Monday, December 28, 2020

responding to @dscc survey

 I got some more junk mail this morning.  I decided to write a long handwritten letter to them with all my complaints about them and their meaningless surveys and the issues that I really want to see addressed.  I'm recreating that letter here, with a few things edited or added.

I have already contributed. I am not contributing again I'm tired of getting dozens of requests for money every day. I'm tired of these idiotic surveys that don't accomplish anything meaningful, because they're just broad Hallmark type stuff that any Democrat would agree with. I'm tired of being treated in this impersonal, mechanical, dumbed down way.


I'm very angry about the disinformation that the Democratic Party seems to be responsible for distributing about Tulsi Gabbard. I'm angry that, by excluding her from the debates, you kept the debates focused almost entirely on domestic policy and not on our horrendous foreign policy that has kept us engaged in counterproductive, disastrous, bankrupting regime change wars. 


American people clearly demonstrated for support of both Trump and Sanders that the majority of people do not want foreign policy as usual the military budget needs to be cut DRAMATICALLY


By keeping Gabbard out of the debates, you allowed the most hawkish candidate to rise to the top.


As to legislation, you don't even mention some basic items that I think are very important:


1.    The current limit on HSA contributions is less than the out-of-pocket maximum for my insurance. That doesn't even take into account glasses and dental. The limit on HSA contribution should be *at least* the out-of-pocket maximum on my insurance.

2.    I lost my health insurance under ACA, because ACA did not allow the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) to be considered as a group. This forces me to buy insurance as an individual. Major cancer centers like Sloan Kettering (MSKCC) won't take any insurance that an individual can purchase. This forced me to get cancer care from incompetent providers miss my recurrence for nine months due to malpractice.   


a.    The NYSBA should be allowed to be a group

b.    Hospitals like MSKCC that will not take any insurance that individuals can purchase should lose their not-for-profit status with the IRS

c.     There needs to be a public option


3.    Our Social Security numbers have been compromised by hacks. We need new Social Security numbers. We should be able to get new Social Security numbers like we can get new credit card numbers and no one should be able to offer credit cards without the users photo.


4.     I am constantly plagued with scam phone calls.   I cannot block the numbers, because the numbers are spoofed. Spoofed calls must be made illegal immediately. People making unsolicited Robo calls should be considered felons and given STIFF penalties.


5.     Addiction is a disease, not a crime. Drug abuse should be treated with a medical model, not a criminal model. The field war in drugs must be stopped.


6.     (thought of this later) Trump fired a whole bunch of inspectors general. These federal employees should be protected from random firing by the president. They’re too important.



Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Digital animation

 I took a Digital Animation course this semester.  Here's a link to my final paper, which describes what I did

Sunday, December 13, 2020

A Virtual Christmas Carol

 On December 12 & 13, I participated in a Virtual Production of a Zoom version of Dicken's Christmas Carol produced by AlphaNYC, directed by Elizabeth Aquino, assistant director Andrew James Bleidner

The screenplay was written by Flip Kobler and Cindy Marcus.  It took about 1/2 an hour, and was fairly light and child friendly.

Here are some screen shots of  my performance taken by Tenaya Griffin, who played "Fan," Scrooge's sister. 

For this production, I designed two virtual backgrounds

This was the set for the ghost of Christmas Future

This was the set for me (the ghost of Christmas Past)

We had 4 scheduled rehearsals of the whole cast.  I also organized several Zoom rehearsals of the past scene.  This business of being able to schedule rehearsals over Zoom is just sublime -- so easy

Here is a whole cast photo

This was the cast list

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Pix from my art show @warnerlibraryny

This is the way the rocks look with the display organizers

This was the way the rocks looked without the display organizers


Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Letter to @mondairejones

  In response to his email thanking us for supporting him, I wrote the following: 

l  am excited that we get a young person of proven intelligence who can represent us, hopefully for years to come, presenting a more progressive approach to legislation.

I am particularly interested in de-escalating our military

I hope you'll remember my little legislative points, which sometimes get lost in the big issues
1) the cap on my HSA should not be less than the out of pocket maximum on my insurance
2) we need new social security numbers, because our numbers have been compromised. We should be able to get new numbers more easily, just like credit cards
3) the FCC needs to take more aggressive action against phone number spoofing, which has allowed widespread scam phone calls and bombing of telephone conference calls

Also spelling reform.


And on November 5 I thought of a couple more points

- hospitals that refuse to take any insurance off the exchange should lose their not-for-profit status;
- we need to reinstate low-cost sea mail, so that we can return packages to China at a reasonable price.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

A Trumpist friend liked this article

Which cites

This is curious since Trumpists normally consider these sources to be fake news.

In the mean time, WaPo identified 20k instances in which Trump lied

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Meme about filling SCOTUS openings copied from a friend

#ThatWasThenThisIsNow #ResistTheTrumpPenceFascistRégime


2016, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas): “It has been 80 years since a Supreme Court vacancy was nominated and confirmed in an election year. There is a long tradition that you don’t do this in an election year.” 

2018, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.): “If an opening comes in the last year of President Trump’s term, and the primary process has started, we’ll wait to the next election.”

2016, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.): “I don’t think we should be moving on a nominee in the last year of this president’s term - I would say that if it was a Republican president.”

2016, Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.): “The very balance of our nation’s highest court is in serious jeopardy. As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I will do everything in my power to encourage the president and Senate leadership not to start this process until we hear from the American people.”

2016, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa): “A lifetime appointment that could dramatically impact individual freedoms and change the direction of the court for at least a generation is too important to get bogged down in politics. The American people shouldn’t be denied a voice.” 

2016, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.): “The campaign is already under way. It is essential to the institution of the Senate and to the very health of our republic to not launch our nation into a partisan, divisive confirmation battle during the very same time the American people are casting their ballots to elect our next president.”

2016, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.): “In this election year, the American people will have an opportunity to have their say in the future direction of our country. For this reason, I believe the vacancy left open by Justice Antonin Scalia should not be filled until there is a new president.” 

2016, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.): “The Senate should not confirm a new Supreme Court justice until we have a new president.”

2016, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Col.): “I think we’re too close to the election. The president who is elected in November should be the one who makes this decision.”

2016, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio): “I believe the best thing for the country is to trust the American people to weigh in on who should make a lifetime appointment that could reshape the Supreme Court for generations. This wouldn’t be unusual. It is common practice for the Senate to stop acting on lifetime appointments during the last year of a presidential term, and it’s been nearly 80 years since any president was permitted to immediately fill a vacancy that arose in a presidential election year.”

2016, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.): “I strongly agree that the American people should decide the future direction of the Supreme Court by their votes for president and the majority party in the U.S. Senate.”

Copied. Please share.



Great speech by Jaime Harrison

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Down the Rabbit Hole: How I got into @EricWhitacre’s Virtual Choir 6

This summer I took FTS 212 at Lehman College, with Professor Ulises Gonzalez.  This course was an introduction to film and television. It involves writing 10 papers. Professor Gonzales liked my papers. He encouraged me to keep writing film reviews after the course. Here is my first after course effort. Maybe I will post what I wrote in class as well.

Why won't this let me enlarge the last page???? So frustrating.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Voting information for this fall in NY

I just attended a CLE course sponsored by the NY Democratic Lawyers Council about voting -- and especially issues that arose in the Democratic primary this summer. I would like to provide some summary points for everyone's information.

There were horrible issues with the primary
  • absentee ballots sent out late
  • post office failed to postmark many ballots, especially in Brooklyn
  • long lines in Westchester on election day
  • voters not given all the ballots that were supposed to be voted on
  • poll workers not able to get to polling locations due to subway closures
  • voting locations refusing to allow voting to occur there

All of the above resulted in tens of thousands of voters being disenfranchised.

The current recommendation is that you vote early for the general election,  There will be at least 9 days available and you can vote at any early voting location in your county. Early voting was very lightly attended during the primary — so this is going to be safer from a social distancing perspective than election day.  Masks will be required — and I think they said provided.

About absentee ballots
  • order the ballot through the online portal, if possible  Ordering by snail mail means you go through a vendor and a lot of those were mailed out late during the last election cycle.  The portal goes directly to the BOE
  • you can order an absentee ballot based on fear of covid
  • if you use the postal service, mail at least 15 days early to avoid postal service issues
  • you can drop off absentee ballots at: the BOE, early voting locations, and the polls. There will be a box at the entry so you don’t have to stand in line
  • you can drop off an absentee ballot for some one else if the ballot is in a privacy envelope.  There is no limit as to how many you can drop off for others, but please try to avoid dropping off suspiciously large numbers to avoid allegations of fraud

More info

General Election is on Nov. 3, 2020
Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020 from noon until 5 p.m.
Sunday, Oct.. 25, 2020 from noon until 5 p.m.
Monday, Oct.. 26, 2020 from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct.. 27, 2020 from noon until 8p.m.
Wednesday, Oct.. 28, 2020 from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Thursday, Oct.. 29, 2020 from noon until 8 p.m.
Friday, Oct.. 30, 2020 from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Saturday, Oct.. 31, 2020 from noon until 5 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020 from noon until 5 p.m.

if you are registered in Westchester County you can vote early
at any of the following locations:

Westchester County Early Voting Centers
Eastchester Public Library, 11 Oakridge Place, Eastchester, NY 10709
Dobbs Ferry Village Hall, 112 Main Street, Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522
Greenburgh Town Hall, 177 Hillside Avenue, White Plains, NY 10607
Veterans Memorial Building, 210 Halstead Avenue, Harrison, NY 10528
Pound Ridge Town House, 179 Westchester Avenue, Pound Ridge, NY 10576
Mamaroneck Town Center, 740 W. Boston Post Road, Ma.m.aroneck, NY 10543
Mt. Kisco Memorial Complex at Leonard Park, 1 Wallace Drive, Mt. Kisco, NY 10549
Mt. Pleasant Community Center, 125 Lozza Drive, Valhalla, NY 10595
Mt. Vernon City Hall, 1 Roosevelt Square, Mt. Vernon, NY 10550
New Rochelle City Hall Annex – 90 Beaufort Place, 90 Beaufort Place, New Rochelle, NY 10801
Joseph G. Caputo Community Center, 95 Broadway, Ossining, NY 10562
Peekskill Nutrition Center – Neighborhood Center, 4 Nelson Avenue, Peekskill, NY 10566
Somers Town House, 335 Route 202, Somers, NY 10589
Westchester County Board of Elections, 25 Quarropas Street, White Plains, NY 10601
Grinton I. Will Library, 1500 Central Park Avenue, Yonkers, NY 10710
Riverfront Library, One Larkin Center, Yonkers, NY 10701
Yorktown Cultural Center, 1974 Commerce Street, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598

You can vote at ANY of the designated early voting sites throughout the County. These early voting centers are listed above.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Choral works by African-American composers

I asked a question on the FB group for Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir 6 about how to find choral works by African American composers.  I'm compiling a list of the responses.  I'll update this as a I get more

Composers and pieces:

  •  (has recordings of several of her works on her website)
  • ysaye m. barnwell (2 votes)
  • I Got a Song — Colin Lett
  • Travelin Shoes — Faith Morgan
  • William Grant Still’s “And They Lynched Him On A Tree”
  • Dr. Rosephanye Powell - “sacred and secular works for mixed chorus, women’s chorus, men’s chorus, and children’s voices.” example: == esp "Non Nobis Domine" (2 votes for her)
  • Andre Thomas's gospel mass: A Celebration of Life and Joy
  • Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concert
  • William Grant Still’s “And They Lynched Him On A Tree”
  • "Treemonisha" an opera by Joplin
  • Florence Price
  • Sydney Guillaume
  • Rollo Dilworth (4 votes for him after my original question)
  • William Dawson
  • Brandon Williams
  • Moses Hogan (4 votes) see esp at 25:45
  • Robert Ray
  • Victor Johnson
  • André Thomas director of the London Gospel Choir
  • Gia Music
  • James Fuhrman wikipedia article about him a former student who has a collection of his works
  • Mark Miller
  • Lea Morris
  • Melanie DeMore
  • Arnaé Batson
  • Sweet Honey in the Rock, esp Ella’s Song
  • Brandon Waddles -- arrangements of the works of Thomas Whitefield link on GIA music
  • Uri Caine's "The Passion of Octavius Catto" (Chorus and alto soloist)
  • Adolphus Hailstork
  • Dr. Roland Carter
  • Dr. Nathan M Carter, Jr
  • "Elijah Rock" by Hall Johnson
  • Jester Hairston
  • Zanaida Robles
  • Rosephanye Powell
  • Sheldrake Alonzo Andrews

Places to look for more information

Some choirs are commissioning pieces

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Mask and face shield adventures

addendum 230713

addendum 230608

addendum 210515
EBY overtaking Stark as my favorite mask

addendum 210501
Stark v EBY v Wicking Neck Gaiter

Addendum 210424
Proper Cloth

Addendum 210401
Honeywell v Stark mask

Addendum 210129
Winter PPE:

Addendum: 200814

I am very irritated about the way the press is treating the findings regarding wicking neck gaiters putting off droplets.  People: DROPLETS ARE NOT VIRUSES.   Wicking neck gaiters put of a lot of droplets by evaporation.  Droplets produced by evaporation are usually sterile.  The large numbers of droplets are not an indication that these masks are dangerous.  Quite the contrary: they may be much safer than other cloth masks.

Also, I am concerned about the condemnation of vented masks.  The vents on these masks direct droplets downwards.  They are going to have almost zero horizontal velocity.  This means that any exhaled viruses are likely to end up on the chest of the wearers, not in the air.  i am frustrated that the research is not looking at the role of horizontal velocity in the effectiveness of masks that are imperfect filters.


Here is an instagram video of me with my shop towel mask.

I got the SDS (safety data sheet) for the shop towels that I used and I didn't see anything dangerous on there, but they still give me a sore throat, so I don't like them. They were tested by someone at the University of North Carolina and they supposedly functioned better than standard surgical masks.  I did find that they fit my face well and didn't seem to have gaps around the edges.  I also found that I could breath fairly well through them.

I also tried the double towel mask, which is supposedly even more effective, but I found that I couldn't breathe well through it, which the video that talked about it warned about.

The following is a video about a plastic face shield that I ordered off of an instagram ad.  This was a dud.

Observations about soft plastic face shields

This is a video about a home made face mask that I got from a friend.

I've become convinced that the eyes are probably the primary way that COVID-19 would enter the body.

The mouth contains saliva, which is acid, and then you swallow a lot, which takes things down to the stomach, which is even more acid.  I've seen doctors claiming that the SARS-COV2 does not survive stomach acid.

The nose is pointing downwards, so, while you might inhale viruses, they won't normally just go flying in there.

The eyes, on the other hand, are just sitting right there in the front of your face where anything can fly in.  So I tried buying some prescription swim goggles, with the thought that they might be good for keeping viruses out of eyes.  These are the ones I ordered

They came quickly.  Given the very low price, I was astounded that I really could see very well.  They aren't as sophisticated as the glasses you pay more for.  They don't have astigmatism correction.  They don't account for pupilary distance, but for eight bucks they're pretty amazing.  If you can't afford glasses, you might try this.  Here's a photo of me with them on

I do find though that they're not really comfortable enough to wear all day.  They make my mug look oval, though, again, for the price, not so bad.  There was a weird adjustment going back to my regular glasses after wearing them.

Another issue that they have is that the plastic strap is sort of staticky and is a definite hair tangling hazard.  I accidentally pulled out a hunk of hair with them when I took them off. They probably work best over a swim cap.

If I ever dare go swimming again, I'm definitely going to use them.  I do think that germs travel pretty fast in water, so I don't think that swimming is going to be a good option this summer.  Still, as I said, for eight buck these have optical correction, UV protection, and anti-fog coating, which makes them pretty amazing to me -- and, since they are water tight, and definitely seal to my face, I do suspect they would keep virions out of my eyes.

Here's one about a face shield that I like

This is where I got this on amazon

I'm going to post more instagram videos soon about my adventures.

This is a video about putting buttons on your glasses to hang masks from.  I'm putting the link here just in case I want to find it again

This is about copper alloy devices for pushing buttons and opening doors

This video shows me with a turtle neck style mask with cooling, wicking material:

Athletic mask with vents.  Are vents anti-social?

The problem is that many people end up pulling their masks off their noses, even indoors, because they're having problems breathing.  The vents do improve the air quality inside the mask.  I feel that viruses escaping from the vents will still have lower horizontal velocity than if you had no mask, especially if the vents are pointed downwards as these are.  Moreover, most of your exhalation is going forward, not out the vents.  With reduced horizontal velocity, the viruses, or respiratory droplets containing them, will fall to the floor sooner.

I think the move to make the vents illegal is short sighted. A mask with vents is better than someone who pulls their mask off their nose, because they can't breathe.

I ended up not liking this mask too much, because if fogged up my glasses more than other masks.  Also it was hard to put on.

This is a "space mask" with nanofibers.  One concern I have with nanofibers is that they are fairly new and I'm not sure what their structural integrity is. Do they break off? If they break off, do I inhale them? If I inhale them, is that going to injure my lungs? 

Initially, I only felt slight irritation after wearing the Space Mask; however, after washing it, I noticed that it made my lips tingle, so I didn't want to wear it any more.  I was thinking that possibly the nanofibers might end up being a bit like asbestos.

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I bought this lovely butterfly mask on impulse, when I already had plenty of masks, but I really like it. I later realized that the reason that the shield was milky was that I had neglected to remove the protective cover.

This one is a more convenient substitute for a bandana.

So, here is me trying to "fix" PPE that has issues.

interesting youtube video testing masks

my comments on this youtube video

I was a physics major. I've been interested in reading the research of Dr. Lydia Bourouiba at MIT on the topic of the flight of respiratory droplets. Her models predict that, with intense breathing, respiratory droplets from the lungs could travel up to 27 feet. This is due to starting out with a horizontal velocity of 30-50 mph. It seems to me that our goal with cloth masks is not to create a sterile environment where there are no viruses. The goal should be to reduce the number of respiratory droplets AND to reduce their horizontal velocity. If they have no horizontal velocity, they will fall to the floor more quickly. In this video, you don't distinguish fog that has a high initial horizontal velocity from fog that has a low initial horizontal velocity. It seems to me that fog that is moving downward, e.g. from a mask with vents, is mostly going to land on the user's chest or the ground -- not out in the room where other people will inhale it. The situation with COVID-19 precautions is quite different from an operating room, where the surgeon is bending over the open body cavity of a patient. In the surgery situation, a few leaks could be very serious. In the common every day social situation, a few leaks, if of low horizontal velocity, are not going to be as important. I wish I would see more discussion of this aspect of the aerodynamics of contagion


Here's another episode in my ongoing experiments with PPE. I should say that I don't really think this setup would be adequate to go into a store -- but for hiking outside it's ok

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Addendum 210321 -- EBY mask