.

It has no effect on the substance of our hearing a week from Wednesday; but once I saw that, I knew I had to leave the office and meet Annette for some advice and a beer- because there was no way my workday could possibly get any better than that.
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captainsblog
Not much to report about my own; knee's better but not all-better, and I'll be making my way to Dr. Butts fairly soon for my quintennial checkup of the plumbing.  Rather, these tales are about the good and not-so-good health news elsewhere in town.

Betty is out of the horsepital.  Her niece brought her home soon after we both got out of work tonight. I saw her in Shelly's passenger seat and asked how she was. She answered, "Miserable." I replied, "But at least you'll be miserable in your own home now."

We visited for a bit.  She had a lot of damage to her G-I tract that now requires a lot of re-learning on her part- some changes will be permanent, others should get better with time. Hardest for her is just getting out of bed; once she starts moving around, she feels better.

The other striking thing was just how much the docs and nurses tried doping her up during her seven-day stay.  Right after the surgery, she was on a morphine drip; she made them stop it. They gave her heavy-duty painkiller pills; she refused them.  The old broad will do just fine with over-the-counters, thank you.  As we left, I said to Eleanor, "And they wonder why we have an opioid epidemic in this country." The medical profession seems just too inclined to pharm its way out of any problem, without sufficient attention to the long-term effects of it.  Like Betty, both of us- on the rare occasions we've been prescribed "the good drugs"- have left the bottles largely, if not totally, untouched.  The risks of addiction are just too great.  We're blessed with a neighbor who knows that and lives that, even though the pain she's still in is likely more than I will ever endure.

----

After that experience, it was nice to read about a brighter local story about health care.  I mentioned here in late December that I attended the funeral of a longago client; I'd finished off a Chapter 11 for his company in my second full year of practice, stayed connected to him and the company through our move back here, but eventually there came a point where they just didn't need my services for anything, and in my specialty that's a good thing.  I'd heard that Bill had left the business and, eventually, his mind left the building- so his final peaceful passing came with good memories and reacquaintance with all three of his kids- the one son fairly famous, but one daughter now running the company.

And, I learned today, running it quite well: after buying the longstanding company in the same location for the entire 20th century, Bill was the one who changed its focus. While it had a good reputation as a manufacturer of hospital beds, he led two charges: to specialize in pediatric applications, particularly for neonatal units; and to take far more of the business to overseas markets.  As their now head international salesman explained, Bill

"bought the company and the same family has been directing the business model ever since, and that’s when a specific and directed pursuit of the international market came into focus. We started with the Canadian market, and Mexico, and then we made a jump to the Saudi Arabian market. The Middle East is our largest international market. They appreciate high-quality, well-made US products, and they can afford our equipment.”

While any business can and possibly should develop an international sales component, there are specific challenges. Getting paid ranks high on Currier’s list. “You’ve got to make sure you know who you’re selling to,” he says. “And if you’re going to give them terms, make sure that you’re really comfortable that they’re going to pay you within those terms.” And then there are always the global issues to consider. “Right now the dollar is strong against many currencies, making it more expensive to purchase a US-manufactured product. Also, in some of the markets we sell to, oil is a large component of their natural resources. The combination of low oil prices and a strong dollar make for special challenges. But we feel the quality and durability of our product helps us weather these temporary cycles.”

There were times in the late 1980s when a perfect storm of bad circumstances could've ended that legacy.  I'm prouder than ever to have helped keep it alive then so that, long after Ray left the building, it is even more prosperous now.

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Once again, a bunch of suicidal Daesh terrorists blew up 30 people, thousands of miles away from our shores, and the Republicans lost their shit.

Cruz blamed Trump. Trump threatened to nuke Daesh back to the stone age. Everybody on the right blamed Obama, who unfortunately picked this week to make a personal appearance aimed at normalizing relations with Cuba- something his twelve predecessors hadn't had the cojones to do.

Remember when moments like this united the United States? I don't recall anybody criticizing Dubya for being in an elementary classroom, continuing to read My Pet Goat, even after word of the hundred-times-more-carnage of 9/11 began occurring on our own soil.  We put politics aside for days, weeks, months.  Now, within minutes of any terror strike anywhere, everything is unfair game. Somebody, somehow, is going to blame this on Hillary's insecure email server. Or something.

And then there's the only real obstacle to Mrs. Clinton becoming the consensus candidate for people with brains: Bernie is falling behinder and behinder, but blames it on a vast moderate conspiracy to keep him from getting media coverage. His supporters are also emphasizing that, yes, he's losing, but not by as much as he was expected to be losing by, so the party should keep wasting resources fighting him and not Teapublicans for as long as possible.

Sorry, dude; my tin foil hat's out at the cleaners, and this isn't second grade soccer. You don't get a trophy for coming close to winning.

The saddest part is how he's sucking the youngest voters in.  There's a meme going around which depicts it:



Never mind that this puts Bernie in the Joan Collins role in that episode, where both Kirk and Spock finally admit, begrudgingly, that Edith Keeler must be stopped for the needs of the many.  There's a closer ST:TOS parallel to the Bern's lure of the young- who are being told to live their dreams, trust their feelings, and demonize their elders:



That's famed defense lawyer Melvin Belli playing the Friendly Angel, but his modern-day clone's motives are likewise questionable.

- Why did this Gorgon support a law that insulates gun manufacturers from lawsuits from the parents of Sandy Hook?

- Why did he oppose a comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2007, before Obama's election made the right lose its shit-  bill which, if passed with bipartisan support (remember that?) might have ended all this talk of walls and total immigration bans?

- Why does he complain about a lack of media coverage, while refusing to appear at the traditional March AIPAC convention that every other Presidential candidate on both sides attended and got press coverage for?

(I think I can answer the latter one. He prefers his friendly-angelic rallies to places where hard questions might get asked. He may also have been trying to assuage the more anti-Semitic of the Bernie Bros, who have a problem with his Jewishness when it gets in the way of their Hamas Revolutionary Struggle.)

If he comes from behind, I will support him 100 percent. I hope his current supporters will be similarly inclined if their votes are needed to stop this toxic train wreck barreling down on the right-hand platform.
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(I've never really understood that riff on the WWII "keep calm" trope, which I often see on car bumpers and windows-


-but I recognise it enough to use it here.  If anyone can explain, I'd be most grateful.)

An old friend from these parts is planning a long-distance move, and mentioned the need to weed out lots of paperwork, including a ton of old college papers.  On that count, at least, I thought I was pretty clear- I've saved my undergraduate thesis and a small number of mostly literature-ish textbooks, but that's it

Only it isn't.  Because something reminded me that Cornell's library has been digitizing the entire 135-year history of the independent Daily Sun's print editions, including not only images of the original pages but a searchable database of all those words.... including searches by the author's by-line.

My undergraduate clutter just got a lot bigger.

I count 20 or so entries responsive to by first-and-last name search. (More turn up if you use just the last name- 1940s references to my fairly famous but distant relative who was an American General in the Pacific Theater, and some others to a Seemingly Scandalous State Senator Stephen S. (try that three times fast) from 1913.)  And most of those are, how should I put this?, borrrrr-innnnng.  I was on the trustee beat in my senior year, and there was much ado about how Cornell cast its proxy votes on stock holdings with companies doing business with the then-racist white regime in South Africa.  In my final fall, I covered local elections; we ran a black editorial page the morning after Reagan's election, and I was tasked with calling a couple of law professors late on Election Night to comment on whether Jimmy Carter would try replacing the older liberal Justices on the Supreme Court before his term ran out. (He never did; their only comments were obscenities about me calling so late.)

About the only one with any redeeming social value was my final writing for The Sun- at least that I can remember. (Some alums got to put their rarified post-graduate cents into the pot; I don't think I ever did.)  This was from our Senior Issue, done gradually in the weeks before graduation and filled with final farewell opportunities for those of us moving on.  The senior editors all got to write columns.  And mine, which I still have clipped someplace, is now in Internet Ink for all time.

You can see what it looked like in print here, including the graphic that our composing room muse (and later Ithaca City Councilman) John Schroeder picked for it-



- but the digitized text follows below.  I've corrected any misteeks in it that I saw (Why may this text contain mistakes?), preserved the one best line in the thing, and otherwise present it as evidence of where my mind was not quite 35 years ago:

Read more...Collapse )

One thing I remember about the piece was hearing, months later, that my father had actually read it and clipped a copy of it. He seemed confused about the tagline, thinking I was literally planning a mid-education-crisis backpack trip. (Not with a buttload of school loans and three more years of incurring them ahead of me, Dad.) But it was one of the few specific things about all the effort I ever made in school that he paid the least bit of attention to. I try to do better, not only noticing Emily's accomplishments but making sure she knows I notice them. After all, it seems, in my better judgment, the thing to do.
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Once again, a Saturday night show kept me from posting. This one was a lit-tle more intimate than seeing Springsteen, and unlike three Saturdays ago, this time it was the two of us- and we'd both seen her before.

Five winters ago, Antje Duvekot (pronounced Aunt-yuh Doo-va-Kott- she helpfully phoneticizes it on her website) opened, at this same small venue in our neighboring village, for Lucy Kaplansky. We'd been fans of Lucy for years, but it was our first time meeting both of them in person. The night was special in an odd way, because Lucy had sprained her chord-playing wrist right before the show, so Antje came back out after her own opening set and did all of the guitar parts for the rest of the evening (mixed with a few guitar songs done a cappella or on piano).  I've seen Lucy a few times since then in further away venues, but this was Antje's first time back on our radar, and we're thrilled we got to go.

Her opener was a banjo-playing folk artist named Tyler Westcott. From his opening song, we know that he moved here from somewhere along the "mighty Genesee" to find a woman's love- only to find that his Buffalove lasted longer.  He now plays in a number of bands, but he gave us about half an hour of mostly original material. Here he is on the stage:



This venue seems to attract temporary bad things, because the power went out right before the sets began. Fortunately, it didn't stay out long.  After Tyler's set, Antje came out for about an hour before intermission.  We left at the break; long days and sore knees/shoulders make desanctified church pews a bit much for a three-hour night.  As for her remaining songs and stories, I'll open the letter I sent her on the website form- minus the footnotes, which will explain a couple of the references.

Antje:

We really enjoyed seeing you last night. (Yes, we're the ones you saw leaving at the break. No refection on the performance at all; you may find it hard to find a "Forever 40" store 1, but around here there are plenty of "Forever Almost 60s." They go by names like Walgreens and Buffalo Orthopaedics, and they can't completely fix things so we can sit in a church pew for almost three hours.)

We were also there your last time, opening for Lucy.  You said at one point last night that you're no Springsteen,2 and that may be true- his show three weekends ago was the last one I saw- but then I don't think he ever stood in for Clarence or Jake Clemons on the sax on short notice.)  Your show with Lucy was one of the best shows we've ever seen, and I count the Boss among that.

A couple of things we'd have mentioned if we could have stayed after:

- Your story before "Long Way" about your devout East German road companion3 reminded me of a film from a few years back- called "Goodbye, Lenin" (at least in the subtitles), it tells of a true believer DDR woman who awakens from a coma after the fall of the Wall, and her kids try mightily to protect her from finding out, with videotapes of old news broadcasts and hard-to-find East German foodstuffs.

- You told the "Merry Go Round" story at both shows4, and while it may not be your favorite, it's awfully infectious- enough that it got into my head the day before the show. But then it started mixing and mashing with another song- Mary Chapin Carpenter's "Twist and Shout."  I can now NOT hear the two of them together.

- Finally (and I could never have kept you this long at the merch table): we brought extra for any CDs you had on offer, but I only saw "Near Demise," which you kindly signed for us last time. So we wanted instead to donate to the program you mentioned in the prelude to "Mexico."5 Can you post, or reply, or something with those details? It sounds like an amazing cause.



1She mentioned, with a little embarrassment, that she'd picked out her outfit for the evening from a "Forever 21" store, because it's hard to find any marketing the "Forever 40" brand. The outfit, btw:



2 This reference came from her introducing an unrecorded but very cool song of hers called "Opium." A male fan heard it, and not only asked to use it as his first-dance song as his wedding reception, but he asked Antje to come to the reception and sing it. The bride was so faked out by her sudden appearance, nobody but the groom recognizing her- until she started to sing it. That settled things quickly.

3This song tells of a Kerouacian road trip she took in her post-60s hippie phase, with a genuinely devout East German communist- who, like most formerly devout East Germans, has now gone on to become an even more devout capitalist. The film referenced there plays on these convolutions, as well.

4 She wrote this song, and largely stopped performing it- until an ad agency in her now hometown of Boston called- someone there had heard the song and asked if they could use a snippet of it in a national ad campaign for Bank of America. She sang the song, and told the tale, the first time we saw her, around its use during that year's Super Bowl. She's still not especially fond of it, but it paid for her car, and probably her ability to tour to small venues like this one.

5Antje participated in a nonsectarian mission trip to a Mayan village, building homes for the native women out of earth and concrete. If she answers the wherefore question I asked, I will signal-boost it here.

----

We then wound down for a few minutes at home with the final moments of The Martian- a film Eleanor hadn't much interest in from the trailers, but which proved in the viewing to be more humorous, and with more about gardening and fixing things, than she'd expected. It has its Science Flaws, but it's a tale well told.
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Today's been better. Mostly.

We did get some unfortunate news first thing this morning- about someone rarely if ever mentioned in these pages.  We're concerned, but it's on the "things I can't change" side of the Serenity Prayer Ledger, so it's easier to take.

Betty's surgery reportedly went well yesterday, and the healing can now begin.

A first-thing client canceled on me this morning, and I'm now waiting for a late-day client to show up, who may or may not- hence, the posting.

Monday brings a meeting with a new client- a referral from someone who owes me one for the last referral he sent to me.

Today's mail brought news virtually assuring another client will be paid in full on a claim- perhaps as soon as early next week.

I also worked on removing three small but annoying work thorns from my side- one with some unexpected help from Emily.

Another client briefly scared me into thinking I'd screwed up a document I just got back in recorded form. An email came titled "Wrong Address?"- leading me to believe we'd messed up a specific property reference which would need to be amended, recertified and rerecorded- likely on my dime. But no- she merely noticed that they typed the address wrong on the receipt for the certified copy.  That's what we call "harmless error."

Overall, the knee's been better today- I slept better last night and awoke with less pain; it's still there, but less annoyingly.  Tomorrow morning brings a workout that will test that.

We're planning to see an awesome folk artist in a small setting tomorrow night. Which will be on the weekend that's finally here:)
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I'm descended from the English. They subjugated the entire Emerald Isle for something like 700 years, and (many believe) they continue to do so as to its northern portion.  So it's not bloody likely that I'm entitled to glom on to any of that there pot'o'gold of good luck just because I stuck on a green tie for the day.

In short, the day has sucked.  Not to the death, but to the pain and I'll tell you why.  My right knee went bad on me not quite two weeks ago during a workout- the pain's pretty consistent with how it was a couple of years ago, when I finally found an anti-inflammatory that seemed to beat it back.  Even upping the dose of it to the prescribed daily maximum isn't helping.  It's never excruciating, but it's at its worst when that knee is pushing down on the attached foot on the gas pedal of my car- and today was a drive-to-Rochester day.  I've tried icing it, adding additional Advil in between, and assorted sleeping positions. No luck anywhere yet.  I did sleep better last night- but only by evicting the cat who seems determined to nest in the most painful spot she can find.

That's just the physical pain.  Every piece of paperwork I've touched has had something wrong with it; every call I've made or received has been somewhere between unfulfilling and downright annoying; and various clients are delaying decisions that are just backing my overall schedule into next St. Patrick's Day.

Any luck I would be entitled to, I'd pass on anyway; today's our neighbor's surgery, and while we haven't heard anything about it yet, it's no doubt a stressful and painful experience for her that's only just beginning.

Pi Day earlier this week was much, MUCH better.  Hopefully one more turn of the earth's circumference will turn out better, too.
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captainsblog

That might be my reachiest post title ever. But stay with me here.

The President did his job today: he nominated a moderate jurist- older, as these "political" appointments go (i.e., he's older than me, but not by much); chief judge of one of the most respected appellate courts in the country below the Supremes; and one who Republican obstructionists in the Senate both confirmed to the federal bench in the past and praised in the even more recent past.

Senate leader Mitch McChinless has already slammed the chamber door on the effort.  Hell, Obama could've nominated Ted Cruz, or Robert Bork, or dug Scalia out of the still-fresh sod and done Weekend at Nino's until someone complained about the stench. They still would worry something was "up" and refuse hearings.

Because these nominations are always a crapshoot anyway. Take the most hated-by-the-right decisions of the past 60 years: Brown v. Board of Ed.  Roe v. Wade. The Obamacare and same-sex marriage decisions of the past several years. Every one of them was written by a Justice appointed by a Republican president.  So the only sure thing they've got going is the chance to deny Obama a final-year victory to add to his legacy....

or so they think.

Oh, they're trying.  The spinmeisters have already started calling their stall tactic the "Biden Rule," inspired by an unfortunate statement the then-Senator made in late 1992 about it not being appropriate for Bush Daddy to get to pack a third of his nominees onto the Court  after already getting two picks in less than four years (including the odious Clarence Thomas).  And this is different, how? Let's count:

1) Obama's also made two prior picks- in just over seven years;

B) Biden's remark was much later in the last year of H-Dubya's term; and most important;

iii) It never fucking happened.  There were no vacancies to fill in the year 1992. Thus, the Senator never had to weigh his apparent opinion against his actual oath.  Thus, there is no "Biden Rule." (As opposed to what they should call it, which is the "Thurmond Rule"- because Ol' Segregatin' Strom DID filibuster one of Johnson's nominees- of a sitting Associate Justice to the Chief job- in 1968, LBJ's final year in office- and kept him from getting the job.)

But that's trivia. Let's go back to that "oath" thing.  In Abe Fortas's honor as being the last actual victim of the Thurmond Rule, I turn to an American Jewish newspaper:

Dozens of Republican senators, many professing religious piety, have stated that they will not discharge their duty set forth in the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which reads, in part, “The president shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint… Judges of the Supreme Court.”

Have they considered the religious consequences of their inaction?

When United States senators take office, they say this oath: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

It goes on to talk about the religious significance of oath-ing, from at least an OT perspective, and ends with the premise that the Senate should do the right thing:

The oath is meant to evoke the profound moral convictions — religious or secular — of the person who swears it. The oath stands as a reminder to representatives and constituents alike that there are duties to fulfill, even if we’d rather not fulfill them, and that those duties are to be considered sacred.

It’s meant, in other words, precisely for situations like this one.

Yet if they won't? And trust me- they won't, unless dragged kicking and screaming.  Fortunately, there's a writ for that.

----

The good thing about being a lawyer is you get experience in some of this stuff.  And our nation's various governments, from Congress all the way down to the Village of Mayberry Sewer Department, have more than occasional instances of officials either overreaching or refusing to do their job.  When Kentucky clerk Kim Davis took it upon herself to defy Supreme Court precedent because, Jeebus?  It was a writ of mandamus that ordered her to issue marriage licenses and led quickly to her brief martyrdom contempt jailing.  There are also writs of prohibition (an official is doing something we must stop), and writs of certiorari (a court did something wrong that can't be reversed by the standard appeal rules- this, technically, is what almost all SCOTUS decisions originate from).  In most states, these ancient writs with Latin names have been plain-Englished or shop-talked away from their roots: all three in New York come under something called "Article 78," which is an entire practice specialty I do not possess (and not the number on the tickee for your laundry).  But the Supremes tend to be old-fashioned about names, so mandamus it remains.

Someone has already thought of this for this situation, and it seems just right to me:

There is a way to force anyone to perform their Constitutional Duty: The Writ of Mandamus. At the Federal level, the writ applies to anyone who has an explicit duty to act and who refuses to act or delays until the delay violates the duty. No President has ever before sought a Writ of Mandamus to force the Senate to do its duty; but the actions of the current Senate exactly matches the requirements for seeking the writ.

In the next few weeks, President Obama is expected to nominate someone for the vacant seat on the US Supreme Court. Obama’s nominee will be extremely qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice, but that won’t matter. The Senate has already said that they will not give Obama’s nominee a hearing, no matter whom he nominates.

About 90 days after Obama has presented the Senate with his nominee, if the Senate has still not performed their duty and given Obama’s nominee a fair hearing, then Obama will have the right to request a Writ of Mandamus. Obama would have to Sue the Senate in the D.C. Circuit Court or the US Supreme Court, naming each individual Senator, and requesting that they be ordered to perform their constitutional duties or appear before the Court to Show Cause why they did not perform their duty. If the Senate still does not act, Obama would sue again seeking a Writ of Peremptory Mandamus, commanding the Senate to do their duty.

Such a case would go on appeal, if not originally brought there, to the very Supreme Court that is now down a cylinder- a Republican cylinder.  McChinless should be scared shitless that it would result in a 5-3 precedent that would, forevermore, require an up-or-down vote on every SCOTUS nominee- and perhaps on every judicial nominee, depending on how pissed off the five of them are.  (At worst, the court would deadlock 4-4, which would uphold the Republican blockage- this time- but would have no precedential value.)

The clock began today.  I'm not sure I agree with the 90 days, especially if they refuse to even hold hearings.  I'd start at the beginning of April, with hopes of a decision by the end of June.  Which, in these circumstances, seems about right for "all deliberate speed."

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Beware the Ides of March, indeed.  Grumpy grumps have been grumping all over the grumpisphere, even getting an early start on it yesterday.

Both Eleanor and Emily had people majorly grumping on them at their respective workplaces yesterday, enough that my talks about them with each of them continued into today.  They seem to have their situations more-or-less under control.

Co-workers also seemed grumpified today.  One just learned of a new law change that will make things potentially troubling for a client, while another's being put through a batch of busywork that's totally not deserved.

And then there's lil ol' me.  The day began with a potential waste of more of my time, and ended with someone significantly wasting a potential new client's time.  In between, I got to a workout where the instructors have been reduced to numbering all the exercise stations- because apparently last week a fight broke out between "members" who were claiming dibs on one thing or another.  I have never felt a need to Stand My Ground that much- it's just a workout, people!- but I'm reminded of an adage I heard years ago: one fifty-year-old is mathematically the same as twenty-five two-year-olds.

But at least I got to end my day with something being stuck somewhere other than Caesar's back. Behold, an actual headline from a local TV website:



And with that I bid you e tu. Or adieu.

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I mentioned the other day that two of our binges are now complete.  The clones, ur, clocks are ticking toward another we're awaiting: Series Four of Orphan Black. Auntie America has confirmed its premiere- for a Thursday, this time, April 14th.  The trailers have already begun dropping, with lots of flashbacks to characters who got lost in, or even before, last season's Boyclone Shuffle.

Apparently the show is still filming in Toronto, but that city's base of actors has been keeping busy over in another corner of Cableland. 11.22.63, which is using the GTA for some of its scenes, previously cast Ari Millen (Mark, Rudy, Seth, and I think Ringo) in a fairly minor henchman hillbilly role.  But this Monday's episode brought us a more significant turn- and perhaps a portent of an even more major one later- by Kristian Bruun, a/k/a Donnie, shown here telling Jake that he's going to have a SHITTY day!





Really? Couldn't go with Dr. Leekie?  Eleanor got to wondering whether he's got Canadian dollar bills sticking out of his shorts underneath that white coat, and the twerking during surgery could've gotten pretty awkward.

In the end, this could ultimately solve the conundrum of all the Lone Gunmen disputes: maybe Lee Harvey Oswald is a clone.
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Good should always go first.

Rick Jeanerret is a local treasure. The long-standing play-by-play voice of the Buffalo Sabres, almost since the beginning and now on both TV and radio, he's overcome throat cancer and age and, with some well-timed vacations coinciding with long Sabre road trips, he sounds as good as ever.  He's already in the Hockey Hall of Fame and has committed to at least one more season after this one.

Yet I'd never seen RJ call a game-winning goal until this morning.

It was his reaction to Jack Eichel's overtime game winner with one second left. There are a ton of sites making it viral, but none youtubing or otherwise letting me embed it, so go watch it: Top shelf where mama hides the clickies.

And if you want to see the goal itself, I did at least find that embedded with Rick's call of it.



----

This afternoon then brought news that pretty much ends a 20-plus-year journey of faith for me, one that's already ended for Eleanor:

Our church's minister for the past six years, and its only one for the past several, will be leaving when our denomination does its annual game of Musical Pews on July 1st.

My troubles with this congregation's direction (mostly rudderless) and results (failing and fading) never had anything to do with Rich. He heard a later-in-life call to ministry after years in the publishing industry, endured the end of a marriage that was largely a matter of a spouse discovering her own sexuality, and for years he specialized in "transition ministry" for the United Methodist Church- a "fixer" in the Hail Caesar! Coen brothers film tradition. Now, it appears, he'll be doing that again.

Rich was always a strong supporter of Reconciling Ministries within the UMC- the movement to recognize members and clergy of any, all or no sexuality to be fully eligible for everything- from participation to marriage to ordination.  His was not the source of the slowness in the process I tried to begin- that came from the non-clergy leadership that's been virtually unchanged in the now almost 22 years we've been there. They overthink everything, and can't get out of their own way without using surveys and analytics and tired old methods to try to bring in new blood. The place has been leaking money for years as older and richer members move away, get peeyoed over things or just die- and their solution is to cut "apportionments," what is turned in from the offering plate to support the denomination and its hands-on ministries around the word. Three paid staff positions have sat vacant for months to years at a time. Only the choir is sacrosanct- and one of its leaders has been struggling with health issues for some time. I haven't been there in weeks, and have seen and heard nothing, even before this news, to suggest anything I can do for that ministry, much less anything it can do for me. I may return, of record, to the church we were married in- at least they support RMN and have many more connections to things we care about.

I am no longer involved with the committee in this church that is now tasked with meeting with Rich's potential successors and offering input on who will be arriving in July. (They can request, or recommend, but they cannot insist or refuse.) That non-involvement, if God is listening, is one thing I am very thankful for right now. Rich, meanwhile, is destined to serve, again in a "fixer" role, in a small rural church between and north of Rochester and Syracuse. From some of the dog-whistle words on their website, I do not expect he will find much support there for flying a Rainbow flag there any time soon.

Eleanor and I agree. He was a good man in a bad place- and he doesn't deserve anything that's not better.

----

As for the ugly:

The Trump Train appears headed for a spectacular wreck. Violence is escalating against those who dissent- even silent protesters are being physically attacked- and he's promising to pay the legal fees of anyone arrested for the dustups. At least one journalist (for a right-wing-nutjob site, even) was roughed up by supporters. Herr Drumpf is encouraging loyalty oaths- to him, not the party or country- and photos of Hitler salutes are becoming common. None of this is acknowledged, most of it outright denied ("She was raising a hand to ask a question!" Yeah, I always point my arm at a 45-degree angle when I want Mr. Kotter to see me).

Plenty of dog-whistling going on there, too. The poor, the handicapped, the different looking of all kinds are being demonized. Even some evangelical ministers are having second thoughts. I hope their fire insurance is paid up.

Maybe this will be the week when it finally turns- that some states come to their senses.  But one of them is Florida, and they're not exactly known for that.
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