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I have mentioned Chuck Miller’s departure from the Times Union blogs, and him starting his own blog.

What I didn’t get into was the harrumph of the Times Union. As quoted by a non-TU blogger named DelSo:

“A community blog hosted by timesunion.com falsely reported Saturday morning that Kellyanne Conway, a senior advisor to President Trump, would be the commencement speaker at the University at Albany. As soon as we were alerted to the post, we removed it from our site and suspended the blog. We apologize to anybody who was misled by this post, which was not written by a Times Union staff member. Even on April Fools’ Day, there’s no place for fake news under the Times Union banner.”

And the WAMC Roundtable on 3 April was likewise SHOCKED. The “bogus link” they referenced was Chuck’s senior year on the local TV quiz show for high schoolers, which he’d written about ad nauseum.

Yes, I am humming, “It’s a scandal, it’s a outrage.”

In fact it was only a year earlier that Chuck had written on his TU blog, “Uber reaches agreement to come to Albany!” which made the Washington Post’s April Fools’ Day pranks: 2016’s comprehensive, updating (and upsetting) list. The TU seemed to enjoy hitting on the zeitgeist.

If memory serves, Chuck did NOT slap an April Fools label on it, though at some point, the TU must have. This was fine, and would have been fine this year, in lieu of suspension and blocking him from his site.

Meanwhile, there is another TU community blogger who wrote in March, apparently in all seriousness, that the White House has been closed to visitors since 9/11 until 2017. I won’t link to her because she’s guano crazy. But Heather Fazio mentions her.

Since he’s done a joke blog EVERY YEAR for 8 YEARS, I’ve been forced to conclude that there is something else at play here with Chuck Miller’s suspension. I have to think he got under the TU’s skin once too often. He often advocated for more recognition for the community bloggers, including appearances in the paper, which went away and then came back, as a direct result of his nagging. Early in my tenure as a TU blogger, the TU ponied up for pizza for its unpaid community writers, but no more.

Perhaps the tipping point was him pointing out some oblivious remarks, such as he did on Thursday.

Before I get started with this week’s recap of the great writing by the Times Union’s crew of independent and community bloggers, I must address something.

It was a comment made in a staff blog earlier this week, and it still bothers me today.

In her blog last Monday, TU staff blogger Kristi Gustafson Barlette wrote a piece about certain thoughts in the Capital District, a “When I think of…” recap…

The part that irked me? This portion.

“When I think of great blogging, I think of Amanda Talar (who is coming back to the east coast). I also think of Matt Baumgartner and really, really miss his blogging.”

Wow. When Kristi Gustafson Barlette thinks of “great blogging,” she references two people who haven’t blogged for the TU in YEARS. Not taking anything away from those bloggers – they have written amazing posts in the past – but it totally ignores the fantastic writing and observations of the Times Union’s current bloggers and raconteurs and observers and writers. Whether you agree or disagree with their topics and thoughts, they at least deserve your attention and consideration.

Maybe if Kristi Gustafson Barlette took a few moments and actually read these blogs, she might indeed find some new favorites. Some new “great blogging” examples.

I think THAT was the last straw for the TU, and his ANNUAL joke – and I will say, Kellyanne, by definition is NOT funny – was just the excuse they were looking for.

Or the TU can explain that how it punishes an obvious attempt at humor while supporting actual fake news on its community pages.

Mandated Workplace Violence training

 

<strong>All of us SUNY Central employees were required to register for, and attend, a 90-minute Workplace Violence training session back in August.

“In accordance with NYS Law, SUNY System Administration has implemented required/mandatory Workplace Violence training to help ensure a safe working environment. This training extends to all employees who work within our System Administration locations, inclusive of our Research Foundation and Construction Fund colleagues.

“Even in the absence of any identified risk, employees should be knowledgeable about measures they can take to protect themselves in the workplace. Learn how to:<!–more–>

• Identify Risk Factors
• Prevent Workplace Violence Incidents
• Enhance Personal Safety
• Increase Survivability in Critical Incidents

“Be a part of our pro-active preventative approach to keeping the SUNY community safe!”

I had the idea that the workshop would spend more time diffusing a potentially volatile workplace situation. There was lip service about recognizing someone in a workplace situation who might be “ready to blow.” But it wasn’t the primary focus.

Instead, it was a lot about how you might live if an active shooter situation. There was a lot about flight or fight – flee if can, fight if getting away or hiding is not an option.

The speaker managed to namecheck all sorts of mass shootings, from the school kids and educators in Newtown, CT, to the assassination attempt on Gabby Giffords in an Arizona strip mall that left six dead and the Congresswoman gravely wounded to the shooting in Binghamton, NY that killed 13. But there were a whole lot that you never heard about.

The takeaway, my colleagues all agreed, is where the heck would you hide, or run to, if you had to? Those folks with doors were subsequently issued door stops, but those with partial glass walls were less than comforted by this.

As someone with no office door, where I would run would to would depend on what direction the disturbance was coming from. The offices are in one big circle, and I am near the diameter.

For the next two days, it was all we talked about; if that were the intent, it worked. But it mostly made me depressed as hell. </strong>

The 10th anniversary of this here blog

10th AnniversaryToday being the tenth anniversary of the start of the Ramblin’ with Roger blog, with new content every single day, I thought I would describe how I started blogging in the first place. I’m sure I’ve told bits and pieces of it before, but like some oft-told tales, the details either become clearer inr focus or muddier over time.

I had heard about this thing called the weblog – it was in all the standard press – in the early part of this century. However, I had not actually READ any blogs. Therefore, I concluded, without a single strain of evidence, the same thing that most “everyone” else was saying, that blogs were self-indulgent bits of drivel designed for people far more self-absorbed than I.

Then, in October 2004, I see my friend Rocco, who I knew from my FantaCo days. He says to me, “Have you been reading Fred’s blog?” Of course, I had not been reading what our mutual friend Fred Hembeck had been writing, and in fact I had fallen out of touch with him over the previous decade.

So I checked out Fred’s blog Continue reading The 10th anniversary of this here blog

The library meme

book_RoomPer Chuck Miller, my fellow Times Union blogger:

“The System”: In the main, the books on music, movies, television are on the shelf in front of me. Behind me: almanacs/trivia; church/faith/religion, including hymnals; the recently acquired unread; bio/autobio; classics (Shakespeare, Grimm, Twain); politics; Beatles. Off to the right, and also upstairs, comic book/comic strip stuff (Marvel Masterworks, Doonesbury collections, Elfquest collections, Life Is Hell). This is imperfect, and I’m much less fussy than I used to be.

Favorite female writer: Rachel Carson. She changed my life.

Favorite male writer: Nelson George.

Bought on location Continue reading The library meme

Les & Trudy

les and trudyA few months ago, on a Binghamton listserv I follow, I was a tad startled to read, seemingly out of the blue, in response to someone else’s comment:

Q: Do you know who Leslie Greene is/was? he was born in 1927 became very close friends with my parents, he was black, his wife was white…I believe he was elected commissioner in the 70’s.

John (who’s about a decade older than I, and went to my church): Sadly the LESLIE GREEN that I knew passed away some years ago. His son Roger Green is a member of the I AM FROM BINGHAMTON NY site. Knew LES & his Wife as the GREEN Family was a major part of our TRINITY AME ZION CHURCH and active in the general African American Community and the General Binghamton NY area… Continue reading Les & Trudy