Fran Frey obit

Fran Frey sang 26 sides for George Olsen’s band in the 1920s and early 30s. I got this obit from Ancestry.com; registration is required, so I signed in and downloaded this clip from the Los Angeles Times of December 8, 1962. Note: Fran’s is the second obit of the two.

HistoricalNewspapersBirthMarriageDeathAnnounceme_338644671

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Mexico Obesity Rate Surpasses The United States’, Making It Fattest Country In The Americas

It’s hard to break old habits. With all the fun things we can do just sitting around the house, it’s not an easy thing to tell yourself that you have to keep the weight off if you want to stay healthy. It’s not easy because there are no shortcuts. Eat less, move more. What motivates me is looking at old men: I don’t see any fat 85 year old men. And I want to be a skinny 85 year old some day, paddling a kayak in a quiet pond. 

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You can find ANYTHING on the Internet. Really.

When I was 5, my family went to West Virginia on vacation. We took a ride on the then-new Cass Scenic Railroad. I bought a 45rpm record and played it till the grooves were gray. It was lost probably in 1966 in the various moves of my life. 

You wouldn’t expect to find something so obscure ever again. Wrong.

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One of my favorite SF books.

Flow My Tears, the Policeman SaidFlow My Tears, the Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It is quite fashionable, here in 2013, to say of this novel that it is “rather uneven, with a messy plot.” Flow My Tears came out in 1974, just before he flipped his lid (in my opinion) and wrote VALIS. FMT (which I shall henceforth call it) might well have been the vehicle that drove him over the wall; it’s certainly discomfiting: unnerving, actually. The idea of reality melting away, or time drying out? Not for the casual reader, perhaps.

I read this book the year after it came out, at the age of 15. I was completely flummoxed; no idea at all what I was supposed to think of FMT. It didn’t make sense, so I thought I’d misread it. Since then, I’ve read this book at least five more times, each time providing the same thrill it did when I first read it. Try finding a book like that!

No, I will not give anything away here. I’ll just say that if you are willing to go for a ride and the ride itself is what you’re hoping to enjoy, read this book. You will never forget it.

View all my reviews

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Dead Pope John Paul II to be made a saint.

This is such a travesty of justice that it beggars words sufficient for description. Untold numbers of children cried out in prayer, some perhaps even to Pope John Paul II, hoping for some sort of companionship, even if only spiritual, to ease the sense of shame and self-loathing experienced by those who were abused by Jekyll and Hyde priests. Instead of comfort, they got the nothingness of busted dreams; no god to comfort them, no friend to confide in.

I feel nothing but hatred for a church that seems even at this late date to be entirely unaware of the catastrophic effect of its policy of relying on canon law in dealing with common criminals dressed as holy men. 

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The only film of Annette Hanshaw.

I’m putting this here because, well, it’s MY blog and I love this music.

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Not the death of the Voting Rights Act

Somebody on scotusblog.com was just talking about the “historic” nature of the decision on the Voting Rights Act. The headline on HuffPo says “Supremes Gut Voting Rights Act.” As usual, it’s reasonable to assume that the noise will drown out the truth.

I find it personally distasteful that I should find myself not automatically retching at the thought of acquiescing to a decision favored by Justices Thomas and Alito. Yet nobody is apart from politics; everyone on the court knows the huge symbolism of every major decision. If I were on the court, I’d probably have sided with Kagan, Sotomayor, and Breyer. 

The central point was whether Congress had the right to use a list that was drawn up in the 1960s to require specially designated Southern voting districts to submit to Congress any changes in voting registration requirements. Few would argue that the South has changed a lot, as has the rest of the country; but anyone who thinks the South doesn’t still need Reconstruction hasn’t looked at Mississippi. Congress, however, abdicated its responsibility to keep watch over those historically racist voting districts, so it allowed the list to become moribund. It was only a matter of time before some smarmy Southern lawyers saw a golden opportunity, and they happily jumped on it, and won. 

So now, despite the fact that we can easily deduce continuing racial discrimination in voting, Congress is to redraw the list. Not likely, not at all likely. But perhaps they should look beyond the South, because racism is so widespread and so easily expressed in elections. Should we not include Ohio on a list of racist states, when we have proof that white voting districts had a surplus of voting machines, allowing voters to walk in, cast a ballot, and walk away, while many predominately black voting districts had so few machines that people waited in lines for up to eight hours to cast their ballots?

Don’t tell me about the South and its continued racism. Let’s instead aim a new Voting Rights Act at those districts that pull such shenanigans as outline immediately above.

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