Places Where You Straighten Your Fingers If You’re Brian J.: A Companion Guide

This thing on my little finger has helped me to identify places and conditions where I straighten my fingers completely since it is supposed to prevent that very maneuver, and it hurts a bit anyway.

I straighten my fingers completely, generally, when I:

  • Wash my hands.
  • Put my hands through the sleeves of long-sleeved shirts.
  • Fold laundry.
  • Hold mass market paperbacks with a single hand whilst snacking with the right.

Also, knife hand and ridge hand strikes in martial arts classes, but the focus over the last year has been closed fist boxing strikes, so not a lot of call for the more traditional tae kwon do hand techniques. Not that I have been on the mat enough in the last year anyway.

I now return you to the regular nonsense on this blog already in progress.

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It Could Be As Effective As Sex Panther, Maybe

Springfield has extended mandatory virtual signaling, and they have followed the Science!TM:

“We know that whether or not masking is 20% effective, or 50% effective, or 90% effective, they are effective, and they will save lives,” said CoxHealth CEO Steve Edwards.

One wonders if 0% effective would still be effective, since it is the noun that the percentage modifies regardless of what the percentage is. According to this accounting, sneezing on a chain link fence is effective if but one tiny virus clings to it instead of floating free.

Sixty percent of the time it works every time.

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Incurious Omission

The New York Times Continues To Ignore Rock Star Deaths:

Somehow, over the past few months, the paper of record omitted obituaries for Steve Priest bass player, singer and co-founder of The Sweet; Pete Way bass player and co-founder of UFO, Fastway and Waysted; guitarist Paul Chapman, also of UFO; Lee Kerslake drummer for Ozzy Osbourne and Uriah Heep; and Franke Banali drummer for Quiet Riot and W.A.S.P..

To be fair, though, I have only known one of these fellows, Frankie Banali, by name and only because I recently read Louder Than Hell. And I am a fan of metal music, although more modern metal than the recently departed.

Also, I am not twenty-six-years-old and a professional.

UPDATE: After I scheduled this post, the news came out that Eddie Van Halen passed away. He shall get an obit in the New York Times. The Wall Street Journal for sure.

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Book Report: Milton’s Minor Poems by John Milton, edited by Philo Melvyn Buck, Jr. (1894, 1911)

Book coverThis book collects four pieces from Milton which do not have Paradise in the title and are not about his blindness. “L’Allegro” presents life as a person with a happy outlook. “Il Penseroso” presents life from a melancholy outlook. “Comus: A Masque” is a brief verse play wherein the sorceror child of Circe and Bacchus tries to tempt a virtuous woman to give up her life of chastity and to enjoy natural, sensual delights. And “Lycidas” is an elegy for a drowned companion that detours into political commentary that diminishes its impact.

It’s less than a 100 pages, these four works sandwiched with a pair of essays about Milton, his time, and his relationship to the Revolution at the time.

To modern readers, even to me a bit, the poems are a bit long-winded and slow without the punchiness that I prefer in shorter modern poems. However, to someone who’s steeped in older poems, though, they read pretty well and have a lot of nice little turns of phrase. Of course, my college poetry professor would point out that I shouldn’t write poems like this–as I did early in college. But I got more punchy.

And these weren’t onerous to read–like some of the wordy, wordy Romantic poet works. So a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours.

These little hardback editions from around the turn of the century seem to have been fairly common–in addition to this volume, I have a couple of works from Alexander Pope in similar editions from similar series. This series, the Eclectic English Classics, look to have cost twenty cents. I wonder if they were the Walter J. Black books of the day.

And I will probably read one of the Pope books–I since I just bought Essay on Man at the last book sale, it’s right on top–before I finish my complete works of Keats and Shelley. Or the Shakespeare I started years ago. Because these little books are Classics, and they’re not daunting. Which was probably their appeal a hundred plus years ago as well. It’s only the reading public that has changed.

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Difficult Things To Do With A Splinted Pinky

I mentioned I have a bit of a sports injury that has the smallest finger on my left hand in a splint.

Over the course of the last four days, I have learned a number of things are difficult in this condition.

  • Hit the Q key. I am not a touch typist, gentle reader, so I can still hit the A key as needed. But the left pinky apparently handled the Q key (and sometimes often the SHIFT, CTRL, and ALT keys over there). So, of course, I find myself queuing up lots of quintessential quokkas and whatnot now, which slows me down a lot.
  • Laundry. I am constantly banging the splint into the basket, the side of the washer tub, or the top of the appliances as I shift the laundry. I hadn’t realized I brushed my hand against all these things routinely, but apparently so.
  • Buckling the seat belt when a passenger in a car. I’ve ridden as a passenger a couple of times, and I’ve had to reach across my body to click it as the big splint does not fit in between the seats so well.
  • Close the driver’s side car door. The contraption does not fit into the grip, so I have to reach across my body to close it. Also, I guess I am used to hitting the window open button with that finger, too. And although I can more easily buckle the belt with my right hand whilst sitting in the driver’s seat, grabbing the belt buckle when it is beside the seat to the left is also a chore.
  • Picking up cats one-handed when they (and by they, I mean Chimera) gets into my office chair when I go for a cup of coffee.

Not depicted: catching a football, because if that were easy for me, I would not be in this predicament.

You know, this is not my first sports injury. And all of my injuries tend to be sports injuries, come to think of it. I have always eventually bounced back, but I get a little down while I mend. I mean, this one is not very painful and is only a little inconvenient, but it reminds me that I’m aging, an intimation of mortality that goes meshes well with my mindset in the current dying time. It’s certainly nowhere near what Jack Baruth just suffered–a broken leg–but the thoughts are very similar. They tell me I will more easily dislocate these joints in the future–so how many jabs can I throw in martial arts classes before I do it again? That sort of thing.

Ah, well, the one thing it is not hard to do, and I feared it might: to hold a book to read it. I can set big art books so that they’re resting on my lap and I’m just holding them up with my hand and few working fingers, and I can hold smaller books with a hand and those smaller fingers. So I can still do that, fortunately.

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The Wall Street Journal Explains

Okay, I am a little behind in my Wall Street Journal reading, again. Which is basically my normal condition when taking the paper. So I have only now come across an article from September 24, 2020, that explains a little more about why it’s often hard to find movies you want to see on streaming services–Why Some Classic Films Still Aren’t Streaming, From ‘Jungle Fever’ to ‘Silkwood’.

Again, note that the “classics” here date back to the 1980s or the 1990s, which means the dark ages where the films were available on videocassette and/or DVD.

Back in 2016, a little before I was making predictions about how fast I would read the remainder of my books in The Executioner series, I lamented I could not find several movies I wanted to see on the streaming services of the day:

After reading a listicle about John Hughes’ Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, I wanted to watch She’s Having A Baby because it’s the most adult of his coming-of-age comedies (and I plan to come of age sometime soon). But it’s not on Netflix nor Amazon Prime.

Then I got to thinking about funny Christmas movies my children might like to watch with me since White Christmas, Holiday Inn, The Bells of St. Mary’s, or The Bishop’s Wife are a little black-and-white for them, and they’re not old enough for Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, or Gremlins. So I checked Netflix and Amazon Prime, and again I was disappointed.

And that I joined a video store in 2017 because it had the DVD of a film I needed for a writing assignment:

Now, gentle reader, you might remember my December rant on the limited catalogs of streaming services (What I Want To Watch, When I Want To Watch It). I still feel that way, but I’m pretending to be frugal now. I had to watch Johnny Mnemonic for a writing assignment (which I read back in 2006), and of course, Amazon Prime and Netflix don’t offer it. My beautiful and sultry wife has a membership at the local video store, Family Video, so we went there to get a film for the boys and to see if the shop had Johnny Mnemonic. They did.

That was years ago. I said about streaming:

Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming are good when you want to watch something as they give you a lot to chose from. But I often do not want to sit down and watch something; I want to sit down and watch a particular film. So physical media still have a vital role in that. Much like the old independent video stores offered something other than the newest releases at Blockbuster.

That was back when you really had two streaming platforms to choose from. Now, every media company has its own twelve-buck-a-month service and is slowly reclaiming its library by letting licensing to Amazon and Netflix lapse. Which means everything that was available is still available streaming, but it’s spread over a rapidly widening set of subscription services.

Although a flack at Fandango says it’s only onesies and twosies that are not available, my experience has proven that the onesies and twosies and foursies and twelvesies coincide with what I want to watch. The newspaper explains why so many things are not available on any streaming source:

The causes of unstreamableness vary. For films made before digital distribution existed, it can be unclear who owns streaming privileges. Restrictions on digital use of the music in a film can hold it back. Some “unstreamables” are movies that have been shunned across all platforms, for one reason or another, like Disney’s “Song of the South,” with its racist stereotypes, and the last Woody Allen and Louis CK films, made by tarnished directors.

A film can also simply become buried in a company’s holdings. For those who want to release older films in new formats, hunting down rights holders can become a Watergate-like investigation. After decades of mergers and acquisitions, the corporate owner of a film may not even know it’s the owner.

So, as you might expect, I still look to buy DVDs and VHS cassettes at garage sales and whatnot and, when I get the idea that I want to watch a particular film, I order the physical medium on Amazon.

Also, I am a curmudgeon.

Thank you, that is all.

Also, follow me for more breaking news from the Wall Street Journal from weeks or months ago.

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A Landmark That I Will Miss

Pokin Around: Story of Robert Rosendahl’s boat has a new chapter: Destination Tahiti:

Stories hold a force that can transcend life.

Few have the power of the tale of Robert Rosendahl, World War II vet who survived the Bataan Death March, and his boat.

Rosendahl died at age 98 on Feb. 2. The love of his life, Bettie, had died 40 days prior on Christmas Day 2019.

But that is not the end of this story.

Six men in their 60s, including Rosendahl’s son Eirik, plan to fulfill Rosendahl’s dream of finishing the boat — that he first started to build in the early 1980s — and sail it to Tahiti in the South Pacific.

For decades, the boat has sat unfinished on the lawn of the Rosendahl home near Golden Avenue and Republic Road.

After Pokin’s first story on the boat ran in 2015, I looked for the boat when I was driving through that area. It was a bit hidden amongst trees, but I spotted it from time to time. When I didn’t think it was on Scenic Avenue just to the east and look for it there.

Golden has become one of our preferred bike riding routes, so I passed that boat a bunch this year. It’s easier to spot as some of the woods around it have been pared back. And I knew that one day soon, something that I’d seen in my few years in Springfield, something whose history I knew (thanks to Steve Pokin), would be gone. The house would be sold, perhaps razed for a business or multifamily housing, and a bit of Springfield lore lost forever.

If it’s going to go, though, I am glad it will be used as the former owner intended.

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I Have Followed Politics Too Long

When discussing this past week’s Monday Night Football game featuring the Kansas City Red Packers against the Baltimore Poe Poems, I told my wife it was a good matchup because the Ravens quarterback, Lamar Alexander, was also a running quarterback who can throw.

And then I thought, Wait a minute. Lamar Alexander is the Senator from Tennessee who ran for president 20 years ago with signs that said simply Lamar!

The Ravens quarterback, Lamar Jackson is only a few years older than this blog.

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My New Least Favorite Pull-My-Finger Game

Yesterday afternoon was glorious. Warm; the temperature topped out at a golden 80 degrees. I finished my work day, and as I had calls until past time to pick the youngest up for school, we could not do our early martial arts class. I had the choice of noodling on my computer until dinner time, which I too often accept as the default, but my boys were also about to default to their choices of spending time on their devices. We told them to go outside, to shoot some hoops or to throw around the football a bit, but they were, erm, reluctant to do so until I divested them of said devices. Even then they only went to the garage to consume an illicit snack of chocolate chips.

So I decided it would be a good time to Make Memories by joining the boys for a little game of catch. Which made a memory, all right. Continue reading “My New Least Favorite Pull-My-Finger Game”

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