Wednesday, April 18, 2018

MSNBC, sheesh

Chuck Todd just referred to the nonprofit investigative organization ProPublica as “Pro Pube-lica” — twice.

Related reading
All OCA sheesh posts (Pinboard)

[Elaine heard it too — twice. As she points out, Chuck Todd was caught with his pants down.]

Coffee shocker

A shocking headline: “This is what drinking just tea and coffee all day does to your body, according to a registered dietitian” (Business Insider).

I’ll save you the work of clicking through. As most people who read the article will already know, drinking just tea and coffee all day hydrates your body. The shocker: “You’ll probably be extremely over-caffeinated!” Yes! You will be!

Related reading
All OCA coffee and tea posts (Pinboard)

[My over-caffeination is feigned. I’ve had just one cup of tea, one cup of coffee today. I can’t speak for the dietitian.]

“A right or wrong hand”

Beverly Cleary, writing about first grade:

The teacher was a tall, gray-haired woman who wore a navy blue dress and black oxfords. “Good morning, children,” she said. “My name is Miss Falb. It is spelled F-a-l-b. The l is silent. Say, ‘Good morning, Miss Falb.’”

“Good morning, Miss Fob,” we chorused.

She then wrote Miss Falb in perfect cursive writing on the blackboard and instructed us to get out our tablets and copy what she had written.

The whole thing seemed unreasonable to me. If the l was silent, why was it there? I picked up my pencil with the hand closer to the pencil. Miss Falb descended on me, removed the pencil from my left hand, and placed it in my other hand. “You must always hold your pencil in your right hand,” she informed me.

No one had ever told me I had a right or wrong hand. I had always used the hand closer to the task. With her own pencil, Miss Falb wrote Beverly Bunn on my paper in the Wesco system of handwriting with its peculiar e’s, r’s, and x’s that were to become a nuisance all my life.

A Girl from Yamhill: A Memoir (New York: William Morrow, 1988).
Cleary’s signature, stamped on the cover of this hardcover edition, shows the Wesco e and r.

[A library copy, with a ballpoint slash through the final y.]

For further reading: a biographical sketch of John Austin Wesco and a 1939 edition of Wesco System of Writing.

Related reading
Beverly Cleary on writing by hand : Ramona Quimby and cursive : All OCA Cleary posts (Pinboard)

[Miss Falb turns out to be a real piece of work. I suspect that those of us who’ve had miserable teachers are never reluctant to identify them by name.]

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Hyphen needed

From a New York Times article about the ugly incident in a Philadelphia Starbucks:

The chief executive, Kevin R. Johnson, said in an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” that what happened to the men was “wrong,” and that he wanted to meet with them personally to apologize.

“It’s my responsibility to understand what happened and what led to that, and ensure that we fix it,” Mr. Johnson said. He said that the company was reviewing its guidelines, which can differ among its 28,000 stores worldwide, and that it would invest in unconscious bias training.
Make that unconscious-bias training. Unconscious bias training, a lifetime’s worth, is what might prompt an employee to call the police when two men of color are waiting on a friend before ordering.

Great crosswords, free

At bewilderingly, Will Nediger posts a free crossword puzzle of his making every Monday. He describes his puzzles as erudite and witty, and vows never to make a puzzle with the answer EMAG. I found quite a range of reference in this week’s puzzle: Bach, Howard Hawks, Japanese beer, Nancy Drew’s boyfriend, Rihanna, Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Six circled letters in three answers add up to an obvious-once-you-finally-see-it theme. But it was the clue for 60-Across, sixteen letters, that really won me over: “Classic Thelonious Monk album with the track "Pannonica.” Holy cow!

I must have found my way to Will Nediger’s puzzles via Rex Parker Does the NYT Crossword Puzzle, an always interesting and often contentious daily discussion.

[No spoilers for possible solvers. The Monk album title is in the comments.]


“Anyone weary of black-box algorithms controlling what you see online at least has a respite, one that’s been there all along but has often gone ignored.” At Wired, Brian Barrett votes for RSS.

I’ll add a suggestion: if you follow a blog in RSS, click through and say something every now and then. Hint, hint.

Opening Safari links in iOS

Lifehacker explains a nifty iOS Safari feature: tapping with two fingers will open a link in a new tab. If you have Safari set to open new tabs in the background, you can watch the link jump down to the tabs icon, at the bottom right of the screen.

What I can add: if the link is short, you’ll need to embiggen the page first.

Monday, April 16, 2018

At the center

I turned on the television and heard an MSNBC anchor describe Stormy Daniels as the person “at the center of Michael Cohen’s legal troubles.” No, that would be Michael Cohen.

Or better: Michael Cohen’s legal troubles are a circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.

From my dad’s CDs

I’m still making my way through my dad’s CDs: Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, Ivie Anderson, Louis Armstrong, Fred Astaire, Mildred Bailey, Count Basie, Tony Bennett, Art Blakey, Ruby Braff and Ellis Larkins, Clifford Brown, Dave Brubeck, Joe Bushkin, Hoagy Carmichael, Betty Carter, Ray Charles, Charlie Christian, Rosemary Clooney, Nat “King” Cole, John Coltrane, Bing Crosby, Miles Davis, Matt Dennis, Doris Day, Blossom Dearie, Paul Desmond, Tommy Dorsey, Billy Eckstine, Duke Ellington, Bill Evans, Gil Evans, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Erroll Garner, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Stéphane Grappelli, Bobby Hackett, Coleman Hawkins, Woody Herman, Earl Hines, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Dick Hyman, Harry James, Hank Jones, Louis Jordan, Stan Kenton, Barney Kessel, Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross, Peggy Lee, Mary Ann McCall, Susannah McCorkle, Dave McKenna, Ray McKinley, Marian McPartland, Johnny Mercer, Helen Merrill, Glenn Miller, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Thelonious Monk, Wes Montgomery, Gerry Mulligan, Red Norvo, Anita O’Day, Charlie Parker, Joe Pass, Art Pepper, Oscar Peterson, Bud Powell, Boyd Raeburn, Django Reinhardt, Marcus Roberts, Sonny Rollins, Jimmy Rushing, Catherine Russell, the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra, Artie Shaw, George Shearing, Horace Silver, Frank Sinatra, Paul Smith, Jeri Southern, Jo Stafford, Art Tatum, Claude Thornhill, and now, Mel Tormé.

My dad and I never agreed about Mel Tormé. I think of Tormé as an acquired taste that I’ve yet to acquire. The voice is a wonder; the technique, unlimited. But Tormé’s taste is, for me, too often questionable. Too much show business, too much showing off: scatting the name Jobim, interpolating “Superstar” — yes, that “Superstar” — in a tribute to Fred Astaire (“Fred Astaire, superstar, you know we admire who and what you are”), ending numbers with an extended “Yeah.” Help! I once told my dad about one of John Lennon’s recording aliases: Mel Torment. My dad was not amused.

But listen: here are two unembeddable and unremittingly terrific performances from the 1963 Atlantic album Mel Tormé Sings “Sunday in New York” and Other Songs about New York. Frank Sinatra introduced “The Brooklyn Bridge” (Sammy Cahn–Jules Styne) in the 1947 film It Happened in Brooklyn. Tormé introduced “Sunday in New York” (Peter Nero–Carroll Coates) in the 1963 film of that name. Johnny Williams did the first arrangement; Dick Hazard, the second. The second of these songs immediately puts me in touch with the 1960s Manhattan of Breakfast at Tiffany’s and The World of Henry Orient.

Three mountain ranges remain: Sarah Vaughan (I hadn’t realized how many CDs), Fats Waller (see previous parenthesis), and Lee Wiley. And smaller hills along the way.

Also from my dad’s CDs
Mildred Bailey : Tony Bennett : Charlie Christian : Blossom Dearie : Duke Ellington : Coleman Hawkins : Billie Holiday : Louis Jordan : Charlie Parker : Jimmy Rushing : Artie Shaw : Frank Sinatra : Art Tatum

Zippy pens

[Zippy, April 16, 2018.]

Related reading
All OCA Zippy posts (Pinboard)